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Sobriety.... One year later... Please Read.

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Old 01-05-2014, 06:57 AM   #121
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Congratulations on your Sobriety.

Thanks for sharing and putting it out there. Best way to share the load is getting it out. I am a new member but just read the entire thread. Not hard to see it's helped many.

We do Wildland fire and a ton of prescribed fire. Being in a helicopter it is a bit more detached than what you structure/rescue guys do. We see a lot of property loss, and damage but it's not the same thing. We do the occasional search and rescue however, last guy I looked for we found under a log in the river.

As another friend of Bill W's I still wish more folks had a place to dump their crap and celebrate the little victories.

Keep it up!

Phil
10/10/97
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:08 AM   #122
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Thank you Phil!
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:57 PM   #123
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One of the best threads I've read in a while. Props to you sir!
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:10 PM   #124
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Bravo Sir. I can still remember the "thud" of a woman jumping from a second story house when it was on fire. Turns out it was a meth lab and she was on it also. That was a hard time being i was 19 at the time. There is just some stuff you can not forget.

Multiple car wrecks..

I remember one time we were on a car accident and a Poland Springs truck had hit a car broadside. Two little old ladys were in the car. The passanger kept asking where "Dorothy" is..Hard to tell her that emt's were working on her in the front yard the car wound up in.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:39 PM   #125
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For all those that have replied so far I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Out of the many PM's to just the replies I'm not sure who this thread has helped the most.

But... I know what it has done for me. When I wrote the original post 3 months ago I felt as if I was just starting to emerge from a dark place that, for all intents and purposes, had swallowed me whole. Even though I had been clean and sober for over a year I still lacked any type of direction and to some extent I still do. Living just day to day for so long will do that to you I suppose. I didn't really look forward to things nor did I have much interest in things. That is slowly changing and I can somewhat see a "light at the end of the tunnel" so to speak. I've lost many friends because of this. I assume that it is because I don't drink anymore and they still do and they are unsure "how" to be around me. I understand that. Reality is though, I just miss their company.

Sobriety is something I never in my life thought I would ever talk about since I didn't think it would ever happen to me. I very rarely drank at home and maybe just one or two beers when we went out to eat. But depression sets in fast and PTSD is no joke. When it happens it happens in a heartbeat and for me it was so sudden that I spiraled into a hell that I never want to see again. That is what keeps me sober.

So to all the members on here that have posted and sent PM's thank you. You have helped me more than I could ever repay!
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:51 PM   #127
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http://mark-vonappen.blogspot.com/20...ddys-girl.html
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:38 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by TxFireman View Post
Thank you for that.... That was a good read.

I have thousands of those runs overflowing in my head.

A knife fight between two full blown AID's patients. More blood than paint on the wall. Couldn't have unprotected sex with my wife for 6 months (even though I had all my safety gear on) until the results came back from my test. The countless numbers of wrecks and people that were lost on the freeway that sits less than a mile and a half from my house. Gunshot wounds, shaken babies, train wrecks, me laying in a hospital emergency room while my wife had to make a trip up to the hospital by herself not knowing what was going on. Missing a third of my daughters (and wife's) life. Worrying about what "could" happen at any moment because I've seen it all before. Not enjoying family vacations as much as I should because of all these things floating around in my head with no where for them to go.



The list is endless....



I used to never tell my wife (or anyone for that matter about the runs). I've been in the same situation as that story. It's almost one of those "You can't handle the truth moments" because "I" can't handle the truth and it pisses me off to no end! I almost seethe at people that do that to me.

I still pass by the exact location of a wreck that happened on Oct 23 1996 when a rookie cop that just graduated rookie school went to a local bar with her rookie cop friends to celebrate. She got drunk, got in her car, and got on the freeway going in the wrong direction. She made it surprisingly far. That was until she ran head on into a Chevy Silverado extended cab truck in the fast lane. The two vehicles hit so hard that they literally picked themselves up and turned directions to where it looked as if the truck was the one going the wrong way and the car was going the right way. The two vehicles locked together at the front. Then the fire started. I don't know if the rookie cop died on impact or because of the fire. But I do know what it sounds like to hear a woman screaming inside of a burning truck as I am desperately trying to put the flames out. I watch her take her last breath. Just when I think it can't get any worse it does. About 100 yrds down the freeway is a body. Turns out it was her husband who had been asleep in the back seat of the truck before the impact blew him straight out the front window and onto the freeway. I run down to check on him and he is screaming from a place that I have never heard from before. Both of his legs are missing below the knee. He keeps asking about his wife. I tell him we are doing everything we can for her right now which is a half lie. He dies laying in the middle of I-30 at about 3:30 am that morning. They were traveling to see grandkids in town from Texas. Their truck was green with a silver stripe going down the side and the rookie cop was driving a blue Chevy Cavalier.

About 6 years ago they finally re-surfaced that portion of the freeway. Until then the burn marks were still embedded in the pavement. I wish I could say that was the worst run that I have ever been on. But it's not even close.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:04 AM   #129
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Yeah, it never ceases to amaze me, the tiny details that we notice, always seem to be the ones that stick. The happy meal toys in the back floorboard of a deceased womans car after a crash etc. The look on a spouses face when they show at the scene because co-workers called them to ask why their "other" wasn't at work, and they started tracing their route to work.


I think I handle it surprisingly well, but I still notice those things, and they stay stuck in my head. I just hug my kiddos and keep chugging on. Life is an extraordinary gift, and I try never to take it for granted.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:07 AM   #130
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We all have our demons, but yours is (was) bigger than most. Congrats on slaying him like a man, and thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:19 AM   #131
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We had jogger here who got hit by a drunk driver who is a doctor. The jogger's husband is a police officer. Just a tragic case a broken family on both sides.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:24 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
We had jogger here who got hit by a drunk driver who is a doctor. The jogger's husband is a police officer. Just a tragic case a broken family on both sides.
That is sad.

Unfortunately things like that are more common than you care to know. Life really is a random series of events that lead up to that one moment in time when you are either in the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a gamble every time you leave the house. Sometimes you don't even have to leave the house. It will come to you.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:49 AM   #133
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,,, I am newer to the forum and am not surprised to find recovery within these pages , posts , threads ,,,,,,, I congratulate yu sir on your success this past year and thank you for sharing your story and for putting yourself out there like you have,,by doing so gives myself (and a few others I'm sure) a little extra motivation to stay clean for another day,,all the best from the northwest coast,, cheers
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:57 AM   #134
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,,, I am newer to the forum and am not surprised to find recovery within these pages , posts , threads ,,,,,,, I congratulate yu sir on your success this past year and thank you for sharing your story and for putting yourself out there like you have,,by doing so gives myself (and a few others I'm sure) a little extra motivation to stay clean for another day,,all the best from the northwest coast,, cheers
Thank you Kevin!
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:15 AM   #135
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I saw this on facebook, and it seemed to fit here, so I thought I would add it.


When a Firefighter needs help

He came in and sat the bags of things I asked him to pick up on his way home on the kitchen floor. I didnít look up or even greet him, I was ďtoo busyĒ trying to fix the dishwasher tray as the kids had broken it the night before. He reached over me to grab a drinking glass and then I heard the heavy thud on the counter. I knew what it was and I hesitated to look. I stood up and finally looked at him and saw the liquor bottle on the counter and the red rings around his eyes.
In that moment my heart broke, even though I had no clue as to why, my heart was broken for him. I found my stomach in my throat and the fear I wouldnít know how to help, with whatever was wrong. Iím normally am the one who needs a rock.
I asked him what was wrong only to be greeted with a ďNothing.Ē, he knew I knew it was a lie. Iíd rather be met in silence than a lie. I asked again and asked him not to lie to me. Of course he could have just avoided me but he finally said, ďItís been a bad morning.Ē and his eyes glazed over. He backed up and leaned against the counter and I hugged him for what felt like forever. All I could smell was the bourbon on his breath and the rising cinnamon dough on the stove. I choked back the lump in my throat and knew I must control my own emotions.
He had a bad morning. A bad call. Death had been working that morning. He was on duty at a one man fire station. They arenít equipped to handle much in the way of medical calls. This morning he arrived on scene where a wife was anxious for someone to ďfixĒ her husband. To be honest, Iíll spare the details but it didnít sound like there was anything viable about the poor man anyway. BUT helping people is what they do and he was going to try.
He had done everything he knew to do and had the equipment to do. She starred at him, he said almost as if she expected a miracle and he never felt more helpless or alone in his life. I thought my heart couldnít break anymore for him but it did and continues to. He was alone. Just a wife who didnít know she was a widow, a man who had seeming passed and himself. Alone. He has never had the burden of deciding whether there was a life to save or if there was no life left. On top of that an eager wife watching you, because you are expected to have all of the answers and all of the means to fix everything. That single decision is something that has to come with a heavy price you pay with every bit of heart and the bits of doubting yourself try to slip in too. Nothing short of a real, Lazarus moment miracle would have brought the man back, he has to know that. I hope he accepts that.
I pushed the thoughts of being a tired fire wife who was looking forward to some kind of break today to the back of my mind, and just pushed through. Being whatever he needed me to be. All I can do is listen and offer comfort that I am here and if he needs to talk about it, I can handle hearing it. The particulars never both me, it is the lives that go on even when others donít that make me sad. Itís important to let them talk it out if that is what they feel they need to do. You are his other half, the one who he should be able to bare his soul to, please find a way to let him pour this out to you if that is how he copes. Sadly so many do not, I wish they all felt comfortable enough to not bottle up the things that haunt them. I wish they knew it is not a burden to their spouse. I wish they reached out for help more often.
When a firefighter needs help, it is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that they are real. Human. The heart that gives them them drive to enter into the fire service isnít made of stone, itís real. It beats and it hurts like every other heart in the world. Please let them know that having emotions is not being weak.
If you donít like to hear some of the more detailed information, you should have a conversation about that NOW, for when the time does come that he needs to let it out, you may be somewhat prepared to listen while he may be more prepared in what to leave out. Explain that if you ever need to be an ear, that you are more than willing to listen to anything but (insert whatever it is that you donít think you can handle). Some of it, like a wife watching over him as he worked, as he had to debate over actions to take with her husband, is hard to hear but you must listen. Death is part of the fire service; itís in our lives whether we want it there or not. Donít wait until itís time to be his rock to say you donít want to hear it. You have to hear it because if he needs to say it, someone needs to listen. If not you, then who? If your firefighter is not a talker and he seems withdrawn, it may just be his process, donít force him to share with you but take note on behavioral changes. Support him in other ways that you can.
If your firefighter is showing signs of depression or PTSD, please reach out and find resources to help not only him cope, but help you cope with him. Unfortunately these situations take their toll on marriages. The stress and hazards of the Fire Service when not met head on can rip a relationship apart. Some still do not survive meeting it head on but you must try, give it all you can. My husband is an occasional drinker and while I didnít say anything about his morning nip, I also know to speak up if he consumed more than what I think is ok considering the circumstances. Donít put your head in the sand, watch for any signs of any substance abuse or other behavior.
Sadly these situations often build up and take their toll on their very lives. Please be proactive. For those facing so many inner demons, the road to recovery takes immense strength, courage, support and guidance.
If you or someone you know needs help,
call First Responder Treatment at 855-350-2405.


It isnít easy to be so candid but this is something every woman who loves a firefighter needs to know. Itís real and itís going to happen sooner or later and likely repeat itself in different forms over the years. My heart wishes you all comfort and strength when it comes.
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:26 AM   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxFireman View Post
I saw this on facebook, and it seemed to fit here, so I thought I would add it.


When a Firefighter needs help

He came in and sat the bags of things I asked him to pick up on his way home on the kitchen floor. I didn’t look up or even greet him, I was “too busy” trying to fix the dishwasher tray as the kids had broken it the night before. He reached over me to grab a drinking glass and then I heard the heavy thud on the counter. I knew what it was and I hesitated to look. I stood up and finally looked at him and saw the liquor bottle on the counter and the red rings around his eyes.
In that moment my heart broke, even though I had no clue as to why, my heart was broken for him. I found my stomach in my throat and the fear I wouldn’t know how to help, with whatever was wrong. I’m normally am the one who needs a rock.
I asked him what was wrong only to be greeted with a “Nothing.”, he knew I knew it was a lie. I’d rather be met in silence than a lie. I asked again and asked him not to lie to me. Of course he could have just avoided me but he finally said, “It’s been a bad morning.” and his eyes glazed over. He backed up and leaned against the counter and I hugged him for what felt like forever. All I could smell was the bourbon on his breath and the rising cinnamon dough on the stove. I choked back the lump in my throat and knew I must control my own emotions.
He had a bad morning. A bad call. Death had been working that morning. He was on duty at a one man fire station. They aren’t equipped to handle much in the way of medical calls. This morning he arrived on scene where a wife was anxious for someone to “fix” her husband. To be honest, I’ll spare the details but it didn’t sound like there was anything viable about the poor man anyway. BUT helping people is what they do and he was going to try.
He had done everything he knew to do and had the equipment to do. She starred at him, he said almost as if she expected a miracle and he never felt more helpless or alone in his life. I thought my heart couldn’t break anymore for him but it did and continues to. He was alone. Just a wife who didn’t know she was a widow, a man who had seeming passed and himself. Alone. He has never had the burden of deciding whether there was a life to save or if there was no life left. On top of that an eager wife watching you, because you are expected to have all of the answers and all of the means to fix everything. That single decision is something that has to come with a heavy price you pay with every bit of heart and the bits of doubting yourself try to slip in too. Nothing short of a real, Lazarus moment miracle would have brought the man back, he has to know that. I hope he accepts that.
I pushed the thoughts of being a tired fire wife who was looking forward to some kind of break today to the back of my mind, and just pushed through. Being whatever he needed me to be. All I can do is listen and offer comfort that I am here and if he needs to talk about it, I can handle hearing it. The particulars never both me, it is the lives that go on even when others don’t that make me sad. It’s important to let them talk it out if that is what they feel they need to do. You are his other half, the one who he should be able to bare his soul to, please find a way to let him pour this out to you if that is how he copes. Sadly so many do not, I wish they all felt comfortable enough to not bottle up the things that haunt them. I wish they knew it is not a burden to their spouse. I wish they reached out for help more often.
When a firefighter needs help, it is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that they are real. Human. The heart that gives them them drive to enter into the fire service isn’t made of stone, it’s real. It beats and it hurts like every other heart in the world. Please let them know that having emotions is not being weak.
If you don’t like to hear some of the more detailed information, you should have a conversation about that NOW, for when the time does come that he needs to let it out, you may be somewhat prepared to listen while he may be more prepared in what to leave out. Explain that if you ever need to be an ear, that you are more than willing to listen to anything but (insert whatever it is that you don’t think you can handle). Some of it, like a wife watching over him as he worked, as he had to debate over actions to take with her husband, is hard to hear but you must listen. Death is part of the fire service; it’s in our lives whether we want it there or not. Don’t wait until it’s time to be his rock to say you don’t want to hear it. You have to hear it because if he needs to say it, someone needs to listen. If not you, then who? If your firefighter is not a talker and he seems withdrawn, it may just be his process, don’t force him to share with you but take note on behavioral changes. Support him in other ways that you can.
If your firefighter is showing signs of depression or PTSD, please reach out and find resources to help not only him cope, but help you cope with him. Unfortunately these situations take their toll on marriages. The stress and hazards of the Fire Service when not met head on can rip a relationship apart. Some still do not survive meeting it head on but you must try, give it all you can. My husband is an occasional drinker and while I didn’t say anything about his morning nip, I also know to speak up if he consumed more than what I think is ok considering the circumstances. Don’t put your head in the sand, watch for any signs of any substance abuse or other behavior.
Sadly these situations often build up and take their toll on their very lives. Please be proactive. For those facing so many inner demons, the road to recovery takes immense strength, courage, support and guidance.
If you or someone you know needs help,
call First Responder Treatment at 855-350-2405.


It isn’t easy to be so candid but this is something every woman who loves a firefighter needs to know. It’s real and it’s going to happen sooner or later and likely repeat itself in different forms over the years. My heart wishes you all comfort and strength when it comes.
That was like looking into a mirror. That is how I handled it for 3 years until I finally started opening up to my wife. Since my wife had never had to deal with this situation it was new to her. She had seen me deal with the stress of the job and always come out on top. She has seen me in the burn unit. She has seen the after effects of what a nail will do when it goes in one side of your wrist and comes out the other. She had seen the physical effects of what it looks like to have your turnout gear and helmet melted because of being trapped inside of a fire.

But she had never seen the emotional effects and that was my fault. It wasn't until I hit my rock bottom and had no choice that she finally came to understand the mental toll is thousands of times worse than the physical toll. She now calls every day to check on me and for that I appreciate it. The majority of the time I am doing okay. If I'm not and I need some strength to shore me up she is there. I am no longer the superman that she once thought I was. In reality she has become much stronger than me because she has been forced to. I feel bad for that but on the flip side of that coin she is the only one that can do that job. And to her credit she does it well.




I keep this on my desk as a reminder of what I could have lost one normal day before everything turned to shit.
I had resigned myself to the fact that this is where I would die on that fateful day.

This is the Helmet Shield that was on my helmet. It doesn't start to do that until it gets close to 1000* or more.

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Old 02-04-2014, 02:23 PM   #137
Incomparable, like...
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Name: Randy
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Dude...I hit your Build post first because I saw you doing some awesome mods to your truck. Then I saw the PTSD link in your sig and was curious.

Cojones, man. You got 'em. To recognize the problem and fix it, and hold yourself accountable...that's a man. That post was truly inspirational.

A lot of people go through a lot of shit and can't or won't recover. I'm sure you've seen more than your share. I wish you the best and thanks for your service to your community and fellow man.
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:24 PM   #138
IAFF Local 34 Professional FireFighters
RearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shedRearViewMirror is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BravesWin View Post
Dude...I hit your Build post first because I saw you doing some awesome mods to your truck. Then I saw the PTSD link in your sig and was curious.

Cojones, man. You got 'em. To recognize the problem and fix it, and hold yourself accountable...that's a man. That post was truly inspirational.

A lot of people go through a lot of shit and can't or won't recover. I'm sure you've seen more than your share. I wish you the best and thanks for your service to your community and fellow man.
Thank you Randy!
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:09 PM   #139
Senior Member
MedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shedMedicMutt is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Just, wow. There's powerful stuff in here.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:30 AM   #140
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Congratulations on your sobriety. I just passed 4 years sober this past December. It hasn't gotten any easier, but knowing people like yourself are out there fighting the same addictions and beating it every day let's me know I can keep going.

Thank you for your service and sharing your story. Keep up the good work.
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