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.com
10-08-19 The Issues of Life Podcast Notes
Hey everybody, this is Deron Malibu McBee and this is the issues of life, life, Life, life. Hey, I’m coming to you live from the beautiful city of Corona at hope Recovery Center and we have Pastor Sean in the control booth. How are you doing today, my brother?
Pastor Shawn 0:32
I’m doing awesome. How are you?
I’m doing super-duper. And my guest Ed Volk and I told him his name sounds like bolt because this guy is a firecracker, man. He has got so much energy, he’s hilarious, but he’s brilliant. You’re going to love to hear his story. It’s absolutely amazing; it’s going to blow your mind.
But hey, Sean, I know you got an event coming up and it involves two little people with a very big testimony. Can you tell everybody about what’s going on at hope recovery and when it’s happening?
Pastor Shawn 1:03
You know something I can; last night I got a little sneak preview and they were on one of my podcasts here at the station. Nick and Lucie I believe but anyway, they are master communicators, Master storytellers and they are amazing. I saw a little bit of it last night and I guess you would say they’re little people.
Pastor Shawn 1:27
But this guy is an actor. He’s amazing Deron, you’re going to like be blown away. He wrote this, he stars in it, it was so powerful yesterday. I thought I was like, in the tree with him because he played Zacchaeus.
Oh my God, perfect, little Zacchaeus, right?
Pastor Shawn 1:46
Oh, that’s awesome! Oh my gosh! So really quickly though, because a lot of people may not know this story, can you break down Zacchaeus, like in a couple of sound bites for what that’s all about?
Pastor Shawn 1:56
Yeah, I believe His name’s Nick. But anyway, Nick and Zacchaeus their story is really similar, because he sort of puts in his personal story about how he was growing up in the world. And you know, up until like, 10, 11, 12 years old, he was fine with all the other kids and then all sudden he stopped growing. Everyone else started growing more and more and more, so he felt like an outcast.
Pastor Shawn 2:22
Duh, duh duh. But then he got this powerful position of being a tax collector; and then now all people are bowing down to him, they’re calling them Lord, they’re saying all these different things. But anyway, Jesus was coming into town, and Zacchaeus wanted to see him Jesus wanted to see him he climbed up in a sycamore tree. Didn’t Jesus, like call him down, wanted to go to his house, and changed his life forever. But anyway, you know, this story was a message of bullying, of being different.
Pastor Shawn 2:57
It was just so cool because it was Nick’s Story of Zacchaeus’s story sort, just sort of mixed into one.
Pastor Shawn 3:04
Really cool, really powerful.
Man, I can hardly wait, I can absolutely [cross talking]
Pastor Shawn 3:08
I hope I did that justice, I don’t know?
Let see; I’m excited, I’m sitting here going, yeah, let’s go. So yeah, definitely and what was the date on that, is it this coming?
Pastor Shawn 3:18
This Friday. What is it, the 11th?
Pastor Shawn 3:21
Yeah, this Friday seven o’clock at hope recovery.
Hope recovery? And what’s the address here?
Pastor Shawn 3:26
We are at 9036 pulsar court suite H, in Corona.
H is for hot, hot, hot. H for hilarious
Pastor Shawn 3:36
There you go.
H is for happy.
Pastor Shawn 3:38
H is for hope.
That’s right, H for hope, which is something that we all need. I know for me when I was stuck in my horrible addiction and I was down, down, down, playing handball against the curb. I definitely needed hope because there was a day there and I was talking actually to my therapist last night. Yes, I have a therapist. He counsels a lot of people, but I was talking to my therapist, and she asked me, was there ever a time where I felt like God abandoned me or I felt totally alone? And I remember distinctly one day, I was reading a Psalm, Psalm 40 and it was talking about how David was saying he was stuck in a slimy pit, and he couldn’t climb out, and I’m thinking that is me. I said I’m in this pit of despair, it’s black, it’s slimy and it just feels like these evil claws are just trying to drag you and keep you from going up. And I’d be like taking two steps up and then slide back down to the bottom. And then I just got to this place of utter despair, where I thought, you know what, I’m worthless, I blew it. God, I’ve been in ministry for 15 years, I’ve done over 22 National commercials, and all of it is a ministry, you know, all of it was glorifying God.
And Ed has got some great stories and I’m going to shut up in a minute, but the reality was I sat there pastor Shawn and Benji and Ed and I just sat there and felt like, I’m a nothing. I mean to feel like nothing, and what used to you have for me? I broke my daughter’s heart, my youngest daughter, my wife had died and I laid my life down to raise my kids. And I walked away from a lot of money and a lot of fame in Hollywood to raise my girls and I was a good dad for a long time until I wasn’t.
And I remember one time after I got recovered and I was doing bad and I looked at my daughter and we were sitting at a Starbucks and I said, Honey, I just want you to know how sorry I am and she’s like, you know, it’s okay Dad, I forgive you. Do you know the Pat answer you get? I said no, I’m really sorry and then all of a sudden, water starts welling up in her eyes and these big tears start dropping and she said, Daddy, you really hurt me. And I mean, oh my gosh! It felt like someone shot me in the chest, but at the same time was so cathartic, because then the healing could finally begin with her. And she knew dad was sincere, and she knew I felt it, and I knew that had to happen. But oh my goodness, that hurts so bad and hurt so good at the same time, right?
So, at any rate, I got to that place of despair and I remember saying, God, if you can use me I’m here. I blew it, I’m nothing and that was my bottom. You know, people, so you have to get your bottom, I’m sure you’ve probably been there. Obviously, your dad has and I want to hear about that in a little minute. But it’s amazing how God can take the broken pieces of our lives and forgive me for the sounding cliché, but he can take the broken pieces and put them back together in a more beautiful display than they ever were before you were broken. Am I wrong? It’s amazing, right?
Pastor Sean 6:54
So at any rate, I can just hit here, I’m so absolutely blessed to be here and so thankful to be here. I thought I’d share a little joke with everybody and I’m terrible at telling jokes. But when I was in recovery, you guys know when people in recovery, it’s a downer. I mean, nobody’s happy; you don’t want to be there, you’re sick, you’re feeling terrible. And I met this guy, I swear he was a salty, old sailor guy; he was like Popeye, think of Popeye. And so this guy was kind of guy that one minute would put his hand in your back and smile in your face; and the other minute he looked at you, and you would think, if he had a knife, he’d plug it right into my back. He was one of those guys. So, anyway, he says, I got to tell you a joke. And I may blow this job because I’m terrible at telling jokes but this joke; I made him tell me this joke probably 30 times while I was in recovery because it just was hilarious.
So it’s a story about little Johnny. Little Johnny goes to kindergarten, his first day in kindergarten. And he’s all excited, he’s there with his friends and you know, girls and boys there and the teacher goes, “well I’m going to play the little icebreaker game with you kids, Okay”? And so she says, “I want you to raise your hands because I’m going to describe say a fruit. And I’m going to describe it and I want you to guess what kind of fruit it is”. So she says, “I have in my hand a fruit and it is rather orange and it’s kind of round but it’s got a fuzzy skin on the outside of it and if you open it up, it’s got a big seed, but the meat is sweet”? And Susie, raises your hand Oh, oh, oh and she says, “yes, Susie”. Susie says, “I think it’s an apricot”. “No Susie, it’s a peach, but I liked the way you think”. So she says, “alright, I’ve got another one: It’s another fruit and this one is round also, it’s got a furry kind of skin to it and it’s kind of a greenish-grey color. And when you open it up, it’s got a bright green pulp in it and lots of little black seats”? And so Stephen goes oh, teacher, teacher, teacher. So the teacher was, “Oh, Stephen”. Stephen goes, “Plums”? “No, it’s a kiwi, but I like the way you think”. So all of a sudden little Johnny goes, “ah, ah, me, me, me, me, me”? And she goes okay little Johnny, “teacher I’ve got my hand in my pocket. I’m holding something round and hard and it’s got a head on it”. Oh, the teacher goes, “do Johnny you take your hands off your penis right now”! “No, it’s a nickel, but I like the way you think” [Laughing]. I’m such a child, I’m sorry but that’s funny.
But anyway, with that total embarrassment of myself, I would like to introduce our awesome guests, Ed Volk, head therapist over covenant hills Recovery Center; which Last week I talked to Dustin Fray; he was a vice president over there. What a neat guy, what a great testimony and what a love bond I have. But when I was talking to Ed a little earlier, I was blown away and I’m saying, Please share this stuff you’re going to share because you’re brilliant, you’re fascinating, you’ve been in the trenches. Ed, could you just please start off and tell us what you’re doing with covenant hills and maybe how you got there and a little bit about your background?
Okay first, I liked your introduction I’ve never been told those nice things before. It’s hilarious and exciting; I don’t know if those things go with me but ask some of my clients. I was sharing a little bit about my story and being a Christian. God takes those messes and makes them into a message, that’s my mother; she’s always telling me that.
I love that!
Yeah, so born of three kids to Ed and Judy, in Akron, Ohio; and that’s the home of A.A, go figure.
It’s kind of a little bit of my story. So growing up, my dad was a physician. He was all-everything, I had a poster on my wall from when he was a kid in high school playing. In the Akron Beacon Journal, he made the paper in the sports page.
And he went on and he’s a really good athlete, and went on to medical school, and did quite well there and was going to come back to Akron, Ohio, and practice. It’s kind of like a little doctor with a black bay would go in and do house calls.
That’s very cool.
As a little kid, he would take me doing house calls.
Yeah, so he’s a man with a big heart. I mean, talk about bedside manner. So I learned good things about him, but there was a little bit of secret in our household. Looking back he couldn’t handle the stress and anxiety and turned to alcohol. And then when he was in that kind of state, he wasn’t a very nice guy and the police would come to our house and there were stuff kids shouldn’t see. And all I knew as a kid was my dad’s drinking a lot of this really bad beer, rolling rock.
Rolling rock, rolling rock.
Right, rolling rock and I was really ashamed and you didn’t have anybody to talk to, so when I work at covenant hills with the families, I really enjoyed that part of the job because it’s a family disease.
So my brother and I and my mom, we all just kind of survived as my dad went through his disease and then about when I was 18, the front page of the Sunday paper talked about, ‘prominent Akron physician losing his license’.
Oh my goodness!
So I remember going to church that Sunday and people were like I had leprosy. They didn’t talk to me, or be around me.
I think they were it feeling for me; one of the pastors asked me, how am I doing?
So the Judge said, Dr. Volk, you’ve got two choices: jail or treatment. And he chose treatment very wisely and a low bottom program, much lower than what we’re doing over at Covenant hills. And yeah, and guess what? He got sober, and he got sponsored, and he went to meetings; and then he went to sober living. He was a prominent physician using his son’s car.
So he really hit bottom?
He hit a bottom.
He is borrowing on your car.
Borrowing my car, like living in a sober living with guys and cleaning up construction site.
Yeah, he’s a doctor doing that.
But I think he was desperate, as they say in the program, the gift of desperation. And if you have that I tell my clients, everything’s easy.
Because you are willing to do what it takes.
You know what, that’s powerful because the Bible talks about broken and contrite hearts.
Yes it does.
And me especially as a man, I mean I was a pretty proud guy didn’t even know it. You put me to task and I became a LA County Sheriff, you put me to task I came in I became an actor, you put me a task and I became a household name in the gladiators, so I thought. The reality was, it was all God because every breath I take belongs to him. But so easy for us to get caught up in that ego, self-centeredness and think oh, that’s me doing that; no way man, it was all the Lord.
Yeah, so he got sober and God restored him completely better than he was like Terminator two, do you know what I mean? It was better a version of the doctor, a better version of a dad
And then he went on to help other physician, so he got his license back, God restored him. so it’s easy for me to stand up and talk about my family situation because, it comes from my personal story.
So you know, he had one of those sayings you know, but for the grace of God there go I.
Right! And isn’t that the humility that it takes to really get well?
That’s so true, that’s so true. Say that one more time man that is so cool.
It came from the 12 step program, but for the grace of God there go I.
Yeah, but that story, Deron I just shared with you, I never would have shared that to anybody. That story was my dad’s and I wasn’t going to tell it until I ended up getting sober and my brother was sober, so we got three guys in the family. I was late to the party though, my brother’s got like 31 years and yeah, I was late to the party. So I didn’t drink or do anything until my 20s, because I hated alcohol and drugs, but then that first time like they talked about, there is like, wow!
I understand what my dad and brother see in this.
I went to a Christian school, I went to Wheaton College, you know, we’re Billy Graham went.
Yeah, great school
Yeah, but the alcohol and then some other substance with the injury popped in there. And so by the time I hit my 40s, I’ve got nice jobs all the way through working with people but the addiction snuck up on me, and then it really took over; and then, like all of us, it leads us to those places, those bottoms that we’re not very proud of.
It gives me the opportunity to relate to all my clients.
You see that’s on a real gut level, bone to bone kind of level.
Because, you know, you’ve been around therapists that say, Oh, yeah, I get it and they’re freaking clueless. Do you know what I mean? They don’t have an inkling of an idea.
But you’re right there in the trenches with these people.
Yeah, yeah; so, I mean, you were fascinated by so my job.
So yes, please share, it’s amazing.
I’ve been lucky. So my brother got sober, I got sober later on down the road. And after you get back, you get dusted off and you get sober and you start looking at okay, what do I want to do now with my life? So I was running programs on the administrative sides – executive stuff. So I said, you I think I want to go back and work with people, a little bit more on the clinical side. So my first job out of the AD after I got laid off, I was actually working at Chino prison, right, right down the road.
God had set me on the side lines for a little while so I could really build a good foundation. And yeah, I was working with the ladies primarily over at chinos Institute for women.
Wow. I mean, these are some tough gals, right, some of them.
Yeah. There are some very famous people that are housed there.
And so I worked with the trauma and the substance abuse side of it. I was lucky I had like 13 interns that I would sign off their hours, and I think eight of them had taken someone’s life along the way.
And I was telling you, I had witches, I had Jewish gal, I had a Mormon gal, a couple Christians and some atheists. I had a whole wide variety of team there, yeah.
And I got to be kind of an undercover Christian.
Which was nice, because the company I was working for, they’re really more on the New Age type of side?
But once you start talking about a higher power, well, right then you’re in with Christ, right?
Right, exactly, exactly.
I had a Bible in my office and I was lucky I had my own office, so once the door closed; I got to interview thousands of inmates there.
So, it ran its course and I’ve really felt blessed, it’s a great ministry in there; people do recover inside, some get worse, many get worse.
So when you say that you mean in a sense, like, give me an example; can you think of one that you can give me an example on?
I mean, I’m sure there are plenty.
I can. I share this at family group, but if consequences work for us, if you’re really a truly an addict, prison would be empty; right?
That’s exactly right.
I mean, but it doesn’t work that way, there really has to be an internal change, I believe and that’s why I’m so great where I get to work.
We had one gal, I remember working with her and she was from Orange County, when I was six years ended up with 13 years. When she left, when I left [cross talking]. So how do you pick up timing inside?
Well, you got a lot of drug cases, and a lot of positive tests, and a lot of contraband and when you’re stuck in your addiction, like they say you can get everything it’s just cost more.
Yeah it’s horrible, but I did see many get well. I was involved letter writing for many that were found my lifers and long-termers is that were found suitable and they’re doing well in the community.
So there is change, there is recovery but it’s an internal job.
You know, and I believe it’s a higher power, Christ in your life.
So what happened was how I came to covenant hills? Last week, Dustin mentioned this guy Kirby, and he’s a legend, he is an awesome guy.
And he’s retired since retired. And a guy had graduated from covenant hills and asked me, could I sponsor him and I was like, I don’t really want to sponsor someone right now. I don’t really have a lot of time. I don’t think I could give them what they need.
And but you know, sort of as the 12 step, say when somebody calls, you should really respond. And so I said, yes and lo and behold, he says, I think they have an opening over at covenant hills, then I am like, wow, close to my home and Laguna and Christian based.
I could pray with my client.
We have like four pastors on staff.
Most of our staff has gone through their own program of recovery, so yeah, let me go. And I met the director there and she said, you’re hired, you’re the guy.
And yeah, I’ve been there three and a half years, it’s great, it’s a blessing
And now you work with mostly the men now?
Mostly the men, I like working with the ladies, it doesn’t take much to get them to get into that emotional side.
That’s exactly right home.
You know, as men, you got to throw a depth charge down and blow us up before we start getting honest. It’s got to be safe, nobody’s going to talk, and what do I look like; but you see in treatment the guys they’ll just get overwhelmed with feelings. My family group and somebody say, you know, I usually watch that show, this is us every week to cry. I just know I have to come to family group.
So, yeah, so we’re at Covenant Hills. We work with guys 18 to 60 something, all kinds from, executives to kids, young kids that may not have even worked, never held jobs.
Right, right, Right.
You know, and it’s pretty exciting because we get to share the Lord with them.
We get to share sobriety with them, we get to bring their families in and heal and so it’s a blessing.
Well, you said something earlier that I wanted you to touch on and you said how, it’s like a family disease. In other words, my mom was an alcoholic, okay and I swore up and down I will never do that because I saw how it devastated her life. She was an hairstylist for the movies, and I would get calls from people that loved her dearly that work with her and said, hey, Deron, you need to come get your mom because we’re afraid to let her drive home. And she would sneak vodka bottles in with her hair supplies, so what you think what was hairspray was just vodka.
She just was devastated over what my dad did when he left her, and she just didn’t really recover and she met somebody who introduced her to wine. And it’s like you said, it was like, boy off and running as soon as you drink that wine. You’re like Oh my goodness, this is the answer to all my ales and I don’t have to suffer and cry and be miserable, so she really started drinking; and it led to my sister to become an alcoholic.
And my sister actually passed away at 42 years old, from drinking herself to death. I got a call from her boyfriend at the time; and this is how naive I was, okay. I was in my addiction with my painkillers but I used to talk to my sister all the time. She lived in San Francisco, and she would say, oh, I had a seizure and I ended up in the hospital and they told me my potassium was off. I go, that make sense, and we’ll get some potassium supplements, right? And then she had another seizure and I’m like, well, this just doesn’t make sense, and she was like, I just was at my levels. How was I supposed to know she was having seizures from alcohol poisoning? Do you know what I mean? Like not drinking enough or drinking too much?
So the last time she had a seizure, she was going into the hospital; she looked at her boyfriend and said, I’m not going to come home this time. And he’s telling me this, right? So she was taken to the hospital and she gets there and sure enough, she was so sick that she died in the hospital. And not to be gross, but it’s such a horrible disease that he said, when she passed away her eyes were green, and things were oozing out of her nose and her eyes. And I’m saying this because I want people to know how horrible it is and this is my adorable Barbie looking sister. I mean, she truly looked like Malibu Barbie, she’s adorable.
But you’re saying it is a family disease and it is; it’s like it just goes out like octopus tentacles and just touches people. Say they’re not addicted but it touches people even that aren’t in their addiction. And so what have you seen? What happens to the People, like how do they suffer? And you hear the word co-dependent thrown around? Can you kind of help me understand a little bit about the family dynamic with people that aren’t doing the drugs or what you’ve seen?
Because that was our story. Nobody swept in and said, okay, Eddie, Mark and Kim and Judy, my mom, your dad’s going to get well, but what about you guys?
So dad goes off and gets well, but we’re stuck in the fact of its kind of kooky but, I am still a little bit mad at him when he got sober. It wasn’t like, wow, let’s throw a party; it was really like, Okay, you’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do here.
But what happens with the family is this bad word called shame. In my office, I have a little Gremlin and I got this from a speaker, Renee Brown.
And this little stuff Gremlin, and that Gremlin gets on your shoulder and tells you you’re not good enough. And if people really knew what was going on your family, then they wouldn’t love you and they would talk about you. So shame is about judgment, silence, and secrets and that was our family.
Wow, powerful, powerful.
So when these families come into family group, they don’t want to be there, they’re ashamed. Then what happens is, family members start to regulate the addict or alcoholic. They’re like, Okay, I’ve got all of this anxiety in the pit of my stomach, I need to do something. I’m just going to burst.
So they go into control, or they go into shaming, or they go into nagging, or they go into punishment and without the right tools, they become sick.
Their life depends on, hey did little Edie drink today? Or is he sober today? The phone rings, is it him? Is he okay? That ambulance noise, is that someone coming for my son? I can’t tell anybody because the family members, maybe the family or the neighbourhood will talk about me. Back in the day if you were an alcoholic, you can get a job.
That’s right, yeah.
You know, what I mean? You were just seen as unfit and unreliable and so it was society said, you’ve got to keep that quiet.
You’ve got to keep that quiet and so, family members come in and there’s a lot of shame. It’s sad, Deron, sometimes family would say, It’s my fault.
Yeah, it’s my fault. One of the exercises I do with them is called an impact letter, and I actually got this from the prison, because we used to have these inmates. It really is to retrace their life and say, how did I impact society from the ambulance driver, to the police officer, to the family of the victim, to the children of the victim?
And yeah, it was a really hard exercise. So I asked the family members, tell us how the addiction has impacted you? Because rarely do they have a voice where they can put down on paper: how is this affecting me? What is this crazy been like for me? And many family members will say, that was so hard to do.
Oh, Imagine, I can imagine, yeah.
But there is hope for family members; in my private practice and in the treatment center, I see when family members are healthy, the loved one gets healthier, quicker.
Because enabling, what do they do? You enable me to continue.
And sometimes it’s easier for me to enable you than to really set a boundary.
Gosh! How sad, but I see it all the time, you know you’re right and a lot of times they don’t know what to do, right?
Yeah, I mean, what am I going to do? But I can do this? And I if I don’t do this, maybe that worse will happen. If I don’t give them their medication or their heroin, they may have to go out in the streets and do it. Do you know what I mean?
And I’ve heard that before.
So I have families come in. On the weekend, we have a family education program, and we bring in speakers. There’s a sister program too AA call, Ellen on.
And you can get a sponsor there and that is an awesome program. There’s also co-dependency anonymous or Nora none. There’s Ella teen and Celebrate Recovery.
Which is a Christian based,
They have a program for kids and for loved ones. Deron, in this day and age, these little smartphones I tell family members, all right, if you’re so busy or you’re afraid to go to a group, get online and you can listen to meetings: AA speaker meetings, or Alan on speaker meetings, or meetings over the phone, knowledge is key for the family.
Oh, absolutely. Its power isn’t it, it’s real power.
There is a chapter, the big book talks about we do recover, there’s a recovery here. I believe in Corinthians, Paul said, “therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”.
So it’s easy to sell what you believe, it’s really easy to sell what you see.
I counsel loved ones where they’ve been married 40 years and they’ll say this is the best year we’ve ever had.
Yeah, I am being really honest on that.
I know, I mean 40 years, and their eyes are open, they’re really feeling a different kind of love than you’ve ever felt of understanding, right? I mean wow!
You go from intense pain; The family members when they come in, the guys too, they just want hope.
Even though they’re so broken and they’re like will this really work for me? Please tell me that there’s a solution because we’ve tried everything.
And it’s way above everybody’s pay grade.
[Laughing] That’s for sure.
And so our family group is very solid. I brought the family members a lot of time the guys really feel like well, what are you doing that for Mr Ed? They used to call me that in prison, so I kind of took that name. I’m going to beat you to the punch, so you can call me Mr Ed.
Most people don’t even understand the joke, it was just dating us.
So there’s hope for the family, there’s healing. In recovery, though there’s that word that R-word that scares people, that word relapse.
Yes. Oh yes.
And we really have we have a great program for pulling them right back in if they need help. If your loved one does get to a place where they can’t stabilize, they can come back for a free week just to [cross talking]
Yeah, just to stabilize amount. Sometimes you need to come back and really repeat the program, find out what was missing.
We believe that success leaves a clue.
You don’t have to fall all the way down the stairs; you were just really kind of tune-up what needs help.
And oftentimes the guys loved ones are really open to that.
And it’s not seen as a pass or fails type of deal. Sobriety is not an event, it’s a process.
It’s a process.
So let me ask you a question; It’s something that I am personally curious about: like an AA, someone raised their hand to answer a question and say, Hi, I’m Deron and I’m an alcoholic, or I’m John, I’m an addict, whatever, do you guys believe in saying that, in other words, it to identify yourself as an addict? To me as a Christian, I feel like you said, I’m a new child in Christ. Of course, I’m recovering. And it’s a process like you said, but do you think that’s efficacious to be able to say, hey, I’m Deron, I’m an addict? Do you think that’s is a good thing? It seems to me like you’re vexing yourself when you say that, do you understand what I mean?
Yeah. I love the Celebrate Recovery Program, and I love the traditional 12 step programs, and the AA and NA. And I know in Celebrate Recovery they mentioned, I’m someone who struggles with, and then in the more 12 steps you are asked to identify as an alcoholic or an addict.
Depending on what 12 step program you’re in.
Personally, whatever works for you, I believe you’re a new creature, I believe we’ve recovered. I think in the big book, it does talk about we’ve recovered.
There’s some wisdom in saying, like, for me, I’m allergic to penicillin.
If I go back and take penicillin, I will go into shock.
Even though it’s so far away, it’s not a good thing for me to do. I can say, I’m allergic to penicillin on all those medical release forms. And I have no troubles that because it reminds me that I’m allergic to that.
Maybe if God removes that allergy from me, then it might be a little bit different.
Right, right, right.
So I don’t really get too caught up in that, I believe God restores us.
Right on, Amen. So I guess, my experience with a lot of AA, It’s not like I have a lot of them, but I know the program works; because I’ve read through this book called serenity a couple of times, and it’s got the Bible attached to it. And to me, like every one of those steps, are leading you on a path to the Lord, every one of them is spiritually based. You know what I mean? I mean, and I’m sitting there, this is God, filling that void that God-shaped void that drug will never fill, prostitution, money, nothing will ever fill that God-shaped void, right?
So when I get to these AA meetings, I see so many people volunteering and they’re prune faced and they’re miserable. They’ll regurgitate these horrible stories, and how miserable they are, and F-bombs are flying right and left and I’m thinking, why didn’t you just stay drugged? Where’s the redemption? And where’s the joy? Do you know what I’m saying? And I feel and you know better than I do, but I feel like it’s because so much of the spiritual aspect of the program has been just Pooh poohed and pushed aside. And that word higher power slides in there, and my higher power can be my glass of iced tea if I wanted to be, and so where’s the power in that?
Dustin mentioned last week growing up in Akron, Dr. Bob’s house is right there, it’s close to my brother’s house actually so that’s kind of like one of the meccas of A; you go back to Dr. Bob house.
It’s just a tiny house; oh gosh I forget the area exactly what it’s called but anyways is in downtown Akron basically. So what I am read about him he was a strong Christian. He didn’t mind praying with guys and I think, Bill Wilson’s experience with God was different. Sometimes he was on fire and trident and sometimes not much, he didn’t care for that. There were people in the fellowship that said, let’s a wide swath because it was going to be called the St. James club at one point.
That’s what I heard and that’s because they got a lot of stuff from the book of James.
Yeah, and the Oxford Group. So there was a strong faith component and you’re right, that’s kind of missing.
They really thought it was a spiritual solution to the malady of addiction and alcoholism.
That sometimes gets lost.
I like to read a lot about recovery and just as you would think there are some people that think that 12 step program is a bunch of hooey.
And they’re praying to somebody that doesn’t exist, and we need a little bit more evidence-based materials, and we don’t need any kind of a spiritual solution.
And there’s really room for evidence-based materials in recovery, treatment. But at Covenant Hills, we really try to expose the guys to a spiritual dynamic.
I know and that’s what I absolutely love about Covenant Hills and the people there. I mean, you can feel the atmosphere of love there, and acceptance, and non judgementalism that just permeates the whole place, I felt it right away. Do you know what I mean? With Benji Of course I mean, you see the light that pops all over him all the time and Dustin and it’s just it’s beautiful you know and I look at that and I go Okay, that’s what recovery should look like. Okay? I mean it should be where a place where it not only you transformed where you’re not drinking any more or doing drugs anymore, but there’s a joy and a purpose and living for a reason beyond the end of your nose. So that’s the only issue I have with that situation.
And I want I wanted to switch gears and ask you a question personally because I do a lot of counselling myself. I have a hard time separating Deron from the counsellor part of me; for instance, I was counselling this guy, Mike, and Mike was a meth addict. He had a beautiful wife, two beautiful daughters, and he was choosing to do meth and living in the river basin out here in Riverside.
Anyways, actually you met him at the night that you and I were in Riverside hospital. Okay, so at that point, Mike was just a hard charger. I’m getting right with God again, I’m feeling good, I’m not using meth, I’m reuniting with my family. And I’m going right on man because I’ve been working with this guy for six months, right? And he relapse, relapse, he came back and he’s got it, he’s go. So at any rate, so I’m getting excited and I go to an AA meeting at the place where I was in recovery, a place called Pacific Grove. And he was kind of leading the meeting and then afterward, we went to a group meeting at Pacific Grove and just randomly the facilitators will put your analysis cup on your chair to check you out. And it’s whenever they feel like it, for a while there I was getting every week and I’m like, hey, what’s going on? I am just a little too happy, I guess. Listen, what’s exciting about my PP? And they actually pulled me aside and said, you know, you just sometimes seem too happy. And I said I’m just really thankful I’m not doing this anymore.
And so anyway, they put one on his chair, and he was gone. He just left, so you know, he was high and he was doing math, and he wiped out. And so my point was, it just opened my heart, you know because I’m thinking of his two daughters. I’ve got two teenage daughters and his wife, and I’m thinking you would throw that away. And so my question to you is, I mean, you’ve seen it on a level exponentially larger than I have. How do you deal with that when you see people you might care about and help and then they just wipe out? How do you not take that home with you?
Well, sometimes people have criticized me because I do take some stuff with me. And sometimes my sessions, I’m not going to tell my clients this, but sometimes they go a little longer than your 15 minutes and I’ll see you later, and everybody tends to get my cell phone number.
God bless you for that.
I have people that check in with me regularly. So like we talked about it and I do this with the guys too. It’s like you better have some kind of routine, some morning ritual where you’re getting fed in the morning. You guys got 30 days to really figure it out.
Then we do an exercise every morning at Covenant Hills, the three G’s: What’s good about today? What are you grateful for and a goal for the day?
I love that.
Yeah. And I have family members, husbands and wives that kind of carry that over.
I expect that they’re going to be fed because there’s always an outflow. In our field, there’s always an outflow and you want to make sure there’s a strong inflow. And what does that look like for you? Physically, I was on a spin bike yesterday and I was working out, emotionally I came, and spiritually, I read and I journal and did some things before we got here.
So that’s important, so you are still journaling and doing all that.
You’re working on taking care of yourself.
Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.
That’s so important.
Well, I don’t want to get up there and tell the guys do this and then I’m not doing it.
And when I started in sobriety, I really was that guy that went and I called my sponsor, really every day for three years except missed maybe like five times.
Once you kind of tell me what to do, I’ll do it. So right but that’s not for everybody. And then you need a connection.
Yes, so important, right?
[Cross talking] so important.
That is what happens with us, we connect to a substance, and that becomes our source of comfort, our source of relaxation.
Our source of checking out and not dealing with things, our self-medicating, right? And so we take that away from somebody; I liked your quote last week: There’s a void, and you’ve got to understand that.
I counselled a guy last night him and his wife. He was on fire when he left; his name was a laser beam because he was that on fire. Nine months later, I’m struggling with depression, I haven’t picked up a drink or a drug but I’m struggling with depression. I don’t have any joy, what’s wrong with me right now?
And then you drill down and you say, well, you’ve lost your accountability; you’ve lost your connection. Where are your friends? Where are your hobbies? You’re working a lot and trying to help out around the house? So really, it’s important that we have other people help us.
That is far as speaking into our live.
We’ve got to have that, then we’re running our own ship. So I try to have all of those things because I realize I love what I do, but it’s draining and if I don’t do this, I’m not going to like my clients. Pretty soon, I’m going to start saying, you think you got problems? I got way more problems.
Shut up, and listen to what I have to tell you!
Right, because I’m not taking care of myself. I see a therapist, every now and then just to check in; so all this stuff that we try to teach them and then the final thing is I’m not responsible for the outcome.
That’s so powerful.
Yeah, all God asked me; I’ll just do the best I can and what that looks like…
But the outcome is in his hand.
Yeah, right, right and see that I think that’s where I kind of have to still grow and realize that it’s about God and what he’s going to do and it’s not on me.
I just put it out there, put the seed, plant the seed, and then let God go from there.
I was just thinking, I mean because of all the people you have to work with. And then the next question, I was saying that, I read somewhere a couple of years ago that burn out with pastors is huge, like, 1500 pastors a month, are quitting walking away from the ministry.
Wow! I didn’t know that.
Yes, 1500 and that’s a lot of people’s lives. Along those lines, I’m thinking, have you ever felt like you hit a wall and said, man, I got to take a break?
I did when I was running a children’s program.
I was running the children’s program and I was the top of the food chain. We had a 40-bed facility, eight group homes two non-public schools, and our staff turnover was a little bit higher. So you really had to pour into the staff, and the kids were some of the harder kids in Orange County and I just got to a point; I was stepping on the gas and the car wasn’t moving.
And I thought, maybe I need to take a break. I love the population but at this point, I’m not being very effective, and so I yeah, I stepped away from a job I had for five years, loved it. I went to work with a different agency, a little bit more relaxed, so I could kind of retool some of my enthusiasm.
Good, that it takes a lot of courage Ed. I mean, a lot of people are afraid to branch out and try something else because if I leave what if I don’t have something else?
The fact that you could do that and see that is huge and so many people need to take a break.
Right, well, you can’t drive a car down the road with no gas. It was clear as Mr Magoo could see that. Mr Magoo could see that the car is not running.
And you should see the car he drives now. What is that it’s like an Alfa Romeo or something or what it?
It’s a Maserati.
It’s a Maserati, it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous car. I am walking by and I didn’t know who he was. I’m going man, who is that superstar in that super cool car. I want to be him and I want to drive that car.
Yeah, that’s just the loner. You should see the bucket I used to drive, driving out to the prison. I really think it’s important, I like how Pastor Rick at the Saddleback. He pushes a lot of stuff down to people volunteering and getting everybody engaged in whatever spiritual gifts they have.
So you don’t find yourself, you’re the only one getting them sober.
Right, give them tools, because that’s what happens with a lot of the family members.
If I let go of this person, they’re going to die. If I don’t pay these bills, and I don’t take care of him, we’re going to be on the street. So you know, family members are faced with those same fears and same dilemmas. They’re going to burn out and they’re going to become angry, and they’re going to be stepping on the gas as far as being a wife, or a co-worker, or parent in there’s not going to be any gas. So it’s really an important that they take care of themselves, just like we asked the addicts, just like we asked the treaters, like the staff.
Right, right. Absolutely!
Because there’s a high burnout rate.
That’s what I was saying, there’s got to be.
Yeah, a high burnout rate and you can love it all you want but there’s a high relapse rate sometimes with people that work in the field
Is that right?
Yeah, Benji probably could attest to that.
You know everybody starts out on fire; they really want to share their strength, hope, and experience with another person; and just like a new Christian.
I just want to tell everybody about the Lord.
A new person sobriety, I just want to tell you about recovery. I’m feeling so good and then all of a sudden, they don’t really take it like, Well, I’m not really buying what you sell.
You know, maybe that works for you but not for me.
Or they really want it, then they go out and they relapse.
And it’s like, I thought they wanted it and then they went out and then they relapse.
And so you get discouraged.
Three of my guys, my colleagues died last year, just don’t know you, you just can’t tell.
In my field.
You wouldn’t even know.
You would never know. It’s like my friend Mike the same kind of thing I had no clue that he was high, even that night we were hanging out. He just seemed like he was together and he just wiped right on out, you know and it just so sad.
Yeah, and so it’s really important for workers in my field, we have supervision where we talked about our clients and the program. We have a treatment team, where we’re able to kind of discuss, approaches to each person’s case, treatment plans for them what’s the next step, how can they be better fortify because treatment goes by fast.
It really goes by fast and having a good transition plan to the community and also for the staff. It’s like what are you doing in order to stay well? And what are you doing in order not to get too overly involved? Where are your boundaries?
That’s exactly what I was getting at. You have got to have your own personal boundaries and know when and not play God, like I know I had a tendency to doing and let God be God. But then at the same time, you found people go like, Well wait, man, I shared God with them, God is powerful. How come God let that person down? You know what I mean? They start blaming God, you know what I mean? And it’s because we have our free will. We can choose and he’s gracious enough to let us choose what we want to do. But like you said, which is really important, is that people that are out there doing what you do, they need to take care of themselves as much if not more to protect their temple and their hearts; guard your heart,
And that’s where we work being a Christian; we have that power that we can tap into as a team. We have devotions before our treatment team, it’s one reason why I wanted so much to work there. So we’re able to tap into a power source that I think sometimes the world just, they just miss out on.
Totally! Yeah, because you know, what they’ll say? Oh, the Bible it’s antiquated and it was written hundreds of years after Jesus walked; and you know what, they don’t know what you’re talking about. I will challenge people over and over and over again because I’m kind of an unapologetic guy, which means that I don’t apologize for the gospel, I defend the Christian faith. So I’ll say you point out an error, you pointed out to me. And they’re like, where’d you hear that? It was written hundreds of years after that because that’s just not true. So it’s like, why don’t you look at that and read and take a look at it and see what it says and then come back to me. Let’s just leave the spirituality out of it for a minute, okay, the supernatural. If you just took the Bible face value as a Book of Wisdom, and an action plan and a life plan, it’s an amazing book, it’s amazing. Now I of course, believe in supernatural; I believe it’s touched, blessed by God. It’s God’s inerrant Word mean without error, without a doubt, it’s God and his love letter to all of us. At any rate, I always like to challenge people because like you were saying, they just think Spirituality as far as Christian spirituality is passé’.
It’s fun at work at covenant hills because some people don’t realize there’s a strong spiritual component there. They are like, what’s gone here? I didn’t sign up for this. Because there are two tracks, there are two tracks. There is a traditional track and a Christian track and you will see them slowly move towards the Christian track in a lot of cases. Being an addict and an alcoholic for so many people, the church hasn’t done a good job of really embracing the wounded PS.
That’s not Christ, that’s just no humans just saying, okay, you belong, you don’t; we’re really good at that.
Oh, you know what, okay, so I’m sorry for interrupting you run out of time. But you know what, what you said is so important because we can such judgmental hypocrites, and so afraid to spill our dirty laundry and yet, the Bible is replete with stories of broken people that have their dirty laundry out there and find healing because of it.
What Pastor Rick Warren did with the Celebrate Recovery and addressing; look, we have people that are broken. These are real-life issues that the high percentage of families has been affected by this.
We just can’t go and just have worship service and not address with really where people are at right and it takes the stigma out of it. And guys like Benji’s age, they get on Facebook and Instagram, and I have one guy I counsel, he’s 19 years old, and he posts how many days sober. So my generation wouldn’t talk about that, so we’re moving in a good direction.
No, yeah, and I’m sorry to cut you off, but we literally have 29 seconds.
Oh, so I thought we’re just going to keep rolling on
Man I could go on forever ever, ever ever because you are so awesome. I’m sorry for interrupting you would you please come back and do another show or 15 with me.
And Benji, I got to have you on too because you are just as cool this guy. This is Deron Michael McBee for the issues of life saying God bless you and we will see you soon,