What is the only thing I need to do perfect today?

When the rat race in my head is in full throttle, I’ve learned to ask myself 2 questions that get me back to being present.

1. What’s really important right now?

Answer: My family, people, relationships and helping others

2. What is the only thing I need to do perfect today?

Answer: Not drink and not use.

Sounds simple, and it is. I complicate every little aspect of my life sometimes, losing the focus of what truly matters.

Keeping it Sober Podcast Episode 15

Hey everyone, so the final Keeping it Sober Podcast Episode 15 is out, part 5 of the part 5 mini series on “How I Stay Sober.” It was so much fun to create and produce and post, I honestly enjoyed every second of it. Keep in mind, if ever if you did not get anything from this series, just creating the series myself, it one of things that keeps me sober on a daily basis.

Now for those of you with an amazing story of addiction, I highly recommend on sharing your story through blog or podcast to help others and most of all, keep sober!

Here’s the link to episode 15 or just click on the “Podcast” tab.

J

A Long Sober Drive Home

The traffic isn’t bad on the drive home from work. I think the school district in the little South Texas cottage town I work in either starts really late or really early. The curvy roads that slash through the hill country have been awaken with a foggy mist lately, which frost the windows but soothes the drive. The morning sun always catches me directly square, then it switches and torments the left side of my face. But this morning the sun hides as the dark clouds hold strong. About a twenty-minute drive through Mayberry then I hit the interstate which heads south back to San Antonio. Back to home. By this time, I’ve had enough of my favorite podcaster yelling online business strategy’s in _Please Lord, please set the apartment complex on fire so we have to evacuate. Please._my ears, so I pull out my ear-buds and prepare to battle the gut wrenching whine that we know today as “the end of radio.” Five minutes in and the radio wins like always and it’s abruptly interrupted by my index finger pushing the “off” button.

Then the real chaos begins. Being alone with my mind.

I do not have this amazing, crazy-successful, super exciting life now that I’m sober. I remember what Jeff said three years ago. I was living in a small college town just north of San Antonio, east from where I work now. I was living in a sober home that replicated the frat house in the movie “Animal House.” I was two weeks out of treatment, the same center I work at now. And I was desperate enough to finally ask someone for help. This time my life, it felt over.

I never took to the idea of having a sponsor. It just felt creepy. I mean put me in the Texas Department of Corrections and it’s like a reunion. At a club or bar I felt invincible. In the bad part of town, in a run-down house with complete drug using strangers, and I’ll spill my life story. But with some guy they call a “sponsor?” It’s just plain creepy.My first ever sponsor was Mario. And I was really uncomfortable. He had invited me to his apartment to go over the “Big Book” and when I showed up him and his wife were cooking. So I sat down and ate with them. Really, really uncomfortable. I wanted scratch my eyes until I  bled out. I prayed to myself, while I took a sip of his Cantelope and sugar water drink he made and asked,

“Please Lord, please set the apartment complex on fire so we have to evacuate. Please.”

Your not going to believe this. But moments later, the small kitchen began to fill up with smoke. The smoke alarm went off and Mario jumped up and ran towards the stove.

“Oh my God Lord, I wasn’t serious, wait, just please don’t let anyone get hurt. Oh, and thanks.”

It turned out Mario had forgotten he left tortillas in the oven and they started to burn. So we did have to air the apartment out, however we moved the study pool side.

About 4 months later coming off a relapse and my third treatment center, I had run into Jeff. I had heard him talk before at meetings when the treatment center would take us off campus. Something he said resonated with me.

“I know I have another drunk in me, but I’m not sure I have another recovery.”

That hit home big time. And when my ass was on fire, I knew who to go to. I asked Jeff to help me. I told him I was tired and for the first time in my life admitted, I didn’t know what to do. That’s when he asked, “well what do you want, why do you think you need help?”

“I can’t promise you’ll be happy, but I can guarantee you won’t be miserable.”

“I don’t know, ” I said, “I just don’t want to be miserable anymore.”

“Well that’s good,” Jeff said. “But I can’t guarantee you’ll be happy, but I can guarantee you won’t be miserable anymore.”

So all that came true. I’m not miserable anymore and even on most days I’m even happy. It was just one of those moments that plays in mind over and over at random. Moments like those get me through my hour drive home from work. And I think that’s why I don’t mind the 2 hour drive to and from. That’s two hours I know for sure I’ll be sober.

 

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!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JLK3RDW

 

 

 

5 Healthy Ways To Get Ready For Christmas

Yes! We made it through another Thanksgiving, sober! Or maybe our first. However the next few weeks starting this second is high stress, high action and very high risk! It was just a couple of years ago that I relapsed two weeks before Christmas. I wasn’t in a very good spot in my head to begin with, and running the gauntlet of the Fall and Winter seasons added much extreme anxiety and stress which I had no idea of how to handle. Today however, nearly three years sober, and working through my third holiday season, I learned a few things that just might help you and I find ourselves waking up sober, in 2016.

Love me some podcast!
Love me some podcast!

First, stick to your normal routine as much as possible. I once heard Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, state, (and I’m paraphrasing here), “it’s important to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible, the week going into the Super Bowl.” Chances are, that we are not going to play in the Super Bowl anytime soon, however I totally understand what he meant. Schedules keep us focused. They give us purpose and responsibility. Schedules tell us, “hey, we are suppose to be somewhere with someone and a certain time.” And without purpose in our daily routine, things can get weird in our head. So no matter what goes on in the days leading up to Christmas, have a regular schedule and stick to it.

Second, do not isolate. One year I made the mistake of not wanting to be around anyone for the holidays. I literally shacked up in a hotel room by myself on Christmas Eve. Huge mistake! I didn’t relapse that night, however I set the wheels in motion and it was probably the worst Christmas ever, not only for me but for my family as well.

Third, get the shopping done early. So the lights are up, the tree is flocked and your checking off the family’s Christmas list as we speak, great!  I learned not to wait around and do things at the last minute. The pressure of buying the perfect gift is more than enough, adding unrealistic deadlines two days before Christmas can push us back to our old behavior. Getting things done early has it stress free rewards!

Fourth, I made a “3 Month Promise” to myself  not to spend any money on myself until February. This all started in the beginning of November. Realizing the holidays were a breath away, I made cut backs on all the little and big random spending I do on myself and It has made a huge difference in my bank account, which leads to stress free during the holidays. You will be shocked on how much money you will have just by cutting out the little compulsive, feel-good, needless spending we do. It might be late to do the “3 Month Promise,” but start your cut-backs today through January, and in February hook yourself up with a little something nice!

Last, enjoy the holidays and be grateful. Make up for those blurry Christmas days of the past, put your phone down and enjoy the special moments right in front of you! It’s exciting to experience Christmas sober. Sulk it all in, help someone who might be struggling and add to your set of tools that help you stay sober, one Christmas at a time.

On a side note, I know it’s hard and challenging enough to stay sober on regular days much less holidays, however you have to hold on and give yourself a chance of seeing the other side. You won’t be disappointed!

One tip that helps me stay sober!

Hi everyone, happy Thursday!

So here’s one thing that helps stay sober. Its really easy, but hard to do, if that makes sense. (Which it doesn’t!) Best part it’s free and anyone can do it. However it’s often overlooked.

It’s the power of listening.

I’ll be honest. I get tired of “meetings.” I get tired of the same ole story I hear in “meetings” as well. More often than I liked to admit, I am simply just going through the motions of my daily recovery when I attend support group meetings for addiction or whatever. And that’s ok. At least I’m doing something for my sobriety, rather than doing nothing.

However today I really listened.

There was a young girl who shared, who stated, “she just came back in” and “and everything is still really bad out there using and drinking.” I’m a little over two years sober and what that lady said is gold to me. And should gold to you too. Because there are days I fill like going back out. There are days I feel like giving up everything I have worked for, just for a drink or drug. I’m addict. So I quickly forget the misery and helplessness that brought me into recovery.

So even if you’ve heard the same ole, same ole a million times, try listening once in awhile it could save your life!

Keeping it Sober,

j