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Today’s guest is John West, co-founder of The Guest House Ocala and president of Sober Companions, who joined us for this conversation at the Recovery Results conference in Dallas. John shares how he combined his own experience of recovery and his career in Hollywood to establish two businesses that help people with unique lifestyle demands find true connection and heal from their emotional wounds.

In both his own life and the lives of those he’s helped, John has seen the damage that trauma can cause and how the lingering effects of that trauma can lead to a cycle of relapse. That’s why trauma healing is the central focus of The Guest House Ocala treatment program, which he co-founded with trauma expert Judy Crane. “Most chronic relapsers are struggling with issues that are surrounding emotional traumas and PTSD,” John says. “So, at the heart of everything we do…we’re healing the wounds and emotional traumas that have most people stuck.”

But healing from trauma can take time and also requires the building of new, healthy connections that can take the place of coping mechanisms that have been used to cover up the pain. “That’s the art in what Judy does: finding the right thing to connect somebody who hasn’t been able to find [that connection] somewhere else,” John explains. “Once we’re able to connect to something, that to me is what makes all the difference. That changes our lives for the better.”

Finding that true connection is what John believes leads to lasting recovery, and he can say that from his own experience. “I went from doing things in film and theatre, but I wasn’t connected to any of it. And through this work, I found a passion and a connection to working with other people that is beyond anything I could imagine in my past life,” John recalls. “On the outside, it looked like I had a pretty good life, but I wasn’t connected.”