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068 - John Thomson

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

“Alcohol kicked my butt.” John Thomson from Pocono Mountain Recovery Center joins us to talk about protecting addiction versus protecting recovery, Anedonia, and how the recovery industry handled COVID. He talks about trauma and using the “trauma egg” personally and with clients. 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):

alcohol kicked my butt john thompson from pocono mountain recovery center joins us to talk about protecting addiction versus protecting recovery anedonia and how the recovery industry handled covet he talks about trauma and using the trauma egg personally and with clients 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 practice's cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates on the podcast today kurt and i have the privilege and honor of of talking with john thompson john is an addiction counselor at the pocono mountain recovery center he works extensively with men who are dealing with both trauma and addiction john believes that addressing trauma in addiction treatment is a pivotal and vital part of the journey we'll talk more about this today as we explore his incredible journey john thanks for being on with us today thank you it's a pleasure to be here um i know john that uh you know we've been kind of talking pre before the show of a lot of different topics and and playing around a little bit and getting to know each other and you've you've shared some pretty cool ideas but it might be good for our listeners to just kind of start maybe back with some history of you know how you ended up in in the treatment world and in recovery and as a substance abuse counselor maybe talk about that a little bit okay so kind of like ground zero um uh i was working at aetna in middletown connecticut and i was working doing some computer work and printout work which back at that time was very high tech scanning printouts and uh you know that that was a job that was really going to be a difference maker in my life you know because of the potential and the ceiling there um there was limited limitless potential um i had already drank my way out of college twice and didn't see my way back to going to college again and then my alcoholism again threatened uh my my dream again to like be a functioning person um you know the ultimate dream for me really was to be a functioning alcoholic but you know that that wasn't a reasonable dream uh total fantasy because i wasn't very functioning uh i got the alcoholic part right but not the functioning part so uh i went to the eap at aetna because they fired me and i told them you can't fire me i'm an alcoholic i need help and they said well we kind of already fired you so you know like we can do the help part maybe uh we're actually um an eap and we're we're actually an insurance company and we'll pay for you to go to treatment uh i didn't really know what they meant i would pay with my own benefits that i already had but they they weren't going to cut me off that day from my benefits they were going to allow me to stay on for a little while so i could get treatment so and then i was going to have to cover my benefits anyway so uh which i did um but basically i went to stonehaven um which is in middle or portland connecticut uh may 4th 1992 and i've been sober ever since and um you know the the thing was like losing that job was like so crushing um and i just felt so uh so lost at that point and even before i lost the job i was feeling suicidal so i had this suicidal ideation and like kind of dark cloud kind of thing going um and i just couldn't seem to get past it so when i went to treatment and they told me you know the suicidal thinking is just kind of part of being an alcoholic you know that that if you get sober you probably won't think that way and they were right you know like at least for me and so uh the the thing that was like kind of the worst possible thing that could have happened to me then losing the job um it was the best thing that could have happened to me you know like i i needed that um i need that little push and go into treatment you know i i did a first step packet and treatment and it changed my life you know to be able to see it in black and white on paper and uh you know the question was you know how has alcohol and addiction affected your life and be specific and uh especially like talk about relationships and other like opportunity costs that type of thing um and uh so i figure you know i'm gonna write this in about five minutes and uh it's gonna be very easy um maybe a paragraph and uh started writing and i kept writing i kept writing and i kept writing before i know it i've got five pages of consequences and i'm 24 years old at the time and you know in my mind um you know even though i know i've got a problem my problem really wasn't that bad but i was able to dismiss some really important things and the patterns that that had become really my life um of like continuing to self-medicate and looking for alcohol to solve all my problems at least temporarily which you know there was a time where that worked kind of um and then there was a time like where it just stopped working um it wasn't really like helping in any way it was really just causing more and more problems um so that's kind of the short version of the background i can actually import it a little bit more um is that alcohol kicked my butt and i'm cleaning that up a little um but that that's it you know alcohol just kicked my butt continuously constantly and until i was able to really accept that i wasn't able to get the benefits of treatment or recovery i actually was talking to my dad last night and he was reminding me of a emergency room visit where they had put me in four point restraints because of alcohol poisoning uh they didn't know really what else i might have taken um but they put me in four point restraints for my safety and everybody else's safety um you know at the time i was like yeah that probably wasn't necessary um but now you know looking back at it it probably was necessary um and uh the the kind of effect that being put in four point restraints like the day after um it's one of the things that you don't want to remember until you start wanting to remember you know when you start wanting to know about the consequences and know like how bad things really were to really get that deeper level of acceptance and honesty and then you really kind of explore everything that's under the surface of the water on the iceberg and uh you know like so like i don't want to forget how it felt feeling like a vampire having the sunlight hit me that day feeling like i'm gonna melt or explode and knowing that the reason i feel like that is because of alcohol but i want more than anything else at that moment to have more alcohol which is kind of a big part of the insanity of what keeps addiction alive is that massive rationalization and minimization i like the term massive minimalization which really you know that that brings to focus the idea of what we're capable of um every time that i drank after that i was able to forget that i was in a four point restraints i was able to forget how i felt the next day and uh that that wasn't the only time i was in four primary brains so yeah uh only twice but still two times more than i really would like to have had but now it's part of my story well john that's uh it's pretty incredible the way you talk about that in the sense of it's so easy and then i don't think this is just exclusive to addiction either is that denial of the of reality is is a kind of a safety mechanism and a protective mechanism for us and that's kind of what you're talking about is as long as you're going to engage in a behavior you've got to find all the good parts about it and ignore all the bad parts otherwise you'd stop doing it right but it feels it feels like it's like it's a matter of life and death to continue when you're heavy you know when addiction has a hold on you absolutely so addictions it's it's not just like a choice because there there is choice involved it's so it's not that there isn't a choice it's that most of the conscious decision making um is fed by the unconscious decision making so there's impulsive compulsive obsessive and like all those things kind of combine in the mind to basically justify or rationalize why it's a good idea to pick up another drink or another drug which you know and then is like a continuation of the addiction you know like so um until you really make a break from there and get some clarity and some uh some distance from it it's hard to really break out of it you know that that's why you know most people can't most people don't so there's a shift that has to happen for anybody to get and stay in recovery and that's a shift from protecting your addiction to shift to protecting your recovery and every time i see that happen you know a person generally really starts investing in their recovery and starts to like see things differently and they like in a way that they were never able to see it before um that's a beautiful thing every time that i see that i can't help but smile you know like it's like it really like makes me feel like you know somebody's made a connection that is going to make a big difference in their life they start to turn that corner of the difference between just white knuckling it and getting through treatment and start to heal and and have that healing process take place absolutely uh the time where you start investing like really investing in your recovery and not just uh that you don't want the consequences anymore because you know most people don't really want the consequences but then like investing in all the things that are really going to going to not just keep you from having the consequences but they're they're going to make it so that like recovery is a way of life then you know like that so you get to the turning point and you turn instead of going straight yeah you gotta make the turn that's um i love those i love the points that you're making because they're so profound and and the way you describe them from a clinical point of view um it just kind of gives a little bit different twist on it than what we you know sometimes hear so i really like the way you explain that i'm curious you know it's one thing to do recovery but it's another thing to end up you know coming from a technical you know computer type background and then become an addiction counselor can you talk kind of about that journey and how you how you got to that point um okay i i don't think i i wasn't very technical it was just at the time uh being able to like scan printouts was technology back in 1992 um which is now you know that that's low tech it's uh but there was the potential for actually like getting in the computer field um i actually went my first college was marist college uh which is they they were pretty closely connected with ibm but i wasn't a computer science major there uh ironically my my youngest brother um actually is a an i.t guy um and he didn't go to school for it but uh you know you never know where you're gonna end up um but basically you know like i i was kind of like as far as like getting into the addiction field um i wanted to become a music therapist and i found out that music therapists are kind of limited as to where they can work and there was going to be a lot of education that i was going to need that i didn't have and that the faster track would be i had started working in the addiction field um doing recreation and security overnight security and that type of thing um and uh you know it seemed like a natural fit for like getting through college you know this time um and uh so you know it was i just got used to being working in the addiction field and started running some groups and then i uh decided i'm gonna finish my degree and uh get a psychology degree and so you know the um the easiest path through that uh was uh the the path that i took through thomas madison state university and that that actually [Music] was the quickest way to become a counselor so i started becoming a counselor and so most of it was really [Music] not so much the uh the book learning but the uh just the personal experience and being able to like kind of like relate to people that are going through early recovery um i also worked in adolescent treatment at the time and i i was fortunate enough to work at a place that uh you know that we did a lot of things with the kids there and i was actually young enough to be able to like kind of keep up with their energy which now you know not so much but we would take them for hikes we would uh take them skiing we'd take them to the shore we would take them camping you know we did all kinds of things with them and um i even got paid to take uh people to conferences and things like that and other like sober events um and kind of get them exposed to like the world of recovery um so that that was really like a beautiful thing uh i was very lucky to work there when i did um because the company has since changed hands and uh you know they don't do the same kind of work now um and so you know i've seen you know almost every place that i've worked at has become like a different place uh so yeah and that that's uh nice to be able to like still be in a place that does that type of work now kind of it's kind of fun to hear the way that people you know that people's journey takes them because not everybody that does recovery ends up working in the recovery industry but certainly an awful lot of the people working in the recovery industry have their own recovery story absolutely even even billing and marketing yes you know oftentimes you know like you you think that that's not really uh a field that you know like recovery wise um but you know we we do see a lot of people that are in recovery that you know get involved in um not like kind of the front end but like get involved in some kind of way you know in the recovery all the recovery resources and it's hard it's it's it's a yeah and it's a unique industry right i've never i mean i've worked in a lot of businesses over time and and i have yet to come across an industry that is so supportive you know because that's what recovery teaches us is is how to be mindful and how to be empathetic and you know how to take care of ourselves and do self-care and there's an awful lot of hugging and connection that goes on in the industry whereas you don't see that in a lot of other types of work that you know outside of the substance abuse and mental health industry so it's it's unique in a lot of ways but it's also super healing and um and helps you know helps people stay in recovery on one level or another which brings me to a question for you john what does you know you've been you've been in recovery for a long time what do you do now to maintain your recovery and keep yourself in a good place um well self-care or counselors is probably one of the biggest blind spots um so you know like self-care for me means you know trying to just um have a life outside of work and to get the most out of that life and um you know i am involved in some other kind of recovery related um type of stuff and to uh you know the bottom line with that is like if you're you want to remember that the problem that problems that you've had uh you don't want to forget those and you want to be able to still live your life and appreciate the life that you have um have gratitude for the freedom that you have and if you're practicing the things that help you to maintain that gratitude then it it's almost a foregone conclusion um that you're going to be doing that so one mistake that a lot of counselors do is they think that their work will keep them sober and they usually quickly find out that uh not only does it not keep you sober but it can be very stressful and be the need for even more support so almost like a business meeting you know you don't want to uh definitely don't want to rely on that any more than you would rely on any one thing but it's good to be able to do work that is fulfilling and that actually you feel like is like kind of like a sole purpose and and if you're doing that you're going to feel fulfilled there's a thing called anadonia and if you guys are familiar the uh it's human fulfillment and that that basically anadonia um you know if you can appreciate having some fulfillment through uh the work that you do and um other parts of your life uh you want to look at any aspect of your life that is um taking away from that fulfillment and minimize those things not mentally but like in your life um and uh really the things that serve you let the things that serve you be kind of like the driving forces in your life and the things that don't serve you uh you wanna reflect enough on those to be able to say okay uh how do i get less of these very good advice and and you know i love that you've shared kind of the way that you do it and what works for you this is a topic that i haven't spent a lot of time on because it gets talked about a lot and and i and i don't necessarily i mean it's a topic that you know you hear in the news every day and it's something we've been dealing with for the last year and a year plus which is covid um and so i intentionally stay away from that a little bit but i'm just curious um what you have seen affect you personally with covid and um you know some of the restrictions and and social distancing that happened there what how did that affect you personally and how did you see that affect people in treatment okay so uh the code thing has been both the worst thing that could happen to the recovery community and the best thing that could happen to the recovery community um you know we've seen a lot of people relapse that had some stability in their recovery and uh it really brings forth the idea of um the concept that meeting makers make it but then what happens if you don't have meetings um because if that more again the the whole thing about putting all your eggs in one basket if you only have like a singular focus um that really like takes away from if that singular focus gets taken away um so a lot of people that were meeting makers um that really relied on that to keep them sober that wasn't there anymore that personal contact that being able to like have some coffee talk and like being able to like see people before a meeting after a meeting unless you already had a really strong support system um you may not your sobriety may not have survived covet and especially for people that are that were new to recovery leaving treatment and being told hey you know like just do a zoom meeting you know like that'll keep you sober uh you know like not to say that it's impossible but you know the just the continuation of that um very few people made it through that and so like unless your recovery was already really strong you know you ended up hacking treatment or you know worse so um this has been a rough rough situation um i'm in northeast pennsylvania so you know we're not that far away from manhattan and new york city and uh you know like we we actually in the in the poconos have a lot of people like come from the city and you know like spend their time here and uh it was it's just been a rough time not just professionally but personally as well um my my family got covered and uh you know it was the last thing that i wanted to see happen but um working in the field that we work in the decisions were kind of made that uh the work that we do is too important to not continue um so and i agree with that wholeheartedly um you know so uh a lot of uh i've seen a lot of people get covid and that have that negatively affect their um their recovery and you know because then you you get like kind of like a perfect storm now you have to isolate you know like the that's where addiction lives in that isolation and social distancing just the social distancing alone just doing the things that people needed to do to protect themselves from cohid was the opposite of the things that you need to do to protect yourself from addiction so you know it's like people are being told one thing and then on the other hand you know we don't want anybody get covered we also don't want them to not connect in the way that he's going to help them stay sober so yeah that was a whole new level of balancing and being able to kind of express that and being able to like help people to try to figure those things out um so yeah it's kobe has been the worst thing that's happened to the recovery community it's also in a way you know like really promoted a lot of the zoom meetings and like nobody has an excuse to not go to the meeting now because literally 24 7 there's a meeting you know like it's not face to face or in person so it's not meant to be like that level of benefit um but you know people is still a benefit and you can still there's no reason why you can't unless maybe you don't have the technology to do it um so yeah it's been really interesting it's definitely like forced me to shift my perspective a bit and to try to look at things a little differently and say you know like that you never know what's going to happen you know that's and that's that's another theme of recovery is you you want to have a contingency plan you want to make sure that you know like if your elapsed prevention plan uh includes that x factor you know what if what if something you you didn't expect happens because i certainly didn't expect already um when my wife started talking about it back in uh january of uh 2020 you know i was like ah i don't think it's gonna be such a big deal i don't think it's really gonna make it here you know i i i think we'll be able to figure it out and uh turns out you know being in the north northeast pennsylvania we were like one of the hardest hit areas you know one of the earliest and hardest hit areas and uh you know numbers are kind of starting to creep back up here and uh you know itgenerates a lot of anxiety and people that you know maybe we're doing okay you know like now they see the numbers going back up and they're like oh i'm so full of anxiety and fear now i need something for that um so that's something to just kind of be aware of and like think you know like okay how do we mitigate that as well well and it's go ahead kurt did pocono close last year and is that a concern moving forward of how to protect the facility and and the client from those types of issues again in a resurgence we did not close um what we did to um we stopped taking people from outside of the state so we were limited as to who would be able to come for treatment and we also did testing so that anybody that came into treatment was tested uh and there there was a time where that also wasn't even available you know testing nobody could be tested you know like and so like basically you know unless somebody um really had symptoms you know and it had to be brought to a hospital setting to get tested you know like that that wasn't even a reality to be able to be tested um so you know it's nice that we have that and we're all vaccinated now at work so you know that that's definitely uh a plus you know we feel a lot safer that way but um you know we never closed and we were never able to justify uh closing um because the work that we we're doing is so important um and uh you know there's definitely some risk involved in doing that and you know i ended up getting it myself and a lot of my coworkers got it some of some of the community members and treatment got it too and so you know it really is a thing where you know we learned a lot from that experience uh but now we've got actually a little bit more um protection and some things that are in place that are keeping it so that it's actually we're not as worried about it as we were before um because a lot more people are vaccinated it's been quite a challenge for the industry for for everybody in a whole and and yeah you hear it happening across you know across the ocean across the world and think well it's probably not going to make it here but it seems to have made it just about everywhere and in in my lifetime certainly and and i think most of our life's times many of us have never experienced a pandemic like this but it's not the first time that our world has experienced it but um but it was very very different than you know back in the 1800s and early 1900s when some of those plagues came through it's interesting to compare but i appreciate you sharing some of your perspective and experience around that um it's it's i think we're still we're still being challenged and like you said it still creates some anxiety and some challenges for people as as we look at how it's you know how the the world of covet is changing and and how we have to still think about it so i appreciate you addressing that um i know that not too long ago pretty recently you had an article written about you in the suburban life magazine and i'm wondering if you would like to talk about that a little bit sure um i was approached to offer up some uh experience uh about trauma work um which you know i've been pretty extensively trained in doing trauma work i actually trained with judy crane down at the uh first first we were actually at the refuge um and then we were actually at her house um so she does a thing called spiritual spirit and that's where she does the trainings for the trauma work um and uh it's based really upon a lot of like creative artwork um expression uh and to be able to kind of um identify trauma make connections and be able to process some of that through the work that she does so the the main stay in that is really the trauma egg and the trauma egg's actually a very interesting piece and so the idea is that you make an egg shape and you just fill it up with trauma and an addiction everything is connected to your addiction everything that's connected to your trauma you make little pictures inside the egg in different cells in the egg and uh if you've done something to repair for that like for example a timeline or even like a rough draft of the egg you know if you know your story um you'll be able to really identify a lot of things in that egg and then not only identify that stuff but you'll start making connections that you've never made before um which i actually experienced because she had us all doing the training we all had to do our own egg you know like do our own work um uh so that was an amazing experience to be able to like do that with her so i spent uh five weeks down in ocala florida with judy between the refuge her home and she opened up a new place called the guest house and in the time that we were actually doing the training she purchased the guest house she didn't purchase that purchase it before we got to see it um she brought us there and we actually did some trauma work um at the place before she even owned it and uh before she even uh decided that you know this is gonna be the place um so that was really interesting to like be like see like the beginning of something so far like at the beginning um and to to see like and do some work there too um so that that trauma egg without a doubt every time that i see somebody do that they really pull a lot out of that they get a takeaway from that but it is usually insight that they were not able to do it's it's so almost uh cuts to like it brings out the child um because it's like the pictures and everything like the drawing the creativity um it's hard not to connect and uh especially if you have any childhood trauma it's going to help you to understand all the things that you're going to need to understand to heal from that by the end of all that with the support and with a little bit of a kind of clinical skill but it's mostly just the egg itself just doing the experience is just i have not seen anybody benefit even i was skeptical myself uh the first time you know like she's telling me hey do this drama act you're gonna make connections you didn't make before and uh you know i've been silver for a while before i did it so you know i had done some work um and uh come to find out she was right uh i actually made connections pretty uh significant connections that i didn't make before so you know i haven't seen anybody not make connections through it if if they even like try a little bit uh but i have seen a lot of people really benefit from that so also you know just understanding trauma trauma work is so uh such an impactful part of treatment and such an impactful part of recovery um and addiction is so connected to trauma so often you know uh it isn't that we didn't understand that there was a connection between trauma and addiction because you know that that was has always gone what i was saying you know but now we understand it even more you know we understand so much more about trauma and healing from trauma than the necessary things that need to happen um the need for safety especially feeling safe in our own bodies um being able to um to talk in a group and being able to like connect with other people relate with other people and see that you know like your experience probably wasn't that not that it wasn't unique to you but but that other people probably had at least on some level a similar experience um so you're really not that a lot um and trauma is like one of those things that that when people internalize it um there's this feeling of like i'm different but i'm somehow not like other people and so like to help people through that and to get them to be able to see you know there's lots of stories of other people and your story is while it's a unique story and it's unique to you that there's some parts of your story that uh every part of your story there's going to be other people that have had similar experience and that's like that human connection um and uh humility comes come to say you know like the the benefit of humility um and humility is like one of those things that is very uh easily misunderstood or and has a bad name you know like most people don't really want to be humbled or to have humility um but you know to stay sober you need a certain amount of humility to be able to say you know like okay you know i can't control this you know like the the things that i once thought were gonna be helpful or uh self-soothing or um help me to forget and be numb um actually contribute to more trauma um that's another thing that i really noticed a lot of and so like what i what i do with the trauma egg is i uh i i make sure i tell people that this isn't an addiction egg um so i don't even call it a trauma i call it an addiction egg because what i've seen a lot of people do is they'll put all their trauma on there except for their addiction and they'll they'll just have like this blank spot of the addiction which the it's not that they haven't identified it or been able to say you know this is all the stuff that has happened consequences of my addiction they just don't consider it to be trauma they consider it to be something separate but it's usually always very well connected to whatever happened to them uh in the past that has like caused them to want to self-medicate or um and also you know it's it's important for people to also know that um because of the progressive nature of addiction when addiction usually takes hold um it's actually pretty effective for helping people to be numb for helping the people to forget and for some people with if you if trauma is severe enough um addiction actually even starts out as like survival you know like so like to be able to survive like feelings of like wanting to uh to kill yourself or suicidal ideation and like if if there's a chemical that can help you to forget about that uh why wouldn't you want to take it you know like it totally makes sense um but then you know the the thing that you're self-medicating with usually ends up because of the progressive nature of addiction being the problem and then causing more trauma so i want to make sure anybody that does anything like that that they make sure they make the connections between overdoses car accidents you know to to no no hospitalizations you know that that's that's all part of trauma that the disruption relationships financial issues you know all those things like that that trauma contributes to those things and uh the the dysregulation that comes along with trying to regulate it and manage unmanageabilities i i love the way you utilize that trauma egg and and then i'm imagining that um doing your own trauma egg you were kind of that may have been where you identified those four-point restraints as maybe being some traumas can you give us an example of one of the things that came to fruition for you as you did that work well the uh the portfolio restraints for sure for one of those um uh uh and and i really knew a lot about my alcoholic story already you know i i knew a lot about all those consequences um i did not make the connections to childhood experience uh until i actually was able to see it in the egg you know so like a lot of um my addictive thinking and particular uh uh the need for escape or um the things that alcohol did for me um that came from childhood experience you know so that that i was never able to see that connection so clearly uh until i did that work and so you know it's it's not an excuse but it's an explanation it's done good explanations just like the first lap is like a really good explanation uh for anybody if uh addiction or alcoholism is a problem um and you don't understand the first step if you if you don't if you're denying that it's a problem uh which is really the opposite of step one the admission versus the denial of it um if you if you don't see it and you really aren't in line with that then you can't possibly uh overcome it because you're gonna continue to look at that as a solution um as opposed to being the problem or the the poison you look at the poison as the medicine instead of the medicine and the poison for what it really is yeah i love the way you kind of make those correlations um john you've got just a tremendous story that you've shared with us and you've shared with us some tools and um you know some of the the approaches that you use um in treatment and you know as you do work with people and it's been super powerful i appreciate you sharing all of those pieces with us um i imagine that people are going to want to get a hold of you and pick your brain some more and learn from you and your experience what's the best way for them to do that um that's a good question i guess probably the easiest way to contact me would be through email through my work email um so it would be john john.thompson t-h-o-m-s-o-n at pocono p-o-c-o-n-o mrc mountain recovery center dot com so john.thompson pocono excellent um it's been fantastic having you on the sh on the podcast today and and learning from you i know you've got a wealth of information we could talk for hours and hours so we may have to have you back on again to you know to get an update of what's going on you know after covid yeah i i mean i love to talk about recovery passion and uh you know before i started working doing the trauma work um i didn't understand what a passion that could be as well you know so like uh music's a passion uh trauma work is a passion um you know it didn't even like go into anything musical stuff but uh that definitely you know there there's a connection that you can make with music that there just isn't something else that actually kind of is so easy to make the connection as much as music is so yeah that that's another thing that i really love uh and there's there's a lot of musicians and talented people creative people in recovery that uh you know they they've just been using their creativity in ways that really hasn't been working for them but then they get sober and they can really kind of channel that creativity in a way that not only does it serve them but it serves the whole recovery community so that that's kind of a beautiful thing that is like the byproduct one of those byproducts of the recovery and recovery community yeah i don't know much about that one and that would be fun to have you back on to talk about more because i know a lot of times you hear about creative people really using addiction to kind of support their creativity and it'd be interesting to hear you know a lot of those points and the things you're saying about how you know ultimately it could be that it's the opposite right absolutely um time and time again you know people will say you know like the drug makes me more creative and again you know it's that progressive nature of addiction is that probably at one time it actually did that um but if addiction has progressed you know it actually tends to block you more than it frees you and uh not only creatively but like in all other ways as well so that's uh one of those things like if you can kind of um really focus that in a little bit um and kind of accentuate that you know like uh one of the one of the things that um i felt in my own personal recovery is uh getting in a creative low was a better high than any other high that i ever experienced um and so like these natural highs are like not only is there no consequences to them but they're re reproducible in a lot of ways and they they support recovery efforts um but they also really give you that we were talking about eudaimonia earlier and like that human fulfillment you feel like you really kind of fulfilled a potential like when you when you are able to create something out of nothing and just like something in your mind becomes a reality and i like the way you talk about that is sustainable too it's sustainable whereas addiction is not sustainable um which which is i love the way you kind of correlate those two and and help you know take the shame away from addiction so appreciate the work you do john and certainly appreciate you being on with us today thank you no shame and recovery at all ever yeah that's a whole other topic isn't it you

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