Today’s interview with Dr. Adi Jaffe is incredibly timely because September is named as the National Recovery Month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Adi Jaffe is the author of The Abstinence Myth and the founder of the IGNTD Podcast along with his wife, Sophie Jaffe, and is an expert on addiction. He often talks about the pervasive shame that we have in the traditional treatment models of addiction and the problem with the black-and-white labels that we apply upon it. There are times where we all want to escape the feelings of our life, and it is usually that desire that triggers any form of addiction in the first place. 

This conversation was deep, insightful, and it breaks all the rules of how we traditionally talk about addiction and recovery! Dr. Jaffe tells us his deeply personal story about his own addiction and recovery, explains why traditional recovery models are failing us, and provides insight around the myth of abstinence. He explains how to actually get on the path of recovery without abstinence, how to not externalize emotions and better manage our feelings, the biological and environmental components to addiction and how we can actually alter them for the better. This episode is jam-packed with so much valuable information that is incredibly important, regardless of where you are in life! 

Key Takeaways: 

[1:25] About today’s guest and episode! 

[2:34] Welcoming Dr. Adi Jaffe to the podcast! 

[2:55] Dr. Adi Jaffe tells us his story and how he got to where he is today. 

[8:49] Dr. Jaffe explains what it is about the traditional recovery models that are not working. 

[11:33] How Dr. Jaffe defines addiction. 

[15:37] Dr. Jaffe gives his thoughts on the labels around addiction. 

[20:10] What is the myth of abstinence? 

[25:30] How to actually get on the path of recovery (without abstinence). 

[29:30] How does Dr. Jaffe help clients not externalize emotions and set them up with the tools to better manage their feelings? 

[34:18] Dr. Jaffe explains some of the biological and environmental components to addiction and how you can alter them for the better. 

[38:53] The importance of forming your tribe and learning how to create a positive-oriented bias. 

[44:11] Dr. Jaffe gives an example from his own life on how you are in charge of your own mood bias. 

[49:26] Dr. Jaffe shares an important message to listeners struggling with addiction/addiction-like issues. 

[52:54] Dr. Adi Jaffe’s key performance indicators! 

[58:58] Where to learn more about the important work that Dr. Adi Jaffe is doing! 

Mentioned in This Episode: 

National Recovery Month 

The Abstinence Myth, by Dr. Adi Jaffe (Get your free book — just pay shipping!) 

IGNTD Podcasts 

Adi Jaffe’s TEDxTalk: “Rebranding Our Shame” 

The Five-Minute Journal 

Nine Inch Nails 

The Entrepology Podcast Ep. 132: “Badass: How to Have a High-Performance Relationship! With Dr. Shyamala Kiru” 

Badass Fuel 

IGNTD Hero Nohab Reset Program Scholarships Application (Enter for a chance to win a scholarship to the IGNTD recovery program!) 

Sophie Jaffe 

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Cialdini Ph.D., Robert  

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. 

There’s a Customer Born Every Minute: P.T. Barnum’s Amazing 10 “Rings of Power” for Creating Fame, Fortune, and a Business Empire Today — Guaranteed!, by Joe Vitali 

P.T. Barnum’s Tenets of Super Effective Marketing 

 More About Dr. Adi Jaffe 

Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized expert on mental health, addiction, relationships, and shame. He was a UCLA lecturer in the Psychology department at UCLA for the better part of a decade and was the Executive-Director and Co-Founder of one of the most progressive mental health treatment facilities in the country until he started IGNTD. 

Dr. Jaffe’s work and research focus on changing the way Americans think about and deal with mental health issues. He is passionate about the role of shame in destroying lives and aims to greatly reduce the stigma of mental health in this country. In this context, Dr. Jaffe has used his personal experience as an incredibly effective inspirational and motivational tool. 

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Stress destroys us and exacerbates our issues. Here’s how to combat it: start your day with gratitude, consider picking up the Five-Minute Journal (or simply take the principle of it and do it in your own blank notebook), and check-in with a bit of positive confirmation bias creation; ask yourself what would make today great for you? These are all simple ideas to reduce stress, create more positivity in your life, and eliminate negative self-talk and creation bias. Let us know what you’ll be incorporating in your life and follow-up with us on The Entrepology Podcast Facebook page — because when you’re accountable, you’re helpable! 


“The way we look at addiction is wrong. The entire way we look at this problem is wrong. We think people are sick, and they’re not sick; they’re just reacting to the life that they’ve had and the environment that they live in.” — Dr. Adi Jaffe 

“Nobody who’s struggling with drugs and alcohol wants to quit. That’s not the first thing they want to do. And the reason is simple: their alcohol, their drugs, their porn, their food… it’s making them feel better. You’re taking … their medicine.” — Dr. Adi Jaffe 

“Abstinence is not a really good measure of recovery. There are people who have been abstinent for 30 years and hate their life … and are miserable. … There are people who have cut down their use by 70, 80, 90% … and are doing much better than they used to.” — Dr. Adi Jaff

“People talk about addicts being resistant all the time but I’ve never found a resistant client. … I don’t start out by telling them who they are and what they need to do. I start out by asking them what they’re struggling with and what I can help with.” — Dr. Adi Jaffe 

“There are things that you can do psychologically, environmentally, and behaviorally in your life that will alter your gene expression; that will change the way your biology functions and will make you more functional.” — Dr. Adi Jaffe 

“Here’s the thing: there’s always positive and negative … aspects to what’s going on around you. The only question is: which ones are you going to give most of your energy to?” — Dr. Adi Jaffe 

“I don’t care how terrible your life looks in this moment. There is nothing that is too bad for you to overcome.” — Dr. Adi Jaffe 

“If you don’t know that there’s a better way to exist, you don’t even know to look for it.” — Dr. Adi Jaffe