Thursday, September 27, 2012

Every Step on the Path is Required

I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I have ended up where I need to be.
Douglas Adams

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.

Peace Love Light

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All is Quiet, All is Well

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.

Peace Love Light