December 6, 2021
When the Wheels Come Off - China Darrington
This is not your average "girl who gets in trouble" recovery story. Let's face it: most 9-year-olds are playing soccer, making friends at grade school, or playing video games. Most are not spending a good deal of time interacting with older people. Most of them are not burgeoning BMX stars. And most pre-teenagers are not experiencing having their life hijacked and stolen into the dark arena of sex trafficking.
In this almost-unbelievable episode, Marc goes in-depth with China on her astounding upbringing. And they talk at length about how those early traumatic experiences helped form the foundation for uncertainty and confusion during her teenage years, as well as for her early heroin addiction. China also chronicles concluding that things were riding down the road without brakes and that the wheels were coming off.
As we'll discover, China's path to recovery was full of potholes. An inability at first to commit took her from heroin to crack cocaine. And even becoming a parent was not enough to facilitate a move towards sobriety. Drugs were controlling her life. In her words, "I turned into a machine." Jobs were thrown by the wayside. Houses were lost. But it was an unexpected pregnancy, the lightning-flash realization that the person you're carrying inside of you may be more important than your addiction, that finally enabled China to turn a corner.
In this dramatic episode, China charts her fascinating road to salvation, how meditation, Buddhist principles, and a book called the 'Dharma Punks' enabled her to deal with her anger and aggression. But more importantly, China Darrington documents her need to re-assess and revitalize her outlook on what exactly 'recovery' is and how she needed to establish new guidelines and coping mechanisms for herself. And, in her words, when 'my brain finally went back online, she talks about arriving at her current role as a recovery coach, a peer-recovery support advocate, a trainer, and a public speaker.
November 29, 2021
Relationships can be both intensely gratifying and amazingly complex. And they’re made even more challenging if a relationship involves violence, particularly ‘intimate partner violence’.
In this one-of-a-kind episode, Marc steers the recovery-conversation in a whole new direction, and he does so with his guest, Hope and Healing representative Leanne Bilitz. In this episode, Leanne deconstructs the assumption that domestic violence can only happen between a man and a woman. She reinforces the view that ‘everyone’s rock-bottom is different’. We encounter new theories on emotional violence, the emerging condition of ‘financial abuse’, and how coercion and manipulation seeps into relationships of all kinds. It’s a unique look into how a loving relationship can morph into a desperate decision to seek shelter, and how recovery plays a role within the dynamic of the need for control, as well as the cycle of violence.
November 22, 2021
Recovery. And ‘creativity’. Are they light-years from each other? Distant cousins? Or soul-mates? The seemingly divergent paths of ‘staying clean and sober’ and ‘creating something musically’ collide in this latest episode.
Hold on to your seats, because recovering addict, musician, and creativity-apostle Kathy Moser is a non-stop whirlwind of brutal honesty and hard-core advocacy for using music and creativity to foster a ‘process’ towards more engaging and fruitful recovery. Kathy charts her own story of recovery with Marc, talks about why music is so essential to her physical and spiritual well-being, and why she stands firm in her staunch belief that ‘creativity is not in the weed, it’s in YOU’.
November 16, 2021
As a functional addict, Christopher Wimmer made every effort early on to, in his words, ‘get as messed up as possible as often as possible. Luckily, early on, he also made a decision, after bouts with depression and suicidal thoughts, to do what some simply can’t or won’t do: seek help.
But ‘help’ for Chris Wimmer on his recovery journey also arrived in the form of spirituality. As an early practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and participation in the Unitarian Universalist Church, Chris eventually found his way into Zen Buddhism, both as a student and, later, as an ordained Zen Buddhist priest. Chris and Marc deeply explored the notion of ‘recovery dharma’, the need to understand being satisfied with not being OK with everything going on in your life, and different perspectives on recovery based on Chris’s role as a licensed independent chemical dependency counselor and licensed social worker.
November 8, 2021
What happens when nobody wants you around. When you’re ‘unemployable’. When you’ve burned every bridge. At an early age, Clyde Hensley already knew that with the obstacle of a speech-impediment, a beer or two could temporarily help him to overcome it, to feel ‘cool’. But by 2009, through multiple job losses and numerous stints in bands, nobody wanted him around. What happens when you realize that you’ve hit rock bottom? When you’re ‘unemployable’? When you’ve burned every bridge?
In this episode, Clyde confesses to Marc a life pock-marked by repeat-offenses, blown opportunities, and, in his words, ‘a special kind of drunk who can even be kicked out of Haven!’ But it wasn’t until he was rescued, literally, from certain death, courtesy of both a passing train and a passing stranger, that Clyde turned a corner with the help of the Salvation Army to regain control of both his musical career and his life.
November 1, 2021
‘Grief’ is transformational on a variety of levels. Helping others through their time of grief within the scope of an occupation compared to experiencing grief, personally, can be two completely different scenarios. But can one lean on the other? In this final installment of this 4-part series, Marc introduces us to bereavement coordinator Jodee Coulter. Discover how ‘change’ forms the embryo of grief and why, according to Jodee, grief can sometimes resemble a plate of spaghetti. Marc and Jodee also talk at length about the art of ‘asking for help’, and why something seemingly as simple as a song-lyric can be a catalyst for finding the next chapter in the transformation.
October 25, 2021
It’s a dichotomy and an irony: When Zach Friedhoff’s mother passed away, that event provoked a kind of a mental pirouette, one that, in his words, ‘caused a spinning that he hoped would stop’. And yet, as he and Marc discover in this third installment of a four-part series on ‘grief’, the world continues to spin. And life continues to move on.
In this journey, Zach discusses the importance of how nature and the outdoors allowed him to begin to make progress. And, more deeply, he shares with Marc how the concept of gratitude enabled him to begin a recovery-process that set him on the path of healing. It’s a powerful episode that helps teach us all about how the ‘grief-spinning’ propels us into that space between being broken and experiencing gratefulness.
October 11, 2021
In this second installment of a 4-part series on 'grief,' host Marc Lee Shannon introduces us to his close friend, Terry Weaver. Terry recounts her 'magical' relationship with her husband, Jeff, and how a sudden lung cancer diagnosis sent shockwaves through her world and culminated in his death, after a short hospice stay.
A shock to the system. Energy sapped. The loss of a spouse demands a different road to recovery.
Marc and Terry discuss the propensity for 'America not allowing us to talk about grief.' Terry also looks back on 'opening the window' to allow the grief process to occur. It was a conscious decision for her to look up into the light and move forward and utilize the help available, to start a new volume that would propel her towards a deeper understanding of the recovery journey in the aftermath of loss.
October 4, 2021
As a photographer, telling the story of a cancer patient’s journey would be difficult enough. But what if the patient was also your wife?
In the initial offering of this season’s 4-part recovery series on ‘grief,’ Marc goes in-depth with his friend, Angelo Merendino, as they explore the grieving process involving the 10th anniversary of the death of his wife, Jen. The photographer explores the reasoning behind his breathtaking photo documentary, “The Battle We Didn’t Choose.” They also discuss how others urged him to chronicle Jen’s breast cancer story. And, finally, how preparing a TED talk enabled him to confront, head-on, a recovery journey like no other.
September 27, 2021
Seasoned touring music-technician Abbey Wright is an anomaly: she has a keen sense of gratitude for COVID-19 and what it brought to her life. Marc explores Abbey’s recovery journey, in this poignant episode, and the addictions that nearly shut her body down. During a sudden glimpse of surrender, Abbey shares that sacred moment when a simple text message sent to her mother allowed her to admit that she was powerless and finally needed help.
“You either break down or you break through.” Abbey discusses the importance of keeping her dream intact, her need to change the mantra inside of herself, and how the isolation of a pandemic moved her towards the gift of a sober lifestyle.