Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
or maybe not!
some of us have had many bottoms.
the decision to get off the party elevator,
can be made at the ground floor, or
continue to the basement.
even what seems the worst of depths,
can be forgotten over time.
as the body gets healthier quickly;
soon the fog clears from the mind.
that old feeling of invincibility returns
and all the misery is diminished.
it seems many of us have that built-in
pride, ego and self-sufficiency fuel
before we know it, all fear of consequences;
legal, moral or health, seem to vanish.
it is possible to pick a floor to exit;
the elevator will never go up again.
the best choice is to take the steps.
Posted by Fireman John at 2:00 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
intherooms.com is an interesting new site.
there are daily meditations, libraries and news
about addiction and recovery.
create a profile and share your journey with
others from around the globe.
just another way to spread the words of hope.
we have so many varied methods to choose from.
print, video, chat, and even web-room meetings.
other good sites to peruse;
Posted by Fireman John at 10:17 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
well here i was, a mere 75 miles from where
i lived and worked most of my life.
it seemed like a world away; farms, country
roads and a fraction of the population.
here was the opportunity to change nearly
everything about my life.
this time i was searching for a continued
solution to my substance abuse problems.
rather than dabbling in the process, i
took suggestions and abandoned my search
for a way to moderate my use.
quitting for 1 day at a time, was a bit shaky
for me, and left me feeling insecure.
i stuck with it as best as i could, but there
was that daily voice asking me; "can we drink today?"
finally after 22 months, deb left for a 2 week
stay in arizona, and when the little voice asked
if that was the day, i said hell yes!
those old romancing thoughts returned and
once again i thought i can control this now.
after researching many sources, i came across
the theory of quieting that addictive voice.
the idea was to quit for a predetermined time.
it went against all the standard practices,
but i decided to try.
that was when i committed to quit for 20 years.
sounds crazy, right; yet now i don't have that
nagging voice asking every single day, "okay
to drink today?"
at a riper older age, i will make that choice;
by that time the memories of the "good ole times"
will have faded .
Posted by Fireman John at 12:06 PM
Monday, October 27, 2008
"what's going to be different this time"?
that always asked question when starting rehab.
my answer would be, "i don't know, but i'm here".
looking back, i recall the feeling of impending
doom, at the end of another run.
somehow, i maintained the ability to recognize
when my behaviors were spiraling out of control.
seven years ago, i decided to retire from my
job, move out of dodge, and relocate to a
small town. the goal was to buy a duplex home,
and open a sober house.
it was challenging and often overwhelming, to
be fresh out of rehab and making all these
fortunately, i had a partner who stuck by me,
(despite urgings from al-anon to leave).
that was the beginning of my "different" life.
the story continues tomorrow.
Posted by Fireman John at 9:16 AM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
what used to be a popular tv game show,
has become a way of life for me.
at this stage of my life, some of the former
consequences faced, don't apply any more.
there is no boss to answer to, no worry
over driving under the influence and i
can't be evicted from my own home.
despite those conditions, the personal
hell created by falling off the recovery
road is far worse.
accepting the truth of my progression
into the depths of alcohol dependence,
and the inability to moderate or otherwise
control my use, requires honest appraisal.
anyone who tells you this recovery path
is easy, either never enjoyed drinking or
really didn't have a problem.
the past 5 years have been full of flat spots,
challenges and temptations.
it was refreshing to avoid answering the
same question asked by a counselor at
a rehab; "what's going to be different
tomorrow i will answer that question.
Posted by Fireman John at 12:36 PM
Friday, October 24, 2008
i was recently asked if my addiction was a
product of genetics or environment.
there was no alcoholism in my immediate
family, with the exception of my mom's
my father came from a non-drinking family.
researchers are mixed about the genetic
influence concerning addiction.
some believe in a "generation-skip" theory.
there was nothing in my formative years
to influence my views about alcohol.
there was nothing instantly appealing or
eye-opening about my intro to drinking.
it was an interesting feeling and i enjoyed
the relaxed feeling it provided.
my tolerance level was quite low, and i
could get feeling good on 3 beers.
slowly, drinking began to become more
prevalent. between parties, nights out
with the boys or after sports, i found
myself able to handle a bit more.
it took many years of social drinking
to progress to heavy. from that point
it slowly became a dependence.
it is to my disadvantage, having so
many good times to recall, that prevented
me from getting help sooner.
it was hard to accept that i could not
drink normally any more.
euphoric recall is a powerful force;
my mid-brain has no conscience, or
fear of consequences. it only knows
the joy of intoxication.
this is a major stumbling block for
anyone attempting to get sober.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:17 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
- Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
- - Lou Holtz
an important lesson for anyone in recovery.
attitude is crucial when dealing with life's
ups and downs.
how we react and respond to the daily
challenges faced, determines our outlook.
we live in somewhat of a "downer" society.
simple weather reports become major topics
most news viewed and read is focused on
all the worry and despair over the U.S.
economy is out of my control, and occupies
no space in my head.
it took some time, but i am able to keep
a positive outlook and attitude.
anyone with a substance abuse history
knows the depths of despair; no need
to revisit that lonely place!
count your blessings, rather than your gripes.
let go of pain and loneliness; embrace hope and friendship.
Posted by Fireman John at 12:53 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
very informative article from Psychology Today,
written by Stanton Peele;
For some reason, we exempt addiction from our beliefs about change. In both popular and scientific models, addiction is seen as locking you into an inescapable pattern of behavior. Both folk wisdom, as represented by Alcoholics Anonymous, and modern neuroscience regard addiction as a virtually permanent brain disease. No matter how many years ago your uncle Joe had his last drink, he is still considered an alcoholic. The very word addict confers an identity that admits no other possibilities. It incorporates the assumption that you can't, or won't, change.
But this fatalistic thinking about addiction doesn't jibe with the facts. More people overcome addictions than do not. And the vast majority do so without therapy. Quitting may take several tries, and people may not stop smoking, drinking or using drugs altogether. But eventually they succeed in shaking dependence.
Kicking these habits constitutes a dramatic change, but the change need not occur in a dramatic way. So when it comes to addiction treatment, the most effective approaches rely on the counterintuitive principle that less is often more. Successful treatment places the responsibility for change squarely on the individual and acknowledges that positive events in other realms may jump-start change.
Every year, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health interviews Americans about their drug and alcohol habits. Ages 18 to 25 constitute the peak period of drug and alcohol use. In 2002, the latest year for which data are available, 22 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 25 were abusing or were dependent on a substance, versus only 3 percent of those aged 55 to 59. These data show that most people overcome their substance abuse, even though most of them do not enter treatment.
Posted by Fireman John at 10:12 AM
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
we live in a picturesque area at the foot
of the berkshire mountains.
it's peak time for the leaves changing.
i find many folks really like this time of year.
summer is more my cup of tea.
not a fan of cold mornings, or less sunlight.
oh well, new england is known for having 4 seasons.
there is a feeling of renewal with the advent of each.
but alas, after fall comes winter, my least favorite.
snow on christmas is welcome, but after that
it is just an annoyance.
thankfully i travel to arizona in january and
escape the icy roads and frigid temps.
for some of us there can be a season that
challenges our resolve to remain sober;
we witness it at our sober house.
just another reminder that there is NEVER;
a reason or season to pick up.
Posted by Fireman John at 10:46 AM
Monday, October 20, 2008
top 5 reasons to say no;
5. a drink or drug solves nothing
4. once started, we don't know when the drunk will end;
we DO know it always ends badly.
3. 24 hours coins become embarrassingly redundant
2. the suspicion of family, friends and co-workers wanes.
1. "time wounds all heels"- stick around long enough,
all those folks we were not allowed to confront through
the steps, will experience the karma of payback.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:15 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2008
and you're thinking, "what does this have
to do with recovery"?
nothing really, except that there exists a
special bond between pet and owner.
my friend shadow knows exactly what it is.
not everyone owns or likes pets.
for those who do love their animals,
you know the feeling of watching their
tails wag, the purring cuddle, or chirp
of a bird.
they are loyal and never angry.
i miss my ferrets and parrots;
and the dogs that shared my life.
if i could, i would rescue greyhounds,
pitbulls and cats abandoned by their owners.
it is heartbreaking to hear of all the
innocent pets in shelters.
to me it is a reminder that there are
no dumb animals, just stupid owners.
Posted by Fireman John at 12:34 PM
Friday, October 17, 2008
just a powerful reminder;
we live in a world surrounded by
alcohol and drugs(legal & illegal)
the level of temptation varies greatly
depending on one's degree of sobriety.
for a long time, it was difficult to watch
folks on tv, in movies or in person, enjoying
that social cocktail.
it is perfectly normal to reminisce about
the tinkling of the glasses, or the pop of
the wine cork.
for most of us, we associate drinking with
good times with family, friends, or co-workers.
i'm still not thrilled at the thought that i
can't join in; but today i accept that people
drink socially...because they CAN.
sure i miss the laughs, and release from
inhibition, but as bb king sang;"the thrill is gone"
so the next time a wait sever tell you;
"we have a full bar",
just respond, "not full enough for me"
Posted by Fireman John at 2:04 PM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
no one ever planned or expected to become
an alky or addict.
not all had parents or siblings with substance abuse,
to see firsthand the progression of alcoholism.
the misconceptions and stereotypes, while
better understood today, still exist to some degree.
while the obvious drunks are easy to spot,
the reality is we are represented in every
segment of society.
we can be your doctor, lawyer, teacher, nurse
the more influence one wields, the easier it is
to conceal a drug or alcohol problem.
the general public should be aware that
we are everywhere in today's world.
before anyone rushes to judgment about
someone in recovery, remember...
we are your fathers, mothers, brothers,
sisters and sons & daughters.
Posted by Fireman John at 1:28 PM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don’t have film.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
Birds of a feather flock together and then crap on your car.
Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.
Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends — if they’re okay, then it’s you.
Never argue with an idiot. The people watching might not know the difference.
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.
Posted by Fireman John at 1:41 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
this morning i was informed that due to my
lack of housekeeping skills, and propensity
for signing on to the workplace computer,
that my services as a fitness coach were
no longer required.
actually it was kind of a relief to get away
from the boring hours of the canaan ymca
at least they were cordial, and their position
no, i didn't vacuum around the machines,
or stay at my post, or off the computer.
i did manage to explain that my presence
at the front desk was no greater than any
of the other fitness or pool staff.
thankfully, this was merely a part-time gig,
good for my years of early sobriety.
Posted by Fireman John at 2:00 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008
another reminder to me of the difference
between what i hear and what i see people do.
at today's noon meeting someone shared how
they watch people change after years in AA.
my experience has been that most folks who
have been around for some time, really haven't
changed much at all.
while it always a plus to remain sober,
the various personality changes mentioned
in the promises, rarely materialize.
having witnessed people with 15 to 25 years,
still financially insecure, relationship challenged
or barely employable, i have to doubt the veracity
of the promises.
my view is that they are merely possibilities.
for all the talk of change that occurs in the rooms,
much of is just that, talk.
sure, sobriety is preferred over the alternative,
but it is hardly a panacea or personality changing
Posted by Fireman John at 4:25 PM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
so true, on many levels, for anyone; but crucial for those in recovery.
while the balance of the four elements may differ from person to person,
we in transition nearly always follow that order of regaining those
states of health.
there is no doubt in my mind, I was incomplete for some time
because once physical health returned, I never put in the time
to allow my emotional, mental and spiritual to follow.
all it takes is keeping the door open to all the rooms and letting
as my friend Molly says; "little by slowly".
Posted by Fireman John at 6:18 PM
Saturday, October 11, 2008
just read this interesting fact from the Thornburn Addiction Report.
we can see the obvious differences between the two;
but both had alcoholic fathers.
while barry's dad left early on, john lived with and
watched his father's behaviors.
both men became overachievers as a way to compensate
for the behaviors and failings of their fathers.
research shows that ACOA's either react or learn
some of these paternal behaviors.
concerns for children of alky's are stunted emotional
growth, enabling and a need for control.
a common thread among ACOA's is they only grow
emotionally at half the rate of non-alcoholic children
of non-alky parents.
they can grow up and out of these traits, but it
takes some time and work.
i hope that either one who becomes president,
has done just that.
Posted by Fireman John at 11:02 AM
Friday, October 10, 2008
yesterday marked my 5 year anniversary;
and my son's 26th birthday!
the first phase of my 20 year plan.
the notion of quitting something i loved to do,
a day at a time was difficult.
while i did manage to do just that for 22 months
7 years ago, that inner voice asking me every
day,"can we drink today?", finally wore me down.
Deb left for Arizona on a nice summer afternoon,
and when the little voice asked, "is today the day?",
i said, "HELL YES"!
in order to quiet that voice and prevent it from asking
me daily, i decided to quit for 20 years. at that point
i will make my choice. by that time the lure of the
buzz will have lost it's appeal.
it was nice to get calls from Susie, Erin, Marianne,
Megan and Stephanie. at our "real deal" meeting
last night, Tom announced to the group of my
marking the start of long term sobriety.
yes i have discovered the magic of sobriety!
the reality; there is no magic!
for me, it's just a scale that was always evenly
balanced between drinking or not.
this time around, the scale is slightly tipped
i know the outcome of taking that drink;
i don't know what continuing on the path
of recovery will bring; so far it's been
Posted by Fireman John at 10:53 AM
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I have never been an envious person;
it didn't faze me about what anyone else had.
it wasn't until I started getting sober,
that i did envy folks who could drink safely.
the feeling has taken some time to subside;
but thankfully it has.
having had such a long history of social use,
there were so many good memories to draw from.
when i hear stories of people who drank a six-pack,
broke a fingernail, and barfed; then their whole
life went down the crapper, i think, "it shouldn't
be too hard for them to quit"!
euphoric recall is a powerful force, and was keeping
me from remembering the absolute worst times
in my life involved alcohol and drugs.
the saying goes, "play the tape all the way through",
and it really is true.
Posted by Fireman John at 1:52 PM
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
it was choice, not chance that got me drunk...it is choice that keeps me sober today
a positive outlook is a good start; it takes action to implement change
there are thousands of quotes by famous folks that span the ages.
it is amazing how many of them can be applied to recovery.
most are simple, yet powerful words of wisdom, that have endured for eons.
inspiration can come from many sources...all we need to do is search for it.
Posted by Fireman John at 10:31 AM
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
cute parody about friendship.
reminds me of a few friends, co-workers
or residents of our sober home, who
drank or drugged and faced the consequences.
in the past, it was difficult to resist the lure
of jumping off the sober bridge with a friend.
it has taken many leaps and lumps, to acquire
the strength and acumen to let go at the edge
of the cliff.
I can still accompany a friend on the journey
and offer support; but only to edge...never beyond.
Posted by Fireman John at 7:14 AM