How To: Recovery Without Meetings

I am “sober-sober”(since November 4, 2019) and have never attended any fellowship meetings or been through any program/steps.

I listen to Dopey, It’s All Bad, and Recovery in the Middle Ages every day during the early morning part of my work shift (4:30-7am) and always hear some message or piece of someone’s story that sticks out to me for reflection throughout the day. The feeling of compassion and shared humanity I get from these podcasts continue to be invaluable to staying sober and getting right with myself.

I do all the things that Jay mentioned: walk in nature (also hike/snowshoe for more of a physical challenge), roller skating (so funny he mentioned that one! I just started a year ago; mostly skate park type skating, but love to go to the roller rink with my daughters when I can), hitting the gym. Other similar things in my life are playing tennis, reading books, writing notes to myself when I get those “a-ha” moments, playing board games with my kids, practicing guitar. Prioritizing one of these every day is important. Too many days in a row without one of these happening gets me into some dark and unpleasant mental and physical spaces.
I do meditate for super short 5 minute periods twice a day, but wish I could get the space and create time in my life for a full hour like Mayra Dias Gomes! I also use that tool in the midst of hard moments; like something or someone is triggering my descent into character defects or old habits of mind and I remind myself that all I have to do is breathe. Usually that can open some space to look outside of myself and how I’m feeling and I can get a little shift going, at least to know I will be able to just let the moment pass. Or I use that opportunity to pause and drink some water. Sometimes those are the moments when the thing I heard someone share in the podcast earlier comes in handy as a re-focusing or tool for understanding.

I guess for me it’s two things: keeping it moving with positive habits and untying the knots of trauma/addiction/unhealthy behavior with reflection and compassion.

And then it’s just time. The more time I live past the last time I used drugs and alcohol, the more feeling of choice I have to not do that again.

So my message to Jay is, keep going. It sounds like you know what your things are and who you can trust to be real and supportive. Practice being real with yourself, staying with it when it’s uncomfortable. It’s like a muscle that gets stronger the more you exercise it. It’s not easy. But there’s a bunch of other humans out here who are working on it too.

In Community,



Hey, My name is Celia and I have 3.5 years clean. I am from Las Vegas and I’ve lived here all my life so you can only imagine what my using days were like. I am a recovering heroin addict who was loyal to the foil until my last relapse in 2019 when I switched it up to points and added some meth in there. I knew deep down that that run was my last so I went balls to the wall and had the mentality of “I’ll quit and go to rehab when they catch me.”“They” being the cops. My boyfriend and I lived in a stolen 2016 mustang GT that was bright red for about 4 months but when I tell you this vehicle chose us I mean it. We found the key fob next to the avocados at a sprouts that we were scoping out for opportunities. Some opportunities we came up on were like filling carts up with merchandise and rolling out the front door. We weren’t so covert after a while. We had a long list of customers we boosted for and we didn’t hit the same store too often. We ran from the cops 4 times during this summer with the 4th ending in the ghetto bird flying above, 20 or so bike cops and me finding out that I had been reported missing by my parents a month earlier.  I was so tired by this point because being essentially homeless in the summer in Las Vegas is realllllly hard disgusting work and being a drug addict is even worse so I was eager to surrender. I even stayed in jail for a while before calling my parents and even then I didn’t ask for them to bail me out. When I got out I had to sleep in my parents bed with my mom and my dad slept on the couch by the door to make sure I didn’t disappear because I had 3 whole days before a bed was available in rehab. Obviously I made it and I actually enjoyed rehab so much I didn’t want to leave. I fucking love listening to Dopey everyday at my big girl job because it reminds me of where I came from and I’m not alone all while cracking up at all the dopey stories and commentary. I have to stay undercover about being an addict in recovery at work at the request of my boss when he hired me so thanks for keeping it 100 Dave and fuckin toodles for Chris!! Xox



I’m a wife and mother and had a deep love of opiates over everything else which began after having a family. Trying to keep up and do everything I didn’t want to do happily or have the energy to do willingly. I remember thinking the common addict thought “how do people do life without opiates” its like sliding into a warm bath. I had no clue how common it is to even have that thought until Dopey.  It made sense that I loved Tim’s story so much bc when I listened to the Brandon Novak episode I was in a fucking dark place and just discovered Dopey. Go figure they are friends! At that time I was figuring out which road to follow addiction or sobriety.. I was losing everything my marriage, my house, and almost my child. I was so close to saying fuck it, ive already destroyed my life, i can’t afford a nice rehab- fuck i can’t even afford my bills. I’ll just run away and continue not facing life. I sure as shit didnt want to face withdrawal when my life was together how the hell can I manage it when everything is falling apart. So I almost reached out to Novak regarding rehab, but walked myself into a maintenance program instead. It was harder to ask for help than I thought it would be, I cried the entire intake. They were so kind it made me cry harder. Methadone helped me immensely, I even stumbled upon the Maia Szalavitz episode my first week into the mat program, I couldn’t adore her more. I could immediately function most of the day and had minor withdrawal at night.. it wasn’t perfect but it saved my life for sure, it’s not an if but when fentanyl will get you.. that’s not even my drug of choice just what I could afford and find.

My husband ( who stuck by my side through all the ugly shit that comes with addiction) said the other day “idk if I was an addict I would want to listen to addiction related podcasts all day” … I couldn’t explain it, but selfishly it helps…to know you’re not alone in your story, others have fucked up wayyyyy more and are doing great…and i just spent 4 years denying I had an addiction to myself and everyone else,  that when I push play I’m being honest with myself, I’m an addict.
I play Dopey all day, music is too emotional for me right now so literally any quiet moment I hurry up and find an episode. Thanks for being open minded and doing what you do. Having a wide range of sobriety stories helps when your trying to find your own path… realizing if something isn’t working its okay to change it. Its okay to be on zoloft, therapy, etc… truly can’t thank you enough for filling up the hours in my sober days with humor, motivation and resources. Shit like the Phoenix community- I would have never known it existed if it weren’t for Dopey.  My next step is getting the courage to join one of the zoom meetings your fans have.. it sounds amazing!


Hey Dave,

I’m Zach from California I’ve been clean and sober a little over 18 months from fentanyl/meth and just about anything else that was offered to me. I was about two months into my recovery when I found dopey while searching for any and all recovery/addiction podcast. Dopey was the only one that stuck and I was hooked. I did the 90 meetings in 90 days I tried NA/AA and I can’t say it was a complete waste of time but the dopey podcast has by far been one of biggest keys to recovery along with exercise, meditation, and therapy. I think some of the reason I didn’t want to stop is in some sick way I liked the chaos of being an addict. The way I describe it to people is “everyday in active addiction is like your best day ever and worst day ever in the same 24 hours” it was a rollercoaster and anytime I think that I miss it dopey gets me thinking about how miserable i was and gives me a chance to laugh at all the shit that normies wouldnt think is funny. So I just want to say thank you and I’m glad you’ve never stopped pumping out episodes because it everyone means something to me and I know it does for a lot of fellow degenerates. Congratulations on #400! SSDN and FTFC

P.S. I’m trying to think of dopey stories as I write this and one of the funniest/weirdest stories I can think of is when my buddy from high school who’s mom was paralyzed from the neck down always had a ton of pills so naturally he would steal them from her to take. One day we decided we were going to try mixing DXM (the cough syrup shit) with the Valium that he had stolen the day prior because his dad was onto us and had hid the oxy and the rest of the Valium. So we proceeded to each drink a bottle of DXM and take a few Valium(I don’t remember exactly how many) for the next 16 hrs laid in one room feeling the carpet and scribbling on paper with any ink pen I found until it would run out of ink but the weirdest part is I went to check in my friend in the other room and he was completely naked watching porn on a 6foot projector masturbating eating popcorn and when I saw him he said “can’t a guy get some privacy in his own home” so I went back to feeling the carpet and coloring or whatever you would call it in the other room. So who knows how long he was masturbating in there for because he didn’t come out of that room for several hours. Don’t do drugs!

P.S.S. This was probably 12-14 years ago this guy is now in jail for attempting to murder his meth dealer.



My name is Ashton, and I’m definitely an unconventional listener. You see, I’m not an addict myself, but I’m the daughter, friend, cousin, sister, step daughter, and widow of many addicts. I’m from middle Tennessee where drugs have completely ravaged many people around me. In fact, I turned 30 this year & I have never seen either of my parents sober. My dad is a retired emergency room physician who got in trouble for writing prescriptions in multiple family members names to support his habit. He’s also an alcoholic. My mom hasn’t had a job since I was very young & supports her habit by doing anything necessary to get her next fix. My little sister has completely spiraled. The last I heard, she was shooting meth and had just gotten arrested for theft. She’s also lost custody of her three children. My step mom died by suicide (Xanax overdose) in 2017, and my then husband died four days later by using a “suicide hood”. He was struggling with a heroin addiction at the time of his death. I have many friends from my childhood & cousins who have also struggled with addiction throughout my life. Thankfully, I learned at a young age that I needed to stay far away from substances. Ironically, I’m a pharmacist, but I work in long-term care because dispensing certain medications in the retail pharmacy was becoming extremely hard & I felt myself needing a break from that. I’ve listened to your podcast on and off for about 5 years now. It’s been oddly healing for me to hear success stories of recovery especially when people choose their children over their addiction. Thank you for what you do for so many people! You don’t know how much it means to me as a child of addicts to hear you talk about your fear of losing your family and the lengths you’ll go to keep that! Anyway, have a great weekend & toodles for Chris!!!



This is a Dopey story that takes place in the summer of 2000 in Korea town. My boyfriend and I had a shitty studio apartment on Normandie and Wilshire. I was 20 and entering my senior year of college. We moved to LA to be closer to our drug of choice- black tar herion.  Shout out Olympic/Beacon and Bonnie Brea area.
I was working at the souvenir store at Hard Rock by Universal Studios.  My bf could not keep a job, to my recollection.
One night, late after I got off work, I arrived to our apartment and my bf had a friend over. We had used with this friend before so we were all ready to start the night with a fresh score of shit that was hitting so fucking hard. We would shoot it up but not all the time. We warned the friend it was strong but he loaded up his syringe to slam anyway. Next thing you know, he’s ODing on our inflatable couch. Luckily dope addicts tend to be thin because we picked him up and took him in the shower and put cold water on. He was coming to, so we called 911 on a cell phone, did not give our apartment number. Then my bf told me to get sugar and we shoveled sugar in his mouth. I didn’t know what the fuck to do. He still wasn’t coming to, but then I guess the cold water and sugar worked. He stopped looking blue and started yelling at us “what the fuck?!l”
We told him he just OD’d. He chilled for maybe 5 minutes continuously asking what happened?  Then he starts loading another rig! We are telling no dude!!! You just died on us! Oh we had called 911 so we can hear them 5 stories down trying to get in the building and trying to figure out who called. We were definitely hiding from the police , ambulance, whatever was out there. We made the smoke smoke his heroin the rest of the night. And we kept going back for that bomb hook up for the next few days.


Okay, finally, first time writing, but I’ve been listening since day 1; my cousin was a member of Chris’s um, harem at some point, and she put me on. Figured I’d try to hit you with a little Dopey for the 400th (!!!) episode. Okay so 20ish years ago, I was living back home while doing a year at a local community college — after failing out of UMass for the second time. My girlfriend was out in Amherst, so I spent a lot of time out there. I guess that technically, I would have said I was an Oxy dealer, but unsurprisingly, I used way, way more than I sold. So here’s some shit I got into over like, a 10-day span in 2005/6.. I went to a friends house to play cards. Brought a whole bunch of 80s — still feel bad for you that you missed out on those, and am always surprised no one ever talks about the 160s, but I digress. So I got all fucked up and my friends tried to keep me from driving — took my keys, etc. I managed to duck out of there somehow, and on the way home, I nodded out at the wheel and totaled my dad’s car. Couple days later, i thought it was a good idea to drive from my house to UMass in the middle of a blizzard to move 25 80s. There was about a foot of snow on the road, and I wound up losing control on the highway .. spun out  across the Mass Pike, air bags deployed, car totaled.. the roads were so bad that I waited a couple of hours for the ambulance, and I wound up on the way to the hospital before I could get to my little stash spot in my trunk. I went to some bootleg hospital out in the western MA area; I got some stitches in my head, and was cleared to leave, but had no way to get anywhere. I called the non-emergency number for the State Police and got the address for the place where my car had been towed. Then I called a 24 hour livery service whose number I got from a Yellow Pages, and got picked up at about 2:00 in the morning by a possibly drunk lady driving her old minivan. I had no wallet or anything, because I’d left everything in my car. I told her that I had drugs in there, and I’d give her some of them if she drove me to my car before bringing me to UMass. She did exactly that, and I threw her a couple of the 80s; we spent a good 3 hours together because of how long it took us to get from the hospital to the tow yard to UMass, and she was definitely not sober, so it was a pretty crazy ride. Made it to UMass and moved the 20 remaining 80s when I got there, and then just wound up staying  there for a week or so — with no car to get home. In that time, I skipped a few shifts at my job with no notice or explanation and was promptly fired. Definitely not my best week, but honestly, not my worst, either. Anyway, I wanted to finally send something in. I celebrated five years on February 5th, and I mean it when I say that Dopey is one of the most impactful and consistent parts of my recovery. I would not have the life I have today if it weren’t for you and Chris and Cormac and whoever runs the DN FB page these days (I’m off Facebook! shouts to Johann) and Todd and Alan and Ray and Fentanyl Jay and Erin and all the other regulars and the whole entire Dopey Nation. I love you Dave. Keep doing what you’re doing. You have changed my life and my family’s life immeasurably. Stay strong Dopey Nation, and FTFC