The beginning of March 2016 was not a particularly joyous occasion. I was working at a local medically supervised detoxification center. One morning my employment was suddenly terminated. Part of me was raging inside, while another part of me was scared. Yet when the dust settled I found happiness in another career.
Before my sobriety in 2007, I didn’t have a career. I had worked in a dental insurance company for ten years when my addiction crashed those dreams. I worked for American Express for another three years, then they laid me off. Afterward, I jumped here and there in various customer service oriented jobs for a while, laid off again and again. Not long after, my addiction consumed me to the point of hopelessness.
Between December 2007 and 2011, sobriety opened my eyes to new opportunities. Sobriety has always been the top priority of my life. But I also had a passion for computer science, so I finally got a degree in Computer Science Information Systems. That was just a waste of my time and money. I finally made a decision to become a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, as I began my work at the local detoxification center. I guess in retrospect “that just wasn’t the right job for me”.
Many people saw my determination, good listening skills, time management and passion for helping others. A past co-worker, a LPN at the detox center, and I discussed working in the future as a nurse. I didn’t investigate her “suggestion” until my termination from the detox center in March 2016. I am now glad that I did.
In September I was offered to attend a Certified Nursing Assistant training program with the potential for employment under the condition I passed my New York State CNA exams. I did this in November of 2016. Since then I have enjoyed and loathed the new career.
I enjoy the residents I care for on a daily basis, just as I did for those in the detox center. But again, I loath some people that I work for, as well as, my employer at times. At the detox center, it was like having a meeting for five days, eight hours a day. However, as recently experienced, I no longer have that “crutch”, thus “you [I] have to adjust your sails”, as my Sponsor recently pointed out.
Why did I start his career in the first place? It’s not who I work with or whom I work for that is important. It’s for the residents; the elderly with some type of mental disorder (a majority with some form of dementia) who can’t take care of themselves. I put my feet in their shoes every day. It’s a sad state of what some of our elderly population may have to go through in the last years of their life. But it’s the reason I become a CNA in the first place.
Like the detox center, after a couple of years, I am going to get tired, doing the same thing over and over, I’m sure. It’s just inevitable. I may go back to school for my LPN or RN but at almost 50, I’m not sure. Now is not the time to make those plans.
With a new career, I am faced with new issues in my life. Actually, I call them lessons I haven’t seem to learn from my past that keep creeping up. I need to tackle and resolve these issues. Perhaps that is the plan my Higher Power had for me this whole time. I just need to embrace it.
But today, as I look back a year ago, I can only be thankful for events that transpired. A year ago, I thought I was stuck in a profession that didn’t have very many opportunities. Today, I have my foot in the door to a whole host of new opportunities just waiting for me in the years ahead. For that, I am thankful.