A Hopeful Recovery Journey
One of our long-time employees opens up about her authentic recovery story in order to give hope to others who struggle with addiction.
- We talk as a team about how Kara became a part of our Peaks Recovery team and the growth she has seen throughout her journey.
- Kara opens up about her recovery journey and finding safety within herself through somatic experience therapy.
- Jason, our Chief Clinical Officer, talks about how it feels to see Kara come so far in her journey.
- The transition Kara has experienced becoming a strong professional within addiction treatment and helping others become their best selves.
- Kara speaks on what it’s like being a mother throughout recovery and regaining her children and herself.
My biggest superpower is the work I have done on myself, and I get to give that back to our clients. Oftentimes our clients come in, and it’s really scary, and they want to focus on all these external things. And I found that when you really focus and turn inside and focus on your internal reality, all that other stuff, it comes. Your external reality will change when you focus on yourself. And because of the work I’ve done, that’s what I get to give away.
hi everybody and welcome to the finding peaks show you have it here today your host chris burns president and founder of peaks recovery centers also known as company cheerleader i was going to say burnsie i was like what’s happening we have our chief clinical officer um and one of our longest standing employees jason friesman here today grateful to have you on the show wait wait wait one of who’s been here longer well i know how the longest standing yeah thank you every time she’s like you know i’m a long-standing employee here yeah you are you are anyway i got that wrong but we have carrot here as well um who’s a residential manager with us and just a great professional as well as person in long-term recovery so really grateful to have her on here today i also wanted to mention we all have purple representative of domestic violence awareness day uh one week ago today give or take irritation we’re also representing uh bullying prevention month as well as spirit day and that is a topic that is near and dear to my heart domestic violence and bullying and so i just want to stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves today and bring awareness to that because it’s a very very important issue of which we see a lot of the results of that um in our behavioral health care companies so grateful to represent in a positive direction for that today grateful to have you both on the show let’s get this thing going good to be here so let’s do it let’s go let’s see here we go so we got cara on today i met kara why don’t you describe the first time that we met and what that was like for you yeah so you were actually in kansas i don’t know if you were marketing or what you were doing but you came on a mint trip with somebody that i actually knew um and i remember you clearly because you i remember you making a scene because everybody had their ipads and their phones and you’re like what is this and that’s how we met and then you told me about peaks and yeah yeah it was a really cool situation too i was at atchison valley hope and you’re right i brought in our former program we had an extended care program which was a bit longer and young guys would go back home and make amends and you know bring somebody in the program that was getting ready to make amends as well and i went into that it was like the rec room at richardson valley hope and i’m sitting down and nobody’s talking to me and everybody is in their phone in primary care treatment and i’m like i remember going what are you guys doing what is going on here and i’m like you care what’s your name you’re like i’m kara and i said what are you doing next and she said well you know i think i’m going to do the the iop the outpatient program and i said how is that different than the time before and you said it’s not i’ve done it multiple times and i said if you want to do something different give me a call gave her my number and i was like she’s never going to call mm-hmm oh i’m pretty sure my dad called you yeah yeah yeah and then you followed up too and i was like holy crap yeah your dad said hey did you talk to my daughter i was like i did that is awesome and then kara came out and was a part of serenity peaks recovery center which was our former women’s program which means that i’m actually the real og i’ve been here from the beginning from the beginning the first group of women to go through which i think is really cool yeah absolutely are there any other women that you went through in that first round that you still communicate with yes okay yeah bobby okay bobby um molly yeah kelsey yeah not all the time but i’m still pretty close with bobby though that’s awesome yeah a lot of them are still doing good that’s awesome yeah i love that those connective features and that and can you talk about a little bit you know what was different you know you’d been with a couple places before peak’s recovery hatches in valley hope a few times atchison valley hope i went to a place called teen challenge um you know i to be honest with you when i came to peaks i i think it was just i really felt cared about to be completely honest and i think it was also a big part was because i stayed like i had no intention of staying in colorado and you did ask me that too like okay so what’s gonna be different you know i had always went home and i knew that if i had any chance to have to be sober to you know at that point i wasn’t seeing my kids that i had to stay um and it was the community it was the connection yeah that’s huge and it must be difficult too as a mother to say hey we i actually have to put this on hold yeah and i need to take care of myself and in my experience in the last 13 years that takes good mothers to great mothers and i got to watch you transform from a really good mother who truly cares about her kids into what i see today which is a great mother who is connecting who helps other mothers it’s just a really beautiful thing to watch your recovery unfold can you talk to me a little bit about the first few times when you went to treatment what do you think it was outside of the care potentially the connection that kept you stuck um well i mean i will say i don’t think i ever got into a lot of the deeper work i would go to you know valley hope which would be 30 days and that just wasn’t enough time to get into that work but then i also wouldn’t follow through after to whether it be iop or whatever that was individual therapy i never i could never get to that point yeah yeah which was something that i got here yeah most definitely it’s kind of like that bridge it almost needs to be compassion and love to get to the other side because they have to feel safe right right and i have to feel safe with the people in front of me and can you talk about what that safety feels like in here yeah um so i mean i think it’s grown over the last few years i um so when i got out of peaks i had went through something that was really hard and i was able to stay sober but i started acting out in other ways whether it be you know self-harm or just getting very angry and it was it was really hard there was a lot of grief that i hadn’t worked through a lot of trauma that i hadn’t worked through so i would say in 2017 2018 is whenever i started somatic experiencing which is a trauma therapy and it focuses more on your body so i was used to very much um talk therapy so i remember when i went in and i met my therapist she started you know sharing this idea with me and i was like like no i was like no like we we need we need to talk about something yeah you know because that’s what i knew that’s what i knew and she said okay well i want you to be open-minded to it um and so i started doing all these kooky things that didn’t make any sense but what i know was that something changed because i used to um you know we carry a lot of trauma in our bodies so i mean i used to show up you know at meetings or large groups of people and i would just get i would feel so unsafe and i would just start crying and or just things like that you know or i would feel unsafe and you know i would you know i would start self-harming or whatever it be and that really helped me to calm my nervous system to calm my body down so i can then process those big emotions yeah whether it be shame or grief or loss whatever it is yeah it’s almost like there’s like a lock on the top of the box to get to the intensity and the key that opens it is safety yeah no i could never access it because i didn’t feel safe within myself yeah once i felt safe within myself i could start connecting with those emotions and getting to the the real yeah the intimate parts of myself yeah which generally speaking we can’t see clearly whatsoever until that safety is really contracted for and invested in so yeah i really love you sharing that because to watch you over the years it’s just kind of been a steady pace in a recovery direction and it’s not like a bat out of hell and it shouldn’t be if we’re doing it the right way it’s sustainable day after day and it’s just really cool to have watched you grown into not only in your personal life but in your professional life having been able to help hundreds of people um and be a part of a really really cool process i’m going to swing it over to here because i did the same thing a handful of weeks ago we had angela in here who actually worked with jason too and jason’s been a professional in this field longer than most people at peak’s recovery the 90s since the 1900s
since the 1900s so i like to swing it back over to jason because he gets a lot of cool examples real time as a professional to see folks that you know he once worked with when we’re in a very vulnerable position and now we’re doing the same thing for others and so you know just to hear kara show up in this authentic way today i mean
how does that feel for you
um it’s it’s pretty remarkable chris to be honest with you i you know having known cara now for well over six years i suppose um i think it’s there were times when it seemed really dark and hopeless um even in the middle of of walking through a recovery process because um because the path wasn’t clear um and i do i do sometimes talk about how um sometimes it’s like wearing a headlamp you know chris you’ve done a lot of hiking i’ve done a lot of hiking with you with a headlamp on our head and sometimes you have to trust the trail and your headlamp lights up one step in front of you and that’s it and i there were times for care where like the headlamp maybe lit up a half a step but that next half step you kept diligently taking it because we i couldn’t see the trail ahead of you and you couldn’t see the trail ahead of you um six seven years ago like it it didn’t seem i don’t know it just seemed very big and long and difficult and honestly um i’ve just got to watch and experience you taking that next step and and now it seems like the clouds departed the sun is up whatever headlamps off like the trail seems way more apparent i think uh for you and i it’s it is wild to just watch and and um it is a gift of peaks i think that you know we we started this a while ago now and like um in to know you for this long i think it’s just so it’s just a gift to me because it doesn’t happen in counseling very often either where you get to actually see somebody for this long and watch this much improvement and um to be you know closely close in this story and then be back off from the story for a while and now get to see it be full full circle and now you work with us and it’s great to see you every day so yeah that was that interesting that’s great yeah yeah absolutely that’s what i was thinking yeah it’s okay good yeah what he said yeah jason was talking i i wanna i wanna show the viewers how early in peak’s recovery history cara got here so our ceo brandon burns he’s our chief executive officer he does a phenomenal job running the company far better than i could for certain but i used to take him into circle groups at crestwood yeah oh yeah when serenity peaks remember yeah so i’d take him in he’d fly in from seattle you know doing his marketing job and i’d be like hey we’re going to circle tonight and brandon would just sit there and circle just like what is this like he never worked in the field nor was he in uh addiction recovery most certainly and so i just i just remember that you remember having brandon yeah i do yeah yeah you would come to circle every week yeah yeah right into the house yeah for sure i love that he was able to get his start in there because that is just like and he came back yeah you know which is really cool how has it been for you as a professional helping others and growing along those lines oh yeah um yeah over the last four years i have grown professionally i have grown individually and i feel like my biggest superpower is the work i’ve done in myself like i get i get to give that back to our clients oftentimes right like our clients come in and it’s really scary and they want to focus on all these external things you know and i found that when you really turn inside and focus on your internal reality all that other stuff it comes your external reality will change when you focus on this um and because of the work i’ve done i that’s what i get to give away my best superhuman power is the work i’ve done on myself wow that’s extraordinary and that’s been really my experience in the last couple of years since i’ve really got into some sc work it’s it’s my greatest tool yes is the work that i’m doing and in fact i get out of set or whatever it might be and i just can’t wait to share these new parts about myself and these realizations that i think can afford people in the early recovery stages some freedom and some openness and some space to explore what safety looks like for them i want to touch on something too like you have your kids back in your life today yes yeah yes yeah how’s that yeah um it’s amazing i so hayden my my oldest son is a little bit different but it’s a door open i got to see him over the summer and i hadn’t seen him for years i mean it was it was such a gift and it’s still something that we’re working on but it’s an open door and i would have i would have never had that had i not stayed and had i not continued the work and for my son jackson having him i learned so much from my children and i really i really try to slow down to pay attention to what i can learn from my children and again because of the work i’ve done i get to see the messages that are received you know and it makes me become a better parent you know my son will be like well mom like maybe he’ll say you know i don’t want to tell you that because i was afraid like you would yell at me and i’m like oh that’s it yeah that’s it right there and i would never be able to know that had i not done my own work so i learned so much from my children and then my daughter dakota my two-year-old that i had in in sobriety that’s just been a whole journey in itself because i got to do everything from the beginning sober you know everything being pregnant having her and that is that is a gift yeah yeah so it’s been amazing yeah that’s absolutely beautiful you know i i’m i’m thinking of just six eight weeks ago when we were at air city 360. and i’m hanging out with jackson and i take him up on the zip line and i can tell the way that kid looks at his mom like she’s his hero and that is just such an exceptional thing to have bear witness to be a part of and be in the presence of is just like this real active and purposeful recovery and the fact that your kids actually feel safe to be like oh man you yelled at me yeah i like that that’s huge tells me you’re doing a lot of things right on that side yeah um jason i was i was just going to pipe in and say you know my kids are older than your guys’s kids um but as you’re talking i i’m reminded that um i just remember my kids would just hold up a mirror to me and particularly of me as an adult but also me as when i was their age and when they’re going to kinder i can remember my kids going to kindergarten and then i would reflect on my own experience going to kindergarten and it would both expose good things and also wounds that would appear and things that i had to kind of that would emerge that i would have to work on uh for myself all along the way all you know all the way up you know to even presently like they still continue to hold that mirror up um and it’s powerful because you know your story you just shared too about you your son being afraid to like share with you something hard i’m afraid i was gonna be mad at you what a gift to like have that level of honesty and we talk about all the time chris with your kids too and and what they in the honesty they can provide for you that just demonstrates such amazing trust and and that that wouldn’t come if you were passing your trauma and shame on to your kids they wouldn’t be able to trust that and i think that’s such that’s like probably the best part of this whole story actually yeah is uh the trust that that your kids can find in both of you truthfully due to the work you’ve done yeah i just think it’s exceptional to hear a story like that because it says there’s hope yeah there’s a lot of hope and i have more hope today with the tools that we have at our disposal in 2021 the sc the emdr the connected client centered care trauma informed around every corner we have a real opportunity today to recover in a really meaningful way i think better than ever and so when i hear chronic relapse haven’t haven’t been successful i say you just haven’t had the right people in front of you yeah and i think that today we have a really magical way to walk people in and out of their shame through an authentic process that is connected loving nurturing and compassionate and when i got sober in 2008 it just wasn’t that way we were more of a rock bottom approach and i just love this today because it gives people to your point the opportunity to explore for themselves what safety looks like instead of me telling you what it is for you yeah which is how that old approach was but you may even got a little bit of that when we started at peak so um is there anything else you want to say to the people before we jump offline here no just thanks for having me it’s an honor yeah thank you for being here and thank you for your recovery thank you for the way that you show up in this world uh as an authentic recovering human um the world would be a much better place if there was a thousand carrots in it so thank you for being here jay freeze you know what time it is thank you everybody
thank you everybody for tuning in again domestic violence awareness day spirit day bully prevention month all of those things are very important near and dear to our big hearts here at peaks recovery centers stay safe out there and if you ever need someone to talk to just give us a call find us on all of your podcasts instagram facebook all of that stuff out there you know what i’m talking about let’s make it great