By Howard L.

To pay forward my debt of gratitude to Alcoholics Anonymous for 36 years of sobriety, I launched the “AA Recovery Interviews” podcast in December 2020. Since then, over 150 AA members from around the world have shared with me their stories of experience, strength, and hope to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. Each hour-long interview focuses on what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Most importantly, my guests share what it’s been like during their years or decades in recovery. We discuss the challenges and gifts, as well as the tragedies and triumphs, experienced during sobriety. Each story is a beacon of hope and proof-positive that AA really works.

In creating the “AA Recovery Interviews” podcast, extraordinary care was taken to adhere to AA’s Twelve Traditions and all General Service Office guidelines for maintaining anonymity online. No videos or images are shown, and all names are anonymized using the initial of each guest’s last name. Further steps are taken to edit out the names of treatment centers, hospitals, sober living houses, and AA club and/or meeting names. Assurance that no guest can be identified by name, job, or other affiliation allows each AA member to speak frankly about their own journey in sobriety. What’s more, I pay all podcast production costs and no outside advertising is allowed so the show’s integrity is rock-solid. To date, no requests to withdraw a story have ever been received from interviewees.

The process of preparing each AA member’s story has been both gratifying and uplifting. While there are many similarities among them (e.g. the average age of the first drink/drunk seems to be 14), the differences between the stories still create a captivating listening experience. From the very first interview I conducted with Adam M., each succeeding story seemed richer than the last. To me, that’s a demonstration of a higher power present within each personal testimonial. After 150 interviews, I’m still amazed at the impact of every single story.

Since there is no online promotion of the “AA Recovery Interviews” podcast, growth in listenership has been largely organic and mostly word-of-mouth. Nevertheless, there have been over 300,000 downloads, a reasonable indication that the podcast is touching many lives around the world. While 5-star reviews and ratings are appreciated, it is those people I see in meetings whose comments mean the most to me. They tell me they regularly listen in their cars, on their walks, during their workouts, and whenever they want to be uplifted and inspired by their fellow AAs. 

Occasionally, I hear about someone who decided to try AA, or return to the Program after a relapse as the result of hearing the podcast. When I hear that this little weekly podcast has become an important part of anyone’s program, I am both humbled and gratefully reminded that service to others is a gift my higher power has given me to pass on to my fellow AA members.

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