Estevan J Zarate shares the story of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and the need to stop drinking and get sober. photo by Steve Rogers Photography
The Changed
The Changed
Episode 23: Estevan J Zarate (Chuy) and the diagnosis that changed everything

Estevan J Zarate who goes by Chuy, is an actor, director and coach from San Antonio TX that has been improvising for audiences for 29 years.

Currently a resident of Austin, Chuy specializes in improv-singing and grounded/character-driven scene-work. He doesn’t just perform, he’s coached hundreds of kids, teens, students and adults for years to multiple successes.

He’s also my friend. As of this post on Nov. 5th, 2020, Estevan J (Chuy) Zarate has been sober for 1352 days.

Estevan J (Chuy) Zarate shares his story of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and putting the booze down for good on episode 23 of the Changed Podcast
Estevan J Zarate, or Chuy as I call him. Photo by Steve Rogers Photography

This month, I’ve made the decision to have a no-drink-November. I do this occasionally, typically during stressful times, and our current political situation in the US has been stressing me out! So… here I am.

For me, and for many of you alcohol is fun… but not necessary. Periodically you might over consume, but you’re able to balance the scales by having an Octsober, or no-drink-November like I am doing.

For others… and it’s a surprisingly high number (alcohol related disease and death is more common in the US than heart disease), alcohol use isn’t a thing. It’s all or it’s nothing. It’s Alcohol abuse and it has consequences.

In this episode of the Changed Podcast, Estevan J Zarate, or Chuy as I’ve always known him, shares the story of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and how that changed everything for him, for his family… and for his survival.

Takeaways from this conversation

There are some warning signs that go with abusing alcohol: hiding your drinking, sneaking sips between tasks, and using alcohol as your go-to strategy for everything; from coping with stress and handling heartbreak to celebrating the mundane as intensely as the triumphant.

There are some warning signs that go with cirrhosis of the liver including yellowing of the skin, nose bleeds or bruising easily, and bloating or swelling.

There are lots of reasons to choose life over death. Even in the most dire of times, it is worth the work to stay alive. And even more so if you’re a dad, like Chuy. Unfortunately, those reasons aren’t always obvious. Sometimes just sitting down and making a list of reasons to live is a task worth doing. If you’re having trouble getting started… start small, or make it up. Your brain will come along for the ride eventually.

Links and Resources

IF you prefer watching to listening. This episode is also available on video for members of our Patreon community

If you suspect your relationship with alcohol is causing damage to your body, and your relationships and would like to stop before you are diagnosed of a deadly disease like cirrhosis of the liver,

On a lighter note, if you’re interested in any of the improv resources we discussed in the first section of the episode

You can find Merlin-Works Institute for Improvisation (where Chuy and I used to teach together) HERE.

The Hideout Theatre, where Chuy and I have performed together many times is HERE.

The musical improv group we referenced from our shared festival experience at the Alaska State Improv Festival (in fact if you go to the festival website, the cover image has us and Chuy featured!), is BABE Improv, and our facebook page HERE (…and shameless plug: we perform live, digitally, on the first Friday of every month!).

If you enjoyed this story of choosing life, you may enjoy this conversation with Nadine Montaghami or this one with Reshanda Yates, who learned how to battle another terrible addiction: binge eating.

If you would like to listen to something fun that lifts your spirits, here’s the link to last week’s conversation with Kevin Miller and my husband as we swapped ghost stories in honor of Halloween!

Have you listened to every episode??

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Episode 28 – Marsha Shandur, Storyteller

In this episode storytelling expert Marsha Shandur, shares a few of the key ingredients to an excellent story and shares a story of her own that demonstrate our how our willingness to leap into the abyss of love can change us
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Episode 27 Jay Jordan, Vice President – The Alliance for Safety and Justice

The Vice President of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, Jay Jordan, sat down on the Changed Podcast to talk about what motivates change, get a little personal and share thoughts about where we *might* be headed as a country
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Episode 26, Amy Gentry, Author ‘Good as Gone,’ ‘Last Woman Standing,’ & new novel, ‘Bad Habits’

Amy Gentry, best selling author of novels ‘Good as Gone’ & ‘Last Woman Standing’ sat down to talk with, The Changed Podcast host, Aden Nepom at the end of last year. Since talking, her newest novel ‘Bad Habits’ has taken the world by storm!
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Season Two Trailer

Every podcast needs a trailer… This sneak peek… is that trailer. Listen and learn a little about the show, and get excited for the conversations in season two.
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Episode 25: That’s the end of Season One of the Changed Podcast

There’s a whole lotta gratitude from host, Aden Nepom, in the final episode of the Changed Podcast- season one! Despite 2020 being one massive experiment in just how much people can handle, there is much to be grateful for with this podcast. Amazing stories, inspiring conversations and YOU the audience!
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Episode 24: Chris O’Connell talks about surviving suicide

In this very important and vulnerable conversation with Chris O’Connell, an NED and consultant on leadership, change management and recruitment, we’re talking about removing the mask, and understanding the role of mental health in the workplace. This includes the very personal topic of surviving suicide.
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Episode 23: Estevan J Zarate (Chuy) and the diagnosis that changed everything

In this episode of the Changed Podcast, Estevan J Zarate, or Chuy as I’ve always known him, shares the story of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and how that changed everything for him, for his family… and for his survival. You can take the guy out of the party… can you take the party out of the guy?
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Episode 22: Kevin Miller Tells Us Ghost Stories

In this special Halloween Edition of the Changed Podcast, we’ve invited Kevin Miller to talk to us about ghosts, tell stories…. and see if maybe we can relate things back to making things better for the living before we all transition to the ultimate life change… death.
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Episode 21: The Rad Cafe with Mike Shethar

Mike Shethar (just call him Mikey, everyone does) is a Culinary Consultant, a Podcast Host, a Men’s Fertility Coach, and an all around delightful human being. In this episode we get to hear one of the early stories in Mikey’s journey through his own imagination. And it’s a story with a title: The Rad Cafe.
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Kevin Miller guests in episode 22 of the Changed Podcast as our non-resident expert on ghosts! He tells us ghost stories, and shares his thoughts about the trade-off of skepticism Previous post Episode 22: Kevin Miller Tells Us Ghost Stories
Chris O'Connell discusses the importance of mental health in the workplace and surviving suicidal ideation in episode 24 of The Changed Podcast Next post Episode 24: Chris O’Connell talks about surviving suicide

13 thoughts on “Episode 23: Estevan J Zarate (Chuy) and the diagnosis that changed everything

    1. You’re welcome-a-mundo! This season is drawing to a close, but with 24 episodes published, hopefully there will be enough content to keep you satisfied until season 2 is released. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your support!

    1. I’m glad to hear that this hit home for you. Many of us take our alcohol consumption, or our bodies, or both… for granted. I hope this conversation will help serve as a reminder, that nothing in life is a guarantee, but we owe to ourselves and our loved ones to choose good health first. That would be a change worth making in most of our lives!

    1. There is a lot to identify with. It really is so easy to think we have things under control despite everything in our subconscious mind telling us we are losing it steadily. I hope this story inspires folks to make changes *before* it becomes a matter of life and death.

      Thank you for listening.

  1. Amen, our God is a promise keeper and we can lean on and stand on each of His promises to experience His never ending goodness, mercy, love.

  2. This episode was extremely remarkable, particularly because I was looking for thoughts on this matter last couple of days.

  3. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to
    this outstanding podcast! I suppose for now I’ll settle for
    book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

    1. Thank you Fausto! Stay tuned, as we will be launching a Patreon in the next month or so. Would love to have you as a member of the Changed Podcast community!

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