Jacob Evans is an admissions counselor for Treehouse Recovery, an addiction recovery program located in California. In addition to his work with Treehouse, Jacob is a movitational speaker who uses his personal experiences and entrepreneurial talents to empower men who are recovering from substance abuse. We recently talked with Jacob to learn more about his work to change his community and empower men to take charge of their lives.
EAP: Can you tell us a bit of how you got to where you are now?
JE: I grew up in Martinsburg, WV, the epicenter of the Opioid Epidemic. My mother, a presidential appointee, and father, a family practitioner dentist, placed high expectations on me and I rose to challenge. In college, I was Student Body Vice-President, in my Second Year of Law School, a Highly Decorated National Model United Nations Delegate, and worked full time as a Department Manager for a suit store. Additionally, I was heavily addicted to opiates. From one conversation with an attune teacher, I decided to take the time to heal myself. I went through several programs over the course of a year and found success at a place called Tree House Recovery. Fast forward 5 years and I have not only helped develop the admissions department of the same company where I personally found success in recovery, but I have helped thousands of people find success themselves. I have found the love of my life, welcomed a daughter into the world, started my own company, given countless motivational speeches across the US, and had a hand in helping people heal themselves through addiction. I live a truly blessed life.
EAP: What are your core values, and how are they reflected in the work that you do?
JE: My Core Values are simple: Honesty, Connection, Faith, and Grit.
Honesty is reflected in my work because I always give people my honest and best opinion on how to help navigate them through their current situation. I don’t placate what they want to hear, I tell people what they need to hear to get them where they want to go. My education as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Peer Recovery Coach, and Transformative Coach, along with my personal experiences and thousands of conversations with people struggling serve as guidance in helping others.
Connection is vital to combating addiction. In a world of pseudo connection, I help others understand the true meaning of connection, so they can better live in the world around them without the aid of substances.
Faith is all you have in recovery, faith that your life will get better, faith that your mentors and professionals will guide you properly. Faith is like a muscle, it needs to be exercised daily and constantly. I help people understand ways to exercise that muscle, regardless of their feelings on organized religion.
Grit is something everyone in recovery needs. When all else fails, you can rely on grit. Grit is something everyone has, but needs to be reminded of. In some shape, way, or from, we have all overcome in the face of adversity. Reminding people of those experiences helps them see their grit.
EAP: You take an entrepreneurial approach to the work that you do outside of Treehouse Recovery, can you explain that a bit?
JE: Entrepreneurialism is something I grew up around from a young age. My dad owned his own dental practice and I always loved that he was able to set his own schedule and answered only to himself. I knew I was always going to start my own businesses, I just wasn’t sure which path it was going to be (i.e. law school; dental school; or something else).
In my opinion, when you are part of a workforce economy, you are always building someone’s dream, I just prefer for that dream to be my own. I believe everyone can be an entrepreneur; however, the fear is what holds most people back. In that regard, I think people who recover from substance abuse have a certain degree of advantage over some others. They know what it is like to lose it all and build it up again from nothing. Therefore, I believe their level of fear surrounding success or failure is something they are able to push through in spite of their feelings.
EAP: What is your message to others who are looking to turn their experiences into opportunities to help or inspire others?
JE: My message to others is a simple one, connection. I believe connection starts with yourself, then to your direct sphere of influence, your indirect sphere of influence, then to the world around.
Self Connection is integral to inspiring others. Being your most authentic and genuine self is a necessity. People not only sense when someone is disingenuous, some will actually look to discredit you. Being your most authentic self and being unshakable in your value system will help with the next phase.
Connection to your direct sphere of influence is contingent upon authenticity with yourself. If you are not consistent with the people in your direct sphere of influence, you will be different people to different people. If your desire is to help others through your experiences, consistency with those closest to you is a good place to start.
Connection to your indirect sphere of influence is like making deeper connections with people like people the barista or the bank teller. The more you are genuine, consistent, and authentic, the easier making connections with these people in your life will be, and inspiring others, means inspiring all people. This is a great place to really refine the skills.
Finally connection to the world around you. If you are successful and confident with all of the above, undoubtedly you will be an inspiration to others. Additionally, the opportunities to do so will come your way and people will gravitate towards you.
EAP: Where do you see your work taking you in the next 5-10 years?
JE: The next 5-10 years will be great. The last years I have focused on helping people put out the fires of their lives. Specifically, I am talking about helping navigate addiction. My goal for the next five years is to help people stop playing with matches to begin with. I want to work on prevention and mitigation. I intend on helping others find connection, meaning, and purpose in their lives. I know I will do this and the magnitude to which I will accomplish this is goal is only limited by my own creativity.