Joyous Expansion Podcast Transcript Ty Reed, Passionate Recovery Career Coach – Recovering From Rock Bottom One Step At A Time

Brett Dupree:

Hello, Ty, and welcome to my podcast.

Ty Reed:

Hey, thanks, Brett. Glad to be here.

Brett Dupree:

Excited to have you on. I have known you from the Lightworker Toastmasters and I know you have a very interesting story.

Ty Reed:

My life has definitely taken some twists and turns that’s for sure.

Brett Dupree:

Let’s get down to it. Where would you like to start?

Ty Reed:

Well, we can start at the almost beginning if you like. I grew up in Tennessee and live a big chunk of my life in Georgia. And from a pretty young age, I had this feeling that there was something wrong with me and spent much of my life chasing things to fix that feeling or at least make me feel better about myself. And for me, that ended up taking me to some pretty dark places.

Brett Dupree:

What do you feel got you that feeling of laying that something was wrong with you?

Ty Reed:

Came from a couple of specific places when I was six years old, my parents divorced and my mother after that effectively disappeared from my life. And that left me with a feeling of if I had just been a better kid than maybe my parents would still be together. So I started to get this feeling that there was something wrong with me or defective about me. And that feeling was only deepened by the fact that I live and operate in kind of a weird space, racially and socially, although both of my parents are black. Education was super important in my household and speaking proper grammar was the only thing that was acceptable. And so as a result in the late seventies, being a black boy, living in Georgia, I didn’t sound like the black kids and they let me know that on a pretty regular basis.

Ty Reed:

And I clearly didn’t look like the white kids. So I was kind of an outcast and I stood alone a lot and I got picked on and bullied by both races and just never really felt like I had a place. And so it helped to kind of deepen this story that I had already begun to tell myself that there was something off or wrong with me. And that led me. That’s a feeling that I carry much of my life until really the last four or five years. It was something that I just couldn’t shake and led me to chase various things during life and led me to eventually to alcohol and drug addiction.

Brett Dupree:

Yeah. I can understand that as somebody who is mixed race, I remember telling my parents that I was like a black and white television. I always felt more comfortable with quote-unquote white culture, or my sister is the opposite. She always felt more quote-unquote with black culture. And I always felt like not good enough, not black enough.

Ty Reed:

Yeah. Yeah. And you know, the ironic thing, and I don’t know if you have experienced this as well, but the weird thing about that is that my blackness was not only questioned by black people. It was questioned by white people. Quite often, white people would say to me, Oh, you don’t sound black or you don’t seem black, which I understand that they were probably in their own way trying to be complimentary, but it just always struck me as being a really sad commentary on the impression that people had of black Americans. The is we are obviously a very diverse set of folks, just like white people are there’s educated, white people and uneducated white people. And it’s the same thing in the black community. But because of the media attention that certain segments of the population get there is this long has been a perception that to be black means that you are uneducated or you’re not articulate or that you can’t express yourself very well using proper grammar. And those things simply are not true.

Brett Dupree:

Yeah. I remember one time in high school, one of my friends told me as a compliment that I was white.

Ty Reed:

Again. Well, meaning, but not exactly a compliment. And I can relate a lot to what you said about how you kind of identified with the white side and your sister identified more with the black side. I kind of identified with both the first cassette tape I ever bought when I was nine years old, was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. And I bought it because it had, I love rock and roll on it, which was a classic rock song. It was really cool when it came out. But at the same time, I also grew up loving R and B and was obsessed with trying to sound like Michael Jackson when I sang and listened to Prince and a lot of R and B groups of the time growing up, I kind of appreciate both worlds, but it is this very strange space that I feel like occupy sometimes.

Brett Dupree:

Mine was Bon Jovi slippery when wet.

Ty Reed:

Oh yeah, yeah. That’s quality. That’s still good today. Actually

Brett Dupree:

Top to bottom. I love that album. What was your life like growing up in elementary and high school?

Ty Reed:

We moved a lot. My father was a corporate ladder climber before I graduated high school. I think we had moved. It was either 10 or 11 times because it was, and it was all about where the next promotion was. And he was definitely doing the very best that he could for the family. My father is the oldest. I think I want to say 11. And he was, you know, older, the oldest kids tend to be the ones that get out. And he was the one that got out of that very small and poor town in the South that he was born in and did everything that he could to make a better life for me and my younger sister, I lived in a couple of places in Tennessee. I lived in Virginia. I lived in Georgia in Georgia is where my parents had divorced when I was six.

Ty Reed:

My mom kind of went away for a while and then my father got a job in Nashville after that. And then my father got a job in California and I was out there with him for a little while, but I was actually sent to live with my mother at another place in Tennessee and was with her for junior high school, which was, and 80 or 85% black junior high school got picked on a lot. I sounded like Gomer Pyle, a very thick Southern accent or thick glasses. And I got really good grades and I was always on the honor roll and never really got into any trouble and was considered a nerd and weird and strange as I had been pretty much all my life up to that point. After junior high school, my dad had relocated to another job in Spokane. And so I moved out to Spokane for high school and it was a heck of a culture shock because I went from an 80% black junior high school to a 99% white high school.

Ty Reed:

In my graduating class, there were 350 people. I was the only black male and there were only three black people. It was a bit of an adjustment that first year was my sophomore year in high school was challenging. I did a lot of things to try to fit in. I put up with a lot of things like being called the N-word and racist jokes being told to me about me. And then after, I don’t know what it was over the summer between sophomore year and junior year, I had just decided I had enough. I was done and junior year was filled with a lot of fighting. It was every time, the stuff that I put up within my sophomore year, I decided I wasn’t going to put up with in my junior year. There were some scrapes and there were some trips to the principal’s office.

Ty Reed:

And there were some meetings with people after school at certain places that had to happen, but that fighting didn’t have to happen for very long. It was about the first half of the year. One of the things I believe about having to use force or using violence is you don’t actually always have to use it. People just have to know you’re willing to. And once it became apparent, I was willing to I’m sure a lot of stuff was still being said behind my back, but the stuff that was being said to my face or the stuff within earshot pretty much disappeared, then the senior year I was in student government did okay and won a partial scholarship to go to college at Western Washington University in Bellingham. And that’s where I went to my college experience. My freshman year.

Brett Dupree:

How was your college years?

Ty Reed:

My college years were a bit, well, the early years were tumultuous. So as I mentioned, I was in school. I was at Western Washington University on a partial scholarship for academics. And I wasn’t really a drinker in high school, but I discovered a love for alcohol in college. And it really was a love for alcohol. And what I loved about alcohol was how easy it made it for me to talk to women. And the experience that always sticks out the most for me is at the beginning of the school year at Western. And I went there, I started there in 1989. They used to have this thing called the red square dance in the middle of Western’s campus has basically modeled after red square in Moscow. And at the beginning of every school year, about a week before classes started, they would have this throat dance DJ would set up.

Ty Reed:

They play music and it was attended by anywhere from three to 5,000 students. So it was a pretty darn good time. And the dorm that I lived in on-campus downstairs for me was a group of juniors who decided for whatever reason, they wanted to live in the dorms. And they built a bar in their dorm room. The first week we were on campus. So the night of the dance, I go downstairs, everybody’s drinking, I’m 17 years old. And again, hadn’t really drank in high school. And there was this girl doing shots of something, and it turned out there were shots of 151. And I mean the young chauvinist macho kid that I was trying to be, he said, well, that girl can do that. Then I can do that. And between the two of us, we killed the bottle. So the next morning I, of course, am completely hungover.

Ty Reed:

Don’t remember really thing about the night before, but what happened was on the day that classes started a few days later, as I’m walking around campus, all these women are saying hello to me, women that I don’t recognize. And apparently I’ve made quite an impression. And so the connection between alcohol and women, this is when it started to dawn upon me that maybe I could reach for this alcohol thing that would make me feel differently about myself, first of all. And then it would be a gateway to me connecting with women so that I could get more approval and validation to try to feel better about who I was. Because again, I’ve been carrying this, there’s something wrong with me. I’m not a good person thing. For many, many years. I viewed it as a gateway to escape that somewhat. I then proceeded to flunk out of school. The next year I dropped out of school and then moved back to Spokane. Where I have gone to high school, worked there for a couple of years, and eventually relocated to Seattle with a job and went back to school. Finally got my undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in Tacoma in 1998, and also had married by that time and was moving on into life. Things felt like they were heading in the right direction, but I still was not really in touch with who I was as a person.

Brett Dupree:

How did not feeling in touch as you were an in-person lead to your downfall?

Ty Reed:

I was always looking for stuff to make me feel better about who I was. I had managed, even though in my early twenties, I didn’t have a degree. I have worked in sales and I’ve always been pretty good at it. And I made, I worked really, really hard as a way to feel better about who I was. And so I made a lot of money and I bought a lot of stuff. And frankly, I had a lot of both relations and relationships cause there’s a difference between relations and relationships. I had quite a few of those with women and again, in an effort to make myself feel better about who I was, but it would always be the same feeling of emptiness afterward. I was seeking fulfillment and to placate what was happening with me inside, but it was always kind of that same hole in the soul empty feeling afterward.

Ty Reed:

And I just continued looking for something that would help me do that. And at this point, I was a, probably a pretty typical drinker in his mid to late twenties. I didn’t drink during the day. I wasn’t a person that hit bottles over the house, but when it came time to drink, I was drinking for effect, if I only had five or $10 in my pocket, I didn’t see a point in going out because that wasn’t going to do anything for me. I always drank to feel differently from how I felt. And that eventually turned to me needing something stronger because after a while, alcohol just stopped doing it. And I found my way too hard drugs by I was actually a karaoke host, which I was something I did off and on for a while. And I was working in this really dive karaoke bar in Everett, Washington.

Ty Reed:

And it was the kind of place where it was pretty obvious that the crowd was made up of a lot of people who did drugs. A lot of people who sold drugs, I had drugs offered to me probably every, literally every weekend for a year and always said, no. And then one weekend, I didn’t say no, I can’t accurately tell you what I was experiencing specifically at that point. But I can only suspect that it was just kind of a case of the pain that I was experiencing emotionally and spiritually got so bad that I felt like I needed something else. And that was really where it all started. I was 30, I think at that was just before I turned 30 at that point and picked up a drug habit, a crack habit that would then escalate over the next few years until I found myself in 2007, I was 35 years old.

Ty Reed:

And if someone had taken a snapshot of my life, it would have looked pretty darn good. I was a nationally recognized salesperson for a division of a Fortune 50 company. And I had the trappings of material success that came with that a big salary, big brand new house in Mill Creek, beautiful wife by my side, second wife at that time. Fantastic, a cute as a button stepdaughter who was smart as a whip and enrolled in private school. And I was a student at the, in the evening program, the Evening MBA program, excuse me at the University of Washington. So at a snapshot, it looked like I had it going on, but if people had watched the video and, or watch the entire movie of what my life was, it was pretty crazy. I was living as two people. I would spend my day walking through nice offices, wearing nice clothes and talking to nice people and come home for a hot minute and have dinner.

Ty Reed:

Before I went to my classroom at the University of Washington in the evening where I was surrounded by professionals from the biggest companies that you could name in Seattle, who were all doing the same as me trying to use education to make themselves more upwardly mobile in their careers. And I was participating in groups with these people and working on projects and being a significant contributor. And then by midnight, I’d be in a crack house, sometimes wearing a suit. And that was my life. And I lived that way for a long time. And it sounds a little crazy. And it quite frankly was because it’s no fun to be living as two people and to hate each one of them, because while I had achieved what I thought I wanted, cause I thought I wanted to make a bunch of money. And I thought that I wanted someone who could really love me and understand. I would often find myself thinking, is this really all there is. And quite frankly, I wanted to throw myself out a window every day.

Brett Dupree:

That doesn’t sound like a fun feeling.

Ty Reed:

It wasn’t great. Yeah. I’m really happy. I don’t have to live that way anymore. Yeah. That’s obviously anyone who knows anything about alcoholism and addiction knows that that’s just simply not a sustainable way to live your life, to be burning the candles at both ends like that. Life intervened in a pretty significant way. In 2008, I, I lost my job because the great recession, not so long after that, my marriage disintegrated, not because I lost my job, but just because my wife came to her senses, the person that she married and loved as hard as she could have basically sold her a bill of goods. I had shown her the best parts of me in order to secure this relationship with her. And she wises up and decided that she needed to protect herself and protect her daughter, which I absolutely agree with. And looking back on it, I don’t know if it’s that she wised up and decided to move on or if it’s that I pushed her out and I suspect it might have been some of both, but if it was more of me pushing her out, I know why that was having a family was getting in the way of me drinking.

Ty Reed:

Like I wanted to and doing drugs like I wanted to. And that’s hard for me to say, but it’s true. I got exactly what I thought I wanted, which was to be left alone and just be able to do what I wanted. That started a period that I refer to all the time as a slow-motion train wreck over the next few years I had jobs. I worked, I still had some moderate amount of professional success. I was still getting recognized, but my personal life was in a free fall by June of 2014. And I remember this day so vividly, I could probably tell you the date. I think it was June 26, 2014, but I could be wrong. June 2014. I am standing outside. I’m looking up in the sky and it’s a gorgeous day outside. I still remember the feeling of my face and my cheeks being warmed by the sun as I stood outside and wondering exactly what the heck I’m going to do. I am wondering what I’m going to do because I was unemployable. I had switched from crack to meth, smart choice there. So I’m addicted to meth, still alcoholic. And now I am homeless and not homeless. Like I could go to my parents’ place and sleep it off for a couple of months. Or I had a friend’s couch I could surf on. I’m really homeless. I don’t know what I’m going to eat next. Or where I am going to be.

Brett Dupree:

Meth is worse than crack?

Ty Reed:

Yeah. You know, it’s really one of the things, and this is actually the first time I’ve ever talked about this. But one of the things that are really funny is that no matter what type of group that we are part of, we’ll always find someone else that we can look down on. And I remember being a total crack head. I mean, I was a crack head. I remember being a crack head and saying, Oh, those meth people, those people are nuts. I would never smoke meth, those people are the worst. And I, you know, eventually I was smoking meth. And I got to say initially, because I had been a quote-unquote, recreational crack smoker for 10 plus years, and I had managed to hold a job. And I had managed to have somewhat of social life with normal people. But after I made the switch to math, my entire life changed.

Ty Reed:

My social circle changed. I stopped hanging out with quote-unquote, regular or normal people. First, my ability to work, my job actually went up because I was able to stay up for two or three days at a time and just work, work, work, work, work. And at the time I was, I was doing the type of work where I could work from home. And so my productivity initially went up. But as that social circle changed and went downhill pretty rapidly. It’s difficult to work when, you know, even when you’re at your house, but you have all kinds of undesirable people and distracting people running in and out of your house and using it as a crash pad and, and using it as a place to deal drugs out of and do whatever for other business, they have to do. My friends changed my environment change and then eventually my ability to do my job change, to not being able to do it at all.

Ty Reed:

And so meth really had a negative effect on me and it was the, I had really spent much of my time using drugs thinking, well, yeah, things might be getting worse, but I’m too smart for anything to ever really take me down. I’m so smart that I can piece this together and make it work. And I’ve always been so good at sales that I can just make enough money to get by and have my drugs and, and that’ll be it. But meth changed all that for me, all of it. And so I’m now homeless and a bit relieved in some ways to be homeless because the, all that energy that I had been expanding for so long to maintain this life as two people, I could let half of that go. And I didn’t have to worry about trying to put on the face of being a good guy anymore and to maintain this facade, to let people think that I had it all going on.

Ty Reed:

And, and I was confident and felt like a good person. I could let all that go. And it was a weight off of me, quite frankly, being able to just be a drug addict and a petty criminal. Cause that’s what I was, it was liberating for a little while until it wasn’t, it’s not fun going to jail multiple times and it’s not fun to have to constantly be on guard with people. The way that I often describe that time is being homeless and unemployed is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Cause there are no days off every day is a mad scramble for what feels like survival. Now that scramble is most often for drugs and for a roof over your head. And in my case to have somebody to do those drugs and be under that roof with you, but it’s a hustle, it’s a grind. I know people that are still on the street that have been on the street for 10 plus years. I was out there for a year and a half and it was rough, but I just can’t imagine doing it for that long because it is it’s tiring. It’s really, really tiring.

Brett Dupree:

Probably why they age so fast.

Ty Reed:

Yeah. Yeah. I would imagine, I would imagine. And so a typical day of, you know, being homeless on the street is if I have the night before, if I’ve been lucky enough to get inside someplace and inside could be, you know, dope house, crappy hotel room, somewhere up or wrong, Aurora by myself or with other people. Usually, there was a group of us that would throw in like 10 or 15 bucks and get a hotel room. Now it’s 10:00 AM the next morning. And now the mad scramble is on to figure out where the next hotel room is coming from. Because with most of those places, you got to check out by 11:00 AM and there ain’t no late checkout. They’re trying to get bodies out the door so they can get ready for the next group of drug addicts who are going to come in and stay in the place.

Ty Reed:

So now there’s a mad scramble. And if you don’t have the money by 11 o’clock to stay in the room for the day, then you got to go out and you got to hustle, you got to do stuff. And for many of us that include shoplifting. It includes a scam of some sort and includes gift card stuff. There’s a whole bunch of ways that there’s an entire economy on the street that I never even knew about that people use on a daily basis to scrape and get by. I became one of those people that was on that merry-go-round.

Brett Dupree:

How did you end up turning your life around?

Ty Reed:

I had a series of events that made it pretty evident to me that I was out of options. And the last event that really got me thinking about whether I was experiencing something miraculous or whether I needed to do something different was at the end of the summer in 2015.

Ty Reed:

And I was, by this time I had gotten pretty good at stealing hotel rooms and I was staying in a very nice hotel room in downtown Seattle with a couple of friends of mine. And one night I was just overcome by guilt and the shame of all the things that I had done and the depression from having allowed my life to get to that point of homelessness and where I was doing things like stealing hotel rooms. And I decided to walk into traffic and kill him myself. I went downstairs, I took the elevator down. I was staying on 20th floor or something. Took the elevator down to the street, the beautiful night outside. Absolutely beautiful. And a lot of traffic. It’s a Saturday night, you know, typical summer night in Seattle where the sky’s clear, there’s a bunch of people on the streets I’m standing outside.

Ty Reed:

I’ve just got a tee-shirt on. It’s totally comfortable. And I’m looking out into traffic and I’m smoking one of my last two cigarettes. And my complete plan was to finish the cigarette that I was smoking and then put my backpack on the sidewalk and just walk into traffic and get hit by a car and hopefully be killed. And as I’m smoking about halfway through my cigarette and this person starts approaching me, it’s a guy and he looked a little broken down, kind of like me. So I assumed that he was going to ask me for a cigarette, my last cigarette, as it would have been. Instead, he comes up to me and he asked me for help. And he says to me that he is an alcoholic. And he stayed in at the mission, the union gospel mission even kicked out of his house by his wife and that he hadn’t eaten for a couple of days.

Ty Reed:

And could I help him out with something to eat? And that moment got me to stop thinking about myself and my concerns for just long enough for me to focus on helping someone else. Then, I didn’t have any money on me, but I had a, my food stamp card, my EBT card, and it had a few bucks on it. And so I agreed to walk with him to a 7-11. That was a couple of blocks away and get him something to eat. As we’re walking, he’s trying to have some sort of conversation with me. What’s your name and where do you live and blah, blah, blah. And I’m just giving him the answers. It doesn’t matter what my name is. I don’t live anywhere, but that doesn’t matter. You know, I’m just, I’m tired. I’m just tired, I remember saying that at some point in the conversation, he kind of just looks at me and says, you know, God has planned for you, right?

Ty Reed:

That was surprising for a couple of reasons. So number one, I, at this point I didn’t have a relationship with God a couple of months prior when I was feeling really desperate, I’d actually, I’d prayed to God for the first time in probably 30 years. And my prayer was just that my life could look more normal and look better than it looked at that moment. Up until this guy asked me if I knew that God had a plan for me, I had assumed that those prayers had gone unanswered because it didn’t seem like life was getting any better. And so I was taken by surprise when he asked me to add, and I kind of looked at him and just a little dumbfounded, but said, it doesn’t matter if there’s a plan. I’m tired. I can’t do this anymore. We got to the 7-11 and I went inside and bought him whatever food I could.

Ty Reed:

And he was still trying to talk to me and engage me in some way. But I felt like I still had, I was still ready to die. I was ready to go, that I had helped this stranger. It was, I kind of felt like I had the right to die. Honestly, I’ve done what I needed to do here. And I’m tired of doing this. And I go out to the sidewalk, you know, entirely, still planning to walk into traffic and lo and behold, the streets that were bustling before, and there was all kinds of traffic and all kinds of people on the street. There were no cars on the street. When I say there were no cars, I don’t mean there were a couple of cars and there was traffic was moving lightly. There were literally no cars on the street and there were no people.

Ty Reed:

It’s obviously struck me as being strange. And I walked up to the cross street and I looked both ways and there are no cars and there are no people, I got a little mad, you know, it was kinda like, are you effing? Kidding me? Are you kidding? And I sat down on the sidewalk. I still had my one cigarette left and took it out. And I started smoking. And I don’t know if I said it in my head or set it out loud. But somehow I said to myself, I guess tonight is not the night that I die, picked up my backpack and went back to the hotel room. And that if this were a movie that would be the moment when I would have magically turned my life around and gotten sober the next day and never looked back. But that’s not my story. My story is that quite frankly, took me a few more months because it wasn’t the case for many of we alcoholics and addicts is that until we are not only feeling some pain, but we also feel like we’re out of options.

Ty Reed:

Are we ever gonna do anything to change our lives? And eventually, I felt like I was out of options and it wasn’t the remarkable thing about the day that I decided to get sober is that it was really unremarkable. I was in a hotel room. It was March 3rd, 2016, excuse me, March 2nd, 2016. And I am in a hotel room, a nice hotel room that I’ve stolen Sea-Tac with a friend of mine getting drunk and getting high. And there was no event I didn’t get arrested. I didn’t get kicked out of the hotel. I, nobody suffered a heart attack or nothing dramatic happened. I was just, I felt like getting sober was the only move I had left. That was my only option. The next day, March 3rd, 2016, I go to 12 step meetings. I went to three meetings that day and I cried like a baby at every single one of those meetings.

Ty Reed:

And I just kept going back. And I eventually, not soon after I started going, I got a sponsor and I feel like that sponsor was sent by God because he and I had a lot of things in common and he had a message that I was finally able to hear. And I was able to take some direction and put my life back together. But a huge part of that was getting really clear about the things that I believed about myself and the stories that I’ve been telling myself about me for so long. If, if only for the reason of not going back to being an alcoholic and addict, because while we people in recovery, we realized that alcohol and drugs are a problem. We don’t believe they are the problem. The problem is this emotional and spiritual instability. And often the stories, the attitudes that we have about ourselves that lead us to want to do things, to escape that. And so I got really clear about the causes and conditions of why I felt the way I felt about myself. And it was the first time that I’d done that in my entire life. I had started telling myself this story when I was six years old, that I carried with me for 30 plus years and never really looked at. And this was the first time I had done that. And that was really key to me, changing a lot of things in my life for the better.

Brett Dupree:

Awesome. So what were the steps? So after that, you were able to get a job and put things piece of piece back together.

Ty Reed:

Yeah. Slowly I did. You know, and this is something that I have documented through articles and videos, but, I got sober. I, the first job that I took was not a job that I ever thought I would have. I had worked a bunch of corporate jobs before and I had done really well and made money. And the first job that I took was a part-time job, scrubbing toilets at a place that was a 50 plus mile drive from the sober house that I was living in. And I was grateful to have that job because it gave me an opportunity to prove to others. But more importantly to myself that I could be dependable and responsible again. So I had that job and then I got a slightly better job and then a slightly better job. And then I went back to school to get a certificate in manufacturing.

Ty Reed:

One of the career counselors at the school saw that I was always showing up. So my attendance was good and that I always had a great attitude and that my schoolwork was good. And I was generally liked by people in the program. And she connected me with a company that was connected to the manufacturing program because they had a sales job available and I’d picked up some skills in that manufacturing program that would help me in that job. I went to the interview and I think I had a couple of interviews. And while I was nervous about the prospects of telling my new employer about my past, having been homeless and having these petty crimes on my record, I was prepared to tell the truth. I thought about the story. I was ready to tell the truth about it and present it in a clear and concise fashion and let the chips kind of fall where they may and things kind of worked out.

Ty Reed:

They did get the job. I worked there for three years and learned a lot. I was able to also bring a lot to the company because quite frankly if I weren’t someone who was rebuilding his life, they would have been hard-pressed to get someone like me with my educational background and professional background for the price that they got me quite frankly. So it worked out really well for both parties. I got some valuable job experience and reestablished myself professionally. They got a great employee who was really dedicated to the company and was able to help them put some key things in place. Then I moved on to my next position, which was my most recent position working for a large nonprofit in the Seattle area as a job developer. So it was my job to help people who had barriers to employment. Maybe they’re recovering from addiction and homelessness like me or their domestic violence survivors or veterans who have been out of the job force for a while and are looking for a way back in. It was my job to help those individuals secure employment, primarily by connecting with companies in the area, helping them fill their positions with the folks that I was working with. And it was really, really satisfying and has given me a passion to move on and continue to do that. I’m really happy with the way that my career has gone over the last three years. It’s been a great process for me.

Brett Dupree:

Well, that the last job is the thing that has, has kicked off this passion desire to help people get their lives back.

Ty Reed:

It was there before, even before I got this last job, I had started volunteering for a couple of nonprofit organizations in the Everett area, teaching classes that I, with a curriculum that I had created on things like finances and budgeting. For example, if I have screwed over a bank, how do I open a bank account? If I have never rented an apartment before, how do I do that? What does that look like? Also, if I have any eviction on my record, how do I still rent a place to live? These are all things that number one that I had to deal with and number two, their milestones in that road back that need to be marked off because everybody needs a place to live and everybody needs a bank account. And at some point, everybody needs a job. So I, it was my interest in doing that for people who came from before.

Ty Reed:

But certainly being at this last position at the nonprofit really confirmed for me that this is what I want to spend my life doing. I could very easily go back to a career in sales and I could make a bunch of money. I really could, I could make buckets of it, but that’s just not where my passion lies anymore. I don’t, I don’t need to chase money anymore to feel better about who I am as a person. I have plenty of money. I really do. I’m definitely not a millionaire. I’m not independently wealthy, but I have plenty of money and I will have plenty of money, but the ability to be able to do for other people, what people have done for me, people that love me and absolute strangers have done for me, which is to put aside their own self-interest and reach out their hand to a guy like me, who in many ways may not have actually deserved a second chance. I had everything. I had everything and I chose to burn it to the ground, but that didn’t matter. People still saw that I needed help and they helped me. And I want to be able to do that for other people. It’s the right thing to do.

Brett Dupree:

So if someone who somehow is listening to this on their lowest point in life, especially in addiction in some sort of honestly, whatever it is, it could just be video games, honestly. And they feel like their life is at their lowest. What advice would you give them to take that next step?

Ty Reed:

Well, the first thing I would say is that it’s never too late. It doesn’t matter how bad things seem or how far you feel like you’ve fallen. It’s never too late to make a change. The next thing I would say is that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the prospects of changing your life radically. But change is actually easy. Change is happening all the time in nature in the world, things are always changing. What’s difficult about change is making the decision to change and then continuing to make that decision to change because changing your life is not a decision that we make one time or that you make. One time. It is a decision that has to be made over and over and over again. If I say to myself on Monday, I’m not going to call myself stupid anymore. Then I got to make that decision on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, going forward.

Ty Reed:

That’s the difficulty about change is choosing and deciding to continue down that new path in order to achieve that. My suggestion would be to start with something small if it is video game addiction or it’s drug addiction or alcohol addiction or whatever. The first thing that I would say is you reach out for help. That’s the first thing. And people will, especially people that are alcoholics or drug addicts will say, well, I can’t go to treatment. I can’t leave my job for a month or I can’t leave my family for a month or whatever. There are lots of steps in between being addicted or hung up on whatever you’re hung up on and going to a 28-day residential inpatient treatment. Now eventually maybe for some people, they’ll obviously have to do that, but there’s a lot of steps in between. There is talking to someone that you trust and just letting them know.

Ty Reed:

I’m not sure if I’m in trouble here, but I might be. Can I talk to you about this? If you don’t have that person in your life, I suggest that you talk to a professional. Now, this could be a counselor, but it doesn’t have to be, if you are not in a position to afford counseling or a therapist, you can go to your clergy and talk to him or her about that. But our secrets keep us sick, talking to someone and getting this out of us, and not holding in the shame about it is really the first step. And from there, I would just recommend that you take baby steps. If you can, if you’re an alcoholic, maybe try to drink a little less every day. If you have the ability to do that, if you are experiencing anything else, try to break it down into the smallest steps possible, and then just do conquer one step at a time because often it is too difficult to wrap our minds around making this huge change.

Ty Reed:

And quite frankly, for most of us, if we’re still limping along in life and things are generally okay, we’re probably not going to make a huge change unless something drastic happens quite often, people who don’t eat well, they don’t do anything until they have a heart attack. And then once they have a heart attack, that’s a major event. And then they get motivated to change their lives. But for many of us, we won’t be lucky enough to get that desperate. And if you’re not that desperate, then I would recommend baby steps as a way to accomplish what you want to accomplish, because you can get there and you deserve to be happy. It’s just a matter of taking some action and deciding that that’s what you deserve,

Brett Dupree:

Are you available to work with people who are in this situation? And if you are, what would that look like?

Ty Reed:

I absolutely am available to work with people that would be in those situations. And what that would look like is an initial free consultation, or just, just a conversation. I don’t even want to call it a consultation, a conversation. Let’s just talk a little bit about what’s happening with you. And you can then decide what is right for you. But I am not a licensed therapist. I have a good amount of education in my background, and I certainly have some life experience with this so I can help you from my life experience. And if you feel like that is valuable, I am open and ready to talk to people about this. So you would reach out to me through my email, you would, and we would connect that way. And then we’d have maybe a zoom conversation or a phone conversation, and really see if this is something that you need to explore more.

Brett Dupree:

So someone’s listening to this interview and think, wow, tirade would be a great person to speak at my school, but what exactly would his speech be like? Could you give people a taste of the subjects and like how you structure your message? What are your messages?

Ty Reed:

I love to speak about myths and stories and especially the personal myths that we carry. And so the way that I define a personal myth is the stories that we tell ourselves that shape, how we view ourselves and others in the world. So a typical speech for me would be me taking a topic like an escape. So the myth of escape. So there’s this myth that many people have that if we have a negative self-image, we can somehow escape that by reaching for things outside of ourselves. So we can reach for gambling or sex or money or shopping or drugs or alcohol. It’s thinking that those things are going to somehow cure what is happening with us inside, but real change the opportunity for happiness. It’s an inside job. So this myth is that we can somehow escape ourselves by using all these other things.

Ty Reed:

But the truth is that we need to focus more inward inwardly. And in order to have a real shot at happiness in the life that we really want, many of the speeches that I deliver are based on my life experience of having done this, reaching outside myself constantly. And the things that I believed about me in the world, focus through the prism of addiction to connect with the audience because although there’s not going to be a ton of people in the world that I’ll speak to, that can relate to having lived this to people and been a crack and a meth addict and ended up homeless on the streets. But pretty much everybody can relate to looking around their lives and feeling like certain things aren’t right or wondering how they got here. Those are the connection points that I use with audiences to really deliver my message.

Brett Dupree:

Awesome. So we are coming to the end of our time together. And one thing I like to ask my guests is to do a one minute of motivation. You can imagine this as if you are going talking to your eight-year-old self in a time machine type situation, but unfortunately, you only have a minute and tell you’re plopped back into the future. Or you can think of it as if you can condense your entire life’s message and purpose into one minute. So you’re ready. Sure. Let’s go.

Ty Reed:

I know you might feel scared and I know that you might be doubting yourself, but I can definitively tell you you’re going to be okay. And I can also definitively tell you that you’re better than you think you are. You’re not as bad as you think you are and you deserve to be happy. You do. And no matter how rough it gets, I love you and you’re going to be okay.

Brett Dupree:

Thank you, Ty, for being on my podcast, I really enjoyed your story on how you just never felt good enough. And even though you kept on like living almost the perfect life of a good, having a good kid, having a wonderful wife, and also then having the sales job, but having that empty part in you, causing you to fill it with drugs and alcohol, which have caused you to crash your life. But at the same time, you’re able to, through seeking out, help from others, being able to take your life and rebuild it in such a way that not only are you rebuilding your life, but you are also creating a situation where you could help people who are going through something similar from a perspective of somebody who’s been through it. Been there, done that. So that gives you a unique perspective that a lot of people don’t have and to utilize your pain and English into something great that can serve humanity. So thank you so much for everything you do. Thank you so much for making this world a better place. And thank you so much for being in my podcast.

Ty Reed:

Thank you, Brett. I really enjoyed being here today.

Brett Dupree:

May your day be special.

Ty Reed:

Likewise.

Inspirational Life Coach Brett Dupree (260 Posts)

Internationally certified life coach through inviteCHANGE, Brett Dupree envisions a powerful future in which people live in pure joy. He believes that there is a great transformation just around the corner and he coaches people on how to use passion and inspiration to ride the powerful wave of awakening that is sweeping this world. Brett has dedicated his life to the study of personal empowerment. He believes that real lasting change comes from changing from the inside out. Working with you one-on-one, Brett helps you listen to your inner voice to reach your goals with passion, inspiration and ease . He creates a sacred space that allows you clients to bask in the joy of creation. He will help you find peace and balance in their lives so you can transform yourself into a self leader. Using the power of intentions, the Law of Attraction and his deep loving powerful heart he helps his clients gain miraculous results.


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