Lawrence J. Moran, Jr. is a founding shareholder of the firm. Mr. Moran focuses his practice on civil defense, insurance coverage and employment law. In the labor and employment realm, Mr. Moran represents clients in both the public and private sectors. Mr. Moran has extensive civil litigation and trial experience, in state and federal courts, including complex securities fraud claims, professional negligence, auto, premises and products liability cases. He defends administrative, trial and appellate actions focusing often on discrimination and color-of-state litigation such as Section 1983 claims, Title VII theories of liability, violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, state wage collection in employment statutes and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Mr. Moran also serves as municipal solicitor to various elected officials and political subdivisions in Pennsylvania, where he often calls on and makes use of his vast knowledge of municipal and election laws. Additionally, Mr. Moran is a court-appointed hearing master for the Orphans Court Division of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas.
A graduate of Villanova University School of Law, Mr. Moran worked as summer judicial law clerk to the Honorable Thomas J. Munley, President Judge of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. While in law school, Mr. Moran served as a full-time judicial extern to the Honorable Lynne A. Sitarski, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Moran was also Associate Editor of the Villanova Journal of Catholic Social Thought, and selected to Villanova’s Sports & Entertainment Law Journal.
A cum laude graduate of Lehigh University, Mr. Moran’s professional career began after college when he worked as a political and policy advisor to advocacy groups and elected officials with federal, state and local governments. Mr. Moran is also a renowned champion of veterans’ rights. Mr. Moran appears nightly as a regular correspondent on “Veterans Views,” a television program he co-hosts with combat veteran and Lackawanna County Common Pleas Court President Judge Thomas J. Munley.
Most recently, Larry, Frank Tunis Esq., and Joe Van Wie have started the "Fellowship House" (PHP, IOP) as a clinal setting for modern & luxury living for men in recovery returning to school.
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Joe Van Wie 0:19
Thanks for listening to another episode of all better. My name is Joe van wie Lee, I am your host. Today's guest is my friend, Larry Moran. Larry is a graduate of Villanova University School of Law. There he worked as a summer judicial law clerk to the honorable Thomas J. mondly. President judge of Lackawanna County. While in law school, Mr. Moran served as a full time judicial extern to the honorable Lynn a sidarsky. United States magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Larry was also an associate editor of the Villanova Journal of Catholic social thought, and select it to Villanova sports and entertainment law journal. Kuhn laude graduate of Lehigh University. Larry's professional career began after college, when he worked as a political and policy adviser to advocacy groups, and elected officials with federal, state and local governments. Larry is also champion of veterans rights. Larry appears nightly as a regular correspondent on veterans views. It's a television program, he co hosts with Judge mumbly Larry's my friend and my partner, a new venture here in Scranton, on fellowship House Fellowship house be a transitional living facility for people leaving treatment. Let's meet Larry.
Meet Larry Moran, Larry and I've been friends probably for 30 years or so met in high school. And I'm glad to have him on to speak to what we've been up to lately. And what it was that initiated Larry's recovery that produced long term recovery layer. Thanks for coming on.
Unknown Speaker 2:34
Thanks, Joe. Really excited to be back here in studio. Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 2:39
This one might work. You see me fiddling around for a year trying to make a podcast?
Unknown Speaker 2:45
Well, I've only been here for successful endeavors last time was our zoning hearing last year.
Joe Van Wie 2:51
And that was fun. A COVID zoning hearing. Give us the edge.
Unknown Speaker 2:57
They still talk about that? Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 2:59
Yeah, that was a it was a long night, it was four hours to get to we were last I believe. What Larry's referring to is our zoning effort or partial hospitalization, recovery house transitional living. That's now going to be in Center City, Scranton over and Greenwich Street. Construction should start within a year. So together we were proposing a recovery house in Greenwich. So we were I was pretty excited to see how much support initially came to us, like right away.
Unknown Speaker 3:33
And I was excited and relieved that we didn't have to be back too much opposition
Joe Van Wie 3:39
not to get into the weeds. Maybe we could come back to fellowship house. But what really surprised me was my own stigma. I guess it just didn't notice that I was just assuming people would be opposed to having a recovery house in their in their neighborhood. And just some opposition would come towards it like it was a methadone clinic. And nothing could be further from the truth. People were calling. How can I help?
Unknown Speaker 4:07
Sure. Well, we see it all the time with newcomers. Give me an example two weeks ago, a friend of ours called me to say that it was in the program. He's about 10 years sober, and his brother contacted on the night before was also a friend of ours. And the brother said, Hey, I'm thinking about stopping drinking. You know, but don't tell anyone. That was the whole takeaway. Of course, the brother ran and told me right away breaking that confidence. And I chuckled and the only reason I'm talking about it now is because I said to him, it's never gonna work that way. I said, everybody who knows your brother knew him when he was drinking. And he wasn't ashamed of him drinking and I really don't think there should be much shame and or trepidation in stopping drinking. But nevertheless, you just call it the stigma. There's this reluctance to identify yourself as a recovering person or a recovered person? Because of what people might think of us there might might surmise we were capable of or did or did not do.
Joe Van Wie 5:08
Yeah. Yeah. It's generational. It just doesn't show up. I don't think it's intent. either. It's a result of, of culture, right. And the last 100 years, it's just been, we've been at lightspeed for mental health issues, understanding them. I mean, it was only two 300 years ago, you might get an exorcism for problems that can be easily medicated.
Unknown Speaker 5:31
Yeah. And it's also messaging from the top levels in terms of my life, being a child of the 80s. I remember Nancy Reagan. And the message was, you know, it's a war on drugs, say no to drugs, go go to the mattresses against drugs, and the evils of drugs and lock up the bad guys and, you know, put more cops on the streets and invest in more in criminal justice and and build more prisons. And, you know, without commenting one way or the other, right, it's just a totally different narrative now. Yeah, it is. Now, it's about putting those those wasted dollars, those incarceration dollars into treatment. It's about education. It's about, you know, blaming Purdue pharma and manufacturers of opioid medication more so than the street dealer in the alley. And that is a fundamental change in the narrative. That was everywhere, just 20 years ago. So I think part of the confusion is, you know, what is the message? And what at which point did we change messaging? And you talked about generational, and I'll do my my grandparents do my parents know that we've changed messages, and it's no more a war on terror or war on drugs.
Joe Van Wie 6:39
I think the messaging was a change because of the pain and the the war on drugs came to elites, doorsteps or who held power. So this, the war started, I wouldn't even with Nixon, Nixon class fine. All these drugs in the war really wasn't a war on drugs that you can win. It's a war on victims of an illness that's got punished for it. So it's still there. To the degree, I can hear certain people talk about it, that there should be punitive measures or cognitive disorder, or it's an indulgence. So you could see the change monies moving in the different different direction towards treatment towards harm reduction programs. But there's, there's a lot more that can be done. But I think part of that achievement for us that we can be involved in something that's in our backyard that is here in Scranton, you don't have to walk from the woods to get a job. Really, I feel proud that that could be happening right now.
Unknown Speaker 7:51
So I'm very excited about it.
Joe Van Wie 7:54
Who is Larry Moran? Before Larry Moran was a lawyer. Tell me about give me a little background.
Unknown Speaker 8:02
Sure. So I am a lawyer. Prior to graduating from Villanova law school I attended, and then ultimately graduated from Lehigh University. I went to Scranton prep. And I went to grade school, between parochial schools and Valley View. So I'm a creature of Northeast Pennsylvania. I am the oldest of five children. My parents both come from pretty big families. My mom in particular is one of 12 kids. And I have over 51st cousins. And that influenced I think, more than I thought it did, initially, a lot of why I started drinking, just to get into that right away. And what I meant by that is, you know, I didn't really appreciate how difficult it was, for me being the oldest, until I saw how, at least in my observation, how comparatively easier it was on my brothers, to make friends and socialize because they had me as an example. And they had my friends and they had, you know, somebody kind of show them the ropes and take them along, and somebody to emulate and mistakes not to make and examples to follow and not to follow in ways to navigate my parents and to manipulate and just be it be a child. I did not know until much later that that was a disadvantage being the oldest. And I think that's really kind of partly and maybe all of why I think I started drinking at such an early age. Because I recall for as long as I can remember having memories, feeling uneasy and insecure around other people. And good, bad or indifferent. I always found myself with and probably aspired to be with older kids. So you and I met. You mentioned that you met when we were in high school. You were in high school. Oh, that was true. You were at bistable Hara High School. I don't know what year you landed there. But the First time I met you was by way of the older brother of my best friend growing up. And that's kind of what my life was. I, my friends had older siblings. And so we hung out with their friends. And I grew up with the older kids. But I didn't have a brother or an older sister and a buffer me that the same way that they did quite honestly. And that's the big difference.
Joe Van Wie 10:23
I thought you were in my class until college. I really do. I was one night in the piazzas basement, I was realizing my class was so many schools. But so when you said early age
Unknown Speaker 10:39
like so 10 years old, I started drinking, in Archibald, with nobody who was my age, the crew, there were guys in my class, one guy in particular, who was driving a car by eighth grade. But nevertheless, there were a couple of years ahead of me. And so I was 10 years old, I think I was the youngest guy in the group. I know it was my first drinking experience, I don't remember if it was theirs. But we still six pack of Rolling Rock beer from Mike Marino's grandparents. And we went to the tracks for cemetery Street. And we drank them. And I remember feeling very nervous that if I drank too much, I was going to get sick or in trouble or didn't know what the result was going to be. So I was sneaking away in the dark and pouring out some of my beer to pretend like I was keeping up with everybody. And it wasn't a bad experience, because I did not get as drunk as my friend Kristen. And the whole night then became about how we hide this from Chris's mom, and he was too much of a mess. And he was a puddle and we couldn't hide it. And he got in big trouble. And I ran away. I remember that was my takeaway. But that planted the seed that this was these were the keys to accessing groups of friends and camaraderie and experiences that I never thought I was I was able to be with, you know, and it just it essentially gave me gave me a way to feel comfortable within this group. I never felt comfortable with tribal, the older kids.
Joe Van Wie 12:11
The pack is tribal. It's been called to war.
Unknown Speaker 12:14
Yeah, and I think I remember equally as much my second drinking experience where I did get drunk. And then a lot of it blurs together because it wasn't an every day or certainly every weekend or every month thing at 10 years old. But that was fifth grade. And I can tell you by seventh grade, I had my own fake ID. I had the older kids from Valley View High School picking me up as a seventh grader driving me up to the Pizza Hut at night and, and pulling out six packs of Red Dog. Yeah. Because, you know, I had not just the willingness to drink, but I had the ability to buy alcohol successfully at 12,
Joe Van Wie 12:50
you didn't understand what good beer is, right?
Unknown Speaker 12:53
Understand what good beer was, but red dog used to have, emblazoned on the can the five and a half percent alcohol content, which was important, you know, to to a young mind to be able to unpack just how much alcohol content was in
Joe Van Wie 13:08
the mad dog.
Unknown Speaker 13:11
Anyway, so just just to jump over it. Things didn't, you know, get rosier as I got, you know, more heavily involved with with alcohol in particular, I gotten a fair share of trouble. I wasn't good at hiding it. I got caught not just you know, by the police, but oftentimes by my parents, so we're not, you know, in condoning my drinking, as you know, a child essentially. But things just kind of truck truck along. Driver's License, high school, you know, consequences got more severe as I started driving and drinking. Yeah, I got through high school, and I went to college in 1998. And that's kind of what my first dose of freedom was. I had been, you know, essentially practicing and sharpening and harnessing my drinking talents for almost a decade by 18. And so when I got to college, where I really needed those tools that I thought that I had been sharpening and developing, I decided to really put them on display. And I made a name for myself and developed a reputation as a bit of a hard drinking troublemaker. To the point where not only did I make a lot of friends and develop, you know, a lot of, you know, social memories. But I I also got in trouble at college. So the Dean of Students at Mike's College, she's still there as far as I know, and a great woman but she had the foresight or the knowledge or the experience at the time to recognize that it was more than just me being a troublemaker and a screw up that I probably had an issue with chemical dependency. Yeah. So as the first person to suggest that I go to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, that was the first It's time. Yeah. And that suggestion was made to my parents who huddled with my extended family, some of whom were in the treatment field at the time, one of whom is a medical doctor, and they got together and they decided this kind of ties in where I was going to fellowship posts, that we can't tell anybody. You know, Larry has this problem. We don't know what to do about it, because again, he's the oldest. So it's our first experience with anything dire or otherwise. And we need some help, and we need some direction. So they were able to kind of break away from their little nest of people that they felt safe about and start asking for some references or some direction for rehabs. And my uncle, who was the Clinical Director at one of the most successful rehabs in Northeast Pennsylvania said, I have a bed here for him. And my parents had absolutely not everybody will know. Yeah, yeah, I know. And they, they, they made the decision. And it stayed with me. And it's in a colored my view of Recovery Version Version doesn't work that it was I needed to drive for four hours away minimally. And they found a place on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, Father Martin's Ashley. And I went to Father Martins, Ashley at 18 years old as a condition of me being allowed to come back to Lehigh for my second year. And so the school gave me that really good incentive, which is, you know, yeah, go to rehab, or else, you know, you're welcome to come back here. So it was an easy decision for me. And I didn't know I had no basis of comparison with Father Martins was going to be or what rehab was going to be. And I told you why I ended up picking that place, because it just happened to be the farthest away from my community, and my mom's family and the people who, you know, might know me and might, you know, think less of me, apparently. And I got there. And my roommate was a huge international blockbuster celebrity, named Chris Farley, ultimately died. But the place had a driving range, and it was beautiful. And they had private chapels. And they had cornish game hen for lunch. And it was, you know, first class for sure, as far as I can remember it. That is not how I experienced it. I'm looking at that, in hindsight, having been through other institutions, and how good I had it in the beginning. Yeah. But when I would call home after the blackout period, and tell my parents how I was doing, I would whine and complain about being institutionalized. I remember calling them and now I see what for what it was, it was an effort to manipulate. They would ask me a reasonable question. How are things? How's the food? And I'd say, well, when was the last time you were institutionalized? When was the last time you were locked up against your will? Yeah. And I made them feel bad about it. And I felt bad about it. So from from the moment I got there, to the moment I left, it was an effort to get out of there faster. And how do I get these people to think that I'm better, so they give me the letter, I need to get back into college. So these people get off my back. And I can ultimately go back to doing what I want to do. It was an interruption.
Joe Van Wie 18:07
Was there any consideration at that time that alcoholism was a disease or disorder
Unknown Speaker 18:12
that you really took? I wasn't taking it seriously, I believe this was all being explained to me don't differently than when I finally got it. almost 10 years later, but I wasn't hearing any of it. I was hearing, give up drinking for the rest of your life. And you're only 18.
Joe Van Wie 18:27
And what did drinking do for you up to that point, like, consciously?
Unknown Speaker 18:31
Consciously, it made me comfortable when I was uncomfortable. It made me social and attractive and desirable. When I felt none of those things were true. It gave me purpose. I can't think of what it would have felt like to make plans social plans that didn't involve alcohol at 18 years
Joe Van Wie 18:53
old, be a nightmare.
Unknown Speaker 18:54
I didn't know what I didn't know what it was like, I had no frame of reference. I did. Yes. Everything was organized from the from from the time that we were able to kind of you know, leave the direct supervision of your parents. As I just said, at 10 years old, plans were always about procuring beer went from there. Even if we had to go and drink those beers, warm beers in the cold woods in the middle of February. That was what social life was for me. And that's all I know. So what I heard that day when we were discussing rehab was your whole life is over. Yeah, forever. Nobody even talked about the concept one day at a time. I remember my uncle who was not in recovery, but is a doctor saying, This is the moment you have to, you know, get real comfortable with the fact that you can't drink ever, and it just sounded so he turned it
Joe Van Wie 19:46
sounds like someone's taking away the only thing that help helps you at that
Unknown Speaker 19:50
right. Now, let's also look at the context. I'm a freshman in college, so I'm still kind of puffing and puffing off my chest. I haven't let my hair are down anybody. I'm pretending to be somebody I'm not I'm trying to fit in. And everything is centered on alcohol and my ability to get alcohol and drink more alcohol and do crazier things with alcohol than you will. And now they're talking about taking that away from me, but telling me to go back to this college, where it's my whole identity. So it was really just a non starter. If the way I remember it, from the first moment, it was introduced to me. It was like, Okay, well, I'm definitely not doing that. I'm definitely abstaining for the rest of my life. Yeah, what I will do is figure out the path of least resistance to get these people off of my back. And then I also have to administratively figure out what I need to lie it and tell the people I find the Martins to get them to give me the certifications, I need to get back enrolled. And that was my experience. And then this also ties in the fellowship house, because what actually happened is, I go to a 28 day program. And after 14 days, the Clinical Director calls my mom and says, he's a wonder he is a prodigy. We've never seen somebody this young grasp these things. He can teach this stuff. He really knows recovery. He has a full sincere commitment to it. He is all aces come and pick them up early. My mom still tells that story because she wasn't buying it. But she said of course. So I was able to talk my way out of that place two weeks early was really the takeaway of it. And got all those people to say such nice things to Dean basketball at Lehigh. And she was able to say all those things to the, you know, the evaluating clinicians at Lehigh, who had me come back for some, you know, two hour window in June,
Joe Van Wie 21:38
you've always had that ability to snow over Dean and executive director of some rehab, it's, that's nothing to me. I've seen you talk your way out of being murdered at the Normandy just talking like you were from prep and Lehigh at three in the morning to four guys that would kill you for a bag of chips. And I'm thinking, how's he gonna get out of this, you address them? We got out of there. But you've always had an ability to get out of some type jams. You have a master masterful command of the King's English. It's bullshit. Really well, to watch, and
Unknown Speaker 22:19
also an alcohol and bravado. It's telling somebody the story of on an excursion to Lehigh after college, we took another mutual friend of ours, I might have told you the story coming up, but I'm not going to blow the guy up. But our friend Tom H comes down to Lehigh with me one night, it was my first year out of college. And he gets he's been arrested at a bar. I was working at the time for a municipality that allowed me to have an unmarked crown, Vic Vic, undercover car. And I had it with me because I was supposed to be at work. But instead, I took a road trip to drink and party. And I have the Crown Vic and I jump into it. And I drive up to the scene of the arrest. And I jump out and I identify myself as this guy's probation officer. And I convinced the Bethlehem township or Bethlehem arresting officers to release time into my custody. And I kept them handcuffed in the back of the car until about the Poconos.
Joe Van Wie 23:16
favorite story that is amazing. I think we were trying to achieve a life everything I loved out of the 80s films. I thought that should be like you were able to start that path.
Unknown Speaker 23:29
Let me finish where I was where I just broke off. So I do what the the Dean asks, I go to rehab, I get the certifications of completion. I go back to a couple of clinical psychologists that are on staff at the school. And I interview with them. And I tell them all the BS that I told the Clinical Director at father Martins, and I told my parents, and they buy it, and they sign off on my return to school. And the game was over. I had one at that point, because there was no plan for when I went back to school. The plan was he goes back and lives in his fraternity house. Yeah, the plan was to he has his discharge papers from Father Martins, and hopefully he follows that. But even if I wanted to stay sober, which I'm telling you I didn't, but if I wanted to, and I have real commitment. what chance did I have being released back into a fraternity house where we would pull every semester $300 A guy just to make sure we always had 98 cases of beer in the closet in our kitchen.
Joe Van Wie 24:29
What year was that?
Unknown Speaker 24:30
9099 At this
Joe Van Wie 24:32
point, was there any recovery resources for some like residential or living on the campus?
Unknown Speaker 24:37
I remember there was basically a nerd dorm. Yeah, it was kind of how it was. It was shorthand and it was really for foreign exchange students who didn't speak any English. But if you're freaking sober kid, if you're a sober kid who won't want it to be removed from temptation, that's really it was sticky. But it was, you know, there was no restriction on alcohol. It was just work. Were you went if you were just, you know, not looking to have my estimation fun. Yeah, college. But no, there wasn't there was no resource. So unsurprisingly, things you know, didn't get better for me. And I found cocaine. Let me drink more. And I really liked that. And
Joe Van Wie 25:22
did it organize your thoughts? And did you find it helpful? The first couple of months of using it like,
Unknown Speaker 25:28
Yeah, I think I just found it, you know, just really what the takeaway was, man, I, you know, I wasn't blacking out anymore. Yeah, man, I was able to be the life of the party longer. And then I was also I found that feeling that I had in seventh grade when I was getting the Red Dog. People were coming to me because they want to be around me. Yeah, you know, there's some some substance now all of a sudden made me more attractive to other people. Yeah. And so none of the insecurity or the self esteem issues went away. They were just masked by substances. And, you know, this false persona that I would put on socially all the time. But, you know, I did finish college, but not not the way I should have. Because what actually happened is, I decided that I was going to, it was easier and more important for me to continue to drink. And to do that, I had to keep a smaller profile. So what was happening was, I was calling too much attention to myself freshman year by, you know, having all these big public incidences where, you know, I would, you know, some of the famous stories were fights, waking up in a lettuce truck, and you know, dressed as a Hooters girl, one instance and having to hitchhike back to the campus, and you'd call attention to yourself. There's
Joe Van Wie 26:37
a lot of fun. You know, I think that's the distinction between a real addiction and alcoholism. That your rational mind if you weren't an addict and an alcoholic, what is sobered up, right? But that's, that's not what the solution is for people.
Unknown Speaker 26:55
But actually, one defining moment, it wasn't so much in my life in my dad's life, was September 11 2001. It was, you know, the events of 911. And here's how I experienced them. It was a Tuesday, and my youngest brother was in fifth grade at the time elementary school, and we grew up Catholic. And he asked me to be his confirmation sponsor for a sacrament of Confirmation he was receiving. And it was scheduled for a Monday evening, preceding September 10. So I didn't have a car, my senior year of college, even though I had I had two previously, I wrecked two SUVs. And so I had, you know, the few times when I did come home, I'd have to rely on other people to drive me or have my parents pick me up. But since this was for a family function, my my, my dad came to, to Lehigh, I want to say on Monday morning and pick me up. And the plan was for me to stay over after the evening mass, and then him drive me back to school. And that's what happened. I don't really recall, you know, what the specific circumstances were, but I came home. That's September 10. And what my parents saw in me and on me just so alarmed them. Yeah. That apparently they talked amongst themselves about, at what point did we step in? Larry seems to be in crisis. Yeah, this is now stuff I learned after the fact. But it was because they didn't see me and so long, I had kind of really kind of distanced myself your physical appearance. Yeah, it lost a lot of weight. I was, you know, under under 120 pounds, for sure. I remember, you know, I, I know that my sis son, my older siblings were in college, and they had visited me in college. And, you know, they had taken pictures and stories back from me. And, you know, ecstasy was a big, prominent drug that I was doing a lot of at the time, and it made my eyes bug out. And they were just the way I physically looked, you know, the lack of conversation communication, like, you know, they had siblings and friends all who had college aged kids. And they, their friends knew about what their kids their college kids were doing after college, for instance. Sure. My parents had none of that. They didn't know what if I was enrolled, what major I was, what my plan was going forward. They were just it was kind of out of sight out of mind. Yeah. But now September of 2001. They see me they had heard some of these concerning stories from others. And apparently they start deliberating to themselves the this Monday night about, you know, can we really send Larry back to college like back to Lehigh? You know, is that the right move? Is this Is it something that we should be paying more attention to? And as my dad tells it, and I have a nine o'clock class that Tuesday, so we left at 7am and we drove back so we got back to Bethlehem before the first plane hit the towers. And I was my dad was waiting for me in the parking lot of my fraternity house to go get my book for class. And I went in and I saw What was being reported on CNN. So I come down, I tell my dad, you know, turn on the radio all the time. And you know, something's going on in New York. And as he was driving me to class, we both heard the radio and we heard the second plane crash. And we both just kind of started talking about, you know, what's going on as everybody else in the world was. What I didn't know is my dad drove home listening to all that coverage. And he felt like it he told him, he had a spiritual experience. My dad was Catholic and his Catholic. But every day since that day, he has been what he called what's called a daily communicant. Somebody who goes to church every day, with daily commute. Yeah, and he goes every day. And it wasn't because of the events, it was because he saw it as a metaphor for his child's life. He thought, you know, the sky is falling, bombs are raining down, people are dying. And I'm asking myself as recently as last night is, you know, should I act to do something to save my son. So my dad tells the story is that, you know, he felt helpless. He didn't know what to do at the time. But they knew in around September 11 2001, that I was in a serious crisis. And so that was really a long winded way of just defining that, that period of what then became further recovery for me. So they didn't act right away. But toward the end of the, of the spring of the next semester, I don't know, you know, if it was me, or my lack of attendance at class, but somehow, they got word that I wasn't going to class or that I wasn't that wasn't graduating, I was supposed to graduate in 2002. And I didn't,
Joe Van Wie 31:36
you had a relative here last night.
Unknown Speaker 31:40
And so by March or April, when it became apparent to my parents that I was just down there, not working toward a degree, they decided to come down and pull me out. And they did. And it was embarrassing, because I remember driving away from my fraternity house in a very in a haste with people, you know, younger than me like guys that are pledging and freshmen here looking like why is his mom picking them up? Kind of Yeah. And it was kind of like, a wave in the back. And I was gone. Not to return anytime soon. But I I started this course of in and out of rehabs is really the moral of it. And it all kind of blends together. I did a couple of stents and Clearbrook. For sure. I did definitely did a couple of stents and more worth, I, this is not sequential, but, you know, I definitely went to white deer run, and what it all kind of built to. So this is, you know, middle of 2000 no crash and white deer, right. This is middle of 2002 By the beginning of 2013. Or I'm sorry, 2003. I had found my way back to Lehigh in a in a summer and got my finished my degree and I thought that as long as I was doing these things, I can keep drinking. That's amazing. And but by 2003, I ended up in a place in Blairstown, New Jersey called Alina Lodge. And it was it was I was hoodwinked into going. It was it was sold to me as another, it was supposed to be another Clearbrook experience. So what happens is, my my mom this time, because apparently she and my dad were in disagreement over this only a large thing. Yeah. And so she waited until my dad went to California on a golf trip. And then she organized the same crew from 1998 or 99. This is the father Martins intervention crew, which was that oh, that uncle that was here last night. It was among them for sure. And they, they they come to my parents house. And that's the only thing that's different now is I'm living in their basement,
Joe Van Wie 33:36
and he's an alumni of Elena, tell me what Elena lodges described? Yeah. So,
Unknown Speaker 33:41
Elena Lodge is a long term inpatient treatment center. And the minimum stave when I was there was eight months, the maximum was was 18 months,
Joe Van Wie 33:52
the rest of your life.
Unknown Speaker 33:55
And it was, you know, essentially, you know, is regarded as a bootcamp. We have there was there was no no nicotine, no caffeine, no sugar. We'd have to wear a suit and tie to our meals. Each meal was a full hour because they felt like, you know, alcoholics needed to learn patience. Yeah. You know, so there were a lot of a lot of things like that, that were just set up institutionally, that were I thought mind games in the beginning, but socializing you know, and it was it was, it was a long drawn out version of rehab, essentially, there were organized groups, there was individual counseling. It was not a bad place whatsoever. In retrospect, it was just very, very long and tedious and draconian to a certain extent Victorian
Joe Van Wie 34:43
Unknown Speaker 34:46
But that was kind of my I didn't get there by accident. I wasn't I didn't get there excited deserve it. My father just thought, you know, man, you know, that's a huge life interruption to go somewhere for a year plus of your life and he's You know, he's, he could lose out on a lot. I think that's how my father was looking at it, like, you know, everybody who's his age or someone who is situated, should be going to medical school or law school or taking a job on Wall Street. And, you know, he just, you know, he was a couple credits behind it, it was just, it was just really a lack of, of understanding of
Joe Van Wie 35:17
context. What do you think they think's wrong with you? Like, you just need to stop drinking? And you'll be fine, right?
Unknown Speaker 35:24
Yeah, I think so. I think. But the other thing is, they're getting it from me, you know, I didn't realize I was their source and I was full of shit. And I was, you know, a manipulator and I was driven by this, the book calls it this, this, this, this disbelief, or this, this belief that somehow someday, I would be able to drink you, da Yeah, I had no understanding of of what was required and what the steps were, and then I can change my life and experience a better life. I just thought everything that were selling me is is designed to deprive me of fun, behavioral modification, and take away the one thing that I truly love, which is alcohol. Yeah. And I have to because I, as you just said, I'm a smart person, I'm resourceful, I have to be able to come up with some plan that's short of that. Yeah. And that's still what I held on to for a long time. And I didn't realize I had an ally and my dad who actually felt the same way. There has to be as a way short of full commitment to this bullshit. It's kind of how he did it. But anyway, he goes away. So I ended up party to an intervention that he's not at, and come to find out that he wouldn't have supported and they did it when he was away. And they say, you're gonna go with Dick now to his rehab. And it was fine, because I've been there a bunch of times, and I knew how to get through Clearbrook. So I did, I went to Clearbrook. And man was I, you know, sailing through there. week one, week two, you know, I'm a veteran, I know, I know, the food. I know, the counselors, this is easy. I'm smoking cigarettes, I'm getting healthy and getting ready to leave after 28 days. And I'm approaching my fourth week, thinking I'm a short timer at this point. And that's when I found out that it was my 28 days that Clearbrook was just by necessary detox, it's a primer in a lodge. So instead of going home, after 28 days, they loaded me onto a van and drove me out to Blairstown where I was unloaded for the beginning of a 13 months day.
Joe Van Wie 37:22
Did that feel like a betrayal at that time?
Unknown Speaker 37:24
Yeah, and I got there, and I had a big chip on my shoulder and I was bitter. And I felt powerless. Yeah, I felt, you know, I didn't know I didn't have a plan. And my lack of planning, my lack of protecting myself, my lack of providing any security, whether it was savings, or you know, resources of my own, whether it was a car, or a phone, or a job or a house, I had none of it, I realized how powerless I was because everything I thought I had was entirely dependent on somebody else, mainly my family. And so they were it was easy for them to leverage. We're just gonna turn all that off. If you don't comply with what we want through the state. Yeah. And, and what they want, it was for me to go to leoline Lodge, and that's where I went. And it was a long, 13 months. And in doing that I stayed bitter in retrospect, and I just I let my resentments do a lot of push ups. But I didn't stop being a manipulator. Problem was the people that Elena were better and more used to, you know, tough cases, because that's what they specialized in. So they saw through it easier and quicker than Yeah, Father Martins did
Joe Van Wie 38:31
my cousin worked there, you know, yeah, team, so they can learn.
Unknown Speaker 38:35
So I if I was sincere, and I and like, like some other people that were Adelina lodge who I know stayed sober, then they didn't stay there any longer than the head to they are out of there after 678 months. You know, I thought they were keeping me there, just to eff with me and to punish me. And I stayed convinced that for a long time, it couldn't have been because I just was not capable of getting sober. But any event, I leave there in 2004, at some point, and they were very, very strong proponents of essentially what we're proposing and Greenridge for aftercare, and they wanted a structured curriculum for as long as you can possibly sustain somewhere else other than what you know, and are familiar with. And they didn't have a lot of places that they recommended, but they had a few and one of them was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I didn't have any say in this. They basically size me up after 10 months and said, This is where you're going, this is the best place for you and convince my family. And when
Joe Van Wie 39:38
you say you don't have any say if you refuse this recommendation, you'd be Cutler's.
Unknown Speaker 39:44
Well, I don't know that I think they would have just started using the same leverage that they used to get me in there, which was you know, they had my parents believing that they were the last resort for me. And if there the letter of the law wasn't followed as they laid it out, that I could die and would Yeah, and so my parents believed that so they were not going to deviate from what the lodge was suggesting. And, and so what I meant was they sent they sent some of our population to Orange County, California. Some went some, you know, in some place in the northeast, some went to Minneapolis. I didn't have a say in whether sunny California will be nice. I'd like to go there. No, it was essentially I don't know what their their criteria was for how they would evaluate where you go. But I drew Minneapolis, and, and, and so I went out to Minneapolis. And when they were really good about, I thought they were bad at the type of strict about it, they were really good about cutting off ties to to the family. So the only thing my family was able to provide allowed to provide for me it was a plane ticket. The rest of it was I was on my own. So you know, they had an affiliation with the place where part of my last month of clinical fees to Elena was paid by Alina to the sober house to cover my first month rent. Yeah. And also my rent was paid for a month when I got there. And I and they gave me a plane ticket. And when I got there, the house manager showed me were in Hennepin County, Minneapolis, I can go to apply for food stamps. And they told us what social welfare programs were available to broke indigent people who just show up there, which is what I was. Yeah. So it was it was you feel that way? Did you feel that
Joe Van Wie 41:27
this was happening to you? No. I
Unknown Speaker 41:29
thought, Man, I'm doing everything they want. I sat there for 13 months, you know, I'm even going out to their place of recommending in Minneapolis. I at some point, I gotta get back into my family's good graces.
Joe Van Wie 41:39
What I mean is did you feel humiliated or grateful? Was it what was going on in your head like,
Unknown Speaker 41:44
man, it was, by that time, it was grateful just to be out of Halina Lodge. Yeah. And it was like being incarcerated. You know? It was it was it was the most extreme form of deprivation, I had experience. So I was paying attention to everything, the way that the wind would blow through the trees, I was just, I was appreciating every street sign. I was like, you know, a currency bridge, right? I was sitting on the plane and Newark, I'm like, at some point, they're gonna prove me off this plane and bring me back to the lodge. So as soon as the plane took off, I'm like, Man, I'm really free. Like, it was
Joe Van Wie 42:17
PTSD from treatment. PTSD.
Unknown Speaker 42:21
So of course, when I got to Minneapolis, you know, and it became real and apparent to me that I was no longer in the institution. I was just grateful, Joe, I was just exceedingly grateful. And I hadn't, I had lost the awareness of all the shit that I had. I didn't realize that, you know, it was it was, I thought it was normal to apply for food stamps, I thought it was normal to do what I did, which was start, you know, putting in 60 applications a week and finding whatever bread and butter job would take me and I did I got a job at a Home Depot. And I started working there. And it was great. You know, in retrospect, you know, I had whenever I made there, it was enough to pay, cover the bills, and have a ton of responsibility, even though they ended up making me the store manager.
Joe Van Wie 43:06
Was there an excitement that from Minneapolis, you knew a truth that you will be able to take care of yourself?
Unknown Speaker 43:13
Yeah, I think that's what it came. What really gave me was the ability to know that, you know, I can come back from nothing, you know, on my own without mommy and daddy providing and that also became dangerous. Yeah, because what actually happened then was I started making plans. And I like, Okay, I've been out here in Minneapolis now for a year give or take a I've been working this job they moved me up made me a store manager and and do I want to wear an orange apron and have a career and national big box retail for the rest of my life? I'm
Joe Van Wie 43:47
thinking of just the nerdy white version of the equalizer.
Unknown Speaker 43:56
But it also gave me my only practical skills of having like being like a man like I know how to put a grill together, I could build my daughter's toys now. That not because of anything I learned growing up because of the year I spent at work at Home Depot. In any event, I I decided, you know, I need I need to move forward of my education. So I enrolled in graduate school courses at the University of Minnesota through you know, the University of Scranton has their Dexter Hanley, like the continuing education program where they basically take anybody who's willing to pay take like farm animals. Oh, yeah, I didn't have to apply. I just enrolled in the University of Minnesota is continuing education school. And I found that I was really enjoying classwork and doing well. It's over. It's totally different experience than I had at Lehigh, which was like, oh my God as your major at Lehigh. It started out as finance but because it wasn't conducive to drinking and ended up being English because I found that I can write well, and I didn't have to attend classes as much as you can. And when I was able to just to kind of turn in a term paper at the end of the year. without having to worry about the quizzes that I was missing from not going to classes, you know, it was able to kind of play with my GPA a little. So
Joe Van Wie 45:06
now what do you study what classes appeal? So
Unknown Speaker 45:09
I continue with the English because I found that I took an upper level Shakespeare class, I took some upper level English courses. And I was I was in classes with people studying for MFA is Masters of Fine Arts in English, and literature, and poetry. And so I'm really, you know, involved and in the work, and I'm liking it, and I'm doing well, and I'm leading dialogues, and I find some esteem out of that. Yeah, I'm no longer just wearing this orange apron. You know, I'm actually advancing my life and my career, and I'm doing things and you know, and high level on my own. And I do belong here. I spent a lot of time at Lehigh thinking, what are they going to find out that I'm not smart enough to be here? Ya know, it was kind of, you know, the opposite hosters syndrome. Yeah. So it was a rewarding exercise. And all, you know, because of sobriety at the time. And I obviously I report to my family, they're thrilled about it. And I bring them into this conversation about law school. And they support it. And I tell them that it's unlikely that I can do this without help and unlikely I can do this from, you know, working at Home Depot in Minneapolis. And I'm going to, you know, apply and I'm going to take the LSAT, I'm gonna do all these things. And they say yes to everything I propose. All of a sudden, I'm realizing that you know, it's not a hard sell to get them on board, I could take control my life back, they're gonna let me come back home essentially. That's when I was bad
Joe Van Wie 46:42
times over, at times over.
Unknown Speaker 46:44
So it was so so so plan gets made steps are taken in furtherance of that effort goes into it. I apply and get accepted to Villanova law school in 2007. And that's great. That's exactly what my parents wanted. Now, they have something to brag to their friends about. Life's not too disruptive. You know, he's only three years behind what he should have been if he went right from right from college here. You know, things are easy.
Joe Van Wie 47:14
Paul Kanjorski. Yeah, things are
Unknown Speaker 47:17
easy to massage and manipulate and all that kind of good stuff. But the I remember this decision, I remember having a conversation like it was yesterday about my relapse out there. I was with my roommate, who was also an Alina lodge alum, Chris, and he's just started talking about this bar right on the corner of like, we lived in a neighborhood called Lake Calhoun. It's cool little area, Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota has the land of 10,000 Lakes, their lakes peppered around these major cities too. And so we lived in, you know, Uptown Minneapolis, but we're really almost on this lake. And there was this really cool neighborhood bar that always had this red neon sign. And because we weren't drinking, we never went in that bar. You no and
Joe Van Wie 48:01
Unknown Speaker 48:03
Chris Chris is from suburban Philadelphia. I wasn't I was an amateur, a Philadelphia Eagles fan. And they had Monday Night Football specials that they would put up on their marquee, you know about what the draft beer specials were what the wing specials were and who was playing. So I don't know if it was a weekend or we were you know, making plans. But but the the marquee on this bar talked about the Monday night Philadelphia Eagles football game. Yeah. And so after talking about it for probably all five minutes, Chris and I decided we're going to go over Monday Night Football. And we're going to pull a couple of drafts and watch this game. And we we made the decision together. We talked ourselves out of having been in only lives the whole time having been similar to alcoholics, we very quickly able to talk ourselves into the safety and propriety and harmlessness
Joe Van Wie 48:54
of going to a bar and have what period of sobriety? How long will you still read this?
Unknown Speaker 48:57
If you include the 13 months and only in a lodge in the year out? There are two and a half years.
Joe Van Wie 49:03
And you don't within that five minutes. You came up with a sound and safe reason to drink.
Unknown Speaker 49:09
Yeah, yeah. And it gets better because not only did I did we do it, but then I was able to sell that to other I thought I was able to come home and sell that to other people. So So Chris, and I go over we we don't have a lot. I don't remember having more than two drafts. Which was probably the worst thing that could have happened because nothing happened. Yeah, we drank. Yeah, we were allowed to drink. You know, don't forget, you know, but by 2001 You know, the curtain was closing on me and I hadn't I just turned 21 Yeah, you know, and most of my early 20s were sent or spent in rehabs or AAA rooms. And so now I'm in my mid 20s. Have you ever had a chance to try out drinking legally, and I did it now in Minneapolis successfully and the world didn't end and the sky didn't fall and I was still able to go back to class and go Uh, you know, to Home Depot. So I kept that part secret. I didn't when I was telling my parents about law school and coming home, but I, I came home nonetheless, you know, few months later, and when I came back home I decided, you know, man, I if I can drink normally, like I just did out in that bar in Minneapolis. Why am i Pretending to still be sober? Yeah, you know, and that that's screwing with my dignity. Like I have things to be proud of right now. I'm a college graduate, I'm on my way to law school, I'm pretty well adjusted. My problems were immaturity. Yeah, my problems weren't alcoholism. My problems were that I was just the youngest in my class. And then I had all these emotional issues that, you know, I thought of a lot of ways to convince myself that it was anything but alcoholism. And so it became that much easier to convince other people, namely, my parents. So I sat them down and said, Look, I just want to be direct with you. I want to show you that I'm a different person, the old Larry would lie and hide and manipulate. But I want to be honest, I appreciate everything you've done for me. But I'm not an alcoholic in the way that those only alleged people were essentially, yeah. Look what I've accomplished. Look what I've done. I don't want you to hear from some stranger on the street that I they saw me drinking in a bar, because I think that would be upsetting to you. So I'd rather you hear from me,
Joe Van Wie 51:13
I had that conversation with you and 39 trying to tell you to drink. Wow, it's freakish with how that's the desert. This is the disorder, you were going back to the only thing that worked. Yeah, for your conscious life alcohol.
Unknown Speaker 51:29
So needless to say, I got an you know, big head of steam, I start law school in 2007, I get all my books, I get my syllabus, I enroll there. And then pretty much within a month. It's not just alcohol anymore. It's me driving the West Philly and buying as much cocaine as I can afford. And whatever money I borrowed from the Department of Education to live on and pay the school I was using for booze and drugs. And I lived that way for almost a year never having really it was exactly like my uncle's experience. But what actually happened was I I missed the tuition payment. And so the the bill and the correspondents got sent home to my parents. And they crack it open and they read, you know, the bad news that, you know, I'm not enrolled or something I forget what the No, I don't think I actually saw the notice. But they got something from the law school that triggered this very familiar disappointing feeling in them. That said, it's a failed experiment, we got to go collect Larry, from whatever he's doing. So they come down, my dad does and pulls me out of my apartment in Bryn Mawr and drives me back home to their home in German. And we never dealt with the law school at all. We just it's over, you know, and he was they were so upset. They were so defeated.
Joe Van Wie 52:50
Did they no drugs were involved. Were
Unknown Speaker 52:52
they no drugs were involved. Yeah, but they are non drugs were involved from my experience at lunch, too. And they were just really at that point. They had made the decision and they communicated to me that they have four other kids. Yeah. And I'm the oldest, they've been wasting too much time too much emotional energy, too much money on me. And that they had to they had to be done with it. And that's what How
Joe Van Wie 53:13
old are you now?
Unknown Speaker 53:15
She's I'm 2626 26 and I they meant they let me live there. Which was kind of pathetic. Yeah, I got a job, you know, with the county or something, you know, and I trudged along for another two years essentially in this community in Scranton, bottom feeder just hanging around with drug addicts all like Oh I can muster I once turned on drugs, hurt people bad relationship, hurt her hurt her family stole money from people really got into my lowest point in those last two years of my drinking and I it was because of that girlfriend and her family and then coming to realize how troubled she was because of me that what ended up being my final intervention was organized Yeah, you were part of it. I remember you chasing me around I had an apartment wasn't a hotel was
Joe Van Wie 54:16
a judge candidate.
Unknown Speaker 54:17
rented a fully furnished apartment that I couldn't afford at one point I remember you out on the back porch trying to get in and I No, no, it was that kind of thing for a while but my rope ran out and I ended up back at Clearbrook familiar place for me. And I was happy to be there. I was definitely defeated. I was I was I was really looking for a solution at that point. But I was still not I was still really toxic. I was manipulating people from outside aid meetings to let me use their cell phone to call this girlfriend and I was just I wasn't there for the treatment is the point manic manic but I you know I completed that? Yeah, I don't remember, you know, because the reality of it is, you know, 28 days I could have done standing on my head after having been through Alina lodge for 13 months. You know, whatever I got There certainly wasn't memorable in that last time and rehab. Put where I went to live was memorable. Because I did not have the luxury or the ability to go back and live with my family. Yeah. You were somebody that was still available to me. I think I spent a night or two on your couch, maybe. But Dick. My uncle hooked me up with one of the one of the counselors at Clearbrook, who had what they regarded as a sober house in Scranton. And it was on Harrison avenue open The Hill Section. Oh, yeah. And it was a shuttle. Yeah, it was a toilet. It was a dirty mattress in a basement, this place that was stuffed with drug addicts. And, you know, a shirtless guy that was high that was collecting rent and stuff, which was common. Yeah. And this was like, Man was Muslim about the middle of October. Because I was living there I was, I wanted to be sober. But I still I still had this infatuation with this girlfriend. And it was the only person who would talk to me all my dignity was tied up with this person I've been with for three or four years. Anyway, I left this sober house, which was, you know, there's really no consequence, there was no no supervision. And I went down and met her at a bar in the arena hub and walks bear. And I drank October 27 of 2009. And I had some awful shots of tequila and some draft beer, even having, you know, completed a rehab for like, the 15th time and down there drinking, I was just disgusted with myself. And I knew, you know, that, you know, I just wasn't finding any comfort and you know, where I was living in this dungeon. Basement. My family wasn't talking to me. I had finished rehab, rehab was safe. I was, I was insulated. I was protected. I was you know, I was encouraged, I was propped up. But then back out left to my own devices with no resources, and you know, no support a minute, I'm in a basement in a dirty mattress, and nobody's talking to me. I guess I'm not surprised. I drank is the point. Sure. But I do drink. And mercifully, I tell him myself, like immediately, I tell because I was afraid I was gonna get thrown out of the sober house, and they're literally be living on the street. So I called any the guy who owned it. And I told him, and he didn't throw me out of the house, but he called deke. Deke said, What are you going to do? I said, you know, I don't know, I can't go home. I need something. And he had a friend in Portland, Maine, and he called Pat Babcock. And so I really need you to help my friend or my nephew. And Babcock said, send them right up.
Joe Van Wie 57:52
So who's Pat back concept? Pat
Unknown Speaker 57:53
Babcock is the owner of a recovery house and transitional living facility for young men in Portland, Maine. And it's called a foundation House
Joe Van Wie 58:08
Foundation. Just escaped me for a second. What's to say? Yeah, so
Unknown Speaker 58:12
pat, pat, has Pat at the time had foundation house, which was one building, maybe two. And Dick describes to me what it is, is, you know, he doesn't tell me anything other than a sober house. But by this point, I have two experiences with silver rose. One was the place in Minneapolis, which wasn't bad, but it was essentially collect the rents, you know, live amongst it was it was it was really the reason it was good. It was because there were so many people from Alina lodge that wanted to get better. Yeah, so I gravitated toward the people that really wanted sobriety. I don't remember the house being much other than just a place to live. And then the the bad example I had was in Scranton, which was somebody just had a real you know, crappy rent rental house that he was able to kind of get more more rent for just by cramming drug addicts into it. So Dick tells me about it, but another sober house, and I think I well, you know, there's there's really no difference between this place and Eddie's place, except it's important, and I can use a fresh start somewhere else. And if I go if I go if I leave this community, maybe
Joe Van Wie 59:21
we lost Larry. You could swap that out. Chairs Yeah, I didn't know it was broken. We've had a we had an accident in studio. My wife's Iranian chair just collapsed.
Unknown Speaker 59:39
pretty late chair now Hold on
Joe Van Wie 59:41
while we swapped the chair but just for context, Dick is Deke kind of boy. We were able to interview and and that is Larry's uncle worked in treatment. And there's purchase dog. This is this is action. Sorry about this. CES only with the most exciting podcast falling out of a chair and activating the talking Teddy. Very nice.
Unknown Speaker 1:00:10
Well, the good thing is I anticipated that fall for like the last half hour. So I was wondering, I was trying to figure out which way it was gonna fall this year and feel secure. And they look good. Yeah, I was talking to you about foundation. How was your experience there? So when Dick tells me you're going to another sober house, the only virtue of that to me was it's Portland, it's somewhere else. You know, I've been there, done that with Minneapolis. I've been there, done that with Scranton. And I've been there done that with a couple of other cities for treatment experiences. So maybe this is what I need. And everybody in my family thought that, you know, we were sending Larry off for good. Yeah, it to me. And if there is, everybody was desperate enough to hope and pray that there was some solution for me. And maybe I find it up in this remote tundra
Joe Van Wie 1:01:01
of how did you get to Portland?
Unknown Speaker 1:01:03
So this is this is one of the more memorable experiences of my early recovery. Dick drove me to target gave me money and bought me a track phone. I still have the track phone cell phone number. Now, by the way, it was the 445 number was that That's right, yeah, that's your number. That was my track. It started out as a track phone from Target. And it was the only possession I had. But he was not willing to drive me to Maine. So he called my dad, my parents and told them that this place was perfect for me, or necessary for me or whatever it was, and that they should help me. And so we made a plan for me to rent a car. Nobody want to drive me to Maine. Certainly nobody wants to sponsor you for a plane ticket. But we're able to help Larry pony up enough for a one way car rental from Scranton to Portland. And so my dad drove me to the volca airport. And I don't think he said more than 11 words. You know, whatever. 30 minutes we spent in the car together. But he did ask me what, what's your plan? said that to me at one point. I said, I guess I'm gonna go up and give this this place a man a shot. He said, Yeah, well, then what? I said, I guess I'm hoping that I find, you know, my footing in this recovery world. And I can start over and build a new life. So what does that life look
Joe Van Wie 1:02:27
like? Describe the next 50 years now I'm
Unknown Speaker 1:02:31
on cross examination. I'm on the witness stand with my dad was an attorney. And so I reluctantly because I was ashamed to admit this, at the time that I wanted something, you know, because I always hedged in terms of my personality, like, I never never reached for anything that was out of grasp. You know, even with college, I had figured out the best school I knew I could get into, and I'm gonna apply there early. I'm not going to reach any higher because I don't want to get rejection letters kind of thing. So I had been at Villanova law school. I had gotten myself enrolled there without my parents help. And that was still something that I thought was an accomplishment. Yeah, it didn't work out. But you know, that's the answer. I think my dad's looking for. So I said that. So I said, Well, I said, I like to think that I can get myself back into Villanova law school. And he laughed out loud. Are you kidding me? You haven't talked to those people. Since I pulled you out of your Bryn Mawr apartment. That ship sailed, that doors closed, you better come up with a new plan. And good, bad or indifferent. I use that as motivation later months later, to do exactly the opposite. And essentially, just to prove him wrong, but I'm skipping ahead of it. So what actually happens is I get I get to Portland.
Joe Van Wie 1:03:50
Well, no, it ties in why you were able to do that. Where did you go? What is this place to get to Portland
Unknown Speaker 1:03:55
and I found something that was totally unlike what I had thought it was gonna be. I thought it was gonna be another institution. And I got there. And that was the biggest thing that was missing. The guys were happy. There was this camaraderie. There was an energy. It was the same atmosphere that I used to love and enjoy at Lehigh in my fraternity. Without the booze. Guys were going out. The first night I got there, one of the guys in the house was trying his hat at amateur stand up comedy. Yeah, at a bar. So we all went, and we cheered him on. There was a transvestite at the bar who was laughing along with us. I have all these experiences like we're out living in life. We're amongst people that aren't like us. We're with cross dressers. We're with drinkers and non drinkers. There wasn't this binary Don't cross this line. Like there weren't any of these rules that I thought were so true and, and characteristic of AAA. Yeah, there weren't any of these absolutes like you can never go to a wedding. You can never set foot in a place where there's alcohol being served it was literally the opposite of that. And that was what caught me in impressed me and like the first night I'm in this place, they had me at a bar. I thought that was pretty fucking cool. And I so that was my that was my takeaway, but but I didn't know it right away that that was the culture that they had purposely created. I thought there was really lakhs. I thought that anybody can get away with places out of control anything here. And so the next day, I got introduced to the curriculum. So it's such as it was, which I didn't realize it was, you know, we got together a group of similarly situated guys, because we were about the same age, same life experience. And we talk to each other about what what, what what was going on, and not not not about drugs, not about the struggle with drugs, but about how we were helping people and what our plan was for the day. And, you know, did you know that you know, we, you know, the YMCA is looking for volunteers to coach youth basketball. Did you know that? You know, the Portland neighborhood association is looking for people to help them put together this, you know, turkey trot, like whatever it was, we were just talking about life,
Joe Van Wie 1:06:06
there was no breath, you immediate community.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:09
There was no talking about the stasis gumbo. How awful your problem is, yeah, we got involved and what I now call the solution. And it was almost immediate. And I and we were having a discussion, I looked around, I realized babchuk was there. This was this was the group, you know, this was the way it went. It was organic, it kind of wasn't without structure. Because once that first morning meeting broke up, it was like, Okay, now you're on your own, like, what does that mean? Well, it means you know, a bunch of us get together, we go out, we grab a sandwich, we go out and we get a coffee. And I'm like, Well, who pays for that stuff, you can use money. So I, you know, the program was set up, where, you know, they were there to help, you know, transition people. So you were you're encouraged to get a job. If you're, if your family wouldn't support you, or didn't support you, for whatever reason. And a lot of people there had family support. And I was unique, because I had burned so many bridges, and it's
Joe Van Wie 1:07:07
a unique screening, you're grouping people together that are going to become a pack,
Unknown Speaker 1:07:12
right. So, you know, we will check in in the morning with with the house manager who would dispense spending money for the day. So that way, you know, you weren't walking around with hundreds or 1000s of dollars in your pocket or in a bank account necessarily. Because that still is a temptation for people in early
Joe Van Wie 1:07:30
sobriety without being well, yeah, but you're also
Unknown Speaker 1:07:33
not being told you can't have money or just being told, like you know, tell justify why you need $100 Today, justify why you need $30
Joe Van Wie 1:07:40
Raise the life of intention now in a group setting a group therapeutic setting. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:45
And, and then but you know, the groups were fun. And you know, I do remember getting a lot out of it. But what I remember most what stays with me was the flag football, the rock climbing, kayaking, the minor minor league baseball games, the trips into Boston to see a Celtics game, the trip set, you know, when the weather was nice to, you know, the beaches, the socialization, the recreation, the, you know, which was part of the curriculum, it was just built in fun. It was never a law because guys like Pat would spend time and effort asking themselves like, what would you like to do? What would be fun? One of the things that Pat loved to do when he did it on a regular basis was just take all the guys out to a nice dinner, and rent a couple of big tables at a big steak house, order, whatever you want on the menu. And we're going to come back to the house, we're all going to sit out on the porch and smoke a cigar. You know, these are just, you know, simple pleasures of their sophisticated pleasures, but they made us feel like men, they made us feel like we had dignity. They made us feel like we were part of something that we had a life sobriety wasn't dread. Sobriety wasn't dread. But what they really did a good job about was taking us to the good AAA meetings to Yeah, now that's where I think you know,
Joe Van Wie 1:08:56
so they're there, they have a 12 step philosophy.
Unknown Speaker 1:08:59
Yeah. When I would walk into the foundation house, one of the memories I have is they had a big whiteboard on the base of the main staircase, and it listed like a roster the names of the residents in the house. Then there was a column next to your name that indicated whether you had a sponsor. Then the next column was who your sponsor was, you know, by name by first name wasn't good enough just to have any sponsor, they want you to have somebody that knows the 12 steps.
Joe Van Wie 1:09:29
There's a pecking order now,
Unknown Speaker 1:09:31
right, the next column was what step you're on. Sure. And the final column was like, what how sure you have or something like, sure. But it was all about you know, it's it was just it was fundamental. It wasn't what there was, it wasn't even a matter of question or debate. You had to get a sponsor and you had to work the steps. So
Joe Van Wie 1:09:48
for a decade of being in treatment centers and and being around the outskirts of 12 Step live through a did you ever work, the steps in the distinction that you took an inventory You have this connection with a
Unknown Speaker 1:10:02
very interesting question. The only regret I ever had about that relapse in Minneapolis was feeling like I somehow betrayed a friend of mine named Brent Morris. Yeah. One of the blessings I had, when I was out in Minneapolis was, I got introduced to a guy who I really looked up to. But it was my first sponsor, such as it was name was Brent. Brent got sober when he was 18. And I made a connection with him about that, because that was right when, you know, they started telling me that I needed to go to rehab. And it was the hardest thing for me to reconcile was like, how much life I had in front of me and like, how am I just not going to drink at such a young age and Brent and I hooked up, and he helped me a lot and introduced me to his family. And we went to meetings, and he encouraged me to work the steps. I didn't know what they were, but I was willing to do what anything Brent asked me to do. And we got through step five. Yeah, I did. But I was I did it the same way. I was doing school for most of my life, like, oh, shit, I gotta go to brand sounds, I better I better scribbled down on the paper, whatever, you know, and he, you know, he didn't do it, quite honestly, the way that I teach it now, or the way that I would suggest it. He had his own way of doing it. And there was, you know, he used I think, you know, just the word workbooks and things of that nature. It could definitely gave me some direction, and I gave it a shot. I definitely wasn't honest with them. I definitely held things back. And I definitely did not unpack all of my resentment. There
Joe Van Wie 1:11:30
wasn't awakening, you didn't have a conscious awakening to. Yeah, no, I
Unknown Speaker 1:11:35
didn't have that experience with Brent, but I definitely remember being in his basement and reading him my fourth step. Yeah. And then I remember thinking, I don't want to do that again. Thank god that's over.
Joe Van Wie 1:11:45
So you felt you had an you knew what the steps were? They weren't going to be? They weren't going
Unknown Speaker 1:11:49
to ask for me? Sure. I wasn't going to go beyond that one. I wasn't going to do you know, anything that involve me, you know, reaching out helping anybody else get to that part yet? But that was really it at that point. By the time I got to, to Maine. I didn't have any real practical experience. But I did get the same question that you just asked from from Kirk, who ended up being a guy that I met up there and and agreed to be my sponsor in Maine. And when I met with Kurt the first time, he said, Do you have any experience working the steps? I told him, you know, what I had done. And that I had spent a lot of time in these rehabs. And I had listened to people read that big book to me cover to cover many, many times over. And if you look at the one I took from Alina Lodge, you can see how many days I spent in there like Shawshank Redemption, I kept like a little chat tally on the back page of all the days. But he said, if it's all the same to you, we're just gonna start in the beginning. Sure. And I said, You're the boss fine. And the first thing he did that I tried to do, as my first thing now is he opened up the the inside dustjacket cover, where it identifies the book as being the stories of hundreds of men and women who have recovered assets from alcoholism. The very first thing he does is he highlights that word recovered. And he says past tense. And I didn't know what he's talking about. But he said, it's important that you know, that when you're done working the steps, you will be recovered.
Joe Van Wie 1:13:19
It's a great way to start the book. There's there's hope and a map, Sisyphus in the soul program pushing.
Unknown Speaker 1:13:25
And I said to him, I said So you mean to tell me that this whole thing is designed not to be a white knuckled gritted teeth, daily battle against that drink, and that desire, that obsession, that temptation to drink? He said, No, this is a mechanical way to be rid of that obsession. And then there's there's there's resources and tools and suggestions to keep that obsession forever gone. And I just couldn't get my arms around that because I said that I told him the story that I still tell. And I can't wait to reminisce with your cousin t about this because he's he was the one that told him when I was at only in a large T Martin had a lecture one day, and he was telling, you know, he was supposed to lecture on the 10 step or something, but he couldn't. And instead, he started talking about how he spent the previous night. And he was with his sponsor of 35 years that he described, disappointingly, who was dying for a few months at that point of terminal cancer. And it was the last night on Earth. And his sponsor asked for three fingers of scotch on his deathbed. And he was devastated by that. Yeah, because he thought that guy was a bit of a phony that, you know, he told me and helped me and done this for me for so many decades. But he was hiding the fact that for four decades, he just wanted to drink. And the last thing he was able to do want to do is was relapse, and it was you know, and he was hurt by it and and that's what I thought sobriety was I thought man, you know if that guy just wanted a drink for 35 years, how miserable was his existence for those 35 years? I didn't pay attention to the chapter on alcoholism. That sucks about you know exactly that. Yeah. Have you know that you haven't done step one until you're done until you don't want that anymore? Until that desire, that obsession is gone, and you're ready for a new life? That was my story. That is my story. I spent 10 years stuck on step one. Yeah. From that moment in 1999 and 1998, my parents bedroom until October 27 2009. I didn't know that I, I, you know, I didn't know how to do step one, which is just being done, you know, having made that commitment that I never want to do this again. I'm never going through this again. I can't drink like a normal person. But even if I could, I wouldn't want to. Yeah. And I never had that. It was always I'm going to find a way to do this. And especially if I could, I'm definitely going to,
Joe Van Wie 1:15:42
yeah, it's a painful step to navigate. Even just from the, you know, 1838 the literature, the only thing that says distinctly is that you admit to your innermost self, that could take a decade, right, that can take a decade, it wasn't like, you intellectually missed the step pain is there has to be as distinct amount of pain for someone who what is your threshold?
Unknown Speaker 1:16:05
So when I, when I left, foundation house in Maine, it was not at their urging, and it wasn't by early anybody's design, it was organic, because what actually happened was, after meeting Kirk, working the steps to completion, getting a home group, getting involved with the house, feeling a part of of something, developing an identity and really falling in love with the whole concept of foundation house in Portland, Maine, I probably would have stayed there forever. Yeah, I truly would have I thought that that that was my course. Though I was limited. There were no institutions of higher learning in Portland, it was praising it was this great city, like right on the harbor, you know, hour and a half to Boston, beautiful, you know, foodie destination a lot, lot lot lot to be said, I was shocked that the only university is University of Southern Maine and they don't have a law school. And so it was like limiting that way. It's disappointing. I'm like, Alright, so we'll tell you how to start revising and retooling my plan because that's what I would have done if Maine had a law school right there. And I would have just gone right there and just skipped over the dark experience of Villanova. But the fact that they didn't, and the fact that I was working the steps in confronting my fears and dealing with things I didn't want to deal with Kurt forced me, he said, you know, even if you don't even come back there, you're gonna regret that you never asked. You know, it's just your shame that's keeping you from calling the, you know, Villanova law school and saying, Remember me there? What's the worst that can happen? They say, No, we do remember, you know, and, and so with his prompting, and with his encouragement, and with, you know, the program that I just, you know, grabbed on to with both hands with that desperation of a drowning man. I called Doris Brogan, who at the time when I left Villanova in 2007, was the Dean of Student Affairs, I think, was her title. You know, I didn't realize that at the time, I forget why I called her. But anyway, she didn't have the title anymore. But she was now the law school dean. She was the top the top administrator there. And she did remember me. And she talked about how really disappointed she was, because what she did, she reminded me of, and this is kind of how things are worked out in my life. What she was part of the committee that reviewed law school applications, the year that I applied, and I got into not only I get into Villanova, but I got some scholarship money. And I was shocked about that. Because I didn't complete college in four years, for instance, you know, I had this, I had this, this, this transcript that was like, shot through with shotgun pellets of like, you know, weird things. And I just didn't, you know, I didn't come off as like, you know, checking all those boxes that you would want. So I thought, but I wrote an essay, you know, and admissions essay that I use for a lot of my law school applications, I'm sure, but I definitely use it for Villanova. That talked about my recovery experience. Because at the time when I was applying, I was sober.
Joe Van Wie 1:19:04
Did you feel confident writing?
Unknown Speaker 1:19:06
I did. Yeah. I was I was committed to it. At the time, when I applied, I hadn't made that decision to relapse. And I believe what I was writing, and I talked about myself being a changed person, and myself being a willing resource for other people that might be struggling. And my hope would be that it could be a success story. And all these things. I put this on this essay and said to the Villanova law school, forgot about it, but Dean Brogan didn't. And so when I called her from Maine with my head between my legs and my head, my hand I said, I wonder if you remember me, I do remember you. I was sad and disappointed to learn that you left because I remember your essay. And I don't care that you know, you relapsed and I don't care that what's important to me is what you just said that for the last six months, you've been working your ass off, and you've been, you know, devoted to this and you went to rehab and you're living in a sober house and you're seeing a psychologist and you're part of a group and you have Have a sponsor and if all those things are true, and that's a big F, by the way, you know, we'd like to have you come back down and talk to us. And what she meant by that was i She didn't just by what I said. So all those people, Tim Maxfield foundation house, Kirk Larkin, a psychologist, I met up in Portland, they all took the time and they wrote letters on my behalf, testifying just to my good character, and who I am not even lobbying anything, anybody for anything they don't know, you know who they're writing them to. Yeah, but just this is who we know, Larry to be. And so in 2010, with Dean Brasil bestseller team pass, Tempus anti broken being the decision maker, my path was clear, she just kind of said, I'm taking this chance on you. And I want you to fulfill the promise that you made in that essay. And I want you to come back here, and I want you to be a sober member of our law school, and I want you to be a resource to people in recovery, who might need you. And I'm going to make I'm going to extract that commitment from you, and I'm going to make sure that you adhere to it. So that's exactly what I did. I left foundation house because I had a landing pad. Because they reinstated my scholarship. They, you know, yeah, I didn't get the credit for the first year that I didn't attend. I had to start over again, essentially.
Joe Van Wie 1:21:14
Well, what's different this time? Like, you've got a lot of consequences. You're bright, we're witty? That was there an overwhelming sense of gratitude?
Unknown Speaker 1:21:23
Yeah, yeah, it was a, a raw honesty is what it was I it was just like, I don't have to be phony anymore. I'm just grateful that I'm not that person anymore. I'm grateful. You know, it was it was it was, it was just grateful not to be a liar, and not to feel like such a phony anymore.
Joe Van Wie 1:21:44
The idea of spiritual debt? Like did you feel that this is something that if you, you get the chance you would?
Unknown Speaker 1:21:51
Yes, very much. So I felt like it was not a coincidence that she was reminding me of an essay that I had forgotten about. It wasn't a coincidence that I had completed the steps. And Kirk was telling me to go find somebody to help. You know, it was it wasn't it was it was God, Joe, it was it was that was my spiritual experience. That was when, despite the fact that I had been serving maths since I was in fourth grade, I had been going to, you know, Catholic school and Catholic services since I was, you know, in preschool, that I didn't believe in God. Until that moment, I thought I did. I wanted to, I didn't have a connection to God. Until I distill I realized that I hadn't been helping anybody,
Joe Van Wie 1:22:28
some higher in the higher value in that
Unknown Speaker 1:22:31
moment in that exercise in that in that location in that place. I realized that the missing component for me was service and helping people that I had never endeavored never thought about actually taking that seriously and never tried to help anybody. And that gave me a purpose. It really did. I was really excited, because honestly, I felt like I had been given something that other people should know. I'm like, man, you know, between white Iran Alina lodge Mar worth Clearbrook. Nobody told me what Kurt just told me, that this can be over, that I can take these 12 steps, I can recover, I can change my personality, I can go out and live a better life and a different life. And I don't have to be the other version of myself that I quite honestly felt uncomfortable being I can I can make some adjustments. So yeah, when I left the main it was with this ferocious energy to start helping people. And, and I did that and I really, you know, I'm proud of that. I did it by this by necessity and by design, but based out of a sense of duty and dead to really to the it started out as Dean Brogan. But in further analysis, it's just you know, really to Kirk and to you and to what other people in my life had freely given to me. When quite honestly, they didn't need to and shouldn't have. But
Joe Van Wie 1:23:50
you finished law school.
Unknown Speaker 1:23:51
Yeah, I finished law school. That wasn't that wasn't hard. It wasn't ever memorable. Quite honestly, I don't say this to be modest. But I finished near the top of my class. I finished a semester early. And what but what was most striking was my involvement with lawyers concern for lawyers. It was the meetings that I was able to start you know that still in existence in that community, one on one work with other alcoholics
Joe Van Wie 1:24:20
you know, one on one work one on one work with
Unknown Speaker 1:24:23
my one on one a meeting No, my, you know, being able to, you know, be there to get somebody in a rehab to help get them into detox or hospital. Whether it was in the Scranton community, my friends are in the are in the academic community, and then say, you know, I'll be I'll be I'll be at my house at this time every week, if you want to come over and read this book. And,
Joe Van Wie 1:24:44
you know, I'm not saying this to this is a weekly thing you do, but, you know, we can wink at each other. We're not saying this out of charity. It's a requirement. There's a paradox of this charity. Yeah, it's how you stay sober, right?
Unknown Speaker 1:24:57
Yeah, it's not BS. I began at the same way I, most of these guys that I've taken through the book, still don't believe that it helps me more than I've helped them. But it's true. I, I don't mean to be heartless, but it almost doesn't matter who you are on the other side of this table. Yeah, you know, I'm doing this because if I stopped doing it, I get sick again. Yeah. And when I you know, it's amazing how quickly I get sick again, when I when I when I get detached from it. But just just as to finish that and tight tight on what actually happened was so I did the work that I was supposed to do. at Villanova and I stayed sober and I got better. And I was in the best spiritual condition of my life. And I met my wife. And she saw me when I was in my best and and then we moved after I finished law school and then worked in Philadelphia for a year, we move back to the Scranton community. And I started to kind of rest on my laurels a little bit in terms of, you know, now I'm four or five years sober. I had been working this program vigilantly, I had, you know, taught this book many, many times to people. And, you know, I'm now removed from the community that I just gotten sober. And so I just slacked off is the point, I really didn't pay a lot of attention to meetings, even though I stay connected to people in recovery you among them, and I. But as I just said, I got sick again, I didn't notice it right away. But in 2015, without drinking without drinking without Yeah, 2015. And this is why I say this, because I tried to make this part of my story. Now. I got sick again, without without drinking, and it can happen. And I suffered some consequences, almost dire ones because 2015 I decided to start my own business. Like all alcoholics, do everything at once, get married, buy a house, and adopt the child, essentially, I think I did all this crap in the same period of time. And I let all the the anxious energy and the stress of those circumstances completely rise to the top interfere with my relationship with God certainly completely overrode My, my, my commitment to recovery. And what became the most obvious consequence of that was I started to fight with my wife when I really didn't, before that. She and I met in 2013. For two years, we never single fight. Like I said, she was seeing the best version of me guy that was lecturing other people in resolving conflict, managing resentments on, you know, being loyal to people. And all of a sudden, I couldn't find any of those principles, but I needed to apply them to the woman I loved. And I started to resent her. And I started to resent a lot of things. I started to resent my new partners, and I was working harder than they are and how come they're not carrying their weight? And how come my wife isn't doing this? And when is somebody going to come and help me and poor me, poor me, poor me. And that's all I could see. And thank God, honestly, for this for this program. Because I, I remember, you know, flying back from my honeymoon, we got married. And I started fighting with my wife, and they started talking about knowing our marriage. And this is, you know, maybe maybe this is dead on arrival. And let's just, let's just pack it in. And I called you I know, we talked it through in some way I called Tommy monly At the time, and you both made mention the same person in the same breath. Almost Bruce was around at the time. And I forget what the circumstance was, but I definitely remember starting to meet regularly with you guys and with Bruce and have conversation, I really got to know Bruce, I remember that you guys had a meeting up by Chris Doherty South and North Washington Avenue. Oh, yeah,
Joe Van Wie 1:28:37
that was the I forget what our title was. We were more of a rose. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 1:28:43
But I started getting back in the mix as the boy and I, and I almost instantly realized what I had been missing. Which was, you know, that camaraderie, that connection, that outlet? Just having a group of people who weren't my wife? Yeah, to talk to about my resentments or business. Yeah, but my fear, my dishonesty, my resentment, my core character defects is just weren't going away, that weren't gonna go away, that just stopped being properly modulated. And I got a new sponsor, and I went back through the book, let somebody teach it to me again, as if I was a newcomer, you know, and then stayed stayed committed for as much as I possibly could since then taking guys back through the book again, back in this community. And that's really where fellowship sprang from. It was like, I remembered how good I felt in Maine. How good I felt at Villanova when I was really focusing this energy, this anxious energy on helping people in a in a big way, quite honestly. And what happened was, you know, a lot of practical things too. I'm entrepreneurial. I have a pretty good eye for business. And my home group is in Blakely it's the open arms meeting on Wednesday nights. And every night that I had been there, I see a van coming from Lake Ariel bussing young man from Little Creek Lodge. Yeah. to this facility, and I think a little creek, you know, I don't I still don't know much about it, but but from to my, to my I had a pretty good program because they were bringing guys at least had good meetings. Yeah, because they knew what Babcock knew, which was at least we know how to find the literature base meetings. And we'll get these people into a setting where they can meet people in AAA, who will not lead them down the wrong path, or will not disappoint them maybe. But because it's my home group, and because we were asked at the end of every meeting to raise our hand, if we're willing to sponsor and take people through the steps, I always had my hand up. And there was never any shortage of guys from Little Creek company coming up to me and asking me to help them. And so it was in they didn't have vehicles. So it was easy for me actually easier for me to drive out there on Mondays for two hours and meet them and read the book. So I started going out to Little Creek pretty regularly. And I would you know, teach the book to a lot of guys out there. And then their families would come in at holidays. Yeah, meet me they wanted to meet Larry, you know, and I saw I'd go to brunch or breakfast or lunch with their, or their families and they'd all stay at, you know, the Radisson or the Hilton in Scranton. And, you know, they would tell me you know about these great reports they're getting from Little Johnny and they hear so much about me. And it was like, you know, the same experience that I had, you know, growing up with my family just wanting to hear from some other independent sources that I was doing well, but what I was noticing was people were coming here to this community. Yeah, from all over the country. And they were staying here, first for long periods of time and sometimes permanently, and their families were supporting them. And the one thing that they were always encouraged about the families in particular, was the thing that was missing in Maine. You guys have so many great colleges and universities here. Did you realize that per capita, you know, look at what you have. You have the University of Scranton, you have the medical college, you have Lackawanna community college, you have the design community college you have married What do you have Keystone? You have Penn State Worthington. If you wanted to go, you know, the next county of Kings, you have Wilkes it was I mean, it was just such an abundance. And it's an it's a resource that we have here in the northeast, that is distinct, and it is unique. And you couple that with our proximity to highways. You know, because Scranton is not an inaccessible city, like my office, for instance, is in Pittston, Pennsylvania, I hate it. Because it's inaccessible i City, I have clients that drive and get off the highway and they got to Serpentine, you know, 12 minutes just to get to my office. You know, we don't have that. So we have two things that I saw which I thought were valuable resources in this community to build something around the major highways, that gives us access to three quarters of the United States population within seven hours drive. from Scranton, Pennsylvania, you can access almost three quarters of the United States population in less than a day. And our universities. And then I would listen to the to the complaints of the guys who lived in Atlanta, little creek. Well, it wasn't the curriculum, it was
Joe Van Wie 1:32:48
we're bored. Now the places are great. They run great programs.
Unknown Speaker 1:32:51
We're like we're bored.
Joe Van Wie 1:32:52
There's nothing out here, location. And look. Yeah, there's there's three core elements of like stabilization, stabilizing treatment, that level of care, reintroducing nature into someone's life is really powerful in the first year of recovery. It really is. But these guys are 25. These ideas were held for you know, somebody in late stage addiction, they're recovering from their addiction. You were dead on there is no center city offering that safe, structured, clinical fun, not dread. And we can add the adventure component but they could be here in an urban setting. And that's five universities right there.
Unknown Speaker 1:33:33
And that ended up being the answer. When I when I started doing some more homework and asking proprietors and Clinical Directors of these facilities. Why are you out in the middle of nowhere? They said because we couldn't get past the zoning hurdles we couldn't get past it not in my backyard neighbors. It seems
Joe Van Wie 1:33:49
they were smart. And they were marketers it's because nature needed to be. know, it's like do you think we want a stigma? Do you think we
Unknown Speaker 1:33:57
want to only be able to offer them employment at the IHOP off the mill for exit. We would love to be able to give them that urban recovery experience. We just can't
Joe Van Wie 1:34:05
it's a ghost stigma from the 40s convalescent home TB to
Unknown Speaker 1:34:09
and if you look at foundation houses website, and I asked him about this, they market themselves as the only urban recovery experience. Yeah. Because they can say that until we're up and running. The reality of it is I can't think of another one that has you know, that that that location that we're talking about? That's not a that's not a an inpatient treatment center. Yes, I you know, they're there their inpatient treatment centers in major urban centers, but I'm saying what we're offering here is the ability to come and live your life. And, you know, enjoy finished college. Enjoy, enjoy the community.
Joe Van Wie 1:34:45
I've seen it have we both seen it happen? I've had friends, guys, I met from Long Island, Bucks County moved here 2025 years ago. They're still here. They have real estate license brokers. They became entrepreneurs. Uber Jesse. Yeah, his business right now he started in Scranton is the largest Meals on Wheels, healthy food, operational business in Philadelphia. It started out here in Scranton, under the radar, he was from Philadelphia. Scranton is a manageable place for someone getting sober to engage in community get get your finish your, your your school, schooling, and maybe even start a business because it's so encouraged around here.
Unknown Speaker 1:35:30
Yeah, we, you know, we're hitting our starter, the Joe Biden wagon is getting some new prominence and other you know, we're the butt of a lot of jokes because of the office. But the reality of it is, you know, it's a microcosm of America. Yeah. It's a great place to, you know, raise your family and live. But it's also a great place to get, you know, that college experience, if that's your only ambition for this for the most part.
Joe Van Wie 1:35:55
So we have to plan a launch on a website, we'll probably get that done by January, I think, to really add some some ideas to this. Would you come back? And
Unknown Speaker 1:36:04
I'd love to,
Joe Van Wie 1:36:05
I'll have to call you. Can I also say this there? Is it possible that I was your first client?
Unknown Speaker 1:36:14
Absolutely. Absolutely. You're my client before I was a lawyer.
Joe Van Wie 1:36:18
I when I was watching you be in the position to give a speech. For Joe Biden coming in for a rally. It was beautiful speech. And it was it was the first time I saw passion in your heart. I never got to see you argue in court. I'm like, there's my friend. That's Larry, being Larry in front of, you know, a presidential candidate. And I was his first client.
Unknown Speaker 1:36:45
I want to frame that judgment, because it's the judgment itself is worth more than we're ever going to collect. But it was
Joe Van Wie 1:36:49
yeah, it was beautiful. So we've been in an hour and a half. You have my longest episode so far, but I went smoothly. And I want to I want to come back and just kind of give updates from soup to nuts how we're, we're building a PHP good for doing that. Yeah. Awesome. Well, guys, thanks for checking in. And thanks for meeting Larry Moran. Larry, we'll be back he has plenty of other stories we want to complete. Thanks again.
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