On this episode Deron “Malibu” McBee is interviewing Dustin Frei – Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Covenant Hills Treatment Center. www.covenanthillstreatment.com 1-800-NO-ABUSE
IJN Ministries presents “The Issues of Life Podcast with host Deron “Malibu” McBee. We will be discussing the ISSUES OF LIFE, CURRENT AFFAIRS, and dealing with ADDICTION and RECOVERY from a decidedly CHRISTIAN WORLD VIEW.
The Issues of Life Podcast with Deron “Malibu” McBee is brought to you by our amazing sponsor Covenant Hills – A Pacific Hills Treatment Center 32236 Paseo Adelanto ste G, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 – www.covenanthillstreatment.
10-01-19 The Issues of Life Podcast Notes
Alright hey, thank you Master Blaster Pastor Shawn in the control booth there for that awesome music. This is Darren Malibu McBee hosting my podcast called, the issues of life. And my guest today is the incredibly studly, Dustin Fray. We’ll be talking to him in about a minute but a little bit of my show.
We’re going to be discussing current events and basically issues of life that people deal with, things in the news and a lot to do with recovery and addiction, which I, unfortunately, know all too well because I had an issue myself, with painkillers which we’ll talk about at some point in time.
But Dustin is an amazing guy; he knows everything about everything, he’s been through it and knows everything about addiction recovery, we’ll talk to him in a minute. But I want to start off with something in the news that I thought would kind of be an icebreaker and kind of fun. I’m looking through a thing called top buzz on my telephone and I see this article pops up it says, “Woman bites camels, testicles”. I kid you not, that was the article. And so I, of course, I had to read this article because I’m thinking no, why not? And so I’m reading it and basically, first of all, how does a woman get in front of a Campbell and first place like she broke into the zoo. But her husband and her went their truck stop regularly and this particular truck stop has an attraction, a camel in a pen, because why not?
So this woman and her little dog decide to get out and she’s throwing doggie treats to the dog and she thinks well, gee whiz, why don’t I just throw a couple of doggie treats to the camel. So the camel like a pro baseball outfielder is snagging these things at a mid-air chomping on him, but one seems to go whizzing by hits him in the nose and the ground. Of course, little spunky do dog he goes running in the playground to retrieve his doggie tree and all sudden mom freaks out and says, I am going to go in and save my dog from the vicious camel, who’s basically sitting there just nonplussed like okay, whatever. So anyways, she goes in there after the dog and the camel starts kind of getting in the way and she keeps shooing the camel away get away from me, I can’t stand you camel. The camel is getting mildly irritated but you know doing the camels do like whatever that is. So anyway, so she keeps bugging this camel to the point where the camel gets so frustrated that it sits on top of her Okay, and literally. Now she is confronted with a giant hairy camel butt and to coconuts right in front of her face. Okay, now when you’re in a situation like that, what do you do pastor Shawn?
Pastor Shawn 3:07
I don’t know, Maybe bight the balls
You call it, ding, ding, and ding. So this woman [cross talking]
Pastor Shawn 3:16
I probably would hit him, but you know.
I think I want to use them as a speed bag. So anyway, so this woman decides to bite the camel on the nag because hey, why not? So she pulls out her pearly whites and charms, okay. Now if you’re a camel what would you do? Okay, I know me if somebody bit my testicles I’d be up and Adam out of there quickly. So the camel jumps up, the woman grabs her doggy and they’re out the door. So I don’t think there’s a moral in that story, but it’s a true story. And I read that news and I thought that’s something I just got to share with my first episode.
Pastor Shawn 3:58
I like it.
I mean, what do you think Dustin? That’s crazy.
Pastor Shawn 4:03
That is totally crazy, right? That’s nuts. No pun intended
Pastor Shawn 4:08
No pun intended
So anyways, I thought,[Laughing in the background]; thank you very much, thank you very much. Anyway, so the second story I want to share is a little bit more sombre and it’s kind of near and dear to my heart, it is about bullying. And when I was a young kid, I was a proverbial 99, maybe 79-pound weakling, really skinny and I got bullied in high school. And it was a really harrowing experience. And it was heart breaking for me and made me extremely insecure, and being skinny, I didn’t know what to do. And so I remember one particular time I was out with a friend of mine and both of us are kind of nerds and this guy had a speech impediment. We were driving his car and some high school football players’ corner us in a cul de sac with their car, and I immediately roll down my window because one of the biggest guy comes over to the driver’s side which I’m driving. And I said, Hey guys, knock it off, why are you bugging us?
So, so the guys start rocking the car back and forth like they’re going to roll it over. And I’m freaking out and they’re laughing, they were so drunk, it’s ridiculous. So anyway, I roll the window down and I looked at this guy to say something; I got hit with the most vicious right hook to the face that it literally knocked my glasses cockeyed, and I ended up my partner’s lap and they thought that was the funniest thing in the world. Well, I ran out of the car and to nearest door, I could knock on the door and said, please help. And all I could remember was just getting home and telling my dad with tears my eyes what happened. Now my dad is six foot four like I am, he’s big, but I was really, really thin.
And I literally, I mean, it’s embarrassing to say but I mean, I’m 16 years old; I haven’t hit puberty yet. So I mean, imagine that 16 years old going around high school locker room here all these guys have hair everywhere and I don’t even have one pube on my body. So anyways, the bottom line was that I never ever forgot that. And it kind of was the impetus that got me started wanting to work out because I remember going to see this movie in the 70s; it’s is very little known movie called Rocky. And seeing Sylvester Stallone overcome obstacles and become this champion, I don’t know where I thought, hey, that’s me. So I started going to the gym, I started working out and my dad had promised me when I was a little kid, he said, Darren, you’re going to grow late, just like I did. And you believe whatever dad said, so I always had that hope. Well, it was true, I literally in one summer went from five, nine to six foot two, and then eventually ended up with six foot four. But I remember working out like a fiend, training, eating, and I finally put on some muscle on my body.
And I remember my 10 year high school graduation and I’m thinking I hope I can find this guy. His name is Robert Sturgis; I’ll never forget his name. He was like the stud of the football team back then, okay. So when I saw this guy, first of all, I think all the things I was going to do to him right Dustin. I am just going to just plaster this guy’s face all over. And so I walk up to him as somebody pointed out, and so I walk up to him, and there he is. I’m six foot three now, he’s five foot nine, he’s lost all his hair, and he’s got a giant beer belly. So is I mean, when I went up, he went down; I felt so sorry for this guy. And I introduced myself, I said, do you remember me? And this guy almost Pooh poohed the break when he saw me, let’s put it that way. And I just said you know what, no hard feelings and he said, I’m sorry I was a jerk and so we kind of made friends.
But you know, I really feel for people that are bullied. Every time I see a story in the news, it breaks my heart and its cyber bullying is going on. Dustin Shawn, Pastor Sean knows this, he deals with stuff all the time. Is that people’s lives are destroyed by words. I mean, you heard this thing: sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me, baloney words destroy. Words just destroy relationships lives and wars are started; I mean it’s just horrible things that happen with just words.
So at any rate, this one young man was getting bullied, cyber bullied by these people in his school and they were constantly making fun of him because he was gay. Now, out here in California being gay is almost like a badge of courage; I mean, it’s like the cool thing to be gay. I mean when I started teaching some of the drama classes at my daughter’s school, I met the first person I’ve ever met, she was a girl but she identified herself as a man. So I’m like, wait a minute, what? And she’s gender fluid I heard this word. What is gender fluid? It’s either you’re a guy or a girl. I mean, DNA pretty much your guy or girl science is science but no, I met somebody who was a girl who identified as a guy and then identified as a girl. She kind of went back and forth and I’m like, wow.
Then I met these two kids in her drama class, they were twin boys, both were gay. One guy would wear eye shadow lipstick every single day and they were like the cool kids. I mean, they weren’t getting rousted or ousted or anything means like that, kids were like Guys cool because it’s kind of hip and trendy to be gay.
And that comes definitely from the business I’ve worked in for 20 years, Hollywood. I mean, it literally is being run by gay people and not that’s nothing disparaging it just is the businesses been like that. And I have nothing against them, some very close friends are going to sound very cliché, but I’ve got very close friends that are and I love dearly. I feel for them because it is anything but gay, being gay.
So anyways, so I get back to this young man and evidently he got bullied so bad that he ended up hanging himself. And he wrote one last letter to everybody saying I’ve had it and this isn’t the last letter, I don’t want to talk to you guys anymore, just something like that and signs off. And the next thing you know, dad comes into his room looking for him because he didn’t come down for dinner and there he is hanging.
Pastor Shawn 10:24
So, I mean, I’ve got two kids, right, two girls. I can’t even imagine or fathom, how horrible would be to walk in and see one of my daughters hanging or dead. I mean, it’s mind-blowing to me, and it’s so heart breaking, I could cry right now. You know, because I understand how that kid feels, but on the other end of this Dustin and pastor Shawn. It’s like, what brings kids to that place where they can be so horrible to each other and so mean spirited and have no remorse whatsoever? They don’t feel bad for what they did, they don’t care about what, and they say they laugh about it.
I mean, I read another story about some girl who killed herself over that and the kids were making a joke. They were right there make making puns and jokes, right and left across Facebook about this girl who killed herself because she’d been bullied. What is happening? Sean, you’re a pastor. Do you have any suggestions or answers to this craziness? Why is this world going this way?
Pastor Shawn 11:38
It’s sort of sounds cliché, but it’s the devil, it’s Satan; it’s God’s getting ready to come back. And you know, it says in the Bible, things aren’t going to get good around here.
Man you know you said such a mouthful with such few words and that is absolutely on the mark. I mean, it is evil and people do not want to take a look at the fact that we live in a spiritual world. Around us the things we can’t see are as real as and more real than things that we are seeing, looking at across each other at these tables, right? So that’s one thing I love about this program. And what I love about you, Pastor Shawn and Dustin and Benji over there, you can’t see; I mean, we are all committed followers of Jesus Christ.
And one thing when I was seguing into these addiction recoveries, and we’re going to talk to Dustin in a second, is that Alcoholics Anonymous started off as a Christian based organization. Every one of the steps, if you read them are all about God, are all about sharing with your friends, about God and taking your issues to God, letting God heal you and change you.
Somehow over the last 50 years, like everything else, it’s like; God has been wiped out of the agenda and wiped out AA, to where it’s your higher power. And my higher power could be this cup of ice tea I have in front of me if that’s what I want. I mean, I’ve heard ridiculous things like people, decide Betty Boo, Is there going to be their higher power. And I’m like, how do we get here? I mean, how did we devolve into this horrible situation? And it’s not obviously A.A [Alcoholic Addiction] it’s everywhere. Prayer was taken out of the schools in 1960 and I mean, we could go on and on. But it’s just heart breaking to me, you guys that, God is conspicuously absent because we kicked him out. And so what’s great about this is we’re bringing them back in. We’ve got the answer, that everybody needs, unquestionably 100%.
The reason why A.A was so powerful and just took the world by storm is because it was about fellowship. It was about locking arms in the brother who’s hurting, come alongside him and saying I know you’re paying because I’ve been there and talking about the lord of this guy and getting strong in God. Okay, that’s what it was, unfortunately it’s not that. I was talking to Benji and Dustin little bit earlier about going to A.A meetings and I’m sure they’re not all like this. So I don’t want to broad brush anything. But the bottom line is I would go in there and I see people miserable, sharing their testimony and it’s like, they’ve all sucked on 15 lemons before they start talking. And their faces all puckered up and they’re they look like prune face and they’re miserable, and they’re talking about how horrible their addiction was true, horrible, but where’s the redemption? Where’s the joy of the Lord that has taken them out of that? And where are you going now? I really don’t see that and I’m sure it’s out there, but I just don’t see it and that’s heart breaking to me, it is heart breaking to me.
And Dustin, one thing I love about you and you Guys, when I met Dustin, I told him, I fell in love with this guy because he’s just a real dude, he’s a man’s man. He’s gone through it, he’s been through the just the trenches, so to speak, and he’s come out, and he loves God and he’s got an amazing testimony and we’re going to talk about that.
Let me just give you a little bit of background about Dustin. First, I want to tell you it was really cool because my friend Benji brought me over there, Benji, and I know each other from back in the film days. And we met at a hospital in Riverside where we were sharing our testimonies and then he comes up to me said, Hey, dude, I knew you. He didn’t really talk like that; but anyway, we hug each other’s neck and we talked a little bit then he heard me get my testimony. And it was like, well, we got to get together and you got to meet Dustin, he’s just a really great guy. And we work for the covenant?
Covenant Hills; okay, so covenant hills, amazing, amazing place. And I’m going to let you talk about that in a minute. But at any rate, so I meet Dustin, we start talking and, oh my gosh, this guy is amazing. We’re cracking up and laughing, it’s like I’ve known this guy for 15 years. I don’t know if you felt that way, but I mean, we just connected man, it was like a total mind thing and a God thing. So we’re wrapping, having a good time and like, every 10 minutes ago, so how can we support your ministry? And I’m thinking, just pray for me, man, that would be awesome. And we talked a little bit. He says, okay that’s cool, but how can we support your ministry? And I’m like, man, just being my friend, being my brother. The farthest thing from my mind was that he was saying, how can we help you financially with your ministry? And I mean, how cool is that? I walk in just meet this guy and out of love with his heart and God putting on his heart. How can we bless you?
So Benji comes outside and tells me goes that’s what he’s been saying, he’s been trying. I’m like, oh, my gosh; it was right over my head. I mean, I had no clue, you know what I mean? I was just so thankful to get to know you man and get to be your friend and stuff. And so we talk some more and this whole thing was Sean came up. And when I met Sean, it was another guy, man, I would take a bullet for this guy and we did a fundraiser on Friday night, right Sean? We had a fundraiser? Tell us a little bit about what happened at that fundraiser?
Pastor Shawn 17:21
It’s just amazing to have 200, 250 people in a room and they’re only there to support recovery and to support what we’re doing here at hope, It’s just amazing, but it was just a fun event. My wife and I, go around to these local businessmen we ask them to donate something. They usually do, anywhere from $50 to $100 item and then we get to sort of raffle bingo it off. And so it’s pretty cool because everyone gets a chance to win.
Pastor Shawn 17:55
And so kids could come. Adults could come, we usually will feed them and we just have a good time. And they pay a little entrance fee to get in but they almost all go home with something, which I love. I’m just not up there begging for money, and so it’s cool, It’s cool.
It was more than cool, the energy was frenetic in there it was just alive. People were having so much fun. I mean, I kid you not it was like we’re at a Super bowl party or something. People were jumping up and down with that little paddles and winning some great gifts, some really cool gifts. I had a ball, I mean, I was really thankful like I told Sean just to be there and his wife rocks. She’s so cool. She’s so energetic, and you can tell she loves what she does. And Sean I mean, to put that together brother that was miraculous and really honestly, I’ve seen God you know, involved in a lot of cool stuff. He was totally and completely involved in that situation. There was so much love in that place and so much joy in there.
And we had some vendors that were selling some cool stuff and I actually read to a couple of gals that were selling this new hair care type of product. Immediately I gravitated to her. So I’m like, Hey, can I help you move your stuff out to the car? And by the way, what do you got for me? Can I have long hair and stuff? So yeah, she gave me some really cool stuff and I love it. I’m going to be bringing her on the show at some point and talking about what they’re doing but just meet people that really cool people.
And I think that’s the thing about is so many disparaging remarks about Christians these days. And everything in the news or everything on TV portrays Christians as fuddy-duddy behind the times, miserable, down on their luck, just prejudicial, hateful. You know what, it’s just terrible and that’s not the reality man. You know what I mean, of course, you got hypocrites everywhere you go, in every bunch of people; but guess what, and you know what I mean? We’re all in a certain way, hypocrites and becoming Christians does not mean we’re perfect all of sudden; it just means we’ve got God inside of us that help us see our blemishes all the more and he actually helps work them out of us.
So again back to us and I’m sorry I got in a bit of rabbit trail there, but I want to share a little bit about my buddy Dustin. So with nearly 20 years of professional experience in the behavioural health industry and current vice president of Covenant hills treatment, that’s very cool. Dustin Frey is a driving force in the movement of high-quality ethical services across the spectrum of addiction treatment. Did you write that? That’s pretty cool.
No, I didn’t somebody did, it’s probably Benji.
Wow, was that you Benji?
He is the smart one.
It rocks man! So I want to be you. Okay, so anyway his passion for meticulous evidence-based and compassionate addiction, behavioural health treatment as well as experienced leading teams, to developing marketing strategies and driving revenue expansion. Then ensuring the integration of all aspects of organizational efforts gives him distinct insight and combined to makes him an exemplar. I like that word exemplar; leading the way in the realms of behavioural health and addiction treatment. And that’s a mouthful for just saying you are the man. Okay I mean, seriously, I there are very few men that I know that I really look up to and revere because you’re doing something that make a difference for time and eternity. Okay, you guys over there are changing lives, seeing people truly get healed and stay healed in an area that just taking more people out day by day by day.
I mean, it’s getting worse and worse, right?
Yeah, it sure does.
So okay, so let me Shut up and just say why don’t you share a little bit about your life and how you became Vice President, but where you started and what brought you back?
Okay, well, thank you for all that. I appreciate Benji, what you wrote, it’s very nice. But I think I started on my path like most people lost. I didn’t know which direction to go to, or where I was heading in life. And I had a difficult childhood by any definition and that’s for another time. But my solution early on in life was drugs and alcohol. I think that that is the solution for a lot of our kids today. You were talking about bullying earlier, and it’s just really sad. The thing that came to my mind is hurt people hurt people.
I love that word. I love it because it is so concise and perfect. So that again, says that again.
Hurt people, hurt people.
Yes, yes, yes.
And that’s a lot of our kids today are hurt. They’re walking around and they’re scared and they’re directionless. There are a lot of pressure these days that didn’t exist when I was a kid or when you were a kid, with social media and basically walking around with a computer in your pocket all the time. I mean, at least a lot of temptation and a lot of exposure to things that we just weren’t exposed to.
Absolutely! Could I just but in for one second, I’m sorry.
And you said something that’s huge. What happens is, and I think this is the huge downside of this whole thing is what do you see? Like, for instance, I went into a Starbucks a couple of years ago, and there were about 30, 40 high school kids in there. Now you can imagine 30, 40 high school kids in a place the yuck that goes on, the yelling and screaming, it was cricket time in there. You could not hear anything, why? Because of everyone [cross talking]
On the phone, yeah.
Every once in a while something goes.
And then you go back to the phones, right?
What’s happening is these kids are becoming so antonymous and its like, where do people communicate face to face, anymore?
It’s by text and it’s like you and I am texting back and forth
Sitting in the same room.
Right? And that’s exactly what’s going on and to me, not that I want to be the devil but it’s like an insidiously perfect plan. Because, what if I can get you looking at a device more than you looking at me?
Then communications gone, the community’s gone.
Thank you. So back to you, Go ahead, I’m sorry for interrupting.
No, its fine so yeah, I was in a similar boat and started to abuse drugs and alcohol at an early age. And I say, fortunately, these days, I used to say, unfortunately, but fortunately for me, I became addicted. And the reason I say fortunately is that that forced me into finding recovery, which forced me into finding God.
Addiction is an interesting disease and that it’s really the only disease I know of where, really the recovery aspect of it or it’s not a cure because nobody’s cured. But you’re forced to find God; you’re forced to find a spiritual connection in some way, shape or form. And you were talking about Alcoholics Anonymous earlier and how it all started. I mean, it really started Alcoholics Anonymous was always been a secular organization, but it started from a group called the Oxford Group.
Right? And Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson were members of the Oxford group, and I had success using the four principles of the Oxford group came up with which later turned into the 12 steps.
Excuse me, they found, I guess, the template for recovery in the Oxford Group and then they took that to Alcoholics Anonymous, and from there before they had the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, they wouldn’t the book of James out of the Bible to work the steps with people, oh, yeah. And they actually there was a period where they were thinking about calling Alcoholics Anonymous, the James group.
Yeah. Yeah because they used the book of James.
That’s really cool.
Yeah. But they eventually landed on Alcoholics Anonymous and that was with the intention. It was really the name of the book they were writing. And then that the whole organization became Alcoholics Anonymous, but I digress.
That was great stuff, I think.
And so I ended up in treatment at an early age, my first treatment experience it was when I was 18 years old, and I certainly wasn’t ready for treatment at that time. But it was something where I felt like there was a seed planted in me that things could work, that there was potentially a solution. But it took me another real, honestly, it took me another eight or nine years before I actually truly landed on the sobriety date that I have now. And what happened to me and I don’t want to get too graphic, but I’ll just tell the truth for your listeners.
I was a heroin addict, I was breaking the law, I was arrested several times by the time I got sober, I had three felonies and I earned them all and I deserved it,
Very few people will stand up to that. Guys, I’m telling you I very few people will admit that.
They’ll blame everybody else, but just to say that, yeah, I applaud you for that discouragement that.
Yeah I know and I did my time and I did what I did what I needed to do and, I paid my restitution. And, really happened was my mom called a friend of ours. His name was Kirby Dean and I had known him from previous jobs and things and he was one of the owners of Covenant Hills. And she said, you Dustin’s back in jail, we don’t know what to do, he’s lost.
and Kirby have been calling me for years not only to try and get me to turn my life around, but [ 28:18 Inaudible] to get me to go to church with them; because I was definitely the guy that would mock Christians.
Yeah, I was that guy for sure, yeah. And I didn’t believe in the Bible, I didn’t believe in Jesus, I wasn’t exposed to any of that when I was a kid and so I just thought it was silly.
You were one of those guys?
And so he would call me all the time and we would joke around. And the way he went about it, he was great about it, because he made me laugh and he made me want to engage with him.
And I think that’s with Christians, a lot of people we make the mistake of getting too serious too soon?
That’s a great point
And really forgetting the connection part that we were just talking about, man, you have to find that common ground.
That is so important because you’re right, we have a tendency to want to just go hey, do you know Jesus?
He loves Deron, and guys are going hang I’m just hurt man hug me.
You know, give me a hug.
That’s right, human to human, let’s connect.
What’s your experience in life? This is my experience.
Right, and then from there, let me tell you about my relationship with Jesus
That’s great, that’s awesome.
That’s what Kirby did; I got to respect him as a human, and know him as a human, and love him as a human. And then he would then start to give me his testimony. And so by the time I was back in trouble again, and my mother reached out to him, he said, Look, I’ll let you go to covenant hills when you get out of jail because we didn’t have any money or any insurance or anything like that. So it was a scholarship that really got me into treatment.
And so he said but you got to go to cover Covenant hills. And I was resistant at first because I didn’t want to go to a Christian program.
But of course I showed up and because I didn’t have anywhere to go [cross talking]. Exactly, is not like people were dying to let me sleep on my couch
So I showed up to treatment, and I got in there. The first couple of weeks were rough for me and treatment in that. I was still holding on to a lot of those old ideas and a lot of those old belief systems,
And a lot of that was from unresolved trauma, family of origin stuff that was just keeping me stuck in resentment, and fear, and anxiety, and anger.
Yep, been there.
Yeah, shame was a big one and so, to open up and let people in and let them see who I was scary. When people talked about having a relationship with God, which is definitely what they were talking about at covenant hills. is not just reading your Bible, but having a relationship with God and having a relationship that defines who you are as a human.
That scared me because I didn’t even know who I was as a human.
And I didn’t know Jesus and I didn’t know enough about the Bible or the word or anything. And so one of the things that were cool that covenant hills did, and then we still do is we had this pastor, his name’s Don Barclay. He comes in and meets with the guys on Thursday nights. Anyways with the girls on Tuesday nights and, and what he would do is, he was apologetic. He still is he goes to like Iran. He goes to Iraq, he preaches the gospel to the Muslims and things like that.
So I’m sorry for interrupting
But a lot of people don’t know what apologetics is.
So basically, he’s somebody that will defend the word,
And he knows all the history he understands kind of why things were written the way they were.
What is the context of the situation was when they wrote it, etc.
And so he would have this group and he invited us all to come in and whatever doubt you have, whatever resentment you have, you want to talk about something you don’t believe in, that’s what the whole group is designed for, so you didn’t have to be like afraid to ask questions, right.
That’s awesome, that’s so cool.
Yeah. And so again, we’re trying to develop that relationship.
How can you have a relationship with somebody if you don’t really say what’s on your mind?
Right? And so, man, I was ready for this group, I was ready because I was going to go in there and I was going to teach Pastor Barkley.
I was going to tell him what’s up, and the group what’s up, and they’re all idiots and, nobody knows what they’re talking about. I got it right because I’m 27 I just got out of jail, I’ve got three felonies, of course I know what’s going on. I’m going to teach this group, right. And so I walk into that group and he starts talking and I start listening and something happened: I had a spiritual experience in that group. And want to mean is that I really felt the presence of God in that group because I really couldn’t see the rest of the guys as the group was. I just saw pastor Don, I just saw him talking, I could just feel the love in his heart, and the joy in his heart and the grace coming from him and I’ll never forget it. I didn’t teach anything in that group, I never asked me one question, I raised my hand at all, I just listened the whole time.
So got you got impacted hard and fast?
And I followed him out to the parking lot and asked him, my question was simple and it was brief. I just said I want to know what it takes to be a Christian.
And what do I do?
So we said the sinners’ prayer right there and he said, that’s it buddy; Now go get to work.
And that was that was almost 15 years ago now when that happened.
And so obviously things have changed since then, and what have you seen God? Do I mean look where you’re at now
It’s funny, that first year of sobriety was probably the worst year of my life. I want to be honest with people about that.
Thank you so much.
Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t like I gave my life to Christ and I worked 12 Golden steps and now everything’s perfect, that’s not what happened. My dad died a month later.
I still had to go back to jail; I had about nine months of sobriety to finish up my sentence.
I had to move my mom out of her house because she couldn’t afford where she lived anymore; we had to sell that and it was a tough time.
It was a devastating time for our family. But I had Jesus all of a sudden, I had this relationship that I was building with him that was really allowed me this strength I didn’t know I had, and it wasn’t mine, it was his. And I was somehow able to step up and be the man of the family.
In a way that I had never even thought of doing much less taking the actions to do right. And it wasn’t even a question because I feel like God was in my heart the whole time. And so fast forward what happened after that, once I overcame all that stuff and really was able to focus on my career and my life. Things really just took off. And slowly but surely, I had better success in my career and working at covenant hills. The thing that was so special about covenant hills, and it still is now is it really is just a family there and I’ve never really felt like I have a real job, If that makes sense.
Oh, you love to do Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s like when I’m doing stunt Jobs or acting or something; It’s like I want to pinch myself.
Are you getting paid or this?
I do it for free, I pay them.
Do you know what I mean?
So I totally get where you’re coming from.
Totally, if I had to go to work and have somebody blow me up or do all the things that you have to do at work, you better believe I want to get paid because that sounds like work to me. But going work and talking to guys about addiction, and talking to them about my experience and seeing the miracles that happen every day and in treatment is not work.
What’s so amazing is people do not I understand until they’re in it that we see miracles like that all the time.
I mean, how many lives you think have been saved, that would have been gone, they wouldn’t be with us anymore had they not gone to covenant and been a part of that program?
I mean, and it’s powerful because you guys are set apart from a lot of these other programs, and I was hoping you could just break down a little bit. What does set you guys apart from some of the other programs that would kind of be thrown in that genre?
Because you guys are special.
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I mean we feel that way, we were blessed. We’ve been around for a long time; we’ve been around 26 years now and we feel like we work for God.
And we are a Christian company; we are Christ-centered organization and so everything that we do begins with that. Our program is Christ-centered, so the way we’ve set it up is that we have a Christian track and a traditional track, okay, and we call it. And I’ll get to why we do that in a minute, but on the Christian track, we have a pastor on the person’s treatment team. That’s unique in the sense, that most people would they have a therapist that works with them, they have a chemical dependency counsellor that works with them, they have a psychiatrist that works with them, but we also had that pastor.
And because again, we feel like you have to begin that relationship that I was talking about earlier, that relationship of grace, that relationship of strength, it’s not really going to come from within, most of the time, it’s really going to come from Christ.
And so we want to begin that conversation with them early on.
Very good, very good.
Now, the traditional track, they basically have that same treatment team just without the pastor.
And a lot of times, why that’s there is that family; a lot of times people will come to us in the same situation that I came in, which is like I wasn’t ready to be a Christian.
Or they’re mad at mom and dad because mom and dad are Christians.
And they’re relating it all together.
So we have that traditional track that allows them to come in and start and if they feel like it, which happens almost all the time, they’re ready to talk to the pastor; they want to have that conversation that’s available to them.
Okay, so really quickly if I can interject, what’s so cool about that is there’s Jesus all around in many ways.
So there you’re preaching the gospel without preaching the gospel.
Right? So they’re watching loving action and love they probably never seen or felt before.
And that becomes very attractive.
It’s magnetic, so that’s what’s wonderful about that you say you’ve got one track this way, but really all goes to the same place.
That’s right, that’s exactly right because God’s God.
We know that.
And that is so cool.
It’s like we tell as a family we treated like church. I don’t walk into harvest church, and they don’t stop me at the door and asked me if I’m Christian or not, they just say come on in, right? And we do the same thing at treatment.
Just come on in, it’s about connection, It’s about relationship, it’s about really getting them to know us as humans.
And then beginning that walk with them side by side,
Right and the last time, I read my Bible that’s exactly what Jesus was doing.
And see him come around [40:41 Inaudible]. What did he do? He loved them right where they were.
Right where they were.
Right where they were, you Come as you are, which is right on the outside of the door of pastor hope Recovery Center.
I love that guy; he is so cool Pastor Sean. Anyways, yeah, I mean, that’s all relationship.
I mean, that’s where everything is just going down the tubes right now because people don’t have relationships anymore.
So I think that’s something is really unique about what you’re doing because you’re bringing people to a relationship and showing them what true love and what God is really all about.
In the nitty-gritty, real-world sense.
Yeah, if you’re looking at evidence-based factors that really will indicate a person’s success in recovery, period, whether it’s at covenant hills or somewhere else, they’re really looking for engagement, that one year engagement with recovery.
Basically, with a therapist, with a case manager, with a sponsor, with your pastor at church really with that fellowship. That’s so important to really get somebody out of that state. You talked about earlier, the young lady who committed suicide and it’s just terrible.
It’s just tragic. And that’s somebody who’s felt so alone without any connection or community around her and so she gave up she lost. You know, yeah. And that’s what’s happening to a lot of our youth, that’s where our clients are when they get there. I tell them all the time, whether you realize it or not, you are a very faithful person.
That’s an important point, say that, again.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re very faithful person. You’re going to have your faith somewhere.
When they come to us, their faith is in their drug of choice.
That’s their higher power. They give all their faith, all their devotion, all their money, all their time, all their effort; everything goes to their drug of choice, which is their higher power. And there are a lot of people out there today in this world that has all their faith in their job.
Or in their relationship with their girlfriend, boyfriend husband or wife.
Or in money or in sex or in food.
That’s happening, or on their cell phone, in front of Facebook or Instagram, it’s all over the place.
Everyone on this planet has that need for faith and they put it somewhere.
You know, Blasé Pascal was a very famous, I think its 15th-century writer-poet, but he coined the phrase it said that, “there is a God-shaped void inside every single person that only God can fill”.
And it’s not going to be filled with drugs, or money, or sex or it’s just not and yet people keep going and going and going. And what I’ve noticed if you see some of the worst cases of broken people are the superstars that going growing up to think if I just make enough money.
If I get famous, get this house, I’m going to be so happy.
But guess what? They get it all and it’s empty.
There’s a void there. They’re the most miserable of all kinds of people because they thought, wow, I missed the mark and I don’t know where to find it again.
When you think you have it all and you don’t it’s a devastating feeling, I would imagine.
I would imagine.
Died in a toilet reading a book on tantric sex magic.
How sad is that? That’s, that’s King of Rock and Roll. I mean, and so when you look at that there’s truly somebody who had everything adored by everybody and he was a mess.
Yeah. You know, I mean, it’s so sad.
Yeah, but I think even those people when you think about it, when you’re looking at an Elvis Presley or somebody, who is super famous today. I think there’s a lot of isolation in that.
And there Again, there’s no connection.
That’s exactly right.
There’s no relationship there, right. And that’s like these guys, the people that are showing up to covenant hills, that’s really what we want to be getting to look at right away. How can we connect? How can we get into a relationship with you? And then from there, how can you get into a relationship with yourself? Because it goes back to, if I can’t connect with God then chances are I’m not really going to connect with you.
And if I can’t connect with you, then I can’t connect with myself.
Then it’s just a vicious cycle.
Man, that’s so powerful.
So amazing but I like what you said about connecting with ourselves.
Most people don’t realize they don’t have a connection with themselves.
Well, the connection is this is how I look on our kids.
This is what I look like on Facebook, so it must be true.
Even though it’s empty and nobody really knows who I am or they don’t see the pain. Behind me, I mean I look really good on Facebook.
And they based their lives and their happiness and how many likes people got.
Until they get defriended, oh my goodness life’s going to be over.
But that’s how they live and to me, it’s, I’m kind of a dinosaur because I grew up without all that stuff. But I see it now and it’s just heart breaking. Nobody, no kids go out and play anymore.
As you said no connection.
Yeah, that’s the key.
It makes me think about what a wolf does when it goes after sheep.
okay, when a wolf goes after a pack of sheep, what it’ll do is it will like right down the middle and shares half of them; then it will go right down the middle of those and he shares those off. It keeps sharing them off until he gets one isolated by itself alone and he attacks.
That’s exactly what’s going on in the world right now.
Like you said, isolation, brokenness.
Wow, man. You can’t quantify this but like, how many success stories do you see when are you working? I mean, you must see some really, really amazing things.
We do, I mean over the last 26 years, I think we’ve treated about 7000 people, something like that. And it’s hard to say how many of those people are truly sober still.
But I mean thousands. That’s the thing that’s so cool, that’s what I was talking about where it doesn’t feel like its work.
And we like to use that word miracle when they overcome addiction.
That is a miracle.
It is a miracle because it’s something they couldn’t do on their own; they needed God to do it.
And that’s really the definition of a miracle right there. It is something that is not possible unless some supernatural thing did it.
Exactly. Some supernatural intervention, there’s no way it would have happened
Yeah, so we have miracles every day. We have alumni meetings every other week when they come and they have pizza and drink soda, and they hang out, and have a meeting afterward, drink a lot of coffee and do their thing.
Coffees are big.
Coffee is big. Coffee is big in recovery. Yeah, it’s certainly. You got to have coffee, Yeah.
Yeah, I know that because I manage a sober living house right now and, man if we’re out of coffee…
Yeah, that’s a problem.
Yeah, you have never seen a more unreal guy in your life.
Yeah, if they’re going to give up everything else there, you got to have their coffee.
So I’m going to ask you so, incumbent hills, is it like a live-in program?
Okay, so explain that.
Yeah. So we have a men’s program in San Clemente.
And then we have a women’s program and Dana Point. Okay, so their two separate facilities.
They are both suffering and terrible places sound like to me.
[Laughing] those poor guys out there.Yeah, they’re beautiful locations, beautiful settings. The men’s program is all-male staff except for our one female on staff who’s in charge, Wendy Davis. She’s incredible; you’ll meet her one day.
And then in the women’s facility, it’s an all-female staff. And then it’s important for us to have a gender-separate facility, gender-specific treatment because there are different issues that come up. And then also, the last thing we want is for them to fall in love with somebody while they’re in treatment, because of the whole treatment our facilities has been ruin. We cover alt at the treatment center.
Of course, because people are already broken.
So there it is. There’s the love of my life of a sudden.
All of a sudden, that’s right. The program itself is about 60 days that’s the ideal amount of time we want somebody to stay with us. And then from there, we’d love for them to go into like a sober living environment. And then, you know, we’ll continue to work with a therapist, continue to go to their meetings. We do send them to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, also, we send them to church as well, we want exposure and all that kind of stuff. And really again, it goes down to connection relationships, and then what we’re doing for them to get that one year engagement. That’s really what the evidence tells us is like, let’s connect with you, let’s be a part of your life. And we can do that for at least a year, your chances of staying clean, sober, increased dramatically for the rest of your life.
I mean, there is one thing, I mean, I really was sad about a part of the ministry I did; we did a ministry with this group called the Power Team. We would go in and it’d be a lot of big guys and they do these incredible feats of strength. Like I would break bricks on fire, and some of the guys would break baseball bats and lift the telephone poles and I mean, crazy, crazy stuff guys break out of handcuffs. so anyways we would basically use those feats of strength as bait. Like Jesus says, we are fishers of men, right, so bait we throw out there as look, all these crazy idiots banging their head through concrete.
Let’s see if Darren catches his head on fire while he is breaking bricks, right. So people will come. Yeah. And then all of a sudden you have these guys, they’re larger than life, guys that totally love God.
And totally love Jesus and it’s an amazing thing. The problem is, though, we blow in, we see literally, it’s almost like 30, 40 hundred people out of us, several hundred group would come to the Lord.
Sometimes hundreds, we saw thousands in South Africa. The problem is, and this is what I love about what you guys are doing is once we leave there’s no follow up with these people. There’s no discipleship with these people. And so what happens they just integrate back into the world where they were and they chalk it up to a feel good experience.
Instead of a truly life-changing experience, because nobody cares after that.
Right. And that’s what you guys do. And that’s what I think is so powerful is that you don’t just say, Hey, come on in and we’ll will run you through the steps for two weeks. And I’ll god bless you goodbye. Have a nice day.
Right? Yeah. And then I mean, I love the wolf analogy you gave because addiction, I’ll always be somebody who’s an alcoholic and a drug addict, I believe that I just do and I don’t feel ashamed about that at all. So, because really what that reminds me of is that I’m always going to need connection. I’m always going to need people in my life who are also in recovery, who I trusted that who are also believers in whom I trust and that people that are really going to help mentor me and call me on my stuff; because I’m just as fallible as anybody else. In fact, a lot of cases more valuable, hopefully, you never get my wife on the show to explain that part of it.
They know all too well, don’t they?
Know you got to have that stuff you have to have that mentorship you have to have that discipleship. one of the things I love about Alcoholics Anonymous, and I love about Celebrate Recovery, and I love about all of the other types of programs out there is that you know at the end of the 12 steps or the 8 steps at Celebrate Recovery; they’re talking about you need to get out there you need to pass it on. You need to give it to the newcomer you like to really get in there and tell somebody how you did it’ give it away to keep it.
Right, right. Yeah, that’s great. I love that.Yeah, say that again, one more time.
Give it away to keep it.
Give it away to keep it.
That’s rocking I love it.
Yeah, you got to do it.
Yep, you’re right. You’re right. And the Bible is replete with stories of iron sharpening iron. Men need men women need women.
I think more so men need men because we have a tendency to be so autonomous and let me just Rambo it and John Wayne [cross talking]. That was me all the way even when I became a Christian, I’m going go out and serve Jesus and I’m going to do this because I was a gladiator. I was blah, blah, blah. And then I suddenly realized, man, I’m a mess.
I need men around me and I need men to teach me what it means to be a man. I’m still working on like you said every day, every day, Lord help me. And like you, I think one thing that when the Lord really gets in to us, we see how fallible we are.
And it’s very glaring, and to me, I hate to use the word scare, but I’m fearful of ever going back to that mess I was in.
And where I went, and where I was, and how I felt, and what I did the people I love. Yeah, I mean, it breaks my heart when I think about that, when I think of what I did to my young daughters being addicted after their mom died, and I raised them for 15 years doing great and I wiped out the last couple years, man and just, you know, destroyed them. Yeah. So that’s on the forefront of my mind and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
No, It doesn’t have to be I mean, it’s one of those things where, you know, that’s not where you want to be.
If it was a situation where you were beating yourself up over the head and it was preventing you from moving on with your life, then that’s a problem.
But it’s one of those things that’s why, I started off the show telling you that, I did get in a lot of trouble and I did hurt people because that’s part of my story. And these things that I had to overcome, are really things that I feel like have made me the man that I am today.
It has given me the relationship with God that I have the day.
And it gives you the ability to relate to other people.
That’s right, right. That’s right.
I mean, that’s what’s so important too.
That’s huge, that’s exactly right.
And I think that is probably one of the main points of Covenant is you guys, wrap your arms around each other and hold each other up and support and love on each other.
That’s right, that’s right. There are so many people that have been there, that has been for over a decade. Wendy Davis, she’s been there 10 years, Susan Sloan, she’s been there 14, 15 years, Bruce Stewart 20 years and you go down the list. It really is a family of people who are caring and loving, kind and really, truly do the work because they love it. And because they know they get to see a miracle every now and then.
Oh, are you kidding me? I mean, listen, I was there. I mean, I just met you and I felt it. Benji, of course, he and I were connected right away, but I mean, the second I walked in, I felt it. The whole place was just welcoming and you feel the love and the power of God in that place. And I know that sounds pie in the sky stuff and you hear people say that, but that’s real, that’s what goes on there.
I mean, it’s real bone to bone, we love you, we care about you, let’s help get you to this because been there.
Because we’ve been there and we know that there for the grace of God go I.
You know what, I think that’s a perfect way to end this interview; there but by the grace of God go all of us. And I just I’m so thankful that you came on. I’ve been looking forward to doing this interview.
My pleasure man is a lot of fun.
And I yes, yes. Okay and Benji is going to get a hold of us. Yeah, only I’ve only got like 15 notes. Benji says, sure. So I thank you, Benji, so please tell us how we can get a hold of you?
Yeah, so if you’re looking to call us, the phone number is easy It’s: 1800 no abuse. That’s 800-662-2873 and if you’re looking for us online, you can find us at covenant health treatment. Com we’re also on Facebook, and all that kind of stuff, even though we just spent about an hour bashing Facebook today but we are on that guy. Covenant hills treatment com that’s the easiest way to find us.
Okay, so one more time Yes, I get a hold if they want to call you?
1800 no abuse, 800 no abuse and if they want to find you on the World Wide Web or if you want to, its?
Covenant hills treatment. Com,
Covenant hills treatment. Com Okay, well, Dustin Frey?
I love you, bro.
Love you too.
Benji I love you, john you know, I love you. You guys. Thank you for listening. It has been a great first show. I’m totally stoked to be here. I’m Darren Malibu McBee looking forward to seeing you soon in the near future. God bless you!