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017 - Bryan Hedin from Renaissance Ranch Recovery

Bryan Hedin joins us from The Renaissance Ranch to share his recovery story and the work they are doing at the ranch. He talks about the challenges of the “Jekyll and Hyde” lifestyle, the language of recovery, the shame of inauthenticity and not measuring up, and being a people pleaser. Enjoy.

The Illuminate Recovery Podcast is about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Recovery. Shining light on ways to cope, manage, and inspire. Beyond the self care we discuss, you may need the help of a licensed professional. Curt Neider and Shelley Mangum are a part of Illuminate Billing Advocates. They are committed to helping better the industry and adding value to the lives of listeners by sharing tools, insights, and success stories of those who are working on their mental health.

Transcript (no grammar): everyone can benefit from the principles of recovery brian hendon joins us from the renaissance ranch to share his recovery story and the work they are doing at the ranch he talks about the challenges of the jekyll and hyde lifestyle the language of recovery the shame of inauthenticity and not measuring up and being a people pleaser enjoy welcome to the illuminate recovery podcast we shed light on mental health issues mental illness and addiction recovery ways to cope manage and inspire beyond the self-care we will discuss you may need the help of a licensed professional my name is kurt knighter i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i'm shelley mangum i am a clinical mental health counselor and my favorite role of all times is grandma i am a seeker of truth and i feel like life should be approached with tremendous curiosity i ask the dumb questions i fill in the gaps all right we're super thrilled today to have brian heaton with us he is the executive director at renaissance ranch treatment centers and he's been in this industry a long time brian thanks for joining us absolutely privileged to be here it's kind of fun um it's kind of fun to hear people's stories and to you know to connect in this covered world um even if it is over over a video conference absolutely yeah it's going to be fun so maybe give our listeners a little bit of background um you know kind of where you come from and how do you end it up where you're at right now okay um i'm a utah boy i was born in logan up north my parents are both from cache valley i love cache valley i was born into a really good family you know i my story's not full of um well i'll just say that i was born into a phenomenal family both immediate um four siblings three brothers and a young the youngest is a sister um and uh you know grew an extended family as well i mean i gotta include them grandparents um aunts uncles dozens of cousins on both sides i was one of the older cousins born into a pretty structured religious family lds so that was part of life uh growing up was was definitely you know um there was there was it was just kind of the standard and i didn't know any different and i think it's a good way to grow up you know i in a lot of ways i think it's complex but um it can be complex but um the standards and values and structure and and suggestions writer i think are all come from a good place and still do but you know grew up playing sports baseball mostly soccer swimming basketball football cub scouts scout camp um having fun with your buddies really just just there's nothing in my childhood that would you know on the surface scream out you know this guy's gonna get into heroin when he's older you know you know high school junior high high school dances i mean tons of friends really good social life i i did always kind of have this and i didn't really know at the time what it was but just kind of this underlying apprehension or fear of not being enough or not achieving enough or not hitting the checking all the boxes or um or or just not being good enough you know i always felt like i kind of fell short and that was in the midst of um you know if if my kids were to um do some of the things that that i was doing as far as accomplishments in sports or school i mean i was a good enough student i um i was decent at sports and but i always even even so felt like um like i just wasn't doing good enough you know my standards for myself my expectations for myself were very high and that didn't really come from like my father wasn't a um a driver you know he didn't really push me and put a lot of pressure on me my mom didn't put a lot of pressure on me it was kind of from myself you know it was kind of if i went three for four in a baseball game which is very good i would be bummed that i didn't go four for four um you know and and if i you know if i was playing golf and i um bogeyed the last hole i would that was what would stick with me rather than how i played the previous 17 which was pretty good you know things like that i would always focus on well gosh man if you could just be a little bit better um if you could be a little bit taller a little bit stronger you know a little bit faster like your life would be okay um so so you know life was um my childhood was great and i was i'm kind of a silver spooned spoiled like people bailed me out a lot um that's part of my story i didn't i wasn't um you know running the streets of farmington utah you know you know when people ask me where i grew up i say you know it was really hard we had to like remember the the code to the pool and sometimes you forgot it and you'd have to figure out what the new code was to get into the swimming pool you know and and i joke about that because it's funny it's like at the time i didn't know how privileged i was you know um and you you just kind of don't see that until you keep living life um i got into uh i got into substances um 13 14 started experimenting um doing weird stuff i mean i was i was um rolling up uh like pine needles and leaves in in party blowers and and smoking with my friends as cigars you know just kind of behaving just kind of acting out you know and and always really curious you know i think i've always been um just a very curious kind of daydreamer and so that's i think some of that comes from that i do also have alcoholism in it through extended family and immediate family i mean two of my brothers have been to treatment my father's been to treatment and so there's definitely an there's a current under underneath all of this there's definitely some mental health stuff going on um but you know it kind of similar to a lot of other stories i just i started experimenting and um there's a couple things that that happened because of that it was um i was going against um values that i had grown up with which was we don't do that um and part of that was pressure um that yeah we don't do that so some of that was just what i was being told and but some of that was was was personal to me like i believed that too i did have experiences growing up that were genuine with uh with my higher power so i started having this conflict this kind of jekyll and hyde um you know i want to be a man of god but i also kind of like to make my own cigars you know as a as a 14 year old not a lot of room in between those two um those two guys so i that double life thing that i started doing um because i didn't know how to be honest about it it was terrifying to to be vulnerable and transparent with you know parents or or you know mentors or friends or friends parents or just kind of your little community it's like i'm never i'm never telling them that side of things you know i'm going to i'm going to drink some vodka and get sick and and party on the weekend and and then you know go to church and bless sacrament and play that part too and i think that [ __ ] causes so much internal conflict you know i mean and and again i didn't know it at the time i was just kind of getting used to carrying around massive amounts of shame and getting kind of jaded with how much shame you're carrying around and um gosh that's such a such a tricky way to live well and when you don't have any any frame of reference right you have no idea that's what's happening you're just you're just doing the best you know how to do and you know curiosity definitely gets us to a lot of interesting places so without being taught or modeled some of those behaviors how in the world would anyone know that that's where they're at well yeah that's a foreign language i think we're coming a long way today as far as mental health and those those languages and how we speak them and there's so much information out there that's fantastic and but gosh back then as a 17 18 year old high school kid uh that was taught you know if you do certain things like you're going to be in trouble with god and so i always felt like i was in trouble um i always felt like i couldn't talk to my higher power or that i had sinned my way out of his like club you know it's like i can't get back into the club until i become the person that i feel like i can be um but so i was always like you know what i'm not gonna i'm not gonna try to pray i'm not going to um you know do those things because why would he listen to me i'm a sinner i'm you know i've i have failed in that regard until i can be good enough again um then maybe i'll start kind of going down that that road again but um so so so very tough kind of really complex i i still through through living like that tried to check boxes you know i um i did a couple relocations as the substance abuse got heavier and more consistent into oxycontin and uh you know opiates and you know daily marijuana and you know lots of acid and and lots of uh psychedelics mushrooms acid um i i was still interviewing to go on a mission you know i would i would i was still like doing that and um and i think it was from a place of good intentions i i really wanted to um i thought for in two parts like it would help me clean up um i wanted to clean up i didn't like living a daily kind of altered crazy life i mean there was snapshots where it was fun and and you had some camaraderie and some strange outside the box way of living that i wasn't used to but um but then i would come back to like i'm gonna go on a mission you know um and uh so i would try to go you know i tried i uh i went on a mission for two days and got to i call it the mtc west mission [Laughter] and uh was was totally unprepared i mean you're a kid and and i started withdrawing in the mtc nobody knows what's going on i'm coming off of boxy cotton um you know like the morning that i went in and because that's just was my life part of it and um was not ready for um you know withdrawing in the mtc on a mission so i after 48 hours i i took off um didn't jump the fence or anything but took off went home with intentions of you know in six months they kind of told me you can go back and you should go back and i was like yeah i'll definitely do that and get cleaned up and go back and um again you know a night later i was up in a cabin dropping acid like dancing around the campfire you know just totally um just just living that double life i couldn't escape it and um and i think it's important to mention you know people close to me in my life at that time parents girlfriend um even some friends didn't know what was going on they they liked the check the boxes bry um they didn't know about the other guy and so um because of that the the level of dishonesty you know the level of um and and you get jaded to that too you get used to being dishonest and to lying to people that love you the most and start to form these weird kind of resentments to shut people out you know because you don't know how to own stuff on your own or have that self-awareness like i'm being extremely dishonest it's really easy it's a lot easier to say it's you know if they don't love me then i'm gonna shut them out of my life you know if they don't support all of me i'm going to shut them out of my life and the truth is like i'm extremely dishonest and you know so that is kind of how i lived um until i i finally found treatment when i was 27 in in 2008 um and so so that's kind of how i lived from early 20s um until i was 27 and it was carrying around this i'm an addict there's no doubt about it um i'm an alcoholic there's no doubt about it i want to stop i i need to stop i like you know many times pleading with god like if you help me stop i'll do this and this kind of bargaining with god and um over the toilet bowl you know or out in the desert one time you know with alcohol poisoning just just begging god to uh to take this from me if you take this from me um i'll do i'll live how you want me to live and and and i meant it you know it was totally genuine um heartfelt and then at 11 am the next morning i'm waiting for the liquor store to open you know just totally powerless totally um just totally powerless over the disease um you know my best intentions had had no shot against this disease um the the man that i wanted to be had internally had no shot against this disease so lots of si lots of ideation in my early mid 20s until i went to treatment lots of you know planning how i was gonna do it lots of um you know daily just morbid reflection on um it'd be better if i was gone um and luckily i'm still here and i think a big part of that is how i was raised i think there was some fear that if i did something like that i would go to hell you know that was part of it it was like well you can't you can't have sex with somebody you can't kill yourself and you can't kill anybody else because those are the things that if you do you go to hell um so i says like okay well i can't do that i'm going to think about it all day every day but i'm not going to do it um so by the time i got to treatment you know i was shooting heroin um 140 pounds um going through a divorce because sh because she found out who i really was and luckily for her she she got the hell away from me and yeah walked into the doors of of treatment with nobody with nothing um with no soul i mean the just flickers of of soul and um you know heartbroken just done i mean i was done i i didn't fight treatment i i never i never fought against it i was totally um and i'm grateful for that i was totally um done i mean from from the first day of treatment um the language that was spoken in treatment was um groundbreaking for me i mean it was the way that they told my story through their own stories and um the things they challenged you to do like be honest it's like uh and and like it was so refreshing to have a solution for what was actually going on so tell me where i i have lots of questions i always have lots of questions and sometimes i don't ask him in i don't know i guess it doesn't matter how i ask them right um yeah tell me i don't know if you want to tell me where you ended up in treatment because i think sometimes that's important where'd you go i i went to renaissance ranch um the summer of 2008 which is it's funny real quick because i was in detox and bountiful at lakeview hospital um i didn't know what i was going to do i was very naive to treatment i didn't know anybody that had gone to treatment um i i had been to one aaa meeting previously in ogden and i was like going through withdrawals and there was five guys in there like laughing and having a good time and they were in their 60s and i was like there's this will never help me [Laughter] this is like you know this would never help me so um but i was in the hospital and the ranch came by just kind of on a hey there's a guy here come seeing you know like they do and um it's funny because the brochures for the ranch at the time were advertising um park the park city house they they started in park city so it was horses you know hiking skiing i was like that place is cool you know i want to go there um and they didn't tell me that it was in bluffdale until we passed i-80 east it's like i thought we were going to park city and he's like no we moved to fluff house that was a little bit of letdown a little little bait and switch but um i uh yeah i went to the ranch and how did you end up i guess the ranch came to you more than anything and they kind of gave you their spill and and that was your option right you either go or you don't it's the only place i talk to um like i said earlier i am kind of uh outside the box like i got some like drifter so um kind of pretty impressionable and and a big people pleaser um and i liked this guy his name was shakes like he showed me a picture of his you know before and after and he was funny and you know he uh i liked him so i was like yeah i'll go there i didn't talk to anybody else it was just kind of like yeah i'll go there i don't yeah you know come get me in a couple days huh interesting that's interesting how that happens and and you know those those moments those pivotal moments in our life that that change everything it sounds like that may have been one of your pivotal moments it was you know i didn't it definitely was i think the days going into the hospital were pivotal which was um you know a basic um it's not basic it's it was it was amazing but it was a kind of an internal moment where um i remember i had i had three options i was my mom bless her heart was letting me crash in her basement um and i was i was going through the the withdrawals it was probably a day and a half into them and and i was half awake and just had this thought like you should take your life today you know you should take your life today um there was there was kind of this adrenaline behind the thought this time which was scary um there was kind of this energy and an adrenaline behind the thought that was like like okay this is a little more real this morning um it was immediately followed by a thought of um you know find a way to go get heroin you know go get high that was where i was at in my life my best options were take your life go get heroin um but there was a third thought that morning that followed um that i had never had and i joke with a friend of mine john redd who you may know um he uh i joke with him now because the third thought which seems like you would have thought about before or i would have thought about it before was ask somebody to help you after you know after gosh more than a decade of suffering this third thought was so profound and but so simple was like ask ask somebody for help it's like okay you know i and and that also felt like it came from a place outside of me that thought was um that it did it came from a place outside of me um there was there was uh truth bumps we call them here at the ranch um there was there was goosebumps truth bumps that accompanied that thought was like whoever is up in the kitchen you can hear right now go up there and ask them for help and it and it was my older brother um my mom happened to be out of town and and so i went upstairs and um and i asked my older brother for help you know so that that was the profound moment that preceded um another one with shakes in the hospital um in in choosing to go to the ranch and then you know since then it it just seems like if um if i'm aware enough and observing enough these these moments happen quite frequently you know so when you came upstairs to talk to your brother what did you say how did he react so i i literally um crawled into the kitchen i was sick enough that i i had a hard time walking i was weak enough i kind of i kind of crawled in into the kitchen on the tile i remember my my nephew jack was in the kitchen with with my brother landon and landon said um can you feed jack some cereal um i was in no condition to do that but the people pleaser and me said of course you know so i got some cereal and i laid down on the kitchen tile and i started to try to feed jack i called him over you know jack have a seat let's eat some cereal and i was i was laying down on the kitchen floor and i couldn't um well the kids it gets me emotional every time i i say it but i i couldn't i couldn't feed him i was shaking too bad to get cereal to my three-year-old nephew and uh i looked up and my brother landon was just was just laser focused on me because he hadn't seen that he he had about a 20 knowledge of what i did when i wasn't around he had no idea that it was like this and and so i just looked it up at him and he was emotional and i was emotional and and uh he said he said brian you need some help and uh and i said yeah man i need some help i don't i don't know i don't know how to get it or where i need to go but um but he drove me to the hospital i think that's that was the next step was like well let's just go to the hospital and see um what we can do for you so because he was learning your story but he's also not familiar with addiction recovery none of that stuff right so it's not pick a center where's detox call somebody it's just er this is where you went yeah my family was very naive to um the treatment realm you know um even though um you know i have extended family that were definite alcoholics and um and and that particular brother is in recovery and and but yeah we we we were very naive to the next steps as far as how to get help he's in recovery since then or he was in recovery at the time uh since then yeah since then uh well the whole uh my immediate family's all in um you know my parents divorced when i was in high school um i got an amazing stepfather um the immediate family is kind of all in on it um and some of the extended family you know i i think um when it comes to aunts uncles cousins kind of watching from the peripheral or um from the outside it's some some of them are um they don't quite know how to you know talk about it or or which is understandable i mean it's it is kind of a strange language to speak um and you can't really force it down anybody's throat nor would you want to um although i believe that everybody could benefit from from speaking the language of recovery um it's something as you guys know that's just that's pretty intimate personal um so yeah the the dinner table the the trips we go on together um we're very transparent um as an immediate family with siblings and our spouses and it's a big part of our family but we still have moments where i feel and believe that we get um we get stuffy we get our feelings get stuffed we get um guarded um we're not as vulnerable we play the part you know two thumbs up like it's all good i think just that's human nature to to kind of resort back to that um but then there's usually somebody that can you know my little sister is one that um has been to family groups allen on she's one that will say something to kind of cut through the the fog of apathy or or laziness when it comes to where we need to be as a family yeah good for her i know i know when you're getting that you getting in the habit of that kind of inoffensive inauthenticity and secrecy and all that kind of stuff just having somebody who shoots straight really goes a long way that helps with the connection right it's easy to go back to you know toughness and silence and all that kind of garbage um and it's interesting that you mentioned the language of recovery and that it's personal but there's also this like openness right where once you kind of get to that point and realize the value of being open it it almost turns the other way right i've got a i've got a really good friend who um went through rehab maybe 10 years before i knew him and all the time in the first probably year that we knew each other you know the the i love yous and the a text about you know hey here's how much we appreciate you know your friendship and the friendship that our kids have with your kids and that kind of thing and even as a person who like understands that language and is familiar with it it's still uncomfortable it's just super uncomfortable right because it's just different than the way you know i think a lot of us culturally or are we mirror right what we see and you don't see that a lot so i think it's amazing i think i think as a society we're in kind of an amazing time as far as emotional intelligence and transparency and just people being willing to talk about mental illness and all that other kind of stuff combine that with a family who's not necessarily trained on emotional skills and communication and a religion who's definitely not oh it gets messy right so how do you kind of take that story and now in the work that you're doing at renaissance ranch you know how do you turn that into successes for other people um well we do exactly that i think the ranch is somewhere where we try to um you know incorporate we have five five values um that we try to live by we're we're a big 12-step facility um we're a men's house so we uh we're gender specific um and the first thing that happens when a guy walks in the doors he gets 25 hugs in a row um and they're always like you know um especially the the guys that come from jail they're like oh no no no no no no no we're not hugging and it's like oh well you are here if you want to be here um we're going to do that and so our approach here is is not abrasive but direct we don't tiptoe around the disease we confront things um quickly and and directly with love um never in anybody's face i mean obviously we're appropriate with with our confrontation but we're going to challenge guys to be vulnerable we're going to challenge guys to tell the truth we believe that you can be as free as as you are honest you know you can if you can clear all of the baggage you've been carrying and all the darkness in the soul that you've been carrying if you can if you can be courageously honest and own your past everything all of it then you got a shot to be free and and to feel some peace again and start to find who you truly are again um and so we definitely um we definitely speak the language here as uh as a group of men which i think is amazing you know i i think we talk about um kind of the the you know the um how can i say that the manly kind of you know stand up and and take care of your problems and and and you know you're a man be a man um you know don't snitch and and you know handle your stuff and be strong you know we we encounter that aggressively um you know we're gonna cry we're gonna hug we're going to you know we're going to laugh we're going to tell the truth we're going to show up on time we're going to make our beds every morning we're going to do it together and i think a big thing that that we do here that that i love because it saved my life was we're going to stay tethered beyond treatment we're we're gonna stay connected in the community um far beyond treatment we want we want that tether to be with with um with each man that comes in here and and also their family uh with the with our family programming um and and and i think we've done that i think um the founders of renaissance they started that um kind of this culture of um you know tethering and staying connected well beyond treatment um which is huge i mean i i still talk to guys i lived here with regularly um i you know our alumni's over i think there's been over 1200 guys come through the ranch since it was founded and so the alumni network is pretty massive there's not 1200 guys that are sober um we know that but uh i think we do all right here with uh the mess you know given the message of recovery i'm curious brian you talked about um again back to that language of treatment and the ability to be honest and vulnerable and that's something that you know i don't think like kurt said it's not modeled for us it's not something that we see but i know that as we do our healing work that that we start to model those behaviors and i'm i'm curious how what you've learned in treatment has um affected your relationship with i'm assuming i'm making an assumption that you have kids i do i have three amazing kids porter logan and ryan two boys and a little girl eight six and three um an amazing wife rebecca she's uh she's from the south um she's also one that will say something at just the right moment she's a leader she's extremely brave she's courageous and she's a huge huge blessing in my life to put up with me so how does your how does your recovery how does that affect the relationships that you have with your kids and how are you modeling for them so that that you can address some of the things you dealt with as a kid yeah that is that is something that is that i'm still trying to um on a daily basis improve you know being a dad is something in recovery because i i do the same kind of routine and i'll add to it as far as my personal recovery foundation um that i that i did from when i started so the the morning routines my prayer meditation um nightly inventory um reaching out to a couple brothers every day try to get into some service you know all of that and i'll add stuff to it as i go but um having kids um and and acting the right way in the moment is something that i still struggle with is um i think i'm a good dad but that's one thing at night when i'm when i'm closing my eyes laying in bed kind of taking a personal inventory that it's like man i could have done better with my kids today so i still deal with some some personal shame stuff with my kids too is like um i didn't do that right or i i should have reacted differently to that or i should have given more time to porter today or um you know there's some of that but i think gosh i'm so grateful for um the language of recovery to to be vulnerable it's okay to cry please tell the truth even if you think you're going to get in trouble it's way more important to to be honest with mom and dad than cover it up and be dishonest about it so i think the the transparency um the directness and the vulnerability is something that recovery taught me that i hope will go a long way you know talk to us about what's going on um why are you sad it's okay to be sad um talk to us what's going on you're angry it's okay to be angry um that's a normal emotion why are you angry instead of don't be angry um you know be happy be grateful those are things that that uh that i kind of grew up with at no fault for how i who i grew up around but it was like don't be sad um and you know don't be angry don't be upset um you know be happy um life is good be happy god wants you to be happy um it's like well yeah i believe that but um i think he also gave me some emotions so i i think that will help with with our kids i see that help with our kids you know i know that helps with our kids um to just to just be authentic and um but but i i can tell you when they are dishonest about something i take it personal that works out really well then i expect [Laughter] you know it's like it's my fault you know i i didn't do something um so so yeah it's gosh but it's it's all good well i think it goes back to your comment that you know everybody could benefit from the principles of recovery because we're all you know we're all going to come across challenges and it may not be addiction but it's going to be something i don't think any of us come through this life unscathed um and so and i also believe that when you when you do your work that it changes who you are at the very core and your kids can't help but be affected in positive ways by that um so i think it's powerful and i don't know of any parent that doesn't do some of the same things ask the same questions you do and and worry that we're not doing good enough you know i mean that's a normal good parent approach is i think i screwed up today and i better fix it better do a little bit better tomorrow kind of an approach and and to be aware that we're that we can do better right yeah and that for me that's all um that's all step stuff from the 12 steps that i learned that i believe in is like that's a blueprint that if i follow it i can't screw it up too bad and i knew that's what i needed i needed some pretty foundational um um like really black and white here here's the 12 steps here's what they say because i just needed that and so i think self-awareness and and reduction of ego as much as possible and i i think that's what steps are for um to to be self-aware and learn about yourself and um dig into the pain you know i think pain is one of my greatest teachers now and i used to run from it like like the plague you know it's like i do not want to feel uncomfortable or in pain um and gosh um payne's probably my best teacher um oh what an incredible story and and um now it just warms my heart to hear the hear the journey that you've been on i i have one more question um that i'm really curious about you kind of started your your story by talking about your um religious background your upbringing and the role that that played and and some of the values that were there what is that relationship with your higher power look like now and how is it transformed uh it's uh it's been beautiful i i uh so i went from um but when when i got to the ranch um i i presented as an atheist um i didn't even it wasn't all an ego thing i wanted the attention and i wanted to rebel against how i was brought up because i think it made me feel better about all the things that i've done so i was a an atheist when i walked through the doors that changed two days into treatment um where i knew that wasn't the case and um so it's kind of been this journey uh first back to spirituality um and i found that through meditation and i found that through nature up in the canyons walking amongst the trees where the world's far away that's where i started to kind of feel god in my life again both in meditation some eastern practices nature and i still have that but it's grown you know i was disfellowshipped from the church and it was a positive thing at the time it was part of my recovery process actually recommended by a um kind of a a harley-davidson a.a sponsor that's not lds was like you need to do that um i feel like you need to do that just to kind of get right in that realm of your life um and so i did and he was right it freed me up a lot but it wasn't a it wasn't a shame thing i felt like it was a big positive step when i did that and then it took me a few years just kind of trying different stuff i i didn't try any other religions but like i'm a big big believer in meditation i do it every morning um a big prayer guy but i think meditation for me is is more powerful than prayer i i had another mentor tell me that god was tired of listening to me so i that i needed that i needed to listen to him and so um i like that i but i do talk to god now it's just a little bit different but um i i was i reactivated a a few years back maybe maybe five or six years back into the religion of my youth um and uh and i had to and still have to be careful that it's not a heady kind of intellectual um you know proving grounds of what's exactly true and what's exactly not true for me i listen to my heart and when i'm active and engaged in something like that um i feel better you know it's so it's it's a very simple like i feel more peace and i i do have to steer away from the intellectual um debate debates and conversations and you know i've been down that road and it's pretty dark and it doesn't serve me so um simplicity serves me um you know putting one foot in front of the other entrusting my heart rather than listening to my head so i'm back i'm a primary teacher i i teach four-year-olds that's beautiful right that's the perfect place to be [Laughter] and so my uh my amazing wife was baptized last year um and uh that was all her thing like she's uh she is her own person i i never wanted to um i never wanted to be somebody that pushed anything on her or or even tried to offer anything to her and we set that boundary early on in our relationship um and it's funny because the missionaries showed up like they do and i had shoot them away for her before kind of protected her like we're okay here um and so i kind of was doing that again last year when they showed up and i was like we're okay here and and rebecca came around the corner and she was like i invited them over like can you just go into the other room [Laughter] like get out of the way you know and so i was able to kind of watch her um find find a form of spirituality that was genuine and um so that was cool you know i so we're uh that's where we're at now with you know that religious path is um it's not my entire life it's not my entire practice of spirituality it's just part of it and it's an asset uh to my personal recovery but it's not it's definitely not all of it aaa is is a i have a home group and a sponsor and i have sponsees and i think my my foundation is built on a lot of different modalities and i have a therapist and i need my therapist and you're like yeah obviously we know you need you there no we all we all need we all need our therapist i'm just saying i love my therapy everybody does you mentioned that you've mentioned a few times that you're a people pleaser yeah what have you learned about that what do you what are the do you have kind of triggers that you learn to catch on that of how to take care of yourself and make sure you're not overextending yourself and yeah i think i've made progress with it um i don't know how much or how little i mean i i think i'm aware of it more than i used to be pre-treatment um the guys here in treatment helped me out to identify that the most it's like um tell us how you really feel about that because it doesn't seem authentic that what you're saying isn't matching your affect um and so i started to learn there about how to speak my truth um be honest about how i really felt about um saying yes to that task or or doing this thing or um or volunteering for this thing at work or volunteering for something in the neighborhood because of fear of not being liked or not being uh validated or um like i can do that i can do that you know i sign up for a lot and it still burns me you know i still sign up for more than i probably should especially at work when i have a team that is fully capable of handling it um i still will over over exert myself and um so i think trust is a part of that um but uh but yeah people pleasing is something that's very much still part of my my day-to-day stuff um so it's a work in progress i relate to that i i always have to step back and go why am i doing that like what am i just doing that because i want someone to like me like you gotta pay attention to that so i think those of us that are people pleasers um it's it seems like it's ingrained and it's like how do you stop being that or doing that right because i think it also kind of ties for me anyway with service that it's part of serving other people and and there's there's a line between it but it's really fine and hard to distinguish sometimes so i i i relate yeah it's tough you know i i i do set boundaries better than i ever have but i'm still not great at it i do it a lot in the neighborhood you know we have i live in caysville we have an awesome neighborhood my job one of the one of the things where i can see progress is um as you guys know like my job takes a lot of energy a lot of time throughout the week and so there's things within my specific religion and i don't know um how you guys are affiliated with religion and and that's okay but just for conversation purposes like i get asked to do stuff on saturday sunday um hey can you go meet with this family hey nick you know and i i i say you know a lot um in my neighborhood and i i feel guilty about it but i think it's the right thing to do um in the moment usually it's like you know what i've been away from my kids a lot this week i've been away from the wife a lot this week i don't have the time and energy to do that and i still feel like this oh like they're gonna think i'm a jerk you know and i know i'm not a jerk but i still that's kind of that people-pleasing thing that um it's like gosh should i be doing all that stuff you know am i doing something wrong by not doing it um you know is it uh so yeah i still have some of that internal conflict with setting boundaries and and the aftermath of the the post boundary that you set you know it's like gosh um so i love that you bring that up because i can imagine you're not the only the only person with that question right and and those of us who overextend ourselves sometimes say yes way too many times and it has to be okay to say no that's not going to work for my schedule you know that doesn't work for my family and and they got to come first on this so i always admire people who can set those really good boundaries and can distinguish between the most important things and and other things that are really important but just can't take priority right but it's tough and i love that you talk about that and the struggle the ongoing struggle with that because it's real yeah it is real there's there's gosh struggles for for everybody if they're a human being on the planet struggles are very real every day and that's something that that is okay to talk about and and and admit and and when people do talk about it it's like a celebration it's it's you know the bonds formed in those conversations that are authentic and real um those last and those are lasting and um that that that's what i love that those are that's that's what i love the most about recovery is you know the mentors that that i have and the bonds that have been created and the friendships um and and seeing the newcomers in a place of total um you know transparency and pain and it's like uh when i meet with families when they're checking in i smile a lot and and and i feel like this enthusiastic celebration like i am so pumped for you and they're looking at me like you are crazy dude this is not a good day you know but um from from my side and in my opinion it's it's one of the best days of their life so i'm so pumped for them that's an ironic thing that happens because they really are a rock bottom right like that's got to be a turning point where you know if you looked at it like a stock ticker it's got to be just just the very bottom right but you know that from here it goes up right so even though it's going to be work and even though it's going to be hard and there's going to be you know effort and turmoil and all that kind of stuff the ticker goes up from here right and so as long as they you know show up and that kind of thing but yeah that i could see how that's a weird juxtaposition of of them coming in at wit's end and you kind of being welcome yeah you know you're in the right place right this is this is where you get the tools to have a new life so well i imagine that stems back to the fact that that your introduction to treatment was also life-saving for you because you know your your propensity to you know to take your own life was increasing and and it was getting you know dif more difficult and more difficult so i i would imagine at least as i would imagine it would be for me is that i would celebrate that life that's coming through the door that i know we might save them right that might be somebody that doesn't end up dead um yeah because they couldn't get help and and so i think that there's a lot to not to celebrate there um one of the other things i love your story brian i love i love the the change and the journey and your willingness to be authentic and vulnerable and i also really appreciated the way you talked about the distinction between your religious upbringing and your spirituality i think that most most people i think are lots of people still link those together and i think they're absolutely different things you know the the group that you're part of and your relationship with your higher power are two very different things in in my book anyway and i i think you yeah you know you kind of explained that and talked about that which i think is really great um i love it i love that you're willing to come on and share these things with people and um if if we've got people that are listening and they certainly will be and they'll want to get a hold of you or you know talk to you how can they do that sure um you can email me it's my first name brian with a y at it's kind of a long annoying email but i am on the social medias facebook instagram um even on twitter um renaissance ranch uh instagram facebook can message there and i'm the one that will feel does kind of behind the brand so i would would love and be thrilled to talk to anybody that feels like they want to reach out so nice thank you so much awesome to meet you guys

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