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013 – Interview with Mike Miller (The Cabin Addiction Services Group)

The Cabin Addiction Services Group is an international private addiction treatment provider with inpatient and outpatient centres across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Europe. It is best known for its inpatient rehab centre The Cabin Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where Australians make up the largest client group by country at about 30% of total clients. In Australia, we also have outpatient addiction treatment clinics The Cabin Sydney and The Cabin Melbourne where we offer both primary treatment for addiction as well as ongoing recovery support treatment for Cabin Chiang Mai clients who live in those cities.

They typical profile of The Cabin’s clients are “high-functioning addicts” – individuals working in mid-upper level managerial positions, with families and good standing in their communities who are in their late 30s – late 40s.

We also have The Edge a rehab designed specifically for males 18 -28, where again Australians are our largest client group = 50% of all clients. The treatment here combines equal proportions of psychotherapy and sport (muay thai boxing and triathlon training) to achieve recovery.

How can people contact you?

PH: +66 52 080 720

Toll Free AUS: 1800 251 994

PH: 02 9326 2867

PH: 03 8539 8053

To hear the full interview, simply press play button below (make sure your volume is turned up).

Or if you prefer to read the transcript of the full interview, see below –

Welcome everyone, Rod from Sports Adventure here. And today we continue our fantastic interview series, where I interview inspirational people from around the world to share their expert insights on exercise, good nutrition, and men’s health.

I am very fortunate today to be able to speak with Mike Miller, Deputy Manager of the consulting team for The Cabin Addiction Services Group, an international private addiction treatment provider with in-patient and out-patient centers across the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe. Well then Mike, how are you doing?

Mike: Hi, I am good Rod. Thanks for having me.

Rod: No worries at all. Mate thank you. We have just talking a little bit. We have tic-tac a little bit to put this one together, really appreciate your time and we will get started away.

Mike: Yeah. My pleasure. My pleasure.

Rod: Fantastic. Mate, what do you think is so good about being a counselor for people that you treat in the center?

Mike: Well, I guess what’s good about it is helping to facilitate change so that people can live a healthier lifestyle. It has to be all inclusive – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, whatever that means to an individual – by just kind of holistic approach to the whole person.

The people we get tend to be quite unwell… you know I don’t want to categorized them in any way that we stigmatize them, but other people they might categorized themselves as damage or broken. They have really been through very difficult times. And so what we want to do is help them to regain health including, of course, recovery because we do deal with addictions and traumas a lot. So putting people back together, and watching them change their lives and change their relationships with family. We can help them to change generations of their family if they get well. That’s probably the most rewarding part of it, for sure.

Rod: Mate, that’s unbelievable to be able to help people that have been suffering, if you like, some fairly long term trauma there and work through those and turn their lives around. What type of people do you guys see coming through the center?

Mike: So obviously addiction is sort of the ultimate leveler of the playing field, where it doesn’t matter culture, race, gender, sexuality, age, and socioeconomic background. It doesn’t discernment so to speak.

With that being said, as we are luxury facility, we tend to get a lot of… and we are located in Thailand, so there is a lot of expats, there is a lot of business people, some celebrities, athletes, some royalty. But as far as luxury goes, we provide 5-star luxury treatment, but because we are in Thailand it is actually at a very affordable price compare to something in the west, which would be probably 4 to 8 times the price of what we provide. So generally people from stable or upper socioeconomic standings, but of all ages and cultures and across the spectrum all kinds of people.

Rod: Yeah. Certainly. Well, you spoke briefly about your new facility before we got on the call there and some of the features of that facility – could you talk through some of those again Mike? It is quite exciting really.

Mike: Yeah. It is very exciting for us, and I am always very happy to talk about it, because it is very exciting.

So we went from a facility that was a resort that we had adapted to our needs, but of course you are always kind of playing catch up as the needs change and as you expand and grow. So what we did is we have made one of the only purpose built rehab centers in the world. It is 120 beds broken into 4 different treatment villages: 40 beds, 40 beds, 20 beds, 20 beds. The facilities that are there, there is an indoor air conditioned gym that has all kinds of top-end newest machines… you know from universal gym to bikes and treadmill.

Also on the side of that there is a spins studio that we can use for spin classes. There is a lap pool there; I think it is a 20 meter lap pool that’s there. And that is all in case in all glass windows overlooking at mountain, it is really quite amazing. And outside of that there is a little sports playing field of some sort, it is like a joint basketball soccer field with amphitheater style seating around it. That’s shared between the 4 villages, that gym facility. And also it is of course we have got showers and that kind of stuff.

Each village individually has holistic departments that include reiki, yoga, massage spas, EFT and different sorts of alternative therapies, because we are trying to treat the whole holistic picture – physical, mental, emotional, and everything.

Every village has a top of the line restaurant, and of course has a therapy department with counselors, therapist, psychologist, with great group rooms and an individual counseling.

Also on the side, we have a 10 bed hospital with 2 psychiatrists on and 24 hour medical staff. That hospital we have actually made available to the local community, because we are located up the in the mountains in northern Chiang Mai, so it is part of our wanting to contribute to the community. We have made the hospital available to the community.

And we also have kind of green standing or eco-friendly standing, where we have our own water processing plant and the water doesn’t get wasted it gets filter through and brought back up and use to water our own greens plants, shrubs, and trees etc etc. So, all of thought has been put into having as little of a footprint as we can on the local community and culture and actually contributing rather than effecting it in a negative way, for sure.

Rod: That’s an unbelievable facility, and I must congratulate you and your team for putting that together. And I can imagine something like that to support people that are suffering some serious addictions, and those sort of facilities would certainly help progress through their treatment, and as you said that holistic approach to get them back on track again.

Mike: Absolutely. It is one of the things… I mean there are not to take away from the other sort of resources that are available like government funded resources that are a little bit more sort of bare bones, if you will.

And I myself I am a man in recovery from addiction, and I have been for a number of years. I got clean in a government funded place that definitely didn’t have the luxury that we had. And that being said it also didn’t address everything in a holistic sort of matter. They sort of try to take care of me – mentally, emotionally, physically – to the best of their ability, but what I had to do is seek ongoing therapy beyond that what the center could provide.

What we do is try to address all of that stuff from the get go including all kinds of addictions obviously drugs, alcohol, process addiction, so gambling compulsive sexuality or sex addiction, food related disorders, and trauma. We have a trauma track where anyone with underline trauma PTSV and anything like that, because those are some of the… trauma particularly is something that can underpin the addiction, and if it doesn’t get dealt with you might be looking at a relapse down the road. We kind of try to… well under part of our program, I think we do a very complete job of what we are doing, and not kind of neglect any part of the whole process.

Rod: Certainly. Mate that sounds unreal. Congratulation to yourself for being able to work through a program of years gone by, and now you are there leading the crew and helping others. That’s admirable. Well done mate.

Mike: Thank you very much. Yeah, from my own personal recovery I am obviously quite happy about it. My mother sleeps better at night, and to be able to help I mean I just feel that it is kind of I am privileged and it is an honor to be able to watch other people, other men… It is a co-ed facility of watching people just move forward back into health is really very rewarding.

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Rod: Yeah, you bet. Mate, you have mentioned quite a broad range of addictions there that you are able to work through with and assist people with. Are there any common problems that you see between a lot of your patients or a lot of people that you treat that you can generalize a little bit?

Mike: Sure. The thing about addiction… I mean if we look at it historically, the way that people sort of approach addiction, they only want to see treatment. But identifying addiction was kind of the moral model where bad people your weak will centers, and you need to be punished, you know? You still hear that today, even though in the 1950’s it’s been identified as being as an illness, but even here people today when they see things like junkies and addicts with that negative connotation, but we do know that it is an illness.

I know a lot of people kind of bristle when they hear that, but there is a lot of brain science behind that. We aren’t just saying it is an illness. There is a recognizable and predictable pathology of what happens in someone’s brain, particularly the mid brain and the reward system isn’t working right, so what people do is they pathologically seek reward. Anything that they can do that kind of reinforces release of dopamine in that part of the brain, so that comes out… when we look at that way as a disease, someone doesn’t have a gambling addiction or heroin addiction, they just have addiction and however that’s manifesting they have… you know some of the things that we hear is that people talk about feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. They aren’t confident. Even if good things are happening in their life, even if they are really achieving things, they feel as though they don’t really below, and they don’t have that confidence. They have a lack of sense of meaning and purpose. They have a very unique kind of mind crushing kind of boredom, restlessness, and then all of the sudden they get introduced to something that releases all of those neurotransmitters and then they feel okay. And whether that’s their first drink, first drug, first bet whatever it is, when they do that and they feel okay they do that again. And it works in the beginning. That’s what happens.

As people say “Well, at the beginning this was really a useful way for me to be able to show up and do things and interact with people and just get rid of those feelings I had that I didn’t like.” And then after a while it stops working. And the consequences start showing up – social and environmental sort of consequences, relationship consequences, financial, legal, and health problems. And it doesn’t really matter of what the face of their addiction is whether that’s say cocaine or speaking in Australia crystal methamphetamine, ice or gambling like the pokies, it doesn’t matter which one of those are, the consequences are still the same. Health problems, relationship problems, feeling a lot of shame and things start to aspire a lot of control until at some point whether it is internalized pressure from the individual like I really need to get this under control, or externalized pressure whether that’s family, work, legal systems say you need to get this under control.

However, they get to treatment the characteristic of the disease are the same no matter what the substance or process is, and it is same consequences. In some people it is just happens faster than others, they seem to step up a cliff; whereas other seem to like gradually come down. Like some alcoholics could drink for 25 years, somehow managing to keep it together; whereas some alcoholics the consequences come fast and hard. So there is genetic sort of implications in that and environmental and social implications, but most commonalities are the behaviors that go with the compulsive seeking of reward, and emotional, and spiritual sort of like hopelessness, helplessness, sometimes suicidality, isolation, and that kind of stuff. I can talk forever, I’m rambling here.

Rod: What you are saying is fantastic, and being able to break it down into a fairly succinct real description, I really appreciate that mate. I think a lot of my listeners would certainly open their eyes to what some of these people are actually going through on a daily basis, and as you said the implications are far reaching and a massive impact on their whole world.

Mike: Absolutely. Yeah.

Rod: Yeah.

Mike: We know that the people around the addict tend to be as negatively impacted as the addict, because, the way that those systems works particularly family systems. The families in trying to protect the addict from their own consequences so bailing them out, giving them money, keeping secrets so that lying to work, “Oh he is sick today”, whatever those things are. The addict doesn’t experience the consequences, but the family members do. They are the ones paying the money, they are the ones having sleepless nights, and they get the consequence and they don’t even get the so called benefits of being able to get high and forget about it. So, yeah it does have far reaching implications for…

And then we go into social implications, the health care cost, the policing cost like there is just so much.

Rod: Mate, that’s massive.

Mike: Yeah, I don’t think that it gets the resources that it needs as far… because of that moral model like I don’t want my tax dollars going to pay for some junkie to go to treatment that kind of stuff. Well your tax dollars are going to a very sick person go into jail, go into the emergency room whatever it might be. So one way or another we all end up paying for it, so it is better to come out.

Since I got clean, I haven’t cost tax payers anything. What I have done is just contributed vast sums of tax dollars. So the pay-off is good, it is just getting passed to that stigmatization of these are bad people who make bad choices, and it is choices that have them where they are.

Rented what happens with addiction is it comes part and parcel with incredibly unacceptable behaviors and bad decisions so that’s where people don’t buy into the disease stuff and start kind of stigmatizing because it is a really easy target. But if you spend time talking to addicts, they know that they are behaving in those terrible ways and they just can’t stop themselves until they get a chance to break the cycle.

Rod: Mate, that’s incredible. You mentioned you have a number of different people coming to your centers – how long does it take to end… and this is quite broader question, but people to be able to start to respond to the prices that you work through with them and have real positive change to their lives?

Mike: That’s very individualistic. I quite often tell clients or patients: if you bring the willingness, we will give you the rest. So, if someone comes with some sort of external pressure to come in, treatment can be very effective as long as they want to do the work. If someone else is self-motivated at the beginning then that’s what they are the self-motivated. And some of the benefits happen immediately. They get connection to other people that they can identify with who are going through the same thing as them, had the same struggles, the same shameful behaviors, same family dynamics that kind of stuff.

And as soon as they come in, we start that holistic approach – every person will be getting out of bed in the morning, having a structured day, doing group therapy, doing group exercise, doing moral therapy; they will have massages schedule; they will have different holistic services schedule and then we have a range of them. They will have meals, three meals, healthy meals, at specific times every day, so really gives a day of structure, which they aren’t use to having. They have a curfew. They sleep. So the holistic end of it we are just taking care of them. A lot of the physical stuff happens just by implementing structure that happens on day 1.

If someone is in a detox period, their benefits are also happening on day 1, but sometimes aren’t felt the same, because we are just stabilizing them medically first, but that’s a big step for someone who needs that.

There are people who come and our treatment resistant, if we can say that. And I think that we try to help them to see the benefits of changing for the positive. What we would call compensatory behaviors, so sometimes that comes in the form of rebellion, and if that comes… you know we can be perceived as authority figures and then rebellion starts… you know they might come in the form of compliance, where they act they are doing really well. It is kind of like a surface you think. Each case is very individualistic. If someone shows up and wants to get well, they will see results very, very quickly. With other people, it might take a bit longer.

What we do know is that when addiction was identified as an illness in the 1950’s, insurance companies then had to pay for treatment. And what insurance companies did was said, “Okay. Fine. I guess we will pay for treatment. We will pay for 4 weeks of treatment and law will be hold the 28-day treatment model became the norm.” That’s a very arbitrary number that came about, because of insurance companies it has nothing to do with an effective length of time for treatment. We of course offer people to come in for 28 days, but we know when the statistics prove out that addiction treatment is not specific – the longer the treatment the better the outcome.

As our program goes, we go kind of deeper through the levels of therapies, so the initial part is identifying the addiction really kind of getting an idea of this scope and breath of it to break through any denial that someone might have… you know how is it manageable, or it is not hurting anyone and it is not that bad. And then the second phase of it sort of we get into like deeper things where we look at like their boundary issues and difference sort of coping mechanism that they have with denial.

And then in the 3rd stage we get into things like childhood environment and dynamics, and we get into toxic shame and how they deal with fear and anger and kind of masks and personas that they wear that stops from being authentic people, so we kind of go deeper and deeper through it.

So the longer someone stays the more sort of intense and impactful I guess the treatment could be the less sort of superficial; because if someone comes in for 28 days it is essentially kind of like a tree orange. We manage departments and send them back. But what we want to do is we want to get them and heal them and that takes a longer period of time. Does that mean someone cannot be successful in 28 days? Well it doesn’t, but we are going to provide people with clinical recommendations post treatment.

It all comes down to I guess if we use an analogy something like cancer. Heaven forbid you have cancer. You go and you do an acute in patient, which will be the hospital. You get some surgery and then after the surgery the doctor says to you, “Okay, Rod here is what we need. You got to comeback 3 times a week for 2 hours and do some pretty aggressive therapy and we are going to give you a regime of pharmacological medicine and then you really need to change your diet and exercise and live healthier life style.” And if you say to that doctor, “I don’t know doc, I am pretty busy. Maybe I could come in and instead of 3 times a week for 2 hours. Maybe I could come every second Wednesday for 1 hour, and I will take some of these medicine but not all of it because it doesn’t taste very good. And that exercise, I will try but I don’t think I can do it.” Your prognosis is going to be very poor.

Addiction is the same way, if you want… it is a chronic illness, so it is not going anywhere. This isn’t a phase that anyone is going through the season. They are not hanging out with the bad crowd… well they might be but that’s not what causing the addiction. So what it needs is to keep the symptoms at bay, it needs some form of treatment on a daily basis. Post impatient treatment, you need actor or continuing care treatment.

We do offer all kinds of that stuff. That’s why our out-patients clinics around the world come in. We have online services that we provide both one-on-one counseling and group therapy online. We have offered one week sort of refresher, where someone if they stays over they can come back and they can pick a week at you know say 3 months down the road, 6 months down the road. I will comeback for that week and I will do that. They can comeback for family sessions. We try to really keeping the treatment ongoing because we know when you stop treating the symptoms they comeback.

Rod: Mate, that’s unreal. Your description and what you guys are doing, it is sensational. Absolutely sensational.

Mike: Thank you very much. We are very excited. I worked in rehabs in Canada. I worked in in-patient out-patient with addictions doctors, and I really truly believe that our program will stand up to anything around the world, and now our facilities will be head and shoulders to the anything around the world. We are quite proud of what we do, and I am really just grateful to be able to do it.

Rod: You bet. Well done mate. You have mentioned a couple of different reasons why someone would come to you – if they made their decision on their own, family pressure, legal direction, something like that – at what point is that person that in their addiction as far as a tipping point, if you would like to say, is this a 11th hour type of thing? Do they say, “Okay, I need to stop moving, and this is going into really bad lives.”

Mike: Well, it really depends. I mean the things about denial has a psychological mechanism that’s stop us from being able to see the truth of our situation is that it is incredibly resilient and denial can be very resilient. So, in face of all this evidence that life is terrible and you are at really bad spot, some people continue going.

And I had a friend who was told that he injects drugs into an artery in his leg one more time, they are going to cut his leg off and he got his leg cut off, because he just couldn’t stop it. He did clean after that, and that’s when I met him. I didn’t know him when he was using, but that’s the level that I guess do for some people they get hopeless and helpless.

But with other people… there is kind of myth that says: “you have to let people hit a rock bottom”, and I disagree with that and my collages disagree with that. And we think that the externalize pressures can bring the bottom up to people. So one of the things that happens is we think we are loving our loved ones who are addicts and so we try to protect them from their consequences.

Say it is a mother of 24 year old boy or something like that “well I can’t let him live on the street. I have to pay his rent. I have to buy him food.” Well, at that point he hasn’t suffered any consequences and all of his money goes to drugs or gambling or whatever is. If mom stopped doing that stuff, very quickly he would realize what it is like to have the consequences of being an addict. Now asking a mother to do that kind of against everything that she intuitively knows to be motherly – the unconditional love, do everything you can for your kid. So when we are encouraging family members to kind of bring the bottom help to help them to have their consequences so that they see it as like “Wow! I need to do something about this.” It is difficult for them but we stand by.

And my personal experience is, I started drinking at 12 years old and using drugs of various types – marijuana at 14, Hallucinogens at 15, cocaine at 16, heroine at 19. I got clean when I was 32. And what it happened is my mother had seen me going through this cycle over and over again and what she kept doing is bailing me up literally bailing me out of jail, bailing me out of financial jams, buying me food, buying me… just trying to like kind of soften the blow for me. And while she was doing that I didn’t have much motivation to change, because everything was taking care of and I could just get high.

And then one day she said, “I am done. If you don’t get some help, I am not supporting you at all anymore.” Within 4 days, I was in a rehab and I haven’t use again. She took away my safety net and that was the catalyst for me realizing like I have to stand on my two feet like sink or swim time and I chose to swim, I guess. That doesn’t mean that if someone tries to bring the bottom up and says to their loved one, “That’s it. I am done. I am not going to support you anymore.” As a way to help them make it as a catalyst to move forward and to help the family not have to be held hostage to the addictive process that addict might not chose to get help.

And unfortunately we know that this is chronic, we know it is progressive. And any illness that’s progressive tends to be fatal at the end of progression, if it progressive that’s far. So it is difficult for family members to get their head around that. And I have no illusions; I know that when my mother told me that it was hands down the hardest thing she has ever done that the most courage to do it.

But what happened when she got a little bit of education about addiction from someone who knew. And they said to her, “You know that you think you are loving him, but you are killing him. Every dollar you give him is another dollar he can use; you are loving him to death.” And at that point she said, “Okay I am not going to do that anymore.” And it was incredibly difficult for her. She dealt with all the kind of stuff that families deal with the gut and like where did I go wrong, what did I do, did I make this happen. The truth of the matter is she didn’t make it happen, this is like an imbalance in my brain for lack of a better word. And when she has kind of drawn the line under and said, “No more”, what she did was she made me get well. She had made me take the steps to go and get well. I could never be more grateful for her.

And part of our program that we offer is a family program to family members of our patients or our clients, and it is free of charge intensive 3 days program. I just came back from running the first day of it today with one of my colleagues. And when I get to work with family members part of me things to this kind of balancing the scale for all the crap that I put my mother through, because she loves me the most and suffered the most, right?

Rod: Mate, that’s an incredible story. And as you said from mother to be able to get to that point to do that to make that call would be the hardest thing in the world for a mother to do. And also for you to be able to draw on your experience and help all of those family and groups that are coming through your facility that’s incredible. Absolutely incredible mate.

Mike: Thank you. I look at it as like just an honor to kind of be part of it. It could be ashamed to think all of that “mess” and not be able to do something to quit and turn it around.

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Rod: Congratulations mate. Without mentioning names obviously for confidentiality, you would have a number of incredible examples that have been through your facility and come out the other side back to their self, could you talk through a couple of those?

Mike: Sure. I mean I can talk about… I think it was the second client that I had at the Cabin who Australian ice using gambler, which soon after I dealt with this client and started to have some success that become my kind of niche market. I think I became at one point Australia’s preeminent treatment provider, because all of my clients seem to be kind of laddy tattooed ice using gambling kind of guys. But this guy he is from a prominent family, a good business family, and he just found himself kind of going down that road, and he was deep down that road. He was very, very hurt, which tended to come out as anger and it was a big man, and he got quite angry with me at times when I would challenge him and confront his addiction.

I have been at the Cabin for a little over 4 years. He just sent me a message/a letter that said he is 4 years clean. In that time he has returned to the family business, gotten married, had a child. And the note that he sent me in the letter is something that we used to work on all the time around like living by his values and stuff. He said, “Today, I live as a man of honor.” His life flipped 180. I am incredibly proud of him and very grateful for him, and he’s really turned out to be a lovely guy, which is probably not the assessment most people would have given to him on his addiction, because our behaviors can be very poor. So, he is one of my early successors. Not mine; it is his success, I just kind of what I am not taking responsibility for that. I get to walk with him and kind of be honor to go on that journey with him, but he is a success story.

We have had so many that are like that people that young males that we have. There is kind of a term that we call. It is called Failure to Launch. So there are 20’s early 30’s never really had to learn any sort of life skills or they might come from affluent family so they get given jobs and given all kinds of things you don’t have to earn it. So they really are in some ways handicapped for living life and they are very bored and they are rewarded, so what they do is they drinking these drugs and gamble and do all of that. And we have had number of them end up being returning to work forces and becoming educated helping other people like I think of one in particular who has gone… well actually that’s not true, I can think of two in particular that have got on to work in the field of addictions helping other people based on their experiences and there is just so many. And it is difficult because like you say because of the confidentiality I can’t speak too detail about any particular case.

But definitely there are lots of men and women that we have seen come address their traumas, go through incredibly painful of their therapeutic experiences, where they are digging up all kinds of history of trauma and abuse and facing it head on with therapeutic and clinical team that supports them. Just the amount of courage that they show is amazing and to watch them and come out and flourish at the other end and be there for their families and hold up their end in their family relationships… you know I get emails from family members from clients years ago that we are just happy, we are so proud of him or her. And there is so many it is kind of hard to keep track of them all the success.

Rod: Sure. That is absolutely overwhelming. And I think in summary you could say that an addiction there is not one stereotype that this impacts on. It is probably like mental health in some cases, it can affect anyone at any age at any point in their life. And mate you guys are doing some fantastic things. Yeah, some great stories there mate.

Mike: Well, thank you very much. And you are absolutely right, we have clients in their teens, and we have had clients in their 70’s. We have had people who are unemployed and when they walk in unemployable to incredibly successful people in all walks of life, and addiction just doesn’t care.

The thing I think about addiction… you know that all these places including us, have different sort of statistics about success rates, and like if you go through this bunch of treatment what the success rates are, what the stats are blah blah blah. There is one statistic that really is meaningful to me and that is that 100% of people can get well from this, it is just… there is a proven method to getting well and it is just about getting people to buy into that I guess for lack of a better word. Because of the psychological aspects of the illness the denial people push away help sometimes and that is difficult to see. I think this stigma doesn’t help. But what I do know is that if people want to get well, we absolutely help people get well all the time, and there is a ton of evidence of that and nobody has to think that it is a hopeless situation. There is a lot of help out there and we are just one version of it. I think we do a hell of a job. I might be biased, I don’t know.

Rod: Absolutely. But I think you have right to be biased from what you are telling me here today, this is blowing my mind. It is unreal. Unreal, mate.

Mate if you had a secret about addiction, what would that be?

Mike: I guess the secret about it is that there are so many little kind of gems of wisdom that I wish I could impart to people. These are not bad people who are trying to get. These are sick people trying to get well. This is an illness no matter what people say about it, there is so much evidence of what happens in the brain. This is not a cop-out by saying it is a disease or an illness. It is a very predictable pathology in the reward center of the brain, and it really responds really really well to treatment and there is a proven method for getting well. There is a ton of hope and I guess these are brother, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, cousins that I wish we could be more emphatic to not stigmatizing and demonizing people because of the terrible behaviors that seem to come hand in hand with it. If we can look past and separate the people from the behavior, I think this person is unwell how can we help to get well. That’s what I wish people would kind of able to understand is that these aren’t throw away people. These aren’t terrible people. These aren’t bad people. This could be you. This could be anybody. And I wish that people will just kind of get on board with something that we have known since the 50’s. This is an illness.

Rod: Yeah. Certainly. What would you suggest if someone has a friend or family that they suspect that they know is suffering from addiction, what’s something that they could do to perhaps… you have touched on few points there but to help them in a right direction, if I can put it in that way?

Mike: Sure. Absolutely. So what I would suggest is education and resourcing themselves. So if I look at Australia, for example, I know that we have a out-patient office in Sydney. We have one in Melbourne. If people were to contact to them and say, “What do I do?” We could absolutely provide education, resources, supports, how do you help someone get into treatment, how do you intervene and try to help save someone’s life. People need to be educated about that because what tends to happen we accept into this cycle without some kind of professional help, because we are so emotionally invested in it and we become sort of overwhelmed. We don’t have the resources. We don’t have the knowledge. We don’t know what to do. We think we are helping, but we are not. Even though we are doing everything that seems intuitive and loving, we are usually helping to further the addiction without meaning to in an unintentional way. And what I mean by that point is someone who can be objective and knowledge to help me and support me.

So I would suggest of course, because I believe in what we do, I would say contact us. We have numbers and emails. Anyone that has any sort of need to get support or education, could go on to our Cabin website. It is probably maybe or one way or the other, and there is links of there that we help you to be able to contact somebody. And it is just basically the addict can get well by themselves and the family can get them well by themselves. That tends to be the truth.

As much as the addict needs supports, the family and friends also need support; because, without the proper education, we usually with the best of intentions don’t do the right stuff.

Rod: I think you are spot on. And the contact details for the Cabin, I will include at the end of this post. And mate I might wrap it up there, I am just absolutely blown away what you guys are doing and what you shared with us tonight, and I really appreciate your time. I think I can keep talking to you about this for hour. But as I said, it is the end of there for you. You have had a huge day. Again thank you for your time tonight night Mike and all the best with what you are doing. Mate, you are absolute champion.

Mike: Well, thanks Rod. Appreciate it. And consider yourself invited to come and see the new state of the art facility any time, not as a client.

Rod: Mate, I would love to. I would absolutely love to. And one day I am going to take you up on that Mike, so thank you very much for your invitation.

Mike: My pleasure. My pleasure. Thanks for the time and for the interview, I appreciate it. And we, as an organization, appreciate it.

Rod: Terffic. Not a problem at all. Thanks again Mike.

Mike: No problem. Take care, Rod.

To hear more great interviews from experts around the world on good nutrition, exercise, and men’s health head over to or jump on to iTunes or Stitcher subscribe to the post, and leave a review. Thanks for tuning into the show.

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About The Author

Rod Bucton, mountain bike fanatic from Mid North Coast, New South Wales Australia… helping middle aged men improve their lives with exercise, good nutrition and good health and while you’re at it follow Rod on Facebook or Instagram.

Like any sport, bicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know — and to practice — the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and maintenance of your bicycle reduces risk of injury.

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