Podcast: Lotus Lodge Sober Living

Gina Thorne:                      Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation podcast series. I’m please today to be joined with Scott Lister and Gene Shiling with Lotus Lodge out of Denver, Colorado. Welcome.

Scott Lister:                        Thank you.

Gene Shiling:                     Thanks for having us.

Scott Lister:                        Thanks for having us.

Gina Thorne:                      Really great to have you here on campus, and, fortunately, the weather was corporative. It was a little touch and go for some people driving up this morning with the snow, but it sounds like you guys were able to get through it okay.

Scott Lister:                        Yep. We made it.

Gina Thorne:                      That’s great. That’s great.

Well, we’re interested in hearing more about the Lotus Lodge. I’ll tell you I had a chance to go online, and see the pictures of this most beautiful place that I think a lot of people are going to be very curious about after we have a chance to chat. But before we do that I want to get to know a little bit about both of you, and kind of what got you into working in transitional living.

And so, first lets start with you Scott. Can you share a little bit about your background, and how you got into the field of addiction treatment?

Scott Lister:                        Yeah, absolutely. 10 years ago I was suffering from my own crisis in addiction, and entered the treatment world to get healthy. It certainly wasn’t my intention to give back to the community right away, but it’s kind of an organic process for me. Part of my own recovery process was being of service and helping addicts. So, it kind of happened organically.

Before I landed in treatment I was in business, and was invited to come back to the treatment center I went through to get healthy on my own, and started small doing some milli managements and counseling work. And a few years ago went to nursing school, and decided to run with it, and there just profession.

And then Gene and I collaborated recently on this idea of opening up a sober living home to extend our services to help as many people as we could.

Gina Thorne:                      That’s great. Great story.

And so, Gene the Lotus Lodge it works with women 23 and over-

Gene Shiling:                     That’s right.

Gina Thorne:                      It’s transitional living, or sober living. Can you share a little bit more about what a woman would experience when they come to Lotus Lodge?

Gene Shiling:                     Absolutely. So, I think the most important expectation for women and people in recovery, in general, is safety, and the sense of community, and the sense of belonging. So, those are expectations that are pretty standard. And women entering Lotus Lodge can definitely have that expectation that they will feel safe, we’ll definitely work with them on many different aspects of community service and giving back, and reintegrating back into society. We feel that it’s important for women …

This is kind of the last step after they’ve completed treatment episodes, and after they’ve done some extended care. This is the step down where women can expect assistance with reintegrating back into society, and finding work, and finding meaningful relationships, and we definitely help them foster that aspect of their lives.

It’s very critical for women to find spirituality, and it’s a really important aspect of what we do as well. Spirituality is a big part of what we offer at Lotus Lodge, and definitely something that women entering Lotus Lodge can expect as part of their recovery with us.

Gina Thorne:                      It’s interesting because I have the pleasure of helping open a women’s program, and when you go online and look at your website what you’ve all created, from a facility standpoint, it’s not just your traditional sober living for women. I mean, it really is, from a female perspective, I responded very strongly to it, because what it said to me was you are very mindful of self care, and the ability for women to feel worthy. And a lot of times when women are walking into a treatment program, or if they’re coming out of a treatment program they may struggle with this idea of do I have the right to be in a place that makes me feel worthy, and makes me feel like I can take care of myself. And when you look at your website you clearly have created a space for women to feel that way in addition to that feeling of safety. And that’s not common. I mean, we don’t see that very often. So, that’s great that you’ve created that.

Gene Shiling:                     Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:                      And with that, I guess, Gene why is it important to create this kind of transitional living experience do you think?

Gene Shiling:                     I think it’s important for this treatment modality to exist, because women coming out of treatment there needs to be this step down place for women to experience a community setting in a safe place where they can start kind of getting their feet wet, and relationship with family is important, and women are still very new in recovery. And some of the services that we provide are making sure … Not really making sure, but helping women with their medication management. We’re medication assisted treatment friendly. Scott and I are both nurses, and we sit down with the women, and we go through their medications, we collaborate with the physicians.

Gene Shiling:                     So, when they’re ready to enter the workforce, and when they’re ready to go back home, a lot of these women have families … So, it’s a really important piece of treatment that needs to exist to promote well being, and recovery, and just, in general, humanity for women.

Gina Thorne:                      That’s exactly what I sensed from it, and I know several of my colleagues have gone out to visit your place, and it does feel like its very much what you’re saying. Not just what you see online, but also what people have experienced when they come into your facility, which is great.

So, we always like to get to know the people behind the program. And so, Scott I’m going to ask you what purchases of less than a 100 dollars have you made recently that have most improved your life?

Scott Lister:                        I didn’t notice recently when I first read that, but-

Gina Thorne:                      It doesn’t have to be recent. It can be whenever.

Scott Lister:                        This is an easy for me, though. ‘Cause 10 years ago I rolled into treatment totally broke, and, man, so disconnected from humanity and my own soul. And 10 years ago I rolled into my first meeting, and brought in 10 dollars to purchase a big book of alcoholics anonymous, and I actually never even purchased it they guy ended up giving me the book. Ever since I cracked open that book the trajectory of my life has just been amazing, and, since then, so full of hope, and capacity for love, and fellowship, and understanding, and giving back to people.

Unfortunately, last time we moved I lost that old tattered written up book, so someone’s probably out there reading that book right now wondering-

Gina Thorne:                      I’m sure they are. I’m sure they are.

Scott Lister:                        But that really was a game changer for me, and showing me a life I never thought was possible. And because of that I’m able to give that back to people who are starting off-

Gina Thorne:                      That is so great

Scott Lister:                        Themselves.

Gina Thorne:                      That is so great. You’re right that message, and that gift that keeps on giving, right?

Scott Lister:                        Right.

Gina Thorne:                      So, that’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing that.

And Gene if I were to throw out the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Gene Shiling:                     For me living in harmony … Well, harmony and recovery, for me, is all about relationships. And I look at harmony as a relationship with myself, relationship with God of my understanding, relationship with community with society, and relationship with service. How am I being of service? How do I fit it into my immediate family? How do I fit it into my community and society in general?

So, living in harmony, for me, is all about those relationships. And the way that I see it is in order for me to be successful, and to be happy I need to have all four of those things in my life. I can’t exist in harmony if I don’t have a higher power in my life. I can’t exist in harmony if I’m not being of service to my community and society. There is no harmony if I’m not a part of my family. There’s no harmony if I beat myself up over little things, and if I don’t respect myself, if I can’t look in the mirror and see a person that I respect.

So, in general, harmony is all about relationships for me.

Gina Thorne:                      I like that answer. That’s a great answer.

And if someone wanted to access the recovery services that you all are offering at Lotus Lodge how can they get in touch with you Steve, Scott?

Scott Lister:                        Yeah. You can call us at 303-551-1610, you can e-mail us at info@lotuslodgesoberliving.com, or visit our website at www.lotuslodgesoberliving.com. We also have a Facebook page you can find us at lotuslodgesoberliving

Scott Lister:                        And you call us at any time whether it’s to inquire about our services, or our program, or just chat about recovery, or if you need referrals, or resources to get the help you need. Gene and I are an open book. We’re open and willing to talk to anybody.

Gina Thorne:                      Outstanding. Well, thank you both for taking the time to visit with us. We’re excited about building that relationship with you all. And thank you for making women a priority in transitional living and sober living, ’cause there’s enough of it out there. It means a great deal.

Gene Shiling:                     Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:                      Thanks.

Gene Shiling:                     Thanks for having us.

Scott Lister:                        Thanks for having us.