PART II :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.
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Joe Van Wie 0:03
Hello, and thanks for listening to another episode of all better.fm. I'm your host, Joe van wie G. Today's bar to Joe Kane, we are going to talk about what produced Joe Kane's recovery. And he's going to talk a lot about his work, and why he continues to remain in the field of drug and alcohol treatment. Let's get into it. We came back from a quick bathroom break. And I'm not sure where we left off. But I think Joe a good start would be how did your act of addiction How would you describe it coming to an end? Oh, geez.
Joe Kane 1:01
I think it was like a series of, of events that happened. I was already already went to treatment
Unknown Speaker 1:11
Joe Kane 1:13
And I was, I was 25 at the time. And my friend, one of my best friends, Michael just came out of treatment. Yeah, that he got out of treatment. And he was talking to one of my old it was actually my old counselor, Stanley. He was talking to him and I got put back in touch with him. And I started calling him and I was I was actively using, and I was telling them, you know, all about how life sucked and people sucked and everything sucked. And he would listen to me and kind of let me rant and, and I but I told him I wanted to, I wanted to get sober again. And and he was trying to help me the best way that he could. And I was trying to detox myself without going back to treatment.
Joe Van Wie 2:19
And what method were you using to do that? Because I understand that.
Joe Kane 2:25
You name it, mostly farm, pharmacological intervention, benzo benzos. Suboxone
Joe Van Wie 2:35
just to press back one second to state sobriety at this point. Not using for a day, three days. What was your headspace? Like without having alcohol? Or any drugs? Brutal? Yeah.
Joe Kane 2:50
I mean, it was it was excruciating, because I was a big I was I used a lot of benzos. Yeah. And on top of that, you know, the opiates there when the suboxone the pot, the alcohol, it was it was my anxiety was so bad, that, you know, I was pretty much incapacitated, I couldn't really function as a normal human being I was just riddled with, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't do anything.
Joe Van Wie 3:28
And to, you know, put a little more description on this. What is it like headspace minus withdrawal and sober without
Joe Kane 3:39
wanting to die? Wanna die? I mean, that's the thing is like, I think, you know, it's death seemed like a better viable option than the torture that was going on inside my, my body and my mind and moreso the mind the mental aspect of everything. Because, you know, it's I don't know, like, when you're coming off of, of the combination of things that I was doing, you know, it's it's it's excruciating. Yeah. You know, and it's hard to, it's hard to see a way out, you know, and I think that's the most difficult thing for a lot of people is, is to see a way out of that, that mindset.
Joe Van Wie 4:24
How do you? Like I always like to be specific in that sense, but how do you see sobriety as the solution? What like, what, how does a sick mind that, you know, you know, drugs and alcohol, the world's telling you drugs and alcohol are the problem and you'll be fine without them? How do you how do you see that? How do you define that a sick mind that how is sobriety the solution to the way that you feel sober? Like, did you think there was something on the other end of that if you lasted long enough?
Joe Kane 4:55
I think because I had some brief periods. of I wouldn't call it necessarily sobriety but abstinence. Yeah. Like I knew that there was a different way to live and a different headspace to be in. But I think what helped me out tremendously, was just kind of telling myself, I used to say this a lot, especially in early recovery is I used to say this thing where I would say, in my mind, I wouldn't tell people this thought, but I would say, You did this to yourself. Right? Yeah, I would say that. And I would, it would kind of give me this, this idea that if I did this to myself, I'm not going to be the one that undoes it. You know, like, like Einstein's ideas is, you know, use the same thinking that you can't use the same thinking that created insanity to fix it. I'm paraphrasing, or charge
Joe Van Wie 5:53
your ego with having a spiritual awakening. Yes, self defeating. So,
Joe Kane 5:58
so like, I think that's where like, I started to rely on human connection more, which I think is a huge, intricate part of the process of sobriety is, is, you know, how much do I want my, my insanity checked by people that are saying, Yeah, you know, and where am I looking at? Because I could take an insane thought, and even in sobriety and say, That sounds really good. That sounds like something I can get on board with.
Joe Van Wie 6:25
And so when you say connection, like, in a sense, we mean, in recovery communities, someone knows who you are, and you might, you might not know who you are, until you tell that story to another person, the truth kind of,
Joe Kane 6:41
absolutely, I think that's where, you know, that intricate part of the recovery process of being honest, you know, because I'm so full of shit, not only with myself, but with others. And Eve and even take that on. Beyond that, and say, also in my actions, you know, everything that I do has some vein of dishonesty in it, is that I have to start to become honest, and those three different categories, I got to start behaving honestly, being honest with myself and being honest with other people. And, and that's, that's a ROB.
Joe Van Wie 7:17
So this, your first experience with finding the path to accomplish what you just describe, was in 12, step living.
Joe Kane 7:28
I, for me, that's what it was, was was the 12 step, philosophy and approach. But I think what I had to do was, I had to start with first just removing myself from society. You know, I had to take I had to go somewhere, and I had to, number one be medically detoxed. And, and I was really, like, even if I think about that, I was really fortunate because people were so kind and compassionate to me when I was in it, you know. And if I didn't have that, I don't know if I would be sitting here.
Joe Van Wie 8:10
Yeah, you wouldn't end up in coerced into a better way of life.
Joe Kane 8:14
Now, I remember even being at the nurse's station, and I was, you know, I couldn't sleep, I didn't sleep. And they would let me lay on the gurney, behind the nurse's station, which I don't even know. If they were supposed to do that. This has gone back some time. So I'm not gonna get anybody in trouble. But I don't even know if they were supposed to do that kind of stuff. But they did. And it was like those simple kindnesses that people showed me where it was like, there was some type of accountability that I felt with them.
Joe Van Wie 8:47
Yeah, like, I
Joe Kane 8:47
gotta, I gotta try. Like, I got to try to do something.
Joe Van Wie 8:53
And this is the description of your last treatment.
Joe Kane 8:55
Yeah, that was that the last place that I ever went through, hopefully.
Joe Van Wie 8:59
So you receiving, accepting and seeing kindness, compassion, yeah. For this condition? You're telling yourself you're causing? Yeah. How did that continue? And into a place that was stable, and recovering produced? Sobriety that you still have up to this point? Like, what what was,
Joe Kane 9:23
I think it started with, you know, really understanding? It wasn't even it wasn't even more so where I needed answers as to why. Okay, you know, like, because I think a lot of people I think that's, that's part of the problem, I think, with alcoholics and drug addicts is they want the why why do I do these things? Why? And, and I think, in my failed attempts at recovery, I tried to focus too much on on the why, instead of like, how do I get better?
Joe Van Wie 9:56
And when you say why, because I can relate. I just want to make sure In the same way, wow. You can ask the wrong questions, then you get killed, like almost in philosophy. Like why? So we have a step three, you know, we make this decision at turn our will in life over the care of God, and then attach as we understand them. So we could all have our own experience. I thought for some reason, this is how my maniac, my Reddit, well, if I understand the fabric of reality, I'll be able to I'm asking the wrong questions. There's no immediate understanding of my scenario versus the big picture, the questions I wanted answered, I felt like I was ripped off not get even, that I'm in pain, and none of it's making any sense. And I'm manufacturing. Now at this point in the late stage of my addiction. Were you asking questions like that the first two times? Is that what you're saying? Like you want it to walk? Yeah. Why is this happening?
Joe Kane 10:57
And you know, what, when this last time around, I started to, you know, think about the question, too, is like, what if I got an answer? Would it even make a difference? Yeah. Is it gonna change the problem? Could be the answer could be scarier. Yeah. You know, like, if you came and said, Okay, well, this, this is where it all started, is this particular chain of events, it doesn't change the it doesn't change the fact that I have the have the problem? You know,
Joe Van Wie 11:25
it doesn't it's, there's a paradox, the more that I felt was new to me of understanding addiction, which is strange to say, in the last two years, see causes and conditions from, you know, society, culture, socio economics, neurology, cognition, traumas. I'm seeing this bigger picture. And there's a relief that maybe I didn't I'm not I'm not responsible, I emerged into a world and my reactions addiction that made me comfortable with maybe I think reality is harsh. This, this now tell the story of neurotransmitter dance that may be abnormal than other people's reactions. Maybe a trauma that I wasn't recognizing all these things considered. I feel you could constantly tell someone your addiction, not your fault. But where does that leave agency? Where does a person rise up once knowing that do want do Would you consider the idea we call it a spiritual awakening and a lot of recovery community is waking up knowing there's a person beyond what's happening to you, you can wake up in that is that kind of a description of recovery in the spiritual terms that you use subscribe to that you wake up to agency you you can be beyond your pain?
Joe Kane 12:54
I believe that's one I think even have to reframe it differently in the beginning is like even addiction in and of itself is a desire to feel better. Yeah, right. So like, even you using came as a result of you wanting to feel better. Right? And I always try to keep it simple for some of the people that I deal with is like addiction is born in pain in an ends and pain. Right? However, you started you started this journey as a desire to change the way you feel to feel something different to change your Yeah, to change your consciousness, whatever that would have spiritual pain, emotional pain, physical pain. It doesn't matter the pain. It's just your attempt at changing. Yeah. And I think that's the thing is if you look at addiction, even the the Latin derivative is enslaved by are bound to bound to Yeah. So you get bound to this concept that you believe is a lifeline. Like you're being thrown a lifeline. But it's it's really becomes the detriment to growth in consciousness.
Joe Van Wie 14:05
Yeah, I remember there was some book in the early 90s was, like, Christian book kind of under addiction, but the title was banquet to the grave. Like you think you're at a great hall of banquet relief to this pain at the end of the table is your depth. It's the void.
Unknown Speaker 14:24
Yeah. It's just, it's,
Joe Kane 14:28
it's a well that's like they it's interesting too, because like they they're finding now more about like brain chemistry and how it how addiction impacts his brain impacts brain chemistry and how trauma impacts brain chemistry as well. And there's a lot of similarities when it comes to the two but it's it's interesting because like if you if you grew up in dysfunction, or you grew up in some type of chaos, you have a lower baseline for stress. So when you initiate really use a substance, not only are you getting that pleasurable experience, but you're getting a dramatic decrease in your stress level. So you're duly reinforcing a negative behavior. Yeah. So you know what you're seeing now, especially with, you know, like you said some of the societal, the socio economic, if if you have that prevalence in society, where we're almost as a, as a conglomerate having lower baselines for stress, then it makes sense why people are
Joe Van Wie 15:36
diction could be rising as a response to the cheaper medication that doesn't.
Joe Kane 15:41
Plus when your brain, when you, when you use a substance, you're releasing two to 10 times more dopamine than normal, pleasurable activities. So your brain through the hippocampus actually records that intense flooding. Yeah. So it's like, whenever I experience these high levels of anxieties or stresses, it's where does my brain automatically go.
Joe Van Wie 16:09
And so just for me to repackage and make sure I'm understanding this can a person with trauma and on the path to addiction or have an addiction have a muted response neurotransmitters for dopamine, or flushing out cortisol, or endorphin means to respond to pain is this muted, and a person that would be prone to addiction, unlike a regular homeostasis of a regular person, to resolve pain and conflict, it's muted, and then they meet a drug of their choice. So you're add and you meet cocaine gives you enough dopamine, or whatever the dance is, you made heroin, you have an emotional pain, the pain is now released, not through your natural endorphin system. This this, this, this kind of tell him a sensible story, what's happening in the invisible world? I would like if there was a logical way to say this addiction here,
Joe Kane 17:13
I would say this is that like, it's definitely it gives some meat and potatoes to what's going on.
Joe Van Wie 17:20
And it's enough fully tool, but we know a lot more than we know
Joe Kane 17:23
so much more now about brain chemistry, in regards to the addictive piece of of the whole puzzle than we did, you know, 1020 years ago, but even then, it's it's, you know, it's not, I wouldn't say infancy stages, but it's, it's, it's increased tremendously.
Joe Van Wie 17:45
So this is the material world that's happening without will, at this point, this this thing's happening or our brain. Well, what's interesting to me, that we could talk about now is like, so I have this heightened ecstasy of a release to say I have a low threshold for stress. I have my first euphoric experience with alcohol or, or a drug like release just vast amounts of dopamine and Molly ecstasy. Now my idea of joy, ecstasy, pleasure has been plotted on a course that's unattainable to live in. An addiction is chasing that this is what this is what joy feels like. But that's matched now in the addiction in between these periods of sobriety withdrawal with this is how low despair could start going, Oh, yeah. And you you have now have two markers on the SE bell curve of what joy is which is far beyond the pale of a normal person with a state of heightened to ecstasy. And then the withdrawal and the torment of life's regular stresses are so unattainable they seem impossible to deal with for mail, bad credit, like things that rise up in addiction. The way that makes someone feel mentally is like, just like that plot is so low on the bell curve, like it's, it's, it sounds incomprehensible, maybe to a normal person, what's going on in that person's brain, the despair it really
Joe Kane 19:22
is because you have to, you have to think about it also to in terms of like the brain chemistry is your all your body has natural defenses, they're biological. So your brain's natural defense is that you will either stop producing as much dopamine or you'll stop producing dopamine receptors. So if you're an addict and your brains doing that, naturally, you're either going to do one or two things, you're either going to intensify, or you're going to change your frequency and duration, or how something is administered. So that's why people will progress to harder drugs, or for and then what you're doing is you're developing natural tolerance. So if you're not getting those, those highs, then what you're doing is you're just maintaining, and anytime you're not maintaining, you're being thrown into a depressive state.
Joe Van Wie 20:24
That means to state a story now, when you know, was just described, for that to heal, in a holistic whole body approach, you know, cognitive therapy approach, whatever that means is that can heal. Right. And then that's all the modern research is saying that can happen. But
Joe Kane 20:48
that takes significant time. Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 20:52
And insurance companies don't pay for that time. No, that's that's, we want to solve a crisis. But can't Is there a two week version? There's just
Joe Kane 21:00
as much conflict in treatment. Yeah. And approach as there is in in any other way. I mean, we're talking about religion before there's just as much content and treatment as there is. In anything else in the world. I
Joe Van Wie 21:15
want to talk about it a bit. But now, I don't want to we went on. Real quick, where we left off personally, that sense is that you left a treatment center, right? Yeah. We get to dabble in that for a little bit. But I guess we both have a common friend. And he was my first real connection in a way that showed me something I didn't understand about life. Who was Bruce? Yeah. And I guess I would like to understand your path from that treatment center, getting that compassion and kindness, you want a better life? How did you run into this man from from that point of treatment? What What was the timeline of meeting Bruce?
Joe Kane 21:59
So I got out of treatment. And I was I, they told me I should go live back at home with my parents. And so that's what I did. And, and pretty much everything that I did was routine, I was very disciplined in terms of like recovery efforts. I had a job I worked with children at the time, I was working with children with emotional or, you know, any type of mental health issue or emotional issues. Oh, wow. Yeah. And I was working with kids before that, when I went to treatment, which is, you know, it also was significant, it significantly impacted my, my shame base. Because here I am, you know, using all these drugs, and then I'm dealing with kids and in it was just, that's a whole different DiMarco. But I ended up going back to live with my parents and I at about, at about six months, maybe six or seven months sober. My, a good friend of mine who lives in Boston. His father, actually was sober. And he was working at the, on the pipeline. So he was out of the area for probably, maybe two weeks, or he began a week and come home on the weekends. And he had two dogs and he needed somebody to watch his his dogs so I said, I you know, I'll house it and, you know, play house while you're doing your thing, and take care of the dogs and walk them and feed them. So I ended up moving in with him at about six, seven months sober. And
Unknown Speaker 23:37
Joe Kane 23:42
he was connected to Bruce and Bruce took him through the steps. And he he kept telling me, You gotta you gotta gotta get with Bruce. Yeah, to talk to pro Seattle. And it was it was how he said it and then the context of it, because he had a couple of Bruce's his plans, his blueprints, yeah. And he had one of Fordham University. I have it in my bedroom. And it was it was framed. And he started talking about him, and then he started to tear up. And I bet you he would deny it. But he did and you unlike when, when, and I'm an empath. I'd like to consider myself an empath. But when you have, like somebody like that, that's talking to you about this person, and you can see that, that emotion attached to that relationship, like you gotta, there's gotta be something there. And, you know, there was probably two people that were most instrumental in my recovery, and one was Stanley, and one was Bruce. And so I went I, I was going to, I was going to a meeting every every single day, and I would see them and I would be like, can you take me through the steps need to be like I'm kind of busy right now I have a couple guys that I'm working with. And I just kept asking them and just kept kind of bugging them.
Joe Van Wie 25:09
Now to put context to that Bruce was an architect. And he's pretty prolific renowned. Fordham Law School and to school, the arts rehab, we've worked for the Guggenheim, all the ski chalets really, you know, you wouldn't know that if you know, madam. And Bruce, at that point was probably at any given day, three to four or five people went to his house for an hour. And he took him through the steps and for 40 years in a, I would say, he's taken well over 10,000 people
Joe Kane 25:44
through the steps. I would I wouldn't, I wouldn't think in four different cities. Yeah, it's crazy. I mean, think about it. And in in, you know, what, like, had his had his hard knocks too. You know, it was estranged from his family and, and like he, but he built a new one. Yeah, he did. And that was pretty. Just a solid, individual. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like, he was just
Joe Van Wie 26:12
you walked at a higher path, he was funny
Joe Kane 26:15
as hell, but cynical to you. Oh, yeah. That's why we got to know him. If he really let you get to know him, you can, you could see the cynicism. And I
Joe Van Wie 26:22
never met anyone who could gossip so ruthlessly, and then smile at the like.
Joe Kane 26:29
But he, so he, eventually he, he eventually gave me a slot. And it was on Tuesdays. And I remember I was I was just making the pivot to start working in treatment. Because I was already at this point, when he finally gave me a slot, I was about it a year and a half sober.
Joe Van Wie 26:50
And so in that year, you're kind of in the context of what 12 Step people do your work. And the first three steps.
Joe Kane 26:57
I went, I did a four, I did a fourth and fifth, but I was so shot out, it didn't, yeah, that I really couldn't even make, like, comprehend what that what those steps were about. Sure. Like I really didn't, my brain was not functioning on all cylinders. It just wasn't Yeah. And then by, by about that time, about a year and a half, which is, is if you think of the science, now I know more about the sciences, you know, it takes a significant amount of time for your brain to reach a state of homeostasis. So like, my brain is starting to be on the up and up, like I'm starting to be stable. And I remember he, I went to his house on a Tuesday night. And it's funny, because I remember a lot of the conversations that I had with him when he took me through the steps and then post that too. But he I remember him distinctly saying, he said, I'm going to make a commitment to you, and you're going to make a commitment to me. And my commitment to you is we're going to meet here every Tuesday night at this time. And I'm going to show you what was shown to me, and then you're going to commit that you're going to do it for somebody else. And I said, Okay, you know, and then we started, we started meeting, and you know, sometimes we talk for a good 45 minutes about nonsense before we even get into the the actual work, you know, and the
Joe Van Wie 28:24
work was reading the original tax of A and then understanding this is how they set set out to work the steps. Yeah.
Joe Kane 28:33
And it's funny, because in my book, I have highlighted workers in work, and then I haven't written work is an important part of this. This process. You know, like where work is an important word in this book?
Joe Van Wie 28:47
Oh, maybe in the context? Was this the experience? Now you're two years sober? You want to be in the drug and alcohol field? Was there something that like, blew your hair back that maybe you weren't experience from the first year of just meetings that there was a there was there's something different about
Joe Kane 29:06
I think it was his explanation of things. Okay. And like the humaneness behind it. And I think what really helped me out significantly was the better understanding of what the first three steps were. And then when I really started to feel like significant relief was when he showed me the process of the fourth step. And, you know, having somewhat of a clinical mind to begin with, yeah, you can see like, the fourth step is really it's cognitive behavioral therapy. That's really what it is. And but how simplified and simplistic it is, but also the connections that you're making to how fear driven, you are as an individual. And I remember at that point, it was like, wow, like the, as you say, the veil was dropped like the veil is it was it was dropped, like, I actually got to see where my pattern of fear crippled my entire existence, up until that point in life. And then it was like, That was followed by like, what do I do now Jesus? Like, how am I going to work through all these, this craziness of fear? Because that's really what I wanna I mean, through sobriety, I remember, like, even in early the early stages of recovery, I couldn't hear what people were talking about a lot of the time. But when somebody started talking about fears, like I perked up, like a dog alert, same. Tell me about that. How do I, how do I deal with that stuff? You just tell me how to work through that. And I don't know, he helped me out tremendously with that. And, and then just like through the process of the rest of the steps and understanding more about character defects and, and, you know, the process of amends and, and how to, how to work on the conscious contact with some type of spirituality, because it was never about like, the religion, there was never any religious talk with him. At all, it was more about like, okay, what are we doing to become more spiritual? And, and he was, he was, the way he explained things kind of put things into perspective to me, where it was palatable. And you could actually implement in the day to day life that you wanted to live.
Joe Van Wie 31:34
Do you still feel the debt? He tried to charge you with that day when you started? Do you still feel that debt to other outside of your clinical experience? Do you feel that debt to
Unknown Speaker 31:46
two people to the new cover?
Joe Kane 31:48
Absolutely. I mean, it's, I still take people through the steps if they ask, sure. You know, I, I still feel indebted and I, and honestly, it, it probably helps me I you know, you hear the cliche all the time, but it helps me more than it helps you. But it, it honestly does. Because he always was a big guy that would say, you know, he would count people at meetings.
Joe Van Wie 32:17
Yeah, right on everything count and count the legs of a chair mania.
Joe Kane 32:22
And but he would always say he would say there's 17 people at this meeting,
Joe Van Wie 32:27
there said he would tell them how they how much they shared in an aggregate of mad he would,
Joe Kane 32:32
but he would also make it a point to say they're 17 different ways to find a road to spirituality and God of their understanding. You know, like, that's what it's not about. It's about that it's about like this is it's your journey. And to be part of it is the is the is the blessing to be part of anybody's journey is the blessing.
Joe Van Wie 32:55
So Toby, I'm so proud that you're an atheist, and you're the first.
Joe Kane 33:03
It was funny, because like, I've been thinking about this the last couple of weeks. And he was as he got older, he would always say he would he put a lot of emphasis on that one line in the book where you're in the role, you're in the world to play the role he assigns. Yeah. And he would always kind of say, like, how it made more sense now to him than it did earlier on in life. And he was just, he was just he was an interesting, interesting, man is an understatement. But he was just in the in the in like, and it was the same thing with Stan. Stan, they were like these two people that came from totally different backgrounds that never met each other. I don't think but were very, like they were the people I needed at this at various stages of my life. And like, I don't know that there are two people that I really feel indebted to in terms of in there's so many, there's so many that like, you know, even people that I started to work with that I feel indebted to and it's just I think that's one of the things about recovery, is that the the level of accountability that you have starts to grow because of your human connection. Yeah, because you feel you feel accountable. Like I don't want to these people gave so much of themselves for nothing. Yeah, for not not nothing at all. Like what would i What kind of person would I be if I just threw that and
Unknown Speaker 34:49
throw it away?
Joe Van Wie 34:50
I can tell you a lot about it. I walked away from my spiritual debt.
Joe Kane 34:59
But that's the thing is like, you know, like, the beauty of that is you came out of it and your change person, you know, and who's to say like, I think we're so limited in our in our we were talking about this earlier off the radio, but we're so limited, like, in terms of how we understand things that like, Yeah, who knows?
Joe Van Wie 35:22
Yeah. The simple way I like to look at its take the wire or sopranos, our first experience to watch a 710 year series. But we get to see the full life of Tony and all the variables that are coming from and decisions he's not aware of where the ultimate divert like we have the God view. And just knowing that I don't have anything close to a God view of my own life perspective, how limited I make my choices, the way I've reviewed my relationships. Spirituality for me is to say, there's more than one I'm thinking my view is, it's a chance to pull back to a real wide shot and see a full story of real life. Take it easy. Yeah. Don't make everything such high stakes and binary on these decisions because of my own trauma wants to make. You don't have to make anything. Take it where it's at. That's that's the invitation Bruce gave me that I'm not, you're not gonna see the whole picture for blacks.
Joe Kane 36:25
Well, that's that's the beauty of human connection is like, how are you supposed to see the picture when you're sitting in the frame? Yeah, my eyes. And that's the that's I think that's the intricate piece of recovery is like you need people to take you a couple steps back. Yeah. And change your perception. And I remember hearing this I you know, because I grew up across the street from my church. And it stuck with me all these years as I was at a sit with my mother. And I'm not a big churchgoer at all. But there was a novena, and I'm sitting on the porch with her. And this priest says, and it was really profound to me at the time, he said, intimacy is allowing a person to get close enough to you that you give that person permission to change you. Wow. And I thought about it, because all my all my interactions with intimacy, I allowed that to happen. But it changed me in negative ways. Yeah. So I tried to take those experiences to prevent me from what a true definition of intimacy is, oh, shit, you know what I mean? Like, and I had to, I had to confront that to is like, okay, am I going to allow myself to really feel that connection where I can permit myself to let somebody change me in a positive way. Because all my experience was negative, I would allow people, I wouldn't get intimate with people, and then I would get hurt. Yeah, or my perception was I would be hurt. But it was the people that I was allowing,
Joe Van Wie 37:57
trying to get married or 40. I'm finding this out. Now, what you just explained, I never saw as a repeat of why I was was terrified of intimacy. When it was positive. I was waiting for it to be negative. Yeah. And it's someone trying to help me. I'm like, yeah, that that is me. What you're just,
Joe Kane 38:20
yeah. Yeah, it is. And I think, you know, it's all these little things that I've I've collected over the years and, and, you know, some of them have been, I don't know inexplicable when I've heard them or whatnot. But it's, I think it's be bringing that into your consciousness on a daily as the difficulty is remaining in tune with those those things to really have a better understanding of self. And then I think in terms of others having a better understanding of where you fit in the grand scheme of things and the other players of the game.
Joe Van Wie 38:59
So yeah, this experience, approach works, the steps and you're drawn to the field, drug and alcohol treatment does require you going back to school, this time,
Joe Kane 39:13
I already had, I already had my undergrad in psychology from Penn State. So I it was kind of happenstance that it happened I was I ended up I was living with a dear friend of mine, Casey and and he was dating a girl that worked at the treatment center that I eventually worked at, and she was over and she's like, oh, there's an opening for a counselor position you should apply. And I was like, you know, I've always want I wanted to, and like right before that I actually applied to an intensive outpatient down in Scranton, and they He actually said that I wasn't sober long enough. Ah, yeah. So I was about a year and, and probably a year and a half a year and three quarters of sober and they were like a year
Joe Van Wie 40:13
there wasn't enough sobriety, their loss. Yeah, let's see you later do
Joe Kane 40:17
ya take that? Look at me now. So, so they, I went up and I interviewed at at this treatment center and, and I told them what I was doing. I was working with kids, and they, you know, they asked me how I dealt with crisis. I said, we're good kids, come on, you know, and, and they gave me a shot. And I started work at this treatment center. And and I started to see like, the difference between working in a clinical setting and having this interaction with this environment versus
Joe Van Wie 40:54
peer to peer 12 Step group. Yes.
Joe Kane 40:56
So the difference between how somebody how somebody understands the the addiction piece, as well as the clinical issues that might impede them from actually assimilating into a 12 step, recovery program,
Joe Van Wie 41:15
comorbidities, other conditions that are underlying of an addiction, all that stuff, even just basic skills, and then the was, you know, I would assume the first thing is ethics, that maybe you could say something to someone in a there's no accountability, it's a peer to peer, that you would never, never say in a clinical setting it like do no harm. Like that. You might not meet that and in a meaningful time,
Joe Kane 41:44
but I'm sure I've blurred those lines before. Yeah, I
Joe Van Wie 41:47
think everybody can't, does it's in a
Joe Kane 41:51
clinical setting. I'm sure if anybody listened to this, I'd probably be like, yeah, he's blurred those lines. Yeah. But I think it's it really, it got me to look at like the team approach. You know, collaborating with other clinicians, it got me to understand the group process and group dynamics. And I had some amazing people that I worked with. Patricia Don, who God rest her soul, she was, she was brilliant, brilliant clinician, and just, I don't know, she was wonderful. She, she taught me a tremendous and she was this very, very small, tiny lady who smoked my role. I remember her but she was a she was a beast. Yeah. And Stanley work there as well. Anna, there was just these really good people that were well versed in, in a clinical setting. And then, you know, I worked with I worked for Nick. And I started to, I started to really see where, where, where you can get through to people with melding, the two melding the clinical idea and the clinical aspect of treatment, but also relying heavily on what you understand about the recovery process through a 12 step program. And try to try to somewhat combine those two elements to make something that's palatable for a patient or client, whatever the, whatever the proper nomenclature is,
Joe Van Wie 43:33
and how, how long. How much time did you spend? We're speaking about Clearbrook. In its prior ownership,
Unknown Speaker 43:42
yeah. How long were you there? 10 years,
Joe Van Wie 43:46
10 years. And in that time, you went back to graduate school. Just to describe case, someone that you went to a program that was kind of new and unique. It was um, it was a social workers track,
Joe Kane 44:00
right? Yeah, I went to what is that? I went to Marywood. As a part time student, it was a Saturday program that was about five or six hours a day for three years,
Joe Van Wie 44:12
designed for people that are already in the field.
Joe Kane 44:16
And I remember my I was an active addiction when I graduated from Penn State, so my GPA was not to not do that. So they made me they made me meet with the board before they were even going to allow me into the program. And I had to sit with all these you know, these scrutiny these academics and say, Hey, listen, and I was brutally honest with them. I said, I was drinking. I was actively using drugs. I'm surprised I passed my undergrad at all it's not dad when you put these things let's filter I was trying to I was good GPA. You don't most people don't do that. You know? And I did. And they allowed me into this program. And it was it was a social work, obviously. And, you know, it was, it's interesting because like social work is is, is
Joe Van Wie 45:14
meet people where they're at, it's a little different. It's a little,
Joe Kane 45:17
it's a very different than drug and alcohol. It's more I
Joe Van Wie 45:21
understand like that I didn't in the last two years, just the the ideology of like social work is this total Zen approach. It's not counseling, it's meeting everything with non judgement.
Joe Kane 45:34
And it's, you know, even when you think about the ethics of social work, like the the the ethical principles, one of the ethical principles is right to self determination. Yeah. And then you think about is that applicable to what I'm actually doing? Because if I give people the right to self determine they might die and describe it what's self determined to be able to determine what it is that you want to do? So
Joe Van Wie 45:57
that's a really that's complex that could be on our podcast, self determination, does it fucking exist? If you're, you're so mentally ill your perception of life wants you to die every minute, like we're
Joe Kane 46:11
laughing, but it just how he says it? Well, I'm not. It's, there's so much of social work that is applicable to DNA, right? There is, but there is also like, I remember sitting in class the one time and I was, there's, I was, there was a one, two other males in my class, two other guys. And then it was purely female dominated. And I remember we were doing moral and ethical dilemmas, and they were talking about, you know, like, a hypothetical situation where you're on a boat with, with somebody, and they would you eat them, if they if you meant survival. And I'm like, the only guy in the class that's like, Absolutely.
Joe Van Wie 46:55
Do we have salt? Yeah.
Joe Kane 46:57
Is there Do I have to? Is there any type of equipment to dismember? Maybe
Joe Van Wie 47:03
tumeric? I would like
Joe Kane 47:06
but, and they're all looking at me, like, I'm bananas. And I said, I and I, and I caught a little bit of flack for this. I said, no offense, anybody in this room? But I don't think any single one is ever been hungry a day in your life. Yeah. And I think it's nice that we could sit here and say that we would wouldn't go back to our biological being. But when push comes to shove, ladies, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 47:32
Did you ever see Owen Bray? No, it's my favorite Western.
Joe Van Wie 47:35
It's what Paul Newman there's a scene. He was raised by Comanche Indians to set like the stage inherits from his white family hotel in a town he sells it wants to go back up live with the reservation, kind of a lone wolf warrior type. And he was telling the lady the lady was thought it was so offensive. I know what those Indians do up with those resurveyed. They eat their own dogs. He goes, lady, you've never been hungry. Now. You might have been hungry for supper, but you've never, you know, been hungry dog hungry. He goes, he would fight for the bowls. If you didn't eat for three days. Yeah.
Joe Kane 48:12
And, and like, and there was a couple, we had some some sisters that were social workers that Tanya fasces. And they were so great to me. And just like because I'm, you know, I'm, I'm an extrovert. And yeah. I like to talk and, and they were just really nice to me. And I remember I remember one time sitting with one of the sisters, or I was sitting with my mom came over to Mary wood, because she obviously she was going to be part of that. And that convent. The IHMC Yeah, and hurt some of her friends she's remained friends with so she came up to have lunch with me. And I remember one of the non teachers said, your, your son is so nice. He's such a good guy. And my mom said to this woman, I don't take credit for his success. And I don't take credit for his failures. And I bet you if I if you asked her, she probably doesn't even remember saying it. But I remember at that that was profound for me to you know, like, hear my move. Yeah. Buddhists. And I'm sitting there and I'm thinking I don't know how to take this
Joe Van Wie 49:26
moment on Attachment, equanimity.
Joe Kane 49:30
But I went through that program and and I became licensed in the state of Pennsylvania as a social worker.
Joe Van Wie 49:40
And what does that mean when you're licensed as a social worker? What what is it that you access to do that other people unlicensed?
Joe Kane 49:47
You can, you can you can get paneled to meet with people individually or you can meet with them. You can be non paneled and still meet with people individually. And social worker is so broad that you can work in a lot of different apps. Vax as opposed to just counseling,
Joe Van Wie 50:02
but licensed at the graduate level doing that graduate, what is the distinction beyond your, your present position at Clearbrook? As a counselor? I guess maybe I would just want a summary for someone who was interested. What does the education landscape being in the classes? having that discussion? What did what did it give you in value that you weren't already experiencing at an undergrad level, being in recovery firsthand, working with other alcoholics? What did that environment for three years give you that you felt? Man, if I didn't get a chance, it wouldn't have expanded what? What skills that were at it?
Joe Kane 50:43
You know, one of my, one of the people that that has been in my story is Nick and Nick would always say you're like unpolished rock. Yeah. You have these you have, you have these, these skills, but you're unpolished. And I think that's really what graduates graduate school did for me, it was it actually gave me some, some really useful clinical skills, different approaches and different styles. It kind of it really just polished me as a clinician, I think, to where, you know, you could see different modalities,
Joe Van Wie 51:22
reach more people see them,
Joe Kane 51:25
meet them, and like you said, meet them where they're at, and understand some of the ideas behind the modalities as well as like, actually applicable clinical interventions. It you know, what else helped me out tremendously is like, the, if I if I wasn't a clinician in the in the trenches, because I like to consider myself still, I'm not a as a clinical director, I'm not a push papers guy, I like to still have some skin in the game. So I do meet
Joe Van Wie 51:57
groups, do lectures, you're not just an administrator? No.
Joe Kane 52:01
But I think what it what that what the the idea of of the social work round, did for me to was, allow me to understand some of the research dynamics, because if I wasn't a clinic, like a clinician, I think I would go into research. Yeah,
Joe Van Wie 52:23
I don't know about this. I think most people get that bug. And I'm not anywhere near that. But when I read about it, the research looks, this is fun. This is good time spent just the raw curiosity of childhood now having a methodology, like you can explain what's happening in the world, people's minds. That too, looks like
Joe Kane 52:45
a hole. But it's only as good as the questions you're asking, well, you
Unknown Speaker 52:48
can still do it. Yeah, you can do it, you could go off into a green pit.
Joe Van Wie 52:53
When you're put out to pasture. You'll be a sheep gene, and maybe getting research funding that, you know, is so
Joe Kane 52:59
and I think it's there's so much to unpack with, especially with drug and alcohol or even mental health in general. With research,
Joe Van Wie 53:08
I didn't want to, I just want to make no, I forgot what it was. So you do a master's thesis at the end of your social work program to cap off at Marywood. What was your master's thesis did that? Did that really sparked the the research bugging you? Well, we
Joe Kane 53:25
had to do a, like a research proposal. And what we did was trauma as a correlation, trauma as a predictor to substance abuse. Okay. And, and I was fortunate enough that I could do some of the I could use some of the clients with waivers at the facility that I worked. Sure. And was what was super interesting about some of the data was that it was just as prevalent in men as it was in the women, Trump, but it wasn't as reported. And it's
Joe Van Wie 54:02
is, is the line clear?
Joe Kane 54:05
It was actually I have to I have to go back because I think it wasn't predictor of it was correlation. there a correlation?
Joe Van Wie 54:13
What's the difference between the using the word correlation and predictor
Joe Kane 54:17
predictor would be more so that like it actually contributes to the diagnosis? Okay. Whereas correlation is, is it something that we find that it's a pattern? Yeah. Is it something that's actually prevalent with people that suffer from addiction?
Joe Van Wie 54:31
And a predictor would be your two parents or alcoholic? This is a predictor of you being diagnosed
Joe Kane 54:38
like a genetic predisposition would be a predictor of correlation
Joe Van Wie 54:41
would be that 60% of people who experience addiction, trauma, or a like an ad, this is a correlation.
Unknown Speaker 54:48
Yeah. Okay. Joe,
Joe Van Wie 54:52
we're coming back up to another hour, and we could talk forever, but I do want to ask if We can end with something that I just want you to explain. You do a group. And I was part of it. I was in treatment. You were the clinical director of a place. We knew each other. We had, you know, a social relationship. Hi, I'm sitting here humiliated, and I'm in a group, I'm in treatment. And I'm thinking, what am I doing here? Why my life's about to fall apart? Can I fix it? I don't want to go through all this bullshit. I don't want to tell people my fucking problems. You start this group, you turn the lights off. What is this group? I was like, oh, what's
Joe Kane 55:41
the chairs? Yeah, well, that's, that's Gestalt therapy.
Joe Van Wie 55:44
I had to leave. Like, I started looking at my feet because then you made eye contact. I'm like, don't fuck, man. I'm just dumped here. I'm gonna stop. What is this group of describing?
Joe Kane 55:56
That's Gestalt therapy with? Its technically they call it the empty chair exercise. Who's Gestalt? Gestalt was he was
Joe Van Wie 56:11
Was he cognitive?
Joe Kane 56:12
No, he was, I think it was psychoanalytic,
Joe Van Wie 56:15
psychoanalytic. Yeah. I could look it up and maybe insert it but not to take away what is, can you just describe what that group is,
Joe Kane 56:26
it's more about being able to understand, because a lot of the time, even with Gestalt therapy is what you're actually doing is you're envisioning, you're kind of using imagery to see what it is that you're talking to. Okay. And that could be in 99% of time. It's, it's an individual. And a lot of times that Gestalt therapy where I think sometimes people miss the, is not so much what you want to say to the person, but what do you want to hear back, it'll point out where you're actually stuck. And I think a lot of times clinicians don't put that piece into the therapeutic approach. It's sometimes it's a cathartic experience, because there might be things that you're harboring, there might be things that you want to get off your chest. And by the use of imagery, you're actually you're getting in touch with some of the emotional aspects of that. But a lot of times where where you're really seeing the person make the connection is if is the question as to if like, if this person could respond, what would you want to hear them say? Not? What would not what they would say, but what would you want to hear them say? Right? Because what if they say, I forgive you? Or tells you where the person stuck? They're having trouble with that idea and concept of self forgiveness? Or I love you.
Joe Van Wie 57:45
What did? How do you set the scenario for this? Because you did it in a group. And it was it was intense for people. And I wasn't letting myself have the experience, but I was getting a feel for others. Yeah, the when I saw what it was doing to others. That's when I was hitting me. It wasn't me going through the exercise. I was like, fuck, man, what I gotta get I gotta go to the bathroom. I gotta go.
Joe Kane 58:13
Well, I always try to see I'm giving away my trade secrets. Oh, is
Joe Van Wie 58:17
that too much?
Joe Kane 58:18
Don't give. I don't care. But give me I think the only thing is like some of the stuff that I do, especially experiential stuff people will always ask me for Yeah. And sometimes I'm reluctant to actually give it to them. Because if you don't know what you're doing, you could do more harm than good. Yeah, I've seen people do Gestalt therapy in groups and, and, and really bring up stuff for people that is devastating. And then there'll be like, okay, groups over go small.
Joe Van Wie 58:46
Yeah. Go have a lunch, Colleen sandwich.
Joe Kane 58:49
And like you have to you have to give people the proper processing.
Joe Van Wie 58:55
I'm glad we're saying this, because I wouldn't have considered that obviously, I didn't want to talk to you about Gestalt therapy, it was so dynamic. With the scenario I'm referring to, that this can easily if someone goes along on this visual venture, we could Can, can they re experienced trauma and they could and what do you do when you see that? Like, is there a flag there? Let's there's protocols.
Joe Kane 59:24
We would always in an inpatient setting, what we would always do is immediately after the group, they would go to individual process groups, so they would be smaller groups like 510 people. And then if somebody was all if somebody was like, really throttled, we would always have like one clinician or two clinicians that would meet with that person individually if necessary. We always did thing in inpatient. We always did things in the inpatient setting, with CO facilitating, so when we would do something heavy, there would always be two co facilitators, so that if somebody had to pull was somebody that would really be really like some emotional upheaval actually occurred, they can attend to that person individually. So so we always covered all bases of anything that could go, it's, you know, anything that could go wrong will go wrong. So let's make sure that we have a net.
Joe Van Wie 1:00:14
So a bad clinical setting would be one dude rolling in putting on a show a gestalt show, people get all riled up, they send them out for a fucking snack.
Joe Kane 1:00:24
Yep, go have snack, go smoke.
Joe Van Wie 1:00:26
So the simplicity of therapy is multiple people on the floor, one person's job is to look for people getting throttled to toe tag that processing group individual. So it's just really good therapy sometimes comes down to good clinical meetings every week with staff saying, Well, we're all doing this. It's a real group collaboration of clinical
Unknown Speaker 1:00:53
every all hands on deck, all hands on deck.
Joe Kane 1:00:56
Well, and that's the thing is like, that was with, with Clearbrook. You know, everybody, there was there was you did your individual stuff, right. But the modality was all everybody got the same old data, like not the same modality of treatment, but like the core concepts, the core code, the core concepts, everybody kind of did that, that piece of it? And then it was like, Okay, what do we need to do for an on an individual basis for each patient? Whereas now you have so many people that operate, there's no core concepts. Right? There's no, okay. Yeah. So you have what you have is you have you have facilities that have 1012 different clinicians, and they're all doing their own doing their own thing. So how are you supposed to have a collaborative approach when everybody's doing their own? Their own model of treatment?
Joe Van Wie 1:01:52
But Joe, why weren't you able to help me?
Joe Kane 1:01:57
Well, what's the what's the, the the go to response? You
Unknown Speaker 1:02:02
weren't ready? No, it wasn't ready.
Joe Kane 1:02:05
Joe Van Wie 1:02:06
I don't, nobody talked to me up there. I remember talking to you a lot. And you know, when I was like, I thought it was like, hands off. He's too thorny, you'll cause trouble if you talk to him.
Joe Kane 1:02:17
I think that, you know, because I've seen this throughout my professional career with certain people is, is that, you know, at the basic, the basis, and the core of recovery is very simplistic. And you you kind of were just this individual that was so complex and complicated things on such an intellectual level, that it was very hard to get something of substance that you would attach to
Joe Van Wie 1:02:46
Well, I'm glad I went there when I went there. Because I had to keep putting band aids out until I got to the big wound. And part of the reason I, I took a position at avenues, I called you before I did that,
Joe Kane 1:03:00
Joe Van Wie 1:03:03
I was attracted to how good you are, with what you did. And you reached me up there, not the level that I left their sobriety. The sincerity of your life is very attractive. And the impact you have on people's lives professionally, in a people are watching it that you don't see are being affected. I'm one of them. And I'm glad you were able to come over the house today and talk because I go to you subtly, I look, in my head, my imagination for an example of what the right thing would, would be to do professionally and in my sobriety. So I think it's a real treat. And I'm grateful to know you. I'm glad you came out here today.
Joe Kane 1:03:50
I'm glad that you asked me when. And I appreciate it. Because it's funny, because even in social work, you get this idea of dual relationships. And like technically, I probably shouldn't even be here. Because at one point you were patient, but that goes right out. Right out there. I've
Joe Van Wie 1:04:09
never allowed myself to be a patient.
Joe Kane 1:04:13
But no, it's it's it's amazing. And I I find myself saying this more and more as I as I get older and in terms of like just my my maturation process, but also, like the process of recovery. It's like there's such a gratitude just to be a part of somebody's journey.
Joe Van Wie 1:04:31
You're and you don't remember that. I don't know if you remember this, you popped by the house a couple of weeks after I was out of Clearbrook I wasn't doing well. And I think it was apparent when I came in when I left. I was in a real crisis. You stopped by almost a welfare check. And we chatted for a little while and I was moved. I don't forget things like that because I'm like, Man, I'm lost. And there's some good people that's You know, and you're one of them. You're one of the reasons I'm sober, because
Unknown Speaker 1:05:04
I wanted to be like you, which is crazy thought for me. I wanted my empathy back.
Joe Van Wie 1:05:09
And I saw how your empathy isn't reckless, it's sympathy. It has a it has agency to help people and your steady hand to do that. You're a real treat for recovery community.
Joe Kane 1:05:24
It's hard to hear that even still today. Like, you know, it's hard to hear some of those things because like, I think it's part of the alcoholic curses, like sometimes you feel undeserving, and I get in those patterns myself as like, I can't believe people, you know, think these things. And if they only knew,
Joe Van Wie 1:05:42
no, I only know and it's just, it's just right.
Joe Kane 1:05:47
But I think like the biggest thing that I always have said to people in whether it be professional, and I think this is, but my, sometimes my Achilles heel is like, it's just be transparent. Just be transparent with people and because they'll know you're, you're full of shit. But especially in addiction, yeah, they will pick it up. If you're, if you're selling them some kind of bill of goods, they will pick it up and you might do more harm in the long run. If you're just transparent with them and just be
Joe Van Wie 1:06:20
just level with them. Watching your work. brought me back to my who I am authentically, don't hedge. It's not a feverish pitch. I'm telling people would have what I think happened to me and why it's not happening to me anymore. I tried to tell it pretty steadily anymore. But it's like that's the truth. Yeah, that is it. That's that's the help. It's not hard to just go by the truth that people tell me don't tell people and early on do. I just got to be honest, I'm tired of hedging. What had I got to put on? Yeah, and I think
Joe Kane 1:06:53
treatment ruins that sometime. Oh, the pits if you don't think I get resentful at treatment because I work in it. Like we can do I can talk about all the conflicts with that for days.
Joe Van Wie 1:07:06
Will you come back and do that? I could be whatever
Joe Kane 1:07:09
John doesn't get me in trouble.
Joe Van Wie 1:07:12
Oh, no, there's more listeners. It's just Nick listening. Somewhere in a bunker. Taking notes. I'll get their sons. We love your neck. So yeah, come back. Yeah, I would love to. All right, that wraps this one up. Joe Kane. I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better. Find us on all better.fm or listen to us on Apple podcasts. Spotify, Google podcast 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