Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

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Be The Light….

November 16, 2012

… which serves to illuminate for others.

Time rushes by with little time for self reflection. Lynda and I have a couple of hours a day through the week when she has done her workday, and prior to me leaving the house for mine. We cook together or alternate and enjoy the meal and catch-up time. Weekends I work days so I’m back for dinner and the evening. Tomorrow night we’re planning an evening around the firepit, possibly with our next door neighbours. Chillin’ on a chilly evening bundled up next to a nice blaze.

I think I’m up around 35 days without a day off…. some days I’m exhausted and don’t know how I’ll cope with our clients. (They can be a pretty demanding bunch.) But then the energy reserve kicks in and cope I do. It really is all about them while they are in our care. Five months in and we’re pleased with how things are going… good success rate; a few slips or relapses. I’m assured by my manager that I will be working a straight day shift gig within a couple of weeks.¬†Just checked the sobriety calculator and this alky is 3,407 consecutive days clean and sober. Working with new people seeking recovery helps keep me that way.

Lynda’s youngest son has closed his chip truck for the season and moved back in with us a couple of months ago so that is a bit of a blessing. Less running around getting his supplies and other errands. He has just hooked up with a g’friend for the first time in years so that ought to keep him occupied. ūüėČ

I plan to revamp this page soon and get rid of some dead links; get back into the swing and renew contact with some folks. I’ve been occupied on Facebook and once in a while post on Twitter. Making a few new & cool friends there. Will try to spend more time here soon. Ciao for now.

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29/07/2011

July 29, 2011

How’s that for a catchy title, huh?? A real eye-grabber.

What’s new…. hmmm…

Well, my grand-daughter Madison turned 3 the other day. If you didn’t catch this post on FaceBook here is the link to a photo session that her parents arranged: http://video214.com/play/O‚Äč5eCA4jJ7Y394cYFdiecSw/s/da‚Äčrk¬†. Such a sweetie. I sent a message to my daughter-in-law Melissa¬†saying I wish I could visit way more often so I could see the changes in Madison as she is growing. It is also less than a month before Melissa is due to deliver baby #2, ‘C’ section scheduled for Aug 25. They had some prego pics done as well, here: http://video214.com/play/DMyKs0m4wzgJVdj2360mUA/s/dark

Oh, glory-be!

Last week I marked off another successful year of ongoing sobriety through working the miracle which is the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know I have thought this previously in this my¬†twisted life’s journey but….. if I can stay sober through this past year I can survive anything. One day at a time and all that good stuff.

straight around

I’m glad I keep book review columns that I see in the newspaper otherwise I likely would have missed out on reading Rodney Crowell’s ‘Chinaberry Sidewalks’. I finished reading it last night and it was a terrific piece of memoir. He had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let up till it was all done. Highly recommended –¬†5 stars.

rush

Lynda and I enjoyed having g’son¬†Owen with us for all of last week – he’s quite a character. We’ve also been getting out doing a few social things due to the fact that I have my weekends off (PTL). Tomorrow night we’re heading into Toronto for an evening with some of the folks I went through my Addiction Studies course with…. probably be a dozen or so of us. We haven’t done one of these get-togethers for a few years so it ought to be interesting.

 

lazing around at the flea market

Have a good weekend, folks. Time to get cleaned up for work tonight.

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‘Spring Has Sprung,

April 13, 2011

the grass has riz,

I wonder where,

the birdies is?’

A little ditty my Dad used to recite each year. We don’t really have to wonder where the birdies are because we’re woken by all manner of birdsong each morning. About the only one I’m used to hearing and haven’t as yet is the Baltimore Oriole. I’ve seen robins, finches, grackles, sparrows, cranes, ducks, geese, buzzards, hawks, an eagle, a falcon (which almost nabbed a mourning dove from our yard; narrow miss) We’ve had a few warm spells that last a few hours before the north wind swoops back in and takes us back near zero. Saturday Lynda and I spent a good portion of the afternoon and early evening raking up the yards, spelling one another and soaking up the rays.

Maple-cicle

Here is something we had never seen before – taken a couple of Sundays ago. A small branch had broken off during the winter and once the sap began to run started to drip. It was still below freezing and the sap froze as it dripped. These icicles were as thin as parchment and, you know me, had to taste it to see how sweet it was. And it was, too.

A couple of months ago my work assignment changed from one of the local university buildings to a building on it’s associated college campus. having got to know some of the staff I approached one of the women in their career services department to critique my CV. (An ethical stretch to be sure but hey!, I’ve got boundary issues, don’t ya know?) Anyway she’s supposed to get back to me this week with her suggestions and it got me motivated to tackle the re-write once again. This work assignment is supposed to end in a couple of weeks and I haven’t any idea where I’ll be going. My supervisor is trying to hang onto me and has a spot in mind but the shift rotation is crazy awful…. can’t see it. I’ll take my chances and turn that one down.

Shadowy Man

The kitchen reno has turned into a marathon. Some special order porcellain back splash tile was picked and sent wrong resulting in another 2 week wait. It is supposed to be installed tomorrow and perhaps we’ll be able to sort the house out after that is done. Get the kitchen table back from the basement; arrange things to our liking, etc. Lynda’s youngest son has been here for the last couple of weeks and that is always a strain as he is quite a slob. She’s ready to pull her hair out. Thankfully he chose to go spend a night in his own bed last night so we all get a break from one another.

A Pennsylvania singer / songwriter by the name of Brett Detar had a post that I picked up on offering a free download of his first solo album. Here’s a link to a 30 second video containing a few of my photos¬†that uses a segment of one of his songs. His material is hard to pigeon-hole; sorta folky / roots but with an edge. I like his vocals and overall instrumentation and production.

http://animoto.com/play/aH1oBy3GH2V0mO7AonD2Lg 

Time to clean up and face another day of work. Just checked the sobriety calculator and today is 2,825 days. Who’da thunk it? See you sooner than later I hope.

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Dashing Off Notes

December 4, 2009

** We tied a 70 year old record for having a snowless November. Woo-Hoo! Colder weather is upon us and the white stuff could start any time now.

** Getting political Рjust sent a letter to several local and provincial politicians to protest planned cuts to funding for local mental health and addictions services. Per capita funding is way below average.

** My smoking quit is more a reduction for the time being – cut use by half. Not great but better. Yeah, yeah… I’ll get on it.

** I attended that meditation¬†session back on Tuesday and enjoyed it; found it to be beneficial. I’m getting details on whose recording we were listening to and will share them later. Prior to – they had a labyrinth¬†set up in an adjoining room and I walked it. It will be there once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. Similar design to ‘Chartres’ but a wee bit different. Walking palms down inward letting go; upward on the way back out receiving. A bit of self-care.

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A Quick Thanks

November 5, 2009

Your supportive messages mean a lot to me – Kel, Robin, Lea, SuzieQ, cousin BJ, ybonesy – and are much appreciated.

With Terry’s funeral over yesterday my focus shifts more completely to the job search. … and OH, I did the right thing back on Monday and saw my doctor – he prescribed a heavy-duty antibiotic. His major concern is that this illness has lasted for so long – it’s a month since it began as a minor cold. So far the antibiotic doesn’t appear to be doing anything so perhaps it’s viral not bacterial.

State of mind and time/opportunity will dictate when I’ll start back into regular posts once again. With some work and luck maybe I’ll have something more positive to report soon. I’m using my contacts to generate job leads and working overtime on the on-line posting sites. Truth be told I’m full of fear for the future and stressed to the max – sick and run-down. All in all not a good combination but I’m coping and working it ‘one day at a time’ – one thing at a time. Once again everyone – thanks for staying in touch. I feel the positive vibes radiating my way. Bless you all.

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Guidelines

October 28, 2009

In the comment section of the previous post I made¬†reference to¬†the Serenity Prayer. Routinely, the first 4 lines from this ‘long version’ are recited¬†to open¬†A.A. meetings in this area (and many others). For anyone who isn’t familiar with it…. it helps keep me from sitting on the fence. By using this I’m better able to let go of things beyond my control and get on with the work on things I can influence the outcome of.

God grant me the SERENITY to
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it:

Trusting that He will make all things
right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen

This journey in recovery from alcoholism brought about¬†¬†the process of redefining my identity and attaching once again to ethics, values and ‘humanness’. This prayer has played an important part in my attitudes to others; in being of service to others. The Prayer of St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

 
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

 
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

What jumps out at you in this? What do you use for your personal guides? Care to share?

SSPX0420

autumn rushes

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Things Fall Apart

October 27, 2009

through a glass, lightly

Where to begin? First off; If you’re looking for good news you had best move on.

Back on Friday morning I came to work for a staff meeting expecting a ‘state of the union’ address by both our CEO and Director of Operations updating the lot of us on how bad the numbers are on paper and according to budget. Instead of getting into the numbers they went straight to the bottom line….. they are closing this¬†centre for a minimum of 6 months and all staff here are laid off come this Friday, Oct 30. Head office and both treatment centres in Toronto remain intact and operational. We are the sacrificial lambs….. 8 counsellors, 2 night staff, 2 cooks, our maintenance guy and oh, our manager got blindsided, too.

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to the dump, dump, dump

I’ve been through this before when I was caught in a major restructuring back in 2003 which ended a 30 year career in pre-press in commercial print. On this¬†occasion I was no less surprised, shocked, outraged, or disappointed. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in ‘On Death and Dying’ there are 5 stages in the grief process when you lose someone close to you. Those same 5 stages have been found in those losing their vocation. I can confirm that I’ve experienced stages 1 and 2 – Disbelief/Denial and Anger; moved right past the Bargaining stage and into stage 4, Grief and Depression. Having had a few days to process this I’m working on #5 Acceptance but with little success so far. I’ve been pretty occupied being angry and depressed. Angry at¬†what I perceive as mismanagement and disregard; depressed as new job prospects are slim and I’ll miss my coworkers and our clients.

‘On Becoming a National Statistic’: the current national unemployment rate is 8.4%. Locally it is 9.6%. Those stats are built of straw as they don’t recognize the many who have given up looking for work. Job listings in local papers have shrunk in the last year from multiple pages to a single page. Most on-line ads are for call centres, McJobs, personal attendants for the elderly and disabled, and factory line work. Last week I saw an ad for the first time in over a year in the addictions field. Within an hour of arriving home Friday my CV and cover letter had been sent.

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my cranium - internal view

Lots of credit to Lynda; these last 5 or 6 years haven’t been a lot of fun for her. Beginning with my job loss and a long term of unemployment; supporting me while I went back to college for a year; backing me in this new career direction. She surprised me with how well she took the layoff news. ‘What can go wrong, will go wrong’; shrug, *hug*. When I asked if she minded if I carried through with my plan to attend the weekend conference she simply said, ‘No sense hanging around here stewing about something you can’t change. Go hang with your A.A.. buddies.’ I finished packing and waited for my ride to pick me up.

I was thankful to get away and have a full weekend of workshops and meetings to keep me occupied. My home group’s new¬†GSR ( General Service Rep) Francis did the driving and we shared a room. We attended a couple of workshops together but mainly split up so we could cover a greater variety of topics. There were quite a number of people I knew there either from having attended the same meetings locally or because they had been through treatment¬†here. This was my first opportunity to attend one of these regional Assemblies and I’m really glad I went. Interesting to see how the service structure operates above the group and district levels, right on up to world headquarters in New York city. Alcoholics Anonymous home page.

(In case anyone is curious…. no, I didn’t experience any cravings for a drink.)

There won’t be any sitting around collecting unemployment benefits and waiting to be recalled to work. So far as I’m concerned I’m done here…. plus I don’t trust the powers-that-be. I think the 6 month layoff is a way for them to get out of paying severance – most of us would look for other work and if employed elsewhere they aren’t obliged to pay anything.

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Catch-up Monday

July 27, 2009

With all the bands of rain we’ve had during the last week I had better seize this wee window of opportunity to tend to the lawns. There has been no time lately when the grass has been dry enough to cut. If I don’t get out there I’ll need a hay-baler soon.

I’ve already dropped Freedom off at the vet for her surgery and dropped into Mom’s place on the way back for a visit. Great news on that front – she made an offer on a condo last night which was accepted this morning. W00-Hoo!! Nice to have that concern off her plate. Big move at her age.

Tonight I chair my A.A. home group and I have asked a woman friend of mine to be the speaker – Cindy has some good sobriety under her belt to share about. Her sponsor and my friend Audrey (who I’ve mentioned here before) has come down wuite ill so I don’t expect to see her there but she’s in my prayers. At 88 or 89 even a garden variety virus can be devastating to the system. God love her.

Mus go & get at it. Pitter-patter; let’s get at ‘er.

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Doppelgänger

July 26, 2009

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Doppelg√§nger: In the vernacular, “Doppelg√§nger” has come to refer¬† to any double or look-alike¬†of a person.

Earlier tonight one of our clients calls me aside and says, ‘ I finally figured out who you remind me of; it’s Peter Fonda.’

‘Hmmm…???’, I’m thinking. Okay, is this a set-up?? Where is the zinger coming from?

Yeah?, I say.’ The more current one of ‘Ulee’s Gold? (1997)¬†Or the old one from ‘Easy Rider’? (1969)

Peter Fonda - 1997

Peter Fonda - 1969

‘Oh – definitely Easy Rider’, he says.

‘Good answer’, sez I.

(Buddy should really get his eyes checked.)

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Mistaken Identity:

A few weeks¬†ago I had just arrived at work wearing a dark crewneck shirt that had a cream-coloured band around the neck, a collarless black shirt over it and a grey jacket. From 15 feet away the mother of one of our guests looked my way and said to her son, ‘My, I didn’t know they had clergy on staff here, as well.’

in my father's house

in my father's house

I laughed nervously as I waited for the bolt of lightning to smite me straight to hell. From on high my father is laughing his butt off. ‘Say WHAT???’

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Self Image; Self Esteem; and the Face we present to the world

Recently someone (who shall remain nameless) commented on a shot I had posted here of myself and called me ‘handsome’. My reaction to the compliment was same as always – HUH!?!? – I never know what to do with them when they come my way. I suppose it’s because I don’t think much of my looks and like most folks I ‘get up, suit up, present the best face I can, and show up’. Like Popeye always said, ‘I y’am what I am and that’s all that’s I y’am.’ Gotta work with what God gives ya.

I think I could get a consensus to this proposition – 10% of the population would get classed as attractive, beautiful, handsome; at the other end, 10% would be lumped in as unattractive, ugly, hard on the eyes; the rest of us – the other 80% fall somewhere in the big middle ground.

A post I was reading last night included a section where the gal used to play a game with herself – ‘if I could change one thing about myself it would be…..’. Well, as I’m starting to show the signs of my advancing age that one thing would be my eyelids. I’m getting this hooded look to my eyes that I don’t like but in the big scheme of things…. so what?? I’m not going under the knife anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Far more importamt to me these days than the external is anyone’s internal composition – heart, mind and soul sorts of stuff. By the time I sought help for my problems with addiction I was a hurting unit bled practically dry of identity and self-esteem. This process of recovery I’ve engaged in for the last 6 years has been very much¬†one of ¬†re-building; putting things back together when you don’t have all the original pieces. At first it was all about substance, the absence of it¬†and finding ways to a new state of ‘normalcy’. Then it got to be about re-attaching to roles – son, husband, father, friend, employee. Finally it came about to integrating values, ethics, qualities of character, moral beliefs and living a life that included spirituality. From that eventual internal foundation I’ve been able to move more to outside concerns where I’ve been allowed to be of use to others – family, friends, clients¬†and strangers. It’s being open to ongoing change, adopting an attitude of willingness and engaging in action toward improvement. Progress not perfection….. hand steady on the tiller.

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When is the last time someone confused you for somebody else or told you that you strongly resemble someone??

Has anyone ever thought you actually were someone you aren’t??

How do you deal with compliments?? How do you feel when complimented??

Do you feel good about how you look?? Satisfied?? or, are there things about your appearance you would change, given the chance?

How do you feel about your internal condition?? Mental, emotional, spiritual??

If other people could see / hear the nature of how you think would they be terribly surprised??

Have some fun and comment.

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Computer Withdrawal

July 20, 2009

I’M BACK….. woo-hoo!! Lord, that was a long week. Like I said in a previous post I didn’t really intend to be away from here so much¬†but that’s just how things worked out. Lynda and I get very little face-to-face time and once she decided to take the week off we got down to spending pretty much every waking moment together…. doing stuff.

There were a couple of visits from out of town family; lots of time spent working around the house; time spent with Mom; with the pets; cooking. Every day was a busy one from morning til night. It’s almost a relief to be back at work for a rest, ha, ha. By the end of my last work week I was absolutely exhausted and was hoping for a quiet, relaxing couple of days to catch up on some rest. Hah!! ‘No rest for the wicked’, apparently.

It’s now 7 weeks since our older dog Freedom had that surgery on her leg and as a result we’ve been pretty much house bound. (We’ve both been craving more outside time and freedom from the constraints of tending to the dog.) Freedom is still on the mend – gimping and limping about – but she’s well enough now to be spending more time on her own. Actually there is no holding her back now either. She trashed the lower part of the basement staircase when we left her the other day – she hasn’t destroyed anything since she was a pup. Today she managed to break out of the second of two cages we had borrowed. Now she will have the run of the house when we go out – the heck with trying to keep her contained.

As to the ‘withdrawal’ – lemme tell ya, it has taken some getting used to… not having ready access to a computer on a regular basis. I had been taking maybe 10 minutes a day to check banking and emails each day and that’s pretty much it. Harsh!! And I still have about 100 unread emails in one account to hash through. So, tonight has been spent reading up on a couple of fave blogs but I’m nowhere near caught up with everyone.

Two bits of good news – Mom’s house was listed last Monday and sold Thursday night. Now she and sister Linda are into their own housing search.

Lynda¬†and I really enjoyed our time at the wedding on Saturday – beautiful ceremony, great location for both the wedding and reception, wonderful food, lots of dancing to some great tunes. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We didn’t make it home until about 2:30 a.m. – not bad for a couple of old farts.

Oh, and another personal milestone…. today marks 6 years sober for me, o.d.a.a.t. Another miracle.

Things should settle back into a more regular pattern tonight. This evening has also been spent getting organized for the week ahead and I’m in good shape now.