The Hero’s Journey A Mindful Accord Podcast with your host Rich Decker Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to listen to the show my guests for this episode is Tim Westbrook. Tim is the founder and Executive Director of Camelback Recovery as As he describes Camelback Recovery, it’s not just a treatment center, but rather a structured drug-free environment for men and women with a common goal I really enjoyed listening to Tim’s story He’s a person who has hit many bottoms and there were some pretty dark valleys and that all began with a near-fatal car accident when he was in college that left him with a severe brain injury that took him several years to recover from and that was just the beginning And although he lived in the abyss for many years He’s ascent out of it and to where he is today is truly amazing And if you’re one of those people that think that people just don’t change Well, then you need to hear Tim’s story It gives me great pleasure to present the Hero’s Journey of Tim Westbrook. Enjoy Richard Decker: Well, Thank you Tim. Thank you for joining us on the Hero’s Journey A Mindful Accord Podcast. I’m very excited for all of us to hear your story I know a little bit about you, but I don’t know your whole story. So this should be exciting for me at least So let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Tell us about your childhood Where’d you grow up and some things that your parents, I asked everybody this question because I’m just a curious person What were some of the principles that your parents instill in you that you still carry with you today for better or worse? Okay, first off, Hi Rich. Thank you so much for inviting me to be on your podcast I really truly appreciate it and looking forward to it I would say some of the values that were instilled in me growing up were just that number one family is everything Which was that’s how it’s always been my whole entire life family is everything and and we have a huge extended family there’s you know our immediate family my two sisters my mom and my dad and then I’ve got my cousins, and my Aunts and my Uncles and we always got together at birthdays and holidays and Christmas And Thanksgiving and everything all holidays so we spent a lot of time with our family and so that was really important Faith, I grew up as a Christian and have Christian background so faith, faith in God is it’s been Important in my life and even more important today actually and hard work Especially my dad always was just a great example of somebody who worked very hard and I carry that with me today Richard Decker: Let me ask you a question in the world. We live in now even though we’re more connected to everything It seems like we’re less connected to each other Do you still maintain that family get togethers and everything like you used to when you were young? Yes, no, you know when I grew up we all lived in Southern California, I grew up in Orange County and curves in Cerritos and My family members lived like all in Orange County. So it was really easy for us to get together My grandparents lives in Orange County. So as time is on everybody’s moved away So my grandfather had three brothers and my grandfather’s brother married, my grandmother’s sister. We have just a huge extended family now my grandfather’s brother He moved his whole entire family up to the Sacramento area Grass Valley So they all moved up there. So we still kind of saw them. I would say at least yearly and then even Up until this last year. We had a huge Thanksgiving Get-together, which was kind like a family reunion that we did. It was every other year and we did it I think the first year we did it was like 1993 And then this last year was the very last year my it was just amazing We had probably 50 family members that showed up and in my uncle had a big house on Five acres and we would all show up and some people would have motorhomes and some people would bunk up in his house either Nice-sized house and lots of beds and people just kind of stayed everywhere I mean it was just an amazing way for us to get together Every other year so I would say that Although people have moved away. We’ve still somewhat stayed connected in with social media It’s allowed us to continue staying a little bit more connected in the sense that we gets to I get to see what everybody is doing these days I get to see my cousins and my second cousins and their kids and just what everybody is up to these days
So it’s nice, Rich Decker: You know, we’re both old enough to remember that You know when we were kids if you wanted to contact someone you either had to make a phone call or you actually wrote a letter So that’s kind of gone, yeah completely gone Yeah I can tell you trying to send a letter these days it’s like, so expensive, it’s waste of money I don’t even know what is it cost for stamp I don’t even know It’s like, I don’t know, 53 or 54 cents or something like that, It’s a lot. It’s still a lot, and you don’t even know if the person is gonna open it or read it And it takes days to get there so, it’s crazy, yeah it’s crazy but the world has definitely changed Rich Decker: So you were a Southern California kid. Were you a surfer you grew up by the ocean? In Cerritos, which was Orange County and that was kind of North Orange County It was about a half hour from the beach and I spent a little bit of time Going to the beach and I had some friends that liked it to body board And so I spent a little bit of time at the beach growing up but then between sixth and seventh grade, so no I don’t know what I must have been either like 11 or 12 my parents got divorced or that separated and then divorced and my Mom moved with my sister and I up to Oxnard which is Oxnard, California, which is kind of by Ventura Which is Oxnard is a beach so when I moved to Oxnard I was obviously a couple miles from the beach and so we spent quite a bit more time at the beach and growing, you know in junior high and in high school it was Something that I you know, I spent time with the beach Regularly couple times a week at least Rich Decker: When you were growing up, what did you envision for Tim? Where did you you know when we were kids we all I go when I grow up I want to be this or that when you grew up. What did you want to be? Well, I remember when I was a kid like elementary school My dad was a general manager of a rental yard and this rental yard They rented out like forklifts and scissor lifts and you know equipment rental my uncle My two uncles Kenny and Michael Carl owned It was called H and H rentals my whole entire family worked there That means literally my my aunt’s my uncle’s my cousins my like everybody worked there. I mean Probably 50 of my family. I mean that’s an exaggeration but everybody worked there. My dad was the general manager So my two uncles owned it. My dad was the general manager So he was I saw him as a boss as a person that told people what to do and and so that’s what I saw myself doing is being a boss to being a manager and Telling people what to do for what in general or in general. That was it. I don’t remember beyond that I just remember that I thought I was going to be a manager or a boss I think and that was growing up and I think once I was in high school, I always saw myself being successful in whatever that meant and Then I always saw myself going to a four-year university. I always saw myself Continue to move on although I was kind of all over the place as a high school student My parents got divorced, you know from sixth grade. It sounds great So now my dad was was pretty I don’t know if I want to say strict But he was kind of the and I wouldn’t say the he ruled with an iron fist But he was a rule follower and he expected us to follow the rules and he was the disciplinarian My mom was very lenient And we could kind of do whatever we wanted to do and she was the one that when he asked if we wanted Somebody to say yes, and my dad was the one that you know He would always say no and so once they got divorced and we lived with my mom next thing, you know, it’s like there’s no rules and And so now it’s me and I think I’m the man of the house now Because my dad’s no longer there so Tim’s the man of the house. I’m in seventh grade and my two sisters and my mom and I remember a Girlfriend when I was in seventh grade, and she was a lot of stay out until midnight So I would tell my mom I’m staying on something So I would you know, I started kind of doing whatever I wanted to do. Really that was when my behavior just was just Not not good. I mean for a kid and I was when I started doing things I started getting in trouble when I started when I was in sixth grade, I stole computers from my Elementary school. I was the class president. So I was popular I was the class president and I had some friends that were not a very good influence and you know, somehow we ended up
breaking into the school and stealing computers and We got caught and so I was forced to resign as the class president I got kicked out of that school, and I ended up having to go to a different school And that was when I was in sixth grade So I think that was kind of when my trouble started actually now I think about it I was still they know the drugs and and there was no part of me that was ever gonna do drugs or Engage in drugs or alcohol or anything like that. I was Totally against that and some of my parents actually did get divorced and I lived up in in Ventura or Oxnard I had some friends that lived at Cerritos that were smoking pot and so next thing you know, I go from being against doing drugs to you know, smoking pot as a 7th grader and You know when we moved to Oxnard it was you know Cerritos was I’d say middle class Maybe upper-middle class and then in predominantly Asian and Then we moved to Oxnard, which was I would say Lower middle class middle class lower middle class and I went to junior high at Rio Tobiah Which was in El Rio which was which was not a good area at all And you know there were not a lot of white kids most of the kids it was predominantly Hispanic and You know, I’m this kid. I have new clothes. I have you know, I take care of myself. I come from a different area I’m from a different class and I go to school at our TV and I just All the guys hate me all the all the girls love me in on this white kid with green eyes and and new clothes So I ended up getting in fine, getting pets on really and getting jumped and I mean it just ended up being so next thing, you know? I start smoking pot and I find people and I’m trying to fit in so I think I was still getting decent grades I mean, you know, it’s like, you know from just from an area that’s predominantly Asian to an area that’s predominately Hispanic It’s just like the school system is treating us was a lot harder the curriculum was a lot harder and So school was really easy in Oxnard And I was able to get good grades and then I started smoking pot and I started hanging out with the wrong crowd I guess and that Kind of led me down that path Well, you know, it’s interesting. It shows how much of an influence our environment has on us It’s it’s inescapable. You can’t get away from it. Really? yeah, you’re absolutely I mean, I would say that I had that’s something that I’m Super aware of today. I’m very aware of that today and I don’t think I was asked to wear it I think as kids You know we grew up and we kind of we grew up where we grow, right? Our household is what it is and in the school we go so you don’t really have a choice in Who we hang really even who we hang out with? I mean, we’re kind of we’re kind of hanging out with people that our parents want us to hang out with Although growing up. I was always into sports. I played soccer. I played club soccer when I was in, you know elementary school, so like fourth fifth sixth grade, I Played baseball and I was always a good athlete. My dad was always by my side 100% of the time You know, I went to practices he went to every single game He was always there for myself made My sister’s for that matter being sports was a big was a big deal You had this goal in mind that you’re going to go to school and do all these other things did that come from your parents? You think yes, my mom didn’t graduate from college My dad didn’t graduate from cause I mean they both went to college, but they didn’t graduate my extended family like really I mean prior to our generation really people weren’t You know, they weren’t college graduates and even our generation I don’t even think everybody went when graduated from college, but I think my mom always supported college my dad and they both always supported college and That was kind of logical next step That was what people did you know you talk about? College and that’s what you do after you graduate from high school as you go to college Thank you, you know and so I always thought myself going to college and when I was really, you know Interesting looking back at me in high school. I’m playing sports. I’m in honors classes I’m getting good grades and I’m ditching school and going to the beach and hanging out with people that did not get good grades, and we’re not having to go to college and So it was you know, I had lots of different groups of friends I had you know friends on the football team
So I had the athletes that I hung out with I was taking honors classes. So I was hanging out with the smart kids And then I had my kids that liked to go to the beach and it’s cool and do Dropbox So I had all these different groups of people. I kind of would rotate work to go to school at Austin High School is wearing to school and then I graduated and I got recruited to play football At UC Davis and it resists is in Sacramento. Is that are you asking about college? Yeah, you had something happen though, right something pretty major happened in your life. Yes, I did UC Davis my Sophomore year Sorry, April 19th. 1996 was the exact day. I was in a Major car accident it was picnic day Picnic Day is just a huge day Davis where families come and it’s I mean, I think 400,000 people come to Davis on that day and for a hundred thousand four hundred thousand five hundred that I mean It’s probably more than a day. Actually. I mean it’s a day to drink It’s a day to party and I was in a fraternity. I was actually Pledging a fraternity at that time. So I think I was a pledge and we got up and we started drinking and We drank all day long, and I don’t remember I remember a little bit of that day But I think probably towards the end of the day is when I completely blacked out I just don’t remember anything and I drank a lot and I Remember I ended up trying to drive home which home is in Oxnard It’s 400 miles away And I guess according to some people they said that I said that I was gonna drive back to Oxnard And they didn’t take me seriously. I have no clue how I got from Mike to this day I have no clue how I got from my fraternity house to my condo or to my apartment, which is where my car was I don’t know how I got there. I just rode for a couple of hours. I ended up falling asleep. I flipped over three times Got flown in a helicopter to San Jose Medical Center. I was there for three or four days. I was in ICU And they flew me down to st. John’s in Oxnard and I was there for 28 days I was under 24-hour care for 28 days and then I moved to a transitional living center for brain-injured adults was in Santa Barbara and then I took disability classes at Ventura College for about six weeks So I don’t remember anything for about two weeks so two weeks in my life, I don’t remember anything It was just it was a really traumatic event and it probably took me two years to recover from that. I was mentally Not all there and I mean I remember they’ve got this little Journal and they would write about what I said that day and there’s one of the entries and somebody said that you know It’s like I thought I was eight years old one day. I thought I was 56 years old the next day I thought I was 11 years old so like I was completely all over the place and my mind was Was just they didn’t know if I was ever gonna come back. They didn’t know if I was ever gonna recover and Dr. Judy was the doctor at the time. I remember I hated dr Judy because he said I couldn’t drink and I would never be a nup and of course I named isn’t right hey, I mean he was telling me he was speaking the truth and Of course, I think he probably said I was an alcoholic and I was like no way that’s crazy Even I just like to drink and even after this crazy car accident, right which I was drinking. I was intoxicated So that’s why I was blocked out. I never got a DUI though I think they thought I was probably not gonna make it if you look at my car It doesn’t look like the person that was in that car is still alive It was really really bad. So they didn’t want to take the time to arrest you from probably Alexis. Yeah. Yes You want to say I mean insult to injury? I don’t know. I’m not sure. I mean it was just I was completely I Mean I was maybe not gonna make it well I mean to have that kind of brain injury obviously would affect your thinking but For most people if something like that would happen to him They would like quit drinking quit everything and change their life completely, but you didn’t At that time I kind of turned into an 8 when I was in college I remember thinking it’s like you have all these people and all these different religions and you’ve got Muslims and you’ve got you know Jews and the Christians and Catholics and Buddha’s and and everybody thinks everybody else is going to hell and Especially when going to UC Davis use more diversity As far as religion goes in college, so I was just like, okay. I’m not I don’t believe in any of it And so I kind of became an atheist and I didn’t really believe in anything And so you have my aunt’s and my uncles and they tell a story I don’t remember of course, but the pastor was praying for me in the hospital room and
Like halfway through the prayer I’d say in Jesus name Amen And everybody would kind of look at each other and like okay, I guess we’re done the prayer I think I did that more than one occasion to kind of like a spite know it wasn’t I was just I was Mentally not there. I was ready to be done with the prayer. I guess. I don’t know. I was impatient abv know. Who knows But regardless again, my family is Christian and all throughout college. I don’t think I was I think I was more of a theist Definitely so you had this major brain injury, but you were still going to school. Yes They let me go back to school UC Davis, which was they did not want to let me go back actually It was kind of so the accident was in April and then I’m recovering recovery recovering and then there was in summer school and Ventura College, and then I remember just Fighting for them to let me go back to UC Davis and then let me go and I knew and again as you mentioned earlier Environments everything right? And I knew that I had to get out of there. I knew that I couldn’t stay in Oxnard it was just not a good place for me. The environment was not a good place for me I had too many friends that were not going down the path that I wanted to go down I mean that’s not where I wanted my life to go. And and so I fought and they let me go back to school at UC Davis and Because of my brain injury they gave me extra time to take tests Then I got some special accommodations because of my disability some of these considered And I just remember how hard school was school was really really hard when I once I got back to school once I got back and a Lot harder than it was prior to and so yah. Go back to school UC Davis and worked hard So you were going to school something happened that at that time not that it was bad But you got involved in something you feel like he’s had a big influence in your life So first when I was a freshman year in college There was this internship in the company was called student works painting and then change the name to varsity painting later so I ran a house-painting business over the summer and that was what I did my freshman year and you know I did all my own sales and marketing and advertising recruiting interviewing. I hired my own employees. I you know, I ended up essentially running the business over the summer and So that really was just an awesome way to I learned how to make money I learned how to make money and learn how to run a business. I learned how to be a manager I learned how to be a boss I learned I learned so much and I worked my ass off and my first summer that freshman year I did sixty-five thousand dollars worth of work. I don’t know I made 20 grand 25 grand something like that, which was quite a bit money for a college student, especially for somebody like me Because the summer before I made 425 an hour making ski ropes had some some little shot that made ski ropes so it was a huge jump for me and it was great and so after my car accident, I started doing that again and I started the marketing and the advertising in January of 1997 right and that was kind of what? Kicked me back into gear. I don’t think with how student works without bars. I don’t I don’t know I mean because that was really what got me Got my brain Working again. I mean, it’s just like if you break your arm or break your leg if you don’t start working Your leg if you don’t get back in the gym if you don’t start walking if you don’t start running You’re never gonna your leg back up And so for me it was getting my brain working you know being in school was one thing but then actually running the business and and having to work and Having to do, you know all of the things that I think you have to do to run a business Was awesome and my second year was amazing. I was I did $90,000 with a business I probably made 30 grand or over 30 grand. I was the manager Li year. I think really really well and That was kind of not the start or not the start but that College works or student works was a huge part of my life and After that I got promoted I became a district manager of the district manager for a couple years again kind of managers in each of the managers had Their own little business in their own little town or in a town Right five hundred thousand dollars of the business my second year my third year My first year at the district manager and then the next year as a district manager. I did I don’t know why 550 or so Well you were earning for your age was quite a bit. Yeah, yeah I was making money it was that the attraction I did you just love running a business. I Mean I’ve always liked to sell so it gave me the opportunity to sell it gave me the opportunity to Delegate I think growing up I emerged and it’s time to delegate to my sisters
Especially my older sister my elder sister. I could like get her to do anything for me, which was you know, she was just We have just an amazing relationship even today and she’s always I’ve always been able to to get her to do stuff for me And I think you know, I always been getting people to do stuff for me, but you still were Drinkin and druggin. Oh, yes of like Yeah, when so once I got into college, I never pursued football at all And I just kind of went down the path of being a college student and I drank and I partied and I went to school and that was kind of what I did and I was always I always blocked out I Always was the guy that was the most wasted and I was kind of how it always was and I was able to kind of bounce back from it and Alcohol was mainly what I didn’t know he liked to smoke pot at all I mean I had prepared a stint in High School where I smoked a lot of pot but then that was its kind of I didn’t pot made me paranoid and I liked to drink Drinking was kind of my deal. So it was mostly drinking throughout college. It was drinking. I was working hard to student works thing Entertaining thing and my grades were pretty decent so I was still a smart kid I was able to do what I needed to do that and graduate I mean, I don’t really remember it quite honestly I graduated but I did Because of the partying or because of the brain injury Buh, buh, buh. Yeah. Yeah. No you were basically you’re taking a revolver and playing Russian roulette with five bullets Definitely. Yeah, I mean looking back at college That was when I got busted for doing a beer run friend and I did a beer an out the emergency accident like Lucky’s and Davis and there was a cop there and my friend ran away and I got caught and then I didn’t tell him my friend was I got Arrested and charged with like theft or as a felony misdemeanor sinus served time in jail I served time in jail and when I was in jail I kind of fight was a guy and then I ended up gone into solitary confinement So here I am like this nineteen year old college student UC Davis or 20 years old and I’m in jail and I’m like And I’m in solitary confinement So that happened I got arrested for like my drunk in public once I got a DUI I mean there were several. I remember when I had to do community service I showed up and I smelled like alcohol from the night before And I think they ended up arresting me and I never having to spend the night in jail I don’t know. I mean did a bunch of crazy stuff that happens When you drink and those things happen to me and it still wasn’t enough to get you to say, you know, that something’s not working Somebody else’s ball and I’d like to drink I had to take these DUI class and said I remember there was a guy that Was our teacher or facilitator of the class and he looked at me and he’s like you’re an alcoholic No I am not. You are an alcoholic. Oh, yes you are and he was an alcoholic. I mean people that are Alcoholics a lot of times end up working in treatment or teaching the classes and so forth So so, you know, it’s like, you know an alcoholic can spot an alcoholic and I don’t remember what it was about me Maybe if I showed up hungover, or maybe the stories I told I don’t know Rich Decker: Well, when did enough get to be enough? When did you hit your bottom as they say in the 12-step programs? So for me I had several bottoms once I graduated from college my drinking escalated to other drugs and I started doing GHB and Ecstasy and I OD’d several times and Then I started to Cocaine and so that became my deal and then I got fired from student works Which remember was my a humongous part of my life and then the house when I lived in Newport Beach moved up to Northern, California That’s when the California got back into the painting business and ran business with a guy and then I started a college works which was a competitor to varsity their student works and I started up to Northern California division and I did that for three years. And again, I did really really well I was making great money my third year. I did really well But we had our corporate retreats kind of in places like Miami and Vegas and Park City and Cancun and I was always The guy that was the most wasted and I always blacked out and I always was just a disaster And I got fired from college works my life kind of fell apart
and after that my then girlfriend Jennifer and I moved to Arizona And so we kind of continued and I was drinking normal I wouldn’t always drink to blackout but a lot of times I would drink to blackout and bad things would happen And and I would end up staying out all night with one of my friends or something like that and and some one Weekend a good friend of mine. His name said he was a friend of college. She was my best man at my wedding He came out to Arizona it was supposed to be a couple’s weekend and he was gonna bring his wife and it was gonna be me and my wife and him and his wife in and he like a week before I’ve been a few days before he sends me an email And this is in March of 2011. He says hey Tim, B. That’s his wife He’s not gonna come something for work came up It was just gonna be me and then I think Cameron might come too and and I’m like hot gun. You gotta be kidding me So I go to my wife Jennifer and I tell her that B is not coming and that’s just gonna be Sep and maybe Cameron and she was so pissed she thought that we planned it that way the whole entire time and she Didn’t think there was ever a couple’s weekend. And so Seph stayed at the W in Old Town, Scottsdale So I stayed at the W with Seph in the Old Town,Scottsdale we just you know that whole weekend was drinking and golf and strip clubs and just Shenanigans whole entire weekend after that weekend some things happen and some things happen. That’s that she found out about and She she left me. She said we’re separated and You know, the only way I will consider taking you back is if you never ever drink again You gotta rehab? And I was like, okay, So that was kind of when I decided I said, okay I’m not I’m not gonna go to rehab but I’ll get sober I’ll go to AA and and so Tuesday, March 8th 2011 was the very first meeting that I ever went to No, if I would say that that was when I made the decision to get sober forever I think the decision then was I gotta get sober for a little bit so I can get my wife back I mean I was there it wasn’t it wasn’t a long-term solution. It was just uh, let me get sober for a little bit I’ll go to AA. I’ll do these AA classes And and we’ll see and I remember showing up to my very first meeting And there’s a 7:00 p.m. Meeting and I was at 4141 first called a birthday cake meeting in 40 42nd Street Thomas in Phoenix and remember pulling into the parking lot It’s just looking at a bunch of guys outside of the room and they’re all just laughing in there they have these huge smiles on their faces and The energy is just I mean I’m and I’m sitting in my car, and I’m just crying I’m just crying because I’m like my life is about to change and and it’s devastating and so I walk into the meeting and everybody is friendly and they’re Introducing themselves to me and they what they did this meeting or they do have lots of the medians is if you’re a newcomer You have to stand up and tell them who you are. And so I stood up and I said my name’s Tim And I’m an alcoholic and that was the first time in my life that I never said that and I just I just cried And then I sat down in my chair they sat next to Gotti Michael and at this meeting They called newcomers up to the podium We’re probably 30 or 40 people in this room and so I go to the front and I tell them the story of what happened over the weekend and they’re all laughing They’re laughing and I’m crying and they’re laughing and I’m crying that was the very first meeting that I ever went to and Several people came up to me after the meeting to introduce themselves. I felt so welcome. I felt like I was at home and One guy gave me a big book and they said you need to go to meeting every single day get a big bucket sponsor and so the next day which prints piece and I got sponsored my second day and And that’s kind of how my recovery journey started Rich Decker: So your sponsor is like a mentor to for sobriety Can you explain that relationship and how that works? And so a sponsor is a guy who takes a spawn sees through the steps and so my sponsor did staff work with me because it’s one thing to stick up in a meeting and it’s another thing to actually do the work and What they say is you have to do the work if you want to get sober and stay sober You have to do the work and this is really like digging in and and doing the steps And so that was what I did is I did the work
And I met with my sponsor on a weekly basis. I did staff work. The first step is I’m powerless Then then step two and step three and then the fourth step which is when you do your inventory And so my sponsor sponsor is a guy that a guy or a gal Typically, it’s the same gender is the sponsor the same gender typically and this sponsor is there to be a mentor, to be a guide Spiritually and take a person through the steps Rich Decker: Most people are familiar with 12-step program But if someone that never heard about it, how would you describe the 12-step program in just a few words or sentences? The 12-step program is it’s a spiritual program. It’s program of all honesty. It’s a way of living and For me, I’ve learned how to live life differently because of the 12 steps I learned how to live an honest life because of the 12 steps I’ve learned to get out of myself. I’ve learned to be of service I’ve learned I Have so much peace and serenity and gratitude in my life today Because of the 12 steps without the 12 steps, I don’t know where I would be I’m just I’m so happy and so grateful today This whole perception is really where it started I’ve done other things and I continue to do other things beyond the 12 steps which are huge Compliments to my 12 step program but the 12 step program is where it started for me Rich Decker: That’s the foundation? That’s my foundation. Absolutely and I still go to meetings today. I sponsor guys I still talk to my sponsor on a regular basis. I take guys in this steps. I have a home group I have a service commitment I’m still connected. I mean it’s it’s like staying fit I mean they say you have to be spiritually fit if you’re not spiritually fit you might go out drink or Your behavior changes and I would say more than anything your behavior changes if you get away from the steps – or if you get away from a or if you get away from the program So I stay connected because I love my life today and I don’t ever want to go back to living the way that I lived before I don’t ever want to have that emptiness that I had in my life before my life is so full the relationships that I have today are just amazing I have lots of men in my life that I have close intimate relationships with and I can’t say that was true Prior to getting sober. I had all not even close You know going back to like my childhood growing up. My dad was very much He was very much walled off, you know, and I think it was maybe that even that generation men weren’t intimate and it was more so um you know men are tough and men don’t cry and And you don’t need to share intimate feelings or anything like that which is not true today Not true for me. I’ve got I can be vulnerable. I can be emotional like I’ve gone through so many things in recovery and I’ve cried at meetings. I’m not afraid to cry. I’m not afraid to cry in front of a group of men at all Rich Decker: I might still have issues. You mean, it can be just anybody But you know, no I, I would I’m totally fine with it, I’m totally fine with that Got no issues crying in front of people Rich Decker: Well, I think that’s important because like you and I are pretty close in age that generation You know, my dad didn’t show any emotion not even towards my mom you know and so You know those imprints at that early age are so critical and we live them the rest of our lives and I catch myself I don’t know about you But I catch myself from time to time doing things that my dad did I have no idea completely Unconsciously doing it like wait a minute. That’s what my dad used to do what’s going on Yeah, I definitely can relate I can see myself Again, a pretty aware of myself and my actions and my behaviors these days and sometimes Oh my God, that’s something my dad would do and my dad and I have a lot of Similarities in there. I mean I can remember my We I don’t know if we sound alike. Our demeanors is similar I’m not exactly sure but there are you know, like I can remember my aunt Margie saying I called my Ant Margie who’s my grandma’s Sister I call her and she did say is this Dennis like no, this is Tim I don’t think we sound that much alike I think it was us kind of standing like along with just that the tone Rich Decker: Now your recovery was in 2011 you’ve done more than most you’ve actually started a Camelbak recovery Can you explain that journey a little bit what led you to that? Yeah, that’s when I moved to Phoenix I I started up, you know, we moved to Phoenix
I made some money before I moved to Phoenix I you know, and I got fired from college works, but I owned 30% of that division So I got made some money on that. I flipped a couple of homes. So I made some money on that So I moved to Arizona and I ended up buying several homes in the area And then that was 2006 when I moved here So I ended up only the plan was to flip these homes and make millions in real estate that you know 2006, six seven eight, you know that clearly was, yeah didn’t work out too well So when I started up starting a vacation rental company Started this vacation rental companies. I had lots of homes that I manage I think we got up to like sixty five homes and you know housekeeping department Maintenance part I mean it was like it was a pretty you know Pretty decent operation and some things happened and I ended up having to get out of the vacation rental business and that’s another that’s another that’s another podcaster another story and so in Getting out of the vacation rental business one of my homes. I leased out to a couple of women and Then I found that they were in recovery. I was like, oh, wow, you’re in recovery. I’m in recovery Wow, this is great And then I found out that they turned my home into a recovery home for women and I was like, whoa No today, I believe that everything happens exactly the way that it’s supposed to God’s in control I’m not in control and I found out when I was supposed to find out and I was like wow, okay, so The bills are always paid. They never complain. They take care of the home Um, this could be a good thing in and we had another home home that I owned with my my dad and my stepmom There was something that we were trying to figure out what to do with that home. So I ended up um So I’m getting out of the vacation. We’re all business trying to figure out what I’m gonna do next in my life I’ve got this we’ve got this other home. We’re trying to figure out what to do with There’s this sober-living business which is a possibility. It’s a way for me to give back be of service And help others and also hold me accountable to be quite honest So that was kind of how I ended up opening up my first recovery home, so we opened up our first home we took our first client in about April of 2014 and It was kind of the start of it that was what led me to to open up my first home Rich Decker: Now were you angry with these women for starting a recovery home without telling you? Oh, no, not again I mean, it’s like maybe I would have been But no, I’m in recovery. I believe everything happens the way it’s supposed to I still see them today around and one of them therapist and she and she took a job being a therapist and She’s like Tim, I was still really sick So she so she was newly recovering and she you know, cuz they didn’t disclose it to me, but you know Whatever again I found out when I was supposed to find out she didn’t even know I was in recovery Sometimes it’s not easy like people have this stigma around what a recovery home is and they have a picture in their mind of you know addicts hanging from ceilings and breaking windows and doing drugs at the house and Throwing needles away. I mean, you know, which is just not the case I mean there are some bad actors out there which have given the sober living business a bad name, but that’s not normal I would say Rich Decker: Well people would they come to your place especially because they have to pay three months in advance, right Yeah, exactly. So our program is solid in my opinion and I mean I would say we’re regarded as the best sober living in Arizona We there are lots of things that we do that I guess help On our program and one of the things is we require three months up front of payment. So people have to put The financially they have to make that to pay for three months and when somebody pays for three months it’s like people follow their money and I’ll tell you what if I’m if I’m paying to stay somewhere for three months like I’m gonna follow the rules and that’s what happens is people pay for three months because I mean You know as well as I know they get something like yes, I want to get sober. I will do anything I will do anything. I will work a 12-step program. I will go to a meeting every single day I will get a sponsor I will get on one group. I will get service commitment. I will get up in the morning I will make my bed I will do much or I will I will give it a job or I will do something in 30 hours a week I’ll come home by curfew I’ll get drug tested two times a week and they’re completely on board, but then in a couple of weeks maybe Something happens they get into fight with the house manager. They don’t like being held accountable. They don’t want to go to I mean every single day You’ve figured it out. They don’t really mean then they could Potentially act out drink use whatever That’s when we can remind them. Okay? well, if you don’t follow the rules you’re gonna get written up?
And we do write them up or house managers do write them up and I don’t thinking about nothing, you know potentially they can get kicked out and I mean they have three write-ups they get kicked out if they relapse They’re gonna leave for at least 72 hours. And that’s the first time second time. They can get a higher level of care and They’re not getting a refund It’s not because we want to keep their money They don’t get a refund because that’s their consequence. There are consequences to not following rules. There are consequences to To a relapse and that’s just kind of how it is. And we found that that works out really well It keeps people in line and the result being in three months There are anyway better place physically mentally spiritually and A lot of times end up sticking around for you know longer Our success rate is really high We don’t have relapses very often at all. And a lot of recovery homes. They they accept payments weekly and Which there’s a place for everybody and and it’s not to say the place that accepts Weekly payments is bad by any means at all. I mean some people can’t afford more than one week at a time But it’s always that creates a revolving door because anytime somebody Wants to leave or they get in sudden edge to drink or use or not follow rules or whatever they can Just leave and there are no consequences where if somebody leaves one of the one of our homes one of the Camelback recovery homes There’s there are consequences Rich Decker: So what do you do there beyond just you know requiring people go to meetings. And what have you? What are the some of the systems you have that you think lead to your great success? That’s a good question. There. There are seven. I mean, I don’t know if there’s specifically one thing but there are several things that we do that I believe make us make our program stronger than others Number one our house managers are full-time employees their full-time W-2 employees Their full-time job is to take care of The women or the men in our homes are all gender specific Their full-time job is to take care of that home and to facilitate recovery. That’s what they get paid to do So it’s not like they’re just getting pretty ready to hang out at the house So their full-time job is to take care of that home number two we provide all food and all meals and so we take a holistic approach to recovery and food and diet and nutrition is such an important part of recovery and A lot of times these people that are newly recovery. Like they don’t want to plate full of broccoli they don’t want to eat healthy food and they want to eat frozen pizza or burrito or something or Taco Bell or McDonald’s and that’s just not conducive for brain recovery your brain needs to recover You have brain damage. Really I mean from all the drinking and using it and all the bad Stuff that’s been put in your brain. So our brains need to be brought back to life I guess and So we provide all the meals. So Jennifer prepared five nights a week breakfast lunch. That’s all provided So that’s all included in our cost. That’s one of the things that I believe helps We also require five units of self-care per week. So that means that a person is Doing yoga go to the gym, hiking Camelback Mountain, even going to the dentist Things that people that are in their addiction typically don’t do so the hasn’t learned how to take care of himself Everybody’s out of bed in the morning by eight o’clock. The latest beds made chores done So they’re all in a normal sleeping schedule. They’re getting enough sleep. They’re eating the right food getting enough nutrients They’re exercising, they’re into fitness And they have to work a 12-step program, which is the most important. The most important thing is that they’re working a 12-step program and That means they have a sponsor. They’re working the steps They’re going to meetings from group service commitment, and we’re able to hold them accountable to all these things and because our house managers are full time W-2 employees, they are able to facilitate All of these things, but then we’re also a social model which means that everybody is holding everybody accountable If you walk into one of the Camelbak recovery homes The homes are just the energy is awesome. I mean you go in there It’s like wow, this is you know for somebody that wants to be in a recovery That’s where the you know I be when I see you can feel the energy and when you walk into a room or into in the house right? Sure, and so don’t you’ve been in my home? So I mean, what’s the energy like when you walk into him? It’s very nice it’s very calm. I find it peaceful and I am surprised that you know especially a bunch of people living together, you know, there’s always going to be Some kind of conflict, but I don’t feel it or sense it when I’ve been to one of your places, right?
And that’s how it is because it’s real real recovery. Everybody wants to be there That’s the other thing when we require three months upfront people that don’t really want to be sober They don’t want to come to our house then they screen themselves out. They don’t typically people that don’t want to be sober don’t want to come to our house I mean, I’ve seen it we’ve done tours and I mean you can see it in their eyes They’re like and I kind of know this is not for me. Okay? You’re not ready, okay Good luck Rich Decker: So you recently you started doing is it Ironman competition? yeah, I started in so it’s 2016 so I’m a Friend, his name’s Walter. He says Hamm do an Ironman You should come and check it out. And so I went winos November 2016. I watched him do Ironman and Prior to that I had I mean the most I’m like since high school like literally the most I’d run It’s like a couple mile, you know, it’s like I was doing crossfit I was doing yoga I was hiking I was fit but I was and I was not an endurance athlete by any means I the long run day in CrossFit classes like I’m allowed right and let alone running 20 a marathon I mean I never in my life had I ever thought about writing a marathon or Swimming and I didn’t swim and I didn’t buy a cape You know I did spin so I thought okay like if I’m back But I go to this Ironman and just the energy was amazing it was it was just amazing and I remember being there Looking around at all These people that were doing Ironman and you had literally people that were old, young, skinny, fat Missing legs, missing arms, missing I mean is just like I’m looking around at these people They’re just like average looking people And in Japan people with hidden caps, and I’m like not I could freaking do this I could do this So that was kind of when the seed was planted and then my first quarter gold Mm. Oh, okay. So, I’m sorry. That was November of 2015 So January of 2016 my made my first quarter physical goal was to did triathlon So I did a triathlon and little sprint and I was like, okay, that’s cool I could do that and then and then I did on the Olympic and then I did another Olympic so I ended up doing five triathlons in 2016 and at the end of 2016 I said, okay I want to do Ironman Which was just like a big deal. It was a really big deal And and so it’s been another thing that I get to focus my time and my energy on. Yeah, and I love it nine I did Ironman in November of 2017 in Arizona and them I’m just signed up I ended up doing pretty well, and now I want to do it again I mean, it’s another thing. That’s I’m just you know I have an addictive personality and that’s kind of what you have to that’s kind of what you have to have in order to to train for I mean, it’s like I work out a couple times a day and Weekends I you know, it’s like I’m spending hours upon hours running biking and swimming and 2018 when I trained for Ironman Was like I had seen the most growth in my business, I mean 2017 was a huge year for me in many areas of my life and my business grew significantly. I hired some key employees and I’m able it’s like it went from being just a little owner/operator business to being like a real business and Doing real, you know generating real revenue, and it was amazing. I’m in a relationship today I started that relationship and it’s the most healthy awesome relationship I’ve ever been in in my life and her name’s Michelle, and she’s She’s amazing. I just I’m so grateful for her and for my Ironman journey And now I’m still doing it and I’m still doing triathlon So I’m gonna do Ironman again this upcoming year and I used to spend weekends you know I go to travel I go to like San Diego or I’m going to Santa Rosa in July for a Half Ironman and then I’m gonna do the full Ironman here in Arizona again in November 2018 Rich Decker: That’s quite a journey From where you were and all those years of madness Which is what I would describe it. I think that’s a fair assessment I would say that madness was is chaos I mean I was thinking about that before. Okay. It’s like I was addicted to chaos. I was everything was chaos And today I’m I do a very good job of staying centered and I still Have the tendency to attract chaos, or create chaos, but I’m still I get up in the morning
I pray I meditate I, I do a gratitude list and That’s how I start pretty much every single day and Michelle and I we get to do that together a lot of time so it’s a way for us to connect and start our day with my beaming gratitude and You know when the day starts Rich Decker: One of my favorite quotes, I think it’s Howard Beecher It’s the first hour is the rudder of the day And I found that to be if yet first hour and it sets the tone for the whole rest of your day Yeah Absolutely, I would I would agree with that I like to get up early and it’s really important for me and a lot of times I work out first thing in the morning So you’re like I’ll go on a ride or I’ll go for a runner or something Rich Decker: That’s awesome. What do you see for your future and Camelback recovery? And then last thing is for someone that’s out there in the abyss like you were like many are What would you say to them? What would you say to you now? If you could talk to your old self, do you think there’s anything you could say to yourself? No, there’s nothing I could say to myself because Journey was my journey and I wasn’t searching for answers. I wasn’t I didn’t want to make a change. I like the chaos and maybe I could’ve started searching for a spiritual answer sooner, you know, I started doing yoga when I first got sober as well, which is Another thing that’s been just a huge compliment to my recovery a huge program to my 12-step program so that was a way for me to start connecting spiritually and Working on my spiritual fitness really? It’s like I wasn’t writing to work on my spiritual fit. I don’t know I don’t know where itch I wish I had the answer in this. I think you’re asking me How can I get through to somebody that doesn’t want to be sober and I just you know I just don’t I have not found the answer to that Rich Decker: You got to let go right you got to let go of that idea that there is something I can do and then I just Have to let things go as they go. Is that a fair assessment? That’s absolutely a fair assessment. It’s just like my sponsor guys. I carry the message I go to meetings I share and I’m an active member of AA today like I still like I’m active and I sponsor guys because I want to stay sober and I’ve sponsored lots of guys that have gone back out and That’s just what happens and that’s part of their journey and it’s a good reminder for me and especially being in the recovery business I see lots of people that go back out and I see their behavior and it’s like wow Okay, that was me. That was me when I was in high school. That was me when I was in college That was me when I was you know and so I can see myself and other people and that’s one of the gifts of carrying the message and giving back is being I will see these reminders so Say yeah, there’s there’s no way that make somebody There’s no to you. There’s going to make somebody listen to me. I can tell you that much. I’m a controlling person I’ve learned by being in recovery. I’ve learned that I don’t need to be in control. I’m not in control God’s in control and that’s just such a comforting feeling Knowing that I don’t have to be in control of whether or not a person does Get sober or whether or not a person goes to a meeting or whether or not a person calls me back or whether or not a person pays me back or whether or not Like none of these things are in my control. I don’t have to put energy on it It is just because me having to be in control. It’s exhausting. It’s overwhelming it’s It’s just you know for me to not being controlling me to be powerless, it’s Like life is simple. Things are easy. I just kind of do the next right thing I don’t think there’s any better way to end then on that note, right? just do the next best thing or next right thing and let Go right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah Rich Decker: Well Tim, thank you for joining us and sharing your hero’s journey It’s an awesome story and I’m sure anyone that listens to this Will be as inspired as I’ve been from your story What I’m amazed is how much the craziness in your life, but you still always Find success. That’s what’s amazing You keep going, the drive. It’s amazing. Yeah I keep on moving forward and I can say that I’m just I’m just super grateful today. I stay centered. I stay grounded I got so many good things and I truly appreciate that. You have given me the oxygen either to share my story. So, thank you Thank you again for listening and please Leave any comments or suggestions? We’re always looking for ways to improve our show and make it the best show it can possibly be
Visit mindfulaccord.com where you can find additional episodes and you can follow our blog we give some helpful information on mindfulness meditation and just ways to manage our everyday stressful lives And most importantly, If you know of a friend or a family member that would benefit from this story Please share it with them until Next time I’m Rich Decker