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032 - Meghan Jones

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

“It’s time to grow.”

Meghan Jones joins us today from Deer Hollow Recovery to share her story about being a rebel youth, not having a tribe, and the challenges of teen addiction. She has found her own rhythm in recovery, and talks about suicidal ideations with us. She has been helping promote change in individuals for the last decade. 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): helping promote changing individuals for the last decade my name is kurt neider 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 the illuminate recovery podcast is brought to you by illuminate billing advocates make billing and collection simple with leader in substance abuse and mental health billing services verification and analysis of benefits pre-authorizations utilization management accurate claim submission and management denial and appeal management and leading reporting improve your practices cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates today we are with megan jones she is the director of operations at deer hollow recovery she also works at ptsr retreats megan has been involved in dual diagnosis treatment for many many years she has spent a lot of her time with direct client care and has recently switched to administrative positions she's incredibly satisfied in either either side of of treatment as long as she's learning new things which i think is a is also a passion of mine megan thanks for being with us today yeah thank you guys for having me on i'm excited so megan um i'm just curious and it's always good to kind of start at the beginning give us kind of some background of how you ended up in recovery and i always find this interesting because i don't think i don't necessarily think that there's a whole ton of people that start out as little kids and go man i'm gonna go be in recovery that's what i want to do for my career right and i know that was not true for me either so i'm curious you know where what's your background and how did you end up in the recovery industry yeah no i definitely think that's true i don't know a ton of people that are like yeah i want to go work in residential or you know whatever but i did definitely from a young age there was an interest and an intrigue in becoming a therapist which is not a um route that i want to go down anymore or that i did take for various reasons but um i am in recovery myself i got sober in april of 2011 and you know being i got sober in the 12-step community i did not go to treatment i did have previous experiences i was court-ordered to iops and when i was 17 i was in like a adolescent walk down psych ward as happens right and so i definitely had some exposure to these different environments um but ended up actually getting sober in 2011 and during my first year so many friends of mine i want to work in treatment i want to you know i want to give back in this way and i never had that i very much did not want to do that actually i didn't really have a ton of direction as to what i wanted to do but i certainly thought that i would end up on a little bit more of a creative path i loved photography i loved taking pictures and drawing and painting and i i definitely thought i was going to go into that starved artist you know the pathway um and it just so ended up i got a year sober and a couple of months went by and i you know i was working at um then it's gone out of business but it was like a photo studio and i was selling cameras and i was really into makeup and doing makeup and um not making a lot of money making eight bucks an hour and really you know very paycheck to paycheck and the opportunity came for me to speak at a treatment center called recovery ways in murray and tell my story um and i think i was just a year sober at the time and i i was offered a position or at least i mean maybe not outright offered a position but i was definitely welcomed like hey we have openings like no i don't really want to do that this isn't really my past but a couple of years or a couple of months excuse me went by and there was a woman in the rooms who worked there who i really connected with and it it just kind of clicked and i was like maybe maybe i do maybe i do want to try this um so i interviewed and got hired in july of that year in 2012 and started working as a coordinator which is basically a psych tech like frontline staff and have stuck around since you know it's really it's turned into something really cool and rad and that i never wanted to do but i don't know what else i would do now um i feel pretty entrenched at this point that's that's kind of interesting journey is as you would step back and go yeah i really don't want to do this this isn't really where i want to go and and but you know that i think that kind of lends to the community and the the connection that's involved in recovery right it's part of what what recovery is all about and and connecting with people and so some on some level it becomes family when you get you know that close to people and so there is definitely an attractive piece to that no very much so i would i would argue that the community aspect of any program but my experience in the 12-step program was probably you know obviously i worked the steps and did all of that as well but that was probably the huge huge shift i'm feeling a part of so i'm curious as you tell your story about recovery and and what that looked like yours isn't necessarily well maybe it's typical but the stories we typically hear are people that have gone to residential they couldn't get sober on their own they tried a lot but with the help of 12 steps it sounds like you were pretty successful can you kind of talk about maybe some of the challenges that you feel like got you into the drug world um you know and then and then how you ended up what were your key pieces and sometimes there's you know those key moments in time that shift things for you maybe there was some of those were those key pieces that that now bring you to sobriety yeah no that's a really great question um because it isn't really i mean it does have that abnormality that i did not go to treatment um and kind of rewinding to the community comment that we were just talking about i think that that looking back um is a huge part of why i started using um both because i felt so so alone and because and it wasn't really a peer pressure thing but that was a really easy source of community at the time to start you know using drugs and you know i started i'm pretty young i used for the first time when i was 12 and i huffed gasoline in my parent or my friend's parents garage and um with with one of my friends and it was an absolute blast i had just the best time ever and it just sort of escalated from there where i started smoking cigarettes and smoking weed and drinking and obviously you know as years progressed through those adolescent times things definitely escalated um to the point where i was kind of just a garbage disposal for lack of better terminology i would just you put it in front of me and i wanted to try it and that certainly didn't lend itself to surrounding myself with great influences or great people not to say that they're they're bad but they certainly didn't have a positive impact on my life at the time um between that time at a really young age and i guess maybe i should have started with i grew up in a really small town in utah where a lot of the community you know certainly was i mean i'll just say they were lds and my family was not and i have nothing against the lds religion i just want to preface that and not get any hate or get cancelled or backlash um and my truth and my experience as a young child i mean age five is that i was ostracized for my community it was a really small town and i was told i wasn't allowed to go jump on the trampoline with my neighbor um for reasons that i didn't understand at the time right so i should have probably started there with the real crux and core of not feeling good enough not feeling worthy not feeling a part of um so fast forwarding back to kind of my adolescence we moved as a family across the country a couple of times from this really small town to the capital of michigan um back to canvas and then i moved back to detroit with my mom she was taking care of her elderly father who ended up passing and that is when um that move is when things really really escalated for me you know i'm a 16 year old high scorer um just on the brink you know using substances and not listening to my mom who's already going through this horrible time in her life losing her father and not getting along with my dad and it was just not great um so i ended up you know getting in some trouble and hence the psych ward comment earlier and we ended up moving back and my story certainly didn't stop there with drugs and alcohol it just got worse and worse and worse and my the distance between me and my loved ones and my family and those i cared about just got bigger and bigger and bigger um and there was a point i got sober really young i got sober when i was 19 and there was a point from 17 to 19 where i really i mean i was just not in regular communication with them or any kind of meaningful communication with them i was not living there and it got to the point where i was um you know getting legal charges like i said i got court ordered to an iop program that i got kicked out of her for using and failing a drug test and just this wedge from everything that i felt connected with and felt meaningful and purposeful in my life was kind of non-existent and i was certainly still surrounded by people that loved and cared about me i don't want to make it sound like my life was like i was totally alone however the feelings in my heart and soul i felt absolutely absolutely alone and absolutely a burden to society and to those people that just wanted me to thrive and it got to the point where i was basically i mean i had sort of a home base in this environment at a friend's house that was very unhealthy um and i was pretty much living in my car and there was a point um and i guess maybe trigger warning i have had from a pretty young age probably from 13 or 14 i've had si and suicide ideation for most of my adolescents and there was a point at that time when i was like end of my 18th year on this planet turning 19 where that became really serious um and i was starting to create plans and was truly just not not in a good place um and there was a time i very very vividly remember i called my mom and she knew things were even with our disconnect you know disconnection mother you know she knows me um or my mother knows me i should say she knew things were really starting to spiral pretty bad and i called her after a while of not speaking bawling my eyes out just desperate as desperate could be desperate as i had ever been and my mom is not somebody that i really reached out to so i think she knew things were pretty bad and she was really um i have a family history of alcoholism on her side mostly my father was a drinker who stopped for a really long elongated amount many years but my mother specifically for for this her father was an alcoholic her brother died of cirrhosis of the liver it definitely was very rampant in her family system and she had a child who was off the freaking rails at the time she was very luckily for me [Music] extremely active in her allen on program at the time so when i called her i begged to go to treatment and said like i don't think that i can do this on my own i'm really like i didn't tell her how suicidal i was but she could hear like i said that i was not well and she said we do not have the resources for that you're going to have to figure it out and it was a pretty abrupt phone call um and we hung up the phone and i knew that i had burned that bridge and gone through those resources and thank god she was strong enough to say that to me at the time because the next day i reached out to someone who was basically a stranger and acquaintance of one of my very long time friends who i was drinking heavily with at the time who had nine months sober and was going to meetings and i i reached out to him and he took me to candlelight at the alano club and i have been sober since um it really is i mean i don't i don't say this from ego but looking back like it is miraculous to me um that all of that aligned that my mom was so entrenched in her program that this gentleman had just come in like young young kid you know because i'm 19. i need some like crazy young people to go to meetings with um that he had just come into my life truly like within the two weeks prior and he was willing to to take me to a meeting so i don't know if that even answered your question or if i just went on a five-minute challenge oh no that was that was amazing that was amazing i love the way you kind of covered that and went into the details um you know there are so many pieces of your story i want to touch on a couple and then and then go into you know the recovery piece and how you maintain that but you know yours isn't the first story where i've heard somebody say i was in this lds community and i just didn't belong they wouldn't let me play with their kids and they wouldn't let me and and of course as a child you don't understand that and and and we we don't necessarily say that was the catalyst for it all but certainly you know those pieces all linked together those wounds all kind of link together and and create this picture of i'm not worthy right i'm not lovable um and so i don't know i like to i like to talk about that i would like to hope that that's changing that that's not you know that we don't see that happening as much but i know it's still out there i know people good meaning people who do that and don't recognize the harm that's happening you know to these little kids who shouldn't have to make those kinds of decisions and be you know pushed away like that so i love that you bring that up i think it's an important piece that should be talked about yeah no i agree that was a really and i didn't realize again not knowing as a child i didn't realize what an effect that would have on me later and it certainly is not the only thing that made me feel unlovable or unworthy and hindsight's 2020 that's big you know as a little kid i've got these people i'm going to kindergarten with and i'm growing up with and and a lot of them you know by high school ended up being the most loving individuals in my life however the adults making those choices for them and and you know ultimately for me certainly lent itself to a really big negative belief system yeah yeah i'm curious about the suicidality and the depression that you experienced when did that start being playing a role was that always there was it what's your thoughts on that i'm curious how much of it was you know self-medicating induced and how much of it is really part of you know just what you deal with um gosh that's a really good question i actually think i do believe it's something that i struggled with probably prior to picking up substances you know um i sort of mentioned that my family moved across country a couple of times and the first time that we did that was in i mean i guess i don't even know how old i was it was after i graduated fourth grade so i went to fifth and sixth grade in from this little tiny town into this big big city and i actually i remember that being a very painful experience obviously i'm like leaving all of my best friends that i've grown up with since just such a young age however with that being said i ended up having a great experience in michigan during that time i was very active in soccer i had a i mean a big friend group around me um and with all that to be said i remember very distinctly during recess a few times and there are actually photos because this was back in the like disposable camera days when i you know i mentioned that i love taking pictures and that was something from a very young age that i love to do even back then with the five dollar disposable cameras kodak disposal there are pictures of me on the bench with all of my friends and my head is just down and i just am defeated and i have all of these people around me and i that's where i just felt so alone and that is really where that depression and and stuff started to take hold i think um obviously i didn't have the wherewithal to understand what was going on with me at the time but i think that was kind of where i can really really pinpoint distinctly feeling very very disconnected and then moving back to the small little town it's been a couple years all my friends have new friends you know what i mean so it just really piled on itself and then i you know i start using substances it kind of um rolling with the small town crowd that are kind of like the rebellious people who again now i still like i'm i'm loosely friends with them and they're thriving they're doing great but we're adolescents in a small town we're gonna go you know flip the bird and do all of that stuff so um i do think that it's something that i've struggled with for most of my life i do think that it lent itself to my initial drug use and then obviously drug use did not help that by any means which is what makes that community aspect like i said earlier of when i did eventually get into recovery so special to me because i had felt so incredibly isolated for so long um yeah that's um i love your explanation i love where you went with that i think it lends to the fact that you've had a really strong recovery and you've done a lot of your own work that allows you to kind of see those pieces without without them taking you out so kudos to that that's a that's a huge thing thank you i'm wondering about your recovery now because with the dual diagnosis piece you've got this suicidality going on and depression that you've got to manage on top of your drug use talk about your recovery and how you manage to you know what you do to manage those pieces of your life yeah no absolutely um that's actually so i mean full disclosure i'm not very active at all in the 12-step community anymore um and there was a time for my first five years of recovery that i was extremely active from basically that first meeting on um until you know sometime in the last half a decade or so and like i had mentioned before going to the meeting getting to where i was getting really serious i was kind of creating a plan i was trying to figure out how i would um how i would you know kill myself and lessen the burden of myself on society and on the people that i cared about without and and with the knowledge that doing that would create a burden um which is really a very [Music] s like between a rock and a hard place to be um i've always had kind of some level of emotional intelligence in that way to know how hard it is when someone does that while also holding the true the true like gut-wrenching belief that me staying here is also just as harmful and just as painful so i i got very serious about um not wanting to live anymore and i'm not one that wants to blow smoke and lie and say that getting sober and going to meetings changed that for the first little while for my first probably 60 days of sobriety i was still pretty severely suicidal um less so very much less so i didn't have the alcohol and the drugs to you know take me down those rabbit holes every night every day and night but that was still there it wasn't just me getting sober and and getting to know these people and you know having that community and having that place to go every day and night that took that away um and with that being said it i wasn't one that just jumped in and got a sponsor the first week either um i actually was pretty against that mostly because i had these barriers of not wanting to open up and not being good enough because what happens if i open up and i'm still not good enough and i'm already so fragile i don't think i can handle that um and i ended up meeting someone i met this girl in the rooms and we went to coffee break one night and she looked me dead in the eyes as i was telling her this and said what the do you have to lose megan by asking for help what do you have to lose and i i was like you just said that you just like you just spoke to me that way and it landed and i'm really grateful it landed because you know it was just a few weeks later i asked a woman that had 20 years of recovery and i had almost nothing in common with um to sponsor me and and we went through the steps very rapidly um within like six weeks um and by my like i think i was like three and a half or four months i was done with my steps and i was raising my hand to be a sponsor and it was this really like everything in my very early stages of recovery both that call to my mom to spot i mean that happened in five four five months it was very very rapid and i needed that um because i needed at that point to not think um and once once i got through that period is when that suicidality really started to shift and i started to be like oh i actually do feel a part of this like i i went through these steps that everybody is talking about and thank god for that that woman that sat down with me both my sponsor and that just told me straight you know randomly at coffee one night because it it showed me someone actually cared enough to tell me the truth and call me out um and i changed my life i mean it truly changed my whole trajectory so um yeah that's kind of like the very beginning stages of my recovery i suppose do you want me to keep going into the professional part or you directly before you get into the professional part i'm curious about the the not being active because that's like kind of a stigma a little bit right like once you're an addict you're always an addict you gotta just keep working the program um and i think you can have you know a personal program where you're doing things to protect yourself outside of actually showing up to the meeting or whatever but any addict can stop any time they want right so there's kind of that balancing act of like you what you're telling yourself and so i'm curious about that you know how has that changed for you you know how do you wrap your head around you know rob not really being part of that active program and what does your day-to-day personal program you know look like right yeah i can i tell you how much that excites me um it's something that is hugely stigmatized that i have felt personal judgment for and had my own kind of like unworthiness stuff um come up again for and i i don't want to paint this picture that it was like one day i decided um because that's not really how it happened i was very very active i mean for that first year and 18 months of recovery i mean i was i mentioned you know that specific meeting that i went to i was chairing that meeting multiple nights a week like co-chairing i was extremely involved in in recovery and attending meetings with the home group with the sponsor taking quite a few girls through you know through the book and doing kind of what i was told you know i was doing the classic recovery and that was an amazing experience for me and taught me so much and grounded me in um in spirituality um and that is where sometime around the between like the four to six year mark um that's where i really focused was that spirituality because what i was taught is well i guess there's kind of two things that i want to talk about with that is i was very grounded in this spirituality i had this very structured program um this 12-step program that i was told worked and that did work for me and that i was very passionate about and that taught me that i have a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of my spiritual program and that one line to me is what keeps me to this day because i have a daily spiritual program and that that very much is not structured in the same way that it was it's not me like sitting down and reading um you know the book every day or reading any like specific book every day what it looks like now is very much heeding that that call of inspiration um which to me you break it down you break inspiration down that me in spirit you know i heed that call every day and sometimes that means a morning meditation sometimes that means you know having an absolute you know epic and like looking at my shadow and my like that damaged stuff that comes up and working through it and riding through it um what it means to me now or i guess what it does not mean to me now is showing up to a meeting to save face so my recovery is good enough for you or them um that does not resonate with me right now and it was some time yeah probably around like the five to six year period where i had that transition where i was like i'm not doing this for me anymore and i'm not even doing this for you i'm showing up and and acting like i'm this like beautiful pinnacle of recovery um to look good and and that does not that does not fall within my value system um so i'm not active in a classic way but i'm active in the way that like works for me but it speaks to me in in like an evolution of values type way right like when you started you probably just had no values it was all shame all feeling bad about you know this isn't good enough i don't have these connections i'm alone all those kinds of things and by the time you to that point it's i've come through this system of values right i've been able to make amends with other people i'm making amends with myself i'm becoming my person right and i'm helping other people and i think the value i'm not in 12-step either right so i'm sure there's this is cringe-worthy on some level but but to be able to get to the point where you're saying okay i understand myself i understand my emotional balance right well enough to say that doesn't resonate with my values right is like a sign of this new level of maturity right which is pretty awesome no absolutely and and i mean i kind of skipped through part of when i was very active in recovery i had a lot of people die in a very short amount of time as we all do right being a part of this community that is an unfortunate reality um an immense amount of grief is you know as we stay active and meet people they drop off and they don't win the battle i guess for lack of a better word and there was a time um in that first five years where very rapidly people who were pillars in my life lost the battle lost the battle loss of battle and so that emotional maturity and that kind of like growth certainly didn't happen just like one day standing on a rainbow ledge when kittens falling from the sky you know it was definitely a lot of dark icky stuff that i had to work through i actually went through a uh i don't want to call it a program but like a workbook called the grief recovery workbook with a group of women that were also in the program and that was extremely enlightening and healing and and that showed me that not only do the 12 steps work for me but so do other things and i think that kind of started that like okay so if that worked all of these other things could probably learn too type of type of thing and i love what you're talking about too megan is because isn't recovery about staying sober and being healthy and living a healthy life and and isn't it unique to each person and and if you're maintaining sobriety and and living a full life and finding satisfaction and happiness then you've reached your goal and so i love the way the community sometimes says well if you're not going to aaa then you're really not serious about your recovery or if you're not doing this then you know or if you're on medication you're really not serious about your recovery and and so there's those stigmas that i think we're still fighting i think they're getting better but i love the way you you connect with yourself spiritually and and can say this is what works for me this is where i feel like i need to go and honor that despite the messages that are around you very powerful well thank you and it certainly i mean my experience i've as i've shared i've always felt a little bit like a lone wolf and i'm not gonna lie and say that you know through that transition period people haven't distanced either distance themselves from me or maybe me distance from them because of the kind of feelings of judgment that have come up however i am still very close with people that are very active in aaa and and those individuals i think are sometimes the exception where they're open to being and like walking hand in hand with someone that's not right there like in the meeting with them or walking down the exact same trail i'm kind of like on this other trail going this way but we're in the same forest type of thing to be cheesy it's hard to because i think it's hard for somebody who's going through that they're already in an emotional you know potentially volatile situation right and it's hard i think if you're in that situation to look at you distancing yourself and being able to being able to separate like a their situation from your situation but but this situat as humans we're kind of constantly analyzing everything and so you know as megan's moving away is she quitting and i should be worried right or is she doing that well and i should be happy for her and if she's doing that well then what's wrong with me and and recovery looks different for everybody right and so what works for megan might not work for me and that's hard right like that's that's a challenge for those individuals sorry i didn't mean to talk over you but i totally resonate with that because i was very much that person it is a self-preservation um when i'm entrenched i get scared when i see someone that i love and that i care about distancing themselves because does that mean that they're about to be the next person that falls off what does that mean um so i empathize 100 with being in that position and find it so incredibly beautiful for the people that have accepted you know megan going and doing her own thing and and i still have people that'll call me out on my bs because i'm far from not having a whole slew of bs you know um and i can say that while i laugh and smile you know it's not this like heavy weighted blanket of of shame that i have to carry around it's it is what it is yeah it's it's interesting how kind of the extension of that is that as humans we're just so tribal right like we just resonate with other people who have similar experiences or whatever which is kind of interesting in that like it goes back to the beginning of your story right because sort of being you know outcast from this lds crowd which i'm sure all of them would be mortified to find out about this now right right but if not this is not like an lds thing right or a christian thing we just as humans we kind of tend to naturally do this and it happens on race lines it happens on um you know neighborhood lines it happens on political lines and all set especially right now in the us right we see what's like this tribal mentality is just crazy so one of the tribes obviously that you have now is dear hollow so what you know what resonated for you about deer hollow how did you end up there and and what is you know what how does that tribe fit for you now with where you are in recovery i i mean you can see the grin on my face i love that you just said that i um truly do feel like and i guess maybe i hadn't realized it quite as much until i heard you say that how much of a tribe i feel like dear hollow um so backtracking because i've only been at your hollow for about three and a half years of my nine years of experience i worked at another treatment center for you know the bulk of my time professionally that i mean what an amazing experience that was i feel because of that center so set up for success at deer hollow and that's not to say that things went smoothly all of the time or were perfect and that center was uh it was also dual diagnosis um however very much lent itself more to the substance use revolving door lots of relapse prevention lots of um process groups um and they grew from you know when i started we were one residential facility and an iop and we grew to two residential facilities and an iop and then two residential facilities and a silver living and then four residential facilities and that you know what i mean excuse me three residentials and like a huge iop and just grew group grew and i loved walking through that even though i like i said it wasn't all great i certainly had struggles personally and professionally and walking this journey um but it because i didn't go to treatment it introduced me to this whole new world of intensive you know or what i thought at that time was really intensive therapy and community and you know i'd watch these groups of young people come in and struggle so so hard and you know have house meetings where they you know call each other out and go through these process groups where they would come out with tears in their eyes and and um with what i know now still wasn't the most effective in my opinion um way to really really address those core wounds um it absolutely worked for legions of people and it absolutely did not work for lesions of people and the amount of people that i saw do things perfectly and come through and do the you know do the 90-day stay with the residential and the php and the iop and follow their aftercare plan but not actually still address those core wounds that i that i just mentioned was astronomical and really really heartbreaking um and again that's not to say that the treatment center is bad or that anything is bad it's just different strokes for different folks i suppose and knowing what i know now moving into deer hollow so i had i had a couple of different roles at that other center i was a medical coordinator for a few years where i was kind of in charge of working between the doctors and the clients and the pharmacies and handing out medications including like suboxone subutex and things that are very stigmatized in the rooms um and then i moved into i got offered a position to become a case manager and took that and how ironic because i'm giving people resources for things that i didn't have resources for and just learning so much that way and i got a cold call one day in uh like december of 2017 or something from the executive director at deer hollow because one of the therapists that i used to work with at that other center had moved along and mentioned my name and got a cold call and said sure it's time to grow let's do this thing and um walking into deer hollow i they used to put they don't anymore but there's a tv above the mantel right as you walk into the facility and there was the daily schedule and i'm like you know five and a half six years into my mental health dual diagnosis career thinking that i like i know some stuff and i looked at the modalities on that screen and was like i don't know what any of these groups are i don't know i don't know what it's like you're speaking a different language i have no idea what i just got into and what a cool moment that was for me for humility to be like oh i've got a lot to learn and that's what it's been i mean it's been so fulfilling and eye-opening and um deer hollow started as one of those run-of-the-mill substance use treatment centers and is now i mean we're dual diagnosis with different levels of care but our entire curriculum is based on treatment of trauma and ptsd and i mean it is a very intense program and it is truly it like spiritually resonates with me in a way that i didn't think was possible for for a you know treatment center that is for profit and you know all of that so i'm curious um i i know deer hollow has really evolved over the years and i love the way that they've kind of focused more on what really seems to be some of those core issues right the trauma the ptsd and and we're learning so much more about how to address that successfully and so i love that you know that the program is evolving um i'm wondering i i'm going i'm going to backtrack just for a second because i'm curious i'm curious about because i imagine there's people out there that are going oh megan's not really you know she's not really an addict because she was just able to quit and she's not really depressed because she didn't say anything about taking medication or ongoing problems and it's all about you know her her drug use and things like that and so i just wanted to come kind of maybe backtrack just for a second and talk about um what does did you have relapses along the way and did you ever go on medication for your depression um i think you actually might have asked me that earlier and i just didn't answer it so sorry about that so um i have not relapsed throughout my journey and i did take medication i was actually taking medication when i was still um in my use but it was very irregular i mean obviously as the lifestyle lends itself to for the first about gosh maybe six months of my recovery i was taking wellbutrin and trazadone to sleep and um i ended up you know with a doctor's help getting off of the weld future and it just wasn't something that i felt like i needed um again it was around that four to five month mark where i got through my steps and had this weight lifted um and that's not to say by any means that the 12 steps are a cure for depression i'm just when like sharing my experience but i kept on the transit on for a few months after that and once my sleep cycle regulated um i didn't feel that it was needed anymore um and again hindsight's 20 20 going through some of those really hard times in my earlier years of recovery i probably should have reached out to a psychiatrist or you know a practitioner to get back on medications because i i wasn't necessarily struggling with the suicidality but i definitely was struggling with pretty bad social anxiety and depression um and i can't honestly tell you what the key was to moving through that especially considering i still do struggle with anxiety in different ways um but i did also take a really strong focus on my health you know i started going outside i started like hiking like nobody's business i started eating really well and focusing on some of those other factors or pillars i'm not a clinician so i don't know what the smart terminology is but there's like your psychosocial factors and your you know health factors and all of that and i started focusing on some of those other pillars that helped me um stabilize as well outside of just the spirituality and the substances i love that and i love the way you share that because and then the piece i want to bring up is that there may be someone out there that absolutely has to be on medication that their depression or their anxiety is such that they can't manage it with tools and with mindfulness and with you know the spirituality that you're using and it it's not going to resolve for them like it did for you and and i know kurt talked about this too the comparison that we often do is well if megan can do it i should be able to do it that way right and that that's not healthy that's just not healthy we have to be in tune with what's going on in our own bodies and in our own situation and be wise and ask for help right because that's the quickest way to you know to relapse or to end up having a depressive episode is to not seek the treatment we need because we don't think that we should or because of the stigmas around it and so i just want to you know put that out there that i think your your journey has been yours and you've owned it fully and that other people need to do the same and i've had plenty of people say i am so grateful for my depression medication and i can get up and take that every day and my day is better because i do and that might be someone else's journey and i i just want to put that out there so that people don't you know don't feel like there's a heaviness if they don't have the same journey as you do a hundred percent shelly i think that is a vital point to make and and going back to my experience working in that treatment center as a medical coordinator um you know i would i would watch those medications that i was handing out over a 30-year you know 40-day stay or you know even a 60-day stay if they did multiple levels of care truly uplift people and give them a new sense of quality of life and it is a team effort between sometimes medication and some kind of supportive you know group program and diet and exercise and all of these other things and it it's to me that's such an important message and it it's about the whole and having this like all-encompassing team of things to get you there that's what i think i needed and we need and i think the mistake that i probably did make in those years of suffering in sobriety was not reaching out for help and not asking for help so it's a good point yeah that's beautiful um thank you megan thanks for sharing that um super powerful and i'm i'm loving i'm loving your story i'm loving your journey and and i would say that getting outside and really being diligent about moving and moving our bodies there's plenty of research that says that can be for some can be as beneficial as any antidepressant medication and so you did really do some of that for yourself you just did it in a little bit different avenue and it worked for you it absolutely did and going back even to you know professionally at deer hollow i mean i had those humbling moments of not knowing what the heck this program was about but needing to kind of because i got hired to speak with the families and do aftercare planning so i needed to have i had to talk to the families on the front end after the client was in treatment and then set people up with an aftercare plan that was aligned with this new program that i was unfamiliar with and so i really had to i mean i sit sat individuals in the company down and said like tell me what this is about tell me what you do i need to understand please teach me um and through that not only was that professionally very eye-opening about what you were talking about how for many of us maybe not all of us because we all do have individualized paths many of us our substance use does go hand in hand with some sort of trauma and that trauma does not have to be a big huge event um a lot of my trauma i do have a couple of those big huge events but a lot of my trauma are those little things like the being ostracized for my community like you know that person giving me a weird side look or telling me that photography wasn't for me or you know whatever it is like those little things that we don't give enough to i guess that really really like i i took those i picked those little pieces up and i held them and they they didn't help um so getting to know getting to know deer hall getting to know how those things do intertwine was was vital for me personally and professionally and has become such a such a passion and like a fire um in a new way because man is that program intense and man do i see people come in in a short amount of time and truly have a new outlook upon life like i've never witnessed before in almost anything else it's really really beautiful that's awesome that's pretty incredible story megan um i can't thank you enough for being willing to come on and share your perspective we could probably talk for hours and hours because i can tell that that you are so engrossed in learning everything that you can that helps people change right helps people thrive and and that's pretty amazing um i love the work that you do and i i hope we stay in touch and and keep keep having these kind of conversations because they're super powerful yeah absolutely thank you guys for having me on and thank you for starting the podcast and getting this open-minded view of you know individualized recovery and community out there because it really is it is so important and you guys are doing a really great job thanks megan fantastic thanks for the compliment yes you're welcome

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