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I began my day with frustration about how I began my day. Nothing like criticizing myself before I’ve even had coffee. I am nowhere near as accomplished at home as I am at work. I know a big part of my continued recovery, and all of moving on educationally and financially, depends on improving my time management and prioritization skills at home. The roots of my problems with these vital skills lie in absolutely no guidance to develop them, and being abused when I tried. However, I did pick them up with employment. I do not struggle beginning a work day once I am there. I have a routine, I almost always stay on track accomplishing what I set out to accomplish, and if I derail it isn’t usually my “fault”. I have the kind of job that my agenda has to flow with everyone else’s. My priorities are my bosses priorities; yet I want to get my own things done. Pondering how I could apply good work habits at home, I opened my computers (two of them), and decided on the cantankerous little one that holds two years of writing history in a program that I like.

Immediately she began to misbehave. My two versions of OneNote were bickering, files couldn’t save properly, I had to copy text from a “misplaced” file and paste it where I wanted it because of the “saving” problem, the screen view was flipping around weirdly, and I began to feel scattered, disorganized, and totally pissed off.

6/15/2015 12:21 PM

I need to research, adopt, learn, and assertively stick to one software writing program because I cannot handle the ongoing frustrations of not knowing them, understanding them, and not keeping up with the constant changes that they make. I cannot learn quickly, remember, or change at the current pace this society expects of digitally literate people. I need to find my digital niche and stay there.

Ya, that was a rant. And it continued.

This is crucial to my continued participation in my society. I cannot continue my education with my current computer skills, nor can I continue to write my recovery if I cannot write, retain, organize, retrieve, and produce what I have written easily. Frustration will beat me and I will give up.

At this point I wrote a brief pep talk to myself telling myself not to give up on writing. Further, that if I would get routined in other things, then I could build in time to deal with crappy computery problems.

Success was mine for about an hour as I picked apart to the tiniest detail, how I prepare for work. Not at home, just once I get there. Something about my appearance, five minutes early, sox and ID in hand, and getting my “report paper” from my mailbox. All of what I typed from the pep talk to where I was going to stop analyzing my work preparation and begin looking for home application, disappeared. POOF!

More ranting.

6/15/2015 13:21

Case in point. I was just writing for an hour and this computer closed me out, performed an update, shut down, came back up, and my last hour of recovery work typed here is gone. Thanks.

I nearly gave up. Then I remembered that I often do give up. I am not, not going to write because of this stupid notebook! (It is a Gateway mini laptop notebook that I type on.) Deep breath, glass of water, remember what you learned this week? Recovery is application of a success on one problem to the next problem and replicating that success. Recovery is holding on to that feeling of a win for the hope of feeling the next win. Pretty good, huh? This was my frame of mind even though I got really irritated with my computer.

Back to what I wrote.

I think the healthy thing would be to just move on with my day. I won’t find it. Whatever I lost is likely gone or there would have been a pop-up to restore it. There is no point in letting anger get to me, BUT, AND THIS IS A NEW BIG BUT, I cannot keep letting things like this go, because it is precisely why I am not more accomplished. More times than I want to even think about my computer work has vanished, by bank account drained to $0, my car became inoperable, or something or someone I needed or depended on disappeared. This cannot continue.

Real growth would be to recognize that I have almost 12 months of financial sobriety (stability). I have a repaired car to the tune of $700 out in cash with money still in the bank. Actually, that whole day cost $1200 and I had a balance in the bank. I won’t say I learned to save or budget or be financially safe yet; but I am well on my way if I continue to walk the line. July’s rent will be deducted and sent out in two days, just as it has been for many months now. Not bad for someone who went to the extreme of closing all accounts and going bankless for a time to keep money from being extracted leaving them without funds for rent.

Real growth would recognize that my computers have protection/update software installed on them to keep them current. Maybe I just need to do something with the timing of the updates to not lose my work. Now there’s a thought.

Real growth might be to write about what just happened rather than insisting on writing what I was writing. This is certainly more in the moment.

I think my real growth for today is in adjusting my sails. I started today displeased about the glaring difference between my behavior at home and at work in terms of daily accomplishments. As I proceeded to pick apart these behaviors and digitally record my findings, my computer decided to do its own thing, losing my work. I adjusted my focus accordingly. Loss is a longstanding problem for me. Probably my greatest accomplishment was closing my bank account in a refusal to be homeless. I stopped giving up to the tides that kept washing my life away from me. From there I wrote about what I have accomplished.

Apparently today I needed to be built up. I needed to see my wins. Maybe my mind is already assimilating work behavior at home because I was able to let go and let the loss of those words play out. Maybe not having a pop-up to restore them was the same as “access denied”; you have a lesson to learn here, hon. Maybe my body got the message to not stress out about it, that it isn’t worth it. That would be GREAT!!

I guess I wanted to share the physiological chaos that my body cascades into when I make a mistake. I wanted to share how a lovely co-worker gave me fear-free space to learn what I badly needed to learn. I went back and reworked my notebook entry. (A real paper notebook, with college ruled lines, and writing in pencil because I don’t like to create in pen; I fear of mistakes ya know.)

I am pretty sure the Cosmos is enjoying the humor that all of this is computer related.

 Be Open to the Lessons In Front of You

This week I had an issue at work that caused a big problem for about an hour. Later I did see, as I do now, that I should have just let it play out rather than try to control it or get all mad at “the system” that didn’t allow for adjusting. In this case I could not cancel a print job that produced nearly 200 pages of something that I didn’t need. In my effort to stop the printing, I just kept resetting the page count to page one each time, thereby delaying what was going to happen anyway, and tying up the printer even longer. In the past, I was able to clear the “que” of print jobs, but this time that strategy did not work. I tried again later in the day on shorter jobs, but continually found “access denied”.  Another person that I was working with, helped me by printing what I actually needed from their area, then came to investigate why the que wouldn’t clear on my printer. She found the same thing with her access. We learned together to triple check this particular task before hitting “print”. Nobody likes messing up a print job that could be as long as 600 pages!

If the whole truth were to be told, I learned much more than letting something play out. I also learned to ask for help in the first place and that I need to stop with the thinking that things should be intuitive. They are not. I need to get over it pronto! Initially, the way I accessed what I was printing wasn’t the right way to access it. I knew that. The second I clicked “print” I knew I was wrong. I did back out, access what I wanted correctly, and continued on. It was at this point that I called the other person for help. She offered to take over from her desk so that I could relax and clean up or let my mistake play out. This was great. It was also great because I saw it. The call should have been placed in the moment I initially thought, “this doesn’t look right”. The quick call then would have saved 200 pieces of copy paper, an hour of printer time, and aggravation for about four people waiting for the printer. It would have saved me embarrassment over something that shouldn’t have caused me embarrassment. Most of us in that job struggle with this particular task because we don’t perform it often and because corporate keeps changing the procedure.

I have a hard time asking for help. There. I said it.

I feel like I have to “figure it out” on my own. Always. To not know or be able to “handle it” is unacceptable, even dangerous. It is too much of a bother to show me how to do something or remind me or acknowledge that things change and I have a hard time keeping up with those changes. Whoa! Thankfully, my life, my job, my co-workers, and my recovery is such that these lessons become clear to me more and more.  Most importantly, now I have the tools to learn, act, and grow from these lessons.

My mind registered my body’s signal of uncertainty. It also registered my body’s rush to ignore that signal. I identified the feeling of angst. I felt the “oh crap” feeling of the mistake. I think everybody know that one! I recognized the immediate panic. This was followed by desperation and fear. Then anger boiled up surrounded in frustration. Calm came for a split-second chased away by self-criticism stirring the pot of ineptitude. For a moment I challenged that feeling of ineptitude. It felt too harsh for the situation, too black and white, too judgemental. Loss took hold of my insides sending them to the floor. Shame reared up inside what was left of me, sending painful messages to my head, stomach, and back. Flight flitted through at the speed of light, giving way to fight.

I wanted to argue with somebody. An IT person, the CEO, the printer people. I also wanted to make the situation go away. I wanted to hide my shame over my mistake and wastefulness of paper. I didn’t want to tie up the printer inviting questions as to what was wrong, who did what, and how long would it be? I didn’t want eyes on me or anyone criticizing my job performance. I had a ton of work to do and our pace is fast so this was going to slow absolutely everything down. Most people are not patient about any kind of waiting these days. Stress was mounting in me by the second.

All of that took place in six clicks of the mouse and one dialed phone call. All of that took place before anyone else knew I had made a printing error. All of that drama was in my chaotically wired head. All the messages I had internalized about being wrong lit me on fire from the inside simultaneously denying myself myself, and my salvation.

Not quite.

I have been re-wiring long enough now that I also get split-seconds of sanity.

I am also enormously blessed to have The World’s Nicest People around me. As soon as my co-worker picked up the phone, sanity won. I have no fear of her. I have nothing in my body but calm, affection, help, understanding, concern, and support from her. Almost anyone that could have been on the other end of the line would have been fine and I would have learned the same thing; but I want to think that the Cosmos planned for her to be there for me on this day. I was still upset and stayed upset for a while. But I knew it was going to be okay. I knew we would complete the task in plenty of time, I knew my printer would recover, I knew all documents would be accounted for, I knew nobody would beat up on me, I knew calm would come again, and I knew I was walking to my locker for my notebook to write all this crap down.

Asking for help would not have hurt me. Asking for help would have been the “normal’ thing to do. In fact, ANYONE else would have at least had to stop and think, look for notes, or call somebody. Now that I am “people too”, now that I get to put myself in the same category as other people, I get to too. This is brand new wiring. (I feel I must stop to clarify- I ask for help when I comes to living things.)

It was annoying to not have an intuitive solution at hand. Sanity and the attention of my co-worker took me a long way in understanding that no, things don’t make sense, they never have in some cases, never will, and yes, other people are annoyed. She couldn’t clear the printer’s “que” either and tried the same thing on her printer. We decided there was a corporate change disallowing us access where there previously had been access. This took me about four miles in restoring my self-esteem. Even better for me, she made it her mission to find a way to stop a print job. So now I wasn’t inept. I didn’t forget something. My desire for the obvious (think printers and devices-printer-see what’s printing?-cancel job, delete, stop, something like that-are you-sure?…-yes-print job canceled, deleted, stopped) was intact, just not the reality of it.

It took awhile. Long after the task was completed and my side was running smoothly again, I received a call from her. “Come over here.” she says. She had found what was to me, the dumbest way ever to stop a print job. I will stop here with this part and just say that I know it makes sense to someone, I will accept that this is how to do it and I wrote it down, and I am super glad she found it. My take home message about our computers and printers: Don’t make yourself crazy that now you don’t understand them.

I think most people want things to make sense. I think most people want to do things themselves. I think letting go and allowing something to play out without continuing to fuss with it, is hard for most people. I think for people reared with alcohol, drugs, neglect, emotional distance, violence in any form, or even simply getting lost in the shuffle of life, these topics are especially difficult. I think I am like everybody else who gets pissed off at a computer. And just like everybody else I need to ask for help.

I know these posts are long, detailed, and deep. I know it gets to be a bit much dissecting everything to the nth degree ad nauseam. To that, I offer three things.

The first is to read. Read the Big Red Book for Adult Children of Alcoholic or Other Dysfunctional homes. It is modeled after the Big Blue Book for AA. Read Bradshaw: On the Family and his book on Shame. Read Weinhold, Beattie, Black, McBride, Levine, Webb, Kubler-Ross, and John Grey. This is a decimal point of information, behavior modification tips, and a bared soul compared to what is out there. Sit down and ask yourself what your problems are and read about them. If you can’t or won’t read, find out why.

Two, this is what is most important to me right now. I will not survive if I don’t heal my wounds, overcome my fears, and grow the heck up. It sucks working at this age to complete steps that l should have had 18 years to complete with loving parents guiding me. But my life didn’t go that way. Looking ahead, I don’t want to miss another developmental level. I want to be an awesome grandmother and join my peer group educationally and maybe even professionally.

Three, I believe in my heart I can and must heal myself. I do not believe this for everyone, but I believe it for myself. I truly think that with professional guidance, 12-step support peers sharing their work, a small network of church pals to hang out with, maybe members of other things I go to becoming pals, my co-workers unending affections, and my kid’s love; I can stabilize, meet Erikson’s developmental stages as they fit for me, and thrive as Maslow envisioned. I have an enormous project going on here. And I want to share it no matter how unwieldy it might be sometimes. It’s My Story and it’s amazing.