Break the Cycle of Addiction with Joe Mintzer

From a very young age Joe fell into the trap of drugs and alcohol. Now, after many years and many different types of facilities he has worked past his demons and currently through the use of meditation he has been able to set his mind at ease. His project ” The Spiraddict Warrior Project ” aims at giving former addicts or as he calls them “Survivors” a safe place to meet, meditate, workout, and perform other outdoor activities. It is his hope that through sharing his story of addiction to spirituality that he can influence other to stay away and help them to understand that they are perfect just the way they are. 

You can connect with Joe at https://instagram/mintzerjoe  or


Break the Cycle of Addiction with Meditation


Breaking the habits of addictions with meditation 

Barbara Longue (BL) interviewing Joe Mintzer (Joe)

BL       Welcome everyone to the Vortex Energy podcast. I am really honoured      today to have someone I’ve never met live before in person, but we’ve            chatted over the Internet. Joe Mintzer, who has an amazing story about            his recovery from addiction, alcoholism and drug abuse using            meditation and he has become an amazing expert at this now with his            Spiraddict Warrior program.

           So Joe actually had from a very young age governed by the trap of            drugs and alcohol and now after many years and many different types            of facilities he has worked passed his demons and currently through            the use of meditation he has been able to set his mind at ease. 

           I think that’s certainly what everyone is looking for, how do you set your            mind at ease and how does it not become so much work to do that. 

           But his project, the Spiraddict Warrior Project, aims at giving former            addicts, or as he calls them survivors, a safe place to meet, meditate,            work out and perform other outdoor activities. It is his hope that through          sharing his story of addiction to spirituality that he can influence others       to stay away and help them to understand that they are perfect just the         way they are.

           So Joe, I really would like to dive deeper into that whole concept of it,            because I come across people every single day who are trying to figure            it out, who are using other substances, whether it is alcohol or drugs, to            try to drown out all those thoughts in their head. How do you make it go       quiet? What was your big revelation? What was that moment in time            when you said “Oh my God” maybe there is something different? Did            you have to hit the lowest low? What’s your story here?

Joe     I wish there was one low, unfortunately there was three or four lows.  I            seriously wish there was only one but unfortunately, the reality of things is that there is about three or four lows one of those, being really quick,            that my family cut me off when I was younger, that was in Ocala            Florida, and the end one being where I had a massive panic attack and            tried to calm it down with a couple bottles of vodka, ended up in            hospital.

BL       {Laughter} You did say a couple of bottles, not a couple of swigs, a            couple of bottles

Joe     Correct, yes, a couple of bottles. Unfortunately it didn’t work, it didn’t          work that well, my pulse was at about 149 and you know, I ended up in            the ER and they did what any ER would do when someone is    having a panic attack, they put more medication on top, which was     probably the worse thing they could have done.

BL       Jeez yeah

Joe     Then they just kinda released me back out and the next morning when            I sobered up two things came to mind, which is one, I can’t do this any            more and the other is, I have to find some other way to calm down and            it didn’t come to me right away, meditation didn’t come to me right      away, it took sometime and there was about, I want to say a month and     a half between there and then actually getting laid off at the job I was at, where things were clicking in my head. I was sober and I knew that I    didn’t want to drink any more, but not the urge, but the mentality was            still there and I was like, how do I fix this mentality?

BL       Right

Joe     And there just happened to be an meditation place right around the    corner that was teaching a class on anxiety, its on Tuesday nights, and    the woman who was in there that taught it was amazing, and I sat            down with her and I told her what was going on. I said that I had these            really bad panic attacks, which I didn’t realise at the time but were in        part being caused by the amount of alcohol that I was drinking.              Alcohol actually makes anxiety worse.

BL       Yeah, it certainly would

Joe     Yeah it wasn’t the brightest thing in the world, drinking alcohol when            you have anxiety issues, but I didn’t know that and she worked me            through a couple of processes, taught me how to sit, taught me how to            relax and breathe.   Taught me the 7-7-7 technique, for those that don’t   know that’s 7 in, hold for 7 and release for 7, and after going there for a            couple of times I really started getting very into it and I realised that this was so calming to me that the urge to do drugs or alcohol was   no longer there. The urge however, to meditate was not consistently   there.  So every morning, I sort of started my morning meditating and it      started out a once a week thing and it went to an every morning thing, at one point it was two times a day I was meditating, and in different            forms. It started out with guided meditation and then moved on to, now            I like to use Tibetan bowls in the background but I don’t really need            anything to inspire me and just through that, I opened up my mind from            the introduction to that, to start doing a lot of inner work on myself. And            when you start doing that a lot of emotions come up, a lot of past        history comes up and one of the things that I discovered about myself was that for most of my life I’d lived a lie.  I have lived in a tough guy            role. I had a beard down to about here, long hair.

BL       I am trying to picture that, can you do a flash picture of that? I’d like to            see that.

Joe     I can send you one. That’s okay to have an image of a beard down            here.  It was definitely not…. It was a shield that I had up and through          doing work on myself and going through a couple of different            seminars, I realised that this was no longer who I was, that this          shield had started at a very young age, and it had come up from a lack    of self-respect, a lot of self judgement a lot of, you know, humility, or     not humility but a lot of embarrassment for the way that I felt, I looked    and the way that I felt people looked at me. I was a heavier set kid. I      didn’t grow into six foot four until, until around fifteen so I was a very            heavier set kid and in that time frame there is a lot of judgement, a lot    of stuff that comes up.  That’s right around when I started using drugs.            Knowing that, and knowing that the tough guy role came up sometime            before that role, I remembered the sensitive kind caring me that was            really there all along and now I’ve brought that person forward and that’s how I try to live in at this point of my life.

BL       That’s beautiful. So did you have help along the way?  You mentioned            you’d gone to a couple classes but did you have a coach and a guide            who was working with you through every step of the process. What            was your scenario there?

Joe     I did, actually I’m fussed enough to have my aunt who is my spiritual            guide and coach who’s been doing a lot this work for about 40 or 50            years, actually 40 years, I don’t wanna say 50 cos she’ll get mad,   people will think she is older than she is, for 40 years.  You know she      guided me through this. When stuff comes up I call her and she says to          me, ‘how does that make you feel? What’s really coming up to you right        now?’ and we work through it and I’m lucky enough to have her            through this. She is one of the reasons I’m sitting here right now with            you. But along the way there was a lot of work that was done, there            was a lot of different rehab facilities, there was stuff like that, that had            come through.  You know, I had been sober before in my life but I have            never been able to maintain it because I never dug to the root cause of            why it was happening.

BL       I think that’s to me one of the mistakes that I see a lot of people            making, thinking that it is just taking some other kind of pill or some herb or something that makes you stop drinking or stop taking the      drugs, but the issue is unless those underlying issues are resolved there is no reason to actually want to stop.  Does that make any     sense? Is that your experience as well?

Joe     Yeah, so like, you can be sober for many years.  I see a lot of people            all of the time who have been sober for 20 or 30 years but they haven’t            done any work. They simply stopped using drugs; they haven’t dealt    with the issue itself. So they are not living a happy and fulfilled life they        are just sober, what some refer to as a dry rock.  What I refer to it as is        people just living in a space in their head where they still feel family guilt about what they did. For me, I worked through a lot of that in the            past but it was really coming to a place of just acceptance of where my            life had gone and I’m exactly where I am supposed to be right now            currently in life. And you deal with that and you deal with all the other            stuff that I’d gone through you learn to understand and move forward          with this and just enjoy your life on a day-to-day basis.

BL       Yeah fantastic.  So what is your daily practice look like today?  What do            you do? How does meditation fit today in your life?

Joe     Its usually twice a day, currently I wake up in the morning I have the            same routine. I am a routine guy. I live and die by my routine, one of    those kinda people. I wake up first thing in the morning about 5 am I    start the coffee. Before a cup of coffee I sit down and meditate while            coffee’s cooling because I can’t drink it whilst it’s superhot. I will start    out my morning with a Tibetan singing bowl meditation. I like to thank            God for everything that he or she is given me throughout the night and            for protection I like to call the light before I start meditating and just ask            that anything that is good be brought forward and then I will proceed in            my meditation starting out with the 777 technique sometimes I go to a     444 it just depends on how I’m feeling that morning. Then if anything            pops up during it, or if there’s anything that’s in my head before the            meditation I write it down to get it out of the way before I go in to it. And            then if I need ever a very deep meditation usually first thing in the            morning, but the new meditation that I do at lunch is much, much,        much deeper, I don’t know why.

BL       Yes that’s interesting. But you have a regular job right. You have a         regular job on top of all these other things you’re doing.

Joe     Yes and I’ll do it at the regular job in my cube.  And the people that I            work with they know I meditate so they leave me alone.

BL       That’s good. So how do you handle that, a lot of people get very            uncomfortable when they think about doing it in a public place. How do            you handle meditating in your cube? Do you put on headphones or            what do you do?

Joe     It depends on how many people are in the office on that day but            sometimes I’ll put on headphones, sure. Other times I will just sit in            silence and I can tune into a tone and focus on that tone and sit there.            It really just depends on, on how I’m feeling that day and I give myself            the open kinda area to do whatever I feel is right for that day.   Distractions are always going to come in and I think when you first start    meditating it’s important that you’re in an extremely quiet place, so you     don’t do it at work. Start out definitely in your own home but after time            that moves on and you’re able to do practise in a little bit more of a noise active environment, I guess is a good way of putting it.

BL       Yes, I love that your teaching people and you’re actually using this            practice as part of real life. You know a lot of people think you have to l           live on the top of the mountain somewhere and that’s how you get            enlightenment. But enlightenment is being able to do all of those things            in the middle of your day and be part of that greater consciousness and            still be part of this physical world that we are in.

Joe     Correct and I think that raising your consciousness applies to            meditation but it also applies to how you deal with people on a daily     basis and what kind of positive energy you bring out to the world as        opposed to bringing negativity into the world. You know, I know that     sometimes I will create little challenges for myself over the day. One of            them one time was, to pick five random people in my life currently that            I’m grateful for and write them a quick letter and send it off to them.

BL       Wow. Nice.

Joe     You know that’s an easy way of raising your consciousness.  A            different way of thanking people, another way of thanking people.

BL       Yeah I love it. That’s great.

Joe     It’s beautiful. There’s a lot, there’s a lot of times, so when you deal with            the addiction there’s a lot of times that come up for a lot of people     where you have urges and stuff like that. I find that if I meditate or    breathe through it, it takes care of the urge and my hope is to teach more people how to do that, so that they have another way, another            path, because, there is no one path for a person who is suffering from            addiction or alcoholism, to get them to sobriety. There is no one-way.   So it is really whatever works for that person.

BL       For sure. So how long now have you been clean?

Joe     I’ve been clean off drugs for somewhere around five years or so and            then completely off alcohol for about a year and a half now.

BL       Okay. So once you were clean from the drugs where you still using            alcohol as kind of a crutch or is that just part, you know, how did that fit            in there?

Joe     Sure, sure. Well, I want to say that really I didn’t use major drugs            probably until, I stopped somewhere about 28 and I am 40 now. The            way that I used to use drugs back then was very heavily on a daily            basis. That went away after rehab and other things and it was kinda            like a ‘off the wagon’ kinda scenario. Where, like a one time thing and            then I would be alright and then I just had a couple of drinks and I            would drink on occasion. Usually I wouldn’t get too bad and then on the            last year of that job the drinking just got completely out of control. It            went from a social thing to a wake up in the morning and do a couple of            shots before I even go to work kind of thing. So, it just progressively got            worse. So what I did, is what a lot of addicts do, which is lie to            themselves and tell them that its okay, that this is okay but that’s not            okay and in reality it’s all bad. But some people can’t handle it anyway;            {Laughter} so there is no way around it unfortunately I wish there was.   I wish there was some tool that would make us drink or do drugs like a            normal person, it just doesn’t seem to work out that way. So any other            time they just have to lie to themselves. For me it just turned into a, like            I say the anxiety just got extremely bad and now when I even think of            drinking the first thing that pops into my head is the panic attack the            next morning and that my meditation keeps me away from it.

BL       Yeah,yeah, that’s great. So are you ready to dive into some quick            questions Joe?

Joe     Sure, shoot.

BL       What’s the greatest spiritual lesson in all of this for you?

Joe     I want to say the greatest spiritual lesson for me is that, to say, you            don’t need pain to heal. When I say that, it means that I can heal            through laughter so a lot of times when I’m thinking about something            that’s bothering me if I start laughing about it, it’s another way to work            through it. You can work through problems in your life however you            choose but that has been a big role for me. Trusting in God on a daily            basis that I am in the right place, that I am doing what I am supposed            to be doing is truthful. And that started out as spirit, started out as life            for me. I was an atheist for a very long time and when I went back into            my faith my whole life changed for the better, just in general. Spirituality            plays a role in my life on a daily basis.

BL       That’s fantastic.

Joe     I’ll talk to God.  Every single hour, {laughter} yeah you know {looking    up} and you really understand. You know I always look at everything as           if, what’s going on? You know.  Someone is just bringing over my         broken bicycle tyre and oh my God, what is the purpose of that? Are     you trying to see if I get setoff? What’s going on?

BL       Yeah, those triggers, so are there still a lot of triggers for you? Are            there still a bunch of triggers whether there are specific people or            specific things that come up? Are you still facing those on a daily            basis?

Joe     There is not a lot of triggers and the reason I say that is I changed my            lifestyle so I don’t bring those kinda people into my life anymore.            Except for dealing with recovery. But I don’t surround myself in bars            anymore; I’m not in the environment of people. If I meet up with            someone that does drugs I’m like great, that’s fine, you know, you do            what you what to do but I don’t want to be around it. That trigger            seemed cured like that. However, I do have another trigger that I’ve            been working on over the last few months that’s just come present and     that I realised was an issue which was, I don’t like being told what to    do.  I have an issue with feedback. I’m fine with positive feedback but            when it comes from a standpoint of negative feedback, not just            constructive, I have noticed that it’s an aspect of me to defend myself            and that is not good. So I think that, when you’re working through your            issues and you are involved in spirituality and you’re involved in            seminars were you doing this kind of work you going to notice these            things about yourself. You can become present, you’re going to            become present for a reason so that you can work on them, you can             get past them. You know, under it all we are still human beings. We are            still going to have our own little stuff that sets us off. We just have to            recognise it and just move on.

BL       Yeah for sure. Great. So, Joe what is consciousness?

Joe     I think that, that question can be answered as what is consciousness            for me, but not what is consciousness as a general statement for the            rest of the universe.

BL       Okay

Joe     For me, consciousness is being aware of everything that you do in your          life, aware of your surroundings, the way that we treat people. To     process what you’re going to say before you speak, to listen from your    soul when someone is talking to you. To respect their views and you know they might not be your own.  That to me is being conscious. To          be a greater being than you were previously, and to love.

BL       Beautiful. Nice. So what is your definition of God Joe?

Joe     My definition of God is a higher powered being, that is understanding,            forgiving, who has us on a specific path in life, and guides us to that      path but still leaves the decision up to us. I think that God, I don’t want     to say controls but definitely has an influence over what is going on in    my life. I don’t want to say he put me on drugs but I think that, that            choice was there and that my life could’ve gone on two different paths            and because I chose that route; which I don’t regret by the way, my life            went this way and I’m here to share the story with you.  But there could            have been a different path for me now. When I think of just God in            general I just think of a big loving light in the sky. I don’t have a face, its            not male or female, it’s not like Biblical in the sense of Jesus or Moses            even. It’s just a big, bright, light of love and hope and just everything that is good about this world.

BL       Right, I love that definition, that’s beautiful. And where do you feel most            at peace with yourself?

Joe     I guess you know, I like to stand up every morning in the mirror and just     give myself thanks for still being here and to give myself some pride            that kind of to me is that. I am very grateful for everything that has            happened in my life. I’m even grateful for just being here breathing at            age 40; it’s an amazing feat.  The fact that I lived past 25, I just think            wow.

BL       It sounds like it.

Joe     You know I’m just happy and grateful to be here I was blessed with an            amazing family, which I didn’t realise that I had until I was about 35. I’m            grateful for everything that is in my life, all my wonderful friends and all       of that. I try to live my life as grateful as possible and try to give back as            much as I can.

BL       Nice. I love it, I love it. So what is the spiritual book you have given as            a gift most often?

Joe     I love a book called ‘Loyalty to your soul’ by Ron and Mary Hulnick.    That book is amazing. The first line in it is one of my favourite lines. I       was still an atheist at the time when I read it and the first line, one of    the first lines in it, (at least on the first page,) was, “I was an atheist for      most of my life until I realised that it took as much energy to be atheist            as it did to believe in God.” and that changed my whole view on it. I    was like, oh that makes total sense, why was I not thinking about this   earlier and so I have given that book out to a couple of people. Looking       round my house right now, looking at the other books that I have in          here I’d say probably the ‘Spiritual Warrior’ by John Rogers is another          great book and the ‘Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.

BL       Okay, great, yeah that one comes up a lot. I love it. What do you think            happens when we die?

Joe     God I wish I knew the answer to that, which I’m sure most of us do. I            don’t think about it too much to be totally honest. I’m just living,            enjoying today and I don’t think about it that much in my life. I know            that when I do go its when I’m supposed to go and it’s kinder            predetermined in my head so I’m just going to enjoy every day its here.              But, if I have to guess, which is I guess what we’re all doing, I would            say I think with our soul in heaven in our happiest place surrounded by       our families who have already passed away. Loved ones, maybe even            a different version of somebody that you fell in love with in the past,            even if she’d left you, maybe there’s another version of her there that            God’s created so you could live in whatever form of happiness you            want. I like to think that we’re all there with our favourite version of            ourselves, the way we see ourselves versus the way that we actually            are. So in other words if you see yourself 30-40lbs lighter.

BL       [Laughter} I’d definitely do that, yeah

Joe     That’s kinda what I hope is the plan for us up there. I kinda hope we            see ourselves in that manner.

BL       What advice would you give someone just starting out on their path to            clean living?

Joe     Move.

BL       Move physically? Move your body, move what exactly?

Joe     Move States.  I hear people say you can’t run from your problems. I            disagree with that statement you can absolutely run from the problem.        If you run they will follow you, but you can run from the people that are            associated with those problems in that environment and that            community that you have lived in. It’s a comfort zone. Get the hell out            of it. Run as quick as you can and get away from it. For me, mine was            Florida, moving away from there was the best thing I ever did in my life      and I not going to say that I didn’t do drugs after I left Florida but it was            definitely the start of my recovery moving forward. Leaving that zone of        people that had been there, you know, when you surround yourself     with.., I’m going to stumble a little bit here, your environment kinda controls who you are right, it has a big influence on your life so if you            surround yourself with people doing drugs and alcohol that’s where you     will be. If you surround yourself with successful people, that’s where            you’ll be in life.

BL       Yeah

Joe     I thoroughly believe that.  For me it was just moving out of State….            twice. {Laughter BL and Joe} Yeah get out of there. Get out of your            comfort zone. Get away from your family. In fact, if your family is in the            neighbourhood for you, get away from that. Get into a different zone.            It’s not going to fix all your problems but it’s definitely a good start and            you can have an opportunity to become a new you. For a lot of people            that are carrying that weight of drug addiction and alcoholism with            them, they can leave that behind because there is not the entire group            of people that only know them as that. So when you move to a new place you can start out in a new way. You’re still going to be you but          you’re don’t have to be the person that is associated with drugs or            alcohol.

BL       A new fresh start, yeah, its great. So what’s the best way for people            who want to hear more about some of your programs Joe? How can            they reach out for you?

Joe   You can reach out to me at Mintzerjoe on Instagram that’s my Instagram          account and I do return replies on there. Another way is we have a          mailing list setup on and that is the site that is          going to be set up in Denver. Hopefully, I’ll let you know soon, to set up          these meet ups, to get people out and doing activities, meditating          together, just you know a sober environment around others who don’t          drink or use drugs. There is a mailing list that you can join on there and          that would be the best way to contact me. But also feel free to message          me. You can message me through Instagram, you can message through          the website. I always answer. I’m always here for help no matter what          time it is. If it’s late at night and I don’t answer then its for obvious          reasons, I’m probably sleeping. I’m usually pretty good about returning          messages. BL    I have a couple of quick sentences for you to finish Joe.          Do you have a few more minutes?

Joe   I got as much time as you need.  Go ahead.


BL    Fantastic.  So, finish these sentences,

         The world needs…….

Joe   Love, affection and communications.

BL    I believe in………..

Joe   An ever loving light that surrounds me on a daily basis.

BL    Nice. Love is ……….

Joe   Love is looking at someone in your life with no judgement.

BL    Nice. How about yourself? That’s what I find most people have the          biggest trouble with, to stop judging themselves.

Joe   I’ll tell you a funny story. There was a point where I was doing a lot of          work on my teeth. I’d always worked out that my teeth were pretty bad          and I’m in a class full of different people and I’m in there and I just got          my whitener put on my teeth and I’ve got a big smile and I’m smiling and          smiling and I’m waiting for somebody to notice and out of two hundred          and fifty people, two, two people noticed. So, the reason I tell you this is          what we think is our biggest downfall others barely pay attention to. So          what we think it’s so noticeable it’s really not that noticeable at all.

BL    That’s a great story. Right one more.

         I would like to thank ………..

Joe   I got chills when you said that. You know, I’d like to thank my mother, my          aunt, my father and my stepmother. Every one of my family. My best          friend Manny, that I’ve known for a long time, my other best friend Ryan          Walker who has been a shining light through all of this that is going on in          my life and I’d also like of course to thank God for everything, for          keeping his eye out on me over time and just to be there and know that I          would be the man that I always thought I would be and to hopefully          make an impact on this world and help others.

BL    Great.

Joe   I could thank a million others but those are the biggest ones in my life.

BL    I am ready to forgive…………..

Joe   It’s a hard question because I have forgiven so many people including          myself for indiscretions over the past. There’s a whole load of other work          been done. But, I guess I’m ready to forgive myself for judging myself in          the realm of not looking the exact way that I want to look or not being          positive on, you know, on a hundred percent of the time.  So, I guess,          yeah, I’d like to forgive myself for being a little bit extra judgemental on          myself.

BL    Yeah, that’s a very common one. That’s good. Last but not least.

         I want my legacy to be……………..

         If you were writing your tombstone what would you put on your          tombstone.

Joe   He touched a lot of lives but he made more lives happier. I think that           laughter is really the key to us surviving. So I think that if I was going to          put something on there it would be ‘Love is the key to your heart but          happiness is the key to the world’.

BL    Ohhh, very nice.  I love it. Well thank you Joe, is there anything else you          would like to add or share with our audience here?

Joe   Just that, if you’re going through addictions currently, know that you’re          not alone, know that there are other people here, like myself, who are          going to help you through this kind of situation. That there are other          resources out there, like NA or NA Pand, there are other resources to          help with this. To remember that the people who are in your life right          now are there to help you and to be there for you and everything in life is          a lesson. Pay attention. You just might learn something.

BL    I love it and I really enjoyed our conversation today here Joe, I really          appreciate it and I’ll send you the YouTube links a little bit later today.

         So really thank you for coming on and you can all sign up on iTunes at          the Vortex Energy podcast or see it live here on Facebook at the Vortex          Healing Centre Facebook page. So have a great day everyone and          thank you Joe and we will catch you all soon.

Joe   Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

The End.

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