Monday, January 25, 2010

God is Inside us Too

Friday night was the holiday party for the staff of the treatment center. I opted not to go, basic reason was I didn't feel comfortable going. I like my co-workers and all but I am still a bit of an outsider and I felt uncomfortable with the idea of sitting around making small talk. I know I should step outside of my box and be more open towards social events with people I don't know very well on a personal level but the uncomfortable feeling was strong, call it fear for that is what it really is. If this was an outdoors event I would be much more comfortable but being at someones house is very claustrophobic for me.

Since a majority of the staff were going to the party we borrowed a couple of Techs from the half way house we are affiliated with to work that night. My boss asked me to come and work also, he needed a medical tech and also someone the clients knew to be there. One of the 2 guys that worked was a guy I know from meetings but not really well, so it was a good time to get to know him, the other guy use to work for us, so he knew a lot of the basics which helped me out.

Friday nights are in general very easy. The group eats supper and then there is a short group called Community Problems. The first half of community problems has the clients picking phone times for the next day, they are allow three 15 minute phone calls on Saturday. Next we go over basic facility needs like cleaning supplies and tp and such. The last part is for voicing issues, clients can express issues they feel need looked at, like showing more respect or common courtesy. Next the techs address any issues we have with the group, this can also me a time to give the group kudos's for good behavior. All of this takes about 20 minutes, once this is over the group has free time until midnight which is bedtime. Piece of cake right?

This Friday it wasn't a piece of cake. Divine providence decided to give me a challenge. Some of the clients went to a 5:00pm AA meeting next door which is during supper time, the clients eat supper when they return shortly after 6pm. The clients that had kitchen chores for the day started cleaning the kitchen and preparing the leftovers had started, this was prior to the folks returning from the meeting, they were moving tables and mopping when the meeting goer's returned. For one of the goer's this was very upsetting, TK has mental health issues and felt pressure to eat, she came to me and expressed this in strong terms. I told her we would bring it up in community problems and she accepted this answer.

Something about this group of clients, they have a bad habit of side talking and not showing common courtesy and respect for each other. This was brought to their attention during therapy group on Thursday. They were told they need to call each other out for inappropriate behavior, that this was not tattle telling but addressing sick behaviors that can keep people from recovering.

Showing respect and having common courtesy has been a recurring issue with this group during community problems. One of the clients addressed it again Friday night and TK brought up the issue with cleaning the kitchen prior to the people returning from the meeting getting a chance to eat without feeling rushed. When it was time for me to talk, I address the same things and explained the importance's of them. While I was trying to talk, TK and a few others were quietly side talking, it was too low for me to hear since I was in the front of the room and they were in the back but MR did hear it and it was loud enough that she couldn't hear me clearly. MR did the right thing, she raised her hand, introduced herself, all clients are required to introduce themselves by first name and nature of disease prior to speaking. She called out the side talk like she was informed to do by staff. When she was done speaking TK said "fuck you", I told the group once again to please show each other respect.

Myself and the other 2 techs returned to our break area which is where we work out of since we don't have a workable office. MR came down a couple minutes later all stressed out and excited. She had tried to explain to TK why she did what she had done and TK replied " I don't give a fuck and if you don't like it you can go tell the fucking techs". MR says TK used the F bomb on her 5 times and she felt violated and threatened, that she does not like people talking to her in this manner and according to the client hand book does not have to be treated like this by her peers, which is correct. I let MR vent long enough to get this out of her system and then along with the guy I know from AA went down to talk to TK, MR followed which in hind sight was a mistake on my part. MR sat down on the opposite side of the room and I calmly asked TK what was going on and why she was so upset, she then gave me a profanity laced hostile response, MR then tried once again to explain herself which lead to the situation escalating. I raise my hands and told the ladies to please calm down and try and be nice to one another, which stopped the verbal battle.

I left my co-worker with the women and called my on-call counselor, which happened to be our director and the one hosting the staff party, freaking great. She gave me some advise on how to handle the situation basically saying to tell them to give each other room and try and tolerate each other for the rest of the night. TK in the mean time had got together with some peers and was belittling MR, I didn't hear much of what was said. I know TK well enough that talking to her any further would just make things worse, so the best course of action with her was no action unless she was dangerous to MR which I believe she wouldn't be. MR over heard the belittling which just amplified her frustration and anxiety. I explained to her what the counselor had told me, she didn't like the answer and wanted TK punished for her behavior. MR said she was going to file a grievance report over the whole situation, this was her right and I told her if that is what she felt she needed to do then please do so and the director and her personal counselor would review it Monday and discuss it with her.

TK eventually went in the kitchen and played cards with some of her peers. MR came to the break room and filled out the grievance report and talk to myself and another tech. I was filling out my own paperwork about the whole incident at this time and had MR explain once again what had happened so that I had the words correct plus it let MR know her grievance was being taken seriously. We told MR that she has no control over how other people behave, that includes how they except apologizes or explanations for our actions. how we understand how difficult it is to have to live with 16 other people and that sometimes personalities clash. MR said she wasn't in treatment to make friends and was here for herself, which we praised her for. Later in the evening I told MR that how sometimes our language, tone of voice, vocabulary and body posture can be seen as threatening to others even if we don't intend it so. MR used the word "violated" the second time she confronted TK, TK has a lower IQ so she may have been threaten by MR having a strong vocabulary and felt MR was talking down to her. I told MR that I have to be careful of my own vocabulary and phrasing around certain client because they don't understand the words and think I am being arrogant or looking down on them. I explained to MR that in recovery part of what we need to learn is how are words can effect others and the situation tonight was a good example of that. MR appeared to accept all the input she received from staff and she had a good rest of the night. I left TK alone for the rest of the night, when she took her bedtime meds I simply asked her how she was doing and left it at that.

There is a lot about TK that MR doesn't know but I didn't tell her because she would have taken this as me excusing TK's behavior and not used the knowledge to understand why TK re-acted the way she did. TK must have really been stressed out over the supper incident, plus something could have happened earlier which she was not handling well, MR's comment was probably the straw that broke the camel's back because I have never seen TK get this hostile before. Saturday MR did say to me that after talking to a female peer she did understand that TK has health issues. TK was still somewhat resentful towards MR but MR was doing her part to show TK consideration and tolerance. MR seems to have grown from the event, she is a smart woman from all appearances and is willing to take suggestions and input from people who can help her get clean and sober.

Now for Scott. I have followed the prescription of prayer and mediation prior to going work, incorporating the 3rd step prayer, prayer of St. Francis and a focus on the Eightfold Path of the Buddha. I believe that by doing this I was able to handle a potentially voilitile situation with calmness, the actions of these two could have effected the whole group for the evening and not just a few clients. I had no real time to think about a course of action when this initial event went down. My words and actions where automatic, they came from a place deep inside. A place were God resides, a place were living in recovery created a profound change in me. After the first way waves of the situation pasted I was able to use words and action based on concentrated thought which further assisted MR and even TK. I was also able to be available to other clients when they approached me, shifting gears so they knew I was there for them. I was placed in a difficult situation, I didn't have my experienced co-workers there to assist me. The clients didn't know the other 2 guys so they sought out the one tech they trusted and where comfortable with. Yes my God did for me what I couldn't have done for myself. I believe everything we need is locked within ourselves and it is times like this that the strength and knowledge is unlocked. I take pride in handling what happened Friday night but it is pride with a humble knowledge that I was assisted by a power greater than myself. The assistance came from a commitment to living in recovery, from practicing a spiritual way of life that includes the Dharma, the assistance also came from the people in recovery who have helped me along the way.

Friday night as crazy as it was, makes me grateful for choosing this new path in life. The path of service, the path of Right Livelihood which means we receive our needs by doing a job that serves all living creature, that we do a job about giving and not receiving. This may not be for you but it is the way I choose to live. It also reminds that there is no real me/self, that Scott is made up of many things and that there is a Divine inside us as well as one outside of us. Today I see this and I hope I will tomorrow as well.

I hope all is well with you all! Keep your hope alive my friends, have faith in whatever God that assist you in trying times, we never know when we will be challenged and have to be of service to others and to self.

Peace Love and Light

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cabin Fever, this and that

It is that time of the year when I have had enough of winter and my mind turns to spring and summer. I am not projecting a great deal but making plans and doing a bit of footwork for a few things for this spring/summer.

Sorry to say but after close evaluation of my finances, I won't be able to afford the International Convention in San Antonio. I don't make enough money to be able to save any back for the trip even with people going along to split the cost. My tax refund is going to be used for some needs and if there is money left some basic wants. I need new glasses and since I wear feather weight line less bifocals they don't come cheap, need a new lawn mower, need to get my car repaired from the accident plus transmission fluid and filter changed, Mich needs a microwave and also a bed for Angel and maybe a crib for Carter. My wants are a pop up camper, plus I have get some more camping gear, not much but it all adds up. The camper is a want after everything else is bought plus I am selling my old truck to help pay for it. The way it looks I won't be getting hired on full time anytime soon at the treatment center, I am getting a regular 4 days of work a week which is what all the dependable and knowledgeable techs are getting. Maybe next year things will look better and there will be an event that I can meet up with some of you wonderful blogger peeps.

So thinking about the reality of not being able to go to San Antonio got me thinking about what I could do for the 4th of July weekend. There is a state park between Omaha and Lincoln, it sits on the banks of the Platte river. The park does not have camping because the terrain is too hilly and rough but they have 6 person cabins for rent, ones with AC are $60.00 and non-AC $50.00, cabins have frig, fire ring and picnic table, you have to use a community latrine and shower but they are well taken care of so this isn't a big deal. I contacted a couple of my fellow campers and they are up for it, so we will reserve 2 cabins for the weekend. The park also has a swimming pool, guided horseback riding and a lake with paddle boats. Another nice thing about the location is, we can take a day trip into Omaha and visit the zoo. For a small Midwest city the Omaha zoo is awesome. Lincoln has some great fireworks displays and I am sure my recovery friends here will be having stuff going on that we can be a part of. So even though I won't be able to spend the weekend with all you wonderful people, I will be having a great weekend in recovery.

Memorial Day weekend has all ready been booked. We are going back to the Native American center again. This is where the Happy Camper came into existence. For those that don't know, the center is located in a quiet canyon, they have 2 nice cabins we rent out and plenty of room for tents. There is a beautiful fire ring with split log benches around the ring. There is a small lake for canoeing and 5 miles away is a lake for fishing. There are also plenty of hiking trails. Part of the attraction is the guided tour of an early earthen log replica and medicine circle, the people that own the center, have different artifacts and bones from prehistoric animals that once lived in Nebraska, strangely enough Nebraska was once a tropical jungle. The place is very peaceful and last year we were the only people there for the whole weekend.

What we do on our camping trips is hangout and have great recovery fellowship. Another guy and myself do all the cooking, so the mom's get a break and both of us are good cooks I might add, cost of food is shared. We have AA and NA meetings at different times of the day, ending with a bonfire meeting. Lots of Smores are made plus good hot dogs roasted over an open fire. For myself and a couple of others it is a time for quiet mediation in nature. Not everyone is on the same spiritual page but everyone has a spiritual experience, if by no other means than spending a weekend in nature with fellow travelers in recovery.

I am not sure how many of the Happy Campers from last year will be part of the campouts for this year. Right now there are 7 of us but I am sure we will pick up more as it gets closer to the actually events. Lady B and her 8 year old son want to be a part of it but it is early in our relationship, so time and God will tell on this one. N has distanced herself from me and the other campers, so I don't know if her kids and her will be a part either, she has taken a different path in her recovery and life, this happens and is cool as long as she is happy, even if she isn't it is not in my hands but God's. We have had a few people relapse and stay out in their disease and a couple others take different paths, once again they are in God's capable hands. Those of us who do get together will have a great time, we connect on spiritual and recovery levels. The weekends are very honest, we open ourselves up, we share with each other, we accept the words of others because their words come from the heart and are spoken with love. We don't beat recovery into any ones head, we just try and set an example by our actions, in doing this a couple of newcomers last year where able to blossom over the summer, see what it is like to live in recovery and not just work the program of recovery. We are not perfect, we are a bunch of ex drunks and druggies trying to live life on life's terms using spiritual principles as a guide. Christian, Buddhist, generic Spiritualist all embrace in love for one another.

Side notes; Carter is breathing on his own. Mich was able to hold him for the first time yesterday. Mich and Matt have stopped fighting, mainly because Mich gave in and had Angel go back to Kearney and stay at Matt's parents. Angel is alright. I have my concerns about her but know that a few weeks living at Matt's parents won't hurt her, it is more about my ego knowing what is best for her than anything else. She is my baby so I can't help but be concerned about her though. My friendship with Lady B is growing stronger, we have been talking off and on quite a bit, she was very supportive and caring towards me when C died. Next Saturday I have a wedding reception for my nephew and she is going with me, this will be our first date. You know I will let you know how it goes. The reception is going to be a beer bust so I am glad she is going with if for no other reason than to have another person in recovery along. I am not worrying about drinking but I will have a better time with someone I can connect with there to talk with and also a dance partner.

We had a former client get busted for assault, he beat up a guy in an alley for a 24oz can of beer, The former client had only been out of treatment for 3 weeks. Once again a remember that the disease is just waiting for us to rest on our spiritual laurels, stop going to meetings, not work the steps and never call our sponsors.

The photo is from last years first campout, I am in the mix but you have to figure out where.

Hope everyone is doing well. I pray for those of you who are going through some rough times in life.

Namaste, Peace Love and Light

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Am a Child

"I Am A Child"

I am a child, I'll last a while.
You can't conceive
of the pleasure in my smile.
You hold my hand,
rough up my hair,
It's lots of fun
to have you there.

God gave to you,
now, you give to me,
I'd like to know
what you learned.
The sky is blue
and so is the sea.
What is the color,
when black is burned?
What is the color

Neil Young wrote this. The "you and me" in the lyrics is a reference to the young and older Scott, for this interpretation.

I am stealing part of the topic for this post from the lovely Paula at Becoming myself,

The term "inter child" is disliked by a lot of people including myself because during the 80's and 90's people were using it as a cop out for negative actions or to blame others, namely parents and teachers. When I did my 4th and 5th steps I identified the damaged emotions I had that were a result of my upbringing and environment, I forgave my parents and others for their part in this damage and moved on. Those damages are a part of me and my character defects and something I have to be aware of and correct when they raise their ugly heads.

For the most part I have always looked at the negatives in my youth, how certain emotions and actions caused me grief or trouble. I saw my being different as the reason I was bullied, shunned or isolated, for lack of intimate relationships, for not being popular and such. How often do we alcoholics and addicts say, "I just felt different from everyone else and drinking and using made finally feel a part of". I know this is a part of my story. Because of Paula and others I know that alkies and junkies aren't the only ones who feel this way. My 4th step also revealed my assets but I never took a close look at how those assets where once hated by me. How the things I hated about myself as a youth are now a blessing.

As a kid I was overly sensitive, bad side was I was thin skinned and cried easily when disciplined or picked on, in recovery I have had to work on getting thicker skinned and not taking things so damn personal. Being sensitive has paid off as an adult; I can show empathy and sympathy easily towards people who are suffering which allows them to trust me enough to talk about what is really going on. Being sensitive means I am not afraid to show my emotions when something sad happens, even if it happens during a movie. Being sensitive has been an asset when it comes to living with compassion and loving kindness. It has helped me on my spiritual path, being sensitive towards others and all living things is a quality that all people on a true spiritual path have shown, Jesus, Buddha, St. Francis, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Thich Nhat Hanh are just a few examples and people I try to emulate. So though being sensitive had a bad side as a kid, it has helped me be a better adult.

I am gentle and fairly non-violent. Boy did this even cause problems as a kid. My dad as angry as he was at home and this lead to beatings on occasion, was never one to teach us how to fight. I wish now I would have asked him why but I think the answer was he didn't believe in physical violence either, that it was better to use your head to get out of fight than use your fist. My head did save me from getting beat up a lot, I learned early on how to use words as a defense and even a weapon. Today I am aware that I can still use words as a weapon and have to really think before I speak when angered. I am not a prone to being boisterous, yes it happens but it isn't natural. I approach things in a calm gentle manner, I am able to talk to upset adults and kids alike. Animals trust me also for my calm demeanor, they are attracted to me when we first meet, they don't sense fear or aggression even if I am uncertain about them, I calmly talk to them as an equal. My love of dolphins and whales was part of being classified as a wimp in school, teenage boys are suppose to like aggressive animals, not peaceful marine animals. I don't appear threatening so people feel they can approach me with questions which has allow me to be of service to God and recovery.

Not accepting social norms or dictates has also work toward my advantage. It has been the thing that has allowed me to look at other trains of thought. It has broadened my horizons and made me open minded towards a lot of things. It has differently been a big factor in finding a spiritual way of life that is comfortable to me which has enriched my life. It has allowed me to move away from most of the prejudices and ignorance's that people from my neck of the woods have. I don't care what the color of ones skin is, a person's sexual orientation, religion, culture, form of attire or hair style, what matters is as Dr. King put it the content of character that people should be judged by. My views on these things and environmental causes labeled me as a freak. I was suppose to be interested in sports, girls and cars, not social issues and philosophy. Today this quality has allowed me to shake the hand of all kinds of people, to show them common courtesy when we meet in public, to not look down but to look them in the eye and say hi.

These are just a few example of things that as a kid where an ingrained part of me I didn't like. They are still part of me today. They are part of my inter child that was healthy but never knew it to be so. To the list I can add, I still love watching good animation, not the crap on Cartoon Network but good old cartoons and the good new stuff from Pixar and Disney. I still love science fantasy, dragons, wizards, elves, fairies, trolls, goblins, swords, crossbows and the like. I will still rent a movie if it deals with King Arthur or Merlin even if I think it is going to be crap, I can't help myself the child in me still enjoys this stuff and I read the books too. I like my inter child, my inter geek and Lady B is comfortable with it too.

I wonder today about how many of those people we tried to be like, that we drank or drugged to try and impress or be like, are really happy in their lives? Do the jocks and bullies have interpeace? How have beautiful people handled getting older, seeing their once prized appearance fading with age? Are the ones who put so much merit on material possessions truly happy? I may have not been popular, I have scares inside and out from years of trying to be someone I wasn't but today I have interpeace. I have a connection with a God of my understanding. I love me for who I am good and bad. I had to go to Hell to find Heaven on earth. I hated myself as a youth but today I am grateful for those things I once so hated about Scott because Scott is a pretty great guy, this is said in all humility. I hope those who looked down on me are happy in their lives today, that maybe they have found a spiritual way of life that allows them to accept the past and live in the present.

Now on a lighter note. This is part of an email I sent to Lady B describing what happens on the 11pm to 7am shift at work. It made her day, gave her a well needed Laugh My Ass Off, so encase your day is in need of a good laugh, I am sharing it with you.

While I sit here unwinding and waiting for the all night coffee to wear off I will write something for your amusement, so here is how my night went.

Started off with a political show about race relations in American now that Obama is prez, which wasn't too bad this lasted until 1am. Next ups VH1 reality tv show in which some rapper is trying to figure out which trashy plastic chick he wants to make his sex slave, I mean girl friend. Then back to politics only this time it is on the Mass senate race which is being voted on today, looks like a republican is going to take the senate seat left open my Ted Kennedy's death, this is HUGE man, I mean man could walk on Mars and it wouldn't be as important as a republican winning in Mass, hope you can read the sarcasm dripping from my keyboard. No real estate channel tonight no we have something just as exciting though, tennis. Yes tennis at 4am ranks right under watching steel rust for excitement at 4am. Finished the night off with the morning political talk shows, more Mass senate race and the Leno vs Conan feud, Haiti came in 3rd.

The guy I work with is a good guy, he has been at the treatment center for 5 or 6 years all over night shift, so he knows the job and is a good trainer and over all good guy to work with, he is also older so I have a bit more in common with him than I do with the college people on the other shifts. Thing about Mr. Overnights is he is Nigerian and has an accent, he is a bit hard to understand, here is a basic sentence, Nigerian is a bit like Jamaican, " I tell jew Scotty, dis is dwhat I hav to go true, evvy night, day don't ask question, day just file where day want."

Here is something else amusing about over nights, when we do room checks we wear surgical gloves. Now on the other shifts we touch the same door handles without wearing gloves and are really in much closer contact with the clients but evidently at night the germ population multiplies like rabbits on speed so we have to wear gloves to protect ourselves.

I watched tv off and on during the night but mostly wrote. I had to right a letter to one of the counselors concerning a group discussion on the benefits of music in recovery that one of the clients wants to do during Spirituality group on Sunday morning and he wants me to help him with it and another to a friend in jail.

Oh yeah Carter is doing really well, they have taken the breathing tube out and letting him breath on his own. He has oxygen attached to his nose for back up but that is all. Thanks for your prayers for all of us.

Hope you enjoy this little exercise. Let me know if you can relate. Next up on the horizon is winter blues and cabin fever, my ass is ready for some camping!!!

Peace Love and Light

Friday, January 15, 2010

Compassion in Action

This morning I went to work to attend a debriefing on C's death. Debriefing is really a lame business word for a session to discuss how we were feeling and dealing with the death of a client. Other than my supervisor I was the only non-counselor there, non of the other technicians attended, this concerns me. As technicians we tend to have more one on one time with the clients than the counselors do which in part leads to befriending the clients. I know C's death has to be having an effect on most of my co-workers, C was well liked, she was very vibrant and yes frustrating at times, so it you were around her much you couldn't help but be effected by her, she was a presence. My co-workers are young, average age is 25, so I think it is quite possible they don't understand all the implications of death and grief that those of us who have experienced it more do, they are young enough they think they can deal with it on their own or are afraid to show deep emotions in public. I am sure my boss will pull everyone into his office and talk to them about what happened and their individual feelings. I will share my own feelings with them when the topic comes up because this is what you have taught me to do, to be the only Big Book someone may ever read.

What I received this morning was a bonding of sorts. We went around the room and talked about why we were there. The intern counselors didn't know C very well but felt they needed to be there to help them learn about how to deal with a client who dies and also to process their emotions. The counselors who did have close interaction with C where there of course to share their feelings in a group setting and to hear what others had to hear. I was there because I was sad and mad plus needed to know how to deal with this on a professional bases. I learned that I was not alone in that C is another part of a collage of people who I know who have died in active alcoholism and addiction. That those of us who have experience with addicts and alcoholics dying from their disease are all frustrated by the senselessness of the death. C's main counselor said something that really stuck a cord with me, she said that if I would have been another client, T.O who was older and chronic it wouldn't have hurt so bad, T.O left treatment the same day as C and is back at it hard and heavy. This hit my yesterday, I thought to myself if T.O was the one who died would I have felt so sad, hurt and angry? I have to honestly say probably not because T.O was chronic, because T.O had been in and out of recovery enough he knows he is playing Russian Roulette with a loaded gun because even in treatment T.O was walking death and talking the talk but not walking the walk. C was different she had a sparkle in her eye. Maybe her death wasn't intentional suicide, we don't know for sure at this point but anytime an alcoholic or addict uses again it is unintentional suicide because we never know where that next drink or fix will take us. This next statement isn't a brag; I mentioned that with my ex wife's death from addiction and a couple of others I have known, that they just gave up in the end, that the easier softer way was death, C's counselor thanked me and said maybe C had just given up and she missed it. Those of us that had close interactions with C all felt that maybe there was something more we could have done, something we missed but all know that in reality we did the best we could for C. I really didn't learn a whole lot about helping the current clients deal with the death of a peer but I did feel a bond in that room this morning, I felt a part of the treatment team, so as sad as this sounds C's death had a positive effect on me, other than another reminder that the disease kills. What I just describe is why I feel sad for my co-workers who missed the session. We never know when our God is going to give us a lesson in life, a lesson to help us help ourselves and others. We never know when where compassion in action will come from and how wonderful it is to be a part of that.

I will end with a couple of positive notes. Last night a former client J was at the meeting and she is doing really well. This is the up side of what we do in treatment. J was a train wreck when she came to treatment, long history of criminal behavior, severe PTSD and other trauma, addicted to speed and alcohol, when she entered treatment she had Bell's Palsy and the left side of her face was drooping. She has over 60 days of clean and sober time now, she is healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. If I get a chance next week I will ,tell C's counselor about J because we need remember how we do make a difference.

The last few days I have reminded me of how I have gotten complacent with my mediation. My God has given me a swift kick in the ass to remind me I need to focus on Right Speech, Right Intentions and Right Mindfulness more. My coasting has allowed me to slip back into old behaviors and unintentionally harm others. I have stepped off the Path and hurt my serenity by doing so. My need to feel accepted by my younger peers, caused me to be sarcastic/cynical and blind to compassion. My jokes backfired because I wasn't fully aware of how they effect others. I feel ashamed that this happened but I am glad it did because I can see what I need to do. Without pain and a bit of fear I don't always learn what my God wants me to learn.

Lastly I am so grateful for my daily practice of recovery. With all that has gone on in the last few weeks I would be an utter mess without it. The beauty of living in recovery is that it becomes second nature. That this way of life becomes the normal way of life, it replaces the alcoholic way of life that was once normal for me. Not once has killing the feelings been a strong thought or desire. Not once have I wanted to run, yeah maybe I was running by going online or watching a movie but I was still pretty much here. I have stayed in contact with my sponsor and recovery friends, I have gone to meetings, I have prayed, I have read the Big Book, I have reached out my hand to others, I have read the blogs of healthy people even if they feel they aren't all that healthy you because you are living in the solution. All these things I have done without second thought, maybe this is what it means to "just be"? I am also completely aware of what will happen to me if I stop doing these things. The awareness is in the collage of faces of those who didn't make it which now includes C.

If no one has told you today that they Love you, then let me be the one to say "I Love you and you are important and worthy of love".
Thanks for all your prayers, blessings and love.

In the Sunlight of the Spirit

Thursday, January 14, 2010

F-ing Addiction Sucks!!!!

I received a call from my director a while ago that a client who was released from treatment on Monday was found dead this morning. I was shocked. It really hit me hard, this is a first for me as a worker at a treatment center, mainly because she was just released. Others may have died that I have worked with but she is the first one I know about.

C was released from treatment without completion. She was given assignments to look closely at how she manipulated people and was dishonest, she failed to do this and the clinical staff felt she wasn't putting enough effort into her treatment, that basically she was just coasting along. The reasoning for letting her go is that there are others out there that are more willing and why take up a bed for someone who isn't going to put forth the effort needed to get and stay sober.

C was one of those I tried to help a bit more than others, she was willing to talk and seek out suggestions from staff. Being in recovery I was one of the ones she sought out. I wasn't easy on her. I pointed out how her pride was hurting her, how she needed to get really honest and also to look at the fear. Yesterday I was strongly reprimanded for helping her too much. I had given her the name of a woman in recovery to talk to because we don't have a lot of strong women come and talk at the treatment center, I took it upon myself to give her the name of a friend I thought could help her. My boss told me he believes I mean well with what I do but actions like this can be taken as a sign of favoritism. I did this with J also but wasn't caught.

This is a hard thing for me to do, separate my 12 step work and my professional work. I plan on talking to 2 staff members who are in recovery and ask them how to best handle this. I also learned that I need to go to the clients counselors more and talk to them about my thoughts and suggestions before I talk to the clients. My intentions are good but they can jeopardize my employment so I need to look at new ways of doing things. I need to trust the counselors more, to let them get to know me and me them. My insecurity works in a weird way here, I am comfortable giving suggestions to clients based on my experience, strength and hope but fear that the counselors won't take me seriously because I don't have any higher education. My collar is deep blue and I have scares inside and out from living the life of a working class drunk and dope fiend, more drunk than fiend but I understand junkies completely I just never stuck a needle in my arm. Anyhow I still feel inferior and need to get over this fear. I need to talk to the counselors, to build a bond based on wanting to do what is best for the clients from both of our perspectives. The other thing that came out in my session with my boss was that some of my peers were taking my jokes wrong. They felt I was belittling them and being arrogant. I told my boss this wasn't my intent, they I never want to harm others. My joking style is cynical, sarcastic and dark, this comes from the streets, working class background and military. My boss accepted my explanation, my willingness to watch my words and also my willingness to confront my peers and try to make right and harm done. I own my defects or troubles, I don't try and justify them more than explaining where they come from. I told my boss I am in this for the long haul and will do anything I can to correct my actions, which for me means keeping my mouth shut or thinking about what I am going to say and how it might effect others. Even though the reprimand was painful it did me a lot of good. I know I really need to send a few minutes in mediation prior to going to work so that I can be aware of how my actions effect others, co-workers and clients. I have to swallow my pride and ego and really ask for help, that I can't fly solo even if I think I am not, I do tend to do so on occasion. I have been trying hard to direct the clients toward other staff members when they single me out because I have been in their shoes but I have work harder and doing this. For myself I need to not work with the same clients all the time, that I need to change up clients and tell my co-workers why this is important to me and to the clients.

I talked to my sponsor about all this shortly after I got the phone call from my director. Thank God, literally, that he had just got off work and also I am grateful that he is in the same career field and can give me personal insight. My lady friend B called me after she read my facebook comment about what had happened, she wanted to make sure I was alright and offer support, something N wasn't good at doing.

I am speaking tonight at a meeting south of town. The topic I am suppose to speak on is letting God work in our lives and why I fail to do this. Why in some aspects of our lives we are very undisciplined. After what happened today I am not sure what will come out of my mouth. I will pray prior to speaking and trust God to put the right words in my mouth. I am sure that if I get off topic the people at the meeting won't care because it is all about sharing from the heart and if I am trying to bullshit and not share from the heart I am not doing them or myself any service.

I will probably grieve a bit more about C's death but because it is always painful to see the disease kill someone we know. I will pray for her and her family. Tomorrow morning there is a staff meeting at the treatment center and I will definitely be there. I need to hear what is being said, I need the support of other staff members to process this.

If you are clean and sober today thank your God, I know I am doing this.

Peace Love and Light

Monday, January 11, 2010

Carter and More

Here is a little this and that, some of it was before Carter's birth and part of the post I was working on when I got the call that Mich was going in for the emergency c-section.

I went to Omaha late this afternoon, Mich need some nursing pads, she is pumping and freezing breast milk, she also needed laundry soap plus I wanted to see her, I hadn't been down since last Tuesday. They are going well, not fighting at all right now. They have Mich on Oxycodone and she LIKES it, I told I do too and to be careful the stuff is very addictive:) They took Angel back to Kearney this weekend to stay with Matt's mom and sister because she was coming down with a cold and coughing. Mich was afraid she might get sick and wouldn't be able to see Carter. So far this is working but I am interested to see how the rest of the week progresses, I honestly hope it goes well for every ones sake. Angel is coming back this weekend and Mich said I could bring her back her next week for a couple of days if I want to or if her and Matt start fighting about her being there again. I have had calm acceptance about all this thanks to faith in a Power Greater than me.

Carter is doing well, the took the lamp off of him because the jaundice is gone. I said to the nurse that he seems fairly healthy, she replied he is stable which must be their way of saying don't get your hopes too high because anything can happen with a baby this premature. He still doesn't open his eyes, they aren't sure just when this will happen. Mich said they won't be able to hold him yet for another 4-6 weeks, she is able to reach in and touch him and let him hold her finger though. I spent about 10 minutes alone with him, said some prayers over him and send out positive love and energy. I see him as pure right now, pure of heart and more enlightened than any of us, to me this is the amazing thing with newborns, they have yet to develop a self or ignorance.

Three weeks ago I was in a car accident, I was turning left on a yellow light and a person I didn't see blow through the light going straight, I hit her in the drivers side door, she was going fast enough she did a 180 in the middle of the road. I was sited at fault even though neither one of us should have been proceeding through the yellow light the way we were. She was driving an SUV and it didn't hurt her vehicle much. It broken the drivers side grill out of my car, dented the hood and drivers side fender but my car is drivable. I can go to a salvage yard and buy a front grill assembly and light assembly for my car, I can't afford full coverage insurance. The positives are, neither one of us got hurt, my air bag didn't deploy, I had insurance and wasn't drunk. If this would have happened 4 years ago I would still be sitting in jail because I probably wouldn't have had insurance and I would have had a beer between my legs and more behind the passengers seat, it was 6 in the evening and usually be then I had down at least a 6 pack.

Work has been good. We have some new clients with new challenges so I keep getting opportunities for growth. Between the holidays and snow days they haven't had much treatment time and are getting restless, the technicians have really had to step up to the plate and do the best we can to keep them sane and on the right path. I have had to get a bit more assertive with some client because they think just because I am one of them I will be softer on them. I have stolen a quote from the movie The Shawshank Redemption to use in some of my groups, "get busy living or get busy dying". I am trying to instill the severity of alcoholism and addiction on them.

When I was in Kearney back in early December I met a woman at a meeting I hadn't seen in quite a while, we chated for a bit and she looked me up on facebook. Via facebook we started talking which turned to actual phone calls. New Years Eve she sent me a an animated smacking kiss as a flirt. I was able to visit with her while I was back last week looking after Angel, we had a nice visit and exchanged tight hugs. It is nice to know someone is interested in me and I like her also. We weren't close before but we are building a friendship now. Not sure where this will lead but there is promise. She has given me a lot of support the last week and also calmed me down when I was frustrated. I won't set my expectations too high on this turning into a full blown close relationship but I will continue to do the footwork as long as we continue to talk back and forth. I feel I learned a lot with my relationship to N and know how I fooled myself in that one.

Well campers it is midnight I have to get up at 6am for work. Thank you all for your love and prayers, they are helping all of us!

May the sunlight of the Spirit shine upon you all.
Love and Hugs

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pray for a Preemie

Sunday afternoon at 4:10 I was just finishing a post when I received a phone call, my daughter Michelle was having an emergency C section. I got dressed and put some clothes in a backpack as fast as I could and headed west. Carter James was born at 4:35pm Sunday, he weighed 1 pound 10 ounces and is 12 inches long. He is healthy from what we know as of now, when we finally got to see him around 7pm his fingers and toes were moving, his lungs were clear and heart beat good. Mich is alright also.

They air evacuated Carter to the University of Nebraska Medical center in Omaha Sunday night because the local hospital can't handle such a preemie baby. If all goes well he will be there until his original due date of mid April. They have provided Mich, Angel and Matt (Carter's father) with a nice room; small living room, dorm size refrigerator, microwave and of course a TV. Meals are provide for them, there is a gym, computer room, play center for kids and a few other things for people to do who are staying there. The UNMC is the biggest medical provider in the state so they have a whole building just for people to stay in.

My main role the last few days was to take care of Angel, I was there for Michelle of course but once the initial shock was over she was alright. We had a good time together and she was a good girl for grandpa.

I wish this was the end of the tale but there is more. Mich was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon and arrangements were made for them in Omaha. I loaded my car with Angels stuff and followed them down. Omaha is 1 hour away from me. Matt and his mom did not want Angel to go down, they wanted Angel to stay in Kearney. Mich did not want this and I didn't feel it was a good thing either. Mich was going to need Angel there, one because they have always been together and also Angel will keep things normal and provide Mich with some sanity. Also Angel needs her mommy, other than me her mommy is her security and comfort over a long period of time, she doesn't sleep well for anyone but me if Mich isn't around. Plus I am sure the last few days have been confusing for her. Mich and Matt fought about Angel going and I told Mich not to worry that no one was going to take Angel away from her. Neither Matt nor his mom confronted me about the decision to take Angel but I was ready if they would have. Matt and his mom talked behind my back but never to my face.

My reasoning for Mich needing Angel there was that Mich wasn't going to have much interaction with Carter for a while, that Angel would give her a since of normalcy and help with the stress of Carter being all wired up and not being able to hold him, plus the inter fear of whether or not he is going to live. Mich seems to be going through some PTSD right now also. Angel just needs her mom point blank. I will give my daughter credit for one thing and that is as a teenage mother she has done an outstanding job of taking care of Angel. She rarely pawns Angel off on others so she can go out at night or run around, nor does she leave Angel at someones house for more than a rare overnight or maybe a weekend with her paternal grandmother. Angel doesn't really know her dad, he is in a group home for boys until next August, drug and alcohol problems. Her grandmother sees her every few months, she is a very loving and caring woman but she speaks very little English which has to cause problems for Angel. Along with Mich, I am the other constant in Angel's life, when Angel didn't live with me I saw her ever couple of days. So Angel needs normalcy from people she knows also. She has been around Matt's family for months but there isn't a strong bond. Matt's family also drinks heavy and smokes weed, openly from what I have been told. There are other things about them I don't care for but that is based on my arrogance and not wanting Angel in a mentally unhealthy environment.

I called Mich this morning and Matt and her were having a huge argument. Matt had not left the room to visit Carter. not wanting to leave Mich alone with Angel for fear Mich would pick Angel up and hurt her stitches, Mich knows better than that and Angel rarely needs picked up, she knows how to climb so at the most it would be pushing her up on the bed. Mich is also active and doesn't stay in bed when she is ill, she gets up and gets to healing. Matt was making Mich miserable and angry, Mich does have a temper, he was blaming me for not being able to see Carter. Mich kept telling him it was his choice, to go and everything would be fine. Matt got on the phone and yelled at me, saying I don't know anything about being a parent, saying it was all about Carter and not Mich and Angel and that he has been telling me for 2 days this wouldn't work out. I told him that I have raised Mich all her life, that I spent 6 weeks in the ICU with her because she was a preemie and that it is about Mich and Angel because they need each other at which point he hung up the phone on me, oh yeah he threw in a couple of jabs about my intelligent life style as well.

When I talked to Mich again she said she wants me to get Angel and take her away so that Matt can see just how miserable she will be without Angel. She cried saying she can't hold Carter and now they don't want her to hold her other baby either. I told Mich there is nothing I could do because we are having another winter storm and the highways are dangerous, plus they need to just ride this out for a couple of days and hopefully Matt will pull his head out of his ass.

On the way back from the video store I took a closer look at a day care that is by my house, they advertise 24 hour 7 days a week service. I called them when I got home and since I work mainly 3pm to 11pm and weekends they said they should be able to provide for Angel. Angel's daycare is paid for by the state so this will work out without causing me any financial troubles. Everything is lined up for Angel to go there Saturday. I will pick her up Saturday morning and take her back Monday afternoon, this will give Mich and Matt and chance to spend more time with Carter if they want to. I will play it by ear how much and how often I have Angel here, I am in hopes that things will even out enough that I will only need to watch her on my days off mainly because she needs to be with mom more than grandpa.

I question my selfishness on this whole deal but I don't feel I am being selfish. I am not going against Michelle's wishes, I am standing up for them and supporting them. I have not used pettiness as a reason going against Matt and his families wishes but have countered with reason, based on emotional well being. I have prayed for the right words and strength and been given both. I have tried my best to act in a spiritual manner, with calm and compassion. I have been more than willing to discuss this matter in a calm way but have not be approached by Matt or his mother we did discuss this shortly in the hospital the night Carter was born and that was when I said Angel would be coming to Omaha, so other than Matt coming uncorked on me over the phone, we haven't had a good talk about it. I feel this is not my battle to take to them unless they keep putting Mich in the middle, then I will have arrange for us all to talk. Of course Mich, Angel and I are a family and we will stay together as a family especially since I am close enough to assist where I can.

I do pray for Carter and I want him to grow and be healthy. Carter is in God's hands, Carter is safe and cared for by the best the state of Nebraska has to offer. Carter at this point isn't in a big need of physical attention or emotional either. We can send him positive energy and love and that is about all right now. I have this feeling that Matt and his mom think I don't love Carter but there again neither has taken the time to talk to me. I know they feel my religion is wrong and that I don't believe in God.

Once again we are powerless over other people. I need to take care of me, I have been on the phone and visiting with my recovery family a lot the last few days, a couple of dear friends and my sponsor have helped me stay in check and make sure I stay on the path. My serenity has gone out the window a few times as you may have guessed but the inter peace has returned fairly quickly. We really don't know how lucky we are to have the spiritual tools we have, until we are in situations with people who don't have them. We know about doing spot checks and keep our mouths shut, we know when to pray and what footwork to do. We know what peace and serenity feel like and head back to it as soon as we are able or willing. We understand acceptance even if in doing so it pisses us off, we know the benefit of it. We don't need alcohol or other chemicals to calm us down when things don't go our way. Over these last few days drinking hasn't even entered the picture, not even in a fleeting way, what a great gift that has been. Hopeless drunks like myself have been given the gift of being there for the ones we love when they really need us the most, I have a wonderful blogger friend in Cali who is nodding her head at this one. Once again the God of our understanding is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

I don't say this much but I have to give honor to the Dharma which has shown me the way, has given me a path in life, a way to understand life and myself, a way to find the middle path when I wonder. The Dharma is a much responsible for my life today as AA, AA got me to the Dharma and the Dharma is part of my recovery, the 2 have equal importance in my life.

I apologize if this post is a bit non coherant, I am trying to express my frustration, my view and yes my anger with what has been going on. My defensiveness seems apparent but what parent wouldn't be defensive if their child and grandchild are being manipulated unfairly. If I am being unfair to Matt then I own it, he is nice kid for the most part but he is a kid. He hasn't worked at all since they have been together, myself and Mich's friends feel he uses Mich, which is Mich's fault. I try to stay out of her life when it comes to relationships and haven't cut Matt down over this issue, I have just said he is wrong from my point of view which has been backed by others watching this happen. Any feedback will be accepted, if you feel I am wrong let me know, maybe I am missing something here.

This goes with out saying but please keep, Carter, Mich, Angel and Matt in your prayers to the God that understands you and you It.

Maybe in a few days I will do a bullet point post of the other stuff that when down the last couple of weeks, it was interesting as well.

Love to you my friends. May you be blessed always.