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…

First Blog Post of 2017

So the first week of 2017 went well. I set some work and play boundaries and life is flowing along great. I’m staying under 40 hours a week, I hit the gym three times for a little 15 minute work out and I wrote every night this week even if it was just one sentence. I took the Facebook, Amazon and Ebay apps of my iphone and kept my budget. I think the real test will come tonight and tomorrow. Those are the days that I plan to do “nothing!” Sounds easy right? Well, if you could see the ideas running through my head right now. I should finish that book, paint the garage, record a podcast, or write a book and a podcast about painting the garage! Maybe I should sell all the technology devices we don’t use anymore on Ebay, maybe I should bid on something, or maybe I should bid on my own auctions! To sit and do nothing is a huge challenge for me. And I don’t know what would make me crazy more, the challenge of doing nothing, or the million little tasks I schedule myself between now and Saturday morning. Maybe I need some type of direction all the time. And structure, maybe people like me can’t be alone with myself. I know on thing, once I hit publish on this blog…

….let the games begin!

Have a sober weekend everyone!


I Felt Like Drinking, And How I Stayed Sober

I felt like drinking a beer yesterday. It was the perfect storm brewing for the past 2 days or so. A combination of random irritability, a severe pain on the roof of my mouth and maybe some hunger from starting a new diet set the stage, however yesterday morning was my tipping point.

I would not recommend sleeping 16 hours, however maybe if I wasn’t woken up every other hour by a dog barking or a wife yelling I could honestly say I slept the full 16 straight. But I didn’t. When the “Beastie Boys” alarm set,  kicked off at 4:30am on my iPhone it was a struggle to get up, but thoughts of a brand new day with coffee motivated me to sleepwalk to the shower.

So I’m all set in the driveway of my house. Car running and heat going. Warming up my hands by rubbing them together and then blowing a fresh breath of non-alcohol Listerine.

So I reach for my iPhone to scan my list of podcasters but my phone isn’t there, dam! Counter top table. The same table where 4 years ago my wife walked into the house and was surprised to see that Doug was about to set a “Texas Longhorn logo”, custom made from tile, right on the center of her table counter. (Whole another story!)

To explain, the entire “operation-forgotten iPhone” saga, which for me is to shut of my car, walk to the front door, fight with broken lock on the screen door, go inside, put on my “night vision goggles,” because my wife insists on every energy of light being off in the house at all times and then recover my device is like getting my two back wisdom teeth pulled, in the Texas Department of Corrections, and only given Tylenol for the pain. (Again, whole other story.)

So off to the place where for the past three visits my orders have some how translated from, “hot carmel mocha” to “cold mocha frappachino.” But, its a new day right, let the past go and focus on the new “hot mocha” present. I explain my order clearly, pull up to the “second” window, not the “first” or “third” but the “second” window and give the gal my card.

That I drop.

My card slides off my fingers, does a slow motion 360 and falls perfect between my seat and center console, into the Bermuda Triangle of cars. If you paid me one million dollars, on my life, I could not repeat the process if my life depended on it.


Why I try to stick my hand in between a one centimeter slot, I have know idea other than I love mental pain. So I open my door only to realize I’m trapped in my car because I parked to close to the wall.  Water begins filling in my car, and within seconds I drown in the parking lot of a  fast food drive-thru. Or at least that’s what it feels like.

I move the car up, back, a little slant, up again and finally I can open the my door and begin the search for the Lost Ark. What feels like a few house later, I move my car up, back, a little slant and I’m back at the window. Finally, I hand the gal my card  to pay my $3.65 tab. She slides my card and presses a button. She pause’s. She presses another button. Pauses. Then she makes a upper body jester one would make who just lost a horse race by seconds.

A manger is beckoned.

My chin drops to my chest. I instantly calculate the repercussions of stabbing myself with a pen that I actually ordered in bulk with my health website name on it. Probably not good for marketing I decide.

15 hours later. (Or maybe just 2.5 minutes.)

After I kill the pain in my mouth with a burn of scorching hot mocha, I’m off for my seventy-five minute drive to work.

As I finally pull up, my focus is not to take out my frustrations on my clients or coworkers. I succeed, I think. However then the 5000 question survey come’s in via text from my wife. Really bad idea on her part, trying to communicate with me at 7:15am with only 1 cup in me, the nerve.

I’m not sure which text it was that ignited an internal flame of self-destruction while trying to maintain a smile for good reflection, but if had to choose, it might be the, “I don’t know why we’re together, you don’t do sh*$ around here,” text, but I could be wrong. And I learned the worst thing you can do, is reply with a one word agreement:


So my day moves on. Nearing the clock-out hour, a “drink” pops in my head. Then a “meeting”, then a “drink” again. I knew what I had to do, and I didn’t really want to do it. It had nothing to do with swallowing my pride, or apologizing for my part, but for the first time, I looked at my situation as, what the right the thing to do is, so I won’t drink or use later, or at least for that day. And for me, that’s what its all about, doing what I have to do, to stay sober for another 24 hours.

So I called my wife on the way home from work. Made sure we were square and she wasn’t tripp’in anymore, and instead of ending my life once again with a drink, I went home and stayed sober.

Keep it Sober my friends,

-JR Valdes


Finally Sober, Eleven Items Never To Bring To Rehab & The “Call”

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.

Coffee first, please!
Coffee first, please!

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:

  1. Pills hidden in  your passport. (Always a big NO!)
  2. Syringes for the little baggie of cocaine you brought in.
  3. The little baggie of cocaine, itself and the cocaine.
  4. The beer, bottle or wine you drank on the way in to rehab.
  5. Duct Tape.
  6. A picture of your ex. From high school. And your 40.
  7. A T-shirt that reads, “Rehab is for quitters.”
  8. Your 15 purses and make-up bags.
  9. 23 different colored sunglasses.
  10. A BB gun.
  11. 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…


JR Valdes-KIS

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.


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!


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

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!


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!



Keeping it Sober

Honestly, I still get daily resentments every time I pass the neighborhood bar.



1-21-15 Sobriety, Priorities & Balance: In that order.

In early recovery (and I’m talking days in), little bits and pieces of your life spins and turns all around you like little tornadoes, headed in a direction unknown and unsettling. It is impossible to deal with the wreckage of our past in day one, but important to ease our minds from all these different little calamities, as least for the moment. So we put ourselves on a schedule until one day we wake and things are better.
Its small things first. Wake up. Take a walk. Brush my teeth. Eat breakfast. Little things we can handle that are right in front of us. Little things we can control and accomplish daily. For example, I went to four recovery meetings a day for the first six months or so. That was my only daily goal. I could not handle working on my marriage, finances, the kids, the pets or life. I could only handle going to meetings all the time.
In time, I added a job to my schedule. A few hours a night I would deliver the newspaper. I kept that job for over a year. But it was still part of my daily schedule that included, waking up, meetings, pick up the kid from school, walk the dogs and then goto work.
In about eighteen months my life became manageable. I started planning out my weeks and even months. I could allow and handle more people come into my life. I understand my amends, financial and personal and more so understood I could not fix everything in one day. With my “staying sober today” card holding strong in my back pocket, I could also go back to just “don’t use or drink today” if things got hectic.
Nearly two years in sobriety, instead of playing that card at problems I couldn’t not handle, I started handling problems that challenged me on a daily basis. And I succeeded at most of them.
Then suddenly my life is sturdy and stable. I have sobriety in tact, my daily schedule down and the confidence and willingness to handle daily problems when they come.
Then one day (like today) you wake up, and there are no more tornadoes spinning around you like angry bees. My mind can rest and my focus clear. Its a wonderful feeling. I know longer have to schedule every bit of my day, and lax a little more to let the day unfold the way my higher power wants it to unfold. There are just some things I absolutely have no control over and that’s OK today. Its just simply OK.



12-18-14 Selfish in Sobriety

I received a call last week from the wife of a person who asked me to sponsor him a few weeks ago. We never started working together however apparently my number was given to her as he walked out the house in a drunken rage. I see it as a pure sign of help and its my opinion the man does want to stop but he’s at that point to where he physically and mentally can’t. I understand, been there before. However, the wife was calling me requesting me to go pick him up from the bar.
About 18 months ago I probably would have went. I was living at a sober home in San Marcos, Texas after completing a 30 day rehab, my second in 6 months. I remember people getting coming home drunk and getting kicked out of the sober living environment. I remember the emotions that led me to try to save them, or bring them back. It was a hard lesson to learn at the time, however, I learned I cant save everyone, and my sobriety has to come first. I even witnessed a friend go after someone who was loaded, then my friend actually ended up relapsing too.
Its hard deal, however I know now my sobriety comes first and everyone has their own journey.
So I told the wife, I was sorry I wasn’t going to risk my sobriety for her husband, but for him to call me when he sober up and if he wants to stay that way.

I haven’t heard from them since.



22 Months: Clean and Sober!

I am not sure exactly where my sobriety started. The day I went back to treatment, the day I got out, or maybe the day I got a job. The clean date is exactly 22 months ago, however the “sober thinking” if you will, came so much longer.
If you stay clean and sober long enough, your life automatically gets better.
And if you hang on a little longer, you learn how to deal with what other normal people have dealt with their entire lives, good or bad, which is “life!”
Hold on to that sobriety and you start to figure out little things about yourself. “Oh, I’m a greedy, smartass, compulsive shopaholic, even sober! So it wasn’t the drugs and alcohol, well then maybe there is some things I need to work on.
Gain a few more weeks living clean, and then you catch yourself smiling. Maybe even a chuckle.
Manage to put together a length of time living sober, and your priorities, family and financial start to sort themselves out. Hobbies become hobbies and not some out of reach fairy tale you blow everything off for in search of, and you realize, yeah its probably a good idea to get a job and work around that.
If you keep sober, you start to remember your life in the past, before you started using and drinking, then you realize the reflection of your innocent past, is really who you are today, and not that person in addiction you thought you were.
And if you stay sober a little bit longer, your hit 22 months, and counting.

I start my day in sobriety, everything else comes second. Everything.