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Five Alive Q&A with Jed Hastings

Recovery Professional?

Recovery is something you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.

Demi Lovato

Where are your feet today?

My feet are firmly planted at home in Massachusetts where I have been since March – you know, that whole pandemic thing.

Share the triumphs & travails in your recovering life?

When I finished treatment, I thought life was grand and that I was more or less done with the hard stuff. Four years in, I actually tell people that I know less today than I thought I knew then. It has been a humbling experience to realize that I am really just getting started.

Right out of Breathe my sponsor told me that I was not well – just based on the simple fact that I had graduated from rehab. I was so angry at him as I started to process this fact. We still have a running joke when he asks me how I am doing. I always answer: “Not well, but I am still working on it.”

A behavior that I spent years working to change is the short, curt answer I give people when I think they are asking a dumb question – or a question I think they should already know the answer to.

And specifically, I did this to my husband, a lot! It got to the point where I would do the action and immediately realize it and apologize. We had to work through this together and for a while, it crushed me when he would look at me and say: “Jed, I don’t deserve to be answered like that.”

It is only recently that I broke the habit and I will slow down, look at him and say: “What tone do you want for the answer?” We laugh about it and I then proceed with caution and love. My point in sharing this is to illustrate how long it takes to change old habits and often, how much work is involved.

What BreatheOUT support have you found meaningful?

I love the alumni page – I get inspiration cheering on the newcomers and relating to some of the alumni that I was “behind the gate with.” Last fall I attended the alumni weekend in LA, with Kathleen. I got so much out of it. My dog had just been diagnosed with cancer, and I spent most of the weekend crying.

It was the right place to be working through it. Owen (the dog) is still fighting the battle and teaching me lessons. The best part, he doesn’t really care what my tone is when I answer his questions.

If you could, knowing what you know now, what would you tell your rehab self while at Breathe?

Slow down. Forgive yourself. Buckle up. Feel the emotions.

What are your best memories of your time at Breathe?

Patty (mentor), she was always so kind and went above and beyond. Really all of the mentors did too; it is a thankless job. We ARE NOT our best selves when we meet mentors and staff. I can only speak for myself, I was hell on wheels for the first two weeks. Sorry about that.

I have a few friendships that came out of Breathe. The most unlikely is a big hulking bear of a man – he was my nemesis in treatment. Come to realize that we are one in the same. When we have dinner in NYC, we often walk through Chelsea and look like a great dane and a chihuahua together. Mind you I am not small, I am 5’10”. When we leave each other I marvel that he is what got stuck with after treatment. I would not have it any other way.