Practicing Principles in Life

I’m not one to celebrate minor milestones like the eleven months of sobriety I have today. When I turn to quiet introspection of “what it use to be like, what happened and what is like now” for myself, it always happens to be on a monthly anniversary. The world around me has changed drastically in the last month. Most importantly, I have changed. Isn’t that the whole point of sobriety?

The hardest lesson for me during the last eleven months of sobriety is watching ego and pride. Isn’t that what go me here in the first place? I became so selfish and self-centered. Nothing else mattered; I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it, I wanted it two weeks ago and I would do anything to get it. There was a feeling of entitlement; I deserved it for all the hard work I put in or the pain I went through. Complete and utter BULLSHIT!

After going through the Fourth (4th) Step I began to understand again where I had done. All that guilt, shame, fear, insecurity, etc. was brought to the forefront – again. There were “defects” I didn’t address the last time I was sober. I knew they existed but did nothing about them. This time I have made a point of working on them. Thus I have seen a definite change, a needed change.

As I continue to do what I need for my sobriety, I see others shy away from me. Recently, both roommates have just gotten very distant. Today, I’m actually okay with the whole change of scenery. I’m no longer wanting companionship, approval, friendship from those people who are not allowing me to move forward. They have their own problems. They are walking down their own paths to recovery or relapse. I would offer my help but both are unwilling, close minded and just reverting back to their selfish self-centered behaviors. I don’t want to use the cliche, “Been there, done that” but its true. It lead me to path I never (and don’t have to) ever travel down again.

Today I’m more aware of myself and those around me. It’s important for me to USE to “spiritual tools laid at my feet”. If I don’t, I just have to look at my past. Instead, as instructed, I look at myself and the part I played daily. Had I been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking or afraid? If not, I move on. If so, I know what I need to do immediately. Do I get hurt my others? Yes. However, today I’m not angry or resentful. It is what it is.

I have a sense of peace and serenity in my life. I’m happy to be where I am today. I’m grateful to be alive, sober and “practicing these principles in all my affairs”.

Making Mountains Out of Molehills

Here is just another example of how sobriety works in my life. On Friday nights, after we return from a meeting, my roommate and I turn on A & E’s, Live PD. My roommate really got on my nerves last night. This morning the 24 Hours a Day – Little Black Book resonated with me on all levels.

Personally, I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with the show, Live PD. Perhaps it reminds me of the insanity of my own alcoholism; giving people piles of shit (lies) believing I’ll get away with it. Yet knowing in the end I’ll get caught in my own web of lies at some point. I thought I was acting normally. It’s just so obvious these people are doing something wrong.

Back to my point . . .

My roommate doesn’t do just one thing – ever. Typically he’s on his computer playing a game AND playing a game on his phone. All the while he jabs me with this remark and that remark. Last night, he was playing a game on his computer and another on his phone. Also talking over the TV on Discord (a gamer’s voice chat program) and throwing little jabs at me – which he admits he purposely does to annoy me. It’s an emotional roller coaster for me. Do I practice tolerance and patience? Or do I just turn around and stab him with the nearest object I can get my hands on? Instead, at around 11pm, I had enough. Not saying a word, I just walked outside, walked to the corner to smoke a cigarette and played PokémonGO.

Thought for the Day

When you allow yourself to be upset over one thing, you succeed only in opening the door from the coming of hundreds of other upsetting things. Am I allowing myself to be upset over little things?

24 Hours a Day – The Little Black Book for Saturday, June 22

I know what I need to do, yet I don’t want to do it. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with any codependent behaviors, as it’s mostly fear based thoughts. Thus, the morning readings come in to play:

Meditation for the Day

I would do well not to think of the Red Sea of difficulties that lies ahead. I am sure that when I come to that Red Sea, the waters will part and I will be given all the power I need to face and overcome many difficulties and meet what is in store for me with courage. I believe that I will pass through that Red Sea to the promised land, the land of the spirit where many souls meet in perfect comradeship. I believe that when that time comes, I will be freed of all the dross of material things and find peace.

24 Hours a Day – The Little Black Book for Saturday, June 22

We all have character defects we need to work on. For me, it’s taking things personally and getting angry over it. Through my own experience, people tend to criticize others when in actuality they are looking at themselves. Honestly, I do it all the time. But I’m learning to stop judging the other person, instead look at why this person annoys me so much. Is it something I need to change in my own life? Or is it simply something I need to “Let Go, Let God”? Sometimes I just take like to damn seriously.

When I get in these situations, I always think of this –
which puts a smile on my face:

Today, with this beautiful weekend upon me,
I will not let fear ruin the enjoyment of life!
Thank you, Yoda, for your wise words!

Change Is Never Easy

Change has never been easy for me; it wouldn’t surprise me to learn changes for anyone aren’t easy. After a certain period of time, we develop a habit tending to stick to the ritual day in and out. However, when you through a wrench in your circadian rhythm (“body clock” or “24-hour cycle”, it makes harder. Now your battle is on two fronts – mentally and physically.

Everything is turned around lately. I can’t focus. However, I tend to wander off in various directions when presented anyway. Lately, it’s really bad. Coupled with forgetfulness, it makes it especially frustrating. I thought my reversing my day (i.e. 7 a.m. = 7 p.m. for me), it would help my physical body adjust. It just ain’t happening.

I’ve learned through sobriety, you must be patient (not with only change but with everything). Things don’t happen overnight no matter how much we want them (selfishness). I’ve found one must challenge oneself to these new changes.

Then there is sabotage (selfishness and greediness), as I do very often.  Down in my subconscious, I believe if asked to pick up extra shifts at work I’ll be in the spotlight, thus not be touched by anything perhaps I’m doing wrong. In reality, I know this is delusional thinking. This type of thinking, for me, is the hardest to change.

Right now I need to be selfish in another way; taking care of myself is the most important. What comes to mind is the “Just Say No [to drugs]” campaign. I found when I’m able to separate my employment from my personal life (and for me, that is extremely difficult at times), I’m better equipped to take care of myself. Knowing this, I simply need to say “No” when it comes to opportunities at work.

It’s this reoccurring theme in my life sitting on my “defects of character” list. It has so many names, perhaps I need to revisit it (which eventually I will) in due time.

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 Short Fuse

I have short fuse: annoyance, frustration, then anger just keeps building up until I blow like Mount St. Helen’s. It’s those many defects of character I work on a daily basis I can’t seem get under control. In the past, I reached for the bottle because I kept those feelings tucked deep inside. Since then I learned tools to deal with them in an appropriate manner but many times I react before I think. The end result is disastrous – always.

For instance, here is a situation I am currently struggling with. I tend to make promises I can’t keep. It’s not intentional. People don’t seem to understand my schedule as a CNA change change on a whim.

Monday I had to work a double (3 p.m. to 7 a.m.) because I was mandated. My employer required me to work at risk of being fired if I did not. This is not something I choose to do nor I agree with nor something I can control. This is common in the nursing field; we can’t just leave our jobs until we are relieved by another person.

I had made plans with this person before I went to work on Tuesday but had to cancel. Tuesday morning I receive a text with a smart ass remark, “I figured that. You have to get your 10 hours of sleep. Tomorrow will be another excuse.” I was flabbergasted.

What I wanted to do, right then and there, was rip off his head and shit down his throat. Seriously. After working a 12 hour shift, after a three day weekend, after the previous weeks fiasco with Storm Stella? I thought it was unnecessary, uncompassionate and not understanding of my situation at all.
I didn’t respond nor have I responded to additional texts, as if nothing happened at all.

Part of me just wants to end the relationship or at a minimum take a break. The other part of me wants to attempt to talk to him. Problem: He is my Sponsor. I know him well enough, he’ll just turn this around on me, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

I vowed to NOT write about him in this journal, yet over the last couple of weeks, he keeps popping up.  Every now and then, we get to this stage in the relationship, we take a break for a couple of months, then repeat the cycle.  I don’t know if I should get off the merry-go-round or just grim my teeth and bare it.

Part of me feels a life long debt to him.  The other part of him wants to throw his hypocritical, selfish, self serving, insincere, sorry ass to the curb. **SELF:  Temper, Michael. Temper.** On the other hand, perhaps it is time we just part of seperate ways.

Any comments, questions or concerns would be appreciated.

What happens when your relationship with your Sponsor is no longer healthy for either of you?