Recover Girl

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

Interventionist, sober companion, Fix co-founder and former proprietor of Brooklyn's Loft 107 Sober Living, Joe Schrank is a somewhat controversial figure in recovery circles. While he's never been afraid to speak his mind, Schrank has just launched his most chatter-worthy business of all: High Sobriety, an LA-based "cannabis included" treatment center that offers, in its own words, "harm reduction through an innovative medication assisted program." The first of its kind in the United States, High Sobriety is aimed at those people who Schrank feels would be dead if they had to abstain from all chemicals—that is, those who try sobriety and end up with a needle in their arm. In this episode, Schrank discusses his own sobriety, how the US is conservative in its approach to recovery and why the issue of harm reduction isn't as simple as it first seems, among many other topics.

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

Marketing guru Joe Polish can't simply be described as a marketing guru. The founder of ILoveMarketing and the Genius Network, Polish is one of the world's leading business coaches (this can happen when Richard Branson is one of your clients) and runs several exclusive mastermind groups. But now Polish has found his true passion: enlightening the world about recovery—in particular the way making art can help addicts. Hence his project, Artists for Addicts. In this episode, we discuss getting down to 105 pounds when freebasing cocaine, the insidious nature of sex addiction and how Artists for Addicts is helping to change the global conversation about how people view addicts, among other topics.

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

Former TV news journalist Rob Koebel's future looked bright: he'd won an Emmy and worked his way up to being a reporter at a Wisconsin TV station. Then, in 2012, his ex-wife, a news anchor named Christi Paul who had worked for CNN and HLN, released a book called Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt about her marriage to an abusive drunk—Koebel (though in the book his name is changed to Justin). This set Koebel off on the bender to end all benders—an event which culminated in him getting busted for peeing outside an Apple store. He was well enough known in Wisconsin for this incident to make the papers and as a result he lost his job. But Koebel didn't want that to be the end of his story so he got sober and then packed up his bags and made his way to LA, where he's landed acting roles in everything from Eastbound and Down to Under The Dome. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to sell your Emmy and finding new dreams after your original ones were shattered, among other topics.

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


Ryan Hampton was all set up for a career in politics: he made his first political donation at the age of 12, met Bill Clinton at the age of 13 and worked for Al Gore and Janet Reno while in college. All sounds rosy, yes? Well, the reality is that his childhood had been anything but (Hampton's dad not only went to prison but kept his kids in the dark about it for years). After a hiking injury at the age of 23, Hampton became hooked on hydrocodone and, after being labeled a "drug seeker," he—like many others—turned to heroin.

While he was lucky enough to find sobriety, other people he knew weren't so lucky and he in fact lost three close friends to addiction in his first year clean. That's when he decided to turn back to his first love. After being elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in July, 2016, Hampton drove out to Philadelphia, interviewing people whose lives were affected by addiction along the way. It was during that trip (which he documented for HuffPo) that Hampton was invited to meet with the President's domestic policy advisors to discuss his mission and since then, he's continued to call attention to the prevalence of addiction. In this episode, we talk about how to handle finding out that your dad has a secret life and why pill addicts turn to heroin, among many other topics.

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