Bigger Than Me – Brokers and Jokers

A segment from John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight, talking about the treatment industry and the “South Florida Shuffle” spurred this week’s episode of Bigger Than Me. Chris Foster and Rocky spearhead this topic as it’s something that both of them feel passionately about. John Oliver highlights so many of the things that are wrong. Unfortunately, nobody talks about the treatment centers that help so many people. 

In today’s world with the opioid epidemic, people are dying every single day. It’s claiming lives faster than people are finding treatment and recovery. Some of the things that John Oliver touched on were patient brokers. People who prey on people walking the streets with suitcases, ask them about their insurance and try to place them in treatment to get a kickback from the treatment center. To draw the line very clearly in the sand this is illegal. Many companies have been shut down due to these practices. 

Chris Foster, GateHouse Treatment’s COO was a marketer in the treatment field for some time before reaching the place he is now. The difference is that he cared. He was in this to help people the same way people had helped him to achieve sobriety. 

As Rocky put it when brokers are hunting for clients on the street, “Are they placing them in a relationship with a loving Higher Power and a strong fellowship?” Most places don’t operate in a crooked manner. There is a substantial difference between being in recovery and being in meetings. Chris talks about how he would do 12 step calls all the time it didn’t matter if someone had a premier insurance policy or no insurance. He wanted to help people the same way he was helped. 

One of the people being interviewed said wherever his patients were there was a therapeutic value to it. Anything can be therapeutic; it’s a matter of what is the value of it. How can it be used to help to get down to the core of the problem? How does therapy make room for recovery to be possible? Rocky talks about how Dr. Carl Jung had misdiagnosed a man as an “alcoholic of the hopeless variety” meaning he didn’t know what therapy could do for him anymore and why he couldn’t stop drinking. 

This is where the immersion of the 12 steps come into play and a reason why GateHouse uses them when it comes to housing. The time in clinical is to help those in treatment get down to the root of the problem. To learn how to deal with abuse, shame, guilt and to get down to the core issues of why we turn to drugs and alcohol. The 12-Steps come in by helping the clients to get involved in the recovery community. To learn how to live a different way through the 12 principles and eventually help the next person. 

Treatment in the clinical sense is necessary. Your sponsor cannot tell you that psychiatric medications will help you stabilize so you can work the 12 steps. In the same respect, a doctor most likely cannot understand that you rationalized to yourself to pawn your family heirlooms. The 12 steps open the door to spirituality and working with others, and clinical can help you remove a lot of the emotional baggage we carry. A doctor may also not be able to tell you why you keep having failed relationships, or how to retain a code of ethics and morals that you can apply to your life. 

This is also where aftercare steps in, living in reputable halfway homes and sober living is where we can learn to “fail forward” as Rocky put it. When you’re in a stable, sober environment for an extended amount of time, you’ll be able to see where you’re failing and you will have other people around you who have walked the same path and can help you. 

John Oliver only pointed at the shortcomings in the treatment industry; there are thousands of testimonies for all of the positives. What are your recovery success stories? Share them with us! 

Jeff Klein
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