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.


Pregnancy Justice

March 15, 2023 25 minutes

Many people believe that pregnant people who use any amount of a criminalized drug will inevitably harm or even kill their fetuses. But media hype is not the same as science, and popular news reports have misrepresented the facts about prenatal exposure to drugs. Dana Sussman discusses the role of Pregnancy Justice’s work to educate the public about the science of pregnancy and drug usage and to defend the rights of pregnant people, especially those who are most at risk of state control and criminalization: those who are low-income, of color, and drug-using. Dana is the Acting Executive Director for Pregnancy Justice, an organization formed to ensure that no one loses rights because of pregnancy. Pregnancy Justice can be reached at https://www.pregnancyjusticeus.org.

Driving in the Healthy Lanes of the Highway

March 8, 2023 32 minutes

Where is the line between healthy and unhealthy relationships? How do we break patterns of unhealthy behaviors in our relationships? Rio Timberlane, the author of the book The Joy of Lucid Love, talks about the journey to finding yourself and navigating life in the healthy lanes of the highway. Rio is a Relationship Scientist, Author, and Speaker. He and his work can be accessed at https://www.riowrks.org/rio-timberlane.

Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional

March 1, 2023 29 minutes

Sometimes, when we are feeling down, we mask our pain behind a smile — or a drug. Dr. Laura Petracek entered her teen years just as her family moved to a new state. She felt distant from everyone she lived with and knew, and she felt invisible. Like many people, she masked her pain. She recounts her journey and discoveries that led her to combine the philosophies and teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Petracek is the author of The Anger Workbook for Women and The DBT Workbook for Alcohol and Drug Addiction. Her contact information and work, including her books, can be found at https://www.laurapetracekphd.com

The Sober-Minded Sisterhood

February 22, 2023 32 minutes

Looking in the mirror takes courage and the willingness to see what’s there, not what we want to be there. Jenn Kautsch talks about that look in the mirror and how it led her to found Sober Sis, a like-minded community of women who are renegotiating their relationship with alcohol, without labels, shame, judgment, or rules. The Sober-Minded Sisterhood is about making a conscious choice to be the best version of yourself and to live in an intentional manner, creating the life you want. Jenn’s contact information and resources, including events, blogs, and the 21 Day Reset Challenge, can be found at https://www.sobersis.com/ss-home

Street Angels

February 15, 2023 20 minutes

When people with mental health and substance use disorders lose their homes and find themselves unsheltered and on the street, recovery becomes difficult, if not impossible. Dan Grellinger talks about the work of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s, Street Angels. Street Angels is a program whose small staff and volunteers travel throughout Milwaukee County providing hot meals, clothing, blankets, tents, NARCAN, caring conversations, and HOPE to those who are experiencing street homelessness. Dan is a substance abuse counselor and Outreach Coordinator for Street Angels. Find out more about Street Angels and how to help at https://www.streetangelsmke.org.

A Journey of Uncovering

February 8, 2023 30 minutes

Many times, before substance use, there is trauma. Confusing, and sometimes destructive, messages from others about who we are as children affect the way we develop, cope, and mature. Lynn McLaughlin talks about her journey of self discovery, which she calls uncovering. Uncovering the real you takes time, support, and self-forgiveness. Lynn is a co-owner and member of Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative in Northeast Wisconsin. She can be reached at https://www.ebbandflowcooperative.com. Support services are available for mental health. Nationally, you can start your search at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help.

A Walk In Their Shoes

February 1, 2023 37 minutes

If young people are going to work and live in a global society, understanding the impact of other cultures and that history takes place every day across our planet is important for them to learn. Colin Hanson, an educator in the Edgar, Wisconsin, School District, talks about A Walk in Their Shoes, a collaborative effort by north central Wisconsin educators to provide access to powerful speakers who have first-hand experience with contemporary history. The vision is to help students see the world with different eyes and give them the opportunity to look at life from a global perspective and the chance to see that one person can truly make a difference. Colin and the speaker series can be reached at https://www.awalkintheirshoes.org.

Our Default State: Peace, Love, and Happiness

January 25, 2023 27 minutes

It’s not uncommon that people are drawn into a field of work because of their life experiences. We know the topic, we lived it, and we can give something back to help others. Jason Shiers talks about his personal road to recovery and the work he has done to help others undo the labels that they have put on themselves or have been given to them by others. Jason is a certified Psychotherapist and Certified Transformative Coach who has been working with addictions and mental health for over 25 years. He is also the host of the outstanding podcast “Misunderstandings of the Mind.” Jason’s podcast can be found at https://www.misunderstandingsofthemind.com, and he can be reached at https://www.wideworldcoaching.com.

Under the Anger Blanket

January 18, 2023 22 minutes

Anger never knocks on the emotional door without company. According to numerous studies, including one from the Harvard Business Review, expressions of anger have risen dramatically across the culture, and, whether disagreements about politics, the pandemic, other social issues, or even work and personal relationships, anger seems to be the most prevalent emotion expressed. Lynn McLaughlin and Karen Iverson Riggers, consultants, co-owners, and members of Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative in Northeast Wisconsin, talk about the rise in anger responses in our society and what lies underneath. They can be reached at https://www.ebbandflowcooperative.com. Help is available for mental health concerns. Nationally, you can start your search at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help.

Perceptions of Origin

January 11, 2023 20 minutes

Are the customs and patterns around alcohol and other drug usage that much different in other places? Juliana, Maria, and Brenda talk about substance use and abuse in their native Brazil. The legal drinking age is different, and so are the consequences. Now in the United States for college, the women compare the culture they were born in with the one they moved to. Other countries and cultures address alcohol and other drug usage differently than in the United States, too. If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, help is available. Locally, resources can be found at Crisis, 262-657-7188 or 211 Wisconsin: https://211wisconsin.communityos.org. You can also find AA meetings here: https://mtg.area75.org/meetings.html?dist=7 and NA meetings here: https://namilwaukee.org/meetings/