Tuesday, March 5, 2019

MENTAL HEALTH PODCAST: NHL GOALIE & BROADCASTER COREY HIRSCH

Welcome back!

It's our first Pedersen Recovery Podcast of 2019 and we're pleased to welcome former NHL goaltender, current Vancouver Canucks broadcaster, and Mental Health Advocate Corey Hirsch!

I'd known - and known of - Corey Hirsch for quite some time. We're the same age, he's from Medicine Hat, AB, and I'd followed his illustrious playing career through his stops in Kamloops, Vancouver, New York, Washington, Dallas and Team Canada.

It was a pleasure to finally meet "Hirschy" in the living room of our mutual friend Curtis Hunt in Regina 10 or so years ago. At the time, Corey was working as a goalie coach.

But what really got my attention - and dropped my jaw - was Corey's raw column on his Mental Health battle on the popular website The Players Tribune two years ago. The courage Corey displayed in telling his story was remarkable, but it was equally sad to hear what he'd gone through including an attempt to take his own life.

Happily, Corey came out on the other side and lived to tell the tale after reaching out for assistance. Now he's sharing his story and doing his best to help others.

Here for you in our latest Recovery Podcast is Corey Hirsch telling his own personal story of battling Mental Illness, and he hopes to help others who might be battling the same thing.

Give it a listen here:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: NFL AND CFL LINEMAN XAVIER FULTON

It's a brand new month, and time for a brand new Recovery Podcast here at Pedersen Recovery Inc.

This interview is one I've been excited to post for quite some time.

At 6'5" and 285 lbs, former NFL and CFL offensive tackle Xavier Fulton certainly looks the part of a rough-and-tumble pro football player.

But his life journey has had more than its share of ups and downs, with football stops in Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Washington, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Hamilton and Montreal.

His longest stint was with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2012-2016), but it was there where he hit his own personal rock bottom and began taking the steps to turn his life around.

Those around him didn't know what "X" was going through at the time, but it turns out to be a familiar story for anyone who's battled the demons of Alcoholism and Mental Illness.

The Chicago, IL product went public with his personal story in 2016, and is happy to share it with our podcast listeners.

Heart-breaking at times, Xavier's story is one of triumph and inspiration and I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you.

Thanks again to our Recovery sponsors Fine Foods, Milk 2 Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of all our Recovery efforts including one-on-one coaching, public speaking, interventions, sober events and this podcast.

Please have a listen here:
 

Monday, December 10, 2018

PEDERSEN RECOVERY RODCAST: CRIS CARTER

Pro Football Hall of Famer and Person In Recovery Cris Carter is the debut guest on the inaugural edition of the Pedersen Recovery RODCAST with host Rod Pedersen.

The 8-time Pro Bowler and long-time ESPN and Fox NFL analyst gives a shockingly raw account of his history with Addictions and Mental Illness, and holds nothing back in this interview.

Carter answers with amazing candor and honesty:

- What's your Recovery story?

- What was life like before, and what's it like now?

- How do you deal with social pressures around drinking?

- What's your Self-Care regimen?

- What advice would you give the still-suffering Alcoholic or Addict?

- What advice would you give young people in the same position you were?

Listen to the show by clicking on the link below. If you have any suggestions for future podcast interviews, please email me or post in the Comment section!

For more information or sponsorship inquiries for Pedersen Recovery Inc., please email Director of Business Development Joe Gunnis at gunny@sasktel.net or Rod Pedersen at pedersenrecovery@aol.com. For more information on the Pedersen Recovery Right Place, Right Time Tour, click here.

Follow our Social Media links at:
Facebook: Pedersen Recovery Coaching Inc.
Twitter: @pedersenrecover
Instagram: @pedersenrecovery

The Pedersen Recovery RODCAST is produced by Jordan McRae. (@jmcraeradio)

LINK: https://soundcloud.com/ridervoice/pedersen-recovery-rodcast-ep-1-cris-carter

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

TALKING ADDICTION WITH DO MORE AG - #ITSTARTSWITHME

1. Rod, we are so grateful to have you join the Do More Agriculture Foundation for a Q and A. We wanted to connect with you because you have been a beacon of strength for many as you overcome alcoholism. Could you tell us about what prompted you to start drinking in the beginning?

- I was raised in a farm community (Milestone, SK) and drinking really was the "thing to do" once you hit high school. Road parties, bush parties, park parties, etc. That was fine for most everyone else but I was drinking to blackout from virtually the beginning. I had a history of alchoholism in the family and some underlying mental health issues that alcohol erased temporarily. I felt like I was just "going with the flow" but it was clear early on that alcohol and I shouldn't mix.

2.  Was there any point in your years of drinking that you thought maybe it had become a problem? Did you tell anyone? 

- My Dad was a recovering alcoholic and he warned me for years that I could be pre-disposed to this. Deep down, from the beginning of my drinking career, I knew that I had a problem because I couldn't drink like my friends and cousins. However the problems caused by drinking, initially, were few and far between so there weren't a ton of red flags raised early on.

3. You often mention the profound power of gratitude. What are three things that you are grateful for right now? 

An alcoholic generally thinks he or she is "hard done by" and others just don't understand. The concept of gratitude was entirely new to me when I entered Recovery but now it's a cornerstone of my life. When I think of what I'm grateful for, it reminds me daily how lucky I am.

1 - A loving and supportive family

2 - Being able to pursue my career dream in my home province

3 - Having a wonderful career and support from the people of Saskatchewan

4. What do you mean when you say ‘recovery is a gift’?

Because the majority of alcoholics and addicts don't ever find Recovery. For those who are big on numbers, 1 in 10 people have an addictive tendency. Only 2% of those 1 in 10 seek help for it, or find "Recovery". It's a second chance at life. A "do-over". I never thought I'd ever achieve sobriety again, or a healthy, happy life. To get something back you thought you'd never see again is the greatest gift you could ever imagine.

5. You have discovered that your purpose is helping people. You and many others, have found their purpose through the battling of their own darkness. If you were to give someone advice on how to find their purpose, what would you say?

I have to credit CFL great Mike "Pinball" Clemons for cluing me in on this. He said to close my eyes for 2 minutes and try to imagine what my purpose was. I did, and a lot of things ran through my mind before it finally dawned on me what I'm here for. I'd encourage anybody else to do the same. Stop talking and start listening to the opportunities that are being presented in your life.

6. It sounds like your wife Cindy has been an incredible support. Would you have any words of advice for someone whose spouse is struggling with alcoholism?

That would more be a question for Cindy but I suppose the family needs to let the alcoholic/addict know that their behaviour won't be tolerated. Two sayings I love in Recovery are, "Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes" and "What You Allow Will Continue". Al Anon is a great support group for families of alcoholics. Cindy and I talk about it and she's let it be known that under no circumstances is it okay for me to have a slip-up with drinking. If it were to happen, she'd be gone. That's enough for me to walk the line.

7. Shame keeps us quiet and isolated and struggling on our own. How do you think we can create more supportive spaces for people who are struggling with the disease of alcoholism to feel seen, understood and heard? 

That's a slippery slope but people need to make the distinction between active alcoholism and Recovery. Of course there's shame in being a drunk, but there should be no shame in getting help and turning your life around. That's why I'm so open about my struggles. When you repair yourself as a human being - and realize you were battling a disease that's treatable - why should you be ashamed about anything? Getting sober and dealing with your demons is a major accomplishment that should be celebrated.

8. What were 3 of the biggest changes you needed to make in your life to foster a hospitable environment for your sobriety? 

1 - Having a support network at the ready whenever I needed it.

2 - Self-care and going to support group meetings regularly

3 - Putting up healthy boundaries, growing a backbone, and not being afraid to do what was best for me and my Recovery.

9. What would you say to your 16 year old self when you went for that first drink?

I would say, "Think hard about what you're doing and why you're doing it."

10. If you could have a billboard set up in a big city where thousands and thousands of people would see it every day, what would your message be? 

"DON'T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF", with a toll-free number for someone who's struggling to call.

https://www.domore.ag/blog/2018/12/3/the-gift-of-recovery-q-amp-a-with-rod-pedersen

Friday, October 12, 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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

This is the most difficult thing I've ever written. In fact, I came to tears a few times while writing it but there's one reason and one reason only why I'm doing it: I know for a fact there are young people out there going through the same things I did years ago. If this piece strikes a chord with just one of them and it spurs them to go make a change in their life, then it will have been worthwhile.

Here goes:

Dear Rod,

Look at you right now. Just look at you.

When you look in the mirror each morning, I know you don't like the young man who's staring back at you very much, do you? It's okay. I've walked in those shoes and realize they're very uncomfortable. I know you don't like looking in the mirror at all.

You think everyone hates you but you're wrong. The fact is everyone who knows you, loves you. When you're not drinking.

Deep, deep down, reallllly deep down, you know that's true but you don't want to do anything about it.

From the very first time you drank as a teenager, you loved it and hated it all at the same time. But you couldn't get enough of it, and still can't. Even though you know it turns you into a monster.

Eventually it will completely take over your life and nothing else will matter. But that's years away and you've still got plenty of damage left to do before then.

Really, the only thing saving your sorry ass right now is your work ethic and your talent. But one day that luck is going to run out too, just like a cat and its nine lives.

I have to ask you - because nobody else will - what the hell is wrong with you?

When somebody close to you like your parents, your brothers, your wife, your bosses or a coach offers you some friendly advice which might save your life, you immediately do exactly the opposite of what they say?

When somebody pays you a compliment, why does it go in one ear and out the other but when some no-name on the internet says the most horrible things about you, you not only hang onto it for days but you actually believe it?

You're killing yourself inside each day and everybody can see it but you. Eventually that spirit that everybody once loved will be totally dead. Why do you keep refusing peoples' gifts of help?

And don't say no one has offered to help. If you go back and think about it, I bet you can count dozens, if not hundreds, of times you've been offered a hand or seen or heard an ad about the warning signs that you're drowning in every day.

You are literally one step away from completely turning your life around for the better, and yet you keep taking the wrong step time after time.

People look to you to lead, but you don't want to lead. When it's time to step up, you want to run and hide, and if it's to a 12-pack of beer, that suits you just fine.

Rod, you have the world by the tail but all you see is what you don't have rather than the incredible things that you DO have. You were born with every possible advantage.

I just don't get it! Will you please open your eyes and wake up?

You don't know it but you've been battling Anxiety Disorder since you were in elementary school. Those suicidal thoughts you've had are NOT normal. But that's okay, it can be fixed. You think you're crazy, but you're not. You have a serious mental illness. I just wish you'd tell somebody.

Guess what? One day you're going to be going on doctor-prescribed anti-Depressants too.

No shit you're depressed! You've taken a flamethrower to every relationship and friendship you have and caused possibly irreparable damage to your career! The pills aren't going to fix that.

But, pick your chin up.

I mean it.

Your family and bosses aren't going to give up on you even though you've long since given up on yourself. They know the smart, kindhearted person you are beneath all of these problems and they are NOT going to let you to go down in flames.

Every single thing in your life can be repaired and you'll save an immense amount of pain if you start doing it right now.

You are going to be strong. You are not going to be bothered by what people say because you'll know exactly who you are for the first time in your life. You're never going to have to look over your shoulder again because you're always going to be in the right place, at the right time.

Best of all, God has given you another unbelievable gift which is the ability to connect with those who are still struggling. You are in flames now, but you know the road to sunshine and you'll have the ability to pass that on to those who are still lost. Helping others will make your heart explode with pride, more than anything you've ever done.

All I ask is, please do it today. Time's wasting.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

MAILBAG: FIELDING QUESTIONS ON ALCOHOLISM & ADDICTIONS

It's been several months since I invited questions from blog readers on Alcoholism & Addiction, and did my best to provide answers. The last time proved to be a very worthwhile exercise as it shed plenty of light on what peoples' loved ones, or themselves, are battling with substance abuse. So after inviting more questions last week, here's my best swing at answering them:

1 - WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICTED?

This comes up a lot and I'm guessing it's because people want to know if the symptoms they're feeling are a sign that they have a serious problem.

The first thing that comes to mind when answering this question is that the person-in-question has a pre-occupation with alcohol and their current supply of it (or whatever substance they're hooked on). It's on their mind most of the time throughout the day. For example: planning when's the next time they can drink, what they'll drink, where they'll get it, perhaps how they'll hide it, how they'll get home, etc. Normally fun events like weddings, sporting events, fishing trips and family gatherings really just turn out to be an excuse to drink, and unfortunately that's generally where bad things happen.

When looking at this question, it wouldn't hurt to look up the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Some people abuse alcohol periodically which may cause problems on occasion while others depend on alcohol to cope with life. Big difference.

And, perhaps the best answer to this question is the definition of Addiction: When you want to quit using a substance or behaviour but are unable to, even when it's causing problems in your life.

2 - YOU LOST A PARENT RECENTLY AND HAVE OTHER CURRENT FAMILY CRISES. ARE YOU IN DANGER OF RELAPSING?

As a recovering alcoholic, I'm always in danger of relapsing! But no. I've examined this and I think that after 1,284 days sober, I've realized that getting drunk won't help matters. In fact, it would just add a host of new problems and make me feel worse. I don't need it, and booze has ruined enough of my life already.

But what DOES worry me is that with these recent hardships, my mind has returned to my old way of thinking. That is: "What if I do this?", "What if I do that?", "Maybe I shouldn't be here, but I should be there!", "What are people thinking of me?", "Am I doing a good enough job?", "Should I be at work?", "Should I be at home?", "Am I disappointing my family?", etc. All those thoughts were flooding through my head, round and round, at warp speed, for days on end. That's the rampant and raging Anxiety I lived with my entire life, which alcohol would cure for a night (but isn't an option anymore).

This scares the hell out of me! However I now know to tell my wife, call a sober friend, talk to my counsellor (Rand Teed), my sober coach (Bob Marier), slip into meditation or go to a meeting. Once I do this, the panic evaporates in minutes and I can get on with living normally.

3 - WHAT DO YOU WITH THE PHYSICAL CRAVINGS FOR ALCOHOL OR DRUGS?

IN MY OPINION, Addiction is a mental illness and therefore those physical cravings are your mind tricking your body into believing you need the substance. This was explained very well in the seminar I participated in with the Hazelden Betty Ford Center.

It's not surprising this question came from a reader who's in his first year of sobriety. I had three such attacks in Year 1 of my Recovery (later described as "Anxiety/Panic Attacks") by my Addictions Counsellor.

Thank God I had a sober companion with me, or my wife, at those times or else I would've fallen mightily. That's why it's tough for a single person to stay on course in Year 1, so it's imperative they continue to reach out for help in the tough times. Don't isolate!

4 - DID YOU GO TO A TREATMENT CENTRE FOR YOUR RECOVERY?

No but I wish I had. I certainly qualified for it because I had a huge, huge problem with alcohol. However I had a variety of stupid excuses not to go, which turned out to all be unfounded. I thought rehab facilities were scary places (they're actually just the opposite), I didn't want to be a financial drain on my employer or family (however they actually were more-than-willing to pay if it got me better), and I was afraid of what going to treatment would do to my reputation (which, in reality, was already blown to pieces but I was completely unaware of that in my alcoholic fog).

My counsellor said I took the long way to Recovery (out-patient support group meetings and one-on-one counselling) but at least I got there eventually because I badly, badly wanted sobriety. However now after touring treatment centres across the country - meeting the friendly staff and talking to patients - I really wish I had gone. Oh well, no looking back.

5 - WAS IT EMBARRASSING TO FACE AN INTERVENTION?

No, because my whole life was an embarrassment at the time. It was sort of an "add it to the pile" mentality. My opinion of myself was very, very low. It's typical addict thinking, and it's one of the reasons why I hate the disease so much. It sabotages good people. In retrospect I suppose I should've been embarrassed by it, but at the time, I was not.

6 - WHY DOES A.A. WORK?

Because it's a group of like-minded individuals who have all faced the same battle in their lives, and are winning. Once you walk through the doors of a meeting, you immediately feel like you're at home. That's also one of the best things of going to meetings all over the continent; you don't feel like you're walking into a room full of strangers even if you're 3,000 miles from home.

And beyond that, as far as the mechanics of the association go, you'd have to go for yourself to find out. However suffice it to say that no one gets left behind and if you truly want to find sobriety, you will in AA. I've found the people who have the most success in Recovery are regular meeting attendees. Those who struggle to stay sober also struggle to go to meetings.

7 - WHAT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE GET SOBER VERSUS RELAPSING?

That's an incredibly difficult question to answer and I've seen numbers published that range anywhere from 50% to 90%. That question came out of the crowd when I was speaking at the Oak Tree Place fundraiser in Moose Jaw this spring and I settled on this answer:

"If you keep trying to get sober, no matter the setbacks, you will eventually get it. However if you stop trying, I guarantee you will not."

8 - WHAT'S YOUR ROLE IN RECOVERY AND/OR WHAT'S PEDERSEN RECOVERY?

First and foremost I'm a Person in Recovery, saved from Alcohol Addiction on 01-27-2015. Secondly, I'm an Advocate for Recovery, spreading the message of hope but also fighting for funding in the War on Addiction. Thirdly, I'm working as a Sober Coach/Interventionist for individuals struggling with Addiction, no matter where they may be in the Arc of Recovery: active addiction//treatment//aftercare. Fourthly, we produce sober events which are family-friendly and are an effort to normalize sobriety rather than normalizing drinking and over-indulgence. Watch for one near you!

9 - WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF SOBER COACHING?

Obviously it's watching people take on their demons head-on and have success on a daily basis. Then, it's rewarding to see them get their lives back, their families, their jobs and everything they hold dear, but lost due to the Disease of Alcoholism/Addiction. I'm a highly competitive person - probably from my background in sports - and I actually enjoy the war against Addiction everyday. I don't like to lose, and don't plan to.

10 - DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE, MANTRA OR MISSION STATEMENT?

Yes. Two of them. 1) It's Never Too Late. Don't ever give up on yourself. I thought I was a lost cause, but thankfully there were a few people left who didn't give up on me. And 2) Anyone Can Be Saved. I've yet to come across someone who can't achieve sobriety if they truly want to. I refuse to give up on anyone. As Dr. Phil says, "I will never surrender to the disease."

RP
@PedersenRecovery

Saturday, October 6, 2018

PEDERSEN RECOVERY RODCAST: SCOTT OAKE


"If you fight against Addiction daily and are successful, I think that makes you a hero."

- Scott Oake

The star of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada Scott Oake tells his family's Recovery story on the latest Pedersen Recovery Rodcast.

Oake's son Bruce died of a drug overdose in 2011 in Winnipeg and while the Oake family will always struggle with that loss, they are working hard to ensure Bruce's death wasn't in vain.

In this month's podcast Scott talks about what got Bruce on the wrong path, how he struggled even in Recovery, the stigma facing both active and recovering addicts, and what the family is doing to attack the Addiction Crisis in Winnipeg.

A huge thank you to our sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs for bringing you another edition of the podcast, and for sponsoring my speaking tour on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery.

The next stop on the tour is Saturday, May 12 at the fundraising gala for the Oak Tree Place centre in Moose Jaw. We'll be raising funds for the opening of the facility and the speakers are Billy Cuthbert and me. For tickets email jody.oakes@sasktel.net.

Please give the podcast a listen here:

Friday, October 5, 2018

TOP 10 BEST THINGS OF A SOBER LIFE

Nine times out of 10 when someone I meet learns that I no longer drink (1187 days as of this writing), they say, "Boy it must be great not having to deal with hangovers!"

Of course it is, but in truth that's about the 10th best thing I've discovered from leading a sober life. So for this week's blog post, here are my Top 10 Best Things of My Sober Life after hitting rock bottom on January 26, 2015:

1 - NO FEAR: The rest of these points really are in no particular order but this is my clearcut #1. Why? Because imagine being paralyzed by fear so much that you're afraid to look at your phone, you shudder in a cold sweat each and every time a text or call comes in because you assume you're in trouble for something you did or said while drinking (and most times you don't even remember doing it). Imagine having to tiptoe around your boss's office to avoid his angry glare for your drunken antics, or constantly worry about "who's talking to who" about the drama you created about yourself.

Now, all of that is gone and that's the biggest relief in the world.

2 - EXPERIENCING LIFE: A week long trip to Mexico seems like two weeks, or a 2-day road trip seems like a 4-day adventure because you're not drunk half the time and hungover in bed for the other half. Somebody just asked me this week how I handle so much life on the road without drinking and he said "What's life like?" Well, it was exhilarating to be sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Toronto at 7:00 am last Saturday when Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter walked in. The old me would've still been in bed sleeping it off. On this morning, Carter and I chatted, took a photo, and I soon learned he's in long-term Recovery too. That's one of hundreds of examples of how nice it is to be "with it", and finally enjoying the real side of life rather than getting loaded in a dingy bar.

3 - FREEDOM: It's a real thing. Not having to take the long way around a checkstop never gets old, and it's empowering to drive by a cop and look him in the eye. This may seem elementary to you if you're not an alcoholic, but hardcore drinkers will nod their heads like a bobblehead when they read this. Above all else, it's nice to be able to rent a car on so many of our trips and know Blood Alcohol Level won't be a problem. Travelling across borders is effortless and free. Sober living is win, win, win.

4 - TRUST: This has to rank up near the top, and it's wide-ranging. But the big one is the security that my wife and family feels about me now when I'm off on my own. There are no worries that I'll get into trouble or injure myself. A scrape on my shin or hands is easily explained - and believed - rather than the elaborate lies I had to cook up in my old life. That was exhausting. Now it's all gone. My family knows I'll be doing the right thing, all the time, when I'm gone or when they're gone.


Photo by Larry Mueller
5 - FINANCES: This shouldn't be surprising, but it's bigger than you think. It's one thing to ring up high bar tabs for yourself and buy the whole tavern drinks just so you have somebody to drink with (pathetic I know, but it was a regular occurrence). But what about this: lost sunglasses, cell phones, VEHICLES, and every other material possession you could think of. It didn't take very long into Recovery for me to see my bank account go up, up, and up. In fact, I bought a Jeep this summer with money I've saved in sobriety and it's a reward I realize every day.

6 - RESPECT AND SELF-RESPECT: Did you know the most important things on this earth, you can't buy? (Love, respect, trust, dignity, health). I'm literally years into Recovery and still digging myself out of the 25-year hole I created while wallowing in the disease of Alcoholism. It's a day-by-day effort to restore respect and dignity and it only comes by proving yourself every 24 hours (hence our favourite saying, One Day At A Time). However the days stack up into weeks, months and years and I've met a lot of new people who have no idea about my past. They say I'm a nice, respectable, admirable person and some even call me Mr. Pedersen. I never thought getting to this point would ever be possible. Again, what a reward for sobriety.

On the flipside, as an addict you allow people to treat you like garbage because you think you are garbage. Because of your dirty little secret, you don't think you can have nice things. However once that secret is out in the open and dealt with, life becomes a whole new world. Put it this way: if you mistreat me now, you'd better be prepared for a fight.

7 - CLEAR MIND: They call it the "Alcoholic Fog" and it too is a thing. Booze really takes over your brain and clouds all of your thinking. That, I feel, is why 90 days in Recovery is a real milestone because by that point, you should be coming out of the fog, detangling your mind, feeling 100% better physically, and realizing a sober life is the ONLY option for an alcoholic. There were times on my radio show where my mind would just "freeze" because of my drinking and I literally could not think. That is not optimum on live radio. It was absolutely horrible.

One day last year I was sitting on the patio of a coffee house in Phoenix and looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. I thought to myself, "My mind is as clear as that Arizona sky." What a feeling!

8 - MY HEALTH: You would think this would be higher on the list, and perhaps it should be. When I got into Recovery everyone kept saying, "You're sick!" and "You're not well!" What on earth were they talking about? I was in the gym at least an hour everyday. But it was the shock of my life when my doctor said I'd be dead in a year the way I was going if I didn't change my life, pronto. Someone told me last week that I look 10 years younger. My skin is fresh and that's likely because I sleep like a baby. ("A clean conscience is the softest pillow" - John Wooden). I am preparing for a long and happy life rather than wishing I was dead, which I did just a few years ago.

9 - NOT FEELING LOST: This kind of spills into my Anxiety Disorder but it's another real thing. As an alcoholic you feel like you're on an island - except for your drinking buddies - but when you get into Recovery you meet dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people who are just like you. That's a nice feeling. And by keeping a daily journal you plant your feet on the ground rather than waving around in the wind like a balloon. I got started in this by my accountant who wanted me to track my mileage on a daily basis. Soon I was writing down who I talk with daily, where I went for lunch, family events, etc. Basically, it feels like you have your shit together for the first time in your life.

10 - NO HANGOVERS: So, yes, not having hangovers is a pretty wonderful way to go through life but it doesn't really compare to the nine other points above. Plus, when you drink as much as an alcoholic does, hangovers aren't really that bad. I see people who go on benders once or twice every year and sometimes wonder, "Why can't I do that?" However I quickly realize that I was doing it every weekend or sometimes multiple times per week. It was completely ruining my life and I'm grateful every minute of every day that I found the road out.

* If you have a serious problem with alcohol (if it's causing problems in your life), then it's imperative that you seek help. If it's deemed that you suffer from Alcoholism, then drinking can no longer be part of your life.

Hopefully this week's blog shows you what the upside of that is. It's ALL positive.

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

SC: Pedersenmedia

Thursday, October 4, 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:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

THE NEXT STEP IN MY RECOVERY

Another milestone in my sobriety.

On the weekend of May 5/2018 I found myself in a conference room in Times Square in New York, NY receiving training from renowned Interventionist Earl Hightower of Hightower Associates. He's a pioneer in the industry, having done roughly 2,000 interventions over the past 35 years.

How did I end up there? Well, fairly early on in my journey of sobriety (Sober Date 01-27-2015) some of the titans of the Recovery industry put their arm around me and said "Come with us". I'm so grateful they did. They've opened up so many doors that I didn't even know existed. One of those doors was Intervention training and the notion was, "You're going to need this training so you might as well get it from the best. His name is Earl Hightower."

What did I learn? Well, I didn't spend thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles just to divulge all the information here for free. Suffice it to say it was 3 days of pretty intense training with a lot of time spent on ethics. I took many things away from the weekend but one stands out above the rest and that is Earl standing in the middle of the room with his index finger pointed. "Don't lie, and don't bluff," he warned.

Earl and me
A warm wave came over me at that moment because I'm not comfortable doing either of those things, yet they're a hallmark of the world I currently live in.

It's also why I turned down a recent offer to get into politics. I was told that as a politician you need to "be able to look in someone's face and lie". No thanks. That notion makes me want to puke.

In fact one lady at the training told me, "You're at home now". The room was filled with all walks of Recovery life including addictions counselors, psychotherapists, treatment center residential managers, intake specialists, sober coaches and sober companions and even the owner/producer of Intervention TV, Andrew Galloway. (That show, by the way, gets 2.1-million viewers a week on A&E. He bought me a steak supper).

I was anxious going in because I didn't know if I'd fit in but I quickly felt like a kid going to summer camp. I couldn't wait to see everybody each morning and didn't want to leave at the end of the day.

So, I'm a trained Interventionist but who knows when I'll do my first one. I have a little experience in the area since I was the target of an Intervention on January 28/2015 so I know the drill. Who knew that painful experience would pay such dividends just a few years later?

Less than 24 hours after returning home from New York, I was getting messages from treatment centers and sober living houses wondering when they'll start getting referrals. The first step is touring their facilities and meeting face-to-face, which I'm already doing.

I thought I lived in a fast-paced environment of Sports & Entertainment but that looks like it's in slow motion compared to the Addiction world, which is currently in a crisis. When someone needs help, they need it NOW! And we move at the speed of light.

The whole idea is getting people help, and saving lives.

These people don't care that I'm the broadcaster for a CFL team and only have a few years sobriety. "That's good enough! We need your help. We're in a crisis that's growing!"

That's a rush.

This experience will be part of my keynote address at the fundraising gala for the Oak Tree Place community centre in Moose Jaw, SK on Saturday night. I'll be sharing my Recovery story for those in attendance and raising funds for Oak Tree, which will be a safe place in Moose Jaw for those battling Addiction.

Honestly I'd prefer to just move on from that dreadful period of my life just over three years ago when doctors told me I'd be dead in less than a year if I didn't stop drinking immediately. But now people want to know how I've been able to do it, and I'm more than happy to share if it helps someone.

For tickets please email Jody Oakes at jody.oakes@sasktel.net.

Thanks to gala sponsors Sask Power, Hill St. Beverage Co., Fraser Strategy, Outlaw Communications, Clark's Supply & Service, Fine Foods and EMJ Marketing. Thanks also to CKRM Radio, CTV and Global TV for their promotion of the event.

One Day At A Time,
RP
TW: @pedersenrecover
IG: @pedersenrecovery

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: VOICE OF THE PATS PHIL ANDREWS

Recovery Month is behind us but as you hopefully all know by now, the Recovery beat goes on. It's a 24/7, 365-day, 12-month job but IT'S SO WORTH IT!

It was great to spread the word of Recovery, raise awareness about the Addiction battle, and celebrate those who are winning the war against alcohol and drugs. Thanks to the Government of Saskatchewan and City of Regina for recognizing the importance of this movement.

Thanks also to all who attended and/or supported our Recovery Day Luncheon on September 19 featuring guest speaker Dr. Wendy Gore Hickman! For those new to the event, I know they were blown away.

That brings us to our next Recovery podcast guest.

Phil Andrews is the Voice of the WHL's Regina Pats and although just 29 years of age, he got into Recovery at the age of 18!

His road to Recovery has been a very rocky one and in this podcast interview, Phil bares all. It's not easy to do that, but it can certainly be therapeutic in a way. And although Phil isn't out beating the drum of sobriety or advertising his story, he's certainly not ashamed to tell his story if it'll help someone out.

True courage indeed.

Thanks to our Pedersen Recovery sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support in bringing you this show each month!

Now, here's Phil Andrews with his Recovery story:





Sunday, September 16, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: NHL GREAT CHICO RESCH

September is Recovery Month in Saskatchewan where we celebrate people in Recovery from Alcoholism & Addiction. On our latest Recovery Podcast, we interview NHL great Glenn "Chico" Resch. Chico is a Saskatchewan product, who was born in Moose Jaw and raised in Regina.

Resch spent 14 seasons in the National Hockey League as a goaltender with the New York Islanders, Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. He also won a Stanley Cup while with New York.

These days, Chico is a broadcaster with the New Jersey Devils and also a key figure with Hockey Ministries International. While at the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, Chico and Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer spoke at the HMI Breakfast. At the soldout event, Resch shared his personal Faith story and also how he turned his life around by turning his back on alcohol.

This interview should be mandatory-listening for young athletes as well as their coaches, managers and parents as Chico and I discuss peer pressure within a locker room, and how easy it is to go down the wrong road like we did.

It's possible to turn your life around before it's too late.

Thanks to Pedersen Recovery sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of our efforts including this podcast, sober coaching, interventions, public speaking and sober events.

Listen to our latest podcast here:
Don't forget the 6th Annual Recovery Day luncheon is this Wednesday, September 19 featuring guest speaker Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman and me as the MC.

Thanks for listening!
RP
@pedersenrecovery




Saturday, September 1, 2018

ADDICTION RECOVERY PODCAST: LAST DOOR'S DAVE PAVLUS

September has been proclaimed "Recovery Month" in the Province of Saskatchewan and in honour of that, we're going to have a series of special Recovery interviews here on the podcast.

In addition, Wednesday, September 19 as been designated "Recovery Day" by the City of Regina and that's when we're holding our 6th annual Recovery Day Luncheon featuring guest speaker Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman and me as the Master of Ceremonies. For tickets, email reginarecoveryday@gmail.com.

Our first Recovery interview of September is with Dave Pavlus, the owner/operator of the Last Door Recovery Society for men in New Westminster, BC (27 km from downtown Vancouver).

Dave's Recovery story will knock your socks off, and is the first podcast interview in which I'll invoke a *LANGUAGE DISCLAIMER*.  Dave P. goes hardcore, old school while telling his Recovery story and it's what you probably need to hear. I suppose I've become somewhat de-sensitized to this stuff but when I played the interview for my wife, she almost covered her ears. THIS IS REAL!

Obviously, if you're following this podcast, you must be affected by addictions in some way. Dave has seen the ugliness of Alcoholism and Addiction from all sides and gave me a fresh perspective on the topic.

Thanks to sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs for their continued support of Pedersen Recovery. Their generousity makes all of the things possible that we do including this podcast, sober coaching, interventions, public speaking and sober events.

So, to kick off Recovery Month with a BANG, here is the Last Door's Dave Pavlus:






Saturday, August 4, 2018

PEDERSEN RECOVERY RODCAST: CLINT MALARCHUK

We're back for Round 2 of the Pedersen Recovery Rodcast!

As we continue to bring together the worlds of Recovery and professional sports, we chat on this episode with All Star NHL goaltender Clint Malarchuk.

We're also proud to announce the Rodcast is sponsored by Fine Foods and Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport! To perform like a Pro you need to recover like a Pro.

Clint Malarchuk is a product of Grande Prairie, Alberta and played in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks before being drafted in the 7th Round of the NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques.
Clint was in the NHL between 1981-1992 with the Nordiques, Sabres and Capitals and was named an NHL All-Star.

He also was the victim of one of the most tragic events in NHL history when his throat was slashed by an opponent's skate and he nearly bled to death at the Auditorium in Buffalo. That was one of many traumatic events Clint has experienced in his life and he turned to alcohol to "self-medicate" with disastrous consequences.

Clint also wrote the book The Crazy Game in which he tells stories from the crease but also of his lifelong battle with Mental Illness.

Listen to Clint's interview here, and hopefully you find some inspiration like I did from Clint's story!


Rod & Clint at Recovery Day Regina

Thursday, June 21, 2018

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:





Tuesday, June 5, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: RADIO ANNOUNCER MARK JOHNSTON

We're going local on this month's edition of the Pedersen Recovery Rodcast!

Regina radio personality Mark Johnston is making big waves across the province with his fun on-air persona and carefree approach to life. However his life wasn't always this way.

The 28-year old Regina product - and former junior hockey player - saw his life spiral to the bottom due to a battle with alcohol and drugs.

In this month's Recovery podcast, Mark takes us on his remarkable journey detailing his drinking career, introduction to drugs, his life-changing decision to enter Recovery and what his life's like now.

We also delve into some issues we've never covered on this show before like why he made the decision to go public with his story, and, how a sober person celebrates important milestones in life whether they be in Recovery or otherwise.

Pedersen Recovery Inc. is sponsored by Fine Foods Grocery Stores, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs and their generous support makes all of our services possible including interventions, this podcast, public speaking and one-on-one coaching for those struggling with addictions.

I think you'll love our interview with Mark! Click below:





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

Sunday, May 6, 2018

ADDICTION RECOVERY PODCAST: DR. WENDY GORE-HICKMAN

It's a bonus edition of the Pedersen Recovery Podcast because we have an interview that just can't wait!

Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman is a Saskatoon anesthesiologist who identifies herself as an addict. That's because she is. But she's an addict in Recovery.

Wendy will be the keynote speaker at the annual Recovery Day Regina luncheon on September 19/2018 at the Conexus Art Centre, telling her Recovery success story. It's an event I've spoken at twice before, and is my favourite function of the year.

In this podcast you can enter to win two seats at my table at the luncheon!

Hopefully you're like me, and get a ton out of this interview with Wendy. She's not afraid to discuss her mistakes in life, and in Recovery, if it helps others.

She truly is a remarkable woman and I'm proud to say is our first female guest on the podcast! She's also the first interview with someone outside the sports & entertainment fields. I knew I wouldn't be able to limit this podcast to guests just in those arenas.

Addiction touches everyone.

Shoutout to our Pedersen Recovery sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs. They make everything we do possible including this podcast, interventions, sober coaching, public speaking and sober events. Please support them!

Now, our interview with Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman:





Saturday, April 28, 2018

RECOVERY, SOBRIETY AND A BRONCOS COACH

Saskatchewan was rocked on April 6, 2018 by the devastating bus crash which took the lives of 16 players and staff of the Humboldt Broncos hockey club.

Remarkably, Broncos Assistant Coach Chris Beaudry - who celebrated his 4-year sober anniversary the day before the accident - survived the catastrophe simply because he was driving on his own to the playoff game in Nipawin, SK.

He wasn't on the bus.

Beaudry - a farmer from St. Front, SK and married father of two - has been very vocal about his sobriety, appearing in interviews and podcasts across North America since he made the positive life change in 2014.

And for the purposes of this Recovery podcast, Beaudry wanted to share his Recovery story and how it relates to the devastating circumstances in which he currently finds himself with the Broncos. If he can help someone, he wants to be that positive influence in their life.

When the interview was completed in the parking lot of a church in Northwest Regina, I asked Chris if he was happy with how it went.  "Yes," he smiled. "Very happy."

In the podcast you'll discover:

- Chris's Recovery story.

- What his life was like before sobriety and what it's like now.

- His daily self-care regimen.

- Why he thinks he survived and his best friends, and "sons", did not.

- How he's coping with the Broncos tragedy and helping the families of others.

It's a very emotional and fairly graphic interview in which Coach Beaudry holds nothing back. If that sounds like it may be too much for you, I encourage you NOT to listen.

You can access the show here:

As always thank you to Pedersen Recovery Inc. sponsors Fine Foods, Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of our Recovery efforts and this podcast. 

RP
TWITTER: @pedersenrecover
INSTAGRAM: @pedersenrecovery

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

10 QUESTIONS ON PROBLEM DRINKING AND ADDICTIONS

As someone who's very open about the fact I'm in Recovery - or "achieved sobriety" - I get asked many questions on a daily basis about the disease of Alcoholism. In the just-past three years since I made the "life change", I've learned SO MUCH about what was afflicting me my whole adult life, and for a lot of my teen years.

This blog was designed to help people; whether they are battling addictions themselves, or their loved ones or co-workers who seek a deeper understanding of the Disease of Addiction.

I'd also like to thank Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport for coming on board with sponsorship. They believe in what I'm doing.

So here goes:

#1. WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO STOP DRINKING? HOW DID YOU KNOW WHEN IT WAS TIME?

That decision was made for me. After several failed attempts at quitting drinking (on my own), I had eventually quit quitting and gave up on myself. When I'd made the decision that I was a lost cause, the roof caved in pretty quickly and I hit rock bottom on January 26/2015.

So it was then that my bosses staged an Intervention and a document was shoved in front of me that said if I didn't get help for my drinking, I would be terminated. That was a very emotional day. They weren't giving up on me, but they'd had enough of my crap.

Over the years in sobriety, I've seen it over and over again; people don't quit drinking or abusing drugs until push-comes-to-shove.

I'm not fond of a lot of the sayings that are popular in Recovery but there are a few that are really true. One of my favourites is:

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

For me, it was Hammer Time.

#2. DO YOU STILL THINK ABOUT DRINKING?

Of course! That's why they call this a lifelong battle.

I was in Mexico just a few weeks ago and on the first day of the trip a conversation was going on in my head that went like this:

RIGHT EAR: "This is an all-inclusive resort! It would be a shame if you didn't have a few drinks!"

LEFT EAR: "But you don't want just a few drinks. You want a lot of drinks, and then people will know you're smashed."

RIGHT EAR: "Who cares! We'll figure that out later. Let's just start with a few drinks and see what happens!"

LEFT EAR: "There's a lot of people back home who are counting on you and looking up to you. You can't let them down."

RIGHT EAR: "........"

I never thought about drinking for the rest of the trip after that conversation in my head. We had a fabulous time!

But I'll never forget at one support group meeting I was in, an oldtimer who had over 40 years sobriety told us that he had a "drinking dream" the night before (a dream in which you are drinking).

I've had those dreams too. I thought to myself, "Oh man! I'm going to have this damned disease FOREVER!"

But you know what? Of all the lifelong incurable diseases that are out there, I'll take Alcoholism 10 times out of 10. If I abstain from it, I can have an excellent life.

#3. DON'T YOU FIND IT BORING?

Does my life look boring to you?

I'll tell you what's NOT boring!:
- Not having to apologize for your behaviour.
- Not being in fights with my wife over my drinking, or anything else for that matter.
- Remembering everything that happened the night before, and what was said by everyone.
- Having peoples' trust.
- Not having to line up a ride, an expensive cab, an Uber, etc.
- Having my sh*t together.
- Being invited to great events rather than being uninvited because no one wanted me around for fear of what I might do or say.
- Waking up everyday not knowing what's going to happen in my life, but knowing it's going to be extra special because I work every 24 hours to be the best person I can be.

I don't think there's any substance in the world that could replicate that rush of adrenaline and wave of good feelings that I get everyday.

#4. WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT FOR SOMEONE TO STOP DRINKING?

Because you're addicted to it. You. Love. It.

It's not about willpower or intelligence. When Alcoholism or Addiction has you in its clutches, it's very difficult to be aware of anything else in your life.

On a daily basis I see people choose alcohol or drugs over their families or job. Sometimes I can't understand how someone could make that choice and then I'm reminded that at one point in my life, I would've chosen alcohol over everything so I get it.

Those stories rarely end well.

#5. WHAT WAS THE "LIGHT BULB" MOMENT FOR YOU?

That's still a very clear moment for me.

It was in my Addiction Counselor's office and he told me I had a disease. I snapped and screamed, "No it's not! You can't take a pill for it and it goes away! It's not a tumor that you can have removed!"

He calmed me down and explained that Alcoholism has been recognized as a disease since the 1950's by the American Medical Assocation. He said, "It's a Mental Illness, Rod. You have it."

In that moment, my life changed.

I realized that with daily care, I could beat this.

So based on the daily battle, I am 1118-0 against Alcohol.

#6. WHAT DOES "ONE DAY AT A TIME" MEAN?

For someone not battling Addiction or any other Mental Illness (Anxiety, Depression, O.C.D., etc.), I know the concept of One Day At A Time can be very hard to grasp.

I wear a bracelet with that mantra and when "Earthlings" or "Normies" ask me what that means, they act like it's written in Chinese. They just don't understand.

In simple terms, it's a daily battle against your demons because the sons-of-bitches never go away.

But if you do daily things to arrest them or keep them at bay, you've at least got a chance.

I truly feel that if you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.

#7. WHAT'S YOUR DAILY SELF-CARE RITUAL?

Let me first say that when I first got into Recovery, all of the things I'm about to say sounded like complete BS. Very flaky. But as each day went by and I eventually came out of the Alcoholic Fog, I noticed the people around me were having great success in Recovery using methods like these.

Here are some of them:
- Upon awakening, I say this prayer aloud, "I arise, Oh Lord, to do thy will". It's the simplest, shortest prayer for a dummy like me to remember. Early on if I'd forgotten to say it in the morning, I'd say it as soon as I remembered. Now, it's automatically the first thing in my head.
- Because of the extensive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I've received from world-renowned yogi Sadhguru, I repeat this phrase aloud, "I awake to create a loving world."
- I repeat outloud the following Affirmations: "I am Happy. I am Safe. I am Healthy. I have Peace. I am Strong."
- I then read a short daily reading from two Apps: My Spiritual Tookit and The Secret.
- This whole process only takes about 1-2 minutes.
- I don't go three days without working out, and try to go daily at Evolution Fitness.
- I go to at least one meeting per week.
- As you'll see, most of this stuff is completed by 10:00 am and I'm ready to tackle the world with strength, confidence and a great frame of mind.
- In the evening, I'm able to fall asleep within seconds using the art of Meditation.
- When my mind and heart are racing and I can feel Anxiety building up inside me like a hurricane, I automatically go into Meditation. My awareness immediately focuses on the NOW, and the realization that all is perfectly fine in my life at that specific moment.
- I go to a weekly Yoga class and will for the rest of my life. It's great for the body but even better for the mind.
- I have successfully trained my mind by doing these daily rituals without fail. IT WORKS.

*Recently a lady asked me what her husband (a problem drinker) could do to slow down his mind and not have to reach for the bottle. I mentioned some of these rituals and she said, "Oh he'll never do that."

My response?: "Fine. Keep struggling then."

#8. ARE YOU AGAINST ALCOHOL?

Absolutely not! Some of my best friends and associates work in the beer industry. As a matter of fact, beer companies are some of the biggest sponsors of the sports teams, leagues, and broadcasts that I'm associated with. Coors Light sponsors my sports blog and radio show!

It would be career suicide for me to tell the whole world not to drink. The simple fact is some of us just can't handle it.

Addictions and Alcoholism are a personal problem.

I heard a guy once complain that there should be no strip clubs because he's a sex addict and that cost him his family, job and finances. That's similar to saying there should be no casinos because you're hooked on gambling and have no money for groceries or rent.

That's your problem, not everybody else's.

Drinking was my problem and mine alone.

I will never, ever judge other people for their personal choices (unless they live under my roof) and that's mostly because I hated being judged for so many years.

Do what you want! But if and when the partying becomes a problem, look me up.

#9. HOW DID YOU GET INTO SOBER COACHING?

One of North America's top sober coaches was attending a meeting I was at and heard me sharing. He had no clue who I was or what I did for a living.

He checked me out and called a few hours later asking if I'd be interested in working with him. He said it's clear that, for some reason, people listen when I speak. I jumped at the chance but he said I had to get some education in the field so I earned a Diploma as a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist.

This spring I'll officially be an Interventionist after receiving training from Hightower Associates in Orange County, CA.

It's progressing very rapidly and that's no surprise because the Addiction Crisis is out of control on this continent.

Surprise, surprise, I deal almost exclusively with athletes and broadcasters battling Addictions.
That's right in my wheelhouse.

To see someone get their job back, or their family, or their LIFE, and to know you had a hand in it is the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life. BAR NONE.

Some say this is my calling in life but I still feel I'm pretty good at broadcasting football and hockey games. That gives me great pleasure too.

The two careers intertwine beautifully.

#10. DO YOU THINK YOU'LL EVER DRINK AGAIN?

I know I won't drink today.

I don't want to.

RP
Twitter: @pedersenrecover
Instagram: @pedersenrecovery

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