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Project Recovery: Discovering your clean self

Comedian Andy Gold, shares his story on Project Recovery, a new podcast hosted by Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley.

There is nothing funny about recovery.

For podcast co-host Casey Scott, his humor got in the way of his recovery.

“I relied on humor as a crutch, to get me out of a lot of situations,” Scott says.

In his first therapy session in recovery at the Pinnacle Recovery Center, he was told it was not a joking time.

Scott realized that, for him, joking is how he avoided dealing with his own feelings.

Golden humor

Humor can be useful part of recovery, as it was for stand-up comedian Andy Gold.

Gold has performed his comedy across the country, from San Diego to Boston.

He is a frequent speaker at recovery centers.

He is a former heroin addict. Opiates, cocaine, and other drugs took him away from a healthy life.

His drug use began early in life, becoming part of his identity.

He got into drugs by getting into the party life in his teens.

By the end of his senior year of high school, he knew had a drug problem.

He took so much that his drug dealer was worried about how much he was taking.

Identity drugs

Gold says he started into drugs for a reason that is common for many drug users.

“I think like a lot of addicts it stems from kinda feeling like an outsider somehow,” Gold says.

He did not do particularly well in school. He says he didn’t fit in at church or with his family.

“In retrospect, I was kind of turning to whatever kind of outlandish behavior I could to get kind of acceptance, validation, even if it was destructive and to my own peril,” Gold says.

Dr. Matt Woolley uses the psychological term “identity development” to label what Gold describes.

Woolley says kids try on personalities like jackets, to try to see what fits.

For someone like Gold who didn’t find a fit with family, school, or church, a person find an identity by taking drugs, by partying.

Gold says a drug-based identity is a deadly identity.

That is likely why his drug dealer called to see if he was okay, Gold says.

A heavy price

Losing friends and family to drugs is a part of drug addict’s life, Gold says.

Gold says his sister died of drug overdose, dying on a drug he introduced her to.

The loss of a brother and sister to drugs propelled Gold’s feelings of worthlessness and accelerated his addiction.

“It’s so toxic, because I thought I didn’t deserve forgiveness, even self-forgiveness. I thought I wasn’t worthy of that. I haven’t done anything to earn feeling good about myself. Everything I have done, I should feel awful about myself,” Gold says.

He says that learning to forgive himself was the toughest part of his recovery.

A new identity

Gold says he started the road to recovery when he was in the ICU after an overdose.

Many people came to visit him, including people he had stolen from, manipulated, or otherwise treated badly.

He says they didn’t think of him as a “despicable junkie.” They just wanted him to get better.

“I went right from the hospital to treatment,” Gold says.

When Gold got clean he started to notice the things he does when he is clean.

It was a slow process to learn who he was off drugs.

As an addict, Gold says he was liar, a thief, and a manipulator.

Gold started to observe that when he is clean he is honest and he doesn’t hurt people for his own gain.

His clean identity was not based on a story he told his family or friends. It was what he was really doing.

“And the reason that was really comforting and helpful to me is because that was objective. That was actual the reality,” Gold says.

 

Comedian/Recovering Heroin Addict Andy Gold: PART ONE

Comedian/Recovering Heroin Addict Andy Gold: PART TWO

 

Resources for those suffering from addiction

Download Project Recovery Podcast

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