Today I am grateful;
for another day sober,
relationships with family,
Deb going back to work,
Roger, Mike, Ben, Anna, Ray, Jeremy; all clean & sober,
Lakeville Nooners, my home group,
short term memory,
26 miles per gallon BMW,
Faith & Hope,
making it to 2008
Monday, December 31, 2007
Posted by Fireman John at 7:47 PM
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Yes it was for me due to several factors.
There was my shyness, sense of morality and my
When I discovered an elixir that would reduce my
inhibitions and increase my libido, it was magical.
Drinking became a prelude to any romance in my life.
It gave me false courage to say and do things I
wouldn't normally do.
Eventually the effect was diminished due to the
excessive amounts I was consuming. We all know
that alcohol can increase the desire but lessen the
Ultimately the alcoholic loses interest in everything
but drinking, so there goes the aphrodisiac effect.
Today I accept the fact that I can't use the alcohol
crutch to enhance my romantic life; my personal
moral standards are what they are.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:35 PM
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Has anyone else had the feel of "not fitting in" at meetings?
I certainly did for quite some time; having difficulty identifying
with anyone, or their stories.
I was assured that no one in the room was unique.
That news did not sit well with me, since I was sure that I was.
Well it turns out that my personal experiences are unique; but
the disease of addiction is a common bond we all share.
Sure everyone has a different bottom, social status and heritage;
yet we all seem to end up in the same place mentally and spiritually.
It is that emotional void and feeling of isolation that addiction leads to,
which we all can identify with.
Now I try to see the similarities I share, rather than the differences.
While my path of destruction may have been unique, the journey to
recovery has the feelings of unity, oneness and sharing of a common goal.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:29 PM
Friday, December 28, 2007
My guess is, that today is TGIF for most working folks
Thank God it's friday(if you missed the movie).
My exciting work week starts tomorrow at 1 PM, at the
luxurious Canaan Y.
It was December anniversary celebration at the noon meeting
today. Thankfully the presenters and celebrants were upbeat
and cheery. There were no mother-daughter sob fests, war
stories or hostages taken.
I'm just now starting to appreciate these monthly milestone
They can sometimes be a test of patience and tolerance; but
I can recognize the importance of showing the newcomer that
continued recovery is attainable.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:09 PM
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Top 5 Reasons to stay sober during Holidays;
5.) Being able to resist the urge to tell off obnoxious guests
4.) Replacing the empty alcohol calories with cheesecake
3.) Coffee is free at meetings and doesn't cause hangovers
2.) Remembering all office party activity
and the number one reason;
what's ok for some, is not for us. Our best present for others
is being present.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:39 PM
Monday, December 24, 2007
Posted by Fireman John at 9:38 PM
Sunday, December 23, 2007
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.
When starting the journey of recovery, those words didn't make much
sense to me. Coming into treatment, I had little knowledge of addiction.
The whole process of progression and co-dependence was totally foreign.
My belief was that one goes into a program for X amount of days, gets
cured, and goes back to work. BUZZZZ...wrong answer!
The concept of permanence of the disease of addiction couldn't apply
I wasn't as bad as anyone else in rehab. Maybe I could regain some
control and go back to social drinking. Needless to say, this pattern
of denial lasted a few years, but always ended the same.
Today I continue on the path started by that first step.
Finally convinced I can never recapture "the good old days", I practice
abstinence as the start of daily sobriety.
Prayer, meetings and service all reinforce my resolve to maintain
what I have today.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:21 PM
Saturday, December 22, 2007
On the left, the old me; runnin' and gunnin' the mean streets of Bridgeport,
hair on fire, drinking up a storm, chasin' women(even catchin' a few)!
The pic on right is me now; clean and serene; living in the country.
Along with my faithful pit-mix, China!
What a different world, just 75 miles from my former home.
We've even got cows, chickens, and llamas being raised nearby.
There is much debate about the "geographic cure"; you know the
saying,"no matter where you go, there you are".
For me, there were just too many memories back there; I drank in
nearly every bar & strip joint.
It is true that the bottom line decisions to drink or not, are still
up to me, regardless of location.
I simply find that I don't have any history or memories to draw on.
So I just plug along here, a transplanted city-slicker, enjoying the
relaxed pace and quiet of the suburbs.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:35 PM
Friday, December 21, 2007
A good description of the multitude of meetings available worldwide.
Nowadays it doesn't even matter what your addiction is; food, gambling,
sex, the 12 Step method can be a life changing experience.
I must clarify that while working these steps is important, we urge folks
to incorporate the necessary behavior modifications. Sorry to break it
to those who think God will remove their character defects, but we are
a bit skeptical of that possibility. It is up to each individual to identify,
and improve their shortcomings.
It has taken me quite some time to identify, rather than compare with
people I hear at meetings. Finally I can get a little something from every
person, regardless of how different our stories were.
All in all, this open-minded outlook has made my meeting attendance more
fruitful and meaningful. What a difference from the days when I would
leave a meeting more angry that when I arrived.
Posted by Fireman John at 8:53 PM
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I just finished viewing the top 2 blogs on ,"Top 100 sober blogs".
The first is an attractive, professionally designed entry from an
English gal with a witty style. The posts resemble entries made in
a high school, "Dear Diary".
While interesting, I cannot grasp any road of recovery from the posts.
The second in line is an artist who posts drawings of the slogans.
Very talented and encouraging, yet there is no individual application
of the words in the blog.
I'm just curious as to what the attraction is to these blogs;
mostly from a recovery point of view.
I do understand the creative nature of both; but there are many
good personal recovery blogs on the list, that don't attract as many readers.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:14 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007
It was a tossup between the biker-baby and Anna Kournikova today.
Both are cute, but the ladies might prefer the toddler(sorry guys).
We read the preface to the Big Book today.
It is amazing to me how all this started, and
how the founders were able to establish the B.B
the Steps and Traditions.
While I am in awe of the timeless nature of their
writings, I'm not a big fan of Bill Wilson. From
what I've read, he was a womanizer, a financial
disaster and really didn't practice what he preached.
All that doesn't matter to me; I am not a Wilson
follower, just someone who tries to implement the
principles and practices outlined in the books.
My view of recovery and AA is akin to my political
beliefs; neither conservative nor liberal. I tread the
middle ground, and consider myself a moderate in
and out of the rooms of recovery.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:48 PM
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The title of an awesome self-help book.
"Don't sweat the small stuff"
Of course that can be easier said than done.
Everyone has certain things that may be trivial to
others, but are a big deal to them.
What I find helpful in the book, are the simple
methods used to put matters into perspective.
The tips are easy to implement and offer practical
ways to handle everyday stresses.
Part of the difficulty in handling small stuff in early
sobriety was the flood of feelings encountered after
the fog lifted. Gradually the flood subsided and the
practice of agonizing over every little detail was fading.
Today, I can catch myself, if I start to make a big deal
out of something trivial.
I guess the book is another tool to help me with
patience, tolerance and acceptance.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:06 PM
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The latest comment from Micky, self proclaimed gift from God to all people;
You are not an alcoholic, but a SINNER, just like me. The only thing that has opened up for you is SATANISM (AA).
I, MICKY, AM THE LORD'S LIGHT & SALVATION FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
sorry to burst your messiah bubble Mick;
#1. you are not a doctor or psychologist
#2. you are not a Priest and privy to anyone's sins
#3 AA is in no way, akin to Satanism
#4. Character assassination and derogatory comments are UN-Godly
#5. If you want your comments posted, base them in reality
#6. Never purport to know ANYTHING about my personal experiences
#7. Feel free to post your warped views on your website
Whatever the motive for all Micky's hate filled, anti AA venom is immaterial to me.
I'm here to share my experience, strength and hope with anyone willing to listen.
God bless AMERICA.
Posted by Fireman John at 10:24 AM
Friday, December 14, 2007
This reminds me of that one person in every room of recovery who takes no credit,
or responsibility for their every move. You know the type; God gets me out of bed,
God keeps me away from a drink, God drives me to meetings.
I don't mean to imply that divine intervention doesn't exist, but we are born with
free will and create our own path in life. Just take some credit for yourself and the
decisions made to become a better person.
Today at the noon meeting I shared that there is no spiritual cure for a physical
and mental illness. Sure faith is important, but it can't help depression.
There are many pieces to my addiction puzzle; but first and foremost, I have
a chemical imbalance, part genetic, and some caused by my addictive behaviors.
Correcting the imbalance allows me the freedom to pray, attend meetings and be
of service to another alcoholic.
Posted by Fireman John at 6:35 PM
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The picture of my dog "China" has nothing to do with my post
today; just thought it was so damn cute, I couldn't resist!
We had about 10 inches of snow today, no biggie for me with my
kick-ass snow blower. It does kind of suck for anyone traveling.
Thankfully, Thursday is our in-house meeting--no driving required!
I still hate being an alcoholic; would prefer to be a normal social drinker.
Since that is not possible, I have come to accept my condition.
When I hear people announce proudly, "I'm grateful to be an alcoholic",
I want to scream, "are you friggin' nuts"!
What I AM grateful for, is the opportunity to recover my physical, mental,
emotional and spiritual health.
Still, at times, a drink looks alluring; I mean what harm could just one do?
Can you imagine my mind still asks that question?
Those are the times I'm reminded that this is never cured.
There will be no graduation ceremonies, next or any anniversary.
I think I'll continue to show up, own up and grow up.
Posted by Fireman John at 8:27 PM
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's
Well, we are already 1/3 of the way through the
holiday trilogy of terror!
Next up, the joys of Christmas; complete with
over-spending, over-eating and memories of
I don't really feel any added pressure or desire
to drink during holidays. For me, everyday was just
like the last, and holidays merely added an air of
legitimacy to the drinking habit.
There won't be a need for any meeting marathons.
I still view New Years's Eve as the ultimate "amateur
Best place to be is safe at home, avioding the swerving,
drunken masses and zealous Police.
Posted by Fireman John at 7:54 PM
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Yes and no.
That all depends on the individual; their beliefs, personalities
and unique experiences.
By now any readers of my blog know I view addiction as a
complex issue, recovery as no simple matter, and addressing
it from multiple sources.
AA can be a valuable resource for anyone looking for support
in dealing with alcoholism. The vast number of meetings
available worldwide, and the mix of formats, allow something
for any person seeking help.
Do I believe AA is the ONLY way? Unfortunately no.
Sure we hear at meetings that it is, and if you walk
out the door and don't come back, you are doomed!
Well that is just not the case. Statistics from AA's own
Worldwide council indicate that recovery rates for those
who use the program are no better than for people who
just quit on their own.
Despite all the huffing and puffing that occurs in the rooms,
long term recovery rates in AA are only 5%.
That figure is the same for those who just stop due to legal,
or medical issues.
We encourage folks to use AA in addition to addressing any
underlying psychological and medical issues.
It has been our experience that "don't drink & go to meetings",
may keep you sober; but is no guarantee of healthy recovery.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:42 AM
Monday, December 10, 2007
Every day more people are injured or killed by impaired drivers.
Even so, I don't agree with the current legal limit of .08.
Unfortunately, thousands of people attempting to drink responsibly,
having 3 beers or 2 glasses of wine, are being arrested, demonized,
and penalized by insurance companies.
Before you assume I'm crazy, just consider what the low limit is doing
to innocent social drinkers. The .08 limit is just too low and does nothing
to prevent real drunks from driving.
Now I'm all for harsh penalties for the irresponsible repeat offenders,
but way too many unimpaired drivers are getting punished because of
the pressure from groups like MADD, and the insurance companies are thrilled.
There will never be a sure fire method for keeping drunks off the roads.
Thankfully, it is encouraged to use designated drivers, or just not driving
at all when impaired.
Posted by Fireman John at 7:43 PM
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Ah yes, I recall those wonderful moments of solo drinking; sort of
pre-buzzing for a party, event or just a trip to the bar.
Eventually, there were times when I didn't even make it out of the
house. So there went the idea of "social drinking".
I should have known I had a problem when I answered yes, to 16 of
the 20 questions in the pamphlet! But no, not me; I could control it.
Looking back, I suppose what reinforced that notion, was the sense
of recapturing some of that feeling of balance after a period of abstinence.
First to return was physical health, then mental well being. I never
stuck around long enough to really amass any spiritual health, however.
After interacting with hundreds of alky's and addicts over the years, I have
found quite a few who had similar experiences.
We used the word "reservations", to describe that deep-seated thought,
that we would be able to drink or use safely again in the future.
Until I eliminated any reservations, I could not get off the "rehab rodeo".
Here I am turning 56 today, feeling 40 and acting like I was 20!
Posted by Fireman John at 7:23 PM
Saturday, December 8, 2007
This picture reminds me of my tendency to analyze every facet of my life.
As most of us know, it is not the best practice to use in the program.
Once again I'm reminded of a slogan " don't analyze, utilize".
Of course this is usually easier said than done; our natural tendencies
are not that easy to change.
I was once advised by a fellow at a meeting who told me, "don't think, don't
drink, and go to meetings". At that time in early recovery, it probably was
good advice. Part of the difficulty early on, was the constant comparison I
was doing, to other's experiences. That seemed to lead me to thinking, wow
I'm not as bad as him, or I'm way worse than her.
Gradually, I have learned to find something in common with nearly every
person in the rooms. I'm reminded that no matter what age, occupation,
race or creed, we all share that feeling of hope and freedom.
My usual comment has been, regardless of our station in life, we all end
up in the same boat; we just have different size oars.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:34 PM
Friday, December 7, 2007
My way of describing the spiritual awakening.
There have been no burning bushes, flashes of light
or heavenly voices.
Frankly, the changes in my journey of sobriety, have
been slow and subtle.
I'm not saying it is not possible to experience a
sudden, miraculous change, just describing my
The ongoing miracle for me is gradually improving
my negative personality traits. AA refers to them
as character defects, which can be removed by asking
God to do so. To me that is tantamount to an emotional
lobotomy; hardly possible or desirable!
I can only pray to have my shortcomings improved.
Human emotions and natural inclinations are never removed,
but are subject to control and moderation.
Posted by Fireman John at 12:12 PM
It is so good to be "a part of"; instead of unavailable and distant.
Free from the incessant thoughts of how, when and where I could
drink, I can enjoy what life has to offer.
My appreciation for the joy of a new addition to the family.
Lord, how did I ever get this old?
If anyone told me 7 years ago, that I would be running a Sober
Home, in a town of 2,800, I would have thought they were bonkers.
Living and working in the largest city in the state; fighting fires and
drinking with the big boys.
Wow, what a welcome change. I do miss my career and the guys
I worked with.
My retired life is much less chaotic; yet still rewarding...
Today I help to save lives one
day at a time.
Posted by Fireman John at 12:42 AM
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I'm always fascinated by the myriad of religions in the world.
Most proclaim that there's is the one and only true path.
It's noble to subscribe to certain beliefs, usually passed
on by parents.
My greatest problem is witnessing people fighting, even killing,
in the name of religion. Look at the Catholics & Protestants in
Ireland, or Israelis' & Arabs, and the most violent of all, Muslim.
All these purported followers of God, sparring over who is correct.
In reality, no one knows for sure, so in the meantime why fight over it?
The amazing facet of Spirituality is allowing the individual to form their
own concept of God, without the constraints and rules of Religion.
This is a huge advantage in the rooms of recovery, where there are
We can eliminate the rules and codes, and just concentrate on the
unified goal of trusting in a Higher Power.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:59 AM
Monday, December 3, 2007
I love this picture!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could instantly establish a belief in a Higher Power.
No more total self-sufficiency, infallibility, and prideful ego.
My beliefs today are a bit different from my Catholic upbringing.
I went to Catholic grammar & high school, so my version of a higher Power
were centered around those religious teachings.
Like many of my peers, I grew disillusioned with my faith, saddened by the
accusations and convictions of Priests and sexual behavior. Gradually the bottle
became my HP. We all know how well that works!
The important facet of AA for me was, they didn't ask me to believe a specific
Higher Power. It could be the God of my understanding; not some congregation's.
Even today I still proclaim, "God as I DONT understand Him(or Her); but I
don't have to comprehend, to have faith.
Heck, I still can't figure out how electricity works!
Posted by Fireman John at 6:34 PM
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Yes we've all heard "when one door closes etc.; my response used to
be. "why am I always stuck in the hallway?"
A person's perception comes into play when looking at the door.
The other elements are gratitude and acceptance.
It's not always easy to let go of people or things that bring happiness.
I'm finally learning to be grateful for the times I have had, that came to an end.
Helen Keller's quote reminds me of another slogan;
"If you have one foot in the past, and one in the future,
you are crapping all over the present".
Kind of crude, but true nonetheless.
Posted by Fireman John at 12:11 AM