Member of the Hip Hop group Hyper Crush, Owner of Graceland Ranch Sober Living, Co-Founder Of Ridge Production and the Brand Learning To Lose
Many people follow very traditional routes towards recovery of substance use disorders; others, not so much. Patrick Ridge talks about his unique road to recovery and the way he uses his social media visibility to help others. Pat is a member of the Hip Hop group Hyper Crush, Owner of Graceland Ranch Sober Living, Co-Founder Of Ridge Production and the Brand Learning To Lose. Recovery is possible, whatever road you choose. Patrick can be reached at www.learningtolose.com, and links to his various platforms can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/@PATRICKRIDGETV
[Jaunty Guitar Music]
Mike: Welcome everyone. This is Avoiding The Addiction Affliction, a series brought to you by Westwords Consulting. I'm your host, Mike McGowen.
Mike: You know, we've had a lot of people on here who've been willing to share their recovery journey, and no two roads are ever exactly alike. The journeys are always to me inspiring and that is absolutely the case today. My guest is Patrick Ridge. Now honestly, this introduction itself could take most of our time, but I'll shorten it up, hit a few highlights and we'll fill in the gaps as we go.
Mike: Patrick was a self-described, and I love this, "hope to die alcoholic". When he got sober at age 21, that was 17 years ago. He's a member of the hip hop group, Hyper Crush, owner of Graceland Ranch Sober Living, co-founder of Ridge Productions and the brand Learning to Lose. He also has a number of social media platforms, including a great YouTube channel, which I'll cite at the end of this podcast for those of you who wanna join.
Mike: Welcome Pat.
Patrick: Hey, well thank you.
Mike: Well, thanks for joining us. You know 17 years is a long time. Congratulations.
Mike: But 21 is pretty young, especially with alcohol. How did you get to the point of 21 where you said no more?
Patrick: Well, 21, like honestly nowadays isn't even really that crazy.
Patrick: But back then, 20, the, the longer like AA is around and the longer the further into like we are as a culture, as, as, as a human race. The further we get into like accepting alcoholism as a disease and like recognizing that you can get sober, like the younger people are getting sober. But back then, I think, yeah, 21 was pretty young and I just, I couldn't afford to.
Patrick: I couldn't, continue the way I was going, I was spending too much money. It wasn't really working. Bridges were burning. So I sort of was pushed into, I was living at, in, actually, I was living at my current wife's. I was like staying in her apartment and she would go to work and I would just be there all day, like watching like Blockbuster DVDs of like 24 and taking like Norcos and like smoking her weed and like just seeing if there was anything I could like take it was just like, you know, like it was just a really it just wasn't working anymore.
Mike: Well, how did you quit?
Patrick: Well, I tried like going to Los San Anitas, I went to a place and I left because someone had like meth and I did meth with them, so I blamed the place when it was just really me. I wasn't like, that didn't work.
Patrick: There wasn't enough like community and accountability. It was a really big place, you know? So I just ended up leaving. I felt sort of alone, and I don't even know why people go to those places. It's like very different from what we do at Graceland. But then I tried on my grandma's couch and I just like couldn't do it.
Patrick: And then I went to a place called Liberty House. Well, I went to a place called Discovery, which was next to Liberty House. It was like their detox, and when you finish the detox, you go to Liberty House. And they were doing everything the way I do it, which is like, you know, it's 24 hours.
Patrick: Everyone knows everyone else, everyone is accountable and everyone's communicating with each other. There's rules, there's it, it's just a lot more. I was introduced to that and, and, and I loved it and I understood that that was like the truth and the way like communicating openly and honestly and like, you know, calling people out on their bullshit and just like it was the real deal and I was drawn to it. And after having tried to leave five days into it my mom didn't let me leave. It was this whole event out in front of the house with my bags and you know, running across Santa Monica Boulevard and my mom, me, and crying and just like, she never really put her foot down before, ever.
Patrick: I always got what I wanted. I was always able to manipulate her into giving me what I wanted. And this time she just, with a little bit of push from the house, she didn't let me come home. And that saved my life. So I stayed there that night and the next day, I, I actually heard what was being said at the meeting because I was sort of broken a little bit.
Patrick: Like I had, I had been forced into, A surrendered state where I could actually hear what was being said and I was paying attention cuz I had no other option. I don't know, there's something weird about, there's something really interesting about like hitting a bottom and like fully surrendering. It's the first step in the therapeutic process. Where now we're able to like, hear stuff cuz we've sort of abandoned our ego for the most part.
Patrick: So then I, I stayed, I dove all the way in and. It's a very, very, very high structured environment and they take it like very seriously. Like, like for example, if you drink, like for, this is an example of how serious this, this program is. We have, there was someone who graduated, who drank Kambucha tea, who was put on non-com with the house because of Kambucha tea.
Patrick: I mean this guy had over 10 years sober and if he, if he was sponsoring you, you were put on non-com. If you didn't let him go as a sponsor, I mean that's like what we're dealing with, right? That's where I come from. Okay. So Graceland, we don't rock like that. We're not anywhere. I mean, they would like do interventions on graduates and they would have like 10 people show up to this guy's house and like do this whole thing.
Patrick: They like are really, really gnarly. Which is for me, like I think that's dope. That. That, that they do that, you know, but it's, it's, it kind of is a cult. It's kind of gnarly, you know? But like, so we've adopted a lot of that at our house, but not, it's a more loving, inspired it, it's like sort of inspiration based rather than shame based you know?
Patrick: That's why people call, people call us like a cult.
Mike: Yeah, we'll get to that.
Patrick: Yeah. Okay. So that's kinda like, why? Cause there are certain cultish aspects to what we do. You know, it's a very, it's a community. It's very, look, we're a lot.
Patrick: So I have to, so I think that to, to fix us, we have to meet them. We have to meet the drug addicts and alcoholics where they're at.
Patrick: Desperate times. Call for desperate measures. So what we do is a lot, you know what I mean? Because our disease is a lot, you know.
Mike: Well, early in your recovery, there's a, there's a thing that you did on one of your social media platforms.
Mike: I don't remember where I saw it, where you talked about the two sides of the coin to. To support groups in AA where you love it one day, one minute, and then you can't stand at the next and it's just so good. Cause it's real.
Mike: Like you're loving the structure one minute and you're ready to throw it in the river the next.
Patrick: I don't quite remember that. I feel like I've always loved AA. But as far as our structure goes, like, you're gonna wanna leave. You, you, you're gonna wanna give up on yourself, it's gonna be hard. And, and out of, and we've been open for three, two and a half years. We're on our third year, and I mean, there's been over a hundred.
Patrick: I feel like it's been more than that. Okay. Let's say 115 people, right? So, we've had 115 people enter our home, right? And there's like 15 graduates and there's 22 people in the house. So that's, so we've had to like sift through all the bullshit to get these people. This is the per and, and it, it makes sense considering the percentages.
Patrick: If you look at the percentages of who's getting sober and how many people are staying sober, it's kind of like somewhere around 10%. So I'd say we're doing pretty good.
Mike: Do you have a waiting list?
Patrick: No, we just have a lot of people that hit us up every day who like, aren't serious, but, but like, just to sort of piggyback on what you were saying, like they're excited and then like, they're like out the door and, and, and our job is to try to help them remember that the part of that, that, that one, that side to the coin as you put it.
Patrick: That's the bad side. That's the alcoholic side. Don't listen to that. Like you, you are wanting to do that right now, but we are all here trying to help you not do that cuz you know it's not the right thing to do and we're here to support you. So we do that in a house. We have like fucking, if someone's trying to leave, like the whole house sits down in the living room and, and that person sits down and, and we, we, we sort of.
Patrick: I mean, we can't force them to do anything, but we ask them, would you be willing to just hear your housemates out before you leave? And I would say we have like a 60% success rate of getting them to stay.
Mike: Well, cuz people wanna leave when it gets tough.
Patrick: Of course. That's what we've always done. That's what they've always done, is run away from their problems.
Patrick: And these are just, we, we are a broken record in the house, what we say to people. Is a broken record, but people, when, when, when, when somebody experiences that and they're sitting in the middle of a room and there's 20 people all sort of telling them this, they don't, it's not normal. They're not used to that.
Patrick: They've never seen anything like that before. So I think a lot of people, it kind of scares a lot of people off. Or, I don't know. I, I just think people don't understand it at first. You know, some people,
Mike: Well, you know, you have a couple hundred thousand followers on your platforms and most of them cheer you on, but you do.
Patrick: Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: The cult thing you talked about, you do have some haters out there.
Patrick: Well, I mean, if you think about the audience I'm speaking to, I'm speaking to a sick audience. So naturally there's gonna be people who are sick and, and that's just been, that's been, that's been hard for me. And, and, and, and, and we're not just doing, it's just kind of funny cuz if I saw what I was doing from the outside, if I, if I was you and I saw what I was doing, I would, I would go, "Oh, that's cool. His message is one of positivity, hope and strength, and I think it's good for the world, you know, but I doubt whether they're really running like a strict program". That's the craziest part about what we do, is that like, it's the most structured house. It's top five in California.
Patrick: You're not going to because, because cuz how are you gonna have a structured house? You're basically, you're basically like killing your chances of ever making any money because you're basically, you're, you're telling people to do chores, you know what I mean? So if we wanted to really make money, it would be like, Hey, what can we do for you?
Patrick: The problem is they don't know what's best for them. So, but I also feel like in the long run, once I, I'm trying to like educate the world or whoever follows me. I'm trying to bring some light and education to this industry and what it requires to get sober. And I think that in the long run, We will have a stronger, more lucrative business because we're doing it this way.
Patrick: But right now it's just, it's hard.
Mike: Well, that leads me to asking you about the social network talk about Sermon on the Mount.
Patrick: Well, that was a meeting that I did for everyone. Because I do believe that this message is good for. You know, when you get sober, you're introduced to the 12 steps and it's like, you know, it could help every human being on the planet.
Patrick: And it's based on the Sermon on the Mount, the 12 steps come from, you know the Oxford Group and it, it, it's, it's basically like Christian principles, you know? So the Sermon on the Mount was a, a meeting we did where we read the Sermon on the Mount by Emmett Fox, which is a sort of a translation of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
Patrick: And we would read it and talk about it. It was a meeting that we did. I started doing it at Graceland and some people were, they were calling the health department on me because we weren't wearing masks in the meeting, and we, we just sort of stopped doing the meeting and, and then we just, we haven't really been doing that meeting.
Patrick: But it was kind of like a, like an AA meeting for like normal people, for everyone, for alcoholics and, and normal people who just struggle with normal relationship or financial issues, you know?
Mike: Well, that's why I liked it. And then when you read the chat bar on the side, there were people joining you live from all over the place.
Patrick: I know, it was so cool.
Mike: It was cool. But, the traditionalists are gonna have a hard time with the anonymity thing, right?
Patrick: I know. Yeah, they do. And, and I would always say this isn't an AA meeting, but to be honest with you, I don't really, I don't fully understand that anymore. I, I mean, AA is so world renowned.
Patrick: And if you read the book and if you understand the book, the reason for the anonymity, there was three reasons why AA was anonymous in the beginning. The biggest reason was that there wasn't enough sober people to help all the sick people and they didn't want to get overrun. And I've actually. I've tasted a little bit of what that's like.
Patrick: There's so many people, it's overwhelming, like, reaching out to me and it's just, it's sifting through all of it is, it's like it's, it's, and I can't even imagine what it would be like back then if there was like a solution for, you know, a cure for, for, for alcoholism. They would be, there would just be too much.
Patrick: There would be too many inquiries. They wouldn't be able to handle it all. So they were starting off slow and anonymous and, and, and, and sort of picking and choosing who they were gonna help. And then also they wanted a level playing field cuz the Rockefellers were like a part of AA and they were big names in AA and they didn't want you, they didn't want normal people to feel less than. So it was all anonymous and everyone was just an alcoholic so that the level, the playing field was, would be leveled and everyone would feel comfortable helping each other. And the other reason was this press radio thing, which was like, they didn't want, you know, someone who's a piece of shit.
Patrick: You know, being the spokesperson for AA. Okay. But now we have everyone. There's enough sober people, right? And there's enough successful people who ha we've seen, you know, this work for, you know, Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Kiedis, and we've seen Anthony Hopkins. They don't have any problem breaking their anonymity.
Patrick: I just think that the, the, the clear distinction we need to make is that nobody's a spokesperson for AA. And, and the important thing is if you don't want your anonymity broken, that should be respected.
Mike: Mmm hmm.
Patrick: But if you're cool with it, don't fucking be mad at me because I'm trying to like talk about how I my life, how I saved my life.
Patrick: You know? Like when people ask me, how'd you do it? It's pretty simple, AA. I'm not gonna beat around the bush and say, oh, I went to a 12 step program, like I went to fucking AA and that's what saved my life. I mean, pretty much at the end of the day, that's just.
Mike: Well now 17 years in, you know, if you watch some of your stuff your own house and people just [laugh] drop, people drop in and, and whatever.
Mike: But you are also, you have many friends who still use.
Mike: And so you're around using, and if you're with the band, you must be around using.
Mike: So at what point does that become second nature, like, yeah, that's not me. I can cope. It's not a big deal?
Patrick: I think if you've really done step one like and you, and you really believe that you're powerless over drugs and alcohol, then you know that you can't.
Patrick: It's like if you're allergic to peanuts and you know you're gonna die when you eat 'em, it doesn't matter who's eating them around you, you're not going to eat em. So that's it. I mean, if I, I just know in my heart of hearts that I can't do that. And then, and then, and then there are times maybe where I'm, I, I'm trying to think of, I'm trying to imagine, like, I'm trying to think about why.
Patrick: I think the only reason that it would ever be hard for someone to be around that, is if they have some doubt as to whether they're a real alcoholic or not.
Mike: You know, you, you have so many cool moments that show up. You never know who's gonna show up. Right.
Patrick: I know [laugh]. It's really cool. Well, yeah, it used to be even crazier.
Patrick: You should have seen, like my house when I was getting loaded. It was like a party every day. I've always been like a community leader for lack of a better word, like I always had people around. I like having people around. I like socializing with other people and having a lot of friends and yeah, there, there could be, this weekend I don't know who's gonna end up at my house.
Mike: Well, it still seems like a party. Just everybody's making sense.
Patrick: Yeah, it's cool.
Mike: You know, you had, you had one, and I, I love this video where you had a cop show up at your door.
Mike: And they were doing a wellness check on somebody who...
Patrick: Yeah. That was at the sober living.
Patrick: So it's important for me to like differentiate and specify, cuz people are so stupid they think that the house is the sober living and the sober living is my house. So it's like that happened at my sober living.
Mike: And, and the cops are doing a wellness check on this guy.
Mike: And I, I gotta tell you, I, it was one of the more moving short things I heard. The cops were great. And by the way, you were great with the cops.
Mike: But the, the kid [laugh], just, the kid just looked at the cops and said, I'm just trying to stay alive.
Patrick: No. He said yeah, he said he, what he said was even better.
Patrick: He's like, I'm just here so I don't die.
Mike: Yeah, right. Yes, that's just such a great, I mean, how do you argue with that?
Patrick: I know it's great. That video got like 40 million views on YouTube, another 30 on TikTok, another three on Instagram. That video just. Like, I mean, we were already like, there's a lot of, you know, videos that did well and there's just so much content out there.
Patrick: I'm like a content, like I put out probably more content than anyone else, sometimes five, six videos a day. But that, like, something about that video is like magic because it was like all like years and years of, of my filming and directing and just capturing reality, it all came together in that moment where like, I didn't like answer the door and then have someone film it.
Patrick: I didn't, like I pulled my phone out as I was answering the door and I film at the back of my phone so that it's like a camera, you know, like...
Patrick: And I'm able to, do all this while also being in the moment, which is kind of a, it's a skill that I've learned over years and years because like, it's one thing to film something happening, but it's, it's it's a whole different thing to really be in that moment while you're filming it and recognize who needs to be filmed and what to say and all that stuff.
Patrick: So it was just like a really special, organic moment that just kind of exposed like what I'm dealing with on the internet. And also, I mean, the problem with that video is like, it's sort of, everyone thinks that we're a free house.
Patrick: So we have like hundreds and like just thousands of people hitting us up.
Patrick: Like, help me, help me, help me. And we're like, dude, this isn't like, that was a, a one time scholarship deal for this homeless guy. I wish we could like help more people for free.
Mike: Well, but you're also pretty giving a lot of your graduates work for you, or at least a number of them do.
Patrick: It's just funny how like everything gets spun, you know? Like, yeah, dude. Like we're basically like 90% of the people in the house are like a scholar, are on some sort of scholarship. This is a tricky thing to, for me to talk about. I can't really talk a whole lot about like the financial part because like if someone's paying...
Patrick: Full price and then I'm trying to help someone else then they're gonna be like, dude, I don't, you know, this was always something that was tricky. That the sober living I went to did a really good job of like, they're actually not even allowed to talk about finances in the house. We don't kick you out. We've never kicked anyone out because of financial shit. It's always them not being willing to, to, to do what we're asking them to do or follow the rules. Once you end up at Graceland, like, we're not gonna give up on you no matter what.
Patrick: You know.
Mike: You know, you've been so generous with your time. I'll, I'll give you a, a polite out here. Your, your channels are more than just recovery based. They're full of life. And a bunch of other stuff. So, you know, you celebrate life. They, your videos celebrate life. What gives you the greatest joy?
Patrick: That's really cool like that you recognize that and it, it means a lot to me because sometimes I don't know, I don't know how many people get it or, or, or, or like it, or understand what I'm trying to do. So it's really cool to hear you say that. Thank you.
Patrick: One thing that I love is like just yesterday we were doing dinner and this guy in our house, Carlos, he raised his hand and he gave feedback about, so we have this guy Hector, in the house.
Patrick: Just, just to answer your question first, watching people change, in my house. Watching people go from not being able to talk at all in front of a, a group or not being able to advocate for themselves, and then all of a sudden they're starting to, we're starting to see who they are and they're starting to get more confidence and they're just like, literally like changing before our eyes, you know?
Patrick: That's like, it's incredible and, and. It doesn't happen unless they're forced to do things that are uncomfortable. So we have a guy that's like selling guns online on Instagram and just trying to be gangster. And a few different things have come up on him and this is the fork in the road for him where he's either gonna go all the way in or he's gonna just kind of be fucked off.
Patrick: And this guy, Carlos raised his hand. This guy's like barely ever talks, and he went through something similar six months ago. And he's changed and he's telling Hector, this is your time, bro. Either you jump all the way in, he's telling. So it's like when I get to see changed residents helping other residents like change in the same way that they, like, it's just so special you know.
Mike: That is just so awesome.
Patrick: Yeah, it's fucking radical. So that makes me happy. And then another thing that really makes me happy is doing, when videos do well, you know, I mean, that's the ultimate dopamine, that's the ultimate drug for every single kid or even human now that TikTok, like everyone's chasing, their following and everyone wants to go viral.
Patrick: I mean, you're doing a podcast, you, I mean, if this podcast does well, you're gonna be happy. Right?
Mike: Yeah. Oh, sure, sure.
Patrick: Yeah. That's like the hardest thing. Everyone wants to create their own platform and we don't wanna need middlemen or gatekeepers or label people or networks and, and, and, and we're able to do that with social media. And like, one of the things that, that makes me happy, I'm not afraid or ashamed to admit it, is that when, when I'm growing and when my videos are doing good, like that's, It makes me happy and I know it's an unhealthy addiction that I have and like I'll, I'm working on it, you know, like I'll, I'll take days off and I have like other people running mic, and that's just like, one thing I do want to talk more about, like on my channels is like how to have like a better relationship with like your social media, you know?
Mike: Well, maybe we can do another podcast just on that. That would be great.
Patrick: Yeah. I mean, it's just, it's pretty simple. It's just like detaching yourself from the results and, and, and, you know, being proud of what you're posting.
Mike: Oh, I like that. That's, that's absolutely the truth. And that's the reason that we do this.
Mike: Proud of what we're posting.
Patrick: And that's all that matters. Yeah. Like, you know, and if you do that for long enough and you're consistent for long enough period of time, and you, you give it your all, then eventually, like, I think it will, it, it will work. You know, people just give up too soon. You know.
Mike: It, it works if you're helping people, that's for sure. Pat.
Mike: Yeah. Well listen. Hey, thanks a ton for joining us and...
Patrick: Yeah, it was great. Thank you. You're awesome.
Mike: And we will put Pat's YouTube link here and through that you can get anywhere on his stuff. And it's so good. It's so good.
Patrick: Do you have um, if, if you recorded this?
Patrick: Maybe you can send it to me.
Mike: Oh, sure. I can send you to you.
Patrick: Cause I'll make some clips from it.
Mike: All right, sounds great.
Mike: For the rest of you who are listening, listen in next week, can't guarantee you, we'll have another hyper discussion, but we'll have a good one. So [laugh] until then, stay safe and crush your own recovery.
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