Tim Westbrook is in the business of helping people recover from substance use disorders and process addictions. Tim struggled with substance addiction himself and through his journey out of addiction and in recovery Tim brings experience, strength, and hope to anyone who wants lifelong sobriety.
Tim's passion for health and fitness, long-term sobriety, and changing lives is not only what inspired him to open Camelback Recovery, but accounts for Camelback’s high success rate. Today, Tim has held board positions for several non-profits, he actively works a 12-Step program, and he is well connected in the recovery community. Tim even obtained a Master's Degree in Addiction Counseling at GCU. His recovery has led him to living a happy, useful and whole life in sobriety.
If you are interested in learning more about Camelback Recovery you can visit their website at www.camelbackrecovery.com, follow them on Facebook @CamelbackRecovery, or reach out to Tim directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Gruler Nation Podcast is a show that focuses on conversations with interesting "Level 10" people passionate about changing the world with their work, relationships and ideas. The show is hosted by Robert Gruler, an attorney and founding partner of the R&R Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona focused on helping good people charged with crimes move forward with their lives.
Interested in being on the show or have a guest recommendation? Email Robert directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to visit www.robgruler.com for more information!
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This is episode 80 of the ruler nation podcast. My name is Robert ruler, joined today by my friend Tim Westbrook, who is the owner and the founder, the creator of Camelback recovery. He has a number of sober living, a transitional living I think is a more technical term for it all around Arizona where people will come and live with , with him in his , uh, in his facilities, in his homes to help themSpeaker 2:
transition and help them recover to get off of a drug or alcohol addictions and other addictions as well. So, Tim, thanks for coming on the show today.Speaker 3:
Thanks Robert. Thanks for having me.Speaker 2:
Yeah, what I want to start with is, you know, I've known you for a while now and our paths kind of crossed in an interesting way and we've been friends, we've gone to a lot of the different, you know , different networking groups and different personal development things together. And what I wanted to start with is because you've got an interesting story, you know, I , I love , I love if you could share a little bit about your background and how you got into this space. Uh, because it's, it's, you know, it's not something that everybody just wakes up to one day and say, I'm gonna go start a sober living house and turn that into a company. It's, you know, there's a, there's a lot of passion behind it, a lot of purpose. So can I, can I ask you to start there? Can you kind of walk me through how you got to it is what you're doing? I know it's a long story.Speaker 3:
Yeah. Yeah. It's like, really, where do I start? Um, so I moved to Arizona in 2011. So I , I lived in, in the Bay area. I lived in Walnut Creek at the time. Um, 2000 2006, actually 2006 I lived in the Bay area. I moved to Arizona in 2006 and started up a vacation rental company. And , um, so we manage vacation, vacation rentals, and I actually, I bought a bunch of homes in Arcadia, so I bought four homes in Arcadia and that was 2006, 2007, 2008. And you know, the market essentially started to crash. So all my homes were supposed to be quick flips and so, and that wasn't really happening. So the economy was in the toilet, the housing market was crashing. So I ended up starting a vacation rental company. And , um, so I made, I made some money when I was in California and I flipped a few homes. And so I, I came to Arizona and bought those homes as I said, but then , um, as the market started to crash, I was like, okay, what am I going to do now? So I turned those homes into vacation rentals. And , um , so I started doing that. I started managing other people's properties. I didn't, I was kinda just going , I was kinda just winging it. Like I didn't, you know , I didn't even have a real estate license. I mean, I did go to real estate school. I did get my real estate license. I did become a broker, but I was , um , my ex, my then wife now ex wife was doing interior design. So we were working with, we were remodeling homes, we were designing, furnishing, adding to our vacation rental inventory. So I did that for about five years. We got up to about 50 properties and that's kind of what we did. And , um , remember I said I made some money. Um, well I spent more money and, and as I was starting this vacation rental company, I didn't have really, I didn't have a trust account set up. I didn't even know anything about a trust account when I first started the company. Do you know, of course you know about it ? Trust account. Okay. So , um, the way a trust account works is that when people give me a deposit, I'm supposed to hold that. So they give me a deposit for a week in March and I'm supposed to put that deposit in a trust account. And then after they stay with us in March, then I take my commission and I pay the owner. I didn't have a trust account set up. I was essentially taking money and just, you know, I was taking deposits and running my business and I was just, I was running everything through my operations account and , um, and as I said, I , I, I, I made some money but I spent more money and I was just like, I had money going everywhere. Right. And , um, and one day in about 2012, I got a call from a guy at the department of real estate and he said, I'm going to audit you tomorrow. I said, okay . Yeah. And um, he came down, he audited me. And , um, I got a letter about a week later, he said, we found that your trust accounts delinquent and we need you to come down for an investigational interview. So long story short, my, my real estate license was revoked, which was like, you know, and I, I'm sober in mind you. So I'm running this business cause I got sober in 2011. I'm running this business and I'm learning how to live, live a life of honesty. Right , right. And I can relate to that. You can relate to that. So I'm , I'm living, I'm trying to live in, I am living in an honest life. I'm paying everybody, but I've got this trust account that's delinquent and I don't have any money, you know , I don't know how to, how to fund it. And I remember talking to my sponsor , um, my sponsor about it and he said, what do you think? You're the first person that's done this. Yeah. And it's like, okay. Right . And so I just continued working hard and , um, and I was in , I was, I was profitable. I was kind of working my way back up to , um, being even I guess, or being whole. And I got audited and, and so , um, I had a , a friend of mine, Bob Novak, I went and talked with him and, and he was, he had agreed to fund the deficiency. And , um, so we went back to the department of real estate, made an offer, and basically said, okay, Bob's going to fund the deal . I have an, he's going to fund the deficiency. Uh , Tim Westbrook keeps his license. We keep on running the business. It's all good, no big deals. And they said, wow, we appreciate your offer. Mr Westbrook will not have his license at the end of this. Wow. And I was like, okay. And um, so that was kind of a all right time to time to start over. And that wasn't the first time in my life that I was going to start over. And I had one of my, I owned a couple of homes in Arcadia and one of my homes, I ended up leasing to a couple of women. They were also , I found out that they were in recovery and I was like, wow, okay. What a coincidence. And then I found out that they turned my home into a sober living home for women. And I was like, really? Yeah . So they didn't tell me. And so I don't agree with the way they went about doing it, but I found out and being in recovery now, I believe everything happens exactly the way it's supposed to. I found out when I was supposed to find out. Right. And that was right as I was trying to figure out what I was gonna do next with my life. I also had another home , um, up the street that I had a tenant that was about to move out. We were looking for a , we're trying to figure out what we were going to do with that house. And so that was kind of when I decided, okay, I'm going to , I'm going to open up a sober living home. And I decided to go back to school. I got my masters in addiction counseling and opened up my first home. And that was in 2000. That was the end of 2013 so 2014 , uh , April of 2014 was when we took our very first client. Wow. And , and that was, so you had your first client 2014 yes. And you've been scaling up hardcore? Uh, yeah. I so too , so from 2014 to 2016, I was one house. I had one house, I was going to school, I was the house manager. I'd hire a house manager, shit would hit the fan and then I'd become the house manager again. So I kinda did that a couple of times. I'd move out the United higher house manager, I'd move out, shit would hit the fan. I'd moved back in become, so I worked on my program and I was getting my master's and then I went to a PCs in old town Scottsdale. That's where I did my pre-practicum and my practicum. So that's kind of what I did for the first two and a half years at just one house. And, and I was , uh, you know, so I was the house manager. I was going to school, I was doing my internship at PCs, I was doing admissions, I was doing the business development and driving for Uber on the side to make enough money to pay my bills. Wow . So that was kind of what I did. And then in about June of 2014 I met Joe Polish for the first time. And in that very first conversation I had with Joe, he said , um, I found out he, he was also in recovery. I found out that he had gone through the PCs intensive a couple of times, which is where I was doing my internship. And so we, and we had a lot of the same , um, mutual , uh, mutual friends. And then, and in that conversation he said, can you open up two more homes in the next 90 days? Right. And I remember going, man, I, and so that was kind of like the, that was the, that was the turning point. Like just that question. And that conversation was like, okay . And I just remember the feeling I got when he asked me that question. And then I started to really think about it and, and I just , um , I'm, you know, I'm a person that believes that we have to kind of put an intention out there. And when we put an intention out there, then that's when things start to happen. And so when he asked me that question and then I started thinking about it and then I started thinking about how I can make it happen and I didn't know how I was going to make it happen, but I said, yes, I can do it. And then I started telling people that I was going to open up two more homes. I also listened to a , to an interview that Joe did with John Paul DeJoria, John Paul Mitchell salons. And in that interview, John Paul DeJoria talks about making a contribution and he was, he essentially was like, you need to find where you can make a contribution, where is there a need, where you can you make a contribution? And , um, I was kind of trying to decide if I wanted to open up more sober living homes or if I wanted to , um, open up a treatment center or something along those lines. What I did know is that I needed to do something to make more money because I was, I was working like a dog. I mean, it's like up at 4:00 AM and um, and just really, really long days. And I knew I couldn't sustain that, that lifestyle. And so I decided I was gonna open up two more homes in the next 90 days. And that was kind of , so that was June when I met Joe . August of 2016. Um, so I started looking, I started telling people that I was going to open up two more homes and in looking for the need, where is the need? My men's home was full, so I needed another men's home and everybody was saying, you need to open up a female home cause there are no good female homes out there. And I heard that from multiple people and PCs said we need you to open up a , you know, they were at, I mean they, I heard it from lots of people that there were not any good female homes out there. Um, we also started providing housing for , um, clients that were attending the PCs intensive. So that was a really good relationship. UCS , psychological counseling services there . They are a treatment center in old town Scottsdale. And um, they provide, they have an outpatient program. What they're known for is their work around sex addiction. And so , um, they, people from all over the country fly in for their, it's typically one or two weeks long. Um, and they provide about 65 hours of therapy in one week. Wow . And 40 of the 65 hours are individual therapy. So, so their program is super intense, more individual therapy in one week than any other program that I'm, that I'm aware of. So, so they, so that's a really good relationship. And um, so I started looking for homes. I actually found two homes next door to each other, which is now this is the Sojourn men's community, two houses next door to each other in mind you, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't really have very much money, so I'm like, I still didn't know how I was going to make this thing pull this thing together. Right . And I went over to , to this property to look at a house and just one house. And when I pulled up, I parked in, in the , there's, there's a gate. So it's a private gated property. You pull in, you drive through the gate and that's where you park. And then we were walking next door through the fence and I was like, wait a second, there's two houses here. And they're like, Oh yeah, that one's an Airbnb. You know, this other one is the one that we're, we're looking for a longterm tenant and I'm like , uh, I want both of them. And so that was how we ended up with the Sojourn men's community. And , um , originally the Arcadia house was a men's home. And so I ended up, so this is what I did. I, I put $1,000 down on this house. Um, you know , it was a lease, $1,000 earnest deposit. And then we moved in on August 25th, 2016 and they only charged, they only asked me to pay for the prorated rent for the month of August. So I only had to pay rent for like August 25th to the 31st. And then I negotiated rent to be due on the fifth day of the month. So September 5th was when the next payment. And I , I mean, like I really didn't have any money, so I'm like, I'm like, and it was an Airbnb, so it was already furnished. I still had to buy some beds . I had to buy some things, but it was furnished pretty much , um, sufficiently enough for us to get started. I also started, that was also when I started charging for three months up front . Right. Because again, I was trying to collect as much money as possible. And what I found was that charging for three months up front, it's good for everybody. It's good for the business, it's good for the client, it's good for the community, it's good for everybody. Just, you know, when people have more money on the line there , you know , it's 90 days of sober living is what's recommended. So if somebody pays for 90 days up front, it's like okay , that's, I'm in for 90 days. They're committed, they're committed and we don't offer refunds. So it's like, it's just, it's all about the commitment. And if they're committed cause they're going to have a bad day, they're going to be triggered, they're going to want to leave because they don't like being held accountable. They're going to leave because they don't like their roommate. They're going to leave because they don't like the house manager, whatever. But if they pay for three months up front, they're there. Right. And so we , we found it ended up being a really good thing to charge for three months. And that's what we still do today is we charge [inaudible]Speaker 2:
three months up front . Yeah. Yeah. And your houses are very nice. So, you know, I, I never did any sober living. You know, I, I've never stayed at those at , at, at any transitional living places. Um, I did, you know, I did some inpatient stuff and whatnot. Uh, but, but in terms of like a 90 day program, I've never done that. But I have heard a lot of really bad things about that. And so one of the things that's interesting about what you do is you kind of, you know, you set out to, to level up that a little bit. So can you tell us about kind of your, your homes and on what the conditions are like?Speaker 3:
Yeah. So the houses are, my, my homes are, are nicer. They're in typically , um , upper middle income neighborhoods, I would say. Um, they're, they're nicely furnished. They're nicely designed. I have an interior designer that I use to furnish our homes. And in mainly I want our, our residents to feel like they're at home. Right . I don't want it just to be a bed. I don't want them to, I don't want it to be a place where they dread coming home. I don't want it to be just a place where they only sleep. It's a home. We're providing a healthy family style community. So the artwork, the accessories, it's just, it all promotes the , um, the energy of the home so that people want to be there and it's, you know, in that builds the community.Speaker 2:
Yeah. You talk about these five pillars that you have at your homes. Can you tell me about those? Yeah,Speaker 3:
we've got, so I'm what we call it, our program is the Camelback recovery integration process based upon our five pillars, accountability, support, structure, community and purpose. And so , um, our program is unlike any other sober living program out there in , um, in that we , um, we operate to support these five pillars. And , um, like for example, we provide food and the food we provide is going to be all good, high quality, organic whenever we can. Like the food situation is really, really good because an addict early in recovery or a person early in recovery, a lot of times they weren't. Um , the majority of the time they have not been putting the proper food in their bodies. They're not getting the [inaudible] they've , they're depleted of the nutrients. They're depleted of everything necessary to, to be healthy, right? And so it's like us providing food. What it does is it helps work on their, their gut health, also their brain recovery and getting their neurons firing on all cylinders. And the other thing that food does is , um, it promotes the community. Food is community and most sober living homes, everybody's buying their own food. The problem with everybody buying their own food is that it promotes isolation right ? In your , it's not possible to shop cost-effectively for food if you're shopping for one person. So what ends up happening is that Yana , you end up with a refrigerator full of energy, drinks and hot pockets and frozen burritos and top ramen and everybody steals each other's food, right? So it's, you're inviting conflict. Yeah. You're inviting conflict and it creates a hostile environment. It creates isolation, which is the opposite of connection. And the opposite of community and community is how these guys and gals are gonna recover by being part of a healthy community. So that's just one of the things we offer. The other thing I , um, I wanted to mention is that when somebody goes to treatment , um, they're essentially, they are isolated from the triggers of everyday life. No work, no school, no boyfriend, no girlfriend, no bad relationships, no kids, no bad drivers on the road, no Facebook, no Instagram, like none of that stuff. So they're completely protected and they're in a bubble. Right? Okay . So in a lot of times, at the end of 30, 60, 90 days in treatment, they feel amazing and they're like, I'm good. Right? Like, I got this right . I don't need sober living. I just want to get back to living my life. Yeah . The problem with going back to living their life, the problem with going back to their old environment is that they skipped the integration process and if they skip the integration process, they got no chance. Yeah . Because they have been programmed to live a life a certain way and I'm going to treatment while they're in a bubble. They get clean and sober, but they haven't developed new lifestyle habits yet. You know, it's like they need new eating habits, new sleeping habits, new exercise habits. They new friends, new hobbies, new interests. Like everything has to change if they want to live a new life. Right. Cause if they go back to their, to their old ways, they've again, they've got no chance. And that's based upon my experience.Speaker 2:
Yeah. They're going to fall right back into the same old patterns that they had. Because when you're in an inpatient program in one of those, you know, real kind of intensive, 30 60 90 day programs, your , your hand is being held very closely. I mean the , the, the leash is very short, right. The ropes very short. You're not, you're not able to do much of anything. And so for somebody to go, okay, I've got all of these padded walls and I'm all nice and wrapped bubble wrap, so I can't get hurt. And then you just say, okay, now we're , you're off on your own. Good luck. That's a dangerous situation. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and I've heard horror stories of people, you know, immediately being released. They go home and they're dead the next morning because they got, they got their old, you know, their old drugs and their old habits just, you know , tapping on that glass and they don't have any control. And so what you do is you give them more of a way to integrate from, from that real high intense , uh, the standard of care into something that's a little bit more, yes, you have more freedom, but you still have to be home at a certain time and up at a certain time and you're just kind of slowly stepping them down until they have the skillset that's needed to acclimate. Or that's , that's, that's required to kind of be on their own in the world.Speaker 3:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. They just, it's, it's structure. It's again, our five pillars. Yeah . Accountability, support, structure, community and purpose. Yeah . They're out of bed in the morning. They make their bed. They, they pray, they meditate that those aren't requirements, but we , you know, it's like those are the things that I do. I , I hit my knees, I pray, I meditate, I do a gratitude list. I share it with a couple of other guys. Yeah . And then us providing food means that they get to be part of a healthy family community in the morning. They're cooking breakfast together, they're eating breakfast, they're talking about their day. Right . What are your plans for the day? Um, TV is off from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM in my homes. Right. And they have to have a purpose. At least 32 hours a week. They have to work, go to school, IOP, look for a job, volunteer. They've got to do something productive with their day. So it's, it's again being , um , being a contributing member of society and not just sitting around.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And you know, all of that is, is extremely important. And I think, you know, when we , uh , as you know, I'm a criminal defense attorney and when, when we are representing people who are charged with crimes, it's kind of a similar process. You know, a lot of the people get in trouble because they don't have the structure, they don't have the good life skills. They don't know how to go get a job. They don't have anybody to talk to. So they abuse the drugs, they abuse the alcohol, they get a DUI and in stuff just kind of spirals out of control. Unless you have somebody in there to say, no, we're going to hit the brakes on this. We're going to , we're going to bring you in under our wing and bring you in under our guidance and then we're gonna help you , uh, help you kind of settle things down and then we can put the train back on the tracks. And you're often good.Speaker 3:
Yeah. It's like, how so in in your world, how do you, how do you see to guy to live life differently? You know, cause it's like a guy that's a criminal that doesn't want to be a criminal anymore. Yeah . It's like, how do we, how do you teach them how, you know, it's like, how do you give him the skills? I mean, it's like guys that go to jail, they're there more often than not. Lifers.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Well, yeah, I mean there, there is, there is that segment. No, no question about that. You know, it's, it's about, it's, it's not far off from what you're doing. I mean, you're trying to break the cycle. There's, there's a , there's a pattern that people get comfortable in and then there's this feeling of shame and a lack of self worth. They feel like nobody likes them. Nobody cares about them. They're useless people. They have no purpose. They're just kind of floundering around in the world, which is what causes a lot of people to then go numb that pain with drugs and alcohol or, or do something that is out of character, you know? Or they're , they get a DUI or they become abusive or they decide that they're just going to go, you know, blow off some steam and they end up popping somebody in the face in old town Scottsdale, you know, it's , and it's all related, whether it's criminality or a substance abuse. I think back to internal problems with the way we think about ourselves. And so what we're trying to do is, is break that, break that pattern, you know, be it be an attorney who can care about them and remind them that they're not a bad person. They, they're just in trouble as a result of one bad incident and, you know, remind them, go get a good job. We need you to do some volunteer work. We need you to get involved in the community. Go back to school, you know, and we need this stuff. It's going to help us in our criminal case. Uh, and in , in certain situations, you got to go get help for your drug problem. You gotta go into a treatment program, you got to go find sober living. We're just kind of how we got connected. Right , right. I mean, so I was, I was laying out my vision for this other service that we're offering with a, with another , uh, Dr. Berg who was connected with, again, Joe Polish, who we just kind of glossed over. But Joe Polish is a , is a amazing guy, right? He's the founder of the genius network. He's an amazing marketer. He's a recovery guy. And then we got in touched , you introduced me to the genius network and it's like, it's all these people from all different aspects who are trying to help, just try and to , to create some change. And that's why I think you and I have hit it off so well. Yeah . Yeah. Well, all right . So you know, I've got a lot, I've got a lot we could talk for days about, about this stuff, but I didn't want to ask, you know, how has your journey with recovery and your own sobriety kind of influenced how you operate your houses? You know, cause I know, I know you struggled with your own addiction for a long time as I have. And, you know, have you, have, you kind of, have you taken the elements that worked for you and your recovery and integrated those in into your homes? Is that, is that kind of how traditional sobriety works or I know you've got your masters in, in, you know, addiction , um , studies and things. So I just wanna you know, how do they, how do they interface? So , um, the 12 step program is kind ofSpeaker 3:
what , what worked for me. You know, I , um, I, when I decided to get sober, my now , uh, my now ex wife, my, my wife at the time, Jennifer , um , my date I went on , went on a bender , um, one weekend in a , uh , a good friend of mine came into town and we, you know, stayed in old town Scottsdale and just, you know, shenanigans all weekend. And, and she, she, she drew the line, she said, I'm leaving you. Um, and we're separated. And the only way I'll consider taking you back is if you get sober and you , you've got to rehab and you stop playing golf. Yeah , yeah . And I was like, okay . Um, I don't think I, and at the time I, so I didn't, I owned a company. I owned a vacation rental company. I worked 50 hours a week. I didn't think I needed to go to rehab. I went to AA, I went to my first AA meeting. I , um , and I followed suggestions in , in, when I first decided to get sober, I didn't, I wasn't planning on staying sober. I planned on getting sober for a couple minutes to get my wife back. Right . And by getting sober and getting a sponsor and working the stacks and going through and just actually doing the work, right. You know, life got better, life got better. And I, and I started to clear away the , the wreckage of my past because I was, I was, I was just not , um, I was not having, I was not having a good time. It was not having a good time living. So , um , learning how to live life differently. So that's what I did. You know, I went, I got sober in March of 2008 I started doing yoga. I started exercising. I started , you know, it's like I , my sleeping habits changed. You know, I started getting up early in the morning, I started eating healthy. I like everything about my lifestyle changed, right ? New hobbies, new interests, new friends, new activities. And so that was kind of how I built our, the Camelback recovery program was based upon how I changed my life. Does that, does that,Speaker 2:
yeah. Mean to answer your question, yeah, it makes perfect sense. Yeah. I mean, and that's , that's kind of what I was asking. You know, there's a lot of, there's a lot of proponents of AA and the 12 steps. I'm one of them. I have a very similar experience. It changed my whole life running through them and it took me a while to kind of get the, the , the wheels off the runway when it came to the 12 steps. I, you know, I, I went a number of times for other people until I needed to go for myself and then I went from myself and you know, God, you know , serendipity, whatever connected me to a men's group and yeah, my whole life changed. Everything got better immediately. Cause I actually did the work and I did it for the right reason. So I'm a true believer in the 12 steps. And you know, I would, I could, I would debate with anybody about the efficacy of the program provided that you have a good sponsor and you do the works and you do the work, you do it right. Uh , but there's lot of of anti 12 step people as well. Right. And there's a whole kind of segment who says, well, you know, the, the success rate on that's like 10% or whatever. And you know, these, those people relapse all the time. And you know, there's smart recovery and there's, you know , all sorts of different other programs. So I was just curious as to how kind of the philosophy was behind, you know, the direction of Camelback recovery and it sounds like it's,Speaker 3:
yeah , we're 12 step based, so it's a requirement that everybody in our, so we're, we're, yeah, we're 12 step base . So that means everybody's working a 12 step program. Yeah . I, you know, I work a 12 step program. All of my , my program director, like every single one of my employees, all of our house managers, it's a requirement. All of our all employee , all Camelback recovery employees work a 12 step program are and are continuing to work a 12 step program. So that means I still have a sponsor, I still call my sponsor, I still go to meetings, I still do service work. I went , uh , went to a meeting this morning at um, at st Vincent DePaul down in downtown and that was a service commitment. And I do that every once . So there's, there's a bunch of things that I do in my life that helps me stay clean and sober, helps me stay connected. And the other thing too is when I'm part of alcoholics anonymous or any other 12 step group for that matter, I'm, you know, service work is a big part of it. And when I'm of service, I'm not thinking about Tim, right? It's like me getting cause me my natural state or how I was, how I operated. I was selfish, self centered. And it's all about Tim, right? My ex wife made up a song about me. It's Monday and it's all about Tim. It's Tuesday, it's all about Tim. And , and everybody would laugh their asses off cause it was true. It was all about Tim and it's , and it's not all about Tim. Cause if it's all about Tim, then that's, I mean that's just no way, that's no way to live. If I can start getting out of myself helping other people , um, that's what works. That's what works for me and that, and I got that and I learned that by being involved with the, with the 12 step program. And there's other things that I do as well. And you know, 12 refuge recovery, smart recovery, celebrate recovery. People in our homes, they can substitute 12 step meetings for smart reach for those other meetings as well. So I'm not like so die hard that I'm not open to other avenues, but it is a requirement that everybody is going to a meeting every single day. Uh , they can substitute IOP for a meeting or a therapy session a couple of days a week. Um, we do provide services for people with mental health and they, their requirements are a little bit different. So , um,Speaker 2:
yeah. And, and just, just before we gloss over it, I do want to reinforce the, that you are extremely generous with your service. I mean, you've, you've been integral in a number of different ways of helping introduce me to people. So we do the clean slate sobriety workshop that we do where we go in and we speak to people at treatment centers and , uh, give them a crash course on Arizona law and then help them clear up their records for wealth criminal charges. And you've introduced me to maybe a dozen people who've, and you've helped me actually get , uh , introduced to the program coordinators and, and I'm now speaking at four, soon to be about seven different centers. And it's a , it's a huge, hugely in part to your introduction. So I want to thank you for that. And then the other thing I wanted to mention is , cause it's a great segue. It's a great , uh, sort of , uh ,Speaker 3:
well, and before you move on, like, and I think that's an amazing service that you guys offer. I mean, a lot of people that early on in recovery, their past , they have, they have a past that has , uh , that has marks on it. So for you to offer that service and to help them clean up their record is just their records. There's just amazing cause they're , you know, it's like, who knows why these people are in trouble. I mean, it's like they say, a lot of people say that trauma is at the root of all addiction and it's almost like trauma is at the root of everybody who gets in trouble, right. With the law. Right, right, right, right . Gotta go hand in hand. Totally.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And it's , it's the same. It's the same, you know, reason people, you know, drink or abuse drugs or whatever. It's like there's something broken in, in our, in our way of thinking, in our mindset, in our past that we're just not addressing. Which is why I think the 12 steps are so effective is because you do that deep dive, you do that inventory and you do your amends and you just clear up all of that stuff. I mean it's, it's not necessarily a comfortable thing. I look back upon the first time when I, when I really took my 12 steps seriously and I , and I was going through the four that I had to go through my name on the ninth and I was just like, it was painful. It was a painful process. But that's, that's because it's, that's what's necessary. You know, the, the authors talk about that psychic change that's required in order to get through this stuff. And it's, it, I think a lot of it does tie back to that, you know, to that upbringing or the, the trauma and the abuse that we have. So thank you. It's a nice compliment to , but it's, you know, the real compliment is diff is the fact that you make those introductions, you know, and I appreciate those. But what I , what I also wanted to talk about was the , the consumer awareness guide to choosing a sober living home. And I'll hold it up for the people who are , uh , who are watching it on YouTube or on Facebook. But it's, it's this guy that you put together to help people choose a sober living home, which is amazing because there's a lot of bad actors in this space. And we'll talk about that. But you know what the first thing that you said when you gave it to me, I said, Hey man, this is beautiful. This looks great. And you said, yeah, but I don't like my logo on there. And I'm thinking, what the hell are you talking about? Like a lot of hard work went into this. This is something that you know is, is sorely needed and you put your logo on them , that's fine. But you know, your, your comment that it shouldn't be on there. Well, [inaudible] and I asked, you know why not? And you said, well, because it's, it's not about me, it's not about Tam , it's not about Camelback recovery. It's about helping people find a good place to live. It's for people who need help to get some answers that they need to cut through the, some of the BS that's out there and find a good home. And I , I thought that's, it's an admirable quality that you got. You know, it's , it's, it's about being of service now. It's not about Tim.Speaker 3:
Right? Yeah. And that's true. And I mean, it's , um, the, the consumer awareness guide to choosing a sober living to , I mean, to your point, there's lots of bad actors out there and, and people just don't even know where to start. They don't know what questions to ask. They don't know. Um, some people have this misconception that all homes are in crappy neighborhoods. They have this misconception that , um , sober living homes are havens for continued drug use. They have this , um, this idea that , um, you know, they , there are negative connotations associated with like the halfway house. So they think that , um, sober living homes are filled with people from jail and prison and, and it's, and that's just not the truth. There are homes that are like that, right? But there are homes, there are different homes for everybody. Right. And , um, and, and I just, you know, I, this consumer awareness guide is for anybody looking for sober living, whether they're in Arizona looking to stay in Arizona, looking to go to Idaho, looking to go to California. It doesn't matter. This guide can help anybody find a good sober living home for , for themselves or for their level .Speaker 2:
Right? Yeah. And I, and I think, I think it's, I think it's brilliant. Yeah . For a number of different reasons. But I did want to, I did want to ask you about, I mean, when I was talking about bad actors and there's, there was kind of this, I think it's probably died down a little bit, but there's still a lot of remnants of these bad actors who are in this space. You know, there is this idea that it's really easy to open up a recovery center or a treatment program or sober living house. And there was a period of time from, from what I've gathered, doing all these talks everywhere where, you know, insurance was paying for everything, right? You could go sign up at a treatment center, insurance is gonna cover everything. And so people would kind of, you know , literally move bodies around, like cell bodies be like a physical human being from one facility or from one lead source. And you know, they pay like , uh , like to broker that person to go into their treatment center and then they milked the insurance company and just fill the beds and , and all of that. And it was, it was really mostly about just generating a profit. And, and when, when people caught wind of that, there was this gold rush, everybody was trying to open up centers. And even this year I was scheduled to speak at one and they're out of business, you know, because that was kind of one of those. And then we know both know who that is. But yeah , uh , you know, they're, they're not around anymore and I don't, you know, I don't want to bad mouth that company. There's probably other reasons for that. But it's this idea that people, people were setting up shop with the intention of making a ton of money but they didn't really have a good philosophy behind it. No good story, not, not really any good services. And now a lot of those people are so I think kind of working their way out of the market. But when people are coming in and they've got, they gotta make a decision on who to work with, where to send their loved one. It's a very difficult thing to do. And there are not a lot of answers out there, which is why I appreciate what you put together here. You know?Speaker 3:
Yeah. That's the exact reason why we, why we put this together. Cause again, people just don't know what questions to ask. And I mean like for example , um, drug testing, we drug test two times a week and drug testing is preventative. Drug testing is not, we don't drug test cause we want to catch people. We drug test , it's preventative. They know that they're going to get drug tested, right? We also use instant reads. So the instant reads, we don't, we don't send them to a lab and we don't bill insurance. So that's where some sober living homes in the past have made a ton of money by over-billing these insurance companies. So we drug test, we drug test two times a week randomly. We breathalyze randomly two times a week. That's just one of the preventative measures that we take to make sure that people in our homes are clean and sober and if they get caught drinking or using, they have to, they have to leave. Like they can't stay. We're, we're , we're are , we are a zero tolerance facility.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And I'm sure that's one of a con that's a concern that probably a lot of people have, right. Is they are , you know, if I'm going to send my loved one there, how do I know that they're just not making buddies who are just going to use together and slip right back into it.Speaker 3:
Yeah. There , I mean there's, you hear stories all the time where people are continuing to drink and use at, I mean it's not , it doesn't happen all the time, but if there's not random drug testing, if there are not , um, preventative measures in place. I mean the other thing is like we require , um, our, our house managers that are all full time w two employees, like their full time job is to facilitate recovery drug test and hold clients and residents accountable to the rules of the home and staying clean and sober most or a lot of sober living homes. It's just, you know, it's going to be the most sober guy at the house and he gets free rent. So he has a full time job. He just gets free rent to kinda be the house manager and I , I mean, who knows what his responsibilities are. Right?Speaker 2:
Yeah. And it's a little bit more of kind of more, more structure, more accountability, more oversight, which is, which critical at that point because these people are basically one, one trigger away from spiraling off out of control again.Speaker 3:
Yeah. That's the thing. Like they all, it , it's addicts and people have this misconception that addicts want to be addicts, right ? Or that they can just stop. I don't understand why they don't just stop. Right . It's like addicts don't want to be addicts or they're bad people. They're bad. They're not bad people and they don't want to be addicts. Like they want to be clean and sober and then, and then they get triggered. Right. And as soon as they get triggered, then it's our job to kind of hold them accountable and reign them back in and get them back on the path to recovery.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. And you're doing a great job of it. Uh , what, the other thing I think is extremely valuable is the fact that it's, you're building a community. And w something that changed my life dramatically was my men's group that I meet with. It's a circle of men. And I know in your, you know, when , when I went and visited one of your homes, I've been to a couple now there , there was that community, you know, we went outside and talked about some things and there were three or four guys just sitting around kind of supporting one another, you know, talking about talking through things and, and you know, it's one of those situations where yes, it's uncomfortable. Yes, you'd rather be home. Yes. You know, it's, it's not something that there's going to be longterm for you, but you, the fact that they're able to sit down and talk with somebody and share kind of the experience and build support living in one of your houses is, is invaluable. I mean, like I said, it's changed my whole life and it's great that you do that. Um, and so now you've got, you've got a number of different homes, right? And you've got some, some specifically for women and some specifically for men. Can you kind of detail how that works?Speaker 3:
Yeah, we've got , so we have eight homes. We've got homes in Scottsdale, the Arcadia area of Phoenix. And then we also have , uh , we have homes, a home in Tucson. It's a female home. Um, it's so, so community. It's , um, so there's a guy named Ben Hardy that wrote a book called willpower doesn't work right ? And kind of the PR , one of the premise of the book is, is essentially putting yourself in an environment and putting yourself around people that are conducive to the way you want to live your life. Right ? And so being in a sober living home, you're around other men. So for men, they're around other men that want to be clean and sober, that want to live their life differently. So they're all kind of on this journey together. So it's that community support. It's the support from other people that are in recovery. They're all kind of doing the same thing. And if, and they can relate, they have this, they have very similar struggles. And I'm sure you've heard , uh , you , you listen to the similarity. So when you're at an AA meeting, you listen to the similarity . You listen for the similarities, not for the differences. And the people that are in these sober living homes that want recovery, they have lots of similarities. And so if a guy is struggling, if he's triggered, if he wants to go out and drink, he wants to use these people are on the recovery path together and so they are going to help each other , um , stay on the path. Whereas , um, people that are not in recovery, non alcoholics, non drug addicts, like they, they don't, they can't relate. They don't understand. They don't understand. When you know, they, they're going to say, why don't you just stop drinking? Why don't you just stop using, I don't understand why you don't just stop and, and, and another alcoholic or drug addict that's in recovery. Like I get it, I get it. I mean , I totally get it. Like I know, I mean I, I , I, there were countless times where I thought, you know what, I'm just going to have one glass of wine and next thing you know, I'm two bottles deep. Right? Yeah. For, yeah. For, for two weeks in a row. That's more like my story. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just keep going. Yeah . You just keep going. So, so being around a community of people, it's just, it's again, helping each other stay on that, stay on that path. Right. Support and which is, by the way, one of the reasons why I'm such an advocate for, for alcoholics anonymous and the 12 steps, you're around a bunch of people that want to be in recovery, right? So you end up doing recovery related activities, you're around people that want to be in recovery and you're also in, you see people relapse, which when you see people relapse, it's a good reminder. It's like, wow, that person, I saw that person at a meeting last week and they were doing great last week when I saw them and now and now they're there . They're drunk or high. Right ? I mean we have a, I mean there was just another guy that I, that um, I heard , uh, overdosed and died recently. Yeah . And , and he was one of our past residents and he, I remember we discharged him because he, he, he either drank or used and that was a few months ago and now he's, and now he's dead and it's just like [inaudible]Speaker 2:
awful. It's awful. Yeah. And , and you know, you know, my family story, my brother, you know, he was in a number of different sober living places and a number of different treatment centers. And this was, you know , years ago before I knew you. But yeah, and he, same story there, you know, he's, he's now dead because he something, you know, had I known what I know now, I think his story would be different because I would've had more of an active role in, in a lot of that. But at that time I was still drinking really heavily and I didn't know anything about recovery because I wasn't living it . And it has dramatically changed and impacted , uh , how we operate our law firm, how I live my life. And it reminds me, part of the reason I do those workshops that we talked about is because it gets me in front of people who are still hot off their addiction. There's still few men about it. You know, and I, and I go into these rooms where I used to sit and I get to see these people who are three days clean, two days clean, a week, 30 days clean. And it's just a reminder man, like I do not want to be back here. I remember how awful that felt and it just kind of connects me. You know what we say? You know you , you're, when you're, when you're kind of in the throes of addiction, you're like your , your ass is right in the fire. But the more and more time that elapses, the further away you get from that heat and it's not so hot anymore. And now it's like, Oh , this is comfortable. I can handle it again. And so part of what I, part of my program, part of the 12 step of sponsoring somebody else who's got less time than you, is to remind yourself that you're not too far off from that fire. It kind of drags your butt back and top up on top of the heat so that you just go, all right. You know, it's, it's one , one bad day away from, from losing everything that we've built.Speaker 3:
Yeah. Yeah. And I like , um , it's, it's a , it's a good reminder for me. It's like I see myself in other people and these are through guys that I sponsor or also through residents. Yeah . I mean, especially when I was still at when I was a house manager and I mean, I'm seeing these people that are so new, it's just so raw and um, and it's seen myself and it's like, it's like, Oh wow, that was, that was me. That was me. That was me when I was in high school. Yeah . That was me when I was in college. That was me when I was married. I can, so I can totally see myself in other people. And it's just like, ah, man, I am so grateful that I am where I am today and I want to keep, you know, I want to keep on moving forward in my life.Speaker 2:
Yeah, I'm sure I'm in many ways too. I mean, you know, it, it's like it's fortifying, you write against, of course, going back to that lifestyle. But it's also, you're also acting as an example for your residents, for people who are living with you. You know, they get to see how somebody who really was kind of at rock bottom, you know, especially in your story, right? I mean you, the markets crashed going through a divorce, fresh off an addiction. You know, you've got one house, you've got no money, you're working at 4:00 AM in the morning working, you know , however many hours a day you're working and now you've, you're still grinding away. I mean, I know you on a , on a business level as well as a friend and a personal level. I know how hard you work. Um, and just for, to just see that, that kind of template, that model to say, okay, I may be living in sober living right now and I really don't have much, I don't have much skill set . I don't have, maybe I don't have a job, I don't have a girlfriend. I'm a family. I basically have nothing. I'm kind of at rock bottom at this point in my life. But, so it was Tim, and look what Tim's made out of it. And just to kind of given that inspiration then that fire is, is hugely valuable because people want to know that things get better and your living example that they do.Speaker 3:
Yeah. Yeah. I would, I would agree. I mean that's, that's hopefully the , uh, that's the one of the intentions anyways is to be an example. Being an example to the men that are in my homes being exact . And that's, you know, that's 12 step work, right ? So it's, it's, it's carrying the message. It's like, Hey, this is like, this is what you can have, right ? If you stay, if you stay clean and sober. And if you, if you're honest and you do the next right thing and you work hard and, and , um, life can be a lot different cause , um, yeah, I mean I've, I've come a long ways since 2011 first got sober. Yeah, yeah,Speaker 2:
yeah, yeah. And you're doing great work and I know you're , you're really well plugged in to the community all around Arizona and beyond and people speak very highly of you and you know, you , you run, you run, you run nice homes and I think your heart's in the right place.Speaker 3:
Thank you. Yeah . I appreciate that. I appreciate that. I mean, you know, and, and um , the other thing I didn't , uh, I didn't say when you were asking me how I got into the sober living business was , um, when I had the opportunity to turn one of my homes into a sober living home, it was like, okay , I'm passionate about my recovery, I'm passionate about helping other people and this seems like a good [inaudible] . And so that was kinda how I ended up in the business. And, and every day I'm grateful, I'm truly grateful. I get to be in a business where I get to help people. Like that's what I get to do. I get to help people and my goal is to help 10,000 people per year. And right now I think this year we're, we're probably gonna help about 500. Last year I think we helped 244 this year. 2019. I think we're going to help about 500. Awesome. So it's , uh , so it's good man. It's, it's rewarding. Um, I enjoy it and um, and we're just going to keep on, keep on plugging away.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Well you're doing, you're doing it for the right reasons. You know, certainly there are a lot of people who are not out there in this space and I think that with time they will be thrown out of the market and hopefully, because you know, you hate to see that. I mean, I think about all the stuff that my brother went through, all the different facilities and things. And , um, it reminds me of a time when I was in it , when I was in, I was in a center, I was in a , um , kind of a detox facility and there was this incident where they brought this kid in. I was kind of like seven days in there. They brought this kid in off the streets. He was fresh off of heroin and they, they threw him in a bed and he had been living on the streets for like three, three months, probably no shower, no food. I mean, I thought he was going to die. And the way they treated this kid was horrendous. It was horrendous. They basically, they basically, he wasn't going to see a doctor for 24 hours. Uh, he came in late at night and I, I, I took the lead on that and got up, showered up, gave him a fresh change of clothes, did all of that stuff. But that was my first , uh , eye opening experience on how these places , these many of these places treat people. And I, it , it actually shocked me to my core that , that it was so, so bad. And uh, basically the house, the person who was staying at the house that night just said, it's not, it's not my problem. It's your problem. He's your roommate. You got to go deal with it. Which I was happy to do of course, but it was just, it was, it was very eyeopening that, that, that type of stuff goes on and that kid could have been, could have easily been dead. And I, anyway, I just connect that story back to my, my brother and I realized, man, you know, that could, that could have been him, they could have been treating him like that. Maybe that's why he didn't, he didn't get the chance that I've got that you've got in a life of sobriety and you know, the fact that you're out there providing good, safe, healthy homes with all of these resources for people and you're doing it for the right, you know , for the right reasons is just amazing. So whatever we can do to support you, of course we'll be there for that. Let me, let me ask you, so if people want to connect with you, so if they listen to the show, they want to grab coffee with you. If they want to, you know , um , put, getting contact with your, with your homes, you know, get somebody scheduled for an appointment. How do they do that?Speaker 3:
Um, they can go to our website, Camelback recovery.com. They can call our , uh, our main line is six Oh two four, six, six, nine, eight, eight, zero uh, face on Facebook. We're Camelback recovery. I'm Timothy , Tim Westbrook on Facebook. I think Timothy Westbrook on Instagram. Camelback recovery. [inaudible] recovery . Recovery. Yeah , we're out there. You're everywhere. You're doing great work. All right, my man. Anything else? Anything else we can cover? Uh, no, I think that's it. I, I sure do appreciate you having me, Robert, and um, yeah, looking forward to continuing to help people together.Speaker 2:
Yeah, likewise. I appreciate you coming on. You're doing great work, Tim Westbrook, Camelback recovery, www.camelbackrecovery.com Tim at Camelback, recovery.com Facebook, Camelback recovery, Tim Westbrook, everywhere else. Tim, thanks so much for coming on the show, my friend. Thank you.Speaker 1:
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