Episode 14-Interview with Billy & Brandy Eldridge

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Hosted by
Aaron Potratz

Does a man have to wear armor and not be able to talk sensitively about his emotions? How can questioning what you believe help you with your mental health AND relationship with God? How does accepting your own mistakes make it easier for you to forgive other people?

In this episode, Nathan and Aaron interview married (to each other) guests Billy & Brandy Eldridge.

Billy & Brandy Eldridge (and kids)

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Who They Are
  • Why They Feel Like Outsiders
  • Billy’s Story
  • Brandy’s Perspective
  • How Billy & Brandy Met
  • Strength In Their Relationship

Who They Are

  • Billy is a private practice therapist and business owner
  • Brandy is an executive director
  • Billy & Brandy are from East Texas; Aaron & Nathan are from Portland, OR – apposite universes
  • Billy describes himself as a Christian who happens to be a therapist

Why They Feel Like Outsiders

  • Living in a conservative Christian area, they hold more “liberal” views that are not popular or accepted 
  • Both grew up in “traditional” religious environments, but life caused them to unravel and deconstruct their religion (not their belief in God)
  • Both went through an “existential crisis” but walked through it together and allowed one another to do so in their own way
  • For Billy, there was a lot of dismissal of mental health struggles in the faith community

Billy’s Story

  • He had panic attacks as a kid but felt ashamed of it, so later on in life he turned to alcohol and prescription drugs as a coping solution for his pain
  • Billy struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for about 10 years, and ended up in rehab
  • In rehab, Billy realized nothing inside of him was going to be able to resolve his problem which is why he began deconstructing and rebuilding his relationship with God
  • He has made peace with his own relationship with God and how other people have that relationship, with no anger or animosity toward them

Brandy’s Perspective

  • Living in the “buckle of the Bible Belt,” Brandy felt like she had to hide her questions and doubts about religion. She felt isolated in a town where everyone knows everyone.
  • She is still deconstructing things and working through what she believes about God and religion, but she is part of a church that allows it.
  • In a leadership role in her community, she feels the pressure of how her position is reflected in the community

How They Met

  • They grew up in the same town but never met until college at Univ. of Arkansas
  • They were friends in college, both got engaged to other people, but then she broke up and he got married
  • Billy’s addiction took priority over and destroyed his marriage; his ex-wife’s divorce set him on a path toward change where he realized he was the problem (not the relationship)
  • Billy and Brandy stayed friends, dated years after his divorce: they got married 6 weeks after their first date and got pregnant 7 months after that

Strength In The Relationship

  • Billy works his recovery program, takes responsibility for his mistakes, and inspires Brandy to be a better person
  • Billy no longer wears his armor and hides his emotions. He feels more authentic and safe to be himself
  • This process has helped Billy be more forgiving of others and of himself
  • Billy’s sensitivity comes across as strength (her “oak tree”) to Brandy, the beta to her alpha personality
  • Working through marriage while Billy started his recovery the first two years of marriage has made them stronger, which is a miracle to him because they have held on by a thread at times
  • BetaMale Revolution: not anti anything; for beta males and the alphas who love them

Useful Links

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aaron potratz and nathan hawkins therapists standing smiling

Meet Nathan and Aaron

Nathan Hawkins and Aaron Potratz are both licensed therapists and clinical supervisors in the state of Oregon. They each own their own private group counseling practices and co-own a third group practice together. Nathan and Aaron have been in the field since 2004 and 2007, respectively, and have over 100,000 hours of therapy experience each. On their show, they discuss facing fears and common challenges from a therapist’s point of view, imparting wisdom and humanity to their viewers. Along the way, they hope to not only share their insights but bring some light-hearted entertainment to make the journey easier.

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Episode 14