Colorado reporter in recovery creates podcast focused on addiction

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DENVER (KDVR) -- The dark room is the last place Vic Vela wants to be. Alone with his thoughts.

At first, Vela describes his drug and alcohol use as social, but over time he says it became isolating and exhausting. In that dark room, he would ask himself, “Why can’t I stop doing this?”

Thousands of people across Colorado struggling with addiction find themselves asking the very same question. Vela was able to overcome his addiction, and now the Colorado Public Radio host wants to pay it forward.

“Colorado Public Radio is the only job I’ve ever had sober,” Vela said. “So this place is particularly meaningful for me. How can I use my experiences as a news host and a journalist along with my experiences as someone who is in recovery?”

CPR launched Back From Broken Thursday, a podcast dedicated to success stories for people overcoming addiction and more.

“It’s addiction, it’s depression, it’s PTSD, bi-polar disorder. It’s really anything that causes a suffering,” Vela said. “If you’re suffering, it’s never too late. Unless you’re in the ground, it’s never too late.”

Vela says suffering is universal, but so is empathy and compassion. Perhaps by addressing these issues with his unique perspective, he can inspire hope in others who find themselves in their own “dark room.”

“What helped me is looking at stories of people who’ve been through the same hell I’ve been through, and learning how they came out of it,” Vela said. “When we make friends with the things that cause us suffering  and scare us, well then it’s not so scary anymore. Then we can talk about it and normalize these conversations.”

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