I wrote this blog on September 7th, 2021 for a topic in a meeting that I was chairing and I posted on my profile on InTheRooms.comI wanted to share it here.
As usual I was sitting in a meeting in my other home group Global Steps A.A. and boom there it hit me.
How do I live with MYSELF in SOBRIETY?
This can be either a perfect question to answer or an extremely loaded question depending on whether or not we are WORKING THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.
When I was drinking and using, I did not have the capacity to live with myself. I was trying to kill myself through all of the drinking and using that I did. I couldn’t stand who I was and not because I was gay; not because I had been thriving not just surviving with HIV/AIDS since January 1997; not because of issues that I was having with jobs, my husband and my family; I just couldn’t live with myself and I wanted to be gone.
That all changed this time around on January 4, 2020 when I woke up and said ENOUGH is ENOUGH! I truly meant it when I said I AM SICK AND TIRED of being SICK AND TIRED. I dived right in and became determined to WORK THE PROGRAM of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS and not work Gregory’s program any longer, because Gregory’s program has never worked.
So today, I am able to LIVE WITH MYSELF IN SOBRIETY. I am able to live with myself in sobriety because of all of those things mentioned above and the wonderful living amends that I have been making to my family, my job, and of course myself. You see living with myself began by me starting with FORGIVENESS for myself and to stop blaming others for everything else that I have done to myself and to them. I guarantee that anything that I did to them was not caused by them, it was caused by my own actions or inactions during my drinking and using.
Today, I may have tough days, but my worst days sober are so much more livable than my best days drinking and using. Today I look in the mirror and I say thank you to my Higher Power for granting me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change – I am an Alcoholic -; the courage to change the things I can – I do not have to drink or use today -; the wisdom to know the difference – the ability to step back and breathe when things are not going my way.
Today, I LOVE ME, ALL OF ME and I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me, why? Because if they ain’t paying my bills, I pay them no mind!!!!
Because of all of my fellows, my Higher Power whom I choose to call GOD and working the PROGRAM – I will stay SOBER JUST FOR TODAY!!
That’s what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!!
Linda has given us the prompt of “list” for today’s#SoCS.
Enjoy this lyric video of For King and Country’s “Never Give Up”.
Yesterday I celebrated 11 months of SOBRIETY because I have never given up. My last drink was on January 3rd, 2020. I have not done it on my own, it has taken a lot of work with my sponsor, attending/chairing/sharing in face to face meetings at my home group the Goliad Group along with service work as the Group Secretary; attending/chairing/sharing in meetings at my online home group Global Steps Alcoholics Anonymous that just happens to meet in the hall of In The Rooms.
But there is also an important list of 12 everyday things that must happen if I am to remain SOBER!
When I wake up in the morning, I thank my Higher Power whom I choose to call God for waking me up and not bringing me to.
I ask my Higher Power to assist me throughout the day with keeping my character defects in check – yes, I do have a lot of character defects and I turn my will over everything in my life for the day to Him. His will be done and not mine!
I keep in contact with my sponsor and other alcoholics that help keep me sober.
I go throughout my day doing the next right, best thing to keep me sober.
I share in my online meetings.
I chair online meetings twice a week.
I attend and share in my face to face meetings.
I chair one face to face meeting on Monday evenings at the Goliad Group.
I do spot-check self inventories throughout the day.
I recite the Serenity Prayer sometimes many, many, many times throughout the day.
The most important thing that I do is “I DO NOT PICK UP THAT FIRST FRINK OR ANY OTHER SUBSTANCE I USED TO USE” just for today.
When I go to bed, I thank my Higher Power for ASSISTING me throughout the day to help keep me SOBER just for today!
Enjoy this video of For King and Country’s “Control”.
That’s what’s in My Rattled Cage, thanks for stopping by!
As a person in recovery from alcoholism and addiction sometimes it can be exhausting to remain optimistic when just as you think things are going well a wrench is thrown into the mix. I opt to write about a couple wrenches that have been thrown into my mix that is beginning to wear on my optimism, yet is not wearing on my sobriety which is a great thing.
Over the summer I had a great opportunity to gain a temporary position through Leading Edge Personnel at The University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) as an OMS IV Phase II Coordinator making really good money and loving what I was doing because it was out of my normal realm of work. That all changed on 10/30/20 when I was leaving campus, where I had been working because they are doing construction work on the house next door, and I received a call from Leading Edge Personnel as I am driving home. They were calling to inform me that my assignment at the university had ended effective that day at 5PM.
I was in shock, dismay, anger and just down right flabbergasted because as far as I knew I was doing a great job and progressing to possibly being hired on by the university proper. I did not see this coming at all. Over the weekend I regrouped and kept my optimism that I would be fine and I did not drink over it. I let Leading Edge know that I was available for placement and I reached out to some fellow colleagues from UIWSOM to ask if I could use them as professional references or if they would write one for Zip Recruiter and they all said yes or simply said that anyone could call them for a reference as well. I immediately updated the resume and got it out on Zip Recruiter, Career Builder, LinkedIn and Indeed.
On 11/2 I accepted a placement through Leading Edge Personnel and reported on 11/3, Election Day here in the US, to Hazel’s Hotshot Freight Company at a much lower rate of pay, but yet I still opted to keep my optimism that all would be okay. Well, that didn’t last long for a couple of reasons. the first being that there was not enough work for the 3 temps they had brought on board and so we spent at least 2 hours or longer each day doing nothing. The second being I knew after the first day that I was not a good fit for this company based off of conversations overheard in the very open workspace. On Wednesday, I told the person who was my supervisor at Hazel’s that it is not within my work ethic to sit around and get paid for doing nothing. I stuck it out until Monday 11/9 when I began to harbor a really big resentment towards this company. During my lunch hour that day I reached out to Leading Edge as to the process of not returning to an assignment. They said I had to give a two-day notice. After lunch me an colleagues sat there for another hour doing nothing and the resentment was growing stronger. I spoke to the supervisor and reminded her of our previous conversation, I said this is just not for me and she said “okay, you can go home.” I did go home and opted to send an email to Leading Edge to inform them of the situation and to ask if they would make an exception to the 2-day rule. I did not hear from them the entire week.
On Thursday I applied for unemployment because you have to wait 3 business days to allow the agency to place you. I again reached out to Leading Edge to express some further concerns as to why I was not a good fit for that assignment and they said they would put me down as available for placement. On 11/16 I called in to say I was available and I was told okay, we put you down. On 11/19 I received correspondence from the Texas Workforce Commission that they can pay me benefits
“Reason for Decision: Our investigation found your employer fired you because you were unable to perform your assigned work to their satisfaction. This is not considered misconduct connected with the work.”
I reached out to Leading Edge to ask them if I had been terminated from the temporary agency and I was informed that yes, they were no longer going to even try to place me. Again, I opted to remain optimistic and keep my positive attitude and keep applying for positions that I am qualified for.
Moving forward, the rest of this post is a cautionary tale. Then, out of the blue I was contacted by a company called Hillensquare Real Estate for a position of Realtor Assistant making $2,900 every two weeks or every 14 business days of work. I went to their website and clicked on their tabs, etc. not paying nearly enough attention to what was not on their website – such as who the founders, president, VP of operations, what awards they had been truly given etc. I trusted my own instincts and decided to take a leap of faith. on 11/19 I signed a contract that looked legitimate, a confidentiality agreement that looked legitimate and sent them a picture of my driver’s license for a background check. On 11/20 I got notification that my background check had passed, that should have been a red flag because I have never had a background check clear in less than 24 hours. So, on 11/23 I opted to begin work for “Hillensquare” and began with my first task which was due in 24 hours. I submitted it on 11/24 and received task 2 due in24 hours. I submitted task 2 and received task 3 due on Friday 11/27 by 9AM due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
By now I had told everybody about this great opportunity and how the company had reached out to me. On Thursday when I saw my sister in Fredericksburg, TX, by the way a beautiful drive in the Hill Country, she said – “you gave them your bank information?” – I said yes it was a legitimate direct deposit form. On Friday morning, I submitted task 3 and received task 4. I also spoke to my best friend and she was like, – “did you fully investigate and vet this company because there are a lot of employment scams out there?” I told her sure, I went to their website etc. and this looked like a legitimate company.
Well, after that conversation I began to gain a resentment and did do an about face and did all of the research and investigating I should have, I checked them out through scamadvisor.com/check-website/hillensquare.com. The domain name hillensquare.com has only been in existence since 10/1/20. There is no information as to who the domain is owned by because it is blocked by a service called WhoIsGuard by the domain registrar namecheap.com. When you click on the website it travels through no less than five IP addresses. They have never been awarded anything. There is no affiliation with the Better Business Bureau, in fact on 11/9 there were already 2 employment scam reports on Hillensquare with the BBB. The company has absolutely no social media presence nor does the so-called HR Manager Amanda Smith if that was really their name.
I then opted to email Amanda Smith and let her know everything that I learned about Hillensquare and told them that if they were a legitimate company then in good faith, they would be able to immediately direct deposit 4 days of pay $848 into my account and that I required a response by 3PM CST. Needless to say, I received no response nor did Amanda Smith respond to messages on WhatsApp which is how we had been communicating throughout the week. I have not lost any money because I have no money to lose, I just lost a little bit of my PRIDE!
After this, did I become depressed and angry at myself for falling for this crap – yes, I did. Did I drink over it – NO I DID NOT!! I remained optimistic that I will find a new position and my Higher Power whom I choose to call God will place me where I belong. On Friday 12/4/20, God willing, I will celebrate 11 months of SOBRIETY, through the pandemic and changing jobs several times throughout the year – I have opted to remain optimistic and remained SOBER, CLEAN and SERENE through my face to face home group the Goliad Group and through my online home group Global Steps Alcoholics Anonymous that just happens to meet in the church hall of In The Rooms.
Just to be clear if you are contacted by a company for an employment opportunity, keep your eyes peeled for what is not on their website and make sure you do due diligence in your investigation of the company before even considering going to work or signing any type of contract, etc.
That’s what’s in My Rattled Cage, thanks for stopping by.
There is nothing worse than trying to find lids to the containers in the plastic to go cabinet in the kitchen. Wait, there is something worse, when you specifically buy containers with lids that stack together and your husband refuses to fall in line with that practice.
I cannot tell you how many I say, “Mr. Herrera, I buy these types of containers because of their ability to help save space and to keep the containers and lids together in one simple place. You see on Sundays I cook Sunder dinner and I deliver food to some very special people – my mother in law, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and some other friends of ours.
It is very annoying searching for containers and then not finding the lids because he has put them in a drawer where they don’t belong.
On a different topic, I am getting better a placing certain things that have come up in my recovery into different MENTAL containers, some would say compartments – but aren’t they really the same thing?
For example when the old resentment player decides to suddenly crank up, I shut it off and throw it back into the far reaches of the resentment container in the brain. I have been blessed that over the last 8 months and 22 days I have not had to throw the desire to drink into it’s mental container – because I haven’t had any desire to drink.
What I do have to make sure stays in their respective mental containers are my character defects of impatience, sometimes being impulsive, speeding (for which I just completed my Defensive Driving Course for getting a ticket for going 86 in a 70 on a country road in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas on 9/5/20 when I went to see my family on a spur of the moment trip), finding faults in others that I do not like about myself. I could go on and on with this list.
How do I keep those things where they belong? I wake up every day and thank my Higher Power whom I choose to call God for waking mu ep and not just bringing me to. I ask for His guidance in all that I do by turning everything over to the care of God as I understand him. I make meetings whether online or face to face. I do the best right thing. I do not pick up that first drink. At the end the day I again thank my Higher Power for being my partner in recovery JUST FOR TODAY! I am continuing to work on my 4ht step and I am in constant contact with my sponsor and I have the best support system in the world.
That’s what’s in My Rattled Cage today, thanks for stopping by.
Today Linda has given us “sharp” as our prompt for this week’s #SoCS.
When I was younger I would be called sharp as a whip. As I became a teenager I became sharp as a pencil. As I moved through adulthood i was ranging from being sharp as a tack to being as sharp as a double edged sword with my fiery tacky sense of humor at times along with my very sharp tongue.
Today I deal a different type of sharpness. You see I have always been a go-getter especially when it comes to my work ethic. I currently find myself being called sharp in how I work, but I am also being called eager. Eager can be both a positive and a negative meaning that it can definitely be a sharp double edged sword.
The other double edged sword that I have to be very careful with is my recovery. I am very cognoscente that I must not stand still in my recovery, If I do I will be cut by that edge of the sword that cares nothing about me and my recovery.
September is National Recovery Month. We all know I am an open book and I am proud that I am in recovery! The last few years have been a struggle, but I am so proud to say I have 8 months of sobriety today. Unfortunately it took my husband Cruzer having open heart surgery in December of 2019 and me not taking it well for me to really wake up, but I am woke!
I am blessed to have a huge support network in my family, friends and my fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. But it is important to note that the number one thing that I have in my recovery is my Higher Power whom choose to call GOD!
If you know someone who is struggling with any type of addiction please let them know about a really great supplement to face to face meetings. In The Rooms that has meetings all day everyday for almost every type of addiction you can think of. I have a home group online Global Steps AA, that has a total of 64 meetings per week and just happens to meet in the church of In The Rooms!!!
So in order for me to be sure and handle the edge of the sword that does care about my recovery the way that I do, I do some pretty simple steps. I remain sharp as a tack in regards to my character defects coming to the surface and nip them in the bud. I thank my higher power whom I choose to call God every morning for allowing me to wake up and not just come to. I am in constant contact with my sponsor. I am currently working on my 4th step.
I love doing service, in fact I truly believe that in 2016 when I turned 50, the whole reasoning behind my major relapse and then continuing to have issues with relapse and recovery – was because I had gotten mad at folks in my home group the Goliad Group and my online group – and I quit doing any type of service.
You see, I always say, I cannot keep what I do not give away freely!!!!!! That is a true statement if I am doing some sort of service for my fellow alcoholics then I cannot keep my sobriety. Today I chair meetings at my face to face home group and in my online home group. I share in every meeting that I can, because I never know who I will touch with my words of experience, strength and hope.
So as long I continue to work this sharp program of recovery, I WILL REMAIN SHARP AS A TACK!!!!
That’ what’s in MY Rattled Cage, thanks for stopping by!!
This week Jim has given us the four elements of Air/Earth/Fire/Water as our prompts for #SLS. I have chosen to share Matt Maher’s Firelight and on a different chord Brad Paisley’s Water. I love both of these songs for different reasons. Firelight is a reminder that I do need God and Jesus to be my FIRELIGHT in my life. Brad Paisley’s love affair with water is every child and adult’s story if you think about it, the video for this song is pretty cool also!!
Dear Jesus where are you tonight I bear a sadness deep inside I’m aching for a faith in things I strain to feel I need to know that you are real
Oh Savior open up my eyes I wanna see You like a child There is a haze on the horizons of my heart Dear Jesus show me where you are
Be my firelight, be my firelight Burning fierce and bright, be my firelight
How do I move on and be free From all these things that I have seen All of my memories are turning into scars Oh my God put back what’s been torn apart
Be my firelight, be my firelight Burning fierce and bright, be my firelight
If anyone remembers my name If I’m ever known for anything Let it be I ran into the night Running with a firelight, firelight
Cause I don’t wanna stroll the streets of gold While there’s still a soul to love Let me run into the night Running with a firelight, firelight Burning with a firelight, firelight
Today Linda has given us “SONG” as our prompt for #SoCS with the following: “First, find a picture–the closest one to you. Your prompt is the title and/or the lyrics of the first song that comes to mind when you look at the picture.”
This picture hangs above my desk on the left hand wall. It was given to me probably 15 years ago by one of my best friends Martha, she and I have been best friends since we worked together at SITEL Corporation in 1999. It is the first picture I saw as I read the prompt from Linda. The first song I thought of was Send Me An Angel by Real Life from 1983. The video below is from 1989 and the song and video were played widely in 1989 and 1990 when I first moved to San Antonio after being released to a halfway house.
In 1999, who would have thought that indeed I would be sent an angel in the form of my Cruzer. We met through friends in 1997 and then lost touch for a few years. He was going through a tough time in January 2001 when he called 411, you remember information – right, to find my number because he just needed a friend to talk to. It was like we picked up where we never even started or left off – and here we are almost 19 1/2 years later and we are still together.
He has seen me at my best and at my worst and yet he has loved me through it all. I could not ask for a better friend and husband. My Higher Power whom I choose to call God truly did send me an angel!!
Enjoy the music video below from Real Life. That’s what’s in My Rattled Cage, thanks for stopping by!!