SHOW NOTES: Today we have Barry Mangione joining us on The SHAIR Podcast. Barry is an author, musician, podcaster, life coach, and pediatric physical therapist.
Barry was once a struggling alcoholic suffering from depression, failed relationships, and bankruptcy. He even came close to suicide, but he now enjoys a life filled with creativity, service to others, and abundant possibilities. In his Self-Help Rockstar Show podcast, he features music, interviews, and his own brand of self-help advice in order to raise self-awareness and to inspire people to go out and live their best lives every day.
In his self-help book No Easy Answers: A Book of Life-Changing Questions, Barry shares his personal success story with readers so that they, too, can achieve personal transformation. Barry is also currently in the studio recording an album of rock songs to carry his message of hope and healing to music lovers everywhere. He lives in New York with his wife and their family, who are all firm believers in the paleo diet and lifestyle for both physical and mental health.
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.
Here are Barry’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Barry: Cool. So my day starts pretty early. I wear a lot of hats in my life, but I’m a Pediatric Physical Therapist by day. I have my podcast at night. I’m also an author, singer, song writer. I do a lot of things. I also do some coaching as well. So I wake up and get ready for work. First thing I do is meditate once I get up and it doesn’t have to be for like an hour or something sitting in a room with lotus petals all around me. My wife and I wake up together, we sit next to each other in bed and set a timer and we just enjoy some silence for awhile. It helps us get tuned in for the day. From there I just head off to work. I work with developmentally disabled kids in my physical therapy practice and also do some life coaching and while I’m doing that, I’m getting guests for my podcast and writing music and at other times in the day trying to record music and squeeze in time for that and try to interview people so it’s a busy, hectic day and then I try to exercise as well because that’s also part of just staying clean and staying healthy and then I usually just pass out the moment I hit the bed at night.
Omar: Is there something else that you do on a regular basis that allows you to connect specifically to your higher power?
Barry: Well, I like to have different avenues to access that. I’m lucky my wife is a minister. She’s the pastor of a church. Now mind you, I consider myself a devout agnostic, but I get a lot of spiritual practice through her because she’s so good at what she does, the message that she gives in her sermons, in her work is universally translatable to anyone regardless of your faith. Besides that and the meditation, I also journal during the day. I actually have two separate journals that I use. One is one that I just create on my own covering a few different areas, including attitude and habits and then I have a separate habit journal, which is, if you want to find it online, it’s actually called The Habit Journal. If you’re looking to make some changes and get your habits in order, this is a great journal to have. I highly recommend it. I found this thing and it’s basically just a tracking device for you to monitor your own progress and track your own habits and set goals and see what progress you’re making on them and then it’s set up in such a way you review what you set out to do at the end of each week and then look at how much progress you’ve made and if you didn’t, then what could you do differently going forward.
Omar: Alright, so how much clean time do you have and when’s your anniversary date?
Barry: So my anniversary date is November 25th. I was confused on the last day I drank. My anniversary date is the next day so my anniversary date is November 25, 2009 is when I stopped so I’m coming up on six years.
Omar: Perfect. I love it. How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and what was your drug of choice?
Barry: You want to know something? Actually high school I was a straight arrow. I was a goody two shoes and I think that lead to my issues later in life. I had a lot of pressure on me. I was the youngest of three boys and my two brothers both drank for sport basically back in the 70s and so I was the one carrying the load for the family. I was gonna be the first one to go to college and the first to get a professional job and so I was a straight arrow, goody two shoes. I didn’t start really drinking for fun until college, so that would be like 1989-90. Yeah, I just did your typical college drinking. Yeah, we’ll get messed up from time to time, but I pretty much had a handle on it. I was a social drinker for awhile for most of my life.
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Barry: Well a couple of things and one I didn’t find out until much later. Number one was something I call LOAD, lack of accountability disorder, which is basically what we were talking about, lack of personal responsibility and not owning 100% of my life. That was a big part of me, that was a big thing that I had to overcome in being able to start and continue recovery. The other one I realized years later was my diet. I’m trying not to go on a soapbox on this one, but I follow a pretty strict paleo/ketogenic diet and I found out that gluten, sugar and some dairy were just inflammatory for me. When I got off of all those things, my mood stabilized and all that depression and all those mood swings and those bad feelings leveled out to where I could think way more clearly and have more energy and just have way more clarity and I know that back when I was broke and living on Ramen noodles and granola bars and stuffing myself full of stuff that was inflaming my brain, I know that hampered my recovery. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know looking back now.
Omar: Listeners change your diet. Quit eating so much shit!
Barry: Seriously if anyone has any questions about what paleo has done for me, just hit me up. You can find me on Twitter or my website, anywhere. I’d be happy because it’s been life changing for me.
Omar: Well before we finish up then, tell us what’s the best way to get a hold of you so we can ask you those amazing questions?
Barry: Sure. You can find me at BarryMangione.com or [email protected]
Omar: What is your favorite book? What would you recommend to a newcomer?
Barry: Okay besides my book of course. Just a shameless plug. No Easy Answers – A Book of Life Changing Questions. You can find that on my website. It’s also on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but I recommend this other book all the time and it’s The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and Debbie Ford. Are you familiar with that one?
Omar: No, no.
Barry: I’m so surprised. I was on another podcast and somebody asked me about that and I’m like “really you never heard of that one?” It was a game changer for me and the reason is I think it helped me get over that hurdle of accepting personal responsibility by accepting this what they call the shadow of you as you rather than I think a lot of us in the recovery community at some point during our journey when we use or we make mistakes and we mess up, we’ll say “that wasn’t me” and The Shadow Effect helps you see that yes that is you. You are not a separate disjointed being, that you have this light and shadow in you and it’s all you and the more you deny it and the more you try to push it aside and pretend it doesn’t exist, the more it will come back at you and try to own you.
Omar: That’s beautiful man. I never even remotely considered that because we’re so, well it’s on a subconscious level now because again like we were talking about taking accountability and being able to blame that, that wasn’t me, that was just I don’t even know who that was. You go from blaming other people to blaming an invisible entity. I hadn’t thought about that and this is the first time this book is being recommended so that’s why I said that sounds interesting. I guess it’s a delve into more personal responsibility.
Barry: It’s that and it’s also a delve into wholeness, just embracing all aspects of you and it’s about radical self acceptance.
Omar: I love it. Listeners, a new book in there. Perfect. Barry, what is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Barry: Hard to nail that down to one.
Omar: Give us a few.
Barry: Alright I think the first one that comes to mind after what we were just talking about was a quote that somebody mentioned that said ‘there is no real change without radical self acceptance’ and so the best suggestion I ever received probably came from that and that no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, accept yourself as you are, where you are.
It also happens to be the motto of a charity organization I work with called the Appalachia Service Project we help rebuild and repair homes in the poorest regions of the Appalachia Mountains. Part of the slogan is we make homes warmer, safer and drier. The other part is we accept people where they are as the are. Whatever you’ve done, it’s not about what you’ve done. It’s about what you’re doing now. So radical self acceptance.
Omar: Beautiful. I love it. And if you could give a newcomer only one suggestion, what would that be?
SUGGESTION FOR THE NEWCOMER
“Ask for help when you need it and offer help when you’re able.”
Barry: Ask for help when you need it and offer help when you’re able. My wife and I talk about this a lot. Often times we’re afraid to ask for help and there is a shame involved with it and what I like to tell people is think about a time when you were able to help someone else out, when someone came to you. Did you turn them away? If you were able to help them out, did you? If you did, how did it make you feel? Did you feel good? Did you feel good that you were able to help someone? It really is a good feeling. We were just talking about that, helping people. Well you’re not being a burden. What you’re doing is you’re giving someone else an opportunity to get that feeling and get that experience of helping someone. So my suggestion would be drop the shame. It doesn’t serve you. If you need help, ask for it.
Omar: Absolutely beautiful. Barry, I love what you’re doing out there man. You’re giving back on global level and really, seriously I applaud you because what you’re doing out there and I’m listening to when we opened up this interview, your days are packed full and on top of that, all this charity work that you’re doing, man that is just, talk about filling your recovery bank account man. Who kills themselves? You know what I mean? Or even thinks about it. When I think about the kind of service that you’re doing, the feelings that are associated with that, just indescribable I would say.
Barry: You know what the great thing is, is when you fill your days with meaningful work, you don’t get as tired.
Omar: It’s true. We’re exhausted. I mean I’ll count myself in this. We do more in one day than most people do in a week. I personally believe it because it’s a lot.
Barry: I’ll correct that. When you do meaningful work you get tired, but you don’t get burned out and that’s where I think a lot of people are struggling.
Thanks again for your SHAIR Barry!
See you then!
Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.