Living Better With Dr. Russ

Living Better With Dr. Russ

Show 1

This is the introductory show offering the most basic goals of the show series, its format and introducing both Dr. Russ and his co-host Lou Russo. It discusses the relationship between the name of the show, Living Better, and the show’s subject matter by trying to maximize pleasure daily so that one’s life is maximally positive and enjoyable. It also begins to discuss the Pearls of Wisdom, basic truths about how humans function (perceptions, thoughts and behaviors).

Show 2

This show further describes the radio show series design, goals and objectives. It speaks about how the show demonstrates multiple paths to a happier life by making simple daily changes. It also overviews some of the Pearls of Wisdom (basic truths about life).

Show 3

This show continues to explain and expand on the Pearls of Wisdom concept in the first segment with a number of examples of how these pearls manifest in the daily events of essentially all individual’s lives. It also focuses on how these Pearls of Wisdom can be used to improve the quality of daily living and thus make life better.

This show has our first guest, Nancy, who shares her story of having chronic medical problems that were treated by her doctors with opiates and led to her opiate dependency, which ruled her life for many years. It is also about how seemingly unrelated events that impact an individual’s life can produce states of being emotionally overwhelmed without the individual being aware of the build up.

Show 4

This show addresses how drug use impacts an individual’s personal life and the lives of most significant people in their life. It also addresses how life stressors contribute to mind-altering drug use and how being a former drug user has a tendency to become part of an individual’s identity.

The guest for this show is Chris who talks about how his family pressures contributed to his opiate use and how his former use impacts his role within his family and his relationship with his wife. He also speaks about what it will take for him to forgive himself.

Show 5 & 6

Last minute scheduling changes led to doing a two-part show that are listed here as shows 5 and 6. Both have the same two guests with the discussion spread over two shows. One of the guests was fairly new to treatment at the time of the show with most of the focus of her treatment on managing the first prong of my three-prong approach, managing her withdrawal symptoms with Suboxone, with some focusing on the second prong, the psychiatric portion of my three-prong approach, with little or no time spent on third prong, the talk therapy portion.

The other guest had spent much more time in treatment with me and thus was much more stabilized on both the Suboxone and psychiatric fronts, with many hours of talk therapy addressing a number of issues in her life.

The differences in perspectives between the two guests are quite obvious.

Show 7

This is a summary show, overviewing the previous shows and elaborating on some of the key points, especially the “Pearls of Wisdom."

Show 8

This show continues to overview and explain the “String of Pearls” basic truths about human behavior. The guest on this show, Ryan, talks about the impact of his opiate use on his self image, while using and since he entered sobriety. Fortunately, he has been able to turn his opiate use and arrest into a positive and return to being the “person who succeeds” in the eyes of his family and friends.

Show 9

This show is in some ways an extension of Show 8, talking about the impact of drug use on an individual’s personal and professional life and especially how they see themselves. The guest in this case is Dr. Russ, who had been sanctioned by the NJ Medical Board years ago because of his short-term cocaine abuse years ago. Dr. Russ speaks candidly about his struggles with forgiving himself for becoming addicted to cocaine because of the embarrassment, damage to his reputation and the impact on his family and friends. Most importantly, he speaks about what is necessary to embrace recovering from a past error.

Show 10

This show continues with the theme of trouble forgiving one’s self for a past major error. It also focuses on patterns of behavior that are likely to eventually involve drug and/or alcohol use. The guest, Judy, speaks about how her unrealistic expectations contributed to her depression from repeated disappoints and her ultimately turning to drugs to hide from her emotional pain.

Show 11

This show opens with a continuation of Dr. Russ’ elaboration of the role of the “Pearls of Wisdom” and their impact on an individual’s life. It then migrates to our guest Kat’s discussion about the interaction between her life choices and her past drug usage, as well as how using drugs labeled her as the problem child within her family.

Show 12

This show is much like show 9 with the main difference being that instead of Dr. Russ being interviewed by Lou Russo, Dr. Russ interviews Lou about his recent struggle with his phobia of flying that led to his boarding gate inability to board an airplane for a vacation he planned with his wife. Lou also speaks about what he has learned from co-hosting the show.

Show 13

This show draws upon a recent tragic news event where a pilot intentionally crashed a German Wings plane into a French mountain, killing 150 people. It uses this terrible story to demonstrate how people make many daily assumptions about their safety and well-being in an effort to try to help people better realize that there are many forces beyond our control that effect our daily lives, and, in this case, the duration of life. It also talks about how people make many misassumptions about people they interact with on a daily basis.

Show 14

This show is one of the most tragic and inspiring of the shows in this series. It talks about how tragic and troublesome events overload people and can increase their likelihood of turning to something appears to provide instant relief, like drugs.

Our guest today, Ronnie, is a down to earth hard working individual who was hurt on his job and taking prescribed opiates for pain relief. While taking the opiates a string of incredibly tragic events in his life occurred in rapid succession, which totally overwhelmed Ronnie and ultimately led to an increase in his opiate use in an attempt to reduce his physical and emotional pain.

The most remarkable aspect of Ronnie’s story was how he regained his composure and started rebuilding his life while being treated with Suboxone to initially manage his opiate dependency problems and ultimately to help manage his physical pains.

Show 15

This show is about differentiating being overwhelmed from being depressed. This difference is very important because, while the symptoms are similar and both equally problematic, the treatment for each is quite different. Unlike most of the other shows in this series, this is a highly educational show since it is comprised largely of Dr. Russ talking about these topics.

Show 16

This show has two functions, to further discuss the inter-relationships between substance abuse and mental health problems, and to allow our guest Ocean County Prosecutor, Joe Coronato, an opportunity to talk about the current state of Ocean County’s drug and alcohol problems and the programs that he has in place and plans to put in place.

Show 17

This is another show where there is a single topic for discussion between Lou and Dr. Russ, and no guest. The core question for this discussion is, “why are so many people unhappy?”. Dr. Russ addresses this question from many different angles designed to try to help listeners relate to one or more of the many causes of unhappiness.

Show 18

This show is about a subject that is of great importance to residents of Ocean and Monmouth Counties because it speaks about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and in particular PTSD caused by Super Storm Sandy. The show overviews symptoms, how they progressively and quietly worsen until they can no longer be ignored.

The guest for this show is one of the Hero’s Of Sandy, James Samarelli, “Sam”, the former Fire Chief of Seaside and head of the Office Emergency Management. While he certainly played a very important role during the storm and saved many lives, as well as a critical role during the boardwalk fire in Seaside after the storm, there was a huge personal cost to Sam in the form of PTSD. He speaks openly about his PTSD during a discussion with Dr. Russ in the hopes that it will help others.

Show 19

Most people do not see the full impact of drug usage on their overall lives. This show centers on our guest Jerry’s experiences in how his former significant other used doubt and guilt about his former drug use to manipulate him until she had control of almost all aspects of his life. Fortunately, the show is mostly about how he ultimately fought back to regain control of his life.

Show 20

Brock and Arlene are the guests on this show to talk about how a significant other is affected by their significant other using opiates. Brock is the opiate user and anti-anxiety drug abuser in this relationship and talks about the impact of his drug use on his life and how he perceives it impacting Arlene. Arlene talks about what it is like to be involved with a drug user, both as an active user and while not using.

Show 21

This show is a discussion show where Dr. Russ talks about what he believes are the most important messages he can offer listeners. He also tries to clarify why there is so much mixed information about Suboxone and explains what is necessary for Suboxone to be maximally effective for treating opiate use and abuse.

Show 22

This show is quite different from the others. It’s guest is Paulie. He is a former professional wrestler who suffered many physical injuries in the course of his wrestling career that have produced chronic pain throughout his body. He has tried various treatment approaches including: tolerating the pain and trying to work throughout it; physical rehabilitation; opiates from pain management specialists, which produced opiate dependency, and now treatment with low dose methadone for pain. He speaks about how taking methadone for pain has impacted his life.

Show 23

This show is a prelude to the final show in this series. Dr. Russ and Lou discuss why more people are not achieving the treatment results that they desire and why more people are not seeking treatment despite clear problems in their daily lives.

Show 24

This is the final show of the series on the radio. The show will continue as a podcast and hopefully then expand to a You Tube show that offers recordings of live presentations made my Dr. Russ and Lou Russo to local communities.

During this show Dr. Russ goes over the Pearls of Wisdom and then discusses key messages from the series and relates them back to the Pearls of Wisdom. Lou Russo also offers key messages that he has learned from the show.