11: Death by Overdose (Sort Of)

12/29/19 We’re talking overdose, harm reduction, lost friends, how to solve addiction and more, as well as a couple tips on how to stay in recovery during the New Year’s celebration.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss the recovery and addiction 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 views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

hey recovery short of its Jason de Muro billion we just you know God finishing these Christmas week I actually do have some weird kind of stuff to talk about with that at some point might not get to it today I don’t know cuz I think we got something important you got a Christmas recap for yourself was it good mine was pretty good yeah ours was good we went and spent some time I have an older daughter with a disability who lives up in Massachusetts she is not to get too off track but she’s up there basically because here in Maryland they didn’t have adequate housing adequate placement for her she was in some different placements here in Maryland that went catastrophic ly bad so we ended up fine and placement for her up and merit up in Massachusetts and she’s been up there for about 12 years now so we end up going up there for Christmases a lot what we typically done in the past is we spend Christmas Day Christmas morning at home we go meet with my wife’s family then we drive up to Massachusetts this year was a little different we didn’t have any plans before Christmas so we went up early and we got to we rented an air B&B which is our first time staying in an air B&B that was really cool it was like a house you know instead of staying in a in a you know resort or a apartment you know not an apartment a hotel we were able to get a house and so it was a little more homey a little more comfortable and we got a Christmas tree and we had her stay with us at the house so we all got to get up Christmas morning and open presents you know as a family together so this is pretty cool we got to take the dog so our dog was up there with us and it was really nice we had a great time great visit so yeah it was pretty fun that’s awesome and yeah mine in general was pretty good like I said there’s a little bit of weird stuff we might get to at some point maybe today next year who knows but I think we’re here today to talk about death and more specifically overdose and and you know some of the somber parts of that I believe you wanted to lead with that yes so we saw a young lady who we’ve known a long time over the years in recovery of known her family her name was autumn and found out that I guess the day before Christmas she overdosed and died and you know it just in in such a small rural area as we are in it just seems the amount of overdoses is extreme you know how how often these people that we know and love and our communities are overdosing and dying and over the years you know I’ve grown up and used here in Cecil County for you know my whole adult life since I was 12 so I’ve been here over 30 years now and dunno am I using here and you know through my growing up I mean it just didn’t seem like people were overdose in the way that they are now and so you know in the last couple of months I’ve kind of done my own a little bit of research into fetanyl and and what’s happening with all that why people were ever dosing and stuff but um in this case of autumn you know as a family that we’ve known for a long time I’d say over 15 years known her since she was really young watch her struggle watched her come in and out of you know abstinence-based recovery and doing some different things and seeing you know at times the relationships with their family get better and then back to use it and things get really worse and then back to better and that sort of rollercoaster and as someone who’s known her and her family you know you’re always hoping that that’s going to end for the best you’re always hoping that you know what’s going to be that one thing that’s gonna get them into you know some sort of recovery pathway that’s gonna stick and it’s gonna work and they’re gonna make it and in this case you know she didn’t and it was heartbreaking it really was upsetting I wasn’t that close to her but I think it’s just a little piece of gear like your hope for that kind of stuff working out well yeah yeah definitely like that’s super super cold I’ve heard before it like everybody gets clean it just some of us are alive when it happens right I didn’t know her specifically well but obviously you know her brother was one of the people that we did the meditation with and it’s like still kind of why we meet up on Sunday mornings before we talk we meditate and uh it is heartbreaking man you bringing that up I’d kind of forgot about it and I think I saw that news Christmas Eve morning maybe yeah and just the tragedy of having to see that and and just this morning when you brought it up it brought up like some of the people that I’ve been close to that I have lost throughout my life and this was I don’t know if fentanyl was involved but most of these were pre the fentanyl era as we know it that doesn’t mean it wasn’t in existence or a part of it just we weren’t looking for it then one of them a girl I dated at like the age of 17 and apparently like I mean we were pretty close I lived with her for awhile I think she was pregnant and had a miscarriage while we were together I ended up locked up with her brother for a year or something like we were pretty close and she had been into the rooms for a little while and then left and uh she ended up it wasn’t from an overdose specifically but uh you know a liver failure I’d like the age of 26 and it’s like damn dude this was somebody I went to elementary school with right and at the age of 26 and there was another young lady in our neighborhood and I think she was an overdose and she was like 23 when when she died and a member of my home group that came out and ate dinner with us one night passed on and then you know how many people haven’t asked me to sponsor them and maybe never done any of the work as a sponsee but then you know you hear about him one in particular stands out he was a he had gone back out relapsed for a while and then he came back right and he had like a month and then the next week I hear that he’s not here anymore and just it’s sad it’s sad to watch these people go one of the guys who thank God is clean today a good buddy of mine he got almost a year and then went back out and then I’m stories about how he’s trying to raise his three kids and they’re like don’t really have any electricity turned on in their house and there are all school-aged kids and then like I’m like damn how is he the next one right and then one of those things you got to worry about and that and I guess that just comes with the territory I don’t know it you mentioned something about how we don’t cut people off maybe when they leave the rooms I don’t know that’s specifically what we do but I could see that sentiment yeah and I think I was thinking a little bit about that on the ride here so early in recovery I think we sort of go into a survival mechanism of you know cut off all your old friends cut off all people that are using surrounding some people in recovery build a new network of friends you know and it’s a it’s a safety line and sort of some of those sayings I’ve heard over the years is you know for using people it’s like trying to save a drowning victim like if you just run out there into the water it’s more likely that you’re gonna get drowned and that you’re gonna be able to save them right and you know that mentality I would say early in recovery is like a survival mechanism you know you don’t want to put yourself in those bad places you don’t want to put yourself around people that are using and then somewhere along the line I think though that attitude in most of us I don’t say needs to change but should change to where so this is an interesting question not to get too far off of that but because it kind of ties in of like so what are we considered like our recovery community or our recovery family like our using people part of our community should they be part of the conversation when we’re talking about recovery and I don’t I don’t know you know are they only part of the conversation if at some point in their journey they’ve sought recovery then they become part or you know how to set how do we sort of work in you know actively using people into this conversation of recovery so this is really tricky right so a Social Work standpoint we’re taught that we should never go out and decide how to help people we should always include you know the oppressed or you know in need population as part of the solution like hey what could help you not what do we come in and tell you how we’re gonna help you right and so in this instance is where it gets really weird because at least for me I want to speak for all you know using people everywhere honestly but I can’t for me I didn’t have any real good ideas when I was getting high right so like coming to me and asking me what would I help me I would have gave you some really terrible ideas like methadone for me would have been terrible because that’s what I wanted I wanted somebody to allow me to use and enable me to do that every day for the rest of my life and I’m not trying to down people who use methadone as a source of recovery but for me I wanted an easier softer way whatever that was and so yeah my ideas should not have been taken into consideration personally when I was high yeah and when we come into at least the fellowship that you know what I came in the message I seem to get was in fact the opposite like sit down and shut up you don’t know what you need right you don’t need if we don’t have any good ideas yeah we wanna know what a couple and so what you need to do is come in sit down shut up listen to us and we’ll help you and so and that saved my life because that is what I needed at the time right um but I guess there’s a part of me nowadays maybe I’m softer or maybe it’s because so many people are overdosing and I and that’s that’s a little less you know it’s a little more open to maybe this isn’t the only way for everybody and maybe abstinence you know it’s great for me and I wouldn’t change it for the world and and you know I think it’s a great pathway for anyone that’s looking for that but I also don’t think it’s the only thing out there and you know if it comes into you know you can whatever smoke weed and go to therapy and get what you need that way but you’re gonna stop tricking on the street or stop shooting dope or stop you know being a complete menace to yourself in society you know [ _ ] Who am I that’s not an improvement in your life yes I’m not right to say that I didn’t trained in in I can’t say train man this goes back to the brainwash in motion I’ve been trained to believe that abstinence based recovery is the only way and that you know if you’re making decisions under the influence of any chemicals like you’re just [ _ ] stupid well yeah no no I absolutely agree that is definitely the view of the fellowship I don’t think it views anybody negatively like you’re stupid but it’s definitely the view is the ultimate goal is complete abstinence from all mine and mood-altering substances right I know from a therapy point of view while we will probably respect that you might need to use a chemical or you choose to use a chemical whether it’s marijuana or alcohol like if you come into a therapy session intoxicated in any way we generally ask you to leave and come back without that because we don’t believe we can do the work we need to do with you while you’re on that so that almost tells me something right about being on those substances at least from that perspective I would say this I completely I probably there’s probably a point in time in my life I could almost guarantee it where I was like yeah complete abstinence it’s the only [ _ ] way everybody else’s [ _ ] right that’s not what I believe today I believe any improvement in your life on any given day if that’s the best you got that’s [ _ ] great right it’s an improvement closer to but I can’t say that my theory of complete abstinence being the ultimate end goal has changed right yeah if the best if the best you got today is being able to go to work and provide for your family and taking methadone every day also [ _ ] do it I still think we’re working towards something though I don’t think that’s like the end goal right there I don’t think we’re like hey we’re on methadone and cool 80 more years of this and then we’ll die perfect and so this is where I struggle because I agree with you but I am really challenging my thinking on this so I’m gonna challenge yours okay so let’s take you know marijuana or whatever let’s take a chemical like someone who’s on antidepressant earning high psychotic like they are on a chemical they’re on a substance we’ve just decided that that particular substance because it’s prescribed by a doctor and because the doctor says they need it and because it quote-unquote balances out their mental health that that is completely fine and then you can be on that chemical because this doctor said it’s okay and then we’ll do whatever you can be clean I guess that’s clean you would never tell a mental health person hey if you really want recovery you got to stop taking your mental health meds I mean maybe there are some people that would probably also but but that is you know even to a die-hard abstinence based person like that’s dangerous that is deadly information to give to someone with a mental illness that has been passed around I’ve heard it – it’s scary it’s very scary um but that is definitely bad bad advice um so nowadays that we are becoming more open so there there seem to be this old notion that street drugs quote-unquote street drugs were bad but that pharmaceutical drugs from a chemical company were good and that we’re okay and I think now we’re in a generation where we sort of understand like no wait a minute it doesn’t you know I mean chemical effects on the brain or chemical effects on the brain and it doesn’t matter if you get it from a natural plan or not and there’s debates on what’s better and worse and all that but the chemical effects on the brain you know I don’t say are the same but you know whether a drug is a natural drug or a pharmaceutical II manufactured drug I don’t think change that conversation like you’re still on a substance for your mental health and so there are large amount of people out there right now that would argue like something like marijuana is good for PTSD and some other things and so if they’re taking that under the prescription of a doctor is that okay and so you know that’s where this the trickiness to some of those comes in and so yeah there was definitely a point in time in my life where my belief was that a lot of the maladies we might experience might be able to be solved through some sort of spiritual relationship right and that lacking that spiritual relationship might have been the cause of it and then we chose these other ways to fix it more like band-aids than you know preemptive strikes against whatever was going on I can’t say I totally buy into that anymore I’m not really sure I don’t know where that begins and ends like can that you know God treat everything I don’t [ _ ] know right I don’t have these answers anymore what I will say from my experience is I fought a lot to not ever have to take my antidepressant I did not want to do it and I at the end felt [ _ ] beat and like I had tried everything else that nothing worked and so I I did right I surrendered to the idea I took it it definitely changed my life right it gave me the ability to do some other things in my life to find some other methods of coping and at some point I was able to stop taking it right and I I don’t know if that’s the ultimate goal or not right is the ultimate goal that maybe we do need these things at some point in time in our life and then hopefully one day we don’t or do we believe that it’s we need it for the rest I don’t really know I can tell you this if I ever felt the same way again I’d get back on it right I’m not gonna [ _ ] with my hating my life again or being miserable and thinking I don’t want to be here but I am generally a slightly different person without it and I’d like that person better yeah and you know just to get back to the fellowship conversation a little bit with some of that so I’ve always had conversations what I would say kind of candidly with people about that stuff like I don’t believe you know the fellowship that we go to or that I participate in like I’ll tell people all the time I don’t necessarily think it’s for everybody I don’t and can help anybody but it’s not for everybody because not everybody’s looking for the same things that we’re offering you know through that work let’s say not everyone’s goal is abstinence base for the rest of their life some people want something else and quite candidly I’ve said to a couple people guys that I’ve even sponsor like look maybe you need to check out some other stuff like maybe this isn’t where you need to be you know because you know all you’re gonna do is come in here and get yourself let down and disappointed and because you’re looking for something that isn’t what we have to offer and me as a sponsor I feel like if you’re looking for something that I don’t have to offer you that I am not enough of an egomaniac to think that I can give it to you there probably was a point in my life where I thought I was but nowadays I don’t like no look this is all I got to offer all I got to offer is this abstinence based lifestyle through the application of these twelve steps that’s not what you’re looking for you know great I mean it’s not a judgement but it’s like that’s I don’t have that experience to offer you um but the flip side of that is as a fellowship you know how do we stay connected to the recovery community how do we stay connected to you know the still suffering addicts and still offer a viable pathway for people that are looking for that because there are a lot of people that are looking for absent in space there are a lot of people that don’t want to be you know on a chemical for the rest of their life and I think for the protection of the fellowship that we belong to and our traditions and and what we are abstinent space is a crucial part of that abstinence base is what we are it’s what we have that’s what we do but I think you can do that in a still loving and caring and welcoming fashion and for me that’s part of where that 12-step comes in of like you know practicing these principles and all the affairs of my life and it’s like the same compassion and empathy and love that I can give to let’s say I fell a home group member who I know is relapsed or is struggling with relapse when that guy comes in you know like I can empathize with him I can feel his pain because I know what that’s like to be trying to stay clean to be doing your best and then make a [ _ ] bad choice and go out there and use the [ _ ] man this isn’t what I wanted you know how did I get back here again you know and I can empathize with that pain and recognize that but a lot of times I’ll look at the guy out on the street is not in the meeting and I don’t have that same empathy for him you know because he’s not try and you think is that what you’re asking why don’t why is it well that’s been so I would like to say my growth through working steps in a 12-step is to look at that person and see that same to try to give them that same compassion and empathy and love and see the guy out on the street think man you don’t have to live that way and to get over you know just like our experience with that young man who approaches outside the restaurant like I would love that to be my first initial response to just be loving and compassionate and caring and I think the more that you know I can do that the more welcoming it is to people that are struggling for how to find recovery yeah man there’s just so much about this that I just don’t know like I can’t I can tell you that abstinence based recovery works for me right and I truly believe it’s the only thing that would work for me effectively but I can’t know that right I can’t go out and try some other method of recovery of like oh hey I’ll just smoke weed on a weekly basis I see like I can’t do it for me um and so I can only speak from one perspective and that’s what makes this conversation so hard the other part of that tricky equation is that and and I keep saying like I would choose the softer gentler way and I I kind of [ _ ] hate saying there cuz I’m I feel like it’s a put-down to anybody who’s on that method of you know that mode of recovery because I’m not trying to say that what you’re doing is not awesome or great I’m not I just know for me if you just said hey you can lose weight by eating vegetables or you can lose weight by eating this cake that we [ _ ] chemically made that will help you lose weight I’m gonna need the [ _ ] cake right I’m not good enough you know the cake might give you a diarrhea and make you throw up every once in a while but generally it’ll still work the same as the vegetables will [ _ ] the vegetables then right I always want the way that feels for me and so I’m not trying to put anybody else down it’s just if you keep offering me a way that doesn’t seem as painful right because the pain I was using to cover up some pain right and so I did not want to feel right I didn’t understand how to feel and I didn’t want to feel and if you continue to offer me away that numbed some of that pain I was going to continue to take that and I was not going to choose to get clean inside that’s where I get [ _ ] lost in all this like and so I think some of that now that’s that’s funny cuz you said that and I’m immediately it reminded me of the circle back to overdose and how that happens and I think that’s exactly you know the case for a lot of people is they come into recovery you get a few weeks a few months clean and you start feeling the pain of living and Andry feeling all the reasons that we started getting high in the first place you know for most addicts you know I think the the reasons we use tend to be pain or some sort of internal suffering um and then we get clean and we start to feel that all over again not only that but then you’re left with the wreckage and the damage that you’ve done you know from whoever you Robb Stowell cheated whatever you know financial emotional legal ramifications that you haven’t you got to deal with all that and it it’s like [ __ ] this you know I’m like this is overwhelming and I don’t know if I can do this and so what typically I the story kind of goes that someone comes in they get a couple days a couple weeks a couple months they go back out they use overdose and die and parts of the reasons I’ve heard for that or you know one when they’ve been disconnected from the using community for a couple of weeks they go out and they have to find sort of a new connection or there’s a new batch of stuff out there it’s not the same as what they had been using before they come a little stronger or their tolerance is a little lower and the same amount that they were using before it’s too much and they overdose and die

you know one of the things with this new outbreak of fentanyl is that the you know it’s being cut into heroin you know differently by different places you know that the levels of fentanyl in each batch aren’t the same so the potency is so strong that you know a little bit more can cause you to over this very small amounts can cause you to overdose um and as we see that happened you see more and more people sort of like say find that get a couple days a couple weeks go out and use then they overdose and die no I don’t I don’t know how we can stop that you know how many well that’s not true there are some things we can do to stop that but I think that’s where a lot of the harm reduction stuff comes in and as a person in essence based recovery for a long time I fought that whole thing like I thought you know absolute like any of that harm reduction strategies are all enabling I was brought up in the 90s when it was like the tough love and that was it you know all you’re gonna use I’m gonna kick you out of the house and [ _ ] not talk to you anymore and you know totally disassociate until you get better when you get better I’ll have you in my life again and that was sort of what we thought would work but I think what we’re figuring out is just like trying to arrest our way out of the problem of addiction that hardcore hardline you know tough love doesn’t work either we can’t lock up enough people to beat addiction we take but one thing real quick I reminded me of us thinking of this as well I used to watch that show intervention all the time don’t know if you’ve seen it it was a reality TV show on A&E no where oh it’s great they I mean it’s Jen would hated watching it she’s like we live this every day how do you do it it was people they were using and they would find an interventionist person probably from a treatment center or a mental health facility that would come in and help them you know sit a person down with family and they do like an intervention and give that person the option to go to treatment you know and that was basically the gist of the show and then the end of the show was whether those people would go to treatment or not whether would that they would stay clean or not and they wrapped it up into a nice hour and it was a lot of I hate to say this it was a lot of exciting TV based on watching people’s downward spiral in addiction it was horrifying using it’s a lot of what it was for me I didn’t watch it for that i watch it because it was sad it tugged at my heartstrings and early in recovery I just wanted every [ _ ] buddy to get it you know thought everybody deserved to be clean right um but anyway in one of those shows they had a lady and she was telling a story of her daughter who was an addict and they did the whole tough love thing and they kicked her out and you can’t live here and you know we’re not gonna support you while you’re using her daughter went out on the street started living basically on the streets at 17 18 years old started prostituting they got a call one night to come to the hospital basically and identify her body that she was out tricking somebody you know beat her in essence they thought to death left her for dead on the side of a road somewhere and her parents went in and said couldn’t even recognize her like her face or hope face was swelled up she was beat you know like say almost to death she was in a coma I think for a couple of days and in any case the daughter came back you know got better and so now she was living with the parents who were in essence enabling her do they were literally the mom was going out and buying her dupe and bringing it back to her and she said I would rather have her using and alive than dead and clean you know and that was probably the very first time because at that point I had a couple small kids my kids were still pretty young but I had you know a couple young daughters and I understood that and I thought wow like cuz up till that point I always thought I would be the tough love dad like you’re gonna do this I’m not gonna support you get out of my house right and then I thought wow I don’t know if I would do that you and I might be the enabling parent who was out by my what I really want to see my daughter out on the streets tricking like yeah absolutely with that in mind let’s take a quick break and we’ll go to our ad real quick and then we’ll come back and talk some more about that this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in Maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at

www.canadianoutback.com for and that he has given him money knowing damn well it was going to be used for drugs and all this I was never judgmental harshly I guess over it but I did kind of have some thoughts about it oh yeah and but he said hey you know I get I get what you might think about it but what is your kids you might think differently about it and and I’ve I took that into consideration because I do know that my mind has changed when I’ve been in situations before and it is tricky and I guess so someone had sort of relates to what I was going through a Christmas right I had this really [ _ ] heartwarming incredible Christmas where I was like so connected to my family just I’m really [ _ ] felt it and it was so intensive exactly scary like I literally went to therapy and was concerned about how intensity I felt good about this Christmas it was [ _ ] weird dude to the point where like the thoughts of our time together ending in any way shape or form whether that through tragedy or just the fact we go back to work next week actually made like my internal organs ache a little bit like what the [ _ ] right and so just talking about that I didn’t want to say anything about it right look if I want to go get high and shoot some heroin and cocaine I know right where to go where people will say me too I don’t know where to share this where people can identify I’m like nobody [ _ ] feels that that’s weird right and I was encouraged to be vulnerable and shared and who knows [ _ ] knows who could relate to that but it was really powerful but some of it I think is that my daughters are getting older right they were 14 they weren’t as super into the excitement of Christmas and I think there might be some concern of like I’m running out of time with them as kids right they’re not gonna be kids anymore they’re going to go into high school next year and of course there’s always the fears that any of my children might end up using drugs because you know we have the same DNA in some way shape or form and it’s [ _ ] terrifying it’s terrifying I don’t know what I would do to keep them alive but you’re right I would much rather have them alive with the chance of something else than [ _ ] dead yeah and I was thinking back to like growing up you know I used it had an obvious drug addiction problem from my early teens I think I got arrested the first time when I was like 16 for drugs and alcohol and my family so my mom was always close to her four sisters and they all talked so it wasn’t like we kept it some big hidden secret from the family like my whole [ _ ] family knew my aunts and uncles and I’m sure my cousins and it was like you know it wasn’t a big secret that I was struggling with addiction mom definitely growing up and I remember going to like you know my family’s Christmas parties or my parents house and being high and and probably what I would say obviously high or drunk and good or bad now I look at it as good I didn’t ever feel like I was judged or shamed or you know made to feel less of a person by them my wife and I about that at times I used to kind of look at it like well my parents just ignored all the obvious problems that no one ever wanted to talk about the problem we just ignored it and acted like it didn’t exist right and I looked at it kind of as a bad thing like well maybe if they would have pulled me up on some of that or somebody would have talked to me and said hey look this is a road you’re going down this is dangerous this is bad it might have been different nowadays I look at it very differently nowadays I actually look at that as a blessing because I don’t feel like if they would have shamed me or tried to embarrass me or humiliated me in some sort of way I don’t think that would have helped right and in fact it’s the other way around because I was loved and supported not just by my parents and my immediate family but some of my extended family you know I knew that people loved and cared about me and I think that’s a big part of overcoming addiction like what we society I think outside of people in recovery in the treatment world don’t understand that addiction is way bigger than just a chemical hook’s of you know you’re on these drugs if you just stop taking these drugs that fixes all the problems that we can just lock people up for 30 60 90 days and they’ll be fine like that’s not what addiction is it’s a lot of the emotional and mental aspects of addiction that keep us hooked not just the chemical physical hooks and you know having love and support of even if it’s not your family but a community which is I think where 12-step fellowships come in you know they can be that support that understanding and compassion if you’re not getting that at home but having those pieces is crucial for people staying connected and recovery just to speak to my own experience with addiction not just being the drugs it’s been officially over a month since I quit vaping and I still regularly think what the [ _ ] else am I gonna do right like what can I put in place of that should i smoke a black I’m out here and they’re like why do I need to replace it with anything right but that’s the the hook of the addiction it’s not even about the chemical any more chemicals been gone right I just want something to do pray more obviously so I think another thing what you’re talking about and I don’t think we’ve said this here you said it before we started recording was about in the fellowship when people use or relapse or whatever you want to call it we almost sort of cut them off right where we have a tendency to really not want to be around it and I can understand that early on I think it’s you know definitely the saying they’ll get you high before you get them clean I’ve heard that one I don’t know that I don’t know that that’s the wrong thing to do I really don’t I have no idea here I know a lot of people don’t want to be around people that are high I don’t know that high people are really hearing anything that’s gonna you know I don’t think they’re very open-minded to hearing something new and this all really comes back to me or for me to the point of I don’t know that I could have ever done anything different right and what I mean by that is we say in our meetings oh man well if you’re not going to a meeting every day that’s why you’re not [ _ ] getting clean or if you’re not choosing to work the steps that’s your [ _ ] problem or if you use that’s because you chose to pick up and I don’t know if I [ _ ] believe that honestly I’ve been to NA before I got cleaned and and what I found was it was a bunch of dorks that were trying to live life without getting high and I couldn’t relate and it wasn’t until I had that moment of clarity which I kind of look at for me as something external I think that was something that was sort of given to me by something bigger than me right I don’t know that I could have made any decision to stop using before that moment and so I don’t really look at getting clean as a personal choice of mine I kind of look at it as a higher power given experience and so for that I I just I don’t know that I can share in a meeting of which you need to do to stay clean because I don’t know if you can possibly do that before your time is right yeah make any sense well because I mean it’s everyone’s different everyone’s unique what I only know what worked for me and what I did and I felt like I’ve given that fully to some people and they’ve used and you know I felt like I’ve watched people that have done far more than me use I’ve watched people that have done far less work than me stay clean so you know I don’t know what works I try to take some general direction from the fellowship and then apply the principles personally to my life what I will say though in in defense of at least the fellowship that we go to is there are some sort of caveats that they set for doing what in essence are called 12-step calls are going out to help you know people that may be actively using or that are struggling or when you get those phone calls from people that are using and one of those that has always been a big thing that I’ve been told is that you never go into those situations alone you take someone with you right and I think that you know those setting up some of those the things will help use word protect you from the influences of using if you take someone with you to do it I definitely know that it’s easier for it would be way easier for me to be in those situations now than it would have early on in recovery I would be much more likely to go do that type of work now then I would early in recovery um and I think just having a stable program with good supports and you know another recovering small strong recovering person with you to help you are ways that we can go into situations with people that are using or you know maybe reach out to people that are used and show up at their house you know go try to quote-unquote rescue people is there and this kind of the whole intervention everything is there can you help people that aren’t ready to be helped is there a such thing as a person being ready to be helped or like could we take anybody on the street who’s not seemingly ready at all and honestly just lock them away with it for whatever for a year right and then they come out and they’re ready or will they go back to using until they’ve actually hit a certain ready point I don’t think just anybody and there was I won’t get to into sort of how I know this number but there’s a like 10 to 15% of actively using addicts are like legitimately chemically hooked that are just have the chemical hooks and they know this from some different studies with like nicotine patches and the success rates of those things you know looking at some statistical studies on how m-80s work you know it’s sort of like they figure there’s this 10 to 15% window of people that the problem really just is the chemical hooks and what I mean by that is they went in for a surgery they got on some pain medications now all of a sudden they’re addicted and if you can just break them of that chemical peace they’ll be fine they’ll be able to go on live the rest of their life and and not need therapy or treatment or really mental health counseling boyington that’s some perfect and like say that’s not based specifically on opioid you know addiction or anything it’s based loosely off some studies of other chemical intervention type programs like say like nicotine patches or at null patches or there’s kind of things um so they say it’s you know 10 to 15 percent of people are just more chemically hooked than the other stuff but what that lets you know is that you know 85 to 90 percent of the people have some sort of mental health issues spiritual emotional issues whether it be abuse you know neglect different childhood traumas all of those things factored in so with a lot of those people you can’t just take away the drugs and though all the sudden get better um so more directly to your question is I don’t think you can just go take anyone off the streets and have success as we see like in this small community if you go out and talk to what I would say big percentage of the homeless community who are also struggling with addiction most of them um you’ll find that there’s a lot of mental health issues there right you know within a very short amount of conversation you’ll figure out oh wait a minute you know what I mean like this person isn’t mentally healthy so you know know if you just pull them in and throw them into treatment without continuing supports beyond that whether it be getting them on some sort of psychiatric medication some of them just need to be in some sort of assisted living facilities that at the moment don’t even exist um I think from the political viewpoint like that’s why it’s so hard to get things passed in with politics because everybody wants that one thing that’s just gonna fix it and there’s not just one thing that’s gonna fix addiction you got to take each person figure out what it is you know why are they useing why are they doing what they’re doing and then what do they need to get better and I would guess and this is just me making [ _ ] up I would guess that probably half the people out there especially in this you know opioid disuse disorder whatever the words we say now aren’t really you know where we see this larger you know influx of middle class you know urban or suburban you know people mostly white people that a lot of these are just social ailments like they’re things that can be fixed with assonance based recovery maybe a little bit of therapy and counseling you know and then a large percentage of that you know really just needs those things there’s also a large percentage of addiction comes out of poverty like poverty is a huge issue that we don’t associate with addiction but yet it’s rampant you know addiction is rampant in the lower-income community you know because it’s suffering and so yeah if you take someone who’s got you know sort of no money who’s living in one of the lesser communities in the area if you just take them get them clean and throw them back into that same environment there’s nowhere for them to thrive you know there’s they still don’t have the job training they still don’t have the life skills training they still don’t have you know the necessary skills to go out and be successful in the world so they’re gonna turn back to using because life is hard and it’s [ _ ] they don’t have the skills they need to survive I think you just created a topic in my head that I’d love to cover on here one day and that’s what the [ _ ] is addiction and where does it come from right cuz I got some theories of my own and I know there’s probably as many theories as there are [ _ ] people it’s called chasing describe all do books person so when I say listen to a book right but it’s called chasing the scream and it’s kind of about that whole process of addiction it’s pretty good Phillies the Phillies lion he’s actually very rich and he pays someone to stand next to him and read books to him that’s how he listens no but I I you know I do have a particular theory about where addiction comes from I don’t know how much [ _ ] credence it has or anybody’s ever tested it or if they can but it would be an interesting topic one week to go back to something we talked about with harm reduction and whether the abstinence based programs excuse me are okay with that so I think there was definitely time where you know maybe the specialists or people in the medical model said hey addictions a disease right and then there was a whole lot of people that did not want to believe that maybe the pull yourself up by your bootstraps crew they said now it’s a moral failing blabbity blah and what it took for a lot of people was having it affects someone close to them for it to actually matter and for them to take a different look at it right like oh [ _ ] my nephew little Johnny is struggling now maybe there maybe he does need help maybe we shouldn’t just lock him up or shoot him or whatever the [ _ ] hope he dies like we did before right not that that’s changed everybody’s mind there’s still people who see that they’re like [ _ ] little Johnny I hope he dies in the gutter but maybe that’s also what we need to be more accepting of harm reduction maybe people who have this abstinence based program need to realize that people close to them [ _ ] die and it’s not so great right that was one of the things when I got clean it was like with one of your first paychecks go get a nice suit because if you stay around here you go to a lot of funerals and if you don’t stay around here we’ll bury you in it and it’s like Jesus Christ right like that’s that’s the kind of information I got but I there’s some truth to it but maybe if we’ve seen enough death we think that harm reduction is a good idea because it does actually prevent death right yeah and so that’s how I’ve come around a harm reduction to is sort of that belief that okay the first thing we need to do is stop people from dying you know stop the death yeah and we can’t stop all of them you know people are gonna die from addiction it’s it’s an inevitable result but if we can do some simple things to slow it down you know let it stop it some what we should do those things because you know only if they’re alive do they get the opportunity to recover um what we’ve also seen it with you know this growth of fentanyl is the amount of overdose deaths have increased funny I was listening to NPR thing on fentanyl recently and Maryland and Massachusetts are the two states impacted the most by fentanyl it didn’t get into why I found that found like Maryland really but why the [ _ ] are we but for whatever reason yes Maryland and Massachusetts seem to be the two states most affected by this increase in fentanyl what’s your guess as to why we’re a port city man he’s wondering the same thing we do the Puerto look to go off a little bit into the fentanyl thing and why overdose are so bad and and all that so fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that they originally came up with in the 60s and you know is fine it was invented in some college lab it ended up in some what they call white papers and college library somewhere and people didn’t pay much attention to it you know whatever they felt like the the drugs that they had at the time we’re good enough they still made it and used it occasionally was using like epidurals and statues that yeah patches things like that then we had the advent of the internet and in the early 2000s there was a huge boom of like getting all this information online and scanning all these papers and putting all this documentation online for public access and some basically backyard chemists came across a synthetic opioid that was super cheap and super easy to make and so if you were some backyard chemist you know ie the people mixing up meth in their garage you know you could also make a synthetic opioid that was cheap and you know you didn’t need poppy plants and stuff to make it so it started sort of growing out of that that you could really increase your profitability in the illegal drug trade for heroin if you could make your own synthetic you know heroin through fentanyl so then we see now since the illicit market is so big that there’s a lot of labs and places over in China that will manufacture this stuff in manufacturing plants so they can do it on a large scale for even cheaper they can sell it to drug dealers there’s a book out now that I’ve just started listening to called fentanyl Inc where the guy who wrote the book literally just called of one of these Chinese manufacturing plants and said hey I’m a drug dealer I’m looking to get into the fentanyl market you know can you help me out um I’d like to come over and tour your facility and they said [ _ ] yeah come on over because over there it’s not illegal not I mean it’s only illegal here so over there he could go over there tour the plant act like he wanted to buy a fan until them on a tour of the plant where they’re making fentanyl this is is this like the her shoe tour where they give you candy and so you know that’s the problem with fentanyl is that it’s super cheap and easy to make so it’s being cut into heroin you know or the street heroin when you’re doing it in a league in a legal illegal market the percentage being cut into each match is different so you might get you know a batch with 6% a batch with 10% a batch with 12% and you don’t know what that is we don’t have any way of testing that have your street user you’re not gonna care right now your normal guys out you’re gonna go to the next guy down the street and get whatever he’s got and you know you’re gonna use it well it’s so much more potent that small increase you might do the same amount that you were getting from your other guy from this new guy and you’ll overdose and die is this still a thing we’re using addicts tend to like see somebody go out off of a drug and then that’s where they all want to go get it from I know that was a thing when I was out there I don’t know I’ve been out of that yeah I think for so long I don’t know if there’s like a new fear now like oh maybe I should stay away from that or back then it was like oh my god he OD dolphin that’s all run over there and cop like this must be the good stuff so I would my hunch is to say that’s not the case anymore that the fear of fentanyl is scaring people and I only say that based on there was a actually an act that some guys made and I believe it’s still out there they called themselves the bad batch boys hmm and there was some guys down in Baltimore who were sort of tracking like overdoses and stuff and getting like the names of what was out there and we’re in see like these are batches that you need to be really careful with or you need to avoid and that was a movement down in Baltimore City that they were trying to stop you know overdose deaths I mean they seen so many people overdose um and that was just other people I guess in recovery or people sympathetic to people using that wanna help what I’ve really heard out of what you just said was that if the government legalized drugs and actually made them themselves it would actually be [ _ ] a thousand times safer because we would know how much was in each one and how much you’re supposed to use yeah definitely against what the founding fathers believed in I’m sure but oh and this was another interesting thing so in listening to like the history of you know addiction and all that and the history of sort of the we’re on drugs couple of things I found fascinating was so you used to be able to get like heroin and morphine and all those things were legal you could actually buy syrups and cough medicines and you know home remedy stuff bottles and you know in the they had these dosages on the bottles where you would give it to kids and stuff for you know coughs or teething babies you know you were giving a morphine and [ _ ] and it just wasn’t looked at the same as it is now then of course obviously it was made illegal a lot of that sort if you’re I’m gonna say conspiracy theory ish but if you follow this sort of general logic when prohibition ended you had a sort of task force that needed something to do because they weren’t out busting people for alcohol anymore so they just turned it to illicit drugs and decidable drugs are the enemy of you know our society if we eliminate drugs that’ll take care of the ills of society and you know they sort of took all the energy that they were putting into prohibition and directed that towards prohibition on drugs and just let alcohol be legal so

then they made it all illegal and you know it’s harder to get and that spurred this sword a black market growth in crime and you like say all the illegal the the different chemical makeups if you don’t know what you’re getting from where or who or what um one of the funny stories I heard that I thought was true and then I did some research and found out it wasn’t and it tipped me off to like stigma was so the guy who originally first invented the hypodermic syringe oh it’s I can’t remember is dr. wood was his last name the rumor for a long time was that his wife was the very first person to die of a morphine overdose and so I thought that was an interesting story like oh wow you know here’s the guy who invented the syringe is like then I found out that was not true that that was like an urban legend and immediately in my mind I thought oh you know what that is that’s [ _ ] stigma like people want to you know make him feel bad make oh look hypodermic needles are linked to sir you know using and every you know here’s a guy who help people use and his wife died you know that’s what he gets right right sweet revenge and I sort of justice here we do love that uh damn you would touch on something back there and I don’t remember what it was uh definitely oh just the whole idea that you know all drugs are illegal and you know I’m not sure I’m a fan of that I’ve had I’ve had the discussion how do you tell your kids not to do stuff that is legal so I kind of get that aspect of it but look I don’t know a rational person honestly that thinks marijuana there should be a tier one narcotic right so nobody really believes that and yet somehow it still is then we were in refusal to change it because of some of these historic decisions we’ve made so I think we’ve gotten a little away from the the tone of overdosing and and you know death unfortunately one thing they bring it back to that I neglected to mention earlier is I’ve dealt with these people who overdosed and died and it’s it’s unfortunate and we go to viewings and we we do these things as a community but some people are gonna die clean right like I I have a sponsee now that’s getting older in age and isn’t completely 100% who we used to be mentally and I can see that and I’m aware of it but like there is gonna come a time when he passes right and I don’t think that’s gonna be any easier to deal with just because he’s cleaned and I don’t know I don’t know if there’s a Dean make it different I know I guess a lot of times it makes it younger I was gonna say I think what you’re seeing is a larger percentage of young people you know and and as you might have heard on the news or whatever they said for the first time and I don’t know how many decades like life expectancy is actually going down instead of up forever our life expectancy has been going up your eyes like that’s gotten better and easier and things are way more available food and water and sewer systems you know all make our lives we can live longer on average due to suicide and addiction which I would say you can probably link a lot of that suicide back to addiction not all of it for sure to mental health um yes to mental health for sure that because of those two factors you’re seeing younger people dying at alarming rates like alarming rates and so you know you’re getting potentially some of our best and brightest people or dying before they ever have a chance to make an impact on the world people are losing children and brothers and sisters and loved ones really young and I mean I’ve been to a lot of funerals um even with my mom like who I was incredibly close to but she was older she had some health issues she was suffering that’s very different than going to the funeral of a 20-something year old person who was just starting life or you know a person who had young children you know like it’s one of the toughest days or tough you know those are tough so I probably should have like prefaced this whole episode with that I still have a very not comfortable relationship with death oh my on my side of the street like I’m cold to it in a sense I think because so my father died 14 years ago it was a little out of the blue he had a surgery and then in December they found out because of that surgery they sold some weird stuff and went in and looked and it was lung cancer and then by the end of March II was gone and it seems so abrupt and sudden and I I know it could have been much more abrupt and sudden you know because of a car accident or something but it really it shocked me it hurt me I didn’t feel like he was old enough for that I wasn’t ready to be done with him for sure and so I don’t know how much I’ve ever completely dealt with it right of course I’ve I’ve dealt with it some but there’s a lot there that I feel like I’m a little shutoff too because I just don’t know how to process all of it it’s pretty painful um and so from that standpoint I do feel like I’m a little cold to people dying and I’m I generally always say that when when somebody close to me is going through something like that like I wrote to please God don’t [ _ ] talk to me cuz I’m gonna say something really awful to you I just know I am right like it happens it’s we’re all gonna [ _ ] die some shitty thing and over time I’ve gotten better where at least the best thing I can do is just shut the [ _ ] up right here a lot of times I can do that now but I I don’t want to be the guy to have to talk to people about death because it’s it’s [ _ ] hard I’m more honest I guess like man this is gonna happen like yeah if you’re dealing with an older adult that’s you know getting more and more sick like they’re probably gonna die yeah I don’t have a big fear of death so I’ve heard this said and I don’t know if this is true cuz I never used it in a us in a clinical setting but they say I guess they’ve used psychedelics for people that are at like end of life for like end-of-life therapy for people that are getting towards the end of their life I’m really stressed about it and that psychedelic experiences apparently make you more open to death um and I’ve done a lot of psychedelics like say not in let any kind of clinical setting but I’m not overly scared or paranoid of death I’ve been did lots of funerals the best it but like I never used to go to funerals and I don’t go to graves or anything because I don’t there’s a lot of that stuff that I don’t really I don’t say don’t believe in but you know I I don’t think that your meat suit where your meat suit is I’m at buried really matters that much really personally I get it people like it they want to have a headstone and they have a place and memorialize I get it that’s fine it’s not for me so I don’t go um but you know I the funeral and then the support is all for the living yeah you know that was the best advice I ever got was like oh yeah cuz I like most things in life I make it about me well I don’t like to go cuz it’s uncomfortable and it makes me sad you know I don’t deal with it in that way I just try to you know keep their life happy and then you know I like most things in life like it’s not about you [ _ ] it’s about me other people and their suffering and if they’re close to this person and so when I look at it from that perspective it’s like oh yeah I can show up and just go oh I’m so sorry for your loss the typical stuff that you say I’m sorry for your loss yeah you know it’s such a shame if there’s anything you need let me know because you know and just from my experience with death like you can’t take away someone’s pain I don’t think there’s anything we can’t say the right thing that’s gonna make it better we can do do something that’s gonna make them happy about it like right we can’t fix that but if you’re going people that empathy or that sympathy and just that knowing that other people are there to support you that’s what makes a difference to people knowing that they have people around that love and care about them in their time of suffering yeah I mean I think the struggle was that because I still struggle with showing up for my feelings with it and it’s hard to empathize with somebody else’s right because I haven’t really completely processed mine and I I’m sort of aware of it right like I know it’s there I think it’s over time gotten better and maybe that means that I’ve dealt with it a little more but over time here and there and that’s good therapy just got stuck going out the funerals yeah I mean that is a thing right so maybe never say that again so one of the things we just we talked about the legalization possibility and and maybe how that could have some good effects and so I kind of personally believe it look I don’t think we’re gonna stop people from trying to seek escape from life or pain or any of that right I think we’re people are gonna get high whether it’s legal illegal or whatever I personally believe in having it legalized having the federal government run it I think it reduces crime and reduces prison people and reduces all kind of stuff right I’m for it here’s where I could see some arguments against just off the top of my head is like there’s people now a lot of them that think alcohol maybe shouldn’t be legal anyway which look of the drugs that are out there if you’re gonna have one that’s legal I don’t think alcohol is the right one that [ _ ] is poison right like I think that’s a terrible choice there’s plenty other maybe that don’t hurt you as much um but so there would be people that say well alcohol should not be legal it’s poison why would we legalize poison I get that and I also see in some of the other communities like the the gambling community of recovery believes that gambling should be like illegalized but at that I don’t think that’s gonna stop [ _ ] people from gambling right it’s illegal in many forms now and people still do it I did it on a construction site twelve years ago in different forms with a guy who definitely was not a bookie right there not a legit one so what what is the [ _ ] answer that so we can look to evidence of what worked in other places I believe us Portugal has a good model they were leading the world in addiction overdose deaths all crime rates all things associated with addiction and using they went the route of what’s called decriminalization which isn’t legalization so you do still have some black market for drugs and stuff like that but instead of having like a war on drugs they said we’re just gonna decriminalize it so you can have whatever you have for your personal use you know it doesn’t matter we won’t lock you up for possession of marijuana or you know drug possession offenses and we’ll take all the money that we’re spending to lock people up and we’ll put it into social programs and mental health programs and so they would take people and get them like job training job skills they offered tax incentives to businesses to hire people that were you know in some sort of programs I don’t know the specifics of the programs but we would get into this program where you were learning these job skills in the business that hired you would get tax incentives to give you a job and sort of build connections and meaning and purpose to your life and they found that the results of that have been phenomenal I’ve been very very good so I think it starts in this country I think probably be criminalization you know would be a starting point but I don’t even think that’s a starting point for a lot of people although you say that and I wouldn’t have said that ten years ago I wouldn’t thought marijuana would be legal and look at how that’s changed just in the past several years yeah it’s definitely got like a snowball effect it seems right so you know I think decriminalization is a starting point legalization is taking it to the next level of what you’re talking about where you would actually have you know whether it’s government regulated or whatever like we have with alcohol where you have a regulatory agency that actually allows you to manufacture drugs right because even with decriminalization you still have illegal drugs they’re still an illegal drug market in Portugal right um say you’re gonna still have some overdose deaths because the things like fentanyl and the non consistency of what’s on the streets and that sort of thing um but I I mean me personally I think it’s a social problem more than it’s a chemical or legal problem and I think until we start attacking some of the social issues that drive people to use you know that’s that’s gonna be where we’re gonna get the most bang for our buck hmm that’s a good point yeah so I had heard about the the Portugal thing a few years ago in a class that was about us drug and alcohol policy and I heard it seemingly was very well I kind of looked into it afterwards and I saw some arguments against that it wasn’t doing as well as they’re claiming it is and all that I honestly I haven’t looked it up recently to see if there’s a truth I think people can use numbers to look at it however they choose to look at it and not to get there but so that that the argument becomes what is your goals right and so in Portugal what you do see is a large drop in overdose deaths and drug-related crimes those things are down um that doesn’t necessarily mean addiction in and of itself is down and they say they still have an illegal drug trade market they’re still gangs they still have all those problems so it depends on what your markers are good point you’re deciding is success or not and that depends on who you’re talking to if you’re talking to someone who like in our community now like there are people that believe and I’ll say this seem like politicians and people in power within the Cecil County that think that you know addicts going out and dying is yeah that’s what comes with the territory that’s just you know you made a choice to live that lifestyle and that’s consequences in making those choices right so to those people you know flooding the community with narcan or naloxone or whatever that’s legal name of it is you know they don’t care about that because they’re not overly concerned with overdose deaths rates so they don’t want to take money and put it into reducing overdose deaths because that’s not their concern so uh just to touch on that I feel like if I went and used today it would be a choice right I believe that I could make that choice today do you feel personally like your initiation into using or addiction was ever a choice because I look I’m back I don’t feel like I really made that decision I just think it kind of became my life or maybe it was my life and then substances entered into it I don’t really know so I heard it interesting I can’t remember the lady’s name at this point but she made this sort of argument to that whether it’s a choice or not it’s the same argument as whether it’s a disease or not like those are the wrong questions to be asking if you want to know the truth because they did some study she was involved in a clinic that deals with mental health and addiction and they did some studies where they would bring people in and they would say you know they knew what their drug of choice was say it was heroin they would say here’s ten dollars worth of heroin or here’s twenty dollars cat which one do you want 90% of those people took the $20 in cash they didn’t take even though their drug of choice was heroin so people that are caught up in addiction can still make rational choices so you know choosing to use or choosing not to use I guess I’m not sure what good it does figuring out whether it’s a choice or not yeah so so what if it is a choice you know does that mean we don’t care oh yeah no I see I see you got a good point uh I don’t know I guess because I don’t believe it is I’d like to have it proven that it’s not because then I think we have more of a priority to do something about it right we have more responsibility if we can prove what I already believe which is that it wasn’t a choice now we have a responsibility to [ _ ] help people and we can stop you know talking a bunch of dumb [ _ ] at the level of politics and policy because that is what going back to the whole us drug and alcohol policy class that I took you know five months of insane study just to learn that US drug and alcohol policy is not based on any [ _ ] sensible researches or anything completely based on who had the most money to influence this and what second racial group do we hate this week it’s like holy [ _ ] really yeah all the evidence-based stuff gets ignored it yeah well it doesn’t get ignored so what is there’ll be ten studies nine of which confirm the same thing one of which confirms something else and they’ll go with the one versus the nines because it confirms the bias that they want to participate in but I guess you know again my thing with the choice thing would be something like this if we reframe that question in another context so if you have a person who’s let’s say they’re schizophrenic and they’re on an anti-psychotic medication and we I don’t know about you I’ve known people like this we had a neighbor like this when they go on their medication they seem fine they become rational they can function they do well and for whatever reason somewhere along the line they just go [ _ ] that I don’t want to take that medication anymore they go off their medication and then they’re batshit Chris was my neighbor it was batshit crazy and when I say that I mean like legit like psychotic crazy person um he had all kinds of issues you would see him for years he would be fine and then he would go off his meds and he’d be in you know the corner store where they sell coffee like porn coffee on the floor and stuff they had I call it cops for no rational reason just probably still stigmatizing to say batshit crazy but that’s all right and you know was he making a choice to come off his medication I mean he was rational in that moment that he stopped taking the medication you know and so I guess that’s where I was going with that is you know we as addicts we still make logical and rational choices when we’re using but that doesn’t mean that we’re mentally healthy to make good choices so look I know there are plenty of people who give an antidepressant feel better and then decide they can stop taking it and then they’re depressed again shocking right my father was one of those people he did that shuffle I did not really do coming off of my antidepressant the right way per se right it was kind of a little on my own I did include people in my network to watch over me a bit okay so my wife went through a similar thing and I would say the difference probably is I would imagine I’m gonna take a shot in the dark here and say your dad probably wasn’t involved with any sort of 12-step support group or any sort of outside support group at all no and while as a 12-step support group isn’t technically legally whatever you want to call it a mental health support group that’s what we help right there’s a lot of mental health oh yeah stuff that goes on with what we do in 12-step groups where you have sort of some people that are kind of keeping an eye on you that are watching you that will kind of are you accountable that you’re gonna be able to talk to that you know what I mean so we have those pieces there whereas I think that’s exactly what we need in combating addiction like yeah you can get people to make a choice to not use for a day maybe not used for two days maybe not used for three days but they need supports if you want them to continue that for the long term you know they need mental health supports they need you know just in essence probably love and a [ _ ] hug yeah say I care I want to help you yeah well one of the things that popped out when you said he stopped taking this schizophrenia medication right and I was like why would anybody do that but it’s what made me think of all these people who get on antidepressants and once you feel better you’re kind of hoping you don’t need it anymore I guess and I hate to say maybe that’s where the abstinence based stigma pushes people maybe maybe I so look yet didn’t I have people watching over me absolutely did I have new coping skills yes but I honestly don’t know why when I stopped taking it it worked right because even though these people watching over me I think that just gives me the ability to see that it’s not working quicker really because I have outside view of me I don’t know why it worked for me and it doesn’t for some right I really don’t I guess it was just that time for me but I do understand why people stop taking it because you want to not have to do it right you want to be okay without it like that was my drive and you could go down a whole rabbit hole of SSRIs which are the anti depressant medications and see if they sorta maybe up to one day too and and if depression really is a medic you know there are different levels of depression whether you’re clinically depressed or whether you’re just made a bunch of shitty choices and they feel sad about that there’s a lot of different levels even to that and so we figure out you know addiction is the same way not every addict has been in some neglected abused home suffer in their whole life in some you know ghetto and now using as some relief like there’s all levels of that all the way up to the highly functioning addict who’s a lawyer at a law firm who still drinks every day you know but has all the money and stuff and physic you know keep whatever you want to call it social acceptability you know where that person is still an addict I think the further we get the more we learn how we’ve kind of put autism on a spectrum right everything that we encounter in life especially at least mental health is a spectrum right you’re not either at the 100% mark because you’re a man or the 0% mark that you’re a woman like everybody’s on this continuum of somewhere between zero and a hundred percent of something no matter what that is man and woman masculine and feminine autism are not autism depressed and not depressed like it’s all on this line you know there’s no black and white points of this you either have it or you don’t and I would venture to say you’re right addiction is probably on that line of you know I don’t know I don’t fits how addicted you are or how much you suffer with the consequences of that feeling or what but I doubt it’s a black-and-white switch of being on or off and all that to say you know as you asked like what what do we do what can we do about some of this well you know what probably guilt shaming and embarrassing some people works and that probably works for a small amount of people locking some people up throw them in jail probably works what we can say though is does it work for the majority probably not right is it the the best answer no so what I think we get at what I try to look at it as you know there isn’t an easy magical fix it’s more of a system of care where we bring people in try to figure out hey what’s going on with you what are what are your quote-unquote problems what’s what is it in you that’s pushing you to want to go kill yourself with drugs right um I hate to say but for some people that’s just gonna be the choice that they’re gonna make that this is just what I want to do I like getting high I don’t like being in reality and that’s a choice I’m gonna make oh we can’t it is gonna save everybody there’s gonna be a percentage of people that are always going to use and always be addicts and you know they’re gonna die from addiction what we can do is try to eliminate or minimize some of that you know try to try to save as many people as we can and then not judge and belittle and criticize the people who don’t make the choice to get better right as we’ve seen the war on drugs and the shame and guilt of society has not fixed this problem at all no we lost yeah it’s over the last thing I’d like to say though about addiction is you know if you do choose to use or decide that you know absent in space isn’t for you and and you’re gonna go back out and use there are some basic things you can do to try to keep yourself safe from overdose they are sort of at least in this immediate community and some other places you can get narcan the lock soon keep it with you if he can probably a couple of doses you know when I hear nowadays a couple of rumors there is no narcan resistant heroin or fentanyl out there right now that’s a myth that’s not a thing there is no and there’s people that will debate this but there is no actual evidence of transmission of fentanyl through skin touching or any of that so if you help someone who’s in an overdose you can’t get high off of touching their skin even if they’re wet and all that stuff that’s actually all myth that’s not true um so if you’re gonna be someone that uses you know having our cane with you use around other people preferably some people that care about you and that aren’t just gonna leave you in a [ _ ] alley somewhere you know maybe some people that say hey look man if I go out here’s my narcan [ _ ] keep me alive and find groups there are groups or places that hey if maintenance I mean if assonance basis and for you find a group or a support group for people that you know are ok with people that are using you know there are people in the community that still want to love you and care about you even if you make the choice to use you know you’re not a bad person yeah we talk about opinions about harm reduction and I actually ended up having this conversation because I have all these random online conversations with somebody on reddit who is on suboxone and I can’t I can have whatever [ _ ] opinions I want about harm reduction methods what I can tell you is this individual this younger person was so [ _ ] excited talking about how they were going to be back to themselves for Christmas again and be able to be a part of their [ _ ] family and love people if they really truly loved and not make completely self-centered decisions based around their addiction and they were just so thrilled about it and it’s like how the [ _ ] can I judge that as bad right they were a part of their life again I’m sure their parents were [ _ ] absolutely thrilled and back yeah great and and those are the most important asset to me personally though the most important aspects are making sure people are getting the right mental health you know needs met making sure they’re getting you know counseling and supports for improving their lives um and then making those family connections and building those bonds and and building those relationships back like those are the the foundations on which they can shoot for whatever their goal is in recovery you know it’s just think we’ve talked about you know initially in recovery my goal was a [ _ ] stay out of jail like that was the goal I don’t want to go to jail anymore my life’s a [ _ ] wreck I hate living this way I don’t want that that’s what my parents of right as I’ve stayed clean and stayed that my goals became a lot higher than not embarrassing or humiliating myself anymore you know now I have higher goals that I’ve been able to achieve because I’ve been able to maintain a long term recovery path right so just to wrap up here today I guess if we’re all done I did put out a question of like hey what can people do for tips on new years like so for me a lot of holidays I’ve found and we’re four minutes okay a lot of holidays I found have I just realized when I got clean or stopped drinking or whatever it was that they don’t have any purpose for me whatsoever New Year’s Eve was completely about [ _ ] getting obliterated st. Patrick’s Day I’m sure there’s you know most of the holidays really revolved around how much can I drink and so I don’t have that anymore so I just tend to ignore them honestly I don’t those days don’t mean anything to me st. Patrick’s Day is it’s [ _ ] March 17th right that’s just another day to me but so people who are newer and still have a connection to that what can you do some of the tips I got where don’t use obviously that’s pretty brilliant right they said it volunteer for the crisis hotline that night right so most fellowships have some sort of crisis hotline where you can field calls from people who don’t well I think that’s a pretty good idea what I wouldn’t think of somebody else said you can call that same crisis line and find out what meetings are open in the area probably if you need a meeting a lot of areas do some kind of marathon meeting that starts like New Year’s Eve and then ends New Year’s Day so if you need somewhere to be so just tips like that ways to stay away from you know what seems to be what everyone else is doing on that day just remember it’s not what everyone’s doing there’s plenty of us not doing the insane drinking or partying that we think is normal yeah and it’s just important I think to build a network of people that are sort of like-minded and share your goals and values you know if you’re trying to get out of you know the party lifestyle if you’re in chaotic use and you know you’re trying to get out of that lifestyle you know it’s not a good idea to go try to hang around with your old friends you got to try to build some new relationships and unfortunately that’s awkward and weird and whatever but it may be something as simple as find a local church organization that’s doing a New Year’s dinner fine you know some outside thing that’s doing you know a New Year’s event and just take another person and go out to some an event with new people and have a good time go to the movies you know do something different yeah maybe change enough that idea like said maybe changing up the idea that New Year’s isn’t really a party night there’s a lot of people out you know obviously drinking and driving and you know the chaos that comes with just being harassed by the cops if you’re out and and all that like maybe it’s a better idea to stay home and we’ve done you know we’ve stayed home with our kids and gotten champagne and the fake champagne the grape stuff then right and you know look kids stay up with us we all try to stay up till midnight and watch the ball drop and do that just with our kids is just to stay at home kind of thing and then other years we’ve gone out and hung out with people in recovery and like a completely you know chemically environmentally free yeah if you don’t believe a portion of the population is not using on New Year’s Eve the tenant under crowd is very much so not anything no one else okay they’re pretty clean that night so that’s all I got I think we’re done talking about this we’ve babbled quite a bit today we will be back next week hopefully I will finally not be [ __ ] sick and I’ll be able to talk again I’m looking forward to that you got anything else no just stay safe this New Year’s um fine a group of people that loves and cares about you and bring in the new year with some positive change absolutely looking forward to 2020 and I think we’re gonna cover step one next week so that’s exciting alright we’ll see you later that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for topics you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through Anker email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of

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