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060 - Ian Henyon

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Ian Henyon believes the hopeless can make fundamental changes and live happy and productive lives. He joins us from Birmingham Treatment Center to talk about avoiding the use of guilt and shame, maintaining healthy boundaries, and the modalities they are using at their new facility in Alabama. 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):

ian henyon believes the hopeless can make fundamental changes and live happy and productive lives he joins us from birmingham treatment center to talk about avoiding the use of guilt and shame maintaining healthy boundaries and the modalities they are using at their new facility in alabama 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 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 practices cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates ian henyon is with us today ian is the executive director at birmingham recovery center ian has seen people enter treatment who seem hopeless only to witness them make fundamental changes that lead to happy and productive lives he believes everyone is capable of such changes regardless of age gender or addiction history he is grounded by one basic principle how can he help people have better lives ian thanks for being on with us today i think that's an awesome principle to be guided by thank you very much um you know as we as we kind of talked prior to to um recording you mentioned that um that your facility is fairly new and that you've kind of you know worked pretty hard to get that baby up and running maybe just talk about that for a minute before we jump into anything else sure well um the idea of birmingham recovery center did not start with with me um i have two other partners and uh they they are friends and they are men in recovery and uh about ten months ago were they were working at a facility together and said you know alabama really needs some additional programs and um why don't we open a program there and in december they started talking to me and i i knew so that's that's colin harris and john gianetto and um and and i knew john professionally uh and he called me up and said hey we're thinking about starting a program in alabama and i said well good luck with that um because there you know alabama has a history of folks coming in and trying to make things work here and for whatever reason it just didn't and so um for a long time there were there were very few options within the state but given their their enthusiasm and [Music] um mr harris collins father um who is and his his mother cindy harris they are our financial backers and and with their uh relationships um it made sense to me that this was worth a try and particularly given the um the need within the state and so the the regulatory environment is is still challenging here um it it took us months and months and months to go through the licensing process and i'll certainly say that you know the intention of that is to to make sure that the people that are providing services are doing it to the best of their ability but but we are one of maybe three programs in the state of alabama that that provide these these services um and um there there certainly needs to be more and i would love to see some some additional options in the state and and sort of loosen that process a bit just to um allow additional providers come in and allow the best to compete and i think that really benefits the folks that are struggling with with addictive disorders it seems like there's a bit as you would said alabama's got a little bit of barriers to coming in and really offering the full spectrum of care that people need when you know when they're struggling with addiction that's right and um given where we are in the state we're we're about um 90 minutes here in birmingham we're about 90 minutes from the border of tennessee so about 90 minutes to nashville um or a couple hours from atlanta and so a lot of folks they were finding or were heading out of state to seek those treatment services and for those that could um they would stay out of state to help maintain their recovery and so it certainly was not lost on us that alabama was um seeing a lot of their more promising young people leave the state and and stay in some of these other places and of course for the more established person that that may have gone out of state to get residential treatment they didn't have a whole lot of options to to come back to and so for the folks that needed to to continue to receive services um again they were really limited the other thing that we've seen with a lot of other programs is there's this really valuable immunity element to treatment right like i think as as an outsider to the industry it would be tempting to think well it's not the end of the world if they go to atlanta or if they go to nashville or whatever they'll be back in 30 days and they'll be fixed you know and it's not only is it not that fast not only is it a longer process but we've seen i mean we've had probably you know 20 people on the podcast where not only did they go to treatment somewhere and then decide to stay and be a part of the community but so many of them end up working at that same facility or a nearby facility right or you know they get involved in the industry and that same original community becomes so valuable to them and so i think it was probably lost on a lot of society that listen when they go to nashville to get treatment or they go to atlanta to get treatment they don't come back ever right that's right that's right and and in fact i mean that's my my story i went to arizona for treatment and decided to stay for a while but but got offered a job at the facility where i i completed the program and there was no thought that i was going to get in the field i needed a job and i enjoyed uh engaging at that program and ultimately decided to go back to graduate school and get a master's degree and and stayed in arizona for for seven years and the only thing that that brought me back uh east was was i i have family here and so it was time to to do that so so you're 100 right kurt that people do tend to stay um particularly where they feel safe and where their support network is where they develop that the other thing is that's tricky too about that because for me it's really tempting to like you know start to blame government right or start to get mad at you know who who the cronies behind the curtain screwing this all up for us but at the end of the day they really depend on professionals right they really depend on the industry to say well you know here's really the best course of treatment or whatever and here's how we help manage that and it's a bit challenging because a you're trying to marry like politics and science which we know is not really easily uh but even as a i think even as an industry or even as a this when you get into the science part i don't know that we really have are all on the same page there either right i mean you know what one of the kind of headline things that you're seeing right now is like this whole britney spears thing right which is huge controversy she obviously has or has dealt with mental illness you know and the court doesn't know how to deal with it they just say go to a doctor she doesn't want to go to a doctor anymore so that kind of a problem and so the question then as you're opening this treatment center is you know what's what's the approach going to be you know for you and for birmingham treatment you know what's what's your approach to treatment is that the you know are are drugs part of that you know program are they not part of that program is it 12-step based you know what's what's your approach yeah and no doubt that that we are as a field or not in agreement at all in terms of how the best way to approach this and and and i think that's been part of the the problem and certainly part of the problem with the perception from the consumer side of of the field but to answer your question um you know i i did uh get sober at a very strict 12-step oriented highly structured highly regimented program which i think was was really important um for for my recovery um and and is it is important for for some people um but our approach is is going to be a lot more flexible and and the longer that i i stayed in the field the longer i realized that to try to force something like as complex as a human being into a specific mode of treatment is going to help some but it's going to exclude a lot of people as well and and i didn't want to do that and so um number one is yes absolutely our program um can prescribe medication and support people that not only struggle with with mental health issues and maybe even some more profound mental health issues that would make a lot of programs nervous so our both our physicians are double board certified in addictionology as well as psychiatry and so we feel very comfortable treating um the client that is that that true that true uh duly diagnosed client the other aspect to this of course is we are primary substance abuse and so um to to treat substance use disorders there there is a variety of of medications that can be utilized and then oddly enough we have a special term for these medications um and we don't have special terms for any other mental illness you know we don't say that um zoloft is a medication-assisted treatment for depression but we do have that for addiction and so i i say that because i bristle when i talk about medication-assisted treatment we do provide a medication that will support someone's desire to to maintain abstinence from from their drug of choice um one of the more controversial ones within the field of course is buprenorphine containing medication most people know that as suboxone um and on the one hand i understand why there's there's a struggle with that um and and i had to experience um from a from a provider side seeing people uh seeing clients prescribe that medication and seeing them much more stable than somebody that just stopped using heroin two days ago and so my experience is that under the right circumstances um buprenorphine containing medication is is highly effective and and can absolutely change people's lives i had a client a couple years ago that was sleeping on a mattress behind a blood donation center and he would wake up every morning donate and then go buy heroin he had been to upwards of 30 treatment programs he finally came to us he he was prescribed suboxone and eventually transitioned to uh supplicate which is the long-acting injectable and the man's been sober for a couple years now and and is manager of a large retailer um he's maintained employment he has connection with his family again and it's like that's why people get sober that's what we call sober and and it doesn't matter kind of how we got there and um i i want to see people having better lives well it doesn't look it doesn't look the same for everybody even if you're only pooling the population that doesn't use medication right sobriety is different for everybody anyways well in the challenging it's it's very controversial i mean we talked to someone just the other day and it wasn't on the podcast although i think we've touched on this is you know especially if you're old school sobriety was that you weren't on anything not that you stopped using drugs so you could go on a medication because that didn't feel like sobriety and there are still plenty of people in the industry as hard as we've tried to change that stigma that still struggle with that concept of if you're on medication you're not really sober and and that's so silly right because someone who has diabetes are we going to go to them and say hey you you got to get off your insulin or you are not you're not really sober here right call your sponsor and your diabetes will will stabilize and unfortunately and i'm not throwing rocks at that 12-step recovery it's it's how i i'm a big supporter of that that's how i got sober as well um however there are some things that need to change and there's a lot of programs that are still stuck in that perspective that not only can you can you not receive um buprenorphine contained medication but if you have a panic disorder and you need to be prescribed you know a low-dose benzodiazepine so that you can actually sit in a room with other people it's like no no no we can't have that or or an adhd a stimulant-based adhd medication which is also someone who is truly adhd cannot sit in a room for two hours at a time it's not going to work it's going to fail now i'm not a physician and so i'm not going to say what medication works for a particular person or not i'm going to leave that up to a doctor that's got a lot more education than i do and if the doctor says this person needs some content in their pocket that every once in a while they might have a panic attack but but generally if just knowing that they have this in their pocket they are much more stable then why would i not want them to do that now the moment that they start abusing the klonopin then then that's a clinical issue that has to be addressed and we need to have a different discussion about that that support well you know i love i love the experience that you bring to the table ian because because i you've talked a little bit and skirted on it a little bit that you have a recovery story and these topics we're talking about you know they're not going away anytime soon they are you know they're part of the dynamic of the industry and you know there's that push and pull which i think really helps us get to that best practice place right is because medication for some isn't a good answer and for others it's like the only answer and and so we got to figure out what that in between is i'm i'm curious if i can divert us just a little bit to have you talk a little bit about your recovery experience some of that background of how you how you ended up there and and and now you know you've you you you're kind of stayed in the industry right you want to you want to give back yeah so um of course you know like most people i i didn't wake up one day and say um you know i'm gonna use substances until i i need to um go to arizona for for 10 months but but that's that was ultimately the result um i i think my story is is fairly typical in that um i started drinking at a very young age i started smoking cigarettes at a very young age and if you look empirically at that you know nicotine use really is the the gateway drug and and i i remember drinking for the first time at an 11 or 12 year old kid and i and i loved it and it was absolutely the most favorite thing that i had ever done and um i really oriented my life around alcohol and ended up i went into the commercial real estate field after i graduated from college and and that was a great job to drink alcohol all the time you drank with clients you drank in airports on airplanes and at parties and on golf courses and it was really fabulous and then of course um you know i i also was a was a cocaine user and and between those two um i i ended up in in treatment at uh the age of 38 and and of course i didn't think that that substance use was was my problem i i had a problem with the world and and of course i i you know said i i i'm depressed and i'm anxious and and i don't understand how to do life and um substances are the only thing that helped me feel better and you can't ask me to stop doing that and the the very excellent people at prescott house in arizona said um you know ian you you've got to get the substance out of the way before you can look at some of those other things and they were exactly right and um look getting sober was was the hardest thing i've ever done i've been sober for 14 years now and i never want to be talking about my sobriety in weeks or months ever again it's it's too difficult and um and i don't say that to to certainly dissuade anyone from um getting into recovery but but i do understand when someone comes into my office and they say you know i really don't want to stop using and i'm like yeah i know you don't and that's okay um what i ask them is you know can you commit to to stop using substances for some period of time say 90 days can can you do that and they say absolutely i can't i go okay well let's start there and let's see if your life gets better and if your life gets better then we talk about ways of helping you extend that that's a powerful way you talked about um ian that you felt like um that smoking cigarettes was a gateway for a lot of a lot of people that that start into drugs it certainly was for you i'm curious and um i see you know there's this controversy about facilities allowing smoking and not allowing smoking where do you stand on that and and and sometimes i think and this is my own thing can you give me your opinion is is smoking harder to stop than all the other drugs yeah um i i think that the habit that's involved with with smoke smoking is just everything that's involved from from of course you know cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system and of course you know it's it's nice to smoke after a meal and of course you're doing something with your hands and it's social and there's so many aspects wrapped up in that and so it is incredibly difficult to to stop that habit of course now you know with with the the popularity of vaping um there's there's things that there's barriers to to using nicotine that you know smoking cigarettes it tastes bad and and it turns your teeth yellow and your fingernails yellow and all these things that people go you know what i don't think i'll do that but here along comes vapes and um and they they don't they don't burn and they taste better and so um i think it's it's really it's going to create a problem moving ahead as a lot of younger people start using nicotine at earlier ages now that being said i'm not in favor of banning things i think people will find a way to do things that they want to do i think people need to understand what what the the consequences of certain decisions are and um we do allow smoking and the use of nicotine products at at our program i do tell our clients that although it sounds daunting you have a better chance of maintaining sobriety from from your drugs of choice if you also eliminate nicotine at this point and we can support you in doing that um would you like to do that and some say yes and some say no and so it's it's certainly a recommendation and and then later on and of course so i didn't stop using nicotine when i got sober in fact um my uh i had a physician and i was i was in graduate school and i was actually using um smokeless tobacco and um i'm in graduate school and my physician said to me um he looked at my turn he said i see you're still using this woodless tobacco he said i'll make you a deal if you can commit to stop using that i won't charge you for today's visit and i was about four weeks out from from the end of the semester and and i thought for a moment i said i can't do it you know i i've got too much stuff to do and so um it would be several more years before i did eventually stop using nicotine all together so it's it is difficult yeah and it's like you said there's so many cultural factors associated with it you know people at work go out and smoke together and and you're doing stuff with your hands all of those pieces smoke break you know yeah it's tough yeah i just think it's interesting because you know addiction comes in so many shapes and sizes that it's it's very interesting to talk about it in the real world of what are we all doing right and and what are our addictions because i think we all on some level they might not be the same as a drug they might not be the same as you know alcohol or cigarettes but they certainly we all have our addictions i think that we're fighting right on some level or another yeah and and we can look at those as you know smart recovery talks about things in terms of um bad habits and not necessarily quoting them verbatim but but that's how they frame the things that people want to change within that that program and um and and there's lots of things that that people do that are they're not in someone's best interest but that our brains really like and our brains want us to to repeat those those things and so we end up doing them to to our detriment um certainly not to the level that that substances um do and and we know that's that's the most powerful um you know addictions that there are but of course there is gambling sex addiction um is a thing um and it's and it's terrible and i would not wish that on my worst enemy and i've seen people recover and i've seen people struggle and that um eating disorders are in a similar vein not not quite but but similar and it is it is really difficult to recover from from all of these definitely so as a new facility i'm wondering i know that we hear about a lot of i'm going to say i'll use a the word alternative approaches you know extensions of recovery different things that people engage in mindfulness i guess could be considered one and meditation and yoga but we're seeing some come on board that you know been in the industry a long time and are getting some steam like neurofeedback or transcranial some of those different kinds of modalities are you guys planning on utilizing any of those or what's yourwhat's your thought process around those we are going to to look at all the tools that are ultimately going to be helpful to to our clients um we don't plan to implement any of those that that we mentioned but that you just mentioned but um here's the the place that we come from and um we recognize that that addiction really is is based on uh or based in uh uh childhood trauma and and not necessarily the the big t trauma that that we think of as as um traumatic events although that's that's a lot of it so so sexual abuse uh and neglect um but but that developmental trauma that comes from childhood that that has not been um necessarily recognized within uh the the industry and want to start talking about that um talking about even generational trauma so where um i had a client a number of years ago who's um who whose parents had some unresolved trauma and and this woman just could not get sober and i finally asked her you know is there is there anything traumatic in in your background and and she said wow like no no one's ever asked me that before and yeah and explain the situation and so being able to to talk about those things and and the environments that that people um grew up in and it's it's not necessarily anyone's fault it's just kind of what what happens and whether that be um you know a parent that that was using or um another caregiver's you know anger and and creating a fearful environment and and of course that was learned behavior for them probably and so to to begin addressing those those things and look at uh attachment um patterns and how um those may have been affected growing up and and start working on on repairing the attachment as well so that's that's really going to be our primary focus and if some of those other things can can help resolve those then we want to look at them yeah and i love your i love your approach ian because what you're talking about is at the core right attachment and connection that is the antidote to addiction and we you know that's not that's familiar we all know that we understand that because if when we're using we're isolating and you know engaging in all sorts of things so that are unhealthy um so i love that approach and i love that you're focusing on some of those core pieces right the you know the when we take basics our brain then um secretes substances that mimics that attachment and and we become attached to those substances and and that's why uh people in this field were so offended when somebody uses you know we go oh my gosh we've been treating them and we've been working so hard and they went and used and it's like well hang on a sec we're asking someone to give up something it's it's like telling somebody like listen your mother isn't very good for you don't talk to her ever again and people would go like are you nuts i gotta tie this for my mom and and it's so it's it's the same thing when it comes to substances and so again when when someone uses to to be surprised it's like okay that happened let's figure out some ways to help you not do that again or to make a different decision because they may do it again um but but to help them perhaps make a more rational decision oh so you mean we shouldn't shame them when they use yeah you know i i don't know a lot i'm not going to tell you that that you know i know as a a lot of different modalities and that type of thing here's what i do know if shane worked um you know i i would need a different job because i think parents and courts and cops um could could just tell somebody like hey stop being a bad person like why do you want to be a bad person you can be so think about all that you have to to to work for and and you're throwing that all away and here's the thing i got those messages and it didn't make sense to me i felt like i was crazy like you're right why would i do these things well i i must be a terrible person no it's the way our brains oriented with with the substances i love it ian because i can hear how you know how much you fight against that shame piece and helping people normalize the experiences that they're having addiction like you said it's it's a way to solve a problem or self-medicating something else that's going on and and if we if we're going to shame somebody about that we just what we're saying is that we don't really understand what we're talking about well again and then back to that distinction so um someone that's bipolar and might be in a manic episode we wouldn't sit them down and go why did you go to home depot and spend ten thousand dollars that was a terrible thing to do right we wouldn't say that we would say oh gosh that's not great let's help you let's let's get you see a doctor we're gonna get you on medication we're gonna help you with um with therapy we're gonna give you coping skills so hopefully that that that doesn't happen again and we never tell them like you know you're a real jerk for getting manic well but we yeah we deliver those same the same messages to to addictive people all the time even well-meaning clinicians will ask these questions like why did you do that or you're not trying hard enough or or you don't want to get well i heard that from you know even when i'm in the field someone go you don't want to get well and i'm going like that doesn't make sense of course they want to get well they're also trying to feel better yeah i think it's really easy to understand like the damage of shame and it's really challenging to learn how to communicate without it you know i mean and that's and how do you learn that well that's that's a really good question right because it's a it stands to reason that we could we could tell somebody like hey don't call your dealer don't go to the liquor store like how hard is that right but as as i got more into the field because what happened was it didn't make sense to me that people were relapsing so much right and as i started looking at it and it's like all right we know that addiction impairs decision making and impulse control and it dials down that part of our brain that says hey um this is a bad idea don't do that it dials up the part that's like you really do want to go to the liquor store right and um understanding that that's what's going on rather than a rational decision-making process and again when it comes to addiction we want to treat people like they're making rational decisions and and they're not it's not like they're bumping into walls and and you know that they're going to fall over or anything like that but but again when someone makes these decisions and we're like oh my gosh why did they do that well to understand that it's based in the way their brain has has developed and then oriented around the substances then it makes sense and then we can treat them compassionately and it takes time and effort to learn that peace like kurt was saying how do we learn not to be shameful because our our whole culture is based around it and you say we don't tell someone who's bipolar in a manic episode that you know they spent ten thousand dollars what's wrong with you no yes we do the whole community says what is wrong with them why are they doing that because we look at them as though they're the same rational place that we are and they can't make sense of it and i can't tell you how many times i talk to families and go okay but you have to understand they're not in the same place you are they don't think the same way you do and stuff's going on inside of their body that does not allow them to process the same way that you would process they are not well they need help and it's not that there's something wrong with them right but those messages are out there and when we don't understand something it scares us and that the shame just naturally comes out of our mouths right that's right and it is important too to acknowledge the the incredible frustration of family members who who have gone through this over and over again and i've said you know i i've sent my kid to the best treatment centers and and they they still keep using and what's going on and then you ask them have they ever done any neurosight testing as has there ever been um have they ever addressed trauma um you know how as a family what have you guys done to to help uh make some changes and um but but again to acknowledge the frustration i think is really important and we have to come at it from both sides and say to them like look your loved one is not making rational decisions they're not doing it to make you upset um but your feeling of being upset is absolutely appropriate and now now how do we help both um address this situation that's incredibly destructive because we know that you you you love your family member right nobody wants to tell a family member um please don't call stay out of the house we don't want you around right yeah nobody does that wants to do that however when they learn start to really grab a hold and these things all take time like we're not just going to flip a switch and we're going to get it but that's it's the same thing around healthy boundaries so often people are punishing those who do something that they don't like thinking that that's a healthy boundary not realizing that boundaries are a way to keep ourselves safe right it's about us and when you really you know you can tell when somebody's using a punishment as opposed to a boundary because it becomes it sounds like a punishment if you do this i am going to you know to you and it's like no it has nothing to do with that they don't get it and i remember it took me years years to go oh no wonder it always sounded like these people are talking about punishments because they were and it wasn't a healthy boundary you know and so how do you learn that when everybody around you is doing that so i love those concepts they take a long time to wrap your head around when you're in those situations because some of us i mean more and more we're all going to be touched by addiction mental illness in some form or fashion whether it's ourselves or a loved one but until you're exposed to that you don't have any frame of reference you really don't understand and so it requires a lot of of seeking information and getting help that's right and it is such a complex situation and and as far as you know a mental health disorder addiction in my opinion is is the most complex mental health disorder there is because we know that it causes changes and impairments in the brain and we know it changes behavior and it impairs our perceptions and of course our brains love substances it really does and and so um to to try to make those changes and like oh hey you're right spending all my money on cocaine is a really bad idea i think i'll just stop doing that it's it's it's not that easy and to make sure that we deliver that that information to everyone involved let the client know that you know hey you're not a terrible person and you're not crazy um you're you're doing things based upon a brain disorder and hey family um your your loved one is is okay um they just need a lot of help and they still need your your love and support and and this is how you can do it in the best way possible and your feelings of anger and frustration are appropriate yeah absolutely it's tough because you gotta you'd have to be both sides you you brought something up ian that i think is i haven't heard it talked about a lot i think there's we're starting to skirt it a little bit in our industry in the rec in the you know therapy industry and counseling industry but you talked about generational trauma and generational things that we bring to the table um it's a little bit harder to touch that because you know you talked about the the lady who who parents had something some trauma and she could touch that but sometimes that generational stuff goes back further to where you didn't even know them but it's coming through the genes right that stuff is in our it's in our body it gets handed down genetically to us do you see a lot of that and what's your what's your experience with that kind of a trauma well when you explore with the client you you ask them you know is there is there anything traumatic in in your background and they're like you know no i had a great childhood and then you explore a little bit about um what what the family dynamic is like and you know and they say like well you know um mom kind of keeps to herself you know dad's the one that does a lot of the parenting and um you know mom works a lot and um and then you ask a little bit more about what were her parents like and and then if if they have that information and they can say oh well you know her grandparents you know were died in a really tragic situation and then you can go okay so that's where we start and and we can kind of look back to that and and say um everyone was trying to protect themselves and and survive the best way they can based upon this really terrible event and they went through life passing this on and not because um they didn't love you it's just it's just the way it happened and so know that some of these messages that that you got were from a long long time ago and they're not the truth and and we can start changing those those messages yeah and i like that because at some some way shape or form you're gonna you're gonna be able to i like the way you go back through the family like those genomes and stuff are a really good way to kind of capture those family dynamics that somehow it shows up even if they can't tell you who it was or what it was they can tell you about the patterns that are showing up and you can start looking at those and going maybe that's not appropriate here maybe that doesn't still apply and and still look at it right so it doesn't have to be untouchable sure and and of course you know like everything that this is not not everyone fits within this this paradigm but but it it fits for a lot of families and um you know all of a sudden people start scratching their their heads and they go yeah hang on a sec um you know you're right some some stuff did happen and and and now um now i don't feel crazy and and and i think for the first time i feel a little bit of hope that actually something can be different instead of floating through life just feeling like a you know a a victim of of life yeah you talked about the idea that a good share of of substance abuse is tied to trauma even if that's little t traumas which often it's a lot of little t traumas what um what approach do you take with um with trying to deal with trauma because there's a lot of different approaches sometimes talk therapy isn't as effective as other approaches what's your take on that i think the jury is still out so you're talking about some of the more specific approaches like emdr brain spotting and that that type of thing or well there's a lot of them out there but yeah what kind of approaches do you use that really help people touch you know touch those parts you know because we know that that the brain stores that trauma a little bit differently and and accessing that if you're a child you may not have you know words to express it because it was pre-verbal things like that what would be your approach so um you know a lot of what we do in a lot of the focus of my clinical work has been with helping people to to stop the the substance use and just speaking to to to the trauma and saying like hey this is this is there and and it needs to be addressed and um uh we're not going to be able to get to that while you're still drinking your smoking weed or whatever it might be i don't have any specific training in the the various modalities but but understanding that that again um it it is old and um and likely started in childhood with some accidental behaviors and just being able to talk through those things and to change those those messages about how um how how could that have been handled differently what what could your your thoughts have been that that might have been more healthy because now you're a 30 year old but at the time you got these messages you were six years old and what would you say to that that that six-year-old that you know didn't deserve to hear that you know and and so um that that is where where i would start with with my clients right and i think it's a really good place because this is probably the first time that anybody's ever suggested there's there's something more right and suggested that some of these patterns that they've always known and haven't known anything different could actually be contributing so i think that's a perfect place to start especially when they're in addiction recovery um you know some of that deeper trauma and even you spoke just what you just said is you know some of that inner child work is touching on that non-verbal kinds of things but but even acknowledging that hey this was traumatic and we probably ought to consider thinking about it differently so i love that and i think it's a good balance with what you're doing so i appreciate you kind of you know talking through some of those you know so it can be really controversial and very difficult because these are hard things you know when we're dealing like you said addiction is is probably one of the most complex things that that people deal with and it's so ingrained in our brains and the way they function in our bodies and the stimuluses that we get that we really do have to come at it with some experience and knowledge and compassion and certainly dispel all of the shame that they've been hearing probably most of their lives that's right and recognizing again that one person's experience is going to be very different from from somebody else's because you know i i was able to to go into uh an aaa meeting for the first time and of course you know that was awkward and scary but but but i could sit there and and power through it um the longer i've been in this field there's a lot of people that have barriers to to that very basic behavior and and again if if it is a a traumatic event or or a really bad anxiety disorder um to tell somebody you know hey you need to go to meetings and you need to get a sponsor um and and just do it and they're going to look at you like i can't do that and so again to have a bit more compassion for that person that that struggles um and help them okay how about if we talk about what does it look like to you just to drive up to the building you know how does that feel let's start there right and start with some basic stuff instead of just get a sponsor read the big book and and you'll be fine yeah i agree you got to meet them where they're at and especially people that you know sexual trauma abuse those kinds of things they can't you know trust trusting you know people they don't know is probably one of the most scariest things that they have to face and so allowing them to do that on their pace and where they've come from is important it gives them that sense of control and and choice which you you can't take that away that's right i love it ian um you know i know that you've done a lot of work over here in the last little bit trying to get your program up and going and and you know being able to help people in alabama where there is a great need and some barriers to getting those treatment programs up and running um tell a little people how to get a hold of you know connected with your program and and even connected with you if they want to reach out yeah is our website and um 205 813 7400 is is our number and um please i i am always open uh to speaking with somebody even if even if this is not the right program because again this this is a confusing process and it's really challenging you know a family's in crisis or a person is in crisis and what do they do they they google for some of some information and there's so much information and to wade through that we are always happy to field a call and to say hey look um either you need more than what we can offer or it sounds like to me that you need to to see a therapist and and maybe some some medication we can make some recommendations for that or um birmingham recovery center could could really be helpful for you and let's talk about getting you in here so um always happy to have those discussions and and to help them in that manner i appreciate that ian because it is it's a confusing time for families and and they don't always know what to do and they've tried everything that they can think of but they just need more resources so it's good to have somebody that's been in the field that's been through recovery and that has the wisdom and understanding that you do that can help you know navigate them through that so i love that um and i hope i do i hope a lot of people reach out because i think you do have the the uh the understanding to really help them on both sides both the person dealing with addiction and the family who's struggling as well with with that person that they love well i appreciate you giving me the opportunity to talk about um my perspective on the field and talk about our new program and uh it has been a real team effort to get this thing um up and going and we have a fabulous staff and a great team to uh to support my perspective very nice well appreciate it and um we look forward to you know catching up later and seeing where things are at in a little bit from now great well kurt and shelly thanks so much for for doing this and um it's it's really pretty cool and and i appreciate you reaching out this is this is pretty neat thanks for being on ian yeah of course you

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