Never Danced Sober

file-nov-07-11-43-16-amI went to a wedding this weekend and realized I’ve never danced sober. I really wanted to take my wife out and have a good time and we did. But what I realized was so much more than never danced sober before.

We got there early. We were actually the first guest there. We’re always the first one’s there. One of my pet-peeves in sobriety is punctuality. I always think I’m going to be late, thus I always end up being super early, no matter the occasion.

Out of all the empty chairs, we choose the two in the very back row. I took a moment to breathe in the beautiful country landscape. The huge Live Oak tree stretched it’s arm over and above the rug that would soon be stood on by the bride and groom.

An acoustic guitar played behind us. The light wind carried the harmony across the small meadow. The feeling shot though me like a flash of lighting, I was exactly were I was suppose to be, in my life.

New friends, new conversations and new laughs followed at the reception. A new crew. I felt good. I wasn’t there wondering about the after-party or watching the bar to make sure they we’re still serving. I didn’t have to try to be the drunk center of attention. I wasn’t making plans to “score dope” the second I left. I knew for sure I was going to get my wife and I home safe. I knew I was going to wake up for work in the morning. I new choosing n0t to drink or use, at least for that night, was the right decision.

I realized that even though my life’s purpose got side track for over two decades, that in the end, I will still end up where ever I suppose to be.

Staying Sober On My Day Off

Keeping it Sober
The only thing you have to do is change your entire life, one moment at a time!

So finally a day off, (huge exhale!). I guess my plan going into the hot summer days of the South Texas heat had always been to “grind-it-out.” However working 12 hours days, five in a week, gave new meaning to my phrase “the grinding summer.” I am not sure if it’s my addiction why I am working so much. You know, the whole, “take everything to the extreme” because I am a true addict or maybe I feel all the wasted summers of me not working needs to be somehow “made-up” in three months. Whatever the case, I do feel spiritually connected not only to the bright clear night sky that host the stars that shine upon the Texas Hill Country treatment center, but God’s creatures that run the drug and alcohol rehab, when the sun sets.

Keeping it Sober
Is that cat food?

As the classes are done for the day, and groups are all out. I can count on Jim and Terry to be sitting by the pond, which sits next to the main entrance. I try to sneak up on them, driving my little golf cart off-road and barley touching the peddle to slowly creep up. The tires snapping every inch of dry grass and twigs, Jim spots me, “a mile away, he says with a smirk. Jim told me about the Coy fish that lives in the nearly dried out pond. I didn’t believe him at first.  I mean the pond looks perfectly placed on the treatment center website, however up close, we probably could be sued for false adverting. (That’s Sarcasm!) I was sure nothing but minnows and the turtle I found about 3 weeks ago wobbling across the parking lot, were the only creatures that could survive the water. As Jim throws cat food into the pond to attract the Coy, Terry sits in a smoke-shack chair right next to Jim,  staring aimlessly into the algae that sits atop. Terry, about 20 years older than Jim, comes to the pond every night. Just to stare. Into what, I have no idea.

Keeping it Sober
Get your free guide!

Jim grabs a handful of cat food from the nurses station cat bowl. Which, lately a doe comes up all the way to the side walk every night. Right about the time the Coy fish waves his white tale so just the tip clips the water surface to prove me wrong, the doe comes and eats the cat food out the of the bowl. The white cat with the Chinese eyes, always politely sits a waits for the doe to finish.  By the time the doe finishes, I make my way to the cat food bag and refill the bowl for Chinese eyes.

At first I thought the doe might have been “Daisy,” which was the detox deer that would come up and eat right out of our hands. Daisy was lost from her mother, and with a scar on her stout. Maybe from getting caught on barbed wire would be my guess. But like clock work, Daisy would be at the detox fence line every morning to eat an apple or cereal, whatever I could find really, and ate it right out of my hand.

As the night sets in, and the animals are all fed, the two “twin” foxes come out and play in the field. With my flash light I catch their eyes only. I spot one, then about 20 feet away I catch the other. Then they play this game of stop-in-go, or freeze tag all through the open field between detox and residential.

Keeping it Sober
Found this guy walking the streets!

At last, I go and find the newest person on campus. They’re easy to find. They’re usually the ones that are walking around were they are not suppose to be walking around. Always by themselves. Always with a heavy mind. How did I end up here? After I instruct them where not to walk, I tell them one more things:

Don’t forget to look up tonight.

 

How Can I Help You?

Hey everyone, hope all is well and sober going into this beautiful weekend! I created a quick survey, that will literally take you 30 seconds to complete, so I can write better content that you will truly value!

Happy Friday-Keeping It Sober

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How I Stayed Sober In 2015-Newsletter

So it’s been a really great year in all aspects of my life. I started 2015 off amazing with losing 20 pounds, starting a new

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

job and creating my first podcast and website. I also tried somethings for the first time like “drum lessons” and mountain bike trail riding with my brother-in-law. Although I’m horrible at drums, at least I gave myself the opportunity to try something I’ve always wanted to try. And for me, and hopefully you, that’s what recovery is all about, picking up where we left off!

So here are few things I learned in 2015:

  1. Not just recovery & sobriety are a process, all aspects of life is a process.
  2. Sometimes you just got to work with what you got, instead waiting for the perfect moment or thing.
  3. I stopped looking for excuses to start every little endeavor over and instead, pushed through!

A few things I accomplished:

  1. My Keeping it Sober Podcast. This was super exciting. Creating something from start to finish and have full control of the music beds, (I actually created my own intro music), content, cover art, editing, producing, promoting and seeing my product available on ITunes and about 5 other audio platforms was truly amazing!
  2. My Keeping it Sober website. I literally own about 15 different domain names, all bought with the brilliant intentions of creating the world’s next million dollar website! And it didn’t turn out that way for any of them. However, keepingitsober.org I actually completed and published on the web!
  3. I’m nearly a year and counting working at a treatment center in South Texas. This is huge for a person who is constantly changing their racing thought filled mind on what I want to do in life. And really just having that option is a true miracle!

Here a few things I did not accomplish in 2015:

  1. My manuscript, still trudging it out!
  2. My eBook, I keep changing topics and titles!
  3. My health, I gained the 20 pounds back!

Here are a few things I will accomplish in 2016:

  1. Create my first eBook, ( and I have the perfect name & story!).
  2. Start a daily routine of health & meditation, again!
  3. Provide content of true value to you, through blog and podcast.

Narrowing Down My Niche

When this entire blog and podcast started, I wasn’t sure who I was talking to and which my part of my experiences I shared, would be of true value. However today my challenge has narrowed into a more of a “learning to live sober, in an unsober world! Because that’s what happened to me. After 23 years of using and drinking, it wasn’t enough to just not drink or use, I had to learn how to live and function in today society and that’s one of my my main focus now of keepingitsober.org!

One More Quick Thing

Be looking out for my new website as well as a huge announcement coming out on January 13th!

Today looking back at 2015, I can honestly say that I have learned, experience and have grown so much in my sobriety that I can see the distance between the person that was active in drugs and alcohol to a brand new person who has let go and moved on. And that’s freakin’ exciting!

Happy Holidays,

Jaime Valdes-Keeping it Sober

P.S. To sign up for my monthly newsletter for go to keepingitsober.org and sign up for free!!

Super quick, please fill out my 6 question survey that will help me provide better content for you in 2016!

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Finally Sober, Eleven Items Never To Bring To Rehab & The “Call”

This week instead of writing just one blog, I though I’d post my “drafts” from the entire week!

Ok.

You got me.

I actually was driving myself crazy on what to write so I took 3 post I started (but didn’t finish) and fed them to you like high dollar steak!! HAHAHA!!! 🙂

So I was working on my website last night, by the way I have a “new look” site coming out in the new year, and started thinking. (Very RARE!) And I thought to myself, behind the podcast, blog and websites; through my weekly routines and schedules; and everyday responsibilities to the my household and family, that I am finally sober. And that’s all the really matters.

I coming up on 3 years next month, and unlike previous years I able to truly look back and see the addicted person that I am so far detached from. Everything from my thought process, to new friends and relationships have all completely changed.

Coffee first, please!
Coffee first, please!

I’m sleeping better. I mean way, way better. Im sleeping solid through the nights and doing something I have never ever done before. Sleep in. It’s really a beautiful thing when your mind is clear and not keeping you awake for every little thing.

This “new life” or “new me” is much more confident and proud. My motto of sobriety first…allows every aspect of my life to fall in place in random order, however nothing is above anything else.

For the first time ever this week, the thought of using disgusted me. That’s huge. Like  really, really huge.

 

I think I’ve almost seen everything as far as items brought into treatment that are not allowed. And sure some things have merit and seem silly not to be allowed. And there is a huge “grey area,” because rehab is not a lock down facility and people pay to be there. But just in case your item or items falls in that little grey area, I wanted to definitely make absolutely clear that these certain items that I’ve personally have come across as people admit to the center, are not allowed at rehab:

  1. Pills hidden in  your passport. (Always a big NO!)
  2. Syringes for the little baggie of cocaine you brought in.
  3. The little baggie of cocaine, itself and the cocaine.
  4. The beer, bottle or wine you drank on the way in to rehab.
  5. Duct Tape.
  6. A picture of your ex. From high school. And your 40.
  7. A T-shirt that reads, “Rehab is for quitters.”
  8. Your 15 purses and make-up bags.
  9. 23 different colored sunglasses.
  10. A BB gun.
  11. The lead guitarist for your “cover-alt band.”

    

Two mornings ago I got the call. It was truly unexpected. Unlike when JJ, hung himself and my parents drove 4 hours to prison to tell me. I sensed something was wrong when the guard yelled my name for visit, “Valdes!” My parents had just came to visit the weekend before. I felt it in my gut when I saw their faces sitting at the table, waiting for me as I sat down in front of them. Just like how I felt it when Richard was killed on New Year’s Eve and I got the “knock at the door” that Richard was missing, then later “the call.” It’s a feeling I get, all in the gut when something is horribly wrong.

However, when my wife called me back two morning ago, while I was driving back into town and even though I just hung up with her, I felt nothing when the call came in.

But then I heard her voice.

A voice I hate passionately. A voice I probably caused once or twice. A voice underneath tears. A voice that when I hear it, I brace myself for the next few words…

 

JR Valdes-KIS

Recovery, Sobriety- What Are The Real Issues?

Hi my name is Jaime and this is my blog, Keeping it Sober. I hope one day to be a professional blogger, as in wake up every morning, slide my black ankle socks down my smooth hardwood hallway and press start, to my Café Du Monde, brewing in a $29 coffee maker. Then tip-tap on my keyboard, strap on my readers, and solve life’s most baffling mysteries known to human kind. And get paid for it.

However for now, my name is Jaime and this is my blog, Keeping it Sober. Today is the first day my wife has opened up all the windows and doors to the house. I really should be asleep, but I couldn’t trade out a few hours in bed during the most beautiful day of November. I’ll cat nap tonight at work here and there.

This is a addiction recovery blog. But, I have realized a few things that involves every one of us, not just people in recovery. Like humor. Humor is in everyone’s heart. We must find the humor in good times and bad times. We all must laugh, even if it’s at ourselves once in awhile. Second we must listen. Listen to what “we” are really saying. Or yelling. Or crying. Or asking. Stop and listen, ask questions, find out how you can help. And last, which is the real challenge once getting sober, and I use that term loosely, is living your brand new life, sober around normal people. Just like the rest of the world.

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To talk a little more on the, real challenge, of sobriety for me its the daily grind of life, new experiences, my past, the what-if’s, trying to move forward and asking myself daily, is being sober enough? Recovery for me is the constant reminder that I’m an addict and will that thought ever go away?

I do know one thing for sure, I can only handle what is right in front of me no matter how hard I try to figure out life’s problem’s all at once.

So I am glad you are here, let’s share and solve the problems of today so we stay sober tomorrow…..or something like that!

Keeping it Sober my friends!

j

Intervention: Show Number: Whatever!

news_generic_interventionSo I’ve been watching recorded shows of, “Intervention” and it never fails. The person decides to get help, (trigger tear jerking music), then swept away to some resort in a “galaxy” far, far, away! Seconds later, they do like a 90 day follow up interview where the person is so so so thankful for their new found life and “in-debt” to the counselor for ever and ever. Then the screen go black:

Two days later Kamisha leaves the treatment center and relapse. Whereabouts unknown.

It baffles me on what goes on in the mind of an addict, the next 48 hours! And it happens every freak’in show! I don’t know, I see clients all the time leave the treatment facility and we get a call back hours later that they’ve already relapsed. I know I shouldn’t be shocked!

I just want to know, what (as staff, and an addict myself) we could have done different?  Clearly we’re missing something.

Either way, have a great weekend, “Keep it sober,” and If you haven’t listened to my podcast go check it out if you get a second!

Jaime

Inserting Health and Fitness into your Daily Routine of Sobriety

Do you want to feel great? In sobriety, especially early sobriety, I physically missed the energy and motivation that unfortunately, drugs and alcohol gave me. I struggled throughout the day, just to get up, to get to a meeting, and to physically hang out with sober people. It was all physical. My mind was yelling “yes, sobriety rocks!”, when my body was yelling, “no, stay in bed and do nothing all day!”

However it took some time, but I discovered that applying health and fitness to my daily routine of sobriety made worlds of difference. And it didn’t cost a lot of money, or a lot of time out of my day.

So here are few tips that really worked for me, I guy who can’t stand the gym or eating healthy for that matter!

1. I Joined a Gym

I know, “but you just said!” It’s true, I can not stand the gym, more so the gym rats that walk around with a gallon of water slamming weights every chance they get! So I found the cheapest gym per month with no contract I could find which happen to be only ten bucks a month! I have literally skipped the gym for months and don’t feel bad about the $10 loss! However now I go three times a week, but the real miracle is I want to go!  And this is why:

2. The Fifteen Minute Workout

I know what your thinking, been there tried that. But wait, I guarantee  that you have never tried this fifteen minute workout before! So the whole deal is, I literally go for fifteen minutes. Like, it’s not some intense, crazy, extreme I am going to be sore for a week workout. It’s literally fifteen minutes at the gym doing whatever. Tag yourself on Facebook, catchup with CNN or Sports Center, just be there physically for fifteen minutes and sooner or later, you will pick up a weight or two, and like it!

Recovery, Sobriety and feeling great!
Recovery, Sobriety and feeling great!

3. Eating Healthier

Now this just plain out is hard and most of all sucks! I literally downed a pack of peanut M&M’s last night for absolutely no apparent reason what-so-over! But, I’ve adapted to a few tricks not so much of changing what I eat, but less of. For example, the ketchup rule. When you are eating out, take one pack of ketchup and spread it over as much food as you can, (like fries), and you can only eat what’s covered in red! All other naked fries, bless there heart. Another little trick I do is I take a water bottle everywhere I go. The more I drink, the less I eat an entire meal, and let’s face, water is healthy and as addicts, we take everything to the extreme, like finishing off our meal, just because it’s there. Make up some of your own eating out tricks and games, and have fun with it!

4. Last, Do Your Part!

None of this works, unless you do your part! You have to put some type of effort to get results. Search deep inside yourself, what motivates you? Use that every morning, to get up and feel great by exersizing and eating better! Health and Fitness is part of recovery, sobriety and our every day life!

So the results have been amazing! I look forward to going to the gym now, and the days I miss I do get down on myself. It feels great going to bed and waking up not only sober, but not feeling full and lethargic. Most of all, I love the compliments, especially from my “normy” wife who is actually looking really good herself!

 

So try these things, and make up some of your own and let me know how they work! To get more tips on health, fitness and sobriety, you can go to my home page at Keepingitsober.org and sign up for my newsletter. Or if you have time, go like my brand new Facebook Page, Keeping it Sober, and you can sign up from there! Be on the look out for the Keeping it Sober Podcast, Episode #3, which you can now download from Itunes!

Have a great weekend and keep it sober ya’ll!

jaime

 

If you stay sober long enough, you will run into yourself

     My sports show was canceled two days ago. Honestly, it felt pretty good. I walked away from it two weeks ago, and to hear it was canceled only validated my decision. It might be the single best decision I have made since being sober. And I like to think, that it was canceled because I left. Even though that might not be the case, it just sounds better. Besides, podcasting is the future of radio, just say’in.

   However that is not what brings the tips of my fingers to the keyboard today. I saw myself, yesterday. Like the literal, exact, addict-self who couldn’t stop no matter what.

Part 1:

I never work days at the center, however some financial changes prompted me to pick up some overtime at work. So I picked up a 7-3pm shift, which is really another world compared to always working nights.

The morning humidity added to the already aggravating morning I was having caused by a lack of sleep the night before. I didn’t take enough Seroquel to last me the extra shift. So my mind never really shut off the night before causing me extreme restlessness.

So working days compared to nights is a completely different animal. For example, at night, I stay inside the nurse’s station a lot all the clients are asleep, as to during the day staff has to be on grounds at all times. There is also no management at night. You are your own boss. However during the day, you rack up around ten counselors, plus directors of this and directors of that and directors of directors! During the night, your radio never goes off. It’s just you. Now that I think of it, I have no idea why I caring the extra weight at night. But just like everything else, during the day the radio doesn’t shut-up!

“We need a male RA up at detox to assistant with a client, please,” the radio shouted! (I threw in the word please).

“I’m on my way!” Anytime, and I mean anytime in life, you get a chance to drive a little white golf cart, you take it!

My motives, of course were ulterior. A few weeks right after the thunder storms that ravished through South Texas, a baby deer was found wandering on the property right next to ours. The clients and I started feeding it apples and slices of bread and it eventually started eating right our of our hands. So figuring upper management would probably not be to impressed with all the clients food we were feeding, “Challenge,” that’s my name for her, I went and bought a bag of deer feed. (you haven’t lived until you have walked into a grocery store and ask, where do you keep the deer feed, and the clerk point you to aisle eight!). So going up to detox meant feeding Challenge, and since I don’t smoke, that’s kind of my cigarette break.

So I filled up the red Folgers container and headed towards the back fence line. On the way, a smoke shack for clients was on the left. One person I could see, slouched over in the chair. I walked passed him not even making eye contact. Just wanted to feed my deer. As I walked back I noticed he was gone. I turned back on my radio and walked into detox.

Emily’s hair is purple. And it matched her scrubs. It was actually kind of pretty. So I let the usual joke go.

“What’s up?”

“Hey, so we got a client, he’s in room 4c, and we need to get a UDS from him but he’s totally out of it and completely hallucinating.”

I grabbed the cup and walked into room 4. It was empty. Three unmade beds and random clothes and shoes on the floor was all. As I started to walk out, a noise from the bathroom startled me.

“Hello?” I said.

I slowly walked toward the bathroom, cup in left hand, radio in right hand with my index finger lightly on the trigger.

“Hello?” I said.

My palms sweaty and my heart raced. It’s the first time I felt uneasy at work. I just felt weird. I’ve worked detox a lot, and I’ve seen a lot lives come and go. A lot of “day one’s.” Pretty roughed up. No one really has shocked me or got me thinking. Yeah I get the usual resentment because people are using and I cant, but nothing I cant work out myself.

A man suddenly popped out from behind the bathroom door. I dropped the cup and took a step back. My finger now tight on the trigger. Any type of noise at all, all staff could here.

I looked back to the room door it was shut. (This was beginning to feel like a movie!) I looked back to the bathroom, and could not believe who I saw.

Keeping it Sober,

J

Hey everyone, have a great sober fourth of July, and do not forget to check out my “Keeping it Sober” podcast, now available on Itunes or click on my podcast link!!