A Long Sober Drive Home

The traffic isn’t bad on the drive home from work. I think the school district in the little South Texas cottage town I work in either starts really late or really early. The curvy roads that slash through the hill country have been awaken with a foggy mist lately, which frost the windows but soothes the drive. The morning sun always catches me directly square, then it switches and torments the left side of my face. But this morning the sun hides as the dark clouds hold strong. About a twenty-minute drive through Mayberry then I hit the interstate which heads south back to San Antonio. Back to home. By this time, I’ve had enough of my favorite podcaster yelling online business strategy’s in _Please Lord, please set the apartment complex on fire so we have to evacuate. Please._my ears, so I pull out my ear-buds and prepare to battle the gut wrenching whine that we know today as “the end of radio.” Five minutes in and the radio wins like always and it’s abruptly interrupted by my index finger pushing the “off” button.

Then the real chaos begins. Being alone with my mind.

I do not have this amazing, crazy-successful, super exciting life now that I’m sober. I remember what Jeff said three years ago. I was living in a small college town just north of San Antonio, east from where I work now. I was living in a sober home that replicated the frat house in the movie “Animal House.” I was two weeks out of treatment, the same center I work at now. And I was desperate enough to finally ask someone for help. This time my life, it felt over.

I never took to the idea of having a sponsor. It just felt creepy. I mean put me in the Texas Department of Corrections and it’s like a reunion. At a club or bar I felt invincible. In the bad part of town, in a run-down house with complete drug using strangers, and I’ll spill my life story. But with some guy they call a “sponsor?” It’s just plain creepy.My first ever sponsor was Mario. And I was really uncomfortable. He had invited me to his apartment to go over the “Big Book” and when I showed up him and his wife were cooking. So I sat down and ate with them. Really, really uncomfortable. I wanted scratch my eyes until I  bled out. I prayed to myself, while I took a sip of his Cantelope and sugar water drink he made and asked,

“Please Lord, please set the apartment complex on fire so we have to evacuate. Please.”

Your not going to believe this. But moments later, the small kitchen began to fill up with smoke. The smoke alarm went off and Mario jumped up and ran towards the stove.

“Oh my God Lord, I wasn’t serious, wait, just please don’t let anyone get hurt. Oh, and thanks.”

It turned out Mario had forgotten he left tortillas in the oven and they started to burn. So we did have to air the apartment out, however we moved the study pool side.

About 4 months later coming off a relapse and my third treatment center, I had run into Jeff. I had heard him talk before at meetings when the treatment center would take us off campus. Something he said resonated with me.

“I know I have another drunk in me, but I’m not sure I have another recovery.”

That hit home big time. And when my ass was on fire, I knew who to go to. I asked Jeff to help me. I told him I was tired and for the first time in my life admitted, I didn’t know what to do. That’s when he asked, “well what do you want, why do you think you need help?”

“I can’t promise you’ll be happy, but I can guarantee you won’t be miserable.”

“I don’t know, ” I said, “I just don’t want to be miserable anymore.”

“Well that’s good,” Jeff said. “But I can’t guarantee you’ll be happy, but I can guarantee you won’t be miserable anymore.”

So all that came true. I’m not miserable anymore and even on most days I’m even happy. It was just one of those moments that plays in mind over and over at random. Moments like those get me through my hour drive home from work. And I think that’s why I don’t mind the 2 hour drive to and from. That’s two hours I know for sure I’ll be sober.

 

Recovery, Sobriety- What Are The Real Issues?

Hi my name is Jaime and this is my blog, Keeping it Sober. I hope one day to be a professional blogger, as in wake up every morning, slide my black ankle socks down my smooth hardwood hallway and press start, to my Café Du Monde, brewing in a $29 coffee maker. Then tip-tap on my keyboard, strap on my readers, and solve life’s most baffling mysteries known to human kind. And get paid for it.

However for now, my name is Jaime and this is my blog, Keeping it Sober. Today is the first day my wife has opened up all the windows and doors to the house. I really should be asleep, but I couldn’t trade out a few hours in bed during the most beautiful day of November. I’ll cat nap tonight at work here and there.

This is a addiction recovery blog. But, I have realized a few things that involves every one of us, not just people in recovery. Like humor. Humor is in everyone’s heart. We must find the humor in good times and bad times. We all must laugh, even if it’s at ourselves once in awhile. Second we must listen. Listen to what “we” are really saying. Or yelling. Or crying. Or asking. Stop and listen, ask questions, find out how you can help. And last, which is the real challenge once getting sober, and I use that term loosely, is living your brand new life, sober around normal people. Just like the rest of the world.

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To talk a little more on the, real challenge, of sobriety for me its the daily grind of life, new experiences, my past, the what-if’s, trying to move forward and asking myself daily, is being sober enough? Recovery for me is the constant reminder that I’m an addict and will that thought ever go away?

I do know one thing for sure, I can only handle what is right in front of me no matter how hard I try to figure out life’s problem’s all at once.

So I am glad you are here, let’s share and solve the problems of today so we stay sober tomorrow…..or something like that!

Keeping it Sober my friends!

j

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!