by Sarah Surrey, LCSW, CRAADC
Gone are the days when the only support a person in recovery could find was in a blue book, and a church basement. Support still exists there, but recovery has become as widespread and pervasive as substance use. Sober influencers show off a different kind of high life. Comedians, musicians, and actors are more vocal about their own battles with substance use (I see you, John Mulany. Keep coming back!). Venues are hosting sober events, in non-pandemic times. A range of perspectives can be accessed through recovery literature, which is only a click away for e-readers. Like every other niche culture, podcasts offer their own voice to the community. Here are three to try out today.
Five years from its beginning, Dave remains the steadfast podcast host that he’s always been. After being featured in a story on This American Life, Dopey Nation skyrocketed to a number one podcast on iTunes and Spotify. Fans love its gritty and genuine way of discussing addiction. Dave doesn’t hold back, and encourages guests to lay it all out there. The show is hilarious, and is often listed in the comedy section of podcast providers. Even in the middle of sharing in the absurdity of addictive behavior, the reality that this is a deadly disease is never far. Every episode ends with a brief shout-out in remembrance of the show’s co-founder, Chris, who lost his battle to addiction when he overdosed two years ago.
Listeners will get the full picture of addiction and recovery, with all of its joy, sorrow, and humor. Regular cursing might not be everyone’s preference, but you won’t find a more up front perspective on addiction in the podcast real.
Based on her best-selling book of the same title, Ruby Warrington’s Sober Curious digs into sobriety from a holistic and relationship perspective. She interviews people who have given up alcohol for a variety of reasons, only some of whom label their struggle “addiction”. From a motivation perspective, this podcast hits all the right notes. It takes away the struggle of labels, which leave some feeling isolated from support and others too defensive to be open to new perspectives. Whether a person’s connection to alcohol has taken over their lives, or simply left a part of their lives in an unhealthy spot, Sober Curious is helpful.
Many of her guests gave up alcohol as a natural part of a journey towards health and well-being. They share their tools for living authentically, touching on topics such as spiritual growth, sleep, mindfulness, healthy eating, and codependency. Lastly, her guests are relatable people. They aren’t big-name, self-help gurus. Often, they are just regular people who are on their own journey, and helping people within their own communities.
The One You Feed: Practical Wisdom for a Better Life
A grandfather is talking with his grandson. The grandfather says, “In life, there are two wolves inside of us which are always at battle. One is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear”.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”
Every conversation on this podcast begins with the host asking the guest to describe how his or her topic connects to that parable. Many of the guests are recognizable names in the field of mental health, and recovery. Guests like Dr. Gabor Mate, Glennon Doyle, and Sue Monk Kidd are asked to describe what this parable means to them, and their personal or professional work.
This podcast answers the question on the mind of anyone in early recovery: “I’m sober, now what?” People need tools for staying sober, and building a life worth staying sober for. People need grace on their off-days, recognizing that recovery is about “progress, not perfection”. They need to be challenged when they are losing track of their priorities. They need to feel connected to like-minded individuals who will build them up in their recovery, and all the other facets of their lives. This podcast offers all of that. With over 370 episodes, and a stellar search feature, listeners can customize their playlist to hear more of what they need that day.