If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. Matthew 5:15-16 (MSG)
Meet Garrett Dunham | Pillrs Founder
Tell us a little about your website/mission/ministry.
At Pillrs, we see the world rapidly becoming more addictive as companies use machine learning in an attempt to make apps as addictive as heroin – and that scares us, because heroin, opioids, and alcohol are bad enough as it is.
That’s why my team and I created the Pillrs app, where people in active recovery, people in long-term recovery, and people who care about those in recovery send encouragement to each other when they need it the most to help break that isolation that often drives us back to our “medication”.
The name Pillrs is because people who help others are truly the pillars of the community. That, and we couldn’t afford the .com for pillars (can I buy a vowel Alex?)
You could say that we’re trying to make it easier to ‘make the call’ when in seeking mode for a drug of choice (personally, I’ve never succeeded at calling / texting friends, family, or sponsors when I needed to.)
Ultimately we hope to empower and accelerate recovery from the synapse out using community, neuroscience, and some other advanced technologies that really excite us.
What is the number one thing on your bucket list? Will you do it?
Honestly, the #1 thing that I want to do is get to my 80th birthday, look back, and know that I had a major part in improving the lives of 100,000,000 people.
Will I do it? I spend every day trying, so I sure hope so.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?
This reminds me of when G.K. Chesterton was asked “If you were stranded on a desert island with only one book, what book would you want it to be?”
He answered: “Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.”
Honestly, I’d give myself the winning lotto numbers, the books “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath and “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss and suggest that I choose software engineering over mechanical engineering. I’d also tell myself that investing in my personal mental health would be by far the best investment (I’d probably have to tell young me something like “a shrink will shrink the time you feel shrunken” or something to get me to listen… I was a stubborn kid.)
If you could change anything about the world we live in now, what would it be and why?
I’d make the world more community based again. A lot of my own issues around addictions/compulsions have stemmed from loneliness.
As a society, we’re accelerating the pace of isolation and then wondering why there’s an opioid epidemic.
If you could spend an evening with any fictional character, who would it be? What would you do?
Having looked through some of the other Lightbearer’s answers I tried to think of a character that exudes glorious traits, like brilliance, sophistication, maybe even a little mischief. Someone like Sherlock Holmes perhaps.
But really, the techie in me would probably spend it with Tony Stark (Iron Man). First, I’d fly in the suit, second, I’d pick his brain on all the technical wizardry. We’d also have dinner – you did say it was the evening.
I’ve included you because I believe you are bringing much-needed light to this world. Why do you do what you do? What keeps you going every day?
Four years ago (almost to the day) my life was falling apart around me. I mean quality country music material – left job, business partner took our customers and cut me out, long term girlfriend left, and I moved into a bunk because I was broke. A year and a half later, I had mostly got back on my feet when the rug was pulled out again.
At that point, I took a swig of ‘forget this’ and spent a week journaling and praying in the woods, looking for answers.
And I heard them.
I was to turn my biggest weakness into a light that could shine on others and help them find freedom. It took nearly a year to finally come to terms with it but I knew in my heart that this was the reason I’m here on earth.
There are days that it’s the only think that keeps me going every day, but it does.