Dr. Harold Jonas joins us today on The SHAIR Podcast. Dr. Jonas, PhD, LMHC, CAP is the founder of Sober.com and has extensive experience with web development and award-winning app development since 1999. He’s responsible for the concept, design and launch of multiple directories serving the Addiction & Recovery industry, including Soberhouses.com, Detox.com, Halfwayhouses.com, Rehabs.com, Sobernetwork.com, Recoveryroommates.com, and Interventionstrategies.com. Two of his most recent apps for the Addiction & Recovery space received national recognition and prestigious awards.
Dr. Jonas holds a PhD from International University with a focus on Addictive Disorders and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University. He is a practicing Psychotherapist and Licensed Therapist in the state of Florida. He is also a well-known Palm Beach County entrepreneur in the real estate and hospitality industry sectors. In addition, he has developed and maintained Transitional Residences for people in recovery.
Dr. Jonas is available for consultation and custom development through his firm – Client Care Solutions. He is seeking first round funding for sales, marketing and future development of Sobersystems and other apps targeting Remote Patient Monitoring.
Since 1994 Dr. Jonas has owned and operated multiple corporate entities including:
- Intervention Strategies, Inc
- Recovery Zone, Inc
- Delray Inn, Inc
- Delray Design, Inc
- Client Care Solutions, Inc
Clean Date: November 1, 1987
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Omar: Today we have Dr. Harold Jonas joining us on the SHAIR Podcast. His is a powerful story of transformation from this former heroin addict who turned his life around, got his PhD, and is now a top tech entrepreneur using mobile technology to battle the growing opioid addiction epidemic. First of all, Jonas, take us into your normal daily routine, including recovery.
Dr. Jonas: Well, again, when you’re in recovery and what I learned is that you have to make the same decision every morning. That no matter what happens during the course of a day I’m not going to use no matter what. I still have that conscious contact with a power greater than myself that I choose to call God and make that same decision. The third step, it’s like, “No, I made a decision, I’m going to turn my life over,” and that’s how it rolls. That’s basic stuff. What I’ve learned in recovery is that if we don’t move away from the basics we never have to ever struggle to go back to them.
Omar: Right, absolutely. Tell us a little bit about how you maintain your spiritual condition on a daily basis.
Dr. Jonas: Well again, it starts in that morning prayer, and then when I’m doing my workout and exercising. As we age we have to work a little harder to get moving in the morning. I’m doing yoga, I’m doing stretches, and I’m getting a conscious contact through meditation to get that spiritual kind of fitness in place to meet the challenges of the day. There are many throughout the day since the days are a lot longer. Again, the older we get the less we seem to sleep or need sleep. When you’re working on five hours there’s a lot of conscious contact going on.
Omar: Oh yeah, I know. For sure, for sure. How much clean time do you have and when is your anniversary date?
Dr. Jonas: Well, it’s interesting that you asked. I’m coming up on an anniversary here November 1st. Many years ago in a land far, far, away called Camden, New Jersey I had a stranger approach me. I say that loosely because I hadn’t seen this person who happened to be my father track me down and find me. This was in October, 1987. He found me where I was, my last place of employment there in that area of the country. Ironically, he had been hanging out in Costa Rica for many, many years prior to his arrival finding me in Camden and offered me an opportunity to come to Florida where he had relocated. That was then.
I finally got off the plane in mid-October, say, October 12, 15, 1987. Went into a treatment center. I don’t know what day it was so I just count November 1, 1987 as my date of recovery.
Omar: Wow, so we’re talking how many years now?
Dr. Jonas: I think that makes 29 coming up.
Omar: Wow, unbelievable man. With 29 years coming up, do you still go to regular meetings? Do you have a regular meeting you go to?
Dr. Jonas: Oh yeah. Like I said, the basics are the basics. I’ve been going to the same home group since 1987, well, early ’88. I go to one meeting a week and that is my home group since, gosh, since I had 27 years clean because I switched my … We switched my work schedule to be evenings so there wasn’t any day meetings in my area. We started one and I was a participant in starting a day meeting. Then, this Saturday night evening, basically, tech’s group is the one I go to and have been for many, many years.
It’s real simple, we read out of the book. Everything else is just opinions because the answers can’t be found in the text and literature as we all know.
Omar: Jonathan, it’s time to start closing up, buddy. I’m going to ask you some questions about your early recovery and I want you to respond with inspiring and inciteful answers you can share for our newcomers. Are you ready? All right, well we’ve already covered already three of the questions. One of them was, what was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery. It was that moment where that guy asked you, “Come back when you’re clean,” or told you, “Come back when you’re clean.” I’m assuming, right?
Dr. Jonas: Yes, that was a block but I don’t remember … What was keeping me out there was a desire to be numb. My shame … A piece of what I didn’t share was my ex-wife’s, she has a mental illness. She has a diagnosis and it was horrific for me to negotiate without drugs having my children in her custody. I couldn’t, I had no skill set so it kept me using over and over and over, day after day after day because I was horrified about what could possibly happen to my children’s safety. Wait, to top it off my mother bought her the lawyer to make that happen so talk about anger and resentment.
I was like, “You gotta be kidding me. You’re going to give my children, our children to an active mentally ill individual who’s not stable and hurt themselves instead of me who cares and takes them while she’s in the hospital because I used freakin’ drugs? Are you all crazy?” Then all said, “Yes, that’s what we’re doing. You better deal with it,” and I didn’t, I didn’t deal with it.
Omar: Okay, so then number two, there was another one you covered. The question is, at what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ah-ha moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol but for the first time had developed a hope that you could recover? You also went through that as well, right? Is there anything else you wanted to add to that?
Dr. Jonas: I was standing at the gate but I didn’t really connect it. I was powerless over drugs and alcohol. Everybody knows you’re powerless over drugs and alcohol, you just stick them in your body and they change the way you think and you feel, that’s why you use them. The powerlessness wasn’t the issue, I had to learn about unmanageability and what happens with or without drugs and the unmanageability of my life. I called that episode, that ah-ha moment if there’s such an epiphany of I was done. The obsession to use was gone, it was lifted. Now it’s just a matter of doing the footwork. That’s where it was. I had a series of those going forward because it seemed to be everywhere after that.
Omar: Absolutely. Then you also mentioned, I also ask, what is the … Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to our newcomers?
Dr. Jonas: Well, I mentioned that “Slaying the Dragon, the Compendium”. That’s a history book of America’s response. Then of course there was … I mean, all I did was, I got kicked out of the treatment centers because I only wanted to borrow the counselor’s books. “Can I borrow that book? Can I borrow that book?” They said, “No, you can’t have that book yet, you go to this.” I’m like, “why can’t I read the book? Is it in English? Is it in another language? Why can’t I have the book?” I would fight with them and they would say, “You need to move on.” I said, “Well, what is that book?” I wanted to learn, I was thirsty. Anyway, I’d look over their shoulder while they’re talking to me and looking at their book rack.
Omar: You had the oddest experiences getting sober, didn’t you?
Dr. Jonas: Yeah. Well, I listened to all this bullshit in the meetings. This guy would show up and he’s like, “My name is so and so and I didn’t hit anybody today.” I’m like, “What are you talking about? What kind of program is this?” I didn’t hit anybody today. I think he still carried his gun with him though. You know, one of those motorcycle guys?
Omar: Oh yeah.
Dr. Jonas: What the fuck, what? Yet I went to one of these other meetings and they said, “You can’t share that here, you got to go to another fellowship.” I looked in I said, “What do you mean? This is, everybody … What are you talking about I can’t … I left the meeting I never went back there. Some old dick said that out loud. I sat in the van. They would take me to the same meeting and I would sit in the van the whole time. I was like, “I’m not going in there. I don’t even want to … I’m angry at you. You’re taking my money to give me something that I can get free in the community. Where’s the freakin’ door, get me outta here.”
Omar: Number four, what is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Dr. Jonas: Stay teachable.
Omar: If you could give our newcomers only one suggestion what would it be?
Dr. Jonas: The decision you made to get clean, make that same one every morning when you wake up.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEWCOMER
“The decision you made to get clean, make that same one every morning when you wake up.”
Omar: Well, tell our listeners what’s the best way for them to reach you, to find the Flex Deck, your website, every way that they can get in touch with you.
Dr. Jonas: Okay great, I appreciate that. Again, my name’s Jonas. My professional pseudonym is Dr. Harold Jonas. I have a number of different websites. There’s sober.com which is of course the easiest one and the best brand on the internet to find your best clinical and financial fit. There’s firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s an email that is very received and I’m very responsive. We got Facebook pages and Twitter at Rec Zone, for instance. I got a direct cell phone number which I’ll give to everybody. Anybody’s welcome to call at 561-441-5004. Of course, it you want to look at the app which please do, Flexdek.net. From there you can look at the app, download it at the app store or the play store Flexdek, Wellness Edition is currently in the market and available. Then that edition will be rolling out November 1st so you’ll have those two to choose from. Those two apps are going to be there. Again, the wellness management model is in there now.
See you then!
Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.