Synopsis: Chris Scott and Matt Finch discuss strategies and concepts for beating addiction that go way against popular mainstream recovery rules. The way you view yourself, addiction, recovery, and the world can either help you achieve your recovery goals or they can act as an obstacle. Beliefs, identity, language, self-talk, and your unique model of the world are valuable resources when optimized.
Chris Scott: But he said, "All of us who go to AA pretty much accept that marijuana ... You can be sober and still use marijuana." And I'm sitting in the back, and I'm thinking, "Well, then what use is the label sober? Why don't you just be getting better? Why not just call it better? I'm better." And I'm using marijuana, and it's not destroying my life, and that's the genuine, honest truth of my experience. And you should not be ashamed of potentially offending anyone if you're telling someone what your authentic experience has been.
Matt Finch: Marijuana's not bad, heroine's not bad, Valium's not bad, drugs are not bad. Drugs are not bad. Only a person's relationship to a drug can be good, or bad, or neutral, empowering, or disempowering.
Announcer: Thanks for tuning in to the Elevation Recovery podcast, your hub for addiction recovery strategies, hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.
Matt Finch: Welcome to episode 182 of the Elevation Recovery podcast. I'm Matt Finch, and I'm here with Chris Scott. He's in Savannah, Georgia, and I am in Palm Desert, California. And just like Chris, I'm right on a golf course. And so, but it's way too hot to film outside. [crosstalk 00:01:21] Looks beautiful. You've got [crosstalk 00:01:24] By the way. I love your tee shirt. Yeah. Looking big.
Chris Scott: It is super soft.
Matt Finch: That's right [crosstalk 00:01:33]
Chris Scott: Yeah. It's great because you got the seams right. I hate those tee shirts where the shoulder's way down here. These things are proper.
Matt Finch: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:01:43]
Chris Scott: I can't stand tee shirts that feel like straight jackets. You're confined, and you're ... Not that I've ever been in a straight jacket. Although, I probably should've at one point. And yeah, I like the soft ones. I like tee shirts that you go to bed ... Actually, I sleep with no shirt on most of the time because I get really hot at night, and ... But I like the ones where you go to bed and you forget that it's on. That kind of thing. I actually have dress shirts that are like that. It's impressive, and they never have to be ironed. What's it called? I have no affiliation with this company, it's the Ministry of Supply, Apollo Shirt. They're expensive. I think it's around $150 a shirt, but it's so worth it. I literally wash them with my dirty gym clothes, and they come out looking like they've been ironed, because they have some NASA technology. And they're super soft.
Chris Scott: So, anyway. The next softest shirt I have are those Fit Recovery shirts, and currently we give those ... I don't have enough produced in stock at this point to sell it on the website. I might do that later. Nine Line Apparel makes the shirts for me. We've experimented with some other brands, and the point is to have a soft shirt, and they really get the job done. So, we currently give out the shirts to people who want to submit some kind of video about their experience with Fit Recovery, because that's a valuable thing to have. It's funny, when you run an organization that helps people on the internet, and a lot of the time you get people who email you but you don't often see their faces. So, it's nice to get video testimonials from real people, and it really helps to spread the message.
Chris Scott: So, currently that's what we're doing. And we're obviously open to constructive criticism, and all sorts of things. But so far we've gotten some great videos. You can see them on the Fit Recovery testimonials page on that website. Yeah. And I've given a bunch of tee shirts for free to my friends, and family members, and my beset friend growing up got annoyed with me. Not really, but in a funny way because his wife wouldn't stop wearing the Fit Recovery tee shirt, and just all the time wearing the Fit Recovery tee shirt. So, I guess I see how that would get annoying. It's a comfy tee shirt. You can't blame him.
Matt Finch: How could that get annoying? I mean ...
Chris Scott: We've been best friends since we were in kindergarten, so he's like a brother to me.
Matt Finch: Oh yeah.
Chris Scott: So, he's like, "My wife is wearing your shirt all the time, and it's annoying." That kind of thing.
Matt Finch: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. That makes perfect sense. And that Ministry of Supply shirt, that was the one that you wore when you took me out to dinner in downtown San Diego at that seafood restaurant, right? The blue one?
Chris Scott: Yeah.
Matt Finch: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, one of my favorite things about the life, post-addiction, is actually looking a lot better, because I used to look like shit when I was a drinker. I looked the worst when I was doing methamphetamines, and alcohol. That was a weird combination. I just looked gross. I'm 220-
Chris Scott: Yeah, I wonder why.
Matt Finch: Yeah, right? Imagine. So, I'm 6'3", and one quarter inch. And back then, at various times, most of my 20s, and even my early 30s, at 6'3", I'd be around 145 pounds to maybe 160. I'm 222 pounds right now, and that's one of my favorite things about this longterm health. Post-addiction, more than nine years now for substance addictions, and I hated looking bad. That was one of the main reasons why I just didn't relapse this last time back into addiction, or even back into slips, or anything, because I don't want to look like shit again. I'm one of those people that alcohol ... People would ask me a lot when I was drinking, "Oh my God, man. Did you go get super sunburned out there?" I'm like, "No, I've been inside drinking for days." Alcohol turns my skin really red. They're out of my normal shaving cream, so ... But the same brand that I like had this hot shave stuff.
Matt Finch: So yeah, my face is a little red, plus I'm in the hot desert and it's dry, but usually ... I could have lobster red skin and not have been outside for like a week, or two weeks, or something. I think it was because Asian people, some people with the European heritage in their ancestry, they just don't metabolize alcohol well, and it can turn their skin red. I forget, I think it's because we don't have a certain enzyme. But yeah, man, I like being healthy, I like how you look healthier, too. And that, to me, is addicting. It's addicting to have my new body, and identity, and brain, and everything be so much different than that old character that all my friends nicknamed, "Whiskey Finch."
Chris Scott: Right. Yeah. Well, if you can see some before pictures of me, I don't have that many, unfortunately. I might actually end up with more, because I found out a way to hopefully extract files from a laptop that died like 10 years ago. So, I might suddenly have a bunch more before pictures. Thanks to YouTube, I can finally figure it out. But I almost threw the laptop away because it doesn't power on, it's useless. So, we might end up with more goofy before pictures, but I think they are really instructive because basically what happened to me is I would get some redness in the face but I would get this swelling under my chin. I have a pretty defined jawline when I'm in shape, and when I'm not it gets really gross. I feel like a turkey, or something.
Chris Scott: And as my friend said when I quit, right when I quit but after I got out of detox and I was in in-patient for a little while. And just from not drinking, I barely started supplements. I wasn't feeling great, but they said, "Your face is like 30% the size that it was," or 30% smaller. I don't remember what they said, but substantially smaller than when I was drinking. I had like a balloon head all the time, and I felt gross. And it would actually exert upward pressure on my cheeks, so it looked like my eyes ... I have kind of squinty eyes as it is, but it looked like I had no eyes. And a lot of pictures, it looked like I was asleep. And I probably was, I was definitely semi unconscious from alcohol, and all those various parties, and functions, and events that, during my finance years, are all basically a memory blur at this point, for me.
Chris Scott: But I wanted my physique to be a symbol of my victory over alcohol. And I've had different phases of working out, of what kinds of exercise I'm doing, what kind of diet I'm doing. I've fluctuated in like a 20 pound range since quitting drinking. About a year and a half ago, I think I was around 200, 205 pounds. I'm about six feet tall, so I'm a little shorter than you. Yeah, I was around 200, 205 pounds. The most I weighed when I was drinking was I think 253. Which is way too much for someone. Unless I had ...
Matt Finch: Unless you were The Rock.
Chris Scott: [crosstalk 00:09:18] carnivore, taking steroids, and done dead-lifts every day, there's no reason for me to do ... To weigh 253 pounds. And so, last year I think, yeah, I'd gotten down to around 200. I felt really light on my feet, but I had lost some muscle mass that I had gained from doing dead-lifts mostly, but other complex, or compound movements, weight movements. Mostly bodybuilding stuff. I started transitioning to MMA. So, realizing I was too clunky to be effective at MMA when I was weighing 220 at the time, I wasn't flexible enough. I lost a bunch of weight, I got really fast on my feet, I felt really good. And then I started doing some of the dead-lifts and stuff again. So, I weigh about the same as you. I think I weighed at 222 this morning-
Matt Finch: You're big, dude.
Chris Scott: Yeah, I've gained some ... A lot of it's in my legs, and my gluts. But there is a little bit of excess weight, so I'm actually trying ... I think the sweet spot for me is to be around 210, because I've always been fairly big boned. But that's good. And it feels nothing like the weight. It's a total body re-composition from when I weighed 253. When I weighed 253, I had probably substantially less muscle mass than I do now. And I was much younger, too. I mean, I was probably 24, 25 years old, weighing 253 pounds, six feet, and my legs were literally half the size in terms of muscle that they are now, and we have all sorts of studies now about the benefits of having strong leg muscles. They've tied it to better memory and cognition in older women. I remember a study on that.
Chris Scott: They've tied it to metabolism. I mean, it makes sense. The more muscle you have in your body the higher your metabolism is, the more you can get away with, the more metabolic flexibility you have. So, I want to have muscle mass. I didn't want to keep going down. I could probably get down to 185 if I wanted to, but there are certain benefits to having muscle mass. So, I'm working on the sweet spot at this point. But all of that, the process of getting in shape, and getting and staying fit, doing trial and error, seeing what worked for me, taking different supplements, reading books, self improvement literature, which I'd always written off as for people with problems. And of course, I didn't have problems when I was an alcoholic.
Chris Scott: Getting into all of that was both helpful biochemically, and changing the physiological identity that I had, but also helpful psychologically because it was a distraction from alcohol when I still had some brain rewiring to do. So, I have really fond memories, as odd as it may sound, of that period of post-acute withdrawal because I was starting to fall in love with the new strategies that took me away permanently from my fixation on alcohol. And that's why I like to say that I've transcended alcohol. It's not an identity that I want to have. I don't want my identity to revolve around alcohol, or the absence of alcohol, and certainly not the pain that alcohol caused me. This is a personal preference. Some people apparently get some value from labels. I'm not one of those people, I've always had a fiercely independent streak, and it's not, I don't think, a destructive and unhealthy independent streak.
Chris Scott: But I don't like being defined by things that I've moved past. And so, there's actually a passage in a book that I've mentioned, for anyone who's a member of my email list on Fit Recovery, it's a free email list. You can sign up there. You'll know that I send out an email called The Five Epiphany Friday email. And I've mentioned some books that I've read recently. And one of them is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. And that's a interesting and unexpectedly deep book. I can't say I endorse everything in the book because some of the things I don't understand, and some of the things I probably disagree with. But my approach towards every book is I'm not one of those people who reads a book, and I get to page 282, I find something I disagree with and then I go leave a one-star review.
Chris Scott: I know that there are clearly people who do that. You can see in the Amazon reviewers. It's, "I like this book until halfway through he said this, and I really disagree." And then they write five paragraphs about why they disagree with that point. Take what resonates with you, and discard the rest. You're under no obligation to follow any book to a T. And that includes my own book, Drinking Sucks. A lot of people will read that, they disagree with some of it, and that's fine. But they take what helps them. A lot of people do 12-step programs, they read Drinking Sucks, and then they realize that maybe they should integrate some supplements into their plan while still doing 12-step. And that's fine with me. Everyone's different. Open-ended approach, I like that.
Chris Scott: But I wanted to share a passage from The Power of Now, that made me think about my relationship, or non-existent relationship, I guess, with alcohol. So, we're starting in the middle of a chapter, so I won't be able to give full context. But I'll just get started. "So, the first thing to remember is this. As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you can not become free of it. As long as part of your sense of self is invested in your emotional pain, you will unconsciously resist or sabotage every attempt that you make to heal that pain. Why? Quite simply because you want to keep yourself intact, and the pain has become an essential part of you. This is an unconscious process, and the only way to overcome it is to make it conscious." So, now I'm going to skip down the paragraph.
Chris Scott: "A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, which is the opposite of the truth. It is the belief that other people, and what they did to you, are responsible for who you are now, for your emotional pain, or your inability to be your true self. The truth is that the only power there is, is contained within this moment. It is the power of your presence. Once you know that, you also realize that you are responsible for your inner space now. Nobody else is, and that the past can not prevail against the power of the now." There's a lot there, and I'm not going to unpack all of it. And there are some obvious objections, such as it's not necessarily true that if you label yourself an alcoholic you're blaming other people. AA seems to be pretty good about making it clear that it's your responsibility and no one else's.
Chris Scott: But I didn't want to have a label follow me around. It risked morphing into a victim identity even if only unconsciously, and I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want to go to parties and say, "Well, I can't drink." "Why?" "Because I'm an alcoholic." That's not a valid or complete statement. Or coherent one, as far as I'm concerned. What does that mean? How can I be an alcoholic if I haven't drank, or been addicted to alcohol in nearly seven years? Why am I defining myself with reference to something that is painful, and thereby making the pain the defining characteristic of my identity. That's why I didn't want to do it, that's why I don't call myself sober, clean, addict. Honestly I don't even love the word recovery, for someone who's seven years out. I think recovery makes great sense for someone who is in early recovery. We don't really have a better substitute. But for someone who's in the early phases of trying to quit an addiction, repair their body, and brain, and spirit, and mind, it might make sense to say they're trying to recover something.
Chris Scott: They're trying to recover whatever the best semblance of their true self is. But then hopefully you infuse your identity with new aspects that haven't yet been created, haven't yet been invented, and you become a different person. With retaining the best aspects of who you've always been. You become who you were born to be, and I don't see why that needs to be defined with reference to something in the past. So, I have taken some things from that book. And by the way, I'll note, as you can see I've read all but the last 15 pages here, this is my hygge, red light reading lamp. I like to read in the dark, or in an Epsom bath. So, you can see, maybe it looks bright here. But it's a reddish hue, there are different levels of brightness. But I got sick of my old reading lamp, which I think had ... Was kind of blue light dominant, and was hindering the release of melatonin. So, I use a hygge thing. I found it on Amazon.
Chris Scott: So, I recommend that to anyone who likes to dim the lights before bed as part of their evening routine, but needs something to read their books with so they don't go blind like Beethoven, or whatever it is they say.
Matt Finch: I found Eckhart's book-
Chris Scott: Oh wait. Was it Beethoven? Beethoven was deaf, right? Someone went blind.
Matt Finch: Beethoven was deaf.
Chris Scott: All right, someone went blind. I don't remember who it was, but I think it was my mom who used to tell me that when I was a kid. I don't recall who it was.
Matt Finch: I found Eckhart Tolle, or Tolle, I'm not sure how to pronounce it correctly either. But I think I was ... Oh man. Oh, what age was I? I was a little bit past 30. No, no, no. I was right around 30, I don't know the exact age. And I had just moved back from ... To California, from Upstate New York, for the first time of two times. Long story, but anyways, I found Eckhart Tolle's books, The Power of Now, and I forget the name of the other one. It was really good, too. The other book went deep into the pain body, which it sounded like you were talking about right there. Eckhart's way big into this kind of unconscious, or subconscious pain body that we carry around. It sounded like what you were talking about. And that book, both those books, saved me big time from a lot of emotional and psychological stuff I was going through. Back then I still didn't have the missing biochemical components, I didn't know about supplements, I didn't know about customized diet stuff.
Matt Finch: But at least those books started to give me a roadmap for how to be in the present moment more, because I was worrying about everything, all day, every day. I was a chronic worrier for so long, so that helped me. And I didn't keep that longterm, but there was a phase where I went through where it was really helping. Focusing on the present moment, every time I found myself worrying about the future, or reminiscing about the past, then I'd be like, "Oh, I'm doing it again." And the emotional pain body stuff was really, just the way he was talking about it, all the stuff's invisible. And I thought it was super cool. And regarding recovery, I love this topic so much, about the language, about the labels, about the terminology, about self labeling, labeling others, and all that stuff.
Matt Finch: When I make videos, YouTube videos, sometimes I use stock video clips. And when I type in the word recovery in the search bar, hoping to find addiction recovery stuff. And if you type in recovery, most of the stock videos that come up are physical therapy. That's recovery. And what's interesting about physical therapy, well, depending on the type of soft tissue injury, or another type of injury, whether it's muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, combination, or other things going on with your muscles, and arms, and all that. Let's say I had six weeks, because I had a torn rotator cuff. I had six weeks of physical therapy. Other people that have really bad accidents, they might have, what? Six months of physical therapy recovery.
Chris Scott: Recovery.
Matt Finch: Are they in recovery from that injury for the rest of their lives?
Chris Scott: Hopefully not.
Matt Finch: Most people aren't. Most people aren't. And if there's chronic pain for the rest of your life, [crosstalk 00:21:57] from an injury from years, and years, and years ago, look at mindbodymedicine.com because any pain that has gone on for longer than three months is technically chronic pain, and there's a lot of research, and a lot of doctors that are taking the magnifying glass away from the typical idea that structural abnormalities are the reason for causing pain. They've done so much research, and they've taken MRIs of people, and x-rays and stuff. They've done these tests to where two groups of people, and they found no correlation whatsoever in any other research where these physical abnormalities were the ones causing the pain. So, I forget the exact stuff, but out of all these slipped discs, let's say oh, the reason I have this pain is because I have three herniated discs in my back. While meanwhile, another person could have seven herniated discs, and a whole bunch of bulges, and a bunch of crazy shit going on, and they could have zero pain at all.
Matt Finch: Meanwhile, somebody without any of that stuff going on could have severe chronic pain. So, for anyone that's dealing with chronic pain, and it's been a long time and you haven't gotten better, or haven't made major progress, or even moderate progress with traditional pain treatment remedies, or treatments, check out mindbodymedicine.com. Check out Dr. John Sarno, all of his books, and look into something called TMS. Tension Myositis Syndrome, and I promise you you're going to find some cool stuff. It might not resonate with you at all, but it's really cool stuff to at least know that it's out there.
Chris Scott: I've given Sarnos' books to countless people, including my dad, whose has some joint pain that seems to be lasting too long. It seems to me that everyone has some form of TMS at some point in their life, so it's worth ... I feel like it should be part of everyone's education. You should learn about this in like 10th grade, or something. And it's interesting, I knew a girl who had fibromyalgia, which I understand could be a TMS equivalent. It's kind of like mysterious, intense physical pain with no obvious structural, or physiological cause. And it was depressing to hear how the doctors dealt with it. Either they would obsessively order all sorts of tests to find something physiological, which is not a bad thing. But just tests upon test, upon examination, upon examination. Or they would just say, "You know what? It's all in your head, get over it." And neither of those approaches would be effective for TMS, because it is possible for pain to exist in the absence of a structural cause.
Chris Scott: But that doesn't mean that it's not pain. The pain receptors in your brain are firing, and they correspond with certain parts of your body. It seemed to me the logical thing to do would be to ask, "Well, what's causing it that might not be structural? And how do we deal with it?" And she's a great girl, ultimately the doctors there their hands up and gave her a longterm prescription for oxycodone. And I don't know that she got addicted to it, I know she was at least dependent on it. She had to take at least one before bad. You can see how that's a slippery slope. You can also see then why TMS is sometimes called an addiction equivalent. Or addiction is a TMS equivalent. That's what John Sarnos said, and I don't know how much he knew about addiction otherwise, but there is an interesting interplay between the biochemical and the psychological pillars.
Chris Scott: Maybe even the psycho spiritual pillars. I don't know modern science is currently equipped to deal with it.
Matt Finch: Yeah, it's all related. I'm so glad that you brought that up right here, biochemical, psychological, and maybe even psychosocial. I used to think very compartmentalized, so when I first started learning about health strategies, when I first started to have really bad health problems, things like acne, hypoglycemia, some other stuff. And so, I've learned about natural remedies back then for it. But that was the scope. It's like oh, I could use this supplement for this. I didn't know what they did, and that's all I was thinking was that I need this one nutrient. Or I need these three nutrients to help with hypoglycemia, or I need these two ... And if I take that I'll be fine.
Matt Finch: But the way I view things nowadays is all of the things that I'm thinking, all of the things that I'm saying out loud, all the things that I'm saying to myself, internal self talk, external, out loud self talk, all the things that I'm putting into my body by eating it, drinking it, rubbing it into my skin, absorbing it, and my sleep. So, now everything, the place I live, the home I live, the community I live, the people I'm around, the emotions I'm having on a day-to-day basis. So, now I'm looking at everything matters, and that's a much smarter way to do it to get healthy when you are constantly hyper aware of what you're doing, and what are going to be the consequences of that. Before I was just on autopilot, getting these cravings, and impulses.
Matt Finch: Basically I never felt good, or rarely felt good back in the day. I was almost always, at least mild anxiety, almost always. For a long time in my life. And so, it was just constantly just doing ... I was just listening to my impulses, and doing them, and not thinking about the future, not thinking about consequences. Now things are so much different. I'm not sure the exact statistic on this, but perhaps you do know this, or you've heard of it. I've heard doctors, and scientists say something like ... And the timing could be off, but something like within seven years every single cell ... So, for instance, and this could be wrong, but it's something like this. Let's say all of a sudden, from right now, from today, seven years from now I won't have a single cell ... All the cells in my bones, even, will be different.
Matt Finch: So, if that's true, if literally you're completely ... Everything, even your bones and cells, completely reform, and it might be every seven years, or I could be off, then wow. Then how come you're still in recovery 40 years later if you've done like three or four, five cycles of total new cells, and there's not a single cell ... So, literally there's nothing left of you except for your thoughts going back to the past, keeping those memories alive, even though physically you're completely different.
Chris Scott: Yeah. That's a wild thought. I thought it might've even been sooner than seven years, but-
Matt Finch: Three years?
Chris Scott: ... I know that at some point all of the cells in your body are replaced, and yet you are the same person. You have the same identity, the same social security number, if you have one of those. And yeah, you're the same person, but you're different. You've been hopefully rejuvenated in that time. Well, alternatively you've gone down a path of self destruction and become something else entirely. So yeah, I think identity is something that we can take control of. And I'm sure Eckhart Tolle would object to that statement. He would say, "No, don't take control, let go. I don't see a problem with harnessing the ego in order to do good things. As long as you can keep an eye on it. Have like a third-party observer in your own mind, keeping an eye on your ego. I don't think you need to obliterate the ego. That might be my point of contention with his book.
Chris Scott: He says at some point in the book that an enlightened person has no love for himself or herself. No hatred for himself or herself, because they have no self. The ego is gone. And I don't quite understand that, because I feel like there's always going to be some ego. I've never met anyone who doesn't have ego. Maybe they exist, maybe they're on a mountain somewhere in Tibet, or meditating in a cave. That's not really my goal in life. My goal in life is to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled. He also says at some point in the book that happiness isn't a worthy goal. That inner piece is better. And he might have a different word for it, but enlightenment is not the same thing as happiness, which is probably true. So, all of these things are highly complex, and I'm wandering out of my normal territory. But I do think it is important to reverse the bio, psycho, social, spiritual pillars with an open mind, try to figure out what resonates with you.
Chris Scott: I picked up so many useful strategies along the years, from disparate books, many of which are on my shelf behind me. But many, probably an equal number of which I've just given to people and never gotten it back, which is fine. Hopefully that does some good. But ultimately your identity consists of hopefully the best aspects of who you've always been. There's traits that other people admire because they are objectively good. And also things that you pick up along the way. You kind of piece yourself together into who you are, and hopefully you're not defined by a stubborn, addictive neural pathway. Or it's resolution. At some point it is best to live in the present, and if you're going to define yourself at all, define yourself by what you're doing in the present.
Chris Scott: So, I would've much rather have said a few years ago, "I'm a fitness enthusiast, and someone who's committed to holistic health, and gaining knowledge about the world, and the universe, and my place in the cosmos, and other people's places in the cosmos," than to say, "I'm an alcoholic in recovery." If I had TMS, I don't think I would walk around saying, "Hi, I'm Chris, and I have TMS." Or if I were a smoker, I don't think I would say, if I had quit seven years ago, I wouldn't say, "Hi, I'm Chris and I'm a smoker in recovery." It's interesting you never hear people say that. You had your own little battle with caffeine dependence about, what, a year or so ago? And-
Matt Finch: Yeah, I didn't go around saying, "Hey, my name's Matt and I'm a caffeine ... Hi, I'm Matt. Caffeine addict." Wasn't part of my identity.
Chris Scott: A lot of these labels are socially constructed, which is not to say that everything's socially constructed. But some things are, and certain labels happen to be, to the extent that someone can derive strength from a label and it helps them do good things, then by all means, fine. Maybe you need it for that phase of your life, but you may not need it forever.
Matt Finch: Bingo. And that really is the message that I also want to hammer home. They can be used for good by each person, whether it's an identity, or a label, especially in early recovery like you were saying, too. So, what's her name? What's that singer? Demi Lovato. Demi Lovato, she used to be a judge on X-Factor, and she used to be on Disney, and she's a pretty famous singer. Well anyways, she had bulimia, and substance abuse disorder, perhaps other things as well. But she was addicted to heroin, and two or three years ago, it was 2018 at some point, she had heroin that was laced with Fentanyl. It was much cheaper, and much stronger than heroin. She OD'd. And she was five to 10 minutes away from being dead had they not ... Gave her naloxone, and resuscitated her.
Matt Finch: I was one or two minutes, same thing happened to me. Not from Fentanyl, but it was a opioid and benzo overdose. I was one or two minutes away from being dead. Seems like she had a very similar experience. She was real close to being dead, her life was saved. Part of her treatment that she's doing is Vivitrol, which is a once-a-month injectable, time-released Naltrexone medicine. Naltrexone's an opioid antagonist, so it binds to the new kappa and opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, digestive tract, and all the other areas where opioid receptors are. And so, it blocks all opioids. So, if she were to take heroin, if she were to take Fentanyl, if she were to take an opioid pill it wouldn't do anything to her because ... And as long as she goes to the doctor every month and gets that injection of the Vivitrol, then she can't ... She literally can not get addicted. She can't get high off opioids, she can't get addicted.
Matt Finch: She was recently on The Joe Rogan Experience, and there was a clip that they put on YouTube, and it was about this overdose that she had. She had been clean, and then she relapsed, overdosed. Long story, the headline, or the title of the video clip was something like having to do with ... Demi Lovato's California Sober. I was like, "What the heck is this term? I've never heard of that. I live in California, and I'm in the addiction recovery community, or niche, or domain, whatever you want to call it. Live in California, never heard of it." Apparently, California Sober is cannabis-assisted therapy. And so, but it's working for her. So, she's on Vivitrol, so she can not overdose on opioids, she can not get high on opioids. The cannabis is helping her, she said with anxiety, with depression, it helped her learn how to mediate.
Matt Finch: She did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a while. She, I think, got up to blue belt. She's in early recovery, a few years now. But the part that I thought was just ... I just felt so bad. When her and Joe Rogan were talking about this California Sober, and plus they were kind of beating around the bush. He said California Sober. I think he got it out of her, I didn't even know if she wanted to talk about cannabis. But then they started to kind of flirt with it, and then all of a sudden they just went into it. And she started to talk about how it was helping her. But then, this is what she said. "I'm so afraid because of how I'm talking about it, because I don't want to offend anyone." And so, she's like, "I'm just really trying so hard not to offend people." How many millions of people are ... or maybe even hundreds of millions of people, are following this type of stuff?
Matt Finch: Pop culture in America is a huge thing. And imagine trying to talk about your own life, and what you're doing, and the choices you're making, out of all the stress she has to have in life, from ... And then she's in early recovery and on top of that she's got the stress, this fear of, "Oh, I hope I don't offend people." And Jordan Peterson talks about this a lot. To tell the truth, you have to risk offending people. And he kind of says it almost just like that. And so, now you'll see a lot of stuff online now, too. Watch, this is the next biggest thing, they're going to start honing ... Cannabis is helping so many people, you watch. People are going to start ... "Oh, cannabis addiction on the rise." Yes, cannabis can be very addictive. People can get really unhealthy on it, but here's another point that I like to hammer home.
Matt Finch: Marijuana's not bad, heroin's not bad, Valium's not bad, drugs are not bad. Drugs are not bad, only a person's relationship to a drug can be good, or bad, or neutral, empowering, or disempowering. Now, alcohol, I think that one's such a piece of shit. I really don't think-
Chris Scott: Look, I wrote Drinking Sucks, but if I lived in the 19th century, and I were in a civil war, and they didn't have opioids [crosstalk 00:38:47] and I got shot, I'd be like, "Hey, give me the whiskey." That's what it's for. It's an anesthetic. It numbs you. And it causes a surge, artificial surge, in feel-good chemicals. There's a utility for that. It's just not every night as part of your evening routine. So no, I don't think alcohol in itself is bad. And we've had an interesting relationship, evolutionarily, with alcohol. A destructive one as well. Nothing is bad in and of itself. Poison isn't necessarily bad, there's uses for poison. So yes, you're right. Things are only bad in as far as they can be related to the human experience, and to human choice. And you could certainly argue there's a time and a place for everything.
Chris Scott: From amphetamines, to cocaine, to even alcohol. With that said, when I wrote Drinking Sucks, and I was thinking the way that most people frame alcohol sucks. And the way that most people use it, and conceive of it sucks. And I was still in disbelief at the way at which I had allowed myself to use something as a no-brainer solution for seemingly everything, without understanding any of the science of what was going on in my body. So, with that said I'll stop interrupting.
Matt Finch: Why? Keep going.
Chris Scott: Well, I appreciate what you brought up about Demi Lovato. I haven't listened to that podcast episode yet, but I will. And it was funny, the last time that I came to visit you in California, I think it was the last time, maybe not, but I had an Uber driver from the airport who was telling me that ... He asked what I did, and I told him about Fit Recovery. And he goes, "Oh, cool. Yeah, I go to AA." And I was like, "Oh no, I'm about to get a diatribe of some sort." And he didn't know anything about my business. I mean, and my views, and I didn't try to impose upon him or anything. I just basically said, "Yeah, we help people try to use nutrition and fitness to beat addiction, and have an open-ended approach." And that was it.
Chris Scott: And he goes, "You know, don't judge me, but I do find that marijuana's way better than the medicine that the doctor ever gave me." And he was like, "Out here, all of us who go to AA," I don't know if that's true or not, but he said, "All of us who go to AA pretty much accept that marijuana ... You can be sober and still use marijuana." And I'm sitting in the back, and I'm thinking, "Well, then what use is the label sober? Why don't you just be getting better? Why not just call it better? I'm better. And I'm using marijuana and it's not destroying my life," and that's the genuine, honest truth of my experience. And you should not be ashamed of potentially offending anyone if you're telling someone what your authentic experience has been.
Matt Finch: Yeah. But victimhood is the new currency, and people are so paranoid about offending people. Not everybody, but ... Wow. Wow. What I'm finding the most awesome about this conversation is there's just not enough nuance in mainstream media, there's not enough nuance really. And when you read a typical article about addiction, or watch a typical YouTube video on it, it is such a nuanced disorder. And that's what I'm really wanting people to understand. It's like the black and white thinking that if someone's sober, or clean, or in recovery, or if they're an addict, it's just ... Are they going to meetings? And it's just that model is fucking dead, man. That terminology is great for the people it works for, but I really want to see most people start moving away from that ...
Matt Finch: I just can't stand it when I see that in a title. Like Phoenix addict, da-da-da. I just hate that word. I hate those words. But that's just me. If people want to say them, that's fine because that's them. Why would I expect other people to think and behave like I do?
Chris Scott: No. And whoever said this is not to get anyone to agree with this. We have an amazing tribe of people who seem to be on the same page as us, and that's awesome. It makes it worth doing the podcast when we know that people are going to actually download the episodes, and it makes my day when I get a nice email from someone, or a nice review on Apple Podcasts, or whatever. But the point is to tell other people about what our experience is, and maybe some of it resonates. And as with books, maybe 30% of this conversation resonates with someone, and helps them shift the way they think about one thing, and maybe that makes a difference for them. And maybe that they disagree with us about all sorts of things, but that's fine. It's fine.
Chris Scott: No two people should have the exact same views on literally everything. That would decimate the beautiful diversity of opinion, and humanity that we have. And on that note, I'll give it to you to wrap it up because I've got hot yoga soon, and some really spicy Indian food after that.
Matt Finch: I watched a YouTube video, maybe two weeks ago, I don't know who it was but he said something very thought provoking, and he was saying, "Cancel culture, it's actually a misnomer because culture is differences. Culture." So, what we're talking about is freedom, diversity of thought, freedom of think, freedom of thought. Here's the part that just boggles my mind. We're all adults, we're all adults. Most of us are adults. Everyone watching this podcast is adults, most of the people commenting on stuff on YouTube, on the type of videos that I watch are all adults. We're all adults talking about this type of stuff. Why is it so hard for so many people to realize that human beings aren't all supposed to think the same?
Matt Finch: We're not supposed to look the same, we're not supposed to think the same, we're not supposed to believe the same things. We're all different, we're all doing our own thing. I don't understand why so many people are afraid of different ideas. Just ideas. And so, addiction and recovery, I do see how these ideas could be dangerous to some people, but for most people it's like if you're over the age of 18 you should be mature enough to be able to listen to this type of stuff, and do your own sorting things out to see what you think is bullshit, like you were saying. That's what I do with everything. I take what I like, and I leave the rest. And I've been doing that for so long now that I've taken a lot of great shit that I've liked, and I've left way more stuff that I haven't liked out of my mix, of my model of the world, of my belief systems.
Matt Finch: So yeah, that's what I just really want people to understand how much nuance there has to do with addiction, with addiction recovery, with people's labels regarding that identity, and there's just a lot of flexibility within this. And as long as you're being true to yourself, I would advise of Demi Lovato listens to this, I seriously doubt she is, but I would say don't worry about offending anybody. If you're telling people what you're doing, and how you legitimately feel about that, I mean, who cares? I mean, yeah, you're going to offend a bunch of people, you can't please everybody all the time. That's impossible. Why would you even try to please everybody even some of the time? Build your identity, and help shape the world to another place. But if you're just sitting there worried about offending people, then you're not going to live up to your full potential. You're going to be living a life that is subdued because you're afraid of what other people think.
Matt Finch: Guess what? People are going to judge you anyways. They're going to-
Chris Scott: We need more courage.
Matt Finch: ... judge you no matter what. Huh?
Chris Scott: We need more courage.
Matt Finch: More courage.
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