Be willing is how recovery starts.


Bryan Wempen

Addiction Recovery Author | Innovator | Speaker


Hi, my name is Bryan.

I began working in recruiting in 1994, while in this initial career chapter, I'd moved from a customer service manager to regional manager in the highest revenue location in the company, setting several records with my team in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, I experienced another alcohol-related arrest at this time. Upon leaving in 1999, I'd progressed into a Regional VP and Corporate Board Member of the much larger now public company with $600 Million in annual sales. Please note my drinking increased, and final drug use happened during this time. Then began my entrepreneurial chapter with several technology startups, which I still enjoy today, albeit in a different way as an author and investor.

Two years after founding a mobile HR technology startup in 2014, I transitioned away from the HR market to healthcare. In the transition period, life was changing; I published my first book, Note-to-Self, a Collection of 99 Life Lessons in 2015, where I started to talk about my journey with recovery from alcohol and drugs. My next book, Sober Is Better, a Note To Self, is the second in the Note To Self Series, released in May 2019. Let's not forget in 2001 was my first run at a 12-step meeting with AA; nine years later, in 2010 was my next AA meeting when I felt no hope was remaining. I've continued 12-step participation combined with other programs to expand my recovery and overall life.

In my current life chapter, I've enjoyed success with two of the leading enterprise healthcare technology companies. I've worked in various roles with notable success-focused in the Midwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and West Coast regions. The positions, albeit challenging, are rewarding because I work with at-risk populations through my clients' technology and consulting investments. The work keeps me close to the communities that I will forever be committed to helping lead better lives.

Wrapping it up, I've experienced top-level work success in concert with the severe ups and downs in life continually for 27 years while actively using alcohol and drugs. Only when I got sober did I start to understand what life and spiritual success felt like to experience.

I didn’t know how to feel, so I mastered not feeling anything. It’s survival, an empty existence that I’ve somehow survived. It’s a blessing to have found recovery, I’m a better person because of it.

Recovery Meetings

Drinks Skipped

Cups of Coffee

Audio Interviews

& Podcasts

Recent Blog Posts

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Sober is Better

My Note to Self
Imagine being 14 years old getting drunk and having your first blackout, all in one day. This is how Bryan’s substance use journey started. Fast forward to age 18, he had enlisted in the National Guard, began University and found drugs, gambling, and unlimited alcohol.

Four years after starting University, Bryan had an overdose close call which prompted him to think about sobriety. He eventually limited substance use to a lot of alcohol, food, and work. Hundreds of blackouts and years of emotional scars to validate being a functional alcoholic, Bryan didn’t know if he could stop drinking, ever.

He began to question if his life was relegated to the time in between getting messed up or was there another solution. His answer came in May 2010 when desperate he called a longtime sober friend for help. He’s been successful in recovery since then.

Bryan’s next book Sober Is Better-A Note To Self is available in May 2019. He shares stories and thoughts about living life before and during recovery.

Note to Self

A Collection of 99 Life Lessons
When do you feel, enough is enough and something has to change in your life? It can happen anywhere—for me, a hot taxi headed to the airport in Chicago 2010. I finally got the gift of desperation and despair, it provided me an opportunity to ask for help. Since that moment, I have been working on myself, discovering who I am, and learning tools to live a better and more intentional life. I've transitioned into a "recovery lifestyle", in long-term recovery.

The lessons in 'Note to Self' are what I use every day to live. I live imperfectly with an open mind, and heart working on my path to peacefulness. I've found more serenity than I thought existed. Being active in the recovery community, talking to addicts and alcoholics remind me, if I don’t use, rough days that happen are just moments, they too shall pass. In my collection of lessons, I discuss the importance of being present and intentional with my actions and thoughts. This is an example of a lesson I learned in recovery.

I live in gratitude and inspiration (most days), appreciating my friends who graciously shared their lessons with me, to include in the book. I've went back many times and re-read their lessons, it's exactly what I needed to hear that day, funny how that works. Read the book, it's an easy read, please share it with anyone who needs help. We're in this life together, help someone who’s hurting and needs it whether you buy the book or not. Thank you, much love.

Dancing with Big Data

Conversations with the Experts
I like interviewing, more accurately I love just visiting with people I come across in my daily life about them and me, it’s a cool intersection to live in. Data has always been a bit of a mystery to Human Resources (HR), the rest of the company mostly gets the value of data, but HR is behind, resistance, and slightly oblivious. In developing this book, I got to the bottom with some tough questions in my Thug Metrics podcast. My research project on big data, mostly focused on HR but included some leading experts from social media and technology spaces just too make it more interesting for most of the professional world. In the book I share a collection of 15 interviews all discussing what the person thought was important, innovative, and surprising. The interviews are hosted by me with several colorful questions, language, and thoughts across the hours of conversations. The experts hail from the big hitters such as Facebook, Jibe, HP, Simply Measured, and Glassdoor to name a few. The book style is conversational, it’s the conversations with my comments included. It's like you're at the little table with us talking about data, pretty sexy stuff, please enjoy.

Note to Self, we’re all recovering from something. Most are recovering from many things, that’s alright. Recovery is healing, we’ve admitted needing help, and then learning to love ourselves.


A story of addiction & health recovery

Speaking Topic by Bryan Wempen
Recovery from addiction is messy, awkward, and undeniably beautiful. Getting sober is powerful enough to save your life, maybe the lives of others. As part of my recovery, I’m committed to sharing my stories and thoughts about my experience, strength, and hope.

All recovery is different and similar, we don't need to be alone, but we need help to get better. My story is about a blackout the first time I got drunk at age 14. Then progressing to a functional alcoholic, if that's possible, with a career peak leading a $300 million-dollar business unit as an officer for a publicly traded company. Then spiraling into despair and emotional destruction until May 9, 2010, when I asked someone for help and was willing to do anything to get sober.

My life has been colorful, messy and beautiful once I found recovery. The world is so much bigger than using drugs and alcohol, it’s about exploring, laughing, and finding what matters as I connect with first myself then others.
In this session, Bryan shares:

Questions I asked myself about my life being unmanageable.

Indications someone is struggling and might need help.

Resources for individuals and families dealing with the addiction beast.


Mental Health First Aid Training

Training by Bryan Wempen
Research show that individuals training in the program:

Grow their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions.

Can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction.

Increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress.

Show increased mental wellness themselves.

Studies also show that the program reduces the social distance created by negative attitudes and perceptions of individuals with mental illnesses.

Mental Health First Aid USA is listed in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Only certified Instructors can teach the 8-hour Mental Health First Aid course.

Audiences in the community who might be interested in the 8-hour Mental Health First Aid include:
• Educators and school administrators / HR professionals
• Members of faith communities / Homeless shelter workers
• Health and human services workers / Nurses/physician assistants/primary care workers
• Police, first responders and security personnel / Mental health authorities
• Policymakers / Substance use treatment professionals
• Social workers / Persons with mental illness/addictions and their families
• Caring citizens / Families of persons with mental illness/addictions
• Military, military veterans and their families

Culture Crisis

Speaking Topic by Bryan Wempen
In the U.S. today, 10-20% of the workforce are under the influence of a substance (drugs, alcohol or both). We’ve entered a new area for employee assistance, customer and employee transparency, and types of liability of organizations. Today’s not being current on the most significant shift in organizational climate and cultures, will not only lose money, it will kill people. Engagement continues to be all time lows, continued legalization of marijuana, and likelihood of an employee overdosing in your company is real, how are you dealing with this?
In this session, Bryan shares:

Questions I’d ask myself as CEO for my organization.

My approach to examining an organization.

Suggestions for CEO on how to modernize the organization.

Get in Touch


Find me

Living in Kansas City, MO and Santa Fe, NM, USA.


(505) 395-0542