In this podcast episode, Andrew Schultz, a podcaster and entrepreneur, shares his heartfelt story of addiction, recovery, and the power of family interventions. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Andrew turned to substances after trauma and despite career success, he lost everything due to addiction.

Influenced by his father's battle with alcoholism and subsequent recovery, Andrew eventually sought help at the same treatment center. He discusses the "gift of desperation," the importance of community in recovery, and the challenges of loving an addict. Andrew's narrative is one of hope, emphasizing the role of forgiveness, service, and emotional openness in healing and supporting others.

Watch The Interview on Video


 

KL Wells (00:00:00) - Have you ever been involved with a family intervention, or have you considered doing a family intervention? Imagine that you do a family intervention with your dad, and he goes to treatment and gets help. And then. A few years later, your family does an intervention with you. Welcome today to a deeply personal conversation with Andrew Schultz, who actually experienced this himself. The gift of desperation that finally visited him at the end of his addictive journey was called to question by his own family. He's a podcaster, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. I totally enjoyed my conversation with Andrew and we talked about a wide range of conversation. The shame, the gifts of of desperation. The journey back to building strong and vibrant relationships with your family on the other side of a family intervention and then rehab. And how all this has transpired over the last ten years for Andrew. So I want you to join me in welcoming Andrew Schultz, a remarkable man. And if you are willing to come out of the shadows of stigma and shame and guilt, we've built a membership for you.

Stop navigating this journey alone. Join us www.voicesincourage.com/thrive.

Now onto our episode. Welcome to Thrive While Loving an Addict. And I'm thrilled to have Andrew Schultz with us today. And he comes through a mutual friend of ours, and he has a remarkable story. And one of the things we were talking about before we got on was he has had experiences on both sides, doing family interventions. And so he will be the first conversation that we've had around this. And I love his perspective. So we're looking forward to him sharing that and then how he has re woven and rebuilt the family relationships coming out the other side and his his sobriety. So, so welcome. Andrew, who is also a podcaster, a transformational leader and speaker and businessman extraordinaire. so welcome, Andrew.

Andrew Schultz (00:02:31) - Thank you. I appreciate you having me, grateful to be here. I'm looking forward to our conversation.

KL Wells (00:02:36) - Great. Okay. Well, I am going to let you take it away and talk a little bit about your personal journey on an addiction and then kind of shifts.

So, your dad's intervention and then your subsequent intervention, several years later. So.

Andrew Schultz (00:02:56) - Yeah. Okay. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Growing up, I was very blessed. You know, I was playing sports. My dad was always coaching my sports team. You know, we're upper middle class, went to nice schools. And I didn't realize until later on in life some of this the dysfunction and some of the things the red flags that I didn't know at the time, you know, when I was, when I was 16 years old, you know, I went through a lot of hardship. My best friend committed suicide. My parents got divorced. And so when I was 16 years old, I went through all these traumas, like a lot of trauma in a very short period of time. Right. And they didn't have the tools, the healthy coping mechanisms to navigate those challenges. And what I did is I turned to alcohol and addiction. Alcoholism runs in my family. My dad was a pretty heavy drinker and he was a high functioning alcoholic.

Andrew Schultz (00:03:49) - You know, he had started our family business when I was young. He was a driver's ed teacher and football coach, and he wanted to make more money. So he started selling coffee filters door to door to support our family, because my brother and I were being born and he wanted to make more money. And that side hustle is now our family business 52 years later. But he was a high functioning alcoholic, and that was kind of mirrored to me and modeled to me. And, you know, that's where I turned to as a coping mechanism, which was not healthy. But at 16, I didn't, you know, I didn't have the tools that I do now. You're many years later. And so there was early on, turning to alcohol, which stunted my emotional growth because they say once you start drinking alcohol, that's when we start growing and maturing emotionally throughout my formative years. You know, it was always alcohol as a crutch when things got hard, if I broke up with a girlfriend, I turned to alcohol.

Andrew Schultz (00:04:43) - And then it was drugs, and. But I was still, you know, I guess, high functioning. I was an excellent athlete. I played college baseball. Our college baseball team was one game away from the College World Series. And, you know, we were really good. And my dream was to play professional baseball. And I realized after college I wasn't good enough to play. And I remember my mom said something. She's like, well, Andrew, it's time for the real world. And I was like, oh, it's like nails on a chalkboard. I was like, oh my gosh.

KL Wells (00:05:13) - Yeah, yeah.

Andrew Schultz (00:05:15) - I had some friends in San Diego and I didn't want to be involved with the family business at that time. And so I packed up all my stuff in a U-Haul and moved out to San Diego August 16th, 2002. And I remember, I'll remember that day forever, because I remember I got out to San Diego, I, I was this young, you know, thought I was tough.

Andrew Schultz (00:05:36) - I mean, the world by the storm. I'm going to just do great things. And I remember my first day in San Diego. I'd been there a couple hours. I remember sitting on the curb, and I started crying like it just hit me. I moved halfway across the country. I knew barely a handful of people. I didn't have a job, and it was like a moment where it's like, okay, it's a sink or swim moment, like it forced me to go out and meet friends and build connections and, and so that competitive spirit that I used to excel at playing sports. I changed it into the corporate world, and I just started working my way up the corporate ladder. It worked for a long time. You know I was successful making okay money. And I eventually made my way to a vice president position after, you know, eight, eight years with the same company. And I had the corner office, I had the vice president title and I had all this stuff like I had success by society standards.

Andrew Schultz (00:06:33) - I had a house. Right. I was married, I had, you know, season tickets to the Chargers. I was flying first class and like, I just thought that was success. And what the truth was, I had a God sized hole in my soul. And after that stressful job in the corporate world again, I turned to the negative coping mechanisms of drugs and alcohol, and I started abusing Adderall and started doctor shopping. The Adderall works for a little bit, but then I started abusing it. And, you know, there's a reason when you go to get a prescription for Adderall or other addictive substances, they ask if you have an addiction in your family. And of course they say, oh, which I like. I like every, every doctor prescription I had from 2008 to 2012 was just me lying and being dishonest just so I can get the subscription. And at one point, you know, a high dose of Adderall, a doctor will prescribe maybe 30mg a day, and I was taking upwards of 250mg a day.

KL Wells (00:07:35) - Wow.

Andrew Schultz (00:07:36) - I would get two different doctor prescriptions, and I couldn't even get through one month with two different doctors not knowing about the other one. I still couldn't get through a month. That's how bad it was. You know, I was drinking at night.

KL Wells (00:07:49) - Isn’t that a lethal level?

Andrew Schultz (00:07:51) - Yes, yes it is. Well, like when I tell people that and looking back, I'm, I'm very lucky that I'm still here. Right. Because of course, I was manic and I would take some other things to help me sleep, like Adavan downers to come down at night with alcohol. And it was just this vicious cycle. And I was so far away from baseline and I was just so, you know, I was pushing people away. I was manic at work because I was taking so much Adderall and you know, needless to say I got fired from that corporate job. And I remember, you know, I had all this money in my account.

Andrew Schultz (00:08:31) - And within a couple of years, I mean, I had I remember $160,000 in my checking account and within, you know, two years, it was all gone. And it was just my addiction is just more money, more money. And it was, this downward spiral. And my family had made attempts to do an intervention a few different times, but I wasn't ready. I didn't have the gift of desperation. I still had enough resources that I wasn't done killing myself. I wasn't right, yeah. And so that gift of desperation, you know, in the rooms of addiction and family members, we want to help our sick loved one. But if they're not, if they don't have the gift of desperation, if they're not done, there's not much people can do. And I've lost a lot of friends over the years that, yeah, you know, weren't putting themselves in as many compromising situations as I was. And they're no longer here. And so my family, they finally did the intervention.

Andrew Schultz (00:09:26) - It was April 30th, 2015. And I said yes. And the only reason I said yes in that intervention was because six years later or six years earlier, excuse me, Christmas morning, 2009, we did an intervention for my dad. Wow. And at that point I was in the corporate world having a lot of success. But my dad was slowly killing himself back in Omaha, Nebraska. Yeah. And he had retired from the family business. My brother had been running it at that point, and he owned two bars, and his days were spent sitting on the bar stool. And just his friends were the guys in the bar stools next to him, slowly killing himself. One night he left his car running in his garage as he was sleeping inside, and another time he fell asleep at a red light at 1:00 in the morning. Other times he would hit and run other cars on the way home from the bar. And the final straw was he fell and hit his head at the bar.

Andrew Schultz (00:10:24) - He tried to come into the office to talk to my brother the next day, and he had sunglasses on with a huge shiner, and my brother took a picture, texted it to me and said, if we don't do something now, he will be dead soon. and I remember calling Betty Ford Center to see if there was a bed, to see if they had resources, and they ended up putting us in touch with the interventionist. This was my first experience with the intervention. Right. And it was, Thank God, looking back, that we had somebody who had been an expert in the field who could coach us, what to do to prepare for the intervention. Yeah. It's so key. So for people listening to have the resources of people who are in that space, who can facilitate a family gathering, family support and coach people through what to do and how to do it. And having that resource was huge. And I remember he had hit his head on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Andrew Schultz (00:11:27) - Just a month later we did the intervention on Christmas morning. And I remember it was a blizzard Omaha Nebraska. I flew back for Christmas and there were no cars on the road. Our car was the only car on the road on my way to my dad's house. It was me and my brother, sister in law and high school football coach. The interventionists met us at my dad's house and we knocked on his door, and my dad thought we were there to open Christmas presents. And the interventionists did all the talking. He took control of the situation, and we ended up putting my dad in the middle of the circle. We sat around him and we had two letters. The first letter that we each read, that we had written the night before, and rehearsed with the interventionist. Wow. He had two letters. The first letter was, dad, we love you. We want you to get help. The second letter was and if he would read the first letter, all of us.

Andrew Schultz (00:12:24) - And then the second letter was only if he said no to the first letter to get help. Dad, we love you. Yeah. He said no he's not. He doesn't want to get help. The second letter was, dad, we love you. If you don't get help, we will not be in your life anymore. And my brother had kids at that time. Showed the pictures of the kids. And it took 2.5 hours reading the second letter -  tears the full spectrum of human emotions. And I honestly thought it was not going to work. And by the grace of God, God placed on his heart something that glimmered that the door opened and he had his bag packed. We had his boarding pass printed. He said yes. And Betty Ford in Palm Springs, one of the best facilities in the country, had a bed open for him because we had coordinated ahead of time, thanks to the interventionist. My brother got on the plane with him, gave him some drinks to calm him down, and that flight was one of the only flights that got out that day because the blizzard was so bad, and there was just so many things along the way that it was.

Andrew Schultz (00:13:35) - It was without a shadow of the doubt all the way through, because everything was orchestrated just enough for him to say yes and him to go to Betty Ford. And another example is his counselor at Betty Ford. Bob Newton was a All-American football football player at the University of Nebraska in the early 70s. He got drafted to play in the NFL - very successful NFL career. He himself was an addict, got help, got sober, and he was a counselor at Betty Ford. Dad was a huge Nebraska football fan. That was a high school football coach. He had the shared love of football that his counselor was waiting for him to welcome him to introduce himself. My dad knew him because he was such a great player. Now this big guy 6’ 6”, 280 was now my dad's counselor that all these stars aligned right. You put me he was he had he had enough willingness to say yes to what a first step would look like. To change his life.

Andrew Schultz (00:14:51) - And that was, that was the start of his journey in sobriety. And to bring it back full circle to me. And there's no way I would have said yes to my intervention when my family did the same exact thing. I went to Betty Ford at the same facility my dad went to. I was familiar with Betty Ford because I had worked with them to intervene for my dad and to coordinate his care, and in his time there, I went up there for family week. I had an education, an in depth immersion for Family Week, for all week that I was there to support my dad. So these seeds of addiction and codependency and the family environment of how everybody gets impacted. Those seeds were planted six years earlier. Yeah. I didn't know at the time. And just God was placing on my heart and dropping these seeds. And of course when they did the intervention on me, I couldn't say no because I had seen my dad say yes. The courage it took him for him to say yes. How could I say no?

Andrew Schultz (00:16:01) - And he had shown me the way. He had given me permission and changed his life around. And. Yeah, it's all divine. It's just everything happened in perfect timing. As I reflect back.

And you know, to be a family member to support him and then six years later to have my family support me. And the people, the doctors, the resources at Betty Ford facility. It's best in class and it just it takes a community and of course the people along the way, all the other people in my small groups that I got to raise my hand in small group on day one and start telling the truth instead of lying, sitting in small group and hearing stories of other addicts who I could relate to.

Andrew Schultz (00:16:54) - And and the powerful message of, you know, when another alcoholic or attic says to another. Yeah. Me too.

Andrew Schultz (00:17:04) - I understand. And knowing that we're not alone, and we're not that other people can have a shared experience around addiction and alcoholism and to sit in a small circle and to have that relatability is just key.

Andrew Schultz (00:17:17) - It softens the armor. We can take off the mask and start to just be honest and be willing, be humble. And you know, that small group, the small groups early in my sobriety were setting the foundation for the rest of my life.Of just starting to be honest with myself and, you know, working through not around all the resentments and the fears.

Andrew Schultz (00:17:43) - And the things that I was numbing out and avoiding with drugs and alcohol because I didn't deal with the pain of.

Andrew Schultz (00:17:53) - All the hard things that I had been through. And yeah, drinking and drugs were but a symptom of something much.

KL Wells (00:18:00) - I just think that's so important for people to understand because I just see so much judgment around it. And. And that's where it stops. It's like I'm going to judge you because you're using or. And all you have to do is make a choice to stop. And there are moments where I have to kind of check myself at the door, because that's just the symptom.

KL Wells (00:18:23) - Like you said, there's all this stuff below the surface like the iceberg. And most people generally are starting at a teenage years, like you said, because they don't have the coping skills. And then there's they've stunted their maturity and on and on. So I am super curious. Andrew, when y'all went through your dad's intervention, was there any sort of connection in your mind about your own journey?

Andrew Schultz (00:18:56) - Okay. It was very uncomfortable because in Family Week they were talking about addiction being a family disease. It was loud and clear that there was a good chance that I also was an addict and I didn't want to, I didn't want to look at it at the time because I was like I got a great job, I'm making great money. I have a lot of friends. Like my life is good. Like, yeah, I started drinking Friday afternoon and won't stop until Sunday night. But the seed was planted in those during that family week because of the education, they did such a great job of explaining what addiction is in the family dynamic.

Andrew Schultz (00:19:38) - I couldn't not see what was right in front of me, and I just chose not to. I chose to ignore it and continue to do the things that I was doing, because I wasn't losing anything I had. I had all this stuff like I thought that was success. So.

Andrew Schultz (00:19:54) - My life wasn't looking like my dad's.

KL Wells (00:19:57) - Well, I love how you talked about the gift of desperation. And so at some point did you actually see your journey headed in the direction of where your dad was when you  did the intervention for him.

Andrew Schultz (00:20:12) - Yep. And I was honest enough with myself that I knew the end of my life, there's a good chance my life is going to look exactly like that. If if I don't make changes. But I wasn't uncomfortable enough,  My intention was it wasn't important enough at that time because I, you know, I was still being I was I had stuff, I had family and I had money, I had the job and, you know, I was driving a nice car and I just I was I didn't want to see the truth, even though I knew deep down I wasn't ready to make changes because, yeah, I didn't have the gift of desperation.I guess it's that simple for me. Like my attention. It wasn't important enough until I lost everything.

Andrew Schultz (00:20:58) - And that's why. So that's why I'm so. That's why I tell people I recover loudly so others don't die quietly or. Or suffer quietly.

KL Wells (00:21:08) - Wow. That's powerful.

Andrew Schultz talks about generational addiction

Andrew Schultz (00:21:10) -  And so I'm very transparent and open about my sobriety and my recovery because I've lost so many friends along the way that they died quietly. And so how dare I not recover loudly and share my story because I don't want others to suffer like I did and just hurt myself and hurt so many other people.

So I'm wondering, kind of on the other side of watching your dad in a destructive addiction himself. How was that for you? Loving your dad?

Andrew Schultz (00:23:10) - Difficult. I remember during family week.

Andrew Schultz (00:23:14) - I was up there and I went for a run. It was February in Palm Springs, which are beautiful snow capped mountains, and I went for a run and on my iPod at the time, iPods, those were popular back then.

Andrew Schultz (00:23:31) - There was a song that came on that really hit me and it grabbed my heartstrings and it was about the love of family. And when we get down, we get back up. And it was just all about the song. Everything that my dad was going through.. So I was a level of fear that was very, very high that morning because I knew it was the first time in my life we were going to sit in a small group, and I was going to tell my dad to his face when he's sober, the impact of his drinking. Yeah, well, and growing up, I had a fear of my dad, his anger. He, you know, he spanked me. He yelled at me, when he gritted his teeth and was angry.

I was scared of his reaction of me telling him for the first time in his life, the impact, the negative consequences and the impact his drinking had on my life. I was so scared. And I remember I started crying because I was like, I just, I had enough courage that I knew I was going to be able to stand in my truth and talk to my dad for the first time in a way. I've never talked to him. And we sat in that small group and I shared it, and it was powerful. And it started to change the dynamic of our relationship. And he heard enough. He had been dried out enough at that point for enough days that he got his attention.

And, you know, he hasn't touched alcohol since, and he's been sober ever since that morning on Christmas, Christmas 2009. And to bring it full circle, you know, here we are, Omaha, Nebraska. I moved back here nine months ago from San Diego.

Andrew Schultz (00:25:10) - My brother asked me to come back and work for the family business. The family business. I said no to 22 years ago. And my dad's health is not good. He actually just got out of ICU for two weeks, and we had a conversation a couple days ago that has been long overdue, because if something happens to him, I need him to know that, I forgive him. And I was up at the hospital a couple days ago, and he's been struggling, and he just told me I can't fight anymore. I'm too tired, and I want to give up.

I said, there's something I need to tell you. I just want you to know that I forgive you.. And he said, for what I said. I forgive you for all the mistakes that you've made. And he said, thank you. And for him to say thank you and acknowledge that. It was an opportunity to set us both free. And if something happens, anything after that conversation. We'll both have peace. And I just wanted him to know that I forgive him. There's a reason I'm here during this season of my life that God has brought me home. And it's just for people listening. I think there's a divine timing in everything in life and hopefully people listen. All these examples give people, other people permission to believe that, hey, there is this divine timing. You know, this season of my life is not easy. Just because we're sober doesn't mean it's all rainbows and unicorns.

During this very challenging season in my life, and I get to show up for my family in ways I've never been able to do, and then be of service to my family in ways that I've never done. That's sobriety and recovery. That's the gift to be able to support and be of service to our loved ones. And it's all coming full circle.

KL Wells (00:27:11) - Yeah, yeah, well, it must be a remarkable experience for you to have the opportunity..

Andrew Schultz (00:27:22) - And are there remarkable opportunities? Is it appropriate that it's absolutely an opportunity? Okay. And sometimes it feels like a challenge or something that I don't want to do. I just want to be honest. I don't want to do it. I would rather not. And I know I need to do it for, you know, for my own family, for my kids. But the next generation, for generations of Schultz men for, for, for years to come. And it's breaking the cycle of addiction to be the transformational One in our families raise our hand and say, this is not what I want for my future, and to have compassion for our loved ones that went, you know, who who went before us, having compassion for them and still creating new, healthy ways of being, to embody that. Ssometimes I'm like, God, why me? You know, why am I the one that has to do this?

KL Wells (00:28:31) - Sure.

Andrew Schultz (00:28:33) - But it is a remarkable opportunity.

KL Wells (00:28:37) - Well, and the reverberation and the ripple effects off of your willingness to do this again is way beyond your family. And so what I think about Andrew is, and I've talked about this before, is just this notion of when you love deeply. This is where we find ourselves because there's always going to be passings, and they're always going to be painful moments when you can't have love deeply without that part of it. And, I know that in my own journey with myself and coming to clarity around was so important, to be able to love him so deeply that I could be a witness and participate in the healthiest way possible in his addiction journey.

Andrew Schultz (00:29:36) - Absolutely, loving deeply. And I didn't have the capacity to love deeply before because I was mired in addiction and a downward spiral. It's a vicious cycle. The shame. The shame of knowing I'm drinking and drugging excessively and then not wanting to feel that shame. And so what do I do? I drink and drug more because I don't want to feel that shame.

Andrew Schultz (00:30:00) - And then the next day when I wake up, of course, I have more sheen because. And there's this vicious cycle. And the best part is with sobriety, in recovery with support of others. Because it takes a village, we cannot do this alone. I cannot stress that enough for people listening. It takes so many people to help me get to where I am. Over the last nine years it has taken a village and it's not something, it's mine. It's something that as it's a shared experience for many, many people who have contributed.

And it's creating upward cycles instead of vicious cycles, creating new ways of being. That's an upward positive cycle and it's being of service. It's, you know, getting eight hours of sleep. It's going to support 12 step meetings if that's if that's the preference. Which part of my journey AA was a big part of my journey. Yeah. You know it's working out. It's taking care of ourselves in ways that we might not have before.

Andrew Schultz (00:31:04) - It's having a group of friends that we can rely on and do life with and be vulnerable with and be honest with, especially as men, because we are lone wolves type A, you know, trying to do everything on our own. Ask not asking for help, say we're just fine. And there's never been more pressures on men than there are today to be leaders of ourselves, our families, our communities, our businesses, you know, to have emotional capacity and intelligence to show up in those relationships in ways that when we were just hunters and gatherers, we just needed to kill food and provide enough food for a family. And so it's so important, which is why I love mentoring young men.

To give men permission to, to find their tribe. They're 2 to 3 to five people. If it's a book club, if it's a men's group, if it's a church group, to have a group of people that you can lean on, who can support you and hold you accountable, and you can support and hold them accountable, it is more important now than ever before that we do this in community, and having intimate connections with with loved ones who can help us continue to thrive amidst the chaos.

KL Wells (00:32:16) - Yes, absolutely. And the same is true for us that are the loved ones is I have what, four different communities that have held me, loved me, supported me, and been there for me throughout this entire experience with Sam. And I could never have done it without them. I think in some weird way, this disease is bringing us back to our roots as human beings because we are made to be in community in ways that are vulnerable and genuine and authentic, and bringing our unique gifts to the community and serving each other.

Andrew Schultz (00:33:01) - Yes, absolutely. And the addiction is disconnection. Opposite of addiction is connection.

Andrew Schultz (00:33:12) - And so. It has been the greatest gift that I've been given. It is the addiction that I've. Been through. I wouldn't change it for the world. And there's no regrets because it got me exactly to where I am today. And I always say, you know, our mess is now our message.

Andrew Schultz (00:33:34) - Our rock bottom in the darkest hour is now our greatest asset and our brightest light and our superpower.

Andrew Schultz (00:33:43) - To help others who are going through something similar and to to create a roadmap for others to know that they're not alone. And there are things that you know we can do to change your life. and that addiction doesn't define us. And it created a sense of community that I didn't even know I needed.

Andrew Schultz (00:34:07) - In communities, especially after Covid, it's, I think people are understanding, you know, the experiences and memories and friendships at the end of the day. Are all the things that matter and the stuff, you know, what we do for work and all the material stuff that we can't take with us when we die. I think, man, the things that are important. 

KL Wells (00:34:33) - Well, you know, I like to think that when it feels like our life is falling apart, it's actually falling together. And we have these moments in our lives that can bring us to our knees. But that's it. Those are the moments where we get to rise to another level of consciousness and another level of connection and authenticity, and transcend and include our life experiences to inform and influence who we continue to become and how we, you know, how we are in the world.

Andrew Schultz (00:35:04) - Absolutely. And for people listening, if it doesn't have to be addiction, if it's, you know, it can be cancer, it can be, divorce, it can be poor health. It can be any really challenging circumstance in our lives that replaces addiction with a challenging experience. And, you know, the roadmap, is very similar to, you know, the sense of community and, to be of service to each other, knowing that we're not alone, I think is very appropriate.

KL Wells (00:35:35) - Yeah, absolutely. So I want to revisit, you had brought up shame a little earlier, and it's so prevalent on both sides of the aisle. Could you speak a little bit about your journey out of your shame?

Andrew Schultz (00:35:56) - Well, I think the first thing for people listening, I didn't know until, you know, I went through I was at a workshop, a codependency workshop in treatment, and they did a great job with just educating us on codependency and, you know, shame. And I remember they said, you know, the difference between shame and guilt is, you know, guilt is I did bad. Shame is I am bad.

Andrew Schultz (00:36:21) - And I was like, whoa, I have shame. Like, I remember hearing that I was like, yep. Shame. Not guilt and shame. Like I am a bad person. Not worthy of, you know, success and love. And that was the story I was telling myself, like, I'm not worthy of it. And that is not. That's a dark place to be, that I'm bad, I'm not good enough. I don't deserve love. That was the story that I was telling myself for a long time.

Andrew Schultz (00:36:48) - And I think shining the light of awareness on it is the first step for me to raise my hand in a small group and be like, I'm experiencing a lot of shame. I'm feeling a lot of shame in my life right now, and just raising my hand and being honest and just sharing how I'm sharing what I'm feeling and and getting in touch with what I'm feeling has for so many years, like I was cut off from the neck down like I didn't.

Andrew Schultz (00:37:14) - I was so disconnected. I didn't know what I was feeling because I was so because I had been using drugs and alcohol for so long that there was no connection with mind, body or spirit. And if you ask me how I was feeling or what I was feeling or what emotions I was experiencing, I would not be able to tell you. And even in sobriety early on, I struggled with telling you how I felt. And I remember our facilitator, she would give us all a list of feeling words.

Andrew Schultz (00:37:46) - I was like, I would have to look at the cheat sheet like I am feeling and then pick one because I didn't know what I was feeling. So I had to look at the cheat sheet and then I'll be able to share, hey, I'm feeling shame. And then you know, the beauty of 12 steps. Alcoholics anonymous, 12 steps. You know, the 12 step, context, the blueprint, the, what do you call it? The construction. The, scaffolding.

Andrew Schultz (00:38:16) - Yeah, it's 13 of 12 steps. It's not just for AA. The 12 steps in a deep personal inventory have been around for thousands and thousands of years. So fortunately, I had access to it in Alcoholics Anonymous and doing a, you know, a thorough inventory of our life. 12 steps to go through the 12 steps and to share with another man. We call it a sponsor of the rooms of addiction in 12 step work to to to work with a sponsor. If I'm a man, I find another man who can take me through the steps. I can read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous with and who can, who can help answer questions, who can, who can coach me, who can mentor me and who can, who I can trust and be vulnerable and honest with? And who's going to keep it confidential that I'm, for the first time in my life, sharing things about my life that I've never told anybody, right? Darkest secrets, the trauma, the things that I just can't imagine I would ever tell another person because I was so shameful about.

Andrew Schultz (00:39:20) - I remember sharing with another man for the first time and how much freedom there was, and just me sharing my deepest, darkest secrets. The stuff that I don't want to share with anybody that I just felt so icky about. I remember sharing with another man for the first time, and for him to say, yeah, me too, I understand. I was like. You understand? Really?

Andrew Schultz (00:39:48) - I thought I was the only one that had experienced anything like that. And for him to give me permission to be like, yeah, It might not be exactly the same circumstance or experience that he had, but he can relate because he had a similar shared experience. So the shame of bringing your question to the answer full circle in the light of awareness, raising my hand, talking about it, working through steps of personal inventory where I'm writing down my deepest, darkest secrets in a journal, sharing them with another man. And it's transmuting that energy which had been intangible, roaming around my brain for so long.

Andrew Schultz (00:40:26) - And I'm transmuting that energy and starting to heal by sharing it and verbalizing it and writing it. And that's where the healing starts. I always call it an emotional bag of poo that we start to work through, not around it.

Andrew Schultz (00:40:44) - The only way to get through it is to go through it head on. And that's what I did, and that's how I started to work through my own shame. And then after I went through the steps, I started working with other men that I would take them through the 12 steps and be get to hold up a mirror and share my experiences with them. And that's how that it's the ripple effect. It's paying it forward. It's being of service after somebody helps us, then we help them. And then these ripple effects of positivity and in connection and being of service to each other. And that's the best part about this thing. 

It's creating positive ripples and that shame was very powerful.

Andrew Schultz (00:41:27) - And I am completely going to still struggle with it. It's just I have the resources and tools to know when it comes up, like how to work through it and know that a lot of other people are experiencing similar challenges in their own life. and always coming back to self-compassion and self-love, because a lot of people like I just for so long beat myself up and just the negative self-talk and just having a little bit more compassion for ourselves.

KL Wells (00:42:00) - Yeah. So well said. And that's, you know, true on our side of the equation too, or my side of the equation as a loved one, is the same. It's the same navigation in terms of shame. And what human you were talking about. You need a cheat sheet for emotions. You know, I'm a business coach and executive coach, and I carry around a squad of emotions. and I also carry around the fallen firefighters framework for crisis all the way to thriving, depending on, you know, who I'm in front of that day or throughout that day, I may pull one or both of those out, and say, okay, where are you? You know, on this framework, you know, are you straddling, struggling and surviving? Are you straddling, you know, where are you? So they self-identify because we're human and executives have all kinds of crap showing up to, and then, you know, Americans can identify three emotions: happy, sad and angry.

KL Wells (00:43:04) - So, you know, they need to expand, their ability to identify. Okay, where am I? Here. And I'm married up with the brain in terms of our brain science. And then what's your intention about what you want to actually summon to feel today?

Andrew Schultz (00:43:24) - More cheat sheets.

Andrew Schultz (00:43:29) - Yes, that's the solution. More cheat sheets.

KL Wells (00:43:34) - So as we're kind of wrapping this up, could you speak to the rebuilding of your family relationships? Because I think it's really important for our audience to hear the possibility and the hope embedded in this.

Andrew Schultz (00:43:51) - Absolutely the most rewarding part. I never thought I would move back to Omaha, Nebraska. If I'm being honest, which I am like. It's not something I wanted to do. Nine months ago when my brother asked me to come home. Not something I wanted to do, and it's something that I needed to do. And more is being revealed every day, on and on.

But to to be to to sit with my dad in the hospital for two weeks in a row, every day in the ICU and, and to to have that conversation with them and, and to be able to support him like. I'm just so grateful because I can't imagine. And I've had a really strong group of men around me. Yeah. And they said, Andrew, have the conversation now, because if you don't have that conversation, you're going to regret it for the rest of your life. So if nothing else. Me coming home to have that conversation. My dad, that is good enough for me. And it's so much more than that because I get to work with my brother now. We get to work together every day. We fight and butt heads. Absolutely. He's. I'm closer to him than anybody else in my life. You know, he's somebody that I just confide in and trust more than anybody else. He's always been there for me.

Andrew Schultz (00:45:10) - And getting to work with him every day and have a more intimate connection with him to be there for my nephew this weekend, spending Mother's Day at my mom's. And our whole family's going to be there. Just this family time that, you know, just in 2012, 2013, 14, 15. I had no relationship with any of them. I pushed him so far away I didn't see them. I didn't spend time with them. I remember one time my mom and dad hated each other because they were getting divorced, there was so much resentment. They actually started to become friends, rallying, you know, coming together to support me because of my addiction. They actually came together and became friends to try to get me the help that I needed. And I remember one time they jumped on a flight, flew out to San Diego together, came to my apartment, knocked on the door and I wouldn't let him in. And I was home. Okay. And I think about that all the time.

Andrew Schultz (00:46:10) - Like my mom and dad. People who love me the most. And they were there and I wouldn't even let them in. But that's not the case anymore. You know I get to spend a lot of time with them until then, every time I see them I say I love you because I don't know when the last time it's going to be. And I'm not willing to take a chance of having regrets. And you know, my mom and I have had hard conversations with some of the things that happen with her growing up. Having conversations with my dad, having conversations with my brother. It's all full circle. Yeah. It's all come full circle. And I don't know what the future has. You know, if my brother and I are going to continue to work and work together in our family business. I don't know how much longer my mom and dad have, but in this season of my life, I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be because I get to show up. You said it earlier to love deeply.

Andrew Schultz (00:47:01) - Yeah. And I know I'm worthy of it now. I know I'm capable of it now. I know I can give it and receive it now. Yeah. And before that wasn't the case. And I know they feel it. And I know how much they appreciate having me home. And during the season of my life, the relationships with my family are the best they've ever been. And at the end of the day, you know, family, it's my family are the people who've always been there for me.

KL Wells (00:47:35) - Very blessed.

KL Wells (00:47:38) - And courageous. It's a courageous journey to do what you've done and what they've done. and to be able to mend. Because obviously the deep love was, was always there. It was kind of in the shadows of the disease.

Andrew Schultz (00:47:55) - Yep. Now it's in the light. And by telling our loved ones that we love them all the time. Like every time I see my. I tell my brother when I leave the office, I love you.

Andrew Schultz (00:48:06) - And it's cool that we can bring it into the work environment. telling my mom and dad that I love them, you know, shining the light of awareness on that love.

Andrew Schultz (00:48:17) - What a gift.

KL Wells (00:48:22) - So in my world. You are an example of thriving. your bright and shiny lights are on. And I love how you describe this season in your lives. and that you have shown up for it.

Andrew Schultz (00:48:44) - Thriving in the midst of chaos. Yep.

KL Wells (00:48:49) - That's really the journey. And when we can do it with the people that are the dearest to us, then we can be exemplars for others who are watching.

KL Wells (00:49:03) - So how can people get Ahold of you if they want to reach out?

Andrew Schultz (00:49:09) - Positive impact. Andrew. Instagram. I'm very, very active on Instagram. The Andrew Schultz is my website. And there's a world famous comedian also named Amy.

Andrew Schultz (00:49:29) - So the Andrew Schultz actually is mine. we're redoing my website right now. I'm really excited about the rebrand. And, you know, my girlfriend's helping me. She's done an awesome job. And, the podcast Positive Impact or Positive Impact with Andrew Schultz. That's my podcast on all the podcast platforms. Those are the best ways. And I love messages. I'm very vocal and open about my recovery journey, about sobriety. And I just do that because the messages I, I received in turn of just one person being inspired or empowered or feeling supported or having hope because of what they're going through, and they see what I've been through. That's why I do it. And that's that's why, you know, having the opportunity to, to talk to you and to be on this podcast, it means so much because there's so many people out there who are still struggling in the dark and there's a stigma. And just if it's one person listening who has that hope or takes that first step of courage and willingness and honesty, man, that this was this a success? Great.

KL Wells (00:50:47) - Awesome. Well, you are a remarkable man. and I am eternally grateful to Tucker for introducing us. So keep doing what you're doing. We're changing the world.

Andrew Schultz (00:51:02) - Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

KL Wells (00:51:11) - Absolutely I'm there. So again, thank you. Deep gratitude. Absolutely. I want to thank Andrew again for being a part of the podcast today. What a remarkable man. What was truly touching about our conversation was his heartfelt willingness to share the emotionality of how two life changing events experience as a teen propelled him into his own addiction, his own gift of desperation that revealed his path back to healing and recovery. His destructive journey led him on his own to his own intervention, deep struggles to know himself truly and create a life of service. It's truly inspiring. Thank you for joining us today. If you are in a space and willing to come out of the shadows of shame, stigma, guilt, desperation, we've built a membership for you. Stop navigating this journey alone. Join us at www.voicesincourage.com/thrive.

More About Andrew Schultz

Andrew's Website

Andrew's Podcast, Positive Impact