You wanna change the world???

The news on any platform feels so overwhelming today. It’s like politics has blended itself in every category of the media as possible, sports, Hollywood and social media. It’s hard to listen and take seriously especially when the “extremist-rant” is followed up by a money advertiser mention about Keri’s Berries. It’s actually quite comical.

So I think to myself how do I even make a dent, in a time when America is extremely-split on every topic imaginable, while the fingers point in both directions. Maybe I need to do more than just be sober.

But what? I had to start somewhere, so I decided to create my platform on “I have absolute zero control over the world and everything in it.” That right there gets me off-the-hook on a whole lot of issues. However I do have a responsibility, to someone or something, right? So I put my right arm out in front of me, and turned my body to a complete 360 degree angle. And that space right there, is where I start, and what I can control.

It’s a very small space compared to the world. So I started praying to my higher power to fill that small space with people who need help. And he did.

Andrew came in my life, and for the first time he has over 2 months of sobriety, after a dozen relapses. For the first time, he called me when he felt like using and drinking, and he remained sober. Nikki was having a nervous breakdown and her first day on the job at a local breakfast place. I took a second to tell her she was doing great, and with watered eyes, she said thank you. Brody called me and after a recent relapse after 15 months clean, he said he needed to get back in treatment, he couldn’t stay sober. Jessica called and after leaving treatment 2 months ago, she relapsed and wanted to go back. Then there was Vince, who literally got out of jail yesterday and says he is 6 months clean and if I would be his sponsor. And Mark, he showed me the scar that took up most of his forearm, and with a 24 ounce beer in his other hand, simply said, “I’m not ready yet.” Then picked up his wheel barrel of junk he has collected throughout our neighborhood and strolled down the street. It’s his journey, not mine.

You wanna change the world, start by waking up sober. Then help the people that your higher puts in your life. Action.

Walk Towards the Cheers…

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Racing Thoughts: The Battle in your Head

On a good day, the “racing thoughts” come and go. On a bad day, they marinate a narrative in my mind that tell me I’m not good enough, smart enough, or I should be doing more. For me, that leads to some general anxiety and depression. When I’m in that spot in my head, there is nothing that can change the feeling. It’s just bad place for me to be in, and I know this today.

“It’s like my dopamine is firing blanks.”

The “clicks” on social media or purchases on Amazon don’t work anymore or bring little shots of joy. It’s like my dopamine is firing blanks. The only choice I have is to sit with the emotions. Or, take action.

Here are few things I do when I’m stuck in my head. I would like to add that alcohol and drugs are no longer an option for me to solve my emotional issues. That’s amazing. But I’m still left with myself, minus my number one coping skill. I once read, “You can make the leaves fall off the tree by shaking it, but the leaves will grow back, unless you get to the root.”

  1. Gratitude List. So I am five years sober, and just started practicing writing down a list of what I am grateful for. I always advise my clients and sober peers to write a gratitude list, but never have practiced myself. However when I wrote one last week, I felt better. I started with everything that I felt was wrong with my life. Then I wrote what I’m grateful for, then I wrote how I felt at that very moment and how silly my thoughts had seemed now that I was grateful.
  2. Thoughts are just thoughts. I heard in a meeting, “the voices in your head is not your higher power, it’s your Schizophrenia.” That made so much sense to me! This disease of addiction is truly originated in the mind. My best decisions listening to myself got me into treatment and other unhealthy situations and places. So, on a good day, the thoughts come, and let them ride right through.
  3. Take Action. There is nothing like taking physical action and doing something to get myself out of my head. It can be taking out the trash or blogging. If I get out of my own way, and do something productive no matter how small or big, it makes me feel better and calm my mind.
  4. Sit with your emotions. This one is tricky but I love practicing. I could have never done this is early sobriety or the first few years at that matter. But when I am able to sit with the feeling and emotions that my thoughts are causing, I can let them pass or I can dig deep and search for the root of why the thoughts are making me feel a certain way. It’s more like mediation, but when you are in the middle of a meeting or in front of large crowds, it’s a little hard to meditate.

I would love to hear your thoughts..lol..and some things you do to quite the noise in your head.

 Walk Towards the Cheers…

Gun Control or Mental Health?

Prayers to the 26 people killed and many others injured yesterday in a small town Texas Church. And thank God for the people who helped chased down the coward, so that he would not hurt any more Americans.

The topic I’ve been hearing this morning is of course, gun control and now mental health. I encourage you to form and state your own opinion here, as I am, because the worst thing we can do is remain silent as if this never happened.

I’ll start with gun control. I do not own a gun. Because of my record, the State of Texas will not allow me to own a gun. My wife does not want a gun in the house with the kids. So I’ve always considered myself against guns, especially used for hunting defenseless animals. But today that’s changes. I don’t know why people need an AR-15 and multiple firearms. But the same could be said about me, owning radio and audio broadcasting equipment. I understand my equipment will never kill anyone, but neither will an AR-15 in the proper hands. Internet Radio Broadcasting is my hobby and you don’t need to know why or even understand, just like if collecting weapons is your hobby, I don’t need to understand. What I do understand is that if those men yesterday who grabbed their guns and chased down the coward, who knows how many more people would have been killed. I am for the right of law abiding Americans to own and collect firearms.

A little bit more in my profession is the mental health aspect. For lack of a better phrase, “aren’t we all a little bit crazy.” I think killing 26 people goes beyond mental health. And so what if this coward suffered from some bi-polar, manic, depressed and anxious state of mind, does it give him a pass. NO! It’s just so overwhelming to ask ourselves as a society, “what did we miss with this, what could we have done for this person, maybe if we would of recognized his mental health earlier?” Those are all questions that for now deflect us from the truth: This idiot killed 26 defenseless people, and gun control and mental health are not to blame.

I would love to hear your comments, if agree with me or not, we need to get the conversation going, and keep it going until this act of coward-less behavior stops.

You can listen to my commentary by downloading the free Kwest Radio App, wherever you get your music from or click here.

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

Finding the time, to find the time

My son was born last week and I didn’t realize how important my morning routine was until I got off track for a few days. More importantly, it was the actual “not having enough time” aspect to do my morning rituals, that really through me off. Within a few days I was back on schedule and I got a chance to talk with an old high school friend of mine about how important it is to manage your time on a daily basis.

I am a Faliure

When I made the decision that I was tired of being miserable and I wanted help with desperation of a drowning man, I admitted defeat. And what was so hard about that evening in San Marcos, Texas in February of 2013, was that for the first time in my life, even though I had failed at life for the past two decades,  was admitting that I was a failure. And that feeling of admitting, is why I am sober today.

I didn’t realize it at the time, however today I know that I must fail and accept that failure in order to move on in life. I was holding on to some false notion that everything I was doing in my disease of addiction was going to somehow work out. But once I let go, it left room to not only learn from my mistakes, but to heal.

Yesterday I realized that I am still holding on to things in my life that I have failed at. For example when I first started my podcast, Keeping it Sober, my goal was to be the number one podcast on iTunes for the recovery genre, which I am far from. However I never admitted it myself, so I was never able to change what I was doing. Admitting that I failed, doesn’t mean I have to stop podcasting or rip it off ITunes, all it means is now I can look at it, and learn from what didn’t work, improve on what did work and now how I can I make it better.

Failure is a good thing. Without failure, we don’t have an opportunity to learn. Without admitting failure, I would absolutely not be sober right now. So what are somethings, projects or goals that you have failed at, but are still holding on to? Admit defeat, accept failure and learn from it so you can move on in your life and recovery!

Dear Jaxson

Dear Jaxson,

Any day now, you will be born into this world. Words can not explain how excited I am. In fact, I have done a pretty good job of not showing my hand. Feelings and emotions is something I am still working on in my recovery. However I can tell you, I’ve been eating healthier, exercising a little and reading and writing a lot more. I’m getting ready for you son.

I want you to know that you have an amazing mother. She will always protect you, with her life if she has to. You have three sisters. One a U.S. Marine, one a college student, and the youngest that’s in middle school, that is smarter than all of us combined. They are all beautiful and funny. And they all love you unconditionally.

You have grandparents who will have a huge role in your life. You have five aunt’s (or Tia’s), and four Uncles, (or Tio’s). You have a bunch of cousins that will help guide you, as well as probably get in trouble with you. And you have Godparents who live on the East Coast who can’t wait to meet you. So you have a lot of family to look to for support throughout your life.

I want you to know, that life can be amazing, challenging, hard, purposeful and unfair. You are going to have to make tough decisions. You are going to fall, but get right back up. I want you to know that I am nervous. But I also want you to know that I am sober. And because of that, I am able to raise you the best that I can. I am not perfect, but sometimes I proclaim that I am, so bare with me, the first 18 years, you actually do not have a choice!

I can’t wait for you to meet Grandpa, which were you got your middle name. I can’t wait to hang out with you, teach you, laugh with you, guide you and most of all show you through actions of my own.

A few things that are a must. You must always respect your sisters. You must always hold the door open for someone. You must always shake hands with confidence, you must know it is ok to ask for help and you must never be afraid to talk with your mother and I.

Jaxson I love you so much. Your room is ready, your stuffed elephant that mommy bought you is waiting patiently on your crib. Your entire family is on stand-by, waiting for the “call.” Hurry!!!!

And the last thing I want you to know son, is that you are my dream come true.

– Hook’em Horns!!!

Dad

 

Finding Purpose

Lately the word “purpose” has been everywhere I look it seems. I hear it in meetings, groups and in reading articles. When I think of having “purpose” I imagine the search for purpose while in a  personal journey, of hiking across beautiful mountain tops, along mystical trails with nothing but a backpack and religion. It’s always the search, the hunt and the journey that makes purpose so profound. However, for me, its not only purpose, but it’s applying purpose to my recovery.

Maybe my purpose in recovery is as simple as sharing my story or just listening without interrupting. I love to complicate everything! But for me, with a family and my first son on the way, I can’t just pack a bag and go. However,  that should not stop me from the journey.

You see, just like how I finally got tired of being miserable, I now refuse to wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, stay sober and do it all over again. I have to have some type of daily purpose that tells me no matter what, this is why I exists, this is why I am sober, at least for today.  So I detached myself from things that I thought were identifying me like work and graduate school. I tell myself, if I ever get fired or fail at school, that should not dictate my purpose. I should be able to wake up, fulfill my daily purpose, no matter what.

I would love to hear your thoughts!