Profiles in Recovery

Stephen Girard

Sobriety can be especially trying when you’re touring the world as a musician in recovery. Girard, an accomplished drummer, has been clean and sober for more than 33 years – while playing clubs in Europe, Japan and the United States.

The former Buddhist monk is a believer in meditation and being of service to others, which enhances his own recovery. He’s an active practitioner of the 12 steps – still attending several meetings each week – to sustain his emotional and physical health.

Girard hosts the Real Deal Recovery podcast and is a nationally certified recovery coach whose clients include high-profile musicians and actors.

“You have the power to develop and reinvent yourself,” he writes on his website. “Change your playmates, playgrounds and playthings, and stand up to your disease.”

Day Job:
Recovery coach, author, artist

What I lost to addiction:
I lost my physical, mental, and spiritual health, and the perspective to live life in any kind of healthy manner with myself and others. In terms of the material, I didn’t lose much because I didn’t have much to lose. My addiction started at a very early age, so I never had any kind of true self prior to recovery.

At my worst, I was:
Dying from the copious quantities of alcohol and drugs I was putting in my system. I had many bottoms prior to my recovery.

Advice to my younger self:
Don’t give up! Ask for help. Give to others.

My rock bottom moment:
Two days prior, my neighbors were stabbed to death. I was 22 years old, 5’10”, 125 pounds and dying.

What worked for me:
Multiple strategies: Making a decision to go to any length to stay clean and sober. Asking for help. Calling 7 people every day to help me learn how to ask for help. Telling someone right away if I felt like using or drinking. Planning my day around 12-step meetings, so I would stay connected to the program. Learning to HALT (don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). Getting at least two commitments at meetings.

I’ve detailed these strategies here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDRODZBbOyo&t=28s

Favorite recovery quote:
Don’t worry about working the steps to perfection. Be as honest as possible and do your best as you’ll be working them the rest of your life, anyway.

On my bucket list:
I have been accomplishing my goals since getting clean.

When cravings come:
I ask for help!
Help others!
Get into action!

On my schedule today:
Meditate, pray, meeting, 3 hours in my (percussion) studio, swim half mile. Freelance work.

What I value most in recovery:
The principles of honesty, integrity, and discipline.

What I learned about myself:
That I can dig deep.

How I get through the holidays:
Refrain from isolating.

I get inspired by:
The music of John Coltrane

Proudest moment:
Making over 25 records, Touring the world. Using rhythms to teach special needs individuals positive communication, social skills, and academic concepts.

Follow Stephen’s podcast at http://realdealrecoverypod.com

SHED THE STIGMA:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].