195: Should Intellect be Over Emotion? (Sort Of)

We are talking about the concept of intellect over emotion, but with some modern science having a say in the discussion. In the 12 step world, one idea was that our addiction was us putting emotions as more important than intellect, and that by simply reversing this equation, putting intellect over emotion, we would recover and find happiness. But with a modern understanding of how our nervous system, in order to protect us, takes our higher level thinking (our intellect), offline, how would putting intellect over emotion in the most crucial moments be possible? We talk about gut instinct vs intuition, logic vs feelings, emotions vs intellect, however you want to say it, we explore what to do when 2 parts of us seem to be giving us conflicting information. Listen in and then share your thoughts with us.

In this episode:

⁠The promises episode⁠

⁠Ego episode⁠

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss 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


welcome back it’s recovery sort of I’m Jason a guy that believes in intuitive living and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery and I’m Caroline I’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re going to talk about this idea that we don’t know how to put in the words of Lodge or facts versus intuition Truth Versus gut feelings instincts versus reality I don’t know what you want to call it here but this this idea of like we have these feelings inside that don’t seem to match up what other people they’re expressing is the truth or the the reality around us and how do we come to terms with that I think you know Caroline brought this uh this topic to us this idea of like how do I know what to trust right do I look at the facts do I believe what’s going on inside my body like and it made me think of Billy when you talk a lot about like early on maybe it was a great idea that we didn’t trust our own thinking or our own beliefs or or maybe even gut instincts but over time you know you’ve questioned through doing this podcast like maybe there’s a time when that shifts or that changes and and I don’t know that I or you or Caroline knows of any place in our in a 12-step program where it says okay now you’ve gotten an idea and you don’t you know right after so many steps or so much time or so many good guesses you get [  ] right a little bit yeah yeah now it’s fine to trust your intuition there is the you guys we did that this episode well you guys did uh um a few months back and there is that intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us and I always kind of correlated that to you know oh I can’t first thought wrong or I can’t trust anything that I that I think so I think at least within the AAA program there is space for that ability to learn how to start to process and and decide on the best course of action yeah and there’s and I’m gonna butcher it at the moment but in N A in the Triangle of self-obsession there is a line in there about uh we begin to do spontaneous acts of Good Will and love towards others so I think that’s a similar type of thing like when does it become uh more natural for us to make healthier choices hmm yeah I wouldn’t say I actually could pinpoint when that is or maybe it was supposed to be the whole time that we were supposed to be being cultivated to learn that like I really don’t know that it’s something I I kind of Wonder at this point in my life with coming closer to feeling like I was supposed to be trusting myself a lot sooner I’m like well nobody was telling me that for sure but is there places in the program where it says that and you’re pointing some out right there there are obviously some places where it says this but that is not the message I got and and I wouldn’t know how to give it to somebody sooner or what it would look like or if there’s an appropriate time like we’re talking about to mention it like hey you’ve reached this Milestone and shown this maybe now we start trusting you or yeah and I’m still like I I mean so I guess I am more inclined to think that my decisions are okay but I’m still of the practice of I should really talk to somebody about this I should run it by somebody I should talk to my sponsor talk to my wife other people in recovery before I just go off of what I think I should do because I always think what I should do is the best decision that’s fascinating so is there like a decision making process do you have like steps to your decision making when you’re thinking through how to act in a certain situation or when you don’t know what to do like I’m trying to think of I don’t feel like I’d take a lot of time or consult a ton of people necessarily most of the time for me it’s when things feel difficult or when I’m running into like challenges or obstacles with things and it when it doesn’t feel good doing what I intellectually quote unquote think is the right thing to do so I mean I have a I don’t know weird upbringing in that I think I was taught the right things to do and what I should do because I went to Catholic school and I grew up with parents like this is the way that you should act all the time the problem is that isn’t the way that I want to act most of the time you know what I mean like it’s not like that isn’t intuitive to be just I mean it’s gotten better but it’s not like loving caring kind and compassionate towards others and and always forgiving and trusting and all these things these principles just didn’t feel safe they didn’t feel uh like that was going to get me what I wanted out of situations and what did you want um well it depends on the situation but most of the time I want whatever’s going to make me feel good yeah that’s what I want no but that makes a lot of sense to me if we’re miserable in our [  ] bodies and our environment our body environment is toxic why wouldn’t we do whatever it took to get relief regardless of if we knew there was consequences or like you’re [  ] miserable there’s not many options there yeah so for some of my life I did so I’ll give you an example that sucks well I think it sucks because now it’s a regret that I have and a thing that I had to deal with in my life was you know my brother’s girlfriend he was dating this girl or had a crush on her and liked her and they were dating and I thought oh well that girl is going to make me happy if I could date her so I went and took my brother’s girlfriend nice yeah no it’s not nice you know and that’s the kind of thing where it’s like well she is going to make me happy is going to make me feel good about myself then I’ll be okay and so I did it and it did I mean one it didn’t work and two it was a completely shitty thing to do to my brother so that’s where it’s like I can’t always trust what I think I want or what I think is going to make me happy and see I would skew to the other side and I know this is going to create a stir because we’ve stirred about this one before Billy but in my mind you saved him from a girl that would definitely cheat on him you did the right thing for you the most compassionate thing I need [  ] relief now that girl’s relief I need to have that to have relief okay and then the world took care of your brother by you getting rid of that girl for him because she was not gonna be good for him she was going to cheat on him obviously she did yeah but it served to sever our relationship and now my relationship with my brothers never been the same and he would have had that lesson despite me causing it or not like did I have to be the Catalyst to that that now caused a riff in a relationship that is important to me that’s never been fully healed and he would have gotten that message not from you know what I mean it would have been the next guy’s fault who [  ] that [  ] you know then I could have hated him with him and been like that guy’s a dick you know and that’s not I’m the dick yeah yeah well and and look that version would have saved face for you and and would have possibly given you guys a better relationship I I don’t know about that there’s a whole lot of things right right um but yeah man like can we accept that this is how it happened it wasn’t some other person no it was meant to be Billy in this situation that took care of this and like I guess for me it’s it’s where did we get to in the end right and can I be open to I’m gonna make mistakes just like we all are did you learn from that I don’t want to hurt my brother or people I love like that anymore is that enough for you to be a good human today do we have to hold on like and that’s what I don’t know right I I don’t lament all those old things so much because in my mind it’s just what it took to be here for all of us I don’t know and I guess and this again is why I run things by people still because now when I get into situations where I’m like well this seems like it could be uncomfortable or difficult something in me doesn’t feel right I mean when that all went down it didn’t feel right it wasn’t like yeah [  ] him it was like oh this is right you know this doesn’t feel good but it’s meant to be like this is fate and destiny and you know this is just the world is making it happen so it must be like whatever weird [  ] we justify and tell ourselves and now my decision making is a little less emotional and more like all right so what are my values do I value you know family above you know this whatever you want to call it not even existent imaginary relationship that I’ve created in my head like is sacrificing this worth the potential of something that doesn’t even really exist right and then running that by someone to help me talk through that maybe it does maybe it’d be like yes that is the person that you were fated to be with despite how it’s going to affect this relationship I’m not saying that you know the choice is obvious but I’m saying it’s more important for me to live with intention to live with you know value than it is to just make spontaneous decisions based on an emotional gut feeling I guess I just look back in my life and I don’t think I could have made different decisions I I think I’ve made the decisions that I could have made in that moment based on the amount of whatever we want to call it pain I was in whatever relief I was seeking um yeah and so let me just like I don’t like I understand like I can’t undo that I can’t but that’s an example of why I try to not live that way now you know what I mean like now I can live slightly differently to make some different decisions and what triggers that again is is like hmm this isn’t there isn’t just an obvious like oh this is what you do here you know like this is like there’s there’s a there’s something there that requires a little bit of thought a little bit of intention and then how do I make those decisions do I just trust my gut and do what I think I want to do or do I try to make decisions differently today interesting it’s really interesting to listen through all that and like try to put it in with what I’m working on doing for me and how it works and just thinking about that idea of like I don’t know it still feels like there’s some of that held against you by you in in there you know there’s regret I have regret yeah which feels I guess still like an idea of wishing the past would have been different or wishing you could have been better in the past or so there was a long point in my life where I thought I live with no regrets and even in recovery and I thought yeah I can’t regret anything that I’ve done I’ve done it it is what it is and I thought that there was some value to that and now I don’t feel that way I feel like a regret is an understanding of ownership of of past harms that I’ve caused and not I mean I don’t hate myself ever obviously I can talk about it right you know I’ve talked to my brother about it made amends you know so it doesn’t haunt me but that also doesn’t mean it just poofs out of existence and isn’t a fact of my life that I can use as evidence on making future decisions you know what I mean like it’s it’s still a part of my story and it I don’t need to place a judgment on it it’s just a learning opportunity you know just like if I put my hand on a hot stove and I learn oh yeah don’t do that anymore you know I don’t have to criticize myself and call myself stupid or an idiot or what kind of [  ] does that I can just go oh yeah you don’t really put your hand on hot stoves that can hurt yeah but I guess for me like I do not remember that moment that I put my hand on the hot stove I have no idea how old I was or where I was whose house I was in who was watching me I don’t know any of the specifics about it I’ve just learned that I just don’t put my hand on a hot stove it felt like a great lesson and I run with it and don’t hold myself accountable or regret it whereas I think the version that you’re telling still feels like a personal ownership of like I still need to hold this and myself accountable because if not I’ll [  ] it up in the future and I don’t believe that anymore yeah well that’s just it would I make the same mistake now for a similar mistake based on the same motivations or ideas and whether you would or wouldn’t I don’t think holding on to that regret as a form of like making sure it works is actually going to make sure it works personally I I feel like this is what I’ve been learning about me is that like I get frustrated and then I say why I’m frustrated I point to a person or a thing that’s the thing or that’s the person that caused this frustration and I then want to hold on to that frustration until that thing or person learns their lesson to treat me better oh that’s just not going to work right I’m holding on to anger I’m doing that thing I’m swallowing poison waiting for that person to die they’re not getting no lesson out of that and when I do that to myself I don’t think I’m getting any [  ] lesson out of that I think I’m just beating myself this is so interesting because I feel like this concept of like past quote unquote mistakes I’m regretting them is so prevalent in my life right now um and having a huge impact as I’m trying to decide my path forward so I have regrets about my choices in past relationships namely my my my choices um with my relationship with my husband who um for anyone who’s been listening to the show for a while knows overdosed back in in 2020 I have regrets um about decisions I made early on in that relationship to stay in that relationship um because I feel like that got me to where I am now which is not where I want to be I did not want to be a widow at the age of 35 or 36. um I did not want I did not want to be in the position that I’m in now and knowing that I made choices in that relationship early on that then ultimately resulted in in things taking the course they’ve taken now I’m it’s it’s the framework through which I view my current relationship and do I want to be in a position where I have those regrets again two years three years five years ten years down the road um to me that awareness that I made these decisions back then it it did not serve me it didn’t get me to a place where I wanted to be and maybe I need to not repeat that pattern is probably a good thing but Jason I I from what I’m hearing from you it sounds like you think that that I should just not even be considering those those past what I will call mistakes I think to consider the actions that we have taken in our life and the outcomes that followed is probably wise right that’s how we learn that’s experience to hold ourselves accountable which is what I feel like we actually do even though some of us do it a little more overtly and some of us a little more covertly I think that’s that same thing that we I don’t even remember what episode it was but I was telling y’all like I was meditating and I caught myself not meditating in it and brought myself back and felt good about it now right and all the time I hadn’t been thinking about meditating was neutral whereas I think what our standpoint is a lot of the caregiver Early Childhood experience we got we come into the world saying oh [  ] I’m bad for how long I’ve forgotten that thing and now that I’m remembering I’m just neutral and that’s just a standpoint of a miserable [  ] life in my mind right that story you’re telling yourself that there was some way you could have avoided tragedy and that it was your fault and your responsibility and if you just make better decisions now it won’t happen again is a [  ] story and it’s a story that’s making you miserable it sounds like and it’s I don’t think it’s true well so there’s some a couple pieces there one I can never avoid pain or discomfort or misery like that’s a part of life and my experience has been most of the time it comes from the at opportunities I didn’t even see you know the most painful situations have just occurred in spite of any decisions I could have made or actions I could have made so I can’t necessarily uh rid my life of pain or suffering that’s just a part of living just like happiness yeah um but at the same time I don’t feel like I overly judge or beat myself up about my past it’s like that saying you know we don’t regret the past or wish to shut the door on it whatever that I don’t know there’s a saying somewhere about that and getting to that point in my life and I think that’s more where I am is like I can sit and meditate with bad past experiences or bad choices that I made and not feel like a horrible person in my present like I am not all those past mistakes I am somebody different I am only those past mistakes if I just do them all over again and act like that it’s okay to just do them all over again you know like I’m a different person now so I don’t hold myself to the standards that I was back then you know when I was inactively using addict caught up with no morals and values and principles now if I turned around and you know did the same thing then yeah what did I learn and what value is there in that but again I don’t I don’t necessarily think I’m a horrible person because of something that I did 30 years ago like no it’s my past it’s something that I did do I wish I didn’t do it yeah probably you know I wish I had handled that situation differently I wish I had been a person that says you know what my brother is more important than this imaginary which at the time I didn’t have this perception but you know my brother is more important than this imaginary relationship so when new situations come up like say with my brother and the fact that how I might feel about his wife or whatever like no I love my brother in spite of this other person so I’ll make some efforts there instead of you know doing something different anyway it’s a little confusing but yeah I guess it to me it just feels like there’s still an ownership of the responsibility of like had I done something different then I would have something better now the better relationship with my brother or it’s my fault that our brother my brother and I have this lesser quality relationship and like my belief and I don’t know this for sure but my belief is that if we can come to a place where we actually feel good right now in our body we won’t think of the bad parts of that we’ll see how it’s helped us we’ll see how we could possibly try to go and repair and and you know how our actions can speak today that our brother and our relationship there is more important than all these other things that could come between us but I don’t know to me it’s like if we’re holding on to that this is still bad because of that thing I did that’s still a blame yeah so and I’ll go to a different place if this makes it any different okay so recently you know our kids we were all sitting around the table talking about we were looking at old pictures and talking about childhood stuff and their upbringings and how things have changed as you know we got older our parenting Styles have gotten different and I’ve grown different in my parenting and I was able to look to my oldest daughter and say Hey you know when you were younger I was a lot more like Stern and rigid and I probably didn’t do the best job you know and I wish back then that I had some information that I had now so that I could have been a little more loving and caring and nurturing at that time you know and you know it was again it wasn’t like this horrible thing it was just me taking ownership of some mistakes I had made and acknowledging them to her and saying hey you know because she’s going through some stuff with anxiety and dealing with some things that she’s getting to be an adult I was able to say like hey some of this may play a part in that I know you’re going to therapy maybe this is some stuff you need to talk about or these are some things that affected you you know and again do I have some regret about that yeah sure I wish I would have been a little different back then but I don’t doesn’t like haunt me at night to where I can’t go to sleep you know it was just mistakes that I made that I can own and just I don’t you know I don’t know what else to say it like I’m not perfect I don’t get and I was able to say that to them at different times like I’m not perfect I don’t get everything right I’m not you know the perfect dad like I’ve messed some things up I did the best that I could with the information that I had and then learned that I could have done that a little different so you know that’s kind of that’s come with like really trying to meditate in something you talk about a lot it’s like I’ve gotten better at sitting with uncomfortable stuff you know I used to think it was just really important to not feel uncomfortable [ __ ] and sometimes that uncomfortable stuff is a good place for me to sit and like be like well why does it feel why does this feel bad what what hurts in there or what is not in alignment with what I want to do or who I want to be or how I want to act and then what do I need to do to do that differently [Music] thank you

[Music] yeah I think it’s a lot easier to let go of regret once you’ve come to a place where the situation you find yourself in is one that you feel good about kind of in spite of of what those those choices were in the past like I feel like you know five years from now if I’m in a different point in my life I very likely will be able to go back and say I don’t I no longer regret the choices I made when it came to my relationship with Matt but because today I’m still I feel like paying the consequences of those choices it’s a lot harder to to accept that I mean I think like Billy and the exact and you’re still regretting your situation with your brother because you’re still feeling the pain from those those choices um it I think it’s yeah it’s it’s it’s a lot easier to to let it go and you say okay but like as a real it’s like that getting clean thing right like when we get clean and we find recovery and we find a little bit of like happiness and a good life in recovery no longer using then it’s really easy to say I don’t regret my using I wouldn’t take it back it brought me to where I am today you know I have this life I’m clean I’m happy I’m healthy and so that was that’s been my stance for many years like I don’t regret my using because it’s made me who I am today because I’ve come out the other side of that I think when you’re not out the other side it’s it’s harder it’s harder to let go of the regret yeah I don’t disagree with that I mean that sounds kind of like what I’m saying right when we feel good in our bodies we don’t have to to beat ourselves with that but I think in my mind when we’re holding on to regret we’re the ones doing that right like I don’t know that you still need to pay the consequences from those actions or that you even are I think that’s a story that you’re beating yourself with and and in my mind I get the Billy doesn’t feel that way and and I could be wrong right I’m not inside Billy’s body I don’t know what the [  ] going on in there but it feels like there’s still at least and it might be a lot less intensity than it used to be it feels like there’s still a piece of like in that regret there’s a piece of pain I guess that still wishes it could have been different and I guess I’m saying that when I’ve found that I’ve made peace I don’t have that anymore I see how some of those things actually benefited me and got me to where I am and maybe even benefited other people even though in a [  ] painful ass way but like that might have been a good lesson for them too I don’t know you are right in that yes there are still like I because I think of other situations on yep I are still something else and I can’t fix you know and I think yes there is still a part of me that wishes it could have been different or there’s a little uncomfortableness whatever you want to call it there um I don’t think that’s bad like you know what I mean like I don’t I don’t know I just I’m like yeah that’s that’s learning like that’s hopefully like say growing so I don’t make similar mistakes um if I completely came to peace with it would it be okay well I feel like no all the other things we’ve had to learn in our life one plus one is two you know uh when your car don’t start it could be the battery whatever it is like I don’t feel like we hold on to the pain or the story anymore because we’ve understood that that was just a thing to learn it wasn’t that big a deal right yeah it sucked when we went through it sucked to get the flat tire when we rode over to piece of trash in the road without a void like but I don’t feel like we hold on to the pain from it and so like to me that’s like you’re not still fact that you had a flat tire

yeah yeah I mean it’s like that’s very different than like going back to Billy’s example like he’s still feeling the pain of that damage to his relationship yes but why because it sounds like there’s still a a riff in the relationship do you think any situation should take place in the course of your life where 30 years later you should still feel pain from it and that’s normal and typical I don’t that doesn’t sound reasonable going back 30 years I was only nine it’s just all myself even 20 years or 10 years it does not sound reasonable to me that I should still be feeling pain on any kind of regular basis about a thing I did 10 and 20 years ago that’s [  ] crazy to me it is still there then yeah yes but what have I not done to make it so that I can tolerate and be okay and not be in pain from that anymore so I don’t know 30 years and I’ll just and maybe it’s getting a little way but if I sit and think about like the suffering of other people I can make myself really sad right so if I think oh there’s like people living in like abject poverty that can barely eat and like that’s a good thing to kind of acknowledge in our world like I think my problems are so overwhelming and I think things are so terrible and yet there’s people that are in way different situations than me and then to take ownership that there is something I can do differently that won’t cause that amount of pain for someone else like yeah and I guess that’s the way that I look at it it’s like I did this action that caused this pain and again I at the time I didn’t have the information that I have now I didn’t know the stuff that I had so I don’t hold myself to that level of guilt and responsibility but I don’t have to make that same mistake to cause that amount of pain to someone else I don’t know how to disconnect from that well and that’s why I caused this harm and I still feel it right right so I I don’t know if this is the same this is One Direction I was thinking of that that frustration that I had with my daughter for whatever she had done at the time I don’t remember right but when my wife asked me she said how are you I said I’m frustrated she said with me and that question just made me I was like my frustration is mine it’s not from any person it’s not from anything I don’t want to be frustrated and I stopped because what I realized in that moment was I was only holding on to the frustration to make sure that it never happened again because I didn’t want to feel that pain anymore the frustration was the protection if I can stay frustrated with this person until they learn that lesson they’ll never hurt me again and that’s the same thing I feel like I’m doing when I hold on to the pain from my own [  ] if I can just keep this pain in here I’ll know never to make that [  ] mistake again because the truth is I am sad about people being hungry and mistreated and abused in our world but what makes me feel good is that I don’t do that I’m going into the world to counteract that I’m trying to meet people at the space where they’re at I’m trying to give them love and compassion no matter what and that on a regular basis just makes me feel good about the fact that I learned that lesson in the past when I treated people bad I don’t feel pain from it anymore and that’s what I’m wondering like are we just holding on to this pain as a method of well that’ll keep me from doing the bad thing again because I don’t think we need that I think I can know not to do the bad thing again because it’s not good for me and still feel good about the way I’m living today and not in pain and I guess I’m trying to distinguish like is there a difference between like acknowledging someone else’s suffering and holding on to pain well like and that’s what I’m trying to parse that so say you spent the first 20 years of your life cutting down trees that’s what you were told to do cut down trees we need more wood we’re building [  ] around here right and so you cut down these trees and then after a while you’re like oh [  ] I’m destroying the environment I don’t want to do that that hurts me when you’re planting the trees for the next 20 years are you feeling pain about the 20 years you cut them down or you feel enjoy about the 20 years you’re planting them that’s what I’m saying we don’t need the pain to do the good thing in fact it’s actually hindering our ability to do the good thing because we can do the good thing when we feel Joy isn’t there some value in honoring acknowledging someone’s suffering I don’t I don’t think those are mutually uh Dependable or upon each other I guess like I can acknowledge suffering and I can acknowledge that it sucked but I don’t have to carry that pain anymore especially if I’m living today and doing all the things necessary that are in congruence with what I believe if I’m trying to make that amends to my brother even after 30 years if I go to him now and say hey man look this still is on my heart man that still hurts me that I [  ] did this to you yeah and the reason that particular thing come up is because recently I’m like I was going through my day and I’m like I haven’t talked to him in a minute and then it’s easy for me to get caught up in like old [  ] like well he moved and he doesn’t keep it he doesn’t put any effort into this relationship and then I go wait a minute I’m kind of the one that caused some harm way back then maybe I can take the initiative so I just shoot him a text hey how’s it going how’s the family and try to just take that as a motivator to do my part you know what I mean right so yeah and I guess I’m I don’t know foreign I say this I’ve been in a lot of pain my whole life right and when I started feeling better it was crazy because I’d be sitting there I’d be like I should just text my mom I haven’t talked to her in a while I necessarily she’ll she’ll feel good hearing from me man I should text my daughter I haven’t said nothing to her today I’ll just say good morning and ask her which like when I felt better there was so much more space to do all these things that we’ve been counting on pain to inspire us to do and pain never got me there yeah I’m trying to think if the pain is the inspiring thing that’s what yeah I got sure yeah I got you so I you know took I don’t not that we were on any track to begin with here but like how would we know early on because I believe we should be all be trying to tune into this authentic self thing way sooner than than we were like how can we try to encapsulate the suggestion of like listening to your body but also understanding that maybe it’s not the end-all be-all in the beginning of everything because it’s it’s misprogrammed it’s missile mind it’s going to tell you to go left when really right is what feels better for you so how could we try to give that in a message of like knowing when to trust that or when not or or what would it make sense to you guys uh for me even now it’s having people around that have the things that I want going on in my life you know what I mean like I uh talk to my sponsor for certain things and understanding who I go to for what is important um I have you know my sponsor is a valuable resource and like recovery and what he does for his recovery and things like that um but how I want to be as a partner like I ended up going to therapy and like a marriage therapist to help us work on our marriage and different values and what we believe in getting through some of that stuff so you know having people outside of myself to go to as a resource is super important for me absolutely because I always think my you know and I don’t know ego whatever you want to call it like I always most of the time think well I’m the smartest person in the room and if everybody would just do it my way it would be great if the [  ] kids would do it my way if the wife would do it my way why do they got to think I don’t even understand why you think that way like I don’t even understand how your brain thinks that’s a good idea but you know that [  ] gets me in trouble right that gets me in a place where I’m angry and annoyed by everybody and don’t want to deal with anything what would you say Caroline what was the question like how would we if we were and I guess this is a caveat if you believe that we should be listening to any of our gut instincts or or what our insides tell us how would we give that message to like newer people or even if we were if if Narcotics Anonymous said hey recovery sort of podcasts we need you guys to figure out how to train our sponsors to give this information because it’s new to our program like how would we tell people when to listen and when to be suspicious and when to I mean that’s what I’m struggling with right now I mean my gut level reaction is I can’t trust myself to make healthy decisions if I’m not coming if I’m not healthy if I’m not in a healthy place then I cannot trust myself to make healthy decisions so I need to First be really honest with myself about you know am I in a healthy place and I think in early recovery it was very clear and obvious and easy to say no no I have a very bad track record when it comes to making decisions I’ve been [  ] [  ] up left and right let me let me not do what I think is a good idea and talk to my sponsor or talk to the people in my network who seem to make healthy decisions for themselves today with 18 18 years in recovery it’s harder to say because I feel like I’m in a healthier place than I was then I have a track record of making some good decisions for myself but then I I feel myself like like I’m getting all confused I’m getting all confused so I’m sure you know the reason this topic came up is I’m struggling with like when I look I’m in a situation that I need to make a decision or I don’t maybe I maybe I don’t need to make a decision I don’t know when I look at when I if I write down everything on paper that bothers me there’s a very clear there’s a very clear answer at that but when I’m living my lived experience it’s a different answer when I’m in the moment at times not always but when I’m in the when I’m in this actual like in this situation interacting with the situation if you will the situation reminded me of Jersey Shore [Laughter] um it feels different and it’s like do I do I trust my gut or do I trust what I see on paper um and it’s funny that we landed on regret somehow I don’t know how we got there because I feel like regret is such a huge part of this decision-making process for me because it’s coming up and it’s potentially Cloud it’s it’s fear right it’s it’s creating fear in me and then I’m being driven to some extent by fear and do I want to be driven by fear probably not yeah no because Billy you made a really good point that so my goal my goal is to avoid pain and and create happiness that’s what I want yeah always right right at a very basic level that’s what I want but your point is that you can do everything right and not avoid pain like you know what I mean see again like my situation is like I feel like I created some of this pain for myself I put myself in a position where I ultimately got a lot of pain and so my instinct then is like oh well if I do it differently this time I’ll be able to protect myself and and and I know that that’s not really true but then it gets all I mean you can hear it as I’m talking I’m sure that it’s all swirled up in my mind and and it’s so effing confusing and uh yeah and then I talk to people and I get different answers too based on how healthy they are or what their experiences are with things and yeah here’s what little bit I’ve learned about myself so I grew up you know one of the things you know my therapist has said one time and I always like this because it helps me a lot it’s like he thinks like around the age of 12 or 13 like people that have been through some sort of uh trauma or suffering make like a promise to themselves and my promise to myself at that time was like I’m never gonna allow anyone to hurt me again so what that does is lets me put up all these walls and then I don’t let anyone get close like emotionally or anything like I can keep everyone at this certain distance the problem with that is anytime you have um if you want to be close to someone and have any sort of intimacy it takes vulnerability and risk and so I have to weigh out like am I willing to take the risk of being hurt for the benefit of the you know intimacy and what comes along with a close relationship and it’s still a struggle sometimes it’s still really hard like will people still love me if I really truly express my innermost self or if I make myself vulnerable you know am I going to be hurt again and that’s yeah there is an easy answer to that yes yes you will be hurt again yes yeah that’s the obvious answer is right at some point on some level and that’s where I think the intended goal here is a little off I guess what I heard in there Caroline uh a lot of clinging to control right that that feeling that I can somehow prevent the bad thing from happening which is like we’re talking about now not realistic right we can’t and I don’t think I don’t think we’re acting from the greatest place when we’re acting in sense of like what can I avoid what can my actions now avoid in the future because that’s not really my understanding of how any of that works either right but can I count on no matter what comes in the future that I have the ability to show up and tend to and comfort myself because if I can have that I don’t need to worry about what comes in the future I know I can take care of me through it whatever feeling comes right and like so I think that’s more the goal for me or the or the goal post or The Benchmark or the goal line like I need to be going to this place of being able to count on myself to show up and tend to me and comfort me and give me whatever the [  ] I need in any given moment and if I can do that I don’t have to stress making bad decisions or the wrong things or making that decision it’s going to cause me pain later because I’m ready for it I’m ready to take care of me in that right um one thing I’m noticing a lot about these feelings that we we have whether it’s the pain the frustration what we tend to do is avoid and abandon ourselves in it just like our caregivers did to us right we went to our our childhood caregivers and we’re like I’m in so much pain this thing is overwhelming and they shamed us and told us not to feel it and why we were wrong for feeling it and like that’s the same thing I do now when I get frustrated I abandon my own feeling of frustration to take it on the person or thing that caused it all my focus goes on that on the situation itself and I leave my own little inner child sitting there and all that [  ] pain but nobody to tend to it just like it was left its whole life right and that’s where like the answer for me it’s not about do we necessarily trust the instincts or trust the facts We Trust both your [  ] feelings are valid right and we need to tend to them they need comforting they don’t need us to bash them or or tell them they’re wrong or how awful decisions they’re making because of them we need to go there and say hey I see this pain you’re feeling what can I do to help you with it and I know that sounds weird to do to yourself but if that’s the only person you got around that’s where it’s got to start right I don’t know what do you think of that [Music]

thank you yeah so I mean I think a lot of that’s true I guess in recovery language if we’re going to use that like what I have learned or come to believe is that’s my Reliance on a power greater than myself like it’s a power outside of me like when these overwhelming or hard things happen to me in my life some of which like say I’ve never even seen come and they kind of hit out of left field it’s like do I have like is the universe going to provide for me what I need am I going to be okay you know or am I expect to handle everything and figure it out on my own you know and so for me it’s this Reliance on a power greater than myself I’m gonna need something outside of me and at our times of worth suffering you know when my nephew died or when our kids were molested or when that stuff kind of smacked us out of nowhere it’s like we didn’t just go inside and expect ourselves to figure it all out you know what I mean we reached out to people around us and the people that showed up were not the people that we expected to show up and the people that were there for us were not necessarily the people that we thought might be there for us you know but we were able to have what we needed you know and and we were okay and we made it through it but we also made it through that stuff by continuing to like show up and practice all of our principles that we had that we wanted to live by in spite of how we felt you know what I mean the things were yeah was it comfortable to take your eight-year-old kid to sex trauma therapy and sit in [  ] no I didn’t want to do any of that so especially then I’m way more emotionally like in tune with that [  ] now than I was back then back then I was like [  ] this I don’t want because I hadn’t dealt with my own sexual abuse trauma at that point so I was like I don’t want to deal with any of this like this is [  ] [  ] and then you know but just walking through and doing the next right thing and step you know these are the right decisions to make it’s gonna be okay we can get through it one step at a time and just you know using those principles that I learned in recovery and just making the next right decision that needed to be made in that moment um so yeah I think a lot of what you’re saying like it wasn’t it is important for us to like acknowledge and own like our feelings and try to balance them out with what are my principles and values you know and then try to just walk through that healthy but that was the important point at that time of having people outside of myself to help make those decisions because it was like me and my wife and then me and my wife and a therapist and then her sponsor and my sponsor and our recovery Network you know my family like all of us together helping to figure out you know what the next right steps are going to be and I feel like that is a great encapsulation of how to calm your nervous system to know what to do surround yourself with people that love and care about you and have your best interests and are able to hear you and see you and you know respond to you compassionately and and maybe not every member of that group even you named could do that at all times right hopefully the therapist was more spot on than everybody because they’re that’s their job but but yeah like that to me tells me that if I can just find ways to calm myself I can probably come to all those rational Solutions too right it’s the dysregulation and the feelings that guide me that say you can’t do this Smart Action but it doesn’t mean the feelings are wrong yeah well and in that like so just to get it like a little bit into that so we had some family members a couple family members on one side and a couple on the other some family members were like oh well that abuse really wasn’t that bad because it only happened you know this this one time at least you caught it really early like you should be really grateful for that and it was like what the [  ] no I’m not [  ] grateful for that it’s still [  ] up my kids still went through this doesn’t minimize her experience so we had to kind of trust some gut feeling there to be like no don’t try to minimize my [  ] feelings and make this like it’s not a big deal this is a big [  ] deal and then because of that some other people on the other side of the family were like what do you really need to like press charges and go through all that I mean it’s going to be difficult on the family it’s going to cause a lot of issues and it was like yeah [  ] you I don’t give a [  ] about your feelings and how you think it’s going to affect the family like this is important to us and what those values were at the time like say looking at our values we’re like no our child that’s been victimized here is the most important person the rest of you people matter but not as much and so we’re gonna do like that’s what we need to do is focus on that person first so yeah I mean there was some like say going with your gut and trusting like don’t let people talk you out of how you feel but at the same time you can’t just run with your feelings and and not try to make some logical decisions too yeah well and and what I would say in a situation like Caroline’s like when I’m going through this internally I got that same two parts right I got the part that knows how I feel and then the part that’s telling me the The Logical right thing that I can’t seem to [  ] do because how overwhelming my feelings are and it’s like can I acknowledge that my feelings matter there can I at least have that gut instinct to say you know what I’m not gonna belittle myself for not following what I call the smart logical reasonable way to go because I obviously [  ] can’t right now can I just hinder these feelings right like what I do is not that what I do is I get frustrated with [  ] outside of me and want it to change but can I just show up for my feelings because nobody ever taught me that right nobody ever came to me when I was having a temper temper tantrum at two years old or four years old or six years old and said hey your body is being [  ] overwhelmed by the amount of emotion and pain you feel right now and all I can do is sit here with you just come be with me so you don’t have to be alone yeah there’s like a place where like you need to acknowledge like your feelings matter like they are important they just don’t need to necessarily be the end-all be-all of your decision making right right the feelings in my mind don’t say make a different choice they say hey come tend to me right you’re hurt you’re in pain yeah what but we’ve been taught over and over again what to do with hurt and pain don’t [  ] feel it right we don’t feel negative emotions we don’t talk about them you’re not allowed to be there if you feel that way we’re going to try to throw a bunch of fun events at you come on let’s go to the water park for a day this will get you out of it why are we trying to get out of it right I get it it doesn’t feel good but can we explore that place why doesn’t it feel good what can we do what makes us feel better are you a human that’s over 30 years old do you not know what makes you feel better yet find out because that’s just important right I didn’t know what made me feel better I need to know that I need to know I can go lay down I need to know I’m allowed to call out of work if I have to like what does it take to take care of me right now with this feeling and I don’t think we asked that we we get caught up in like which way should I go so the feeling or the logic or why can’t I do the logic thing when the feeling comes like because I need to tend to the feeling that’s what that feeling needs and I think that’s like with your regret Caroline what you’re talking about is it’s important to kind of sit with that and be like well what what exactly do I regret you know what I mean like what choices do I regret and why like do I regret being hurt like well yeah we all hate that that sucks or do I regret like making good choices that ended in a bad result like do I I regret making bad choices well I mean like are you aware of the bad choices and are you just making those same bad choices again maybe choices I may be making the bedroom well what if we didn’t call them bad choices yeah because bad choices sound like you did something stupid or wrong or bad right what if we call them this is what my body does when my nervous system is dysregulated I act on these feelings of Abandonment and fear and that’s not a place I want to act from anymore I just want to try to tend to me as good as possible right maybe I start with two minutes and then it’s way too [  ] much and I gotta go do whatever I usually do fix it right however but can I build that to three minutes can I build it to four right and not we didn’t do something wrong we did the best we could with everything we had in that moment okay that’s all we had like what more do you want from yourself but the best you had right because I I found I spent my whole life asking myself for more than the best I had that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life I should have done better I should have done better but I was doing the best I had every [  ] time can I accept that I love myself I just want to nurture me better through this one right not a not I need to be better not I need to figure out a way to protect myself from from possible pain but can I just take better care of myself while I’m hurting that’s my only goal and even now like I’m still a continual work in progress like I’m still whatever best decisions I make today are gonna be [  ] wrong some of them you know like I’m gonna get five years down the road and be like [  ] I could have handled that a little differently right right but and that’s okay like I’m still like at least today I’m trying to base them more on like my heart and love and compassion and kindness so they’re going in the right direction yeah you’re like I’m moving in the right direction and and more of mine it’s less pressure of like get this right every [  ] time I I don’t I’m not going to right I gave up on that a little bit right like it’s can I be open that I didn’t get it right sometimes right that’s what has made the biggest difference because all the pressure of having to get it right every time I don’t give a [  ] I’m gonna [  ] it up and when somebody comes and says hey you [  ] it up and you hurt me can I be like oh [  ] I did I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you right whether I [  ] it up or not well the terminology doesn’t matter I could have done the exact right thing for me in that moment but can I give a [  ] that somebody was hurt by it that’s all and if I can I don’t need to do a whole lot of stressing preemptively about getting it wrong because I’m open to that I’ll just say I’m sorry right I’ll just show up and repair it’s fine and like what I’m learning is people are open to that people are open to repair they don’t want you to be perfect they just want you to say damn that’s [  ] up I didn’t see that I was hurting you there my fault that feels great yeah that’s enough and I don’t know if this is similar to what you’re talking about but it feels like it might be so there’s a thing and I used to call it resentment although I know this isn’t resentment anymore because we’ve talked about resentment but it was like the reliving of past experiences again and again is like if they just happened so it was like you know things that happened way long ago I still feel the pain of it like today and then trying to make decisions based on that like I don’t think that’s healthy anymore I used to think that it was and now I look at that more as a negative thing like I shouldn’t be trying to live my life today how I felt you know 10 or 15 or 20 years ago you know well what do they say about that that idea of like when you’re driving your car if the rear view mirror took up 99 of the view you you wouldn’t do very well now right and like that’s that same idea if I’m living with all this past story going on in my head I’m really trying to live the past in the present which isn’t gonna you know they’re different things they’re different situations different people different everything and it’s like can I get the story the story is what’s triggering me man that story about the past and the future I feel like is what keeps taking us back to this disregulated spot right how it never worked out then and how it’s never going to work out now no matter which way I choose it’s going to be bad and like that’s the story that can’t bring me calm in the present because I’m it’s always going to be [  ] up it’s like there’s no there’s no common peace in your nervous system when you think that no matter what choice you make today it’s going to be bad in three weeks there’s no [  ] comment on that that feels awful and like how can we do anything except try to keep recognizing and reminding ourselves that’s a story that’s a story that’s not really what’s happening right now what’s happening right now I’m looking at Billy and Caroline we’re having a nice conversation the air conditioners running I can hear it I can feel it blowing on my leg like that’s what’s happening right now does it anything outside his room I don’t know yeah so I I guess that’s staying present in the moment but I can’t ignore like my story still happened and it’s still there I don’t ignore it completely like I’ve learned and grown and changed but all those things make me who I am I just don’t relive them over and over and over again you know hopefully like I’ve learned and grown and you know yeah I don’t know like I I’m trying to evaluate I’m like do they make us who we are I don’t know I guess to some level like what we go through gives us a baseline programming on top of our our Hardware this is how I’m like thinking of it right so you’re born with your hardware and then we get this downloading software for the first seven years right and then it comes online um but it’s more like the programming on top of our Hardware that seems all [  ] up and faulty and I don’t know that I necessarily identify with that being who I am I feel like when the shift happened where I felt better all of a sudden I was just able to be the person I really thought I was in the back of my mind that never showed up in real life before and yeah and so I was thinking of that and I guess I came to some things maybe backward I mean I guess I came to him the way that I came to him so backwards isn’t the right way to say it but I looked at like all right so what is a healthy relationship look like as a partner in a relationship wouldn’t like how am I supposed to look and feel and act and then being like Oh I don’t look and feel and act like that at all like I feel very different than that and then that sparked me to look at well what’s what is it in me that makes me so different and then I was able to look at oh well [  ] that’s because I was brought up as a child to think your feelings don’t matter so that’s why in a relationship I don’t have any opinion on what we do or how we act or what our goals or plans are or where we’re going I don’t have any opinions on anything I’m here I’m doing I’m checking all the boxes for a husband okay I cut the grass I take the trash out I provide the money check did all those things I’m good right good did all the husband boxes yeah you know Dad I show up for school events I pay tuition I make sure you have clothes and food and all that stuff boom checked all the dad boxes good did all the bad things yeah why doesn’t this feel good yeah why don’t I feel like it’s connected why don’t I feel this intimacy and so checking all those boxes and doing the things and then not feeling the right way help me to look back and be like oh well let’s look back and see why like I hate to say what the [  ] is wrong with you but like what the [  ] is wrong with you that you’re not doing these things why do you not feel these feelings right so I came to that and then I was able to look at like my child and be like oh yeah that’s because you were raised in this way if you go back and look at your childhood and how you were brought up it’s exactly how you were brought up your feelings don’t matter what you think doesn’t matter do what the [  ] you’re supposed to do and then you’ll be happy or everyone will be happy with you yeah well and and it sounds like what I’m reading right now which is a book about parenting and and it talks about it in some different ways and like looking at our society what we do is as parents in general not saying everybody but we tend to shape Behavior instead of raise humans we’re worried about getting the behavior right and that’s what I feel like all of us as adults are also running around doing to ourself we got this inner critic part running rampant in our [  ] head and it is saying do the right behaviors that’s what makes you a good person just keep doing the right behaviors and it never talks about the intimacy of relationships or connection or what really matters man like I’m raising humans in my house now I wasn’t I was shaping behaviors and it was [  ] ugly and now I’m raising humans and like that human on the other side of my words is more important than any [  ] Behavior they do and from that standpoint it’s felt a lot simpler and easier right like just this is the priority not getting you to do what the [  ] I want you to do but can we stay in relation and find a way to care about each other where neither of us want to do things that hurt the other doesn’t matter how much I want to do something if it hurts people in my house I gotta really think about that right that might not be a good thing for me because I don’t like that feeling and just it’s a hard thing to do when you’re dysregulated I can say that I I could not I could not from a place of dysregulation feeling like my body is truly hijacked by this altar part in my head I could not be a calm peaceful loving person that I truly think I am and feels like I can be today and it’s it’s been from meditation from common to nervous system from paying attention to all this the overwhelm and actually saying you know what I’m gonna [  ] do something with this I’m gonna take care of me I I refuse to be miserable anymore and like from there it’s led me to a place of feeling I don’t know well no I got there too I just I think like for me it was in like a part of that process was really going back and looking back at my history and looking at how did I why why am I here why am I why do I think this way why do I feel this way and it was really looking at my past and and in a in a more current lens like say with some new information and analyzing and breaking some of those misconceptions and lies that I had told myself down to where I am now to where like I parent very different like if you were to ask me how I wanted to be as a parent 20 years ago I’m like it’s completely different than what I would have ever thought I’m like oh my [  ] kids don’t have any rules they do whatever they want they literally do whatever they want I don’t know I go to bed at 10 o’clock [  ] do whatever they want people that’s crazy what yeah they go to a school their school they do whatever they want I don’t know they do nothing all day I don’t I don’t know they figured it out they’re great right but it’s not the person that I thought I would be you know well and that’s kind of what the book is talking about it’s called good inside for anybody who’s interested but she’s talking about this idea that it feels like we’re all operating from a place of being bad inside like or scared that we are and we’re all trying to do these actions that prove that that’s not the case and it’s like if we could raise our kids and operate from a place of reminding ourselves constantly we’re good inside we’re good people it just feels so much different to live that life man and it’s crazy to think now looking back that like I’ve wandered the world for most of my life thinking I was a terrible person or or terrified that I was like that’s really what was happening for me and no wonder my actions looked all [  ] crazy and discombobulated if that’s my standpoint in the world it’s just making sure people don’t see that I’m the terrible person I am yeah and even making those choices now like with my kids or with my family it doesn’t mean it’s all going to turn out peaches and cream and roses and they’re all going to be perfect to marry the perfect people and have it just means hopefully I’ve we’ve done like an iota of a little bit to change like generational trauma and abuse so that you know maybe we just don’t continue the same cycle of [ __ ] upness that we grew up in and that you know there’s somewhat a little more healthy you know so I I know that we necessarily got a Victor in the you know Truth Versus intuition logic versus feelings whatever we want to call it nervous system versus reality debate but I I think it’s important to know that they both matter like they’re both true right I can’t say that all these facts from a calm standpoint of looking at this situation in front of me are false or that it’s actually you know the 10 positives don’t equal uh or the 10 negatives don’t equal the the one positive of feel and relief when I go there because I keep getting the 10 negatives or the denial or rationalization or anything right rules I’m gonna use right right but but how can I still acknowledge that the feelings are very real and very valid and what does it take in my body to care about them and tend to right because that’s something I didn’t do for a long time and I didn’t know how and it it started with hearing people’s suggestions wrapping up in a blanket drinking a hot tea getting a self-hug getting a nut self hug like but yeah I’ve got to find a way to take care of them because they’re just as real and they prevent me from being able to do the thing I think is actually better for me so I think it’s important to have that conversation with yourself I guess any final thoughts yeah but I think I I do agree I think it’s really important that we just honor our feelings and it’s okay to feel how we feel there’s not a right or wrong you know with that just have hopefully a good person that you trust around that’s going to help you process that in a healthy way you know and to make you feel loved and cared about and then you know you got to make the best just decisions for yourself based off of that and that being said if your gut says that you should listen to the recovery sort of podcast or your brain says that you should listen to the recovery sort of podcast that is the right piece in that moment have a good week [Music] did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoverysortup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us [Music]