Episode 23: Estevan J Zarate (Chuy) and the diagnosis that changed everything

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 YouTube.

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!

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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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11 Replies to “Episode 23: Estevan J Zarate (Chuy) and the diagnosis that changed everything”

    • Aden Nepom

      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!

    • Aden Nepom

      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!

    • Aden Nepom

      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. Kore Locke Lelia

    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. Dacia Clemente Marva

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

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