I don’t even like sports- Things I can’t stand to do, now that I’m sober

A March Madness Confession

There was a time I would literally quit my job the morning of the opening games of March Madness. I would explain to my boss exactly why I was quitting. However the games were just an excuse to drink during the day and gamble money I didn’t have, while my wife was as work. A lot of that had to do with me just growing up, but I know today it was fueled by my addiction. You know how I know? Because today, I don’t even like sports.

You can now add sports to the ever growing list of things I can’t stand to do, now that I’m sober. I use to block out entire weekends, cancel birthday dinners for my parents, and watch sports news 24/7. I use to put so much time, effort and commitment to a sport or game that it became so overwhelming as if I was the one playing.

The first two years of sobriety I stopped watching sports completely. I figured since I was emotionally invested in my teams that it would not be good for my recovery. However when I started to watch and keep up again, I quickly realized that spending a good part of my weekend following a team is not very healthy and a waste of time.

I still do watch part of a big game here and there. However I can’t remember when the last time I sat and watched a complete game from start to finish, not even the Super Bowl.

So am I going to fill out a bracket this year? I work at treatment center so no office pools for sure there. A buddy asked me to join his bracket though. My thoughts, well if I get around to it…

-Walk Towards the Cheers

 

Where to Draw the Line

I just got off the phone with a friend in the program. We have mutual friend that has relapsed.

     “Where do I draw the line?” she ask, referring to when does caring turn into enabling.

I learned this lesson early in sobriety. About three months early. I was running a sober home and one of the renters relapsed and got kicked out. And there I was to the rescue, with hotel money to save the day! I went to the hotel in the morning to take the guy to a meeting and try to find him another sober home and he was completely wasted.

Even though we don’t really know the person sitting next to us at a meeting, there is some type of emotional attachment. Probably because we see ourselves. Also, creating new relationships involves ‘s “disclosing” of personal information with one another. And that’s exactly what we do in meetings, we talk about personal stuff that we would not talk about anywhere else. So I understand the attachment to someone else’s sobriety.

I would suggest sticking out your arm, and drawing-the-line there. Do what you have to do to stay sober, and allow people to navigate their own personal journey of recovery.

 

-Walk Towards the Cheers

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…

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…

Waking up Sober the Monday after Super Bowl

 

Grrrrrrr..!

I use to be the “guy” who never missed a game no matter what. Some of it was a true and innocent passion for the “big-game” storylines and hype, while a big part of it was an excuse to drink and use. When I got sober, I stopped watching sports for the first 2 years for several reasons. First, I associated watching sports with using and drinking, second I couldn’t handle the emotional rollercoaster ride of my team barley squeezing out a win, or not winning at all. Third I didn’t like they way sports controlled me as far contributing 3 to 6 hours of watching any random day. Even though I haven’t watched a complete NFL game the entire season, (thank goodness), and my favorite team was completely horrible, (not the Browns), it doesn’t take a “super-fan” to realize what Super Bowl Fifty-two, (I think?), is all about.

The number one storyline going into the “Big-Game” this Sunday is, Who do you hate more, Tom Brady or Eagle Fans? It’s really that simple. For me, I’m a Brady fan. If the Patriots win, to me Tom will be the best-ever, (whatever that means!). I like Carson Wentz, because I broadcasted one his game while he was in North Dakota State as my university played against him, and lost against him FYI. I know Wentz isn’t playing, however through recovery it’s important for me not to take this game to seriously, no matter who wins.

Here’s my logic. If I truly believe in and accepted Step 1, then I will do things throughout my day to help my stay sober. A person like me, can not afford to get emotionally invested in something so meaningless, like the Super Bowl. I can’t watch with a bunch of people who are drinking, or skip a meeting to watch. I can’t argue about a player, team or game. Other people can, I can’t. Reason being my old coping skill for handling uncomfortable emotions was drinking. Even though this will be my fifth sober Super Bowl, and I have new kick-ass skills to deal or sit with my emotions, I’d rather not test my sobriety, no need to.

If you are concerned watching the Super Bowl because you are on “day 1,” or maybe “year 10” here is a few things to make sure you wake up sober the following Monday.

  1. Host. You can’t control what other people do at their house, but you can control the invite list and the “no alcohol” rule at your own.
  2. If you absolutely must attend, maybe your up for that promotion at work and your boss invited you to his Super Bowl Party that’s is suppose to be epic, (which I would strongly suggest don’t go even if you don’t get that promotion), go with someone that is in recovery and have an escape plan if things get uncomfortable. “My neighbor called, and my dog jumped the fence or my house is on fire,” whatever works best!
  3. Go to your local recovery club or treatment center, someone will be hosting.
  4. Watch by yourself. That’s what I love to do. Pull out the old social media account and start analyzing every play from you smart phone, that will get the conversation going so you are not completely by yourself!
  5. My favorite, go to a meeting, don’t watch or DVR it for later.

No matter what you choose, remember this is not about Tom Brady or the Eagles, this about our recovery and staying sober.

Walk Towards the Cheers…

 

 

 

Relationships in Recovery #2

If you have 2 minutes, I would appreciate if you took this relationship survey. It’s for my graduate studies and is completely anonymous! Thanks so much!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F9HHLPV

How to End Friendships when you’re getting Sober

Trying new things in Recovery!

One of the most challenging obstacle I faced in early recovery was ending my life time friendships. It was also frustrating to determine who was my real friend or n0t. However once I realized ending my friendships had to be done in order for me to not drink or use anymore the feeling of abandoning the people I grew up with a little better.

So for me, I changed my number and stopped hanging out at places where my friends would hang out regular basis. But this resulted in some lonely boring nights and home by myself that was actually just as bad as hanging out with the old gang. But I did, I made it through and eventually friends stopped looking for me and in time I made new friends and healthy relationships. But it wasn’t until a few months ago, I came across an article that I think would of really helped me out back then when ending my relationships.

The article is called “Letting Go of a Relationship with Gratitude,” and was written by Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. In the article, she states that if you are going to end a friendship, you can do it a healthy manner. Dr. White also states that out of every friendship, you can pull positives even out of negative relationships.

Dr. White explains that all allow ourselves some type of “humiliation and pain” while we are gaining acceptance in a group. But in friendships, this can lead to “resentments” against the other person. And if we apply this concept to our addiction and recovery, we all know that resentments are our “number-one killer,” it was it comes to relapse.

Dr. White goes on to explain that creating a “Gratitude Review” can allow you to end relationships and learn from them as well.

Here are two things I want to leave you with:

  1. Here is the link to the “Letting Go of a Relationship with Gratitude,” article, please feel free to comment how you challenge or confirm the content.

Ending Relationships

2. Here is the link to a Relationship Survey, that I think you might find interesting, and it is completely anonymous. The reason for the survey is for a Thesis paper I am working on so it would be greatly appreciated if you take it!

http://bit.ly/relationshipstudy1

Also you can sign up for the Relationship Study email list, where I will be sending you monthly reports of how the Thesis is going and the information that I am collecting!

Subscribe Here! 

I know, I’m super excited as well!!!!!

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!