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An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four)


Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 13.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain:

Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2017

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,990

ISSN 2369-6885


An interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA. He discusses: status of EHN; tasks and responsibilities as the national director; building on successes; greatest emotional struggle in life; the dual-life with recovery and business; advice for those struggling; the total suite of care for EHN; the feeling of being a practitioner one-on-one or in groups; general philosophy; political philosophy; social philosophy; economic philosophy; their interrelationships; upcoming collaborative projects; upcoming solo projects; recommended authors; and concluding feelings and thoughts.

Keywords: Edgewood Health Clinics Network, Patrick Zierten, philosophy, recovery.

An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA: Program Coordinator, Edgewood Health Clinics; Ex-National Executive Director, Edgewood Health Clinics Network (Part Four)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

44. You had an idea. You followed through with it, and accomplished it – admirable. This culminated in the creation of Edgewood Vancouver. EDGEWOOD Alumni INSITE in Vancouver (2012), in part, states:

Patrick Zierten, EDGEWOOD Vancouver’s Program Director, is a happy man. “When we opened up the new office in Vancouver, one of my priorities was to bring Insite to Vancouver. Not the Insite as developed for family members living with an addicted loved one, but one specifically designed for individuals in recovery from substance dependence.”…”I met with Dale MacIntyre, EDGEWOOD’s Family Program Supervisor, and we went to work revising some of the components of the program so that it was more applicable for folks in recovery.[5]

What is the current status for the development of EHN now?

The development of this program for EHN. It’s no longer called the INSITE program. We’ve developed a number of adjunct programs to respond to the needs of people later in recovery. That part I talked about being a better human being and being in better relationships, and that’s what that program was develop for. We run workshops and relationships. We run workshops on boundary development. We run workshops on couples in recovery. It’s not one specific program. It’s a bunch of specific programs that we broke off into. Because I think as a person in recovery, we’re learning skills that we should have learned a long, long time ago. So, that’s where Edgewood health network has embraced the continuum of care, that doesn’t necessarily mean a treatment, but it could be a number of processes along this continuum.

45. It noted happiness as the main emotion at the outset of the article in description of the Vancouver facility’s foundation. What is the emotion now – especially with additional tasks and responsibilities as the national director?

I’d say happy. That’s all I can say. I am happy about what I’ve been doing, and I kind of went astray, and I know I’m called to do what I’m supposed to do here. I love the people I work with. They are passionate about what they do. I got grandkids man! I have a new wife. I’ve been with her for 17 years.


Thank you.

46. Obviously, success tends to build on sets of achievements. The more one gets, the easier things tend to get – if built on the previous foundation, like building the foundation, then the indoor parking and the first floor, and then the subsequent floors in a high-rise building, for instance. In terms of staff, resources, public, and families with substance abuser support, and others, what seem like the sources of the success for Edgewood as a whole? For something to exist this long, in a society that does have drug problems, it performs a core service for the public and the individuals in the families.

Using the analogy of the foundation, the foundation of the EHN is passion to help the suffering addict, to recognize that these people are sick, not that they shouldn’t be accountable for their disease, but that they need help, and developing a staff that has that same passion. If you’ve got the right people with the same passion, and put them in a building, you’re going to get recovery. Then, as we started to look at the skills of the people we’ve brought on board, we say, “How can we better utilize their skill sets to develop programs that can help them with their passion?” Maybe, it is the INSITE program. Maybe, it is the intensive outpatient program. Maybe, it is one-on-one counselling. Maybe, it is going to this workshop for EMDR. So, you start to develop your people and programming around the assets of your people, and it’s just a matter of opening the door and they will come. It’s rather simplistic, but that’s the concept.

Field of Dreams always has use.



47. In the same article, EDGEWOOD Alumni INSITE in Vancouver (2012), you touched on personal struggles, and in this interview. What seems like the greatest emotional struggle in personal life?

The first thing that comes to mind when you ask that question is struggling with figuring out who I was and not being judgmental. Not labelling it as good or bad. I grew up in a life where it was either good or bad. I had to get out of that thought process. And even to this day, I do not think of things in terms of good or bad. Some things get me what I wish want. Some things don’t get me what I want. Some things are just the way they are. That’s been helpful in dealing with human beings. They’re human beings with different struggles and different situations. That’s my Catholic tradition. The Catholic tradition puts you in two categories: good or bad. I had to shake that. That was a huge piece for me.

I had always thought of myself as good or bad, because of my addiction. When you have a belief system, you will search for evidence that supports that belief system. If I was bad, I’d search for evidence that I was bad. I did behaviors that supported that belief system. So, you get into that stupid trap. I had to flip everything upside down. I simply need to forgive and not judge at all.  I had to take judgment out of the whole scheme of things. That’s what first comes out for me on that question.

48. You mentioned a dual-life with recovery and business. At the same time, my general sense from you. They’re not really separate.

If I look at my recent career choice, I can see how I let my ego get the best of me. The money sounded good. The title sounded good. The prestige was kind of cool. It really resonated with my ego when I realized I was not up to the task and was miserable. I didn’t say, “You stupid idiot. I can’t believe you listened to your old ego, and ended up down this stupid path, and now you’re miserable.” I just said, “Wow, what the heck happened here?”

There wasn’t a judgment there. And that helped me. That, I think, allowed me or gave me permission to have the conversation with my boss. Whereas before, I would have said, “I can’t believe you made this choice. Now, you’re stuck with it.” I can’t let anyone know that I might have made a bad decision. Or I allowed myself to do something that isn’t true to me. My old self would never have allowed that. The new self that is not judgmental said, “Man, you did it again!”


You laugh at yourself. That gave me the courage to have the conversation.

49. Any advice for those that continue to struggle with their own, similar, issues and concerns?

Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s simple advice. How do you take yourself less seriously? Recognize, and learn to smell the roses. Stop and breathe the air. Hang around with a bunch of folks that are trying to do the same thing. That, to me, is crucial. That you hang around with people that’re trying to do the same thing as me because trying to do it on my own I’m going to go astray.  My experience is that you’d go into your default patterns. So, I have tried to be a teacher in terms of trying to smell the roses.

Find those with a common cause.

Yes! That’s what community is about. That was going to be one of my university papers was the importance of community, and how we’ve drifted away from community, and there’s a great book called The Disappearance of Bowling. It’s a guy who writes about how we used to be so community-minded a 100 years ago. Bowling was the largest sport, participant sport in North America for years back in the 60s and 70s. What he was getting at is the essence of community, we don’t have clubs anymore. Church attendance is declining dramatically. Those types of community. They’re all disappearing.

And what does that do for us as human beings, we’re built to be, and designed to be, in community. Technology is robbing us of that. The social network is robbing us of that. It is creating pseudo-communities, but we’re really fooling ourselves because we’re not really being in community when we’re talking to somebody on Facetime or Skype.

This is what I’m afraid of is today’s kids. They will just assume that this is community. I’ve seen it. I’m broad-brushing, so I’m generalizing. You go into a restaurant and they’re texting while they’re eating dinner. It may be not applicable to this segment, but what about the next generation, which grows up thinking that facebook and Tweeting, which is common place even today, but could be even more common place in the future. Then it’s not going to a microcosm. It’s going to be a macrocosm.

There’s a book by Isaac Asimov or Bradbury I can’t remember. He talks about this futuristic state where these people live on a planet, and there are only 800 people on the planet, and the rest are robots and social networks. I remember this is how mankind had evolved. That they lived in these homes, and the next nearest relative might be 7,000 miles away, but they communicated in a virtual reality as if they were sitting in their dining room talking to the other human being. And robots were doing everything. There were androids.

And procreation was you put your sperm in a cup, and send the egg, and they fertilize it in some manufacturing company, and voila! You have a child. Is that what we’re headed for in 3,000 years? It’d be interesting.

One of things I’ve become very comfortable with in life is, I don’t know. Everything, matter of fact I know very little. It’s not worth debating because it’s too far in the future to know. And if I don’t know something, I credit God for it. God provides me stability and comfort in that I don’t know everything, which is tough thing for a lot of people.

50. I want to explore some of the processes – again, without breach of confidentiality or dissemination of sensitive information – for “inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs” through Edgewood Health Network Inc.[6] Let’s begin, some of the reasons for those with an interest in this program of care, or others in fact, might lie in getting “your family back with a treatment program” with comprehensive focus on “physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components, as well as family, and the community system.”[7] EHN focuses on individuated recovery paths via personalized treatment.

According to the EHN website, in What You Should Need Know (2016), patient time taken for treatment varies, especially with factors such as “needs, issues, resources and strengths.”[8] You have the sole “only national network of adult inpatient and outpatient treatment services across the country, 24/7 help, and an open-source assessment tool, we provide top-tier, customized paths for every one of our patients,” too.[9]

EHN considers addiction a family disease.[10] EHN gives support services for families too. This exists alongside the other support services such as Aftercare, or Continuum of Care. How do these programs knit together into one blanket for EHNs total suite of care?

We’re providing a number of entry points into treatment. Once you get into that entry point, then there’s a program that will be developed to what your needs are, and what you’re willing to do. Those might include the family. They might not include the family. They might include the spouse. They might not include the spouse. It might include abstinence. It might not include abstinence, but the continuum will always try to bring you towards abstinence. I can walk alongside the client for three or four years before they enter an inpatient situation, and they actually start to get some sobriety. I might walk alongside them for 3 or 4 more years in one-on-one counselling. That process can be years long.

But there’s entry and access point. So I might see him for a while, and then they leave, and then they re-enter treatment again. Then we have another plan that they’d work with, that might not be successful, or not, and then they re-enter again. There are a number of entry point, but once you get into the entry point. There’s a program designed specifically for you.

51. These remain important details, and overviews, of the EHN provisions. Nonetheless, this can leave questions. How does this feel as a practitioner going through these processes with patients – one-on-one or in group?

It’s evolved. It’s changed. I got extremely involved in the emotional situation of the individual. There was a lot of transference. After a while, I realized I was working too hard for the client because I wanted to relieve my own personal anxiety. So if I make you feel better, I won’t feel so bad. It’s really self-motivated, or selfish. It’s not based on your wish for this person to get better. What I realized is that I was starting to get symptoms of burnout: irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness, bad dreams, etc.

Over time, I have been able to develop a ‘callous’, where I can hear the story and don’t get emotionally reactive to it, as much. There’s still some stories I hear and go, “Holy smokes.” – especially when there’s children involved, that activates me. Or if there’s abuse of women, I get extremely activated. That really gets me charged, but the rest of it. I have a good callous.

We don’t like to talk about what we do often in the office. We develop this black humor that you hear in emergency rooms, fireman and EMT workers. These people that manage the trauma they experience by developing this black humor. It’s not from a place of insensitivity or maliciousness. It’s from a place of “I need to do this in order to protect myself. And so, that kind of works here.” Eventually, you work past the need for black humor. You just get into a state where you’re sort of content with the information that you don’t need to be reactive. You’re not disconnected from the client from an empathetic perspective, but you’re entirely embroiled in the individual’s turmoil.

52. You noted this at the outset. What general philosophy seems the most correct to you? 

For me, in life: be kind.

53. What political philosophy seems the most correct to you?

I’m a socialist by nature.


Not that it makes sense necessarily, but I don’t know. Anarchy is a good one too. I don’t know if there’s a particular political system. I’m a Bernie Sanders guy.

54. What social philosophy seems the most correct to you?

That goes back to general philosophy in the old adage: be kind and kindness will come back. Karma.

55. What economic philosophy seems the most correct to you?

It’s the old adage: eat what you kill. Make a living, but don’t be extravagant. Provide for your needs, but not for your wants.

56. What aesthetic philosophy seems the most correct to you?


57. What interrelates these philosophies?


58. Any upcoming collaborative projects?

No, not at this point, I’ve got nothing on hand. I’m just happy settling back into my old routine.

59. Any upcoming solo projects?

No, I think – solo projects for me is thinking about retirement and what I want to do, and getting close to that, but do I want to be entirely retired. I want to take things a little easier. I’m at the end of life. That’s definitely huge on my mind. It’s funny how that happens. Of course, meaning and purpose become very important, and relationships become very important at this point in my life. How do I enhance those things until I die?

60. Any recommended authors?

Richard Rohr, that’s who I’m into right now. He’s a Franciscan monk. He writes a book called Breathing Under Water and Falling Upward. He’s got some lovely stuff on YouTube. John O’Donahue. Another guy I love, unfortunately, he’s dead. He was an Irish priest. He is kind of a Catholic pagan, and a poet. He’s a lovely, lovely, lovely man. Those are the first ones that popped into my head at the top of my head.

61. Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?

No! Other than great gratitude for you even to consider me worth having a conversation with. I am really honored that you’re—even the fact that—

And your work!


And you’re a lovely guy yourself by the way. I’m really intrigued by your intelligence, with your honesty through some of this (Parts 1 through 4 abridged – Ed.). I felt quite honored and grateful for this experience. Thank you for considering me.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Zierten.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Program Coordinator, Edgewood Health Clinics; Ex-National Executive Director, Edgewood Health Clinics Network.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2017 at; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2017 at

[3] MA (1997-2002), Theology, The University of British Columbia; EMBA (1990-1991), Queen’s University.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA.

[5] EDGEWOOD Alumni INSITE in Vancouver (2012), in full, states:

Patrick Zierten, EDGEWOOD Vancouver’s Program Director, is a happy man. “When we opened up the new office in Vancouver, one of my priorities was to bring Insite to Vancouver. Not the Insite as developed for family members living with an addicted loved one, but one specifically designed for individuals in recovery from substance dependence.”

He goes on to describe the plans he implemented in Vancouver, “I met with Dale MacIntyre, EDGEWOOD’s Family Program Supervisor, and we went to work revising some of the components of the program so that it was more applicable for folks in recovery. Dale was kind enough to come over to Vancouver and he ran our first INSITE Program in October 2010. We now hold an INSITE Program once every three months.” Patrick talks of his own experience with INSITE.

“Fifteen years ago, I was having all kinds of problems in my recovery. I was complacent, unhappy, lacked meaning and purpose and my relationship life was in shambles. I thought I was about ready to relapse. I didn’t know what to do until a good friend of mine suggested I go to this “… INSITE program over at Edgewood, in Nanaimo”. 

“I really didn’t want to go but I was at one of those places where if things didn’t change I thought I was going to go crazy. I had no idea what to expect. Boy, was I more than pleasantly surprise!  It literally transformed my recovery process. I realized that being in recovery was not just about staying sober one day at a time, it meant that I had to change how I responded to people, how to draw boundaries and how to take care of myself.”

The Alumni INSITE program as offered in Vancouver, is designed specifically for the person with a year of substance dependence recovery, who is facing ever-increasing challenges in their relationships with others. Much of the curriculum is taken from the original Insite program but is modified to deal more specifically with early recovery relationship issues.

“The wonderful thing about this program is that many of our Alumni INSITE graduates have gone on to our INSITE Aftercare group. We have two of our original graduates that still attend Insite Aftercare.”

Zierten, P. (2012). EDGEWOOD Alumni INSITE in Vancouver. Retrieved from

[6] Edgewood Health Network Inc.. (2016). Edgewood Health Network Inc.. Retrieved from

[7] Edgewood Health Network Inc.. (2016). Fine Your Path To Recovery. Retrieved from

[8] Edgewood Health Network Inc.. (2016). What You Need To Know. Retrieved from!treatment-plan.

[9] Edgewood Health Network Inc.. (2016). What You Need To Know. Retrieved from!treatment-plan.

[10] Family Programs and Support (2016) states:

Addiction is a family disease because many family members are profoundly impacted by the behaviour of an addicted loved one. The best way for family members to support their loved one’s treatment and to take care of themselves is to undertake their own recovery process.

The Edgewood Health Network encourages family members to undertake their own path of recovery through our family programs. We provide a facilitated group process that offers education about addiction and its impact on relationships. It’s a chance for family members to learn ways that will change destructive relationship patterns. If you have been hurt by someone else’s addiction or wish to improve your relationships, our family programs are for you.

Edgewood Health Network Inc.. (2016). Family Programs and Support. Retrieved from!family-support-programs.


Edgewood Health Network Inc. (2016). Edgewood Health Network Inc. Retrieved from

Jack Hirose & Associates, Inc. (2016). Patrick Zierten, EMBA, M.A.. Retrieved from

LinkedIn. (2016). patrick zierten. Retrieved from

Media Awareness Project. (2016). Drug Forum A Success. Retrieved from

Mirus Rehabilitation Care Centre. (2016). Meet the North York Team. Retrieved from

The Bible: New International Version. (2017). Matthew 7:12. Retrieved from

The Globe and Mail. (2013, September 24). John Cleese explains why he loves Canada. Retrieved from

The Rave. (2005, November 11). CN BC: Community Discussion Focuses On Drug-Use Prevention. Retrieved from

Zierten, P. (2012). EDGEWOOD Alumni INSITE in Vancouver. Retrieved from

Zierten, P. (2011, September 1). Motivated to Change but Not Ready for Residential Inpatient. Retrieved from

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four) [Online].April 2017; 13(A). Available from:

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, April 22). An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four)Retrieved from

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 13.A, April. 2017. <>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 13.A.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 13.A (April 2017).

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 13.A. Available from: <>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 13.A.,

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 13.A (2017):April. 2017. Web. <>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Patrick Zierten, EMBA, MA (Part Four) [Internet]. (2017, April; 13(A). Available from:

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