Synopsis: Chris Scott and Matt Finch kick off the new year of 2021 with a discussion about The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and the lessons it teaches. You’ll also learn about the voices/psyches of drug and alcohol cravings, how to disconnect from them, and much more.
Recovery courses mentioned:
Speaker 1 (00:00): We're not built to just create a utopia and make it like that forever. Which some people think it is we're supposed to suffer. We're supposed to go through really difficult times. All those things are necessary because otherwise, if you just feel great all the time, you have nothing to compare it to. If you've never felt bad, you're going to take that. So for granted, someone that's always felt awesome. They're not going to have anything to compare it to. There'll be no contrast without contrast it's adult.
Speaker 2 (00:29): It was like I had this unhinged narrator or this unhinged alcohol lobbyist. That's sometimes called it inside my head. There would constantly scream at me and shriek at me. We weren't friends. I hated that whatever that voice was, I wanted it to shut up. And actually it got to the point where I was afraid of that voice.
Speaker 1 (00:48): Thanks for tuning into the elevation recovery podcast. Your hub for addiction, recovery strategies hosted by Chris Scott, happy new year. The elevation recovery team wishes you many miracles and blessings in 2021 today's episode is brought to you by the elevation recovery course collection, which you can email@example.com forward slash courses. The two flagship courses, our ultimate opioid detox, 5.0 as well as total alcohol recovery, 2.0 again, you can access firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash courses. Welcome everybody to episode one 58 of the show. I'm sitting here with my cohost, Chris Scott, I'm Matt Finch here in San Diego, California. How you been? Chris?
Speaker 2 (01:39): Been great. Yeah, beautiful a day. So far, a nice weekend. And our, we were saying it kind of almost seemed like a non event where a new year's Eve happened because of the abominable quality of a new year's show and whatnot, no surprise, but a lot of people are trying to change their lives for the better. And that's important. Um, a lot of optimism, a lot of success stories actually that I've heard, which is really cool. I think we might be getting to a point where enough people are hitting a dead end with whatever their coping mechanisms were, drinking drugs, et cetera, due to the lockdowns and, and the bizarre pastor we've had that they're just taking massive action. The pain of changing, outweighs the pain of continuing to do what they're doing. And I've been, you know, I'm always trying to read books and studies and articles on, uh, that's even just tangentially relevant to the bio-psycho-social spiritual model of recovery and optimization that you and I practice and talk about.
Speaker 2 (02:51): And I'm almost done with a book that I bought like a year and a half ago and I started it, but I try to things on an as needed basis. And back then I had some biochemical things that I needed to brush up on or Polish my understanding. Uh, so I, I deferred it, but this book is really good. It's called the untethered soul. I'm so bad at remembering names. I want to say Michael singer, that's his name. Okay. And it's very good. It's an interesting book. And it, it, it dovetails interestingly with something I've been experiencing lately, which is that, uh, at a certain point in whether you want to call it your spiritual journey or maturation or personal growth, your mind becomes quieter in a pleasant way. And I think there's a direct quote at some point in that book that says, you know, at a certain point, you're the narrator, the internal narrator that you have, if your life is a movie and you're the protagonist, there's a narrator.
Speaker 2 (03:53): Sometimes they go for a walk and the narrator won't shut up. The narrator will, uh, you know, say, Oh, my grandmother used to have that tree, you know, and maybe we'll have grapes for lunch tomorrow. And I have to call Bob on Tuesday, the plumber's coming a week from Saturday and you don't notice anything on your walk. And it made me realize that one of the big challenges of early recovery is getting that narrator, which in early recovery from at least alcohol addiction, I'm sure for other addictions as well. Maybe you can confirm this since you have more broad range of experience in recovering from other addictions. But for me, it was like I had this unhinged narrator or this unhinged alcohol lobbyists. That's sometimes called it inside my head. There would constantly scream at me and shriek at me. We weren't friends. I hated that whatever that voice was, I wanted it to shut up.
Speaker 2 (04:50): And actually it got to the point where I was afraid of that voice because they were telling me things that were frightening. It would remind me of my deepest fears at the most inappropriate moments. It would actually, it led to a sort of phobia of going crazy because, you know, biochemically, I understand why that was the case. It was because my glutamate was through the roof. Uh, chronically my gabble levels. Hadn't been restored. I couldn't relax. And so I know that there's some relation, even if we don't understand whatever the quantum level of relation there is between neurotransmitter levels and thought processes, a subconscious thought generation, there was something there. And I did not have a balance. I had an imbalance between my imbalanced biochemically, but also an imbalanced subconsciously I know they were correlated, but it was like, I would have to go for a run sometime.
Speaker 2 (05:48): Sometimes I would call them impulse jogs, strap on my shoes and get the hell out because there was, you know, that schizophrenia, alcohol lobbyists, deranged narrator in my head, whereas was being absurd. And I couldn't control it. I couldn't get it to shut up. I think a lot of people have that experience. I think a lot of people don't talk about it because they don't want to face the fear, the fearful possibility. Like what if I am just cause it's schizophrenia? What if I am a little bit, um, what if I'm on hinged? You know, what if this is me, one of the central points of the book, uh, the untethered soul is that you are not the narrator in your head, that you are the one observing it. You can detach yourself. I had a course member once who had an epiphany, a lot of people have Epiphanes and total alcohol recovery, 2.0, and I encourage them to share what there's a Tiffany is, are.
Speaker 2 (06:41): And her epiphany was that she could use the word disengage as a mantra. She would no longer, uh, blow up at her coworkers or boss or family members. Uh, the little stresses that used to be automatic triggers for actions. Those things were causing her perception of things, you know, as voiced probably by her little voice in her head that we all have to, you know, Oh my God, we have to do this. Now it's time to blow up at Steve because that wasn't supposed to happen. It conflicts with our image of what the world's supposed to be like. And it takes a lot of time. It probably takes sleep restoration, biochemical restoration, uh, for me developing a meditation mantra. But recently I've just noticed an epiphany for me. And this is I'm almost seven years. Alcohol free at this point, addiction free is I can go for a walk now and simply notice the things on the walk without having superfluous thoughts about those things.
Speaker 2 (07:42): And without having thoughts that bear no relation to what I'm doing in the moment. So I'm not thinking about the plumber coming or getting the bag of dog food that I forgot to get yesterday. And part of that is like, I have confidence in my ability to deal with situations as they arise, such that I don't need to ruminate about them when they're not happening. So there's a layer of self-efficacy that I think is also important to achieving that sense of inner peace. But I wanted to bring that up because I used to, especially in early recovery, people would say, Oh, do you, uh, ha might have mindfulness and be present. And as we were kind of who he is, is that, you know, like, it sounds, it sounds nice. Never how the hell do you get there? You know, like I'll be present, like, okay, there's a tree. And then, but I didn't realize that I was being screamed at by something that I could eventually subdue over time with a combination of synergistic strategies from that bio-psycho-social spiritual model. It does eventually come.
Speaker 3 (08:43): I'm really glad that you brought that up. And that's one of the reasons it's so fun when we don't have a topic, which is usually in, which is by design because we trust our subconsciouses to just kind of say what needs to be said. That book is, it's funny that you brought it up because that happens to be the first book I ever have a read on spirituality on that way of thinking where the untethered soul, we're not the, the person doing all that thinking. We're just observing that we're pure consciousness observing that narration in our head. You know what, when I, I first read it, I was probably 32 or 33. So this is real early recovery. It was when I had, uh, recently got into reading books. And the last time I had been into reading when I was, when I was 13 and 14, and I was reading all these dragon lime, dragon, Lance fantasy books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, really good books and, uh, dark books about dark ELFS, dark elves, the dark elf trilogy.
Speaker 3 (09:50): So it was really fun fantasy stuff. Then I just got way over reading until around 32 when I quit all the substances. And so I was reading books on neuro-linguistic programming, a lot of Tony Robbins books and just things on health, lots of trippy cool stuff that I had, uh, that I was now interested in learning about. So this was, I'll try it go for this untethered soul. It had great reviews. It was, I think it might've been brand new at the time, or it was really new and it was just over my head. I just wanted, I wasn't ready for it. I was not ready for it at that time in my life. Before I learned about that, I needed to learn how to get my neuro-transmitters balanced and I needed to learn other types of habits before I could felt I could go onto that stuff.
Speaker 3 (10:37): And so then I listened to a few years ago, I was really, it was the end of the summer and I was really needing directions. It was, uh, it was the summer after I had just moved back from Hawaii and a toxic, gnarly relationship and very stressful moving. They're spending a fortune, moving back, spending a fortune all to just kind of end up back in San Diego, right where I was before. And so I went on a nor Cal camping trip. It was just my daughter and I, she was probably seven at the time. And we went all the way to Northern California, North of San Francisco, a few hours to salt point state park. And it was, there was like no one there. So we had the whole campground to ourself and every night at the campfire, after we'd done outdoor stuff all day, I would sit in front of the campfire and listened to the audible of the surrender experiment, which is Michael singer second book.
Speaker 3 (11:35): And in my opinion, I did go back and listen to the audible of, uh, the untethered soul and, and I, and I comprehended it and it made a lot of sense. And I was like, this is great. The surrender experiment in my experience was even better. It's basically his life story, um, from the vantage point of when he just surrenders into life's perfection, the flow of life and doesn't resist, uh, meditation was a big part of it. But matter of fact, I'm working on an email right now to send out tomorrow. And that's one of the books I'm recommending is the surrender experiment. I'll have to put the untethered soul on there too, in case someone wants to read that first, but what this taught me was we all, we all do that, right? We've got that voice in our head and our brains are predictors.
Speaker 3 (12:28): One of our main innate need for security and safety. First, we need to be safe. And then we need to be able to eat, drink water, obviously, breathe oxygen, and then start a family and all that Maslow's hierarchy of needs. So one of our things to make sure we're safe is the PR the predicting you were just talking about it. So for instance, while you're walking, instead of paying attention to your surroundings and actually being in the present moment, thinking about all the different things that we might've forgot to do, that we might be procrastinating, op, even thinking about good things, which is better than thinking about things that are negative, but, and then on that trip to Norco, um, I remember I was like just really enjoying the trees as they were going by and just, and that kind of trip reset me. And a lot of people nowadays don't realize that they're not the thinker.
Speaker 3 (13:25): They're actually the observer. And man, when you're, when you're addicted to something or when you're going through acute withdrawal or post acute withdrawal, that predictor goes crazy. I love the, the name you used the lobby of the alcohol lobbyists, schizophrenia, alcohol lobbyists. Um, when I was an alcoholic, I had that same voice. And so, you know, it's not common knowledge nowadays for people to put that link together, which you just did, which is the thinker going on in there, all those random thoughts that are happening, that voice that you're hearing it is it's fueled by your biochemistry. So if your brain health is really, really good, I'd say it's safe to say that that thought process that's going on is probably going to be a lot healthier. Now that's not to say that it's for sure, but there's statistically, you're probably going to have much better chances than if your dopamine's deficient, if your gab is deficient, if you've got excess glutamate, like you were saying, brain neuro inflammation, inflammation from leaky gut and these diff undigested foods causing inflammation.
Speaker 3 (14:38): So from that state, it's going to be, you're going to be more prone to those negative thoughts, but it's, I think it all comes down to that need for the human brain to be predicting things, the predictive mechanism so we can feel safe. Okay. And I look at life as a game of chess, really? That's I look at it as a few things. Number one, a gigantic 8 billion multiplayer, um, game where everybody is kind of co-creating the world and everyone has different worldviews. That's, that's really, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and why there's so much animosity and why there's so much intolerance out there. And I think probably the main reason, at least that I can decipher is so many different worldviews like you and I, we share arguably a very similar, not I, no one can, no one's can be identical down to every little detail, but our world views are very synchronistic, man.
Speaker 3 (15:37): They are, uh, they're very symmetrical when I look at you, we even look the same Balt and you know, so, but most people have different worldviews. And that right now, what we're seeing is so many different worldviews and everyone's not everyone, but a lot of people are screaming and shouting or, and it's just, they're trying to get other people to believe their worldview. So now I kind of, and then with America, we've got so many people with, co-morbidities the reason that the, so many people here are dying and getting infected and yada, yada yada, because we have so many cormobidities Cormo bit comorbidities. I don't know why I'm having so much difficulty with that word, but diabetes, obesity, heart disease, addiction, you know, lung issues. Like we're the most unhealthy country, at least that I know of. And it's just not common knowledge that the food that they sell at the grocery store, almost all of it's total crap, almost all of it.
Speaker 3 (16:41): Even, even if you go to whole foods, there's a lot of crap there. That's, that's just crap for you. And so we've got this huge mess of I'm sticking to America. Cause that's what I know best here. We're very diseased here. We're very unhealthy as a country, as far as the physical health of most of the, a lot of the citizens. And we've just got just all this media telling us certain things. And I think a lot of people are, have, have had enough. People are like, wait a second. And this goes with what you were talking about, how you're seeing lots of success stories now, and I'm seeing the same thing. I think a lot of people are putting their foot down. They're like enough is enough for their life. And they're over living in the same way. Things are probably going to be in my guests.
Speaker 3 (17:33): I'm not an expert on this at all. My guess is things are going to be pandemic is like this for another year or two years. The last pandemic that we had that was three years long. So I don't think, I think people are starting to realize, wait, this really isn't going to go back to normal anytime soon. And everything has changed so much that we'll never go back to where it was. So now a lot of people are like, Holy, what's going to be the outcome of this. Where are things going? So now I think people are, there's a higher level of necessity now in a lot of people's psyches and they're realizing I need to get my, right, because the government's not going to save no one's coming to save me and learning how to turn off that incessant alcohol lobbyist or opioid lobbyists, or, you know, the psyche of addiction to shut that thing up is very difficult.
Speaker 3 (18:33): If you're not feeding your brain and body, the right nutrients, which comes from you can get it from oxygen, from water, from diet, from supplements, from walking barefoot. There's so many different ways to get nutrients. And that's why I love this because you and I still, we have a lot of knowledge on this stuff, but you're still reading books on, uh, not only addiction, but things that could be related to addiction, which has everything, everything in your lifestyle could be learned and absorbed and utilized for addiction recovery, because addiction recovery is lifestyle recovery. Now up,
Speaker 2 (19:11): If I, if I had only read the big book, which was the first book I read after quitting drinking, um, mandate of the, of the, uh, detox center, I went to, if I had just read that over and over and over again, I had, well, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I don't know what I would be doing right now, maybe drinking. Um, but I like to say I don't love. And not that there's nothing of value in that book, but there's so much of value in things that are not directly relatable, but are tangentially relatable to the topic at hand, especially addiction recovery. I learned more about my own addiction recovery from reading books on nutrition, fitness mindset, spirituality that they wouldn't even have to, sometimes the best ones never mentioned the word alcohol. And certainly never mentioned the word alcoholic. I kind of don't like, uh, recovery memoirs, which despite having kind of written one myself, uh, it's just, I think there's a time and a place for it.
Speaker 2 (20:14): But if all I read were addiction memoirs, I'd be focusing on the wrong things. And I'm sure, you know, I wouldn't have learned how to let go of that inner narrator. Maybe there's some, I'm sure some of the addiction memoirs touch on that subject, but probably not in the way that Michael singer does this, his life's work, you know? And so I want to learn from a guy who specializes in that I want to learn from someone like Tony Robbins. Now, how do you optimize your life and bring it to the next level? Not how do we sit here and make sense, endlessly, try to make sense of a phase of, of, of the past. And I think we have to be very careful with how reframe the past too, because if you're, if you look at your alcohol addiction as a, as a symptom of a permanent disease, that will always be with you, I think that'll be a self fulfilling prophecy.
Speaker 2 (21:03): Uh, if you, if you look at it as something that should never have happened, then you're going to be guilty and beating yourself up for a long time. I see my addiction as a phase of, of life and a phase of growth that was necessary, you know, and in that book, uh, Michael singer also says at some point that that pain is the key to growth, which is not a revolutionary concept, but you know, pain is the key to happiness and to liberation really, you know, that's something that, that I definitely learned. I almost knew it when I was going through some of the worst drinking episodes, withdrawal episodes, maybe it was just a random leap of faith that I had, but there were moments where I was like, this is so bad that a, whatever happens after this, if I survive is going to be so much better.
Speaker 2 (21:53): And B I'm going to find a way to make this all make sense at some point. And hopefully someone else can benefit from this experience that I'm having. I remember going for a run when I was having borderline hallucinations. I used to work out a lot during my drinking years, never off. Cause I knew I stored fat. Anyway, my liver was, was loaded with toxins acid aldehyde, which is 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself was not burning fat. I was not getting REM sleep. I was insane, but I remember going for this run because I had to do something and I literally literally run out of alcohol and the liquor store was closed. There was the morning and foggy day, pretty appropriate for how I was feeling and cold. And I remember running, I felt like crap, all my joints hurt. I just had like a gut that was going up and down.
Speaker 2 (22:46): And you know, my, all this area was always the biggest casualty of my drinking years. I felt like Santa Claus or something, even though I was in my twenties and I just felt gross and cold sweats and prickles in my skin. And I remember thinking, I wonder if anyone can benefit from this in the future and if so, how can it be done? All right, I'm going to figure it out. That's my life's mission to someday make someone benefit from how horrible I feel right now. And that sticks out to me now, like a vivid memory. It all fits very well into the narrative that I've created for my life. But the dots are only connected. In retrospect, uh, as Steve jobs said, it's only possible to connect the dots in retrospect. So now it makes sense. But, um, back then my internal narrator was going crazy except for that one thought, which was, I think pressure from me at the time, but there something else I wanted to, uh, return to about the internal narrator, which in early recovery for a lot of people, as a deranged schizophrenia, alcohol lobbyists that narrator eventually becomes aligned with who you really are and what you want, your values, your what virtues do you want to work on?
Speaker 2 (24:08): It starts becoming your friend rather than your enemy, but it takes some time. It takes time. And it's not that you want it to shut up forever. You know, as it becomes your friend, you can learn to turn it on and turn it off. And certainly I'm not, I'm not a spiritual Yogi Gandy type. Um, I, I have a long way to go in my own optimization physically, mentally, spiritually, but I, I, I think I can say from experience that, that as time goes on, that narrator becomes, you're fine. You can turn the volume up, you can turn the volume down and there are times when it does make sense to amplify it, if it's helping you. So I, I told, I was talking to my dad about the whole concept of letting go of the, um, the voice in your head and, um, you know, kind of having an active meditation sessions, if you go for a walk and I guess what we would call mindfulness, even though I've long had an aversion to that word.
Speaker 2 (25:06): But he said, well, when he was, uh, you know, getting his PhD as a PhD in economics and, um, I guess for as long as he can remember, he would go for runs and he would solve problems in his head because he would get into a flow state when he was going through runs. And is there, was there something he didn't ask him that, is there something wrong with that? But I sense the question coming, and I think the answer is no. You know, if that, if the voice in your head is helping you out, then it's a good thing. But I think it's valuable to have moments where you do shut it off each day. And that's why it's valuable to have a routine meditation time set so that you can have that time away from the, the narrator voice in your head, or at least practice turning the volume low on that voice.
Speaker 2 (25:57): And then at other times, you know, sometimes I have my best ideas in the shower, you know, there's, it's not necessarily, there's nothing wrong with being a human being that has thoughts, as long as those thoughts, aren't obtrusive and, uh, disturbing. And I think that's the transformation that a lot of people ultimately end up having us that fix there, the various aspects along the biochemical, psychological social and spiritual pillars. And of course, as they get more sleep and feel more rested to this day, if I get a few days of bad sleep, it becomes hard for me to control my thoughts. I start feeling a little bit, not unhinged anymore, but, uh, less centered than I normally would. And I think all of this is normal. It's predictable, but people eventually find that they can decide when to amplify their thoughts and promote flow States that promote and turn creativity.
Speaker 2 (26:52): Uh, and when it's okay, you know, I like having thoughts in the shower. I I've learned that right when I wake up in the morning, I used to try to meditate immediately. But now I find that as soon as I have my first cup of coffee or tea and I let the dogs out to pee, I start having really good ideas. That's like my creative peak. And as far as like big picture life, vision things. So I just go write in my journal. And so I'm writing down what that internal voice is telling me. And then I don't feel pressure throughout the day to let that voice run wild. And I can give myself permission to take a break and practice repeating a mantra because, you know, it's impossible to focus on nothing to be conscious is to be conscious of something that's a kind of an accent.
Speaker 2 (27:39): But then the question is, do you want to be conscious on conscious of thoughts, uh, or do you want to be conscious of a mantra or do you want to be conscious of the things that you can just be hold when you're going for a walk or a swim in the ocean or whatever. And I think the ability to discern between those things and to choose is a kind of the Mark of, of spiritual growth, which is another term that I would have scoffed at back in those early years when I was emerging from my nihilistic drinking days.
Speaker 3 (28:10): So nihilistic, there's also another point to all this. I don't understand it, but so substances cause the brain disruptions obviously, and, you know, toxic to the liver, when you take too much of certain things, there's also the energy of certain drugs. So for instance, as you were saying earlier, I've got a lot of experience being addicted to different things and taking different things. And I see why they talk about in the big book, why they talk about the Mr. Jekyll and Dr. Hyde and, um, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. High, whichever one it is. And they talk about in meetings. And I haven't been to one in ages, but in meetings they talk about this disease. Like it's an actual entity, right? Like, uh, and going back to various times of my addiction, I really did feel possessed, especially, especially with alcohol. I think that one destroyed my mental health, the most out of anything.
Speaker 3 (29:13): Um, cause I was just drinking so much of it. But even when I took methadone for that one week to detox off of heroin, after I got off or not heroin detox off of the meds, they have me in the hospital for the overdose. Um, every single night I took or every single morning I took methadone once a day for those seven days, then I got off and that was, it took Valium for a couple of weeks and then done with all drugs. I had nightmares and I would wake up from those vivid nightmares, totally freaked out. The energy of that drug just felt really, really weird. And I even read this book called the language of emotions. That was really awesome. And she was talking about how there's different energies. And I think she might've even said she's a M a empath. I think she might've even said that there's different entities with each drug.
Speaker 3 (30:07): Like when she was looking at someone that was on heroin, she D she saw like a different entity, like a, like a physical thing, right. And different entity with alcohol. So I don't know how much of all that stuff I believe, but as far as the energy, um, the energy of methamphetamines when you're with other people doing meth versus the energy of snorting, some Oxycontin with some, um, that stuff is a trip. And so I think a lot of people will go crazy or almost go crazy. I went crazy a few times, never went to a mental institution. I always went to my parents' house, but I did go crazy a few times. I was partially, maybe suicidal. And of course, most of that stuff was what it did to my brain, but I still, I do think there, there's an also an energetic element of the substances that's invisible. And then I'm definitely don't know enough about to talk about really other than what I just said.
Speaker 2 (31:10): Yeah. Well, when people have psychedelic experiences, they see, I wouldn't know this from experience, but apparently they, because I'm terrified to, to, to do that. Um, I had probably my career suicide, but at some point or whatever they have benefits for, if I can do it legally, um, and make sure there's no PCP standard or whatever, but anyway, um, yeah, people see, they see, uh, entities and there, the question is, is, are there's figments of the imagination that for whatever biochemical reason are, um, presented to people reliably and in similar forms to different people from the same substance, that's pretty weird. I always found it very strange that people who are having alcohol withdrawal, hallucinations tend to see spiders or rats. You know, why is that, what is it about the chemical structure of alcohol that would evoke spiders or rats? Um, that's very odd.
Speaker 2 (32:08): So I don't know, maybe, maybe it is that psychedelics lift up whatever barriers to true reality. Uh, we have in our normal boxed in consciousness and there's, there are other dimensions there. We know there are other dimensions. We just don't know what, what what's there. Uh, I'm open to all of this. I think it's great late night conversation, uh, with people who are similarly minded and not too, uh, rationalistic, I suppose. Not, not, but, you know, open to weird things. Uh, I have no idea, you know, I've had some people come in, some of my articles saying, you know, saying they've had alcohol withdrawal and they saw demons. And I, I used to scoff at that a little bit, but I mean, when I, alcohol withdrawal, I saw dark shadows dancing around in my bathroom. I don't know what that was. I thought I knew it wasn't real.
Speaker 2 (33:03): So I think they, I have a distinction between that there are types of hallucinations that, you know, aren't real, but you see them anyway. And then types of hallucinations where you're totally fooled. I didn't get to that level luckily, but, um, yeah. Uh, as far as the energies or entities, I think it's all valid up for debate and it almost doesn't matter because the goal is, is the same to transcend whatever that is and to get past it. And I think there can be some value in objective, fine alcohol addiction, or even alcohol itself as a sort of villain in early recovery. Uh, I did that for a little bit. I had a, the movie, I always loved James Bond and I liked the movie specter a lot that had come out. It was one of the last movies I watched when I was a drinker.
Speaker 2 (33:53): Uh, and Oh, no, I'm sorry. Skyfall. I like specter as well with Skyfall was my favorite one with heavier burden, heavier Bardem as the villain. And I kind of saw like him as my alcoholic alter ego, even though he wasn't an alcoholic, he was just kind of evil and jaded and resentful. And then James Bond is as the, the, the heroic version of myself that could emerge. Right. Cause that was kind of the first bond movie. Yeah. I always that I know of where the villain was somewhere. You could kind of understand his plate. You know, he had reasons to be resentful. He'd been turned in and yeah. Tortured by the Chinese and [inaudible] had kind of given him up. So, you know, he had a point and that's kind of how I felt about my alcoholic self. Like I had a point I hadn't been, you know, on the surface of things.
Speaker 2 (34:40): I had a privileged life in finance, but I had some pretty bad books. I had, I have reasons to be angry, but it was totally up to me whether I was going to take that and go unleash evil on the world or take that and try to unleash good on the world. So to me, the black and white, uh, although nuanced vision of things with, um, spirits and inner demons and whatnot, even if not physical demons necessarily that played a role in my early recovery. I liked feeling like I was on the side of good rather than evil. And, um, probably helped me to resurrect my image of myself, which, you know, had been mired in nihilism for some time. So if you look at some of my earlier blog posts on fit recovery, you'll see that I do sometimes, uh, for, to alcohol or addiction as an entity to be dominated or beaten or conquered.
Speaker 2 (35:34): And I liked that. I liked that imagery, but at a certain point, the addiction dies. You know what biochemically and I suppose the brain is concerned. We know that what fires together, wires together and what doesn't fire dies. So eventually there's neural pathways that make up your alcohol addiction die. And when, when it's not alive anymore, it's not an entity and you don't need to fight it. And it's something that, that you can then make peace with and look back and say that phase of my life, as painful as it was, was a valuable phase of my life. And in fact, it was valuable in some ways, because precisely because it was painful.
Speaker 3 (36:18): That's how I look at all my challenges too. They ser sucked some more than others, but now I have this wide and kind of deep repertoire of past experiences. Um, and then I've done research on how other people can overcome those as well. And it's fun to be able to literally like all the challenges I've had, whether they were with relationships, with drugs, with alcohol, with, uh, looking at your cell phone too much, or email or food or TV, all those issues, whether it was skin conditions had plenty of those. Now when other people have those that I know or know someone that knows someone now I'm able to help. Um, and it feels really good. And now I find too that I've reached this phase where no new problems are coming in, as far as, uh, that type of stuff, right? No new addictions, no new skin conditions, no health issues.
Speaker 3 (37:18): And so I'm kind of really enjoying this. I feel like this could be the only time at least that I can remember, and maybe a decade or 15 years, or possibly my entire life where things are really smooth. Like I'm doing the work that I want to do for a living, which is great. I live where I want to live. I'm in a relationship with the girl I want to be with, um, our kids. Great. Like everything's just awesome. And my health is good. My mindset's good. So it took a lot of work more than nine years now of putting work into it, but that pays off. And so now, as a result of all that work, I'm 41 now and only growing better and better, maybe not day by day, but certainly month by month, some days he might backslide a little bit, but on a month by month basis, got this momentum that just keeps building upon itself, keep taking care of stuff that I procrastinated on, like cleaning out my car and getting some work done on it and stuff.
Speaker 3 (38:23): So I'm really enjoying this now. And I feel like the only reason I got here was because I poured myself into books at the very beginning. And I've that habit. Um, people that don't read books, at least one book a month or something like that. Um, you know, I guess it's not for everyone. You know, some people are just real smart, don't need to read, but for if you're trying to solve a problem, like overcome addiction, transcend addiction, man, for something as gnarly as that, you want to learn stuff. And then the addiction phase is usually long for people, but the acute withdrawal is usually pretty short. The post-acute withdrawal is lot longer, but it's on the span of your whole life or even your adult life. It's really nothing. So after people learn that it's really about learning how to crush it at life and have ongoing progress in the important areas.
Speaker 3 (39:25): And so I guess a really, I think relationships is an important area to intimate relationships, especially. So for people that are unhappy in an intimate relationship, it doesn't matter if you're 10 years, 20 years off addiction. If you're living with someone in your relationship is toxic. I'd say it's pretty hard to be able to get the most health and enjoyment out of life. And a lot of those problems in relationships simply come from not knowing much about relationships or maybe you think you know about them, but really you don't know. That's how I was. Um, I thought I knew about relationships a few years ago. Boy, was I really wrong? Then I read the right books, the ones that resonated with me and I was like, Oh my gosh. Now I get it. And ever since I've understood it as a result, relationships are now easy.
Speaker 3 (40:19): That's what I realized. The main thing is just being very discerning when it comes to being in a long-term relationship, you know, date, whoever you want. But if you're going to be on a LTR with someone, especially live in you better vet them properly, you better be very discerning and make sure that's something that's really the best interest, you know, are there red flags? If so, what are they? So this last time I just took things slow, um, used what I had learned. And it just, I don't know, it turned out really lucky that her and I just get along. We've never had a fight. We've never had an issue. We've never said one mean thing to each other. And it's been like 14 months now, 15 months, I think not one mean thing. I've never called her name, uh, raised my voice at her and, and vice versa. I didn't know that was possible because you know, you hear so often, like relationships are hard work or marriages are hard worker, this, that, and you know, yeah. It's only been more than a year. So, you know, in 10 years I might be singing a different tune five years, but I think that what I'm getting at with all this is if, if people aren't reading podcasts are great, but books is also, books should also be read too.
Speaker 2 (41:39): I think everyone, no matter how smart should read. And if you'd like to read, listen to audiobooks and podcasts, one of my best friends doesn't read cause he doesn't, uh, he's extremely type a, despite being one of the most laid back and chill people. I know, and he's always working on his business. He left finance to buy a business and it's doing really well and he wants to sell it every time I talked to him, he's got his, his AirPods in his, if you've got like five other calls and other things that it needs to do. And he, he thrives like that and he's somehow very centered. He's an anomaly. But I also have to say that, take some credit for myself. I fill him in on the things that he needs to know. I it's like I read the books and then I tell him what I, what I learned from reading the books.
Speaker 2 (42:24): And I think he gets something out of that. So even if you don't read, have someone who, who does and make them tell you what, what you need to know. Um, and yeah, I, I approach life as a series of never ending adventures or experiments and chess games, things to figure out, not zero-sum chess games. I think going back to your observation about people with different worldviews in the beginning, I think the problem is when people start seeing the chess games is as actual chess, it's zero sum winners and losers. It doesn't have to be that way. Um, but if, but if everyone sees it that way, it's going to be that way. Um, and people tend to get more concerned about power dynamics and focus and fixating on that say in the context of a romantic relationship, rather than on happiness and fulfillment and things that are really infinite and limitless, uh, that can be enjoyed because life itself is finite.
Speaker 2 (43:17): So, you know, I, I also tell my clients who have issues with marriage. And a lot of people who quit drinking will have a partner who doesn't quit or a partner who never drank, but it's kind of sending and has been berating them for a long time and doesn't know how to not break them. Now that they've quit. Uh, that can be tough. I've seen, I see a lot of people growing apart when they sort of forge a new identity that retains the best aspects of their who they've always been, but with some added, uh, improvements in who they are, or at least added alignment between who they've always wanted to be and who they become. And sometimes partners don't take kindly to that, or it can arouse envy or suspicion or all sorts of negative emotions. But I, I do say I try not to give advice about things I'm not an expert on.
Speaker 2 (44:09): And, uh, you know, marriage is certainly not something I can marriage or relationship therapist, and I've been so busy the past five years or so that I'm working on, on a fade, recover in related things. Elevation recovery podcast has been what over a year now, year and a half. Yeah. Time flies. It feels some, in some ways it feels like it's been a while. At least since I drank, but in other ways it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day. And it feels like it's been like a couple months since I started doing all of this. So there were time flies when you're having fun. At some point, I will ask you for all of your books on relationships so I can devour devour theirs. But, um, I, I think one of the things that I was able to do, and I've had some many relationships, I suppose, since, uh, quitting drinking that have been great. And, uh, just, I haven't wanted to, uh, totally do the whole, uh, kids and family and that kind of album
Speaker 3 (45:15): Or 32,
Speaker 2 (45:17): I mean, down South, I know people here who got married at like 19. So people think I'm a weirdo, but I kind of do things on my own timeline. And I, I trust my gut instinct and I, I tend to find things that I'm searching for when I'm searching for them. So I'm not too worried about that. Um, and you know, I'm, I'm extremely happy at this point, but, uh, yeah, I find that that when it's time to tackle something, absorbing as many books with good reviews or at least good reviews from good friends on that subject is, is a great way to proceed. Um, I've always been a reader. I have a little, uh, red light as opposed to blue light, uh, clip on light from my books. I don't like to read in a harshly lit room at night, but I use that at night. And I read for anywhere from 20 minutes to, or sometimes five, if I'm really tired, I might get two pages done, but it's just the act of doing it. That keeps it a habit. And sometimes I'll read for two hours or three. Um, and you know, that's just kind of how I've effortlessly gone through however many books since I quit drinking. And I'm way wiser for having learned from people who are experts or who have had really unique perspectives on things.
Speaker 3 (46:36): Yeah. And that's what it is to someone writes a book on all their best ideas that they probably spent, who knows how long developing, and then in a few hours to several hours or less, you can digest all their best ideas and best frameworks models for things, tactics. It's really cool.
Speaker 2 (46:56): Yeah. It's kind of an underrated thing. Like you can go read what Abraham Lincoln was thinking. We were Socrates or, you know, uh, any of the stoic philosophers and famous great people have written things that deserve to be read. Like it's not, it's not boring. It's actually amazing that we get to peer into the consciousness of, of, uh, people who are great thinkers and there's too many to list.
Speaker 3 (47:24): Uh, I want to mention two books right here. One of them is atomic habits. By James clear, if anyone's looking for a good book on habit creation, it goes along the lines with what Chris was talking about every single night before bed he'll read or probably most nights. So in the way this atomic habits book teaches it. Um, there's more steps in this, but one of them is to start a new habit, do something that's really short read for read one page a night. Anybody can read a paragraph a night, start reading, good, a new book, or a book that you already have that you want to read. Just commit to every night at a certain time reading one paragraph course. And if that's all you have to do to check off that for the day, that's so easy. And then once you are into the habit, once you're into the process of reading that paragraph, you're probably going to read a page or more.
Speaker 3 (48:20): And so I love that book. Um, the other book I'm going to bring up is a memoir. Can't hurt me by David Goggins, master your mind, defy the odds I listened to the audible of that. It was very powerful. That thing, it also goes along with what you were saying, how suffering is the path to fulfillment without suffering. You really can't get, you can't grow without suffering. The more you suffer and make it through it. The more you grow. And there's a quote from a movie, a Tom cruise movie called vanilla sky, and his friend in that movie, the actor who played him is Jason Lee, who used to be a professional skateboarder. But he was telling Tom, when Tom was down about something without the sour, the sweet doesn't taste as sweet. And it's like the, just the Taoists duality. Like you can't without suffering.
Speaker 3 (49:16): There's no joy. Like we need the contrast. We need the full spectrum, ultimate bliss, ultimate suffering and everything in between. So in our human experience, spiritual, physical experience on this planet, we get the full range of experiences and emotions and situations. You know, we're not built to just create a utopia and make it like that forever, which some people think it is we're supposed to suffer. We're supposed to go through really difficult times. All those things are necessary because otherwise, if you just feel great all the time and you have nothing to compare it to, if you've never felt bad, you're going to take that. So for granted, someone that's always felt awesome. They're not going to have anything to compare it to. There'll be no contrast without contrast it's adult.
Speaker 2 (50:07): Yeah. Well, speaking of that, I've got 60 minutes of yoga and 105 degree room today. I'm looking forward to it. It always sucks for a little bit, but you know, you kind of grease, there's, there's a neural pathways in your brain. You associate things with. And right now I associate, when I think of going there, I somehow block out the discomfort part. And I think of walking out of that room and going, ah, you know, and like that is 10 times more notable to me than sitting in whatever discomfort I'm in there for. Um, yeah. I feel like managed discomfort is, is that's kind of how I praise what I like to do. I like to jump in 50 degree water. Uh, I'd like to, and then stay there until my body adapts and take deep nasal breaths. Uh, I like to lift heavy weight, do heavy deadlifts until my lungs are on fire.
Speaker 2 (51:04): And my legs feel like they're blown out. Um, I like to go do two or three hours of MMA and beyond the floor. And they're choking guys out and getting choked and, you know, boxing and getting hit in the gut, all that stuff. At least it's discomfort that I choose. So I get to be in control of it. And I'll take that any day. And it makes you mentally tougher for sure over time so that when the little things arise, they seem insignificant, you know, potential argument with someone hardly ever happens to me anymore. Um, and it's just all there's managed discomfort, things, same thing with the impulse drugs back in early recovery, I would go for a jog, which I really didn't want to do, but I preferred the discomfort that I got to choose over the discomfort of dealing with the deranged schizophrenia, alcohol happiest and sitting on my couch, which was actually sitting on your couch when you're going through withdrawal is more excruciating than going for a run by a long shot by a marathon probably. And that's hard for people who haven't experienced it to understand. You can be in a posh apartment with all sorts of nice things and whatnot and great scenery and, and a nice sense and food delivered to you. You can be in more pain and misery and wretchedness than, than you could ever imagined. So there's, it's kind of liberating to get outside, to go get dirty, to go bust up, bust up some muscle fibers. Um, and at least you're doing that on your own terms.
Speaker 1 (52:51): [inaudible].
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