Tag Archives: VA

My Recovery:  53 Months Clean

When I started this blog in October of 2016, after a 5 month stay in jail, I had no inkling of where my sobriety would take me. Fast forward to My Recovery: 53 months, still clean and sober! See one of my earliest posts about self-condemnation, just 15 days into my treatment at the VA.

My Recovery 53 Months Clean

From October of 2016, until November of 2017, I learned about recovery through multiple VA treatment programs for Veterans. The principles I learned helped keep me strong, when I finally went back on my own. I even developed an acronym for the 5 pillars of my recovery.

The 5 Pillars of My Recovery

The acronym, S.N.A.G.M., stands for SPIRITUALITY, living in the NOW, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE, and MINDFULNESS. I actually dedicated a blog page about S.N.A.G.M. here!

These 5 principles, along with the lessons I learned in therapy, courses like Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, have served me well in my recovery journey; I have not relapsed once since I was basically forced into sobriety by jail, on May 12, 2016.

My Recovery:  52 Months Clean

 

When I started this blog in October of 2016, after a 5 month stay in jail, I had no inkling of where my sobriety would take me. Fast forward 52 months, and here I am, still clean and sober! This blog, up until now, chronicled my experiences in brutal and raw honesty.

From October of 2016, until November of 2017, I learned about recovery through multiple VA treatment programs for Veterans. The principles I learned helped keep me strong, when I finally went back on my own. I even developed an acronym for the 5 pillars of my recovery.

The acronym, S.N.A.G.M., stands for SPIRITUALITY, living in the NOW, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE, and MINDFULNESS. These 5 principles, along with the lessons I learned in therapy, courses like Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, have served me well in my recovery journey; I have not relapsed once since I was basically forced into sobriety by jail, on May 12, 2016.

Now, I want to take you dear readers on a different journey with me: in addition to the 5 principles that have kept me recovered, I have another 25 principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. In the coming months, I plan to draft an outline of a book I wish to write, tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide to Living Life Wisely. You will see the menu, and its subsequent posts, by clicking on Principles of Purpose.

Drawing from instances of my own life, I want to share these 30 principles with you. In essence, I first want to get you up to speed with the remarkable events of my life, since April of 2017-when I essentially stopped blogging-and then go back through my life, sharing with you how these principles could have-or did have-an effect on my life.

Much of my life has been shrouded in trauma, alcohol abuse, mental health issues, and self-destructive and poorly designed patterns of behavior. I intend on being brutally raw and truthful about, not only my life, but also about the decisions that shaped it.

I hope that you will join me in this new journey. I think the principles I am going to share are largely going to be obvious to most of you. But I also think that I will be able to illustrate, sometimes in dramatic fashion, how the application of these principles can prove exceptionally difficult, especially if childhood was particularly horrible.

In the telling of my journey, I hope that I am able to impart to you, some of the wisdom I have gained in my 56 years. I hope that I am able to help you avoid mistakes I have made, learn how to improve the quality of your life, gain perspective on how to overcome traumas through self_care, and come away from the experience a little better off than when you started.

Until then…

My Recovery: It’s Now Or Never

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So it’s been a little while since I discussed my recovery.  I can’t catch you all up if you haven’t been following, but here is the Reader’s Digest version:

On May 12, 2016 I went to jail for 5 months.  I cam out sober into a 2 month program, then I went to the current program.  I’ve been here for 3 1/2 months.

There you go!  Well, on Tuesday I had a phone interview with the new place I have been considering.  Normally I have been applying the principles of Acceptance, Gratitude, Spirituality, Mindfulness and living in the Now, to cope with day to day situations.  Alas, after my phone call, this was not to be!

What happened is that I turned all the information about the new place into negatives.  I was also upset that they wanted me to move there next Monday or Tuesday.  I had a meltdown.  I got sad, pissed, depressed.  I was considering looking for another program.  If it were not for my best friend, it could have been much worse.  But, thanks to her love, understanding, and insightful advice, I was able to come to my senses.

It was about a 2 hour period of time that I was distraught.  I was pissed at myself for not utilizing my coping strategies.  I should have seen this coming.  By the time I went to bed that evening, I had pretty much resolved the situation in my mind.  I was back to my old self-pretty much-and decided to bite the bullet.  But the situation had me wondering:  why the meltdown?”  Why such an emotional response to moving onward and upward in my sobriety?

The answer crept up on me sometime yesterday.  I was afraid!  I feared moving out of the safety and security of the institutions I’ve been part of for nearly 11 months!  I was shocked.  This new program is much more like living on your own than relying upon a program with a slew of staff at your beck and call.  I realized that in treatment I may have gotten a little too comfortable.  I did what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t put in due diligence and fully prepare for re-entry into the “real” world.  I will not make that mistake again, I can assure you.

The new place quite demanding in getting you to pursue a job and a place to live as soon as possible.  They require rent.  They require you to provide for yourself in every basic way.  They also do not drug test.  So recovery is now “real:”  no safety net to keep you from drinking.  I realized that the thought of being thrust into society like that made me very apprehensive.  Then I started thinking it through and had the kinds of thought processes I have had all along:  I GOT THIS.  It’s time to get it done.

Any program or place I go is going to have its pluses and minuses.  I reacted immaturely, and irrationally.  But I recovered quickly and got my head out of my ass!  Any place I go is going to be one step closer to getting my life back.  Any place I go I will need to integrate myself back into living my own life.  It’s one step closer to perhaps going back to school.  Life is standing at my doorstep.  Sink or Swim.  Game Time.  The Big Show.  And you know what?  I GOT THIS.

I am going to face the challenges head on and come out on top.  I am not going to worry about finding a place to live, a job, food, rent, or any other obstacle.  I am going to live in the NOW, as in right this moment.  I am going to focus on what I can control and let go of what I cannot.  And, although I did lose my shit for a few hours, I got myself back to good pretty quickly.  And I allowed myself to show vulnerability to my friend, and she came through with flying colors.  I am blessed.  Truly.

So that’s it folks.  I should be moving out of here within 2 weeks.  Onward and upward.  I’m ready for the next challenge.  I will update you once I get settled.  And I am ready for Spring!

My Sunny Side: Thank You So Much!

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Thank you everyone who has shown me such incredible love and support over the last 5 months!

Today I celebrate over 1,010 of you!  It boggles my mind that so many of you have chosen to follow my blog.

As you know I have just entered my 9th month of sobriety.  I am not kidding when I say YOU have lots to do with that!  Your kindnesses, your occasional emails, your comments on my posts, all have contributed to my recovery and wellness.  I am eternally blessed to have your time, affection, and attention.

You give me courage to post some of my more difficult material.  You give me strength to consider even posting more difficult material.  You support me in my endeavors, and I only hope I can give back to you in like kind.

1000followers on justrumianting men's blogI am always here for you, no matter what you are going through.  You are welcome to email me any time at keatsj1964@gmail.com.  I write to release my life into the world.  But if there wasn’t a world filled with you’s, it would be kind of pointless.  So:

THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU!

My Sunny Side: My Job

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I tried to find the post where I had mentioned my new job two weeks ago as a grounds worker, but I couldn’t find it.

Anyway, I had complained that they had me and one of the other residents sitting around doing nothing!  Now, a significant amount of the rest of my stay here is supposed to be Concentrated Work Therapy, so I saw this job as a big problem.

Well, I took my recovery into my own hands last Wednesday and mentioned to the lead Psychiatrist that I could not see myself in CWT doing nothing and I wanted a new job.

Monday I started a new job!  I am working in Building 8, the permanent residence to paralyzed Veterans.  Many of these Veterans will not be leaving this building taking breaths.  At first I was a bit intimidated.  However, after my shift yesterday, I realized that I could not have landed a better job.

disabled vets on justruminating men's blogI think it is going to be very therapeutic for me.  I think I am going to be able to connect with these guys–and one gal–and in turn, I am going to be able to come outside of myself and be myself; something I haven’t really been able to be for a very long time.

Many of these Veterans were severely injured fighting for our country.  Vets shot down in Vietnam.  Vets ambushed and shot up.  Other Vets stepping on mines.  This place will humble your ass in a military second.  And I am going to make damn sure that I serve them the way they deserve to be served:  with honor, dignity, respect.

Yesterday I fed pizza to a Veteran paralyzed from the neck down.  I helped another Veteran, who could hardly pull the trigger, aim and fire arrows and get a bulls eye!  We were busting each other’s chops within minutes.  I felt a real connection to Jim.  I think we are going to have a fine friendship.

Sometimes in life, if you ask for what you want, you end up getting what you need.

veterans on justruminating men's blog

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