Anna David's Launch Pad

Herb K is something of a legend in the recovery community, having discovered a specific way of working the 12 steps in 1988 (when he was four years sober) and then sharing that way with the world. The author of Twelve-Step Guide to Using the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and Twelve Steps to Spiritual Awakening; Enlightenment for Everyone, Herb didn't know, when he retired from the four-decade career that he'd spent working in human resources, he'd be launched on a path of guiding people through the spiritual path he found. But now the man who spent seven years in seminary and has a graduate education in psychology conducts workshops and teaches courses on 12-step spirituality all over. In this episode, we discussed the misunderstanding of the word meditation, how guiding adolescents means toning down the spiritual language and the way he first came into recovery (spoiler alert: he thought his wife had the problem), among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_-_Herb_K.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 7:49am PDT


Writer, blogger, Instagram star, adopted mom of the cat that looks like Adam Driver—there are very few media fame boxes Emily McCombs hasn't checked. The 32-year-old is also the gal who pretty much single-handedly put xo jane on the map back when it launched in 2011, with the sort of mind-blowing traffic attracted by brilliantly written stories on such topics as talking to your former rapist on Facebook. McCombs has been equally open about her issues with addiction, whether she's writing from the perspective of seven years of sobriety to people who may have drinking problems or sharing about her struggle with sex addiction—in particular the need to give up meeting strange men on Craigslist for random sex. Happily for me, I met Emily when she was 10 days sober and at her first party that offered alcohol (and I was also someone she called for career advice when she was offered the xojane gig—a fact that I manage to drop into conversations every time one of her stories causes a sensation). Now sober seven years, McCombs can sound off about almost anything. In this episode, we discuss if you have to be a tormented kid to be a cool adult, how it seems like all dreams can come true in early sobriety and why being a mom means you can never again toy with the idea of suicide, among other topics.

 

Direct download: Emily_McCombs_AP.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Writer, actor and stand-up comedian Fielding Edlow may claim she didn't get anywhere in her 20s but she's more than made up for it since: after her solo show Coke-Free J.A.P. killed at the NYC Fringe Festival, it was developed as a half-hour pilot for Showtime. Her plays have been finalists with the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Actors Theatre of Louisville and City Theatre. She voices the recurring character ‘Roxie’ on BoJack Horseman and just created and starred in her web series Bitter Homes and Gardens. And there's more! She has a monthly stand-up show—Eat, Pray, Fuck—the third Friday of every month (alas, at the same time and date as the AfterParty storytelling show, which means she can never perform in ours).

Now over 18 years sober and a happily married mother, the former New Yorker seems to be something not many people can claim: content. In this episode, we discuss how recovery is like peeling an artichoke and not an onion, the idyllic early years of sobriety and whether or not it's cheesy and awful to talk to your inner child, among many other topics.

 

Direct download: APP_FIELDING.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Filmmaker Christina Beck's looks may be deceiving: a picture perfect blonde, Beck grew up in the San Fernando Valley and quit high school to became a punk rocker scenester after a crazy night out in Hollywood seeing the band The Cramps. An all-girl rap band called Toe Jam followed, as did acting roles in numerous Penelope Spheeris movies, including Suburbia and The Boys Next Door. Now she's acting in something even more personal: Perfection, a movie she also wrote and directed. Perfection deals not only with substance abuse (the mother character imbibes plenty) but also narcissism (the mother character's got that covered) and self-harm (Kristabelle, the character Beck plays, uses self-harm as a way to cope with those other two factors). Now sober, Beck talks about her month of doing heroin in London, blowing off the high school sorority for the punk rock scene, her own experiences with self-harm and the 10-year journey to get Perfection to the screen, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_CHRISTINA.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Comedian and writer Bill Dixon (who's, by the by, performed in our storytelling show) had a childhood destined to melt the heart of the hardest souls. His parents met in rehab, his dad took off and his mother—after a long struggle with hardcore alcoholism as well as bipolar disorder—killed herself when he was 12. Miraculously, Dixon managed to come out of those formative years and become an incredible Hollywood success story, writing on and producing Hollywood Game Night with Jane Lynch, being featured on HuffPo, The Today  Show and Fox News, among other well-known places, and running a popular LA comedy show. He's also over a decade sober, after alcoholism so severe that he actually came out of a blackout and realized he was dating someone he didn't know (as he jokes, when your parents meet in rehab, you're destined to become a comedian as well as an alcoholic). In this episode, we discuss planning your shares in AA meetings, whether or not peanut butter is a condiment or a food and what happens when the Dad you haven't spoken to since you were little suddenly starts re-posting your Facebook photos, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_DIXON_v2.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Author, counselor and Buddhist teacher Noah Levine is a legend in the Buddhist community—not to mention the recovery one (not to mention the world). The 45-year-old author of Dharma Punx and Refuge Recovery, among other works, got sober at the ripe old age of 17, after multiple incarcerations and a youth filled with suicidal ideation. While in juvie, his dad—famed Buddhist teacher Stephen Levine—suggested that Noah try meditation. Thus began the younger Levine's journey, which saw him training with Jack Kornfield, establishing the Against the Stream meditation society and crafting a program that combines Buddhist principles with recovery. (Along the way he got a Masters in counseling.) His program, Refuge Recovery, is now a treatment center but all sorts of rehabs and groups use the principles he writes about in their programs. Levine currently travels the globe, speaking, holding retreats and leading groups. In this episode, we talk about how not to attach to outcomes, thinking about death at the age of five and not working too hard, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_NOAH_LEVINE.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 9:24am PDT

Writers Nick Reiner and Matt Elisofon, the cowriters of the new addiction and recovery drama Being Charlie, did more than their fair share of research in order to create a compelling, convincing story: the two met when they were roommates at Promises rehab and, after bonding over the usual rehab stuff (that is, making fun of other residents), they started channeling their newfound time and energy into a script. Originally something they wrote for TV (though they confess they truly never thought it go anywhere), Being Charlie eventually got into the hands of Nick’s director dad Rob (When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride, among many others). Originally, Rob was just giving the boys notes; eventually, he signed on to helm the project. The story, which focuses on the troubled son of a movie star-turned-politician (played by The Princess Bride star Cary Elwes), was strongly influenced by young Reiner’s own experience (he’s been to 18 rehabs, starting when he was 14 and has had bouts of homelessness you wouldn’t associate with a denizen of Hollywood). In this episode, we discuss the most epic fights the cowriters have had, the ways 12-step has and hasn’t helped them and how the movie isn’t actually The Nick Reiner story, among many other topics.

Direct download: Nick_Reiner__Matt_Elisofon.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:15pm PDT

Author and musician Joe C. is more than a bit of a legend in recovery circles. Sure, he's been sober for over four decades but that's not why he's known. He's known because he manages to question 12-step without ever attacking it—and he does it in a way that speaks to many. The author of the daily reflection book, Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life, Joe also runs Rebellion Dogs, a site which includes his radio show, blog posts and information about his various conferences across the globe where he shares his wisdom. In this episode, we discuss coming to AA at the age of 14, New York vs. LA vs. San Francisco recovery and how the word "yellow" (not to mention the word "agnostic") means different things to different people, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_JOE_C_031016_100.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 10:23am PDT

Author and musician Rob Roberge has been prolific for quite a while (five books, guitarist and singer in the band The Urinals, teaching at various universities) but it's his newest work that's got people seriously buzzing. Liar: A Memoir chronicles his journey not just through addiction but also through rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Written in the second person in a non-linear fashion, Roberge says he wrote the book this way because it's how he could best show how his mind works. In this episode, we discuss opiate addiction, manic writing jags and whether or not some books are meant to be written but not released, among many other topics.

 

Direct download: Rob_Roberge_Podcast_1_.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:49pm PDT

Actor Danny Nucci may have played characters who were killed off in three major movies of the 90s (Eraser, The Rock, Titanic) but in real life he's surviving and thriving. Now starring on the ABC Family drama The Fosters (playing Mike Foster, a character who happens to be in recovery), the Italian-Austrian is also 26 years sober. Over the years, he's acted in a bunch of TV movies, a slew of movies and most every TV show on the planet (Growing Pains, Family Ties, Snoops and Just Shoot Me, to name a few). In this episode, we talk about the way recovery is like The Karate Kid, avoiding road rage and how to deal with customer service people without having to later make amends, among other topics.

Direct download: APP_Danny_Nucci.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 10:03am PDT