For most of us, it’s a topic we’ll never have cause to explore. While we may each have our own individual vices and coping mechanisms, for the majority of the population, they remain relatively harmless and tend not to affect our relationships or day-to-day lives. Yet, for others, sobriety is more than just a word. It is a concept, a symbol, and a beacon of hope to strive for.
For those battling addiction, the road to sobriety can be a harrowing and lonely journey into the darkest corners of the human psyche. The fall from grace, into the grips of substance abuse, is often accompanied by a wake of personal destruction. It is not uncommon for this illness to tear entire families apart and alienate individuals from those they once held closest. For Paul Noddings, the dream is to help these individuals recover the people they once were and shed their addiction once and for all.
Paul, a former addict himself, is the owner of the Gault House – Sober Living Environment located in Santa Cruz, California. Servicing up to 20 recovering addicts at any given time, Paul and his wife offer shelter and support for those individuals combating the ever-present struggle against relapse.
In an effort to make their voices heard, as well as expand the potential to help a greater number of people, Paul recently launched his podcast, Stories of Addiction. True to form, the show features interviews with Paul’s clients in recovery, in which they delve into the gritty and dark truth of their downward spiral.
Separated into three parts, each interview chronicles what Paul designates, “the descent into addiction, the turning point, and the story of recovery.” Due to the intimate and trusting relationship between Paul and his clients, the interviews offer a profoundly compelling listening experience that explores the carnage and havoc that addiction wreaks upon the lives of users. The haunting and beautiful eloquence in which the interviews are conducted, coupled with the brutal honesty of each recovering addict, gives one the impression of sitting in on a confessional.
Paul was quick to explain, however, that the podcast is not about monetizing or capitalizing on these individuals hardships. Instead, it’s about “providing a service to other clients and those people still currently in the throes of addiction”. He went on to add that, “it seems to take a huge weight off people.”
When we asked Paul about how he initially came to the idea of podcasting, he smiled, recalling that, “I just had a strong gut compulsion to do this.” While the podcast offers comfort and solidarity to others in the program, it is also an effective tool to reach a broader and more diverse audience. Long term, Paul’s aim is to receive sponsorship in order to grow the sober living environment into a YMCA-esque facility, and help more and more people.
“The question is, how do we go from servicing 20 clients, to 200, to 2,000 and even 20,000 someday? This is where podcasting comes in. What other platform offers me that small potential that it might mushroom into something much larger?”
Paul and his team have also recently begun experimenting with providing video content as well, in an effort to add another dimension to their content and offer a varied listening/viewing experience. Their interview with Marty, a recovering heroin addict who began using after a diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma, marked the team’s first available video production.
When asked about what advice he might offer to someone just beginning their own podcast experience, Paul didn’t miss a beat:
“Don’t invent in the wheel on your own. If this is your first podcast, and there’s one available, use a consultant. You guys in L.A. [Podetize] are a massive help, you can take me so much further…I can’t do for myself what you are doing for me.”
For more information about the Gault House or its recovery program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org