Back from Broken

By Colorado Public Radio

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Description

Back From Broken is an interview series about what it takes to recover from the biggest challenge of your life -- and what others can learn from your adversity. Colorado Public Radio’s Vic Vela, an award-winning journalist who’s also a recovering drug addict, hosts the podcast.

Vic talks with guests about challenges like substance abuse, mental illness, gambling addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Each story describes the highest highs, the darkest moments and what it takes to make a comeback. It’s a raw, empathetic show that’s ultimately about hope -- and how recovery is possible.


Episode Date
Hunter Biden
41:09

Hunter Biden’s struggle with addiction has been intense — and very public. His battle with alcohol and cocaine addiction came under scrutiny as his father, Joe Biden, ran for president. But with the support of his family, Hunter found the help he needed. His recovery story, which he shared in his book “Beautiful Things,” offers hope to those who are still struggling.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Brad Turner
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Apr 30, 2021
Kevin Griffin
36:16

Kevin Griffin was a talented musician who struggled with addiction, felt diretionless in life and eventually became homeless. Until he discovered Buddhism and a recovery program -- and wrote a book that blended the two concepts and helped countless readers struggling with their own addictions. One of those readers was Vic Vela, Back From Broken's host. That connection adds a personal angle to an episode that's full of surprises and hope.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Rebekah Romberg
Editors: Dennis Funk, Ann Marie Awad
Producers: Jo Erickson, Luis Antonio Perez
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Apr 23, 2021
Tracie Lechman
31:00

Tracie Lechman's recovery story starts with a troubled relationship: Her high school boyfriend committed a horrific crime in which four innocent people lost their lives. The fallout left Tracie entangled in the criminal justice system, struggling with addiction and haunted by trauma. Her story is about how recovery can be a long journey, but illustrates that life does get better once you seek help.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Jo Erickson
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Apr 16, 2021
Matthew Jarvis
34:04

Matthew Jarvis grew up in a home where his parents fought a lot, sometimes violently. That situation set the stage for years of difficult relationships and a crack cocaine addiction. But then a realization led Matthew to change his outlook on life -- and ultimately help others with similar challenges.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Luis Antonio Perez
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Jo Erickson, Rebekah Romberg
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner, Blue Dot Sessions
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Apr 09, 2021
Elena Joy Thurston
35:15

Elena Joy Thurston was a devout Mormon, and took her faith seriously. Then she fell in love with another woman, and found herself in punishing sessions of what's often called conversion therapy -- a process meant to turn gay people straight. Elena shares the story of how she handled that trauma, learned to accept herself and ultimately find love.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Jo Erickson
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Apr 02, 2021
Jessica Dueñas
33:33

As both a student and a teacher, Jessica Dueñas found a sanctuary in the classroom. She was confident, capable and passionate about learning and helping students. But her struggle with alcoholism made her reevaluate her priorities — and the career she loved. Yet somehow, she's more hopeful than before.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Matthew Simonson
Editor: Rachel Estabrook
Producers: Luis Antonio Perez, Jo Erickson, Rebekah Romberg, Dennis Funk
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Mar 26, 2021
John Evans
29:09

John Evans was a directionless young man who felt a calling to join the military after 9/11. What he witnessed in Iraq rattled him, and he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction for years. But he found help, and now he spends his life helping other veterans who are struggling. This episode was adapted from "Soldiering On," a Back From Broken virtual live event presented by Colorado Public Radio and the American Homefront Project, a nationwide public radio collaboration exploring veterans' stories.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Hear more music from John Evans on his YouTube channel.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Luis Antonio Perez
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Jo Erickson and Rebekah Romberg
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Mar 19, 2021
Catherine Cho
30:11

Author Catherine Cho recounts how one of the happiest moments of her life turned ugly when she developed postpartum psychosis shortly after the birth of her first child. This is the story of how she and her family made it through.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Jo Erickson
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Luis Antonio Perez, Rebekah Romberg
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Mar 12, 2021
Sara Benincasa
34:10

Writer and comedian Sara Benincasa travels the world speaking about her struggle with agoraphobia -- which is funny, since her condition often gives her an intense fear of traveling. Her story also touches on family, addiction and why having a terrible day doesn't mean life will always be terrible.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Luis Antonio Perez
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Rebekah Romberg, Jo Erickson
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Mar 05, 2021
Andrew Zimmern
32:30

Before he became host of the shows Bizarre Foods and What’s Eating America, Andrew Zimmern struggled for years with alcoholism. He was broke and desperate before he got help. Now, he's a found a way forward and he uses his work in restaurants to help others struggling with addiction.

Back From Broken is a show about how we are all broken sometimes, and how we need help from time to time. If you’re struggling, you can find a list of resources at BackFromBroken.org.

Host: Vic Vela
Lead producer: Rebekah Romberg
Editor: Dennis Funk
Producers: Luis Antonio Perez, Jo Erickson
Music: Daniel Mescher, Brad Turner
Executive producers: Brad Turner, Rachel Estabrook

Thanks also to Hart van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Matt Herz, Martin Skavish, Kim Nguyen, Francie Swidler.

BackFromBroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

Feb 26, 2021
Trailer: Season 2 Starts Soon!
03:04

Last season we told stories of life's challenges. Of recovery and hope. And you listened! So we're coming back.

It’s a hard time in our world. There’s a lot to cope with right now. And we want to be here for you -- whatever you're dealing with.

We return on Feb. 26, so please subscribe. And if you're already subscribed, please do us a favor: Share Back from Broken with a couple of friends who could use a little hope in their lives.

Feb 10, 2021
Presenting: The Long Lonely Lake
43:06

In this special episode, Colorado Public Radio reporter Dan Boyce uses interviews with friends and family, plus a fishing trip, to piece together lost memories from his own mental breakdown.

A quick warning: This story is brutal at times, and raw. It contains content that may not be suitable for all listeners, including strong language and frank discussion of suicide.

By the time Dan was 30, when most of this episode takes place, he was doing well for himself. He was moving from local reporting in his native Montana, to covering national stories from his new home in Denver.

Dan had previously suffered from bouts of depression through most of his life, but nothing he couldn’t overcome. During this time though, Dan really slipped — descending into a depression so severe that it led to a complete mental breakdown.

On today’s episode, how Dan bounced back from the edge of insanity.

Here’s a story Dan calls “The Long Lonely Lake.”

Dec 22, 2020
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
37:13

Jake "The Snake" Roberts was one of the most famous pro wrestlers of the 1980s. He had a massive following. But behind the scenes he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and haunted by childhood abuse. This is the story of how Jake "The Snake" turned things around and found a second career as a stand-up comedian.

Jun 26, 2020
Paul Scudo
33:38

Paul Scudo had a flashy, high-powered hotel job — and behind the scenes, he had a longtime drug addiction. When he couldn't hide it anymore, things blew up in his face. But he managed to use his newfound wisdom to help some of the most troubled drug addicts in Colorado get their lives back on track.

On Twitter: @VicVela1

More about Step Denver: stepdenver.org

Jun 12, 2020
Keri Blakinger
25:46

Whatever Keri Blakinger puts her mind to, she excels at. She has incredible focus. But that worked against her when she got into heroin. Hear Keri's journey from the edge of athletic stardom, to the depths of addiction, to a new career in journalism that puts her in the national spotlight for something entirely different.

backfrombroken.org
On Twitter: @VicVela1

May 29, 2020
Andy Bellatti
32:57

Andy Bellatti couldn't resist the lights and sounds of a slot machine. He spent his days in Las Vegas building a successful career as a personable, TV-ready fitness expert, and his nights gambling away his savings. This is the story of how he hit rock bottom, and then confronted the demons that fueled his gambling addiction and finally got help.

By the way: We like to end episodes of Back from Broken with comeback stories from our listeners. We'd love to hear how you're doing in your recovery. You can record your update as a voice memo or mp3. Tell us your first name and city of residence, something good that's happened in your recovery lately, and why it gives you hope. Hit save and send it to Vic@BackFromBroken.org. We might feature it on a future episode. Thanks!

May 15, 2020
Dana Smith
27:51

Dana Smith has a unusual job: She helps people in recovery reach their potential at a gym dedicated to sobriety and fitness. But she didn’t reach this point easily. This is the story of how she overcame her own addiction, found new purpose in life after a horrific accident, and built a career she loves.

Follow Vic Vela on Twitter: @VicVela1

May 01, 2020
The Lumineers LIVE!
39:11

The Lumineers have sold millions of records and played stadiums around the globe. Their latest album is all about the pain of addiction and what it's like to see a loved one struggle with substance abuse. The band members share the personal stories that inspired the music, and play stripped-down versions of three songs, including the hit "Gloria." It's an intimate live episode recorded in front of an audience of people in recovery at the Clocktower Cabaret in Denver.

Apr 17, 2020
Vic's Story
38:52

Host Vic Vela has been through addiction, and now he’s in recovery. On this episode, Vic gives a first-person account of how his cocaine use affected the people around him. And he shows why there's hope for everyone who longs to make a comeback.

Apr 03, 2020
Chamique Holdsclaw
34:27

She's one of the greatest basketball players of all time. She was a three-time national champion in college and later starred in the WNBA. But Chamique Holdsclaw has struggled with mental health problems and bipolar disorder. She tells her story and explains how she wants to help others think differently about mental health.

Mar 20, 2020
David Mellor
30:51

A driver rammed into David Mellor when he was 18. It ended his hopes of pitching in the major leagues. It also led to years of sleepless nights cold sweats, and eventually a diagnosis of PTSD. David talks about how that diagnosis changed him, and how he did finally make it to Major League Baseball.

Mar 06, 2020
Anders Osborne
35:37

Anders Osborne is a talented singer, blues guitarist and songwriter from New Orleans. He was dependent on alcohol for years — and it nearly destroyed his career and family. Anders opens up about his struggles with addiction, explains how he got sober and shares songs about those experiences. He also talks about the role drugs and alcohol play in the music industry, and why he created a network to help other musicians in recovery stay clean while on tour.

If you or a friend is struggling with addiction, help is available. Find a list of resources at backfrombroken.org.

Feb 21, 2020
Trailer: Back from Broken
03:03

Back From Broken is a podcast about the highest highs, the darkest moments and what it takes to make a comeback. Colorado Public Radio’s Vic Vela — a journalist and recovering drug addict — talks to guests about how they’ve struggled and the surprising ways they put their lives back together. It’s an intimate show about challenges like substance abuse, PTSD, gambling addiction and mental health issues. Ultimately, it’s a podcast about hope.

The first episode arrives Feb. 21, so subscribe now!

Feb 07, 2020