David Essel – Permanent Life & Alcohol Recovery (388)

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In this episode of the How’d It Happen podcast, David Essel shares his personal journey of overcoming addiction, depression, and anxiety. He emphasizes the importance of permanent recovery and how he helps individuals achieve it. Mike and David also discuss the dangers of codependency and how it can trap individuals in addiction.

David Essel is a #1 best-selling author of 13 books, a counselor, executive coach, international speaker, radio/tv/podcast host, sport psychology coach, and an all faiths minister whose mission is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day, in every area of life, regardless of their current circumstances. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says “David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement.”

David’s newest book, endorsed by treatment center owners, doctors, and clients, is completely changing the world of recovery! “David Essel’s Permanent Alcohol and Life Recovery”, is so advanced and unique, that people who never thought they could be free of any addiction…are now free!


In this episode, David talks about the flaws in personal growth workshops and the shortcomings of the twelve-step program for addiction recovery. He suggests that these programs could benefit from modernization and updates to improve their success rates.


David also explains the connection between codependency and addiction, and the different ways codependency can affect our lives, including the need for outside validation and the need to be right. David shares his passion for fighting injustice and what it means to be a great therapist that helps clients achieve their goals in the fastest time possible instead of keeping clients dependent on them. Tune in for more!


Quote from the episode:

“The foundation of all addiction is a mental health imbalance.” – David Essel


Key highlights:

  • The problems with traditional alcohol recovery
  • David’s suicide attempt and struggle with alcohol addiction
  • The foundation of all addiction
  • Why therapy shouldn’t take years to achieve a certain goal
  • How David’s addiction recovery program is different from 12 step programs
  • Alcoholism and addiction is a choice, not a disease
  • What is codependency?

Connect with David Essel:

Website: davidessel.com

LinkedIn: David Essel

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:


Mike Malatesta, David Essel


Mike Malatesta  00:00

Hey everyone, Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the how that happened podcast on this podcast. I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success to discover not just how it happened but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. On today’s show, I’m talking to David Essel, a leader in the positive thinking movement and an advocate for permanent alcohol and life recovery. We talked about his suicide attempt the three things that therapists owe every patient and why he believes that codependency is the largest addiction in the world, not drugs or alcohol, but codependency. So alcoholism, any addiction is a choice. Great, great, great to be with a group of alcoholics that I’m sitting here going, if this guy’s cleaned for 15 years, and he’s still calling himself an alcoholic. What that does, Mike, that gives us an out if we relapse, it’s not our fault. I’m an alcoholic. That’s what alcoholics do. They’re the ones that chose just like I did, to pick up the alcohol and put it down my throat. My gene didn’t come out of my throat, grab a bottle of wine and force me to drink it. David is persuasive. He’s high energy, and he’s just playing fun. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Hey, David, welcome to the HOW’D IT HAPPEN podcast.


David Essel  01:28

Mike, great to be with you. And I know we’re gonna rock today and give people some really valid information on how to improve their lives. So I appreciate the offer to be a guest and we’re gonna knock it out of the park brother.


Mike Malatesta  01:40

Well, I’ll tell you if anyone can do it. You can and I’m going to tell people why that’s a true statement right now. So David Russell is a number one best selling author 13 books, is that correct? 13 books. I’m at one by the way, so I’ve got some catching up to do. He is also a counselor, executive coach, international speaker Radio TV host and a minister whose mission is to get this positively affect 2 million people or more every day, in every area of life regardless of their current circumstances. That’s heavy. That’s that’s a big goal. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy, who most of you probably know, says David Wessel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement. That’s high praise. His newest book, helping Americans heal. The Ultimate Guide to healing during these challenging times just became another number one bestseller and his ultimate gratitude journal 52 weeks to a new you is a unique gratitude program. And that was just released last year. 2022. Right.


David Essel  02:43

Yeah. And like we even have another book that just came out two weeks ago. And that one is this one. It’s David Essel is permanent alcohol and life recovery. It’s, it’s a very different look at recovery. You know, we’ve been teaching recovery for 30 years. I’m a former alcoholic and addict. And we just got tired with the old recovery system. Like it doesn’t work, you know, it has about a 90% failure rate. So we put out this new book, and we’ve already gotten endorsements from treatment center owners, doctors, I mean, it’s incredible. And it’s been out for like two weeks or something like that. So and that is number 13. So you’re right, with a number for sure. Okay. Well, I’m sorry, I missed the newest one. But I’m anxious to dive into that, particularly because you said 90% for 90% of people, I’m assuming you’re talking about 12 steps or something like that don’t don’t work. And it’s kind of interesting, because you hear so many people talk about how effective Paul steps is. So let’s we’ll we’ll get we’ll get into that. Okay, so just let me finish off the bio here. David’s work of 43 years is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer. A legend, by the way, and Wayne had this to say about David David Essos destiny is to help you become more alive in every area of your life that had to be amazing to get that compliment from him. You know, Mike, the very first time I interviewed Wayne Dyer was in 1990. And that’s the very first time I had his syndicated radio talk show. And at the end of the hour, he looks at me and he says, How can I help you? And now Now for those people that don’t know this Wayne Dyer was a superstar in the 80s. I mean, he was massive in the 80s. And the 90s. He blew it out of the park and most people know him from like, 2000 on or something, you know, and when he used to do a lot of PBS shows, that’s where I think a lot of America really got to know Wayne Dyer’s through his PBS. Several hours shows that he would do. But you know, at the end of the interview, he said, How can I help you? And I looked at him, I thought, What is this guy saying he’s such a superstar. I even though I’ve been in business for 13 years, I’ve only been a radio host for six months for God’s sake. And I looked at him and I said, Wayne, what do you mean? He goes, Well, you said you’re phenomenal at what you do. He said, I’ve already talked to my publicist. I’m coming back in six months. I’m going to be back on your show. I love your approach here and Energy. So I have a question for you. How can I help you? And you know, it was amazing that this guy that was already at the top of the mountain was looking down and saying, How can I lift you up? How can I bring you to the place you want to be? And so he gave me two amazing gifts. Mike, the very first thing when I said, I’m not really sure why anybody had mine, he said, Well, I can give you an endorsement. He said, Every time I’ll come on, I’ll give you a new endorsement. He said, I’d love to do that. I love what you’re doing. He said. And then number two, David, the most important thing I could tell you about growing your career is find things that you’re passionate about, that you teach, that you can give away for free. And I remember looking at him going well, what do you mean? He said, your best stuff. I said, give away my best stuff. I said, as a counselor, and then as a coach, how am I going to, you know, make money if I’m giving it away. And he said, David, trust the process. With the more you give, the more you’ll receive. And Mike, you know, the book I just showed you permanent alcohol and life recovery. It’s available at our website right now for free. And that’s because of Wayne Dyer. And our book that you mentioned, helping Americans heal. It’s at our website for free. And the other book, you mentioned, the ultimate gratitude journal, we have those three massively high selling books all for free at the website. And it’s because of Wayne Dyer. So when you and I were talking before we got on the air, and we were talking about how cool it is to meet different people, you know, that’s an example right? You meet someone like that you have no idea that you know that they can help you. I didn’t even have to ask, but he was that kind of a guy, Mike. He was so classy. so down to earth didn’t matter how many millions of dollars he made a day, by the way. You know, he was just a really awesome human being


Mike Malatesta  06:37

I imagined when he asked you that question. And I’m sorry, I’m getting off of your bio for a second. But I imagine when he asked you that question, you were confused by it. Did you know Did you have an answer for him? Because I’m thinking to myself, Man, if I was there, would I have had an answer? Like a good answer for all right. I mean, he.


David Essel  06:54

Yeah, Mike, I didn’t even know I said, I don’t even know what to say, you know, how can I help you? How can you help me Wayne? I’m not really sure what to say. And then he came up with, you know, he goes, Well, let me give me an endorsement quote. And then let me give you a tip. You know, so I was lost. Mike, you’re dead on. I was dumbfounded. You know, now, I was only probably three to four months into being a syndicated host. We’re in 275 cities, which is a lot to be in that many cities. So we had a very large audience. And I’m sitting there stumbling, you know, trying to think of how to answer this guy’s question. I was not prepared at all. And every time he came back on, he would ask me questions, you know, do you need anything else? Is there anything else I can do for you? You know, so it was a cool friendship that we had, I’ll say acquaintanceship I won’t say friendship. It wasn’t like we got together to play tennis or anything, you know, but yeah, every several months, you know, from 1990 until 2000. He was on the show. And it was phenomenal. Nice. Nice. Well, thank you for sharing so much of that.


Mike Malatesta  07:52

David’s also been endorsed by Mark Victor Hansen, who’s one of the he’s the co author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as many other celebrities. I mentioned Jenny McCarthy before. He is I’m not even gonna go through this. But he’s, he’s very, he’s like, verified and certified. And in everything, which I find amazing. And I really am looking forward to talking about all the different things that you that you help people with. And you can reach them learn more about him at his website, which is his name, David. So e ss e l.com. And I’ve heard you mentioned in some of your videos, talk, David have that right talk. David david.com. And David essel.com are the same website. Micah, we may talk, David so that when we’re doing interviews like this, people don’t have to say, How do you spell ECIL? You know, so we just came up with talk david.com. So it’s easy to remember. And plus, Mike, it’s all I frickin do. i All I do is talk. What’s appropriate. Okay, talk david.com. All right. So David, I start every podcast with the same simple question when that is, how did it happen for you? Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, I’ll go right to the heart of the matter, most successful people in life and I just consider myself a successful person. I don’t mean financially, I just mean in general, you know, I love what I do, which means, you know, I feel that that’s probably one of the number one keys to how do you know if you’re a successful person in life, believe it or not, it comes down to do you love what you do. Because if you love what you do, that success is just going to sort of roll off of you, right? And people will be drawn to you, because your energy is so pure. But how did happen for me was that even as a counselor and a coach and all the other roles I played in 1990, I had a failed suicide attempt. And that’s how it happened, Mike, that’s that’s how everything came full circle. I realized through that experience that I had submerged the depression, anxiety and a lot of other mental health issues that I had as a counselor with alcohol and drugs. I started at 12. For 30 years, I was an alcoholic and an addict. Even doing the work and counseling. Oh my god, I got so many people sober and


David Essel  10:00

I would go home at night and drink a bottle of two bottles of wine seven days a week for years. And then the failed suicide attempt is really what changed everything for me and I, I, you know, I praise God, I praise my higher power, praise, whatever word, I don’t care what word you use, I use them all, it doesn’t really matter to me. But I praise the entity, the energy in this universe that allowed me to come out of that experience, I still a mortal being, you know, still someone with a physical self. And, and what was really interesting, Mike is that they, you know, for anyone that has ever gone through this, you’re going to know what I’m talking about. For about the first eight months after a failed suicide attempt, you are on extremely heavy psychotic medication. And it’s done for a purpose, it’s dumb to numb the hell out of your emotional response system. Because up until that time, my emotional response system was doing what’s called suicidal ideation. Every day, I was thinking about how am I going to do it? And when am I going to do it, and I’m tired of this life. And I’m overwhelmed. And, you know, for all these years, I’m working really hard. And you know, Mike, I lived on the beach at that time, and it seemed to the outside world, my life was absolutely fantastic. And inside, I was dying. And so after about nine months of these drugs, which which were really rough, but they did stop the suicidal thoughts completely. I mean, they did their work, but I couldn’t sleep barely. And it was it was horrendous. The side effects of the medications were very difficult. But I went to the psychiatrist, and I said, Hey, Doc, listen, I’m in therapy, like you recommended several times a week, you know, I’ve been on these medications, they’re destroying my life, quite frankly, I can’t sleep, would you be willing to titrate down to help me get off of all medications? And he said, under one condition? And I said, Sure, he said that when we get off the medications, you go through a full mental health evaluation, I want to find out what your core is what created the cravings for addiction, and then what created the craving to take your life. So I get done with all this. And I go through all of his evaluations. And when we sat down and he started reading them off to me, I was shaking my head now and he looks up. He said, What are you shaking your head for? I said, I’m none of those things. He said, Well, you came back tested very clearly as deep clinical depression. I said, Okay, I’ll buy that. People don’t try to commit suicide if they’re not clinically depressed. So okay, I’ll give you that one. He said, You also came out with the evaluation as having severe generalized anxiety disorder. I said, not at all. He said, he also came out with ADD, I said, not at all said, you also came out with ADHD, so not at all. He looked at me, he said, David, you can’t heal if you can’t admit what you got. And I said, Doc, listen, I’m Mr. Motivation on magazines, you know, Lifetime Television called me the motivational guru of life coaching back in the day, and I said, No, no, no, I’m not. And he said, Okay, I can’t help you. Until you come to the reality. I said, Let’s do the test again. He said, Go to an independent facility. I did. I went got the test results came back, Mike, guess what doc was right. I had it all. And he said to me, Listen, this was so crucial, because these conditions you’ve had since birth, you know, I can remember Mike, I was a very irritable child, highly sensitive, overly emotional, my parents had no idea how to handle me. My brother and sister were the exact opposite. You know, they were filing my mom and dad’s orders in line, and I fought them tooth and nail, every step along the way. But when we went into the doctor’s office, and it’s kind of funny, you know, I’m talking about the 1950s. Now, the doctor was sitting behind the desk, I was a young kid smoking cigarettes. That’s how long ago this was, the doctor was smoking cigarettes in the office. And he said to my parents, you know, we didn’t have the testing back then. And we didn’t have the knowledge. He said that my irritability, my lack of emotional control, and everything else was due to allergies. I lived in Syracuse, New York, and there was a lot of pollen at different times of the year. But you know, my irritability and anger, Mike ran through the wintertime, okay, there’s no pollen in the wintertime. So, you know, no one knew how to put this together. I didn’t know at four years of age, you know how to put this information together. So my parents did the best they could. But at age of 12, I was so overwhelmed with my inability to deal with my own internal sensitivity, which now we find out was anxiety, depression, ATD ADHD, is that I wanted to be a part of this group of guys who were 16, I was 12. And they had an initiation. That was a drink to warm Budweiser. And I did and instantly my I felt at peace, I instantly felt at peace. And I said, this is my new home, you know, like alcohol is my friend. If I can have two beers, and I hated the taste, but oh my lord, I became so mellow. That was the beginning of it. And you know what we say in our new book, and what I’ve been saying for God years and years, and here’s the foundation of all addiction is a mental health imbalance. There’s something going on with our mental health. It might be low self confidence and low self esteem, which means that peer pressure will get you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do so you can fit in to society. It could be undiagnosed depression, anxiety, it could be trauma. Mott, you know, but underneath every addiction, it’s not genetics, genetics don’t cause our addictions. And I can prove it, we prove it in the book a million times. But that was the turning point. You know, how did I get here? I got here by going through one of the worst experiences of my life. And then when I finally did heal, and I got off of all medications, I’ve spent my entire life finding ways to help people that don’t know how to deal with depression, anxiety, trauma, molestation, at youth, you name it, everything in the world, you know, betrayal, emotional unavailability of parents, you know, I, I help now. And because I’ve had so many, and some people may say, I still have all these disorders, you know, because I’ve had so many different challenges that I’ve had to find my way through, I have found my way through. And I’ve found ways to deal with depression, anxiety, ATD, and ADHD, that without medication, we use amino acid supplementation $15 a month at Amazon, when people go through, you know, my any of our programs, we work with mental health. You know, we found that eating a certain way can help people with anxiety and depression, we learned that removing certain foods can help people within that anxiety, depression, we’ve learned that there’s all kinds of different ways to deal with it and not have to go into the world of pharmaceuticals. So for since 1990, to today, my whole life has turned around, you know, and I’ve dedicated my existence just like we’re giving away, you know, three books for free. We could say go to Amazon and buy them. But we could also say, hey, go get them from the website download. I’m absolutely no charge at all. I want this information that is available, not only in my books and other people’s books, too. But you know, we want this information to get in the hands of people. We don’t want to just best selling books. We want best selling books that change freakin lives show from 1990. Today, Mike, that’s all I do. You know, and you had mentioned at the top of the show in our bio, our mission statement is to positively affect 2 million people a day, regardless of their circumstances. Mike, you and I are doing it right now your audience is going to be part of that 2 million people. And when I get off of this interview and go to the next one, you know, that’s how we reach these amount of people, social media, we reach them, you know, but I think if there’s one word that we could say that that my work is all about, is giving people hope that’s really it. Because when you have hope and hope for what, for what I hope for a better life hoped for an easier life hoped for a life with less cash and drama, hope for recovery from addiction, hope, from recovery from financial struggle that’s gone on for years hope for recovery, from relationships that have just melted in front of us, you know, I mean, that’s hope, you know, that’s like giving someone hope. Listen, the fact that you’re honest with me, it tells me that you can heal. When people hear that mic it like it rattles their brain. You mean, just being honest, is step one. And I said to her yes, you know, I could get emotional right now. I might,


Mike Malatesta  17:57

it sounds to me, like Hope is the equivalent of permission in the context of what you were talking about with her at least right? It was like, I’m scared. I don’t know, you, I, I’m looking for someone to give me permission to be honest about who I am and what my issues are so that I can like all progress starts with the truth, right? But we don’t want to tell ourselves, we don’t want to admit the truth. And we don’t want to admit the truth to ourselves. We don’t want to admit the truth to a stranger. But it’s the only way to get started if I’m hearing you correctly.


David Essel  18:29

Yeah, no, it’s absolutely true. And you know, what you said about giving our truth to strangers, you know, there’s always a fear of judgment, right? Like, this person is going to judge me and this person is going to criticize me. And one of the things that I want to say, you know, and I hope that there’s counselors and therapists listening to this today, you know, there’s two things that are really important, I believe, being in this business for 43 years that most other counselors and therapists need to pick up their game, if they want to be at the top of their game. And that is, number one, is that there’s no no use of shame or guilt in any sessions whatsoever. So you know, they’re never ever, ever, if I’m working with someone from a different addiction, and they relapse, I don’t ever say, Oh, come on, Mike, you could have done better than that. Like that’s creating shame and guilt. You know, what I say is we start right now. That’s it. That was yesterday. That was last weekend. We start again, right now, are you with me? That’s all we need to hear. Are you with me? You know, and so we don’t use shame and guilt. So number one, I coaches, counselors and therapists, you know, we really need to be super conscious of the words we use, and a lot of times we use words that are inappropriate, so please be Be careful. Number two, is that every coach therapist counselor needs to give written homework assignments and this is huge Mike, talk therapy is extremely limited in regards to how we can help people change their lives. You can feel better after an hour with a counselor, therapist coach doing talk therapy, but it’s not going to last. And those are the people that are with a therapist or coach or a counselor for 45678 years which is insane to me unethical, immoral. If a counselor can help you a therapist can help you in 12 months accomplish something really dramatic. Either you’re not being honest with them, or they’re not good at what they do. But we limit our work to 12 months now at the end of 12 months now, some people I work with for four months, Mike, and we get this stuff done, and they’re gone, right? Other people, we max at 12. Now, if I work with someone for a year, and then they say, Hey, I want to continue working, we better be working on another goal, we better not be still working on the one that I had 12 months to help you heal with because then I take that personally as I may have failed them. So we never go past a year unless someone says Okay, now that you’ve got me all set with my addiction, or now that you’ve got me all set with my relationship, can we work on business? Can we work on my weights, you know, if you want to change goals, absolutely cool. But for every person that’s with us, if you’re with someone and you’ve been with them for four or five or six or seven years, and you haven’t seen major improvement, whatever you’re working on, ask yourself why and then go in and talk to your therapist and say, Hey, I’ve been with you for four years, and I’m still talking about when I was molested as a child, I’m still talking about my former husband cheating on me. I’m still okay, no, no, no, no, no, no, there’s something amiss there and ask your therapist, counselor, Coach, what they can do if they can do anything to change the trajectory or move on to someone new.


Mike Malatesta  21:17

I’ve never been in therapy. But But I hear I’ve had people on the show. And I’ve listened to a lot of people talk about the role of therapy in their life. And many of them say that they’ve been in therapy for decades, you know, long, long periods of time. And they say it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. But what you just said is something I wonder every time I hear somebody say that is what’s the need, what is the what what is the consistent compelling need that is not being resolved, that requires you now you mentioned if you want to keep working on different goals, and so I never thought of that maybe people get something done. And but that that’s a lot of things. If you’ve been doing it for decades, that’s a lot of things to keep working on, you know. So basically, you put yourself, the therapist has put themselves in the patient’s role and say, if I can’t help you move past this in 12 months, I don’t have the skill set to help you or you or you aren’t doing the work, I suppose one or the other. Yeah, or comedy.


David Essel  22:15

No, and it could be a combination of both Mike and that’s what and I say to all my clients, if you don’t do the homework, I give you two warnings. The second warning is the ending of our work together. So the first warning is really the only warning you get, you know, someone comes in and says they’re going to do the work, I always say that there’s going to be reading, there’s going to be writing, journaling, and there’s going to be watching videos, and I may have you doing a bunch of stuff you never heard of before. I said but you know, all this is called homework, and you’ve got to do it. And it’s got to be in writing. So if someone comes to the plate on, you know, the 10th session or the second session, and they didn’t do their homework, if they have a valid excuse, of course, I’m not gonna say anything, you know, they were like, one guy that I work with was supposed to come yesterday, and he had a whole bunch of homework that was due. And he never showed up for his session. And we find out last night, he’s in the hospital. So you know, we understand if you’re in a hospital, that you’re not going to be coming to a session with your homework done. But other than that, we don’t give excuses. And I say to people, I’ll give you a warning. And if you don’t come the next for the rest of the time we work together with the homework done, we’re going to have to end our work together. Because I cannot help you heal in 60 minutes a week for God’s sake, we can get the ball rolling as 60 minutes session. But you’ve got to put what we talk about on Monday at noon, in the action over the next six days. So that when on the next Monday at noon, when we talk that we have some movement, are you have questions, or you’ve hit roadblocks that we can overcome. But that’s the critical part of homework. We coaches, therapists and counselors that’s missing today, which so many people and I want to make this a very, very firm statement. When people come to me and they’re not used to getting a homework, the very first thing they’ll go is homework. And I go Yeah, and they go I’ve had other counselors, they’ve never asked me for homework and now say and that’s why you’re here working on the same issue.


Mike Malatesta  24:02

Right? Let’s get rid of it. So I have two questions about that first, on the homework thing, and I’m glad you clarified it there. But it seems to me like not having homework. And again, I’m just speculating here, but not having homework is sort of like going to, you know, a great talk. And you’re so jazzed up during the talk, you think, Man, this is going to change this, whatever, I’m going to be so much better after this because this was so awesome. And then you leave and first of all, maybe you didn’t take any notes so it’s all like in your memory now so that’s going to fade really fast and even if you did take notes, you put it aside and you’re like someday I’m gonna get get to that and you don’t do you end up doing nothing because you can’t you can’t be inspired to change in an hour of listening to someone and then not take any responsibility or any action


David Essel  24:50

100% Correct. And Mike The same thing goes with these intensive workshops that go for two or three or four days or seven days long. You know, I say to people, they’ll come out oh my gosh. Just what you’re saying, I am so ready now to lose that way to drop that addiction to change this relationship to make more money, you know, and we’re all fired up, whether it’s an hour lecture that you mentioned, or a four day intensive, it doesn’t matter. And what I say to people is this, most individuals within 14 days will be back to their old habits, if not soon. And so this is what I recommend, if you’re going to go to an intensive workshop, and you’re going to invest money into hotels and foods and the cost of a three or four day experience, make sure that you have lined up when you get home for at least eight weeks, a therapist or counselor or coach to embed in you what you learned, and to help you create a schedule of daily action steps. So you can change. Most of us can’t change just by going and listen to someone who’s a phenomenal motivational speaker. But if you come home and you’re ready, and you have someone lined up that you’re going to start working with, and you share with them what you learned and what you want to change with your life. Now we’re talking high accountability, that weekend workshop is going to be valued a million times more than if you tried to pull it off on your own. When you’re working with a professional.


Mike Malatesta  26:12

Do you mind if I ask you what might be an unfair question, the type of things that you were just talking about, I’ve always had a problem with that, because I always feel like not that the content isn’t good or, but I always feel like people who are putting on those types of shows are this might be too strong of a word manipulate might be too strong of a word, but they are certainly leading people down a path that they purport to they purport to have the ability to change your life in three days or two days or one day for a price for a price. And afterwards human nature, which they’re already aware of. And you just explained very well, human nature they know is going to take over. And that gives them an opportunity to sell you again. And like you had said with a therapist, not with judgment, like oh, hey, you didn’t do the work or you didn’t do this. It’s just like, Well, that happens. Good thing is I have, you know, the next right $3,999 course that I can sell you and that that one is definitely going to do. And I know that’s an unfair question to ask you. If you feel like that’s what’s happening with some of these folks and why it’s so they’re basic. They’re they’re taking advantage of human nature as opposed to trying to trying to help someone move through their particular human history.


David Essel  27:30

I don’t think it’s an unfair question at all. I think it’s an extremely fair question. And it goes hand in hand with what I believe. If these individuals were to stand up on stage and remind people, Hey, listen, when you leave here, you’re going to be fired up, and you’re gonna think you’re going to change the world and everything else. But listen, no one changes in three day workshops, okay, I’m just gonna be honest with you. No one changes in a seven day workshop, I’m gonna be honest with you. So I want you to be thinking with all this great information I’m giving you and I’m lifting you up to the skies. And I know, the whole audience here is high as guides, and that’s great. But you need someone to hold you accountable when you get home. If you really truly want to see a life change. That’s the way it should be presented. Mike, unfortunately, there’s a lot of hype stirs. There’s a lot of people in the world of personal growth that will sell you whatever it takes to sell you. And then they just move on to the next group and the next group and the next group. It’s really unfortunate, but it’s really true. Listen, as a counselor, and all of the suppose it knowledge I have, I had to go to a treatment center to get sober. And then I had to hire a counselor for 52 straight weeks after I went to the 30 or 20 a day to a treatment center. Okay, so I did what I tell other people to do. I knew those 30 days, Mike, I was an addict and alcoholic for 30 years, I knew there’s no way in the world, I was going to be completely changed in 30 days. I mean, I had to be smart enough to know that right? And so thank God, I went out. But you know, when we were at the center, the medical director, now this is quite a few years ago, but but the statistics are the same. There was 120 people in the treatment center. And it was fairly expensive to be there. And she asked everyone, I think it was the third day because at first you go into a detox center, you and you have to detox, whatever your drugs are before, you’re putting into general population. So I was in the detox center for about three days. And then finally, when my body was working through and I had been on certain medications that were anticonvulsants and anti anxiety, so that the drugs and the alcohol could get out of my system. I went into general population and she said, Okay, I want everyone in this room, there’s 120 60 women 60 Men, raise your hand, if you think you’re going to be sober in 365 days, and of course, 120 people raised their hand. And then she said, Okay, I want you six guys to stand and I want you six women to stand. And I’m just going to love it with everyone. As a medical director of this center. I’m going to tell you, that’s the percentage of people 10% That will be sober in a year. And she said, I’m going to tell you why because you’re going to stop doing the work. The minute you leave here, you’re gonna go back to the people you used to hang out with you drank and did your drugs with. And you’ll be right back into the cycle. And I’ll probably see you in about 60 or 90 days, at least she was freaking honest. Right? But I wish she would have stood up there and said, when you get out of here, find a professional to hold your feet to the fire to keep doing the work we’re teaching you to do here. But the other problem, Mike, that you alluded to earlier of why we have a 10% success rate. Listen, there are there are treatment centers that are $100,000 a month, $100,000 a month that also have about a 10% success rate. Okay. There are people a woman Tammy, who had several treatment centers out in Malibu, California, Malibu is one of the biggest places for treatment centers. And the east coast of Florida, where I went is the second biggest place for treatment centers in the USA, right. She said to me when she endorsed our book, she said, you know, David, I’m out of the treatment center business right now. But I want to tell you something, I was in it for 20 years. For the first 10 years. I thought 12 steps was the only way to go just like most treatment centers still today, Mike, it’s so sad 2023 She said, after the first 10 years, I woke up and realized I am running a revolving door treatment center. There’s something wrong with this. She said, So David, this is what I did. I started calling other treatment centers and saying, hey, the 12 step program isn’t working for me. I have to be honest with you. I have revolving doors. How about you? And they go, Yeah, we have revolving doors, too. And she said, How about changing it up? She said, David, every answer I got was pushed back. No, this is the best program in the country. This is the best program in the world. So she said when I read your book, we gave her the manuscript before it became published. She said I was blown away. This is not a 12 step book at all. Now we say in the book might you know 12 stamp was created in the 30s and 40s, for God’s sake, and they’ve never updated one darn thing in their program. So please,


Mike Malatesta  31:57

like the 10 commandments, right? It got it got it exactly right way.


David Essel  32:01

Yeah, yeah. You know, it’s like, oh, my gosh, can we update with the times? So here’s a question. Mike, do you know any car dealerships that are successful today, running out of file cabinets, and manila folders? Not computers?


Mike Malatesta  32:16

Yeah, we’re selling 100 year old cars on there.


David Essel  32:20

I mean, there is not a business today that is successful, that’s running on the same principles of the 30s and 40s. Except for 12 Step. They have never, ever updated a damn thing. So I reach out in my book, and I say, Listen, I will help you guys. Do you know how much new information there is on brain chemistry, supplementation neuroscience of the brain? What about the microbiome in the gut? Do you know that the microbiome in the gut has a lot to do with addiction? Because that’s where 70% of serotonin historic serotonin is one of the most powerful feel good endorphins in the body. And yet, you’re not going to hear that a 12 step. What about meditation? You’re not going to hear that What about how to eat for full life recovery? You won’t hear that in 12 Step. What I mean, you’re not going to hear anything that’s updated. You know, there’s, there’s so many brilliant people in the world of addiction recovery today that could help 12 step up their game and switch it around. I mean, my gosh, they do it for free. You pay a buck, you sit in a room for a buck, can you imagine if they updated their program and switched it instead of having a 90% failure rate, if they updated their information, and made sure that their sponsors were certified as at least certified coaches in the world of addiction of the sponsors, they don’t know anything, but what their other sponsors told them. You know, I went I went to 120 Straight AAA meetings after I got out of the treatment center only because I promised my therapist and the treatment center I would, he said, I want you to go 9090 days. Well, I’m one of those kinds of goofballs, that says, Oh, I can anyone can do 90 days. I’m doing 120 I went to 120 Straight meetings, and I’m sitting there shaking my head. Now I have an advantage. My background is psychology. But I’m listening to these people talking and they’re 15 years sober and they’re going Hi, I’m Jim, I’m an alcoholic, always will be an alcoholic. Great, great, great to be with a group of alcoholics. I’m sitting here going if this guy’s cleaned for 15 years and he’s still calling himself an alcoholic. What that does might that gives us an out if we relapse. It’s not our fault. I’m an alcoholic. That’s what alcoholics do. Then the other thing they teach that it’s a disease. You know, cancer is a frequent disease. Alcoholism is a frequent choice. Listen, it was my choice to drink. No one forced me to mine even though I have genes I have the gene for alcoholism. I’ve had family members die of alcoholism, and it’s one of the worst things in the world you could ever see happen. It’s a horrendous death. Okay, but they’re the ones that chose just like I did to pick up the alcohol and put it down my throat. My gene didn’t come out of my throat, grab a bottle of wine and forced me to drink it. You So alcoholism, any addiction is a choice. Now, the gene for alcoholism, I have it, my brother had it my brother’s sober now, our family members have it, the gene can only be activated if you drink alcohol. If you do not drink alcohol, you cannot become an alcoholic.


Mike Malatesta  35:19

David, it’s. So a couple of things. First of all, you must get a lot of pushback from people for saying that because the movement is that it’s not your fault. It’s not this, that’s not your fault. This isn’t your fault. That’s not your fault. And it is a disease. And so as soon as it’s disease, it’s something you can’t control. It’s not your fault, what you said, it makes so much sense, right? If you never try it, you will never become it. And some people, once they do try it, they’re going to be doing it for however long because they activate a receptor or they do something right. Or, like you said, at the very beginning, they have an issue of mental health issue, whatever. And this makes them feel like they’re addressing the issue in a way that they can’t otherwise do it. Right. Right. That’s right. So I’m really interested in digging in a little bit more on the disease thing, because that’s something that having never been in a program. Fortunately, it’s a very hard thing for me to understand. Because I feel like it’s such an easy thing to to say, and to offer as a reason why the person deserves I’ll say, a pass for lack of a better word, as opposed to the choice thing like what you said, it seems like the wave is going in, in the other way, like the wave of responsibility and a lot of things in, in our global society, not just the US. Oh,


David Essel  36:37

it’s so true, Mike, I mean, if we can, if we can play punches, pilot and wash our hands of our responsibility to you know, to take control of a situation people will do it all the time. You know, we have those statements that says it’s not your fault. It’s a disease. So that’s a step for a relapse right there. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. You know, we hear that all the time in meetings. No, I’m really sorry to tell you Yes, it is your fault. Now, being molested isn’t your fault as a child, being abandoned isn’t your fault as a child going through trauma, bullying as a child is not your fault. And that can create us, you know, to have internal pain, and a lack of self love and self confidence and self esteem and want to escape reality. You know, all addictions, their number one purpose, Mike, and they all do it very well, whether we’re talking about porn, addiction, spending, addiction, alcohol drugs, is that they get us out of our current reality for a period of time. That’s what they do only for a period of time. Now, I want to share another personal story to tell you how powerful we only teach permanent alcohol and addiction recovery. What does that mean? We don’t believe in one day at a time, we think that’s a bunch of crap. You don’t recover one day at a time you make a decision, I am going to recover for the rest of my life. And here’s a two stories I’m gonna share with you imagine this. Imagine like you meet the woman of your dreams. And you fall in love and she falls in love with you. And you guys know you’re meant to be together. And you date for a year and you finally get down on one knee and you look up at her and you go baby, we’ve been together for a year. We’re meant to be together forever. I want you to marry you marry you. And she freaks out and goes Mike. Oh my god, I’ve been waiting 11 months for this at first month I met you I knew you were the one and you said fantastic. There’s only one one thing I want to mention to you. I will marry you one day at a time. Mike, do you think she’d be overly excited about that kind of a statement? Do you think that is added commitment? Is that a commitment? married someone one day at a time? Pretty fun? Yeah, that’s, that’s a very one day at a time was it’s nonsense, you know, it’s ridiculousness. It’s no commitment at all. Because yeah, you can call everyone has to do it one day at a time. But what about the commitment, I am committed to permanent alcohol, permanent food, permanent drug recovery, you know that that’s what we want. Now, in our program, what we normally do is work with people for about three to four weeks. And we get them to understand the value of trust and the experience we have in the end the program we’ve created. And then at that time, I say to them now we’ve got to talk about permanent versus one day at a time. And I go through a complete explanation just like I did here, you know about why we believe in permanent recovery versus one day to time we’ve got to get more serious than then we have then the second part of the story that I want to share with you is that I got clean a very long time ago. And it doesn’t mean my life has been easy. Since getting sober into completely I’m just David so now I don’t even say I’m David Essel ex alcoholic or former anything are, you know, blah, blah, blah. I’m just David hassle. But since that time, I’ve gone through a bankruptcy without ever thinking about having a drink. I’ve gone through foreclosure. This is out of greed. Like it’s out of my own greed that I did this. It was during during a time of incredible real estate deals and I just got really greedy, but I never drank. But even more importantly than that, two and a half years ago, my mom died after a hellacious battle with dementia for three years. It was the worst thing I could have ever seen in my life. And I was in Florida and she was in Syracuse, New York, my brother Terry and my sister, Mary de and were the heroes, they were able to take care of my mom and dad in their own home with nurses. And for the three to four years, they were both sick as how we are at least able to keep them at home. And this was during COVID. And we did everything we could to keep them at home. But when I’m FaceTiming, my mom, and she looks like death. And she’s saying things and doing things that people with dementia when they hit something called Shadowland do it is so nasty and so difficult to watch. It’s so hard to be a part of, but not one time, did I ever think about having a drink or doing drugs? And we went through that with my mom and my mom, I gotta tell you this, Mike, you know why this is so important. I say this, I was a very difficult child. You can imagine having a child who is an alcoholic starting at 12 is not an easy thing to handle for any parents. My mom was never happy when she found drugs and alcohol and everything else. But she never made me feel unlovable. She would discipline me and she would let me know she’s not happy with my choices, but she never made me feel unlovable. And I remember at 30 You know, this is before I even got clean. I remember 30 calling my parents and telling them that they were amazing. And I had to apologize for things I didn’t know why I did was with a as a kid, which I wouldn’t find out for a few more years later, after the failed suicide attempt that I was carrying a lot of mental challenges, you know, and then my father after my mom died, he was with us for another year and he had a hellacious battle until he finally died. Not one time, during that experience. Did I ever even think about having a drink, Mike, and this is the program we teach. You know, and this is what I believe every program should teach. You know, I want people to be so powerfully permanently recovered from any addiction that they don’t need me anymore. You don’t have to keep coming back. You know, the other thing about the 12 step programs, they say if you want to stay sober, you have to keep coming back from meetings. That’s called codependency. That’s what it’s called. You’re creating codependent people. We want independent permanently recovered people. We don’t want people can you imagine like if I sat down if you know if this was a 12 step meeting, and instead of a 12 step meeting is me with with one person. I said, Hey, listen, this program works. And they say how confident are you? I say 100%. And they go? Is there anything I need to know right now? Well, the only thing you need to know is you have to work with me for the rest of your life. Come on. Now. Let’s wake up. That’s called codependency. I don’t want people working with me for the rest of their life. I want them free Mike, I want to give them everything they have and make them work really hard. So that they walk away empowered, that they’re the ones that got themselves sober. It wasn’t because they had to keep coming to a meeting or keep working with David Essel. They did the work they feel on top of the world. And when people read our new book, and they’re gonna see a story from an executive that I helped get sober. And then they’re going to read right after that story in my book, a letter from his 17 year old daughter who never thought she would have a real dad because her dad was a raging alcoholic ever since she was born. And the letter in the book will move you to tears her letter of what it’s like to have the father she always want my dad’s permanent recoverable,


Mike Malatesta  43:22

right. Yeah, sure. You know, I just read recently, Matthew Perry’s book. He’s Chandler from friends, the TV show, if you remember that, and he’s well yeah, I mean, the majority of the book is about his everybody calls it a struggle or whatever with with alcohol and drugs. And when you mentioned the Malibu in the Florida, Rick, you know, how, how expensive these places are and how he goes, he I don’t know how many different times he’s been in six, seven, a lot. And he was always able to manipulate the system somehow. Because he was famous and because he could write the check and because whatever, he basically came out of recovery, staying, you know, inpatient recovery, not recovered one bit, and just went back to right away, and maybe you didn’t even stop while he was in there. And it just, it’s just, it’s like amazing to me, and even he talks about going to 12 Step Program. He’s like, Well, it was the best place to get drugs and women but yeah, you could I could get everything I wanted go into 12 step now. I’ve never been so and that may be just because he is who he is. I don’t know. But it was a very depressing story. Now he’s clean at seven timeout, you know, in 2020 and I just pray for the guy like cheese. Yeah, you know, you’re 50 some year old man now I mean, he should talk to you. I think I think he should talk to you. You mentioned codependency and I’ve heard you talk about that on your on your videos and your website. And I want to make sure that people understand what CodePen what you mean by codependency what does it mean and why is it why is it something that trap So many of us


David Essel  45:01

yeah, my codependency we termed in 2002, the largest addiction in the world and to me today it still is it is by far the largest addiction. The one difficult thing about codependency describing it is that there’s 2000 different legs to codependency, the most common one that people are aware of is the people pleaser. The individual that’s afraid of conflict, too afraid of having, you know, strong conversations or conversations about hard topics. So they just agree with whoever they’re with. If there was a group of Republicans, they agree with the Republicans, if they then two hours later are with a group of Democrats, they agree with the Democrats, you know, they’re they’re wishy washy, we call them bamboo trees, that wherever way the wind is flowing, they’re going to flow with it right, because they don’t like conflict. So that’s one type of codependency. Another type of codependency, which is very similar, are individuals that have opinions, but they never voiced them. So they may be in a marriage where that they feel that their husband or their wife is doing inappropriate things, but they never voiced anything. Once again, trying to avoid conflict, trying to keep the peace you know, that’s the number one definition of codependency is individuals that are trying to keep the peace, but codependency also goes to addiction. We become codependent on alcohol to relax, to have fun, to take care of boredom, to take care of anger to take care of insecurity, you know, it’s called liquid courage, right? So we can become codependent. And that was me, you know, I It’s so weird. I could get on stage in front of 5000 people not feel nervous at all, rock and roll and have a blast. But if I went to a networking event, I would have to have a couple glasses of wine ahead of time. Because I’m walking in. I’m not the star of the show. I may not know anyone there, and I’ve got to walk around to introduce myself. I didn’t have the confidence and self esteem. Isn’t that so that’s it for me.


Mike Malatesta  46:47

That’s me. i That is me. I can’t I feel so uncomfortable. And I’m always kicking myself like why do I feel uncomfortable? These are just people that want to be around me and want to talk to me and whatever. And I feel like I go in the corner and just like someone has to come up to me and get it started. And then I’m like, okay, you know, this is okay, but otherwise I just stand there. It’s sorry to interrupt you. But that’s just that’s a problem for


David Essel  47:12

me. Yeah. And we’re codependent because we’re afraid of being judged. We’re afraid to be criticized or afraid of others, right. So codependent now codependency can also swing in the exact opposite direction, where we have to be right we have to have the last word, we have to make sure that that person knows that I had no more I know more studies than they know. I have better statistics than they have. So that’s someone who’s codependent on being right there. And if you look on social media, my Lord You know, there’s a ton of codependent people that you know, have to argue it’s so funny on my pages on social media, Mike, there’s only one topic that you’ll find today or for the last number of years that some people might find that I’m a little over the top about. And it’s a kid named Trent lair camp. And he’s been in the news but not enough. St. Simons Island, Georgia. It’s so disgusting. What’s happened to this port Poor boy, he’s 19 years of age. He has been bullied since he was 11. He attempted suicide at a young age because of the bullying. The family moves to this island where it’s supposed to be safe and, and friendly and everything. And about three weeks ago, six of his friends took them out drinking ended up tying his arms to a chair, forced alcohol down his throat forced a psychedelic drugs down his throat, defecate it which means they shit on him, pissed on him spray painted his face and entire body, then throw them in front of the emergency room hospital exit. And they think it’s funny. On my page, you will see pictures of these barbarians from the New York Post that we wanted to expose. And make sure the public knows who these people are. Now, I normally don’t go in this direction. I’m if you look at the rest of the page, you’ll see a puppy with his arm over a duck. Okay, you’ll see all the cutest stuff in the world motivational statements and all that kind of stopped. But this is one place where I will be very independent. Anyone that wants to try to tear me about Go ahead. You’ll never win. I know what’s right. I know what’s wrong. The district attorney in that island is way off base. Now they’re trying to victimize the victim. They’re saying it’s his fault that he got abused that he wasn’t what he taped his own arms to the chair with a garden hose down his throat with alcohol. How do you do that? Like I’m not sure how you can manipulate that move


Mike Malatesta  49:39

these guys so badly that they had to protect themselves. Yeah, right yeah.


David Essel  49:45

Yeah. It’s so you’ll you’ll see me have very strong opinions on things. Rarely do you see me get involved. I never get involved with politics or any of the other crap vaccines or any of that nonsense. I never go down that road. Most of the time. My work is strictly about lifting spear It’s giving hope, as we talked about the beginning of the show, you know, that’s really where David Essos work is, I will go off chain every once in a while if I find some injustice like this, and I’ll fight like hell for Trent and his family. But besides that, you know, codependency means, you know, you are dependent upon outside validation to feel good about yourself. You’re dependent upon these drugs or this food or you’re dependent upon social media, and you spend too many hours a day or you’re dependent upon video games, and you waste too many hours a day. That’s codependency it’s in every area of our life.


Mike Malatesta  50:33

Got it. David, I know you’re up against time here. I want to thank you so much for being on the show today. This has been a fantastic conversation. I so much of what you said was resonating with me and I hope it’s resonating with you as you’re listening. David’s newest book is permanent, permanent alcohol and life recovery. He’s got 13 other books, check him out at talk david.com David S. Hello, thank you so much for what you’re doing and for sharing your message with us today.


David Essel  50:59

Mike, I appreciate your open mindedness. I appreciate your questions they were dead on. I know your show is going to rock and we’re going to open some eyes with this interview Mike, which is what we want to do open eyes and give people hope. So thank you so much for having me on the hour. Need me again, I am with you,


Mike Malatesta  51:17

everybody, thanks for listening to this show. And before you go, I just have three requests for you one if you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review write something nice about me Give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two, I’ve got a book called owner shift how getting selfish got me unstuck. It’s an Amazon bestseller, and I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes and Noble Amazon, you can get it everywhere if you’re looking for inspiration that will help you unlock your greatness and potential order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy and if you get it please let me know what you think. Number three, my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday. And I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and the podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. You could sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name Mike malatesta.com. You do that right now put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you

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Alexi Cortopassi

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