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Today’s Recovery Thought

Hmmm… interesting little dialogue that hunting morels started. I’ve got a couple of comments and they are my own and strictly from my heart. I am going to write this blog once and I am not going to engage in any on line discussions with anyone about any of this. What follows is essentially my experience, strength and hope. If we were at a meeting together it would be a different story but we are not. In any case, to begin.

I find it incredibly interesting and on some levels mystifying that grown adults, many of whom are my age or close to it, look back on their partying years with euphoric recall. There is no question that I am the man I am today because of the choices that I have made over the course of my life. Obviously, if there were do-overs in life I might or might not have done things differently. Probably not… The totality of my experience has shaped me as a person every step of the day.

Back in the late fifties and early sixties, my first forays into the world of mind altering substance had heavy shamanistic overtones. In the spirit of Aldous Huxley, they were doors to perception. I must that I went from seeking a view of the other side, to just looking at the person next to me and saying, ‘I’m fuuuuucked up!’ while everyone nodded appreciatively. And so it progressed. Have a nice day.

From my point of view, there is no possible way to discuss alcoholism, addiction and recovery with earth people. If you’re not one of us, there’s no way you could possibly understand. In my opinion, that’s why a twelve step program like AA works. It’s a drunk, helping a drunk. The doctors sitting on the couch don’t know shit. Someone who doesn’t understand why a recovering alcoholic would be grateful to be an alcoholic is not an alcoholic. Why should they understand? It doesn’t concern them.

I hear babbling about religious cults. Give me a friggin’ break. Religion is for people that are afraid of Hell. Spirituality is for those of us who have been there and don’t want to go back. Our sobriety is based on the meticulous maintenance of our spiritual condition. You want to know more? Read the Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous and don’t be put off by the dated language. It was written in the late 30’s.

The thought that just because someone has financial resources makes it easier to become a junky or a drunk is absurd. When I was out there, I had street friends who had thousand dollar a day habits and they were homeless. The disease of addiction is no respecter of sex or status.

It is important to me to always try to keep myself ‘right sized.’ There is nothing whatsoever special about me, my life, my problems, or my blessings. My job is certainly more interesting and rewarding than the one I had in 1959 when on an Antioch co-op job I worked at the Department Of Health, Education and Welfare in the Division of Air Pollution as in Informations Specialist, Junior Grade. I passed the Civil Service Exam and everything. I could type over a hundred correct words a minute. If I’d stayed in the government, I could have been retired a long time ago. Good times.

That wasn’t my path though. Being a writer and a musician as well as an entertainer is a great gig. It’s part of who I am, but it’s not everything that I am. Being a recovering drunk has been no easier or harder for me than if I had been a truck driver, which had music not called to me was what I really wanted to do. Early on I was told, ‘Jorma, you’re going to have to change everything but your name.’ I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I do now. It’s a simple program, but it’s not easy. It’s a program of action… it takes work and the work is never done. Our goal is to be happy, joyous and free. What more could you want. If you can’t be happy, who cares whether you’re sober or not. Sad to say, even though the statistics are vague, it looks as if barely 15% make it. Remember, the disease of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, powerful and though it’s not in the book… patient. Remember one ‘Aw shit, wipes out twenty attaboys.’

Why did I feel called upon to write today’s blog. I guess I’m just casting my bread upon the waters. I truly mean no disrespect to my friends who have spent time with their thoughtful comments on my blog. That said, as always there is opinion… that’s OK. But there is also misinformation and that is not.

I thought the discussion about Mick Taylor was interesting in its pointlessness. How could one know what he did or thought. Does one think he cleaned up when he left the Stones? Does it matter? Is it your business? Who cares what Keith Richards thought.

There is nothing glamorous about alcoholism or drug addiction. It destroys all in its path. It shatters lives and destroys families. It is progressive and relentless. If left untreated it leads to death, institutions or jail.

A final note. I don’t care if people drink or do drugs. It’s not my business. I don’t like dealing with people when they are high because I believe that nothing they say means anything. That’s how it was for me… but that’s OK. As for pot. Legalize it, tax it make some money and a zero tolerance for driving high. It’s not an issue for me. I probably wouldn’t vote one way or the other on it. Some years ago at the Fur Peace Ranch, some guy engaged me in a discussion on substance abuse. “Hey man, no one in the State of Ohio has had more DUI’s than I and still drives.’ ‘What’s your point?’ I said. He went on. ‘I think smoking pot and getting high makes me more creative.’ ‘Look,’ I said. ‘It hasn’t always been this way for me, obviously, but here’s how it is today’ I went on. ‘Aside from the fact that getting high on anything today will kill me, think about this. Wrap a belt around your arm like a tourniquet. When your hand gets numb, jerk off. It’ll feel like someone else is doing it. That’s what getting high means to me.’

Nuff said!

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  1. Barbara Jacobs
    May 9th, 2013 at 13:45 | #1

    Alcoholics Anonymous is a great program. When I travel with friends who are in AA,they can find the nearest meeting and go there. They always have that support group.

    I don’t drink around my AA friends. I think it’s impolite. I’m not a big drinker, anyway. Sometimes I have a drink with dinner, it’s usually a small glass of red wine or something frozen with a little umbrella in it.
    Just one and I’m done. My drink of choice is fresh-brewed iced tea with a nice slice of lemon. No sugar.

    I can’t smoke a whole joint either. A couple of tokes before bedtime and I’m good. Not every night and never during the day. I can’t understand how people can smoke weed during the day. It certainly doesn’t make me feel more creative.
    I can’t do anything other than listen to music. I can’t write, can’t read and would never drive while high. I can’t smoke before going to see a movie because then I can’t follow the plot. I’m distracted and I don’t know how people can concentrate on anything they’re doing.

  2. Barbara Jacobs
    May 9th, 2013 at 13:49 | #2

    Will e-mail you later, Carlo.@carlo pagliano

  3. Richard Cowles
    May 9th, 2013 at 14:25 | #3

    Barb..Im in the northeast and Im a poor laborer.I heat my home/studio with wood heat generated from my cellar.I have filters in place in a couple different spots
    to catch most everything but heat.Would this be the type of bldg that would need a lot of attention as for dusting.I sometimes find myself maybe in excess adjusting truss rods on my guitars,even when they don,t really need it.Can you help Barb? Thanks Dickie..

    @Barbara Jacobs

  4. HOGAN
    May 9th, 2013 at 14:39 | #4

    Dear Jorma,
    Amen to that…I feel that life gives us choice’s it’s up to you whick one you want to take. I have lost good friends and family to drugs. Don’t get me wrong I used to party like a “Rock Star” back in the day in Brooklyn. The only thing we would think about is how we were getting high and where was the next Tuna show. I was one of the lucky ones and was able to walk away from it and choose a family and a career some of my friends didn’t but it was not up to me to judge them. They will be judged someday by someone with alot more power then me, and you are right about those life experience’s molding you in to the person you have becaome and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world, those life experiences have helped me to teach my children how to become young adults and to try and survive in this crazy world of ours and I thank G-d for my blessings that they all grew up drug free. Addidtion can be a constant struggle. One of my best friends has been clean and sober now for 12 years and he stil needs his meetings. Now when we go to Tuna shows we go sober and still have a great time. I still miss my sidekick from the shows alot (The Byrd) he turned my whole neighborhood on to Hot Tuna and to that I will always remember. By the time we got back in touch his addition had won the fight. I know he’s smiling and looking down on me and saying “Rock On Hogan”..
    See you in the City

    Hogan
    :)

  5. johno
    May 9th, 2013 at 15:35 | #5

    @Richard Cowles
    I’m confused as well! Whose blog is this?

  6. Richard Cowles
    May 9th, 2013 at 15:52 | #6

    If she can help me with truss rods,than I guess it’s hers. Have a good night all.

    @johno

  7. Barbara Jacobs
    May 9th, 2013 at 15:57 | #7

    LOL!
    I could probably find something to Swiffer in your house.
    I could Swiffer your guitar. As long as your adjusting things on it doesn’t take time away from the other things you need to get done — I say go for it!

    I just sent an e-mail to Carlo and told him a joke in Italian. I already Swiffered today, so I had a few minutes to spare.
    At least my Lysol habit is good for cleaning hotel rooms. I used to only do the hotel room bathroom but I saw a report on Eyewitness News about how the hotel cleaning staff never clean the t.v. remotes, or the telephones. After that, I started to do the entire room: the t.v. remote, phone, bedside table, lamp, light-switches,doorknobs and the thingy that opens the drapes.

    It takes 15 minutes and even if I just got in from a long flight, I still can’t go to sleep if I don’t do all of that first.
    So, it’s time consuming and not really needed since I wash my hands(but not too frequently, Lady Macbeth-style.)@Richard Cowles

  8. Barbara Jacobs
    May 9th, 2013 at 16:01 | #8

    No, it’s Jorma’s blog.
    This is the comments section, where we respond to Jorma and chat with each other.

  9. Chris Bruning
    May 9th, 2013 at 16:04 | #9

    Thanks Jorma, you hit the nail on the head.

  10. Barbara Jacobs
    May 9th, 2013 at 18:59 | #10

    Since Johno is confused by my comments, I’m going to post another:
    Although having good financials doesn’t make it easier to become a junky or a drunk, it does make the process of obtaining it much easier.

    A friend who lives by the beach in Long Island had a next door neighbor (a very wealthy, nice, widowed, friendly lady.) Her daughter used to visit her mom there,only once in a while. We once saw her daughter, as she went into her mom’s house for a visit.
    She had a guy waiting in the car for her. Her daughter looked unkempt and seemed to be high on something. She only stayed for less than 10 minutes and then she went back out and into the waiting car.

    A couple of years ago, the mom passed away. She must have bequeathed her home to her only child, the daughter. The daughter then moved into the house.
    The daughter was seen outside only a few times. She never went anywhere, never drove her mom’s car (it never left the driveway).

    Sometimes she had groceries delivered to the house. The liquor store would deliver big cardboard cartons of booze to the house on a regular basis. She never had any parties that we could hear, nor visitors that we could see.
    A drug-dealer would deliver her drugs to her, go inside and back out within minutes. (he wasn’t the grocery store delivery man, and not from the liquor store.)

    Since she had access to money, she didn’t have to go out to steal or commit crimes in order to pay for her drugs and liquor. Her life was spent inside that house, just a couple of blocks from a beautiful beach. I don’t know if her habit amounted to $1,000 a day but she could have easily afforded to pay that much money.

    Last August, she was found O.D.’d in that house, by the lawn-care guy.
    She was taken out to the morgue and that was the end of her life.(If you could call that lifestyle “living”.)

    My friend’s mother is a yenta, so she was always looking, watching and speculating
    about how long it would be before that 30-something woman overdosed to death.
    She had easy access to lots of money and had easy access to drugs and alcohol, delivered right to her front door.

  11. johno
    May 9th, 2013 at 19:05 | #11

    Does anyone know anythin about Jack. How he’s doing, after all he’s been through alot lately. If any knows about him, please pass it on.

    hBlessings to all

  12. John R.
    May 9th, 2013 at 19:58 | #12

    Have a nice day indeed.

  13. johno
    May 9th, 2013 at 19:58 | #13

    @Barbara Jacobs
    who cares about your long winded diatribe?

  14. Barbara Jacobs
    May 9th, 2013 at 20:15 | #14

    It appears that you don’t care and that’s O.K. with me.
    I don’t consider it a “diatribe”. It’s a story about a person who OD’d on drugs and drank to excess.

    @johno

  15. chuck newman
    May 9th, 2013 at 20:38 | #15

    The blog normally has a very serene and peaceful vibe. I think we can all tell about our own foibles and dear ones we lost but we are dwelling on it. I can only walk in my shoes and you in yours. Along the way we can help when we can and cry when we can’t. I am a traveler through life just like anyone. Nobody is above me, nobody is below me. Just say you knew me and I wasn’t all bad and I’ll say the same about you. Peace.

  16. Bob Kozyak
    May 9th, 2013 at 23:42 | #16

    Thanks Jorma, I have a son battling an addiction after several relapses. Hearing you and others that have found recovery continues to give me hope. I love my son so much, but I cannot be a part of his life when he is using. My wife and I think of him daily, but try to live our lives the best we can without him in our lives.I cannot express as a parent how incredibly painful this is. We have both had extensive counseling and attented alon meetings which are very helpful. Just as you said that only addicts understand addict , the same is true for parents and loved ones of addicts. Thanks again for your comments,they help.
    Bob

  17. Joe in DC
    May 10th, 2013 at 15:23 | #17

    Bob Kozyak………………
    I share the helplessness you feel about your son
    My son was in the same place not long ago…addict, on the street, in jail, in rehabs, in court, in with the doc..on and on for years
    He is now clean for nearly 2 years….25 years old now…. and he is doing very well..the best I have seen him in fact ever…so there is hope…but I know he really needs to focus on being sober each day.
    As Jorma said..the docs dont know shit..thats what I found, but my son found a way out, I do not know who influenced him (it was not me), but I think it was jail. Now he has moved back in with me and is really blooming; in school, in a band, doing an internship at a recording studio in DC, has a girlfriend..I am so very very grateful about it.
    I went to the Narn Anon and AL Anon..I think it helped me get over the hump cause I realized I was not the only one…hang in there

  18. May 10th, 2013 at 16:43 | #18

    When Jorma and others say “Docs dont know shit” i understand the context that they refer to. Lets not forget about Doctor Bob though.

  19. May 10th, 2013 at 16:52 | #19

    God bless you Bake. Thanks for sharing. @Bake

  20. Joe in DC
    May 10th, 2013 at 17:03 | #20

    i think jorma was referring to mD shrink type of folks…but thats just me John B

  21. May 10th, 2013 at 17:26 | #21

    Remember back in the day how everyone would always holler out for Jack to say something ? There was one Academy of Music show that i was at where Jack responded ; i don’t remember if he sang (he might have) or just spoke to the audience. Was that the same night that either Jack or Jormas mom came out on stage . Was it her birthday? @johno

  22. May 10th, 2013 at 17:44 | #22

    Can’t wait to hear Jack live again…….

  23. May 10th, 2013 at 18:27 | #23

    You are probably right Joe in DC @Joe in DC

  24. jim hitchcock
    May 10th, 2013 at 20:16 | #24

    My take is that Barbara Jacobs is kind of the soul madre of the blog :)

  25. Bob Kozyak
    May 10th, 2013 at 23:23 | #25

    Thanks for the kind words Joe in DC. I’m so happy your son is doing well. I’m hoping my son can find recovery again. I know relapses can be part of recovery, so I pray he gets another chance.

    Bob K.

  26. Joe in DC
    May 11th, 2013 at 11:10 | #26

    Bob K…thanks
    I also know how it felt to kick him out of the house with nothing..but I did it. Looking back I think it was the hardest thing I had to do, but like you, I could not be part of his world at that point. Have you tried the Nar Anon…when I was going, like 2 years ago it was filled w/ mostly parents who had lost their kids to addiction. ….

  27. Bob Kozyak
    May 11th, 2013 at 13:45 | #27

    Yes Joe, I’ve also attended Nar Anon, but they’re are far more Al Anon meetings available in my area. I like you have had to make some difficult choices, but pretty sure I’m doing the right things. I once had a counselor tell me that when your dealing with an addict you do the opposite of what you would normaqlly want to do. This advise has turned out to be sad but true. My paternal instincts tell me to reach out and keep helping my son fight this horrible disease. My wife an I just can’t take the dysfunction and chaos that comes with addiction anymore. We have sent him to a couple of rehabs in the past, so the seed for recovery has been planted. He has found recovery before so we know he can do it, we just pray he doesn’t run out of chances. Bob K.

  28. Jim
    May 11th, 2013 at 14:24 | #28

    The fact is if you don’t clean it up, alcohol will kill you eventually! Considering Hot Tunas’ origins references to “shrooms” is not surprising at all but I think most of us have grown & have learned what not to do anymore and what, if any we can do in moderation. Jorma’s a prime example! Hope to have you around a long time Jorma!

  29. Mark Ennis
    May 11th, 2013 at 16:12 | #29

    I get it Jorma. I thank GOD everyday for my freedom from active addiction. I work at it daily. One Day at a Time My Friends.

  30. Bob Kozyak
    May 11th, 2013 at 20:49 | #30

    I agree with Jorma that most doctors don’t know shit about alcholism/addiction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that a doctor subscribed pain pills for everything from a back ache to a hang nail. Doctors hand out highly addictive painkillers like it’s candy. I’m sure they’re are some doctors that understand the risk of subscibing pain killers, but damn, I see abuse all the time.

  31. mutt
    May 12th, 2013 at 08:31 | #31

    let the healing begin . . .

    HAPPY MOTHERS DAY – TO ALL YOU MOTHERS OUT THERE!

    Peace & Love Fur All

    mutt

  32. Joe in DC
    May 12th, 2013 at 10:30 | #32

    Bob K
    I kinda grew out of the Narn Anon.
    It was helpful to me at the time knowing there were other parents going thru similar issues with there kids as me, but after awhile it somehow stopped helping me… after a bit it just felt like it turned into a whining session. but it is cool just the same.
    I also agree on the MD’s and meds..seems like they dish em out all the time.
    My son ended up finding an excellent doctor though who prescribed Sub oxen to him to get off the smack and oxy. At first I thought what BS; go from one drug to another; but the Doc carefully monitored him and it helped…has ur son tried that?

  33. Brett
    May 13th, 2013 at 20:56 | #33

    Thanks for your comments and honesty Jorma. Like many of us who grew up with a sex, drugs and rock n roll mentality, I had my fun but also paid the price. My addiction made me hit rock bottom but thankfully I’ve been clean for over 15 years. I know for a fact that the two biggest factors in my recovery were admitting I had a problem and then asking God for help. Jorma, you’ve been a big influence on my life as a musician and guitar player and you’re playing better than ever! Looking forward to seeing you, Jack and Barry soon! God Bless!

  34. Andy C
    May 15th, 2013 at 02:24 | #34

    Jorma – my first (pre FPR) lessons from you were when I’d belly up to the bar at the Lone Star in NYC and watch carefully what you played. As soon as I got home I’d have to play the songs right away so as not to forget. In those days, you were most certainly drinking heavily (and whatever else) at those shows. We as “kids” in the late 70’s may have even glamorized that behavior, it was a sign of the times. Some never figured out how to stop. I’m really glad that you did.

  35. Jim P.
    May 23rd, 2013 at 17:59 | #35

    Jorma,

    I’ve been the whole route. you know the story… more or less the same as yours. sad to even have to admit to being one of you enablers at one time.

    I lived I D.C. during the worst of times the ’80’s. saw you through the whole solo period. you know what I mean.

    so here’s the deal… I’ve had all kinda time together. two 5 year stretches with a mere slip between. moved exponentially forward in my Spiritural growth. at least I think so anyway.

    for whatever reason I started smoking weed again in the early 2000’s. it seemed ok at the time. I know it doesn’t do a thing as far as creativity. however, it ‘feels’ like it does. I play guitar and bass. neither here or there. it keeps me from God.

    in like ‘05 i had back surgery. I was on heavy duty pain meds. got off the meds for a good long period of time. now my doctors have given me like 20 perks a month. these narcotics are really getting their claws into me again.

    I am severely depressed. I am having suicidal thoughts. the only reason I don’t off myself is because of my guitar playing. the only thing I get pleasure from. who knows if you even read this… what does it matter really.

    I am suffering man. lost…

  36. Mike G (UK)
    September 23rd, 2014 at 12:44 | #36

    “There is nothing whatsoever special about me, my life, my problems, or my blessings.”

    Your words and your music, Jorma. Not all of us can reach inside and create, no matter how hard we try. That makes you special, imo. Your time and place in that world and what you’ve given is special and for me and so many others, everlasting. Thank you for that.

  37. Steve C
    October 31st, 2014 at 17:43 | #37

    Beautiful to read your words and to know how things have turned out for you. Very inspiring.

    I remember the first time I saw you and Jack perform, at Tufts University in the 1980s. I’d listened to the New Orleans House album so obsessively that I could sing every note you guys played… sat there note-for-note copying Jack on my bass. Seeing the two of you play, I thought you were baddest sum-b I’d ever seen, but partly for reasons that were irrelevant. I was in a particular place at the time, and some of what I admired in musicians was irrelevant. If a guy drank whiskey onstage and could play great, he was probably my hero.

    Sitting here today, sober, thinking about going to see you once again (hopefully) on December 30… I wanted to see how you were doing. I knew that had to be unsustainable for you, just like it eventually wasn’t going to work for me. Usually, if a guy is still alive and making music past a certain point, I figure he must’ve found some kind of higher power. There’s always a lot of talk about jails, institutions and death… but there’s a fourth possibility few even dare to talk about: stumbling onward, year after year, like the living dead. Some musicians can do that, and I hoped that wasn’t the case for you.

    I don’t know how to put this. I hope that every drunk finds recovery, because there’s no one who doesn’t deserve the blessings that come with it… but there a little special hope in my heart for those I love and admire. The thrills that Mann’s Fate and Water Song (among many others) have given me are real joy, the kind that fills you with the spirit where no alcohol, no drug, no fear… nothing can enter. [Unless, of course, one forgets to practice the first step!] Just thinking of you and Jack always makes me smile.

    I know a couple of other wonderful artists in the program, and it’s always so good to hear their stories… to see them WELL… see them sharing them share their God-given artistic gifts (as well as the gifts freely given to them by other men in the program). Reading what you wrote here is even more inspiring than your music, which is already plenty inspiring. I liked what you said about the numbness. As much as your music (and mine) meant to me back then, it touches me much more today… and I would never have thought that possible.

    Another miracle. It’s really true that if you can find a God of your own understanding that you can have a beautiful life, huh?

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  38. Steve C
    October 31st, 2014 at 17:45 | #38

    Excuse me… that would be NOvember 30, not December. Either way… looking forward to it!

  39. November 3rd, 2014 at 06:59 | #39

    Amen brother… As for a Higher Power… I know there is one… and it isn’t me. One day at a time my friend.

  40. July 11th, 2016 at 10:57 | #40

    Alcohol is not your friend

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