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21: Applying Spiritual Principles Right and Can We Help People Avoid Relapse? (Sort Of)
Welcome to Recovery (Sort Of), the podcast where we explore the winding paths of mental health recovery. Join us on a journey of self-discovery and growth, as we navigate the highs, lows, and unexpected detours of the recovery process. From managing anxiety and depression to coping with trauma and grief, each episode delves into real-life experiences, insights, and practical strategies for finding balance and healing.
We discuss a situation where parents argue over whether or not there is a principle in the lesson they are teaching their child. The discussion then turns to if it’s possible to be each other’s eyes and ears to help people avoid relapsing. Thrown in is whether or not we can help someone find fun without using, when they don’t understand it. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RecoverySortOf or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/recovery_sort_of/.
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3/8/20 We discuss a situation where parents argue over whether or not there is a principle in the lesson they are teaching their child. The discussion then turns to if it’s possible to be each other’s eyes and ears to help people avoid relapsing. Thrown in is whether or not we can help someone find fun without using, when they don’t understand it.
recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss the recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature
hey there welcome back to recovery sort of as is Jason I’m a guy in medium to long-term recovery and my Dave Billy I’m a person in recovery that means I’ve been abstinent from any illegal substances since August 23rd or mm no man and that’s a long damn time for for people like us who tended to do this everyday and think about it every minute so we’re here super goddamn early on a Sunday morning and of course it’s super early on the Sunday morning where the clocks went forward and we lost an hour of sleep so it’s even earlier and all that is due to the fact that my son had a basketball tournament and he’s got a game later on today so to delve into that a little bit this basketball tournament we’ve known about it for a couple of weeks my my wife does a lot of the communication with the different sports coaches and I don’t necessarily know that that’s I don’t know why like I guess just because she has more of the time to take them places and I have the outer schedule where I’m working but she does most of the communication and and I never like it because for some reason my wife doesn’t do well with passing on the information to me right I’m like a more anal person I guess that some people would point out like if you send me a text message and say hey there’s this game Friday at 3:45 p.m. at this location I’m putting every detail in my phone calendar immediately right and my phone calendars linked to her so she’ll definitely see it and I’ll probably after that still shoot her all the information in the text hey heads up just put this on the calendar Friday 3:45 at this location right cuz I’m I’m just one of those people that doesn’t like to be miss communicated to and so I really go out of my way to like make sure people understand the information I’ve given them and so we struggle in that area frequently she’ll get information about sporting events and and not it’s not a criticism of her there’s a lot of going on in life and it’s not her specialty right it’s not something that really so she’ll say oh I’ll put this on the calendar as soon as I’m done doing whatever it is I’m doing right now and that doesn’t happen or I’ll tell Jason about it Bobby block and it doesn’t happen and so we’ve known about the tournament but I don’t know specifically what day she got sent the bracket that actually had the times of the games and what would happen not that that told us a lot because it’s you know you play it one time if you win you play it a different time if you lose but I would have had some concept of the idea of what times I would have been busy this weekend possibly and so when she told me yesterday I was at work they had played two games they won one lost one and she’s like Oh their next game is tomorrow at 10:00 and I’m like [ _ ] right like I’d like to show up for my son at his tournament that’s usually when we’re recording a shot Billy a message and so we’re working all day when what the best time is to try to work around this to record early as hell or late as hell and I’m like still writing a paper for school that’s due today and I’m like [ _ ] I gotta get this done and anyway all that goes on we finally decide I’m like screw it I’ll give up some sleep it’s more important to be at my son’s game so that’s what I decide right I’m gonna do this right thing I’m gonna get up super goddamn early and we’re gonna go to this we’re gonna do recording then I’ll go to this game at 10:00 and so we’re we’re going to pick up our groceries last night you know blessings of the world we do the whole online grocery order and we’re driving to pick them up before we even go to drive my wife was like hey do you want me to stay here and put the baby to bed and I was like not really I’d love for you to go with me and spend some time with me bad decision right there right so she comes we bring the baby my son’s in the car and she says I really wish you wouldn’t change your plans I hate when you change your plans and I’m like why and she’s like whoa you know it could be there’s no minimum playing time requirement for this tournament it could be that you changed your whole plans and you show up at this game and he doesn’t even get in the game and I’m like really like well how long did he play today and she’s like a minute and a half and I almost lost my [ _ ] mind honestly I was like really like why are we going to this and look I’m not I don’t know so this is where it gets weird so I was not the star player at all times in every sport when I was younger right in some sports I was pretty good at it and I was probably never gonna come out of the game because I was good at it right there was other sports like baseball I was really not good it was not the guy you were gonna put up to bat if you needed a hit right and I always felt shittier playing because I wasn’t playing right I felt shittier and more ashamed being the guy on the bench knowing that everybody’s watching me be on the bench because I’m not the type that they want in there and it hurt my feelings and so we get in this argument oh she’s like oh you got to teach these values these team values you show up for your team in case they need you and I’m like they don’t [ _ ] need him he’s he’s one of the younger players on the team he’s never played basketball before he’s not very good like we all know this this isn’t some shock the team is not going to put him in in fact the only thing that might happen is the team might feel guilty and then put him in and then lose because of it like I’ve been on teams that we lost because we had to play players that should not have ever been in the game and they got beat and people scored goals on them right so I’m just having this debate and listen ten years ago I completely agree with her you’re signed up for a commitment and it’s really important and and that’s what you do and that’s what builds character I believe that that’s the information I was given I have like my life is basically spent re-evaluating all information that was given to me and trying to figure out if it has any credence anymore like is there really a purpose to this do I really believe this is doing something and that’s where I’m at with this I don’t during a season sure he’s showing up he’s playing some in the games he’s at the practices he’s doing something and getting better right but this end of the season tournament where there is no more practices and he’s basically just going sit on the bench unless they’re winning by a lot or losing by a lot and maybe not even if they’re losing by a lot what is the purpose of putting him in and so that’s the argument we’re having and I’m trying to ask her what is your argument based on like what are you basing this argument on that he’s going to get these these great personal personality traits and values out of this and her her answer is basically the way she feels and I’m like this is the same argument everybody in politics seems to have like it’s never about any kind of research or doing what’s best for the person it’s just this is how I feel and so finally thank God we were able to catch ourselves in this argument a little bit and we kind of just asked my son and and he said he agreed he feels bad about going and sitting there and being bored out of his mind doing nothing he does care about his team but it’s like if he’s not gonna play why and so I’m I don’t know it was very frustrating I wish I don’t understand why I couldn’t have been told that he only played a minute and a half earlier in the day so that I maybe could have reevaluated and made a different decision because honestly if he’s not gonna play today I don’t see a big point in showing up and I didn’t need to be here two hours early to record this and what do you think do you really get values from these type of things so for me personally like I only have what I would call anecdotal evidence it’s not based on any research so maybe this is feelings I don’t know maybe I’m siding with your wife on feelings so when I was a kid I was always very athletic I always played a ton of sports and I once I was the star but I wasn’t a kid that’s at the bench very much I didn’t have that experience till I got older so when I got older in recovery I had a sponsor that got me involved with some recovery softball when I was 35 probably you know 30-some years old I hadn’t played any kind of sports in 15 years you know what ever since high school and had never really played softball or slowpitch softball knew nothing about it but anyway I just thought oh I’m athletic I’ll be fine and and I went out there and I was okay but I definitely wasn’t good and I pretty much ended up being sort of a bench player but I still went because at the time it had a lot more to do with my relationship with my sponsor and as a person in recovery you know it was building those relationships just it was a weird thing of years of not like being on a team and feeling a part of something and whatever but as an adult that was a good experience just being a part of a team and having those relationships and building some friendships and I stayed playing softball for seven or eight years can’t remember how many years and of course I always thought like oh I’ll be better than a bench player you know and it never really happened that much but what ended up happening was I had a couple years where I became a really valuable bench player for different reasons and I actually kind of won MVP of the team one year just being a bench player and the reason was you know it wasn’t necessarily based on specific talent it had to do with my attitude my approach to going in and I viewed it probably much like your wife did I was raised with those values and I teach my kids hey we signed up for a commitment here were you know we wanted to do this so we got to be all in you know and I would just show up and do whatever and I got I my skills got a lot better because I was playing regularly and doing some stuff but you know maybe this happens in kids sports but I know what happened with us as adults like people were missing all the time you know this guy would be out there and this guy would be out there and it got to a point where I could fill in and not be a detriment to the team where I would I could fill in at different positions wherever I was needed and still be good and we still and we had a good team we won four championships in five years you know this league had Championships and playoffs and all that stuff and we were a good team and I became a really valuable member of a good team for the fact that I would fill in I could show up I could pinch it when they needed me to pitch it I was a fast runner so I could pinch run for old [ _ ] guys where their knees were all blown out and [ _ ] you know I could go in and run I understand the fundamentals of the game and all that just had to do with showing up that first couple years being kinda on the bench not getting all that planned time but developing those relationships and developing skills over time and that’s very much what she you know the same kind of anecdote she talked about how she played in some leagues for softball when she was younger and didn’t even get to bat in a lot of games because she was only playing two innings a game because she was one of the younger kids but she sat through that and this that any other and won’t but she continued to say and kind of like so you’re an adult at this point so you’re choosing to do this and she continued to say like you know my parents didn’t even have to make me I wanted to go to these things to do this and I’m like well I think you’re proving my point for me like nobody had to force you to have that kind of mentality you were arty born with it right we’re not gonna teach our kids that I don’t think I can really do this to my kid and so she was I don’t know it got into you know as all arguments between couples do it kind of like the insanity let’s take this to the extreme you may oh so you could just walk out on your family if they’re bad for you and I’m like yeah that’s the belief of my profession actually right that’s what we teach if you do what’s this healthiest for you yes you show up for the team that you’re committed to until it no longer serves your purpose for you like if it’s detrimental to your life then why the [ _ ] would you keep doing it right is showing up for basketball today detrimental to his life no but is it very good for I mean well maybe it is maybe it is maybe him not feeling good about himself maybe this amplifies that in front of his peers right like he already thinks oh I’m just not very good at life as a core belief and now well it’s gonna be expressed in front of an entire audience of people who watch me not even get a chance to play right so I don’t I don’t know but we got home we’re putting away groceries and he’s standing there eating while the rest of the family’s putting away groceries right and my wife standing next to him I know she’s not really looking at him but I feel like this is a common thing in our house that because he’s a little younger he gets away with not doing the work that the family is doing right the 14 year olds are both putting groceries away I’m putting groceries away I don’t think my wife was either so maybe that’s her but I’m like you just told me five minutes ago we’re arguing in the car that it was important to show up for the team how come you don’t make him show up for the family team right like this is the kind of [ _ ] that pisses me off how can we have this view that’s so hardened and stubborn of he must show up for this basketball team why not show up for the family that’s what the [ _ ] to me is important like show up here and help out with your chores and do that kind of stuff not show up for a basketball team that’s really not about anything yeah and it does he oh so I mean you said you asked him like this he’d like basketball does he does he wanna play basket he did not want to play at all because he was scared because he’s never played before and he doesn’t want to go out there and be bad right so we practice with them we got him to sign up we convinced him hey we probably forced him to play altogether hey let’s do this and he’s gotten better he’s not by any means good for his age level at this point right he’s still like the younger age of the league anyway and he’s a smaller dude so he’s not like out there crushing people and Duncan on him or anything but he’s he’s much better than he was before the season started which was all I ever hoped for right like go out and play and learn some of the game and the reason I asked so we went through that with with my son with baseball coz he’s not I don’t never listen to this I hope so he’s not overly athletic he’s you know he just he doesn’t have natural inclinations for athletic things he’s a little bit clumsy a little bit sort of awkward in its movements and we went through that with his first couple of years in baseball and it was probably three years ago I think that he was the kid that was in the outfield you know sorta everybody hoping they don’t really hit the ball that way because if they hit it out there he definitely wasn’t gonna catch it in err and hopefully it wasn’t gonna just bounce right by my he watched it you know is that what happens when kids are seven or eight you know first year playing baseball kind of still scared of the ball and he wasn’t one of the better kids and I didn’t know how to feel like that wasn’t an experience I ever had so I didn’t know how to deal with that quite so much but you know I used that as an opportunity to say cuz he would say like hey I want to pitch sometimes and I want to play infield and I want to do this in that I’m like dude you got to work then I said I don’t want to sound mean but they’re not gonna put you in positions that you can’t play or that you might get hurt like you know sticking you in the infield or putting you somewhere where somebody might hit a ball at you you’re gonna get hurt they’re not gonna do that you got to be able to catch you got to be able to throw and you haven’t been willing to put in the work to get better and I base that off of I had asked him hey do you want to go out and have a catch do you want to work on this he would go out he would [ _ ] and complain the whole time that he didn’t want to be out there doing it so I’ll be like fine I’m not gonna make you but then the result of that season was you’re the kid that stands in the [ _ ] outfield it doesn’t get many balls hit to you and you don’t get to do all these things that you want to do so I felt like I handled that somewhat well I’m sure I could have handled it better than I did at the time but in hindsight I did well in that trying to teach him that lesson like look don’t give up on this because it’s hard or you’re not naturally good at it um if you are having fun if you like it if you like baseball we can work on it and you’ll get better and you know if you don’t like baseball then we’ll quit it’s no big deal but he liked it and he stuck with it and so finally now it’s been a couple years he’s worked on some things he’s been willing to work on some things and he’s gotten better and he’s seen improvements and so now this year was the very first year where he’s been asking about baseball since Christmas you know what I mean hey when’s baseball coming up when you know what when’s the season start he’s really excited yeah he’s really excited and anxious to get out there and play and like we’ve already had a couple times where we’ve been out having a catch you know on some of these warmer days and you know talking about getting to the batting cage and he’s excited about it but that that didn’t call with his first couple of years playing the sport you know it and I felt like that was a good lesson for him to learn like hey not everything in life comes easily to you but it doesn’t mean you just give up and quit well and I guess the interesting question about all this is is that a lesson he learned or is that just who he was gonna be and that’s what came out of your experience with it like you found out oh hey that’s who he is he’s the guy who wants to work a little bit to have fun at baseball like I don’t know that we have the ability to really teach these lessons so this is what I’m learning more and more than I believe and I don’t know if it’s true or not but this is what I believe we have these experiences in our lives and we take credit for most of the [ _ ] that goes on right oh I didn’t overeat at dinner and I stayed away from snacks all week and ate healthy I have good willpower right oh my kid learned this lesson I taught him something positive and I just really don’t think we we were able to do these things I think these are things that are happening for whatever reason and we we like to assign some kind of credit and super ability to us to feel good about it and that’s why I guess where I’m at with it all I don’t know that your son your son might have done that without you saying anything right or so I don’t know I try to teach my kids all the time like hey if you want to play these positions better you want to pitch you want to do this you got to go out and practice right and what I’ve seen from them do they go out sporadically once every two to three weeks and have a catch sure do they actually go out and practice in a way that would be meaningful and get them to the place they want to be absolutely not because it’s more important to them to spend six hours on snapchat and Instagram and and fortnight right that’s just what they would rather do and that’s fine with me I’m not mad about it maybe there’ll be a gamer and a YouTube star would make millions of dollars I have no idea right I’m not here to judge it if that’s what they want I just I don’t know that these I don’t know that we can take credit for all the things we thought we took credit for well immediately I think you know kids that have bad parents right yeah and there I mean as a therapy person you got to see the detrimental effects of bad parenting versus good parenting so that’s tricky with the whole bad and good concept right what I will say is that parents who don’t provide positive routines can can definitely hurt their children people who don’t provide positive attachment styles which is just being a showing up and being present for your kid that can do a lot of damage true-true neglect and abuse sure those things really are doing some some things to kids and the way they grow up and the way their brains form but the decisions of actually being able to teach them anything I think I’m pretty sure the research shows that personality is way more goddamn genetic than it is anything we give to them and so the people who have the personalities that I want to show up for my team you know even if I’m not playing all the time I don’t think that really has anything to do with values that their parents instilled even though I think probably parents since the beginning of time have been taking credit for giving that to their kids but so do you think the parents that are supposedly we look at and say good parents that have kids who fall in a drug addiction do you think their parents didn’t try to teach them the same exact lessons um well I guess I can’t say it’s all inclusive like I don’t think you can over parent trauma in people’s life or whatever you know what I mean like so I was you know sexually abused as a kid not by my parents by someone else and I don’t know that any amount of parenting could have overcome that trauma cuz it wasn’t like I went to them and told them I didn’t tell them or anything they didn’t know and so you know had I told them could they have done something differently in my life to help me deal with that in a more positive way I believe absolutely you know what I mean like I believe they could have had influence over that situation now how much and if that means I would have not been an addict you know I can’t say that but well and this is where the anecdotal evidence that we all we all speak from the realm of our personal experience which I don’t think is a terrible idea I think it’s a good starting point to start learning things and many understandings of personality right have come through different psychologists and people who’ve had understandings of their own experience and then tried to you know put that into the world and see if it made sense so it’s it’s hugely useful to start there but I would say my experience is I had a father who tried to instill all those exact same values that you’re talking about and still an inner son and and my wife she’s talking about instilling in our son and that [ _ ] didn’t work right sounded good yeah show up for your team be there at every game sit there and what ended up happening was I felt worse about myself and I ended up getting high over like so I don’t know that I just don’t know that we have that control we think we do so there’s a concept and I don’t want to delve too much longer into this topic really but there’s a concept of like our DNA is there right but it doesn’t just come out as DNA expression there’s also epigenetics which is like the covering over top of the DNA that’s sort of depending on what happens with the covering which is sort of the things that happen in our environment it makes the DNA express itself slightly different and I guess that’s what I’m going for here could you know if you do not foster hey show up for your team in a kid who generally could do that maybe he doesn’t show up for this family later in life but I don’t think you’re gonna take a kid who can’t show up for his family later in life and force them to go you know to all these team events and make something different out of them I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to show up for the team I’m not saying any of these things are bad concepts or that there’s a right or wrong I just think sometimes we take it to the extreme I don’t think he’s gonna be very useful at the game today is but I’m generally getting it and I don’t want him to feel worse about himself because he sits on the bench and just watches his team play right and so I don’t I mean me personally like I look at that it’s like okay so what if it was me in this situation what I would do or what I did in the situation was my son is you still try to build them up like hey you’re you’re learning you I mean you’re at a stage in your life where you’re not perfect and that’s completely okay we still love you you still have value you know so what you’re not [ _ ] good at basketball like is that a big deal you should be out there hopefully I’m fawn hopefully learning and joying you know we just have to get through this if you don’t like it we don’t ever have to do this again but you know um and it was another thing and I
that’s the kind of tricky part is I did have this conversation with him last night like we talked about he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to go or not so we had a conversation about that right and honestly and in the long run at the end of the day last night I talked him into and guided him to let’s go all right so I can sit here and tell you I argued the opposite fair all day and then at the end I talked him into going right and but so I what well I was just gonna say do you think those are values that you have now like this commitment to things or you know those values that you say you didn’t have as a kid do you feel like their values that you have in your life now that you practice or so I would say if it was me if this was my tournament and my team right at this point in time in my life and I saw what happened yesterday and how it went I would probably not feel obligated to show up today what I probably show up to cheer my team on just because I’d probably playing with guys I like sure why the [ _ ] not right I don’t have anything better to do but looking at it as if something came up that was way more interesting and I know they don’t need me probably be like hey look I know you guys don’t really need me I don’t I don’t I don’t even want you to feel guilty about me not playing cuz there is some of that for the coaches I’m sure oh god we didn’t put that boy in right I know they feel guilty about that [ _ ] later ah why would I do that to it why would I put them in a shittier situation when I’m really if they do put me in I’m harming the team right but we so my son and I talked about we talked about how you know he plays a pretty good defense for this being his first year and and that’s what he you know maybe they will need him to go in and play some good defense and frustrate the other team’s star player like that’s a good tactic in basketball I knowing their star player by having some little I all of a [ _ ] over em all game right but I think that’s the point I’m trying to get at with you don’t need to be there is I don’t give a [ _ ] if you’re good at basketball it should be the foul out hat guy look I don’t that’s my point I don’t need you to go to this tournament and be a star to be anything I don’t very [ _ ] dude I love you whether you’re gonna basketball stupid like that’s some other [ _ ] are you having fun and if you’re sitting on the [ _ ] bench the entire game you’re not having fun okay why are we doing this what is the point it’s not like there’s another game next week and you guys are gonna practice during the week and you’re gonna gain some skills you’re just showing up to sit on a [ _ ] bench and then 11 years old who wants to do that yeah but it cert is its commitment a spiritual principle I mean it said well what’s he committed to at this point committed to show up for a team that he knows is not going to put him in like that doesn’t like why would I show up for am I supposed to show up and be committed to a girlfriend that constantly cheats on me and doesn’t give me what I need in the relationship that doesn’t show up for the my needs why well I think there’s a difference where there’s I mean when your put yourself in an abusive situation that’s a little different okay but what is this Vanessa’s where exactly Martha yeah where is the the joy and showing up for a team that is no longer needs you right they’ve served his purpose for them he played during the season this is like the tournament at the end I don’t know that this is beneficial to him anymore I really don’t I don’t know that it’s harmful or helpful and this is where there was the argument right there there’s no real answer definitely an interesting argument I don’t know anymore but I kind of lean towards this might be not good for you to show up for something that’s no longer giving you what you’re supposed to get out of it you’re supposed to get basketball out of it not bench sitting anyone so anyway we’ve talked about that way too long I’m gonna move on and let you take over you had a thing about relapse and doing some positive stuff in your life and not about you relapsing yeah so uh I this week I was reflecting back on you know I’ve been doing some healthy in my life for a while you know I mean committed to getting up in the morning going to the gym I’ve been meditating every day you know pretty consistently for a few months now been more committed to my recovery making meetings a little more regularly like doing a lot of the maintenance things in life you know that I need to be healthy mentally and spiritually healthy I’ve seen and like witnessed benefits in my life to situations that have come up recently and been like man you know things are going really well I really am having a better approach to life and problems in my stress level and all these things are improvements and yet I still find it super hard to stay committed to those things like it’s so easy to just be like this is [ _ ] work and it’s too hard and it’s not worth it you know and I’m trying to talk myself out of doing these things and it’s sort of you know brought up in me that idea of like relapse and people in recovery like you get in recovery and you start doing all these positive things and you see people and they [ _ ] stop using and they get you know a place and they get a job they might get in a relationship and everything’s going well and what I was sort of recognizing and it was the the novel Ness of doing something new you know the how good it feels like when you first start going to the gym it’s like man I’m doing this good thing and it feels good that I’m doing something good for myself and you start to see a few results you know starting to see some muscles popping up in places and starting to be like yeah you know [ __ ] feeling this I’m seeing it there’s all this kind of you know external rewards or stimulus to it but now that I’ve been doing it a few months like the muscles aren’t really growing faster you know it’s like I’m not noticing these results anymore and the same thing that happens in recovery it’s like the immediate growth a lot of time comes right away you know or I don’t say the media growth the immediate benefits you know all the sudden I don’t have to steal every day to survive all this I don’t have to lie to everyone that I know get a pay raise when you’re not using the drug guy oh yeah and it’s like the the consistency you know of the work you still have to have the consistency in the work but you’re not shooting back up to the top you’re not experiencing all these great new rewards right away so maybe it doesn’t Plateau but it definitely slows down on the slow right how quickly you go and that’s when it’s so easy to give up on things you know it’s so hard to stay committed you know long-term um but like in this case you know I build off my recovery and I say hey you know I remember my legs like recoveries like that and I’ll just try to stick with it you know as long as I can and and keep doing it just a day at a time like I take those recovery concepts and put them into these things that I’m doing that are positive and maybe I won’t go to the gym for the rest of my life maybe I won’t meditate on a regular basis for the rest of my life but I can do it today you know today’s the day that matters no more show up and do it um but it brought up that you know idea of relapse and and why people sort of relapse and how easy it is to fall into that are there things that we can do that we can help people because we all you know I see it I see it in people that are in my home group and you know it’s weird because not all of them use you know that that isn’t always the end result but you definitely see struggles and hardships and and life get difficult for people and you know my experience is the same as with myself no amount of people telling me how much I need to meditate ever made me meditate it wasn’t until I started doing it for myself and and almost that third step you know it wasn’t until I made that commitment for myself you know that that I really committed to it and so you know it just brought up that idea of relapse and and we see that over and over and over again in recovery and if there’s things we can do to kind of help people avoid that all right yes so let’s take a quick break for our ad and then we’ll come back and talk more about that this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in Maryland voices of Hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at
www.canadianoutback.com and I heard a lot of what you said I think I’ve lived part of what you said and I’ve watched a whole lot of people live it for sure that when we come into the program or recovery in general we we have all these great benefits immediately maybe we even work a few steps and get a few more benefits or just learn some new things and then we start to work towards what we’ve termed social acceptability even though I don’t think that’s generally our goal in our mind but we just want things in life right the things we’ve always seen people do that we could never do I could never get a place to live when I was using I could never really get a steady relationship when I was using all these type of things I definitely couldn’t hold a job and I was using and so in recovery I chased all these the whole american-dream man I wanted the house the cars the wife the kids the picket fence maybe I didn’t get the picket but now I guess I did have a picket fence it just wasn’t right out in front of my house but so I worked towards all these things and you know through time I got them and not even just a job the career right the one where I felt like I could stay there and make a living and the house me and my wife each had a vehicle we even had a work vehicle on top of that we were like living the dream that the three kids it was like [ _ ] here we are I’ve arrived and then what like I had reached all these goals and I didn’t have anything else to work towards honestly and so I’m always cautious of watching people’s lives and how they do this and I know this isn’t the only way like this was more of a over time so thing that led to what could have been relapsed it ended up not being thank God but I definitely watch people’s lives for when they get and attain these goals back these you know these social acceptability goals because then it seems that people do hit kind a wall of like well now what the [ _ ] do I do right can we stay clean without spiritual principles so it wasn’t that I wasn’t working spiritual principles what was happening was I had a focus though right I had a purpose in life attained these specific things not in a negative way right I wasn’t trying to attain the house to impress anybody it was just what I wanted and I had goals and a purpose and when I ran out of that I lost purpose now thankfully that’s been able to be repurposed into a spiritual type life that means something to me but if it doesn’t get repurposed somewhere and we don’t have a focus or purpose in our life I think we’re in high danger of being complacent and going backwards more to your question can we do anything about that I mean we talked about being each other’s eyes and ears and if you’ve been in a program and you’re in recovery you have seen somebody not living recovery for sure in the program clean right and we generally know where that leads what happens at the end of that road does it happen every time no some people just stay clean and miserable but it you know frequently it does happen that relapse and I hear people share meetings where they like oh you gotta focus you gotta do this you gotta do this you gotta hit meetings you gotta stay open-minded and I’m like I’m not sure people are [ __ ] capable of that until they are capable of that and I don’t know that any amount of me telling them or judging them or shame in them is gonna make them any more ready to stay clean and recover and so that’s kind of where I’m at what’s your what’s your take on that and yeah so I’m not I don’t think people listen until they’re ready to listen I mean I think that’s pretty true we see that over and over and over again I guess where I think of it for myself personally is is my personal approach to people in recovery maybe people that are my friends or people that I’m close with as you see them go down these paths like is it is it really healthy or beneficial to call them out on those things hey I really see you kind of slipping up or you haven’t been at the home group you know making those calls Hamm really wore read about you like do those things matter you know maybe guys that we sponsor like should we be calling our spawn seee saying err you haven’t called me in a while you haven’t you know I’ve always in the past been of the belief that no you know I can’t force someone into recovery or I can’t force them to do the work necessary it’s up to them and whatever but now I know you know I do have some influence and sway and it there’s a possibility that reaching out you know could be that thing that lets people know that hey wait a minute you know maybe they’re going through some depression or some personal stuff or a personal issue at home that they don’t feel comfortable talking to people about and that phone call just lets them know like wow there are people that care there are people that are looking out for me there are you know I do matter and that you know us taking a little bit of action just to reach out to people could be that thing that makes them helps them make the next right decision rather than the next right to wrong wrong decision right the next right wrong decision
so now I agree with you I would say I tend to lean towards the side of reaching out my general kind of back of my head rule of thumb is that a sponsee needs to establish reaching out on their own right when once they’ve established a pattern of they regularly reach out to me if I don’t hear from them within that kind of pattern I will reach out to them for sure usually it’s more informal estroux a text hey how you been haven’t seen you for a minute whatever but I will reach out I generally always believed in having a person in the home group that has a list of everybody’s phone numbers and when they don’t show up for home group on any given night texted oh hey everything okay how you doing right missed you tonight whatever we say to not offend somebody because I know it can be offensive when you don’t make it for a night and you know oh my god they think I’m relapsing just go home tonight no we’re just concerned my home group right now I think we are lacking that and it’s uh it’s tough to get a gauge because the members seem to turn over so quickly I’m it’s hard to really grasp but but it is important to me I think it is crucial now I don’t know that it truly has any benefit to stopping a relapse whatsoever my thinking behind it is I don’t really give a [ _ ] if it stops to relapse I want them to know I care even if they do relapse I want them to know I care and where I will still care when they come back like that’s kind of my goal with it like I just want you to know that you matter it doesn’t matter if that’s before or after you relapse it matters and hopefully that inspires you to think that maybe you matter too and want to come back and do something about it yeah and some of this first from I saw a kind of Facebook post that you know it challenged my old belief or challenged something that I say a lot but it was you know the post went something like stop telling people that it’s okay to relapse because people are [ _ ] dying you know and it’s true you know people are dying at alarming rates nowadays with fentanyl and the amount of overdose deaths and you see it you know skyrocketing all around the country and in the past you know it’s always kind of been like hey Yuri laughs that’s a part of recovery they talked about it in our literature it’s a normal thing that happens it’s okay and it’s like wow is that you know detrimental like is that maybe not the best advice to be telling people I certainly don’t think [ _ ] beating them up and criticize and um for it’s the right approach but sort of you know is is minimizing it or glossing over it or making it be like aw snow big deal it’s fine you know maybe that’s the wrong approach to yeah there is a right approach to that I mean I don’t so I’ve heard people say that so many times and that that’s share for sure of oh it’s not okay to relapse let’s stop telling people that and I have never ever once felt like we truly tell anybody it’s okay to relapse we say hey welcome back it’s great that you’re here don’t specifically spend a lot of time feeling shameful about that relapse right was it okay [ _ ] no it sucks did it possibly teach you something yeah I know my relapse for sure taught me what I needed to know to stay here this time what I’ve stayed here without it no does that make it part of my recovery I don’t know it definitely makes it a learning lesson in my life does it I can’t label it good or bad I guess I needed it right I wouldn’t be here without it so I don’t know but I’ve never heard anybody say oh man that’s great you [ _ ] me laughs like come on maybe we can do it again next week that just seems a little ridiculous to me yeah so it’s and it’s just again I find in recovery I get locked into these old beliefs that I’ve held on to for 15 18 you know years now and then one little thing will pop up and and I do think it’s a result of of see and you know just how many people are dying and young people dying and and the impact of addiction on the community is like [ _ ] you know maybe we do need to have this sort of more open-minded approach to some of these things and so I try not to stay locked into old ideas that I’m not even quite sure where they come from this is exactly what I was talking about with the first segment today was that I try to reevaluate all my old ideas because most of them come from my father and mother right I’m not sure where they got them from and I’m not sure they have any basis in anything much of what I’ve learned about what they said was like old wives tales that people just hair hey generation to generation so they don’t want to just automatically and and even if their information was great and super grounded I still want to reevaluate and try it for myself and see how it feels for me right even if everybody in my life tells me that the sweater looks nice on me if I put it on in the [ _ ] inches my arms I don’t want to [ _ ] wear it right I got to do what’s good for my life and so I need to reevaluate everything with new eyes and that’s my goal in life and look I don’t always do it I live many things in my life that are just programmed into me and I’m like ah this is just the right [ _ ] way it’s what you do right but I do when I have the opportunity want to reevaluate as often as possible because I change and I grow and I and I look at the world different and I’m not trying to go back to that first segment we killed one thing I will say and I’ll put you right on the spot now what would you do if you saw me in relapse mode what would you say to me I don’t know I mean my and this is again why I’m challenging myself so my inclination now is to reach out but in subtle ways because I never want to be like offensive or you know hey what’s going on you want to go to a meeting you know something like that and I think a lot of that personally has to do with you know the uncomfortability that I have with kind of calling people out on [ _ ] or we’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings or worried about saying something that you know they might get offended by like I’m really sensitive to those kind of things so I’m always trying to dance on this line of what I want to say anything that might even be construed as being offensive to to people that I care about you know to people that I’m close with um so yeah it would probably be that and then if you didn’t really respond or kind of blew me off a couple times if I had to look at my track record the truth is I would probably go to my wife and say oh that sucks I don’t know what Jason’s going through he’s not really talking to me anymore I’m thinking and that would be that I mean that’s what’s happened with my friends in the past you know probably the there was one person that I reached out to more than anyone else and again some of this comes from old what I felt was like recovery lessons like you know oh if someone’s drowning you don’t rush into the ocean to try to save them you know what I mean you throw them a life ring and if they don’t take it and write you know they’ll drowned you or you know that kind of [ _ ] and and being like well I don’t want to chase someone out into a relapse they might get me high you know and that fear which nowadays I think it’s kind of [ _ ] you know I mean maybe it’s not best to follow you to a bar or to the [ _ ] crack house but you know come and knocking on your and I’ve heard people do that stuff you know oh they went and knocked on the door and drugged the guy out of his house and all that [ _ ] and to me I’ve always been like that is so offensive like how could you do it like that goes against what I feel like we’re supposed to do and I guess so I’m challenging some of those ideas in myself but maybe there is more I can do and maybe there I should take more of a responsibility for people that I care about just sitting here picturing going to knock on somebody’s door which is something I’ve never she’s been a huge fan of myself I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it but it’s always sounded weird I can picture it being belligerent and offensive and yet I can also picture it being super compassionate and loving all right so that’s super interesting I don’t know I really don’t know which way that goes but I’d like to think at least I’m with you at this point in my life I would very possibly go and knock on somebody’s door at some point and say hey man what’s really going on like talk to me face-to-face what’s happening I want to be here for you in whatever capacity I can you don’t ever want to come to a meeting again what the [ _ ] ever like what can I do for you in your life right that’s what matters to me and I did so you know with the guy that I had reached out to more he was a ex sponsor we were really close for a long time and he kind of relapsed and went through some stuff and I’d kind of put that out there a couple times with him like hey man I don’t care if you’re clean I don’t care if you’re going to meetings whatever you know let’s catch up sometime let’s get together sometime and and it just never really worked out anyway because they you know it was [ _ ] weird like he was a very different person than the guy that I felt like I knew and the guy that I was close to like the guy had a that he had become during his relapses and you know is using and trying to get back in recovery it was a different person that’s so weird
yeah it’s so strange it’s like talking to the same shell but with a different soul yeah and this was I mean what I mean it was one of the people that I’ve been closest to ever in my life like we were that close we were that good of friends and he’s the guy that drove me up to softball you know and so we had years of time where every Sunday morning all summer we were in the car riding up together talking about life sharing you know man I busted his windows out I said on the bench for you right and yes so you know that was just there’s old you know nowadays I shouldn’t say there’s always nowadays in my life I feel like could I have done more you know what what could I be doing more because it’s so easy to make excuses not to do more right no I totally agree I think moving on to the next topic that you’re done with that yeah that’s pretty good so I had the opportunity to share my story on another podcast and it’s not out yet when it is I will definitely post the link to it on social media so you can have a listen if you like and also just support their podcast it’s called podcast recovery which is a genius name for search results if nothing else and the guys are Eric and David Dave David I don’t know one of those David David and Eric and so they had me on Friday night and I was sharing my story and it was definitely I don’t know if everybody else has as much fun as we did recording it I was really nervous going in but I ended up having a pretty good time talking to these guys I do hate phone conversations there’s a little lag in it a little bit but we had a good time so I’m sharing my story and one of the things that popped up was there was a time before I got clean that I remember coming to meetings I heard people talking I’d be waiting for my ride to pick me up and everybody that was at the meeting was talking about like going bowling or something and I was just like that’s so stupid like what are you doing your networks right like who goes bowling without getting high first or drinking first or something and and just the whole concept that I had no idea how to have fun without drugs or alcohol alcohol is a drug but I like to specify drugs or alcohol I just didn’t understand the concept like without those how could I possibly have any enjoyment and I look at that now I know a little bit more and I say well because I disliked myself so much and I had that core voice constantly telling me that I was awful at everything when I wasn’t using and so I needed that freedom and relief from that in order to have a good time but it really bothered me back then that it just did not seem to be possible and so I’m working with a guy now a client of mine who basically expressed the same thing in our session the other day like he for purposes beyond his control is not allowed to smoke marijuana right now right and uh he’s not happy about it I’m [ _ ] thrilled about yeah five months to work on you now and try to do something different and he’s miserable he’s [ _ ] miserable with it right his father was gonna take him on a vacation coming up here and it was like to a tropical island and he told his father I don’t want to [ _ ] go I can’t even drink or smoke and relax and I’m like do you not and I even said to him I’m like so do you think what do you think people do who don’t drink or smoke how do you think they relax and he’s like honestly I have no idea because I can’t understand it or fathom it and I’m like I don’t know how to [ _ ] to help you with that what do you think about that well I mean I think a lot of us probably remember that time of not understanding fun without the the use of drugs but what do we do about it yes so immediately I think of there’s a documentary I watched tons of documentaries and I’ve probably talked about this from before it’s called happy and it’s just about that like how do you find happiness and fulfillment in life like what is what is the you know how you how do you find this happiness that everyone talks about and so the gist of that is you know it’s not about the material things or escape from reality it’s it’s some core principles I think that most people I mean again not everyone because there’s always spectrums of things but there’s some core principles that they have found that when people have those things in their lives they’re genuinely more happy and it has to do with like quality relationships and and doing things they enjoy and and you know things like that um it also it’s not to hold you up here but when I asked him what he enjoys it is smoking marijuana that is the only [ _ ] thing on the list of things he enjoys and I don’t know what’s it like where do you go with yeah and so for me like well it would would be kind of well what else have you tried like what things have you done you know and and because I didn’t know when I got I started getting high twelve years old so everything that I did centered around getting high and then whatever the activity was and as long as I was high whatever the activity was didn’t really [ _ ] matter all that much I was in for whatever and actually one of my turning points of really one of the motivating factors to get clean we went on this canoeing trip I was you know three of us we had been planning this trip I loved the outdoors I loved adventure it was a three-day canoeing trip on the Shannon dela you would kind of canoe down the river and stop and make camp and then you know canoe down some more and it was awesome like I was like wow that’s gonna be so great and my whole plan in my head was the same thing just a bunch of weed and we’ll get high and drink and you know it’ll be great and then you know it’s a typical like right before we were supposed to leave like the weed connection fell through and we were scrambling trying to get some weed and it [ _ ] didn’t happen and I went on that trip and I was miserable the whole time and I was miserable and it was eye-opening experience to be like wow I am really [ _ ] dependent on these chemicals you know like that that jarring reality slapped me in the face that I can’t do anything in my life without being high and so it motivated me to want to change um even though I was still using then it did it did spark something in me that’s like how powerful this influence of drugs had become in my life um the other thing was when I – when I did get clean I kind of had some general ideas about what I’d like to do but I had never done any like serious out do it like I was like oh I like the outdoors so I’d never really done [ _ ] much real outdoors kind of quote-unquote adventuring you know what I mean it was go to the state park wander around the woods smoke some weed you know laugh about some birds and stuff and you know go home and you know that was spending time in the wilderness and then you know after being clean like I got the opportunity to take some different trips to different state parks to go to different parts of the country to see mountains and wilderness and [ _ ] geysers and canyons and all kinds of different stuff and then I realized wow I really do like the outdoors but now this is actually what people talk about when they talk about hiking and going on sort of outdoor adventures um I realized that like I had that real wakening for sports you know I love sports I gotten away from sports you know as a using heroin addict I wasn’t really going to many sporting events I didn’t really follow [ _ ] baseball or football very much you know they’re just there weren’t things that were really important to me when I got clean I realized I loved those things I really enjoy going to sporting events live sporting events going to hockey games or football games doing things with my kids you know outdoor adventures or sharing those experience with my kids was fun um but I didn’t really know what made me happy until I stopped getting high hmm it’s interesting I’m trying to think of like what had you go on that trip and and realized am I’m dependent on these drugs and that sucks you know like my whole happiness and mood is dependent on this and that’s terrible and him to go on a similar thing and say man I just this is so dumb that people are keeping me from doing this I want to go back to it I can’t wait till I can well I think the trick for me was I didn’t go into it thinking that I couldn’t get high I thought this is gonna be the greatest trip ever you know and getting high was like a part of that you know and then when it wasn’t at the last minute against my will it it was I like I still think it was a good trip but I was miserable the whole time I went you know what I mean but I still remember it like wow I remember cuz I wasn’t I though if I’m problem but you know but you know it was the fact that this was gonna be the greatest trip and then it wasn’t the greatest trip and it’s only because I didn’t have weed that you know it’s like how stupid is that you know um the other thing I thought you know as we’re talking about that I thought back to kind of back to the first segment we’ll loop this around was like so with your son let’s say maybe it’s the opportunity to teach him hey man got there and have a [ _ ] good time cheer for your friends you know just make the best of it like you’re there [ _ ] you know yeah it isn’t may be exactly what you want to be doing but don’t go if you go into it and think you’re gonna be miserable and your [ _ ] pouty and feeling sorry for yourself the whole time and that’s how you’re gonna feel for the whole hour and a half that you’re sitting there but if you go into it and go [ _ ] it you know I’m out here to cheer on my friends and root for my team and I’m gonna try to have a good time make the best of it yeah maybe I’m not getting what I want but I can still enjoy it and have a good time and there is a greater purpose here of just maybe it’s not so much about showing up for the team but it’s about building that bond or those connections with people you know maybe some of those can end up being people that he’s friends with later in life and they remember we met on that basketball team you know you never know what yeah but you never know you know what I mean you don’t know what that thing is that’s gonna spark that interest or next new connection that we make in life and it’s almost back to when you were talking about your you’re hiking when you were looking for the river otter thing it’s like if I go into it with an expectation and an idea that this is what it’s supposed to be this is what I’m supposed to get out of it this is what how this is supposed to reward me in these ways we miss the bigger opportunity that hey maybe you know I can go into this with an open mind and just be happy and have a good time no matter what the outcome whether I play 12 minutes or no minutes or you know 60 minutes like it doesn’t really matter I can still have the same attitude and same approach to this no matter what that part looks like ah [ _ ] you I was on her side for the beginning it does make a lot of sense I’m really like one of the things I will say that I hope he learns in life because it’s a big part of life is not every minute is going to be spent doing stuff that’s fun right our times when we gotta like sit through the stuff that’s kind of boring and kind of sucks in fact maybe the majority of the time that’s what we do but at eleven at least get some small doses of hey this isn’t all that satisfying or enjoying but I can still sit through it and make it through it and then we’ll move on to the next thing that is a little more fun hopefully so and again do I know that I can actually give him that I don’t but I think I’m in the process of helping him see that at least practice yeah wasn’t that the thing that you told me like neurons that fire together wire together so maybe if he goes out there and [ _ ] cheers for his team and tries to just tell the self he’s gonna have a good time eventually that’s the neurons that wire like you know and the other part of that and this is easier for adults maybe for your client than it is for your son but you know negative experiences and and not having fun of things and you know that’s a part of life too and you know doing some [ _ ] that we don’t like or that we have bad experiences with we can still grow and change and learn from that but again if we go into it just being miserable and closed-minded and sort of whatever you know expecting that we’re just supposed to be happy all the time and if I’m not happy then [ _ ] this I’m not doing it like well that’s a bad approach to take the life because again as an adult you’re gonna be put in situations where you have to do things that you don’t want to do or that you don’t like to do or that aren’t easy you know and as we experience those things we realize we can get through them you know absolutely I’m currently listening to an audio book called when things fall apart that’s very much like a Buddhist type teaching and it’s they describe it as living in hopelessness right which is really [ _ ] whacked out for everything I’ve ever heard about wanting to have hope and and you know but their version is like you don’t want hope that things are going to get better you just want to be okay with where things are right I’ll need to get better they’re fine right now and pains is just as enjoyable as pleasure and very very odd concepts to us but it will lead us into next week when we’re supposed to have a recovery Dharma person come on and teach us all about that so that should be pretty interesting on ISM I anything else to wrap up today or no I think that was pretty good of the only thing I would say in closing is that you know some of those hard experiences of life you know have been the ones that I’ve learned the most about myself but it doesn’t mean they were still good experiences you know what I mean they were still bad experiences that I could learn and grow from that made me a better person in the end I know that sounds so cheesy but it is kind of true and you know maybe your client needs to experience some what he doesn’t like to figure out what he does hmm and I’ll leave you all with that one have a great week that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for topics you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through Anker email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of
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