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.

 

The Plan & Epic Failure

I have a thousand emotions running through my veins right now.  Perhaps it’s not the right place nor the write time to write about it.  But I need to get it out, otherwise I’m going to go crazy. The plan was to politely tell my Sponsor I would like to remain friends, ending our AA relationship, but it turned out to be an epic failure.

Joe and I arranged to have lunch at a local deli.  I was already expecting to be asked, ‘So what are you pissed at me about.”  I was right.  Not five minutes through the door the question was asked.  Really? I told him it was not the appropriate place nor time.

After our lunch, we met at his house.  First words, “So, go ahead and lay it into me . . .” Really? The plan was to bring up such topics as:

  • Putting salt in open wounds (recent rude, condescending remarks via text)
  • Interrupting
  • Hypocrisy (saying one thing, yet doing another)
  • Pawning things on others
  • Not accepting responsibility for own faults

In a calm nature, I explained that I had enough.  He interrupts about something completely different. **grind teeth** We disagree about comments made the other day, so I pull out my phone.  Joe, “I now what I said, you don’t have to show me.”  Really?  Obviously you have forgotten.  Then he doesn’t listen, just blabs away blaming everything on me.

I was done.  I got up and left.  But then I had to return to get MY DVD player which was on loan to him.  He gave me choice works, “You’re going to take my only entertainment?” (because he has no cable, something he CHOSE because he can’t afford it). “What about the cats?” Seriously, Joe.  You’ve had them for 19 years (he says) and wants to pawn them on me. “You’ve become so vindictive since you’re new job.”  Seriously . . . “Mike, why are you running.  You always run from your problems and don’t face them.”  Ummm, okay.

People in AA tell me all the time, “Mike, what the HELL do you see in that guy.  He’ll just f**k  you over, like everyone else.”  I’ve ignored those comments for years.  He was a really nice guy with the right intentions.  However, since his argument with his landlord, then moving to a new place and downsizing considerably, he’s become another person.  A person I choose no longer to be associated with anymore.

I want to punch a wall, cry my brains out, scream at the top of my lungs. But honestly, I feel sorry for him. One of the few strong relationships, besides his family, now gone. I know he thinks this will just blow over in a few weeks or months.  It won’t.

I wanted to be civil. To help him understand why I felt the way I did.  Instead, he didn’t want to hear it.  He wanted to turn everything around on me. Not having it.

Another chapter in my life is now closed.

The end.

 

 

What A Sponsor Does for Me

My Sponsor and I have known each other for over nine years now. We have a strong relationship. As mentioned, after receiving my nine year medallion, he is one of three people who saved my life. He’s been there, night and day, through my “growing pains” of sobriety, thus I am eternally thankful. However, there are times the relationship feels as if I’m about to jump off a cliff; the relationship doesn’t seem to be working. Yet, there are times, like yesterday, when I’m reminded why he’s my Sponsor.

After an exhausting week at work, due to Storm Stella, the plan was to stay at home.  With my job as a CNA, I don’t have a luxury of two days off together. Three days off, like this weekend, is exceptionally rare. I wanted to make the most of it getting things done of my ever growing personal to-do-list. But my Sponsor always seems to put a dent in my plans.

This is the part where I feel the relationship is no longer working.  At the age of 76, I’ve noticed an increasing number of signs attributed with his age.  He tends to be very forgetful, yet insistent he’s always right.  That in itself just drives me nuts, as I just grind my teeth and bare it.Over the years I’ve known him, I have learned he can be a hypocrite.  Another annoying side of him. Lately, he’s become needy and dependent on me.  Every day off he “suggests” I come help him with tasks he should do for himself.  Of course, I indulge him, only regretting my decisions every time.

But there is another side of him – the reason he’s my Sponsor.  While his suggestions can become numerous, he’s typically spot on. For instance, I haven’t been to a meeting in quite a long time.  Yesterday, he made the strong suggestion I need to attend more meetings. Part of me struggles accepting his suggestion, while the other part of me knows he’s exactly right.

A while ago, I made a commitment to attend the noon meeting at a local church daily to myself.  I made it a couple of times, then just stopped going. Excuses: I was to busy having more important things to do; I wasn’t getting any messages for myself there; it was a waste of my time. Then almost every day, I ridicule myself for not going. As I look back, selfishness rears its ugly head putting me on the pity pot. Houston, we have a problem!

But the more I think about it, my Sponsor is right. I need to get involved going to meetings to share my experience, strength and hope.  I’ve seen to many people go down that road never to return again. It’s my experience meetings are an essential part of your recovery – it is a must and should not be ignored.

Therefore, I need to get back to reality. I need to stop thinking and just DO it. That is why I have a Sponsor – to give me a reality check and help me keep my sobriety in tact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asking for a Push

Since the beginning of my sobriety in December 2007, I have lived in Binghamton, New York.  I have grown to dislike living in a town/city even more than when I lived in Southern California in active addiction. Now, with my employer fifty six miles, an hour and a half drive on back roads, in Ithaca, New York, it’s time I look for a new place closer to work.  Lately, I have asked my Higher Power/The Universe for a financial push to help assist me in finding a new home closer to where I work and a little more.

Living in Binghamton while working in Ithaca has its benefits. My rent is really low compared to other places in Binghamton.  Both Binghamton and Ithaca cater to college students, so rent is astronomical in both places.  Many of the amenities I need are also right around the corner. It’s quiet on my side of town with an occasional incident here and there.  The landlord isn’t the best (getting things fixed is always a pain) but is more than understanding when times get rough and I can’t pay rent on time (only a few times in the last six years I’ve lived here).

The are some major issues living so far away.  As mentioned, it takes me an hour and a half to get to work.  There are no shortcuts.  I have to travel backroads (either North than West or East, then North). This can be a challenge when the weather doesn’t cooperate, especially in Winter. Therefore, at least three hours of my day is sitting in a car dealing with stupid drivers, scared wildlife, bad weather and unmaintained roads.  This is taking a toll on my car in maintenance, as well as the cost for gas.

Yet moving close to work has its benefits and issues.  The standard of living is much higher.  For instance, my salary is higher than any place in Binghamton, much higher.  Obviously, with the higher standard of living, all my expenses are going to increase.  Thus, I have vowed not to move to Ithaca proper but to one of the outlying areas where rent and expenses are not as expensive.Its hard when you have expenses like a car payment, student loans and other debt.

Perhaps this is selfish but I’ve asked my Higher Power for a very large financial push. I have dreams like anyone else.

For instance, here are a few things in life I would like:

WillseyvilleNYHome.jpg

This house is “calls” to me every day as I drive by going to work. It’s a vacant house in Willseyville, NY. It’s under $100K but needs a lot of work. Recent taxes around $500/yr.  Off the road, in a nice nook, on Route 96B. Neighbors are not encroaching, the side of the mountain as a backyard, the front of the home is off the road. It just needs a wood fence from prying eyes surrounding the backyard. This house is perfect!

2016-Toyota-Tacoma-TRD-Off-Road-4x4-1012-876x535.jpg

Got to have a decent truck for those rough Winters. A 2016 / 2017 Toyota Tacoma 4 X 4, paid in full.  Insurance would be an issue but I’ve accounted for it.

Just those two things and enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life. Enough money to wipe the slate clean of outstanding debt (that I’m paying from my addiction days) instead to put in a retirement fund. An emergency fund for the home, car repairs, insurance costs, etc. I’m a few years from fifty with no savings what so ever. Of course, a little vacation money if the need arises too. Is that asking for to much?

I’m patient. It’s selfish to ask for it all at once and now.  I know that my HP, Universe and/or the Gods will provide for me when I can handle it.

 

Entitlement of Guilty Pleasures

Right now I’m feeling guilty, as I always do, because work called to ask if I could fill in a shift because someone called off.  Typically I would but this weekend is different.  I haven’t had a weekend, a two-day weekend, since Oct 2016.  Like everyone else, I’ve worked my six days straight last week and the week before, so I’m entitled to my own guilty pleasures.

There is a Polish proverb, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Few words but a strong message. In the past I would jump at the chance to work for various reasons.  One, the overtime pay. Two, a hope that in the eyes of others I’m appreciated.  However, from past experiences, as well as current, I know the later is never the case. People always make promises but never keep them.

Honestly, I’m not guilty for saying, “No, I can’t work for you.”  I’m guilty because I threw in a lie.  I said that I was having dinner with a friend who has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  She is a college friend who I haven’t seen since her diagnosis years ago.  We’ve tried to make arrangements to see each other but things always come up. This was the truth – I do have a friend with Stage 4 PC and again she cancelled due to her daughter’s recent illness.  So here’s my excuse, it’s not a full fledge lie, just a fib or sorts.  Does it really matter?  I shouldn’t have given details anyway.  A firm, “No” would have sufficed.

Selfishness comes to mind, not only for myself but for those that called in and those that are asking me to work.  We all have our own selfish reasons.  We’re all tired of working extra hours because we know our c0-workers just don’t want to work, as they rarely have a valid reason for not coming to work.  Facebook proves it (which amazes me everytime).  Don’t call in work, then post on FB, “It’s party time!”  Idiots.

Many co-workers have families with young children.  I’m sorry but that excuse is getting old too.  I understand it feels like children grow up quickly and you want to spend every waking minute in their lives.  But you have to work to support your children.  You also know damn well that there are times, like now, that you have to work.  You are working in the medical field.  This is typical anywhere you work. Just accept it.

For once, I’m going to enjoy two days off.  Ideally, I didn’t want to think of work at all but I knew that the call was coming.  Everyone knew that people were scheduled and wren’t coming in.  So why didn’t they fix it then instead of waiting to the last minute.  At least have a backup.  Oh that’s right, they don’t think OUTSIDE the box, just right past their own nose.

See picture above.  I’m done.  Back to my guilty pleasures.