Episode 261: Dr. Daniel Hochman | Self Recovery

Our guest for this episode has built a unique online addiction treatment program that features many modalities because – as we know – recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Dr. Daniel Hochman, a psychiatrist and founder of SelfRecovery.org, shares a platform that weaves together science, behavioral change and self-knowledge to sustain not only sobriety, but a multi-dimensional journey through the rest of life.

Our conversation deconstructs both the “what” of addiction and the arguably more important “why” that drives so many of us to seek relief from things beyond our own understanding. Dr. Hochman and I also take a look at the many ways treatment options have opened up in recent years. The impacts of trauma informed care, availability of effective medicines, and a more nuanced understanding of neurobiology are just a few of the developments that have extended the reach and efficacy of addiction treatment. The pandemic-inspired growth of online support has also been a game-changer for the recovery community, extending meaningful conversations beyond geographic boundaries.

Dr. Hochman’s Self Recovery.org combines his years of expertise with an approach designed to meet people where they are. Learn about the tools, exercises, classes and online community forum that his framework offers in a private, flexible way. The level of self-accountability and agency you create may initially be about sobriety, but Self Recovery’s core mission is holistic – to provide the tools that enable not only ongoing recovery, but also a rich, vibrant, connected and rewarding life beyond.

Key Takeaways

  • Why do we do things that are bad for us? Dr. Hochman’s curiosity about this drove his initial interest in psychiatry.
  • Dr. Hochman distinguishes between the “what” definition of addiction (repeating behaviors that are not good for us) and the “why,” shifting the prism to understand it as a learned psychological behavior designed to escape intolerable distress.
  • The Science of Addiction: Is it neurological or psychological? A physiological problem or a response to trauma? The answer is: It’s not binary so much as a complex web of simultaneous processes and interactions layered atop one another.
  • Defining Recovery: A process of changing the way we relate to the objects of our addiction (alcohol or any other substance/activity) and how we relate to the idea of pleasure.
  • Addiction is a means of both escape and pleasure. It’s important to transfer thoughts away from escape, but equally so to find sources of authentic, sustained pleasure.
  • When it comes to pleasure, think long-term. Those that involve a process (a hobby or avocation) net better results over time than short-term, quick-hit alternatives (a candy bar or purchase).
  • A look at the recovery field overall.
    • More understanding of connections between adversity and addiction in a variety of circumstances.
    • A softening of definitions around God and spirituality in the context of recovery.
    • More variety and sophistication in the deployment of medications.
    • Game-changing access to information, tools and forums to seek help beyond AA.
    • Pandemic-inspired online forums that extend the recovery community beyond conventional boundaries.
  • A Word of Warning about Outcomes and Other Recovery Stats: Dr. Hochman advises caution with white papers and purported studies whose margins of error and methodology are not scientifically rigorous.
  • Dr. Hochman’s practice and focus are driven by a desire to make recovery replicable, methodical and widely available.
  • Self Recovery offers all the most effective psychological strategies woven together seamlessly, including a progression of techniques for deeper understanding:
    • Identifying triggers and relapse prevention options.
    • Reorientation of pleasure.
    • Reorientation of how we deal with distress.
  • Components of the Self Recovery program include:
    • Video lessons.
    • Exercises and reflections.
    • Forums and discussions.
    • Weekly groups facilitated by peer specialists.
  • Self Recovery makes a great fit for people who want to maintain privacy or feel their issue (and desire for self-discovery) doesn’t rise to the level of a formal rehab setting.
  • Parting Thought: Sample what’s out there. There’s no one right path. Everybody is different and needs different things addressed. If something resonates, seek more. And conversely, if something isn’t a good fit there are more resources out there to explore! 

Memorable Quotes

We are definitely doing things that are not good for us and that absolutely intrigues me … and it’s so incredibly rewarding when you can help unlock things for people. (Dr. Hochman)

Recovery is about changing the way we relate to the objects of our addiction and how we relate to the idea of pleasure. (Dr. Hochman)

The thing I’m most proud of (about Self Recovery.org) is that people come into it for addiction, but come out different people who relate to the world in a very comfortable way. (Dr. Hochman)

If you do the right things with the (SelfRecovery.org) treatment and don’t have gaps, the natural default becomes a healthy lifestyle. Not a battle where every day is an endless uphill fight. (Dr. Hochman)

About our guest

Dr. Daniel Hochman is the creator and founder of SelfRecovery.org, an anonymous, self-paced online addiction program that brings the best of addiction care to anyone, anywhere. He has worked and taught about addiction in a range of private and public/military clinical settings.

A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Dr. Hochman received two degrees with Honors and the All-American Scholar Collegiate Award. He completed medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, where he received the Global Healthcare Scholarship to pursue his interest in indigent care in Latin America. He completed his residency in Denver at the University of Colorado, where he served as Chief Resident and was awarded the Psychiatry Academic Achievement Award. He is board certified in General Adult Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and regularly provides training at addiction facilities, hospitals, and professional organizations.

Follow Dr. Hochman

Website | YouTube | Blog | LinkedIn

Dr. Hochman’s YouTube Appearances

Sober Nation 
Discovering Nicole
Women’s Health Weekly
Med Circle

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