The Painting and the Piano is an improbable story of survival and love. Growing up more than a thousand miles apart and worlds away from each other, Johnny and Adrianne seemed to have all that children could ask for. However, the demons of their respective mothers would tear their fragile young lives apart. Eventually, destiny would bring Johnny and Adrianne together, but first they had to endure the painful toll that alcohol, drugs, and a negligent court system would take on them. With parts of Adrianne’s story ripped from national news headlines, their story takes them from the depths of despair and near death to their first serendipitous introduction and the moment each knew they were finally safe. Filled with hope, inspiration, and humor, The Painting and the Piano is an unforgettable story of pain, loss, and the undying human quest for happiness.
Today is January 5th, 2017 and I couldn't possibly be more grateful. I keep this passage from our book very fresh in my mind, in fact whenever I give a talk I start with it. I never ever want to forget how far down I had gone. I attribute many things to my 18 years of sobriety but this ranks near the top. I really do not even recognize the person described in this passage. Thank God Mrs. Godfrey picked up the phone when I called and made an appointment for me or I doubt I would be here today. At that one second in time I was open and willing enough to listen to someone else and take a suggestion where I hadn't the previous 25 years of active drinking. I have a long way to go but I believe I am a much changed and better person today. I still have serious regrets about my past and I sincerely want to express my apologies to all those I hurt during my rampage. What an amazing life I have today and as long as I stay on the path I know all will be well. Thank you all for your support and patience!
Here I am again in the same boat, weaning off of pain medication following another back surgery. I never want to have that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that I had in the past ever again. What is different? Today I have a tool kit which includes: A twelve step program, many friends for support and a higher power that fills that God shaped hole I had prior to the program. I know I will make it and resume my normal life. I just need a little patience, faith and help from others.
Because of the Thanksgiving nature of this excerpt I decided to release this bubble today on Thanksgiving Day 2016. This is how the title, The Painting and The Piano, eventually came to be. I remember like it was yesterday when I came home and Adrianne had the piano set up and my memories from 40 years ago as a little boy came rushing back. I also remember the rest of my family seeing the piano for the first time in 40 years and their reaction. I have fond memories of recent Thanksgivings when my family would come over and we would smoke, deep fry and bake a turkey. Both Adrianne and I are so grateful this Thanksgiving. We just received notification that we were Winners in two categories of The Beverly Hills Book Awards: Inspiration and Addiction
I had to look like a deer in headlights. The girls moved in with their 3 dogs, one being a St. Bernard, Elway like the quarterback. The first night Elway was running in the front yard along the street, hit the mailbox and knocked it completely over. I had it replaced with a brick one and a few weeks later he came in with a cut over his eye. I knew what had happened and smiled just a little. Also on the first night the girls had friends over to spend the night to show off their new crib. They were everywhere, yelling, screaming, laughing and having a grand old time. I truly thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I was used to a very quite existence and started wondering if I hadn't made a huge mistake. The next morning I had a chat with Adrianne and said, "There have to be some rules!" The girls stay in the basement and the dogs have to stay in their rooms and no friends allowed. I mean't it the other way around. I was frazzled. Today we laugh about it.
When I read this passage it reminds me of when I lived in constant fear. It's so refreshing knowing what I know today that I don't ever have to live that way ever again. In sobriety I have learned to turn things over to a higher power. I am never alone, I can call my sponsor or a friend and I know this to shall pass. I'm so grateful for my life today.
Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Time to try something new, take some advice and trust the process. I was scared to death to be 100% honest with Adrianne. I didn't want to lose her because of my past actions but in order to have a healthy, long lasting relationship I had to try something new. I was sick and tired of hurting people so I rolled the dice. The result was miraculous and what an incredible life I have today with Adrianne. My past has been exposed and I don't have to hide from it. I quit doing the same thing over and over again and the result was completely different. How freeing it is to be completely honest with myself and all those around me.
Fresh out of rehabilitation it probably wasn't my best decision to attend a club swim meet involving cocktails. They told me to change my play pens and play mates and here I was back in the thick of it.
By far and away the best memory I had when writing our book was that of my best friend Lizzy. I treasured my childhood with her and loved her like she was my Mom, which in a way she was. Rest in peace Lizzy until we meet again in heaven. Thank you for protecting and loving me. Your blond haired little boy, Johnny, John David or Master John.
When my biological father, Herb, asked me if I was happy, I think of course I am but little did I know my life was going to take a drastic turn. That my childhood that I so loved would never be the same. My innocence was over.
My first six weeks of the twelve step program of Alcoholics Anonymous was miserable. I wasn't sure if I was going to stick around long enough for a transformation to take place and then my outpatient counselor suggested that I write a letter to my Mother. This excerpt from our book, The Painting and The Piano, is my burning bush, my metamorphosis, the reason why I am sober and have such a great life today. When I sponsor men or if someone seeks me out to change their lives I almost always make it mandatory that they write a similar letter. From my experience almost all adult issues go back to childhood and in more cases than not the relationship they had with their mother.
We had already started writing our book when this scene took place between my step-sister, Chandler, and I. I literally had to pull the car over and reflect on this revelation because it is the foundation for our entire book.
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