Defy In Transform

In our recent Success In Recovery post, we featured examples of individual entrepreneurs enjoying success in recovery. While we maintain the real success in recovery is staying sober or drug free, we also believe recovery can be a ‘mirror’ of addiction. We can take assets used to survive addiction and apply them to recovery, giving us every chance to harness our energy and thrive.

There are plenty of addicts in recovery who were “successful” in addiction, but still not so happy – the energy in recovery can maintain the success and offer the opportunity of finding that happiness.

Through this recent story on we went down a delightful rabbit hole and found Tori Utley’s amazing TedX talk Why The Workforce Needs Recovering Addicts.

After watching this, we felt moved to at least check out Defy Ventures Inc.  Their view is that “many former drug dealers and gang leaders can become successful, legal entrepreneurs.” They have created a framework to “transform the hustle” in currently and formerly incarcerated drug users calling them Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs).

David Linden, a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine and author of The Compass Of Pleasure argues in Forbes that traits that make a good CEO – risk-taking, strong drive for success, obsession, dedication, novelty-seeking – are precisely what make a “good” addict (hustler).

Constance Scharff, co-author of Ending Addiction For Good, identifies another similarity with Defy’s “hustlers.” She suggests high achievers often report a stressor or trauma early on in life, fuelling the success drive in the same way it drives addiction. Scharff notes they frequently had some basic needs unmet as children, and that these driven individuals are often self-medicating. Most importantly she concludes ““We’ve never seen someone who hasn’t at least doubled in productivity after treatment.”

All sides of the street, recovery breeds success.

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