Anna David's Launch Pad

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Regular listeners will notice something unusual here: an entirely new show! I am launching a new project, Writing Issues, where I'll be interviewing authors about their struggles and successes and in order to get it in people's hands (er, ears), I am inserting one of the interviews here as a special episode. The guest, Patrick O'Neil, is not talking about his issues but about his writing career. It's a short episode where he discusses how Ryan Gosling was going to play him in a movie; I hope you enjoy it and if you don't, I promise that the next episode will bring us back to our regularly scheduled programming. Patrick's bio, in brief:

Patrick O’Neil is the author of the memoir Gun, Needle, Spoon and an excerpted in part French translation titled: Hold-Up (13e Note Editions). His writing has appeared in numerous publications including Juxtapoz, Salon, The Weeklings, Fourteen Hills, The Nervous Breakdown, and Razorcake.

Patrick is a contributing editor for the NYC-to-California-transplant-post-beat-pre-apocalyptic art, writing, and music anthology: Sensitive Skin Magazine. He is a regular contributor to the recovery website: AfterPartyMagazine, a two-time nominee for Best Of The Net, and a PEN Center USA Professional and Mentor. Starting in 2017, Patrick will be the Coordinator for Why There Are Words, a Los Angeles reading series.

Direct download: Memoir_Optioned_Patrick_Podcast.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 5:27pm PST

Regular listeners will notice something unusual here: an entirely new show! I am launching a new project, Writing Issues, where I'll be interviewing authors about their struggles and successes and in order to get it in people's hands (er, ears), I am inserting one of the interviews here as a special episode. The guest, Kristen McGuiness, has been a guest on AfterPartyPod, but here she's not talking about addiction but about her writing career. I hope you enjoy it and if you don't, I promise that the next episode will bring us back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Kristen's bio, in short: Kristen McGuiness is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestselling memoir, 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life, which was optioned by CBS Cable with Alison Brie attached to star and Original Films attached to produce. In addition, Kristen has co-written numerous books in the genres of self-help, business, psychology, travel, memoir, and dating. She has also written for Marie Claire, AOL, Huffington Post, and The Fix, and has appeared on The Today Show, KTLA, and in USA Today. Kristen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and dog Peter.

Direct download: Kristen_Started_Podcast.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 5:22pm PST

Newport Academy owner Jamison Monroe may look like a successful, dashing Southern gentleman and—well, he is. Not only do we rate Newport as one of the top 10 rehabs in the world but Monroe is a sought-after speaker (yep, that was him at the Aspen Ideas Festival) and frequent subject of articles. There's a reason for this: for all that Monroe was born into privilege, his inner world wasn't always so privileged and so, when he discovered in high school that all the so-called cool kids drank, he dove in head first. School expulsion, cutting, jail, suicidal ideation and many treatment centers followed but after finally getting clean and sober for good, Monroe found his life mission: he opened Orange County-based Newport in 2009 when he was 28 and a second facility in Connecticut in 2013. In this episode, we discuss what it means to be cool, how addiction is a family disease and how kids who hate rehab show up smiling at alumni events, among other topics.

Direct download: EPJaminson_APP.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

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:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST