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May 6, 2019

In this week’s episode of Recovering from Reality, we get to hear from Dave, the host of the Dopey podcast. Dave and Alexis talk about his recovery journey, if AA is still “anonymous”, and what Dopey is all about. Dave is an awesome guy that has a way of turning the darkest experiences into the funniest stories.   His show Dopey is the perfect mix of discussion and debauchery, and has become one of the best recovery podcasts out there. At least we think so! I mean, he had Jaime Lee Curtis as a guest, how much better can you get? Recently, the show’s shift from silly to serious came with Chris’ tragic death. Dave has had to find a happy medium between laughter and mourning the loss of his friend. But it’s this vulnerability about his struggles that resonates with listeners the most. Back in the early days of Dave’s AA experience, he found himself shying away from the identity of “former addict”. There is still such a stigma around addiction, that he knew it would be hard to find work if he came out about it. This stigma is one that ordinary people face every day. And it is where the “anonymous” in Alcoholics Anonymous comes into play. Anonymity helps protect the people that are trying to get their lives back on track. Yet unfortunately as a public figure, Alexis didn’t have much of a choice in this department. She was recovering in the public eye, and everyone watched her struggle. Now after much growth, Alexis embraces her sobriety and her ability to speak out. She is out and proud about sobriety! And without people like her and Dave, the stigma will never end. Dave had a slightly different experience with anonymity. He attributes the program to his sobriety now, and took his anonymity very seriously in the beginning. An old sponsor told him that if he opened up and then relapsed while recording Dopey, he would be giving the 12-step fellowship a bad name. An old boss of his even said, “Once a junkie, always a junkie.” Sure, Dave was afraid of relapse and the risk of coming out about his issue, but after Chris’ death, he truly realized being vulnerable is really important to helping others. Chris was someone who knew all too well how important sobriety is, yet he couldn’t defeat his demons. He was 4 years sober when he relapsed, and died quickly after. Dave was in shock, and soon began to realize that not everyone recovers. This is what motivated him to continue with Dopey. The message of death is the strongest he could send to his listeners. And fighting through the mourning and grief and coming out with joy on the other side is truly inspirational. Remember, Alcoholics Anonymous is not the only method of healing. While AA helped Alexis in early recovery, she discovered her spiritual practice and holistic approach to be most helpful. But both Dave and Alexis agree that whatever works for you is what’s most important. Now that the whole world knows their story, Dave and Alexis have to share it with those most important to them: their children. While Dave’s 9-year old is too young to know all the details, she does know that her dad is sober and that he goes to meetings. Likewise, Alexis’ 6-year old daughter knows that her mom and dad don’t drink and they help other people stop drinking at Alo Recovery Center. Keeping things light and matter of fact with children is key. When Dave got clean, he realized he was doing the best he could do on drugs for 41 years. Now, he wants to see what his best is without them, in the next chapter of his life. If it weren’t for his desire to be a good father, he wouldn’t have gotten clean. He knew getting sober was the only way. Finally, Dave appreciates the adventure of sober living. He sincerely enjoys his life, and showing his genuine self to the world. “We spend so much time here on earth, frustrated about the highs and lows of living and expect life to be a certain way. But if everything was on a straight path, wouldn’t it be so boring?” It would feel more like death than life. “If you were happy all the time, there would be no happiness. Because you can’t compare the feeling to anything else.” We have to feel the lows to know the highs, and being sober allows you to check in with those emotions instead of check out from them. Instead of just living “bleh” life on drugs, you can live a beautiful life full of all the feels! With Dopey, Dave uses his voice to help others, because so many people helped him along the way. He spreads the message that if you are addicted to something, there IS joy on the other side.

…And that looking back and laughing at our old, crazy selves can bring the greatest healing of all!


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