As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns around the globe have left many struggling to maintain their mental health. Alcohol abuse and drug addiction are becoming more widespread, calls to domestic violence helplines are surging and twice as many adults in Britain are reporting symptoms of depression compared with this time last year. The pandemic has proved erosive for our mental health, yet it has also offered up alternative modes for connection and healing.
'During lockdown people were struggling. Their worlds were getting really small. The rise in alcoholism was soaring and we wanted to show people that there was a light at the end of the tunnel,' says London-based DJ and music producer Fat Tony. That light at the end of the tunnel is The Recovery, a 'self-help' interview series hosted over Zoom by Fat Tony, made with the goal of reminding people that they are not alone. The first episode aired in May 2020 with Kelly Osbourne, and guests include Blondey McCoy, Russell Brand, and Brandon Novak discussing their own journeys of recovery. Season 3 will premiere with an episode featuring Lily Allen on 13 January 2021, while Professor Green is also set to appear soon - both British musicians have a history of talking candidly about mental health and addiction.
When asked which recovery story on the show has been his favourite, Fat Tony answers in jest. 'My own of course. Haha…' After battling with addiction for 28 years, he's now 14 years clean. 'Life is for living and all I wanted to do back then was destroy myself, kill myself. Today is a different story,' he says.
Fat Tony knows the value of humour in difficult times. At 195k followers strong, his Instagram account is a mishmash of memes exploring addiction and politics with his whip-smart, mischievous sense of humour. 'Memes are straight to the point and can be brutally honest and funny at the same time. They say things that people are scared to say, very much like myself,' he says.
In 2019, Fat Tony sat down with model and poet Sonny Hall at SHOWstudio to discuss his struggles with addiction, sobriety and healing. 'The ability to help someone get their life and the glint in their eye back is an incredible honour,' says Fat Tony. With The Recovery, Zoom is the medium and healing is the method.
The Season 3 premiere of The Recovery with Lily Allen will air on IGTV, YouTube and all major podcast platforms at 19:00 BST 13 January 2020