Angela Pugh – Addiction Unlimited and Keeping Moving Forward

After bartending her way across Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Angela found herself in over her head with a drinking problem that was relentless. As a result of her own sobriety, she dedicated her life to helping others through coaching and community with Addiction Unlimited Podcast, sober living, and the top-ranked My Recovery Toolbox.

Addiction Unlimited

Learn everything you want to know about addiction and recovery. An inside look at the treatment industry, cross-addictions, 12-Steps, and anything else you want to know. Honest, candid conversation.

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Chris Scott – Elevation Recovery

ep: 39 Chris Scott – Founder of Fit Recovery, a website that helps people use nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle strategies to fill in the “missing links” in their recovery programs and transcend alcohol. Author of Drinking Sucks! and co-host of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, alongside Matt Finch of Opiate Addiction Support.

Drinking Sucks! –
Sober Since: Mid-2014

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Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host, Andrew Lassise and with me today is the fitness recovery expert, Chris Scott. He’s written a book called Drinking Sucks, which I think is the perfect title for anything recovery related when you get down and blunt like that. He’s got a podcast called elevation recovery, which is absolutely incredible. Definitely be sure to check that out. His websites fit recovery. Chris is an awesome person with so much to offer. I’m so happy to have you on the show. Chris, how are you doing? Andrew? Thank you. That’s a very generous introduction. I’m
really happy to be here.
Yeah, so you’ve been sober since 2014. But I know your date is kind of a amorphous mid 2014. So why don’t you give us a little explanation on what’s mid 2014 looking like for you?
That’s correct. So 2014 was generally a blur. And in retrospect, I can generally connect the dots of what happened going back to most of 2015. But I had really had a series of events that made me realize that it was necessary for me to finally quit drinking. I had had a long slow build up to the point where I was drinking a handle of vodka each day like clockwork. And I got to the point where I couldn’t go two hours without drinking. Even in the middle of the night. I remember getting up once and having to chug a bottle of bitters, just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. And, you know, to make a long story short, I adjust I’d had dozens or hundreds of failed attempts, some successful tapers, you know, tapering down from from a fifth to half a fifth to a bottle of wine that some beers and getting off I’d make it about a week, and then someone would throw a party. You know, I remember going to a wonderful couples house. They had been engaged and I had been alcohol free. for five days, and I bought a six pack of root beer, and of course I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. So they thought I was being silly. And they literally took the six pack out of my hand replaced it with a bunch of bud lights. And that was it. I was on a bender for the next couple months, basically. So I gotten sick of it. Unfortunately, I waited so long that I needed to have professional help detoxing off of alcohol, I had some some hallucinations, probably seizures, I didn’t know, you know what they were and I don’t want to self diagnose, but it was likely I was getting to that end stage of alcohol addiction. And so I just showed up basically on a treatment center store and said, this is it. I gave up. And I told my closest family members and friends, and they were all super supportive. And that’s really even though things were blurry for a while. After that. I that was the turning point for me.
Yeah, that mentality of surrender to win. And that’s one of the things that one of my mentors in 12 steps he had instilled in me early on is that You don’t have to keep fighting this thing over and over and over. Like when you give up. There is power in giving up. And I think, you know, society, it’s like, never give up, never stopped Fighting, Always Keep Fighting. It’s like, I’m not getting any better. By doing this, my life is continuing to get worse. So how did you? How did you juggle the I want to take control the situation and the idea of just giving up what’s going through your head.
I had to be compassionate to myself, until I got to the point where I could fight for folks that we’re worthy of fighting for fighting against a alcohol addiction. Whether you believe it’s a permanent spiritual disease or a coping mechanism for trauma or a physical addiction or a neural pathway or a biochemical imbalance, you’re not going to win. And in early recovery, I think that surrender mentality is necessary. And it can be kind of cathartic to stop fighting as they say and I was I had a interesting conversation with with an MD who treats people with alcohol addiction recently. And he said the thing, the reason why you feel so bad, so defeated, at least one of them in early recovery is that you have these inflammatory cytokines flowing through your body. And you essentially have the same immune response that you would get when you have the flu. No, and what good is it to try to fight the flu, like everyone knows that if you have the flu, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym for three hours and try to beat it, you know, maybe a light sweat would help. But so I think it really is good to frame it as a an illness in the short term, to treat yourself in the same way that you would treat someone in your close family or circle of friends if they were really sick. And then you can build yourself back for backup from there. And when you start regaining the mental clarity to articulate goals for yourself that are worth pursuing, then you can get back into warrior mode. And that’s kind of what I did. It took me months to get back into warrior mode
and What are your thoughts on the alcohol is a disease versus alcohol is? You know, it’s a matter of willpower, alcoholism, not alcohol. You know, it’s a matter of willpower like why why can’t this guy just just, you know, chill? What’s your thoughts on that the disease and self control?
Yeah, this is one of the hardest questions. And I think it would be arrogant for me to present the end all be all answer for this question. But I have done a good amount of thinking and I’ve come to the conclusion that, first of all, alcohol addiction is as complex as people are. And it says complex is human nature itself and as complex as our biochemistry. We still don’t totally understand human nature or our biochemistry. We know that alcohol addiction by definition, intertwines itself, into our brains into our biochemical balance or lack thereof into our identity. Since you are Emotional lives or social attachment. So spiritual identity. So you can’t really answer that question without having a definitive answer to what’s, what exactly is going on. And all of those places what I found to be more helpful. And I should say, I don’t view alcohol addiction as a disease, per se, I see it as a neural pathway that’s really stubborn, that’s grown strong, like an oak, combined with biochemical imbalances combined with whatever else may be going on in a person’s life. But, you know, I wanted to say, what’s more important than that disease label or not having a disease label is that you find a way to frame your narrative that works for you. And for me, it’s helpful to view my addiction as a phase of my life and alcohol as an exhausted resource, rather than to frame this as a perpetual ongoing journey. You know, I watched a an interview with a famous actor from the 70s Richard Burton, maybe he’s very charismatic, but he he framed his alcohol addiction as a lifelong boxing match in which he could be knocked out with no advance notice. So anytime. And I thought if I had framed my condition will call it in that way I don’t think I would have made it out of early recovery because I would have thrown my hands up and said, What’s the point? So I think it’s more important than the labels we decided to acquiesce in for ourselves that are thrown at us from doctors. And obviously the establishment, the medical establishment sees alcohol addiction as a disease. I think what’s more important is the way we frame our own personal journey and finding something that works, whether it’s in that biochemical arena or psychologically, socially, spiritually. I think those are the main pillars that that are important to address. And once you find something that works and you start feeling better than Who cares what it was, it’s all semantics at that point.
I love That you look more at the results and not so much at the, well, this is what it’s supposed to be like, it’s no secret in my life, I’m a big part, I have an affinity towards 12 step recovery. And at the same time, I know that that’s not the only way. And there’s plenty of people who have been introduced to it said they didn’t like it and then tried something different. And you know, who am I to say, you’re not actually happy because you’re not practicing the 12 steps in your daily life. But a lot of people have that mindset of like it is this way, or else you are wrong. And if you think you’re happy, you’re lying to yourself, and everybody should be doing 12 step recovery. I believe there’s an ounce of truth to it. But I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of different ways that you can get sober and if at the end of the day, we’re all fighting the same battle and all want the same result. I don’t think that the mini you know, the money grow in between of what you do on your day to day, whether what you do works for you. And what I do works for me if we’re fighting the same battle and winning the same war, I don’t think that it matters as much. I think if you’re going to do it, you should do it and not have one foot in one foot out. But what is success looks like for you in your day to day for staying sober.
Well, first of all, I think I just want to say, I think it’s really awesome that you have that mindset, because it’s almost, you know, we live in an increasingly polarized society in many different ways. And so, you know, the vegans can’t talk to the carnivores and the liberals can’t talk to the conservatives. And now like in this niche, I guess, or in this in this place of recovery, digital recovery, I would call it I The last thing I would want to see is for it to devolve into a war between a people and nine eight people. I think that you know, having a compassionate view of everyone’s journey is the is the Deal. But to answer your question, on a day to day basis, my life now is totally unrecognizable from anything that I thought would have been possible when I quit drinking. And I guess, you know, in a they maybe they call that the promises, you know of sobriety. And it’s surreal. It feels like I stepped into an alternate universe, you know, my life isn’t perfect. It’s not all verses and unicorns and rainbows, but the amount of mental clarity I have compared to before, the ease with which I do things that used to be really, really hard. One of the hallmarks of my early recovery was that getting out of bed was hard for like months. And for me, my thing was, I discovered supplementation, I discovered diet changes. And those were the things that I thought should be universal for everyone until I developed the more nuanced version of my belief system and more open minded as we said, but you know, I think it’s relevant for me to mention the supplementation. holistic emphasis, because once I started doing those things, that’s when my day to day life, I started being able to more easily integrate things that were good for me long term, and to switch my dopamine attachment from short term escapism via alcohol to long term fulfillment and joy. You know, so there’s a difference between pleasure and happiness. And something clicked in my brain at some point. And I was able to start doing those things going to the gym was no longer at shore or an application. starting a business was no longer some elusive dream that some lucky people got to do, that I would never be able to do because I was stuck. I was a corporate slave is that’s how I framed it working in finance at the time and often being asked at 6pm to stay overnight and work on a financial model. So yeah, hopefully that answers your question. I mean, on a day to day basis, I have the gym. I’m always thinking about how to improve optimize my life. holistically, I’ve kind of latched on to the term bio hacker, which is silly but fun. But I also get a tremendous amount of fulfillment out of helping people going through a similar journey, and especially people in early recovery. I’ve hundreds of people in my online course. And I spend one to two hours every morning responding to people, you know, typically, I’d say six days a week, I’m in there first thing in the morning, and it makes me grateful that I have been able to get to the place that I’ve gotten to because I can help people. And obviously I don’t have all the answers, but you know, I have fulfillment on a daily basis. And you know, I have connections with people in my community that I didn’t have. I look forward to seeing the manager at my favorite Indian restaurant. I have a weird spicy food obsession. You know, I have I love seeing the people that I do yoga with even though I’m not like close friends with them, but you know, it’s it’s night and day from isolating myself and alcohol addiction to having fulfillment, health and also connections with people that I didn’t have before because I never really looked for them.
And now that you have your eyes open to connections, what are some Do you have any examples? Maybe that stand out other than obviously the the guy at the Indian restaurant, which I can relate to i, we have a guy over here. He’s like a Indian version of Bart Simpson, not a poo. But Indian Bart Simpson. That’s awesome. What he looks like is kind of funny. But you have any examples of where that maybe in the past, you would have taken a certain direction with a relationship with someone and then in this new phase of your life, with different outlook, you took a different journey and how that played out. Are there any examples that come to mind?
Well, I was I should say, first that I was really lucky to have a solid group of core friends when I quit drinking. And this kind of defies maybe common experience. Or so I’m not sure how many people would relate to this. But these guys were my drinking buddies in college, but they were also like my brothers, and they were the first people to be there for me. If I had tried to order a drink three months after I quit drinking at a restaurant or something, when I was out with them, they would have physically interfered and said, No, you’re not doing that, you know, we care about you. So I think it’s, it’s good to I have to mention that I had those confidence. I had that support network. But beyond that, yeah, I think I had when I worked in finance, and I drank pretty much every night. It was like the opportunity cost of doing that was not developing deep connections with people. And now, I it doesn’t seem like a, like a burden to develop a relationship or a friendship with someone. I moved to a different city since I quit drinking. You know, about five years ago, I was in Atlanta, when I quit. And I’ve since moved a different city and a little bit smaller. But I met a great guy about a year ago, we became workout buddies. And it’s kind of a funny golf course type community that we live in there a lot of older people everyone’s super nice, but I didn’t expect to meet someone I could work out with known as 30 years or whatever. And we develop this Saturday routine, which is like yoga Indian food, then we head back to the gym, sauna or steamer hot tub. There we go back to our respective houses and take naps, but he’s what we would call a social drinker. But he’s he’s eating up my material. And it I mean, it’s a huge ego boost for me probably unjustified, but you know, he has a copy of drinking sex. He says he drinks less because of it now and he feels better. I got him into CBD, which is something that I’ve probably controversial, but something that helps me in my daily routine. And so there’s like there and obviously I’ve gotten a lot out of our relationship as well. And you know, just having someone to talk about who has an interesting life experience to you know, that kind of thing. We would not have happened had I not quit drinking. And it’s it’s amazing. The connections once you realize that quitting drinking allows you to be more present in all areas of life after five years, so you can look back and count 10s or dozens of connections that you just wouldn’t have, you wouldn’t know those people, you would walk by them on the street, they would be strangers, and you would still be feeling alone. Whereas you know, now, because of the way things have turned out, you know, however your recovery program has been, you get to have that much more warmth in the world, I guess I would say.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. And I’d want to jump around a little bit. So you were working in finance, what was the was there a moment where you decided I need to go into entrepreneurship? What’s that looking like in your life?
That was a very slow decision for me because My, I had left a somewhat glamorous finance job in New York to briefly be a business manager for a tech company, which was not the path for me, I quickly realized that and then I ended up back in the traditional, not quite as glamorous as New York but finance route. And everyone was super nice. And I was in Atlanta. And I just there was a spiritual yearning for more, it was totally in a Morpheus, I couldn’t really quantify it or qualify it. I didn’t, all I knew was that I wasn’t happy and that alcohol was better, or it seemed better to me at the time, then my day to day life, which was boring to me. And then I felt guilty because I knew there are people who would still kill for my job. And how arrogant of me to not enjoy something that other other people would kill for. So there was some guilt and some shame there as well. Now, when I by the time I quit, thanks to gotten pretty bad alcohol really affected my work performance until the end. But when it did, it did and I ultimately quit, because I Well, I should say it was a mutual decision. I missed three days of work in a row, which is unacceptable. That’s what I ended up in treatment, had a phone call with my boss at the time, probably a week or two into treatment, still hazy memory, in which I was hoping when he called me that he would tell me that I wasn’t invited back. And that’s exactly what happened. And, you know, honestly, I think since then the stigmas disappeared a little bit. But then that’s when my journey toward entrepreneurship started. Because I had no idea what I was going to do. I just felt relief. I felt there was uncertainty, but it was combined with a kind of cathartic relief, like yes, now I’m done with the alcohol. I have people who are my confidence and support network who can buffer me against alcohol, and I’m done with that career. And now, you know, I could have framed it as now it’s a terrifying journey to see how I screw up my life. Max, but I decided to frame it as now I get to be whoever the hell I want to be. And that was more excited. So I decided, well, what am I good at? fitness, I’d always loved working out, alcoholic shift into that. But I decided I would do it. One of the luxuries of being a trainer is to get to be in the gym all day. So I knew I wouldn’t lose that aspect of recovery, which was already helping me even before I learned about supplements and other strategies. And so eventually, the fitness to make a very long story short morphed into the website, and I was still helping people one on one, you know, for free at first and then that turned into the business of fit recovery. But I was a trainer for a couple of years before that happened.
And what was the real jumping off point where you saw fit recovery? Maybe I’m maybe I’m just projecting my experience, but I had the kind of the side hustle thing going on. And then there were a couple watershed moments that were just like, this isn’t just Andrew in his living room on a computer, helping people out like this is actually a real thing. Did you have any moments that stand out? As far as when fit recovery changed from a kind of fun idea to a real thing?
Yes. And, you know, I almost gave up on fit recovery several times, because my strategy had been to just write as many articles as possible, and hope that Google would see how good they were. And that was a bad strategy. So I had gone through, you know, I did that. Then I wrote an E book. I got a sale after three weeks and I was ecstatic. And and I realized it was my uncle. My mama told him about it. You know, I had that and and then I started getting smart there. I learned about how to write SEO articles, which I don’t think is a good strategy anymore because it’s so saturated, but at the time it was, it was one That traffic started slowly building, you know, going from 200 visitors a week to, you know, 2000. And then and more and more. And, you know, at one point getting up to around 100,000 people just from Google in a month, that was when I realized like this is things are going well. And I can not just liberate myself from the grind of training, which, you know, now, I just framed that as an exciting thing. And it was exciting for a while. But, you know, after a while, my joints started to hurt. And I, I didn’t want to be in there all day, like moving stuff around. And I loved helping people, but I wanted to scale it. And I wanted to increase the magnitude with which I reached people, which I could do more effectively with alcohol recovery than helping someone lose five pounds or whatever. So yeah, it was really seeing that momentum build from the strategies that I implemented and seeing that there was a direct connection between the ones that worked and the results and realizing also let the ad 20 rule comes into play. I mean, for me, it might have even been like 9010 because there’s like most of the things I tried did not work. But the things that did work were what brought me to the next level. And that was really encouraging. So, yeah, I would say it’s just a slow process of organic growth. But, but every now and then there was like a glimmer of, of potential.
And so we we fast forward a little bit. Talk tell us a little bit about elevation recovery here podcast.
So elevation recovery is actually the culmination of my friendship and ally alliance with a guy named Matt Fitch, who’s an awesome guy. He runs a website called opiate addiction support calm, and we found each other online and actually when I was in the process of building fit, recovery, and he had done his website for or he had started at several years before mine I think at this point, he’s like eight or nine years, free from opiates. And he had been addicted to alcohol before that. So he was a bit ahead of the path that I was on. And, you know, so we really helped each other. We did some guided a guest post on his website, he did some on mine to help my website rank a little better, you know, he had better domain ranking than I did. And he was just tremendously helpful and all sorts of ways. I didn’t know much about marketing at the time. So he helped me with that. And we just became really good friends. And we would have these mastermind calls like once a month, and talk about business and what we were doing. Now any new courses, we were making what we were excited about doing, and those mastermind calls eventually morphed into the podcast. And so some of our episodes are basically identical to what our old masterminds used to be. It’s just talking about something. Usually I’m the rapid machine gun style talker and he’s more slow and elected and calm. So, you know, hopefully that that contrast works out and isn’t too confusing for people. But I feel like we have a good vibe. And we also take turns interviewing experts in their niches in anything pertinent to alcohol recovery, and also other people’s recovery stories. So the podcast is just a, it’s yet another way that we’re experimenting with to try to reach more people. And it’s been a lot of fun so far, you had
touched on earlier and I’d like to come back to this about supplements. Do you have any recommendations? As far as supplements go for be in recovery? Or for people that are trying to get I know the answer? It’s it’s a super generic question to a very, very niche. It depends on your circumstances. But is there any kind of general rule of thumb that you would give to just someone on the street says name one or two,
right? So because everyone is biochemically unique, You know, as you said, that’s the disclaimer, some people are on antidepressants and it shouldn’t take amino acid, certain amino acids, you know, so the medications and all that and and obviously I’m not a doctor and or a natural path, but I can tell you what helped me and what had a few that have helped a lot of people. Now obviously be Vita version say, obviously, but B vitamins are very important for alcohol recovery. And if you end up in the hospital with severe withdrawals, they’re going to give you an injection of vitamin b1, which is timing, a deficiency in which can cause wet brain, which is a pretty serious condition and sometimes not reversible. But what I found was that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. vitamins and minerals are very important. Magnesium was really helpful for me. I found that most people tend to be deficient in magnesium it’s possibly depleted from our soil. People aren’t eating enough leafy greens, you can get magnesium Um, you know, oral tablets, magnesium citrate, magnesium three and eight are good options. You want to avoid magnesium oxide, because it doesn’t absorb well, Epsom salt baths are a decent way to get magnesium. But one drink increases the body’s excretion of magnesium by like 70% or 90%. It’s, it’s insane. And most people are deficient anywhere. And it’s involved in 300 bodily processes. So, you know, you can imagine the cascade of effects that happens when you introduce a mineral that you just need for basic functioning, your base, your baseline level of well being goes up. And so that’s just one example. amino acid, so I definitely want to mention as well, D LPA. There are a lot of funny names, but if you look into them, there’s a lot of research behind them. D LPA, or dl phenol alanine contains precursors for endorphins and dope amine el Tibor seen contains a dopamine precursor, five HTTP or l tryptophan. Our serotonin precursors, you know, glutamine is commonly used in bodybuilding. And I stumbled upon that because I wanted to get back in shape and build muscle. But it turns out that it’s also useful for alcohol cravings for sugar cravings for people with hypoglycemia, which is really common and recovery and for repairing the gut lining and for helping the immune system. So those are just a few things. You know, and obviously, it’s, I found one of the heartening things about physical recovery from alcohol addiction is, it seems to be the case that the same compounds and strategies that are helpful to help a normal person bring their life to the next level, are helpful, just in usually larger doses to help to get someone from feeling like total crap, no motivation to feeling well enough to summon the physical energy required to work on whatever psychological or spiritual conundrums they’re facing. And so that’s why I think that this is consistent with 12 step. There are a lot of people who I talked to who are in who go to a, and, you know, we we avoid any debates about the particular, you know, beliefs that that I might personally have a difference with. And we just talked about, alright, well, how can how can restoring physical health help you on your spiritual journey, you know, given your belief system and what you want to do, and usually it’s pretty easy to answer and we just start with some basic things. And it’s a holistic process. So it’s not all about supplements. It’s about sleep. It’s about getting to the gym and eating well, staying hydrated, reducing stress levels, so it’s a supplements are very important, but really, that’s the the tip of the iceberg.
Awesome. Well, Chris, in wrapping up, what one call to action that you have for the people listening to the show that can Help them either in entrepreneurship and being more successful, or something where someone struggling with alcohol to take the next step, what would be your call to action to the audience?
my call to action would be something that if I had heated it would have helped me succeed quicker and probably feel better, quicker. And so I mean, in both business and alcohol recovery, and that’s to connect with people who are doing exactly what you want to do, who are where you want to be. And I’m sure that’s been said before, but I mean, I would not be talking to you right now. If I hadn’t connected with Matt Finch A while back I think I might have given up on fit recovered. You know, the basic stuff that I needed to know years ago when I was building it, like how to optimize my email list or, you know, do a lead magnet he helped me with, you know, he was my mentor. So, you know, that’s the business angle but from a recovery angle as well. I ended up it was a, it was a double gift, I guess you could say because he also became a mentor, someone who he quit. It didn’t matter to me that he’d quit opiates. But he had also started doing exactly what I wanted to do. And he was in recovery, or he had recovered. So it was a, I would say that finding someone identifying someone who is a role model, who’s what you want to be, either in business or in alcohol recovery and beyond, is the best thing. Because alcohol and I would, I haven’t been addicted to anything except alcohol. But I think addiction is a very confining state of existence, and it keeps you isolated, stuck in your head. If you stay stuck in your head for too long, you’ll go crazy. You won’t make progress. You might have delusions of grandeur, or I’ve been there with all of those things. I was in some very strange mental places during my drinking years, and there was definitely an absence of connection that That helped me after I quit tracking once I resolved it.
Awesome. And that’s great actionable advice, find someone who has what you want, and then just do what they do. It actually is that simple. And that’s one of the foundations, you know, 12 step recovery, you get a sponsor, and they show you. This is how I live life. And this is how I do laundry. And this is how I stay faithful to my wife. And this is how I do just all these basic human functions, and a lot of us aren’t capable, or don’t have experience in that. And so having a role model, in that sense, is absolutely incredible. And in business, you know, my first year, we did practically nothing in sales compared to where we’re at now. And it’s like, if I went back in time, six years ago, and I said, Hey, six years ago, Andrew who thinks he knows everything, here is what you really should be doing and do not waste your time on. ABC D. Like you said, content marketing in your space is very Very, very competitive. And if you’re not differentiating yourself, from all the competition, you can be doing the exact thing that everybody else is doing in people can no more than you’ve rank higher than you. And you’re fighting a winless battle when on the other side, email marketing, building your list having targeted marketing message that’s so much more effective. Especially if you’re building something where your brand is based on you and people know who you are. And all these things. I think that’s one of the greatest, greatest pieces of advice, not just in recovery, not just entrepreneurship, but just all around, find somebody who has what you want, and then just do what they do. Simple enough. like Chris, thank you so much for your time. Where can people find you online?
Andrew, thank you. This has been a lot of fun, and people can find me at the elevation recovery podcast. Which is available on iTunes and Spotify. And also you can go to and check out our show. And if you’d like to find fit recovery, it is fit dash recovery. com. That’s my original website. And there you can learn more about my book drinking sex and online course and I have a bunch of free articles several hundred free articles on all topics ranging from exercise to nutrition to psychological strategies. And, you know, so that’s that’s about it.
Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being on the show. Guys. If you liked the show, be sure to rate and subscribe. Send either of us a message if you have more questions about sobriety about fitness about whatever it is, send us a message. Let us know what you liked what you didn’t like the whole gambit. We’re here to help and thank you so much, Chris. Have a great day.

Russ Perry – THE Sober Entrepreneur

#39 Russ Perry – Author of The Sober Entrepreneur and founder & CEO of Design Pickle

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Welcome to self made and sober podcast. I’m your host, Andrew Lassise. and with me today is the sober entrepreneur Russ Perry, the creator, founder of design pickle, which is an awesome concept where companies I know for myself, I’ve had issues where I need, I need to get designs done, I need a creative person. I don’t want to hire somebody full time necessarily, but I still need things when I need things. And he’s able to identify that bridge that gap and have lower retainers and still be able to get the images and designs that your company needs to grow. So you can look professional without having to have somebody on staff is the author of the server entrepreneur, which I think literally off that title alone gives him the leverage to be the perfect guest on the show.
I’m really great. I’m excited. To talk about entrepreneurship sobriety to my favorite topics, so thanks for having me.
Yeah, they were two of mine as well. It’s kind of why this it started, you know, initially it was, well, I want to do something with business. And then I was like, God, there are so many good ones on business and not that it can’t be good. But you know, let’s niche down a little deeper. What else are you passionate about?
Riley? Well,
I’ll tell you what passion.
Well, that’s the next one. What are you passionate about?
You know, I think I think since I really changed my redesign my priorities in 2013. That’s when I committed to sobriety, I realized how much time that was taking up in terms of managing that part of my life. And so once I was able to sort of clear the deck, as I always say, I started to really look at how do I create a lifestyle that supports travel lifestyle that supports flexibility. I’m married, I have three daughters of all different ages, being able to plug into their lives. And so we now you know, really integrate those two things. We travel as a family every year in the summer to cool destinations. We just went to London and my company is supportive of that. So we are an online company but that includes my team we can be wherever we want in the world and still get the job done.
Awesome. And as a running trend on the show, everybody who got sober in 2013 is destined to stay sober for the rest of their lives. And at the time of recording this, it maybe we can finagle something to where the dates lineup but you’re one month away right now from celebrating six years. Congratulations.
Thank you. Yeah, thank you.
So what did it six and a half years look like for Russ Perry?
What do you mean? In terms of sobriety or
no well, like what’s going on in your life before you get sober?
Oh, rewinding, I understand six and a half years. Um, well, it was, it was a really hard time 2011 and 2012 was the lowest point of my life struggling with drinking, I had an affair with my wife, which was awful, obviously and that it was exposed my businesses were not profitable. Just about every key indicator of is your life working or not was telling me My life is not working. And I finally started to realize, look, I have to have a hard reset, which ignorantly I thought, well, my problems are just inside my business. So let me change that. I didn’t really want to admit it was with me and my habits and alcohol and my sedation, so 2000 12 2013, the early part of 2013, I kind of revamped my creative agency and I found a partner in Argentina, who actually was it was a great decision from a business standpoint, we, I reinvented myself as an agency owner, but it was only a band-aid. And I was still struggling a lot with stress, still struggling a lot with the pressures of making this business work paycheck to paycheck some months. And it was in the tail end of 2013 into October, that we were about a year or so out after the affair and a lot of marriage counseling. And I and I had this epiphany with my relationship with my wife Mika. And I looked at our level of trust and how much trust we could have and I saw that it would always be less than I want It if alcohol was still in my life, like she just wouldn’t be able to trust me, you know, no matter what. So I was very committed and having the best marriage possible. I mean, almost lost it. So I was like, I’m not going to do everything possible to make sure that this never happens again, and I’m never put in those situations. And I just in October 20, you know, 2013, October 22. I was just like, I’m done. And that was it. And, and, and like lead leading up to that I had never anchored in, well, maybe life would be a little bit easier if I cut this out. And the day I made the decision was like, the most relieving day ever of my life because all of a sudden, I was able to hindsight to see just truly how complex your life is, when you’re struggling with alcohol or any kind of sedation,
and your recovery early on. It was just, I can’t keep this up anymore and you just decided And I’m done. And then moving forward from there. I mean, obviously, there’s going to struggle in the beginning and adjusting to a new lifestyle. But what did the first couple of months look like for you?
Yeah, I mean, I think on October 21 2013, I saw my wife and I saw my relationship without call that I tried so hard to manage, and it was pretty unsuccessful. And it was like door number one or door number two. And I’m just like, you know what, I’m going to choose door number one, my wife, and then I walked through that and initially, I had been going to this really great church in Chandler, Arizona, Cornerstone church, I don’t live in that area anymore. And they had been marketing Celebrate Recovery for a long time. And I talked to my wife and she’s like, I just think you should go go do that. Try it out. And I remember Andrew going there and just having this like, emotional dump, like crying and just so much Emotion positive negative guilt. I mean, I don’t even I can’t even identify the emotions. But the one that I take, I still remember was that, wow, there’s a bunch of people who are like me that struggle with this too. I’m not alone. And that was key in terms of keeping focused on this new path the first few months. So I went to Celebrate Recovery or car as they call it. And, and it’s basically like a Christian 12 step program that they have, there’s a lot more singing involved. There’s like a band usually. And that’s cool. I like music. So, but it was fantastic. And I can and I really connected with the people and understood that and I think and actually, later on, I helped launch a car program in my where I live down in Scottsdale, Arizona at the church I go to, so I was really cool to help facilitate that with the team. They’re awesome. And putting that together? What are some of the lessons you learned in entrepreneurship that you applied to get that off the ground?
Oh, man, well, first, it was really frustrating because I don’t often deal with volunteer organizations. Most of the people I deal with are either paying me or I’m paying them. So we have really clear relationships. The first thing was I have to be very patient. Because people don’t move as fast people aren’t as communicative. There’s no project management systems that you can put everyone on. But I was really I committed my gifts which clearly marketing graphic design, I have the resources and so we actually created a really cool marketing package for car at impact church here in Scottsdale, Arizona. And so the A frames, the signage, the slides that they would use the social media posts, I helped do that and then my gift is not Time I don’t have a lot of time to be volunteering. So I help financially sponsor people to go get training inside of either 12 step or car programs and being able to empower other people but as an entrepreneur, it was like I kind of just made sure that I was asking the right questions keeping everyone organized. But I had I had a definitely install some patients on my end because when it was like month three, and people are debating over, like, where the logo goes on this flyer, I’m like, Guys, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just get the flyer done, but just put it out there
preaching the choir so much, there are so many times we literally just got out of a meeting with my upper management, and we were discussing, we’re gonna be shifting views with one of our employees who’s strong in a very, very specific way. And he’s working In different capacity, it’s like, you know, we can move him back here and fill this gap, at least in the meantime, and we are going on and on and on about, like, why it’s a good idea and why we should do it. And there it’s like, Guys, okay, we’re doing it the end like we don’t enter this anyway. Yeah, like we all
agree on it. And that is like, and you know, what else will happen from it’s like, Yeah, I know, let’s just, let’s get to the next thing, because there’s only so much time in a day and there are always 5 million fires to put out. And then even when they’re put out, there are 5 million other fires that you weren’t even aware of that now because the other fires are out. They just always keep, they always seem to keep showing up. So what are some of your strategies for putting out fires or keeping things organized so that fires don’t happen as frequently?
Well, I am a huge huge proponent of time management, time blocking. I actually a podcast with my wife good to be home. good to be home podcast. com is the website and you can check out just search time blocking. And we did a whole episode on my system that we use every day. I have three parts of my organizational system because fires happen when you are not seeking out the smoke. You know, the smoke is all around us in our life. And when we ignore it, that’s when fires happen. So every day I am making sure that I’m very aware of what are they all the what are all the touchpoints and teams and family things that I need to be doing. So I could go on for like hours about a basic step one, which you can learn about on my podcast on time blocking is what is the overall theme to the week? When are you going to be working on you know, stuff like this our podcast from creating things with other people, when am I going to be working on my own things that I need to be creating? When am I going to have meetings with my team? What am I going to do date night with my wife and kids and family. So I create these themes throughout the week. And then when it comes time for scheduling, I know exactly where to put things. And it’s consistent more or less throughout every week. Now yesterday, I was out half the day. So all my meetings got moved to today. So it was today’s a very crazy day. But it’s it’s like you have your blocks and each block is a different shape and you have all the holes throughout your week that each block can go into. So that’s, that’s part one and to create your themes, kind of start scheduling things. And then something that I’ve added, which I love is every morning I sit down and I’m you know, we’re on zoom video here, but if you’re just listening to audio, I’m holding up my written calendar, I write out my calendar on a loose sheet of paper. And I have a nice little collection of these because I’m just going to put them all in a binder one day, and maybe my kids will find it interesting. I don’t know I thought if I found like my grandpa’s daily schedule that would that would be kind of cool to see. But this helps me get real focus for the day, you know, how do I need to plan myself? How do I need to plan my energy? Making sure that I’m clear on that? And then if there’s any inconsistency is like I had a double booking today at four. So I reached out and got that cleared up. So back to your original question, how do we keep up fires? How do we tackle it? You have to be on the offense when it comes to managing your time. If you’re not on the offense, then guess what’s happened, you’re on the defense and that’s when you get hit. And that’s when you get knocked back.
I love that just that perspective of it. That’s such a great, such great insight. And I mean, somebody who’s in the digital marketing space, you’re using physical loose leaf. Is there any correlation or reason why you choose loose leaf over a digital version? Do you get distracted? Like I mean, for my scholarly mice, I don’t need the same,
right? If I have an if I have a let’s call it an analog system and analog asleep because I can just carry the guy around all day, and I don’t need to be on my phone, I don’t need to be on my computer, I don’t need to pull up my cow, but then I actually see a notification for something else. And, and so this allows me to be present and I don’t and I can just okay I have next step after this actually have an hour block where I’m going to be working on email and catching up and then I have a lunch meeting with a team member. And I can just cruise through my day and not get consumed in the busy work. When I always when I digital is essential, have to have digital, but when it comes to the day by day, I go to the analog so that I don’t get pulled into the whirlwind.
Yeah, I found that with my own time management system and I had put my, my assistant was basically my accountability buddy. And she, she just had a baby a couple weeks ago and now my whole accountability system is like I missed one thing one day and it was like, You know what? She’s not going to yell at me ever until she comes back. But, you know, having it having a digitally I’m in the same boat as you, I, I like the idea. I mean, I’m a tech guy. I like the idea that everything can be digital, everything can be cloud based, everything can be shattered. Doesn’t matter. If you’re in Florida or you’re in Alaska, it doesn’t matter. It all is seamlessly integrated. And while a piece of paper can can’t replicate that, at the same time, I found just having a piece of paper on my desk just as a reminder of what comes next, even when I get distracted, you know, with the squirrel brain. Because I mean, you throw me on YouTube and the days over and I’ve accomplished nothing. But when there’s a physical piece of paper just sitting next to you, and you just glance at it, and you’ve already blocked out what is important to them. And that’s one of the thing in Greg, our Gary Keller’s The one thing where he describes like you just write the one thing and that by doing it will make everything easier or unnecessary. And you’ve decided you block that out. tackle that get that done. Do you find yourself more motivated to be getting things done in the morning or in the afternoon? What’s your sweet spot look like?
Oh yeah, I am definitely a morning to mid-afternoon person and actually I’ve gotten my blood work done and my cortisol is like super good levels throughout the day and then at like five or 6pm it just crashes and so if I am not getting the bulk of my work done between when I wake up it’s like, I’m on fire. I’m ready to go to two or three I it’s I cannot get anything strategic done any high level thinking any of that after three or four in the afternoon. So all of my days are scheduled as such. Anytime I’m creating, it’s going to be before lunchtime. And it’s going to be right after I get through my morning routines. And I just jumped right into it. So today I’m creating with you right now I want to be in the best possible mindset. I want to be focused on. I don’t want to be distracted or tired. And I will plan out all of that in the morning. There is a hack that I’ve used, although it’s, it’s not as it’s not easy. And I believe I need to do something physical every day. I sweat every day. It could be weightlifting, it could be running, it could be whatever stretching yoga accounts to. And I love doing that in the morning. But if I want to re-energize myself, I’ll move it to the afternoon. So I will work in the morning and have a midday workout or a midday hike or run and then it actually kind of resets myself and I can get Go into the night with a lot more energy. Here’s the problem. It’s very easy to justify and skip it when you move it to the afternoon. So if I’m not really careful, I’ll be like, Okay, I’m going to do this in the afternoon, and I’m going to be there and then afternoon cousin like that. I’m not going to do it. I got too many meetings.
Yeah. Don’t you know how important I am? I can’t just stop in the middle of the day and exercise.
Right. So we will try to have him. Yeah, so it’s sort of like a really great hack, but also, like, very likely that you just figure out a way to get out of it.
Yeah, you can’t confuse the strategic part of it with, you know, underlying with it is it’s a form of procrastination, even if it’s, if it’s well-intentioned, it’s not I will do this at a later time but I guess coming back around to if you do block out that time to get it done. It puts you in a better position to Okay, it is noon. It is time For me to do the thing that I said that I would do, and that’s kind of like, you know, people, you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthy. It’s kind of the same idea as meal prep, you know, Sunday and you plan out all of your meals throughout the week, and then you don’t have to make the decision. Do I eat healthy for this meal or right? Eat that cake. It’s already been predetermined yourself who you don’t have to, it doesn’t matter what your emotional animal brain thinks. Because your analytical brain made it easy enough that your animal brain can’t just wander off. It’s like I Well, it’s easier just to eat the stupid salary that I portioned out already, for this time in the day. And I think, you know, you come back around to it. Putting these strategies in place, can work for a ton of things, not just entrepreneurship, not just diet and exercise and weight loss. It’s really just a design for living that can really be effective in your life. So, so I’m shifting gears a bit. What was the motivation behind writing the sober entrepreneur?
Yeah, so the sober entrepreneur was a idea that I had about a year and a half in after I started to see big results in my life, actually probably more like two and a half years. And after I got sober, I started design pickle in January 2015. And then 2000 in end of 2015, a little bit in 2016, I saw this direct correlation between my own personal decision to become sober and my superpowers as an entrepreneur, I was just amazed at how more focused I was the results that I was getting in one year with this new business were almost greater than the results that I was getting after eight and a half years of my previous business. And so I was like, Look, I want to go I want to go down this path and talk about it, but I Really the book is a memoir for my family and for them to learn from my past, you know, life and what has happened. My father to this day, I love him so much, but he struggles with alcohol, he still still has a he’s 6061 62 you know, like he’s, he is where he’s at. And he has he has a history of his life, where he’s had challenge after challenge around it. And he never talked about it. He never acknowledged things, rarely sought to try to conquer his own sedation challenges, but I was like, Look, I’ve I’ve gotten through this, I don’t want to just brush my past under the rug and pretend like it never happened, and I’m this perfect person. So I wrote a book and I put it all out there what I did the decisions I make the transgressions in my marriage and, and all of this stuff and then from that, I created a simple recipe for people struggling with any addiction based on we’re talking about habits and systems I put together actually learned this habit and system in this program called warrior that I went after. And it’s nothing unique to anyone who studied personal development, but it worked for me. And so I talked about how I implemented these tools and systems in my life. And that allowed me to really not just stay sober, but move beyond and create something. And I think that’s like my biggest pet peeve with any program like 12 step or car is that they do a great job of getting you to sober but they don’t necessarily say, Well, now that you’re out of the gutter. What do you want to build? What do you want to create? Let’s go forward. Let’s, let’s have visions for ourselves. It’s like no, let’s just stay in the same spot and talk about the same things. I didn’t want a book like that. I was like, Look, those are those are wonderful tools, I highly recommend the Community Association of any tools that have been existence and they’ve been around a long time and there’s they work. But like, let’s, let’s move forward, let’s build some things. And so, um, so one part meant more and then one part handbook. And really, that’s the two halves of the book and I I’ve actually my I have a 14 year old daughter that’s working through it and she’s, she’s, she’s a little reluctant to read it. I don’t think she’s that interested in you know, my mistakes, but that’s why I had originally done it now. We have sold thousands of copies. I give them away for free all the time. We have a perfect rating on Amazon for the sober entrepreneur of people whose lives have been impacted by the book. And and it’s just kind of out there. You know, I don’t really market it. I don’t really push it. It just it’s just there to help and support.
Yeah, and I think I think the title I mean, literally like the way that I came across You and I have actually seen I don’t know exactly how the algorithm put it all together. But when I was starting the web design portion of my company, which had pretty much just fallen in my lap from enough customers saying, Do you do web design? Do you do web design? I guess you know the retargeting algorithm. I was seeing design pickle ads in my Facebook feed long before this conversation, which is kind of funny how it all comes together. But I saw the title of the book really the sober entrepreneur and then Okay, Ross Perry, and then you know, you do a little digging and it’s like, hey, that’s the guy from from the design pickle, add. Yeah, it’s crazy how that all you know, small world, everything comes together and that you’ve got kind of that same background of my life went to shit. And you’ve had the entrepreneurship in your blood your whole life, I’m assuming, right?
Right. Yeah, no, it’s been there. I mean, my first business was right after leaving Apple Computer, Apple and Which was a tough decision. It was a really great job. I was working, I worked for them twice in my life. And the second time around, I was at the retail store doing like training as a creative. But I had this like, I want to do my own thing. I want to be in charge. I want to, I want to control. I want more control. I want more flexibility. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be for the first you know, 10 years but tell you that. Exactly.
Yeah, it’s it’s definitely presented, especially this day and age with social media. It’s like a hashtag entrepreneur, like look at me on a beach doing work. I’m making all of this money, and you can do it to just buy my course for $1,997. Here’s some testimonials from people that have had their lives transformed. And then you go to and then it’s like and for only $10,000 you can get the continued support and you get access to my team and then it’s like for $50,000 I will give you a 20 minute phone call. Each month, you can get inside tools and tips. And then you know, it’s like college, you like $100,000 in debt, and you have nothing to show for it except for a piece of paper. But yeah, starting a business and grinding it out. I mean, like my experience year one, it was pretty much solo printer. And then I had hired a part time salesman, who then recommended it to his friend who made it full time job. And then, you know, we started building and scaling and, you know, one point is up to 50 employees and like multiple offices, and just all these things going on, all at once. And I was reading something recently and they said, Every new employee that you add, it’s like, multiplies the level of complexity in your organization by three x. Yeah, just like Jesus. What was what was I even thinking about, I mean, you know, the market if they’re actually asking for more and more. And I’m not going to turn it down. And I like how you had touched on things like car and 12 step that a lot of a lot of it is perfect for the very, very early on. Especially I know for myself, when I first got sober, one of my fears was, how do I even have fun doing this? Right? After a while, you know, come to realize that the problem was me all along. It wasn’t. It wasn’t actually alcohol, it was me. And the alcohol was just my symptom. And that’s just, you know, the fire that I was putting out that actually wasn’t the root of it. But then, you know, a year later, and it’s like, oh, I don’t want to just keep doing just this beginning part. Like I wanted something I want to build something and they kind of encourage this kind of where you know, I I just personally have kind of grapes where it’s like, oh, well let go let God with I’m, I’m all on board for but at the same time, you could, you could confuse that with, don’t do anything, just fall into your lap.
Well, and here’s what I say is like if I’m going to go if I like let’s say I want to
tackle some new fitness challenge, like I want to, I want to run a half marathon and I’ve never done that before. More than likely, I’m just going to hire or find someone that’s done it and I’m not going to try to figure it all out myself. I’m not going to try to run science experiments to determine what the best strategy for running is or, or do all of do, like spend an crazy amount of time online and I’m just like, Oh, you do that I’ll hire you. Or if I’m want to just get in general shape. I’m just going to go to a gym and take their boot camp class. And so why you don’t have to make it complicated and it’s I love what you said about It’s good for the beginner or the good for the person just starting because it’s just kind of done for you, you know, all you really need to do is just show up and commit and be super present and vulnerable. And you’ll get massive change and growth and it’ll help. But the people who are all I don’t want to be associated with that, or I’m not that kind of person or I’m embarrassed or whatever, you’re basically just making life a lot harder for yourself because you’re, look, you already have a family, you have a job, you have all these things you got to deal with. Take the easy path. And then once you know like, it’s like going to the gym once you’ve done the class for a while, you know how the workouts work, and you kind of you get you kind of feel confident in there and you’re getting some results. Yeah, then you could do your own thing or kind of explore and do other stuff. But in the beginning, just, you know, just make it easy. Just go don’t like get the program.
The process. It’s kind of like I discussed this a couple episodes ago. With one of my guests, Omar Pintos, awesome, awesome person, but we kind of were making the parallels of McDonald’s and 12 step recovery. And it’s kind of like McDonald’s will not give you the best cheeseburger, it will not give you the ultimate experience. But what a McDonald’s will give you is a consistent product that works over and over and over and over, it will be successful. There’s a gigantic keto training program. There’s a ton of brand recognition, there’s a ton of success in following the McDonalds path. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you open a McDonald’s and now all of a sudden, you know, you’re not competing for the best cheeseburger on the road. You’ll never get that with that system. So you, you go in, you learn the system, and then you can make tweaks and put your name on it. But I think that It’s so great because so many people are very reluctant, you know, to spend money on trying something new because what if it doesn’t work? Or I could do this for free and I love that, you know, in it ton of people are like, Oh, well, you know, I could I could just buy some software and do it for free. And it’s like, you don’t think that all these companies had software, you know, there’s like, the multi million dollar Equifax breach. You don’t think they had something better than Norton on their computer? genuinely think they missed that cyber security one on one, like, of course, like, there’s more to it than just those basic things. And, you know, now they’ve got this gigantic settlement as a result of not having proper security. It’s not like they sold it and got caught, like, they got hacked, they’re the victim and then they also have a class action lawsuit against them which is just like for a
couple of weeks. I want to go back to the McDonalds analogy. I love that one because I think there’s a lot of ego and pride in Imagine you’re like on the longest road trip ever with your family and you just totally miscalculated it and like, You haven’t eaten us. You left at seven in the morning and it’s like seven at night and there was no food anywhere. And you get to the McDonalds and you’re like, No, I don’t want to go to McDonald’s. That’s not good quality. It’s not organic. I bet there’s gluten there and F like your family’s melting down around you. And you’re just like too stubborn to go to the McDonalds it’s just like it’s like people in life they’ll be struggling without all the be struggling with addictions will be struggling with porn or drugs or whatever their thing is, and and and their families like crushing their life is melting down around them. They’re like, No, I will not go to this 12 step program. That is not who I am. And it’s just just like, shut up and just eat the burger. burger everyone’s gonna love before. fries, they’re genetically modified to taste amazing. So just eat it. And then like you can’t eat it for the rest of your life and you’re not expected to your get to fat anyway. So like, just do it now. And that’s, that’s what I love about these, these places that run these programs is they’re there and they work and especially when life is melting down around you, it gives you what you need, and then you can get stable and find the gluten free option eventually, but not when you’re starving. Like that’s not what you want to be thinking about.
Yeah, I think I think I need to reach out for some endorsement from McDonalds. It’s you
know, it’s funny is in the book, The E myth revisited by Michael Gerber is one of the best entrepreneur books I’ve read. And he talks about franchises and how they’re so amazing and one of the things he says is, is is back to McDonalds, he’s like, they’re they’re also run by teenagers and they still get the best output. So think about how organized they are. Well, the same thing is with with 12 step or other programs, they’re run by addicts and people who have volunteers and they still get the results. So it’s like, like, come on, just do it.
Yeah, there’s so many. There’s so many parallels, though, with sobriety and entrepreneurship, and putting these things together. And that was kind of the goal, you know, behind the podcast is that, you know, I can, I can set my intentions for the day, you know, like, like you’re saying with just writing down what your schedule is going to be for the day and say your priority is attending a 12 step meeting, like you can put it on there. And for myself, I love your strategy so much, and I just want to keep coming back to it because, you know, for myself as a new father, my son’s six months old, almost seven months in a couple days. Yeah. And, you know, I had, I didn’t want to be The stereotypical entrepreneur that is so busy that he misses all of the beginning years of his, his children growing up. So I have in my schedule, my wife hates this because I said, I’m going to put playing with jack in my schedule. And she said it should be a priority. So I’d say, I re prioritize my time to include time with my son. But you know, if I don’t set that intention, and I don’t get the awareness in the clarity, that that’s what my goal is, and how do I achieve that goal? Because you know, entrepreneurs, it’s not like a punch the clock job, it could be 11 at night, and I can have a great idea for something that just blows up. And I have to be on call and available for these things. But at the same time, I have to be available for my wife, I have to be available for my son, my family, my employees. So juggling it and having the priorities scheduling out blocking out time is just such a it’s so underrated but it’s so powerful because you’re beating your animal mind with your logical mind and basically playing to the animal mind strength you know we want the easy soft way and the easy soft way if you make it that you just follow the schedule it’s it’s absolutely incredible. Yeah, but Russ I want to be conscious of your time it’s been a great episode. Where can people find out more about you and your podcasts and your companies?
Right so well that’s a lot of places I exist online so obviously if anyone needs some design help, we’d love to reach out to you and talk to you just go to design pickle calm, but if you want to learn about either my book or the podcast, you can actually go to sober sob are calm. Without any, and I have links to both, you can check out the book, you can check out my podcast with my wife. It’s very fun, family-focused talking about entrepreneurship. My wife’s also sober. She’s been sober a couple years now. I think almost three now, so she’s really grown a lot in that journey. And then I’m on Instagram, just Ross Perry and I pretty much am on there to chat with people and support so if you have any questions, you can send me a DM.
Awesome, and I’ll be sure to have links to everything in the show notes. But Russ is a great episode. And guys, if you enjoyed the show, be sure to check out Ross everything he’s doing. leave us a review comments, let us know what you liked what you didn’t like what your takeaways were. And Russ Have a great day man. So great having you on.
Thanks, Andrew.

Amy Dresner – The Episode That Got Banned From Facebook

Amy Dresner is the author of acclaimed addiction memoir, My Fair Junkie –

twitter: @AmyDresner
FB: @amydresnerofficial
IG: @amydresner

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With me today is the author Amy Dresner. She’s not only an author, but she is someone who is absolutely hilarious. She also got sober in 2013 and as listeners of the show now when you get sober in 2013 it lasts for the rest of your life or book, fair junkie, a memoir to getting dirty and staying clean. If you just go through Amazon and just read some of the reviews on it, it’s it’s so polarizing people are I love this book it changed my life and then you can tell there are the people that have the stick up their ass from like 12 step recovery that are like this book didn’t say anything I haven’t heard in a meeting and but I everything about this woman is just incredible. I’m sure you guys are going to absolutely love this show. Amy, thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time to be on self made and sober.
Of course. Thanks for having me.
Yeah, so, I mean, your story is absolutely insane. But why don’t you give us the spark notes version for the people with the short attention span
I’m 49 years old I was introduced to 12 steps at and I went into my first treatment center at 25. I have been a chronic relapse or with years of sobriety and then relapsing, I now have almost six and a half years sober. I gave myself epilepsy from crystal meth. I shot coke in my neck.
I abused oxy cotton and Four Loko like which is so the grossest gnarly is drink ever and then I really been in I’ve had a couple of 50 150s psych wards and a few suicide attempts I’ve been in six rehabs, and then in 2011, I was married and things got physical. And I was pretty loaded and I just snapped and I pulled a knife on my now ex-husband, and I was arrested for felony domestic violence with a deadly weapon and went to jail. And I’m a nice Beverly Hills Jewish girl who looks like he went to college. It was just not what I was expecting. And I ended up losing everything. And when I was on a chain gang and a year of domestic violence classes, and it was life-changing, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me and I ended up writing a book about it been sober ever since and I’m a speaker and working on a second book and, you know, write articles for the fix. I’ve been writing for them for six and a half years, I guess. Yeah, and so I’m sort of the, you know, I say all the things that no one dares say, kind of thing. I never hit her. I don’t read the comment, but they nothing they’d heard in a meeting. Fuck you, my family all that book is like, no one writes an addiction like there are so few hilarious addiction members. I mean, you know, I was a sex addict too. And I talked about that. And all that stuff was really hard to write about as a woman like being like, Hi, I’m a perpetrator of domestic violence and a soaps addict and an intravenous drug user. Like, you know, it’s like, No wonder I haven’t had a date since the book came out.
Those are like the top three things that most people won’t talk about and the things that really can eat you up inside. So where did you get the strength to write about that and not to toot your horn in the like, Oh, you’re so brave.
Why do you think he was brave? I mean, I just think that if you’re writing an addiction memoir, and you’re trying to look good, you’re just not being honest enough. I mean, and the whole point of the book was to help people. That was it. I was just like, I’m going to say the shit that Nolan Garrett said I’m going to say this stuff. You know, Jerry stall blurb my book, who’s a friend of mine who’s kind of like, you know, an icon of me who wrote permanent midnight just said, if you had the nerve to live what you lived, you should have the nerve to write it. I was like, Okay. No, so the book wasn’t about making me look good. The book was about making people feel less alone and less ashamed and less broken, and laughing about allowing them to have to laugh about stuff that they just felt deep, deep shame about because I just feel like if you can’t find the humor in it, and not take yourself seriously, not that addiction is not serious, and they’re almost killed me but like, if you can’t laugh at some of your fuck-ups and some of the heavy shit that happened and forgive yourself like you’re just not going to make it.
And so many times I think, we just get this ego and we think that we are this entity that everybody is going to look down on and think, yeah, all these things about us. And I mean, I’ve been, I was getting grilled by the state’s attorney a couple of years ago. And they had they, it was this whole thing. And I guess it was just the wrong place wrong time. It was like the too long didn’t read version. But they were asking me how do you know this person how you know this person? And I was like, Oh, well, like 12 step recovery. And they were like, Oh, my God, oh, my God, they like turn off the recording. They’re like, You’re so brave for telling us that I was like, Oh, God, and they’re like, Oh, wow. Wow. Are you okay to keep talking about this? And I was just like, I mean, I was milking and I mean, I was trying to stay out of trouble. I’m like, yeah, it’s really difficult to talk about but this is important in this is my truth. me like, Wow, you’re so brave. So
I know Well, I mean, people are dying. And so I think that coming out of the closet with your story, and for me, you know, people like I go cool to see if you were still alive. I was like, I’m still alive. Like amazingly, like, I think it’s important. You know, I think that we think that our stuff is so unique, you know, like, our feelings are so unique or our struggle is so unique and so shameful. But, I mean, I can’t tell you the messages I get where people have just identified so much. They’re just like, Oh my God, thank you. Like, I thought I was the only one who felt this way or done this or blood. It’s like, No, you’re not. You know, and I think that what is going to break the stigma and help people in recovery is coming out with our stories and talking about it, and bringing coming it out and bringing out of the darkness. You know, I really do.
And what was your motivation behind writing the book?
Helping people that was really it. Swear to God, and like writing of addiction memoir that was funny because there aren’t many addiction memoirs that are funny. I mean, I’m a comic. And when I was on the chain gang when I was doing community labor, and I was sweeping the streets, it was like me and like, you know, I showed up and I was like, Oh my god, like all these criminals like I got, you know, and it was like, it was like me and like 40 Mexican. I was like, Oh shit, and they were like, what can we have full data? You know, I’m here for DUY, what can we afford? I was like, I’m here for felony domestic violence with a deadly weapon. And we’re like, oh my god, you know, holy shit. So it turned out that like, I was the criminal like, I was the worst one. I was like, one of the only people there for violent assault, which is it flipped everything. It was so humbling. And I had started to document and on Facebook, like every day I was on the chain game, like another day on the chain gang. And this is what I learned instead of being ashamed of it. And people got behind me and they were laughing and they were just like, oh my god, that was you know, when I finished my time, they will just like do it. You know, get arrested again. That was amazing. And I was like, Yeah, I don’t think so. But my editor at the fixed at the time was just like, that’s your book, man. That’s the framework for your book. And I was like, Oh, you’re right. So the framework of the book is sort of the, you know, the community labor with flashbacks to, you know, 20 years of,
of relapses and addiction and, you know, crazy stories and all that kind of stuff.
And was there a period of time when you were writing? Not about addiction, or where, where was the words?
Yeah, I’ve always been a writer. I was a writer before I was an addict. So I was writing in college and that kind of stuff for papers. My father’s a writer, you know, I was writing in high school, all that stuff. So it was like, for sure, you know? And then I sort of fell into writing for the fix. A previous editor asked me to write about sex and dating in 12 steps. I don’t know. Cuz she was like, it would be really funny. I don’t know if it’s because I was slutty at the time or whatever, I don’t even know. But I was like, okay, so I wrote it and people were like, Oh my god, this is hilarious. And it’s like, there’s not much recovery writings funny. And I think it’s really important that we keep our sense of humor. For me, that’s what kept me alive. I was like, you know, and kept me from just like, spiraling out and shame.
And why do you think people don’t just have a sense of humor about it? I know, I feel that you know, what happened in the past? It is what it is. And like, when I was going through it, it was absolutely terrible, but it’s horrible. Horrible coming out on the other side, like, I’ve got some really good stories. Like, you know, when you’re at a party and you’re meeting people for the first time and you need like a good icebreaker, it’s like, you want to hear about the time I threw up all over myself in front of the car. It’s like, um, but I guess you know when enough time has been removed It’s like, Well, I mean, this story is seven years old. So like, I don’t really feel any love. And that’s the whole thing is tragedy plus time equals comedy. You know, it’s not funny at the time, but I mean, I think you know, from being in 12 step that like we share horror stories. I’m gonna laughing, you know, wearing normal people would just be like, horrified, but we’re like, hysterical.
Yeah, I think normal people. I like how you had said, that is one of the best things that ever happened to you. And I’ve, I’ve felt that way a lot of times to where I don’t really like that I had the problems that I had. But as a result of getting those problems, it forced me to find a solution and that solution turned into a much better life than I had in previous to finding the solution. So what were some of the things in your life, that I mean, obviously like being an addict to not being an addict, that in itself is a win for most people? But what were the fringe benefits that came alongside it?
Well, I mean, losing everything I had been very spoiled and I didn’t want to take care of myself and I didn’t want to grow up and I think that’s very attic the stuff too is like avoiding responsibility and you know, wanting the easy way out and not kind of stuff and so I really feel like you meet your destiny on the road you go to avoided and you know, I it was like I had a trust fund and then I married a rich guy and then I left was left penniless in a psych ward. And I was like, oops, you know, it was like time to grow up and be self-supporting and that kind of stuff. And I’m so I had no choice but to do that and also coming from sort of like, you know, this this you know, Hollywood you know, BelAir background to being on medical disability, that sort of fish out of water, just the flipping of it, and experiencing this whole other world and just realizing that, you know, Money makes things easier, but it’s certainly Doesn’t mean, you know, make you happy and that I was aware of prior because, you know, I’ve had money and not had money but I also think that, you know, when everything is given to you, you don’t have a sense of accomplishment. You know, there’s that saying, you know that self-esteem comes from esteem mobile x, and I just did it. I felt hollow. I didn’t feel like I had any worth because I never had to do anything for myself. So all of a sudden, I had to do everything for myself. And, and that changed me as a person and also, you know, the community labor I not was I had an epiphany doing community labor. I mean, I was sweeping the streets. It’s like eight hours in the sun. It’s super exhausting. No one talks to you. Or you know, they’re like you’re a criminal except for people who think that it’s like volunteers like environmental stuff. They’re like, Oh my god, I love what you’re doing.
I love the environmental as I’m like, how do I become part of this and like just brandish a knife on Someone it’s so easy to be
only been like, you’re in like a clean team uniform sweeping like syringes and human feces. I mean, it’s gnarly. It’s so gnarly. And I just was feeling really sorry for myself. And I was just like, this sucks. And you know, I’m 40 something years old and broke. And, you know, like, I have a fucking felony and like, Ah, you know, I was just like, and I was like, you know, kind of newly sober and he just went, wait a second. This could be the best thing that ever happened to you, Amy. What could be the worst thing and it’s your decision. And then, later on, I found that’s what my book opens with that Will Rogers quote which is like the worst thing that happens to you can be the best thing for you if you don’t let it get the best of you. And I was like, okay, like, this didn’t happen by accident. This is really the result of all of your, you know, actions. So why don’t you accept the consequences? And like, are the lessons here? Maybe this isn’t a, you know, an accident? Like, what are the lessons you could learn here besides learning to sweep really well, which now I’m terrific at sweeping so far, but anyone wants to marry me. Wow, am I a good sweeper? Um, you know, I was like, well, there’s humility, and there’s teamwork, and there’s finishing what you start and blah, blah, blah, and, and it just, you know, all of a sudden, I embraced it. And the whole thing shifted. And I just thought you have 240 hours coming labor, you better find the fucking joy and finding this or you’re, you’re not going to finish you’re not gonna, you’re going to be miserable.
So what do you think caused that shift in your mindset? I
have no idea. You know, that’s a question. I don’t know. You know, whether that was like a spiritual awakening or whatever, I don’t really know. I mean, I just I just had a shift of perspective. I just thought You know you better you know what, because I mean, I had struggled for so long and what I was doing wasn’t working. And I just thought you better change your whole approach, you know, to everything. And so you know, I was in sober living for two and a half years and I ended up taking being the nanny of the house managers baby for a year and I never had had children and it wasn’t maternal at all. And I had this weird connection to this baby. And I ended up having this baby strapped to me for like a year was like the nanny, you know, and I turned out it was I was actually really good at it. And I was like, Oh, wait, maybe I’m not the selfish princess that I think maybe I actually, you know, have the maternal service oriented things and all I think the community labor Plus, you know, it’s taking care of the baby plus losing everything. All that sort of humbled me and made me more service oriented and other oriented which is what I needed, and also So that no one was gonna, you know, people were over it. My parents, my friends, everyone was like, we’re done, dude, we’re so done. You know, you’ve been doing this dance for 2030 years. We’re like, we’re tired of you at the bottom of the well, man, you’re on your own. And I just thought, Oh shit, no one’s gonna fix it for me. That was a big that was a big epiphany. Like, nobody is going to fix it for me. No one’s going to save me. No one’s going to fix it for me. It’s on me.
So when you take ownership of your life, you’ve come to find that because you are putting one foot in front of the other and you have decided that like life isn’t out to get me and I love how you were talking about how it’s what can I learn from this situation? Because so many times people just they just lay dead you know? It’s just Well yeah,
he does quote Tony Robbins with all the fucking you know, stuff that’s been around him lately, but he did say something interesting was watching mentor, and it’s like whatever you think of him, he was like, once you realize the universe is happening for you and not to you game over and I was like, that’s kind of true. You don’t mean it sort of changes your attitude because there’s really no power in being a victim. You know, and I played a victim for years and years and years and years and it’s like, okay, you get to feel sorry for yourself. That’s it. But once you take responsibility, there’s power there. To change things. Yeah, my.
When I first got into 12, step recovery, I remember the kind of the, the moment where I realized just everything I was doing. It just wasn’t working. It was like, you’re 26 you have nothing to show for yourself. You’re, you know, me trying to run my life, to the best of my ability. landed me in rehab and everyone just Like you said over it, I threw a party for myself. The day before I went to rehab. One person showed up. And all of the people that were invited were my roommates who lived with me. They didn’t show up all they had to do to show up was be home. And they all God is just where I was landing. Hey, everyone, Andrew is going to rehab. Let’s do it. Right. And it’s like, we’re really not into being your friend like nobody is.
I love how we all get loaded on our way to rehab like that’s like one last party. Like it’s like, oh,
yeah, I do that when I’m eating healthy too. And I just
Oh, right. Yeah, right before you start eating junk food.
Yeah, gotta gotta eat just one more pint of ice cream and then another pint of ice cream for that diet. That’s tomorrow. Activity game so tomorrow never comes. So a better job today. Yeah. I mean, the addiction, you know, it’s like they say like, the drugs and alcohol like that was the symptom like my role Yeah, myself.
Well yeah and also I mean, the more I’ve looked into it, you know, there’s also a lot of biology there too. I mean, I I’ve interviewed Dr. Wentz minions and addiction ology, and psychiatrists and he’s sober and he used to own a rehab. And there’s a lot army our brains are actually physically different from other people’s and whether that’s from trauma or biology mean there’s a genetic component for a lot of us and it’s like, you know, our dopamine system is just not the same as other people’s. So I mean, I actually did a test for a genetic mutation, wherein you don’t, where there’s a mutation in the enzyme that allows you to create element full fully from fully from vegetables and element the full ages to building blocks. dopamine and serotonin. And I have a genetic mutation where I can’t create enough elemental folate. So now I take a supplement for
it is that is is that something genetic from birth? Or is that a result?
Yeah, that’s, that’s a genetic thing. And there’s a lot of there’s, you know, and it’s like you can get tested for and what’s men was saying 80% of the addicts that he treated, had this genetic mutation. So I mean, I think that aside from doing the work, you know, you’ve got to sort of balance out your brain chemistry in the best way that you can, you know, so I’m, you know, I have a long history of addiction in my family and mental illness. So I sort of got the genetic lottery with that.
Yeah, but like you said, it did turn out to be one of the best things that happened although while you were in
it, I needed be the best thing. That’s the thing you choose to make it be the best thing that happens to you. You know, it’s a choice. Like, am I going to take this thing and, and and help people? Am I going to take this thing and let it sort of like, burn off all the extraneous bullshit and make me into the best person I can be? Where am I going to just you know, plenty of people just languish or feel sorry for themselves or die, you know, you have to take the reins, you have to accept the situation and make the best of it. I mean, I think that, you know, in terms of being an addict and an alcoholic, you know, there’s a sort of obsessive component to myself, and a kind of a compulsion that if you can rein that in towards good things like exercise or meditation or creativity and blah, blah, like, you know, those things are good. I mean, some of my best qualities come from my addictive background.
I think that’s a really good perspective because we can definitely choose to just let it destroy us or we can use positive things.
Yeah, if you can rein that energy, that weird compulsive, you know, energy, you can do really cool stuff. You know, but if you let the reins Go, man, the horse is going to kick you off and you’re Fox, you know. So it was like, you know, I mean, I’m lucky as a writer, there’s nothing, everything is material, nothing bad can happen to you. It’s all material.
I love that perspective. So, you know, and in regards to writing, you’re working on your second book now. Correct.
I’m thinking about it. I’m writing notes you’re writing? Yeah. I mean, well, you know, as he as you know, so I went up my father, my mother has dementia and my father has cancer. They’re not together. And I know I’m an only child. And so, you know, for someone who didn’t want responsibility universities, like here, you know, so I was like, oh, okay, like, you know, I’m like mother, my mom’s power of attorney and blah, blah and like, I went up to help my dad and I ended up You know straining my hand you know nothing like waking up your father who you know weighs fucking 650 pounds in six to with a chemo port and being like, Can you draw me to the emergency ward a thinker broke my hand I was like, oh, right always needy, always dramatic always about me. You know, it’s like God Amy. But it was good it made him feel like a dad and needed and and not the Uber patient, you know what I mean? You got to feel needed. So I’ve been in a splint for God just a week and it was hard not to feel sorry for myself because I couldn’t actually do anything. I couldn’t ride. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t wash my hair. I couldn’t do anything. Finally got the splint off. And I mean, all that stuff is you know, gonna be hilarious later. It’s not that funny now, but you know, but life happens. I mean, that’s something you get sober and life is in session. You know, you know, I got my heart broken. I got you know, my parents are ill, you know, money. problems like, you know, all this kind of stuff and it’s like, how do you get to you know, you have to, you know, navigate life, we’re not immune to that stuff. But I think for me, what’s what’s been interesting or difficult is that after, you know, years and years of mental illness and addiction, sort of being shot into the world in my 40s, and having all this grown up stuff and not having the skills to sort of navigate it, and having to learn from other people in 12 step like hey, how do you do this? How do you how do you respond to a you know, an ill parent? How do you you know, how do you know when to rotate your tires? How do I do my taxes? Like I don’t know, like, how do you put on a delay cover by themselves? Like, for real like I can, you know, it’s like, Hey, I can make a crap bomb out of a mountain dew bottle, but I don’t know how to you know, want to change my oil like hello. Like, you know,
when you learn different skills for different different times in your life, like When you’re when you’re in elementary school, having the right shoes is a very important thing. I guess when you get older, having the right shoes can be important to depending which which crowd you’re running in. But my, my nephew, he, he made this was like a year or two ago he was I guess six ish at the time. And he he made a paper airplane and he threw it and it got stuck on top of the cabinet. And he starts bawling, bawling his eyes out and I was just like, I wonder what it’s like to give them shock, like, give that many folks about a paper airplane. Like there’s so many other things going on in the world right now. That paper airplane in that moment, was the most important thing and the solution. Okay, here I climbed up here you go, buddy. Wow, I’m a hero. We choose to focus the limited amounts of flux that we have to give and we focus them on either stupid shit. Or we can focus on things that are productive. And we can learn how to actually live a productive life, provide value to others help other people like, these are all choices, like you said, and you can just not do any of that. I mean, in this same exchange, you know, I mean, victim, but I mean, he’s also the perpetrator, and
in the saga of paper airplanes on the captain.
I mean, I think the biggest thing that I learned in this recovery finally was, you know, to not pay attention to my feelings, like fuck my feelings. You know, like, if I’m gonna, if I’m gonna live my life according to my feelings, I’m going to be all over the place. And it’s like, you know, I remember as a sponsor, it said to me, I, you know, he said, You don’t have to be a good person. You just have to act like my no one knows the difference, because you’re judged by your actions. You’re not judged by your intentions. No one gives a shit about your intentions. Like Sorry, I meant to be there like were you there we go. They’re like, no one cares about your intentions, you know, you’re judged on your actions. And so I just started to act like the person I wanted to be and act according to set of values that I wish I had sort of, you know, Incorporated. And eventually you become that person. I mean, there’s, there’s actual neuroscience called, you know, by directionality and neuro plasticity, where if you sort of take, you know, the same action over and over and over again, you know, you create a new neural pathway where that’s your default. So, I mean, we created that in our addiction, a negative sort of neural pathway. And now I’ve created new neural pathways that are sort of good, you know what I mean? Like, you know, we’re in now it’s natural for me to show up and do things for other people. And you know, I don’t have to pretend to be to be there for people and care. I do actually care I do show up, or there’s no chemistry, you know what I mean? I’m translating my sort of neural pathways.
Are there any other story strategies you can use other than fake it till you make it in order to achieve that.
Yeah, contrary action, it doesn’t matter how you feel, fuck your feelings, your feelings change all the time. You know, it’s like your action. Like, you know, consistent action is what matters. If you wait till you’re going to feel like working out or writing the book or washing your shoes, good luck. Yeah, you know, you wait forever, you’re never going to feel like it. But then you take the action and then all of a sudden you feel differently. Action changes your feelings, but it took me years to get there man. I was like, No, my feelings I feel this way and you know.
So what are your thoughts on censorship and
So, you know,
I seem to be you know, feel like you’re like an icon of recovery. I’m like, I’m more like the asshole of recovery, but You know, well, I’m not a PC the book is not PC. I think that you know people like she’s unlikable in her book. It’s like yeah, if you’re mentally ill and a drug addict you’re unlikable if I had been likable I would have probably not got sober and there’s nowhere to go if there’s some fucking Angel when you’re shooting coke and stabbing people um, but uh, you know, as an ex comic, and as a writer, freedom of speech is really important to me and I think that you know, what’s more important than a term is sort of what’s behind the term and how you treat people and so yeah, I recently did a I was recently a guest on rare form radio, which is very much about like, you know, freedom of speech and like saying the shocking shed and it was like talking about Dave Chappelle his new thing and blah, blah, and I got that episode up on Facebook, and instant Graham I don’t know, if someone was like, you know, reported is abusive or violated community standards, or I got caught up in this algorithm with they’re not letting anyone post links because, you know, unless you you know, outright condemn sort of the alt right and anti semitism which hi like I’m a liberal jus like, Hello, that’s a given. Yeah, they just won’t let me post that stuff. And so it’s, it’s interesting, I think it’s a dangerous time to limit stuff, especially when, you know, with addiction and people are dying, and I didn’t see anything in that podcast that was that outrageous at all. But, you know, there are people that you know, don’t like when you, you know, shake it up, I guess. Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve never been had a great filter. And so you know, for me to write a book and whatever like other I finally found, like a place where not having a filter was a good thing where people like thank you for keeping it real, like Hello, like, and not just saying what’s PC or whatever, because there’s no you know what, there’s nothing PC about addiction. I’m sorry, it’s gnarly, and it’s ugly and all that kind of stuff like, but I’ve gotten in a lot of trouble where, you know, like that whole new sobriety movement. I like, really, I was like, Hey, man, like, that’s cool. Like, if you want to do a dry January, and mock tails and wear a shirt, you know, a sparkly shirt that you know, has some dumb slogan on it or whatever. But like, I just want you to remember that for most of us, it wasn’t a health trend, like, Oh my God, my skin’s that much better and I can wake up and not feel hungover. My spin class is amazing. You know, it’s like for some of us, it wasn’t trendy or and it wasn’t like, like a social rebellion. It was a life and death situation. And I think that that’s really important to remember. When people are just like, trying it on for size and thinking that it’s you know, a choice because for most of us It wasn’t a choice. I can’t I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to stop drinking and using and I could not.
And I said that and boy I got my ass handed to me. Whoo.
So what would you say is the number one thing someone who’s struggling with addiction trying to get better? What’s the number one thing that they should do?
Be honest and don’t fucking give up. Don’t give up. Love. If 12 steps not right for you. There’s a zillion other different types of programs and find something where you can have a support network and you can be honest, and you can be accountable and don’t give up and if you have underlying mental you know, mental illness, make sure you get that addressed and get on medication for that and don’t give up. I don’t care how many times you fallen down, you can still get it Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t you know, there’s a whole thing about shame you know, shame is just, she never helped me and what’s been says is shame actually lowers your dopa me. So to beat yourself up and shame yourself, lowers your dopamine and then what are you going to do when you have low dopamine? Your brain is going to go, Oh, I need dopamine and how do you get dopamine, sex, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, you know, whatever, ice cream, whatever, it doesn’t matter, your brain just going to the dope. I mean, so it’s like, it’s really important, I think to have. I’m not saying not, don’t hold yourself accountable. But I’m saying, for me, self-hatred and shame and all that kind of stuff just kept me using. And one of the reasons 12 step works is because we get into a room with other people, and we don’t feel less than
and our dopamine goes up, we feel connected.
And we and that’s, you know, where it’s other people like us who’ve done the same things and understand Our brain and our fucked up thinking, where it’s like, oh, a six-shot latte is you know a good idea.
I mean sometimes,
always always.
I’ve done that and given myself a seizure, I’m like, Oh, good, good. You know, I drink so much coffee and sobriety almost threw up. I’m like, go I got that moderation thing down doing good Amy doing good.
You know what, though? Too much caffeine probably hasn’t torn apart nearly as many families as too much everything else.
Yeah, I just think being gentle with yourself while continuing to hold yourself accountable. There’s that balance. I think it’s really important to not just keep beating yourself up that just never helped me that just made me feel there was a point where I was just like, I’m going to die drug addict. This is it. You know, I’m not going to get this. And my parents believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Find someone that believes in you, you know, and just hook on to their belief go well, I don’t think I can get this but I’ve been Leave that you believe. I’m going to just borrow some of that I’m going to believe that you believe and I’m gonna, you know, ride on that. And that’s what kept me going for a long time. I was like, I’m gonna die this way. My parents were like, No, I think you’re gonna get it. And I was like, Okay guys, and they were right.
Hey, you know, we are allowed to be wrong at times, especially when it pans out as well for us, as you know, it has in both of our lives. But Amy in wrapping up, where can listeners find out more about you?
Um, I have a website I’m on. I’m still on Facebook. Kick me off. Yeah. Amy Dresner, I’m on Twitter @amyDresner on Instagram. Amy Dresner, I write for the fix you can I’ve written probably over 60 articles for them and gun you can find me all over the place. Awesome zillion pod.
We’ll have links to all the things we talked about in the show notes.
Yeah. And the book and you can buy the book my friend donkey on Amazon, Barnes and Noble target wherever,
you know. Yeah. And we’ll have links to that in the show notes as well. And guys, be sure to check out Amy’s book. My Fair junkie. absolutely incredible. Amy, thank you so much for being on the show. I know you’ve had a pretty crazy life in the last couple of months. So I really appreciate your time and for everyone listening. Be sure to subscribe to the show. leave us a review on iTunes. I greatly appreciate it. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, the whole shebang. love hearing feedback from you guys and Amy, have a great day.
Thanks, Andrew. Thanks for having me.

Roman Braley – Sober Bro Burning Boats with Hand Tatz

Check out this episode!

With me today is the sober bro. Roman Braley.
he is an entrepreneur business owner hip hop artist podcaster author, public speaker star of a documentary and the current program director at the Haven at Pismo said it’s pronounced Pismo.
Alrighty, Did I miss anything? Nice?
Yes, above all. I have a sober man and recovering.
Father to
my man. I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me on.
Yeah, a hundred percent. So you got sober in 2012 and you’ve just been crushing it for the last seven some years.
Yeah, man. You know,
sobriety has been the single greatest thing that ever happened
are nothing
Right. And, you know, I’ve been trying to get sober since
And I went to my first 12 step meeting when I was 15.
To support a really good friend of mine, he said that he had been going to meetings and looking for some support. And so I went with them. And the whole time I was at this meeting, people were speaking, talking, and I was like, wow, I’m so proud of my friend for doing this, you know, and at the end of the meeting, a bunch of people came up to me, and they knew my name. And they were like, We’re so glad that you’re here. We’re happy that you’re here. Here’s some information about more meetings and the literature and this and that and that somebody came up and said, you know, I’d like to be your sponsor to do it. And I was like, Wait a second. Wait, wait, no, I’m here to support my friend, but apparently my friend and been going there for a couple of weeks.
Trying to seek out a way to help me. Right? So it’s all this big, big boy to get me in the room.
So How bad was your addiction in order for him to try to pull that off what was going on in your life? Well, this was very, very early.
My addiction phase. I was at this time I was just drinking but the drinking was, it was to the point where it’s out of control every time you know, there was no fun anymore. No excitement. I was starting to dabble in harder drugs. At this time, I was getting kicked out of high school as well. And it was just, you know, things went rapidly downhill and a very short period of time in high school.
And yeah, he got me at the front end of that. You know, it took a lot of it took many years, a lot more consequences, losing a lot of things.
A lot more pain and suffering before I finally stepped into
a 12 step meeting
for myself,
and what were some of the consequences that you were facing from the time when you went to the first one to where you gave up?
Well, you know, I,
for a long time, I had a really rough childhood. Right. I grew up in the foster care system. I was working for the state. My father was a habitual prison.
vacationer and my mother. She was a hardcore drug addict. And I was actually born in treatment. While my mom opened treatment. She was 15 when she was born addicted to methamphetamine.
When I was born, and yeah, I spent the first couple years living with him.
you know, I suffered from physical abuse, sexual abuse, molestation,
neglect, abandonment, verbal abuse, there would be times for weeks on end, my mom would just leave me alone at the house. So.
So through all that I really, I really developed behavioral issues, right? behavioral issues. And so while I was in school, I was just the worst kid. And my life changed when I was 12 years old. I was adopted by a loving family here in the Central Coast, California, and they absolutely changed my life but for a long time I held on to that pain that hurt my childhood, that trauma, and it manifested
and at the only reason I say that
was because that was my excuse. Right? That was my excuse to drink and do drugs the way that I wanted to do it, regardless of who got hurt in the process, regardless of even my own safety or well being, you know, so I went from
I went from when I was adopted, I became a straight-A student. I really turned my life around of doing good I excelled in sports. I played hockey at a very high level. I was traveling all over the world playing hockey. And as soon as I drank alcohol for the first time
zone, when I had my first drink
and immediately I knew that this was the thing that was going to erase the pain, the misery, make me feel like I’m part of, and make me forget all of that trauma. And, again, I use all that trauma, meditate as an excuse. So from the minute I started drinking, I was
Was I was hooked. I wanted more. Right? It’s often said that alcoholism
is a manifestation of three things, right? That’s mind body spirit, basically that the mind, do you have a mental obsession? The body? Do you have a physical allergy that manifests the craving craves? And the Spirit is spiritual knowledge, right. So the very first time I drank alcohol, my addiction or alcoholism manifested in those three things. I had the mental obsession. Right off the bat, I wanted more I needed more. The kids I was drinking with were like, gross. I can’t do this. Like more, more more, right? I had a physical crazy that was uncontrollable, right, which led me from alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, to opiates, to hallucinogens to everything.
anything I could get my hands on? Very, very quickly. So when my friend took me to the meeting for the first time that you know, 1415,
I went to no part of it because what they were talking about was they were talking about breaking up a relationship between me and my best friend, my lover. My,
the only
basically the only good thing going on in your life that gets you out of yourself. That’s the one thing that they’re telling you to like, you’ve got to stop doing the only good part of your life. Is that sort of how you interpreted it. Yeah, and this was years before I really even thought that there might be a problem. Right? So there’s, there’s this thing called the stage stages of change. Basically, it’s the cycle that everyone goes through and deciding whether or not they’re going to change and there are different stages.
There’s pre-contemplation, which is basically and not even thinking about it. There’s contemplation, which is now I’m thinking about it, then this preparation which be preparing to change, then there’s action, which means I’m actually changing. So for a very long time, I was in the pre-contemplation stage. I didn’t even think there was a problem. Nothing was wrong. And, in fact, alcohol was the only thing that was. It was reliable. It always worked and never felt. never needed it. It was there. Right? So I get kicked out of high school. I’m a mess. Trouble with a lot. I decided to try the homeless thing out. I jumped trains travel all over northern California, drinking, partying, crazy homeless people and river beds. And it all came to a screeching halt. And I picked up a charge for assault on a police officer. And now sitting there in juvenile hall.
17 years old, and I was facing either going to jail for a long time or
joining the military. Now me despite my affliction with alcoholism and addiction, I am a survivalist right. I want to I want to live I don’t want to be locked up. So I take the deal I joined the United States Marine Corps, and I go off to to camp and I do that now in the process of joining the Marine Corps.
I love you guys know this but the Marine Corps is a fraternity
very, very much enjoys drinking, right. So my drinking just skyrocketed. And in that process, I
still know consequences, but I started to feel the physical effects of alcohol.
Shake all the time. Waking up with Trevor
I feel I felt like my stomach hurt all the time. No.
So what was the final catalyst where you were just like, I can’t keep doing this anymore? Or was it just another
consequence and just kind of this time it’s stuck what’s happening in 2012? Yeah, so basically the short, the short version is this but I do my military bang. I get kicked out for drug juice. I go from cocaine to heroin. I get locked up. I go to prison. Two and a half years, my best friend overdose in my bathroom. I go back to prison. I get out of prison, homeless in San Diego. On for all. I’m living on the streets and living under this bridge. And I realized that
The people in the meetings. Were Right. Right. I have this activity. They were on to something.
So all I have to My name is a backpack
with some clothes, and my skateboard.
And I states have seven or eight meetings a day, downtown. Fantastic. I’m just kidding all over San Diego going to meetings, but unable to not drink it.
Right. So I’m drinking in between meetings. I’m not sharing at the meetings. I’m sitting in the back, but I’m taking completing, I’m searching. I need help. I’m desperate. I’m willing to do anything. And I’m living under this bridge. And every single night I pray to God, that that, that there’s an earthquake in the bridge politics collapsed on because I was just done with life. I couldn’t find a solution. I didn’t think it was possible. And I was resigned from the way of living. I was resigned to the fact that I was getting
Died alcoholic death, or end up going to prison for the rest of my life. And so I was praying that the bridge follow me so that I would do that. But I wanted people to feel sorry for me. So I wouldn’t be like a tragedy like they write in the newspaper like, poor, kill us by Street Bridge accident, you know, like I wanted people to feel sorry. And some go into this meeting in San Diego, and I, for whatever reason to old-timers, because I’ve been coming around what you did, and I’m like, but it’s like, Well, I’m glad you’re here. And for whatever reason, it is a little bit older than that gentleman, listen, I just wanted to die. I don’t want to live anymore, wants to die. And I told the story about the bridge and how I pray.
And in one sentence, he changed my life.
This man looked me in the eye. He said Roman. You don’t want to die.
Which I thought was strange. I just told my dead. But he said, You don’t want it.
You want to stop living the life that you’ve been living? You don’t know that you have other options.
And he took me by the hand and he said, Well, maybe you have other options. And in that point, it’s the first time in my entire life that I ever, ever thought that there was another option.
And in that moment, I told that man, I’m willing to go to any lengths to get what he has. I checked myself into treatment. I’ve been doing it ever since. Wow, isn’t it I bet you that there’s been opportunities and times in your life where people had said something similar to that, but it’s one of those like, you were in that exact moment at that exact time, willing to hear that exact message. And what did early sobriety look like? Because I mean, you’d been back and forth for a bit was it just like you surrendered and then it got
Yeah, basically, man, I surrender to a process that I was pretty familiar with, because I’ve been going to meetings for so long. So I knew what people did. I knew what they said I knew how they acted. So it was very difficult for me in that and that’s my problem. No with all the other things, right, all the things outside issues. Right. years of trauma and abuse had manifested itself in some severe behavioral issues. Right. And
they weren’t addressing my sponsors. It wasn’t an interesting
point that I needed. So I needed to go to therapy. So I checked myself into therapy
to deal with those
issues that I was struggling with, but, you know, really early Friday.
I think your conversation that I had
lay the groundwork for the next seven years to be the person I am today. And it was while I was a treatment, you know, I was still active. So I’m still being addicted people still breaking the rules and it’s not pleasant to be with, and
people would follow me. So I’d have like a group of other degenerates. They would just follow me and be so convicted. And I was sat down by this counselor, Counselor, the Roman, I don’t know why, in God’s world, you have leadership quality.
I don’t know why people follow you. All everywhere you go and do whatever you do. But you have charisma and you have and you have a, you have an opportunity and a responsibility. Whether you like it or not, you have a responsibility because you are sober and therefore you are
You are the image
you are what people are going to associate with. And not only that, you’re tearing people down.
When you’re building them up, you are a leader in this mess that they’re our telling me how I was the first time I heard that, but for whatever reason resonated me. So my attitude changed, right? Every single day, I would read a page out of the basic deck.
All About acceptance, acceptance of the answer my problems, right? And I realized that my problems were.
And if I could just flip the switch and act as a leader rather than a rebel, my life would change it has.
Since that day, I’ve strived in every aspect of life, every area of life, to be a leader and taking trainings
have done seminars and workshops, and I’ve built businesses, all about leadership. Leadership is one of the things that I’m really passionate.
And what are some of the resources that are like your go to as far as leadership goes?
there’s a leadership training San Diego
Leadership Academy, and that really was the
that was the first my first jump into actual leadership and transformation and learning emotional intelligence and motivational intelligence. And then starting to read some books. You know, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a great book, I started to read the power of now. I started to really
study manifestation, alive attraction and I would go to work
I was listening to a podcast, and I would just seek out more information. Someone told me one time, somebody was much smarter. Scientist, right? He told me Listen, rubber, humans, our only job, the only thing that we have to do is grow. From the moment that the sperm hits the egg conception happens. Our only job is to grow physically, mentally and emotionally. And the moment that we stop growing is the moment we start dying. It says the reason you see some people are 80 years old, and they’re on fire for life. And other people are 30 years old, and they’re just miserable.
And so it’s been my, one of my biggest goals is to continue to grow, no matter how small or big on a daily basis. Well, a little bit more than I did yesterday.
That’s such a really cool way to look at growth. I’d never heard that before. Once we stopped growing, is when we start dying, and I
I’ve seen that a lot, in my experience as well. And it’s funny to that early recovery was where someone had given you the, or early recovery was the first time that someone said to you, you are a leader. And that that was my experience as well. When I was in treatment, I had to write like a letter, like a goodbye letter to alcohol, something like that. And then, you know, in small group, everyone that goes around, they’re like, Oh, I love how like, there was passion in that message. And one of the ladies she’s like, You’re such a strong leader in the community. And I was like, What are you talking about? Like, I’m the dude that
I don’t possess leadership qualities. And then it like she said that and I was just like, Oh, you know, she’s just another person that’s wrong. But as I started growing in recovery to it’s a completely different world, and I’m a completely different person, I don’t know about you, but I mean, the person who is here today
Today is nothing like the person who would read that note back in 2013. So how did you get into entrepreneurship and working with those businesses? Did it fall into your lap? Was it something you were passionate about? What’s the background on that? I wish it
to a certain extent, man, what I’ve learned to be 100% factual, is that if you do the right thing, the right thing happens, right? It’s such an easy concept. But it’s something that so many people, they either don’t know if they don’t believe. Fact is, they take the if you make the right choice, then another door will open. And if you walk through that door, another door will open. And that’s how entrepreneurship has been for me. Right. Again, going back to the basic text, you know, I said one of the things that says is, you know, we are
We must have a psychic change, right, which basically is a complete change of your ideas, your beliefs, your morals, your values, the way that you think and the way that you do, right. And there’s a there’s a huge argument in the psychology field,
which by the way, I went to school for psychology. In early recovery, I went back to school, and I became a alcohol and drug counselor. And then I became an interventionist, which I’ll get to in a second, but when I was in school, the argument was, you have to think your way into new action. And the flip side was you have to act your way into new thinking. Right? And I didn’t know which one was right or which one was wrong. So I just did both.
And I thought different and that worked out for you. It works wonderfully, right. I went back to school. I got a job in treatment.
One of my good friends, he he had a connection at a residential treatment center in San Diego and I started working there basically as a support staff while I was continuing to go to school to get my kid back, and in that process, I just excelled man, I found my niche, I found my passion. Right. And I just want to say this, that for anyone listening that’s maybe in early recovery or not in recovery at all or thinking about it or struggling. What I’ve found to also be true is that when you take away something that works for so long, like alcohol and drugs, like you have to find an equal or greater replacement, right otherwise, there’s no chances sustainable recovery, there’s no chance that long lasting recovery. And for me, what I know is that that that equal or greater
Substitute has been purpose has been passion. I found my passion and my purpose, very early in recovery. And that was helping others. Right. And then, you know, a few years later, I realized that I’m really good at business too. And that became another passion. And you know what? I’m looking for that next passion and purpose because I’m continually growing right. But passion, purpose is what set me free. And I learned working as a support staff, and I’m really good at it. I’m able to connect with people, but also I really love it, man. And so I met a guy who does interventions. And he was like, kid, you got something. I don’t know what it is, but you got something. So he hired me to come on interventions with them, and basically go to the intervention, sit in the intervention, watch the whole process, learned the whole process, and then when whoever the intervention was being done on needed to go
Go out and have a cigarette, I would go out and have a cigarette with them and talk to them one on one as appear and be like, Hey, man, you can do this. You can, you know, and it was it works. It was highly successful. And then I became an interventionist working with them. And then
now this is the dark side of, you know, recovery and really addiction treatment is I was working for another residential treatment center. And
I By this time, I had become basically like part of the program, developer, director, if you will. And they started doing things. I saw them doing things now at a business level, that I didn’t be very unethical. Right. We were, we were keeping clients that we couldn’t treat. We were paying. We were charging families money for stuff that we couldn’t do. We were We were buying clients. We were doing
Some things that were unethical, and it was against my morals. And so I brought this up with the ownership. And they were basically like Roman, we appreciate your feedback, man, but, but this is our business. And it is a business and we’re going to keep doing what we do. You do what we tell you.
And it was my first introduction to any shakiness in the addiction treatment. I’d never experienced that before. And I started researching it. And I learned a lot and I learned that it’s really common for these things to happen, which is really unfortunate. So I quit my job. I quit a really good job and I walked away. And in that I, I had been thinking about doing my own treatment center for a while, but I didn’t think I had the skills or the knowledge or the know how or I just didn’t think I could do it. You know, and I quit my job and I tattooed my hands
Part of the reason I tattooed my hands was because I really wanted to open my own treatment center. But I knew that I was never going to do that because I can always go work for somebody else. And I figured if I touch you my hands, no one will hire me and I’ll have to do my own thing. Right. That’s incredible. That’s that burning boats mentality, man. Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend that so awesome.
are in the boat ever? Do me if I do this? That’s great word for love. It was not it was not smart. But you know, I knew that for me. It was going to catapult me into something different. And within two months, I went completely broke. I couldn’t pay my electric bill. My daughter was just born and
we couldn’t pay rent and we’re eating top ramen soup every night. And for like five or six days, I said, You know what, screw it.
I’m going to do this, I’m going to make this happen. I am making it happen. I am doing it. I’m setting the intention, and I’m doing the action. And I went out there, and I worked every single day for a week and a half. And I just reached out to people, I make connections, ask people things, just that. And I got my first client as an own. My own businessman, I got my first client, which led to two clients, which led to three clients, which led to 10 clients, which led to me opening my first business, sober life coach, and open that was one of my best friends.
And we opened up that business now at the same time. One of my mentors and my really good friends. He was opening a treatment center out on the East Coast, and he wanted to bring me on as the program director. So I was flying back and forth from the East Coast working with him building his treatment center, which was going to be a detox residence on PHP IoT
And I learned the whole process, I learned how he opened the center, I learned how he did his business plan, how he did his financing, what he did with insurance, I learned everything right? While I was, you know, building up my own Africa coaching program. And at the end of that, you, it was time for me to go move to DC to do that. And I said, No. And this was my mentor. And one of my best friends, I tell now, I said, If I do that, like, I’ll never do my own thing. I’ll never do my own thing. If I go work for you, and I love you, and I believe in you. But if I don’t work for you, I’m selling out of myself. And I can’t do that. So I stayed. I didn’t go. He went out there. He’s been successful, and he does a dynamite program. And it says, and I love them and I’m so proud of them. But it says I had to go do my own thing. And so sober life coach blew up and saying
Diego, it was wildly successful, which led me to the next thing, which is to build my own treatment center. So me and my good friend, we started sober life recovery solutions, which is a treatment center down in San Diego. And we did that. And it was successful, it blew up. It was dynamite. It was everything that we had imagined, come to reality. And I got hooked on entrepreneurism. So instead of settling for that, man, I went to the next thing. I started another program out in Brooklyn with a really good friend of mine and Africa coaching program out there. Right. And then earlier this year, I went back to San Diego, and I started fearless method, because I was I was moving away from addiction treatment been doing that for so long. And I was like, You know what, I have skills that might be useful for other people who aren’t suffering from addiction or alcoholism. So me and a good friend who’s not
in recovery, we started the fearless method, which is a 12 week online course and motivational intelligence. It’s basically taking all the things that I learned in recovery and learning leadership, all these academies and seminars and trainings, I did sprinkle it in with the principles that we find in 12 step programs, and some of the lessons and teachings the most. And together we got, we got together with a psychologist who was triple board certified, and he did all the science to back our program. And we built an online course where people that everyday average Joe can take this course. And it would blow their mind it was it would explode their mind it would teach them you know about fear it would teach them about judgment and bias and teach them about motivation. And it was it was such an amazing experience. It was my first dive outside of treatment. It was really successful. It was a program that really worked
And I, you know, we were fence now changing it and developing it to be a live training that we’re going to start doing probably near the end of this year. But something happened, you know, a couple months ago and that was that my grandfather, he became very ill. So he moved back in with my parents up on the Central Coast. At the same time My mother was getting sick. And I had basically not retired, but I had taken some time off to travel the world and, and really soak in the fruits of my labor. And you know, we had the all the businesses and all that they were all self supporting. They were running stuff, I had no participation. So I just packed up my bags and I moved back up to the central coast to be closer to my family. My grandfather, unfortunately passed away last month, but he was able I was able to spend some time with him and he was able to meet my daughter
And we were able to have closure. And now I live up here and, you know, my kids get to see their grandparents and and it was, it’s been great, you know, being part of family and it’s come full circle, you know, but
but I got the itch, man, I got the edge and entrepreneurism. I love deeply. So I started a new business. I came up here and I was like, all right, what am I good at? I’m good at I’m good at starting treatment centers or coaching programs. So I follow the paperwork and I started slow addiction, which is basically coaching counseling, intervention services.
All the above, right. So I started that program. And then I started reaching out to local resources because I hadn’t been in this area for a long time. I wanted to know what was around. And in the process of that I came upon I stumbled
Upon a program called The Haven that pismo and while I was interviewing them, to find out who they were, what they do, and this and that, I was able to meet with the clinical director, the executive director, and the owner. And I sat in a room with them for two hours. And after two hours, they said, Would you come work for us? And, you know, I was so against working for anyone else, you know, because I tested my hands and I’ve been doing it myself and I’m an entrepreneur, I’m super successful, I will put tons of businesses, I never need to work for anyone else, you know, but what I also know is that humility is one of them the biggest principles
of recovery.
that it’s not always about me.
And that recovery is not about me and that the businesses aren’t about me.
It’s not about me, man, the world doesn’t revolve around me. And although I’m very good at certain things, and I’ve done a lot of great things. At the end of the day, man, it’s not about me. And here was a program in my hometown that had all the bells and whistles was exactly what I wanted to start here. They already had it. And they had a need for me.
And they asked me and I said, Yeah, I said, Yeah, man. I’ll go crazy. To be able to like to put on the because, you know, so many people, I everybody can say, I’m extremely humble. I’m the most humble person in the world. I am so humbled, you will never meet anybody as humble as me. But to have scaling grown businesses, and I mean, I’ve I see a lot of parallels in your story like
several of the companies that I’ve built from the ground up self
Supporting like, I’ve spent weeks on vacation and still have money coming in like they run themselves, thousands of customers, dozens of employees, like all these things, putting systems in place, what would you say is the number one or two most important things to be able to grow and scale organizations the way that you have?
Man, it’s crazy man. I went to a lot of business seminars and stuff because that’s not my background businesses and my background. And for the first couple businesses, I sucked, right? I didn’t know what I was doing, you know, go to other I was going all these seminars and I was hearing these really successful business people and you know, I got to hang out with Tony Robbins and meet Grant Cardone and Gary van der Chuck and spend time and talk to these people. And they hit me, man, that what made me good at being a drug and alcohol counselor
was my passion and my
Love, and being able to have compassion.
And I think that’s what makes me good at business is that I’m passionate about it. That for me, man, of course, business is about making money. Right? You don’t start a business for any other reason to make money.
Or do you? See, I had to question that, because that’s what I was taught. businesses make money. What’s sure that makes sense? Right? But why are we doing anything? If making money is my only goal, I’m doing something wrong, man. Because there’s a greater there’s there’s a greater purpose. There’s a greater game at play. Right? So for me, it’s about making sure that my passion aligns with my business. And look, man, I’m probably going to start or be part of
at least 30 more businesses before I am off this earth. I love it, man.
I’m like, What
The next one going to be, right. I’m constantly looking at what’s trending, what the future holds where the future of addiction treatment is going, where the future businesses going on constantly meeting people that have great business ideas. And I’m like, dude, let’s do them all. Because what I’ve realized in doing them is it’s possible. See, what I thought for a long time was impossible, is actually possible. And not only is it possible, but I can do it. And if I can do it, anyone else can do it. So I’m great. I’m deeply passionate about teaching others, helping others training others, become a trainer. I do training and workshops and seminars myself now. And that’s the thing I teach man is passion. If you don’t have the passion, it’s not going to work. Not only that discipline. Now one of my favorite lines of the basic text is alcoholics are undisciplined. That’s the whole sentence right. And now couldn’t be more true. We as humans are undisciplined. It takes a lot of practice, practice discipline. If you have discipline and you have passion, you can do it. You can do anything. And I plan on doing everything. There are many things I want to do, and I’m going to do them all. But above all else, I want other people to do those things, too. Because I look around me, and I see people I grew up with, and I see people in my community that is living, you know, mediocre lives, that aren’t passionate about anything that they’re dead. They stopped growing man, they’re dying now. And I see that not only in my community but the world. And it makes me sad, man. It makes me really sad. Because I know that there’s a solution, not only for alcoholics and drug addicts, there’s a solution for everyone and, and in finding that solution, it could unlock happiness.
And not only that, but you can create something out of it and create something out of it that can help others. And I think, for me, that’s it. Yeah, I think anyone can hear that passion in your voice to that. It’s not just like regurgitating something that you’ve just told a million people and like, oh, here’s the story again, like, let me tell you, I am a passionate person, but you know, just that. Just that excitement behind everything that you’re saying, Man, like, you can feel that and you can see that in just everything that you’re doing. So I want to be conscious of your time. I know you’re very busy man. Where can people find you online? Learn More. Well, I mean, I just go to my Instagram sober, bro. That’s where I post a lot. And I actually, I actually control that account. So for a while I didn’t because my life was crazy hectic and I had five businesses all at the same time. So I didn’t do any social media, but I
I had some complaints. And I listened to people. And I got humble. And I said, You know what? You’re right. Like, if, if I’m putting stuff out there, I need to be authentic. I need to be real. I need to be genuine. So I actually control that account. And I respond and I reply to everyone that messages so you can reach me there. You can reach me on Facebook, Facebook’s good.
You can see my music and my podcasts are all on
iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, everywhere there is my album is called bipolar. I’m working on my second album. And yeah, my documentary is actually my documentaries been taken down. But if you’d like to have access to it, go ahead and message me on any platform and I’ll gladly send it to you. It was amazing vice media came out and they filmed the whole thing. It was a great experience and actually
Turned out to be an incredible documentary. So, listen, man, I strongly believe although I’m in the business of helping people and, and it is a business to me, I still believe in the idea that it should be for fun and for free. So I have no problem anytime ever having a conversation with anyone. I have private coaching packages. I have other things I have my fearless method I have other businesses, but just on a one on one basis if you’re struggling with addiction, alcoholism, or maybe you’re sober but you’re spinning your wheels you don’t know what you want to do. You don’t know what where you want to go, man. Reach out. Let’s talk. That was me. I was there. If you have a loved one that is struggling with addiction or alcohol with
you’re spinning your wheels and you don’t know what to do reach out, man, I can help. there’s a solution to your problems, man. And if you’re just
the average person that’s not struggling with those things, but you know that there’s more to life than you’ve experienced. And you want to talk about that. Reach out, man. Let’s talk about that. And here’s the solution to that too. And, yeah, so reach out. No thanks. I’m here. I’m here for people, man. I love people. As you already said, I’m deeply passionate about this. This is uh,
this has been a great podcast man. I appreciate you having me on and talking about that.
You got me lit up!

Mandyy Thomas – Financial Coach Extraordinaire With a Decade Sober

Have you ever felt like you were doing ok, but it still wasn’t enough financially? Financial coach, Mandyy Thomas helps people get past the mental blocks and helps them holistically do better with their finances in their life.

Check out this episode!

I’m your host, Andrew Lassise and with me today is the magnificent Mandyy Thomas, the financial coach who helps high-income earners, get their finances in order and make for a better financial future. Mandyy, how are you? I am Great. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, absolutely. And by the time this is coming out, congratulations on your 10 year anniversary of sobriety. Thank you so much. So early September 20, or 2009 what’s going on in your life right before you’re getting sober it’s everything peachy we’re running into some trouble with the law what’s your life looking like at that time?
So my parents had went through a divorce when I was in grade 12. So when I was 17 years old, and I grew up in a really tiny, small town, and it’s kind of just what everybody did was you kind of just drank it was something that everyone did for fun. And it was something that I did as well. And then when I became 19 years old, I started to realize, like, you know what, maybe I don’t identify with drinking as much, but I’m from a small town, every single person doesn’t. So I actually tried to quit drinking before my before I officially actually did. I found it was really difficult. Just a lot of peer pressure. It was really tough. And then in September, what ended up happening for me was my friends went back to school, and I was in a different location. So we were all apart, which was actually okay. And the weekend that I ended up quitting drinking was I was at work and I wasn’t feeling very well. I started our family has a genetic condition. And I started having these really bad chest pains and I thought it felt like I was getting stabbed in the chest. So they rushed me to the ER. I was there for three days and nothing came back as a regular except my liver power was high and they said, Well, have you been drinking? And I said no, I hadn’t drank and it was about a week and a half. And it was just there that weekend that I had already thought about quitting drinking that it wasn’t you know, I was doing it more so to numb my feelings of you know, my parent’s divorce. And in that moment I went, my health is so much more important than I already thought that I wanted to quit drinking anyway. So I decided literally right there that weekend in the hospital. I had no idea why the liver panel was my at all but I thought alcohol sure is not going to make this any better. So where I live, which is in Scotland, our legal drinking age here is 19. So I quit drinking five months after I technically actually became legal, which a lot of people say you know, How on earth did you do it? So one thing was helpful was kind of that wake-up call if you’re kind of having some liberation. So if you want to keep drinking, it’s probably not going to make it any better. Why?
whatsoever and my friends going way which was helpful to give me because it definitely like even after six months it was so much easier to just say no like I just don’t drink anymore. It’s perfectly fine I’ll still have fun but at first holy cow was really really difficult because everybody knew me as Maddie was really fun and bubbly and it’s funny looking back now I’m like, do I used to be an extrovert or was that just when I drank alcohol because I’m pretty much an introvert now.
It was definitely a process at first of saying no, like, I don’t want to drink and it was crazy to see how many people felt uncomfortable because of that because I felt comfortable. I thought you know what, I can come out I can drink ginger ale or I can just make sure that everybody gets a safe ride home like isn’t that amazing that someone’s being a DD and it was crazy. The backlash that I got from that my family was super supportive. But a lot of my friends were absolutely not which was definitely tough.
Yeah, I think getting sober at 19 to especially when it’s like, that is prime party time, I guess like in the states the equivalent of 21. Like I know for myself, I never
telling me to get sober at 21 was a death sentence. And I never would have been able to do it at that time and nonetheless, I mean, I was still drinking at 19 also, so I can definitely relate and understand those feelings that everyone around you is probably saying like, this is crazy because that’s I was the other people that saw silver people at that age, thinking you are an insane human Why would you Why would you stop doing that but so you had health issues and that brought to the surface and that was enough of a why for you to just we don’t need to keep doing this. This is not beneficial in my life. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s funny because I also really, really stuck with that so much because the ball was already in my mind is like do I really want to create
Keep drinking like I definitely had fun but it just never something off or something. I was kind of starting to come to, maybe you’re kind of numbing some stuff, maybe you’re not dealing with, you know, your parents divorced, different things like that. But then with the help when the health problems came up, it was really a huge wake-up call. My family has, um, I grew up with a mom who was very sick all the time. She was always in the hospital, my little brothers had nine heart surgery. So for me, seeing my little brother who had had his first starting Brutus, four months old, that was not his choice. Drinking was my choice. Making my liver worse was my choice. So I went, I’m being a pretty selfless person, selfish person, if I’ve seen my family grow up with whole health problems they never ever asked for. And I’m choosing to drink so I went, you know what, I think that I should take better care of myself. And if that means stopping drinking, then that’s absolutely what I need to do. So what got you from where you were at while you were drinking and then you’re sober.
How did you transition into the financial coaching space?
Yeah, so that’s definitely a long story. I’m going to try and keep it short. But basically our family grew up, we didn’t have a lot. And I always knew from a young age, I need to be the person in charge of my financial future, and I didn’t want to rely on someone else. So growing up, I always thought you just get a good-paying job. That’s what my dad always told me. So I went in to be a power engineer. I went to school for that. I worked as a power here for four years. I really, really loved what I did. It was shift work, made it really difficult, but the whole entire time so I was earning six figures. I had no debt. I was managing it super well. I had six figures in the bank. But at that point, so that was in my early to mid-20s. I hadn’t the most anxiety I ever had around money. It was crazy because I was so worried about losing everything I built up and going back to living with really not a lot. I also came into the workforce in 2008. So that was, you know, during the prime of recession. And I think a lot of people I worked with lose a lot of what they spent their entire life looking towards. So that fear was the back of my mind. But I never told anyone I was scared because I was doing well financially didn’t have that. And I made a lot more money than most of the people I knew. So I was really just scared of my family saying, This isn’t your head. We wish we had your problems. So I just didn’t say anything. And for me, it came out as really high anxiety. And then my coping mechanism then turned with me turning to food, so then it was binge eating. And I got really, really sick. And so I went back to school for holistic nutrition. I thought I wanted to help people through these health problems that I was going through. And while I was waiting till everything came together, everything came full circle when I realized most of the reason that I was having these health problems was just due to the high amount of stress from not saying anything from just keeping it in and just felt like I was battling something from the inside out. It felt like I was constant work myself all day. Whenever
realized, okay, if this is what I was going through as a six-figure earner with no debt and managing my money well, what about all the other people who aren’t really sure what they’re doing with their money, people who are actually struggling financially, it has to be so much worse for them than what I was going through because I was not living paycheck to paycheck. And that’s when I realized there was nobody helping people, especially in this demographic. And there was nobody talking about the money back then. Because that was about four years ago, it was a very taboo topic. And I realized that I needed to be vulnerable, share my story, and let people realize that it does not matter what your financial situation is, you absolutely can open up about it. You’re allowed to feel however you feel and then we’ll take you from there and help you look, put some tangible things in place to really help to manage your finances, but then also on the emotional side of how you feel about that as well. And I just have seen, there was nobody helping anyone doing that like there’s financial advisors, where people are
When they think they have enough disposable income to put towards investments, and there’s a huge group of people that nobody’s really helping them with a day to day and then also talking to them about how they feel, because I felt as a high income earner that I, I felt the shame that I should not be feeling this way I should only feel this way. When it was the way that I grew up and I was living very different lifestyle. Now I was really taking care of everything. But I still really suffered because I had the mindset of how I grew up the management side I did really well I really up level that the mindset I really needed to work on my mindset around money, and that’s when I went I absolutely need help these people. I’ve been through all the struggles for a reason. So I know exactly what people are feeling.
And what was your motivation for doing the coaching side of it as opposed to say, getting a CFP or being a financial advisor? Yeah, that’s a great question.
I seen that I was going to have some limitations. If I went ahead and did that I wouldn’t be able to do things quite the way that I wanted to. And I also knew, the way that I spoke about what I had been through was probably a little bit more taboo. If I was with another company, they probably tell me not to share certain things, especially some things. And that was exactly the reason I knew that I needed to share these things because nobody else was talking about them. So that’s where I went, you know. And I also I wanted people to feel like I was giving them non biased information. I was only selling my coaching, there was nothing on the back end of how I was being paid. It was 100% really just helping people get ahead with the budgeting, which a lot of financial advisors, they’re not being paid for that or maybe they’re just actually not quite as skilled in that and that’s absolutely okay. And recognizing that different financial professionals know very different things. And it’s funny because I actually worked a lot of accountants on their personal finances because we are all very, you know,
In our niche, and accounting does something very different than what we do?
Yeah, I’d like the thing to that, um, you know, there’s a saying it’s the stockbroker, he may make sure that he’s not broker than you. And I, I couldn’t agree with you more, though, because when there’s a financial incentive tied behind what you’re recommending to somebody, I mean, take out the fact that it’s like 90% of hedge fund managers don’t beat the s&p 500 index. So you’re spending extra money to look to your bedding. What, how do I phrase this? You are spending more money to statistically do worse. And it’s so easy to package it too because most people don’t understand compound interest. So if say the financial advisor, they’re only charging 1% and someone says, okay, it’s 1%
Who cares, but 1% compounded over 40 years with like, if you put like a $10,000 investment, and you let that you reinvest the dividends, s&p 500 say you make 11% per year, compounded annually 40 years, you’re looking at close to it’s like 1,000,002 million dollars. But like that 1% of fees is like hundreds of thousands of dollars. And most people don’t understand that. And we’re never taught it in the school system, at least not in America does the Canadian school to school system. does it teach about personal finance? Or is it something you just find out once you’re in a hole?
Exactly, as you said, it’s kind of after the fact you’ve learned from one of your hard lessons. I know some schools are starting to bring it in, but it is still so there’s so much work to be done there.
Yeah, and when I sit
Down with clients. I know kind of my day one is budgeting, seeing where it’s going, what’s coming in what’s going out how we can manage this, what that looks like, what is your day one look like? Or during a discovery session for someone that hires you as a coach? Yeah, so we have a two-hour session. And there’s a lot of stuff that happens before that two-hour session. It’s all the prep work, getting all the numbers, making sure the numbers are accurate. A lot of times, No, they aren’t at this point. So I send back a lot of questions at a time, get a really accurate view. So basically, that first session where they are now and I’ve also asked them into questions of what where is it that you want to be like specific, what are the things that are coming up in the pipeline in the next couple of years? But what else do you want to do in your life? And so we’re basically taking that and really comparing, okay, where are you at now? Is there is it a plus at the end of the month? Is it a minus? What do those numbers look like once we take into account so yeah,
You know, we’re looking at this month’s budget, but when I’m working with clients, I’m taking into account the next 12 months what’s coming up for them? And a lot of people aren’t they’re not thinking about those bigger expenses, you know, those trips, different things. We’re factoring those in, right off the bat. So realistically, they can see isn’t an income struggle? Is it that they are really living outside of their means? Are they doing better than they think they are they really worried but things are better, what is all about look like? And it’s really kind of a basically, we’re coming to reality for the first time seeing where everything’s at getting things collected. So it’s basically like, this is the base point. And we’re going to build from here. So that first thing is just like getting everything super solid of where are you actually at right now. I know a lot of information about them at this time. I’ve asked every possible question and then later on from there, then it’s the actual cash flow management of implementing the plan. But that first thing is just, this is where we’re at realistically taking everything into account and its partners coming in a lot of times
There’s one person typically, as you know, that’s probably managing the money a little bit more so than the others seeing the numbers more often. Sometimes it’s that other person going, holy crap, this other person, I see why you’re stressed. Now, this makes sense. So sometimes for couples, it’s them coming together and the one person who’s maybe been trying for a while to really get that other person on board, the other person is a little bit of reality, wake up, check for that, seeing everything all in one place. So really, step one for you is giving the client the awareness of here is the black and white of what you’re going through and taking the emotional side out of it. Because I mean, it’s just like how, I mean, I feel like you’re someone that’s very analytical numbers-driven. So it was like, oh, drinking isn’t healthy. Therefore, I should stop drinking. And there we go, because that makes black and white sense. I’m assuming you’re probably someone that started saving at a young age and it wasn’t
Just all put in your lap, and you’d probably been taught, if you start saving early, it’ll compound over time. And here’s how money will grow as a result of starting young, and I was in that group as well, I was just fortunate enough my parents, my dad was a stockbroker. And my mom was a small business investor. So I had gotten that early on, I taken, I don’t usually give college a ton of credit. But I did take one class in personal finance, where I learned about compound interest in starting retirement early. So I was like the guy who had a Roth open at age 18. And now 14 years later, it’s like, Hey, you know, it’s things like actually growing without like, Good job, Andrew from 14 years ago, like this was a really smart thing, but most people don’t even think about it until they’re in their 40s or 50s. And I mean, it seems smart. Saving to
20 years for retirement, that seems like an adequate amount of time. But in reality, if you’re not starting way, way before that, there’s just so much lost time literally by not compounding the earlier in your life and getting those benefits. So what are some of the bigger expenses that people probably come across? That they’re not really budgeting for on like a monthly basis?
Yeah, so travel is definitely a big one. GIFs and when people think of gifts, we just named a Christmas. But when I go through with my clients before that very first session, I’m asking them, okay, so how much do you think to spend on gifts this year? And I’m breaking it down with probably about nine questions because I’m talking about birthday gifts throughout the year, Mother’s Day gifts, all of the other types of gifts that people don’t realize, and when they see how much they actually spend a year on guest. Most people are pretty much floored and I said
Okay, so that’s why we need to save them on a monthly basis. So Christmas isn’t so stressful for you this year because I want you paying off. I want you to cash flow your Christmas gifts here instead of still six months later trying to pay it off on your credit card closes another one that people forget like even and what I find especially about closes because typically we don’t buy clothes on a regular basis. I know for me, I buy clothes literally like once a year. I hate shopping. And actually it’s kind of funny because a lot of my clients don’t enjoy clothing shopping either. But when we do we buy a whole bunch that day and then I’m done for like a year. So you totally forget that. Yeah, actually, you can buy our clothes or shoes or different things like that, like we have winter up here. So we’ll need things for that. So really, those are three things right there and then anyone who owns a home and doesn’t pay maybe their taxes like in property taxes on a monthly basis like I know we were paying ours on a yearly basis. Well when that comes up, that’s a quite a bit of money at once or your home insurance, anything basically, that you are probably maybe paying once a year that people
It’s not a surprise expense. I hear a lot of people call them a Whammy expense. But we know every single year that those expenses are going to come up. Other ones that I take into account to that are when we own like a car, we know that it’s going to need to be serviced, we know it’s going to probably need to be repaired at some point. So I have my clients saving for those things on a monthly basis. And then also, like, if you were to get into a car accident, I also want you to have money to put towards that deductible. So if something happens, you’re doing okay, because of how I see it is I would much rather have you prepared for 80% of what comes up. And then the other 20% is a whole lot easier to be flexible with. But we need to think about those things in our life that come up like a medical deductible in Canada medical is very different than this state. So when I work with my American clients, let’s say they don’t have health insurance. Well, that’s something very near and dear to my heart because of the health problems in our family. They’re very serious health problems. So I will share my story about the heart, the heart problems in our family. So people understand
You haven’t been through those, you’re not seeing maybe that you need health insurance or to save on a monthly basis to put towards, if you do need to use that deductible. So those are some of those expenses that people don’t really think about even things like paying for your accountant once a year, you know, let’s say for those things a little bit each month, so when those expenses come up, it’s so much easier, you’re not putting them on your credit card. And then also, you’re seeing realistically how much it actually costs to truly to live your life. Because I know when people first come to me and they see what their budget is. They’re like, that’s a lot higher than I expected. And I say for about 90% of people. That’s exactly the responses they give me.
And I’m just curious of your experience. I’ve found that after speaking with family, like that first session, I feel like they usually it’s it’s like the whole gambit of emotions like they come in kind of unsure, kind of scared. And then
30 minutes into it, they start kind of opening up seeing, hey, you know, this isn’t what I thought it was. And I always have a have a joke. In the beginning, I say, How much do you think your life costs each day to live? And then they write down the number and then we come out and it’s, it’s usually half, most people coming into it sitting with a financial coach. So they’ve done a little prep work. It’s not even like it’s off guard. But most people don’t consider those yearly expenses, and they really are constant. So what are some of the tactics that you use to help people save for these? Yeah, so before that first session, I will have all those expenses listed on my spreadsheet. A lot of times, sometimes people will answer them, sometimes they won’t. So that’s where I send the questions back to get further clarification based on their lifestyle. And I will start to so we kind of what we do is for each of those categories, let’s say travel, alas, what are you planning to do in the next 12 months for travel and even
You’re not sure that you would like to do it, what? What would that look like? And then for travel, obviously, that’s going to be a super estimated one right off the bat later on the goal. And we will figure it out more in detail. But right off the bat, we just want an estimate. So for each of those kind of yearly type expenses, we think, what would that look like for the year, and then we divided by 12. And each month, that’s what we want to be saving. So that’s what we work towards. And then what I have my clients do is they open up a separate savings account for each of those. So some of my clients might have six separate savings accounts, I might have nine, it really depends on their lifestyle. And so what I see a lot of times is we only have one savings account, there’s a lot of shame are dipping into it to pay for when these expenses come up. But that’s the thing, when we have these types of savings accounts, we know that these specific savings accounts they’re not going to grow exponentially, because the whole point of them is to use for those expenses that are coming up. And then you can have a separate savings account that let’s say maybe that’s where saving for a house or something you know, for a wedding, different things like that. Those things
savings accounts can continue to grow more so, and these other ones now they don’t feel the shame of dipping into it, which I didn’t realize how impactful that was at first on the emotional side for them. So that’s really helpful. And then things like a vehicle I take into account like up here we need to winter tires on in the winter time, everyone kind of seems to forget about tires or just replacing your tires, oil changes, I’m thinking about their deductible, because it’s really interesting to see when people guess what they would put towards those account is a lot of times really a lot less than what they actually really need to be putting towards it. So it’s really interesting because it’s bridging the gap of their awareness to them like holy cow, you’re right. Or when people own homes, a lot of times I see they don’t put anything for home repairs. And I think if you’re just to do one little project on your home, that’s like 1500 dollars, a lot of times if you want to put a deck on different things like that. So it’s really interesting to see that but basically you putting that money into those savings accounts. You also know exactly how much you have versus what I see.
This accidental overspending when you have one savings account and you’re tapping into it to pay for different things, you don’t really realize you’re usually saving for like seven different things, not one account, there’s no transparency as to how close you are to each goal. So when you have all those accounts separate, you can see, okay, I have $300 for gifs, you also go into the store, subconsciously having a little bit of a budget in mind, because that’s what you have in that account. So it’s really, really helpful. And it’s, for me, it’s crazy to see how my clients completely their mindset, the perspective how it changes, after they start funding those accounts. It’s so cool to see them grow as people and their mindset once they start putting money into their app for them to for the first time to cash mobile’s expenses when they come up, because a lot of times they put travel on credit cards and they’re paying it off a lot later. It is so cool to see the excitement and confidence when they paid for something in cash they’ve never done before.
Yeah, I think a lot
of the finance, it’s kind of it’s similar to diet and exercise. It’s like, we know we need to be saving. We know that we shouldn’t be splurging, but just this once isn’t gonna isn’t going to hurt everything. But the problem is the mindset of just this once if it happens, even once a week. I know for a lot of my clients it was how much money do you spend eating out each week? And it was like, I don’t know, like, Well, let’s think about it is Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then you know, once
Oh, I guess we spend like $400 a week on eating out and it was like, if you cut that in half, would that be insanely detrimental to your life? And they’re like, No, and I say, well, there’s $10,000 by substituting a meal with the family versus eating out and when you do eat out, it doesn’t all
Always have to be some crazy expense, maybe a cut back, we talked about changing from a Ruth’s Chris to an Outback, like you still get the experience? Yes, it’s not the top of the top, but at the same time, you’re accomplishing 90% of the experience at half the cost. And that can help you keep above water with your cash flow. So do you have any apps that you get your clients signed up with? Or is this Excel spreadsheets? What does that look like for you? So at the beginning of my coaching, I was using a online app. And then I changed to an Excel spreadsheet because what I found was, I was able to be a lot more proactive with my clients and actually planning out their future versus when were you when we were using a budget budgeting software. What I found was, it was a little bit more transaction airy, it was a little bit more reactive. And I was like, You know what, I’m not quite getting the results that I want to see with my clients. So that’s where we switch to the spreadsheet.
I’m very, very happy with that. And it’s going to take a lot to change my mind to go to something else.
That’s interesting. I like that. I had never really thought about that. But you’re absolutely right when, when there are the apps, it’s, it is telling you after the fact, after the problem has already happened, hey, by the way, we blew it.
Now we’re in the same situation. So your approach is very, very proactive, as opposed to reactive. I think that’s incredible, and that you’re getting great results for your clients. So obviously, something’s working. So you have the ability to,
to, I guess, spot the trends of things like with your sobriety, you knew it wasn’t good for your health, with finances. You kind of had that feeling on the inside, but what are some ways that you kind of get past
The self talk and the negative self talk, I’m guessing you probably still run into that, despite where you’re at what are some of the tools or tactics that you use to get past the negative self talk on be at sobriety or with your financial situation?
Absolutely. So something that works really well for me, and I’ll be honest, I was so resistant at first. So this especially helped me for the anxiety around money, which in turn actually did improve my financial situation because when I had the anxiety around money, I went and ate and then that was, like you said, both eating out? Well, that’s one of the biggest things I work with my clients. Because that is such a, I see it so commonly, but that was also my struggle to was when the anxiety hit, I went and I would eat a whole bunch of carbs. And my my eating out was significantly higher. So when I was able to work through that anxiety, I was also able to really save a lot more money, but for me, it was journaling. And I was working with a coach and she kept telling me to journal I have no idea how to start journaling. I
I had no clue and I’m a very as you can tell like I’m an A type personality. I’m a recovering perfectionist. So I felt like I pretty much needed to know ahead of time what was going to happen when I journal. And when I finally journaled for the first time, it felt like I lost like 30 pounds, I started writing and all these thoughts just came out and just me giving light to them was huge for me. And I was always scared you know, someone read this different things like that. Totally just heard it afterwards, like very carefully, obviously. But if you’re scared of someone else finding out about something, but you you need to get the thoughts out of your body. You need like journal, do whatever it is that makes you feel the best. Like I’m also someone who will talk to myself, that’s my personality type. So I’ll go on a walk nature I found is huge for me for really, really helpful. So the one to walk and I will just say I just need to process things. I just need to talk it out loud. So that’s been really helpful for me. I did also see a counselor that was also really good. I found it was really difficult. I always had to be the strongest one in my family.
So for me actually putting a voice to my feelings has been something I’ve really struggled with, and something that I’ve had to work really hard on. So it was at first me going to counselor, it was me writing a letter of me reading off that letter to the people I loved because I couldn’t just I was always scared of how someone else would think, or how someone else would feel if I was really honest. So really figure out whatever works best for you. But I find journaling is like a really low barrier to entry. Because if you’re scared to talk to someone about something, you don’t have to say anything to them, you can just get those thoughts out. And once I started to get them down, it was really neat to see how the power was lost them. I was scared that by putting them down, it was going to make them have more of an impact on me, and it actually had such a less impact. So sometimes, like even two days ago, I wrote a whole bunch of stuff down and then I burned it and it was just not released that I needed. And it was really, really helpful. And it’s also remembering to do this on a continuous basis because no matter where we’re at, we still need to keep working on our mindset.
Next level, you know, we have different mindset struggles that it is we’re working through. So just start seeing what works for you. I know journaling is been instrumental for me as well as meditation. How I meditate is different. I can’t just sit in silence. That’s not really me. So I do guided meditations and they’ve been really, really helpful to work on the stress management side. So I’d say there’s kind of two pieces there is first, like having the awareness of why do you truly feel that way? Or where those thoughts coming from and really addressing like, what’s at the bottom of that? So whether that’s talking to someone about your finances, different things, like what is the root stressor, but then also stress management? So I think they go there’s, there’s there are two aspects that need to work on both of them is managing the stress, but then also really addressing it, which sometimes can be super messy and feel uncomfortable, and it can feel like a disaster at first but holy, is it beautiful on the other side of that.
That’s such a great insight. And I’m curious, do you have any
Any books that have helped you as far as being a financial coach or books that you recommend to your clients for resources on how to self manage if maybe they weren’t the right fit? Or for people that are your clients that want to learn more on their own? Do you have one or two books that that are your go Tues. So there’s a couple of money mindset books that I really liked for people who are struggling around the mindset side of things. I do have a lot of people that asked me like, Well, how do you achieve this without sacrificing and that’s a very long conversation to have. So sometimes I say like work on your mindset, because when you’re already focusing on the fact that you think you’re going to be sacrificing, it’s going to be difficult because that’s already what you’re focusing on. So there’s a few different books there’s one called Get Rich Lucky Bitch. So that’s one that I really liked. That was really helpful. That’s definitely a more spiritual book for sure. When it comes to actually managing your finances for women, there’s another one and it’s
by Nicole Lapin la PIN and the name of the book is escaping me right now. I really like that one specifically for women because it’s actually a little bit more entertaining too. So it’s not a really, really dry read. It’s more entertaining, but she is really giving you actual practical steps and she talks about how things were a little bit of a disaster for her. That’s why that she dove into finances so I really like how she teaches it. And oh, the name was there and now it has escaped me is it? Well, I just did a quick Google search. I see rich bitch. Becoming super woman. Boss. rich, rich bitch. Alright, so so you have an affinity for the bitch books.
Get Rich Lucky Bitch and rich book rich bitch. Yes.
That’s great. Do you have any other bits and recommendations? I would say start with those couple of books and
I also one of the books that I was introduced to the personal finance side, and really also just expanding my mindset because I came from a small town. My parents had a very narrow mindset when it came to money was the Rich Dad Poor Dad. So that was one of the ones I think I started with, I’m gonna say was about 16 or 17. That was really helpful just to see that there are actually very different ways to earn money. And I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from a very young age, I’d started my first business at 11 and my second one at 14. But as I got older, I wasn’t really sure what that looked like as a full time thing. So I really liked that book just to honestly expand and see there’s so many different ways for personal finance. And I really love that one for that.
And I know the the idea on Rich Dad, Poor Dad, one of the things that I always ask people that are in the finance industry, what are your views on getting a mortgage paying it down? future value of money, what’s your view on that?
As an asset or liability what’s what’s your take on that?
So I think when it comes to being a homeowner, there’s so much more research that people need to be doing before ever buying their first home. Because I’m a person who’s bought a home and because I’ve sold a home, so I’ve seen both sides there. I think that the day and age that we live in as considering a home as an asset for me personally, I don’t agree with that as much. I also a lot of people think, Okay, once it’s paid off, and that’s it, and it’s like, No, you still have a lot of expenses, like I know where we lived on the property taxes for our home were very high. And I thought, jeez, even when we get our home paid off, we still have a lot of expenses from this home. So a lot of people that think nowadays, it really depends where you’re at. I think that there’s a lot more work that needs to go behind. But I do see homes as being a liability unless you are renting out rooms unless you actually truly do have cash flow coming in from it. So really seeing that perspective and I know
That’s one of the things that I see a lot is a lot of people who are host for because they, the way that they were approved for their mortgage, there’s some people that I went, Oh my gosh, I have no idea how you were approved for this or for the second home. And they really how I look at it is you need to take into account everything you need to take into account the mortgage, property taxes, your insurance, utilities, see how much comes to and if that’s over 33% of your living expenses. It’s going to make your life feel really stressful because you have such high fixed expenses. That unless you start to earn more, it’s going to be really difficult in a lot of other areas of your life. So I do truly see home ownership as a liability unless you’re actually getting cash flow off. Now that’s just my personal opinion. Yeah, there’s a million different views on it. But it’s always interesting to hear the perspective from somebody that’s in the day to day and I have a friend who recently purchased a house you know, he was told the American dream and he makes good money.
Money. So it was the next logical move, he’s not going to waste money or quotes on rent. And he’s spent, I think $10,000 in six months on just AC repairs. So it’s like, all right, you know, you’ve got this, this asset and, and I don’t believe they put down 20% either. So they’re now instead of wasting money on rent, they’re wasting money on PMI, and all these all these different aspects and you’re right, it’s not cash flow positive, like the houses that I own. I have them rented out, and I’ve got renters paying for everything. So I have an appreciating asset. And yes, the costs that are associated with it are paid by the people who are living there. And we do have a mortgage on our house but I had made the the exact point that you had brought up with my first house, we
You own it outright, but I still have to pay. It’s like five $6,000 a year in property taxes. And if I don’t pay that my house gets taken away from me. So I don’t even own the thing that we’ve been sold on the idea of, wow, I get to own my house outright, except for I don’t, I still have payments that have to be made. And so there’s no difference between that and renting other than Okay, if I want to put an addition on the house, I need to ask permission, but if you live in an HOA, you have to do that. Anyway. So there’s just so many ways that disprove that house is an asset because it’s a lot of ways a money pit, unless you’re renting it out. Or if you’re Airbnb being like spare rooms or something like you can make cash flow from it, but 99% of people don’t do that, that they live in their liability.
That’s been told is an asset. And, again, no one’s really educated on this stuff. It’s just like, well, I’m in my 30s. And I make money, time to own a house because that’s what I was told. But the people who are renting that want to own a house that they’re excited to, I’m going to be a homeowner. But the difference of being the homeowner versus a renter is really, it’s not much different and you’re stuck. If you want to get out in the markets tanked, that you’ve lost money. So there’s not even it doesn’t always appreciate it’s there’s so many different myths that are associated with it. And I love that Rich Dad, Poor Dad really lays it out. And when that came out, Kiyosaki was under a lot of scrutiny. They’re saying How dare you say the house is a liability. It is an asset. It is the American dream and then the market tanked. The housing market and
And then everyone’s like, you were so right.
But it’s crazy because even though the facts are there, we’ve just been sold on this idea that the American Dream on a house, or is it the Canadian dream as well? It really is. And even if you would ask them this question five years ago, I would have a different opinion, but going through owning and selling, and it wasn’t even like we were living in a home that was outside of our means. But just seeing once everything, you know, at the end of the month, how much you truly are paying for everything. It really is. I used to think renting was throwing your money, wait, because that’s what we’re told. So I just truly believe that will come out on the other side. I’m like, you know what, you really have to compare really, really well to see what is the best for you. But then also, a lot of people are just thinking of right now, they’re not thinking like that they actually hate their job and they want to change it. Well, it’s going to that’s going to bring up a lot more stress for you. If you want to change or if you want to become an entrepreneur later on. You probably want to have some
more flexibility. And you probably don’t want your your money put into your house at that time because you have to pull it out. Also, just because I’ve been through a couple of different times in the housing market being down and in Canada right now, our housing market isn’t in the best place right now. So when I’m seeing it right now, I do see a lot of people who are stuck in their homes and the stress that they feel because of that.
It’s very, very interesting, and I like to hear other people’s perspective on it. But Mandyy, in wrapping up, where can people learn more about your coaching services? Where can they find you online and will link all these in the show notes? Sure, so you can check me out on my website at Mandyy Mandyy is with two wives. And I do most of my information that I share is on Instagram. I like to share a lot on Instagram story. So that’s Mandyy Thomas with two wives. And I would love for the person listening. If you would just send both of us a message on Instagram just to say what your biggest takeaway was. I would
be so excited to hear that.
Absolutely. And for those that aren’t following the show yet at selfmadesober on Instagram And if you enjoyed the episode really appreciate a rating on iTunes and be sure to follow Mandyy reach out to her. And it was so great having you on the show Mandyy and thanks for being on. Thank you so much for having me.

Tim Stoddart – Sober Nation Founder & How to Make It To Midnight

Tim Stoddart – Sober Since March 4, 2010

Founder of Sober Nation and a huge tribe of recovering alcoholics and addicts who have a voice thanks to his platform.

Check out this episode!

Welcome to Self Made & Sober. I’m your host, Andrew Lassise and with me today is Tim Stodzy, the founder of Sober Nation, the CEO of Stodzy Internet Marketing, and an investor who’s been sober since March 4 2010. Tim, how are you?
I’m doing great, man, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s really cool. You know, how people like-minded with, you know, backgrounds in entrepreneurship, backgrounds in recovery, how we can all come together and have a, you know, like, we go through these trials and tribulations in our lives, and then it comes around and you know, we meet some really interesting people with really interesting stories. So why don’t you give us a background on, you know, 2010 what’s going on in your life at that point?
Yeah, I’d be happy to.
Again, thank you so much for having me, having me on your show is always a pleasure to just get to speak to people and tell my story and have an opportunity to meet new people. So I appreciate it. Basically, my story is very similar and also unique in its own way, I’ve kind of learned that, that as different as we all are, it’s there’s a lot of similarities, but between how we get to where we gotta go, so you know, long story short, I, I was always kind of an experimental kid, here a lot felt different. felt just uncomfortable. Basically, everywhere I went, you know, I would be at a party. And I would say something and they just instantly think they’re, like what I said, I shouldn’t have said, and you know, next time I’d be like, I’m just keeping my mouth shut. And then I would just be the quiet kid in the corner and just be like, Man, I wish I knew how to talk to people and, and that feeling. Like you talking about it now. And it sounds so dramatic, but but at the time, that feeling really really just kept me from being myself and meeting people and just kept me super isolated. You know, I was like one of those kids that did everything alone. Still, to this day, I have a lot of those habits, but it’s a little bit more balanced. And, and skateboarding was basically like my way out. I hated school, like really hated it. I felt like school was a prison for me. And so I would get home from school and just instantly jump on my skateboard and just escape all night and now escape all weekend. And, and I really loved it, it was great. And so I continued to kind of have that identity I really identified as just sort of one of those like, Rebel skater kids, like I look, I looked up to people like Tony Hawk and, and Bucky classic, and I just, I really idolized these people. And it’s, it’s all I wanted to do, and it’s I wanted to be so. So by the time I was, like, old enough to wear these isolating habits, and you know, the drug abuse wasn’t just like a thing anymore. It was really, really affecting my life. I was 23 and, like, severely malnourished, and, um, you know, I come from like a working-class family, we, we never went without meals by any means. But you know, never, it was always a struggle for us. And, and I respect families that have to work hard and put in those 60, sometimes 80 hour weeks, because I can relate to that. And finally, it just it came to a screeching halt. Like, my mother had basically a brain, a brain operation, and she really wasn’t going to survive the surgery. And I, we had to fly out to Stanford, California. And the moment in my story that I was talking about was my mom was was wheeled into the hotel room. And she couldn’t really walk anymore, like what she had was on her brainstem and it really affected like her motor skills and kind of had like stroke-like symptoms where her eyes were in sort of different directions. And her face was a little bit lopsided. And she came in to the hotel room where I was and she asked if I would go with her to like the pre op appointment, just because she was really scared. And, you know, I just from Philadelphia, I just got off like a six hour flight. And I was just really, really sick, like, like withdraw sick, dope, sick, and it was terrible. You know, I felt so terrible. And I told my mom that like, I couldn’t go to the pre op with her just because, you know, I was sick, and I needed to kind of do my thing. And I just remember, I don’t know how graphic Dominique I’m trying to keep it kind of cordial, but I remember kind of breaking up these lines on a desk, and, and then looking out the window after I felt that like, sorta relief. And just looking out this window in California being like, ma’am, man, I just told my mom that, like, I wouldn’t be there for her in like, what very well could be the day, like one of the last days of her life. And, and it just fucked to me, you know. And so my mom survived the surgery, and she’s still alive. And my mom’s a badass, you know, but that that was it. And so I got home and my partner and my uncle sorta had a talk with me it was, I wouldn’t call it an intervention, I guess in some ways it was but like everybody knew, you know what I mean? Like my family real tight. And we all just kind of sat down. I was like, all right, like, I need to get some help and dumb. And I did have a real quick relapse about five weeks in. But I just got over that pretty quickly. Basically, what happened, my grandfather died, and I went home to the funeral. And I just I stayed too long. And so then I got my cousin lives in South Florida. And at the time, he was like, three years clean. And I basically just crashed on his couch. And, and he kind of got me started on my path. And I haven’t looked back since.
That’s awesome. And what are some of the strategies that you were using? Was it like 12 step recovery? What was? What was the early sobriety looking like for you?
Yeah, for sure. I definitely am an advocate of the 12 steps. I don’t like push it upon anybody, because it doesn’t necessarily need to be everybody’s foundation. But I love that because of so many people and
I, and I do I’m a product, 12 steps, but like from the podcast, and just meeting so many different people with different perspectives and different stories, it’s like, you know, in, in the rooms, it’s like, it’s 12 step or nothing, like you say that you’re happy and you’re not doing the 12 steps, like you’re lying, you’re not happy and six, I mean, maybe they are like, like, not everyone has to have the same, the same outcome, the same results with you know, trying different things. But I mean, I, I know I’m an I’m a happy customer, but I’m with you, I’m, I used to be the kind of person that was like, You have to do it this way, or else. Sure. It’s like, you know what, man? Like, if you’re happy, like, cool.
Yeah, I totally agree with that i got a lot of different viewpoints on my website on Sober Nation, and you just hear so many different stories and like, like, not everybody has the same. The same circumstances. Like I’ve talked to people that live in the middle of nowhere, and they’re like, you don’t understand , like, there are any meetings. And at first, I think to myself, like, Yeah, whatever. Like, if you really wanted it, you would just go make it happen. And then I have conversations with people in there like, no, bro, like, you don’t get it. Like I live on a farm. Like I’m a farmer, I got no one to talk to. And in a lot of ways, like these online communities have become really great. Like what you’re doing right now, these podcasts. This is why anytime somebody asked me to be on a podcast and talk about my story, like, if it’s a big podcast, if it’s a small podcast, it doesn’t matter, because there’s always somebody listening to it. And it’s like the stories that I think the foundation of all of the recovery, whether it’s 12 steps or smart recovery, or like therapy, or whatever it is, it’s all about just like finding a connection. And however, you find that connection, man, like, that’s, that’s what you gotta do. So I fully support anybody, however, they can get it. It’s important, you know?
Yeah, so early on in recovery, you’re doing 12 steps, you’re with your cousin on his couch, like, what was was there a time in your life where you were, where it kind of like clicked. And it was like, You know what, like, this new way of living. This is now like my norm like this is my default switch like, I am now I am no longer like, Tim, the drug addict, like, I’m Kim, the sober man, like, when did that switch happen for you?
That’s a great question. And, and I was really fortunate, in that I did have like, a real sort of defining moment where that, you know, they call it the obsession was just sort of, I don’t know, if I would ever say that it was lifted, but where I had a clear picture of, of who I wanted to be. Um, so for people that are familiar, I’m going to repeat it anyway. But for people that aren’t, if you join a, there’s a book that we follow, it’s called the big book. But there’s also another book called the 12, and 12. And it goes through in a little bit more detail. The specifics of the steps and, and in the big book itself, there’s Step six, and seven, which don’t really have a whole lot of detail. And in the 12, these two steps go through a lot more detail. And like, and the point of those two steps, it’s, it’s different for everybody and its own way, but like, for me, it was just about saying that it’s okay, to want to be this kind of person, like I just, I was able to paint a real clear picture of the kind of person that I want to be because to me, it was always like those people that just have confidence, and they don’t feel the need to tell everybody how great they are. Because that was me, you know, like, I, when I did talk, I felt like I just was overly arrogant, really, because I just, I was so insecure about myself and what I believed and it just because I didn’t really understand myself, and I didn’t, I just didn’t really have a good like, internal dialogue. And when I read the 12, and two, all I, I was able to really paint this like picture of them up, man, not just like a punk fucking kid. But like a grown man who believed in himself and was stoic enough that he didn’t feel like he needed to shout at the rooftops, but also was confident enough that like, when something needed to be said, he can say his peace without trying to like, convince everybody of his own motives. And, and like, man, after reading that me and my sponsor, at the time, we it took us like four hours because like every sentence, I just felt like I was getting punched with just this clarity. And when I say punch, I mean that like it felt like I was getting hit with these just really clarifying moments of, of like who it was that I wanted to be. And I’m really, really fortunate for that. Because it’s not like that for everybody. Like some people need to just sort of grind it out. And like, there’s not really a defining moment. And if that’s your journey, like, by all means, keep going, you know, but I was so fortunate in that I just had that, that moment where I was able to just say to myself, like, this is who I want to be, and it’s okay to want to work towards being a good person,
you know? And then incredible how it sounds so obvious, like when you say it out loud, it’s like, oh, yeah, if if you want to be a better person, like, there are things you can do to be a better person, but like, in that addict, alcoholic mind, it’s like, these are the cards I was dealt, and I have no control over everything, and I’m a victim. And, you know, we have a lot more control than we really give ourselves credit for. And it’s easier to be living with resentment, living with fear and blaming everything else. But then, you know, you hop into entrepreneurship, and it’s like, it’s difficult to balance that, well. I let go and let God or the I take control because like, I control my destiny. So like, how, how does that look in your life, when you’re trying to balance that? You probably is saying like, the third step versus like, Tim’s the boss, and this is what happens.
That’s a really, really important question. Not just for like other people, but in my life. Because when you’re starting your own business, the word control is, I mean, just in life in general, like that word control, I think about a lot. I really do. Because it’s it’s such as a paradox, you know, because there’s a side of me where I believe that like, if I want something, I have to do the work. And I have to have a plan and structure my day in my time in a certain way to get me closer to this goal. But then there’s another side of me that totally believes that like, the more I try to force things, the the more pain I caused myself and, and ultimately, the more and more I think about it, I come to the same conclusion over and over again. And all I do when I think about this shit is drive myself a little crazy. But I think it’s like important, it’s like, it’s just my way of like daily of reminding myself of this. So when I think about control, here’s, here’s, here’s what it comes down to. The only thing that I ever have control over and the only thing I ever will have control over is just what I do. And I can control what I do. And I can’t control the outcome of what I do. You know, it’s almost perfect timing, because I’m a follower of Seth Godin blog. And the blog that he sent this morning was something about like, winning and losing and how we look at winning and think like, okay, I won, and I did it, right. But there’s plenty of circumstances where like, sure, you might have won, but was your preparation, everything that it needed to be and their circumstances were like, Sure, I lost, but I know, in my heart that, like, my preparation, and my contribution was like, what it needed to be. And so for me, if I just keep context over my actions, and if the things that I do, I know, I do the best that I possibly could have, I have faith in you know, you talk about that third step, I have faith that when I do that, I will go in the direction that I hope to. And, man, you know, it’s worked out for me so far. And sometimes I spent too much time trying to like, quote, figure it out, you know, but at the end of the day, if I just wake up, and I do the shit that I know, I’m supposed to do things just, it just works out.
So you’re responsible for the work that goes in, but not the results. And that’s kind of your take on the let go let God vs. vs like Tim controls, you kind of set your goal and your intention, and then lay out this is what the actions look like, in order to achieve this goal, how whatever, whether or not I achieved the goal, that part of its out of my hands, but I can do my part in the equation to try and make it to, I guess, put the most percentage points in my favor, to get the outcome that I think that I want. Because I know there have been many times in my life where, you know, when you talk about winning versus losing, there have been plenty of times where on paper I lost. But that moment opened up the gates for something gigantic, just for instance, with my IT company, like the company I was at before that. It was like four or five of us. And it was like my first startup, it was my first time like, into entrepreneurship at all. And like after three or four months, like they went out of business. And that looked like such a loss. Sure. But like the reality is that opened up the door for me to go, I got a job working for somebody else for a couple months, and saw how they were doing things. And then that first company going out of business gave me the opportunity to just start what’s turned into, like, the company’s huge, we’ve got 25,000 customers, dozens of employees, multiple offices, like that was all a result of that loss, or at least it seemed like a loss for dang that company went out of business. But in all reality, when you take that let go let God view on it. It’s like, you know, I go back to that situation that’s February 2014. You say, Hey, Andrew, the company’s going to go out of business? Or do you want that to happen? Like at that time? I’d be like, No, of course not. But looking back on it now I’m like, Of course I do. She says, I know, I know what happens next. And I was at a conference this weekend. And someone Someone had said, and I don’t remember the exact words, I wish I’d written it down. But it was something about like, when you have faith, it’s because you know, at the moment, you don’t have all of the information necessary in order to make your like view on it positive. And I look back at some of those moments in my life where it was like, I lost, you know, this company went bankrupt. Like that’s a loss. We took the L on that one. But it’s like, Nah, that that was huge. I’m so grateful that it happened. And on paper, it’s great that it happened and for in life, it’s great that it happened. So I think a lot of it does come down to faith and your perspective on what’s going on in your life. Because you can roll with the punches, however you want. You can sit back sit on the couch, say, well, not for me. But at the same time, you know, one door closes. And a couple more open and being able to walk through that. But moving forward. What got you motivated to start Sober Nation ? What was going on? Like, what’s the timeframe look like on that in your sobriety? And? And what was your thinking behind it?
Well, kinda like how you just said, the original plan for Sober Nation is nothing like what it happened, what it is. And I guess that’s just another example of, of doing the work and letting the chips sort of fall where they may. So Sober Nation was originally founded by myself and an old friend. And at the time, he was working at a sales room, basically. And in order to find leads, he would look through this directory. And so he came to me as like, hey, like, I got this idea for this kind of directory site. And, and coincidentally, I have, I’ve always been a writer, like a member I told you earlier, just that whole, like isolating type thing. I’m still to this day, I bring a notebook with me everywhere I go. And I have a blog, which I write every single day and never miss a day. And it’s just it’s a thing that I do, and it helps me. So when I was first getting sober, this was 2010. I was just writing a blog. And I mean, it’s funny I just mentioned the Seth Godin, I, I found a CD, there was an old magazine called Success Magazine. And Success Magazine used to come with a CD, like an interview. This is before there were podcasts, which is crazy that like we can even say that because it was only nine years ago. So yeah, so every episode used to come with a CD. And there was this interview with Seth Godin. And they said, What can you do? And he said, start a blog, don’t tell anybody about it and write in it every day. And my first blog, it was like a blog spot. And I just would write about my journey getting sober, like how scared I was, and I was in this new place. And, you know, Florida is a lot different than in Philly, and I was just kind of adjusting to it all. And so when, when this friend approached me, I was like, Yeah, man, like, I had an idea kind of similar. Like, I was gonna start a blog around like sobriety and relate to people through these stories. And we sort of morph the ideas together, and it failed, over and over and over again. And eventually, when, you know, I really took the reins on it. And I, I made some important decisions. It turned into what I think I can say, and I don’t know this for sure. So if somebody is like, going to go look up, the numbers don’t come, like emailing me with angry tweets or whatever. But I’m pretty sure we could say is the biggest online recovery community in the world. It’s just, it’s just recently sourced. It’s personal stories. It’s it’s entertainment. It’s it is an also a resource center for people who are who need help and are trying to maybe find treatment or find sober homes, it’s, it’s anything that we could possibly put together, which we feel will be valuable for people that are either in recovery family, members of people in recovery, people that need to get sober or get clean, whatever your you know, semantics are. And it’s been like, it’s been an amazing, amazing journey, I’m more proud of server nation than really, anything I’ve done in my life. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really beautiful to see because the cool thing about it is, is there were a lot of things that I did, right, and I can take credit where credit’s due. But the only real thing that I did that led to like the success of this huge community, is I just let people speak, I just gave people like a platform, to tell their stories and to reach out and to support each other. And if I still to this day, like that ethos is really my philosophy for any online brand. I’ve started and I’ve got a bunch of them now. It just gives people a platform to say what they want to say to be involved in a community. And if you can build a community, you can build like a killer online business.
Yeah, it’s, it’s really cool. A guest we had a couple of couple months ago a guy, Matt Williams. Oh, I love that dude. Yeah. Okay. So you know, fro Pro. And I was, I was commenting to him, it’s like, you know, it’s a snack. But you’ve got this, like, insane following of people just hashtag go for? Wow, it’s like, how do you feel proud? You know, like, but he’s built that community. And I mean, you know, that’s, that’s like a drop in the bucket compared to Sober Nation, and the amount of people that are involved in that, but it’s, it’s the same idea that you give people a platform, to say what they want to say and show how they want to show it. And when you do it without judgment, like we were saying, where it’s not, you have to do 12 steps, or you’re wrong. Yeah. But giving people the opportunity to say, this is my truth. And, you know, it’s been really cool, like, get through this whole journey, seeing a lot of different ways. Because for the first five, six years of my recovery, it was very much very close minded to how you can get sober like now you get sober through 12 steps and unlike if you relapse because you didn’t do it, right. And if you say it didn’t work, you’re wrong. So the reality is, there’s so many other things at play, and like Who am I to say like, just because something worked for me, it’s like diets, you know, like, there’s a million different ways to lose weight and it’s not that one’s right or wrong. It’s just find something that works for you. Stick with it. It’s it’s sustainable. Does it work with the type of life that you’re living? But that’s really cool, though, that with Sober Nation , you know, you are giving people a voice and was Sober Nation before. Stodzy marketing?
Yeah, well, absolutely. Like, well, first, before I even go with that, I’m definitely gonna answer the question. Just quick plug, man, if anybody has, if anybody knows Matt Williams, or you haven’t heard of fro pro like, he is so cool. And what he is doing with that company is so badass, I have some in my freezer. And honestly, like, I’m, I’m kind of a snob with food, like my wife and I are pretty like organic, fresh food type snobs. And it’s just something that we love. But when I do eat kind of protein bars, like there’s only one snack that I eat, Matt Williams is the shit. I love that kid. So anyway, now that I got that over with, um, yeah, like, Sober Nation was a huge learning experience. And if it weren’t for me screwing up so many times on Sober Nation , I never would have really got in my, what do you call it like the, my chops together to learn the real technical elements of SEO, and social media, and building content and, and building an audience basically, like, when I tell you that server nation failed over and over again, like, Bro, I can’t even explain to you how many times I wanted to give up, and just how frustrated it was. But, like, the beautiful thing about online marketing is that it’s just honest, like, it’s very, very difficult to force your way, you have to do it, you know, like, you have to really, really do it. It’s there are shortcuts. You know, there are quote hacks, but a lot of times when you do that, you just end up having a short win and then losing it. So to answer your question, like, yeah, sober nation was before starts, he and it was the lessons that I learned on sober nation that enabled me to be a good, like, task manager that enabled me to understand, like different departments and like how social media and SEO and email is all kind of connected, but from like, a technical standpoint, how to, you know, sort of separate them as teammates so that you have like different departments that can stay focused on that one thing, but know how to like cross communicate so that we don’t stumble over each other.
And, yeah, like, even through server nation, I just, I saw this opportunity in healthcare, because healthcare is so archaic when it comes to marketing. Like when when people think of online marketing, they think of like, cool, millennial shit, like SAS products, and, and I don’t know, like t shirt companies or stuff that’s Instagram, mobile, you know, but with healthcare, so we’ll work with treatment centers will work with hospitals, like we work with stem cell clinics, um, is something that we’re really interested in. So in that healthcare space, excuse me, there’s, it’s, it’s much more about providing information because before people make healthcare decisions, like they’re scared, and they’re nervous, so they read, and they research as many things as possible. And if you can become like, an authority in that kind of thing. Um, you can usually gain people’s trust so that they get a procedure or, I don’t know, get a tooth pulled, or whatever it is that they got to do within healthcare. And, and that’s, that’s where, again, like that ethos came where it’s about trust, and it’s not about and it’s about authority, and, and yeah, like community, even within something that as cut and dry as healthcare, because if you have testimonials, and you have people saying, like, this is what happened to me, you know, like, I’ll give you a perfect example, I have an operation on Friday. And I’m like, really, really nervous about it, I have a severely herniated disc in my back, and my leg has just been like radiating and pain. And I’ve watched more YouTube videos that I can count, I basically know how to do this operation at this point. I’m all the videos, but like, even through all the research, and I live in Nashville, which is, you know, like other than Philadelphia, probably the biggest, you know, like hospital city, in the country. And even through all that, it was testimonials of people that enabled me to make my decision. And even through all of that information that we have online, it’s still like that emotional connection of like, this is a person sharing their story with me about how they got better. And that same exact thing happens over and over and over again. And that’s basically like the foundation behind my marketing agency. And that’s, that’s how we found, you know, success in something as boring and cut and dry as the healthcare space.
So it’s, it’s very much like the the attraction rather than promotion public relations policy in 12 step recovery, where it’s, here is what I did to get better if you want what I have to do what I do.
Yeah, and you know what, I never thought about it that way. But it’s it’s like exactly like that.
Yeah, the whole idea. The whole concept is, you can’t shove it down somebody’s throat and I, I don’t remember where I’d heard. But it’s basically we’ve got, we’ve got our animal instinct brain. And then we have like, our logical black and white brain and the logical black and white brain knows, I should probably stop doing drugs because my life is going to hell. But our animal brain says, I need to keep doing drugs, because I love doing it. And until you can win over your animal brain, it’s going to win 99 times out of 100, even if you know something isn’t what you’re supposed to be doing. And so people think, well, if I go to treatment, and I’ve learned enough about myself, that’s not treating your animal brain that’s treating your logical brain. So you can get a bunch of facts. But it’s like Gary Vee says you can’t read about push-ups. You have to be doing the work. And are you going to take your advice from someone who’s ripped? Are you going to take it from like some person that’s sitting on the couch saying, I read a book. You know, the whole idea with testimonials is I was in this space that you are in here is how I got out. And it doesn’t have to be as like glum as recovery or when there are procedures involved. But even if it’s, I was a person that was looking for a healthy organic snack, this episode’s brought to you by for Oprah.
And Matt Williams, I was us.
Yeah, yeah. And I was tired of all the, all the garbage that they put in Clif Bars, and I needed a solution. This is it, it tastes great data. But testimonials, that’s one of the huge things we do like in our IT company. We’ve, we’re in an industry that’s just super, super scrutinized because of all the scams online. But when we’ve got 500 positive testimonials, and you know, it very easy to win over the trust when there are so many other people getting that proof of concept. And saying to the world, you should trust this company. I was in this spot that you were in here’s how I got out. I love how that all plays together. So what are your future plans look like? For Sober Nation?
You know?
Okay, I will tell you one thing, exciting that we’re working on because because Sober Nation does great, and I have a lot of stuff that I’m excited about. But I’ve always wanted to have a membership community. And I’ve tried to do it in a bunch of different ways, especially my personal site, like I’ve tried to have a membership around my site try not to be too self promotional, but whatever.
It’ll be in the show notes. Either way. Cool. Yeah,
cool. And I just, I couldn’t get it to work. Um, and, you know, I would really what it was about is it was just like, self doubt, like, I couldn’t convince myself that I knew how to do this. And then finally, I had like, a big meeting with my team. And I said, Guys, I want to give this a shot. And in order for this to be like a real success, both in terms of like our business, and also in terms of like the community that we build, and the value that we provide, like, we’re going to have to work at this for at least a year. And we’re not going to see short gratification, and it’s going to suck and we’re going to doubt ourselves. But I think if we just go at this really hard for a year, two years, like we can do it. And so we built it’s called sobriety engine sobriety engine. com it’s gonna it’s it’s just an online paid membership, which gives people instant access to a whole bunch of really cool courses that we created, you get what we call it, daily reflections. So every morning you wake up with just like a cool little note about how to live your life for the day, like a day at a time a daily reflection and, and just some cool inspiration to stay sober and relate to other people and start your morning you get access to a secret Facebook group, which is really, really important because although like the Sober Nation page is so big and valuable, like there is some shit that people need to say that they don’t want to say, on like a public domain. And I think it’s really, really cool that we have this secret Facebook group which people can get like, real and some of its like wrong, you know, like some of these stories, it’s it’s just the nature of addiction, it’s it’s wrong like to see people support each other. Um, so that’s what we’re working on. It’s called sobriety engine, it’s five bucks a month, it’s the coolest thing to watch this grow and to watch like, how much people are enjoying these daily reflections and being part of like an even more tight knit community that just like the the, the community that celebration already is. That’s that’s where I’m at. I also have this thing called gear Boulder. It’s a little bit more of a side project. But one of my idols is guy named Brian Clark. He was the founder of this website called copy blogger, which I’ve kind of been obsessed with because it taught me how to be like a good content marketer. And he lives in Boulder, Colorado, and he had this site called year border calm, which is sort of stopped working on and I was really nervous to approach him because this dude’s like a legend and in the online entrepreneurial space, and I was like, Hey, man, like I know a whole lot about directories. And I don’t know why he stopped working on this site. I thought it was really cool. I think you should partner with me and I’ll do everything. He said yes. And like even telling it to people, I can’t believe it. And the dude kind of makes fun of me because he’s just a regular guy. Like, you know, he is but to me, it was like this icon. So anyway, I somehow landed a deal with Brian Clark on this website called year Boulder. And that’s been a fun little side project just to kinda I don’t know, say that I did it, you know, but but sobriety engine has my full attention. sober nation is still like, you know, my, my first love, I guess, if you want to be super cheesy about it, and, and a near boulders is been a lot of fun as well.
That’s awesome. So, Tim, in wrapping up, what advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get sober but keeps just relaxing? Or doesn’t feel like there’s going to be really any light at the tunnel? What actual advice would you give them?
Most important advice I ever got in my life for my sponsor. And, you know, I was definitely one of those. It was so important to me that I even got, you know, the recovery tattoo, it says make it to midnight. And it’s it’s my own version of a day at a time. Because there’s people who, you know, I agree, like, there’s five year plans and 10 year plans and like having a vision for the future and all that stuff. But for me when it comes to getting sober and more importantly, staying sober, like, all you gotta do is make it to midnight, the only thing you have to do is not drink today is not pick up today. And then you know what, when midnight comes, you can worry about that day when midnight gets here. But like, there’s nothing to worry about yet. Because like it’s not midnight, and all you gotta do is get to midnight. And then like if you put, if you put enough midnights together 30 feels like a lifetime. And then 60 feels like a lifetime. And then a year feels like a lifetime. And sure, you know, and another six months, I’m going to be sober 10 years, and like I’m 33. So the days add up and the days are going to add up like regardless, they’re going to go by, so you might as well just get to midnight. Because
because it’s just way better.
It is way better than being a drug addict and say what you want. Like, my biggest fear was that I was going to be bored. You know, like my honest, biggest fear was I was never going to have fun again. And it’s a legitimate fear to anybody that feels that way. Like I can relate and it’s important that you like admit that but damn, like, just don’t just shoot for midnight, man. Just make it to midnight and like I swear to you, I promise you on like everything that I believe that if you do that for long enough, like your life will be better. 100%
Awesome. Well, Tim, thank you so much for being on Self Made & Sober podcast. Guys, I’ll have all the links to Tim’s to Sober Nation. Everything Tim was talking about in the show notes. If you like the episode, be sure to subscribe. leave us a review on iTunes. And Tim Have a great day man.

Octavio Cifuentes – How to Get Banned From A 3rd World Country

Check out this episode!

And with me today is Octavio Cifuentes . I said it right. That’s Nicaraguan, isn’t it?
Yeah, man, how do you know?
Yeah, it’s like I cut out the first part where I guess the wrong one.
It’s all good. It’s all good. It’s fantastic.
Octavio. Do you want to give the listeners a little background on who you are and what companies you’re part of?
Ah, yeah, absolutely, man. So my name is Octavio like you said earlier and I am one of the CO owners here at FCX Wellness in Boca Raton, Florida. I’m also one of the founders of recovery through repetition, here in Boca Raton soon to be launched in Pennsylvania and California. So yeah, that’s one of the that’s mostly what I do. We’re out. We’re actually about to launch a supplement line as well. So you know, just move it forward, evolving everyday man.
So owning, owning FTX isn’t enough, recovery through repetition isn’t enough. supplement line isn’t enough? Is it safe to say that you suffer from a malady where what you have isn’t enough? And Has that ever played a role in your life?
I think we had this conversation yesterday, nothing is enough, right? I love creating I love being an entrepreneur. And it’s funny, because I always thought that the dream was for me was owning a gym. That’s it. I was like, man, I need to own my own gym. And I’ll be that’ll be set. Right. And then of course, that dream happened, I reached that goal. And it just keeps up all the opportunities keep opening up. And of course, for me, I love the excitement of something new. And you know, yesterday during our men’s meeting, and I said it into my shares like, I love taking the fun out of everything I love and seeing what that could do with, you know,
and pleasing everything you can get out of everything that you like,
exactly. You know what the worst thing is, I didn’t even get that I you know, I have a podcast, as well. And one of my guests was like, Hey, this is it. This is what I do. My wife says this, I was like, Oh my God. And then I mentioned it to my wife. My wife told me Two weeks later, she’s like, see, you do that, too. And then
and then yesterday, I heard a Charlotte man.
So everybody’s telling me the same thing, right? I love you know, I love something new, the next great thing. And then I squeeze everything out of it, I see what I can do. And then all sudden, another opportunity opens through that. And then I go all out in that. So yeah, I’m pretty sure I have that disease of never enough seeing
that you’re on the show. We all seem to have a common affliction. Have we found something in the past that maybe wasn’t good for, for our well being that we took and started doing more and more and maybe consequences happen? What’s your experience look like in the drugs and alcohol field?
Wow, man, that’s a it’s a sad one. You know, I’m not gonna say that, you know, I ended up in jail or anything like that I should have? Absolutely. I found alcohol and drugs. And I was 13 years old. I was living in a third world country where, you know, we could go to bars at 14 years old. I’m 15 years old. I come from a long line of alcoholics. It was I was warned by my family that genetically predisposed to this disease. But of course, as a 14 year olds, I mean, wouldn’t, that’s not going to happen to me. I was privileged enough to go to school at Louisiana State University. And I started flourishing into the alcoholic and drug addict that I really was. I went back home and lied to my parents and my family that I had graduated for years, you know, I went home and I didn’t feel good enough to who I was. And I started drinking and drugging. So basically, I got kicked out of a country moment. I don’t know how many people could say that. But yeah, I was asked to leave a country. So I’m not going to get into my war story. But war stories for me is like, Hey, everybody, we’ve we’ve had them. I just say I was kicked out of a country. I came, I came to the states 10 years ago, with 600 bucks in my pocket two days sober, and started my journey from there. Now I’m not saying it’s been a great journey, I, you know, had a huge relapse here in my home group. So you’ve shared my story with you. And had a huge relapse. And after 10 years, I found myself in rehab last November. But it’s been the greatest thing that could have happened to me, just the amount of blessings I’ve had, since I went back to rehab in November, as a 40 year old man. I’m gonna start crying. I’m just thinking about it. You know, my wife was pregnant. We’ve been trying to have a kid for three years. I know you’re a father. So you know how that feels. Business is doing better than ever. I’m more focused, and everything I do. And I love who I am. And that’s crazy. I found, you know, I thought, you know, I was blessed enough that I had all the blessings and the promises come true. Really, really fast in my sobriety, the first time around. And this time, I pray for slow promises, you know, but unfortunately, you know, hey, two months sober. Guess what? You’re pregnant. Oh, man. Okay, so that doesn’t get you in check. Hey, buddy, your businesses blowing up and guess what your nonprofit is spreading like wildfire? Because you’re so because of your passion because of this? And what I mean, how am I supposed to live my life and I try to get better every day. If I’m not sure because my disease won’t allow me to, you know, and especially being an entrepreneur, you know, it’s not that nine to five thing, it’s, you know, I’m, I’m a lack of do I wake up at five in the morning, every day, create habits. And I’m here, I’m the first one in the gym. And I’m usually the last one out. It’s just who I am.
What are some of the habits and routines that you have? As far as your morning goes,
we’ve been evolving ever since. But, you know, rehab. I went back to basics man, I wake up at 515 every day, every day, it does, even if it’s Sunday night’s sleep, and I just, I can’t see past 515 It’s a sad thing. But I wake up and I go, I hit my knees. Straight up. If I know I miss hitting my knees, something’s not going to be right for the rest of the day. To you’re gonna laugh and my life, my wife actually laughed at me. But I started using the calm out for some meditation because my head just flies. I’ve been meditating. A while there’s there’s five minute meditations, there’s 10 minute meditations, I’m up to 17 minutes. And that seemed like a lifetime before, but it’s really calming man. I do that I hit my prayers. I actually speak to my dad that passed away 10 years ago, and asked for guidance. That’s it every day. And I also believe for me, I know that working out, um, sets the tone for my day, you know, it’s me time. I’m not I don’t have a lot of it. So I get into the gym early, I get to work on myself physically. And
that’s what I’m doing.
And do you think having a good routine in the morning that you get your own time has played a big role in your recovery and in the success in your business.
I cannot emphasize how important it is for me, routine for me.
It’s so effective for me that when I try travel or when I have to like when I travel with my wife, and that’s a big thing we do together for our relationship. She knows how important it is for me, right? So she’ll wake up at seven. She’s an early bird too. But I’m gone. All right, I’m already I’m in the gym, there’s a must, that in every hotel wherever we’re at, has to have some kind of gym. Because that’s, that makes me hold. I know, I have to have my quiet time. I know I’m always reading something. And if it’s not recovery based, it’s more like self help. And involvement. I truly believe that I have to work on myself daily, and keep myself if I’m not moving forward, I’m moving backwards. And the biggest thing for me this year has been really letting go of our mistakes. You know, mistakes happen during the past. And I know I struggled through that for years. Just not letting go. It’s a self imposed prison. And I, you know, everyone I talked to is like, Dude, it’s no one’s judging, just let it go. And you know how heavy it is to. We’ve all made mistakes, but there are lessons, there’s lessons learned of what I went, you know, where I went wrong. You know, I met you what, at the Wednesday night meeting, what, five, six years ago when it was six months. And it grew into like, 50 guys sweating, and uncomfortable, but it was the coolest thing ever. Right? And that was the place to be every Wednesday night. If you weren’t there. You weren’t cool. You know?
If you are not at the cool meeting, you are not cool.
Right? And then it’s, you know, and then it evolved. And then let’s see, sell remains, man. I know for a fact for me, I can go to McSweeney’s I’m just not good at them. I pay attention. I know that men’s meetings for me, I could bare my soul and I won’t be judged. There’s entrepreneurs there. There are just guys are some really deep time sober thoughts. And and yesterday, I said it, I feel home. I feel home and management, mixed feelings. I’m still a little introvert. You know, and I can be a chameleon that can be the greatest guy on the planet, but I won’t feel comfortable. And that’s where, you know, that’s where I come. I come to life, you know?
Yeah, I think there’s a good level of the comfortability in the men’s meeting where maybe you’re not trying to think so much about like, if I share and I say something that I’m going to look cool for that person over there. Like for myself, you know, when I share, it’s very much just, this is my experience, and hopefully, someone will get something out of it. And you touched on and I’d like to go back a bit that you do a lot of reading there anything in the past year to that you’ve come across the tat of really big impact on your life.
Man, it depends, man. So like I said, I love you know, there’s some deep books that I still can’t wrap my mind around like Sermon on the Mount, you know, I just can’t you know, it’s all fear based, but I’m like, that’s too deep for me. As an entrepreneur, right now, I’m reading something really, really cool. It’s called man up by BK Vedra school in a and that’s not even a shameless plug. I mean, this guy just puts it in in straight you know, he’s in the same space as I am in health and fitness. He owns what probably the fastest growing franchise in the United States when it comes to gyms and this guy is he’s an immigrant. He’s, you know, he’s done it all. But everything that I read, that’s really impact, I always take a little snippet of everything I do. I always I don’t know if you guys read life for purpose. Check it out. The monk that Sold His Ferrari another good one. We have the warrior. And I really love I don’t know if you guys have ever read Paolo Coelho The Alchemist that, check it out. And I think he’s, you done a couple of ones that are really good that I read. I can’t read these thick 300 page books, he had 400 page books, I try to keep them under 200 pages. Just to keep moving, you know?
Yeah. And I think reading and self improvement, that’s one of those things that I know for myself, like I could get addicted to. And it’s that type of personality, where, like, the, the drinking wasn’t really the problem is my personality of I take something that I like, and then it was like, you know, what I like to do read, and then is like 100 books later and and as I Oh, I could tell you everything about all these books,
I like to walk with a book bag full of books. That’s what I want to do. So then you’ll trail run for 100 miles, you know, and then you get into that, and then you bring that out, dude, that’s my life.
As an entrepreneur, dude, I really recommend
mastering the Rockefeller habits. I don’t know if you’ve read that one.
It’s literally next on my Oh, my audible
man that is legit. And also scaling up.
Check that out. That’s a really good one. And, you know, it’s just, I love that kind of stuff. I really do. And if it’s not it, you know, I love Netflix, like anybody else’s just I realized this thing this year that and I’m from all future or, you know, current dad’s like, personal time, and TV time are going to get cut out really, really quick. So I’ve been trying to train myself that, you know, it’s, it’s going to go away. So I’ve been reading. And that’s what I mentioned, you know,
what I’ve gotten in, in my five, six months of fatherhood has been very much a it’s basically a perpetual. Everybody else has already had kids, and then they tell you just you wait until this thing happens. So like, and now I find myself doing too, like, I, we met our neighbors across the street, and they’ve got a three month old and ours is five months. And then it’s like, oh, man, like, do you do anything that can that like, you can make him laugh like, with with my son, like, if you clap his hands, the other like, he starts laughing? And, and he’s like, Oh, no, like, I don’t have anything that like, I can just make him laugh. Like sometimes he smiles and I’m like, Ah, man, once he laughs It’s the best and then other people. Yeah, I was talking with with Josh. And he’s like, once they start crawling, it’s a whole different world. And then other people, once they start walking, it’s a whole different world. Once that, but everyone pretty much ends up just wait till they become teenagers and they suck. That’s that’s what I gather from having a kid. It’s everything’s great until they’re teenagers. And then you just do it again and get a small one.
Man, I’m excited. I used to be scared, scared, scared about what’s coming on. But I’m really excited about fatherhood. Um, you know, it’s funny, I have the, the opportunity to meet a lot of people in my realm as as a personal trainer, or as a coach. And one of my clients is like, Hey, I have four kids. They are 30 to 20. And whoever said that parenting is over at 18 is alive, because I gotta leave for the next four weeks, because two of them are moving out, I gotta go set up their apartment, another one is having their tonsils put out, I gotta go take care of him. And she’s like, what happened to 18? And then they leave? You know, they’re 30. And I’m still hoping I’m other. That’s what my mom says about me. You know? It is man. Uh, you know, it’s, it’s what we’ve prayed for. It’s funny, you know, if you look back at everything, I’ve prayed for the last three years over over God, I need to get back into the rooms God I need, you know, I would love to be a father. And all this and not everything is happening, you know. And it all comes back to what faith CUF
is played a huge role in my recovery as well in Do you just have faith in the recovery department? Or does it play a role in everything.
So, for me, if I don’t have faith and everything, it’s you don’t really have faith. And that’s my opinion, and my opinion only, right. So I come from a huge Catholic based, family of line, Roman Catholic, and my mom goes to church twice a day, and prays for an hour a day, besides those two hours that she’s at church. So for me, when I was old enough to say I don’t want to go anymore. I just walked or stepped away from the church. My sister on the other hand, when she saw me getting on my worst with my alcoholism, in my drug addiction, she stepped away from that party life, you know, and, you know, really grew closer to the church, and she’s super religious as well. Very, very strong Catholics, I am a non practicing Catholic, I I find God in the rooms and everything else. I really pray every morning for myself, my family, this country, this world, everybody the sick and suffering and everything else. So I really believe that in my life, faith is everything. And it’s crazy, because I’m always I was look at the field on and it’s about results and tangible results, and faith. How do you prove it? How do you have these conversations with people that are? My clients are multi millionaires, you know, some of them are billionaires. And they’re like, Well, you know, I’m not, you know, I’m not, I don’t have faith, but I’ve done this on my own. I was like, Man, that’s, that’s amazing. But I know I’m at my best, when I’m lined up with God’s will.
Yeah. And for me, with my experience with faith, when I first when I first came in, they say you have to have a God of your understanding a higher power. I wasn’t really in. I didn’t, I didn’t really believe that anything would work. But I was willing to prove that it didn’t work, which the opposite of that is, I was willing to do whatever it took. And so in order to prove that it didn’t work, I jumped in 100%. And for me, I’m very much results oriented, I’m very much a, a person that values, if you can put a number on something, then it counts. And if you can’t put a number on something, then you’re just talking about nothing. And the unfortunate thing with faith is that there isn’t a set law, if you pray for five minutes, you’re going to get like 80 prayer points. And if you pray for 10 minutes, you get 97. And with 97, that’s when you start landing big clients, like there’s no direct correlation. It’s very much just, I’ve, I’ve just kind of changed it from levels and measuring to just as much as I hate things that aren’t quantifiable, just a feeling. And I know, when I’m letting go when I am letting the universe unravel how it’s supposed to, I know when I am trying to take control. And sometimes I need to take a step back and take an objective look at my life and say, am I acting in faith? Or am I acting in fear? Am I letting the universe play out how it’s supposed to? Or am I deciding what needs to happen, and then forcing my will on everybody else, and all the big opportunities that I’ve had in my life, and we’ve had companies that we acquired 50,000 60,000 70,000 customers in one fell swoop that fell into my lap, and then others times, where I’ve been fighting tooth and nail for a couple hundred bucks on someone that I don’t even want to do work with, I just decided I need to do this. And I’m going to send 1000 email, follow ups call them every day for an opportunity that I told myself that I wanted the turns out, I didn’t actually want but once I’ve let go and say, You know what, I’m going to let this play out. However it’s supposed to play out, then that person calls me and says, I want to restructure everything so that it’s in your favor, I recognize that I’ve been a breath in this negotiation, and that I want to give you everything you want. And then some and it always happens. exactly when I let go.
Letting go. You know, I used to make fun of it all the signs on, you know, on our walls in our God.
This too shall pass. Oh my god.
Things and all sudden, it’s not real. It can’t be real, it doesn’t work. And all of a sudden, you start letting go. And you’re like, man, I didn’t really don’t control anything. Right? I can control how I react to everything else. Like man, I’m going to give you a quick example of my last week. And this is crazy, because my partner is a normal, right? He’s a doctor, and he’s super pragmatic. And he’s the biggest optimist on the planet. He’s like, oh, man, we’re gonna, we have unicorns in the sky. And we’re going to live there, and everything’s going to be great. I’m the other guy. I’m like, we work hard to get up there. Right. But it doesn’t exist, you got to keep working. So we’re a perfect union Yang. But yesterday comes over. He’s like, odd. I don’t know what happened in the last two weeks. But your mental shift has been amazing. Everybody you had beef with or resentment or anything else that was holding us back with some other stuff. You have sat down? You know, just when I said, basically, I was okay, what was my fault? What was my attitude? How can I make this right? And all of a sudden, the floodgates of opportunity became open. And it’s insane how just letting go of this false power or control that we all think we have is just basically a wall. You know, keeping you from what the universe really wants is, it’s crazy. Like, I made a mess of some, you know, some friends of mine that I thought he was mad at me. When I was mad at him that created these stories. I was like, Hey, man, what’s going on? How do we make this right? I approached it like, hey, how can I make this right? I’m sorry, if I did anything wrong? How can you know? And he’s like, Dude, this is just storytelling in your head. I was like, Man, you know, you’re right. I’m sorry.
And then
during the negotiation, how do I do this with, you know, one of our biggest contract? And they’re like, you know, you’re right. We should have done this, this and this, I just told them how I felt instead of being resentful. Okay, guys, I really don’t feel that, you know, you made me feel really awkward. The other day, though, when I was in this office, I just want to start off with that, because I don’t want to have a resentment towards you guys. Because we’ve been working together for over three years. And they’re like, Man, that’s really good. Because we wanted to apologize, because that’s, that was a cool, that was never our intention. And then everything opens from there, you know, and,
and that’s just, that’s program. If you look at it, you know, we go into a we go into like,
the 12 steps, looking for a way to stop drinking and drugging right? To stop getting into trouble to stop hating myself to stop letting myself down. And then you find this way of life. Like I tell this story all the time that I became a man when I was 30. I didn’t know how to cook, I didn’t know how to clean, I still have a phobia of going to the supermarket as my sponsor. A grown it, you know, sorry for cursing a grown ass man asked him Hey, can you teach me how to do laundry? Right? Because I didn’t know. Right? How do you admit that hot? You know, I’m sorry, I just never learned how to do laundry. I don’t know how to go into a supermarket because I feel overwhelmed, because there’s too many choices. But I was too proud of my ego was too proud to let anybody know, I just didn’t know.
You know, and there’s still things that how
do you get over that? You just go through the fear?
Lately, and everything I’ve been learning is fear is the biggest subject. It’s like stress, man, you know, and people are like, Oh, I’m just so stressed. But what are you stressed about? Is it a fear of the unknown is a fear about what the outcome is. And if you’re fearing the outcome, where’s the faith? You know, where’s your doing? Are you doing the right thing. So now I base everything, as I’m gonna face everything that’s uncomfortable. From a way from an angle of how I believe I should be acting. The God wants me to, you know, I pray every morning to say, hey, God, let them see you through me. Right. And then I tried to align myself with that. It’s crazy how one applying all my self imposed, fears have been going away, slow. And it’s not my time. And you know that and I know that on our time, we would have had an instant gratification 20 years ago, right? Or, Hey, man, I’m ready for this, I need this deal to come by, I need to sign this contract today. And then that stays in limbo for like three months, all sudden, you get a call. He’s like, Hey, man, I’m sorry. I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on. The company wasn’t ready back then. But we would love to move forward. You know, when I thought I did something wrong, or I was too aggressive. You know, it’s stuff like that. It’s not on my time. And that’s the hardest thing as an entrepreneur to really find. Now, as an entrepreneur, you can have goals, because I think I truly believe all goals are measured, right? I know you’re a numbers guy, too. I quantify everything. I have my goals. I have weekly goals, monthly goals, quarter goals, etc, etc. And I’m very goal oriented. But those that can achieve through work, and if I cross them off slowly, big, audacious goals. It’s just one day at a time. Everything is one day at a time some days. You know, I have a staff of 34 people. I want to choke half of them sometimes. And sometimes they want to all choke me. They complain about me like Oh, man, he’s on a rampage today. You know?
Yeah, but don’t? Don’t they know how important you are? Don’t they know who you think you are?
That’s what I tell most guys, don’t you understand that? I believe it. I’m crazy. So if I’m acting crazy, the guys that have you know, I’ve been around with for like seven years. Like, you’re having one of those days. I’m like, Oh, yeah. Like, all right, we’re gonna step away for a while. Do you need a coffee? Because everything you say is non boy today, right? I’m like, Yeah, don’t take it personally. Right? Yeah,
I needed to have days where I would just tell my employees, it was like, we had payroll, I think it was, we’ve changed the days, but it was whatever day I see the number for payroll. Don’t talk to me after that. And then don’t talk to me the next day when the direct deposit comes out of the bank account. And then don’t talk to me the day after, when I start freaking out, because I think that everything’s gonna go to crap. And that nothing will ever work. Like, talk to me three days after that. And then
three days before three days after payroll, I feel you, brother, everything. As an entrepreneur, it’s like, Guys, why don’t you guys understand? We don’t know ever gonna
make it. I never get paid. Nine. These are the things that we suffer. But guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yeah, I try to look back at if if I were to go back and work for somebody else. And I’ve just on the side, I’ve done partnerships with people. And I was having a discussion with my wife the other day. And I was like, I realized that I’m not even good at being a partner. I’m good at if it’s a team and a collaboration. I can get behind that. But I have those issues. As much as I don’t want to admit that I have control issues. I’ve seen the benefits of letting go. I’ve seen the benefits of putting trust in my employees, and they perform better than I do. I’ve seen that firsthand. But there’s still so many times, I’ll get a phone call from a potential lead, that might be a big deal. And I have to watch it every single step through the process, make sure everything was done perfectly. And it’s like we have a checklist in place for all this. All you all I really need to say is just follow the checklist, please, as you get paid to do.
You want to be up here hovering? Exactly. You want to be the IY.
I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve been the guy working for the employer who doesn’t understand who doesn’t see things the way that I see it, then I’ve been the solo printer, I’ve done everything start to finish, then I’ve been the entrepreneur, I’ve been growing the company, I’ve been the business owner that doesn’t do anything like literally earlier today. I was in a networking group for the first time in months. And they needed help with Chromecast. And I’ve never used Chromecast before I just, you know my text, do it. I just have tech people that do that for me. And they’re like, oh, you’re a tech guy, go fix this. And I’m like sitting there for like 20 minutes trying to figure out their stupid Chromecast and eventually got it to work. So at least proved, proved myself where they but like jumping back into, into the field and doing the work. And, you know, I’ve been on both sides of the coin. And like, I can’t imagine going back to working for someone else. When I’ve experienced what I have now. And I see people who will say things, I’ve got three jobs and I hate my life and being on this side of entrepreneurship. I just, I don’t shove it down their throats. But I think to myself, that doesn’t have to be your reality, like you can do more.
You know, here’s the thing that has helped. I love being an entrepreneur. My father was an entrepreneur, I don’t understand I’ve been an employee. I’ve been a great employee, I’ve been the terrible employee. It’s feed your mind with positivity and purpose. Right. I know my purposes today, I have a clear vision of it. I think most people don’t have that. And if I could give anybody advice, which is crazy that I would have a person like me because anybody that knows me from back in the day is like, dude, you’re listening to Octavius. A point is that you didn’t dots, that dudes. Right? That guy’s wrap his hair during my first 20 years of 25 years of my life. So Dude, that guy doesn’t know anything, right? The truth is, if you don’t love what you do, if you don’t have passion for what you do, find something that moves you find something that gives you purpose. I know my why I wake up every morning, I know my purpose. And I know my vision. Because if you don’t have a goal set, or a line of sight where you’re heading, you’re wondering, right? So why wonder when you could have direction and purpose. Right. And that’s it, I have a purpose in life, which is now you know, recovery through repetition, which is our nonprofit it is fills my heart every day with how fast and how much people are adapting to it or you know, receiving it and spreading the word all over the world, hopefully. And I put it out there because that’s what I want. My dream is you know, FTX but it’s already where we’re heading to right and my Why is my family and my son, my future son, but I want to know what kind of life he wants to have. And I know what kind of father I want to be. Right. But it has to be clear. Most people do not have a clear. And that’s cool. Because I was in college and I and I studied every single subject, not the mess, I wouldn’t get out ever. But you gotta have an endgame. What’s the end game? What do you want to be like? I know, we have one shot at this lifetime.
We don’t know how long it’s going to be. Right. So I want to be the best version I can be while I’m here. Right? I want to have some purpose and I want when I’m dying. I don’t want to have any regrets. Right. That I didn’t do enough. That’s it.
Yeah. And having direction to, you know, look at LeBron James. Like how often is he practicing soccer. It’s not in line with what’s important to him. He is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, because he focuses on basketball and things that are related to basketball. And he doubles down in his zone of excellence. He’s not just wandering and saying, I like sports. And then Okay, you’re well rounded and a lot of sports. Great, but you’re not going to have a huge impact. If you just kind of dabble in, in everyday different
craft. Absolutely. Absolutely. And get better. So here’s, you know, I don’t know if you guys ever heard of Kent clothier?
No, I haven’t fella.
Check him out. He’s dead. He’s my mentor, my business coach everything you want. But this guy had this a scalar escape in San Diego and one of the biggest list of speakers there was Jesse isn’t the owner, one of the CO owners of the Atlanta Hawks, the guy from Zico, Zico, water, of coconut water, and that’s sold its Coca Cola for a couple hundred million, bought it for less than a million. You know, it’s crazy,
an airplane company to right?
Correct Marquis jets
and sold it to Warren Buffett.
And he living with seal
crazy. New York Times bestseller live with the see what David Goggins? Exactly. So he put it so clearly to me, Andrew, that a, I was sitting down, you know, you’re sitting down all day, and you’re like, Man, what am I gonna listen to now. And all sudden he comes, he’s like, Guys, it’s very simple. If you don’t align with my four buckets in life, I’m not wasting my time. He’s like, think about time, as an asset. It’s the only thing you can’t buy, you know, you can’t buy time you can do anything, if you don’t really fit into my four buckets doesn’t really work. So here’s his four buckets. Family, right? personal time, which is working out running, he’s a big around your community,
and business.
And if you really take 10 minutes, just to think about that, if you keep it to those four things, you have a lot on your plate anyway, right? But you start cutting out these things that really take up your time that are don’t align with your craft, or don’t align with your purpose. Guess where you have a clear vision to where your head and I’ve applied that to that, like I wrote down that night, I wrote down what my community looks like, what my family because you can be choosy about what part of the family you want to deal with, right? So I do not we signed with people that are negative. I do not waste time with people that don’t align with my, you know, my vision and stuff like that. And that’s it. It’s hard to like some people don’t fit into it. And they’re like, Hey, man, you’ve been distant all the grant. I don’t have time for that. I’m sorry. I’m focused.
It kind of ties together with what we were saying that if you’re going to double down and what’s important to you, I mean, there’s so many people saying no is difficult. And one of my mentors in the past like his quote was, no is a full sentence. You don’t have to give explanations. You don’t have to dig into why this isn’t alignment with anything.
No is a full sentence. I’m writing that down. Dude, I might take it. I love it.
Hey, man, if you share it twice, it’s yours. Yeah.
Yeah, man. It’s insane. It’s insane. Man. The power of the word know. And for me, because I’m a I like I’m a, I’m a people pleaser, right? I don’t, I really feel wrong when someone’s not liking me. And that’s a character. I’ve been working on it with my therapist and stuff like that. But the power of that to those two letters is liberating.
Man, it’s completely liberating. And it changes everything.
Everybody wants to be liked. I don’t exactly buy into the people that just Oh, yeah, like, I’m a dick. And everyone hates me. Hi. I mean, I guess you know, different strokes for different folks. But I do think that there’s some levels where you just need to identify that this is not beneficial to me, and being willing to cut it out and move in a better direction with your purpose. I think that’s, you know, the underlying theme of everything is, find what’s important to you, and then stay in that lane.
Stay in that lane and clear that vision. You got to make it clear. What does that look like? Like what’s your perfect day look like? In your perfect life? Right? You can’t put a man I’m gonna be there tomorrow. No, it takes work. Right? And it takes commitment. Just like love does. Just like everything else in life. Everything is commitment and just you commit to being better you commit to going after what you want in life. And once you have that you will have your purpose. Right when nobody wants to go work out what’s your purpose? Oh, I want to do this. Okay, so let’s be healthy. How am I going to live there? How do I want to achieve helping millions of people that don’t have the resources of the income to get healthier? How can I get back to it? Okay, so recovery through repetition. How do we do
so that’s a that’s incredible. Octavio I could go on forever with you man. Where can people find you to learn out more to
check me out a follow me on Instagram at Follow us on recovery through repetition, and FTX Wellness? On FTX wellness and performance on is the man that’s that’d be great. We’re doing the launch of RPS in the next three weeks. Check that out. It’s gonna be really really cool, man. I hope you guys again, thank you for having me, man. Now we could always talk about entrepreneurship and sobriety all day long

Jake Cushing – Mastering the F*ck It Mentality

Check out this episode!

With me, today on the podcast is Jake Cushing. Awesome background with Jake when I started my company rush tech support in my living room five and a half years ago, a couple of months down the road. A wonderful human being named Jake Cushing came into my life and helped us transform the company from 36,000 in the first year to 1.75 million in year two, he is the brains behind everything that the company accomplished in that year. Jake, how you doing, man? We go. That’s how hackers used to walk in appreciate it, man. I think you had a whole lot to do with it too. Maybe it was like a combination, a good mix. Jake’s been sober now since July 26, 2018. And you want to give us a little background on what your sobriety looked like what happened, what’s going on. Now you want to give us just kind of a background pre
sobriety and into what it’s looking like today.
I think the biggest part of my story, when I first started, you know, getting clean back in 2013 I just didn’t think it was possible. I think that’s a huge thing to touch on because I used to say it in every single one of my stories that I would tell him like a 12 step program or anything like that.
I think when I
when I, when I got into the program, and I was just kind of like winging it, I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know how to live life, like really actually live life. My entire life consists of using drugs and alcohol and
I didn’t know how to be a man or you know, even a human being, you know, and
So, so it all started 20 2013 I moved out to Florida my mom and called some random number she saw on the phone book. And I was like, you know, South Florida it’s like nice outside. Yeah, I’ll be kicking and I’ll be screaming but might as well give it a shot there probably be some pretty girls out there. I don’t know.
Maybe just a little. Yeah. So So I started my journey that way. And I came out to South Florida.
This is from heroin, and you know, pretty much anything I could get my hands on at that point in time. And I ended up
Being able to go from that to making like a whole network of friends through the 12 step program. And
I didn’t think that I was capable of doing anything. I didn’t think I could, I could, you know, read and write properly, much less, you know, be a salesman or you know, anything like that. Sorry, I’m working for a company that, you know, did sales, but they were extremely sketchy. And I had
I had you know, Andrew, who was a huge part of my sobriety, and he is still is up to this point. And we, you know, we hit it off right from the start. I saw him at a meeting and he,
he saw my ravens hoodie. And, and he said, he said, Oh, nice 30 and I said,
Though he said he said sponsor me.
He said he’s no he says he says coolly. Yeah, I’ll be your sponsor.
Some other guy
I didn’t see that. Did you want to be a sponsor? That was a Joe never fails. Yeah, that was it some and I and Andrew hit it off right off the brake keys is an into food.
We really got in you know, eat a, you know a lot of Chinese food or pizza, whatever we can get our hands on in South Florida. So what were some of the strategies you were using at the time to stay sober and like get into the program? You were at a sketchy company and then what
a sketchy company
Emotional sobriety wasn’t at its peak if you will. And, and, and Me and Me and Andrew had this thing where I said, Hey, Andrew, maybe one day I’ll end up working for you.
Yeah, so, so the way you know, after getting enough sales experience, I ended up just, you know, randomly, you know, no, there was no like, big story behind it. I just randomly like, started making sales for them, you know, on the weekends, you know, when I had my time off and stuff like that, and you know, unmake, like maybe like $100 $200 sale or something like that, and we would party with a whole bunch of food.
Jordan, this is how we do it. Yeah.
rushes in its infancy at that time. And what were some of the things that like you didn’t have experience in growing a company? Where did that spirit of let’s grow it and roll the dice come from? I think a lot of it comes from like humans winging it.
And by that, I mean, like, nobody really has a superset plan. And even if you do have your set plans, it never works out the way exactly what you want it to. And, and I think that
I think that coming from a position of, of, you know, humbleness and not really knowing what’s going to happen is probably where you get your biggest projects and the biggest thing that’s happened in your life
because I can name on multiple occasions where other things have happened besides that, that has been huge in my life as well. I never expected date the girls and on the
I never expect to, you know,
be friends with some of the people that are like the biggest positive influences in my life. I kind of just took a leap of faith and said, I’m out here in South Florida, I don’t have any family, I have friends, I have plenty of friends. I might as well give it a shot. And that’s probably the best place that I could have been. They have that terminology where they say you never feel like you work a day in your life if you do what you love, but I don’t really believe that to be true because you work the jumping-off point. We definitely had a lot of fun building the company and I’ve had I had the best years of my life in Florida and helping to build a company and I would never trade it and you know, experiencing, you know, things that you know, maybe scare you or whatever. But you know, I had family members and
Stuff that supported me but I had no real backing. I had no sort of money saved up or you know, anything like that. I just figured give it a shot. The worst-case scenario can always move back to Maryland. I don’t know. Yeah, having that safety net fallback plan. I think a lot of people, they’ll just let fear take control of everything. And it’s like, well, what if it fails? What if it doesn’t work out nine out of 10 startups go out of business, none of us have any experience in doing this. What in the world is going to make us think that we could actually do more than run this thing out of Andrews halfway house living room, and then upgrade to Andrews apartment living room to upgrade to suite nine and then 10 and then 12 and three and then del Rey office at 13 like all the crazy growth that happened as a result of walking through that fear and you’re right like when you when you lay it
Get out and it’s like, well, worst-case scenario, I’ll just move back home and keep living my life. I think a lot of people, just have that fear of failure and they just end the conversation right there instead of just going with it. A lot of people have fear drive them to not take the leap of faith into the thing that they really want to do. What was going through your head in this is 2014 when you made the leap and have rush be your full-time job even though it was extremely all over the place and didn’t have a steady income the way that your other job did. I think it was a fucking mentality. Like really, it was just you know, I don’t have a safety net. So if I don’t have a safety net, and you know, there’s a there’s like a pit at the bottom and then I gotta climb up this thing but there’s no safety net and then you got to climb that
Anyway, so I might as well do it. Right. I mean, that’s kind of what happened, you know, I didn’t have any, as I said, I didn’t have any friends in the family, family, you know, I had, I had the 12 step program and, you know, and God by my side, and
did I really have that much faith in it? No, I didn’t. And, and this is, you know, coming from a complete place that honestly, I didn’t really have much faith that it was going to work out. I just, you know, wherever the cards may lay and, and just, you know, threw myself to the wind and whatever happens happens. I didn’t. I didn’t think too much, you know, but do you have any sort of rituals or like, the things that you make sure that you do every single day to help you maintain your sobriety and or good work ethic? Well, every morning
I start off, I do the third step prayer and the seventh-step prayer. And I’ve done that even on that this is another entire part of my story. But when I end up going back to drinking, even during my drinking days, I still third step prayer seventh step prayer every morning. And I think that and you know, meditation and, you know, a practice in keeping myself grounded in a higher power, and in the earth, if you will, in the universe, if you will,
is a huge part of it as well.
I think that I I’ve done that on the daily since I was a kid, not the third step seventh step prayer, but I always try to put myself
In a place mentally to, you know,
to, to, I don’t know to get a better grasping better, a better foothold, if you will.
Yes, I think that’s so you’re using, you’re using the third and seven-step prayer. So just for those that aren’t familiar, the third step prayer is basically turning your will and your life over to something bigger than you. And the seven-step is removing your defects that are getting in the way from whatever the bigger thing in the universe is. call it God call it nature, call it, whatever you want to call it. And the idea is that you move you remove the things that are getting in your way, so that you can do a better job at letting things fall so kind of your fucking mentality is like a foreigner way of saying
turned your will over to your higher power and let the cards fall as they were Is that fair a fair assessment?
I think that is a very fair assess the whole bucket mentality. I mean fuck it is it is a natural statement right? You ever get pulled over by the police and and you say fuck it I’m going to jail
yeah that’s what I said when I got arrested
like I’m going to jail back
pocket I’m going to jail I’m wasted Let’s drink this bottle of fireball before I get booked to nearly be that
Yeah, I drank a fifth of fireball while I was getting pulled over. And so I got charged with drinking while dry or yet drinking while driving on top of DU I got consuming an alcoholic beverage. Why?
operating a motor vehicle I think was like the the legal term for it but yeah drinking while driving Are you able to while getting pulled it were you able to maintain your drunkenness throughout your booking
I blacked out jail
and like jail like you know the drunk tank like getting
I blacked out the whole getting arrested saying I briefly remember seeing the I came out of a blackout and I saw in the rearview mirror the red and blue lights flashing, and I had about half of a fifth of fireball left. And I was like well, I’ll just finish this off because I didn’t want to get an open container charge. But I didn’t hide the bottle. So I still got an open container charge as well as drinking while driving, as well as blowing a point 24 so I added a whole bunch of extra
felonies and misdemeanors because the
That micro decision added like an extra three things to the laundry list of, of everything that was happening at the time. So yeah, I learned my lesson but you know, silver lining of it, I ended up going to treatment and got sober and things ended up working out for the better. So you said that you always had a idea of a higher power or something bigger than you and has that grown since you got into recovery? Yeah.
I started out.
I remember when I was, I was with my fiance. And, and we would, we were,
you know, getting high and drunk or, you know, whatever we could get our hands on and everyone’s from all there. Were
There would be this, this point where I would want to like meditate like avatar style.
So, so like, I don’t know, like, I would remember like, you know, how dry you know and Dragonball Z they would meditate and really do really cool things afterward or, or, you know, avatar would do it and, and I remember just, you know, sitting there and I really want it power. You know, I wanted some sort of power to the light come from the sky and to help me with what was going on in my life. And it did. It certainly did. Maybe not the way that I pictured it, but it certainly did. I ended up meeting one of the biggest spiritual advisors I’ve ever met in my life, who I actually stayed with for a period of time with my fiance and
He had me dropped to my knees in the middle of Eastern Avenue and Marlon and you know, it’s kind of like the a major intersection and ethics. And I did that and slowly but surely after that prayer and after having anonymous sincerity to like, want to get clean or I didn’t really want to get clean, but have an honest sincerity to want my higher power to help me.
I started to slowly but surely
you know, come to terms with you know, my sobriety, and I, my girlfriend at the time who was stealing jeans from Nordstrom
or my fiance she ended up getting locked up and
I ended up getting locked up before she did. But I had my parents would always bail me out you know not not my dad so much from my mother she would always bail me on a jail.
She wonderful woman, she didn’t know how to to not coddle me and you know enable me and she she ended up bailing me out but by the time I got bailed out she got called up and she was wanted for
she was on it for more than that she ended up because of the genes for Nordstrom thing. They developed the whole whole profile of of
what it is it called? I
can’t remember what the name of it is. They developed all profile of her basically stealing the genes and you know
I ended up being in the thousands of dollars. And she ended up getting locked up. And so I was left without a fiance, you know, in my presence and left on my own devices. And that’s when my mother gave me the phone number I called. And when I called I don’t know what took over me, but I was like, I don’t know this person, they’ll probably never meet me ever. I’m just going to drop my entire story on their lap and see what the free cap
and so that’s why I did I spilled my guts to this person over the phone that I’ve never talked to before my entire life. And I told her my whole life story and how, how much of a fuck up I was now much of a destructive alcoholic and an addict. I was and
They got me on a plane the next day. They wanted to set they wanted to get me on a plane that day. But I had a little bit more to do before I before I came out to Florida. Yeah, I had to get him to get here the last. Your last hurrah. I remember my last hurrah. I had a party I invited all my friends and only one person showed up. And that was kind of like my damn man, like, even even my last hurrah, like, no one’s trying to be involved with me at all. I’m just not a person that people want to be around. And once I came to that conclusion, and like accepted it,
I continued to move forward and grow and try a new way of life, where I’m focusing on spiritual principles, and instead of focusing on what I think is going to be best for me, and then just the results, speak for themselves, none of the cool things that we’ve been able to accomplish anything
to do with
with like me is all about the right people the right place the right time having my higher power guide the
direction of everything that was happening and we didn’t have any clue what we were doing jumping into it we’re just like God will take control and we’ll see what happens. So when you
so you mentioned that you had a slip up and came back so what are you doing differently this time now you have over a year on your time back. What lessons did you learn from the first time
so I’m going to give a little bit of background just briefly and this will help to sum it all up. So when I
so when I came back to Maryland I had gotten drunk and in Florida after
Two and a half years of continuous sobriety. And I, I,
I ended up I don’t know, I was in the tech office at the time. And I decided that I was going to try and control drinking and it worked great for me for a while for actually quite some time.
My progression seems to be a little bit slower than thumbs.
And so I ended up you know, drinking at a OK, so the first time I drank I drank a
drink it camping with my father. We went one to we went to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and I decided to get a six-pack or Corona. And I woke up the next day and I thought I expected this huge dread and this huge, terrible illness and night
Even had like a bad dream that night. And I woke up and I just, you know, I nothing happened. I didn’t feel bad it was probably the worst place for me to be at because nothing happened. And so I
went to
I drag for a couple more years. And then I got to the point where I was just tired of living the way that I was living again. And that’s when I turned back to my higher power. And I, you know, said
that sincere prayer again, and I didn’t even realize I did that until I just said that but
yeah, I said that sincere prayer to God and I ended up back in right turn of Maryland and I went to that program so
this time
I think that
you know, I have, I have sat here and analyzed a lot of what,
what I did to say server back down and what I do to stay sober now. And it’s not really too much different. I think the biggest thing that I learned from going back out and drinking is that I can’t do that successfully either. And that’s a that’s a big lesson to learn, you know, I’ve always seen my father drinking, he’ll drink
you know, every single night, wake up the next day be fine, you know, drink his coffee in the morning, not me. I wake up the next morning, and I’m and I’m drinking, you know, hard liquor and early in the morning. So, you know, I, I kind of like, had this vision of like me being like my father and in that respect and like I could still drink, but that’s just not what I’m here for.
And what I mean by that is my higher power doesn’t want me to be that guy. Or my or my it.
There’s a quote by Jim Carrey and you’ll like this one to Andrew. So, Jim Carrey says depression is your soul’s way of telling you that it doesn’t like the character that it’s playing anymore. My soul didn’t like, my soul was a character that I didn’t like playing anymore.
So my so I just didn’t want to be that guy. And,
and deep down even though like some parts of me like wanted to, you know, be drunk every day and live my life that way. And just this year
Not where I was meant to be, I believe the
you know, around ethics, I’m kinda like, and I’m not gonna, I’m not going to, you know, blow myself up over here, but I’m kind of like a go-to guy when it comes to like, sobriety and things like that I’ve already had, you know, several friends around here they asked me, you know,
I’m trying to get clean, like what can I do and I’ve had a couple of people that have gotten clean around me as well. And, you know, that feels are really good. I think being a part of their lives is has been the pinnacle and they even tell you that in the 12 step program is, you know, the people that you help, you know, the newcomers that are coming in are the most important people because there’s those are the people to help keep us over
and you
You get to keep what you have by giving it away.
You gotta act as a river, let it flow through you to the next piece instead of the reservoir that just holds it all towards it for later, just always flowing through and it’s always fresh when it’s always flowing. So, Jake, I want to be conscious of your time but if there’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who’s trying to get sober, what would you say is the most important thing that someone should do?
take an honest look at where you’re at in your life. And, if you’re aware because I think that sobriety has a lot to do with awareness and take a look at you. Take a look at where you are. You know, I remember
when I first got into the water set in Florida, they asked me
Do you know what I was doing? And I told him I was living in the Mexicans garage, you know,
you know, drinking and getting high. And but it wasn’t that bad. And they were like, let’s get you your,
your, your, what’s the word for it?
Yeah, no, I That’s it. That’s it, you know, I was there not verifying but you know talking about so I think the biggest thing is,
you know take a step back from if you can take a step back from drinking and just be aware of your surroundings and see And if that’s not really where you want to be in your life, then have a bucket mentality and go into go and go into a program or if you can do that, just go to the rooms
Yeah, the rooms of 12 step recovery, I know, have helped millions of people and they sometimes get a bad rap from people that don’t have the bucket mentality. They want to hang on to their old way of thinking as well as take on a new way, but they kind of straddle both. And then when you straddle both, you’re, you’re not actually going forward with the new way of living, you’re,
you’re living in fear of changing the way that it used to be, which isn’t getting you the results that you want. So I think that’s great. You know, awareness is huge. Because if you’re not aware of the problem, then how are you supposed to fix it? But then the next step is having that willingness to move forward with a different way of living. And it’s funny because we will fight tooth and nail to justify I should I want to stay in this guy’s garage. This is what I want. It’s like, you don’t actually want that. It’s just what you know, and
You’re afraid of what might happen because what if somehow it’s worse? And that’s kind of the lie we tell ourselves. But Jake, thank you so much for being on the show. You’ve dropped a ton of nuggets. Where can people find you online if they want to learn more about the stuff that you’re doing?
You can find me on Facebook at Jake Cushing and also Instagram J. Cush is me.