What is Addiction Recovery?

Dr. Jane Witbrodt and Dr. Kaskutas will be joining us this Thursday live on Talk Recovery Radio 100.5 fm to talk what is addiction recovery.

Dr. Witbrodt is from the Alcohol Research Group, Associate Scientist, Formal and informal solutions to recovery from substance use disorders with emphasis on gender, racial/ethnic and cross-cultural differences.

What Is Recovery? Elements that define recovery and the Science of Recovery systems.

  • How to define recovery?
  • Why undertake this project?

There has been little agreement about the definition of recovery from alcohol and drug problems.

Most of what we know about the definition of recovery has come from scientists and  expert panels, not from people in recovery!

The overriding purpose of the “What is Recovery” project was to develop a way of defining recovery based on how it is experienced by those who actually live it.

www.WhatIsRecovery.org

Personal Story Time

What is Recovery will be followed by Moe Love, telling her personal story of addiction and recovery.

Talk Recovery is brought to you by Last Door Recovery Centre.

Moe’s personal story live .. Talk Recovery airs live every Thursday at noon on 100.5 fm. Brought to you by Last Door Recovery Society

Posted by Talk Recovery on Thursday, November 16, 2017

What is Recovery.mp3

Giuseppe.

Good afternoon Vancouver it is noon and we’re coming to you live on co-op Radio CFRO 100.5 FM and we’re here every Thursday and enjoying our show today we got my co-hosts.

Hello Frances and hello Darren, how are you doing Darren? Good! How are you? Yes. And we’ve also got our second guest in studio with us for our second half of the show, Moe is here. She’s going to talk about her personal addiction recovery story during our personal story time. And  we usually start off with just a little bit of a hot topic and yesterday an e-mail went out to every physician in British Columbia by Dr. Sutherland from the Portland Hotel Society. She’s is the lead physician for the B.C. Center on Substance Use where she is I believe in charge of continuing education for all positions in British Columbia for addiction treatment .. and it was a really interesting e-mail was sent up by the University of British Columbia for continuing education for physicians. Darren, you don’t know because France and I talked about this in the car but the e-mail is whacked. So here is one of the most important positions in B.C. and is telling all the doctors and British Columbia the only effective treatment program for an opiate addict is to stabilize them on a minimum of Sixteen milligrams of Suboxone and that’s it. And then it talks about all this anecdotal personal experiences in her clinic and she will no longer work with patients that want to do recovery or want to do a taper.

She tells them that if anybody requests to do a taper that they will die and that they have to be stabilized on medications, so I sent that email to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions because actually according to the BC Centre on Substance Use guidelines the actual best practice is opiate replacement therapy that also includes residential addiction treatment or some kind of bio psychosocial treatment followed up with that. And to not treat a patient because they don’t want to take your medications is actually against the Canadian Health Act which is the federal law. So here we have one BC’s top physicians actually distributing an e-mail to every doctor in B C and I don’t know about you but I kind of think it’s criminal when you’re not even telling the truth in an e-mail. So I went on a rant about it on Facebook today and I’ve actually think I’ve lost a couple of friends today who I loved dearly. Hopefully we can have dinner again.

But I took it really hard. Like I was just staring and I looking at this e-mail saying how could this be. She doesn’t even mention recovery capital assessments. She doesn’t even mention the dangers of Suboxone for 16 year old kids. Can you imagine being 16 getting put on 16 milligrams of Suboxone told that’s all you got to do.

And then go through puberty and try to get laid like Let’s talk some real issues here. I mean it’s a horrible horrible horrible e-mail. And then it doesn’t say the fact that if you’re a physician or your doctor or nurse you’ve got money in the bank and you want to go to private treatment you can get abstinence she doesn’t talk about that.

So this is the problem we got in BC.

Darren.

It’s sad to think that they are giving a solution to every and all opiate heroin addict rather than treat them on an individual basis. I think that’s the biggest problem.

Giuseppe.

Exactly. If she would just say hey this is a good practice for those that have no recovery capital or those that do not wish to do anything other than moderate their using and so forth. But for many there are other options addiction issues, like CBT treatment.  the whole gamut of addiction recovery services, then I would be like right on Dr. Southern, That’s awesome, that’s great e-mail. But to tell every opiate addict, it’s like Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” “just eat meds” “let them eat meds” all of you. Opiate addicts out there just eat you meds, just at your meds and stay home in your housing first and don’t do anything, else unless you’re rich.

Darren.

I wonder if she actually truly genuinely cares about the individuals that are suffering or whether or not there may be something in her pocket for this.

Frances.

Oh come on now guys. Come on be careful.

Giuseppe.

That’s the rant of the day.  Tell us what you think. Do you think every opiate addict should be on 16 milligrams of suboxone? And that’s it wipe our hands clean. or do you think that our one of our lead physicians in British Columbia should also be advocating “hey if you want to do recovery you can do recovery”. So like I say we’re not in an overdose crisis we’re in a treatment crisis and an overdose crisis, Frances im going to move the microphone over to you before we get in trouble.

Frances.

And we’ll already there. I’m heated today. Oh my gosh. Giuseppe is going to do 12 steps around harm reduction.

Giuseppe.

I’ve actually been working with my sponsor and I’m going to be doing some steps to talk about my powerlessness over this whole concept of treatment and recovery, because it’s affecting my serenity. It’s affecting my recovery, i’ve seen the other side of this fluffy news media reaction to the overdose crisis. And I can’t change the world.

I talked to a mom today, her son died yesterday, I’m sorry your son didn’t have access to treatment like rich people do. And all that kind of stuff, when you’re on the front lines, it’s wearing on a lot of people and it makes sense. I’m going to leave it at that.

We’ve got some great guests on the show today. We’re going to talk about addiction recovery because that’s what our show is about. Who are we talking recovery with today?

Frances.

Today we get to talk recovery with Dr. Lee Ann Kostic a senior scientist and Dr. Jane Witbrot, associate scientists from the Alcohol Research Group about their study.

What is recovery. So we have both of you, this is going to be interesting because we’ve never had two guests on the phone so I guess I will direct my questions to each of you separately if that works.

Hello.  Thank you for being on talk recovery. So let me start with you. So what is the definition of recovery that you got from this study what is this study where what has happen is it only in America. Like what? Tell me a little bit about it.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Oh OK. Jane you pitch in if I’m forgetting which I’m certain to do. The word recovery is thrown around all the time and treatment programs are supposed to deliver recovery, 12 step programs are about recovery. So what is recovery. And I got upset like you’re talking about getting upset about the suboxone thing. Well I got upset because most studies , I’m a scientist studying the field of recovery and 12-Step and treatment. By doing surveys of people in recovery and treatment and whatnot and other than my studies, most studies have equated recovery with either being abstinent and that’s it. And I think that’s where the suboxone thing might be coming in. Or they equate it with remission from a DSM diagnosis. So it’s missing the whole reality of the positive things of recovery and it’s taking it from a negative. You no longer have a diagnosis. You no longer are using and recovery has a lot of positives. And I wanted to see if that was the case. So we interviewed hundreds of people and asked them to tell us how they defined recovery and then we broke that down and gave a smaller set of recovery items, 47 items to 10,000 people in recovery. Most are from the U.S. but they actually are from around the world.

We asked them did they believe the disease of addiction and did this item go along with your idea of what recovery is or is it maybe not something that you think belongs in the definition, but might belong in other people’s definition getting at the tolerance that we see at least we hope to see in 12 step recovery and other ways of recovery. So we got that answers and whittled all that down into four groupings if you will of these items. And one of them sure enough was about abstinence, so that goes along with the way studies always look at it and  treatment providers too. Are you abstinent when you leave treatment. OK that’s good you’re good to go. Other ones were the essentials of recovery, enriched recovery, and spirituality in recovery. And what’s cool about the spirituality recovery grouping being is that it’s got things like, recovery is helping others. It’s not just a belief in God or any such thing. It’s not enough of an introduction or should I get more into the actual elements.

Frances.

That’s a great start. Thank you very much. That’s a great start. To just understand who was surveyed in this, how many people were surveyed in this time, were they in recovery, and how did you reach them.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Oh gosh. We threw the book at that. We we were on radio shows we had advertisements on an internet place that is like a place where 12-Step people go that is not associated with AA, lots of people go to that place and we advertised the study there. We sent e-mails to state departments of alcohol and drug treatment to every community organization that we could find. And that way we ended up getting the word out to all sorts of different people. And we ended up getting 10,000 responses.

Frances.

That’s that’s a great big pool of people that’s really really positive. And so what about. So we had this discussion recently at a meeting that I went to and the definition of recovery at this particular meeting was someone pursuing abstinence, is that the same as it’s not somebody that’s necessarily is abstinent, but is pursuing abstinence. Is that how it’s seen in the United States too? Your with an alcohol research group, is it just with alcohol addiction or is that also with opiate addiction?

Dr. Kaskutas .

I would say it’s both.

Frances.

OK. And is it their pursuit of abstinence that is recovery or is somebody that is on suboxone or methadone. Are they considered in recovery.

Dr. Kostic.

Oh well I don’t know.  who is the they , who they are talking about the government. Obviously they would have they don’t even know what recovery really is. So they will go along with it if you’re honest about something like that. Yes you are in recovery.

Fances.

Right. And so do you think that that’s different from the people that are experiencing a more spiritual life of helping others and that sort of thing.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Most of our respondents didn’t just say recovery was abstinence from using their substance of choice. That just wasn’t the way these people defined it. They included that certainly as part of their definition but it wasn’t always abstinence, it could have been trying to use less than you did before for example. And then we see some tolerance happening, but then it was also these things like you say about helping others.

The four items were that were endorsed by pretty much everybody. Now fasten your seat belt because they don’t have to do with abstinence.

It being honest with myself, handling negative feelings without using, being able to enjoy life without drinking, or using drugs like I used to, which gives you room for maybe just drinking less kind of thing, and recovery is a process of growth and development.

Frances.

Do you think growth and development is possible on on an opiate replacement therapy.

Dr. Kaskutas .

I would say yes.

Frances.

Why do you think this study is important in terms of policy government policies and funding?

Dr. Witbrot.

Well would be good for everybody to see the value of recovery. As we said prior to that, what is recovery, We know a lot about what the problem is with alcohol addiction, we have to deal with them and if you have these symptoms you have a problem, and recovery was mostly accidents. Most people say “wow” it’s more than that my life has changed since I’ve gone into recovery. And when you gave a voice to people to talk about recovery. Exciting. The most exciting part for me was that as researchers we included everybody in recovery. We made them our partners and we gave a voice to them and we went back and forth back and forth to come up with a definition of recovery. As defined by people in recovery. And that to me is incredibly exciting.

Frances.

You mentioned the DSM 5. And that’s a diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association and it uses the word disorder instead of addiction. Do you think that that matters are the term addiction been overused?

Dr. Witbrot.

Well I I have thought about that since the Vancouver conference when someone spoke about how we use language and he said if someone has a problem with food they have an eating disorder. But if someone has a problem with alcohol or drug they are a drug addict, and he said. Why would we do that, why wouldn’t we say they have a substance use disorder. So, language does impact how we see things or we see people with the problem i think. So, I think substance use disorder is a good term.

Frances.

The DSM 5 Also seems like it’s a little bit vague on behaviors, it doesn’t consider sex addiction or Internet addiction or I think even money addiction. And I’m just wondering if those in terms of recovery, if the recovery that you were trying to gather information on was just in terms of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse not internet and sex and money.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Yes it was limited to substance use if you will.

Frances.

What is the climate in the U.S. lately? they have, this will be one of my last questions before we go to our first song. I’m getting the nod from the guys here. But what is what is the climate right now with Donald Trump as president and the recent. It seems like he says that there’s a public health emergency but then there’s no action following that. Is that being correct in that, or am I getting that wrong.

Dr. Kaskutas .

No you’re correct. That’s what’s happening.

Frances.

Well that must be very frustrating. How are you feeling about the climate of being able to advocate for change in terms of using this study to advocate for change in government policy.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Well I think that the main thing to think about and along those lines is that it talks about the positive things of recovery. And I think if we can get policymakers to genuinely look at these items the way people define recovery and say it is a positive thing they would want to fund treatment. Quit talking about it just as taking away of something. Think about it as gaining something. That is my hope.

Frances.

Right and do you see it as the government. I mean in the states it’s even far worse like in terms of like the cost of treatment and stuff like that. From what I gather, so do you see the government not funding treatment and not because that’s what that’s the fear here is that so much money is going into harm reduction and it’s not going into treatment.

Dr. Kaskutas .

What I would add to that is to say that to the extent that money is going in and it goes up and down with time is that the move is to spend a lot of money on kinds of treatment that cost a lot of money. And that to me is kind of weird. Very medicalized kind of treatment with people that have doctor’s degrees. Psychiatrists and AFCC social workers and getting completely utterly away from seeing any value in having treatment quote unquote treatment be led or involving people who are in recovery.

Frances.

Right. And do you do you mean in pursuit of abstinence.

Dr. Kaskutas

I mean all of the above.

Frances

Right. OK. And I’m going to leave you there and we’re going to go to our first song and we’ll be back to talk more about this very important study from the Alcohol and Research group.

Darren.

Coming right back up with Dr. Lee. Dr. Jane, you’re listening to Vancouver’s Co Op Radio CFRO 100.5 fm, I figured hey we haven’t played our intro song in a while so if you’ve ever wondered who it is. It’s Frank Turner and this is recovery

Song Break.

Darren.

Welcome back to talk recovery. 100.5 fm, we are on the phone with two doctors with the alcohol research group. We’re talking about recovery, the definition of recovery. I guess the inaccuracies that are being developed in this term.

First of all can I ask you if both doctors it is in your in your view in this question can be directed to both of you. Is addiction a disease, just like diabetes, just like cancer, or is it sort of an analogy to be able to help people understand what addiction is.

Dr. Kaskutas .

I lose friends all the time too, like one of you said earlier.

So here we go, I just don’t think it matters. We were talking earlier about language mattering and stuff. But I think choice. I think it’s all about choice and some people are more comfortable with thinking of it as a disease kind of thing and others are or are not. And I would like there to be room for both. Right. That’s probably not the answer you were after.

Darren.

No I agree. I mean the whole language with addiction and recovery. Those two terms are so personal and so individual. I think about the list or defining recovery. A lot of people on earth are just doing those things naturally and whether they had good guidance good role models whatever. being honest with themselves trying to be better trying to be healthier like these are just what normal people do. They don’t walk around saying I’m recovering. I’m I’m a person in recovery, they’re sort of like natural good human traits to strive for.  No doubt. But when somebody like ourselves like addicts like myself I have to say I’m a person in recovery but really what I’m doing at home I’m doing normal things like I’m just being a good person. And does it make it sticky does that is that hard to I guess try to get people on the same page with what recovery is.

Dr. Kaskutas .

I think we if we have to eventually get there we have to reduce the stigma. I mean because just like you’re saying this is a way of being this marvelous you’d want your daughter to marry someone like that right. Yeah.

With those kinds of ways of being. it’s a question of being hurt I think and getting the word out that’s why you are having us on this show today is really fabulous. Thank you.

Darren.

I want to thank you for joining us. So are you guys. I mean are you looking to acquire a strategy for funding in the States and in treatment.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Well I don’t know about Jayne’s answer and I don’t mean to dominate Jane. I apologize but I see a use for our study results on the ground with people delivering treatment and treatment in quotes because it just gives them topics to discuss in their group that aren’t just about addiction quote unquote cut out my tongue that aren’t just about using being honest with yourself and helping others, things like that.

And I think treatment gets kind of old and boring.  same ol same ol, and this is all new and endorsed by pretty much everyone has been in recovery in it. So that’s one thing and then getting the word out to policymakers and Jane and I’ve tried to do that haven’t we Jane give me talking to talk after talking after a while you just kind of quit getting asked. And certainly, the scientific conferences.  I don’t see us getting asked to give talks to the recovery conferences.

Darren.

it’s kind of sad that the policymakers say aren’t open to all the voices and we’re kind of lobby for it.

Dr. Kaskutas .

I mean you’ve got money behind these medical solutions. There’s no money behind this.

Darren.

Well there really isn’t it. When you come under the understanding of what recovery is, it’s a personal direction in life. There’s no big pharma company that’s able to back that, it’s voluntary choice in life to be better than you were. And I mean at the end of the day it’s sort of what everybody should be able to believe, sort of an independence from medications and clutches. Would you also include that it would have to be done for the rest of an individual’s life, or they would return to their addictive state?

Dr. Jane Witbrot.

I don’t think that’s true.  only when we talk to people in recovery as we did the study, there are stages of recovery. When you’re in that first year of recovery what’s important to you or what you need and is maybe different than two years, three years, four years, five years down the road. So your definition changes over time.

Frances.

I just wonder if we were having this conversation on the way in, Giuseppe was getting a little rant.  I love him though. But yeah, he was quite upset about, sometimes it feels like harm reduction is one team and abstinence is another even though we really try to work together in all these different things and the reality is harm reduction gets a lot more funding than than abstinence based therapy. And in British Columbia and in Canada and I’m just wondering my answer to him was there’s really nothing we can do about that, and except for what we’re already doing which is trying to raise the voice of recovery and raise shared stories and all these kinds of things right. But then anonymity comes in and where people feel like we’re not adhering to the traditions of our 12 step groups by even doing shows like this and talking about recovery. But because the recovery really hasn’t been a part of the conversation because of the anonymity. So, it hasn’t been part of the conversation around funding and advocating and all those different ideas. So, what are your thoughts on that. Like where you live in the U.S. regarding anonymity. Like I think you guys are a little bit further ahead than us. Like is that just raising the voice of recovery is that all we can do.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Well I don’t know. It’s the beginning of my career. I did a study and I was tasked to find out how this policy organization a good policy public health policy organization could quote unquote engage or use people in recovery in order to promote public policy supporting for example no billboards near schools and whatever other policy you might think of. And without exception they were just not down with it. They were just totally saying no I got to protect my recovery and I don’t want to get all riled up and you were saying one of the speakers was saying earlier you can get riled up about these issues and then you lose your own balance if you will. And there’s a real fear, and actual fear.

I think among people in recovery, especially 12-Step, that if they do engage in that, it’ll make them get all riled up, and they don’t want to go there.

To them it is an internal job. And I have mixed feelings about that myself because, I don’t like it when scientists want to recruit people at AA recovery meetings. So, they want people who are in recovery to necessarily be available to help their studies. I think we need to leave AA and NA 12 step and let them do their thing. And of course, it’s a choice thing. But it’s very sticky. You need mothers and drunk driving what happened to her.

Frances.

No I don’t. What happened to her.

Dr. Kaskutas .

Oh she was a big mover and shaker in the recovery movement and she eventually moved away from abstinence towards supporting moderate drinking. And then she I think killed someone in a drunk driving.

Frances.

Oh dear. That’s terrible. Yeah.

Dr. Kaskutas .

The issue of the division between abstinence and harm reduction. I got to say it comes from a 12 step programs.

Frances.

I like what you said Dr. Jane about leaving NA and AA Alone dealing with people that want to be like persons in recovery. I think that that’s a good line. We must wrap it up. I’m getting the signal and it’s a very big signal anyways so I’ve really enjoyed our conversation where can people learn more if they want to learn more about the study and so forth.

Dr. Kaskutas .

We have a Web site all one word what is recovery. Know all the items that shows you pictures of the length of recovery and pie charts and whatnot of our other respondents. And then it tells you the names of the studies that we’ve published that you can get by writing to us that the alcohol research group.

Darren.

Thank you very much Dr. Lee and Dr. Jane for joining us today. Check out the web site www.Whatisrecovery.com. Find out what’s going on and be a part of that. Thank you very much. And we come back with our personal story with Mo.

Song Break.

Darren.

Welcome back to talk recovery. We are back in studio downtown Hastings and Columbia and it’s personal story time so we’re going to head right into personal story with Mo and Giuseppe.

Giuseppe.

Hello and thank you, welcome to the show, We’re glad that you’re here. I know Moe from the recovery community and every Thursday we invite guests to tell us about their journey in recovery and how that’s been and what it’s like today. So we’re going to ask you how did you get into recovery? what’s a little bit of your addiction background?

Moe.

I guess it would start with me being brought to the New Westminster Recovery Community, through quite a long journey of active addiction and studying at a very young age. I came from a very good family, lots of support but there were always behaviors, there were always things that were unexplained. And really the road was kind of inevitable in front of me, no matter what twist or turn I took. I always was in some form of shame guilt and despair. And through that journey, through my early teens, of course getting into crime of course demoralization of myself, active addiction takes you to dark places and no matter how much I strived, to get out of that whether through education, whether through institutions, whether through medications, geographical changes, business opportunities.  I just burnt it down constantly.

Up until I started realizing that there was something wrong with me that that the medical system or psychiatrists or nothing could do for me.

And I was brought up actually from Ontario to B.C..

Giuseppe.

So you’re originally from Ontario? I am from Ontario, using sucks in Ontario, active addiction sucks in Ontario.

Mo.

From there, when I came out to BC for addiction treatment, that is where I got educated on recovery, and I’m not saying that I didn’t try. It wasn’t through the running gate very successful, of course jails, institutions and death, addiction brought me to some gnarly dark places. But getting into the system and then actually through many rehabilitation centers and people that helped me along the way.

Giuseppe.

How many times did you end up going to treatment?

Mo.

I’ve been in treatment in BC completing two official treatments stays.

Giuseppe.

So a couple of times, you said something earlier that you finally realize that there was something wrong with you. How many times that people tell you there was something wrong with you before you figured out there was something wrong with you?

Mo.

Since birth, since birth everything was different. And I’m telling my mother was an educator for 40 years and worked with disabled kids and an addicted kid. She was in the industry. I mean here is a person that was on my side batting for me, and like how many times was I institutionalized or been taken to psychiatrist, because something was the matter with this kid. And what. It was scary because death was my way out. I was getting to the point now, I turned 40 this year, and I got into recovery at 39. So that’s a big majority of my life searching through the concept of life. I searched the earth, I traveled the world looking at whether it was energy medicine, whether it was Shakra healing, I licked trees. I tried everything to try to fill that void inside.

Giuseppe.

And all those helped you to get where you’re at today.

Mo.

what they were a Band-Aid but it wasn’t until I came to B.C. and got a taste of recovery in my first treatment center and to me it was a great stepping stone but it wasn’t until I moved to the New West Recovery community I got a taste of the help and the guided help, this is coming from like, throw me off a bridge, like I’ve had enough of this, I’m peaking at my age. I burned several relationships and business is down. I mean I’ve had enough.

Like tag me out of this I can’t have it, I’m done.  and it wasn’t until by the grace of the universe that I was brought to the New West Recovery literally in an ambulance and through the detox system. I’ve tasted every rock bottom you feel.

Giuseppe.

Do you feel you’ve been rescued?

Moe.

Not rescued, but lead. I was I was brought to New West Recovery guided because of the recovery, rescued wouldn’t be the word, I would say, or maybe it is the word. I’m not sure.

Giuseppe.

So, there’s some people listening that are in recovery but there’s also some people that are listening that might have a loved one out there are still using and so forth. And we talked briefly that you also have some experience in self-help groups that are part of the friends and family groups and so forth not just your own recovery. So, tell us a little bit about that.

Mo.

Well in the 20 months that I have been in recovery in New West Recovery, through the the NA fellowship, the 12-step program has absolutely changed my life. It took something that was so broken and helped me rebuild myself in such a short time. I mean I must say myself to a pretty cool upstanding woman today.  what I mean. I am proud of that and because I fought for my life, but now I have something to stand for. Now I have something to represent and that is recovery and the 12-step program and helping women and its hope, it’s hope that for considering I’m I am at the age I’m at this year and got clean at 39 years of age and I survived the first part of my life by a thread. And now I have a total destiny. A belonging to a belief system and a community, I belong to something today, and its recovery. And it’s fun.

 

Giuseppe.

when I took my cake a little while ago I remember something that came to me which is just waking up with purpose, because it’s so much better than waking up high. doing this show, it just feels cool that we are leaders in helping people get led into a new way to live. And so, your family and your relationships and everyone that you’re surrounded by, you had mentioned something that you go to Al-Anon. So, do you have loved ones that are still using or what was out for.

Mo.

I come from a line of addiction in my family, I’m the first one to represent recovery on a proud level. And Al-Anon has helped my family members and at the beginning of December I’m flying home and doing a talk with an Family Recovery Group in my hometown which is going to be pretty scary because it’s like it’s not New West Recovery, so I’m spreading recovery there

I mean I love it, and it’s spreading the message. And what my parents and my family can stand tall today because I have a daughter who represents recovery not that active addiction or that stigma. And I live it every day and I pass it on. And that’s the beauty of this program and this community is all about is spreading the message and that’s what keeps me clean.

Giuseppe.

So, do people that are just catching this on air what are some of the things that you did to get to where you are at, because there’s a lot of people out there that are still using and are no where near where you are at.

So what are some of the key things that you did to get to where you are at?

Mo.

Got off the street, got to a detox center. Listen to the help that was given to me just kind of ate the bread crumbs along the way. And then I got into an amazing recovery house. Where a team, a community a village, surrounded me, and I started doing the 12-step program and basically just cleaned house and got downloaded and reloaded. And now I’m leaving a cool spiritual life which I would never take anything back to get to the point where I am sitting across from you today talking about recovery, like I don’t even regret my active addiction to be at this point today, because I know now that I have the rest of my life.

Giuseppe.

I remember when I was in early recovery, I was like oh my god what have I done. And now I’m kind of like, it happened, and now I can move on, just so I can forgive somebody else and not judge someone else for what they’re doing.  sometimes I hear stories of what people have done in their past. And my partner or someone I know that’s not really in recovery or an addict, and there are like oh my God.

 

And I’m like it’s OK. It is what it is, we all do crappy things and that’s just life, and then hopefully we’ll move on.

I remember one day vividly with you. It was sports day in our community and we were playing sports and everyone’s happy is so hot. Like it’s just hot and addicts have a really hard time with just a little bit of stuff even when they’re in recovery. And so, there’s like 50 or 100 watermelons, it’s just like I just see all these watermelon, and there you are cutting them away. And I was just like holy smokes that’s a lot of watermelons, we’re just having fun and that day was important for recovery because it’s kind of one of those things that we lose sight of in the way we’re dealing with substance use disorder in British Columbia today. It’s like you have fun, how important was that day for your recovery?

Mo.

Well Fun is key in my recovery and community is key in my recovery because I’m never alone, I have purpose today. And being a part of recovery, I mean it’s like the representation of this is what recovery looks, recovery is family, and love, and freedom, and having compassion in a time when things aren’t so compassionate.

Giuseppe.

So it’s not about the watermelon, or cutting it perfect, because I think I said that we should cut it this way, but it’s just about every from a new guy that’s detoxing to somebody with multiple or decades clean, all blended together, and we’re all equal, and all that kind of stuff. So, it’s really important you’re part of our recovery community because it’s important to have connection and so forth. So, what were some of your struggles in the beginning to get here.

Mo.

Staying alive, getting into this recovery community that’s what saved my life. If it wasn’t for that the 911 line or that psych ward or the detox center, or walking through the doors of the recovery house, and then taking my hand because I had nowhere to go I had nothing.

Giuseppe.

We’re talking to Mo. I really appreciate you being honest with us and telling us your story. And any advice you got for any moms and dads out there that still have a loved one that’s using.

Mo.

Yeah get them to an addiction recovery meeting. Talk to someone and get them a recovery meeting list, because once you enter these meetings you’re going to meet people who are in addiction recovery. And then those people in recovery are going to have that language and get to an addiction treatment centre. Recovery houses and treatment centers save lives.

Giuseppe.

They do save lives save lives. We all try to save our lives. So, you said you’re 20 months in recovery so when’s your clean day.

Mo.

April 19th April 19th century having year to year.

Giuseppe.

I am going to bring watermelon to your cake.

Mo.

I had my fruit skewers. My mom flew in for my one year cake and we gave out fruit skewers. I’m not a cake.

Giuseppe.

You’re not OK. I’ve got diabetes now. But I’m still into cake. Give me cake, give me lots of cake.

Well we really appreciate you being on air.

Thank you so much Mo and will support you through all of this and hopefully stay connected. So today you’re working in the fields.

Mo.

I am working at the house that I cleaned up at, I’m doing what I love. And I got clean at the Westminster house. And I am working in conjunction with that, I am working as a holistic therapist in a recovery on a sideline. So, I’m living the dream.

Giuseppe.

The gifts of recovery.

Thank you so much. All right. And we’re going to pass it on to Darren, how are we sending our show today.

Darren.

Well we’re going to I think go to a little Canadian band called The Rheostatics. This song is dope fiends and booze hounds. Please enjoy. Thanks for listening.