Today we have a very heavy and heartfelt episode with Dave from Dopey Podcast. His cohost Chris recently passed away after a tragic relapse and overdose. Many of our listeners reached out and wanted to know what happened. We’re so grateful for Dave to join us to discuss Chris’s death and the future of Dopey Podcast with our recovery family across the world.
Listen to Chris’s Story
Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!
Dave says Chris was one the smartest people he ever met. This was one of the gifts that lead to his downfall. Chris was the master of drugs and manipulation. His character defect was pride and it caused his downfall.
Half the fans thought Chris’s overdose was a prank. Tragically, it wasn’t. Even though the two friends talked every single day, Dave was in denial of Chris’s relapse.
After Chris’s death, Dave knew he still had to put a show out that week. Something needed to be said to the people who cared about their message, and Dave has been carrying on alone ever since.
We couldn’t go into blackout when Chris died.
Dave met Chris seven years ago in rehab. He remembers Chris was so ingrained in the atmosphere, that he was like part of the furniture there. It turned out it was his fifteenth stint in rehab and he was a pro at it. Dave thought Chris was strange but also knew he was very smart, and his drug stories were insane.
Dave got out of treatment and went back to his life in Manhattan, but Chris stayed in another three months. Then when he was released he moved to Brooklyn to run a sober house. Dave and Chris both supported each other through periods of relapse and sobriety. During a time when they were both clean (after Dave worked on a pilot TV show and his ‘Oy Vey’ clothing line) he talked to Chris about his dream of having his own radio show.
In the beginning, Dopey Podcast wasn’t even about recovery. It was going to be about junkie war stories. The show had no format and was full of interruptions. They kept it simple, otherwise they knew they wouldn’t have the discipline to go through with it. The rules were to use the audio without editing it and to release an episode a week no matter what. They pretended to be making a show and it became a show.
We were funny like when your funny with your roommate.
They started the show as anonymous hosts. With Chris working on his degree and Dave being a dad, they wanted to keep a distance between their names and drugs. Then Dave and Chris realized that they couldn’t keep talking about drugs without talking about recovery. The podcast became wildly popular with a following all over the world. Despite Dopey’s success, Chris was suffering in silence.
Dave thinks Chris’s relapse may have begun in late spring 2018. Chris, who had moved to Boston to finish school, came to visit Dave in Manhattan. Dave remembers Chris was bursting with life. He was pure joy. Now that Dave reflects on that time, he wonders if that was when Chris had begun using again, when he thought he could have it all and do drugs at the same time.
By May-June 2018, Dave noticed Chris was grumpy. He complained a lot and friends started wondering if he was okay. Dave attributed Chris’s moods to SMI, severe mental illness and the fact that Chris was working on his masters and navigating a new relationship. Chris had a job and an internship, plus working on Dopey. He had every reason to look like shit.
He couldn’t say no to anybody, and he didn’t want to let anybody down.
Then Chris became mean-spirited and that wasn’t like him. Also, Chris’s interest in the show seemed to wane. Even when they finally got dream guest Arty Lange on, Chris wasn’t enthusiastic. It was a magical moment for Dave, but he had a feeling he might end up doing the show by himself one day. Little did he know how close to the truth he was.
The numbers from the Arty Lange show were huge and the Dopey community rejoiced. Still, Chris was not enthusiastic. Listeners noticed that he didn’t sound right. He wasn’t engaged. He wasn’t himself. But Dave still thought Chris was just tired, not back on heroin.
Chris kept blaming his behavior on the turmoil with his girlfriend, and Dave tried to give him relationship advice. After a night of talking to Dave about his problems on the phone, Chris asked for Dave to call him back at 1 am. Dave did call him back, but Chris never answered. Dave texted him first thing the next morning. At 6:31 a.m. Chris texted him back saying, “I’m good, basically I’m good. I’m sleeping. I’m alive. I’ll call you in a few hours.”
Dave was at ease and went for a walk with his wife and baby. Then he got a call from Chris’s girlfriend. She told him that she found Chris’s body. Dave didn’t believe her.Chris had painted his girlfriend as a vindictive, crazy woman and he was in total denial. It wasn’t until he confirmed it with Chris’s sister, Arden, that the truth sunk in.
None of us are %100 safe from this disease.
The Future of Dopey
Dave is not prepared to lose anything because of Chris’s death. He has his life and his family and has no urge to go back down the hole of addiction he worked so hard to climb out of. But Dopey will continue. Dave doesn’t see himself ever having a permanent partner again, but he plans to stick to his loose, unbalanced format and invite rotating guest hosts.