129: Is the Abstinence Voice Lacking? (Sort Of)

In the world of scientific data, new understandings of the internal mechanisms that create substance abuse, and harm reduction, have we lost the voice of abstinence? We have on Alexis and Giuseppe from the New West area of Vancouver to talk about how they feel that the abstinence option of drug treatment and recovery is being lost. Treatment for addiction is often funded based on evidenced based practices, which anonymous programs do not meet the criteria for. We explore why all the funding seems to go towards medicated assisted treatment and there is no funding for the abstinent individual. And when it comes time to have a conversation about how to help people, the abstinence voice is missing from the table. Listen in and share your opinions with us about what needs to be done. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason a guy who is in recovery and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re joined today by alexis hi alexis hi and giuseppe from talk recovery radio is that i say that right a few hats definitely topic every radio is one of them for sure okay yeah i just want to make sure i got the title right so we are going to explore all kinds of different things about recovery and these two lovely folks are from vancouver which i think is like ground zero for open minds in recovery communities um and so we’re going to talk we’re going to learn we’re going to explore but i’m just going to let either alexis or giuseppe whoever would like to start uh start with a little version of your story and tell us about yourselves yeah for sure well my name is giuseppe and uh super grateful to be here uh coming from a community called new west uh which is the nickname new west recovery uh which has become one of um i would say not north america’s but definitely canada’s largest recovery community i hear about florida a lot i still haven’t been down there but i think our recovery community is pretty pretty happening some really large um 12-step community meetings i mean you go to a meeting on a thursday and it’s just 250 people in there and that’s you know your basic meeting so a lot of and the other thing too that i’m really proud of our community is there’s a lot of young people here and you know we’re living in a city that’s uh you know very close to the epicenter of one of the worst drug ghettos open drug markets in in the world um you know the downtown east side and it’s really nice to see young people because i remember when i was 20 or when i was 15. i was talking to young people is that recovery was not on the radar i was going to clubs when i was 15. you know i had long curly black hair and i looked pretty good i thought going out to detroit and just doing that whole scene and uh you know if you would have told me what i was doing was wrong i i just you know you disappeared from my life and you know i i went to the bars every night and back then it was dollar drink night and and and it was just so much fun and you know i remember walking into a club called back street it was in a horrible neighborhood in detroit uh because i’m originally from windsor and i just remember it’s gay bar and i just remember walking in and it was an old supermarket and it’s like you know most kids get excited to go to disneyland i was like this is it you know this is where i’m gonna live for the rest of my life and um and i did for like a decade i just did that whole scene and i worked in the scene and you know by the age of uh 21 i had my first club and i was in a bar you know forever and uh seven days a week and um by the time i was 30 i if i wasn’t a drug addict i probably would have been a pretty um productive uh and rich uh hospitality business person but unfortunately i didn’t pay my bills and uh you know we just partied every night and my friends were dj’s and it was the beginning of the after hours club scene you know in the world of tech music and ecstasy had come out and and i was just at the right place at the right time and and and i i’d like to say kind of dumb enough to like risk my life that much uh because i’ve done a set of steps i’ve realized that back then i thought i was i was the bomb and um one day it just literally was like one day it just came all crashing down i mean it was probably a series of steps uh and and consequences that happened but i was just like i gotta get out of town and and i left town and i moved to vancouver and um you know i i thought okay i’ll just start a new life and i i didn’t know i didn’t go to counseling and i go to therapy i didn’t ask people for help i didn’t have that you know historical mental health conversation i i was just you know high and drunk and then i would pass out um and then i came to vancouver with all those issues but not knowing there were issues vancouver’s drug scene was a bit different than the drugs came back in windsor and then i got into different uh substances that were really part of the club scene back then and um next thing you know i i was uh living on the streets using in the downtown east side and uh thankfully um i ended up

walking into somebody who was in a 12-step program who gave me some insight on what to do and um somehow i listened and a long story short it wasn’t a very like ah i’ve arrived i’m powerless over my addiction to you all this part it wasn’t like that it it was kind of like okay how can i like do this so i can return to use and still keep using so i struggled in the very beginning had some relapses had some disappointments um but now you know i can say you know i’m i’m enjoying life and and i i i can see this as a way to live so i’m pretty excited that i was able to get to that place a lot of it has to do with the new west recovery community it really inspired me um you know a lot of people joke around if they ask me for a topic for a 12-step meeting usually the go-to is fun in recovery because i really believe if you you can’t make this fun and you can’t laugh at your story you can’t find you know some solution in your story um you’re not going to stick around to do recovery and and and that’s what i bought into and that’s what i do and somewhere down the road um i met this lovely lady alexis and you know i was just like i like her and i was like 14 years ago and and you know just i remember her at a meeting with her kid you know at the saturday night live and i was just like yeah she’s like me

yeah i i remember that too you know it’s funny like i uh i grew up in recovery really i came to my first meeting when i was 17. and it was really to appease my parents i started doing drugs at 13 and um and it was a way to escape i had been expelled from like four schools and and this was kind of like the last my parents are like if you don’t go to a meeting you’re you’re getting kicked out right and i had already sort of gone back and forth and so i i started my recovery journey at 17 and like giuseppe talked about there were a lot of young people in the rooms that i was able to connect with and and even though i didn’t get clean and stay clean at 17 when i was 19 and ready and had gone to a treatment center when i got out of that treatment center and i came to new westminster uh recovery community who a friend of mine who i gone to uh high school with he had gone to the last door’s youth program so he said hey come out to new westminster um the last door is a treatment center and i had a youth boys program he said come out to new westminster there’s tons of people our age getting clean and so when i got out there i didn’t feel like i was in this stuffy room with all these people that were like 40 50 60 you know telling these like old school stories like we were out having fun like we were going to movies we were doing crazy stuff on the street at like sober like we go to 7-eleven and like people watch at one in the morning and like but we were all clean and doing it together and we did some crazy stuff you know but it was people that were together we also did readings and we would also go to meetings together and then we would go all hang out together at the arcade after it was like really fun um you know i had kids really young like giuseppe talked about like i’m i my oldest daughter is 17. um i’m 39 i had them really young right and uh and so i would take these kids to meetings with me um you know when i got clean i sort of looked at these other people and i still never really felt like a part of or i i was even when i got clean when i was so young i always sort of felt distant and uh and different and when i got married and had these kids i felt like that was what i needed to do to be a part of because i had seen these people that were you know 35 getting clean getting married and having kids but i was 20 like i wasn’t 35. um so i got married and we had these two kids and we moved out of the community and and you know when i moved out of the community i sort of lost the connection of the community i stopped going to meetings i stopped it’s that regular story that people talk about right before they pick up right like i stopped going to meetings i stopped doing all the things that that they said that they would that that you know was keeping me clean for a long time i stopped sponsoring people i stopped talking to my sponsor i stopped doing service and i had these two little kids and this husband and i’m living far away and i had this huge ego like oh now i have the house in the car and the kids and the guy and the everything and i don’t need that anymore and then when that happened you know i became really angry and i remember saying to my husband at the time uh well ex-husband like hey i don’t i don’t i don’t think i’m an addict i think that i could drink and i think that it’ll be okay um and he was like yeah okay and you know i was i had this big thing of convincing him like you know you’ll probably like me a lot better and he’s like yeah i probably will and he didn’t he did not like me better that he did not like me better um and we got divorced and uh and i sort of set off on this like for me i never thought that alcohol was a problem right because i’d always done drugs i know i was doing crystal meth at 17 right like alcohol was never a thing for me and so what i tell people now is that when and maybe it’s because i had more to lose because i had kids and a job and you know a career and everything um but alcohol brought me down faster than any other drug ever did and so it’s important to to give that messaging right that like it doesn’t matter what it was for me that whatever i picked up i used to this crazy thing and and so yeah i had this crazy like in and out and i came back in in 2012 and got married had a couple more kids got divorced again and um and and then i started doing the steps when i was in uh my third year and and when i was in my third year that was like the thing when i started doing the program as it’s designed um my life changed and i don’t know like just that be talked about like it’s a lifestyle now people ask me all the time why do you still go to meetings or why do you still do recovery or you’re ten years clean almost like why are you still doing this and it’s really that i haven’t repaid my debt to the people the places the meetings the things that have uh given me the amazing life that i have today i’ve got four kids i have a really great relationship with my ex one of my ex-husbands that’s progress right at least one of them and uh and you know i’ve built businesses like i’ve i’m really proud of the accomplishments that i’ve done and and made and and if you would have told me when i got clean back in 2012 that my life would look the way that it does right now i would have never believed you so um yeah i’m just really grateful for also having the new west recovery community because um yeah it was it i don’t know like i guess i would have done it in somewhere else but i’m grateful for the um foundation that was set for me um because there were people there with like 35 40 years clean like a lot of people that still go to the meetings that still do the recovery that still help with the um you know destigmatization and the overdose and all the all the everything that are just involved in the community that are pillars that i can look up to and lean on still so yeah i’m really happy to be here that’s that’s my really long story deception knows i like to talk are you are you addicted to having kids are you to being a mom i know well i got friends i got i got remarried and he didn’t have kids right and and so i repeated the same mistake right like i i thought that when i got clean that what’s gonna fix me is by getting married and having kids like it was it it’s this weird uh and i think it stems from my childhood of like my mom getting married and having kids and and being better and having heard my dad take care of her and i thought that i needed a guy to take care of me and and what’s interesting is like after repeating that same mistake it’s not a mistake like i my kids are amazing right but like after repeating that same thing like what i realized after getting divorced for the second time like i’ve been really single since and i’ve been self-supporting and i make more than one of them

so it’s like uh it really like if i hadn’t gone through that twice um you know like they say like the universe gives us the same thing over and over until we until we learn it and and thank god i learned it after four kids and not 10 right i feel i feel like uh beauty and the beast there’s a one line where it’s like the woman that’s like singing i need six eggs that’s too expensive like i always wanted to be belle but i turned up to be that lady so he says that but i have four kids and he has five so we have well i was just curious if she was addicted to being a mom because i was addicted to sex that’s my issue i thought maybe she had different motivations well i’m just codependent if someone asked me to do something

so the the new west uh recovery community is that short for new westminster yeah it’s short for new west and it’s just a nickname that i got dubbed a while ago i’m one of the hats that i wear i’m the director of community development for a non-profit charity called last our recovery society and it’s a treatment center that offers services to youth and adults it’s a pretty big program and uh it’s been around for almost 40 years i’ve been there for probably 12 or 13 years as an employee and you know one of the things aside from the addiction treatment it’s an abstinence supported environment no smoking program it’s about that nickname if you want to get clean you go to last door if you kind of want to just put band-aids on on your addiction there’s lots of other places to go to mind you i’m friends with all the other places so that’s not a guess it’s just you know people that’s that’s what i heard so you don’t want to go there that’s where they make you get clean so it’s like okay yeah i’ll go there um but uh yeah so that’s what it’s it’s called and but one of the things that last door has done is it’s a strong voice for recovering out loud and i work in the back office uh with uh and we devote a lot of energy on recovery events um and they all started you know i remember like one of my first events was a pancake breakfast for like the service committee of our 12-step fellowship and but with my background you know i was in clubs for so long i was just like i could use some of that energy and so me and a couple of other people started to put things together and and so the community engagement piece of last door kind of got bigger and then it got really big you know after a decade or so and for example you know at the back this photo that was recovery day pre-covet 2019 about 40 000 people showed up for recovery day and and it’s a big deal because that was on the commit it’s the 10th anniversary of this year i remember 10 years ago you couldn’t even get 20 service providers to like set up an information booth but there’s a lot of them in us and you and me and my evidence is bigger than your evidence that my program is in we all spent so much energy in the addiction treatment industry and i know this is in the states as well where we just worried about our own business model and our own four walls like we’re going to figure out how to do our brick and mortar and and just work with these islands whether you’re a private funded harm reduction abstinence religious program and so when we did recovery we couldn’t even get people to set on boots because they’re all like well who else is going to be there it’s just so weird it’s just like is it anything i’m like no like i’m calling you i’m asking you to set up a tent that i’m not setting you up you know somebody put potatoes at you like i want you to be there and um probably one of the um most um proud moments was in 2019 we had 150 information like like that’s and it’s not just me there’s susan there’s lorinda there’s lots of people in our committee but i was like we we we hustled like we hustled to get unity in the service providers there was it was my dream was all the programs that we thought of you know it’s just like be there together because you know what last row might work for you today it might not work for you today these people might work for you today it doesn’t mean we’re better it’s just me or they’re better it just means that’s where you’re at in life and that narrative is now true is now pretty a common conversation it’s not the standard go-to there’s still unfortunately a lot of competition especially in the states with private insurance but it’s it’s the beginnings and and you know the covet hit the momentum still there we’re looking at a big event again this year it’s on september 10th you know we do that kind of stuff and and it’s all because the u.s recovery has kind of given us that opportunity to recover out loud and understand what the traditions really are anonymity doesn’t mean be invisible anonymity doesn’t mean keep quiet uh anonymity doesn’t mean it’s it’s a secret anonymity means it’s just you’re not the reason why this is all happening and and that’s a very simple way of looking at it um but yeah we can get more into it if they’re you because we got the anonymity police calling us every once in a while um but uh you know the same thing with pride you know me donnie p alex you know a couple of my friends were like six months clean and they let us go to pride still living in a rehab center at the door there was a client there and we went to pride and the parade was done and we’re looking at each other and we’re like we have to go home because everything was at a bureau garden in vancouver pride and uh you know we couldn’t go really go to the parties and i don’t want to get into the conversation whether or not you go to clubs if you’re in recovery i think everyone has their own path but where we were at at the time we weren’t allowed to go to clubs or the festivals that had beer gardens because we were still living in rehab and so we went home and and uh you know this is a message out to everybody you really need to make your recovery your recovery and so we could have just gone home and been victims and like oh my life sucks like i can’t go to pride anymore and you’re talking to a guy that went to pride every year all like did pride you know passed out at the end of it but did cry and so here we are we kind of like communicated with each other and with support of the organization the year after you know we did a little fundraiser and we put it together a pride float for people in recovery no one wanted to be in it we had nine people in it like everyone’s just like you know there was this idea like i don’t want people to know i’m sober you know i don’t want people to know i’m in recovery i don’t want people to know that i was a drug addict you know that whole thing and because i worked in the club business for a while i was part of prides before for a different reason and i thought this is the same thing as the gay pride movement like i remember that conversation when i was talking to friends hey you going to toronto pride that’s uh here in canada and they’re like oh no you know i might get seen on the news i’m thinking with that now i’m like there’s a million people there like as if a camera is gonna pick you up but it’s this subconscious thing in the background somebody might see me and so fast forward another year i’m like you know what we’re gonna make this a thing and so we had a small dance um on pride and we didn’t want to make it a fellowship dance because then it’s not inclusive because then you have to be in that fellowship to either hear about it or really feel part of it so we organized a pride sober dance not even vancouver pride was part of it they they actually said no you know we don’t like we’re not really interested in being part of that like that’s where we were at you know 12 13 years ago and where the organization actually said no we don’t want anything to do with you guys so we had this dance and and no one showed up we couldn’t even get free tickets away but persistence work not being a victim and being like no this is right like i remember when i was 16 and i went to toronto pride i didn’t see the word sober anywhere i saw bud light i saw most of canadian i saw weed i saw drugs and my dream was to have the words clean sober and proud in the middle of the village here in vancouver and you know pre-cove and obviously in 2019 you know we did events every year and we ended up closing down the main street of the village for sober dance and the words claims up from proud were all across the stage and yeah it was a party and a drag show with like over a thousand people showed up just in this in the one area huge but at the end of the day we were so visible that hundreds of thousands of people saw those words and so this is you know coming from a group of guys that felt like you know life’s not theirs they’ve lost their identity but the reality is is we just had to recreate it and and we had to do it through you know positive thinking positive aspirations and work you know people didn’t do it for us but do it ourselves and and so if you’re out there listening to the show and you’re like oh my identity you know what am i going to do and if you come in from a victim perspective yeah you’re going to have a shitty life but if you come out it’s like how can how can i entertain myself and how can i be part of the solution stuff like this happens like i’m telling you we couldn’t even get 20 service providers to show up now it’s like there’s a waiting list and i’m really proud of that so you know being part of the recovery community isn’t taking what you can being part of a recovery community is what can you add to it and and me and an army of people alexis is part of those things alexis has been part of our pride events all the time and people come to trust you and and still you get those conversations like you know i don’t want people to know about me but it’s it’s a lot less um compared to when we all started this over a decade ago it’s it’s it’s more common people being okay to recover out loud um than it was you know just even a decade ago i don’t know where we used to get arguments on facebook whether or not we could even talk about recovery on facebook now we’ll look at where we’re at you know and and so that’s what we do so it’s it’s pride it’s recovery day it’s recovery month it’s you know trying to i’m not against term reduction i do believe you know you guys are going through what you’re going through in the states right now with with your home reduction conversations but i i just believe that we need to make sure that we don’t hide in anonymity while harm reduction takes over north america like recovery has always been a go-to uh response in portugal switzerland um european home reduction models recovery is always you know the goal it’s never been sustained drug use and and north america and including the states is is buying into the idea that harm reduction is is not supposed to carry people to recovery it’s simply supposed to keep people alive that’s not the case in europe and they use the european model for for you know the go-to for research but they’re they’re not bringing the full story uh like for example portugal you light a joint you’re getting a ticket you do you smoke crack in lisbon you’re getting arrested and that’s a country with decriminalization and the only reason why i bring it up is what another project i work on is we’re doing a documentary called crisis and i remember going to portugal and i’m from vancouver and i’m on stakeholder groups and i’m involved and you know i heard all this stuff about portugal and switzerland and if your drugs would destigmatize because of you know decrim and san francisco and portland and all your american cities are buying into that it’s not true it’s not true i i interviewed dr gallaud the founder of the portuguese model he’s like decriminalization has one of the least effects to reducing their overdose crisis and if your son is addicted to drugs you call the police the police come to your house they write your son a ticket and he’s got to go to a commission called the commission of drug dissuasion if you don’t go to jail but if you continually use drugs and go on the streets of what they call social disorder you will get mandated to treatment or go to jail or you get fined like it’s just you never hear that when you have all these you know um you know harm reduction uh advocates in these cities in america and canada you never hear that part of the story you just hear the word decriminalization like it’s a sexy hashtag so you know just warning you if you have any other guests on your show and stuff like that they start talking about portuguese decriminalization just stop and be like yeah no this giuseppe guy said you can’t even smoke crack up on this thing i could do a harm reduction actually plan to get portugal and all that on here it looked like a bakery because it’s like this is the nicest part actually i’ve ever seen it looked like a bakery no drug use outside it was just completely in a cute neighborhood it was it was in downtown lisbon and i interviewed the ed and it was just there was no social disorder like here it was like if you do drugs here’s your medical intervention but we’ll help you access the treatment right there and so i asked her i’m like what would you do if somebody took this pipe and actually started smoking outside of the window here like on the sidewalk because in vancouver it’s everywhere right and she looked at me and it’s on camera she’s like well that would never happen and i gotta remember how she said that that would never happen and i was just like what do you mean it would never happen well we would we would just stop serving them and we’d have to call the police like you do that in vancouver you’re getting fired you know what i mean so you gotta go back like why did she say that would never happen you know it’s not like oh she can’t do that it’s it wouldn’t happen because there’s this understanding about community that we’ve lost here it’s like you have the right to smoke crack in front of my doorstep i don’t have a right for you not to do that portugal is the other way around dr golau said when we tour we flew him to vancouver because i needed to show up and he said you know i understand where you have gone wrong here in canada in portugal we left the responsibility of citizenship to the drug addict it’s very clear in vancouver the state has taken over responsibility of citizenship you can say that in california you can say that in portland you can say that in every drug ghetto where it’s become okay and and and this is what’s where we’re at now we’re in a drug crisis and europe doesn’t have that because from the day one they said hey you use drugs you’re not a bad person but if you use drugs it’s not okay and will help you stop and and i hope we get there and part of the work i do is trying to get that message out there and that’s why i really wanted to bring it up in this interview because we we’ve lost touch that’s not like in switzerland they don’t give out safe supply like m m candies it’s a very high threshold treatment program and here it’s like i can get 30 dailies in the morning so the drug diversion problem and people selling the drugs it’s becoming a huge problem more opioids we have on the street like in the oxycontin days the worse it is for society and now san francisco is going to start doing safe supply because of the vancouver model it’s just absolutely insane whatever you do don’t listen to the episode that comes out right before this one because i argue that we should have free drugs for everyone okay it’s it’s yeah you know i just it’s one of those things no one’s wrong and no one the only thing that i think that we need to be careful of is we’re trying to remove stigma of addiction but when you say hey you’re just a drug addict once an addict always an addict here’s your medications here’s your drugs because you’re not that is the the the that stigma you know that is what the statement is out there and and we’ve already had safe supply oxycontin was on the streets that was pharmaceutical great stuff like it was good and look what happened and so the research out there shows the more opioids you put on the streets the more opioid addicts you’ll have and that’s the research you know and you don’t have to believe me um alberta which is a province here in canada is actually doing hearings on safe supply where they gather you know experts from around the world to actually look at the research on safe supply it’s not good like it’s not there actually is no research that safe supply actually saves lives there’s actually research that shows it causes more harm because of the drug diversion problem but you go to twitter it’s like you know the holy grail of solutions you know twitter can’t be science hashtags can’t be science doesn’t happen with other diseases only addiction and that’s a problem at the end of the day you know where we live six thousand and seven people have died of overdoses since 2017 since the day they announced that this is a public health emergency you know the the response to that has been more and more harm reduction with a sprinkle of recovery orientated systems of care um you know so i i don’t even i’m alexis is gonna test it i don’t even know how many people have died like i mean i i like i don’t even know anymore i remember back in um maybe 2017 2018 um the mayor of vancouver had a public sort of gathering of people oh yeah i was with you yeah and so they asked people to come and to speak on the overdose crisis okay and then they opened it up to a table conversation for just general public to come in and talk about uh what they think so anyone could show up and a bunch of like recovering addicts showed up and it was interesting so they had like mothers against drunk driving um they had they had harm reduction they had the um safe injection sites they had uh legalization or like decriminalization of uh they had everything they had the health authority there they had like the head of the health authority then they had the vancouver uh police department chief that was there and he went up there and he said you know what’s interesting every speaker that’s here today there’s not one abstinence-based speaker that was invited to speak there today which is crazy and it shows where the money’s going it’s going into harm reduction and so we had that conversation nothing really came about i don’t think anything never does it was just something to like appease the the the public or say yeah we’re talking about it yeah um but it was interesting to hear the vancouver police department talk about abstinence as a viable option and that that was missing from that conversation so and i’m was just up listen like i i’m if if there is i have a uh an aunt who’s oh my gosh i don’t even know how old she is now maybe 68. she’s been a heroin addict since she was 13. and she has been on um drug replacement therapy for the last 10 years and she tried i mean in and out of jail has never gotten off of heroin right so for her the best option for her is to stay on a drug replacement therapy for the rest of her life and that’s what it’s going to be and it’s not that she has a a great quality of life on it but she has a better quality of life than obviously than you know what she would have been harm reduction is there it’s it’s it’s an option i’m not saying that it’s not it’s it’s not like let’s get rid of harm reduction for her it’s important it’s there um and it’s you know she’s working and she has a little community of people and and you know it’s it’s okay um it saved your life but it’s not the only option and so that is that’s the whole piece with the recovery-oriented harm reduction so there’s no guidelines and and almost every healthcare uh sector there’s guidelines and so you know when you talk about your grandmother your aunt and somebody who’s older than you i get it but our focus is teens like when i started working at last tour you know we we have our programs for 14 and 18 year olds you really saw that the change in the kids showing up and just how many men’s they’re on like i’m talking like huge beds and here’s the other problem we’re a private public partnership so we have private beds and funded beds you know the private kids were showing up pretty quick because they had money the funded kids weren’t because they were going to the free clinics downtown and i don’t know how many times i heard the story you know where you know this if you had an uncle or an aunt in recovery you seemed to show up to treatment faster and and then you talked to them and said yeah you know my doctor told me you know and we’re talking about 17 year olds you know i had to stay on you know methadone for the rest of my life and every time i kind of had a feeling he would up my dose i mean kids were showing up on so much methadone and and and and that doesn’t happen in portugal because portugal is not privatized and and when it comes to methadone you don’t have any incentives for keeping people in a methadone in port in portugal here and it’s in the states too you actually get paid to put people in methadone so i’m not saying doctors are greasy but i’m like why are so many people getting put on suboxone and methadone and they’re still dying you know the rates are still there the overdoses are still there so it was the thing of like why isn’t a clinic being regulated how many people are actually being referred to recovery because if you don’t have money and private insurance or private health care you know you’re getting this type of treatment but if you’re rich and you can afford an intervention you’re getting sent to an abstinence program it’s the same disease two different modalities of care and everyone seems to be okay with that and i i scream that so loud when i go to stakeholder meetings like it’s completely unfair that it depends on your financial capital to determine what kind of treatment model you’re going to get so i know tons of people that got horror stories from the methadone suboxone clinics but they have money so they survived it how about the ones that don’t and how about those those moms and those young mothers and young fathers that don’t have an uncle or an aunt in recovery to guide them like there needs to be a national so like the commission of drug disposition portugal we need that here whether you like the name or change it you know that’s fine but a national organization in canada or the us that is recovery orientated that gives you all the options of care despite how much money you have or don’t have and these are all and we’re not we’re completely okay with whatever you choose because we have no financial gain depending on what you choose like those psychiatrists and and psychological psychologists that sit on the commission portugal they don’t care where you go they don’t they don’t get anything out of it they just want you to get well but you have to pick something and here it’s just you go up to google or you you you accidentally like in my case i accidentally walked into the right person i shouldn’t have to accidentally walk into the right person to get health care they should have been offered to me this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org

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so one of the reasons you know we do all this advocacy is because i i’m a bit crazy um that’s one and uh number two is uh uh you know i got a job that allows me to do it um but like i said right my friends are dying and and i’m finding and i got myself involved where i could look and walk away and go do another job but i decided to like actually you know do something and try to break down this stigma people in recovery are like it’s only we get clean and we hate drug users but people think that like there’s the people in recovery and then there’s people in harm reduction and and that’s what’s killing people because there’s a lot of people in recovery that relapse and then they don’t really want to go to the downtown east side or they they they have jobs that are safety sensitive there’s this gray area on what to do when you use drugs and it’s like this little neighborhoods that you know foster you know the ghettoization of drug users like the downtown east side you can get everything there why would you leave right um so you know one of the projects that we worked on was creating an app and the reason why i created a better app was because i have sponsees alexis says it’s like when your sponsor relapses do they just disappear do they just go you know and so we wanted to keep connected with them and there’s an overdose prevention tool in there you know which works globally and and if you’re if you’re my friend like i know tons of people that would be alive today if they would have used the safety net feature it’s like if you’re going to use drugs and you’re you’re in an area that doesn’t have some type of overdose response and they don’t go to consumption sites because they don’t want to like everyone thinks it’s stigma like i i couldn’t go to a smoke inhalation room which they have here to do drugs because when i smoke dope i don’t want to be around people you know what i mean like i don’t know why they don’t get that they’re trying to make it an environment where it’s like everyone goes to so it’s like people like to do drugs by themselves for reasons and and that’s never gonna change and so i thought you know what a great idea to to have an opportunity for you know i’m not judging you you can use drugs but you’re still connected to the recovery community so if you ever want that moment of hope to be in front of you it’s still there and so you can set me up as your safety net if you’re going to use drugs you start the counter if you don’t respond to the alarm um that shuts off i’ll get a notification that hey um you know charlie hasn’t responded he may have uh become unconscious would you like to call an ambulance and then i can i know your address because you gave it to me so i call it ambulance and there’s so i don’t want to recreate facebook for people and recover that’s not the point the point is you know stay connected with people in recovery staying connected when you travel there’s lots of features on there but most importantly it’s like if you have a sponsee or like a family friend that’s using the basement you know here just use this clock and then and if you don’t i’m going to come downstairs and i’ll locks on you i mean there’s so many dead people and and this you know covet was important yeah but like this is pretty important too and and i think the reason why we haven’t been able to get to a place to really slow you down overdose numbers is the disunity and all of the services and the setup of grants to really funnel into certain projects and so we’re all fighting for dollars you know they think we’re fighting for space we’re not we’re fighting for dollars you know we’re fighting for grants and you know if we do like we have this thing in canada called the suep graf if we apply for a grant that has to do with anything that has to do with recovery you’re off the list but if i want to open up a smoke inhalation room or a consumption site it’s like check you know so even people in recovery that are getting soap grants have translated their language all right and this is going to maybe go back to you know your show that you guys did about prosafe supply so there’s you know they’ve trans and they call it person-centered it’s not it’s grant-centered like you know in ottawa they’ve taken the word recovery out of recovery day it’s called the wellness festival because it’s people-centered i’m like and i call them out on linkedin usov like that’s not why you changed the name it’s grant centered it’s because you want people who call themselves addicts and alcoholics and sober to show up at your recovery day hide their identity because it causes stigma and called it wellness you would never go to gay pride and tell people hey don’t use the word gay because 90 of the world thinks that you know where yeah you know like that like there’d be a revolt it’s gay prey you know everyone has a name for it but here they’ve actually holded something else the same thing’s happening in the states it’s it’s grant centered never whenever somebody says person-centered it’s grant-centered it’s like how do i make this sound appeasing so i’ll get my grant and and we get we don’t get a lot of grants for what we do because we’re like you’re an addict call yourself an addict you’re an alcoholic call yourself an alcoholic and the more we say it the less stigmatizing it is um you know it’s just like i can’t we used to be part of this you know recovery organization i’m not going to say their name but it’s american-based we left it because they gave us a how to organize recovery day and to not use stigma language it’s like that’s my name i’m giuseppe i’m an addict like i’ve been through enough don’t tell me i can’t use the word addict it’s like that’s the stigma you telling me not to use it i’m pretty proud of my label and so batter app came out and it’s it’s one of those opportunities for people to stay connected save lives you step work on it add sponsors it’s fairly new a couple of glitches here and there but we’re working on it you know we’re just a non-profit i wish i was you know had facebook’s money but we don’t uh you know hopefully one day we’ll see what happens but uh it’s all about staying connected and building recovery capital in people and and i like recovery capital um because it includes all pathways to recovery yeah i got clean and a 12-step program i go clean n a but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everybody but when i say that i don’t want to say that it doesn’t work and it works a works they all work it just depends you know so what you want to do with your life and i think if we can continue to build unity um and continue to believe that you know once an average always an addict isn’t true anybody can get clean we’ll get out of this mass and that’s the uh the better app uh my version says better app dash my recovery it’s by last door recovery society and i i say that because when i tried to search it up by myself there was 18 billion apps named better something or other so it was just easier to find that way and you know one of the features you mentioned this idea of like a way to safely monitor people who are going to be in active use you know alexis mentioned that to me when we were talking about it and it seemed brilliant right at the moment she mentioned it because i was like i literally used to put 9-1-1 into my phone and this was pre-smartphones right and i would have my finger over the call button as i did my shot because i was like well maybe i can click it quick enough before i die right like that crazy idea and so to have this you know that it was a good idea i guess when you were talking about it here the one thing that did come up for me though i was like man that is a lot of faith and like phone notifications and apps not breaking like that does scare me just a little bit that’s got to be a a real uh monitored service i guess but the concept behind this you know a place for people to it it’s not so much i feel like there’s a there’s a kind of a recovery community website now but it it’s not necessarily it’s more like 12 stepping focused and and that’s fine right i don’t hate the 12 steps but this is more inclusive i feel like it’s got modes for everything it’s got a places to hang out step work sponsorship people you know ways to stay in touch with people who have gone back out and that is a concept i don’t think exists anywhere else right now and so i would love to see you know an elon or or a zuckerberg like jump in here and and start funding these kind of things they need this kind of money they need we need like you said we we base things around grants unfortunately because that’s the only way to get funding right and we need the money to do positive things for people that’s one of those things that’s just necessary and people don’t want to put money into it we all have that story of relapse and and then being like can am i still part of this recovery community and that’s a real situation and and then some of us you know do the work to understand a lot of that had to do with psychosis but there is some reality in there you know everyone’s talking about me and and yeah it’s kind of true for two days and they stop uh because there’s another person right but the reality is is like let’s do our best at trying to remove that 24-hour period of making people feel no you’re still part of like and you know you know i always think about uh tristan a alexis like it’s just like he struggled and and got lost in that conversation that he wasn’t part of this anymore and it’s like yeah you are you know and then but this was years ago and and i know the last time i had breakfast with him like i could have told him hey if you’re going to use tonight like use this and tell me and no judgment like i’ll just you know and and but we and that was one of the things that helped get better app started it was that that drive the next time i’m having breakfast with somebody like tristan i could be like hey if you’re going to use tonight like ping me and and and and that way you’re not using a loan um we’re not gonna stop people using a loan and this fight i mean it’s good to spend money on on on on on the narrative like don’t use a loan like i believe that’s we shouldn’t stop spending that money um i think we should we also just need to start spending money on figuring out ways to support people that are using a loan because that will never go away you know and it’s my end everything works you know i remember listening to my boss who’s retired now and this is uh going back a long time ago and this reporter came and did a story on the the crystal meth ads that were across north america you know it shows person healthy and then they go down and to like in jail right and there was this big advocacy group trying to get those ads to stop because they were stigmatizing people who use crystal meth so i get it you know what i mean it’s just like i smell crystal meth that’s not me some people can smoke crystal meth and live a happy life some people can’t and so the story was about and the advocacy was to stop these ads and so they they asked my boss you know what do you think and he said well everything works you know i might not get you to stop smoking crystal math but it might get hurt to stop smoking math so let’s do everything and hope everything sticks to at least somebody and and and that’s where we need to get to where we’re not like you know this gets 80 of the funding and this gets 10 of the funding it’s like let’s just throw 100 of the funding on everything because this idea that certain things work better i know people on suboxone whose lives like they detox off the box and it almost kill i know one guy it’s like suboxone almost killed me but suboxone has saved so many lives so do we just forget about him that it almost killed like it literally like like he just his life was so suicidal while he was on suboxone like it didn’t work for him and so it’s one of those things where we get into this place where we’re stigmatizing people with health care it’s like well this is evidence-based you need to fit in this box you know what i mean like it’s just it’s it’s not it’s we can’t treat addiction like we treat a broken arm where it’s like there’s one intervention this is how you fix it and it’s the best practice you can’t treat addiction and mental health like that it actually causes harm when you try to teach treat addiction and mental health that way because then you’re like oh i’m not good enough and i think even the 12-step community has realized that because 12-step community is not the same from when i entered it like when i entered it it’s like do the steps or die now it’s turned around where it’s like do harm reduction or die it’s com the pendulum is going completely the other way it’s just like what has happened to here and because i’ve i’ve paid attention i’ve seen it happen and so i think what we need to do is just try your best and something will work and and i think that’s a lot more freeing and it’s not forcing people i don’t think everybody in the world needs to come to last door recovery society to get clean like it just ain’t gonna happen and we get that but i think everybody should be given an opportunity to do that if they want to and and i don’t believe that everything needs to you know every service needs to be provided to everybody from the get-go because that’s it’s not going to happen either who’s going to pay for it you know there’s no money in it for now i think we just need to give education to people and have you know if anybody out there is a policy maker have some type of organizational structure where the recovery coaching industry actually becomes legitimized like right now it’s in the private world and it’s like you know who’s got money against recovery coaches recovery coaches is can be the gateway to harm reduction and recovery oriented systems of care but it’s it’s just it’s gotten lost in the private intervention world and it should be done at the local level because any agency you walk into in canada i don’t know about the states but it’s always tied to the services they offer so of course they’re going to promote their services why wouldn’t they they they have bottom line to be whether a non-profit or not it’s just like this is what we do this is what you’re going to do and so to have somebody that is at arm’s length from those services offering you suggestions on how to get well that’s a healthy productive recovery-oriented system of care because no one’s making money where you go obviously there’ll be corruption and all of that but someday but you get regulations to fix that until we get there i honestly believe from all the stakeholders i’ve sat in and all the work i’ve done we’re never going to get over this addiction crisis because that is the crisis it’s privatized and and and everything else is it you know canada anyway so so it’s uh it’s fascinating i feel like we could spend you and i just personally like six hours because i i actually anticipated us being and not that we’re on like drastically different pages of all this but we do have some slightly different takes on things and i would want to pick your brain more because i do think you have a little more of the the numbers and the scientific community research and you know i i have you know what i think are great ideas of mine so i would love to have that discussion but i am keeping an eye on time here and i know one of the things that really uh attracted me to the idea of having alexis on to begin with was this idea the recovery kids program that she has and i don’t want to miss out on hearing a little bit more about that yeah so recovery kids is something that i started in 2013 and really it just was at christmas time um my my own family had given because i have a million children and i repopulated the earth repopulated the earth together so you’re welcome world um but my kids had like all this abundance of toys and stuff and i was like ugh like i don’t want to give them all of this stuff at christmas like you know people my family like sent stuff and um and and it was just a lot of stuff so i was like okay let’s just drop it off to the recovery community so i phoned a treatment center and i said um hey i actually phoned you seppie and i said hey can i can i uh drop off some toys to the guys at the house like could anyone use stuff to give to their kids and he was like yeah bring it by um and then what i realized the next year when i did some research into it with christmas bureaus and people that are in recovery is that um kids that like parents that are in treatment at christmas do not qualify for christmas bureaus at least here because they need to be living with their kid and then the people that are taking care of the kid often are not um they’re not getting child tax they’re not like they’re not their actual guardian right on paper so they don’t qualify so there’s this gap in the system of these kids who are getting taken care of all their parents plus their parents are in treatment and it’s weird right it’s weird and traumatic and different and all they want is like a good christmas and and so i thought you know what i’m gonna um go to facebook because facebook was was still a thing back that was really big i mean it’s still a thing but like facebook was like come on it was like the mom’s groups i like went to the mom’s group so i was like hey like let’s figure this out like let’s get some kids some toys and then i thought well my kids like i know how crazy different my own children are right like one likes one thing another likes another thing like i think of my niece who really likes hockey and then my girls are like i hate hockey right so um i didn’t want to get things for kids that they didn’t want right so then we got wish lists of these kids right and what they wanted and so we ended up fulfilling like two treatment centers and then the next year we did three treatment centers and then this last year we helped 400 kids get toys um and gifts at christmas time um and we helped eight treatment centers and then we also sponsored uh people that were new in recovery that just gotten out of treatment um so we helped like five of those people and like one kid that i really like it touched my heart wanted a scientific calculator like you just think how basic that is right like you don’t even have a like you’re in grade 10 or a lot i think the kid was in grade 11 and wanted to take engineering at school and like wanted to like go off and do engineering and they just didn’t have a calculator to do that and i thought man like i’m gonna get you that calculator so i got the calculator but then i we phoned the family and we were like do they have a laptop and we found out that they didn’t and that they were that kid was like borrowing one from the school and like this back and forth thing so we went and gone laptop and then that kid had a sibling so then we’re like we gotta make this equal right so then we got the other kid air pods and like just like it just is crazy to watch these dads and moms so we we go and we help them like like rap and everything and like what it’s teaching is it doesn’t just teach that like first of all it’s teaching especially men i find women are like yeah i’ll take the three things sure right and some men but i find that most men are like no i want to provide like there’s that instinctual like or like generational or societal like pressure onto men to like don’t accept help provide for your family and if you don’t you’re a piece of [ __ ] right like that’s just kind of a thing that like men a lot of men carry and so that’s why i chose a men’s treatment center in the beginning and that it teaches men that is and women and people that it’s okay to ask for help it’s okay to receive help and so many people over the last decade that this has been happening have now come on board and helped others right so now they have started a company or whoever they’re with or they’ll donate like even like whatever ten bucks or a a starbucks gift card or something and and so it creates this community of like of giving and and then i find that for for children it allows it to just be a bit of a better uh christmas and and to help relieve the trauma and help support kids is helping to break the cycle of addiction right and so now we’re uh we’re expanding it so we’re gonna be offering back back-to-school programs we’re going to be giving uh fees for kids at school to uh directly to the school so that if parents can’t pay the fees or if they want to go to uh play sports at school or whatever that they can do that we’re going to do we’re doing a sports uh music art fund so that if kids because here’s the thing creating community we know that the antidote to addiction is unity and community right and connection so if we’re creating community and and connection for kids we’re creating a distraction which is okay for the kids while their parents are in treatment and getting better that it’s so that they don’t have to leave treatment at christmas to be with their kids like the gift is the treatment right and then it just softens the blow a little bit for them while they’re in there but then after it’s helping those kids to create community create um uh connections with other kids connections with coaches and and and you know our teachers and and in order to help relief the trauma of addiction which happens right so i’m really excited about it and i just know for my four kids that they uh really love helping and um and was one thing that that helped my kids while they were well i was getting clean was like hockey and soccer and their coaches and and things like that so it’s uh i watched i watched it happen in my own kids lives and so i just want to help other kids too you know the other doing we do co-parenting group and so those are the guys that participate in the gift receiving and like alexis said at first they’re all like you know they’re in treatment and and they’re they’re like oh no i got it covered it’s like no you don’t you know like you don’t have a coverage like let us help you you know and then they soften up and and then it’s like and alexis does this great thing where they don’t get they get to pick the gifts they’re kind of staged already but there’s some ability to pay but you have to wrap them yourself because that way

that’s a big piece of the whole you know ownership of the gifts and all that kind of stuff and another beauty part of this is is people forget addictions are they say is a chronic relapsing disease but we don’t support people in early recovery like we do like the drug user gets all of this support you know when you’re on the streets and you’re homeless and you know there’s all this crisis going on here’s here’s you know a billion dollars a day in vancouver it’s in the millions a day but the minute you go to rehab and i have experiences myself you’re kind of like okay but like i need help like even like if you’re a drug user you get a free cell phone in vancouver but if you’re like on welfare in early recovery you have to go get your own cell phone and and and i remember raising that up at a stakeholder meeting like why are you giving all the phones to the drug users how about people in early recovery looking for jobs there’s still no program to get people in early recovery phones but there’s like us like hundreds of phones going out to the downtown east side every day so it’s this idea that alexis created the conversation that support people in recovery you know because they need they need help too they get they’re getting their lives back on track and so it’s it’s a wonderful thing to raise awareness because a lot of people didn’t realize oh i didn’t think about that like i’m i’m gonna give a ton of items at christmas for the homeless but i didn’t even think about people in early recovery who’ve got real challenges and don’t have the drugs to cope with those challenges so i give her an applause for that because she opened up this conversation of helping people in early recovery and it’s very important thanks alexis yeah i have my you know look there’s issues with christmas and consumerism and this that and the other and i totally get that you know providing one happy joyous morning isn’t fixing the year-long issues that are going on within the household and all that but just as a guy who relishes the magic of the joy in my kids eyes on that morning and you know my wife and i have like always for some reason it’s we’ve been drawn to like helping families out that need it at christmas and we’ve done it in a variety of different ways and like i mean i’ve cried with parents giving them the things that they’re going to give to their kids because they feel better they don’t have to feel the guilt or the sadness and you know just picturing what the what the kids are going to enjoy so i i i’m all in i’m drawn to it i got a feeling i’m going to get off of here and probably make a donation to it actually uh if there’s a way to donate so actually while we wrap up alexis why don’t you tell us how to be a part of that and then giuseppe you can tell us how to you know get into the better app and and get involved in any other ways that are important to you guys yeah so recoverykids.com is with a zed so recoverykids.com or you can go to the instagram which is recovery at recovery kids um and you can get i’ve got a little kid right here that’s like staring at me like please yeah yeah so um you can go there um and uh and and yeah we we really just um you know even if you just want to share a story or something of like when you’ve been helped or somewhere that you’ve helped or whatever we love just hearing and sharing stories not just with recovery kids but like within the recovery communities so if somebody just wants to come and connect um and they there’s lots of also ways to volunteer with us without donating money because i know a lot of people are like oh i don’t know how to donate like don’t yes we will take your money but um and we need your money um um but we also have uh like amazon wishlist that we create at christmas time so you can go on at christmas and like pick the gifts that uh parents have actually picked out on amazon and they just get directly shipped to me so that’s a way to do it without uh actually giving money um and then there’s just ways of like um like sharing the message on social media and things like that and volunteering so yeah recovery kids with his ed that’s with a z in america yeah yeah we don’t know what that is sorry

um but yeah like my friend jennifer wilde she has a podcast called sober exposure and um and she is is helping to she’s like yeah i want to start this in the states too so if there’s anyone that’s in the states that like wants to create that model that i have done um and want some help and like learning how to do it and wants to give back to their community even in like a microwave like helping one place you can reach out to me and i’ll let you know everything that i’ve done um and i’ve learned a lot over the last decade so that you know i don’t necessarily want to take it on but if you want to take it on um in your own community it really is a great way to help out awesome and what do you got giuseppe how do we find everything you’re interested in you know if you want to support the projects that we work on you can go to lastdoor.org and make a donation there and in the notes you can put i want to support recovery day cleans over proud events better app you know any day or just treatment so that’s awesome thank you very much if you want to download better app you can go to betterapp.ca and there’s links there um or you can search in your app store better my recovery plan and it should come up so back from my recovery actually no sorry better my recovery app um and that will help you find the apps and create profile and when you create a profile it’s being created as a person in recovery a person who’s using drugs or a person that’s a recovery ally um so we can all work together in those three realms um so yeah that’s better app and you know the radio show talk recovery radio all that’s on on last store’s website you just go to links uh and you can find everything there and uh we’ve got lots of projects going on and if you are interested in traveling to canada um you know on april 12th and 13th uh it’s our fifth annual recovery capital conference and it brings together recovery oriented leaders from around the world um to the spirits of calgary it’s a national summit and i’m the co-chair of that conference committee and we’re pretty much 80 percent sold they’re 70 percent sold so far so your tickets but we have some great speakers like dr john kelly dr david bass uh we’ve got the people behind the iceland model you should get them on your show that is a a place that spent all their funding on prevention and now they don’t even have an addiction issue in iceland so it’s called the icelandic model and it’s uh they did simple things like fun soccer for kids you know for every kid in the entire country and um you know they they waited it out and 15 20 years later they from a country that had the worst alcohol consumption use on the planet the worst they had more people drinking there than anybody else they have the lowest alcohol consumption rate in the world so so prevention works so and that’s what we try to do with fun and recovery so if you like what you hear go to lastor.org make a donation download the app let’s save our friends lives if you have a sponsor using you have a friend using your kids using in the basement you know tell them to use the app it’s it’s it goes by text messaging and so what happens is you you open up the app the app sends a text message to your safety net we call them digital spotters here and uh and you get a ping are you are you aware that someone’s using do you want to be their digital spotter you agreed to yes so there’s that alertness like i know someone’s about to use you get a text message saying charlie’s using um and give it two minutes and if he shuts his alarm off then he’s okay um if he doesn’t then you have their address and and you can go uh spot them and can i just mention one other thing about the app that i really liked was that you have a section of uh speaker speakers on there within all the different fellowships with i found was really interesting because i don’t tend to listen yeah i don’t tend to listen to speakers outside of my own fellowship and to have them all listed there to be able to select different fellowships just to get a more open mind about some of that sort of stuff i thought was really neat oh and it’s it’s only missing recovery podcasts yeah we need to be you know what we’re going to be adding them there’s two things one is if you hit higher power it randomly selects any tape so you never hear it twice and i’ve done that a few times and it’s i love i love i never thought i’d say this but i love the older wife and the alano meetings i think they just

and the other thing too that we’re really going to be kicking off it’s called recovery route live rooms and so you can podcast yourself live and everybody in the app gets a notification and so it’s going to be like the clubhouse and the wisdom apps where you can pick a topic and do a live speaker meeting and we’re going to beep up that page a bit more too but right now you can uh they’re going to be starting up we have a series of people that are scheduled to do some so we’re excited about that and you know we’d love to bring on some more podcasts so that’s that’s that’s a project in the happening so we’ll be adding yours for sure with permission oh sure thank you absolutely what i love about the better app is that it isn’t program specific so there is smart recovery in there um it’s a really easy way for traveling to find meetings um you can log into your own meeting it’s a connection app um and uh and yeah and and and like giuseppe said like when i relapsed i had a lot of shame and i didn’t want to come back to meetings right away right like i didn’t want to come back to meetings people knew me people right like that oh and people are going to judge me and like um this hierarchy of clean time and whatever and so if i had had the app at that time um it’s a way to create connection i can log in and and just feel like i’m connected to something without maybe having to actually step foot in there right so it’s a bridge and you know we talk about the wait times in in to get into treatment right like how long it can take sometimes if you’re not private care where you’re walking in that same day and you have to wait a month this is a really great way to connect and get in and in touch and like talk to people in recovery and um and and sort of listen to meetings and listen to speaker tapes and and go into those podcast rooms and and uh and and if i’m gonna use use in a way where um you know it’s safe right and and bridge the gap from that moment of yes i want to get clean right that moment of like yes i want to get clean i’m ready to do it right now and then actually getting into treatment and so it’s a really great way just to even have it on my phone and be like you know what i’m even for me even the russell bro there’s the russell brand steps in there which is like there’s it’s just like are you [ __ ] right like there’s no like program or anything like i told my mom like my mom’s like i really like lay’s chips that’s how she relates to addiction it’s crazy but she’s like i love those chips nice chips and she’s like you know and and she but yeah like she he could do this like anyone can do the steps anyone can do it’s just it’s it’s not just an app for people in recovery is my point my point is that it’s for p anybody that’s an ally of recovery anybody that’s been touched by recovery or by addiction it’s a really important app for people just two things i wanted to point out too one is this came from where i work we have this thing called the 12-step exercise so if you have something in your life that’s just really you know you’re two years in recovery and like just you’re breaking up with your girlfriend you just lost your job you you you did a little bit of gambling last night and lost a shitload of money and now your wife’s gonna find out your partner you know that kind of stuff and you need to like find a solution it’s called the 12-step exercise it’s meant to be done in one day it’s just 12 questions you answer them and it’s all digital and all that you can share with your sponsor immediately when you answer the questions and it’s just an opportunity to delay and this exercise that our experiences has helped so many people kind of get to a solution within a day without feeling all the pressure of the consequences so so that’s something i really wanted to point out like like use that it’s going to help you then another thing is i hate i don’t hate zoom meetings i love zoom meetings i hate the pressure it’s put on people in 12 steps in meetings because you’ve got it they’ve all of a sudden they’ve become av operators for many conferences it’s like cameras and microphones and computers and laptops and projectors it’s like you got 10 minutes to set it up and the pressure and and i i like i i can feel the pressure it’s created where you know it’s just this prolonged kind of acceptance of you know somebody is going to show up an hour early to set up this meeting so you can stream your home group live no more zoom codes you just find your meeting hit go live everybody in your home groups gets a notification anybody your mom wants to join in to listen to your case she can log in she doesn’t need a code she doesn’t need a password it’s just okay it’s live i listen to it and so we try to simplify as we go into a less covered world and meetings are in person you know for that odd small group of people that still want to stay digital you don’t have to have a you know this audio visual company coming in setting up your 12-step meeting for 20 people you know just go live it’s super easy so i just want to point out those two more things i’m kind of proud of on this version and uh hey thanks for letting us uh rant and speak and talk and you know i’d love to chat more you know on on the side about some of our findings and what we’re doing and yes i’ll send you some of the tapes i’m on talk recovery yeah you come on talk recovery we do our show every thursday it’s a radio show that we because of zoom now it’s a hybrid between zoom and radio but it started off as a radio we do the show the studio is closed still which should be opening up but right in the heart of the downtown east side so like we’re climbing over people that are like passed out at the door well um to go into the studio to do a show about recovery and you know it’s our eighth year now i think and um it’s been quite the journey and i got to tell you for myself when i started the show i truly believed you know um 12-step recovery is the only way like i truly believe that and now i’ve opened up the conversation i mean we’ve had people that run ayahuasca programs meditation programs you know write books about this and that and you know one thing i’ve learned is everyone is trying their best and the only problem is we’re not being supported to all try our best together and like when i did those ayahuasca programming interviews like like he really was like i want to help these people and i’m like okay you know i would think person on ayahuasca had to leave the studio i couldn’t say it there for our safety and his but uh you know what like who am i to judge like okay that’s what you want to do and but you know for years we’ve all been fighting for space so yeah that’s beautiful and and yeah we’d love to be on there we’d love to have you guys back on here because i know billy’s got a list i can look at his list of questions over here and i have quite a few myself that i that i wanted to ask that we just didn’t have time for but thank you so much people out there go check out these resources the things that have named they’ll be the links in the show notes underneath of this episode check it out be involved be a part of donate set up one in your own community like this is all about us reaching out to help the next one uh thank you guys so much for taking your time today thank you bye alexis bye everybody bye did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoveryswordup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on facebook twitter instagram reddit youtube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us