From Rehab to EntrepreneurOct 25, 2021
Do you battle with some kind of addiction? If so, I hope today’s guest will inspire you with the tools to ask for help and the courage to accept it.
Today, my guest is Jeremiah Campbell, the owner of a masonry restoration company in the Detroit, Michigan, area. He’s also a wellness coach, a podcaster, but most importantly, Jeremiah calls himself a family man — and I just love how he has his priorities straight!
Jeremiah’s story is remarkable — today, we talk about his struggle with drugs, addiction, going into rehab several times, and how he’s been able to dig himself out of that hole in life and have a complete turnaround to become a loving husband and father.
Here’s some wisdom from our conversation to give you a taste of what’s to come.
“The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Everybody thinks that if you give me a chance, [then] I’ll step up to the plate. I know you never fall up to the occasion — you fall back to your training. No matter what [painful things] happens in my life, [I know] I can get through it.” - Jeremiah Campbell
I genuinely appreciate Jeremiah’s vulnerability and honesty in our chat, so let’s get into it!
Who Is Jeremiah Campbell?
Jeremiah was born in Detroit, Michigan, and currently lives in Chesterfield, Michigan, with his wife Mallory and their children Ryder (7) and Ashton (3). They’ve been together for 15 years, and you’ll hear a bit later how instrumental Mallory has been in helping Jeremiah through his addiction.
Jeremiah’s parents both worked several jobs just to get by, and their family moved back to be near his mom’s family in Michigan. However, the move did more harm than good. His father was supposed to be embraced by her family, but instead, they rejected him. Jeremiah now recognizes that all these difficult family dynamics created early childhood trauma, leading to a very irrational way to cope with his emotions. Growing up, Jeremiah believed he wasn’t enough or that he always had to prove something, and this mindset progressed into his adulthood.
Jeremiah’s lack of self-worth resulted in multiple school suspensions and class failures, forcing him to attend night school all through high school. He also struggled with ADHD and was prescribed medication at a young age. Jeremiah didn’t like how it made him feel, and it subconsciously laid the foundation for drug use later on.
“I’ve learned that the drugs silenced my mind and allowed [it to] fit my soul to elevate to higher levels of frequency that my emotional state of being wasn’t able to transcend. Dr. Wayne Dyer talked about it all the time — the only reason human beings can’t transcend to the next evolution of who they should become is because we don’t have the emotional intelligence to do so. We take things personally.” - Jeremiah Campbell
After his parents’ horrendous divorce at age 16, Jeremiah disowned his mother. Shortly after his one brother passed away from a drug overdose at age 18, Jeremiah and his little brother lived full-time with their dad but had little-to-none supervision. They were living in a “party house,” and Jeremiah felt utterly broken. Confused and with no positive female forces in his life, he descended into a life of decisions that created shame. That’s when Jeremiah got addicted to Vicodin and Oxycontin — he was just 17 years old when he started using them daily.
It took five trips to rehab with multiple sponsors working with Jeremiah before he stopped using anything. He hasn’t touched anything since July 26th, 2007, and has been sober for 14 years.
Sometimes, having nothing more to lose is exactly what we need to make a transformative change.
The Gift of Desperation
14 years sober is wonderful to hear — I asked Jeremiah what fueled his decision to say, “I’m done, I’m no longer having any more drugs or alcohol,” especially considering such a long and arduous walk with addiction.
“I call it the gift of desperation. A good rehab center is going to do one thing: It’s going to plant the seed ‘you can’t do this alone, you need help.’ And the seed’s going to be, ‘it’s not your fault what you did before, but now that you’re aware of what’s going on, you have to do something about it.’ It’s extreme accountability, and [a realization that] if I could just be the person I was before I started to use, I would be just fine.” - Jeremiah Campbell
Jeremiah believes it took five rehab centers to become clean because he didn’t know the depth of the addiction disease. It took those five visits to realize that fundamental transformation is like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly — it will never be a caterpillar again, but it takes a long, painful transformation to become a butterfly.
Jeremiah wrestled with never enjoying a beer to mellow out after work or not having a glass of wine at his wedding! These thoughts felt insurmountable, but thanks to his best friend and sponsor of 15 years, they simply kept him on the simple path of “keep coming back.”
Instead of trying to rationalize how he could keep using more responsibly, Jeremiah’s constant meetings with his sponsor helped him realize there was no drug or drink that he could use responsibly. Jeremiah came to terms with being an addict.
“Maybe I am addicted, and then all of a sudden it goes off in my head: ‘I’m weak. I’m never going to be okay.’ [Imagine] a child from five years old making the identity he was never enough to [finding a vice] that made me feel different and okay with myself — now you’re telling me I can’t use that? That [started] the epiphany [of] the awareness and the mindset that goes with, ‘Okay, what’s next?’ I couldn’t bear the fact of living how I was continuing to live — I couldn’t continue to lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, and do what I was doing.” - Jeremiah Campbell
Jeremiah’s sponsor and support structures helped him find great power to surrender to his addiction instead of giving into desperation. Jeremiah credits much of his success from having such a massive support structure with his wife Mallory — she’s definitely lived up to the “for better or worse” clause in their wedding vows.
Mallory Campbell’s Life-Changing Impact
Mallory was Howie’s neighbor, one of Jeremiah’s best friends in childhood. When Jeremiah was 16 years old, he met her parents, and they knew that even though he was incredibly charming, he had a mischievous side to him. Still, they could see a heart of gold in him, and they took him in as one of their own.
“When I turned 16, I used to tease Mallory’s dad that I was going to marry her. I never said that to anybody else. It was about three to four years before we started dating, [which was] after rehab number three. I had a day shy of eight months of sobriety, so she got to experience that. I filled [the void] with work, and then a day shy of eight months, the guy I started a business with [asked me], ‘Do you want to get high?’ And I said, ‘Yup. I sure do!’” - Jeremiah Campbell
Jeremiah failed to take ownership of the first step, which is that you still can’t handle drugs and alcohol once your life gets back together. Mallory was with him through rehab three, four, and five.
They laugh about it now, but her high standards kept sending him back to rehab. Jeremiah’s early business success led people to question her reasons for being with him — they had no idea she was with him when he had no money — not even for cigarettes.
What a beautiful story to demonstrate the depth of Mallory’s commitment to Jeremiah for all of these years. Before any success, she saw something in Jeremiah that he couldn’t see in himself and has been a constant rock of support as Jeremiah did that tough inner work to reveal his hidden trauma fueling his addictions.
Unpacking Layers of Trauma
Often people associate trauma with really violent or world-changing things, like being beaten as a child or experiencing other severe physical and mental abuse. Jeremiah has been deeply involved in overcoming his own trauma and has come to realize that trauma encompasses many more layers in life than we think. One day, Jeremiah found himself surrounded by co-workers on the beach, and he burst out in a nervous breakdown and tears.
It’s common for several men to believe the best way to deal with trauma is to think their way into whatever they need — that discipline, showing up, and mental toughness are most important. But when facing trauma, “thinking through it” isn’t always the best plan of action.
“[Working successfully through trauma] is the complete opposite — it’s allowing yourself to feel those lower things. Why am I feeling this way? When I was crying on the beach, I had no idea what was going on. I reached out to everybody I knew, and this [voice popped in] my head [to call], and he said, ‘Brother, for the first time in your life, you realize that you’re not in control, and your body does not know how to handle it.’ [That started me on a journey ] to figure out where [my trauma] started.” - Jeremiah Campbell
To continue to work through trauma, Jeremiah uses three therapy methods, EMDR therapy (Eye MovementDesensitization and Reprocessing), hypnotherapy, and life coaching. This therapy has been instrumental in his healing process. While in deep conversation with Mallory, she pointed out how Jeremiah had always had this narrative in his head while young that the kid down the street had it better than him. EMDR therapy helped pinpoint a moment that began that mindset for Jeremiah.
“I was riding my bike down the street, and I saw a kid smiling with his mom. I said, ‘That kid’s got it better than me.’ I’m sitting here in front of you at 35 years old, living a life based upon somebody else having it better — based upon something I made up. That’s the trauma that we’re talking about.” - Jeremiah Campbell
Knowing what he knows now, Jeremiah is grateful he started personal development work before he dug into the cause of his trauma. He has some valuable advice to share on this.
“I wouldn’t recommend digging for traumas. I’ve been in self-development for 15 years, and it took 14 of those years to get to that point and have that breakdown. It’s the hardest, most painful thing that I’ve ever done in my entire life.” - Jeremiah Campbell
Jeremiah recognizes two important factors here, firstly the value in working through trauma. Secondly, in being ready to do the work to heal the trauma. If we just dig for them without any understanding of why or with the correct support structure it might end up doing more damage than good.
Building a deeper understanding of who we are, how our experiences have shaped us, and ultimately how we’re in control of our actions builds a powerful foundation for breakthroughs like Jeremiah’s.
Why You Should Listen to This Jeremiah Campbell Podcast Episode Right Now...
Guys, this was such a great conversation with Jeremiah Campbell. It was an honor to talk to him, and I sincerely appreciate his vulnerability and openness.
To conclude this episode, I asked Jeremiah one last question: If he had to give a TED talk on something he wasn’t known for, what topic would it be? Here was his answer:
“[It would be about] pain and how I’ve used hope, achievements, and significance in my life to hide from it.” - Jeremiah Campbell
With all the pain people have worldwide, I think a TED talk about what Jeremiah outlined is warranted. I know I’ve received tremendous value from hearing Jeremiah speak so openly about his journey with pain and his subsequent breakthroughs. Hiding from pain only creates more pain — it’s always better to bring it out into the light where you can find support, healing, and hope.
Thank you so much for reading this post. If you found value from this episode, it would mean a lot to me if you would take a few seconds and write a five-star review and maybe share it with some of your friends on Apple Podcasts. I’d be so grateful! I’d also love it if you would tag Jeremiah, @jeremiah_campbell, and me, @kyle_depiesse, on Instagram with your greatest takeaways from the episode!
Cheers to your success! I’m rooting for you.
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