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“So I’m the nightclub owner and she’s the police officer. It made for the perfect recipe of craziness of lifestyle of Las Vegas.”

This interview was made possible by our friends at MyCorporation. Visit MyCorporation.com, Online Incorporation, LLC and Trademark Services.

Hey everyone, it’s Mike Sullivan. Thanks for joining me today on MO.com. With me today is Josh Lannon of Journey Healing Centers. Josh is a social entrepreneur, and he has a really great story. Josh, can you tell us how you got your start?

Josh: Born in Long Beach, California. Raised in Hawaii, the beautiful islands of Hawaii, on the Big Island. Absolutely loved it there. I moved to Las Vegas when I was 19 to work for my father in the nightclub industry. I started working there at 19. I wasn’t supposed to be there, but I did. I grew up fast in Las Vegas and learned a lot about nightclubs, casinos and how the whole nightlife in Las Vegas works.

From there . . . I’ll back up a little bit. I was married, still am married to Lisa. She was a police officer in Las Vegas. So I’m the nightclub owner and she’s the police officer. It made for the perfect recipe of craziness of lifestyle of Las Vegas. There was many times I probably should have gone to jail, drinking and doing silly stuff. Thank goodness she got me out of a lot of trouble.

Working in the nightclubs, yes, I was pretty wild. I got caught up in the lifestyle myself and was faced with an ultimatum from my wife. She came home one day and said, “I love you, but I just can’t sit around and watch you do this to yourself. Our marriage isn’t working anymore. I’m unhappy. I’m afraid that one of these days you’re going to end up in jail, and I really don’t want to see you go through this.”

What she did is gave an ultimatum of either go to rehab, drug and alcohol rehab, or I’m getting a divorce. For me, that was the lifeline I was looking for because I wanted it to stop. I wanted the lifestyle to end. I just didn’t know how to end it. It was the fork in the road, and I chose into it. I said, “Okay, let’s do this.”

So I checked into rehab that night. We drove from Las Vegas to California. I went to a facility there. That’s when I really began to process and clear my past of not only drinking and partying, but why was I doing the crazy stuff that I was doing? What was happening to me internally?

I completed the program, cleaned up, went back to Las Vegas to work for my father, and I just knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I could no longer be a part of the problem. I really wanted to be on the other side, to give back, and to be a part of the solution. So that’s when I made a decision to become a social entrepreneur and solve problems like drug and alcohol addiction and build treatment centers. That’s what I’ve dedicated my life to these last almost ten years now.

Mike: There are a lot of drug and rehab centers out there. What distinguishes Journey from all those others?

Josh: That’s a good question. What distinguishes Journey from other drug and alcohol rehabs is when I talk to people about what I do for a living, I think an instant stereotype of what a drug addict or alcoholic is comes to mind, and it’s not true. It’s not street vagrants. It’s not homeless people.

Our number one abuse that we see right now is prescription drug abuse. We have the highest admissions for prescription drugs. These are good people. They have jobs. They have families. They are what society would consider a functioning alcoholic or addict, but they can’t stop.

What distinguishes us from other treatment centers is we really honor people for who they are and treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Our facilities are in beautiful, luxurious homes. We have the top amenities, top licensed staff. We’re an accredited program. We really come to them with a service-orientated mind.

They made some poor choices, but it doesn’t mean that they’re a bad person. I think a lot of programs out there, unfortunately, have that mindset of a drug addict is a bad, sick, and wrong person when it’s not true.

Mike: I realize you’re expanding into some different cultures. Tell me how you feel that Journey Healing Centers will assimilate into those cultures.

Josh: That’s a good question, because we’ve looked at international expansion and being very respectful of other cultures. The more I travel outside the United States, the more I see the Yankee Doodle Dandy flag that we’ve been branded with, that the Americans feel we know what’s best for the world. It’s not true.

Our approach is to go into another country, be very humble, be very respectful. Partner with local people, hire local counselors, hire local therapists, local healers that really know their people, their culture, their ways.

What we do, our modality is we draw out the answers from within. We ask a lot of questions. Our programs were designed about self-inquiry. They’re designed to create a positive experience. That way we’re not telling someone, “You should do this. You should do that.”

Me, when I went to school, I had teachers that kept shoulding all over me, and I wasn’t a big fan of that. Our business model is not to should on people, it’s to really to draw out the answers from within.

Mike: What’s the most important thing for a family member or loved one to know about someone with an addiction?

Josh: The most important thing to know, dealing with someone with addiction, is that person that you love, that person that you’ve developed a relationship with or you’re a family member of, is that person, that true person is still inside of there. They’re just trapped behind that web of addiction and are making choices that they probably don’t like themselves, but they just don’t know how to get out. They don’t know how to get out of that cycle.

So just to really trust people that have been there and done that, have overcome addiction. Interventionists are fantastic. Counselors that have first-hand knowledge, not book smart counselors, but street smart counselors that have been there, done that, that have the first-hand experience, trust their recommendations and the boundaries that are set.

Really, just go through the process where you can get your loved one back.

Mike: Tell me about the types of treatment you provide at Journey.

Josh: Journey Healing Centers, what we do is our primary focus is on residential treatment. A client would come into our program and stay with us for a minimum of 28 days. At that time, they get indoctrinated into the program where we have a holistic model. We treat the body, mind, and spirit together as a whole person.

We do things like we have naturopathic medicine. We do supplement programs. We have IV therapy. We do blood work. That way we can match what a person’s deficient in and rebuild it on a holistic model. We do yoga. We do equine therapy. We do art therapy.

A real main component of our drug and alcohol programs are the family counseling. We get the families together and have the dynamics of the family relationship. It’s very intense, proven models that work. Like I said, we’re accredited programs. All of our models, all of our techniques have been proven and we’ve received the highest level of accreditation for the work that we do.

Mike: You have a lot of testimonials on the site. Can you give me an example of a success story from your treatment center?

Josh: We do have a lot of testimonials on our website. I thought about that question. What comes to mind is there’s a young girl named Megan that MTV called us and said they were doing a documentary called “Gone Too Far.” The gentleman that was the host of the show was DJ AM. He was a recovering alcoholic, drug addict himself, and he wanted to give back and show the process.

Megan came to us. She was eight months pregnant, addicted to methamphetamine. Serious case, not only for herself but her child. She went in for our program. She had her child while she was in treatment. MTV recorded all this through the whole process.

Megan completed the program, and now she’s I believe a year and a half sober, and she’s now come back to the facility, where she’s working for us now. It’s a way that she took her destructive lifestyle, where she was so trapped in her addiction, not only was she putting herself at risk but she was putting her child at risk, where she was able to overcome that, rebuild her life, and now she wants to give back and say, “Look what I’ve been through. If I can overcome it, so can you.”

What’s wild about this story is during that time, our episode that was being filmed, DJ AM passed away from a drug overdose. The host of the show actually died during the filming. It really showed me how powerful addiction really is and how it can affect people.

Mike: That’s a powerful story. What insight do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Josh: I think I’m the typical entrepreneur. I didn’t do well in school. My teachers would tell me, “If you don’t get good grades, you won’t get a good job.” I thought to myself, well really, I don’t want a job.

I didn’t have any other choice. What I did is I built a business on something that I was passionate about, something that I was interested in, a topic that really resonated with my values, and because of that, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been the driver that has kept me going through the highs and lows of entrepreneurism.

My message is, for someone looking to be an entrepreneur, really tap into your passion, your why, your purpose. That will be the driver that will keep you going, get you up early in the morning, keep you up late at night working and building your dream.

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