Recover Girl

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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:general -- 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:general -- 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:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT