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…

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…

 

 

 

What’s your biggest fear for staying sober?

elevatorI don’t know how or why the question popped in my head. It’s really the first thing that came to mind as I opened up my laptop. It sounds crazy, someone being scared to stay sober but I think that may be big part of the challenge. Sobriety leaves us alone with ourselves. It’s that awkward moment of silence you share on an elevator  with someone like your boss or manager. You know them, but not really. Not enough to strike up a conversation, but enough that you know you should. We don’t know who exactly is under all the layers and layers of addiction we hide ourselves with. We have an idea, but we are not exactly sure. It’s just easier not to search, than to search and be disappointed. And that is why sobriety and recovery is a complete life change. And it can be scary however if you hold on, it can also be exciting and amazing! Imagine being in an elevator and the person next to you is the “sober you in five years.” What do they look like, where are they going, what do they say and is the elevator going up or down??

All comments are welcome and don’t forget to listen to our latest podcast!!

 

https://widget.spreaker.com/player?episode_id=9887413&theme=light&playlist=false&playlist-continuous=false&autoplay=false&live-autoplay=false&chapters-image=true

If You Had a Radio Show, What Would You Name it?

So at my little desk today at the Austin office acting like I am typing something of importance, while really I’m just blogging. Well I guess blogging is important, I mean if it were not for bloggers, how would I know who to vote for last week, yeah right!

My wife’s in Vegas for 25 days. And this is day 3. I hit two meetings in San Antonio and one today in Austin. I’m not going do the whole “25” in “25” however I though it would be a good idea kick-off the whole deal with some meetings.

Having a plan is a good idea when your significant other leaves out-of-town. I mean like a true addict and alcoholic, I had over three months to create some sort of “plan” when my wife left so I don’t relapse but file-nov-17-3-04-14-pmI put together something really quick, seconds after I dropped her off at the airport. Then today while eating Arby’s after my fifteen minute work-out at Planet Fitness, (where no one judges if you eat Arby’s afterward), oh by the way if you haven’t eaten Arby’s like in four years, its pretty dam good, I came up with my plan.

I’m going to start an Internet Radio Station! Well, not exactly. Well, that’s what I wanted to do, but then the thought hit me, start a live show first, then see if the financial support is there, and if it is, then move on that. Where this entire radio station came from was this past weekend my buddy wanted to broadcast a high school football game, but I didn’t want to go, but I was the one with the Internet audio stream. So I configured a way that he could call me from the press box and could grab his audio and convert it to a digital signal and pump that baby right into my Internet Radio IP address, so then to be listen to on the website. I know, genius!! And they say sobriety is boring!

No but seriously like it’s way cool you can call in and chat live, while being broadcasted over the net! So, a recovery radio show it is, just one problem,

what should I name it?????

jrv

By the way, don’t forget to check out my latest “Keeping it Sober” podcast Episode 24, Is Addiction a Disease??? on keepingitsober.org or iTunes

Never Danced Sober

file-nov-07-11-43-16-amI went to a wedding this weekend and realized I’ve never danced sober. I really wanted to take my wife out and have a good time and we did. But what I realized was so much more than never danced sober before.

We got there early. We were actually the first guest there. We’re always the first one’s there. One of my pet-peeves in sobriety is punctuality. I always think I’m going to be late, thus I always end up being super early, no matter the occasion.

Out of all the empty chairs, we choose the two in the very back row. I took a moment to breathe in the beautiful country landscape. The huge Live Oak tree stretched it’s arm over and above the rug that would soon be stood on by the bride and groom.

An acoustic guitar played behind us. The light wind carried the harmony across the small meadow. The feeling shot though me like a flash of lighting, I was exactly were I was suppose to be, in my life.

New friends, new conversations and new laughs followed at the reception. A new crew. I felt good. I wasn’t there wondering about the after-party or watching the bar to make sure they we’re still serving. I didn’t have to try to be the drunk center of attention. I wasn’t making plans to “score dope” the second I left. I knew for sure I was going to get my wife and I home safe. I knew I was going to wake up for work in the morning. I new choosing n0t to drink or use, at least for that night, was the right decision.

I realized that even though my life’s purpose got side track for over two decades, that in the end, I will still end up where ever I suppose to be.

The movie Spun, Chris Isaak and my 3 year chip walk into a bar…(coffee)

thAbout a week ago I was sitting at Starbucks with the one person who showed up to my once a month, “How to create a podcast” group, ( I know, my life is so freakin exciting that your literally foaming at the mouth word by word), when the “Love Song” by the Cure, cover song came on. No, I’m sorry it was a Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game” cover song that came on, (I know, I can’t believe you’re following me either) and it immediately triggered my mind to find the girl who was singing it. I was like OMG, that sounds so good! So while I was ignoring the only member of the group babble on, a familiar hot flash came over me as I was searching the gallows of Itunes. 206d32ba0ba62cafad46c412791e136dThe obsession of desiring and seeking a song that would somehow make my life perfect merged with the obsession to drink and use just one more time. The taste of that “dark freedom” took my current reality back to a time where the only responsibility was no responsibility. The innocent moment of searching for a pretty cool song, quickly vaporized into a feeling of extreme urgency to watch the movie “Spun”, which for the 3 days prior to my last relapse in 2012, I obsessionally watched over and over. And over. This all happened in a period less than about 3 minutes, however it felt as if I took a trip for years.

Back in Starbucks I realized where my mind was, and where my feet actually were. Then I weighed my options. 1. I could ride the wave of old memories being that well, all they really are is thoughts. 2. I could blow off the entire ordeal and act as if nothing happened. 3. I could take action.

3 year chipI picked 3, and I texted a few members in my recovery program. At over 3 years sober, I actually had to tell someone I was in a bad place emotionally as if I was back on day 1. And for that I stayed sober another day. The morale of the story, which should really be, “Don’t go to Starbucks and listen to cover songs from Chris Isaak,” is no matter how far along you are sober, picking up the phone and calling or texting someone when your life feels a little weird can save your sobriety. And your life.

-Jaime

 

 

Keeping it Sober Tuesday

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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

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JLK3RDW

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!

 

 

Financial Debt in Sobriety :(

One of the things I struggled with after I got sober was financial amends. One of the first things or steps rather when transitioning back in life is putting the pieces back together of all the wreckage I had done. Like sobriety, this is a process and can not be done in one day. Or in my case, years.
So, I’m sober, I worked the steps, back with the family and I finally get a second to look over all my debt, which before I could careless about, however now I do want to start paying off. And it took me 2 years in sobriety to say to myself, “Ok, I want to start paying off my debt.”
So even getting to this point and looking at all the credit cards, utilities, cell phone bills, cable and Internet defaults can extremely overwhelming. Especially when you have you have your other daily, weekly and monthly fixed cost. So here are a few tips that I gathered that might help relieve the stress.

1) Your Sobriety. Make sure its solid. Make sure you are doing the daily deal and keeping up your recovery. Make you sure you understand your sobriety comes first, and I like hold in my back pocket the fact, that if worst comes to worst, all I need to do today is stay sober.

2) It would be a great idea if you had a steady job! I would not recommend trying to pay the world off with your first check. Get to a point where you can spare the extra cash, which takes us to our next tip.

3) Priorties. This is huge. So you have your debt, your regular bills, and you have .45 cents in your bank account. What do I pay off first? Well. priorities say, take care of yourself and your family first. Build up a little savings. Make sure you have the money for your bills first, then savings, then the left over can go towards whatever. There is no sense in being completely broke, it just ads stress. Your debt is going no where, remember as long as we are making a sincere effort, its all good!

4)What bill to pay first? If you like me, during my addiction I racked up over a dozen bills of debt. And let me add I am currently no where near clearing my debt. So how do I pick whats first? If I have the money to pay off an entire bill I do it. If not, I pick the largest and set up payments however during that period, I do not pay anything else off. Or you could pin the bills up on the wall and throw darts!

So this just my experience, this isnt set to stone. Basically find you way and get it done. However you absolutely have to keep your sobriety first or the rest of it really doesn’t matter.

KIR,

j