Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Welcome to the Positive Shift: A SAMH Podcast Experience

Welcome to our little corner of the internet, where we aim to bring real-life experiences, stories and struggles about addiction and mental health to the forefront. This podcast dives into the world of addiction and mental health to support you on your path to recovery. Each episode includes unique and exciting guests, experiences, and educated opinions to foster meaningful conversations surrounding mental health and addiction. Hear from industry experts, experienced staff as well as folks in recovery. At the same time, we will be digging deep into the often fun but also tricky topics with inspiring points of view, clinical truths, and a serving of hope that we seldom see in the world of recovery to help shift one’s life into a positive path.

Episode 7: Understanding and Embracing Our Attachment Styles

Chrissy: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone. Whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and/or addiction, we believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen and heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real-life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles and that there is always a way to move forward. [00:01:00] We are here to listen, to support, and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

Before we begin, the content discussed in this episode could be sensitive to our listeners. If you’re currently in crisis, please contact Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or dial 911. If you are in need of more information, please head over to our website, Simcoe rehab.ca and go to our resources tab to access downloadable PDFs, contacts and guides.

If you’re looking for support and wish to seek treatment, you can email us at info info@simcoerehab.ca. Or call today at +1 833-304-8181

Hey everyone, and welcome back to another episode of The Positive Shift, the podcast where we explore pretty exciting topics in psychology, [00:02:00] self-improvement and personal growth.

On today’s episode, we’re going to get to know the various types of attachment styles. So let’s get right into it. Attachment styles are patterns of behaviour and emotional responses that develop in early childhood and continue to shape our relationships throughout our lives. Now, understanding your attachment style can definitely provide you with valuable insights into your own personal relationship dynamics.

This can also help you develop healthier connections with others and new people you meet. So let’s talk a little bit about the history behind attachment styles. Attachment Theory was developed by a psychologist named John Bowlby, who suggested our early experiences with caregivers influence the way we form and [00:03:00] maintain relationships throughout our lives.

Before we dive into what each attachment style is, I do wanna mention each one briefly. So there are four primary attachment styles: secure, anxious, preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Let’s dive into each style and discuss their key characteristics starting with secure attachment style.

People with a secure attachment style tend to have a positive view of themselves and others. They feel so comfortable with intimacy and are generally able to trust and rely on their partners or others they’re close with. They communicate openly and effectively, and their relationships are characterized by mutual respect and support.

It’s good to note that having this attachment style is a great [00:04:00] foundation for healthy relationships. Now what about the anxious preoccupied attachment style? The anxious preoccupied attachment style is characterized by a fear of abandonment. Individuals with this style tend to have a strong desire for closeness and reassurance.

Now, people with this style may worry excessively about their relationships, which in turn drives them to seek constant validation and attention from their partners or others, they’re close with. This attachment style may cause people to become more prone to jealousy and to become overly dependent.

Now, let’s move on to the dismissive avoidant attachment style. Individuals with a dismissive avoidant attachment style tend to be [00:05:00] emotionally distant and self-reliant. They often have a fear of intimacy and may prioritize independence over forming deep connections with others. People with this style may struggle with expressing their emotions and may come across as detached in their relationships.

Finally, we have the fearful-avoidant attachment style. This attachment style is also known as disorganized attachment. It’s characterized by conflicting desires for closeness and distance. People with this style may tend to experience a push-pull dynamic in their relationships. So they may desire emotional connection while also having a fear of getting too close due to their past trauma or negative experiences, therefore leading to emotional and behavioural inconsistencies.[00:06:00] 

So now that we’ve talked about all four attachment styles, let’s take a moment to think about our own attachment style and which one sounds like you. Understanding your own style can help shape our life experiences with others in a healthier way. Now the question is, is it possible to change our attachment style?

Well, the answer to that is of course. Of course you can, even though attachment styles can be super duper ingrained, they aren’t all set in stone. So through self-awareness, therapy and personal growth, individuals can develop more secure attachment styles and promote healthier relationship patterns. So for our listeners who wanna better understand their own attachment style, what are some practical steps [00:07:00] you can take to achieve this?

Well, you’re all on the right track since you’re listening to this podcast, but it’s also great to remember that self-reflection is great to practice. It’s also important to explore your own patterns of behaviour and emotional responses in relationships, but try to recognize any unhealthy patterns and understand their roots.

Also seeking therapy can be extremely helpful in developing a secure attachment style and improving relationship dynamics. So on today’s episode, we talked about the four main attachment styles and how you can continuously work on improving your style by becoming aware of your own behaviours and emotional responses to your relationships.

I also wanted to take the time to thank you all for listening to the Positive Shift. We hope our podcast helps you [00:08:00] shift your mindset to a much more positive one, one episode at a time. Enjoy your day and we hope to see you all next time.

Episode 6: How to Manage Grief

[00:00:00] Chrissy: Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

[00:00:22] We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone. Whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and/or addiction, we believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen and heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real-life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

[00:00:50] We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles and that there is always a way to move forward. We are here to listen, to support, and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

[00:01:11] Before we begin, the content discussed in this episode could be sensitive to our listeners. If you’re currently in crisis, please contact Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or dial 911. If you are in need of more information, please head over to our website, Simcoe rehab.ca and go to our resources tab to access downloadable PDFs, contacts and guides.

[00:01:44] If you’re looking for support and wish to seek treatment, you can email us at info info@simcoerehab.ca. Or call today at +1 833-304-8181.

[00:02:02] Jay: How you doing, Chrissy? 

[00:02:03] Chrissy: I’m good. I’m good. Jay, how about you?

[00:02:04] Jay: I’m good. My name is Jay and welcome to a positive shift. You know, I gotta tell you before I introduce myself, I’m really, really hungry today

[00:02:14] Chrissy: Oh I’m starving. Absolutely. 

[00:02:15] Jay: I’ve been talking about a sandwich for like all morning. 

[00:02:18] Chrissy: Oh yeah. Yeah. I know, I know. I can’t wait.

[00:02:20] Jay: Did you get the email that they’re gonna have a little green room and they’re gonna stock us up with donuts and muffins and sandwiches, juices and stuff? 

[00:02:28] Chrissy: No, I didn’t, but I can’t wait for that!

[00:02:30] Jay: Oh, you didn’t get that email? 

[00:02:32] Chrissy: No, I did not. I was not included! haha 

[00:02:33] Jay: Neither did I. Hey, uh, my name is Jay, as I said. I’m the manager of community partnerships at Simcoe Addiction Mental Health here in Innisvale, Ontario. 

[00:02:42] Chrissy: And, I’m Chrissy. I’m the program manager at SAMH, and uh, Jay and I work together hand in hand, and yeah, we all work. Yeah. Yeah, it’s work pretty much.

[00:02:52] Jay: You know, my father always said, you know, if you love your job, you never work a day in your life, you know? There you go. And I love my job, you know, it’s good. So what are we talking about today, Chrissy? What are the exciting stuff are we bringing to the table?

[00:03:03] Chrissy: Hmm. So a quick, brief summary of what we’re gonna kind of talk about today is basically grief and depression. So understanding grief, understanding depression. We’re gonna share some personal stories, maybe not go into too, too much into depth. Some coping strategies that we’ve both used. Any extra information that we can provide you all with. And, uh, yeah, we’ll dive deep into that and, and move up from there. 

[00:03:34] Jay: So playful and cheerful. There you go. I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. No, this is great. These are very incredibly important topics, right? And that was what we wanted to do when we started this podcast, was have the important and sometimes difficult conversations, that we need to have. Right?

[00:03:51]. Chrissy: Most definitely. 

[00:03:52] Jay: And hopefully we can, perhaps, I, if we don’t help someone else out there today, maybe we’ll be able to help each other. Right.

[00:03:58] Chrissy:  Definitely. 

[00:03:59] Jay: I love it. 

[00:04:00] Chrissy: I agree. I agree

[00:04:01] Jay: Well, where do you wanna kick this bad boy off?

[00:04:03] Chrissy: So I guess we’ll start off with what is grief? You know, I mean, I feel like people don’t necessarily think about what grief is, what it looks like, what it comes with. So, I don’t know, just to start, I mean, grief is a natural response to loss. 

[00:04:20] Jay: Sure

[00:04:22] Chrissy: Right. So for example, losing a loved one. This could be lost through, I don’t know, death or even just losing a friend.

[00:04:28] Jay: Sure

[00:04:029] Chrissy: So, suffering from losing a friendship after an argument. So, it doesn’t, I think, What’s always mistaken is that grief is always associated with death.

[00:04:40] Jay: Right

[00:04:41] Chrissy: And it’s not necessarily the case.

[00:04:42] Jay: No. I mean, I, I grieve the loss of my DOC, right? For a long time

[00:04:47] Chrissy: Yeah. There you go. So, I mean, you feel the loss in different ways. Grief is a tough topic. It’s a delicate topic. 

[00:04:55] Jay: So personal. So intimate.

[00:04:58] Chrissy: Exactly right. Right when you say I’m grieving, people automatically know what you’re going through. 

[00:05:03] Jay: I’m so sorry for your loss.

[00:05:05] Chrissy: Right? Exactly. And that sentence, first of all, drives me absolutely nuts!

[00:05:11] Jay: Right? I get cha. We had this conversation.

[00:05:14] Chrissy: Oh, definitely, and when you’re grieving, I mean, um, one of the worst questions, especially when you’re going through something and it, it’s a great question, but it’s also the worst. How are you doing?

[00:05:25] Jay: Oh my gosh. Right? Yeah. How do you think I’m doing? You know, that’s part of the process that we’re gonna discuss, right? The anger, definitely the anger doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the loss or the feeling of loss itself. It could actually be with the response of societal factors that are being put upon me. Or I’m like, now I’m angry at you. And now I’m angry at that. Yeah. And things that are secondary, third, 

[00:05:48] Chrissy: Definitely. It’s definitely a sensitive topic and there’s just so many aspects to grief that people don’t really understand. Like, yes, okay, it’s an easy word to understand, but what comes with it is super complicated. right? So, I mean, moving forward, talking about depression. Cause I feel like both go hand in hand. They can be similar, but there are huge differences of course. Right? So of course, depression is a mood disorder, so it looks and feels like basically persistent sadness, having a lack of interest or pleasure in activities or things that you used to enjoy.

You can have a change in appetite so your appetite can really decrease. Interrupted sleep. So, you can suffer from insomnia, let’s say, cuz I know I do. especially when I’m down in the dumps. Cannot sleep. Or I’ll want to sleep, and I’ll sleep too much. So, it can be either or. And you just don’t know what’s gonna hit you the night of. 

Low focus, poor concentration, fatigue, all of the above. Really. I mean, like yeah. You know, depression is tough to handle and it’s tough to treat and it’s tough to get through. Right, right, right. So, I don’t know if you’ve had any experiences with depression.

[00:07:14] Jay: I mean, obviously, although it’s tough, it’s very attainable, you know, with the proper, resources, with the proper treatment plan. But for me personally, you know, I had a real difficult time with substituting the feelings that were associated with depression versus the feelings that, I was feeling when I was in the process of grieving the loss. In this particular case of a loved one, I had a really difficult time because a lot of the symptoms of depression really mirror the symptoms of pot acute withdrawal. 

And I was literally like coming off of, you know, 22 years act of addiction. When I was dealing with my first, real sense of loss, the grief and although it wasn’t even at that particular time, someone that was incredibly close to me, it was a sense of having new feelings that I wasn’t familiar with having.

And so, I would associate it with depression. So much. Like you mentioned, the second part about the sleeping, I wasn’t so much laying up with insomnia, but I would, I had no desire to get out of bed. I had no desire to answer a cell phone. I had no desire to talk to people. Then I would slip into this, you know, the poor me.

[00:08:30] You know, like I felt very victimized. You know? Just going through the process and not actually, assigning any feelings to what was, what I was feeling at the time, and then I was lashing out. Does that make any sense? 

[00:08:48] Chrissy: No, it does. And along with feeling victimized to depression, you also feel worthless at the same time. You just, and I totally understand the getting outta bed and not wanting to get outta bed. That is probably the most difficult part because, you know, as I brought up before, I suffer from insomnia, sometimes, but I also am so exhausted that I end up falling asleep, suffering from insomnia.

 It’s like the thoughts just drive you nuts, and you just keep thinking like how worthless you are or how what happened to you is your fault and you’re feeling guilty about it. So, I don’t know. There’s a lot to bring up and obviously I’m scrambling a little bit right now, but because it’s a sensitive topic to me and that’s okay. Right. 

[00:09:39] Jay: I think for many of us. Right. Yeah. I would think most of, I mean, it’s, it’s obviously a huge assumption, but I think it’s a fair assumption to assume that most people listening to this show today have dealt with, the loss of a family member or grief. In some other, platform, that can identify with what you just said. Yeah.

[00:09:58] Chrissy: It’s, it’s tough. It’s tough. And even sitting here talking about it, you know, actually coming here and talking about it, I, and I’m having a very rough day today. Mm-hmm. This weekend was not good. Yeah. 

[00:10:11] Jay: You’re visibly, you’re visibly moved by this topic clearly. 

[00:10:14] Chrissy: And just actually talking about it and getting it out there is so rewarding. But I’m also absolutely terrified to. Talk about it. Mm-hmm. Because it is terrifying. Right. And it’s reality. Right. And it’s what happens. And sometimes it’s the unknown and you don’t know what’s gonna happen and you don’t understand your emotions and it’s hard to understand your emotions.

[00:10:47] Jay: It’s, it’s interesting, Chrissy. It’s interesting that you mentioned that. The way you mentioned it, because when we were looking at the different stages of grief, the very first one is denial. right? Mm-hmm. And a lot of people know the acronym. And if you haven’t, uh, to our listeners, the acronym for denial is, uh, don’t even know I am Lying.

Right. And so it’s wild when I sit there and listen right now, because I also, uh, of course am really affected and much like we said most of our listeners, but it’s like even in this moment with me and you sitting here and we’re gonna tackle such an important topic, there’s a resistance, right? There’s a resistance to like, almost where I have to acknowledge that I’m feeling, the, the feelings associated with grief while I’m discussing grief.

And I mean, isn’t that one of the biggest hurdles that most people are facing anyways. Definitely. Like I’m pushing back, I don’t want to feel this. Yeah. So, I’m pushing back against it. Yeah. And sometimes talking about it now I can work my way around it instead of going right through. It. Isn’t that fair?

[00:11:37] Chrissy: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And, and you know when we do dive into the you know, five stages of grief. We’ll definitely identify each one, talk about it, define it, and you know, bring up how it may look. So that way it brings awareness to people in the community out there who, you know, may be suffering from grief and going through those five stages.

So that way, if you know, you were to see someone going through the denial stage or you know, bargaining stage, you’ll be able to define it and help them out. I’m always at the bargaining stage. 

[00:12:12] Jay: The bargaining stage right.

[00:12:14] Chrissy: There you go. So, I mean, before we move on to that, we will talk about the differences between grief and depression.

And I think that is a very important topic because it gets people thinking. I mean, I’ve always associated my depression and my past depression with my grief so to kind of identify them in separate ways, if that makes sense. Mm-hmm. is, I think, crucial, so getting onto that, let’s just bring up one sentence about grief.

[00:12:49] So there’s an identifiable. Versus depression. A specific loss may or may not be identified. Right. Right. So, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:13:00] Jay: Well, I mean, because I am, again, right back to what we said at the very beginning, right? like we, uh, we know tangibly what grief generally means to us, and it’s the, you know, somebody that’s in our life is now no longer in our life, and that’s, you know, so again, that’s the identifiable, clearly identifiable and then continually being identified in, in the many, many years to come in.

[00:13:23] So many different variations and reminders and circumstances that I’m put into, or I’m reminded that that person is no longer in my life or that substance or that, or however that is framed. But with depression, you know, a lot of times it, for sure it can be onset. You know, typically around the same time as I’m going through these, these feelings.

[00:13:45] But as I go through the grief process, the grieving process moves forward. But the depression stays. And so how do I dictate the difference? I don’t know if there’s a way that I could without somebody outside of myself pointing it out to me because I really can fix my thinking with my thinking.

[00:14:05] Yeah. And if I want to and, and I’m not really sure what I’m feeling because I’m grieving. You know what I mean? Yeah. Like there’s a, you know what I mean? So, it’s a really, it’s like a huge catch 22 that’s going on inside my own brain. It’s like I need someone else to come, and go in there with me, you know what I mean? It’s dark, dangerous neighborhood.

[00:14:23] Chrissy: Yeah. No, definitely. Yeah. And even for me, like, you know, when grief pops up in my head, my loss always pops up, you know, uh, who, whichever, whoever I’ve lost in my life. So, I know that when I’m suffering from grief, I know exactly where it’s coming from, but when I’m suffering from depression, or I’m feeling those moods and those symptoms of depression, am I able to identify, okay, what’s triggering me right now?

[00:14:52] Why am I feeling like this sometimes I’m not able to get to that root, and it’s very frustrating. Mm-hmm. so, sometimes I’ll sit there, and I’ll be feeling sad and for the entire day I won’t know what’s going on. Then I’ll see the date and it’s a significant date. So, say for example, I lost someone on, I don’t know, March 26th.

And it’s March 26th that day. Right. And I’m feeling moods that aren’t really explainable and I just don’t know where it’s coming from. 

[00:15:25] Jay: Yeah. All this, this dis disconnect pieces. Yeah. 

[00:15:28] Chrissy: Exactly. And then I see the date and then I’m like, wow, subconsciously I know it. Today is the day. Right. And then I start feeling guilty that I forgot about it. So, it just makes me feel so much worse. Mm-hmm., right. So 

[00:15:42] Jay: Yeah, cuz now I’ve, because now I’ve also given it power. Right. So now I know the date is, so it explains away my feelings and now I can give it, now I can justify the feelings and really, kind of, well, it allows me to sit with it even longer. Even if I don’t want to. Yeah. 

[00:15:57] Chrissy: So it may not be because of a loss, it may be a significant date that you have in mind, or, it may be something happened, you know, at work or wherever you were and an argument, you know, happened and it took you back five years. Mmmm. You know, and you don’t realize it until the end of the day, or you don’t realize it until a week after. You know it. It takes a while sometimes, but patience is key in fighting through it is what we all need to focus on.

[00:16:26] Jay: I think it’s also important that you, when you mention that, that we also recognize that, there are things that happen in our days too, like the arguments and these types of things. And they aren’t associated with my grieving or my depression.

They quite frankly could just be a disappointing moment in it throughout a day. Oh, definitely. Where something didn’t go my way. Yeah. I remember they asked myself, did I have a bad five minutes, or did I have a bad day, or did I have a bad five minutes that I milked all day? Like consciously I could be doing that.

Because I’m so consistently, brought back to that place of grieving and depression where when something bad happens, I automatically tell myself that, oh, here we go again. I have that automatic response and now I’m depressed and laying in bed for two hours. Yeah. And meanwhile all that really happened was is I got in a fight with a meathead named Bob because he didn’t gimme my tool on time.

[00:17:18] Right. Like it’s something silly. Yeah. You know, then there is a big difference. 

[00:17:21] Chrissy: Yeah, definitely. And you. Moving on to that. And I found this one really, really interesting. 

[00:17:28] Jay: Oh, I was gonna say, if your name is Bob and, you didn’t gimme back your tool, I really don’t think I made it. 

[00:17:34] Chrissy: But let’s, talk about, so going back to grief.

Thoughts of death are typically related to wanting to be reunited with the deceased loved one. Versus depression. Thoughts of death being related to feeling worthless undeserving of life, or just, being unable to cope with the amount of pain that you’re in. So let’s talk a little bit about those differences.

So with grief, thoughts of death come from thinking of your loved one who passed away. 

[00:18:16] Jay: You see, it’s difficult. I mean that, yes, that’s absolutely accurate, and I can see how that would be presented, but I think that all depends on if you’re natural. Like, if I’m going through the natural grieving process and this is hypothetical.

[00:18:28] Let’s say I’ve separated it already from feelings of depression, let’s say that, and all of a sudden, And I’m not actively feeling what I’m feeling, so I’m going through those stages of grief. I’m in the denial stage. I get angry, and now all of a sudden, I start to think, well, you know what? I’ll, I’ll see that person again.

Do I let my thinking? Cuz, I know for a fact that Chrissy, that I can’t control my first thought. I know that. I’m armed with this information. Yeah, that’s good news for me. I can’t control my first thought. Most importantly, I can control my second one and then my reaction to that second thought. So, if that’s the case, and I start to feel like I, you know, almost to the point where I’m so low that I could considered removing myself from this world to join my loved one in the next, however that world looks.

[00:19:24] I think. And I like to hope that for me individually and maybe for some of our listeners, that we would recognize that as a sure-fire sign that I need to probably get some help or at least at the very least, talk to someone close to me really quickly. Yeah. So that I don’t let these feelings sit inside and have that domino thinking effect.

[00:19:43] Chrissy: Yeah. Cuz that that can happen. And personally, you know. Talking about experience and stuff, thoughts of death, you know, relating it to wanting to be reunited with someone. It. Happened to me. Mm-hmm. I mean, [00:20:00] you know, thinking about those important people in my life who I’ve lost and, and keep in mind it was, for me, it was, it all happened in one year.

[00:20:09] And we’ll get to the personal experiences. I know I keep bringing it up, but it’s cuz it’s just inside right now. And I feel like, you know, talking about it, you know. 

[00:20:17] Jay: I’m feeling this energy. Chrissy. Let us hear it. Yeah. Let the listeners hear it. 

[00:20:21] Chrissy: Yeah. Like, I mean, you know, 2012 was a really bad year for me.

[00:20:25] Okay. Horrible year. I lost three significant people in my life. My brother and my two grandparents. Very tough, my grandparents lived with me as well. So, every morning we’d be downstairs with them. It was fantastic. It was it; they were just the best. And my brother and I were really close.

[00:20:52] And the reason why I say were is because he’s passed away obviously.

[00:21:00] Yeah. And, and when he did pass away, I’d have dreams of him, and I’d connect that way. And I’d always take signs like seeing a monarch butterfly is him. You know, and it’s hard talking about this and, Not getting emotional about it, it’s emotional, you know, sometimes tears happen.

[00:21:19] Yeah, it’s fine. and I need to take my own advice, obviously, but you know, talking about the thoughts of death and relating it to wanting to reunite with a loved one. Yeah. I went through that. I did. And right away, I, I did tell my family, I told my support system that I needed help because thinking these negative thoughts, We’re not good.

[00:21:47] You know, at the same time I wasn’t feeling understood at school. It was, it was just a really, really tough time. But I am super thankful that I had my parents that I could rely on. I had my cousins that I could rely on. Right. You know, and. it was just tough, but I got through it and obviously those thoughts still sometimes come into my mind, but I don’t let it take over. you know, I’m living a great life here. I’m accepting the fact that I’m here physically and my brother isn’t, but I will do things to honor him, and I will do things to better myself at the end of the day.

[00:22:26] Jay: Excellent. Thank you. First of. For being so vulnerable here. Yeah. It was tough.

[00:22:32] Chrissy: Yeah. 

[00:22:33] Jay: I could see that. I was feeling it. Yeah. But it’s so important, right? It’s such an important truth about any one of us. Anyone that’s listening today, it’s so important to heal. We have to be able to, to move forward. Right. Me personally, I have a, a different, I feel like with me, I’d grieved my mother 20 years before she was gone.

[00:22:58] Yeah. And the reason I say that is cuz I was living in this place of active addiction, and I’d pushed back all these people in my life and I got to a point where, I really didn’t have other than mom was this, this connection. And I just wanna say like I found that gratitude saved my life in early stages of grieving the loss of my mom. Lemme explain. So, my mom was, well, she was awesome. She had passed away. And, I had been, uh, earlier on about six months earlier, I was an angry, an angry guy long before she passed. And so, I had a guy that challenged me to something who, he challenged me to write a gratitude list every single day. So, for, uh, and this isn’t a, a podcast on gratitude. I know we’ll do one, one day, but I do wanna share that every day he asked me to, to send him a letter a message that’s, that provided him with five things that I was grateful for each morning.

[00:24:00] That was no problem. Uh, but he said, you, you can never repeat the same things twice. So I did this, every day, and it was easy for the first day, first few days. You know, I’m grateful for sobriety, I’m grateful for the sun, I’m grateful for, you know, uh, ice hockey in Canada. Like I was just grasping, right?

[00:24:15] And, but by day four, day five, day six, day seven, I couldn’t really come up with anything that I was grateful for. Like, I, knew consciously what I was grateful for, but I was like, really Trying hard to think about what it was, you know, and I, and as I went through this process, it was about, uh, 25 days in, I was coming outta my bedroom one morning I was freezing cold, I was shivering.

[00:24:35] And I remember thinking, God, I’m so cold. And then I went into the, the hallway and I stepped on Noah’s Lego, my son Noah’s Lego, and I, kicked the Lego across the hallway, and I, you know, used a few choice words. And I go into the kitchen and I’m gonna go make a coffee. And I, I realize that, uh, there’s no coffee in the Sugar Bowl.

[00:24:51] So I’m like, the world’s out to conspire against Jay, you know? Here we go again, everyone’s out to get me, and all of a sudden, I reach up to grab the sugar bag, stick it down on the counter, and the sugar goes everywhere. And I don’t know about you, Chrissy, but like cleaning up sugar, spilled sugar’s got the worst thing ever.

[00:25:05] And now I swear again. I walked to the front door, I open up the front door and there’s like three feet of snow, and I screamed at a high heavens. I’m like, why me? And what was funny? Organically, effortlessly like this, you know, my, my mind went, wait a minute, Jay. You know you’re cold, but you can put a sweater on.

[00:25:28] You know you stepped on your son’s Lego because you have a happy child playing Lego in your home today. You know, you spilled the sugar because you’re making coffee because you have a reason to be up. You have purpose in your life today. Yeah. You know, you gotta shovel the driveway.

[00:25:44] Well, Jay, you’re able-bodied buddy. Not everyone’s story is that. Yeah. You know, you have a driveway today. And so what I learned about that practice was that, you know, I had this immediately shift in my mind where it went poor me to like, wow, am I ever grateful? Am I ever blessed? And, and it went from what I learned in that practice was it had nothing to do with what I was grateful for.

[00:26:04] It had to do with the practice of seeking gratitude in my life. That allows me when things happen in my life, like the loss of my mother, and that’s of course the far extreme, but like, it allows me to, to come to a place in my mind where it doesn’t, it automatically searches for the good.

[00:26:21] And so when my mom passed, you know, she was 84 years old, she passed of a cardiac arrest. I remember thinking because of this gratitude practice that immediately I said, at least she wasn’t in pain. I mean, it could have been a whole lot worse. And then I remember thinking she just did the World War II tour across Paris with my dad healthy.

[00:26:41] That was on her bucket list. Yeah. She always wanted to go to Paris, and she did it. And then I started thinking, you know, my dad had prostate cancer, but he was doing good. My sister had a thing at work that excelled her into the next level. Yeah, my, my son was doing really well. My, children were back in my life and guess what?

[00:27:00] I was sober. And I was her long-term project. So, my brain actually went like this. Chrissy, it said, I can’t think of one regret my mother would have when she left this earth. And when she even went so far as a say before she passed that she wanted to go before my dad. Yeah. And so, I’m thinking in my head, if this was any other port of point of time in my life, there’s no way I would’ve like, so in other words, what I’m saying is the day after my mom passed, I actually began healing.

[00:27:31] Yeah. And my sister and who’s probably gonna listen to this, um, she had a lot harder time with that because she wasn’t practicing these things in her life. So, she was stuck in that, early, that hole. That hole for a long time. Yeah. You know, that hole sucks. Yeah, that whole sucks. 

[00:27:52] Chrissy: So, I mean, seriously.

[00:27:53] Jay: You know, for lack of clinical term it sucks.

[00:27:56] It sucks. It really does. But there is a way out, right? Yeah. And there is these things that we can do to start, like A), to live our life. So we’re prepared when these things happen. And then B), you know, what do we do when it once it’s happened? Yeah. 

[00:28:09] Chrissy: Yeah. And, and you know, uh, talking about, cause I know I brought up thoughts of death related to, you know, feeling worthless and undeserving of life and being unable to cope with the pain.

[00:28:21] have you had to deal with that? I mean, I know that’s a really personal question, but, you know, I know I have, I mean, you know.

[00:28:38] Jay: With what specifically?

[00:28:09] Chrissy: With dealing with depression and not, not having thoughts of death regarding your grief, 

[00:28:38] Jay: Because I did have an experience where I mailed it in and some of, uh, some of our listeners may know, some of them may not.

[00:28:45] But yeah, I did, because to me that, that place, when I got to that place in my existence, cuz I will not say life cuz I was certainly not living, I was just existing. I was really, really, I felt like there was absolutely no other way to, no other turn. I had nothing left Yeah. And so, um, it was a complete, um, destruction and defeatist feeling.

[00:29:06] Chrissy: Yeah. And I think that is another topic that we can. Discuss another day. Just cuz you know, I do have a lot to say on that as well. I have not shared that with many people. Only my family so it would be a tough topic to talk about, but it’s yeah. It’s, it’s a topic that I think we can discuss probably another time.

[00:29:34] Jay: But yeah. One, one that we discuss on a full stomach, 

[00:29:37] Chrissy: Definitely. Yeah. Cause it’s, it’s hard. These topics are hard. They’re like, they’re triggering for listeners, but they’re also triggering for us, right? So we’re trying to be authentic as possible, but, you know, it’s tough doing that. And you know, we’re doing this for you and we’re doing this to provide you with that support and to say that everything will be okay. Things may not feel like it now, but everything will be okay as long as you put that effort in. 

[00:30:06] Jay: It’s the old adage right, that you can’t see the sunlight through the mud, but the sunlight sure as hell there.

[00:30:10] Chrissy: Yep, yep. Definitely. And I think, um, I know we, we kind of got stuck on that. One little sentence, but I think that was really important to talk about. Agreed. So, I mean, we can talk about the similarities between grief and depression, but I feel like. A lot of people out there know.

[00:30:28] Jay: I think we should circle back and just have another, another conversation another day about the same stuff. I mean, there’s a lot more to unpack, right. You know, obviously it’s, it is, it’s a lot of heavy topic for one day. So why don’t, why don’t we start wrapping it up today? Yeah. And, you know, and we can go have a sandwich. Okay. 

[00:30:48] Chrissy: That sounds good. That sounds good. Let’s do that. I mean, we do probably need a part two for this one cuz it was a, it’s a very intense topic, so I think so. I think that’s a good idea. Um, yeah, I mean, thanks everyone for joining us today. 

[00:31:00] Jay: Yeah, thank you everybody for listening. Yeah, I, I’ve been cracking jokes about sandwiches all day, so there’s a little bit more of an inside joke going on here. It’s always like, it’s such a pleasure to be able to come into a forum and be able to discuss these, uh, most important discussions and have them with you and, and be able to hopefully connect with at least one person today.

[00:31:21] Chrissy: Definitely. So thanks for listening to this episode on the positive shift where we talked about grief, positive shift, depression, the differences and similarities between them, but we didn’t really get to that, but that’s okay. Moving forward there will be a lot more to discuss and we’ll get to that. So see y’all next time and I hope you guys enjoyed this very sensitive topic. See you guys next time. [00:32:00]

Episode 5: A First Responder's Path to Recovery

Chrissy: Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone. Whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and/or addiction, we believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen and heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real-life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles and that there is always a way to move forward. We are here to listen, to support, and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

Before we begin, the content discussed in this episode could be sensitive to our listeners. If you’re currently in crisis, please contact Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or dial 911. If you are in need of more information, please head over to our website, Simcoe rehab.ca and go to our resources tab to access downloadable PDFs, contacts and guides.

If you’re looking for support and wish to seek treatment, you can email us at info info@simcoerehab.ca. Or call today at +1 833-304-8181.

Ray:

I have a very special episode today with a very special guest. Today’s topic is first responders which is a very important topic to discuss, and then we have a very special guest.

Ray: I want to welcome everybody and then welcome Toby.

Tobi: Thank you. Thank you for the warm introduction. Pleasure to be here today.

Ray: Excellent. So this podcast, the primary focus is gonna be talking about some of the barriers. And some of the ways we can reach out to the first responder community certainly a community that I feel is underrepresented in terms of the services that could be provided to them.

And certainly one of the biggest barriers in the field right now, I think is the lack of input from first responders to actually talk with them and ask them what [00:03:00] services they really need. So part of the podcast focus today is to actually spread some awareness and open up some discussion and actually talk to first responders about what it is they need, what they feel are some of the major barriers.

In terms of healing and getting better. So again, Tobi, it’s an absolute honour to have you here. And I really appreciate you sitting down and talking with me.

Tobi: Well as Ray said, it’s a hugely important topic that has not being touched upon or is starting to be touched upon within the world of mental health.

And within the different faculties of first responders. And it’s dear to my heart as I’ve had many struggles within mental health and addiction. And I think it’s time to bring that to the forefront of people’s minds and bring it to the attention that we are humans behind the bash that we were.

Ray: Definitely.

And then I know if, you don’t mind, one of the [00:04:00] conversations we had before was it’s crucial for first responders while on active duty or doing whatever they may be doing to be able to keep their emotions and feelings in check. Right? Can you explain to me the significance of doing that and why that’s important?

Tobi: Absolutely. In my experience is that if you have a job to do and that the jobs that we do as first responders across the board are demanding emotionally, physically and at times you are going to experience and have to do things that nobody should be able to ask of another human being that, having said that, when that time you are called upon and asked to do that, you have to put your emotions to one side.

You have to do the job that’s at hand and be able to facilitate whatever needs to be done at that present time. That the problem with masking it and not showing that emotion, is the repercussions [00:05:00] after not fully, in my experience, is not understanding what that emotion was at the time.

Putting that, almost trying to put that to bed without unravelling at first.

Ray: What you’re saying is the emotion doesn’t really go away, it just kind of temporarily gets delayed. Like what happens? So you’re trained to do the job. Clearly, there’s going to be emotions like anything else, what ends up happening?

Tobi: The emotions are buried. This is the system that you are in and that industry you are taught not to show the emotion because of and the way that I see it is you are ineffective if you’re showing that emotion. If you are seen to have that any emotion, negative emotion towards your job, you are less effective in other people’s eyes.

You are not able to carry through that task because you are taking it personally.

Ray: Okay. I missed this and I think this is very important, do you mind sharing in terms of what it is you did as a first [00:06:00] responder?

Tobi:

I’m next UK military personnel served overseas. And that has caused me to have some P T S D from there.

And then substance abuse to help with that. Or at the time thinking I’m helping myself with that.

Ray: And thank you. I appreciate you sharing this and you know, it did just from somebody who clearly doesn’t know that life or that particular expectation. I mean noticed when you were speaking, it was a lot about being task-oriented and simply that is it which is clearly not a very much a human characteristic.

Right. How does that, or how have you felt that has translated into your life now? Like, I mean, clearly being a first responder is one of those jobs where it’s probably the only job that really asks you and tells you basically that you need to put your feelings aside for the betterment of what’s happening in front of you.

 How do you think that’s impacted you moving forward?[00:07:00]

Tobi: The, way that you are trained in the job that I did is you are trained and you are conditioned to not have that emotion attached. So you’re not becoming robotic, but you you are trained to be indifferent about very hard situations that then translates kind of coming into civilian life, I’ve had a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding about my own emotions and others.

It’s caused barriers between myself being able to get close to people, being willing to be close to people. Avlon discovered through fear of hurting myself emotionally, but it’s the translation coming into the civilian world. From a military background has been hard.

It’s been a very hard transition. And I’m only recently unravelling why that’s been so difficult.

Ray: Okay. Do you attribute the transition into the civilian world as [00:08:00] still holding that belief that you need to hold your emotions?

Tobi: Yeah. Up until very recently. Yeah, it was a strong belief of mine that I have to still uphold this pretense of who I was before in that job.

The job became part of me rather than me being able to separate myself on the job.

Ray: I wanna kind of bring it back a little bit and back into the moments. I mean, clearly this is part of the training, it’s the expectation that goes along with it. If you don’t mind sharing, being in the moment.

So yes, emotions could be put on the shelf but in the moment when you’re with those that are, actively serving and you’re going through the motions of everything that’s happening, how in the moment would you deal with the emotions

You will or I didn’t? There are specific things that we’re trained to do to take your attention from the act to what we’ve just done.

They’re distraction techniques that are instilled in you, they’re automatic responses through the body [00:09:00] to check parts of the weapon that bring your attention directly away from what’s just happened. We are very much goal orientated within what we are doing at the present time.

So you are, the goal is above anything else, what we’re setting out on a mission to do overrides anything else set or below that. So having that trained into you and having that one objective keeps your mind going towards that rather than being able to sit and ponder and think about what, what actually is happening.

So now I’m gonna push you back a little bit forward. So transitioning back into civilian life because I think part of one of my reasons for really wanting to do this podcast is what I mentioned at the beginning of this podcast was, I’ve worked in numerous facilities now and it seems like there is [00:10:00] increasing awareness to first responder and the need to help those that have sat in your first responders position.

And one of the things that I see in many different places is, essentially people like myself that come along and basically say, I think this is what people are going to need in order for them to get better. And with the first responders I’ve worked with over the years, we very much lacked input from first responders to say specifically, this is what’s going on in my life.

So for instance, I was sharing with you prior to the podcast that. A lot of times clinicians or helpers out there go Straight to P T S D and say, look, this is what’s happening and this is what we need to focus on. And when a lot of the first responders I have spoken to are talking about their day-to-day quality of life, whether it was specifically related to P T S D or simply an inability to adapt back to civilian life as simple as something like sitting [00:11:00] down with my kid to play and not having interest in that.

Or being with my significant other and really wanting to be there for them, but can’t be for, for whatever the reason it may be. So one of the things I really wanted to look at is what are we missing? So if you look at all the psychiatrists, doctors, it just, the psychotherapists, the treatment programs, all the places that are trying to open doors and say, you know what we’re here to help.

What are some of the things that we’re missing, or what are some of the things that you believe that the system, and I asked them, you’d be freeing about this and speak freely. What is it we’re missing or what areas do we need to do better on in terms of giving back to this very important community people.

First thing comes to mind is the lack of resources whilst you are employed or servant. Okay. There’s as I said earlier, there’s the belief that if you are shown a motion or [00:12:00] if you are struggling in any aspect mentally, that you are not fit for the job.

 Now we are more than the batch. We are more than the unit that we work for or the regimen, although that is a brotherhood. We are more than that. We are humans and we do have those feelings. We need to be able to process them at the time it’s happening or very soon after. Now that’s a systematic thing that is pushed down and very much swept under the carpet in my experience.

 I wasn’t able to openly speak up about it because of those preconceived conceptions. Had I tried to, at the time, I firmly believed that they would’ve been swept under the carpet and ignored, and I don’t think the systems were or are in place to cope with that act, at the level of the employer, whether or not be government, employer or private contractors. I think where we are missing as well is, or fallen short, is a true lack of [00:13:00] understanding in the field of the professionals that are trying to give us the help of firsthand accounts or firsthand lived experience. It’s very hard to try and open up to somebody. With having at the same time having to explain what the job is about and explain what we’ve done that just in explaining it is reliving that trauma right?

And having to do that to then open up to someone is, in my experience, is very, very difficult to do. You’re having to put so much trust in that newfound relationship that it’s nearly overwhelming and it just in that itself. But luckily and he’s gonna shut when I say this. Luckily I’ve found that in Ray and I, and I have had that, I have had that relationship.

I’ve been open, been over since I’ve opened up to him wholeheartedly. And if people are able to find that person, then it is life-changing.

And I can certainly verify that. And I know when we first started to speak, I could [00:14:00] actually see how reserved you were and it’s almost like I could see you were trying to protect me from something and this is why we’re doing this, right?

 I really appreciate that lived experience part of it because I mean, I think that’s absolutely crucial if you jump over to, say, for instance, the addiction side of things. Many people will take power from addiction counsellors or addiction psychotherapists that may have had lived experience as well be able to kind of understand it not on a better level, but on a different level. And then this is why we tend to have first responders-specific groups or programs. Because of exactly what you just said, part of the fear is vicariously traumatizing somebody simply from hearing information, which is very much a real thing. With that said, though, it does not serve the individual any purpose.

If, again, you can’t share openly. So I do want to come back to something you said cuz I act absolutely think was brilliant. If the help was provided well [00:15:00] actively in service, do you think if that was the case, we would see less cases of trauma or P T S D coming home? Do you think if there was more mental health intervention in the process of doing it, and let’s say for a second they did not sweep it under the rug and they were able to correlate and understand.

Because clearly it is possible if we’re speaking realistically to be able to detach emotions temporarily to serve a particular task. But do you think it is possible, or would it be beneficial to deal with it then and do you think the results will be better in terms of people adapting to more civilian life?

Absolutely. I think it would help enormously reframing that. I don’t think that you’re gonna stop the amount, come back, you’re still gonna have the effects of whatever you’re seeing. But we can lessen the mental struggle of people. We can start to work on it faster, right.[00:16:00]

And get to the of what we are feeling, rather than continuously masking it for months, years, decades after. Until we then kind come to that boiling point that we need to reach out because loved ones are seeing the effects. There’s a lot more that personally I was, was hiding for years before my loved ones were seeing the effects of what I was carrying.

I think if we can start to unravel that and open our minds up to what we’ve seen and what we’ve had to push down at the time and get to that sooner and faster, then I think yeah, we, can lessen the effects of that, that medicine struggle.

 An interesting thing that comes up for me as well, I notice this has been in my experience primarily working with, with first responders, specifically with military personnel, is I certainly do see the carryover of the non-sharing emotions.

So even in therapeutic environments where kind of it is the goal or [00:17:00] the objective to talk about emotions. There is this kind of silence that happens. Right? What would you say to those that may still kind of be holding that belief of I need to suck up those feelings at all costs, be strong at all costs, and basically side their own emotions.

What is something you can recommend as to, as somebody who is kind of going through the healing process and has made significant strides forward, what is something you could suggest to the people that for instance, may becoming home from somewhere, maybe active duty or any other first responders that may be struggling with something that are afraid of opening up because how it may actually impact not only their family, but even clinicians that they may be speaking to as well.

What is some feedback that you can give to them about this process?

Tobi: Ray’s just sum me up, he’s capitalized everything there. That’s how I was feeling. It’s very real. It’s valid to yourself at that particular point. [00:18:00] Worry isn’t valid is it’s not serving you long-term.

It is not gonna help you win this fight, you know by shielding others and thinking that we are protecting others, we’re already hurting ourselves. There are people in this industry like Ray, that have the knowledge not to take this on as a burden on themselves. Us divulging and myself being able to divulge some of the stuff that I’ve seen and been through has one, has been a huge weight lifted off of me.

 I’ve been able to understand that it doesn’t need to be carried every day. It’s always gonna be there, but that load can lessen the kind of overwhelming thought of coming into therapy and reaching out was huge. And, I shied away from it for a long time. But now having started the process and living.

Kind of in recovery now it’s life-changing. It’s phenomenal. You don’t [00:19:00] have to unload everything. You do not have to get into the nitty gritties of it, but you can get into the emotions attached to it. And my emotional range used to be next to zero, and I thought that I was doing well through that.

I knew anger really well. That was my friend. I knew happiness, but I knew nothing in between. Now I’m solely to live that and every day is becoming lighter and brighter. And it’s a joy to live. Yes, there are struggles still, but being able to open up and reach out was the hardest thing that you’re gonna have to do.

But once you’ve got there, then the world is your oyster. All I can urge is that you speak to someone and it doesn’t have to be a loved one. It can be someone in the mental health field that just lifting up that telephone or sending an email is the style of that process. It’s a very hard and daunting thing to do, but just reach out if you can.

Ray: This is exactly why I’ve wanted you on this podcast. Right, the strength to, open up and say that, and again let’s look at not [00:20:00] only what you were taught, but let’s also go before that to the belief that many of us have growing up specifically as men, where at all costs you hold back your feelings.

And for you to not only kind of have that. And then also be of service with that in your brain. And then to come out and get on a podcast with somebody and talk about this to many people out there that may be struggling, that may not come forward for the very reasons that we’re talking about is exactly why we’re doing this.

And I mean, you know, there is the old model, like if you know you’re weak, if you share your feelings if you believe that I would hope at some point you come and actually take a good look at Toby and tell him he is weak to his face because he’s as tough as it gets. And he truly does personify what we’re really trying to do here with first responders specifically. Allowing them to know that they’re no longer alone. And without a doubt, I think and sorry, this is gonna be a bit of a [00:21:00] sensitive spot, but for me personally, I’m really tired of hearing specifically military personnel that have taken their life because they felt so alone and because nobody could understand and on some levels, they couldn’t understand.

And honestly, I’m really tired of hearing it and it’s almost becoming a little too normal and I think the mental health field and just people in general need to step up a lot more. And I don’t want to make this political in any way, shape or form, but just simply about awareness.

I mean the Remembrance Day in Canada and wearing a poppy and rather than it just simply being a trinity thing to do, to really have some sort of actual understanding of what that means, and not only remembering those who bravely gave their lives. But also remember those who right now are fighting for their lives because of a lack of support, because of a lack of understanding.

 I think it’s very important that a lot more awareness is given to this. And to have [00:22:00] somebody like you, Toby, again, my gratitude is absolutely endless to how do you come on the show and really be that voice that says, I have lived experience. I know this could work. Give it a shot. It goes much further than anything.

I can tell you, I can throw you statistics studies so on and so on, but it really doesn’t mean anything unless it’s coming from somebody who has truly lived it and you’re certainly breathing that now, right? So again, thank you very much for that. I think I got a couple more questions and then we’ll wrap it up.

You talked about kind of where you were versus where you are now. And then I think it’d be really cool to end the podcast off with, in what areas has your life improved? So you were very clear to talk about my time versus my civilian life. Walk me through the benefits of doing the work, talking about your feelings, expressing what you needed to express, and then where your life is right now.

Kind of give the overall picture of what this could look like for [00:23:00] somebody, if you don’t mind.

Tobi: Yeah. The easy answer and the non-truth lots would be, everything’s fantastic. It’s not yet, but it’s on that web. Coming back a couple of months ago, my life was pretty much nonexistent.

I could turn off, I could work, I could come home. I could pretend I’m happy. I could pay lip service to anybody, but I was also playing lip service to myself. I was in a very, very dark place. I was not far with substance abuse, not far from killing myself. I mean to the point of within a day or so. I was very lucky to have my wife who dragged me out of that and somehow made me see the light just before it was way out.

That’s where I was going through the process of recovery or going, sorry, I still am in that process, but starting that process of recovery. As I said before, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Being able to admit it [00:24:00] to myself that I was an addict and that I needed help was extremely difficult to come to terms with, from having myself on a pedestal of always helping others and never accepting help to actively asking for help was very new and strange concept.

But it’s the best thing I could have done ever. Like I own recovery or I own my life to, to my recovery. Now it’s more than what I am and it, and it’s bigger than what I thought I could be. And that’s in a very relatively short period of time coming into these new Felix. My emotional range, as I was saying earlier, is now, I dunno, a hundredfold of what it was.

That has its pros and cons because this, the sat now has new rounds, but I’m able to reframe it and have some positives coming out of that. My day-to-day now is becoming brighter every day. I’m enjoying life. [00:25:00] I have a purpose, actually have a life. I’m living it. It’s exciting to wake up in the morning and have a day ahead of me.

It’s not a drag, it’s not, I’m gonna lay in bed for three days. Doing whatever substance to try and turn my brain off, it’s now actively getting up, enjoying life, doing what I do day to day, but enjoying every aspect of it. Yes, there are challenges. My brain’s strongest and my worst enemy at the moment.

 But it’s being able to have the skill base from being in a rehabilitation center of learning where I, when, or I can be. And the skill base that I’ve acquired allows me to understand the feelings and emotions that I’m going through. And that translates now into day-to-day life. It’s phenomenal. It’s I don’t wanna say it too many times, but it is life-changing. And it, and it saved me.

Ray: No say it as many times as you Wanna say [00:26:00] that’s the entire message I to get out there. It, I want everyone to know just before we wrap up and again, I want to hear, so even if you’re listening to this podcast and you are a first slander that’s struggling.

Please get in contact with us here at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health and really reach out to us and let us see how we can help you. Even if you just need to call and talk if that’s where you are in this process. Wonderful. But I think it’s about time, and certainly speaking to you, Toby as well, you made it a very honest statement that I’m always thinking of everyone else, and I think for all the first responders out there, military, police, paramedic, whatever it is you may be doing as a first responder it’s time somebody puts you first. The only way that can happen, however, though, is if you allow yourself to be put first.

And I think that’s the message that we want to end with today. Put yourself first. Allow us to give back to you.[00:27:00] If you’re struggling, please give us a call. There’s help there, right? So again, Toby, thank you very much for joining. I said it before it, absolute honour. Again, not a word I use sparingly. An absolute honour to have you here. I’ve been looking forward to this. I originally had Chrissy scheduled for this and I’m very glad that I got to do this with you and I hope you come back in the future if you like. Absolutely. It’s been a pleasure to be here.

Excellent. Thank you. Thank you to all our listeners, we look forward to putting on our next podcast. I believe it’s on attachments with the special guest and we’ll surprise you then, but nevertheless enjoy your evenings, stay safe out there and please reach out. Thank you.

Episode 4: Mastering the Art of Recovery - Strategies for Conquering Mental Health and Addiction Battles

[00:00:00] Chrissy: Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and or addiction. We believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen. And heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles, and that there is always a way to move forward. We are here to listen, to support, and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

Before we begin, the content discussed in this episode could be sensitive to our listeners. If you’re currently in crisis, please contact Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-FOUR 5 6 6, or dial 9 1 1. If you are in need of more information, please head over to our website, Simcoerehab.ca and go to our resources tab to access downloadable PDFs, contacts and guides.

If you’re looking for support and wish to seek treatment, you can email us@infosimcorehab.ca or call today at +1 833-304-8181.

[00:02:00] Jay: Hi everybody. Welcome to a Positive Shift. Um, I have a special guest today, uh, the clinical Director from Simcoe addiction and Mental Health, right here in the studio. Uh, welcome Ray Raymond Moore.

[00:02:11] Ray: Hi everybody. Nice to be here. Oh, man, it’s great to have you, buddy. I, uh, I, I wanted to talk about a couple things today and I, I hope you’re open to this. Um, uh, you know, because, uh, I think, I believe, and it might be fair to say that we both have a lot of experience in this area. Um, I, I, I dunno about you, but I.

I, I went through treatment and when I left treatment, I, I, things weren’t as gravy as I thought they were gonna be. Right. There was a lot of difficulties that I, that I faced and I really didn’t know, uh, even though I had lots of great counselors in my day that would tell me all these things to potentially expect, I, I sort of had this belief in my mind that, you know, things were gonna be different.

You know, I don’t know if we’d call it expectations to outcomes or however I wanted to frame it, but I, I would never found myself. Uh, actually, um, uh, things didn’t always fall according to plan. You know what I mean?

I, I understand what you mean. I had the same experience when I left treatment. I really had no idea of what to do next.

I know I was given a bunch of instructions, um, and I did the best I could to follow through with them, but I certainly did not know what to expect. Um, and I think this is a great topic for. For the listeners today.

[00:03:18] Jay: Yeah. I remember I even had a, a, a, a counselor say to me one time, he says, you know, did you, uh, did you think about drinking today?

And I said, no. And he says, well, why do you think that is? And I said, well, because I’m working real hard on myself and I’m doing all these things and I’m journaling and I’m, I’m, uh, I’m talking in groups, right? I’m participating in my recovery. And he says, no. It’s cuz we don’t serve the alcohol here. Right?

And, and it, it dawned on me, right? I needed to be able to find a way to carry that level of acceptance out into, uh, the, the real world if you, if you will. And, and I didn’t know how to do that. Yeah. You know, and what’s interesting about this podcast today, and this this episode that we’re talking about is I think both of us, well I I, I know both of us now have a, a litany of different experiences on the other side as professionals in this field.

Um, and, uh, and, and we get to see sort of, uh, you know, some of the behaviors that we see in treatment, um, and, and, and when they’re either elevated or dismissed a certain way, How they either carry over into your recovery when you leave treatment or the exact opposite. They, they have an adverse effect because you don’t do the things that are suggested and as a direct result.

You know, it’s one of those lines where like, I’m, I’m really sorry. You’re disappointed by the results you didn’t get by the work you didn’t do, you know? Definitely. Um, so I was just gonna start off with asking you like, you know, what, what do you think are some of the most important, um, uh, behaviors that sort of need to be, um, you know, looked out for, um, when after someone is finished a a 30 or 45 or a 60 day treatment stay, that could potentially lead them back down that road of, uh, of active addiction?

[00:04:55] Ray: Well, I think it’s going back to something you had mentioned earlier about expectations and I, I think when people leave treatment not only from the individual in treatment but the families as well, that, that leave treatment, there’s this very, um, strict a, um, expectation of, of what to expect. And I, I think a lot of people when they leave treatment, One of the biggest mistakes people have is, um, what I like to call ticking the boxes.

So just assuming because I’m ticking particular boxes, that everything should be going a particular way. I mean, I, I think in the 12 step community or in in other communities, we use, um, the. Skills and tools as being, um, specific examples of things we suggest that people utilize. And I think what ends up happening are people tick the boxes.

So they go, they do what they’re told, and the outcomes are not exactly what they expected. So I, I think, at least in my experience, When leaving treatment, things were not immediately better. When I left and I was still feeling down, I was still feeling anxious. I was still struggling with certain things in my life and not understanding because all of this had boxes have been ticked by the individuals in my life that had kind of laid out this path for me, uh, which was very frustrating because, If I’m not hitting those expectations, then why continue?

So, uh, I, I think one of the biggest mistakes is essentially ticking the boxes and, um, and basically believing because I’m doing certain things, therefore the outcome is going to be a good one. We call them tools in skills because the more and more that you use them, the more, the more better you get at those.

Respective things. So kind of taking away from the expectations of everything’s going to be better immediately. And understanding that this is a process. And again, regardless of the community you come from, we always say that recovery is a process. The 12 steps, it’s lifelong. Um, recovery is lifelong. And what that actually means is that these are skills that you have to practice on a regular basis.

And, um, and the more and more you do that, the more and more you will see better outcomes. So I, I think it’s getting away from kind of essentially ticking those boxes of all the things to do post-treatment and simply slow down a little bit. Take one day at a time. And allow yourself to adopt to recovery.

[00:07:15] Jay: That’s amazing, man. And I love that you mentioned ticking of the boxes, right? Because I, I, I, if you’re like me, you know, we had a lot, there was a lot of lip service over the years of things that I’m supposed to do. And, and I, and I’m gonna be honest, Ray, I. I believed that I was gonna do these things, and maybe a part of me actually believed I was doing these things.

Um, but then I was like really surprised that all of a sudden these old and I, and I call them, and I, I say the term old behaviors loosely because if it’s a, if the behavior’s happening now, it’s not technically an old behavior, it’s a present behavior. But I’d be surprised at this quote unquote present behavior was, uh, presenting in my life.

And then I, and I’m like, well, I don’t understand what went wrong. You know? So I, I think that’s really interesting. I, I, you know what, for me personally, I had a. I had a unique experience where, I, and I’m sure many of our listeners will also identify where they’ve had shifts inside internalized shifts that sort of happened as a direct result of an experience.

But me personally, I, I remember, do you remember the, uh, um, the, the, the Toronto Raptors when they were playing in, um, I don’t know if it was a a, a, a, an elimination game or whatnot, but I guess it was against the Philadelphia team. Um, it was a couple years back when, when all of Canada was really, uh, um, uh, all hyping up.

They were in the playoffs. It was a really exciting time. Yeah. I remember. Yeah. Right. And so we had, uh, there, there was, I was coming home from work. I was about a, uh, a year and a half, two years without a drink. I was working what I thought was a really solid program of recovery. And, you know, and I remember I’d read, read in a book.

Um, uh, Dr. Gabormate in the realm of Hungry Ghosts, and he had a couple other, um, talks along the way that I’d heard some TED talks and whatnot. And although, um, sometimes controversial, he had a really interesting, um, play that, you know, when you remove, um, one addiction from one hand, you gonna replace it with another.

And, and so I sort of, kind of kept my eye open for other behaviors like that. You know what to watch for, you know, and, and one thing, what we’ve learned is, um, that shopping is a big, is a big thing. And, and it’s because it’s easily justified afterwards. And, and, but for what happened with me was, I, I was coming home from work and I went to the local grocery store.

They had what was called, uh, uh, the $1, $2 $3 sales, you know, these types of, of, of, uh, grocery stores. So I, I bought a ton of junk, right? I bought like peanuts and pretzels, and I got like, you know, all kinds of goodies. And right before I was leaving, I see the, um, the ice cream section, and I, I love the ice cream man.

I love the ice cream. And so I, I went in and I grabbed the, there it was two bucks, right? And it was, uh, uh, I think there was, uh, six ice cream bars in this box. So anyways, I put all my stuff together. I get in the, I get in the car, I go home. I, I set up my little area for the Toronto Raptors elimination basketball game, and I put all, and I put the, the ice cream in the freezer.

Now I’m watching the game. There’s about, uh, it’s in the fourth quarter. It’s like seven or eight minutes in the game. And I remember getting up to go to the freezer and uh, to grab an ice cream bar. Cause I’m like, yeah, yeah, I love those. Now I open up the box, I take out an ice cream bar. I sit back down on the chair and I take off the wrapper Now, You got young boy at home too, and Yep.

And some young kids. And I, I, I have a little guy at home and, and you know, this ice cream bar Ray was, uh, and I know that you guys can’t see me right now, but I’m showing the size of it. It was, it was tiny. It was called what’s 55 milliliters. Now I don’t really even know what that means. Okay. All I know is it’s tiny, like, it’s like, like itty bitty juice box size for like grade one, right?

Like, it was so small. So I ate it and it was in like two bites. But let me tell you. Let me tell you, Ray, the single best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life, right? It was like rich chocolate had, uh, almonds. It was, uh, vanilla on the inside. It was hard ice cream, and it was good, right? So I had this ice cream bar.

I took two bites of it, and I’m sitting there, there’s about five minutes left in the game now, and, you know, I thought to myself, you know, It’s, it was only two bucks. I, you know what? And it’s just tiny. Like honestly, you could eat like three of these things. It’d be equal to one. So I get up to the freezer to go grab one, and what do I do?

I grab two. So I sit down and ate the second ice cream bar, and I rip off the wrapper and ate the third ice cream bar. And I’m sitting there and there’s about three minutes left in the game now. And I’m like, D know, that was really good man. It was a really good ice cream, you know? And I never, I never went to prison eating ice cream.

I never lost a job eating ice cream. I never lost a relationship eating ice cream. It’s just ice cream. It was just two bucks and the thing’s tiny. And I had three that’s like eating one ice cream. I’m like, you know, what the hell with it? And I go up to the freezer to grab another one, and I grab two more.

Now I eat the fourth one and I eat the fifth one. And so there’s about, uh, uh, four seconds on the clock. Kyle Lowry shoots the ball over to, uh, Kauai Le Leonard. Kauai. Leonard steps outside of the three point line. He leans back, he takes the shot, he falls down the ball, uh, is bouncing on the rim.

Collectively for like 300 hours, the entire country of Canada is all holding their breath fired up at the same time. Right. And all of a sudden the ball’s about to dance through the hoop. And all I could think about was that last ice cream bar. Hmm. You see, my brain was automatically seeking something more.

Right. So it the, and what, what really became that internalized shift for me when I’m thinking about behaviors outside of treatment was that, I have to watch where I’m justifying my action, trivializing the event, and then minimizing it all together and then, and then making an absolution that I was never going to eat ice cream again.

And I realized how quickly that paralleled all my drinking and all my drugging, and it was like, wow, all these light bulbs went off. Yeah. You know, and so these are the types of behaviors too that I think we should also talk about for our listeners. Like, you know, you know, I mentioned the, the shopping. Um, and, and, and, and again, this could also, uh, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard hundreds of stories where you’ve, you’ve met with clients or you met with people you know, in the recovery community or maybe with yourself, but, um, you know, relationships, um, love, uh, sex, right?

Mm-hmm. Um, all these other things that we’ve obviously talked about, right?

[00:13:04] Ray: Yeah, but I, I think one of the keys, one of the most important parts about leaving treatment and, and early on in recovery is yes, being very much aware of those behaviors. Because if, if you are not doing okay and you’re trying to find a way to cope with not being okay, you may find yourself back to those behaviors, right?

So I, I think it’s also important though. To not only be aware of those behaviors, but also go easy on yourself. Mm-hmm. Right. So when you see old behavior shift back, don’t. Write that off as being a failure or being something that is, you know, you’re doing something wrong and simply just identify it at for what it is.

If you recognize that behavior, and I mean that particular behavior that you’re speaking about clearly stuck with you, right? It’s very specific to an ice cream sandwich. I mean, you really look at just. Simply the idea of it. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s rather silly, but when you look at how you were thinking, right, and the ability to correlate how you thought about that to what you were using before, I mean, it’s, it is quite strong and this is part of the type of behaviors that we need to break.

But with that said, also, don’t be too rough on yourself. Right, right. Look back and recognize the behavior and try to adjust that behavior. And that’s certainly something that a lot of people. Do struggle with in early recovery is being way too hard on themselves for simply recognizing old behaviors that are as simple as changing, becoming aware of them, and then starting to make the changes necessary to actually change those behaviors.

So, uh, I, I think it’s super important when you leave, and especially if you have a bad day and kind of. You know, a lot of times people may go home, you speak of relationships, and they may have, you know, uh, a silly fight with a loved one. And, you know, the loved one is now saying things like, you know, you haven’t changed at all.

Oh, yeah. You start to believe that you haven’t changed, and then you, you slowly start to spiral. Well, recovery means exactly that. You’re recovering yourself, which means that it takes time, right? Mm-hmm. So you may go home, you may get upset over nothing, and that’s okay. And that’s completely fine. And, and, You know, don’t see this as being a lack of progress or, or you returning to the old behavior.

Simply recognize that behavior and if you do have a moment in which you return to that old behavior, if it does involve somebody else, apologize for that behavior. Yeah, right. You know, make the men’s use your skills, you know, simply, um, take ownership of, of your mistake, which is. The change because families clearly will see.

So if you go home and you get upset and you, you know, you flip out over nothing, uh, clearly they’re gonna recognize that behavior from before and associated with before. They’re not gonna be able to correlate that. You know what, it takes time to switch these behaviors and it will take time to work on these impulses and this.

This, uh, um, perhaps even your emotional regulation. This will take time. So just be a little mindful and, and I, I agree with you a hundred percent and I think it was really cool that story to be able to something as, as small as that to be able to recognize, uh, a way of thinking that has been detrimental in the past.

Right, right. So, um, I think it’s important to kind of just step back and recognize those behaviors, like you said, and, and be okay with them. Yeah. And be forgiving of yourself without kind of writing yourself off.

[00:16:25] Jay: Yeah. Yeah. No, fabulous. I like, you know, and, and it, it is also, it’s also an interesting that, um, you know, Because we, we talk about self-compassion, right?

And, and we, a lot of us have heard these terms, self-compassion, take it easy on ourselves. And I think the most natural thing to do ear early on is, uh, the most natural thing, like the automatic response is to actually beat ourselves up. Yeah. And so being aware of that and then being aware that I’m supposed to actually be compassionate and take it easy on myself is also the a, a really good, um, catalyst going forward.

So, You know, well said, man. Uh, uh, now that, so we’ve talked about some of the behaviors and some of the things to look over. Now, what about, um, I mean, what, what suggestions, suggestions do you actually have, um, for people when they do leave treatment? Not necessarily what to look for, but what maybe what they should possibly be looking to do.

[00:17:13] Ray: Well, I, I, I think doing exactly what they learned in treatment, so, so a lot of times people come into treatment and, you know, people describe it as being a cocoon. And this is a personal, um, annoyance for me. When people describe it that way. There’s really nothing within the con. Confines of a, of a property that, you know, makes people listen to other people, makes people be compassionate to other people, makes people be kind to other people.

This is something simply people choose to do. So one of the things I would highly suggest is that when you leave treatment, bring treatment with you. And I know that’s, you know, rather bizarre to say. But bring the dynamics that you brought into treatment with you. So if you’re listening to, you know, that strange person that you just met from New Brunswick and you had wonderful conversations in which you listened to their story, were inspired by their story, bring home this same kind of, um, willingness to those that you love.

Be willing to listen to what they have to say, even if it differs from what it is that you feel. Mm-hmm. So prior to this podcast, I was actually speaking to, to one of our residents here, and this was the exact nature of the conversation. And in really taking these skills home and applying them to the people you love the most, and what that could look like is something as simple as just simply listening and, and being okay with being wrong about things.

And. You know, just allowing other people to, you know, share their perspective of their opinion, even if you know it is completely wrong, if you completely. Know what they’re saying is false. Simply challenging yourself to listen to what another person has to, to say to get an idea of what’s happening. And you know, I say this in a lot of the groups that we have, uh, you know, we spend too much time focusing on each other’s words.

Mm-hmm. We don’t spend enough time actually listening to what people are saying, and we really hyper focus on the word those words, and then we challenge them. So instead of actually doing that, looking beyond the words and actually seeing what’s happening for the individual. If what they’re saying is completely bizarre and it seems overly emotional, perhaps there’s something more to what they’re saying than what they’re actually saying.

And I know that sounds rather complicated, but allowing yourself to simply listen to what someone has to say, whether, whether it be right or wrong, and allowing yourself to actually look at it from a different perspective. Right. So that’s just one of the skills obviously, that we teach. Um, patience and understanding.

Um, love and support, all of those things. It’s hard leaving treatment. You’re going home and you know what, perhaps you’ve dealt with resentments with the therapists or with your counselors or with whomever, and now you’re going home to a group of people that you know what they didn’t necessarily have.

Right? You know, X amount of groups per day, therapy sessions and all these wonderful things. So you’re kind of going home equipped with a whole set of skills or tools. That your loved ones. They don’t have and they don’t possess.

[00:20:05] Jay: And they actually have resentments now.

[00:20:06] Ray: Exactly right. So you may find when you get home, and I mean I know this was big for me when I got home from treatment, there was, I was really starving for validation, right?

Mm-hmm. So I could see specifically for me the impact I had on my mom. And immediately I was looking for kind of that validation. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you. Yeah. We tough son. Yeah, totally. Kind of disregarding, you know, the fact that I had put her through, um, such significant pain and probably at that point, Maybe four years worth of pain.

And then, um, at the time for me, it was a 21 day program. I walked in and walked out just assuming there’d be a welcome home banner from treatment. And it was like, you know, my baby’s home. Everything is gonna be different. Yeah. And although my outlook of life had changed and I now had hope and. I had worked through a lot of that emotional pain.

The reality was is she was sitting at home, right? Um, and did not have access to the same level of care I had. So, um, anytime I were to have a moment or felt, um, you know, upset or angry or whatever, clearly that would trigger her response of mild old behaviors and. That would upset me cuz I wasn’t getting the validation that I was hoping to get, you know, have you been drinking?

Right, right. You know, if I, you know, missed the step on the, the stairs, the Yeah. Or, or whatever. And then that kind of hyper focus on, you know, has he relapsed And it would frustrate me, right. Because I just, I really wanted that praise. A, the half the time people were looking around being like, you know, is he gonna be upset?

Is he angry? Everyone walking around paranoid. I wanted everyone to see me in a good light. Right, right. Um, but unfortunately, I, I wasn’t prepared for the fact that, you know, families and our loved ones have their process as well. So I think leaving with all of these skills and these tools and all of this going home, knowing that we have to be a little bit more patient with the people in our lives and understand that they’re not equipped in the way that we may be going home to, and, and you know, when your loved one says, oh, you know, what’s that smell?

Or Have you been drinking? Simply understand it from being. A, um, a fear that your loved one has, that you’ve returned back to the old behavior and maybe even see it as a compliment, right? That they actually prefer you to be sober than, than, than not, right. So I, I think definitely one of the biggest things is.

Being prepared to understand that the world outside of treatment or the world outside of therapy may not be as kind as therapeutic communities, right? And just to be patient with that process and allow it to happen. But just keep using your skills as frustrating as you get as it may get. Sorry. If you’re having a bad day connect.

I mean, Jay, you’re definitely one of the guys that I reach out to when times are tough and uh, it’s usually a matter of seconds where I feel better. Right, right. That’s using the skills. So something as simple as reaching out to somebody that can kind of slap you back to reality. Sorry, that’s my terminology.

No, no, no. It’s, but, but kind of slap you back to reality and put things into a little bit of perspective. Um, it is very important. So just utilizing those tools when you get out. And understanding not everyone’s gonna have it and be okay with that. Right. Don’t think when you go home and, you know, uh, let’s say you’re trying to use some eye statements and, you know, talking about how you feel and understand the importance of listening when you get home.

I mean, your significant others have been, you know, orientation,

[00:23:22] Jay: double duty with the kids, paying the bills, cleaning the house, keeping, yeah. No, I, I,

[00:23:26] Ray: exactly. So just being a little more prepared for, um, or being aware of that when, when you go home. I’d highly suggest.

[00:23:33] Jay: Such important, such important information there, brother.

Thank you, man. Like a, you know, and it’s, it is true. Like we, you know, even, even prior to coming to treatment, trying to explain, uh, uh, what’s happening within us, to our loved ones is much like, uh, Uh, trying to nail jello to a tree. Right. You know, it’s sort of, uh, it’s sort of a futile exercise. I do know, um, um, you know, you mentioned too about reaching out, um, and, and, and the importance of that.

I, I also like, I think one of the things that we also didn’t mention on the behaviors side of things, That leads into that was, uh, the beware of isolation, right? Because I mean, a lot of times prior to us coming in, I mean, if we look at our history, whether it was in, uh, the basement, our rooms, uh, you know, the garage or in the backyard or, or you know, jail cells are worse, we found ourselves, uh, a lot of times that we isolating and then when we get back out, um, you know what, if we are going home to an environment where we live alone?

Yeah. Right? And so then what, you know, what do I do? Then all of a sudden I go from this community of people to this environment where there’s nobody around. And so, um, you know, there’s a, there is a, a, um, a gentleman by the name of John Harry, and he talks a lot about, um, the opposite of addiction is connection and, um, You know, and, and you know, there was actually, um, Ray, you probably heard of this, and I think they did, it was a special on television a couple years back, but they did a, a, a talk.

So, um, well what happened was in the seventies when, uh, or, or around the, between the late sixties, seventies and, and even probably later, the late seventies, There was a, uh, an influx of, uh, different, um, uh, addiction coming back from, uh, the Vietnam, Vietnam War. There was a, a huge, uh, uh, rollover of, of addiction and, and because it hit the community so hard at one time, there was, um, jobless rates were up, uh, um, and difficulty with, um, housing people became more prevalent.

Um, you know, uh, uh, domestic violence. Uh, crime, petty crime and other crime, uh, was on the rise. And, and because of this happened at, at such a short period of time, they, they equated it to, um, a lot of the soldiers coming home and the different addictions and traumas associated as a direct result. And, and so what they did was, uh, because of all this happening, they, they actually put out sort of putting money into, uh, different, um, research.

And so they had all the different universities and, uh, doing different studies. And there was actually a university in, uh, in British Columbia, Canada, uh, in Vancouver. Um, where they, they, um, they did what was called the Rat Park Experiment. And so they put a, uh, a rat in a cage and they put two, two water bottles and they put a sugar laced water bottle and a, uh, cocaine laced water bottle.

And what they did was they, they studied the rat, and the rat would, uh, Would sip off the sugar lace water bottle, but it would inadvertently go over to the cocaine, lace water bottle. And then it would repeatedly drink outta the cocaine, lace water bottle until it overdosed. And, and it died. And you see what happened was is they noticed that this happened Rat after rat, after rat, after rat, after rat.

So they got thinking, you know, trying to come up with different, um, um, um, plausible ways to look at this. And, and they ended up building what was called a rat park. And so they had like this massive enclosure with multiple layers to it. Um, they put nets and slides and, and, uh, and ladders, uh, mirrors and different light.

And, and they put, uh, multiple rats into this rat park. And now what they did was they put the same two water bottles. So they had the sugar lace water bottle and the cocaine lace water bottle. But here’s where it got interesting. You see the, the, the, the rats would sip off the cocaine, lace water bottle.

Sure they did. Um, but they would tend to go over to the sugar lace water bottle. Over and over and over again. So what’s interesting is that not only did these rats not overdose and die, they actually thrived in this community. They had, uh, rat parties and rat raves and rat glow sticks, and they, they made rat babies, right?

And they actually thrived in this community. And, uh, and, and so I, I think it, one of the things that when I look at the, the dangerous. Behavior of isolation, especially going back into an environment where I’m all left alone to my own devices. Um, I think one of the key components is gonna make sure that I stay very well connected mm-hmm.

With various communities. Of course, at our, our center at Simco Addiction and Mental Health, we have an extensive, uh, um, aftercare program, and that’s wonderful. And we have lots of, um, uh, uh, incredible aftercare supports. But, um, what about the additional stuff? The, uh, you know, there’s, there’s other types of community.

Based things out there. Correct?

[00:27:52] Ray: Correct. Yeah, no, definitely connection is, is very significant and just kind, I, I wanna get it just a little bit technical for a second. I mean, we really need to look at what we get from connection, right? So, um, a lot of times, People identify as either being an extrovert or an introvert, and they really rationalize that, you know, I’m a person that prefers to be by myself.

But the reality is, is that humans are social beings. Mm-hmm. Right? Mm-hmm. And the brain responds to human connection. Um, typically what? Creates barriers. There is anxieties, past experiences, traumas and and other things. But the reality is, is when you’re in a connect, when you’re connected to people, you’re ac, your brain is responding to that connection.

So, I mean, the most commonly known thing is dopamine, of course, which is your feel good and your anticipation neurochemical, right? So you’re actually feeling good as a result of being connected with. People. So a lot of times those that describe themselves as being more introvert may have a tendency to feel anxious in certain situations.

Um, and you know, that’s really what holds ’em back. But the reality is, is that social connection is absolutely crucial for humans. And I mean, There’s been a million different studies that are similar to the one you spoke about that all reveal the same thing. Is that there, there certainly is a benefit to community treatment being one.

I mean, you know, individualized care, um, is certainly effective, but there’s, there’s a great power that comes in with a connection, right? So, um, it is very important that. Connection is established in early recovery. So even if you are one of those people that are going home and you are by yourself, it is important to establish a community for, uh, for many different reasons.

Number one, to feel better. Number two, to actually expose yourself to being around other people. Cuz a lot of times it is just simply a fear of being around other people or a very low tolerance of, of. PE people in general. Right. So it’s important to understand that connection. It is just not a theory to, you know, have a group of friends or have a group of, or a community to, to be around.

There’s actually a neurochemical response you get when you feel like you belong to something. Right? Right. And um, I would certainly be one of those persons that would definitely say I’m a little more introverted. I really like my time. Mm-hmm. I really like to be by myself, but at the same time, I understand the value of being connected with people.

And at times I actually. Force myself to actually want to connect with people. Um, and usually when I do that after the fact, I feel much better about myself. Right? So what drugs do, I mean, as you know already and the listeners know already, is the drugs release certain chemicals in your brain and they simulate.

Real life experiences. Right. So you did talk about cocaine, and cocaine is very synonymous with the, um, neurochemical response of love. Right, right. I know it sounds crazy. Mm-hmm. Porn addiction and sex addiction seems to be one of the biggest ones that are blowing up, at least in terms of the, the people that I’m talking, talking to these days and what those things are doing.

Although you’re looking at the particular behavior, or in cocaine’s case, you’re looking at the substance, but the reality is, is that it’s actually evoking a response in your brain. That’s similar to love. So as crazy as it may sound, viewing copious amounts of pornography or engaging in a sex addiction is basically the brain’s way of trying to experience love, which for many people may think that’s bizarre given the particular behavior and whatever stigmas they may associate with those behaviors.

But basically the brain is simulating a lot of those same experiences. So, um, when, when you get out of treatment and a, let’s say for instance, you are, um, A stimulant user really start to emulate the same response you get from, from cocaine, not by finding a, a different substance, but really looking at what cocaine actually does to your brain.

And a lot of similarities could be found in exercise. They could be found in, um, connecting with people and having solid relationships. And all of these things can actually be simulated in a healthy way. That’s gonna lead you to be healthy without consequences and, you know, live your life in a way that’s a lot more manageable mm-hmm.

Than using cocaine and, um, clearly dealing with the consequences of that. So it’s really important to understand how valuable connections really are. And, um, the beginning of the podcast when we talked about expectations, I was 22 year old. 22 years old coming outta treatment. And I had grown men telling me, go to AA meetings.

And I had no idea what that was even about. Right? And I was crippled with social anxiety. And I showed up at these meetings like a. Standing at the back, not knowing where to go, what to do, and just kept exposing myself to that social anxiety. And eventually I became a part of something and it really started to learn how to really be around people.

And at some point went from actually looking forward to seeing these people, which made it, made recovery seem a lot more appealing to me. So we do have recovery communities, aa, n, aca, all the, all the 12 step fellowships out there. Um, But communities in general. So even if that is a badminton club that you do every Tuesday night, yeah, the gym, as long as they’re wishing the best for you, they’re a supportive place that’s not, um, you know, enabling you to return to old behaviors and you know you’re doing something you really enjoy.

We suggest that, and we certainly do that here. We su suggest more than, um, recovery-based communities, but also communities that are gonna recondition your brain to experience pleasure. In a different way. Yeah, because that’s a huge step in recovery is learning to recondition how your brain experiences pleasure, um, in a way that’s much more healthy and sustainable.

So, um, connection is absolutely crucial. And, you know, listeners may be thinking, oh no, that’s too much, or, you know, groups or this or that. Um, give it a shot and, and see what happens and, and try to create a community. And again, it could be of your choosing. So definitely. Definitely a piece of advice out there.

Maintain that community as hard, as hard as that may be for you. Definitely get yourself created with a community.

[00:33:53] Jay: Raymond, thank you so much, brother. Um, incredible words of wisdom. Um, you’re, you know, really absolute pleasure having you on today, brother.

[00:34:02] Ray: Thank you.

[00:34:02] Jay: Um, you know, and, and so for anyone listening, I hope that you, uh, I hope that you enjoyed that podcast.

I hope you got something out of that podcast today. I know I sure did. Um, you know, I love it. I love the way when you spoke Ray, it was invoking new thoughts, right? So my domino thinking would take place, right? This thought creates another thought. Creates another thought. And you know, and, and, and we could have probably recorded four hours of this because, because could be quite frankly, I, I, I have so many things that I want to add.

Um, but I think, uh, I think we’ll just stop it there for today. Um, and I think that’s, we’ve given a lot for our listeners to chew on and think about and process and, uh, I’m hoping that you’ll come back and we’ll film, we’ll record a few more episodes.

[00:34:39] Ray: I definitely will.

[00:34:40] Jay: All right. Sounds good, brother. Okay. Thank you everybody for listening and, uh, and uh, we’ll talk to you all shortly. See you soon. Bye everybody.

Episode 3: Conquering Anxiety - Strategies for Improved Mental Health and Well-being

Chrissy: Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone. Whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and/or addiction, we believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen and heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real-life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles and that there is always a way to move forward. We are here to listen, to support, and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

Before we begin, the content discussed in this episode could be sensitive to our listeners. If you’re currently in crisis, please contact Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or dial 911. If you are in need of more information, please head over to our website, Simcoe rehab.ca and go to our resources tab to access downloadable PDFs, contacts and guides.

If you’re looking for support and wish to seek treatment, you can email us at info info@simcoerehab.ca. Or call today at +1 833-304-8181.

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the Positive Shift. My name is Chrissy Makos and I’m the program manager here at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health. In today’s episode, we’ll be discussing anxiety and how to shift your mindset to a much more positive one where you can understand, cope, and treat your anxiety.

So, I’m really hoping discussing this will help you figure out how to break free from your anxiousness and what strategies best fit you. So, let’s get started.

What is anxiety? Anxiety is a mental and physical reaction to any perceived events, situations or even threats. In small doses, anxiety can be helpful since it protects us from danger and focuses our attention on problems that may need to be resolved.

But when anxiety is too severe and happens way too frequently, this is when it becomes a wee bit of a problem. Anxiety is also a feeling of fear, dread, uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat and feel really restless or tense. By talking about anxiety or even mental health in general on much more of a regular basis we as a society will hopefully unveil those false notions that mask these topics. While these various topics get debunked, I’m hoping it’ll help remove the stigma surrounding mental health. So, before we move on, you might be asking yourself, okay, how do I know if I suffer from anxiety? 

Well, some symptoms can include uncontrollable worry. So, feeling like you’re constantly worrying about the past, present, or even the future that hasn’t even happened yet. Another symptom is feeling excessively nervous when dealing with situations or even events. Individuals with anxiety can also have trouble sleeping. They can also suffer from poor concentration, increased heart rate, upset stomach and muscle tension. 

And a very important symptom I really want to talk about is avoidance. If you find yourself avoiding situations, please recognize that sometimes avoiding your current situations or circumstances can be a Band-Aid solution, meaning avoidance can be a temporary solution. If this sounds like things you encounter frequently, then I hope, and I really, really hope that this episode will be super helpful for you to find ways to properly begin your individualized journey to better your mental and physical health.

Hopefully, this episode also helps spread some awareness on the topic of anxiety for those who may not really be too familiar with it. Since we’ve talked a little bit about what anxiety is, as well as the various symptoms that can be felt, now we’ll dive a little deeper into finding ways to help you cope with your anxiousness.

It’s so, so important to have coping skills in place in order for you to help manage your anxiety. So, for example, practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is great for reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can improve your memory, focus and mental processing. It can also help with managing emotions while adapting to stressful situations.

And being in a mindfulness state helps you focus on the present moment, which includes recognizing your own thoughts, feelings, and senses in that specific moment. And another coping skill would be engaging in regular exercise. Physical activity really helps decrease sensitivity to your body’s reactions to anxiety.

It can also help enhance your mood, improve energy levels, and promote good quality sleep. Avoiding things that may enhance your symptoms of anxiety. For example, caffeine and alcohol. Those are huge contributors to increased heart rates as well. So, you may find yourself sipping on some caffeine, like coffee, and then your heart starts racing.

Another coping skill would be practicing deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing during a period of mindfulness and meditation will help enhance your relaxation during times of really high stress. If you aren’t able to focus, start with practicing your breathing techniques in a really quiet spot with your eyes closed.

Focusing on the present moment while relaxing your muscles, starting from your feet to your head. Create a self-care routine. Implement some strategies for yourself. Don’t be afraid to come up with ways that will benefit your mental health and well-being. Take a bath, read some books. Go for a walk. Get your nails done or paint them yourself. Get your hair done, or even fix it on your own. 

Hang out with people who support you and want the best for you. And most importantly, prioritize your happiness and make sure you are always putting yourself first. The reason why I mention this is because sometimes we get so lost in helping the people we love. But really, we really, really need to make sure that by helping your loved ones, you’re not getting lost along the way.

Now, I’m not saying don’t help your loved ones. But what I’m suggesting is to just find that good, healthy balance just so you don’t get lost along the way either. Finally, seek the professional support if needed, aka talk to a therapist. Don’t be afraid to get that professional help. Talking to a therapist is truly helpful since they are an outside source you can talk to for your needs as an individual.

Therapy is always a safe and non-judgmental space. And since we’re on the topic of seeking professional help, one type of therapy that helps with changing or shifting thoughts and thought patterns and behaviours associated with anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy aka CBT. CBT is an effective form of talk therapy that’s used to treat anxiety.

Some examples of CBT techniques that may be used to help individuals with anxiety are identifying negative thought patterns. A CBT therapist may work with the individual to identify those negative thought patterns that contribute to their anxiety. So, by recognizing these patterns, the individual can learn how to challenge and reframe their thoughts in a much more positive and realistic way.

Another example would be exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing the individual to anxiety-provoking situations, in a safe and controlled environment. Through repeated exposure, the individual can learn to desensitize themselves to their triggers and then develop coping skills to manage their anxiety.

Now, behavioural activation is another CBT technique that involves setting and working towards those achievable goals that increase the individual’s sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. By focusing on positive activities and experiences, the individual can learn to shift their focus away from their anxiety.

Relaxation techniques is another example where a therapist teaches individuals relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization to help manage their anxiety. 

Also, homework assignments. Now I know that really sounds like it sucks, but a therapist may assign you homework to reinforce the skills and techniques learned in therapy. This may include keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings, practicing relaxation techniques, or even engaging in exposure exercises.

Now, keep in mind there are several ways to treat anxiety. There’s not one particular way. So, if you find one way isn’t working well for you, do your research or ask professionals to figure out what would help you best from an individualized perspective. For instance, although one option is cognitive behavioural therapy, another option would be seeking out natural remedies.

These natural remedies could include exercise, which we talked a little bit about. Mindfulness meditation, which we also kind of dove into now. 

Herbal supplements and aroma therapy. Herbal supplements can be used as a natural remedy for anxiety. Some commonly used herbal supplements include Chamomile, which is this herb, which has a calming property. That may help reduce symptoms of anxiety. 

Valerian root, and I’m sorry if I’m not pronouncing these correctly, this herb is often used as a sleeping aid, but it may also help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Another one is lavender. This herb has a calming scent and may help reduce anxiety when used in aroma.

Passionflower is another one, and this herb has calming properties as well and may help reduce symptoms of anxiety too. Another one is cava, this herb, which I actually haven’t heard of CVA before. So, this herb has actually been used to treat anxiety and promote relaxation. But it can have a side effect and should be used with caution. So please consult with your doctor before doing anything like this to you. Okay?

Now, on the other hand, aromatherapy is linked to your olfactory senses, meaning your sense of smell. Some examples of aromatherapy for anxiety include lavender. So, this herb, again has a calming scent and helps reduce anxiety. 

Bergamot I’m probably pronouncing this so wrong, but I have it all written down for myself to explain it to you guys. But this herb has a citrusy scent and may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and also depression.  Lang Lang. This herb has a floral scent and can help with anxiety and depression as well.

Frankincense. This herb has a woody and earthy scent and can help with anxiety and stress too.

Another one is camomile. This herb has a sweet scent too and can help with anxiety as well as insomnia. 

So, I can definitely connect to some of the coping skills and treatments for anxiety since I too suffer from anxiety. Sometimes my anxiety is so overwhelming, but I find when I get into my healthy habits and my healthy routine, which includes, you know, helping reduce my anxiousness, my anxiety actually decreases, and I feel a lot better. So, for example, my personal self-care routine to help cope with and treat my general anxiety is really focusing on the four main pillars in my life, which is exercise, sleep, nutrition, and my social life.

I’ve recently started adding natural supplements into my routine, such as magnesium and ashwagandha, which I take on a nightly basis, and when I’m feeling most anxious, however, I take Ashwagandha on and off, meaning I’ll take it for one week and I’ll stop the next. I’ve heard this is actually much more beneficial since I don’t want my body to become dependent on a supplement to decrease my anxiety or reduce my anxiety.

This is why I try to find other ways to help reduce my anxiety. So, keep in mind this is something that I do and that works best for me. So before starting anything, please, please, please consult with a medical professional before incorporating any supplements as every individual is built differently. So now that we’ve taken a mini journey through the path of anxiety, coping skills, and I’ve provided you with some examples of how to treat it by also talking about what I do for myself, let’s talk about the things in life that can be contributors to our anxiety and what we feel physically and emotionally.

For example, genetics. Anxiety disorders can definitely run in families, meaning anxiety can be hereditary. Brain chemistry is another example. Some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that controls fear and emotions. Now I’m absolutely no expert on brain chemistry, but maybe next time we can have someone come on the podcast to talk about how our brain chemistry can be a contributor to our anxiety and how we feel.

I think that would be a pretty dense yet interesting topic. Environmental stress is another one. Now, this refers to stressful events you have seen or lived through some life events that are often linked to anxiety. Can include childhood abuse, neglect, death of a loved one being attacked, or even seeing violence, drug withdrawal, or misuse.

It’s really important to understand that certain drugs may be used to hide or decrease or reduce certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety often goes hand in hand with alcohol and substance use. 

Now, medical conditions, some heart. Lung and thyroid conditions can be associated with symptoms similar to anxiety disorder or make anxiety symptoms worse.

It’s very important to get a full physical exam to rule out any other medical conditions when talking to your doctor about anxiety.

 So, in today’s episode, we discussed what anxiety is, how to identify it, some coping skills to implement for yourself, and how to treat your anxiety. So, I hope this episode helped you shift your mindset to a much more positive one where you can understand, cope, and treat your anxiety.

Remember, if you’re struggling with anxiety, there are resources available to you, including Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we offer 30-, 45-, 60- and 90-day residential treatment that is evidence-based and psychoeducational with our lovely master’s level therapists and addictions and mental health counsellors.

Along with this residential program, there are other programming we offer to ensure your specific needs are met at the best of our ability. So, everyone, thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode of The Positive Shift. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review and subscribe to our podcast.

Join us next week when we’ll be discussing another topic on the road, two positivity. Thanks.

Episode 2:
How To Balance Life in Recovery with Jordan Anderson

Chrissy: Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone. Whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and/or addiction, we believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen and heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real-life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles and that there is always a way to move forward. We are here to listen, to support, and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

Before we begin, the content discussed in this episode could be sensitive to our listeners. If you’re currently in crisis, please contact Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or dial 911. If you are in need of more information, please head over to our website, Simcoe rehab.ca and go to our resources tab to access downloadable PDFs, contacts and guides.

If you’re looking for support and wish to seek treatment, you can email us at info info@simcoerehab.ca. Or call today at +1 833-304-8181.

Jay: Welcome back to A Positive Shift. It’s, man, it’s so good to be here today. We got a special episode today. We have one of my mentors and just an incredible, all-around incredible human being, professional in the field. I’ll let him elaborate a little bit about him on a personal level as well.

I’d love to take this opportunity to welcome you. Hello, Jordan. Welcome to A Positive Shift, buddy. 

Jordan: Hey, thanks Jay for having me.

Jay: Yeah, no, man. Absolutely. You know, I know we’re gonna have a little bit of a conversation today about a few things, and probably drop a couple questions in your lap, see where the conversation takes us.

I do think it’s really important to do an episode on, basically, a few things. I mean, what happens after inpatient treatment? What the community supports look like? What are the factors that we see as being integral in recovery, from addiction or any mental health challenges that we face and this sort of stuff.

I just kind of get it going. I mean, I know that it wasn’t too long ago, I actually remember. So I’m the product of a few treatment centers. And, I walked into a treatment center one time and I won’t indulge the man’s name, but it was, he was a special human being and he asked me what I was there for, and I remember saying to him, well, I’m here for alcohol.

And he put his arm around me, started walking me back out the door and he said, oh, we don’t serve any of that here, you know. And I’m like, I don’t, that’s not what I mean, that’s not what I mean. He says, well, what are you here for? And I said, to get help, you know, and it was probably the single hardest line that I can recall in my journey of saying, was saying I need help. You know, I was really resistant to that four letter where, you know, like a part of my brain would always say, Hey, you know, I can do this by myself. I know I can, you know. And I was resistant to new information.

And, it wasn’t too long ago, I had a client here at our center and I remember asking him, I says, let me ask you something. Did you think about drinking or getting high today? And he said,  I said, well, why do you think that is? And he gave me a laundry list of reasons and all this.

And I said, well, may I help you? And he said, certainly. And I said, because we don’t serve you alcohol or drugs here. Right. And he has, and you have this automatic level of acceptance that you can’t drink or do drugs. So the mind doesn’t go to that as the first thought. You know, it might go to I think I’m gonna leave here and go get high.

But it, it isn’t, I wake up and I’m gonna get. Or I’m going to have a drink. And so we need to take that level of acceptance into, you know, everyday society and go back to work and have functional and communicative and healthy relationships with people and all this stuff. But I need to have that acceptance.

Does that sound familiar to you? 

Jordan: Very familiar. You know, like, I’m a professional in the field, but I’m also a recovering drug addict. And I remember at the beginning, the concession of  letting go of ego and autonomy and being able to say that I’m able to do this on my own.

That was always, always my path, right, is I couldn’t concede to the program or I couldn’t concede to help from somebody or from a treatment center. And my sponsor always used to tell me that I was swimming upriver and all I had to do was float. That’s it. And it changes things when we ask for help because we get to, we don’t have to decide when we’re floating down the river which way the river’s gonna take us.

We just, we just land our back and just let it happen. And the instinct is to direct the course of action, the direction we’re gonna go. But, you know, when I was at– I was at a treatment center called Sunshine Coast years ago, way out in BC in like Powell River. They were talking about this like Valley and I’m in– They’re like, you’re in the bottom of this valley and you’ve got other people with you and you’re, you know, they were talking about like we’re a platoon, right?

We’re all walking around and walking around the valley with their rifles and, you know, and in our gear and our helmets on, and all of a sudden we start taking enemy fire, right? And people are dropping and he says, what direction do you run? And I don’t know. What do you mean? I don’t, what direction is the fire coming from?

Right. He’s like, you don’t know. You’ve just seen people hit the ground. What direction do you run? Right. I’m like, I don’t know the answer to that. He goes, but we do. He’s like, that’s the difference is on our own when I don’t ask for help, I might be running directly towards the fire. Right. I might be running into the enemy because I can’t see what’s over that precipice.

Right. You know? So I have to trust somebody who has been there before, who knows where they’re going in order to get in the right direction. And that’s a really difficult thing, especially being an adult. And most people in recovery, when they choose to get recovery, they’re adults. And you know, it is unmanageable to be an adult that, run your my own life that doesn’t get to decide when I go to sleep, doesn’t get to decide when I eat right. Doesn’t get to decide where I live. It’s very humbling. All of those things that you have to concede to, to get help to go into a treatment program. It’s a really difficult thing, but it’s like I said, it’s a liberating thing.

Jay: And you know, you mentioned a couple really important pieces there, right? About, you know, conceding to that as well as I mentioned, acceptance. What other factors do you think are the most important in recovery? 

Jordan: Work, you know, finding, rebalancing the addiction. So, you know, if, I hear a lot of people and they’ll say, You know, this is really hard so I can’t do this.

Or, I don’t like this, so I can’t do this. That’s more accurate. And they, they’re not willing to put in the work that is required to counteract the deficit that they have. And the reason for that is, is cuz there’s no clarity on what they actually have as a disease.

You know, addiction is, you know, it meets all the clinical standards of a disease with the American Disease Society. You know, it’s terminal, it’s fatal. Fatal, it’s incurable and it changes your body on a cellular, the structure. Right. And people don’t see it that way. What happens is even for people who have a drug addiction is they look at their disease and as soon as they get a couple days in they look better. They feel better. They smell better. They forget. Right. And they stop working. But with anything else that wouldn’t happen. If I had cancer and doctor said, you can come and see me every. Or you can see me once every couple weeks, I’d say every day. Right.

I wouldn’t hesitate. Of course, with meetings, people won’t do that. Right. With treatment, people won’t do that. Right. They’ll say, oh, yeah, yeah. Every couple weeks.

Jay: That sounds good. Yeah. If, yeah. First Monday of every month. 

Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. If I went to a chemo clinic and I didn’t like the way somebody smelt beside me or the way they talked to me there or what the pamphlets said, I would still go. Right, because I acknowledge that I’m dying. Addicts don’t acknowledge that they’re dying. 

Jay: Right. How do we, how do we get better if we don’t even know we’re sick? 

Jordan: Right. Right. So because they don’t see the forest for the trees, they have a disease of perception.

Jay: Yeah. Amen.

Jordan: They stop doing the work and that’s like, that is the crux of it. I’ll tell you, I’ve got 12 years in recovery and Ido just as much or more work on my recovery now than I did on day one. Right? And it is tiring and it is, at times I wanna quit doing all that work, right? But I realize what my disease is and I realize how quickly it’ll take me.

So without that, that really, that dedication to doing the work that’s required and the self-honesty to acknowledge where I’m at, I’m not gonna make it. Those are like the, I think those two things are at the epicenter of what recovery is and has to be in order for people to gain long-term recovery.

Jay: Absolutely. The consistency, discipline, the reimagination of how bad things can go. We have to, like, on paper though, right. Jordan, on paper, 3, 4, 5 days, seven days a week, 10 days, 30 days, six months. I can write down how bad it was, but I can’t thrust myself into that same feeling. I can’t grasp that piece, that level of desperation that I had at one point.

It’s much like when, you know, I had a really close family member lose their vision a couple years back. And you know, and I remember, I try and with compassion and with empathy to really put myself in this person’s shoes. And I would close my eyes and try to imagine what the fear would be like and what life would be presented to me as if I had no vision.

But the problem with that is, I know deep in the core of my belly, I know that at any moment if I want to see, I can open my eyes, right? Yeah. I can just open them up and now I, so I cannot fully ever understand exactly what that would be like. Right. And I think that side presents as a lot of times when we do get to that place where we’re not able to sufficiently recall how bad it was, it’s almost in the same realm, right?

Like I almost, it’s not that I’m refusing, but I just can’t get there. Right? 

Jordan: I find the way that I maintain that level of clarity of where I come from and what that looks like and what I can return to is through other people. So, you know, working in the field is really helpful because I’m continuously bombarded by watching people who are not doing the proper amount of work, or I can see them on their way out.

But even in, you know I’m part of a self-help group, as well. And getting to like sponsor people or be just connected to others really helps with that. Cuz you know, the disease of addiction, like one of the greatest enemies is isolation cuz isolation makes the disease virtually undetectable.

And when I’m alone, I don’t have a mirror to reflect back to me. Those things when I’m around other people and I’m watching not the people who are doing really well, right. People who are doing really well are almost dangerous to me at times. Right, right. The same way like people who drink excessively or use excessively are not dangerous to me. People who drink or use a little bit are dangerous to me, right? Because it makes me believe that I’m capable of doing that. Right. I’m not that person. Other people might be, yeah. I’m what we call a pickle.

Jay: I’m with you buddy. I’m a pickle.

Jordan: Yeah. Some people might be a cucumber still. I’m already in the juice. There’s no going back for me. I might wanna be a cucumber as much as I can, but I’m never going back. We’re not placed back in the tube baby. Yeah. So, you know, getting to watch the people that are brand new, the people that are struggling, who can’t see the forest for the trees, that are coming out of desperation, degradation, dereliction, those are the people that really reflected back to me and remind me of where I come from. And if I stop helping those people, I’ll forget who I am and I’ll forget what it is, and eventually, I’ll probably be one of those people coming in and having some old timer have to help me. 

Jay: I love that man. And you know, originally I was gonna ask you if you’d always had an interest in helping others, but I think you kind of explained it away there, but let me, but on that same note, and now you mentioned helping.

What’s your approach, professionally helping individuals with like co-occurring mental health and addiction issues? What is your role in the community? 

Jordan: So, I think the world has partitioned addiction to mental health as separate things. But addiction is a mental health disorder.

So the reason we always list them kind of separately – my work does, I know you guys do – is because a lot of people can’t see that that is one. Like they’re not, they’re synonymous to each other. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a client come in that didn’t have comorbidity or co-occurring disorders.

I think all of them came in and have some sort of underlying mental health that has exacerbated their addiction or their addiction has exacerbated their mental health. Now, the longer people stay abstinent, the easier it is to kind of weed that out. So, you know, at the beginning the way I usually deal with it when people are coming in is we send them all to go see our doctor.

And the doctor that we use is this guy Jake Popowski. He’s been around, I don’t know, he’s like 80. He’s the head of psych for Ryerson. He’s like fantastic and he’s basically dedicated his life to helping people with addiction. And he doesn’t look at their file. This is the really important thing.

He doesn’t look at their files and he brings ’em into their office. Instead of asking them about all their medical conditions and stuff, he asks ’em about their childhood. He asks ’em about their life and what, why they used, do they know why they used what they used? Was that sequenced with something that was like a trauma or was that sequenced with? Did they have anything that maybe reflected something that was an undiagnosed mental health disorder? And he starts at ground zero and he does like these two-and-a-half-hour sessions. They’re ridiculously long. And, no other doctors are doing that. I watch these other doctors and they give you like 15 minutes. And they read your file and they go, it says you’re bipolar. So here’s some meds. Instead of looking at it through a clear brand new lens. And then seeing if those things are actually accurate and the majority of the people, I find that when they first become abstinent, they have a laundry list of mental health disorders. And because addiction mirrors a lot of them, addiction, active use, mirrors bipolar or borderline personality disorder, it mirrors, depression.

When I first got clean, I was diagnosed with major depressive, ADD and bipolar. I am a hundred percent ADD still, so that never went away. I just learned to hone it in, but the other two fell off because they were directly correlated to my addiction. The diagnosis is because it mimicked it.

So, with a lot of, when clients come in, I try not to make too many assumptions on what is and what isn’t and the effects on each other. And we just try to get ’em to a place of stabilization. And once we get ’em to a place of emotional stabilization, we can do a reassessment and determine if those are real and those need to be addressed.

Or if those were mimicked by the addiction, if that makes sense to you.

Jay: It makes absolute perfect sense to me and I can identify with a few things that you shared there and based on that same experience, you know what role does additional community supports play in the recovery process once we get to that stage?

Jordan: Oh, man. So, we talked about this regular social, the social determinants of health, all the things that people need in their life to be happy, joyous, and free, you know, some of the really basic things, not the big flighty things that we wanna give people like a spiritual transformation, but just the basics. You know, housing, like a safe place to live, food, shelter, water, base financing. And so all, like for us, we have this integrated network of community supports that we deal with. Simcoe Treatment Center being one of them. you know we send clients back and forth and work with each other actively.

A lot of other agencies, you know, treatment agencies, we work with housing programs, but it’s getting more and more difficult because the scope of, the magnitude of addiction in Ontario right now is so big. The help is so small from like a government standpoint, from a financial standpoint, and a lot of the money, you know I’m not sliding harm reduction agencies is definitely a really needed thing, but a lot of the money has gone into triage. So helping maintain addiction in a safe way. The safer way, instead of setting up a long-term continuum of care. The long-term continuum of care is to take somebody who says they identify, I need help.

Like you said, those magic words, I need help. And then getting them to a withdrawal management center, transferring them to a treatment center, getting them into post-residential agencies, getting them into long-term housing and sustaining their life. But that system is broken, and it is every agency seems to be autonomous and they’re not working together.

And because of that, you know, I have a hard time navigating it. I’ve been doing this for 13 years. I have a hard time navigating the system. I can’t imagine somebody with 30 days in a fog, you know, not ever knowing how to like, you know, pick up the phone and make those calls, or who to call or who provides what.

And being able to manage, you know, navigate that system. So, I mean, we really rely on a lot of agencies to pick up on the pieces that we can’t do, and we focus on something really specific. When I started at Alpha, we were, we took people in that were homeless, we took people in that were coming outta treatment from detoxes all over the place.

And we refined that down to being post-residential. So somebody goes to Simcoe Treatment Center and then they would come to Alpha House for three to four months doing stabilization post-residential, and then we would get them into housing. That was our shtick. And having something really specific allows to have a greater outcome. When we try to be all things to everybody, it all falls apart. So if somebody has a childhood survivor or adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, we’ll send them to the Gatehouse. They’re a wonderful program. They’ll help us, we’ll send people to Broadview Homes or to Salvation Army for long-term housing programs.

But without that network and really agencies working together, people don’t stand a chance cuz they’re just getting spin-dried and then kicked, and then sent back to the same place that they came from.

Jay: And I mean, you nailed on, you touched on so many important pieces and you nailed on something else.

Like if we don’t have those supports, first of all. Yeah, like the community partnership aspect to be able to openly communicate with other agencies, you know, take circle care out of the mix. We’re talking about actual relationships where our objective is to day in and out daily, boots on the ground, try and help that individual meet those recovery goals, which ultimately, is life, you know, living, right?

And I remember early on when I got into this field, you know, really early on, I remember you actually said something that was a little bit of a game changer for me because I was frustrated with some of the things I was seeing. I had struggled with harm reduction modelling.

I had struggled with my own biases that were sort of getting in the way of preventing me or preventing me from moving forward. And I remember you said something and I don’t remember if you recall saying. You said to me, you know, Jay, when I got into this field in the beginning, you know, I really wanted to save the world but in a short period of time, I realized I couldn’t. And that my job then, in fact, became helping keep the individual alive long enough for them to find recovery. And I found that was like an absolute bomb of information for me because it tore, it didn’t just, it didn’t pull the bricks outta the wall, right. It blew up the wall. And it allowed me to start walking through and becoming more open-minded on some of the things that were holding me back professionally. And then. I was thinking, you know, as you were sharing about if we don’t have these supports in place, like, I’m sure you could identify with this, but I know that I was well on my way in recovery, and I had, I didn’t access the additional resources that were available to me. And I found myself on this loop of disaster. But I found some sort of contented recovery. And as a result I got my first vehicle and I was driving to one of the centers that I was working at.

And I was driving home one day and I remember, and it was the first time I’d driven Jordan in 21 years, 22 years, and it was my very first car. Like I’ve never owned a car, at least legally, and it was my first car and I found myself, I’m driving along and I hear this thunk, this little thump thunk sound on my car.

And I remember sort of like turning the volume down on the radio and shuffling the steering wheel and pressing the gas and hitting the brake. And I’m trying to mirror and mimic that sound to, see what the sound was and it never came. And I get home and you see up until then, I remember a neighbor of mine, he had bought a brand new car as well, right around the same time he had a shiny red Kia.

And I remember like, we would sort of have the head nods, you know, when we’re in like the secret new car club. And he was about two doors down from me. And we’d see each other and we’d nod our heads and I’d see him all the time in this car and he’d see me and we would just have our little head nods and so I come home from work that day.

After the sound, I go inside, I make a coffee, and I’m sitting up on the stoop and I’m looking at my. And I’m wondering what that sound was. And Ray, when I’m doing that, around the corner comes this guy with the new red Kia. And he pearls into his driveway. And I’m looking at his car.

He must have just come outta the car wash Jordan, cuz that car was shiny. And I and I’m kind of looking at my car and I’m thinking, Yeah, my car is kind of dirty and I’m looking at his tires and I’m like man, those are some sexy tires, man. They look like, what, 15 inches? And I look over at my tires and I’m like, ah they’re kind of boring. And then I’m looking at like the taillight or the headlamps and I’m like, I like the lamps on the Kia. And I started looking at the lamps on my car and I slowly started to pick apart all the things that I don’t like about mine, all the things I love about his car. And, let’s keep in mind, three days earlier, I’m driving down a road in Wipie, listening to Joni Mitchell when I’m bawling my eyes out with gratitude for having this vehicle, and in a very short period of time, I’m seeking something out. You know, and I didn’t have any understanding of my behaviours outside of alcohol and drugs, you know, and I feel like a lot of these external supports that are out there would allow me more time to learn from experiences like that instead of having to go through them necessarily. I could be presented with learning opportunities, you know? So does that sound familiar? 

Jordan: Sounds very. Gratitude is a hundred percent fleeting all the time and so fleeting. I have a 2023 Soren and I got it about four months ago. And I was really excited when I got it cuz it was 2022 still.

And I was so impressed with myself that I have this 2023 in 2022, and now it’s 2023. And I’m like, oh, it’s just this year now. But it happens to all of us. And I mean that’s a big piece in recovery is that there’s really a great book, called The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

And, and it’s about a man who had, you know, he went through that process and he had a really great job. And then, you know, and he was like working on Wall Street and then, he got like a Porsche and that eventually that didn’t become enough and he got married to this really beautiful woman.

And then a couple years later, she was a little too old for him and he divorced her and got a new girlfriend and then eventually got his Ferrari and he worked his way to this ladder of success. Right. And then eventually when he got there, he realized how hollow his life was and he sold everything he had, gave all the money away and became a monk.

And he talks about how he’s never been more contented in his life. And it’s not about having money or not having money, like having stuff is nice. I have stuff. It’s nice, right? To have stuff but, without that spiritual contentment that goes with it, you know, you’ll never be satisfied.

And I remember being in treatment and this psychologist that was there, he used to really grow me. And, and he just said, he would always say to me, Jordan, when are you gonna be happy? And I always had these ideas, like when I get a house I’ll be happy, when I get married I’ll be happy, when I have kids I’ll be happy. When I have the job I want, I’ll be happy. But recovery doesn’t work that way. It’s about being, it’s learning to be contented exactly where I am right now and learning, because we’re always waiting for something. Right. And, giving people that time, like you said, and that continuum where they are stable long enough and they have help long enough in counsellors and people to reflect stuff back to them, that gives them that safe place so they don’t get caught up in that fleeting gratitude moment.

Right. You know, I mean, meetings are really great for that because you always have people who talk about that. I mean, you see people lacking that are new coming in. It reminds you of the great gift you have, but once you separate from all of that, you try to do things on your own. You get stuck in those moments you know, because you don’t see the depravity. I went to Haiti a few years ago to go build an orphanage. And, there was an attempt on the president’s life when I was there, they evacuated the country. They were like setting, like roads were being set on fire, like piles of tires, you couldn’t get anywhere.

It was mayhem. Mayhem. And really scary. Like really scary. And, I’ve been to a lot of poor places, but that trip reset something in me. I have a picture of this little girl in my living room and she’s got a little, like alop eye and my wife, she’s always like, it’s such a weird picture.

And so people always ask me, they’re like, what is that? Right? But this girl, I remember her when I was there. We made lasagna. These kids have never had lasagna. They eat like every three, four days. And I spent a whole bunch of time and I prepped this big lasagna and, And when we brought it there, we cut up the pieces and we handed them out.

And all these kids are just gorging on it because they’re starving. This orphanage doesn’t have money. It’s not like they’re providing them care. It’s just a roof. Right? And this little girl, she takes a bite of it and then she lifts up her dress. She’s like four or five, and then she hides it in her underwear, right?

Hides the rest of lasagna in her underwear. And that, I couldn’t let go of that moment, right? Like that is desperation. You know, like she’s saving that cause these other kids are gonna take it from her later if she doesn’t hide it. And I, and like sitting in that moment, remembering that moment, no matter what I get in life and where I get and how it looks, I remember that like that’s a place where other people are and that’s a place I can go.

You know, and that allows me to stay in gratitude. But I only got to that place cuz I was able to sustain long enough in recovery to get to that place, to learn.

Jay: To be teachable and learn it. I remember hearing a line when I had some problems with my feet. I remember hearing a line, you know, I used to complain about my shoes till I met a man with no feet.

And, shortly after I’m at the GO station and I see a fella with prosthetics. And I remember thinking to myself in that moment, I’m like, oh, yeah. Oh yeah. So these opportunities are now presented to me that thrust me back into a place where I can remember to be grateful. Absolutely.

You know, and the more I do that, the more they present themselves because there’s more opportunities to remember this. So, yeah. Back to the Alpha House, I mean, what, you know first of all, what’s Alpha House? What makes it so special? So, because I have my own thoughts, but I want to hear what you think.

Jordan: So we’re the only place I know that does what we do. I wish the government would fund lots of different ones, places that do it, but we’re post-residential aftercare. So, our role is essentially taking people directly outta treatment that are still homeless and bridging them. So we’ll take them and keep ’em at our center for about three, four months and get them into long-term sustainable housing.

And during that time, we do educational vocational training, resume writing, different things, along with a partner agency called Oasis. We’ll also do groups on, you know, relapse prevention, alumni engagement. We have clinical case managers on site that meet with them every week. We have an addictions doctor that they come and see.

And the piece that it fills is this niche that’s drastically needed. And you can think of Ontario like a big funnel. And there’s all of these treatment agencies that are doing really magnificent work. And. You know, they’re constantly seeking to, you know, get people into a place, but there’s no place to send.

So, I mean, if somebody has a home and all that kind of stuff, that’s great, but a lot of addicts have lost their homes. They’ve lost the right to go to their homes because of damages that they’ve done to their family. So we get these people that are going to be destitute and we bring them in directly from treatment while they’re on point, right? Doing the things they need to do. They’re on fire, they want it, they’re willing, which is, I mean, you have to, you have to capitalize on that moment. Cuz that moment is exceptionally rare. It takes everything in the planet to line up. It’s like an eclipse. You know, and you need divine intervention. You need willingness. You need courage. You need people who are willing to help. You need space. You need all these things to line up and you get this person in this perfect eclipse when they’re willing and ready, and then you tell them, we got no place for you to go. You know, you’re gonna go to a shelter, you’re gonna go back to the street.

And you know, there’s this, this old adage of, I can take a tree in a diseased forest, and I remove that tree and I plant it in some fresh soil and I filter it out with water and I bring that tree back alive and it comes back and it’s blossoming and it’s beautiful and it’s green. If I take that tree after all that work and I pluck it back out, and I put it back into that same diseased forest of which it came, it’s gonna die.

You know, so our job, the treatment centers do this amazing work. You know, like Simcoe, you guys do amazing work here. And then you take these people and you plant them in a fresh pot and you get them all back to life. And we take them from there and we put them into a bigger pot, and then we allow them some abilities to be autonomous and then keep them putting them into different pots and different pots and different pots until they’re able to go in. We find safe place for them to land, a safe forest for them to go to. That’s essentially our role. I mean, it’s a weird one cause people call us all the time and they say, what are you guys, treatment? We say, no. They’re like, are you a transition? I’ll say, nope. And they’re like, well what are you?

I’m like, we’re post-residential aftercare. We found that niche because it was so needed. And I wish I could duplicate it over and over and over, but unfortunately, the funding just isn’t there with the government.

Jay: Well, you guys do such incredible work and I’m really fortunate to know a lot of your staff.

They’re fantastic. And, it’s just, it’s remarkable. What about, like, what kind of, what are the challenges though on the inside of Alpha House, like with clients, like, and, how do you deal with them? Like problematic type stuff like.

Jordan: Okay. So, I guess that depends on language, on what we would consider problematic.

That’s a good point. Kevin Amison – wonderful man, one of my mentors, started me off in this field, really, really beautiful soul – and when I used to work at a Brooklyn House Treatment Center and Kevin was my boss. We have these people that would be in there, clients and they would be, you know, they’d be being like really abrasive or they’d say, I’m not going to group, or I don’t wanna do my chore. Or all sorts of noise and resistance and, you know, I would get stuck in that mindset like, this guy’s a problem and he’s not gonna do what we need to do.

And I would go to Kevin, and when I would go to Kevin, he would, he’d always say, what’s under the behaviour. And it never left my mind what’s under the behaviour. And at first, I was like, what do you mean he’s being a jerk? Like, you know, we shouldn’t have to put up with this. He goes, what’s under the behaviour?

And it softens me because I look at somebody who says, I don’t wanna do this or that, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not. What it means is sometimes when I look underneath is that they’re scared, that they’re, they feel like they’re incapable. What’s the point of doing this? Because I’m gonna go out anyways.

Like they’ve told themselves this story over and over that they’re, they can’t do this, that it’s not gonna work. That they’re, terminally unique from the rest of the people that are in that center. So they’re acting out sometimes trying to sabotage themselves to get tossed out of a place.

Because they don’t wanna be the one to pull the pin. So with those guys we gotta get creative and every person’s an individual. Some of them I push really hard to see if they’ll break, other people I have to use really kid gloves and love ’em.

And because some people have never, I’ve had people in yhat you realize really quickly no one has ever ever told them that they’re worth it. No one has ever told them that they’re capable. No one has ever taken a minute to give them a hug and just show ’em like an iota of love. You know, they come from these horrible homes or you know, or they’re adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

And sometimes it’s all it takes to change somebody’s trajectory is just letting them know that we have faith in them and we love them even if they don’t love themselves. And then others there’s a few that are, you know, they just, it’s not what they want. And, there used to be an adage in addictions treatment, say no wrong door.

I’m not a believer in it. I believe there are wrong doors. I believe sometimes people get mis referred, because whoever was working with them didn’t take the time to look into the agency that they’re sending them to, to find out if the program actually was what they want. You know, I have guys that come to us sometimes and they’ll be like, well, I just want housing.

Well, we’re not housing, you know, so I’m not gonna ask them to leave. We’re gonna work with them to get them into housing, but they weren’t prepared for the level of programming we have. That’s not what they were looking for. So, you know, I have to treat everybody individually and then, try to figure out what archetype they are.

I figured there’s like maybe 12 archetypes of clients in the world. There’s different personalities and different stories, but there’s about 12 different types of clients. And once I figure out where they kind of fall in that I have to create with my team a plan. Cuz they’re not gonna do it.

Client’s not gonna do it. They don’t know how to do it. So we create a plan of action. I mean, we’ve worked, me and you have worked on those together with people trying to lovingly corral them in the right direction. Yeah, it’s like hurting cats at times.

Uh, trying to get a cat in a bath, but because they don’t know how to do it and they’re going to resist things the same way I resist things. Contempt prior to investigation is fatal. I’m not eating broccoli, you know? Yeah, absolutely. I hated, I hated broccoli my entire life.

I’ll tell you this, I never ate broccoli. My entire life. I looked at it and I said, I know I don’t like it. And then, when I hit about 35, my wife said, you’ve never tried this stuff. And I’m like, no. It looks gross. And then I dipped some in ranch and I ate it. It’s one of my favourite things now. Yeah. I don’t, I was like, I’m an idiot. Wait, what? What am I doing? I wasted all this time. I could have been eating this. 

Jay: Contempt prior to investigation, 

Jordan: Contempt prior to investigation. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, it’s our job to reflect things back to those people when they are problematic or resistant and try to find out, rolling with the resistance, trying to find out why, what’s underneath, rather than looking at the actions. Cuz the actions are sometimes abrasive and, and we get transference as counsellors and I wanna respond. Sometimes I wanna respond really negatively and I gotta bury that down and put on the face, the counselor face and remember that I signed up to help these people change. And, they’re like children. They have the mind of a child a lot of them, and still, and that’s gonna change. But I have to keep that in the back of my mind. What’s under the behaviour? Not what is the behavior. Does that make sense?

Jay: That is absolutely such integral and, amazing information.

And, I just wanted to honestly just take this opportunity to thank you again. So this is, we have Jordan Anderson, the Executive Director of Alpha House Toronto. You know, feel free to, I think we’re gonna put some your website and your information below, whether we’re on our Spotify or our YouTube.

Um, but honestly, Jordan, I can’t thank you enough brother for coming in you know.

Jordan: My pleasure.

Jay: You’re an absolute, pillar in the recovery community. You’re one of the most incredibly enlightened and um exceptional professionals that I’ve ever seen in this field. Most people that I know in the profession, throughout the province of Ontario, hold you to the highest standards because of the incredible work you do. The incredible, selfless way you carry yourself. It’s absolutely astonishing, you know, and so we’re absolutely grateful that you took the time to come out to our center here today. And, you know, on behalf of everyone at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, thank you. And, you know, if you have any last words that you wanted to share?

Jordan: If you’re, if you’re new and you’re listening to this, get your butt in a chair, the miracle will happen.

Jay: Amen to that brother. Thank you very much. And, we’ll see, we’ll continue to see you on the path.

Jordan: Awesome. Thanks Jay.

Play Video about Positive Shift Addiction and Mental Health, a SAMH podcast experience

Episode 1:
How To View Life From A New Perspective

Chrissy: Hello and welcome to The Positive Shift, a podcast hosted by Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, where we focus on shifting perspectives on the journey of mental health and addiction recovery. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive space for those who are struggling and to provide guidance, hope, and encouragement.

We understand that the road to recovery and self-improvement can be a challenging one. However, it’s not something you have to do alone. Whether you are someone who is dealing with mental health and or addiction, we believe that every story has value and can help others feel seen and heard. Our goal with this podcast is to bring together experts and real-life experiences to provide practical and meaningful insights into the process of healing.

We want you to know that you are not defined by your struggles and that there is always a way to move forward. We are here to listen, to support and to offer a shoulder to lean on as you take the important steps towards a better, more fulfilling life. So let’s get started and take this journey together.

Jay: Safe and supported. Wow. What a good intro. Welcome everybody. My name is Jay. I am, uh, with Simco Addiction Mental Health. I’m really pleased to be here with my co-host. 

Chrissy: Chrissy Mav. 

Jay: Boom. 

Chrissy: Hello everyone and welcome to our podcast. We appreciate you being here for listening, and, uh, we’re really excited to dive right into it.

Jay: Yeah, man. I like a, like a horse coming outta the gate, like a bull coming outta the shoot. Yeah. You know what I mean? It’s fired up, we’ve been talking about this for, what, six weeks, seven 

Chrissy: weeks? Long time. It’s, it’s been a. Yeah, it’s been a journey and, and it’s, it’s good because we get to talk about the serious things, the fun things, and we wanna be as authentic as possible.

So yeah, we’re just here to talk and to have a conversation, you know.

Jay: what great word, authentic, right? Yeah. Yeah. To be our true, authentic selves. I mean, isn’t that the ultimate 

Chrissy: goal? Oh, definitely, 

Jay: definitely matter about you. But I put a lot of masks on for a long time. Mm-hmm. , and I started peeling ’em back one at a time, and I started seeing things in myself that I’m not sure I wanted to see. After, honestly, after going through what I’ve been through as well. And, uh, obviously we’ll dive right into our, uh, personal experiences maybe another time. But, um, the reason why we’re here is to just talk about what is happening in the real world and, and, and, and what we want to talk about as individuals and what we wanna express, right?

I love it. Another good word, express. What’s the, who came up with the name, the positive. That’s, uh, well, I mean, I get it, right? I mean, I mean, obviously we need to have a shift and I, I, I totally get it. We want to be positive, but, uh, the more I p the more I bounce that around in my head, I start thinking about, um, you know, different things.

It’s like, am I gonna go from one place to another? Is it an internal shift? Is it an external shift? Um, you know, and then I was sitting there thinking about it, and I, I, I got a hard time. First of all, I kept forgetting the name of it, right. I had to, I had to ask Francesco a. I’m gonna tell you, I have a good feeling that by the time, uh, you know, we, we work through this together, we’re gonna, this is gonna be a, a, a, a title of a podcast that people aren’t gonna forget anytime soon.

Chrissy: Definitely. 

Jay: You know, definitely. Because the truth about a positive shift is it has to, I have to have one, I have to have an internalized positive shift. Yeah. In order to, to, to perceive life differently. Yeah. Otherwise, you’re gonna get stuck in that same cyclical thinking. That leaves me, well, for lack of a better, you know, clinical.

Sick man. Yeah. You know? Yeah. So it’s true. I, I’m thrilled to be here. What, what did you, what brought you here? So, so well, besides the car and the, you know, and the vehicle that brought you in.  

Chrissy: Yeah, of course. What brought me here was just to share my experience, uh, to talk about what is going on in today’s world, in today’s society, in our communities that we’re a part of.

Um, I think it’s important that we recognize that everyone has a story. Um, everyone has, you know, A mind, a brain, and, and words are coming up every single day in our heads that sometimes are intrusive, that sometimes are positive, but it’s what we need to talk about and it’s what we need to recognize That’s a part of our lives.

I mean, every single day, you know, we have intrusive thoughts, but at the end of the day, it’s, it’s what we talk about, how we communicate and, and how we express ourselves. Right. That, that’s going to help us in the end. No, that’s fabulous. 

Jay: Fabulous. Yeah. 

Chrissy: And Jay and Jay, why, why are you here? What brought you here?

Jay: Why, man? I don’t know, to be honest, like, I just wanted to live in active recovery, right? And for a long time I lived in the opposite, the polar opposite, active addiction. Mm-hmm. And so when I found this, this life of recovery, all these good things started to come back into my life, right?

Yeah. And that’s what they talk about what recovery means. Well, it’s to recover that thing back into your life. And so external, , you know, all of a sudden I started to get these, these things that started to rebuild my ego because I lived in that place with those intrusive thoughts. Yeah. That you mentioned for so long.

Yeah. That I, I, you know, I lived with this feeling of defeat and worthlessness. Yeah. You know, I was homeless and at the end of my, uh, drinking and drugging career many years, man, actually, I had this great spot out front of the Royal Bank if you’re gonna, it had, uh, two glass doors kept the wind off me.

Right? Yeah. You know, as far as, uh, being somewhere without a roof, it was probably one of the better spots. Right. But, uh, uh, it took me no time, you know, maybe two, three years to rebuild this life. Yeah. You know, all of a sudden I’ve got a vehicle, all of a sudden I got healthy relationships. All of a sudden I’m working as a professional in the field. Yeah. Right. In this field. Yeah. Right. Which is still asinine to me when I look at it, but I’m here I am. Right. Yeah. And so here I am as a couple years later and I’m at this, uh, this car wash. Right. And I, I’d never had, A car for 21 years. Eh, Chrissy didn’t drive a vehicle and I was, remember I was, um, I’m washing this car now.

It’s a Hyundai Elantra. Okay? This is, this Hyundai Elantra is my Rolls-Royce. Like it is my bmw it is my, it is the creme, the creme de la creme of cars for me, right? And I got this, this little white Hyundai Elantra, and I’m, I’m up at the car wash and I’m washing the car and I’m, I’m wiping down the windows and I’m putting that, that black spray on the tires, you know, that makes it all fancy black.

And, and, and I remember thinking to myself, I got some important stuff to do. I gotta, I gotta go get my son. I’m gonna bring him to soccer. Um, I gotta go call this new guy that asked for some help. I’m gonna give him some direction. Uh, you know, I, I gotta go pick up my, my, my partner at work. Um, and I gotta get some groceries.

I gotta get some groceries from the grocery store. And, and I was thinking about all these things and I, I, and I’m. It’s mind blowing to me how fast the ego can regenerate itself and how fast I started to forget how bad it was, such a short period of time ago. Okay, now all of a sudden I’m, I’m doing all these things, I’m wiping down the car and I look across the street and I see this man, and he’s got long straggly hair, and it’s the middle of June.

He’s got a big overcoat on and massive boots, right? Ripped pants. And for a split second, Chrissy, I remember thinking to myself, oh, , I remember that. Mm-hmm. , I remember being like that. Yeah. But as fast as I had that thought, and please, uh, keep an open mind here, because this is how my, my, my intrusive thoughts, they didn’t, they don’t go away altogether.

It’s a, it’s it’s management process. And I remember thinking to myself, he should ask this man if he needs help. Mm-hmm. , but here’s my brain. I can’t control my first thought. More importantly, I can control my second thought and my reaction to that thought. And here’s my brain. My brain goes. But, if you ask him if he needs help, and he says Yes, guess what, Jay?

You’re gonna have to give him help and you might just be too busy for that today. Right. And I remember thinking in that moment, like, I, I, you know, I, I need to ask him the, the, I’m having this battle between my ears. Ask him. Don’t ask him, ask him. Don’t ask him. And, uh, and as he gets closer, He walked past me.

He sits down on the, uh, the, the stoop right beside the car. He’s about three feet away from me. I’m still drawing the car, and I’m having this internal battle. And finally I says to the man, I says, Hey buddy, do you need some help? And he said, the most profound three words to me I’ve ever heard in recovery.

He said, don’t we all. Boom. It wasn’t even him in that moment that needed to help. It was me. You see, I didn’t realize that I’m in this constant state of learning, this constant state of growth. And if I don’t continuously seek, um, ways to, to, to, to impact my recovery and impact my, my, uh, understanding, as you mentioned earlier, to be our true, authentic self.

Well, I’m gonna find myself in a whole pit full of water that is not gonna be healthy or conducive to my recovery. And just for the record to close out that story, I ended up breaking bread with this man. I ended up becoming friends with this man, and he ends up being one of my mentors today, who’s one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met, uh, who’s also living a beautiful life in recovery today.

And that was, uh, that he was put in my path in order for me to learn that lesson. Not to help him, but for him to help me. And so I thought if I was here doing a podcast with you, Maybe we could help someone else. and as default I could help myself.

Chrissy: It’s true, it’s true. And actually that was my next question.

I, I wondered what you did next, you know, after hearing those three words. Yeah. We went and broke around, but what, what were your, what were your thoughts? Like how, how did you feel even hanging out with the guy and, and, you know, discovering yourself and your boundary and, and just recognizing. Your thoughts in that moment?

Like how, how did you feel about that?

Jay: Well, the minute he said those words, I felt this incredible wave of relief. Yeah. It was bizarre. It’s like, I didn’t know. I’d been walking around for months with my shoulders up and my jaw clenched and my hands tight. I didn’t even know, we don’t, many of us walk around like that today.

If you’re listening right now, check, check your jaw, check your shoulders, you know, you know, shake your hands, see. Right. Because many of us do this and I didn’t know, and the minute that that he said, everything loosened up. Mm-hmm. , and, um, and I, and I, and when I, when we did sit to talk, it was almost like, and this is bizarre, but it was almost like we’d known each other for 30 years because I felt that whole wave of, of, of resistance sort of slide away. You know, and I asked him, I said, I asked him to tell me his story and he shared some of his story with me openly. Um, he was vulnerable and, and, and real and man, raw.

Chrissy: But that’s what, that’s what makes a story. Like everyone just, you know, building that relationship with people who you can connect with and, and knowing that you’re not alone at the end of the day.

And even if you guys are going through different mental illnesses or disease, Anything at all. Like it, you can still connect on a level that people just think they can’t connect on. But once you start that conversation, it just becomes a whole new story for you and the other person. And, and that’s what I love about building relationships and, and having fun with people and, and talking and even, you know, talking about the serious things.

Sometimes people are so scared to do that cuz they’re so. Kind of fearful of their feelings and their emotions and oh my God, is this person gonna think like, I’m weird for thinking this? Or, you know, am I being too aggressive? Am I being too assertive? But no, it’s, it’s how you feel and it’s how you’re voicing your opinion and it’s how you’re voicing your emotions and I love it.

That’s totally okay.

Jay: I love it. So, yeah, you know, they say, right, the best. The best part about recovery is that you get your feelings back. Definitely the, the worst part about recovery is you get your feelings back.

Chrissy: Yeah. Yeah. Cuz it’s so tough to handle Right? Some emotions are so overwhelming, you know, some feelings are so overwhelming, especially sadness.

You know, getting into your own mind and overthinking on your own and, and being alone and feeling alone, it sucks. Mm-hmm. It sucks. Mm-hmm. But that’s when you seek the support, that’s when you want to, you know, find a friend or. , find a family member, or even just find someone who maybe is an acquaintance to you, you know, and, and building that bond and helping yourself.

Jay: Or a stranger on the side of the road.

Chrissy: Literally. Yeah. That’s on carwash. Yeah. Like you just explained. It’s, it’s, to it, you know, to some people might sound totally odd, but it’s not because once you’re in it, it just feel like the, the rewarding feeling. Just the, the thought of it being such a positive experience, it hits you and that’s what people don’t recognize.

Yeah. Right. So, and that’s where empathy comes in. I love it. You know, I 

Jay: love it. and you mentioned too, like how, um, the, the, the preventative piece, the resistance piece, because we’re, we start talking to ourselves about what if, what if, what if. So I, I, I obviously accumulate that to fear, right? Yeah. Fear.

Fear is a funny one, right? Because the fear is like, at least it’s been my short, uh, experience that fear is really just a. . It’s an illusion, man. It’s like there’s two types of fear. There’s uh, there’s, there’s fear of losing what we got or fear of not getting what we want. Everything else sort of falls under that umbrella.

And I think about fear is this, uh, this piece that could either freeze me, like altogether debilitating, prevent me from doing anything, or, or it’ll catapult me into doing something drastic, like the polar opposite of that. I dunno. Do you remember like, Do you remember, did you have monkey bars at the, at the playground there when you were.

Chrissy: Oh, yeah, I did. Remember the monkey bars. Yeah. At, at one point I was like, what are monkey bars? , here we go. Now I thought about it. I thought about myself swinging on the monkey bars. I’m like, oh yeah, those 

Jay: things. Yeah. Yeah. Right. I mean, there’s what, there’s like eight or 10 of them in a row, and then usually there’s this little platform.

You get up on the platform, you jump up and the objective is to, is to grab onto one bar with one hand. Mm-hmm. sweep past that bar with the other hand, and you’re sort of, , um, you know, uh, you act like the, you, you travel through the monkey bars, you know, by swinging past the next bar. Well, I don’t know if anyone listening can identify with this, or maybe even yourself mm-hmm. But when I was a little boy, um, and I look at myself honestly and evaluate myself through a true lens, like I can remember very clearly, um, jumping up and grabbing the monkey bars with both hands, and then I would reach for the far. And then my, my whole, I know that the listeners can’t see me, but I’m showing my other hand, and I’m about to swing it through, and I’m about to use my other hand to, to launch myself to the far bar.

But instead of reaching for that bar, I end up grabbing the same bar that my first hand is on. So now I’m, I’m swinging, but with both hands on one bar and I’m kicking my legs and I’m trying to get traction and I, I hang on until what, until I let go fall down and then I don’t succeed. And so then I remember thinking, you know, I wonder what that fear was, you know?

Was it fear of falling and getting hurt? Was it fear of, um, you know, how little Sally’s gonna view Jay, falling off not being able to do the monkey bars. Is it gonna be my mom or my dad who aren’t gonna be proud of me? Like, how, where, where, what level of fear is created to prevent me from actually trying something new?

And actually, even though I’m telling myself I’m trying it, I’m actually doing nothing except staying.

Chrissy: Yeah. Right. Yeah, no, and I, I totally get that. I mean, and, and it’s funny cuz thinking about myself being on the monkey bars, uh, when I was younger I used to have no fear, right? Like, I was just like interesting diving right into things like, you know, even on the monkey bars, I did not have a fear with that.

I would skip two bars if I wanted to. I would, you know, but, but now if I got onto to monkey bars. 

Jay: one leg on the top in the rain

Chrissy: You would see me hesitating to even jump and grab. One monkey bar, and I don’t know why that is, right, but the amount of fear that I have growing up versus. What fear, what amount of fear I had when I was a little girl.

It, it just amazes me to think like I had no fear back then, but now I have so much fear, but I was way more delicate back then than I am now. Like why, why is that? Like why do you think, why? 

Jay: Well, I don’t know. I mean, technically the, there’s two acronyms for the word fear that come to mind, right? Yeah. Uh, face everything in recover or forget everything. Right? So I’m either gonna go forward or backwards. I think fear is something that we tell ourselves to protect ourselves from something. So I’m telling myself that I’m af that, that, that I shouldn’t do this because again, um, y the way somebody might view me or that I might physically feel pain or I might emotionally feel pain, um, instead of telling myself the exact opposite, that if I don’t do this, I may be stuck with the same feelings that I have now, which aren’t working for me.

You know? Yeah. So I think, I think fear is something that we’re. , we’re creating it based on, um, either past experiences. or, um, other people’s experiences or, or quite frankly, just the unknown, right? I mean, uncertainty is clearly one of the biggest fears that most of us deal with.

Chrissy:  Definitely. And that’s, that’s one word that was coming into my mind and, and it’s definitely the fear of the unknown.

Jay: boom.

Chrissy: You know, people not, and this is diving into the abyss at this point, like way down into the abyss, but, you know, fearing the unknown and, and what we don’t know is really intense for all of us. And, you know, I understand that’s probably a whole other topic we could probably talk about, like the fear of unknown, but , it is something that drives us all absolutely crazy.

Jay: Right, seriously. No, absolutely. And it’s funny because, uh, and I fe it’s funny because the real, the reality about fear is if I actually, so there’s a, there’s a line I remember hearing a long time ago. Um, and it was, uh, you know, we live our lives forward. But we learn our lives backwards, right? So it doesn’t, things don’t make sense to me in the moment then they don’t have to.

Yeah. Because armed with the information, knowing that they will eventually can allow me to not live in fear. So then what I’ll do is I’ll either, um, I’ll be hesitant to try something new because fear’s telling me that this is gonna be the outcome, which I have no idea what the outcome’s gonna be. And so therefore I won’t do it.

And then I sell myself that It’s the unknown of that outcome, which is preventing me from doing it, which is actually a complete oxymoron because it’s not the piece that’s holding me. Does that make sense to you? Yeah, because I, to me, I, I hear it coming outta my mouth and I’m like, I actually, I actually question myself.

I’m like, what is the piece that’s actually causing me to remain stagnant? Yeah. You know, because for me, I don’t know about your, your journey and I’m sure I’m looking forward to hearing a lot about it. Mm-hmm. And I’m looking forward to, to communicating a lot of this. Over the course of this, uh, this podcast.

But for me it was, uh, it was a really, um, um, eye-opening to see when I look. How long I was, I was, I was debilitated by that fear. I was, I was more content dying, a slow and lonely existence than I was taking a, a hold of this thing and, and trying something new. Yeah. 

Chrissy: And that’s, that’s like me, I mean, you know, I. Be unable to connect on that level. But you know, when it came to my mental health and, and the struggles I went through, I was, I would rather be in bed. I would rather be at home isolating myself, not talking to people. And, you know, I would fear even talking to people about what I was going through or even having a simple conversation.

Sometimes I still have that problem and I notice. Having that issue, but I take care of it now. That’s amazing. That’s what the difference is and that’s what I’m most proud of because I take that step that I need to for myself and for my wellbeing. Right. That’s amazing. So I’ve surpassed that fear and, and I don’t know if you guys have all been through that and, and you know, are fearful of something, but just know to always motivate yourself and to take that step forward and, and to move forward and, and get inspired and, and feel that motivation to do better and to not fear so much. And, and just to grow and challenge those, just to challenge yourself and grow. You know, let let those intrusive thoughts grow. Not grow, sorry. Do not let those intrusive thoughts grow, but let them.

Jay: Tthat’s the point, right. I love it. I gotta admit, I don’t know where I’m at emotionally, mentally, because when you said, I, I, I wonder, I’d rather be home and be at home and in bed. I, I, I kind of feel like I was at home in bed right now, to be honest with you.

Don’t be completely parallel, but, um, what else do you think we’re gonna talk about over the quarter? How many, first of all, how many, how many, um, episodes are do you think we’re gonna do? 10 20. 

Chrissy: Honestly, it all depends on what we wanna talk about.

Jay: Who knows? So the average person speaks, uh, five to 7,000 words a day. I can do that before breakfast. Um, and that’s even when, when my partner’s gone to work.

Chrissy: So yes, I’ve heard you talk. It’s, it’s it, but you know what, it’s a thrilling event every time. So thrilling event. It’s good. 

Jay: Yeah. A positive shift and enjoy the thrilling event . But, uh, absolutely like. We got so many things like, um, what are we gonna talk about over the course? 

Chrissy: Um, I would think talking about the connection between mental health and addiction agree is something that we have to discuss cuz it is. So, I feel like people think of both of them as just such separate topics, but they are so comorbid. They, they, they just. They go hand in hand at points and, and that’s what people need to understand.

Mm-hmm. And I think that’s something that’s huge and that I really think we should discuss. Right. Tackle that statement. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think 

Jay: It’s becoming more and more popular, uh, uh, the conversations becoming more and more popular amongst, um, um, mainstream, um, society. Like, so people are discussing this more people are, um, having a more open mind.

I think you. The numbers show that there’s so many more people affected by, uh, mental health and addiction issues. I think it was one in two mental health, one in four addiction. I believe if, if I’m correct, that, um, that the stigma still exists, which is really mind blowing when you think about those numbers and that yet people who are directly impacted, who may be suffering from, uh, challenges of their own, who are actually stigmatizing a, the people in their families or their communities, or more important.

Themselves. Yeah. You know, we, we, we, we’ve been, you know, I have an automatic response in my, in my mind that takes me to places that tells me stuff. And guess what I do, Chrissy? What I believe it. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s actually one of my biggest downfalls is Right. I have to remember, don’t believe everything you think.

Yeah. You know, because if I do well, then I’m stuck with what my thoughts and my 

Chrissy: thoughts alone. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s intense thoughts can be super intense. Yeah. Like I say, sometimes word words can. and, and, and they do hurt. Mm-hmm. and they stay in people’s minds. And I know that they’ve stayed in my mind too.

And, and that’s something we can also discuss. That’s, that’s another thing. Mm-hmm. , we should discuss, I mean, a thousand percent our thoughts and what goes on in our little brains, I mean, yeah. You know, some mine. Yeah. . Yeah. But it’s something that, you know, there’s so many things we can talk about and, and I think something else that’s important to talk about is, is how to properly recover and what steps to take nice for yourself.

Not only if you’re dealing with addiction, but also mental health on its own. How to recover from your depression, your anxiety, right? Your anger, your irrit. All of that is, that’s good one. So intense. And those are intense emotions that we feel sometimes on a daily basis, but you know, it’s, it’s knowing what skills to take in and what skills to put forth when we’re dealing with those emotions.

Jay: No, fabulous. Fabulous. You know, it’s funny, we talked about with, it’s so important that to talk about our thoughts. You nailed it when you said, talk about your thoughts. Like the truth of the matter is, is I got, I I, I don’t want to go in my head alone, man. It’s a, it’s a dark, dangerous neighborhood. Yeah.

You know, like I go up there alone, I’m gonna get mugged. You No. Bad things happen when I go in there by myself, right? Yeah. So it’s important that I communicate my thoughts, or at least on the very surface, um, write them down so I can process them, you know, accurately and understand where my patterns are starting to form and what kind of thinking, um, is on the forefront because my thoughts are directly, uh, uh, a result of how I feel.

Yeah. You know? And so if I’m, uh, if I’m not thinking, uh, clearly, guess what? I’m not. Good. Yeah. And I mean, I don’t know about you, Christie, but my, my goal is to feel good. Yeah. 

Chrissy: Always. And actually, that’s another topic that I’ve been thinking about, um, in connection to that, is how to love yourself. Ooh. A fluffy topic.

Oh, fluffy. But super important. 

Jay: You have a cat, I think. Is that a cat named Fluffy? 

Chrissy: Is it? Honestly, it’s super important to talk about that. Cause I don’t think people do necessarily love themselves nowadays. No, I, I 

Jay: completely 100% agree. You know, when you mention that, I think about, . You know, I think we’ve all heard that old adage that says, you know, you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

I, I mean, I, I kind of, I kind of scoff at that sometimes because I could love the world and not love myself. Mm-hmm. , that was actually the biggest problem. The problem, uh, as I see it today, is that we cannot be loved. Until we learn to love ourselves. You see how you’ll never love me enough, you’ll never text me enough, you’ll never tell me enough, you’ll never validate me enough.

And then even when you do meet everything that I demand of you, um, the goalposts move, and now I want more from you. So I keep demanding more from you. But because I don’t love myself, I’m not to be able to receive this love. Yeah. I think this is a great topic. Yeah. 

Chrissy: I know how to love yourself is huge and I had a huge problem with that back, back in the day, back in the day.

I’m 24 years old back in the day. But you know, like 10 years ago, that, I mean 10 years ago, I, um, if you asked me if I loved myself, I did not. and, and even not on, on, not only 10 years ago, maybe like five years ago, um, I did not love myself. Mm-hmm. and, and healing was hard. Mm-hmm. and healing from my anxiety and my depression and, and you know, from grief and loss is, was so difficult for me.

And I can say now that, you know, with who I am today, I’m, I’m proud of myself. Yeah. Because I took that initiative to heal. Yeah. And. On this podcast, doing the positive shift, I’ve shifted my mentality and turned it into something positive. You know, I love it. I’ve turned my grief, my loss into something positive, something to motivate me to become who I am today, and, and I think that’s, that’s a good meaning behind our, our title for this podcast.

Yeah. Too. Right now we’re starting to make. Starting to make a lot of sense. And, and I hope for you, uh, you listeners out there, I hope it makes sense to you too, and I hope it’s a title that sticks with you. Yeah. Um, in that you’re always reminded to always shift your a positive shift negative mindset, you know, and turn it into a positive one.

Well, say it again one more time. Yeah. The positive shift. Positive shift. Welcome everybody to the positive shift . 

Jay: Um, this was absolutely so much fun to, to start off our. Um, you know, I know we didn’t mention a bunch of the other topics we’re gonna get to, but we’re gonna get to a ton. We’re gonna have lots of guests on professionals from the field, uh, coast to coast, maybe some even from down south.

Who knows? Uh, we’ll see where this, uh, thing takes us. But I know that I’m really excited to see how it plays out. Yeah. And see, and to see, you know what, most importantly, I’m really excited to be able to hopefully just help at least one person on their journey. 

Chrissy: As long as we put smiles on people’s faces.

Yeah. That is growth. And that’s what we’re here for. Well, you put a smile on my face, so you That’s good. You put a smile on, on my face too. Job Well done. Thank you Jay. And, uh, thank you to all the listeners out there and, uh, we can’t wait to continue. Listen for the next episode and, uh, we can’t. See you next week.

Jay: Bye bye.

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