3, Mar, 2016

RecoveryExperts.com – A Marti MacGibbon Interview: A Humorous Motivational Speaker

With all the drawbacks associated with substance abuse, the stigma of drug and alcohol use continues to rise. These days, the problem – rather than the solution – is being highlighted, which makes it that much harder for someone to not only admit they have a problem but actually take that first step to getting the help they need.

Luckily, Marti MacGibbon has found her own solution to this rising problem. With her humor, genuine heart to help, and down-to-earth style, she’s sharing the message of hope and inspiration to people who have been touched by addiction, whether they are a user themselves or a family member.

Here to share with you her experience in the field of addiction treatment is the humorous motivational speaker, Marti MacGibbon.

  1. What is your role as an advocate of addiction recovery?

    I’ve experienced both addiction and recovery firsthand. I was a hard-core drug addict for nearly ten years and turned my life around in 1995. This year, in 2015, I celebrated twenty years of continuous recovery. I do a lot of things to promote recovery and to break away the stigma surrounding the disease.

    As a humorous inspirational speaker who keynotes conferences and events for behavioral health, medical professionals, and addiction specialists, I share my personal story to illustrate how even the seemingly hopeless cases — and I was one — can and do recover. I also talk about the connection between trauma, addiction, and stress, and how they intersect. My years of experience as a professional standup comic taught me how to bring a message with humor.

    When audiences can laugh, they retain a lot more of what they hear, and are less likely to become overwhelmed by the issues that we face in the addiction field today. And laughter is an equalizer, it can bring people together.

  2. Which areas of substance abuse counseling do you work on?

    I am a recovery speaker with five professional certifications in addiction treatment. However, I do not currently work with clients one on one, but in the past, I have worked as a program counselor to homeless veterans. I have worked in outpatient, inpatient, and transitional housing situations.

    As a speaker, I do presentations that promote prevention, and presentations that help to raise public awareness about addiction. I also speak to groups of people currently in treatment, and to the service providers that engage with those populations.

  3. You are known as a humorous motivational speaker, where do you get your inspiration?

    I am continually inspired by the fact that recovery is possible and help is available.

    I celebrate the process of recovery in my daily life and continually refresh myself by looking back at all of the things I have overcome: having survived being trafficked to a foreign country and sold to organized crime figures, adolescent sexual abuse, complex PTSD, domestic violence, addiction, and homelessness.

    I’ve lived through nightmarish experiences, but today, I am happy and successful. My life is filled with purpose, and as I travel around the country speaking to associations and businesses, I meet and talk with audience members — amazing, inspiring people who tell me things they have overcome.

  4. What challenges does a substance abuse patient face? And how do you help them handle it?

    When I was working with clients as a program counselor, I educated them about the disease and also about the recovery process. Education is very important.

    When one suffers from addiction, one’s environment is full of stigma, blame, and shame. 

    It’s essential that patients/clients can learn the facts about this disease, as shame and fear fuel addiction. I also encourage clients to inventory their strengths, so they can build self-confidence, self-esteem, and be empowered. I do the same things today as a speaker — I speak on overcoming adversity, emotional resiliency, and self-empowerment.

    Co-occurring disorders, such as mental illness, present major challenges for clients new in recovery. Many of my clients were dually diagnosed. In addition, many had a severe trauma history and it’s a fact that trauma and addiction intersect. This is something that we need to recognize and understand as trauma affects behavior; if it is not taken into account, the trauma may be repeated, or in the least, misunderstood and interpreted as non-compliance, etc.

  5. Where do you stand in today’s stigma of substance addiction?

    I stand as one who has recovered from addiction and my life is a stance against the stigma. I celebrate recovery every day and I live in a place of empowerment: I am stronger, better, smarter, kinder, andbraver today, not in spite of the things I have lived through and overcome, but because of them.

    There is nothing to be gained by shaming those who suffer from this disease. Stigma works against the solution. Education breaks away stigma.

  6. Of all your accomplishments, what do you consider the most remarkable?

    My most remarkable accomplishment as an individual has been learning how to forgive and how to love. It’s remarkable because I have lived my way through some terrifying, awful places, and I have lifelong physical injuries from some of the trauma. Forgiveness of self and others can be transformative and in my life it’s been essential.

    Love is a very powerful transformative force, and it begins with loving yourself, accepting yourself and being brave enough to take action to make your own life better and more meaningful.

    You learn how to love and appreciate others fully once you learn to love yourself. In addition, self-loathing comes naturally. In recovery, love appears. When you live in love, forgiveness, and gratitude, you live in endless possibility.

  7. From everything you’ve been through, what lesson have you learned?

    I’ve learned that courage is not the absence of fear; it is the conscious decision to move through the fear to the objective. And courage, combined with love, is unstoppable.

  8. Laff-Aholics is a brilliant charity and event you’ve created. How did it start?

    I started Laff-Aholics in 2011, with my husband, Chris Fitzhugh, who is also in recovery. We wanted to create an event that would celebrate recovery and since I did professional standup for a number of years, we figured standup comedy would be an excellent way to go. After all, I am a standup comedian, so I open the show with a 15 minute set each year. Then we have two excellent headliners, each comic does about an hour, with a 25 minute intermission between.

    We give one hundred percent of the profits from the show to transitional housing facilities that provide access to addiction treatment and mental health services. We benefit non-profits that will take people who are the most vulnerable in the recovery community — people working their way back from addiction who have little or no resources.

  9. What future plans do you have for Laff-Aholics?

    I’d like our annual event to become a time-honored tradition in the city of Indianapolis and that’s not an impossible dream. I know comics, and they know comics, so I will not likely run out of headliners for the show – comedians who are sympathetic to the cause of recovery. The venue continues to sell out days before the event, so we’ve got a following.

    Each year, I meet young people in recovery who tell me about the positive impact that Laff-Aholics has had on their lives. If the show continues to fill seats, maybe someday we can do it in a neighboring city to Indianapolis such as Detroit or Chicago. Time will tell. In the meantime, one Laff-Aholics a year provides both me and my husband with plenty of work and challenges.

  10. Tell us about your nationally award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

    I wanted to write the book for all addicts, both those in active addiction, and those in recovery. I was still doing standup when I began writing it and I wanted to tell my story with humor, even if it was dark humor. I didn’t want it to be boring or a sob story…I wanted readers to know about addiction firsthand and to know that even the seemingly hopeless cases can and do recover. Since its release in 2012, the book has earned a national award, critical acclaim from Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review, Foreword Clarion, and other honors.

    The book is not a self-help book or a how-to.  It’s merely my story, the story of a hard-core addict who ultimately recovers. Stories can be so helpful on the journey of recovery. I think people in recovery like it because it’s real and gritty and funny and scary and sad all at once — and that’s what life — and recovery — is like.

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21, Feb, 2016

Marti MacGibbon is Guest Speaker at the Museum of Tolerance in L.A.

Humorous inspirational speaker and award-winning advocate Marti MacGibbon returned to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles on February 14th, 2016. Marti is an annual guest speaker at the MOT, a world-renowned Simon Wiesenthal holocaust museum that provides education and interactive exhibits that inform visitors about current and past human rights abuses and issues, and provides information about how to combat these injustices. Ms. MacGibbon spoke as an empowered survivor of international sex trafficking, and provided inspiring insights into overcoming adversity and trauma.

Marti MacGibbon is an annual guest speaker at the Museum of Tolerance in LA.

Marti MacGibbon is an annual guest speaker at the Museum of Tolerance in LA.

Marti MacGibbon is an empowered survivor of human trafficking and a guest speaker at the MOT.

Marti MacGibbon is an empowered survivor of human trafficking and a guest speaker at the MOT.


Marti MacGibbon Speaks at Women in Successful Enterprises Fundraiser

Humorous inspirational speaker, human trafficking survivor/advocate and nationally award-winning author Marti MacGibbon delivered a dynamic and uplifting keynote speech at an event organized by Women in Successful Enterprises (WISE). The event, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a fundraiser benefiting the Manasseh Project, an anti-trafficking organization that serves victims and survivors in West Michigan.

Ms. MacGibbon is a national survivor leader and advocate who has lobbied at the White House and State Department on policy and mental health services for human trafficking victims and survivors.

Marti is a certified mental health professional with years of experience doing professional standup comedy. Her presentations are fun, humorous, and informative.

At the event, Marti signed copies of her critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom. 

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Marti MacGibbon signed copies of her award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear

Marti MacGibbon signed copies of her award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear

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22, Jan, 2016

Marti MacGibbon Speaks at Mentari U.S.A. Events in NYC

Marti MacGibbon is a human trafficking survivor, a humorous inspirational speaker, an award-winning author and advocate, and an expert on trauma resolution and addiction recovery. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and on January 15th, Marti delivered a keynote speech to survivors and advocates in New York, New York. The event, at the Unitarian Church All Souls, 1157 Lexington Avenue in NYC, celebrated Mentari U.S.A., a non-profit founded and led by survivors Shandra Woworuntu and Ima Matul. Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program provides support and services to survivors of diverse forms of trafficking, and their clients hail from many different countries. After her keynote speech, Marti signed copies of her nationally award-winning, critically acclaimed memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

Marti also delivered an inspirational talk on January 16th, at a related Mentari event attended primarily by students, and featuring a student panel. Ms. MacGibbon also signed books at that event. Marti donated 30% of the profits from book sales to Mentari.

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Marti MacGibbon Speaks at Marion County Conference on Re-entry

The Marion County Conference on Re-entry is an annual event sponsored by the city of Indianapolis and the Marion County Re-entry Coalition (MCRC). The purpose of the conference is to provide resources to community-based and faith-based service providers and to criminal justice agencies that serve the needs of ex-offenders re-entering the community. Marti MacGibbon delivered a presentation in a breakout session attended by a full capacity audience. The presentation, entitled Game Changers: Tools to Build Emotional Resiliency, is a fun and interactive session that provides attendees with simple and effective strategies that anyone can employ to lift mood, adjust attitude, avoid burnout, stay flexible to meet challenges, and more. The tools are based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness meditation, but Marti puts her high-energy spin on the class, and provides plenty of humor.

Marti MacGibbon is a well-known humorous inspirational speaker and nationally award-winning author who has recovered from and triumphed over hard-core drug addiction, human trafficking, domestic violence, PTSD, homelessness and adolescent sexual assault/abuse. She signed copies of her funny and dramatic memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

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Marti MacGibbon Speaks to Re-entry Population in Cass-Pulaski County

Humorous inspirational speaker Marti MacGibbon delivered a high energy, informative, and entertaining presentation on addiction recovery, resilience, and self-empowerment to clients in re-entry from the Cass-Pulaski County Community Corrections. Marti is a survivor of hard-core drug addiction, adolescent sexual assault/abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence, PTSD and homelessness who turned her life around using simple and effective strategies that anyone can employ to create positive change.

The event was held at IVY Tech Community College in Logansport, Indiana. After her talk, Ms. MacGibbon signed copies of her nationally award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

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Marti MacGibbon Speaks at Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence

Marti MacGibbon is an empowered survivor of domestic violence, human trafficking, homelessness, PTSD and addiction. Today, she is a well-known humorous inspirational speaker and nationally known author of the memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

Marti spoke as a survivor and advocate for victims and survivors of domestic violence, at a candlelight vigil in Marion, IN. The annual event, organized by Hands of Hope, raises awareness about the issue and memorializes victims who have lost their lives to this crime. Domestic violence is a crime that often goes unreported, due to the stigma that surrounds it. Marti’s humor, grace, and upbeat speaking style entranced the audience. They gave her a standing ovation.

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6, Jan, 2016

Laff-Aholics 2015 Raises $11,450 for Transitional Housing Facilities in Indy

Laff-Aholics Comedy Benefit for Recovery 2015 raised $11,450 dollars for our beneficiaries, Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation and Foundation for Court Promoted Recovery. Both beneficiaries are non-profits in Indianapolis that provide access to treatment for addiction and mental health services. Humorous inspirational speaker and standup comic Marti MacGibbon  is founder, producer and emcee of the annual event. One hundred percent of the profits from the show go to beneficiaries. In the five years since the inaugural event in 2011, Laff-Aholics has raised approximately $40,000 for various beneficiaries, including Dove House, Talbot House, Pathway to Recovery, Beacon House, Lucille Raines Residence, J.R. Jessee Sober Living, Rich Recovery, and place of P.O.W.E.R.

Laff-Aholics' venue is the IMA's Toby Theater.

Laff-Aholics’ venue is the IMA’s Toby Theater.

And the money is only one aspect of Laff-Aholics’ reach, and its benefit to the recovery community. The show features nationally headlining comedians with national TV credits. The venue is the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater, a 530 seat auditorium. Laff-Aholics has been very successful, with sold-out shows and theater seats filled to capacity. The audience roars with laughter, and the love, optimism, and high energy is healing and energizing. This year’s headliners were Dave Landau of Last Comic Standing, and Doug Starks, a Las Vegas headliner who tours internationally. For people in recovery, especially those who are new to the recovery lifestyle, the event provides not only laughter, but social connectivity and proof that you can live a substance-free and still have a lot of fun.

Marti MacGibbon, founder, producer and emcee, with headliner Dave Landau

Marti MacGibbon, founder, producer and emcee, with headliner Dave Landau

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18, Dec, 2015

Marti MacGibbon Keynotes APNA Conference in Louisville

Inspirational humorous speaker Marti MacGibbon delivered a keynote speech at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. MacGibbon is an internationally known author and an expert on trauma resolution and addiction. Her powerful personal comeback story, combined with humor and practical insights into resilience, healing, and positive change make her a favorite with audiences. And Marti MacGibbon lives her message – she is a survivor of human trafficking, domestic violence, complex PTSD, homelessness and hard-core drug addiction who turned her life around twenty years ago. Today, she is an empowered survivor, nationally award-winning author, standup comic, and certified addictions specialist who has spoken at the White House and the California State Legislature. After her talk, Marti signed copies of her funny and dramatic memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

Marti MacGibbon encourages and inspires psychiatric nurses.

Marti MacGibbon encourages and inspires psychiatric nurses.

The client says it best, so here is an excerpt from a letter of recommendation from the APNA-KY event planner:

“Marti MacGibbon was the keynote speaker for our Annual State Conference in September 2015. Ms. MacGibbon delivered an inspirational presentation laced with humor, honesty, and hope. Through the sharing of her life experiences with addiction, trauma and mental illness, Ms. MacGibbon showed her audience of psychiatric nurses that recovery is possible; and she gave us insight into what we as psychiatric nurses can do for others even in the most trying of times. Ms. MacGibbon provided exactly what she advertises, and does so with great authenticity and enthusiasm. I would highly recommend Marti MacGibbon as keynote speaker for other audiences of mental health professionals.”

Brittany Yates, MSN, APRN, FPMHNP-BC, American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Kentucky

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Marti MacGibbon Keynotes Labette Center Conference

Marti MacGibbon is an internationally known author, a humorous inspirational speaker, and an expert on trauma resolution and addiction. She delivered a high energy and uplifting keynote speech at the recovery month event, “Putting the Pieces Back Together,” at Labette Center for Mental Health in Parsons, KS. The event, which fell on National Suicide Prevention Day, was well attended and covered in the local press.

Marti knows her topic well. She holds five professional certifications in addiction treatment, has worked as a program counselor in California, and has a powerful personal comeback story – twenty years ago, after nearly ten years of hard-core drug addiction and complex PTSD, she turned her life around, and devotes her life to breaking away the stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness.

Her presentations are entertaining, humorous, and provide steps that anyone can use to create positive change in any area of life. Marti is also a survivor of human trafficking, domestic violence, homelessness, and adolescent sexual abuse/assault, and she is an advocate for victims and survivors. She carries the message that with a program of positive action and daily renewal, anyone can recover, heal, triumph, and lead a happy and successful life.

After her presentation, Marti talked with attendees and signed copies of her nationally award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom.

Marti MacGibbon signed copies of her award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear

Marti MacGibbon signed copies of her award-winning memoir, Never Give in to Fear

 

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