Monday, May 21, 2018
Also speaking were former NHL'er Laurie Boschman, USA Hockey Olympian Noah Welch, Regina Pats career games played leader Frank Kovacs and Leroy Haugan, father of fallen Humboldt Broncos Head Coach & GM Darcy Haugan.
Before a packed house at Hillsdale Baptist Church in South Regina, the event spanned two hours and included hockey personalities from a variety of leagues including the Regina Pat Canadians, SJHL and WHL Chaplains and WHL head office personnel.
Reimer was asked what message of Faith he had to offer those in attendance. The 30-year old said to "count their blessings" and take time to recognize and appreciate God's miracles around you, even something as simple as a beautiful sunset or a gorgeous day.
Resch - who was raised in Regina and attended Scott Collegiate - told his personal story of sobriety and Faith, which dates back to 1980. He told the crowd that "God gave us freewill. He will not inject himself into your life. You need to seek Him out."
The room fell silent when Leroy Haugan addressed the crowd, and spoke of the unspeakable April 6/2018 bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos which took the life of his son Darcy.
"I was recently golfing with my 12-year old grandson, Darcy's boy," the eldest Haugan said. "And he said 'Papa, I'm not going to give up on Jesus because of this.'"
It was a very powerful moment.
Frank Kovacs said a closing prayer to send the 200-or-so patrons into their May long weekend.
Hockey Ministries International stages events like this at hockey events around the continent, such as the Memorial Cup. Their spokesmen include NHL'ers Shane Doan, Eric Staahl, Jarome Iginla and David Booth.
Hillsdale Baptist Pastor Bill Danyluk - a former Chaplain for the Regina Pats for many years - pulled me aside after the event and said, "I'm glad you finally found my House."
I laughed and said, "At least I finally did! Some people never do."
Saturday was a great event and I was very glad to be there.
FB: Pedersen Recovery Inc.
at May 21, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
On the weekend of May 5/2018 I found myself in a conference room in Times Square in New York, NY receiving training from renowned Interventionist Earl Hightower of Hightower Associates. He's a pioneer in the industry, having done roughly 2,000 interventions over the past 35 years.
How did I end up there? Well, fairly early on in my journey of sobriety (Sober Date 01-27-2015) some of the titans of the Recovery industry put their arm around me and said "Come with us". I'm so grateful they did. They've opened up so many doors that I didn't even know existed. One of those doors was Intervention training and the notion was, "You're going to need this training so you might as well get it from the best. His name is Earl Hightower."
What did I learn? Well, I didn't spend thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles just to divulge all the information here for free. Suffice it to say it was 3 days of pretty intense training with a lot of time spent on ethics. I took many things away from the weekend but one stands out above the rest and that is Earl standing in the middle of the room with his index finger pointed. "Don't lie, and don't bluff," he warned.
|Earl and me|
It's also why I turned down a recent offer to get into politics. I was told that as a politician you need to "be able to look in someone's face and lie". No thanks. That notion makes me want to puke.
In fact one lady at the training told me, "You're at home now". The room was filled with all walks of Recovery life including addictions counselors, psychotherapists, treatment center residential managers, intake specialists, sober coaches and sober companions and even the owner/producer of Intervention TV, Andrew Galloway. (That show, by the way, gets 2.1-million viewers a week on A&E. He bought me a steak supper).
I was anxious going in because I didn't know if I'd fit in but I quickly felt like a kid going to summer camp. I couldn't wait to see everybody each morning and didn't want to leave at the end of the day.
So, I'm a trained Interventionist but who knows when I'll do my first one. I have a little experience in the area since I was the target of an Intervention on January 28/2015 so I know the drill. Who knew that painful experience would pay such dividends just a few years later?
Less than 24 hours after returning home from New York, I was getting messages from treatment centers and sober living houses wondering when they'll start getting referrals. The first step is touring their facilities and meeting face-to-face, which I'm already doing.
I thought I lived in a fast-paced environment of Sports & Entertainment but that looks like it's in slow motion compared to the Addiction world, which is currently in a crisis. When someone needs help, they need it NOW! And we move at the speed of light.
The whole idea is getting people help, and saving lives.
These people don't care that I'm the broadcaster for a CFL team and only have a few years sobriety. "That's good enough! We need your help. We're in a crisis that's growing!"
That's a rush.
This experience will be part of my keynote address at the fundraising gala for the Oak Tree Place community centre in Moose Jaw, SK on Saturday night. I'll be sharing my Recovery story for those in attendance and raising funds for Oak Tree, which will be a safe place in Moose Jaw for those battling Addiction.
Honestly I'd prefer to just move on from that dreadful period of my life just over three years ago when doctors told me I'd be dead in less than a year if I didn't stop drinking immediately. But now people want to know how I've been able to do it, and I'm more than happy to share if it helps someone.
For tickets please email Jody Oakes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to gala sponsors Sask Power, Hill St. Beverage Co., Fraser Strategy, Outlaw Communications, Clark's Supply & Service, Fine Foods and EMJ Marketing. Thanks also to CKRM Radio, CTV and Global TV for their promotion of the event.
One Day At A Time,
at May 10, 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Remarkably, Broncos Assistant Coach Chris Beaudry - who celebrated his 4-year sober anniversary the day before the accident - survived the catastrophe simply because he was driving on his own to the playoff game in Nipawin, SK.
He wasn't on the bus.
Beaudry - a farmer from St. Front, SK and married father of two - has been very vocal about his sobriety, appearing in interviews and podcasts across North America since he made the positive life change in 2014.
And for the purposes of this Recovery podcast, Beaudry wanted to share his Recovery story and how it relates to the devastating circumstances in which he currently finds himself with the Broncos. If he can help someone, he wants to be that positive influence in their life.
When the interview was completed in the parking lot of a church in Northwest Regina, I asked Chris if he was happy with how it went. "Yes," he smiled. "Very happy."
In the podcast you'll discover:
- Chris's Recovery story.
- What his life was like before sobriety and what it's like now.
- His daily self-care regimen.
- Why he thinks he survived and his best friends, and "sons", did not.
- How he's coping with the Broncos tragedy and helping the families of others.
It's a very emotional and fairly graphic interview in which Coach Beaudry holds nothing back. If that sounds like it may be too much for you, I encourage you NOT to listen.
You can access the show here:
As always thank you to Pedersen Recovery Inc. sponsors Fine Foods, Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of our Recovery efforts and this podcast.
Of course it is, but in truth that's about the 10th best thing I've discovered from leading a sober life. So for this week's blog post, here are my Top 10 Best Things of My Sober Life after hitting rock bottom on January 26, 2015:
1 - NO FEAR: The rest of these points really are in no particular order but this is my clearcut #1. Why? Because imagine being paralyzed by fear so much that you're afraid to look at your phone, you shudder in a cold sweat each and every time a text or call comes in because you assume you're in trouble for something you did or said while drinking (and most times you don't even remember doing it). Imagine having to tiptoe around your boss's office to avoid his angry glare for your drunken antics, or constantly worry about "who's talking to who" about the drama you created about yourself.
Now, all of that is gone and that's the biggest relief in the world.
2 - EXPERIENCING LIFE: A week long trip to Mexico seems like two weeks, or a 2-day road trip seems like a 4-day adventure because you're not drunk half the time and hungover in bed for the other half. Somebody just asked me this week how I handle so much life on the road without drinking and he said "What's life like?" Well, it was exhilarating to be sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Toronto at 7:00 am last Saturday when Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter walked in. The old me would've still been in bed sleeping it off. On this morning, Carter and I chatted, took a photo, and I soon learned he's in long-term Recovery too. That's one of hundreds of examples of how nice it is to be "with it", and finally enjoying the real side of life rather than getting loaded in a dingy bar.
3 - FREEDOM: It's a real thing. Not having to take the long way around a checkstop never gets old, and it's empowering to drive by a cop and look him in the eye. This may seem elementary to you if you're not an alcoholic, but hardcore drinkers will nod their heads like a bobblehead when they read this. Above all else, it's nice to be able to rent a car on so many of our trips and know Blood Alcohol Level won't be a problem. Travelling across borders is effortless and free. Sober living is win, win, win.
4 - TRUST: This has to rank up near the top, and it's wide-ranging. But the big one is the security that my wife and family feels about me now when I'm off on my own. There are no worries that I'll get into trouble or injure myself. A scrape on my shin or hands is easily explained - and believed - rather than the elaborate lies I had to cook up in my old life. That was exhausting. Now it's all gone. My family knows I'll be doing the right thing, all the time, when I'm gone or when they're gone.
|Photo by Larry Mueller|
6 - RESPECT AND SELF-RESPECT: Did you know the most important things on this earth, you can't buy? (Love, respect, trust, dignity, health). I'm literally years into Recovery and still digging myself out of the 25-year hole I created while wallowing in the disease of Alcoholism. It's a day-by-day effort to restore respect and dignity and it only comes by proving yourself every 24 hours (hence our favourite saying, One Day At A Time). However the days stack up into weeks, months and years and I've met a lot of new people who have no idea about my past. They say I'm a nice, respectable, admirable person and some even call me Mr. Pedersen. I never thought getting to this point would ever be possible. Again, what a reward for sobriety.
On the flipside, as an addict you allow people to treat you like garbage because you think you are garbage. Because of your dirty little secret, you don't think you can have nice things. However once that secret is out in the open and dealt with, life becomes a whole new world. Put it this way: if you mistreat me now, you'd better be prepared for a fight.
7 - CLEAR MIND: They call it the "Alcoholic Fog" and it too is a thing. Booze really takes over your brain and clouds all of your thinking. That, I feel, is why 90 days in Recovery is a real milestone because by that point, you should be coming out of the fog, detangling your mind, feeling 100% better physically, and realizing a sober life is the ONLY option for an alcoholic. There were times on my radio show where my mind would just "freeze" because of my drinking and I literally could not think. That is not optimum on live radio. It was absolutely horrible.
One day last year I was sitting on the patio of a coffee house in Phoenix and looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. I thought to myself, "My mind is as clear as that Arizona sky." What a feeling!
8 - MY HEALTH: You would think this would be higher on the list, and perhaps it should be. When I got into Recovery everyone kept saying, "You're sick!" and "You're not well!" What on earth were they talking about? I was in the gym at least an hour everyday. But it was the shock of my life when my doctor said I'd be dead in a year the way I was going if I didn't change my life, pronto. Someone told me last week that I look 10 years younger. My skin is fresh and that's likely because I sleep like a baby. ("A clean conscience is the softest pillow" - John Wooden). I am preparing for a long and happy life rather than wishing I was dead, which I did just a few years ago.
9 - NOT FEELING LOST: This kind of spills into my Anxiety Disorder but it's another real thing. As an alcoholic you feel like you're on an island - except for your drinking buddies - but when you get into Recovery you meet dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people who are just like you. That's a nice feeling. And by keeping a daily journal you plant your feet on the ground rather than waving around in the wind like a balloon. I got started in this by my accountant who wanted me to track my mileage on a daily basis. Soon I was writing down who I talk with daily, where I went for lunch, family events, etc. Basically, it feels like you have your shit together for the first time in your life.
10 - NO HANGOVERS: So, yes, not having hangovers is a pretty wonderful way to go through life but it doesn't really compare to the nine other points above. Plus, when you drink as much as an alcoholic does, hangovers aren't really that bad. I see people who go on benders once or twice every year and sometimes wonder, "Why can't I do that?" However I quickly realize that I was doing it every weekend or sometimes multiple times per week. It was completely ruining my life and I'm grateful every minute of every day that I found the road out.
* If you have a serious problem with alcohol (if it's causing problems in your life), then it's imperative that you seek help. If it's deemed that you suffer from Alcoholism, then drinking can no longer be part of your life.
Hopefully this week's blog shows you what the upside of that is. It's ALL positive.
FB: Pedersen Recovery & Coaching Inc.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
This blog was designed to help people; whether they are battling addictions themselves, or their loved ones or co-workers who seek a deeper understanding of the Disease of Addiction.
I'd also like to thank Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport for coming on board with sponsorship. They believe in what I'm doing.
So here goes:
#1. WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO STOP DRINKING? HOW DID YOU KNOW WHEN IT WAS TIME?
That decision was made for me. After several failed attempts at quitting drinking (on my own), I had eventually quit quitting and gave up on myself. When I'd made the decision that I was a lost cause, the roof caved in pretty quickly and I hit rock bottom on January 26/2015.
So it was then that my bosses staged an Intervention and a document was shoved in front of me that said if I didn't get help for my drinking, I would be terminated. That was a very emotional day. They weren't giving up on me, but they'd had enough of my crap.
Over the years in sobriety, I've seen it over and over again; people don't quit drinking or abusing drugs until push-comes-to-shove.
I'm not fond of a lot of the sayings that are popular in Recovery but there are a few that are really true. One of my favourites is:
Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes
For me, it was Hammer Time.
#2. DO YOU STILL THINK ABOUT DRINKING?
Of course! That's why they call this a lifelong battle.
I was in Mexico just a few weeks ago and on the first day of the trip a conversation was going on in my head that went like this:
RIGHT EAR: "This is an all-inclusive resort! It would be a shame if you didn't have a few drinks!"
LEFT EAR: "But you don't want just a few drinks. You want a lot of drinks, and then people will know you're smashed."
RIGHT EAR: "Who cares! We'll figure that out later. Let's just start with a few drinks and see what happens!"
LEFT EAR: "There's a lot of people back home who are counting on you and looking up to you. You can't let them down."
RIGHT EAR: "........"
I never thought about drinking for the rest of the trip after that conversation in my head. We had a fabulous time!
But I'll never forget at one support group meeting I was in, an oldtimer who had over 40 years sobriety told us that he had a "drinking dream" the night before (a dream in which you are drinking).
I've had those dreams too. I thought to myself, "Oh man! I'm going to have this damned disease FOREVER!"
But you know what? Of all the lifelong incurable diseases that are out there, I'll take Alcoholism 10 times out of 10. If I abstain from it, I can have an excellent life.
#3. DON'T YOU FIND IT BORING?
Does my life look boring to you?
I'll tell you what's NOT boring!:
- Not having to apologize for your behaviour.
- Not being in fights with my wife over my drinking, or anything else for that matter.
- Remembering everything that happened the night before, and what was said by everyone.
- Having peoples' trust.
- Not having to line up a ride, an expensive cab, an Uber, etc.
- Having my sh*t together.
- Being invited to great events rather than being uninvited because no one wanted me around for fear of what I might do or say.
- Waking up everyday not knowing what's going to happen in my life, but knowing it's going to be extra special because I work every 24 hours to be the best person I can be.
I don't think there's any substance in the world that could replicate that rush of adrenaline and wave of good feelings that I get everyday.
#4. WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT FOR SOMEONE TO STOP DRINKING?
Because you're addicted to it. You. Love. It.
It's not about willpower or intelligence. When Alcoholism or Addiction has you in its clutches, it's very difficult to be aware of anything else in your life.
On a daily basis I see people choose alcohol or drugs over their families or job. Sometimes I can't understand how someone could make that choice and then I'm reminded that at one point in my life, I would've chosen alcohol over everything so I get it.
Those stories rarely end well.
#5. WHAT WAS THE "LIGHT BULB" MOMENT FOR YOU?
That's still a very clear moment for me.
It was in my Addiction Counselor's office and he told me I had a disease. I snapped and screamed, "No it's not! You can't take a pill for it and it goes away! It's not a tumor that you can have removed!"
He calmed me down and explained that Alcoholism has been recognized as a disease since the 1950's by the American Medical Assocation. He said, "It's a Mental Illness, Rod. You have it."
In that moment, my life changed.
I realized that with daily care, I could beat this.
So based on the daily battle, I am 1118-0 against Alcohol.
#6. WHAT DOES "ONE DAY AT A TIME" MEAN?
For someone not battling Addiction or any other Mental Illness (Anxiety, Depression, O.C.D., etc.), I know the concept of One Day At A Time can be very hard to grasp.
I wear a bracelet with that mantra and when "Earthlings" or "Normies" ask me what that means, they act like it's written in Chinese. They just don't understand.
In simple terms, it's a daily battle against your demons because the sons-of-bitches never go away.
But if you do daily things to arrest them or keep them at bay, you've at least got a chance.
I truly feel that if you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.
#7. WHAT'S YOUR DAILY SELF-CARE RITUAL?
Let me first say that when I first got into Recovery, all of the things I'm about to say sounded like complete BS. Very flaky. But as each day went by and I eventually came out of the Alcoholic Fog, I noticed the people around me were having great success in Recovery using methods like these.
Here are some of them:
- Upon awakening, I say this prayer aloud, "I arise, Oh Lord, to do thy will". It's the simplest, shortest prayer for a dummy like me to remember. Early on if I'd forgotten to say it in the morning, I'd say it as soon as I remembered. Now, it's automatically the first thing in my head.
- Because of the extensive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I've received from world-renowned yogi Sadhguru, I repeat this phrase aloud, "I awake to create a loving world."
- I repeat outloud the following Affirmations: "I am Happy. I am Safe. I am Healthy. I have Peace. I am Strong."
- I then read a short daily reading from two Apps: My Spiritual Tookit and The Secret.
- This whole process only takes about 1-2 minutes.
- I don't go three days without working out, and try to go daily at Evolution Fitness.
- I go to at least one meeting per week.
- As you'll see, most of this stuff is completed by 10:00 am and I'm ready to tackle the world with strength, confidence and a great frame of mind.
- In the evening, I'm able to fall asleep within seconds using the art of Meditation.
- When my mind and heart are racing and I can feel Anxiety building up inside me like a hurricane, I automatically go into Meditation. My awareness immediately focuses on the NOW, and the realization that all is perfectly fine in my life at that specific moment.
- I go to a weekly Yoga class and will for the rest of my life. It's great for the body but even better for the mind.
- I have successfully trained my mind by doing these daily rituals without fail. IT WORKS.
*Recently a lady asked me what her husband (a problem drinker) could do to slow down his mind and not have to reach for the bottle. I mentioned some of these rituals and she said, "Oh he'll never do that."
My response?: "Fine. Keep struggling then."
#8. ARE YOU AGAINST ALCOHOL?
Absolutely not! Some of my best friends and associates work in the beer industry. As a matter of fact, beer companies are some of the biggest sponsors of the sports teams, leagues, and broadcasts that I'm associated with. Coors Light sponsors my sports blog and radio show!
It would be career suicide for me to tell the whole world not to drink. The simple fact is some of us just can't handle it.
Addictions and Alcoholism are a personal problem.
I heard a guy once complain that there should be no strip clubs because he's a sex addict and that cost him his family, job and finances. That's similar to saying there should be no casinos because you're hooked on gambling and have no money for groceries or rent.
That's your problem, not everybody else's.
Drinking was my problem and mine alone.
I will never, ever judge other people for their personal choices (unless they live under my roof) and that's mostly because I hated being judged for so many years.
Do what you want! But if and when the partying becomes a problem, look me up.
#9. HOW DID YOU GET INTO SOBER COACHING?
One of North America's top sober coaches was attending a meeting I was at and heard me sharing. He had no clue who I was or what I did for a living.
He checked me out and called a few hours later asking if I'd be interested in working with him. He said it's clear that, for some reason, people listen when I speak. I jumped at the chance but he said I had to get some education in the field so I earned a Diploma as a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist.
This spring I'll officially be an Interventionist after receiving training from Hightower Associates in Orange County, CA.
It's progressing very rapidly and that's no surprise because the Addiction Crisis is out of control on this continent.
Surprise, surprise, I deal almost exclusively with athletes and broadcasters battling Addictions.
That's right in my wheelhouse.
To see someone get their job back, or their family, or their LIFE, and to know you had a hand in it is the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life. BAR NONE.
Some say this is my calling in life but I still feel I'm pretty good at broadcasting football and hockey games. That gives me great pleasure too.
The two careers intertwine beautifully.
#10. DO YOU THINK YOU'LL EVER DRINK AGAIN?
I know I won't drink today.
I don't want to.
Facebook: Pedersen Recovery Coaching Inc.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
"If you fight against Addiction daily and are successful, I think that makes you a hero."
- Scott Oake
The star of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada Scott Oake tells his family's Recovery story on the latest Pedersen Recovery Rodcast.
Oake's son Bruce died of a drug overdose in 2011 in Winnipeg and while the Oake family will always struggle with that loss, they are working hard to ensure Bruce's death wasn't in vain.
In this month's podcast Scott talks about what got Bruce on the wrong path, how he struggled even in Recovery, the stigma facing both active and recovering addicts, and what the family is doing to attack the Addiction Crisis in Winnipeg.
A huge thank you to our sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs for bringing you another edition of the podcast, and for sponsoring my speaking tour on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery.
The next stop on the tour is Saturday, May 12 at the fundraising gala for the Oak Tree Place centre in Moose Jaw. We'll be raising funds for the opening of the facility and the speakers are Billy Cuthbert and me. For tickets email email@example.com.
Please give the podcast a listen here:
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Look at you right now. Just look at you.
When you look in the mirror each morning, I know you don't like the young man who's staring back at you very much, do you? It's okay. I've walked in those shoes and realize they're very uncomfortable. I know you don't like looking in the mirror at all.
You think everyone hates you but you're wrong. The fact is everyone who knows you, loves you. When you're not drinking.
Deep, deep down, reallllly deep down, you know that's true but you don't want to do anything about it.
From the very first time you drank as a teenager, you loved it and hated it all at the same time. But you couldn't get enough of it, and still can't. Even though you know it turns you into a monster.
Eventually it will completely take over your life and nothing else will matter. But that's years away and you've still got plenty of damage left to do before then.
Really, the only thing saving your sorry ass right now is your work ethic and your talent. But one day that luck is going to run out too, just like a cat and its nine lives.
I have to ask you - because nobody else will - what the hell is wrong with you?
When somebody close to you like your parents, your brothers, your wife, your bosses or a coach offers you some friendly advice which might save your life, you immediately do exactly the opposite of what they say?
When somebody pays you a compliment, why does it go in one ear and out the other but when some no-name on the internet says the most horrible things about you, you not only hang onto it for days but you actually believe it?
You're killing yourself inside each day and everybody can see it but you. Eventually that spirit that everybody once loved will be totally dead. Why do you keep refusing peoples' gifts of help?
And don't say no one has offered to help. If you go back and think about it, I bet you can count dozens, if not hundreds, of times you've been offered a hand or seen or heard an ad about the warning signs that you're drowning in every day.
You are literally one step away from completely turning your life around for the better, and yet you keep taking the wrong step time after time.
People look to you to lead, but you don't want to lead. When it's time to step up, you want to run and hide, and if it's to a 12-pack of beer, that suits you just fine.
Rod, you have the world by the tail but all you see is what you don't have rather than the incredible things that you DO have. You were born with every possible advantage.
I just don't get it! Will you please open your eyes and wake up?
You don't know it but you've been battling Anxiety Disorder since you were in elementary school. Those suicidal thoughts you've had are NOT normal. But that's okay, it can be fixed. You think you're crazy, but you're not. You have a serious mental illness. I just wish you'd tell somebody.
Guess what? One day you're going to be going on doctor-prescribed anti-Depressants too.
No shit you're depressed! You've taken a flamethrower to every relationship and friendship you have and caused possibly irreparable damage to your career! The pills aren't going to fix that.
But, pick your chin up.
I mean it.
Your family and bosses aren't going to give up on you even though you've long since given up on yourself. They know the smart, kindhearted person you are beneath all of these problems and they are NOT going to let you to go down in flames.
Every single thing in your life can be repaired and you'll save an immense amount of pain if you start doing it right now.
You are going to be strong. You are not going to be bothered by what people say because you'll know exactly who you are for the first time in your life. You're never going to have to look over your shoulder again because you're always going to be in the right place, at the right time.
Best of all, God has given you another unbelievable gift which is the ability to connect with those who are still struggling. You are in flames now, but you know the road to sunshine and you'll have the ability to pass that on to those who are still lost. Helping others will make your heart explode with pride, more than anything you've ever done.
All I ask is, please do it today. Time's wasting.
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