Raising the Bottom: The Unlikely Story of a Grade-School Alcoholic Turned Recovery Crusader

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Raising the Bottom: The Unlikely Story of a Grade-School Alcoholic Turned Recovery Crusader
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ABOUT THE EPISODE:

Roy Duprez began drinking whatever alcohol he could get his hands on at the incredibly young age of 7.  He managed to stay sober for two of his high school years, but then returned to using alcohol and drugs for 12 years more years.

Roy sees lots of young men with trauma-related substance misuse come through his outdoor adventure recovery program, but for him, drinking was part of an imagined lifestyle of success. He didn’t drink to escape, he drank to have *even more* fun.  He fully embraced the identity of “alcoholic” without ever connecting his use to the chaos that his life had become.

Roy has now been sober and in a healthy life of recovery for nearly two decades. In that time, he obtained a Master of education, worked with countless community organizations and at-risk youth, and founded his own adventure recovery program, Back2Basics, in picturesque Flagstaff, Arizona.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • what it’s like to run into his mom at their local AA meeting
  • the limitations substance misuse puts on life, and the power of inviting young people into a new world of possibilities
  • why Roy still believes we should “trust the process”

RESOURCES:

Back2Basics – Roy Duprez’s adventure recovery program in Flagstaff, AZ

 

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Roy:
 0:02I embraced that identity as far as an alcoholic as, as almost like a badge of honor or bravado, but I didn’t ever connect the two as far as the unmanageability, the, the, the burning buildings that I was leaving behind, the severed relationships that, you know, I’m sure the fear and torment my, my family went through. My world was so small in the sense of like my goals were to have a boat and have girls on the boat and I have plenty of beer on the boat and. If I get there, that’ll be it. You know, that’ll complete me as a person.
Brenda:
 0:44You’re listening to HopeStream. If you’re parenting a young person who misuses substances, is in a treatment program or finding their way to recovery, you’re in the right place. This is your private space to learn from experts and gain encouragement and support from me, Brenda Zane, your host and follow mom to a child who struggled. This podcast is just one of the resources we offer for parents. So after the episode, head over to our website at hopestreamcommunity. org. I’m so glad you’re here. Take a deep breath, exhale, and know that you have found your people. And now let’s get into today’s show. Hey friend, welcome back. How are you? I often think about how much you’re doing, how many balls you have in the air, and what it’s like to try and keep it all together. I truly believe if the world had any idea what it takes to be in your shoes for a day, they would be shocked. I’ve been going through my inbox and finding old, old, old emails for a project that I’m working on. And I’m reading these emails that I was sending at the height of the insanity in our home. And it just brought me back to the level of discomfort and confusion and exhaustion that I went through. And I know you also go through that. Or you’ve experienced it at some point on your roller coaster ride. What I’m finding interesting in this process is that there is a physical impact of me just reading what was going on. I’m not even experiencing it anymore, but I can feel the tension in my neck and my shoulders and in my stomach, which is my body’s weak point. And the reason I mention this is because if you are actually in the thick of it right now, you are probably also feeling it in your body. So if you can, please take a few minutes today to breathe, close your eyes and send yourself some positive thoughts and affirmations. That might sound a little woo woo, but it truly helps. If you’re curious about how to be a little bit more mindful and gain some emotional stability, you can check out a series of meditations that I have shared on Insight Timer. It’s an app for mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga. And over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve recorded and shared some meditations which are specifically geared for you, for a parent who has a child struggling with substance use. You can download the app on your phone and then just search for my name and you will find my stuff there. And it’s all free. Okay. I know you love a good recovery story. And I gotta say my guest today started his substance use journey with alcohol at such a young age. I almost didn’t believe him. So you know, it is going to be hugely insightful. Throughout Roy Dupree’s academic and professional career, he has worked with a multitude of young adults and at risk youth. He’s done an extensive amount of work with community organizations like AmeriCorps, the Indigo Movement, Weed and Seed Community Development, and the Guidance Center Adolescent Unit. Roy’s professional career has taken him through the classroom, the outdoors, jails, juvenile and adult drug and alcohol treatment centers, And to where he has now been for the past 14 years as founder and CEO of Back to Basics Outdoor Adventures in Flagstaff, Arizona. At age seven, yes, you heard me, seven, Roy began his journey with alcohol, having stolen leftover drinks from the table at family functions. His initial round of sobriety began at age 13 while he was still in the seventh grade. Roy first practiced 12 step recovery as a very young teen, and he remained sober for a couple of years before making another attempt at controlling his drinking and doing further lifestyle research. During a 12 year relapse, he immediately began suffering the consequences like school expulsion, fines for both legal and illegal matters, and a continuously suspended driver’s license. It wasn’t until his mid twenties after too much pain, too much suffering, and lots of consequences that Roy finally made a sincere attempt to change for the better. He hasn’t found it necessary to drink for close to 20 years. His life is packed with regular opportunities to hike, snowboard, cycle, surf, and whitewater raft. And he’s humbled to say that he is living life to the fullest and enjoys giving back to teach others how to do the same in their recovery. The program Roy founded called Back to Basics is an outdoor adventure recovery program for young adult males, age 18 to 35. With mental health and or substance use issues who are looking for a positive and meaningful life guys who attend back to basics are exposed to weekly combination of wilderness and addiction treatment programs that have proven to be successful in helping them find recovery. The program offers a wide range of adventures from mountain biking and snowboarding to surfing and river rafting activities that challenge guys, both mentally and physically. Roy and I had a fabulous, wide ranging conversation about the illusion of what success truly is and why young people can get caught up in that. He shares how even though his life was in complete chaos, he didn’t really connect the dots to his substance use. And he provides insight around what finally did work for him to completely change his life and achieve the goals that he could never quite reach when he was in his addiction. Be sure to check the show notes for this episode to learn more about Back to Basics. Now here is me and Roy Dupree, enjoy. Roy, welcome to HopeStream. We’ve had some great conversations already, and I’m so excited to finally capture it for the folks who listen to HopeStream, because I think your wisdom and insight and experience is super valuable. So welcome to the podcast.
Roy:
 7:42No, thank you. And glad to connect with you again and, and you know, talk about some of these topics that are pending and, and, you know, so important to address. And, you know, I’m just one person who’s had an experience. No, I, I. Don’t initially address myself as an expert by any means. I’ve just been in the field for a long time and professionally and I’ve been through it personally and you know, just have some experiences that I would hope that give some people some Some background and some anticipation of what it could be like, you know, if, if, if they change, or if they, they look at options for, for their own loved ones and for themselves, you know, it’s, it’s not just the individual. I do feel like it’s a family journey and, and I can testify to that too, you know, as far as my own family and their own experience with. My research out there, your practical internship. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. My practicum I’m grateful that I’ve had this journey. And we were talking about the holidays and I was with my, my mom extensively over the holiday. And, and we got to talk about how lucky we both are. You know, my mom’s in recovery. She’s going to be 40 years sober this year if she doesn’t take a drink and I, I shared a little bit about, you know, where my parents were my first 10 years inactive drinking. And, and so how, how fortunate I, I am to be in this position that I’m not dealing with the disease itself for, for myself and, and that I have a relationship. That has some depth with with my parents because of this platform because of this recovery platform that we we share in sometimes the conversations aren’t aren’t parent child, it’s just to recovering alcoholics, you know, dealing with our own interpretations of things and. identifying the resources that we use today to get on the other side of that.
Brenda:
 9:35When you, when you think about a kid growing up, you said your first 10 years, your parents were actively drinking, which brings about all kinds of different situations in the home. And the fact that then you started drinking when they got sober. And that now today you are together in your recovery is pretty, I don’t know how common that is. Obviously, there’s like no statistic you could look at, but that’s pretty phenomenal.
Roy:
 10:07You know, Brenda, I, I, I laugh a little bit in the sense of like, I’ve got all these first world problems sometimes, but when it comes down to the core of it, you know, is it like I have this. Genuine relationship with the people that I want to be around today. And, and I wouldn’t have that if I wasn’t sober myself. And I tend to gravitate towards people that are developing themselves, you know, improving themselves, you know, and identifying them, their own hiccups, you know, and that’s important to me because I can surround myself with, you know, I guess the superficiality of things and shiny, flashy, whatever. Or, you know, what is, what is genuine? What is real? You know, and I get to have access to that today that you’re right is rare. And I over, I overlooked that a lot, you know, that I’m, I often find myself in the same meeting. My mom’s at, you know, and we didn’t communicate that we didn’t schedule that accordingly, but, you know, we are active members in our, in our recovery. And I happen to be in a 12 step program and, and there’s, there happens to be these textbooks that they use for step work. And, and my parents would send me little reminders in these different editions of books and, you know, son, you might benefit from looking at all that stuff. And I never opened it up. I never, I just read whatever comments they had and then it just got put on a shelf, but I never threw them away either. And I’m grateful for their patience and I’m grateful for their tenacity in the sense of just let me know, like, Hey, if, and when I’m ready. This is, this is available to you. And, and I think that they did their best to, to not helicopter anything. They definitely weren’t in a position to rescue me. I just wasn’t open to that. I’d never reached out for, for them to bail me out. We, as a family, you know, I’ve been fortunate enough to. To be in this recovery process for a long, long time. And, and once again, I just taking, taking it for granted or overlooked, like how, how profound that is and how unique in that circumstance I am. And, and I’m the one who benefits, you know, and I need to give credit where credit’s due.
Brenda:
 12:06When you did start drinking, you were pretty young and did you, could you see The similarities or the connection to your parents drinking, or was this just something that new to you? And there was really not a lot of connection in your mind between, Oh, my parents were this way and maybe this is connected to that. I’m just so curious about that.
Roy:
 12:29Sure. I can only identify like where the attraction was for me. I have this perception that at that alcohol consumption and lifestyle. We’re going to give me those things and access to things that I perceived as success and, and how, how I can unpack that is that I had older cousins who had boats and. Pretty girlfriends and boyfriends and seem to have it all together. And they’re drinking Coors Lights on the boat and, you know, they’re in great shape and, and I’m just using that as an identifier, for example, like the facade I created for myself, apparently that, you know, that’s what. Enjoyment. That’s what happiness. That’s what you know, the word success. And those are words that weren’t in my vocabulary at the time. Mind you, I’m, you know, 89 years old when I start taking my first drinks, but I think that that was identified as the outlet that would get me there. And. And that has never been the case, Brenda. I’ve never had a successful journey without active drinking, you know, I usually have repercussions immediately. And I think that that’s what’s going to probably be. The common denominator as far as the unmanageability and alcoholism go hand in hand. And there were even some points in my active drinking that I embraced that identity as far as an alcoholic as, as almost like a badge of honor or bravado, but I didn’t ever. Connected to as far as the unmanageability, the, the, the burning buildings that I was leaving behind the severed relationships that, you know, I’m sure the fear and torment my, my family went through because they’re witnessing at least glimpses of, of what’s going on in my life at the time. My world was so small in the sense of like my goals were to have a boat and have girls on the boat and I have plenty of beer on the boat. And. If I get there, that’ll be it. You know, that’ll complete me as a person. Right. I have arrived. Yeah. I don’t know if you remember the Spuds McKenzie beer commercials back in the eighties, but it’s like, you know, how, how cheesy is that? But that’s, I guess what I thought, you know, would be whatever it takes in order for me to be Evolved into, you know, acceptance and high fives and welcomed by others, you know, and, and not that I wasn’t welcomed by others and not that I wasn’t accepted into groups. In fact, like I’ve been very fortunate socially throughout my life but alcohol. Once I had it in my system, I was convinced that’s what I wanted to keep in my system. And and unfortunately I was blinded by the deflection of like, yeah, there’s really, I mean, it’s not a big deal. It’s not, you know, going to jail is not a big deal. You know, being in, you know, four different junior highs, cause I’m expelled, you know, it’s not a big deal. You know, all the crash cars and all the things that, that go along with it at that teenage age kind of circumstance are not a big deal. And I have a 12 year old son and he’s got regular kind of. Issues. And what I mean by that is this, like, you know, maybe he gets a bad grade and maybe, you know, he misspoke during class and, you know, has to be pulled in for detention, which they’re not big deals in the big picture. They’re not big deals. And, but somehow along the way, as a parent, I’m like, you know, it’s unacceptable. Right. And my mom had to remind me, she’s like, Roy, you know, Hey, you really need to slow down on this. Like he’s, he’s doing normal things. And you need to remember at this age at 12 years old, I mean, we were regularly dealing with police officers. We were regularly dealing with school counselors. We were regularly, you know, in this constant uncertainty with you. And, and if you can keep that in mind, I think you’ll, you’ll. Be able to give him some reprieve. And that was so helpful, Brenda, you know, in the sense of like, okay, he’s just a regular guy doing regular things. But my fear of him evolving into, to what I had done is where that comes from. You know, it was like, I’m just trying to contain it because he’s got the genes and you know, if he’s got the charisma, he’s, he, he does. He has, he’s a funny guy. He’s a smart guy. And that was me. I didn’t see any other way or any other path and that did. Anybody didn’t provide that for me, that blueprint, but you know, I just, that I’m, I’m so concerned that he’ll end up wanting and gravitating towards the things I was into and not being able to survive that. That’s where it comes from. It’s like, look, I think drugs are fun. I think alcohol is fun in certain capacities at certain circumstances. Absolutely. I’m not this absolutist, but you know, can he make it on the other side, you know, of the circumstances that I’ve been through and. And I, and who knows, I don’t have that answer, but I, I can’t be living in fear of something that hasn’t happened yet. I’m in a place of just trying to be realistic of like, Hey, if you’re going to have interest in any of that stuff, I’d much rather you talk to me about it. I’d much rather us. You know, set up something for your first consumption of alcohol in a safe environment. And that might be taboo for certain families that aren’t ready to hear that or even consider that. I totally understand. I just much rather him do something like that and experiment in a safe environment because I don’t feel like it’s the cliche term when I say it’s a lot different out there than it was when I was a kid and the drugs that are available don’t have the same interpreted fear. That, that I did. I mean, opiates, the idea of heroin when I was a teenager, just not a thing, you know, there were people out there that I knew that do it, that did it, but they were way on the other side of the spectrum and, and we just weren’t interested in all that. They don’t even do the intro, like stages of cigarettes. Maybe some alcohol, maybe some pot, you know, there’s no steps. It’s just like, boom, we’re right there to opiates. And so that is a reasonable fear. And even the opiates in the last couple of years with fentanyl, you know, it’s just like, Whoa, really today, I feel like we’re in such a bigger, you know, Exposure and jeopardy, then, then we had been historically. So I do feel like the concern is valid.
Brenda:
 18:53Oh, 100%. 100%. It’s valid. And I have to imagine that just, you know, you doing what you do. And I want to get into that a little bit, but that you’re having those conversations that it’s not this Taboo thing, you know, that just for him knowing that you’re in recovery and having those open conversations, you know, I’m not a therapist, but I talked to a lot of therapists and they always say to me. Just make it part of your everyday conversation, you know, it was too late for me cause my guys are grown, but you know, for, for the people that do have younger kids, just make it part of that conversation, especially with the family history at, you know, like if you, like my guys, every male in, on their dad’s side has died of diabetes for, I don’t even know how many years. So we talk a lot about diabetes, you know, and how to eat and how to manage your body. So I feel like it’s one of those things where. It’s just part of the conversation and It’s not a like, hush, hush, we’re going to just push this thing over here in the corner because it’s, it’s your life. It’s your day to day life.
Roy:
 20:00Yeah. And this has been the last year and a half of like exposing where we come from as a family and you know, certain people made different choices and had different outcomes. And I think that by me explaining. And in trying to illustrate, you know, Hey, these are, these are choices people made, and these are the outcomes they had as a result. And I would just encourage you to kind of steer away from that because the outcomes, you know, sometimes you can’t come back from and, and so rather than this, at least growing up the way I did, and probably the generations before me is just like, everything’s bad. You’re grounded. Go to your room. There’s no like, Talking about it. And, and I think that there is, there is enough room for explaining the background and that there isn’t an audience with our kids. Or our loved ones that, that can be heard and better understood because look, if, if I’m just saying something’s bad and they’re not convinced that it’s bad, they’re going to go underground, you know, and, and that’s, that’s my concern too is just like, look, I want to be transparent, you know, as far as who I am and what I do as a lifestyle. And, and I’m just asking you to, you know, consider like, I’m not telling you not to do those things ever in your life. I would just ask, I’ve just asked to wait a little longer. So your brain develops and, and some of those things will be more enjoyable. That I feel like is an honest statement. You know, it’s like, if you’re a 14 year old versus a 40 year old doing some of those drugs, you know, whether it be marijuana or, you know, You know, I think mushrooms are a big thing these days and or baking. It’s kind of way back into our lives. And if those things are tools and benefits, wait till the, wait till the brain is appropriately developed, you know, cause you’re just going to waste all that on, you know, a 15 year old brain that isn’t going to, isn’t going to be able to absorb what, what the benefits may or may not be. And you may be in a better place to, to make better choices. And, and that’s all I’m asking you from your son, you know,
Brenda:
 21:56in a few years, we’ll just, we’ll just point your son to this podcast can listen. Yeah.
Roy:
 22:02Yeah. Yeah. And I, and I, you know, anything I’d share with you in this podcast or, or any interviews I’ve ever done, it’s like, I’m pretty transparent with my son, you know, I don’t give the gory details of somebody else’s story that, that might be involved, but I’ll, I’ll share in a general way. My involvement.
Brenda:
 22:18Yeah. Yeah. Well, you talked about. How your world was fairly small, like you had this very limited image of what success looked like and alcohol was a part of that picture of success. And I know you work with young guys now. Do you see this? Is this still a common thread? Maybe the substances are different and what life looks like is different, but is this still something where you see these guys have a pretty limited mindset when they get to you?
Roy:
 22:47We’re all different, right? You know, we’re, we’re, we’re different. We’re genetically different where our reactions or responses to things chemically or the environment itself are going to be different. And for me, alcohol, I was chasing something where I think other people might be running from something. And, and so I had never really like opened up a beer and felt like, Hey, I just want to drown how I feel right now. I opened up a beer with the anticipation, like, Hey, this is going to make me feel that much better and, and it did for, you know, the first couple of drinks, whatever, but you know, I just, there’s this invisible line that I’d always cross and, and, you know, just have these repercussions as a result. So I do feel like in my professional experience and in my personal experience over the years, I’m seeing more people that I’m realizing, Hey, there’s soothing, you know, they’ve got some trauma, they’ve got some discomfort going on. Some are big T, some are little T, some are, you know, just escape from something. And, and I didn’t have that escapism as much as I was, once again, chasing something else that I thought I, I could achieve through this outlet. And, and I think that that’s where I was coming from with my world was so small. It’s like, really, that’s all you want? Out of this life experience, but also I’m seven, eight years old at the time. And, but I’m, I continue to operate from that perspective. Cause I, you know, I believe my maturity just kind of slows down or stunted with active drinking. When I got sober, I’m 25 years old at the time I’m working with my sponsor, doing some construction stuff. Cause that’s all I’m capable of in the sense of just doing cleanup around the construction site. And There’s nobody giving me a hammer and nails. I want to just be very clear about that. I can pick up trash at this point in my life. I have a degree and yet I can only pick up trash at this point in my life.
Brenda:
 24:40Safety first. Yeah, yeah. But I
Roy:
 24:42spent a lot of time with him and I’m so grateful for that, that, that opportunity because I would see these like Lifted old classic Bronco trucks or Chevy bra blazer trucks. And they had a sound system and the paint was all dialed in and the rims. And I, even when I’m telling you this, I just feel like I’m 15 years old at this vocabulary. But that’s where my, like my, I was like, Hey, by the time I get sober a year, like I’d want one of those trucks. And he’s like, that’s all you want. You know, I’m like, yeah, wouldn’t that be like, you know, cool. He’s like, yeah, but what about a house or what about, you know, something else? And, and, and that was an identifier at that point of like, yeah, my world, my perspective and my goals and my things, like I’ve really been stunted and he was right. You know, I was like, I had to kind of shift my priorities and, and open up, you know, that the world is a lot bigger than this. Lifted classic Bronco, you know, mentality, right. And because I want the Bronco so I can tell the boat and you know, all that. Absolutely. Absolutely. Right. And, and and the point me and Brenda is that like, my world was just pretty small and I didn’t have a lot of like, I wasn’t surrounding myself with people that had bigger dreams. You know, I think we were just kind of surviving our circumstances.
Brenda:
 26:08Hi, I’m taking a quick break to let you know some exciting news. There are now two private online communities for supporting you through this experience with your child or children, the stream community for those who identify as moms and the woods for guys who identify as dads. Of course, this includes step parents and anyone who is caring for a young person who struggles with substance use and mental health. The stream and the woods exists completely outside of all social media. So you never have to worry about confidentiality. And they’re also ad free. So when you’re there, you’ll be able to focus on learning the latest evidence based approaches to helping people change their relationship with drugs and alcohol. In both communities, we have a positive focus without triggering content or conversations. And we help you learn to be an active participant in helping your child move towards healthier choices. You’ll also experience the relief of just being able to be real, connect with other parents who know fully what you’re going through, and have battle tested mentors alongside. You can check out both The Stream and The Woods for free before committing, so there’s no risk. Go to hope stream community. org to get all the details and become a member. Okay. Let’s get back to the show. I think a lot of times what we do is we default to, well, you know, this bad thing’s going to happen and then that bad thing is going to happen and you’re going to lose this and you’re going to lose that. And they, and I see the eyes glaze over and roll up in their head and they’re like, Oh my gosh, because they don’t, they can’t see that at that age versus having a conversation that says. You have so many options that could potentially, I’m sure you have better wording than this, but like that could get limited by a life involving substances and alcohol to the degree that you’re doing it. It isn’t going to open you up to all of those options. I mean, is that a better way to approach it with our kids?
Roy:
 28:18We’re not always approaching any of this with a clear head in mind because we’ve got to relationship here with, you know, one of the closest loved ones we’re going to have, you know, this, this thing came from us. I think we’re, we’re just trying to put out the fire rather than realize what they’re limiting themselves from, you know, and, and, and it’s hard because We’re, we’re giving them this message of no, this is bad, which it is. I don’t want to dismiss that. And, and it’s concerning and it’s compromising the family. And, and so I, I do feel like it needs to be a twofold conversation for me. It that’s that in order for me to hear and understand when, when I’m being lectured in the sense, you know, cause that’s how we’re going to interpret it. Of course we are, you know, like. We just stole the car, crashed it, and there’s a bunch of beer bottles and I’m, you know, I’m not even eligible for a driver’s license. You know, so there’s a, a big fire that’s in front of me that, you know, the only, my quickest and immediate reaction would be to contain, contain him or her by being grounded for three months. They’ll just come to that conclusion that they’re not going to do that again. And, and I don’t think that that’s as effective as well, they probably enjoyed themselves and they’d like to do that again. But they haven’t realized, you know, how consequential that that behavior and those actions were. We just feel like we’re victims now and nobody understands me. So there’s, I think there’s a twofold component to consider and, and being firm. With our boundaries to going forward, you know, I think that that’s another place that that we as parents get to, you know, is that we’re immediately upset. We, we draw this big wall around them to contain them. But then our heartstrings get pulled or we’re not really wired. To stay mad that long and that consistent. And, and I think that that’s where we’re doing ourselves a disservice too, because now they’re seeing there’s holes in the system I can exploit. And, and I think that that’s, that’s a big, big problem for all of us as human beings. You know, I think you’re sensible, nice lady enough that I can say this is like, yeah, we can get really mad. But then like, you know, we’re not wired for this like concentration camp in our own homes. Yeah. There’s definitely, I think, an immediate intervention that needs to happen, but also kind of a reset and rebuild in an ideal scenario, you know, and it doesn’t have to be just us as the parents to resolve this, I think it’s an important to have resources because this is a new thing we’re now dealing with. We made all the right choices. We went to school, we got our degrees, we got our jobs, you know, we’re validated on all these other areas. But all of a sudden, this implosion in my home with, you know, this loved one that, you know, it means so much to me that for them to have, you know, a different experience. And this is how they’re, you know, acting out and treating the environment and giving us the finger, literally metaphorically speaking. Oh, yes. Absolutely. So what do we do? What do we do? This ungrateful, you know, whatever entity, or they don’t even realize how good they’ve got it. Why wouldn’t they do it differently? Those are conversations I’ve had, you know, and I’m a sober adult professional in the industry. And I’m still have that with my 12 year old,
Brenda:
 31:40right?
Roy:
 31:40Not around drugs and alcohol, but around other behaviors. Yeah, of course.
Brenda:
 31:44Yeah. Other
Roy:
 31:45things. Yeah.
Brenda:
 31:45Yeah. Did you experience relapses? So was your, you were using for how many years? I drank
Roy:
 31:54from probably third grade to the middle of seventh grade. So I was almost 13 when I get sober the first time. So I, I stayed physically sober for about two years. And then I relapsed getting into high school. And I want to share a little bit of that. Those two years when I was physically sober, I did go to 12 step meetings. I, I had a cohort of, of peers in my neighborhood that were kind of in the same circumstance. They got, got into some predicaments and they’re now in, you know, this recovery process, and And then all of a sudden that that group kind of drifted, you know, whether it be relapse or whatever the circumstances and I made this kind of conscious choice of like, I’ve got these friends that are closer to my age that are partying and seem to be doing that beer commercial stuff that we talked about earlier. And I’m like, you know what? Let’s see how this goes. It doesn’t go very well. Brenda does not go very well. And I immediately have repercussions. I immediately have circumstances that put me in jeopardy again. And, you know, my parents are just on pins and needles with that for, you know, a few years until I get to college. The criminal element returned, the sales of narcotics came into the, came into play. It was just more of a, I don’t want to say developed, but I just developed into this kind of entity of sorts immediately. And, and it wasn’t because it wasn’t there from the beginning. It just was dormant. And I’ve always gravitated towards this, this element of sorts and never considered the repercussions. They moved me to Arizona and, and it kind of stabilizes. And when I move my stabilizes, I’m less than a criminal element. I’m less for whatever reason surrounded by guys that party drink like I do, but they’re, they’re not involved in, in the other side of that equation. So I think that I, I adapted as long as I could and kind of stabilized as best as I could under the circumstances. And it bought me, you know, a few more years till it was finally the end of that road. So, A chronic relapse was not a thing for me. It was just extended, an extended 10 year relapse. And, and I’ll say that it was not enjoyable because I had a head full of recovery and my, my life rendered during those two years of teenage recovery, I had a job, I had a girlfriend, I had friends that drove me around. I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t old enough to drink or I’m sorry, old enough to drive. I was, I was looking pretty good. And, and immediately the repercussions, the girlfriends, the, the, the jobs, all that stuff were just kind of stripped away. And so knowing that, you know, my life was definitely in a better trajectory yet. I’m not willing to give it up, but I never got the boat. I was always on somebody else’s boat, literally and metaphorically. And it was just like torture for me yet. I couldn’t shake it. And, and I couldn’t make that like, Big step that I needed to, to remove myself from that lifestyle. But yeah, so for any parents that are listening, you know, I, as far as like, it isn’t fun out there, we’re not doing this for fun. It, it, it’s, it’s a really, it’s a dilemma and, and it’s a crisis of who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be doing? And I’m gonna figure this out is what it just kept telling me myself is that I’m gonna be able to do all these things successfully and still be able to drink. That was like a pride thing as well.
Brenda:
 35:35And is that pretty common? Is that something that you see a lot? Because I, I hear that a lot. Like, I will figure this out. I’m going to find the place at where I can still use and still have this amazing life. And so far, I haven’t heard of anybody that has solved that riddle.
Roy:
 35:54These cycles of, you know, I’ll surround myself with different people or I’ll move to a different city or I’ll get a different job. You know, it’s always the external stuff that needs to change, not the individual. And that’s, that’s the mantra. It’s just going to be in different versions of that. You know, it’s like, obviously the girlfriend’s fault or it’s obviously my parents fault. It’s all, you know, it’s just always somebody else’s fault. And, you know, that’s, I think the biggest blow to the ego when you realize, damn, this is all me.
Brenda:
 36:27Right.
Roy:
 36:28You know, all these repercussions, all these like crises and, you know, need for intervention and all that stuff. This is all me.
Brenda:
 36:36How did you get to that?
Roy:
 36:38Through time, I mean, through step work and through therapy and through, you know, being in process groups with men my age or men older or just men doing the work. And I, and I say men because I tend to stick with men’s, I have these men’s groups over the years that, you know, I just kind of. This raw feedback of sorts and it is available if you seek it out. I just I’ve been very fortunate here in Flagstaff to have that over the years and And just hearing, you know, other people being the victim and then like, Oh, I, I feel like I can sound like that sometimes. And so it, it is, it’s a matter of time. So maybe sometimes it’s an epiphany for the individual. Well, for me, it was like more of the educational variety and getting back to that theme of trust in the process. I trusted being in recovery enough. That it was going to change my life because I could see it with other people. And that if I just stay, you know, that option is there for me. So it was like the reverse of the beer commercial kind of thing, where now I’m seeing what I identify as success now versus being an eight year old. And, and what it meant to me is like having a family, having a safe environment to live in, having a predictable schedule, having the basics of. Of what I would think, you know, of normalcy and, and how, and so I, I wanted to seek that out. How’d you get there? I had men that mentored me over the years that had that. And that was part of the reason I hitched my wagon to them. It was like, how do I get beyond this recovery? You know, sobriety thing. How do I become a fulfilled adult? So it isn’t just for most people. I don’t think it’s just this overnight switch. It’s, it’s an internal, like, I think it’s an internal drive, you know, like, Hey, I wanted, I want more of that. You know, and, and realizing like the Spuds McKenzie lifestyles is really not for me, you know, that’s not fulfilling and eventually I do get the boat and I do, you know, get to have access to all those nice things, but I’ve been on that boat and I’ve realized like, yeah, this isn’t the most fulfilling thing in my life, hands down. And I live near like beautiful places like Lake Powell, Lake Mead, you know, these are iconic settings. And, and it’s like, yeah, this is cool and all, but you know, I’ve got other things that are my priority. Amazing. That’s a, that was a big epiphany, you know, like, yeah, I’ve made it and this is what it’s all about. I’m
Brenda:
 39:05standing on my boat and I can see. Yeah. And when you say trust the process, is that just something in, in early recovery or maybe throughout recovery that you are being told. Things, or maybe you’re seeing things and it’s, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to you if you look at it from a lip. Like logistical standpoint or a rational standpoint, but you’ve seen enough evidence that that is something that you want and you’re willing to try it, like, explain that trust the process a little bit for me.
Roy:
 39:43Sure. Yeah. And I, and I think I’ve intentionally overused that theme, you know, during my recovery, because it’s so simple yet. It is a matter of taking that big leap of faith. And once again, I was broken enough when I got in the rooms. And I was fortunate enough to at least be introduced or exposed to people that had like histories of similar to mine and whether it be the charisma whether it be their jovial attitude and and what I perceive is like Somebody who has choices today versus probation Let’s say and and i’m like, yeah, this is this is somebody that is clearly doing this recovery step work involvement, fellowship, et cetera. I believe that their lives are different as a result. And it’s not my case right now, but I believe. That the people that are telling me, like, if I just stick around and continue to do the deal and, and not drink again, everything else that, that seems uncertain and pending will kind of resolve itself, you know, and, and it, it doesn’t happen magically, I have to do the work, but I kept showing up and I think that for me, my consistency with, with meeting attendants and my showing up for, you know, For my process groups or men’s groups over the years has been to my benefit, you know, so I need outside feedback. I need perspective, the pivot, a pivot and perspective.
Brenda:
 41:14Well, it sounds like really having those people around you that have what you want, but not in the false way, like the boat and the beer and the girls, what you truly want and seeing part of the way that they got that was through a clear head and a clear mind and a, a life of recovery. It, it feels like it just takes some time to get there because I think about our kids in our community. And so many of them are just so. Caught up in the life that they think they’re supposed to have and chasing that whatever’s on TikTok, they’re chasing whatever’s on YouTube or whatever. And it’s, it’s just a lot to quiet and figure out maybe that isn’t it. And I, and I don’t know if you can do that when you’re a teen, like can a teenager do that? Is their brain even capable of that? You know what I mean?
Roy:
 42:12I totally hear you and I know what you mean. And the issue that I just want to disclaim is like, I’m not a teenager dealing with current climate, right? I’m just this adult observer. And you know, as far as we didn’t have access to so many things, I mean, our kids have these, 1, 000 phones, you know, mine are second, my kids are second hand, but it’s like, you know, still, I didn’t have the choices and options. And, and I do have this dilemma too, is like, that’s their social currency, you know? So a lot of their, their, their self esteem is based on, you know, having access to these things. But I got to remember is like, I’m not, that’s not my problem. You know, things like this is, that’s not my problem right now. I totally sympathize. And I know what it’s like to not have what everybody else has or have access to whatever, what I perceive is everybody having access to not my problem because. Right now your life is in jeopardy and I, I care enough about you that I’m willing to pull all this in order for us to reset as a family. Yeah. And, but that is one of the most difficult concepts to digest to a family that’s never considered having a child. The issues of addiction and that kind of scenario in their home, you know, so it is so foreign a concept.
Brenda:
 43:33Well, I think this is a great place to wrap up for today. I think your story is super helpful to hear some of the mindsets that you had, some of the insights that you had, really helpful for parents because we, we observe our kids going through the world and, and experience through some of this and we can’t. You know, it’s not like there’s writing on their brain that we can read. So this is really helpful to be able to tap into some of that knowledge and have a lot of empathy. I think for someone who, like you said, like we’re not out here having fun, although sometimes it looks like it. Sure. To parents, right. From the outside looking in, it can look like they’re having fun, but I think that was really. And I think it’s really helpful to hear like, no, this actually isn’t a lot of fun.
Roy:
 44:23There’s no one stop shop for all it. You know, there’s all of our, our circumstances are going to be different. And, and I just, you know, as, as a, as a parent today, I, I don’t think it’s an impossible culture or climate to navigate in. It just being more aware of the circumstances and you, you hold the cards, believe it or not, in a lot of these circumstances to influence a better outcome. It, it just we got to endure them being mad at us for a little bit maybe, but we’re just showing love in a different, from a different approach.
Brenda:
 44:59Thank you, Roy. I appreciate your time. I appreciate you joining us and best of luck in the parenting adventure.
Roy:
 45:09Yeah, you too. Have a great week. Thank you too. All right. Take care. Bye. Bye.
Brenda:
 45:13Okay. My friend, that’s a wrap for today. Don’t forget to download the new ebook, Worried Sick. It’s totally free and will shed so much light on positive tools and strategies you can use right now to start creating conditions for change in your home. And as always, you can find any resources mentioned during today’s show at brendazain. com forward slash podcast. That is where every episode is listed and you can search by keywords. Episode number, or the guest name, plus we’ve created playlists for you, which make it easier to find episodes grouped by topic. And those are at brendazane. com forward slash playlists. Please be extraordinarily good to yourself today. Take a deep breath. You have got this. You are not doing it alone. And I will meet you right back here next week.

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