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Our guest for Episode 35 has dedicated most of his career to getting out a very important message - Addiction is a chronically relapsing brain disease, but with treatment and support, recovery is possible!Neil Scott began his career in the addiction field as the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA), and at that time he had no idea how closely linked to Alcoholism he actually was. Shockingly, Neil learned that not only did his father die from complications of Alcoholism, but his mother, too, was a practicing alcoholic.  Later on in his career, Neil became the Executive Director of the National Foundation for Alcoholism Communications, co-founder of Alcoholism & Addiction Magazine and editor of The Alcoholism Report.For the last 15 years, Neil has hosted America’s top authorities on addiction and recovery as they share their experience, strength and hope on the national podcast, Recovery Coast to Coast. Neil starts every episode of the podcast by saying "The Bright Side of Addiction is Recovery" in an effort to end the stigma associated with addiction and shine a light on recovery!Recovery Coast to CoastAlcoholics Anonymous (AA)Marty MannAdult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families (ACA)Narcotics Anonymous (NA)Suicide Prevention InformationNational Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) AdvocacyNAATP Digital
**Listener Note** This episode contains a discussion of traumatic events. If you believe you are experiencing PTSD, please consult with your doctor or a mental health professional. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255.Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 6 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD in their lifetime and the number of women impacted is higher than that of men by 50%.The effects of trauma can be debilitating and may lead to symptoms like to self-destructive behavior, severe emotional distress, excessive drinking or use of addictive substances, angry outbursts and feeling detached from family and friends.Today's guest, Kayla Bergeron, worked as the Director of Public Affairs for The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on September 11, 2001. Kayla narrowly escaped the collapse of the North Tower down the only passable stairwell. During the immediate aftermath, Kayla was tasked with setting up systems to communicate with the families of people who were alive, missing and deceased and she did this with the help of PIO's (Public Information Officers - individuals responsible for communicating with the public and the media with incident related information).  Years later, Kayla recognized she was suffering from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and eventually found sobriety. Today she works in the recovery field, is a presenter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, sharing about her 9/11 experience and recovery journey and is a mental health advocate for ending the stigma of addiction and mental health.National Center for PTSDwww.theconnectionforsyth.orgRecovery Community Organization (RCO) InformationEquine 
Today's guest was an elite athlete from a middle-class family with no history of abuse. She grew up sheltered, but later learned that blackout drinking brought out a side of her that everyone around her relished. It was at this point that Nikki Soda started down a path to alcoholism.According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, Alcohol-induced blackouts can lead to impaired memory of events that transpired while intoxicated and because blackouts tend to occur at high Blood Alcohol Concentrations, they commonly stem from binge drinking. According to a 2019 study of 18-22 year-olds, 28% of the people in this age group who are not enrolled in college and 33% of full-time college students in this age group reported binge drinking behaviors.In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, Nikki shares her experience with alcohol use as well as her path to recovery. Nikki gets to share the hope for recovery across the country in her work with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) and in her pursuit of a Masters Degree in Addiction Policy and Practice at Georgetown University. In the 18 years since she went to treatment, Nikki has built a life that is beyond her wildest dreams and we are grateful to witness her transformation.www.naatp.orgAddiction Policy & Practice @ Georgetown UniversityAlcoholics Anonymous
Our guest for Episode 32 had a rough start in life. Born with a heart defect and debilitating asthma, Leonard lost his father to a heart attack when he was just 3 weeks old. He grew up fast in Logan, PA, learning about being a man from the guys who hung out on the corner. His only real sense of stability was the home that he lived in for 20 years. He never really felt a sense of confidence until he started selling dope and then he felt like “the man” because he had the good stuff that everyone wanted. Leonard's first dabble with addictive behavior began with a pound of sunflower seeds and an upset stomach inside a movie theatre. Ironically, the last he used ended almost the same way, but this time he found himself sick and sweaty inside a phone booth in California. After a stint in rehab at the Betty Ford Center, Leonard emerged having lost the desire to use drugs and eventually, the desire to use alcohol as well. He has been sober ever since.Today, Leonard Lee Buschel is a California Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, the founder of Writers In Treatment, director of the REEL Recovery Film Festival & Symposium® and the editor/publisher of the weekly Addiction/Recovery eBulletin®. He also directs and produces the annual Experience, Strength and Hope Awards® in Los Angeles. Leonard’s memoir, HIGH: Confessions of A Cannabis Addict, was published in 2021 and is about his journey from drug dealer to drug counselor. Alcoholics AnonymousNarcotics AnonymousOvereaters AnonymousGamblers AnonymousHIGH: Confessions of a Cannabis AddictAddiction Recovery EBulletinREEL Recovery Film FestivalComedy Intervention
**Listener note** This episode contains discussions about suicide and suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255Our guest for Episode 31 is Sharon Fekete, Founder of The Doctor Whisperer & 13th Ave Media.  She has been whispering strategies to physicians for over 20 years & amplifies businesses through the power of social media. Sharon also speaks at medical conferences on topics such as hospitality in healthcare, hiring a dream team, and branding.As a firm believer in advocating toward improved mental health, Sharon published her book, The Broken Road to Mental Health, in Life & in Business, on her 25th sober anniversary.  Her personal struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide were the impetus to writing her book, as she knew there were many people suffering in the business community who could relate.Sharon also speaks to corporations about mental health in the workplace & includes her own previous struggles with addiction, depression and the journey to overcoming adversity.Sharon hosts two podcasts, The Doctor Whisperer & The Broken Road to Mental Health.  Sharon is a wife, stepmom, fur baby mom, and avid bike rider who often says “We are all under construction.”Sharon is quite witty and very grateful for all of her life experience, which she expertly weaves into her work with doctors. We hope you enjoy the episode.Episode ResourcesThe Doctor WhispererSharon's Book Al-AnonCrisis Center of Tampa BayNAMINational Suicide Prevention LifelineSAMHSASusie Steiner Award from Hillsborough Community CollegeComedy Intervention
Mike Ortoll's world was turned upside down when his daughter Christine started abusing drugs and alcohol. Christine found recovery for several years, but sadly suffered a relapse and passed away from a fentanyl overdose in late 2020. In grieving his daughter, Mike started to think about how he could share his experience with other families facing addiction. Through a series of high-profile documentary films, including the Bowden Dynasty Film and another film documenting Christine’s story, Mike and a few of his Sigma Chi Fraternity Brothers are now providing support to the Collegiate Recovery Program at Florida State University (FSU), called LIFT. Mike also started the Christine Ortoll Recovery Organization to raise awareness, share resources, and lead a national “call to action” across the country of changing the conversation about addiction and recovery.The CDC has reported that more than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in a 12 month period from 2020 to 2021, and many of those deaths have been attributed to Fentanyl. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is often times added to heroin to increase its potency, or to be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe they are purchasing heroin and don’t know that they are actually purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths.Christine Ortoll Recovery OrganizationAssociation of Recovery in Higher EducationLIFT at Florida State University (FSU)Center for Health Advocacy Wellness at FSUSubstance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
If you are familiar with recovery, you know it is suggested that you change a few things in order to protect your sobriety: people, places and things. And by places they mean you might have to find a new place to live! When we were using, many of us found ourselves homeless, couch surfing or not welcome back to the place we had once called home.Sober living has become an integral part of the recovery journey for countless people who are in need of a safe, sober and supportive living environment. The guest on today's podcast is Patrick Slattery, the owner/operator of Real Recovery Sober Living. Patrick had an interesting experience with finding a place to live in the early days of his own recovery and now operates a sober residence where he once lived. Talk about life coming full circle!Real Recovery Sober Living is the largest provider of recovery residences in the state of Florida, with 300 beds for men across six locations in the greater Tampa Bay area. Patrick is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator (CRRA), a Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) and a Certified Recovery Coach (CRC) and he uses his strong foundation in recovery to inform the work he does with men new in recovery.Florida Alliance for State Advocacy Facebook Page Real RecoveryReal Recovery Facebook
Today’s guest, Ahbra Schiff, joins us from Studio City, California to talk about a couple of upcoming events that shine a light on addiction and mental illness recovery. She also gives us the backstory on how she got involved with these events, starting with making the acquaintance of Leonard Bushel at a 12-step meeting!Almost 6 years after first meeting him, Ahbra has been working alongside Leonard to put on the REEL Recovery Film Festival (Now in its 13th year) and the Experience, Strength & Hope Awards’ Gratitude Dinner. Both of these events are dedicated to increasing awareness of and reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism, addiction and mental illness.As far as Ahbra is concerned, she is a sober woman with 3 grown children and she is grateful and proud to work alongside American and International filmmakers who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, behavioral disorders, treatment and recovery. You can learn more about both the REEL Recovery Film Festival and the Experience, Strength and Hope Awards’ Gratitude Dinner online:REEL Recovery Film Festival -, Strength & Hope Awards’ Gratitude Dinner - in Treatment -
Addiction continues to be a serious national crisis that affects not only public health, but also social and economic welfare. Addiction is a family disease, meaning that the person who is using drugs and/or alcohol is not the only person impacted; the family is impacted too. Family support is crucial for those facing addiction, and very often this support and direction comes via an Intervention.Today’s guest is Marc Kantor. Marc is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) who founded South Florida Intervention. With years of both personal and professional experience, Marc helps individuals and their families recover from addiction and other mental illnesses.Marc grew up on Long Island and had a successful career in Real Estate before making the decision to address his own addiction at the Betty Ford Center. After relocating to Boca Raton with his wife and their teenage daughter, he started South Florida Intervention, which offers a full continuum of recovery services for individuals who want to recover from addiction.Want to know more about interventions? Check out today’s episode and the resources below. Marc also wrote a book that will give parents an in-depth understanding of how to do an intervention!www.southfloridaintervention.comSouth Florida Intervention StaffMarc’s Book South Florida Intervention Facebook
When faced with a crisis, many families to do not know where to turn. It can be very challenging to help a loved one who is experiencing a mental health crisis or facing addiction. When someone you know is decompensating to the point where they are threating to hurt themselves or someone else or they are using drugs and/or alcohol with no regard for severe consequences, an intervention is necessary. Unfortunately, not everyone is open to accepting help. You may beg and plead with your loved one to seek help through therapy, treatment or a recovery support group, only to have them balk at your suggestions. Thankfully, there are ways that you can intervene when someone you know refuses to get help. On today’s episode we talk with Mark Astor, Esq., an attorney that specializes in helping families navigate the complexities of the legal system. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Mark has been an attorney since 1994. He began his legal career as a prosecutor but has transitioned to a practice that is dedicated to providing legal representation and guidance to people facing mental health & substance use
The Point is Recovery Podcast was started one year ago in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic to shine a light on some good news. And that good news is that Addiction Recovery is Possible!The podcast was the brainchild of the Professional Relations Team at Turning Point of Tampa, which is led by Joan Browne, Director of Professional Relations turned Producer. The team was focused on covering relevant topics that would be of interest to everyone, because let’s be clear, addiction does not discriminate, and many people will be affected by it at some point in their life.So, after mixing 1 part tenacious (Joan), 1 part funny (Chris), 1 part resourceful (Ashley) and another part tech savvy (Jeremiah, AKA “Big J”), The Point is Recovery Podcast came to fruition and the first episode was aired on September 2, 2020!It meant a lot to us to launch in September as September is National Recovery Month. It is so important for us to celebrate the 23 million Americans living in recovery in the United States as well as the countless family, friends and behavioral health professionals that support them. This podcast is dedicated to everyone affected by addiction and our hope is that we can not only share information and resources that make recovery accessible for everyone, but also do our part to end the stigma.Episode 25 is going to be a bit different. We take a look back and discuss some of the highlights from the past year. In 2021, we continue to be focused on ending the stigma of addiction & mental health and that all starts with normalizing recovery!Today on the other mics are our Producer, Joan Browne and our Sound Engineer, Jeremiah Fowler, also known around here as Big
Since 2006, over 58,000 people have joined The Phoenix, a Sober Active community focused on the transformational power of connection. Founder Scott Strode found hope in his own recovery while discovering how ice climbing helped all his problems, fears and the shame of addiction melt away. Through his own experience, The Phoenix was born and a movement was started. That movement has spread to 53 cities in 22 states and is showing no signs of slowing down.For this episode we are joined by a Tampa native that caught the Crossfit bug early in her recovery. Brittany Garner is now the Florida Programs Manager for The Phoenix Florida.Brittany’s firsthand knowledge as a peer in recovery led to her training as a state certified peer recovery support specialist. Later in 2018 she obtained her CrossFit Level 1, Personal Training Certification and Nutrition Precision certifications, making Brittany the perfect fit to launch the Tampa chapter of The Phoenix. She is passionate about her community, family and friends and continues to grow and expand The Phoenix Florida, providing free peer recovery support services to those who need it.www.thephoenix.orgTed Talk w/ The Phoenix Founder, Scott StrodeThe Phoenix Florida Facebook
Check out these facts affecting people in the United States:·       Seventeen out of every 10,000 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2019·       In 2020 in Hillsborough County, Florida, 2,741 people experienced a mental health crisis that resulted in a Baker Act·       1 in 4 law enforcement uses of deadly force are against the mentally illThese people represent a cross-section of America and include people from every family status, gender category, and racial/ethnic group. Law Enforcement officials often interact with those experiencing chronic homelessness and chronic mental illness and the mere sight of a uniform can be intimidating. We have a systemic problem in our country and law enforcement officials are working to find solutions. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is leading the way in these efforts with the announcement of a new unit last summer. Join us on today’s episode as we speak with Sergeant Duane Benton to learn more about the Behavioral Resources Unit. - Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office - News story about the Behavioral Resources - Project Safe
The Big Show. The Big Leagues. The Big Time. The Pros. Drinking and Driving. Overdose. Coma. Treatment. All of these are references to the life of today's guest. Vance Johnson is a former wide receiver for the Denver Broncos where he played for 10 seasons. During the “glory years,” Vance was struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol so intensely that he walked away from the NFL and a pending contract renewal. He struggled for over 20 years and eventually found himself in the hospital in a medically induced coma for 28 days. Shockingly, even that was not his “rock bottom.” Vance’s 7th wife filed for divorce, but not before reaching out to the NFL and asking them to help him. He later admitted to a residential treatment center in Florida, and he has been clean and sober ever since. Vance is now a recovery advocate, drawing on his personal and professional experience to help other people find recovery.Ironically, it is through recovery that we have the ultimate mind-altering
You may have heard it said before that “we are only as sick as our secrets” and this could not be truer than with eating disorders. People suffering with an eating disorder tend to be very secretive and dishonest about what is going on behind closed doors. Keeping that secret can be life threatening.Today’s guest is an incredible example of how recovery can change our lives and reveal our purpose. Allison Walsh suffered with Anorexia and Bulimia for years before receiving the help she needed to recover. Allison’s personal experience lit a fire in her to help other people, and she has truly built a life that inspires others.Today Allison Walsh, JD is a corporate executive, philanthropist and success coach for women. In 2006, Allison had the unique opportunity to serve her state as Miss Florida, taking advantage of the opportunity to speak with audiences about eating disorders and the hope for recovery. Since that time, Allison started working in the behavioral health space, continued her work with several local and national nonprofit organizations and launched a podcast. She really does it all!We hope you enjoy the episode and thank you for your support!
It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders are not “just a girl thing,” as 10 million of these people will be men. Eating disorders are serious conditions related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact health, emotions and the ability to function in important areas of life. The most common eating disorders are Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder and all eating disorders are progressive, dangerous and potentially fatal if left untreated.Our guest for Episode 20 is a bit of an expert on Eating Disorders. Jon Jasper is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has been working as a therapist in the addiction field since 2012 and is currently the eating disorder therapist at Turning Point of Tampa. Originally from Kentucky, Jon moved to Tampa to be closer to family. Throughout this episode, Jon offers a ton of great information about eating disorders as he has both personal and professional experience. Jon has additional education and training in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and expressive arts therapy and has been a guest lecturer on addiction at The University of Louisville and The University of South Florida.We hope you enjoy this episode and please share it with others who you think might need to hear it!
Anxiety. Depression. OCD. Bipolar Disorder. ADHD.Most of these conditions probably sound familiar, however, these conditions, and many others, are widely misunderstood. Mental illnesses include many different conditions that vary in degree of severity. According to recent reports, these conditions affect 51.9 million people in the United States and 10% of the global population. The World Health Organization (WHO), recently stated "the burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant impacts on health and major social, human rights and economic consequences in all countries of the world."Today’s guest is Natasha Pierre. Natasha is an award-winning speaker, author, certified professional life coach and a mental health advocate with over 20 years of lived experience. Natasha was born and raised on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands where she entered the world of professional speaking at age 14 and quickly became a sought-after keynote speaker at territory-wide forums addressing education, health, and economy. For the last five years, Natasha has devoted much of her time to mental health education and advocacy and was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Hillsborough affiliate, right here in Tampa, Florida.Join us for Episode 19 and learn more about Natasha's journey. Thank you for tuning in!
Today we are airing a special episode with Interventionist, Ken Seeley. Ken recently made headlines with his views on "California Sober" and he filled us in on exactly how dangerous he believes this new term to be.You probably know Ken Seeley from the Emmy Award-Winning A&E television series, Intervention.  Ken Seeley has been both professionally and personally involved in recovery since he got sober in 1989 and he connects with people and their families to change their lives. His understanding of the disease of addiction & remarkable success rate has turned Ken into one of the most sought-after interventionists in the 
When you think of an “addict” or “alcoholic,” does your mind conjure up images of homelessness, liquor bottles in brown paper bags or someone stumbling down a dark alley in the wrong part of town? You probably don't think of a professional athlete playing on hockey’s most elite stage. With that being said, addiction does not discriminate; it affects every race, gender and socioeconomic class.Brantt Myhres is a former player in the National Hockey League who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992. After playing for 7 different teams and making millions, his drug & alcohol use also earned him 4 League suspensions and eventually, a life-time ban. Brantt got sober in 2008, studied substance abuse & behavioral health at Mount Royal University in Calgary and went on to work with the Los Angeles Kings as the team’s player assistance director. Brantt recently released his book, Pain Killer – A Memoir of Big-League Addiction and is here to talk with us about his - Link to Brantt's book, Pain
Some people write books to share their story. Others become motivational speakers. Some even go on to provide staff trainings to companies, large & small. Our guest for this episode has done all three. Tina Levene is an author, nationally-known speaker, and trainer who has worked in social work, education and the juvenile justice field for over 20 years. Often using her whit and personal experience, Tina is able to evoke a sense of relatability with audiences from the classroom to the Board room. Tina’s unique experience with her own addictions, her journey to recovery and a passion for working with children recently inspired the founding of Tampa Bay’s 1st Recovery High School, Victory High School, where she is the Executive Director.  With a motto like “The Truth Is…There is Hope,” you know Tina is a force for good in the community. We hope you enjoy the episode.
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