Thursday, January 18, 2018
The inaugural Sober Bowl Canada party will be held at Tony Roma's Regina on Sunday, February 4 as football fans are invited to a family-friendly, alcohol-free event to watch the NFL's Big Game.
It's your chance to mingle with CFL personalities, enjoy a nacho and chili bar and win great prizes!
Tickets are advance sale only, and are $30 for adults and $20 for kids.
For ticket info or to purchase, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
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 email@example.com or Rod Pedersen at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The Pedersen Recovery RODCAST is produced by Jordan McRae. (@jmcraeradio)
Sunday, December 24, 2017
1 - We find ourselves back in the Los Angeles area for the first time since December of 2014. Once again, I'm hosting 60 sports fans and listeners of my radio show back in Canada and we've come to enjoy sun, ocean, and some NFL and NHL games. But navigating this week would turn out to be as rocky as trying to catch a wave along the Golden Coast.
2 - You see, the last time we were here, I was just six weeks away from hitting my rock bottom and getting into Recovery. Frankly a lot of that trip was a blur. I was in for quite a few surprises this time around; some pleasant and others not so pleasant.
3 - Shortly after landing at LAX, catching a tour bus to our hotel and grabbing a rental car, my wife and I set off to tour Newport Beach and find a nice place for supper. I was immediately hit with shockwaves ... WHAT FREEDOM! Not being handcuffed to the bottle or bellied up to a bar meant we were free to roam up and down the coast, roll the windows down and crank up the tunes! It hit me very early on this trip that we would have oodles and oodles of time to do whatever the heck we wanted and the freedom to do it whenever we wanted.
4 - Some are reading this and thinking: What's so special or different about that? That's because you've never battled Alcoholism and/or Addictions. See, in the past, once that plane landed I'd have been scouring the landscape for cold beer stores and dingy lounges that looked to have the best happy hours. It would have completely distracted me and, frankly, ruined Day 1 because I'd have already had several drinks on the plane, been unable to drive, and have found reasons to bicker with my wife.
This is all part of a blogpost or podcast I'll do in the future answering one of the most popular questions I get all the time: What does it mean to be Alcoholic? It means lots of things but topping the list is that booze is on your mind pretty much all of the time (in the mid-to-late stages of the disease). But you don't realize that until you're out from underneath its gargantuan grasp. (They call that 'coming out of the Alcoholic Fog').
5 - Just one more on this. Situated beside our hotel was a fabulous Outlet Mall (one of the best I've seen in America) and we spent an hour once we arrived. After we'd separately scoured the grounds for our favourite stores and then met up, I said to my wife, "You know in the past I'd have found the first lounge I could have and started drinking by now. By suppertime I'd be falling off my chair!"
She replied. "I know."
The thought pops into my mind that maybe she should write a guest column on this blog with her perspective on my drinking days.
Errrr, maybe not.
6 - Things were going along fantastically until the evening of Day 3 when, again, Alcoholism jumped up and grabbed my leg like a shark bite. Remember this is a vacation for everybody except me so there were a group of guys on a "Guys Trip". In the past, I'd have been in that group like a dirty shirt and these guys were nice enough to invite me out in the evenings most every night.
You have to understand that most times these days I can be out at functions and alcohol being present has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. Do what you wanna do. But when you're in an old environment like this sports trip, panic attacks start to happen for an Alcoholic in Recovery.
I had three of them in Year 1 of my sobriety: 1) at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, 2) in a sportsbar in Las Vegas, and 3) at an NFL game in Miami.
What happens? Well your heart races, your tongue gets dry and your palms get sweaty. When you're IN IT, the last thing you thing about is calling a friend in Recovery. I surely would've relapsed in those instances but I always had someone with me to make sure that didn't happen.
Initially it was humiliating to need a sober companion in Year 1 but it worked out as planned. I didn't fall in the trap.
Now, I don't put myself in those situations at all if I can help it.
7 - Even as it was this time around, I could feel my Anxiety level rising. But I reached out with text messages to three sober friends and the Anxiety totally went away. I didn't even need to tell these guys what I was going through. Just to hear from them and know that things were going great in their lives at the moment was enough to settle my storm.
So when there was a reception on Day 4 and pitcher after pitcher of ice cold beer was served up to our listeners after our radio show at Hooters, I politely excused myself to the sanctity of my hotel room.
Crazy perhaps, but if you haven't lived it, you'll never understand. And those guys who invited me out each evening certainly didn't mean any harm. They were just being nice.
That's why I'm writing these columns: to explain the disease to the "Normies" or "Earthlings" (people who don't suffer from it) and to provide strength to those who do.
8 - But you can't please everybody. I recently got a DM on Twitter from a guy who said he was on one of my trips to Dallas in 2012. He was sober 10 months at the time but said I bullied him for not drinking, and he seems to be holding onto a big resentment for that.
What can I say? That's classic Alcoholic behaviour and I don't think anyone wants to be reminded of their actions while drinking.
The Best Apology Is Changed Behaviour.
It's over. And being so open about my Recovery keeps me accountable.
Do you know how I know I won't relapse today?
I don't want to.
9 - Now we're back home and in the Holiday Season. I heard someone in Recovery once say that Grey Cup in late-November kicked off their "Drinking Season" which lasted all through the Christmas Holidays and right through till Super Bowl. I'd say that's true for a lot of people.
I chuckled this week because I'd heard tell of the same people at the same parties and bars kicking back and celebrating the Holidays. It sounded like they were having a helluva a lot of fun.
I chuckled because it was shocking to look back at how much my life has changed over the past three years while theirs hasn't (from what I can see from the outside).
I say more power to them. My life had to change, not theirs.
10 - That includes our next trip. We had initially planned to go to New Orleans for New Years but some football friends warned, "There's not much there to do other than drink and party. It's not for you."
Early in Recovery I'd have found a way to take some offense to that statement but that's just me being defensive. They're trying to help.
So, we switched gears. Mrs. P. and I are going to Miami over New Years and that'll include some time in the Florida Keys and on South Beach.
Life is amazing.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
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.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
The following article appears in the fall edition of the Canadian Football League Alumni Association Magazine which will be distributed at the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa:
His rock bottom came on Monday, January 26, 2015.
The longtime Voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Rod Pedersen, had been out for a "beer lunch" with a business friend which they'd done countless times before. Only on this occasion, those five or six beers mixed with the anti-depressants he was already overdosing on, leading to his own personal "trainwreck".
"I don't remember leaving the bar, although I'm pretty sure it was just before my radio show at 4:00 pm that day," Pedersen recalled for this article. "Really, I don't remember much after that at all."
What followed was a humiliating experience when Pedersen went on his popular SportsCage radio program on 620 CKRM Regina only to stumble and slur and eventually be pulled off the air within a few minutes. The thousands upon thousands of listeners were aghast, and that included his parents in Milestone, SK, a nearby farming community.
"All I remember is that I couldn't feel my face," Pedersen admitted. "But really I don't want to remember that day at all, other than it completely turned my life around."
What followed was an embarrassing suspension for the first time in his 25-year radio career, an Intervention, and being hustled into Recovery.
There have been worse rock bottoms in history, but it's not a contest.
At age 42 and after a 25-year stint as a problem drinker, Rod was ready to stop fighting. Almost.
Intense counseling, support group meetings and daily self-care have kept Rod sober ever since, and he knows he's battling a lifelong mental illness which can only be won One Day At A Time.
That's part of the message Rod spreads now as he travels the CFL with the Roughriders and speaks to addicts currently in treatment centres across the country.
"I tell them they're the smart ones," Pedersen stated. "They were smart and humble enough to accept the best help being offered. Some of us are a little more hardheaded and take the long road. Either way, the goal is to get to our ultimate destination and that's total sobriety."
That's the ambition of Rod's company Pedersen Recovery & Coaching Inc, which is a multi-faceted agency providing one-on-one "coaching" for athletes, entertainers and other high profile figures battling Addictions & Mental Illness.
"I got into the coaching aspect of it pretty much by accident," Pedersen explained. "A hockey team asked me to meet with their captain, who was stripped of his 'C' after an incident involving booze and drugs. The team had a counselor, but that guy had no experience with addictions so they called me.
"A voice in my head said 'You're completely unqualified to counsel this player' but when you look at a young man trembling in his chair, ravaged by addiction at such a young age, you know you have to do something. So I went out and got the necessary training, and it's exploded basically by word-of-mouth in the sports world."
Rod's training includes a Diploma as a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist as well as ongoing addictions education from the Hazelden Betty Ford Center in the USA.
Pedersen Recovery also involves the vast Right Place, Right Time Tour where Rod travels the province discussing Recovery, Prevention, Motivation, Faith, Leadership and various other topics to teams, groups, organizations and churches. Because those groups are non-profit, Rod is raising funds for the tour through sponsorship to ensure anyone who wants to hear him speak is able to, free of charge.
"That's a lot on my plate!" Pedersen laughed. "But I feel like when I'm sober, I can do anything. Idle hands are the devil's workshop. The busier, the better for me and I know for a fact it's making a huge impact in peoples' lives.
"This road has been tough, frankly. I never wanted to go public with my struggles but the Recovery community felt my story could help a lot of people because I'm a public person who's not ashamed to say I got sober and took on some really big demons.
"There are a lot of hurting people out there. My goal is to give them hope and know that anyone can turn their life around. It's never too late."
To request an event on Rod Pedersen's Right Time, Right Place Tour, please click here and fill out the application:
(Copyright 2017 Pedersen Media Inc. All Rights Reserved)
Saturday, October 14, 2017
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|
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.
FB: Pedersen Recovery & Coaching Inc.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
|The Pedersens on Capital Hill|
- I'm still in Ottawa, in the middle of an 11-day trip to Eastern Canada while the Roughriders play back-to-back games out here.
It was tremendous to have my wife - my rock - here for the last four days but she went home on Sunday afternoon after a whirlwind tour of the nation's capital.
- Reaction was swift and wide-ranging after I started this Recovery blog late last week. However I'm happy to report that it's been 100% positive.
- Perhaps the most rewarding comment came from my friend Ken L. of Regina - who's been sober 10 years - who said it's nice to read the viewpoint from someone in the same situation as him. (Like non-drinkers getting poorer restaurant service because they don't ring up high bar tabs).
- It's true. Alcoholics and addicts are in the minority of society (1 in 11) while those in Recovery are only a tiny fraction of that (2% of the 1 in 11). At least those are the numbers I've seen and have read nothing to prove otherwise.
- There were dozens of "Likes" and positive comments from others in Recovery (and/or their family members) on Facebook. Their support means the world because not everyone is comfortable with me being so brazen about this.
- Another comment of support came from Sam C., a close cousin of my Dad's who's been sober since the 1980's. He said that it's nice to see me so open about my sobriety, just like he is.
- I've long looked at this way: Everybody in Regina knew I was a drunk for decades so what does it matter now if they know I'm a recovering alcoholic? In fact it makes life TREMENDOUSLY easier not to face the pressure of drinking when everyone in our social circle knows that is no longer part of my life. It was bad. Reallllllllly bad, and it's taking years to clean up the wreckage but it's exhilarating to know that the worst is over.
- Which brings me to another big point. My intention was never to go public "to the world" that I'd entered Recovery. However nine months into my sobriety I was asked by the Regina Recovery community to be the emcee for their Recovery Day luncheon featuring former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk. They felt it would help chip away at the stigma if a public person was open with their struggles and came out smiling on the other side.
- I was hesitant at first and told them I didn't even know what to say but they jammed a speech into my gut and trotted me out on stage under the spotlight. When I announced to the gathering of 600 people, "My name is Rod Pedersen, and I'm a person in Recovery", the room exploded with a wild ovation. It almost knocked me off my feet and sent tingles down my spine. It was totally unexpected.
- And then while listening to Clint Milarchuk tell his story of Alcoholism and Mental Illness, I thought to myself, "I can do that". But the next year was still spent "under cover" while I wrestled with getting on top of this disease. It's a mammoth bastard and unless you've been through it, you'll never understand. Hopefully this blog will help the 10 out of 11 get an understanding of what their loved ones (or employees, co-workers or friends) are dealing with.
- Anyway, it wasn't until a year later - in September of 2016 - that I was asked to be the guest speaker at the same Recovery Day event. That came with it a media tour which included appearances on CBC's Sheila Coles morning show and CTV's Morning Live. The Leader Post and CBC.ca ran stories of my speech and from there it literally went viral.
- From there, to quote Kramer from Seinfeld, "I'm out there Jerry!" There was no turning back.
Society now knew my dark, dirty secret but it ended up being totally liberating. It felt like the weight of the world was off my chest and it's been nothing but sunshine ever since.
- I'll end this blog post with the way I began that speech at Conexus Art Centre on September 26/2016:
"People said it takes a lot of balls to stand up here and tell my story. But to me, it doesn't take any balls at all. I spent 25 years living in shame, embarrassment and regret and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend the next 25 years of my life that way."
Onwards and upwards, One Day At A Time.
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