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

I Am Ok With Just Being, Ok

coffeeLately it’s felt like groundhog day, the same daily grind from the second I wake up. It’s like I got sober to do the same thing over and over again. Maybe that’s what we do, repetition without reservations. How quickly the dark days hide now that the sun is shining bright. Not sure if the overcast is gone or just hidden by layers and layers of strong solid sobriety.

I heard a kid speak the other day. Complete millennial. I forgot what I had mentioned in group, but he was like, “dude, I wasn’t even born yet in ’85.” Geeze, thanks buddy! The kid with sandy hair looking like he carries his pillow on every Uber ride he goes on cashed in on some pretty good stuff. He said, “I wake up and I’m ok. I’m not happy, I’m not thrilled to be here, but just ok. But today, I’m ok with just being ok. Compared to the dark place I use to live for the past four years.” That makes perfect sense, to me and him at least. What doesn’t make sense to me is the Frisbee Golf league he’s in, that will never make sense. Millennias.

So a funny thing about that coffee cup. When I order coffee it’s has to sit for awhile before I drink it. I can’t drink steaming tongue burning coffee, that just doesn’t make any sense in my world. So when I buy coffee somewhere it is usually because I am driving a long way and such. So I buy coffee, eat, then I’m on my way out with the full cup. I’m about to push the door open, and I drop my cup. As I drop my cup, a guy walks in. The guy had absolutely no part of me dropping the cup. So I go up to the cashier, tell the kid sorry for the mess, can I buy another cup. The kid responds, that the guy just bought you one. I was like “wha what??” Told the guy thanks, he said no problem and as I walked to my car, I had this profound moment. YES! That’s what we need! Whatever “that” just was, I need to bottle it and give it to every American, so we can get a long, and have better days. This was amazing! Literally five seconds later I was honking and yelling at the truck in front of me who blocking my exit while he stood in line at the drive in. Fucking addicts. I am so screwed up in the head, I really just need to stay with the grind and coffee and mind my own business sometimes.

radioSomething really cool though, at least for me. I finally got my Internet radio station hooked up. I got in to Internet radio in college and when I graduated in 2009 it was my goal to create my own home studio. Well, didn’t work for obvious reasons, however last week, or 8 years later, its finished. It’s pretty cool. I can host live shows, have people call in, have in studio guest and it records all the shows as well. It’s probably now just going to sit there but at least it’s finally done, mission accomplished, I can go on with my life now!!! #keepingitsober


Hey everyone, don’t forget to check out the Podcast at keepingitsober.org

…does it need to be said, does it need to be said now and does it need to be said by me?

Does it need to be said, does it need to be said now, does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said, does it need to be said now, does it need to be said by me?

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.

If you like my blog, please join me on my Private Facebook Group:

JR Valdes

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


How Can I Help You?

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!

Happy Friday-Keeping It Sober


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 things to help you stay sober…

Five things that helped me stay sober in early sobriety:

One of the challenging parts of our journey in recovery is when we find ourselves “days in” sobriety. Our bodies and minds are in a physical and mental shock. We have a tornado of thoughts and emotions spinning off in our mind pushing us to take some type of action. Anything to make the unfamiliar reality we find ourselves in just go away. At this point we usually pick up and use or drink. However here are five things that I did (out of the many!) that helped me “hold on” in early sobriety.

1. Journal, which is blogging the old fashion way
2. Make the decision, not to make any decisions.
3. Do nothing. For the first time in your life, do nothing and “hold on.”
4. Stay off the phone and social media, (except for this blog!).
5. Priorities. This actually should be first on the list.

For an added bonus, here’s five more!

1. Don’t picture your life without drugs and alcohol, just picture your life.
2. Go to some type of support group, even if it kills you!
3. Make a commitment to change, because that what it’s all about!
4. Pick one person to be accountable too, preferably not your dealer!
5. Have a plan, if you don’t prepare, then you prepare to fail!

This is really good stuff! Look out later this week as I start to break down all ten things that helped me stay sober with personal stories from my own recovery!

Keeping it sober,


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.