Strength - Faith - Hope - Commitment - Believe In Yourself
I was born
December 17th 1966 to Joseph and Kathleen Cody in San Mateo,
California. I am the second of 5 children, four boys born first (Casey, myself,
Terry and Shane) and our youngest, one girl (Carolyn). I was raised in
Burlingame where I attended St. Catherine’s and Our Lady of Angels grammar
school. I went to Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco, and after
graduating, spent 1 year at The University Of Nevada Las Vegas and from there
studied back home at The College of Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, Ca.
To put it
bluntly, I was raised in a very dysfunctional and abusive household. My Mother
was a full-blown alcoholic and my father, who worked incredibly hard day in and
day out, became co-dependent in regard to my mother although he drank very
little. He enabled my mother although he did not realize it.
As a child, I
remember being immersed in a great deal of turmoil on a daily basis. My father
often worked two jobs to make ends meet while my mother, who did not drive,
remained at home and drank all day. This led to her verbally abusing her
children while my Dad paid all the bills, did all the shopping, drove all of us
to school, games and practices as we were all athletic. Sports were our outlet.
would stay up all night and call us names saying we would amount to nothing,
that we were losers and come in and out of our rooms all night slamming the
doors. We would come home from school at 3 PM with all of our clothes thrown out
on the front lawn, she yelling at us to “stay out, don’t come in” because she
was drunk and didn’t want to see us. Often times I would wake up at 5am to take
a shower and get ready for school and the first thing I would see was my mom
passed out on the kitchen floor with food all over the floor that she had
drunkenly spilled everywhere.
I would pick
her up, get her to bed and clean the mess.
There was one
day in particular that I will never forget.
We lived on
Walnut in Burlingame and my siblings and I were very young. My mother put us in
the garage and made us eat cereal with milk for dinner out of bowls without
spoons. I remember her telling us “not to come out until I let you.” I remember
saying to my older brother Casey “I’m afraid of the dark, when is she going to
let us out?” He said, “Don’t worry it will be ok,” and where this made me feel
better, I have never been able to shake claustrophobia and remain afraid of the
So I started drinking.
began at the much-too-young age of 11. I distinctly remember having that first
beer, I think all of us that drink remember our first, it was a Budweiser and
from there it did not stop until I was 42 years old September 14th
2009. Do the math — I spent 31 of my 42 years on earth drinking.
From the first
time I drank, I had a euphoric feeling of having no fear. I could do anything.
Approach a girl, be as tough as I wanted and tell anyone to fuckoff and fight,
and most importantly I was no longer afraid of the dark when I drank.
and 8th, grade my good friend Paul was a basketball coach of mine and
I saw him as a role model. He witnessed me drunk and would see me around town
and he would always try his best to lead me down the right path, counsel me, but
I would not listen. Alcohol was too powerful an escape for me.
I could get
away from everything if I had a beer. And at 13 and 14, in 7th and 8th
grade, I would drink every weekend, and some nights during the week (if I could
get out of the house back then). It was easy to get beer. You could get anyone
to buy it for you. By my freshman year of high school I was a full-blown
alcoholic, drinking and getting drunk every time I drank. I took the bus both
ways to Sacred Heart High School, two hours each way with transfers. I would
drink three to four 16 oz. cans of beer on the way home everyday. I bought them
at the liquor store on the corner of Larkin and Ellis. I remember buying beer
back then, just 14, and they never asked me for ID. They just wanted the money.
During my high
school years I coached youth sports at my alma mater, Our Lady of Angels, and
for the Burlingame Recreation Department. I coached baseball for my brother
Shane’s class from 4th grade to their 8th grade years. We
were very, very good and I like to think it was because I had a gift for
teaching and coaching.
passion was coaching basketball. I coached during my high school years, at the
same time I was playing basketball for the Sacred Heart team. I ended up
breaking my elbow in a high school summer league game at Burlingame High between
my Junior and Senior years and required surgery. I was drunk when I broke my
elbow, I had been drinking all day. During my junior year of high school I
transferred to Burlingame High School because I wanted to be close to home.
This year was
filled with binge drinking for weekends at a time and during the week, again, as
many nights as I could get out.
The first time
I found myself in real trouble because of alcohol was during my Junior year at
Burlingame High. Drunk, I was involved in a fight at a football game. The police
were called and I was held in the back of their car until my parents came to get
me. The second time I was drinking before school — beer and shots of Peppermint
Schnapps — and I fell asleep in class.
wake me up. The principal came to get me, took me home and I was suspended from
school for just one day.
drinking wasn’t viewed as that big a problem, I guess. These days, things are
much more stringent and the education system today is much different. Back then,
people just accepted kids and drinking as if it were just a part of growing up.
back to Sacred Heart my senior year. I was cut from the basketball team because
I had surgery on my elbow —this allowed me to turn up the heat on my drinking
given all that extra time I had. It helped me numb the disappointment of not
playing ball, as well. I drank every day on the bus ride home and would continue
into the evening. I’d show up to school hungover and couldn’t wait to get out so
I could get my 16 oz. can of beer. I roamed the streets of the San Francisco’s
Tenderloin because my school was located on its outskirts. I would walk to the
bus everyday hearing gun shots and seeing people get stabbed, I would sit on the
corner of Taylor and Ellis drinking beer with the homeless, prostitutes and drug
dealers. I was lucky in that regard — I never did any other drugs other than
alcohol. I was in many rooms in the Tenderloin with the people I mentioned
above. I saw them shooting heroin, crack — you name it, I saw it. I was there
and they would say kid don’t ever do this. I guess in a way they saved me from
going even deeper into addiction.
I look back
and can honestly say they took me to these rooms not to hurt me but because they
saw a young kid on the street in one of the worst parts of San Francisco
drinking and they’d help me, this kid with nowhere to go.
getting off the bus in the morning and walking to school up Ellis street with my
Sacred Heart letterman’s jacket on and my backpack and the dealers and
prostitutes would all greet me with a “good morning kid… if you have any
problems on the way to school you know where we are. Come get us,” they’d say.
I’d say thanks, see you later, and sure enough I would. I’d get out of school at
2pm and walk down the street get my 16oz and there they were. I would sit, drink
my beer, then go up to one of the rooms before I got on the bus to start my long
trip home. I learned a lot of things then, and it made me very street smart. I
liked these outcasts of society, these people because they would never say bad
things to me like my mom and they accepted me even though I was an alcoholic.
And they knew
it. I guess because I was becoming one of them.
My High School Graduation
coming at St Mary’s Cathedral, a beautiful church, and I showed up to it drunk,
in street clothes. I will never forget this, though — my high school baseball
coach saw me standing outside the church, wasted, and came to me and said
“What’s wrong?” I said, “I’m drunk. I’m
sorry Coach, but I had no one to come with me, my mom and dad didn’t want to
come.” Coach grabbed me and said, “Joe you are graduating with your class.” He
walked me up the steps, put me in the middle of the church with my class, and
said when your name is called you go up and get your diploma.
And I did. I
love him for that. I will never have the words to thank him for that.
Somehow I was
accepted to the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I’m not sure how but I applied
because they had a great basketball team and I just wanted to go there. I was
now away from home living in a dorm. Freedom.
I joined a
fraternity and what a great time I had there. I met some of the greatest guys in
the world but of course as being a part of a frat my drinking escalated. I was
drinking every day, I’m talking some big-time binges where no one would see me
for days. They’d look for me, though.
I was on one
3-day binge at Caesar’s Palace, drinking all day and gambling with money I had
saved from caddying at the golf course in high school. I’d saved a lot but if I
was ever in trouble one of my dorm room friends said “you know where to find
me,” his name was John. He and a couple other guys found me at the casino — I
loved it there — free beers all day and betting on the horses. I won my very
first Kentucky Derby bet in 1986, Ferdinand at 18-1 odds. I had 50 to win and 50
to place and I remember I was so happy I called my Dad and told him.
I only lasted
one year at UNLV. I came home and went to College of Notre Dame. I was a very
good basketball coach and very well liked in the community and people knew I
drank but they didn’t know just how much.
School in Burlingame was looking for a varsity and junior varsity basketball
coach. Judy Biancalana and Pat Casey, mothers of a few kids I coached at OLA,
thought I would be a great fit for this and I was but there was one thing that
stopped me from realizing my true potential here — drinking. I got the job and
both my teams won, a lot, and I was the youngest high school coach in the bay
area at the time at 19.
One game, I
showed up to a game drunk and guess what the two women who got me the job came
to me and said.
ever come to a game drinking again we will have you fired.” This job lasted one
year and I was so thankful to both of them for it. It was an opportunity of a
Trouble with the Law
Now I was home
from UNLV, I began to get into trouble thanks to my drinking. My first few
arrests happened in Burlingame. Drunk in public in 1986. I had one arrest
in Las Vegas for having a fake ID in a bar, which would be my first stint in a
jail, the Clark County detention center. I was there for two days and it was
hell. Locked in with heroin addicts, gang members, you name it. When I got out
at 3am, I went straight across the street and started drinking 99 cent beers.
These first two arrests, the one in Burlingame and the one in Las Vegas, believe
it or not, were only 2 of over 55 times I was detained for either being drunk in
public, DUI, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and more. Some
arrests I was charged, and some I was only held to sober up.
All of them
had one thing in common. Alcohol.
Holding Down a Job
with my jobs and alcohol started in 1987. I was working part time for Delta
Airlines and I came to work hungover and running my mouth in the bathroom about
something or other, and the station manager was there using one of the stalls, I
didn’t see him, and I was swearing and being belligerent. I said to someone that
the station manager was an asshole, and he heard it, called me in his office and
I then was
hired at Northwest Airlines in 1988. I went to their Christmas party and was so
drunk that I fell off a curb and broke my wrist. This required surgery and I was
subsequently fired from that job.
DUIs and more
I have 4 DUIs
to my credit. My first one was in 1989. I was coming out of the Holiday Inn in
Foster City after drinking beers and shots. My blood alcohol was .12. I lost my
license for 30 days and had to work roadside pickup for two days and attend the
First Offender program. No problem, I
thought, that was a fluke and it will never happen again. I even blamed the
police for being jerks, for doing that to me, wronging me. My drinking continued
and my drunk in public arrests continued. I was caddying at the Burlingame
Country Club in Hillsborough.
This is where
I met George, a partner in a group that purchased one of the largest
corporations in the country in 1989. George asked me what I wanted to do in
terms of work and I said I would like to get into sales for a company — he said
bring your resume to my office Monday morning and I did. Two weeks later I had a
job as a sales rep and my start date was to be October 1992. They called me and
said, “Joe, your DUI will not be 3 years old until January — so you can start
then. Come get the company car on January 3rd.”
I did and I
was so happy. I finally made it. I was in sales and I had a company car and I
was working for a great company. Had I finally made my mom proud? Nope.
I was still a loser in her eyes and would never amount to anything. She proved
to be right — I got my second Dui in 1994 coming home after a night of playing
cards at Artichoke Joes and then I was at Harrington’s Pub in San Francisco.
This time I blew a .14. Higher blood alcohol than the first time.
I was renting
an apartment in San Mateo at the time I got fired from the job because I failed
to tell them about the DUI. I had to move back home with my parents. I lost my
license for 1 year. I had to do 16 days of a Sherriff’s work program and attend
the Second Offender Program — for 18 months.
My drunk in
public arrests continued. I was arrested in Millbrae for being drunk and passed
out on a bench in 1995 and ended up kicking the window out of a police car while
handcuffed in the back. Somehow, still living at home, I got a job in Foster
City leasing apartments for a property management company. I was constantly told
by my manager, “Joe you can't come to work smelling like alcohol.” She liked me
because I did a good job but drinking, still, was a huge problem. For some
reason she just never fired me. It was actually a fun job but I remember one of
the residents that lived at the complex came up to me one day because he knew I
was down and out. I had some money because I spent it in bars, I didn’t have a
car or a license. He said “Joe, here’s $50. Take this as a hand up not a hand
out. You’re a good kid. Get your life in order and you will be fine.” I loved
him for doing that. It felt like someone actually cared about me.
never said a nice thing to me. Never held me. Never kissed me. And never said I
love you. These are things that every child should have and hear. But my mother
wasn’t capable. Why? Who knows. But I can tell you this. Alcohol played a major
In 1995, I was
on my way home from work. I was taking the train and I stopped into TGI Friday’s
for my usual few beers while waiting for the train. This is where I met Rachel,
the mother of my daughter. I can remember that night so well. Rachel was there
with her friend Gina, and they did not have enough money for their bill. I took
care of the rest of the bill for them, around $20. They said thanks, where you
heading? I said Burlingame, and they said we live in Burlingame and they dropped
me off at Paddy Flynn's in Burlingame.
back about 15 minutes later and paid me the money back. I never expected that. I
asked for her number and she gave it to me. I called her the next day and we
went out a few times. Not long after that she was pregnant. I was still living
in Millbrae with my parents and Rachel was in Burlingame in a studio apartment.
We decided to get a two bedroom apartment together, to try and make it work. I
remember walking around my parents house figuring out how I was going to tell my
Mom that Rachel was pregnant.
So after four
months I figured I better tell her. She was sitting down at the kitchen table
and I said "Mom, do you have a minute?", she said yes. I was so afraid. She said
“What did you do this time?” And I said nothing bad, but Rachel, my girlfriend
is pregnant. She took her glasses off and said “I have one thing to say to you,
you better take care of that baby.”
My Mom, as
mean as she was to me, loved my daughter even before she was born and was so
good to her until my mother passed in 2007.
I wished I
received that kind of love from my mother. That’s all I wanted. A little
motherly love. Did I have to be told I was loser? That I would amount to
Alexandra, the love of my life, was born on October 25th 1996 and I
started officiating basketball again. This is something I loved. I started doing
grammar school games and high school games again. I called a friend of a
friend, Jim, who was referred to me by one of my longtime friends’ father and
who grew up with Jim and officiated College basketball games. Mike said to call
him and see what he could do. Jim put me in touch with a college basketball
supervisor in the area and came and watched me referee at Skyline College, a
high school game, and he got me into doing both Men’s and Women’s Junior College
basketball games. I moved up the ranks pretty quickly.
At the same
time I accepted a job as a sales rep for a title company, somehow I still got
the job with 2 DUIs and multiple drunk in publics. They loved me there and I was
good at the work but the title business and I were not a good match. There was a
lot of drinking and entertaining and this didn’t help me at all. I eventually
parted ways with the company in 2000. It was basically my drinking and bad
attitude, as well as being told at a couple of functions that I drank too much.
This was embarrassing, but again, alcohol first, right? All during my time there
I was getting drunk in publics, Rachel was at home with a newborn baby and I was
out running around Burlingame drinking all night and getting arrested and not
coming home. Why? Because I was in jail.
forget — I was going to Lake Tahoe with friends for March Madness and I was at
La Piñata that night before, drinking all night while Rachel was at home taking
care of Alexandra, who was sick. My Dad said “If you ever do that again, I will
never speak to you again.” Well it happened over and over. This was just one of
the reasons Rachel asked me to move out in 2000.
By 2000 I had
2 DUIs and over 25 drunk in publics. I was asked nicely to leave the title
company and I wasn’t fired but really, I was, and Rachel threw me out.
At the time I
had some money saved. I was living on a friend’s couch and I got a job at a
different title company and I landed on my feet. I even bought a house in
Belmont with two friends in February 2001.
Even as I
landed on my feet —I was really drinking even more. I was single, out and about
every night, going to the racetrack every day, I loved the horses and I felt
like I was on top of the world. I was making good money, I was officiating
college basketball and my half of the mortgage was minimal. I had money to blow
on booze and horses and blackjack in Vegas and the Peppermill in Reno. There
were times where I would be betting $5,000 a hand if I was up. I would bet
$1,000 to win and place on a horse in a blink of an eye. My mindset was one of a
I had a
4-year-old daughter at home and I should have been saving that money for her
education but in my mind I was single and living the life. I didn’t care at all.
All while this was going on I was moving up in officiating and doing well at my
In 2002 I was
arrested for my 3rd DUI in San Mateo. I was leaving my girlfriend's
house and got nailed with a BAC of .18. The pattern was clear — with each DUI, a
higher blood alcohol. My drinking was just getting worse every year because at
the time I was making more money every year — more to spend on booze and my
destructive path. Now, every weekend consisted of drinking until 2 am and then
back at the bar at 6am. My saying was that 2am came too fast and 6am did not
come fast enough in Joe Cody’s world.
My drunk in
publics continued. I always worried that someone from work would see the local
newspaper and see the arrest blog with my name in it but luckily no one did or
at least no one said anything.
relationship with Rachel was always turbulent because of my drinking. She wanted
the best for Alexandra and I had basically 50% custody and visitation but Rachel
always worried about my drinking and as Alexandra got older she started to see
what was going on. She was getting scared to be around me. Alexandra would never
say it to me but she would to Rachel. I was in my own world. At the time I
didn’t even notice and if I did, I would blame someone else.
In 2005 I was
terminated from my job and I had to have ankle surgery. I was on disability, on
my crutches and found myself on a date in San Mateo when I fell out of my date's
car on St. Patrick’s day and snapped my wrist. The ambulance took me to the
hospital and they had to wait three days to do the surgery because my blood
alcohol was too high.
had three surgeries on that wrist. So now, I’ve had 4 surgeries on my left wrist
from drunken falls.
Wrongful Termination = Money to
A friend of
mine told me “Joe, I think you have a good case for wrongful termination from
your job.” Long story short, after about a year and a half of back and forth I
was awarded a sizable settlement. I was living the high life at this time. I had
money. I never thought it would go away.
How wrong I
was. I withdrew my 401k along with the settlement and credit card advances and I
went into betting on race horses. I was at Bay Meadow Racetrack everyday
drinking and gambling on horses. My day would consist of getting to the bar at
6am for a few beers. Gates at the track would open at 10am and I’d bet on East
Coast tracks until the local racing started at 1pm.
I would drink
all day. The live racing would end at around 5 and I would either stay and bet
the evening simulcast races or go straight to The Vans Restaurant to meet
friends for drinks. Then I would do it all over again the next day. Wednesday
through Sunday. The track was closed Monday and Tuesday. From March 2007 until
August 2008 I went through about $600,000 in cash — blown gambling and drinking.
Soon I was
broke. $600,000 gone in months. I could not make house payments, credit card
payments, car payments etc. I was living in Belmont in the house I partially
owned. In November 2008 I moved out without notifying my roommate; he went to
work and I moved to Sacramento to be closer to my daughter.
One reason I
left was that I could not afford my half of the payment on the house and was
falling behind on my bills, I was embarrassed and couldn’t tell my roommate. I
really wish I didn’t do this, because I left him in a bad spot and at the time I
was a Mortgage Broker in San Mateo. The owners of the business took care of me
and would give me cash advances against my commissions to help me pay rent, gas
and for food. Bob had a motor home he parked in the back of the office and many
nights I would sleep there or on the office floor next to my desk, drunk of
Now, I was
living in Sacramento and doing loans in San Mateo, driving down two hours each
way with no traffic and going back up. 2008 and 2009 were terrible years for the
mortgage business and I was not making any money. My boss was like a father
figure to me, I loved him and he would do anything for me. I would call him at
all times of the night drunk, at his home or while he was in the firehouse in
San Francisco (he was also a fire fighter) and he often said he was worried sick
about me when I was out drinking.
He, to this
day, has been one of my biggest supporters.
in Sacramento in June of 2009 I was drunk and called Rachel at home to complain
about my visitation and she would hang up on me. This would infuriate me. I’d
call Rachel’s father at home and he spoke to me and I said “what do you guys
want me to do? Kill myself? Should I get a gun and blow my head off?” He called
the Citrus Heights PD to check on me, when they came I was not home.
The next day
Rachel filed for a restraining order against me, which meant I couldn’t see my
daughter at all. A few days later on a Friday I was at my daughters swim
practice and the police showed up and served me with a restraining order.
I was so mad I
went home and started drinking. I called a friend and he said do not do anything
stupid. Well I went out and drank all night at a local bar. When I woke up
Saturday morning I stared drinking first thing. I had plans to go to the Cal
Expo Center for the Belmont Stakes.
I was with a
friend drinking all day and was really drunk. I was getting into arguments with
people, swearing, doing everything under the sun that a horrible drunk does. I
decided to go to the car to sleep it off and for some reason I decided to drive
off instead. Well, a women had notified security that I was drunk staggering to
the car as I was driving to the exit at Cal Expo and the police were waiting for
me. I ignored them and drove right by. They eventually pulled me over and called
the Highway Patrol to perform the field sobriety test which I failed.
DUI number 4.
This time , a blood alcohol of .30, over three times the legal limit. Thank God
I didn’t kill anyone. I was released the next day. At this time I knew I had a
restraining order court date in Yolo County and a drunk driving case in
Sacramento County, to make matters worse I came home a few weeks later and there
was a letter in the mail from the DA’s office in Sacramento notifying me that
there was a warrant for my arrest. In April that year I was at a card room in
Citrus Heights, drunk, and when I walked to my car, security tried to stop me
from driving. I fought three security guards and they notified the Citrus
Heights PD. It took 5 police officers to restrain me. They used pepper spray,
that eventually stopped me. The only
reason I was not taken to jail that night was that they took me to the hospital
I was charged
with a drunk in public, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. My
attorney had both cases heard at the same time and in July 2009 I was convicted
of my 4th DUI and assaulting a police officer. My sentence was 4 days
in Elk Grove Correctional Facility, and 14 days Sheriff Work Program and yet
again, the second offender drinking and driving program.
without a license for a year, I moved back to San Mateo, still having to go back
to Woodland to court for the restraining order. I showed up to court and Rachel
was there with her whole family and Alexandra. This was the first time I sat on
one side of the room and Alexandra was on the other side. She had a look of fear
on her face that I will never forget.
I had failed
miserably as a father, but still, I would not admit it, I could not let anyone
see it. NO way. I was going to fight all the way to the end.
Thoughts of Suicide, a Light at
the End of the Tunnel
Taking my own
life was a very serious thought at this point. The restraining order was granted
for three years and I could not see my daughter until the end of her Junior year
of high school. I was sick to my stomach but I had not stopped drinking. It was
the only thing that would take away the pain of being a complete failure.
My next stop
was Elk Grove Correctional Facility and this is no playground, it is prison in
every sense of the word. I had to do two weekends from Friday at 6am until
Sunday at 6pm. This is where I was isolated from the world and had time to
reflect on my life and the way I was living.
But I had a
revelation. I had a choice. Stay stuck in prison, and never see my daughter or I
would change, stop drinking, get healthy, and most importantly have an actual
relationship with my daughter. Jail is where I made my decision to stop
I made a plan.
I had a goal. To have a relationship with my daughter as soon as possible. A
plan without a goal equals nothing to me, and a goal without a plan means the
same. I walked out of jail Sunday September 14th 2009 and made a
promise to myself I would never drink again and I’ve stuck to it.
Father Bob and the Plan
I did three
things that changed my life and my direction.
sought spiritual counseling from Father Bob McElroy at St. Gregory’s church in
San Mateo. Father Bob, who is now a Bishop, was from Burlingame and his brother
Walter was in my brother Casey’s class at Our Lady of Angels.
Father Bob and
I would meet once a week or so for about a hour in the rectory and I could talk
to him about anything. It was such a safe, peaceful environment and for the
first time I could talk about the issues I was facing from childhood to the
present and he listened and gave me advice. The most important thing he told me
was “Joe, you can't live a life full of guilt. Get rid of it. It will kill you.”
He was absolutely right. I spoke to Father Bob about my relationship with
Alexandra and this helped mend our relationship, she and I, immensely.
thing I did was enroll in youth services in San Mateo Counseling for parents
with issues in their relationships with their children. I wanted to be a better
father. I wanted my daughter to look up to me and be proud that I was her
father, not embarrassed of me. I entered an Anger Management program at OHS
where my DUI classes were. I completed my Anger Management in 8 weeks and I was
still doing my parenting classes and seeing Father Bob.
2009, I went to San Mateo Family Court Services to see what I could possibly do
to see my daughter and I explained that Yolo County imposed a three-year
restraining order against me. They informed me that their order was erroneous as
I had a visitation order and that the judge was wrong in Yolo in issuing that
They helped me
fill out the paperwork. I filed it in Yolo County and I had a court date with
Rachel in December 2009. Prior to the court date, I had been sober for four
months, and I was very nervous. The judge admitted he a made a mistake and he
ordered that I could see Alexandra.
very upset and I can now understand why. At the time, I did not care. I just
wanted to see my daughter. So we made a date where we would meet at Fudrucker’s
across from the Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights on December 19th. I
would take Alexandra shopping at the mall. Since I did not have a license, a
girlfriend of mine, Paige, drove me. I remember meeting with Father Bob the day
before I was going to see Alexandra for the first time in 6 months and asking
Father Bob "What should I do if she does not come up to me". He said “Joe do not
worry. Kids love both of their parents, and by what you are telling me she is a
very good child.” He continued to say that he would be surprised if she did not
Father Bob was
up and Alexandra got out of the car and she was happy to see me and we had such
a great time. I remember it like it was yesterday. Paige left us alone in the
mall, Alexandra and I, and I did not know exactly how to word it but I told
Alexandra “You know I love you and I didn’t mean to make you scared. I have not
had a drink in 4 months". Her eyes lit up like Christmas tree lights and she was
so happy. She said “Dad it’s okay, I know you don’t mean it, you just get mad
This blew me
away. She had just taught me what unconditional love really was and is.
I had a great
couple hours with her. I dropped Alexandra off to Rachel and said I will see you
soon she gave me a hug and kiss and said "I love you". On December 31st
Rachel and I met in family law court in San Mateo, Alexandra was present, and
the judge sent us to mediation and they mediator interviewed Rachel first and
then me and then Alexandra. The mediator asked me if I was an alcoholic and just
like Rachel did, I said yes I am. I had not drank since September 14th
and I made the point that being an alcoholic does not make me a bad person. Or a
asked me if I had a drivers license. I said no. She said how do you plan on
seeing your daughter. I said I will have my brother drive me so the arrangement
we made was I could see Alexandra every other Sunday for 4 hours until I got my
license back. I had to have a licensed driver drive the car. After the mediator
met with Alexandra, her recommendation to the judge was that Alexandra wanted to
see both parents. She explained my situation and I did as well — saying it was
all part of my plan.
After I got my
license back in July 2009, Rachel and I worked out the visitation where we would
meet in Vallejo, (halfway) every other weekend for me to see Alexandra.
back on things, Rachel was very accommodating, she was just looking out for the
best interests of our daughter.
The next step
in my plan next step was to get a job, and I did. I was hired at A&B Produce in
August of 2010 as a salesman where I still work today.
I have built a
great support group of family and friends who all love me and care about me. I
live by the principals of Alcoholics Anonymous but I do not attend meetings. I
tried years ago and it just wasn’t for me. Everyone has to do what works for
them. If I ever feel like I need to go to a meeting I certainly will, I just
know what works for me. The plan I made. I had a goal and I made a promise to
myself and I have been successful in keeping it.
preached this when I was coaching all those years, so I figured if I preach it I
better start living it. Rachel is and always has been a great mother to
Today I am the
happiest I have ever been I have been sober since September 14th
2009. All of my relationships are great — with my family, friends and loved
ones, and most importantly, my relationship with Alexandra is amazing. I am
happy to say my relationship with Rachel and her family is great too, and I am
allowed to attend family functions for the first time. Rachel allowed me in her
home for Alexandra’s prom. I felt so good that Alexandra could see her parents
get along for the first time in years.
As people hear
my story, they have been encouraging me to reach out to companies, schools and
youth groups to share my story. The prospect of helping others would be an
honor, and I think that my story can affect people in a positive manner.
This is the
final step in my plan and I can’t wait to begin.