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187: Best Practices for Recovery (Sort Of)
Welcome to Recovery (Sort Of), the podcast where we explore the winding paths of mental health recovery. Join us on a journey of self-discovery and growth, as we navigate the highs, lows, and unexpected detours of the recovery process. From managing anxiety and depression to coping with trauma and grief, each episode delves into real-life experiences, insights, and practical strategies for finding balance and healing.
We are back again to talk about the best practices for recovery. What does that mean? No idea. But we try to talk through some of the most important and foundational pieces of our recovery journeys, and also how they have shifted and changed over time. Billy, Caraline and Jason explore their personal favorite practices and how they have impacted them along the way.
How to find us and join the conversation:
Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/recoverysortof/message
We are back again to talk about the best practices for recovery. What does that mean? No idea. But we try to talk through some of the most important and foundational pieces of our recovery journeys, and also how they have shifted and changed over time. Billy, Caraline and Jason explore their personal favorite practices and how they have impacted them along the way.
How to find us and join the conversation:
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 [Music] [Applause] welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy who practices recovery and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I’m Caroline I’m also a person in long-term recovery and we’re going to talk about practices that have kept us in recovery right we were thinking of this idea like what are the most important few key elements that have I don’t even know how to encapsulate this Billy maybe is it like that supported our recovery or like the three main things we we wouldn’t have stayed in recovery if we wouldn’t have done or like how are you thinking about this so yeah I was thinking of it as like the the things that are foundational to our recovery like top three or whatever that’s kind of how I was thinking of it when you said it what about you I took a little bit of a different perspective I kind of was thinking about the things that maybe are like the less traditional things but what really helped me um in early recovery to to stick and stay I think were the were the things that I was thinking of and maybe kind of taking like the like things that are a little less obvious too yeah it’s probably different early recovery compared to now oh yeah for sure yeah and that’s where my brain was like racking itself trying to figure out like is this like was there one most important thing that I couldn’t have lived without the first eight years that maybe I don’t need any more but I still want to include it in my top because I wouldn’t have got here without it or do I just want to include the three that are right now and I was like oh yeah yeah I didn’t think I could figure all like my couple now like the meditation and exercise I didn’t start doing those until I had you know almost 20 years clean right so they weren’t foundational to the beginning because I didn’t [ ] do them right right yeah yeah mine the couple of things that came to mind for me um are definitely not things that I necessarily need to do or work on today but they’re what got me here right like they’re what gave me a lot of these things I don’t even talk about are the things that gave me um the ability to build the foundation that that I live on today when you say they’re not things that you have to work on today is that because they’re just not things that come up for you anymore or are they things that you have worked on and practiced so much that they’re like second nature now so you don’t have to do them anymore I think there’s a little bit of that but like okay so for example one of them like I remember an early recovery telling myself I’ll get high tomorrow that was like my coping mechanism to just not like the literal just for today was like I’ll get high tomorrow and as long as it was always tomorrow it was never happening right you know um so I don’t have to do that now thank God because I don’t want to get high like I don’t have to like trick myself into like not using you know that was my coping strategy while I was using I was like yeah I’ll get clean tomorrow yeah exactly exactly exactly right this is perfect I’ll just never Jane’s Addiction yeah gonna kick tomorrow that’s right um so I it’s it’s really tricky and I don’t even know if I have necessarily a list of three and really more of what happened for me was just trying to think through this I was like I think trying to talk through this is going to be enough of a conversation in its own because the first thing that came up for me was like okay what’s the most important piece of my recovery and and stay in you know Focus to a life of like I and this is where how do you even Define recovery like what is right and that’s a life too because I don’t want to say a life of like growth because that I mean yeah kind of Life of growth I guess that doesn’t put any expectations that it’s not okay right now also but I don’t want to be like oh a life of getting better because well I think if you say you are recovering you have to identify what you think your problem is you know what I mean like you can’t I don’t interest I don’t know how you recover from what you don’t know that you have like recover from the first 40 years of life it’s been rough well and that’s where these different fellowships come in I mean when you look at a fellowship like you know ACA or adult children of Alcoholics and dysfunctional families like that’s what they think they’re recovering from is the dysfunction of their upbringing which is very different from Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous where we identify as drugs specifically like that’s what I and that if when I’m in that Fellowship I’m identifying drugs as my problem or addiction I should say right but I got that’s right we’re sexing out you know so maybe oh God this might take us away the [ ] off is that still what you’re recovering from now mine I believe so so and that’s what they’re saying like abstinence is the main tenet of my recovery what I believe I’m recovering from so that’s interesting because with abstinence being the main tenant of your recovery it does almost sound like you’re recovering from drugs as opposed to recovering from addiction uh you know what I mean it’s a part of it yeah yeah I’m not trying to get picky with it but I was like I was like huh that actually sounds more like the drug piece than the the addiction piece as we as it gets talked about in the 12-step well that for me is the most clear and damaging addiction or addiction part yeah the obsession and compulsive to you so that’s like number one yeah I mean we were just talking a little earlier and it’s like the idea like I had a friend of mine share with me recently that he’s not in recovery anymore and he’s gonna smoke weed and it’s been a couple people in my life and immediately I go to like yeah I want to get high and then that turns into I want to get high all the time every day like that’s just that’s where my head immediately goes and I don’t know if I would do that or not but that’s where my thinking goes immediately like I want to be high all the time and that’s where I think the obsession and compulsive comes in right you know I didn’t I don’t know that I’m using to escape something as much as I just like being [ __ ] up hmm yeah I mean I think when we talk about recovering from addiction at least for those of us who have been in 12 step for some significant amount of time we’ve been taught that like a court you can’t recover from addiction if you are actively using like that is a basis of of at least the n a and I’d say a programs um so like if you’re identifying your problem as addiction I think it goes hand in hand if you’re still in that frame of mind that you can’t you can’t fix it if you’re still doing that but but I guess that’s the part that always gets me back into the circle of like okay I understand that and that makes total sense but everything I did for the first at least 10 years of recovery if not maybe everything that I’m still doing now is some version of this obsessive and compulsive compulsive relationship with something gambling shopping sex women new relationships like anything right they’re all there so if I’m still participating in some version of The Addictive Behavior or patterns or Cycles why is that any different and say and I get it maybe it clouds your head but I don’t know because when I go to these other programs they say hey sex addiction and food addiction produce the same exact chemical stuff in your head as as drug addiction does when you use it so to me it’s like we’re saying hey you can’t recover if you’re still doing these practices with drugs but yeah sure you can still work these steps if you’re doing these practices with something else and I’m like I don’t know your head’s just as cloudy either way in my mind yeah I mean are you using those things compulsively yes I mean I would say that for the majority of my recovery I haven’t that’s awesome I mean I definitely have yeah I yeah I mean I know that happens I just that hasn’t been my experience so I don’t know I definitely can admit that I struggled with food for for a couple of years kind of starting in 2019-2020 um and someone could argue that I was using that compulsively and it was impacting my life I mean you can you can look back at the videos from two years ago and see see the impact the visual impact on on uh on myself but um yeah aside from that I mean you brought up new relationships we all know that I’m in a new relationship I wouldn’t say that I
I think there’s a certain amount of like um like neurotransmitters that happen when you’re in a new relationship and that’s like fresh and exciting but like I don’t feel like I actively like feed into that to try to accomplish that more if anything that scared me I mean I think I was talking about with you like in the very early days of of this relationship there was like alarm Bells going off for me just because of the intensity of feelings and like this like learned this almost this training that I’ve gotten in recovery of like intense feelings are bad like things that make me feel different are bad because I don’t want to find myself in a situation where I’m using things outside of myself to change the way I feel and I know you’re gonna argue that that’s all we do all day but like that’s absolutely the basis of life but I do think there’s a big difference between something like that and being on crystal meth like there is a definite brain impairment that comes along in decision making when you’re on crystal meth when you’re on alcohol I mean well I say the consequences of what you’re talking about absolutely like the decisions we make on drugs you compare a drunk person to a person that’s in a sex addiction and then you I don’t know ask them 10 questions like the answers that you’ll get from the drunk person might make note like their brain is chemically impaired like they are they are impaired to the point that their decision making is now questionable I feel like it’s intensity levels though I feel like that’s true for all these but yes I will I will definitely default to drugs probably do that much more intensely than the other versions for sure but like with what Caroline’s story she just told there was alarm Bells going off in my mind alarm bells are Alerts get out stop do something else but the Euphoria of the feelings kept her there anyway right I mean alarm Bells but I’ll stay but but that would be like you can’t fall in love with anyone though because is that what that means I mean that’s what those alarm battles were for me the intensity of like falling for someone felt scary but and isn’t that what drugs and addiction do though they hijack our natural systems and then throw them into like overdrive like they sort of hijack our what I call it like endocrine system not endocrine system our rewards system and then be like hey get rewards from all this fake [ ] that isn’t really real like whereas those other like the more natural processes of like love and again anything too obsessive becomes a problem but like when we fall in love the whole point of that is our bodies want us to reproduce and have Offspring and so we become attracted to people of the opposite sex and that’s a whole natural process that happens but addictions to chemicals and substances sort of hijack that system and be like get these same rewards but from basically [ ] from something that’s not real from something that doesn’t matter and probably doesn’t have a lot of benefit gives you the rewards but you’re not going to get the payoff of reproducing to have more offspring like for the sake of getting us back on topic I’m not going to reply to that because I I disagree I don’t think what Caroline had was love I think that early stuff is infatuation love is like a last lifelong kind of thing and I think infatuation is right up there with making us make bad decisions alongside well that’s probably personally I would agree with that I don’t know yeah I don’t think that means you can’t fall in love I think that means infatuation is a very very powerful thing but I think it’s inevitable when you’re falling for someone like I don’t think there’s I don’t think I mean I don’t know maybe maybe but I feel like infatuation is the first steps towards oh I really like this person you know like that is that feeling well then there’s definitely other factors that come in there too because you figure hey I’m gonna say reasonably mentally healthy person that hasn’t grown up in like an abusive household like they could be infatuated with somebody but I think if the person starts beating them up or or physical abuse or sexual abuse they would probably still leave if they have you know like a healthy upbringing and they’re not used to being around abuse and [ __ ] like that red flag would be like whoa I’m out like I can’t even though I’m infatuated with this person I’m not going to stay with somebody that abuses me but so I do think there are some environmental factors that play into our addictions in awful you know in all forms I mean I don’t think really healthy people become addicted to drugs like I just I don’t I feel like there’s there’s a component to when we talk about like using things outside of ourselves and what that threshold is because I know you argue that everything we’re doing is a form of using things outside of ourselves to change the way we feel but I think is it changing who we are right because when I think back about like when I think you know and I’ve had this conversation recently but what where’s Dave with the who we are question because he was just here last time talking about yeah yeah but um like I think about who like Matt when he was caught up like that was not who he like like drugs were literally changing him into a person that he’s not and I think it does that for a lot of us and I think sex addiction can do that too like if you see someone who’s really caught up in sex addiction if you see someone who’s really caught up in sex addiction you’re gonna see a lot of them you’re gonna see behaviors bad behaviors that are changing like the them participating in things that they would not do if they were not caught up in in that addictive behavior whereas like some of the other things yeah food addiction do you really think it’s different with that’s the whole point of the addiction is that we’re doing stuff that ain’t us and it doesn’t feel good smoking doesn’t seem to change people as much as say alcoholism and I would say catch them on day three without a cigarette see what you think then well when they’re stopping yeah I I but I don’t know I still don’t think it’s the same well but anytime they’re in a situation where they can’t like oh I’m now in a three-hour work portion of my day where I can’t go have that cigarette by an hour hour testy but I’m not right
I get you and yeah I don’t disagree about the intensity levels I just think I want to steal my mom’s bank card right it might for a tasty cake yeah and again same with the food addiction it’s like yeah you might be like eating more than you would if you weren’t caught up in that Sugar craving cycle but I’m not like a totally different person but I do think the emotional part’s the same yeah I guess for me I don’t know maybe and I’m not trying to like live this perfect life or do it without fault or anything but I just want to also not be ignoring the places in my life and how this impacts me even when it’s not the same intensity level so okay I’m not using the drugs I’m not homeless I’m not screwing over my family that’s wonderful but am I in my house on my phone or my Xbox all day and not paying attention to my family because maybe that’s no [ __ ] different you know what I mean like I don’t want to miss that the the toys I buy and shop for and the stuff that I bring into my house also takes my attention away from the people I love and like I see that now in what different ways and and how is that impacting me and how is my new relationship maybe having me give less care to my dogs or how you know what I mean like compared to the podcast right right you know those things happen like these things change us to be different people like you just explained and like I just witnessed that sorta in you now granted did you steal from me or anything to go get more drugs no you didn’t but like it it’s still a thing that comes between our ability to get closer and connect you know what I mean and I think that’s the importance Circle and circling all the way back to identifying what do I think the problem is and what is it that I need to what am I trying to recover from right right am I trying to recover from you know in my case maybe just a super shitty bad upbringing in my drug addiction was a result of that or do I think my drug addiction is something else because you know I can go to let’s say you know the adult children of Alcoholics and dysfunctional families if I think it my problem is just my poor upbringing and lack of coping skills and then maybe be able to use successfully but if I think my problem is addiction then I’m gonna treat that differently and have a different set of parameters for what I’m doing so did you Caroline did you tell us what you thought you were recovering from I think I know Billy said addiction you think addiction too I mean I think addiction with the core of it being probably some genetics but a large amount of it is my upbringing and and Trauma I think that’s the basis of my addiction okay I don’t know that I ever will feel like
I can get as healthy as I want to get can get willing to do the work to get um from my background from my upbringing from my trauma I don’t know that that ever means I can use successfully and I am at this point in my life not willing to take the risk to find out um so it’s always going to be there’s always going to be that like addiction and abstinence piece for me as long as I’m in the frame of mind that I’m in today so I 100 agree with what you just said then Billy that’s probably what the difference in what we’re trying to talk about right now because I don’t think addiction is what I’m trying to recover from at this point I think I’m I don’t know if I’m trying to encapsulate it as like recovering from childhood trauma recovering from just [ __ ] life or if it’s like that’s kind of half of it and the other half of it is that this was always meant to be our challenge or journey in life almost like we’re kind of born with this is the thing you have to find a way to be okay with like we each have our own little thing and I don’t know if that’s born with it or if it comes from our childhood experience probably more comes from our childhood experience but that’s what I think I’m trying to recover from this idea of like I’m trying to make peace with this challenge I was given personally yeah makes sense yeah makes sense so the first one I came to when I was trying to think through is like what’s the most important thing in my recovery what keeps me here what keeps me feeling like I’m growing and moving forward and and the idea of self-care came up but then I was like I feel like that’s all encompassing and gonna Encompass everybody’s answers all together like everything we do right for us as self-care like is there an answer on your list that’s not self-care care yeah I mean I’m going to use tomorrow is not really I wouldn’t call that self-care I would call that like a like a like a like a trick in my brain totally compassionate it’s you saying I can’t stand this suffering in my mind right it’s you saying I can’t stand this suffering and then another piece of you saying hey it’s okay we’ll we’ll take care of it tomorrow just get through today just be okay right now we’ll address all that tomorrow okay can you make it through today cool that feels compassionate to me yeah I mean at the point where I was using that as a coping mechanism it it I didn’t have any of that I’m sure you weren’t giving it to yourself like that but I think it’s still the same yeah the same idea right yeah I guess and I think I guess it depends on how broadly you define self-care too because I hear self-care and I tend to think like exercise eating healthy getting enough sleep yeah you know like honoring my needs if I’m feeling really tired not forcing myself to you know do 18 loads of laundry that day like just that kind of thing more so than like if I feel like using giving myself permission to tomorrow
well it’s funny you’re reminding me and I never really thought of it that way but I used to tell myself early in recovery like I’m gonna give this a year I’m gonna give one year I’m gonna be fully in fully committed I’m gonna be the best you know recovering in a person I can do everything they [ ] tell me to do and then we’ll see what happens that was kind of a big thing in the beginning and my perfectionism attitude of like I gotta be the perfect n a member like I gotta have service commitment to be in my home group every week and like I can’t miss a day all that [ ] my Character defects played an important role in my commitment to recovery one of those top three is his character defense that’s what kept him here more than anything else I’ll show that [ ] I’ll be better than you all right that’s so funny because I can remember thinking being so frustrated and upset that like there was people and and looked this is coming from like 30 60 90 days clean a warped brain like taking for the greatest I almost feel guilty saying that I’m like God this makes me look bad but I would be sitting there and like miserable that other people that I thought I already had a better grasp of recovery yet had more time than me and then I could never fix that but but the thing that kept me was yeah but nobody after me is gonna ever get more than me God damn it I will just keep like I’m not gonna let anybody else do this to me it was almost like that like I felt like a personal attack like that they had got here first or something I was like nobody else is going to get me like that like kind of crazy but I guess it helped this is really off track but I I just I would think the same thing about like people that would ask other people to sponsor them like why the [ ] are you asking me to sponsor you like you’re gonna ask that guy like look at him boy good luck with that we were hitting it off I thought things were going well right you know it’s like getting chosen this is my choosing another uh partner you know what I mean but our first three dates went so good I’m in the friend zone like [ __ ]
literally that’s that’s hilarious so is that was that the top thing on your list like number one was that yeah I mean I didn’t order them intentionally I wrote them down as I thought of them so my first one that I wrote down was gratitude and we talked about this on the Gratitude episode I feel like that’s been like a core tenant of my recovery since very early on that like idea of a grateful addict will never use and trying to remain grateful and and look at like the the positive things that I had in my life which again in early recovery was very easy because I was homeless very recently before getting clean so just having like a bed with clean sheets to sleep in was was something to be grateful for um so yeah that that one was like my quote unquote top of the list I feel like this goes back into my argument against stuff because like we get the stuff and it all gets in the way of just having the Gratitude because the less what I’m noticing for me now maybe this wasn’t possible then and maybe it’s not possible for anybody I don’t [ ] know but I go in my backyard and I practice not just meditating but like I’ll try to sit out there for an hour or two and not pick up my phone not do anything just kind of sit so don’t get me wrong I’m not alone the whole time sometimes some of my kids will wander out talk to me for 10 or 15 minutes go back in but I’m just you know I’m listening to the birds I’m watching The Breeze I’m feeling the breeze watching the breeze on the trees I’m not crazy I’m feeling the breeze I’m feeling the sunshine I’m watching my chickens and my goat and just chilling right you have a goat yeah we just gotta go can I come meet your girl sure absolutely is it a little goat or a big goat it’s supposedly a pygmy but it’s not the tiny pygmies it’s like a American pygmy which is like mid-size I guess yeah second goat I don’t know I feel like if you have one goat you need two votes because they need a friend okay we’ll talk about this it’s another time so I go out there and the more I’m moving away from these distractions right which to me like stuff I’m just noticing is more and more action the more I am grateful for the feeling of the warm sun on my skin and the nice little Cool Breeze because it’s been like 68 around here and like you know the birds chirping are really pretty and it’s like watching some of the birds fly through like I am being more and more grateful the more I’m moving away from all the [ ] I put in front of that and I just I don’t know if that could have happened earlier or if the stuff was a replacement for for feeling better but I don’t know [Music] thank you
[Music] well I will say this when you oh I said the thing about the bad and you said stuff it wasn’t my bad I will point out it belonged to the recovery house so well like even even now like I’m more inclined to notice when the sheets get changed and they’re nice and clean and fresh right like that I I get in and I’m like oh this is gratitude I feel it right you know what I mean so it might not have been my bed but just the fact that maybe I had the sheets or whatever like and again this gets way off what we’re talking about but that I think that is all still stuff like the sheets of the bed and all that like but I’m grateful for that they live out in the woods in a tree fort and sleep on the ground and then maybe that bed in the house and the stuff seems really important like you know well that’s right that’s exactly what I was saying though like I was living out I’m not in a tree for it literally but it’s all about the frame of reference it’s harder to be grateful for the bed today when I have a bed right and then I’ve had a bed for a while and you know and then I have a bed in my RV and then I have expansion hotels I sleep but like you know like it just but but the but as I grow I can be grateful for other things right the ability to have an RV the ability to travel the ability to um pay my bills you know like yeah I mean I’m not disagreeing with those I’m sorry I’m cutting you off good no I just I think that you know like it it broadens and so that’s why it’s been so important to me because like I said in in the beginning it was very easy because I was coming from a place of like utter desperation I had nothing I had no relationships I think that was another one that maybe it wasn’t stuff in the beginning but the ability to have my parents trust me again um was was a big one for me um the ability to like have things to do on a Friday night that wasn’t just trying to find one more you know like there’s a lot of stuff it wasn’t all material um the material stuff as they’ve been easier to accomplish maybe become lower on the list but continuing to prioritize having a list even if it’s like a figurative list I think has been a continuous theme throughout my recovery I guess what I was trying to think through with that statement was if we didn’t continue to accumulate and bombard ourselves with more and new stuff would we still be able to more readily be grateful for the the smaller things like if I didn’t accumulate the 300 000 things I’ve bought since I I showed up in Narcotics Anonymous and decided to try recovery would the bed still feel more relevant and grateful and and that’s I think so because I think the less distractions I have the more I’m able to appreciate the few things that are in front of me it’s just my take I can’t prove it by the science but that’s what I was I guess ask anyway do we move away from some of that early gratitude as we continue to just give ourselves so much more as humans we acclimate you know as humans we we take for granted that’s like just basic human nature like when you’re used to you get used to having something and then it doesn’t matter as much unless you make a conscious and intentional effort to have it continue to matter um so this brings me to one of my most important things meditation God damn it yeah it’s got to get in here because I don’t know if it’s the practice of you know like I was just theorizing well if I didn’t buy all this stuff maybe I’d appreciate the few things I had more but the the act of meditation and the practice of like going out back and being intentional and mindful and like that has really started to shift my ways of looking at things and the ways I feel inside about my life um so yeah I can’t say enough about meditation that would be like the one I want to bring up now in response to gratitude like meditation has increased my gratitude it has increased my love it has helped me get more in touch with these things um I know Billy has probably got meditation on his list my current list yes but early in recovery it was not you know and and it didn’t get on my list even though you would hear it all the time and it sounds good and and I would you know quote unquote try to meditate and think that I was supposed to be quieting my brain and I just didn’t have a proper understanding of the purpose of meditation but nowadays yes it’s incredibly important um it’s key to Just My overall well-being in general like it’s like you know for me it comes into almost like brushing my teeth like it’s just something that I feel like I need to do on a regular basis and when I don’t I start to notice that I’m not usually in behaviors you know I become more reactive I become more less tolerant and patient you know and unfortunately what usually happens is I notice those things first and then I go oh well [ ] I’ve kind of not been meditating as much lately like I’ve been blowing it off in the morning or whatever so that that is a huge one for me do you meditate Caroline I mean I’m so I’ve been attending the Dharma recovery meeting um fairly regularly that’s cool um here over the last couple of months and so there you know that meeting starts every week with a meditation of some sort it varies um from week to week so I’m participating in that um but no aside from that I’ve not been that’s cool though yeah I haven’t I still haven’t made it to the recovery time of meeting I want to um yeah I don’t I can’t say enough about it and I know we’ve said this exact thing on the podcast before the idea that meditation is a word in Step 11 and like those list of steps is in almost every meeting I’ve been to posted on a wall or read aloud or both or and yet I don’t feel like it’s talked about in the program very often and I don’t think it’s very I don’t want to say enforced but like suggested as strongly or as often or as frequently as some of the other practices we do and I feel like it I wish I wouldn’t have missed out on doing it for the first I don’t know 10 or 12 years of recovery because it’s become such a foundational piece of what helps me today and what gets me where I need to be on a daily basis that I just can’t imagine life without it yeah and it’s almost one of those things where I I think it takes some like patience and really I don’t know surrender to do it regularly because you don’t get in like or I don’t know you might get an immediate benefit but you don’t necessarily notice an immediate benefit so it’s like you meditate and you know okay well I still feel the [ ] same even though I just wasted 20 minutes of my time doing quote unquote nothing right you know what I mean and so what’s the point like is there really a point to this and unless you have enough Faith to stick with it and be like yes I believe that something is going to happen or there is some benefit to this you know you don’t stick with it I mean would you do things regularly that don’t benefit you well yeah they’re inconvenient right right so and that’s weird for me I don’t know that I knew this earlier on in meditating but now like I will I will be feeling a miserable feeling like one of those just down bad feelings that I’m like I just don’t know what the [ ] to even do from here I’m just gonna like tell my wife how much she sucks or I don’t even know what happens from this point and I’m like I need to meditate so I’ll I’ll get him a posture I’ll do 25 minutes and I know when I walk out of that I’m gonna feel better somehow whatever that means right generally I don’t feel different feeling wise but the feeling doesn’t seem as big or overwhelming anymore and so like I know that’s a go-to that I can just walk away from and I’m gonna shift the way I feel over the course of 25 minutes and like you said like doing that I’m like oh [ ] yeah I’m definitely gonna do that next time because it works early on I didn’t feel that relief like I don’t know if I felt any relief or if I could notice it but I was doing it to try but I feel like when it wasn’t as noticeable it was harder for me to stick to the routine as well right I’d do a couple weeks miss a few days do a couple weeks miss a few days and now it’s a lot easier like no no no I want to make sure like this is a really good loving practice for me and I do feel the benefits and I want to make sure I put it in my day and like yeah that’s a hard one like everything else I do that that easily becomes a habit or routine gives me more of that I know I feel great afterwards working out I know I feel great afterwards right like when I’m hungry and I eat I know I feel great afterwards I’m tired and I sleep I know I feel great meditation I’m like I don’t know well and I think finding a practice that fits what you’re trying to get out of meditation is important you know and I kind of mix mine up because there’s a couple different reasons that I do it but early on I thought oh this is supposed to be like quieting the mind and I’m supposed to sit here and make myself stop thinking and that’s not at all what it is for me now right couldn’t be farther from that and I was like well I can’t stop my mind from thinking like it’s [ ] thinking all the time what is this is stupid like this is pointless and I would try and try and I’d be like well my mind isn’t quieting so this doesn’t work that perfectionism yeah I mean I think that’s one of the things where like I go to the meeting and I’m willing to do it because it’s part of the meeting but I don’t know what the I’m doing and I don’t know if I’m doing it right I’m like so I just like do whatever they tell me at that particular meeting but like to try and do it on my own like I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to do it properly and and if I feel like I’m not doing it properly I’m gonna get frustrated so yeah so here’s how I kind of like to think of it and it doesn’t play out exactly this way because I do have some other practices but think of it as like meditation for me is like uh I think a kid’s in school and kids are in school and they’re in there like learning throughout their day right but at some point in the day they get like free time where they get to go outside and like just run around and be wild and kind of do whatever in general for me that’s meditation that’s a time for me to take a break from my brain just to kind of do whatever it can think and I don’t have to react to none of it I can think I can worry I can whatever I can run 20 scenarios in my head and then when I’m done all that shit’s gone and it it’s just a break from the the thoughts that go on and the what I’ve learned is I’m not trying to keep myself from thinking what I’m trying to recognize is I don’t have to react to none of that [ ] none of it matters it’s my head running around like a chicken with its head cut off you know doing all the crazy [ ] that my brain does because that’s what a brain does Hearts feet lungs breathe brains think all right right and that I don’t have to just be this reactor to whatever thoughts are going on in my head and by practicing that on a daily conscious basis like I recognize you know whatever I’m worrying about whatever I’m thinking about when I’m planning my day out like none of that matters I can let all that go and just think it and then let it go and be done with it imagine if every heartbeat you had you had some kind of thought in response to it about how awful it was and how you were gonna die and how this was gonna go wrong because your heartbeat at this moment and this way and this that and the other and then you understand why we’re all [ ] sick because that’s how we treat our brain as if all that stuff matters and we got to have extra thoughts and all this about it and it’s interesting though like when you described your meditation I was like yeah that’s not what I did at all I do the opposite almost I thought you were going somewhere else with the description of the kids in school um I think mine is more like the practice of noticing I’m not meditating is actually more of my meditation it’s like oh [ ] I’m not meditating anymore I’m actually like trying to solve a problem come back over here come back over here where I’m just watching this [ ] oh caught myself not meditating again there we go again right like it’s not actually uh but I do think early on before I got into meditation there was a couple of instances where people tried to describe it and and what you said Billy my perfectionism took over man I I read a book about zazen which is the kind Dave practices which is really particular form of meditation and it’s like my thought was yes I have to stop my thoughts silence my mind and sit in this perfect elevated straight back posture and that is the goal right it was like beating myself for not being able to do that perfectly instead of you know you listen back to our episodes we did an episode on meditation at like number three and then we did one with Dave later on and in both of them I’m like can you lay down I want to lay down and like look I’ve been laying down it’s fine it doesn’t even matter like I don’t want to lay down at all oh man you can lay down you can sit it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference like maybe it does I don’t know but for me I’ve found both of them very useful and you know it doesn’t have to be perfect and that’s where like for me the meditation comes in is like like we talked about like I I have an obsessive compulsive brain I get into something I’m curious about something and immediately it takes over you know like I got into doing Jiu Jitsu and then it’s like I want to go there four nights a week and we’re sitting home having dinner and everybody’s talking about their day and I’m thinking about you know what I learned in class and when I can get back to class and what video I just watched and through meditation I learned hey you don’t have to feed into that stuff this is your obsessive compulsive comeback be present in the moment you know be here with your family and let this [ __ ] go I don’t have to stay stuck you know what I mean in that spot of like well this is what my brain’s thinking about so this is what I got to do and this is how I have to you know be it’s like nope that’s just my brain be in my brain let’s come back and be present with your kids and your family and sit here and have dinner and pay attention like okay I can do that we’re gonna say so I mean that was interesting to me like I asked my question to you would be what if you played the mental part of it does that what he does enjoy the mental part of that right what do you mean it doesn’t mean it’s good part of what yeah okay okay so like well there’s a time and a place for that you know and sitting there at the table at dinner with my family when everybody’s talking about their day it’s not the time place not that it’s wrong or right or whatever that’s fine that I love this thing and want to think about it that’s great that’s just not the time that it needs to be or like when I’m at my job handling work I shouldn’t be obsessing about this other thing and neglecting my words right right you know yeah what’s uh I don’t think you’ve given us one off your list even though meditation was on your list but what’s one off your list which we are now I got probably two lists one is like what I did early in recovery and what would be like now well we’ll stick with what you came up with when you were coming in oh okay but now so now um I think meeting attendance is important for me okay and not a ton of meetings but one of the things that happens for me of going to meetings is a connection or a reminder or a reinforcement of ideas and beliefs okay instead of me so and this gets back to the surrender you know stuff we’ll talk about surrender later but
and Caroline when she talked about gratitude being a foundation to the beginning of her recovery so maybe this does go back to the beginning of my recovery with surrender coming in and thinking I don’t know how to run my [ ] life I have lived most of my adult life thinking I know what’s best for me no one can help me I’m gonna do it all myself I know what I need and finally that realization of I have totally [ ] my life up I don’t know at all what I need and in fact most of what I think that I need has just got me deeper into a hole and so for me now like going to meetings is kind of a reminder of that like I am powerless over my obsessive and compulsive thinking and that even now even though it might not be about drugs it can be about other things that can still cause harm in my life so before example like I went to my home group the other day I have a home group I go there every week or pretty much every week and so I had a situation where this friend of mine you know is using now and immediately when he tells me like I get almost jealous like man I want to get high now like everybody else is doing it it should be fine I should be able to do that too like I’m successful in my life and everything’s good and I’m not suffering all this childhood trauma anymore and you know I should be able to manage it now and I get this jealousy and then I start thinking about it well I probably could use you know probably wouldn’t be that big a deal and blah blah blah blah and I go to the meeting and then after the meeting nobody said anything but after the meeting is like I need to [ ] call my sponsor and talk to him about this because I’ve learned by going to meetings that you know I should talk to people about the [ ] that goes on in my head sometimes because that chick gets me in trouble and so I call my sponsor and we had a conversation and we talked down through that you know and it wasn’t a matter of him saying don’t do it or do it or whatever it was a matter of like well what are your values what do you think you’re going to get out of it and what are the positive and negatives and it’s like all those Recovery Concepts and I don’t know if I would have done that if I didn’t go to that meeting gotcha um so the meetings are a reinforcement of ideas and beliefs and practices you know that I think are critical to my life hmm SO meetings are interesting for me right now I we did that episode about not going to meetings and that’s definitely where I was for um the last couple of years just not really the meetings or only going if there was like a specific reason to go like showing up for someone else and then just these last few months I have been more consistently going to meetings um I’ve been regularly going to meetings of some variety for the last um maybe two or three months now um and I do feel like I’m starting to grow again um and it’s interesting to me as Billy was saying that it’s almost this chicken or the egg thing is like did I feel like I came to a place where I wanted to grow and SO meetings became a part of that or did I or am I going to meetings and you know what I mean like I don’t know if I’m I’m I’m not verbalizing that real well but almost like am I seeking out growth and SO meetings are a component of that or am I seeking out meetings and connection and so the growth is becoming a part of that yeah um yeah okay but I don’t know I almost feel like it’s probably the my interpretation is it’s almost the first more than the second but I would not I I don’t I wouldn’t be like Oh I’m not rolling out the second so this was interesting I what I ended up doing I couldn’t narrow it down to a list of three so I sat around this morning and just tried to Think Through what they all could be like what’s all of them so that I can at least have the full list and I never got around why does it have to be three it doesn’t I was just thinking if we each brought three that was probably an hour’s worth of conversation but I was like I don’t know how to narrow it down let me just see if I can conceptualize what a bunch of these are and I came up with you know meetings but I also like slashed it with Fellowship because I wasn’t sure like was a like Billy’s talking about an important part of the meeting where I’m reminding myself of my mission you know that I that I have stepped up to decide to pursue which at that point was recovery through Narcotics Anonymous and like every time I walked into a meeting I heard more of that stuff I walked out and I felt recommitted to that process right refreshed in my memory of what am I doing today oh yeah I’m supposed to be living this new life um but was it that or I mean obviously it was partly that and it was partly like the people I got to see there and seeing the same faces and making connections and like I don’t know if you can take those two apart to say like oh the the showing up to get my recommitment to recovery was the part that I was really using or if it was the showing up and seeing this the familiar faces with the warm Smiles like I don’t know that you can separate them but it that I was definitely a huge part of my recovery at least at one point you know it’s not necessarily now even though I feel like I still pursue the the connection in a similar way but the the reinforcement of you know Narcotics Anonymous necessarily ideals I I don’t benefit from that or haven’t felt like I have for a while yeah and and I mean for me like I and I is only a small subset of the medium like I’m I’m not I’m going occasionally to n a um there is a meeting that I like but that I’ve kind of like found oh I like this n a meeting I’d like to attend this one regularly but it’s on a Friday night which is I’ve been traveling and it just hasn’t been super convenient so um but I kind of I’ve been yeah I’ve been picking and choosing and I like that right now I like that I mean on the one hand I’m like oh I should have a home group and I should be like you know using a sponsor in this specific Fellowship like I should be like doing it the way it’s quote unquote written but like what’s working for me right now is this kind of like picking and choosing like I like this meeting I’m getting this there and I like this medium I’m getting that there and like so I’m like all over the place in terms of fellowships and um it’s it’s working at the moment um so my my and that’s fine I don’t want to make this sound super judgy but it’s gonna so I’m sorry but and it comes into a lot of things you know a lot of things that people do so everything’s fine as long as everything’s fine but what do I do when [ ] hits the fan so like I could say well I don’t necessarily need a sponsor or whatever like I’m fine and I don’t need step work or whatever else but then what happens if something horrendous happens to my wife and kids what happens if you know whatever my work burns down and I lose my job like what is my reaction going to be if I don’t have those pieces in place like somebody that I call when shit’s going bad or a place that I can go to feel safe and connected and to talk about oh [ ] my life’s in chaos and now I don’t know what to do then what do I do and I don’t know my previous stuff is to resort to using or whatever bad coping mechanisms that I had and if I just sort of push away or change all the currently new and what has been working coping mechanisms what am I left with you know so there’s a bit of a like if I stay connected and stay you know if I have a place that I go every week to talk about what’s going on in my life if I have people that I talk to regularly to you know yeah when everything’s [ ] fine it seems kind of boring but when [ ] hits the fan what happens and of course we’ve been through that with our kids being molested and stuff like that it’s like I had a connection of people that showed up and came to court and supported us through all that if I hadn’t been going to meetings or had a connection with those people at that time I wouldn’t have like called them up out of the blue and been like oh hey by the way I know we haven’t talked in four months but my kids just got molested will you be my friend you know like so having those things there is more of a uh insurance policy yeah and it’s just something again I had was sponsored tell me early on in recovery it’s like we don’t practice recovery for when times are good we practice our recovery for when times are bad [Music]
I I just wanted to clarify are you saying because Caroline said she kind of does the hodgepodge of different meetings that she wouldn’t have that stable safe like Connection in the one place from going routinely is that like the the point you were making there yeah I guess I guess which connections yeah like which connections do you have or do you have people that you would feel I mean I guess if you have people that you can talk to that you feel safe with whether that’s through therapy or meetings or a significant other but it’s like if we start getting down to like the only person I talk to is my wife and then if something happens to her what happens you know or if I don’t have you know therapy or somewhere to go to get some sort of outside help I mean yeah I mean I think my experience so I have absolutely maintained relationships over the period of time that um that that I had pulled away but I think if if anything and granted this is this is 18 years of training right where it’s like when the [ ] hits the fan you go to a meeting right but it almost was like like that that came that came I was in a position where I got to test that theory because I had been not going to meetings and then I got in this relationship and I started feeling all these feelings and I started seeing behaviors in myself that I didn’t really like and hadn’t expected to see and so I started going to meetings because I was like something is not right here something with the way I’m feeling behaving being I don’t like the way I know too be better feel better get better is to go to meetings and so I would say a big Catalyst for me going back to meetings in in um over these last few months is that kind of like upheaval of My Life by kind of bringing this new relationship on but and I don’t want to call it [ ] hitting the fan it’s not catastrophic right it’s not losing my husband or putting my dog down or some of these other things that I’ve encountered in in recent years but um I guess I’m fortunate that I ingrained in my psyche enough is that knowledge of like when I’m not feeling right these are the things I do I reach out I go to a meeting I ask for help and so that’s what I have been doing these last few months because I’ve encountered the situation that’s different and feels not always super safe or you know like my behaviors that I’m questioning you know so I think I think exercise was another one that would probably be on all of our lists or at least a close fourth or fifth yeah not not my not my coming in but yeah certainly today yeah I feel like mine is on my whole list for sure but for different reasons which is fascinating to me so like in an interesting way looking at this as you know I’m always like I worked out hard coming into recovery because one of the things I always felt terrible about that I used to cover up was how weak I was and how scared I was and how small and afraid I was for a man in our society or whatever so a lot of my early uh recovery definitely included like daily workouts six days a week if not more like all my diet was focused around it I’m buying all the GNC Supplements you know 500 a month or whatever and it’s like that was all about looking better on the outside to feel okay enough just to stay alive really and I wouldn’t look at that now and say that’s necessarily quote unquote healthy I mean in the scheme of where I was at that time that was probably the healthiest decision I had on the plate right like it was better than going and getting high again but I look at it now and I’m like that just feels like another version of trying to cover up all the pain and hurt right like not really address any of it so while it was a a an amazing behavior that you know probably kept me in recovery during times when I couldn’t go near that pain or hurt that I had I don’t know that it’s necessarily the greatest whereas more like today it’s more like hey I want to be moving and I want to be able to move into my 80s one day if I’m still here and I like my heart having a good resting heart rate like they tell me too and that’s more what it’s based around now which feels more in tune with like hey I actually want to be healthy and treat myself nice not I gotta cover up all this ugly [ ] that I got yeah was that like the idea of like Grace is like when we get uh good results from bad intentions I don’t know that’s the way I like to think of it it’s like Grace you know like we just got lucky here you know like I made some decisions for the wrong reasons but it ended up working out in my favor well and or to some benefit yeah yeah to some benefit because like I look at it now and I’m like but all the heavy weight I was putting on me probably has a lot to do with how my back feels now like you know there’s some some trade-off there but so what do you think about exercise like I we do come into recovery and I think there is this introduction to the idea that like there’s probably a more holistic problem going on at this point like I think that’s a pretty clear thing right we talk about mental spiritual physical and emotional you know parts of this recovery process but we don’t tend to talk much about many of them outside or in the program itself like we don’t you don’t go into a meeting and people are like man you guys should be on a you know exercise routine yeah right you know but yeah I think that is a huge piece that maybe or even maybe it’s just taking care of our physical self in general like that’s not just going to the gym but also going to the doctors regularly and getting checked up and blood work like that’s another thing I feel like probably really important to taking care of ourselves and maybe it was lucky for me I didn’t get into exercise and weights early on because I probably would have been in there for the same reasons feeling a lot of those same things when I got in later when I first started exercise it was kind of that it was like oh I’m gonna get big and you go in you see all these other big guys in the gym lifting heavy [ ] and then for me what happened was I started to [ ] come home sore and like my shoulder was hurting and I’m like wait a minute let’s reassess like let’s look at like what are we doing here what are our real intentions and motivations how do we get that you know so I was able to approach it with a healthier lens a healthier view to realize that what I was doing wasn’t in alignment with what my goals were um so I changed up the way that I exercise and you know for me it is almost fits in with meditation in that I have a lot of anxiety I have a lot of like I just carry a lot of angst and a lot of tension and when I’m exercising regularly it seems to burn that off that’s I mean really it just and again it’s not like I like go in one day and exercise and then all my anxiety is gone it doesn’t really work like that it’s more of a consistent effort and like I’ll notice like there’s been a couple weeks we go on vacation or schedules get busy I don’t exercise as much and then I can feel that it’s like the bad things come back for me so easily it’s so easy to like blow off meditation when my schedule gets busy blow off going to the gym when my schedule gets busy blow off these self-care items with the justification that I’ll be fine and yet I don’t blow off you know watching a baseball game on TV or these other things it’s like I immediately blow off my personal care things but yeah I mean that’s you were saying the thing about like you know you know meditation made me feel better so you do it I know exercise makes me feel better and I still don’t want to do it a lot of times yeah I don’t want to do it yeah it’s and yeah I mean it’s crazy how I mean it’s awesome that you can say this is going to make me feel better I’m going to do it I wish I was there it’s but I’m not so honestly but you’re encapsulating it like there’s some profound amazing piece of me that’s doing that and I actually look at it the opposite way that there’s actually some lacking awful piece in me that makes it that it must be that way and I was just thinking about this when Billy was talking about it and I was like kind of like how um Denise said on the the sound healing episode right like this idea that I’ve almost feel like I’ve been led to these growth practices more because of how [ ] sick I am like it’s more like I am so [ ] dysregulated on a Monday morning seemingly you know on the surface about nothing because there’s nothing wrong in my life and it feels so [ ] terrible that it’s like I’m either gonna jump off the [ ] Empire State Building or I’m gonna lay in his bed and try to sit with us like that’s the only two options I got left I can’t move another step in my life it feels so terrible and that’s where I’m like it doesn’t really feel like it’s coming from a great place I got no other choices here I mean when I feel like that I will go I will go and exercise when I feel like I feel like you pointed it out though and almost it’s made me kind of rethink about this list of like oh well I did this because it was the most important at that time and I’m thinking no we did this because we felt so miserable we had to do something just like you were talking about I’m noticing this [ ] in myself and I had to go back to meetings right it’s almost like we’re gonna end up at this place no matter what we can’t stop it because this [ ] doesn’t feel good now and eventually we’ll get there but it’s just a matter of time of like how long of not feeling good it takes to get us to do something different yeah and I guess for me like that sums up what I think I’m recovering from is like I have this thing inside of me that wants to be selfish and lazy and it’s full of apathy and procrastination and if I give into it then that’s what I do you know and that I have to like I’m in a constant Battle of like trying to be the person I want to be versus that thing that’s in me that’s like [ ] all that stuff like sleeping [ ] who cares it doesn’t matter like do what you want it was fun life is short eat whatever the [ ] you want sleep with whoever you want do whatever you want it’s fine everything’s fine it’s [ ] good I almost think there’s actually uh maybe and Jenny and Dave would like this the there’s a middle path between those two voices yeah but I think is the answer yeah somewhere in there um you had mentioned service last night when we were talking and and I hadn’t really thought about Service as one of these but I was thinking through it this morning like service could probably be another key component of a recovery life right like this idea of I think service for me is is the friendly frequent reminder that all my actions should not be for Jason like if nothing else that’s what service does for me keeps me kind of in this this mindset of like oh some of my life is actually supposed to be doing stuff for other people too okay that’s that’s good to remember yeah and I I just I believe service has a huge connection or it helps us feel a connection to others it helps us recognize you know that we are a bunch of people trying to live and exist together and it feels good it just it feels nice to help people like when you do a nice thing for someone I don’t know too many people that do a nice thing for somebody to be like God damn I can’t believe I helped that [ ] person you know that you help people out of anger yeah I don’t think it’s that I do think there’s a lot of times when I’m doing [ ] for somebody and I’m like this is not why the [ ] did I even agree to this like this isn’t what I want to be doing like I will do it out of obligation a lot of times I’ll agree out of obligation and then when the moment comes I’m like I should have never agreed to this this wasn’t right for me yeah to be doing this I have to say I wonder if that would be service or something else I mean I don’t know if service requires or or
I think there can be some a lot of crossover like service done because I want to step up and help a cause or a need in the world that’s beautiful and I love doing that and like you said I always walk away feeling better about that but there’s times when I agree to service and it’s not because I want to right yeah it’s still some of that that you might not like me if I say no so and I don’t and now that you say that I’m like well I have you know a regular commitment a service commit that I have through 12 step fellowship and I’m not always excited to go do it and a lot of times I’m like why the [ ] did I say I would do this again and I feel like I’m not the right person feel like doing that and so but then I go do it and it’s like yeah this is giving back and at this particular time it’s a reminder for me of like hey I’m no you know these are people that are here that are struggling that are trying to get their lives together and if I can have it it’s almost like this podcast sometimes it’s like if I can just be a small part of assisting someone else in helping their you know life get better that’s beautiful foreign and I’m not this isn’t a right or wrong just one of those things that my brain goes to think about right like in my mind if we’re all doing the best thing for ourselves it works out all around and I’m like maybe if this isn’t the best thing for Billy he’s actually holding this spot that somebody that would have I don’t know 18 months who would be really pumped and enthusiastic to step up and help would be way more like enthusiastic to the people he’s going in to speak to and everything and he’d you know have more time because he’s at more meetings he’s hearing more speakers he’s got more availability of people to ask to go in with them and like maybe they’re robbed of the position because you’re holding on when it ain’t fitting you and you’re trying to make it like you know what I mean like almost if you would do what was good for you which was saying I don’t think this has really benefit me anymore it gives the role to somebody or room for somebody else to step up who it might benefit yeah when this current situation there are some open positions so if those people show up there you go but no I but I get what you’re saying you can do that in different levels of service whether it’s in your home group or whatever else if you’re holding a position well it’s just been fascinating for me to try to think through this idea of like because I I’m trying to where’s the downfall to me doing exactly what’s right for me where does this not benefit others where does this harm people and like most of the time when I’m looking at it don’t get me wrong I can come up with ways that could possibly harm people but I can come up with ways where it would possibly benefit people and I’m like why am I always assuming that what I’m doing is going to hurt everybody and I gotta make sure I do it the right way to not like that just maybe it depends on your attitude of service too so I kind of always have been lucky I’ll say to go into like I don’t I I haven’t personally went into like areas of service and been like I want to do this so you need to give me this position and then if I can’t get that position I go well [ ] you guys then I don’t want to be of service I show up and I’ll be like all right what’s needed where do we need help all right what what’s going to be the biggest benefit okay I can do that or no I I can’t do that so I guess in the context of you know yeah maybe I’m holding that position from the person that’s decided that that’s the only [ ] position that they can do but I don’t know that they’re coming in with the best attitude well I was no no I got you I was thinking more of like the area services and I feel like I’ve sat and so many of them where this thing happened where it’s election time nobody steps up for a position the person who’s already been holding it for the last year is like look I’m not keeping this I’m gonna step down and it’s not until three months after they step down when everybody’s like oh my God we don’t have a Treasurer who’s gonna do it and then and then like more uh energy gets put into finding a treasure right more people leave that area more people talk to members of their home group more people are like hey we need a treasure somebody step up and then it’s found and I’m almost wondering like that same scenario like maybe okay there’s only two open positions but maybe if there was five open positions somebody would have a freak out and go out and find people and bring them in and then they’d have like you know what I mean yeah and in some positions that’s the case right my experience in h and I hospitals and institutions that’s not the case right right well then ends up happening is the person who’s in charge has to do it four times instead of three other people stepping up I feel like every time somebody steps up that eliminates the possibility of anybody ever making anybody else step up though yeah that’s like where it happens um just being cognizant of time here I know we’re we’re pushing our time I want to make sure that I mention therapy or what we often refer to as outside help um has been a game changer for my life not to say that I’m always constantly in a state of being with a therapist but since I’ve started I don’t know 11 or 12 years ago um you know a couple years on a couple months off a couple years or whatever it takes like you know there’s breaks in it and all but the the information I’ve gotten there um and the ways it has helped me and you know assisted me in moving forward and the parts of me that I feel like it’s a dress that maybe I’m not saying the steps don’t address but I couldn’t get there through the steps whether that be because it was too painful to do or I don’t know why um but man therapy has been a huge piece of my life and and you know obviously because I became one now too that definitely feeds more into it but I I think that’s also expressive of how much of an impact it had on me right it it even in the first couple years of therapy changed me so much that I said holy [ ] if this is available for people I want to help them find it like more people need to be helping people find this kind of relief because this is amazing and just thinking of that like it’s been a huge and crucial piece of my life and my recovery and I I don’t know that everybody feels that way but just it definitely is at this point in time and I would say for quite a long time now I don’t yeah I haven’t had that experience of individual therapy um and I’m not saying it couldn’t happen but I just haven’t that hasn’t been my experience with that my wife and I have gone to some like couples counseling marriage therapy stuff and that’s been super beneficial just having almost like a mediator or somebody to help direct us through communication issues and stuff like that right but I mean for me personally I’ve found stuff at different 12-step meetings or support groups or self-help books or podcasts you know that have been as helpful and then I say all that yeah like most of the self-hope books and and then like a lot of that’s probably also what you would have got like you probably already had all the stuff they were ready to give and then I say all that to say I actually have thought a lot about I need to find a therapist that does what I want to do with a therapist but with insurance and limitations that’s been a [ __ ] hurdle so that I haven’t been willing to jump you know but it’s like ideally I’d be certainly open to like hey therapist this is what I think I need help with this is a person I would like to go talk to but finding that person that also takes my insurance and all that has been I haven’t been able to do it so so with us getting short uh have we mentioned all the ones that were on everybody’s list what’s missing no so I have one more and it’s kind of I had it as two but I’ll combine it and just say
um maybe call it like building a life that was worth living um was really big for me in early recovery so um and I think there were two main components of that so one was I went back to college or I went to college with four months clean I started college and I always felt like that um feeling in early recovery of like I’m doing something to improve my life I’m working towards something as opposed to like you know I got a job at McDonald’s and and I’m just gonna work this McDonald’s job for the next five years and not see any like growth or movement forward that feeling of like I’m working towards something and I’m improving my life and my prospects and my future was was really important to not feel like stagnant um and then also having fun in recovery because when I used I did not have fun I was getting and using and finding ways it means to get more so being able to you know have people to do things without Friday night or got to eat or have money to go to the movie like just finding fun in recovery right um those kind of things yeah yeah for me especially coming in as a 20 year old it was like I needed I needed I had nothing I had nothing and I needed to build something that was worth saving basically I didn’t think about the fun piece but I I remember at some point talking about how crucial and important all the the events that n a were putting it were right and not so much the dances I’m not much of a dancer but they would have cookouts and you know whatever football games softball and it was like that stuff was huge to know I could go out and just have a good time yeah or even just having friends that would get together for sporting events where it wasn’t centered around using or drinking or whatever nobody would host a Super Bowl party or whatever where you would all go hang out and just have fun and enjoy yourself well I was talking to my eight-year-old in the backyard the other day we were playing and he was talking about these games they get to play in school and I was like man you don’t get to appreciate that as you move out of school time you don’t generally have enough people around to have pickup games of any of these things you’re talking about right like like you can’t have pick up awesome 10v 10 dodgeball games or you know what I mean like you just don’t have that many people around and like the the program the fellowship does provide a space where like that does exist you can have five people randomly up at one in the morning ready to play spades on coffee and you know what I mean like you don’t find that in your day-to-day life a lot yeah and I know guys that have like poker games they do once a week or different things yeah that’s so cool and it’s interesting you talk about the building of Life part right because I’m almost like in my mind that’s a part that maybe doesn’t matter as much and yet I feel like it’s part of the process of getting that to realize that wasn’t the solution that was so crucial to my recovery right like I I had to go through the steps of man I need to get the wife the kids the car the the career the house the white picket fence and it was actually the process of acquiring those that made me realize that that wasn’t what was going to actually I thought that was going to be the answer at one point and when it wasn’t but I couldn’t have got there without doing it you know what I mean so it was like crucial to keeping me there and focused and yet at the same time ultimately not as crucial as I thought well I think it’s it’s not necessarily that it has to be some like society’s expectation of what the American life is it’s it’s building a life that you’re not willing to decimate or sacrifice for using again and that can look different for everyone I mean for me it wasn’t marriage or kids I didn’t do any of that stuff I still haven’t done the kids thing I didn’t do in the marriage thing for 12 years I mean it was like it was just building a life that was worth living because I was not I wasn’t living I was using um and so that was again that was college that was fellowship and meetings and friends and fun and um so it wasn’t as serious as like oh I have to have this like career and you know all that stuff I don’t think at any point in time it felt like that in my head and yet that’s where I ended up right like along the way it was just like now I’m just making the right decisions for the next right thing in my life but then I got there and I was like oh I did that thing where I got all this stuff that Society tells us to get and I’m still not happy huh yeah like I didn’t know I was headed there and yet that’s obviously where I was headed because that’s where I got I mean and I wanted those things right I just didn’t accomplish I didn’t accomplish it [Laughter] um I I don’t know I guess we had to wrap up here people probably aren’t listening anyway at this point but if I had to say there’s one most important thing that could help like if I listen to this episode and I’m like oh [ ] I’m not doing any of those like I’m [ ] tomorrow right get one person that will hear you that can hear you right if you have nothing else in my mind if you have nothing else and [ __ ] hits the fan and there’s a person you can call that you know you can tell them whatever’s going on and you’re gonna feel safe and they’re gonna respond with some kind of compassion and love I think that is the most important thing we need because if we had that then we at least in my mind don’t want to leave this world and that’s like the best starting point I guess yeah connection that connection is crucial any final thoughts all right well go out there do your best practices whatever they are maybe hit us up with your top three lists and uh tell us all the ones we forgot about or couldn’t fit into this hour plus and uh have a good week [Music] did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoverysortup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us [Music]
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