The best way to educate yourself on drug addiction is to listen to it firsthand from people who have suffered with it.
That is the mission set forth by “Dopey” hosts Dave and Chris, self-proclaimed “ex-junkies who do a podcast.” They go by Dave and Chris to remain anonymous.
Chris was a drug addict who, in 2011, had been through 14 drug treatment centers for heroin, cocaine and alcohol abuse. He had been around the country at several different rehab centers, but the last time was different.
This is where he met Dave, in the designated smoking section, where he opines is the “most authentic and genuine expressions of rehab patients.”
Dave says this where their podcast was spiritually born, though it wasn’t until 2016 when they officially hit record that “Dopey started.”
“What came out was a typical no-holds-barred smoking pit conversation: dialogue rife with using stories, open-ended drug discussion, and debate over addiction philosophy,” according to the podcast’s website. “Even with minimal promotion and personal anonymity, we started to get emails from a diverse group of people, from convicted bank robbers to people in long-term recovery. Everyone had a story to tell, and the uniting theme was humor.”
While the show began by focusing on more recovery oriented stories, it has since shifted to more of a 50/50 split between that and various other talking points and anecdotes.
“We thought it was a good idea to tell our stories,” Dave said. “People who don’t even have addictions listen to the show and we have overall gotten a great response.”
As of Jan. 27, Dave and Chris have done 117 shows in just over two years.
“People are drawn to drug stories,” Dave said. “Even when I wasn’t on drugs I found drug stories interesting.”
One of the main goals of the two is to shed light on an overall taboo topic. They also said that the biggest thing to remember is that drug addicts are just like everybody else.
“It’s hard to get off drugs, but it’s possible,” Chris said. “Life is funny and tragic.”
According to Dave and Chris, they put a lot of work into creating their podcast. They meet once a month typically, but record three or four episodes in one sitting.
They don’t normally prepare any content, but instead, just start recording. After episode No. 30, they were worried they were going to run out of content, but nearly 100 episodes later, they say it is interesting that people still listen to it.
An interesting anecdote the two told me was how Jamie Lee Curtis was going to come on the show, but got ultimately chose not to.
“I work in a big old Jewish Deli, and I heard Jamie Lee Curtis was there eating,” Dave said. “I knew she was in recovery, so I wanted to tell her about ‘Dopey’ and ask her to come on. She was leaving so I raced out the back door of the restaurant to be ‘casually’ waiting at the front.
“When she came out, I was smoking a cigarette and was like ‘oh, Jamie Lee Curtis, what a pleasant surprise!’ My name is David and I do a podcast on drug addiction and recovery.'”
She lit up because she was a user in the past as well, and Dave told her he would love to have her on the show.
She agreed and asked for some contact info. He wrote it on a page from his waiter book, but he never thought i would hear from her again.
A few days later, Dave was at the grocery store when he noticed an email from “Jamie Guest.” He didn’t realize her last name was Guest, as she’d been married to the famous comedic actor Christopher Guest for many, many years.
He assumed she was like a “guest” in a hotel or something along those lines. He said the email was also weird, and he couldn’t imagine it had come from her.
It read something like, “How do we do this?”
He didn’t realize it was her so he just wrote back “Do what?”
And she wrote back “Podcast?”
Dave thought she was just a “run of the mill kook from the Dopey Nation,” so he wrote back “Oh. You mean like, come on the show?” And she wrote back “Yes.”
He still had no clue who she was.
Chris later texted Dave and said he believed it was Jamie Lee Curtis, to which Dave said it hit him like a ton of bricks that it totally was Jamie Lee Curtis.
“I wrote back sheepishly and apologetically ‘Oh my god, Jamie Lee Curtis, I didn’t realize it was you, yes of course we’d love to have you on. Would you like to prepare something or just wing it ?’” he said.
“I was overjoyed and certain that this could propel our stupid podcast to new heights,” he continued. “I told my family and some friends, and Chris, who never tells anyone anything, even told his mother who was equally ecstatic. I was sure this was gonna be it for us.”
About an hour later, he got another email that he says said something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, I looked at your website, and it seems I take my recovery way to seriously to make a joke of it.”
“I backpedaled. ‘Oh no, we also take our recovery deathly seriously. We just laugh a ‘survivor’s laugh on the show,'” he said.
She never responded, but Dave said that’s just how things go.
To hear about more of their adventures, check out the Dopey Podcast’s website, www.dopeypodcast.com.