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The Doctors meet Jason Schneidman who today is a hair stylist to the stars, but 14 years ago, he had nothing. He tells us in his early 30s, he was hooked on crack cocaine, had bad credit and warrants out for his arrest. Jason turned his life around after going to rehab.
Jason now has a beautiful family, a wife and two children, owns a home and as he says, “most importantly, I’m comfortable in my own skin.” When Jason got sober, he was taught he had to be of service to others. “I have to give it away to actually keep it. By being of service to others, I feel good and keep my sobriety,” shares Jason.
So how does he give back? Jason finds purpose on the streets of LA where he gives free haircuts to the city’s homeless. Jason shares his belief that a haircut can change someone’s life. “I can see their eyes light up. The people around them perceive them differently,” he says.
Not only does Jason cut their hair, but he also listens to their often harrowing stories, and shares his own. “You show up, you see them, you talk to them, you’re transparent with them, you share your story. It’s almost like a makeover on the inside too, and I think that’s what matters,” OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry says.
Jason shares that he actually got the idea from another stylist who was cutting hair for the homeless, Mark Bustos, but he feels his lane is the recovery side.
Jason’s haircuts for the homeless have grown into these large events where hundreds of people now show up. He receives donations through Amazon from all over the world so that asides from cutting hair, he also brings tons of supplies that the homeless need. It’s become a family affair and The Doctors commend him for showing his kids at a young age what it means to give back.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork notes that he finds it frustrating that we often sweep the problems of the homeless population under the rug. Sometimes the only way to address them is at the individual level. More than half a million people are homeless in the U.S. and Cody was one of them. Until he met Jason.
Cody had been living on the streets for six years with a heroin addiction. Cody shared his story with Jason which included the loss of his brother from an overdose, the suicide of a friend and a drug addiction that cost him everything. Jason related to Cody and wanted to help him. He told Cody, “All I’m looking for is a willingness. Do you think you can do this? Do you want it?”
Jason arranged to get Cody into a detox. Driving Cody to the facility Jason tells him it’s time to do something different to get a different result. “Bottom line: you leave, you die.” He brings Cody to Rebos Treatment Center where he is told he will stay for a week and then be given 90 days of treatment.
Two weeks later, Cody joins The Doctors and Jason remotely from treatment. “I’m now 28 days sober, I’m feeling a lot healthier, I’m feeling good,” Cody reports. Cody says he owes his life to Jason. “I gave Jason my word I was going to complete this program. I’ve never completed anything in my life, so I have to do it for myself also.”
Jason tells The Doctors that Cody is at Awakening Recovery Center, the same recovery center he went to, where he had spent 13 months getting sober. Cody now committed to that same 13-month program. “Here they go after the disease, not just the addiction part,” Cody says.
Jason shares that Cody did have a brief moment where he tried to leave. But, Jason spoke to him on the phone and Cody was back on the front steps, waiting to try again. He didn’t go out and start drinking or using drugs. Jason asks Cody about this. “I ended up leaving, I was feeling all my feelings and emotions and a lot of stress and aggravation. But I can’t keep running from my problems,” he says.
Jason had said, “I hope and pray I can change one life at a time, one haircut at a time.” Cody is living proof that Jason’s hopes and prayers have been answered.