Adam-Ohio via VA

Adam is a fire service mentor and a former coworker and someone I’ve respected my entire career. He had a 20 plus year career that ended prematurely. Today’s part one of a two part episode. Part two will be released tomorrow and it will be a conversation between Adam, Jess from episode five and myself.


Stack: Thank you for joining me for another episode of the things we all carry. Today’s episode is a deviation from the norm. As it started out as an interview intended to be just that an interview. But halfway through the interview, I realized that this material was too good not to share.

. Adam is a fire service mentor and a former coworker and someone never respected my entire career. He had her 20 plus year career that ended prematurely. The day. I sat down to talk to him. I hit record before the interview and halfway through, I realized. Audio bumps and all this was an episode.

Today’s part one of a two part episode. Part two will be released tomorrow and it will be a conversation between Adam Jess from episode five and myself. A quick reminder to please help us build a community which not only recognizes, but supports each other through the struggles and recovery. Reach out through to offer support and share your story. Please remember to leave a review on iTunes and give a shout out to any first responder, you know, love or care about.

Y’all enjoy the show.

Adam: it’s a leather bound thoughts. And some of it’s funny, some of it’s just profound or just an idea, and not only did that because I Bought, we were at this fair and this woman made journal with super heavyweight, non lined, like old school paper.

And she’s this is the best pen to write in there. And that’s what I bought. It inspired me. I’m like, it’s got a little piece of wood that helps latch. And I’m like, this is just a really cool looking thing. And I want it just cause look cool. Cause that’s what I do. And of course, but it’s actually kind cool cause I know it, but it’s cool cuz it does every once in a while, I’ll have these ideas and I’ll just sit and just write or whatever.

So I’m like, okay,

Stack: that’s kind cool. Yeah. I started writing and a therapist like yo get a journal and write everything down. I was like, oh, I’ll try it. And I don’t like writing in a journal. I that’s why I do the online blog. It just makes more sense to me.

I write, but then I share it with everybody and then everybody’s oh, this guy’s kind of fucked up. So

Adam: go, whatever here, its it’s how it goes, man. People could hear what goes on in my head. They’d be like your Jesus. Oh

Stack: yeah. It’s the stuff that I write down is not anything near what I’m is in my head, but yeah it’s a good inkling of what’s going on up there.

so yeah, keep I keep the good stuff to myself. Let’s put it that way. I know

Adam: it’s the best party man is what’s in my head. Yeah.

Stack: Alright. How do you want do this? What, how do you wanna tell your story?

Adam: For me, I mean it, I don’t how much detail you want to go in now, if you’re just note taking, so we’re just sort

Stack: generalizing, we’ll just hit the the basics

and then when we record, we can get into more specifics.

Adam: Yeah. So how things work for me, man. I don’t have an exciting childhood in the sense of anything was wrong. So that’s funny there in the sense of like you’re talking typical parents, older brother, older sister household, we were never a tight knit family in the sense of my brother was eight years older than I was. So we were raised independent in a good way though. Our parents allowed us to do our thing. You wanna take play that’s sport, try. You want to go there. You’re be out on your bike all day. So I grew up in just a typical loving nine to five household, mom and dad, blue collar, silver group, Buffalo, nothing special, nobody drank in the house.

Really mom, just none of that stuff. Especially as I got older, like dad was diabetic. Mom never drank since her wedding, whatever. My brother was older than I am and partied, we ended up partying much later in life together. He’s a musician kept himself, always got along, but never hung out cuz years you’re 10 he’s 18.

Yeah. Know, hanging out my sister’s two years older, she used the brain. You actually can have one beer and she’s drunk. So , my brother was a partier. I was a partier. So got involved in the fire service age 14. Now, prior to that, in my volunteer department, me and Tommy and his. He moved in later across the street from me, but his grandpa was across the street from us forever, the whole, my whole life till, I moved.

And it was like a father figure, a grandfather figure to me, cause my dad didn’t have a dad. So like I saw him all the time and he was a cool guy, but he belonged to a volunteer department and my cousin joined and so mean, and Tommy were going with his grandfather even younger. And then at age 14, we both joined.

So right away, 14 years old, I’m in the volunteer fire department, doing the training, medical training, getting New York state certifications, going to the smokehouse. It’s the first time you open an air pack on gear and it’s 1993 and I’m in it with that generation of folks teaching you how to fight fire and all that other stuff.

So I often wonder if some of my things, as it relates to public safety are where I ended up in life. What came first that the chicken or the egg and I say that of what came first, the presets that I call, ’em up in my brain. Whether, traumas or personality types, what came first outta the fire service?

I honestly think I was in it so early on at the fire service through a lot of formidable years, that, that that environment, I guess you wanna call is really what shaped probably what shaped me, cuz that’s what I was around a lot. I was hooked, by the time I turned 18, ran my first fire and I I was, I skipped college.

I was trying to do college later in life and I missed exams cuz I was at a warehouse fire. Like it, I was hooked. I knew what I was gonna do. So the other side of that is, I wasn’t clogging since age nine, traveling around without my family. Now my dad was involved with it to a degree with a local group, but like I was heading out of town with two friends of mine and a guy we knew it sounds creepy, he’s old, but ended up being a family friend.

But by 10, maybe almost 11 I’m. Again, there is that independence. There’s 50 bucks for the weekend and about traveling and had a lot of freedom there because that guy did his thing and we were just running around in the same hotel with a bunch of people from all different states.

And again, that was a party atmosphere T so it, that’s the only thing I’ve done longer than the fire service in my entire life was, is clogging by a few years. So those are my two major things. I played some sports, wrestled soccer, gymnastics played the drums. The only two things that ever really stuck up as a thing was this clog and stuff because I saw 25 girls on the stage and I was gonna be one or two dudes in that group.

And , I’m not a math magician, but I know numbers and like that, one’s pretty easy to figure out. Yeah, I like girls. You jumped into there and there is, that’s an interesting dichotomy because that was a lot of the female influence in my life as you will, but probably got a lot of the sexual stuff going, cuz Early on nine years old, it’s like they jumped there down to abroad, changing the shirt, or we all getting periods on traveling with these girls, like shit happens in life.

It’s just interesting that for as much as that was separate from the fire service, there was a level of, it provided a lot of opportunity and I think shaped me. And again, some of those other say addictions or triggers or, you know, these presets in my brain. So I look back at that stuff that was for me growing up, I, my dad was pretty stern, had the heavy hand but also had me there holding a wrench and a flashlight, a saw and he was an only child, never had a dad.

So he raised the best. He knew how to raise up kids, and we never needed anything. We had what we wanted, what we needed in life. Mom was awesome. Mom was my best friend. And she was the one like, she wanted to hide shit from dad too. Like I don’t wanna listen to him, scream and yell about it.

So dad could fly off handle pretty quick. There’s that temperament issue there of a lot of overreacting or holy crap, everything’s a big deal. And that may be one of those little presets too, that I pick up from him that I look at where I’m like, wow, it’s probably an overreaction there.

Cuz that’s what we grew up with. That’s the world for me, probably one of my bigger things. When I look and think specific into public safety or anything like that, and we talk trauma, whether it’s PTSD or PTSD, if that’s still what people refer to it as gone through therapy was never diagnosed with it.

Oddly enough I don’t have many things from my time in public safety. Now you’re talking by 18. I was running calls. I finished up in Princeton county when I was 41. I think it was a pretty good career of running 9 1, 1 calls. I had a nursing degree. I worked in a trauma center for a little while and I lived in Buffalo, 11 one trauma center.

So I was around trauma right out of the gate in that aspect, as it relates to public safety really never suffered personal trauma. All the grandparents died young. It was never a big deal to me, I maybe wasn’t that close. I was an ultra server get that I was gonna be the pulp by the way, that has to make the podcast.

The guys love that I was gonna be the pulp. I had a picture of him in my room. That’s, it’s hard to fathom it. Oh yeah. We’re that one go off the tracks, that was kindergarten. Yeah. I was anal server. I always did the funerals cause I’d make a couple bucks and it just didn’t tell me to be around that stuff.

Probably the first time I was rattled maybe with a nine one, one call was my neighbor across the street. MIS Mr. Chuck, he was older and had medical problems. And I remember I was in the shower and that call went out. I Pedro went off, I jumped outta the shower, ran across the street.

It was an ugly scene with him. He had a lot of medical stuff and to me, details, that’s to, and thank Tommy happened to be home sleeping off his work shift the night before from the ambulance and never woke up, never heard the call. Thank Cox. That was his hero. And if he would’ve saw him in that state, you would’ve wounded him.

I think. And his, I just remember getting him mad. Amy’s asking me, am I gonna be okay? And we all knew the answer to me and him and long story short, he, that was weird for me waiting for crew to respond and medic and all this other stuff. And that was a tough time that somebody I looked up to, he was one of those formable people in my life that I looked up to and I’m like, oh my God, it was rattled around my cage a little bit.

It was 4th of July, weekend, years. This was late nineties, I think maybe early two thousands. I’d have to look then he died. And then I was there as his wife showed up and here I am, I’m know, young J dude, I’m in my twenties party, my ass off in life. And she comes in and I was the first one to meet her out and be like, misses, Hey, He died, and the thing about volunteering where I was is you tip, you had to live where you volunteered.

I know weird concept, couldn’t be six states away. Funny story on that, getting kicked out, I lived in a house that was one step of the driveway over the county line. They kicked me out for. And it’s a whole long story. It’s funny, but anyways, you often would run people, you’d run your neighbors, it’s a small town.

We only about 10,000 people in the first dude that you grew up in. So that kind of prepared you for running stuff. That in a way you go to a big department someplace where you didn’t grow up or where you don’t even live, where you work. Probably not running people, this was different.

I’m running the guy across the street that I looked up to. That was probably one of the first ones I, that I ever thought, oh, that sucked, but didn’t keep me up at night. Didn’t replay in my mind. So as it relates to like the calls. This is where things may get a little wonky here trying to, cuz there’s nothing that anybody’s put on paper that’s that professional.

Adam’s not a psychologist, but the calls typically aren’t the things too much that get my brain, somewhat rattled or that I really struggle with. Now it may be deep down, but I’m not now there’s plenty of calls that things will trigger. There’s certain smells. There’s a certain smell outside that triggers me to the guy that got caught up in underneath a a push hog and had been there for over an hour 95 degrees, sun out the field and got there.

And I’m like, oh yeah, that was bad. And that story gets gruesome. But like that smell, the couple of the babies that I’ve coded holding my hands that were, crack me. There’s a very certain smell off them. There’s a certain smell of a couple burn bodies throughout the career. There’s certain things.

It’s funny, the smells very often, but there’s nothing at night that pops up like, oh, I see their face or I just can’t stop thinking about that call. So in that sense of PTs, as it relates specifically to calls, I don’t believe is ever my story. But what I do think is interesting is what came first at chicken or the I have a very destructive personality.

I’m not sure I valued my own wellbeing, honestly, life to where maybe other people do when it comes to risk or concern about their own health or their own mental, physical, or the relationships around them. And what I mean by that is that’s a very good, I should know. I dunno if that’s very good for the job, but that mindset for me is why I was always able to really separate what happens on calls from, I guess maybe it didn’t bother me.

In fact, the more gruesome, the better for me. And I think this is where things that’s, my brain was wired and I’m not saying it’s wired. Correct. But for me, it was good for the job. The calls didn’t bother me. The crazier, the call was the more calm I could get. The more gruesome, the more I wanted it.

And in fact, I think, and this will all boil into ego. I think it was more of the rest of you don’t need to see this. And I did that on suicide or whatever. I’m like, you guys are good. If I was Boston, I’m like, you don’t, people don’t need to be in here. It’s fine. One is respect out of family and crime scenes.

But the other thing was I’m like, I got it. You probably don’t wanna see that it’s in my brain. I’m good. Kids calls with kids never bother me and never had kids. So you can hand me that over. And there’s some nasty ones that I could think of both traumatic and even just mental from hanging in Venetian blinds to drownings, to wrapped up in the back seat of a car.

I didn’t realize I was a kid back there. It’s how badly mangled it was. That stuff to me was always the job. That’s the business. that’s what I’m here to do. And in fact, my ego thought, the more that I saw, the cooler I was and the better fireman I was, oh, you’ve probably seen some stuff.

Yeah, dude. And honestly, I have, I had a very busy career. I ran a lot of fire and I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my entire life. Between trauma centers working. I was, I just, sometimes people thought I was a magnet and that’s fine. And I prided myself on that. And the fact that it didn’t bother me, prided myself on it, the problem is however, my brain was wired for that.

And I’m not saying it’s a healthy wiring. My life revolved around all of us. I go to work, I wanna be busy. I wanna see the grossest. I wanna see the worst thing. I want to have fucking craziest fire if there’s 10 people in there. So be it, that’s how my brain was wired. I’m not saying that’s good, but that’s how it was wired.

And there’s something destructive about that because that’s probably just not healthy to constantly beat yourself up with that. That way of living of always wanting the worst to happen, and then I want to be there. And if it’s gonna happen might as well happen when I’m working. I don’t know where that came from.

I dunno if I was just wired that way from birth, if such an early introduction to the fire service, it just I want that direction. I really don’t know. I think it was a good tool in the toolbox for the job specific for the job, because like I said calls didn’t bother me very rarely. Could it rattle me?

I could lock in, do the job and leave it there. Now problem is it what I had to learn in life? And that took some therapy. It was a, I have to bust my ego up a little bit, but B one tool in the toolbox did not work for everything. So now that comes into your personal life, that does not work for relationships where you can just be like, or , you know what I’m saying? I can’t handle adversity the same way my brain is watered for work. My brain is always 50 steps ahead on a job. I almost knew the outcome. And if not, I probably had three other outcomes in my brain and I was already planned for those. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I’m not saying on some sort of special anomaly, but like it worked for the job because I just it’s just, my brain was was on, it was ahead. It’s not good at home. Self-fulfilling prophecies is what it turns into in a personal life. You look at a fire and if I say, I know where this is going to the degree of this goes here, there we do this.

That’ll screw it. This wreck that entanglement, but at home, whether it’s relationship or anything like that will go, and then it’s the prop, go see a doc. I know where that I know where that goes. I’m not doing, oh, she, she didn’t call today. That means she’s out, doing this with somebody else, that tool in the toolbox that wiring of my brain.

Was like this destructive lifestyle, is I just, it was a badge of honor. If the more shit I saw, the more things I saw, the more crazy my personal life got, I just expected. That’s how it was supposed to be. And I was okay with it. And that’s why I say, I wonder where that come from prior the early, induction of the fire service.

And I thought this would made me good at my job. So for me, I never concerned myself with mental health. I never concerned myself. Now. We there’s a few of these things, anxiety would run rampant through me in a lot of personal instances, whether it’s relationships, especially when I, after I got the divorce estate and some people like that was of new, but it was a lot of anxiety there.

Always thinking ahead of things for finances, right? The way my mind worked at work was really good for the running the calls, but. that’s what ran my personal life. And that leads to a lot of anxiety. I think it also led to me not doing things that I believe were gonna be a difficult challenge for me.

And that’s where ego gets in. I typically don’t fail at things, but do I do things that I have the potential fail at? And I didn’t realize it till much later in life, whether it was why maybe I didn’t take a promotion, maybe why I didn’t do this, do that. Anything I did, I was good at bottom line.

That’s an ego, little version maybe to that, which is oddly enough little version of maybe a risk, because I was worried about how to make me look. These are kind of these things and you start to unwind down the road that I’m like, okay, I was wired good for one thing, but all the other stuff around the other flip side of that is, is I was involved heavily in the fire service with all the non operational stuff.

Love to teach. Was involved with the local and a lot of it, it felt like dog ears, because some of it, you just kept banging your head against the wall. And those five years felt like 10 years and 10 years felt like 15 years. Cuz sometimes there just wasn’t anything moving forward and it was infuriating because I could not, I’m a results driven person, a plus B equals C pretty straightforward guys and where we work and a lot of times, and I’m not saying it’s just from that department, but there’s a lot of things in life like this, you look at the world around us right now and it’s chaos, but you just can’t help to think that I don’t like to complicate things to a degree.

And I think that was the frustration of me was this is way over thought or it is that simple. Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t have a degree in anything. College was never for E schooling was never my thing. And things would sit or became so difficult or just got caught up in the mud. And I’m like, this is ridiculous.

And that stuff drove me crazy. And yet I never got away from it. I just kept turning in it and I let it, and that’s the work stuff, the personnel type things, the inconsistencies, the lack of a common sense approach to a lot of things. The folks that you’re involved with you I am only one paid grade up from an entry level firefighter yet, I’m appointed to different committees throughout my career where it’s direct access to the chief kind of a unique situation.

But yet, while you’re still not smart enough to know better, those are those things. I also use that position sometimes to fight on behalf of other folks that I knew some point would probably get a little blowback on myself. and I didn’t care. I dunno if that’s not necessarily being destructive, but I wasn’t worried, always about that politically correct game.

If that’s what you wanna do to me, I’ll take the hit for someone else. And I did that a couple times. Sometimes it worked out and other times didn’t work out so well for me. I was okay with loaded up in my shoulders. I got you. There’s a balance of that. And that goes back to me with that little bit of a destructive of, I I’m the sacrificial I’ll take it, not as a pushover, but that was an ego thing.

And not always a lot of it was just outta the goodness of my heart. I knew better or no, they’re fucking you over listen. I’m telling you that ain’t right. I don’t wanna push it at top. You know what? I’ll push it. I’ll push it. I don’t care. We’ll push it. It needs to be pushed. Some of that’s ego, some of it was true outta good enough of my heart principle, whatever you wanna call it.

It’s a blend of things. And I can always say that destructive personality of don’t give shit, blow this thing out. One of the things that I never paid much attention to was the drinking. Now I started young and again, it wasn’t really within the family. It wasn’t a thing that I was around, but I could tell you from one of the first times I drank, I don’t know, 13, 14 to far all help that used to get the drink.

Those guys there I’m traveling, like I said, with clogging stuff, right outta the gate, I’m drunk punching my best friend, black guys. One night cops are involved and I’m puking and still wanting to go all night or probably 14 years old drunk. And I’m trying some girl shirt on I’m stuck in a beer box, in a hotel room.

Like it was like that from day one. And I did that up until 20, 20, 20 is I drank like that. Always a party. The minute I started, there was no stopping and it was like that from the very first day. And. I think because ultimately one, the fire service is pretty cool with people drinking. That was part of it.

So I had that culture going for me. And two, I didn’t realize that, that there was a problem. I didn’t know that my drinking was problematic. I just thought I was really good at it. Okay. Didn’t have to wake up and have a drink every day, but I gotta tell you I drank a lot. And when I did drink, it was a whole lot to the point where, there’s just nights just blacked out.

I I could go on for stories of driving lost. Can’t find my way drunk, still function the entire night, blacked out for hours at a time. That’s how I drank. And that started from day one. And I don’t know, I, I still try to unwind that of, was it ever for coping? I, I think an alcoholic mind is an alcoholic mind.

What gets you there? We can go into science of hereditary or not, but, I don’t know. I never had anything that said I needed to, some people said I did it cuz it relax me or I’m a comfortable guy around people. I’m a chameleon. You can gimme a microphone lookout and I can do that drunk or silver.

So I never had this. I think what it did was help feed this ego of mine. Sometimes you had this little holy letter than do thing. I thought I was God’s gift to every woman. Like I would save every woman out there. No matter who you were dating, they probably weren’t good enough. You probably needed me in your life to help.

And if you’re gonna talk to me and then I’m the only guy I need to be talking to type thing, like I’d be so jealous. I’m drunk at a bar talking to someone and I’m girl and she’s talking to someone else and I’m like jealous. It’s crazy. So a lot of it was ego fed, but there was just that natural reaction in my butt.

If a drink hit me, I was already looking for the next one. I thought it was crazy. If you left one empty and you don’t stop until. Just you pass out or run out of something to drink. And I drank that way my whole life like any disease that’s progressive. And it was my last couple years, the driving incidents were getting worse.

The depression was real bad. So by 20, I don’t know, 18, 17, somewhere in there. Oh no, 2016. I’d been divorced. The girl I dated we’d married every year. She moved for me. We were together 16 years. No doubt that the drinking and all the collateral damage that goes with it was most certainly led to, to divorce.

She was she’s borderline Saint, knew me from the fire service from day one and the fire service and the people. And it always came first in my life, over family, over marriage, over my own health, over my own wellbeing. Always that culture to me was the greatest thing in the world. And it always came first bottom line.

She even said that to me before. She’s I know I’m second for that stuff and that’s not healthy. And I thought again, I thought that was cool fed my ego. I go to work and I’m like, yeah, dude, I’m fucking, I’m run circles around you on the fire ground. And I’m the guy’s fucking drinks. Parties can pull side, side pieces was, infidelity was just normal for me getting in trouble, was a little stealing here and there and you’re drunk or a little bit of, drunk driving for me.

Unfortunately it was from day one, never gave it consideration, pride to myself. I’m being good at it. I did that since the day I had my license at 16, so that’s not healthy for relationship. It always freaked my mom out and that the job always freaked my mom out. And cuz my mom knew everything. I told her so much, we were very close.

That’s something I wish I could get back. I wish I knew those years of all that stuff. How about weighed on her? So those are the things for me guilt is there because drinking, I had absolutely. No, just anything goes anything and it’s nothing I would ever do sober. And there always was buyers remorse.

So there’s always that guilt of certain things, some of I still carry some that I’ve been able to work through. But for me it was dude, that’s you, that’s your personality, that’s your persona. Even though as you get older, you’re trying to stay relevant in fire service. I’m like, wow, I’ll destroy myself running circles around the fire ground.

And then, we’ll go out, Hey, you guy, you’re 23, let’s go Jack. And I buried you drinking and got the girl you were hitting on. And for me, after a while, as I got older, that was a persona. That was something for, I want them to look up to me and I want these guys to say, man, he’s.

He’s like that old school farmer where he just doesn’t give a shit, pull that home. And that dude will do whatever on the job. That’s all fed by ego and probably some insecurities, like I said, I’m not gonna take promotions. I’m that guy, I’m the guy that sits in the back, which I did enjoy.

I was, look, what if I didn’t, what if I didn’t score? What if this legend didn’t score well? So there’s those, I already knew how that was gonna go. So for a guy that was didn’t care and pretty destructive, I also would stay away from things that I thought could be or potential failure.

Cuz I was afraid how it would look. So I take a Lieutenant test. I had a lot of good reasons not to, but some of that’s, fear. What have you. So it’s interesting how there’s that kind of dicho, dichotomy there of don’t give a shit yet. There is a big enough ego and that you’re trying to uphold this persona and everything looked really good.

Really good. Now you get into 20 15, 16 down the floor time. I have my house. I broke up with another girl was living with me. Everything looked fine, nice car, awesome house. I made bank fire department Lauren than I should have ever made just a high school kid making stupid money, and everything was fire department related and I worked my ass off.

I overtime do whatever, woke busy on and off the job with fire department stuff. It was some relationships in between there after divorce. This relationship’s destructive, drinkings what it is now, now for the first time that I’ve ever known here, I am late thirties into my early forties and I’m depressed now.

I’m depressed in a pretty dark place. Actually that started back even before the house, cuz I met the one girl and things were okay for a while and I went back, but I’ll tell you, there was times where. Called the buddy of mine and said, you may need to come get the guns outta my house. We’re in that kind of place.

Never thought I’d be there. Always had my opinions on people that had depression or anxiety. And here I was there’s some days couldn’t breath right. And it was personal stuff. There’s always stressors of work. Oddly enough. It’s not the calls. It was this transfer coming up, got in a pinch, got in trouble cuz I was drunk and got in trouble off the job.

And holy shit, am I losing my job? A couple of those things. But those stressors, it was always all the things that surrounded the calls, not the calls himself. And so I battled this depression and this anxiety stuff for a bit, never did anything with it. Now do a couple times a drink and get in trouble here, going through, one time she packed up and I was still married.

I was pretty traumatic and. Due to some other instances, I’d put together almost two years of white knuckle. It wasn’t drinking and then it was back. So you can just drink beer and ended up in the hospital from night of binge drinking. And she had packed up and moved out for a couple months. We patched things up and once or twice I’d go to a therapist and then lied my ass off to him.

Cause it was really, I didn’t, I was trying to do it to a piece, whether it was work or people as it related to, something that would happen off the job as it relates to drinking, who’s lied to him. So now I’m in depression, we’re 20 16, 17, somewhere in there and things look okay probably from the outside and this, Adam’s Adam, here’s this guy, but, and I was struggling hard and oddly enough, The drinking was the drinking man.

I’m still just pounding it on, with people or I could sit alone. Cause I lived alone. I could sit at home. I could go out. I had to go out all the time. Cause I love to meet people at bars. I truly enjoyed being at bars. You could be somebody and not have to tell the truth. So I could I could be an astronaut when I was out drinking right<laugh> sometimes I was a garbage man.

So I really wanted to impress him. I’d tell him what I actually did for a living, but man, all the amount of shit you talk and all this stuff drunk all the time. And people would stay for an hour. I’m there for six, so that’s going on depression now my mornings after nights of drink and are getting worse and worse, there’s a lot of crazy stuff happening with that.

And I’m there again, I’m like, this is just bad and oddly enough, I met somebody, a firefighter from out west meet them at convention. This person had a background in, in military and fire service. So it was a week of this convention out west at and talked for a little while this person afterwards, but they had stuff for military fire department, personal things.

It was almost like meeting. I’m like, holy crap. And we’re like the same Souling we are, were messed up. And the long and short of it was what it turned into was okay. Probably not the best to maintain communication just for our personal lives. It’s just, but we had made a promise that you’ll see somebody and lie to them and I’ll see somebody and not lie to them.

I’ll truly do this therapy thing. We made a pact and I did that and I happened to found somebody in the county just by chance who had a background in military stuff. And I’ll always say it that Dr. Her first name is Valerie. I always say it. She had saved my life from the aspect of let’s work through the depression.

That’s unwind some things let’s she never told me what I had to do. She never said, you gotta stop doing this or stop doing the math. She got my brain to move in a direction where it became my idea. So she might, she Jedi mind tricked me. Cuz if it’s Adam’s idea, it’s gotta be a great idea.

It was good once I realized that I thought, okay, so I credit her with getting me to work through that stuff. Now I really felt, I unwind a lot of things from maybe why I did certain things, whether it’s relationships, why I felt that way with women. And that was the first person that crushed my ego.

She crushed it. And I’m so grateful for that. So guy, you’re not as important as you think you are, especially as it relates to your ex and women and stuff. I’m like, damn doc . And thank God it helped save my life. So you and I moved past that and even tried dating the ex-wife for another year, longest since.

And that didn’t work. now I was drinking cuz I was happy again. It didn’t matter. I was drinking. Alcoholically I just had a good excuse for drinking, instead of, a sad one and but my brain wasn’t waking up bad to where I didn’t wanna wake up anymore, but man, dumb shit still happening.

Work is work still, just drudging through there we switch schedules. One of my endeavors to try to help fight the fight for somebody that didn’t wanna fight it. Pretty sure that came back and bit me a new schedule. I got just transferred out of the blue. Made sense somewhere on the other end of the world that they knew was just gonna crush my soul and they got back at me and I knew that’s what it was about, for a fact it’s, so now I’m back like this below now. I just don’t like the job cause I don’t like, I don’t like the people. I don’t like the place. I don’t like how I got there and now I’m back to, and that’s the interesting about that place is there’s a lot ups and downs. It’s always a rollercoaster man.

You can have a great year and a half with these people and then it’ll change. And I think it’s unique then to a lot of other places you can go from, this is the greatest place on earth. I love this place to it is the best job in the world. I don’t care what happens to, oh my God. I could leave tomorrow.

I hate it. I hate it.

Stack: I can do that

Adam: in a tour, right? Yeah. Right. But I tell you that doesn’t help no with anybody’s wellbeing. And you know that the hours are bad enough. The job can be bad enough. There’s so many other factors. And then that. It’s like not having a stable home.

You hear it all the time. People like I grew up in a stable household, my mom had six different boyfriends in all the house and I was a kid growing up. I never had that. Good. That’s what turns into you just feel like, man, I have a very stable home, on the job. Cause that’s home for 56 hours a week, at one point

Stack: that’s actually the perfect way to describe it.

An unstable

Adam: homes, it turned into right. You’re always like, gosh, there’s no stability around here. The only stable thing is the paycheck and they just thought, if you keep throwing more money at people, it makes everything better. Our money doesn’t make money. Doesn’t buy you happy happiness or sanity.

But good health insurance can keep you sane if you got a good therapist. And I know, and I’m really ripping through without tons of, diving into stuff. But I think for me, now we get into pandemic timeframe and we get into Marsha 2020. And I hadn’t been home in a bit just because of traveling back to my family in buffalos was tough.

Honestly, it was still me putting job and my personal, it was selfishness. I never got there enough. And that turns into guilt that I still haven’t quite gotten through. And then the pandemic hit, of course, near New York can’t travel there. So I didn’t, it was convenience slash the truth. I’m like, I don’t know.

I hear people saying they’re at the border. Like not letting you come in. Like I’m not risking New York being a pain in my ass because I’m, I’m not vaccinated and I’m not testing to go. I didn’t visit when all we get to March 20, 20 St. Patty stayed and doing what I always do. We get off that morning.

I light it up. I’ve already gotten beer and lucky charms by six in the morning. And by nine o’clock at night, I was, I already Ubered two places and I’m hammered time and I’m staying at a buddy’s house up in. About half an hour. I 20 minutes from my place. And again, like a true alcoholic, there is no stop and my night doesn’t end.

And at some point I just I grabbed my, I don’t and that’s the, I don’t remember doing this. I don’t remember any of it. And I left there or I was standing out, I Ubered back to that house and was supposed to be staying there. And a couple people were up and I just left, had my truck keys and left and we drive home.

And don’t remember any of it. Don’t remember the ride. I don’t remember any of it. I just remember somebody tapping on my window and I like rolled down. I come to no idea how long. And they’re like, dude, you okay? And I’m like, why? And they’re like you’re on, you’re ran off the road. You hit a tree

and I’m like, I’ll just back outta here. And I was in the country at that point. And they’re like, dude, you ain’t backing outta here. And I just realized, I’m like, holy shit. I have no idea how long I’ve been here. This isn’t good. And then I get outta the truck and I, and you get sober real quick and I’m like, wow.

This isn’t good. I’m off the road. I ate a tree. Chuck’s total. I’m fine. Starting to piece it together of just the fact of nobody else is involved. Nope. On how I call the buddies. You guys need to get here. He yanked me out. We need to be done. Here comes a good idea. Fair is when you’re drunk, time to make this.

Okay. I knew in my heart of heart, that was, I called a jackpot. And then, the crew that shows up in a fire truck, and then you recognize a couple of the cops, cuz it’s the county of work in and you just know it’s not good. And but you know what, that night played out the way it needed to play out.

I I, was a nasty, it was a, DUI, no denying it, go get locked up for a couple hours and there in COVID there, they treated me while there. And they were nice enough to let me go well before even close to sober, to. To somebody that showed up to come pick me up. It was somebody’s pregnant wife that I was drinking with earlier and two 30 in the morning.

So even then I still didn’t have to do the full boat. No you’re here, you’re sober. It would’ve took me two days. And so St Patty’s day that 20 twentie, that’s the last drink I’ve ever had. And that started my journey in sobriety. I’m still in a program of recovery that and inevitably that, that cost me a however you want to call it.

But a retirement out of something that I’ve done since I was 14 not the way I thought it was gonna happen, our department right or wrong. And I don’t, I truly have worked hard to not hold resentments. Nobody else went out and did that. I did. There’s a level of responsibility. I have to accept there cuz a lot of my buddies, younger man, damn cop it let you home.

I’m like, we don’t me to let me go. I blew a two, three, like that’s pretty drunk to be driving. And I parked my truck in a tree. I don’t know what about that. Anybody else is doing anything wrong, but me, you, people got mad at the higher, up in the department and turned in this investigation and I was like, I want you guys are investigating software.

I’ll go to court, we’ll see where it lands. I really don’t know what to tell you. But in the long run it was I have mixed feelings on it and it’s not just for me, cause I know there’s been other people since new there’s a lot of people prior to me, we never really found a good way to deal with it.

In the department, we used to use the EMT card, can’t operate an EMS license vehicle and all this other stuff was a really easy out to get rid of people that may have had some sort of substance abuse problems and addictions. There is a limitation, but I do think that there is a level of, are we really doing everything we can to try to keep people on the right path to getting help?

Cuz now I’m done. I lose my healthcare, lose my money. That stopped my therapy sessions. The flip side of it gave me a lot of time to figure out how sobriety works. And I really had all the time in the world now staring a pandemic and some things popped up on zoom that were good. And then I found in person meetings and stuff, but in that timeframe, all I had to do was focus on sobriety and and figure out what my next play was.

Court took forever. I got convicted of a lower sentencing exactly one, actually one day shy of a month to the date of the incident I had to already, resign, which was a hard thing to do, oddly enough for what it’s worth, it was April 16th was my meeting date. If anybody knows what April 16th is in our department happens to be the death of Kyle Wilson and who I taught as recruit.

Not really a date. That’s what I wanted. remember the day, but I was going there to get the old, Hey I don’t know how your court’s gonna turn out, but here’s what I think you should do. And I’m like, wow. Okay. And I remember I asked him, I said my resignation letter is gonna say, April 17th, I’m not dating in April 16th.

I’ll never forget that again. To the end there I was right to the end. Not a principal. No, this is a death of a brother. That’s his day. It’s not my resignation day. So technically April 17th, almost exactly one day to a month. That was it. A career started at the age of 14, 20, some odd years later ended.

And it was a destructive lifestyle and ignoring an issue that I had really cost me just the job. And I say just the job, cuz I should have died. Other people should have died. I had a couple incidents prior to that. And they say it’s progressive. And it was true. I used to, I had a couple incidents with my truck and driving and drinking and stuff, and I don’t call it luck that I made it that long.

It was a matter of time that I made it 20. So odd. I guess 20 years of driving longer than that drinking it was a matter of time. The reason why I’m alive and nothing ever happened to other people because of my actions is it’s however you want to believe in things. It’s a blessing it’s supposed to happen for a reason.

Luck is me winning a fricking lottery, right? That’s luck. I only believe in luck if it’s, my scratch off the edge, pure lock this was somebody has a different plan for me or something I was meant to be alive. And that was that was it. That was the last one. That was a turning point of.

Here’s a crazy part of it. All. I had a sense of relief. The night it happened, I knew I finally had an excuse. To get sober, right? Like the jig is up, you don’t have to keep this persona anymore. Like you just got busted. So this is what people are gonna expect. What are you gonna do about it?

I was actually relieved. Like I was relieved. I had a really good reason on why I shouldn’t drink anymore. It all came to the head. It’s probably desperation was meeting necessity. At that point. I’m tired. I was tired of drinking. I was tired of feeling like shit. I was tired of the collateral damage for years.

I was tired of what was doing in my brain. I was tired. I was tired, just tired of it. As far as it played out with the department, I don’t hold resentments. I, I think chief of the department made a decision and we always ask, just make a decision to stick with it now, as it is decision. And maybe that’s how it was supposed to play out in the best thing for me.

I guess you don’t know to the book is completely written and you’ve turned the last page, the last chapter, if that’s how it all plays out. But there was a little sense of relief of it. Cuz like pandemic time, things are crazy there. I had some resentment, but I let go of that pretty quick.

Stack: Resentment towards the department

Adam: overall, everything okay.

The fire, The fire service. Most certainly that department even the local board I’d been on for 15 plus years, any organization that had anything to do with it. And then again, your ego gets busted pretty quick and you start talking to other people. And I had to come to the, this isn’t their problem.

This isn’t their decision. This was, or their choice to go do this type of things. This is an Adam issue. Adam’s not own anything. There, I question maybe a little bit of that brotherhood and that tradition of the fire service of we’ve got I felt like it was a pretty quick you’re on your ass 30 days later.

I don’t even care if the outcome is, call me when it’s done type thing. You start to felt like man, a machine to you, that stuff weighed on me a little bit and brought a little anger and a little resentment. I worked through that pretty quick with, the recovery program.

I UNW that pretty quick there’s days. It bothers me. There’s still days. And part of it is I do a lot with different firefighters from across this country was one good thing that came outta the pandemic was recovery meetings and the IFF kudos of them. We still do. ’em we’re still on those things twice a week.

A lot of us, whether people at our whatever the recovery program is from substance abuse, some of those guys I’ve been talking to now since March of 2020, that, you text, you talk and all over the country. I’ve used those connections from Boston to Hawaii. It’s amazing. This network of guys. Now we’ve met doing this type thing in recovery.

That one guy from Vancouver visited a guy in Hawaii for two weeks when he retired, cuz we all gotta know each other, but I’ve also listened to how other departments deal with it. And how many chances in the lengths that other departments go to. Some of them big, some of them small to try to make sure their guys are taken care of that have these substance abuse or any of these issues.

And I’ll say substance, but it all, it also plays into mental health as well. There’s a lot of mental health. That substance abuse is just one of those things you can get busted for outside of work, but how they handle any of those problems in how many tries and chances in working with these guys. And I think sometimes I think man, maybe I just worked at the wrong place.

I will say on the flip side I would, Adam finally decided to go get sober. and understand this problem he’s been battling for years, but never addressed it. If he didn’t lose something very important. I Losing relationship wasn’t good enough for me, getting arrested for some bullshit years prior to that out drinking one night, wasn’t enough, almost wrecking and dying a couple times.

No, that was enough. Maybe losing something that like I told you before, I always put the fire department first, whether it was relationships, my own health, mental, all that stuff, maybe losing that is what needed to happen. I don’t know cuz I didn’t do it any other way. So what I do know is where I’m at today, I think for me and in stack, that’s what I talked to you about.

It’s not necessarily for me like this trauma from calls specifically on the job is it just did the early onset of the fire department just help create. Who I was. I’m sure if you live with a professional athlete growing up you, that, that kind of may be where you go, you may end up like a, yeah. I’m a sports now. That’s my pedigree. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to say for me. It was my biggest influence that started at before 14. Is it sitting in firehouses? I don’t know. I don’t really answer that. Maybe some smart person one day can unwind that it doesn’t really matter.

I don’t like excuses and what I mean by that is not all, none of us like excuses when the new guys got the, I knows at the firehouse or why they didn’t get something done. We all hate that or should it’s annoying, right? The new guy I know, or I couldn’t cuz okay. Honestly, it’s an excuse.

I don’t want to hear. I’m pretty hard on myself. I’m not a fan of forgiveness for myself. I don’t think I should ever be forgiven for any of the stuff I did. And this is where we start to get into my Lord. What are you carrying? Lot of that guilt. That was what a lot of therapy was working on was, forgiveness and other people are willing to forgive you for stuff you’ve done.

Like, why can’t you forgive yourself? Now? I grew up Catholic. I’m not practicing Catholic. I got out of that years ago. But in fact, my therapist and me, she goes, you’re a Catholic, weren’t you? Yeah. She goes, oh my God, Catholic feels I can see a mile away. And I thought that was funny. I’m like, gosh, she is pretty dialed in.

But to me, forgiveness is an excuse. I can get away with something because of forgiveness, like I can do a bunch of things. And if that person forgives me and I can forgive myself or I can go to a box and tell someone, I never like that, I never, I’d rather it just stew. And it sits heavy on me and I gotta sit and churn it in that guilt because that’s what you, that’s what you deserve.

I go through that even today when things aren’t going right. Whether it’s, I’m looking at finances, here I am a high school graduate with no degree making six digits in the fire department. It’s the freaking dream, right? You, it’s not my life today. I’m on money. I have to do. I just did whatever I wanted.

When things aren’t going there, I, listen, I see fire trucks go by, or I talked to that’s old buddies there. since I relocated sold my house and relocated and I missed the fire depart, I missed the fact that knowing I’ll never ride on a fire trucker going to a fire again, most likely, unless it’s just, I happen to drive up upon one and decide to go be a hero.

My point to that is I used to get paid a lot of money. Sometimes it’s not a lot of work at times. There’s a lot of it. I look back and go when I’m having just one of these days. And the first thought that comes to my mind is well, and it goes right back. This is what you deserve.

This is your punishment per se. And I have to get myself outta that way of thinking and do it quick because that’ll just send you down a path of, again, destruction wanting a drink fuck it. Let’s numb it all up. And my life sucks. Let’s just let it circle a drain. And I have a good excuse.

Everybody will feel bad for me. That’s an easy way to live life. It’s not fun, but it’s really easy to go down that road. What I always tell people is we’re, I do believe we’re not in control. I’m not the one writing this book, man. I’m not the one directing this play. I’m an actor in it. And the day I realize that things got a lot easier for me as a type, a personality, like so many of us are in a fire service.

We’re in control, we’re in charge. We make things happen. I’m a fixer. I was always a fixer. Whether it’s your personal life, I could fix that. Whether it’s something physical I can fix that. Give me the biggest pile of poop at work and. I’m good with that, put it all on my shoulders. Doesn’t bother me. I thrive in that.

And then I had realized that I’m not in charge of kind of anything. There was a bit of a relief of, okay, now let’s keep busting this ego. Let’s start to work on, recovery and understanding that like, some things are gonna roll the way they’re gonna roll brother. And it’s not for you to decide.

So I have to unwind myself from some of that shame and guilt of like things are like this. And it’s a bad day because you deserve it and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What I will say is my mom died unexpectedly and had been over years since I got to see her and I got up to the hospital and I got two hours with her.

And then I left and we, and that was in March of 2021. In fact, it was a week before my one year sobriety date. And I hadn’t seen my mom in any of that timeframe and me, no mom were close. We talk all time. My mom was one of the coolest, most relevant people in her seventies. She had 20 year olds at work that would text her and take her to comedy clubs like her and my niece.

Who’s 23 now 2023 at the time mean my mom could make her blush. My humor comes my mom was one of the coolest people and would make a table with fireman blush. And she did. She came out and when I was working 13, they came in town and they didn’t visit often. Of course they knew Sean, who I worked with and they just come in.

My mom just let that rip man. And didn’t even need to curse and never drive just God. The guys were like, oh my God, dude, miss this. And I know you get it from, I said, my mom’s school’s first. My mom passed unexpected and had to drive up there and the family and it that’s a rough one for me.

That was difficult. You wanna talk about guilt? I spent anywhere near as much time leading up to that as I wish I could have now. It’s not like she was sick and in a hospital or anything. In fact, she’s supposed to be getting out the day she died. Like they, her wasn’t like probably Tuesday and get outta here.

My mom knew. And when I talked to her, I think I knew that there was more to this that maybe met the eye, but we didn’t need to talk about it. I did get to apologize a little bit for the years pass. And she asked why is this time not drinking different? I said, mom, I said, I in a program, I’m other people I’m in recovery.

And I said next, week’s a year, . I got to share that with her. And and I’m glad my mom got to see me sober, not just white knuckled, not drinking but in sobriety, this is a big deal for me because that’s a woman that when I was a kid had to step over me and going to the bathroom when I was laid out in the hallway, covered and blood from busting windows out drunk one night and like driving my car on I don’t know my poor mom, baby, the family.

She had to see that. So I’m glad that we at least got that time. And then shortly thereafter, a buddy of mine back home, my parents, good friend of mine, a B. He’s a friend of a lot of ours that work altogether moved down from Buffalo. He was there spending time with me when I was in town week, my mom’s funeral and all other stuff.

Cause he lost his dad prior to that and was close his dad. And unfortunately he was a couple months later end of June, that senior. I mean he was a couple months after my mom. I had just had to spend time with my March and he was a godsend and here it was June. Get the text from buddy Andy and it’s AB just killed the motorcycle rack up in New York.

And I thought holy shit. I spent a lot of time with that guy. And there he was helping me through my mom’s thing. It’s crazy though, is, doing all that sober, wasn’t a spiral. I had a lot of good excuses to make up make, and there was other people that passed away within that timeframe too.

Those very close, obviously. I always say we’re not in control, but we do have a choice. We always have the option. We can go left or we can go. And I don’t mean that in a political stance. I mean that in general, like I can make a left turn and. I choose to just say, fuck it.

I’m gonna ride this shitty ride until I circle the drain and I’m done. I don’t care. That’s my choice. I have an excuse. People feel bad for me. What was me? I have this trauma, I have this, or this disease, or I drink, it happens all the time, and maybe we can’t show, we didn’t get to choose the cars at Delta, but we still have a choice of what am I gonna do with it?

I’m the point in my life where I started to say, not heroically, but I can either keep going in one direction where I know that’s going. I’m mean I’m dead. I’m dead or let’s make the right turn and see what we can do with this life. Isn’t perfect. I don’t have, Skittles falling on my head from unicorns pooping ’em out while they jump rainbows.

Stack: Just because no, but if you find that, can you let me know where that is? How

Adam: amazing would that be? Like just lay in the grass and let the unicorn just poop skitles and lay just shit Skittles

Stack: all over you.

Adam: Isn’t that life. But just because. You went to therapy or you worked through something or you got sober or, you treated somet that, that doesn’t mean life is perfect and goes easy every day.

It’s not even close. And sometimes that’s a hard thing, whether it’s me or anybody to deal with is wait a minute. I’ve just done all this work for six months, a year, two years, I’ve talked to guys that still goes on after 20 years, even in Friday, but I’ve been doing all this work, man. Fuck, today’s sucked.

I’m still in a bad mood today. This happened well, that’s life. You still have a choice, am I gonna slip back in maybe some old ways? Am I just gonna finally say screw it? This isn’t worth it. I don’t know. I do have some advice on that we talk about as it relates in sobriety.

But I talked to a friend of mine that, and I know he doesn’t mind me saying his name, Sean, he’s all on your podcast. We’ve known each other for a long time and we’ve gone through a lot of parallels together. We’re wired the same in the brain, which is scary, either one of us to put two of us together, hold on fuckers, but my point is we’re like therapy for each other.

We spend a lot of time on the phone and I love that guy and he’s gone through a lot and continues to work on it. Nothing’s perfect for him either. He continues to work on it. And his story is with other stuff that I’m sure he is told his story. But my point is, and I, just play the tape all the way through.

If you think that what’s going on today and you’re like, all right, you know what, and I’m gonna go back to that drug or I’m gonna go back to drinking or, you know what, I’m just gonna sit and churn and complain about all this and not do a thing to help it screw it. It’s not worth it.

Let the depression settle back in and we’ll start thoughts. Come in. I’m just, I’m done trying, I’m done working on it, play the tape through, where is like, where does that get you? Where does my first drink get me? I know where it gets me. It’s not the commercial on TV of a couple good looking people.

I I have the same six pack abs as the guy on that, the seltzer commercial, which I don’t know what seltzers are about. No offense, anybody, I don’t understand skinny jeans or seltzers. I son understand skinny dance to our sells. I never was a fan way. I digress. My night doesn’t end with one of those on the beach with the line in the top.

And we’re holding hands in white sands. Mine is six hours later. That fucking, that umbrella has been probably thrown like a long jar. I probably tried burning the chair and I probably haven’t thrown up somewhere and I’ve hit on three different people and I’ve spent $600. That’s where my one drink on the beach gets me.

If I think I’m just gonna go back to screw this, I’m gonna go back to just not working on myself anymore, whether it’s therapy for anger, anxiety, depression, whatever. Play the tape through, where does it get you? I could probably see it’s not better than maybe where you are working on it, play the tape through.

Maybe you show that working on it. Things will get even better for you that plays through for a lot of stuff in life, but that takes a lot of brain frequency. Doesn’t it? It sure is easy to J we’ve worked with those people, the negative Nancy, as you call, ’em sorry, Nancy, negative Nels or whatever you wanna say.

And it’s easy to fall on that. They start bitching at work and before you know what you’re bitching about it, and you’ve had a shit day, like it takes a lot of energy to come and just say, we’re being positive today. And I’ve tried that and I have to do it in my life. Now I have to, we all can, we can make the choice of the day.

Say I don’t care what happens. I will, will it, it’s going to be a good day. I’m gonna end it happy. I’m I will find a way to be positive for me. I’ll find one thing of gratitude. I find myself now, if I go through and I catch two green lights and I never catch that fucker left, turn signal, green light. I never catch it.

I’ll catch ’em and that’s my higher power. That’s the moment. That’s a gratitude moment for me. I’ll hold on to that. That may, for me, my days end with, if I didn’t drink, that’s my number one, gratitude, and then any moment’s in between, I have to focus on those things and I think we all do, especially right now, we’re surrounded by a 24 hour cycle of crap, absolute crap thrown at us nonstop, whether it’s your job, whether it’s politics, the news people’s opinions, pandemics, whatever you wanna call it.

All that mixed together is in our phase 24 7. It’s not healthy. I can go into a diatribe about that some day. Cause I just talking to somebody about, kids and where they’re at, but. That’s not good and it takes a whole lot, so it’s really easy to fall in the other direction and it takes a lot more effort, but I gotta tell you it sure is better, it’s not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect, we can find ourselves working in three different therapies. And if it’s meds, if it’s counselors, if it’s your sobriety or whatever it may be it is better, handling the death of a close friend and my mom pretty back to back.

I can, I don’t know. I have a pretty good feeling how that would’ve been. If I didn’t have my brain screwed on as good as it was gonna be screwed on both the depression the drinking and did all that sober. One of the things I’ve I’ve come to learn is acceptance is more than just accepting the.

I’ll tell you what acceptance is important. It’s why it’s part of the grieving process, but it’s not always about grieving anything we do either needs to be a level of acceptance. It may be, I have to shovel 300 pounds of spoiled rotten cow poop. I’ve accepted the fact, this sucks, like I’m accepting this, but you know what?

I’ve accepted it. I’m doing it. And then we’ll move on right down to the death of somebody. Or I have a problem. I’ve got a mental health. I’m I am just rigged in depression. I am beaten down with PTs. I am. I’m just being mean, and I don’t know why what’s get what you have to accept that I’m an alcoholic.

And the minute I accepted that and I accepted that there’s a power greater than me. That’s running the show, and that changes for me. Some people, right outta gate, it’s their God. For me, it was the people around me and sobriety. That was my. There’s something bigger than me. I don’t care what it is.

If it’s a tree, find something greater than you and believe that there’s something else out there. And it doesn’t have to be religion it’s just of your belief. And that can relieve a little bit of stress to where you’re like, okay, I’ve accepted the fact that man, I’m not calling the shots. I’m really not.

I like to think I was, I I thought Adam was in control of everything and that’s why I didn’t do certain things and why I did certain things. I was in control. I know the outcome. I’m not gonna do something. Cause I’m in control. I know the outcome, and we’re not saying I’m gonna drive on a Flatt.

I know it’s gonna ruin things like this is not those things. It’s on a bigger grand scale of that. I’m not gonna do that and fail. I already know the outcome is I’ll probably fail and I’ll look like a douche. I’m not doing it. But my point is like acceptance is very important. If you’re gonna try to work through something, you have to accept where you’re at.

Before, you’re truly gonna put the effort and I heard one of your other podcasters and I knew, man, I used to hang out with them and party with them back in, in the day. And, he said it pretty eloquently as well about same thing went to these therapists and lied to them and everything else.

And then I did that. It wasn’t until I accepted the fact that something is very wrong and I do wanna make the right turn and right this ship, and I need somebody else to help me get through that. And I think that’s something important for people to dial in on if you’ve just got that feeling of this doesn’t look right.

It doesn’t always have to fit in parameters. Just what’s up on a PowerPoint when people come and talk about mental health. And are you this, do you experience this? I used to check all the boxes. You don’t even need to check all of them. If you hit one, that’s something worth looking at. I think some other things that, that I try to pass on to folks is, and I heard him specif and I, a lot of people I’ve done it.

I remember I went to a, an alcohol meeting one time. It was a couple years back and I felt sorry for those poor bastards, these poor alcoholics, like my God, your life suck, your life sucked. Cause mine was plugging right along. Adam’s perfect. And here I was just like them within a year and a half later crashing into a tree drunk as a skunk.

Don’t even know I did it. My life was just like, there’s, I’m not as unique as I think I am. You have you suffer. And, but I compared myself out and I try to really heed that warning in his old timers. I’ll tell you don’t compare yourself out. That’s just an excuse. And I already told you before I hate excuses.

I’m not as bad. Listen, everybody’s feelings have a level of there’s a validity to them. You can’t just discount them. I learned that through counseling because just because your problem wasn’t as big as mine doesn’t mean it’s not a problem, stack. We said it all the time at work.

Somebody’s. Hang now is their worst day. That’s their 9 1 1. It’s all about perspective. It’s the same thing with your mental health, with your addictions. You’re right. I may not be. And I don’t, I hate kinda using some of those examples. I may not be the person trying to do harm to lots of people cuz my brain is that bad off.

I may not be the guy we would transport to the hospital in a medic unit that pissed his pants on the sidewalk and lived under a bridge, pushing a cart. That was what I thought an alcoholic was, but I got pretty good ego. You can call it a high bottom. You can call it whatever you want. Don’t compare yourself out because it doesn’t look as bad as the next person, if it’s not working and it’s, and it’s not working in your life, then it’s bad.

It doesn’t have to fit somebody else’s box to mean something. So just because you may have only suffered trauma one time on the job and you only been there six months or just because you’re still making six digits a year. With the family at home and this and that and doing what you want, but you’re an alcoholic.

You, you have a problem drinking, just be because it doesn’t match what you think it’s supposed to look like. Adam saw all these calls and can tell stories for hours on the worst things he have seen and experienced. I only saw two things in my life. I don’t care if that’s what triggered, if that’s, what’s got you going, you don’t need to compare it to me.

Do something about it. Don’t compare yourself out because you don’t think you’re as sick as a diff another person or what they tell you on the PowerPoint or whatever it may be. Don’t compare yourself out. If there’s something going on and you get that feeling or whatever it may be, or somebody even brings it up and says it to you first, step’s gonna be a level of acceptance, and then as you start going through it, don’t compare yourself out and see, it’s just not as bad as the nice guy. And it’s really easy to say, hell, I’ve done it. You’ve vaulted on it. But man, you may miss some flags that are waving and just cuz it doesn’t look like the other guy, the other person, you may be a little hesitant to go do something cuz wow, gosh, I haven’t been here that long.

It’s not that bad. I’ve only seen a couple things. I’ve only, that’s fine I guess, but I can tell you where it’s gonna end up these things compound. Every disease is progressive, whether it’s mental addiction, diabetes, congestive, heart failure, they’re all disease. That’s why PTs started taking that D off calling disability.

It’s, post traumatic stress. It’s not or disorder. I that’s a disease. Good news is there’s stuff you can do for it. That anxiety the depression, substance abuse, there’s a way out. It starts with some acceptance. It starts with a level of being able to look at it, not compare yourself out.

It starts with there’s a lot of things. And then. Making that choice of man, I, these are the cards I was dealt. One of the great podcasts we listened to like horrible cancer diagnosis, young as a kid, right? Am I fighting this thing and going all in, gonna come out the other side or am I, and that was something that, that person battled with.

And thank God, he’s a good guy. And he came out the other side, I point to that is like many other diseases. Are you going to make the choice to do something with, and I’m not saying the outcome is either gonna be perfect. You may fight for 10 years and still die of a disease. You may do all these things and people still die.

Things are still gonna happen. You’re still gonna trip up or have a bad day and have these moments, but you have a choice. What do you wanna do with it? That’s my take on any sort of recovery and I kind of lump recovering a lot of things, not just drinking or drugs, but it’s the mental stuff, and I’ve been on, on all sides of it.

Some of this stuff, in my opinion is we wake up with it. And some of these are like the only disease out there that honestly, I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect cure for cuz I know alcohol’s out there doing pushups in the parking lot, waiting for me. It’s coming back stronger people and I’ve heard a couple people elude to it.

Like I don’t know why I just overcome with the darkness and my day just went to shit. What’s different now is I heard someone. I recognize it. So I knew to take a step back, walk away or do something about it now, which is awesome. Before we just said, I don’t know. I’m just gonna be a miserable person all day and just follow out my whole next week.

My point is a lot of that. Stuff’s always there. There’s not a pill. There’s not a transplant. There’s nothing that we do that it gets cured. We wake up every day with one of these diseases and stuff inside of us and we have to work on our treatment every single day. Because it’s there.

It’s always there. What’s the next call that you’re using another round of PTs or depression or what’s the next flight at home, right? That get you new. Just God, this sucks. What’s the next event, whether it’s good. I’m having a great day and I’m, I got a little complacency kills now. I got a little complacent in my recovery and it’s a great, I’m gonna celebrate.

I can have just one. What’s the next thing we wake up with this stuff all the time and it’s even, right in the name of your podcast, things we carry it’s there. We have to treat it every day. Some of it does just get better and maybe have been able to move on from things. But I know for so many of us that have worked on it and have been on, prior, middle after, during whatever you wanna call any of these things, it is always a little bit of back of your mind of what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing that kind of the shoe to drop if you will.

I think that’s nature of the beast with it when you’ve gone through it, in that line of. What’s the next, what happens next? Our brains are wired, don’t let it work against you. Be prepared, be ready for it, do that. Pre-planned and talk about that. Always really that in fire service, like we’re ready for so much.

We training, we do this, we do that, blah, blah, blah, blah. We gotta do that in our personal lives. One of the things I’ve realize is setting, it’s like a savings account, setting ourselves up for when things don’t go well. And let me try to explain that not with destructive behaviors if we can find ways to, and this happened to me, some of it just by circumstance, financial stability can be a big one and it’s hard.

Oh my God. Especially this day and age, dude, the gas in your truck. But some of these things that can help us when a big event happens in life to maybe just take the edge off for us, make an net left turn, whether it’s. Really paying attention and focusing on some financial stability that can go a long way.

When a big life event happens. Keeping up on, on the daily, keeping that brain fresh, just because things get better. And I haven’t had that episode in a while. I just don’t need therapy anymore. I don’t know, man, you get a massage. Maybe you need to get your brain massaged once a month, whatever it may be.

Don’t get complacent, things like that. I put all my eggs in one basket. I’ve been able to rebound pretty quick, but my life was supplier service and I’m all about that. And I always thought that’s the way it should be. But I think all your eggs in one basket can add a level of stress. Cuz if, if the bottom of that basket falls out, whether it’s from whatever it may be, whether your time’s up, whether it’s an injury, whether it’s you had to move cuz your significant other’s family and you gotta go, blah, whatever circumstances are, if that’s your only, only basket that’s carrying your life’s eggs that can be a big stressor.

If that basket’s. Maybe diversifying a little bit, trying to keep some finances, maybe not overextending all the time, so that if something bad happens, it’s one less thing. You’ve got a little, you got a little time there to where you’re, whether it’s a sickness or ill where you’re taking time off to go to a center for something, and maybe you’re outta a layer it’s to leave without pay, whatever it may be, whether it was an injury and you’re outta work now.

These are all big life events that if we can maybe do some work ahead of time to prepare ourselves, if, again if I hadn’t in keeping yourself straight, right? Whether it’s sobriety, whether it’s mental health, from whatever, the gamut of things, keeping your brain ahead of that stuff and working on it.

And I’ll tell you why cuz when a big life event happens and we’ve all experienced it. I said it earlier, my mom died, very close friend, suddenly being killed and some other stuff. And. if I didn’t have kind of that saving account built up both literally and figuratively, that makes a really bad situation, that much worse.

And I don’t think that anybody that has gone before us in past, whether it’s loved one friends, whatever, know, maybe that’s that instant, even the nasty divorce. Like I don’t maybe the other spouses hate you that much, but it doesn’t do any good to just self destruct. It doesn’t honor the people you wanna honor, they may be they’re looking going, holy shit, man.

I died and boy, their life, what the hell? Like holy crap. And I won’t give another person that maybe I have a little grudge against or don’t like, or whatever it may be. That’s part of my big life event. I’ll be damning if I’m giving you the satisfaction of me circling the drain, I don’t care what the motivation is.

Just if we have that build up to where we’re trying to keep our brain. And we’re working on it with whatever it takes and we’re working on whether it’s a substance, whatever it may be. And we’re really now down some finances and the more things are it’s like anything, if you have a thousand dollars in your savings now, Dave, Ramsey’s big on this.

If the water heater breaks you’re ready for, so then it’s Murphy’s law. Like some things just don’t happen, cuz I’m really prepared for it. I have a generator, my, even the tornado ripped through the other day, my power still refuses to go out because I have a generator sitting in my garage that I trip over every day at the end and I’m ready for it.

It’s the same thing. If the more we can have ourselves ready, especially in that line of work, public safety, but just in life in general. When something big does happen, maybe when it happens, we’re just, we’re that much more ready for it. And I think it can do a lot of good. And it makes going through it.

I’ll never say easier, but you can get to acceptance a lot quicker. I don’t know for whatever that’s worth, but I don’t know where I’m at with all that. Sometimes I go on a drive, die tribe stack, and just get longwinded, but that’s just of how Adam’s brain is wired. .

Stack: So today, what are you up to today?

Adam: Today? I am. Living in Cincinnati got amazing person in my life. Jen is awesome. She’s got two kids. I never had kids. I never thought I’d have be around kids or 10 to 12. And I have a blast with them. I run a small general contracting company and some days are better. Another sometimes you make friends, sometimes you make money.

My schedule’s what I wanted to be, so that’s nice. I still stress about things. I still sometimes wake up all anxiety about things. I’m just back into having healthcare and stuff. So I’ve actually just was asking, I would like to find somebody here to do. Some therapy work just to keep the brain going.

I don’t have I have bad days like anybody does and stuff, I’ve got a sponsor that I call I’m very, still involved in union recovery program, whether it’s, it’s the meetings and work that I have to do with that is actually a really good playbook for life that helps me get through a lot of stuff because I have this, something that I believe in.

And that’s what I do, we’re blessed to get to travel area, head outta town here soon. I’m blessed. I, there’s an identity that I’m still working on, cuz a lot of it’s new. I don’t have people here like I did when I live in the Virginia and I don’t have a lot of firemen. I, there’s a, there’s still some ego left to me and some bravado that I miss being able to tell people I’m a fireman.

I’m not, I’m still trying to find something that I think is just as important as, than I do in life. I forget that there’s times where I can help Jen with the kids. And there you have a blast doing it and it takes stress off or whatever it may be. That’s just as important. I have to remind myself of that, cuz this is different.

So I there’s still those things that I’m, that they gotta deal with here where if it’s, I’m learning to live sober, which is a big deal, I’m learning to live stress free in the sense of I don’t worry about fire department all day long, and I miss it. I miss some people, I miss being part of that chaos and there’s parts to me that I don’t know that I don’t miss.

But yeah, sometimes the ego gets in the way where I’m like, man, I’m not a firearm anymore. I say I’ve accepted it. And I talk about acceptance a lot. I don’t know if I’m a hundred percent there yet to be honest to everybody that’s the new me. But every day it’s a work in progress. It’s progress, not perfection for me.

I’ve learned to forgive whether it’s, and that’s a work in progress. Sometimes I still don’t like it. Cause I think it is an excuse. But it’s a reality. It’s true. It’s real, there’s a disease in there. There’s things that have happened that, people are willing to forgive me for.

I have to be able to forgive myself. That’s also busting ego too. Don’t think you’re so important. You can’t forgive yourself. There’s some things that it’s okay to forgive yourself. It’s the only way to move on and it’s the way to accept it. And it’s not me having it out or an easy excuse for something it’s me accepting it and truly doing something about it.

And it’s not an excuse in my opinion, if you’re doing something about it now. So yeah, that’s where I’m at. I still man, I’m just, and I’m plugging along there’s days that I know I’m a better person for all the things that have happened in life and in where I’m at today. I deal with things a whole lot differently.

I’m glad that people don’t have to see me drinking. I do know that it’s 24 hours at a time. And that I do wanna get back in and work on therapy stuff, cuz it’s just, even when things are good. And sometimes man, sometimes that’s when you get the most nervous things are going way too good.

Right. But that’s where I’m at today, man. I try to hang out and do just easy go and easy does it. I don’t snap as much. I still have those moments in human. Again, we don’t have the, we don’t have the unicorns with the Skittles yet. But I gotta tell you, like I can take a breath. I can take a moment.

I can take some time. I can, I won’t argue. Just argue. Just let it be. We’ll walk through it a little bit later. Let every reach out for a second. My brain functions much differently without all the stuff in it and until you’re away from it, you don’t realize it. And miss the guys, I miss hanging out.

I we got to work together and it was, know, I missed that stuff. I miss when things were good. I don’t miss the bad I miss when things were good. But yeah, it’s of where I’m at today. It’s just it’s boring in for people with mental health and substance abuse issues and all of the above boring is pretty good.

I was

Stack: just about to say that boring’s not a bad option at

Adam: times. Boring is probably good when you’ve had a lot of chaos. And I know for me, I’ve got a lifetime of it. Still looking to write that book. Everyone wants me to write a book writes itself, but yeah. so that’s fair. Yeah. So

Stack: real, really quick, cuz it might as well talk about it now, cuz it’s something I add on to every show, the everyday carry, saying the title of the show, being the things we all carry, the things we carry into a call, the things we carry out of a call.

Do you have anything like that in your life?

Adam: I forever maybe still guilt on certain things. I have a hard time. But no, truthfully, when I got into the academy, my mom bought me a St. Florian chain with a small St. Florian, medallion thing on it, small. And that was recruit school or graduation gift.

I can only think of two times in my entire life that it’s we 20 years now that it was ever off. Once I took it off in a hotel and I left it in a hotel outta state, and I freaked the fuck, dude, I didn’t wanna go to work. I never worked without it. And I was at work and thank God housekeeping actually founded like laundry found it.

It was the craziest thing. I can’t, that was my mom, all that, like that was somebody bigger than me found it. Thank God. And the person I knew in that area was close. Like they went and found it and they took a picture and sent it to me. Dude, housekeeping actually found it in laundry. I’m like, oh my God.

And then another time I left it at home, I shaved and I like took it off. So I had sunburn. I was putting bunch of. I left it at home and I got to the station. I was freaking out and I mentioned about Sean, thank God. Love him, drove his ass on, out to my freaking house. Got it. And drove it all the way out to dump Ridge to the station.

So I could, because he is I get it. I still wear that to this day. I’ve had that from the very, from the day I graduated recruit school. And like I said, minus two times, I never worked with that. It’s always been on, it’s still to this day, stay on. And now it means even more to me with mom passing.

Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s an, that is, that’s always been and will be physically an everyday. Carrie.

Stack: And what about books? Are you reading these days? I hate reading. Okay. I like the

Adam: thought of it. I it’s like anything, man. I like to buy, I like buying. I like to go all in on things.

Every once in a while I will read something that could truly captivate me and have an impact. And it’s only happened a couple times. Politically speaking, you should read the great reset by Glenn Beck, but that’s would probably bore most people. But no, I honestly a great book that still sticks in my brain that has a very positive impact.

It should not anybody, but I’ve ever heard of Travis mills. He’s got a foundation now he’s only one of five, quad, quadruple amputees and all this other stuff, but his book tough as they come. I read that thing in two days, which is unheard of cuz I usually, I just don’t read, man, I get bored false or whatever it is.

Like when I read lone survivor, that was one of the few that I was able to read, like boom. But this book was amazing to me. It was just good timing. Because again, there’s a guy that was dealt a hand that he didn’t choose and he wasn’t in charge of. But then he sure made a choice to go in a different direction and has done nothing but amazing things since and all that stuff.

And I also always recommend he did a podcast of micro. That’s how I heard about him and it’s hysterical. Cause they’re really good friends. And when I, oh my God. And I use humor for a lot of things it’s okay. Even in to go back and look at some things and laugh and even laugh while it’s happening.

It’s okay. It really is. Okay. Travis is amazing at it. And like how he met Mike row was one of the fricking funniest stories ever. I it’s worth the podcast. And that’s when I started listening about, and I read this book in two days. It’s fascinating to me, but it is just that story of yeah, I didn’t, I, this was when I had planned and that’s a hard thing in life when you think you got plans and how it’s gonna look in the end and then it doesn’t go that way.

It’s depressing and you shit, the be again, I did that my whole life, nothing ever worked out the way Adam thought it was gonna work out, cuz Adam’s not in charge, but we gotta learn the hard way, but there you go. There is a guy like has every reason to just, and complete opposite and that’s inspiring.

That’s inspiring for me. Again, I can compare out and be like I didn’t get two arms and two legs blown. I can compare out from that and be like, see, my stuff’s not as bad, I guess I shouldn’t worry about my stuff. No, my stuff’s bad for me. His stuff was bad for him. The guy next to me, stuff was bad for them.

And so it was inspiring to me. It really is as very inspiring. So yeah, that as tough as they come drive mills is, one of those where if you can’t get motivated or inspired by that, then you have no soul .

. I’ll

Stack: check that out. Yeah. All right, man. I know you gotta do some work there.

Adam: Pick it apart and know was a long conversation. I can be one of those I can going forever. And if it fits what you want for pod, if not, I, my feelings aren’t hurt if you like, Hey man, I don’t know. Just just go with this is

Stack: perfect. This is perfect.

Adam: Yeah, by all means, if you’re like, eh I, I, you’re not gonna hurt my feelings on it.

Stack: Oh, I’m not worried about hurting your feelings, but this is gonna be a show. Don’t worry. We’ll get it figured out.

Adam: Yeah. And however, whatever it is and kind unpack it, unwind it. I, I’m always willing to go into more details about some stuff I’m just kinda hesitant. Like I, I’m too much on too many names and people and stuff and department, just cuz I feel, again, I start dwelling on right.

To be a resentment type thing. I’m just not down that road, but no, there’s

Stack: no reason for it either. And no, to be honest with you I’m actually trying to keep prince Williams, their name out of this because I’m so disenchanted with prince William now it’s ridiculous.

Adam: And that’s the thing and it’s yeah, I don’t, that doesn’t need to be, can’t let it define everything and everybody, and I don’t need them to, like I said, so yeah.

I just stick it to, people will figure it out. I went cuz you, I used to work with you. Hey man. We used to work together. But nonetheless, but yeah, I like I was telling you, my thing is I just, if God, if there’s just, even if it’s advice and just. Some insight onto things and offer to people to like, keep your eyes open for this type thing is just my charge.

And and I’m always willing to go more in depth. There’s always specific calls. If want to hear, some of the worst shit or this and that, or things that stick with your, whatever you want to get into.

Stack: It’s funny. talked to somebody, oh, I interviewed a guy last night.

He’s from just outside of Chicago. And he was like, the, he goes, I hope you don’t mind, but I usually just fast forward out of the story time and get into what they’re doing now. I just want to hear what they’re doing to get better. And I was like that’s perfect. Cause I’m not trying to glorify the calls.

Yeah. I’m just setting the table so people know, okay, so this is some shit that’s happened

Adam: and that well, yeah. And I can most certainly. And if that’s the chart and direction and I honestly, that’s my take on it too a little bit. So I get what he’s saying. It’s not in a mean way, but I understand.

And I think that’s the thing I wanna avoid too, is. Who wants to sit and listen. And we talk about calls. Kill that kid, kill that person, burn that person. Like I could go on for hours. I can’t do a ton of shit, and

Stack: and some episodes are gonna be like that. And I don’t think all episodes need to be like that, to be honest.


Adam: right. Because, you know, and, and and when it’s relevant, when cuz people can connect the dot and go, holy shit, S that guy hanging from the news took me back to when I saw my dad hang himself and Ash fucked me up. That’s a hundred percent. Yeah. I get that. And then every time I saw a guy with a blue shirt and brown hair, it took me back, I get all that, for me, that’s just not like my thing. There’s, certain things that stick with you, but so mine is just more of the culture of, and where I came to. And the fire department think, I don’t know, had my brain wired in one direction.

And EY, DAS, you EY DAS. You’re a raging alcoholic for the last 25 years. And you haven’t paid attention. Yeah. You wanna talk about a book of stories there? Holy shit. I’ll tell you, man, it’s bad. I don’t know how I’m alive. Me and BLI are just talking about that. I don’t know how I’m alive because no, I have no idea how I said I, somebody didn’t kill me or I didn’t kill myself.

I don’t get it. I don’t know how,

Stack: Shit, my own relationship with alcohol. I don’t know how I’m alive in some cases and it wasn’t I’ve yeah, I’ve driven drunk and all that, but it, I started drinking in fifth grade, yeah. How the fuck did I make it through middle school as a drinker.

And as a drinker, I wasn’t just like weekends. I got drunk. Yeah.

Adam: No. Alright. Doesn’t make sense. Does it? No, doesn’t I don’t the amount of times I’m a blackout drunk. Like I’ll out drink everybody and then, but I can be blacked out the entire time. Like I just don’t remember the night bottom, bottom line.

Don’t remember the night. And I drove like that since I was 16, nine, stop over 20 something years oh, I know. Holy dog shit. Oh yeah. The amount I could drink and throw up and just keep drinking all my oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So like it’s badge of honor. It is. And I just did it forever and holy crap.

Somebody wants to be around for something. I don’t know what it is now. I just feel like I’ve ever drank again. I mom would come down from above and just fuck murder, strike you down. I don’t even wanna know what that would look like and it would be letting her down too. But yeah, I just, it’s just fascinating how, like how kindness, I don’t think it snuck up on me just wasn’t was a thing, but it wasn’t a thing until it’s really a thing until it’s an actual

Stack: thing right

Adam: now.

What do we do? So it’s been interesting life. I There’s so much more, I, but people hear all the dumb shit I did, but most certainly, I’ll go into anything more or talk more about, the depression and the suicide tendencies and we can always just dive into more of no, really my brain was pretty fucking sick and my.

Drinking wasn’t helping it. And that was part of the sickness and work wasn’t helping it. It’s part of the sick, it’s all part of the sickness. It all

Stack: Fed into each other.

Adam: Yeah. And so much. And he just wants to say, fuck prince William. I just, I fucked their assholes. That’s really what I wanna say sometimes.

But you

Stack: wouldn’t be wrong, but it’s not the excuse for you. No,

Adam: I’ll tell you what Fairfax reached out to me to try to help really? Like What the fuck. Yeah. Cuz something I was in recovery with is retired attendance father and talking to me goes, oh, talk to this woman. She’ll and I remember talking to her, she did all their shit for Fairfax, mental health and this and that.

I like another person from health and safety. And then she’s she goes, they still use that excuse about EMS and driving. I said, she’s huh? I’m gonna give you a playbook. See if this works for you to get back there. Like I can’t believe she goes, we stopped doing that a while ago.

Cuz that was a thing when the law was in place. And then once that changed,

Stack: that’s what they’re, that’s what they’re using as an excuse for why they don’t want to let us use pot right now. God it’s all. It’s just, it’s still alive and kicking.

Adam: It is it’s, but it’s still like that with alcohol.

It’s still like that. If you fuck up outta work with it, because it is a black and white legal thing, there’s no gray areas anymore. Yep. It is an easy one that they will always dump the guys for. Yep. Especially now anymore. I know. And it’s a shame cuz I don’t know, dude, I’m telling, now you’re talking to enough guys.

Oh my God dude, guys from Boston, a bunch of other places and everywhere in between, I talked all the time. Like almost too much like tolerance of like how long they worked on guys that tried to get them better. I’m like, holy shit. And then even after they got out for a while, took ’em right back, yep.

Go get fixed, come right back. Like I’m like, holy shit. And I would tell guys my story. I was honest with them. I said, I got hung up one other time. But other than that, I. The same month I was getting fucking fired. I said, I was supposed to be getting a fucking commendation for a fucking fire I was bossing.

I’m like, that’s how my career went. I’m like, Jesus Christ. I said, yeah. I said, here I have chiefs. Tell me you’ve got my personal number. Two of ’em, I never give that away. So you call anything, you need this and that. And I’m like, how about I keep my fucking job? And and they were just like, so you weren’t shit bagging employed.

I’m like no, not really. I said, once, twice you fuck up, but like nothing ever at work. And they’re like, wow, that place is, I said, yeah, that’s how that place is.

Stack: The same week I got a, a commendation for I, it was a vehicle fire that the lady was entrapped and we had to, we put it out with we didn’t put it out.

We held it at bay with a water can while, while Mike and guys were cutting her out. We got award for that. Its the day before that I found out that I was getting my five day suspension for the objection was bullshit. I was like I said, I was like, I was in with the chief the day before talking to him about how, what is my in yeah.

What he is gonna do to me. And the next day I’m on stage with him. And then the county supervisor who pushed the issue to get me suspended and like you fucking people.

Adam: And if that doesn’t fuck with anybody’s brain, what the fuck does.

Stack: So I just I’ve got such disdain for the leadership right now.

It’s I have to hold it in check.

Adam: No I don’t blame you. And I talk to those guys enough to where they’re just pure firemen, Dave, Andy, and all those guys and I, and Paul and Josh and three of ’em came down for baseball game to come visit. They got outta work at six in the morning, drove nine hours and then left the next day.

And it’s good to know you have some good friends, but there is guys are just pure firemen and they even they’re at a good assignment, but they’re still just discontent. Like it’s just. it doesn’t end. I get so much good info from Carolina cuz of his position. But if you didn’t laugh about it, you would put a fucking bowl in your head because it is, he goes, I can’t make this shit up.

No, I’m like, what the fuck, Dave? He’s dude, I’m telling you. And it’s sad when you get a DUI facing jail time and lose the job over everything. When guys say I’m, I actually think you’re better off. And I’m like, I don’t know what part better off, but like they’re just that discontent where they go. I’m a little jealous of you.

I’m like, don’t dopey. But that’s sad that you’re, that just pissy with work and it’s that way to where it looked better to lose it over DUI. And now you don’t have to deal with that place anymore. That’s fucked up, right? That shouldn’t be that shouldn’t cross anybody’s mind. And if it is

Stack: crossing your mind, maybe it’s time to start looking.

Adam: Yep. Yeah, no, it’s that place, man. I just, I wish I could have got my 20 to at least get my hazard duty pay. Yeah.

Stack: I understand that.

Adam: But they letting in the cards, man, I don’t know. I didn’t like how they handled any of it. Not that I should have been treated diff I just don’t like how they handled it.

I was trying to get out the academy to teach while, they’re begging for people and all like I’m some sin. Dude, not even a month later gone. Like you don’t even get a chance to go to court. Yeah.

Stack: That’s inexcusable right there. And I think

Adam: that’s was probably my big hang up with it, and Hey, listen, I got convicted. And he said shit, you can’t drive without an interlock for a year. You still have a driver’s license still valid. You just can’t drive anything without an interlock. Okay. You know what, they’ve done it before. Go teach you the academy. We’re begging for people you’ve been out there before the battalion chief out there says, yep.

I’ll take ’em. I want ’em. I’m sorry. I know there’s a little ego involved, but like I didn’t do enough for this fucking place to at least get that consideration. I’ve done. Every committee I’ve done anything you’ve asked, I’ve showed up to everything. I’ve I, I continue to teach a teacher volunteers I’ve helped fight for some shit that you’re enjoying and you’re fucking retirement there.

Fat Jack, a couple those other shit like dude, and this is, I’ve tried to be part of change of everything. I’ve never complained about something and then not be tried to be part of a change of something like that. That was the fucking, that was the response like that did rub me wrong. And still this day, a little pissy about it.

I’m like, wow, like on your ass, you go, don’t pass. Go. I don’t know, man. But any rate I man I took up your whole

Stack: afternoon. No, you’re fine, dude. You’re fine. I’m sorry. I was late getting into it, but I actually, no, that’s fine..

Adam: I’m glad you’re doing it, man. I appreciate you thinking of me. It’s I think it’s pretty cool.

. And if there’s ever anything I can man help you with or whatever, man, I’m always, and if there’s ever people that you start thinking, or if there’s somebody that I know that I talk to all the time, then I think, man, it’d be a good story.

There’s a couple guys that I, they’d probably be willing to be from a distance, but nonetheless,

Stack: yeah. I If you know anybody and they’re willing yeah. Have ’em reach out or just give me a contact and I’ll reach out to ’em I’m I’m always looking for people. Yeah, I’m good. Yep. All right, homie.

Adam: Thanks man. And I look forward to whenever, if we do this thing, just figuring out the logistics of that and yeah, we’ll get it

Stack: figured out. You’re a short nine hour drive away.

Adam: Yeah I’m coming in labor day. We’re coming to visit for a few days, but that’s all way to labor day.


Stack: We’ll figure something out.

Adam: Yeah, I, yeah, I’m not worried about, we can do it if we can do it with video or something that may work out as long as I F that. Yeah, there you go. all right, buddy. All right. Have good one. Say Hey to AJ. Give him a big old kiss for me. All right. I’ll

Stack: do that. All right.

All right, man. Take care.

Adam: Thanks man. Bye bye.

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