Cooking for people in addiction recovery

It takes a lot in life to get to the point where you find yourself sitting in an AA meeting for the first time. When you live the life of substance dependency sometimes (a lot of times) you tend to put yourself in legal trouble and wind up sitting in a circle with strangers talking about lost love and lessons learned. I was 30 days sober at the time and getting out of the stage where I craved going out to the bar every night but I still rejected the process of this court ordered path to sobriety. I’m not a big fan of organized religious practices and synchronized chanting. One older lady, in particular, caught my attention one day as I was vigorously attempting to not participate. Her comment caught me off guard and gave me much to ponder as the day went along. At the next meeting I had to speak up. “Hi, my name is Josh and I’m an alcoholic.” You know the drill. The lady , we’ll call her Karen, had mentioned the previous day that she had no idea how to cook! She was to busy partying for the last 40 years and never had the want or need to cook until she sobered up. Being a chef by trade, this was unfathomable to me so I offered cooking classes to everyone in the group as the meeting facility had a kitchen and I approved use of the kitchen area with the promise to clean up after myself. the response was immediate. Everyone in the group wanted to learn and I was more than happy to finally be doing something I loved and sharing it with other people involved in the same struggles I was dealing with. My cohorts looked forward to the class every week and so did I. It healed me and brought me out of the darkest days of my life and a time of uncertainty that pushed me to the edge physically and emotionally. If you've been there, you know. Changing you're entire life because it was built around the social circles that comes from addiction is not even relatively simple. When you find yourself alone at home because you're “not fun anymore” it’s time for some serious life reflection and I hope that I can reach some of you who feel lost or are uncertain about where to go from here. Come cook with me.

I’m a 45 year old chef currently in Aspen CO. at a private golf course. I have worked in the culinary industry for over 20 years for companies like The Four Seasons, The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group and The Chef’s Club by Food & Wine.

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Josh Applegate

As a chef it’s difficult to find that work/life balance but it has been a journey that has taken me to places unknown and given me experiences unfathomable.