Alteration. Conversion. Transformation. Adaptation.
No matter how you label it, the capacity for humans to alter their own perspectives through lived experience and new found focus in order to find purpose and direction in life is fascinating to watch and listen to.
Rob Lohman is an agent for these things, for growth and change. He works tirelessly to broadcast his podcast ‘Beyond The Bars Radio’ on the Mental Health News Radio network and he does it with a soft approach that doesn’t just sound genuine.
The kind that grows from learning things the hard way.
His inspiration to create his show stems from the goal of transformation. For himself as he continues to add to a solid foundation of faith, family and friends. Transformation implies in the human sense a “thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance” and in his view that is the only way to attain happiness.
The theme of his show is a hybrid mission statement based on his experiences with addiction, incarceration, his journey in recovery and his goals in advocacy.
I’ve had the chance to speak with Rob on more than one occasion. You know, the kind of conversation shared between two addicts who want to not only be better, but do better.
It’s that kind of comforting connection that he brings to his audience with every episode.
I asked him what led to the realization that he wanted to be involved in mental health and media. His response was simple, yet telling.
“Because that is my story,” he said.
Rob carries himself with such humility and grace that makes you want to open up and share right back. It’s inspiring, listening to him read passages of his chosen books and other materials on his Facebook live streams, too. His soft sense of understanding comes across easily and he makes it recovery seem possible.
After being connected to and meeting MHNR Founder & CEO Kris Walker he said developing ‘Beyond The Bars Radio’ was “a dream that became reality.”
Which is ironic given where he had been on his path in life and up to today since being released from prison in his own right. There was a time and place when he didn’t think he had the strength to go on.
His podcast focuses intensely on topics related to incarceration, addiction, treatment, recovery and other related issues designed to illustrate the reality and pain that can sometimes impact the human experience when things in life go awry.
Given his own experience with all of these things it’s telling how relaxed and focused and quite frankly willing he is to share what he’s been through and how he managed to turn it all around.
He said that hosting his show has “built his credibility by interviewing other credible sources in the industry.”
And sometimes, to drive change you have to jump right in, grab the wheel and steer.
I asked him, as I often ask myself, how he stays focused in his own life apart from his initiatives related to the MHNR and other projects he is involved in as he works to gain separation from that day three years ago when he stepped outside the barbed wire fences and riot control watchtowers and soul-destructing world that is prison.
“As a Podcaster, an Interventionist, an addiction recovery coach, a father, a husband, an active member in my church, a dreamer and an entrepreneur…practicing self-discipline and living a balanced life is a struggle. do the best I can and strive to do better most days. Exercise, eating right and living from my values keeps me on the right path.”
Notice how he put all of those people, places and things ahead of himself.
Self discipline starts from within. And it’s largely about doing for others what they need. Helping where you can. And making it a point to listen and care.
‘Beyond The Bars Radio’ does all of those things on an episode-by-episode basis. The show illustrates the difficulties for those transitioning back to society after incarceration. And it purposefully shows how real the struggle can be.
I asked him how he became connected to the MNHR. He said that he met Kris through his mentor Cali Estes. Cali helped him- pardon the pun- break into the addiction and recovery field. After inviting her to come to his ‘Navigating the World of Addiction’ event in Denver the rest, he said, is history.
Depression, anxiety, fear and other mental health challenges can cloud a person’s judgement. This is a common theme on not just his show but most of the programming available on MHNR.
I was curious how he works to keep the focus on helping people in his audience to see they’re not alone while connecting and ultimately his goals for his show.
He replied “The goals for the program are to unite our communities to seek out help and move past the stigmas of addiction and incarceration. I try to move our listeners to reach out for help while listening to the show and to check out other podcasting programs on the MHNR network. have actually received calls from fellow MHRN podcaster Aaron Huey’s ‘Beyond Risk and Back’ podcast when Aaron interviewed me. Pretty cool group to be part of.”
We couldn’t agree more, Rob. We couldn’t agree more.
For information including current and past episodes of ‘Beyond The Bars Radio’ please check out www.beyondthebarsradio.com.
The show is a proud member of the Mental Health News Radio network. You can learn more about all of the other podcasts that are available there by going to www.mentalhealthnewsradionetwork.com.