TDA Salute

Recovering Hockey Player Theo Fleury Serves It Up Neat

February 1, 2009

Theoren Fleury serves it up neat at The Discovering Alcoholic

Calgary Flame great Theoren Fleury is still making headlines these days. No longer on the ice, Theo is proving he can dish it out neat just the same. Last week he enflamed fans by chastising some of the current hockey stars for being “spoiled brats” after they didn’t show up for the All Star Game. He was attacked in turn for his self-admitted problems with alcohol.

Growing up in the Deep South doesn’t give one much of a chance to become a huge hockey fan, but after reading Fleury’s bio I felt as if he would have been one of my favorites. We’re same age, same height (to me, a 5′ 6″ all star pro player is impressive by itself), and both alcoholics… and it goes without saying we have both irritated plenty of people with our alcohol fueled antics. But it’s not his aggressive style on and off the ice or his gold medal and championships that prompted this post, instead it was his comment on the disease of alcoholism that turned me into a instant fan.

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Been There, Done That… and it Worked

January 28, 2009

90 in 90. It’s a phrase familiar to almost everyone who’s battled substance abuse, a reference to doing 90 recovery meetings in 90 days. It’s how I capped off rehab 14 years ago and even though I thought at the time the meetings and the arbitrary duration were a steaming load- it worked. I think stringing together that contiguous exposure to a recovery environment served as a tipping point for me and my long term sobriety. Kelleigh Bannen is also doing 90 in 90, singing gigs that is. The talented singer lost her brother last year to substance abuse and is honoring his memory giving ninety straight performances with all proceeds going to addiction research (Butler Center for Research, Hazelden). In addition, she has pretty cool “clean” necklace that also benefits the Butler Center.

Pay close attention to the lyrics of Done that’s embedded above, it’s a great recovery related song made all the better by her emotional delivery. Here’s a well deserved TDA Salute to Kelleigh for honoring her brother, raising money and awareness for a good cause, and sharing with us some really inspiring music.

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Not Afraid to be Judged

January 15, 2009

Kevin Fine at The Discovering AlcoholicIt’s not every day I find myself cheering for a lawyer, but Kevin D. Fine has made a big impact on me by speaking openly about being a recovering addict. This is special because Mr. Fine is about to participate in a ceremony that will make him Harris County’s 177th Criminal District Court judge in Texas.

It’s always a good thing when those in the judicial system (and law enforcement) understand the complexities of addiction and substance abuse issues and it looks like Judge Fine will put his personal experiences to good use.

“I know 85 percent of the prison population is there because they have a substance abuse problem that can be addressed in another way other than locking them up, which does absolutely, positively no good,” Fine says. Helping addicts get clean, sober and out of the court system, he says, was “my whole reason for wanting to run.” ~

I have always been in support of alternative sentencing for non-violent drug offenders; it is the only effective method of reducing the recidivism of addicts and alcoholics. More than anything though, I am just pleased that Judge Fine has decided to be open about his recovery and share his story. He took a great risk by coming out especially considering he made his announcement before he had been chosen for the bench. He will serve as an admirable example to the many that will surely find themselves facing the judge that there is always hope to change the future. Here’s a TDA salute to Kevin D. Fine, a man not afraid to be judged.

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Favre and Collins in TDA Recovery Super Bowl

November 23, 2008

TDA Recovery Super Bowl at The Discovering Alcoholicare considered long in the tooth for the pro football scene. What you probably will not hear though is that these warriors of the gridiron have something else in common, they are both recovering alcoholics.

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The Discovering Alcoholic: Advocacy Update

November 15, 2008

The Discovering AlcoholicWe had to move the date up a bit to take advantage of a larger venue, but it is my extreme pleasure to announce that on Dec 2nd I will host a substance abuse workshop at the Calera High School auditorium. Prescription drug abuse will be the primary theme for the program, but resources and experts on all substance abuse and addiction will be available.

The presentation will include participation from the Substance Abuse Task Force, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Faces and Voices of Recovery. Community representation will also include those from law enforcement, EMS services, and health and medical officials.

I would like to offer a special TDA salute to Principal Bishop who did not hesitate to offer the school’s new 600 seat auditorium for the event; it is representative of his obvious concern and care about our kids and community. If you are local to the TDA area, check out this link for details on where (map included) and when to attend.

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TDA Salutes Our Veterans

November 10, 2008

I woke early this morning and had coffee with my old first sergeant from Desert Storm. He’s retired from active duty but now runs the Veterans Affairs office- still taking care of “his” soldiers. It was a day early, but I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to celebrate Veterans Day with my old friend who is a Vietnam combat veteran and a personal hero of mine. Not every will have the chance tomorrow to sit down and thank a veteran, so I wanted to highlight one of my favorite charities, the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

The WWP mission is to honor and empower the wounded warriors of our nation. There is almost nothing this group doesn’t do for our soldiers in need including family support, peer support and counseling, adaptive sports and recreation programs, and career enrichment programs. The list sounds impressive but really doesn’t do WWP credit, I suggest going to their website and seeing for yourself all the great things they are doing for our wounded warriors. Then you can help them continue and expand the program by donating here.

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The One That Got Away?

November 9, 2008

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. ~ Carol Burnett

TDA salutes Carol Burnett at The Discovering AlcoholicAddiction free but sandwiched between the alcoholism of her parents and the struggles of her daughter with drug addiction, my first thought for the title of this post about comedienne Carol Burnett was The One That Got Away, no punctuation.

Immediately upon typing the words I realized my mistake and added the question mark, embarrassed that even for a moment I had forgot that no one escapes from the pain, loss, and tragedy of an addicted family member. Carol Burnett may have escaped catching the family scourge, but there is no doubt that she still suffered the consequences.

I had chosen Mrs. Burnett as tonight’s topic in response to reader feedback on a previous William Shatner/Al-Anon post asking for more stories of the same persuasion. The TDA reader, in a relationship with an alcoholic, is also suffering the consequences that include stress and preoccupation draining the creativity and ambition from her work. So I thought it would be both extremely appropriate and a personal pleasure to extend a TDA Salute to Carol Burnett who not only survived, but is still flourishing in a creative, artistic career and has been a pioneer of recovery advocacy.

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No Finer Tribute

November 2, 2008

The Bianca Center for Substance Abuse, named after Bianca Halstead of the band Betty Blowtorch, will open in Los Angeles this month offering a sane alternative to the quasi-spa and reality show treatment centers that have become some popular of late. I can think of no finer tribute to a recovering alcoholic than to have a treatment center dedicated in their name, it’s just a shame that this one has to be done posthumously. In 2001 after over a decade of sobriety working in arguably one of the harshest environments for a recovering alcoholic, Bianca Halstead was killed in an accident where the driver was intoxicated.

“I didn’t get sober until a few years after she died,” states Bianca Center Executive Director and Halstead’s nephew, Jaymee Carpenter. “What [still] blows my mind is how she made the sober lifestyle look so ridiculously cool and worth fighting for. She was an example to countless others by not only projecting that image, but by regularly offering help to those seriously seeking sobriety.” ~ MarketWatch

Fellow addicts and alcoholics in recovery including Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Duff McKagen of Velvet Revolver, and Ozzy Osbourne will attend the opening ceremonies on November 10th.

Here’s my tribute and TDA Salute to a memorable artist and alcoholic who is still inspiring great works in recovery. I picked this particular song for another recovery diva, The Junkys Wife, who I know is going through some hard times… take care my friend.

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Famous Alcoholics: Maureen McCormick aka Marcia Brady

October 15, 2008

Maureen McCormick may have played goody-goody, golden haired Marcia on the iconic seventies show The Brady Bunch, but her real life panned out to be much different. In her book Surviving Marcia Brady, Mrs. McCormick relates how syphilis devastated several generations of her family, her cocaine addiction, bulimia, depression and a host of other problems including of course her eventual recovery.
Yeah I know, she was a cocaine addict- you say tomato, I say alcoholic…

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Loved Ones Left with Questions and Doubt

September 29, 2008

“I’ve lamented his death every second since he died and will live with it the rest of my life.” So says Gary Neal referring to Harrison, his seventeen year-old son, who died of an overdose while abusing prescription painkillers.

With the second anniversary of Harrison Neal’s death approaching, his father still has a lot of questions and doubts. “Could I have done it better? Could I have done it different? Would the results have been different? You never know the answers to those questions because you never get a second chance. ~ CNN

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Sober Cats and a Very Sad TDA

September 3, 2008

Sober Cats and a Very Sad TDA

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are the mixed breed black cats I’ve had since the first full year of my recovery. If the names don’t ring a bell I suggest a little Dr. Seuss to refresh your memory, they earned their names early on in life to the detriment of my first apartment after treatment. I picked them up from an animal shelter in 1995 choosing these two over all others not because they were cute and cuddly, but because they were hanging upside down from their cage not content to lie around in their own poop all day- they wanted something better.

As a nonjudgmental support team, they have played a vital role in my recovery so much so that I have referred to them before as my sober cats. Especially for those new to sobriety, I think pets are a much better idea than people relationships because of the unconditional love they offer and absence of any emotional backlash or personal problems that may threaten the priority of recovery. Always home, happy to see me, and willing to listen… cats (and dogs) have little downside.

But as the title suggests, I have been saddened lately because the end is near for Thing 2.

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When Being Called a Tool is a Good Thing

August 21, 2008


It’s been a particularly long and trying week for me as I have spent the last week on the West Coast presenting mid year review and projections. Long hours, tedious reports, and obligatory dinners… it’s good to see my colleagues from the other side of the Rockies but I am seriously worn out this week. So you would think that after a hard day’s work that when I open up the TDA mailbag just to find out that a total stranger is calling me a tool that I would be upset, but I’m not. In fact, I’m grinning ear to ear.

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A Special TDA Salute

August 7, 2008

The Discovering Alcoholic Salutes…The Discovering Alcoholic Salutes are a special recognition I like to bestow upon those in recovery who have overcome long odds, achieved great things, or added significantly to my recovery or the community in general. In the past I have honored a wide variety of individuals including an actress, astronaut and even my own dentist.

Tonight I would like to honor a fellow recovering alcoholic and addict, Frankie.

I am a 45 year old ex-con, recovering alcoholic/addict who was recently released from prison. I am finally getting a life for myself after so many years and it has been rough. ~

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