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First Responders

Veterans, PTSD, and Addiction Recovery
June 15, 2020

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health disorder that causes an individual trouble recovering from a traumatic event. Symptoms can vary and can range from mild to severe, chronic, and possibly debilitating. Certain groups, such as veterans, are more likely to suffer from PTSD, though the condition can affect anybody who experienced a […]

No Place I Would Rather Be
January 28, 2020

When the Crisis Occurs… A man was buried alive, and I was part of the response team. This is what I lived for, what I trained for, what I would do for the next twenty years at least; rescue people. I hit the pole while the echo from the loudspeaker still filled the station, stepped […]

When Addiction Medication Stops Working…
December 19, 2019

Our addictions are funny things; that which is killing us is actually what saved our lives. If the things we do did not make us feel better, we would not be addicted to them. We are self medicating a misunderstood disease. There are no guidelines, no doctor’s orders, no warning signs or contraindications, just us […]

Reasons to be Grateful This Holiday Season
December 3, 2019

As the holiday season rolls around once again, it’s important to take some time to consider what we are grateful for. This is especially important for those in recovery. Taking a few moments to reflect on your triumphs over the past year, to consider all the people and events that have helped you along the […]

They said I can drink!
November 18, 2019

Whenever something comes up about alcoholism being controllable I snap to attention. Some researchers somewhere are always coming up with their hypothesis on drinking responsibly, and how even the most hopeless cases could, theoretically enjoy an adult beverage without sinking into the abyss.  Then there are the 12-Step debunkers, and their statistics that prove that […]

Ethyl Alcohol – Suicide’s Closest Friend
October 28, 2019

People talk about suicide, and how first responders are particularly vulnerable. They talk about PTSD, and peer counseling, and the importance of mental health. They talk about how to avoid the pitfalls that so many of us get tangled up in – things like isolation, compartmentalizing, denial, poor eating and sleeping habits and depression.  Substance […]

Letting the Secret Go
September 16, 2019

I expected a lot of overwhelming responses when I first informed my family that I was going to “quit drinking.” But the response I got wasn’t the one I had expected: “Why?” Come to find out, there are not many of us who are able to hide our addiction so completely from those closest to […]

First Responder Addiction is Harshly Judged
August 29, 2019

Stealing a patient’s medication or figuring out a way to manipulate the narcotics we are entrusted to monitor is criminal behavior, and cannot be excused because of a person’s problem with addiction. It is never okay to be under the influence of narcotics while on duty. If narcotics are needed to get through a shift, […]

Making Space in a Crowded Mind
July 31, 2019

They say that addiction is not a disease. I say take a little look inside my noggin. I was truly insane. And it kept getting worse. I do not have a lot of empty space in my head. It is full of stuff. Good stuff.  Fun and useful stuff. Stuff I need to get the […]

A Forest of Trouble Trees
June 26, 2019

Anybody that is at all connected to social media, the media in general or the world around them is well aware that PTSD and the accompanying problems that come with it is a major concern for firefighters, police and EMS. Statistically first responders are every bit as prone to developing it as combat soldiers. We […]

Addiction Is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of
June 11, 2019

Funny how finding sobriety after a long and very active illness cleared up so much. Not only do I feel better and think more clearly, but I also look better, my eyes are not as sensitive, my nose has lost the redness and bumps that worried me so much, and I have a lot more […]

Unexpectedly at Home
May 28, 2019

A guy about my age who I didn’t know died. He was a firefighter. His obituary was vague; the always troubling words “passed unexpectedly at home” haunted me. Was it suicide? Did he overdose accidentally? Should I find out? I hate thinking the worst when I read those words, but let’s face it—all of us […]

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