Grant Hanson shares his journey through addiction and how he now spends his career providing tools and guidance to his patients and clients to ensure they maintain their health and gain strength in recovery so they can live with excellent mental fitness.
Troy: Good morning, everyone. Another wonderful day here in Austin, Texas as I have somebody driving they're loud car coming up by windows. So that's always great for live, live broadcast stuff. today I am joined by grant Hanson, who is a business, specialist business strategist over at recovery club America. So appreciate you taking the time to join me today, grant. So, always kinda like to do a little bit of a origin background, kind of a start to the podcast. I know a lot of people aren't originally from Austin or aren't originally from Texas and kind of how you, one major journey here to, to Austin and in maybe, yeah, we'll kind of start there and kind of go from there.
Grant: Okay. Yeah, no, so I, I live in Austin, I, February of 2017. so I'm originally from Baytown, Baytown, Texas east side of Houston. w you know, born and raised there, ended up going out to Kerrville in 2014, lived there for about three years, and then made my way over to Austin. A combination of relationships in business have brought me here. I fell on him, fallen in love with, with Austin and definitely a, this is probably where I'm going to stay for for a long time.
Troy: Yeah, that's what I tell a lot of people like, like, I don't, there's no plan smooth. That has to be a very specific, reason to, to want to move at that point. Right. Like job opportunity, relationship kind of thing, to really be like, oh yeah, I need to, I mean, to lead, cause it's got a lot of things going for it. So, and then tell us a little bit about recovery club America, since that's where you're currently working.
Grant: So, so recovery club, came to me as an opportunity, kind of I've been in the mental health and addiction space. I, myself, I'm a person in long-term recovery. I've been sober about seven and a half years, a little bit, a little bit more now. and so that's, that was kinda my introduction to that and that space and I kind of started off in direct care working. Actually I started as a dishwasher at a treatment center has kind of made my way up from there. So I've worked in a lot of different departments within the treatment programs and yada yada. And so I progressed onto the business development side of things, which is a whole new adventure for me. And that's where I developed a passion for business development and for, just, you know, entrepreneurial. So he really was planted. And so, through, through, through being able to help work with and build up several different types of programs, you know, something I've always been interested in is just innovation right in our space.
And there's not enough of it, I don't think. and so a good buddy of mine when I left the hospital system that I was with prior to this, he called me, he had been working with another former CEO of a company to build this, this product is this product that we've launched recovery club America. And, and he, what he told me about it at first. And then he called me and said, man, we really love to bring you on, on board. And, and have you help us launch this thing. And when I, when I got a full demo of the products, you know, my concept was really cool was I see a lot of times in treatment, people sometimes tend to equate different or new with better. And that isn't always necessarily, that's not always necessarily the case. And so the idea was nifty and I thought it was cool, but I just really wanted to dive more into it to see like, is this something that's actually going to work and, and so the more we developed it and the more I got to even have input on the, the, the, the product development and all the services that we're going to incorporate inside of the app, the more I just fell in love with it. I said, man, this is huge. This is going to be huge, I think. And, and so, yeah, and then we formally launched, I think in September or October, kind of a soft launch. And, and yeah, we've had, we've had a lot of cool successes. We've gotten to work with a lot of cool people and just a simple explanation of what recovery club is. It's a, it's a web based platform. It's an app that you can download and it's all virtual. everything can be done and access via via the platform. and it functions almost like a social media platform with a community that is completely centered around, mental health and substance use. And so there's a lot of subscription-based services. You can access within it, but you don't necessarily have to. and so we're partnering with treatment programs and companies and et cetera, but it's also for everyday people just who needs some extra support, on their mental health journey, you know, and everybody in between.
Troy: Nice. Yeah. almost all industries, have been evolving, and, and always need to evolve and change. But at the same time, there's always that pull to go to the shiny new object and think that somehow it's going to be better than methods that are a lot of times tried and true. Right. And so it's definitely a balance of pushing the industry forward, but also making sure you do what works, because that's the only way you're going to stay in business.
Have you guys, I mean, obviously the last few years have been kind of crazy when it comes to, mental health and some of those things that I don't feel like have been talked on personally, don't feel like they've been talked enough about during this pandemic. they definitely have been some, but it's definitely kind of seemed like it's taken a back step to two other things, in while we're in an era era where you mentioned 10 years ago, 10 years ago, you know, those mental health and things we're talking about even less. So it's definitely awesome that we've progressed so much in the last 10 years, but how have you seen that change safe since the pandemic, when I'm, when all studies and information kind of show there's been a rise of those types of, issues because of the extra stress that had been put on people,
Grant: Right No, that's a perfect question. and I think that what people aren't as quick to see or recognize is that there's been a lot of really good progressions that, that have come as a result. It's kind of a bittersweet thing, right Because we're going to be strangers to happen something bad has to happen first. Right. So we saw first we saw was like a 600% increase in call volume to the suicide prevention hotline almost overnight. and so that's just one example. There's always other things. And so what started happening was something that's happening in all industries and definitely should have already happened in mental health long before this was just virtual access, access ways to access these types of resources virtually. And what we found out was I remember talking to a friend of mine, several years back who was doing tele-health trauma therapy really before telehealth was actually like a thing, a popular thing and I remember her telling me that grant, there's a, there's an entire population of people who I see now who had never accessed Haven before, who probably never would have accessed treatment until they could do so virtually because they feel safe and they can do it at their home, in their bed, in their pajamas. They don't even have to turn their camera on if they want to. There's already people working on developing completely virtual reality driven, residential treatment program experiences, you know And so there's been so much good. That's come, I think, but it's it's as a result of all of the, all of the VAT. I mean, there's, you're right that the, the mental health repercussions have not been discussed enough, but it's such a political climate that is tough. You know what I mean It's just how it is is unfortunately, but I stay out of that real mistakes are what I can do and what I do best, and that's not, that's not politics, you know I think if people would understand that those types of things, like for instance, decisions about how we treat mental health and drug addiction from a criminal standpoint, from a clinical standpoint, those are decisions that are made locally. Those decisions are made on a state and local level and people would, I think at the very least, and this is all I'll say about that. If people would get more involved in their local politics, if they care about things like that, that's where those kinds of decisions are made. For sure.
Troy: Yeah. No, it's, like I say, the technology has obviously increased across all kinds of industries, out of necessity over the last few years. And I do, you know, when I'm going to talk to people about the challenges of the pandemic, whether, you know, they'd be on someone's business or, you know, personal life and things of that nature, I do always try to have at least the positive outlook that at least it happened now, right. 20 years ago, you and I wouldn't be able to have a video chat, you know, which while that would be okay for you and me not to have, but I wouldn't be able to video chat friends or family or those kinds of things if you were really stuck at home. And so, not that that diminishes the impact that and stress that, that all this stuff has had on people, but the fact that it could have happened a point in time where you would have had to pay long distance charges to call someone. And now you just jump on your phone and you can FaceTime and Skype somebody and kind of do virtual happy hour and different things. So, in the end, it's, it's unfortunate that that's, that we've had to have some of these challenges to push stuff forward as fast as we have. But again, there are, hope, you know, good things coming out of it and good things that will be effective moving forward, too.
Troy: So you mentioned for yourself that, you know, you've been, you said about 10 years, from recovery, do you do, are you okay sharing a little bit more about that story or so what, yeah, so, I mean, I guess, you know, what kind of, how, I guess breakdown maybe kind of make me a little bit of the origin of that kind of situation too, because again, I think talking about it and understanding that other people have had similar experiences is a huge step in letting people know they're not alone. Cause that's what I think happens for a lot of people, right. Especially if it's a suicide kind of thing, right Like you, most people that commit suicide it's because you feel you're alone. And so understanding that other people are actually going through the same thing, other people, a lot of times they're putting up a facade that they may seem like things are going well, doesn't necessarily mean that that's the case. So, love for you to kind of share more of your story for that.
Grant: Yeah. No, that's, that's it, I'm glad you said that. because you know, I feel fortunate, to say that I, I ended up being, becoming what I would consider a non functioning drug addict. Right. There's we kind of use those terms functioning non-functioning I use that term loosely. but there are definitely those of us who once we start to engage in behaviors like that, we just start to lose everything. That's just how it is. For whatever reason. I lost my freedom. A couple of times I went to prison, I was homeless, all those things, and that's just, what's my experience. That's not everybody's experience. And what happens is I feel like I see those who are insulated with this false sense of, I have things I'm able to maintain a job. I've been able to keep my family intact. Somehow I have a couple of cars and a house and those things when they're insulated by that, and they think, well, it must not be that bad, or I wouldn't have these things and those are the ones who ended up dying to be honest with you, because it's not as, it's not quite as obvious that there's a problem. You know, for me, especially once I got around to finally getting sober, there was no questioning. I couldn't look at my experience and question whether or not there was a problem. There was obviously a problem, you know, like, and so I was very fortunate in that. And I was very fortunate that that happened to me when I was that young, you know, thank goodness some people go their whole lives and ended up going through this, what I'm going, what I went through when they're in their fifties and sixties, you know And that one, that's the, that's the real tragedy, you know and so, yeah, you're absolutely right. You never know what's going on. And I, and I actually, at this point, I'm convinced that everybody should be engaged in some form of therapy, some form of peer support, some form of accountability, something like that because I feel like what happens is I was talking about to somebody yesterday and, you know, I started going back to therapy again myself because I've seen some things that have cropped up in my own life, my own behaviors that I, that I don't, that I find objectionable. And there's just people who immediately jumped to like, well, why do you need to go to therapy Like, why don't you just talk to it And I'm like, you know, that's the thing, man, is that even the people who do believe in therapy, a lot of times they feel like they have to wait until things get as bad as they can possibly be before they'll finally do something. And that's the huge mistake. That's the huge mistake that is feeling like you should have only wait until things are that bad to finally do something when the idea should really be to engage in that kind of stuff ahead of time so that it never gets that bad in the first place. You know if people don't Want to do that,
Troy: There's nothing else that you would do that you can, I can think of where you, where you think that would be, how you'd handle it. Like you wouldn't decide, I'm just going to wait until I get way out of shape and way overweight. And then I'll, then I'll decide to go to the gym or I'm going to wait until my car. I'm never going to take my car in for service until it literally can't, you know, move and then I'll finally take it into, to get stuff done, right Like there's in almost everything we do in life. There's the kind of preventative maintenance to keep things going along the way. And like you mentioned, there's a lot of people that really, that do have a form of therapy, whether it's going to the gym, going out to drinks with friends, you know, family, all, all different kinds of things there too.
So it makes it easier to not have to do something as formal as therapy for a lot of people. but that doesn't mean that it's necessarily a bad idea to do a lot sooner rather than later. And again, I think for a lot of people, it comes down to, it comes down to shame may be too strong, a word, but you know, not wanting to feel like they're less than someone else who isn't going to therapy when in reality, most hardly anyone ever mentioned if they are or not. So you don't know if they're doing it, it's kind of, it comes in the form of comparing yourself to others, which is always hurtful because you're never going to, there's no reason to compare yourself to others. You're not like anybody else.
Grant: Exactly. No, you're, you're, you're exactly right about that. And I even still find myself, but I've just, I've taken a stance of curiosity when I find myself getting stuck in those, in those old belief systems, even, even around not wanting to talk about therapy and that kind of stuff, I have to ask myself, well, what is it, why is that You know, like, and just taking that same attitude of when these things crop up, and this is something I was talking about with my therapist, not being judgmental towards them, but just asking yourself, well, why is this And is this a belief that's actually serving me Or is it just something that was handed to me by somebody else And, and do I need to consider dismantling it You know and these are all, it's a journey. It is not something that happens overnight and that's what people want. They want a quick fix, an overnight fix. And the thing I've learned the most about personal development and growth, especially since getting sober is it's not a sprint, it's a marathon that I am sure will last for the rest of my life. I will never stop growing in that way. I hope I hope.
Troy: I am sure you will. And like, you know, again, similar to other activities too, right You don't, I'm someone who likes health and fitness, right Like you don't expect to go to the gym for a week or a month and be like, eh, good. I'll be good for the rest of my life now because I went to that, went to the gym for a month or, you know, diets, right Like everyone wants a quick fix on a diet, but in reality, your much better off, finding a lifestyle and habit that you can continue because, you know, you hope, you know, hopefully you're going to live 40, 50, 80 more years. And so if you can only keep up with the diet or with the fitness plan or with the therapy session for, or, or being in a good mental space for a month or two, well, that's a very small fraction of the amount of time that you hopefully have left.
Grant: Right Absolutely.
Troy: So you hit rock bottom, which while again, you would never wish that anyone was at least more eye-opening right. Like, again, it was very stark as far as like, Hey, here's where things are. I can very easily equate to, well, how I got here. what was the, was there a moment or kind of situation that, led to kind of coming up, rising, rising back from all that
Grant: So, so what, this is a question that I get asked a lot and it's often asked to me by families, families of people that I've gotten to work with. Right. Grant, what was it that finally like, cause they just want answers, you know, they want to know how, what can I do to help my look when you get there You know, and grant, what was the thing that finally made you change And that's such a tricky question because it's hard for me to say what it takes for any other person. Like I'm not inside any of the person's mind. I don't know what that breaking point is or that moment is I can say that it certainly certainly has some something to do with my external conditions, for sure. But the most concise way I can ever describe it as to say that it was a complete and total collapse of ego, which, which just involved this moment where, because I was very stubborn, like everything I had to feel like everything was my own idea, you know, like to get sober.
I had to feel like that was my idea to do any of that stuff. I couldn't, I could not feel like somebody else was nudging me and that's not the case for everybody, but for me, I just couldn't feel like that. I had to feel like I came to that decision on my own and I had a series of these moments. Right. But the thing is, is that that the ego tends to reconstruct itself pretty quickly, at least in, in, in our, in our people, you know, you have this complete collapse this moment, this apifany where you're like, wow, no matter what I do, my life keeps getting worse. Like I might need help, but if you don't act on that moment pretty quickly, I find that that window closes pretty rapidly. And and then all of a sudden your ego, reconvince it as you, that it really wasn't that big of a deal.
And that's, you're probably overreacted in any ways. And so as everybody else, you know, and, and yeah, I just, I, I had this moment where I just realized that I was literally operating on a daily basis, doing things against my own will of doing things that were so far outside, my moral compass. And there were so incongruent with what I was w my, my own morals and values, and I couldn't live up to them. I thought it was impossible. And I said, okay, I can't, I'm literally incapable of doing this by myself at this point. I don't know what else to do. And when you're at that moment of just complete, like I give up, man, it's like, what a freeing, like how liberating, because you can just, you can give up that pride and ego in that, that I have to do this all on my own because it's gone. It's obvious you can't obviously. So why not You know it, man, that was a moment that was just a launching pad. All of a sudden you have all the options in the world now because you've just, you have no options left. Right The irony, the irony of that, this is what happened. And, I got started getting into some work really quickly and heavily because my wife quite literally depended on it.
Troy: Yeah. So then from kind of become, becoming sober then have you always spent your time working in the recovery space, trying to, you know, that was that I guess, what drew you to wanting to do that other than I'm assuming for helping people, have you lived through that experience, but, there obviously a lot of people who, when they go through that, you know, go back into other fields and stuff. So what kind of prompted you to want to, join that space full time
Grant: Well, so honestly I try not to at first, because it was a very cliche thing to me, for people to get sober and want to become like a counselor or something. Right. It was like, this is super cliche thing that I was just not going to do. And I kind of just got called into it. I feel like, you know, I tried to do a few other things for about a year or so, not quite. And then I, I finally, applied for this job. I applied for a different job at the treatment center, but I hadn't been sober long enough. So they stuck me in the kitchen and that was a, really a blow to my ego a little bit, but I just had a pep talk myself every day. Cause I was like literally 14 hour days working in that kitchen five, six days a week sometimes, you know, and I had a baby coming at the time.
So I just had to get myself a pep talk. Like, this is just where you're starting. This is just the beginning. Like it's okay. I got to pay my dues and I would have to tell myself that like, it's okay. and as I progressed, I didn't know what I wanted to do inside that space. A lot of it changed and evolved over time, which is advice I give to people. You know what I mean all the time. That's what you, what you wanted to do through three years ago may not be what you want to do or be now. And you'll figure that out as you go, I had opportunities and I tried different things and I, somewhere along this path, this entrepreneurial seed got planted in me. And I realized I also wanted to do well for myself. I have financial goals that are, that are big and ambitious, you know and, and I've been really obsessed with trying to figure out a way that I can marry that with my passion, for helping people in this space. And, and I love, I love to do it because I'm obsessed with human potential. It's just crazy to me when you really think about how insane it is, if somebody can go from the lowest of the low and if they're willing to do the work, whatever work that might be, they can literally do it, become anything that they want from it, from wherever they start. It doesn't even, it doesn't matter. And that's so crazy to me, that's so crazy to me. And I'm obsessed with helping people figure out how to do that.
Troy: No, the Mo the mind is, amazing, but also, can be amazingly frustrating as well, too. Right. And the fact that, again, similar to when someone's going through the lows, you, a lot of times can't convince them that what, how, what they're doing is hurting them, right Because they're in their mind, it's not as big of a deal. And on the reverse side of things, there's a lot of people who don't realize their full potential, even if they're not truly hurting themselves from like a substance abuse kind of thing, but don't realize how great they can be because of the limiting beliefs. they have, or the lack of confidence and some of those things that were instilled in them, you know, through school or through different things as well, too. So it's, the mind is amazing. And especially if you can start to unlock the potential.
Grant: Right, right. Exactly. To your point is, you know, there, there was such a, a seemed like a huge parallel between what I was learning as I was getting sober in the rooms of recovery and 12 step philosophy and all that. And these other things, like I became exposed to working in the industry. And then when I started to get into the entrepreneurial space and personal development, and I started listening to people like Jim Roan and Tony Robbins and all these other speakers, and I started to see these huge similarities. And I was like, you know, the same things that's preventing an entrepreneur from being able to be successful, the root causes of some of those things, at least, or, or not much different than the same than the things that drive somebody to drink and use drugs. It's just what's happening at the root is similar.
Grant: But how it manifests itself out here in terms of behaviors is, is, can be very different, but it's, it's really not all that different. You know, it's really not, obviously we're afflicted with somethings. They can tell us, that's, that's a big difference. That's a grave issue. But, but when I split, you removed that aspect of it, it's like everybody has their own ways of coping with these same things. And they're all different for different people, you know And so I was like, man, I can really see this coming together. Like, like really well, because I see people get sober and it's great. They're sober, but now what, now you're sober, but then let's, let's keep, you know what I mean H how can, how can we take that same energy you just had to put into, to the feeding of deadly illness Can you put that same energy into like now the next chapter And then the chapter after that You know what I mean And that's something that I've just really been intrigued and obsessed with figuring out.
Troy: Yeah. Very nice with, so it's recovery America, it's, the company here based in Austin.
Grant: Well, so actually there's a, there's a team of us that are split between Tennessee Brentwood, Tennessee, and in Austin. And so, yeah, I think technically it's actually headquartered out of, out of Tennessee. There's a few of us here right now, but we're covered in, I think, 27 states. So at this point,
Troy: And obviously doing all it's through your guys, you guys have an app you said, or a website that allows you to connect with people,
Grant: Correct Yeah. So you can download it, just recovery club, America, either in the app store or the Google play store, you can download it for free. And that's what we're really trying to push for right now is just to the free downloads, not even necessarily the subscription services, if people find them useful and want to engage them great, but there's a lot of free things that people can do and engage with in the app. And if you want to remain anonymous, you don't have to even use your real name. You can use an alias, if you'd like to, and, you know, I just cause we need feedback. So we're encouraging people to get on, download the app, interact and engage with whatever they find. Interesting and, and give us feedback on things that we can add, take away, improve, make better. We have an impressive backend support team home, which is constantly trying to improve things. And, you know, so that's, I think that's what separates us significantly in the marketplaces. We have such tremendous backend support and amazing team that is doing everything behind the scenes.
Troy: Nice. Do you know from, so if someone's thinking about doing it, but wants to anonymous anonymously, do you know how that works with there So usually they're having to download it, load it through Google play or apple play, and usually those accounts aren't necessarily anonymous. So, I mean, that may be a more technical question then you generally deal with that stuff, but for someone who maybe is concerned about that from an anonymity standpoint, do you know how that works
Grant: Well, I mean, that would be the same thing if they were to engage in any other, like if they were to download, you know, better health or Talkspace or any of that stuff, you know, it would still be, it would be HIPAA compliant in terms of confidentiality between, you know what I mean But, but the same issue would apply there too. I don't, I don't even know how you would necessarily get around something like that.
Troy: Yeah. And I say, I don't know that it would necessarily prevent someone like, cause you know, the username and know how you sign up through the app is usually kind of the bigger thing for most people. But it was just something that kinda dawned on me for some, if someone was really trying, you know, again, dealing, dealing with something that they really, you know, kind of don't want exposed. even though that even though exposing, it's probably going to be the best way for them to get help. that doesn't mean that that's where they're at in their journey.
Troy: Nice. So what's kind of the, you know, so getting more, getting more downloads, getting more users. So that way you can kinda, continue growing the app. How long have, has the business and app been available
Grant: So yeah, so the launch, it was in like September, October, we had a few, programs and like sober homes and that kind of stuff be part of our pilot program, which was successful. A lot of them came on board as full-time accounts and a lot of them are even requiring it now further for their, you know, their clients or the residents in the sober homes. And so it's, it's something that is like, you know, we're creating partnerships with treatment programs. We're also meeting with EAPs employee assistance programs, right with HR departments and companies to be a resource, we're meeting with, with jail systems and probation departments and in court systems, you know, veterans courts, even we've gotten some, some, some opportunities there to be the resource. So there's a lot of flexibility. There's a lot of, that's the great thing about being a digital product is it's so easy for us to create new services.
When we, when we see the need arise for something, we can create it, we can create it, you know, and w what we've been able to create and what we can offer at the affordability is $68 a month, it'd be subscribed to the other services. 68 bucks a month. You get up to four from four to eight sessions a month with a recovery coach, access to process groups, focus groups, and then there's tons of content games and challenges, and et cetera, you know, 68 traditional recovery coaching is usually one of the two grand a month minimum, and you're signing a six to 12 month contract, usually, you know And so the idea was not only to increase the need to continue in the aftercare for people who are getting out of residents with treatment, but to be something that can be literally accessible any part to anybody anywhere that could not previously access services, only 11% of people annually, by the way, who need access to substance use or mental health treatment, actually get it actually get it,
Troy: Which is not, not a good percentage at all. So no, again, making it, making it easier, right. We've as we well, well aware of everything in our life seems to be getting easier, whether it's buying clothes through Amazon or, any, you know, any number of activities having your groceries delivered through Instacart. the ease of use is obviously a huge thing, but also again, the, the cost barrier to entry can be a big thing too, because unfortunately, in a lot of cases, again, especially during a time like the pandemic here, some of the people, probably, I would guess, definitely don't know this necessarily, but the, probably a higher percentage of low-income people who have this additional stress of losing their service, service jobs, and those kinds of things, probably were hit more harder, from a mental health space and, abuse space then, people that got to just work from home five days a week in their tech job. Not that again, not that there's not plenty of, potential issues there, but, it's nice that you have a lower cost entry for people, for sure.
Grant: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And the idea to just also, I'll say this too, is that even though the product is virtual one intended to be accessed virtually, there's a cool feature on there where you can find and locate members that are near you. So I don't want it, I don't want it to be misunderstood that the important, the in-person connections are still vital. you know, I don't, I don't mean that virtual, she needs to take the place of, but that it should be a, a means to an end if possible, you know, that you can access those services virtually, but it's, you can actually connect with and meet up with, because we'll have events that we'll be launching. Other, other organizations that will be posted that are friendly to mental health and addiction that will be hosting their events and posting them inside of our platform, you know, all of that stuff. So there's lots of opportunities for people to get on there. And just even if they never spend a dollar on the services to immediately connect with and engage with and build relationships with tons of people who are super committed to a mental health.
Troy: Okay. Awesome. And so you mentioned again, right. It's re recovery club. America would be the place to go. I do have the Instagram page as well, too, which I'm sure has a link to get downloaded the app and stuff as well. and then, w is your Instagram or Facebook kind of the best way for people to reach out if they have questions themselves
Grant: Yeah, absolutely. They can reach out to me either Facebook or Instagram. I do. I do typically respond to the messages and all of that, so, yeah. Anytime.
Troy: Nice. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to, to jump on and kind of talk about it. It's a very important subject to talk about, and it needs to be talked about more. And so being able to share your story is I think an awesome thing to help people know that they're not alone.
Grant: Awesome. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much for having me. I was really fortunate to get this connection, man. So grateful.
Troy: Appreciate it. everyone have a wonderful Tuesday.
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