Six Steps to Life-Altering Change for Addicts and Convicts | Moe Egan & Tim Stay | TEDxBYU

Six Steps to Life-Altering Change for Addicts and Convicts | Moe Egan & Tim Stay | TEDxBYU

[Applause] so I had fallen asleep standing up in the middle of a busy intersection in San Francisco during rush hour traffic I was coming off a one-week cocaine binge and hadn't slept the entire time horns were blowing and cars were swerving to try and miss me a friend of mine saw me standing in the middle of the street grabbed me by my shoulders and said hey this is not you you're better than this you need to get some help I was homeless and to continue my drinking and drugging habits I was committing crimes and getting arrested see I didn't know how to get help my definition of help was to cover up my emotions with drink drug and sex that's the only help I knew within weeks I was arrested for the seventh time wasted human potential that's what mo was at but mo isn't alone here in the United States there are six hundred thousand who are homeless 23 point five million are addicted to drugs and alcohol and on any given day 2.3 million Americans are locked up giving this nation the dubious distinction of the highest incarceration rate in the world day aren't we proud some people need to be locked up but many who are locked up don't know how to change imagine being a kid who gets high in elementary school and no one tells her that it's wrong how do you figure out life and the problems it throws at you when you're getting high as a kid I grew up in East Oakland California I was a youngest of seven children family members openly used drugs and alcohol I had a brother who thought he was a pimp my brother was an alcoholic and a sister who as a teenager gave birth to twins addicted crack cousins openly sold and used drugs I got caught in elementary school selling marijuana joints I remember being sent home and when I got home I was intrepid reprimanded by my parents nobody cared what I was doing and there was no consequences we later moved to Santa Rosa California and in high school I progressed to cocaine and speed I was playing two sports at the time and somehow getting away with it in fact we were having some success we won a couple championships and I got Most Valuable Player of a couple sports teams played in college and was good at it until I was injured and I had to have surgery the doctor prescribed pain pills but long after the pain was gone I continued taking those pain pills adding that to the drugs and alcohol I didn't like the direction my life was going so I moved to Atlanta Georgia thinking that would change me but I soon found out that I brought me with me my new jobs aren't to the King Center and I loved working for a Coretta Scott King but my drugs and alcohol it persisted I remember sitting in my office and looking out the window and there was dr. King's eternal flame and I thought to myself dude you got to get it together you're in a great place and you're part of history that lasted for a little while but not for long knowing that I would eventually get caught and fired I quit to avoid the shame the next five years it was a freefall downhill drugs alcohol until finally standing in the middle of the street asleep in San Francisco arrested again okay as a society what do we do with Maurice Egan he's been arrested seven times and he's getting worse sent him to a number of programs and they haven't helped what do we do maybe this time let's lock him away for a really long time and say after 10 years and a half a million dollars of taxpayer money later he gets out do we think he'll change do we think he'll be better statistics show that 67 percent of the people we let out of prison reoffending three years what a great return on our investment right what do we do Moe's recidivism rate had been a hundred percent up to that point now for the really great news there is a solution for Moe and for the tens of thousands like him fifty years ago a model for transformational behavioral change was built not by doctors or correction officials but by addicts themselves Moe was allowed to go to such a place it's called Delancey Street in San Francisco at the LAN C Street they don't take any government money there's no charge to the participants the money generated that's needed to run the place is generated by the convicts and addicts that go there who run vocational training schools this is the same model that we've adopted in the school that Moe and I helped run in Salt Lake City it's called the other side Academy and we hope to scale it across the United States in this model we don't focus on the crime or the addiction we are not a drug treatment plan we are a life skills school that focuses on the underlying behaviors that led to those actions we teach people the skills that Moe never learned in his East Oakland home how to live lives of integrity and accountability and love for others and we do it without social workers therapists or counselors at the other side Academy it's entirely run by former convicts and addicts Delancy Street and the other side Academy are built on a few simple ideas first one you have to want to change when I got arrested in San Francisco on my last run the arresting officer was my old college football coach turned cop and I remember him saying to me once you start you'll continue showing up here until you do something about it and that hit me I had spurts of being clean and successful in life and I knew that there was a better way for me I don't think God intended for me to be homeless walking the streets or dope-fiend alcoholic I heard the last retreat was two years and it was very difficult and that sounded like something I needed so while in jail facing new charges I wrote a letter to the lansing street and they gave me an interview in that interview I was desperate and I begged and pleaded for them to help me and by the grace of God I got accepted the second principle of change is what we call act as if this is really important it means that even if you don't like being decent or honest or caring you act that way until it becomes you we practice being a moral person over and over and over until we become that person yeah so when I first arrived at Delancey Street one of the leaders said hey you know what we act as if here he said you know the kind of person you want to be you want to have some integrity you want to be honest and you want to be truthful he said let's face it you're not that person today and the only way that you'll become him is if you practice being him for a really long time one of the things that we say in Delancey Street and at the other side Academy work hard keep a good attitude and don't get a caught up practicing doing the right thing that's principle number two principle number three is what we call each one teach one this means we like to say when a helps be a gets better in other words the way you save your life is by saving someone else's when I first got to the Lancer Street all I was talking about was the street the drugs the women and the crimes it was the only way that I knew how to connect was by telling old drug addict war stories and one of the leaders overheard me he said hey did you come here to change or did you come here to be the same loser you came here as and that hit me hard I didn't want to waste my time I said yes I want to change he said we're great get back in there find somebody else that's telling those losers stories and tell them to knock it off and that's exactly what I did it was a new and powerful thing to be trusted to help save somebody else's life the next principle is pure accountability when you come to the other side Academy you give your peers the power to hold you accountable for your actions and to be brutally honest with you when you mess up which we know you'll do and that's where learning really happens right so I had gotten some trouble at Delancey Street later on in a meeting that we call games an opportunity to get feedback from your peers one of my peers step two and said mo you're a liar you're a sneak and you're cheap I wasn't having any of that they weren't talking to me must be somebody else and then another person said the same thing and then another offer some specific examples about the fifth person into it I felt something good should you know what you're absolutely right I'm a liar and I'm a manipulator and for the first time it made me sick later that night as I laid down I thought to myself man this is who I become and that's the person I wanted to change games became a game changer for me it got to where even though it hurt I looked forward to going to games so that could have my destructive flaws brought to me by people who loved and cared enough about me to tell me the truth I feel sorry for anybody that doesn't have friends like that feedback became my best friend the next step is immediate consequences for bad behavior once again I got in a little trouble and this time I'd gotten a haircut a verbal reprimand by one of the leaders in the community she gave me some extra chores had some extra dishes now that might sound crazy a house full of criminals and the punishment you use it's extra dishes and extra chores but it works when she gave me that haircut I felt embarrassed I felt ashamed I wanted to split and go get high to deal with my emotions and my difficulties I said you know what it's time to change time to do something different it's only some extra chores some extra dishes an opportunity for me to look at what I did wrong the last principal she have to practice doing the right thing for a really really long time until you become that person I had been to other programs but after two weeks or six months or whatever the funding ran out for that program I hadn't changed because I practice being a lying sneaky cheating impulsive person for so long two weeks six months or whatever it wasn't going to do it and so at the other side of Kadim II we don't talk about being good we practice being good we don't sit in classrooms we practice being good working in one of our vocational schools lawn care the moving company catering or selling delicious funnel cakes out of our food truck throughout the course of the day the real you is going to come out the liar the sneaking cheating and pulse a person somebody's going to see it somebody's going to hear it and we're all going to call you on it and then you go back you try it again and again and again until you get it right and if at the end of two years you didn't get it right you can humbly ask to stay longer it wasn't until my third year in Delancey Street that I felt like I was ready I had it am I good yes I'm ready to go be productive and I stayed an extra year to give back because I loved what I was doing I graduated in 2012 and I've been clean for ten years I got a job I became a trusted manager and a company and I bought my own home in November of last year I was recruited by the other side Academy to be part of staff when I helped another person I get that feeling I haven't got anywhere else you can't buy it you can't drink it you can't snort it and you can't smoke it and that's stuck with me I know what it feels like to help another person and have them get better as a result I believe our only hope is to reform the criminal elements of our society and how we treat them is to adopt a new belief in the richness of human capacity I believe that all of us have the capacity to undergo transformational change for the better today our jails and prisons and homeless shelters are filled to the brim with people who have hit rock bottom who don't know how to change it doesn't have to be that way so now we have that opportunity to go up to these people grab them by the shoulders just like my buddy did me and say hey this is not you you're better than this you need to get some help we may have been silent in the past because we didn't know how to help we don't have to be silent anymore we have a proven solution it's worked for moe it's worked for tens of thousands others like him and we believe that it can work for millions more by following these proven steps for transformational behavioral change so that they can live lives of sobriety integrity and fulfillment like Moe has done you

29 thoughts on “Six Steps to Life-Altering Change for Addicts and Convicts | Moe Egan & Tim Stay | TEDxBYU”

  1. "Dude, this is not you. You're better than this." Best mantra when you EVEN THINK about unraveling your life with unproductive and detaching whims.

  2. Mary Jane Hancock

    Amen Brother. I am so impressed by this presentation. And I am grateful to God for sobriety. Amen. Amen. Amen. Thank you for honesty and for posting.

  3. A great story the thing is in the Uk we have nothing live the treatment and self-help you got and the few places that do it you must pay for the care lots of ppl want to stop abusing drugs but just can't find a way out you were one of the lucky ones

  4. "Education NOT Incarceration"
    Is the way forward for healing social taboos relating to substance abuse and even mental health issues.. That my thoughts anyway..

  5. Thanks I took lots from your talk. And I just want to say thanks, for me it's linked parts of my recovery together… God Bless

  6. I lived in an Oxford house for eighteen months, which is basically the same concept. I now have four years clean, and I am about to graduate with my BS in psychology, on my way to a master's degree.

  7. The concept is good but very rarely from what I've seen being in one of those facilities does it really work. The community I was at wanted you to tell on each other and dressed you up like a clown when you didn't behave correctly it was f*** up. I'm not saying that this place is like that but a lot of therapeutic communities share similar treatment modalities.

  8. Michelle Lynn Back

    I would like permission to use this video and others in the mental health curriculum I am putting together for a developing mental health education nonprofit. What do I need to do to gain your permission?


    This is simple plagiarism. Bill & Bob started AA in the 1930's. Do not condense the 12 steps to 6. Sorry but at least credit the source while profiting.

  10. This was a fantastic talk. I'm going to listen to it many more times. I have become inspired recently to create a life skills center that partners with the crisis pregnancy centers around northern Utah. Your model seems very promising, and I would like to meet and discuss something similar for this project.

  11. What about we start by building a wall in the Mexican border to REDUCE the drugs coming across?
    I’m waiting for all the liberals who agree with the presenter to attack my idea.

  12. Nice story, i think its amazing u had the power to bounce back. Just one thing, what do u suggest for someone that cannot get past the physical dependance. Withdrawal is all to real, it hurts and is by far one of my biggest fears.

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