Thursday, July 12, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: TSN'S MICHAEL LANDSBERG

I have to say I'm tremendously excited for you to hear this month's Recovery podcast interview because I think it's going to help A LOT of people.

National sports broadcaster and Mental Health advocate Michael Landsberg is our latest guest on the Pedersen Recovery Rodcast for Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs!

The award-winning broadcaster and host of TSN's Off The Record is a household name in Canada but has only recently hit the speaking trail telling his story about his struggles with Mental Illness.

Specifically, Landsberg suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and depression which are a bitch. (In case you didn't know).  You'll learn from this interview that Landsberg knows all the ins and outs of Mental Health struggles, and is now a huge supporter for mental health awareness, popularizing the hashtag #sicknotweak in tribute to his mental illness.

Michael and I first crossed paths in the fall of 2008 when I was a guest on Off The Record in Toronto and, to put it bluntly, it didn't go well. The two of us failed to "click" and it made for an awkward episode which would never be destined for the Best Of file.

I later discovered that I had an experienced an anxiety blackout during the show and barely remember much of it.

Fast forward to now, and Michael Landsberg and I are both on the other side of our demons and are out campaigning across the country trying to help others.

I'm super proud to say that we're on the same team.

If you're battling Mental Illness, this month's interview should help a great deal. If you're struggling with something but can't quite figure out what it is, then this episode is a must-listen. It may trigger something in you to go get the help that you need.

A huge shoutout goes to our sponsors Fine Foods, Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for continuing to sponsor Pedersen Recovery Inc. and bring you this podcast on a regular basis.

Now, let's hear from Michael Landsberg:

Saturday, June 30, 2018

MONTREAL GAZETTE: RIDERS' PEDERSEN GETS LIFE, CAREER BACK ON TRACK

The following story originally appeared in the Montreal Gazette's June 29/2018 edition, in the Inside The CFL feature, written by Hall of Fame writer Herb Zurkowsky:

REGINA — More than three years later, Rod Pedersen still tells the story when asked, almost as though it has become cathartic to relive his battle with alcoholism and the subsequent fight to become sober.

And each time the narrative becomes easier, each graphic detail of a life that was spiralling into self-destruction flowing more readily.

“They say when you can tell your story without crying, you’ve healed,” Pedersen said. “Most times, I can tell it without crying.”

Pedersen, 45, a big fish in a small pond, has been the radio voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 20 seasons, a broadcaster at Regina radio station CKRM since 1995. And he easily could have lost it all.

The native of Milestone, Sask., a farming community (pop. 640) 50 kilometres south of Regina, began drinking at age 16.

Perhaps Pedersen was bored living in such a small town. Or perhaps it was the peer pressure. Or perhaps he succumbed to a genetic predisposition. His father, Jim, also a recovering alcoholic, drank for 43 years until 1974, and warned his son the condition might be passed down.

“I knew it was a potential problem. It was causing problems in my life early on. I just wasn’t willing to look at them,” Pedersen said. “I was drinking until I blacked out, and that didn’t deter me. I could not quit. The idea of reaching out and asking for help never donned on me.

“I thank God I never tried drugs. I wouldn’t be sitting here, talking to you today. I’d be dead.”

Pedersen, once the voice of the junior hockey Prince Albert Raiders at age 20, never drank before or during a Riders broadcast — the sanctity of that job in Saskatchewan simply too important. But he also hosts a daily sports talk show that, at one point, was simultaneously sponsored by three breweries, all of which readily made their products available at the station. And it wasn’t uncommon for Pedersen to broadcast the show from banquets or sports bars.



“It (beer) was like a magic tonic to me. I literally couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “I wanted to drink to the point where I couldn’t move. I had it stashed all over the station. If I didn’t black out, I didn’t think I was drunk. The floor of my car vehicle was littered with beer cans. Shockingly, I didn’t think that was a problem.”

In summer 2014, Pedersen successfully auditioned for his dream job and was hired to become the radio voice of the Calgary Flames. And, when his drinking problem was discovered, quickly, he was removed from the position. That sent him into a deep depression — later diagnosed as anxiety disorder — and accelerated his drinking.

“If you thought I drank too much, just watch me. Now I’m going to drink more,” he remembered vowing.

The more he drank, the louder and more obnoxious he became. Once the life of the party, the funny guy with the one-liners, Pedersen quickly discovered none of his friends wanted to associate with him.

“That becomes the loneliest place in the world and, frankly, quite embarrassing,” he said.

Pedersen mixed anti-depressants with alcohol while on the job. He was frequently sent home from work and was forced by his employer to sign documents stating, were he drunk in public or at work, he would be terminated. Finally, in January 2015, drugs in his system and so drunk he was incoherent, Pedersen was suspended, told to enter a recovery program or he’d be fired.

“I gave them more than enough reasons to terminate me,” he said.

The first year of his recovery battle was the most difficult, Pedersen said, avoiding the temptation of reaching for a drink; the constant battle raging in his head between the good and bad voices, along with the craving for alcohol.

Pedersen will never say for certain the habit has been kicked. He wants to say it’s behind him, and believes that to be true. He proudly proclaims he vacationed at an all-inclusive Mexican resort last winter, not one drop of alcohol touching his palate despite the voice in his head arguing nobody would know if he had just one drink. What would it matter?

Pedersen continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings once a week. He attended classes in the U.S., received a diploma as an addiction-treatment specialist and coaches recovering alcoholics three or four times each week. He also works in conjunction with the Betty Ford Center.

Most importantly, on Saturday night, after the Riders-Alouettes broadcast concludes, Pedersen will go straight home where his wife since 2012, Cindy, will await.

“A lot of people didn’t think I could overcome this and win the battle,” Pedersen said proudly. “That was the fuel, to prove them wrong. It’s a happy story, and the world doesn’t have a lot of them.

“Don’t give up on yourself, because I did. Anybody can be saved.”

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

http://montrealgazette.com/sports/football/cfl/inside-the-cfl-riders-radio-host-gets-his-life-career-back-on-track

Thursday, June 21, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: SKIDROW CEO JOE ROBERTS


OTTAWA - This month's Pedersen Recovery Rodcast comes to you from the Nation's Capital.

As I'm learning quickly, Recovery is a small world. Multi-millionaire businessman Joe Roberts is known as the "Skidrow CEO" and his Recovery story is one of legend. The 51-year old was a homeless, drug-addicted teen in Vancouver but after getting sober in his early-20's, he became the President & CEO of a Fortune 500 company in less than a decade.

And then he relapsed. He went from living in a 4,500-sq foot home overlooking downtown Vancouver to living in a van. Joe had to rebuild himself all over again, and he did.

In the spring of 2017, Joe came through Regina as part of his cross-Canada tour raising awareness and funds for youth homelessness. He literally pushed a shopping cart from Newfoundland to Vancouver, symbolic of what he lived out of as a teen.

During that stop in Regina, Joe asked me to join him out on the TransCanada Highway.

So I did. And we connected. The photo above is evidence of that.

So during a work trip to Ottawa this week, I happened to learn that Joe Roberts was speaking at a convention at The Westin Ottawa.

I went and tracked Joe and his wife Maria down at the Shaw Convention Centre during his pre-event soundcheck and we caught up.

And, as luck would have it, the Skidrow CEO sat down to share his inspiring personal story with our podcast.

As always, we are brought to you by Pedersen Recovery Inc. sponsors Fine Foods, Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport Pro and C.J. Evans Home Designs. I encourage you to click on their ads and try them out. I'm so grateful for their sponsorship.

Now, to this month's podcast with Joe Roberts:

ADDICTION EXPLAINED

Addiction, unfortunately, is sweeping the continent and destroying families, careers and lives at a record pace. It's hard to imagine any individual, or family, who isn't affected by Addiction in some form or another.

If you have a loved one, employee or friend who's battling Addiction and their actions baffle you, keep reading.

If you yourself are in the grips of Addiction and want to find a way out, then definitely keep reading.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Carrie Kappel (Associate Director, Health Care Professionals Program) gave an hour-long presentation via webinar on Wednesday entitled Addiction: Part Art, Part Science.

I was invited to participate in the event as a partner of the Betty Ford Center. The Foundation regularly sends me their research studies for use in my own presentations (teenage marijuana usage, prevalence of substance abuse among military vets, intervention techniques, etc.).

Ms. Kappel's address was clear, concise, and explained the Disease of Addiction in easy-to-understand terms. As someone who's successfully battled Addiction and is now striving to help others find the road to Recovery, I found the talk very worthwhile.

Here are some key points from the session:

- Addiction is a brain disease.

- Addiction is treatable.

- Up to 70% of Addictions patients at Betty Ford Centers have other Mental Illnesses besides Addiction but those abate over time and the patients learn coping skills in treatment to manage them.

- Addiction is not a moral or ethical problem although the behaviours of the alcoholics/addicts raise questions about morality. "Why are they drinking again?", "Why are they using again?"

- Addiction is not a personality disorder and it is not a choice. The only choice is the initial choice to drink or use. After a period of time, the body begins to drive the choices they make. The brain gets "highjacked" by the body's physical needs.

- Addiction is not the same as casual use. It's a compulsion to use the alcohol even if the brain doesn't want to. We often hear "I don't remember why I made the decision to drink".

- Intoxification is a reward circuitry disease in the central regions of the brain. It causes surges of dopamine. Dopamine is our "feel good" transmitter which drives the bus. All drugs of abuse enhance the release of dopamine.

- People know their actions are wrong but they are driven by their bodies to get the drug or alchohol. That's why they steal, continually drink and drive, or leave their children alone. It is out of their control.

- The decisions made by people with the Disease of Addiction don't make sense to other people. Once they get into treatment, they begin to see their problem from other peoples' perspective and how their disease has affected them.

- In treatment they learn coping skills and tools to continually battle the disease for years to come.

- Benzos intoxification is very similar to alchohol. Benzos are benzodiazepine medications. These drugs are referred to as benzos and are widely prescribed for a variety of medical and mental health concerns. Xanax was the mostly widely prescribed psychiatric medication from 2005 to 2013. Benzos have hypnotic, muscle-relaxant, or anticonvulsant properties. They can provide anxiety relief.

- Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. They come in tablets, capsules or liquid.

- Opioids contributed to 40,000 deaths in the USA in 2016. That led to changes in how opioids are prescribed.

- Methodone is a full opioid agonist meaning it binds to the dopamine receptors. It can reduce cravings and improve treatment retention. It can decrease criminal activity because addicts aren't stealing to fund their addiction to opiods. Methodone is taken on a long-term basis.

- Opioid withdrawal can feel terrible to the patient but rarely has serious consequences, and is rarely lethal. It can feel like having the flu times 10, but the withdrawal symptoms aren't permanent.

*Hopefully this blog post helps people understand the Disease of Addiction a little more fully!

RP
Twitter: @pedersenrecover
Instagram: @pedersenrecovery
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pedersenrecovery/

Thursday, June 7, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: INTERVENTION TV'S ANDREW GALLOWAY

In the latest Pedersen Recovery Rodcast, we're taking a detour from our usual theme of having sports figures share their Recovery stories.

On this program I'm joined by Mr. Andrew Galloway, a professional Interventionist from the television program Intervention TV Canada which airs on Slice and in the United States on A&E.

Andrew is the former National Director of the Edgewood Health Network, is the co-owner of Hired Sobriety along with Bob Marier, and also works as an Addictions Counselor in Toronto.

Simply put, he's a heavyweight in the Recovery community in Canada.

We met at Intervention Training in New York City in May, put on by Earl Hightower of Hightower Associates. We became fast friends, and Andrew offered to be a guest on our podcast!

On this show Andrew will share his personal Recovery story, and we'll get a behind-the-scenes look at Intervention TV. We'll also explore how Interventions are changing the face of Recovery in North America, and how you can get help for someone struggling with Addictions and Alcoholism.

We'd like to thank Pedersen Recovery Inc. sponsors Milk2Go Sport Pro, Fine Foods and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of our Recovery efforts!

You can listen to the show here:





Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SHARING MY RECOVERY STORY WITH SHEER RECOVERY'S EDDIE JOHNSON

Former NFL/CFL player Eddie Johnson turned the tables on me, and got me to bare it all in this Recovery interview for Sheer Recovery in San Juan, Capistrano. If you're wanting to hear my story, this is it. RP @pedersenrecover

Monday, May 21, 2018

NHL'ERS REIMER, RESCH SPEAK AT MEMORIAL CUP PRAYER BREAKFAST


Current and former NHL goalies James Reimer and Glenn "Chico" Resch were the featured speakers at Saturday's Prayer Breakfast at Memorial Cup in Regina, put on by Hockey Ministries International.

Also speaking were former NHL'er Laurie Boschman, USA Hockey Olympian Noah Welch, Regina Pats career games played leader Frank Kovacs and Leroy Haugan, father of fallen Humboldt Broncos Head Coach & GM Darcy Haugan.

Before a packed house at Hillsdale Baptist Church in South Regina, the event spanned two hours and included hockey personalities from a variety of leagues including the Regina Pat Canadians, SJHL and WHL Chaplains and WHL head office personnel.

Reimer - a product of Morweena, MB - has played 301 NHL games for Toronto, San Jose and Florida and spent his WHL career with the Red Deer Rebels. He was interviewed on stage by the legendary Chico Resch, who spent seven seasons in the NHL with Colorado, NY Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers.

Reimer was asked what message of Faith he had to offer those in attendance. The 30-year old said to "count their blessings" and take time to recognize and appreciate God's miracles around you, even something as simple as a beautiful sunset or a gorgeous day.

Resch - who was raised in Regina and attended Scott Collegiate - told his personal story of sobriety and Faith, which dates back to 1980. He told the crowd that "God gave us freewill. He will not inject himself into your life. You need to seek Him out."

The room fell silent when Leroy Haugan addressed the crowd, and spoke of the unspeakable April 6/2018 bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos which took the life of his son Darcy.

"I was recently golfing with my 12-year old grandson, Darcy's boy," the eldest Haugan said. "And he said 'Papa, I'm not going to give up on Jesus because of this.'"

It was a very powerful moment.

Frank Kovacs said a closing prayer to send the 200-or-so patrons into their May long weekend.

Hockey Ministries International stages events like this at hockey events around the continent, such as the Memorial Cup. Their spokesmen include NHL'ers Shane Doan, Eric Staahl, Jarome Iginla and David Booth.

Hillsdale Baptist Pastor Bill Danyluk - a former Chaplain for the Regina Pats for many years - pulled me aside after the event and said, "I'm glad you finally found my House."

I laughed and said, "At least I finally did! Some people never do."

Saturday was a great event and I was very glad to be there.

RP
FB: Pedersen Recovery Inc.
IG: @pedersenrecovery
Twitter: @pedersenrecover

RECOVERY PODCAST: TSN'S MICHAEL LANDSBERG

I have to say I'm tremendously excited for you to hear this month's Recovery podcast interview because I think it's going to...