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Ask the Shrink: How Do We Break Down the Stigma Around Mental Illness?

Addicts are increasingly more comfortable coming forward and sharing about their problems. But the same doesn't seem to be true for those suffering from mental illness. What can we do about that? Dr. Josh Lichtman, a Los Angeles-based board-certified psychiatrist, breaks down his thoughts.


Losing A Brother to a Heroin Overdose with Stephanie Wittels Wachs

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...


Ask the Shrink: What is Narcissism and NPD?

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.


Ryan Hampton on What Can Happen When People in Recovery Come Together

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....


Ask the Shrink: How Do You Separate Depression and Anxiety?

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


Developing Healthier Relationships with Laura McKowen

I've long admired Laura McKowen. The sober mama is a prolific writer (you can see her many posts over at, 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...


Ask the Shrink: Do You Send Every Addicted Patient to AA?

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.


Bucky Sinister on How Addicts Are Scared of All The Wrong Things

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...


Making Sense of Sexuality in Recovery with Jen Matesa

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,...


Laura House on Going From Bible Loving Texan to Drunk Foreign Exchange Student

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, Nicole, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV and more. This story is about how she...


Interview: Getting off Fentanyl But Continuing to Do Drugs with Drew Grant

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...


Interview: Coming Back From Darkness with Sean Paul Mahoney

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...


How to Combat a Tech-Related Addiction with Gabe Zichermann

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...


Interview: Why AA Doesn't Work with Producer Scott Steindorff

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...


Becoming Accountable with Sober Evolution’s Austin Cooper

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...


Surviving Columbine and Finding Recovery with Austin Eubanks

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...


Drunken Escapades with Comedian Jodi Miller

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...


Launching the Global Recovery Movement with Greg Williams

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...


How to Get Arrested and Destroy Your Fraternity with Travis Jones

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...


From Gutter Punk Rocker to Recovery Hero with Wes Geer

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...


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