Dec 21, 2021

Intro: Welcome to the Chronic Hope Institute podcast, the only podcast designed for the families of those who are struggling with addiction and codependency. If addiction has rocked your household, and you don't know where to turn to get support, then this podcast was built for you. Our host has written the book on how families can navigate the scary world of addiction. ‘Chronic Hope: Parenting The Addicted Child’, and ‘Chronic Hope: Families & Addiction’ can both be found on Amazon today. We invite you to connect with us on Facebook, as well as subscribing to the Chronic Hope Institute podcast on YouTube, Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Now, here's your host, author, therapist and CEO of the Chronic Hope Institute, Kevin Peterson.


Kevin: Hey, everybody. How are you doing today? It's Kevin Peterson, owner and founder of the Chronic Hope Institute. And here's the episode 22 of the Chronic Hope podcast. And we're going to talk about interventions with my good friend, Travis Whittaker. Travis, how are you doing today?


Travis: I'm doing great. Thanks, Kevin. How are you?


Kevin: Doing fantastic. We're having a little bit of a role reversal. You said earlier, you're in sunny Utah, and I'm in rainy, cloudy, awful, Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I can’t figure it out.


Travis: Oh, geez.


Kevin: I know, it's just terrible, isn't it? It's just awful. So, hey, gang. It's good to have everybody here on Monday, December 20th. Oh, my gosh, we're almost at the end of the year. Which, by the way, tends to be that kind of year when Travis and I start to get super-duper busy. So, I thought it'd be a good time to talk about interventions and what that looks like, and how and why. And before we get started, I was hoping, Travis, you could share a little bit with us of your own personal journey in recovery. And our podcast is designed to help the family members and the loved ones of addicts and alcoholics and people that are struggling. So, I think it's really important that they understand that people like you and I, we do this out of a sense of responsibility and duty, and out of a sense of our own personal journey. So, tell us about you a little bit.


Travis: Yeah. So, in April, I'm coming up on 13 years of sobriety, which is just an absolute blessing. And what I want to do is kind of continue to pay that forward. I suffered for almost 13 years from an opioid addiction. I hurt my back playing basketball and went to the doctor and started getting things prescribed to me. It was first Percocet and Lortab. And then in about 1995, ‘96, this drug came out that was for cancer patients that had this extended release. It was called Oxycontin, as all of us know. And that's what I ended up getting addicted to for many, many years.


My life became out of control. I get arrested for doctor shopping, overdosed multiple times, car wrecks, lying, stealing. And it really just hurt my family dynamics from what I was putting them through, putting the kids through. I was causing a lot of trauma for them. And then in April 19th of 2009, I had a car wreck. I had taken probably about... I had 2 prescriptions. The pharmacy messed up and gave me 240 Xanax. And I took all of them over 4-day period, and got behind the wheel of a car and rolled it. And Jaws of Life took me out.


And I had an out-of-body experience in the hospital where I was actually looking down at my body. And I get smacked in the back of the head, and it's my guardian angel, giving me 3 choices while they're getting ready to use the pumps to bring me back to life. And he says, “You got 3 choices. You can choose one. Death, because I'm exhausted from trying to keep you alive, 2, you're going to make horrible decisions, you're going to imprison, or I'm going to allow you to die right here.” And of course, I chose recovery. And that's the only thing I remember about that whole incident, and I've been sober since.


Kevin: Wow, that's a miracle. That's absolutely amazing. And thank you for sharing that. And I look back on my own journey of recovery, and I love the term that you used, the guardian angels. Because I've had a series of guardian angels in my life as well, spiritual and physical, that people that have shown up and said, “Here's the deal, I'm going to help you, but you got to step up.”


Travis: Yeah, yeah.


Kevin: And it's absolutely... I mean, when was my father who passed away this last July, but in August of 1990, he was like, “You're my only son, and I love you, but this is over. We're done.”


Travis: Right. Yeah.


Kevin: “We can't participate like this anymore.” And the irony is, at the same time, because like our podcast is really about the family engagement, is that my mom was a prescription drug addict as well. And so, we had that centerpiece to our family. So, when you were talking about the painkillers and the oxys and the opiates, that's something that my mom struggled with as well.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: So, I’m very grateful that you said that.


Travis: And my dad. Yeah, my dad died of a drug overdose and alcoholism. My uncle died of alcoholism. And then we get into the death by suicide, several family members dead by suicide. So, this is real. And we get to provide hope and help. And that's truly why believe I've been allowed to continue, that and also to be the dad I didn't have.


Kevin: And that's a powerful motivator right there.


Travis: Yeah, absolutely.


Kevin: So, how did this journey, Travis, lead you into the jobs that you have now? I mean, tell us about the jobs that you have. And then but also tell us how your recovery journey led you into the jobs that you have today?


Travis: Yeah. So, for years, I ran call centers until my addiction kind of took over. And it didn't... I continued to call in sick because I was going through withdrawals and losing jobs, kind of like what happens during our addiction. We're not able to keep time well, I should say.


So, then when I got sober on ‘09, I had applied for like 22 jobs, and I was turned down for every one of them. My resume looked good, interviewing skills were great. But as soon as they did a background check, they saw my drug charges from the doctor shopping. And I'd get that letter in the mail that said, “Thank you, we're going to go with another qualified candidate.” And I knew exactly what it was. And so, my first year of sobriety was extremely tough. Because here I am, I'm sober, I'm wanting to do good, I want to help take care of my family financially, and nobody will hire me. It was like I'm not... and I wasn't a convicted felon. I had a drug charge of doctor shopping.


And then I got a job at an airline. That gave me a chance. And then I had a friend that I went through treatment with. And for 5 years into my recovery, while I had some odd-end jobs, I kept bugging him, “I want to get in. How do I do it? How do I do it?” because I felt this bigger power that I needed to share my journey and help people. And I got a job as a supervisor tech, and I said... I remember saying, “I've got the record,” and he's like, “Well, that's your education for this. Like, we welcome the record, because this is the people you're going to deal with. And so, you just have...” and I was like, “Oh, wow.” I found my family and my calling. And that started in 2014.


And went through a few different places. Started out as a tech, and then admissions and marketing and just kind of moved my way up. And along those times, doing interventions. And now, I'm the president and partner of business development at Akasha Recovery. And we're just outside of San Diego, California. And also, the Living Recovery Interventions, my own personal intervention company.


Kevin: Well, that's quite the full circle.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: That's pretty awesome. I guess the 180 may be more appropriate.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: Yeah. That's fantastic. Congratulations.


Travis: Thank you. Thank you. And I just want to remind anyone that's watching or listening, you are welcome to send us, if you're on Facebook Live, we would love it if you would send us some questions or comments or tell us what's going on, what you’re thinking. And we have a bunch of questions that we're going to ask Travis today. And then we're going to talk about that intervention concept and how that works. But if you have questions, we are here to help you as well. That's our whole goal is to help the families that are struggling with the loved ones who are struggling with addiction.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: So, okay, so that’s what you do for a living, and that's how you got into what you do. And what let's start with, I think like the first question that kind of comes to my mind is very much along the lines of, when I work with families, initially, what we talk about is I teach them how to set some boundaries and say, “We're going to try what I call Plan A for 30 days.”


Travis: Right.


Kevin: And we're going to hold boundaries and drugs and alcohol, work and school, and behavior at home. And so, let's just assume that those didn't go well, or the person is like, in your case, using opiates or hard drugs, and 30 days could kill them.


Travis: Right.


Kevin: Okay. So, then it becomes time to pick interventionists. So, what are the qualities they should look for? And what is an intervention?


Travis: Right. Well, I just want to touch back on I love how you do that family dynamics. Because I've been married 27 years to my beautiful, amazing wife. And during my addiction, the first 12 or 13 years, she didn't know who to reach out to. She didn't know what to do. And she just saw her husband kind of just imploding, and the family dynamics kind of imploding. And it was all because of me. So, it's great to have that support to get the guidance, because she's just like, “How can you be addicted to pills if your doctor is prescribing them? Like, I don't understand that.” So, the education part is huge. So, I just want to touch on that. So, thank you, for all you do on that front end. I really appreciate that.


Kevin: Thank you. Thank you.


Travis: Family is a big deal. Now, to answer your question, interventions when you get to the place that your loved one is just out of control, we talked about the boundaries and setting the boundaries, but when I was in my addiction, I was a boundary tester. You know what I mean? I constantly was pushing that envelope. Because I was also a master manipulator. I was all about getting what I needed to get to stay from getting dope sick. And if you've never gone through that, it's hard to understand. You really feel like you're going to die. And so, that consumes your brain is, “I need this,” and everybody becomes a resource, right?


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: Now, when you're reaching out to find an interventionist, I truly believe, and this is just me, because I've been through it and I understand the whole family dynamics, I think that's a key. And when I have a family call me, I want to know the history of the family. I want to know who that individual is closest to. I want to know, are mom and dad enabling? Who's the one enabling? Because it's always one of them that’s either sneaking the money and thinking they're doing the right thing, or allowing them to live in the basement and do what they want, no consequences, paying their cell phone, paying their car payments.


So, I wanted first of all to see if I connect with the family. Give them my website,, they can read a little bit about me. And then it's kind of just an interview process, “Here's what I do.” Also, what's the age of the person that you want to do an intervention on? I do a better job of, I'll be honest, 25 and up.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: That's a key demographics. 18 to 24, probably, maybe somebody that could be a little younger or older that could come in and do that. And then also, are they a professional. Because if they’re a professional, do we want to do an invitational intervention where we invite them to sit down and have a family discussion because the family's concerned? Or do we do a surprise intervention? So, there's all these key factors, we have to play into that.


Kevin: So, the family calls you, and so it sounds like you have like an interview process that you start with the information gathering, data gathering. Because a lot of the families I work with, what they want to know is, “Well, what does he do? What does an interventionist do?” So, so walk us through each step.


Travis: So, the phone call, we go over what the situation is, what that looks like. And as you know, when the families are calling me, we're at a place that we've got to get something set up pretty quick if I'm the right fit for that family. Because, as you said, every day is just kind of a ticking time bomb. And so, we want to intervene as soon as possible. So, family history, work history. I find out there's legal history. Do they have guns in the house? There's all these kinds of things that we have to make sure that it's safe for everybody and to set that intervention up.


Kevin: So, okay, so you've gathered the data, then what happens?


Travis: So, gather the data, and then we talked about I send them out my contract, and then we set, “Where's the place we're going to do the intervention? Where does the family feel safe?” I have a different map. I like to keep it at 5 or less in an intervention.


Kevin: Okay.


Travis: Because I don't want that person to feel too overwhelmed, right? And it's always the key people. Who does that person connect to the most? I have them like fly in, sit with the family for a few days, we go over and I have them write letters. And I always like to do an intervention from a place of love. That’s just how I feel. When we're stuck in addiction, we're already beat down. We already feel horrible about ourselves. We don't need to pile on top of that. So, we go through the letters, and I'll have like brother, sister read their letter first. I save who they're connected to at the very end. They're the ones that are going to ask them if they'll accept to help.


So, we go through the letters. And the way I have the letters, I want them to bring up some of the history, some of the fun events that they've had with their loved one, what they miss about them. And of course, it's an emotional experience. And what I love about the letters is there's no interruptions, because there's no eye contact, right? So, that individual sits there and listens to each person go through the letters, talking about what they miss, what they love, talk about at the end, the boundaries, they're going to set, which is the hardest part, but they have to be on board boundaries with me. Because if not, we're going to continue to aid in helping them die.


Then the last person, so if it's mom that that individual is connected to or the wife emotionally, I'll have them go through the letter. And at the very end, they'll ask them if they will accept this help. Now, we obviously want them to say yes. And I've got the treatment centers set up. We've got transportation set up. We've got all of that already done, whether they're doing insurance-driven or cash pay. And then also, depending on what that person's needs are, I give them 3 of the best treatment centers, get them in contact with them. And then I have the family help choose what's best for their loved one, whether it's mental health focused, trauma focused, if there's bipolar involved, or whatnot. And that's how you go through the process.


Kevin: Yeah. Got it. Got it. Got it. So, hey, one thing I realized is that we kind of skipped over a question that I had come up with earlier was (and I think this is really critical for the families that are watching this or listening to this), how do they know when it's time for an intervention? I mean, I hear this a lot, “Well, they're only going to get sober when they want to get sober.” And what is that? And I always hate that... ugh, that makes me so uncomfortable. It's like, “No, in this day and age with the kind of stuff we're dealing with, the fentanyl and the opiates...”


Travis: It’s scary.


Kevin: “... they'll die before that happens.” So, how does a family know when it's time to step in and call you?


Travis: Well, we always talk about everybody has to reach their bottom. And as the longer I've been doing this, I think our goal now is to raise the bottom, right?


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: So, continue to provide resources, help for the family, rather than just letting them dig deeper. So, when a family reaches out right there, I’m listening to their story, that's time for intervention. Like, you're reaching out to me. So, you're scared. There's issues going on that it’s out of control. They're not listening. And as we know, when families try to do this by themselves, all it is is arguing, arguing and manipulation, and, “I've got this,” and, “Don't worry about me,” and, “I'm okay,” right? So, that's just part of the process, the addict kind of the behavior.


So, I talked to the family and go, “I've been there. I get it. Okay? I understand. Right now, they're in a place where they don't know how to ask for help. They're kind of a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde,” is how I explained myself when I was in my addiction. There are 2 different people. You might see the one person one day and think, “Oh, I've got my son, my daughter, whoever back. They're doing great.” The next day, they're just verbally abusive. They're not doing well. They're laying in bed. They're sick. So, if you start losing jobs, money's disappearing, things are getting pawned, overdoses, things like that. interventions and needs to be involved immediately.


Kevin: Yeah. I always tell people I It's always fun, interesting when I work with the family, because the family, like you described, let's say there's 3 or 4 family members, and it's that classic story of 4 people see a car accident and they all have a different story.


Travis: Right.


Kevin: And everyone sees it differently. And generally, there's 1 person that's willing to say, “No, this isn't their first time. No, we've had this problem for the last 10 years.” I mean, there's always this belief system within the structure of the family where someone's going to pull back and be like, “Well, maybe it really isn't that bad.” And then there's always the other person that's like, “No, no, no, we need to do this yesterday.”


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: So, I always tell the families, “Look, it never hurts to call and talk to me, and it never hurts to call and talk to an interventionist. And just have that conversation and hear them out.” And we’ll tell you, “Hey, look, like here are the things we look for. Are they losing jobs? Is their money missing? Are they missing work? Are the kids being left at places?” There's a series and a history of issues.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: And that sort of thing. So, yeah, no, I get it.


Travis: And I feel like my job is to just be honest and real with these families. And sometimes, they're just like, “Well, I don't know, and this or that.” And I'll finally get to the point, and this might seem harsh, but this is a reality. Are you prepared to bury your loved one? I mean, because it's the truth. I mean, this disease of addiction is not a joke. And you see people now, they're putting fentanyl on marijuana. Kids at parties and colleges are taking these pills that have fentanyl in them. This isn't a joke.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: I mean, if you have a loved one that is not in the right place and is doing drugs, it's scary, and we need to get them help. Because it's not going to continue to get better. It doesn't go away by itself. I mean, it does come up with the 3 options, and that's recovery, prison from doing something horribly, or they're going to pass away. And funerals are 15 to 20 grand.


Then you got to look at the fact, this is what I always tell family, the intervention, the goal is obviously to get the loved one to accept help. But at the end of the day, we're setting the boundary. We're setting the boundary that if something does happen, you know as a loved one you've done everything you can to help them. And my goal, like you, is to also help that family. Once the loved one accepts the help, family has to be on board with getting therapy themselves. Because when that person comes home, that family dynamics is not healed and not progressing in the right way.


Kevin: Yeah. I always say that if the family doesn't take... when somebody comes to treatment, and after the intervention, if the family doesn't take that time to do their own sort of internal treatment program and change the family system, we're really... for the individual that's in treatment, it's really dangerous for them to come home to an unchanged family system.


Travis: Yeah, yeah. Because family a lot of times will just think, “Well, get them out of the picture, because they're the problem.” They don't understand. And I've dealt with this a lot, where you got a 22 or 23-year-old girl in the basement, and mom's going out and buying heroin, bringing it to her because she thinks she's keeping her safe, because she's not out on the streets buying the heroin.


Kevin: Right.


Travis: I mean, I run into that all the time.


Kevin: I do too. And I love what you said earlier. Because one of the things that I'm not shy about is, I always say, “Look, I want to be clear with you how this ends, okay? They're dead and you're at a funeral. This doesn't...” and that's where the name of the book came from, by the way, and the institute, the Chronic Hope Institute, is that what I found was these families have this chronic hope that, tomorrow, that person is going to wake up and be like, “Oh my god, what am I doing?”


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: “And I've got a quit doing drugs and I'm just going to straighten up and fly. And oh my gosh.” And the truth is that's never going to happen.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: And you have to be willing to say that to the family. Like, “Look, this is life and death. I want you to be clear. That's never going to happen, and they're going to die.” And then then what you just said, I love what people say that is like, “Well, if I kick them out of the house, Kevin, they're going to go out on the street and get under the bridge and shoot dope and die.” I'm like, “They're already doing that. You're just facilitating it.”


Travis: “You're giving them a landing, a place to land and be safe with food. And why do they want to change?”


Kevin: There's no motivation whatsoever. And that's really the big piece. So, absolutely. Hey, tell us a little bit about Akasha Recovery.


Travis: So, Akasha Recovery, again, so we're in Cardiff, California, just 20 minutes outside of San Diego. 6-bed, detox, full detox, residential, co-ed. We allow pets or dogs. And it's anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Insurance, out of network, or cash pay. And it's a holistic approach. It is we want to meet you where you're at. So, once you get detoxed and come in and start being able to think a little more clearly, what does the recovery journey look like for you? Whether it's your first time or your third time, my goal is I don't ever want to see you again unless it's an alumni event, right?


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: So, we’re going to do this right, and we're going to do it as long as it takes. And because it takes a long time for some people to open up. When I went to treatment, I spent 95 days. Because the first 30 days, it was all these other people that had been there a while doing their thing, and they're getting graduate. And I just had to start feeling like, “When do I open up?” And most of us have to do a lot of mirror work is what I call it, because I didn't love myself.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: And I didn't know who I was when I went to treatment. And so, everybody, I think, could take this opportunity to do a stint for themselves and figure out who they are. But you got to open up about your trauma, and you got to open up. Because, as we both know, substance abuse is just that Band-Aid of some underlying issues that have taken place. And you got to figure out, “Why do I continue to drink? Why do I continue to take pills? What is it about that that makes me feel better?”


And we want to do some mindfulness and do a little trauma work and figure out, what's going on? And how do we support you? Is it a 12-step base? Is it this? We want to get the family involved, because it's a big deal. We need to get everybody on this path of healing. For me, I had to get my wife. Once I took care of me, then I had to go through and do work with my wife and my kids, because I passed down some generational trauma through my addiction to them. I don't want them to pass that on to my grandkids.


Kevin: Right.


Travis: So, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help them. And that's how I go into it with everybody that gives me a call. I’m the one who answers all the phones for Akasha, gives you guidance, explains the process and what we're going to do. Ron is the Executive Director. He's there every day. He's been a therapist for 25 years, very hands on. And, again, 6 beds, so it's very intimate, and you get a lot of one-on-one time.


Kevin: I love it. That's fantastic. Now, do you guys also do like a family program?


Travis: We do. Yep.


Kevin: What’s that about?


Travis: Well, we do it more individually right now with a therapist over the computer instead of Zoom because of COVID changed things a little bit.


Kevin: Sure.


Travis: So, yeah. So, as things... because we always want to make sure the client comes first and the client’s safety. So, we don't want people in and out of facility just during this time. But we make sure that they're involved.


Kevin: That's fantastic. And I think one of the key points that I just heard you say that I'm going to repeat, and probably repeat over and over, people can bring their dog.


Travis: Yes.


Kevin: That is critical.


Travis: Absolutely.


Kevin: I get asked that question all the time.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: That's fantastic.


Travis: And we'll also do couples. So, I've started experiencing this. Now, when I mean couples, so we had one that they were married, they got addicted together, okay? They have kids together. So, they're going to be in each other's lives forever. So, we'll take that chance. No, they don't share the same room. They have different rooms.


Kevin: Okay.


Travis: People ask all the time. But we want to see if, okay, they're going to be together, let's see if we can heal this relationship because they have kids. Now, if it gets to where it's not healthy, we will refer one out, right?


Kevin: Sure.


Travis: And split them up. But if they're going to be together, let's try to make it work. And also, when I say couples, it's not that they met somebody in another rehab or things like that.


Kevin: No.


Travis: It's they’ve been together before, they're married, they have kids, they're invested in each other.


Kevin: Yeah, yeah.


Travis: So, I think that's a good thing too.


Kevin: Yeah, it's an established relationship.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: And addiction is a part of the family system, and it needs to be dealt with and handled.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: Absolutely.


Kevin: No, I get it. That's fantastic. I mean, I love it. It's wonderful. That's amazing.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: And because my belief system, I mean, like we talked about earlier is that if we're not treating the family system while we're treating the individual, we're really missing this huge, significant piece of the puzzle.


Travis: Right.


Kevin: And I think it's really funny. I was at May Tap a couple weeks ago, and I was talking to my friend, Dr. Michael Barnes from the foundry, who's one of the foremost family trauma addiction guys. And then he and I were agreeing on the concept that this methodology that we've come up with of taking the one person that struggles with substance abuse and removing them from the family system for 30, 60, 90 days, and then bringing them back and wondering why they relapse is insane. It doesn't make any sense at all.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: I mean, if anything, if we could go back and do treatment all over again, we would say, “Give us the whole family.”


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: Everybody's coming. And then as people...


Travis: “You're going on here. You're going on here.” Because, yeah, what happened is what happened to me, is that you come home, I've gone off and done a spiritual journey and done a lot of this different work, and then you come home, and nothing's changed for that individual.


Kevin: Right.


Travis: So, the past gets brought up and things get brought up, and you haven't worked through them. And then the person that's in early recovery, it's just a lot to deal with, because they think they're coming home to, “Okay, things are going to get better. Let's move forward.”


Kevin: Yep.


Travis: “I'm no longer that person. I'm a new and improved person.” But that family person is hurting. And I think that's why a lot of divorces, why there's just such a high relapse rate. We, my wife, and I want her to get on to start talking more too, because that doesn't happen a lot, the 2 staying together and working through it. And in trying our best to fix that family dynamics and that family system, which we've done. It's a process, and it's always going to be a work in process every day. But we're continuing to show up. And I know what I've done, and I know what I've caused, and I own that. And I think that's the first thing. Now, it's, “How did I hurt you? What do we need to work through?”


I remember doing work with my son. I think it was like, I think it was 4 years in recovery. And I remember sitting down, and the first thing he said is, “Do you love me?” and I was like, “What do you mean?” He thought that he was the reason why I was the way I was.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: And I want to make that clear to anybody watching or any kids watching that have adult parents that are addicts, it's not your fault. You're not the reason why we use. It is our issues and our underlying trauma, our underlying defects or however you want to put it. But it's not the kids' fault.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: And so, I had to make sure he understood that, that, “It had nothing to do with you.” But I didn't know that if we hadn't done the work.


Kevin: Makes perfect sense. And the only thing I would say, I think we're in agreement, but I actually am of the belief that people are addicts and alcoholics through their genetics. And I don't believe you can create someone into addiction and that. But that trauma and mental health issues certainly can expedite the process.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: Because I know plenty of people that have trauma and mental health issues that don't pick substance abuse. But for those of us that do pick substance abuse, or self-medication or whatever you want to call it, there's just a percentage of us that can't pull out once we start.


Travis: Yeah, absolutely. I agree with you.


Kevin: And that's addiction. I mean, that's just, I mean, for people in my industry, for the clinicians, we're always trying to piece the connections of the puzzles together or the equation of, “Well, what happened that made you start using that made you an addict?” And it's like, “No, no, no, no, no, no. I'm an addict. I was an addict when I was born.”


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: Now, did I have stuff that happened to me? Oh, yeah, absolutely. But what turns out as we start to better understand the knowledge and understanding of trauma and mental health relationships, turns out everybody has that. Everybody has stuff. But not everybody starts using, and not everybody can't stop using.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: So, that’s kind of what I’ve...


Travis: Yeah, my dad's side was opiate addicts, and my mom's side alcohol.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: And I didn't know my dad growing up. So, I made a very... I was very cautious about, “I'm going to stay away from alcohol.” But I didn't know that his whole side of the family were opioid addicts. And then why do I become? An opioid addict.


Kevin: Yeah, of course. Exactly. And thank God, you're clean and sober. And thank God that you're giving back and contributing. Well, I'm all out of questions. You've done a great job of answering all my questions. You've explained when a family should come in, call an interventionist, what they should expect from the interventionist, what the intervention will look like, and then what they need to do after the intervention. You've answered all my questions.


Travis: Nice.


Kevin: I couldn't be any happier.


Travis: Well, one thing I'd like to add in there as well that I kind of just put in with when I do the interventions is all let the family know, whatever program is set up by the clinician, I always say that, “Well, how long do we have to go?” And that's up to you and the clinician. You’ve got to figure that out. That's not my job. I don't know what you need to work on, because I'm not a clinician. But what I tell them is that, “You complete that program, then I will do 90 days of continued coaching for you when you're after.” Because I want to be part of that after part.


Kevin: Yeah.


Travis: Because we always just go into the chaos, which I feel like I'm good at, and I'm good at bringing the families together because I've been through that. And my life has been a lot of chaos. And they're scared. The family is so scared, and they just don't know what to do. So, once you bring them together, I like to let them know, “You know what? Once you graduate your program, then I will stay on and do 90 days of coaching with you and help you, because as we both know, that's such an important piece.” Now, hopefully they go on and do a sober living and outpatient and do some extended care, because we see better results when they do that. And then the family's doing the work.


But I love that. I love throwing that in “You do this, and...” And I think that was a big goal. I connected with this 18-year-old kid in the state of Washington. And at first, he didn't like me, but once I got to know him a little bit, I said, “You know what? You graduate this program, and I will come see you, and I will also work with you for 90 days after to continue.” He's like, “Really?” So, I like that. Whatever it takes to continue to help people is what it's about.


Kevin: Amen. I could not agree with you more.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: And as a shameless self-promotion item, the family, that's why we offer both of my books for free. And we're currently, both the Chronic Hope Books at are offered available right now for free. And we also offer a $97 course on the family case management. And it's something that the idea is that, when you drop that person off at Akasha Recovery, now the family has something they can engage with, and start to understand what's going on, and that answers a lot of their questions and really gets into the dynamics of what's going on within the structure of the family and why the family has to change. And they can do it at their pace. And they can do it at their timeframe, while their person is in treatment. And then, hopefully, have a successful reunification process.


Travis: Yeah. Yeah, highly recommend, look up, get those books. Like Kevin said, they're free. And look at what he offers. It's amazing. And it's needed. I think we all have a piece that's needed. And I talk about this all the time, but 2020 has changed, I think, the direction. And it’s not something that's going to go away. I believe, and tell me if I'm wrong, but in 2020, I think alcohol sales went up 320%.


Kevin: With the advent of... I mean, half of me was amused, and the other half of me was terrified when I saw all the things pop up on social media of, “Hey, the liquor store is closed, but we'll come to you in an hour.”


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: “We'll be there in an hour.” I was like, “Oh, that's not good.” And then so many people were isolating, and so many people were not engaging with others, which it was a double-edged sword. It allowed people to hide out and isolate.


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: But people that were part of families, it kind of forced them to all of a sudden, you're home with this person 24/7, you're like, “Oh, you have a problem.”


Travis: Yeah.


Kevin: “And we need help.”


Travis: Well...


Kevin: Well, I appreciated your time. Oh, go ahead.


Travis: Yeah, absolutely. I was just going to say I remember here in Utah going past the liquor stores, lines. And my wife goes, “Why is there so many lines?” I said, “Because it's considered essential business.” Do you know what would happen if they shut liquor stores down and people started getting sick and having seizures? The hospitals and ERs are overfilled with COVID. They had to keep the liquor stores open to keep people from dying and going into seizures.


Kevin: Yep.


Travis: I mean, that's the reality of it.


Kevin: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, I don't know if you remember, in Colorado, initially, the governor said, “We're going to close the liquor stores, and we're going to close the pot dispensaries.”


Travis: Oh, wow.


Kevin: And within 24 hours, he had pulled that back, and he's like, “Yeah, no, we're not going to do that.”


Travis: Yep.


Kevin: It's like, “Well...”


Travis: Absolutely.


Kevin: So, I appreciate your time, sir.


Travis: Thank you.


Kevin: Yeah. You bet. It's good to have you. And you know what I was thinking too? At some point, I would love if your wife would be open to it, I would love to interview your wife about sort of to get her perspective on what it was all like.


Travis: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. She's a little shy, but I push her. She's been on a few of them, because the other side of the family needs to hear from families who've gone through it. And it's an important message that she's got to share.


Kevin: Yep. Well, if she's comfortable. I never want to make anyone uncomfortable. But cool.


Travis: In this setting, you do a great job, Kevin. I'm sure she'd be more than willing to do it.


Kevin: Okay. Fantastic. Well, I appreciate your time. Hey, gang, thanks for tuning in to the Chronic Hope podcast. We're going to do it again next month in January. And we're going to have another special surprise guest. We'll start advertising who that's going to be and what that's going to be about. In the meantime, please go ahead and like the podcast. Download the podcast. Give us a 5-star rating? Go to YouTube and catch us on YouTube and Spotify. We are the Chronic Hope Institute has a Facebook group, and we would love to have you as part of our Facebook group. And we're going to start instituting more Facebook Lives.


And one of the things that I want to be clear is that you can send us questions on all of those social media formats. We're on Instagram. We're on Twitter. You can send us questions and we will answer your questions. Our goal is to help you and totally for free. The books are free. Everything's for free. We're here to help. We want the families to understand that there's a resource available to everybody and anybody.


But until then, happy holidays. Happy New Year. And thanks again, Travis. Really appreciate your time.


Travis: Absolutely. Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate it.


Kevin: Okay.


Outro: Thank you for listening to the Chronic Hope Institute podcast with your host, Kevin Peterson. Please join us again next time. We exist to provide support, education, and hope for families who are struggling with addiction and codependency. Remember to connect with us on Facebook, as well as subscribe to the Chronic Hope Institute podcast on YouTube, Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to podcasts. See you again soon.

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