46: How to Avoid Dangerous Situations That Can Lead to Relapse (Sort Of)

8/30/20 What kind of dangerous situations are there in recovery? Do we just need to avoid people, places and things associated with our using? Do we just need to change that one thing, everything, in order to not go back to using? Do we need to avoid isolation, recognize our feelings, and stay connected to our self-care? What is it that helps us avoid situations where we might be tempted to use? We talk with Kierston about her experiences with avoiding dangerous situations.

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welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy in long-term recovery and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we wanted to wrap up some of our talk about freedom last week we really enjoyed it we got a lot of feedback about last week’s episode and i greatly appreciate it helped us think about it a lot of people helped to put it in perspective of like what feels free and just the freedom of not being in the bondage of addiction which surely i mean we you know gave us the freedom to sit here and babble about whether we’re actually free or not because if not i wouldn’t have had an hour and a half to dedicate to billy uh i’d have been out there using um so yeah brittany julie uh jenny you know stephanie a lot of our usuals had comments we talked about the matrix we talked about buddha we talked all kind of different stuff um one of the more interesting things uh somebody recommended a podcast and so i listened to that and it was the concept of we kind of take prisoners uh in our lives and this keeps us from being free because we then have to be the wardens of the jail and you know kind of like if you’re taking care of a prisoner it takes a lot of money it takes a lot of taxpayer money to take care of any of our prisoners in our society and so we take on prisoners that our happiness depends on right if you don’t live this way i won’t be happy or if you don’t do these things i won’t be loved and so the whole podcast basically revolved around the idea that i can’t be free until i give everyone around me their freedom and i just thought that was really interesting and it almost made me think of if all our spiritual principles work that way like can feel them more when you give them away like that’s the only way to get them yeah like i can only get love if i give love and well in love specifically that’s what i the way love was always explained to me is love isn’t something you get i mean you can be loved but it’s not something you get to like grab and hang on to it’s something that you give to other people that’s what love and if i say i love someone that doesn’t mean like when i say i love my wife that doesn’t mean i love my wife because she does my laundry and cooks my food and you know whatever it’s when i if i really love someone it’s what am i giving to that person how am i making their life better how am i you know giving love to them not just receiving love does that work with honesty though like am i only getting honesty if i give it away or i think it’s not even so much about i don’t think any of these are what i’m getting i think it’s just am i living it and that’s what i’m living in like that’s the spiritual principle like it’s when i give it that i’m living it i’m not looking running around looking for honesty to come my way or open-mindedness to you know for somebody to give me some willingness like it’s all about what am i doing am i giving this out to the world yeah am i being an honest person in my life yeah am i giving honesty to the world yeah so i guess freedom is the same way maybe freedom is a spiritual principle we just need to live it by letting everybody be free yeah and we’re lucky sometimes it’s easy to get out of perspective of like in some of these other countries they don’t have freedoms like we have here you know what i mean like there are literally countries where you’re not allowed to have meetings you know recovery meetings or you know you’re not allowed to openly be an addict or they’ll put you in camps and [ _ ] like that but you know so there are some levels of freedom that we get in this country uh that might allow us to take that a little bit for granted yeah i can i can see that i i’m currently struggling with uh you know not doing the the smoking or vaping or anything and it just it like it doesn’t feel like freedom it feels like i’m i’m struggling and stuck in this miserable little box where because here’s my problem is i want to be a non-smoker but i want to smoke right that’s like being a faithful husband that sleeps with other women and and you know a guy in recovery who uses drugs like they don’t work together right but that’s what i want i want the joys of what i call the joys of smoking without all the extra [ _ ] that comes with it so i want to use with no

what that’s exactly consequences it is yeah and we were just you know i was on vacation with my wife this last week and we talked a lot about that it’s like i’ve heard people say you know i stopped using because it stopped working and it that isn’t how it went for me i loved getting high i still love getting high i don’t do it because the consequences sucked right you know my life was in [ _ ] i couldn’t be the person that i wanted to be but the getting high part that was great when i was high things were good it was the consequences you know i’m trying to i don’t remember really being that good at the end there wasn’t a whole lot of getting high either it was mostly just like getting well or getting by at the end for me so there wasn’t a whole lot of like oh man i’m so high i passed like i was just passed out honestly when i got high i was not and so i have a little bit of a weird story like my end what i would call my end when i got clean this time wasn’t the worst part of my life using you know what i mean like what had happened for me i had gotten really bad into heroin for four or five years and i ended up going to jail for a year so i got off of heroin while i was in jail and when i got back out of jail i said well i’m just not gonna do heavy drugs anymore i’m just gonna drink and smoke pot so i did that for another three or four years and i never did heroin coke no heavy drugs again but my life just stayed you know [ _ ] up in that continuous pattern of you know violate probation get a dui get in trouble never having any money you know but when i was using heroin on a daily basis my life was way worse than it was you know at my end when i got clean so my decision to get clean was solely based off of the consequences of this behavior just aren’t worth it anymore yeah i don’t know see and that’s i think the hardest part about the smoking right like there’s a lot of there’s a lot of consequences from it but they are so minimal in comparison to the the life-altering consequences of drug use right like there’s a ton of life-altering consequences for drug use that make you say damn maybe i really need to get my [ _ ] together smoking it’s all later on well i was gonna say when you say minimal it’s not minimal it’s minimal today yes it’s it’s not noticeable today it’s inconvenient um but you know watching say my mom go through what she went through at the end she had you know years of time where she was wheeling around the oxygen thing and couldn’t do certain activities or was very limited in the amount of physical you know stuff she could do and and they told her she wouldn’t would only live i think to give her two or three years and she ended up living for like almost 10 after that but that was not a very good quality of life you know it wasn’t the quality of life that we were used to you know when she was growing up you know when our kids were growing up and she was a big part of their life i mean she would her and my dad would come down to the beach with us on vacations and we would go out for the whole day and you know do stuff and go out to eat she couldn’t do any of that at the end of her life you know she couldn’t barely go out to a restaurant i mean if we went out to a restaurant that was like a big deal it was a production and that was all she could do right so you know that 40 years that she smoked i guess those consequences might have seemed pretty minimal but that last eight to ten years probably felt like a pretty big consequence you know and that’s and that’s where the hard part is so i want the better ending right but then i got all the justifications and the rationalizations i’m like well my parents and my wife’s parents don’t do the stuff they like when our kids were really young man they’d go walk disney with us for full days and for the whole week and they’re like they don’t want to do that [ _ ] now they don’t get off the couch and i’m like maybe it’s just an age thing [ _ ] it i’ll keep smoking like but i do want to be available for my grandkids i do want to live as long as possible to you know participate in life and it’s like those are things i want i also want to [ _ ] smoke right now or vape or do something like i it’s just so dumb and maybe it’s only where i’m at right now maybe after you know four or five days i’ll feel real happy that i quit right now i don’t yeah and and sometimes it’s just simple things that we learn in recovery about you know making a making an inventory uh you know a positive negative inventory what are the benefits of smoking what are not the benefit you know the consequences of smoking and just even writing that down keeping it in your pocket or just having it in your head to pull up like when those urges come i mean you know even with the amount of time i have clean i still you know romantically fantasize about getting high sometimes you know it just it happens but i like yeah and laugh about the good times for a little bit and then remember the end times for a little bit and i was like yeah i think we’ll hold off for today like i like my life the way it is now versus what it was then you know i i did i enjoyed the freedom of not having to vape i think there was and and not so much a positive negative inventory but i’ve kind of nailed down the things i don’t like about it as i go because they just pile up right and i got this long list of like man i gotta rely on this thing man i get more frustrated when i when i can’t use this vape right when i have to like wait for a certain time to be able to use it i get [ _ ] annoyed with that right people get on my nerves more i felt less in touch with the world i started to feel like less in touch with the world and who knows maybe i was just depressed anyway like it might have nothing to do with that but it right i was like damn here i am i got a coping mechanism now i don’t feel as in touch with humans anymore and it’s like i don’t want that kind of [ _ ] but [ _ ] i don’t want to not smoke man it’s like such a hard i just i guess i i and i don’t remember i don’t remember the getting clean part so much it was almost like i’m pretty sure it was miserable i was probably stuck in prison honestly so i didn’t have much choice i just knew it was going to be miserable and there was more acceptance right i feel like there’s a lack of acceptance that this is what i’m doing right now i’m still like am i really doing this i know it’s like day three but am i really doing it like am i am i just [ _ ] around with it quitting or am i really like if you’d like me in a cage somewhere like i guess i’m not [ _ ] smoking today let me move on and do something better with my thoughts in life but yeah the basics man just for today just for today you made a decision is that the decision you made this morning you’re not going to smoke today i don’t i think i no i made it yesterday but now you haven’t made that well i left the house today that’s the scary part i left the house and i’m going to leave the house again i’m going hiking later and i’m like if i leave the house man it’s so easy i might need gas i might have to stop at the gas station i got to get with it right like yeah that’s tough stupid but i’ve had a vape in my house the entire time and i just like put it in a bag and put it in a drawer the night thursday night and so i mean i could have pulled that out at any point in time i just haven’t i don’t [ _ ] know why i didn’t do that hypnotism thing maybe that’s yeah it’s weird too i mean my wife struggles with the smoking part and it’s been so long for me i actually quit smoking before i got clean i don’t so i had quit everything like three months before i actually got cleaned i said i just went on this like [ _ ] it i’m gonna stop everything i’m not smoking drinking nothing just quitting everything i’m gonna get healthy go extra how miserable you were well no not now i don’t but so i did that and then within a couple weeks i started drinking again and getting high again but i just didn’t smoke cigarettes again that’s great yeah it’s weird that whole part of my life was a blur i mean yeah i just i don’t know i guess i have a lot of sympathy right now for anybody who’s going through the uh the early portion of quitting anything like i i don’t remember it being this miserable maybe i was just super depressed and never got out of bed and at that point in my life it didn’t matter nobody cared but yeah and i think about that a lot i was not miserable when i first got clean i was like i don’t know i i didn’t have a lot of urges to use early on that’s what i feel like i should have like i feel like you know i don’t know that something was wrong with me but i just that wasn’t like once i said i’m [ _ ] done with this i don’t want to do this anymore and i committed to n a and that just is where i put all my focus and energy and i didn’t really have overwhelming desires to use well and i had a desire to be clean right like using had gotten so bad that i had a desire to stop that and then when i found a little bit of freedom and and not having to use yeah i got excited i was like oh my god this shit’s working let’s do this and it felt good right i did not want to go back to using right then and there i’m sure there’s some times along the way where you know some feelings came up it’s probably sounded like a good idea but in that beginning i didn’t and that’s honestly working against me right now because i’m like see you’re just going to smoke again anyway because you’re not done with it you didn’t hit that bottom so you might as well do it now yeah but i’m like i might use again you know i don’t i don’t know that i’m done with using forever right i’m done with it today today that’s not on the agenda i don’t know about tomorrow or next year or whatever can you imagine oh my god that’d be awful depends i don’t know i could picture a cool scenario really yeah go down to south america out with the natives out into the woods and do some you know is that using ayahuasca ceremony are we sure i could say it’s spiritual it was a spiritual thing

that’s my higher power said it’s okay to do ayahuasca

i had to meet my higher power in person all right so uh kirsten’s about to be on you ready to it was a great conversation about freedom we definitely appreciate everybody’s feedback um it was it was some good stuff it helped us really entertain the idea of freedom and what it means for us and and i mean even helping me now explore the idea of what does this freedom from smoking look like to me is it really worth it does it mean something and i would say it must mean [ _ ] something for me to torture myself to try to be here and not smoke right like if it is making me unhappy and i still want to see what’s on the other side that freedom must mean something right it must be pretty powerful to call me to to want it yeah and there is a weird to me oxymoron with as long as i don’t use or smoke or whatever i’m free i can have the freedom to make a choice whether i want to use or not but as soon as i make the decision to use and do it i give up that freedom because i become enslaved back to last week if you make a choice you’re [ _ ] you’re no longer free you’re free until you make a choice that’s right that’s my takeaway well i’m making the choice now not to do it that’s the freedom that’s not really i’m only free if i make one of the choices you can take path a or path b if you choose path a you’ll remain free if you choose path b you won’t but then you always got to take path pathetic so i would say i don’t know a hundred percent if i use tomorrow that i would use for the rest of my life there’s a chance i might be able to manageably use in some way um that’s always a there’s a chance that would happen um but i don’t want to take that chance because there’s a chance that it wouldn’t go that way and the risk to me isn’t worth it yeah i can it’s like jumping out of an airplane that’s just not something i want to try today sounds exciting there was a time in my life i thought it was fun and exciting and i would have loved to do it now i’m like man i’ll pass even if you said you wanted to pay for it be like now stay here on the ground and go jump out of an airplane all you want i don’t know it’s funny because i’ve always been against doing that and now i think i’m in a place where i might like we’re gonna segue here from having the freedoms to make these decisions and we’re going to have a conversation about what ways to make decisions to stay out of sticky situations early on in recovery that might lead to not being free anymore kirsten this is billy hey don’t worry hello have i seen you before maybe uh i’ve been around like the elkton area meetings so jason said you were at one of the recovery now yes i was at charlotte yeah how long were you am i allowed to say that six months like a week shy of six months maybe two weeks shy of six months okay okay so how much of that are you willing to talk about oh i mean i could talk about that [ __ ] whatever oh my my bad whatever you want to ask me okay so i mean uh i think generally we’re gonna

go i think generally we’re we’re going for how to avoid situations that can lead to like relapse or drug use uh that’s the goal here so yeah we definitely need to include somebody that’s you know i mean that’s something i definitely i went through the first five years of being clean like how do you [ _ ] avoid family reunions or when people are having crabs or uh but i’m not like i kind of have an established plan that’s so established i don’t really think about it anymore which is why it makes more sense to have somebody that’s you know trying to figure out and navigate that plan yeah cause i was about to say i don’t like i don’t really have like a established plan in my head like i’ll just like before i go to each uh outing or whatever i’ll just be like i need to make sure i have a ride just in case i like i gotta make sure i got out you know like i don’t go anywhere where i would be stuck that place you know right well that’s good so we’ll get to that so uh this isn’t your first time in recovery right no uh tried like probably like seven times before i got it i’m not saying i have it don’t say that you know but so far so far it’s it’s been okay you know right what kind of success have you had before uh probably like if i’m being honest with myself i wasn’t being honest with others i used to say like three months uh but it was probably like two months tops and what happened each time uh i would drink i would get around the wrong crowd and i would drink and then that would just set me off from there because like you drink you want to do something else you know it’s not good enough right were you hanging around uh any people at those times or were you just doing your own thing no uh um no definitely not like i would go to any groups i’d be like there at the time it’s supposed to be i’d walk in with my boyfriend i wouldn’t share what i would need to share i would just kind of listen um and leave i mean like i wouldn’t really talk to many people before or after never got any numbers like i thought i had like i had a sponsor but i didn’t use her like i just asked her one day because i knew who she was but like i didn’t use her right did you get the boyfriend in recovery like did you find him in a and then just went to meetings with him or we used together so so it was like this game where like we would get out of rehab and like we both would have we both relapsed but we both would act like we’re clean and then like kind of accuse each other of relapsing um so like it was like that but then we would both like i don’t know one day we just both used together again and it was off to the races you know so what what’s different this time like what has led you to want to do something different i mean maybe it’s just time but you want to do a recovery house this time and you haven’t done that before right no that was definitely uh i was used to excuses like oh my daughter and this and that but uh uh so like i was living in a trailer with people i didn’t know um just because they would like i was being fed drugs like like somebody likes me in there yeah so i’m living in a trailer um and basically prostituting myself to this guy uh for drugs like because my my grandmother found a needle in her bed and her my daughter’s bed and um she was like it was finally like the end of it it was like she’d been dealing with this for so many years and like that was and i you know i’m proud of her for that because she was my enabler she didn’t mean to be but you know she was scared to see me out on the streets and stuff and that’s what kept me going is because like i knew like you know you have your own struggles and addiction and with like getting it and stuff like that but like when you don’t have a place to go that amps up your problem so like she stopped enabling you stop buying me cigarettes she just completely cut me off and uh yeah so i’m in this trailer with this dude and like he thinks that i’m her his girlfriend like and uh he’s feeding me drugs so like but like i overdosed a few times there and um i was like doing math i was really like out of it and um like the last time i overdosed it was just like i’m tired i’m tired of this like this is not the life i want like i’m looking around like i don’t know i had a moment of clarity and it was like when i so i packed my stuff and left got myself into a rehab and like when i was there i was like you know if i go back i’m it’s going to be the same thing over and over and over again so like i’m going to try a halfway house and like i tried the halfway house you know you did it you did so what ended up why did you leave there uh personal circumstances i didn’t listen to the rules i you know i was there long enough and uh i was not listening to the rules i wasn’t listening to because there was a it’s a year rule in n a so like at the halfway house there’s a year rule there and uh i was being sneaky and that was actually like that being sneaky is actually a relapse accident action sorry um but yeah i was being sneaky and i got pregnant and like i went to trish and was just like look uh you know i’m pregnant and um you know i’ll go pack my stuff because you know i i broke the rules so like you know i regret that because like two weeks later i had a miscarriage and like i don’t know um i don’t know like maybe i shouldn’t have did what i did and maybe i wouldn’t be where i was because like when i got out it was not it was not what i thought it to be um it was it was hard it was really hard you know like like it felt safer in the house well yeah but it wasn’t even that it was like i had everything set out for me i had people making my decisions and like not having to question whether them decisions were wrong or not like and then you know it’s just you know to the freedom too it’s you know what am i going to get myself into right right so when you would try these things before uh you would go back to using you were still hanging around old people places and things i imagine yeah i was still in that same neighborhood still contacting the same people um like because i used to sell drugs so um i had i know a lot of people i knew a lot of addicts and like it would be cordial at first because i would like oh i’m clean and they’d be like yeah that’s cool and then one day it would just be like hey you know where anything’s at and they you know they’re they’re willing to get it because they know that like the situation will come out in their favor right so what uh how did you did you just avoid that because of the house or i mean once you left the house did you still avoid old people places and things yeah like right now to be honest i don’t think i could hit like anybody up and know where to find stuff like i would actually have to work at it some you know if you want it you you’re gonna get it but like i’ve distanced myself enough to where like if i have a craving and like i like and i have done it like i’ve i’ve started thinking and going in my head like who will i even call and um i don’t know like it’s like i’ve distanced myself enough from that life in general that like and then like some friends i had that weren’t users but like they would sell like they would be like [ _ ] no sorry for the language but they would be like no like they’ve seen my progress and they wouldn’t you know do it you know so like that’s just like you have to distance yourself from that stuff you have to literally live a completely different life or it’s not going to i don’t it’s not going to work have you done any looking into your your mental health at all since you’ve been in recovery oh yeah in the house we went to uh we went to the therapist and we got our meds and stuff like that um but i will say when i left i stopped taking my meds um you know and that’s detrimental and um i just like started taking them again because like you think that um you’re okay especially if you’re bipolar or bpd like you start thinking oh you know i’m okay and you’ll stop taking them and then like you’ll quickly realize that uh that’s why i felt okay right right

oh yeah like if it wasn’t for that house i i wouldn’t have made it i still wouldn’t be making it um a lot of the things i learned there i still do like to this day i mean some stuff i you know was a little rebellious on when i first left but like um no like a lot of the stuff that um they’ve taught me i still implement today and i you know i do owe them a lot like not like you know what i’m saying like i owe them their props because they are you know they they set my foundation and um i wouldn’t be where i am if it wasn’t for them like they really did help me yeah and how did you find them did you find them through treatment or how did you get find diesel county so somebody in the health department uh referred me to them um and they took me down there and everything and um yeah it was i don’t know like that experience was like the best part of my life right now like i miss it every day like the girls the commodore like that’s how you say it yeah like i miss it because like you always have a girl to go talk to about like your real feelings like these girls are really friends with you like these girls really love you they’re not trying to get anything from you you know and when you go out into the world it’s like you have to start deciphering that like you have to start deciphering if your friends are really your friends there you know like it’s hard to navigate through that sometimes it’s interesting uh looking at a couple of lists of you know things that can be detrimental to early recovery or can lead us back to you know using type situations or or just situations that put us in you know a dangerous place uh talks about isolation being one of them we are such good isolators oh yes you know we i don’t know i tend to think of the normal things if i go see people i used to use with if i go by a place i used to come like those kind of things obviously but i don’t really consider the isolation as a as one of them all the time but it makes sense and with what you’re talking about like you you get clean you’re in this environment where it’s safe and talking to people i i did that for short i never stayed the full 28 days but the 28 days stint right like i felt safe there was a safe environment i could talk about my feelings with a couple people and then as soon as i was out of there i didn’t have that anymore and i didn’t know where to turn to find those similar kind of people i couldn’t talk to normal people about my feelings that’s weird no have you ever told a family member like you ever like and like in early recovery like maybe they wouldn’t act so much as now but you ever like sat there like with a few months clean and was like granny i want to use and like the way they react

the way they react is so crazy and you don’t realize that like that’s what you get from other addicts is like you know you could be like yo like i really want to smoke some crack today or whatever and they’ll be like yeah me too but we’re not gonna do it you know but like your family they freak out like they’re like calling the rehabs again like they they don’t understand that that’s a normal thing they think that like once we get clean we’re cr we’re good like right right so are you you are back in a halfway recovery house type environment i believe uh kind of i work okay so i work for uh inpatient rehab and i’m a house manager so yeah kind of wait one second okay so yeah kind of um i’m just like the manager here then i get paid for i mean so yeah but it’s like these girls are in such early recovery that like it’s very i have to watch like what i say like i i want to be relatable but like yeah so the meetings i don’t concede like consider meetings for me um because like i can’t just like bust out like me like i’m me so like i mean when i go to n a meeting so it’s like i can’t say the things i want to say and stuff like that because these girls are very impressionable so like i don’t want them to get any bad ideas and like that’s the thing is like i don’t want them to be like well this girl like wants to use a year-end like i don’t know like that’s normal yeah and i tell them that but like i don’t want like very new ones to think like it’s okay this i don’t know you know what i’m saying it’s hard to explain so do you have do you find you have to go to meetings uh with the people in the house and then also go somewhere else for your meetings yeah and it’s really hard for me right now um because of covid and stuff like i can’t get to meetings so like like the other day i went to a meeting up in essex it was one lady and uh a zoo meeting so it was like i could have i paid 40 for that like i’ve been in such need for a meeting that i’m like i don’t care like i need to go see some people and then it’s i could have zoomed you know so it’s it’s hard navigating it’s hard navigating right now so it’s like yeah i’ll do some zooms and stuff um and like i don’t know talk to the girls and stuff kind of help but like i don’t know like i feel like i’m missing something like i’m so into na that it’s like because that’s what kept me clean that’s what saved my life so why wouldn’t i be you know so it’s hard for me right now it’s a little bit of a transition but it’s like up here i don’t know nobody like i’m around i’m not around the people places and things at all so while i’m struggling it’s kind of like it’s like you know it’s not as uh dangerous

interesting because we we usually at least i tend to think of uh the times you know how do i avoid sticky situations and and i always think of this as like this is probably a very dated you know old school kind of 1970s don’t use drugs kind of thinking but it’s like how do i avoid situations when people invite me places because i just assume that’s the only time i’m going to use this when people invite me somewhere and that’s not true like i can get the idea to use my own but what kind of situations have you had come up that you’ve had to like either say no to or address uh when i first got out the halfway house my boyfriend uh takes me to this uh like birthday party and they were drinking so like um i don’t know because he’s not an addict he didn’t he’s like well there’s no drugs here so like i don’t know he didn’t he didn’t think like that so uh i get there and i i’m seeing their drinking and like i kind of stayed like they were in the kitchen i kind of stayed in the living room and uh like kind of separated myself from it but then after a while i was like give me the keys i’m i’m leaving and i went to a straight to a meeting like i just left i was the [ __ ] that left i didn’t like they thought they probably thought i didn’t like any of them or something but that’s not you know i left i had to because like i was thinking about it i was thinking about taking a shot you know and then it would have been two shots and it would have been four shots and it would have been 16 shots and i’m blacked out in the hospital for alcohol poisoning

and and so i guess i tend to think whenever anybody makes a podcast or writes a blog or they have this coaching strategy and they say we want you to succeed in recovery so we need to know what the difference is between you taking the keys and leaving and going and hitting the meeting and sometime before in your life where you would have just walked out to the kitchen and had a drink with like what was the difference between those two and i don’t personally know that there is one besides we’ve hit the bottom i don’t know any better way to explain it but do you do you feel like there was times before where you could have made the decision to leave and go to a meeting and didn’t and what changed uh and a like i’m like actually involved in n a and just them that once you get some n a in you it’s like if it i know it would have been a guilty feeling i know i would have threw away all this work i would have did like i did so much work myself i got so far like i’m just working at mcdonald’s and i just got out of halfway house but that is so far for me just the just being able to wake up every day and be a human you know so um i would throw all that away because i knew i was able to think forward you know i i was never able to i was always lying to myself before thinking that i could uh just have one like that’s that’s a lie we tell ourselves and now i know it’s not the truth because at all by experimenting like you get to a point where like you’re like all right the experiment’s over like i definitely can’t i definitely can’t tweak it i’ve tweaked it every which way i can i can’t do it i like i surrender like would you say that’s that’s humility do you think that’s what that is that just understanding of who we really are well i think it’s a human connection like you get connected to people it’s like she talked about her experience in the halfway house and developing those relationships and then developing relationships with people in a you start to have like some relationships based on like accountability and being a decent human being and things like that that make you feel like a halfway normal person hmm that could be it so it’s interesting that we don’t get those relationships from our families at some point like we deviate from having that type of relationship with them to go to that animalistic level but then it takes like getting vulnerable with these strangers at some point in our life in order to come back to that human feeling well and she had talked about it with her boyfriend so my parents would do the same thing we would get together for like family things and people would be there drinking and they would just be like oh you can have some beer you know that’s fine it’s the drugs that get

because they can just drink and have a couple beers and be fine or you know whatever and they just didn’t get it that i couldn’t do that you know they couldn’t relate to that struggle my father i remember my father said he was disappointed that i was in n a because we’d never be able to go uh have drinks together oh what and this is the same father that you know worried that he was gonna get the call every day that i was dead right and yeah yeah you know in the first few months he didn’t completely understand that concept of like i just couldn’t do those kind of things i wasn’t normal i guess i don’t know

stay there it’s not good for you you know and stuff like that so you know i took the advice of people in recovery and started making some different decisions so and i hear kirsten say this to us too that the n a thing right because of n a you know given me some good suggestions i had made some friendships and i feel that way about my life too but what i’ve been questioning as we do this podcast and learn more about other forms of recovery is it is it the n a aspect itself or is it just these things that we’re talking about now that we get from it is it the accountability is it the different information that we’ve ever gotten is it the relationship yeah it’s not uh okay this might be cut this would be controversial it’s not the reading it’s not the way the actual meetings are it’s not that it’s the step work and it’s the connection you get with other humans i block out them readings now like that’s you know it’s not it’s not and you know it’s what it’s the template they gave us and like you’re supposed to take everything that they asked like you’re supposed to take everything and not leave anything but like i don’t know like the readings and stuff like that’s in the n a book i sometimes read the n a like the the basic text but like it’s the human connection that we need like we’re isolated that’s why we use we feel like we’re not we’re alone we’re not the same as everybody else like i still feel like that

i feel like meetings are missing that i’m not like every other like everybody else so like it’s the connection how many meetings am i missing no i was good with that i decided to you would cut out for a slight second though i was gonna say i feel like meetings now are missing part of that human connection at least for me because i i have been to a couple and they’re not hugging well i’m not hooking and some of them are but i’m not but it’s like that’s part of what makes you want to steal the hug still like you want to see them still i want to help yeah oh god it’s bad now you’re so bright people i am that’s part of what made me tell you that somebody touched me and they were like hey welcome and i’m like holy [ __ ] nobody wanted to touch me

i wasn’t they were 10 feet away trying not to smell me yeah now someone’s like over willing to hug you so it’s like yeah it’s like i’ve made it i’ve arrived so okay so we put ourselves uh and i think you’ve made the case for uh you know staying out of a relationship since your boyfriend put you in a sketchy situation but what other types of situations have come up is there any family situations or anything else that is like you thought man if i do this it’s going to be kind of sketchy uh like uh just like hang it so i’ve like thought about like hanging out with like maybe my old drug dealer friends um i thought about that at one point because i was like because i was like look they could put their stuff up you know uh because they don’t use they could put their stuff up you know um i will be around it you know like that’s what i thought but it’s like i have to remember that part of my addiction is selling drugs so just seeing them it’s just like you know seeing what they have so like stuff like that you know just being around that area just seeing what they have what i don’t like you know that will start making like things turn in my head to where like i’m like well i can just sell it you know like that’s a thought that you i’ll have it’s like i don’t have any money right now and maybe i could just sell it and that’s not it’s not what’s possible i’ll just do it all right i will get it and do it all like i will not be able to sell anything like i’ll text all the people or call the people or go somewhere and then do it all like i’ll have the best intentions and it will not go through like that where uh what area are you from kirsten i’m from elkton are you yeah do you feel like you can hang out in elkton right now comfortably i don’t uh like i go down to my grandma’s and i stay isolated in her house like i’m like oh down like if i do anything like i go i could do errands comfortably and stuff like that but like actually hanging out in the neighborhoods and go and play like go places with people that’s something i avoid is that the area you used to you know use in yeah i see you sell drugs there all that like i used to do all that there that’s my stopping grounds like a hundred percent right like i did a lot of damage out there so if we if we avoid the people we used to use with and if we avoid the places we used to use and and i guess things is avoiding

it gets my heart pumping you know you know like there’s some adventure

is like you start doing that old stuff like you know it’s just gonna it’s just gonna be bad it’s gonna add up i just keep having trish in the back of my head talking about you guys gotta stop this sneaky [ _ ] like that’s that’s what i think of every time i think about doing something like that it’s like sneaky [ _ ] is what’s gonna it’s you think that it’s not not going to but that’s what’s going to lead you back it’s going to put you back in that lifestyle bit and piece by piece like and then all of a sudden bam you’re there sick as our secrets huh yeah yes so it’s the truth so you get uh and you know i say this in the most polite way you get kicked out of a recovery house because you’ve been seeing a guy when you’re supposed to be not seeing people in this recovery house and you’ve you know had sex now you’re pregnant and you you get kicked out of a recovery house where all your support is you’re pregnant you got like six months clean how likely did you think it was for you to stay clean with all that uh once i when i had that miscarriage i i honestly don’t know how i did it um i didn’t know how i like i honestly don’t know how i rejected that prescription from the doctor for perks like they i told them i was an addict they still kept trying to i i told them not to write it they still try to give it to me they like they up until the end they still try to keep giving it to me and uh i don’t know how i told them no um like i don’t know how it’s just it’s every day you gotta work at it every day i don’t know how uh but i feel like it wasn’t likely and i feel like everybody else thought it wasn’t likely and the fact that i’m still sitting here is a miracle you know i mean i you know i talked to you a little bit throughout that situation and i just looking it’s weird how i guess if you’ve been around here for a while you look at other people’s situations and you’re like well i’ve seen something like that or i’ve seen exactly that yeah that’s probably not going to work out well or yeah two newer members come in and one’s like one doesn’t you know give a [ __ ] or leave a tip at the diner they’re like the guy who orders more than they even have money for and somebody else will pick it up but then the other guy’s really polite like has money for a tip and uses matters and you’re like oh well i know which one of these two is going to make it and it’s never true the opposite it’s the opposite like you never really know like at least for me i’ve always been like oh that guy definitely isn’t and that guy definitely is i’m never i mean sometimes i’m right but it’s not with any regularity like we just yeah right you don’t and you don’t it’s just every day every day like i just don’t do it today i’ll do it tomorrow i tell myself but i ain’t gonna do it today and then i just keep going with that like that’s helped me a lot it’s like yeah yeah

i think you’re on to it with the with the just for today i mean i think that’s the only way this works honestly i just i’m trying to picture like if there’s no formula to pick out okay this person isn’t doing the formula they’re not going to make it this person is living the formula but there is i haven’t yet to figure out any formula it’s yourself it’s all to yourself it’s all up to what you’re where if you’re if you’re tired enough it’s really the gift of like desperation it really really is like it’s just like i’m never ever ever gonna do this again because i am scared shitless that i’m gonna end up back where i was like that scares me and that haunts me yeah somebody the people places and things the poor poor self-care can lead us back to using i would agree with that but i don’t know like i would i didn’t even know how to care for myself early on and maybe that’s why i needed people around so much i needed a little bit of like help in that self-care department i need people to say you need to be in bed by ten and you know up by eight and you need to leave the house and get a job and not just lay here all day yeah yeah i think definitely uh something earlier which hit with me a lot was you know not getting yourself in a position where you’re stuck somewhere where you always have kind of an out or always have a way out and that was always important to me like early in recovery especially um it wasn’t my wife then we were just dating but when my wife and i were early on and dating we would go out to like shows at clubs and stuff you know where people were drinking and that like for me that was never a area where i used i wasn’t like a club person that went to clubs and drank so being in that environment didn’t always trigger one to get high or used um but there will be times where we would talk about it before we got there it’d be like look if either of us starts to feel like in a bad place or wants to drink or whatever like we just gotta go and the other person had to be kind of okay with that you know going in so that neither of us felt like we were stuck in a situation and that’s smart yeah and one time we went to like a she she’s into the grateful dead so we went to a grateful dead concert and uh we were there we paid all this money for tickets we were there about 20 minutes not even probably we went in found our seats and she’s like i got to get the [ __ ] out of here i can’t do this i bet like this just makes me want to get high too much yeah we gotta go and we left you know

i’m gonna be the [ _ ] that breaks it up like you know i would be the [ _ ] that makes everybody leave that’s how i felt with the pool party is like well i still did it i was like i don’t care i’m gonna be an [ _ ] today like i’m an [ _ ] usually so this is something worth being [ __ ] about you know yeah or just making sure you have those people around you that are gonna at least whoever you came with

you know sometimes a loud personality but i think that was a benefit to you in that situation

but i had i had a partner early on that would have been fine if i’d have said hey i’m uncomfortable i really need to leave they’ve been like cool let’s go and i still couldn’t because there was that thing in my head that said oh you can’t beat the party you can’t you need to be able to do this and so i still couldn’t tell them even though i had the partner

it was just i guess i’ll sit here and do my best not using like i don’t know what else to do yeah but and it’s like that’s the thing is when i felt like if i sat in that situation long enough i might not took that drink there but i might have went and caught some dope later just because like that feeling it just it’s it i don’t know if you guys know i’m pretty sure you do know you have okay so that feeling you have when you’re about to cop that’s the feeling i had sitting there it was like that anxiety like that super anxiety and it could only be like cured by getting some [ __ ] like it was like anxiousness that’s it’s anxiety i guess but like that’s my when i when i’m anxious i’m like i feel like i’m about to cop like i say that all the time like it’s like that feeling when you’re about to cop i felt like that last three days about smoking about smoking cigarettes really have you been trying to quit uh yeah i mean so i did quit and then i went back to vaping and smoking cigars and now i’m like on day

and there that’s fine yeah it’s not a cigarette it’s just you know but 10 cigarettes basically well i’m just going to have a cigar and then i defended so much like these aren’t healthy i’ll buy disposable vapes and then i’m spending like a hundred dollars on that i’m like this is [ __ ] crazy okay ones are super expensive they don’t help you but if you buy the big ones they’re expensive at first but if you buy the ones at the vape shops they are cheaper

like an addict you know what i mean i’m just gonna do this cigars and it’s only gonna be every now and again i can control this formula

that slowly leads you right back yeah did i say that did i say that wrong it’s dope bliss hopefully i said that right did you say hello i think i did i’m like wait a minute let me correct that because better better

that might have been on purpose backwards it’s backwards one of the other things that mentions besides you know poor self-care people places things uncomfortable emotions you know the the whole halt hungry angry lonely tired i was very awful at recognizing that early on like i just knew i was angry that was the only thing like am i angry because i’m hungry i don’t know that i’m just angry um but i feel like that could definitely have something to do with with learning not to use if you’re you know feeling feelings and don’t know how to talk about them and maybe that’s why early on the the recovery house environment and having someone there 24 hours a day can be so helpful not that everybody needs it but it does put your peers right there with you at all times it’s not like oh i’m feeling shitty monday morning i have to wait until monday night at 7pm for the n a meeting to talk to my people it’s like no i can just tell the people monday [ __ ] morning at breakfast or right then and there right do you feel like so are you living at the house you’re imagining right now yeah but you don’t feel like you can talk to any of the people in it because i have it’s there’s like a few choice girls that’ll come in and it’ll be like you know they’re cool like i could like you know but like i have i i feel like even though i live here i have to maintain some type of symbolism of professionalism even though i’m not um like i i talk to him sometimes like i’ll tell him like when i’m not feeling like too good but like i can’t like break down and like i feel like i feel like i can’t maybe that’s just me but i feel like i can’t just like break down to him you know right and and how is that different from when you were at the other half because at the other house like it wasn’t my job so like i could just give them the grimy details not really care i like just give them the tea and not care like i didn’t have to care about like maintaining any type of uh boundary you know like when girls have no me and them girls have no boundaries it’s really terrible it’s it’s good but it’s really terrible so is this like this boundary that you have now is that something you’ve set on yourself or did the place that you work in that boundary they i mean like they said they wanted some type of boundary but they didn’t tell me what the boundary was like i guess they just left it up for me to choose like but um you know i can’t be like running through here just telling them all the i don’t know i just feel like i can’t tell them every detail of my life you know like even it does look like a good example i feel like because it’s like okay this girl’s over here depressed for the past couple weeks and uh she’s still clean you know she didn’t go out you know if i look perfect i feel like they’re gonna they’re gonna think they can’t obtain what i have yeah i know for me i’ve definitely gotten to some points uh where i thought i wasn’t able to share about my struggles in a meeting because i thought i was supposed to be somewhere else with the amount of time or whatever i had and like learning that that’s not really reality for me today thank god i can go in and meet and look as ugly as i want it really doesn’t matter like that’s that’s what they’re there for is to go be ugly there but i i guess what i can relate it to seeing a lot of people get into working in the field and so through working in the field they don’t have time for their own personal recovery anymore but they assume that the work in the field is gonna kind of replace that right compensate for it but the problem

everything i’m sharing is only with the best interest of the other person it’s not really for my own i need a place to start yeah yes that’s the up you got that that’s what like that was kind of what i was trying to say is like i could give them like something in my life and tell them stuff but it’s not really sharing like i you know it’s trying to show them hey look you can do this so do you feel like now you have like a separate support group down there where you are or have you developed a new support group it’s mainly co-workers um courtney b has been really like like my rock down here she’s like my bestie down here um uh like you know my co-workers are awesome they’re really awesome but uh it’s just it’s not really what i consider a network i mean one of the girls from my house moved back down here so i kind of have her we haven’t really met up in person um i’m kind of like getting a little bit of something now are the are the meetings that people in the house are going to uh are they in person are you guys going out to in-person meetings i wish there’s zoom um i’ll run them sometimes like i try to mix it up because they’re so early in recovery they’re not like the zooms are like the zooms are cool but there’s something missing about them and that’s what they’re they don’t they’re not like they’re not getting any because of that i guess right so i try to hold some stuff you know you know over overdoing like i usually do so that’s interesting how does that work are you like required to go to a certain number of meetings with the house for a week and then you’re doing a number on your own i’m just doing it on my own i’m not required i gotcha i didn’t know i know there’s some some dundalk meetings it’s not the closest thing to you but they’re open down there if you needed to get some in-person stuff on your own yeah i didn’t know that so what’s your biggest struggle to avoiding situations today like you know maybe early on your struggle was not enough structure and so this time through you were in a very structured you know recovery environment and that’s what kept you on point but now that you’ve kind of got that period established what would you say is the biggest struggle today are you starting to get concerned that maybe you’re isolating and not talking to enough of your network yeah um definitely think i’m isolating because it’s like i’m here 24 7. so i have to take time for myself and then once i do i feel like i take too much time and then like just meeting new people like i have to get out there and i have to get some friends but it’s like i’m scared that especially the area i’m in i’m scared that i’m gonna meet the wrong friends and that’s just gonna be it you know we’re all one second away from relapsing no matter how long you have like you’re one situation away like i don’t know i mean maybe longer you have maybe the heart like the easier it is it’ll be say no but like i feel like i don’t know if someone actually pulled something out on my face right now like literally in my face my drug of choice whether i would say no or not like i would i i hope that i do but you can’t you can’t be that confident in it you know yeah i don’t sit here and claim to be i hope billy doesn’t have anything in his pocket but i you know

no i mean do you have any other questions

okay well kirsten i know you you have 11 months now i’m super congratulated on that thank you i’ll have a year september 25th that’s awesome at seven uh yes it’s the one on paris the parish house ah okay is that that’s not online is it

it’s not online we do it we are in person that’s awesome i don’t i don’t know that i mean we do it at the northeast park oh you’re up there yeah i celebrated uh what is it the 27th yeah at 7 at the northeast park well why weren’t you up there a week ago because i’m up here now they’re just being nice and letting me celebrate because that’s where i did all my oh so you came i was there for dennis yeah

yeah i was like someone should sue me

and he was like not gonna happen oh i’ve seen it done before but we we do appreciate you coming on and talking about all the struggles um and you know possible ways to combat this i i think you’ve done an incredible job especially considering some of the you know it’s almost like the the landmines you’ve put in front of yourself uh and yet somehow that higher power of yours has managed to keep blessing you with continued uh you know recovery and accidents and thank god i think people need you thank you all right it’s good talking to you yeah all right nice talking to you i’ll talk to you later bye just a final thought we kind of ran out a little bit of time today final thought to wrap up the idea is that uh maybe avoiding situations is less about avoiding this or taking this out or removing this from our life and maybe really in general it’s just about what am i doing on a daily basis that i’m adding to my life to fill in these places right do i have a place to be accountable do i have people helping me you know monitor my life and and my thinking am i adding in all these you know my praying my forming a relationship with some power bigger than me like billy kind of said uh you know the baseball player doesn’t end up in the bottom of the ninth at bat with two outs with the winning run on second every night right that might happen twice a season if that and but he practices every day to get to that point so that he’s ready for when that situation hits and it’s the same kind of thing i think we just practice daily of adding in this healthier lifestyle which gives us the ability to combat those moments those bottom of the ninth moments when somebody serves up you know something that sounds like a good idea we have the ability to combat it and so i hope everybody has a good week next week step nine see you then