The Addictions Academy Student Spotlight! Rescue the Rescuer: A Podcast for First Responders and Heroes. Guest Post from Stephen Kavalkovich



  Rescue the Rescuer: A Podcast for First Responders and Heroes

          By: Stephen Kavalkovich, Former Paramedic, Recovery Coach


There is often a big lie that first responders believe and buy into. This is the lie that they are supposed to be tough and not show emotion. While they must maintain a certain amount of composure during an incident, this can delude their lives and thinking when not “on the job.” We often would hide behind the badge and forget that we are human and must have a way of releasing the feelings associated with the trauma we are exposed to on a constant basis.

Why is the divorce rate highest among this population? The alcohol abuse and suicide rates are also the highest? We put the mask of strength on when we are around our colleagues to exude strength and “having it all together.” We use sick humor as a coping mechanism to hide our sadness and sometimes depression.

I often used to call the struggle with weakness and hardship the “thing you didn’t talk about.” It was a sign of weakness to share with coworkers my struggle with nightmares from traumatic rescue attempts, drinking too much, or severe anxiety attacks. We were the problem solvers not problem havers. For many years, my self-destruction through drug addiction, divorce, and gambling progressed. However, the perception of strength and “having it all together” forced me to suffer in silence. I would isolate, lie, and manipulate others into thinking I was okay.

I say all of this because we need a big change. There is a word among cops and fireman that is used a lot but not really embraced. The word is brotherhood. If we are our brother’s keeper we need to start supporting each other like the word entails. It is not a crime to cry or admit that we are struggling with handling life outside of the job. Whether it is a result of what we see daily or other circumstances is irrelevant, what matters is that we feel safe to open the lines of communication without fear of judgement or retribution.

Due to this large void that needs filling, I have decided to launch a podcast specifically for first responders who battle mental illness, addiction, PTSD, and relationship failure. We are great at fixing other people’s problems, but what about ours? A podcast is a great media to use for this as it can be utilized any time. Whether you are driving, exercising or cooking, you can always put in earbuds and tune in.

There is no other show anywhere like this and upon discovering this fact, I knew it had to be created. I know that if I felt alone in my battle, someone else does as well. If it can reach one person, than the effort will not be in vain.

The show will be available on all podcast networks. Including ITunes, IHeartRadio, and Stitcher within the next 2 weeks. We will feature stories, experts, and resources for help for those who need it. The show is called Rescue the Rescuer and I am very excited to bring it to audiences everywhere. Finally, we can ring the alarm and have a forum to respond to our emergencies. I welcome all of you to come visit and be a part of this groundbreaking project.



I am a man who has been given the gift of many experiences in life.

For most of my adult life, I was a 911 Paramedic. I also had the honor of serving a rescue worker at the World Trade Center on 9-11-01 in NYC.

I have seen tragedy and suffering first hand for many years. Little was I aware that I was the one who needed the saving. Through seeking peace within by using all things external, I wound up desperate, broken and destroyed in every way.

I am now grateful to be a man in long-term recovery from substance abuse and destitution. My goal is simple, to use my experience to connect and give you a voice.

I have expertise in Emergency Medical Care, First Responder PTSD and Addiction/Substance abuse issues, Recovery Coaching, Intervention, Leadership, and Spiritual Studies.

I am available for coaching, mentorship, speaking engagements, guest interviews, content production, and consultation services. I welcome you to book me for a free consultation so we can devise a plan to meet your unique needs.