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Phil Describes His Battle and Ultimate Path to Recovery From Alcoholism

From episode: Alcohol Recovery For First Responders

There was a time probably 10 or 12 years ago when I was taking a class by a couple individuals that were a part of the employee support services eventually, and I remember these men, you know, represented what I respected, you know, they were, you know, hell attack captains, they were strong men, they were, you know, just that persona of the individual that I wanted to represent working for the fire department, and what struck me the most was that one of them, you know, in a classroom of 30 guys that he doesn't know showed a level of humility and vulnerability to us in sharing his story and his experience with battling his demons and how he had overcome and come through and how he was honestly, I don't remember verbatim, but basically living his best life and asking for help, and he was a huge advocate for the programs available to us, and I remember being so mesmerized by an individual. I could never do that, you know, I was ashamed of who I was, and I couldn't let anybody know that I was less than, but I remember sitting in that class knowing that I was an alcoholic and being so unwilling to ask for help, but one of the coolest things like full circle 10 years later is that individual, I'm a year sober, and we cross paths, and I was able to tell him and thank him for sharing his story because in the 10 years I spent basically killing myself on the inside spiritually, emotionally, pissing away everything that I had ever cared about, I always remembered his story, and I was able to thank him for basically showing me what it meant to be a real man, to own your shit, and to get outside of yourself and not be so damn selfish, but to truly bring it back to what is important in life, and that's about helping other individuals and being a human, right, and forever grateful for that. How did I get to where I am today? Like I said, without going into great detail, like I said, I'm fortunate to be here today, I'm fortunate to have my job, I'm fortunate to be a father, I'm fortunate to be a friend, I'm fortunate to be a son to my mother and my father, a sibling to my brothers and sisters. I very easily could not be here today. I wasn't on a path to really think about suicide or anything like that. I definitely was on a path where I did not care. It got to the point where if I had continued drinking, I have no doubt when my ex -wife called me on my shit finally for being such a shit husband, if I didn't receive that call from her that day, I don't know if I'd be alive. Honestly, I was on a point where I don't know if I would have wrapped my car around a tree and killed myself or hurt somebody else or, you know, I could have lost my job, which would have impacted everybody in my life and I'm just so grateful for the opportunity in that phone call. That day, it was a low point for me. I definitely, it could have been a lot worse for me, like I said, in a multitude of ways, but that call, somebody finally being honest with me and calling me on my shit was what I needed and I took advantage of the programs offered by my department and went to rehab and spent a couple weeks in rehab. I was only spending, yeah, spent a couple weeks, ended up getting out and it was honestly, it was such a fog, man. It took, I don't know, months for the alcohol to really get out of my system and for me to even begin to think clearly, but that started me on this journey that I'm on today. I couldn't have scripted how I've gotten to this point. I've always tried to control, you know, everything in my life and, you know, that was my first step down this journey to be open to the fact that I really don't know shit, that when I'm left in control of my own life, that I don't make good choices and that I really don't know it all. So, it brought me to an awareness of working a program of recovery that honestly has saved my life. It has changed my outlook and my perception of, it's brought me back to reality, right? When I was drinking, I was so, I didn't know the truth about anything, you know. I was a liar. I lied to myself. I lied to everybody else, you know, and sobriety and working a program has allowed me to variance a level of serenity, personal growth and awakening beyond my wildest dreams.

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