What excites you the most now when you get up in the morning? |First and foremost, I wake up clearheaded and not hungover or thinking about where my next bottle or drink will be. I don’t worry about what I said or did. Now, the most important part of my day is not drinking. Because no matter how bad my day might go, I know it would always be worse with a drink.
I start my day with coffee and a 7am meeting. I have many friends in the rooms now and I can talk about what my day looks like, what may have gone wrong yesterday, help others with their problems, or just listen to someone who needs to share.|What is your motto? What about your motto appeals to you? Why? |As an old-timer always says (with 40+ years), don’t drink just for today. Also, don’t drink and go to meetings. When I first came in, I dreaded meetings. I didn’t know anyone, didn’t want to know any other recovering alcoholics, and to be honest didn’t want to not drink. I wanted my life to get back to manageability and for everyone to get off my back about my drinking.
It took time and going to many meetings for me to start to make friends, open up about myself and let others open up to me. This is the meaning to me of “just keep coming” and “it works if you work it.” At first, I came in late, sat in the back, barely heard the message, warmed a seat, and left early. Today, I am an active member of my home group and an active member of AA.|What has been the best of recovery for you? Why? |I got myself and I got my life back. This doesn’t mean my life is sunshine and roses but I have a network and a program to help me deal with life on life’s terms without drinking. I used to have to drink daily for the good and for the bad. Now I can truly live life without putting alcohol in my body. I have a sober group of about eight guys to play golf with and have fun on a weekly basis.|What would you say is the biggest success you’ve had since leaving mountainside?|I have my children back in my life, and they want me in theirs. They know about my drinking, and I involve them in my recovery with AA. I have a loving, caring, and supportive girlfriend. I have a good job. Also, I have lost the obsession to drink. Mountainside helped me with all of that.|What has been the biggest hurdle in recovery and how did you learn to overcome it?|In the beginning, it was the broken relationship with my kids. Others in the rooms have helped me and shown me with their own experiences how to make it better, be patient, and do the next right thing to improve it. Also, I lost my license for six years, and my network of friends in AA helped me with ride,s and ultimately helped me to regain my license. They even wrote letters and went to the board of DMV to speak on my behalf so I could get my license back.|What was the turning point that led you to get help?|It took an intervention from my then-wife who wanted me to go to Mountainside to “get my drinking under control.” My wife at the time was my drinking partner. It took a lot of meetings and pain and heartache to realize that I was an alcoholic. I didn’t get it the first time – as a matter of fact, I have been to six treatments – but Mountainside was the place that I got the most out of. I stayed for the Extended Care program, and it was life-changing.|If you could, what would you tell your younger self?|I would tell my younger self the same thing I tell my children today. There is alcoholism on both sides of our family. That it is not normal to drink alcohol on a daily basis, whether it is to celebrate or escape from feeling and daily life. Also, that there are people and organizations to ask for help, like Mountainside.|What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment know?|Very few people in life get an “adult time out” where they can look and reflect on life and look at the good, the bad, and their mistakes without outside distractions. A month may seem like a long time, but it goes by so fast. You will learn a lot if you don’t fight it and listen to what the professionals tell you. If for some reason it doesn’t work the first time, don’t hesitate to go again. It’s not a requirement but many people have.|What suggestions do you have for the newcomer? |Give it a chance. So many newcomers are so resistant to listen that they do not get the full benefit of what Mountainside has to offer. It is not easy to change old behaviors but it gets a lot easier over time and the benefits far exceed the insanity of drinking and drugging.|What is the best advice you have been given?|You are not alone. Don’t drink or do drugs. Go to meetings and the promises do come true. And in the end: service. Help another alcoholic or addict. It is so rewarding.|What is the one item you can’t do without? |I can’t stay sober without meetings as far as sobriety. For fun, I play golf and start my day with coffee.|Would you rather be an inventor or a leader? Why? |I would love to be an inventor, but I feel I am more of a leader. I enjoy sponsoring guys and helping them to learn how to live without alcohol as a crutch or a way to not feel. And it helps to keep me sober as well.|Who dead or living is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?|I would choose Abraham Lincoln because I find him incredibly interesting and to hear his interpretation of how the country was then and how it is today. Much could be learned by all.|What’s the one thing people would be presently surprised to know about you?|That my father’s family is all from Hawaii, and that I lived there twice and visited over 20 times and consider it my second home.|What are you currently reading or what song have you enjoyed recently? What do you love about it?|I heard a song called “Open Arms” by John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting and the words meant a lot and hit home for me today and where I am in my recovery.