146: Is Alcoholism Different than Drug Addiction? (Sort Of)

We explore the question: Is alcoholism different than drug addiction? Further, are process or behavioral addictions different than drug addictions? Do these different ways of experiencing obsession and compulsion actually act differently in the body? Not the substances themselves, but the addictive process, or features? How does the half-life of alcohol possibly impact the difference? Is the way society views alcohol, versus the way society views drugs, the only difference? Listen in and contact us with your thoughts about alcoholism versus drug addiction.

How to find us and join the conversation:





Email: RecoverySortOf@gmail.com

Episodes mentioned:

Robb Kelly


Problem Gambling

Technology Addiction

Sex Addiction 1

Sex Addiction 2

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i am jason and i identify more as an addict than an alcoholic in my lifetime although when i drank i was an alcoholic hi i’m jenny and i’m a person in long term recovery so as always before we get into the no new new recap if you’re looking to find us converse with us look at our terrible memes on facebook and instagram whatever it is uh we are on facebook we are on instagram we are on twitter we’re on reddit though i don’t know that people actually follow people on reddit but maybe they do uh you can donate to us thank you for our continued donations especially julie and sarah who have set up a monthly donation that comes to us that’s beautiful again that money does not go in our pockets it gets passed on to go back to the recovery community and helps people you can give us podcast topic suggestions i think through spotify maybe and we’re on the web version of spotify and we’re everywhere you can listen to podcasts and we’re on youtube and holy [  ] there’s a lot of ways to you know go over all that stuff and jenny has a blog on our website i do and all our episodes are on our website with transcriptions that totally come from youtube and probably suck probably not even close to accurate but that’s okay so check all that stuff out uh we also got a comment from jordan on our youtube that said thank you for this that was on our tradition 8 episode i believe i did run into a a debate that wasn’t much of a debate on twitter which was fascinating i missed this what was it it was about our big book episode and so when i posted on twitter about the episode i i asked people i was like you know should we change the big book you know should it be updated and uh i got a comment that said and and help me out here because i i felt like i was being open and this gentleman told me i was just argumentative so i i want to know from an outside perspective so feel free to criticize okay i was arguing so he said one of the main points about recovery is accepting things as they are insisting on changing language we don’t like is selfish and we are supposed to lose that selfish self-centered attitude the meanings are the same as 1939 and people in recovery must learn to be flexible okay can you be open i think you can be open and argumentative i think that’s being argumentative is part of being open but there’s more go ahead there’s more okay wait there’s more so originally he had said absolutely not no way and i said not in an argumentative way but what’s your thoughts on why not and he said one of the main points about recovery accepting things as they are right and that it’s selfish to want people to change their language because it means the same thing so i said so the book should not be updated because we need to teach those in recovery a lesson on dealing with it he said you’re being argumentative why do you want to change something that works there are other 12-step programs if you don’t like a a which to me is interesting if you don’t agree with the necessarily a piece of literature that you don’t like the program that wasn’t i don’t know that was a stretch for me and again i said i’m not trying to be i thought you would talk about how great the book was and when you didn’t i was trying to get to the root of what you said which was that people needed a lesson just didn’t seem like a good reason for not doing something and i agree it has worked i said but what if it works for 10 percent of people but updating it would work for 20 wouldn’t that be worth considering just trying to be open to possibility and his response was man wow i like your account but so much for not being argumentative eh have a good day and stay sober emotionally too don’t let the fact that some won’t agree get to you or don’t ask for opinions i said it’s interesting that you think that having a discussion or someone disagreeing with you must be an argument i said all i’ve done is kindly ask questions i hope you also have a good day yeah so was i being argumentative i mean i i am an argumentative person so i know you so i know it’s like it’s a seeking to understand argument and that’s probably because i know you but people you know through twitter may just put their whatever their mask over top of you how they see the world and you were arguing and there that’s that’s their speak for arguing it’s fascinating to me because what i really took out of it and i wasn’t trying to be an [  ] so i didn’t say this to him but what i really took out of it was there’s no open-mindedness like he wanted to point out these principles of like we need to stop being selfish and we need to do this in order to recover but i’m like isn’t open-mindedness a part of recovery and to me open-mindedness is being open to new ideas that’s what i think too and the whole you know criticizing of the big book was either it’s going to make your relationship with the big book stronger or it’s going to break it you know like is this big book strong enough to be challenged you know and if it isn’t strong enough to be challenged then it needs to be updated i think you follow me um i don’t know i i don’t like conflict i’m a guy who does not like conflict my childhood says stay away from conflict um i’m more open to that today but when something like that happens and there’s like it feels like instant conflict when i’m just trying to talk i like i don’t know what to do yeah i i think the conversation just got convoluted in the interweb space if you two were face to face that probably would have been way better you know but how do you translate that into a 144 character you know blip maybe maybe i i don’t know i definitely to me uh and i’m not trying to criticize this person which is why i didn’t put their twitter name out there or anything but looking that up i’m like why it just felt like that old staunch weird got our heels dug in a a white dude that i picture honestly the judgmental person that i picture when i’m othering the aaa people that i’m like yep that’s exactly why i think the big book needs to change yeah i i don’t know i think anybody who’s an aaa today should be questioning i you know i think or i’m not seeing it the way they are i don’t know like i i tend to agree with you obviously we hang out but like i’m like if yes i think if you really believed in the old timey expressions of this this conversation we’re having wouldn’t bother you if you really truly had faith us discussing it you would dismiss it i think maybe they’re not acknowledging that they too question it themselves i don’t know how anybody can think the book needs to stand as is with the two wives section in it like anybody that doesn’t say you know what they really got to take that piece quintessentials chapter sexist as [  ] right like so to not acknowledge that at all and to say it’s perfect how it is just tells me i don’t know at least i think it tells me just a little something about you i’m like oh oh you’re like that huh like [  ] women as long as it’s fine for white men it’s the book’s great it doesn’t need to be changed about how it offends anybody else anyway uh we did get one other comment on twitter that was beautiful it was from kim and this was about the chronic illness episode that we did with drew yeah that was a good episode and she said is drew on twitter because i need him to know how grateful i am every soul-bearing word he spoke landed enlightened my chronically ill fragile feeling soul tonight please thank him and let him let him know he’s sort of my hero right now and uh what beautiful words that’s a nice comment yeah i passed that right on to drew it was awesome and i think he actually like he is on twitter and he ended up reaching out to her and thanking her and stuff but it was a i was like man that’s the kind of [  ] that warms your heart that’s what we’re looking for so i don’t know it’s interesting i guess i i can’t ask questions on social media anymore unless i’m willing to totally accept people’s answers without further conversation that’s what it is though i mean that you like to ask questions and you know maybe i think maybe when we first met him like is he picking on me but then i was like oh no he’s a questioner which is probably one of your best qualities you know like let’s find out you know that’s why we’re here and um you make me sound like bill nye or something how does this work let’s find out that’s what i feel when you say that so i mean yeah i can see some people are not used to that relationship people are just we’re you know we’re such a weird society these days we’re not used to questioning and finding out things and having curiosity you know it’s just not as cherished you know as it was when we were kids i actually i’m sorry did i catch up no no i just i really appreciate you sharing that initially you were kind of feeling like maybe i was picking on you because i had an interaction with somebody uh and they were taking my questioning as if i was attacking them and i was like holy [  ] what an overreaction right and i was putting it all on them i was like i’m totally just sitting here being me jenny’s fine with it and to know that you had that period of that same kind of thought process or feeling lets me know that oh maybe i do need to like evaluate that in the earlier stages so that and feel it out a little better maybe it does kind of feel like i’m like kind of picking people apart i mean to an extent i guess i am but not in the judgmental way yeah you’re picking people apart in a in a curious and open-hearted way yeah same thing i do with myself all day every day like it just feels normal i guess i don’t know it’s interesting so anyway we have spent a lot of time on that recap which is probably good because i don’t know what the [  ] we’re going to talk about with this topic but the topic is is alcoholism different than addiction and i thought in 2022 we all kind of thought it wasn’t like they’re very much the same but we did an episode with a guy rob a long time ago and he came on and he helps people with alcohol treatment and his take is that alcoholism is fundamentally different in the way it operates inside someone’s body and brain and i i kind of was shocked by that when he said it but i i didn’t you know i don’t know not to say that he talked a lot but he i didn’t have a lot of space to challenge it and not that i really thought it was something worth challenging at the time either he didn’t get to pick on him like he usually do yeah he uh you know we just had a lot of other conversation he had a lot of good stories so it was like it just wasn’t the place for it but i do question that idea that alcoholism is different than addiction at its core um and you had brought this up as a topic and so i was like okay like i’m not sure exactly where we go with it i tried to find some fancy research where they tested hypothesis of like well alcohol works on this part of the brain and addiction works on this part and but i mean i think honestly one of the things you’re getting at with this topic right off the bat is the idea that we still refer to them as alcohol and drugs right we don’t when you’re saying things you don’t say like oh yeah you know people who use drugs you know even if you mean to include alcohol in order to specify that for the societal population you have to say alcohol and drugs because people do not consider alcohol a drug even though it is yeah totally and i mean because alcohol is the more socially acceptable one and there’s so many ways to attack this but like we have two different programs we have alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous but they’re treating the same disease or are we gonna even call it a disease or maybe we won’t even go there with that but uh that’s another episode yeah um it’s it’s more about like i think you me and probably most of our audience we have the educational and experiential knowledge that it is the same thing but the perception of people outside of this club we’re in is still that they’re different and i thought we have something to explore here like just the outsider perception you know it’s more than just two different programs it’s just how people view it like i know i slipped up in an episode recently and i was like well i was just alcohol and and you like kind of right away like oh just alcohol but i still tend to do that like when i’m like i you know and it’s my biggest fear about doing this episode we talked about this topic a couple months ago and my biggest fear with doing this episode was i was going to sound judgy but mostly it’s just i the the drug addict experience is foreign territory to me and i was afraid i would say something or ask a question that would make me seem judgy and i that’s really not my intention but like you know as i got to know you and billy and i i learned more about your stories i was just like you know like wow because i know you as you know drug-free sober folks and when i hear about your life before i knew you you know i’m just like it’s like heartbreaking and grueling and i’m like i feel so bad i’m like wow what you guys went through and then you know i read a book about a heroin addict in baltimore and just the details of his existence in drug addiction are so different than my story as an alcoholic now truly the underlying issues for the addiction are the same you know it’s like low self-worth shame fear it’s all that same stuff but what it looks like how it like manifests you know i i just see it like i see in my own neighborhood right class just like in my little microcosm the drug addicts and the alcoholics very different you know the drug out the drug addicts are the thieves they like they they creep around you know at night they’re not out and about socially but we all know they’re there we know they are you know you know they don’t they don’t work um they have a you know a physical appearance that’s different but the alcoholics are like right out loud with it you know we have a bar in my neighborhood and they go to it and they think it’s funny when they do like drunken antics that could get people in the hospital you know and they brag about their endeavors and it’s just like it’s like all good humor but the drug addicts are shamed and you know like they point fingers and you know nobody except you know like they’re not accepted or because even when the the alcoholics on my neighborhood get so bad people like hey man you get some help nobody does that with the drug addicts they’re just like it’s your own fault you chose that nobody says that about alcoholics it’s your own fault you chose that they’re like man you should get some help you drink too much but the drug addicts like you did it to yourself you know like it’s this outside perception it’s not and most of our audience is probably in the more enlightened side of like you know this scale but we still have this outside perception i think that’s worth discussing dealing with looking at so what do you think is there also a church in your neighborhood not in my neighborhood but we have plenty in the town i was just curious because i what i noticed living in dundalk right outside of baltimore is it felt like every neighborhood almost every block there’s a bar on one corner little neighborhood bar on one corner and then a church on the other side it’s like that public enemy line it’s like interesting that’s so fascinating and i think the same people go to both it’s just it’s very interesting um so what i was picturing when you were sharing that anecdote about what your neighborhood looks like and the disparities i was picturing actually when i lived in dundalk and these people they lived right across this little street from us and their yard was like wide open to us and they would have house parties and all these drunk people in the yard and you know there was the games the corn hole whatever and then there’s as it gets later in the night the music’s a little loud and i’m over there annoyed i’m like i’m trying to go to bed but i’m looking out the window and now they’ve now they’ve set an old recliner on fire and some dude’s gonna jump it and then he burns his face and goes home and it’s a big thing whatever and i was just picturing like can you imagine if it was like 20 heroin addicts would they be in the yard like openly freely nodding out and you know shooting their drugs into their like no they’re going to be in an alley somewhere they’re going to be in a basement somewhere they’re going to be in an abandoned building somewhere so it’s interesting i guess the topic almost alcoholism versus addiction really translates more into the perception of alcohol versus drugs it’s not that the addictive quality or nature of these substances actually lends itself to any scientific or biological or chemical makeup differences in the way they work it’s more why do they look like they look like because of our society’s tolerance or acceptance of alcohol versus its complete intolerance towards drugs which is fascinating because i would think i mean you know most of these morals in our country are guided by christian kind of concepts i didn’t think they were big on the alcohol either but apparently that’s the acceptable christian vice i don’t know it looks christianity in practice and i’m not trying to pick on christianity because it’s a fine practice but in practice i guess i find that the people who holler at the loudest in public seem to be the people who don’t practice it the way they holler it very often and that’s i don’t know that bothers me those that do don’t talk and those that talk don’t do um well you know there’s the whole blood of christ thing i mean sex outside of marriage is wrong but that same guy that’s hollering about that and how wrong it is probably has like four prostitutes that he goes and visits regularly it’s like it’s sex workers i should say i’m sorry not prostitutes but just it’s like just this behind closed doors i do this but then out in public i spout these virtues yeah well you know and it’s funny like the amish you know super super into god but they drink you know i mean not all of them yeah so the amish and the mennonites yeah i mean they vote each each chapter you know or quadrant you know they they have a consensus whether they do drink or not but they drink they smoke cigarettes they grow tobacco there’s no way the amish call their grouping a quadrant it’s just no [  ] way that that’s a thing they don’t know that word that’s like geometrical are you learning about that uh i don’t know you know farms are geometrical i don’t i can’t picture them using quadrant that just doesn’t sound right from there uh i’m stopping at the farmer’s market on the way home from here and i’m going to drop quad quad in a sentence and see how they react i got to be honest i mean that’s a pretty judgmental and stereotypical statement to me because i don’t talk to a lot of amish people so my friend said you don’t know geometry my friend said you wouldn’t know what the [  ] quadrant was yeah do you i’ll drop the f-bomb in there too they’ll love that see how they react um so yeah one of the things i came across when i was trying to find this research of like there’s got to be something out here that makes a small distinction between alcohol and its effect on the brain and drugs and their effect on the brain again we have to constantly say alcohol and drugs alcohol is a [  ] drug all drugs i mean and then we group drugs together like cannabis much different effect than heroin much different effect than psychedelics much different effect than cocaine much different like there’s all these drugs are just grouped together even though they are vastly different yeah is it the medical insurance community that’s coding it that’s dictating the way society thinks about this stuff is it because we have to code it a certain way i don’t think so at least not anymore so the they’re probably i want to say in the old versions of the diagnostics and statistics manual the dsm the psychiatric and therapy world you know bible basically which is whatever there probably was a distinction between you know an alcohol use disorder and a drug use disorder but it has been fine-tuned now to where it’s called substance use disorder and you actually label it with the specific drug that they’re using so it’s not even just they don’t even group all the drugs together anymore i mean they do in the sense that alcohol is included and they’re all drugs but then when you diagnose it it is like cocaine use disorder nicotine use disorder whatever like you actually put the specific drug to clarify so if that was the cause it is no longer being perpetuated at least okay that’s that’s cool i didn’t you know did you know there’s a marijuana anonymous did you know that yeah yeah okay i i i was surprised when i learned that like that’s because they got tired of getting yelled at by bob saget did you suck dick for marijuana they didn’t want to hear that anymore so they made their own group you know when i when i was in active alcoholism i did smoke pot too and we loved that movie my husband and i we we bought that we thought was so funny you know i watch sometimes an old movie and i’m like oh i cringe now in 2022 with some of the stuff in it i haven’t seen that for a long time i’m curious like how much of that wouldn’t be okay in the modern time right i’m curious too actually with kids now yeah it’s mostly like kids movies i don’t watch many like what i want to say adult films but you know what i mean things over at pg-13 adult

but uh you know what okay so aside from substance use disorder we can be addicted to other things so adult films you know behavioral addictions behavioral addictions so if it’s all the same are the behavioral addictions all the same too does that light up parts of the brain let’s start there or wherever you want to start no i actually this is where i uh went to go after i couldn’t find any differences with the alcohol and from my looks into the research it’s still there’s still a very big debate about whether you know process or behavioral addictions as we call them you know and this would be like gambling uh sex addiction you know shopping uh addicted to your phone whatever you want to call it all these different ways that we and can we add too like i’ve heard of like people addictions like sometimes you’re addicted to uh like your partner or co-dependency kind of yeah i think codependency that’s a i know that’s a kind of a taboo word now is it a little bit it’s it’s got some weird connotations because the idea is when they came up with codependency sorry i know i’m getting this all over the place yeah when they came up with codependency they were like no we can’t be co-dependent on other people we need to be fully functioning beings all on our own and then you know add people to our life because we want them and kind of what we’re learning is that’s not really true either because we’re not we’re a social species and like we need social interaction to survive it’s like a biological requirement for us so it’s not we don’t i guess the fear is that by using the codependent term we’re actually telling people that they might need to be okay by themselves and that’s not the truth either so we’re kind of trying to navigate that codependency is just a misaligned attachment problem really is that what they’re calling it misaligned no no that’s it’s just the concept of it it’s more like it’s not so much that i’m codependent the problem is that my attachment is skewed in a way that like i am overly attached to this person and their feelings feel like my responsibility yeah okay i did meet someone in my recovery journey meeting who identified as having a people addiction but you’re right she didn’t say codependency so because she was an act of therapy for it when she talked about her addiction to people she talked about it like real general terms like one would with alcohol or drug addiction i’ve never heard of somebody refer to it as a people addiction that’s what she called it yeah so from the best of my understanding the debate is still wide open in the professional you know educated community about whether behavioral addictions are the same so to speak ah as substance addictions but i would say yes they’re the [  ] same where’s the debate lie i i guess in the fact that substances are an external thing that we’re putting into our body to create these chemical changes and reactions that’s definitely something you’re putting in your body um but not for the man well no that’s not true some of the men are putting some stuff in there too anyway uh it just lies in the fact that like there i guess there’s a bother that there’s a a natural aspect to the behavioral addictions like there’s no foreign substance really coming in to create this alteration of your mood it’s just kind of like like so one of the things you hear about in a a sex addiction meeting is the concept that like the scary part is you’re your own drug dealer like you can literally think a thought and produce the same euphoria that you would have to go and purchase a substance from someone to do and like that’s so dangerous because like how do you stop thinking right and especially how do you stop thinking about things that bring you joy or bring you relief so i i guess the debate is more just about the fact that there’s no physical withdrawal necessarily um but that is i i want to say that’s dependent upon what you can measure right they’re not in their measure in like how your dopamine level severely lacks after you stop participating in dopamine-inducing things right so yeah how do you measure anguish yeah yeah they’re they’re only talking about like the actual physical like hey your nose doesn’t get runny when you stop shopping online like okay yeah but i don’t know it’s a little different but yeah basically from my understanding they’re doing the same [  ] in the brain they’re creating the same processes they’re creating the same reinforcement and reward i wouldn’t feel like they’re any different whatsoever is the person who who gambles any less likely or do they have any easier ability to stop than the person who is drinking or the person who uses drugs i don’t think so no not based on those great interviews you did like listening to the the gamblers anonymous and the gambling on what was that one gamma gamma yeah that sounds like like the bad guy name oh kavanaugh it’s coming the ninja turtle yeah um that’s like episode three in this series shredder and then gamanon but uh actually i really dug those episodes because i didn’t know about you know gambling addiction except for surface stuff and i was really fascinated by the inside look there well we did a we did a phone or technology addiction type episode a while back that’s the thing we did that um i don’t know we did a sex addiction one that’s out there i don’t know unfortunately that we’ve found the people to come on and knowledgeably be able to talk about some of these other ones but i would love to have somebody come on and talk about like struggling with a shopping addiction or things we don’t even think about it as like addiction like hoarding hoarding is its own form of impulsive and compulsive behaviors right so it’s i would love to have somebody who’s struggled with that and found some freedom hopefully uh to be able to come on and talk about what that is like and you know maybe get into more of the how did this feel different for you how did this feel the same for you um the main difference in trying to recover or or come away from a behavioral addiction versus a substance addiction is just the withdrawal it’s like your withdrawal is going to be different it doesn’t necessarily need to be medically managed in a behavioral addiction that’s it you know problem problem or disordered eating would fall into the same category which is why you see disordered eating rehabilitation programs at the same place you see substance abuse programs like they’re at the same place because it’s the same type of problem so my understanding the definition lies in the treatment maybe that’s why drug addiction is different than alcohol addiction different than eating disorder different than behavior addiction process addiction i don’t know i think the treatment is kind of the same for all of them they use a combination of like motivational interviewing trying to get people to want to not do that behavior or to be able to see the effects of the behavior or consequences try to be able to see their ability to have self-efficacy and have an impact on their own life through their own decision making i think the treatment is mostly the same the detox slightly different but i mean while the the alcohol detox can be more life-threatening than most of the other drug detoxes i mean it’s pretty much handled the same way maybe some slightly different medicines are given but this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org

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yeah i was shocked to learn in rehab that the two drug detox or like you can die from an alcohol withdrawal and you can die from heroin withdrawal and i was i was surprised to learn that and everything else is just uncomfortable yeah but those two you could actually die you actually need medical help for those withdrawals yeah but you know you just had a problem with alcohol i just had a problem with the alcohol i had i think i had alcohol poisoning a few times like where you know like fever sweat shivers you know i don’t think i realized how like really bad that was at the time i was like woohoo i partied good didn’t i like

so i i guess to me the the alcohol addiction is no different than a heroin addiction or a marijuana addiction or any addiction addiction is addiction to me even though the word kind of i don’t even i try to move away from the addiction word anymore just i don’t know so what do you say i i [  ] talk in circles around it without any real good terminology unfortunately like addiction is the word that’s understood right but it’s really hard when i’m sitting in a session with someone and maybe they’re struggling with something that feels way more minor than addiction and doesn’t impact their life externally in the same way like the the people who you think identify as being problem users of substances in your community right so maybe i buy things or eat to comfort myself or bring relief and i’m sitting in a session with a therapist and you know i got some extra weight but it’s going to be hard for me to identify with being called some form of addict or being stuck in an addiction when i’m not out on the street and homeless or hiding in the shadows like i’m just in my house with my family so it’s really it’s kind of tender to try to give them that idea that they’re having that same struggle and caught in that same grip and cycle when you you got to get not use that word yeah and so it’s that perception i think that held me back from getting help um and i think maybe others is that i was just drinking you know and i i saw people way worse i’m like well they’re drug addicts you know like they they can’t hold a job you know everybody’s you know their family doesn’t even like them you know like so the fact that i could go to work every day even though i wasn’t operating at half you know intelligence yeah being just an alcoholic made me i don’t know i didn’t think i needed help because so many people were functioning like me you know and supposedly getting along you know in life yeah and and i think that’s where we come into the difference between alcohol and drugs and it’s not in any way that they operate on the body even though there is a obviously a difference between how every drug operates on the body but in the addictive piece of it they’re they’re all doing the same [  ] and your brain and your body like they’re all affecting you that same way to make you keep using it but the difference is in the way the society chooses to look at the substance why are drug addicts or people who have problem drug use why are they out there and homeless and not able to go to work and possibly like having to sell their bodies for the next hit of that why is that it’s not because the drug is any worse or any more addictive or doesn’t have any stronger draw to do another one it’s because they can’t get it it’s illegal yeah yeah that’s true that’s the only reason well and you know what else too i noticed the drug addicts at least that i see like and i have learned about you have to have it every day you know like even when i was in alcoholism i could go a day or two and and be okay but i mean they absolutely go nuts if they can’t get their substance yes for the most part i mean uh again i’m talking about the microcosm that i see in my neighborhood so right and i think at least from my experience because this i can’t really generalize this to everybody so it’s anecdotal but yes generally it had to be every day like there had to be something every day but there were times when i was like really getting towards the end of the road for me things weren’t working out i was trying to figure out how to stay in my parents house and do the things i needed to do and and i would end up laying around for a day or two at times not very often but it happened where i was like i just don’t have it in me to go try to find ten dollars today i’m gonna drink the [ __ ] nyquil in the cabinet and try to lay in bed and just be miserable for a day and i would do that from time to time so it wasn’t like a a biological imperative but there is a really strong desire that like maybe the the withdrawal happens quicker maybe like after heroin it’s like six hours later i’m gonna start feeling that withdrawal whereas with alcohol it’s like 24 hours later i might start feeling a little not so great i think that alcohol i mean and i guess it depends on the user but it seems just less dramatic like so maybe if i didn’t get my alcohol i’d be grumpy or cry or something but i wouldn’t be frantic you know i just i wouldn’t go to that extreme well and to put this in perspective that’s a little bit anecdotal too right because there are the people who if they haven’t had a drink today they’re shaken and they’re like can’t keep it together and their stress level and stress response and their nervous system is through the roof so in your case maybe that’s not the the case and i i do think you’re onto something like there does seem to be a fundamental difference in that not fundamental maybe but for most people there is a difference like the most heroin users are probably going to have it every day but i again i and this is where i wish i guess i was a little more knowledgeable about the science maybe alcohol has a longer half-life and it stays in your body longer in fact i almost can guarantee that because they talk about i remember learning about how alcohol breaks down when they’re giving you those like uh safe alcohol use classes in college or whatever like hey this takes forever you know if you only drink these two drinks early in the night it takes these amount of hours for it to break down in your body by your kidneys and blah blah so that is a thing stored in the brain cells that died i don’t remember that class

i went to college recently okay um i do remember in rehab though they talked about so if i drank and like this would be a typical day off for me like uh you know start drinking like one two three o’clock and then wasted by eight pass out maybe i would wake up at two or three in the morning because when alcohol is processed through your body it releases adrenaline and you’ll wake up and um that’s the reason i think i see sometimes when i walk my dogs early i see these alcoholics that i know are partying the day before or drinking you know the way they do whatever mowing their lawns you know and i see them up so early and i i think it’s because the adrenaline is released as the alco as the alcohols process through your body there’s adrenaline release and they wake up so and then they take a nap and they start drinking again so so take us back i’m taking us back to you know 1949 there was like the beginning hints of the narcotics anonymous program right the beginning split away from a a to we need something else for this other substance because we don’t feel accepted 1954 i believe is is the beginnings of narcotics anonymous in in real form yes alcohol is much more socially acceptable to be an alcohol user with a problem at that point in time you know that was bill that lived next door with his wife and only beat her once a week like that was okay but the person on a drug addiction or problem drug use much less acceptable i guess the problem for me and what i didn’t realize until doing this podcast is that 70 years later in 2022 that’s still the case it is still much more socially acceptable to have a problem with alcohol than with other drugs and i’m i’m baffled by it okay i always think follow the money too so still more socially acceptable when i cruise around cecil county newcastle county there is a liquor store in every strip mall and it’s i resent that why do we need so many liquor stores so follow the money is the government just making so much money off alcohol that they can’t turn it down like it’s they’ve they’ve normalized it and then and i guess commercial glamorization is like alcohol’s like everywhere if you’re not drinking alcohol you’re not having fun you know yeah it’s why so much so many of us are afraid to go into recovery like what will i do if i can’t drink you know and then we find out that there is plenty of things to do but well and a lot of us speculate about how laws are passed and where they come from and who comes up with them and who decides on what’s really what makes the biggest difference and what we’re finding in the recovery laws that are getting passed is that there is no universal lobbying group for recovery which is why the kind of anonymous programs started right this idea that we have to come out of the shadows and like we need to form something and have voices because all the decisions that are being made legally or policy wise we don’t have a lobbying group but if you get down to how laws get passed lobbying groups put a lot of money into campaigns and politicians and it’s you know i mean at its base it’s buying people off but it’s not how it looks it’s just like hey we’ll donate to your campaign we believe in you you’re a great candidate don’t forget we’re the anheuser-busch company lobbying group right big alcohol as we refer to their lobbying lobbying group has a [  ] ton of money they’ve made a [  ] ton of money and they put it in and so why would anybody ever make a campaign to like consider alcohol as dangerous as everything else and make it illegal they’re not going to because there’s no money if there was an anti-alcohol lobbying group that was putting double the money in guess what alcohol would be illegal and then everybody who has problem alcohol use would have to be buying it from somebody making it in their basement and then you know what there’s probably a lot more people resorting to sex work and selling their body and being homeless all about alcohol then it looks just the same as every other drug because it’s now illegal but that doesn’t happen i know so it just it highlights the whole to me at least this conversation the underlying it’s about mental health it’s not because you know you’re you’re big on like hey make the drugs legal we’re going to go the problem’s going to start to go away yeah we need big heroin so yeah so yeah maybe it’s not the problem’s not that the liquor store is at every corner it’s like it’s almost like defund the alcohol police you know they do you know like maybe like reallocate that money to mental health you know well it gets fascinating so look at look at vaping right there’s a lot of laws and the fda and all this there’s a lot of things going in with vaping right now oh my god you’re you’re selling the kids you’re selling your flavored [  ] vapes to kids now look i’m not to sit here and tell you that vaping is good for you there’s no vitamins and minerals in this goddamn thing that i use is it better than smoking for my life [  ] yes by leaps and bounds right differences i can breathe i felt like i couldn’t breathe when i smoked cigarettes when i vape i don’t feel that really i feel fine to breathe does that mean it’s good for me no i’m sure it’s harming me but it’s nicer it’s nicer to be around my kids and not smell like smoke all the goddamn time right like there’s some benefits to it and and guess what i’m 42 and i like [  ] cotton candy flavors like it’s not just for kids right do you have gummy multi vitamins i don’t but i would uh but but we look at congress and they’re like oh yeah well we need to pass these laws to protect the children but if you really look at what’s happening that’s not what’s happening oh i believe you yes they’re outlawing vapes right because big tobacco is running out of money i believe that cigarettes aren’t getting money and and look that makes so much more sense the plan isn’t to send people back to cigarettes big tobacco came up with a new plan that’s they have their own vape versions well they have their vapes but they also have this other thing where you like put nicotine in and it gets heated and produces like a smoke but it’s not actually burning and so big tobacco has the money to lobby against vaping which is a bunch of small time people just making some juice and trying to you know make some money off of it so now that’s why the vaping laws are like oh you’re hurting our children we got to get rid of these flavors we gotta we gotta shut jewel down all together well it’s only because big tobacco has the money behind the scenes to say hey they’re [  ] up our bottom line which means we won’t be able to donate to you anymore yeah so help me out climate non-vaper so is that a jewel are they all jewels no jewel’s just specific that’s what i thought but are they outlining jewels but then other vaping devices are fine no so there is so many different convoluted rules and things so this is uh the one i happen to like and use is a disposable flavored vape you cannot buy these in maryland it’s illegal but i can go 10 minutes up the road to delaware and it’s fine and then pennsylvania it’s not fine again but then here you can buy disposable flavored vapes but they have to be tobacco or menthol flavored why is that about health yeah it’s about saving the children right now and they’re going to outlaw menthol soon too is that the headline i saw they just menthol cigarettes yeah they’re supposed to do that and they just said that jewel is pretty much has to shut down all together like they already got rid of their vapes but now right now it’s on a hold like they’re like appealing it or something so it’s on hold for a moment but it’s like none of this is really in the interest of public health this isn’t in the interest of our society or bettering people and it’s the same with alcohol and it’s been for all this time so the difference when you talk about the difference between alcoholism and addiction yes addiction to other drugs is going to look quote unquote worse on the person but only because the way society looks at alcohol it’s not fundamentally any different you know even our local grassroots recovery organization voices they do less for alcoholism than they do for drug addiction did you tell me it’s because it’s the money because we we rely on grants and voices yeah it’s not an active choice it’s not the voices says ah we don’t give a [ __ ] about alcohol we didn’t struggle with that the problem is the grant money that is coming down right now is in response to the opioid crisis and so the money only funds people who have had opioid problems so four people walk into voices of hope and they’re like oh my god our lives are miserable we really need help and two of them use heroin or fentanyl or whatever that stuff is at this point or painkillers whatever and they’re like oh my god we can get you in a bed in like three hours just stay with us we’ll get you help the next person has a crystal meth problem right totally not an opioid but they’re like i bet you used heroin like a week ago i bet you there was some you know it was that night you couldn’t fall asleep and you probably just did a little bump of heroin to fall asleep or there’s probably been fentanyl in some of your crystal meth and you didn’t even know it we’re gonna get you help and then the fourth person is like yeah i just can’t stop drinking it’s ruining my life it’s ruining my marriage i’m about to lose my job and they’re like man that really sucks

maybe we’ll we’ll see if there’s something out there for you like and it’s not a choice like they want to help but it’s almost sad it’s like if you’re you have an alcohol problem like hey look go buy some heroin real quick get it in your system and then come back i’ve overheard sometimes like uh you know like somebody i know through the meetings is trying to get their uh partner into detox for alcohol and they’re having a really hard time with it because this person has to be either half [  ] up or like not too [  ] up because of their age or whatever like there’s so many rules and it’s because they’re just alcohol so trying to get this person medical help they have to like follow so many rules and they’re having a hard time with it it’s so sad i know a lot of people like just go to aaa but you know you some people need that medical and not everybody has the financial resources to check you in to like a nice facility right the fancy rehab yeah let’s face it when you’re like an alcoholic making money isn’t really always successful so yeah i know when hanging out with voices like i i’m kind of a rarity as far as like my just alcohol and then don’t get me wrong i did like through drinking you know i smoked pot and tried different pills and stuff but mostly i just wanted to be drunker so alcohol was my like main thing but um uh yeah it’s such a shame that like i don’t i don’t know you can’t get help for just alcohol like you can for drugs and and there’s a lot so there’s a lot of treatment centers out there at this point that have the ability to because of this response to the opioid crisis and this isn’t a bad thing but they have the ability to help detox and monitor from that substance right there’s the ability to provide suboxone for the detox and things of that nature but the medical monitoring it takes because alcohol is such a drug and such a poison the medical monitoring required to detox someone off a severe alcohol addiction not everywhere is equipped to do that there’s not as many facilities that are able to take it on and then even facilities that are able don’t necessarily want to like it’s if i can fill the 30 beds i have in this detox with people that are going to cost me 300 a piece to detox per day and i’m going to save a lot of money versus if i fill all those beds with somebody who cost a thousand dollars of medical monitoring a day for alcohol so like and i’m not saying that any place is doing this but it definitely felt that way when i was trying to get people help well and i mean i think it’s also these their businesses they have to survive so sometimes it’s like make it or break it like we got to keep these employees on i get it it sucks but i get it i don’t even want to look at that no okay no no i don’t i mean that’s like saying you know that just to me is almost like justifying the outrageous insurance problems we have in our country yeah okay so so my open-mindedness on that kind of like i mean when sour went bad but well as as a company as that small-time company that’s trying to help people and trying to stay in business yes they do have to stay in business but as an overarching problem throughout the way our medical and insurance worlds work that’s almost like justifying yep the insurances are right we just got to do the best we can yeah you’re right somebody was telling me about france the other day and they said every doctor’s visit is 28 and the portion you pay is based on how much you make how about that right sounds pretty good it does sound good i’m like wee-wee shimmer pal jason bonjour i know well my i have like some friends online in the uk and they’re just like you know like they can’t believe what we go through here you know they’re just like so you you know there’s things that i have skipped on because i can’t even afford the co-pays that i’ve passed on taking care of myself because of the copays and they’re like what okay we make fun of the british for their teeth huh that’s a thing right but i i many times because my teeth have always been in disarray and i do brush my teeth goddamn it it’s just i guess what i was born with or the mouth breathing i do i think yeah that’s what the book said said my mouth breathing causes my teeth to deteriorate whatever yeah i know it’s crazy um but there’s you know insurance for dental sucks you get like a thousand dollar limit every year and so every year it’s like i’ll fix these three priorities and then when my insurance runs out i’ll schedule again in january for next year i mean it was like eighteen thousand dollars for one tooth to get a re-root canal crazy right for one little tooth i know actually i’m i’m waiting on inheritance like this is terrible but like some one of my elders will pass and i’m like cool i get my teeth fixed damn luxury bones you have in your mouth you don’t need those bones you’re fine

i don’t know it’s crazy so yeah i guess uh ultimately you know i don’t know if we’ve gotten any great insight out of this episode but just the idea like there really isn’t any fundamental difference between the addictive or problem or disordered use behavior in itself that is the same across the board the difference is the way we look at one of these substances versus the rest and i mean obviously besides being highly unfair to anybody who doesn’t happen to be on that choice substance that everybody glorifies um it just seems stupid like there’s no good reason for it do you think it’s getting better do you think we’re getting better honestly i thought we were uh-huh and then doing this podcast has been like eye-opening that like it does not feel like it your neighborhood for example does not look any different i don’t know i i do think this shift to legalize cannabis is changing the landscape of some things not with all drugs we’re still gonna have the oh my god those goddamn heroin users over there right that’s still going to be a thing for now but to shift to where any other thing is legalized and looked at differently in the drug community is a big shift to me i don’t know how long or slow that process takes for it to catch on that like maybe we’ve been looking at all these wrong um but that’s a difference i mean that’s a huge difference well and i mean i feel like we’re getting i feel like we have an uphill still a very steep uphill battle for how we look at and treat mental health but i think as that improves the perception of addiction will improve so you know from my little meager point of view like the kids in school there’s a lot of there’s a lot more emphasis on mental health and feelings and coping than there ever was when i was in elementary school so just from like the public elementary school perspective i think there’s more and then in social media there’s a lot maybe it’s just how i see social media maybe some people aren’t subscribing the same people that you know like they’re not following the same people i am you’re on your own truth social right is that what you’re that where you’re getting all that positive mental health social yeah um but no i do feel like at least in america like we’re trying to get to a place of better mental health and then maybe perhaps that separation of addictions will just start to dissipate and we will start seeing the fact that it is all addiction yeah i hope so i hope so if we could all step back and see that in our life in some way shape or form minor major there is something that we use to cope that affects us and has negative consequences and we don’t stop doing it it might only have minor negative consequences but there’s something that we buy into that we use even though we know at some point in time we’d prefer not to or we prefer to do it less or we’d prefer to have more control if we could all step back and see that in ourselves i feel like it would be easier to understand oh that’s what that person is going through i saw a meme one time it was like you don’t understand what it’s like to be a drug addict or be suffer with drug addiction put your phone down and then every time you think about picking it up don’t i was like oh [  ] like and that might not affect everybody but probably everybody that’s listening to this is on a phone or at least has a phone yeah think how many times i mean i’ve checked like my my screen health app or whatever that tells me how many times i open my phone a day it’s [  ] crazy i don’t even days i don’t spend a lot of time on it i [  ] open it a billion times even if i open it and i’m like what did i get on here for and then again and then i open it again to see if there’s notifications and then i oh and then i set it down then i’m like oh what’s the weather tomorrow oh what happened in that news thing i read earlier oh my god what did jenny put on facebook like it’s constant yeah i have found myself opening it and i’m like searching like what do i want to check what i want to check and i’m like what the [  ] have i come to you know like that when i don’t even i open it just to find something to open like and then i’m like oh man i got a problem and the fact is if you want to understand what the obsession and compulsion feels like put that phone down and every time you think about opening it don’t try that out just try it out for five minutes see what it feels like maybe if that doesn’t feel like much try it for 20 minutes and don’t do anything else just sit there holy [ __ ] yeah so i don’t know yeah uh if you’re wondering there is no biological or chemical difference between alcoholism and addiction they are one and the same in the way we understand the brain as of today in 2022 nothing they’re the same we just look at them differently and look at the people who use them differently just because we choose to so that’s it stay safe out there bye

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