Recovery Talks: The Podcast
When It’s Time For the Hard Conversation

When It’s Time For the Hard Conversation

May 17, 2022

It's the front line of tomorrow's America, and being on the front lines can be tiring and messy. It can be lonely yet crowded and chaotic. The front lines in the life of a middle-school student are like a minefield. The students confront, dodge, fix, and try to understand the obstacles placed in their daily lives on the edge of being an adult yet with a child's life experiences. Never really knowing how it impacts them and what the future implications might be down the road.

Enter the middle-school counselor James Shannon. In this frank episode, James talks about the myriad of issues that confront our next generation and how he helps them navigate the choppy waters of early teenage adolescence. James also reminds adults that while the problems experienced by middle-school students may not seem critical, they are of paramount importance to the student, and those problems can be life-altering events.

Marc and James also discuss some warning signs where anxiety and depression can trigger more complex situations and how family and mentors can be on the lookout for them. This practical, sometimes severe, and nuts-and-bolts discussion can impact anyone connected to a young person's challenging, rewarding, and tumultuous life.

A Hobby Turned To a Habit

A Hobby Turned To a Habit

May 10, 2022

“I just wanted to feel better. I didn’t want to feel bad.”

These words from Summit County Domestic Relations Court Magistrate Cheryl Wear make it challenging to understand how someone brought up in a well-to-do, loving, well-adjusted Christian home, who never experienced a drop of alcohol, could arrive at this place. A place where simply aspiring to drink until you blackout meant successful relief.

Marc welcomes Attorney Cheryl Wear as she speaks at length about her journey. It is an experience that includes the downward spiral of substance abuse, disrupted family events, lost jobs, and finally being exiled from her husband and children. At the moment of  ‘rock bottom,’ she knew that her previous conception of an alcoholic ‘being some toothless guy who lived under a bridge’ was false, erroneous, and now completely altered. 

In this episode, Cheryl chronicles her climb out of the hole. She reflects on her re-connection to the importance of Christianity in her life. She vividly explains how her strength allowed her to finally find a new relationship with her children. And she confirms the fact that this disease called ‘alcoholism’ can sink its fangs into anyone and anybody. It’s a powerful episode and a unique story of redemption. 

Rise Up: A Story of An Adult Child of Alcoholics

Rise Up: A Story of An Adult Child of Alcoholics

May 2, 2022

In childhood, Crissy Youngblood was surrounded by grown-ups who struggled and suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse. She is a survivor of the consequences of what is known now as a Mental and Physical Heath Disorder. Born to a mother who was only 16 and later died from complications of her disease, Crissy realized early on that her world lacked healthy boundaries. Her relationships with relatives and friends were absorbed in a life that was not like her friends at school and, later, sometimes included very inappropriate attention from men with the wrong intentions. 

But strength and perseverance have a way of polishing a shining star with a kind soul, helping them to find courage, to dig deep, and to rise. After becoming a mother herself, Crissy found an alternative path, from what was her childhood to her reality. She dedicated herself to breaking the chain of trauma and committed her life to achieve through adversity.

She never gave up.  Today, she has overcome and has a family life, a working farm, and a life with a partner with whom she walks together along the path of sobriety.

Join Marc as he shares Crissy's fantastic journey from pain and despair to hope and a future. Discover how Crissy found an exhilarating strength that we may not know we possess.


Unicorns and Polka-Dots: A Song of Hope

Unicorns and Polka-Dots: A Song of Hope

April 25, 2022

At 24 years of age, most young people have moved in a career direction. Some have even chosen marriage. A few are giving birth and starting families. Some, like Brianna Brady, will get to choose none of them. Losing one's life to substance-use disorder can rob families of so many things.

In this breathtaking and stark episode on both substance-use disorder and grief, Marc sits down with Joe Brady, Brianna's father. Joe talks at length about Brianna's three-year battle. But more than just sharing the details of yet another victim of substance use, Joe shares wisdom and a powerful message for those who sometimes get left out in the cold: the family members and friends who do their best to help their loved ones navigate their addiction in the hopes of overcoming it, and the arduous task that presents itself to them.

This episode documents a critical life lesson and, in a way, a future challenge for others: the outcome of your loved one is, by and large, beyond your control, and that result rests, ultimately, with the person experiencing substance-use disorder.

Marc and Joe speak directly to those on the front lines of waging the battle for their loved ones in this open and insightful episode through insight, honesty, frankness, and even' song.’


Deep-Diving on Dual-Diagnosis

Deep-Diving on Dual-Diagnosis

April 18, 2022
Mental Health Issues. Substance Use-Disorder. Each poses significant challenges for the person afflicted and the person tasked with helping the person when it comes to diagnosis and, when combined, represents a unique and different course of treatment. 
Marc gets down to it with Portage Path Behavioral Health professional Matthew Ragon in this plain-spoken, nuts-and-bolts episode. Within his role as a clinician with Portage Path, Matthew drills down into ‘Dual-Diagnosis' and why this approach is expanding its reach and charting its success. Marc and Matthew both bring to light the various ways that 'stigma' can manifest itself, compound the long-term recovery process within the dual-diagnosis model, and how it can impede the client from actualizing the goal of a self-directed life.
Let's listen to this necessary episode designed to understand more contemporary clinical methods and help those who may be on the cusp of starting their self-directed journey. Additionally, Matthew Ragon offers his contact info to anyone experiencing a dual-diagnosis situation. You are free to contact him at Portage Path Behavioral Health:
Never Give Up

Never Give Up

April 11, 2022

Athena Fleming has endured something that most people will never experience: the loss of a child to addiction.


In perhaps the most gut-wrenching episode of this podcast, Marc and Athena try to untangle and comprehend the journey and tragic ending of Athena’s daughter, Alycia. This episode recounts the battle that ensued to confront her addiction, the victories that temporarily showed promise, and the path that eventually led to Alycia losing the fight.


In Athena’s words, “Our loved ones don’t set out to become addicts. We’re dealing with something that takes over the brain.”


In this gripping, emotional episode, Athena shares with Marc her innermost feelings about doing everything possible to wage war on a scourge that slowly and methodically robbed her of her daughter. And we learn how a mother’s unconditional love can be a testament for others who may be experiencing the same journey.

When the Shattered Pieces Come Together

When the Shattered Pieces Come Together

April 4, 2022
“Trauma is not unusual. What’s unusual is not having somebody to help us move through it”.
April 23rd, 2019, may have been a remarkably ordinary day for most. But for Jennifer Bartolotta, that day was the breaking point and the end of the life that she loved and cherished. In a moment, she lost her husband, business partner, best friend, and crisis-inspired trauma would soon invade and permeate every inch of her existence. Nothing would ever be the same. 
Eventually, that set her on a course of intense recovery. Through pain, insight, knowledge, and experience, the journey that started with formal training and gave her the wisdom to help both herself and establish early foundations for the construction of her new business, would ultimately assist others in the management of certified trauma-informed care.
Join Marc in season 4’s inaugural episode as he and Jennifer drill down into ‘trauma’ at its most basic, how it is best faced when fighting it initially, and how trust in yourself may, in fact, be the most effective and essential artillery in the fight against trauma. 


Hurt People Hurt People

Hurt People Hurt People

December 28, 2021
The ‘well of pain.’ For the person in long-term recovery, ‘pain’ is real. Sometimes unforgiving. What can begin the process towards healing? Or, maybe even better put: who?
Can a frog?
Marc thinks aloud in this final episode of Season 3, reveling in his tail-less amphibian-ness. The frog is trusting, content in its knowledge that other people will acknowledge the pain, see it for the harm that it causes, and do what others are designed to do: to help. But what if everyone is not a fellow frog? Would others take advantage of a frog in misery? And if someone would stoop so low as to do that, would there be a space within us to initiate forgiveness? Is it possible? 
And who is this person who would continue to swirl the slurry of pain? Meet the scorpion.
In this reflective, contemplative, and powerful episode, Marc takes you on the frog-scorpion journey. He expounds upon the three-pronged recipe for eliminating suffering: asking for forgiveness, offering forgiveness, and, quite possibly the most difficult, learning to forgive yourself. Find out why scorpions aren’t necessarily good or bad. They are. But can forgiveness be found for them?
Hang out with Marc in this season-ending finale as he offers up insight on his journey, trying day by day to locate compassion inside forgiveness while also staying the course for those other frogs and scorpions in long-term recovery.
The Road to Redemption

The Road to Redemption

December 20, 2021
The Road to Redemption – Judge Susan Baker Ross
If Season 3 of ‘Recovery Talks: The Podcast’ has shown us anything, it’s that addiction knows no gender, nationality, or social class. It can transform the lives of everyone from working mothers to corporate executives to, in the case of our host, musicians.
In this revealing episode, Marc also shows that even a person elected to uphold the statutes can fall victim to addiction’s tentacles. Judge Susan Baker Ross talks candidly and openly about her unique story of alcohol addiction and her continuing journey to stay clean even after more than 30 years of sobriety.
“Drinking, trouble…drinking, trouble’. Almost like a mantra, Judge Ross realized early on that alcohol was the demon that set her on a path of recklessness and danger. And while the trauma of sexual abuse at an early age may have been the catalyst, she also knew that her body’s chemistry seemed determined to deny her the capability of merely having a drink. In her words, “I had one last drink in 1989, I remember how that drink went down, and I could immediately feel the phenomenon of craving kick in”.
But Judge Susan Baker Ross also knew that even after three decades of sobriety that she was, in her words, “still a work in progress". She felt compassion for those who appeared in front of her bench, and she understood the emotional impact of their journeys. She was also content that issues still existed even after being on such a long road of sobriety. Sugar remained a culprit. And her past reinforced the need to continue to be in trauma therapy.
This is a genuine, authentic, and honest episode, a teachable moment for anyone from any walk of life. It’s proof-positive that everyone, even an elected official on the bench, is worthy and entitled to the healing act of redemption.


Feeding the Malnourished Brain - Rachel Pollack

Feeding the Malnourished Brain - Rachel Pollack

December 15, 2021
Can a person be active in recovery without realizing why they are in recovery? Rachel Pollack is such a person. Stricken with an eating disorder, sidelined by the pandemic, it wasn’t until months into beginning a recovery path that Rachel realized that her anxiety disorder was partially responsible for helping to fuel it.
In this 14th episode of season 3, Marc gives us a detailed glimpse into Rachel Pollack’s world. Long before she chronicles her journey as a published author, Rachel floated in the middle-space that is overlooked when discussing eating disorders. Not everyone who suffers from this affliction hates food. And not everyone spends every waking minute consuming food. In her words, “You can eat three meals a day, and you can still have an eating disorder.”
Rachel talks at length about the concept of ‘control,’ how it is misunderstood, perceived, and how her understanding of it only made things worse. Tracing Rachel’s journey, we understand how someone on the precipice of losing weight, doing CrossFit, and gaining traction in her life realizes that ‘control’ can sometimes be an illusion. It was only through therapy that Rachel comprehended that it was her disorder that maintained all of the control.
Hiding. Eating in secret. And, eventually, not eating in secret. Rachel Pollack’s story is a singular one. Transitioning from ‘staying in therapy just to get people off my back’ to seeing full-scale progress, her tale reinforces the notion that the person in recovery can have a unique moment of enlightenment: the brain reacts differently when nourished regularly.  
It’s a special episode that magnifies a more than common condition. It spotlights a recovery tale that shows one person’s saga from feeling dead inside to feeling alive and whole again.   
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