When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction?

Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan explores substance use disorders with expert guests.


Letter of Reckoning

May 24, 2023 27 minutes

Cletus was fishing when his father called about a letter in the mail. Cletus had sold drugs to an undercover police officer and was now facing numerous charges. His life changed in a heartbeat. He talks about what led to his using, his dealing, and the other mistakes he made along the way. More importantly, he discusses what he learned from those mistakes and how he found his way back. If you or a loved one needs help due to substance use disorder, help is available. There are online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day at https://aa-intergroup.org/meetings/. A registry of Al-Anon meetings for friends and families of those who are afflicted with substance use disorders can be found at https://al-anon.org. In Southeastern Wisconsin you can find AA meetings here: https://mtg.area75.org/meetings.html?dist=7 and NA meetings here: https://namilwaukee.org/meetings/

Imagine What You Can Do

May 17, 2023 30 minutes

The old saying is, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Melvin Adams shares his recipe for lemonade. Melvin grew up in poverty, with an abusive father in Houston, Texas. He was challenged early on with extremely negative circumstances. Even though Melvin was only 5’8”, he became a two-time NCAA All-American basketball player and the team captain of the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters. Melvin Adams knows firsthand how to achieve great things despite challenging circumstances. Now a globetrotting motivational speaker, Melvin can be reached at and booked through https://topyouthspeakers.com/speakers-topics/melvin-adams

Incurable Hope

May 10, 2023 31 minutes

Every family that experiences addiction and mental illness searches endlessly for answers to their pain and hopes to stumble upon a survival guide. Lisa Gennosa discusses her journey as she tried to cope with her son Tyler’s illness. Lisa is the author of Incurable Hope: A Memoir and Survival Guide for Coping with a Loved One’s Addiction. Lisa is a practicing Physician Assistant. She is a dedicated wife and mother who grew up the third child of a liquor and narcotics agent. She discusses how substance use disorder, mental illness, and trauma can collide with the legal, medical, and treatment systems. Lisa’s book, blog, and contact information can be found at www.lisagennosa.com.

The Monster and the Mirror

May 3, 2023 30 minutes

K.J. Aiello describes herself as a mentally ill writer. It is, she says, who she is. After being misdiagnosed in college, K.J. spent a decade and a half wondering who she was and where she fit in. She discusses that journey, her acceptance of her mental illness, and how her life has improved because she simply didn’t care to hide or defend herself anymore. K.J. is a Toronto-based mentally ill writer whose work includes essays, op-eds, and a soon-to-be-released non-fiction book titled The Monster and the Mirror, which explores the intersection of speculative fiction and mental illness. She also authored an article that appeared in the independent publication, The Walrus, titled “Who Gets to be Mentally Ill,” since, as she indicates, not everyone is served equally by the mental health and substance use disorder system equally. K.J. and her work can be accessed at https://www.kjaiello.ca

Understanding and Grace

April 26, 2023 24 minutes

When a loved one dies from alcohol or other drug use, everyone is devastated, but everyone copes differently. Melissa Largey talks about her brother Chris’s death from opiates, how she coped with his passing, and how that tragedy has affected her life and relationships moving forward. Professionally, Melissa is a Human Services Case Manager. She is also a wife, daughter, sister, and mom. If you or a loved one needs help due to substance abuse, help is available. There are online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day at https://aa-intergroup.org/meetings/. A registry of Al-Anon meetings for friends and families of those who are afflicted with substance use disorders can be found at https://al-anon.org.

Project 180: Students Helping Students

April 19, 2023 24 minutes

When students are asked what issues they face, mental health problems and drug usage often top the list of concerns. In Door County, Wisconsin, four county high schools formed a coalition called Project 180 to allow students to make a positive difference on these issues in their schools and across their communities. Jody Nelson and Sara Paye are counselors at Southern Door High School in Brussels, Wisconsin. They discuss the success of Project 180, current concerns of the young people, and the empowerment of students. If you’d like more information about Project 180, contact Mike McGowan at [email protected].

Crushing Recovery

April 12, 2023 29 minutes

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

No Means No

April 5, 2023 25 minutes

According to the Department of Justice, every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Kylene Spanbauer, Miss Wisconsin 2022, provides education and empowerment through her social impact initiative, No Means No: Sexual Assault Education. Kylene is a Certified Inclusion Ambassador and has received training for ACES, CPIS Crisis Intervention and De-escalation strategies, WCASA Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy School, and AMAZE for prevention educators. She discusses her initiative and work in communities to bring greater awareness to the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Kylene can be reached for more information and bookings at https://www.misswisconsin.com/miss-wisconsin-2022-kylene-spanbauer/

When Feelings Go To Work

March 29, 2023 32 minutes

Strong feelings don’t just check themselves at the workplace door. Lynn McLaughlin and Karen Iverson Riggers talk about how to address strong feelings that occur in the workplace and how to construct safe boundaries. According to numerous studies, including one from the Harvard Business Review, expressions of anger have risen dramatically across the culture. If you need help for your mental health, it is available. Nationally, you can start your search at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help. You can also reach out to today’s guests, Lynn and Karen. They are consultants, co-owners, and members of Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative in Northeast Wisconsin and can be reached at https://www.ebbandflowcooperative.com.

There Are No Labels On Street Drugs

March 22, 2023 20 minutes

At a time when it seems as though every drug bought illegally is laced with something toxic, it would seem users would be cautious. But drug fatalities are up in 2023, yet again, after record numbers in 2022, and new adulterants are appearing on the scene all the time. Sara Schreiber talks about those souls who lost their lives to their addiction and the combinations of chemicals that killed them. Sara is the Forensic Technical Director in the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) County Medical Examiner’s office. If you or a loved one needs help, it is available. You can find AA meetings here: https://mtg.area75.org/meetings.html?dist=7 and NA meetings here: https://namilwaukee.org/meetings/