A well-respected expert in her field, Anna David is a New York Times bestselling author of two novels and four nonfiction books about addiction, recovery, and relationships.
She has appeared on the Today Show, Dr. Drew, CBS Morning, and Insider. She’s been published in the New York Times, TIME, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and has been written about in Forbes, Martha Stewart Living, Entrepreneur, Allure, and Women’s Health, among many others.
Most recently, Anna and I co-authored the newest book in the Miracle Morning series, The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery: Letting Go of Who You’ve Been for Who You Can Become, along with Joe Polish – founder of Genius Recovery.
- About my own drug addiction in my 20s, which I’ve never spoken about publicly – until now.
- Why addiction is our #1 health crisis today – and the major misconceptions surrounding addicts (including the fact that an “addiction” can be much more than just drugs or alcohol).
- Anna’s story of how she developed an addiction to cocaine, alcohol, and Ambien, discovered the nature of her addiction while in rehab, and stayed sober after one unsuccessful experiment 18 years ago.
- The #1 most common trait that all addicts have in common.
- How you can help people currently struggling with addiction – and the importance of treating people with compassion instead of judgement.
- And much more…
ANNA DAVID SAID IT… CLICK TO TWEET
The number one solution to recovery besides having a Miracle Morning is community.” – Anna David
The problem is that all that brilliance that so many addicts have is focused on the wrong thing.” – Anna David
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- Light Hustler
- Connect with Anna David on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
- The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery: Letting Go of Who You’ve Been for Who You Can Become
- All The Write Moves
- Audience Building For Writers
- Party Girl: A Novel
- Genius Network
- Genius Recovery
- Joe Polish
- Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom
CONNECT WITH HAL
Hal: Good morning, goal achievers. It is morning somewhere in the world, so I can say that. I’m excited as always. When do I ever not be excited to bring on our guest for the podcast? But welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and today I’m bringing on a newer friend of mine if you will and the newest co-author in the Miracle Morning book series. You’re about to meet Anna David and I’m going to tell you a little bit about Anna because what she has overcome in her life, what she’s accomplished is pretty extraordinary. She is the New York Times best-selling author of two novels and four nonfiction books about addiction, recovery, and relationships. Anna has been published in the New York Times, Time, the LA Times, Vanity Fair, Playboy, Vice, Cosmo, People, Marie Claire, Redbook, Esquire, Self, Women’s Health, and the Huffington Post. I’m out of breath but I could keep going because there’s a bunch more and she’s been written about in numerous publications as well that includes Forbes, Martha Stewart Living, Entrepreneur, Allure, and Women’s Health. I think you can understand why I asked her to be a co-author based on her prolific writing experience and she’s appeared repeatedly on The Today Show, Vanity, Dr. Drew, The Talk, The CBS Morning Show, The Insider, and numerous other programs on FOX News, NBC, CBS, MTV, VH1E. I could go on and on.
Right now, she speaks at colleges across the country about relationships, addiction, and recovery and she’s been a featured speaker at three different TEDx events. And through her company, Light Hustler, she helps creatives share their dark to find their light and she does that through coaching, writing, workshop, retreats, online courses, a podcast, a storytelling show and more. And most recently, Anna and I co-authored a new book together. It is The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery: Letting Go of Who You’ve Been for Who You Can Become. And I’m honored, I’m grateful, I’m excited.
Hal: Anna, welcome to the show, my friend.
Anna: Thank you so much. It’s the culmination. It’s the big moment after a lot of work together on this, a lot of fun work I will say. So, it’s exciting to be here.
Hal: Yeah. It is. Whenever a book is done, you’re like, “Oh right.” I’m not a woman so I’ve never carried a baby for nine months, but I would imagine, right? It’s…
Anna: People do liken it to childbirth.
Hal: Yeah. I would imagine childbirth is a little tougher. Writing a book is hard but I don’t know. I don’t know that I would compare the two.
Anna: So much easier than people act like it is. And I say that to anyone out there who wants to write a book. It is so much easier than you think it is.
Hal: It’s one foot in front of the other like write every day. That’s one thing that when I wrote The Miracle Morning I had in my affirmation my reminder was, “Just spend time with it,” because that was the thing is if I thought about writing I often drew blanks and nothing came to me and so then I wouldn’t even open my computer to start and what I realize is if I set the timer for 30 minutes or 60 minutes and I just sat in front of what I’d already written and I kept trying or writing and then googling ideas or articles like you just have to spend time with it and enough time and eventually a book is born so to speak.
Anna: Yeah. And this is why I help people do this because everybody has a story to tell. They all dream of writing books and then they all think they can’t do it because they let their fear, their false evidence appearing real, tell them it’s too hard. And no, you just need direction and accountability and you can crank out a book easily.
Hal: In months or they had their imposter syndrome get in the way, right, which I definitely had that with Miracle Morning like who am I to write this book and tell people they should wake up early. This is crazy. So, we’re going to dive into the topic today is about addiction recovery and addiction is plaguing our society in so many ways. People are addicted to not just drugs or alcohol but video games now. They kept seeing articles and television programs and specials on like how gaming is ruining people’s lives. People are addicted to pornography and they have also can ruin marriages and ruin lives in various ways. So, addiction is a huge problem across America and I imagine worldwide. I’m not too familiar with it in other countries but I’d imagine it’s a worldwide phenomenon. I’d love to start with kind of your addiction story like what is your experience, what’s led you to this work that you do now so well?
Anna: Well, I am an addict. I was addicted to cocaine, alcohol, Ambien. Those were the main ones, cigarettes for sure, and I’ve been sober since November 19, 2000 and so 17 ½ years and in my definition of addiction to me is not about how many DUIs you have or how many overdoses you have. It is about a way of thinking. It is about I’m not much but I’m all I think about, this I’m-the-piece-of-crap-in-the-center-of-the-universe kind of, just self-obsession, self-hatred, and whether it’s a genetic predisposition which often it is or it’s the result of sort of your childhood circumstances which either exacerbate or diminish that genetic predisposition, it doesn’t matter because it’s about I can’t stand how I feel and I’ll do anything I can to escape. That could mean cocaine and that could mean video games and that could mean work and that could porn. It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t discriminate and like you said, it’s all over. So, mine happens to be drugs and alcohol and in a way I’m lucky because it was killing me, and I had to do something about it as opposed to these process addictions where doing video games, you may not die if you sit there and do video games but if you sit there and you’re taking 10 Ambien a night you will. So, my experience was that my life got very, very, very small and I knew I didn’t want to be sober. That sounded disgusting, boring, horrible, all of those things that every addict thinks and then I got so desperate that I was willing to believe it might be better than dying and that’s as hopeless as I was.
Hal: So, what was your backstory that led to the addiction like why were you unhappy or what were you trying to cover up or what were you trying to heal?
Anna: You know, I was this like in many ways the supernormal very well-adjusted kid. I have a very mentally ill father and I didn’t understand that at the time but there’s trauma and there’s emotional abuse and there were all these things I didn’t understand that I was trying to escape from. I thought I was having fun and I was at first and then the difference between the addict and the person who’s sort of experimenting with drugs is the person experimenting, it’s a phase and they have suffered some repercussions. They’re like, “Okay. I’m going to stop this.” The addict, it’s a phase. It doesn’t end. They suffer some repercussions. They go, “Okay. Well, better suffer those and just keep going.”
So, I had things I was grappling with and I had no tools at all. I was raised by some very bizarre principles. And not every addict, I know addicts who come from very healthy normal families, but my experience was that I had trauma and I wanted to, I just didn’t know how to deal. And so, like I said, I got so desperate that I was willing to do this creepy thing which was go to rehab, ew, and I discovered in rehab people who were talking about feelings that I didn’t know how to articulate that I had. I didn’t understand that I was uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t understand that I was resenting everyone. I didn’t understand that my self-obsession was what was making me so miserable and that’s when I got into the twelve-step and that’s when my life was saved.
Hal: What finally got you into rehab?
Anna: It was nothing dramatic. People tell these stories about they’re lying in the gutter and the sun shines on them and they realize it’s God and they have to go to rehab and that was not my experience. It was just one more day waking up and going, “I can’t do this. I am so sad. I don’t want to live,” and that’s not normal.
Hal: So, you checked yourself in?
Anna: I did. I called my mom and told her that I had a problem. She was not surprised. We had been to Paris together the year before where she and my stepdad were like going to the Eiffel Tower and I was like, “See ya,” and going out to see the underbelly of Parisians which I had discovered. And so, she was not terribly surprised and she and my dad nothing’s normal in my family. They hired a cult deprogrammer. This makes no sense. So, I go up to see them that day. They live in Northern California and they’ve hired this cult deprogrammer and I’m like, “You don’t need to deprogram me. I pretty much want to go into a cult. I want to go into twelve-step and so it was very weird. They put me in an outpatient rehab in Los Angeles and they all say outpatient won’t work. That’s like the sort of thinking around addiction and recovery. It worked and actually I did relapse once. That was May 2, 2000 and then November 18, 2000. I decided, and this is relevant, addiction and alcoholism are words I use interchangeably but I did not at the time I believed I was a drug addict. I didn’t think I had a problem with alcohol and so in rehab in twelve-step, they were trying to tell me they were the same thing. I didn’t believe them and so November 18 I did an experiment. I had a glass of wine and that experiment went so well that I had another glass of wine and by four hours later I had two bottles of wine and four-and-a-half hits of ecstasy and I determined that possibly addiction and alcoholism were the same things and the next day is when I got sober.
Hal: Got it. So, it was an experiment in rehab. You thought you could play around with this substance, alcohol, and then realize, “Okay. I’ve got to really double down and take it seriously.”
Anna: Well, I learned in like six hours that I thought that that experiment had failed, and I am super lucky that that failed so quickly because I know that people who go out to have that experiment for 10 years and then realized it failed.
Hal: Yeah. Or after it’s too late and they don’t realize it. Sure. So, what made you want to co-author the Miracle Morning for Addiction and Recovery?
Anna: Well, first of all, it’s the most amazing opportunity ever to be able to do this. I’m one of those weird people who had not heard of the Miracle Morning.
Hal: What a weirdo. Who are you?
Anna: Obviously, buried in a cave somewhere and so Joe Polish is a good friend of mine and I call him my mentor. He’s okay with me calling him that. He’s somebody I connected with about a year-and-a-half ago. Genius marketer, amazing, most well-connected person ever and such a kind person and he was looking, he is very passionate, he is also somebody who’s a former addict and he’s very passionate about getting into this addiction recovery world. We met, I was passionate about growing my marketing expertise, and we just sort of started partnering on a bunch of things and he said to me, “I have this thing called the Genius Network and Hal Elrod is in it and he’s the author of the Miracle Morning,” and I said, “What’s the Miracle Morning?” And he handed me this book called The Miracle Morning that I was the last person to hear off. I sat in that very backyard that you can’t actually see especially if you’re listening to this on the podcast and I thought, “What is this guy going to tell me? I am sober 16 years. I meditate. I pray. My mornings are great. What can this guy tell me that I don’t already know?” And I don’t even think I told you this, but I told you there’s something bizarre in those pages you wrote, and I think it has a lot to do with your life and death experiences where you’re channeling something in that that I don’t understand.
Hal: Neither do I but I just go with it. Yeah.
Anna: It spoke to me.
Hal: Yeah. Totally.
Anna: It’s not a human. Because you didn’t tell me things in that book that I hadn’t heard in a bunch of places but it never in my life hit me and I remember sitting out there and going, “What is this?” and I changed my morning routine the next morning. I had never done affirmations. I thought affirmations were for silly people. I had never thought about getting my body moving quickly because I’m an exercise fanatic. I do it at night like there were all these things and I just instantly changed my morning routine and I realize, “If this is as powerful for me, a cynic who thinks she knows everything about healthy living, imagine what this can do for people out there who are not so cynical who are looking for something to get their days started right.” Long answer.
Hal: Yeah. No.
Anna: Joe presents me with this opportunity to work with you and Honoree on this book and I jumped at it.
Hal: Yeah. Well, and I’ll tell you I’m so glad you did, by the way, but I’ll tell you how this whole thing I can go back in time to how this came to be. Somehow, The Miracle Morning on Amazon got put into the category of addiction books and I didn’t do that. Now, there’s a strategy amongst authors where you put a book in an obscure category to try to get a high ranking. I didn’t do that like I literally do not know. I was on Amazon one day I’m like, “Why is the Miracle Morning in addiction?” And I reached out to my assistant and like, “You need to call Amazon and get this switched like this isn’t supposed to be.” Well, right after that, someone reached out to me that ran an addiction clinic in Hawaii and they said, “Hey, we want to let you know that The Miracle Morning is now part of our program. It’s the first thing that we have recovering addicts do is they read The Miracle Morning, they start that practice and now it’s like the foundation of their recovery.”
So, then I was like, “Okay. Wait. Don’t move the category yet. I’m not really sure,” and it ended up becoming the number one bestseller in addiction recovery on Amazon for a long time and then people would reach out to The Miracle Morning community and say, “Hey, the Miracle Morning enabled me to stop drinking, give up this addiction, that addiction,” and that’s where the seed was planted. I was at Joe’s house one day and I said, he was talking about all the genius recovery stuff that he’s doing. Joe, that’s his passion, his recovery and I said, “Hey, should we do like,” and I told him the story I just told you. I said, “Should we do like a Miracle Morning for addicts or something like that?” It was quite a few months later that he reached out and said, “Hey, I’ve got the perfect person to co-author this book with us, Anna David,” and he told me all about you and the rest is history as they say.
Anna: It is. Yeah. I didn’t know any of that so damn you for kicking my book for recovery off the top of the list.
Hal: Nice. Oh no, I mean, no. Sorry.
Anna: But, yeah, I mean and so it’s been an incredible experience and I do think, look, there are all these statistics about addiction and as you said, it’s a huge health crisis today. It is our number one health crisis today, 60,000 people a year in the United States alone overdose just from opiates. It is awful.
Hal: That’s one of like 100 different addictions you could name. Yeah.
Anna: Yeah. I mean, opiates are the most lethal.
Hal: The number one. Yeah. Sure.
Anna: That wasn’t true when I got sober but it’s a crazy time because there are people out there thriving in recovery. When my book, Party Girl, came out in 2007, nobody was out there talking about addiction and recovery. Now I could name 500 blogs about recovery. Everybody is out and proud. It is a movement and that was amazing and that’s why I help people do this because every single person who gets out there and talks about their recovery story and doesn’t “look like what you think an addict would look like” inspires 10 more people who were sitting there in shame whether they’re doing cocaine alone in their apartments or they’re playing video games or whatever it is to go, “Oh my God, she can do it, he can do it, I could do it.”
Hal: Yeah. Well, on that note, what do you believe is the major misconception out there around addiction?
Anna: Well, I think we have a big it’s a great question. We have a big it’s not – we’re not bad people trying to get good. We’re sick people trying to get well and it’s this idea that people think it’s these low lives.
Hal: Degenerates. Yeah. Sure.
Anna: Yeah. And it’s not about that. It’s about pain. As Joe says, quoting Gabor Maté, “It’s not why the addiction but why the pain,” and I think addicts can be just so lonely and we’re just longing for connection in my – those days before I called my mom and told her the story, I was just alone, totally cut off and the number one solution to recovery besides having a Miracle Morning is community and we talk about that in the book a lot. No matter if people think that it should be twelve-step or it should be SMART Recovery or it should be yoga, everybody agrees that it’s finding a community of people who have the same things. I don’t know. Do you have any – you’re such a straight-laced guy. You have no experience with addiction, right?
Hal: I don’t know that I ever got addicted to something where like I’m able to be addictive in spurts where I’m like addicted for a month and then I can turn it off. It’s weird. In fact, I had a friend call me out and say, “Dude, you have ADHD and you need to get…” I just went out and got prescribed Adderall. It was kind of before like I never even heard of it and it was 2004 I think. I was like, “Oh sure. You think that this will help me. It’s helping you. I’ll give it a shot.” I went and saw the doctor, got prescribed, and then that became an addiction because that becomes a daily. You take it every day and then I took that on and I kept trying to break it where I would take it. I probably take it for maybe six months and I’m like I started reading up on it and I’m like, “Oh, this has potentially harmful effects,” so I stopped taking it. And then six months went by without it and I’m like, “I need to get focused again,” and I would go back to the doctor and I would get a prescription again. And I went on and off for six months at a time, roughly on and off for like, I don’t know, five years, six, 10 years, something, a long time.
And then when I got cancer and I was trying to look at what are the causes of cancer since the doctors say they don’t know, that’s the only thing that I could attribute it to that I put into my body consistently over a long period of time. That’s literally meth, right? I mean, it’s one molecule away from methamphetamine. And so, yeah, now I just said that I will never ever do it again because I think that could be the thing that caused the cancer because I don’t know – there’s nothing else I could really attribute it to other than my car accident or some freak thing but anyway, yeah. So, that was my experience with addiction and now I try to get addicted to positive things. Like, I’m addicted to this raw vegan food that is delivered every week. It just came right before our interview and I’m like it makes me, the serotonin fires, the dopamine fires when I get my raw food delivery and that’s what I found is like try to get it, replace your negative addictions with positive addictions. Replace video games with reading and then once you make the transitions tough but once you make it, the new addiction can really replace the older one and it could be a positive addiction. So, do you speak on that at all with like replacing negative addictions with positive addictions?
Anna: Yes. It’s a somewhat complicated idea because the idea is that the addict in recovery is treating their addictive tendencies. Do you know what I mean? And so, the goal is not to be addicted to something else but to sort of have healthy interests. Really that’s just like nomenclature and like semantics and all of that stuff. Because I will say that I had sober and it was I didn’t have any desire to drink and do drugs, but I got really addictive about my work and relationships and about exercise and all of these things and my goal is to have a sort of spiritual connection where I can have healthy relationships with things. That being said, I’m still me. I still got that brain chemistry that likes to escape. Work for me is amazing. Literally, it stops my brain. It does what meditation does to my brain. I can just focus. I am like the person who does not need ADHD medication which is weird because I did so much cocaine. People say to me they’re like, “You’re like this not on cocaine.” I was like, “Yeah, yeah, it was like this, you know, but and I think this is really interesting when it’s going to lead back to what you said about that treatment center in Hawaii using the Miracle Morning as part of its – were you there?
Anna: Okay. Sorry. As part of its sort of treatment, the first thing they tell you in rehab is about the mornings. It is the first thing they tell you and they have a big thing in rehab about making your bed.
Hal: I’ve heard that. Yeah.
Anna: It’s just like if you can make your bed, that’s more than you accomplished in the last four months probably. So, get up, make your bed and the 11th step in the 12 steps is about meditation and prayer and it is about doing it in the morning. So, that is something that mornings were things and I say this in the book. I slept through the morning. I don’t know. I would get up in noon. I was up until 4 in the morning. So, this idea that I could start my day right. I mean that’s the big thing about the Miracle Morning is that the big thing about the addict’s brain, people will say, “I wake up and my disease was doing push-ups while I was sleeping. I wake up and there’s a full committee going,” because it’s very easy and I don’t think this is just for addicts necessarily. You wake up and your brain is like your first thought is, “Oh, Jesus Christ, how can he have done that?” And, “Oh my God, today I’ve got to do this,” and it’s like you got to hijack that negativity and get it focused on something positive.
Hal: So, talk about that. Why do you believe morning, I mean, you already kind of led into that but why do you believe morning routines are crucial for addicts that are in recovery?
Anna: Well, it’s kind of like you can have this great day and go to sleep and God knows what will happen. People talk about that they go to sleep like really grateful for their sobriety and they wake up embittered and I’m not smart enough to know what’s happening in our unconscious minds, but the truth of the matter is addicts tends towards negativity. I mean, humans tend towards negativity. We’re conditioned. Our ancestors had to fight off wild boars, we had to look for danger everywhere and so basically addicts can really run with that. I don’t think addicts are that different from “normal people,” but we think our thoughts and our feelings are so important. Though I feel, and I know I’m making this up, someone like you, if you even ever have a negative thought let’s pretend you…
Hal: I have plenty. Sure.
Anna: Okay. You have a negative thought and then you’re able to sort of go, “No. Well, that’s not true,” and move on. I believe that addicts and alcoholics if untreated without a sort of spiritual something else in our lives will go, “Huh,” and meditate on that and then try to fix it and try to figure it out. They always say in twelve-step, “Figure it out is not one of the steps.” Because if you’re trying to figure it out, you’re basically looking for evidence for why you feel bad and you’re going, “Well, I’ve got that bad relationship with my dad. Could be that. Oh, well, I think that works,” and you’re just focusing on…
Hal: You’re amplifying the negative.
Hal: Yeah. One of the things that I had a realization about a few years ago and I constantly remind myself is that our negative thoughts and even our negative emotions aren’t actually as destructive or difficult to deal with as our judgment about those thoughts and about those emotions. So, like I woke up. It was probably a week ago and I felt super depressed like super depressed and it created all these fear and I was like, “Wait. Why do I feel this way?” And when you’re in that state, it’s hard to – that’s where affirmations are so powerful because you read the affirmation whether it’s in the morning or any time of day and it reminds you, “No, no, no. It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking or feeling right now like this is true.” You’ve written truth, your truth on paper and this guides you toward that truth. It reminds you that the way you feel or think right now is only temporary. It’s not a life sentence so there’s no reason in making it a bigger deal than it is and that was it. I just remind myself, “The way I feel right now, I feel depressed, and it’s scaring the heck out of me is that like I’m not going to feel this way forever.”
Because that’s what happened is our brain it’s not very spatially aware. It’s not able to really think through like the way that it feels is it feels like it’s all-encompassing. So, if you feel depressed or down or sad and you tell yourself, “Oh my God, this is who I am. This is my life. This is what I think, what I feel,” versus, “This is a very temporary state of being. I’ll probably feel better after I have my coffee or eat something or rehydrate or go for a walk,” and that’s actually what I did. As I went for a bike ride around my neighborhood and I felt 10 times better when the bike ride was over. So, the judgment we make about how we feel when we don’t feel optimum, we feel down, depressed, scared, negative, judging that as a bigger deal than it is I think is the big deal. The way you feel is just temporary and remind yourself, “I’ll feel different at some point later today, tomorrow, whatever,” and just ride it out. And the next day I woke up feeling a little bit depressed and the day after that I felt pretty much back to normal and I don’t know. I think men menstruate or not menstruate, but I think we have hormonal imbalances just like women do.
Anna: Oh, you do. Yeah. I mean, it’s what the Buddhist call the second arrow. Have you heard about that?
Hal: I don’t think so.
Anna: Yeah. The first arrow is, “I’m depressed.” The second arrow is, “What’s wrong with me for being so depressed?”
Hal: There you go.
Anna: That’s what causes it. I’m reading this great book called Buddha’s Brain.
Anna: Which we recommend in the Miracle Morning for Addiction and Recovery and there’s this great quote. I actually have it over there on my bulletin board and it’s, “Thoughts are just thoughts. Sounds are just sounds. Situations are just situations. People are just being who they are.” And the reason that I needed to write that one down is I think my thoughts are the end all be all, most important thing. To think of them as something as innocuous as a sound really can put it in perspective.
Hal: Yeah. It’s great. Let’s talk about people, various types of people. So, people that are in recovery so if someone is listening to this or someone knows someone who was an addict, they’re now recovering addict, so if you’re a recovering addict, how do people that are in recovery help those who are currently suffering with addiction?
Anna: Well, I think it’s so important because basically anybody who has overcome, overcome is an interesting word, who has struggled with and is not currently doing drugs is in recovery can be an inspiration for someone out there. All of us and I think there’s this major misconception for people out there who are suffering. They think all these sober people went skipping into recovery and we were just holding hands and we’re just nerds who were just excited to have really boring lives and no, we all felt like that. Sobriety was the last thing any of us wanted and so for us to be able to help share our stories about that and it’s like that’s why I help other writers write books and write articles about this because, for every one person that’s out there, 10, 20, 30, 40 people are hearing it.
So, I believe it’s not that somebody in recovery has an obligation because there are people who don’t have careers where this is allowed. I’m a writer in LA. People expect me to be an addict so there’s nothing shocking about me coming out, busting out with this news. Somebody who’s like a banker in Des Moines, they may not have that freedom or that luxury. So, people who are in recovery who are not talking about it, that is absolutely fine if that’s going to negatively impact your life but if you are in a position where you can share this experience and show people because addiction is about hopelessness. You do not think there is any escape. It’s what that depression you described but over years and years and years coupled with drugs that are depressants and stimulants that you’re going to come down from. So, yeah, I think the most important thing that people in recovery can do is share their stories whether that’s in books or in podcasts, and storytelling shows, in essays, whatever it is.
Hal: At the coffee shop, in rehab, yeah, sure. Well, how about people that are not in recovery so those that don’t have experience with addicts, but they have a relative or friend family, whatever that is, is an addict, how can they help those that are currently suffering with addiction?
Anna: Well, and by the way, that’s everybody. When I go, and I speak, and I say, “Who out there know somebody or somebody who is struggling with addiction?” no one person’s hand is down. So, that’s everybody and I think treating people with compassion instead of judgment, that’s a big part of Joe’s mission and understanding that the sad fact of the matter is you can’t get somebody to stop but by showing them compassion by sort of taking the focus off of them, you’re going to stand the best chance of them finding the help. And the book like this I don’t know if the person that you know who is struggling who has been struggling, I am certainly not saying, “Oh my God, if you give them this book their addiction is…”
Hal: It’s over. Yeah. Sure.
Anna: It could help.
Hal: Yeah. Well, it might help too for somebody to read it that knows the addict so if you care about somebody to really understand what they’re going through and what they need to transform and to be helped knowing that understanding that I have relatives that are addicted to prescription drugs and such but anyway that’s another story but is there a quality like one quality that you believe all addicts have in common?
Anna: Yes. And I don’t mean this in a self-aggrandizing way, addicts are hyper-smart, hyper-motivated, hyper resilient for us to survive those drug dealers and those shady, weird things we did and to get by all of those years, usually a lot of us unemployed but somehow managing to find our drugs of choice. There’s actually a Tori Utley who’s mentioned in Miracle Morning has a TEDx talk about how you drop a group of addicts off somewhere in some forest and you drop another group off and the other group gets lost and the addicts are home by two hours. The problem is that all that brilliance that so many addicts have is focused on the wrong thing. Once we get into recovery, we are capable of anything. I will say my experience when I got sober, my dream was to be a gossip reporter. I thought the height of my success could be interviewing celebrities on a red carpet and work to People Magazine. I didn’t even know I would write one book, let alone like this is my seventh. Are you kidding me? Like, I just had all these energy that didn’t know where to go and I believe that is true of every addict out there.
Hal: So, I have a quick question for you because I don’t know the answer to this. So, the foreword for the Miracle Morning for Addiction and Recovery was written by the famous Dr. Drew or Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of the Dr. Drew On Call, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Loveline Radio Show. I mean, he’s one of the most famous people in the addiction space helping recovering addicts. I’m curious. How do you know Dr. Drew? How did you get him to do the foreword because I’m curious? I don’t know that.
Anna: He is the best. I met him when I first, oh my god, what’s crazy? He and I never talk about this. Oh wow. I just remembered this. I was not sober. There was a drug called GHB. Again, you’re too innocent to know about.
Hal: I’ve heard of that. What does it stand for?
Anna: Gamma something, something specific and in the late 90s I was around people who are doing it. It’s liquid. You drink. It’s extremely dangerous because you can die, and people would walk around parties with this big bottle. Take a swig from it. It was insane. I mean, you are so high and Drew and Adam Carolla had this radio show, Loveline, and I was working at a magazine barely and I reached out to him and said, “Can I interview about this?” And he had me come down to the station and interview callers, but I was a mess. That was like my cocaine dates. I wasn’t making any sense and then I got sober and I started writing for magazines and I was writing about drugs and alcohol and recovery for Details and Playboy and LA Times and a bunch of places and I would reach out to him and he would always give me a quote. And then over the years we just became good friends and he’s such a good man. There is nobody out there who has done more. He’s somewhat controversial. People don’t understand that this is a guy. He is not an addict himself, but he understands addiction in a way that no other non-addict I know is able to. Yeah, so he’s just a great man and asked him to do it and he immediately said yes.
Hal: Cool. That’s cool. Well, I think in the bigger picture what you’re doing and I guess I really resonate with it because what I try to do is you’re taking your life experience, your trauma, your mistakes if you will, your recovery, and you’re paying it forward and you’re helping other people through all of your work, your speaking, your coaching, the books that you write, the books other people write and of course our book that we wrote together, the Miracle Morning for Addiction and Recovery. If anybody wants to get a hold of you, what is the best way for them to track you down and get in touch with you?
Anna: Well, LightHustler.com is sort of my hub for all of that. We have a publishing company. We have a whole bunch of stuff we’re doing and then I have two courses and coaching programs. One is All The Write Movies. That’s the writing one so it’s AllTheWriteMoves.net and then AudienceBuildingForWriters.com but I’m also on all the social medias @annabdavid on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and, yeah, I’m kind of you can’t not find me.
Hal: Beautiful. Awesome. Well, it’s been cool talking to you today.
Anna: Hal, thank you so much. This was really, really fun. So, I’m excited for our book to be out there in the world.
Hal: Me too. And for all of you, goal achievers, the book is The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery: Letting Go of Who You’ve Been for Who You Can Become. It is by me, Anna David, Joe Polish, and Honoree Corder. Yeah, if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, I invite you to head over to Amazon and you can get them a copy of the book on paperback, Kindle, and audiobook soon. I don’t know if it’s today but ASAP we’re working on getting it up there. So, love and appreciate you. Thank you for tuning in to the podcast. Thanks for listening to Anna David. Hope you enjoyed our conversation as much as I did. I love you and I will talk to you next week, everybody. Take care.
Anna: Bye. Thank you.
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