The first days in addiction I felt like my life had came to an end. It was like the road had ended. There was no where left to walk. That is why I struggled so much in early sobriety because I felt like my life was over, whether I got sober or not. That thinking made it so hard to want to get help.
However a few weeks later, even though my life and everything in it was still a mess, I began to see the bigger picture. The “what if” I gave this “sobriety thing” a chance thought, started to peek in my mind.
The idea of what opportunities I could possibly have if I lived a clean and sober life gave me just enough hope to give sobriety a try.
A few months later I was able to really see a clear picture of my what my life could be. I started to understand that my life wasn’t ending, it was just beginning.
Today at a little over four years sober, I can still see the “big picture” and still strive for many goals. The amazing things about it, is that once you see all the opportunity your life has clean and sober, you will always see it. The main things is, if you early in sobriety, do not think of this as the end of the road, think of it as the beginning of an amazing new life!
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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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.
I was walking Colt around the block this morning and I think my “fixation on cars following me” kicked in because I started to notice every car that drove around me. Even parked cars blocks away caught my attention. It’s funny now, but back then it was pretty scary. I know today I can shake it off and change my thoughts to something positive pretty quick. Or something can happen that gets my attention like locking myself out of my house.
Real slick Jaime, real slick!
So Colt and I hopped over the fence to search for an open window or unlocked door and NOPE! With Colt looking at my all crazy, I noticed my kid’s bathroom window was open, but to get in I had to cut the screen. Years ago this would have set me off, but today my thinking is:
I can fix a screen, but I can’t fix a relapse.
So I wedge myself though the window and when I get in I receive a phone call. It was a friend from back in the day
when I was using. They ask if I know a plumber. Of course I don’t. But I go on to ask about the guys. Now at the end of my using the guys I hung with were like brothers to me. Ride-or-die partners in crime. It was us against the world and heavy into drugs. They are people I still think about and wish them well. So I ask about them…and well, they’re all the same but worse. One guy has new charges and facing prison time again. Another has a CPS case pending on them. Another married his daughters best friend who had a in prison. They all moved into my friends mom’s house. Which forces the daughter to have to move out because she went to prison for child abuse. Yup, one big happy family, and they are all still using. Oh and by the way all my friends hate each other now and don’t even hang out.
So I told my friend two things:
I’m so lucky I went to treatment when I did and…
You need to get the fuck away from everyone.
And to be honest, I feel good that everyone is doing bad. I know that sucks, but I made the right choice thus once and for all SMASHING ALL RESERVATIONS!
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 went to a wedding this weekend and realized I’ve never danced sober. I really wanted to take my wife out and have a good time and we did. But what I realized was so much more than never danced sober before.
We got there early. We were actually the first guest there. We’re always the first one’s there. One of my pet-peeves in sobriety is punctuality. I always think I’m going to be late, thus I always end up being super early, no matter the occasion.
Out of all the empty chairs, we choose the two in the very back row. I took a moment to breathe in the beautiful country landscape. The huge Live Oak tree stretched it’s arm over and above the rug that would soon be stood on by the bride and groom.
An acoustic guitar played behind us. The light wind carried the harmony across the small meadow. The feeling shot though me like a flash of lighting, I was exactly were I was suppose to be, in my life.
New friends, new conversations and new laughs followed at the reception. A new crew. I felt good. I wasn’t there wondering about the after-party or watching the bar to make sure they we’re still serving. I didn’t have to try to be the drunk center of attention. I wasn’t making plans to “score dope” the second I left. I knew for sure I was going to get my wife and I home safe. I knew I was going to wake up for work in the morning. I new choosing n0t to drink or use, at least for that night, was the right decision.
I realized that even though my life’s purpose got side track for over two decades, that in the end, I will still end up where ever I suppose to be.
Hey everyone, hope you made it through a Happy Easter and month of March. I’ve been working like a crazy person this last few weeks. #soberproblems I usually just work 3 days, 12 hours each a week, however this week I worked 5 straight 15 hour days, #soberproblems and now I go back to work tonight! #soberproblems I’ve realized though, having a job and having people no they can rely on you is a pretty awesome feeling! #soberproblems
So I got the chance to interview a detox nurse for my podcast and spent the better part of the day editing and mixing to produce what I think is my best podcast yet. #soberproblems It’s crazy just mere 3 years ago my life was absolutely over, no hope, no strength. Now here I am with my beautiful family, great job and pretty cool podcast and blog to share my journey. #soberproblems
Here’s is the link to Podcast Episode 17, hope you enjoy and if you get a chance get with me on Twitter and Instagram @keepingitsober using the #soberproblems and share everything that happening in your life now that your sober!
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!
This week instead of writing just one blog, I though I’d post my “drafts” from the entire week!
You got me.
I actually was driving myself crazy on what to write so I took 3 post I started (but didn’t finish) and fed them to you like high dollar steak!! HAHAHA!!! 🙂
So I was working on my website last night, by the way I have a “new look” site coming out in the new year, and started thinking. (Very RARE!) And I thought to myself, behind the podcast, blog and websites; through my weekly routines and schedules; and everyday responsibilities to the my household and family, that I am finally sober. And that’s all the really matters.
I coming up on 3 years next month, and unlike previous years I able to truly look back and see the addicted person that I am so far detached from. Everything from my thought process, to new friends and relationships have all completely changed.
I’m sleeping better. I mean way, way better. Im sleeping solid through the nights and doing something I have never ever done before. Sleep in. It’s really a beautiful thing when your mind is clear and not keeping you awake for every little thing.
This “new life” or “new me” is much more confident and proud. My motto of sobriety first…allows every aspect of my life to fall in place in random order, however nothing is above anything else.
For the first time ever this week, the thought of using disgusted me. That’s huge. Like really, really huge.
I think I’ve almost seen everything as far as items brought into treatment that are not allowed. And sure some things have merit and seem silly not to be allowed. And there is a huge “grey area,” because rehab is not a lock down facility and people pay to be there. But just in case your item or items falls in that little grey area, I wanted to definitely make absolutely clear that these certain items that I’ve personally have come across as people admit to the center, are not allowed at rehab:
Pills hidden in your passport. (Always a big NO!)
Syringes for the little baggie of cocaine you brought in.
The little baggie of cocaine, itself and the cocaine.
The beer, bottle or wine you drank on the way in to rehab.
A picture of your ex. From high school. And your 40.
A T-shirt that reads, “Rehab is for quitters.”
Your 15 purses and make-up bags.
23 different colored sunglasses.
A BB gun.
The lead guitarist for your “cover-alt band.”
Two mornings ago I got the call. It was truly unexpected. Unlike when JJ, hung himself and my parents drove 4 hours to prison to tell me. I sensed something was wrong when the guard yelled my name for visit, “Valdes!” My parents had just came to visit the weekend before. I felt it in my gut when I saw their faces sitting at the table, waiting for me as I sat down in front of them. Just like how I felt it when Richard was killed on New Year’s Eve and I got the “knock at the door” that Richard was missing, then later “the call.” It’s a feeling I get, all in the gut when something is horribly wrong.
However, when my wife called me back two morning ago, while I was driving back into town and even though I just hung up with her, I felt nothing when the call came in.
But then I heard her voice.
A voice I hate passionately. A voice I probably caused once or twice. A voice underneath tears. A voice that when I hear it, I brace myself for the next few words…