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|
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 email@example.com.
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,