The Workaholic & Sobriety

The last few days of this last weekend were just exhausting. Friday I reported working early, doing an eleven-hour shift, while Saturday and Sunday I did two 16 hour shifts per day. Last night, I got a good nights sleep since I slept only seven hours the last three days. Why am I such a glutton for punishment?

One, I have no life. In reality, this has been true for many years now. While I have friends here and there, I don’t have anyone I can just hang out with. Now that I live in Van Etten, it’s even harder to visit those people. But I accepted that when I moved here, so I’m okay with my decision. I’m actually enjoying the solitude.

I have new expenses. My rent increased quite a bit which was expected. There are new bills to pay associated with my new home. So, most of the time I’m ordering “take out” for lunch or dinner. I have a gallon of milk, creamer, a can of cat food and a couple other things in my refrigerator. There hasn’t been time nor the money to get groceries. Besides I’m not home enough anyway, it would be a waste of time.

Despite the agony, pain, frustration and all the other feelings associated with any employer, I’ve always taken my employment seriously. I rarely call in sick and I don’t take vacation days until I get enough money set aside to take an actual vacation. Neither of those happened much, ever. Since I have no life and need to pay my bills it’s just become a lifestyle. A bad one really.

Sometimes part of me goes back to analyzing everything. Why do this to me? Why am I here again? Can’t I just live a normal life? Why can’t I make enough money to enjoy life? Yada, yada, yada. I use to reach for a drink in an attempt to make the voices stop. I have conversations with “my committee” still to this day. But somewhere in the conversation, the other parts of me just give up because I know picking up a drink is not the answer.

But I manage. Somehow, since my sobriety, I’ve pulled through some really bad times. I give most credit to my Higher Power and my ex-Sponsor. Even recently, with no Sponsor (as of yet), I’ve still attended meetings when I can. I talked to people about my recovery Both with those in recovery and those who are not in recovery. If anything, I’ve taken the time to vent here. Despite my crazy ass, workaholic lifestyle, I have still managed to stay sober.

 

 

 

Into Action

There is a reason Chapter 6, Into Action (AA Big Book, 4th Edition), cries out to me today. In the last couple of days, I’ve been “out of sorts”. Work, yet again, has frustrated me to no end. Unknowingly, this frustration seeped back into my personal life. I’ve reverted back to my lazy, selfish Self, full time. Something needs to change. “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it” (p. 83). So another phrase now rings in my ears, “Don’t think, just do it!”

I work up with my cat’s annoying yowling and crying. Sometimes I can ignore it but today wasn’t one of those days. So I got up after 5 hours of sleep, feed her and started my day. I’m not annoyed at her; it’s not her fault, she just wants to be fed. It’s all about me.

As I’m in the kitchen I am disgusted with myself. Dirty dishes in the sink, a dirty kitty litter pan, small spills on the counters, these small things are starting to really annoy me. I went back to the bedroom to journal my recovery post for the morning. I visited the bathroom to be yet annoyed again at the pile of clothes sitting on the dryer. I stomped out of the house to the front porch to smoke a cigarette.

When I’m sitting on the front porch it can turn into a short meditation session for me. I relax when the first rays of sunlight stream over the mountain behind me. As the fresh, unadulterated air seeps into my lungs (despite the cigarette hanging out of my mouth), I am refreshed. I let my frustrations and worries seep back into the Earth.

Before I stepped back into the house, I made a plan. Despite my initial plan to head to an AA meeting, I am here. I have a load of laundry in both washer and dryer. The kitchen is next. Afterward, there are other things I should have done the other day. They are getting done NOW.

Spiritually, I have been out of touch. Rushing to satisfy my selfishness, I have ignored important things in my life. This needs to stop. I need to connect with my Higher Power to help squash (or at least put in check) those defects of character. Today I’m setting time aside to be alone with my Higher Power. It’s been far too long.

 

A day off . . .

After my move to my new home in July, I told my employer I would work six days a week, weekends and doubles if needed. It’s been a long month. The other day I was going to post a rant about work but deleted it. I’m not going to fill my only day off this week with all the negativity surrounding my job. Instead, I’m going to do what needs to be done to take care of me.

The other day at a meeting we discussed honesty and accepting consequences of our decisions. Somewhere in the last month, I admit I did a really stupid thing. I put my ex-Sponsor on my phone plan and ordered him a new phone. Despite my gut insticts, as I recognize as my HP, I made the decision to do it anyway. I wrote up an agreement with stipulations, which he reluctantly signed, to protect myself in case he decides to attempt to screw me like he’s done to other people. I’m glad I did.  During the signing of the agreement, he was about to let me know how his friend “screwed me[him] over”.  I just said, “I don’t want to hear it.” It’s done, I can’t change it.

I need to take a short trip to see my ex-Sponsor. One, he needs to pay me for this months bill. But I also need to explain to him again how this works. We have an 8GB plan, so I need him to monitor his data. According to a report, he’s used 44% of 14 GB (my carry over data). How I approach him about this is going to be tricky. I’m make do with whatever the outcome.

When I get home, I don’t have any plans. I’m just going to do things as they present themselves. I’m not sure if I’ll get involved in playing a game, reading a book, taking a nap, watching TV series (GoT or BB 19) or a movie or two. I might actually take a walk down the road ‘cus I’m curious.

Time to get this day started.

Reflection (The Big Move)

It’s been almost 30 days since I moved from a small town in Upstate New York to even a smaller village (1500+, 2010 census). There was a lot of apprehension at first. But as time went by I trusted all things would work out. Despite my complete solitude of “living in the sticks”, I absolutely believe I made the second best decision of my life.

I had some fear, whether I expressed it or not, about moving. The worry was whether or not I could really afford such a place because part of me felt I was only fooling myself. Thus, I had/have another fear in a few months I would have to move again. At this stage, I don’t think such events are going to transpire. Keeping a positive outlook certainly, helps.

In addition, I have learned minimizing (or the minimalist lifestyle) is actually working for me. There is a bunch of stuff in the front bedroom. Most of it needs to be moved in its respective places. For instance, all the computer equipment, fitness weights, and filing cabinet should be moved to the room I”m occupying. But I don’t want to clutter the room I’m living in because I enjoy the space.

While I still don’t have furniture, it still feels like home. Most of my time is spent in the kitchen, one bedroom, and laundry room/bathroom. Some have asked, “Why a three bedroom for a bachelor like yourself?” One bedroom is where I’ll sleep, wh ile another is going to be my computer/spiritual/fitness room. The third bedroom (in the very far future) will be set up for a guest to visit.

I still don’t have financial control over everything. Since I just moved in I’m paying partial bills, so doing so does frustrate me a bit. I haven’t visited a grocery store for ONE big trip and then making little trips for other things; I just don’t have the money set aside for a big grocery trip yet. However, I have saved significantly on gas for my car. The last full tank of gas was almost a week ago instead of every two to three days. I’ve even cut down on smoking. Since I only smoke in my car or at work, one pack of cigarettes can last two or even three days. It’s just going to take time and I have to be patient.

While there are a few fears left (i.e. what happens if I need my car fixed, I can’t afford this or that, I lose my job, etc.), they don’t bother me too much.  Instead, they tend to creep up but fade away rather quickly. To be honest, it also gets very dark since there is the one street lamp on the other side of the road at night. My front porch light blew out during a rain storm. Therefore at night, I get a little nervous. But everyone else doesn’t have one single light on, so I have to trust something won’t happen. These things will subside in time.

I just absolutely love the solitude. It’s not that I’m anti-social or isolating. I think this time in my life is a period of reflection and spiritual growth. Since I’ve finally left the rat race of the city/town, I can dedicate some full time to the spiritual side of me, which lately is really lacking. I have set a special date which my daily routine will begin.

All is good in the country, despite my solitude from the rest of the world.

 

 

Trying to Stay Strong

To be honest, I’m not sure how much longer I can cope with working six days a week, accepting to work weekends and working long stretches before a day off. My reasons are selfish – I need the money. I’m still trying to adjust financially but it is taking a toll on my physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m just so exhausted.

I have committed to this schedule for the month of July. It’s almost over but in the meantime, I’ve noticed my patience with people is wearing very thin. The stupidity and arrogance of people just propel me over the edge. Unfortunately, I’m not able to just “walk away” (or I will lose my job). They are co-workers and residents I simply have to grind my teeth and smile.

At home, I knew the responsibility of owning a cat was going to be a difficult change.  Heart, my cat, is used to a certain routine for the last decade or more. She’s resorted to waking me up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. to be fed. If I try to ignore her, I receive a wet lick on the nose until I wake up.  Today it was 5:45 a.m. Unfortunately once I wake up, I’m up for a couple of hours until I can lay down (as I’m going to do after posting this). I feed her 1/2 can of wet in the morning and the other when I get home from work. There is a small dish of dry food if she’s hungry in between. After eating its all about getting love and attention. I’m okay with it but it goes on and on and on. When she walks away to lay down I have to (literally) sneak away quietly. The other day she played “dead to the world” but had that one eye open just in case, jump, up at the moment I tried to move. I have always loved this cat to death but I didn’t mean it literally.

In the meantime, I haven’t done much around the house. The windows all need measuring for curtains or coverings. At least once a week I throw a load of laundry but it only ends up sitting on my dryer unfolded. I still haven’t been to a grocery store to stock my cabinets and actually cook meals at home. There are simply things I want to do but either don’t have the money or the energy to do them.

Enough. I need pleasant thoughts to get some sleep.

 

The Current State of Affairs

It’s been over a week since my move into my new home. I have been doing nothing but work, work and work some more. Since I’m much closer to work it gives me an opportunity to pick up shifts for some extra needed money. Remember, I moved in with literally nothing. There is a cost for my decision. How things have quickly changed from peaceful and serene to a state of restlessness, irritability, and discontent.

heart_20170709 Sunday of last week I picked up this cutie from my Sponsor. Her name is Heart. She’s 19 years old (supposedly).  “Grandpa” (as I now call my ex-Sponsor) could not care for her anymore. How I quickly forgot the responsibilities of a kid in the house! It cost me nearly $50 to get her all set up in the house. She no longer has to fight with her sister over food and can get all the love in the world from me (if I were home). This picture represents the stare I get in the morning when I’m sitting on the floor, typing on the computer and she wants attention. What am I to do but oblige! She’s irresistible. But she misses her sister dearly, as she howls in the middle of the night but

But at times she can be the devil too!  She misses her sister dearly or me howling in the middle of the night. Thankfully that behavior is diminishing. She also likes to wake me up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. because she wants to be fed. Yesterday I ignored her, so she began to lick my nose until I woke up! Lastly, anytime I’m awake it’s all about her, “Dad, I want loves …” **purr, purr** . I feel bad for leaving her for so long sometimes.

It’s just “the same shit, different day” at work. Last week, I worked 10 hours overtime. I am also working a total of eleven days straight before I get a day off. I’ve come in early and did a double shift (16 hours) the other day. This is my fault because I told them I was available. Therefore, I’m simply doing as agreed.

frustrationaltanakaI’ve tried, as much as possible, to ignore the whining of my co-workers. But when you have competent residents who start to act like children, it can get overwhelming. I’ve talked to three residents, who others simply ignore, reminding them there are sixty residents in the building and their behaviors are rude, disrespectful and getting quite annoying for someone as old as them. I wasn’t mean nor yelling, I was just stern. It seemed to work in the last 24 hours. On the other hand, I’ve been told by various employees and residents how much they appreciate all the hard work I put in. Some are thinking of going to the Administrator (who I haven’t even met) to let her know of my dedication to the job. I don’t expect anything. I’m there because I like my job, despite the constant obstacles and I truly care about the well-being of my residents, as a CNA should be.

Lastly, I have begun to get to meetings again. It hasn’t been consistent but I’m going.  The meeting I have gone to I’ve made my home group. There isn’t much a choice for a Sponsor, so I’m going to wait until I get to other meetings. My home group is very receptive to my knowledge and experience of the program.

I know things will work out in time; I just need to practice patience. As they say, “God will only put enough on your plate that you can handle if you let Him.” I’ve experienced it, so I truly believe it.

 

 

NY Faerie Festival

During my late 20’s to early 30’s, when I was living in Southern California, I was involved in the Southern California Renaissance Faire (a.k.a. The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, as it’s called now). It was only a three-year stretch which I partook in the festivities helping a friend manage her small shop. I have always loved the Renaissance period in history, so I jumped at the opportunity. At the time, there was an expectation to be drunk for the whole weekend. I met that expectation with flying colors. However, since then I haven’t been to another festival.

After moving to New York, establishing some pagan friends, I was told there was the Sterling Rennasiance Faire. Over the years I wanted to go but either never found the time or didn’t have transportation to get there. However, over the years, my old pagan friends became distant and my new sober friends had no interest in such things.

A couple years ago I came across the NY Faerie Festival in Ouaquaga, NY, which wasn’t as much of a drive as Sterling, NY. But again, over the years, there was no interest of my new sober friends, neither did I have the time, funds or transportation. But that all changed when I got my car. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to go alone, thus year after year I didn’t.

That was until last weekend on July 2, 2017. A co-worker of mine posted an interest on Facebook. I was ecstatic! We decided to go despite the impending inclement weather. I drove up to Ithaca to her house, then we took the hour and a half ride to find it “in a hamlet of Ouaquaga, New York”. Amazingly, it was the perfect setting.

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The festival was located in a small valley (for a lack of a better description) while parking was up top. The path down the hill led to the entrance, a castle gate. You were immediately greeted by magical creatures to set the atmosphere of what was to become. It was much smaller than the Rennaisance Faire, but again I was now living in a much smaller community.

But the involvement of those who visited and those participating in the Faire was amazing.

 

We had my friend’s two-year-old son with us.  She spent part of the previous night making a gnome costume for him. He is such a cutie!!  He wasn’t scared nor excited. He looked like he didn’t know what to do. We had him in a stroller, which he got tired of, so we got him out and let him walk around. There was mud everywhere, so when we got him back in the stroller or when I was holding him, it was inevitable we were going to get it on us. He was an adorable child to have with us. My friend is truly blessed!!

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We were there for approximately an hour and a half. Again, it’s not a large festival but we did take our leisure time. A majority of the Faire, if there wasn’t an activity going on (like the presentation of the Queen above), were vendors selling their “wares”. Most everything is crafted by themselves. There were food vendors there too. I admitted I wasn’t going to purchase anything because it can be quite expensive (i.e. a large cup of lemonade was $4.00 at one vendor). But on the way back to leave my friend eyed the “jerky cart” which had an assortment of “special” jerky. So she purchased alligator, ostrich, and buffalo (I think). I didn’t ask how much she paid ‘cus honestly I didn’t want to know – lol.

 

So we enjoyed ourselves immensely. So did Jr. He began to get cranky in the car ride home. We stopped in Whitney Point for lunch at Wendy’s. I ordered a chocolate shake to share with Jr but they didn’t have any spoons? Really? Afterward, we went through a severe thunderstorm and downpour when we arrived back in Ithaca, NY. It was a really pleasant day with the two of them.

I hope I can enjoy more summer days with them before summer ends!