Very early into my sobriety (and I’m talking days, not weeks), I suffered from a perfect storm of problems. Like any career alcoholic who suddenly resigns without giving their two-week notice, everywhere I turned, there was another surprise around the corner. First, there were all the fun physical withdrawal symptoms: the sheet-twisting sleeplessness, the racing-mind anxiety, the zero-appetite nausea. And then there was the shame, guilt and grief—all of which hung over me like a slow, miserable thunderhead. But more than anything, I just felt alone. When I look back on that Mad Max wasteland of early sobriety, that’s all I remember: I felt like I was the first person in the history of the world to have to get sober. I wasn’t exactly hurrying off to the nearest AA meeting, either. No, I was busy Googling things like “recovery” and “alcoholism help” and “sobriety” and “Am I going to feel this terrible forever or should I just go back to drinking because I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve booze?”
The whole time I searched online for help, I had the comfort and company of the podcasts I subscribed to: Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, NPR. (Even one called, yes, “James Bonding.”) Still, in all the same ways I couldn’t imagine a future without red wine and vodka, I couldn’t have imagined that podcasts would eventually save my life—but they did. I began searching for sobriety-themed podcasts and before I knew it, I found a landscape that immediately made sense to me. I couldn’t subscribe to the podcasts I found fast enough. There were enough to prove to me that not only wasn’t I alone in sobriety, but that others wanted to hear about sobriety and recovery on their own terms, too. I could put in my earbuds and hear someone share a story that filled me with hope as I mowed my lawn, drove to work, or washed the dishes. They even gave me the confidence to walk into an AA room for the first time, since I sort-of knew what to expect, thanks to what I’d heard. Sobriety podcasts quickly replaced most of the junk food I’d been treating my ears to and—especially in those first few weeks—genuinely got me sober.
In addition to GeniusRecovery.com Editor Anna David’s Light Hustler podcast, here are some recovery-themed podcasts that might guide you toward long-term sobriety:
- The Bubble Hour: Hosted by Jean M., this is a lively hourlong podcast (as advertised), dedicated to breaking down the stigma surrounding alcoholism—one guest at a time.
- Church & Other Drugs: This podcast is hosted by two “ex-addict/alcoholic Christians” who “tell the stories of the beatdown, up and coming, hard-knocked, and healed up.” All at once serious, funny, spiritual and moving.
- Drop the Needle: A song-centric podcast that’s just like NPR’s “All Songs Considered” for the recovery community. Hosted by three friends (two who met in a treatment center and one who’s an accomplished music critic), the show welcomes guests to share songs that personally remind them of each week’s recovery topic. [PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS MY OWN PODCAST AND MY EDITOR FORCED ME TO INCLUDE IT.]
- High Sobriety: Award-winning speaker and actor John Mabry is the host of this show (sponsored by Addiction Campuses), which interviews “high-profile recovery advocates” who share their stories and struggles around addiction, trauma, rehab and countless other topics.
- The ODAAT Chat: Arlina Allen hosts this inspiring podcast that features interviews with a wide range of individuals in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction—all of whom share stories that are oftentimes as revealing as they are deeply affecting.
- Since Right Now: With nearly 200 episodes in the tank, this podcast has managed to stay fresh in its discussions of recovery from alcohol and other drugs, thanks to its irreverent yet thoughtful hosts Chris, Jeff and Matt.
- Recovery Elevator: Hosted by recovering alcoholic Paul Churchill, this podcast is particularly notable in that it’s less interested in being a series of individual episodes so much as the gateway to a larger community around sobriety.
- Recovery Unscripted: Hosted by David Condos and driven by the support of Foundations Recovery Network, this podcast invites a wide range of people from the recovery community to “share their personal journeys and firsthand experience.”
- That Sober Guy: Host Shane Ramer’s long-running podcast shows no signs of slowing down, featuring interviews with individuals who share his passion for bringing awareness to mental health, substance abuse, addiction and recovery.
- The SHAIR: When Omar Pinto isn’t busy as an addiction specialist, recovery life coach and motivational speaker, he’s the host of The SHAIR Podcast—a unique, engaging weekly show that interviews people in recovery with the simple hope that their stories “will inspire millions to stay clean and sober.” (Here Joe Polish on SHAIR here.)