Struggling

I have vowed not to include work on this blog for various reasons. However, when my professional life (work) impacts my recovery, there is an opportunity for others to learn how We, the recovering addict, deal with our addictions on a daily basis.  This is one such time.

I am now a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) with only five months of experience.  The facility that I work at is currently understaffed, badly.  Everyone is miserable.  I vowed not to get involved, do what is required of me and leave on a daily basis without a further thought of what went on.  While that worked for a while, I have found that in recent weeks, I too became miserable.  Right now, I’m not in a good place.

I never boast about how many years of sobriety I have because it doesn’t matter.  Each of us just have today.  After nine years of sobriety, the last couple of days, I am struggling with keeping my sobriety.  Last night, it peaked; I thought about drinking.  Did I relapse?

Keep reading . . .

I knew that my job was going to be challenging.  A CNA is not an easy job.  The job is disgusting at times (literally); I take care of the elderly who can’t take care of themselves in all aspects of their lives, including toileting themselves. You just get use to it.  Residents can be quite the handful at times; each one has a range of medical problems and mental health issues.  As a CNA, you are required by state law to respect their rights.  You have to be a CNA because you enjoy those that you help no matter what is presented in front of  you.  Don’t get me wrong, I love working with these people no matter what they do or say to me.  I know that they are struggling inside to keep the last sanity they have, in the only way they know how.

On a daily basis, I am treated like shit by residents and even my own co-workers.  I am the low one on the totem pole, thus people take advantage of it (many times to the extreme).  In addition, there are not many male CNA’s.  Nursing is typically a women’s field.  I’ve been told “. . . you just have to deal with it”.

Right now, I feel like I’m fighting for my job.  I feel like my co-workers are all against me including management.  The don’t listen to what I have to say, as if I’m speaking a foreign language.  They don’t help asking me to do things that I’m not suppose to do.  Then when I complain of the illegal activity, they turn my words or events around as if I’m the problem.  They don’t help me when I ask for help, instead think I’m just an incompetent person.  There are dead wrong – I take the necessary time to ensure that my residents are cared for in the proper fashion and with the dignity and respect that any human being deserves!

Sorry I’m getting on tangents, but bare with me . . .now how sobriety plays a part.

Before I go into work, I say the Serenity Prayer.  During the day, I must say it over 1,000 times.  I’m not a person that prays.  Recently, I have really asked for guidance and help, yet I get no relief. Is there a lesson here that I should be learning besides patience and tolerance because if there is, I just don’t seem to get it.

Psychologically, its torture.  I don’t want to be there, nor do I want to work with my co-workers.  But the other side of me doesn’t want to abandon my residents.  They are human beings and should not be treated in the manner that I have witnessed.

My Sponsor and I have constant communication.  He doesn’t understand why I still work there.  He believes I should just look for another job and leave. With only five months of experience, it’s hard to get another job somewhere else; it’s just not that easy to pick up, leave and get another job.  He doesn’t understand because he hasn’t been in my shoes.  However, he has given me suggestions.

Last night, I called him on the verge of tears.  I was going to just walk off the job and I didn’t care about my license as a CNA.  I had a fear that I was going to drink; I didn’t trust myself.  I have so much anger, resentment, fear, etc. built up, I just didn’t know what to do.  We talked on my break but I have to cut him off because Gods forbid I was late coming back in.  The point is, he was there for me.  That got my through the last hour of work, home and I DID NOT DRINK.

This morning we went out for breakfast (I had to pay – another issue, later).  As always, he made suggestions.  Some I can do, others are difficult to implement.  But I still listened.

One suggestion was attending meetings.  I don’t go to enough because of my scattered schedule, complacency and timing.  All excuses.  I don’t MAKE THE TIME to get to meetings.  Yes, it would mean less sleep (I drive three hours a day to work, plus an eight hour day, so do the math).  But there are plenty of meetings right before work, that I can just attend a meeting, then drive to work.  There is even a meeting in a town that I drive through every day.  I just haven’t ever been to a meeting there.  So I’m going to take his suggestion because that is what Sponsee’s should do – ACT on SUGGESTIONS given by our Sponsors.

I have now lost my train of thought, if I really had one.  Recent events have put my mental capabilities to shambles; I can’t think straight, I can’t concentrate, I can’t remember even the littlest things.  It’s rough.  I know it and I need to DO something about it.

This is where I feel that I’m a hypocrite.  I tell people going through something like this to think of a river, you’re standing on a stone in the middle of a river.  No matter what you do (build a dam to block it or control it), build a bridge or try to avoid it, etc., the river is going to keep flowing around you.  You need to DO something, like step off the stone, before the river just pulls you downstream and drowns you.  But do I take my own advice?

Perhaps this time I should!

Family Worries

Typically I wouldn’t talk about my Sponsor in a public post by I need to get this off my chest.  He’s so annoying! This isn’t the first time, nor the last.  We go through periods where we just have to spend time apart.  It appears this time is coming again but there are other concerns to take into consideration.

I met this gentleman at the beginning of my sobriety, more than nine years ago.  He was an unlikely match but became a big influence in my life.  He and I have been there through the good and bad times.  I am more than grateful for his continued presence in my life.

Lately, I have noticed the affects of old age.  He’s lonely, needy, forgetful and, at times, just an unbreakable stubborn man.  He knows everything; he’s been everywhere, he’s done everything; he’s got all the answers, yet asks for my suggestions but doesn’t take them.

He’s suddenly in a mood to “downsize” since his move to a new apartment.  I mean literally getting rid of everything in his life.  At one point, he wanted to live in his car (during the Winter in NY) to save money for an apartment.  Finally, many of us convinced him to get an apartment, so he’s living in a studio apartment from a two-bedroom apartment.  Every time that I see him, he’s accumulated more and tries to pawn it off on me.  He just can’t understand the work, “No.”

In the last couple of months, his forgetfulness is increasing.  Sometimes I feel like I’m at work talking to own of my residents who has dementia.  So I practice patience to a point.  But many times I just clamp down my mouth because he wants to argue I’m wrong and he’s right.  For instance, he asked I take off the 25th and 26th to drive him down to his brothers.  I agree putting the request in work.  Yesterday, he wanted to know what time I would be over to take him to his brothers.  I reminded him he circled the dates in two weeks.  He apparently changed his mind, didn’t tell me, so now he’s arguing with me.  UGH.

Heart and Sassy, his cats, are also quite old (19 years – he says).  Sassy is not in good health.  Again, he’s been asking for me to take care of them. At first he didn’t want to take his cats with him to his new apartment.  He wanted me to take them.  Ummm….NO.  I’m just not ready for pets right now even though I love them both as my own.  According to him, “I can’t take care of them anymore.”  But they are in his new place doing fine, yet I don’t know how long Sassy will last.  As I look at the situation, I think he’s trying to avoid the inevitable, the cat’s  passing away.

The other day when I visited, I almost blew my top.  He asked for a suggestion but wouldn’t let me get a work in edgewise.  Instead, he talked over me about something else.  At one point, he got on his phone, put his headphones around my head and asked me to listen to the Abbot & Costello’s “Who is on first…” skit when I was trying to tell him something.  We also got into a small argument of I’m right and you’re wrong, which I simply conceded.  Apparently he’s been a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) but can’t tell me what CNA stands for? UGH.

Honestly, I see the decline in health and mental status.  It scares me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be there for him but I’m also afraid for his future.  We’ve agreed to his future wishes (end of life) and I’ll respect it.  I just don’t know if I’m prepared for it, right now.

Oh Gods, now I have to cry . . .