Stories of adversity, promises of hope – How the Rooted Recovery Stories podcast is changing the narrative on addiction, mental health and recovery

Patrick Custer interviewing Braunwyn Windham-Burke from Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County.

Addiction, mental health issues and trauma have never been easy subjects to broach, especially in front of an audience. Yet that is exactly what Patrick Custer is doing in his podcast, Rooted Recovery Stories. Through interviews with recovering survivors from all walks of life, Patrick sheds light on these current issues in modern society, while showing his listeners the many paths out of despair that they can take. Patrick – who is now celebrating his own eleventh year of sobriety – pulls deeply on his first-hand experience to give space to everyone from celebrities and athletes, to “normal people” who want to share their recovery stories with the world.

“Within mainstream and social media, we have seen a recent spike in popularity for public awareness of trauma, substance use and mental health disorders,” Patrick shares. “But behind closed doors there remains a pervasive bias within many societal, cultural and family units that prevents many people from seeking help. We launched the Rooted Recovery Stories podcast in April 2020 with the goal of elevating those voices of survivors and sharing their journey of healing and recovery with the community. We know that sickness thrives in isolation, so our purpose is to bridge the gap between people struggling and those who have found healthy solutions to win their battles!”

As a host, Patrick recognizes just how difficult finding and sticking on the path to recovery can be, and draws on his own experience with addiction to bring additional color to his interviews. In his teenage years, Patrick saw friends and family fall under the creeping sway of addiction, and vowed to avoid that plague at all costs. Determined to maintain control over his life, he followed what he saw as the “right” path prescribed by society and was an avid volunteer in his community and with youth leadership organizations.

“I believed that recovery was for people who were weak and lacked willpower,” Patrick recounts, “so when I had blown past every red flag my drinking had triggered, I wasn’t able to acknowledge that I needed help. I hit rock-bottom in 2011 and my life was in shambles. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, I remained intoxicated 24/7, while the combination of powerlessness and denial ruled my existence. Faced with a choice between homelessness or the gift of going to treatment, I stepped out on the wings of hope I was offered and took my first step towards recovery. This path was completely outside of my comfort zone, but I took suggestions from those who were already winning the battle and opened myself up to the community. I continued to ask for help and did the hard work that was necessary to change the trajectory of my life.”

In the eleven years since Patrick began his new life in recovery, he has set his sights on spreading that same positive change within others around the world. Focusing on elevating the voices of other members of his community, Patrick has worked in the mental health and addiction field for over a decade. He has since spoken at national events advocating awareness for mental health and substance abuse disorders and LGBTQIA issues. Patrick now oversees aftercare programming and community support resources as the National Director of Alumni for Promises Behavioral Health, while continuing to host his inspiring podcast, Rooted Recovery Stories.

Through December, Rooted Recovery Stories will be collaborating with Nashville Neurosurgery Associates to highlight stories of survivors from life-altering neurosurgical disorders. “My own story will be included in this series, as it is my five year anniversary of surviving a life-threatening brain tumor. I have experienced first-hand how the holidays can be difficult for people suffering with adversity, especially acute medical conditions. To someone fighting these battles, it can feel like the whole world is passing by as other people remain so hyper-focused on crossing off to-do lists and completing obligations. Our podcast’s goal this December is to bring visibility to some of these issues and help those struggling to feel seen!”

Whether interviewing a former MLB player, actor, a beloved country singer or connecting with brave community survivors, Patrick works relentlessly to bring the voice of addicts to the mainstream with Rooted Recovery Stories. The road to recovery is never a single lane, and Patrick’s podcast does the utmost to help showcase the diversity of voices who are continuing to thrive and each guest’s unique path out of darkness. No matter his guest’s background or type of adversity, Patrick helps them weave their own unique narrative, while speaking to resources available to the community as a whole. With deep roots and wide branches, Rooted Recovery Stories promises to bring you, the listener, under its boughs with the support and tools needed to move towards a life of recovery. 

You can follow Rooted Recovery Stories on Instagram (@rootedrecoverystories) and listen wherever you get your podcasts!

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