Artist’s Corner – Shira Goldberg
November 2, 2017
The Artist’s Corner is a new weekly feature of the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin. We send our participants forty questions and ask them to choose twenty they would like to answer. It includes a short profile and a link to their website. We hope you enjoy it.
Shira Goldberg is a staunch advocate in the areas of addiction recovery and of best practices, including harm reduction. After overcoming her own battles with addiction she realized that recovery is just as personal of an experience as the route to get there, coining the phrase, “Recovery ala Carte.” She works tirelessly to advocate for reducing stigma and shame through education and collaborative efforts while being a mom of three sons, two of which are currently battling their addiction to heroin.
Q. Which classes or workshops have you attended did you learn the most?
A. I have been a member of NAADAC for years enjoying and benefitting from their library of webinars. When it comes to addiction and recovery, I learned more from NAADAC than grad school. If you are a member certificates are included! Love NAADAC.
Q. Do you believe artists are made or born?
A. Both. We are all byproducts of our biology and environment. Talent in any form comes from an innate part of one’s soul and psyche. It is nurtured, reinforced, and made room for.
If one is interested in anything and has the room to hone their craft, the natural creativity will be expressed in relation to environment, culture challenging the status quo.
Q. Which film have you watched the most?
A. Party Monster (2003) with Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green, playing Michael Alig and James St. James. It came out before I went off the rails in an official capacity. I watched it over and over again because it the casting was perfection. I have always been interested in psychotic behavior. Drug induced psychosis was equally compelling. Plus, it was the one movie I could watch whether I had cable or not.
Q. Do prefer to living by the ocean, lake, river, mountain top, or penthouse?
A. My ideal situation would be to have daily access to the ocean, because I have found that the ocean has always been a source of cleansing solace, and of rejuvenation.
Q. What is your favorite hotel or resort?
A. It depends on my mood. I like the Grafton on Sunset cuz it is in the middle of everything L.A. and is decorated in the 50’s rat pack motif. I recently spent some time at Le Parc, and the rooftop was really cool, taking a dip in the pool with the Hollywood Hills as the backdrop, especially at night, is something I plan on doing again very soon.
Q. Where did you go to ‘get away?
A. I used to have an apartment in L.A., off Barham Blvd. and the 101, on one side there was Universal Studios and the other Burbank Studios. I liked that I could feel like I was in the middle of everything, but when I wanted to retreat I could just go home.
Q. What is your biggest or littlest pet peeve?
A. I am authentic and very open. I have never been one to be shy about expressing my point of view. So when I run across people that aren’t, there is definitely a disconnect. If someone has an issue with me for example, talk to me about it, not to everyone else.
Q. How do you measure success?
A. For me, the best indicator of success is if I am truly happy, which only happens when my actions are in alignment with my values. I have been afforded opportunities based on dollars, even when I haven’t made much sense. Nowadays, I try to make a difference by doing what I love. In Hebrew what I do is called Tikkun Olam, helping heal and repair the world.
Q. Who was your biggest influence throughout your life?
A. My mom, ZT”L. She was to this day the smartest most insightful person that I have ever met. She believed in me without hesitation. Even though she has been gone for over 20 years, everything I do has in some way come from the lessons she has imparted to me. I honor her memory through the work that I do.
Q. What prominent fe/male figure would you most like to date?
A. Definitely Gwen Stefani. I have been in love with her since I first heard, “I’m just a girl.” That Blake thing totally baffles me. I invited her to be my date for the Reel World Recovery Film Festival, so we shall see.
Q. If you were giving a dinner party for your 3 favorite authors, Living or dead, who would they be? (you can choose 4 if you think one might be too drunk or stoned to attend.)
A. Moses (Moshe), cuz he knows how to put in some work. Lillian Faderman, her book, “To Believe in Women,” was a turning point for me, and Plato, who wrote about Socrates’ philosophical insights, and Freddie Mercury who should definitely count.
Q. Who is your favorite: Film Director?
A. John Singleton, and Spike Lee, what they were able to do for the world to see what was really happening made it impossible to ignore how prevalent racism truly is.
Q. What is your favorite: Band/composer/musical artist?
A. It is a tie and has always been: Freddie Mercury and Cher. Both are some cray cray bitches. I love that! I don’t usually admit to it, but I love classical music, because it is so visceral and powerful.
Q. What is your favorite: Broadway musical/play?
A. The Diary of Anne Frank, any production will suffice. And anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber of course.
Q. What is your favorite: Psychology or school of thought as related to psychology?
A. Since I have gone to graduate school to become a therapist, I could never answer this question! Each one has been so instrumental in helping us as a society understand ourselves and the best ways we can help each other. To pick one over another could disrupt the space time continuum!
Q. Who is your favorite: Activist?
A. Sojourner Truth was the quintessential mamma jamma. Being both a suffragist and abolitionist with chutzpah I conjure her up when I need some strength! My favorite story about her was her response to a white man who kept interrupting her and accused her of being a man, an obvious tactic to discredit her. Her response couldn’t have been more badass, she opened her blouse and revealed her breasts, dumbfounding her opposition. Even I couldn’t have done that.
Q. What is your favorite: Cuisine?
A. That is a tough one, another tie. Middle Eastern and (American) Chinese Food. Hand made dolmas and shawarma, OMG. Nirvanna!
Q. Have you ever been arrested and, if so, what for?
A. Yes, as a matter of fact so many times, I cannot remember, but it is around 7-9 times. First arrest was in Gainesville, GA. I will never forget. I called the arresting officer who would do nothing about what I called for a, “redneck racist hillbilly mo fo.” Apparently that was the crime, not what I called for. He promptly spun me around and knocked my cigarette out of my hand, and arrested me on the spot. Official charge, disorderly conduct.
Q. What books are you reading now?
A. I am reading Johann Hari’s latest, not sure if that is a secret or not? Guess I will find out soon. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions available from Amazon, January 23, 2018. He is turning to be not only my favorite author but one of my fave people in the world that is that well known.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. That it’s not only okay to carve out my own path but it is my responsibility and I take that very seriously. Change can only come from chaos and that part is easy for me. I am able to advocate, to fight and stand up for what I believe is just because of that.
Q. What are five things you always carry with you?
A. 1. My phone
2. Carmex lip balm
3. Whatever book I am reading, which is currently Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions available from Amazon, January 23, 2018
4. a small compact mirror, because I am always paranoid about eye bergers.
5. My black Coach backpack, that I bought in 1999-2000 in Beverly Hills when I experienced my own “Pretty Woman” moment on Rodeo Dr. in another famous store.
Q. What is your favorite concert venue?
A. Anywhere that I can belt out jams like Kings of Leon’s, “Somebody” with my best friend and husband Brandon. When we were at Le Parc, we ran into their crew after the show and I was super excited. So to pay homage, we ran back up to our room and belted that song out. Best part of the trip.
Q. What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
A. I was reading Inside Rehab while I was inside rehab, a state funded one, to be ironic. While reading it, I got mail, that had been forwarded there. It was from the University of San Francisco’s School of Education. I had applied to their graduate program, MA in Counseling with a dual emphasis: Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling. It was my acceptance letter. I got in!
Q. What is the proudest moment in your life?
A. That is still in process, but the process itself and my resolve showed my sons what resiliency is in real time. No matter how unfair life or circumstances can be, they saw their very overwhelmed and stressed out mom fight for herself in a way I would only have done if it was for them. No matter how many times I could have used my circumstances as excuses I never gave up and I never will. I think it has made a lasting impact on them. It reminded them of what they are capable of too. As I write this they are fighting for themselves and their own recovery. I would like to think I had something to do with that.