Thrive: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Zac Clark: On a good morning I hydrate right away, make my bed and meditate.  

Thrive: What gives you energy?

ZC: Challenge gives me energy! I love being challenged and I love competition

Thrive: Name a book that changed your life.

ZC: “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. It taught me a lot about what self perseverance and resilience actually mean and it kind of just stuck with me ever since I read it. 

Thrive: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

ZC: I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. I love my phone but my phone hates me. It’s such a necessary evil. As much as I wish I could put it down, so much of my life runs through my phone, so I am on it all day unless I am at the gym or in a meeting. I try to set aside a half hour in the morning where I don’t look at my phone and a half hour at night just to wind down. On the weekends and when I am with my family, I make a concerted effort to step away from it. 

Thrive: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

ZC: As a business owner it is hard to find the time to have a serendipitous call, so I would definitely make phone calls to family and friends. 

Thrive: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

ZC: This year for sure. There were personal and business moments at the beginning of the year that not only left me burnt out, but also sad and lonely, and I had to work hard to pull myself out of that rut. 

Thrive: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

ZC: “Keep Going” by Winston Churchill. It’s the motto I live by everyday and has become sort of a trademark for how I encourage others to “KEEP GOING”. 

Thrive: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

ZC: I have a hard time saying no. But ultimately I take things one at a time and find ways to get it done. I also give myself the room and the grace to ask for more time if I need it or be upfront with others if I can’t meet a deadline. 

Thrive: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

ZC: I have a mind that moves pretty quickly, so I would just tell my younger self everything is going to happen the way that it’s supposed to: the good and the bad. To a certain degree we are powerless over many situations, so to worry about unnecessary things burns up valuable time and energy. 

Thrive: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?

ZC: I look at a guy like Tom Brady, who some may love to hate. It’s not for the obvious reasons of being good looking and having a supermodel wife – although that doesn’t hurt. I admire him for being an incredible leader, creative, fun and leans into his truth. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, and as someone in the public eye that can be very difficult.

Thrive: How do you reframe negative thinking?

ZC: Everyone has negative thoughts and it’s typically rooted in fear, whether that is fear of not being enough, fear of failing or something else. I love making mistakes because with every mistake there are teaching points, and those teaching points have been the cornerstone of a lot of my growth. 

Thrive: Fill in the blanks: People think I/I’m Intense, but really I/I’m Multifaceted.

Thrive: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

ZC: I love caffeine, so I have started to find ways to limit caffeine intake throughout the day, which has significantly helped me sleep better.

Thrive: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve the way you connect with others. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

ZC: Ask questions! Whenever I meet someone I try to ask them as many questions as I can. What I have found is it makes people feel good to talk about themselves, so I like to give them that space to do that and that has really helped me form more meaningful connections. 

Thrive: What was the biggest turning point in your life?

ZC: When I got sober 11 years ago it completely changed my existence and made me what I am today.  

Thrive: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?

ZC: I never hit snooze and always put my workout clothes out the night before. 


  • Zac Clark is an American mental health and addiction recovery advocate and the co-founder and CEO of Release Recovery, a New York-based addiction and mental health recovery program, and Release Recovery Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides scholarships for treatment to those who cannot afford it. In 2016 Clark founded Release Recovery, starting with one inpatient facility and expanding to three in the greater New York City area, offering customizable recovery plans including recovery coaching, sober companion, case management, safe transport and intervention services. In 2020, he developed the nonprofit arm, Release Recovery Foundation, which has funded the treatment of 35 individuals and has raised more than $1 million for addiction and mental health recovery. Additionally, Release Recovery Foundation has created scholarships specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, college students and women. As CEO of Release Recovery and Release Recovery Foundation, Clark is tasked with developing and executing business plans and maintaining the day-to-day operations of the program, inclusive of organizational expansion, staff development, fundraising and strategic planning. Clark currently is the chairman of the Caron Foundation New York Advisory board and Corporate board of trustees - where he himself also received treatment for substance abuse. Additionally, he is a key advisor for the organization and has established philanthropic initiatives through the Clark Family and the Release Recovery Foundation. The Caron Foundation offers recovery and referral services and educational resources for people leaving treatment, those in recovery, family members and educators. Clark is also on the board of Surfside Sober Living in Margate, NJ. In 2020, Clark was a contestant on season 26 of ABC’s The Bachelorette, where he was given the final rose and also publicly addressed his sobriety on national television, making him a relatable, fan favorite. He went on to use his platform and following to raise awareness around important mental health and addiction issues and now serves as a motivational speaker, telling his story of redemption from substance abuse, mental health battles and how to lead a sober lifestyle. Clark has run 9 marathons and completed the coveted Goggins challenge, raising nearly two million dollars on behalf of Release Recovery Foundation and Caron Foundation for people in need of recovery tools and programs. A south Jersey native, Clark currently resides in New York City.