Hey all!! This is the design for the t-shirts for next years 30th Nebraska NA convention to be held here. Because of my background in purchasing I am the merchandising chairperson, I found a local company which will make us 250 shirts for $5.50 each, nice deal for us and we get to support and local business, win win deal.
So it is Christmas eve, Mich is working 8-4 and I am watching my little buddies; Angel is watching Sponge Bob and Carter is running around being Carter, wanting to eat everything in the house and only staying focused on one thing for a couple of minutes before moving on to something else.
After Mich gets home I need to go over to my mom's and get their presents; I stashed and wrapped them at her apartment for obvious reasons with a 4 and 2 year old in the house. I found Angel a dollhouse at for $20.00, not the Dora house she wanted but it has little people and furniture, plus I bought a Dora and friend just the right size to go with; my sister gave the kids a small farm set with farmer and animals which will go nicely with the dollhouse too; also bought her some small odds and ends. I bought Carter a workbench and tools, so he can have his own tools to fix stuff instead of stealing Papa's, managed to find a battery operated drill with bits also. Carter is my little apprentice fixer, when ever I get my tools out to work on something he is right by my side helping me; I keep some tools in the house and when he gets a chance he takes them pretending to "fix it".
Wednesday we received 6 inches of snow, the wind was kicking about 35mph also, they had to shut down the interstate due to visibility. I was working at the hotel and there were times when I couldn't see 50 yards. I found out my little Cavalier does really well in snow, good tires helped. Saturday Angel and I made her first snowman. Yes Virginia we are having a white Christmas in Nebraska.
I am taking advantage of my break from classes to read non-thinking books. The hotel is very dead this time of year so I have plenty of time to read at work. Like anyone else who is around talkative little kids or people most of the day it is a pleasure to sit in perfect quiet and read; after I get my work done or in-between task.
J and I sat down Saturday night at a coffee shop. Part of our talk turned to camping. The guy who was our on again off again cook at camp-out's committed suicide Thanksgiving, he had Schizophrenia and stopped taking his medicine. P was a good guy but the double whammy of mental health problems and addiction kept him at a distance from the steps, he attended meetings periodically, stayed clean and sober but was never able to get rigorously honest enough to work the steps. We would suggest working the steps to him, on camping weekends give him a bit of tough love when he was pity potting it but his mental illness just held him back I guess. It is sad when someone takes their own life, it is sad that we can't help someone who for whatever reasons can't find the solution. We will leave a chair empty for P at our camp-outs this summer.
I am looking forward to the challenges of the new semester. Really interested to find out more about the change in degree. This new direction has boosted my enthusiasm; I want to work in medical management but it is just different enough to really kick my need for new learning in gear.
All in all life is good, recovery is great, would be doing any of this stuff is I was drunk and stoned. Merry Christmas everyone and have a blessed new year!!
On Thursday, Nov 29th, if I don't drink or use and I have no plans to do either, I will have been sober and clean 6 years. Like a guy in a meeting I go to says "I didn't get here on a winning streak". I got here finally due to bad checks, of course those checks were alcohol related. I was arrest on a Sunday night at home, this was the second time I was arrested at home for a bad check. We lived in a small town, pop 700 people, this was very embarrassing to my 15 year old daughter, oh yeah we lived on a busy street too. Sidebar; here is the insanity of alcoholism, I had received a letter from the county attorney saying if they received a money order by a certain date the matter would be taken care of otherwise there would be a warrant issued for my arrest; so what do I do, I wait until the day the money is due to the county attorney to mail the check, I did this not once but twice and both times I was arrested. I procrastinated to the last moment because I needed my alcohol money, in my sick mind I must have thought they wouldn't arrest a nice guy like me even though they had done it before. So anyway, I had a couple of phone conversation while I was assigned to the holding cell with my sister and daughter who were both very pissed off at me and to my surprise were not going to bail me out. I had to spend the night in the holding cell, they said I would be release the next morning if the money order was in the incoming mail. That night in jail I thought about all the heat which was on my ass, family upset about my drinking, work upset about my drinking, probation officer I was making excuses to for not going to outpatient treatment who was going to nail me sooner or later. I decided to go to treatment, to cool the heat and hopefully get my drinking control-able again, see even with 9 years in AA the disease was telling me I wasn't an alcoholic but that I just needed to be able to control my drinking. I made some calls and about two weeks after my night in jail I walked through the doors of a treatment center.
I only stayed in treatment two weeks, because I had been in recovery before and was picking the tool kit back up fairly quickly, my counselor told the insurance company I could probably make it on the outside with just Intensive Outpatient counseling. A women I had known from years back when I was active in recovery gave me a ride home and her husband came by later that night and agreed to sponsor me, these 2 wonderful people would give me rides to meetings and other events, I did a lot of early step work riding in my sponsors pickup. Here is how divine providence worked for this drunk; I lived 30 miles from work, a guy in the town drove right past my work place on his way to work and would drop me off, oh yeah I didn't have a drivers license due to my 2nd DUI, after work I would get a ride to a friends house, then go to the 5:15 meeting, my sponsor and his wife were going to college full time in a town 40 miles on east of where I worked, they would meet me at a meeting and drop me off at my house on their/his way home, they lived 10 miles south of me. The stars lined up in my favor those early months, I was able to make 5 or more meetings a week in those early months even though I couldn't legally drive nor was there a meeting in the town I lived in.
The obsession to drink left me fairly early in recovery; I give credit to divine providence and also I felt hope again, were as when I was drinking I just wanted to die. The psychic change Dr. Silkworth talked about really happened to me and it happened within a few days of treatment. I re-connected with the God of my understand by rereading and studying We Agnostics; when I was in recovery before I lived in a small recovery world filled with Bible talking people, I kept my non-Christian spirituality to myself out of fear of being not accepted, people pleasing is one of my major character defects, one I continue to work on. In these 6 years I have continued to seek spiritual growth, I have my outs with some in the program, I still live in the Bible Belt, but I am very comfortable in my own skin and in my own understanding of a God, I stand up for the newcomers who have troubles with the God thing because I don't want them feeling the program will not work for them because they don't believe in the same God as a lot of the people in the rooms are talking about. I also have a sponsor who understands my spirituality and could careless what my Higher Power is or isn't.
Most of you know all about what I have gone through in this last year and what a year it was:-) To me this was the year of the 5th step, I actually did another 4th and 5th step. It was a year of learning to talk to people about what was going on inside. I connected with a wonderful woman who I call my sponsor, my original sponsor isn't easily accessible due to his work schedule, he has moved away too and goes to meetings in another town. I started seeing this woman weekly, it was nice to have some one on one face time with a sponsor again, it was also needed since I was only making 1 or 2 meetings a week; again divine providence stepped in to help me. I also started talking to a few others regularly. I am a pretty closed person, oh yeah I can write stuff here but doing a one on one opening up to another is a challenge, see I don't want to burden another with my struggles. I am learning to undo some of the conditioning of my upbringing, I was starting to get comfortable opening up a lot with my original sponsor and a couple of others, then my moving around and jobs kind of made me back slide, had to keep a good face don't you know, oh I would talk to Lady B sometimes and maybe a couple of others if the pain got bad but for the most part I clammed up again, I don't think it was intentional, it was just the old way of thinking taking over, a bad self survival instinct, haw see I just used the word "self". So yeah the 5th step is about opening up to another, it is easy to talk to my God and even mediate but I need other people in my life for guidance, to explain what God is probably saying and not what I think God is probably saying. With work and school I don't make it to my sponsors every week but I do check in every couple of weeks, see her at meetings and visit with her there. I also go to an average of 4 meetings a week and talk to a couple of other people, my circle of close friends is getting bigger.
Challenges are challenges everybody has them alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike. By embracing the whole of AA; steps, meetings, sponsorship and service work, most of the time I can face the challenges with some semblance of inner-peace. I did freak out a few times this summer, I needed the freak outs to learn some stuff, sorry if I pissed anyone off with the freak outs. The challenges aren't over, not for me and probably not for you either, I am in a better place today to handle the challenges than I was 6 months ago because I walked though the storm and learned a couple of things, I also talked about lot about what was going on, even sometimes in my home group, ugh.
The new challenge is changing my major in college. When I was going through the catalog looking at classes for the next semester, I started really reading what Business Admin was all about and I also read the description for Health Care Information Systems Management and realized this is what I was really wanting to do with a degree. HCISM is learning management skills needed to work in any health care related business, whether it is a hospital, treatment center, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, etc. I don't know jack shit about the medical field really, biology, anatomy and all that type of stuff is foreign to me. I stopped and talked to my sponsor about my thoughts on changing majors, she was very supportive and strongly encouraged me to make the change, so next semester I am taking a different path towards a career. One of my fears is it will take me 3 years to get my degree, that is 3 years without a full time job, something else which is foreign to me, this is also a pride issue, but I think my dad would be cool with me not working as long as I was doing it for a good reason. I talked to my buddy about my fear of taking classes in which I have no practical knowledge of, we both agreed this may be a good thing since the business classes come easy so maybe the new challenge will do me some good. I also talked to the guidance counselor at the college and she told me I might be able to get financial aid to take 9 hours of classes this summer, knock some of the general educations out of the way. I really like were I work, so I don't want to quit for the summer, I would rather stay working there if at all possible until I get my degree; the job is going well and I am well liked by my manager and the big boss.
Well shower time, then to get a few needed groceries before the noon 12 and 12 meeting. Going to put up Christmas lights outside this afternoon since the weather is going to be decent, not sure what next weekend will bring so better get on it while the getting is good; I have an nice front porch and awning at this trailer so I have a place to hang lights, Angel is all excited about decorating for Christmas.
Hope everyone is well, I send a prayer of love and positive energy your way at night. Thanks for being a part of my recovery!
So I am was reading an NA, yes an Narcotics Anonymous, booklet and read this paragraph, " Any lifestyle seeking spiritual fulfillment seems to demand the very things missing in addiction; freedom, goodwill, creative action and personal growth." I thought what a profound and truthful statement.
In active alcoholism and addiction I was a prisoner to my disease. I couldn't go anywhere without making sure and had something in the car, I rarely went anywhere were alcohol wasn't served. I was big time paranoid, I was always on the lookout for the police, also paranoid my enablers would pull the plug. I was a prisoner to money, needing a certain amount for my alcohol, if it wasn't there I would write bad checks or steal booze from the store I worked at part time. I was a prisoner of my emotions, any clear thoughts I had about the trouble my drinking was causing were shut down as quick as possible with alcohol; reality sucked and I couldn't allow it to interfere with my obsession for alcohol. I couldn't change my job, couldn't go to college, couldn't move from the dump of a house I lived in. Sadly this prisoner couldn't be a good parent either, same goes for son, brother, employee and friend. Because I am free, I now can do anything I want and as long as I stay spiritually fit I never enter the prison of addiction again. BTW alcohol is my drug of choice but I will use any substance put in my path to get messed up, also I have a healthy fear of my addictive nature, so if I ever have to be put on narcotics for a medical reason, I need to keep the knowledge of being an addict as strong as the knowledge of being an alcoholic.
Goodwill, how can one be practicing goodwill when we are so caught up in self. I tried to practice goodwill, I helped people out, gave a bit to charity but under this was still my main concern of getting the next drink. I don't think there is anyway a person caught up in addiction can practice goodwill because we are so selfish and self-centered. In recovery getting out of self is a life long process for many of us, for me it is a daily awareness of my actions and thoughts which are based on self. Simple acts of goodwill start to come more naturally as we change our way of thinking, become more spiritually centered; holding doors open, giving a warm smile to the cashier, allowing someone to proceed ahead of us in traffic. I do what I can for the less fortunate when I can, make sure the stuff I am getting rid of goes to a charity which gives stuff away and not just sells it. Of course we try and practice goodwill in the recovery rooms, extending a welcoming hand and echoes of encouragement, we try and give back what was freely given to us. For me this is an ongoing thing, some days I am so caught up in I forget to say hi and introduce myself to the person in the room I have never seen before. Being spiritually fit means I am thinking less about me and more about others, and more about the planet.
Creative action is an interesting term. I am I finding creative ways to reach out to those who still suffer? Am I finding creative ways to carry the message in my service work? I am I finding creative ways in sponsoring, finding ways to knock down the walls which keep someone from understanding the steps? Once in a while the answer is yes, I do know how to intuitively handle a situation which use to baffle me. My first thought on the word creative was, artistic, something I am not, but like everyone else, I have talents which others don't , we all do. We shouldn't beat ourselves up, we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, we are all very special. When I am in active addiction my creativity was as dead as my spirit, I couldn't touch my creative self no more than I could touch my spiritual self, in recovery both are possible.
In my psyche class we read a lot about how alcoholism and drug addiction delay and even stop growth, I have heard this in the rooms for years, but here is was in black and white in a psychology text book. The book had a table in it showing where we should be at in emerging adulthood, damn did I ever miss the boat. I lacked responsibility, had no goals in life, sucked at relationships, lacked motivation and any interest in bettering myself as a father, employee or member of society. Here at almost 50 I am basically in my early 20's but it is alright. For me the steps are were the growth comes from, I see the areas needed from improvement, I do my best to trust my God, I do the footwork. I want and need spiritual growth, emotional growth and personal growth, even if it comes with a bit of pain; I want to be busy being born and not busy dying.
Well I need to take a shower and get ready for my last English class, finishing this class will free me up for other classes. Hope everyone is doing well. We are having a warm fall so far, even had a thunderstorm Saturday night. Angel is all about Christmas, mainly because the t.v. is bombarding us with commercials about toys, she is constantly saying "look papa, I want that' to which papa replies, "we will just have to see what Santa can do" to which she replies "really papa" with a big smile on her face. Papa is really glad for layaway this year!
Hey all, I am all moved into the new mobile home, AKA trailer house. It started at 1:30pm two Saturdays ago; I got the keys to the house and first thing which needed done was masking the living room so I could paint. Painting is one of those things I can do but I am not fond of doing. I had to put on a coat of primer to cover the green and by the evening I had the first coat of Farmer Apple Red on the walls, the living had to be painted before anything was moved into it. Mich boxed stuff up and used her car to move some stuff Saturday, while I painted. I got up early Sunday morning and put the second coat of paint on then hit a meeting because the place I need to be at 11am on Sunday morning is my home group. I borrowed a friends pickup Sunday, my Suburban is still in the shop, which allowed me to get a bunch more moved. Mich couldn't find anyone to watch Carter so with the exception of a buddy helping with the couch and the chair I moved everything I could that day myself. I continued to move the next two days, once again a buddy came over and helped with the rest of the big stuff. Cleaning the other house sucked but went does deep cleaning not suck. Anyway between working and one class I was able to get everything done at 2:15am Thursday morning. I have moved 5 times in 6 years and I hope like hell I am done moving for a few years.
The new place is better, the add-on's to the living room and dining room give me more space in both areas. Instead of having 3 upper cupboards, 5 lower cupboards and 3 drawers in the kitchen, I now have 10 upper cupboards, 6 lower cupboards, 8 drawers and a pantry. I now have space for my kitchen gadgets, pots, pans, baking stuff and the dry goods are no longer crammed together and I actually know what I have and don't have. My bedroom closet isn't as big but I gained a linen closet, I put clothes in storage bags and shoved them under the bed. the bathroom is twice as big, plus Mich and Angel have their 1/2 bath. The one shed is really nice and big, room to put stuff in without cramming, the other shed is perfect for tools and stuff I use more often. The front porch has a roof over it and a wall on the north side; when the snow hits it will be nice have this area fairly free of snow and ice, sure the dog will appreciate this also.
There are somethings I had to fix or will need to fix. I had to replace the internal workings on one of the toilets, it dribbled water. The thermostat was trashed so I replaced it, same with the shower head. The cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and main bath room all need painted, I will also paint the kitchen walls but this can wait for a bit. There is a big gap in the fence which I will fix mainly for appearance, since there is no way to keep Carter in if he really wants to get out. I hope by next summer Carter will be better at not running away from my house when he is outside, if not then he will be spending a lot of time in his room while Angel is playing outside. There are a few other odds and ends things which need to be fixed or fixed up for appearance but nothing major or expensive.
The kids are both enjoying having more space to run around in. Carter no longer shares a room with my books, good for both of us:-) Mich needs to find a way to get her stuff out of her ex-boyfriends parents garage, mainly we need to get Angels big bed, Mich's kitchen table which we can use for an island and her love seat.
Work is going well. School is going alright but need to play catchup in a couple of classes. I have 2 papers due Thursday in psyche but they shouldn't be too hard to get out since I don't work tomorrow and I have notes done on them. I will complete my writing class hopefully by next Monday, this will free my Monday's and Wednesday's up. Of course I keep going to meetings and staying in contact with my sponsor and recovery friends, both make sure I am staying sane and keeping everything in perspective.
Well I need to take a shower, do some business class work, then off to the writing class. Hope everyone is safe, is finding emotional balance in the storms of life, and in general doing well.
I am just going to start typing and let a title materialize out of what I type. I have done some footwork to lessen the financial burden, my time to myself has been shortened and I have had a bloody head cold for a week, not to mention a brewing resentment I need to get rid of.
I did some talking to my banker and was able to rework a loan I have, I had to extend the length which in the long run isn't good but in the right now it cuts my monthly payments down by 1/3, maybe in a couple of years I can increase the payments so I am not paying back so much in interest; this loan was taken out when I was making quite a bit more money. I bought a small car, so my fuel expense has dropped a lot, little Chevy Cavalier with a 5 speed manual transmission, God I love shifting gears again, the car isn't brilliant looking but runs well. I talked to my boss at the hotel and he was able to give me six extra hours a week of work, plus I work every other Sunday. Lastly I bought a trailer, my mom loaned me the money, this will save me $80.00 a month plus I can pay my mom back a couple of times a month instead of having everything come out of one paycheck.
The trailer belongs to I guy I use to work with; it is older but well insulated and has good windows, fenced in yard for the kids, 2 nice size shed for storage, 3 bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths. The kitchen is bigger with more cupboards, my trailer really lacks cupboards in the kitchen, they built on to the dining and living rooms, so they are bigger. Mich and Angel will take the bedroom with the 1/2 bath which is in the front off the living room, Carter will have the little bedroom and mine will be in the back. I need to paint the living room, it is lime green not my color, going to paint it a burgundy for warmth, plus the cupboard doors in the kitchen and bath need painted and a bit of wood putty.
The main reason for buying the trailer is Mich and the kids moved back in with me and will probably be living with me for quite a while. When the landlord said she wasn't approved to live with me, she moved in with a guy who turned out to be a control freak with a violent background, recently he has been stalking her via FB and driving by the house or finding out from mutual friends what she is up to. It is better for her to live with me, I feel more secure with her and the kids here, instead of her hooking up with some guy just so she has a place to stay, she has been good about not going out at night since she quit dating, she is partying less and is home every night of the week. I have been nervous about the landlady finding out Mich and the kids were here, afraid of being evicted for breaking the lease agreement.
The new trailer is just down the street from the one I currently rent. When I told the landlord I was buying it, she told me Mich was still not allowed to live with me. I contacted a lawyer and he said she cannot tell me who can and cannot live with me, unless the person has a serious criminal record, prejudice doesn't count. Mich copped an attitude when she did the interview with the landlady to get approval to live in this trailer, landlady was talking down to her and Mich being a proud 21 year old who doesn't know anything about having a poker face and keeping her mouth shut, rubbed the landlady the wrong way. Mich can be an arrogant, know it all snot, who doesn't own her mistakes as much as she needs to, she is immature for sure, especially when it comes to putting her wants above the needs of the kids, she sees nothing wrong with going out drinking a couple of nights a week and leaving the kids with someone. Mich hasn't been charged with child neglect from the incident with Carter climbing out the window in July, in fact Child Protective Services were never called. She has a court date later this month and has a Public Defender, so hopefully the charges will be dropped. She has been put on suspense from her job working with the mentally handicap because she can't have anything dealing with neglect or abuse on her record, if the charges are dropped she gets her job back. So Mich isn't a perfect kid, but she isn't a really bad kid either, she does better living under my roof with boundaries than on her own.
My conversation with the landlady has been eating my lunch, she was rude towards me and made accusations about Mich I didn't like. She doesn't know anything about Mich, where she has come from; mother committing suicide when she was 8 years old, dad climbing inside a bottle for 10 years, going into foster care and group homes, completing high school as a teen mother and trying her best to be a mom at a young age. We live a quiet life, the house is alcohol and drug free, since it was reported the girl watching the kids wasn't keeping a close eye on them, she hasn't watched them and will not watch them, when the kids are outside they are closely supervised. Another thing is; I live in the biggest mobile home park in town, I know of a lot of kids who run around unsupervised and you have to drive slow and watch out for them, also I know of homes where people live without approval from the manager. The landlady is one of those know-it-all people who will not listen to what you have to say, she is very prejudice; this was brought to my attention when I talked to her about buying the trailer because the guy I am buying it from is Hispanic and she didn't have anything nice to say about Hispanics even though 50% of the residents here are Hispanic. If I didn't pay my rent, if I had the cops coming around every so often, if my lot was a junk pit, if the kids where running wild in the streets I could understand her being concerned about renting me a lot. I can't explain to her that Mich and the kids are better off and safer living with me, that Mich is at a crossroads and needs to be able to save up to move out. I want to say "listen bitch, I am doing what is best for my daughter and grand kids so butt the fuck out and mind your own business and until we do something illegal leave us alone."
I own and understand her not allowing Mich to live in a home I rent from her, it is her choice on who lives in her property, and I signed a lease saying I would get approval for anyone, be it my kid or girlfriend or roommate, if they moved in with me. Looking at this from a 4th step point of view, the landlady has hurt my pride and since of security. Oh yeah, rental property here blows if you have a pet, only a few mobile home owners allow pets, none of the apartments or houses do, so I am stuck, I looked around and couldn't find a trailer to buy in another park in my price range. Yesterday I realized I had a dozy of a resentment building towards the landlady, I was driving around town with a conversation with her going through my head, wanting to set the record straight with her and tell her I talked to a lawyer and was calling her bluff. Last night when I went to bed I did the only thing I know how to do, I prayer for her and for acceptance.
I don't dig having my lifeboat rocked, I want everything in life to go along smooth. Things have smoothed out again for the most part, money, Mich and kids. The landlady bit will smooth out too once we move, we will live our quiet life, just be another tenant among and few hundred others. I am going to visit my sponsor this afternoon after work, puke on her table for a bit and I will continue to pray for the landlady, it always seems to help accepting someone I dislike, know we will never see eye to eye and move on, might not happen soon but with practice and time it will.
On the lighter side, Angel is really excited for Halloween, she wants to be a tiger princess, not sure where she got this idea but she is adamant this is what she is going to be. I found an orange tutu, plus orange tights, will buy an orange t-shirt, use electrical tape for strips, get her some cat ears and tail, paint her face orange with stripes. I found Carter the cutest gnome costume, little white beard, pointed hat, shirt/shorts with suspenders. I will take pictures and post them. I bought Angel some plastic fangs and she has been in hog heaven wearing them around the house.
Life is still good, even with battling challenges, classes are going well, I will start writing my next two papers for psyche next week. If I wasn't sober I wouldn't have these wonderful challenges. If I didn't go to meetings, talk to my sponsor and others in recovery, work the steps daily the best I can, I would be sitting in a deep well of shit with no direction out.
I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I have ended up where I need to be.
Last night three of us gave our annual panel presentation to the local nursing students. The presentation is an informal discussion on alcoholism and addiction, we talk openly and honestly about the effects of alcoholism and also share about AA and how it works, drug addiction and NA are also touched on. Two of the people on the panel have medical backgrounds, one has done everything from basic nursing to respirator therapy, the other is a retired nurse. These two ladies were practicing alcoholics in their professions; one how has 6 years sobriety and the other 37 years. Our intent is to help the students who as nurse may possibly see a lot of sick alcoholics and addicts up close and personal both as patients and peers, also the family members effected. We try and break the stigma of what an alcoholic is, the three of us have all lead professional lives as practicing alcoholics but were also living very destructive lives. We talk about the obsessive nature of alcoholism, how the obsession is more powerful than our concern for family, friends and our own well being. We also share how we have found a solution, how the obsession has been removed or to put it in a better way, is in remission.
All of us enjoy doing this discussion. Some of the students are really interested in what we have to say. We hit a few nerves too when we talk, it is interesting to watch the expression on the faces, to see someone relate from their own experience. We do what we do because it is just another aspect of service without any expectations attached.
When I read the above quote this morning, it brought back what we shared last night. None of us set out in life to be chronic alcoholics. We didn't say as teenagers, I want to be physically, mentally and spiritually sick person by my 20's. Part of the importance of sharing our story with others, whether it be 40 students or just one on one, is we see where we have gone and where that life lead us both the bad and the good.
Every step I have taken and every step I take on the path is required. I step up to my ass in self pity shit, I wade through the muck of challenges I really do not like because they take me where I need to be. Where I thought I would be 30 years ago and where life took me are two different things. When I was about 8 years old I wanted to be an Oceanographer, 41 years later I am a full time student and part time desk clerk at a hotel, making just enough to survive and it is where I need to be today.
If my life would have been one filled with ease, would I have the gratitude I have for life today? I think the path of struggles both in and out of recovery have made me a better person. When I go through struggles and put them into perspective, I can see I am where I need to be. Struggle as always show me what I need to be doing or sometimes not doing, whatever the case may be. This was the indirect message we shared last night, three ex-drunks who had been to Hell and back, saying life was good today because we stumbled upon a path for living we hadn't intended upon taking.
Hope all are enjoying changing of the seasons, wonderful crisp evenings and mornings. The coffee always smells better when the house is naturally cool.
Hi all, before I spend the day doing some serious writing thought I would do some just for me and update those who still read my blog.
College classes are going as follows. Basic writing is easy for now and I am getting good grades. I am kicking butt in my Intro to Business but I should be with my years of experience, it is easy for me to read and comprehend the material which allows me to do well on the exam's and essay's. I was worried about how I would do on the essay's but once I got my head around what he was asking for I just free flowed the answers using my experience in relationship to the material in the text, so far I am getting high marks for critical thinking. Developmental Psyche is a different story from Intro to Business. The material in the psyche class is harder for me to comprehend, some of the stuff I can understand based on experience, other stuff is just foreign to me, the first 4 chapters have been more on theory and medical stuff. I got an 84 on my first test, 4 points where because I answered an essay question to the best of my ability, every point counts on this class. Having done the first test I now understand how he does his test. I have a paper due for this class on Thursday, a review of an article dealing with early childhood development. I choose to do mine on Reactive Attachment Disorder, a topic I am interested in, so hopefully I can do a half way decent job of transmitting what I read to paper in a 3 page summary. I have a little confusion on how to set up the title page and the topic in the 1st page of the paper but a buddy of mine with a psyche degree is going to help me with it this afternoon. If I work hard enough I should be able to get a B out of this class. The computer class has been a bitch but not from the material, it uses a Microsoft Internet program via using Explorer for a browser. I would start doing the online course and get kicked out after completing one subsection making a real pain in the ass to do the work very fast. Yesterday I was using the college's remote website to do some stuff in Office 2010, I took a chance and clicked on Explorer via this site and to my great relief was able to do the work easier than using Explorer from my desktop, literally a thank you God.
Last weekend I was at the state AA area assembly. I thought I would be able to get some homework done in the evening but learned a lesson that I couldn't. The problem is I am really tired come Saturday night. I work Friday night until 11 which means I don't get to bed until around 1am, then up at 5:30am so I can pick up a guy and be on the road by 6:30am for the 2 hour drive to the assembly. Another thing is; assembly is a full day of meetings, some interesting some not, basically I was physically tired and mentally burned by 7:00pm. This is not a big deal, what happened was I learned to not count on being able to study when I have to attend assemblies, once a quarter.
Speaking of AA, our district treasury has too much money in it. At our district meeting we decided to spend some of the money on books for a local mental hospital, we bought 2 Big Books, 2 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and 4 of the easy to read Grapevine story compilation books. We bought a 2 year subscription of the Grapevine for the library. We are also going to buy some chicken and have a speaker meeting in October, this will also be a event where the area delegate gives his report from GSO. We have enough money to bring in a speaker from Omaha and pay her expenses; fuel and hotel.
Mich and the kids have officially moved out of my house. It has taken me a bit to not miss the kids being around and not to worry too much about their emotional well being. I still see them a few times a week, so we have quality time together. Mich seems to be doing well in her job and not missing work or being constantly late. The kids are in daycare and doing well. Mich is still drinking too much but that is out of my hands for now.
I have a new normal now. Since Mich and kids have left it is just the dog, the hell on wheels kitten and me. I now have a quiet house to study in, timing of Mich being forced to move out couldn't have been better. My grocery bill has decreased for the most part, still buy stuff for kids to eat for when they do come around. I am getting use to allocating my study time between my time off and what I can get done at work on the slow nights. I have made a commitment to 3 AA meetings a week and 1 NA. Still in the financial hole but slowly digging out.
I have made a change in my diet. I started to really evaluate my eating habits, the knowledge of being 50 in February made me step back and think about taking better care of myself for my family. I talked to a Nutritionist at the VA, she gave me some good tips on eating healthier on a budget. I have started buying more ground turkey and pork to use in curries and stir-fries, buying avocados for salads, using vinaigrette dressing on salads and whole grain pasta dishes instead of so much Ranch. I will buy a steamer soon for meat and vegetables as well. Like a lot of other things the willingness to change came when I was truly willing to change. It also helps not having my lovely grand kids and daughter in the house eating stuff I have bought just for me. By the way I don't do fish but am learning to cook chicken in more creative ways than frying it.
Life is good, work is good, recovery is good. I am in my 6th year of recovery and feel I have been given opportunities to apply the 6th step in the 6th year.
Holy crap where has the time gone?? Seems like only a few weeks ago I was checking out the options for going to college and Monday I started classes!!
I graduated high school in 1981 and other than Air Force leadership schools, 2 a month long and 2 correspondence courses, plus my Air Force technical school I haven't had any formal schooling. My late teens and early 20's where nothing but alcoholic drinking, then I got sober, got married, had a little girl. I got out of the Air Force after 10 years and even though I continued on in the Air National Guard which would of paid for school, I was too busy working and eventually even worse drinking to even think about college. Truth of the matter is I was getting by without a college degree even after I got sober again. Now at the ripe old age of 49 and after year spent working in a factory doing work which was too physically demanding for me, a year in which I applied for and was passed over for management jobs, I am going to college for the first time in my life.
My sponsor asked me if I was excited? The answer is no, I am scared. Fear comes from self doubt, looking at the thick text books and thinking I have to know everything in them NOW. Fear of not being able to remember stuff, freaking dead brain cells from substance abuse. Financial fear for giving up at least 2 years of regular work for a part time job, students loans and hopefully next semester grants/scholarships.
Monday morning I was able to put things into perspective, to see going to school in a practical light which I could wrap my head around, to 'intuitively know how to handle situations which use to baffle us". I looked at college as just another job, my assignments are like work orders and reports which need to be done within a certain amount of time, my home is now my office and my free time is now my work hours, my instructors are my bosses and trainers. By viewing college this way I can relate it to life experiences, see how I have been here before. I know from past experiences in starting new jobs I am not expected to know everything all at once. I know enough and am humble enough to ask for help today. If I want to make a change in my life I need to take action and accept the challenges those actions bring with them.
I have a Beginning Writing class on Monday's and Wednesday's. I will not receive any credits toward my degree for this class. My Compass test scores were high enough that I didn't need to really take this class but I did so because my grammar isn't the best, as anyone who reads this blog can attest to. I wanted to make sure my writing was up to snuff so I wouldn't get dinged on assignments and term papers for shitty grammar. Also since I like to write taking this course will help in my personal life and down the road job wise. Beware this blog will be an outlet of this class, still reflective of recovery life but also applying what I am learning.
I have Intro to Business as a web based class. The community college here is a satellite college, they offer some classes as lectures and labs but the majority are web classes. I feel this class should come easy enough for me so I don't need to be in a class room for it. This is one of two classes where my house is my office.
I have Microcomputer Applications as another web based class. This class will further my knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, plus teach me Power Point. I can navigate Word fairly well, know the basics of Excel and Publisher, know nothing about Power Point. This class is just a win, win all around.
My most challenging class will be Developmental Psychology which I have as a lecture on Thursday nights. I say this class will be the most challenging because even though I can comprehend the ideas, I may have a hard time remembering who wrote what. I read the first chapter and half of the second chapter at work, enjoyed what I read but got fearful over trying to remember all the information given. I hope my solution for this dilemma was the purchase of a small note book to write down important definitions, names and theories. One of my best friends got his masters degree in counseling so he will be a resource for me.
Because I am sober, I have the courage to change the things I don't like. I can see things in a new perspective. I can put my faith in a power greater than me, knowing with a bit of footwork I can accept my actions. I don't have worry about not comprehending my assignments because I am hungover. I can make it to class on time because I can get up in the morning feeling alive and refreshed. I won't put off assignments because drinking is more important and the notion there is always tomorrow. I can be self disciplined because I am aware of what I have invested in the change and also told enough people about who care enough for me to help keep me focused. I have mediation to calm my mind and bought some smooth jazz to listen while studying which helps block out other noises.
One a different note, my daughter has 3 weeks in which to be out of my house. She pissed of the landlords by not owning up to her responsibilities when it came to her being evicted from her apartment, not watching the kids close enough and choosing a girl to watch the kids who was not playing close enough attention to them either; kids have been allowed outside unsupervised on a few occasions unbeknown to me. I live on the bend of a busy street and the kids need supervised any time they go outside, Angel is pretty good about staying close to the house and not going in the street but Carter is Mr. Investigator, he will wander off to look at stuff or race his push car right out into the street. The kids can stay with me only if Mich gives me guardianship, as of right now she won't.
The landlord really did both of us a favor. Mich now has to figure out how to live without my support. She is kind of up a creek, she doesn't have the money to rent an apartment plus being evicted for 6 months back rent doesn't help. Her new boyfriend lives with his dad, doesn't have a job or drivers license. I really don't know what she is going to do and she hasn't talked about it since I told her she has to move.
I talked to an attorney about me filing for guardianship, he told as of right now a judge would side with her. He also told me to play close attention to her actions once she leaves, if she does not have a stable and safe environment for the kids then to call Child Protective Services. He said he feels the way she is going the kids will end up being wards of the state sooner or later at which time I will then be given guardianship. I don't like causing a big riff between Mich and me but I would rather have her mad at me than have the kids live an unstable life.
Because I am sober I can turn my daughter and grand babies over to my God. I can sit and watch to see what happens, know I have little control over a lot of what is going on. Because I am sober I have good people in my life to give me support, guidance and a swift kick in the butt when needed, instead of the few fair weather drinking friends I had in the past. I know I have said this in the past but because I am sober I can be here physically, emotional and spiritually for my grand babies and also my daughter.
Because I am sober I can live life on life's terms, fears and all. I have my struggles just like everyone else but I try to live the Steps, talk with others to the best of my ability contingent on my spiritual condition. I keep going to meetings, change my meeting schedule to fit my new life schedule. I go to meetings for newcomers and me, they help me and I might just once in awhile help them.
Well campers, I need to eat some lunch, then get ready for work. I am taking my computer textbook with me, Wednesday's, Monday's and Sunday's are pretty slow at the hotel so I have some time to study and read, thank you God for this job.
“What I want to say is, we are all trying to get back home
inside, back in touch with something which means something which is love and
caring and that is what we have between us. It took me a long time to realize
everything else is a bunch of well something else. Cause for a long time all I
could remember to do was run away from myself and everyone who cared for me,
you know." Stevie Ray Vaughan
We have to stay sober no matter how life treats us,
no matter whether nonalcoholics appreciate our sobriety or not.
We have to keep our sobriety independent of everything else,
not entangled with any people,
and not hedged in by any possible cop-outs or conditions.
- Living Sober, p. 64
I have been struggling with trying to change someone I can't, hoping a sick/irresponsible person will get responsible and grow up. I have allow her to effect my serenity. I tried doing some footwork to create change but she resisted the suggestions because she doesn't see how her actions are effecting her kids and me. She is just like her old man a few years back.
I wrote up a list of boundaries and expectations. I outlined what she needs to pay for living with me, when she has to be home so I don't miss my regular meetings and also things she needs to get done and to ask for help getting them done. I will also keep staying on top of this list, reminding her of things to make sure the important things don't get delayed whether she likes it or not.
Since I don't have any control over her all I can do is have my ducks in a row in case she messes up. I learned for the last episode, I know what has to be done if she gets in trouble again, I know exactly where to go to for legal assistance, what forms to be filled out and have authorized which will at least give me temporary guardianship of my grand babies. A good friend talked this over with me, he said all I can really do is sit back and see what happens. I pray also, I give my little ones love, support and guidance they need.
Deep inside I knew I couldn't force change, my concerned side was wanting to speed things up. When I sent a message to FB friends a couple of weeks ago it was written out of fear and the frustration the fear caused. With their mom staying out all night and not coming home until the afternoon I was fearful the little ones were not getting the love and attention they needed from their mom, Angel gets upset when mom isn't here, she is afraid mom won't come home again for a long time like before when she went to jail. I was frustrated/fearful because I have been spending a big part of my income on the kids and their mom, mom got things messed up again with HHS and benefits were dropped; no daycare, no insurance for the kids, no assistance with food. I was afraid mom's behavior would lead her back to jail or the hospital. I was frustrated that even though the little ones and I have a very strong and loving relationship, Papa shouldn't be the main one providing for their emotional needs.
Angel, 4 years old, has started calling me daddy on occasion. I think this may come from watching t.v. and seeing how most homes have a mommy and a daddy. She may be trying to make something non-traditional into something tradition according to what she is see in the world around her.
The money thing money has me a bit spooked. I try to be non-materialistic and not selfish, to not get wrapped up in what I am spending. The kids always have food which usually includes a weekly treat purchase, like fruit gummies, cantaloupe, peaches, etc. I have cut out bottled water, replaced it with 2 plastic jugs of water in the frig, we where going through a couple of cases a week. I started getting movies for Angel and me at the library, instead of Redbox. I also got out my old cigarette making devise to make my own smokes for around the house, I know I should stop all together but not in the right place to surrender. I have processed my needs and wants; been craving old David Bowie, Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, both of which I had on vinyl, put both albums on the want list until things get better, using YouTube to get my fix. Having said all this I am grateful I have a home, can pay my bills, put gas in my truck and keep it insured. I am just going through a financial change do to my own actions; quiting my full time job to pursue a higher education, in time everything will become normal, the change is just stressful right now.
I have been working on my fears and frustrations with others. I share about them in general in meetings, talking about the importance of the steps and how they have helped me look at fear, what my part is and how I am not letting the fear become overwhelming, fear is present but not overwhelming. I have also use living in the moment quite a bit, doing what is in front of me and tackling a job at home which I have put off to keep me busy. It has taken a few 24 hours but I finally reached the point of surrender. I don't like drama and calamity and in true alcoholic fashion was looking for a quick fix not via booze or drugs but through other people and meetings. I acknowledge I was given another opportunity for growth. Through this challenge I was able to come home again, to get out of self, to see how I got into self, to stop worrying about the little ones and just give them what they need without the fear of what their mother is doing.
I have been working on this post for about a week, I am watching kids on the days mom works and even when she doesn't they are by my side, which is wonderful most of the time. Mom did give me part of her paycheck, which went to pay for an increased phone/Internet bill. Mom dropped the BF in South Carolina so I don't have to worry about her taking the kids out of state to live with a guy she hasn't seen in 5 years, who doesn't have a full time job, I had a feeling this would happen but still had things laid out to try and keep kids from moving just in case, she could go if she wanted, see how things worked out then in 6 months if all was good come get kids. She has a new BF, another loser in my opinion but it is her life. I talked to about this with a couple of old timers, who said they think she picks up guys in need of mothering so she doesn't have to look at herself and her own short comings. Once again the apple didn't fall too far from the tree.
My work schedule has changed, the other person who works the evening shift needs Friday evenings free; she is taking an internship on Fridays and cannot commit to being at work by 3pm. I will be working Monday, Wednesday, Friday, have Saturdays off and we will alternate Sundays. This change in schedule helps out both her income and mine, instead of only working 2 days a week every other week, we both get 3 days regularly plus an added day every other week. I really enjoy working the hotel, talking to guest, making sure they enjoy their stay, selling the hotel to guest so we get good marks and return customers, playing the sly businessman who says "well how about I take $5.00 off the room rate," we get the sale and the guest is happy. With the exception of Friday nights, I will have some dead time to study; once I get towels folded, spot clean main areas, I walk around the hotel a few times a night to make sure everything looks good. The computer program came easy to me, doesn't take me much time to navigate it or find billing errors. The phone system can still kick my ass at times, mainly when I have 2 calls at once and have to interrupt one call to take another, I have to get over feeling like I am being rude to one customer in order to take a call from another.
All in all everything is going well or as it should be. I know things always work out if I put a little faith in Divine Providence. When I do this gig called life, one day at a time, I reap the benefits of the steps, I stay on the Middle Path. I need shaken up from time to time, it keeps me from getting complacent, teaches me new things, keeps me teachable, makes damn sure I use the spiritual tool kit and connect with others instead of trying to fly solo which is what I did in the past.
I am speaking out of town on Saturday, old friend of mine from here asked me to speak at her home group picnic in a town about 150 miles away. I have 3 buddies going with me for the road trip, old time AA at it's finest. I have pondered for a month what I was going to talk about. I now know I will talk about how a chronic drunk has found sobriety and has faced a lot of challenges in the 5-1/2 years he has been sober and stayed sober. I will share about overcoming the stigma of being a non-Christian in meetings which are dominated by Christians who sometimes forget what the BB and traditions say. I will talk about the deaths, the lost of jobs, the changes I done intentionally and those I had no control over. I will talk about the Solution, how it applies to my alcoholism and life in general. I will most definately praise how the obcession to drink has been lifted, now it is still mind boggling how this has happened, especially during challenging times.
Thanks for reading this long babble. Hope all of you are doing well with what life is giving you. Hope you are coming home to the you inside.
Peace Love Light
p.s. I re-enrolled in the VA for health care, last week I went of my check up. In 2009, last time I had a check with them, I had high blood pressure, 3 years later my blood pressure is good. I credit this to learning to live in the now and keep the stress in perspective. I still smoke a pack a day, have cut my coffee intake down to 1 pot a day, don't really exercise, still use salt because my taste buds are shot due to smoking. The only thing which has really changed is drinking more water and really learning to live life on life's terms. Not saying I need to continue the bad habits, I turn 50 next year and really have to make some health changes, my sponsor tells me to just keep praying for the willingness. I trust her, she has been smoke free for over 15 years.
The job at the hotel seems like a keeper, catching on fairly quick, just need to get faster at putting people into the computer and working multiple incoming calls. Also Mich and the kids are doing well, she is working and seems to like the work and is taking her responsibilities more seriously.
I found out this morning a friend in the fellowship died yesterday, she was 41 or 42. I will call her H, she was a nurse by profession who lost her license over 6 years ago for taking drugs from the hospital. Just last year she was busted again for prescription drug abuse and spent 6 months in county jail. It appears she had an accidental overdose, they found her dead in her car in a parking lot, she had been using again, so maybe the combination of heat and drugs caused her death.
I don't believe there is such a thing as accidental overdose really, I use the word here because she didn't intentionally commit suicide. Anytime an addict or alcoholic uses we are a risk of dying. If I drink or use again I know the risk of death, the disease will tell me different but the truth is deep down I know I am playing with fire, every junkie and drunk does, they just choose to ignore the voice of reason, to give in to the little voice which says it won't hurt and will feel better, for crying out loud I just need and little relief from all this stress.
I don't know why H continued to play with fire, she had all the tools and had a very good support system available. She had some very good periods of sobriety, periods where she was happy and free and enjoying life.
When anyone who has been in recovery for awhile, been to a lot of meetings, had a sponsor, worked the steps and then dies from addiction or alcoholism the only things which come to mind willingness, and get honestly humble.
The people I know and have known who are able to maintain sobriety, one day at a time and who have a daily reprieve from the compulsion to drink and use are those who are willing to go to any length to maintain their sobriety and inter peace. Willing to admit they are totally beaten by drugs and alcohol, willing to ask for help, willing to go to meetings, willing to open up continually to another person and themselves about what is going on in their lives.
These people have also become humble, humble enough to know they are not the center of the universe, accept there is a power greater than themselves. Humble enough to reach out to another for help. Humble enough to admit a; liquid, powder, pill, herb, something they can flush down the toilet has incredible power over them. We have to know and accept that something so small can destroy our lives, we have to concede to our enter most selves we will never be able use or drink again without some form of destruction happening.
I was talking yesterday before the meeting to a friend about another person who went out, someone who has been in and out of the rooms for years. We both talked about willingness and how we as individuals are powerless over having someone find willingness. The old saying, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" is so true.
It is sad when someone dies from addiction, My ex-wife killed herself because she couldn't handle reality and because she couldn't beat her addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. I have known people who died because have taken mood stabilizers with alcohol, taken that one too many something they had done it the past yet survived, car wrecks, liver shutting down, the list goes on.
I hope H's death isn't in vane. I know it will be talked about in meetings and rightly so. Everyone, newcomers and those who have a number of one day at a times added up need to understand how serious our disease is and how important it is to do something about it, whether it is AA, NA or not.
I am grateful I found a God of my understanding, grateful I made it back into the rooms after 10 years of insane drinking mixed with drug use, I was playing Russian Roulette too. I am grateful I am willing to work the steps daily, willing to go to meetings, willing to talk to others and be of service, Just for today my obsession to drink and use has been removed. I am grateful I got to know H, we were not close but she left an imprint on my life.
We never know when our last day on earth will be. I hope my last day will be a sober one. As a friend and sister in recovery says, hope you stay sober and sane.
I picked Mich up from jail at 11:30
Wednesday morning. All of us were glad she was home. The last couple of days of
having the kids on my own were very stressful, nothing they did but papa was
just exhausted from chasing after them, correcting them, or having one of them
under his feet at all times. Working outside in the heat didn't help matters
and oh yeah my Surburban broke down to boot.
Mich had plenty of energy from
sitting in jail for 5 weeks to thoroughly clean my house, which I appreciated.
I tried to keep up on the house work but by the time I got off of work the best
I could do was cook supper, wash dishes, laundry, pick up the floor, too tired to vacuum and
mop. She is better at working with kids under feet than I am. The kids treat
her different than me, even though I was acting in the parent role, I am still
papa, the one who gives them his attention when they want it. They don't demand
the attention from their mom the way they do me, part of this is papa has had a
habit of giving them what they want fairly easily, where mom says no much more.
I have hit a meeting every day since
she has been home, much needed time to sit and listen plus give back what was
given to me. Yesterday, not 1 but 2 guys asked me to be their sponsor, they both
said they liked what I shared in the meeting. Both are on court cards, mandatory
meeting attendance. I shared in the meeting the only way to achieve long term
sobriety and find contentment and a form of easy in living sober was to get a
sponsor and work the steps, in my opinion. I shared, steps 1, 2 and 3 weren't
that hard to do on my own and I survived on them but it was working the rest of
the steps with a sponsor which really change my life and allowed me to accept
life on life’s terms. I shared what has worked for me and also what has worked
for anyone who is happy in recovery. Both guys said they are ready for a change
and need help, both are tired of living the life they have been living and want
to be sober and learn to live comfortably in recovery. I accepted being their
sponsor but the rest is up to them, they both have Big Book's, so now it is up
to them to come to me and start working the steps via the Big Book and the 12
and 12. If I can help these guys in any way to stay sober then it is my
responsibility to do so, to pass on what was freely given to me, it isn't about
me, it is about sharing the message the way the Big Book talks about. I hope at
least one of them follows through for selfish reasons; it has been quite a few
years since I took someone through the steps and doing this helps me as much as
Mich starts work on Monday. She will
be working with mentally challenged people, assisting them on a daily bases
with their special needs. This is regular job with day time hours so she can
keep the kids in daycare. One of the things I told her when she got out was she
needed to find a job that worked with daycare hours because the kids needed to
stay in daycare plus she wouldn't have the hassle of finding someone to watch
them in the evenings. She had this job lined up prior to getting busted but
wasn't sure it would still be there for her, one of her friends works there.
The job will be a very good experience for her; they will provide the training
she needs. I am glad she found a job and one not as a waitress, she needs to
expand her horizons. Also part of our new deal is she starts paying rent; this
helps her be responsible plus takes a chunk of the financial burden off of me.
My job has been very iffy, pretty
much on a week to week bases. They didn't tell me when I took the job that it
might not last through the summer. Once the all the corn was emptied from the
big outside bunkers, it freed up a couple of people to help out around the
elevator, thus taking some work away from me. I probably would have been let go
last week but 1 guy was fired for lying about a safety issue. We haven't been
overly busy so my missing work hasn't been a problem, thank God I was working
here when the stuff with Mich went down and not at the factory, I would have
been really up shit's creek at the factory.
Because there hasn't been any guarantee
of how long I would have a job I have been job hunting again. I can't get a
regular full time job because I start college on August 20th. I have been
checking out hotels for front desk help, I have worked convenience stores
before but prefer not to go there because of the clientele, sorry but selling
alcohol and lottery tickets to people who don't need them is something I
would just as soon not do again, not saying I won't but I want to try other
avenues first. I applied for and got a job working at a newly remodel hotel. I
will be working 3pm to 11pm, 3 to 5 days a week, every other weekend off. I knew
by working in a hotel I would be sacrificing my weekends so was pleased that
this hotel has you work every other weekend. On my short weeks I will see if I
can pick up some hours helping maintenance. I have a friend who does
landscaping and she has offered to pay me cash to assist her on occasion so
that will be a bit extra too plus Mich paying her way now helps, sorry got off
the beaten path. Another reason for hotel work is it fits with my college
classes and meetings. I like working with people, have experience with people
of different backgrounds and geographical locations, know the needs of business
people from years as a buyer, I have lived here for years and know the best
places to eat that are not a national chain, know out of the way things to see
and do if people are looking for something different. So anyhow I was smiled
upon, I found a job before I was laid off and desperate for work.
With my whole job thing, I am
putting a lot of faith in my God's hands/branches by quitting the regular
workforce and going to college in hopes of a better future. Two to four years
of college and not having a normal 40-50 hour a week job seems like a hell've
a long time and quite honestly it is scary. I see the smaller paychecks and get
nervous but know with the right footwork I will be alright. I am receiving a
work study grant, it pays me $1250.00 for 10 hours a week doing whatever is
assigned for me at the college, this is per semester, plus I have my student
loans which will be put in savings to help out if need be. Once I get use to
the routine I will be alright, it is just a matter of getting used to living on
smaller means. I know deep in my heart going to college and getting a degree is
the best thing I can do, it will hopefully pay off in the long run. I have some
good people on my side making sure I stay focused and chilling the fears.
Sunday J and I are taking a road
trip to a lake north of here to check out camping and what there is to do in
the area if we go there camping; it is a reason to get out of the house, chill
with a good recovery friend. J found out you can rent a livestock tank; the
tanks are about 30 inches deep and 12-15 feet across, look one up on line to
see what I am talking about if you need a better picture, for $75. What you do
is, 5 people get in the tank with a cooler and float down the river; it is a
really cool and relaxing way to spend time with nature and friends, like tubing
but different. I know of an old army outpost in the area too, J and I are going
to swing by it to see if it would be of interest to our group. We probably
won't take the camping trip until August but part of the fun is checking out
the local and what there is to do.
Angel turns 4 on the 4th of July,
not doing a big party this year, I will take her to the parade in my home town
so she can get candy and see the horses, probably have cake and ice cream in
the afternoon. J and his wife are having some of their close friends over for a
cookout, J bought a new grill and is all about using it:-) I will spend the
evening with them; see if they are alright with Mich and the kids coming over
later to shoot off fireworks with us.
Well campers this is all for now. I
survived and was given a few gifts in return for putting the needs of the kids
ahead of my own, this isn't something I had to make a mental choice to do, I
just did it because that was what was in front of me to do. I couldn't have
done any of this if it wasn't for being sober and love and support of friends
both in and out of recovery.
Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of
July, whether you are American or not.
Hey all!! Angel is pretend reading Grapevines to Carter, they are sitting in
Carter's crib, surrounded by Grapevines and being good for the moment.
I received a big kick in the groin on Wednesday; Mich has to serve another
week in jail. They didn't tell her until Wednesday morning, shock to both of us
because she was ready to get out and so was I for different reasons. They gave
her 7 more days for probation neglect/violation. What messed me up was not
having childcare lined up for Thursday and Friday. Thanks to whatever Divine
Karmic force there is, 2 people helped me out and I was able to work full days.
I wasn't given assistance for 40 hours of daycare but Mich was given 20
hours for job searching and the daycare I put the kids in said they would use
her assistance from HHS. This has allowed me to work plus a friend has helped
some and Carter's dad took the kids for a few days too. I have been able to
work only 30 hours last couple of weeks but at least it is money coming in. The
daycare has been very good for both kids. Angel really likes it even though it
is a battle every morning when I drop her off; she is not a morning person for
1 and I think she still has fears about being left and not being picked back
up. Carter is being good at daycare and they love him, think having a confined
space helps him from getting into stuff; he only has so much stuff he can mess
I have to admit these 4 weeks have been a big challenge to my sanity and
serenity. Both kids are a handful for different reasons. Carter has a very
limited attention span and further more is very bull headed. He is very persistent
about doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it. I have tried a variety
of things to discipline him, holding him down in time out, setting him in his
crib, I have been upset enough to pop him on the butt or thigh and all to no
avail. The biggest problems with him are getting into the fridge, messing with
the stove, getting mad and hitting, throwing food on the floor. I have gotten
after him more times than I can count on these things and he still does them.
Angel minds better but with her our fights are over how she handles the
kitty, plus sassing back. Time out works with her but I have lost my temper on
how she has handles the kitty.
Getting the kitty at this time wasn't one of my brighter ideas. I found the
kitten via a Facebook for sale group. The kitten came from a farm which to me
means mama was a good varmint catcher which is what I wanted for hopefully
getting rid of the mice. He is a sweet little guy very playful. He made himself
right at home, no crying at night, used the litter box right away and didn't
hiss at the dog. Over the last few days the kitty and dog have become best of
friends, running around the house playing together, I have had to move them off
my bed because they want to play on the bed when I am trying to go to sleep at
night. Another reason for wanting a young kitten was I figured the dog would
accept it easier than I older cat and vise a versa. The kitten is also very
good with the kids, hasn't swatted them for how they carry him.
I have been hitting a meeting here and there and talk to my sponsor every
couple of days. My bits of frustration only last a few minutes, well maybe 15
or so, they come and go. I am not stressed all the time just moments when I
need some me time and either one or both of the kids is in need or want of
attention. I do understand part of their acting out in negative ways is because
they miss their mom and don't know how to express their feelings. Carter is
fine going with his dad but Angel has mixed emotions, she expresses in her own
little way she would rather stay with papa.
I have tried to express to Mich how much of a strain her not following
probation and the judge’s orders have placed on the kids and me but I doubt she
really understands. It took me working really working the steps to fully
comprehend the impact my actions had on others.
There have been many lessons learn for both Mich and me during this time. I
expect her to get a job once she gets out, one where the hours are the same as
daycare, so the kids get the benefit of it. She needs to file for custody of
Carter and also make me Power of Attorney. I can't control her actions but I
can set up some rules for her to follow if she lives here. I found out just how
much she was dragging her feet on the HHS assistance or just plan out
bullshitting me. There is still a part of me that takes it easier on her than I
should at certain times due to my actions when I was an active drunk. I need
things like this to happen to make me work on me.
I am doing my best breathe campers. I appreciate the time I have to do just
a bit for me, whether it is a meeting, talking to my sponsor, hitting the store
alone. I am thankful for the people who have helped me through this, those who
have stepped up and taken care of the kids for me, my niece has really been
there to allow me time for meetings and a bit of me time, helps she is in
recovery and understands what I really need. I appreciate the new Joe Walsh
album which has a few songs about recovery and gratitude on it, I appreciate
Pink Floyd Echoes album which just flat out allows me to drift into another
world, music more than the words have a real calming effect on me.
I am really using the 3rd step, understand what I have control over and what
I don't. I haven't craved a drink or drug since this all started and that my friends
are a wonderful thing. The 3rd step has always been a learning process for me.
I have faced a lot of challenges in recovery, every time accepted the things I
couldn't, changed those I could, knew the difference and trusted the God of my
understanding, by doing this my serenity has stayed fairly well intact. I hate
having my Yin and Yang out of balance, I use the tool kit of recovery and the
teachings of the Buddha to bring the balance back, isn't always easy and sometimes
I have to swallow my pride and ask for help but I feel wonderful when I am at
peace inside and out.
Well the reading of the Grapevine lasted 5 minutes; I am finishing this at
8:30 at night. Thanks for your prayers and positive energy. I wish all of you
the best on your journey. Love ya
Hey all, this will be short but wanted to share. This morning I was up inside the elevator cleaning, climbing the steel ladders came much easier, was even able to carry broom up a level with me. On the 2nd to the top level you lift off a manhole like cover and sweep the dust and corn into a deep dark hole, this was very un-nerving the first few time a couple of weeks ago, the pitch blackness topped with knowing it is a 100ft drop, today I manuever the covers with little fear. I was told I needed to go outside and clean the top of the annex, the annex is reached by walking across a 50ft catwalk, think of a narrow bridge across a deep gorge like in the movies. The annex itself is 3 concrete bins, 10 stories above the ground. I was able to walk across the catwalk, carrying a broom and a shovel without too much fear. I was able to get comfortable fairly soon, walked around a bit, looked at the town all to get relaxed, by the time I was done I was up against the rail pushing bits of corn over the edge. Oh I forgot to mention the wind was blowing about 20mph.
I have been doing some prayer and mediation on this fear of heights and it is paying off. I have asked for strength to handle the heights when the occasion to work outside finally came around. I have mediated on focusing to be in the moment and the task at in front of me. I honestly believe the prayer and mediation worked, I tapped into an inter source of strength, tapped into being mindful of my surroundings, breathed myself into calmness and did the job I was assigned and paid to do. Thank you God I am no longer coming to work hungover or still intoxicated!
Just thought I would let you all know I was walking around outside 10 stories above the ground and I did it without freezing up or soiling my jeans;)
Sitting here this fine Saturday morning, just Carter and me, Mich took Angel with her to a friends last night and hasn't come home yet. Carter is being good as long as I keep the vanilla wafers coming:) Since I wrote the first sentence; we have played with a ball, airplane, watched blues videos on YouTube and taken a shower/bath, taking a bath is Carter's 2nd favorite thing to do after eating, he is now laying in his room talking to himself, he will doze off shortly.
Work is going well, managed to get just over 40hrs last week and 39.5 this week. We had hellish winds Thursday and Friday. I have been working out and around the open bulk storage bunkers, the 40mph gust were threatening to blow my 155lb butt over a few times plus I was covered in dust from head to toe; Thursday when I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror and notice I still had dust caked in the folds of my ears. I have used a shovel and hoe quite a bit, hammer and crow bar to pull 2x4's and remove nails, plus the weed trimmers, I come home sore and tired. But you know what campers, I still like this job! I enjoy the lack of heavy pressure, my co-workers all tell me to just keep myself busy, stop take a break, drink some water if I need to, grab a quick smoke every couple of hours which is another way of resting the muscles. The supervisors are around but not over your shoulder or micro-managing your work.
I see lots of toads and mice, saw my first rat yesterday it was running across the big pile of corn. I saw a baby bunny no bigger than a hamster the other day, I was trimming, stopped and told it to move along so it wouldn't get hurt, just stood there for a moment and watched it's brown body slowly hop away. I see lots of worms and birds, talk to both of them and play the devil's advocate, warn the worms of the birds and tell the birds have fun searching for the big fat worms. I keep waiting to see a bull snake, they are prairie constrictors who feed on mice, rats and small prairie animals, I think we may be too close to town for their satisfaction. I would like to catch a few bull snakes and try to get them to live around my trailer for mice control but now have my doubts. I will be going to the animal shelter next week to get a half way grown kitten to see if that helps with the mouse problem. No matter how hard I try I can't get ride of the mice, I catch 4 and 4 more show up, the grain storage building behind my house is the biggest contributor to this challenge.
Thursday night my sponsor celebrated 30 years of sobriety, there was a roast pork/potluck supper followed by a meeting for him. I have a lot of love and respect for this man. He took me through the steps, was there for me when Mich was getting into trouble and eventually had to go into a group home. He is big time involved in state level service work, currently he is the state delegate and just returned from GSO in New York. He has guided me in service work, showing me it is about service to AA and not service to me, introduced me to others and helped me get over being shy in large gatherings. He has always told me to try and understand what things mean to me, whether it is a passage from the Big Book, discussion during a service meeting, life experiences etc. Over the last couple of years we haven't had much contact with each other due our work schedules, he is a counselor in a halfway house. When he was in his late 40's he went from being a farmer to a college student, so he was an example for me when I made my decision. We have reunited lately because I am back in state level service work and also my work schedule is such that I can attend more meetings so see him at meetings. He lives recovery, he admits what he is doing wrong and talks about what he needs to do better. He is spiritual and religious but never talks about his religion unless asked, allows others for follow their own path. I was blessed to have him as the man who guide me in my first couple of years in recovery.
I rode to the celebration with my 2nd sponsor as irony would have it. This is the woman who I am doing a Big Book study with and going through the steps again with. She became my sponsor because I saw her every Sunday morning at my home group, would talk to her and when I had a challenge call her because since she is retired I could usually reach her. I share a lot of things in common with her so find her easy to talk to the everyday stuff which gets on my nerves, she is another liberal person living in a pretty hard core conservative area. I will be finishing my 4th step tomorrow and do a 5th step either this Monday or the next. This 4th step is about relationships I have had in recovery, I don't have any resentments but I do need to look closely at the different relationships and also the hurt I allowed my sister in recovery to create within me. I can analyze what I think my part in the relationships are but believe doing a 4th and 5th step with an objective person is healthy. Another thing about this woman is; it has been very helpful to sit down and talk with someone once a week face to face. I am not a good over the phone person whether it is with a sponsor or friend, kind of suck at talking like this but face to face I open up. If I am hurting or confused about something and I need to talk to someone Now, I will make a phone call but still prefer to see someone face to face as soon as I can. I am not keen on taking online classes for this same reason, would much rather a personal interaction than an electronic one.
So it is now Sunday morning, Mich and the kids spent the night at her friends. I am sure living here is a bit of a burden for her because her friends can't come around and drink. I don't mind her drinking as long as the kids are safe. I have to trust her and God that they will not be put in harms way. If anything bad does happen then I just have grab the big bag of tools and do my best with the assistance of others to get through it all.
Last night there was another potluck and speaker gathering, it at guys place in the country west of town. I had planned on going, I got in the truck started driving west, something about driving and listening to some good music changed my mind. I felt the need to just drive and listen to music, I needed to be alone in a round about way. I say round about because I wasn't alone, I had Stevie Ray, Steve Earle and Bob Weir with me, I had my God with me. I took off on the back roads, driving about 55mph, opened my mind and eyes to the beautiful countryside. I got off the paved road and on a gravel road which runs along the Platte river, I was hoping to see some eagles but never did. I was at peace just tooling along the roads with good music playing but not aggressively loud. I like social gatherings but God was calling me to the road, back to my roots of fields and pastures, back to a shallow river winding along a gravel road, washboards and all.
I have been hitting the 5:15pm meeting at least 3 times a week, I get off at 4:30 so by the time I get to town it is meeting time. I have always enjoyed the 5:15 meeting, it is a place to gather with me like me, people seeking the same solution to the challenges in life. My other 2 meetings are my home group and the Saturday noon 12 and 12. I thought I would be going to 8pm meetings but with getting up at 5:45am I am tired and ready for bed by 9pm or 10pm at the latest. I is a pleasure to be able to hit meetings again, to interact with newcomers and people who have been around awhile. I am making some new friends and reached out to a couple of new guys who were hurting. We can only keep what we have by passing it on and everyone needs to know they are not alone or others have felt the same pain.
I checked my favorite blogs this morning and read http://octoberonine.blogspot.com/, she titled her post Happiness, I was going to change the title of this post but have decided not to, so E here is my comment back to you my friend.
I titled this Happiness/Inter-peace because this is what happiness is all about to me. It is the simple things in life, it is contentment in the mundane ordinary ups and downs in life. Even when I wasn't content with my job I found inter-peace, I found the inter-peace in just living the life which is in front of me. The good in life always out weighs the bad if we have the awareness to look for it. I have stuff going on right now which makes me a bit uncomfortable but who doesn't. Recovery has opened my mind and eyes, the spiritual awakening is seeing life in a different way. I don't like being too high or low, I like my Yin and Yang to be in balance. When the Yin and Yang get out of balance the HP nudges me to do something, like keep on driving past a social event and look at the world out my window, so smell the rain, the plants, to see things I sometimes missed when I was trapped in my addiction. I was a nature freak in my addiction too but my vision was blurred, I would see nature for a bit then it was gone because my brain would go to the dark place of self pity and despair.
The Big Book has helped my see the world around me but so have books by the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh. Having said this; I can read all I want but unless I put the words into action I am still stuck in my own pile of shit. I can have faith in my God all I want but unless I do some footwork God will not show me the things I need to see nor hear the things I need to hear.
In each thing I wrote about there is happiness and inter-peace because I was present for each and everyone. At this mornings meeting we talked about ththise common solution which has given us a way out. I have found it is from common solution I find peace and happiness.
Well campers I need to wash up yesterdays dishes, then I am helping a friend move. Hope all of you are well and know you are loved.
This isn't exactly like the elevator I am working at but it is close enough to give you an idea of what I will be talking about.
I started work on Monday, the morning was spent watching training and safety videos. After lunch the production supervisor who will be my boss took me on a tour of the plant and grounds. When I did the interview with the plant manager, he never mentioned there would be times when I would be asked to assist in cleaning the elevator from top to bottom. We first went to the shop, it was nice and organized, next we went to the elevator, my boss asked me if I was afraid of heights, well yeah I am kind of:( Side note; If you don't know it, corn dust is very explosive, so federal regulations require there be no more than an 1/8 of an inch anywhere inside of the elevator. Inside the elevator there are large tubes which transfer grain from various bins, also different pits and machines used for taking grain in and out of the elevator. We ended up at almost the very top of the elevator outside on the platforms, this is where the fear of heights kicks in, we had to climb some ladders made with round steel bars which for me are less secure feeling than wide step ladder rungs, there are cages around these ladders for safety though. On one platform there is a machine which vibrates shaking cobs, dirt clods and other debris from the corn before it is sent down a chute to be loaded on a truck, picture me standing on a 15ft by 6ft platform with only a guard rail between me and the ground some 200ft below. We also crossed a 30ft cat walk from the main bins to annex bins. So here I was walking around the top of a grain elevator probably 10 stories above the ground, checking out conduit and being shown how to clean up spills when the conduit leaks, we found one conduit where a bolt had broke through leaving a pile of corn, so it need fixed and clean in the very near future, my mind goes shit will I be up here tomorrow cleaning this up.
Driving home Monday my thoughts were turning to "what have I got myself into"? If I would have been told I would need to clean on top of the elevator and annex bins on occasion I might not of been so eager to accept the job.
Here is how the God of my understanding works in my life. I have been seeing my sponsor on Tuesday's, listening to Joe and Charlie review the Big Book and going through the steps. With my new hours Tuesday evenings won't work for her, so we changed it to Monday. I got to her house told her about the job and my day, had a good laugh over the height thing, yes there is a beautiful view of Gibbon and the surround country side but the view wasn't completely on my mind while I was up there even though I did look around. The section of the Big Book we listened to was the section on fear as it applies to the 4th step. You got it, just what I needed to hear. The solution to fear, is prayer and mediation. You would think I know this which I do but it wasn't in the forefront of my mind, so God gave me this reminder, every morning on the way to work I have prayed for strength to overcome this fear, to be aware of all the safety devices installed which keep me safe and the knowledge in time I will be walking around up there like a pro. I haven't been on top of the elevator since so not sure how the pray and mediation is going to work out:)
Tuesday, Wednesday and 1/2 of Thursday I spent with a gas powered weed eater over my shoulder. The plant has 2 large corn bunkers like the one in the picture, huge corn piles surround by a wall, there are also 3 large steel buildings east of town which hold grain during harvest. My job was to trim away all the weeds from the edges plus any areas which couldn't be taken care of by a mower. I suppose the trimmer weighs about 20lbs, my arms, hands and wrist were sore by the end of the day but I didn't mind, I was so grateful to be out of manufacturing and basking in the sunlight of the Spirit.
My awareness kicked in right off the bat. I notice the different types of plants, how some grow on the north side and others on the south side, noticed their color, fragrance if any, I chopped up a small patch of wild marijuana of which I still love the smell of. I thought about the Native Americans, I wondered which plants they used for food, medicine or other things, one plant has tough fibers so I wondered if they used the fibers like thread. I took in the smells, the smell of corn took me back to the years spending time on my uncles farm which was a mile away from our home. My boss called the smell of wet rotting grain a horrible stench but to me it was full of memories of a simpler time and place, the days of the small family farmer, of feeding corn to cattle and hogs.
This week it has been hot and muggy, high humidity and no rain except for .20 inches Wednesday night but I was enjoying every minute of it. The trimmer has plastic blades which need replaced once they are worn down, between replacing the blades and refilling the gas tank I was able to take small breaks, drink some water and rest my arms, God was looking out for me campers.
Thursday I was sent home shortly after lunch because there wasn't any work for me to do. There are 5 full time employees, all nice guys, 2 of the guys take care of the elevator doing maintenance and cleaning, 2 guys work in the open corn bunkers loading trucks and moving corn around so it can dry and one guy is a jack of all trades, does a lot of equipment maintenance. Thursday we didn't load any trucks, so 4 of the 5 guys were assigned to cleaning and doing maintenance on the elevator and other odd jobs which left me out of odd jobs. My boss told me not to come in at 7 on Friday, he would call me at 9 and let me know if he had work for me to do. So once again fear set in, fear of not getting enough hours to make ends meet. I prayed on the way home knowing with some financial discipline and faith, God would take care of me. I was called in Friday, the boss had a bunch of 2x4's which need to be removed from the edges of the bunkers, once remove I was to drive the nails out and move them to a different location. I worked from 9:45 to 4:30, had to stop a few times to assist the shop guy so it was an easy day. I also had a "duh" moment when I checked my hours, I work 7 to 4:30, I didn't calculate this before hand but it isn't an 8 hour day but a 9 hour day, 1/2 hour lunch, so even if I get cut lose on occasion I am still getting close to 40 hours, sweet relief.
So far this job change has been positive, my supervisors are good guys who thank their people for a job done well, I like the guys I work with they are all friendly and helpful without being smart asses, I enjoy working outside, my arms are turning the color of a coffee bean very fast, there isn't a lot of stress or pressure, we are given jobs and trusted to get them done. I am sure I will have down days, get bent out of share by job, be muscle sore, get really tired of a tedious task, I have to wear a hard hat and it kind of sucks. What I have remember is the reason I changed jobs and be grateful for finding this one and the new freedoms it allows me.
Having my evenings and weekends free is a joy. I have been able to go to meetings. I have my flower garden all planted, put the bulbs in last week which was the last thing to do, now I need to buy some tomato and pepper plants and maybe a cucumber plant for the pots. I have been able to adjust my sleep pattern fairly quickly, awake at 5:45am and asleep by 10ish. Mich has been fairly good at doing the housework and keeping dishes washed. I cook supper but don't mind, I prefer to cook what I am in the mood for and try to make it something the kids will eat also. I have put pressure on Mich about a couple of things and will continue to do so. Angel and Carter are just who they are, 2 little kids who want to be with their papa as much as possible, Angel loves to watch me cook and help out, I have carefully allowed her to stir things, hold the mixer when I mix a cake mix, scramble eggs and other things, yeah she is kind of in my way but believe this is something special between us and she is learning in the process. Carter is just a very busy 2 year old, swear the kid is ADHD, he is teaching me more about patience, he is also very stubborn so I have to think of creative ways to correct his wrong behavior. Mich is good about correcting the kids but when I am home they both gravitate towards me, she does understand I need my space and helps me get it as much as possible.
Well campers, this is how things are going in my world. I hope and pray your lives are going well and you are finding some peace, love and light. Remember to take the time to smell the wonderful smells of spring and listen to the birds sing and squirrels chat.
I had over 9 years of soberity got compliancent and spent 10 years digging my way towards a new bottom, I put the shovel down November 2006 and am living a life full of love and happiness, I have found a new spiritual path in life and even though I feel like a fish out of water sometimes, I enjoy life to the fullest and leave the negativity for others. Started this blog as a means to post my ramblings or writings. Thanks go to Dylan for the blog name. I really believe that if in someway we aren't learning/being born from lifes experience then we are dying. Every day I can learn something if I have my eyes open and am aware the choice is mine. I am not a saint nor I am I a sinner, I am just you and you are me and we make mistakes but we also have a lot to be grateful for. I have a wonderful daughter and we have a good relationship today, I put her through hell with my drinking and thanks to recovery the wounds have healed. I also have 2 beautiful grandchildren which I write about often, once again being in recovery has allow me to be a big part of their lives, we have a strong and loving bond.