Finding Your Higher Power

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Dave from Dopey podcast joins Nzinga to talk about 12 step recovery. Dave recently celebrated five years sober (yay!), which he largely credits to his 12 step community. But, there are parts that haven’t always felt “right” for him. This week, Nzinga and Dave dig into all of that and break down his fascinating experience getting and staying sober.

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Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Happy Monday, everybody this is in Nzinga and you are listening to In Recovery. In case you’re new to the show, I am a physician, a psychiatrist, and an addiction expert, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Eleanor health where we take care of folks with addiction, and host of in recovery, your podcast, and wife, mom, all-around human beings. We talk about all things addiction on this show, not just drugs, but also things you might not think of like exercise, things you might think of like porn. And we’re really trying to break down the stigma, and the barriers that make it so hard for people with addiction to get help in this country, by pointing out how each and every one of us actually understands, on some level, what the experience of addiction is about. So today, we’re going to talk about 12 step programs. 

Claire: Yeah, we’ve mentioned them a lot and wanted to devote a whole episode to the topic. And I mean, as somebody who likes helps to produce this podcast is a producer of a show about recovery. I don’t know that much about 12 step programs.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Yeah, I think that’s actually the case for a lot of people, which is why I’m excited that we’re doing this episode. I’m also excited to bring on my friend Dave. He has been the host of Dopey podcast, which he started about five years ago with his close friend Chris, and they call it a show about, quote, drugs, addiction, and dumb shit. You can get a peek into his personality there. On a sadder note a couple of years ago, in 2018. In July, Dave’s co-host, Chris experienced the relapse of his opioid addiction and died from an overdose. Just weeks after another close friend Todd had experienced a relapse of his illness and also died. And so after those two, just colossal losses, they’ve kept doing the show. And it really serves as a brilliant reminder of both the horrible parts and the loss and devastation of addiction. But also, the funny part, that’s what I’ve come to really appreciate about him is the ability to, you know, laugh, even amidst the kind of like the devastation that can come. So with that, we’ll jump right into the show.


Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Dave, so good to see your face. Thank you for coming on In Recovery.

Dave: It is always a pleasure to see your beautiful face as well

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: This is why I have you come on so you can make my self-esteem better. I had the absolute just joy and pleasure of meeting Dave actually when I guessed it on the Dopey podcast. And it was like love at the first pod, I would say between me and Dave.

Dave: Oh, yeah, I just say they were like, Can you put this lady on your show? And I was like, I don’t put just any lady on my show. And then in Nzinga, Dr. Harrison came on and it was awesome. And it was so awesome that I had her on there next week. Right away. All right, just relax. I don’t want to blow you up. Do you know what I mean? It was great. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: I’m brushing my shoulders y’all.

Dave: Literally and by the way, do you know literally is not the correct pronunciation of literally, anybody who’s anybody doesn’t say literally anymore. They say literally, have you hear these people? constantly saying literally

Claire: Literally.

Dave: Do you say literally or literally?

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: It depends on how much emphasis if I’m just talking then I’ll be like literally blah, blah, blah. But if I needed to hold weight, I’ll be like, liiiterally! With the accent and everything. So, yeah, I’ve arrived. And how are you doing during all of these COVID BS and then you started blowing your nose and I really wanted to ask you.

Dave: Well, I had COVID I had, I had COVID March 13. I was catering. I was catered.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: You remembered that day?

Dave: I remember the day because it was Friday the 13th and it was the last day that I had to go to work like that. It was I was away I was catering a job at Wells Fargo and I probably got 50 bankers sick at least, like single-handedly. I was like, here’s some pastrami, here’s some coleslaw a little bit of coconut on the side.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: You shook their hands and you talk too close in their face.

Dave: I like to kiss them on their mouth.

Claire: It’s a great catering company. People love it.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Yeah, right. Oh man, so I’m glad that you made a speedy recovery. So what was that like?

Dave: Felt like kicking heroin. I felt very rundown. I felt achy. I had a headache that I’ve never had before. But I also like have I think my recovery has given me enough sense that I don’t really care I’ve been through so much worse than this. And thank God, it didn’t I stopped smoking a few years ago. So I think my loans didn’t get affected and like, as sick as I got, like, it could have been so much worse.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Oh my gosh. And I really want to put a fine point on something you said it felt like kicking heroin. You know, you always hear me talk about how in this country, at least when people walk in the door with drug addiction is like that’s the only singular important thing about them. And somehow, mental health is divorced from addiction is divorced from physical health. And that’s just not the case. Like, you were at such risk when you get a covid illness and it feels like you’re kicking heroin because your brain is not saying go get some Theraflu.

Dave: Doing heroin was nowhere on my radar thank God, like when I felt like that I just recognized and then also like, you know this better than I do in terms of like, the spikes in relapse right now and like and how hard it is for an addict to get clean, right now, because they’re isolated, and they’re alone. And there may not be working and they might not have money. And there might be a lot of there’s so much uncertainty. That’s right. And there’s so much uncomfortability at this moment. Like we’re such a divided country. We’re such, like, it’s just such a sad moment. Like, it’s just sad. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: It is. So Alright, then let’s just draw a straight line from this. We’re in a super increased risky time, a lot of that being because of lack of love. I agree, and disconnection, have you stay connected to your 12 step group through this? And if so, how?

Dave: Yeah, I have. But it’s common Spats. I think that my own 12 step attendance has been not great. Do you know what I mean? Like, over the years, like I got my first year, literally, literally, however, we want to say it every day. Every day, I went to a meeting. And when I moved to Long Island, my 12 step definitely lapsed. Fast forward to August, where I was getting my five years. And I was really excited. But I wasn’t living. Like my best life. I wasn’t like, I was not a great version of myself as a recovering person. I think a lot of people during COVID probably fight with their family and probably get stressed out about work and probably freak out. And I was doing all those things as I was getting five years, which was like so much more time than I’d ever had before. And I was like, what, what’s wrong with me and I and I talked to my sponsor, and he was like, you’re not doing the work. What my sponsor said was, when I had five years, I was ready to kill myself. And I found another sponsor who told me that’s when you have to triple down on the program. And at that point, I like made a decision that I was going to go at least three or four days a week. And I was gonna do step work again. And I started praying every day. That was the big thing as I started praying every day and meditating when I could, and everything changed, you know, and, and I actually got my first sponsee this month, which is pretty exciting.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: You’re first sponsee ever?

Dave: I had other sponsees, but they haven’t been nearly as dedicated as this guy.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Wow, that’s a big deal. Congrats. Oh, so take me back. Because you said you went every single day for a year. And then you start stopped going, what do you think changed after that year that led you to decrease your attendance?

Dave: It was 100% moving, I’m out. I moved out of the city. I went to a meeting every morning, I get up early, when I go to a meeting in the morning and like hooks me up like and when I’m not in 12 step form. I’m just like a jerk, you know what I mean? Like I forget all the the important reasons for going you know, you go to be of service you go to not be the piece of shit in the center of the universe, you go to be about others, you know what I mean? And, and you go to help the next person who’s struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, not to mention, you get to me, God, you know what I mean? You get to find your higher power you get to do a lot of things that you know. And you have to understand that these things were not on my radar before I joined 12 step like it was I was not close to it. I didn’t like to hear about it. And when we started Dopey, I love making fun of meetings, you know, because it’s so easy to make fun of especially if you’re a drug addict if you’re a drug addict. You’re somebody that like probably stole definitely, you know, I mean, I shot heroin for years, I took pills I like, you know, you’re part of this sub criminal subculture, and then all of a sudden you’re supposed to find God and clean house and help others. And and it’s like, it’s almost completely antithetical to that. the process to deny who you were. So you have to find a way to make sense of both things at the same time, which I think that’s one thing that really isn’t discussed enough at meetings like this. You are who you are, and you want to be something different, but there has to be some sort of transition. That makes sense. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: What did that look like for you?

Dave: Oh, for me, it’s like, I never wanted to get clean, right, like so I used for from when I was, I don’t know, 19 until I was 35. without a break, maybe there’d be like little breaks. Like, I would go to detox like I went to like, every free detox in New York City and every free day to detox in Los Angeles, like 10 times each, like I went to, I went to detox is all the time, I probably did three actual rehabs. And I never, like I never really wanted to get clean. Like I really loved getting high.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: So, why did you go? Why did you go to detox or rehab if you did not want to stop using it?

Dave: I wanted to want to stop. And I was all strung out. And I couldn’t get high. Like, if you’re if you have a heroin habit, and it’s like a train wreck, it runs down the track and you run out of money, you’re gonna get so sick, that you have to go someplace, I couldn’t handle kicking it at home, like it was just too much. So I would go to detox over and over and over and hope that maybe I’d get struck by lightning and detox. And when I got out, I believe in Jesus. And you know, I was Jewish, and like, and like have some sort of Revelation, which never happened. Do you know what I mean? Like, I like I love being a drug addict. I love getting high. But the good parts were over before they even started. I got cleaned because I finally saw something in myself that I hated so much that I needed to change it. I mean, I think the magic word with 12 step is willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness like are cool. But nothing is like willingness. I think I was always very open-minded and always completely honest. But I was always unwilling. So like, when I finally had 12 step work for me, like I had nothing, I just had messed up every aspect of my life over and over and over and over. So you go to a 12 step meeting, and they say, the great line in 12 steps, the great line is, rarely have we seen somebody thoroughly follow our path and not make it out, you know, not have a cataclysmic change, that is a soul change, a total life change if you thoroughly follow this path. And every time I had been around 12 steps, I had not thoroughly followed the path. My first time, I didn’t do steps, I never read a book, I never got a sponsor, I would go to meetings, I like I said, I would want to get struck by lightning and have a revelation without doing the work. So when I went this last time, five years ago, I was like, I’m gonna do it. Because I was 41. I had nothing to show for my life. And I was like this, and I’m never gonna get higher than I was, I was like, this is as high as you’re ever going to get. There’s no higher, you have a mediocre life. And you’ve never tried this. So why don’t you try this and see what 20 years sober gives you what 40 years sober gives you see what kind of an adventure your life can be sober? Like That was my, my draw as I had done everything that you could do on the other side, and I had nothing to show for it. And 12 step is free. You know, all you have to do is help some people follow directions, do your thing. And things change. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Alright, Claire, I think it’s about time for a break, shall we?

Claire: We shall.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: So let me ask you this, Dave because I heard you say like, I saw something in myself that I hated so much. At what point did you start to believe that you could move through life differently? 

Dave: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think I believed it. Okay, basically, after my daughter and her mother had left, all I wanted was to have them back. And I was obsessed with it. Like, every day all day, all I could think about was, I can’t believe I messed up my family. I can’t believe I don’t have them in my life. I can’t believe my life is like this. You know you suck. You screwed everything up. I mean, every day like, and basically what had happened was me and her mother had tried to reconcile and we were about to reconcile when she found out that I was using, okay. And she was like, we’re not reconciling. And when I say I was using, I was smoking weed every day, and I was taking pills, here and there, and I was on my way towards, you know, full-fledged, whatever. But at the time, it was like, dipping, whatever doing my thing. And she was like, okay, you’re doing pills, you lose custody, you lose everything, we’re not getting back together, it’s over. And like, you know, you read about Bill Wilson’s experience, you know, having a spiritual awakening, I never had a spiritual awakening up to that point. And I didn’t think I could and, and since then, I realized that there are so many different kinds of spiritual awakenings that you can have. But basically, after my wife had told me, we’re not getting back together, and I was going to have to restart supervised visitation after four years of basically having my daughter on the weekends, like lost my mind. And my biggest fear was that I wasn’t going to be able to smoke pot. I was like, I don’t want to live my life without smoking pot. I’m a stoner. I love smoking pot. It’s my lifestyle. It’s who I am. It’s my identity. And it was in August, and I was at my computer and I was typing this frantic letter to my wife, please let me smoke pot. That’s all I care about. Like, as long as I can smoke pot, I’ll always provide I’ll always be a good father, you’ll always get the money, blah, blah, blah. And that’s when I had my spiritual awakening is I saw myself writing this ridiculous letter at age 41, begging the mother of my four-year-old to let me smoke weed. Like that’s all I wanted. And everything changed at that moment. And, and the next day, I went to my first meeting, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be clean. Like there was a dude there. I think he was like, 28. And he had 10 years clean. And I was like, What the hell is this? I hate people like that. Young people who get clean and have time and stuff. And I met him after the meeting. And he’s like, Oh, so is today your first day. And I was like, I never intended it to be. But I was like, maybe it is my first day. But I went home, I called my best friend. And I was like, do you want a bunch of weed. And he came over, I gave him jars and jars and jars of weed. And, and it was my first day. And then I went, to this morning meeting. And I told my story of how obsessed I was with my family. And there was an old painter from New Zealand. And he said, we would love it if you came back tomorrow. And like that was the first time anybody ever gave a shit where the hell I was, you know. And I was like, okay, they would want me to come back tomorrow. So I’m going to come back. And that’s when I had that revelation that I’m going to try to make this work and see if I can thoroughly do what all these people do and seemingly have nice lives. So that’s when I got into it. And still, I struggled with things like having a higher power. Like, I always, you know, I was a drug addict I loved like getting high on acid and seeing God and seeing God and things, seeing like reoccurring patterns in nature, seeing, you know, the sunrise and knowing that it was, you know, so beautiful that it had to be beyond any, you know, understandable thing. So for me, God was always this big, highfalutin thing, but I didn’t really know how to use it. I didn’t know how to harness it. And there was an old man at the meeting. Who said his God was God. You know you hear people say to use a doorknob for your higher power. You hear people say to use the ocean. You see people say to use the meeting, say it’s a group of drunks or a group of drug addicts. But what this guy said Is it was his gift of desperation, G-O-D, gift of desperation. And I was as desperate as you could be. And and I decided that that was going to be my higher power. And if anybody questioned me, it was my gift of desperation. At first. That was what I used. And it worked because I was as desperate as you could be. And I started doing steps, like pretty quickly, like almost immediately, and, and things changed. And basically, I realized that I was going to be okay. Even if I didn’t get my family back. You know, even if, like, if I didn’t get them back, I was going to have a nice life anyway, I was going to still see them. It’s going to see my kid I’d have custody, like shared custody or whatever. Probably within a week of realizing that I was going to be okay. Like she wanted to reconcile like and we got back together.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Did you just get choked up?

Dave: No, I have allergies

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: You got choked up when you said I realized I was going to be okay.

Dave: It’s a crazy thing.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: You actually got choked up right before you said it, in anticipation of saying that you got choked up.

Dave: Wow, you know how like, you know your story, you know what I mean? And like, I mean, I was like I keep saying I was obviously this ridiculous drug addict. But the obsession around my family was so consuming. Like, if you ask any of my friends like I was one of you know how like drug addicts or these ruminating people who never stop saying, I wish it was like this, I wish it was like this. So when I finally got past that though it was like freedom. And it all came from a higher power, it all came from 12 steps, it all came from step where it all came from giving up surrendering to this day. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: So you said God was your gift of desperation, which makes me think that you have a different concept of your G-O-D now. So what’s your concept now?

Dave: Now, it’s like, it’s all-encompassing. Like, for me, God is everything. And everywhere, just everything. Do you know what I mean? It’s like, it’s the fact that you could be in Atlanta and Claire could be in Salt Lake City. And we could be together, like, of souls, you know, it’s like that you care about somebody, it’s that if you peel the bark off a tree, you might see the same thing that you see in a flower. It’s like, it’s so many things, you know, it’s so deep. And it’s also like, we have a universe of wonders and magic, and like, there are many words that you could use to describe it. And God is one that just covers all of those bases.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: And how does that concept free you up to stay sober, even on your hardest day?

Dave: Well, luckily, I don’t have hard days in terms of being sober, like in terms of like cravings, or I don’t think about using at all like, it’s like, thank God. And I always look for like, like, I’m not one that can believe in the magic of God easily. So what I do is like, I’m like, Well, why does prayer work? Like, I tried to figure it out? Like, you know, I can’t answer how it works, or why it works. I just know that it works. It takes the onus off of me. It’s like, whatever I thought I couldn’t do. I can’t do you just need to have faith. I think it takes, I don’t want to unpack it the way my brain logically goes to unpack it. I’m very comfortable in not knowing how it works. And knowing that it does, you know, like, I’m very comfortable with that. But I also, I still want to know why. And like, I have that little like, I want to be able to explain it to you guys in a way where it’s like, well, why does it work? But that is like me taking back my power. Do you know what I mean? Like, and like I need to give it away? Do you know what I mean? Like I can’t possibly explain it because it’s beyond me. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Claire, do we have some sponsors? We should hear from?

Claire: We sure do. Let’s take a quick break.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Two things I want to touch on, one. You know, I’m always like a relationship, relationship, relationship, and warm, loving arms to catch people with active addiction that is typically goes falling on hard rocks everywhere when they interact with people. And that one old guy at your first or second 12 step meeting that said, we would love to have you come back? And what a difference that made for you. So let’s talk to the person who may think possible, I want to try a 12 step. But there’s some barrier, there’s some fear, there’s something that’s keeping that from happening, like, is that what they can expect? Can they expect those warm, open arms? Or how do you increase the chance that that’s what they find, like, tell us about the first time that experience?

Dave: Okay, well, I think that never happened to me. Do you know what I mean? Like that, like I went to meetings for 15 years before that day, and nobody ever said that to me. You know what they said, what they said to me was, I would tell somebody I was struggling and they would say well call me if you want to use it and I would say well if I want to use I’m not going to call you. I’m going to call the dealer I’m not going to call you it’s not going to happen. And so I was that kind of person like I did not join because I wasn’t about it. So like what I would tell anybody is, first of all, the worst thing with this whole thing is that there’s nothing that I can do for anybody except be there. Do you know what I mean? They need to it’s the willingness you know if you can’t be honest and open-minded, then like let’s get honest. You know, who are you what are you doing? What are you trying to do? You know, do you want to stop using, do you want to be open to stop using, where are you at? Are you open-minded? That something can help. You know, are you I mean, like, you know how many people I know, like, are so scared of God are so scared of going to a 12 step meeting? Like, they don’t want to go. But usually, it’s because they don’t want to stop. Right? Like, you know, Lord of the Rings.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Because what would you be facing if you stopped?

Dave: You wouldn’t have the precious, you have that thing that one thing that keeps you okay? Which is your drug. You need to actually find that moment where you’re like, I really want to find something else. You know, if you can find that moment, then it’s like, Okay, if you go to a meeting, and you raise your hand, and you say, I want to be done so bad. I’m having such a hard time and I want to be done so bad. I need help. I mean, I would say most meetings, somebody is going to go up to at the end of the meeting and say, here’s my number. Give me a call if you want to use it, you know what I’m saying. And if you’re, if you’re willing to do what it takes, you make the call. But you know, the guy, Johann Hari, he definitely has taken a lot of ideas from other people and like sort of the mount and he came on Dopey, and he talked about like, the most important thing for a drug addict is to have a purpose. He also said the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s a connection, so those two things have purpose and connection or like, you know, that’s the magic, the magic formula. So like, the connection is, you know, it’s a roomful of people who have the same problem that you do, you might sit back and be like, this dude isn’t as bad as me, this dude’s a liar. This guy’s ugly, this woman, you know, whatever, and you feel separated from them, right? But the fact is, they’re you. So it’s like that’s, so you have an opportunity for connection with everybody in that room.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: I love this train of thought, Dave, because part of we talked to another AA member who was talking about being able to see yourself in meetings, I really trying to create a diverse set of meetings where a person could kind of like, immediately come in and see something in common, in addition to having alcoholism or having an addiction. And so just from your perspective, because you also float it through a lot of 12 step meetings, before you went to that one that said, we would love for you to come back. And that was kind of what grabbed you. And I think it will be different, what grabs everybody. So like dating, like you don’t have the first 12 step meeting you go to doesn’t have to be your meeting for life, right? Like there’s not married at first sight. But what do you think about young people meetings, black people meetings, LGBTQ meetings, professional meetings, like trying to create a sense of connection around something in addition to?

Dave: I think it’s great, I think, I think any meeting is great. I think I think you meet three guys on your block. And here is the junkies on the block. And they’re like, let’s go read the book together. Like, I think anywhere that you go, that you get a feeling that you’re a part of it. It’s a great meeting, and like, but I think the other thing is even the worst meeting can be a great meeting if you’re willing to do it. Like I honestly think like, it’s again, it’s the great willingness. Everyone says honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. But if you’re willing to do it, that’s it. That’s all that matters, that you can get it all. And if you’re unwilling to do it, you get nothing, zero, no chance.

Claire: Sort of what I’m hearing from, from a lot of the story that you’ve shared is like, there could have been that old man at every other meeting before that one who had said the same thing. But until you have the willingness, you would have been able to hear that.

Dave: I think that that’s like, a little beyond my scope of understanding in a way like I think the old man, he, he like said, We want you to come because I shared for three minutes about how miserable I was that I couldn’t have my family. And I was going to be at this meeting so that I could get a year so I could have custody like I was desperate. So I shared this desperate, fucked up story of sadness and shame. And he was like, I want that desperate shame. And the willingness is just that I can’t do it myself. Right. So the willingness is once you know you can’t get out of hell yourself. You’re willing to someone else’s version of how you can get out. And then you have some sort of faith that somebody else’s plan can drag you along. You’re waterskiing behind the great boat, and you just have to have faith that the boat is going to pull you, and then you have to give up like that you’re running anything. What it really is, it’s that I hear these junkies, these, I hear my fellows who are unwilling to do it and they’re so desperate If they’re not willing to do it, like, what am I gonna do? 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: I don’t know if I’m gonna let you off the hook that easy, though, because do you think so, you know, first of all, let me just go ahead and give a language disclaimer to everybody listening to Rn recovery. Because you know, language is my thing. And Dave, I went through this before, language is my thing. But Dave’s experience is Dave’s experience. So you will never hear me tell Dave how to talk about his own experience. So that’s why when you hear me talk to other people about their language, but you will not hear me do that in the context of somebody telling their own story. But Dave, let me ask you about this willingness, I feel like maybe a lot that underlies willingness might be fear. What do you think about that? 

Dave: Absolutely. First of all, I want to apologize to In Recovery listeners about my language. When I say junkies, I mean it. I mean, only lovingly and inclusively. And, and with the deepest respect, you know, like I, I’m a junkie, I love junk junkies, like, I’m an addict, I love addicts. It’s only out of love and fun, that I use words like that it is not to divide and conquer, put anybody down, Secondly, willingness is about overcoming fear. unwillingness is all about fear. You know, for me, I was unwilling because I was afraid to stop. I was unwilling because I was afraid to be open. I was unwilling because I was afraid to be a sober person. Like I was afraid because I didn’t know. It was the unknown, you know, and I was scared of it. I didn’t see it. As the adventure, I saw it as like, almost punitive to my life. So like, willingness is incredible bravery. You know, and but the most amazing thing is, and I’m going to use foul language right now. So brace yourself.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Okay, thank you. Thank you for the warning.

Dave: If you’re fucked, you know, there’s no way out. Do you know what I mean? You need to show if you’re fucked, you’re either staying fucked, or you’re showing a willingness to be unfucked. And just a little willingness can totally unfuck yourself, which is a beautiful thing.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: My dad always said, he’s a Vietnam vet, and they train them when you’re trapped. There’s always a way out. You just have to keep looking. And I think sometimes when you’re exhausted from looking, and you don’t believe there’s a way out, sometimes it’s that old guy at the AA meeting that says we want your desperation here.

Dave: Right, right. But I also think like the greatest thing about 12 steps is the bottom line of 12 steps is what they say is that love and tolerance is our code. And it’s interesting because I got sober at a meeting that was primarily incredibly liberal, and a lot of gay people and very boozy. I’ve been to really well, I’ve been to very grimy, hardcore attic meetings that that is less boozy and less liberal and apolitical. And now I go to a meeting that’s like mostly like Trumpy like it’s crazy Republican, but at the meeting, love and tolerance are it’s not about anything else. And all they really care about is what they can do to help the next person if the next person is black, white, trans, gay, ugly, junky, whatever they want to help them have a better life. And like that is the best club to join. 

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Well, I think we’re probably getting to the bottom. And so Dave, I’m gonna ask you for your words of wisdom for the In Recovery listeners and also for I hope, all of the Dopey nation folks who will be listening to this episode.

Dave: My words of wisdom are like, do your best, you know what I mean? Like, like, just do your best. Try to have a good time. You know, trying to have a good time. Do your best and you don’t need to be miserable. That’s all like, like, there are other

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Hey, listen. Thank you.

Claire: Thank you, Dave, so much.

Dave: We say stay strong, dopey nation and fucking toodles for Chris because Chris, Chris who died always would say toodles to make me crazy. And of course, him dying. I have to say toodles every week, which I never wanted him to say.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: You know what? Fucking toodles for Chris.

Claire: Fucking toodles for Chris.


Dave: Thank you, guys. Have a beautiful day.

Claire: Thank you, Dave.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: Why do I love him? Oh, wait, are you still on?

Dave: I’m gone but I’d like to hear that.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison: It’s true though. Y’all. I love Dave. Doesn’t it show? One thing though, I want to note before we end the episode is that if you’re looking to find a program, a lot of Dave’s experience with 12 step programs is exclusive only to 12 step programs, meaning there are a lot of different styles of support out there. And like I say about therapists, the first date is the first date. And if it wasn’t a good fit, you just keep looking. The same is true here for your support group. The first group is just the first group. And if it didn’t feel like a good fit, just keep looking because like Dave told us, at some point, it may fit and that may be the point at which things start to change for you. If you want to check out Dave’s podcast, head on over to and you’ll find it there. I think that is it. So thank you for listening and hope to talk to you next week.


Dr. Nzinga Harrison: In Recovery is a Lemonada Media original show was produced by Claire Jones and edited by Ivan Kuraev. Jackie Danziger is our supervising producer. Our theme was composed by Dan Milad with additional music by Ivan Kuraev. Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer are our executive producers. Rate us review us and say nice things follow us at Lemonada Media across all social platforms, or find me on Twitter @naharrisonmd If you’ve learned from us, share the show with your others. Let’s help this stigmatize addiction together.

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