West Jones happened upon the recovery industry only two years ago. While he is an expert when it comes to marketing, something much deeper inspires his progress in both the marketing and recovery fields, as well as where the fields intersect.
“I got into this space because of pure interest and building a larger project -- one that will really help when it scales. Two years ago I went to a recovery conference just to learn. I heard there were problems in this space and wanted to be a catalyst for positive change. I wanted to be of service. That’s what I’m doing here today… visiting facilities, learning from experts and mapping ways to help improve it for all of us.”
Jones is a self proclaimed ‘ab-normie’ -- which is someone who he says “has been affected by other people's addictions and chose to never pick up or use. Not quite in recovery, but not quite a normie either.” He has a deep personal connection to addiction recovery. He comes from an addicted family system, and although he’s never touched alcohol or drugs, he’s applied abstinence and other recovery tactics to his own life in order to find his personal sense of peace.
“I try to be conscientious in day to day things. I think the recovery space has impacted me in an extremely positive way. I’ve learned tremendous amounts from talking to professionals, going to conferences, visiting facilities and sitting in on groups. I’ve learned techniques to heal myself. It’s been a powerful experience and I’m really thankful for how it continues to impact my life.”
When asked what kinds of techniques he’s utilized, Jones responded,
“The first thing someone said to me at a conference was that the 12 steps are for everybody. Not just for addicts and alcoholics. There’s a lot of power in universality like that.”
He’s also learned vicariously from other naturally altruistic leaders in the recovery space and the tech scene who are doing great things. “The old saying, birds of a feather flock together really rings true. The more time you spend with great people, the more your serendipity is optimized. And with serendipity comes powerful things.” said Jones.
Jones is a learner by nature. He studies, attends educational events, and keeps a curious ear open wherever there is an opportunity to absorb new information about his fields of expertise. His research has revealed to him the following:
“There are losing trends in addiction. I’ve found that you can’t believe what’s on many treatment center’s websites, let alone trust what they actually do clinically when you get there. And when someone's life is on the line, someone you love, this horribly frightening thing to think about.”
He went on to say,
“I would like to promote transparency so that people can pick from facilities that are doing things right-- the facilities that aren’t just out for a quick dollar.”
Jones is also passionate about solving bigger problems in the space, saying,
“There’s very little data in this space and even less data analysis. In recovery, data is almost non-existent in comparison to the traditional medical space. Most of those who are actually tracking data are self-reporting without consistency or a consensus on what’s important to track - like what metrics equate to success in long term recovery or if success is even defined by long term recovery. Sure there’s anecdotal data, but that’s not good enough. This is a huge problem that must be fixed quickly and is going to require massive amounts of cooperation from all of us.”
Jones is a big proponent of leading by example. He often encourages recovery and treatment companies to show off their culture of wellness by creating educational content for their marketing that promotes education.
“When a treatment center in California takes their clients out to Catalina Island, for example, it’s not so much about the one trip. It’s about taking people out into nature. Nature has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on the brain. People whose brain chemistry has been altered for a long time truly benefit from that on so many levels. It’s about going deeper and helping these clients learn how to create positive feelings and make meaning in their lives again. It’s about reconnecting those neural pathways and teaching them how to live life again -- without drugs & alcohol.”
Jones’ personal wellness culture flows past his business life and is prominent in his personal life in the forms of daily meditation, surfing and seeking international adventures. Whether surfing point breaks in El Salvador, leaping into icy Himalayan rivers or quietly meditating in Burmese hillsides -- this is how Jones resets, expresses his adventurous spirit and enters the present moment wholeheartedly.
Many who have an interest in developing their inner selves through good deeds or outright altruism can point to specific influences. For Jones, altruism is a natural way of thinking and a perfectly natural way of doing business.
“A lot of people have helped me navigate altruistic marketing, but there wasn’t really a critical moment. For me, it’s just the right thing to do. Life is short, so why not contribute to the world? You can focus on the dollar, but you can only go so far down that path before happiness based on money generates a rapidly diminishing return. You can instead put your heart, intelligence and skills behind doing something good and being the most effective you can be. It’s a super fun and rewarding process that turns into a lifelong journey. It has for me.”
As a final comment to those who are interested in living more altruistically, Jones offers a simple inspiration:
“How do you want to leave the world? How do you want to impact the recovery space? Figure that out... and go make it happen.”