We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Heimerman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christopher, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
My goal each day is to keep moving the needle on discussions surrounding addiction, recovery, and mental illness. By sharing my story through the podcast, my writing, and public speaking, I’m connecting with those who are suffering, and members of their support system. I hear daily from people who’ve seen themselves in my story. Although I’m not an expert or a professional in the field, I know me sharing the uncensored version of my lived experience – not just my suffering, but more importantly my triumphs – is helping folks reclaim their lives.

And that’s just with regards to my story. The podcast has featured nearly 50 guests, from ridiculously inspiring people in long-term recovery such as Charlie Engle (the guy who ran across the Sahara after getting clean from booze and cocaine) to suicide survivors and mental health experts. The podcast has become a community where listeners, and the guests themselves, can laugh, cry, and learn.

There’s a growing trend toward greater understanding, acceptance and compassion in the mental health realm. It’s humbling to think my work is part of that wave, and if we all keep at it, that needle will just keep moving.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I got where I am because of my authenticity. My audience gets my story, warts and all. So if I had to pin down what I’m most proud of, it’s that I’m myself, unfiltered. Quite the contrast from years of suffering in silence as I drank my way through every day.

None of my success should suggest that my recovery has been easy. Sobriety, and living with mental illness that’s crippling if untreated, is daily work. And it’s easier to do the work when you have a support system, which my advocacy – in its many forms – creates. My greatest paydays come when someone initially reaches out looking for help, and when someone follows up days, weeks, months or even years later and says the 40,000 Steps community helped them live a fulfilling life.

What sets my podcast apart is the variety. Rather than zeroing in on one topic – addiction, mental illness, running – the guests run the gamut. And rightfully so. Recovery is complicated. No two programs are the same, and I’m proud to say no two episodes of 40,000 Steps Radio are the same.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Our library is super-dope. Seriously, it’s the one place I make sure I bring anyone who visits town.

Beyond the scope of DeKalb, I’d bring them to Starved Rock, a state park that’s a veritable playground for nature lovers. Lots of waterfalls. Great elevation change and breathtaking views.

If they’re in town for the week, we’d also have to make our way into the city (that’s what we call Chicago. We’re just an hour away) for a day. Maybe take in a ballgame. Hit a museum. Do a food tour. Get weird.

We’d have to do some wall-climbing, as well – it’s our daughters’ new favorite pastime.

In terms of eating and drinking, we’ve got great restaurants in town (lots of great Mexican food), but we’d eat at Casa de Heimerman quite a bit. My wife and I love to cook, so we’d all enjoy a culinary expedition together.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Because there are countless people who’ve been vital to my recovery, let’s keep this simple. My wife, Kayla, is the rock against which I lean. Her unwavering love and support, and her commitment to learning alongside me, is beyond compare.

Website: 40000steps.com

Instagram: @40000_steps

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-heimerman-4b657937/

Twitter: @RunTopherRun

Facebook: facebook.com/40000steps

Image Credits
For the first five photos (the initial upload, and the first four in the batch upload), credit goes to Danielle Mains.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.