Light Hustler: Looking for Light in All the Dark Places

Author Patrick O'Neil is not only one of AfterPartyChat's most talented authors; he's also a former roadie, author of the forthcoming memoir Gun Needle Spoon and alumni of what he calls "several bad bands." And boy did this guy love heroin: he shot it for 10 years, only taking a respite to shoot speed because he thought it would cut down on his heroin cravings (and it did!) That love for heroin took him to some extreme places—most notably bank robbing, a topic he's written about here, and which eventually got him busted and sent to jail. Though jail was a reunion of sorts with his former junkie pals, he managed to get strung out there as well. After a behavior modification program left him sober but without any support system, O'Neil eventually turned up at the Salvation Army rehab in San Francisco and, despite these low-bottom circumstances, has stayed sober nearly 14 years. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about his struggles with bulimia, getting kicked off of Lollapalooza and just how badly executed his last bank robbery was, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of AfterPartyChat

 

Direct download: Episode_65.Patrick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Recovery coach and one of the stars of the A&E show Relapse, Patty Powers has led what in any context or circles would be called an interesting life. Growing up in Canada, she experimented first with acid but when she moved to New York City at the age of 17, graduated right to heroin. And rest assured she was doing the whole underground New York deal: living at the Chelsea Hotel, hanging out at CBGB's and even working with Andy Warhol. Of course, the fabulous life had to unravel at some point and unravel it did—to the point when Powers was living in an abandoned building, getting robbed by her homeless friends and planning to kill one of her abandoned building "housemates." Now sober 26 years, Powers has managed to build up a massive business as a recovery coach, traveling the world with musicians and other clients and helping them to stay sober while also working on more creative pursuits (including writing for AfterPartyChat). In this episode, she and AfterParty's Anna David discuss how hard she had to try to get someone to shoot her up for the first time, changing limiting beliefs we have about what our lives can be and combining creative work with business pursuits, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of AfterPartyChat

 

Direct download: Episode_64._Patty_Powers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm PDT

Actor and director Ronnie Marmo may be a soap star but the truth is he's so very much more. Sure, he played Ronnie Domestico for three years on General Hospital (yeah, the character was written for him) but his main passion is directing theater. The Artistic Director and Cofounder of Theatre68 (which has an outpost in New York as well as LA), Marmo has produced over 30 plays, including the critically acclaimed Bill W. and Dr. Bob (in which he's also played Bill). He's also been in numerous feature films and guest starred on Jag and The Young and the Restless, among others. But more significantly, he's been sober over two decades after years of crack addiction and drug dealing led to him coming to at a San Diego 12-step picnic (you gotta listen to get the whole story). In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about hating the taste of beer, why the whole world could benefit from 12-step and always imagining dying young, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of Cinesnatch

Direct download: Ronnie_Marmo.AfterPartyPod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:09pm PDT

Us Weekly TV critic John Griffiths is on the public awareness task force for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and is the founder and president of the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association. Yet the 51-year-old Angeleno wasn't always such a do-gooder. After having his first drink at five (!), little Davy Griffiths (as he was known then) eventually ended up at USC, dreaming of being a TV programming executive a la Brandon Tartikoff but spending more time being the guy who talked about wanting to be a network executive while actually being the life of the party. Despite the chemical chaos racing through his system (alcohol! pot! ecstasy! meth!), Griffiths was able to build a successful writing career, first at People magazine (where he and I first met) and then as a contributor to such magazines as Cosmo, Redbook, The Advocate and In Style, among others. In this episode, he and AfterParty s Anna David talk about how fussy kids can turn into alcoholic adults, discovering hookers and crystal meth in one night and being able to recite our character defects, among many other topics.
 
Photo courtesy of LinkedIn
 
Direct download: JohnGriffithFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am PDT

Actress Mo Gaffney was on the seminal show Absolutely Fabulous and rest assured she is absolutely fabulous. After launching to stardom with the off-Broadway show The Kathy and Mo Show (which she created with friend Kathy Najimy), Gaffney went on to: a) Win Obie awards for it; b) Make it into an HBO show; c) Work non-stop, on everything from That '70s Show to Friends to Mad About You to Mike & Molly to pretty much every other show you can name. It may be inappropriate to say this when you're writing about a recovery podcast but it's clear Gaffney was what's known as a fun drunk. Still, after becoming a mom and noticing, increasingly, how drinking was negatively impacting her life, she sobered up—joining five other siblings and her mom in recovery. In this episode, she and AfterParty's Anna David discuss martinis, pretending to take ecstasy, missing smoking and craving a companion to read with, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of AfterPartyChat

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

AfterPartyPod: Tommy Rosen

Yoga and recovery expert Tommy Rosen is, despite his serenity, not a man who sits still very long. The Hatha and Kundalini yoga teacher (who's been sober for 23 years) has been one of the pioneers of the yoga-recovery model (in short, practicing certain types of yoga can help your recovery—a lot). He's also created a new movement called Recovery 2.0, which launched as an online conference series that featured such luminaries as Dr. Gabor Mate and Richard Branson (as well as AfterParty's Anna David). Now he's published the remarkable Recovery 2.0 book and is touring the world sharing the principles from it. He does all this, by the way, when not hosting retreats with his wife Kia Miller (also a yoga teacher). In this episode, he and David talk about getting addicted to sugar before drugs, discovering (and being saved by) the Grateful Dead and acting out in sobriety (girls! gambling!), among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of HuffPo

 

Direct download: APP11314.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Lisa Sunstedt

Comic Lisa Sundstedt has not only written on and produced such TV shows as Girls Behaving Badly, The Chelsea Handler Show and Chelsea Lately but she’s also the creator of the longest-lasting all female comedy show in the country. Yep, that’s right; Pretty, Funny Women has featured everyone from Chelsea Handler and Margaret Cho to Natasha Leggero, Maria Bamford, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor and AfterParty’s own Danielle Stewart. But it’s not all pretty, funny performances for Sundstedt: she’s also a bipolar alcoholic who speaks openly about these issues (including the fact that she lost her Chelsea Lately job because of one of her bipolar episodes). In this episode, she and I talk about the way your scores can change when you take quizzes to see if you’re alcoholic, how depression and pot smoking is prevalent in the comedy community and being a non drug taking alcoholic, among other topics.

Photo courtesy of AfterPartyChat

 

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

AfterPartyPod: Sarge Pickman

Comedian Sarge Pickman is less a comedian who talks about his recovery and more a recovering addict who incorporates his comedic gifts into the work that he does. While he started off working the comedy circuit in LA and still does plenty of comedy gigs, Pickman's main career path these days is leading groups at treatment centers, doing what's known in the recovery world as in-the-trenches work. The Sarge story, in short, is this: Florida-born and dwelling, Pickman was adopted by Jewish parents and raised on Long Island where, as a mixed race youth, he suffered from plenty of identity confusion. Drugs and alcohol helped him to handle these feelings and all that led where addiction can lead—to homelessness, hanging out under the Manhattan Bridge and feeling hopeless. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about smoking angel dust, realizing that chasing stardom is an empty goal and realizing an ultimate purpose, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of DPreview

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

AfterPartyPod: Claude Shires

Comedian and entrepreneur Claude Shires is no ordinary comedian or entrepreneur (um, to start with, you don't see that hybrid too often, amIright?) The Florida-reared husband and father was sent to a year-long treatment program at the age of 17, after which he enrolled in the military—where he stayed for five years. Moves to Boulder, Colorado and San Diego followed before he relocated to LA to pursue stand-up comedy. (While he didn't end up staying sober consistently that entire time, he's now been sober 17 years.) While becoming a working comic, he started an editing company, UnReel Media (which he still runs), and is also now the co-creator of TubeStart, a Kickstarter for TV and film. Have I mentioned that his dad is one of the doctors who invented Gatorade? In this episode, he and I discuss unemotional fathers, whether or not drinking non-alcoholic beer is a slippery slope and why women love men who are in therapy, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of UnreelLA

 

Direct download: ClaudeShiresFinal_APP.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:33pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Alice Carbone

Writer Alice Carbone has not been afraid to explore the dark side—in her blog, her podcast and her essays for AfterPartyChat. But as her more recent pieces have shown, she explores the lighter side just as poignantly. Carbone's story in brief: after moving to California from her native Italy in 2010, she lost everything and found sobriety—and eventually happiness. The author of The Sex Girl (due out this May, 2015 from Rare Bird Books), Carbone is currently working on her second novel and developing her podcast and blog as a TV show. In this episode, she and AfterParty’s Anna David discuss what Carbone’s bottom looked like, the mentors who have helped her along the way (Leonard Cohen!) and how to tell the difference between serenity and external circumstances going well, among many other topics.

Photo courtesy of AliceCarbone

 

Direct download: AliceCarboneFinal_APP1016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Moby

For reals, what is there to say about Moby that hasn't already been said? (Well, there's one thing that's at least never been in print: How f-ing psyched are you that he agreed to do AfterPartyPod?)

The legendary musician, who burst onto the scene with his fifth studio album, Play, is also a DJ, photographer and soon-to-be memoirist (we all know he's a descendant of Herman Melville, right?) And it's not just his own music he's had a hand in; the active animal rights supporter has remixed, co-written and produced music for many of the other greats.

But we can find all that out everywhere so let's talk about his sobriety. After a bout with sobriety when he was a Christian, Moby developed this reputation as something of a puritan. But he was actually boozing it up, as well as taking plenty of recreational illegal substances, while he brought the party back to his place. It wasn't until he got to his 40s and the hangovers started to get debilitating that he started to look at the possibility of sobriety. Now he's years into the sober game and growing all the time. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about deciding to get sober, relapsing, how unappealing the thought of having just a drink or two is and the fact that people still come up to him on the street to thank him for the epic parties he used to have, among many other topics.

Direct download: Moby_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Jeff Ullrich

Earwolf co-founder Jeff Ullrich is something of a podcast legend—ever since he and Scott Aukerman created the podcast network Earwolf in 2010. Now arguably the biggest network in the game, Earwolf hosts everything from Comedy Bang Bang (since turned into an IFC show), Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, Sklarboro Country, Who Charted? and How Did This Get Made? among many others. But Ullrich has actually recently left the company he launched (in his own words, he fired himself). Sober for two years and change, this is a guy who took a somewhat lengthy route to alcoholism: though he drank as a kid, he spent the next decade a teetotaler who lectured other people about partying before joining the heavy drinking brigade in his mid-20s. After a good run, though, it all got unmanageable by his late 30s and now he's navigating the next sober chapter of his life as a father and husband (cute fact: he grew up across the street from his wife). In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about supporting yourself by playing pool, drinking yourself into a state where you forget which 7-11 you're calling your wife from, getting hypnotized to quit smoking and trying to be better at surrendering, among other topics.

Direct download: Jeff_Ullrich_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:28pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mike Gaffney

Comedian Mike Gaffney is a bit of an anomaly—a guy who got his start doing recovery-oriented comedy and has been able to build a solid career from there. Sober since 1983, Gaffney was a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing (not to mention the guy who made judge Wanda Sykes cackle—no easy feat—and was featured in all the promos for the show). Though he'd been cracking people up since he was a kid, he didn't decide he wanted to pursue comedy until 2002; since then has appeared on The Artie Lange Show, Gotham Comedy Live and 30 Rock. He also performs all over the country and (like all of us) has his own podcast. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talked about his mom coming and yelling at his former drug dealers, why speakers in meetings always tend to look at him when they talk and how he might have won Last Comic if he'd managed to stay in the moment, among many other topics.

Direct download: Mike_Gaffney_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mick Betancourt

Comic, TV writer and podcaster Mick Betancourt is, to put it mildly, a survivor. The host of a popular podcast, Betancourt endured a childhood that might give Oliver Twist a run for his money. The offspring of teenagers, Betancourt went to live with his mom after his father died, where he withstood spirit-breaking abuse, started drinking seriously before he turned 10 and soon found himself taking on the role of designated driver when his mom took him to bars (no matter how wasted he was himself). When his beloved grandfather died and he was shuffled around a bit, he had to resort to panhandling and stealing in order to eat. He nevertheless launched a career as a comic and then managed to get sober a little over 12 years ago. A happily married father of two and TV staff writer (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Chicago Fire, et. al), Betancourt is also one of the cheeriest people alive—and not in one of those I-swear-I'm-cheery ways. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about finding a spiritual connection after believing there couldn't be any God, toning down anger and why people who chew gum loudly are the worst people on earth, among many other topics.

Direct download: Mick_Betancourt_episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Caleb Bacon

TV writer and podcaster Caleb Bacon is not only on the writing staff of Vince Vaughn's TBS show Sullivan & Son and the host of the popular Man School podcast. He's also a journalist, sound expert, former weightlifter, San Fernando Valley resident—and many other things you'll discover when you listen to this episode. Oh! He's also sober seven years, after a drinking career that started when he made his first alcoholic concoction from his parents' liquor cabinet in junior high to his last night out there, which involved Special K, bus stop punching, nudity—and a 12-step call from his boss, NYPD Blue and Deadwood creator David Milch. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss being low-achieving drunks, boozing in England, bottoming out in LA and why Disneyland sucks, among many other topics.

Direct download: Caleb_real_final_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Alonzo Bodden

Comedian Alonzo Bodden is far more than just the winner of the third season of Last Comic Standing. The former aircraft mechanic had no idea he even wanted to pursue comedy until he got sober over two decades ago and met people in recovery who actually loved what they did for a living who all worked in the entertainment industry. (Also, he'd realized through sharing in the program—and also through teaching aircraft mechanics, arguably the least amusing topic in the world—that he was funny.) And so began a career that first started at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, has included appearances on Conan and Leno, acting roles in Scary Movie 4 and Bringing Down The House and hosting duties on 101 Cars You Must Drive and America's Worst Driver. In this episode, he and After Party's Anna David talk about hot women being one of AA's best initial attractions, discovering your dreams in recovery and how he donated his remarkably clean kidney to his brother, among many other topics.

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

AfterPartyPod: Morgan Walsh

Actress Morgan Walsh may look like the very picture of innocence but it took quite a journey for her to earn her sobriety. Now married to Veep star and UCB founder Matt Walsh and the mother of three, Morgan did the full alcoholic dance--drinking, passing out, smoking pot, doing coke, spending time in a psych ward---before eventually quitting drinking and continuing to smoke pot and then, when she got pregnant with her first baby, quitting it all. Despite all those babies, Morgan has appeared in a succession of shows and movies--including Burning Love, Children's Hospital, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Happy Endings. In this episode, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about bottoming out, quitting drinking but continuing to smoke pot and going from a single lady in Venice to a married mother of three, among many other topics.

Direct download: Morgan_Walsh_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am PDT

AfterPartyPod: John Heffron

Comedian John Heffron may have been introduced to the world at large when he won the second season of Last Comic Standing but he's been in the comedy game since college. Since then, there have been Comedy Central specials, The Tonight Show, Chelsea Lately and numerous VH1 talking head shows, among many other appearances. He's also been Danny Bonaduce's wingman on Detroit's number one radio show, appeared on Courtney Cox's Dirt and done stand up at numerous Fortune 500 companies. But he can also claim a gig that few comics can: an NA convention—an interesting irony because though he's been sober many years, he doesn't continue to go to meetings and disagrees with some 12-step tenets. Though Heffron doesn't recommend the path he's taken to other addicts, he's able to find freedom through a series of brain exercises and philosophies. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss why meetings make him want to drink, temporarily believing a shirt is going to fix things and the assistant we plan to share, among many other things.

Direct download: John_Heffron_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Amos Pizzey

Musician and entrepreneur Amos Pizzey is a one-man powerhouse: the son of women's refuge movement founder Erin Pizzey, Amos ended up joining Culture Club at the age of 14 (!) before then landing his own Virgin Records deal. Over the years, he's worked in various capacities with Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and George Michael, among many others—in the process becoming perhaps the most fabulous bon vivant in the world. But underneath that drinking, cocaine-using and MDMA-taking persona lurked a man who was desperately seeking the sort of spiritual connection he'd first experienced as a youth. The founder and creative director of Talenthouse—a company which creates content with brand partners such as Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga and more—Pizzey is passionate about bringing success as well as enlightenment to the masses. In this episode, he and I discuss quitting drugs while continuing to drink, what part the neocortex and limbic brain play in alcohol and drug use and how to get the entire world to embrace the principles behind the 12 steps, among many other topics.

Direct download: Amos_Pizzy_pod.Nick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Bennett Yellin

The co-writer of Dumb and Dumber, Bennett Yellin is far more than a guy who can make the masses giggle until they burst. The writer of a slew of other comedies, Yellin may have gotten on the map when Dumb and Dumber became a sensation but he was actually bottoming out on crystal meth while his comedic talents were entertaining the masses. It wasn't until he got sober, cleaned up his past and started living life on a pink cloud that he got that career back on track. The long-awaited Dumb and Dumber sequel is coming out this fall, while Yellin enjoys his 12th year of sobriety and anticipates "marching forth" (his sober anniversary is March 4th) next year. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss why it's not a good idea to date your drug dealer, what it's like to be a lazy meth head and being an Orthodox Jewish addict, among many other topics.

Direct download: Bennett_pod_smaller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mike Carano

Podcaster, photographer and best observational living comedian who's not a comedian Mike Carano has shared his unique personality with the public in myriad ways: through his photographs of comedians, his five-minute YouTube videos, his Loveline After Disaster show and his podcast, Miscellaneous Adventures From The World of Mike Carano—where listeners can hear him talk to them as he runs errands and drives around. Carano has opened up about his battles with booze and anxiety before but in this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David get into the minutia of recovery: how they feel about medication, relapse, swearing, going to Disneyland (as Carano had just gone there with Dr. Drew) and much more.

Direct download: Mike_Carano_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Stefani Wilder-Taylor

Writer, comedian, podcaster, TV host and all-around delight Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is one of the greatest lessons out of there for those who like to booze to the point of unmanageability and don't see any problem with it. The author of Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay andNaptime Is The New Happy Hour was the role model for partying moms everywhere—until she realized drinking was more than a fun pastime for her. Now sober, the author of several more books, the star of Parental Discretion With Stefanie Wilder-Taylor on Nickelodeon and the co-host of the popular For Crying Out Loud podcast, Wilder-Taylor uses her oh so charming powers of persuasion to show moms (and others) that sobriety is just as cool, if not more so, than being the hip, partying mom. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David discuss writing books, being outed as an alcoholic by The New York Times, how many times we've each been fired and so much more.

Direct download: Episode_43_Stefani_Wilder_Taylor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mark Ebner

Author and journalist Mark Ebner puts the F in fearless reporter. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, the guy who took on Scientology has gone on to publish seven books—including the New York Times bestselling Hollywood Interrupted, which he co-wrote with the late Andrew Breitbart. What I didn't know until he told me (during this interview!) is that, after 23 years sober, he made the choice to start smoking pot. This wasn't some sudden brainstorm of course but a decision he came to after a scooter accident left him hooked on painkillers and he used medical marijuana to detox. Though this isn't a common path for anyone who had multiple decades of sobriety (or recommended!), Ebner explains in this interview how he's able to smoke pot non addictively—and I have no reason to doubt him. Not only do he and AfterParty's Anna David unpack that fascinating turn of events here but they also get into Narconon (the Scientology "addiction recovery" program), the ways his sober friends have reacted to his pot smoking, how they only see each other as dueling talking heads on shows like E's Secret Societies of Hollywood (she's in this even though she's not in this teaser) and the hell of writing books for a living.

Direct download: Ebner_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:16pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Craig Gass

Comedian Craig Gass is known for his ridiculously spot-on celebrity impressions (seriously, his Gene Simmons is so accurate that Gass actually accused Gene Simmons of being the fake on Howard Stern). In addition to numerous Stern appearances, Gass has been on Sex and the City, King of Queens and numerous celebrity roasts. Growing up in all deaf family, Gass honed his skills because he learned to speak from watching TV. Later he became a big time party guy with a penchant for cocaine. Here, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about those nights Gass turned down ladies at clubs so he could party in back rooms, how good it feels to be sober and paid for your craft and what people who are struggling with addiction can do, among many other topics. Plus: celebrity impressions galore!

Direct download: Episode_43_Craig_Gass.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Natasha Vargas-Cooper

Writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper has accomplished more in 30 years than some do in a lifetime. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a double major in history and public policy, she started being 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. But over the years she was doing all this impressive stuff, her drinking was also increasing and a DUI helped her find recovery. Now sober a couple years, she and AfterParty's Anna David discussed where alcoholism ends and dysfunctional relationships begin, medications to help with depression and other mental disorders and how to end toxic friendships, among many other topics.

Direct download: Ep_42_Natasha_Vargas-Cooper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: ANT

The comedian ANT may have legally changed his name from Anthony but that is hardly the most unique fact about him. The veteran of Last Comic Standing (six of the show's seven seasons) is also a TV show host who puts those milquetoast hosts to shame by delivering genuine, laugh-out-loud moments—during his years hosting Celebrity Fit Club, on all of his many TV appearances (on shows as varied as Tyra Banks, Best Week Ever and The Tonight Show) and on Howard Stern (where he's a frequent guest).

But his outspoken extroversion kept many from realizing that he had a horrific drug addiction which led to homelessness as well as to members of the Hell's Angels urging him to cut down on his meth use (you'll have to listen to the episode to get that whole story). Here, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss the time he thought he was being intervened on so he fessed up about his addiction, the methods he uses for staying in the moment in sobriety and how his Greek Orthodox upbringing influences his spirituality today, among many other topics.

Direct download: Episode_41Ant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Laura House

Comedian and TV writer Laura House has starred in MTV's iconic Austin Stories, written on Blue Collar TV, The George Lopez Show, Samantha Who? and Mom and been called one of the funniest female comedians out there by none other than Louis CK. And she's been sober for over six years while also becoming a certified meditation teacher and raw food expert. Yep, her repertoire is vast: this is a girl who knows how to bring the funny to meditation. Other Laura House accomplishments include wowing the crowds at storytelling shows (including Anna David's True Tales of Lust and Love, which she performed in more than any other writer or comedian), publishing essays in several anthologies (including the aforementioned True Tales of Lust and Love book) and being featured on Comedy Central. Here, she and David discuss sending a video of a drunken, slurry set to a big manager, various ways the alcoholic brain doesn't seem to work right and how to work through disappointment in sobriety, among many other topics.

Direct download: Laura_House_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Amber Tozer

Comedian Amber Tozer is so much more than a comedian. Sure, she's performed stand-up all over the world, been featured on Last Comic Standing and stars in the hit web series nitTWITS but she's also written on the Emmy-award winning show Mad and taken time off from comedy to work with autistic children. Want more? She had an advice columns on Laughspin, has written for HuffPo, has appeared on The Mental Illness Happy Hour and much more. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about how her moment of clarity involved driving on the Bay Bridge drunk and waking up the next morning fully accepting that she was an alcoholic and needed to do something about it. We also delve into what it was like to grow up with alcoholism (her father and grandgather on her mom's side), drinking before Last Comic Standing and what she's learned in her roughly six years of sobriety, among other topics. 

Direct download: AMBER_TOZER_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Brent Bolthouse

Nightlife impressario Brent Bolthouse has ruled the LA social landscape for the past few decades, helping to put such classic clubs as the Roxbury, the Opium Den, the Viper Room and Joseph's on the map (the way it works is this: wherever Bolthouse backs, the coolest kids in town follow and lines out the door ensue). In 1999, he opened The Coffee House on Sunset Blvd., immediately attracting a celeb clientele (it was reportedly the first place Robert Downey, Jr. went post jail) but more importantly, creating a 24-hour-a-day gathering place for sober people when he started having open AA meetings in the back room. While The Coffee House closed in 2003, Bolthouse has gone on not only to open a slew of other successful clubs but also to play himself on The Hills, Entourage and a number of other hit shows. And he's been clean since the age of 16, racking up an impressive 27 years of sobriety. His spirituality matters much more to him than all the celebs in his proximity (even the fact that Jay Z immortalized Bolthouse's strict door policy in his hit song "I Just Wanna Love You," when Bolthouse's partner Jenifer Rosario wouldn't let Jigga and his group past the velvet rope until he dropped some of the entourage). In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss his first jobs (gas station attendant, hairdresser), last days using (meth was his drug of choice), being an "anti-social social person" and how he maintains a spiritual connection in the hubbub of Hollywood.

Direct download: Final_Brent_Bolthouse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Ben Mandelker

Blogger and screenwriter Ben Mandelker is one of the most quick-witted people out there. He created and then sold the website TVgasm years ago (he still blogs, mostly about TV and food, on his own well-trafficked blog, BSideBlog). But here's the really interesting part about him—and the part that earned him an episode of his own: for 30 years, he was 100% in the closet. As in: we were friends and I had no idea he was gay until he came out to me a few years ago.

In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about what it was like to live with a secret like that for your entire life—the compartmentalization needed, the shame (and online porn) required to maintain the ruse you're somewhat convinced people suspect isn't true anyway. They get into all that as well as how the recovery movement in a way mimics the gay movement in terms of societal awareness and the attempts many people make toward removing the shame about something you can't control and isn't your fault. They also reminisce a bit about the days when they got paid decent money to sit on a TV set and discuss The Bachelor for 20 minutes (mentioned also in the Jimmy Pardo episode!) And listen to his two podcasts, Watch What Crappens and The Banter Blender (Anna David has been a guest on both).

Direct download: Final_Ben_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:51pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Georgia Hardstark

TV personality Georgia Hardstark is one half of the dynamic duo known as Alie and Goergia but she's a fascinating woman all on her own. People came to find out about her after she and Alie Ward made a video of themselves concocting  ajoke cocktail called a McNuggetini and the video went viral; next they were being profiled in The New York Times and starring in the Food Newtwork's Drinks with Alie and Georgia. The Cooking Channel's Classy Ladies with Alie & Georgia and their highly addicitve podcast Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia followed.

But it hasn't been all pretty dresses and TV appearances for Hardwick; a troubled teen, she got into meth, was sent to rehab and wised up quickly. She's also struggled with eating disorders, esteem issues and all the other issues that come along, all too often, with just being a woman—er, person—in society today. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about wild youths, finding stability and what happens when best friends fight, among other topics. [Note: in this episode, they discuss the fact that Hardwick was doing hard drugs and able to stop without getting sober; this isn't to say that AfterParty recommends this path for people who are using hard drugs; addiction is self-diagnosed and many who use harder drugs aren't doing so recreationally.]

Direct download: VERY_FINAL_GEORGIA_POD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Jesse Joyce

Comedian Jesse Joyce is a New York-based comedian who's appeared on Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing and Red Eye (among many others), has written on numerous Comedy Central roasts and award shows and performed in over 15 countries. He's also sober after booze almost destroyed his health (and got him a DUI). The guy's big on giving back to the sober community, too, performing regularly in Alcohol Awareness programs. While he and AfterParty's Anna David veer off into the nitty gritty of comedy (and whether living in LA or NY is better—Joyce is Manhattan all the way), they also trace Joyce's first drink at 20 to his last one at 26, his family's history of alcoholism and how he manages to be a happy alcoholic, among other topics.

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

AfterPartyPod: Dr. Stephen Dansiger

WTF regular and clinical psychologist Dr. Stephen Dansiger has lived many lives while the rest of us were inhabiting only one: once a CBGB regular who played drums for the bands King Missile and Pianosaurus, he ended up getting sober, having a breakdown and finding peace again through a year-long residence at a Zen monastery. The practing Zen Buddhist for the past two decades then got a doctorate and masters in psychology to start running groups at treatment facilities. Now he and Dharma Punx/Against The Stream's Noah Levine have opened an outpatient addiction treatment center BLVD. Here he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss sobriety, rocker rebellion, breakdowns, meditation and much more.

Direct download: Dr_Steve_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Susanna Brisk

Author, comedian and actress Susanna Brisk is an outrageous Aussie with a penchant for the shocking. Her AfterParty stories have documented her feelings about sex and mental health and her memoir, I'll Be The Death of Meand blog Malibu Mom provide even more details. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David discuss if being a dry drunk counts as sobriety, parenting, mental illness and whether or not Brisk can leave the podcast office with a phone number (spoiler alert: she does).

Direct download: real_susana.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:59pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Janie Haddad Tompkins

Actress Janie Haddad Tompkins has appeared in more TV shows than could fit in this space—Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, Monk, Happy Endings and Modern Family, to name just a few—and just as many comedy sketches and storytelling shows (she's married to the comedic genius Paul F. Tompkins). She's charming as can be and seems to live a charmed life but in fact spent years involved with and engaged to a sociopath who was leading a double life. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about what makes people suspectible to toxic relationships and what can be learned from them, among other topics.

Direct download: Final_Janie_Haddad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Lewis Howes

Professional athlete Lewis Howes and host of the podcast The School of Greatness is also what's known as lifestyle entrepreneur. The short version of the story is this: sidelined by an injury while playing professional football, Howes had no money, nowhere to live and no interest in doing anything but the sport that he could no longer do. So he took to his computer and managed to become a social media maven in just a few years, earning millions in the process and then coaching and inspiring many others to do the same. As it turns out, he was also dealing with having been sexually abused as a child—an event he never shared with anyone until recently. Now he's doing what he does: telling others about it so that they can be released from their own shame and then become, as he would say, great. Here we talk about dreams, passion, finding inspiration and handling adversity, among many other topics.

Direct download: Lewis_final_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Marc Maron

The legendary comedian and host of the immensely popular WTF podcast needs no introduction but we're giving him one anyway: he's spent a couple decades honing his craft, has appeared on Conan more than 40 times, stars in and writes a TV show based on his life and, whether he likes it or not, does a better job of spreading awareness about addiction and recovery than perhaps anyone else out there. Here, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss cocaine psychosis, taking meds for mental issues, how success has changed his recovery and much more. 

Direct download: Maron_Edit_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Brian Finkelstein

Storyteller Brian Finkelstein is an Emmy-nominated writer, a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in LA and the host of the LA Moth Storyslams. He's also performed one-man shows all over the world, including a recent tour to New Zealand to do First Day Off in a Long Time, a show based on his years working at a suicide hotline. Here, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about getting through depression, whether or not saying you wish you'd never been born is depressing, not taking medication and what it would be like if this podcast were the only thing to survive a world-ending earthquake, among other topics.

Direct download: Real_final_Finkel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Sara Benincasa

Writer and comedian Sara Benincasa is a memoirist, a novelist, a performer, a delight and also completely open about her issues with mental health. After having her first panic attacks as a child, the New Jersey-reared lass managed to later overcome agoraphobia and write a book (currently being developed as a TV show) about it. Here, she and AfterPartyChat's Anna David discuss finding the right medication, whether or not regular therapy is necessary and why remaining grateful while staying confident is the perfect balance to strike, among many other topics.

Direct download: Benincasa_real_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Dave Anthony

Comedian, actor, writer and podcaster Dave Anthony is the first non-alcoholic guest as AfterPartyPod opens up to welcome not just addicts but also those who have overcome major life obstacles and can speak about the transition. The son of an active alcoholic, Anthony hit a wall of anger before joining Alanon and while still a bit on the angry side (it's part of what makes him so hilarious), is now a happily married father with a hit podcast who also writes and stars on IFC's Maron. Here, he and AfterPartyChat's Anna David talk about dealing with abusive family members, how humor doesn't work in an Alanon setting and why they were both obsessed with the Woody Allen scandal, among many other topics.

Direct download: Dave_Anthony_final_final_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Eddie Pepitone

Comedian Eddie Pepitone is 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. He's also a sober addict and spiritual seeker (see doc title) and though he's billed as bitter (see doc title), he's also seemingly ever delighted and amused. Here, he and AfterPartyChat's Anna David discuss how he rebels against his sobriety, the various shenanigans of the alcoholic brain and everything and more you might want to know about parking in LA, among many other topics.

Direct download: Pepitone_final_pod_edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Jason Wahler

Hills and Laguna Beach star Jason Wahler played up his reality star bad boy image to the extreme by getting arrested multiple times (in multiple states!) But when he washed up on the Celebrity Rehab shores, it became clear that he wasn't a bad guy, just a sick one suffering from addiction. Not only is he now sober but he also works full-time in recovery at Northbound, a treatment center in Costa Mesa, California. He and AfterPartyChat's Anna David talked about sneaking off to do cocaine alone, getting arrested by a cop on a horse after an MTV Awards after-party and how to get high naturally, among many other topics.

Direct download: Wahler_podcast_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Rich Roll

Bestselling author, ultra-endurance athlete, plant-based nutrition advocate and sober father Rich Roll has been hailed as one of the world's fittest men. He also graduated from Stanford and Cornell Law and built up a successful law practice all while drowning in alcohol. Then, after years of sobriety, he realized he was anesthetizing himself with food the way he had with drinking and what started out as a cleanse turned into—well, one of the world's fittest men. Here we talk about familial expectations, being an alcoholic in New York and the spiritual aspects of recovery as well as the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Direct download: rich_roll_final_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Riki Rachtman

TV and radio host Riki Rachtman may have the tattoos and rocker guy persona of a tough guy but make no mistake—he's a sweetheart. The host of MTV's Headbangers Ball and former owner of the Cathouse club, Rachtman now hosts Racing Rocks on over 120 radio stations and also lives a life free of drugs and alcohol after a multi-year battle with the substances. (No, he wants to assure you, he's actually been absolutely sober for a lot of the "stupid shit" he's done over the past 20 years.) Here, we talk about what got him sober (a drug that starts with m, ends with h and has et in between), how he lives today and everything in between.

Direct download: riki_final_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:03pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Kristen Johnston

Actress and author Kristen Johnston needs no introduction but we're giving her one anyway: the Emmy award-winning star of Third Rock From the Sun who's now starring on TVLand's The Exes (Wednesdays at 10 pm!), Johnston is also the New York Times bestselling author of Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, which details her struggle with and recovery from addiction. Here we talk about the nitty gritty details of her stomach exploding (that's what taking too many pills will do to you), the part fame played in her addiction and her plan to start up sober high schools in New York.

Direct download: kjo_pod_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:56pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mackenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips had, from the outside, the most glamorous childhood that could be imagined: the daughter of the Mamas and Papas lead singer John Phillips, she starred in American Graffiti and on the hit TV show One Day at a Time as a teenager, while also hitting every club on the Sunset Strip. But her career was stymied by addiction—until 1992, when she went into treatment. After a bout of long-term sobriety, she relapsed and was eventually arrested with heroin in her while on her way to New York for a One Day at a Time reunion on The Rachel Ray Show. The release of her book, High on Arrival—and the revelation in it that she'd had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship with her father—sent the media (and her family) into a tizzy. Now sober again and arguably as enthusiastic about recovery as anyone in the world, Phillips is the Recovery Advocate for the Pasadena Recovery Center and a sought-after speaker on spiritual matters. You'll see why when you listen to this episode.

 

Direct download: mack_pod_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:19pm PDT

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