1000 Days Sober

Hello Friends,

Today I’m 1000 days sober. I feel nothing but gratitude for the wisdom I’ve gained in my time sober. I know myself more than ever, “who I am” and “who I am not”.  I clearly see my innate gifts and what my issues are.  Since my mind is clear and sober i get to act on my innate gifts while working on my issues. Issues I find deep in my soul. There’s still a lot of learning ahead. Some lessons will be through pain and some will be easy. I just have to accept whatever the universe gives me. Know there is a reason why things happen. I might not be able to see the lesson right away so I just have to accept what is. The lesson might arrive later once the pain subsides. I can’t always know why everything happens, i just have to accept that it does. I can’t run or hide or bury what is, i have to fully embrace it and make the necessary changes. The universe is very powerful and has magic  my human eyes can’t always see. I just have to stay open for the lesson.

I’ve been working on my first novel that has turned into a three book series. I use to think it had to be done right away or within a years but I can’t rush this process, I just have to let it come alive. All three books are basically done and the editors are ready but I am still making some small adjustments. There’s only been one person to read through all three books. This person is an avid reader, who usually finishes two books in one week. They loved the series so that was huge relief and a boost in my confidence. Right now I am in a stage called “The Middle” that’s in between the realization of the goal or dream and the achievement. I am finding “The Middle” to be the most important part because it defines the destination. The middle has also been the most fun because it’s where I am most creative. The middle might is where i spend most of my time, so I have to enjoy it. I have to allow space, failures, growth and change to happen. The middle part is where I see what needs to be change, what work needs to be done, and it allows me to put in a plan of action. In this stage I have to be kind to myself and enjoy the ride, dream big, and put in the work. I’ve been writing six hours a day for the past two years. The middle part has taken time but it’s necessary. My persistence overpowers my failures. Failures are necessary and rejection is inevitable, but it’s not the end destination.

 

I don’t have all the answers on how to stay sober or be successful in life, all I can do is work towards my goals and dreams. All I can do is live one day at a time and try to be present in each day. I know that my ego is the creator of all misery. If I’m upset or angry somewhere in that pain is ego. I know I will always have Alcoholism, Alcohol-Inside Self and Mind. I know my disease centers in my mind that creates the body craving. That’s why I have to always be aware of the mind voice, but it has gotten very quite since I’ve been sober. As of now, my true self seems to be stronger than my disease but I know it wont always be this way. There will be extreme pain ahead, people will die in my life but my recovery program is my safety net. My second year sober has been pretty effortless but there have been some life challenges. I now face life challenges head on and embrace those uncomfortable feelings instead reaching for a drink. Feeling life is very important in recovery, feeling everything and not burying it. So I cry when I need to or laugh when I want to. My feelings now live on my skin and not underneath whiskey poison. Burying my feelings will create an infection that creates holes in my soul. When holes in the soul are created we try to fill them with outside false happiness like shopping or food or sex but the goal is the not let the holes get there in the first place. So I can’t bury my feelings I have to embrace my feelings. The more challenges I face in life, the more wisdom and strength I will gain. If life becomes too hard, drinking is off the table, I can write or do something that can calm my soul. I’ve only had one craving for that whiskey poison and that was in my first months sober, cravings have seemed to vanish. I make sure to stay grateful for my sobriety, if i wasn’t sober than i would have nothing. My home, my partner, my family or friends. Human connection is the most important thing in my life.

The longer I am sober, the more I forget that I was once an addict. Since being sober I have created so many amazing memories, it seems like the new great memories are erasing the old past pain. The past is the past, it’s not my current moment. I can’t use my infected past guide my day or I can’t react to the present with the past. Now that I am sober, I have a clear slate to create anything I want.  The past doesn’t play over and over in my head, I no longer feel that deep shame of my past addiction. We are not our addiction symptoms, not the past pain, the shame or guilt of hurting loved ones. We are the courage and strength it took to change, that’s our True self.  There has been a lot of happy memories made in my 1000 days sober and I focus on those. I no longer wake up to blackout crimes or wake up with hangovers, now I wake up to goals and dreams. I’ve been working on achieve those. If we can overcome addiction, just imagine what else we can accomplish. If we took that hard work  and dedication we put into our recovery program and apply that into a relationship or career we would see success in those areas.  Meeting small goals in life will build confidence and small goals lead to big goals or life changing goals. Small goals are very important and should be celebrated, like making a month sober, how incredible is that. The courage it took just to get sober for a month, go for another month. Months add up and eventually you will be a year sober, and years add up too.

The people I lost due to my addiction are back in my life, but my relationships are better than before. I feel a deep connection to the people in my life, it’s as if my compassion and empathy for other humans have grown. I love bigger and unconditional but not just other i have deep love for myself. I feel like i am own greatest fan and best friend. I treat my body, mind and soul with deep respect. Our body is the only real home we have. I now understand what it means to be good to other humans and  enjoy human connection more than ever. Every single day I try to be as present as my mind allows. I trust others but more importantly I trust myself in taking charge of my life and making decisions.

Healing is not about becoming happier, or feeling bliss all the time. Healing is more of letting go of everything that isn’t my true self. Letting go of child abuse, letting go of my traumas, letting go of the addiction, letting go everything that is preventing my full potential and only than am I healing, and left with my true self.

Below is some New Poetry  since my last blog post.

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Stay Connected with love, Adolfo Vasquez

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Two Years Sober: What I’ve learned

 

Hello Friends today is two years sober, I am filled with gratitude, love and purpose. Day one sober I was laying on a mattress in small apartment with nothing, only the want to be sober. I lost the love of my life and most of my friends. I was filled with self hate, guilt and shame. I knew with every cell in my body that the only way for me to rise from my rock bottom was to stay sober and find a recovery program. My addiction created a lot of chaos that was still alive and surfacing in my early days and months sober. All I had was my higher power and hope that one day I would be the Adolfo that the universe had attended. I saw no clear path because my mind, body and soul were still detoxing from the alcohol. All I did know was that alcohol took everything great from my life, and now I was saying goodbye to the only true friend I thought I had and that was the substance. Alcohol was my escape from my dark childhood, it was my confidant in my hard times and was there for me in my good times. Alcohol wanted to be the only thing in my life, and started taking everything away. After saying goodbye to alcohol two years ago I am now back with the love of my life. Just moved into a home in Venice Ca. Everything I lost because of my addiction I’ve gained back but even better than before. Alcohol was never a friend but an enemy preventing me from having human connection, a connection with myself and a connection with my higher power.

 

I still have work to do and I am never free from addiction disease, I know if I pick up again it will have a ripple affect in my life, and my life is so great why destroy it for that buzz. The buzz I now crave is feeling life and love. Most of my life I disliked feeling anything. Numbing for me meant no pain or hurts from others but it also numbed me from good feelings as well. Healing and overcoming my addiction involved growing strong emotion muscles. Now that I am able to feel life and not numb life I have to embrace every feeling in every situation. The more I feel life and not hide from life, the stronger my emotion muscles get. I also had to start feeling those dark and difficult sensations I use to suppress during my childhood and addiction. I grew up hating my feelings because I was a very sensitive child. Everything hurt so I thought if I just numb my feelings I wouldn’t hurt. The problem lies because when I numb the bad feelings I also numb the good feelings. Once I got sober I had to start trusting that my negative feelings won’t destroy me. The fear in sobriety won’t kill me. No feelings that come in sobriety will destroy me. Emotional development will be the inevitable outcome once my muscles grow strong. Cravings are terminated when there’s no longer a need to numb or run from my feelings or my truth. Feeling life will bring wholeness and healing. In the past when I tired to get sober there were recovery programs that scared me into getting sober but also helped me gain some insights into addiction. I was in sobriety and struggling to make my life work but in so much pain. That was a sign that I was not recovering. I had to let go of the past pain in order to feel life in the moment. I had to start seeing my life as a clean slate and create from there.

 

 

Thinking my way through life without embracing feelings was a way to survive as a child, living in the mind. That works against me as an adult. I looked for insight with my infected mind, some how thinking it will lessen my internal misery. When I first got sober I believed the recipe for happiness was buried within the chapters of a book or outside myself. Outside stuff will somehow heal my inner pain or relieve me of pain. Happiness is acquired in gradual steps . It’s an inside job that requires steady, hard work and dedication to growth and healing everyday. Baby steps will get me there. Wellness has to be a conscious choice. My mind, body and soul need to work together and be on the same page, or my life will go astray. I’ve struggled with bad feelings my whole life. I use to think bad feelings did me no good. At times staying busy helped me ignored them. I thought if I just worked a lot of hours or took a class I would feel fine. Bad feelings wont leave if I don’t embrace them and let them flow out of me or onto paper. It’s a human emotion that will always come up no matter how great life is, I will eventually feel sadness and that’s OK. I had to learn how to be comfortable in pain and not hid or react right away in pain. I have to embrace it, grieve and let it go.

 

I can use sadness as a guide to change or for art. Addicted behavior means stay busying, numbing and not dealing. When I was an active addict and in times that were calm and serene my mind started racing causing my emotions to start feeling bad. I would hit the bottle or use outside substance to numb me from feeling. That’s why being alone was the worst for me, all I had was this infected mind that made me feel fear so I would drink and drink until the next day repeating the cycle. I never learned how to deal with bad feelings. I would rush to my head, analyze those awful emotions. I would give them reasons to be there like I deserved to feel sad or anger emotions or beat myself up for wrongdoings probably some I hadn’t committed or even committed yet. I would than feel even worse. Emotions automatically became thoughts, and I never learned how to separate my emotions and thoughts from my true self. Now that I am sober, I can see that i am not my emotions, thought’s, or surroundings, I am the captain of those three.

 

 Anything that seemed unfamiliar or foreign brought intimidating feelings, my natural instinct is to want to feel safe in the unknowns especially as a child or when I first start having strong feelings for someone. I frequently found a hideout or an escape as a child in film or music. As an adult I turned to alcohol and never took a leap of faith without certainty. Now, I just embrace those unknowns and let them play out. I can’t let my mind prevent me from experiencing life in all forms. The goal of healing is to learn to feel everything. Feel my past pain, let it flow out of me. Feel my present moment and whatever that is. My feelings were suppressed as a child causing my emotional growth to be underdeveloped. I was at times abused when expressing happiness because my parents were annoyed with the sound of my voice. I started showing limited emotions out of fear. Growing up trying to function with a very limited number of emotions hindered my ability to react properly in life. That’s when I turned to drugs, booze, sex, and food to cope with difficult and awkward experiences. Those experiences created negative feelings. If my parents soothed and helped me learn to accept my feelings as a kid rather than escaping or shutting them down. I would never have needed to numb my discomfort with substances or behaviors. Running from my misery was the only means of surviving the dark childhood. As an adult it harmed and hindered my growth.

 

It always seems worse, before it gets better. That is very true when you first get sober. The worse stage only lasted a few weeks for me and that may differ in every one. It will get better but it will be challenging. The good news is there is so many outlets of support every step of the way from meetings and online groups. The next noticeable sign in recovery is noticing the absence of pain. That also felt uncomfortable because pain was a big part of my life, and when pain left I felt empty. That’s a good sign to start creating self love, compassion, gratitude, and positive emotions inside myself. It brings a life high that is indescribable and can last as long as you want it. As a child I learned to be a non-needing human. I had to adapt to situations instead of dealing with my emotions, those emotions built up overtime. My difficult feelings did not matter because I just needed to survive. My coping process that helped put those emotions away was living in my head. I fantasize most of my day about how life will be different when I grow up. I thought I would be in control over my life circumstances. I would also see sad movies and think they had it worst than I did, that made me feel better. I would compare my life to others and that helped me feel thankful for my life that was horrible, it made me feel grateful for my pain in some weird way. There’s always someone who has it tougher. We always hear stories of our grandparents having to walk in the snow for hours or work long hours. So I felt I had to accept my pain or situations. I would say well my pain isn’t so bad, minimalize  the pain I was in. It was an excuse not to change. Being mentally abused or bullied in school I would tell myself, well I could be dead. It was the wrong way of thinking. I built up an incredibly high tolerance for pain, misery and discomfort. My pain level had to be severe to get my attention and even then I would not change. My compassion was reserved for others and never for myself. When feelings surfaced that were difficult my parents thought it was unacceptable. When feelings are treated as bad or wrong, we regarded them precisely the same as we get older. Harshly judging them and myself as bad when they surface. Each time bad feelings like frustrations and anger came up, I tried to make them go away instead of embracing them and finding the root cause.

 

Beneath my addictions had a common denominator. I’ve been a survivor of traumas, filling my inner emptiness or deadness with substance. An addict to more than one thing, when I stopped one substance I moved on to the next. I couldn’t give up all drugs and alcohol, I needed something to fill me up. After detoxing and healing I can now start to search within myself for talents and abilities. I believe each of us come into this life with unique talents and abilities. When these inherent gifts are recognized we can begin to learn who we actually are. It has taken me twenty-eight years to find my talents and purpose. I guess I am what you would call a late bloomer. I feel one of my talent is, understanding human nature. My therapist once told me I should be a therapist. I did not understand what he meant at the time. He said I understood myself very well. It was as if I already knew the answer I just needed reassurance. I believe my childhood traumas and living with addict parents, growing through addiction has pushed me into finding out why people act the way they do. Challenging paths forced me to get intimately acquainted with myself so I can help others do the same.

 

Addiction is not the cause of my pain. I was the cause of my pain, i allowed to pain to grow and grow.  Addiction is only a symptom of needing to escape feelings that been dangerous or scary to have whether they’re bad, or good. It’s not just negative feelings that are scary. Feeling positive ones can be as well. I lacked the frame of reference on how to embrace happiness and love. It felt foreign and uncomfortable and the reflex to self-sabotage came out eventually. 

 

Healing doesn’t come quickly and if it did I would feel like I’m living inside someone else body. Two years of hard work has gotten me here today. If i did not go through the process from day one sober to two years sober than i would not know how to deal with life situations. I would feel threatened not being able tolerate the change if it happen quickly. Change happens gradually, so I can adjust to it as it comes. Change involves slow growth. Imagine being a normal citizen than overnight you’re famous. Change that happens really quickly can cause me to be destabilized. Now imagine if that change happened quickly inside us. I might go crazy, wanting to go back to my old addiction ways. Growth must occur slowly, or it might be hard to handle even if the rewards are huge.

 

While i was an active addict  and felt internal pain I search outside myself to cope. When I felt lonely inside I searched for sex outside. This is the same with love. Growing up I felt unlovable at an early age so I searched for love outside myself. Having a good relationship with myself was impossible while being an active addict. I found myself failing miserably in my early relationships because I had little self-love. Upon deeper analysis, I found out that self-esteem and self-love are issues that are related together. Suffering from low self-esteem, it is deficient of self-love. Loving myself felt unnatural in the beginning of sobriety because my mind was my enemy and was ingrained with self-sabotaging thoughts for twenty eights years. Creating self-love is conscious decision. When I didn’t love myself, I was basically telling the Universe that I was unworthy or undeserving of any love or positive outcomes. Manifesting unhealthy people in my life, allowing myself to stay in relationship that I suffered from, like cheating partners and abusive partners. I allowed people to be disrespectful to me because I was disrespectful to myself. Learning to love myself starts with making a conscious decision, an intention to become happy and lead a fulfilled life. It’s impossible to reach full potential with no self love or low self-esteem. Once I started creating self love and building up my self esteem my life started syncing together like a rebirth.

 

As a child no matter what my parents did to me, I still had deep love for them. I unquestionably loved my parents even when they abused me and were the source of my pain. I even lied to protect my parents from the police. With that I learned to accept that love comes with pain. That became the foundation to my relationships were all my adult attachments were built on. In short, love equaled pain and this pain must be calmed, or how can I maintain love? I put up with others hurting me and stood by there side no matter what, that created a lack of respect for myself. I thought i was unlovable so even the slightest touch of affection was enough. I thought since it was difficult to gain parents love, it will be hard to gain love from someone else. I thought I had to put up with others abuse and that pushed me to the bottle. I had to unlearn most of what i was taught as a child and i am still unlearning.

 

 I can’t escape my bad parts and only hold onto the good parts, I have to accept them all and if there are parts that need work, then I work on them. Before I work on them I have to accept than understand them. The longer that I am sober the more comfortable I am with my dark feelings or dark side. I  know use it for my artwork. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, I just enjoy finding pain inside myself to create poetry. I enjoy dark art and some unwatchable films. Knowing my dark side and good side brings me a more understanding of myself and also on what I need to change. Feelings are just parts of me that I discarded a long time ago, and they’re wanting to find their home again inside me. Feelings are not my true self just but a source I can use to find my true self. Being a healthy and a whole person means being able to experience and operate from a full repertoire of different types of emotions, without self-judgment. This is what’s required to be a multi-dimensional, fully integrated human being. My dark emotions are not monsters that live under my bed, they are inside myself and I have to embrace them. I can’t drown them or outrun them. My young formative years had powerfully influences on my beliefs, principles, and sense of Self. True healing means challenging some long-standing ideas, superstitions and rules I lived by, which had trapped me in self-loathing and toxic shame.

 

I am unlearning flawed beliefs and faulty patterns that has brought chaos to my life. My program may keep me from using but I have to be resolving the underlying pain that made me want or need to use. Getting sober has been easier than shifting how I think. It’s like having to learn a whole new way of thinking so I can perceive the world differently. Sobriety doesn’t fix my life it just gives me an opportunity to fix my own life through my recovery program. I wake up everyday happy and next to my love and working on the last chapter of my novel. It’s very possible to not only stay sober but to achieve dreams and goals that will heighten the love I have for sobriety.

 

So today i will spend the day in tears of joy with my love and good friends. I now know my past addiction, dark childhood, shame, guilt, pain, feelings, addiction symptoms, human errors are not I or my true self. I am who I choose to be right now, in this moment. We are all souls having a human experience and our worst parts do not define ourselves.

 

I  have been missing in action on Sober Is the New Black due to working on my first novel, it should be done very soon so i can get back to blogging and poetry. Here are some Poems i have created since my Last post, share them if you’d like. I can also email you any poems for free, most of my poems will be in the novel.

 

 

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Stay connected with love, Adolfo Vasquez

 

18 Months Sober: Finding True Self

Hello Friends today is 18 months sober, some time has past since my last blog post. In that time a lot of changes, growth, vacations and challenges have surfaced in my life, some amazing and some fearful. One thing remained the same. The want to stay clean and sober. Sobriety is the foundation to grow endless possibility. On November 11 2015 I turned thirty. I celebrated with family and loved ones. My twenties were filled with many beautiful lessons I will take into my thirty’s. In my thirties I will work towards a more balanced lifestyle in all aspect of my life, taking actions in facing my fears, working towards whatever my head can dream. Taking what I’ve learned in my twenties applying them in my thirties. I never thought I would make it to my thirties, but I now know its because of the higher power or ultimate creator, I will no longer take for granted this beautiful gift called life. Looking out the window knowing God created air for our lungs and our five senses to experience the beauty in life.

 

Everyday we experience something we will never experience again, you just have search and be open. Today I was driving and looked out a bumble in a window and at that moment a light shine through creating a beautiful pattern of colors, the minute I drove off it went away. Life is beautiful and moves quickly, slowing down allows our eyes to see the beauty in everything. Be inspired by the light shining in a cracked window to the dust floating in the light. 

 

One of my fears growing up has been a fear of flying so for my thirtieth Birthday I wanted to overcome this fear. For the first time I took my first plane ride. It felt incredible pushing past my fear. I even looked out the window as we landed bringing me to tears. The city lights glowing like a million stars in a galaxy.

 

 A while back I started finding the things I identify myself with. The “My’s” of life. When I say, “This is my home”, who is the one saying my home? That is “I” or the soul. The “my” and “I” should always be separated like two parallel lines that should never become one. They can work together throughout life but separating these two helps me find true self.

 

So I made a list of all the “my” in life.

 

My home and all the things in my home, my friends, and my family are all on the “My’” line. I can no longer identified myself with the “MY” of life. I am not my home or the stuff that surrounds me everyday. So I started to dive deeper in separating the “my” and the “I”. My past, my addiction, my situations, my current circumstances, and my experience’s are not “I”. They are here to teach me who “I” is but they don’t define me.

 

I don’t say I am past, I am ego, I am experience I say my past, my ego, my experience. The “I” is a soul having a human experience with the “MY”.

 

True Self is the ‘I” and is precisely what I am. Whatever remains after the separation of the “MY” is true Self. ‘I’ is the Real me. I am totally separate from everything that is mine. If I lost my home, a family member or friend, the “I” or true self remains whole.

 I am put on this earth to find true self and experience life with the human body. Striping myself from the “My” and “false self” becoming one with the “I” and soul.

 

Diving deeper, am I my emotions or feelings? I am not my emotions or feelings. Emotions are a beautiful thing that the body brings the soul to experience this thing called life but the soul or “I” controls the emotions and embrace’s them for exactly what they are.  Emotions are passing and will go away and the “I” or the soul is still left.

The I and soul are born pure and innocent, my natural state is joy and happiness

In my early stages of sobriety when I started striping away my false self. A fear of society came over me but I had to accept myself whole. What I like about myself, what I disliked about myself, everything in between. I had to be my own greatest fan and best friend. I also had to accept others for who they are without my own expectations or ego. My Relationships have improved with loved ones, friends and family. People who I lost due to my past addiction are coming back into my life. I no longer focus energy on what others think of me and focus my energy where it really counts: achieving my own personal growth and achieving dreams.

I am also becoming aware of my strengths and weakness. Building on my strengths, recognize my weakness and building that gap between the two. I believe connecting with my feelings and writing is strength but grammar can be a weakness so I work extra hours, or will eventually take creative writing class or hire an editor. Being aware of my weakness is a great gift to myself.

 

 I wore labels on my skin my whole life. I thought I was the label like an abused child, a drug addict and alcoholic, or my political stance, a writer, a friend. If I took away any of those labels do I become any less? No I don’t. If I lose my fingers and can no longer write. I am still whole inside. The “I” is still intact. I was in 3-year relationship that consumed my whole being. When we split up, I felt lost because I allowed my identity to become defined by “My” relationship. Those labels aren’t who I am. If I was a husband and got a divorced, I am no longer qualified as a husband and if I defined myself on that one label I would be lost when it gets taken away. The more labels I put on myself the more I bury my true self.

 

I use to thrive on the labels, a collection of pain. While in sobriety I came to find I am greater than any label. The labels and the “my” were ingrained in me by my past and parents. My mother is a catholic and so I grew up thinking I was going to be a catholic but as I got older I did not connect with those beliefs. Our parents have a huge part in burying our true self from what we are taught at an early age.

 

Letting go of the Ego is hard but is done in small sections like the tree in my stepmother yard. We can’t just lift it out of the ground and throw it away but instead we’ve been cutting off pieces at a time. The same approach is with letting go of the false beliefs that make up my ego. Detaching myself from individual thoughts that reinforce my ego. Letting go of beliefs, separating True self from false identity. I have spent years building my ego living inside my mind, and reinforcing it through my thoughts, feelings and actions. It will take a while to learn just like any subject in school or riding a bike for the first time.

 Important things to learn or worth doing takes time and practice.

I work six months out the year and have six months off, the work season has slowed down, so I can spend more time writing, blogging and working on the second draft of my book. I have some vacations in the works going back to my hometown of Palm Springs ca. Hope you all have a great Sober Thanksgivng. Sober is the new Black

crowns

 

darkness

 

each day

 

feel

 

GOLDPOEM

 

ODAAT

 

peace

 

sync

 

 

healing

 

 

SIA music is poetry that comes alive, bringing me inspiration. Bird Set Free is incredible.

500 Days of sober: Alcohol is a Drug

Hello Friends today is 500 days of sober. This past month has been amazing, the longer I am sober the clearer life gets in making right decision even small decisions. I am finding my true self more and more everyday. Things I enjoy doing and things I don’t enjoy doing are being easy to spot. Having an addiction to Alcohol is different than any other substance because it’s legal; it’s at every dinner table, on signs and billboards. I cannot hide from alcohol, I just have to see past the alcohol. It’s at every family event. It is deemed acceptable from society. Alcohol is publicized in film, TV, music, artistry, and celebrities as something cool, fun and freeing without repercussions.

 

Young kids see this and the want starts. Kids hear, “I need a drink” after a hard day of work. “Lets celebrate with alcohol” or today was a shitty day so “lets party”.  Escaping through substance instead of finding a healthy positive way to spend their time. I started drinking at fifteen but it turned into a disorder in my twenties. There are many outlets that can help escape from the moment like creating art, writing or reading a book. Trying to master a hobby or skill. Putting all the dark feelings or pain inside us, into an art, turning them into gold. Find happiness in partying sober. Society needs to stop pushing the substance abuse agenda through the media. Alcohol is not fun or cool or freeing. It’s caging the youth from reaching their full potential, their talent, and their strength to deal with life adversity. Alcohol kills millions of people a year.

 

When I first got sober, I did not have balance in my life because I was focused and obsessed with my recovery program. Excluding everything else, stuff vanished because of my addiction like friends, my last relationship, and my drinking. Freeing up most of my time so all I did was work my program. I guess, early recovery isn’t so much about balance as much as it is maintaining sobriety. Now Balance is the most important action in my life. Balance is something I had to learn, when I was an active if I liked something whether in food or in shoes or drinking, I did it until I was sick or broke. Chasing outside happiness to fill the deep emptiness inside. Keeping balance in every aspect of my life, like work, writing, working out, healing, prayer and meditation. If I feel like I am getting burnt out than I change it up.

 

Balanced lifestyle helps  lessen obsession, which will lead to unhappiness as it did with my obsession with alcohol. Striving for balance gives my life mixture keeping life interesting. Balance helps protect me from relapse. The ability to respond with strength to instant gratifications. Doing different stuff keeps me open to new concepts, so I’m always learning.

Reducing my everyday stress by building up my body and mind in some down time or a power nap. Creating discipline is something I’m currently working on at the moment, I have to learn how to walk out of a store with one pair of shoes and not six pairs.

Pushing myself for personal growth can become an obsession as well so I have to take it easy some days and enjoy this new person that is here now in this moment. Slowing myself down helps keep my life in perspective. It’s not all about personal growth and achievement, all the time. Slowing down will allow me to reflect and enjoy the progress I have made.

 

Discipline is the foundation for a balanced Life.  Taking inventory on what needs to be worked on is something that needs to be done often or even daily. Maintaining awareness about myself takes discipline. Not everything I’m trying to achieve in personal growth is going to be fun. Some will be painful and cause tears.  There will  be some scary stuff on the path to personal growth. Pushing past fears like facing my parents help creates discipline.

Getting positive results from forgiving my parents is a sign of personal growth. Pushing myself to make small goals and achieve them in different areas of my life like eating better, going on a daily walk, or becoming more skilled in a talent. I am building the discipline that is necessary to work towards long-term growth in recovery, life and in dreams. The pursuit of a balanced lifestyle will help me grow in many new directions. Seeking balance in life and working towards all around growth will maintain success in my recovery as I evolve in different paths of my life.

 

Quitting an addiction is a source of strength and motivation for other areas of my life. The first months of recovery I thought things like “My liver will be better”, “I’m going be so much healthier”. That turned out to be an understatement.

 

Now my thoughts are “I am powerful beyond anything” I realized, I could set goals and achieve them. If I can over come addiction, imagine what else can be accomplish, if I take what I do in my program and use it in a talent or skill. I can use that powerful focus to accomplish nearly any goal that I choose. Getting sober awakened a fire within me. It gave me the positive inspiration that I needed to tackle some monumental challenges like writing my first novel that will be out in 2016. Sober is the New Black.

 

 

birth

 

gray skies

 

uncondtional love

 

 

a suffering addict

 

 

 

pieces

 

 

pursuit

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Connected with Love, Adolfo Vasquez

 

 

 

Sia new song called Alive is a such an inspirational song.

Day 470 Sober: Change

Hello friends today is day 470 sober, I’m in Palm Springs, CA my hometown. I had two months off of work but decided to take a trip back home before I get back in the studio for our new work season.

To want, or not to want was the theme song of my life. Most of my life I did not want what I had, like my body, debt, poor paying job and wanted things I did not have like the perfect lover, that dream job or lifestyle. I always felt discontent or that a part of me was missing.

I wanted my life to change, my circumstances, and the people in my life without making any effort or going out of my comfort zone. I wanted to have the same behavior and thoughts yet different results, a form of insanity. Contradictions caused suffering because I wanted change but change brought upon fear and doubt. So I stayed the same, and decided to live in discontent.

 

Change, Success or dreams and goals start with a step towards them. The belief that I am capable but that is just a fraction of what makes change happen. Success is preceded by hours and hours of practice. Spending a lot of time working on the talent, skill or what we want to change. In the beginning, my writing wasn’t good. I look back on my journals and was puzzled on why I believed I was capable of becoming a publish author. Yes I did well in English and loved literacy but my grammar and technique were bad.

 

The want to become a writer grew so I started spending six too ten hours a day writing. At first the vision in my head did not match what was on paper but by volume of work, hours of practice and working on the skill, it started to come together. Change takes work and practice. Practice in a sequence of steps. Trying time after time to master the craft. Trying to find my voice and when failed efforts arise, analyzing what went wrong so I could work on those failed attempts. I pay more attention in detail to what I am writing. It gets richer, vivid, clearer, and impossible not to come close to perfection or the vision in my head.

 

The reason I thought change was hard is because I wanted instant change. I never given enough discipline, focus and attention to what I wanted to change or understood why I thought and behaved as I did.

 

My weight throughout life goes up and down. I tried diet after diet, I would eat less and work out. At times, I would even force myself to skip a meal. I did not see the unhealthy relationship between food and I. My mind saw food as something bad or pleasure seeking, I would eat tons than feel guilty than starve myself. Till this day I still have Food issues. I have to change the way I see the food, as a source nutrients and energy. With getting healthy or any goal I have to pay close attention or the old behaviors will creep back in.

 

We all live in an environment, which is shaped by our behavior. The behavior is shaped by our capabilities, which are created by our beliefs, and values, which make up our identity. Everything that I do, the circumstance and situations that I put myself in is a reflection of who I think I am, my identity.

 If I’m unhappy I can change my surroundings but I wont be happy until I understand the deeper root that caused the unhappiness. If I don’t then I will become unhappy in the new environment. Even in the new environment I’ll keep doing the same behaviors that would cause my unhappiness becoming patterns throughout life turning them into cycles.

Cycles of unhappiness throughout my twenties were very common, feeling stuck, Useless and an active addict. Real, meaningful change only happens when something changes in the way I see myself or think of myself. Change doesn’t always have to be slow, painful and tedious. When I hit my rock bottom it happened instantly. For example a parent who finds out she is pregnant so she stops smoking that minute

 The type change that happened when I decided to stop drinking was emotionally powerful, it quickly brought me a clear vision on who my true self is and who my true self was not. It sharply put me eyes, mind, heart, soul in focus on finding out more about my true self. That thought of drinking was no longer the main want and the search for true self was the main want.

 

Most times than not the change I wanted wasn’t the type that shook me to the core. I couldn’t find that deeper understanding of why I became that person I no longer wanted to be. We all do small things that we would like to change like being more tolerant, or happier, or saying no more often but these are just the tip of the ice bergs. The rest is hidden underneath, they are bigger issues the eye’s can’t see.

 

Being aware of wanting to change is just the first step than taking the time to go really deep inside. Finding the behaviors and purpose of why we acted in the way we did and where it started. Deeper than we’ve ever gone before, the deeper we go the more we find. Through mediation, self-reflection or prayer, or just asking one self. If we don’t than it’s like pulling out a weed without getting the root, it will grow back, and in my addiction case it might even kill me.

 A lasting change is when a person identity changes. Everyone can spot what needs to be changed in his or her life. It’s harder to understand how and which beliefs and sense of identity needs to change. Many of us are self-aware and smart it’s just the way we see the world is often skewed.

 

If we are looking to help others, inspire others, and change others we have to first understand the beliefs of the people we are pursuing to change. Understanding and respecting how they see themselves and how they want to see themselves change. By helping them become their true self, it will be easier to effect change that they want rather than forcing them to do so, or with ego.

 

My behavior is an extension of the way I think of myself. To make a lasting and comfortable change I need to respect and acknowledge my identity before evolving. Once I start to change the behavior my surroundings will change. When introduced to new normal or way of living, the mind tends to seek out ways it will fail. The mind is are greatest ally and sometimes the greatest enemy, I just have to be aware which one is coming out in that moment. Changing to a new normal isn’t about being a right normal or wrong normal , good normal or bad normal. It’s more about if it works better for my life in the present moment. After losing a child you have to create a new normal, a normal that no parent should feel.

 

 If  it works better in my life, I’ll use it. If not, I don’t waste time and energy judging it, because it may be useful in later years. A new normal is determined by behavioral changes.  Often times we will fail and if we succeeded, there can be negative side effects, like losing some one we hold dear. The solution is to change our mental molds, which will change the way we see the world and ourselves in the world. Than change will rise organically out of us.

 

There is a mental voice or internal dialog that goes on in our heads at all times. An endless stream of thoughts from the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep. The voice has been apart of our lives for so long. It sounds like us, knows what to say in every situation, that voice even has the same tone as our outer voice. That mental voice is what we use to create our lives. The mental Voice unknowingly builds our reality. Recognizing that the voice in our head is not us. Our mental voice often works against us and is highly dysfunctional. This is the voice that talks down to us, challenges our self-esteem and is the source that limits our infinite potential.

Our belief of how the world works is created by the mental voice. we have a belief on how to find love. Our beliefs isn’t who we are, it’s our perception of how the world works, built in our mind.

Once our beliefs become concrete in our mind than the universe gives evidence that this is in fact the way it is.

A habit of living in a self Centered Universe is very common. We interpret every situation in “What impact does it have on me? or why me” If we spend most of our time in a self centered Universe, it will bring more frustrations, pain, and suffering. The shift beginnings when knowing we are the captains of our perception. We can create a new normal without limits. If there something right now that concerns you, it was created by you. Acknowledging and understand this reality, every detail. Now find a new normal, one that works better than the present. Believe in that new normal. Start living those changes. Sometimes at first the evidence will say: it’s not working. Just remember your mind is not you. In time it will start working and celebrate that. Sober Is the new black

 

 

happy

 

spin

 

In my top ten songs of all time, this song is high on that list from Sam Cooke ” A change gonna come”

 

 

 

graditude

 

influence

 

 

galaxy

 

 

violence

 

 

i can

 

 

every

 

 

my love

 

 

addict

Day 450 Sober: Forms of fears

Hello Friends today is day 450 sober, Now that the book is done and being edited I find myself having some fearful thoughts that I’m trying to push through. Anytime I try something new or find myself in uncharted territories (First time being a publish author) the fear of failure is the first thing that festers in my mind. Fear has been ingrain in my mind and body at such a young age. Fear prevented me from getting hurt but it has also prevented me from reaching full potential. Before I spoke words I knew what fear was.

 

Fear is an emotion that give’s me a signal so I could avoid danger. It’s projected toward event’s that hasn’t occurred yet. That can be a dangerous thing. Some of the greatest things in life I will experience are scary like falling in love, trusting others, jumping out of a plane, and success. Fear can be a good thing. Since the beginning of time it’s a useful survival mechanism. Fear can make someone be careful in certain situations. Overcoming a fear can bring upon a rush of excitement, an empowerment that brings strength and confidence.

 

Fear can be motivation. By changing how I see the fear. Instead of being afraid of making a mistake, change the fear to being afraid of not learning the lesson in the mistake. If  I am fearful of trying something new or moving to a new state. Change the fear to not trying something new or fear you might never get the chance to experience living in a different state. Fear can become nonsensical in the form of phobias; a bit odd and not making sense to be afraid of certain things. As a child I was afraid of the wind, weather, choking on food, getting beaten up, being homeless and Fear of heights.

As I got older my Fears evolved into; Fear of change, loneliness, not fitting in, of my partner cheating, and death. Every time someone around me was in a bad mood, I assumed it’s because of me like an automatic reflex in my bones.

 Fear can have unwanted side effects like stress and anxiety. The side effects are what I need to overcome. Recognizing fears is extremely important to overcome. If I don’t know what scares me, I’ll never do anything about it. Some are easy to feel and spot others may take going within self, searching.

Fear comes in the form of thoughts that lead into the feeling. Most fears are caused by some traumatic events from the past. Being a child of abuse, I tend to be an introvert not wanting to get close to someone afraid of getting hurt. That traumatic experience taught me to avoid human connection.

Internal or subconscious fears are dangerous because it makes me think its part of my DNA or myself.  That fear can really hold me back in life. The way I saw the world and understood the world was with eyes molded from Past pain, childhood traumas and low self-esteem all intertwined becoming Subconscious fear. It developed my belief system.

Subconscious fear can also seem to be a part of who I ‘am. For Example In school I excelled in English. In high school I was above average, taking college prep classes. I also wrote a poem that was published while in middle school. I always dreamed of becoming a writer but as I got older I thought I wasn’t good enough or not qualified. So I went through a period of not writing. That was a Subconscious fear thinking that prevented me at the time from reaching full potential. I see it now coming out while my first novel is being edited. What if people read my book and hate it or not understand it? The reader is the most important aspect, It’s like a dance between the reader and the writer both have to be in sync.

 

Subconscious fear is hard to recognize and eliminate. My fear beliefs are not facts. The things I want and the things I fear sometimes become intertwined becoming one.

 

Fear is illusion created by the mind so I have the power to destroy it. We can destroy every negative thing we create in our mind. Pain will happen but it will subside, if I quit pain will last forever. I need to Protect my dreams and don’t be afraid. Everybody has failed, it seems necessary to becoming great. The past few days my mind has been trying to feed me failure but the difference from this time sober is I am aware that it’s my addiction. So I have to push through and change my thoughts. One day at a time.

 

 

 

 

war

 

Surroundings

 

 

 

addiction

 

how beautiful

 

 

fatal

 

 

bleed

 

healing

 

 

grief

 

accept

walk

 

This song from Macklemore is a brilliant track, hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

Stay connected with Love, Adolfo Vasquez

Day 437 Sober: We are Worthy

Hello Friends today is day 437 days sober, I was up in last night in to the early morning finish up the first draft of my novel. When I wrote the last sentence a sense of being proud filled my soul. I have yet to feel that way in my days sober. Just over a year ago I was sitting on a mattress that lay on the floor, stagnant in life from all the substance abuse. I had no passion for anything great, I was incapable of dreaming big dreams for myself.

 

So last night after finishing my first draft I wept a bit, knowing that hard work and making a conscious decision in believe I was worthy of pursing a dream that seemed to big.

 

Since a child I have always felt ugly. I have dark skin, I’m short and I carry more weight around my waist. I have chubby cheeks so when I smile I notice my face swell up a bit.

Low self-esteem is something I struggled with most of my life, but when I was using I was unaware of it being low Self Esteem or how to overcome Low Self esteem.  Since I could remember I’ve carried a belief system that I was inadequate, unlovable, unworthy and/or incompetent. This perception comes from the interpretation of the dysfunctional behavior of my parents during my early years. I was the brunt of their anger, abandonment, abuse, neglect, and continual negative criticism or scorned.

 

Children know only what they are taught. My parent mistreated me and I started thinking I deserved it. I was abandoned periods at a time in the elementary school years and middle school years from both parents so I told myself I was insignificant. My parents withhold affection and love, I viewed myself unlovable. Being criticized constantly, I must be incompetent. Being abused by my parents, bullies and my molester, I must be unworthy of anything better.

 

My early childhood set the stage for how I viewed myself. Affecting my entire life. Basing me not on the truth about who I am really, but rather on the rejecting, inappropriate, and abusive behavior from others. Once this faulty view of self is formed it affects everything in the child’s ongoing life: my decision-making, my ambition, my creativity, my assertiveness, my choices, my dreams. In Sobriety I came to see myself in a truthful light rather than through the negative and distorted lenses create from past experiences.

 Having been betrayed by my parents who were the closet to me, who I trusted and rely on, I was unable to separate who and when to trust a person. Consequently, I often trusted a person who was simply nice to me or showed me some attention, opening the door to being easily swayed, taken advantage of, and manipulated. While I didn’t trust those who were trustworthy like Vincent in the beginning of my last relationship. Over time a person really knows what a person stands for or who they really are. Time will determine if another is trustworthy.

 

When I was a child I developed an image of myself as inadequate or not good enough. I treated myself and expected to be treated accordingly. I was overly critical of my body. I inwardly agreed with others’ criticisms of me, I might have put up an argument against negative feedback but eventually scum to other beliefs of me. I would always reject compliments. Even criticize people who compliment me. I carried low standards for myself.

 

I just assumed other people see me in the same negative way. Anticipating rejection, expected to be ignored or mistreated. For the longest time I thought I deserved the abuse and would tell myself I caused the negative reactions or inappropriate behavior of others.  So when circumstances or mistreats happen I would see it as confirmation of my inadequacy, lack of significance, and then engages in irrational and distorted self-statements that bring on additional negative feelings. Like I hate myself, I want to die, I wish I was thinner, I will never be anything great, even cutting myself or using substance to make me feel “good” again.

In time with recovery I am becoming aware of these misrepresentations and over time I will be able to correct them.

I always lacked self-confidence in most aspects of my life.

Not confident I would succeed in life. When something discouraging happens, I’d interpret the situation as proof that I will not prevail in my attempts to be successful. Sometimes I even try to become an overachiever (desperately driven to prove myself) and other times I remain underachiever (achieving less that I am capable of).

When I overachieved I tend not to believe in my success or having a feeling of wanting more, or thinking what I could have done better and viewing myself “lucky” and expecting success to eventually evaporate. Lacking confidences shows up in new situations where I don’t know what is expected of me. Fear that relying on my own judgment may produce behavior that is “wrong” in the eyes of others, thereby provoking disapproval.

 

In my past relationships (before I met Vincent) whether in love or friends I mostly choose the wrong partners , remain in relationships that are unsatisfying or abusive, remain in jobs where the pay was poor and the benefits are nonexistent. I would fear change, fear being alone, and fear my own ability to make the right decisions.

 

While in recovery, confidence is building gradually. Believing I am capable and to recognize success is real, I just have to believe and put in the hard work.

 

Habits have always been in my life some beneficial and some hurtful. One habit was projecting onto others my own worst fears. I would think I was incapable of something and believe others thought similar without any proof that this is true..

 

I was searching to feel better in over-spending, alcohol use, perfectionism, drug use, overeating, and sexual promiscuity, evolving into addiction. The feeling alcohol brought upon me was the greatest feeling of those other vices. It warmed my blood and soul. Stopping the negative and infected mind from pain but it also made me very stagnant in all aspects of life, love, healing, career, passion, growth etc. People had hurt me through out my life and alcohol was the connection I needed.

 

 when I was an active addict I would make up stories in my mind about the behavior, motivation, and intent of others. what others are thinking, what others are feeling, what is really meant by the behavior of others, what is really meant by the words of others, without first checking out their perceptions. These stories are always negative-based. I would feel that people are taking advantage of me or taking me for granted, or mistreating me when it isn’t actually so. This caused a lot of friction in my friendships and loved ones. I would create scenarios that has not occurred and would act out on them. Losing a lot of friends and sleepless nights.

 

I would take things personal and believe my emotional reaction to be accurate. This process is a mental distortion or irrational thinking and is present to some degree in all low self esteem sufferers causing them to act on unpredictable feelings and confused about who and when to trust.

 

I would test the love and devotion of people I felt close to, throwing out cues as to what I wanted or needed and then expecting them to pick up these cues and supply what I wanted or needed. I would feel that others should know what I wanted and needed and get hurt when the person doesn’t do what’s expected. Setting myself up with unreasonable expectations and are often disappointments. Internally digest as the other person “not caring” or “not caring enough”.

We all come from unique early environments and the ways in which we treat others is often a reaction of how we were treated. The things we do for others are often similar to what was done to us. What we deem important in a relationship is often symbolic of that we saw and experienced with the people who surrounded us during past years.

 

Every one has very different outlooks on what a relationship should look like, on how those in a relationship should treated by the other. How much time should spend together, how much they should do for each other. As a result, there are often many misunderstandings in relationships concerning what each person can expect from the other and what is reasonable and unreasonable.

 

In sobriety, I will be able to ask for what I want and need rather than expecting the other person to just “know.” Learning how to discuss and work through problems and disagreements rather than merely reacting. I am developing basic relationship skills.

 

 Unfortunately the reality of this world is that I will not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Some people are going to see my imperfections and judge me, some will run for the hills, and some will straight up tell me how horrible I am.  I can’t hide from these facts and it will not be easy to overcome. Getting rejected for who I truly am hurts deeply than I could have ever imagined. I’ve already have had people shun me from my past addiction and even had some people in recovery shun my program, not understanding that I will never be anonymous.

 

While some people will look at my imperfections and run. Some people will look at them and embrace me with open arms.  The feeling of being rejected for who you are may be horribly painful, but the feeling of true acceptance is indescribable. To know that you can be yourself and not have to put on an act is liberating and comforting all at once. Sober is the New Black

 

 

 

moon

 

 

one more day

 

 

i am here

 

run

 

 

haunt

 

 

believe

 

Everything

 

 

I Came across this video and in brought me to tears, its from a film maker Shea Glover

 

 

 

Here’s a song that i listen often, music helps heal the soul

 

 

 

Stay connected with love, Adolfo Vasquez