Creator/Founder of Dave’s Killer Bread • Musician • Podcast host of Felony, Inc.
My first time meeting Dave Dahl, I was surprised by the softness that he emanated. After reading about his rough and challenging life, I expected what just about everyone does: a hard-ass. To my delight, our conversation took an honest and heartfelt direction as I learned about his past of addiction and crime. Plus, we could talk about mental health and self-care and be entirely on the same page.
Dave has willingly shown the world his deep understanding of the human psyche, with his own unbearable lows being the catalyst by which his career was launched. His story is long and complex, with about 15 years of it chocked full of substance abuse and prison sentences.
Low self-esteem, lack of belief in anything, chronic worrying about what others thought of him, and suicidal thoughts were typical for most of his life. His mental turnaround came to him in his last and longest stretch of jail time.
“It was 2001, I was 38, and right in the middle of a long prison sentence. And guess what? For the very first time in my life, I was free! I began to see that I could let go of resentment and anger, that I had a choice in my thoughts and actions.” Portland Interview Magazine, 62
For the first time, something other than illegal drugs could make Dave feel better about himself and his circumstances. With the help of psych services within the jail, and medicine such as Paxil restoring serotonin in his brain, he finally felt that he had the choice to design his present and future.
In a way, by surrendering, he gained his true power. And we see this today in his sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and lack of desire to carry the tough-guy persona. Now, he touts a strength that lies within.
After his success with Dave’s Killer Bread, Dave has moved on to reaching out to the community in a multitude of ways. One of which is simply telling his story. He also shares other stories that are similar to his with his podcast Felonies, Inc.
Additionally, Dave devotes his time to the board of Central City Concern in an effort to figure out what is working with the homeless rehabilitation system and what and what’s not. Through his podcast and community outreach, he’s on a mission to find out what people truly need to recover and transition from addiction.
“Surrendering taught me the power of acceptance and humility. Accepting myself as I was – no more, no less – was the beginning for me. From that point on, I understood that I had the choice in my life, and I owned that.”
“Creative empowerment was important to my recovery – finally thinking, I can do things.”
“Not to mention, I want to stay well for my family and grandkids. They mean everything.”
“I exercise as faithfully as my banged-up body will let me. And yet, I’m miles from perfect. But the biggest difference today is that I refuse to beat myself up over my failings. I’m compassionate towards myself and others. I forgive and avoid resentments.”
“I thought I was unhappy because the world sucked. But, the world sucked because I was ill.”