Richard Hession, CEO of BlueCrest Recovery Center talks with special guests Stas Botsaris and Mark Bonanni about what it is to be in recovery and living life forever in recovery.

Transcript

Richie Hession

All right, so welcome to the podcast. This is the part that’s always creepy for me. So, this podcast is available if you want to subscribe to all the major streaming platforms, like YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, and iTunes. So, now that we did that. We’ve done a whole bunch of different podcasts so far. I’ve got two of my fan favorites. I’ve got Stas, Anastasio Botsaris, aka Stas. And I’ve got Mark Bonanni. And myself Richie Hession. And we’ve done a bunch of different ones so far. We’ve covered some serious topic. We’ve done last week, was a little bit lighter. Mark and I kind of talked about first in recovery. That’s going to be like a little series we do, but we interrupted the series for this, because it’s kind of cool. We did first jobs in recovery, and that was kind of cool. And, we’re going to do dating in early recovery. And, then dating in recovery at some point.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, a touchy one, right?

Richie Hession

Yeah, but it’s also kind of funny and there’s a lot of stuff that comes with it. It’s dangerous and the whole thing. It’s got everything you want. But, in between it all, we’ve got clients that watch our podcast. They always get on. So, they see our podcast and they’ll come up and say, hey I saw your podcast, and like why don’t you do this, or why don’t you do that. People have their own ideas on what they want to hear us talk about. And, so it was thrown out there, I forget who had the idea, I’ll just take credit for it, but it really wasn’t me.

Richie Hession

It was me that came up with the idea, and the idea was to have them put questions and/or topics that they want to hear.

Richie Hession

By the way, Stas doesn’t even know what this podcast is about. He was brought in in the dark. Mark knew, I know, but none of us have looked. I have no idea what’s in the box. Thank God I get to filter it, but I’m not really going to filter anything. Like literally if there’s some inappropriate questions in here, I’m going to go ahead and read them and we’re going to field them as best as we can.

Stas Botsaris

I hope there are.

Richie Hession

So do I. I mean I always do. I’m still immature at heart. But, so these are the clients that had topics that they want to do. So, let me get this thing over here. However I do it. I’ve got to stick my big fat hand in here, and lets just jump right in. Now I’m going to direct questions to each of you, or I’ll take some myself, and we can’t spend too long on any one topic. So, it’s kind of like the dating game of topic.

Mark Bonanni

Five minutes. You can do a timer.

Richie Hession

So you’re going to have two minutes, three minutes, whatever. I’m just going to internal time it, and I’m going to let you know, like you got ten more seconds to wrap this up and then we’re going to move on to another topic. Just to cover as much stuff as we can. If we really get involved in anything, and if there’s a topic that’s like… I’ll let it go.

Mark Bonanni

I hate that some of them are going to be serious.

Stas Botsaris

Lets get it.

Richie Hession

Okay, so, topics. How to deal with family and friends after treatment regarding their not understanding this disease. Why they feel you are completely healed of your addiction in order to not be triggered by their remarks. Interesting one. I mean, that’s as real as it comes and everyone deals with it in one way shape or form. I’ll go with you Stas.

Stas Botsaris

So, it’s funny, just coming from a Greek background, right, drinking is big. Drinking is involved in everything. A lot of wine. A lot of food. Whatever excuse we can use. So, I remember being in treatment and the big question was, like dude, so when you get out, are you going to drink. Because you didn’t have a drinking problem, right? Because, that would be weird. And, I’m like, no I can’t. I can’t. And, it was within me. You learn, when I was in treatment, believe it or not, this was the days of shut up, sit down. It wasn’t very nice. So, it was pretty militant.

Stas Botsaris

When I got out, they were like, well you can have like a drink right? And, I was like no, I’m an extremist. Either I do it, or I don’t. There’s no very happy medium when it comes to me. And, what I’ve learned, at least in my addiction, and my recovery, it’s just the way I’m built. It’s the way I’m designed. If I’m going to commit to something, I have to do it. I’m all the way in. I’m not the, hey I can have a drink guy. I’m going to go off the edge. I will lose my shit. Can we curse in here?

Richie Hession

Yeah, you can do anything you want.

Stas Botsaris

All right. Cool. And, I think family, and again, ignorance on the family, it’s like, well you know, you’re almost over your addiction. Like what do you mean I’m almost over? We’re just getting started with it. The substances I have stopped, but I’m an absolute menace to society inside myself. Just that one drink would lead me over the edge. So, and I think it comes from a good place sometimes, or especially being from like the Greek, we’re men, we have to… No, man, I’m not.

Richie Hession

Cultural. So, it’s a cultural thing for sure, it can be depending on how you grew up. Go ahead.

Mark Bonanni

But, it’s also a good plug. This is why we want families involved in the treatment process. That’s why we invite them down.

Stas Botsaris

Absolutely.

Mark Bonanni

And, then you run the other extreme, because I deal with this with families all the time. When the person comes home, they’re going to hide liquor, they’re going to do this and that, and it’s like you can’t get him drunk and you can’t save him from getting drunk. Like, it’s not your responsibility either way.

Richie Hession

And, yet a little common sense goes a long way.

Mark Bonanni

Common sense.

Richie Hession

When someones just coming out of rehab is it good for the family. You know, you’re going back with your wife, and you’ve been away at rehab, and your wife drinks wine, she shouldn’t have to stop drinking wine because of you. You guys are going to have to find that, if you can, you’re going to have to find that middle ground. But, the thing is, when he first comes home, do you really need to drink wine in front of him? Until he gets settled. Can we ease into that a little bit, because a little common sense goes a long way. Long term, shielding somebody from alcohol is just not going to work. It’s going to fail. But, wait, it was one of the things I was going to bring up with the answer.

Richie Hession

It’s an interesting dynamic because when you work with people and you look at the loved ones, especially husbands and wives, especially. Not so much with moms, and dads, and the kids, although that dynamic can exist there too, but with husbands, and wives, or girlfriends, or boyfriends, a lot of times the wife will talk to a wife or husband, and they’ll be like, they need help, and this is insane, and blah, blah, blah. But, really, inside, they don’t want them to stop. They just want them to not be animals anymore. And, the truth is they want their drinking partner back. They want their pal back.

Stas Botsaris

They want a friend.

Richie Hession

And, some of the literature that we read, the sober literature talks about that. Like we enjoy a cocktail together, or those evenings by the fire where you can get a little bit lit up. They want that back. They don’t want to have their mate or their partner come back and not be able to do it at all, because then everything is going to suck, and be boring. That’s a reality. That happens sometimes.

Mark Bonanni

People split up.

Richie Hession

Yes, they do.

Stas Botsaris

So, it’s a touchy subject, because people won’t talk about that, and it’s f’ing true. It is. Meaning like, so he’ll never be able to have a drink. She’ll never be able to have a glass of wine. And, they’ll give you scenarios, so we have a wedding, and it’s this and that.

Richie Hession

I mean, he can have just a couple of drinks. Champaign toast or whatever right?

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, or something like that. And it’s like, because they’re missing out. And, when that individual goes back home, and we tell them to make meetings every single day, after work, and then they’re going to go hang out in a diner and fellowship, that loved one, whether man or woman at home, they’re like, what is this?

Mark Bonanni

Because you’re gone drinking, now you’re gone sober.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, exactly. Right.

Richie Hession

But, now we’re going into these are all.. to go back to the question itself, right. The topic is interesting, because it’s how to deal with family and friends after treatment regarding their not understanding the disease. In the end, what I’ll say is, it’s not their responsibility to understand the disease. If they do, the more they know, the better it’s going to be for the person, because it’s helpful when the people surround you. Your people kind of get what this is and what it looks like to one degree or another. If they get it all the way, all the more helpful. If they don’t get it at all, you can get sober regardless of anyone. They don’t need to understand the disease, you do. You need to get yourself in a position of neutrality where you have no interest in drinking or using. And, you can get to that spot. Until you do, through taking the actions we take, and the program with recovery, once you get to that spot you’re in a much safer place. Until then, a little common sense goes a long way.

Stas Botsaris

Integration, from the beginning though, and being up front with families, and stuff like that, and telling them what the deal is. Even though it can come across harsh or a slap in the face for them, for reality, like you said, at the end of the day, when they don’t know, the individual can let them know. Look, it’s just perseverance through it. And, again, not everyone has a great support system or what not, but people, places, and things, we can talk about. We can go in forever.

Richie Hession

We did that last week.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah.

Richie Hession

And, again that last thing was, in order to not be triggered by their remarks. And, the trigger words, like look dude, it is what it is. People are going to say what they say, and they believe what they believe. In the end, you’ve got to get with yourself. This is all internal stuff, and you have to have an internal understanding and shift in the way you perceive what’s safe, and what’s not, and what’s okay. If somebody’s comment is going to derail your sobriety, then it was already heading there.

Mark Bonanni

It was probably going to get derailed anyway. I was thinking about that.

Richie Hession

And you got a problem.

Mark Bonanni

But, at 30 days how much of an experience have you already had that’s going to get you to that place.

Richie Hession

Which is why you need a sponsor. Which why you need a home group. Which is why you need to go to meetings everyday. Because, this stuff is going to come up. And, I’ll just tell one more story and then I’m going to pick another thing. It’s just interesting. You know, you can be sober for a period of time and when I was a kind, and I was in my cusp and I was active, I was a horror show. I was a horror show. My poor mother. And, I angry, and I was just, they wouldn’t let me in the house, and they didn’t want me to live there. They didn’t trust me. I stole. The whole thing. I was brutal.

Richie Hession

And, when I got sober, and they saw the changes in me, they were like, whoa, what’s going on with you. And, that was great. Now, you go a few years, and I’m sober, I don’t remember how long I was sober at the time, I can pretend it was like seven years, but I don’t really remember, five years, six years, eight years, something like that, and I went to a family wedding, and I’m with my mom and one of my aunts. And, we’re in this outdoor wedding under a tent, if I remember right, and it was one of my cousins that got married. It was great. It was a great time. And, I flew down there. And, to me, at that point, I’m sober, sober, weddings are great for me.

Stas Botsaris

Right, you’re having fun.

Richie Hession

I go up and dance. I don’t need to drink dude. I’m out of my mind. I’m up dancing. I’m hanging out. I’m having a great time at weddings now. I don’t need booze, and I remember everything then next day, and I like to people watch and stuff too, which is fun. But, anyway, I’m sitting there and I’m talking to my mom and my aunt, and one of my aunts says, Richie, you used to drink rum and Coke, why don’t you have a drink? She’s like, I’m a nurse, you don’t… And I’m like, are you kidding right now. I said, you’re a nurse and you’re telling me you think it’s safe for me to drink? I said, no, I can’t have any alcohol. I said, are you joking? My mother was like, oh, you’re being ridiculous. And, now I’m like, this is coming from my mom.

Richie Hession

And, I go, I’m being ridiculous? And, my mother goes, Richard, she’s like, you’re not like that anymore. And, I’m like, yeah, mom, there’s a reason for that. And, she’s like, you’re being silly. She goes, you can have a drink and I’ll keep an eye on you. I’m like, you’re going to keep an eye on me. Are you insane. Like, she doesn’t realize that the animal, the beast is still there.

Mark Bonanni

It’s waiting. Waiting for the opportunity.

Richie Hession

And, if I had a couple of rum and Cokes, like would it kick everything off that night, it might.

Mark Bonanni

Probably.

Stas Botsaris

Probably.

Richie Hession

It might but likely I would end up hammered, and going out, and finding out where in the Carolinas the cocaine dealers are. And, I might even steal money out of her pocketbook after sober seven, eight years. At the time I’d be dead, because I had money at that point at the bank, so I wouldn’t of had to take anything, I would have been gone.

Stas Botsaris

You would have been gone.

Richie Hession

But, I know the truth about me. See, they’re comment can’t derail me, but here’s the thing, in a weak moment, when you’re not doing anything for your recovery, and you’ve got a nurse and your mom, who you tortured, saying like, I think it would be fine now. You’re like, maybe it would be fine now. They’re right. I would never… You give me that football, I’d run it right into the end zone, depending on where I’m at with my recovery.

Stas Botsaris

I’ve literally had the recent experience. I was just at a wedding, and my cousin, and again, it’s all out of love, he’s like Stas, by now, I mean, you’re like fixed. You’re good to go. I’m like, fixed? Check this out, I’m like listen, I can probably stop making as many meetings as I do. I can probably stop calling my sponsor as much as I do. Same thing with step work. But, what if I’m wrong? The wrong, that bill, I’m running that line of credit into the ground.

Richie Hession

Yeah, that’s a big check.

Stas Botsaris

One withdrawal, and I’m a home runner, and it’s a wrap for me. And, I know that’s the type of person I am.

Richie Hession

That’s the point. You know your truth.

Stas Botsaris

I know what’s going on with me.

Mark Bonanni

We had the conversation almost twenty years ago, and it was getting sober young, and sobriety, and kind of growing up. And, the one thing that never changes is that I react differently to alcohol and drugs once they’re in my system. That maybe life will improve and I’ll grow up here, and whatever, but the thing that never changes is that, the way I react to alcohol and drugs. I put that stuff in my body and it sets off something I can not control.

Richie Hession

Now, what does it say about me that he just said twenty years ago and I got super depressed.

Mark Bonanni

It was probably eighteen. I just don’t know if that makes you feel any better.

Richie Hession

Twenty fucking years ago, and now I’m old and fat. Man, when I came in it was different. All right, let’s move on to the next thing.

Mark Bonanni

Let’s see what we got.

Richie Hession

Let’s see what we got. We’re in search for something completely inappropriate.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, hot topic.

Richie Hession

Drug overdose. That’s as serious a topic as it comes. We lose people. I mean, I can’t tell you how many.

Stas Botsaris

So, these aren’t the drugs we grew up with?

Richie Hession

No.

Stas Botsaris

This is a whole new ball of wax. When I was growing up, there was everything. But, the heroin was heroin. It wasn’t cut. And, if it was cut, you already knew about it. This is carfentanil that these kids are messing with. And, the prescription drugs, I remember when oxi hit the street. I remember that, and years later you see these kids o.d.ing. Like, it’s left and right. Because, from my experience, and it’s a simple one, you get on the pills, you can’t afford them anymore, you go to dope. That’s just what it was. But, these kids, these are one shots and they’re done.

Richie Hession

But, I can’t tell you how many funerals and wakes we’ve been to dude. And, to a degree, you get desensitized, in a way, but you don’t at the same time, right? Like, you do, but you don’t. Like, you still feel every one of them, and it’s insane, drug overdose. It used to be where it happened, but now, it’s become so household, that people are like, yeah, I heard like 70,000 people died last year.

Stas Botsaris

That response right there, oh yeah. That’s the normal response right now, because you said it, the desensitization. I mean, it’s so common. I’m in a meeting, and Mark comes in and he’s beat the hell up, and he’s like yeah…

Mark Bonanni

You have to fight harder to get them to the place where they understand that they’re done. Because, it used to be like you’re not done, try some controlled drinking, see how it works out. It was good advice. Go get done. But, there is no done, it’s dead, your dead

Richie Hession

And, let’s keep in mind too, you know what, I’m going to not table this, this is a huge, we should have an entire podcast. We’re going to. I’m going to keep this to the side, because this is an entire podcast, and we have to be thoughtful about what we talk about. How we talk about it. We might have a guest or two in. Maybe a family or two. To come in, to kind of speak with us about their kids, who they lost. This is the most serious shit that it is. 70,000, we’re in a national state of emergency. There’s 70,000 people dying a year. It’s insane.

Stas Botsaris

And, I like how it was just that. Just overdose.

Richie Hession

Just drug overdose. You don’t need to say anything else. So, we’re going to table this one. Not because it’s not important, but because we need to spend a full hour and fifteen minutes talking about this. Well thought out, have the right guests in. I think we need to do that real and big, so we’ll keep that one to the side and we’ll do it as one of our serious ones. And that ones going to be a depressing one too. But, there’s a lot to be said and there’s a lot to go on. We might even have some people who used out there, who o.d.’d that didn’t die come on. We got to really think about what we’re going to do with that one.

Stas Botsaris

Like us.

Richie Hession

There you go. All right, relapse prevention. It’s called the 12 step recovery program. I mean, to me, that’s relapse prevention. I mean there’s no…

Buzzer

Yes.

Richie Hession

Yes. But, it’s true, for me

Buzzer

Yeah, baby nailed it.

Richie Hession

Nailed it. I mean, again, it’s a little common sense goes a long way. I’m not dismissive over the term. I used to be. I used to hear relapse prevention, for instance, and I’m like, how do you prevent a relapse. Like, think the drink through, and people, places, and things. Like, people, places, and things, are real, and you should think it through before you do anything. And, keeping it clean. All those things, they’re not not true, but true relapse prevention, from my experience, and I’ve had a lot of experience with it, true relapse prevention means having an internal shift where you no longer want to drink or use consistently.

Stas Botsaris

Stay the course. So, some are sicker than others, obviously. And, we were talking about this before the cameras came on, about lifestyle. Like how people are raised and what not, and we’re talking about mob stuff. In Philadelphia and North Jersey, I mean, this is what it was, when I got clean, all I wanted to do was stay clean. I was in absolute refusal to change my lifestyle. Because, I didn’t think anything was wrong with it. I talked like a gangster. I walked like a gangster. I was a potato chip gangster. I was all the way a backstreet boy at heart, but I didn’t want to change my lifestyle. I could pay my cell phone bill. I knew how to pay stuff, but the posture and the energy that I had was in defiance, and I still hung out. When I first got clean, I still hung out. I was still nightclub promoting. I’m walking into the lion’s den consistently, but I still had the willingness.

Richie Hession

Not a good relapse prevention plan.

Stas Botsaris

Right.

Mark Bonanni

Lucky you. Most people can’t do that.

Stas Botsaris

Again, it was more, I made meetings but I didn’t want to surrender. I didn’t want to be a part of, until finally that internal shift. Listen, I changed for three things. Pain, money, and women. And, when that pain got great enough, because I was unsuccessful in everything else. I was unsuccessful. And I had like two, three years clean, and I was like, is this it? Because, everyone else with nine months, and six months seems like they’re absolutely killing the game.

Stas Botsaris

they’re coming in smiling, and they’re living life. They have friends and they’re fellowshipping, and here’s me with this freaking poor attitude coming in thinking you guys are confused. I dress well. Like the ego. And, that’s what it was. And, finally, when I surrendered, my life, I’m talking about within weeks, I was a different person. I was an absolute different person.

Stas Botsaris

Disassociated with all the rest of whatever I thought I was, and it was effortless. Because, I was in the middle of the boat all of a sudden. And, I got surrounded by love, empathy, these are people that I terrorized. Everyone’s welcomed, but I was the guy, if you had to vote off, I was getting voted off. If we got to make a cut, get this weird kid out of here. Which is totally fine, but then, within moments, I want to say, of actually surrendering, they saw the shift. They saw the energy. They felt the energy. And, they were like, yo man, we’ve been waiting on you.

Stas Botsaris

Within months after that, I had sponsees. And, that’s where it was. The best relapse prevention is meetings, sponsorship, home group, prayer, meditation, commitment, that’s where it’s at.

Richie Hession

That’s relapse prevention. It’s adopting a recovery lifestyle. Period. I mean, at the end of the day, there’s no cure for this. If you’ve crossed the line, and you’ve become one of us, and you’ve lost that privilege, to one degree or another, depending on how, and again, I can’t speak for everybody, but just from myself, but you need to adopt some recovery lifestyle. That is the real relapse prevention, is all that stuff. The simplified version if you hear out in any of the 12 step rules, is clean house, find God, and help somebody else.

Stas Botsaris

That’s it.

Richie Hession

And, when you’re helping other people, and you’re out there trying to pull somebody else out of the insanity that you were in, not too long ago, or even a very long time ago. If you’re smart and you continue helping people throughout the years, it can become a bright spot. But, in the end, that’s relapse, you want to prevent relapse, you need to take action.

Mark Bonanni

As a friend of mine always says, there’s a recipe to this thing. If you follow the recipe, I’m the cake. If you’re following the recipe and you leave out the sugar, it’s not going to be a very good cake. Do all the stuff. It’s not theory. We have enough evidence that if you do the stuff, you’ll be okay.

Richie Hession

All right, let’s go to another one.

Stas Botsaris

Gotcha. Let’s see what we got.

Richie Hession

See what we got. I think I pulled out a few.

Stas Botsaris

Something light please.

Richie Hession

Well who knows what it’s going to be. Let’s see. De-stigmatizing substance abuse and the recovery process.

Stas Botsaris

Love it.

Richie Hession

Do you? Okay. Get it.

Stas Botsaris

So, listen, recovery is the new sexy, by far.

Mark Bonanni

That’s true.

Stas Botsaris

It is absolutely. Absolutely. We see it in the media and all that stuff, and God bless all the celebrities that are coming out, and really speaking about it. But, just in general, look what we’re talking about right now. I’m not the coolest kid on the block anymore, but I’m an all right dude. And, I spit game.

Mark Bonanni

You don’t even believe that bro.

Stas Botsaris

No, not at all. But, I spit game to the younger kids, because it’s attraction, rather than promotion. And, I challenge anyone who says, I’m not making meeting. Meetings are hype. They’re attractive. I mean, I don’t know about twenty years ago, because I only have twelve, but when I walk into a meeting I see all walks of life. At least in Philadelphia, and I’m sure it’s the same thing in Jersey.

Richie Hession

Everywhere.

Mark Bonanni

It’s always been that way.

Stas Botsaris

It’s all walks of life. Young, medium, old, black, brown, green, blue, every walk of life, and that’s attractive to me. The doctor, the me, the you, the whatever it is. The Uber driver, who cares. That’s attractive. When you integrate it, and that’s relapse prevention, keep coming and it will be a turn on. But, now it’s become, it’s in rap music now. I mean, this is real. We’ve taken a turn for the best.

Richie Hession

So, you’re saying that we’re the de-stigmatizing of-

Stas Botsaris

We’re not over yet.

Richie Hession

But, it’s underway.

Stas Botsaris

Oh, for sure.

Richie Hession

Which is fine. That’s why you’re saying it’s the new sexy.

Stas Botsaris

Absolutely.

Richie Hession

But, here’s the thing, to me, and this is just me, I don’t know how you are, but this is my take on it is, I personally can’t expend a lot of energy trying to de-stigmatize, or get other people to view recovery differently. I’ve got a lot of work to do. Just carry yourself in a particular way. Do particular things. And, if that stuff takes on a life on its own. Because, the thing is this dude-

Mark Bonanni

Let the politicians do that whole thing.

Richie Hession

Yeah, but even that. I’m going to be real, I’ll throw it out there, because I’ve spent time with this. Because, when you open up a treatment facility you spend time with, and you get to know a lot of the alliances. Many of the towns in New Jersey have opened up alliances, and one of the things that they’re trying to do is like that anti the stigma, they’re trying to change the way people view this kind of stuff. And, they literally create alliances around…

Mark Bonanni

Yeah, stigma free zones, you’ll see the green signs.

Richie Hession

Absolutely, the green signs have become a big thing. So, now, I can give, I won’t name any particular towns, but there’s a bunch of towns that I’ve had interactions with, and they’ve got these things. And, so you go and you talk to them, and you’re like, this is great, and they’re right. It used to be, and depending on your age, but people used to think about a drug addict and what do you envision? You envision somebody who’s filthy, dirty, with unkempt, missing teeth, living under a bridge, and just looking to steal, and put a gun in your back, and whatever. But, the real truth is that half the drug addicts, at any given time, that you may see in a treatment facility can be soccer moms, or police, or firemen.

Stas Botsaris

Addicts have changed a little bit.

Richie Hession

It’s changed a lot a bit. So, de-stigmatize, you got to look at it, you got to remember, these are your friends, these are your neighbors, but all that stuff is well and good. But, listen, here’s the thing, these very same towns that have these alliances saying you can’t do this, try and open a sober home there.

Stas Botsaris

Right. They’ll shut it down immediately.

Richie Hession

Nobody wants it. But, they can’t anymore, because the state, but there was a time where they’re having all their big on this thing, and don’t stigmatize, but then you’re like, oh great, we’re going to open up a sober living home. Oh, no, we don’t want that here. Well, what do you mean, you’re in charge of the thing. You’re in charge of that whole entire alliance. What do you mean you don’t want it here?

Richie Hession

But, it’s a different kind of thing. Like, you can talk about de-stigmatizing, but it’s a process.

Mark Bonanni

My big, big thing with this, I’ve thought a lot about this stuff, is I just don’t want the pendulum to swing too far the other way too.

Richie Hession

It’s not cool to be a drug addict.

Mark Bonanni

Right, it’s not cool to be a drug addict, and it’s also not okay. They used to say, in treatment, when I started going twenty plus years ago, you’re not responsible for having the disease of addiction, but you’re responsible for your recovery. I know I would have been like, I’ve got a disease, so I’m good.

Richie Hession

Let’s go into another one, because again, this is an interesting one, and I said I’d read everything, I’m not qualified to answer this question, and you guys aren’t technically qualified either. But, none of us are doctors. So, you’re not an MD, so our answer to this is kind of useless, because we only know what we think we know. And, we’re not trained in it.

Richie Hession

Can you get Hep C by sharing a water bottle or eating utensil.

Stas Botsaris

I don’t think so.

Buzzer

I don’t know you know.

Richie Hession

I don’t know. So, again, I’m not sure.

Mark Bonanni

I think it’s blood to blood.

Richie Hession

Maybe, but again, we don’t know, but the truth is, for me, I don’t share water bottles or eating utensils with anyone anyway. I think it’s good public health. You can catch something by sharing a water bottle, so don’t share water bottles, and don’t share utensils.

Mark Bonanni

I’m pretty sure, but again I’m not a doctor, but I think it’s blood to blood.

Richie Hession

Maybe, but again, you’re not a doctor, we don’t know. Our answer is, we honestly don’t know. Can you fly? Chicken or the egg, which came first? I mean, very good question. My understanding with the chicken and the egg was that God put a chicken on the planet first, and then it laid an egg. That’s what I was told. But, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Stas Botsaris

I tell, when I’m talking to sponsees, and they’re going back and forth-

Mark Bonanni

Egg came later. Had to. Evolution.

Richie Hession

It had to, because of evolution. If you believe in evolution-

Mark Bonanni

It probably gave live birth, and at some point-

Richie Hession

A chicken used to swim in the water, and then it made it’s way onto land, and then it grew little feet, and then eventually, when it was old enough, it manufactured an egg.

Mark Bonanni

And shit was eating it, or whatever, and then just turned into an egg.

Stas Botsaris

The chicken gave miraculous birth.

Mark Bonanni

Live birth.

Stas Botsaris

What’s live birth?

Richie Hession

Like they would have Face Timed. They would have live streamed that instead of Facebook…[crosstalk 00:26:58]

Mark Bonanni

Like a human. Instead of laying an egg, it had it’s chicks.

Stas Botsaris

Miraculous birth.

Mark Bonanni

No egg. No shell.

Richie Hession

Can you fly is the question. Now, weren’t you just saying that you could fly earlier-

Mark Bonanni

Sure.

Richie Hession

…or was that something different? You are fly, right. But, I don’t know, I mean,

Stas Botsaris

We just dated ourselves.

Mark Bonanni

Call JetBlue. Book a fucking trip.

Richie Hession

I’m flying tomorrow, as a matter of fact. Some place very fun. All right, so, does exposure therapy work? I don’t know.

Stas Botsaris

Never heard of it. What’s exposure therapy?

Richie Hession

I don’t know what it is.

Richie Hession

And there’s other questions about other kinds of experimental therapies, and adventure therapy, and again, I can’t really speak to any of it.

Stas Botsaris

I’m sure it all has its value, but I wouldn’t know.

Richie Hession

Yeah, I’m sure it does. And, it also says art and music therapy, which can be extremely helpful. In and of themselves, are any of those therapies, in my experience, the thing that’s going to get and keep you sober, probably not. I don’t say no to anything, because in God’s world, anything is possible. But, to engage in that kind of stuff while you’re in treatment can open you up.

Stas Botsaris

I agree.

Richie Hession

And, it can help you to connect with yourself, and then it helps other processes.

Stas Botsaris

It becomes a hobby, when you complete treatment, and stay clean, yeah.

Mark Bonanni

All that’s a part of it.

Richie Hession

It’s all good.

Mark Bonanni

It’s not going to make it worse.

Stas Botsaris

Right, exactly.

Richie Hession

Very good point.

Stas Botsaris

Right.

Richie Hession

Again, we’re not going to speak about stuff we don’t know, and bullshit stuff. Topics, okay. So, this person decided to put multiple topics. And, again questions, let’s see, I’ll go to that one after. Okay, well this question is, I think we covered this already, but how do you or can you have a successful romance if you are sober and the partner is using or drinking?

Richie Hession

Now, again, I’ll go first. Using is a whole different thing than drinking, and what kind of drinking? We can’t dismiss using anymore, because what if marijuana has now become legal. To me, marijuana is a gateway drug. If you’re one of us, and you’ve crossed the line. You can not safely drink or use drugs in any form at all. Period. I have beat my head against the wall telling some yo-yos who come in, who are there like, when I get out of here I can still smoke pot. No, you can’t. You can do it, but you’re going to end up right back where… I can’t tell you the stories of the kid that insisted that he could do it. Another O.D.. Comes back, you were right. But, then after a month. I think I can do it. Another O.D.. You’re going to do that until you die, so you can’t safely do it.

Richie Hession

But, here’s the thing, if it does become legal in New Jersey, and it’s becoming legal everywhere else, it’s going to eventually, culturally, be similar to alcohol. So, to speak to the point, can you? I think every one has their own experience with this, and I’ll let you guys speak to it, for me, when I was dating, and I was in the dating game, I have friends of mine, that are sober, that will not date in their fellowship. They will not date in their fellowship. They want just a normal person that isn’t one of us, and they don’t care if they drink. It doesn’t matter to them at all. I wouldn’t. I would only date someone who was sober, because it’s a lifestyle thing for me, and I wanted somebody who shared the lifestyle and lived a particular way.

Richie Hession

But, I don’t ever tell anybody, you shouldn’t be with someone who drinks. And, then again, if you’re starting to date somebody, and drinking is an actual activity for them, and not just an aside. That’s a big difference. Like, hey, let’s go out drinking on Friday. That’s the activity, and whatever else you do is an aside. If you’re going out to dinner on Friday, and they have a glass of wine, I don’t even consider that. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, as a social lubricant. Again, if your somebody who goes to kiss that person at the end of the night, and you taste the wine on their mouth, and you’re uncomfortable with that, it’s probably not a great idea.

Richie Hession

If you ask them to use a little mouth wash and their kind of sensitive to your position, then maybe that can be okay too, right?

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, I’ve been fortunate in the dating pool. Dating non-people in recovery. Normies, we’d called them, right? We call them normies. And, I’ve been fortunate where I’ve always been very upfront about my recovery. My anonymity is nonexistent when it comes to that, for me at least.

Richie Hession

Your anonymity is gone right now.

Stas Botsaris

Totally right.

Richie Hession

You don’t have any anonymity anymore

Mark Bonanni

You can violate your own all day.

Stas Botsaris

But, I’ve always been upfront right from the gate, and believe it or not, I’ve got nothing but love and warmth out of that. And, most of the time, give or take a few, but for me, I subscribed to the same ideology. At first, I was like, I shouldn’t date in my 12 step fellowship or whatnot, and then I did, and there’s a connection that addicts have with one another. And, I never felt that connection with an outside, with a normie. And, when they have a drink, something happens to them. For me, I notice it. At least with the individual I’ve been dating. There’s always something that they just don’t quite grasp. I don’t know, there’s just always something that they don’t quite grasp. Even though I’m like, yeah, please have a drink, or whatnot.

Stas Botsaris

But, not just the drink, that’s just a perfect excuse to talk about like this is going to be the dilemma, but there’s something in there. And, when I’ve dated women in recovery that they were just, I don’t know, I’ve just been more fortunate in that field where there was more of a connection and an understanding. Do you want that?

Mark Bonanni

No, I was moving it back to get it out of the way.

Richie Hession

That’s the Greek coffee. Do you want to say anything else?

Mark Bonanni

I’ve dated mostly women and had relationships with women that were not in recovery for the most part. I have, and this is non-suggestion, but I even had a girl that would do drugs. Way back, you remember her, I’m not going to obviously mention her name.

Richie Hession

I told you it was a horrendous idea back then and I still do.

Mark Bonanni

She was in the club scene, so she would… I can’t say that everyone that does anything, but she wasn’t like-

Richie Hession

I hear you, but then again-

Stas Botsaris

The risk.

Richie Hession

This is the whole thing, can you do it, yeah, you can do anything. My sponsor use to say to me all the time-

Mark Bonanni

But, I had a fine experience with this girl.

Richie Hession

You can do anything you want in recovery as long as you’re willing to accept the consequences for your actions. Good or bad. So, you can make that decision, and you can get with someone. You can date someone who does club drugs.

Mark Bonanni

Nothing bad happened.

Richie Hession

Well, thank God.

Mark Bonanni

Thank God. Right, of course.

Stas Botsaris

Best way to avoid it-.

Mark Bonanni

Probably right. Agreed. But, my girlfriends have all drank, but moderately. And, I just don’t have an issue with that. It’s just never been something for me.

Richie Hession

That’s the point. And, I know people that have been married for many years, where the husband or wife, I actually know both cases, where husbands and wives are sober people and their partners are just normal. Now, I don’t know anybody who has a successful relationship where they go into it knowing that the person drinks or uses as an activity and is out of their mind. And, you’re looking to get hooked up with that person. Why would you? I mean, use a little common sense for God’s sake.

Stas Botsaris

What’s normal.

Mark Bonanni

And successful. One thing about dating outside the fellowships is that, you know, fellowships demand a lot of time. So the person’s got to be, it’s tricky there too.

Stas Botsaris

It’s hard to tell your girlfriend that you’re going out with thirty people-

Mark Bonanni

To a meeting.

Stas Botsaris

To a meeting, and then going to a diner afterwards, and then she asks who’s there, and you just give a laundry list of women, with men too, and she’s like, well why can’t I come. It’s like, you can come, but it’s not dinner. We’re just going here to really talk shit, and just fellowship. So, it can have it’s challenges for sure.

Richie Hession

That was a good question, and then there’s multiple topics on one card. So I’m kind of steering clear, because, you know one person’s card can be the entire. I’m trying to move through. There’s all sorts of stuff in here, and one of them, I just happen to, they named six topics. One of them was hope, and I always say, the 12 step recovery program is like a clown at a carnival throwing candy. That’s how much hope that these 12 step recovery programs can throw out there to people. And, hope is so important, because when most people who come in, if you’ve been beaten by this thing, that’s one thing that you’re lack of. You’re hopeless. You feel hopeless.

Stas Botsaris

The message is hope promises freedom.

Richie Hession

Hope promises freedom is that. There you go. That’s so true.

Mark Bonanni

It’s like a theme for a lot of these questions. Dealing with loss while sober. Stay involved. Avoiding relapse. Stay involved.

Stas Botsaris

I mean, listen, the hope is, I mean, look at us. Here’s three guys that were hopeless dilemmas, and now we’re doing a podcast about hope. You know what I mean.

Richie Hession

Yeah, pretty cool.

Stas Botsaris

And, we’re having fun. We got cool little buzzers here. It’s pretty mind blowing.

Richie Hession

Here’s an interesting one. It’s a really good questions. What percentage of clients succeed on their first treatment term?

Mark Bonanni

No one knows the exact answer, but it’s low.

Stas Botsaris

It’s an incorrect question to ask.

Richie Hession

No, but it’s very relevant, because the truth is-

Mark Bonanni

So many factors.

Richie Hession

Many factors. There’s a lot of people who succeed. Look at me. Use me for an example. Maybe it actually doesn’t work as an example. Because, I went to detox only. I didn’t even end up, back then, on Staten Island, when I got sober, there were no rehabs. I mean, there probably were, but Staten Island is like a bubble, and if it wasn’t on Staten Island, like I didn’t even know there was stuff in New Jersey that you could even option to go to. And, my dad was a fireman, and he had insurance. I probably could have gone wherever. But, in the end, I found myself in a detox on Staten Island, but I went from detox straight to the fellowship and got sober right out of the fellowship on my-

Mark Bonanni

Yeah, but you’re a rarity.

Richie Hession

…kind of, my first try. But, I had actually tried the fellowship four years earlier when I wasn’t serious, and I didn’t get a sponsor, I didn’t do anything. I just showed up and did meetings for a few months.

Stas Botsaris

I did a fourteen day run at rehab. That’s all I did. I actually have, it’s funny with those numbers, because if it wasn’t for the woman on the phone doing my assessment, I wouldn’t. I swear, I owe that woman my life, and she actually did some unethical stuff. Believe it or not, I called, I’ve been detoxing on my mom’s couch, I was a fucking disaster, excuse my language, disaster. Bursted ear drum, my body was decaying, so finally we get a hold of, this is yellow pages times. This is how old I am. And, I’m on the phone with the facility, and I’m talking, and she’s like, okay, so tell me about yourself. She takes my information, my cell phone number, this, that, blah, blah, blah.

Stas Botsaris

I’m calling from my mom’s landline, and I’m telling her, and she’s like, so you haven’t drank in three days? You haven’t done cocaine? You haven’t done pills in three days? And, I’m dying on the phone. I’m like, yeah, but I’m dying, I don’t know what I need to do. And, my cell phone rings. And, she’s like, I’m going to need you to answer that. And I’m like, what? So, I’m on the phone and I answer, and she’s like, honey I’m going to need you to do a lot better than this. And it was her, because the calls are monitored.

Richie Hession

Right.

Stas Botsaris

And, I couldn’t put two and two together. She’s like, honey we have people coming in here way worse than you. Do you want a bed or not? I get back on the phone, and I’m like, I’m drinking every day. She said, we got a bed.

Mark Bonanni

She walked you through.

Stas Botsaris

She walked me through. But, I’m saying, that woman saved my life. Do you know what I mean? She heard me crying on the phone, and I did a 14 day run, and then I did outpatient for four months, and the first thing I did when I walked in there they told me to make a meeting.

Mark Bonanni

You’re in that minority that went to treatment once and got sober. Unfortunately, the number is small.

Stas Botsaris

To circle back, because I didn’t stay in place, relapse is a part of my story. Yeah, I did. When I got out of treatment, I had a year. People, places, and things. I stopped making meetings.

Mark Bonanni

You were unconvinced. [crosstalk 00:38:39]

Stas Botsaris

I got tied up in working my first year of recovery. Money, money, money, I needed to work, I needed to work, I needed to work. Money, property, prestige. Obsession met opportunity. Ran into an old friend that night, and I was back in a meeting a week later with tears, ass handed to me. And then fast forward.

Richie Hession

Did you ever hear the saying relapse is not a requirement, and that’s true. To go back to the question, a lot of people in my experience don’t make it the first time. I mean, that’s the truth. It’s anecdotal, because I’m not looking at crunching numbers in the United States.

Mark Bonanni

It’s kind of well known.

Richie Hession

But, in the treatment field, from what I’ve seen, not a lot of people do get it on their first time. Sometimes it’s a second, maybe even a third intervention. Sometimes it’s a three peat. Now, you’ve got other people who’ve been to thirty, forty different rehabs and all that nonsense.

Mark Bonanni

They say the average is what seven?

Richie Hession

In the end, I want, when they come, I’m like give me that kid, because I know how to stop that from happening bro. It’s not a coincidence that you’re not staying sober. Anyone can get sober and stay that way, if you’re open, honest, and willing. You need to get to a place where you can actually be shown, if you do this, and you follow what it says, you will never drink and use again. You can actually have that experience. It’s real. Real is anything.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, our promise is freedom from that.

Richie Hession

There it is, and, so, you’re either going to engage in that, or you aren’t. There’s no rehab in the world-

Mark Bonanni

That can make someone engage in it.

Richie Hession

That can make someone engage. Well, you can get them interested, because that’s really what we do. Our thing is to get them connected, even when they came in saying I don’t want to be. We get them interested. We’ll do everything we can to get them, and once we get them and once they say, well fine, even begrudgingly, and they start meeting with people, and doing the stuff that they’re supposed to do, all of a sudden you start seeing the light come on. Oh, this guy is going to get it. It’s going to get him.

Mark Bonanni

You can start to have the experience whether you want to, or believe in it, or not. You don’t have to want this. But, if you do it-

Richie Hession

You got to go to the right spot. I’m big on that. Going and doing the same old rehab bullshit, and blah, blah, blah, and do thirty days and go back again, another thirty days, another thirty days. A lot of the work starts like what is somebody’s stay going to look like in a rehab. To me, and the way we do it, it starts before they even come, on the phone. When we’re talking to them and we’re like, no, dude, we’re not that kind of place. You’re not coming here and doing thirty and then leaving, and all that. You don’t sound like you have any interest at all, or, and again, even that’s not true. Because, some of them, you guys start getting them interested, or getting them to at least acknowledge the fact that, I know.

Richie Hession

You want to at least get on the same page from the first call, like for us, that we’re not that kind of place. I don’t care what your insurance is. We’re not going to just park you here for thirty days.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, we’re not warehousing you.

Richie Hession

Like we ain’t doing it. You’re at least going to have to, there’s rules here. Like this place, we’re not going to be like, all right, fine, you can do this, and you can have that. No, absolutely not. We’re not for everybody. Comfort meds, all that bullshit. We’re not doing it. We don’t believe in sub-maintenance. We’re not that place. If you’re looking for that, go somewhere else.

Stas Botsaris

At first, Mark says it, the recovery process begins when we speak to them on the phone. From the first conversation, it’s upbeat, enthusiasm.

Richie Hession

It sets the tone.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, of course. And it’s attraction rather than promotion. It is. If recovery wasn’t attractive, would you be in it?

Mark Bonanni

Of course not.

Stas Botsaris

Neither would I. I would be like this place is lame.

Richie Hession

And, the person who asked the question also wrote, alcohol use disorder on the back, just the term. I mean, it’s alcoholic, but the DSM5 that’s the technical name for alcoholism.

Mark Bonanni

Or, substance abuse disorder, whatever. Opiate use disorder.

Richie Hession

Alcoholism is the real deal.

Mark Bonanni

It’s just softening the language again.

Richie Hession

And, not everything is drug addiction, we deal with plenty of straight hardcore alcoholics.

Mark Bonanni

That never touched a drug.

Richie Hession

Never touched a drug. No interest what so ever. They don’t need it. I have a questions that’s not for here. I’m going to keep this to the side as well. I’ll throw it out there, but it’s really more for the people who kind of do the programming and stuff, and I guess it can be a lot of side topics on this kind of thing. But, it says, I think dividing some groups by age would be beneficial. Is that something you would consider. And, my answer is, of course, I would consider anything.

Richie Hession

One of the interesting things, because dividing, by age, by gender, by occupation, there’s 80 ways you can divide things up. And sometimes it can actually be beneficial. But, to do that where you’re only with your own age group is a mistake. We ourselves, we had considered doing a first responders’ track.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, we had this conversation multiple times.

Richie Hession

Yeah, I’ve really seriously considered doing a first responders’ track, but we don’t, we meaning, just BlueCrest itself, our ideology, doesn’t really believe in a first responders’ track. Not that it can’t be helpful to people. Listen, I can’t speak to what other people do. I know there’s some really great ones, successful. Bottles and Badges, I’ve heard of, from meetings, outside. There’s all sorts of cool stuff that they do, and having that kind of togetherness can be hugely important, and I get it, but at least for us, rehab wise, in the reality of the world is, you can’t segregate yourself from people. When you leave rehab, you’re going to go back with, and hang out with your mailman, and your accountant, and the painter. When you’re in the stores and you’re hanging out with people, and you’re interacting at family parties.

Mark Bonanni

And, what about meetings?

Richie Hession

And meetings, forget about it. You may gravitate towards the first responder crew, but in the end the real world is not separation. Recovery is about togetherness. Recovery is about breaking through those boundaries and barriers, and many times people in certain kinds of jobs, that becomes part of the problem. That becomes their identity. Becomes being that instead of who they are. And, in order to get recovered, in our experience, sometimes segregating is not the best thing to do.

Richie Hession

So, I know this wasn’t really specifically about that, but like I said lots of high topics.

Mark Bonanni

It’s helpful to have some throughout the course of treatment, right?

Richie Hession

And, you should have some of those subgroups.

Mark Bonanni

They can have a different set of issues.

Richie Hession

It can be very beneficial.

Stas Botsaris

And, I think it’s necessary, obviously, like throughout the course of treatment, because it becomes our identity.

Mark Bonanni

And maybe more to relate to.

Stas Botsaris

Exactly.

Mark Bonanni

Just a piece.

Richie Hession

And, again, I’m not a doctor, but I think I know the answer to this. Can you get HIV through a mosquito bite? The answer is no. It’s a silly question, but you can apparently get that other thing with the pregnancy, can’t you?

Mark Bonanni

Zika.

Richie Hession

Zika, can’t you get that through a mosquito bite.

Mark Bonanni

Yeah, it is. It’s spread through-

Richie Hession

That’s how it’s spread through. It’s crazy. Mosquito is brutal [crosstalk 00:45:27].

Mark Bonanni

What happened to Zika? That shit just went away.

Stas Botsaris

It got swept under the rug.

Richie Hession

Yeah, it was kind of scary.

Mark Bonanni

It was a one Summer deal, now it’s over.

Richie Hession

Do you believe prohibition works, even though-

Mark Bonanni

Obviously not.

Richie Hession

It supports all black markets, gangs, and cartels, and does zilch to people obtaining drugs? I see what they mean.

Mark Bonanni

Of course it doesn’t work. It’s pretty obviously the war on drugs is a failure. Everybody kind of knows that. So, what’s the solution? It’s never going to happen here. They’re never going to legalize drugs in this country. They’re never going to decriminalize them. They do say, I guess in Portugal, I’ve read a lot of this stuff, they say it’s worked out pretty well.

Richie Hession

I can’t believe that you’re actually going to sit here and look at all those folks and say that they’re never going to do that in this country, when we are clearly, slowly, but we are clearly heading there.

Mark Bonanni

No, I disagree.

Richie Hession

It starts with marijuana.

Mark Bonanni

I disagree dude. Think about the amount of money involved. They’re never going to. Prohibition, I just can’t ever see it.

Richie Hession

I’m not talking about prohibition. I’m talking about legalizing drugs. That because of the money. You know how much money they can make if they legalize drugs. They can tax it. And, you take it away from the cartels and you legalize it.

Mark Bonanni

I’m almost in favor of it.

Richie Hession

That conversation, we’re not going to get into, legalization of drugs, we’re going to stay clear of it, but when it comes to prohibition, I can only say that based on history, prohibition doesn’t work. Human nature is human nature. People are going to do what they are going to do.

Mark Bonanni

Violence and the black market.

Richie Hession

What this person said is correct. It does.

Mark Bonanni

There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. Of course.

Richie Hession

They tried, they gave it the old college try, right?

Mark Bonanni

I’m just a conspiracy theorist, I don’t think they gave it the college try.

Richie Hession

No, they gave it the college try. Back in the day.

Mark Bonanni

They can stop more though now.

Richie Hession

There was a cultural difference back then too.

Stas Botsaris

There was a lot of money going on through the streets.

Mark Bonanni

You’re thinking of prohibition back in the ’30s.

Richie Hession

That’s exactly what I’m thinking of.

Mark Bonanni

I think he’s kind of referring to even now, with the war on drugs, and still.

Richie Hession

I mean, just say no, assuming this is a slow moving ship. We’re not just going to legalize all drugs like they did in Amsterdam

Mark Bonanni

No, we’re not going to, but I can’t even imagine that with the amount of technology and the amount of stuff we have today, they can’t slow the flow of drugs into this country a little bit more than they currently do. You can’t tell me they can’t.

Stas Botsaris

They just got 18 tons on our port. 18 tons of cocaine were seized in Florida.

Mark Bonanni

Yeah, I read that article.

Richie Hession

I mean, that’s great, but in the end, there’s 5,000 more tons coming in.

Stas Botsaris

I was going to say, there’s 30 tons that landed though.

Mark Bonanni

We can’t do more. I don’t know.

Stas Botsaris

18 was found. That’s about it.

Richie Hession

Okay, well I’ll read this one. It is what it is. Need a trauma group, not yoga. People with deep trauma need to talk about their trauma. I agree with that, and I will say that people with deep trauma really should go to a specific program that deals specifically with trauma. Like, we’re trauma informed, our place, but we don’t… If somebody has serious trauma issues, we, generally speaking, and I got to go find out, I don’t know who wrote the card, but if they’re here still, but they shouldn’t be. They may be talking about just in general, people with deep trauma. I mean, yoga can be very helpful with people with trauma for sure. There’s so many different things that you can do that can help you with trauma issues from childhood. My experience, most alcoholics and addicts to one degree or another have some type of trauma. But, if you’re talking about serious deep trauma, for us, we refer people like that out. We’re not a trauma intensive program. We don’t have a specific trauma track. And, if you have serious trauma you really should go some place with a very intensive specific trauma track. So, we don’t take people in. We’ll generally field that.

Richie Hession

You guys know. We’ll field that on the phone, and say hold on a second. We talk to our executive, our clinical director, and they’ll say like, look dude, this persons got serious trauma issues. We’re not going to help them by taking them in here. Again, that’s what separates the men from the boys in this field, in my opinion. And, the good from the bad, is what I should say.

Mark Bonanni

Knowing what you’re good at.

Richie Hession

We are not everything for everyone. And, we should not be everything for everyone. And, we should not just accept everyone into treatment, because they call and have a good insurance policy. There are people who shouldn’t be here, because it’s better for them to seek the help they need somewhere else. And, we have a moral responsibility to see that happen.[crosstalk 00:50:01]

Richie Hession

Absolutely. You’re the first line of defense, we’re the second line of defense. And, if I ever heard that we took someone in, because our census was low, that we shouldn’t have, I would burn this place to the ground before I kept it open. We don’t do that. It’s just not okay. It’s not appropriate.

Richie Hession

So, what we’re going to do is, because there’s a gazillion, hold on a second.

Stas Botsaris

We should talk about what we were talking about before.

Richie Hession

Oh, well no, here’s the thing, because we’re at a point now where we’re going to have to wrap up, because keep in mind, we can do this on and on and on. I mean I wouldn’t want to listen to us.

Mark Bonanni

Hours. Like Rogan. A four hour podcast.

Richie Hession

But, we can do another. We’ll just keep the questions coming. The ones that we’ve already addressed, we’ll get rid of them. But we’ll keep the box going, and every once in a while, I think what this will morph into, which will be kind of cool, is every time we do a podcast, we’ll do like a break in between, especially when we have multiple panel people on. Like, next time I think we going to do four people in here. But, we can do a question or two every segment. We can keep this box. Instead of doing one, we can just pull out questions and answer.

Richie Hession

This was a specific question, so we can even end with it. Not that it’s particularly, but it says, how or why would someone who has been in treatment decide to leave and relapse immediately.

Stas Botsaris

Obsession.

Richie Hession

There’s a thousand reasons why. And it’s interesting, because I just had this conversation with someone yesterday. It is what it is, but there’s a place, a rehab, and the person was telling me, just last night, and then I read this question. It’s interesting. They were telling me last night that this particular rehab, very close to the rehab like on your way off of their little campus, or whatever you would call it when you leave. At the bottom of the hill or whatever it is, or somewhere on your way out, there’s a bar. And, when you graduate this place they give you a coin with the name of the place on it.

Mark Bonanni

I know where you’re going with this.

Richie Hession

And apparently, if you go into that bar and give them your coin-

Stas Botsaris

You get a free drink.

Richie Hession

They give you your first drink for free, and they have a big, huge thing filled with the coins. Now, that’s brutal. I mean, obviously, that’s brutal. I mean, who’s the bar owner. Dude, really. Like that is terrible.

Mark Bonanni

There’s a bar in New York City called the 13th Step that you can go in.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, there’s one in Philly too.

Richie Hession

Oh, is there really? And you go put your sobriety coin in and they give you a drink.

Mark Bonanni

You can put your coin or your chip in there and first drinks free.

Stas Botsaris

Ours is called like 12 steps down or something like that.

Richie Hession

That is so brutal dude.

Stas Botsaris

It’s so bad.

Richie Hession

God, that’s terrible. But, in the end, that’s a reality. And, again, I ask the question as why would someone do that?

Mark Bonanni

They’re alcoholics and addicts.

Richie Hession

Yeah, they’re alcoholics and addicts, and they didn’t do something, or enough to get themselves into a position where they wouldn’t want to do that. You can’t make someone get sober. Somebody who believes immediately, and immediately upon leaving, immediately drinks or uses, it’s like what work did they do while they were away.

Mark Bonanni

Well, it’s just treatment of any kind. I’ve walked out of detox, got in my car, drove immediately to Patterson and bought drugs. No stopping, I was like I’m skipping work, I’m going to get high. I mean, I wasn’t done.

Stas Botsaris

A lot of it is, they go into detox, day three, they’re back, they feel better.

Mark Bonanni

I made it way too big of a deal with all this. I’m good.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah, exactly. Everything is made up. I’m fine. Husband, wife, I love you. We’re going to fix this out. You need me home. And, then the manipulation just starts.

Mark Bonanni

It’s a lot more with alcohol for some reason too.

Stas Botsaris

And, then again, they went in to shut someone up.

Mark Bonanni

But, those people get sober too. That the thing. It’s a really hard question to answer.

Richie Hession

I hold it to us. I hold it to the rehab. I’ll be honest with you. For me, and we follow. I track everything. I’ll be honest, and again, this is just me, and we track everything from people who graduate our program. Honestly, I don’t know a lot of people who left here that have drank or used on their very first day that they left. I don’t know, I’m sure it happens, but it doesn’t happen a lot. Because, my question is, what the fuck kind of work are we doing as a facility. If the day they leave, they’re going out and drinking.

Mark Bonanni

But, it’s happened. I know for a fact it’s happened, but you can’t get through to someone that’s so super closed.

Richie Hession

But, that’s your job. Your job is to get through to them. The super resistant people. That’s the job.

Mark Bonanni

Absolutely.

Richie Hession

Your job is to get through that. Peirce that veil for the super resistant. To say, dude you need something different and you meed to change. They’ve heard it for 80 different thousand ways and from people, but what are you doing to get them to actually hear it. They’ll listen, but do you hear me? I’m listening to what you’re saying, but I can’t hear you.

Stas Botsaris

You know you’re not feeling though. Look responsibility is on. But, when someone leaves treatment, and we hear about it all the time, whatever, it’s usually, I just can’t be here. When I talk to clients that are in detoxes and they get me on the phone with them, I know not a shot in hell Stas, that I’m listening to you right now.

Stas Botsaris

Because, I’m all upbeat and enthusiastic. I’m probably the biggest pain in the ass. I’m the last person they want to talk to. They’re like brother, you’re really killing my freaking plan.

Mark Bonanni

I think a lot of those time those people, it’s not even that they have the intention to go do it. They don’t know that the voice driving their decision is the alcohol or the addiction.

Stas Botsaris

And, they’re like, yo, I got to do this. I got to do that. I’m like, bro, knock it the fuck off, I know you want to go use. It’s okay. You’re supposed to right now. You are supposed to want to go destroy your life right now, and burn it all the way down. You probably got some stuff at home. You got a 20 laying around somewhere at the house. You know that mom’s home. You can go there, at least manipulate her to get you to do this, and she needs to pay for that. I get it. I helped write the book. Along with millions of other addicts. And, sometimes, we’ve been able to get, I wish it was more, I wish my stat was higher obviously, but it’s not. And, the reality is sometimes just our words can’t get through to that wall of disease. You know what I mean. It’s tough.

Richie Hession

All right. We’ll call it here, and we’ll, like I said, we may do another one of these. Maybe we’ll mix it in with all the other ones that we do. I don’t know, whatever. Who knows what we’re going to do. You never know where we end up going. But, we have some cool topics that we can bring out of this as a result of it. I think the next one that we’re going to do is going to be the, and you may want to come back for this one Stas, because we’re going to have some fun with it, which is dating in recovery. Dating when you’re first in recovery. Because, that’s crazy stuff.

Stas Botsaris

Yeah. Beautiful disasters.

Richie Hession

Jim always says, the two things that take people out more than anything else is surgeries and relationships. Those are the two big ones for relapse. Talk about relapse prevention, don’t get any surgeries and stay out of relationships. But, really, getting involved with a boy or a girl, in early recovery, can be dangerous and going for dental surgery, or some kind of surgery, where they give you pain killers, early on in recovery, also takes a lot of people out. So, the surgery thing, maybe we’ll even mention it, while we talk about your relationships next time, to cover both. But, the relationship topic can be a fun one. Next time, we’ll do the part two of the first in recovery series. And, we’ll do relationships. And, we’ll cover kind of different aspects of that.

Richie Hession

In the meantime, if you want to subscribe to the podcast for some insane reason, it’s available on the major streaming platforms, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube, and this is Richie, Mark, and Stas signing off. Peace.

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