Anna David's Launch Pad

Stephanie Wittels Wachs has endured something a sister should never have to experience.

In February of 2015, she lost her brother Harris to a heroin overdose.

Her brother wasn’t some low-bottom, down-and-out guy. Quite the opposite. He was actually nothing short of a legend in the comedy business, having been hired as a writer on The Sarah Silverman Show a year after graduating from college. From there, his career was on fire—he wrote on numerous MTV Movie Awards and was a writer and actor on Parks and Rec. When he died, he was on the verge of moving to New York to write on and star in Master of None with his friend Aziz Ansari. (In his spare time, he invented the word #humblebrag and wrote a book about it.)

In order to process her grief, Stephanie turned to the page…specifically to Medium.com, where she wrote a piece called “The End of Empathy,” about a stranger’s reaction to their family’s grief. The post struck a cord and next thing Stephanie knew, she was writing a book. Well, that book, Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss, is out now. And it is brilliant and juicy and wonderful and horrible and basically tells such a gripping tale of what it’s like to be the sister of a genius who just happens to be a drug addict that you will feel confident you actually knew Harris Wittels when you’ve put the book down.

In this episode, we talked about the surreality of talking about a book that only exists because your brother is gone, if there’s anything she would have done differently and the strange and even hopeful places her mourning has taken her, among many other topics.

Direct download: stephanie_wittels_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

We live in a world where everyone is diagnosing our president as narcissistic. So what, exactly, are we saying and are we allowed to diagnose someone we don't know based solely on their symptoms?

Dr. Josh Lichtman provides some answers.

Direct download: narcissism_josh_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

You surely know about Ryan Hampton by now. Not only has he become one of the world's leading recovery advocates, fighting to take down nefarious treatment centers and shady players but he's also the author of the upcoming book American Fix: Inside the American Opioid Addiction Crisis—And How to End It.

He's also one of my closer friends.

We work on a lot of things together but the one we're most excited about right now is our upcoming Light Switch: Turning on Your Inner Hustle retreat. It's happening the last weekend in April and will be a medley of workshops, treatments, bonding, laughter, panels and plenty of LA woo woo stuff. In this episode, we talk about the retreat (and our EARLY BIRD SPECIAL pricing which ends, alas, on March 8th) but also about the gifts that can come from bonding with our fellows in recovery (among many other topics).

 

Direct download: ryan_retreat_episode.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

In this episode, I talk to addiction psychiatrist Dr. Josh Lichtman about how depression and anxiety manifest—and overlap.

Direct download: anxiety_vs_depression_josh_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

I've long admired Laura McKowen.

The sober mama is a prolific writer (you can see her many posts over at LauraMcKowen.com), podcaster (for years she co-hosted HOME, now she's co-hosting Spiritualish) and all-around honest person living in recovery.

What do I mean by honest? Well, follow her on Instagram and you'll see more than just Ghandi quotes and hot photos. The woman spills it out there—and people love her for it.

While we met at the Unite to Face Addiction rally in the fall of 2015, this is the first time we were able to chat one-on-one. And what a chat it was! Tune in to hear us get into losing our virginity, the stories we tell ourselves and developing healthy relationships with other women, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

It's better with the lights on. So go out there and hustle your light, Light Hustler...

Direct download: laura_mckowen_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

AA is a controversial topic within recovery circles. Some are all for it, some violently opposed.

So where does a prominent addiction psychiatrist stand? Does he tell all his patients who are addicts to go there?

The answer may surprise you.

Direct download: josh_aa_final_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Bucky Sinister is a poet, self-help author and comedian, he has published four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfists, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and a number of other online and print publications. His novel, Black Hole, is flat out the funniest novel I've ever read about addiction.

He's been something of a regular in my world—a repeated podcast guest and performer at my live show. This episode is from one of those live shows and in this story, he talks about being terrified of small talk but not remotely scared to score drugs from strangers or get in fights.

This episode is from my live storytelling show, which happens on the last Friday of every month at Open Space Cafe (457 N. Fairfax Ave) in LA. Sign up for the newsletter to make sure you’re notified when shows are coming up and/or stay up to date on the schedule here. For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: Bucky_Scared_of_Wrong_Things.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Jen Matesa is a recovery powerhouse.

Unafraid and unapologetic, she speaks out about two "s"'s that scare some others—namely, Suboxone and sex.

She's written extensively about both—Suboxone in blog posts like this one and the sex in two of her four books...especially her most recent one, Sex in Recovery: A Meeting between the Covers (her previous book for Hazelden, The Recovering Body: Physical and Spiritual Fitness for Living Clean and Sober, also got into meditation, exercise, nutrition and more).

She has spoken and written widely, teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh, is a psychotherapist in training and is currently working on her second master’s degree.

Sober since 2010, she was one of the first sober bloggers and she's been dedicated in that time to giving the public reliable information about addiction and recovery without advertising or paywalls. Her commitment to removing social stigma from addiction and recovery earned her a fellowship at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Plus, she talks sex...here we got into best vibrators, losing your sex drive when you're taking opiates and what constitutes good sex. Get some great sex (info) and more in this episode—just in time for Hallmark's favorite holiday.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: jen_matesa_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

If there’s anyone who can make a ridiculous drinking story hilarious, it’s Laura House. A headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, she is originally from Texas and moved to LA after starring in MTV’s cult-favorite Austin Stories. She’s written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, NicoleThe George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV and more.

This story is about how she went from being a girl who knocked on doors trying to talk to strangers about Jesus to vomiting Pina Coladas all over a bus to peeing her name in the hallway outside of a teacher’s hotel room. Did she end up suffering consequences for being a host family’s worst nightmare? Well, no—and yes. It all makes sense if you listen.

This episode is from my live storytelling show, which happens on the last Friday of every month at Open Space Cafe (457 N. Fairfax Ave) in LA.

Direct download: Laura_Done_2.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

I first met Drew Grant through friends, when we both lived in New York. She was a young, dynamic, cool, talented writer who'd worked at Salon and The New York Observer, among many other publications.

While I'd always found her somewhat fascinating, that feeling was only enhanced when, during a causal conversation, she mentioned that she had a brief addiction to Fentanyl. I was working at The Fix website at the time and so I did what I did whenever anyone mentioned drugs...promptly assigned her a story. While she wrote that piece under a pen name, a few years later—in the wake of the Philip Seymour Hoffman overdose—she came out under her own name.

Drew and I recently got in touch again, when she spoke to the students in my coaching program. She told me that her story with drugs had only gotten more Byzantine since we'd last spoken and so I did what I do whenever someone tells me that...promptly invited her to come on the podcast.

I knew it would be such a different story than the one my guests usually tell. This one didn't involve a bottom, a resurgence, church basements (well, there are some church basements in her story but not many) and eventual sobriety.

Instead it started with childhood chronic masturbation and ADD meds, Xanax tapering and much, much more. In this episode, we discuss what it was like to be on so many medications that you thought loved ones were out to get you, being intervened on by heroin addicts and how to handle doctor shopping across three states, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: Drew_interview_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Sean Paul Mahoney isn’t your average bear.

He isn’t your average human, either.

That’s because he’s much funnier than your average human.

As a blogger, playwright and podcaster, Sean shares his many witticisms with the world?—?including me, back when I used to edit his essays at AfterParty. Just over nine years sober, he’s now working in the mental health and recovery field…and as he says, it keeps life very “real.”

In this episode, we discuss hitting (and coming out of) an emotional bottom at seven years of sobriety, discovering that he was HIV positive, sitting with someone who’s overdosing and how his family sent him to church basements instead of a cushy Malibu rehab, among many other things. The interview got cut off at the end but he’s so great that it’s well worth the abrupt finish. This one’s a can’t miss, guys!

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: sean_done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Gabe Zichermann is an unlikely hero in the addiction recovery world as he literally spent the first half of his career making sure we got hooked on tech. The world’s foremost expert and public speaker on the subject of gamification, user engagement and behavioral design, Zichermann is also the author of The Gamification Revolution (McGraw Hill, 2013), Gamification by Design (2011) and Game-Based Marketing (2010).

But, as he observed addictive tendencies in both himself and the people around him, Zichermann realized he was potentially part of the problem. Consider his new project, Onward, penance. Onward is an app he co-founded that brings together the latest data science and artificial intelligence to help people change their potentially addictive relationships with technology, pornography, gambling or shopping.

In this interview, we talked about his epiphany about his own addictive relationship with gaming (spoiler alert: don’t invite him to your party if he’s in the middle of a game), why cognitive behavioral therapy works for some people struggling with addiction and not for others and if his former tribe now considers him the enemy, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: gabe.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Prolific TV and movie producer Scott Steindorff has convinced authors like Philip Roth and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to give up the film rights for their books. He's won Golden Globes and been nominated for Emmys. He's worked with Matthew McConaughey, Paul Newman and Nicole Kidman, among many others.

But his greatest passion in life doesn't have anything to do with the entertainment business. His greatest passion is related to the fact that, at over 30 years of sobriety, he's watching more and more people die as a result of addiction. He believes our current treatment methods—in particular AA—need to be modernized and he's devoting his time and passion to doing just that by putting together his own recovery program, Life Renewal.

In this episode, he and I get into a very heated debate about whether or not AA works. When this aired as a Facebook Live, the comments and questions were never-ending and I couldn't even begin to address all of them. A tame episode this is not. A lively one it is.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!

Direct download: scott_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Austin Cooper didn’t want to live anymore.

Like many people suffering from addiction, he was at the too-scared-to-live, too-scared-to-die crossroads. He’d forgotten that he had people who loved him.

When those loved ones did an intervention, he knew he had a choice: to live or die.

He chose to live…and in less than five years, he’s become an outspoken recovery advocate. It all started when he discovered some inspiring quotes that changed his life. He thought maybe those quotes could help other people and so he started an Instagram account filled with them.

The account grew so rapidly that he soon found himself on 20/20 and working as a coach.

Now he and I have partnered on The Light Hustler Evolution, an accountability group that includes weekly assignments, webinars, coaching sheets, a book club and more. We talk all about it in this interview and explain that if you join before January 1st, you can get locked in at a 20% off discount. While this group will eventually be invitation and nomination only, for now it is open to anyone who wants to join. There is no obligation to stay in the group if you don’t want to so if you’ve ever struggled to meet a goal or want to interact with some cool folks (charter members include Golden Globe award winning producer Scott Steindorff, Girl Walks Out of a Bar author Lisa Smith and recovery advocate Ryan Hampton), we encourage you to join now. You can find out more about the group here and join here.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews (make sure you Like my page so you can stay up on when they happen).

Direct download: austin_cooper_done.mp3
Category:Mental Health -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Austin Eubanks shouldn't be alive. And he certainly shouldn't be thriving.

An injured survivor of the Columbine High School shooting, Eubanks was shot twice as he watched his best friend get murdered in front of his eyes. Afterwards, a phalanx of doctors prescribed him everything he wanted and more, until he found himself on a drug cocktail that included not only stimulants but also benzos and opiates. Marijuana and harder drugs followed soon after.

A few trips to rehab didn't do much to slow his roll but, after coming to in jail in April of 2011 and learning that no one he knew was willing to take his call let alone bail him out, he made the choice that saved his life and entered treatment at the Stout Street Foundation for over a year. He has been sober ever since and is now a world-renowned speaker on the topic of recovery, COO of Foundry Treatment Center, on the board of directors for Stout Street Foundation and a member of the founding board of directors for 5280 High School.

In this episode, Eubanks shares the secret to working through trauma, why he never used to tell people he went to Columbine and how he can prove that addiction doesn't always have a genetic component, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews (make sure you Like my page so you can stay up on when they happen).

Direct download: austin_eubanks_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Jodi Miller is what they call bust-a-gut funny (do they call it that or did I make that up?).

She's also, as they say, blue. So if you're prone to blushing, you may want to skip this one.

If, on the other hand, you don't shock easily and also enjoy laughing, you'll love this one.

Jodi has performed on The Tonight Show and America's Got Talent. She's also written on a Cinemax series and been a recurring guest commentator on Showbiz Tonight.

In this episode, she tells a night of drunken abandon...and a wardrobe malfunction. She performed it at my storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: jodi_miller.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Filmmaker and Facing Addiction co-founder Greg Williams puts most recovery advocates to shame. And he’s one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

Here’s how the story goes: Williams got sober and was doing just a basic sober job when he started meeting people in the recovery advocacy movement. He was earning a grad degree at NYU that involved studying both advocacy and filmmaking and so he did the next logical thing: make a movie about these impressive folks he was meeting. After taking out a loan and then doing the Indie Go Go thing, Williams was able to present to the world The Anonymous People—the definitive film about recovering out loud.

Because there’s no rest for the weary, he then co-founded Facing Addiction, the non-profit responsible for the 2015 march in Washington where Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow and Joe Walsh performed. Since then, he’s completed another film (Generation Found) and embarked on a handful of other equally impressive projects.

In this episode, Williams talks about where he got the faith to take out a $70,000 loan for a project he had no idea would pay off, why we need more recovery advocates than we already have and what it really means to recover out loud, among many other topics.

We also talked about how YOU can get involved. For information on that, click here. For a quiz on whether or not you’re ready to tell your story, click here.

Direct download: greg_williams_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Travis Jones is a video editor by day and a storyteller by night.  He has performed at The Moth and various other shows around LA.

In this episode, he tells arguably the funniest story I've ever heard about getting arrested (and I've heard a lot). Suffice it to say that there are some fraternity brothers who surely regretted every setting eyes on him.

He told the story at my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

 

Direct download: travis_jones__hammered_time_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Wes Geer may have once looked like an unlikely recovery hero.

The founding member of the band Hed PE, Geer went down the path familiar to many young, wild and crazy dudes in bands...all of which culminated in a trip to rehab in 2004. After finding sobriety in 2007, Geer was asked to join the legendary band Korn and he played with them for years. But just being a rock star wasn't enough for Geer and so, in 2013, he formed Rock to Recovery.

Rock to Recovery's mission sounds almost impossible: a bunch of musicians go into treatment centers and teach the (non-musical) residents there to play. Together, they write a song. Yes, non-musicians write and play a song. Does it work? Well, Rock to Recovery currently does about 400 sessions a month—at both non-profit organizations and high-end treatment centers. They also put on shows, where people like Billy Idol, Fred Durst and Mark McGrath play.

In this episode, Wes and I talk about the manifestation meditation that led to his greatest epiphany, whether or not he's always been spiritual and the fact that aliens may have been tuning in on our conversation, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: wes_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Brian Cuban is the ideal recovery advocate.

Sober since 2007, the attorney and best-selling author of two books about his recovery is willing to talk about something very few men are: struggling with bulimia and anorexia. And not only is he willing to talk about it—he's willing to delve into how he developed his eating disorder (he writes touchingly about being teased as a kid in this compelling easy for CNN).

The brother of Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, Brian was a practicing attorney whose addiction had caused him to lose all his clients before his brothers intervened on him. Yet it was years before he was actually ready to seek help—when his now-wife discovered his secrets and was ready to leave.

In this interview, we talk about the role family plays in addiction, lying to your psychiatrist and moving full-time into recovery advocacy, among other things.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: brian_cuban_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today's episode features a very special guest: me. Since I'm releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about how, the first time I got drunk, I confessed my love to the big man on campus. What happened next shocked even unshockable me.

Direct download: anna_mike_z_Done_1_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 9:44am PST

It’s one thing to be open about your addiction when you’re a writer in LA—aka a person most people assume WOULD be an addict.

It’s quite another when you’re a high-powered attorney.

But Lisa F. Smith is a trail blazer. The author of the hit book Girl Walks Out of a Bar is also probably my favorite person I’ve never met. (Side note: I’ve slept in her bed despite not having met her; it’s not as sexy as it sounds but that’s something we get into in the interview.)

What’s fascinating about Lisa’s story is that she was so high functioning that the day she got sober was just like any other day where she was headed to work—although instead of going to work, she went to detox.

In this episode, we discuss her fear around coming out, the way addiction can start with food and how she feels when men in AA are called sexual harassers, among many other topics.

(BTW, Lisa is featured in my Guide to Becoming a Light Hustler, where I profiled the people I know who have taken their darkest experiences to share their light and in some cases built careers off of it. If you want to be one of them, be sure to get the free guide here: www.annadavidcoaching.com.)

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: lisa_smith_pod_final.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today's episode features an absolute doll of a human being: Greg Behrendt.

In it, Greg tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story captures, perhaps better than anyone ever has before, exactly why being sober is so uncomfortable.

When he's not making Hammer(ed) Time audiences nearly pee their pants with laughter, Greg is performing (both as a comedian and musician) or writing (oh yeah; he's the guy who co-wrote the seminal book He's Just Not That Into You, among other bestselling books).

Direct download: Greg_Sober_is_Gross_Greg_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Taryn Strong was sitting atop the largest resource for women in recovery and keeping a secret: namely that in between hosting retreats in places like Bali, where she and her mom Dawn Nickel were getting women to open up about their recovery, she was doing coke. She'd been honest about her past up until then—about self-harm, about co-dependency, about a drug phase when she was younger—but coming clean about the fact that she was also an addict required a new level of bravery.

In this episode, Taryn talks about the SheRecovers brand—the retreats they host, the malas they sell, the coaches the certify—and so much more.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Taryn_Strong_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Lindsay Adams is no joke.

Yes, she tells jokes but the seriously funny comic also got sober when she was a teenager after surviving—well, some pretty horrific shit. And she bakes! She has a baking show on something I'm too old to understand called Twitch.

In this episode, Lindsay tells a story at my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

When she's not charming Hammer(ed) Time audiences, Lindsay is performing at the Laugh Factory, Improv and Comedy Store, being featured in the TBS Just for Laughs comedy festival, appearing on Oxygen and Fox or performing with Mortified in LA, Chicago, and San Francisco. She also produces Heat: A Comedy Show and Full Moon: A Gathering of Comedy and the Metaphysical.

Direct download: Lindsay_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Angela Gulner is not your typical actress.

For one, the Harvard grad is a multi-talent, having created and starred in the binge-worthy series Binge. Secondly, Binge is about something most people don't talk about—that is, binging and purging. And then there's the fact that Gulner is incredibly open about the fact that this series is based on her life.

While I'm not normally a plot summary gal, the plot of the Binge pilot is too hilarious not to spell out. It opens with Gulner waking up hung over in her car and then agreeing to have sex with the guy she clearly hooked up with the night before so long as he gives her his coffee mug. Then we move into a storyline about how she's blackmailed into checking into treatment for her eating disorder by the sex addict she met when blacked out. The episode ends with her destroying her best friend's dinner party for her future mother-in-law by announcing that the man she had sex with that morning for the coffee mug is the future mother-in-law's boyfriend.

In this episode, my new girl crush and I discuss just when the roots of her eating disorder started (spoiler alert: the age of six!), what parents can do to prevent their kids from developing issues like this and why she went the indie route when it came to getting Binge made, among many others topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: angela_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today's episode features the very funny Jessica Sele from one of my live  storytelling shows, Hammer(ed) Time.

In her own words, Jessica Sele is a "deeply weird human being and stand-up comedian." She's performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and SF Sketchfest and was described by Bitch Magazine as a “hilarious and talented queer woman.”

The story she tells is a basic how-to if you want to know how to get wasted and shame everyone in the vicinity.

Direct download: Jessica_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Therapist Kelley Kitley could have kept quiet about her own past.

She had a thriving practice—first in Santa Monica, then in Chicago—and didn't need her clients knowing about her own experiences.

Instead she decided to spill all...in her memoir, My Self: A Story of Survival, a memoir which details her experiences being sexually abused, developing an eating disorder and then struggling with addiction (she's now sober four-and-a-half years).

In this episode, she talks about how her clients reacted to her own confessions, what happened when she told her father she was being abused and why "Get it Girl" is her motto, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that we did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Kelley_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today's episode features a very special guest: me. Since I'm releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about how I went from chain-smoking derelict to sanctimonious ex-smoker who only tried to quit smoking in the first place because a guy I liked went to a certain Nicotine Anonymous meeting.

(And if you smoke, just know I'm not talking about you!)

Direct download: anna_smoking.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Garrett Hade is a guy who usually sits behind the scenes. As the right (and left) hand(s) of prominent recovery advocate Ryan Hampton, Garrett is the one by Ryan's side as they travel across the country interviewing people in recovery, visiting jails and in short doing everything they possibly can to change the way addiction is perceived and treated.

Though Garrett and I have become closer over the past year, getting him in front of a camera and mic was a serious treat. In this episode, we talked about the struggle he had about publicly sharing about his addiction and recovery and what he's learned as a result, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Jesse, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Garrett_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today’s episode features a truly unique soul: author Bucky Sinister.

In it, Bucky tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story is about an event not everyone has the opportunity to reminisce about: the 30th anniversary of his first intervention. (Spoiler alert: don't take acid beforehand.)

Bucky is the author of not only the hilarious addiction novel Black Hole but also four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and a number of other online and print publications.

Direct download: bucky_intervention.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 8:26am PST

Today's episode features one of my very favorite people I know: comedian and writer Mary Patterson Broome.

In it, MP tells a story from our live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

Her story is about something most people in recovery are all too familiar with: those friends from the drinking days who question whether or not she really needs to be sober.

When she's not entertaining the rest of us with tales of her former debauchery, MP is the Editor-in-Chief of AfterParty Magazine and RehabReviews and tours the country performing comedy. She has written for Women's Health and for AOL Originals’ Emmy-nominated Making a Scene with James Franco.

Direct download: MP_Drinking_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST


What John Clint Mabry has endured would have destroyed most people.

John Clint Mabry is not most people.

During a tragic car accident when he was 18, he lost both a friend and his leg. The former class clown then got addicted to opiates and thought he was living a terribly exciting life—appearing in movies like Superbad and partying at the Playboy Mansion. Then he lost his brother to addiction and spiraled down that road himself...until he couldn't any longer.

Now a sober counselor, motivational speaker and author (lucky for me, I get to be the one helping him bring his story to the world, through my coaching program for writers!), Mabry serves as an example that with the right attitude, we can overcome anything.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: John_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today's episode features a woman everyone loves: Sara Benincasa.

Benincasa is a screenwriter, recovering stand-up comedian and the author of "Real Artists Have Day Jobs" (William Morrow 2016); "DC Trip" (Adaptive 2015); "Great" (HarperTeen 2014); and "Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom" (William Morrow 2012). She also wrote a very silly joke book called "Tim Kaine Is Your Nice Dad."  In 2017, she adapted "DC Trip" as a screenplay with Bona Fide, Gunpowder & Sky, and Adaptive Studios. She also adapted "Agorafabulous" as a pilot for TV with Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. Born and raised in New Jersey, she attended Emerson College, graduated from Warren Wilson College, and got a masters degree in teaching from Teachers College at Columbia University. She lives in Los Angeles and she's working on an untitled novel for Adaptive Books.

She told this story at my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

It's about being in high school, going to Europe, getting homesick, having a panic attack and ruining the day for her popular nemesis.

Direct download: Sara_anxiety_attack.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Carly Benson is a sober wundekind. The voice behind the mega popular website Miracles Are Brewing, Benson is a yoga instructor, coach, leader of a monthly group about intentional living, co-founder (with Kelly Fitzgerald) of the Bloom Club, co-host (also with Kelly) of the Regroup podcast, and all around spiritual badass. While she and I had never met before, we'd both admired one another from afar—and now, frankly, I want to do as much as I can with her. In this episode, we discuss realizing everything has to change, what it's like to have a sudden spiritual change and how to make your mess into your message, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Carly_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today’s episode features an absolute doll of a human being: Greg Behrendt.

In it, Greg tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story veers from a night where he was wasted and suddenly realized he was hanging out with dudes who had submachine guns into the rage he feels over the way people order from Starbucks to a riff on pudding, all while managing to make commentary on what it’s like to be a sober man today.

When he’s not making Hammer(ed) Time audiences nearly pee their pants with laughter, Greg is performing (both as a comedian and musician) or writing (oh yeah; he’s the guy who co-wrote the seminal book He’s Just Not That Into You, among other bestselling books).

For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: greg_crazy_people.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 11:25am PST

Jesse Heffernan, the National Outreach and Empowerment Coordinator at Faces and Voices of Recovery, is a Certified Recovery Coach who's over 16 years sober.

I was lucky enough to speak to him about finding a toxic community based on similar "woundedness," wearing a wire to bust drug dealers, whether or not he's clean cut and if the word "addict" is good or bad, among many other things.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Jesse, which means that the audio isn’t as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

Direct download: Jesse_Done.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today's episode features the person Louis CK named as one of the funniest female comedians of our time: Laura House.

In it, Laura tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

Her story covers a 4th of July party she once attended that actually lasted three days and included lots of beer, nudity and an eventual police bust. Bonus: it also teaches you how to make a "hillbilly hot tub"!

When she's not entertaining the rest of us with tales of her former debauchery, Laura is writing on TV shows (including Mom and Samantha Who), teaching meditation or performing in her one-woman show, How to Hate Yourself.

Direct download: Laura_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Kenny Pomerance and Ron Tannebaum, or Mr. Clean and RT, are the recovery titans behind the Facebook-for-recovery website InTheRooms. The two longtime friends—who first met when they were in college—launched their site in 2008, when they were both nearly three decades sober. Since then, the site has blossomed—with hundreds of thousands of members attending on-line meetings, watching lectures, using the ITR apps and bonding in ways they never could otherwise.

I've been lucky enough to know these guys since the launch of ITR and they've never been anything but generous, kind and compassionate. This has a great deal to do with how they've been able to thrive—with an astounding 400,000+ members that have a combined million+ years of sobriety.

In this episode, we discuss how many people told them that a Facebook for recovery idea was never going to work, why they don't look at anyone as competition and having a song written for them by Aerosmith, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Dawn, which means that the audio isn't as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

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

Today’s episode features a truly unique soul: author Bucky Sinister.

In it, Bucky tells a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

His story is about a friend of his who happened to be "the most batshit crazy person" he knew, the sort of person who'd ask, if you told him your mother had breast cancer, "how nice her tits were." He also explains how much this friend of his taught him about how to be a sober man.

When he's not bringing urns onto a stage (yep—if you listen to the episode, it will all make sense), Bucky is writing. He's the author of not only the hilarious addiction novel Black Hole but also four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and a number of other online and print publications.

Direct download: Bucky_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Dawn Nickel is a legend in the recovery world. The womab behind SheRecovers, Nickel was in recovery a long time and a self-proclaimed workaholic looking for a change when she realized, while sitting on the beach in Mexico, that what she really wanted to do: help people in recovery. And so she launched a Facebook page. Despite being something of a social media novice, the page took off—attracting hundreds of thousands of Likes as it established itself as the place for women in recovery (from anything) to gather together for inspiration and connection. Now SheRecovers is a business which includes retreats, events and coaching.

In this episode, Nickel and I discuss how she was able to corner the market on women recovering, whether or not the word "addict' is stigmatizing and how she makes sure she doesn't sway back into workaholism (hint: it has to do with going on the SheRecovers retreats).

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Dawn, which means that the audio isn't as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

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

oday's episode features one of my very favorite people I know: comedian and writer Mary Patterson Broome.

In it, MP tells a story from our live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

Her story answers the question many among us may have craved an answer to: what kind of crazy activities go on at comedy festivals? Well, in this one, we learn about "mirror moments," deciding to hook up, how to handle it when the dude who just drove you home pukes all over himself and what to do when a drunk stranger needs to sleep it off when you're sharing a room.

When she's not entertaining the rest of us with tales of her former debauchery, MP is the Editor-in-Chief of AfterParty Magazine and RehabReviews and tours the country performing comedy. She has written for Women's Health and for AOL Originals’ Emmy-nominated Making a Scene with James Franco.

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

Today's episode features a very special guest: me. Since I'm releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time, and I perform in this show, sometimes these episodes are going to feature—well, me. (By the by, the show, which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.)

The story I tell here is about the three cocaine dealers I had during my using days, the different signature moves they had and how I ended up in rehab with one of them. 

Direct download: anna_3_dealers.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

In this episode, Anna David speaks about how discovering the fact that recovery had its own language inspired her to focus her own work on the topic.

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

Recover Girl takes to the stage again, as I'm giving you another episode featuring a story from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time—which takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

This episode features previous podcast guest Natasha Vargas-Cooper, a wondrous sprite who graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a double major in history and public policy and has been 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.

In this story, she asks the question many may have pondered: what happens if you're "sober" but take Ambien? (Hint: it may involve texting your boss that you bet he looks good naked.)

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


Kelly Fitzgerald is probably the most successful sober blogger in the world. The voice behind The Sober Senorita, Fitzgerald launched to internet fame when she wrote a post about being sober a year, which The Huffington Post picked up and posted on its home page. Cut to the post going viral, being published in multiple languages and placing Fitzgerald in a position of authority on recovery. She's now been published on sites like Elite Daily, Ravishly and Thought Catalog, hosts her own podcast and offers a virtual coaching program.

In this episode, we discuss being uncomfortable outing yourself as sober, what it is about her first blog post about sobriety that hit a nerve, being a member of my coaching program for writers and whether or not everything happens as it's meant to, among many other topics.

NOTE: This episode is from a Facebook Live interview that I did with Kelly, which means that the audio isn't as sharp as it is on regular episodes. Please bear with that! And please tune into my regular Facebook Live interviews, which take place at 4 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless I have a conflict, in which case I reschedule but announce the change on my page. Make sure you Like my page so stay up on the info!)

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

Freddy Negrete is inarguably one of the world's greatest legends in the tattoo world. The former Chicano gang member perfected the art of "prison" black and grey tattoos before going to work for fellow tattoo legends “Good Time” Charlie Cartwright and Jack Rudy in East LA. He logged time working with Ed Hardy (who, for the uninitiated, is a real guy and not just a t-shirt line) and now makes headlines when he tattoos famous folks like Henry Styles. Despite his current celebrity status, Negrete has hardly had an easy life: the son of a Jewish woman and a Mexican father, Negrete was pretty much orphaned when both his parents went to prison. He joined a gang, entered a life of crime, started going in and out of juvie halls and prison and, along the way, became a heroin addict. Now sober over a half decade, Negrete is the co-author of a memoir based on his life, Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs and Tattoos: My Life in Black and Gray. In this episode, we talk about how gangs provided camaraderie, making tattoo guns out of cassette tapes and his sudden spiritual awakening, among many other topics.

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

Recover Girl takes a turn this time, as I'm going to start releasing episodes that contain stories from my live storytelling show, Hammer(ed) Time. It takes place every other month in LA, has been an LA Weekly pick of the week and is being developed into a video series.

This episode features previous podcast guest Eddie Pepitone, 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.

In this story, he talks about "sculpting a winner" and great thinkers who believe we were never born, among other (hilarious) topics.

For more about the workshops I lead where I teach people to take their most disturbing or interesting experiences and make them into stories, click here. For more information about my online writing classes and coaching programs, click here.

Direct download: Eddie_RG_HT_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

In this five-minute episode, Anna David talks about how new ideas occur to her every time she thinks she's shared everything she has to say about recovery.

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


Buddhist meditation teacher Dave Smith has been studying the Dharma since 1993 when a series of traumatic incidents (including the death of his sister and girlfriend) motivated him to seek help. Over the next decade, he lived a double life—going on meditation retreats while also living the high life as a touring musician. Now sober over 14 years, Smith has led retreats, mentored people one-on-one and given numerous Dharma talks (you can listen to some of them here). He’s also become an author, releasing Ethical Mindfulness in 2015 (he’s currently working on a follow up, which we chat about at length in this episode). In this episode, we discuss how to recognize trauma when it comes up, his feelings about no longer being a musician and why his writing career is only just beginning, among many other topics.

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

In this five-minute episode, Anna David discusses how she gently dipped her toe into the waters of writing about recovery—before ultimately submerging herself.

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

Writer Jenna Hutt always knew she had a story to tell. The Colorado-dwelling wife and mother of one had an inarguably interesting life and had been through struggles she knew could help other people: in the span of three years, her father committed suicide and her husband had a traumatic brain injury, all while she struggled with alcoholism. Hutt had always been a secret drinker—her very first drink was a bottle she chugged at home alone, when she was 12—and her secrets caught up with her when her husband discovered her suitcase full of empty bottles during a trip to see his family. Now sober over three years, Hutt is writing her story and it is my great pleasure to be able to have a front row seat during the process because she’s doing it in my coaching program. All this means that while we’ve been in email, phone and webinar contact over the past six months, this recording marks our first in-person meeting. In this episode, we discuss where being a control freak meets alcoholism and embracing the little voice inside that tells you to write, among many other topics.

Direct download: Jenna_hutt_Done_1.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

In this special five-minute episode of Recover Girl, Anna David discusses how she wanted to write a book her whole life—but didn't make any progress until she learned that writing worked just like recovery.

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

It seems crazy that comedian Mary Patterson Broome hasn't been on the podcast before. The Alabama-bred lady has performed stand-up comedy at clubs, colleges and many other places for over 11 years. She's also written for AOL Originals’ Emmy-nominated Making a Scene with James Franco and WE TV’s Sex Box.

But most relevantly for me, she's the Editor-in-Chief at RehabReviews.com/AfterParty Magazine. Faithful listeners know this is a website I started and MP helped me run until I left in March (to take the helm at In Recovery Magazine) and MP took over. To say she's been my right hand is an understatement.

MP's journey to sobriety has gone hand-in-hand with her journey to becoming a professional writer—a subject we get into in this episode. Listen and find out how the anonymous "Sarah" came to rule the roost of one of the biggest recovery sites out there.

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

Dr. Josh Lichtman answers a listener's question about whether or not you're guaranteed to become addicted to an addictive medication if you take it enough.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_End_Up_Addicted_To_Any_Med_Podcast.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

China Isler—ne, Kantner—is someone I've known for a while...since I was 10, as a matter of fact. This is because we went to the same grammar school and despite the fact that the place where I grew up was somewhat sophisticated and jaded, our school was often abuzz over the fact that rock star royalty—the daughter of Jefferson Starship's Paul Kantner and Grace Slick—was among us.
Despite how China appeared—I remember her being bubbly and cool beyond belief—she had her first drink at two, was "uncomfortable" by four and was drinking regularly by 12. And so she found sobriety at an early age—in high school—and watched her life take off. Suddenly she was the youngest MTV DJ ever and discovering how much she loved acting. An acting career as well as a relapse followed—after which China took a look at her life and decided what she really wanted to do was a lot more spiritual than saying someone else's lines in front of a camera. And so she became...a pastor. No, it's not the typical path for the daughter of two rock stars. But the Minister of Substance Use Disorder and Recovery at UrbanMission in Pomona is as passionate about recovery as anyone I've ever met. Sober since 1998, she's now the Faith Leader/Liaison at Facing Addiction.

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

A listener was told by her sponsor that because she takes anti-depressants, she isn't actually sober. Dr. Josh Lichtman gives his take.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Take_Med_Still_Sober_Podcast.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

I'm going to have to be honest here: I'm very invested in Paul Fuhr's recovery—and it's not just because I am a selfless person.

I've gotten to know Paul, you see, because he wrote me a fan email several years ago about this very podcast. How lovely was it? Well I'm a hardened soul and it made me cry. 

But here's the really fabulous part: after that email, Paul wrote a story on spec for the site I was then editing. And it was brilliant. Cut to: Paul becoming AfterParty's most prolific writer. Every story he turned in examined a different aspect of recovery in a way that was wholly original, clever, and passionate. (Side note: because Paul is incredibly modest, he never told me until we recorded this very episode that he had a Masters in English and had worked as an editor. I had been patting myself on the back for years over having "discovered" him.)

Our conversation did not disappoint. Please listen and learn how a brilliant guy with a wife, three kids, a career managing dozens of people found and then handles sobriety.

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Podcast_-_Paul_Fuhr.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

A listener's psychiatrist diagnosed her as Bipolar 2. Then she found out the psychiatrist was wrong. What is Bipolar 2 and how is it different than regular old Bipolar 1?

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Bi-polar_2_Podcast.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Aussie entrepreneur James Swanwick has been an ESPN anchor on SportsCenter, is the author of ‘Insider Journalism Secrets’ and is the co-founder of international agency, Crocmedia. He has been a print or TV journalist for 20 years, writing for newspapers and magazines in the US, UK and Australia. These include Associated Press, Sky Sports, ESPN, WPLJ radio, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Sky Movie Channel, Q104FM, Loaded magazine, Woman’s Day, The Courier-Mail and much more. He also sells the coolest blue-blocking glasses around, hosts an eponymously titled hit podcast and runs any number of other successful online ventures.

But the reason I had him on the pod was to discuss his 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, a program he developed after he decided to quit drinking because he was tired of “just existing in the world.” His program isn’t for alcoholics but for people like him—those who feel that drinking is preventing them from living the best lives they can. (Swanwick’s experience, by the by, is that he followed those 30 days of not drinking with continued abstinence; it’s now been years.)

Direct download: Swanwick_Pod_new_version.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 4:08pm PST

Psychiatrist Dr. Josh Lichtman answers the question: what the hell is a co-occurring disorder?

Direct download: Recover_Girl_Co-occurring_disorder_Podcast.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Brandon Novak shouldn’t be alive.

The professional skateboarder, New York Times bestseller author and member of the Jackass crew has hit all the pit stops on the way to the bottom: homelessness, multiple trips to rehab, incarceration and the like. But somehow, some way, the 38-year-old from Baltimore had a moment of clarity on May 25, 2015 and nothing’s been the same since. The guy who once passed a UA in jail by using his cellmate’s urine has transitioned into a recovery evangelist, flying all over the country to help those struggling with addiction and get them into treatment. Just how serious is he about it? Well, he gives out his personal cell phone number (610-635-9092) and encourages anyone who thinks they need help to call it.

When I interviewed Novak, the Baltimore native was visiting LA where he was making a series of appearances advocating for recovery. And how’s this for irony? The hotel room where we did the interview ended up a little bit thrashed but I was the one who thrashed it. To understand how that happened, you’ve got to listen to the whole episode.

Direct download: Novak_episode.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 12:00am PST

In this episode of Recover Girl, Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Sirah, joins me for a brutally honest conversation about her disturbing, crazy, wonderful life of dysfunction, addiction, crime, and music.

Direct download: sirah.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Ian Harvie is the groundbreaking transgender stand-up comedian whom you may have seen in the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning TV series TRANSPARENT. In this episode of Recover Girl, Ian Harvie joined me on my couch to talk about his childhood in rural Maine, his journey to discovering his true gender identity, his recovery from alcoholism, and his new life in sobriety as a trans comic.

Direct download: Transitioning_From_Addicted_Woman_to_Sober_Man_with_Ian_Harvie.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Actress and artist Jemima Kirke came on the podcast. Yes, those are thrilling words to write. This is not only exciting because she’s luminous, talented and plays Jessa on freaking Girls but also because she has a history with substances that you don’t hear many people share about. After a wild youth, which included multi-day benders and bouts of depression, Kirke showed up at her mom’s in early 20s, saying she was ready for rehab. She went from one treatment center to the next, finding enough fault with the program there for her to be kicked out (but not before meeting the man she eventually married, who happens to now own a sober living). After years of staying sober and doing the 12-step thing, Kirke began to question whether the one-size-fits-all philosophy about addiction applied to her. And so she had a drink. Contrary to what she’d been told, nothing bad happened. That was a few years ago and in that time, she’s watched her career rise to superstardom and embraced motherhood (in addition to the two kids she has with her husband, she is also the step-mother to his kids from a previous marriage). In this episode, we talk about self-hatred, rehabs just out to take your money and if meeting your future spouse in treatment is “trauma bonding,” among other topics.

Direct download: Jemma_Pod_new_version.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Writer and comedian Mara Shapshay has had a life of inarguable highs and lows: Growing up outside Boston as the daughter of a sex therapist, Shapshay felt alienated as the only Jewish girl at her school (not to mention the only girl whose mother talked extensively about oral sex). After a traumatic incident in Israel, Shapshay turned to opiates and alcohol; they helped her through film school at NYU, after which she landed in LA and promptly married a gay man. Stints at rehab followed but they didn't take and Shapshay ended up homeless and living in her car. Then she randomly met Carrie Fisher and asked her for help. Next thing she knew, Shapshay was living with Fisher and helping the late actress through shock treatments. Now over a decade sober, Shapshay is a practicing Orthodox Jew married to a sober (not gay) Orthodox Jew. And she's determined to carry on Fisher's mission to spread awareness about mental health. In this episode, we discuss why mental illness carries more of a stigma than addiction, the lure of celebrity and the difference between trust and faith, among many other topics.

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

Author Heather King puts the rest of us to shame. She's written so many books she literally has no idea how many. She went through law school pretty much in a black out and managed to ace the bar. And she manages to embody the sort of joy that many seek and cannot find. At least part of this surely has to do with the fact that she very much walks the walk. Now sober over 30 years, King converted to Catholicism after having a crisis of faith and now writes a weekly column on arts, culture, faith and life for Angelus. It's been a long journey from the bar stools of Boston to the churches of LA and luckily King is a charming narrator. In this episode, we discuss knocking on a neighbor's door to buy beers off of him during brutal hangovers, being too cheap to become a gambling addict and weaning oneself off of romantic obsessions, among many other topics.

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

Interventionist, sober companion, Fix co-founder and former proprietor of Brooklyn's Loft 107 Sober Living, Joe Schrank is a somewhat controversial figure in recovery circles. While he's never been afraid to speak his mind, Schrank has just launched his most chatter-worthy business of all: High Sobriety, an LA-based "cannabis included" treatment center that offers, in its own words, "harm reduction through an innovative medication assisted program." The first of its kind in the United States, High Sobriety is aimed at those people who Schrank feels would be dead if they had to abstain from all chemicals—that is, those who try sobriety and end up with a needle in their arm. In this episode, Schrank discusses his own sobriety, how the US is conservative in its approach to recovery and why the issue of harm reduction isn't as simple as it first seems, among many other topics.

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

Marketing guru Joe Polish can't simply be described as a marketing guru. The founder of ILoveMarketing and the Genius Network, Polish is one of the world's leading business coaches (this can happen when Richard Branson is one of your clients) and runs several exclusive mastermind groups. But now Polish has found his true passion: enlightening the world about recovery—in particular the way making art can help addicts. Hence his project, Artists for Addicts. In this episode, we discuss getting down to 105 pounds when freebasing cocaine, the insidious nature of sex addiction and how Artists for Addicts is helping to change the global conversation about how people view addicts, among other topics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 PST


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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

Screenwriter Jeff Roda is not someone who's going to be bragging about his accomplishments. You will, in fact, have to attempt to drag them out of him—and you still won't be successful at learning much. Everything about what he's done career wise must be gleaned through Google. And here it is: he's written screenplays for DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures and New Regency Films, and television pilots for the WB, CBS and Media Rights Capital. He was a producer on Love Liza starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kathy Bates, has written three Black List scripts and he is currently developing his pilot When I'm Sixty-Four for HBO. He's also either 12 or 13 years sober, according to him (it was determined that it was 13) and has a lot to say about developing emotional maturity, becoming invisible as you age and isolating (the conversation is a lot more hilarious and uplifting than it sounds, swear). In this episode, we talked about reminding your hairdresser of her uncle, Eve Plumb (that's Jan Brady to you and me), long-term sobriety and whether or not his friend Andrew is a figment of his imagination, among other topics.

 

Direct download: APP_Jeff_Roda.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 1:29pm PST

Musician, writer and political activist Jack Grisham is a man of many names and even more lives. Perhaps you know him as Alex Morgan or James DeLauge? Maybe you're familiar with him because he's the lead singer for the punk band T.S.O.L. or perhaps it's through his book A Principle of Recovery: An Unconventional Journey Through the Twelve Steps? Or could it be that you know his name from when he ran for governor in 2003? Okay so we've established it: he's an interesting guy. He's also over 27 years sober after a, well, disturbing youth well documented in his book American Demon. In this episode, we discuss why his favorite review called his book "mean-spirited," how only unpeaceful people talk about peace and whether or not he was hypnotizing me during the interview, among other topics.

Direct download: APP_-_Jack_Grisham.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 8:00am PST

Sobriety coach and interventionist Bob Marier has suddenly became the face of sober coachery (a word we just made up). See, coming to represent a fake word is what can happen when you're hired to work with Toronto mayor Rob Ford, especially when you're accused of kicking a Ford heckler. But Marier had been working behind the scenes long before he ended up on the cover of every Canadian paper and his journey to top sober dog was hard-earned: after destroying three noses and grinding his teeth down from snorting more coke than can possibly be imagined, he had a fairly dramatic OD, smashing into a glass table and spending weeks in a coma. It was only after seeing a video from his hospital bed of his mom begging him to get help that the then 39 year-old sought help; now he's over 12 years sober and the subject of a Vice doc. In this episode, we discuss people who talk in platitudes in meetings, boiling Fentanyl patches into pills and how Ford is one of the best people Marier's ever met, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_-_Bob_Maier.mp3
Category:Mental Health -- posted at: 2:40pm PST

Writer, actress and performer Cindy Caponera launched her career at Chicago's Second City and wrote for Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 1998, which is to say that she came up with just about everyone, from Stephen Colbert to Will Ferrell to many more in between. She's also written for Shameless and Nurse Jackie and by the way appeared in the pilot for a funny little show you may have heard of called Curb Your Enthusiasm.

On the personal front, she's been sober over 20 years and has made her way from Chi Town to NYC to LA, where she's happily married and has a small pool where she likes to do stationary swimming. If you clicked on that link, you know that she's also written a best-selling Kindle Single, I Triggered Her Bully, which very humorously touches on such topics as food, alcohol, meditation, medication, dating guys who live in halfway houses and moving back in with your parents as an adult. In this episode, we discussed how alcoholism is different for women, coming to sobriety through Alanon and how sober people on SNL helped her find her way, among many other topics.

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

Author Vicki Abelson has worn many hats: she's been an actress, a director, a teacher, a comic, a manager, a (yes I'm still going), fundraiser, a producer, a workshop leader, a private coach and possibly two or three (hundred) other things. The spitball of energy is perhaps best known for being the grand doyenne of Women Who Write, a renowned literary salon that has featured Jackie Collins, Garry Marshall and Marianne Williamson (not to mention previous podcast guests Marc Maron, Michael Des Barres and Mackenzie Phillips), among so many others. But her legacy may change now that she's released her first book, Don't Jump: Sex, Drugs, Rock n Roll...and My Fucking Mother, a coming-of-age novel about a gal in a celeb-laden world that's got more than a dash of roman a clef to it. As you may be able to glean from the title, there's also some drug use in there and Abelson's now been sober nearly a decade-and-a-half after a lengthy love affair with pot. In this episode, we discuss going to bars on dates, being "ghosted" in Hollywood and her 14-year book writing odyssey, among many other topics.[did we determine that editors need to upload all photos for their writers now, even the writers who log into the system? I think we decided that was the case for reviews but since we’re not re doing review photos yet, it’s not relevant and the only writer I can think of who does not review inputting is Tracy and I can just put her on the email.

Direct download: Vicki_pod.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 5:11pm PST

Actor Tony Denison is best known for his role as Detective Andrew Flynn in The Closer (now called Major Crimes) but was originally launched into the cultural stratosphere back in the 80s when Michael Mann cast him as a mob boss on Crime Story. Over the years, the former insurance agent has popped up everywhere, from Melrose Place to Walker, Texas Ranger to NYPD Blue, CSI and ER, to name just a few (he estimates that about 80% of the time, his characters are either cops or gangsters). He's also sober over 22 years after struggling with cocaine and alcohol. In this episode, we talk about going from obscurity to the mainstream, learning to be happy with who and not what you are, and following drivers to make amends after a road rage attack, among many other topics.

 

Direct download: APP_-_Tony_V2.mp3
Category:Career -- posted at: 4:58pm PST