Mental Note Podcast Banner
Podcast
Mental Note

Episode 37 - Life After Drug Addiction: One Journalist's Search for Mental Health

By Vic Vela

Mental Note is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Search for Mental Note, and subscribe so you never miss an episode!

Before Colorado Public Radio's Vic Vela launched his own podcast about overcoming adversity, he faced a crippling substance use disorder that threatened to end his career, relationships, and even his own life.

But Vic found a way out and he's here to walk us through the journey. We are also joined by clinician Leah Young to show us how finding recovery is attainable for anyone open to professional help.

 

Transcript

Ellie Pike:

This episode contains a few intense moments, describing drug addiction, violence, and gun use. If you prefer not to listen, I'll give you a trigger warning around minute 18 so that you can skip ahead. If the whole topic of addiction and drug use are simply too raw for you, I encourage you to take care of yourself and skip this episode. Your health comes first.

Vic Vela:

The next thing I know, I'm totally dazed and confused, with a big knock against the back of my head. And I look up and I see this guy standing over me, hovering over me with a gun in my face. And I just was pleading, what do you do when there's a gun in your face? Everything just kind of stopped for a minute. I had went from not thinking my life was in trouble at all to feeling like I was about to die in a matter of seconds.

Ellie Pike:

Addiction warps us and transforms our circumstances in strange and deeply destructive ways. So much so that the mess it creates can feel overwhelming, while finding our way to health can sound impossible. But there is a path and today's storyteller is here to eliminate how recovery finally took root for him. If you're an avid listener to public radio, you may even recognize his voice, meet Vic Vela.

Vic Vela:

Hey, my name is Vic Vela and I am a news host with Colorado Public Radio, Denver's NPR station. I'm also the host of the CPR podcast called Back From Broken, which is all about recovery and listening to people's stories about how they've recovered from things like addiction, or mental health issues, really anything that causes us suffering. We have candid, very open conversations about that. And I've been a journalist for about 20 years. It's been my life and my love. And I'm also in recovery from drug addiction. I was a long time cocaine addict for more than 15 years, and I've been in recovery for more than five years now. So it's great to be with you and it's great to be alive

Ellie Pike:

Over the course of this podcast, we'll do more than just dive into Vic's harrowing journey. We'll also hear from Leah Young, the Clinical Manager of Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center's Addiction Recovery Program. She'll help us understand how Vic's story relates to our own lives, and how unlocking recovery shouldn't be such an illusive mystery. You're listening to Mental Note Podcast, I'm Ellie Pike.

Ellie Pike:

Thank you for being here and congrats on over five years of sobriety. That's amazing.

Vic Vela:

Yeah, I mean, it's a long time. There's a lot of folks who don't get that far. That's never lost on me. There's an old saying in recovery that five years is a long time, but five days is a really long time. And it just goes to show how hard it is to start your recovery path. I knew that the life I was living was hard, but it was one of those things where it was like the devil you know, I'm familiar with this life, even though it's horrible, but the idea of sobriety and change really scared me. I could speak for a lot of people like that, but yeah, thank you. I'm really grateful to still be here.

Ellie Pike:

I'm curious, can we start with kind of your early years? And I know that you've lived a rocky path. And as a kid, you experienced a lot and you were also surrounded by a big family, and there was also a lot of pain in your childhood. So, can you speak to who you were, what your life was like then, and also what mental health became for you?

Vic Vela:

I didn't learn until I was in recovery that so many of the things that drove me to using drugs and to using drugs every day, so many of the things that pushed me toward drugs in the first place all stemmed from my childhood. You talk to a lot of people in recovery, whether it's from addiction or mental health issues or whatever, I think you'll find that for a lot of people at least, our problems started long before we picked up a drug. And that was certainly the case with me.

Vic Vela:

Look, I'm so fortunate. Let me start with that first, that I grew up in a big, loving family that is still big and loving today. And I grew up in a Chicano household. I would remember parties thrown by my parents, where there'd be a lot of singing and a lot of guitars and a lot of accordions. And it was magical, it was wonderful. And a lot of green chili and tamales. I can't think of anything more joyous than that.

Ellie Pike:

I can totally picture it. That sounds amazing.

Vic Vela:

Yeah. I mean, it was great. I mean, so in many ways, I was very rich in the sense that there was a lot of love and a lot of support, even though we were not financially rich by any stretch. But there are a lot of things that I struggled with at a very young age, and a lot of things that my family struggled with that by extension caused problems for me.

Vic Vela:

My dad struggled getting on track with his career. He lost his job when I was a boy. And then after that, he really kind of struggled to find the right path. And so because of that, we moved around a lot and we suffered financially. My mom had some health issues, so it limited her ability to work. So, my dad was the primary caretaker in that sense. There were a lot of times in which we were really poor, so I kind of grew up on the proverbial, other side of the tracks in Longmont, Colorado, while a lot of my other friends, they had nice houses, and things like that. And when you're a kid, you see that. It's hard. When you're an adult, you can understand the nuances around economic status and how that doesn't matter in terms of how that should make you happy. You know, money does not equal happiness. But when you're a kid, you don't understand a lot of that. And all you see is that your friends are going on vacations or they're going skiing, but you can't. Right?

Ellie Pike:

You're right. That is a crazy heavy load for a kid to carry it, especially when they don't have words for their experience. I'm not saying you didn't have words, but I just know a lot of us, if it's not talked about, we don't know what to call it. But I'm also interested in what it looks like now for you, looking back at your kid self, what did you need at the time?

Vic Vela:

That's a really good question. What did I need at the time? I needed a tension at the time. I needed people to see this larger than life personality. I needed people to see that I had a lot to offer because I had so much insecurity inside.

Vic Vela:

An English teacher of mine, one of the few teachers who I really bonded with and loved, Patty Strickland at Longmont High School, who I still keep in contact today. She was my English teacher and she said, “You know, you ought to enter forensics and do some funny things in forensics.” I didn't know what forensics was. And then when I did it, I realized, wow! This is a way I can actually perform and actually not get kicked out of class. So, I would go do these humorous interpretation skits of old Mel Brooks movies or whatever, or Dave Barry columns, and I would get these great feedback from judges and I would win all these trophies, first place for humorous interpretation at contests around the state. And I went to state in forensics and it was quite a moment. I remember when I took first place at our own meets at Longmont High School, we lived just a block away from the high school and I was walking home from the meet, carrying this big first place trophy and my mom and my dad just walked outside and just started clapping and it was beautiful.

Ellie Pike:

And all because your teacher saw you and gave you that attention to say like, “I see you being able to really like use your personality in this way.” It seems like it made a huge difference. Tell me a little bit about your journey with substances and when that started for you.

Vic Vela:

I found out at a very young age that drugs and alcohol, wow! It made me feel good. It made all my problems go away. I think a lot of kids, it starts off where you have drinks at a party and you smoke some weed. And then that led to taking mushrooms and dropping LSD. You know, I grew up a big deadhead and a big fan of Phish. And so that kind of went along with the scene. But for me, my drug and alcohol use was a lot compared to normal kids. The crew that I ran with ... I was on student council. For a time, I was the junior class president. And we had a joke that my cabinet was called the liquor cabinet. And that we would skim money from ticket sales to school dances and put that toward buying kegs for kegs of beer for an after party.

Vic Vela:

And so alcohol and drugs were a huge part of my high school experience. Because I would smoke weed, or take this drop of LSD and now all of a sudden, I'm not thinking about all these bad things, and I could just get away. And why wouldn't I want to do this every day? Why wouldn't I want to feel like this every day? And that's the marvelous thing. And I put marvelous in quotation marks about drugs and alcohol, is we think it's such a wonderful feeling, it's such a wonderful distraction until it becomes a problem, which of course it did for me later. But before we get to that, yeah, through high school and college. I had a fake ID in college, so I went to bars. I would dabble in some drugs. But it never got to a point where drugs and alcohol dominated my life so much that I couldn't get the things that I needed to get done accomplished.

Vic Vela:

So, in college, for the first time in my life, I was getting good grades. I was getting A's and B's, and I liked being in a college setting much better than high school. So even though I was going to bars all the time and taking some mushrooms at a Phish concert or something, I was being productive. I was doing internships and getting good grades. Because I think every alcoholic or drug addict remembers a time in their lives when the drugs weren't a problem. And for me, that was college. But I was very liberal. I never said no to a drug my whole life. It wasn't until I got my first job out of college where drugs really became a problem for me.

Ellie Pike:

What happened then?

Vic Vela:

So growing up, I always wanted to be a guy who talked about sports on TV. I idolize people like Vin Scully and Dick Enberg and all these guys. And so I wanted to be a guy who talked about sports. And that's what I did right out of college. I got hired as a sports anchor for an NBC affiliate in Amarillo, Texas. And here I was, wow! I mean, that's a hard thing to do. Not everyone gets to do that right out of college. And I was on my way, you know? But it was there that I really fell in love with cocaine. And it was a love affair that will last for many, many years. Cocaine became my drug of choice. Cocaine became the drug that I couldn't live without. It's like, if you gave me a trade and said, “Vic, you will take everything else in the world, but we'll leave you with cocaine.” I would have been totally fine with that trade because I was addicted to it.

Vic Vela:

And just like any addiction, it started out nights and weekends, going out to the bars with friends. But then it just became this thing I did every day and then throughout the day, because I liked it. I was 23 years old and I loved being high. I loved doing cocaine. I loved how it made me feel. It made me feel invincible. It made me feel like Superman. And again, even though I wasn't dealing with the same things I was dealing with as a boy, I was still dealing with other things. Like, I was scared of relationships. And so I would always ... I didn't like it when people got really close to me. So when a guy fell in love with me, I would immediately push them away and I would use cocaine to hide into my own little world because I was scared of being vulnerable to someone else. So yeah, cocaine solved and wrecked everything.

Ellie Pike:

Vic, do you have an example of when drugs really became out of control in your life?

Vic Vela:

Well, I have too many to mention. You know, financial wreckage, personal life wreckage, friendship wreckage, health wreckage. But there was one example that really shows just how maddening addiction is. I had lost a couple of TV jobs. One because of layoffs, company-wide layoffs, and things like that. And another one because cocaine had gotten to be such a problem for me that it was affecting my work. Like there was a time when I can just cruise through the day high on cocaine and still get all my work done. But during my second job as a TV morning show host in the mountains in Colorado, I was sleeping throughout the day when I should be working and I was developing an attitude with my coworkers. And so finally the station manager said, “We're going to have to let you go.” So, it was a big example of ... A first real example of how cocaine had dominated my life.

Vic Vela:

But after I had lost those jobs in TV, I needed to find some sort of income while also feeding my own habit. Because there was no way I was going to give up cocaine. That's not going to happen. There was this dealer who I had gone through for many years. He and I had a really good relationship. We trusted each other. And he suggested to me one day that since you're coming to me every day for drugs anyway, why don't I just give you a large amount of drugs that you can then turn around and maybe sell, make some money, and probably pay for your own habit?

Vic Vela:

When he said that, I said, “Boy.” Then I started thinking. It was a brilliant idea. Like, well, why wouldn't I do this? You mean I could make some money and pay for my own cocaine habit? Yes, of course. It's brilliant. And it worked for a little bit, but the problem is, is that when you don't have any income coming in, it's harder to pay that back. And it's hard to pay back the drug dealer when all their cocaine has gone up your nose, instead of selling it to others. My first dealer left town. Okay? And I asked him, I'm like, “Man, is there anyone else you know who can do this for me?” And he hesitated at first, he said, “Well, there's this guy, but I'm just going to warn you, he's really dangerous. I don't know if you should be going into business with him.” And I was desperate. I was a drug addict. All I cared about was drugs. So, he gave me his name.

Vic Vela:

And I met this guy and he was right, really tough, tattooed, muscled guy. And he loved guns. He owned guns and he didn't put up with any BS. He didn't find me charming at all. Usually, I could make fun ... Yeah, I could tell someone a joke and it could be sort of disarming, you know? Not him, nope. It's like, just give me the money. I don't need to hear your jokes. And ...

Ellie Pike:

So no getting chummy with the drug dealer.

Vic Vela:

Yeah. So like ... But he was a hookup. That's what I needed was a hookup. And so he would front me large quantities, and then I would go back and pay him back, but there was one time I didn't have the money to pay him back. Me and this guy I was dating, we were quite a pair. We were just getting drunk and doing drugs throughout the day with no jobs. And then one day we realized that the large amount of cocaine that he had fronted us was gone because we had done it all. And now we had to pay back several hundred dollars, if not thousand dollars back to this dealer.

Ellie Pike:

Heads up listeners, we are approaching the section I warned you about at the top of the show. If you prefer not to hear Vic's description of a violent confrontation with his dealer, I encourage you to fast forward two minutes and 30 seconds to about minute 20:40 in the show.

Vic Vela:

He's calling me, leaving me voicemails, wondering where I am, why I'm not answering the phone. He needs my money ASAP. And then the voicemails got more threatening as I kept ignoring him. You know, cursing me out, “You MF.” Like, “Where's my effing money? I'm going to kill you.” Like this kind of stuff. That just dug me into hiding even more. It's scary and also I had tapped out so many of my friends and family for resources by this point. People were tired of lending me money. So, I couldn't just go get money from people. So, my boyfriend at the time, he convinced his uncle to loan us a bunch of money. Thank God at the time. So I got on the phone, I called my dealer, I said, “I have your money. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I'll be over right away.” And he very calmly said, “Okay.” Okay.

Vic Vela:

So, I show up at his door with a bunch of money. He opens the door, I immediately apologized again, like, “Hey man, I'm really sorry.” He's like, “Come on in.” And he was very calm. I didn't think anything of it. But as soon as he shut the door behind me, the next thing I felt was this giant fist to the back of my head. It was one of the hardest blows I'd ever felt in my life and I fell to the ground. The next thing I know, I'm totally dazed and confused, with a big knock against the back of my head. And I look up and I see this guy standing over me, hovering over me with a gun in my face. And I just was pleading, what do you do when there's a gun in your face? Everything just kind of stopped for a minute. I had went from not thinking my life was in trouble at all to feeling like I was about to die in a matter of seconds. Then he starts just beating me up. Puts the gun away, just starts kicking me, punching me, calling me every name in the book.

Vic Vela:

I am just getting, excuse my language, I'm getting my ass kicked by this guy. But I just took it. It felt like an eternity. It probably only lasted like 20 seconds or so, but it felt like an eternity. Ultimately, the beating stopped. You could tell, he almost felt some remorse, but he didn't say it. He said it in a way ... He said, “Why did you make me do that to you?” So that was kind of his-

Ellie Pike:

Oh, wow.

Vic Vela:

Yeah, it was his way of like feeling remorse. And he's like, “All right, get up, we're done.” It was just kind of like, there's no hard feelings kind of thing, right? And so I dusted myself off and I'm like, blood is everywhere. And most sane people would have gotten the heck out of Dodge and never look back and probably made changes to their life that never put them in a situation like that again, but I was not well at that time. So, the very next thing I asked him after I got up and wiped the blood off my face was, “So, can I get hooked up with some more drugs?” And he looked at me-

Ellie Pike:

Wow!

Vic Vela:

He looked at me probably the same way you're looking right now.

Ellie Pike:

Like eyes wide open. Like, are you kidding? You're not running away right now and like, never going to see me again. You're that addicted. That's how hooked you were.

Vic Vela:

That's all that mattered. And he just couldn't believe it. I still have the image of his face. Just that confused look like ... And he's like, “You got some balls, I'll tell you that, bro” is what he said. But after a little bit of convincing, he said, “Okay, here you go.” Toss me a bag and off I go. And did I just get my life threatened? Yes. Did I have a gun pointed at my face? Yes. Am I covered in blood from head to toe? Yes. Do I need to go to the ER? Yes. Did I get cocaine? Yes. Well then that's a good trade.

Ellie Pike:

The intensity of Vic's journey almost makes us forget what got him to the blood splattered floor of a drug dealer's house to begin with. Leah Young of Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center is here to connect those dots.

Ellie Pike:

So, Leah, one thing that I really noticed about Vic's story is that in his younger years, he really experienced such isolation and he hit his pain in that process. Is this something that you often see with individuals who struggle with substance use?

Leah Young:

Often doesn't even begin to describe how often we see this. Those feelings of isolation, those feelings of otherness, those feelings of not being “normal” and wanting to feel what we think other people must feel like is so common not only in Vic's story. I'm not saying there was no one around, but growing up in a smaller town, there's a bit of physical isolation from others, particularly others growing up like he did. And not really having that connection with others is just so huge, and it is so closely linked with depression and anxiety that we really want to start to take a look at those kinds of things as early on as possible and setting kids and teens up to try to be connected with other people. It doesn't have to be a million other people or a hundred other people, but just feeling like I have a person at least where I can truly be myself. And I don't get the sense that Vic felt like he really had that. It doesn't mean that he didn't, but he really felt like he didn't have that.

Ellie Pike:

What are some of the barriers to connection? Because I know for me and many others, there's a piece of vulnerability that has to come with connection and that's really hard.

Leah Young:

Yeah, it is really hard. And I think that some of the barriers to connecting, a lot of it comes from us and some of those things that we can easily identify in ourselves that maybe I'm slow to trust other people, maybe I have social anxiety. There might be fear of being abandoned because maybe in the past we did go out on a limb and make ourselves vulnerable and somebody did laugh at us or reject us. And so we are then afraid of experiencing that again. Maybe we don't feel worthy of someone knowing who we are or burdening. We sometimes feel like we're burdening someone by telling them something about us. And I'll be honest, physical isolation. And this is what many of us are experiencing now in a very, very acute manner because of this current pandemic, that physical isolation is a piece of it as well. It's certainly not all of it, but it's a piece of it.

Leah Young:

I think we tend to different ourselves out. We look for differences a lot of times in how our problem is either worse than, or our problem is not as bad as, or people will never understand my problem because it's weird, or all of those things we tell ourselves to make ourselves different from someone else. All of those things get in the way of us being able to really put ourselves out there and engage in the V word, which is vulnerability. And sometimes even our interpersonal approach can be a barrier. So, we might be someone who tends to give advice, or we might be someone who wants to console and say, “Oh, but you did the best you could.” Or, “You shouldn't feel bad, and our intentions are good.” But that can sometimes make it others feel like they can't connect with us because a lot of times then people aren't feeling heard. So, sometimes we get in our own way is really what it kind of comes down to.

Ellie Pike:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that that is something that all of us can relate to, even if we don't struggle with any kind of substance use disorder or even using substances at all.

Ellie Pike:

For Vic, getting to a place where he recognized that basic human need for connection took a lot more than just getting beat up.

Ellie Pike:

When I kind of summarize this and process this for myself, you were using drugs to help cope with pain, and then obviously it's also a disease. Your body was addicted to drugs. And then through all of your time, 15 years of using drugs that in itself caused so many traumatic instances that you had more pain that was just compounded, right? And more drug use. And so what happened when you stopped using? What happened to that pain?

Vic Vela:

Yeah. I mean, that's a big reason why a lot of people relapse. Because living life on life's terms without the help of drugs or alcohol to help mask some of that is really hard when you're not used to doing that. And for many of us, we've been using for so many years that we don't remember what it's like to go through a day sober. We can't imagine. And so it was hard. I mean, first it was physically hard because I had been drinking and doing cocaine every day for so many years that the physical recovery was rough. That lasted about a week where I just felt like crap. But day by day, it got easier on that front. But then the emotional recovery is really the hardest part.

Vic Vela:

Cocaine is a psychologically addictive drug. Like a heroin or alcohol is physically addicting. Cocaine is, like I put it before, it was my master. It is a psychologically addicted drug. As a matter of fact, it's science. When you continue to put that pleasure into your brain, your brain stops producing natural pleasure chemicals, right? And so when it's used to you manufacturing your own happiness, it just stops doing it. And so that period of post use was rough, because I had to let my brain recover. And it was very much like rewiring my brain. And I think that kind of depression, that sadness, that boy, nothing's making me happy right now, that kind of thing is why people go back to using. So I did everything I could to prevent that. And the things that I would do, I went to meetings every day, I met new friends in recovery to do things that I like doing like playing basketball or going to a concert, or watching Broncos games. I needed to fill those voids with people who were also in recovery. Just every day, it got easier. But it's not easy. That when you first start out, it's not easy at all.

Ellie Pike:

So, this has become so much of your life, sobriety has, but also sharing your story, sharing other people's stories about recovery. So, tell me a little bit about your life mission now and what do you hope to come out of what you're doing?

Vic Vela:

My life's mission ultimately is to take every day one day at a time, and to get sober through each day one day at a time. And it sounds very boring and cliche, but it's absolutely true. I can't accomplish the things I want to do in the future unless I accomplish what's in front of me right now. But in the larger sense though, I am very humbled and grateful that I'm able to use my platform as a public radio personality to bring awareness to addiction, and to let people know that hope is possible, that we should never let go of hope. What I try and use social media for is to try and help people and to let people know that, hey, I understand what you're going through, but let me tell you why I think you can get through this because I've been there.

Vic Vela:

There isn't anything that anyone can say to me that I haven't been through. I understand the pains of addiction in a million ways. It allows me to keep perspective. If I think I'm having a bad day, I stop and I think, am I really having a bad day? Let's compare it. Let's compare today to the last day you were getting high.

Ellie Pike:

Yeah.

Vic Vela:

Okay, there's no comparison. This is not such a bad day. Having that perspective helps. And applying that perspective to social media or on my podcast, I hope helps other people. And I think it does because I get a lot of messages from people saying that they really appreciate my honesty, they really appreciate the fact that I'm so positive. Well, that's just who I am. I understand 2020 is one of the worst years of our lives, right? For a lot of us, and for our nation as a whole, for the world as a whole. But I'm getting through it because I'm just trying to stay positive that this too shall pass. And we need to hold onto each other, metaphorically speaking of course, and hold onto each other tight and stay connected and really talk things out. Now, it's more important than ever to tell someone how you're feeling. It's more important than ever to tell someone, I'm not doing well today.

Vic Vela:

I did that recently. I was in a funk in my recovery, I was in a funk spiritually and I needed a break, and I realized that, gosh, I hadn't had a break from work in a while. So, I called my news director and I said, “I'm going to be honest with you, I'm struggling with some mental health issues right now.” And I talked it out and I said, “I'm just going to take a few days off.” And that's exactly what I did. And that's what we're supposed to do is just be honest about our feelings. We can't go around like a good trooper and trying to sweep everything under the rug, because that's not going to work. We have to tell people when we're not doing well.

Ellie Pike:

Yeah. And we need people who are friends and good at listening, and we also need skilled people who know how to talk about mental health and know how to teach skills around that so that we can continue to cope. Vic, thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your story. And I know that more people are going to find hope just by hearing your story here, and then also the stories that you're sharing on Back from Broken. So, can you tell us a little bit about that podcast and how to find it?

Vic Vela:

Yeah. It's Back from Broken. You can find it at backfrombroken.org or wherever you get your podcasts. We just completed the first season in early summer, and we are working on season two. We're trying to figure out when that's going to happen, but yep, season two is happening. We're really excited about that. But season one, if you missed it, it's 10 episodes of very powerful stuff that I'm very proud of. Interviews with everyday people, like a woman who works at a gym and she got sober, two celebrities. We talked to the Lumineers and some other high profile people about how addiction and mental health issues have played into their lives.

Vic Vela:

I'm really proud of it. It's a real simple concept. It's just me as someone who's in recovery, talking to someone else who tells their own recovery journey from things like drug addiction, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, depression, gambling addiction. It covers the whole nine yards. And I'm really proud of what we've done so far, and I'm really proud of and looking forward to how season two turns out.

Ellie Pike:

Awesome. I'm sure our listeners will check it out and we'll also link to it in the show notes as well. So Vic, thank you for your time. Thank you for the stories that you're sharing, especially your own.

Vic Vela:

Thank you. It is my pleasure. It was great talking to you.

Ellie Pike:

Thanks for joining me for this episode of Mental Note Podcast. Personally, I liked when Vic said that we can't go around like good little troopers, pretending everything is okay. Ignoring pain and addiction prevents us from healing. We desperately need human connection and sometimes even medical intervention to get us there. So, if you feel like you're drowning and attempting to keep reality at bay, it's time to ask for help. Reach out to a person you know and to a professional, because the more robust your support network, the stronger your chances of reaching recovery will be. And if you're not sure where to go for help, I encourage you to call Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center and Eating Recovery Center at (877) 411-9578. You can have a free, no obligation conversation with a trained therapist to help you figure out what the best next steps are for you to find health and balance. Again, that number is (877) 411-9578.

Ellie Pike:

Also, a quick side note, if you've been listening to our show for a while, you may be confused that the name change of one of our sponsors, Insight Behavioral Health is now Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center. In addition to their name change, they've also created more robust online support and resources. Check it out at pathlightbh.com. Mental Note Podcast is hosted by me, Ellie Pike and directed by Sam Pike. See you next time.

Presented by

Vic Vela

Vic is a Colorado native and was the first member of his immediate family to attend college. He's been a professional journalist for 20 years since graduating from the Metropolitan State ...

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

Joint Commission Seal