Anger usually gets a bad rap, yet used in a healthy and adaptive way, self-directed anger can be a powerful force that has helped countless individuals (including cohosts Chris Scott and Matt Finch) at beating addiction.
In today’s show, you’ll learn about a wide variety of addiction recovery and related topics.
Using anger as an adaptive tool can be so useful for positive change that you’ll love hearing Chris Scott’s formula for overcoming obstacles: Procrastination -> followed by Anger -> followed by Massive Change.
Matt Finch: We're wired to do things that boost dopamine, things, high sugar, high fat, sex, these things all boost dopamine. Problem now is there's tons of foods, that 7-11, that spike dopamine that are horrible for you. There's tons of alcohol, there's tons of over the counter medicines, there's tons of drugs, there's tons of behaviors, all you got to do is go on your smartphone and check your email to get a dopamine boost.
Chris Scott: For me, it's a process of procrastination, followed by anger, followed by change. And when I quit drinking, I actually was able to harness that anger for a long time. It was the same anger that had forced me to change. But it was like the residue of that anger was left over for weeks or months. And that's what I channeled into my workouts.
Speaker 3: Thanks for tuning in to the Elevation Recovery Podcast, your hub for Addiction Recovery Strategies, hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.
Matt Finch: Hey, this is Matt Finch. And in today's episode number 151, the first 15-minute quarter, Chris Scott and I discussed the COVID restrictions in California, as well as other states and counties. And how nearly one year of this has created a super abundance of negative unintended consequences. And if you go back to our episodes from the beginning of the lockdown, you'll hear us predict many of these which unfortunately, not only came true, but has been even worse than we imagined.
Matt Finch: The second quarter, we pivot to Chris's new Monday routine, which you won't want to miss. And we talk about how research has shown there are significantly more heart attacks on Mondays than any other day. And how to plan in time to rest and repair to avoid burnout. The back half of the episode is about fostering and harnessing anger in a healthy adaptive way to help you quit an addiction or bad habit.
Matt Finch: And we also touched on many other topics, including the number one reason why humans are struggling with addictions and a plethora of other health issues at astronomical rates. So, get ready for an information and value-packed episode. And here we go. Hey, everybody, this is Matt Finch and Chris Scott. Welcome to Episode 151. How you've been, Chris?
Chris Scott: Doing great. 151, is that right? 151, yeah, that's crazy. Yeah, I heard that California is doing some more lockdown type stuff out there. Although, it's not clear to me exactly what's going on. I want to get back into my every six week make it out there so I can go earthing on the beach and jump in the water. So, I'm just terrified they'll close the beaches. And I would think there's zero science behind closing beaches or probably outdoor places. But what do I know?
Matt Finch: Yeah. So, I have been on a really low information diet. And that especially includes the news because I noticed I was like, "Wow, I'm spending an hour and a half hour per day watching news stuff on YouTube," on unbiased sources, usually. And then I was like, "Okay, I think I'm watching this too much." So, I stopped, and then just started reading of maybe an article a day to stay up with stuff. But then, I stopped that too.
Matt Finch: And I was just pouring myself into learning about new addiction things that I hadn't lunged in. But on Sunday, one of my coaching clients, it's an alcohol recovery client, the tapering off, actually a few things. But anyways, he said, "I hope you guys are enjoying outside," or something like that. And I was like, "Where did that come from? That's weird." And I said, "Oh, I hope there's not some new California orders updating."
Matt Finch: And then, you would ask me that too. You're like, "Hey, what's going on with California, I want to be able to come visit. But if I can't walk on the beach and go in the ocean and stuff, then I guess I'm not cool enough alone to come visit without the beach for us to swim."
Chris Scott: Hey, we'd have fun if we were in a jail cell just hanging out. So, it would just be a bummer.
Matt Finch: Yeah, it would suck. It's no fun. I mean, that's what's so cool about California is the ocean right here where we live. So anyways, this morning, I actually looked into it. I was like, "I better figure out what's going on." And so, what happened was this, here in California, the intensive care units, they reached, what was it, I think they got to 12.5% capacity or maybe 15%. That means that they're getting to the point where there's not going to be any beds. So now, there's a new California stay-at-home order for the next three weeks, minimum.
Matt Finch: And so now, you can't go to restaurants to even eat outside. Some gyms were open inside. Now, it has to be outside again. You can go to playground, or sorry, you can go to the park, but you can't go on the playground. You can no longer go to barber shops. Retail stores can only be open 20% capacity. Those are some of the main ones. I know there's more to it than that. But then, there was these videos of sheriffs of certain counties saying, "There's no way we're going to enforce these orders."
Matt Finch: "Because we have enough to do with criminals and with people with substance use disorders, homelessness, schizophrenia and mental disorders." They have a lot on their plate already. And so, a lot of them were like, "We're not going to ticket people and get them in trouble if they're outside doing what they're not supposed to be doing."
Matt Finch: So, I don't think it's going to be three weeks. In three weeks, they're supposed to do a check to see if the ICU capacity has been limited good, not as many people go in the hospital. But unfortunately, didn't they say three weeks at the beginning of this thing, and here we are almost a year later? What's it been, nine months?
Chris Scott: Yeah, I thought it was more like two weeks, it's beginning to flatten the curve. And yeah, I've made it a point to not get political with my business, because there are people that I really liked and respect on both sides of the aisle. But I think there does come a point at which we have at least have an honest discussion of the costs of lockdowns. And certainly, there's a cost when there's a pandemic.
Chris Scott: But as many people have pointed out, even though a lot of people have died, more people than usually die from the flu every year, it's not quite as bad as we expected in the beginning. I mean, I live in a golf course type of community with a lot of older people. And I thought at the beginning of the pandemic that, I don't know, maybe 30, or 40% of the people here could perish. By the way, they were talking about this thing.
Chris Scott: And luckily, I think we've had maybe a few dozen out of 10,000. And mostly in their 90s, which is tragic. You can't minimize, one death is a tragedy. And it's just something that there needs to be a balance here. I'll leave it at this, I've always been extraordinarily protective of my own latitude and freedom. I think I would have had a much harder time recovering if I, say, hadn't been allowed to walk outside. We know in some countries like Australia, you have the cops tweeting at people that they can't walk their dog.
Chris Scott: That would drive me nuts. I've had some clients who have wanted to be more minimalistic or less materialistic and enjoy things like nature and camaraderie. Those two things are free and they're really important for anyone recovering from addiction, to build. That you could you should enjoy nature, get out in the sun. When I was drinking, I was in a dark apartment with the shade down because the sun hurt my eyes sometimes. It was like I was some vampire. I needed to get out in the sun, I needed to go walk barefoot.
Chris Scott: And I needed to be with people. Camaraderie is free, assuming that, I mean, there's always an investment and time and development of social skills, but worthy things. And those things are threatened by a certain extent of lockdowns. And so, there needs to be a cost benefit analysis. And at the very least, there needs to be freedom to talk about those things without being castigated as someone who wants people to die. Because you and I see a pretty unique angle of this pandemic.
Chris Scott: I'm sure as someone who, say, ER doctor or nurse in an ICU working with COVID patients would naturally have maybe a bit more fear about what's going on, because they're seeing people dying all the time. And the same way that you and I have consulted some experts about, say, kratom. And the only contact I've had with kratom is when people are coming in having taken too much. So, they think of kratom is a horrible thing. Let's ban it, get rid of it, don't even want to talk about it.
Chris Scott: Whereas, you see the other side, millions of people using kratom safely to get off of opiates where you can overdose at any point quite easily, then you have a different perspective on kratom. So, the perspective that you and I have right now is that we're seeing people with serious mental health issues, suicidal tendencies, even drinking during the day when they didn't use to, escalating of various addictions.
Chris Scott: And that's something that's hard to quantify. And as we discussed last time, there could be an addiction apocalypse of sort. I don't like being apocalyptic. I think there are always ways to avert apocalypse or Armageddon. But we need to be able to at least discuss these things.
Matt Finch: Yeah, exactly. That's what I'm about to, we need to be able to have open civil dialogues with people that even have different opinions of us than we do. And really listen. That's one of the best things I love about Jordan Peterson, who has a lot of people that absolutely hate him. They've never even watched a video or read a book. He's all about free speech. And so, I tried to not be political as well.
Matt Finch: But when it intersects so much like right now, the pandemic, and lockdown and many other things going on, it's all intersecting. So now, we've got this socioeconomic, political, addiction, mental health, lots of lifestyle issues that are all being affected.
Chris Scott: It used to be a political statement to walk your dog. Maybe it wasn't Australia, I haven't been there. But hopefully, we don't get to that point here.
Matt Finch: I think the main issue really, without mean people are nowadays, it feels like America has turned into this place with lots of mean people. But I know that isn't true. Because that's only mostly on social media like Twitter feeds and that kind of stuff. So, in my day-to-day life, things are good, and my family is good and going around. The reason I brought up addiction apocalypse last time was because not only did I have that dream, which felt like a premonition, and apocalypse is a strong word.
Matt Finch: But it really does seem to be going down at a faster rate now. And then I think with new California order, where it's all of a sudden, pretty strict guidelines again, people are protesting and stuff, because people are going out of business people especially with restaurants and bars, and barber shops and retail stores. I forget the quote. And you could probably remember this. Something like the treatment can't be worse than the disease or something like that.
Matt Finch: I forget the exact quote, but it seems like the prescription for the country as a whole could be overall doing more good, or sorry, more bad than good. But then who knows? Maybe not. What if all of a sudden, you went back in time when there was no lockdown, everyone just went about their business, I'm really, really curious as to what would have happened if there was no lockdown measures taken. Where they instead made special programming on TV stations that showed people how to take care of their immune systems.
Chris Scott: That's a big missing piece. Yeah. I'm actually proud that we interviewed Dr. John Umhau so early. I think it was right when this pandemic was breaking out. No one was talking about vitamin D. And he was saying people need to know. There's evidence that vitamin D not only boosts the immune system but can be very beneficial for dealing with coronaviruses. And that's something that everyone should be told about.
Chris Scott: And as far as I know, that never made its way into official guidelines. I never saw the White House Press Secretary mention vitamin D, maybe they did, in which case, good, good for them. But it's odd that there's not more discussion of holistic health. It's just there's a disease. And we're working on vaccines, and we have various harsh drugs that you can take if you get it. And in the meantime, put your entire life on hold if you're in these States where we think we have justification to shut everything down. It's scary.
Chris Scott: But pivoting from that, I actually wanted to talk about my new Monday routine. I realized that in early recovery, there was a process of exerting control over my schedule. I realized that my happiness overall consisted of how much control I had over my schedule, and how much the things that I decided to do on a daily or weekly basis were in line with my values and my overall goals and things that I wanted to get done.
Chris Scott: So, this is a maybe a difficult time for some people to do that, especially if you're losing your business or whatever. But I decided to take us to start doing things that would help me appreciate simpler things more. So, every Monday I'm driving about half an hour way to a beach. That's pretty cold this time of year to walk barefoot for about 45 minutes. And part of that is that I still have some leftover PTSD type Monday loathing. For no reason. It's not as bad as it used to be.
Chris Scott: When I worked in finance, it used to be Sunday night was horrible. I had to detox off alcohol. Sometimes, I had borderline seizures. And then, drag myself into the office Monday. Or I would just drink and be a disaster on Monday and then go home early on Monday and drink again, depending on where I was in my drinking career. But no, Monday loathing is too strong of a word. That's Monday loathing. And I think a lot of people, they get the scariest on Sunday.
Chris Scott: But I realized there's a collective consciousness, where it's easier for me to relax on a Saturday or Sunday, even I'm lucky enough that I don't have to go into an office or deal with horrible people and everyone I deal with is great and on my terms. And that I don't have to take meetings with people I don't like or anything. I'm quite busy, but I like everything I do. But I realized there's some collective negative energy on Monday, for some reason.
Chris Scott: Or at least collective stress would be a better way to put it. And I've decided to further reclaim my Mondays by making extra time to go walk on the beach for 45 minutes. And I felt amazing after I did that. It was like a high. And something I've talked about when I was in San Diego, being able to go to the beach, go body surfing, I actually didn't jump in the water here, I went out.
Matt Finch: Because I wasn't with you last time.
Chris Scott: That's what it is. It's weird to go in really cold water when you're alone. I guess me, I don't want to get eaten by a great white shark alone. I'd rather have someone else with it. But maybe I'll do it next week. But that's my new Monday thing. And I'm really looking forward to it. But that was the theme as I was driving back. And it was a beautiful day, it was probably 60 degrees outside. I'm sure the water was colder than that this time of year.
Chris Scott: But I was driving back and I just felt like I could achieve what they call them nothing mind. There's an interesting book. I won't say it's a great book because it's odd and some people would hate it because it's a bit repetitive and mysterious and vague. But it's called Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, I think. Some people definitely think it's a great book, and I enjoyed it. It's a little bit vague for my taste. But one of the things there's constant emphasis on achieving "nothing mind."
Chris Scott: And I was ruminating about various things, not bad things. I wasn't even stressed out. I mean, by the standards of my being stressed out, my stress was probably a two out of 10 when I got there. But it was a zero, I had complete control. If I wanted to think about something, it was seamless. I used to turn to alcohol to get that because it would lower the volume in my brain. But I got that just from, A, being pretty optimized. My sleep has been good lately, thanks to the glycine, three grams of pure glycine powder before bed.
Chris Scott: And also, just making sure I get to bed earlier. And going for this beach walk, shirt off in the sun, no one else is on the beach, looking at the horizon for 45 minutes, something very therapeutic about it. And now, I'm excited for next Monday. I've reframed my Monday, even though in the grand scheme of things, this was not some intractable problem. This is really in the realm of optimization for me, not fixing, not pulling out weeds, so to speak.
Matt Finch: There's some good research that on Mondays, there's significantly higher heart attacks. And I learned that from Les Brown, one of his speeches which appear in San Diego. You know who Les Brown is, right?
Chris Scott: Yeah.
Matt Finch: The motivational speaker. He was great live. That fired me up. He's so powerful, but he was talking about a few things. Number one, how many more people have heart attacks on Mondays than any other day. And number two, how the graveyard is the richest place in the entire world. Because in those graveyards are all the dreams, desires, hopes, goals that people took to the grave with them by not living a life with less than going after what they really want.
Matt Finch: So many people do work their job, where they hate going to work on Monday. And they do that for the rest of their lives. Usually, several different jobs. There's a client that I have that's tapering off Suboxone, she's a female. And she was really talking about the same thing you worded, how she works Monday through Friday. And on Saturday, her place is pretty stressful at work, it's a medical setting.
Matt Finch: And she was saying, Friday nights, thank God, it's Friday. And then, Saturday is good. But then all of a sudden, Sunday, she starts getting stressed out and panicking. Because all of a sudden, tomorrow morning, early in the morning, she's got to get up and do the whole five days, 40 hours a week again. And it reminds me of when I was a restaurant clerk, full time. It reminds me of when I was a substance abuse counselor full time, it was the same thing, two days.
Matt Finch: Just doing something eight hours a day that's really taxing and can be very stressful. And then, having only two days off. And in the in that time, you need to get your laundry done, you need to grocery shop, do errands and stuff like that. Some people have kids. And it's not a great way to live unless you love what you're doing for work or unless you're a business owner and you love growing your business.
Matt Finch: And I think getting a hold of your routine is probably the most important first step for anybody even if they're addicted to drugs, as long as they're semi functional. Say, they're drinking or using drugs, if they're able to function, then there's things they can do right away, even still taking those substances, even if they have a dependence, where they can get the low-hanging fruit to start feeling better not only out lag their physiology by doing different behaviors, consuming different things that boosts their health while they're on a substance.
Matt Finch: But even more than that, to actually get into a routine, which I like to call a self-care plan or a stress management plan, whatever someone wants to call it. Some type of plan to where we're actually going to first list out all the things you're doing during the day that are wasting time, that are bad habits, simply because humans are like this collection of automatic behaviors and responses. Yes, right now, we're using our conscious minds and subconscious minds come up with this stuff. But I'd argue mostly subconscious.
Matt Finch: Throughout most of the day, unless we pull in focus like okay, and get present moment awareness and use meta-awareness, metacognition, usually, we're doing a set of automatic behaviors that are triggered by internal or external environmental things. For instance, if I come out of the cold shower, that triggers my habit loop of making the bed and then doing several other functions to get ready for my day. If I miss the morning shower, sometimes, I could be bumbling around, like what should I do?
Matt Finch: Well, I got to do this, that, not focused because I haven't done my morning starting ritual. I think probably the more we go into this, the more people learn about addiction and help people with addiction, I think it's going to really come down to building not only an environment, so wherever they're living, if it's an apartment, or if it's a house, maybe they're living in a sober living home, to really optimize the environment. To make you do the habits that you want to do, which comes down to making things easier.
Matt Finch: We won't do things that are hard to get used to. But if we make the habit easier to get going, then once we get that habit solidified in our brain and it's wired in the basal ganglia, then it's actually harder to not do the habit than to do it. And so, nowadays with clients, I'm trying to boost their health tremendously before they even start trying to taper off of a substance or come off of one. I didn't use to do that until probably a few months ago.
Matt Finch: I'm like, now that we have all these great Chinese chronic herbs and animal organs and HGH gels and nootropic drinks and many more, I'm finding it's much easier to help someone quit by first really boosting their health. And then, from a state of better biochemical optimization, better environment, and better habits, then if they go on a taper from that point, it's a different taper altogether than if someone wants to taper and they're, at the same time, trying to get their life together. That can work too, obviously.
Matt Finch: But when people are not in a quick hurry, when they can take a few months to do it, I find that that extra step and diligence in that area is really helping people. I've got a lady. She's, I think, in her 50s, mid-50s maybe, I could be a little bit off. But she's tapering off Suboxone very quickly using the supplement protocol, which is a whole bunch of supreme creation and HGH gel. She's taking a little bit of Biorebalance a day.
Matt Finch: I think it's up to the half teaspoon twice a day and a few other things, too. She's gone from four milligrams down to one milligram of Suboxone, in the past, I think three weeks. And she said that she didn't even start feeling it much until recently. And it's still totally doable. So, I'm like, "Wow." Imagine if someone was trying to taper off Suboxone at this age without any nutraceuticals whatsoever, without any just trying to taper, which is what the doctors who prescribe it will say, "Oh, you just do a taper."
Matt Finch: "If you just taper off this, then you don't have withdrawal symptoms." Well, it's in our financial best interest to believe that and to say that. But unfortunately, unless you're like an 18-year-old kid or 21-year-old young, healthy, robust, high constitutional person tapering off of long-term powerful medications like that, usually, it's not enough. Reducing slowly is not enough for everybody to come off without too much severe stuff. Most people need help, nutrient support, exercise support.
Chris Scott: Right. Yeah, I used to be extremely cautious about people taking basic supplements while quitting drinking. But there're actually some very high-level centers in Europe, Switzerland has one, where people pay tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of $1,000, and they give them IVs and oral supplements, all sorts of things, a lot of things that we discussed. And they'd get them off of the substance, whatever it is pretty quickly and pretty, I want to say painlessly.
Chris Scott: That's something that I think I pivoted some time ago into suggesting that at the very least, take your B vitamins and your omega-3s and some magnesium. And the more deficiencies you reverse before you quit, even though it's hard, say, with alcohol, which is a diuretic, you're going to be flushing out some of the nutrients that you take in. Or you might just not be absorbing them because of leaky gut, or damage to your intestinal tract or stomach caused by alcohol, a number of things could be going on.
Chris Scott: But the more you can fix before you quit, the easier it's going to be for you to quit. And that dovetails with a theme for me personally, which is that let's say I were drinking now and I was trying to get off. The way I would eventually get it done as I procrastinate until I got fed up with myself. And then, I would just do it. Right? So, I'm building up willpower by means of frustration. And then, I'm taking massive action because I'm like, "This sucks. Let's get it over with."
Chris Scott: "I can't stand being stuck in this state anymore. So, let's make the decision." That's even true for when I started my website years ago, I had an idea to start a website. Two months later, I think I bought the domain. Because I would just have that thought every day, and I procrastinated. And then, I got fed up. I was like, "Well, why am I thinking about this? I've thought about this for 200 hours. And now, I have to either stop thinking about it or do it."
Chris Scott: So, I think people get into similar state with quitting or with tapering, starting a taper, or finishing a tip or even. But the cool thing is that when you pay attention to your biochemistry, you're actually boosting your reserve willpower, because some of that willpower is biochemical. And it's a function of how many levels or how many neurotransmitters you have, or what levels of those feel good chemicals.
Chris Scott: A recent study came out showing that alcohol blocks norepinephrine, which is important for cognition. So, what if you could just go in a cold pool every day while you do the taper, you'd increase levels of your norepinephrine. You could also take certain supplements to all of those things. There would be a synergy between lifestyle strategies. And so, cold pools, yoga, hot saunas, and the nutritional supplementation, and obviously, staying hydrated.
Chris Scott: All those basic things are going to make it way easier for you to get off of a substance like alcohol or opiates or whatever. Not saying necessarily it's going to be easy, per se, but it's going to be easier than it would be almost certainly than just trying to quit without any biochemical support.
Matt Finch: It's funny that you brought up anger, we're super in sync lately. This was just yesterday and before bed even. I was thinking about this topic, mostly because I've been getting angry, but anger in a good way which I've been using for good. So, I told you this before how I was going to the gym a bunch, Mission Valley YMCA. And then, there's even a YMCA literally three blocks up the street from my apartment. So, I started going to that one and it was great.
Matt Finch: Lockdown happened, closed the gym for months and months. Then, they were open again indoors, but it was with masks on. So, that was okay but it was way different. Then, it was just outside. And so, this knocked me off my habits so many times. And I kept having to adapt. And so, this last time, I was doing weights, right, I have dumbbells and resistance bands and I can do body weight exercises. But I was noticing my working out tapering off.
Matt Finch: I was working more hours during the day and working out my body less hours. And so, that's been happening for a few weeks. And finally, I just started to get pissed off. I got angry at myself. I'm like, I have my dumbbells right here, they go up to 52 and a half pounds each, I think maybe 55 pounds. So I mean, I can't lift over 55 pounds, shoulders. I mean, it's not the best for chest. But for arms and shoulders and back and all that, I have the stuff that I need in my apartment to work out good.
Matt Finch: So, I got pissed off. And so, now, I've just been doing it at nighttime after I'm done working for the day. And then, in the evening, right around dark time, I'll put on some awesome loud music. And I'll do my little pre-workout drink, which no caffeine in it. And then, I'll pump iron and it's been feeling great. I'm like, "Ah." And just like you had mentioned on one of the San Diego episodes we did that the less you work out, you taking a break from working out, we were noticing little aches or weird pains here, just not really feeling as good.
Matt Finch: That's how I was feeling. I was like, I don't feel strong. My muscles feel like they were for sure muscular atrophy, they were breaking down. I wasn't getting enough calories to sustain them. I wasn't doing nearly enough resistance training to sustain them, let alone, grow them. So, I got angry, I was like, "I know better than this. I am better than this." And so, that anger pushed me to get back into it. Now in the past five days, I've done to kickass upper body workouts.
Matt Finch: Now, I just got to get angry and start doing legs again. Here's how I quit smoking cigarettes. It was about maybe a month or six weeks after I quit opioids, alcohol, benzos, all that, I was like done. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. And this is I would actually have to wake up in the middle of the night and smoke a cigarette before I could go back to sleep. That is physiological dependence terror right there. So, I was sick of doing that.
Matt Finch: And then, here's what pissed me off enough to quit cigarettes, woke up at 4:00 a.m. And I did have cigarettes but I didn't have a lighter and I didn't have matches. What did I do? I drove to the gas station that was open 24 hours and I knew they sold lighters. And I bought a lighter, and I went back. And here I am on my porch, it's 4:15, 4:20 in the morning by now, smoking a cigarette after I've just driven to the gas station.
Matt Finch: And something clicked, I got pissed. And that day, I went out and bought nicotine patches and I did a few different things. Nicotine patches to nicotine gum to then these herbal cigarettes called Lobelia, which is a nicotine agonist, antagonist. My dad rolled them for me and I quit with those. And that was from anger. It was just finally getting fed up and going enough is enough. And anger also goes in line with patience too.
Matt Finch: Because I urge people a lot, "Just have patience because if you're not making as much progress as you want right now, I guarantee you, just have patience, keep trying. Eventually, you're going to get pissed off and say, you know what, fuck this, I can't believe I'm still in the same situation." And anger is activating. It helps you to get things done. This one guy that recovered from oxycodone addiction.
Matt Finch: Forget his name. He was on a great podcast interview on Impact Theory by Tom Bilyeu. And he said he got clean in prison. And then, doing fitness. And then, what the guy that taught him how to work out was all about was he needed to harden up. He was chubby, he was flabby. He had never worked out. He was addicted to pills. He just really wasn't in a good spot with his mental health or physical health here. Here he is doing prison time.
Matt Finch: And so, his cellmate taught him. He's just like, "Dude, you got to get into fitness." So, he started him off doing these easy little push-ups. He trained him to be angry when he was working out. And this guy, his story was incredible. He said that he primarily recovered with a combination of fitness, family, and faith. And now, he coaches other people to get fit. He helps other people recover from addiction. Can't remember his name right now.
Matt Finch: I will put him in the show notes page. But yeah, so that's crazy that you brought that up. Anger, I can remember a bunch of different times in my life. I think anger was finally what did it when I left the career of substance abuse counseling too. I had been thinking about it for at least six months. "I got to get out of this place, I got to get out of its place." So stressful, never-ending paperwork, never-ending top down, they didn't care about telling you what you were good.
Matt Finch: This place that I work for, I won't name the company, they were all about looking for the weak spots and bringing those up. It was like, everything we looked at was like focusing on your weaknesses rather than focusing upon your strengths. So, between all the stuff, I just knew I had to leave. Mostly, it was the clinical director at the time, she looked like the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz.
Matt Finch: I shit you not. It looks like the Wicked Witch of the West, same face, oh my God, same built, same hair color, same vibe, she was nasty. So finally, I just said, "You know what?" I remember being there. And I was in the middle of a counseling session. And I just heard this voice, I felt this message, just say like, I got the impression loud and clear, "You're not supposed to be here anymore. Your time has gone." And so, it was a combination of being pissed off that I chickened out for so long to leave.
Matt Finch: And a combination of getting that resonance, that message, that internal knowing. And then even from that, it still took a few days before I had the cognize to type up my two weeks' notice, the official two weeks and turn it in. At that point, I even liked the director at that point. But still, overall, the job was just $15 an hour, minus taxes and insurance. I was bringing home less than two grand a month here in Southern California by the ocean, which was really hard to live on.
Matt Finch: And so, I was just like, "This is the most you could make there. I think they said it was 18 or $20 an hour if I went back to school." And so, I can remember a whole bunch of different times throughout my life, where it was a combination of getting fed up, getting sick of it, getting angry, and then using that as activation energy to change. And that's what I've been doing with getting back into lifting heavy weights.
Matt Finch: Not just a little bit of easy stuff randomly, actually training specific muscle groups on specific days with specific exercises and weights. And now, I'm feeling a lot better about myself because like you were saying earlier, now I have more control over my routine. Now, that was the only thing that was missing was I was slacking off on that. And that's not okay with me, because nowadays, my standards are higher than that. So, I got mad at myself for letting them slip down for at least a month.
Chris Scott: That was an amazing summation of multiple themes in this episode so far. And that just actually brought to mind something that I wanted to add, which is that, for me, it's a process of procrastination, followed by anger, followed by change. And when I quit drinking, I actually was able to harness that anger for a long time. It was the same anger that had forced me to change. But it was like the residue of that anger was left over for weeks or months.
Chris Scott: And that's what I channeled into my workouts. So, it was very similar to that guy that you mentioned. I was summoning that anger when I needed it. And it would leave me feeling calm and high for the rest of the day. Relieved, I guess, is a better way to put it. And now, when I go work out, whether it's going to MMA, or going to go lift weights are going to yoga, usually, I do it in the morning or early afternoon, around lunchtime.
Chris Scott: Because I used to work out at night but I find that I need to get that energy out earlier in the day. I used to feel bad before I got my workout in and then I would feel good. Like how I would wake up and feel bad every day until I drank and then I feel good. But since working out is a virtuous cycle that heals your body rather than a vicious cycle that destroys your body, eventually, you get increased mental stability, assuming you're taking care of the other aspects of your life when you keep doing that.
Chris Scott: So, instead of feeling bad in the morning, I now wake up, I feel really good. But when my workout is approaching, I start feeling antsy and excited. But that's a contrast. It's a similar thing in terms of type of energy. You can use antsy excitement to go work out. In early recovery, it was like rage. And it was like, "Why did I spend so long not making the most of myself, not being the best person I could be, sticking in a job that I didn't like, why was on autopilot for that long?"
Chris Scott: Now, I wasn't trying to find answers to those questions, but it was that residue of the anger caused by those types of questions, which naturally, you'll ask yourself when you spend so long procrastinating with an addiction of all things. And so now, all of the negative nasty residue has been burned off through those workouts for a long time. But I still see people every now and then who are five, 10, 15 years sober, or whatever they want to call it, and they still seem to have some of that nasty residue, they haven't burned it off.
Chris Scott: And I have to wonder that could be in a trait or characteristic of a person or an inherited thing. Or just a combination of bad habits and poor lifestyle choices. But I really think that in order to burn that residue of anger off, first, you need to properly harness it and use it. And eventually, it goes away. But you're still left with the habits that you formed while you were harnessing that anger towards good ends like working out.
Chris Scott: So now, it would be hard for me not to work out however many hours a week I work out. And yeah, and I noticed symptoms of stress when I don't do it. I guess you could say that I have a physiological dependence on working out. But it can't qualify as an addiction since there are no negative consequences. And I'm all dependent on drinking water. I'm dependent on hanging out with my dogs now. I didn't have dogs until last April.
Chris Scott: And now, I'm very much dependent on my dogs. When I'm here in the house and they're staying with my parents or they're at dog daycare, which they go to once a week, it feels like my house is empty. I get a little withdrawal. So, I think it's a good thing to build those virtuous cycles by harnessing that anger and the negativity that eventually you can burn it off. And you'll start forming new attachments to things. But those things will be healthy. There'll be virtuous cycles, there won't be vicious spirals that bring you down.
Matt Finch: I love it, the virtuous cycle. Could you repeat it again? It was procrastination, then get angry, then-
Chris Scott: And then, change.
Matt Finch: I love that. Procrastination, get super pissed off after you procrastinated long enough. And then, boom.
Chris Scott: I'm not like a master or licensed interventionist. And I'm glad I don't do that thing. I work almost exclusively with people who want to change for themselves. But I can imagine that if someone is in a place where their entire family or all their friends are like, "What's wrong with this guy? Why won't he or she quit?" most of the time, it's because they haven't generated that anger. And they can generate.
Chris Scott: I would think that one of the skills, and I think you have expertise in interventions, but one of the skills that would be relevant there would be teaching someone to become really pissed off. And then, after, they're not just leaving them with that, because that can be dangerous. Someone who's really high on opiates, or really drunk, you don't want them to just be angry and stay like that. You then have to show them how to harness their anger, to say, "All right, you know what, in this instant, I'm making a change."
Matt Finch: So, what do you think about this? Do you think a lot of people are commenting on YouTube and commenting on social media stuff getting angry because it's better, because at least that better than being depressed and feeling helpless? I just have this insight when you're talking about that. I'm like, "Ah, well, that makes perfect sense. There's probably a lot of people." And I've heard this from psychologists, too, that anger is actually just fear disguised in a more active resource way.
Matt Finch: Not sure if that's actually true, but all of a sudden, it dawned on me, I'm like, "Wow, all these people getting angry, indignation, getting pissed off. Oh, this and that." I wonder if they're doing it because the alternative is to be depressed and have no social contact. At least doing that fulfills their needs on a basic level although it's not an adaptive healthy way to do it. And it's not certainly a spiritual way of fulfilling certain needs. But-
Chris Scott: Yeah. And I think that's why there's such a huge appetite for negative news and negative media, including social media. It's why I left Twitter a long time ago. But yeah, I think especially now, that's what's going on. And you see the frightening statistics about addiction with not just alcohol but opiates, more overdoses recently than ever before. And I think yeah, there's a lot to be afraid of, and people are channeling that into anger. Which would be okay, as long as they harness that anger, stop directing it towards other people, and then use it as fuel for change.
Matt Finch: That's a good distinction right there. And that's what I've been doing too. I got angry at myself for not practicing what I coach, right? I was like, "Wait a second, I'm noticing my work. How can I tell a client to work out these many times a week if I'm only working out once every seven to nine days, and it's a lame little workout?" But yeah, so directing it internally. And I've often struggled over the last nine years now with post-addiction life. Sometimes, struggled more than others with the balance of being too stoic or being too self-compassionate.
Matt Finch: So, I'm always trying to find that middle road between being too compassionate to myself. Oh, it's okay. Yeah, life's hard. No, you're doing good. We need some of that. But if you take that to the extreme, it doesn't seem like a great recipe, at least for me personally, to be able to get the change I've wanted. So, this isn't a prescription for everyone else. It's just I like to share examples from my life. But I think storytelling and examples and anecdote's a good way. So, you teach concepts.
Matt Finch: And then if someone likes it, they can keep it as part of their referential index of life. And that's another reason too why social media is causing so much anger, it's because it is inherently the developers of this are plugged in to the negativity bias, which is a type of cognitive bias to like you were just saying to, where we pay much more attention to negative things. So, you're scrolling through your YouTube wall, and there's this great recovery story of some inspirational person that quit drugs or something.
Matt Finch: And now, they started a treatment program. And then, there's something really crazy, like the end of the world there, then people are going to click on that more often. The documentary, The Social Dilemma, is what really woke me up to exactly all the different pieces that were going on, all the variables. And Joe Rogan talked about The Social Dilemma too. And that's what really made me go, "Wait a second, I'm not going to be a part of this game anymore."
Matt Finch: Facebook is free. And so, they call the people that have that users, drug users, alcohol users, Facebook users. I think drug substances in softwares are the only things that call the people that use it users. But anyways, when I realized just how much that the negativity bias and that everyone's personal walls, right, you're personally getting fed this thing that creates your model of the world of what's going on currently.
Matt Finch: But the only problem is, you're the only person in the world that gets that exact wall from Facebook, that gets that exact YouTube. It's customized for every single person based on what they've watched, what we clicked on. And the whole job is not to improve people's lives. The whole job of this machine learning system is to get as many people as possible to sit on and watch out for as long as possible. And once I really saw The Social Dilemma and read articles on it, and I was like, "I don't want to be part of this system anymore."
Matt Finch: And so, I probably will return eventually. But it will be only from an addiction and recovery helping perspective. It'll only be in like a group, right, a closed group. And I won't do the wall stuff or anything like that. Because these companies, the Big Four, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and can't remember the fourth one now. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, they're really controlling people's behavior and habits.
Matt Finch: These products are so addicting that they've totally reshaped civilization and people. And now, I heard some statistics yesterday. One of them was the average person looks down at their phone 150 times a day. Oh, wait. Another statistic. One third of all people that responded to the survey said they'd rather give up sex for life than give up their cell phone. One third. That goes so against our biological in evolutionary desires and impulses and survival needs.
Matt Finch: And yet, these fake things that are digital, a third of people said they'd rather have no sex, which is one of the main things that drives us, to have this little phone that they're looking at, on average, 150 times a day.
Chris Scott: I think something that came to mind when you were talking about that is that we, well, not you or I, but a lot of people think in terms of like normies versus addicts. And I've always been skeptical of that distinction. I think some people can be uniquely biochemically or culturally predisposed to using alcohol to cope with, say, stress, or celebration, or grief, or lack of sleep or whatever, and then become addicted to it.
Chris Scott: Or some people can be predisposed to opiates. I'm not one of those people. I've taken Percocet twice and it was vomited both times, hated it, worst thing ever. Although oddly, I like very tiny micro doses of kratom. Right? Maybe I haven't had to kratom in probably seven months. And some people seem to be predisposed, a lot of people too, say social media, "I can't get myself hooked on Instagram. I wish I could because I'd have a bigger reach, I'd help more people."
Chris Scott: That's actually something I'm working in, it's on my to-do list. I'm trying to find ways to temporarily addict myself to Instagram so I can hopefully expand our message. But I do think that we are witnessing a rewiring of the brain collectively, which threatens to change human nature, as you mentioned, with more people preferring a device that's not even connected to our body than biological drives, which should be innate and governing more impulses than this thing is.
Chris Scott: So, I think Elon Musk is right where become cyborgs without knowing it. And I think that what that means is that we're going to have to revolutionize our understanding of what addiction is. It's not that a small minority of people and unlucky five to 10%, or so called addicts, which means that they easily get addicted to anything and everything. And they just want more, more, and more because of a spiritual hole in their soul.
Chris Scott: That might be true for some people. But I would argue that 100% of people have brains that evolved to release dopamine and create neural pathways and skewer neurotransmission in response to repetition and emotional intensity and things that are good, or perceived as good in the instant. We don't have brains, the fundamental problem, the reason addiction exists is because we don't have brains that can experience pleasure because of deferred gratification.
Chris Scott: Or it's because something down the road is going to be great for us. Some people, it seems, can do a better job of that than others. There's an interesting book on that topic, which I'm forgetting. But the vast majority of human beings are incapable of experiencing pleasure because of grand plans that will eventually unfold that we're not good at deferring gratification is the point. And different people seem to be predisposed to different addictions.
Chris Scott: And some addictions tend to be more obvious than others. It's more obvious when someone's addicted to heroin than it is when they're addicted to World of Warcraft, usually, not always. Heard of gamers who have starved themselves, or what's the cause of death, dehydration or starving, or just the brain being on too long. Oh, my goodness. Oh, yeah. I think so. So yeah, there's that. Obviously, a lot of people have the porn addiction and the sex doll apocalypse. So, there's going to be a lot of things to think about in the realm of addiction and recovery.
Chris Scott: And I think it's best to have an accurate and scientific understanding of the human brain. And to focus on healing and balancing the brain with all sorts of modalities rather than having an outdated model that focuses exclusively on that spiritual pillar, which is important. But I think it's not useful when you have one explanation that really only explains a sliver of people who could have a problem with something.
Matt Finch: I love this. And then, the term people use, well, some people use to discuss that deferring gratification, delayed gratification. I love this concept, which I probably only learned about maybe three years ago of hyperbolic discounting. The definition is something like innately, this is preprogrammed, by default through evolution is we love instant gratification and things that are more delayed gratification.
Matt Finch: The longer those potential future payoffs, the further those are array, the more we reduce that amount of pleasure. So, for instance, if you could have $5 today, most people would take that instead of have $15 in three months or something like that. Or maybe you could have 20 bucks today, or in a year, you could have $100, almost everyone will take the 20 bucks. That's the example. That's a good example right therein.
Matt Finch: And when it comes to evolution, if you looked at hunters and gatherers back then, let's say that they smeared down a pig, right, they go, "Delicious," they say, spirited down. They didn't have the option back then to go, "Okay, I'm going to put this pig in a pig 401 query. And then 20 years from now, I'm going to have 50 pigs or something like that." Everything was all about the survival for that day. If the food wouldn't store that long, it was really a very simplistic way of living.
Matt Finch: The main problem with today is our brains are still shaped like that from 10,000 years ago. And the world we live in, the food we eat, the digital stuff that we have with greens, it is all counterproductive on our health. And so, unless we're doing things to offset that, we're wired to get to do things that boost dopamine, things, high sugar, high fat, sex, these things all boost dopamine. Problem now is there's tons of foods, that 7-11, that spike dopamine that are horrible for you.
Matt Finch: There's tons of alcohol, there's tons of over the counter medicines, there's tons of drugs, there's tons of behaviors, all you got to do is go on your smartphone and check your email to get a dopamine boost. I found out the reason so many people are addicted to email. It's because of the variable reward reinforcement schedule, which goes back to the learning and behavior psychology course I took many years ago.
Matt Finch: And that seemed to be the most addicting reinforcement schedule, variable interval. So, for instance, when you're doing a slot machine, you never know, but all of a sudden, you could win big. When you click an email, there might be nothing. But maybe you haven't heard from someone in a long time, and then it's this great email they send you they're coming to visit. Or like you and I, maybe someone signed up for coaching or course or something, and we noticed that that happened, it's dopamine boost.
Matt Finch: And so, I've been getting mad lately too at myself for looking down at my phone more often than I had planned on. I'm certainly not addicted to my phone. I used to be. But still, even then, I feel like I could probably check it five times a day. And that seems like plenty. Five times a day seems like plenty. But that's a really hard one to pick. I've been trying to do that. The calls check my phone, usually just for text and emails because clients and students. But if I check five times a day, that would certainly be enough to get to anybody.
Matt Finch: Twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon, once at night. So, that's the next thing that I want. Because I used to have this down. I only checked my email three times a day for a long time in a row. So, it's this constant awareness. Without awareness, people won't even realize how much negative momentum with bad habits they have. And so, the first step, awareness, clarity, what the hell is preventing me from making my life the way I want it. And then, just taking those things one at a time.
Matt Finch: I think I just had this thought, I'm going to do a trick that I learned from David Goggins, and that I used to do. I'm going to put a flashcard on my bathroom mirror where I look at that every morning, every night. And times in between. And I put a big 3 x 5 card right where I can see it that says, check phone. I'll do an email myself, check phone 10 times a day. So, each time I check it, I'll be able to tally it. That's one, that's two. And then, I'll work my way down. So, I'm going to commit to that. I'm going to write it down-
Chris Scott: You're going to a phone checking taper.
Matt Finch: We can check in next time too.
Chris Scott: A phone checking taper.
Matt Finch: Phone checking, exactly. I'm going to taper. Start with 10, go down to five, then phone taper on my mirror. I'll check in one week from now and let you know how it's going on that.
Chris Scott: Good stuff.
Matt Finch: Have it more compatible with the podcast.
Chris Scott: Excellent. Well, I think that's a good place to leave it. I've got some sweet potato and chuck roast stew. I'm on day like what four or five now of my paleo reset. So, feeling pretty good.
Matt Finch: That sounds delicious. We came into some cold weather here. Been cold for Southern California. I mean, 55 high. So, it's nice. It's nice, but it's cooler and that meal sounds delicious right now. Stew, some sweet potatoes, you just made me starving. But I'm going to go and get the next podcast up because today's Tuesday. So, I'm going to get that episode up their knee. And thanks, Chris, it was kickass.
Chris Scott: Thanks, Matt.
Matt Finch: See you next time. The Elevation Recovery podcast is now booking guests for the second half of season eight and the first half of season nine. If you'd like more information on becoming a guest, please send a text message to 619-952-6011.
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