Jump to content
Mental Support Community

job change and moving


Recommended Posts

Hi All,

I am new to this forum and would appreciate some advice or feedback.

I am a recovering alcholic (3 months sobriety) and an ACOA (both parents were alcoholics). I have been fired from several jobs over my 25+ years in the workforce, have changed jobs and careers more times than I would like to admit, and during my 20's, I moved from apartment to apartment, city to city never putting down any real roots. I did finally manage to finish an undergrad degree and later in my late 30's a graduate degree. My convolued resume has caused justified concern with potential employers during job interviews. I would like to know if anyone else out there has been as confused and erratic as I have been in choosing and staying in one major in one univeristy, and choosing a career path and sticking with it, and living in one place for a reasonable amount of time before moving somewhere else. If so, do you attribute this crazy behavior to being an ACOA or an alcoholic?

PP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Patpaul,

You raise a very complex question. It would be very easy to say that Alcoholics have a high frequency of job changes, are fired more frequently than most others, have more accidents than most, have a tough time developing, maintaining and repairing deep friendships, move around a lot, etc., etc. and then be done with it. It would also be easy to say that these behaviors, to a lesser extent, would also be byproducts of ACOA's. Therefore, alcohol dependence and being an ACOA can be said to somehow "cause" this "erratic" life and "confusion" you're talking about (this is what I frequently heard in AA meetings: "I'm an alchy, that's why I'm this way!"). But that's far too simplistic and leaves an escape hatch for personal responsibility and self regulation.

The realities are that the "addict" is capable of voluntary, responsible, and rational decision-making behavior and logic-- we see it every day but b/c we usually only hear about the "addict" who is in the throes of being drunk, the assumption is made that the alcohol is always in control. I'm not sure this is correct- when addicts recover, as millions do and have been doing for decades, they have asserted their personal responsibility. I do believe that alcohol dependence has some disease components, but I also think that we can medicalize it to the point that personal choice, personal responsibility and self regulation (a distinctly human quality) is removed from where it belongs in the equation. An addiction, like being the child of an alcoholic parent, is not simply biology-- if it was, an alcoholic would be an alcoholic w/o choice and self determination, just like an asthmatic or someone with a genetic condition would have these conditions no matter what. Given this, would you not think that personal responsibility and self regulation are key factors?

However, we also know that with addiction often come other mental health issues, such as ADHD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, etc,-- all of which can actually result in the erratic and confused sense you describe. If you haven't already, I would recommend that you see a professional to try and rule out anything else?

But I don’t think that this is all you were asking for. My guess is that you may also have been looking for some answers or solutions for how to maintain sobriety (congratulations on your 3 months… you know what it takes to be here, and therein lies your personal responsibility in action). Is this true?

Patpaul, thanks for asking this question.

Good luck. I hope I partially answered your question.

Edited by David O
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, First, I do not see labeling yourself as effective and life affirming. From your own POV relative to yourself, what you did is what you did. You no longer do it, so that is that. No need to be obsessive about it.

Second, is what you say to a prospective employer. To speak truly; yet, not disqualify yourself. I cannot speak to that matter. Perhaps, someone else may be able to do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ASchwartz

Hi PatPaul,

I agree with Claire, Xenophone, David, that it would be very, very helpful for you to stop labelling yourself. In fact, in presenting yourself for job interviews it is important that you be honest but without labelling yourself. You focus on the negatives of your past and not on the positives, at least, not enough. In my opinion, it is fabulous that you completed an undergraduate and graduate degrees while you were struggling with so much. It took great strength and you should be proud of yourself. You need to own that self pride and to present it because you have every reason to feel good about yourself. Now, you are alcohol free, finished your degrees and that shows real steadiness and goal directedness and are ready for a real employment challenge that you have proven you can handle.

PatPaul: Chin up and pride.

Allan:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Allan. Claire, xenophon, and David,

Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my message. I am still a bit confused. As a recovering alcoholic and child of alchoholic parents (ACOA), I understand I should not be defined as a person by these 'labels,' but the terms exist, and we usually use them as a frame of reference when looking for support from others, or when we look to buy a book that deals with this particular issue. I agree that it's always best to put your best foot forward in a job interview, but I often feel on the defensive and back pedalling when asked about my past etc. I have been listening to some podcasts from the Up and Down show on the Depression is Real Website. Many of the speakers spoke about the empowerment they derived when they spoke out honestly to others about their mental illness. I guess I want to feel good about mysef, feel confident in job interviews, in the workplace, but at the same time not feeling like I am deceiving others, and more importantly, myself.

PP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, if you have quit drinking, you are NOT an 'alcoholic'. It is a false label. 'Adult child' is an oxymoron. You are cannot be a child and an adult. You are an adult. Not a child. You are demeaning and insulting yourself by employing such terms. Stop doing it.

There is the practical issue of what to tell prospective employers. Perhaps others - not necessarily here - have something to offer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Claire,

Thanks for the well-thought out response. I agree with you that it would not be wise for me to tell a potential employer about my past problems with alcohol, depression and anxiety. I have however been fired from several job; a few which were a blessing since the employer was terrible, and a few (like my last one) where I felt I had been unjustly let go, and still nursing the wounds. I hate the idea of doctoring my cv or telling out right lies to the interviewer to hide these facts..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

I know I started this thread a while ago, but the painful emotions of the past still resonate with me. Why now? Well I have spent the past 3-4 weeks really devoting myself entirely to Journaling my past successes, failures, good memories and bad, not holding back anything. It has been painful to say the least. I do agree with the comments you all made; thanks. In addition to the issue of musical careers and inconsistent work history is my pathetic education background.

To sum it all up, I did finish an undergraduate degree at a Canadian university, but it took me 9 years to do so. I attended 4 different universities, and changed programs, if I recall correctly, twice. I dropped out of the university I finally got my business degree from 3 times. I did not get any support from my parents. Actually they made it even more difficult me to get student loans since they were going through a divorce, and my father was reluctant to sign the financial details of the guardian section on the loan application for fear of my mother's lawyer getting a hold of it and sucking more $ out of him.

I attended another university for an academic year. I worked in the graduate student pub and enjoyed the year, but passed only 2 classes out of the five I enrolled in September. I then moved to Toronto and signed up for classes for the sole purpose to get student loans to live off of. I know this was terribly irresponsible and I paid dearly for this lack of good judgement years later with so many incomplete/failures on my academic transcripts.

In the last year of high school my parents split and my life became a mess. I ended up having to redo some courses the next year. I went away to a university and was the first person in my family to do so; my two older brother lived at home while attending the local universities. I did ok academically that first year and with a few guy on the same floor in the residence I stayed in, we agreed to share a house come next academic year. That was 1982, and that summer there was a bad recession in Ontario. I bounced around hitching car rides from town to town looking for work, and to get away from the crazy mother I was staying with for the summer. I ended up working about 3-4 weeks and had saved little money. A week before I was to move down to the town where school was I called one of the guys I was to live with. He asked me if I had actually made any money that summer and I said not a lot, but I would be eligible for student loans and bursaries. He basically said that he and the other guys did not want to be responsible for paying for my food, rent, clothing, and so I was no longer part of the living arrangement. I was devastated and had no idea what to do. A friend heard about some other guys who were looking for a roommate, and just a few days before classes were to commence went down to live with these guys I had never met before. They turned out to be great guys, but I never was able to pick myself up, brush myself off and move on. Just 8 weeks alter I dropped out. The feelings of confusion and going it on your own reminded me of the last year of high school when my parents split up, and they decided in their infinite dysfunctional wisdom that out of the 5 kids I should go live with my grandmother to "relive the stress at home." I never did actually go to live with her. In the car on the way to her house I wrestled the steering wheel away from my dad, pulled the car over, got out and ran away to a friend's family's house where I stayed for 2 weeks. My parents later decided for me to go live with my mom when she moved out, and I moved into her apartment on a memorable night-Christmas Eve!

That last year of high school, Grade 13 I was so confused, had no one to talk to in order to try and deal with the shit. What bothered me most was my mother and father never had the guts to sit down in a family meeting and tell everyone about what they were planning.

I was also so embarrassed when I would run into former classmates who looked at me as a total loser; they were moving on in their academic endeavors, graduating, and I was spinning my wheels...Many would make insensitive and cutting putdowns like "are you trying to attend every university in Ontario or something?" Years later when I finally did get my business degree in 1990 ( I began university in the fall of 1981), and graduate school in 1998, I would have my academic transcripts looked over my employers in job interviews who could not fathom what I was doing all those nomadic, directionless years of post-secondary life. Many potential employers in job interviews would comment how this inconsistent, disjointed work and academic history that was presented to them on paper indicated someone who is not loyal, who is unstable, and therefore not suitable for employment at their school-I'm a teacher.

Many supportive friends remind me that I did, although it took so long, finish my degree, and I paid my own way (which is only partially true since I relied so heavily on student loans and incurred a huge debt after graduating). However, some of the most humiliating job interviews were when I tried to point this achievement out to the interviewer, who did not consider it an achievement (i.e. four universities over the course of nine years to obtain a four year Honors Bachelor of Business Administration).

I still am haunted by the chaos and turbulence of my twenties. I don't think either of my alcoholic parents were even cognizant of my academic plight.

Like my bouncing around from job to job and place of residence and city to city, the academic part of my past is very emotionally charged and I feel bad about it. Any input or advice or perspective about how to move on would be appreciated.

PatPaul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would like to say that Claire's post to PatPaul is wonderful. If PatPaul can "stay the course" so to speak, sobriety will become a much better life for him (to put it mildly) than drinking ever was.

Not practicing my addictions of compulsive gambling and prescription drug abuse has certainly proved so for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Everyone,

Again, thanks so much for all your advice and support. I am in need of some more advice. I live in Asia and there are no English speaking psychiatrists in my rural town. As I wrote before, I have been spending at least 1-2 hours/day these past 3-4 weeks journalling thoughts, feeling, emotions etc. and I have found it pretty helpful. The local AA meeting is small and no one speaks English so my involvement in the program id reading my little book of daily reflections, listening to AA speaker tape podcasts and reviewing the Big Book once in a while. What else is there I can do to try and heal and get healthy? I have been reading ACOA literature to try and explore any destructive behavioral patterns that led to getting fired from my last job, as well as several others over the past 20 years. Friends and members on this and other forums have recommended books I shoudl read. I guess I really feel in need of face to face, one-on-one counselling/therapy, which I have found so beneficial in the past. I am worried that all this journalling I am committing myself to only reinforces negative beliefs and reminds me of painful events in my past, but does little in the way of helping me look to the future.

PP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...