Sobriety Is A Superpower With VC Steve Schlafman

Steve Schlafman id a friend, mentor, a sponsor of sorts to me, and a very experienced Venture Capitalist who also has 5-years of sobriety under his belt as of today, June 5th, 2020. After 1 year of sobriety, Steve wrote a blog post under a pen name (which you can find here) explaining his experience getting sober and what it meant to him. Today, he’s sharing that blog post under his own name, for the first time (here on his site). Steve talks to me about how important it is to share openly because that’s what gives others the strength to get help and open up as well. Steve explains that sobriety is a superpower. He talks about how his life has been radically transformed by sobriety as well as what life was life before, what changed and what life is like now.


  1. Steve talks about when he first became aware that he should consider whether or not he was using substances too much. A therapist started to ask him questions about the frequency of his use, and eventually recommended that Steve try to stop using by attending a 28-day intensive out-patient program after work. He explains what this experience was like in our chat.
  2. Steve ended up getting 6 months of sobriety under his belt after this out-patient program, but he recounts, that he was not really “ready” to go all in. He talks about how his spiritual condition was not where it needed to be to really stay sober. It would be 10 years before he got to the point where he was ready to really take that step.
  3. Steve talks about how his life wasn’t in shambles, he didn’t leave a wake of carnage, he didn’t hit a “rock bottom” – he talks about how he figure out that he needed help without having to have that stereotypical rock bottom moment.
  4. Steve started to realize that he was reaching outside of himself for things like validation, and love and that at the end of the day, he was never going to achieve those things if he kept seeking it externally.
  5. Steve talks about how he embraced transcendental meditation and how that practice shed a light on how he really felt about many things in life, including his use of substances.
  6. Steve knew he was not well. He appeared fine on the outside, and he knew it, but inside he knew he needed help. He was sick of living that way and just did not want to live that way anymore.
  7. It just came down to wanting a better life and wanting to feel amazing and wanting to perform.
  8. Steve tells the story of going to his first AA meeting, how he found his way there, what it was like, what happened and how he felt during it.
  9. Steve talks about the first year of sobriety and how he handled it. He talks about what was hard, what wasn’t, and how he managed to get through those early cravings in the first few months of sobriety.
  10. Steve talks about the blog post he wrote about getting sober and why he is talking about it so openly today.
  11. Steve feels a responsibility to use his platform to share his story so that it can provide strength to others who may need help or to share their story. This is directly aligned with our mission here at the Stigma Podcast. He also talks to us about how substance abuse has not been widely discussed in the tech community the way mental health has been and he wants to help change that.
  12. We talked about addiction as an epidemic, why Steve calls it that and how prevalent it is.