Today's guest is my friend Joe Kane. Joe Kane is the Clinical Director of Mountain's Edge, partial hospitalization program, near elk mountain, Pennsylvania, Joe holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Penn State University. He also has a Master of Social Work from Marywood University. Joe started in this field in 2006, as a behavioral worker at the Scranton Counseling Center, moving on to be the clinical administrator for over a decade at Clearbrook treatment centers.
Then he was the Clinical Director of Avenues Recovery Center in Philadelphia. Joe's interview breaks into two parts today, part one, we're going to talk about addiction. And the second part will be next week, we're going to talk about how Recovery may begin.
Joe has influenced thousands of peoples start in finding stabilization to an active addiction. His reputation has been a standard for young clinicians entering the field in this Region.
So let's meet Joe Kane.
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Hello and thanks for listening to another episode of all better. on FM. I'm your host, Joe van wie eight. Today's guest is my friend Joe Kane. Joe Kane is the Clinical Director of Mountain's Edge, partial hospitalization program, your elk mountain, Pennsylvania, Joe holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and State University. He also has a Master of Social Work from Marywood University. Joe started in this field in 2006, as a behavioral worker at the Scranton Counseling Center, moving on to be the clinical administrator for over a decade at Clearbrook treatment centers. Then he was the Clinical Director of avenues Recovery Center in Philadelphia. Joe's interview breaks into two parts today, part one, we're going to talk about addiction. And the second part will be next week, we're going to talk about recovery. So let's meet Joe Kane. We're here with Joe Kane. Joe Kane is the Clinical Director of mountain edge currently, and he was who I want it for my first guest. And 11 months later, we got it. Took it took enough time. Thanks for coming, Joe.
Hey, thanks for having me.
Joe, for a little background, how would you would you summarize who you are before you became a master clinician?
It's a broad question.
Yeah. Well, give me a broad answer a specific answer.
So background I grew up in West Scranton, the youngest of six boys. My there's a 17 year difference between me and my older brother. So I was kind of the I don't I don't think I was really planned. Yeah. But it was, it was a good thing. I'd say it's a good thing. But my, my father is a was a retired state trooper is a retired state trooper. My mother was was actually a postulate in the convent.
Well, yeah, what's what would you say a postulate
that before they they kind of I think they're in there, like tutelage? Yeah. Learning the nun, the nunnery, the nun business. The non factory. Yes. And my father was in the military at the time. So my dad always jokes that he didn't get a Dear John letter, he got a dear god letter. And she, she eventually left wasn't for her and married my father and had six kids, which I think is kind of ironic. You know, first you want to marry Christ, and then you marry a state trooper a state trooper. And I don't know, like, growing up, I was real close with my, probably my mother. My two next brothers, Bill and Mike were really close with each other growing up. And, you know, I was, I don't want to say the odd man out, but I was like, kind of did my own thing, so to speak.
What was the age difference between your next closest or three?
We're both three years apart. So my brother Mike is three years older than me. And my brother Billy is three years older than Mike. And they, they spent a lot of time together. So I was I kinda hung out with, I hung out with the neighborhood neighborhood kids majority. I mean, that was when kids played outside. So you have
six siblings, right? Five or five, five. And that's a lot. And there's a big age difference. Would you think your first connection was with the neighborhood gave me a like a brotherly feel with friends because I have a I have a separation of yours with my brothers and sisters. But the first time I felt real connection, I think was with friends of what I assumingly would want it what siblings because of the age difference?
I would say that that's pretty accurate. I mean, I was I spent a lot of time with the neighborhood kids because I grew up. I grew up by St. Anne's. Yeah. And St. Anne's has changed quite dramatically over the years in terms of just the layout.
And it's holiness. It became a basilica while you live there probably right. Yes, that wasn't always a holy site,
no. And so the There was always people plan.
You grew up in the proximity of a sacred place. Sure. That's what
I always struggled. I thought, you know, when I got sober I thought, you know, this close proximity guys just gonna beam lights across the street and I'll be better.
He has an office there. Yeah, he sees you're tarnishing your addictive soul.
Absolutely. That's so I was like, you know, this close proximity. I'm just gonna get the Jesus beams. Yeah, and, and the obsession and compulsion is going to be removed. And I probably don't have to do all this other this other stuff that they talk about.
Now the land will just seep into the there was
already one miracle, right? There's already one miracle that happened here, then why can't they?
What was the miracle was? Was there blood on a statue of bleeding statue now
from wild? From what I was told by my mother told me this is that in I don't know what year but the they had to evacuate the church because it was going to sink into a mine. Wow. And they all left all the holy people left. And they they made a novena or I don't know, whatever you call it to, to CNN. And all the sudden this giant massive boulder moved and blocked the fault.
Are you that's what is that? What makes it a basilica? It was it
for from what I know. And you know, don't quote me on this. But there has to be some type of miracle that happened on the grounds for it to be considered a basilica, like a
contractor may be knowing what they're doing. And modern miracle.
I don't know if that qualifies. But I guess in this case, God would be the contractor. Yeah. And he he dropped this massive boulder. Wow.
I didn't know that's. That's right. I thought it was something something sensational, like, statute.
I hope I'm right. Because I'll sound well I'll look it out learned I'll look it up.
Because, you know, there'll be Records If you have a basilica or a miracle. You know, the Vatican dispatches their miracle intel team and they gotta collect the data. Yeah. And I don't, you know, being Catholic. It's gotta be a strict criteria for a miracle. Yes. And
at one point, I knew some of the other I think the other criteria, I think you have to have some type of relic, an important relic. And I know, I know. I know you had to have an elevator. An elevator? Well, if it's a duel, if it's split level, you have to have an alibi. They had to build an elevator for to become a basilica. Yeah, there's all this like different codes to that you need to
look up after because that's a unique experience. We grew up in Scranton to grow up across from St. Anne's that's, that's a really distinct neighborhood. Yes, it's west side. But it's a different world of West Side had that whole little block area
flat. It's a lot of families that have been there forever.
Yeah. And then you had a good basketball league. I was in the St. Ann's League.
Oh, yeah. My brother was our coach. Did
you play basketball,
I played basketball. I was my, my brother was was pretty good at at basketball. And we were there was like a point in time where we'd be on opposing teams. And I remember his team won the championship and beat us at St. Ann's Yeah. And my brother was always, you know, I think that's part of like, my story is like, you grow up with five brothers in a military state trooper, you know, like, yeah. And my brother, my brother, Mike would always he would say, because I remember he beat us and he'd be like, second place as the first loser. Yeah. And, and I remember losing that game and crying. Like real tears. Yeah. Yeah. You know, like, no doubt in it. But like, in terms of our family dynamics, like it was the traditional Irish Catholic home where everybody ate dinner together. And, and my father, my father retired when I was pretty young. I think I was probably 10 or 12 when he retired from the State Police. Wow.
So then he was the president at home a lot and he was pretty
he was pretty present. He did some he did some odds and ends jobs. He worked at the you for a little bit while with like security and he did some security odds and ends and yeah, and he just never really I think when you're a state trooper for that long the private sector I don't think he really jived with him, but he
probably did not have the order or the authority to not Yeah.
And, and I think he he just got really disenfranchised quick. And he's like, I don't need to do this.
So you have six, there's six boys in that house. You're 10 years old. There's no way you have an act of addictions right now, but you have a present military dad, a mother who would be a nun. You live next to a holy site, and you're about to become a truck.
Yes. Well, I went to Catholic school to I went to I grew up right up the street from St. Anne. So I went to St. Anne's and, you know, when you're the last of, of six boys, you know, the name becomes familiar with with the school. Yeah. And, and I was not the, the easiest child to deal with. I was pretty. I was pretty impulsive. I was pretty outspoken. I was pretty rebellious to say the word. Yeah. But like, I was constantly pushing the envelope, and I was constantly rebellious. And I remember as far back as like, first grade, they used to let me walk home for lunch. So I would literally leave the school, walk up the street, my mom would make me lunch. And then they would let me walk back for the rest of the day, because I was I was not fit to be in the cafeteria.
So it wasn't. Yeah, it was a relief for them. Not Not me. Not,
I didn't mind. I mean privilege. I got to eat. I got to eat whatever I wanted. Really, which was nice. But I remember I don't know how long that lasted. But I that was like it was it was a real. Catholic school is really hard for me.
Yeah, I think it's hard for most thinking people.
It was it was extremely difficult for me because there's so many, there's, you know, you get this this Oh, and I was I had the nuns who lived behind me. And and I had the priests that lived right next door to me. So I was I still had teachers for nons. When
you're surrounded by death culture, you have the Basilica, which all decorations are mutilations and Sacra human sacrifice. And then you live next to a funeral home to it's right there. laying there. There's lines, people are hanging out to go look at a dead body.
I used to actually sometimes I would, I wouldn't even know who was being laid out at the funeral home. And I would just go in and sign the book. Yeah. I would go through the line this year this week. And I'd be like, I'm sorry for your loss. And I would have no clue who these people were. But it was like, Let's go in. Let's see. Let's see what's Well, I
gotta ask, Did you? Did you see Harold and Maude before you were
10? Now, I don't think I've ever seen that movie period.
Well, they go to funerals, and they fall in love. Because the, you know, the two of oddballs have more ones at five years old, and the young man they meet because they sneak into funerals and pretend they're with the bereaved. They were like morbid souls. And they fall in love. It's like their 16 year old boy and an 85 year old woman because they attend funerals together.
Well, that's, you know, love knows no limit. Yeah. So I could see it happening.
And then grief, that's when you're most vulnerable to love.
It makes sense. Makes sense to juphal. I don't know if I necessarily fell in love. I think I like signing the book. Yeah. You know, like, hey, sign me. Maybe Maybe I'll get a maybe I'll get a card in the mail
documentation. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah.
Thanks for coming. We have no idea you were you were in like shorts and a T shirt in here. Your Nikes
Did you sign your name? Oh, yeah. So it's not a pathology. You weren't going out there saying I'm like, No, I
thought I was like, I thought you know, this is the thing you do is you you know, you go tell people you're sorry. And you walk through the line, you shake the hands. And you say your prayer. And I don't know probably some people they were like, Oh, these kids are so nice. And they don't even know but I was kind of just intrigued by the whole process.
I think it's the beginning stages. It's just defining the Joe I know of the impasse it's the impact of someone's bereaved I'd better get in there and you know, do my duty and
well you know, what's funny is that my my parents within like the last couple of years, they they said we want to be I don't want to get morbid, but they said You know, we don't want to we don't want to viewing want to be cremated. Yeah. And I was like this is not how I envisioned it.
Your death is ruining my plans. This
is not how I envision envision this rolling out. I didn't I didn't think this was going to be the case, you know?
Yeah. Well, my first idea of how to celebrate a cream named cremation is Scrooged. If you remember Bill Murray is being like, automatically rolled in flames, and he's fighting to get out of it. But his brother's there, but looks like you can have a ceremony of like a pyre, but it was really like 80s like crematory real high tech. Maybe you could do something like that. Maybe it's automated,
possibly, but I was I was telling I even said that to my mother. And I said, this is not mom, this isn't what I thought was gonna happen. And, and she starts laughing, like, well, that's what we want to do. And I was like, Well, I'm okay with it. It's not like you have to run your decisions by me. You know, like,
I wonder what like, how do you how do you choose? Like, I grew up Catholic and my, my, my grandfather was an undertaker. And I want to I want to be cremated. There's something the pageantry of being filled with embalming fluid laid out to me, just to ghoulish in my head. Now, I don't want to be that type that yield around like Stalin or just showed like, I'm like, like Lenin just leaving you, in a case to look at
it kind of is, I mean, because people learn either they learned something, like the way that the human mind sometimes works. It's you remember something at the beginning or the end? And a lot of people remember the end stuff. Yeah. So like, do you want that to be the
guy makeup on? Like, some memory doesn't fit.
So, so yeah, I grew up by a funeral home, church, nuns, priests. And, and I remember, just like having a real hard time with the contradictions between what I was learning and what I was seeing. And I remember in like, second or third grade, I was like, you know, you're, you're learning about the Beatitudes, and you're learning about the commandments, and you're learning about, you know, all these things that you should do to be a good person. And, and I remember, I had like a little, I don't know if it was a coup, but I started to ask questions about what I was hearing and what I was seeing, and I was like, Well, why do we have all this ornate things at the church? I said, and all this gold said, why don't we just sell that and feed the poor? Yeah. And, and I remember in like, second or third grade, they brought a priest in, and it was like, it was like a Shut, shut this down. Segment.
And you're running choke it? Yeah.
You're, you're creating dissension amongst the ranks. And, and I remember sitting there in this classroom and thinking like, I was, I was kind of mortified, like, I felt betrayed, I felt shame. Like, I felt like I was being shamed. And, you know, because you're not in a position of authority or this young kid and and, you know, you got somebody coming in and saying, You're wrong. This is right. And, and I remember thinking like, Okay, I'll be quiet.
We're buzzkill Manju a priest could ruin
and like, you know, I've had the, I've had the pleasure of having some really good relationships with a lot of the people that were they were my neighbors. Sure, you know, and I grew up and I had a lot of these guys that would, that would try to help me the best way they can. And I had a particular Nan who lives behind me, which is crazy because her name was Sister Joan of Arc, and she just took a shine. Yeah, Sister Joan of Arc. And she took like a shining to me. And she, she was probably like, at the time, she had to be in her late 60s. And they had the basketball on the tennis courts in the back. Yeah. And she would like go over with us. Some of the kids and like play tennis. And like, when she went she actually ended up going to Jerusalem and she came back and she gave me a rosary made of what's that wood, olive Olive Oil Olive from Jerusalem. So she was like, she kinda like, tried to temper me the best that she could caring. She because it's crazy because I gave this woman a wrong for her money, like I was not. And I had her two years because one of the kids in my class, her mother was a teacher, so we couldn't have her. So I ended up having this this non. And when I ended up getting sober. I'll never forget, I was like, I was getting into the, the amends part. Yeah. And I really felt like I owed this woman and I met, I really did. And I tracked her down to, she was in, I guess, like a retirement home for, for nuns and Massachusetts, and I ended up getting the number for this place. And I called and I couldn't get ahold of her. But I left a message. And I was sitting downtown, I had to bring a friend of mine, to probation, to check in, or do something meet with the probation officer. And she called me. And she was, oh my gosh, she had to be like, in her 90s. And I couldn't believe number one, I couldn't believe that she was alive. And number two, I couldn't believe that she actually called me back. And I said, I said, it's, it's Joe Kane. Do you remember me? And it was hysterical. What came out of her mouth? She said. She said, I remember you. You were the little boy whose mother thought he could do no wrong. Right? And I was like, Yeah, that's absolutely. And I remember I said to her, I said, I just wanted to thank you for everything that you did. And I wanted to, you know, apologize. And tell you, I'm, I'm sorry for being the kid that I was, which was awful. And and she said, she said, You have no idea how much this means to me. Right? And she said, This week has been one of the hardest weeks in my life. She said the woman, my best friend, who I took my vows with in the convent has Alzheimer's or dementia. And she doesn't this is this is the first week she doesn't remember who I am. And I was like, it just was one of those moments where like, some people get that kind of stuff, and some people don't. But it was like one of those things where you're like, I'm glad I did that. I'm really glad that I went through and and that's not something that I would think to do you know what I mean? Like, I'm probably at the time, I was like, I don't know, 26 or 27? Yeah. And
would you consider yourself in that part of your sobriety? What was a return to Catholicism? Or
I think it was just like, I remember I was sitting in my room. And, and I had, I had this house that I bought that the people were extremely religious, and there was a lot of religious stuff in the house. And I think it's bad juju to take that stuff down. I just kind of left it up. Wow. Yeah. And I remember putting this, this rosary on one of the religious articles, and I remember looking at it one day, and I'm thinking, I wonder what she's up to. I wonder if she's even alive? I wonder. And then I just recall, yeah, the rosary she gave you. And I was like, I'm gonna, you know, I think I should try to and that's not my own thinking. I don't think that's came from me.
No, that's connection. But how many things do come from a person? I don't, you're just kind of surrounded by variables. You don't choose it make you?
And I think that's like, I think when you think about it, like how many times people have leave footprints in your mind. Yeah. And I think that's something saying like, hey, you know, reach out, or, Hey, maybe you need to do something with that.
It's beautiful to see that recovery does something that you never get a chance or consideration, or probably be too uncomfortable to do to contact the nine year old woman dedicated her life to service and had a rough week because here's a person you share 90 years of memories over, say 6070. She doesn't know your name. That's, that's haunting. How many could only imagine and you get the call. And that's 20. You're going 20 years back? Here's a here's a little boy, she took her under her wing. There's some good nuggets out there. Before we move on, I like talking about it because how do you reconcile what you are observing as the hypocrisy of our school structure, the pageantry or artistry of a church, how its presented, Catholics? Protestants are never that flamboyant they are. That's where the simplicity of the Christ Message really came was after Protestants rose up and Frankfurt and all these places in Hamburg. And they didn't want that in a church and I didn't know that. I didn't know what a Protestant was. When I was a Catholic, but I much prefer gold now. There's and I think Catholics always could justify that with the anchor of Mary washing Christ's feet, it was good to put this ornate perfume on his feet one of the positive but it was sell this will feed the poor. Yeah, crisis lays down a light, a yellow is the poor littered you won't always have these feet. And I guess from that interpretation, man, let's get the gold out let's paint the wall. Let's celebrate. But how do you reconcile that at an age that linger with you? Because we talk a lot and we're similar. There's an attraction to the spiritual world. There's something it's just when I was a kid, I was attracted to the whole lore. Was that a disappointment? That stayed with us maybe?
I don't know, if it was necessarily a disappointment. I think it's like it. I think it started to create at that age, like the narrative, you know, the narrative you live by and like, you know, which you're always going to see in consistency in life and, and hypocrisy and, and I think it was like, you know, you at that age, maybe it kind of led to some cynicism. But I think it's like, when I when I started to resolve that stuff, I had to really look at the positives and the negatives, you know, because there was and I think from that point, like from that, that time, I started to look more at the negative aspects of things than the positives. And then when I finally started to, to get sober, I had to start to really look at some of the stuff that was more positive about those times in life than that, that that at that point I wasn't willing to look at. Yeah. And I think that helped to change some of the narrative, at least the one that I lived by, for for years and years and years.
It's a common thread we grew. You know, we grew up in a Catholic town. That disappointment someone might have when you first understand the world's imperfect religions kind of imperfect, for for sure. I felt a disappointment. Why couldn't this all be true? The magic just doesn't make sense.
Yeah, I, I think it's like because my mom is extremely devout. I mean, my mom will go to my mom pretty much goes to church every single day. And I have these conversations with her about, you know, the idea between the secular, and then the non secular and the idea behind spirituality and religion. And, and she's, she's not wanting to push anything on anyone, which is not really necessarily the case for a lot of people. She just kind of does her own thing. And even locally, yeah, she does. And, and I think that's, I think, like, if I really think about it, my mom tempered a lot of that, too, you know, because like she she never was pushy about that, that type of stuff. And, you know, she kind of let us make our own ideas and
how old is your mom? Because it's kind of progressive for an older Catholic to be cremated. That's a progressive.
Well, my mom and dad are born on. They're both have the same birthday September 30. And my dad Yeah, my dad will be 81 and my mom will be 79 Or no, no, no, no, my dad would be 82 My mom would be 80 that they're 81 and 79. Now,
wow. And you get to sit having conversations with your mom that are existential, spiritual, secular religious.
Yeah, she'll send me stuff like she'll tell me to read this. God minute, or she'll send me like, some stuff because my mom is becoming more savvy with electronics. My dad's pretty good with them. Yeah. But you know, he'll send me memes it's like our you know, cop jokes. My Dad Oh, my dad is a Facebook. He loves to get on Facebook and post political stuff and and I just I just watch
I'll have to check some of his stuff out brutal
and he gets in it he gets into it with all these these like former state troopers and their damn boomers have lost their minds they ragging on each other and then and then I see my friends comment and on it and I just I just watch from the sidelines
boomers came into the face social media pond about 10 years late and they're just making up for it. Yeah, man like get in mix it up. Let's time let's go time
it's it's it's not an hour. And he just he just does not. I don't think he really, he cares at all about what he does or says anymore. It's just like,
the keeps up master troll at work.
He's, he's, he's funny, but my dad's he's, he's intelligent too. So like he doesn't. He's kind of like me if he's going to make a point. He's going to research it. And he's going to make sure he doesn't look silly. And he's going to have facts. And then, you know, people don't respond well, to that.
Sources. His comment? Yeah. Because I like Facebook to get really
well, he that's all he has is time. Yeah, it's like, you have access to the world. You can search. Yes. gets on there.
With six siblings, did you consider was your your, your path through that neighborhood? And that school? Was it unlike any of the siblings that weren't before?
Yeah, I think I think they were like they were known. But I was, you wouldn't be on that. Well, it's funny, because I went I the coins, who are also a pretty well known family, they worked at the school. And I will see them sometimes out and about, and they will constantly say worst kid that ever went through that school. Oh, that's a good Sam is a good. And it's funny, because I'm friends with one of the coins and a sister was in my class and in like, kindergarten, first grade, and she would go home and and her mom would say How was your day at school? And she would say it was great. Except Joseph had the stand in the corner again. So
yeah, corporal punishment there.
Yeah, so I guess, you know, I was, it was not I, I moved outside the bounds.
At that point. In hindsight, did you reflect the day we curious, why am I different than what's happening?
I think I just I don't know, like, a lot of times people will say like, their kids are bored at school, or I think I just thought differently. I just had these ideas and thoughts that were outside the scope of the kids that I was necessarily around. And, you know, like, you'll ask people that suffer from alcoholism or addiction, did you feel you're different? I didn't feel I was different in the, you know, the generic sense. I just felt like I thought differently. And I, and I average a little bit differently. And I was a little bit cynical.
Well, yeah, I mean, you're the You're the youngest in this sea of five other males. Of course, you would think differently, your dad's retired, you know, that you are, there's different variables are all new to cause you to think differently.
And I was outside the scope because like, you know, you're around all these these kids whose parents are like, in their late 20s, early 30s. And my parents are, you know, when I was eight, my mom was 50. Yeah. And my dad was 52. So I was constantly we would go to grocery stores or stuff with my mom. And they'd be like, Oh, is this your grandson? And I'd be I hate grandma. I would, I would lean right into it. Now, we had a lot of that Southside leaning right into it. Yeah. And, and, you know, they never, they never thought differently of it. My parents didn't, I don't think but, you know, I did a little bit. I was like, you know, this isn't? This isn't what I'm seeing. I'm not seeing. You know, everybody's like that Sesame Street. One of these things is not like the other
one of these gains, or these kings is not like the other.
So like I went to I went to Catholic school up until seventh grade. And then I went to, I left my last year and went to West intermediate.
Was that that's kind of a culture shock. Did you have friends there?
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, a lot of the neighborhood kids that I hung out with already went there. So you know, like, I had friends easy entry then. But I saw, you know, me and my brother. Were talking about this, like, a couple months ago. It's like, if, if you really looked at it surface level, like when we went to St ends, we were not the affluent family. And most of the kids that went there like their families, I wouldn't say affluent, but upper middle class for Aereo. Yeah, so like, then I went to West Side, and it was like, okay, you know, I'm seeing things differently now. America. Yeah, and I'm seeing that people live differently. And and I don't I wouldn't say it was necessarily culture shock, it was just more of like socio economic. My worldview was so limited. It appeals back not everyone's
having the same experience as me. And it's hard because when you grow up Catholic you, you don't want to think in a lens of socio economics but you're surrounded by it being hidden in front of you, from what you said the chalices just expecting everyone's the same. But the cruelty of when that veil falls who the people life is unfair, they're not getting the same variables. Not everyone has the same start. I bothered me when I was a kid.
Well, I mean, if you already have this, if you already have this, like the cynicism that's brewing because you're seeing this discrepancies as a child. And then you you know, the, as you said, the veil gets dropped, you go into eighth grade, and you're seeing things completely different. Now. It's like, it kind of it made me a little bit more cynical, does
the cynicism that's where it starts for me. Because it's like, this doesn't make sense in a narrative. I'm taught things in three acts, and then something wonderful happens or there's resolution. By 12/8 grade, or even before then, there is no resolution, some stories and cruelly and I don't know how to reconcile this in spirituality I was taught, like, this will be only answered when you're dead, you get all the pleasant surprises of how this all made sense. I couldn't, you can't grasp at that straw anymore. I'm not know the world. There's a cruelty here and I can't stop looking at it. And it's, it's it's letting it's diminishing all the other lessons I've had. Because it's just so little, it doesn't make sense.
Yeah, a lot of it doesn't. And I think that's like where yet you kind of have to, you kind of try to make the best sense of that, that you can. Yeah, you know, and I think that that happens through human connection and humor. Yeah, humor, irony. And I think that's too, like when you think about it, like that's when you're in those states, and you're, you're developing as a as a child and adolescent, you become masterful with your defense mechanisms. And then, you know, your your, what do you protect, and you're protecting?
What was yours was, was a
humor? Yeah, a lot of humor. A lot of, and then and then it became like, somewhat anger. Like, you know, in adolescence, it was a lot of anger. And, and probably a lot of avoidance and deflection. You know, look over here, so you don't see me. I was like a smoke and mirrors.
Anger. Did it ever, you know, manifest and vandalism, some mad.
I can't confirm or deny. I'm not sure. I mean, absolutely. I think. Yeah, I remember. I remember breaking stuff was
there's a lot of old buildings of West Side smashed with West side was the license to smash windows.
Yeah, yeah, there was a you know, like, just doing stupid stuff. Especially like in the adolescent years just doing things that you you wouldn't used to steal the golf balls from the driving ranges, and then we'd go up in the woods and hit them with metal bats that one would if we would go Yeah, he'd go up at like three in the morning and kill it spot. Yeah,
that's tribal. That's been with us forever. That's prepping a young man for war. He steals the golf balls, hit them with baseball bats. This is this is warrior training.
I mean, who doesn't what child wouldn't enjoy that is you know, you'd normally hit this golf ball with this tiny little nub,
kids that have bigger problems and addiction. That's how I saw
it. I think that they should be you know, that might not even be a bad ideas to you know, open a place where that's what you do is you get a metal bat. And as many golf balls as you want to hit, just watch them soar. If they those things go when you hit them with a bat.
If you don't bottleneck a path for kids to do that stuff, males impacts as long as we're the species of a mammal with the same brain, nothing's changing that quickly. You will, you will find darker things. That path is there for us to have that little war rally that were your boys,
especially if you get them in a pack.
You know, you could say all right, that's gender stratification roles. I don't know. I don't know the evidence. But boys are drawn to that. It's a natural course. They just show up causing mayhem.
Yep. Yeah. And then you put, you know, an adolescent years then you throw alcohol and drug eggs into the mix. Yeah, you know, then it gets a little a little dicey.
It does. I felt smarter though. I felt like myself when I was drunk. I felt crazy. When I was sober. I was I felt like the anxiety would come out a behavior. Like I'll really act up. Yeah, but if I was drunk, I kind of felt like a little more of an adult. When I was a teenager,
less like the first time I drank was in St. Ann's to really what
was that? Like? What was the connection that was made the first day you realize what alcohol could do for
you? Well, I was with a couple of my friends. We were this was like, the first time I really I got the feeling. But we were drinking hurricane 40s malt liquor behind like, by there used to be this like old building. I think they just put stuff and it was like a little warehouse. We were drinking there. And, and I remember I got violently ill. And then I think a priest came to chase us out and was like, What are you doing? And we took off, you know, we took off running. But I remember I remember just feeling like yeah, that was fun. Yeah, not only did I get the feeling, but I got the chase. And it was and we got away. It was like, yeah, it's actually yeah, it was, it was like, feeling alive.
I, when you said that I was just, I get a total recall of when you would drink even if it was the day, the passage of time felt far more significant. In my mind when I was a kid when I was drunk. It felt like a film was happening.
Yeah. And you had it but that was the thing like you had to cram it into a window. Before you had to report back. Yeah, he had to he had to you had to. I think that's where like, sometimes you think about it, because like, you had to plan everything. Yeah. And the play had to be meticulous.
You couldn't be drunk at the hour. Yeah, to get back home.
I don't know. I remember one time running the train tracks. Because my dad was like, your home at this time. And if you're late, it's, you did not want it. And I remember running the train tracks at like 1030. And it was like, this was back in trips Park. So I was booking and I remember I was falling. And I had white khaki pants. I had like khaki pants. And I literally stopped at one point when I got onto like the actual road right before I got and I flipped them inside out thinking that. Oh, wow. Yeah. That like you're I walked into the house with my pants on Inside Out pockets showing everything and I thought like, he's not gonna notice. And I think he probably did, but he
maybe he was too scared to even confront such such a bold move pant work. Wise.
I don't think he was ever afraid to confront Okay. All right. No, he was not he was
about this. There's no cell phone. You're running home. How did you tell time? Did you ever
watch. Somebody had somebody there had a watch or a cell phone and I was like, I gotta get home.
I think the mind clocks are kids and the ability to mark time in your head. I wonder how you could compare that to kids today. There was no what it was like a few kids had to get a Cassius Meyer man some watches. But you had to tell time you had to keep track. I had to know 15 minute increments, where you should be and what you're doing.
I remember the first time I ate acid. I called my father. And I tried to stay out that night. I wanted to stay at my friend's house. Yeah. And he's like, No, get home. Ah, and I walked into the house. And I was I was I was in it. And I'm trying to like keep it together. Oh my God. And he goes, What is this? And I'm like, Oh, shit, what? Right? And he's like, What is this? And he has an envelope in his hand. And I'm like, I don't I don't know. Anything, Dad. Yeah, I'm like, what is it? Like I'm intrigued at this point. But I'm sweating. Why is it moving? Swirling sweating. And he goes, it's from the Scranton Public Library. You have overdue books. I swear to God, and I start busting out laughing. I'm like, oh, yeah, I'll get them back tomorrow that I'm gonna go over to the other room and I'm never gonna see you the rest of the night.
Wow, that's an intense trip man.
In like, you know you God bless both of them. Both of my parents because like it. Were you having visuals
that just did that where
you had oriental rugs on the other side of the bar? Yeah, you're toast and I went right over there. Yeah. And I was just looking at these rugs and they're, they're doing things that and I'm like,
app, you're in the puzzle factory. Yep.
And this I was like, I don't know, I've had to be like 15 or 16. You know, and
it's melting your face without overdue and library card wet. And
I remember just sweating. Like, what could this possibly be? What did I do now? Futures in your mind? Yes, I do. Because I'm thinking you go worst case. It's a it's an envelope to imagine the possibilities.
Yeah, I could only imagine terror and dread
boys, but the relief when it was just an overdue library book. Yeah. There's a month the trip could return. Yes. Then I could get back to ya losing my mind and the laughing
Academy over the whitening. Take me away.
So you know, but that that like, I don't know, that kind of stuff. It was it all throughout high school and, and then I ended up I ended up my drinking became, it's funny, because when I was when I was like 17. And being my brother knows this now, because, you know, we've I've had to make amends for this too. But I actually stolen his identity. I pretended to be him. Okay. And I went to the DEA, I remember I was I snuck into his room when he was in the shower. Like, it's not like I was on a co op, like a covert mission. And I went into his wallet, and he had his social security card and I memorized it.
All this is craft, pre digital.
This was so that I memorize this social security card and I went to guarantees or one of those stores and I got a money order for I think $11.50 And I went up to the DMV, and I set it
i which is on the State Police bearer.
Yes. And I went in and I said somebody stole my wallet at the gym. And I gave him his social security number. And they printed me out a duplicate ID duplicate idea. And he turned 21 The day I went down to Senior Week, man. So I at 18 I had licensed to drink. And he was this was unknown to anybody except for my friends. Yeah. So from 18 This is when like things started to really get progressive.
So the pitcher was only ID was him. They just duplicated his picture again, because we
somewhat similar, same, pretty much the same height, same eye color, but
so at 18 You have the best documented it's not a fake ID you have a Real ID.
Yep, just not me. Wow. That's a light. That's power. Oh, yeah. For the grant. And to me it was it was it was like I have arrived got the juice me. So I would go down to the drive thru. Distributor. Yeah. And I showed him a couple times three, four or five times and then I was there so much. They stopped. Pardon me.
How's the kids? Joe? Yeah. Where's your brother?
What's going on? You know? And it was just
whatever I was doing beyond before that, yeah, it just, it gets along. Yeah, it got pretty crafty deception. That could seem juvenile at first, but that's that is a line being crossed. I
always joke with my brother. I say I still remember your social security card number in case I have to go on the lam. So keep
playing around, see what happens. Keep going fuck around, see what happens.
Well, we have a house together now. So I know social security number anyway. Yes, we you know,
today it's trust. It's not leverage.
Leverage. But you know, like he's, it's it's amazing because we always had dysfunction growing up in our relationships, and I'm really close with all my brothers today. And it's it's nice. And that was one thing that my parents were always about was like, We don't care what happens we just want you guys to stay talking. Yeah, get along.
Well, I don't know if you have this in your family. We have stories. People stop talking. Yeah, life like Irish fights. And yeah, we do too. We've you know, we've had some, you know, brawls in my family but we we lost a sister and we will never we are all close. Yeah, we stay. We can have disagreements, but no one stops talking. And you don't get more brothers or sisters now either.
And like in in the, you know, like with all my trials and tribulations like they put distance between me, but they never stopped caring, they never stopped showing me love. They just weren't going to support what I was doing. And they made it abundantly clear. Well, we still love you. We just don't like what you're doing.
How much did that increase your chances to be? where you're at today? Recovery? I mean, it's hard to measure that stuff you had love?
It is it's, you know, because I think I see a lot of it where people don't have that. Yeah, you know, or they don't have that that familial support. I think it I think it definitely helps. I don't think it's the end all be all. It's not the pronoun, I don't think it's going to be the thing that separates you from success or failure, but I think it definitely contributes to success. But I've also seen it contribute to failure.
Yeah, yeah, it was just complex. I guess this Yeah. You know,
cuz I think that some, you know, some people can love you to death. Yeah. You know, and, you know, we've talked about it in the past me and you personally, it's, it happens where, you know, it
smothered the puppy. Yeah,
you thought it was love, but it was really enabling,
you know, Eastern life, that attachment is it's not love. It's a selfish form of love. I'm, I'm attached to something that's a it's an illusion. Like, I'm smothering simply because what it's providing for me, I'm calling it love. But
what's funny, because like, I was reading me and my friend were talking about this too, is that, you know, in toxic family systems, you know, a toxic parent can view independence has abandoned. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and, and what do you why you kind of want your child to become independent? Yeah,
you you don't last week, your child that's kind of the line of the natural course of things, the child replaces you, you're going to create a defenseless child that only it's a bit strange. It's
in you're seeing it more now, I think, than ever, with, you know, the younger demographic that's coming up the ranks is that, you know, they, as much as they want to be independent. There's this form of dependency.
Yeah. I've seen two forms of it. They don't have it, or they've lost purpose. And they're intelligent, and they can't commit anything because cynicism is washed over. Yeah. I don't think I think millennials are one of the smartest generations and they're the largest voting demographic, but to not see them match that and voting turnout. Property Ownership, there's all these various why wouldn't you be cynical?
Yeah. feel disenfranchised? Why would you do anything to and voiceless, to get through it, then? It's crazy. But I think that's the thing is, like, you know, when you have, for me, particularly at least, when I had such a desire to do what I wanted to do, there was nothing that was gonna stop me from doing it. You know, and you put as an alcoholic like, I think sometimes you put all that ingenuity and all that. That resiliency in just the wrong the wrong area of expertise. And that's kind of what I did I just put all my effort into insanity. Well, it's It's
insanity is good. You're cornering the market. No one else is good at it. Let me be at least the one and last Yeah, my my tribe. This is where though if someone needs grazie, come to me. Yeah, I know what I'm doing.
But it you know, like, that's when, when all this was going down. And then I had I had free rein to do what I wanted. Then I started to get more consequence and consequence and consequence. And, you know, event, it's funny because we talked about changing the narrative and I, I stuck with this narrative, because when I was like, 17, or 18, I, I got pretty. I got really intoxicated one night, and I came home and it was late. And I ended up putting on all my music. Because, you know, that's what you do it like one or two in the morning is your jam and I was jamming. And obviously, my family frowned upon that because they're sleeping. No headphones, not your jam on Jana. Oh shit. And, and, you know, this whole melee ensued in my house where there's this physical altercation between me and multiple members of my family and you're drunk and I'm drunk, and then the police come and I'm shackled and handcuffed in my underwear and thrown into the back of the paddy wagon taken to the CMC. Which is interesting because while I'm, while I'm being pushed down the seventh floor of the CMC, I see this girl that I went to high school with. And I'm like, oh, Trish, I haven't seen you in years. How you doing? Like she's working? She's not a patient. Yeah. And fast forward. When I got sober. I started talking to her. And we started date and I married her and she's the mother of my child. Yeah, that's true. Yeah, isn't that crazy. But so I get home the next day in the hospital gown, because I have no clothes, except my skivvies and my dad. And this is where the narrative changed for me when I got sober as is my dad said, Joseph, you need to either get yourself some help, or you need to leave. And I left. Now, from that point at, like, 18, till I was like, 2526, I would say, my dad threw me out. Because it fit my narrative. Right? It fit the narrative because like, Here I am, I'm this victim, and you just don't understand. And I'm trying to, to make sense of this, this whole thing. And it wasn't until after I got sober that I started to actually look at that situation. And I'm like, he didn't throw me out. He gave me a choice.
In that total little delicate, small
detail was it was a big difference, because it took away that whole victim mentality a different story. Yeah, it was totally different. And that was the truth. That was what actually happened now long.
How much time passed before you saw that bloom?
I don't even know when it when it happened, where I was like, that's not what happened.
Isn't that amazing? Now, I, it's powerful. Because I don't know how many are still left in my head, you change the dynamic of the story that gives me either the victim, I'm the victim, I was forced to do this stuff. Now. I don't know how many of those I've rewrote in my head. So I could just keep going on.
And it's crazy. Because I think like, you know, that's the whole idea of, I believe in the concept of recovery is to become more conscious. Yeah. And that was something that like, where what it did for me was it started to make the cynicism subside a little bit. And you know, and I was really, I was looking at this from a different perspective of like, okay, here's the truth, this is what actually happened. And I made a bad choice. Right. And as a result of making that bad choice, I had to, I had to create this false narrative, you know, where I was, you know, I was thrown to the street. And that just wasn't the case. My father's
cruelty made me party much longer.
Yeah. And then you know, like, then you start thinking about it, like, here's this guy that spent 27 years of his life in the state police, and then has to endure watching. And me and my dad have like a really close, I would like to consider it, I considered a special relationship. I'm the baby. And he's watching me go through the throes of this stuff. And my dad's been my brother has had childhood cancer. You know, my brother. We've all had our stuff, like, my dad and my mother have been through it. And then you got this kid who comes along and is just destroying his life. And you have to sit back and watch it. And like, I don't know, there's, there's like, you wonder what got them through those those aspects of the addictive lifestyle. And thank because, because like they, I they just celebrated. August 14 Is their wedding anniversary, and I don't know how they must be married, like 5859 years, I don't even know. It's a long time. And it's just, it's amazing to see like, that their relationship has never really changed as a result of anything that's gone on with any of us.
That's something I understand. Well, you would want to understand, I would want to so I can have it.
Well, I think that's the thing is like they've always put each other first. Yeah. You know, I mean, I think they've always put each other first in their relationship where, like, what's the what can you do for anybody else? Like, especially the kids if you're not, if you don't have this? But I remember during that time when my dad told me that and this is something else I had to work through is I remember distinctly my mother and my mother doesn't always call my dad Richard. He's known as Fenner. And she said, Richard don't. When he was like, You need to get help or get out. She said Richard, don't. Richard. Yeah. And I was like, Oh, my means business. And that is something. But this was the twist. Right? This was the Rob I wasn't even mad at Mike. I was. I expected that kind of from my father. You know, because he was kinda you know, he was the lone house or dog, you know, know where to go. Yeah. And I was I was kind of resentful towards my I was really resentful towards my mom because I that created this other narrative was like she led them. She led
she's really in charge.
Sees because because my mom is she'll never say that. She is and if my dad listens to this, he'll probably
the complexity of blame. Yeah, but that's I was
like really super resentful at my mom, because I was like, she I can't believe she let him do that to me. And I had to, I had to kind of that came out as a result of my, like, the fourth step looking at some resentments. And I was like, this is I'm so crazy. This is not the things that I had to distort to fit my,
in the fourth step is confronting the resentments, the fears, but having a longer discussion, like
really looking at it like this is, you know, this is this is the twisted perception of what I was in the real altered
reality, the real fears that are distorting the reality. Yeah.
And that's what I you know, that that's where I started really pieced some of this stuff together. Is that like, I was just driven entirely by fear. Yeah, my whole entire life. But I wouldn't, I wouldn't tell you that.
Everybody says that about you. Joe came driven by
that's my handle. Most scared kid ever. I just to
pop back. When you're talking about your parents, I could. It's just so admirable what I took for so grant like granted for even seeing great parents and friends, family cousins. To take care of yourself first, the the relationship that means something to me now. Everyone that's given me any good advice, being a parent now and your your parents, take care of yourself, when you're taking care of your kids. Take care of your mind, take care of your marriage, and you're taking care of your kids.
Yeah, cuz without it, what's it? You know? Because what do you what do you do? I mean, like, think about this way, what's your first concept of, of, of, I guess you could say in the context of recovery like a higher power or God yes, your parents?
And was it it is that's that's it's the only way to describe God and a parental role a sugar to get into a creator or that he's a laptop for someone.
And it's funny. It's funny because like, you think about that with it. And this is where I think alcoholism is no, it's the the equalizer is like, I had to have the best parents that you can possibly imagine. Yeah, who? I've never seen them argue. I've never seen my parents argue or fight. I've never seen them raise their voice at each other. And that's something that I would definitely have remembered because I would have used it to my advantage. Do you think
they did argue but in private, they kept away from those? Yeah, they probably had their strong discipline.
I believe that that and I've had this conversation with my brothers is is like, maybe they tempered that by the time I came along. Oh, yeah. I mean, sure. through experience and lose control by that point, but I never I never saw that. I never saw it in my my childhood. I'm sure that they did have disagreements or, or whatnot, but it wasn't like I was coming. I was I was you know, sitting outside the door, wait and wait, and like, oh, kind of Damn. What's the
consensus my but then you think about
that is like did it did it matter? Like, you know, because I hear all these I'm, I've had 1000s of people I've had the pleasure of hearing their stories and be part of their journey and, and hear intimate details and you get both sides of that spectrum. You know, and I think that's where that's where I have a lot of respect for, for alcoholism is, you know, did it matter? Does it matter? I don't know.
The I don't I don't know I've heard nightmare stories. I'm not saying I'm some kind of huge broad meta analysis of all information. What are the what are the likelihoods of success and from the way you were raised your scenarios, your conditions of what the probability of recovery is. I don't know that can be bleak. That could be just maybe all over the map. Yeah. But I've met every type of person gets over with loving the home without love. Yep. And I've seen a lot of people die with love and support and without it. And it's to me, it's just this approach of a lottery, the lottery of now that I feel awake or conscious. I tell you this all the time. I don't want to lose it, because I've seen people lose their lives that didn't have any of the many chances I had at getting better. Yeah, and that doesn't seem fair. And I don't want to take that for granted as a as a person ever again, that I gotta. I want to stay awake.
Yeah, that's the trick is keeping it you know, keeping that consciousness.
Joe I have on here for an hour and we didn't even get started to the clinical half.
You're gonna have to edit this. Well, we
can edit it. But do I get you for Where are you going to stay or should we?
We can. It's been an hour already.
Our five minutes ma'am.
I will let let's just run it out.
I will. Let's take a real quick pause. Okay. We'll be back with Joe.
Sounds good. I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better. You can find us on all better.fm or listen to us on Apple podcasts. Spotify, Google podcasts, Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards, an engineering company 570. Drone. Please like or subscribe to us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember, just because you're sober doesn't mean you're right.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai