Light Hustler: Looking for Light in All the Dark Places

Darren Prince is a sports and celebrity agent who has represented Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Pele, Joe Montana, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan, among many others.

He's also sober for a decade after a brutal struggle with opiate addiction.

Finally (and most importantly—to me), he's a friend.

We've spent the past year working on his memoir, Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top, and I'm thrilled to say that it's the first release from the Light Hustler Publishing imprint. Already an international bestseller in four countries, the book has been making waves all over.

In this episode, we discuss what role trauma plays in addiction, why to wait until you have some sobriety under your belt before going public and how Magic Johnson saved Darren's life, among many other things.

Direct download: DARREN_Done.mp3
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Bucky Sinister is a stand-up comedian and author of nine books, including Black Hole: A Novel and Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks and Weirdos.

In this episode (which is from the Light Hustler live storytelling show in LA), he veers from his planned story to regale the audience about what it was like to go to poetry readings completely wasted.

To find out if you should be sharing your story, go to www.lighthustler.com/quiz.

Direct download: Bucky_poetry.mp3
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Kane Holloway is a Seattle native who resides in sunny L.A. Kane is a nationally touring comedian, podcast host and he has performed on Laughs on Fox. He has appeared on VH1's Walk of Shame Shuttle, FNX Comedy Experience and started the Podaholics comedy network. You can hear his comedy album "See What I Did There?" On iTunes.

In this episode (from the Light Hustler monthly live storytelling show), he talks about how funny it was when he drunkenly slapped someone he didn't know (spoiler alert: it wasn't funny at all).

To find out if you should be sharing your story, go to www.lighthustler.com/quiz.

Direct download: Kane_slap.mp3
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Eddie Pepitone is the subject of The Bitter Buddha, the critically acclaimed documentary about his life, and is also occasionally a part of his stand-up act. As a comedian and actor, he’s been on WTF and Conan repeatedly, as well as on The Last Comic Standing, The Sarah Silverman Program, Happy Endings, Flight of the Concords, 2 Broke Girls, It’s Always Sunny and so many more.

In this episode—which is from the Light Hustler live storytelling show in Los Angeles—he (hilariously) talks about why having commitments in AA is silly, how love went out a long time ago and so much more.

To find out if you should be sharing your story, go to www.lighthustler.com/quiz.

Direct download: Eddie_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Amy Dresner is a former professional stand-up comic, having appeared at The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, and The Improv. Since 2012, she has been a contributing editor of the online addiction and recovery magazine TheFix.com. She’s also written for the Good Men Project, The Frisky, Refinery 29, and has been a regular contributor to Addiction.com and PsychologyToday.com, where she has her own addiction blog entitled “Coming Clean.” Her first book, My Fair Junkie, was released in 2017 and is now available in paperback.

In this episode (from the Light Hustler live storytelling show in LA), Amy talks about one of her visits to the psych ward—explaining what group therapy was like, what other residents had as goals for the day and the fellow patient who was smarter than the doctors, among other things.

To find out if you should be sharing your story, go to www.lighthustler.com/quiz.

Direct download: Amy_Done.mp3
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Kristi Coulter holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She is a former Ragdale Foundation resident and the recipient of a grant from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Awl, GlamourVoxThe Mississippi ReviewLongreads, and elsewhere. Her debut essay collection, Nothing Good Can Come from This, was published by MCD Books/FSG Originals in August 2018. She lives in Seattle, where she is working on her next book. 

We talked about Nothing Good Can Come From This, being a high-functioning alcoholic and what happens when a story you write goes viral, among many other things.

To find out if you should be sharing your story, go to www.lighthustler.com/quiz.

Direct download: kristi_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Dr. Jamie Marich is an EMDR bad-ass. Sure, that's a kind of crazy way to identify someone but it's what our medical consultant (and previous podcast guest) Dr. Josh Lichtman (not to mention everyone else) says about her.

Her are her stats: she travels internationally teaching on EMDR therapy, trauma, addiction, expressive arts, yoga and mindfulness while maintaining a private practice in her home base of Warren, OH. She is the founder and director of The Institute for Creative Mindfulness, developer of the Dancing Mindfulness practice and co-developer of the Yoga Unchained approach to trauma-informed yoga. She is also the author of five books on trauma recovery, most recently EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care (with previous podcast guest Dr. Stephen Dansiger).

She's also over 16 years sober.

If you’re asking yourself at this point, “What in God’s name is she talking about and what is this EMDR thing,” EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and while it doesn’t tend to involve much eye movement anymore, it is a form of trauma therapy that helps people to reprocess their past.

If you ever go to my Facebook page, you may have seen me sharing lately about how I've started doing EMDR. It's been changing my life so I was thrilled to be able to interview one of the world's leading experts on the topic. This episode is a can't miss, folks. Who knew talking about trauma could be so fun?

Direct download: jamie_Done.mp3
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Today’s episode features a very special guest: me. Since I’m releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me.

The story I tell here is about the journey I took from two-pack-a-day smoker to the most self-righteous ex-smoker the world has ever seen. If you want to feel better about your own self-righteousness, I highly recommend giving this a listen.

Direct download: Anna_smoking_copy.mp3
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Gayle Saks-Rodriguez has been a writer since filling her fourth grade diary with such perfectly crafted sentences as: “Ricky is getting confirmed tomorrow. Since I’m Jewish, I’m not really sure what it does. I should congradulate [sic] him though.”

She has graduated to being published in places like The Fix, The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog and Salon and has appeared on HuffPost Live. Now she's working on her memoir, You Ain't No Soccer Mom, about her work with female inmates and at an all male sober living. She was also a contributor to Light Hustler's first anthology, Darkness Before Light: 12 Writers on Addiction, Sobriety and Recovery.

In this interview (which originally took place over Facebook Live), we talk about being the only contributor to the anthology who's not in recovery, shelving one book proposal to work on another and her experiences in my coaching program for writers, among many other topics. We also—spoiler alert—had a lot of fun. Listen here.

Direct download: gayle_Done.mp3
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Dr. Lauren Casey has a fascinating story. The international recovery coach, award-winning author and public speaker specializing in sex industry work, women’s health, substance abuse and trauma hasn’t just learned her area of expertise by studying.

Now sober, Casey is a former high-end escort who found sobriety and then, to her utter surprise, found herself falling in love with a prisoner she began writing in prison. They’re still together decades later and now Casey has a book coming out about her entire story. I’m proud to say that she wrote the proposal for Breaking the Chains: Drugs, Millionaires and the Prisoner Who Set Me Free in my All the Write Movescoaching program and that the book will be released by Zephyr Bookshelf in 2019.

This episode is from one of my Facebook Live interviews and it’s a juicy one.

Direct download: Lauren_Casey_episode.mp3
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Brian Finkelstein is a writer who has been nominated for two Emmys. He is also a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and is a host/storyteller for The Moth. You can read his story “Perfect Moments” in the Moth’s first book, 50 True Stories.

He has performed eight solo shows in a variety of venues, from the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen to the Summer Nights Festival in Perth, Australia and New Zealand. Brian’s told stories on public radio shows including Good Food, The Business, UnFictional, Marketplace and many more.

At the Light Hustler storytelling show, he told a story about wild nights at a Brooklyn speakeasy called Kokie's where you could buy cocaine, a roommate named Babyface, dating a Muslim girl and quitting hookers, among many other topics.

Direct download: Brian_Done.mp3
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Ken Garr is a graduate of Second City who has performed at The Laugh Factory, MGM Grand and Hollywood Improv, among many other places, and has been seen on Hulu, Playboy and Funny Or Die. His comedy album, So I’m Sitting in Jail, is now available on the DASH Radio app.

In this episode from my live storytelling show, he talks about competing in the Special Olympics, feeling all your feelings in sobriety and burying an idea three levels into someone’s head, among many other topics.

Direct download: Ken_Done.mp3
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Today’s episode features the one and only Ally Weinhold.

Ally is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, and alcoholic. She hosts a monthly stand up show at Bar Lubitsch, called Awkward & Aggressive and recently co-produced a pilot called Murder Roommates with her sketch team, BadAssKnitties, and WhoHaha.

This story is about the time she realized she needed to get sober and so she did the most logical thing she could think of to bring on the spiritual experience that she thought getting sober would require: she took a bunch of acid.

Want to know what happened next? You best listen.

Direct download: Ally_Done.mp3
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In a rather short period of time, Joe Polish has become one of my favorite people around.

The genius marketer (who presides over The Genius Network) and I met in early 2017 and connected over the fact that we were both trying to change the message around addiction. (Related: we also connected over the fact that we were both once active drug addicts.)

And so we partnered with Hal Elrod and Honoree Corder on creating a book in the Miracle Morning series that focused on addiction recovery. You can get it here!

If you're not familiar with The Miracle Morning, it started as a book written by Hal Elrod. Published in 2012, it quickly became one of the highest rated books on Amazon, with over 2500 five-star reviews.

The premise: changing your life starts with following certain habits and tactics every morning. I'll be honest: when this opportunity first came up, I thought, "Look, I already meditate and pray in the morning. What could this book tell me that I don't already know?" Well, here's what I learned: the day after reading it, I changed my morning routine, incorporating movement, affirmations and much more into it. There's something magical in Hal's message—perhaps because he's one of the kindest people ever, perhaps because he's experienced events that would have destroyed most of us...and come out with the most hopeful attitude I've ever experienced.

Here's the concept of our particular book in the series. As many of us know, addiction can be fatal, and while it may sound glib to say something simple like attending to your morning can magically influence the course of your recovery, implementing this Miracle Morning practice can help you transform any area of your life...all before 8 am. The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery outlines cutting-edge research, all designed to support your recovery.

Here's some of what we cover in the book: Why mornings are critically important to an addict’s success, how your alarm can be a gift, challenge, and opportunity, the Five-Minute Five-Step Snooze-Proof Wake-Up Strategy, how the Six-Minute Miracle Morning can be the remedy for an overly packed schedule and much more. (Bonus: we've included morning routines from some of our favorite folks in recovery, including Recovery 2.0's Tommy Rosen, Wes Geer from Korn, actress Mackenzie Phillips and more.)

In this episode, Joe and I interview each other about our respective morning routines and how we strive to live miraculous lives.

Direct download: Joe_Done.mp3
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You could call Tina Alexis Allen an actor. After all, she recently starred in the hit WGN series Outsiders.

You could call her a playwright. After all, she wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed solo show Secrets of a Holy Father and the 12-character one-woman show Irresistible.

You could also call her a writer. After all, she's the author of the un put down-able new release Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception and Double Lives.

But really the most interesting thing about Allen is her life story: the last of 13 children from a religious Catholic family, Allen ended up becoming her father's greatest confidant. This started with them each acknowledging that they were gay, moved on to wild notes out doing poppers at all the gayest clubs of DC and ended with...well, you've got to read the book to find out.

Direct download: Tina_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today’s episode features a very special guest: me. Since I’m releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about the three cocaine dealers I had during my using days, the different signature moves they had and how I ended up in rehab with one of them.

Direct download: Anna_dealers.mp3
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David Griggs has a JD, an MBA and extensive experience representing and advising clients in matters involving employment, contract, regulatory, licensing, eminent domain, business, injury and other areas of law.

But that's not what's interesting about him.

What's interesting about him is that he's a sober addict who decided to let some of his most shameful stories out—first through articles, then through a book proposal and now through a book—Taming the Wild Things in My Head, a memoir which will be released by Zephyr Bookshelf later in 2018.

In this interview—which happened over Facebook Live—he explains his descent into addiction, how he pieced his life back together and why he decided to share that journey with the world.

 

Direct download: david_FB_live_Done.mp3
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Today’s episode features the one and only Ally Weinhold.

Ally is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, and alcoholic. She hosts a monthly stand up show at Bar Lubitsch called Awkward & Aggressive and recently co-produced a pilot called Murder Roommates with her sketch team, BadAssKnitties.

Her story asks a seemingly simple question: what happens if you bring a homeless man home for dinner?

If you’re Ally, you make that into a hilarious, ridiculous story.

Enjoy.

Direct download: Ally_homeless_man.mp3
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If there’s anyone who can make a ridiculous drinking story hilarious, it’s Laura House. A headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, she is originally from Texas and moved to LA after starring in MTV’s cult-favorite Austin Stories. She’s written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, NicoleThe George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV and more.

This story is about what can happen when you marry a guy you shouldn't (spoiler alert: it doesn't go so well).

She told it at my live storytelling show, which happens on the last Friday of every month at Open Space Cafe (457 N. Fairfax Ave) in LA.

Direct download: Laura_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Ivana Grahovac is a wonder to behold. And she's even more wondrous once you know her story.

The Director of Advancement for Facing Addiction and former Executive Director for Transforming Youth Recovery wasn't always the poised spokesperson today. In fact, she's the girl who spent so long raving in Croatia that she decided to drop out of school and move to Milan to model. While living the so-called glamorous life (which she swears wasn't glam), her heroin addiction took hold.

Numerous stints in treatment followed, as did jail time after she stole a car.

And then, against all odds, Grahovac had a spiritual experience that not only got her sober but also made her not experience opiate withdrawals.

Hear about the entire journey by downloading this episode.

Direct download: ivana_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Kane Holloway is a Seattle native who resides in sunny L.A. Kane is a nationally touring comedian, podcast host and he has performed on "Laughs on Fox."

In this story, told at the live monthly Light Hustler storytelling show, he talks about a number of experiences—being bald at the wrong time, physical pain and what happens when the person rooting for you seems to be giving up on you. The overall theme: even the unlucky can find recovery. And, if that supposedly unlucky person is named Kane Holloway, he can make it into comedy gold.

Direct download: Kane_Done.mp3
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Jules Posner cut his teeth in his hometown of San Francisco, where he honed his act by yelling over rowdy bar crowds, coffee grinders, and shouty vagrants that have become commonplace in the San Francisco comedy scene. Now based in Los Angeles, he is one of those comics whose writing and delivery make standup seem like it’s just a funny person talking off the top of their head. Reality isn’t far behind the illusion; his riffing paces his written material in quality.

This story, which had people screaming with laughter (and asking when he'd be back to perform again), covers the solo drinking games Jules liked to play, how having a bird shit on your head can be lucky and different reasons sobriety sucks and doesn't.

Direct download: Jules_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today’s episode features the one and only Ally Weinhold.

Ally is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer, and alcoholic. She hosts a monthly stand up show at Bar Lubitsch, called Awkward & Aggressive and recently co-produced a pilot called Murder Roommates with her sketch team, BadAssKnitties, and WhoHaha.

Her story asks a seemingly simple question: what happens if you hack your ex-boyfriend's email and then send the woman he's dating a break up email? And what if you follow that with a series of decisions that culminate in his feeling like you're a danger to his life?

If you're Ally, you make that into a hilarious, ridiculous story.

Enjoy.

Direct download: Ally_W_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

The comedian ANT has been everywhere: a regular on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Tyra Banks Show, he is the only comedian to appear on all five seasons of NBC’s hit series Last Comic Standing. He was the host of VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club and starred in the LOGO series, U.S. of ANT. His hit stand-up DVD, ANT: America’s Ready and comedy CD “Follow my ass!” have sold tens of thousands of copies. On his hit podcast Second Chances, he interviews people about their, you got it, second chances in life.

But he's much more than his resume. ANT, who's in recovery after a great deal of tragedy in his life, has an ability to turn even the darkest stories imaginable (say, this one, about his cat, partner and dad all dying) into touching hilarity.

 

Direct download: ANT_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today’s episode features a very special guest: me. Since I’m releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about why someone like me should have never smoked pot—let alone gone to Amsterdam to eat a succession of space cakes.  For more about who I am when I’m not eating space cakes and losing a day of my life, click here. For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

For a list of events, so you can stay up to date on future storytelling shows, click here. If you want to see live broadcasts of the show, go ahead and Like my Facebook page, since that's where we broadcast them!

Direct download: Anna_Done.mp3
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To say I was excited to interview John Taylor would be the understatement of the century. As an allegedly together adult, I resisted the urge to tell him that my adolescent bedroom was papered with his image (covered in lipstick kisses, despite the fact that I didn’t and still don’t wear lipstick). In short, my inner 14-year-old was having a conniption fit while my outer adult had a glorious, insightful conversation with a brilliant, thoughtful man with over two decades of sobriety.

Those who only think of Taylor solely as Duran Duran’s pretty boy will be delighted to hear what an analytical and kind guy he is—a man who speaks openly about what it was like to have worldwide fame while he was still living at home with his parents and talks about a recovery meeting as a place where he’s thrilled to be able to meet people from all walks of life.

In this episode, we talked about his must-read autobiography In The Pleasure Groove, what it’s like to go from blaming everyone to taking responsibility for yourself, how no one really acts their age and the joys of watching soccer, among many other topics.

Direct download: john_taylor_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:46am PDT

Today’s episode features an absolute doll of a human being: Greg Behrendt.

In it, Greg tells a story from the Light Hustler live storytelling show which takes place the last Friday of every other month in LA.

His story veers from a night where he was wasted and cold and ended up with a burrito stuck to his hands but also touches on driving a car into the ocean and why we should bring our solutions and not our problems home.

When he’s not making Light Hustler audiences nearly pee their pants with laughter, Greg is performing (both as a comedian and musician) or writing (oh yeah; he’s the guy who co-wrote the seminal book He’s Just Not That Into You, among other bestselling books).

To see the calendar for future storytelling events, click here. To catch the live broadcasts of the shows, go ahead and give a like on Facebook, since we play every show on there.

Direct download: Greg_Done.mp3
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Brad Vos is a mental health and addictions recovery advocate who, in his words, "promotes the opportunity, and not the sacrifice, that recovery provides." Canada-based, he's someone who's tried numerous roads to sobriety, including 12-step and SMART Recovery, but finds he has a "bad wolf" who can talk him out of staying on the right path.

But he's determined to let the good wolf take charge, something that's evident in his new project—the website Sobertunity, which also includes accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

Brad and I first got to know each other when he joined the accountability group I run with Sober Evolution's Austin Cooper and from day one, he's been active in the group—sharing updates, schedules, plans...and his struggles. He's therefore the ideal person to show the rest of the world the sort of stuff we do in there. He also happens to be very funny and as someone who's semi obsessed with people sharing their "light," I cherish any opportunity to let hilarity reign.

In this episode, we discuss escaping a soulless sales job, staying on the path and how animals can help with our recovery, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: Brad_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Most every addict who's been in therapy has lied to their therapist or psychiatrist.

The question is...do shrinks know when you're lying? We asked LA board certified psychiatrist Dr. Josh Lichtman for his take.

Direct download: josh_lying_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

It’s hard to picture Paul Churchill as an active alcoholic. He’s nevertheless got the back story to prove it—including years of destructive drinking, a DUI and a suicide attempt.

Yet no one could accuse him of resting on his laurels once he found sobriety in September of 2016. No, sir. He launched the podcast Recovery Elevator soon after getting into recovery and then, 20 episodes in, decided to start an accountability group. Now Recovery Elevator is something of an empire—with retreats, groups and more.

Still, all didn’t become shiny and perfect overnight. Instead, Paul wrestled with plunging too quickly into projects destined to drown him. He’s now stepped back slightly but still has the sort of fire that has inspired his followers and fans. In this episode, we discuss the impact pets can have on recovery, how acceptance truly is the answer and launching businesses because we were looking for things that didn’t exist, among many other topics.

OTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: Paul_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Some people suffer from depression and other mental issues that doesn't respond to medication. What are they—and their doctors—supposed to do?

Double board certified psychiatrist Dr. Josh Lichtman lays out some options.

Direct download: treatment_resistent_josh_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

We all have stories. Some of us have funny ones. Others have tragic ones. If you're Natasha Vargas-Cooper, you have both.

If you listen to the podcast regularly, you know about Natasha but for anyone new around here...she is a wondrous sprite who graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a double major in history and public policy and has been published in such places as The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and GQ, among many others. Her book, Mad Men Unbuttoned, was praised as “a well-versed primer” by The New Yorker and “likely to become a trivia-lover’s bible” by The New York Times. Oh and in her spare time, she created the popular LA storytelling show Public School.

In this story, she discusses taking Ambien and then driving to 7-11 for cigarettes, the emails she shouldn't have sent and why being addicted to people is so much worse than being addicted to substances, among other (funny) (and tragic) things.

This episode is from my live storytelling show, which happens on the last Friday of every month at Open Space Cafe (457 N. Fairfax Ave) in LA.

Direct download: Natasha_Bipolar_Love_Interest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Addicts are increasingly more comfortable coming forward and sharing about their problems. But the same doesn't seem to be true for those suffering from mental illness. What can we do about that?

Dr. Josh Lichtman, a Los Angeles-based board-certified psychiatrist, breaks down his thoughts.

Direct download: josh_stigma_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Stephanie Wittels Wachs has endured something a sister should never have to experience.

In February of 2015, she lost her brother Harris to a heroin overdose.

Her brother wasn’t some low-bottom, down-and-out guy. Quite the opposite. He was actually nothing short of a legend in the comedy business, having been hired as a writer on The Sarah Silverman Show a year after graduating from college. From there, his career was on fire—he wrote on numerous MTV Movie Awards and was a writer and actor on Parks and Rec. When he died, he was on the verge of moving to New York to write on and star in Master of None with his friend Aziz Ansari. (In his spare time, he invented the word #humblebrag and wrote a book about it.)

In order to process her grief, Stephanie turned to the page…specifically to Medium.com, where she wrote a piece called “The End of Empathy,” about a stranger’s reaction to their family’s grief. The post struck a cord and next thing Stephanie knew, she was writing a book. Well, that book, Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss, is out now. And it is brilliant and juicy and wonderful and horrible and basically tells such a gripping tale of what it’s like to be the sister of a genius who just happens to be a drug addict that you will feel confident you actually knew Harris Wittels when you’ve put the book down.

In this episode, we talked about the surreality of talking about a book that only exists because your brother is gone, if there’s anything she would have done differently and the strange and even hopeful places her mourning has taken her, among many other topics.

Direct download: stephanie_wittels_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

We live in a world where everyone is diagnosing our president as narcissistic. So what, exactly, are we saying and are we allowed to diagnose someone we don't know based solely on their symptoms?

Dr. Josh Lichtman provides some answers.

Direct download: narcissism_josh_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

You surely know about Ryan Hampton by now. Not only has he become one of the world's leading recovery advocates, fighting to take down nefarious treatment centers and shady players but he's also the author of the upcoming book American Fix: Inside the American Opioid Addiction Crisis—And How to End It.

He's also one of my closer friends.

We work on a lot of things together but the one we're most excited about right now is our upcoming Light Switch: Turning on Your Inner Hustle retreat. It's happening the last weekend in April and will be a medley of workshops, treatments, bonding, laughter, panels and plenty of LA woo woo stuff. In this episode, we talk about the retreat (and our EARLY BIRD SPECIAL pricing which ends, alas, on March 8th) but also about the gifts that can come from bonding with our fellows in recovery (among many other topics).

 

Direct download: ryan_retreat_episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

In this episode, I talk to addiction psychiatrist Dr. Josh Lichtman about how depression and anxiety manifest—and overlap.

Direct download: anxiety_vs_depression_josh_Done.mp3
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I've long admired Laura McKowen.

The sober mama is a prolific writer (you can see her many posts over at LauraMcKowen.com), podcaster (for years she co-hosted HOME, now she's co-hosting Spiritualish) and all-around honest person living in recovery.

What do I mean by honest? Well, follow her on Instagram and you'll see more than just Ghandi quotes and hot photos. The woman spills it out there—and people love her for it.

While we met at the Unite to Face Addiction rally in the fall of 2015, this is the first time we were able to chat one-on-one. And what a chat it was! Tune in to hear us get into losing our virginity, the stories we tell ourselves and developing healthy relationships with other women, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

It's better with the lights on. So go out there and hustle your light, Light Hustler...

Direct download: laura_mckowen_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

AA is a controversial topic within recovery circles. Some are all for it, some violently opposed.

So where does a prominent addiction psychiatrist stand? Does he tell all his patients who are addicts to go there?

The answer may surprise you.

Direct download: josh_aa_final_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Bucky Sinister is a poet, self-help author and comedian, he has published four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfists, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and a number of other online and print publications. His novel, Black Hole, is flat out the funniest novel I've ever read about addiction.

He's been something of a regular in my world—a repeated podcast guest and performer at my live show. This episode is from one of those live shows and in this story, he talks about being terrified of small talk but not remotely scared to score drugs from strangers or get in fights.

This episode is from my live storytelling show, which happens on the last Friday of every month at Open Space Cafe (457 N. Fairfax Ave) in LA. Sign up for the newsletter to make sure you’re notified when shows are coming up and/or stay up to date on the schedule here. For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: Bucky_Scared_of_Wrong_Things.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Jen Matesa is a recovery powerhouse.

Unafraid and unapologetic, she speaks out about two "s"'s that scare some others—namely, Suboxone and sex.

She's written extensively about both—Suboxone in blog posts like this one and the sex in two of her four books...especially her most recent one, Sex in Recovery: A Meeting between the Covers (her previous book for Hazelden, The Recovering Body: Physical and Spiritual Fitness for Living Clean and Sober, also got into meditation, exercise, nutrition and more).

She has spoken and written widely, teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh, is a psychotherapist in training and is currently working on her second master’s degree.

Sober since 2010, she was one of the first sober bloggers and she's been dedicated in that time to giving the public reliable information about addiction and recovery without advertising or paywalls. Her commitment to removing social stigma from addiction and recovery earned her a fellowship at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Plus, she talks sex...here we got into best vibrators, losing your sex drive when you're taking opiates and what constitutes good sex. Get some great sex (info) and more in this episode—just in time for Hallmark's favorite holiday.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: jen_matesa_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

If there’s anyone who can make a ridiculous drinking story hilarious, it’s Laura House. A headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, she is originally from Texas and moved to LA after starring in MTV’s cult-favorite Austin Stories. She’s written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, NicoleThe George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV and more.

This story is about how she went from being a girl who knocked on doors trying to talk to strangers about Jesus to vomiting Pina Coladas all over a bus to peeing her name in the hallway outside of a teacher’s hotel room. Did she end up suffering consequences for being a host family’s worst nightmare? Well, no—and yes. It all makes sense if you listen.

This episode is from my live storytelling show, which happens on the last Friday of every month at Open Space Cafe (457 N. Fairfax Ave) in LA.

Direct download: Laura_Done_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

I first met Drew Grant through friends, when we both lived in New York. She was a young, dynamic, cool, talented writer who'd worked at Salon and The New York Observer, among many other publications.

While I'd always found her somewhat fascinating, that feeling was only enhanced when, during a causal conversation, she mentioned that she had a brief addiction to Fentanyl. I was working at The Fix website at the time and so I did what I did whenever anyone mentioned drugs...promptly assigned her a story. While she wrote that piece under a pen name, a few years later—in the wake of the Philip Seymour Hoffman overdose—she came out under her own name.

Drew and I recently got in touch again, when she spoke to the students in my coaching program. She told me that her story with drugs had only gotten more Byzantine since we'd last spoken and so I did what I do whenever someone tells me that...promptly invited her to come on the podcast.

I knew it would be such a different story than the one my guests usually tell. This one didn't involve a bottom, a resurgence, church basements (well, there are some church basements in her story but not many) and eventual sobriety.

Instead it started with childhood chronic masturbation and ADD meds, Xanax tapering and much, much more. In this episode, we discuss what it was like to be on so many medications that you thought loved ones were out to get you, being intervened on by heroin addicts and how to handle doctor shopping across three states, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: Drew_interview_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Sean Paul Mahoney isn’t your average bear.

He isn’t your average human, either.

That’s because he’s much funnier than your average human.

As a blogger, playwright and podcaster, Sean shares his many witticisms with the world?—?including me, back when I used to edit his essays at AfterParty. Just over nine years sober, he’s now working in the mental health and recovery field…and as he says, it keeps life very “real.”

In this episode, we discuss hitting (and coming out of) an emotional bottom at seven years of sobriety, discovering that he was HIV positive, sitting with someone who’s overdosing and how his family sent him to church basements instead of a cushy Malibu rehab, among many other things. The interview got cut off at the end but he’s so great that it’s well worth the abrupt finish. This one’s a can’t miss, guys!

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: sean_done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Gabe Zichermann is an unlikely hero in the addiction recovery world as he literally spent the first half of his career making sure we got hooked on tech. The world’s foremost expert and public speaker on the subject of gamification, user engagement and behavioral design, Zichermann is also the author of The Gamification Revolution (McGraw Hill, 2013), Gamification by Design (2011) and Game-Based Marketing (2010).

But, as he observed addictive tendencies in both himself and the people around him, Zichermann realized he was potentially part of the problem. Consider his new project, Onward, penance. Onward is an app he co-founded that brings together the latest data science and artificial intelligence to help people change their potentially addictive relationships with technology, pornography, gambling or shopping.

In this interview, we talked about his epiphany about his own addictive relationship with gaming (spoiler alert: don’t invite him to your party if he’s in the middle of a game), why cognitive behavioral therapy works for some people struggling with addiction and not for others and if his former tribe now considers him the enemy, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: gabe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Prolific TV and movie producer Scott Steindorff has convinced authors like Philip Roth and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to give up the film rights for their books. He's won Golden Globes and been nominated for Emmys. He's worked with Matthew McConaughey, Paul Newman and Nicole Kidman, among many others.

But his greatest passion in life doesn't have anything to do with the entertainment business. His greatest passion is related to the fact that, at over 30 years of sobriety, he's watching more and more people die as a result of addiction. He believes our current treatment methods—in particular AA—need to be modernized and he's devoting his time and passion to doing just that by putting together his own recovery program, Life Renewal.

In this episode, he and I get into a very heated debate about whether or not AA works. When this aired as a Facebook Live, the comments and questions were never-ending and I couldn't even begin to address all of them. A tame episode this is not. A lively one it is.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: scott_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Austin Cooper didn’t want to live anymore.

Like many people suffering from addiction, he was at the too-scared-to-live, too-scared-to-die crossroads. He’d forgotten that he had people who loved him.

When those loved ones did an intervention, he knew he had a choice: to live or die.

He chose to live…and in less than five years, he’s become an outspoken recovery advocate. It all started when he discovered some inspiring quotes that changed his life. He thought maybe those quotes could help other people and so he started an Instagram account filled with them.

The account grew so rapidly that he soon found himself on 20/20 and working as a coach.

Now he and I have partnered on The Light Hustler Evolution, an accountability group that includes weekly assignments, webinars, coaching sheets, a book club and more. We talk all about it in this interview and explain that if you join before January 1st, you can get locked in at a 20% off discount. While this group will eventually be invitation and nomination only, for now it is open to anyone who wants to join. There is no obligation to stay in the group if you don’t want to so if you’ve ever struggled to meet a goal or want to interact with some cool folks (charter members include Golden Globe award winning producer Scott Steindorff, Girl Walks Out of a Bar author Lisa Smith and recovery advocate Ryan Hampton), we encourage you to join now. You can find out more about the group here and join here.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews (make sure you Like my page so you can stay up on when they happen).

Direct download: austin_cooper_done.mp3
Category:Health -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Austin Eubanks shouldn't be alive. And he certainly shouldn't be thriving.

An injured survivor of the Columbine High School shooting, Eubanks was shot twice as he watched his best friend get murdered in front of his eyes. Afterwards, a phalanx of doctors prescribed him everything he wanted and more, until he found himself on a drug cocktail that included not only stimulants but also benzos and opiates. Marijuana and harder drugs followed soon after.

A few trips to rehab didn't do much to slow his roll but, after coming to in jail in April of 2011 and learning that no one he knew was willing to take his call let alone bail him out, he made the choice that saved his life and entered treatment at the Stout Street Foundation for over a year. He has been sober ever since and is now a world-renowned speaker on the topic of recovery, COO of Foundry Treatment Center, on the board of directors for Stout Street Foundation and a member of the founding board of directors for 5280 High School.

In this episode, Eubanks shares the secret to working through trauma, why he never used to tell people he went to Columbine and how he can prove that addiction doesn't always have a genetic component, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews (make sure you Like my page so you can stay up on when they happen).

Direct download: austin_eubanks_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Jodi Miller is what they call bust-a-gut funny (do they call it that or did I make that up?).

She's also, as they say, blue. So if you're prone to blushing, you may want to skip this one.

If, on the other hand, you don't shock easily and also enjoy laughing, you'll love this one.

Jodi has performed on The Tonight Show and America's Got Talent. She's also written on a Cinemax series and been a recurring guest commentator on Showbiz Tonight.

In this episode, she tells a night of drunken abandon...and a wardrobe malfunction. She performed it at my storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: jodi_miller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Filmmaker and Facing Addiction co-founder Greg Williams puts most recovery advocates to shame. And he’s one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

Here’s how the story goes: Williams got sober and was doing just a basic sober job when he started meeting people in the recovery advocacy movement. He was earning a grad degree at NYU that involved studying both advocacy and filmmaking and so he did the next logical thing: make a movie about these impressive folks he was meeting. After taking out a loan and then doing the Indie Go Go thing, Williams was able to present to the world The Anonymous People—the definitive film about recovering out loud.

Because there’s no rest for the weary, he then co-founded Facing Addiction, the non-profit responsible for the 2015 march in Washington where Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow and Joe Walsh performed. Since then, he’s completed another film (Generation Found) and embarked on a handful of other equally impressive projects.

In this episode, Williams talks about where he got the faith to take out a $70,000 loan for a project he had no idea would pay off, why we need more recovery advocates than we already have and what it really means to recover out loud, among many other topics.

We also talked about how YOU can get involved. For information on that, click here. For a quiz on whether or not you’re ready to tell your story, click here.

Direct download: greg_williams_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Travis Jones is a video editor by day and a storyteller by night.  He has performed at The Moth and various other shows around LA.

In this episode, he tells arguably the funniest story I've ever heard about getting arrested (and I've heard a lot). Suffice it to say that there are some fraternity brothers who surely regretted every setting eyes on him.

He told the story at my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

 

Direct download: travis_jones__hammered_time_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Wes Geer may have once looked like an unlikely recovery hero.

The founding member of the band Hed PE, Geer went down the path familiar to many young, wild and crazy dudes in bands...all of which culminated in a trip to rehab in 2004. After finding sobriety in 2007, Geer was asked to join the legendary band Korn and he played with them for years. But just being a rock star wasn't enough for Geer and so, in 2013, he formed Rock to Recovery.

Rock to Recovery's mission sounds almost impossible: a bunch of musicians go into treatment centers and teach the (non-musical) residents there to play. Together, they write a song. Yes, non-musicians write and play a song. Does it work? Well, Rock to Recovery currently does about 400 sessions a month—at both non-profit organizations and high-end treatment centers. They also put on shows, where people like Billy Idol, Fred Durst and Mark McGrath play.

In this episode, Wes and I talk about the manifestation meditation that led to his greatest epiphany, whether or not he's always been spiritual and the fact that aliens may have been tuning in on our conversation, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: wes_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Brian Cuban is the ideal recovery advocate.

Sober since 2007, the attorney and best-selling author of two books about his recovery is willing to talk about something very few men are: struggling with bulimia and anorexia. And not only is he willing to talk about it—he's willing to delve into how he developed his eating disorder (he writes touchingly about being teased as a kid in this compelling easy for CNN).

The brother of Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, Brian was a practicing attorney whose addiction had caused him to lose all his clients before his brothers intervened on him. Yet it was years before he was actually ready to seek help—when his now-wife discovered his secrets and was ready to leave.

In this interview, we talk about the role family plays in addiction, lying to your psychiatrist and moving full-time into recovery advocacy, among other things.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: brian_cuban_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today's episode features a very special guest: me. Since I'm releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about how, the first time I got drunk, I confessed my love to the big man on campus. What happened next shocked even unshockable me.

Direct download: anna_mike_z_Done_1_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44am PDT

It’s one thing to be open about your addiction when you’re a writer in LA—aka a person most people assume WOULD be an addict.

It’s quite another when you’re a high-powered attorney.

But Lisa F. Smith is a trail blazer. The author of the hit book Girl Walks Out of a Bar is also probably my favorite person I’ve never met. (Side note: I’ve slept in her bed despite not having met her; it’s not as sexy as it sounds but that’s something we get into in the interview.)

What’s fascinating about Lisa’s story is that she was so high functioning that the day she got sober was just like any other day where she was headed to work—although instead of going to work, she went to detox.

In this episode, we discuss her fear around coming out, the way addiction can start with food and how she feels when men in AA are called sexual harassers, among many other topics.

(BTW, Lisa is featured in my Guide to Becoming a Light Hustler, where I profiled the people I know who have taken their darkest experiences to share their light and in some cases built careers off of it. If you want to be one of them, be sure to get the free guide here: www.annadavidcoaching.com.)

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: lisa_smith_pod_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today's episode features an absolute doll of a human being: Greg Behrendt.

In it, Greg tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story captures, perhaps better than anyone ever has before, exactly why being sober is so uncomfortable.

When he's not making Hammer(ed) Time audiences nearly pee their pants with laughter, Greg is performing (both as a comedian and musician) or writing (oh yeah; he's the guy who co-wrote the seminal book He's Just Not That Into You, among other bestselling books).

Direct download: Greg_Sober_is_Gross_Greg_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Taryn Strong was sitting atop the largest resource for women in recovery and keeping a secret: namely that in between hosting retreats in places like Bali, where she and her mom Dawn Nickel were getting women to open up about their recovery, she was doing coke. She'd been honest about her past up until then—about self-harm, about co-dependency, about a drug phase when she was younger—but coming clean about the fact that she was also an addict required a new level of bravery.

In this episode, Taryn talks about the SheRecovers brand—the retreats they host, the malas they sell, the coaches the certify—and so much more.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Taryn_Strong_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Lindsay Adams is no joke.

Yes, she tells jokes but the seriously funny comic also got sober when she was a teenager after surviving—well, some pretty horrific shit. And she bakes! She has a baking show on something I'm too old to understand called Twitch.

In this episode, Lindsay tells a story at my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

When she's not charming Hammer(ed) Time audiences, Lindsay is performing at the Laugh Factory, Improv and Comedy Store, being featured in the TBS Just for Laughs comedy festival, appearing on Oxygen and Fox or performing with Mortified in LA, Chicago, and San Francisco. She also produces Heat: A Comedy Show and Full Moon: A Gathering of Comedy and the Metaphysical.

Direct download: Lindsay_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Angela Gulner is not your typical actress.

For one, the Harvard grad is a multi-talent, having created and starred in the binge-worthy series Binge. Secondly, Binge is about something most people don't talk about—that is, binging and purging. And then there's the fact that Gulner is incredibly open about the fact that this series is based on her life.

While I'm not normally a plot summary gal, the plot of the Binge pilot is too hilarious not to spell out. It opens with Gulner waking up hung over in her car and then agreeing to have sex with the guy she clearly hooked up with the night before so long as he gives her his coffee mug. Then we move into a storyline about how she's blackmailed into checking into treatment for her eating disorder by the sex addict she met when blacked out. The episode ends with her destroying her best friend's dinner party for her future mother-in-law by announcing that the man she had sex with that morning for the coffee mug is the future mother-in-law's boyfriend.

In this episode, my new girl crush and I discuss just when the roots of her eating disorder started (spoiler alert: the age of six!), what parents can do to prevent their kids from developing issues like this and why she went the indie route when it came to getting Binge made, among many others topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: angela_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today's episode features the very funny Jessica Sele from one of my live  storytelling shows, Hammer(ed) Time.

In her own words, Jessica Sele is a "deeply weird human being and stand-up comedian." She's performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and SF Sketchfest and was described by Bitch Magazine as a “hilarious and talented queer woman.”

The story she tells is a basic how-to if you want to know how to get wasted and shame everyone in the vicinity.

Direct download: Jessica_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Therapist Kelley Kitley could have kept quiet about her own past.

She had a thriving practice—first in Santa Monica, then in Chicago—and didn't need her clients knowing about her own experiences.

Instead she decided to spill all...in her memoir, My Self: A Story of Survival, a memoir which details her experiences being sexually abused, developing an eating disorder and then struggling with addiction (she's now sober four-and-a-half years).

In this episode, she talks about how her clients reacted to her own confessions, what happened when she told her father she was being abused and why "Get it Girl" is her motto, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Kelley_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today's episode features a very special guest: me. Since I'm releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about how I went from chain-smoking derelict to sanctimonious ex-smoker who only tried to quit smoking in the first place because a guy I liked went to a certain Nicotine Anonymous meeting.

(And if you smoke, just know I'm not talking about you!)

Direct download: anna_smoking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Garrett Hade is a guy who usually sits behind the scenes. As the right (and left) hand(s) of prominent recovery advocate Ryan Hampton, Garrett is the one by Ryan's side as they travel across the country interviewing people in recovery, visiting jails and in short doing everything they possibly can to change the way addiction is perceived and treated.

Though Garrett and I have become closer over the past year, getting him in front of a camera and mic was a serious treat. In this episode, we talked about the struggle he had about publicly sharing about his addiction and recovery and what he's learned as a result, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Jesse, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Garrett_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today’s episode features a truly unique soul: author Bucky Sinister.

In it, Bucky tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story is about an event not everyone has the opportunity to reminisce about: the 30th anniversary of his first intervention. (Spoiler alert: don't take acid beforehand.)

Bucky is the author of not only the hilarious addiction novel Black Hole but also four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and a number of other online and print publications.

Direct download: bucky_intervention.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am PDT

Today's episode features one of my very favorite people I know: comedian and writer Mary Patterson Broome.

In it, MP tells a story from our live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

Her story is about something most people in recovery are all too familiar with: those friends from the drinking days who question whether or not she really needs to be sober.

When she's not entertaining the rest of us with tales of her former debauchery, MP is the Editor-in-Chief of AfterParty Magazine and RehabReviews and tours the country performing comedy. She has written for Women's Health and for AOL Originals’ Emmy-nominated Making a Scene with James Franco.

Direct download: MP_Drinking_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT


What John Clint Mabry has endured would have destroyed most people.

John Clint Mabry is not most people.

During a tragic car accident when he was 18, he lost both a friend and his leg. The former class clown then got addicted to opiates and thought he was living a terribly exciting life—appearing in movies like Superbad and partying at the Playboy Mansion. Then he lost his brother to addiction and spiraled down that road himself...until he couldn't any longer.

Now a sober counselor, motivational speaker and author (lucky for me, I get to be the one helping him bring his story to the world, through my coaching program for writers!), Mabry serves as an example that with the right attitude, we can overcome anything.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: John_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today's episode features a woman everyone loves: Sara Benincasa.

Benincasa is a screenwriter, recovering stand-up comedian and the author of "Real Artists Have Day Jobs" (William Morrow 2016); "DC Trip" (Adaptive 2015); "Great" (HarperTeen 2014); and "Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom" (William Morrow 2012). She also wrote a very silly joke book called "Tim Kaine Is Your Nice Dad."  In 2017, she adapted "DC Trip" as a screenplay with Bona Fide, Gunpowder & Sky, and Adaptive Studios. She also adapted "Agorafabulous" as a pilot for TV with Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. Born and raised in New Jersey, she attended Emerson College, graduated from Warren Wilson College, and got a masters degree in teaching from Teachers College at Columbia University. She lives in Los Angeles and she's working on an untitled novel for Adaptive Books.

She told this story at my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

It's about being in high school, going to Europe, getting homesick, having a panic attack and ruining the day for her popular nemesis.

Direct download: Sara_anxiety_attack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Carly Benson is a sober wundekind. The voice behind the mega popular website Miracles Are Brewing, Benson is a yoga instructor, coach, leader of a monthly group about intentional living, co-founder (with Kelly Fitzgerald) of the Bloom Club, co-host (also with Kelly) of the Regroup podcast, and all around spiritual badass. While she and I had never met before, we'd both admired one another from afar—and now, frankly, I want to do as much as I can with her. In this episode, we discuss realizing everything has to change, what it's like to have a sudden spiritual change and how to make your mess into your message, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Carly_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today’s episode features an absolute doll of a human being: Greg Behrendt.

In it, Greg tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story veers from a night where he was wasted and suddenly realized he was hanging out with dudes who had submachine guns into the rage he feels over the way people order from Starbucks to a riff on pudding, all while managing to make commentary on what it’s like to be a sober man today.

When he’s not making Hammer(ed) Time audiences nearly pee their pants with laughter, Greg is performing (both as a comedian and musician) or writing (oh yeah; he’s the guy who co-wrote the seminal book He’s Just Not That Into You, among other bestselling books).

For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: greg_crazy_people.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am PDT

Jesse Heffernan, the National Outreach and Empowerment Coordinator at Faces and Voices of Recovery, is a Certified Recovery Coach who's over 16 years sober.

I was lucky enough to speak to him about finding a toxic community based on similar "woundedness," wearing a wire to bust drug dealers, whether or not he's clean cut and if the word "addict" is good or bad, among many other things.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Jesse, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Jesse_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today's episode features the person Louis CK named as one of the funniest female comedians of our time: Laura House.

In it, Laura tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

Her story covers a 4th of July party she once attended that actually lasted three days and included lots of beer, nudity and an eventual police bust. Bonus: it also teaches you how to make a "hillbilly hot tub"!

When she's not entertaining the rest of us with tales of her former debauchery, Laura is writing on TV shows (including Mom and Samantha Who), teaching meditation or performing in her one-woman show, How to Hate Yourself.

Direct download: Laura_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Kenny Pomerance and Ron Tannebaum, or Mr. Clean and RT, are the recovery titans behind the Facebook-for-recovery website InTheRooms. The two longtime friends—who first met when they were in college—launched their site in 2008, when they were both nearly three decades sober. Since then, the site has blossomed—with hundreds of thousands of members attending on-line meetings, watching lectures, using the ITR apps and bonding in ways they never could otherwise.

I've been lucky enough to know these guys since the launch of ITR and they've never been anything but generous, kind and compassionate. This has a great deal to do with how they've been able to thrive—with an astounding 400,000+ members that have a combined million+ years of sobriety.

In this episode, we discuss how many people told them that a Facebook for recovery idea was never going to work, why they don't look at anyone as competition and having a song written for them by Aerosmith, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Dawn, which means that the audio isn't as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: ITR_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Today’s episode features a truly unique soul: author Bucky Sinister.

In it, Bucky tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story is about a friend of his who happened to be "the most batshit crazy person" he knew, the sort of person who'd ask, if you told him your mother had breast cancer, "how nice her tits were." He also explains how much this friend of his taught him about how to be a sober man.

When he's not bringing urns onto a stage (yep—if you listen to the episode, it will all make sense), Bucky is writing. He's the author of not only the hilarious addiction novel Black Hole but also four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and a number of other online and print publications.

Direct download: Bucky_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Dawn Nickel is a legend in the recovery world. The womab behind SheRecovers, Nickel was in recovery a long time and a self-proclaimed workaholic looking for a change when she realized, while sitting on the beach in Mexico, that what she really wanted to do: help people in recovery. And so she launched a Facebook page. Despite being something of a social media novice, the page took off—attracting hundreds of thousands of Likes as it established itself as the place for women in recovery (from anything) to gather together for inspiration and connection. Now SheRecovers is a business which includes retreats, events and coaching.

In this episode, Nickel and I discuss how she was able to corner the market on women recovering, whether or not the word "addict' is stigmatizing and how she makes sure she doesn't sway back into workaholism (hint: it has to do with going on the SheRecovers retreats).

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Dawn, which means that the audio isn't as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Dawn_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

oday's episode features one of my very favorite people I know: comedian and writer Mary Patterson Broome.

In it, MP tells a story from our live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

Her story answers the question many among us may have craved an answer to: what kind of crazy activities go on at comedy festivals? Well, in this one, we learn about "mirror moments," deciding to hook up, how to handle it when the dude who just drove you home pukes all over himself and what to do when a drunk stranger needs to sleep it off when you're sharing a room.

When she's not entertaining the rest of us with tales of her former debauchery, MP is the Editor-in-Chief of AfterParty Magazine and RehabReviews and tours the country performing comedy. She has written for Women's Health and for AOL Originals’ Emmy-nominated Making a Scene with James Franco.

Direct download: MP_Broome_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Today's episode features a very special guest: me. Since I'm releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about the three cocaine dealers I had during my using days, the different signature moves they had and how I ended up in rehab with one of them. 

Direct download: anna_3_dealers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

In this episode, Anna David speaks about how discovering the fact that recovery had its own language inspired her to focus her own work on the topic.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_-_Recovery_Language_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Recover Girl takes to the stage again, as I'm giving you another episode featuring a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time—which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

This episode features previous podcast guest Natasha Vargas-Cooper, a wondrous sprite who graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a double major in history and public policy and has been published in such places as The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and GQ, among many others. Her book, Mad Men Unbuttoned, was praised as “a well-versed primer” by The New Yorker and “likely to become a trivia-lover’s bible” by The New York Times. Oh and in her spare time, she created the popular LA storytelling show Public School.

In this story, she asks the question many may have pondered: what happens if you're "sober" but take Ambien? (Hint: it may involve texting your boss that you bet he looks good naked.)

Direct download: Natasha_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT


Kelly Fitzgerald is probably the most successful sober blogger in the world. The voice behind The Sober Senorita, Fitzgerald launched to internet fame when she wrote a post about being sober a year, which The Huffington Post picked up and posted on its home page. Cut to the post going viral, being published in multiple languages and placing Fitzgerald in a position of authority on recovery. She's now been published on sites like Elite Daily, Ravishly and Thought Catalog, hosts her own podcast and offers a virtual coaching program.

In this episode, we discuss being uncomfortable outing yourself as sober, what it is about her first blog post about sobriety that hit a nerve, being a member of my coaching program for writers and whether or not everything happens as it's meant to, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Kelly, which means that the audio isn't as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Kelly_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Freddy Negrete is inarguably one of the world's greatest legends in the tattoo world. The former Chicano gang member perfected the art of "prison" black and grey tattoos before going to work for fellow tattoo legends “Good Time” Charlie Cartwright and Jack Rudy in East LA. He logged time working with Ed Hardy (who, for the uninitiated, is a real guy and not just a t-shirt line) and now makes headlines when he tattoos famous folks like Henry Styles. Despite his current celebrity status, Negrete has hardly had an easy life: the son of a Jewish woman and a Mexican father, Negrete was pretty much orphaned when both his parents went to prison. He joined a gang, entered a life of crime, started going in and out of juvie halls and prison and, along the way, became a heroin addict. Now sober over a half decade, Negrete is the co-author of a memoir based on his life, Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs and Tattoos: My Life in Black and Gray. In this episode, we talk about how gangs provided camaraderie, making tattoo guns out of cassette tapes and his sudden spiritual awakening, among many other topics.

Direct download: freddy_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Recover Girl takes a turn this time, as I'm going to start releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time. It takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

This episode features previous podcast guest Eddie Pepitone, a national treasure to the part of the nation that knows him. This was the theme of The Bitter Buddha, the critically acclaimed documentary about his life, and is also occasionally a part of his stand-up act. As a comedian and actor, he’s been on WTF and Conan repeatedly, as well as on The Last Comic Standing, The Sarah Silverman Program, Happy Endings, Flight of the Concords, 2 Broke Girls, It’s Always Sunny and many more.

In this story, he talks about "sculpting a winner" and great thinkers who believe we were never born, among other (hilarious) topics.

For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: Eddie_RG_HT_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

In this five-minute episode, Anna David talks about how new ideas occur to her every time she thinks she's shared everything she has to say about recovery.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_-_Running_Out_Of_Stories_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT


Buddhist meditation teacher Dave Smith has been studying the Dharma since 1993 when a series of traumatic incidents (including the death of his sister and girlfriend) motivated him to seek help. Over the next decade, he lived a double life—going on meditation retreats while also living the high life as a touring musician. Now sober over 14 years, Smith has led retreats, mentored people one-on-one and given numerous Dharma talks (you can listen to some of them here). He’s also become an author, releasing Ethical Mindfulness in 2015 (he’s currently working on a follow up, which we chat about at length in this episode). In this episode, we discuss how to recognize trauma when it comes up, his feelings about no longer being a musician and why his writing career is only just beginning, among many other topics.

Direct download: dave_smith_Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

In this five-minute episode, Anna David discusses how she gently dipped her toe into the waters of writing about recovery—before ultimately submerging herself.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_-_Write_About_Recovery_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Writer Jenna Hutt always knew she had a story to tell. The Colorado-dwelling wife and mother of one had an inarguably interesting life and had been through struggles she knew could help other people: in the span of three years, her father committed suicide and her husband had a traumatic brain injury, all while she struggled with alcoholism. Hutt had always been a secret drinker—her very first drink was a bottle she chugged at home alone, when she was 12—and her secrets caught up with her when her husband discovered her suitcase full of empty bottles during a trip to see his family. Now sober over three years, Hutt is writing her story and it is my great pleasure to be able to have a front row seat during the process because she’s doing it in my coaching program. All this means that while we’ve been in email, phone and webinar contact over the past six months, this recording marks our first in-person meeting. In this episode, we discuss where being a control freak meets alcoholism and embracing the little voice inside that tells you to write, among many other topics.

Direct download: Jenna_hutt_Done_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

In this special five-minute episode of Recover Girl, Anna David discusses how she wanted to write a book her whole life—but didn't make any progress until she learned that writing worked just like recovery.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_-_One_Day_At_A_Time_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

It seems crazy that comedian Mary Patterson Broome hasn't been on the podcast before. The Alabama-bred lady has performed stand-up comedy at clubs, colleges and many other places for over 11 years. She's also written for AOL Originals’ Emmy-nominated Making a Scene with James Franco and WE TV’s Sex Box.

But most relevantly for me, she's the Editor-in-Chief at RehabReviews.com/AfterParty Magazine. Faithful listeners know this is a website I started and MP helped me run until I left in March (to take the helm at In Recovery Magazine) and MP took over. To say she's been my right hand is an understatement.

MP's journey to sobriety has gone hand-in-hand with her journey to becoming a professional writer—a subject we get into in this episode. Listen and find out how the anonymous "Sarah" came to rule the roost of one of the biggest recovery sites out there.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_-_MP_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Dr. Josh Lichtman answers a listener's question about whether or not you're guaranteed to become addicted to an addictive medication if you take it enough.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_End_Up_Addicted_To_Any_Med_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

China Isler—ne, Kantner—is someone I've known for a while...since I was 10, as a matter of fact. This is because we went to the same grammar school and despite the fact that the place where I grew up was somewhat sophisticated and jaded, our school was often abuzz over the fact that rock star royalty—the daughter of Jefferson Starship's Paul Kantner and Grace Slick—was among us.
Despite how China appeared—I remember her being bubbly and cool beyond belief—she had her first drink at two, was "uncomfortable" by four and was drinking regularly by 12. And so she found sobriety at an early age—in high school—and watched her life take off. Suddenly she was the youngest MTV DJ ever and discovering how much she loved acting. An acting career as well as a relapse followed—after which China took a look at her life and decided what she really wanted to do was a lot more spiritual than saying someone else's lines in front of a camera. And so she became...a pastor. No, it's not the typical path for the daughter of two rock stars. But the Minister of Substance Use Disorder and Recovery at UrbanMission in Pomona is as passionate about recovery as anyone I've ever met. Sober since 1998, she's now the Faith Leader/Liaison at Facing Addiction.

Direct download: China_episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

A listener was told by her sponsor that because she takes anti-depressants, she isn't actually sober. Dr. Josh Lichtman gives his take.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Take_Med_Still_Sober_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

I'm going to have to be honest here: I'm very invested in Paul Fuhr's recovery—and it's not just because I am a selfless person.

I've gotten to know Paul, you see, because he wrote me a fan email several years ago about this very podcast. How lovely was it? Well I'm a hardened soul and it made me cry. 

But here's the really fabulous part: after that email, Paul wrote a story on spec for the site I was then editing. And it was brilliant. Cut to: Paul becoming AfterParty's most prolific writer. Every story he turned in examined a different aspect of recovery in a way that was wholly original, clever, and passionate. (Side note: because Paul is incredibly modest, he never told me until we recorded this very episode that he had a Masters in English and had worked as an editor. I had been patting myself on the back for years over having "discovered" him.)

Our conversation did not disappoint. Please listen and learn how a brilliant guy with a wife, three kids, a career managing dozens of people found and then handles sobriety.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Podcast_-_Paul_Fuhr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

A listener's psychiatrist diagnosed her as Bipolar 2. Then she found out the psychiatrist was wrong. What is Bipolar 2 and how is it different than regular old Bipolar 1?

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Bi-polar_2_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Aussie entrepreneur James Swanwick has been an ESPN anchor on SportsCenter, is the author of ‘Insider Journalism Secrets’ and is the co-founder of international agency, Crocmedia. He has been a print or TV journalist for 20 years, writing for newspapers and magazines in the US, UK and Australia. These include Associated Press, Sky Sports, ESPN, WPLJ radio, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Sky Movie Channel, Q104FM, Loaded magazine, Woman’s Day, The Courier-Mail and much more. He also sells the coolest blue-blocking glasses around, hosts an eponymously titled hit podcast and runs any number of other successful online ventures.

But the reason I had him on the pod was to discuss his 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, a program he developed after he decided to quit drinking because he was tired of “just existing in the world.” His program isn’t for alcoholics but for people like him—those who feel that drinking is preventing them from living the best lives they can. (Swanwick’s experience, by the by, is that he followed those 30 days of not drinking with continued abstinence; it’s now been years.)

Direct download: Swanwick_Pod_new_version.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm PDT

Psychiatrist Dr. Josh Lichtman answers the question: what the hell is a co-occurring disorder?

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Co-occurring_disorder_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Brandon Novak shouldn’t be alive.

The professional skateboarder, New York Times bestseller author and member of the Jackass crew has hit all the pit stops on the way to the bottom: homelessness, multiple trips to rehab, incarceration and the like. But somehow, some way, the 38-year-old from Baltimore had a moment of clarity on May 25, 2015 and nothing’s been the same since. The guy who once passed a UA in jail by using his cellmate’s urine has transitioned into a recovery evangelist, flying all over the country to help those struggling with addiction and get them into treatment. Just how serious is he about it? Well, he gives out his personal cell phone number (610-635-9092) and encourages anyone who thinks they need help to call it.

When I interviewed Novak, the Baltimore native was visiting LA where he was making a series of appearances advocating for recovery. And how’s this for irony? The hotel room where we did the interview ended up a little bit thrashed but I was the one who thrashed it. To understand how that happened, you’ve got to listen to the whole episode.

Direct download: Novak_episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

In this episode of Recover Girl, Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Sirah, joins me for a brutally honest conversation about her disturbing, crazy, wonderful life of dysfunction, addiction, crime, and music.

Direct download: sirah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

Ian Harvie is the groundbreaking transgender stand-up comedian whom you may have seen in the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning TV series TRANSPARENT. In this episode of Recover Girl, Ian Harvie joined me on my couch to talk about his childhood in rural Maine, his journey to discovering his true gender identity, his recovery from alcoholism, and his new life in sobriety as a trans comic.

Direct download: Transitioning_From_Addicted_Woman_to_Sober_Man_with_Ian_Harvie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

Actress and artist Jemima Kirke came on the podcast. Yes, those are thrilling words to write. This is not only exciting because she’s luminous, talented and plays Jessa on freaking Girls but also because she has a history with substances that you don’t hear many people share about. After a wild youth, which included multi-day benders and bouts of depression, Kirke showed up at her mom’s in early 20s, saying she was ready for rehab. She went from one treatment center to the next, finding enough fault with the program there for her to be kicked out (but not before meeting the man she eventually married, who happens to now own a sober living). After years of staying sober and doing the 12-step thing, Kirke began to question whether the one-size-fits-all philosophy about addiction applied to her. And so she had a drink. Contrary to what she’d been told, nothing bad happened. That was a few years ago and in that time, she’s watched her career rise to superstardom and embraced motherhood (in addition to the two kids she has with her husband, she is also the step-mother to his kids from a previous marriage). In this episode, we talk about self-hatred, rehabs just out to take your money and if meeting your future spouse in treatment is “trauma bonding,” among other topics.

Direct download: Jemma_Pod_new_version.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Writer and comedian Mara Shapshay has had a life of inarguable highs and lows: Growing up outside Boston as the daughter of a sex therapist, Shapshay felt alienated as the only Jewish girl at her school (not to mention the only girl whose mother talked extensively about oral sex). After a traumatic incident in Israel, Shapshay turned to opiates and alcohol; they helped her through film school at NYU, after which she landed in LA and promptly married a gay man. Stints at rehab followed but they didn't take and Shapshay ended up homeless and living in her car. Then she randomly met Carrie Fisher and asked her for help. Next thing she knew, Shapshay was living with Fisher and helping the late actress through shock treatments. Now over a decade sober, Shapshay is a practicing Orthodox Jew married to a sober (not gay) Orthodox Jew. And she's determined to carry on Fisher's mission to spread awareness about mental health. In this episode, we discuss why mental illness carries more of a stigma than addiction, the lure of celebrity and the difference between trust and faith, among many other topics.

Direct download: Mara_AP_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Author Heather King puts the rest of us to shame. She's written so many books she literally has no idea how many. She went through law school pretty much in a black out and managed to ace the bar. And she manages to embody the sort of joy that many seek and cannot find. At least part of this surely has to do with the fact that she very much walks the walk. Now sober over 30 years, King converted to Catholicism after having a crisis of faith and now writes a weekly column on arts, culture, faith and life for Angelus. It's been a long journey from the bar stools of Boston to the churches of LA and luckily King is a charming narrator. In this episode, we discuss knocking on a neighbor's door to buy beers off of him during brutal hangovers, being too cheap to become a gambling addict and weaning oneself off of romantic obsessions, among many other topics.

Direct download: Heather_King_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT