In spite of all the madness in those days (the crazy 80’s), I held down a job for eight years until—eventually—I was laid off. It wasn’t a surprise. Life had gotten really ugly, and I was showing up late on a regular basis, or calling in sick altogether.
If I had to identify my first turning point, it was when I set foot in my career. Our landlord was a casual friend and a real estate broker. He literally walked through our door, and offered me a job. In all honesty, the method behind his madness was that he wanted us to pay our rent!
With all that’s ever happened—and looking back now—I’d have to call his job offer one of my first God Winks. I want to say that the job taught me to be shrewd, but that sounds kind of harsh. Simply put, it was the first thing in my life that gave me a sense of my own identity.
I learned my writing skills in that job. I was an innocent, untrained sheep, thrown to the wolves in the real estate world (that’s supposed to be humorous). I survived my plight by teaching myself how to distinguish fires, ease the minds of stressed out clients, and win negotiations by writing well thought out, cleverly worded, and clearly stated letters and emails.
My verbal skills? Not so much.
I took the job seriously, and eventually crept out of my shell. I learned how to interact with people face to face, and started gaining the confidence that I so desperately needed. The downside was that—for many years—it was like having multiple identities, or personalities. One for the office, one for socializing, and one for home (and so on).
Sometimes I wonder if that’s why alcoholics (or maybe just ME) tend to prefer isolation. It’s exhausting to have to “put on” a personality that suits the circumstance that you’re in. Like I said, it was never done intentionally—and it’s taken me a LONG time to see it for what it really was.
During my fourteen years at that office, I gained the strength and courage that I needed to escape my hellish marriage and find sobriety. I blossomed into a productive member of society. But I was STILL empty. I became a bit of a workaholic, did some MAJOR overspending, and began that never ending search for the man who never really existed (Mister Perfect).
The bottom line is that I was constantly trying to fill that void. I had an insatiable appetite and it was killing me:
More, More, MORE! You need MORE!!
Skip to Part Four