Rob Koebel, Emmy Award winning Investigative Reporter, had everything he ever imagined, his dream job, a beautiful wife, but in the background was alcohol. When his ex-wife a CNN News Anchor writes a tell all book about their marriage and goes on book tour promoting it – he has a very public and embarrassing meltdown. Rob is caught on a mall security camera, wasted taking a leak on the Apple Store. The arrest makes headlines across the country.
Four years later, Rob is sober and on a mission to put purpose and passion back into his life. Still unhappy after trying jobs in different careers, he moves 2,000 miles out west to Los Angeles, in hopes of getting a second chance at what he loves to do, meeting and sharing the stories of others. On his journey – he reconnects with old friends and meets new ones who share their stories about how they have or are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.
Join us now as Rob takes us through his battle with drugs and alcohol, the wreckage it caused in his life, when he hit rock bottom and his journey into recovery up to today!
Clean Date: September 22nd, 2012
Omar: What does your normal daily routine look like and what does your recovery routine look like?
Rob: Yeah, it’s wild. I’m out here in Southern California and every day’s a little bit different. Right now, I’ve been doing some producing and acting. So, the days range if, you know, I’m headed to a set sometimes our call time is 4:30 in the morning. Other days, you know, I don’t have any work. So, being a person in recovery is very important for me to try to stay on a schedule as much as I possibly can. Especially start out the day maybe with some meditation or just even quiet time for myself. You know, get my head on straight with focus on what I want to accomplish in that day. Keep very straight-laced, on a path, on a mission a little bit.
So, when I’m doing those kind of things, you know, they’re long days- 14, 15 hour days if you’re on a set. Other days, you know, it’s boring. So, I got to go work out and I need to be more religious on those things. You know, attend meetings. I’m in Southern California where I think we’ve got about 2,000 meetings a week and I’m so grateful for that because there’s all different kinds. You know, so I try to balance that knowing that balance for me is probably the most important thing that keeps me sober. Not too many highs, not too many lows. You know, keeping out of my own head.
Omar: Yeah, no, absolutely. Now, you said earlier, before we started the interview, you have two movies that you’ve been working on. One is called “Leap” and the other is called “Chasing Evel.” Those are coming out, right, soon?
Rob: Yeah, yeah. What happens typically is they’ll hit the film festivals, which I know “Chasing Evel” is out doing that. I think “Leap” is on its way. You know, they circulate to wherever those are submitted, you know, pick up distribution and stuff. I have not seen the final cut of either one of them, so I hope that they’re good. You know, it was certainly … You know, I’m pretty positive and excited about both of them, but they were very different to do. Both centered around recovery, which was very important.
“Leap” is a story of four people that are followed for a year and given some of world’s best life coaches. If you remember, John Gray [inaudible 00:02:19], I always screw that up, so I may have done that. Jack Canfield, “Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul.” John Demartini- he was a guy I really liked a lot. There’s a bunch of them. Each of us got about six or seven coaches and we had different categories. Mine was the life category where, you know, you screwed up your life, we’re going to help you. The other ones were relationship, one was small business, one was more of a larger business type thing. So, we each had our own own journeys. I actually gave my job, sold my house, and moved out to Southern California to begin a new life and chase my dreams.
Then, while I was out here, “Chasing Evel” is the story of Robbie Knievel, Evel Knievel’s son, and how he’s trying to keep the family name alive. Keep it the most famous on two wheels, but also on his journey in sobriety. Robbie, no secret, has struggled with alcohol addiction, you know, all his life, just like his dad. When we caught back up, it had been years since we had seen each other and he was close to a year sober and I had about three at that time. So, they asked me to be part of the film and and talk about the days where, yes, where we partied together. It was crazy times before he jumped the rooftops of the Grand Canyon, but then also share what it takes to be sober and how we achieve that on a day to day basis. You know, Robbie going back into the same things. He did a sober jump in Palm Springs, it’s part of the film, about a year ago.
Omar: Absolutely, no question about it. So, on this journey, how much clean time do you have and when is your anniversary date?
Rob: Anniversary date is September 22nd, 2012. So, coming close to four and a half years. Very grateful for that. For me, it’s not drinking and using is probably not the hardest thing. I guess I’m blessed in that aspect. That obsession was lifted after pissing on the Apple store and being embarrassed and, you know, really hurting a lot of people, too, disappointing your family, and stuff. So, I think, for me, that really drove it home, but I think as anybody would say that’s in recovery, man, it’s the hardest part sometimes just living life.
Omar: Okay, so, initially, what was keeping you from getting or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Rob: I didn’t understand what was required of me, what I needed to do. I didn’t understand it was a disease. I didn’t understand, really, that I was powerless over it. Most importantly, I didn’t understand I couldn’t do it alone. I couldn’t sponsor myself. That was a freaking mess.
Omar: So, number two: At what point did you have a spiritual awakening? That aha moment in recovery when you accepted that you are powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?
Rob: When I realized it was a disease and that there really wasn’t a rhyme nor reason to the things I did or said, but they were bad decisions under the influence of drugs and alcohol. I guess going forward there, it took a little bit of the burden away and that I didn’t have to carry that. Really, the aha moment was, I remember, was in Greensboro, I was like shit, it’s a disease. You know, this is like anything else and there’s nothing you can do about it, but you can change it now. I think, you know, just understanding that this was a disease really helped me tremendously. I guess it took away the guilt and the shame a little bit, at least.
Omar: Oh, no question about it. No question about it. You can finally give yourself a break.
Rob: That’s a perfect way to say it, “Give yourself a break- it’s a disease.” Now, we’re guys and women out there, too, are like, “Okay, what do I do about it?” That’s where we go. That’s what you go next. Okay, screw this, what do I do next?
Omar: So, Rob, do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?
Rob: That’s a good question. “The Night of the Gun.” If I was a journalist, I wouldn’t recommend it. I think, like, Caleel’s is pretty good. “I Should Be Dead.” I think Rob Lowe did a fantastic job. Those are just people I could relate to. I saw a thing on Leonard Nimoy. A documentary done by his son and they talk about it. I think that getting your hands out there on whatever … I don’t know, again, cliché, look around and those people that you want, go find out! I mean, there’s definitely enough high profile people out there, health, fitness, that are in recovery. Make it appeal to yourself. For me, Rob Lowe, Caleel’s book, and a couple other ones really were game changers for me.
Omar: What’s the name of Rob Lowe’s book?
Rob: “Stories I Only Tell My Friends,” May 2011.
Omar: Number four: What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Rob: Trust the process, have faith. The second part of that would be don’t give up. You can’t give up. I mean, like I said, this is my journey. Who would’ve picked it, but if you give up, you’ll never know what your journey is.
Omar: 100%. So, then, if you could give our newcomers only one suggestion, what would that be?
Rob: Trust the process, have faith.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEWCOMER
“Trust the process, have faith.”
Omar: Don’t give up.
Rob: Don’t give up. You know, it’s goes back to the … To me, those are the things that I remind myself day in and day out when I was stuck on the 405 in traffic. I smile, you know, I love L.A. when Randy Newman comes on. Don’t give up because I don’t know what’s around the corner and I can’t give up until I keep chasing down every possible dream, passion, and way to stay sober.
Omar: What’s the best way for our listeners to reach out to you?
Rob: Gosh, you can do it on Facebook. Rob Koebel. I’m on Instagram, rob2237. It’s really easy- gmail is the same thing: firstname.lastname@example.org. You know Social Media I’m on that stuff from time to time. We can’t get away from it. And my website www.robkoebel.com.
See you then!
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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.