Being a Sober Dad: The By-Product of Living a Daily Life of Sobriety

My Boy!!!

My son is eighteen-months old. When I hold him in my arms, we connect. A boy needs his father in his life. He just does. I love when he brings me a book to read. He puts the book in my hand, then makes his way to my lap. He has a million toys, but he wants to play with the pencil on my desk. Or he will dump out the blue recycle bin in search of an empty water bottle that may have a loose cap. When I look into his eyes, I see purity, in every form; love, happiness, joy or even anger, frustration and hurt. But it’s all pure, it’s authentic.

     However, when I look into his eyes, I also see addiction. I see the twenty-old who says he’d rather kill himself than get sober. I see the guy wearing red boots, slouched in the counselor’s chair; completely hopeless after his wife and kid left him. He would rather be dead too. You don’s see heroin addicts past the age of forty in treatment. You just don’t.

     It scares the shit out of me. The 20-year-old, and the guy in the red boots ,once were innocent kids. They were once pure. At one time in their life, they had a million toys, but wanted the pencil off a desk. They tried to take the top off the empty water bottle for amusement. They connected with their fathers. Or maybe they didn’t.

     My wife talks about home schooling our son. I talk about never letting him grow. I am not sure at what point you stop making decisions for your son. The girls are so independent and successful. My son eats Chapstick.  

     I fear the day he stops listening, not that he listens now. It’s my job to raise a man and teach him to say no to drugs. To open the door for a lady or lay his jacket down over a puddle. But today is different. Today addiction is preventing many things in a boy’s life. And the most dangerous thing addiction can do is create a disconnect between father and son.

     The thoughts above reflect years as a drug counselor preceded by my own personal battle with addcition. While working with men of all ages, in their own battles in addiction, I can’t help but think of which path my son will choose. Ninety percent of the men I work with did not have a father present in their life. The unofficial statistics are alarming. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a sober father, which is the by-product of maintaining a daily life of sobriety.

Raising a Child in Sobriety by J.R. Valdes

Jaxson has discovered pens. And crayons. In a room full of plastic-colorful building blocks he can spot a green pen buried beneath a mountain of toys. He remembers the exact spot he stashed it. He will search for paper and scribble his thoughts. He stands on his tippy-toes while reaching over his head and grabbing whatever his 18-month year-old little hand touches.

Jaxson understands the word “no.” My wife and I say “no” at least one thousand times a day it seems like. And just like how he picked up on the word “no,” I’ve picked up on when he is quietly walking away from me, it usually means he has something that he knows he is not suppose to have. Like a pen.

At eighteen-months old, despite my son understanding the word “no,” he consciously does it anyway. When I hold my son, and look into his big-brown eyes, I ask myself, how does any beautiful child born pure and innocent end up addicted to drugs?

I deal with twenty-something year-old kids everyday who are addicted to heroin, meth, alcohol or “whatever-you-got.”  I see my son, born pure an innocent. However with me being an addict, I lose sleep on his future.

 

Six Years Sober: The By-Product of working a Program is Happiness

Upon the New Year, I am not one to reflect on the past 365 days. Reflection for me, comes 13 days after. Six years ago, I was at my parents house, on the couch, slamming beers so I could come down off meth. I had $82 in my pocket,  but nobody would answer their phone. Three beers were left, and I was coming in and out of consciousness. To put it bluntly, I fucked up again. With the seconds it took to hit a pipe, my life went straight back to were it had lived for the past two decades. My wife left me, again. The little job I had only worked one day at, I lost. And the insanity in my mind once again, woke.

I didn’t want to go back to treatment. But no one would take my call. Even drug dealers wanted nothing to do with me.

“You need help,” one said.

I even had to lie, to buy drugs. I had to convince one,  that the drugs were for someone else. My options were this: 1) Die, 2) Go back to treatment. By the way, nobody should be in a place in their life where those are your only two options. That’s not normal. And yes, I actually showed up to treatment with $82 in my pocket, and three beers left in the fridge. (that’s the real tragedy!)

I hated treatment. I hated sober living. It was not fun going back. I was miserable. Again I had two options: 1) Die, 2) Work a program. So I gave it a shot.

I want to make something clear. I just didn’t wake up six years later, and have a family, career, education, sports broadcasting opportunities and most of all a life. Today my family and the people I have in my life along with the success Ive had at a career and education, are by-products of hard work in sobriety. Some days, I am so excited to go sleep, because I am so excited for the next day. Or, some days I want to stab my eye with a pencil. However, whatever kind of day it is, drinking and using are not an option. I woke up six years sober today, and I’m fucking proud of it! #stillSober

 

 

A Million Reason’s to Use Today

A loud screeching, yet familiar yell woke me up two hours before I was suppose to wake up.

“Colt!” she yelled.

He jumped the fence at 7am. He’ll come back I thought. But the I heard the bark. Colt has a distinct bark when he has something. So I got out of bed, put on my slippers and grabbed a light jacket on the way out to 30 something degree weather. I opened the alley gate as Colt’s bark got louder and louder. And there he is, in my neighbor’s backyard. He has a skunk cornered. Again. The tail pointing straight up in the air, Colt finally comes to me after repeatedly calling his name. It’s like he has a cloud of  something awful around him following him everywhere. Instead of letting him in the house I put him in the garage. Manu and Kenny Boy start whining. I’m the worst pet owner ever.

Then it hits me. I realize on the way back in, I heard running water by the back house. Funny, I don’t remember turning on any water. Hum. But now I do remember covering all the pipes for the hard freeze except the ones at the back house. Of course.

I think about calling into work since I’ve never called into work. (Thanks Sobriety!) But no, I text Jodi and tell her I am not going to make it by 11am, I’m going to be late.

However before fixing the busted pipe, the girls have to shower. Then I kill the water. Take off the pipe. Run to the hardware store. This all takes two hours. The actual fix, 45 seconds. Of course.

I show up at work at 11:45am. My co-workers are looking at me like I’m more than 45 minutes late. I look at the schedule. I was suppose be there at 8. Oops!

We are short staffed, again. And it’s visitation day. Clients can have their family visit the treatment center. The gates open at 1pm. Nobody locked the gates. Family members are driving on campus 30 minutes early. I have to be the jerk to kick them all out. And everyone is pissed and not understanding at all, including me.

I end up in the nurse’s station that checks in all the clients family members. Everyone who I just kicked out, I have to check in. All the smiling faces! (Dark, deep sarcasm!)

I text my friend/counselor:

I have million reasons to use today.”

I went to her office and vented. She told me her very new marriage is being challenges already. Ryan tells me he hit a coyote and it fucked up his new car that he just got, because his last car got totaled when he hit a deer 2 months ago. A nurse tells me she hit a deer on the way to work and it fucked up her front end. A client tells me he’s facing 20 years for manslaughter.

I realize my problems today are nothing. I just make them something. I realize everyone has problems. Everyone is fighting some kind of addiction. Everyone has $22 in their bank account. Everyone has pipe issues during a freeze. Everyone has some kind of stress and anxiety. There is no difference and I am not special.

And the cool thing, not once did I think about using or drinking, not once.

j

A Mother’s Heart

heroin
A Mother’s Letter To Heroin

I had guest post that was really inspiring and heartfelt. It’s from a mother who lost her son to prison because of heroin. Please feel free to share, support and comment on this beautiful letter to heroin.

http://keepingitsober.org/2017/01/a-mothers-heart/

 

 

The Very First Sentence Of Your Journey

So let’s have some fun today. Everyone has an amazing story to share. And if your like me, you have often thought of publishing your personal journey if nothing else but to help others. So, if you got “the call” and a check advancement was on the way for “your story” what would be your very, very first ever sentence to your amazing book?

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