Matt Bauersachs joins us from Learn to Live Recovery. He talks about enjoying substances as an adolescent, dealing with falling out from sports and college, the ups and downs of depression, the value of structured sober living, and going through the challenges of starting a recovery center from scratch. 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 (illuminatebilling.com). 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.
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matt bauer sacks joins us from learn to live recovery he talks about enjoying substances and as an adolescent dealing with falling out from sports in college the ups and downs of depression the value of structured sober living and going through the challenges of starting a recovery center from scratch 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 knighter i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i am 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 answer them 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 today kurt and i have the opportunity and privilege of talking with matt bowersox matt is an msw he is the founder and director of operations at learn to live recovery matt is dedicated to recovery and helping others who are looking for lasting recovery as well matt has a master's degree in uh social work and he has been in the industry for several years and incredibly active matt thanks for being on on with us today yeah thanks for having me it's kind of fun you've got a lot of stuff going on um maybe let's just start at the beginning and and how you ended up here because i'm i'm pretty sure like most of our most of our guests you did not dream about being in recovery when you were a kid no no i did not um you know my story starts from a lot of uncomfortable moments um i started to use really early in life i just never really you know like a lot of people in these in 12-step meetings um they'll say just never really had my place in the world and um you know i i started to drink at a young age about 12 and then i i after that i found the use of you know marijuana and then you know for me i was never a great student i have adhd and so the teachers didn't really like me either because i could never focus i could never sit still and um you know school would never came easy for me i was pretty social kid i was pretty active kid i played a lot of sports um and you know that's kind of where you know i connected in sports and i enjoyed that but the other piece i just kind of felt less than and so as i moved through kind of my middle school years i i found that um there was a group of people that were you know smoking weed and experimenting with things and you know it looked like fun so i tried it and i'm very much one of those people that believes i was kind of born an addict or an alcoholic i knew once i touched it that it was never going to be a one-time thing i love the feeling that it gave me all of my anxieties all of my worries kind of went away um and that's what i loved about it um for me i had a lot of self-image issues as well as a kid um and you know really those were just kind of kept to me um i never really kind of let those out to the world but that just kind of begins my push down process as i call it um and you know kind of as i as i move into my um high school years high school was kind of a difficult time for me because then it was my high school was very competitive with academics and sports and you know it's a very well-funded high school in richmond virginia and you know i just like i said i wasn't that good at school it never came naturally to me and so i began to you know use you know drinking and drugs as a way to deal with school so i would use before school um i would leave in the middle of school and come back sometimes i would not be at school a lot at this time i knew that i had the ability to be a really good tennis player i played a lot of sports as a kid but that one was the one that stuck with me the most um i probably had enough talent to play division one at that level my team was constantly you know in state championship contention there was a couple you know two or three d1 athletes that played on that team and i made varsity as a freshman um i was i got held back in second grade or something so i was like a year older than most of my peers right so i got my i got my uh my license early so i got a car and i got a license in freshman year and you know i had this car it made me cool and you know i it was just kind of one of those things that kind of set me apart and you know i had a job where i was you know making money to kind of fund my the beginning of my habit and one day um you know for whatever reason this one guy asked me if i wanted to go to this place and racing i was like okay man whatever um sure i didn't really like the guys so i really just kind of wanted to shut him up and uh we went to like this uh it was like an abandoned uh development for houses that they hadn't started building yet it was just a long straight two-lane road and i had uh kind of used like an hour before that um and so we go and we do it a couple times and i beat him and he beats me and then we decided to go one more time there's a little curve in the road and he kind of came into my lane a little bit and i lost control of my car i flipped it over a minion and i landed it landed on the lid it hit two landscaping trees or whatever which i found out later were very expensive but uh but yeah i still don't remember how i got out of the car the car was smashed all around me like if i wasn't in the driver's seat if anyone was with me they would be dead you know the ambulance shows up the fire truck shows up and they're just shocked that i'm alive and they're like wow you know you shouldn't you should not be here and at the time you know my parents show up my mom's in tears my dad can't look at me because he's like i just i just don't know lucky enough because my car was not in very good shape and i was just kind of scared scared straight that i didn't get a breathalyzer that didn't search my vehicle um and i basically got out of that with just a few bumps and bruises and and no legal issues you know that should have been my wake-up call right um you know 16 um i was just getting into it shortly after that i got diagnosed with lupus which is very rare for a teenage boy it's very popular i would say i'm not popular it's probably not the right word but it's it's traveling around among like middle-aged women um i got i got it from a acne drug that i was taking called menocycline and it's a very painful autoimmune disease it attacks your joints and me as an athlete not being able to do what my only outlet was i think brought me closer to my bottom you know i i wasn't taking very many like painkillers at that point but i was definitely using weed and anything i could get my hands on to deal with the pain i wasn't playing to the level that i wanted to play and so i just kind of stopped trying and basically from from sophomore year to senior year um it was just kind of painful um i would play and i i could play better than most um but it just i just was constantly in the state of depression at this point it became clear to my parents that i had a substance abuse issue they sent me to therapists outpatients um i would always find a way for you know an excuse to quit those programs um and as an adolescent if you've ever worked with adolescents it's extremely difficult and i did which was my karma later in my career but um you know i i basically it was able to kind of get along and fly under the radar until my senior year we uh we got to the state tournament and i had played um the day before i knew i wasn't gonna play the next day so me and a couple other seniors got a few of our you know party supplies and we were just going to to drink and hang out and um because we weren't gonna have to play the next day and it kind of escalated to the point where the coach became suspicious of what we were doing there was people in and out of our room and noise or whatever and we ended up getting caught um me and two other seniors were in the paper obviously we weren't allowed to play and i was suspended for the rest of the year so i didn't get to walk at graduation um at the time you know i thought it can't get any lower than this you know this this is horrible um i escalated my use to cocaine prescription painkillers xanax anything i'd get my hands on really and somehow i got into a college i don't know how and you know that summer was just filled with just using anything i could get my hands on and my parents were like well you know hopefully college will he'll figure it out right and of course i went and my dad calls it a 25 000 seminar because i had he he says john belushi's grade point average 0.0 i had a lot of fun um so to speak but i should have died so many times you know there were times where i where i ended up just kind of like shirt off shoes off lost my keys and i would end up somewhere on campus just blacked out from the night before i woke up in the morning stumbled back to my room alcohol poisonings overdoses um and obviously i got kicked out um for me that was an extremely low point as well i came home and um just was depressed i was working back at the golf course that i worked at in high school you know i wasn't good at school so you know i was like at community college and just couldn't get it together i uh you know obviously i told you my uh use had escalated i was using cocaine almost daily and i was using xanax to come down and so it's a pretty expensive habit i began drug dealing um i dabbled in like selling weed in high school and stuff like that but you know it was never something i had to do and the stakes change when you move from weed to a harder drug it goes from you know misdemeanor possession to felony and so the people i was spending time with were not your best characters i played i played the part well you know i wear golf shirt and i you know i live in a suburban area and this suburban white kid and that's that was you know my double life um that was the beginning of my double life and after a while i was using more than i was selling i was into these people for a lot of money and you know my family has this get together my family's kind of spread out throughout the country and after christmas before new year's that weekend between christmas and new year's we have a family get together i couldn't go a couple days without using everybody else drank so it really wasn't an issue for me to drink but i it wasn't you know it wasn't an option for me so i got what i needed and i took it to this family get together and everybody was drinking enjoying it and i would go to the bathroom and do lines and then one time i was careless and forgot to lock the door and um somebody came in and saw me and that was probably the beginning of the end for me um i know now that my mom had already been searching for treatment programs and things like that found out that i wasn't welcomed back at hampton sydney college which is where i went for that semester i come back home and i get in another car accident this time i was impaired as well i rear-ended some guy and you know totaled the car that i had and lucky enough again because i looked the way i look and i was scared straight that they didn't search my vehicle they didn't give me a breathalyzer um and then you know i just went and toiled in my issues and was ready to die i barely left my house all i was doing was using alone all my friends had alienated me i owed people money i had no place to go um my mom sat me down one day and asked me if i would go to treatment but she did more than ask me she said you're out if you don't go and so at that point i was doing it for her but i was so sick and tired of my life and being unhappy that i decided to go um i went to treatment in connecticut at a place called mountainside and it was in the middle of nowhere because my parents didn't want me to catch a ride back to richmond or run and right across the street there was a horse farm and there was a mountain behind it hence the name and it was just in the middle of nowhere i couldn't go anywhere not to mention there was like two feet of snow on the ground because it was january i went to treatment january 3rd 2011 and i was in there a few weeks and you know like most people do in treatment i was twirling my cigarette in the back of the room and waiting for the meeting to be over so i could go outside and smoke and i heard a speaker that night that stuck with me ever since he said uh raise your hand if you're in the lodge they called it the lodge we raised our hands and he was there was about 25 of us and he was like about 20 20 25 are you okay he was like maybe one of you will be sober in a year and more than that will be dead and i was like well you know you never think that this thing is going to kill you even though it's killed so many other people you know i i should be dead just from the reckless like driving that i was doing before right like i gotten out of so many things in my life and had so many second chances you know i i was like whoa and it didn't even really hit me until a couple of days later we were discussing it in a group and i was like man maybe i'll maybe i'll give this a shot everybody in here is happy they're smiling they're getting their coins they're hugging you know i want to be happy um and so i did i did my time and inpatient decided to stay up there for this other program called the phase four program which is structured silver living basically you you help work for them and you stay there a few extra months i had every intention of going home after that um but after the three months my life was looking up i had a car you know i was feeling good i was happy and so i stayed in a silver living just down the street from there got another job made a lot of friends and it was very much a similar um platform to what learned to learn to live recovery is now um and for me that was my change even to that point i had thoughts of going back home just drinking or going on the marijuana maintenance program because i don't need the harder stuff but that wasn't an option for me because whatever i touched i just couldn't have just one of anything i still can't still can't buy the ice cream chips whatever you want to talk about um but my during my time time there i learned how to have fun in recovery i learned that i could have a great life and i could be happy and that i could be somewhat successful in life and so you know one day i was working at this fire water and mold restoration company and i was underneath in a crawl space of a flooded building pulling out wet insulation and i got home that day and i was like i think i want to go back to school and uh i was from the st louis area originally before he moved to richmond virginia and my parents said that you know they would help me go somewhere but i couldn't go home and for me going home wasn't an option there was people looking for me so i was like all right i'll move to st louis i'll go back to school and you know there was ups and downs and i was still figuring out the school thing i wasn't i wasn't good at it i didn't know how to learn i didn't know what to do you know i was trying to be a business guy but that wasn't my strength so i took a social work class and i got an a in it the first time i got into anything since middle school probably and it was a win i was like okay i'll do this you know and i i obviously had a large pit to dig out of because of the grade point out which i had my first try at college so i spent some time in community college ended up transferring to siue i met my now wife at college and um i passed and i graduated with honors um and i was the president of our student social workers association and i and i led events and i spoke and i advocated and i loved it i loved every minute of it um i got a uh internship at a local outpatient treatment center working with adolescent kids it started out as me just coming and talking to the kids and i was hanging out i ended up staying there for my bachelor's practicum i enjoyed working there i enjoyed working with the kids still worked there when i when i went through my master's program which i thought would never happen um you know graduated with honors from there too in december um and for me i loved giving away what was freely given to me this this recovery life that i live now is beyond my wildest dreams and um now you know i have a beautiful wife i have a dog i have a daughter on the way and coming in october um we we've been able to together be house parents in this program called joe's place where we housed homeless boys and we got to show them you know what a family was like it was a powerful powerful powerful thing we did for a couple years and um i ended up getting furloughed from my job at the treatment center and it was a dream of mine to give to people here what i got in connecticut and so during a pandemic i decided to start a business [Music] and i wrote the business plan i did the pitches um i'm lucky enough to have enough family support um to help me make this thing a reality um and i did that and we opened it on my 10-year anniversary um 10-year sobriety anniversary this year in january and so i guess that's where i am now what a cool story very cool story what does that structure look like you mentioned that it wasn't available in missouri it's not in connecticut what does that look like how's it different in your mind so there's a lot of what i would call silver rentals right silver living's oxford houses they're all over the country you know you pay a certain amount and you have a place to stay and some accountability and a house meeting probably in a week but what i had was full wrap around um you know services programming activities everything in one place we were regularly drug tested so i had a lot of accountability we also did fun things like go on rafting trips and play paintball you know and and go to the gym and on fourth of july we blew up a bunch of fireworks and you know but the main thing was that every day i had a structure from the time i woke up to the time i went to sleep there was things i was doing all day long you know and eventually it was to the point where i was going to work but for me i needed that structure in my life in that first year sobriety i needed to see that i could do it and that i could be successful you know we had we had groups i had individual sessions i learned how to cook i learned how to budget i learned how to not spend all my money on shoes and sports gambling like i didn't know what to do all i was eating was frozen pizzas and ice cream like i didn't know how to live life and it showed me that and it showed me that i could be successful and then i could live a lifestyle of recovery and for me you know that first year it was it was imperative that i had that and i and i came back to st louis i had lived here for like six or seven years and so i knew what was available i knew what was here and you know even though we have some great we have some good treatment centers here we have some great um 12 step here um we just there just wasn't this and the other factor was i wanted it you know just like mine was close enough where somebody could visit but far enough away where i could start a whole new life in here without having the issues of being in where i used and so that's why i chose irma missouri i found the facility and it's about an hour from st louis if you're not familiar close enough where parents can visit far enough away where we can help these kids rebuild their lives so how do you do have you kept that structure do you still kind of intentionally structure your day every day to help is that one of your dailies oh yeah so my maintenance requires me to intentionally go about my lifeintention is huge for me i still i get up i work out you know i i have my quiet time meditation is huge um you know i go to work now and i come home and you know i have this schedule to where i can always kind of reset and fall back into the schedule whenever i feel off whenever i feel down it helps me um and not only does does it help me accomplish way more than i ever thought i would accomplish i already talked about it before i never thought i would graduate from college never thought i would live until 30. um but it's something i still do and i preach to these guys all the things that i have them do the meditation the yoga the all the different mindfulness techniques all the different self-help structures that i that i use and and teach in my groups i do it too excuse for me so matt you talked about your family a little bit not necessarily growing up but it sounded like you had a pretty darn supportive family and they were there for you but but even that you know that that wasn't necessarily your driver but it wasn't it wasn't a a resilience piece either i guess maybe it is now but maybe it wasn't then yeah you know my my family you know even though we were at odds um they were still willing to help me at the time right you know me me and my mom and me and my dad we had our issues and it got me into treatment and that's that's what i needed i just need to get there and find the reason why i wanted to stay and you know my relationship with them now is just crazy different like my dad is a key investor and learn to live and and then meet and there's trust there that there never was before and um you know it that is one of the things that recovery can give you back it can give you all those people back especially your family and for me i felt so much shame for all the things i did all the stuff i put them through like when i was going through the amends process it was one of my most emotional amends because i have no idea when when you're in active addition you don't think about that you don't think about the toll you take on the people in your life you know my mom lost hours and hours of sleep maybe maybe even she says days and years off her life waiting to see if i was going to come home and so once i realized all that turmoil that i had caused you know i had to make it right as much as i could and i don't think i can ever do that but i can help them show them by helping the next person not have to do all the crap that i did wow that's powerful it's powerful that you know that your parents and it's interesting that you know addiction is the very thing that you said right if you could have stopped you would have and you know and and if we don't have a familiarity with addiction we have no idea the power the addiction holds over a person and the illness that's there and so it makes it really tough so i love that you know i love that your parents are a big part your family is a big part of your recovery because that those i mean those are you know if we talk about statistics those who succeed generally have that in their lives but you know we can also create families you know family units without our blood relatives as well and we you know i think recovery the recovery industry is really good at setting people up for that so building relationships especially when you get sober young too it's it's so difficult to wrap your mind around how you're going to meet people because in high school and even college the people are put right next to you right the people are put in your path and you spend a lot of time with them and you develop those relationships when you're past that point you know we're not going to bars to meet people anymore we're not going to parties to meet people anymore even though we can we can go anywhere if our recovery is strong enough don't get me wrong but for me having that meaningful relationship meant everything and i learned that in structured silver living i learned that i could meet people and have value and not just have transactional relationships right and so that's that's what i'm constantly trying to teach and rub off on my guys here is you can have these meaningful relationships that you've been longing for your whole life you know you you what you put out you're gonna get back if you're putting out you know a transactional vibe you're gonna you're gonna end up with the same people that you started out with um and you know the relationship piece is so huge and you know for me it was i mean as a i was kind of an introverted guy i also use kind of drugs that alcohol to to be okay in those social environments um and being able to to learn how to build and structure healthy relationships and around me has been has been you know great and i and i think recovery can give you that if you stick with the long enough for sure talk about um your your relationship and how you met your wife right because how early in recovery were you and the one thing that we always talk about is don't get into a relationship early in recovery right talk about that a little bit yeah so i i could kind of speak on that in in two ways right so i had a relationship really early on in recovery that everybody told me not to do um it didn't end well i was able to stay sober i moved to kind of st louis to get to get away from some of that but i met my wife after i was about four years sober and um at the time i was having difficulty meeting people you know the the tinder thing the people my age i was like in my mid-20s at the time it just didn't do what i wanted it to do i wanted something meaningful i wanted something that was going to last and everybody wanted to go go party and obviously that wasn't my thing and you know it's kind of an act of god i was in a biology class and it was it was one of those uh community college classes and i was ready to quit school again because i just couldn't get it that was the same exact semester i talked about earlier where i took the social work class and i met her one day and you know i told myself that i was going to be open and honest because some people i just didn't tell him that i was sober i just refused to drink in certain situations and with i was like with her i'm gonna be honest you know because i liked her you know she was in my lab group and we were hanging out a lot she was a little younger than me but at the time she was like she seemed extremely mature so i was like okay i'm gonna try so i was like i'm in recovery i'm i'm a i'm a recovering addict an alcoholic and um is this something that that you can deal with if it is then i would love to kind of explore this some more um and she was like oh cool and she just kind of kept talking about whatever else it didn't matter to her the biggest anxiety that i had was telling someone this this secret you know this part of me and she just shrugged it off like it was nothing she was like okay cool you know and she really she never ever drank she never used anything and you know it was just her choice she was around it plenty she could have just not something she ever wanted to do which may be something that i'll never understand but it's extremely um i would say one part luck and one you know one part of blessing to have her because she showed me that you know i could accomplish things and you know she was definitely a huge part in in helping me figure out how i learned and then i could be successful a driving force and starting learn to with recovery which was a risk too because you know it's i furloughed for my job and you know there's no money coming in it's going to take months to build and to get everything that i need in place and she's just been extremely supportive in my recovery and in building this dream and you know um you know the relationship thing in early recovery is not so good but if your recovery is strong enough to where you can find the meaningful one later it is you know i think just so extremely powerful and a blessing something i never thought i'd have to be honest so do you think that she was understanding and accepting or do you think she was just naive to what you had been through i think at the time when we were having the conversation she was just like because at the time you know i i was pretty put together and i i had several years i don't think she really knew what i had been through with the process yeah but she was patient enough to watch and listen and once she learned she didn't run from it which i appreciate and at the time she had a horrible horrible view of addiction too which i know now but i didn't know then you know she had some family members that had some substance use issues and and didn't leave it very well and didn't find them covered so just thankful that she kept an open mind and now she's an advocate for these people and for this stuff yeah that's cool you mentioned um having you know getting lupus based on some medication that you're taking and and to my knowledge lupus doesn't go away what's that look like in your life today and and how do you manage that because that's that could be a trigger to use yeah so i'm lucky enough that the one that i had went away for the most part um so i was on um this hydroxychloroquine which is funny enough one of those early medications that people thought could treat coded but it's basically it's this old malaria medication or whatever and it works very slowly and i would say it took probably about six or seven years before i felt well enough to not have to take like naproxen every day or or something like that but now i'm pretty active again you know for me at the time it was it was horrible and you know i probably i had long lasting effects and i probably still will just because of you know what my joints were put through but um i'm very i'm extremely active now and i and i take you know taking care of my body pretty seriously and um you know i'm just i'm more more or less thankful that i can do that now because i wasn't able to do it before um which which has been great for me as well very cool very cool yeah i mean i only know people that you know they have the autoimmune portions of lupus but i i've never heard anybody that you know that got it from taking a medication so very interesting yeah it's very rare and i think i actually met another person who got it from the same medication it was an acne medication i don't know if they still prescribe it or not um but it was i guess you know a pattern because more people younger people were getting it i don't know like i said i don't know if if it's still a thing or not but i can tell you that i do not wish that pain on anyone that was a huge life changer for you especially being so active in you know in in sports and and all of that so i can imagine that was really tough and then nobody likes to be in pain every day oh yeah i mean for me i just kind of always felt like and at the time it was mostly a mindset i didn't realize this i totally changed mindsets later on in recovery but i just kind of felt like everything that that could go wrong did go wrong and for me it was such a blessing later in life i'm thankful for it because i because i could have still been battling this disease even now if i lived this long you know it got so bad so quick that i had to do something or i wouldn't be here you know it was that simple um and so i'm thankful that i had it i'm thankful that i i crashed a couple cars did all these things happen to me because without that you know i wouldn't be here i'm wondering um about you know you talk about your recovery and you talk about you know being grateful which which to me when you can be grateful shows that you really have done your work because you know i still hear people sometimes play that victim role and not take responsibility for their lives and and so i hear that in your story which is really powerful i'm wondering you know often spirituality plays a role for people and it looks different what does it look like for you yeah so like most people um you know i was introduced to kind of religion at an early age my parents were pretty religious involved in the church non-denominational christian kind of churches and i was even involved for quite a bit until like my my uh mid-teens when i started to really get more into drugs and alcohol um and then all the wreckage happens and you're like man i hate like how could god let this happen and you know you have so much issue with that that you know when i went to treatment i had nothing no spiritual aspect no no attachment to religion i refused it um i was against it funny enough my sponsor at the time when i was in um the phase four program he was like okay i'll sponsor you but you got to go with me to these cr meetings on thursday nights cr celebrate recovery if you're not familiar it's a fake based 12-step program and so i was reintroduced to this and it was a time when i needed it because like i said i'm at the crossroads you know i can i have like you know five months at the time actually probably four months at the time so i can you know [ __ ] my way back to go home or i can keep kind of this going and see what happens and that's what i decided to do i you know i went to the meetings i sat quietly for a while and i i i kind of became kind of depressed and you know i was like telling my sponsor about it and telling other people about it and they're like well you know this the spiritual aspect of you know the 12-step program is imperative and you know i never really got past that step and i was like okay well i'm going to try to make a god of my understanding like it says and i'm gonna give this a go and i ended up finding my way back to you know that god of my childhood um and you know it took me creating the god of my understanding to be comfortable enough to go to that and so you know that god of my understanding led me back to that god of my childhood and ever since then spirituality has been huge for me um you know i spend a quiet time every day listening you know the the book talks about two-way prayer and a lot of people lose that right we talk to god a lot we pray foxhole prayers we do a lot of talking you have to listen to god too um and that's what quiet time meditation gives you and so for me now like i said it's it's part of the structure of my life that i began building that that i still do now it's a part of my maintenance it allows me to take away all of those negative thoughts feelings that would bring me back to a drink the spiritual aspect is huge for me and a lot of times in my line of work a lot of these guys come in here and they feel the same exact way i did those first few months like look at all the stuff that's happened to me all the horrible horrible things how could god let this happen and we can't we can't you know pull the bible out and bang it on the table we can't do that we allow them to find it for themselves and once they do those are the ones i think that get that lasting recovery when they have that support um i definitely needed it and you know i've seen it work in so many people's lives it's pretty powerful and i don't know i mean you know i don't know too many people i'm sure there's there's many that are in recovery that maybe haven't latched on to that but it seems as though spirituality on what whatever level somebody grabs hold of that is really important so i i love to kind of touch on that um so it sounds like matt and your future is is more learned to live recovery and growing that business and and helping people um and a little it sounds like a new babies in the future for you as well right that sounds pretty cool that's fun to be a new time parent yeah yeah so i mean well i'll just speak on the uh the parent thing you know i never thought that i could find a partner that would that would put up with me or all the wreckage of my past or whatever and i found one that you know the other thing was i never realized how much i wanted to be a father because i had always kind of put in my head that i didn't think that i was capable of it and um you know got married in july of last year i'm about to come up with my year anniversary covered wedding small we found out uh in february that that we were pregnant we were trying you know i just i just can't wait i actually have an appointment tomorrow you think you hear the baby's heartbeat um just just great you know i can the blessings that learn to live recovery or recovery in general can give you but you know to speak on the learn to live recovery piece you know like i said i started this um you know it was a dream you know my resident coordinator his name is david o'dill he's been sober 13 years and i was his intern at that treatment center right and i told him about a year or so after i'd been there i was like man i'm i'm gonna i'm gonna create this structure silver living and he tells people he thought i was crazy you know i was uh i guess in my mid-20s at the time you know not everyone does the things they say they're gonna do and um a few years later i asked him to come work for me um and so he works with me and learning with recovery just kind of i i find myself just just following kind of this path and things are kind of put in front of me and i just kind of accept them and go and i could have gotten another job been a clinician and lived you know pretty fulfilling life um but i didn't do that and you know coming to the small town of hermann even it was like how am i gonna find people to do yoga and meditation and how am i going to find these pieces of this program and people found me they were here they were like man you know the first person that came asking for guidance about something they wanted to do and turns out they do equine therapy so i have that and then somebody called me one day and it's like hey man i love that what you guys are doing here um you know i have you know a bed and breakfast and if anybody's parents want to come visit them just let me know they can they could stay here give you a good rate she said i also do meditation she does singing bowls she's actually downstairs right now doing it um and then you know yoga too same exact thing and we just started this live edge woodworking piece same thing they're all here and it was all kind of put in our path and you know so this the program is growing in my eyes the the business side of it is new to me i'm a clinician i i love to work with the guys no matter how big we get or whatever we do i will always want to work with the guys because that's what i love to do but you know it's it's just a powerful thing to get up every day and be able to do what you love that's incredible and i love i love listening i can tell you're so passionate about it and the way you talk about falling into that and it kind of comes to you just kind of lends to the fact that you were open you were willing to follow you know what was coming to you and and and here you got this incredible you know structured sober living as a as a result of your hard effort and your passion that's pretty cool very cool it still shocks me every day i so i gotta drive like a little over an hour when i come out here coming out here like four times a week or more and people are like man that's that's a far commute like you know you're doing that it's it's easy when you're when you're going somewhere that that you love you know i don't i don't mind the commute i don't mind the long hours i get it i get it now you know it's also different if you're going somewhere pretty like that hey right like you're not stuck in the belt route in pound bumper to bumper but i had i had a period where i had like an hour and a half commute every day and then uh each way and then as soon as it stopped i immediately missed it because if you're smart about that commute you know and you're doing you're listening to podcasts or if you're doing some type of mindful activity where you know you're learning or you're growing or whatever it really can be i mean how many people get two hours a day to think for themselves you know like that doesn't happen so if you even if you're doing that one way and making calls the other way or whatever you know pretty powerful time if you if you're smart about it it is you know and i and just like you said i it's my time where i can kind of process things um you know i like to read a lot of self-help books i listen to a lot of podcasts um and i choose to use it as kind of a a way to kind of support myself and transition between work and home but like you said you know i i had like a 45 minute commute to my first college here in saint louis um and you know i i liked it i enjoyed it and now i just use it and use it as much as i can um to support you know my own recovery and self-help process which is never ending very cool and i love the way we can turn anything that may seem to somebody negative and find a positive piece for that because even a commute a long commute i would agree i love you know it's like education on wheels you can learn while you're going down the road right you can have that quiet time whatever it is and you can structure that and have meaningful time there too so very powerful there's a lot of new stuff coming up in your life and and things that you're generating matt so um i absolutely enjoyed your story um enjoyed the recovery and and your dedication to that and and still you're in recovery right you're gonna you're gonna do those dailies and you're gonna make sure that you take care of yourself and um so that you can share with others what you have what you've learned so pretty powerful i appreciate you sharing with us today thank you happy to be here thank you so much for having me on