Vulnerability Is Contagious | Barry Reiman, PSY.D, Recovery Unplugged

Vulnerability Is Contagious | Barry Reiman, PSY.D, Recovery Unplugged

I walk into my appointment with my psychologist and in the waiting room, my parents and sister are there. I’m like, Oh, fuck, the gig is up. There was an intervention done on me and I was put into a detox facility that night. I was not the person that said, I would love to stop using . People say, Oh, if you really want something you have to try harder. I call total bullshit. Getting high is like getting a hug from God. That’s the best way to equate it and no person in their right mind is ever going to say Today’s a great day to step up. I would love to give up my best friend, my security blanket, my confidant, and the thing that makes me feel the best. -Barry Reiman, Psy.D

Dr. Barry Reiman, the V.P. of Business Development for Recovery Unplugged Treatment Center, has been a featured guest on such daytime television shows as Dr. Phil, The Doctors and Face the Truth with Vivica A. Fox. Working in the field of addiction treatment for close to two decades, Dr. Barry has developed an acute understanding and passion for treating those struggling with Substance Use Disorders.
Dr. Barry’s career in the treatment field stems from his personal connection to addiction. Dr. Barry has been in recovery since June of 1996, and has dedicated his personal and professional life to facilitating change in the lives of those looking for a way out of their addiction. His passion and thirst for knowledge has led to him becoming one of the Treatment Industry’s leading influencers.
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Vulnerability Is Contagious | Barry Reiman, PSY.D, Recovery Unplugged

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Podcast Transcript

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 0:00
So tell me how did you get in? Obviously, you’ve dedicated your life eventually, at some point to helping people in recovery through music, but you know, of what you want to disclose walk me through maybe the early journey and how you eventually got to the decision. And and then I assumed the passion after that to help others.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 0:23
Okay, so I mean, I was a hot mess, to say the least. I don’t come from a broken home. My parents are still married today. 53 years, which is quite a feat. That’s cool. I have a sister who was top scholar at the University of Florida with her face in the commencement book and you know, valedictorian of her high school, and I think my mom bone the milkman. I don’t know what happened.

You know, I don’t know if you can curse on this podcast. Yes,

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 0:57
you can. This is this is whatever people want to say. I’ve already gotten in trouble by several friends that don’t enjoy cursing and I’m like, Hey, we’re just we’re real and authentic on this podcast real life stuff.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 1:08
Yeah, so I think my mom fuck the milk man. I don’t know what happened. But you know, I have this this gene that we call it right that I don’t know how to have just one of anything. And I did okay for a minute. And when I was 17, I went away to school at the University of Florida. And schooling became like, my ninth priority, not my first right and I literally became the best aspect you can become, and my grade showed for it. My very first semester there. You have to do pretty good to get into that school. Right? It’s a decent, it’s a decent University. My very first semester there I got two F’s, a D and a withdrawal from a course which brought my GPA to a point three, three

pretty hard feat to do. You’ve got

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 2:00
a point eight other semester while you do have maybe

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 2:07
if you do the math, two F’s a dune withdrawal from a course will get you a point three three GPA. I’ll never forget when my mother saw it. I’m like there’s got to be numbers missing. You know, this is this is an accurate, but you know and within two years at that school I wound up coming home and towards the end of my active addiction I wound up getting clean. Two months shy my 21st birthday, and I’m sick with three inches tall, and I was 140 pounds soaking wet, having grand mal seizures in and out of hospitals and literally dying. You know, I did all the things I swore I would never do with people I shouldn’t have been with going places I shouldn’t have gone. And for me the story was I just kept climbing that ladder and climbing that ladder until there were no more rounds. To climb, and I got stuck in a position where I was seeing this doc for therapy. Right. I was back home at this point. I came back from school addiction or

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 3:13
mental health therapy type at the time.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 3:17
This was both, you know, this was I was seeing a psychologist. I came back from school in May of 1995. And I didn’t get cleaned till June of 96. So it definitely wasn’t Gainesville. It wasn’t where I was at, right? The the issue was me. And on June 19th 1996, I walk into my appointment with a for my psychologist and in that office in the waiting room, where my parents and my sister sitting in the waiting room, and I’m like, Oh, fuck, like the gig is up. Right? And there was an intervention done on me. And I was that night put into a detox facility. And I want to say there was some type of relief. I was a little skeptical. I was not that person that said, I would love to stop using. You hear it said a lot. You know you’ve been, you’ve been around for a while you hear people say, Oh, you really have to want us to get it. And if you don’t want it, don’t worry about it. You’re not going to get it. I call total bullshit. Okay? getting high is like getting a hug from God. Okay? That that’s the best way to equate it. And no person in their right mind is ever going to say, today’s a great day to step up. I would love to give up my best friend my security blanket my confidence in the thing that makes me feel the best.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 4:35
Yeah, my doctor that it makes me feel good horse.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 4:39
So I did make a decision that night. And we can call it the decision part two, right? I made a decision that I was going to give this thing a fair 90 days. And after 90 days. If I didn’t look better, if I didn’t feel better if my relationships hadn’t improved. drugs, and alcohol would always be there. We were not in any jeopardy of going through prohibition again, all that stuff would be there. And I did the treatment thing I came out of treatment. I started going to these cold, these cold like meetings, at least what I thought at the time, which was na. And, you know, people were hugging and all these different things. It was just really weird, right? And I thought that, you know, they were gonna make me shave my head and go door to door selling books or horizontal support. But I made it to that 90 day mark and like a good attic right? I looked better. I felt better. My relationships had gotten better. And as like a good addict, I said, Wow, if I feel this good at 90 days, I wonder how I feel at six months. And I made it to six months and I got to that six month mark. And by this time I had drank the Kool Aid. You know, I bought in I had a support group. I got a sponsor, started doing the deal. My first six months of my recovery, I worked For my father, I was his bitch. So he builds pallet racks cutting tables, steel shelving, all in warehouses in Miami. no air conditioning. No one speaks English and my dad’s Argentinian. Right. So yes, Latin. And what was

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 6:13
he taking advantage of your state and just working hard?

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 6:17
Yeah, I mean, this was complete and total punishment, right. And I grew up very intimidated by him. You know, just because of the, you know, when you’re constantly lying to your family, bad things happen, right? And when your constant disappointment, but you’re always being told you have so much potential and you never live up to it, it’s usually an issue. So I go to work for him for six months. I’m getting up at 5am every day, I’m in a pickup truck, on my way to Miami every morning at 530 change smoking cigarettes, listening to the Spanish radio station, trying not to look at my father having no conversations, the most uncomfortable 42 minute ride of your life every single day. And then all day long. I’m in He’s hot warehouses, and I’m building pallet racks and, and I have my little lunch box and now, I had just left you know, I did well enough to get into us, right? So I’m working this manual labor job. And it’s six months. I said, Fuck this. I said, I need to be back in air conditioning. Right? I need to I need to know what that feels like, again. I’m coming home disgusting and dirty. I’m home by five o’clock. I take a shower. I dinner I go to a meeting by 9pm I’m asleep. Because I’m getting up again the next day at five. Right? That was my first six months of recovery. So I decided to go back to school. It was the next best thing to do a manual favor. Right? Right. So I went back to school I took a job at Blockbuster Video. If you remember that place Oh yeah.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 7:48
Buster didn’t want to go digital.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 7:50
Yeah, Blockbuster Video and music.

And so from six months to a year, I worked at blockbuster and about a year cleaning I got fired. I got fired for stealing. And I share about that because just because you get clean doesn’t mean the behaviors all change. Right, right.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 8:09
I guess just I was gonna be like, did you actually steal? I did.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 8:13
Yeah. Did I built a hell of a music collection of CDs? And I had a really great VCR tape collection. Okay, you know, remember that? Yeah. So seven of us got fired, okay. The whole store wasn’t on it. Right. Loss Prevention came in, I should have been arrested and I wasn’t and so I then at a year clean took a job at Einstein brothers bagels. And one of the greatest things that ever happened to me, right, because in recovery, we learned how to be productive members of society. And there’s no better feeling than they made me a shift manager right. I was a manager at this place. I had freakin keys to the store the code to the safe and I’m like, if these motherfuckers really knew who I was. But what the incident at blockbuster taught me was, hey, it’s not cool to steal. Right? Right. So rather than working at Einsteins for three and a half years never stole anything, we got free food, you know, but

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 9:13
that’s good. You learn from your failures, but it felt good to

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 9:17
right right to be there and working right. And hey, Bob, you want the regular today?

Thanks, Barry. You know, like I felt a part of something like real life like I remember being an active addiction. coming home from the club in Gainesville, at eight o’clock in the morning on a Sunday, watching that token jogger going down the street who got a really good night’s sleep Saturday night, and feeling like the biggest piece of shit as you watch another family and it’s on their way to church, right. I just really wanted to feel better. And so I wind up going back to school. I continue to see the psychologist once a week Dr. Rick Harris is his name and I bring this up for a reason, I saw him for probably my first three years of my recovery. I wind up graduating undergrad, I apply for a doctorate program in psychology, I get accepted into it. I stopped seeing Dr. Harris and my very last session with him. He, um, his last patient of the day and he takes me out a back entrance. It’s not like the it’s like the employee entrance, right, for whatever reason. And you know, those wooden slot mailboxes? Yes. That has people’s names on them, where he had like, 10 different names up on this mailbox. And I’m like, wow, Dr. Harris. Like I didn’t realize you had so many psychologists working for you. And he said, Yeah, berries, like maybe your name will be up there one day and I’m like, Ah, you know, I didn’t think anything of it. So he and I lose touch. I wind up going to do my doctorate in psychology. He was one of my inspirations right. And I figured, like, it felt so good to be helped in the program, but I just wanted to help people, right. So I go through schooling I do, you know, four years of coursework, and it comes time to do a doctoral internship program. So once you complete your coursework, you have to do an internship and I fly to Chicago and I fly to DC and I’m interviewing at the Roundhouse in Joliet, Illinois and some federal thing and DC. And I interview at a school down here called Nova Southeastern University. They have a consortium, okay. And I walk into that interview. And lo and behold, Dr. Harris is in there. No, no, like, holy shit. Yeah, I haven’t seen him in years. Right. And here I am, you know, I followed through, I’m still clean, still doing being still doing this thing. And he recused himself because it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to interview me. I wind up getting that internship. And throughout that internship process, he brings me in and hires me to work in his private practice and my name makes it up on that mailbox. Nice. Right. Wow. So, so I’m doing this, I’m doing this internship with juvenile sex offenders and I’m working in his private practice in the evenings. And now really feeling productive right now. I like totally feel like a part of this world not

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 12:17
an embarrassment to the family anymore at this point.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 12:20
No, but they still were on kind of pins andneedles. Right? Yeah, I think because you created that pattern and they’re worried you might go back.

Yeah, I mean, it takes eons to build trust back. It takes minutes to lose it and he wants to build it. Yeah,

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 12:35
amen there, huh?

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 12:37
So anyways, I wind up completing my internship and then you have to do a year long postdoc residency and I stay working in this practice. And in order to be called a doctor, you have to do this thing called a dissertation. So I could either do a study or I could put together a program like do a program design. So I wind up designing an intensive outpatient program for substance abuse. Utilizing neuro biofeedback and interactive journaling, right? And Dr. Harris is my dissertation chair. So instead of just doing it as an assignment, which we did, we actually took that program and put it into existence and became the center for proven recovery or CPR. And Dr. Harrison I became 5050 partners in this business. That’s awesome. So here I was, he was the one who intervened on me who later became my business partner. And then very long story short, we wound up running that that program for a couple years, wound up expanding and we opened like five residential facilities down here in Florida, which were open until just about the beginning of 2018 or the end of 2017. Wow. That’s crazy. Yes. So I’ve been working in the industry for a good 15 years. Have a total passion for what I do. You know, I could not be a better fit and vice versa for recovery unplugged We are so unique and so different from what’s out there. And that doesn’t mean we’re not a traditional treatment program. It doesn’t mean we don’t do trauma therapy. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a family weekend. It doesn’t mean that our clinicians are not licensed masters level clinicians because all of that is true. But the way we do treatment is so very different than a treaty. So the way I say it is where a traditional treatment program with very untraditional approaches. Yeah, and, you know, it’s a music immersive program. One of our founders was a touring member of the band Aerosmith. Oh, wow, we have like, so we have stages built at our facilities, you know, some of them have recording studios, but only about 10% of our clients are actually musically inclined. So you definitely don’t have to be a musician to be with us.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 14:48
That’s really cool. Um, and the reason I bring that up, but it’s just kind of bonus that that you do what I like you said a non traditional or non traditional way of Recovery is that in my own recovery, I struggled with the traditional a model. And the reason is after a long time. Now first let me caveat, I totally believe in the model, without a doubt. And so, you know, it works if you work it literally. But having grown up in a family that was actively going through that, and they needed my mother and father that raised me, needed to be talking about it all the time. And so like I like to say, you know, a to me at a very young age was a linoleum floor that I sat in, while everybody smoked in the 70s and 80s. And was in some church hidden away. And, and then the fact I’d go home and I’ve told Scott this, I’ve told my audience, it was just, it was just beat into you, you know, every conversation every this and, and then my mother and father, my mother worked in counseling, and then my father was a Chief Probation Officer. So anyway, what was interesting When I went that route the first time, you know, I would classify it in those terms for people that are in recovery or thinking about it and go, just a, I was very dry drunk, like, I wasn’t drinking, but those 10 years, I still hadn’t dealt with things I needed to deal with, even though I’d always do the steps and I’d go back to different sponsors over time and, and I’d restart. And what was interesting is I had one guy, and he’s been on my pod that kind of got it. And the truth is, it was like this, I thought he was the craziest human being I’ve ever met anywhere, let alone the rooms. And finally I said, Man, if that guy can kick this, I can and I’ve got to get with him. Well, I got with him. He was great. And I just found this out last year. So he’s been with me through some sobriety then through me through active drinking again. Then back through sobriety, but the point is, he told my wife and I just found this out. Like, it’d be about 10 years ago, you know, your husband’s gonna go back out and drink, right? I just figured this. So he stood with me. And at some point, he just goes, listen, if you got to go back out, I mean, what type of guy does that I mean, you know, the, it’s, it’s hard, but he just he’s like, if that’s what you got to do to hit your bottom again. That’s what you got to do. It was the best advice even though it’s counterintuitive. And thank God, I survived it. Right. And then I went back, had to go to inpatient, and then doing really well now, but I say that because I wanted to kick in patient the first day I was in and I, I said, hey, look, we’re doing the 12 steps is the same for me. I’ve already done this for decades. And he and the guy goes, Hey, listen, it’s the foundation and it’s a great start point, but people can stay sober, you know, with a lot of different mechanisms. And not until that point in my life at 40 did I know that or did I believe that was possible? And so obviously, I started with that traditional foundation for the second time. And, and now these days, you know, I go if somebody has a birthday that I know and things like that, but I survive on kind of an alternative, if you will. And a lot of people don’t realize who are struggling out there, that there’s many ways to get sober and to get help. And there’s foundational things which I will tell you, you know, if I had to tell somebody, I would say, hey, that 12 steps is a great place to start, you know what I mean? But at the same time, there’s other mechanisms, I’m sure of what you do to teach it.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 18:49
Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s listen. We are not of the mindset of evil even 20 years ago. Okay. Where was it? My way or the way or you’re done, correct. There’s there’s multiple pathways to recovery at this point. No, no one size fits all. That’s become apparent that’s been evident. Some people need treatment, some people don’t. Some people can benefit from Na Na meetings, some don’t some benefit from Celebrate Recovery. Some don’t. You know, there’s so many different some of them are now on medication assisted treatment or ma T. Right. That’s been a tough one for me to swallow for for a while, you know, and I’ve come to grips with it, because at the end of the day, and not to veer off topic here, but I’ve seen so much loss, right. I mean, incomprehensible the amount of loss that I’ve seen, right, even just this morning, you know, great kid, God. You know, I desperately You know,

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 20:02
so it ends in one place if you keep losing, I mean, that is a fact. And it ends in

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 20:06
you if you pull any parent who has lost a loved one, right, whether it’s a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, and you ask them, would you be okay having that person back here? If, but they were living on Suboxone? 100,000,000% of the time, the answer is going to be yes. Right. So you go to a place where if you start to recognize that certain pathways don’t work for certain people, then you start to look at things like harm reduction, right, may not be the best solution, right? You know, ask anybody who’s been on methadone maintenance for 20 years, it’s not a great way to live. But they function, they’re at work, you know, they’re not copping dope. They’re not sticking needles in their arms. So the term is harm reduction, right? So we’re reducing, reducing the harm. It’s It’s not harm solution. Right? It’s harm reduction. So again, we are I should say I have become a lot more open to the different pathways. Now, if you were to ask me, you know, when I had a year and a half clean, and not as much education and I was brainwashed by you know, Narcotics Anonymous, you know, it’s na or bust right what do they call them? Nazis or a oxys. Right? So but you know, people change things change we all change and, and you know, the drugs have even changed

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 21:37
right but I think it’s important somebody with your experience, not only life sobriety doctor and treating people recognizes that but is able to say it because somebody like me, I know for a fact. Like, that wasn’t gonna work for me. And right, but I didn’t know anything different. And, you know, life would have it that I had one sponsor that was willing to push me in a weird direction, which was kind of against the establishment if you will. And again, thank God, I survived it. But I always knew that and of course, the second time, you know, I had to deal with that, that oxymoron. But the reality is, I go around and talk to people, um, you know, whatever, I’m just a guy, but you’re somebody that works in the field. And that is true. I have now seen lots of people figure away through those unique pathways, because I do believe it’s kind of like a fingerprint, you know. And, anyway, yeah, whoa.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 22:39
Whoa, I also think, you know, something I’ve been bringing up before, but, you know, one of the keys just in my opinion, and just my humble opinion, right. One of the keys to get somebody to buy in to recovery is allowing themselves enough time to experience the rewards. Of being sober. Right? There’s an old saying in the rooms don’t leave five minutes before the miracle happens that you never know it might be tomorrow when you wake up and that monkey is finally off your back. Right? If people like me and like you who have multiple years in recovery, if we eventually find peace and the key word is eventually, right, but as addicts we want, we want we want it we want to yesterday and it’s all about the instant gratification, actually wrote an article about this, about a month or two ago. It’s on LinkedIn, instant gratification versus delayed gratification. And as newly recovering addicts or alcoholics, we must learn to master the art of delayed gratification. The key word is gratification, it’s still there, it will still come. We may not know how long it takes. But if you just don’t give into that first one, eventually you’ll get to that place where the reward of being clean will outweigh the reward of going back out. I see it, you know, in treatment all the time, they’ll come up to me clients, and they’ll be like Dr. Barry, this thing just isn’t working for me. I just have to go use. And I’ll be like, hey, Bill, you know, how long have you been here? For days? How long were you using for 14 years? Okay, so you’re basing whether recovery is going to work for you in four days, versus the amount of time you spent out there? Why don’t you give yourself 24 days, or even 44 days or better yet, give it 90 days just like I did. And if you’re still hell bent on going back out, drugs will always be there. But a lot of times, we sell ourselves short and we sabotage. Right, you sabotage, and we get caught in this vicious cycle. That just doesn’t end.

So it’s about patience.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 24:57
It’s totally about patience. And I remember Like, what? What you know, even in the 10 years like in again, in the rooms, we’ll call it dry drunk. I mean, I was physically, you know, free of it, but mentally I hadn’t kind of broken I used to always think, oh, it’d be so easy to do this and so easy to do that. And, you know, today what I love is, you know, the obsessions, not even they’re not even close. But at the same time, I mean, I had to get some mental health help underlying issues. And one like you said, way better life, right wouldn’t change it. Sometimes don’t even know who that guy was. But I was that guy. And at it, but at the same time, like, it’s so funny, like, we have to find our own way. And here I was struggling with the quote unquote, program that was supposed to help me and I always equated to, you know, some people go to church. A lot of times we’re forced when we’re young, and you know, you’re supposed to come Have that hour or whatever feeling better about yourself. While I remember, you know, going to church and my family was always fighting, you know, even today, when we’re taking the kids, it’s always like, drama. And I’m like, there’s got to be a better way to spend your hour. And there were times early, when I go to the rooms when I go back to the rooms now. It’s cool. It’s cool to hear the stories. And to me, addiction is addiction, whether it’s sex addiction in a, you know, and that’s how I identify like, I can get addicted to anything, you know, and that’s what I don’t want to be right. And it’s interesting. So how did you integrate music? And what’s that kind of? Where did that come from? The vision or how do you do it? Because I’m really curious because you’re actually first kind of I’ll call it would alternative treatment be a better word? Probably not.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 26:53
Huh? I mean, like I said before, we still do you know, cognitive behavioral therapy dialectical. Behavioral Therapy EMDR trauma therapy. But it’s a music immersive program, we actually don’t even do music therapy, believe it or not. We use music more as a catalyst to connect with our clients and break down barriers. We have five musical performance groups throughout the week. We do some pretty unique style groups. In the morning, instead of doing a goals group where you sit around and say today, I’ll be honest, my goal for the day is to stay in all groups without getting up. You know, we do a group called Mic check or pump up and everybody gets up and we blast music and everybody gets out of their seat and moves their body around because there’s a mind body connection. Music actually touches areas or hits those areas of the brain, that drugs and alcohol, right, it’s in the nucleus accumbens if you want the scientific term, right, but that’s weird. The dopamine is released. And so what we’ve been able to do is create positive memories with music. And we focus on things called recovery triggers rather than relapse triggers. We do a group every week. Okay. And for me, it is probably my most favorite group of the week. And I think the clients would echo that. It’s called open mic. And let me ask you something, right. Yeah, put me in the rooms. Let’s go. Let me ask you something. Have you ever been in a meeting, just a ran a meeting, and somebody raises their hand and share something that you say to yourself, just to yourself, oh, my fucking god. Like, I could never open up like that in front of a group of people. And that is something I would have taken to my grave. You ever hear somebody share something thing like that and they get super raw, super vulnerable, emotional, and they’re speaking from their heart, right? Yeah. And you’re sitting back going, holy shit, right. Now are you back there going? What a pussy now, right? You probably have mad respect for this person. And when that person puts their hand down, what do you think happens when the second person raises their hand after them?

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 29:30
They’re, they’re like, Oh, God, I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to top that. They know they open up

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 29:37
and they get vulnerable. Yeah,

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 29:39
it relaxes people. Right.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 29:41
And then the third person who raises her hand, gets vulnerable and shares about something real not about how to sound good, right? Yeah. Who do you think the seventh person in that meeting to raise your hand is? raise their hand is? Probably me. You Yeah. That seemed person who 25 minutes ago said, there’s no way I could ever open up like that in a meeting and 25 minutes later your hand goes up by itself and now you’re being vulnerable. Right? So what we learn is vulnerability is contagious.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 30:16
Yeah, you start to feel psychological safety and that dynamic.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 30:21
Okay, so then you leave that meeting, and what do you say about that meeting? His greatest ever? greatest meeting ever, right? So we have this group we do every Wednesday at all of our facilities and all four different states that we’re located in, okay. And it’s called open mic. And like I mentioned before, we have stages at our facility, right. And if you ever been up on a stage before you stand up on that stage, and there’s lights on you and the microphone in front of you, and there’s an audience out there. So every Wednesday, every one of our clients are assigned to a primary clinician, right? That’s their therapists that they have Throughout the day, and that therapist knows them better than any of the other therapists who they’ve seen in group. Sure. And that therapist gives them an assignment to write on something meaningful, okay? It’s not about how do you feel if you wake up in the morning and you stub your toe, it’s something more serious, right? It could be sexual abuse from your past. It could be physical abuse, trauma, PTSD, the loss of a relationship, something serious and they’re challenged to write it into a lyrical verse. Okay, their assignment now, they don’t have a, you know, a creative bone in their body. They can just write it down on paper, right? We had one kid who wanted to be a sportscaster, and he made his assignment into a sports broadcast, right? And so what happens is one by one, and this group takes about four hours, okay, and one by one. each client gets up on stage in front of the lights in front of the microphone, feeling vulnerable and naked and depressed. perform their assignment up on stage. If they don’t, and aren’t musicians, then they’ll just read aloud. Some do spoken poetry, whatever the case is, right? But he is their community is sitting out in the audience and with our clinician sitting in the back, and they do their assignment and then each person up on stage gets five to 10 minutes where they get feedback from the community. Similarly, like in a meeting, okay, so now you’re saying, Well, what about that person who’s new? That person whose biggest fear is public speaking? We say fuck you, you’re getting up there, right? Because the concept of being in treatment is to know that when you become uncomfortable, and you go through and do it anyways, you will eventually find a new comfort zone. Okay? It’s about walking through that fear. But that person may be the 22nd person to get up on that stage that day, just like you were the seventh person to share in that meeting. Right? But in three weeks from now, that person who was 22nd is now getting up first. Understand? Yeah. And what happened to the community is it becomes like this. They all get together. It doesn’t matter where you come from, how old you are, what your drug of choice was. We’re a treatment center. We’re not a wellness center. We’re not for Well, people, right? This is about sick people needing to get better, not bad people needing to become good, right? And so they get up on stage spill their guts and the community and the camaraderie within the community is like at an all time high.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 33:37
Yeah, because it becomes fun. I mean, for everybody,

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 33:41
everybody. So whenever I do tours, right, if let’s say, You flew from Nebraska, and you wanted to tour our facility in Florida, I would take you around our campus, we have a detox and residential campus in Lake Worth Palm Beach, right and i would say Go ahead and pull any client you want aside and ask them how their stay is. And I kid you not 100% of the time, they say, this is the best facility I’ve ever been to. That’s awesome. Okay, every time it’s engaging, they don’t watch the clock during group they want to participate. And for us, the music aspect starts at the front door. Right? So let’s say you have a patient for me, you call me up Dr. Berry, I got so and so really is looking for some help. Here’s his information, please go ahead and call him right. And we have our admissions team reach out to this potential client and we conduct something called a pre screening assessment. So we need to find out their medical history, their mental health history, their substance use history, as well as their legal history. You know, what treatment centers they’ve been to, you know, we want to make sure that they’re meeting criteria to come into our facility. But towards the end of the acept s assessment, we asked them what their favorite genre of music is, who their favorite artist is. And what’s that one song that touches them the most. Right? Yeah. And so they booked their ticket from Nebraska and they fly into Fort Lauderdale and our drivers there at the airport and we greet them at baggage claim. And as soon as that client sits down in our transport vehicle, that song is playing for them right away. And all of a sudden, I shit you not. The walls come down, the body language, loosen. They’re like, I love that song. And we’re like, we know we listened. We heard you for the first time. Yeah. By the way, do you like Bob Marley too? Yeah, sure do. Yeah. Or is established immediately, right. The little things that happen at recovery, unplugged, that kind of stuff. differentiate us and that I’m just giving you like a small yams.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 36:04
No, if I come down, and I do, I’m a big golfer. So I come to Florida a lot. I want to come see it because I love it. I mean, because you’re talking, you know, the old school ways or the ways I experienced initially. Were not fun I equate it to when I was a kid, the linoleum floor, the smoke in the rooms, then when I went in, you know, same thing as you said, like, this way or the highway, blah, blah, blah. But it was the one sponsor, that we got rapport and he would listen to what my unique bs was. It’s not that it’s unique in attics. It’s just it’s my personal story. And I had to unplug some things. And and he had the balls. And like I said, I’m not saying that. Well, what I would say is anybody that constantly obsessed like I did, I don’t know when anybody’s bottom is, but my boss I’m required that I go back out and see. And I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t do that. And all I would be, if I continued to dry as I’d be a very miserable person that may be dealt with the alcohol but didn’t deal with the mental health. They were kind of connected. And so you’re building rapport, you’re building a positive thing. And for me, that was just one person who listened, right? And then, you know, has always been with me. I mean, I love the guy. But Wow, through music, and then of course, you didn’t go into the science but like you said, there’s science behind it, which totally makes sense with dopamine and things like that. And I’ve always said like, a lot of recovery is trust. I mean, trust that your doctors trust that somebody else has been there that eventually the the gratitude, gratification, gratitude is going to come.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 37:49
And we also have, we also have outcome data. So we’ve been studied for the last almost five years by Nova Southeastern University. They’ve done a longitudinal study on us and Some of the findings thus far have been very impressive right? Now our sober rates are four times the national average, which the national average is only about eight to 10%. So we’re hovering somewhere between mid 30s to 40%. of sober rate. We’re actually you know, staying clean post treatment. We have ama rates that are industry average of clients who believe against medical advice is somewhere between 38 to 42%, believe it or not, of clients who go to treatment and leave without completing red 7%. So that goes back to that whole camaraderie thing that once they’re with us. It doesn’t matter if it was an intervention that got them there. It was someone’s parents, it was the courts. They came voluntarily. It was a husband or a wife. They stay our our client satisfaction. So we do approval ratings and on our way out on a client’s way out they take an anonymous survey on the computer. And they literally read everything from the sheets on their bed, the food, the therapy, the staff, the condition 95% approval rating from the clients, which is also unheard of, right? Because you’re always going to get, you’re typically going to be if you’re a good facility, mid 6070, something like that. So we definitely have some outcome data, which is awesome. We’ve been open now for just about eight years. But we also have locations besides Florida. We’re in Austin, Texas. We’re in Nashville, Tennessee, and we’re in Northern Virginia, about five miles outside of Washington, DC. So, we’re all over the place. We try to help as many people as we can, you know, within our within within reason, of course. But and then you know, to top it all off, we get to do some really cool stuff, right? Like we’ve had some amazing musicians that have come to question format our facilities from Steven Tyler candlebox to flow rider, type dollar sign Dion from Dion and the belmonts everclear. We just did our grand opening, not just October of last year in Nashville, and clay cook from the Zac Brown band came out and performed. So, you know, there’s definitely perks to this job. You know, we had a meeting with Macklemore, six months ago, just like, I don’t even know my head spins, you know, like, I wasn’t, I wasn’t brought up in this, you know, in this whole music industry or anything like that, you know, so

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 40:43
well Scott’s going crazy because he did about 1720 years in radio out in Southern California. So yeah,

Scott Papek 40:50
yeah, I’m not I’m not a musician, but I was the decision maker whether your song made it on the radio or not for a long amount of time. And then a short brief thing was scouting unsigned bands. I would go watch and play in cub clubs, like three or five different bands at night. So I was around the industry a long time, lost some friends from addiction. Just a few questions.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 41:20
I just want to stop you for one sec. I just want to be clear that all of those people I named Steven Tyler’s and those were all people who came to our facility to perform.

Scott Papek 41:29
I was clear on that. But yes, I know, I

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 41:32
had tons of musicians obviously that I couldn’t name because they were clients. But yeah, I wanted to be clear that we’re not breaking any type of HIPAA.

Scott Papek 41:40
Yeah, no, no, no. And I and I, I appreciate you clarifying that. I just have a couple questions, obviously, because I have a deep love for music and hearing it and it affects me in in very positive ways. And sometimes negative ways if I’m listening to the wrong stuff, and I can always pull myself when I know I’m not doing great. I’m like, Oh, I’m listening to some weird stuff. Right now, but did you do you? Was this your idea of the music? Or was it research? Or is it something like where did you come up with the concept?

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 42:09
One of our founders, his name is Paul plunger. I’ve known Paul for close to 25 years. And Paul’s also a person in recovery. And he’s always had an affinity towards music. He spent most of his career since 1989 working in this industry, and helped a lot of probably 40 different treatment centers open. And there was just nothing like this, right? Yeah. He knew that there was a way that we can connect music in medicine, right? And or music as medicine. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have psychiatrists and doctors because we do. But you know, music is powerful. And music sometimes can convey things that words can and it hits us in our soul. A lot of ways that just the spoken word word can through vibrations and melodies. And, you know, you brought up a really good, good point, that there’s some songs that are good and some songs that are bad, right? That is true. How does music really affect us? Right? What is it that we like or don’t like about music? I mean, have you ever been in a car, and a song comes on and right away, you’re like, Oh, I don’t like that song and you change the channel, right? Or conversely, you’re in the car and a song comes on, and you roll down the we don’t roll anymore. But you you push down the window, and you start singing at the top of your lungs. Chances are, it’s not so much about the song itself, that negative emotion that was elicited by that first song, more than likely somewhere in your brain was connected with a negative experience from your past. Right. When Chicago, the ban Chicago Yeah. Even though I think they’re great. I have a negative tie to that band. Because when I was 11 years old and I got my braces off, okay, I had something like 13 cavities in my teeth just from areas where the braces were back then the big metal ones. And I remember hearing that song in the waiting room of my dental office. And it took a while for me to connect this right. On the flip side, a song comes on that might remind you of a time where you were head over heels in love at summer camp, or, you know, you were at the roller skating rink with your buddies in high school like and it elicits good emotion. So we have figured out a way to harness that power of connection with the music into addiction treatment and mental health. So

Scott Papek 44:49
yeah, it’s great. And then my other question is, you know, out of the low, like, how are you picking your locations because Austin and Nashville are definitely like hotbeds for music and you Musicians on purpose.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 45:01
So Florida, Florida was just Florida because that’s where we’re all from. Right. Austin is the live music capital of the country stretch that was done on purpose. Northern Virginia was done more opportunity than four for its location. There was another facility there that had operated since 1998. That fell out of favor with the community and we wound up purchasing the facility and rebranding and changing the name. Nashville was also done on purpose. Obviously, we’re actually in Brentwood, about 10 minutes outside of Nashville, right. So two big music towns. You know, most smart business people pick locations based on insurance reimbursements. We don’t do that, right. We’re not that smart. Because the markets aren’t that great, like money wise in those areas when it comes to insurance reimbursements but it was more about just the vibe of the community and where we felt like we would be a great fit You know, the other place we’ve looked at, there’s two other places or a few other places, one being LA. But we’re still trying to wrap our head around how, you know, managing a facility with a three hour time difference. Like we already have enough issues entering a facility with a one hour time difference out in Austin and Nashville, as opposed to East Coast time. So plus, it’s you know, our one of our main founders was like, I always want us to be within two and a half hours. So, you know, from Florida to DC, Florida to Nashville, Florida, to Austin, Austin to Nashville to DC. You know, you’re looking at La which is, you know, a five hour five and a half hour trip. So but yeah, they were done on purpose.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 46:46
Doc Berry, this is this is awesome. I mean, just for me personally, because like I said, it’s, it’s not as common, unique treatment methods. I don’t know if that’s because I’m in the Midwest or what? So I’ve always enjoyed discussing it with people, certainly a pro that’s not only experienced recovery, which you have, but then the story to give back, create this be able to talk about it. I think it’s important people know, right? There’s all kinds of different ways. When you gave your date, I thought back and I’m like, Oh, no, I know my date. It’s Memorial Day. 2015. And the reason I remember that, and I say that for the audience, because I don’t want them to be confused on when we’re talking about different recovery methods. And again, you know, I’ve done the 12 steps. That’s how I got back sober here. How I stay sober is unique to people that only buy into that way. But yeah, it was a week before that on vacation. I was in the throes of it and tried to kill myself and then probably was still buzzing when I had to drive my family home from a vacation and then typical military guy Memorial Day everybody wants to party. And I had, you know, pretty much had the choices right then in there. Right? And You know, started to taste a beer and went now, this is the end. So every memorial day for me, you know, it’s a lot to other people. So that’s my date and, you know, pretty, but day by day, right? I mean, I just, it’s day by day for me. I mean, I just, it’s going good and, but I never, I never take it for granted. And it’s awesome. I mean, I obviously understand, you know, the personal growth you’ve had, but it’s really cool to see you working in the field and helping so many people in a unique way. Hey,

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 48:32
yeah, I mean, that’s, uh, you know what I do? I’m on the front lines. I do a lot of intervention work with families. I basically get people into treatment. So I’d love to leave my phone number. Yeah. You know, for anyone who would like to contact me My number is 754-246-8999 available whenever you can call me or text me and I will do my best to help. Even if it’s not being placed into my facility per se, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure you get placed somewhere.

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 49:07
So that’s awesome. Helping others. It’s a great thing. And I told Scott I said, Hey, that you know, you, I know you want me to do Navy SEAL stuff, but I said, here’s the real guy behind the mask and I go, part of doing the podcast is gonna help me in my own sobriety and growth. And that’s what we try to do is just spread the information and it’s true, I get more. I get more therapy out of these sessions than then my guests do. And hopefully we’re helping, you know, some people out there.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 49:37
I hope so. Yeah. So we’re in a big deal, huh?

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 49:41
Yeah. Yeah. 20 years. That’s sick. Yes. Awesome. 20 years and went in sober, got sober in college, a little, you know, at 21. And then, you know, did did about the first 10 years, which was interesting. I was always a DD for the team. I was a team player. too, so it was a good thing to not be a full addict. But then over injuries and times it started with opioids to continue to do the job. And, you know, so I’m a walking case study for that. 18 surgeries now in my life because of that. And then when the opioid started getting controlled, I was like, Well, I can just block the pain by you know, grabbing a case of beer or whatever. And, you know, immediately for addicts out there, if you have that deal, it comes back real quick. like not even quick like, it’s boom, it’s there. And so for me, like I said, it was good to get rid of the obsession, and start living life again. Because I was getting to where I was a dead soul, even though I was, even though quote, unquote, I was doing some good professional things. That’s the other thing. We’re usually highly driven successful people. As I always like to say it’s a razor’s edge so you can if you miss channel, it can get fucked up really quick. So I love sharing this story because it helps me stay where I need to be

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 51:02
good for you. This has been really enjoyable for me so I thank you for inviting me on and I look forward to maybe doing something else with you guys in the future for sure. And if I come down

CDR Jack Riggins USN (SEAL) RET. 51:13
which I know I will, I’m gonna get in contact with you because I want to see the facility.

Barry Reiman, Psy.D 51:17
That’d be awesome. love to have you as a guest.