CAUTION: Contains themes of an adult nature.
I believe that we can all learn something about ourselves from every single person we interact with and that it is through hearing other people’s stories that we can learn the most. Today’s guest has a really powerful story to share – he is the singer-songwriter, Benjamin Francis Leftwich. I’ve been a huge fan of his work since his 2011 debut album and I think his music connects with people in an incredible way. Ben’s fourth studio album, To Carry a Whale, has just been released – the first that he has recorded in sobriety.
Ben and I begin by talking about the disconnect between success and happiness. At the peak of his early fame a decade ago, he confesses that contentment still eluded him. He had success, fame, opportunities, riches – Ben acknowledges all his privileges. But he could not shake feeling uncomfortable in his own skin, like there was a hole in his heart that he could not fill.
In Benjamin’s case, it was drink and drugs he tried to fill the hole with. But as we discuss, addiction comes in many guises. I think to some degree we’re all seeking to fill that hole in our souls, to ‘fix’ whatever we feel is wrong or missing in our lives. We can all feel an emptiness at times. And whether it’s alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gambling, sex, shopping or something else we choose to fill it with, few of us are strangers to that feeling.
That’s not to diminish what, for Ben, has clearly been a long and traumatic journey. It’s a privilege to hear him share so honestly about his experience – and what he’s learned in recovery over the past three years.
There’s so much in what Ben does in recovery, one day at a time, that I feel could be helpful to each and every one of us. For example, we discuss the difference between saying sorry and really making amends – how the latter means being accountable, asking for forgiveness, while not trying to manipulate the other person’s response. And we talk about the importance of connection and community. How the regular meetings Benjamin and other recovering addicts attend have adapted online during the pandemic and retained their power.
We cover so much in this conversation – including, of course, plenty about the music. We talk spirituality, the inherent goodness in people and his goal of progress not perfection. I’m struck by Ben’s gratitude and energy and grateful for his authentic and touching words. This is a powerful conversation and I really think you are going to enjoy listening.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and would like help, here are some sites that you/they may find helpful:
Alcoholics Anonymous (UK) https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/
Alcoholics Anonymous (US & Canada) https://aa.org/
Alcoholics Anonymous (Australia) https://aa.org.au/
Narcotics Anonymous (UK) https://ukna.org/
Narcotics Anonymous (Worldwide) https://na.org/
Help Me Stop (UK) https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/
Help For Families (UK) https://adfam.org.uk/help-for-families/useful-organisations
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