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rickA B O U T Rick Atwater

It’s not surprising that Rick started the Recovery Internet Radio show in the middle of the sixth decade of his life. As a formally educated and trained counselor, he has been listening to the stories of recovery for over 35 years; written a newspaper column, Straight Talk for Chemically Dependent Families for almost 27 years; and frankly, loves addicts, especially those in recovery or who want to be. He intimately understands addicts. And he doesn’t hide the fact that he considers addicts, and recovering addicts, “his people”.

However, Rick isn’t fundamental anything. He sees the truth in many practices and paths and programs, and incorporates these truths in his daily life. He maintains hard earned membership in a well-known recovery program that has sustained his spiritual growth for more than thirty years. It is in this program that he has traveled the inner terrain and learned most of what he knows that is useful in life.

He is not a predictable outcome from his scientific background where there was a quantifiable answer for everything. Today, he is comfortable, and in fact prefers, to not have the “right” answer for anything. This is in part, why he loves to interview people from all walks of life; people who may have a radically different point of view about recovery; people who aren’t polished, professional speakers; and people who will tell it like it really was and is. For most of his life, Rick has searched for the authentic and real in life. He has never been comfortable with anyone overly polite. He prefers the risk-takers, the creative’s, the seekers, the truth-tellers, no matter how bad it got or is.

Perhaps these are his preferences because outside of formalized higher education, he has worked as a busboy, a carpenter’s assistance, sold knives and loaded trucks in a plastic extrusion plant. His supervisor in the plant, Earl, was the father of four kids. Earl only made a dime more an hour than Rick, and Rick never has forgotten him. He also worked in a factory making truck scales where he put his elbow on a 220 volt line and was knocked off his chair. Some people have wondered if this jolt is in part why Rick always relates to those who have fallen, but get back up.

Those who know Rick well know he has a big heart, lots of information and resources to help people, but somehow has remained an edge-dweller. He doesn’t fit in anywhere, yet everywhere. Addicts understand.
The radio show is not only a way for Rick to meet and talk with a wide-range of people, covering a wide-range of recovery topics, but it’s also his way to give back. He has learned, profoundly, that when he is not giving back, there is no real meaning to life.

Rick is a loyal and devoted family guy, with three grown children, four grandchildren, and lots of friends. He lives with his wife of 28 years, who he adores, and his golden retrievers, Mike and Jack, nestled in the rolling hills and woods about an hour and a half outside of Chicago. He loves his life, he loves “his people”, family and friends, and loves the whole world of recovery… all of it, all the time.



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