Archive for coping

Don’t Call it a knock out! Recovery. God & loosing a job and Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2017 by gerilewis001

7…8…he is getting up! That last blow was devastating folks! A gut punch that would have  leveled an elephant  followed by a right hand uppercut to the chin that snapped his head back like a rag doll! How is he getting to his feet? What am  I describing you may ask. Boxing? MMA, WWF? None of the above friend.Just another page in the story of my life. It’s probably not so much different from yours.

Lord knows I’ve had a difficult time with employment. It just seems my past continues to haunt me despite my best efforts. Damn this latest firing is brutal; correction big homie, despite less that 24 hours passing by, I am putting this incident in the recent past. Therefore this firing was brutal and not just for me. My mom took it really hard for one. furthermore ,when your immediate supervisor is tearing up and her supervisor, a tough old Marine is looking like he may cry,when your co-workers are upset about it you can bet your bottom dollar this was not your average firing. I made friends on the job. What went down you ask? It was a technicality, a misunderstanding, a crying shame is what it was, that a top-level staff officer could have made a favorable decision but rather let me dangle and twist in the winds of uncertainty. Well certainly uncertainty on my part. I am sure this staff officer had decided to ax me months or weeks ago. It was a case of me proving to him, I had not omitted or falsified records for a Veteran preference hiring. I think I did a job equal or better than Perry Mason could have in dissecting fine print and terminology to prove my qualifying under the wording of the requirements for the VOEA veterans preference hire. Regardless this fellow fired me. The really devastating part about it all is, I have done a superior job at my assignment and I was two days from my vesting period beginning. Two days…brutal blow. I could have folded right then and there. So they gave me the boot. Get out. Sorry it did not work out. The line officer was cut and dry, he did not even mention I had done a great job. I suppose he may have only one way of dealing with having to fire a good worker. In any case I hit the door for the last time in that position

The back story is, I love working for the Forest Service and similar agencies but USFS really was my pleasure and an achievement. I had been working seasonal and finally got on part full-time! I was so proud and happy to have been hired on. The financial security and benefits were the icing on the cake. When I left L.A driving up to rural Washington, I lived in my car and ate sandwiches and green beans out of the can, showering in parks and YMCA’s when I could get in for a free day. I gave it my all for the job. It hurt to be fired on a technicality, to add injury to the insult, the wording of the termination letter was accusatory, untrue, malicious and hurtful. It could have been worded differently, it could have taken into account my superior performance evaluations. It did not. A real punch in the face as the door slammed on my backside.

To say the very least, I felt like crying. I began going into shock over the loss.  Panic, all the worst case scenarios. By 7pm I was in the anger stage of grieving. I was fumed at the treatment I received. Today, I am moving towards acceptance and letting it go. It’s not easy brothers and sisters. I’m human. I want to yell at not only the people who clipped me but God also. Job argued with God, Cain was angry with God, Job’s wife told Job to curse God. He did not and neither will I  have faith something I cannot see will sustain and provide for me. I will be faithful. I know Jesus loves me. Yeah the bible tells me so, homie.

Well in any case for the moment un-employed again.

So here is where the rubber really meets the road in sobriety and faith. Sure I had been praying. Sure I have repented, paid tithes and alms and attended church faithfully .Sure I have done my best.There are times we will not understand why God has allowed these events to take place. What I did do that has allowed me to remain sober is,during the time of uncertainty as well as when things were hunky dory I prayed to God and with others, I attended church, I attended recovery meetings, I was of service to others, I stayed in touch and let people who have helped me recover from substance abuse, counsel me. Recovery is training. Just like a soldier or an athlete. You will react how you train in a crisies. What I did not do. I did not isolate, did not complain, did not whine, did not make excuses for my part in the affair. I did not pick up. I called my brethren and sistren in faith as well as recovery. I went to a meeting, I ate, I prayed, I accepted His will, I read the bible passage a friend suggested ( Luke 12:22-34) I got a goods night sleep.

What is different today? I woke up sober and healthy. I have a driver’s license and I am not behind bars. A roof over my head, food in fridge,  and a little money in the bank, a car that works, my health, friends and family. I did not hurt anybody else.

I’ve got a chance.

This is not easy. I am not going to lie and tell you this ability to process these events, feelings and information happened over night. These skills were taught to me.First I had to reach a point of willingness to allow a power greater tha myself to run the show.

I am not sure what today will bring but I am confident it will be ok despite it all. When counseling the students at Job Corps, I told those that had been kicked out and were being sent home, this is only the ending of a chapter in your book not the end of the story.  I am having to walk that walk myself right now. I’ve walked it in the past.

I’m off the mat and standing.

Not on my own but with the help of many. I want to take a moment to thank Jesus for sustaining and providing for me, My mom brother for supporting me, Sensei Butch Ishisaka for teaching me Judo and more importantly the gentle way , Minister Matthew for his counsel and support, all the saints that continue to pray for me , Sister Rene for her praying and support, The fellowship and friends of Bill W & Dr Bob, Jim Zenner (USC School of Social Work Vetrans Program) Ray Packard ( Packard Institute) , Professor Pete, Stewart Howe, Dennis Romero, Melva A (Salvation Army Veterans Employment Rehab in L.A). Just as importantly  Cheryl, Scott, Keith, Arron and Robin for their support during this stressful and sad occurrence  and Brad, Robin, and Scott at USFS Job Corps for hiring me on. I understand this was not easy on anybody. I did my very best.


Luke 21: This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” 22Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.…

The little note? A newcomer passed it along to me several days ago. It in itself is a reason to keep coming back.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.


Recovery. This too shall pass. Coping with Anxiety, Frustration.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2014 by gerilewis001


Los Angeles County and the city is more and more of a nightmare of a city to commute to and drive in. A major difficulty in navigating is the Malibu area. There are only several access points to and from the ever increasingly populated and exclusive beach side and canyon stretch of L.A County. I work in a canyon that is accessible only from Pacific Coast Highway. The PCH highway is jammed today traffic backed up into the McClure Tunnel southbound, Kanan Dune Road onto Mulholland, northbound, Malibu Canyon Rd eastbound if you can imagine that.

What has caused all of this congestion?

First of all a south swell is in and another surf contest is in full swing at Malibu Pt. Secondly it is 90 degrees in the shade and everybody in L.A County and beyond is headed to Malibu. Thirdly and to further compound the nightmarish congestion, a gigantic sewer project is underway in Santa Monica just under the California Incline and finally the power line has fallen at Corral Canyon and PCH the only access point to my destination and no traffic is going in or out from Kanan Dune South bound and Cross Creek north bound. All telephone and internet communication is severed to my appointed work place. For certain, I am feeling the anxiety and tension having been on the road for 3 hours in 3mph to stand still traffic and no way to communicate my inability to get to work. What to do what to do? In the past my coping mechanism was the dope, booze and prostitutes. My cognitive process went more or less as follows: “Shine it.” I will have lost the job anyway. I will just go and score some dope, go to a strip bar and eventually end up with a prostitute”.

A very broken and lonely soul was I.

However, it is important to remember the past yet not dwell in it or reflect morosely but rather, that was then, I did not have a choice being an addict active in his many addictions.
I was ill.

That was then.
This is now.
Now I am in recovery from my illness of mind, body and soul and I have a choice now.

I have a choice to be grateful.

Be grateful, I have an air conditioned car, some folks don’t have a car. 4 years ago I was in jail. I am free now. The only bars are the ones I create for myself. I have a job to go to, many folks don’t have a job and on down the mental and emotional check list.

I have a choice not to use.

And I choose not to use.
I prayed for God’s will as I drove to a surf spot I know like the back of my hand.

I went out and surfed great waves enjoying my sobriety and the day and allowed for the moment to pass, to wash away much as the waves washed away the remaining high tide debris on the shore. After about two hours I phoned the job and got through. The road is reopened and clear to travel. The road is reopened and clear to travel can you dig that bit of cosmic spirituality?

Not just the physical highway mind you but my spiritual path, reopened and clear to travel.