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  • John Staley

J is for John & Jerry Start a Podcast

Jerry reminded on a recent episode that we used to drunkenly Skype some seven or eight years ago. Bored and lonely we would smoke cigarettes, crack jokes and just shoot the shit. It was just like old times minus the miles and computer screens between us. There has always been a deep and genuine friendship between despite the alcohol and the mean-spirited ribbing we were prone to give each other back in the day. Getting together always involved drinking even living 900 miles away.

I remember a phone call from Jerry. We were both drinking. He was calling for advice. It seemed that is wife was finally getting sick of his behavior wile drinking and there was a possibility she might leave and take their daughter. The only thing I could think to tell him to quit. Advice I wouldn't have given myself at the time but nonetheless I told him to take a break at the very least. That he could always go back to drinking if drying out did not work. It was all I could come up with at the time. I did my best to listen and empathize. Some months later he would go on to get sober.

In his first year of sobriety I was still drinking...a lot. It would be his turn to listen. I would call him, drunk, asking if I was an alcoholic to which he would diplomatically reply, "Only you can make that assessment about yourself." As if I didn't already know. He almost always took my drunken calls but finally had to tell me that calling after 2 a.m. was NOT okay. A fair request I tried my best to keep but I am sure there are still a few voicemails buried deep in his phone I would rather not revisited.

It wasn't until I quit drinking that we began to reconnect and connect more fully. At first it was a weekly phone call or occasional text just to say hi and check in. And not just on our sobriety but life in general as "normal" friends often do. It was great! Having someone to talk to about the absolutely terrifying and baffling thing that is early soberiety was such an amazing help to me. This then became a regularly scheduled weekly FaceTime call. This was to check in as well but we also studied and discussed in depth our alcoholism and best way to recover and just feel better each day. Now working on one's own issues is not always fun or exciting stuff. There were some weeks neither of us wanted to talk about our crippling alcoholism. Still, we kept our commitment to each other and we always felt better after those calls. They continued for many more months becoming a solid part of my recovery and something to look forward to each week.

Jerry had the initial idea to start a podcast based on these talks. A is For Alcoholic was the name of an alphabet picture book I was writing about my alcoholism and recovery with Jerry doing all the illustration. The name was perfect. So on July 6th, 2018 A.I.F.A. podcast was born. The first few episodes were rough. We were timid and still trying to find our voices but hopeful that sharing the tools and insights we had found could be valuable to somebody else too.

We do our best to be honest about what we know and what we don't know. We are blunt. We curse. We ramble. We also try to be kind, inclusive and understanding. Although we believe in some universal human truths we also know that our path to recovery is not for everyone. We respect anyone who gets sober and stays sober in any way that works for them. We are always on the look out for new tools we can use to help us along the way. It'll be two years this Summer that we've been doing this podcast and my hope is we can continue doing it for some time to come. Thanks for listening.









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