Danny is a born and bred New Yorker, who grew up in "D'Bronx" and has lived most of his life in the borough of Queens, New York City. He now lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, with his wife Nancy and two children, Danny Jr. and Kristen. Danny is an alcoholic.
He refers to himself as a "Recovered alcoholic" - no longer suffering from the malady. He got sober for the first time in 1997 and then again in 1999. He has been sober since.
He was raised a Catholic, attending Catholic schools most of his life. Far from being any sort of religious fanatic he considers himself to be a Christian, although he does not belong to any formal religion nor does he attend church services. Danny has been against organized religions for himself, but he does attribute his sobriety and contented life to the power of God and Christ and believes his sobriety to be miraculous.
Once a "Practicing Agnostic" he says he had a "white light" spiritual experience one night after coming out of an alcoholic blackout and hasn't had a drink since. Forty-four days after this life-changing event, the desire to drink left him completely.
He contends that almost any alcoholic can be shown how to bring about the same experience, as quickly as it came to him. He insists that ones own conception of God is all that anyone need to believe in order to make a beginning and that another's conception need not ever be pushed or required.
He is flatly against the notion that alcoholics will always be "recovering" - and that they will be sick and insane for the rest of their lives, as many had proposed to him early on. He attributed his early inability to stay sober on such concepts, which he says is harming people.
Danny prefers to call alcoholism a "malady" (I have heard him use the term "disease" many times.) rather than a disease and has been publicly critical of those who lump drug addiction together with alcoholism as the same disease, especially the treatment center industry. He does not think that ALL treatment centers are bad. "But I have experienced some very ineffective places", he hastens to add.
He first began writing in the 70s when he landed a job as publicist and advertising director for a Bronx produce company. He wrote advertising copy and press releases for the company until 1982 when he left to start his own weekly tabloid newspaper where he was Editor-in Chief - "The Fruit & Vegetable Reporter."
He wrote most of the tabloids feature stories and much of the news copy. He left the paper when he decided he didn't get along with the ad manager and his partner, who was nearly fifty years, his senior. (Coincidently, this was also the time that he started drinking heavily)
Danny spent the next ten years importing and selling fruit and vegetables to supermarket chains. He worked on Wall Street in New York City in the mid eighties through the nineties, as a stockbroker (First with JT Moran, the stock brokerage firm which was the subject of the movie "Boiler Room") and later as an Investment Banker and Officer at a Broker-Dealer firm.
The late 90s found Danny and his wife leaving New York City for Cape Cod, Massachusetts where he worked for New York Life Insurance Company selling life insurance and investments until 2004 year when he decided he would quit the Financial Services Industry and follow advice he had been hearing for years:
"Do what you would be doing for free anyway".
He had already been working with alcoholics, writing about alcoholism and recovery - and breeding thoroughbred racing pigeons. He now is a fulltime writer, developing several fiction and non-fiction works, and popular Blog featuring topics on alcoholism and recovery as well as working as a published, freelance Business and Finance writer for The Barnstable Patriot, Cape Cod's oldest weekly newspaper.
During this transition, Danny also began working three days a week for the local rehab center, Gosnold on Cape Cod, aiding addiction counselors with rehabilitating alcoholics and drug addicts. But he was fired for his controversial experiences with alcoholism and recovery. "Too much zeal" was the official reason given. Danny says, "I thought I had misheard them. They have this great cafeteria and employees are allowed to eat all they want - I thought the Director said I had too much veal".
They really did mean that Danny had too much zeal - too much passion for recovery from alcoholism, which threatened the "trained" counselors and aids that in Danny's words "are well meaning but they are counseling people about something they know nothing about". "They can be seriously incompetent and are killing real alcoholics in the process." he adds. These ideas are expounded upon without malice in his latest nonfiction work, "Strangely Insane"
Later he was fired from another Addictions Treatment institution, Highpoint for his writings - in particular the editorial content of the over five-hundred articles published in "Frunobulax57".
Danny is 6' 1" and is of Irish-English ancestry. He weighs about 240 pounds, a fact which he laments, since he considers himself to be too overweight. He plans to start working out in a real gym, although he does exercise daily in his pool, doing laps. The Schwarzhoffs live in a large 130 year old Victorian style home that he jokingly calls "The Schwarzhoff Compound" due to its close proximity to the Kennedys.
In good weather, Danny can be found poolside, under umbrella, writing. He uses a Toshiba laptop with MS-Word. He writes about 2-3000 words a day, non inclusive of his freelance newspaper reporting, or his time online moderating numerous recovery related groups which are dedicated toward helping others recover from alcoholism.
Several years ago he was diagnosed as being seriously afflicted with ADD. He is prescribed Adderal, amphetamine salts, which he takes mostly everyday, and he finds it to be a great help. (*Except when he skips it like he does and then starts up again, and backspins!) Danny does not consider ADD an illness but regrets not being diagnosed at a younger age, and believes he might have finished college had he had medication when he was in his twenties. He'll never know.
Since 9/11 he has also been treated very successfully for anxiety and depression, the two most prevalent illnesses that most alcoholics must address once they recover. Danny Schwarzhoff is a recovered alcoholic and a writer by trade.
He is not an authority on ANY recovery methods or organizations, God, alcoholism or spirituality nor does he speak or write in representation of anyone but himself. He is not a member of any organized religion or cult and has no axe to grind. He does however express his experience and observations based upon that experience as a RECOVERED alcoholic. He does not write as a form of "twelve step" work for Alcoholics Anonymous.
By Nancy Lee Schwarzhoff
A personal note from Nancy: I am so grateful to have gotten my husband back. We have been married now for almost thirty years. He became someone I no longer recognized; certainly not the wonderful guy I fell in love with; who made me laugh, who held doors for me, who was truthful and honest; who was going to go out into the world and make a difference - who loved me and didn't mind showing it. I lost that guy, during the years that he drank. To anyone who has an alcoholic spouse I truly hope you find what my husband has stumbled into. The joy and serenity that has come back is truly a second chance for both of us.
I hope we all enjoy his new book. (He swears he will start looking for a publisher soon!) On the too few occasions that he gives me a few pages to read I end up laughing and crying all on the same page. (I am sure he does that on purpose, knowing him like I do) Then again I went through much of it. So much he never let me know about. He kept so much inside of him. He became secretive and I wondered "How could I have been so mistaken about him?" I questioned whether he loved me at all and what I did to cause him to turn the way he seemed to be. We had no idea what was happening to him. To us.
Even though Dan has been writing his whole life, this is his first attempt at a real book. When he started it a little over a year ago, I knew in my heart that it was something he should do and have been as supportive (through my fears) as I could. I was shocked when suddenly he said he had over 200,000 words written! How he did that, I don't know. I guess there is still much I don't know about him as a RECOVERED alcoholic. I am sure he would have started it and given up in our old life. Things are still changing for us everyday.
Although it may or may not be a best seller; it may not conform what to some people think they already know about alcoholics, I will tell you that it is all true and amazing to me. Even his newfound recovered friends are just the most amazing, larger than life wonderful people I have ever met in my life. Believe it or not, even the still sick ones he brings here to the house, still drunk!
Danny gets some pretty heavily criticism for being so outspoken. I must say, he does have a knack for cutting to the chase. This bothers some people, especially other unrecovered drunks - who do not even know him past his writings. But if they can deal with their own sensitivities, as I have learned, they will find my husband to be a loving and generous man with a passion for sobriety like none we can imagine. And it is only because of sobriety that it shows. Again.
I know Danny's talk. He certainly does not walk his own talk a hundred percent. He is far from being a saint. Not on your life! But he does seem to have a skill for catching it before too much harm can come of it. And he helps an awful lot of people. I do admire that in him. But do not ever let him tell you that he walks the talk twenty-four hours a day.
There are second chances in life, happiness, and family. It is waiting for you, inside of you. I hope you find it.
- Love Always, Nancy