Friday, December 17, 2004

Sobriety in Everyday Living

I got a new job. I've essentially been unemployed for a few months, though I cut a deal with my last employer that wanted to get rid of me, so I was still on the payroll but didn't have to show up.

This job is a career change for me. Another career change. This is roughly my fourth career in the past 25 years. The first three careers weren't what I wanted. Why not? Well... the problem with them was always everyone but me, and everything but my drinking.

So why should I think I will succeed in this job? Well, this time I'm not thinking about "succeeding" in it. One big change is that I will be showing up for work without a hangover, and with adequate sleep, every day. If it is God's purpose for me to "succeed" in this job, and I do my part by doing "the next indicated thing" each day, then it will go well. If I don't do my part, I will fail. If God's purpose actually lies elsewhere for me, that will become clear on God's timetable, whether this job goes well or not.

One nice thing -- a signal from God perhaps? -- is that there's an AA meeting every day at noon two blocks from the office.

So, when I get back home after Christmas, I'll be starting a new job. It will impose some badly needed structure on my daily routine that has been lacking since I started my recovery. The timing is good: I don't think I was far enough in my recovery before now to be able to handle the demands of a new job. Besides, I'm starting to run out of money... :)

I structured my routine primarily around AA meetings for the first weeks of my recovery. Since my wife left me the second time, we've been splitting the time our toddler son spends with each of us. I haven't had the boy on a regular schedule yet, and it's thrown my routine into chaos that I haven't been able to organize.

He's a demanding child at this stage of his development, and mommy and daddy's split has been hard on him. I find it hard to have the patience and strength to care for him as well as I should and want to. I haven't been able to look for work, maintain the house, work my recovery program, and pay adequate attention to him. Which, of course, makes me feel guilty, inadequate and incompetent. (Alcoholics, I'm told, are prone to perfectionism, and shame when they are less than perfect -- who, me???) The past few weeks my priorities have been:
  1. Finding work
  2. Working my program
  3. Spending time with my son
  4. Household stuff
So you can imagine what the house looks like...

Once I start work my son will be in day care (guilt, guilt) regularly. I'll have even less time to balance my son, household stuff and my program.

It's pretty clear my recovery program must come first. As I wrote the other day, I'm working Step Three. One result of Step Three that I anticipate is putting into action God's purpose for me each day. In concrete terms, that's doing what I need to do each hour of each day. I need to look to God to organize and schedule my day.

If I work my program, step by step, everything else will fall into place.

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