Dr. Drew Talks Addiction, Recovery & Romance On Dopey Podcast

By Dorri Olds 03/23/18

“Seriously, much like recovery being a program of attraction, this pod operates by the same principle. Once you join in you will be inclined to stay.”

Chris, Dr. Drew, and Dave of the Dopey Podcast
Dr. Drew: "You will find your people, and your story here. Listen to [Dopey Podcast] and you’ll see what I mean.”

Chris and Dave are the hosts and founders of Dopey Podcast. They describe themselves as “a couple of ex-junkies.”

Within two years the show has attracted an ever-growing audience that Chris describes with his signature druggie humor, “It’s very, very rabid, and kind of half in-treatment and half on-drugs, and a tiny bit of just voyeuristic people.”

Their latest pod is number 124 and features board-certified internist and addiction-specialist-slash-media-star, “Dr. Drew” Pinsky. At the beginning of the podcast we learn this is a reunion for Chris, who’d sort of stumbled into Dr. Drew’s care. During one of many relapses, Chris was in Pasadena, California, and managed to get to the local hospital. Dr. Drew became one of his treating physicians.

The Dopey founders both have under five years of straight sobriety, but they’ve survived years of chronic relapsing. They learned an awful lot about recovery and became experts at what not to do. And they’re hilarious.

As Chris explains first meeting Dr. Drew, Dave interrupts with, “[Chris] looked like Bluto from Popeye. The thick beard, the beady shifty eyes.”

Before crash landing into that Pasadena hospital, Chris had been in a number of other facilities. During the pod, he mentions staying at Impact House, a drug and alcohol treatment center that he refers to as “a real strict therapeutic community.”

Dr. Drew interrupts to tease Chris, “[T]he Impact House… was where the hardcore, went… the reluctant to recover. Court-ordered typically.”

The doctors at the hospital loved Impact. “We would send a lot of our difficult people,” Drew says to Chris, “like yourself.”

If people failed at Impact House, Dr. Drew said he and the other doctors became “concerned.” It’s fun listening to the banter.

I asked Dr. Drew to sum up his experience on the podcast. Jokingly he said, “I laughed, I cried, I went home happy.”

Then he changed the tone: “Seriously, much like recovery being a program of attraction, this pod operates by the same principle. Once you join in you will be inclined to stay.”

I asked Dave: “Before you were able to maintain sobriety, what got through to you?”

“To be honest, when I was still using, nothing really got to me. I thought it was all bullshit. Even [though] I knew I couldn’t get high, I still did. I didn’t care about the consequences. I felt guilty but used through the guilt. Heroin is a great guilt reliever. In the end though, I finally knew I wanted recovery more than addiction, and chose to work a 12-step program in order to discover and maintain a life of recovery in sobriety.”

When I asked Chris the same question, he said, “The process of getting to a point of maintaining sobriety was really convoluted and messy. In the end I knew that I had to believe I had a thing that would kill me. I had to believe that other people had the same thing… I had to believe that these [sober] people—one person at least—was happy and fulfilled. From there it was a matter of [doing the] footwork."

Wanting an expert opinion, I asked Dr. Drew if he thought the podcast would help those in recovery or get through to those who are struggling. “If you’re an addict,” he said, “and you listen to Dopey, you will find your people, and your story here. Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean.”

That fit perfectly with one part of the podcast, a discussion about how most people with addiction have difficulties forming romantic attachments. Dr. Drew explained that part of the problem with any attachment is that many people in this community experienced trauma early in life and/or they had a dysfunctional family and weren’t able to connect in a healthy way. Those two things create a dysregulated, disordered closeness. They lose trust in people and figure they’ll handle everything on their own, he said. But then they become isolated and stuck, and turn to substances to self-medicate.

Bottom line: Dopey podcasts relay valuable information in an entertaining way. Two thumbs up. 

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.