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035 - Randall Carlisle

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Randall Carlisle joins us to talk about a lifetime as a “functioning alcoholic.” He talks about a long successful career as an evening television news anchor, recognizing that his drinking wasn’t normal and looking back at 4 marriages and having to find a new circle of friends. 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): randall carlisle joins us to talk about a lifetime as a functioning alcoholic he talks about a long successful career as an evening television news anchor recognizing that his drinking wasn't normal and looking back at four marriages and having to find a new circle of friends 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 neider i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid a 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 in 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 industry leading reporting improve your practice's cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates today kurt and i have the privilege to visit with randall carlisle randall is a veteran news anchor retired from tv news in 2017 and now works as a media specialist at odyssey house in utah treatment center randall thanks for joining us today hello shelly hello kurt hey thank you for inviting me um i'm wondering you know it's been it's kind of cool to have you on and talk about your story i know you've shared your story publicly your recovery story publicly but maybe just give us a brief history of where you started and how you got where you are now i started in radio at the age of 14 i won the ohio state radio announcing contest and i was offered a job at a little station in a small town in ohio a town of about 20 000 people and i worked there uh while i finished high school i went to college at ohio state worked in radio there i kept stayed in radio until i i ended up in detroit at a giant this was before fm although you guys probably don't remember it was am only at the time uh that's for us old folks i worked at a giant rock and roll station in detroit that hit 27 states and four provinces in canada and decided and i i read an article in the detroit free press one day that showed what the salaries were for the tv anchor people in detroit and i was in my 20s at the time and i thought you know i maybe i should try tv and even though i was fairly experienced by that time uh covering news i ran into a catch-22 when i tried to get a job in tv anywhere in america and i ended up the only offer i got was in colorado springs so i went there as a as a weekend anchor weekday street street reporter went from there to dayton ohio to salt lake city to minneapolis to dallas and back to salt lake city where i was uh an anchor for probably 23 24 years at uh channel 4. so i've had i i've spent some 40 years in broadcasting you ask about my story the background of the story that people didn't realize while i was on tv or radio is that i was a functional alcoholic for a good portion of those 40 years uh i never i never i i always respected the job that i had i never went i never drank in the daytime never went to work uh high or anything like that and i waited until i was done with the 10 o'clock news at night and i went home and drank until i passed out almost every night and then drank a lot on weekends um i didn't think i had a problem for most of those years because i was professionally i i had a really you know i had a good career uh but personally i my life sucked i went through four wives and blamed it all on them at the time which we alcoholics tend to do to blame everyone else for our problems uh and after divorcing from my fourth wife i finally went into detox up at uni um i and then went through their iop program twice i i'm i'm a slow learner obviously with wives and with getting sober uh and so uh the second time it worked and i've been in recovery for nine years now so and sober for nine years wow that's an incredible story and there's so much history there and it seems as though you can um you can have a sense of humor about it now so you've probably been through enough recovery that you can maybe laugh and look back and have you know not so much trauma well and you know the first uh one of the things they suggested in the uni program is that we that we go to aaa meetings and i think one of the hardest things i i think one of the hardest things i had to say if anybody familiar with aaa meetings when you introduce yourself and go hi i'm randall and i'm a and i had the hardest time saying i'm randall and i'm an alcoholic and it was it really took a uh it it took a long time for me to say that and admit it and now i can i can look back and i do have a sense of humor now because it's uh you know it's a medical issue it's a disease uh and i wouldn't have any problem saying hi i'm randall and i have cancer or i have diabetes but everybody i think there's still quite a bit of stigma around being a drug addict or an alcoholic and and i think it's helpful to have people in a in a visible position like me to be able to come out and say yeah i'm an alcoholic in recovery and i'm not embarrassed about it or anything else but it sounds like for years you had a lot of shame around it and a lot of um challenges around it how did you make that transition to where you could own that and you can say this is just part of my life and doesn't define who i am but that wasn't always the case no it took years for me to do it obviously it took me decades i mean my my wives would say would say you're an alcoholic and you need help and i'd say no i'm not an alcoholic i just drink a lot uh and that was always my response and i'd say you know and even if you look at the first step in aaa that you would uh you admit that you can't control your drinking and and that your life is unmanageable and i always equated my life with my professional career and i always say okay i'm managing it uh even though i couldn't i couldn't control if i'd have one drink i'd have 10 drinks and i couldn't control that but the other aspect of my life i seemed to be able to control and that's why it was so hard for me to say i'm an alcoholic and it took me you know after even after going through the iop program twice up at uni it took me a a long time to to i guess to sell myself mentally on the fact that yeah this is this is an issue i have to deal with and and the only way i can deal with it is is not to drink and to keep uh and to say you know change my uh circle of friends uh because all my all my life surrounded going to parties and drinking or meeting guys at the bar on weekends to watch football games and i i had to change i had to change my entire lifestyle that can't be easy um i've often you know as i've talked with my kids and you know they'll say i don't like this friend or i'm having a hard time at school or whatever and even to mention change of friends like you can choose your friends and they would like no mom i can't choose my friends these are my friends this is the way it has to be right i can only imagine what kind of a struggle that is to have to change your entire social network right because that's a big deal how does one go about that um i i guess i'd say lying a lot of the time i mean my you know at first uh my friends would call and say hey you me are we meeting sunday to watch the nfl games at a local bar and i say you know i've got something to do that day i i can't make it and and i just kept i and i it was sort of a lie uh and and i kept doing that and and when you keep doing that you realize that that many of your friends have the same thing in common with you and that was drinking so as opposed to being really close friends because uh that's that's that's all the activities that i did with my friends we'd go out and play golf and drink on the golf course or we'd watch games in a bar uh or we'd go to a party and and what i and for a while i tried i tried meeting my friends and and not drinking while they were drinking or going to a party and not drinking while everybody else the party was drinking and the funniest thing that happened was especially at parties i realized that people as they got drunk were saying the same story over and over again telling the same joke over and over again and actually being sober while everybody else is high got sort of boring and so i and i realized probably what my wives were going through with me uh throughout all those years you know uh and and so it just it was a slow evolution of just changing my circle of friends and and you know and i got to know people from aaa meetings and then it became a lot easier when i when i uh switched my profession over to odyssey house because the thing people don't realize um it's it's a very abnormal life to work in tv uh you go into work at two in the afternoon you don't get done until 10 35 at night and and so the only thing we did after work was everybody say well let's go out for a drink which which of course i did uh and i've been in odyssey for three and a half years and not one time as somebody said let's go out for a drink after work so it becomes a much easier environment to stay sober working at a behavioral health treatment center than working at the tv station i'm curious on this journey you know you're in television and and you've been there for a lot of years i think 26 just here in salt lake if i didn't mistaken that number how do you decide because i don't imagine that's an easy transition to decide you're no longer going to be in the public eye and you're no longer going to do you know news broadcasting and you're going to switch to substance abuse treatment like does that that's not a quick switch is it no it's not something i contemplated it was a very strange how it happened i uh one of my reporting beats was covering the despicable homeless situation down on rio grande before operation rio grande uh the police crackdown down there and so i was i was down there frequently uh and i also chaired an aaa meeting down at the wigan center for some of the people who were down on the street down there and as as operation rio grande was planned and then executed odyssey house played a major role in operation rio grande because we agreed you know the first part of operation rio grande was a police crackdown to make the streets safer there the second part was offering treatment for people who were arrested in the operation who wanted help and uh odyssey uh we expanded we expanded our services uh and and bought a new facility actually uh anticipating uh taking many of the people in from operation rio grande and as a result while i was covering that for channel four i uh got to know some of the because there were a lot of news conferences at odyssey house or or with then house speaker uh uh greg hughes um and and so i just i i just got to know the people at odyssey house and the person in charge of sort of strange the person in charge of marketing as well as admissions and our martindale clinic cali bauer uh i got to know her well i actually got to know her again this is what makes the story sort of funny is at the time which wife was it it was my it was my fourth wife uh her kids when they were younger went to juan diego and i participated in some of the activities going to plays and choir concerts and stuff like that and callie who is my boss now was in juan diego at the time and was a friend of my fourth wife's kids so so the person that i knew as a kid in juan diego high school hired me at odyssey house anyway they offered me a job and i had two years left on my contract with channel 4 and by then uh the management at channel 4 knew that i was a recovering alcoholic and and wanted to stay sober and i went in and i said listen i've been offered this job at odyssey house and i'm i'm old and it'll probably be the last job that i hold before i retire if i ever do and um and they graciously let me out of my contract and i i just wanted to try something new because i've been in broadcasting for so long and i thought it would be a perfect fit for somebody who is trying to stay in recovery so i accepted the job and came here and actually i've never been happier with a with a working environment than i have been at odyssey house interesting i know that um i myself as a as a as a therapist have worked in the recovery world i actually started with an internship at a residential treatment facility not far from from salt lake and i i found it really interesting how supportive that environment was right because everybody's trying to heal and you're trying to learn these new skills and and as a therapist i'm trying to teach new skills and it just becomes this really great environment i'm assuming that some of what you're talking about at odyssey house exactly uh and i don't mean to demean the tv industry because it was very good to me for a number of years but all tv stations and i worked in a ton of them are run on fear and intimidation and there is very little uh positive reinforcement shall we say uh i i'd get off a newscast i i remember in minneapolis we when we were done with our 10 o'clock news we had a conference call with the news director and i might get off a newscast and and was thinking to myself that was good newscast and you get on the conference call and the news director would say that newscast sucked you guys were you guys were awful uh you you missed the boat here here and here and it was always like that and in tv news there's there's always somebody who wants your job so there's a lot of back stabbing uh there's not a lot of honest camaraderie and and and as you note in if if you i mean in a behavioral health treatment facility if if somebody slipped or relapsed or something if you the tv version of that would be you're a loser you suck your your life is worthless uh but but here it's like if you make a mistake it's like well let's figure out how we can not make the same mistake or what you're thinking was before you went through that i mean there's just a it's a more it's it's positive reinforcement because that's what it has to be because that's the only way to to work on on recovery and so the first first couple of weeks here i had a lot of learning to do because odyssey is a large organization uh and and obviously i i made some mistakes and i kept waiting for you know the acts to defaults you know people saying god how can you be so stupid or something like that and it never happened and i kept looking around thinking okay when it it seems too nice here when is that going to change and it never did and so i it took me a while to be convinced that that this was going to be a positive place to work because i was so used to to negative negativity in in the broadcasting industry yeah well you've talked about a couple of different things one of the ones since you're on odyssey house and that and that program there and you know that dynamic you mentioned there's you know kind of a homeless program set up there what does that look like how does that work what are the how do you get into that program because that's you know as billers a lot of the programs that we're dealing with are constantly trying to figure out you know how do we add as much value right how do we take care of people help them change their lives and stay in business right and so they try to scholarship people they try to help people in who just really don't have the means but they're not in a position to always do that right they need a certain number that just app should actually pay right which is where we come in and help but that's almost never the case for a homeless program right so what what does that program look like for for you all at uh odyssey house well the thing financially if you want to look at finances the thing that made operation rio grande successful was targeted adult medicaid which the legislature passed uh which applied to anybody who was homeless and so it allowed uh it allowed people who could not have gotten into treatment before then uh basically free access to treatment and and it is still exists and so it's easier to get a homeless person who doesn't have to pay into a treatment program as opposed to saying it's going to cost you several thousand dollars a month so so financially it made it feasible for a non-profit like ours to be able to have people come in the problem with with with homeless with with a unsheltered population right now is an awful lot of them don't want to get help for substance use or mental health issues uh and it's not it's not because of money it's because they just don't want to engage in in the help the and i'm not sure i'm not sure how to change that because we have right now the city has invited us and some other treatment providers out to something they call resource fairs before they do a cleanup at a homeless encampment area and and we've gone out and i personally got out on several of those and there just isn't a lot of interest uh for people to want to get to want to get involved in any kind of treatment most of the people who are in the unsheltered homeless encampments uh don't want that's why they don't go into resource centers as well as they don't want to live by rules they don't want to have any guidelines uh they basically just want to be free to do whatever they want to do and that you know that may include substances and and and just a a i guess a free lifestyle without any encumbrances that the rest of us face uh living in society for those who do want to in answer to your question kurt or those who who either are court ordered into treatment or who voluntarily want treatment um success has been amazing uh the first year we did some studies on on the people who came in from operation rio grande and i got to view it from both sides if you think about it i was down there from a news perspective saying this is this is a hell hole down here this is terrible there's a it's an open-air drug market there's prostitution there's crime there's everything else and and if i if you would have asked me before i started to work at odyssey if any of these people would have succeeded through a treatment program i would have said no uh but the strange thing after a year of operation rio grande being enacted the people who came in from operation rio grande actually had a higher completion rate in our program than people who came in through other means whether it was voluntary or coming from jail or whatever uh but but but the people who did come in succeeded very well uh and which surprised me uh and some of them i mean a person we just hired in our marketing department named amy daschle and she tells her story frequently to other people um she she lived on the streets down there for over two years and she wanted treatment and she actually walked into a couple of places like odyssey and house of hope and was told first of all we have a waiting list secondly this is what it will cost you and you and and she couldn't get in and she wanted help so when operation rio grande began she was one of the first people arrested and was instantly because of targeted adult medicaid and operation rio grande was offered treatment at house of hope and she has been clean ever since has been in recovery and long-term recovery and she was at the time seemingly a hopeless heroin addict and she is so successful and so significant in the recovery community now and it was because she was afforded this opportunity that you wouldn't have had before so it was a you know and there are a lot of amazing stories like that uh and it's it's because um they they were offered the opportunity or forced into the opportunity i i i heard somebody the other day call it legal leverage is is how some people uh came into treatment programs not just ours and then you know first step some of the some of the other non-profits have uh have helped an awful lot of people get off the street but there's still a huge significant problem out on the streets i'd say 95 of the people who are homeless have a combination of trauma mental health issues and substance use issues that they need help with but you can't force people to do something they don't want to do yeah the other thing that we see in a lot of our programs where individuals still have some kind of a support network is there still kind of this transition right where they've got they've got to get through treatment but then there's this rebuilding of life that takes more than 45 90 days right it's you know whether they do that through a sober living or they have a place you know with family or friends where they can land for a minute not only do they have to rebuild those friendships like you did but many of them since they haven't been functioning they've got to relearn how to have a job they've got to relearn how to have an income and all those kinds of things and i i imagine that would be a lot more challenging with this group where there's an extended period of you know joblessness in addition to the homelessness what's what does that process look like for this group well our our goal uh is to and in our programs one of the reasons people don't like to come into odyssey house is our programs are longer than most in terms of residential care and i'd say the average person stays three to five months here in residential care and it and you know it's been quantified that the longer you stay in a treatment program the better your chances of maybe i should success it for a person going through a situation like that would be uh before covet we had a we had a work program where we get people involved so that they would have a job when they got out and that they would and we also own a couple of transitional sober living housing projects uh so that you would have a job and you would have housing when you get out because you're right kurt i i mean if you if you don't have a job and you don't have housing you're going to go right back to where you were before and you're going to be around the same same kind of people and unless you're extremely strong you're going to go back to your old lifestyle and so the goal would i mean i had it easy i shouldn't i mean just turning down somebody for a golf game or meeting them at a bar is a lot different than somebody who came from the street and who knows all their dealers and things like that so uh it's it's uh you know the goal is is to is to get is to heal people completely uh in in terms of those life issues because you know that has a huge bearing on whether somebody is going to stay in recovery so our goal is to have anybody who leaves our program have a job have housing uh and in the meantime excuse me had been uh reacquainted with their family in a different light uh so that they realize that this person is in recovery and and is going to hopefully stay that way and and then also there's a lot of follow-up there's so many recovery groups now and this is one of the things i urge people to do in aaa meetings or anyplace else it's not just 12-step meetings there's there's usara that which is a wonderful organization that helps people uh you know hook up socially uh with other people in recovery there's uh i gotta i can't remember them all there's there's uh there's ftr fit to recover which is uh which is a sober gym there's uh there's there's groups that go out hiking and biking and and whatever they're sober golf their sober sober softball is huge um and and so the key is to get people who have gone through treatment engaged with other groups like that to provide a social setting a friendship setting uh you know a positive structure uh when you get out so you don't go you know to the bar to watch a football game or you don't go back on the street or hang out with a gang that's the goal and it doesn't always work but but it works a lot of the time and the recovery community i'm happy to say is is growing by leaks and there's thousands of people in recovery not everybody talks about it so you you your your friend or your neighbor may be in recovery and you may not know uh but but there's so many of these groups now and people are actually having fun one of my biggest problems and and was was can i still have fun without drinking uh that was that was a huge issue that i had to face and and so i and i like to play golf i'm terrible at golf but i like to play and in the old days that uses as an excuse to i mean there's a couple of sports that you can drink and call it a sport one is bowling one is golf uh and and so i used to use that as an excuse to drink all day um but but i play sober golf now and and i i'm not any better or any worse than i was when i was drinking but but i'm not tempted to drink because i play golf with a bunch of other people who aren't drinking so that's the key i think is just readjusting your life whether you come from the streets or whether you come from a professional uh position it's just it's just hanging around different people doing different things well randall you've kind of talked about your social network and how that's changed and how you've moved into uh you know sober friends and sober activities and how that fits in what are some of the other key pieces that you utilize for your for your recovery or your living right what what are those key elements that really help you stay in recovery one i i think you have to use a lot of i mean i still there's a lot of people myself included who after a number of years of sobriety um you you stopped thinking about it this much i mean in the early days i think about oh i'd really like a drink or i'd really and i don't think about it that much and and and i find that to be dangerous uh when you stop uh working on yourself um i still you know i still meditate i still have my form of prayer uh and and i still go to to aaa meetings uh because one of the one of the values of an aaa meeting to me is to hear for people unfamiliar with aaa meetings you celebrate certain anniversaries and you'll see somebody last week who got a 20-year chip because they've been clean for 20 years and then a couple of weeks later you'll see that what they ask when they when they recognize birthdays in aaa meetings is anybody in their first 24 hours of sobriety anybody have 30 days any and and the person that accepted the 20 year chip may stand up a couple of weeks from then when they say anybody in their first first 24 hours of sobriety and go up and accept that chip which obviously means the person who had been clean for 20 years relapse and without putting somebody on the spot at an a meeting they'll ask a person to tell us about it tell us your story and the without fail most of the people who who relapse after a num after an extended period of sobriety say it's because they stopped going to meetings or they stopped working on themselves and it's just it's sort of like i would compare it to somebody who is who has diabetes and they just decided to stop uh giving themselves a daily shot of insulin and and then all of a sudden they start suffering these horrible physical problems and it's because they stopped you know their their daily routine of what it takes to deal with the disease and i think it works the same whether it's whether it's drugs or alcohol that you have to keep working on yourself and and being cognizant of the fact that you have this disease and it's it's a lifelong complicated disease that can just spring out out of nowhere uh because i refer to it as an alcoholic brain it's a stupid it and i and i don't know why it works the way it does but i remember the last time i relapsed was after nine months of sobriety after i'd gone through the first time around going through the uni iop program and for some reason i told myself you know i think i could probably have one beer and i went to the bar and i ordered one beer and i said and then my brain really kicked in and i can't explain it because i'm not a doctor uh my brain said well you're okay after one beer so you can probably have another beer and and it kept going like that and that's what i described as my alcoholic brain and and i ended up having probably 15 or 20 beers that night uh and and i realized it's just something that i have to deal with the rest of my life the same way if you were a diabetic and you stopped taking your insulin i think your body would tell you pretty soon that you're you're getting sick so it's the same thing i have to do and i'll have to do it for life but you have to remember that you have to do it for life does working at odyssey health house does that help you stay in your you know on your recovery track because i hear a lot of people say you know where i work can't be my recovery so what's your take on that well i think that would be true in a lot of cases that where i work can't be my recovery but it certainly keeps me mindful working at a treatment facility and what people have to do to to stay in recovery uh so i did i guess in a way i'm getting paid for free free treatment nobody talks to you i mean people here at odyssey don't say you know do you have a drink or how's your how's your life going or anything like that but when whether the whole focus of the place where you work is is treatment uh it's pretty easy to stay mindful of your own treatment you know so i think it helps me a lot although you know there's maybe that's not true i mean i'm thinking i'm thinking of the medical profession and there's a lot of people in the medical profession who don't take care of themselves so maybe maybe it doesn't work that way for me it helps it's just helpful to because everything you know my my job here is positive communications of what odyssey house is doing uh and so i'm thinking all the time about what we're doing and it always deals with recovery so obviously that can't hurt it's got to be a lot easier like i said uh staying clean in a place like odyssey than a place that like abc4 so definitely definitely has to be a lot easier you mentioned a phys a spiritual aspect to your recovery can you touch on that what is spirituality um what role does that play in your recovery i've never been a very religious person although i recognize the fact that there is some kind of higher power but i don't know what the higher power is um it it could be a god it could be nature it it could be many things and it's something that we as humans will never know until until we know or we don't know uh and uh one of the things one of the things my sponsor in aa told me because aaa encourages you know prayer and meditation uh was pray to a higher power whatever you think whatever you picture a higher power being and and i did and and i've never really known for sure what what the higher power was uh but i did it and and and he just said do it and do it every morning do it every evening and think about something other than yourself uh and and i found that the act of praying even if you don't know what it is you're praying to uh it becomes a form of meditation because you start and i'd pray um i pray for help to stay sober but i would also pray for uh the people who were meaningful in my life uh and and for good things for them and and that accomplishes several things you're sort of in a meditative state um and you're getting out of yourself and and one thing i'll i can say about all addicts and alcoholics is we are very selfish people uh the first our biggest consideration is uh you know where am i gonna get my next drink how am i gonna make myself feel better uh we're constantly looking for instant gratification um and and which drugs and alcohol provide as opposed to trying to work through a situation you just say okay i'll i'll consume this drug or consume this drink and pretty soon i'll forget about the situation i have to work through or at least it numbs me so i don't have to think about it um and so i i i still don't know what it is what higher power i don't know what a higher power is for me but i know there is one uh and and i began to notice nature a lot more when i got sober um i was sitting with my therapist at uni uh and we were you know unis up on the hill on the east bench and it was fall and we were looking out her window and and the leaves were turning colors and i remember looking out the window and saying my gosh that's a gorgeous red colored leaf or a bunch of leaves on this tree outside your window and for me it was just sort of a casual observation and for her it was like this big breakthrough saying that that's so significant what you just said and i'm sitting there thinking what i looked at a leaf out a window and that's significant and um and and the point was that i'm beginning to realize the world around me and the beauty in the world around me and so nature becomes important i'm looking out right now at some trees and and they're beautiful uh and i never in my in my years of alcohol consumption i never really looked at flowers or trees or mountains i mean i knew they were there and i knew that they were okay that they were nice things but i never realized the beauty of them and so you know i i don't know the whole my whole higher power could be that we live in a beautiful world i don't know no i love that and i love the way you own you know you own your impression of what your higher power is and you might not know what it is but it's certainly working yeah yeah exactly now my sponsor was brilliant when he said he said just he said it his point was you know what even if there isn't a higher power and there's nothing beyond what we have right here you're not going to know and you're not going to know whether this higher power is listening to what you're saying but the act of what you're doing is going to make you feel better and it's going to help you so one way the bottom line is it's not going to hurt you so so why not give it a try and just see if it works i love that yeah it's kind of a different kind of connection right we as you go through recovery we kind of have to learn to actually connect with people in meaningful and true ways and that's kind of a different form of connection right with nature one of the things that you also talked about is you know obviously for you you're a tv persona right i mean all addicts tend to compartmentalize right and they've got this front that they show to the world and then the rest that they kind of hide and shrivel away with as as you've had to make that change you know in some ways that's probably been more public than for you know a lot of other people but with a career change definitely you know that changes the persona of randall carlyle right you're a new and a different person and how do you feel like that's been accepted do you feel like you've had a lot of people who you know give that give you that response of oh i would have never known or i had no idea or that kind of thing or is it you know generally positive or how's that accepted it for speaking for me first it was a very freeing thing to be able because i i did live with a lot of shame because people would see people would see me on tv and then when i would run into them in person or whatever they say oh you do a great job on tv i really like watching you and everything and i always felt that i really was not who i was perceived to be on tv although i i mean i believe i did a good job on tv and i and i came off as being relatively intelligent which i which i think i am uh but but there was shame there because i was hiding this one aspect of my life so it was very freeing although it took a lot of courage at first to come out and and just be honest with who i was now in response to your question and i was afraid people would you know the one thing like when i was when you asked me shelley tell my story the one thing i always say uh when i tell this story is that i never went to work drunk never went on the air drunk uh because i that's very important to me that people if if i say i i was a functional alcoholic for 40 years they're gonna the first thought will be uh you mean while i was watching you on the 10 o'clock news you were drunk yeah and and i don't want that to to be something that somebody thinks because it's important to me that i did a good job while i was in tv news and i was sober at the time so i say that right off the bat because that eliminates a lot of questions people saying when i saw you you sure looked sober while you were on tv you know well i was sober when i was on tv uh but in in response to your question uh it's been pretty positive i have found very few people being judgmental some people being surprised uh probably more people being surprised uh but but also very positive saying saying you know right thanks for thanks for telling us about that because you know what i have a brother like that or i have a father like that or i have a cousin like that uh and and and people find it sort of freeing to know that a quote normal person uh is suffering from an addiction uh and and it makes it easier for or or maybe the person that i told is also suffering from the same addiction and and and realizes that you can get help and so i i found very few people who negatively judge me because they believe it's a moral decision that i made to drink and maybe it was at first but it certainly wasn't for the last 30 40 years uh and and that's what people don't realize about addiction is that did you per yes you had a choice when you began uh you had your choice of of of taking you know opioid pain pills or or maybe you didn't have a choice but and when you took them you didn't know you were going to get hooked and and then when they became too expensive and you couldn't get script for them you turned to heroin now you know to me that's not a moral decision that's a disease that you're dealing with um and and with me drinking when i started drinking when i was when i was a kid i felt insecure around other people and and drinking gave me courage to be around women to or girls at the time uh and to be around friends uh and so it was you know i don't think it was a moral decision it was just something i did uh and then when i when my body reacted the way it did and i became an alcoholic then then it becomes a a physical problem so i i don't feel like i've been judged uh except by very few people and it's been it's been mostly positive and and mostly surprise shock oh i didn't know i i would have had no idea those kinds of responses or people who who are dealing in their families or their close relationships with somebody who is dealing with addiction saying thank you very much for uh for coming out and just telling your story you know and i and i don't i don't profess to to all i can do is speak of my own story i don't profess to have knowledge about how things work for everybody else but i do know you have to initially face the fact that you have a problem and then try to deal with it the best way you can deal with it i'm wondering i'm wondering randall you talked about having insecurity as a teenager around the girls and with in social settings does that still exist for you today um probably uh yeah well not as much you know it's really funny that with recovery i don't feel so ill at ease in social settings uh i did initially it's it scared the hell out of me to you mean i could go to a party with people and not drink what am i gonna say what am i gonna do uh i'm single how am i gonna date somebody i don't know what you know that kind of stuff uh but with long-term sobriety i i feel more confident around people i always felt insecure especially if i wasn't drinking uh because drinking gave me the liquid courage to uh ask a woman out or to just interact with people at a party so no i don't feel that anymore it was just it was unfortunate that i felt that way when i was an early teenager and i and the the first party i went to when i drank it was like oh ho this is great i all my insecurities are gone i'm gonna drink all the time when i go when i do this you know saying that it was unfortunate i had that experience well put very positive and rewarding right is wow i'm a i'm a ladies man now i'm putting words in your mouth but but i feel pretty good in this setting now if i'm you know if i'm under the influence exactly and it was i i just felt i was a lot i don't know i felt i was better looking a better talker a better a better everything when i when i drank uh which obviously wasn't the case i'm still the same person but i i probably don't tell the same stories over and over again like i did when i was drinking you know and i'm a lot more honest now because the problem with being the problem with being an addict or an alcoholic is that you start lying about so many things to hide your alcoholism your or your drug addiction and and lies built upon lies built upon lies and pretty soon you can't remember who you told what about which you know where you were what you did that kind of stuff and it and it's it's really freeing to be to be open and honest because because you you don't have to tell lies uh and it's it's just it's it's nice it's a good way to live i i would suggest it for everyone if if they so choose yeah it's awesome what you're doing um you mentioned the stigma and i think i think really the only way to work through the stigma because it's it's an individual problem right this is a problem that is i don't know how we solve it as a community i don't know that that's really possible right it's a i think it's a lesson that we all have to learn at some point in life some people i think are lucky to dodge it entirely or or you know learn some of those emotional lessons with a different addiction or some you know lower variant so i think it's great that you're out there shining positivity about that i know we're going to get involved next week with um alema harrington's golf you know thing and so it's you know he his was similar right when i when i started to see some of his information come out it was like you know this mind-blown thing where you know for me i grew up as a byu fan and right so there's even another layer of stigma there when you throw some religion and all that kind of stuff on it and um so it's really awesome you know i think i think it's great to see you guys out there and and you know specifically you doing good i think the homeless thing is a huge problem right and and mental illness no question is a major factor there and so you know stigma reduction and creating those opportunities for those individuals is really amazing so kudos to all of the work that you're doing there and with audio with uh odyssey house i might say a lemma element's a good buddy because uh he and casey scott and i are like that the triumvirate of well-known people who have come clean about their addiction or their alcoholism and and we're all reasonably good speakers and and we have occasion to be at uh at uh at places where we where all of us speak together and you're right there is you know there's a there's a similarity and i think it's significant that people like that and it shows you you know to me i i was lucky i never lost a job because of my alcoholism uh a lemma lost a great job at channel five uh lost his family everything else because the addiction was so overpowering casey scott was given what two or three chances what once a channel two once it wants a channel five and screwed up both of them uh because he because he kept drinking and getting duis uh and i'm not speaking out a journey they'll they they they talk about it all the time but it shows you how strong an addiction can be uh because it's like i've lost everything i've lost a six-figure salary i've lost this visible job i've lost uh you of being a byu fan kurt you say my god oh emma harrington how could that be uh but it but it really makes a difference when people like that you know speak speak out and it just it humanizes it for everyone it humanizes it everyone and i for everyone i think part of the value of it is there's you know we expect some lessons to come from parents right or religious leaders or teachers or whatever right but for you know the three of you right somebody who's out there in the community involved with things that are not necessarily just parental right the same thing with celebrities right there's like macklemore and there's a bunch of guys that are you know really kind of cool where i think if that message can get out there especially with younger people early on to realize you know there is a different way right if you would have gone into that first power if you would have gone into that first party with the understanding of like okay there's going to be alcohol here and the cool kids are going to be doing it and um i can try it right but but this understanding that i'm going to have inhibitions be freed and you know it might be really fun but there is also a dark road right there there is this potential um fallout that comes from it and you know kind of have a little bit of an emotional foundation around what all of that you know potentially can turn into and and that all of those joys and those connections and those kinds of things can happen without you know substance or whatever then i think there's so many years of people's lives that can be saved right so many relationships that can be supported um so i think it's awesome right i think it's kudos to you for doing that well people have images of like aaa meetings a bunch of old guys sitting around smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in a dark room and what i'm seeing more and more here at odyssey and other treatment facilities and aaa meetings is a much younger group of people who have are recognizing a problem at an earlier age and they uh and they're go and they're they're seeking treatment in their 20s or in their early 30s uh and i i wish i would have recognized it at that point in time you make a wonderful point i i mean my years were productive but would i have gone through four marriages probably not um how productive could i have been could i have been peter jennings at abc i mean you know i've asked myself questions that before that you know because obviously my my alcoholism held me back somehow you know personally and probably professionally so you know and but it's really encouraging that young people i mean when i when i get to know young people at at meetings or or here at odyssey or something i i i talk to them a lot saying kudos to you because you're you're dealing with this it's such a it's such a wonderful age because you have all you have got you've got 60 70 years left in your life and they're going to be a lot better you know for them and it could not be it could just be that it's not a function of oh you could have done more right because you've had a great career you've had an exten outstanding career right and relationships fail regardless of addiction right that happens all the time that's not necessarily a problem but there are levels of contentment right there are just there are just levels of like peace and and not in all of the right words but just being okay with who you are right that could have happened over the years that could have added some depth to life or whatever right i'm not i i don't come at it from the attitude of saying that you've done anything wrong or necessarily missed out it's just that next level of emotional kind of contentment for me that i think is is valuable so you bring up a wonderful point and i because and i've never even thought about it before but i was never very peaceful or content uh throughout all those years and i am the most peaceful the most patient uh the happiest not in a yuck yuck kind of way but in in but in a just a contented kind of way that i've ever been so your point is you're right i i me i may have gone through four wives and done the same jobs but i would have been happier doing it yeah randall it's super exciting to have you on our show and to share your story i love that you're very out there in the in public's view to share your story and you know d shame that disease of of alcoholism and drug addiction i think it's huge what's um what's in the future for you i mean i know you said you know you're you're you're older and you're not sure maybe you'll do this forever but do you have any plans not really uh i'm i'm very happy working here at odyssey and i and i and i'm not sure what retirement would look like for me and as long as i can be as long as i can contribute here i think i'll stay here and i hope that i'm cognizant enough to realize when i when i'm not contributing that it's time to call it quits but i you know other i've traveled all over the world and i've done i've done pretty much i've got i've done pretty much my bucket list uh and so i i'm i'm just not sure what i would do after this but i do know i'm not going to take another job anywhere or do anything like that but i i don't really know i'm i'm i you know one of the one of the things we we tell ourselves in in recovery is just to live one day at a time and and i you know in my old days i'd always say where can i go next to make more money or do this or do that and i i just i'm i'm happy with each day and i just don't really let the future concern me very much it'll it'll take care of itself i think that's huge wisdom huge wisdom to share is um and i think it goes back to what kurt talked about is that contentment with life it certainly shows and it shows the recovery process that you've been engaged in and that it really has made a difference in your life so kudos i love it um thanks so much for being with us is there any last words you want to share with our audience no i i don't find myself a very wise person i i and i i don't offer advice to people i i it's significant if you've got a problem in life uh whether it be addiction or alcoholism or which is an addiction um the solution is it is different for every single person the the road the road to happiness is something everybody should pursue and they need to do it in their own way uh it's like you know people say well you worked for odyssey so i've got a daughter who is whatever is dealing with this substance use issue and and frequently i'll say odyssey may not be the right place maybe this other place is maybe she doesn't need a place maybe i mean there's just there's a million different there there are a million different things out there to help people but you have to know that you that you want to seek help that you're not happy with life the way it is or if you are keep doing what you're doing i mean it's just i everybody needs to pursue their own road and and you know everybody takes a different route and hopefully everybody can find peace and happiness i i wish you know i know that'll never happen in my lifetime or probably anybody's lifetime but it'd be really nice if we had a more peaceful uh loving kind of world i know that sounds like i grew up in the hippie 60s and 70s and everybody was preaching love and things like that but it but that was that was a worthwhile goal now they were using pot to get there but you know but but it still was a worthwhile goal and i and i still think it is well i couldn't agree more i think we're making progress towards it in a lot of areas and sometimes it feels like we're going backwards but i could not agree more i was i was talking to somebody today and well we were talking to somebody today and yesterday even that their their whole goal was to make sure that people are seen that they're understood and they're loved and if that's the only thing they accomplish then they feel like they've done a good thing and i can't agree more i think that's what you're sharing so i agree thank you for having me on i appreciate it thank you randall thank you thanks

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