Synopsis: Chris Scott interviews Joe Eisele, a nationally certified alcohol and drug therapist, on his story of drug and alcohol dependence, what life was like through his addiction, how the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) helped him to foster and nurture sobriety, how biochemical restoration therapies provided the final missing link to his personal recovery puzzle, and what people can expect when being treated at his holistic treatment program called InnerBalance Health Center (in Loveland, Colorado).
- Learn more by visiting InnerBalanceHealthCenter.com
- Or by checking out Joe Eisle’s book: Leaving Drug and Alcohol Addictions for Good
Joe Eisele: If you look at the studies that have been done over the last many years, for 80 years, traditional treatment has gotten about a five, 10 or 15% success rate. And it's our opinion that they're leaving out the most important part and that's the biochemical piece. In order for any human being to have a quality life, to have a meaningful life, we need to have a lot of strong, loving, spiritual connections. We need to feel love for our self, our family, our animals, our friends, nature, maybe a connection with a higher power sees connections, sees loving connections that give meaning to our life. And that's exactly what drug and alcohol will damage, we're actually severed when patients come to our treatment center, they're fighting with their family, they're not going out in nature, they're not exercising. And if they had a connection with a higher power, it's been damaged or destroyed.
Announcer: Thanks for tuning in to the Elevation Recovery Podcast, your hub for addiction, recovery strategies. Hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.
Chris Scott: Welcome everyone to the Elevation Recovery Podcast. I'm Chris Scott, today I'm joined by Joe Eisele, who is the clinical director and founder of Inner Balance Health Center, which is a rehab program, a residential program in Loveland, Colorado, I believe, and one of the few that I actually wish I had gone to, because they specialize in biochemical restoration along with other modalities of treatment.
Chris Scott: The traditional ones as well, but a real big emphasis on biochemical repairs we say, or biochemical restoration. And Joe himself had to address his own addiction, found that biochemical restoration was really helpful for him in healing himself of the insomnia and depression and anxiety. Those are the three big symptoms that I had in post-acute withdrawal as well that I found I had to resolve if I wanted to keep on with my recovery.
Chris Scott: Joe is also the author of a really good book called Leaving Alcohol and Drug Addictions For Good or Leaving For Good, I think is the title. And so we're going to have a natural flowing conversation today as I like to have, and we talked for about two minutes before this podcast started and I can already tell we could probably talk for three hours. So thank you, Joe, for being on the show.
Joe Eisele: Thank you, Chris. Appreciate it.
Chris Scott: Yeah. So, I'd love to hear a little bit about your own personal story, if you wouldn't mind. How did you develop an issue with addiction and how did you start finding your way out of it?
Joe Eisele: Sure, I'd be glad to share that Chris, I grew up in Southern California, I would classify myself as a shy kid. I was about 13, I moved to a new school. I had one friend, Herb, and I had a hard time sleeping at night when I was about seven years old and I think it was a result of too much caffeine from pop and maybe watching movies I shouldn't, but I developed this incredible fear. My mind wouldn't slow down and all night I'd be thinking about somebody in the house with a knife or there's a Creek on the roof and maybe somebody trying to get in the house and I'd lay in my bed just stiff waiting somebody to come around the corner.
Joe Eisele: And I remember I tried to sleep with my parents for a couple of weeks, they kicked me out, I tried to sleep with my sister in her other bed in her room, she kicked me out, but that went on for a long, long time. And plus being a shy kid and I couldn't get my thoughts together very well, especially in school, I was kind of a loner, but I did meet this one kid when I moved into Canyon Elementary School and we hung out together, we were buddies, we used to hike behind the Hills where we lived on the weekends and we loved that, we kind of loved hanging out with each other.
Joe Eisele: But I remember probably the thing that started it all was I was home from school and I was watching television and I was coughing with the cold. And all of a sudden, my mom comes in and says, "Hey, take this liquid down." So I swallowed it down and for the next four hours I sat there and stared at the television set, I didn't change the channel, my mom went off shopping and I went into the most peaceful state I'd ever experienced in my life. My mind just slowed down and I just stared at that TV and didn't even know it was on, and that feeling went away, but it was a wonderful feeling. The next day she came in, she gave me some more of this red liquid, this Codeine cough syrup, and I got the same wonderful feeling.
Joe Eisele: The cough went away, I went back to school, but I could not get that feeling out of my mind, it was just wonderful, I'd never felt that peace in my head before. So when she was out one day, I remember going down in her medicine cabinet and opening the door and sure enough, there was that red bottle of Codeine, and I started sipping on it every couple of days to get that nice feeling and it started to go down and I'm thinking, my gosh, this can't continue, she's going to not know it.
Joe Eisele: So one day when I was in there, I looked to the left and there's a big pill bottle, and it said, take one every four hours for pain. Now my uncle was a physician, he's the one that gave her these, I figured that he wouldn't give her anything that was harmful, so I took a couple of these big, large horse pills, they were red and gray, I'll never forget them. And I took a couple out, I was a little nervous, but I took one and I got that same wonderful feeling from that Darvon and that set off an addiction, I call it a search for a wonderful feeling. It was a search for that feeling that I got from that codeine cough syrup.
Joe Eisele: And I started experimenting with alcohol and I started sneaking alcohol out of our medicine cabinet and drinking, getting high and then I invited one night my buddy Herb over, and this tells me something, because I wanted to introduce him to alcohol and I did. My parents were having a party, I snuck some scotch out and we started drinking it and coughing, and we're getting high, we snuck out of our room and rode up to the bowling alley, getting drunk, coming back, falling off our bikes, we ripped our clothes climbing over the fence, stumbled back into my room. And one of us threw up, I don't know who it was, we both passed out. Now the next morning when I woke up, I looked at Herb and said, "Wasn't that fun? That was great." He said, "I hated it, I don't like that out of control feeling."
Joe Eisele: So, that tells me there was something going on with my chemistry different than his, and that was the first relationship I lost because of my addiction. I started gravitating towards kids who drank like I did, partied like I wanted to do, he was more in sports and so we kind of went our separate way, but I had a love affair with chemicals through high school, they did for me what I couldn't do for myself, I made a lot of friends. I remember stealing a girl from a big football player, I was really proud of that.
Joe Eisele: But then when I picked her up one night to go on a date, I was so drunk I stumbled into the house and passed out, her mother would never let me see her again. But it didn't affect me, I didn't think that my school was going down, but all my friends were doing the same thing, so it was kind of like normal, we're all out of control, all drinking, all partying, well, after high school it started getting more and more out of control, my buddy, Tony and I tried to go to college for a couple of years, I had to drop out because I was drinking and using something daily now.
Joe Eisele: I had different doctors giving me different things like Eskatrol was a wonderful drug back then, it was a capsule, a contact capsule, it was speed cut with Phenobarbital, very addictive. The pharmacist finally had it pulled off the market, but I loved that drug, I would tell the doctors I was working in a job and I needed energy to get going and I need something to relax and they'd give me Valium or they give me Chloral hydrate sleeping pills. So I was becoming pretty addicted to a lot of stuff.
Joe Eisele: I started to lose jobs, and I started, it affects my relationship, I'd meet a girl, we'd hang out for a good while, but then my addiction started messing up the relationship. I'd show up drunk, and those were never my intentions, but it was happening. And then they would always start complaining about my use. By then, that was the only solution I had to relieve the problems that the chemicals were having, so, I would lose those relationships, they would go by the wayside.
Joe Eisele: I ended up getting arrested by the police a lot of times in Santa Monica, just common drunk after the bars are closed, stumbling around and not finding my car and they picked me up. And then I started ending up in mental hospitals, I ended up over about a period of six years in about four mental hospitals, the worst being Camarillo State Hospital, because by now I thought there was something mentally wrong with me. My life was so out of control and I wasn't really associating with the chemicals. Because one thing I've learned is that when we're in our addiction, the thing that's causing the problems is also the solution to our problems, the relief from the withdrawal problems, all of the emotional problems that these chemicals are causing, they're the only solution I had to relieve those problems. And so I couldn't let go of them.
Joe Eisele: Eventually, this was over a period of about 15 years, I was really out of control the last four years, I was lonely, I'd lose an apartment, I'd be homeless for a while, I was living in the street this one time and going from friend to friend and we'd get into a fight, they'd kick me out. I met a cab driver in Hollywood and he and I partied for up to two weeks totally out of control.
Joe Eisele: My mother knew it, she used to take me home and clean me up and feed me for a week or two then I'd go back out and start it all over again. My mother told my brother, "We have to do something, he is going to kill himself." So they picked me up, the deal was, they told me we were going to go to Santa Anita horse track on a Sunday. Well, what they did is take me back to [inaudible 00:10:50] Memorial Hospital and they took these drugs I had in my satchel, and they took them in to the emergency room part of the hospital and they're trying to have me committed and I don't know what they said, but I think they probably said something like, we're not the police, we can't do this, you guys have to get out of here.
Joe Eisele: Well, they threw my bags out and left me there, so I'm in the waiting room in this hospital, I didn't know what to do, and I was pretty messed up coming down and I figured I'd call my mom and she'd take me in and clean me up. Well, I called her and I said, mom, I need some help, I think I have to come home. And then I hear the tears on the other end of the phone and she's crying, she says, Joe, you're killing yourself and you're killing me. She didn't say a one way ticket, but she said, I'll buy a ticket to Colorado. I had a cousin out here who was in AA and had a few years of sobriety.
Joe Eisele: And my mom and dad had tried everything, they tried to have me committed in [inaudible 00:11:49] and I wouldn't go there, because they wanted to shave my head and take all my worldly possessions and I didn't have much, but I didn't want them to have them, so I wouldn't go in there. So I got on the plane, it was January and there was a big snow storm in Colorado. And I landed there in my Southern California clothes, it was freezing, and now I didn't know this, but I was addicted to about 10 years on Valium, plus other drugs and alcohol and I'm really starting to come down, and I looked in my bag for my drugs and they were gone and I didn't know it at the time that my brother took them out before he put me on the airplane.
Joe Eisele: So now I'm going through a very serious withdrawal, my cousin picks me up, brings me out to Fort Collins, sticks me in a basement with a concrete floor, unfinished basement, a mattress and a jug of water. And I start shaking and over the next couple of days seeing bugs come out of the wall and it was very bad and so she got me appointment with this psychiatrist, he was kind of a specialist in alcohol in this area. She took me to meet with him, I sat in his office and he knew I couldn't talk. He said, "what can I do for you young man?" I couldn't speak.
Joe Eisele: He put me in the hospital, they didn't know how to bring you off of Valium or Benzos back then, so they just cold Turkey, they gave me some old antidepressant like Haldol or something and then I show up in the hospital for about seven days, he suggested I go up to treatment up the mountains of Harmony, a traditional 12 step program, and I said, sure. I knew I was in bad shape.
Joe Eisele: So I went up there and it was pretty laxed, but I tried. You could gamble until two and you could come to class if you wanted to, but I tried and afterwards I tried staying sober, I hung around with the people I got sober with, in other words, they are in Denver I was in Fort Collins, but I'd go down and visit them and we'd do stuff like maybe go to an AA meeting or maybe go dance whatever. And one by one, those people I was in treatment with started relapsing and there was only myself and my roommate who was in Harmony I was with, my roommate. He and I were the only ones left.
Joe Eisele: And I remember going down on a Saturday, knocking on his door and he was drunk, I came home and I was scared and I didn't going in and out of AA, but not doing much about it. And I got a root canal and the dentist said, you might want something for the pain, and the little voice inside said, you better not do it, all right, I'll take it, I can handle it doc. Well, that started a three-year relapse in and out of it, mostly with alcohol relapsing, but I never shared in AA, I never stayed around because of my anxiety, I couldn't sleep more than an hour a night, I couldn't get my thoughts into words to even talk if I wanted to. My diet was horrible, I was living off of Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, drinking a six pack of Coke a day, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
Joe Eisele: So I was miserable, and I was trying in and out, but not doing the work that people I think need to do in a 12 step program. And finally went back to treatment after three years, came out of treatment, committed, a few weeks later I went back to Chicago to see this girl I knew and then I got drunk for about a week, a horrible binge. Left there, destroyed that relationship, came back to Fort Collins and then I'd start going through some withdrawals, Dr. Frank couldn't help me with medication, they wouldn't let me back in treatment. And it was a Wednesday night, March 18th, 1981, I didn't know what I was going to do, so I hopped in this old beat up autobill I had, and I started driving from Fort Collins to our RUS meeting in [inaudible 00:15:47], it was an AA meeting that I'd been there off and on.
Joe Eisele: And I didn't know what was going to happen, but I was in a lot of pain all the way to [inaudible 00:15:53] and I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, if there's a God, why are you doing this to me? Why can't I get sober? And then I'd break down in tears. And I remember having the thoughts. All I have to do is turn the wheel a little bit to the right and I could end it all, but I didn't, and I got to the meeting and two miracles happened to me that night. The first was, I never shared a day in meetings, there's about 10 people and when it came around to me, something told me you better share.
Joe Eisele: So I said, my name's Joe, I'm an alcoholic, I don't know how to quit drinking, I'm afraid I'm going to die. The other miracle is there's this little old lady, [inaudible 00:16:28] Stevens, sitting to the right of me, she knew me, she turned to me and put her finger in my face and says, you've got to get a sponsor, you've been trying to do this alone. So, that took that night, I went and got a sponsor. Bill invited me in, the first thing he asked me is, "Joe do you want to quit drinking?" I said, "Yes, Bill. I've got to, it's going to kill me." Second question. "Are you ready to do the work it takes to get well?" And I said, "Yes, Bill. I am."
Joe Eisele: So, he laid out a bunch of things and we sat and talked for a couple hours. Then he told me to sleep on a couch, because I was just emotionally spent. An incredible feeling came over me, and I didn't know about the big book or AA and Bill Wilson, any of that. But this peaceful feeling came over me, whether it was just emotionally spent or the fact that I finally surrendered and I'm getting help. But that started my journey into recovery, okay. And I worked the program, I worked my sponsor, I did what he told me to do, I went to two meetings a day, started reaching out to people, we got in a book study and that went on for about eight months, but I was still depressed, I was still anxious, I couldn't sleep. I was still miserable, I was hanging on by the threads and it was because of my, I had a great sponsor.
Joe Eisele: But then what happened was I was in a bookstore one day and I'm looking around and I'm in the health section, pull this book out by Dr. Broda Barnes, and it's a book on the thyroid. Now I heard, when I was a kid, I love to stay in a hot bath in the morning, I hated to get out of a warm bath, my mom had to drag me out. I was constantly cold, people complain about my cold hands and feet and I read this book, Dr. Barnes and his symptoms fit me perfectly. Okay. So I go to my doctor, friend, doctor Ash and I said, Ken, I think I got a thyroid problem, he says, well, Joe, there's one of the best endocrinologists in Denver, you should go down and see her. So I went down there and I met this older lady, she's pretty old. She did some blood work and then I get all excited because she's going to find out I had thyroid problem and fix me.
Joe Eisele: Well, I went back and she's looking at my labs. And she said, you don't have a thyroid problem, all your labs are normal limits. And then I got really sad, depressed all the way back to Fort Collins, I'm thinking, what the heck? How could I have all these symptoms? So I took his book down again and I read it again and I read it more thoroughly. And Broda Barnes says, if you want to find out if you've got 80% chance of thyroid or 20% chance of adrenal function, what you do is you take a thermometer at night, shake it down, put it on your nightstand in the morning When you wake up, you put it under your arm for 10 minutes, and then you measure your body temperature. Because the thyroid is what gives us heat, what gives our body heat.
Joe Eisele: And if you've got low body temperature, more than likely you've got a thyroid problem. And sure enough, I had a really low body temperature, so I went to his website, I found a doctor in Castle Rock who would treat my symptoms, not based on the labs. And interestingly enough, over time, over the last several years, the TSH levels have come down, down, down, and mine was right on the border, but I was classified as normal. But what we know today is all the holistic doctors and functional medicine doctors, they want to get your TSH down to about a two, and mine was a five, the upper limit was a five and a half.
Joe Eisele: So this doctor start ed treating me and I started feeling better. Then there was about six months after that, I found a holistic doctor in Denver, Dr Terry Groves, and he did a lot of lab work, he was just getting started, an incredible guy and he found out I had adrenal exhaustion, I had low levels of testosterone and DHEA, he found out these neurotransmitters in my brain, the serotonin, the GABA receptors for anxiety, serotonin for depression, and then the dopamine receptors just for an overall well feeling of wellbeing, they're all low, because my diet was horrible.
Joe Eisele: We need these amino acids from our food, if we eat healthy food, if our gut is working properly, we break down these foods into amino acids and then they can cross the blood-brain barrier and convert tryptophan converts into serotonin, glutamine converts into GABA, and then tyrasine and Phenylalanine convert to dopamine. So he gave me a pharmaceutical grade of all these amino acids. I found out I had lead, mercury, arsenic in my body, and he started [inaudible 00:21:06] that out. So, that kind of started my journey in today what I call biochemical restoration.
Joe Eisele: So from there that started me feeling better and better, but still not probably about 60%, I got connected with Dr. Phils in Fort Collins, she was really the one, I had bad allergies and I went to see an allergist, but she's the one that started, you got to get off your diet, your diet is horrible Joe, you're eating this junk food, six pack of sugar day, you're not going to live very long and smoking, so I did, I started trying to clean up my diet, I remember getting off cigarettes, I remember I wanted to be a runner, I wanted to start running because my sponsor was a runner. So I went out and I was making about five bucks an hour. So I went and bought these real expensive, for me they were expensive running shoes, because I was going to be a big runner like my sponsor.
Joe Eisele: I was living with three other guys at City Park, and I remember I went home and I laced up these running shoes, I ran around the park and it almost killed me, I came back in and I was coughing, I couldn't breathe very well, and I lit up a cigarette and I said, this is crazy. I've either got to take these running shoes back, or I got to try to give up the cigarettes. So I tried and I did, and I eventually gave up, I keep the running shoes in my car and every time I'd get a craving for a cigarette, I'd run around the park. I ended up running a marathon, that almost killed me, I don't think I'd do it again, but I ran a marathon and I was pretty proud of that. But then she helped me, I got off the older diet and all of that stuff. So that's kind of how I started.
Joe Eisele: And then I got into the treatment field, it's kind of a roundabout way, I didn't know what I was going to do with my life, so I answered an ad in the paper, that the doctor [inaudible 00:22:59], he had, he was running a residential program for kids with school problems, not necessarily addiction, but school problems. But the issue was 80% of these kids had an addiction problem and they were sneaking out at night or their friends were sneaking drugs in, so I was hired to keep these kids from sneaking out.
Joe Eisele: Well, I wasn't very good at it, so after about a month and a half it wasn't working. So I went to Ark, and I said, Ark, because the account that teachers are getting mad at Ark because these kids are falling asleep in school, they can't study. So he said, well, then we've got to open up a treatment center for kids for drugs. So we did, we started Lyrica Youth Homes, so I got started there for a year and a half, then I went and got worked in a DUI program, got certified.
Joe Eisele: And then Dr. Ash was opening up a outpatient program, so he asked me to get involved with him and some other people and we opened that up, so it was a traditional program for about 15 years, but the last few years I started trying to move them in a different direction, because this whole time I'm exercising, I'm eating healthy, taking certain supplements and I'm educating myself, I'm going to the bookstore and trying to read as much health stuff as I could, because I was finding stuff that was messed up inside of me that was causing all this depression and this anxiety. And they didn't want to move in that direction, so I ended up leaving there and got a partner, we opened up InnerBalance, that was about 21 years ago.
Joe Eisele: And it was pretty rudimentary in the beginning, we had some doctors helping us there doing some basic blood work, we're outpatient three days a week. And then doctor Dr. Roger Billica, he was the head of NASA for 11 years, he came to Fort Collins, opened up [inaudible 00:24:45] program. He hooked up with us, me and my partner, and that's when we really started to take off doing a lot more holistic stuff and it just evolved over there. Over time we bought a five-star bed and breakfast in Loveland, and so we're full blown now, Holistic.
Joe Eisele: And what our definition of holistic means for people to understand is, in order for somebody to fully recover, we need to treat four things, we have to heal from the damage of addiction, the mind, the body, the spirit, and the environment, all four of those elements have to fully heal. Traditional treatment does well with the mind of helping people convince them that they can't control the chemicals, that they're always going to end up losing control and that's what's causing the problems.
Joe Eisele: And the spiritual part that can help them, that's where I think a 12 step program like AA comes in, it's a pretty spiritual program, it can give a lot of good support, but the thing that's been missing I think in traditional treatment, if you look at the studies that have been done over the last many years, for 80 years, traditional treatment has gotten about a five, 10 or 15% success rate.
Joe Eisele: And it's our opinion that they're living out the most important part, and that's biochemical piece. So we do a lot of lab work when our clients come in, we're doing genetic testing. I don't know any other programs doing... We're finding three genes that are problematic with the addicted people, 40% of our people have what's called an MTHFR 1298 gene, what it means is that your body's not uploading or able to take in folic acid. Folic acid is a nutrient that is critically for these neurotransmitter functions in the brain, it helps them work better.
Joe Eisele: If you look on Google and you look up the MTHFR 1298 gene, a couple of really good websites you're going to find out the symptoms are addictions, mood issues, mental health issues, because you're not getting folic acid.
Joe Eisele: Now we can't fix that gene, but if we find it, we just give them now a methylated form of folic acid, so they don't need that gene to work. We're finding the CBS gene is a biopterin issue, we have to give them a biopterin. If we find that gene we're looking for high histamines, a lot of our clients who have high histamine, the tissue condition called Histadelia, is where the neurons in the brain are firing way too fast, you can't slow your mind down. I had that condition, I think that's what led me to staying up all night, not being able to fall asleep and what my mind would grab a hold of, because it had to think about something because it was constantly going, I grab a hold of somebody in the room or somebody in the house going to get me, and that's what I'd think about all the time.
Joe Eisele: And you can bring down histamine levels. [inaudible 00:27:47] is a blood condition that we find, we're doing testing for the neurotransmitters in the brain. Diet is very important, part of our program to get people on a healthy diet, getting them exercising. And the spiritual part of our program is really important, because what I've come to understand in my life is that in order for any human being to have a quality life, to have a meaningful life, we need to have a lot of strong, loving, spiritual connections, we need to feel love for our self, our family, our animals, our friends nature, may be a connection with a higher power. It's these connections, these loving connections that give meaning to our life. And that's exactly what drug and alcohol will damage or actually severe.
Joe Eisele: When patients come to our treatment center, they're fighting with their family, they're not going out in nature, they're not exercising and if they had a connection with a higher power, it's been damaged or destroyed. So, our spiritual counselor, takes them out on a five-hour nature walk, and out there he starts exploring, what did you feel love for before you got into your addiction? When you were younger, did you have animals you love? family you love? And how did that feel? How did it feel to feel love for things? And then what's happened to those connections, because of your addiction. And then when they come back, they start working on developing those connections. And that's where I think support groups come in absolutely critical, because it helps people start connecting with each other again. So there's a lot of-
Chris Scott: Can I pause you for a second. All of that is amazing, I feel like I just watched a movie that you painted with your words, and I didn't want to stop you. That's probably one of the best monologues we've had in this podcast history. So thank you for that, I wanted to understand, you said that after the amino acids that you had taken, you said you were maybe 60% or so better. What other missing links did you have? Was it addressing the histadelia and the folic acid issue, were those them?
Joe Eisele: Yes, I only found out about three years ago that I had the 1298 gene, my wife has a 677 gene, and that means you're more prone to heart disease and cancer. And my daughter's got both of those. The fix for them is just taking methylfolate and methyl B12, and that brings down your homocysteine levels, that's why the 677 is more heart problems, because people get elevated, whatever that was, not homocysteine, but the thing that causes heart problems, so it reduces that.
Joe Eisele: And so, yeah, I just found that out a while back, histamine, I found out a few years ago I have, yeah and I've had those all my life. Those are conditions that are genetic, yeah. And constantly redefining my diet and looking at it and changing it.
Chris Scott: Yeah. As I like to say for myself that my lifestyle optimization is an ongoing and never ending thing. Like I'm still experimenting with my diet, I'm learning things I didn't know, year after year. And generally there are ebbs and flows, but the overall trend line for me is positive, I feel better each year because I learn something. Sometimes it's in the row of fitness, I benefited from making a transition from only lifting really heavy weights a few years ago to also doing some high intensity type training and a little more cardio stuff. That was a good thing.
Chris Scott: There's always things, and even spiritual things, I've some books that I've read lately, I always share with my, I send out an email every Friday to people on my email list. Recently I had read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. And I've had these epiphanys and I try to share them, so it's like a constant process, but at least, one of the things I got from quitting drinking was I could reach a point where life felt very worth living, even if I was just sitting by myself, and I never really felt that before, there had been to avoid.
Chris Scott: But in my case, I had never had like a childhood trauma to the best of my knowledge and maybe I blocked something out, but I had a great childhood. Everyone has some minor traumas or a kid is mean to you at recess or whatever, but there was no real explanation for my addiction from a pure psychological standpoint, but having been adopted and exposed to alcohol in the womb, then everything suddenly makes made sense and when I read, I think it was Seven Weeks to Sobriety by Joan Larsen and then some of Julia Ross's work as well. I was like, this is it, That's what's going on. So one of the cool things I think you did... Sorry.
Joe Eisele: This is what I tell our patients, This is what our job is, our job, because I was searching, I was searching to feel better, I think every addict and alcoholic in their illness is searching for things to make them feel better, To self-medicate. Our job is to get them off this drug and alcohol path and get on exactly what you got and what you're describing is a healthy path to feel better. All of these things can make us feel better, that we exercise, diet, supplements, that's what we tell our clients, you got to get off this bad track and get on a healthy track. Exactly.
Chris Scott: Exactly, yeah. And I often tell people, they don't believe me all the time, but I feel better after a day in the water in the sun, and then maybe a couple of sprints and a smoothie than I ever felt after drinking three bottles of wine, especially wine, all this chemical compounds and additives in there. I never actually figured out until much later why I felt so horrible after drinking multiple bottles of wine, but there's more going on there than the alcohol. But I mean the alcohol was the big thing, obviously.
Chris Scott: And yeah, and so I like to say I'm high on life, I've been high on life, for me It wasn't a pink cloud, I think there is such a thing as a pink cloud for some people that's kind of AA terminology for feeling temporarily high on your own sobriety and early phase. But if I am on a pink cloud, it is sustained by being out in the sun, doing things, getting fulfillment by helping other people. You could say, I have a higher power, even though I haven't been involved with AA by my own choice for a number of years now, but I definitely have that sense that there's something greater than me and all of that does fuse together. I think for anyone, whether or not they've had a substance addiction, these are like the tenets of a healthy life.
Joe Eisele: Absolutely. I agree, a hundred percent. Yeah.
Chris Scott: I think one of the really cool things that you do is approach everyone as an individual and do these custom lab tests, because as you've said, it's really important to make sure the biochemical pillar, which is the most ignored pillar of recovery, is understood in the context of each person's individual biochemistry. So I know you'd mentioned some of those things, you mentioned the blood condition, was that [inaudible 00:34:51] I can't ever remember, it starts with a P-
Joe Eisele: Pryoluria?
Chris Scott: Yes.
Joe Eisele: [inaudible 00:34:55] pyroluria.
Chris Scott: Yeah. What are some other lab tests that you might do? Because we might now have some people thinking, well, I tried Tryptophan and DL Phenylalamine, didn't work, so I must have a folic acid genetic issue, but it's more complicated than that, there's probably a dozen or so tests that you would want to look into, right?
Joe Eisele: If anybody wants to get a copy of the labs we do, they're welcome to call or email, we'll fax them over to you and you can take them to your doctor and have them run. I get people asking me that all the time, vitamin D, you talk about this sun, 70% of our clients, and that correlates with this country, 70% of the people are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is now one of the biggest proponents of helping people with the virus, COVID, they're giving them high amounts of vitamin D. Dr. Fields with their cancer patients gives them high amounts of IV Vitamin D, I think Vitamin D is just the nutrient of the century. There isn't anything more important, because it's really not a vitamin, it's a more of a hormone, what it does in the body. So we test all of our clients for vitamin D and then we're testing them for all this stuff I talked about the pyros, the genetics, the hormones are big, we test for low testosterone, low DHA, and for women more the estrogens and progesterones and things like that.
Joe Eisele: Yeah, so, there's several things and they're all in the book here too. A lot of all the things we test for, but if anybody wants to get a copy, though... I think personally, I think everybody should take most all of these lab tests and get them at least run, even if you don't have an addiction, because if you got a 677 gene, you can help prevent cancer and heart problems too, just by taking a little methylfolate, so it does.
Chris Scott: I think the results speak for themselves, I had seen that you had a client satisfaction survey at some point, I think it, correct me if I'm wrong, I think it was like 86% of people felt that they had a great experience with your program, which is not surprising. I try to keep track as best as I can in the virtual world of how people do. I estimate around eight out of 10 people, even with my course as a affordable adjunct to whatever their recovery program is, eight out of 10 people say they are doing really well.
Chris Scott: So bviously there's always some sample size or whatever self-selection bias, who knows, but that's really good, and even if it's wrong by a factor of two or double what it should be in my case, I'm like, well, the standard treatment centers are having five, 10 or 15% success rates. So there's something remarkable going on here just telling people about biochemical restoration.
Joe Eisele: Yes. The other thing we do, which is critical for alcoholics is a five hour glucose tolerance test. In the last 21 years, we've been doing this glucose tolerance test and every alcoholic client, because they're more vulnerable because of the sugars and the alcohol that they drink. And every alcoholic, but two tested positive for hyperglycemia, mild, moderate, severe pre-diabetic, we even had some diabetics come in. And if you understand that the symptoms of a blood sugar imbalance, when it goes up too high, you feel pretty bad, but when it drops down real low is when you really feel bad. And that's when people have a craving for more alcohol.
Joe Eisele: So what a lot of alcohol is doing, once you get in that addictive pattern is they're also drinking to relieve their hypoglycemic symptoms. And then the fix for it is just healthy diet, healthy diet, you get them off the sugar, we get them off the sugar, the caffeine, the junk food, and they start eating three natural, healthy, organic meals a day. A fruit, nuts and yogurt in between to keep their blood sugar up, so it's critical for alcoholics, they come in and we just give them... They come into the office and they're shaking a little bit, they're signing withdrawal and we give them protein drink with electrolytes and a lot of that stuff just calms down and it's just hyperglycemia.
Chris Scott: Yeah, I've seen a lot of my private coaching clients do much better when increasing good fats and protein, taking some electrolytes and then taking some L-glutamine as well and just avoiding sugar. So many people are carb addicted and specifically sugar addicted. It's amazing to me that we don't have even more people addicted to alcohol, because it's almost transferable.
Joe Eisele: Well, what I've read and I can't remember doctor, is that they're now saying that if you happen to eat a lot of sugar when you're young, you're setting yourself up for sugar cravings your whole life and that you're absolutely right, that will then transition into alcohol or other drugs and it's all just self-medicating, it's self-medicating with food or whatever, so, yeah, food's incredibly important for a healthy person. [inaudible 00:40:12].
Chris Scott: Now, what's your view of the relationship between an emphasis on the biochemical pillar and traditional recovery? It seems to me that you're pretty inclusive of both of those, and I like to be, I'm honest with people, I say, look, I had a good experience in AA for a few months, I didn't need it after a certain point, but I did preserve some elements that people in the program would recognize, such as that higher power, such as a really strong support network.
Chris Scott: But sometimes I get, actually it's been a while, but I've gotten to some, I guess you could call it hate mail from some people being like stop telling people about vitamins, you're going to make them not go to AA meetings, I'm like, why does this have to be an either or proposition?
Joe Eisele: I'll tell you a story, a cute story. Every time something comes up, I try to think of a fellow that I helped get sober and then we became friends and we play golf together today, even now in our lives. His dad was a serious alcoholic, he divorced his wife, he used to beat the older guys and used to verbally beat my friend and he was pretty bad, a pretty bad drunk, he was in the service.
Joe Eisele: He divorced his wife and then a few years later he married an old sweetheart and moved to Texas, somewhere in Texas, Walden, Texas, I think it was. And he's still drinking, and his wife said, you ain't going to do that, you are not going to do that, if you're going to be in isolation, you're going to give up the alcohol and you're going to go back to the church. So he did it, he stopped drinking, he went into the kindergarten part of the church and learned about the Bible and learn and all that. And he ended up being sober for 15 years before he died. I don't care how you get there, as long as you get there. I don't care if its AA, I don't care where you have to go, to me it just matters people getting healthy and not continue to be in that addiction spiral.
Joe Eisele: So yeah, I try not to pigeonhole a lot, you got to do this, you got to do that. And we try to offer a lot of different approaches to people. We even, we claim we're not 12 steps, we don't do the 12 steps in our program, even though I still go and I love it, I got a lot of friends there. I play golf with a bunch of guys, but I think that AA has actually done a disservice to treatment centers because most people, I bet you, 90% of people don't want to have anything to do with AA, because it's God and it's religion, all this stuff. So it keeps them from coming into treatment of your 12 step program.
Joe Eisele: So we don't do the 12 steps, we don't believe in charging something you can get for free, but we expose people. We say, all right, you're going to go to some meetings, AA meetings, some Buddhist meetings and AA meetings and you're going to work with your life coach, that's one of the seven counselors they work with in our program, and you're going to have to build some kind of ... that's why I want to get you involved because you have to build some kind of support system, and you have to get connected with people, whether it's on podcast or working with them at home or whatever.
Joe Eisele: But it's funny because I would say 80% of the people that come into our program they come in because they don't want to go to AA, but probably 50% of those people when they're done, they use AA when they go out, because they get exposed to it, they find it's not horrible. And some people like it and some people don't, there's Women for sobriety, but people have to gravitate something to keep them healthy, something to keep them on the healthy road of recovery, whether it's the stuff you do, whether it's AA or Women for Sobriety or church, I know a lot of people that go to church and stay sober. So I don't care where they go, yeah.
Chris Scott: Great answer, and I totally agree with that approach. So I know I said I'd keep you for 45 minutes, somehow, It's been close to 45 minutes, I feel like we could talk for hours, but I do want to make sure that you get a chance to tell people where they can find your book, where they can find your information about your program as well.
Joe Eisele: Yeah. It's the title of it, and they can get it on Amazon, or they can go to our website, innerbalancehealthcenter.com and they can download the, what do they call it? Not the hard, not the paperback, but they can get a Kindle or something.
Chris Scott: PDF version.
Joe Eisele: Something like that. For free, they don't have to pay for it, yeah.
Chris Scott: Awesome.
Joe Eisele: Yeah. And again, if they want to email me firstname.lastname@example.org, will be glad to send out, we send out our lab work and it will take a doctor to go over it and help them but we've even worked with people's doctors to help them look at what labs to do and where to get them.
Chris Scott: Excellent. Joe, thank you so much for being on the show.
Joe Eisele: Thank you for having me Chris. Thank you.
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