The Purpose of Recovery- Podcast Episode 36

It’s hard to give an exact definition to the word “recovery” in an addiction context. But through my experience I’ve learned this:

“Recovery is the way you react, in those private little moments, when no one is looking.”

However, when someone is on day 1, that quote doesn’t mean much. So I interviewed Dr. Dean Robb and he specializes in helping people discover “who they really are” once they are stable enough in recovery. We discuss, the purpose of recovery as well as try to define it.

If you would like to contribute to the Keeping it Sober Podcast, you contact Jaime at jvmedia@smartbroadcast.org

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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!!

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5 Must Have Items To Take To Treatment

Hey everyone, yeah it’s been awhile! We get sober and all of sudden life becomes busy! However we can’t let it become to busy, sobriety first!

So for those who do not know, I work at a South Texas treatment center and I came up with 5 items that will increase your chances of staying, thus increase your recovery. The idea is to fill comfortable as much as possible, because recovery is about feeling uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable, at least early.

But first, the “Keeping it Sober” Podcast episode number 7 is out and on there I talk about, decision making, my “bar story” and Spreaker.com.

And as promised on the podcast, I talk about how recently I had to have one of those, “Babe, I need to tell you something,” talks with my wife even at neatly 3 years of sobriety! Some behaviors will never change!

So, I took out a credit card, and purposely kept it from my wife. My thinking, (and that itself should of raised a red flag) was a little extra during the weeks I do not get paid would really help out. I did and have only used the card for gas and oil changes. But yes, there was a big part that was my addiction and impulsive behavior that filled whatever void I had, the moment I started to sneak around a apply for the card online! As an addict, it’s the extreme rush that goes through my body whenever I’m doing something that I’m not suppose to do, that gets me to the point of making bad decisions.

So my mentor, which is a guy in the program that I talk to a lot, suggested I tell my wife. Not later, not tomorrow, but right away. So I did, a day later of course!

So I told her, “I got a card out and I purposely hid it from you.” My wife is the “fine printing reading type of gal” so the first thing she said was let me see the terms. And yes, of course it was a very bad interest rate. So we talked, and am allowed to keep it, if I pay off the entire amount so I wont get interest.

But here’s the moral, and my mentor brought this up. It’s not just me, that my decisions are effecting, it’s my family, my kids. It’s our future life together. And if I can stop being selfish for one second before I make a decision, an remember that its not all about me, I can probably be able to build a great future for my family.

So here are the “Five Items You Must Take To Treatment,” that will increase your chances of staying and recovering:

  1. Your Pillow. Everyone has a favorite pillow. And it sounds “kid-like” but trust me, when your in an unfamiliar room, on a unfamiliar bed, sober, your going to hug that pillow like your life depends on it, and maybe it does.
  2. A Short List of Phone Numbers. If your treatment center is, how can I put this, worth a dam, you should not be allowed your cell phone. So write down some important emergency number and 1 person, a friend you can talk to and trust. Keep this list short, 1-3 number should be all. You there to focus on your treatment, all outside issues you did not care about anyway while you were using and drinking can wait. This is your life we’re talking about.
  3. Sweets. In early recovery, and I’m talking days in, I could never have to many sweets to satisfy my vice cravings. I needed something to put in my body, that gave me some kind of pleasure. Sweets, not healthy now, but healthy in your first few weeks in recovery.
  4. Hy-gene and Detergent. I don’t know about you, but when I went into treatment was exactly planned. And my toothbrush and laundry detergent was not exactly on my top things to get list on my way in.
  5. A Journal. Easily the most therapeutic item EVER! Journaling is POWERFUL. I still go back and read my excerpts from treatment whenever I need a quick fix of my thinking. It’s amazing reading about the person I was, compared to myself now. Plus you can blog about it later!

So, if your thinking about treatment for yourself or a loved one, go ahead and get these items ready to go. Call ahead to the treatment center and ask for a list of what you can take or not. Chances are “going to treatment” is going to be split second decision, so you have these things ready, the better your chances of staying, thus, a better chance of recovery.

So once again, check out my latest podcast, and you can also follow me @keepingitsober on Twitter!

Keep it Sober my friends!

J

Keeping a journal in early sobriety can be used as a great tool later on!
Keeping a journal in early sobriety can be used as a great tool later on!

 

 

5 Things You Can do Today To Save You Money

So even in recovery, my wife an I live paycheck-to-paycheck. I know, life is suppose to be perfect once the drugs and alcohol go away, however we now know that is not the case. However, our life is manageable a far distant way than what it use to be like.

Every Cent Counts!
Every Cent Counts!

Here’s the deal, my wife and I get paid on the same weekend, so extra cash during the weekends we don’t get paid would be great! So I tried a lot of things. Some “get-rich-quick” projects, and some online stuff. But nothing really worked out until now. And it was all right in front my nose the entire time!

So these are the five things I did to help me earn some extra cash!

  1. First things first, Identify what “extra cash” actually means:

So what does “extra cash” really mean? Put a price tag on it. I’m doing mine by the month. So I figured and extra $300 split between the weeks I do not get paid would give me a brief cushion. Set your price tag so that you have a visual number you can work with.

2. Start with you smartphone:

As I shuffled around my computer desk, I was playing chess with unopened packages from Ebay and Amazon. There was literally books and small merchandise that arrived days, weeks and even months ago that I have not even opened. All this can be traced back being bored and playing with my phone. So get rid of the apps.  Make it harder for you to do feel good or boredom smartphone shopping. Take the convenience away and that alone will save you money.

Keeping it Sober the Podcast!
Hey guys, check out my latest podcast, “4 Things to look forward to in early sobriety!” Keeping it Sober the Podcast!

3. Go a step further:

So you are off to a great start! However if you’re like me, no access from the smartphone, no problemo! A desktop is usually five feet away! So, in lieu of the greatest discovering known to man, delete your card info from your online shopping accounts. Again, take away the convenience, make it harder to buy something and odds are, you will probably realize you do not really need it, while you’re looking for your wallet. Now I know this is difficult, so do one or two at a time, and the rest will flow as you begin to see the difference in your bank account!

4. Check your auto-renewals:

So for the cards you didn’t take off, go to account settings and change the automatic renewal to off. On one my sites, I saved $54 on canceling subscriptions that I don’t even need or use anymore. Now I know it’s only $54, but think of it this way, $54 minus your goal of $300, is $246! It’s a small difference, but they add up quick, as I’ll show you in a bit.

5. Make 1 sacrifice:

Earning extra cash, takes a little of work as well. Either physical or budget wise. So I looked over my monthly bills and gave up the weekend newspaper, that I receive. Another 17 bucks I can knock off my goal of $300. I also picked up a radio gig, (3 hours for $100) and sacrificed 1 off day for overtime at work, ($120). I did this because after of countless attempts to earn extra cash I can use half that time and energy and just work 1 extra day a month for a guaranteed extra income.

So let’s tally shall we:

My goal per month is an extra $300. I saved $54 from my auto-renewals which brings my goal down to $246. Then I saved $17 when I canceled my newspaper account which now brings my total goal to $229. My radio gig, (which won’t be there every month) knocks off $100. So at $129, one day of overtime at work per month will bring my goal of $300 extra a month down to $9. Not to shabby!

The key here is to make value adjustments to your daily life and you can reach your monthly goal without having to start a whole entire business or work crazy hours at work. Saving money is just as good as earning it, and I promise you there cut backs, cancellations and other things you can do today, to earn you extra cash tomorrow!

 

 

 

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

Click here: For an Amazing Experience!

I read an email yesterday, at the treatment center I work at, from a former client who completed the program two months ago. The client thanked their counselor for helping them get sober. However it was the next line that really hit home to me.

What's your journey?
What’s your journey?

I am paraphrasing but this was the main point:

“…I now realize sobriety has nothing to do with drinking and using….and everything to do with me…It’s exciting as I travel along, after so many years of who I thought I was, only to now begin to see the real me…

Imagine starting your life completely over, and the first person you meet, is the “real you!” Just think about that for a second.

Think about your entirely new life, I mean how exciting is that! I promise you, if you hold on long enough, you will get to that point in sobriety where life in it’s simplest form, will be so exciting that you can’t wait to see what the next day unfolds!

But you have to hold on. You have to stay sober. You have to do the work. You can not use or drink. Your going to feel really uncomfortable at times. You have to make tough decisions and commit to change.

I don’t know, it might just be me. But recovery, sobriety and the fellowship changed my life that was at it’s last breathe. And it sucked at first, and some days it still sucked. But learning about who I really am after 23 years of drinking and using is an amazing feeling that I hope you get to experience.

But you have to hold on. For dear life.

J

Back From Tucsan, Arizona

So I had really great time in Tucsan, Arizona and can’t wait to get the Podcast out. Hopefully this weekend I will get time to record. I have really cool story to tell on “making amends.” In which my cast is to my 18 year old daughter. So that Podcast should be out hopefully early next week.

In other news, I had crazy intense “relapse dream” last night. I woke up in a cold sweat and actually thought I had relapsed. I had to move my arm over and touch my wife before I realized it was only a dream. However it was so real, and the worst dream ever! All part of the deal, I guess.

I also wanted to show you this amazing picture that my daughter took of the mountains that surround Tuscan actually on fire! From what I hear the fire is out, but it’s actually a beautiful site!

Tonight I’m back at work, I got a brutal schedule coming up but all worth it. I just going to have to work with what I got and try to get these Podcast

Tucsan, Arizona
Tucsan, Arizona

out in between here and there!

Take care and keep it sober!

J

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