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053 - Brian Wall

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Brian Wall joins us to talk about growing up with trauma, learning to be good at what was expected of him, and finding his way out of addiction. He checked himself into a psych ward, learned to recognize the triggers of life transitions, and the value of a healthy dose of sleep and gratitude. He also talks about the work they are doing at Transitions Treatment Center. 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): brian wall joins us to talk about growing up with trauma learning to be good at what was expected of him and finding his way out of addiction he checked himself into a psych ward learned to recognize the triggers of life transitions and the value of a healthy dose of sleep and gratitude he also talks about the work they are doing at transitions treatment center 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 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 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 collections 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 practices cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates brian wall is joining kurt and i today um brian is expert at solving behavioral health and addiction dilemmas bridging the gap between clinical practice and business operations he is considered a master at strategic direction and business operations as is passionate about the ongoing development of programs and services that improve treatment success and position organizations for long-term performance brian is a powerful advocate for compassionate care as well brian thanks so much for joining us today yeah thanks for having me sheldon curt hope you're well doing great super excited to visit with you and um you know i think this all the time and so i just sometimes i think i'm like a broken record but it fascinates me that you know i never dreamt of being in substance abuse when i was growing up right that was not one of my dreams and and i would imagine as i see your head shaking there that that probably wasn't one of your dreams either as you you know navigated life and we're this little guy you know and yeah i want to be in substance abuse that's my dream um maybe give the listeners a little bit of background as to you know how you ended up in this world and um and what your footprint's like yeah so uh i certainly didn't have a dream of being in the field either it wasn't anything that crossed my mind uh early on i i actually began uh an undergraduate looking to go into med school wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon because uh early on in my life i stepped on a nail got pseudomonas and osteomyelite mellitus and uh gangrene started up my right leg almost lost my leg and went through a ton of surgeries to correct that whole situation and um that led me to a pretty incredible relationship with my orthopedic surgeon at the time a filipino guy who was amazing and ended up being close to his family for a short period of time there afterwards and just opened my eyes to um so much that he was able to do like saving a life saving a leg i mean i just thought that was awesome and i wanted to be a part of that so that was kind of my drive early on in college and um even before that i almost lost my brother early on so you can see the pattern of trauma that led to where this is going right and so almost lost my older brother to a car accident when i was younger um then the situation with my foot almost lost my leg and um you know that led to me kind of dealing with a lot of internal issues that i was limited in dealing with at such a young age and i didn't have all the tools that i have now and so i did the best i could to get through and and really found that becoming a chameleon and becoming what others um needed in any given moment was my best go and that that started forming me even early on as a counselor and uh now i look back and realize that but you know i swam most of my life was pretty close to olympic trial cuts at one point and got a scholarship uh swim division in school in in college and um when i got to school i was learning really quick that i was good at being what other people needed in any given moment and that led me to being in situations and around people that probably weren't the most uh weren't the healthiest for me at that time and they were doing things that um uh weren't supportive of a healthy lifestyle i.e substance use right so you know here we go and and i i found out really quick that i wasn't able to manage being everything being all things to all people all the time and and instead of like breaking and accepting the fact that i couldn't meet that standard i chose to use um stimulants in order to keep that train running and um so that became my my my drug of choice my drug of habit i guess early on and from there led to a number of other um drugs because inevitably you you go to your dealer and they're they're all out of code so hey well i'm not going to take a weekend off so what else you got right and so that's what i did and that ended up leading into a number of different avenues of use and that carried over into my adult life even after i finished school because i i actually lost my scholarship three years in due to my cocaine use and um ended up dropping out and it it you know the whole addiction flamed i mean it just was a fire it was ignited even more so at that point and um took me to places and levels that i'd rather not uh have gone but did and and offered a lot of experiences that i use today um i was able to you know my recovery story you know i'm in recovery now and that whole story began there led to a place of really trying to manage my use in a way that wasn't noticeable to others and didn't affect my daily life and we know that that doesn't alway that never works really if you're honest i think um on some level it's gonna it's gonna get to a place where it becomes unmanageable and it did for me and um so i in early 2000s that led to me becoming suicidal i checked myself into a psych hospital and um was looking to get help i was using about a gram a day or more depending on the day of the week really the weather outside the people i was around you name it what shirt i was wearing it really didn't matter right um and so that led um you know my time in the hospital um introduced me to another healing process and that was what was offered there by the counselors and that again really ignited my interest and i wanted to know more about that and what what role i might could play in that because um you know throughout my time in college and even in the hospital i i was always told like gosh man brian when i talk to you i feel like i've known you forever and i connect with you and you get it and you know the rapport was always a big piece of um connection with others and something i did really well so um you know once i left the hospital ended up getting my first job in the field at that same hospital three years later they put me through grad school uh walked me through the licensing process i i was in their emergency department and really revamped a lot of the ways they do things as an admissions department i think maybe they even still use today which is pretty cool um and then from there i had the opportunity to go to um the dominican republic to serve uh in troubled troubled teens in a residential facility and when i was down there my wife my previous wife who's now passed away as of 2013 but she uh was diagnosed with cancer while i was down there and was doing pretty well i was off all medication and you know i wasn't really um i wasn't using i was drinking but not even heavily and so really my life was in a place where it was more manageable than ever um be you know post addiction introduction of addiction and we came back to the states to tend to um you know my wife's treatment and she passed away after a four-year battle left me with um our my four-year daughter our four-year-old daughter at the time who was born down in the dominican republic and um you know from there i i went right back into what i knew best to to maintain control and that was my addiction and that that became even um more ignited than before and now there's a child on board we had lost our house i had lost my job because i had to take care of her my my daughter living upstairs in a 10 by 10 room on a pull-out couch with my parents in my parents home and and um it was a mess to say the least and um she passed away we moved to central america to try to piece it all back together because that was one of the promises i've made to my previous wife that i would i would make that effort we connected so well with the latin american culture and and so wanted to give that a go and and didn't work out um came back again transition not something i've ever done super well it's something i have to keep tabs on really close now in my life because i know there's triggers lying there that i need to be conscious of and so we came back to the states i remarried um you know shortly before that we came back to the states and i landed in michigan where my wife is from my wife now who we also have another daughter with i also have another daughter with but we we landed in michigan and um again that transition uh ignited that addiction process all over again i started drinking really heavily and was caught at work at one point without calling my breath almost lost my license and got into working with a recovery program for licensed professionals and that got me on the path where i am now with almost four years clean and um you know down in south florida and clinical director for uh transformations treatment center trying to do my best to to pay forward what i picked up along the way that's an incredible story i'm listening to all of these traumas yeah all along the way you know almost lost your brother which i'm sure was pretty traumatic stepped on a nail i'm curious as i as i think about that how did that come out like you got your whole foot everything's intact or did you lose some of it no all of it was intact and that was another amazing piece of the the story i mean this this surgeon they had flying in from the philippines because i had gone into a couple surgeries in the the general of the general surgeons i don't know what they call these guys but they couldn't figure out what was wrong they didn't know what i had it was starting to get worse they didn't know how to stop it you know i was retaining fluid i mean it was a mess and i was like uh what was i like 11 at the time so um you know i'm in the hospital for like a month uh out of school for a year had five surgeries um but they were able to keep everything i don't have a much much feeling in my my foot uh now i think probably the anesthesia is still still taking maybe i don't know what that's about but i'll take it you know i got my foot and i'm i'm grateful to be here with um two legs so no complaints on my end that's incredible and that didn't slow you down i mean you still qualified for you know swimming awards and and scholarships and all of that kind of stuff so it sure must not have slowed you down very much yeah i looking back i would agree with you at the time uh you know again i think it's really amazing you know i'm a believer and i think it's amazing how god works and just piecing together things in your life to prepare you for the future amazing how he does that i'm so glad he's in charge of that and not me because he's way better at it right and i think early on and all the traumas that happened in my life he pieced together how to be present in the moment and get from one day to the next and i became really good at that and even today uh you know today at work's been really busy but i know that today is today right now i just need to be present where i'm at and offer people what i've got in the moment and we'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here i may not make it home tonight i know that's a reality and so right now i'm with you guys and i'm just trying to be present and share the best i can with my heart what i've learned what i've picked up along the way in hopes that it's a blessing you know to somebody well and it's so much more of a blessing to you as well when you can be present right because then then you capture everything that's happening right here because it's really the only place you can really be right yeah yeah and the opposite you know with addiction is just well it's the opposite of that right and and so it's just amazing i was sitting in my bedroom last night and i was lying there um on the phone i was doing some linkedin stuff and i was baffled at the fact that my daughter my youngest daughter was taking a bath and she's in the tub in our bathroom and so i'm hearing the splashing of the water her giggling and her talking with her little dolls back and forth you know and i was laying there and i was staring at my phone um appearing as though i was being productive but i wasn't i was reflecting on the fact that how cool was that that i'm laying here right now stressed out as i can be about this new transition with a company and want to do a great job and just help just leveling people the right way and and i'm able to be so present that i can hear water splashing in my tub and i'm tracking the conversation between my daughter's dolls like that's such a cool place to be you know like what do you want in life right and and before it was like i was trying to find them in my black book who to call so i could and then what right and then what oh let's do another line and then what right and now it's like i know what that then what means it's so cool and it's so interesting because i can't tell you how many times i've heard parents go man i just need them to be quiet i'm so sorry they're being noisy and i'm like why would you be sorry for that right these are these beautiful human beings let them live let them imagine and all of the things they do and be present for those moments and and be grateful for them right yeah yeah it's so true and i'm i i admit i will be one of those parents very often because i'm human first and there i mean i got my limits but my um my oldest daughter she actually was born in the dominican republic um not breathing she came out um she had black eyes like literally no blood flow to her head like it was and we had to put her in the tent and do the whole thing and they did chest compressions on her and thankfully it was it was down in the dominican republic and my wife didn't understand spanish i did so i'm communicating with the doctors and there she's been in a tent behind her bed they're giving chest compressions to her more trauma for me obviously um scared out of my mind trying to hold it together and appear as though everything's normal and okay obviously she made it but to this day when she came out i remember her not i remember her not crying and that was a pretty scary time and i was there trying to translate and just hold it together and now um you know i'm grateful to hear her voice it's a lot of power in that yeah for sure well and then i mean yeah that's trauma and then you talk about losing your wife and i know you kind of you know sort of breezed over that oh my gosh you know going through going through cancer with with your loved one like like your spouse i don't know too much other than losing a child that's right up in there with losing a child that's brutal yeah yeah it was um it was beyond what i can put into words i always tell folks it was like draining the ocean it can't be done um and i again just learned to get from day to day and to do what it took to just keep moving i don't i didn't even do it well but i made it to the next day and to me in the in that time that was a win i mean if i got a run-in or a workout or i ate breakfast that was a win that day and so um i've learned to to piece it together and i think um i think that that that's that holds a lot of value in where i'm at right now in life professionally and even personally you know just being a support to my my family but um just passing on to folks how to do that because sometimes that's all we got today we just got to get to tomorrow and and you know i run an emergency room essentially i mean this is what we do here we we have souls they don't have open cuts and wounds but these folks are hurting and they're bleeding out and so they come to us and this is the emergency room and we do our best to patch it all back together and get them back on the street and back out to their families and and part of that process is helping them understand how to piece it together how to how to put together two days because when they come you know putting together two minutes is a lot yeah big time so so i mean i can i can totally relate to why you'd be checking out right why you would want to go back to to using because even though it's not healthy we all know you know what what their where that ends but boy it's a way to check out and get relief from that deep emotional pain it is um it's interesting though because i used it for so long as as a support and to to manage to check out to manage all the stresses i had my life and and now i literally think of smoking crack and doing blow and even in drinking you know to the levels that i was drinking and i i get this shiver just like whoa that's oh how how did i ever put that together and still make it to the next day i can't tell you i can't tell you how i did some things in the pool that i did in training and and while being jacked up or you know tripping on acid or whatever it was and um you know i've i've i look at it now and i can't imagine going back there and that's not because i'm some really incredibly awesome dude it's simply because that sounds really stressful to me like i can't imagine managing that along with all that i'm trying to do with the people that are in the building that i'm sitting in right now like how horrible would it be that i showed up to work and let these folks down and there's no way possible i'd be able to do it and manage that chaos in my life as well and my wife wouldn't have it so he's an amazing woman amazing support and um without her i don't know how i'd piece together uh minutes in the day sometimes honestly oh but what a blessing what a blessing to have this incredible family around you i'm wondering as as you were going through the loss of of your first wife and and trying to care for your daughter what's that what's that family dynamic what was that like then for your daughter and and have you like has a family system heal from something like that it was one of the most chaotic times of my life one of the most organized chaotic times in my life really because my mom and dad god bless them still with us and they are amazing people but they are like professional enablers thank god because in that moment them allowing me to heal in my dysfunction you know and and they're i feel like i was going to addiction to seek healing to seek coping to to get through that grieving process you know although ineffective in every way right i was creating more problems for myself but when um we were with them in the house they were really great at understanding where i was and all my brokenness and brian's leaving late tonight and we know what's going on and we just hope he makes it back and thank god the kids the you know his daughter's asleep upstairs and she's safe and the doors are locked and she's okay and we will cover we'll cover the team while he's gone but praying the whole time that i come through and i figure this out and i get over it um how does the family dynamic heal it's a process it time heals really and um i i think it it all hands on deck you know and my daughter's been in counseling ever since the beginning and so i think that's been a big piece of helping her process on her own individually some of the things that she doesn't quite get and understand and with me um you know remarrying to my current wife and having that full family um family system in place i think that's been a big piece of the healing process and then also both my wife and i being in recovery and just not having anything to do with the nonsense anymore you know having that stability and knowing that dad gets up at this time he goes to work he comes home every night at this time this is what we do when you get you know there's that structure that that routine that predictability in place and that helps a lot of that anxiety reduced to a point where you can address what needs to be addressed because you're not distracted by additional chaos or additional nonsense that's happening in the in the family around you in the midst of the healing process that's crazy and i think that's a lot of times what happens in family systems i'm really big on family systems we talked a little bit before we hopped on tonight and you know i think it's it's crazy how that is a a big part of what needs to happen in the healing process addressing the family system because you we we treat individuals and we don't always do a really great job of including the family in the process and then they land right back in the same pot they came out of right and so naturally those those those old behaviors are going to resurface again and they're going to have to they're going to have to cope on them with them on their own and if the family simpson's not educated on how to do that well then surely we're going to have a readmit that's just how the process works not because they're weak it's because if you don't fill your car with gas it you're going to end up on the side of the road it's just that's the way it works it is and we've proven it over and over again right yeah you can't go put somebody back in a broken system and expect that they're going to be able to you know manage that exactly exactly so i'm really big on you know with my staff here transformations making sure that we're making we're being intentional about including um the family and educating them on uh addiction and the mental health diagnosis whatever's on board and you know the importance of medication and whatever the treatment plan includes but just including them in that whole process and then also providing resources for them on you know what do we do what is our role in all this and and what happens when we feel like we're broke and we can't make it through the day like what does all that look like you know and just trying my best to advocate and provide resources um so they they get the support they deserve and and so so um admirable too because it's you know the focus that you put on it is is about the person about helping them with that specialized plan that works for them right and absolutely yeah i've said this before is that you know everybody has different values and just because i have a specific lifestyle that i want to live doesn't mean that that's the lifestyle everyone needs to live but sometimes if somebody chooses homelessness like that kind of bothers us right it's like there's there's a better way you don't you shouldn't choose that but being able to sit with whatever it is that they want to choose you know is an important piece for them to to have that acceptance um i'm curious a little bit about you talked about you know eventually becoming suicidal as things progressed and got worse and if i heard you right you said you checked yourself in yeah what made the difference between you know especially with men when men get really suicidal they're they're pretty apt to take their lives what what was that pivotal moment for you that said i need help ego i think that's what it was i was just too worried about looking um looking whatever way honestly um so it was ego that's all it was i i i don't think it was anything above and beyond it was simply me um being so selfish and all about myself that like oh i can't i can't uh you know i can't bail out i can't you know i can't go that direction i was born and raised in a christian family too so that was that was hindering my thought process too like well i mean what does that mean do i go to heaven do i not you know i was young and still hadn't had that question answered for myself and so um but then on top of that what there was nothing in it like oh i don't want to leave my mom and dad without i honestly wasn't that deep you know i was way more selfish than that and it was like man what is this going to look like on my name if i do xyz and so i um i actually went and hung out with my one of my drug dealers that night and just kind of blew it out and contacted my psychiatrist early in the morning and and he was a doc for the hospital that i'd i went to and ended up working with long term for like seven years i think crazy story anyhow um yeah i called him and and he talked me into hey let's just see where this goes you know he's like he was one of those guys that was like hey let's give it a shot worst case scenario you can always get discharged and go buy another bag you know and that that's a crazy way to talk in a way but it spoke to me i got that i was like oh you know that gives me that that leaves the power in my hands and i like that because i and he knew that about me he had treated me for a number of years he knew i was a power guy control guy that stimulants right i mean all this lines up so he was like hey brian you know you can always use again you can always go backwards which which gave you you know that out so that you could use the forward path absolutely and it seems like i mean i listen to a lot of stories and there seems to be these pivotal moments in these stories that just shift it right that gets you you know get you like the doctor for your foot right that just kind of shift your life and your experience and and the direction that you're going and it sounds like that this psychiatrist was also one of those pivotal moments yeah oh totally this guy was my buddy in all the most professional ways i guess you know there was those boundaries in that relationship but i saw him as more than he probably saw me i was just a client but man i i really looked up to the guy he made good sense to me met me where i was at he got me he spoke my language like early on i needed that and and he met me in that place to help me um tease apart a lot of the the confusion that i had going on and so i had a lot of respect for i still have a lot of respect for him and um you know and i think it's he was just like you said another piece of that puzzle that uh i really look back and i see god just kind of using these situations i know that i believe that he allows things that happen in our lives for a reason and i think it has a bigger vision and i think he's using them allowing them to happen to so that he can use them to meet his need his um to to uh fulfill his glory i guess you could say um down the road to prepare us for where we're going and so i look back and i i see how all these things now fit together pretty well like he was preparing me in a way to be in the role that i am in now to guide a lot of hurting folks there's very few people i mean you know there's there's a lot of stuff i deal with on a daily basis with individuals and stuff that they're struggling with but there's very few i can't connect with there's very few stories i hear that are outlandish to me there's very few stories that i hear or experiences that i hear about that are outside what i can connect with because i feel like i've there's so much stuff that's happened in my life that there's very very little i haven't experienced and that's not you know i'm some big great whatever i just think god was wise enough to to allow me to go through those things to use them now and that's all i'm trying to do it's um i i'm listening to you talk about god and how god is using you as an instrument you know to serve other people and that all of these experiences have have you know are really so that you can relate yeah but but to hear a guy that was so arrogant and and so much you know so much of an addict and all of those things it seems a little unexpected to hear somebody humble themselves so much to be able to connect with god and see that peace yeah and i i tell you um that was part of part of the experience i mean i've been i've been to i've been to some some seriously dark places i mean places that you read about in books and you see in movies and stuff that people don't bring up we brush over those things on purpose and i i don't talk about them and it's not because i'm they're not those areas of my life are not healed but they don't they don't bring the glory where it needs to to be where it needs to go and so i'm more focused on what to do with that stuff than re-experiencing it or um retelling that story i'll brush over it to you know kind of contribute to where i'm heading with with the the blessing i guess you could say but um man he has allowed me to experience some pretty wacky stuff in over four countries and um in a way that has inevitably reinforced the fact that i am not that big of a deal and i cannot do it on my own it's just not possible and every single time in my life when i have fallen he has been there to pick me up and he has re-assured me over and over again with evidence in my own life that i know about that's real that brian i got you relax i made all this i got it i know how the machine works i made it right and so that really just it gives me so much peace um i just surrender man i give up i just give up you know i can't i can't do it i don't know what i'm doing right and so every day i'm just like man lord whatever comes across my desk today like can you just give me some some toss me a bone on what to do with it you know and i do my best to rip every bit of meat i can get off that bone that's really kind of my life well and it's interesting as i've i don't know well i could be talking out of turn i don't know too many people that are deep in their addiction and in those patterns that that are still you know that that really have the strong relationship with god was that true for you yeah i think um when i was deep into addiction i was all about me and addiction by nature gets you real focused on what you need right now right and it's all very um uh it's all all very archaic and and it's just basic needs replaced with drugs right so i'm hungry no you need a pipe i'm thirsty nope you need a line right so that's kind of you know it's simplified to that level and you you become so focused on those those um uh trivial things that you lose focus of anything outside of that and so it was no different for me i was i was all about me i thought i was a big deal man i had everything in control and i can i can manage this and i just make a couple phone calls i'll make it happen you know and and then i i stopped using and realized how incredibly flawed i was and how little i had together and so started rebuilding powerful story um i'm curious about um what role spirituality plays as you work with people in treatment do you see a lot of people grab on to that because i know it looks different for everybody but what's your what's your insight there yeah so here at transformations we have a jewish track crazy i had no idea until i got here that was a big deal it's it's huge and it's so amazing the the differences in the culture the jewish culture and and other cultures and what they demand and how mental health and addiction and all that plays into that so we have a jewish track to help folks like that and um it's it's wildly successful and we're still developing that even further and we're hoping to implement a christian track here soon um and then also gender specific groups and so all this stuff kind of plays into that spirituality and teasing apart who am i and what is my purpose here and and what's my story for what's this journey all about and uh so for folks that i see i um you know if they're they're not outspokenly about christianity or uh religion or whatever however you want to term it um i really open that door with a conversation about belief system because i i truly believe that no matter what you believe what you know the choices we make in life are based off our belief system there's a reason why we don't go out and kill people well i don't want to spend a lot of time in prison and i don't know anybody right now that really makes me that angry right so i can't get there i i just can't get there um my whole point being that we do have a thought process and it is based off of experiences and it is based off of what we believe whether that's god or otherwise and so introducing that that that conversation of belief system and you know your belief system now this is what i'm hearing and what does that mean long term and what plays into that to sustain long term with the vision that you have for your life and is it going to get it done with just the basic laws in life you know or is there more needed and for me i needed more and god was it that's awesome i love to i'd love to tease that piece out just because you hear about it a lot and a lot of programs i i've never i don't know that i've ever really paid attention that there's a jewish tract and it's interesting that you start a jewish track before you start a christian tract um at least as it seems like in u.s history christian christianity is maybe bigger but but i'm sure there's a reason well we had we had a christian track before and uh you know covet happened and you know i'm new here at transformations but it's my understanding that played a role in it kind of dying off a little bit um jewish track stayed strong for whatever reason i don't know the research is still out i guess i don't know the details of that but for whatever reason um it stuck out uh through the the coronavirus the pandemic and and so we want to use that as a launching point to um provide the christian track for folks that are interested in hopes that that's um more of a individualized support and we'll see where we've got a lot of folks um you know demanding it requesting it so really excited where that's going to go it's kind of fun to be a part of developing all that programming uh and it sounds like a really diverse program and what you're developing is got a lot of diversity i suspect that that you've played a role in in a lot of you know um thinking of of what will improve programs what what's in the future for for for you personally and and business-wise yeah so for me personally um i don't want to drink and um drugs just don't seem to make any sense anymore so i don't i'm i'm not seeing that in the future uh for me personally i want to i want to be i'm being serious now sorry you can cut that out that's what makes it interesting there it is there's your edit um now so um really for me personally i want to um i want to be i want to continue to be driven in my passion to leave a legacy that's really that really lights me up man i really want to be that guy that people talk about when i'm dead you know i don't care what they say but i just it's more about the influence and the you know how i made them feel and and that is really important to me i don't think many people remember what you say to them but they always seem to remember how you how you made them feel i think maya angelou might have said that um and it's so true and so i'm really um big on connection i want to connect with my kids i want to connect with my wife i want to connect with my family and i want to make conversations i have on a daily basis important i want to be intentional about being present so that's me personally i'm always working on that on a daily basis and no matter what um you know whatever my goals are uh individually in life uh as long as i stay focused on those things i have no doubt they'll come to pass so really that's for me personally i stay in the moment and and try to stay focused on that stuff and i worry about the big goals as as we work through life on a daily basis that's kind of my plan um seems to be working pretty well for me right now so i'm going to stick with if it ain't broke don't fix it right so we're stick with that but uh as far as professionally man i i just started with transformations uh three weeks ago and absolutely blown away by these folks i'm not even saying that because i'm attached to them now it is a different breed of people they are amazing they're all about helping folks they're genuine about it they're sincere about it they're intentional they're they're consistent when they do it i mean it's it's a i've never worked with a team so consistently across the board as amazing as they are from the top to the bottom we've got an amazing leadership team that is about doing cutting edge stuff to help people nothing's out of the question bring it to the table let's talk it over is it doable is it possible is it effective if it is we need to look at it and so we're we're constantly looking at how to evolve programs and um curriculums in a way that's going to touch people's lives individually um and and across family systems so i love the fact that they're not just people that talk about it they're doers and i get to be a part of that machine now to actually make it happen and so professionally in my life right now i'm gonna i'm on an extreme high i'm super pumped to be here and um i i don't we just we just didn't we just merged with up help and so sky's the limit i mean there's tons of stuff in in the future for expansion and just doing the best we can to take care of folks in south florida and then nationally as well from what east coast to west coast so i don't know where that's going to go but i'm my mind is blown thinking about it that's a big transition yeah you mentioned that was kind of one of your triggers in the past you know what what's your routine what's the what's your system of tools for you know kind of maintaining yeah so um if you look at it in detail i really suck at it and i'm doing horrible right now i'm like a d d on the grading scale right now my self-care is out the window um i'm not eating well right now i try to work out three times a week and oddly enough i was like hey i'm in transition i should start working out again oh that's gonna work great plan brian you should have learned this one already you dummy you pile it on when it's the worst that's a that's a great way to crash when it rains it pours right so i um i really when i get into these moments i've um in these moments of transition for me i get into a it's almost like i programmed myself to know that it's short-term okay so this is we know this is not gonna last six months we know that this is probably a 90 day they have 90 day reviews for a reason right so um i i know this is probably going to be a 90 day transition ish and i just need to buckle in and enjoy the ride um you know get enough sleep sleep is a big in transition that's something that i've noticed really has a big effect on me if everything else falls apart and the sleep that puts me in a really tough spot so in times like this i try to strap down realize it's only for the short term and make sure i'm getting eight hours plus a night of sleep at night that's really kind of my game plan right now and being flexible man it's like i want to work out but there's not always time to do it and so i've got to be flexible in knowing hey you're not going to get an hour in today but you could probably get 30 minutes and guess what it's not going to be with those traditional you know dumbbells over there you're on the fifth floor of this apartment complex why don't you run downstairs and let's do a couple flights and let's get something in get your heart rate up get the blood flowing so i'm i try to get creative in times like this and be flexible and understand that it's short term and make it make it work the best i can so do you have people that are part of that um you know your sober tools oh my gosh yes and they hound me constantly yes they're those people right i was like man i'm fine stop calling me you know no my parents are still a major support in my life my dad number one um him and i are just really close and we talk all the time and so um he was in the medical field for 40 years and so it's pretty well versed on addiction and mental health as well and so he's a huge support my father-in-law is a major support too he was in michigan in our transition there when i was going through a tough time and really helped get us through that that storm and so i see him as a huge support and even the folks here at work i mean just so quickly we become this close family in just three weeks it's crazy it's the craziest thing i mean in over 20 years in the field i've i can maybe think one more one other time i experienced this it was because i was in the dominican republic and there was nobody else around nobody spoke english i'm like okay well you're my family all right oh this works you know i i surrender um and and and now at transformations and even in three weeks we've become a close-knit group even on the surface so quickly and they speak so openly and genuine and sincere about mental health and addiction and what it takes to be successful and they're real about it and so these are conversations i'm having in hallways and offices all day long so it's it's hard at this point in my life and i'm grateful to say this it's hard to get away from support it's everywhere i i seem to i've gotten to a place where i've understood recovery enough to where i'm able to attract it almost and that's a that's a blessing well and you're open to it right you're open to people connecting with you and i'm sure that people who know you like your dad and your father-in-law are they're like brian's in transition we gotta call him more because we know that's a hard thing for him and it's because when you know throughout this whole process you know i got to a place where i just i'm just super transparent i'm a direct guy this is me i don't know you either like me or you don't there's there's seven billion people if you don't like me you got plenty others to pick from right so so i got to a point where i was just really direct and honest about stuff so i revealed a lot to close supports at the time about these things that we're talking about and thankfully they've remembered them and they've carried them over into the future and where we're at now and it's turned into being the support i need in times of transition so no complaints that's very cool i think we all need i think renee brown says we've got to have at least one person right one person that that we can be us with and that isn't trying to fix our problems but shows up for us right so we have a whole network of people yeah she's a pretty smart woman out here yeah are you a reader brian you read a lot i i i would like to read more um so when you say read i always think about this the other night is like brian your reader's like well i don't really pick up a book but nowadays you don't need to right so i'm always reading stuff online i love research based stuff i'm always going on sites and reading research studies and things and i'm real active on linkedin so i'm always reading articles people post there they kind of grab me and pull me in and so yeah i guess i'm i'm a pretty avid reader so i'm curious what's um what's cutting edge you talked about you know that your team being just so on board with anything that is effective and cutting edge what would you say are some of the cutting edge approaches you know coming online right now yeah so i think you know population specific one of the cool things about transformations is we're one of only four um accredited um sites uh supported by the uh fraternal uh order of police which is the largest or largest organization in the united states from my understanding um and so knowing populations that need to be supported so we have a va first responders program that's accredited by the fop and um that's pretty amazing one of four means that we're four people doing it so that's pretty cutting edge to me individually you know what we do in that program as far as curriculum that's an that's a separate conversation but um in the midst of all that we do here at transformations we're the only um facility in the united states with brain mapping incorporated on site in the facility with the these level the levels of treatment that we cover so um you know brain mapping um brain spec scans uh finding finding more internal evidence of what is going on with an individual i think is cutting edge that is about as cutting edge as you can get in our field insurance companies hate it right now but it makes sense and it's getting it done and it's providing information that allows us to better guide individuals and families and i love that and so um you know i'm a big fan of dr daniel amen and amen clinics and um the stuff he's doing there you know we're the only field the only field within the medical field that literally throws darts at a board when diagnosing you know we're the only ones that don't look internally to find evidence of what's going on and so brain spec scans brain mapping these sorts of things give us some more information of what exactly function on the functioning level what is going on that's hindering behaviors decision making impulsivity whatever it is what's causing this and we can find patterns better by using these tools and then uh use supplements and you know uh emdr and a number of other modalities to to better um harness these behaviors so that they work for us rather than against us and are you guys pro i've heard people you know do the are you doing neural feedback or are you doing transcranial type mapping both wow that's awesome yeah it's like the software they use is i don't even i'm still learning uh you know the program here but it's it's like they actually said you know i was talking to him i got i got brain mapped um yesterday we're gonna see the results tomorrow so pray for me hopefully hopefully they find something in there brian we're going to show yours uh at the end of the day we think that's probably better here's the example of what you don't want your brain to look like they show that one to you first and they show mine and it's no different it's like well that looks very simple what in the world is that you know but i did brain mapping they were explaining it to me and it's um you know i i was it was a lot of big stuff i i don't talk about often so it was a lot to absorb and and so i was learning and uh they were telling me about the software being some of the most cutting-edge software for that purpose that's on the market right now which is pretty neat that's incredible and then what about mat stuff are you using medications and and what does that look like yeah so we have um freedom now we have a facility here for outpatient purposes for medication assisted treatment medication management that we use with our folks that are in all levels of care we have a pharmacy here on site in our facility and so um we manage that and try to educate the best we can on more effective medications depending on whatever the diagnosis is you know yeah folks come in that may be on xyz medication and really abc would be a better fit for you with the particular diagnosis so we try to we try to educate the best we can and make those adjustments while they're here in treatment so we can see that transition you know that um that happens between medications and stabilize them during that time and be a support so that when they they leave they're they're feeling nice and comfy on the new meds and it makes sense and the dosage is where it needs to be to be in that therapeutic range to get them um you know optimal levels of what they need very cool um the buzz that i've been hearing too is on psychedelics you guys messing with psychedelics at all testing on that we don't currently uh i believe probably that conversation will come in the near future i think the shroom boom is upon us and uh i i think there's something to be said about research that's coming out related to you know trauma and addiction and and chronic depression and things like that it's i think that uh being in the field not to look at it would be unwise and uh you know our leadership team is is absolutely open to what is it going to get done what is what is it going to take to get it done for individuals and families and if that's part of the picture that'll be part of the conversation it's it's a little um counterintuitive when the very thing that you know we've been using for our addictions is the thing we're gonna turn to to help you know create some some healing there and so i think that may be why it gets a little bit of a bad a bad rap but it does some really really powerful studies that are coming out now and so it's very interesting i'm i'm still gonna you know the jury is out for me but we'll see well yeah you know and one thing i say right off the bat in conversations like this is that you know a lot of folks say the same thing like oh we used this in addiction and then went down the wrong road and led to everything we don't want and why would we use it to heal well first of all the world's that crazy and it happens that way sometimes so let's just say that generally on the other side of that is you know when we use whatever we used in our our moment of active addiction we were using an excess we were well outside the therapeutic range right so we're fine we're finding that with shrooms and ketamine and and um you know some of these other alternative medicines that within therapeutic ranges they actually are very effective at managing symptoms and doing it in a way that offers some residual effects after they leave the office and with no side effects it's like wow you know that's something worth looking at in my mind uh so you know doing these things and it's done uh you know medically managed and within therapeutic um ranges i think it can be effective at helping people live healthier lives i think so too i've heard some pretty incredible stories of of you know within one or two treatments things shifted in the brain right it shifted allowed them to get recovery that they had never been able to experience so you can't ignore that yeah so i love that you guys are looking at that yeah i saw uh research most recently from john hopkins i think it was on um uh silo simon and how one session i think it's an hour session if i'm if i recall correctly had residual effects up to six months out and no side effects positive residual effects and uh nothing but positive outcomes reported by by uh you know research clients patients they were researching on so that's pretty phenomenal yeah it's incredible and you know it's just a matter of time before i think insurance companies will be forced to you know pay for treatment that is obviously been tested and studied and studied and that the evidence is you know is showing that it's effective and yeah you're going to have to pay for it but i know they're pushing back and they will because that's that's the nature of the beast that's it it's part of the process they're allowed to do that that means we're heading in the right direction yep totally brian um i'm just wondering if you have any final words of wisdom your story is incredible i've just absolutely been thrilled listening and you know on the edge of my seat going oh wow man like you know my heart aches and and but then i see you today and and you're this incredible incredible vivacious man that's just full of life and and it's pretty cool to have you come and share your story and and your recovery and the fact that you're still in it you're still doing it thank you i appreciate you having me and um i'm nothing special god's been really good to me and um i'm grateful and gratitude has a way of rewiring the brain and preparing you for things that you never knew you could handle and so um one thing i learned i forget the quote and i wish i could remember it because i would sound so much smarter right now but i don't remember it but it was something to the effect of when you when you um when you're in that dark moment um and you feel like you've been buried um or you feel like you oh you feel like you've been buried sometimes it's because you've been planted you know you're underground and it's dark and it feels hopeless but you're actually been planted and there's something that's going to sprout from this and so um that's kind of it's something that i remember often in low times and dark times and times of hopelessness and just not feeling like i can go on another day because i'm human i feel those times too and i just try to to look back on all the things that that is uh you know god's used me for and and you know why not tomorrow maybe you know a lot can happen in 24 hours right so i keep those things in mind i encourage whoever's listening to do the same you know a lot can happen in 24 hours and if it's a dark time right now it could very well be because you're being planted and um so sit back and and watch it sprout holding that space in a dark time is probably one of the biggest challenges that we have right because yeah guinness wants us to squirm and get out of it but sitting in those spaces i love what you said right is you're just you're you're being you're getting ready to sprout and something that's gonna come from it yeah absolutely hey brian if um if people want to get a hold of you you know and and reach out to you what's the best way for them to do that yeah probably linkedin i'm on linkedin all the time i love it i just think it's a great way to support and connect with other people it's been huge in my recovery journey i've been able to connect with people all over the world and just amazing minds amazing amazing souls and so i'm on there a lot if you guys want to uh you know stay in contact with me you can do that through hashtag be real with brian on linkedin i do a monday wednesday friday posting uh today's wednesday i gotta do a post today all right i gotta think that through so i do a posting on monday wednesday friday mondays mental health monday wednesday is wellness wednesday and then friday's phoenix friday for addiction and just trying to offer some information some knowledge some of the things i've picked up along the way in hopes that it's helpful for folks dealing with things related to mental health general wellness and addiction very cool yeah so definitely i know i've read a couple of your posts and um i love them they're they're very inspirational and you know keep you thinking in the right path so i appreciate that you contribute that um brian wall thanks for being on the show today it's been incredible likewise thanks for having me shelley thanks for being here you bet i didn't get too much chance to time in he didn't i know i was like is he is he like doing the is he the producer or is this guy part of the show like what who would yeah shelley's a therapist so she she's she already knows everything so she can cue into what you're talking about a lot easier i'm the business guy so i'm kind of dumber and my questions come a little bit slower when it gets slow i jump in that's when i jump in and you guys didn't need me you got the producer headset on so i was like man this guy's a producer i had no value to add that's what it comes down to there was no value i know when i i know when i'm helpful today was not it i try i try and stop asking questions so he can pop in but you know i i get so curious i can't help myself no that was fun that sounds like a fun fun facility to be a part of um we're out of utah so obviously you know a ton of religious yeah based treatment around here you know and then obviously you know the higher power thing is a basis for a lot of programs but definitely i i don't want to say is too strong of a word but i think i think when relying on a higher power if somebody already has this kind of really rigid you know religious structure that they're coming from there's kind of this like a men's mentally where they've gotta they've got to get right with all of that right and for some people it's getting right means understanding that it's just not for them and walking away with a clean break and with others it's okay i've i've i'm making amends i've i got my higher power and i know who it is but i sure didn't i sure didn't walk the path i was supposed to so how do i how do i fit my life story back into you know however this atonement is supposed to work type things so yeah so uh we're certainly familiar with that and it's interesting to see you kind of have to jump both sides of the fence there with two different you know sets of ideology so that's interesting man it's um it's like you know i try to piece it together for the longest time and it's been so screwed up i just came to the conclusion it's not able to be pieced back together i just got to go with the pieces right so i you know i was hoping for um uh you know more of a picture uh puzzle in my life but it's come out to be more of like a stained glass abstract all right well let the light shine i guess you know as long as i'm in a lit room it looks pretty cool you got a good story you got good energy that's the the sparkle is there right that's kind of the part that it's the part that matters it's i think part of the challenge with you know somebody like you where you've got a lot of energy and you've got that sparkle is it's easy to be that for other people i don't know if you always see that in yourself and so sometimes it feels like you know when you slow down then it's okay who's the who's the sparkle for me type thing you see that with you see that with comedians a lot yes right yeah struggle with mental illness and some of those struggles but and i've been i tell you man that's um you're you're dead on with that and it's a it's a it's a real struggle for some folks and it used to be for me because when i wasn't the life of the party jacked up in a bar somewhere um that's exactly where i went i went to those dark places and um i'm just i'm i am honestly super grateful for my wife she's been through her own trauma her own addiction uh life you know journey and and she's just she gets it she just gets it and she gets me really well and she's um she's really great at she she's really she senses energy levels in rooms really well and so if i walk in and i can say hey honey and i can say hey honey you didn't see any difference there she notices right so she's right off the bat like are you okay honey like what do you need tonight i want to make tonight about you like what do you need do you want to go work out why don't you go for a run you know like she knows i'd like to get out like clears my head and stuff and so she's a big part of just holding me together and um keeping me grounded and she's like you said she's got a story too so you probably catch those cues from her yeah and i think the other thing that happens in life is i think you you go from the scene right when you're younger it's kind of a different scene versus you know i think being an executive being in leadership or even just a therapist i think can be the same way right you kind of carry a burden all day and there's some days when there's successes and you leave and you're like okay this feels really good and there's some days when you leave and you're like all right i need to turn off i think i made it i i just need to i just need i just need a healthy way to turn off yeah exactly that's that's not always possible especially with those little kids so yeah kudos to you and your wife for finding that balance and figuring it out thanks man yeah those those are the nights that i go babe bedtime 8 30. early bedtime tonight yeah i don't care if they were glowing they get their treat tomorrow bedtime yeah you gotta shut it down those are the nights i take the lead as well exactly yeah all right well thanks man appreciate you taking the time yeah appreciate you guys having me it's cool to connect and um don't be strangers

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