Season 6, Episode
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Addiction: Alcohol (beer)
What’s memorable: You know, what’s interesting about Jeff is that his addiction was so clearly a direct result of a traumatic work-related incident. It wasn’t just exacerbated by it, it was CREATED by it as a response to the trauma. He was a hero and family man until this one thing, and now he’s lost everything. It’s lovely how much his firefighter friends are looking after him even as he pushes them away, and it’s harrowing how he can see himself losing everything and can’t stop it. This is one episode that truly frightens me, in that any one of us can experience something so profoundly traumatizing that we can at any time become an addict in need of an intervention.
Here’s an interesting article about Jeff’s story in relation to firefighting PTSD.
Official Synopsis: Forty-year-old Jeff was once known as a heroic firefighter after he saved his partner’s life. But Jeff was traumatized by the harrowing event, and his drinking increased drastically. Jeff has received two DUI’s and been rushed to the hospital numerous times for seizures. Jeff’s alcoholism has also forced his son and wife to move out. Now his family’s last hope is that an intervention will stop Jeff from drinking himself to death.
Original Air Date: June 2009
The location of this episode is actually Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. The hotel that was used for the intervention is the Fredericton Crown Plaza aka the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel. He has become somewhat well known around the Fredericton area regarding his recovery. Here is a story about it http://istopdrinking.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/firefighting-hero-promotes-funding-for-addiction-programs-to-help-save-our-own/
Any single one of us can fall victim to PTSD that leads to addiction. Many think only soldiers of war get it . Wrong . Rape victims , abuse victims , survivors and witnesses of violence , doctors, police , firemen , parents who lose children ….. anybody .I was normal one day then the horror of family witnessing Columbine and an abusive husband and me divorcing caused PTSD . I developed cancer , was homesless and became a severe addict . In a million years nobody would have thought me . I got help and got clean but the pain of Columbine never left.
I got PTSD from rape and am still feeling very stuck. I don’t feel like the same person anymore. I can relate to Jeff’s story a lot because of that. My addiction started as a result of my PTSD as well and I don’t know that I will ever be “over” it. It’s been over 7 years and I still hurt every single day and feel very hopeless. I’ve been to the level of despair that Jeff felt many times. I’ve been to rehab, therapy, tried like 30 different meds, been hospitalized for suicidal tendencies, and still feel so broken and don’t even know what to do. I’m on methadone so heroin isn’t a problem now but the pain never goes away. I think many people don’t realize that when it comes to PTSD, addiction is a symptom of a much bigger disease.
Sorry I only read half of this. I.hope your better
Your blatant insensitivity is kind of pathetic. Have some compassion and understanding.
YOU’RE kind of pathetic, chris! so rude. who are you to belittle someone’s pain? oooooh so many things i want to say and do right now……..
I think tazz was responding to the first comment stating they only read half the post
Excellent post! Never thought About doctors and witnesses of violence you are so right. Thank you for sharing this
Favourite episode. It’s a
I don’t think I’ve seen someone so far gone, who gave up so much, who is also in that much denial, with so many people who love him. So many extremes in Jeff’s story and yet everyone is so stereotypically Canadian in how they deal with it (very polite!). Which worked!
I got chills all over when I saw that his recovery center was Edgewood in Nanaimo. That’s where I live! Throughout the episode I kept thinking how there was something so familiar about him. I literally thought the words “I feel like I’ve seen him before…” Now I’m wondering if I ever interacted with him at one point! Eeee! So uplifting indeed.
I’m going to apply to Edgewood now.
Are there any updates? I just saw this episode now and would love to know how he’s doing. I have PTSD and understand how it can cripple your life.
He was in an article last year talking about a relapse, but had sought help & was doing well at that time. He’s spoken about how PTSD affects first responders & is still working with the Fredericton fire department.
I had the privilege of working under Jeff when I did my on the job training while attending the fire academy at Holland College. One slow Sunday afternoon, he sat me down in the office at the station, and just talked about keeping my head up, and the dangers of PTSD. Little did I know how much that talk would affect me, as less then a month later I responded to my first fatality call with my volunteer fire department in the summer of 2012. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD in 2016. The talk I had with Jeff that afternoon has helped me cope, and help others to cope. Amazing person to spend an afternoon with, would trust him with my life.
Is Jeff still sober?
How do you know
My dad was a fireman paramedic for 30 years. I think he has PTSD like you. Stay sober Jeff.
I’m so glad he made it. I thought I wouldn’t and die. I’m glad for his wife too and I hope that his son is doing well.
Many members of my family live in the Acadian peninsula.
He seems to be doing better.
His Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeff.mack.37625
I’m glad he’s doing better but was surprised to see he and Lorena separated. They seemed like a solid pair.
Thankfully he had surgery to remove an aneurysm, that’s so scary. Hope he is doing better now
Looks.like a really good guy. Hope it all works out for him.
Seems to be having a health issue but is in recovery.
Wishing him all the best for the future
He had a RTA which gave him an aneurism. He’s put on quite a bit of weight too.
What a sweet guy and how sad to see the deep pain he’s in. And incredible how loved he is by his family, friends, ex colleagues, but I always feel for him how they all started to attack him whenever they met, I understand it was coming for a good place but of course, you could see it just made him feel more shame and drove him away. I really hope he is in a good place mentally, he deserves the best
I don’t cry on too many of these episodes I’ve been watching them since season one For the second time and I am now on this episode and I probably only cried from season one till now maybe on four episodes but this one I’ve cried the hardest and it seems like every time either the brother or his captain Rob that he saved we talk to him and they were crying it would just make me bawl. I wanted to just look them all up and make sure everyone’s alive and well I didn’t look at the brother up but I looked The captain up he looks very happy and well and his ex-wife looks happy as well and doing really good I think it said she was a paramedic and then of course I looked Jeff up and I’m hoping that he’s also doing well it’s hard to tell he doesn’t post on Facebook all too much… I wish everyone on this episode lots of happiness and peace and love ❤️
Hi it’s Jeff from the show.
Yes I am doing alright thanks! I returned to being a firefighter and in 2017 I became a fire inspector and investigator. I have dealt with some health issues and am currently on LTD with neuropathy.
It warms my heart to see people are still wishing me well and wondering how I am. Yes it can be beaten provided that you NEVER GIVE UP!
I think about your episode often. I pray you are doing well. 🙂
~I’m currently watching your episode~