Recover Girl

Dr. Adi Jaffe is someone who's well-known in addiction and recovery circles—primarily for his unorthodox approach to recovery. A former meth addict who went to prison for dealing drugs, Jaffe cleaned up his act in rehab and spent three years in 12-step abstaining from drugs and alcohol. And then one day he thought about drinking; he talked it over with the people in his life and gave it a try. It's now 11 years later and his addiction hasn't resurfaced, despite the fact that he's sampled both pot and ecstasy during this past decade and change. During this time, he went to grad school, became a counselor and opened Alternatives Addiction Treatment, a rehab that teaches people to moderate drinking (it also shows those seeking abstinence how to achieve that). A sought-after public speaker (check out his Ted X talk here), Jaffe is the first to admit that he may be wrong about his approach to addiction but is determined to try to spark conversations that show people there are alternatives to 12-step. In this episode, we discuss why you shouldn't ride a motorcycle to make your drug deals, what it's like to stay sober in jail and how he may have just had his first spiritual experience, among many other topics.

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


Voice actor Maurice LaMarche is someone you've heard more times than you've possibly heard your own parents. He wasn't only the voice of the Brain on Pinky and the Brain but won an Emmy for one of the numerous characters he played on Futurama. Then there were the parts he played on a little show called The Simpsons. Have we mentioned Zootopia, The Powerpuff Girls, Rick and Morty and Team America? Though he started out as a stand-up who did impressions (in this episode alone, you can be privy not only to Orson Welles but also Peter Falk and many others), that all changed when his life took a tragic turn in his late 20s. In short, his father was murdered and Maurice's life was derailed by alcoholism. A few years later, after an intervention arranged by his wife, the younger LaMarche found sobriety. In this episode, we discuss dreaming in color, pretending you're starring in your own TV show as a kid and whether or not it's important to have A-listers at your intervention, among other topics.

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

Comedian Joleen Lunzer may hail from Minnesotta but she's carved her way into the LA comedy scene quite nicely. She was one of three finalists in "Loni's Laugh Off" and produced the LA comedy show "Dissecting the Set." The journey to where she is now—happily married and the doyenne of the website PaleGurl—hasn't, however, been without its tribulations. After following a "slutty" boyfriend to Arizona, Lunzer ended up briefly institutionalized in a place where, on her first night, her teenage roommate threatened to kill her (a worker at the institution slept in between them as protection). Managing OCD has made some things challenging—after checking to make sure a door is locked, she has to touch the handle in a certain way to confirm that all is okay—but she's now got the condition under control and and is sitting atop four years of sobriety. In this episode, we discuss how pale skin fares during heat waves, punching a guy over a cab and just what a bad idea it is to drink while taking antidepressants, among many other topics.

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

Entrepreneur Khalil Rafati is arguably the least likely entrepreneur out there. Many years ago, the former heroin and crack addict left Toledo, Ohio after getting into some serious scrapes with the law. He ended up living in a shed in Malibu where he and a roommate shot drugs by the light generated by Fast Times at Ridgemont High (which they played over and over again on a VCR that was powered by electricity they were siphoning from next door). Finally washing ashore at Pasadena Recovery Center, Rafati got sober but still found himself unfulfilled and awash with anxiety and the feeling that his life wasn't happening the way he'd hoped. After filling up on Tony Robbins and getting inspired by Oprah, he set about changing that, opening first a Malibu Sober Living and then SunLife Organics, a juice shop that had lines out the door from day one and has now spread to numerous other locations. Now Rafati is sharing his unlikely success story in his just released memoir, I Forgot to Die (available on Amazon as well as at SunLife). In this episode, we discuss what happens when a combination of ecstasy and pills changes your life, what it feels like to be able to buy your mom a house and how to let go of the sad story you tell yourself, among many other topics.

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

Author Sam Polk has had an interesting journey to authorship. The former hedge fund manager had traveled what many would consider the picture perfect upward trajectory journey, escaping the confines of a "Willy Loman-like dad" and landing at Columbia University. But an addiction to drugs and alcohol, among other vices, helped him get kicked out. No matter! He landed on Wall Street, where he quickly rose to the top. But then he realized, as some do, that the top was empty and that his lifelong belief that enough money would cure all that ailed him wasn't true. And so he left Wall Street, began working on a book about it and sent off a blind query to the New York Times about how sick his money obsession had made him. This piece, For the Love of Money, immediately went insanely viral and his book (also called For the Love of Money) snatched up by Scribner. It's no wonder; the book is impossible to put down and takes the reader to when his final Wall Street bonus was $3.6 million and he was, as he wrote in the Times, "angry because it wasn’t big enough." He was 30.

Times have changed for the happily married, LA-dwelling father of two, who's been sober for 14 years and is now the cofounder and CEO of Everytable, a social enterprise that sells fresh, yummy food at reasonable prices and the founder and Executive Director of Groceryships, a nonprofit that helps low-income families struggling with food-related illnesses. In this episode, we talk about our societal obsession with money, how many Wall Street-ers want out but are trapped in gilded cages and the break up that led him to bottom out, among many other topics.

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

Addiction and wellness specialist Erica Spiegelman isn't only the author of the best-selling addiction book Rewired:A Bold New Approach to Addiction & Recovery but also a motivational speaker and counselor. Her focus is on authenticity, in particular how to rewire the brain after substance abuse to become more authentic, and she shares that message not only to her personal clients and in her book but also through newsletters, blogs and her radio show, Rewired Radio, which plays on RadioMD.

But Spiegelman doesn't come at this work from solely a clinical perspective. Yes, she is a certified CADAC but she also struggled with alcoholism for many years herself, as she went from Northern California to Arizona to New York to LA. Eventually, she bottomed out and ended up at Betty Ford, where she actually learned about alcoholism—and what to do about it. That's when she realized that all the approaches to recovery she saw were quite specific—those that, say, followed solely AA or only Buddhism—and so she set out to establish a method to help people who don't relate to one specific path. In this episode, we discuss growing up in the Bay Area, whether or not shoplifting is a rite of passage and what ever ends up happening to those friends who our parents thought were the bad influences (hint: they don't seem to be the ones who end up in rehab), among many other topics.

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

Lifestylist Luke Storey is an interesting fellow. A former stylist (he's dressed everyone you can name and plenty you can't), he founded the School of Style, a fashion school for stylists (which teaches everything from the fundamentals of the business and art of styling to experiential, hands-on training) in 2008 but slowly realized that his heart was more in this business called life than it was in styling. Using himself as a "human research lab," Storey has done some, well, out-and-out crazy things in the name of health—from daily ice baths to injecting himself with poisonous frog venom to only drinking spring water. Now he teaches those lessons to the masses, through one-on-one coaching, public speaking and his hit new podcast, The Life Stylist. Storey is also sober nearly 20 years, after a youth that included crack smoking, drug dealing and all the issues that go along with those pastimes. In this episode, we discuss the two sides of humility, how we're really just walking around in meat suits and the mysteriousness of people who are naturally balanced in their relationships, among other issues.

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

Comedian Jim Norton may, with apologies to Stern, be a rival for the King of All Media (let's just call him the Prince). The co-host of the immensely popular Opie with Jim Norton radio show (he replaced Anthony), Norton's not only been a regular on Leno but also appeared on Letterman and Kimmel. The host of multiple HBO specials and an eponymously titled VICE show, Norton performs stand-up all over the country, is the author of two New York Times bestselling books and has appeared on numerous TV shows, including regular spots on Inside Amy Schumer. Sober since the age of 18 (he's coming up on his 30th sober-versary), Norton's first drink was a Whiskey Sour at a family wedding and his last a year or so after rehab (where he snuck out and drank). Despite his thriving career and decades of recovery, Norton struggles—very openly—with a sex addiction that causes his life to be unmanageable in all the requisite ways. Though he's had periods of dealing with it, at this point Norton is open about the fact that he experimented regularly with other boys as a kid, does the porn-Tinder merry-go-round and has a predilection for transsexual hookers. In this episode, we explored the many facets of his addictive tendencies while also touching on feeling like a fraud, extreme thinking and self-destructive tendencies that bring an inordinate amount of pleasure, among other topics.

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

Comedian Debra DiGiovanni has had an enviable career: she's been awarded the Canadian Comedy Award for best female comic for the third time in five years, has been called the “Best Comedian to see after a Messy Break Up” and for three years running was named her hometown Toronto’s favorite comedian. Then there's the fact that she was a finalist on the fifth season of Last Comic Standing, performs all over the world and has been featured repeatedly on Comedy Central. But it's not all laughs—oh, no. The lovely lady has a long history with booze, pot, acid and the like (estimated number of times she'd done acid: hundreds). Though she quit drinking years ago, she's a recent full on convert to sobriety, having given up pot this past January. Next on her radar of addictions to deal with: food. In this episode, we talked about the sort of dreams you have when you quit pot, whether or not small towns make people drink more and not being able to watch TV, among many other topics.

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

Podcaster and musician Shane Ramer has a day job but his passion is recovery—sharing about his journey out of addiction in the hope that he can help others share about theirs. And so one day, he got an idea: why not start a recovery podcast? A month later, That Sober Guy was born; on it, he's interviewed everyone from Paul Gilmartin to Rich Roll to Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach (to yours truly). The father of two kids, Ramer lives in Northern California where he works in customer service at a company where he also hosts an in-company podcast (who knew there was such a thing?) After a rough childhood ("When I watched the show Cops, I always thought my family was going to be on it," he says), Ramer first found drugs and then recovery. In this episode, we talk about being "one of the 'almost' guys, playing the victim and whether getting or staying sober is more challenging, among other topics.

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