139: Spiritual Principle – Commitment (Sort Of)

This month we are talking about the spiritual principle of commitment. Jenny joins us to examine what commitment is, how it might be different than any other choice we make, and how to practice commitment. Commitment can seem like a lifelong decision, or an eternal choice, but maybe commitment is softer and more like choosing to do something for now that works. Listen in as we discuss commitment and share your thoughts on how commitment works in your life. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason and i am committed to this podcast and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and i’m jenny i’m also a person in long-term recovery and we’re talking about commitment following along with our spiritual principles which i i you know i was thinking the other day way ahead i was like oh we’re gonna have to have something month by month next year maybe we’ll do all the spiritual principles that we don’t do this year or something and i was like we’re gonna get bored of me saying i don’t believe in these like that’s just gonna get old at some point i have the same argument every month so just to talk about some comments we got we had a comment on our trust episode uh which was our last spiritual principle and cairo said show me that i can trust you and i will trust you to some degree i’ve been restored to clarity okay well thank you and then this one from michelangelo probably not the painter or the turtle i went to an al-anon meeting in a church to explain what is addiction to confirm my theory that liars fool liars liars reject the truth victimism runs in families partners of addicts act out the role of martyr believe the addict is a victim and want others to believe the same the tragedy of addiction is children who revenge a childhood hurt or trauma against their parents learning from example becoming victims of themselves so as to conceal the hatred to hurt others y’all still follow the attendees didn’t even show any interest or reaction after saying that i am a recovering addict and i claim i can prove i have discovered the cure to addiction it is convenient to not accept responsibility for the upbringing of your own children who revenge an unhappy hurtful childhood believing the absurdity that addiction is a disease of the brain even when the truth would save their children parents of addicts persist lying parents of addicts believe and testify they are wonderful loving carers as opposed to the stark reality that their own addicted children hate them because they were hurt by them and silence the truth addiction is the psychology of a liar hate comes from hate and psychology is transmitted from parents who are religious nationalists and socialists to children are you lost wow i was listening for the cure of addiction yeah it was a very interesting comment um i i mean it’s judging me but i i tend to i don’t know like think what the hell when people don’t write complete full sentences that make sense to me i’m like well i just count your view already but i i try not to um i’m just going to say thanks for sharing thanks for sharing sharon is pretty nice doesn’t she um i i think i asked what the problem was or or what the the truth about addiction was or i i don’t know i didn’t get anything how did it tie into socialism

i don’t know i don’t know but uh it was an interesting comment so thank you uh for listening michelangelo maybe it was the turtle typing that out i don’t know we do want more conversations so we do but i just wasn’t really sure what he was trying to get at or i i mean where did we begin and the idea look it’s cool to have some ideas but to go into an al-anon meeting and tell them they’re all liars and you know the truth about addiction is kind of a bold statement i don’t think anybody’s going to be very receptive too right you know so i mean it’s delivery as much even if you have great information if you’re not coming into a place and delivering it in a way people can hear it it’s kind of useless yeah there’s a bunch of other spiritual principles that go into giving all that information like compassion and empathy and love and kindness you know you know and that’s fascinating the basis of your approach you saying that uh is fascinating to me because how many times in my life have i stood on this like self-righteous podium of something and not had those other spiritual principles in line and like wondered why people can’t see how right i am like right duh yeah that’s why well i think that’s what happens even within our fellowships with the judgments we place on people who whatever relapse or are on a maintenance program or doing different stuff it’s like it’s okay to have you know opinions on that stuff but they should be based in like love and empathy and you know compassion like we should start there not start with the criticism and judgment and point out why they’re wrong right look how wrong and dumb you are check me out anyway so uh thank you for your comments they’re always interesting if nothing else definitely so let’s move into commitment which i fear is gonna go the same place all these go for me at least um so the definition this i actually this was kind of mind-blowing for me to read the definition of commitment i i was fascinated by this so the first one not so much it said the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause activity etc i was like okay that’s cool state or quality of being dedicated to a cause i don’t know that i could tell someone how to practice to get better at that right off the top of my head but it’s interesting that that’s a definition but the second one blew my goddamn mind here’s the second definition of commitment people an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action and i said oh i don’t want that ever like why would i ever want to be a part of something that restricts my freedom of action that’s terrible think of like healthy eating or i mean if you make a commitment to a healthy diet you’re doing that restricting your freedom of choice of foods but i don’t ever want to restrict my freedom of choice i might want to shift my actions to a more loving choice for me but i don’t want to restrict my freedom of choice which i think is how we look at this word play isn’t it like i don’t think so if i know if i go to a buffet or a restaurant i can eat whatever’s there you know what i mean i have a choice of whatever’s there but if i’m like oh i am committed to not eating cake i still have the freedom of choice but it doesn’t like it well and that’s where uh if if nothing else i can already tell you that this would be another virtue in my mind as opposed like i feel like we look at spiritual principles as things you’re supposed to do all the goddamn time no matter what without flaw like you’re supposed to be honest all the time and maybe looking at him like virtues kind of like the old greeks did and this middle path of a balance right i mean total commitment is the captain going down with his ship that’s [ __ ] stupid like getting a lifeboat bro you don’t need to be that committed right like there’s no reason for that and and i think we look at commitment in its success we’re like well that’s when you’re 100 committed and you never eat that cake and i think that’s terrible i think you should have the freedom to eat that cake sometimes if you want like that’s it feels like prison if not you know what a spiritual principle should not be prison society like often says like oh commitment is a like a cherished value like it like upholds your character if you are committed um but it’s also funny that um when they say you should be committed that means to go to the loon event yeah right yeah you get committed to an institution it doesn’t feel very open-minded that’s what i was thinking when we were brainstorming for this episode like being committed feels kind of stubborn and not very open-minded that’s that was the feeling yeah when i started thinking about this episode coming up well and billy took it to to diet which i guess is a little easier to to hear like okay yeah i still don’t like the idea of that restriction that sounds like a prison to me right that sounds like i no longer have a choice of doing what’s best for me in the moment it sounds like i’m base or what if it’s more like surrender does that feel better instead of prison surrender to commitment but i guess the idea of commitment doesn’t leave me space to one change my mind or two do something different in a different situation with different context right maybe i don’t want to eat cake after dinner every day of my life that’s a pretty good commitment but commitment to me feels like all in solid 100 and when i go to the birthday party i can’t have a piece of cake either you know what i mean like different situations call for different things well i think it depends on what you’re committing to but it’s almost like jenny was talking about in a different way so when i commit to healthy living or a healthy diet i’m not committing to necessarily never eating sugar again i mean maybe i do maybe that’s what i commit to you know but if that’s not what i’m committing to then i can eat a piece of cake every now and again it’s like you know the captain going down with the ship like that is a probably in my opinion and maybe in yours a poor thing to commit to whereas to the captain it’s obviously not to him that’s an important thing that he committed to but the concept of commitment isn’t the problem there the problem is what did you commit to or what are you committing to what came up for me when i read that when i read that the definition was an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action anything that restricts freedom of action like stops you from doing an action so i’m gonna jump a little bit ahead because this ties i read something about uh some benefits of commitment then i was going to kind of throw that in towards the end but it kind of ties in here of why this might be good why the idea of limited action might be good let me let me try to be open

because what i thought of was marriage instantly i was like oh committed to a partnership obligation that restricts freedom of action and what i thought of was like we hold tightly to this idea of monogamy so to speak even though we’ll say like billy i would never tell you that it’s healthy that you should expect everything that’s that’s good for you and healthy for you to come from your wife like you should probably have friendship relationships and relationships outside of that where you get different aspects of things that are you know bring your life quality you should never just count on your wife to give you everything that would be ridiculous right i think we all kind of agree with that but then we go into this idea of commitment and we’re like you know if my wife is on a girl’s trip in vegas uh she definitely has an obligation to restrict what would bring a quality experience to her life if that would include like sleeping with some other dude why why would i ever want the person i love to miss out on something they feel would be a great experience for the short life they live i think that has to do with your values yeah what values you place on i mean i don’t know a monogamous relationship well maybe but but like where where is the loving piece of commitment in that you should be committed to me because you don’t want to hurt my masculinity like what’s the commitment where’s the love in that the love would be do what you think in that moment is gonna be what’s good for your life because i love you and i don’t want you to miss out on life it would be the same as me saying uh no wife you should not go back to college or change careers i don’t want you to do that even though that’s what you feel is good for your a good experience for your life there’s no difference there it’s me restricting someone else because of my own the way i feel but there’s a lot of different things that go into those decisions that are up to each individual situation i guess i don’t it just i don’t know i i couldn’t we talk about being in committed relationships and i could not put love into a committed relationship where it’s going to restrict people’s freedom of action that just kind of blew my mind i guess your cake thing kind of threw me off but like that’s where my brain went right so here let me just give you some of these a couple of these benefits that i think answer your question if not you can tell me but i think this i’ll argue so it says clarity vague commitments [  ] and confuse you don’t know where to go or what to do when you aren’t committed the less committed you are the more confused you can become another one was decisions goals enable no are you to say no uh commitments turn shiny objects into distractions i think that that sounds like a bad thing yeah that’s backwards i think it says no when you don’t have commitments shiny objects turn into distractions from what you’re set at so i’m already criticizing and judging whoever wrote this because they can’t even get their english right and then uh fulfillment commitment leads to contribution contribution produces fulfillment so like i think those three things say yes we are limiting some of our choices but that’s not always a bad thing like limiting some of our freedom of choice isn’t always inherently wrong i don’t know why isn’t it well maybe it’s like a tool for focus it seems to me commitment is a way for people to create an identity you know like you know i am i’m an exerciser i’m a husband i’m a you know i’m i’m a healthy eater you know so maybe commitment just as a shortcut tool to figure out or just to say who you are in the world yeah that sounds like it’s really tied into ego yeah but maybe some people need that like when you’re talking about the marriage example you know in a in a relationship that you describe like not everybody’s capable of doing that to let their wife go be with somebody in vegas that might crumble their ego and so the commitment there the marriage commitment keeps the other spouse from just folding you know and because not everybody’s healthy like so it keeps them an illusion doesn’t it i was curious about the woman’s take on that yeah i’m like i mean i guess in an ultimate idealistic enlightened world sure the example you gave is great yeah go have fun in vegas but so many of us are just still broken and healing that would be very detrimental not to honor the commitment and it would make things worse so i mean sure if both parties were doing great mental health wise go for it and i don’t have the information in front of me so i’m going to totally [  ] this up but i listened to a podcast that a guy that was polyamorous did like he was talking about polyamory and he brought up some of the benefits of monogamous relationships what i’m curious about now is i don’t know if that meant monogamous just in general like a couple side flings would be okay or if these bet because he ted talked about in raising a family and and those sorts of things like you know there’s there’s been studies done that show that monogamous relationships when raising families there’s benefits to the kids and things like that with stability and trust and who ran these studies the guy that gave the information was a polyamorous so he doesn’t mean i mean who would who would go out and seek to prove that monogamous relationships were beneficial for kids except netflix right except people who wanted monogamous relationships to be the norm like of course that’s who’s going to publish those studies like nobody else would run that research they don’t give a [  ] yeah or whether it was even possible to do studies how limited your studies would be on places that had multiple right like a more communal living or something yeah to me i’m gonna throw that research out even without knowing about it because that sounds like [  ] you know you just throw it out oh yeah but and again i don’t i wasn’t prepared to discuss the monogamy yeah monogamy at the moment what if that guy was actually he just never had sex with two people at the same time so he was monogamous in any single encounter he had so well what i can say for myself back to like commitment and even monogamy is at times in my life where i you know early in my life when i was using i would say i would do all kinds of [  ] because that was the type person i was i wanted to help people i wanted to be kind i think that was my nature but because i wouldn’t show up or couldn’t show up or didn’t show up and i didn’t have this value on commitment i would tell you oh yeah jason i’ll be over saturday to help you move and then when saturday came yeah i might come help you move i might not if something better came along i was going to do that other thing and i might not even [  ] call you and tell you that i wasn’t coming i would just not show up and then i’d be like uh well something else came up sorry [  ] get over it that made me feel like a bad person like i didn’t like living that way because i was not you know i didn’t follow through when i said i was going to do something that didn’t mean [  ] you know now i like to think that i am a person that follows through on what i say and when i don’t i still feel bad like i realize like there is some value as a human that if i tell jenny i’m gonna show up to do something for you that means something that has value to it and i agree with that but so say i told jenny i was going to show up to help her move and then some other opportunity presented itself that was you know i’m not saying some other funner opportunity because probably anything would be funnier funner than helping jenny move right just sit in the [  ] home would be way better oh hey my buddy called we’re going to go get donuts sorry jenny i can’t make it but there’s plenty of things that could pop up that would have that same date that would make me back out of that commitment and i’m not going to feel bad about it not a whole lot i mean there’s always going to be that little piece that’s like ah that sucks i hope jenny work jenny’s moving works out okay but like if one of my kids gets an opportunity to go see something that’s like i don’t want to say once in a lifetime but you know it doesn’t come along every day or something pops up for me i might change my mind and that’s where i think like this idea of commitment is a little too much like it’s i should not be so committed to helping jenny move that it restricts my action when i get offered to you know oh my god i just got this [  ] award and i’m supposed to go accept it at a ceremony in new york that day or something like no i should not be that [  ] committed that’s crazy it should not restrict my action of doing something just because it came along afterwards well i don’t think restrict means eliminate i mean it’s not like you never get another choice restrict just means narrows down what you’re getting i mean if we’re getting strictly into the definition part restrict just means you just narrowed down like no you’re not just gonna go off to watch butterflies in the [  ] park you’re gonna show up to help her move but if something important comes up you might so maybe maybe let’s not uh maybe that’s not like dwell too long maybe you would get watching i love butter i’m not moving let’s go watch the butterflies right jenny you sure you want to move those butterflies in the park come on girl uh let’s let’s not get i guess here’s here’s the real final thought i had about that uh and you guys are welcome to have a final thought after me i don’t need the last word um but i i do have some other stuff to talk about but when i think of commitment i have always thought positive thing good thing healthy thing right that’s what came to mind that kind of sensation commitment is good right and to read obligation that restricts freedom of action if i just came to you and said hey billy uh do you feel positive or negative towards an obligation that restricts freedom of action like i think especially as an american you’re gonna be like restricts freedom [  ] that [  ] that’s a terrible concept and that’s what fascinated me was the definition seemed to have this negative connotation of restrict freedom of action which sounds awful it sounds like a [  ] straight jacket or a prison cell whereas the idea of commitment is always i’ve thought of it as a highlight and so i was like wow that blows my [  ] mind but i guess i don’t hear those words as restrict freedom of action is i mean obviously it doesn’t sound like yay that sounds great but that’s not a bad thing for me i don’t think that’s a bad thing let’s tie him up after the episode and restrict his freedom of action for the rest of the day so then i go back to i’m trying to think of things in my life that i have a commitment to might be my home group you know what i mean my recovery home group that i show up to every week i don’t always want to [  ] go there i have other [  ] i’d rather be doing there’s stuff around the house that he’s done something with i’d rather [  ] sit home and watch tv than go there you know but i’ve made a commitment to show up there so i show up there not every week obviously it was on vacation couldn’t go don’t feel bad about that my son had a baseball game last you know mine’s on wednesday i couldn’t go i let him know hey won’t be there son’s got a baseball game so you know it’s not that i am 100 committed never miss no matter what but that’s what i do you know now it’s on wednesday nights that’s what i do on wednesday nights unless you know something of a higher value in my life comes up but that doesn’t mean i’m going to sit home and watch [  ] tv and and i think that’s beautiful and i do i get it i get that there’s like this positive piece of you know what being committed can do um i feel like i’m committed to my job and i show up every day but i don’t think of it as commitment i wake up and i do the thing that’s right for me like i’m committed to the idea of doing what’s right for me whenever so that like it just happens to be that that works out that means i’m committed to my job because i like showing up there but i guess that example for me is almost perfect because from watching you over time before you changed home groups to this wednesday group i felt like you struggled for like quite a long time with your your old home group about the attendance or about if it was recovery oriented enough at times like i feel like you always felt like there was some benefit to it because you really liked the guys and there was a good you know closeness between you and a bond but i did feel like i watched you struggle because you were committed to that home group whereas if you weren’t so strongly committed you could have much easily much more easily just have switched home groups a long time before you did right but the error was in what i was committed to not the action of commitment so what i was committed to was my friendships there and my history there i wasn’t committed to the quality of recovery that was there and so i had to reassess you know what i mean all right so i’m committed to let’s be honest i was committed to some friendships and you know just liking hanging out with those guys and then a history and those are they’re not they’re not nothing you know what i mean they carry some value but should that carry more value than the quality of recovery that i’m gonna get which is really should be why i’m going there in the first place and i think once i was able to make that decision like oh what i need to be committing to is my recovery not hanging out with some buddies on a thursday night because that’s what i’ve done for 20 years so commitment’s only as good as as long as it’s beneficial like as soon as it’s no longer beneficial then commitment’s over you know so i’m just going to say what jason wants to say and is commitment even real you know like it just that was on the tip of your tongue right i mean it wasn’t exactly but i i it’s like this so when billy just described that what i thought of is he did exactly what i’d do which is he’s committed to what’s best for him in any given moment but i don’t feel like that’s how commitment i don’t want to say was taught to me because i don’t know that anybody actually taught me commitment but the idea i gather from commitment when i got in the rooms and people started saying that word the connotation that i have to that is that i need to be obligated to this thing whatever it is that i decide on and that makes it really hard for me to change it like you know and what they even say like what works for you in one part of your recovery doesn’t work in another part and all these good things but like i feel like the idea of commitment makes me hang on to things too long because i feel this sense of i need to be doing this because i committed to it like and maybe i just need to reevaluate what i think about committing to things and be more committed to me right and i was thinking about with the the spiritual principles in your thing of you know what we’ve been going through with all these spiritual principles and i guess the way that i understand them a little differently is these are all like tools that i sort of learn about and then decide whether it’s useful in my life or not and if it is useful in my life then how do i practice it in place of me just doing what the [  ] i want when i want because my understanding of me as an addict is that when i just do what the [  ] i want when i want it doesn’t usually turn out well for my life i don’t know every time i do what i want when i want i learn and grow i think people like us kind of well maybe the people like us that alcoholics and addicts you know we need commitment we need that word or that concept of principle because we were committed to our drug or alcohol you know we is is commitment addiction and then we have to commit to this new way of living because we you know we finally figured out that drugs and alcohol were not beneficial you know whatever reason health money legal and then we had to like recommit to something else and then i guess when we find out like in your case you switched meetings up or some people leave meetings all together you know like how do you that’s like you’re not committed to anything are you just committed to you like it’s definitely a principle i think addicts need because what i’m thinking is is we are committed to the drugs and alcohol and then we got to commit to something else before we can really be free i think it ties into the ego kind of like the pendulum swinging from one side to the other it’s like when you’re so far one way the pendulum almost has to swing to the opposite extreme for a while before it can come back and settle towards the middle yeah somewhere before you can like break free and just that little ball flies into space yeah balls flying in space a little different but i like a pendulum analogy of like i read a thing that says you know commitment and obsession are cousins and like when i read that i immediately thought of you know what i’ve learned in the sixth step is that you know our our defects are assets that are overblown so like commitment is an asset and then if we let that go into obsession it becomes a defect and like with addiction like that was definitely an obsession that wasn’t just a like i was [  ] more than committed you know right yeah i was committed without definitely no freedom of choice yeah i was going down with this ship to the wrong things um and i can do that still in my life if i’m not real careful let that obsession take over and put me into really dangerous waters on healthy things that i should be committed to i feel like the two takeaways it’s not so much that i don’t think these spiritual principles exist exactly the two takeaways i’ve had from every spiritual principle episode so far is one the idea i used to have that these principles are supposed to be done 100 percent all the time absolute is [  ] distorted and i’m probably looking for this middle path more like buddhism says and the other aspect i take out of it is that like i don’t actually know how to help anyone practice these and i’ve really questioned if they’re not just attributes that we have from our life that we have to certain levels all of us you know whether that’s one percent or 99 and we just have it or we don’t and not that it can’t adjust over time through our life experience but i don’t know that there’s any like surefire way to like hold it against people or myself for having it or not having it at any given moment i don’t know that there’s like i’m gonna go home and practice commitment today and i’m gonna get better at it like i don’t think that that [ __ ] exists i think we just have a level so um from the doctor’s perspective what about okay i might get the wrong chemical uh no you’re the doctor in the room um so when moms have a baby is it oxytocin help me out yes okay the bonding hormone the yeah so does that is there like chemicals in the body that help commitment when moms have a baby or make a baby they’re doing that’s right so like could that be like is that like a commitment chemical like do can people have more oxytocin to encourage commitment or any other hormone or anything i mean it sounds feasible i have no idea like the commitment chemical i didn’t read about any of that the one thing i did read uh dr heidi reader did a book she wrote a book commit to win and she came up with a formula of what commitment like level of commitment so here’s the formula the treasures minus the troubles plus contributions minus choices equals levels of commitment thank you michelangelo

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so the first element is what she calls treasures treasures are rewards they’re either internal or external so importantly these awards must go to the self others can benefit but the strongest goals we have and commitment we have are when we see the value for ourselves so that’s the treasures piece then you have to subtract from treasures the troubles troubles will always come up during commitments uh commitment in order for commitment to proceed treasures need to outnumber troubles five to one and this can be daunting since negative events are more likely to affect us than positive i am not committed to math the third is the contributions setting a goal is not enough you have to put something on the line in order for a goal or commitment to be valuable so continued contributions like time money telling others makes it more difficult to leave your commitment because you’ve already invested and then there’s the choices the more choices you have as alternatives to the commitment the weaker the commitment will be so if you can reduce the choices either real or projected you increase the commitment so if you take all that together there’s got to be five times the reward for yourself as there is the negative parts of it you know committing to it so there’s got to be five times the benefit of not eating cake as there is to the joy of the sugary taste then you gotta you know factor in how many times have i posted the status on facebook about my my gym gains and my diet right how many people have i told and then there’s got to be limited number of choices like you can’t have every dessert and you can’t walk into the bakery on sunday morning with all the great [  ] danishes right you gotta you know go somewhere where there’s maybe a donut and it’s a plain doughnut you’re like yeah whatever that’s stupid donut anyway so for her there’s a formula for this and it’s it plays out like she’s done the research she didn’t just make this [  ] up and and to me that says that this isn’t really something we can kind of gain i mean we can sort of impact these things like i can tell a lot of people i’m going to quit vaping if that’s what i want to do that maybe increases i can but that requires so much self-awareness yeah i mean there’s a lot of self-awareness in there which is probably why when people come in we just jump into i’m committed to it all right or when i go home from work like ah tv or go to the meeting [  ] i’m not like trying to figure out all right what are the benefits and what are they like now i’m just gonna [  ] [  ] tv well and here’s so she went on further right there’s a mysterious part of commitment that we have not figured out yet she said that formula only accounts for 66 of what goes on during commitment she’s tried to look at like grit and self-confidence and continues to test other components to see what fully explains why commitment is possible but i thought that was pretty fascinating just a take on it yeah i do like that formula there’s at least something of substance there that we’re measuring but again for me that and maybe that’s just the way i read that information that sounds like oh this isn’t a thing that we actually practice necessarily or get better at this is a thing that if you took the information of someone’s life you could tell how committed they were going to be to something it’s not actually like some inner oh see i took that different i guess when i heard that i thought you were talking about how you decide whether you should commit to something or not oh no this is this tells you the level of commitment that equation gives you 66 of the level of commitment that a person will have in any given situation if you like factor in these pieces that’s what you’ll find is how long they’re going to start i mean i don’t want to say it’s ridiculous but how do you you know the value of what i put on watching a documentary that’s on tv is going to be different than the value that you put on this yeah and how would you figure out how to rate that in your positive negative list of five to one ratio well i think that’s probably based on self-reporting right like if i say going to see this movie is is a nine and you say it’s a two well that tells us the level of influence it is i didn’t even think about the movie that was out if i knew it was out i might have went but right i didn’t know so i didn’t make that or i said i guess that’s where there was five other movies that i never heard but anyway yeah so it’s i don’t know but it’s interesting it made it a little more tangible for me right okay there is a level of this commitment that you can measure or look at yeah but you can’t you can’t do a lot to change it so here’s the way i look at that when you said you know we can’t i i guess i think we can grow these ideas in ourselves or or grow these principles or practice them um i mean i’ve always said like i believe spiritual principles are like a sport or anything else like i learn about them and i investigate them and i read and i write and i talk about them and then i you know figure out how to practice them in my life when opportunities come up i do those things and i see what happens what the results are um for me in recovery i didn’t necessarily know that i was terrible at commitments until i did like a fifth and a sixth step and went over you know my history and that i was this kind of person and i didn’t like the way that it made me feel then i learned hey this is a practice of commitment when you are a person that practices commitment you show up when the [  ] you say you’re going to do something in other words don’t say you’re going to do something unless you plan on following through with it like that’s an important concept to learn i always wanted to do that i mean my intention when i told you i was going to show up to help you was not to be like i’m probably not coming but that’s the way that i lived like i wasn’t in alignment with the way that i wanted to be i wasn’t practicing what i wanted to do and so recovery helped me just to point that out to make that connection and then to understand like oh what commitment is is showing up when you say you’re going to show up for something doing what you say you’re going to do being where you say you’re going to be pretty simple that’s what i try to do now i’m not perfect at it i still mess up and i don’t show up for things and you know i have missed my home group to watch tv that’s happened you know like that’s happened too but like now i know like when that happens and i don’t feel good about it’s like oh [  ] yeah that’s because i wasn’t practicing this thing that i said i was gonna do i don’t need to necessarily put the commitment label on it but it’s like i said i was gonna do this thing and i didn’t do it and now i have this bad feeling i guess what i’m trying to deduce from what you just said is like what actually changed in the moment before you felt like you could be committed and show up for things to the moment after like nothing actually changed except oh education and self-awareness well you were made aware that the you know going back to that equation like the treasure of showing up was more valuable than you realized like you didn’t know that not showing up was hurting you and when you did these steps that you’re describing or whatever like you were made aware oh [  ] i’ve been putting a two value on showing up because that’s what i thought it meant but now i’m realizing like [  ] that’s like that holds a nine that’s really important right like it hurts me when i don’t so you really just changed the the level of like value you put on these different things but it’s not i don’t know like did anything else really change besides that the thing is as long as it’s beneficial commitment’s good but the situation always changes nothing stays the same so commitment will will definitely change too you know because you know you may you make a commitment when something’s set a certain way but everything changes always so then it’s really there’s no value to committing because it’s going to change and maybe it’ll still say beneficial but you know maybe if it changes if it changes for the worse the commitment’s over yeah is there like a buddhist concept of commitment or how they use commitment oh yeah i didn’t i didn’t look that up i mean you commit to the to the the eightfold path i should have looked that up before i came but you know when you were talking about the spiritual principles it did make me think of the eightfold path in that it’s not that you master each factor of the path one after the other you kind of work them all together and that’s how i see these spiritual principles working too is you know commitment works when you commit to the like you commit to the spiritual principle of trust or one of the other spiritual principles we talked about like honesty yeah honesty and you know like they they work like as a woven system not like individual yeah and that’s how the eightfold path operates but like for me i i mean commitment’s important for like me specifically because like let’s take the gym like i don’t like working out i don’t i hate it and i get up early and i go but i have been educated enough to know like it helps i have high anxiety you know what i mean i have a lot of stress a lot of physical you know i know i carry it physically i had a lot of physical ailments i started working out a couple years ago and a lot of that i could feel it go down in my life you know i got health benefits all this stuff so i know it’s beneficial but i still hate it if i wasn’t like committed to that routine of getting up every morning and going i wouldn’t go and in fact the last couple of days of the week i’ve been obsessing about this house project and let that take priority and now i’m feeling some of the effects of negating my commitment like it’s like i was committed to that until some brighter shinier thing came along that’s not even [  ] healthy for me but that distracted me and took me off my committed path and now i feel like i’m suffering you know we talked this morning suffering a lot of anxiety and [  ] this morning over some nonsense silly stuff that shouldn’t be causing me all this anxiety but it’s like my heart’s racing and i’m my head’s going a million miles an hour and i’m like oh you need coffee related to you know i didn’t go do my exercise and [  ] in the morning like all last week like could that be why i’m like oh yeah because i was committed to that until something else distracted me there’s always so much self-shame when we put judgments on what we shouldn’t be reacting to instead of just allowing ourselves to have a reaction it’s like oh this thing is so stupid and minuscule why do i have this dumbass big reaction to it it’s like you have a reaction it’s okay i thinking about the buddhism thing i i i mean to me buddhists are committed to the idea of like meditation not being caught up in the illusion of the world and finding enlightenment like that’s the commitment to finding a true relationship with what is real which is nothing to some extent like isn’t that the commitment i yes and i think there’s more like billy shout out meditation that’s definitely part of buddhist that’s something they think you should do regularly too but to seek the outcome of the actual commitment i mean if meditation wasn’t getting you there they would switch it up and do something else like it’s it’s not right but i don’t think they and i could be wrong but isn’t it like even the buddhist still meditated like even though he was enlightened or does he ever need to meditate i think he continued to meditate yeah i think the meditation is to take away the distraction that keeps us from finding the truth or the enlightenment or whatever it is it’s also to be committed to that do you think they want to meditate every time it’s like mental training yeah it’s it’s like exercising your brain so this kind of there was another thing i read about behavioral economics and it says commitments are often used as a tool to counteract people’s lack of willpower and to achieve behavior change such as in the areas of dieting or saving that’s me the greater the cost of breaking a commitment the more effective it is which was from research in 2010 from the perspective of social psychology individuals are motivated to maintain a consistent and positive self image which is from research from 2008 they are likely to keep commitments to avoid reputational damage if done publicly and or cognitive dissonance dissonance which is when you think you’re a certain way but don’t want to find out you aren’t uh and it said a field experiment in a hotel for example found 25 percent greater towel reuse among guests who made a commitment to reuse towels at check-in and wore a quote friend of the earth end quote lapel pin to signal their commitment during their stay so they did this research signaling in 2012 they did this research right the behavior change technique of goal setting is related to making commitments while reciprocity involves an implicit commitment but the the the point was they took these people they put them in a hotel they asked them to reuse the towels to save the environment and the people who agreed to this and wore the lapel pin were 25 more likely to be committed to that idea and actually do it so it’s more this talks about commitment ends up being more about how we look it’s about reputational damage commitment as an identity yeah which uh i guess for me as a guy who’s really trying to explore this world of like [  ] all that stupid [  ] like that even puts me more again i think that’s just that was a bad example because the lapel pin thing like i i think they were just using that as an example of how they once people made this commitment that they followed through but that was a [  ] i saved the earth by not reusing my towel yeah i don’t know i mean i i think it kind of does explain some of why we do this commitment thing it’s about how we look it’s about egos it’s about yeah shame public shaming shame guilt like yeah but i think shame is just like the spiritual principles like shame isn’t always a bad thing like it’s obviously we shouldn’t shame other people but shame as a feeling that i feel is an indicator that i need to take a look at something now whether that shame is has any value or not is different you know but shame like a negative feeling doesn’t mean i shouldn’t ever have it or it should go away it’s like pain like pain is an indicator that i need to change something you know shame guilt those things i mean they’re negative things but i should probably feel them at times there are times i they’re of benefit maybe guilt you should have but shame you should not because isn’t shame the one that says like i am bad okay yeah so guilt guilt is like oh i did bad but shame is i am bad so maybe maybe i should be ashamed of that what happened if i abuse my kids if i go out and punch an old lady in the face because she’s in my way i should be ashamed of that but she doesn’t start with guilt like it starts with guilt like guilt is the seed and shame is like the personality or shame comes from other people okay a shame of feeling from other people it’s your perception of how other people will interpret what you’ve done you don’t i don’t i don’t feel shy without other people but bill you should definitely feel guilty about punching that old lady yeah right i don’t know was she asking for it yeah so think about like kids kids have guilt when they feel bad about what they’ve done wrong but they don’t have shame until they interact with society or adults that’s when shame takes place when you tell them they’ve done something wrong when you talk to them with a certain tone of voice when you look at them in a certain way that’s when shame takes over but and i guess i’m just playing around with this idea because it’ll get way off but if a kid is out in public making fun of another kid with a disability they don’t necessarily know that that’s bad or wrong they think it’s funny that that person walks funny or looks funny or talks funny or is missing a leg and they might make jokes about it but isn’t it important for us to say hey that’s really not the way that you want to be that’s wrong you shouldn’t be doing that like isn’t that healthy that yeah that sounds like good that sounds like good old-fashioned parental guidance right and i’ll be shaming the kid and telling them you think this is funny but it’s wrong and you should not think that that’s funny if you separate so if you have a kid and the kid with a disability is separate from them often a distance there is a possibility that there’s something innately humorous about the difference they see in that but without the perception that theirs is right kids sometimes prefer and envy the person with the disability like the guy like if a kid sees another kid in a wheelchair he’s like man why don’t i have a wheelchair that looks awesome i want to roll around that looks really cool so the the mocking or putting down of another person comes more from group think like if you have five kids together that are all you know normally abled or typically abled they might mock a dis someone with a disability but a kid put in a room with another kid with a disability is not going to innately just want to put him down or think he’s less than that’s not how that works we don’t get that until we get into society i’m talking about just the real application of a kid making fun of another i don’t know where it comes from where it comes from i don’t know that we have that well if we shifted our values as a society we would never do that um yeah but that’s not where we are what i’m talking about is you know how do i fix a kid that’s making fun of another kid oh [  ] without shaming them isn’t it yeah shaming them isn’t the way to modify behavior and i follow you billy like how would a parent communicate that with love not with shame you know like communicate the lesson without making the bully feel like crap if i want to live in a community full of people isn’t it important that we have some shared common values and morals and beliefs and if i just chuck them out the window because i feel like doing something different isn’t that dangerous like isn’t that the whole point of living in a community of people tell me this i just do what’s best for me in any given moment what i think is the right thing for me to do right i tried we expressed this we talked about it a little bit in the the death episode or the dark side episode i think no it was a dark side episode um would you not want me as your neighbor or do you think i’d be a great neighbor that depends on if you feel like what you would do like my values and feeling now i know you personally but what i’m yeah i know you personally so i would say that would be fine but for another person who i don’t know maybe their values are well you have a [ __ ] lawnmower and i need to cut my grass and so i’m just going to take your lawnmower i mean i don’t know that that’s that person’s values or morals because i don’t know them independently but i should be able to go tell them this is my lawnmower it’s not okay for you to come take my stuff you know what i mean like stuff just really own stuff well if they i mean it’s different if they ask

yeah i mean you know again if you come ask me and talk to me hey you know or oh i like your yard so i’m just gonna come hang out in your yard and have my neighbors over and we’re gonna hang out in your yard and have a party like i don’t know that i would be okay with that if i got home from work and there’s 10 people in my yard having a party i would choose you as a neighbor because it’s consistent so if you like laid out your principle this is how i operate i’m like cool now i know how you operate i’m going to put up a fence and you can’t come to my house i mean not that i think you could steal but i think consistency so behavior is motivated and we do kind of talk about this in recovery though not enough i think behavior comes from one or two places love or fear period like everything at its core comes from one of those motivations where you’re coming from with worried about how people will turn out if we don’t have shame if we don’t have these community values if we don’t that’s coming from fear it’s the fear of what might go wrong if you let people do what they want to do and my version is probably also at a different extreme coming from this place of love which maybe is is delusional in our society maybe it is right but i tend to think because it worked for me if we just let everybody do what the [  ] they want to do and think that that’s what’s best for them and don’t hate it all the time or shame them they’ll all end up at the place i ended up which is most of my actions are pretty good for most people around me too i don’t know i just tend to believe that like i think that’s where we come to when we stop shaming and guilting ourselves yeah but we don’t live in an ideal world you know what i mean we don’t live in that place that you’re talking about we live in a world now that you know where i think some and again it’s debatable which ones but some of the values that we share as a community should be important and should be upheld and do have some value to everyone and people that are just ignoring those i think there’s value in pointing out to them like you should not [  ] be doing this for these reasons you can give them all the reasons i guess for me you know again if we’re using shame to like hurt and abuse and whatever people that’s different but negative feelings or negative thoughts about myself aren’t always bad so this always makes me question and i get it you know we operate better in groups of 150 or less like we know this we don’t operate well in groups of large amounts of people because in order to do that we have to believe in myth which is a thing but if you look at the society of the united states that has more people incarcerated than mostly anywhere else in the world right and laws still get broken all the time and people still cheat on every [  ] law they can at every moment possible not everybody but a lot of this goes on and then you look at like the community in in africa where when somebody does something that hurts others they stand in a circle around them and just remind them of a time when they did something loving together or they did a nice thing for someone else in the community and they don’t have anybody locked the [  ] up then i ask which way works is it the shaming community values and the law and order we’re doing here or is it loving people and just accepting that they’re gonna be good people and believing in them again i don’t think we should shame people that’s there’s difference did you just say that like five minutes ago no i said there is value in this principle or concept of shame the value there’s value in not adhering to the social norms or standards of other people around you when it comes to like i should not just be able to go around and do whatever i want whenever i want because i want to i just don’t think that’s how people should live well but i guess the only way you enforce unless i want to go out to the woods and live by myself and but i guess the way i i think that’s a very american or united states ian way of thinking but i just haven’t seen it work it ain’t working in our society so maybe we need to switch to some other method that might do something different i guess is where i’m getting that i feel like we’re going there we’re getting there but it’s just well we’re committed we’re committed to law and order and locking people up yeah yeah we are we don’t want to like it’s money i feel like we’re getting there but yeah i mean like there’s that that that yucky transition in between like similarly in america like we’re trying to go to like green energy but now gas prices are through the roof and you know we just we’re just not there yet we haven’t committed to green energy and we still have to pay for gasoline i just feel like you know we want to be somewhere in the future but it takes a lot more time than people are budgeting for and same with our spiritual systems like you know of course we want to be you know where you’re at like no shaming but we can’t go from the 1900s style of parenting to the future of parenting you know why we can’t because people don’t believe in it because commitment because commitment all right that’s the show thanks there’s a lot of people still committed to these old ideas yeah this nostalgic we’ve done nostalgia episode two this nostalgic representation of what they think these old ideas actually did and i i think that’s what holds up progress yeah and i don’t know i don’t disagree with the whole criminal system’s all [  ] up and the way that we’re like all that i 100 agree with i’m just talking about the overall like to me personally when i feel shame i can take lessons from that and learn something from that it’s not always a horrible thing can you feel guilt or is it shame maybe i’m mixing up the two words maybe that’s the problem what i’m looking at is like when you learned the value like you didn’t realize before doing some of these steps that it meant something to you to show up to things you did not have the association of i’m not showing up for these things and i feel like [  ] about myself like that didn’t exist for you and then the steps helped you become aware of that and then you change behavior so i’m wondering if there’s not a similar thing that’s going on with like you’re believing in this idea of i should feel shame about these things and i i should you know that’s going to help me correct it but if that’s not causing some other side effect that you’re not aware of as associated yet possibly high anxiety right where you’re like worried about these things and how people will view you and how you’ll view it and this that and the other whereas if you make that association one day you’ll say oh [  ] well why the [  ] do i feel like i i don’t ever want to think of myself as a bad person because that comes with all these consequences that i didn’t even realize now i can just correct my behavior or do something different and not feel all that [  ] that’s associated with it yeah and i just was sitting here laughing at myself because i’m was raised catholic in catholic school from a really young age so shame is like a part of your identity in the catholic church so that could be pretty heavily ingrained in my psyche so uh one thing that i i had written down just as some side notes for me um about this episode i think we’ve already kind of explored it the idea that we change commitment we can be all in on a relationship or a job and that doesn’t mean we’re stuck forever so to me that’s almost like questioning of what the [  ] is commitment except a momentary idea that i’m doing one thing like it really doesn’t really mean anything i mean if you can change it at any time and be committed to some new thing then is commitment really anything at all that’s what i was thinking because the situation always changes so you’re committed in the moment but moments pass i’m committed to doing this podcast but if all our equipment gets stolen this week am i going to be just as committed to rebuy it all and do it again in two weeks i don’t know i might have to go back to that first definition i mean again i don’t know that anything’s a hundred percent all the time i think commitment and again for me most of these spiritual principles they’re they’re not ideas they’re not thoughts they’re principles that i try to practice you know what i mean it’s a thing that i use like a tool so you know is it i guess i’m always looking for opera is this the right tool to use in this situation maybe it’s not you know maybe so it’s not always everywhere i guess but just what does it mean like okay you’ve been totally god sorry jen i don’t mean to paint you in this life for a second but just imaginary jen in bizarro world say you leave here today you’ve been committed to your marriage for all these years you leave here today you find out jen’s been messing with other guys for 20 years and you know poisoning your children your commitment is going to instantly change like you’re gonna have some different takes on all that and i guess it’s like if it can change at any moment then what the to me the idea of commitment was always this like long-term agreement to something right in some sense and so for it to be just as changeable as any other decision i make i just almost don’t see the point of [  ] calling it commitment like it’s it’s just as subject to change as anything else i’m doing right this second is there like a half commitment word like some word out there that’s like come in yeah let’s have commitments come in and i guess in that scenario i would say like i upheld this value or principle that was important to me and obviously it can change but that’s like learning something wrong like i just realized but someone duped me or someone was dishonest i mean you’re probably committed you’re probably not that committed to driving the speed limit but you’re probably committed to trying to drive pretty safely but like say you got a call that your kid was in the hospital you’d probably drive a little more erratically and and not pay attention to that commitment so much you’d want to get there as quick as like if it’s just as changeable from situation to situation then what the [  ] is it really it’s what you’re doing that commitment yeah well that’s just it if it’s if it is something that’s just what i’m doing that’s different that’s not commitment so like for me like something like the gym becomes commitment because that’s something that i don’t always want to do like i wake up in the morning and it’s not necessarily my first choice and if you ask me what i want to do it’s probably going to be something else but i made this decision that i’m going to what’s that the gym is just what you’re doing this week it was not what you’re doing right but putting this label of a commitment on it helps it it gives it some sort of conga does for me you know i think i think maybe commitment is the label like so you can commit like i’m an exerciser because it helps with my body and anxiety you know i think it helps i think commitment it just helps you form your identity and i guess i mean you may go commitments every time you schedule an appointment with a client that is a commitment which means that has some value to you to be where you say you’re going to be when you say you’re going to be there right and so it’s not a hundred percent but that means you’re probably going to be there most of the time like it’s right but for me it’s the same concept of like people have asked me to make promises and i don’t know 10 15 20 years now i refuse to make a promise i will not say the word i promise you this because to me that makes everything else that comes out of my mouth [  ] no every word i say is meaningful to me if i tell you i’ll be there i will do my best to be there i don’t need to promise it in order for it to have some bigger connotation i think promises in general are stupid same about this idea of commitment like if yeah i scheduled you at this time i plan to be there i don’t i don’t need to make it or call it a commitment when it’s no different than any other decision i make to do anything that’s the same thing that’s why you were so chill when that person canceled you’re like yeah you rolled and i was all like i was all upset and like i can’t believe they committed to being here and you were all like both of you were cool about it they did what was best for them but that means you’re practicing it you just don’t want to put that label on it no it means i’m practicing doing whatever is right for me when i do it that’s what if i’m committed to anything it’s this higher ideal of like i’m just committed to being my best self and for me that means doing what’s right for me right but oh there’s a whole back story there of like these appointments with these clients like there’s nothing better you could be doing with your time in that moment or something else you want to do or something you know an attention to your kids that could be paid that might have higher value you know what i mean keeping your job and again those are i’m not saying you have the wrong but you have made almost like that lady said with those choices like you’ve weighed all these options of all these things you could be doing should be doing might be doing made a decision somewhere in there that this was important and had some kind of value to it and then decided that this was the best thing so that to me is a commitment you’re just not using that word for it well we’re running a little long but i guess to me it’s the same idea of like how is a promise different than me just saying it right what’s the difference between making a promise and just saying something that’s the same for me of like what’s the difference between making a commitment and just deciding that i did something like i’m gonna do it like it just sounds like a fancy word that’s supposed to invoke this bigger meaning but it doesn’t to me it just says the same [  ] and i’ll just simplify it by saying like for me it’s the difference of saying i like to exercise i’m gonna go to the gym or i’m gonna go to the gym every day at five o’clock like i’ve just i’ve sort of put a time put a place put a stamp made up like a that i’ve committed to that but you could just say that without making the word commitment in there but yeah but that’s what i mean if i say i’m going to go to the gym every day at five i’m not using the word commitment i don’t have to say that’s a commitment right so that’s what it is i guess yeah i guess so uh ways to increase it which you know we’re gonna run through these real quick because that’s not important anyway uh make your goals specific that’s really important to increasing your commitment like you just said i’m gonna go every day at five to this specific gym right like and do this kind of workout that makes it more readily available in your head to be committed to it make them achievable don’t say i’m gonna go to the gym every day at five that’s like way too [ __ ] much to start go like three days this week two days whatever um write your goals on a piece of paper and this actually will come up in our next episode about journaling too about how writing increases things in our brain and uses more of the brain’s activity at any given time handwriting so if you write them on a piece of paper that actually has been proven scientifically to make you more committed believe it or not i’ve heard that too present publicly your goals share it on facebook talk about it i know it looks douchey sometimes whatever do it anyway sometimes because yeah all the time uh it increases your commitment um and ask yourself the question do you know what you need to do so if you’re not specific and sure about the actual process like i’m committed to losing weight but you don’t actually know what it takes or the steps along the way to do that if you know the steps you’re going to be much more committed because it’s much easier like i’ve committed to vague ideas before and it does not work right um and i noticeably this is not how to increase it but the interesting part of this is like there’s ways to manipulate the world around us when it talked about these ideas of increasing commitment it was ideas of manipulating things around us or thoughts or ideas but not actually changing us in any way like we didn’t increase our commitment by changing ourselves we increased it by oh i’m going to set specific goals or i’m going to you know set achievable goals or i’m going to write it on a piece of paper but it wasn’t actually anything inside of us that changes so that was fascinating addicts are good at manipulation can i ask you a real quick question i don’t know if you’ll have an answer because i don’t but is there a difference between goals and commitments like are they different in any way or i think the commitment is uh if commitment existed which it doesn’t um more concrete well that would be the the dedication to the process of getting to the goal okay the goal is like the outcome is that perseverance but the commitment is like the dedication to the process i guess okay i don’t know any other final thoughts anybody learn anything today i think we all need to be committed to somewhere some state mental facility i’m sure all right uh so go out there think about commitment does it really have any meaning for you anymore uh and and share with us your thoughts and have a great week

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