Finally my 2009 degree pays-off!

I hear about these kinds of situations all the time, but even the personal experience of God giving me everything I need in life and more, still creates uncertainty. And I tell myself, everything is going to be ok and I truly believe that. However the disease of addiction is centered in the mind, and I create this fear that in the past I would drink and use over, which was the only coping skill I knew. However today its different, the option of using and drinking doesn’t even come to mind. And even though I know things will work themselves out if I stay sober, the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next, is still brings fear.

I came home last night, to basically a miracle. The company I work for filed for Chapter 11 and is auctioning off their assets. I do not know the business side of all this, however I do know my days are numbered. I also know that whatever happens with my position, I am currently at the most employable stage of my life right now. I know for a fact, if I just stay sober everything will be ok. Yet, I still drive myself to insanity wondering if the new company is going to eliminate my position.

Why do I do this to myself?

So recently received my Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor- Intern credential. When I opened the big white envelope that contained my certificate last night, there was another surprise that I had no idea was coming. I’m not special, nor unique. But I do take pride of going from my active addiction to an LCDCi, at the treatment center I sobered up at. I must admit that’s cool, working as a counselor where I got sober. But that’s not the miracle.

I started to read the paper that came with the certificate. I was like, blah, blah, blah…. blah, blah. Then I read the part about the 4000 hours of internship. Whenever you get your LCDCi, you have to complete 3 years of internship hours before you become fully licensed. But when I kept on reading, the letter stated my 4000 hours had been waived due to my college degree that I received in 2009! I was completely taken away by this. All I must do now is take the exam, and I receive my full professional license without having to do the 4000 hours. This basically saves me three years!

Again, I don’t know why I fail to trust my higher power and my sobriety. My LCDC license was practically slapped in my face, making employment a whole of easier if I lose my position.
All I know today is if I don’t drink or use today, I have a pretty good chance that everything tomorrow will be ok.

Anyone see the new Cobra Kai series??

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In show number 8, of the Totally Addicted Radio Show, Pete and I discuss the new series of Cobra Kai, racial slurs at a Texas theme park and much more!!!! To listen to the full show, download the Free Kwest Radio App where ever you get your music!!!!

How I stay sober #18

I’ve been looking everywhere for my 24 hour chip that John gave me. I’m over five years sober, but the bronze chip is what I like to carry in my pocket. The chip reminds me that I only have to stay sober today.

And today I am going to a barbeque with old friends that I haven’t seen in decades or since I’ve been sober. It’s a spiritually based gathering so no alcohol around, and I am taking my own unsweet tea either way. I have the option of meeting at a church, then going as a group however driving my own vehicle is the safest for me.

So I have my tea, vehicle and chip, what could go wrong?

I know today my motives are clear, my sobriety is strong and my desire to stay sober is that strongest that it has ever been. But most of all, I feel calm about going, compared to anxious. I feel that I am doing the right. The most important part for me is, being in my own car, to leave if I feel uncomfortable.

That’s one-way I stay sober.

 

If you do not create a life in sobriety that you like, you will relapse


I had great week. Coming off some depression two weeks ago, I found myself in a really good spot emotionally. I learned that sometimes I just have to grind the bad days out and it always gets better. My counselor use to tell me, “you grinded out five day binges, why can’t you grind out your anxiety?” I found that to be true. So after “grinding” out a few days of being in an emotional and spiritual funk, I am left with by-product of sobriety: Which to me is living.

Waking up sober on a Sunday is the payoff for me. I remember the days when Sunday mornings was completely chaotic. I’d be wearing the same clothes as Friday night, my breathe smelled of alcohol, my armpits rubbing together like sand paper and my hair an emotional wreck. No money, no place to say since I was kicked out of my house, and no charge for my cell phone. The perfect cocktail, for….another cocktail. In my mind, I was just given a pass to keep drinking and using more. And I did.

Today’s I don’t have to live like that anymore. The by-product of my sobriety, which is a daily choice to stay clean from all substances, is recovery; a journey to who I am, or to a better person than before. And with that, I have been able to create a new life, that I don’t want to mess up with using and drinking. I strongly believe that in sobriety or in recovery, we must create a daily life we are content with. It doesn’t have to be some delusional amazing fairytale either. It can be as simple as drinking coffee on a Sunday morning, taking a walk through a trail, spending time with your son on the back porch and typing a new post, all before I go to work.

If you do not create a life in sobriety that you like, you will relapse. And it never gets better.

The Search is Over…I found me.

It’s has been my experience the longer I stay sober the more I gain insight on my life. For example I can now look back and realize so moments in my life that may have contributed to my excessive drinking. Furthermore, addiction is that weird little gift that, without it, I would not have clarity today. 

The weird gift of addiction

It took years for the dust to clear from my all my consequences created by my insane choices I made in my disease. In fact there is still a cloud of dust that slowly is set to settle. However for the most part, I don’t know if my life is “back-on-track” but it certainly is going in the right direction (i think).

Part of this “recovery-journey” is finding out who I am. I used for over 20 years, and when I got sober I wasn’t the same person. It was exciting to look into myself for identity while at the same time challenging.

I feel like I am striving daily to get to a point in my life, that which I may already be at.  I don’t want to spend my life “in search of” meaning. I don’t want to work like crazy, “for someday to have the perfect bank account.” I don’t want to dream about a day “that I can finally get my family everything they want.”

I want to enjoy life today, not in 5, 10, 15 years. I don’t need to go hike a mountain to realize I’m here to help others. I don’t need to “tap-into” my inner-deep self to realize the potential I have, when I understand that my story isn’t special. I don’t have to waste anymore time, finding myself, when I know I’m a husband, father, son, brother and friend. And today, that is all I need to be……for now

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

 

Is Taking “Selfies” a Mental Disorder?

The topic in 2014 that taking “selfies” is a metal disorder, which turned out to be a hoax, is back in the search engines once again.

Reports from uncreditable websites turned up a 50/50 result as far as selfie’s or “selfitis”, which is said to be the “official mental disorder” term, showing about half of the sites say  it is a disorder, the other half say that the articles are not real. To be clear, these low-end websites are not arguing the point that “selfitis” is real, however arguing the point that their counter low-end website is spreading fake news. So after a brief click on the American Psychiatric Association website, I found no articles or evidence backing the claim that taking selfies is an official mental disorder. 

So what do you think, are selfies a mental disorder, or just healthy fun that has become apart of our American culture?

Post your thoughts and comments here:

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…

 

 

 

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