I Need Blue

The Courage Found in Recovery: Randy Mortensen's Journey After Losing His Son

May 15, 2023 Jennifer Lee/Randy Mortensen Season 3 Episode 11
I Need Blue
The Courage Found in Recovery: Randy Mortensen's Journey After Losing His Son
I Need Blue
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"Being courageous is commitment. It's being dedicated to a cause or to a purpose. It's really to fight through the fear, through the unknown." ~ Randy Mortensen

Randy Mortensen is an accelerated business growth guide, published author, global speaker, and founder/host of God Took Me To Las Vegas Podcast.
 One day, his five-year-old son was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy and, due to medical neglect, overdosed on potassium, killing him. This compounded the grief he was already feeling from losing a parent. His destructive decisions continued until he was on a flight home, staring at five miniature bottles of Scotch.
  Randy began speaking about his desire to quit drinking. He told his wife but needed to tell someone else. He told his brother, “I’m going to quit drinking.” His brother replied, "How often have I heard you say that? A thousand times over the years.  I don't believe it. I don't buy it. Do you know how much wreckage you have caused in our family? Do you know how damaging your behavior has been? Until now, Randy wasn't ready to listen. These statements  were the confirmation Randy needed that it was time to change.
 While living in Las Vegas, Randy attended a 28-day inpatient treatment program in St. George, Utah. Las Vegas offered 4-5 AA meetings a day. Attending many meetings daily, Randy says that is what saved his life.

Today, through his relationship with God, Randy's mission is  saving lives and restoring relationships. He has since celebrated 32 years of sobriety and has dedicated his life to helping others in recovery.

To learn more about Randy Mortensen:
Email:  RMortensen@extremeinfluence.org
Call: (321) 427-2201
Book: God Took Me to Las Vegas......to Get Sober

FB group, God Took Me to Las Vegas......to Get Sober:
Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/god-took-me-to-las-vegas/id1499431049

Connect with me:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ineedbluepodcast/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/needbluepodcast
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp1q8SfA_hEXRJ4EaizlW8Q
Website: https://ineedblue.net/

Purchase  my book: Why I Survived:  How sharing my story helped me heal from dating abuse, armed robbery, abduction, and other forms of trauma by Jennifer Lee

5.0 out of 5 stars What an inspiring book! 

Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2023

I  could not put this book down. Jen's detailed stories show  how easy it  is to fall into an abusive relationship.  More important,  she was  strong enough to get out. She is living proof that when life  gives you  lemons, you can make lemonade. This is a must read for anyone  who is  currently in an abusive relationship or has been able to leave an   abusive relationship.
I look forward to following her podcast - I Need Blue.
Thank you, Jen, for sharing your experiences and giving hope to those in similar situations. 

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The background music is written, performed and produced exclusively by Char Good.

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Jen: [00:00:00] Remember, you are stronger than you think. Don't believe me. We're about to prove it.

Jen: Welcome back. This is Jen Lee, creator and host of I Need Blue Podcast, true Crime to True Life as a survivor of armed robbery in abduction. I understand the trauma and triggers survivor's experience knowing this, and through my powerful podcast, I offer survivors a safe place to share their lived experiences.

Jen: Survivors need blue. To feel they belong. They are loved, understood, and my favorite empowered. Please note I need, blue does contain sensitive topics, which could be triggering. Please seek help if needed, and remember, you always come first. I need Blue episodes can be found on Apple Podcast, [00:01:00] Spotify, and many listening platforms, including my website, www.ineedblue.net.

Jen: There you will find all the episodes, valuable resources, safety tips, my newly released book and ebook, why I survived by Jennifer Lee. And if your passion is to learn to podcast, you will find a learn to podcast PDF available as well. I would like to thank Char Good, the talented violinist who composed and performed this opening music.

Jen: You can find information about Char Good on my website. Today's guest, Randy Mortenson, is a testament to how some of us experience more than one event or trauma in our life. He has been in recovery for over 30 years. He suffered the loss of his five year old son in the hands of a [00:02:00] medical professional, two failed marriages, and as he honestly and humbly admits many bad decisions in between.

Jen: He grew up in the Midwest on a pig farm where there were thousands of pigs running around. I can't imagine. Today Randy describes himself as an accelerated business growth guide, a published author, global speaker, and founder host of the Courageous Recovery Podcast. I had the opportunity to meet with Randy for coffee, and we had so much to share.

Jen: We ran out of time. So I am glad you are here today. Recovery is not easy. Losing a child is definitely not easy. You are on your third marriage and have found forever happiness in her, but also in your relationship with God. We have so much to talk about. [00:03:00] So without further ado, Randy, welcome to the I Need Blue Podcast.

Randy Mortensen: Well, Jen, thank you. And, and as you said we ran outta time. I think we probably could have spent three hours or four hours together. It's, the gift of communication, right? 

Jen: Communication connecting and relationships. So I wanna ask you, because normally I start my podcast, we go back in the timeline and talk about our childhood because a lot of times that influences how we got to where we are today.

Jen: But I actually thought of kind of an interesting question. I wanted to start out with you because your podcast is called Courageous Recovery. So what does courageous and having courage look like to you? 

Randy Mortensen: I don't know that anybody's ever asked me that question before, so thank you for being unique.

Randy Mortensen: And the reason I named my podcast Courageous Recovery is because. [00:04:00] Recovery takes courage, and frankly, being a mom, being a dad, being a husband, being a wife, it, it requires courage even though we don't think of it in that manner on a regular basis. But being courageous is commitment. It's it's being dedicated to a cause or to a purpose.

Randy Mortensen: It's really to fight through the fear, through the unknown. It could be somebody that's endured, you know, some hardships. It could be somebody that's endured health challenges for me. You mentioned I've, I've had a couple of major losses in my life. But really the other word that I use is perseverance.

Randy Mortensen: Perseverance podcast didn't seem to make a lot of sense, but courageous recovery it, it's all about heart commitment, not overthinking. Because being courageous, you also have to trust that God does have a plan. [00:05:00] For your life, and I normally took some wrong turns or often took some lo wrong turns in in my life, but I had the courage to come back.

Randy Mortensen: I had the courage to not quit. It would be my, my lengthy answer to, to your, you know, what does courage mean to me? 

Jen: It's individually defined. I have to tell you, when you were talking about taking wrong directions, I say I am directionally challenged. I get lost going in a straight line, and that is probably true in life as well. I'm sure my parents at times were like, what is she doing? I love your definition though. So let's talk a little bit about what you went through in your life that created courage in your learning lessons.

Jen: And we'll start back as far as you are comfortable going. 

Randy Mortensen: Well, if I go all the way back, I actually had my first beer when I was 13. We were playing pool at a friend's house and, and in Minnesota, in small town Minnesota, they have basements [00:06:00] and we were playing pool and somehow to this day, I don't know how I did it, but my buddy's parents had a beer in the refrigerator.

Randy Mortensen: So I somehow snuck a beer outta that refrigerator, opened it, and just chugged it down. To this day, I have no idea whether I liked the taste of it or how it made me feel, but what I realized today was the exhilaration of not being caught that really set me off into another 20 plus years of not being caught.

Randy Mortensen: Or at least so I thought, so that's one of the memories of, my early childhood. I had awesome parents, never saw my dad drunk. I had awesome parents. So that, that memory was the exhilaration of not being caught. The other memory for me, and you mentioned the earlier in the intro. My second wife and I were actually at our place on the beach in, in Iowa.

Randy Mortensen: I know they don't have much for beaches. It was river Beach. But we were there on a Sunday [00:07:00] afternoon and our five year old son all of a sudden started vomiting this green stuff and then he, he just was screaming out, and I'll be respectful of your audience's ears and won't say it as loud as I would on stage, but he, he said, dad, dad, help me.

Randy Mortensen: You know, and there was nothing we could do other than just rush him to the emergency room, and they determined that he needed an emergency appendectomy as they were prepping him for surgery. They figured out that his electrolytes were out of balance. There were two RNs in the emergency room prepping him and one doctor who had worked 36 hours straight without sleep.

Randy Mortensen: And even though we couldn't ever prove it, he was high on crack, high on cocaine. So as they were prepping him, he was doing the math on the bedsheet for the dosage of potassium. Potassium which some people may know others don't, is what veterinarians use to put [00:08:00] animals down. Apparently his maths showed him that, that he should do 20 milli equivalents of potassium.

Randy Mortensen: The two RNs in the room said, no, that's wrong. We're not doing that. And he said, here, Garnet, he used a stronger word than that, but I'll be respectful of the audience's ears. He said, here, darn, I'll do it myself. Well, The correct dosage would've been two. Milliequivalent Daum, he pushed 20. It would've killed any of us as adults, so that afternoon, the poor choices and decisions of that emergency room physician overdose and killed my five year old son.

Randy Mortensen: My poor choices through life have cost me tons of relationships have cost me hundreds of thousands, probably millions of dollars, but the poor choices of that emergency room physician that afternoon cost me my son. I don't ever want another parent to go through that sort of a loss. What that did, my drinking my.

Randy Mortensen: [00:09:00] Parting chasing women disrupted my first marriage to my high school sweetheart. Now I was in my second marriage. And lose my son, and 95% of parents who lose a child end up divorced. Sadly, that's a tough statistic. I was so angry and distraught. I was successful on the outside. Business-wise, I was in financial services making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and had bought a couple of businesses, but it really didn't matter.

Randy Mortensen: Because first my, my dad had died at 45 of a massive stroke and now my son 12 years later has, has died. And I thought, okay, I figured God had to be punishing me. You know, at that time. I now know that's not how God works. My brother was an executive at Citibank. I went with $500 cash in two suitcases and ultimately ended up going into a business there.

Randy Mortensen: Met a beautiful woman there who we just [00:10:00] recently celebrated. 33 years of marriage. Congratulations. Thank you. Nine months into that marriage, I was on a plane coming back from, The Midwest that time it was free alcohol no matter where you sat on the airplane. Of course, that's why I was flying them cause of my drinking lifestyle.

Randy Mortensen: We were at about 22,000 feet between Phoenix and Vegas, and this was pre nine 11. So I knew my wife was going to meet me as I came off the jet way. So I thought, oh my gosh. I told her I would do this one project before I got home. I had said I gotta do it. Was I drunk? Yes, I'd been in drinking all the way from Omaha to Phoenix.

Randy Mortensen: And then in the in the airport club drinking, I opened up my briefcase and before computers opened up my briefcase. And in that briefcase there were three bottles of SCOs. And on my tray table there were two bottles of SCOs. And I thought, oh my [00:11:00] gosh, you're, you're just a mess. So I made the decision in that moment I was gonna quit drinking.

Randy Mortensen: That was the moment. And I walked off the airplane. I said to my wife, I said, you know what, honey? We'd only been married nine months. I said, you know what, honey? I'm gonna quit drinking. She said, I haven't known you very long, but I've heard you say that a thousand times you're drunk. And I said, no, I'm serious.

Randy Mortensen: I mean it, but I gotta tell somebody other than you. So my brother was living there. So I called my brother and I said, Hey, I, I wanna talk to you about something. We drove over to his place. I did drove drunk, hadn't eaten anything all day. So we stopped to have a pizza and a couple pictures of beer. You know, I was, I made the decision to quit, but that was my poor decision making at that time.

Randy Mortensen: Walk into my brother's and he said, what do you want? And he said, I wanna talk to you. And he said About what? I'm gonna quit drinking. He said, yeah, whatever. I've heard you say that a thousand times over the years. He's four, he's five years younger than I'm. And they said, no, [00:12:00] I'm serious. He said, no, I, you're drunk.

Randy Mortensen: I've heard you say that. I don't believe it. I don't buy that bs. And he said, no, Dan, I'm serious. He puts his finger in my chest and he said, Do you know how much wreckage you've caused in our family? Do you know how many lies you've told and how deceitful you've become and how damaging your behavior has been?

Randy Mortensen: And I could have just fallen over in shock passed out. Here's my little brother saying things. And I said to him, why haven't you ever told me that before? You said you've never listened before. You always thought you were smarter than all the rest of us. So I took the next 10 days to figure out where am I going into treatment.

Randy Mortensen: Cause I was only gonna do it once. I'm just a bit of a perfectionist. So I, I checked with all the high end ones. I, I was gonna go somewhere, [00:13:00] anywhere in the country and ended up going to a treatment program in St. George, Utah. I was now living in Las Vegas. Right. So I go to St. George, Utah. 28 days of inpatient.

Randy Mortensen: I now know the reason why God took me to Las Vegas to get sober, which is the title of my forthcoming book. It was the only place in that time where I could go to five four or five six AA meetings a day. And I literally did that after I got out of my inpatient treatment program. And I say that, you know, that's what saved my life because it's really easy to also drink 24 hours a day in Vegas, but it's an opportunity to, to go to AA meetings back in that era of my life.

Randy Mortensen: And so that's been my journey. Have a background in finance and energy. Actually went on to become the vice president of. For Floridians, I say the fp and l of the Midwest or the 60 billion gas in electric utility in the Midwest. So [00:14:00] it's been an interesting journey. Celebrated 32 years of sobriety last September 24th.

Jen: Congratulations. 

Randy Mortensen: Thank you. Thank you. You asked for my story, so you got a long version of it. 

Jen: I'd like to go back to, for a minute, we'll dissect it a little bit to losing a child, because I can't imagine I. The moment when, and what was it, the doctor who did the operation that had to come to you and say, we're sorry, your son is no longer with us.

Jen: What is that moment like? Because I have friends that have been through that and, and they don't talk about it very much. So I don't wanna make you uncomfortable, but you seem like you're comfortable speaking with it. You're giving a voice to others who aren't quite ready 

Randy Mortensen: I was 22 when my 45 year old dad died. So the grief of losing a parent, and I'm the oldest of three, so my dad and I were best friends, so I thought that was the worst thing that could happen to me, [00:15:00] frankly, was losing a parent. And in that era of my life, but then being blessed with a five year old son, he was the joy of my life.

Randy Mortensen: And that afternoon. I, I just didn't know why I was still alive. I thought I had lost my purpose in life. I wanted to be the dad. They were actually able to revive him. So then I flew with Jay to Minneapolis to, to the University of Minnesota. And when we got there, they said, you know what? He's breathing, but there's absolutely no function in his brain.

Randy Mortensen: So within 24 hours we had to make that horrible decision to remove life support from my son. I used the statistic, 95% of parents who lose a child end, end up divorced. It's the blame game in the finger pointing. But what it [00:16:00] did for me too is it didn't matter what other toys I had, none of that mattered.

Randy Mortensen: It was the horrific loss that just led me to more drinking is what it really did. And I would literally go sit on Jay's grave and just cry. And it was the morning period. You know, the period of mourning and grief that, you know, causes weight loss, that causes stress. Nothing else mattered to me at that moment because I had now been robbed of my most valuable asset.

Jen: How did Jay's mom deal with it? 

Randy Mortensen: No better than I did. And that's the problem is we, we really didn't seek professional help because we were already kind of in a struggle. She actually worked at the hospital where he was overdosed. Wow. In the physical therapy realm. You know, [00:17:00] that was the other ugliness part of it.

Randy Mortensen: We really blamed each other, but , as you mentioned, Jen, today, I've taken people through grief share courses and training and those sorts of things. Most statistics will say losing a child is the worst loss anybody could ever have. It's just second to none. And I remember my 80 some year old grant, well I think she was around 80 when my dad died, but I remember her saying, there's nothing like losing your son.

Jen: Yes, my older sister lost her son. I was close to him too. Our boys, I have two boys, they would all play together and it's devastating. I'll never forget the moment I got the phone call and I'm the aunt you know, I'm not the the mom. So that's the closest I can relate to losing a child.

Jen: But does closure exist when you lose a child? 

Randy Mortensen: I think if I said yes, that would be sort of indicating some denial. Parents who [00:18:00] lose a child will go through is those periods of denial to say, well, I wasn't good enough, or, apparently God's plan was way different than mine.

Randy Mortensen: So guilt and denial will hold you from hold you back from being healed and restored. I would say Jay died 38 years ago, but honestly it feels like eight months ago still that that horrible loss do I deal with the better today? Sure. I don't know that I'll ever close the door. You know, I, still wonder why, you know, this was a young man that.

Randy Mortensen: I have his photo in many places, you know, around. I think we learned to cope with it, to go through life with it. And the other thing too, even as I was getting sober, I would say, I know Jay would love me much more as a sober dad than as a drunk dad. Right? So, [00:19:00] so I think there can be moments of encouragement that come about from, from those sorts of losses too.

Randy Mortensen: And growth, personal growth. 

Jen: Yes. And I have to imagine it took you quite a while to get to a point where you could look into that situation now and actually see the personal growth and, and all of that. So to parents, like my sister and I have some girlfriends who have lost children. What are some comforting words that you would share with them 

Randy Mortensen: as a Christ follower:

Randy Mortensen: what I would say initially, the, the initial thought that comes to my mind is, is. Our Heavenly Father, God knows what it is to lose his son, okay? Because Jesus died on the cross. So Jesus, Jesus died a brutal, brutal death, and that was God's plan when his son came to Earth. Okay? That would be the immediate thing that comes to my mind is God knows how I feel.

Randy Mortensen: I [00:20:00] will tell you, at that time of my life, I was a church attender, but I wasn't a Christ follower. So that didn't come for quite a while after Jay's death. Don't do it alone. If you are in a marriage, seek professional help because a husband will never fully understand what the wife is going through, and the wife will never fully understand what the husband's going through.

Randy Mortensen: We're just wired. God just wired us in a different way. It's just like in the recovery world. We are who we hang around with. So I would say be part of a community that can say, I know how you feel. I went through the same thing. Here's how I felt then, but this is the path I've taken and here's how I feel today.

Randy Mortensen: There are GriefShare groups. There's a, there's a ton of other groups that are available, and I would absolutely get plugged into that. That's sort of a [00:21:00] network. You're here for a purpose, and if that son or that daughter is no longer by your side, doesn't mean that you should quit. Okay? The despair, the frustration.

Randy Mortensen: The grief will hold us back, but when we don't look in the rear view mirror, we look through the windshield when life gets better. Because if we keep looking back and questioning the what ifs or the, if only, that's what holds us back from really growing in relationships and, and growing and trusting ourselves to make better decisions.

Jen: Thank you so much for. Sharing that. Sometimes when I go into these interviews, I, I don't necessarily know where it's gonna go. I just kind of, I'm led, you know what I'm saying? I think God kind of says, you know, dig a little deeper in this. And so I appreciate your courage in sharing everything you just.

Jen: Let's move forward a little bit [00:22:00] because there's something you said, and it was in regards to the conversation with your younger brother and how when you went to him for the umpteenth time and said, I'm gonna quit drinking. And he looked at you and he said, you know, listen I've, I've told you this a million times before.

Jen: You've caused a lot of hurt in the family. You just don't listen. How did that not spin you out of control? 

Randy Mortensen: Yeah. Here's the other very interesting thing. So this is a younger brother. At that time, he was in the credit card industry. He went on to become the number three person at Capital One. He went on to serve on the international board of directors for MasterCard.

Randy Mortensen: So this is a young man from small town Minnesota that goes on to get his MBA that goes on to achieve just huge things in his life. And yet those words that he shared with me pierced my heart. What it did [00:23:00] for me is it didn't feel like condemnation. It felt like confirmation. It was really confirming what I knew in my head, but I needed the confirmation to say, yes, be done with this.

Randy Mortensen: You're smarter than this. Make better choices than this. I mean, all of those things come to mind. To this day, I will still express my gratitude to him because he didn't say, oh, you're a worthless piece of crap. It doesn't matter what you try to do. You're not gonna be any good at it. He wasn't judgmental.

Randy Mortensen: He was more confirming the decision that I had made, that there was a lot of doubt in his mind. There was a lot of doubt in my wife's mind. Frankly, there was a whole bunch of doubt in mind also. Right, right. But today he will still [00:24:00] affirm me to say, you know what? I remember that day. Just like you talk about it often, and he said, I had a lot of doubt, but I wanted you to know that I believed in you and I wanted you to know that I wanted this for you Also.

Randy Mortensen: It was an interesting conversation. I've talked about a lot since then. For sure. 

Jen: Oh, absolutely. Condemnation versus confirmation. Never heard that stated before. That is almost like a state of mind. It's like you were really ready and that's how you took that conversation. Right? Which is pretty amazing.

Jen: Thank you for breaking it down like that. 

Randy Mortensen: Well, I'll add to that too is, is what I, you know, I do a lot of business coaching today as well as executive recovery coaching. I will say. To that person. You know what? People are quick to condemn, but they're slow to affirm. So don't own the condemnation, take the confirmation, but really [00:25:00] strive to get the affirmation is the other way that I do that too.

Randy Mortensen: I'm on a mission to save lives and restore relationships is is what I'm really after today. 

Jen: I think that's great. During your recovery journey, what did these two words mean to you? Tough love. 

Randy Mortensen: In many ways, it needed to be me having, loving someone enough to separate myself from them. If they were, if they were a bad influence on me.

Randy Mortensen: I was a real popular guy. Because I was drinking. I was partying. I was buying lunch, you know, food. I was buying booze for 'em. So I thought they loved me, but in reality, they were using me more in the early days of my recovery, the tough love came from me because it was tough for me to not hang out with that same crowd.

Randy Mortensen: [00:26:00] Okay. That's one aspect of it. The other aspect of it was, you know, somebody in recovery, you work the 12 steps. There are those periods in time where you have to identify your character defects, and then you also work through the steps and make amends to those people. You have hurt. And then there's also, and I just taught on this in our recovery ministry last night, forgiveness.

Randy Mortensen: Going to someone to ask them to forgive you for some of those things you did is tough love in all capital letters because it's darn tough for me to go to that person that I screwed over time and time again, or I lied to, I did some horrible things. Now I wanna come and make amends. That's tough. And I wouldn't do that if I didn't love them.

Randy Mortensen: And then [00:27:00] also there were people that screwed me over along the way too because I was making poor choices. So they just capitalized on those poor choices I would make and kind of helped me hostage. So for me to forgive somebody else required tough love on my part. Also, tough Love is a really a 360 degree thing.

Randy Mortensen: It is constantly turning like the, the hands on a clock. Sometimes it's going to be more in your favor and you want more of it. There's going to be other times where you're going to have to discern whether or not that relationship is really helping you or hurting you, and that's where tough love comes into play.

Randy Mortensen: In my opinion. It's an essential part of life and it's also a critical part of our life. Because we all wanna be around other loved ones, but it can also jeopardize your sobriety. It can jeopardize your growth, your personal growth. I [00:28:00] want more of it, but I wanna be you know, very good from a judgment standpoint of making healthy and wise decisions.

Randy Mortensen: Thank 

Jen: you. You know, I wanted to talk about forgiveness for a minute because I've, I've gone to others and asked for forgiveness, and it puts you in a very vulnerable state because you're like, what if they don't accept my forgiveness? Did you ever experience that? 

Randy Mortensen: Yeah, because early in my recovery days, I wanted people to forgive me, but people didn't trust me.

Randy Mortensen: And so they, they said, yeah, that's what you're saying, but come back and talk to me in five years because the facade that I had on it was difficult for people to forgive me because they, they only knew the old me Seeking forgiveness is, is difficult, but like I taught last night. Without forgiveness, our future is not very bright.[00:29:00] 

Randy Mortensen: It's very difficult for us to experience the joy that God plans for us to, to each experience. As I look at forgiveness, it's easier to receive it than it is to give it. And here's the other thing that I'll add too, is who's our own worst critic? Look in the mirror. Right? Look in the mirror. We are absolutely our own worst critic.

Randy Mortensen: And we're the toughest person to forgive when we're forgiving ourselves because it's the guilt and shame that really holds us back from forgiveness. And without forgiveness, we have hopelessness. Without forgiveness, our future looks very. Dull, not bright. So, so forgiveness is essential for our personal growth and for our happiness, for our joy, for our relationships.

Jen: Yes. I so appreciate what you said, especially in the end, because I think part of my current [00:30:00] journey has also been kind of forgiving myself because like you said, we're so hard on ourselves and you use the word perfection earlier today and that was very much me in school and learning to forgive myself has been It's a rewarding journey, and I think it opens you up to then really hearing even more from God where your purpose is to be because you've removed one of those blocks that's been not allowing you to actually go the direction you're supposed to go.

Randy Mortensen: Here's the other thing I would add to that is forgiveness is not a once and done thing either. Right. Forgiveness could be daily for us, forgiveness could be hourly. One of the things that I coach is, you know, before you fall asleep, write down three things that went well and write down three things that could have gone better for your day.

Randy Mortensen: Okay? Then get up tomorrow morning. And write down to three things you want to [00:31:00] accomplish today. Mine, I sometimes have three things. My list grows to six or seven things, which isn't a good idea. Because it'll, it reduces focus, but it requires my daily forgiveness of myself because if I start beating myself up, then the depression sets in.

Randy Mortensen: If I start beating myself up, then you know, my self-perception. Is going to diminish. So we really need to realize we're humans on a daily basis and we're gonna make some bad choices. So I, I, it's essential that I forgive myself even for that one thing that I did, that cookie that I said I wasn't going to eat, you know, or that ice cream that I said, okay, I'm not eating that ice cream today, or those french fries that I had for line, right?

Randy Mortensen: I mean it, that doesn't justify those poor decisions. But it, it, it doesn't make you a bad person, right? Forgiveness is freedom. Once [00:32:00] you experience that, forgiveness brings about your future also, and there may be some people on your list that you want them to forgive you, but it's not safe. What I coach is, is just write a letter as if you are going to send it to 'em.

Randy Mortensen: Some people will send it. Others, I say just burn it. But you at least stated your desire, but it's a matter of you were willing and that's that's what really closes the door. Thank 

Jen: you for sharing that. I think that's, I think that is really important. I think we think of forgiveness as like everything is this really big ball and we're just.

Jen: Supposed to forgive this ball of junk and then everything goes away. But we're human, we're sinners, and we're faced with different conflicts every day. So I love that you just shared forgiveness as an ongoing thing. Could be by the minute, it could be by the hour, by the day. Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. I wanna move on now to where you are today.

Jen: Talk about what you are doing to [00:33:00] help others, what you have been called to do, and then I wanna end this episode with positive words of encouragement. 

Randy Mortensen: What do I do today? When somebody says Hey Randy, what do you do? I, my, my usual comment is, I've, I've been recognized as a business growth specialist.

Randy Mortensen: I'm, I'm blessed to be a global keynote speaker, and I'm an author, a published author. I'm part of a global network of, of business coaches, and I was just named in the Elite 40, the top 40 outta 980 of those business coaches worldwide. My first book was called Breakthrough Ideas, revealed my. Personal story is titled, God took me to Las Vegas to get sober.

Randy Mortensen: That book slated to come out now. It's only about three years behind, but it's supposed to come out now in mid-March. And so that's, God took me to Las Vegas to get sober and I'm doing interviews now. [00:34:00] For my third book, which is really blending my recovery journey with the business journey, I'm really looking to work with talented management professionals whose drive has led them down a path of compulsive and destructive behaviors.

Randy Mortensen: That's what God has me doing today. I've, I've actually retired twice. Well, I went to Haiti for the first time in January of 2006, so for the last 16 years, my wife and I have been leading a nonprofit doing work in Haiti. We have more than 1500 students in our K through 12 schools. We've helped start 130 plus businesses.

Randy Mortensen: We have a medical center that last year served 200, I think it's 220. Some moms in our Healthy Moms Healthy Babies program. So in normal years, if there wasn't so much violence in Haiti, we actually take 250 to 300 Americans with us each year. To Haiti and we call them [00:35:00] impact teams or impact trips, and we don't need the Americans to go with us to do things we can otherwise hire Haitians to do.

Randy Mortensen: But what I like to tell people is, is when they say, why should I go? I say, number one, to realize how blessed you are to be an American. Number two, to take time from your crazy, busy, hectic schedules for God to speak to you or for you to have that aha moment. And the third reason I want people to go is to transfer the knowledge, skills, passions, and the gifts that God has given you to my Haitian brothers and sisters we're actually.

Randy Mortensen: Doing a, an exploratory trip to Portugal. The last week in March. I'm doing two business seminars in Portugal and we're considering expanding our missions work to Portugal in 2023. My adage is you can sleep when you're dead. We all have the same 8,760 hours a year. It's how [00:36:00] we use those hours. That really determines, you know, the impact that, that we'll have on, on others and the significance that, that we can realize and experience.

Jen: I think that's amazing. It is definitely, you have a fascinating story and you provide inspiration to those who may other be hopeless in this, in this moment through your lived experiences. Let's end this episode then with some positive, powerful words of encouragement. 

Randy Mortensen: Well, I'll start with a statistic that's not exactly positive, but it points towards why we, why we need change.

Randy Mortensen: In 2021, here in the United States, there were 107,622 overdose deaths in the United States. If you do that math, it's 295 per day. Those who are dying, those 295 people who are dying today are husbands, wives, sons, [00:37:00] daughters, brothers, sisters people who love them. So I, I encourage people not to wait another day.

Randy Mortensen: And for that parent, if you've got a son or daughter that's struggling, reach out to somebody you know and trust. Part of what's holding us back in the United States is there's so much stigma when it comes to substance abuse. Pornography is becoming a huge addiction right now in the United States. I thought for many, many years it was, it was just the men.

Randy Mortensen: It's not, now it's even teenage girls in into their twenties and thirties, pornography and sex addiction. So the words of encouragement would be, yes, there's a lot of darkness in our world today, but it's going to take us one at a time to make a difference, to share our stories. Because in our testimonies is where people find hope.

Randy Mortensen: In our testimonies, in our journey, in our, I hesitate to call it [00:38:00] success when it comes to our small wins. That's where people find hope. If I can say to that guy, you know what? Been there done that, I've lost more things than most people could imagine, but here's who I am today. Or I say to that, that parent, you know what?

Randy Mortensen: I was just launching a faith-based recovery program at our church that's now served 25,000 people in the last 17 years. I was just starting that. Found out that my 16 year old son was a meth addict. I had no clue that he was doing meth and he had been up for four hours straight when I discovered it.

Randy Mortensen: Okay? If I would've given up on him, he wouldn't now be that proud dad of my 16 month old grandson and a beautiful wife. So don't give up. There is hope. Seek help from others who are out there and you know, be vulnerable [00:39:00] is what I would say. We live in a great country. We have a lot of freedoms, but there's also a lot of judgment.

Randy Mortensen: There's a lot of shame. Find networks of people they're, they're across the country that want to help because they can say, I know how you feel. I felt the same way. This is a pathway that I went down. Here's how I am today. And when we're willing to share those stories, it's going to help not one person, but it's gonna be one plus one, then it's gonna be two times two.

Randy Mortensen: We're helping hundreds and thousands of people. I genuinely want a better life, but here's what blows my mind. Doesn't matter what the degree of wealth is, what college degrees they have, what certifications they have. When I'm speaking at a conference, somebody will come up to me at the end and they'll say, Randy, can you help me?

Randy Mortensen: And I'll say, well, sounds like you want help. You want to change. Why haven't you before now, and [00:40:00] it's always the same forwards. I don't know how. I don't know how, so I want to encourage any of your listeners to get over their, I don't know how, right? I'm encouraging you to reach out to somebody you know and trust, reach out to a friend, reach out to, you know, a church leader, a business leader, and, and ask for help because it's okay.

Randy Mortensen: It's okay to not be okay, is what I would say. So the, I don't know how, is just mind boggling to me. It really is and it, and it just keeps happening. Time after time. I don't even know how many times I've heard that over the last 20 years. 

Jen: Well, what I'm gonna say is we are consistent in that you and I, we never have enough time to talk about everything we wanna talk about.

Jen: So honestly, I'm gonna invite you back and it's interesting, well, you talked about Fentanyl, which is going to actually be my next episode is with a local E M T here as well. But then you talked about porn and I actually [00:41:00] kept this article from one of our local papers, the headline. Reads, attorney General Moody warns about increase in sextortion of minors predators, use photos to blackmail.

Jen: That is a conversation we need to have. And so since you mentioned pornography, I think that's something we could discuss further. We never have enough time. 

Randy Mortensen: No, this is awesome. Yeah. Yeah. You have some awesome questions. You do. Very good. You do well. Thank you. Asking questions, so thank you. 

Jen: Yeah. You're so welcome.

Jen: Well, I, again, I thank you so much for being here, kind of allowing the conversation to go where did so many positive words, words of encouragement. I appreciate that. I know our listeners do. On that note, I'm, I'm gonna say thank you for being my guest on the I Need Blue Podcast. 

Randy Mortensen: Awesome. Thank you for being here and, and as you said in the show notes, there will be links if somebody wants [00:42:00] to reach out to, to me.

Randy Mortensen: My, my office number is 3 2 1 7 5 7. Hope so. It's so, it's really easy. 3 2, 1 7, 5 7 Hope. But Will, I'll give you those details also. So thank you very much Jen. For 

Jen: sure. You're so welcome and thank you for listening today. This is Jen Lee with the I Need Blue Podcast. You can find my podcast on my website, www.ineedblue.net or Apple Podcast, Spotify, all of your favorite podcast platforms.

Jen: And remember, you are stronger than you think. Have a 

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