Writing thousands and thousands of words about my experiences with alcoholism and recovery is rewarding, but it doesn’t fully scratch my itch to explore the astonishingly stigmatized and misunderstood topics related to addiction. Blathering on in writing is not enough for me. Now I’ve got to talk about it, too.
While I’m perfectly content talking to myself (there is a constant stream of silent babble cascading through my chaotic mind always), it is probably best that my conversations have the key element that make a conversation a conversation – namely – a person with whom to converse. I am thrilled to have found a podcast partner whose enthusiasm for de-stigmatizing addiction, curiosity about brain chemistry and interest in creative methods of recovery match my own. Actually, I didn’t find him. He found me.
Jason Polk has been a friend for over a decade starting with a brief working relationship we had before either of us knew what we wanted to be when we grew up. When he received my email in January announcing my battle with alcoholism and my struggles in recovery, Jason asked me to meet him for lunch. It turns out we had far more in common than either of us knew before my decision to “come out” about addiction.
Jason’s own battles with addiction and recovery, including a marriage that ended in divorce, led him to extensive education and a career as an addiction and relationship counselor. He’s also a pretty rad dude (he says rad a lot – like it’s 1980-something). I hope you like Jason when you meet him. Now’s your chance.
At the aforementioned lunch meeting, Jason told me of his plan for a podcast about addiction and relationships. I loved the idea and immediately invited myself to join his project. While we have a few things in common (like the same mind warping disease), we are different in a lot of ways, too. It is in our differences – our unique perspectives and alternate approaches to managing our addictions – that we have found interesting conversations.
Let’s break it down. Here are the similarities and differences between Jason and me.
- We are both reasonably healthy men living in Denver, Colorado.
- We are both married to very patient women.
- We both have children. Jason’s first child is the most adorable baby girl. My four kids all want to babysit.
- We both seem to have developed an addiction to bubbly water, and coconut is our favorite flavor.
- We both like to say the word, “rad.” Jason apparently always has, and I’ve learned to love it.
- We both have far more questions about addiction and recovery than we have answers, and we are both on a quest to seek the truth.
- Jason is tall, and I am short.
- Jason has short hair and a neatly trimmed beard while I have long hair and a wife-mandated clean-shaven face.
- Jason is learning how to record and edit audio files and I am learning to get said files hosted and shared across podcasting services.
- I stuck to alcoholism while Jason was more open to addiction exploration.
- Jason practices Zen Buddhism and I am a Methodist married to a children’s ministry director.
- Jason found recovery through the twelve steps. He also uses the twelve steps in his counseling practice. I have a lot of issues with Alcoholics Anonymous and wonder if there isn’t a better way.
- We have very different contacts in the recovery community which leaves us with a long list of interesting recovery warriors to interview on this podcast.
The most important thing to know about Jason and me is that we are both Untoxicated, and we are willing and eager to talk about it – even the embarrassing gnarly parts.
We have recorded three episodes so far. Today we are announcing and releasing Ep1 titled, “So What is Untoxicated All About?” In the next few weeks we will share our own stories of addiction and recovery in a conversational and revealing format.
We hope you’ll listen. We hope you’ll find a connection whether you are battling addiction yourself, you have a loved one who is struggling (those first two categories comprise roughly, let’s see, about, oh say, 100% of the population), or you just want to be part of the solution to a societal problem.
Jason and I are full of questions, and we are excited to be finding people with answers. Some of the topics we will discuss through the Untoxicated Podcast include:
- The role of nutrition in recovery. What can we eat to help our bodies and brains heal?
- Addiction is not just about the addict. How can families heal from the ravaging effects of the disease?
- Sobriety doesn’t fix anything. Sometimes the wounds sobriety reveals are too deep and deadly for marriages to survive.
- Male depression and why it is so un-discussed and, thus, untreated.
- Drugs and alcohol get all the attention. What about sex and pornography addiction.
What else? What do you want us to explore? We probably don’t have an answer, but I bet we can find someone who does who will be eager to talk to us about it. Leave suggestions in the comments or send me an email. What do you want to know more about?
Untoxicated is not about a couple of experts preaching our virtues. It is about a couple of fallible humans trying to get better and better understand. We hope you will join us, but, honestly, listener count isn’t really what this is about for Jason and me. We are deeply curious and concerned. More people suffer from addiction than live in our nation’s largest city – NYC. Traditional methods for battling the disease simply aren’t working as the epidemic continues to grow.
We want to help find a better way. Listen if you want. Participate if you are willing. One thing is for sure.
We are on a mission, and we won’t stop talking about it.