Dr. J Anthony Quinn is a Board-Certified Orthodontist who practiced in Northeastern Pennsylvania for the past 44 years.
For the past 35 years he has been involved with a recognized 12 step program and a weekly Caduceus meeting that was designed for health care professionals to help them face the special challenges they face when they first become sober.
His experiences with these groups have given him insight into the true nature of recovery. In his book he cautions us be wary of drug assisted treatment as an answer for addiction. The human connection is the answer to successful recovery.
Today we discuss growing up in Scranton's Nativity section, reward drinking, and the complexities of MAT's as a long term solution, especially for highly specialized professionals. (Medically Assisted Treatments)
Below are the links to Dr. Quinn's new Book titled "Observations from a Recovering Alcoholic"
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Joe Van Wie 0:01
All right, we're here with Dr. Anthony Quinn, the author of his new book, observations from a recovering alcoholic. Why human connections is more important than ever. Tony, thanks for coming in.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 0:15
Pleasure, pleasure, Joe.
Joe Van Wie 0:17
We were just catching up off, Mike have some family histories. So full disclosure, we are from Southside, if anyone's offended by the show, like. So totally, everything began in Southside in in the Nativity section River Street.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 0:37
I was thinking Joe on the way over about our background, and I grew up two houses away from your family. So the walls your mother was two houses down. And I remember her mother, who had the same great sense of humor that all the walls girls had. And I used to peddle deliver papers in the morning. So I delivered their paper. And I got to know the family pretty well over those years. And I love being around them. That your mother lived on a duplex. And on the other side of it was her uncle, Jimmy McHugh, who, unfortunately, was an alcoholic. And Jimmy, I have these memories, he sat on his porch on the steps. And when we walked down, he would give us a quarter where it was there to go across the street, to a bar called the dugout of the dugout had no sign on it. No windows, no windows, but a little sign that said ladies entrance on the left. And I was never in there as a kid. But I should have known because I always wanted to be in there. And no one made fun of Jimmy they were kind to him. And certainly your mother was very kind and because he lived in that other side of the house until he died. We never not only would not know about alcoholism, we had no understanding. And I had no idea where I was headed. And I look back and think Wow, here was a 12 year old kid looking at this situation and looking at the bar Crosby which I wanted to go into and never really want because it's afraid Yeah, I had the anxiety that what if What if someone sees me? Even at that age, you're already I already knew it. But that that history and then from there. Most I went to a prep and Scranton a Jesuit school and most of the guys I hung around with live in Greenridge. We are now Yeah. And I found the guys as I did in every place in every institution I went to I found the guys that drank. Yeah, yeah. And I loved them. Because they were my kind of guys to your pack. You have my pack is powerful. And many of those guys including my my cousin, Tim lived him Greenridge, who was an alcoholic and most people my family before us died from the illness. Yeah. Timmy got sober three years ahead of me. And when he got sober. So he was probably in his 40s I stopped hanging around them. In fact, I avoided it. He's got the plague. It's got to play. And he would see me and say how you doing? Oh, good. But I never wanted to divulge anything because God forbid he said you might have a problem. I just didn't want to hear Yeah. And changes for years. Like but he was my hero. Because when he got sober I thought well, if he can do it, it's I can do it.
Joe Van Wie 3:42
It's possible. Yeah. I'm glad you said that. Because that does. You can be uncomfortable around him. Yes, but it stays with you. There's there's a backup plan. I know there's zipline, I could pull here. Yeah, that's Tim. Yeah. It's funny. You mentioned Jimmy McHugh, as you were speaking I do remember stories and it was kind of cartoonish his alcoholism. When the Walsh's would describe him. Yes. If I'm not mistaken. I think he had a glass I
Dr J Anthony Quinn 4:08
Yes. He was he Paul and sin. He would take it
Joe Van Wie 4:11
all out. Yeah, clean it at dinner to just aggravate my grandfather. Yes, yes, he did. And he would take the breakers out of the electric bar. He waved from my grandfather leave the house because now to kick the tar out.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 4:22
He was there'll be a pretty big guy. I didn't mess with Ned. He would
Joe Van Wie 4:27
take the fuses out of the box. And that was like he was his rent and he would hold it ransom for drinking money from catty. My grandmother and my mother remembers this as an early age. And I would think how clownish Lee is. It sounded like mental illness. And oh, that's what an alcoholic is. I would hear people
Dr J Anthony Quinn 4:46
back then. Say back then I'm getting old. I am old. But back then. There were a lot of men, single men who lived with their mothers. Yeah. Or in these houses that really were alcoholics but no one ever talked about it.
Joe Van Wie 5:00
The house people are with people. We call them house people. I wonder what I mean. We can't measure it now, how many of them had PTSD or war trauma? I mean, that's a generation that just got through two wars. How many people come back and what you're supposed to do now be have an enterprise in your guts?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 5:20
Yeah, you just, I had a there was I had, my father had three cousins. What do you get these names? Aki. biking, and punch. So you already know there's a problem here. Sounds like a Western. I do remember Aki, in particular. He looked like he had a little black bowler hat. Always wear a black suit. And a white shirt and a black tie. Like the Blues Brothers almost. Yeah. And I would be with my father. I'm a teenager and Scranton. And we'd see Aki, early in the day. He'd be totally dressed up, tie the right spot. And then we would see him late the day. He would be disheveled and, and obviously drunk, busy day, and I had a memory of him asking my father one day on Spruce Street. He said, John, can you give me a couple of bucks? And my father very, righteously said to him, Aki. If I knew it weren't for a drink, I'd give you 10. And like, he looked around and said to my father, you're no cousin of mine. And he walked out, man.
Joe Van Wie 6:22
Grant was a different. It was a different town. Yeah. Before you came on a week ago. I don't know if you didn't know my cousin T. Martin is a guest on the show. He works at a lane a lot.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 6:32
Oh, it's another family member. Good. He gave a description
Joe Van Wie 6:36
of Scranton. of the time you're talking about it sounds like a movie set like gambling, madness. Open Air alcoholism and mental illness.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 6:47
grandfather had a had a up candy store across from LaGuardia across from that hotel. Casey. Yeah. And I remember I was only eight or nine then. And he would take me down there and I would sit in the front. There was only one candy case and the front. Maybe four by six. Yeah. All these bars in it. And then behind the camera case was a big screen that you could pull up and behind the screen was a table for 10 for cards or cards. He ran a gambling operation. Yeah. And the candy was the front. Oh, well,
Joe Van Wie 7:21
well, it was a booming town.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 7:22
So it was it was it
Joe Van Wie 7:24
was the need was met. Southside did you start? Catholic school just out of curiosity was nativity of schools school that
Dr J Anthony Quinn 7:34
activity was a school. It was a it was early in school was a wonderful school. I give the nuns of Nativity any ability I have either to write or have math where because my hands get cut and whack. Yeah, we all went to the school there. And then I went over to prep, which was an all boys school at that time. And prep at that time was last in the province. The year before I got there academically and they sent this guy named Father McElhaney to prep
Unknown Speaker 8:06
to straighten him out.
Joe Van Wie 8:06
He said straightness, Providence being the Jesuit designation met with a Maryland Providence,
Dr J Anthony Quinn 8:11
Providence. And so he came in and I was a freshman. And by the time we were seniors, he had whipped the class in the number one but there were casualties left and right. Through guys out left and right. I was deathly afraid of them. And of course, my father said to him, do whatever you have to do.
Joe Van Wie 8:29
Yeah. And, I mean, that is nothing like today, Jesuits. It was where most of the teaching staff Jesuits are brothers. They were
Dr J Anthony Quinn 8:38
all Jesuits all time. And they were all recently out of World War Two. Yes, guys. were tough guys. Yeah,
Joe Van Wie 8:43
they're only soldiers. Yeah, since Ignatius, but
Dr J Anthony Quinn 8:47
those two I give great credit to because they did teach me a lot. Yeah, I bet it wasn't easy. I bet wasn't easy. got through it, though. Yeah. And then the University of Scranton, and of course, another Jesuit school, and then the University of Pennsylvania and then I had to go, it was Vietnam, and we were going to be drafted. So I joined the Air Force. And then I did that then went back to University of Rochester to get my Oh, I forgot
Unknown Speaker 9:12
you were you're
Joe Van Wie 9:13
in the Air Force. Yeah. Were you. Any other siblings go into the military?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 9:17
No, because after that, the draft endless. And then we had a long period of peace and the boys got through it. And when I was in California, almost killed myself in an automobile accident that was related to drinking, which I denied at the time. I said it was tired. Of course. Yeah. And I was in the hospital for three months. Yeah. And I kept saying I was tired. That's how powerful this thing is. Yeah. Yeah. When I went on drinking after came out and said, Well, that was just a bad experience. Let's move on here. It's
Joe Van Wie 9:50
terrifying. Just to dive back a little How many siblings do you have? I'm also 12. So that's the neighborhood you grew up in everyone. on end, you know, six was a small household. Yeah. It's Wild Eight. I think people tend to forget what that looked like. Each house can have anywhere from six to 12 kids in there.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 10:11
We just thought it was normal. Yeah. I mean, we could be at lunch because we went home for lunch and we have kids. We had no idea who they weren't knowing whose friend it was. They just came over the crowd.
Joe Van Wie 10:22
Yeah, my mom said you were a regular friends. Some kind of Treehouse incident, I think.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 10:29
I think I think your mother was there I was. I was a genius. At that time, I was hammering the floor on the branch was holding an upward dead. So it cracked down we went, Oh, yeah, we had some, some fun experiences growing up. So
Joe Van Wie 10:46
jumping back, you finish up prep, and you join the Air Force. You meet tragedy in California. At this time, it's uh, you don't even question that it could be anything to do with drinking. You just
Dr J Anthony Quinn 10:59
know that. I don't know. I'm not going there. Yeah, then I'd have to face it.
Joe Van Wie 11:03
on there. And at this time, how profound was drinking in your life? Like what did it what what need was meeting was a pretty profound.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 11:11
Well, growing up. My father was very, very tough. Yeah. Tough guy. Yeah. And so we battled most of my growing up about my drinking. And I would be what's called campus tea, I would be kept it for a month at a time, because I got home later was Yeah, alcohol, my breath. And I would get out at the end of that month, and go right back to drinking. Yeah, and try to get away with it. It was just a history of it. So I became kind of a reward drinker. So I knew how to study and how to work. But I was always waiting for the reward for that. Yeah, that's real. So my whole existence that I mentioned in the book was that when I finally did get through my education, now I'm free. Now I can enjoy the benefits of working so hard. Yeah. So that that was not a good thing. Alcohol became a reward system for me. Yeah. And that's real. That's powerful. Of course, if you're an alcoholic, there just is not enough now. And so. And we talked earlier, and you can identify with this. I had a great capacity early on. The guys around me. We got drunk, I could keep drinking. Yeah. I don't know what that is about alcoholics that their systems seem to be their livers thing. Some
Joe Van Wie 12:27
people haven't heard Joe and Charlie tried to tackle it once. I don't know how on a Joe and Charlie tape with enzymes and I remember a book in the 80s I don't know if you've read this. It's under the influence. It was pretty comprehensive study of hypoglycemia, the relationship with diabetes and alcoholism, and how to metabolize sugar. I remember that if I can't, I'm not a doctor. I can't unpack what I remember reading that and thinking, Oh, here's an explanation that isn't spooky, like to the genetic component of tolerance. And why everyone isn't an alcoholic with the physical intake. It was it was pretty articular how true it was or how it held up through the decades. I don't know I got a look at
Dr J Anthony Quinn 13:13
what my experience was that and I mentioned this too when I got out. I replaced the alcohol with with more sugar and yeah, Alaska I pies for long tonight. Ice cream for a long time. I was always looking for sugar to replace a trigger that I started it's real. Yeah, I dad
Joe Van Wie 13:31
became diabetic after he got sober. A lot of guys
Dr J Anthony Quinn 13:36
what the guy on Saturday? Yeah, lost a limb because of it and still crazy. The sugar.
Joe Van Wie 13:42
The sugar is it's really a there's a marriage in the dopamine release in the production of alcohol that need it's making and just to have the the the skeleton left of drinking in ice cream. I can relate to deeply if I didn't have ice cream in here in the last year that I got sober. It was gonna be a moody night.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 14:03
I still have it. And I tried to resist it. But every so now what I do is I throw a few pieces of pecans at it and I think I'm happy healthy dessert. Yeah,
Joe Van Wie 14:11
yeah, let me so justify. Yeah. So you get back in your Did you immediately start a practice or did you?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 14:21
Well, I when I got out of the Air Force. That was in 1972. Wow. I then went to Rochester. I got married. Right before I left California. Went to Rochard had two children very quickly. Yeah. And it was an extremely stressful. There were six residents and the the program wasn't that strong hospital. I was convinced I was the the least able to be there. I was convinced of it. And so the stress of that, and it was all day 24 hours a day for for two years. So that was that I was immersed in the study of what I do. And that was very difficult to drink. Yeah. Though I do remember the professor who was an extremely brilliant guy and very difficult. He did recognize my ability because in the second year, he said to me, he was calling each guy in for and there was a gal in our program from France to write a paper, and each I was worried about what was with that paper I'd have to write. And when and he said to me, Dr. Quinn, I wonder if you could borrow 10 for us on Friday night? Of course, of course, I said, Yeah. If I have to anything get close. Yeah. So he saw my, my strong sighs Yeah,
Joe Van Wie 15:44
it's my that's amazing.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 15:49
So I finished that. I finished that in 1974. And then I came back to Scranton, I intended to go back to California, because I really liked it out there. But this doctor Fordham was my orthodontist as a kid for Fordham, Walther Florida was a pretty good guy really was a great orthodontist. And he said to me, would you help me out for a year? Yeah, because I need help. Well, that you're turned into 44 Yeah, so I never left. It actually was I had a wonderful career there George Bailey.
Joe Van Wie 16:21
of orthodontics Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I mean, you were the you wore braces in our era is great. And Lackawanna if you if you brace it that was there other people even do it.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 16:38
Well, I remember I got other options if you were Irish. And eighth grade I got beat up for having them now you get beat up for not having Yeah, score things to change. Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 16:49
Yeah, my sisters remember them getting cranked wearing rubber bands. Oh, they were brutal nights.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 16:54
It was it was pretty tough. Much easier now. But yeah, it was difficult.
Joe Van Wie 16:59
Yeah, it was different. It was different for your dad to your father. Your father was a
Dr J Anthony Quinn 17:03
general dentist general dentists Times building. Yeah. And the ties building he works. He worked very hard to raise us. But he had some pretty high demands on all Yeah. She's a tough guy, right, with some cost of that along the way. Right.
Joe Van Wie 17:20
At this point where you're talking about now, today, you know, you're taking on this, this practice, you're gonna help doctor for them? Have you known anyone that had a crisis of alcoholism? Was there anything in your head at this point of what alcoholism was? Any?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 17:39
It's a great question early on. First of all, he was robbing Waverly and I was exposed to some of the Waverly crowd and there was some pretty good drinking there. At about the same time, my my mother's sister, first one young died. So I was exposed to that. And then my mother's other sister also died both to the to fit before. And pretty brutal. Yeah, they had pretty profound damage to their bodies. And as I talked about one of them, ice, I saw her die from a Pharisees. The second one I know my seconds, and I was sober. My first one, I think was just before but I'm an alcoholic. I never identified with myself with this and that no, this happened. That's something that's somebody else's problem. Yeah, because I can control my drinking. And my drinking is deserved.
Joe Van Wie 18:41
Well, you're the lead in the movie. Yeah, Tony, I get that you're you. That's how we're experiencing life. It's through our POV.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 18:48
I mean, I have worked very hard. And I am very responsible and got this partners who are everything's going well, what's wrong with a little drinking? Yeah, what's wrong with just blown off a little steam? Yeah. My first sponsor, recycled sprites was also he was a physician, and he talked about they would study all week in medical school. The exam was on Friday, then they were regurgitate all the information on the paper, then leave get out of the bar where they had a piano bar for singing. And they would sing and drank all night. And yeah, and his mind, as in my mind, that was a legitimate release. And it was good for you. It was healthy. Yeah, to make this work. It's amazing what we can.
Joe Van Wie 19:35
I have some friends later in life that went to dental school, and it's intense that way they had to study and that was the big relief. Even then that was like, you know, 15 years ago they were Yeah, it's heavy drinking. Yeah.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 19:52
But you know, that's what we can talk about that that a lot of those guys and that's a lot of problem with today's mixing it by Use with alcoholism, but two major different things.
Joe Van Wie 20:03
And you know, I'm really glad you wrote that in the book, and especially for families or I have friends. They're heavy drinkers, and I wouldn't call them alcoholic. And can you make that distinction? How would you describe abuse versus alcoholism?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 20:19
Well, the simplest is because I don't think you can do it at the time of the drinking. Yeah, that doesn't work. But I remember guys that I was in the service with and that I was in professional school with. They drank one for one with me. But there was a point when the school's over. They got married. And they had children, and they raised them. Where guys like me? Yeah, it was over. Got married, raised children but weren't present. Yeah, we were still out drinking. Yeah. And justifying it. Yeah. And showing up late or making excuses for it. The abuse guys, they just that was a part of their life,
Joe Van Wie 21:00
life can change for them. I think the two things that popped in my head when you describe that, and I'm reading your book, which as you can see, I've highlighted up and down. And I've been hiding from my wife. She doesn't know I owe the amends all the time. Leo are friendly. Oh, gave her a copy to read. I'm thinking of that. That way. You're saying abuse alcoholism. And these are studies I didn't understand. But I read them not too long ago, rat Park, which was late 70s. And continued for about three years pretty cool study of rats. That would prefer cocaine, if isolated, given the option to use cocaine became addicts, right. But some of these cat rats with their addiction would be extinguished by joining a community that wasn't addicts. And they would join the pack. The other study that really kind of replicate that since we're not rats, maybe socially or cognitively, was Vietnam, how much heroin use was actually happening in Vietnam for the soldiers like it was phenomenal, like 30%. Right? You know, I'll have to look it up. But upon returning home, the fraction that was fractional who continue to heroin addiction, the US Army was terrified. Addicts are just gonna come home. It wasn't the case. No, they came home and they didn't use heroin. And I think just to the averages of what alcoholism is 10% of a populace. It was 10% of that number that continued on into an addiction and was representative of the addiction not only use isolation.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 22:42
Absolutely. And I think it's the same with probably opioids. Yeah, millions of people have used millions and yet, they all didn't turn it addicts don't. And so we have to be careful about condemning any of this stuff, which I
Joe Van Wie 22:54
know I tried not to do. No, I think you did a masterful job I got Yeah, I don't care what what to do
Dr J Anthony Quinn 22:59
to get sober. I whatever is great. But don't don't move to minimize, yeah, the 12 steps, and minimize us caught us doing what we're doing right now talking.
Joe Van Wie 23:16
Exactly. Here's an action. Yeah, it's in the title of this book. As I went through each chapter, I'll be honest with you, I got nervous of like MIT. It's such a it's a hot topic it is. And what you do in those pages is the same personal belief system I have. There is no shortcut to we're calling it a spiritual awakening and 12 Step groups and peer to peer but what is an awakening is assuming you're asleep, to a hole, right reality of your life, how you relate to people. This is what religion tried to provide for people a new consciousness psychiatry tries to provide. You can't do that by yourself. No, you can't. And I'm behind 100%, the unique connection, the solution to addiction starts with connecting with another human being.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 24:10
Well, that whole thing starts with the inability of you and me to see me. I simply, I can easily sit and listen to you and knowing about you. Yeah. Which by the way, don't have to say this. I do not feel any. I am no different than the other alcoholic. The only thing that I did learn why I said I observed is because in my training, most people do not look at the other person. They simply don't worry about how they look. Yeah. So for any kind of doctor that has to make a diagnosis of anybody. One of the things as far as physical diagnosis, you got to look at somebody's skin color, eye color to everything, taking them make a decision. That's hard to do. They used to take and put pictures up for us and To take the picture off and say describe the person. Wow. So do
Joe Van Wie 25:04
they still do that? Why? Because most diagnosis come from observation observations, talking dialogue.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 25:11
Yeah. So my observation skills that I have any came from that. And so over the last all these years, I've been observing what's happening. Yeah. And I'm troubled by now. I've gone through moderation drinking, not through sober, curious, sober curious to me is all about abuse? What is that? So be curious is like sort of sober. Okay. So you can drink? You can be sort of sober. Okay. You don't have
Joe Van Wie 25:36
you don't have an organization? Yeah. Oh, I'll have to look that up.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 25:40
I don't know if it still exists, because most of the way, but again, I think that's terrific. If you are an abuser, and abuser. If you're 25 years old, and you're drinking, you're like too much all night. Yeah. Binging and just, when you're likely to get your life all fouled up, then you better do something. And if you can stop or drink a couple, great, you know? Yeah, you're an alcoholic. You're not gonna stop now. I don't care what they tell you. No, that's the distinction. Yeah. So they confuse that they say, Well, look, this guy got sober. Well, he wasn't an alcoholic to start with. Yeah, he was an abuse a 2530 year old abuser. And he got to that stage, and now he's gone was life. I wish some I wish I were that.
Joe Van Wie 26:22
Real quick, I want to go back to observation. I wonder how many people could do that now even in medical school with just the heightened war for attention between our phones, the news cycle, social media, notifications, email, Facebook, to look and observe someone's eyes less.
Unknown Speaker 26:46
Joe Van Wie 26:49
That was, that was a crisis for me. When I got sober. My attention are nice and
Dr J Anthony Quinn 26:54
clear. Yeah, your eyes are nice and clear.
Unknown Speaker 26:59
I feel clear, I
Joe Van Wie 27:00
gotta take a fish oil.
Unknown Speaker 27:04
Joe Van Wie 27:06
that that's missing. And I think with that, just forget the physical act of observation, the discussion, like we're talking now. That's why I really fell in love with podcasts. They helped me to give me a cadence to listen again to information was denying myself, but I wonder how many people can do that. Now just observe. And it seems like that's what you did with this entire idea of taking a shortcut, abuse and alcoholism and what the solution was when it comes to medically assisted treatments, and a full therapeutic or conversion or spiritual awakening or connection for the long term solution. And I think it's a crisis for people who are abusers do they get stuck now with a new addiction of a maintenance? It was kind of it sounds complex in its own way.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 28:01
Like, I think if you're an abuser, then you just have maybe episodes of overdoing something you exercise, eating whatever it is, yeah. which can easily be handled. But if you're us, if you're alcoholic, and you get into that obsessive kind of lifestyle. I don't think you can break it unless you step aside, and it gives other people a chance to help you because I certainly, and you know this too. I mean, I know guys have quit 1000s of times I've quit 1000 Mondays, never again, I can't put up with this and yet, a day later. Yeah, it's the same thing as back again.
Joe Van Wie 28:40
I've been to 11 treatment centers and every, I'd say about 80% of them. I sincerely wanted to get sober. Yes. Six months later, it was like a different person decided to drink. Yes, it was like it was like it was certainly hypnotized. That's why I No. Treatment for me is the same way you want packed in here. It's it's it's it's daily.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 29:04
Yeah, that was a very difficult thing for me to accept. Because, you know, my sponsor who's a physician always tells the other doctors who are in treatment, they're really hard to break through to that there are three things that will prevent them from becoming sober health, wealth and intellect. Of those three things will kill you. Yeah, you think smart enough. I have a job. And I really not unhealthy. Yeah. And the one guy he's trained since he decided he would stop drinking. Only if on the morning he woke up if his eyes were yellow. That was his. That was his irrational
Joe Van Wie 29:48
idea. I believe.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 29:51
He was convinced that would be if they got that then he would be okay. Wow. Powerful.
Joe Van Wie 29:57
Yeah, I think relate to it. There's this liberty. And I think some therapy expresses the term counter will, it comes up and add an addiction. Add that I'm making a decision against you. And this is my act of liberty, there is no liberty in this paradox. It's totally insane. And I'm sure you can relate, and I can relate, I'll make a counter decision against yours. Even if it's not to benefit me just to snub, someone telling me what to do exactly. Because you're domineering me, in that act of Liberty is this, this is where I think I'm exercising freedom, it's killing me. And I think really intellectual people who have addiction don't are blind, this is their huge blind spot, it was mine is counter will I rather die on my feet and live on my knees, this, this will be like this Hemingway, liberty, this romantic idea that I, I'll be fine as an alcoholic. I'll just have to live with this condition. But what you said earlier about any hand, and I know some experiences that that just isn't the case. Alcoholics don't die in a very romantic way. It's brutal,
Dr J Anthony Quinn 31:10
this terrible, terrible and to see someone bleed, see them bleeding from their mouth, nose and ears that it's pretty sad to say, I don't understand what I'm buying.
Joe Van Wie 31:19
And there's a cognitive disconnect for real alcoholism. I can't keep that fact in my head to myself, without a community around me. Yeah, I really can't.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 31:29
I was talking to Dr. Michelangelo today. And he was saying that the movement with a medical Citrine, which is fine, has to be hand in hand with the software program to work. And that no matter what, if you weren't willing, and that's the word if you're not willing to change, then and that's what I had to say to Matthew with his coaching. What are you willing to do? And until you say, I'll do anything that you tell me to do? You're not going to get better?
Joe Van Wie 32:05
Yeah, that that exercise of will I got on my, like, I'm an atheist, or I got on my knees and did the third supper. And why? Because I don't want to be different. Yeah. And there's some humble fraternity kind of initiation in that, that I felt like it was part of alcoholics are meeting again and and, and had a relationship with my sponsor. He didn't care what I believe he did not he said, Joe, you could keep talking here. I'm not going to talk philosophy with you. I don't think he said that. I don't like philosophy. I don't want you to die of alcoholism, will you trust me? And that was the word faith. I forgot what the meeting was. I thought it was asking me to believe in something supernatural. Like because I'm, I have a Catholic background faith means, you know, virgins have children or their spirit, their spirit world. I wasn't there. Yeah. And he said, Faith means trust. And I trust him. And I don't know what that is to alcohol to alcoholics, addicts trust in each other. It's profound. But I just wanted to dive back. Your your ability to talk about MIT's without stepping in a bear trap is really thoughtful. It's very considerate to not only social workers, the idea of they're combating people who are dying from fentanyl. And I want to ask you what you distinctly thinking to medical professionals, because
Dr J Anthony Quinn 33:34
that's a lot of your surface sticky. This is really sticky, right? Because I was talking to Dr. Wynn up in Ohio. And he was telling me about it a fellow addiction doctor who came in to see him who told him that he made $600,000 A year before giving injections. Yeah, Tom was horrified. He said to himself, what is this what it's about? We got to make we got told me that he has himself 100 patients, he's allowed by the the government to help 275 patients and not treat towards my patients. He's a good doctor. I can only treat 100 Because I'm trying to save them. If I had toured 275 patients, I would just be injecting. So
Joe Van Wie 34:22
let me to understand this 270 patients the treatment now is just the administration administering a drug. Well, is there a dialog there's no
Dr J Anthony Quinn 34:33
there's a post if you are administering the drug, my understanding, you must agree to have therapy. Okay, so you must go. Alright, now.
Joe Van Wie 34:44
If I went, right, what's the consideration of therapy? How are you?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 34:48
Yeah, how you don't? Exactly where's your where's the intent there? Yeah, actually involve yourself. Are you doing it to get the drug? It's this
Joe Van Wie 34:58
is really complex and it's not over because there's there's a great cry that is rational and utilitarian. And I think dignified and compassionate to Yes, these are life saving drugs. But then there's this complexity. Yeah. But there is an industry behind it that we've never has caused some of the scenario to begin with, right? Just look at the Sacklers. This what we're trusting? Yeah. At what point is this going to be only what they're paying for? It's a danger. That's a scary thing. Now, I'm not saying cities, or like a city of Kensington, for instance. You can't get dead people silver, this a dignified thing. And the role of government, if they're going to lobby might not be in the realm of spiritual awakenings. It might be keep people alive.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 35:50
Well, how about this for a thought? And I Okay, I did write about this. So in our society, we fear death. Yeah, back in 1300s 1400. If you live to be 40, you are an old man. So now we're living the 90 Yeah. And we still don't want to die? No. So we also administer enormous amount of treatment, and money to the end of death, the cat is alive. Yeah. 100 to $1,000, in some cases, for someone who's 8590 years old, and yet, we will not invest $60,000 on a 25 year old. So we don't have a million dollars worth of health care bills along the way to 62 when they die. It where's the logic on that? Why aren't we investing in the youth to keep them alive? Not that we shouldn't take care of the elderly, but
Joe Van Wie 36:43
it's a cultural problem. It's a cultural problem. I think, you know, we don't plan things logist in our basic structure of government is based off two years. versus say, like, say China did not get into policy, but they can make 100 year plans, because of the structure of government. So two year cycle is usually we also our private corporate lives are based off of profit in quarters. I don't No one's interested social policy that has a voice or can get bills passed that.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 37:20
Well, in a capitalist society. Yeah. We are built for profit. Yeah. An example is the the Alzheimer drug just came out. That has it's $56,000 a year for patient with a drug 56,000. There is no proof it works. And the pharmaceutical but Biogen of the company, it's a very big company, has spent millions of dollars lobbying and bringing patients in to lobby against Congress to allow it to be given. There's no proof it works. And there's actually more proof, it doesn't work. It's frightening. But they have invested billions of dollars Biogen and they want to back. Yeah, so I understand that. Yeah. Fortunately, the FDA did back off and say no, only under certain circumstances, and it has to be part of a trial to do them. But that's what we're dealing with, with companies that have come up with tremendous drugs that have helped us short, live longer lives, absolutely. Without pain, without pain. And so we have to balance it. And it's hard when it's all about money. And unfortunately, a lot of that now, there's dedicated people out there who are trying to treat patients correctly. And I do believe that there are some patients who will probably be on MIT for years and years and years. These particularly the fentanyl and opioids who may have burned out their complete dopamine system, so they'll never feel okay. Yeah. And supposedly, it's going to be just two milligrams.
Joe Van Wie 38:53
And that could happen. You can burn as you Oh, yeah, that's
Dr J Anthony Quinn 38:57
too much of that, don't you finally, just the system. Probably did,
Joe Van Wie 39:02
too. We we open up a lot here. And there's a couple things I just want to share, make some distinctions, treatment, therapy, and how that may taste but longer treatments, a lobby voices from the recovery community, your book included, pushing for long term investment, and in treatment, more addiction training, which doctors don't get, don't they
Dr J Anthony Quinn 39:27
might get a week, it might get a lecture. Most of the guys I know who I've met, no one's had more than a week most have had a lecture to
Joe Van Wie 39:35
last that I read 75 million Americans use illegal drugs. 22 million identifying a form of recovery, some form of recovery, whatever that means. Understanding the addiction we were talking about before the show, some doctors just think it's a genetic component component and oh, let's just well that if that's the case, give them medicine. That's it. Why waste time talking? And we know that it's just not true what addiction so part of the problem is sharing that what what complex definition we have of addiction, which could still be incomplete? I agree. Why can't we all have this open discussion and start with medical schools and getting a deeper training to addiction? I mean, in trauma, like right, because like all these disorders, ADHD, addiction, co occurring bipolar depression, the the source more and more of the research is pointing towards is a trauma took place. And this is unresolved it's I think, if that's articulated, well, the fights a little less harder to say, Okay, let's have longer treatment. Alright, ma T's work up to this point. But how far do you want to go? Right? What's the quality of life? You see a spending it for quality of life to get another 10 years embed? You maybe you're five years? In you can't get down the steps and you're gonna keep my grandmother was alive for three years. She didn't come downstairs, but it was because of medicine. Yeah. I mean, at what point can we have this discussion, quality of life at 25.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 41:12
And now, our healthcare system is in such crisis, and for on many fronts. And it's very difficult. It's like trying to get the Titanic to turn around. Yeah, ocean? And yeah, because there's so many forces that are self interested. Yeah, some very good, some not so good. Sure. I think most of the people administering medical treatment are trying their best to be helpful. Yeah. And it's very frustrating, because there's such a demand. It is not the answer. This is a very, as you started out saying earlier, it's a very complex element, it is it has a lot of factors is not just you just drink too much. And as we talked about, you take the drink away the drug away, you still have the problem, I am still an alcoholic, you're in a dangerous situation with a sober mind, I can still be restless, irritable, discontent that any given day and not even see it. So that's a mental issue. And I think I need someone else to see that. Yeah, because I can't see it by myself.
Joe Van Wie 42:16
Your book became a tool for me, I It's great. It's easy, accessible to anyone who's in recovery, or beginning recovery or family member. And the distinction every chapter makes is your these are the problems you're solving in recovery. A lot of these chapters, that continual treatment, and it's just astonishing. It just reinforces to me and my I just be stopping drinking is the beginning of solving a far more profound and deeper problem that I want to solve. Like, I did not just want to stop drinking, right? That sounds like a nightmare to me. Like one of the new monitors.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 43:00
I think I mentioned in there that my brother Peter, Saturday now he just been traumatized by a month and a half of treatment. Yeah. And he came, he came up in Philadelphia. And he said to me, Oh, you're lucky. I said, what? You're lucky. Lucky for what he said. You got to step away from your life and find out who you are. Yeah. And I've never had the opportunity. He's not an alcoholic. He's a normal person. Wow. But thought the opportunity to be looked at examined, treated, to find out who you are, makes you a better person. And he could see that clearly. I thought was a punishment. Yeah, I was put in an institution, I was punished. Did you feel
Joe Van Wie 43:40
that way? At the time? Well, you know, recovery when
Dr J Anthony Quinn 43:43
I just got out six months or six weeks of intensive therapy. And I resented the first four weeks completely, because I thought there let me go, I tried to be the perfect patient. And I wouldn't have to get my date of discharge. They said your discharge is not today. And I absolutely blew up. I got so angry. And I'll never forget little Alice McHugh. She was about four feet tall, two feet taller. And she is She looked up. He said to me, Wow. Well, well, the real Dr. Quinn just showed. Which then I realized, oh my god, I just showed myself. Yeah, you're staying longer. Yeah. And through her wisdom. I started to learn that day. Yeah. And I still think I'm so worried because of that. Because that they had let me go. For weeks. I don't think I could have died. So no, I was too. too angry. I didn't understand what was wrong with me. I just thought that I was a victim. I had a great line. It was down in Florida. For the first time in a very, very long time. I went to a meeting. There was a guy there from Boston a little tied to church tight and gave him a pugilist and he said that Um, his brother died from alcoholism, and his girlfriend was murdered, being thrown out of a truck on a night. And he said, I survived those things. And he said, You know, I realized along the way, that I always felt that I was a victim. Again a truth I was a perpetrator.
Unknown Speaker 45:19
Yeah. And I thought, yeah, yeah,
Dr J Anthony Quinn 45:23
most often. That's right. I, Chris, I think of myself as a victim of circumstances. When my wife says to me, you're, what's wrong with you? I'm immediately very defensive and say, yeah, what's wrong with me? What's wrong with you for asking what's wrong with that? Really get that defense up,
Joe Van Wie 45:41
I have the same instincts, and people I relate to the first time kind of different than that, like, I didn't mind the process of the fourth step I get to I was making my case in the second line. I was like, Ooh, someone's gonna listen, I am right. This one I'm gonna be right on. And even if there was a harm to no fault of my own, say, the power comes from what you just said. You know, is this my is my past, going to now just be what I am, doesn't have to be or this stuff can be resolved, you can let go. And it could be through the action of forgiveness. There's a trick happening. All my amends are gonna be these resentments?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 46:26
What's the fear with us about about that feeling? If we do say we're sorry, at some high, we will lose the edge? Yeah, we won't have control the situation. Yeah. And yet, it is so much more powerful. And I really, I've been so slow to learn that I keep repeating the same mistakes. Yeah. Which I think is part of being alcoholic. Yeah, it's just repeating the same mistakes and thinking, all this time will be different. They'll understand. Yeah. No, they don't.
Joe Van Wie 46:58
It's I couldn't wrap my head around. You know, though, having that repetition in my relationships, intimate relationships always seem to. And I had to confront that it was like, I'm in my manifesting this is my behavior, bring out the same reactions to all different types of people like is this something and I started looking at it, the responsibility and the power in that I could do something about this. Now that my spots are related you I relate to you deeply in a scary way that I was gonna hide this from my wife, she's gonna know me.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 47:36
Well, I think that's the hardest thing, at least for me has been my own in my marriage, either. I heard grainline. A guy said as an alcoholic said, recovering alcoholic said I love I knew this alcoholic. He loved his wife so much. So much. He almost told her.
Joe Van Wie 47:58
Oh, man, yeah, I looked at this book as guidance. I wanted to ask you something because I just finished a book. I think he's every alcoholic that's married that you know, is seeking help in the educational variety. I like to approach help intellectually first. Before I know how I'm feeling because sometimes I don't know. I feel like aliens sometimes. I'm reading it and it says the cave a lot. And is this from men are from Mars and Women are from Venus? I hit it. I, you know, therapist to have me read it.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 48:32
It may well be I think it is because I remember I went and heard him. Yeah. Yeah. With with Janie grant. Right. Yeah. It was very important that you think I learned it? Obviously, I didn't because they did retreat to the cave. I,
Joe Van Wie 48:45
I was angry reading that book that I was this cliche, because I knew this book was out for 20 years, and I didn't read it. And I read it. I'm like, man, isn't my that. Like, this? Is it? There's a whole book about? Like, why I
Dr J Anthony Quinn 48:59
think the most troubling thing to me is in which I, maybe Jehovah God is not listening. The most troubling thing for me is that you're most when I get out of that whatever state you want to call that state. Yeah. What I step out in the cave, yeah, I don't want to talk about it. It's over. Yeah, we're just gonna go on now. Yeah, just so sick. Yeah, like I should resolve it. Why? Why are you like that? What? Because then I'm gonna have to apologize. I would have to say I'm sorry. Because I want to look for your part in it. I don't want to look at my part. Yeah, I want to, I want to say and I remember saying in there when I asked them GnM I was furious one days furious, and I said, Call them up my, whatever it was was going on. He said to me, and I wrote, they said, how, how, how wrong is she? So what? How wrong. What do you mean? He said, What percent? I said 90. He said apologize for your 10 Yeah, and I I was dumbstruck what yeah. What? And he was right. You don't have to go into get into argument but what you're more wrong than I am. I apologize for reacting poorly, which is what would be most of my problem reacting poorly to the situation
Joe Van Wie 50:16
yet his love have percentages at this point, this infinite idea of I
Dr J Anthony Quinn 50:21
remember someone long time ago someone saying the there's a very thin line between love and hate. Yeah, a very thin line. Yeah. And I understand that I think it's
Joe Van Wie 50:33
the horse of passion. Uh, yeah. One sides hate one. Like my sponsor used to say if I hate this situation, because means you could very well love it. Because it requires passion to do both hate or love.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 50:46
Yeah. And I love my marriage. geniale for 30 years, I love her dearly. She's the best thing that ever happened to me. And she sees me very uncomfortably better than anybody. And some days I don't like it. I don't like to be seen for I really
Joe Van Wie 51:03
am. I could relate to that. I think we're both lucky to be loved. Because I know. I showed love. But it's hard for me to be an adult. Like, I'm always afraid. I'm just I have this weird fear. And I read your book and I don't see dysfunction. I don't read that. I read hope I see. I see the same thing I want to do is seek let me challenge it a little more uncomfortable. When I read about your Couples Retreat in one chapter, guess what we did last last week, we're looking at couples retreats. So your story is more than something I'm referring to I relate it. It's producing an action. I love my wife deeply. But she's healthier than me. Yeah,
Dr J Anthony Quinn 51:48
terrible. I guess the same problem. Like, I get the same very deep problem.
Joe Van Wie 51:53
And it's instead of me always feeling deficient or afraid. I read your book, and it gave me God's like, keep going. Challenge yourself go further. You could be wrong, you can learn more. And I read this whole story knowing you for as long as I do. And I'm like, I could be this is this is healthy. This isn't Yeah, this isn't. This is sobriety. It's not about not drinking. It's about why am I not connecting with people. And every every chapter I had to slow down a little I was getting overwhelmed like,
Dr J Anthony Quinn 52:30
oh, last Saturday. We were a friend of ours who had a very serious lung cancer eight years ago, now 10 years and I think and he had to the nondependent that took us along and we weren't sure he was going to live the rest of the year 10 years ago. So at the end of the year, we've got together with 10 Guys, all that time, maybe 1918 20 years over. He's still alive. We meet every year for the last 10 years. Now in that room, there's probably 300 to four years of sobriety. Well, that Saturday meeting, I laugh more and longer and harder than any meeting of the whole year. Because we laugh of the insanity of our lives. Yeah. And the great. We laugh about our success and our failures. Yeah, and everybody there is just like you and I we're all stumbling along, trying to become as Matthew Kelly says, the better version of ourselves and Matthew Kelly really? He has his first book. He's written 30 books. Yeah, the first one. The rhythm of life is a marvelous have to read it. He wrote it was 19 years old. I think it's just it's nothing has just been reissued. It is
Joe Van Wie 53:50
my friend Carl W waggy. He's been sober for a little while. He just handed me a book. Life is messy. He said, Joe, I heard your share last week. I really think you liked this book.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 54:03
This is a great book till we haven't
Joe Van Wie 54:05
seen each other and 20 years. sober. I'm sorry. I see him for a couple times. The next day. The guy hands me the book. I'm like this is that I
Dr J Anthony Quinn 54:14
talk to Matthew often. I love him dearly, because he's such a great spirit. Yeah, he is a spirit, Great Spirit. And I read his book and I have told many people to read it because it just tells you that who would have thought you and I'd be sitting here would have thought that you're doing these podcasts which are helping tremendous number of people just to get more information about why they are because we're all walking around why I like this to be different.
Joe Van Wie 54:45
Yeah, in a private life. I heard a guy say last week in my addiction. I always thought I was doing better than I was in recovery. I always think I'm doing worse than when I am. Yeah. And it was a way to explore beyond the structure or have a meeting, peer to peer is to maybe just talk about things that it's hard to talk about complexity in a meeting sometimes.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 55:10
Let me tell you this book. There's a couple of ways to can be gotten. Download the recovery bank. Yeah. The Frank Bullock who runs it? Yes. Great. I gave Frank a lot of books, and said you can give them away. Wow. So if somebody looked down and registered for anything they do down there, Frank will give them a copy at no cost. If they don't want it to get on Amazon or an iBook.
Joe Van Wie 55:37
I will announce the recovery bank down on North Washington Avenue, across from the county building. Recovery bank is open to all people and has great resources from cooking glasses yoga. I'll put that on the website today. And if I'm not mistaken, Tony, you'll be this episode might be out Tuesday. Next Thursday. Is there an event at the Ria q&a?
Dr J Anthony Quinn 56:00
Yes. Frank asked me to come down to speak through the questions people have. But I'd like to I'm on the Kirby banks board because we're trying to promote this. This is a great place for people to connect it is. And there's a lot of wonderful people there who are doing all those things. You said just to get people together.
Joe Van Wie 56:20
Frank had a vision, all the research about seven eight years ago, there was all counties and SCA started doing research what what can be a new impact? What What are we missing before the rise of super fentanyl, but it was like it was community community centers that have access to the internet classes, cooking, budgeting, resume building. stuff beyond the pale of just 12 step meetings have to engage in in communal life. And Frank had a vision and he's doing a great job. Terrific. And during the pandemic, Margie people I reconnected with my my leaving the house felt like duty I got to go down the recovery bank food drives all kinds of great stuff going on. If anyone's out there it is from Lackawanna County or Scranton. Stop in and see how you can be supportive, especially if you know you feel like you're limping around. There's never enough help down there that you can find something to get involved in down there with. So I'm gonna post this on the website, we're kind of reaching the hour.
Dr J Anthony Quinn 57:33
Joe Van Wie 57:35
I want to thank you for writing this and coming down and chat with me because it's this book, I think is gonna be more of a resource for my wife of understanding. You know, I clam up, I clam up in sobriety, and I'm, I'm just gonna lie and to see the solutions that you pursued. It's it's helped me already. That's two weeks, and I think it's gonna help a lot of people. I think you did. Great thing here. Pleasure to be with you. Thank you. Thanks.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai