In this episode, Dr. Russell Thackeray talks to Rob Lohman who is based in Denver, Colorado. A former addict, Rob now helps people get out of their rut and find purpose in their life away from addiction or being stuck in their life.
Rob started drinking when he was 14 years old. Although he appeared happy and confident, he felt he didn’t fit it and alcohol made him feel comfortable around people. At twenty-nine he became sober after a failed suicide attempt. Rob had been having suicidal thoughts that had been growing in intensity for a while. These came to a head on 7 June 2001 when his dog Jake intervened in his suicide attempt.
Eleven years later, Rob had an emotional nervous breakdown that led to a thirteen-year prison sentence for arson. After ten and a half months he was released and then started to rebuild his life with his wife and children who stayed with him. The breakdown helped him figure out what was important and what he needed to have in place in his life. Then, following a series of events in the recovery world, he found himself working in the addiction field.
In this podcast, Rob discusses the idea that addiction is something that sneaks up on us. Nobody starts off wanting to be an addict. Some of the people Rob works with started drinking when they were ten or eleven. The alcohol addiction gradually took over their lives. He also talks about how addiction can be an outcome rather than a cause and can be an inability to deal with emotional pain. The pain might not be major but it becomes progressive and people don’t learn how to deal with it.
There are a lot of different modules and resources available to help with addiction. Rob aims to match the person with the right toolkit and develop a process to help them find a better way to live. He tends to divide his work into two areas. interventions and recovery coaching. With interventions, it is often the family who get in touch. There is a crisis point and they reach out for help because a member of their family is drinking too much. With recovery coaching, it’s generally more personal. Somebody comes to realises they need help breaking free from addiction. The starting point with either, is always identifying the pain point. Rob then helps unpack it, looking at what the past was like, where they want to go and what they need to do each day.
Rob also talks about the correlation between addiction and suicide and suicide ideation. The suicide rate for addicts is really high. Often they are dealing with depression and sometimes misdiagnosed bi-polar type behaviours due to the effect of alcohol or drugs.
Rob is currently working on a new project. The Art of Intervention, a resource to help families get the information they need to help them get their loved one back on track.
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