What Does Recovery Look Like to You?


So I challenge you this week, to capture a picture of your personal recovery. If you snapped a photo of your recovery what would it look like? Would it be inside or out? At night or day? Would there be people in it or will it be filled with nature? Is it something you live for or experience every single day and moment? Or maybe it is still something you strive for. Whatever it, post a picture here or on our Facebook page and group, of “What Does Recovery Look Like to You?” #myRecoverypic

…does it need to be said, does it need to be said now and does it need to be said by me?

Does it need to be said, does it need to be said now, does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said, does it need to be said now, does it need to be said by me?

This morning I wanted to open the email flood gates and let loose my manifesto of what my work environment should be…too much of this, not enough of that, why can’t we do things this way, that’s dumb because it wasn’t my idea and ME, ME, ME, to my boss.

I actually struggled with this last night. And brought it with me this morning. I had the email drafted in my head, with almost threat like demands! I tried be rational, realistic and worthy. Maybe I should go straight to the top, or maybe I should start directly with my supervisor. Then for the first in my life time I took a step-back.
A client once told me that his counselor told him:
…does it need to be said, does it need to be said now and does it need to be said by me?
The answer to those questions for me and my situation was no. However,  my finger was on that email trigger rubbing, teasing, tasting and feeding my compulsion to create some kind of chaos to fill a personal need of control. I need to feel important and I need to feel important now.
I don’t know what to replace that need with today, but I will not feed into. So instead of starting a rash of emails to feed my character defects, I will do nothing. Today I will leave my emptiness open for it be filled by my higher power and not my compulsion for extreme chaos.

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JR Valdes

I Learned That…

I thought it was some weird animal!
I thought it was some weird animal!

I am blogging about this today, because I know I won’t have time tomorrow. If I stay sober through tonight, Ill hit four years of being clean and sober. I have learned a lot, in life as well as sobriety. Countless life lessons mostly insightful and answering a question from the past that may baffled me for decades.

“Oh, the x-ing sign means watch for Deer Crossing, not Deer Xing.” Which for someone reason I always pronounced with a Z, for Zinging! Yeah so I did a lot dope.

I don’t know, maybe this was the year that I finally understood that it really isn’t all about me. I’m not special or perfect or a leader or important what-so-ever. Which is fine. I learned that it really doesn’t matter how much money I have. My bank account can be loaded or not, I’m going to have the same fucked up day either way. Or the same amazing day, either way. It’s all in the piece of mind of  paying my bills, having a small savings, and knowing more money is coming, because I am employed. I learned that my parents are not going to live forever, no one is.  I learned that I am not really sterile and I can make babies! I learned this year that nobody cares if I am in recovery or not. I learned that nearly all of my previous friendships were built on drugs and drinking. Which is know one’s fault. I learned I can make new friends, and they can be just as annoying as my “old friends.” I learned that life isn’t fair a times to everyone, not just me. I learned that part of recovery is growing up and carrying myself like a normal adult, which can be fun. I’m never going to finish my manuscript or be a radio host. I learned that I love my wife and girls and “the boys,” even though with this baby comes he’s going to rock our world! I learned that I only have one day of sobriety at a time, and that all I pray for is that God give me the option to choose, weather I want to drink or use today.


…just let it sink in!

So I made it out to Austin, Texas today. I was promoted at work and my new job has me visiting different locations in the South Texas area. While I was here, I set up a meeting to introduce myself to my new boss. I was walking into the restaurant we choose to meet at, when it hit me.

I honestly can not believe how far in life I have progressed since 2013. I mean, my life was over, done, zero, blown-to-pieces, hopeless, a lost soul, ka-put, game over, no time left, down 1-3, the Buffalo Bills x 4, the Cleveland Browns 0-9 season, The Miracle on Ice but in reverse, Hillary Clinton and the end of VHS tapes.

I mean seriously, I was done.

I just want to let that sink for a bit…




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!




My Five Goals for the Back-Half of 2015

Set your goals now!
Set your goals now!

The first six months of 2015 flew by! I created my podcast, started a new career, and worked hard on my family structure and sobriety. I also made hard, but good decisions, something I struggled with in the past. However, I did miss on a few things.

So I created a list of goals that can help managed the last six months of 2015 and more importantly I can go back and literally check goals off as the months pass by.

So here are 5 goals in 5 different aspects of my life, plus one extra!

  1. Career: Finish the year strong at the treatment center. Make myself an asset to the company and become a role model for the clients.
  2. Financial: Pad my bank account, no more overdrafting or sweating the pay-check to pay-check game with ten cents in my account until payday! (Also, pay-off one bill of debt!)
  3.  Marriage: Plan one mini-vacation with the wife! This one is very important. Often I lose track what really is important in my life, and forget to spend time with the person I love so much!
  4.  Podcast: I finally created one and got it on Itunes. Keep it up, don’t give up and commit to for the next 6 months, putting out a podcast that adds value to someone’s life.
  5. House: This one kills me, however I need to change out all the rusted water faucets outside my home before the winter comes and breaks them off causing a mess!

And one more goal for the road! Complete the editing of my Ebook! This one has been a goal for over 3 years, and It’s time to get serious and get it out!

I think setting small goals throughout the year is huge, especially for the people like me that are in recovery. We do need a plan, a schedule, a map…that will help and guide us on the days we are not sure what to do. And the best part, the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction after actually completely are goals!

So give it a try! Pull out your journal, and write a few things down you would like to accomplish over the next six months. There’s no rules, change them, erase them, add more! Leave some of your goals here on the blog, or to get them read on the podcast send them to jvmedia@smartbroadcast.org.

Also don’t forget to listen to my latest podcast, Keeping it Sober Episode 4- The Recovery Gap. You can download it from Itunes or go to my podcast page on Keepingitsober.org.

Hope everyone had a great July, see you in August!

PS Dont forget to “Like” the Keeping it Sober, FaceBook Page!



Definition of Insanity: Mowing your own lawn!

Hey everyone, so my first “Keeping it Sober” podcast is out! I put a special custom link on the navigation menu that will take you directly to the podcast page on my sister site, keepingitsober.org. But first:

Insanity is mowing your own lawn!!
Insanity is mowing your own lawn!!

I finally broke down. I mean, in my disease I did a lot of labor jobs. Like hauling junk, mowing lawns and residential stuff I could do high and drunk. So now I get sober, and now I’m all picky! What once use to be the best kept lawn on my block, (thanks to meth), is now a maybe once mowed, every three months. And the problem, in case you hadn’t kept up with the national weather lately, it has rained a ton in south Texas! Problem number: the wife. (I say that with gratitude, not sarcasm!) However I refuse to pay someone for something I can do, at least every three months. But today was different. I was trying to get this podcast out, tomorrow I leave out of town, my wife was in one ear, and my pride in another! So I forked out 80 bucks. And I lived.

It was actually completely worth it. There is nothing like having your own lawn guy. I truly believe  being able to pay someone to do your lawn, in sanity, and also in the “Promises!”

Forgive me rushing through this, but I did my fifteen minute gym work out a little while ago and my typing is like pulling teeth!

Also, this first podcast is for you! It was really a challenging process from the idea to actual finished product. So I hope you enjoy, get a lawn guy, have a great weekend and keep it sober!!!