Well I’ll be damned, family! We’ve made it to the big show. We’re live on WordPress and I keep expecting Vince Vaughn’s character from “Swingers” to jump into Stalworth HQ screaming, “You’re all growns up! You’re growns up, and you’re growns up, and you’re growns up!” Pop culture references and humor aside, this is a huge moment for our company and for me personally. Being able to drop my well organized, scattered brained, or half baked musings on a daily basis via legitimate software is a gift in and of itself, but to do so for as a representative of Stalworth Recovery, a brand that I stand behind wholeheartedly, is the ultimate honor. It’s so nice, I’ll type it twice – I’m honored that you’re reading this post. Ideally, you will connect with what I share in this forum. Whether that connection be with my original content or the work of others that I admire (or a bit of both) doesn’t really matter – what does matter is that something this blog publishes resonates with you. Finding those key resonators are a massive part of life – in recovery from addiction or not – and I give you my word I’ll do my best to keep this minuscule corner of the digital universe populated with content intended to inspire, provoke, awaken, ignite, and/or soothe your mind and soul.

For those who’ve followed my posts on Facebook since about March of 2016, which have become way less frequent due to limitations of the software and the laziness of the content creator (your’s truly), you’re well aware of the few things I hold onto with newfound/renewed ferocity now that I’m sober: my commitment to my 12-step program, my interpersonal relationships, the St. Louis Cardinals, and any form of the unmistakeable sounds provided by the “real recognize real, “boom bap” subset of hip hop music. When I’m engaged and tapped into those four things, all of the aforementioned verbs I’m looking to reach for you as a reader, can and will come into play. The medium that doesn’t require anonymity and triggers the most visceral, cerebral, emotional, and joyous responses from me is provided via the likes of DJ Premier & Guru, Reggie Noble aka Funk Docta Spot aka Redman, Clifford Smith aka Iron Lung aka Johnny Blaze aka Hot Nix aka Tical aka Method Man & the entire Wu Tang Clan, Nasir Jones, the pride of Puerto Rico Big Punisher, Christopher Wallace aka Notorious BIG aka Biggie Smalls, Outkast & their little brother Killer Mike, A Tribe Called Quest – special mention to the remix of their track “Scenario,” which features the best verse in music history courtesy of Busta Rhymes, KRS-One (the ultimate poet of my generation), and so many more masters of their art. That art, if you’re not wise to the profession of the gentlemen listed above, is being an MC for hip hop music. Hip Hop and it’s messengers find formally untapped pathways to soothe my soul, keep me grounded, and vividly provide me with beautifully constructed stories centered in humility, perseverance, emotional intelligence, and environment-shaped reality. It also provides healthy escapism through fabricated realities that are essentially audio driven period pieces designed to either glorify or mock the human condition. The long and short of it is that hip hop music is one my passions, and when I tap into that passion, it fuels my recovery, which is intrinsically connected to my level of humility and mental health.

I used to brutally force my inclusion of outside material on Facebook – amateurish leads like “on to the links” or “let’s dive into it.” That stops now. From here on out, as a way to develop our collective voice, we’re going to dine together in these posts. I’d like for each and every reader to take a seat at the metaphorical table. Put your napkins in your lap, and grip your knife and fork. Your server is about to place the humble pie that your appetite may or may not be yearning for in front of you – all you have to do now is chow down. It’s pretty damn delicious, if I do say so myself – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uKhwN6FtA. That first bite, courtesy of Detroit MC Guilty Simpson, is straight forward and a tale of positive change shifting perception. Guilty addresses his journey to peace of mind, and shatters the notion that knowing “you can do no wrong” is selfish or cocky. In Guilty’s world, it’s humility personified.

Our second bite comes courtesy of a collaboration from Professor P, DJ Akilies, and Pro Moe entitled “Mind Travel” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIvB4L1u28E. Let your minds run free, family. Be willing to take direction to understand how to do that if you’re not able to on your own. This can be meditation, education, listening to tunes like this very track, watching cinema, or simply conversing with a person who has a different line of sight than you’re used to. It’s the ultimate way to become a better friend, family member, and overall contributor to the circle of life.

The above video is our third bite, and it’s a savory one. Vulnerability is key for the human condition. Tech, KDot, Kendall Morgan, & MAYDAY come together to nail the feeling that is being unsure of yourself and your surroundings, which makes incapable of knowing how to make a healthy choice or to not be disgusted by the decisions of others – no matter how decent your peers’ decisions appear to be. This is a paralyzing mental and physical state of being – gaining the awareness that you have the tendency to drift to either of those thought planes prevents making the same emotional mistakes twice. Stalworth salutes the crew who made this joint – the best one of 2013 in my opinion.

The fourth and final delectable morsel for today’s slice is a timeless, all-time great piece of art. It’s poetry, it’s undeniably innovative & unrivaled musically, and it has the words of arguably the single best lyricist of them all – Nasir “Nas” Jones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXBFG2vsyCM – the track is entitled “Memory Lane.” I shall say no more about this masterpiece…listen and let it do for you what it is designed to do.

That concludes tonight’s meal service – don’t forget to tip your servers and utilize the comment card below. We hope you dine with us again, and that today’s “passion” fruit humble pie hit the spot. Sending love to you and your’s, family.


Andrew Shapiro is the Assistant Program Director at Stalworth Recovery while also serving as the Creative Director. To reach Andrew directly, e-mail him at andrews@stalworthrecovery.com.

AUTHOR: Andrew Shapiro

Andrew Shapiro is the Assistant Program Director and Creative Director at Stalworth Recovery. Andrew achieved his present day sobriety on 12.5.14, and tries to be a wholly different individual than the one who was a slave to his chemical and emotional dependencies. He is a diehard supporter of the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues, and Rams (that's right, ST. LOUIS RAMS). Hip Hop music is the soundtrack to his life, which is currently located in West Hollywood, California with his beautiful & compassionate soulmate, Felicia. When they aren't posting up at Point Dume, you can find the duo in their humble abode watching episodes of any or all of "The Real Housewives" franchise's hijinks on Bravo (w/only slight resistance from Andrew).

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