40: Smart Recovery – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)

7/19/20 We learn about Smart Recovery from Daniel. He helps us to understand what it looks like to work the program of Smart Recovery, what it might be like attending a meeting, if there are dues, what qualifications you need to meet in order to be eligible to be a member, and many more questions you might have about the program. We also take a quick dive into Vancouver’s progressive harm reduction methods and a short recap of the sponsorship episode.

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For more information about Smart Recovery, or to find a meeting, go here: https://www.smartrecovery.org/

For Daniel’s Facebook about Hope, Recovery, Advocacy and Drug Policy: https://www.facebook.com/DGASnyder/

For Daniel’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/danielsnyder1

For Daniel’s Blog: http://mindfulhope.com/


invite people on and then have them i mean honestly i kind of like that they get to sit here with us and talk through it if they want like it’s sort of fun to have a new person on for a couple minutes but well with him it might be weird because what our last week was about right right it’s about sponsorships

why don’t i know what i’m doing that’s my real problem all right give me my i want to make sure this worked give me my thing

dude i am like such a wreck with trying to get equipment i’m a [ __ ] i’m a mess it’s all it’s too much it’s overwhelming

no just frustrated that i don’t want to do 86 hours of research to understand all this [ _ ] i just want somebody that knows what they’re talking about to guide me basically so and what to buy well i got a lot of stuff like to start with i ordered these microphone bundles and and this little recording apparatus and all that and a lot of that came the microphones themselves are of course on back order thanks great yeah um so i’m waiting on them but and then the boom arms didn’t come and i had to like contact the company and be like hey the boom arms didn’t come either and you didn’t say they were on back order so now they’re investigating that [ _ ] so then i was like all right cool now i got to get a better computer so i went on read it and i was like hey people who know what the [ _ ] you’re doing i want to get a computer tell me what i need to do this is what i want to do with it like three hours worth of audio editing and it’s got to be able to not you know stutter and be all stupid light video editing i don’t do a whole lot to it i don’t hope to but there might be weeks i need to so i want to be able to do it if i need to um what do i need to do that so not a whole lot of comments but like four out of the five comments i got all said man you should just get a mac i’ve been super happy with mine never had a problem does what i need it’s like i [ _ ] hate max but okay fine i’m on board four out of five you said it so then i made another post because i went to look for max and i looked for refurbished max they don’t tell you what [ _ ] year they were made and so the ones made in 2012 are the same generation that was made in 2017 and i’m like that seems like it would be a big difference so it’s five years same model but five years yeah so i went back on reddit and i was like hey fine y’all convinced me i’m getting the mac tell me what i really need to look for to tell what year all this good stuff and all three people no four people comment on there three of them tell me to get a pc instead because i’ll get more for my money are you i’m like are you [ _ ] ah i hate you all figure out what you’re doing jerks i was mad so i don’t i don’t know what to get basically for a computer i know it needs like 16 gigabytes of ram i know it needs like half a terabyte of storage so if we got a decent computer a pc

for what i think we’re doing it would probably be fine you know what i mean like i think so too but i’m just that i i don’t want to get something i don’t want to spend less than i’m willing to spend and then get something and then three months and be like because it most of our problem right now is the size of the file it’s not that we do video or audio editing like that’s not that hard at all but if i need to edit a two and a half hour video that can be a lot just putting the file into the program is a lot sometimes it seems like you know what i mean it’s so long well that i think what would help that is more ram because i don’t know what this has but yeah nothing probably anymore god you probably get something with like 32 gigs of ram you reasonable i mean i was looking this way if you get something that’s upgradable like my kids laptop like it we spent about 500 bucks on it and it came with 16 gigs of ram but you can double that for like another 30 bucks you know you can add another 16 to it to get up to let’s say 32. see and you’re like you’re you’re more familiar with that kind of stuff i’m like i don’t know yeah computers and stuff i kind of know a little more the audio stuff i do but the computers i do i just don’t want to have to like i usually do a lot of research before i buy things because i want to know what i’m talking about and do the right thing and the most sensible and i’m like at this point i’m just so overwhelmed by it i’m like does somebody else do this [ __ ] and tell me

where to put my money well and i [ _ ] like saying i actually need a laptop but we’re so [ _ ] broke now after the twenty six hundred dollar car bill found employment that came in i was excited oh yeah dude they’re paying me like and i got the taxes taken out off the top so i didn’t have to worry about

a week since the beginning of well that’s what everybody’s [ __ ] complaining about it’s like now people are getting more money than they would

all right well that’s the problem people don’t want to go back to work i don’t think that’s really the problem i think that’s like that [ _ ] you know narcan parties and [ _ ] i think that’s just i don’t think there is work i mean i think a lot of more people are sitting home because there’s nothing for them to do than anything i’m not saying there’s not something well so here’s here’s the way i heard it described and and it’s it’s i guess more justifiable let’s take like i don’t know a [ _ ] so let’s take a school thing for example cafeteria worker who makes whatever 14 bucks an hour or whatever you know working in a cafeteria it’s not that they wouldn’t necessarily want to go back to work at school open but it’s like there’s if they’re sitting at home making 22 an hour and they don’t have to risk their [ _ ] health and what’s the motivation to go back to work if they’re now making more money and they don’t have to run that rent like there is a health risk you know i mean there would be a health risk well i think that’s the point though maybe we should be taking care of people and not making them make a decision between money or their life like that’s a [ __ ] up decision to put people in so maybe we’re doing the right thing i don’t know i don’t know yeah i don’t know no idea but i i don’t know i was happy when they paid me oh yeah well yeah you can’t blame the people

i can’t even open this door



so are all pcs for the most part upgradeable i know no apple products aren’t apple products usually aren’t and like my daughter’s got a small lenovo it’s not a chromebook but it’s oh like one of those yogas or flips or whatever you can’t upgrade that at all probably because there’s no room so this guy’s name is daniel


so if i look for a decent price pc and make sure it says that it’s upgradable that might be my safest bet because then even if it doesn’t if it does end up caught have run into some issues i at least have the option later to put a little more loot into it make it work so originally i was thinking like 500 and now i’m kind of since i was looking at max and figured i it had to be a little more even a refurbished mac i was looking at like seven fifty points for a thousand bucks for a map so i mean i’m i’m willing to spend that like my wife and i

each agreed that we could have a thousand dollars out of the uh unemployment money in order to you know do what we want it with it so i’m like well i have it it’s not really something i necessarily wanted this like i’d rather get tattoos and [ __ ] but whatever like i do want this to be a better sounding operation so

i’m excited for when our [ __ ] stuff comes in man

when they said back order did they give you some idea no and i even wrote them and asked them they were like i don’t know the company hasn’t told us anything and blah blah and i’m like well if you all don’t care like i’ll just cancel the microphone part you don’t send me the bundle the microphone’s available other places but they care apparently what would you think about

well we’re gonna do the recap at the end of the interview oh we need to have a waiver for our guests by the way that’s something we should come up with yeah get them to sign off and say that we’re allowed to that way they can’t come back later and say oh i’ll use their voice yeah just a waiver we need to write that up you’re pretty professional with that i’ll let you get that

well then i’d say even for now maybe if we even have it like when he comes on so we do record this for audio and video and put the video on right just to see if i said so you can say yeah okay right no no that makes a lot of sense i mean that’s that’s a good thing it’s not like official it’s still like hey we all knew what was going on here there was no [ _ ] secrets right now i like that i like that idea it’s a good thing and you’ve talked to this guy on twitter yeah i i’ve never actually spoken to him spoken to him and his name is daniel i gotta [ _ ] write that down so don’t forget it guys let me make sure that’s it yeah daniel schneider okay daniel i’ll figure out if he likes dan or danny or daniel or danielle or whatever the [ _ ] he had a shitty week last weekend yeah i just i didn’t feel real good and i think when i don’t physically feel good i think mentally it [ _ ] me up too just like you didn’t want to do [ __ ] i think i’m sick of work too

you haven’t so i tell my wife all the time like i hate my [ _ ] job that’s the problem i hate it i don’t like it then i’m there and i don’t want to leave because i feel a weird obligation to stay for different reasons and you know personal obligations well and then even like even if you could make a lot of money doing what you were talking about doing that you really love which is like home improvement stuff right now might not be the time for that uh maybe it is i mean people kind of i honestly people seem like they have money to spend and know where to spend it because there’s just nothing going on well that parts that’s what okay so economic people say over the next like two years that’s when we’re gonna see that shit’s gonna dry up because what everyone has now is like basically credit card debt or this um you know money that came from covet stuff or whatever else yeah absolutely and they’re just spending it up nobody’s stocking it away for like a rainy day or nothing well and that’s yeah the thing i just read talked about how right now we’re spending more than we did pre this but like when this uh 600 dollars ends which is next week it’s the last 600 extra payment unless they do something it’s gonna [ _ ] drop off and hurt and we’re all gonna be in economic decisions all these people are making more money than they were before or getting an increase tonight

yeah i’m starting to get weirded out about like going to the gym i ain’t going there we uh we’re canceling our gym membership put it on hold it feels good yeah well they they playing the fitness when they were closed they let you you know they didn’t charge you oh why still charge everybody wow i know we did it for like three months and then we realized even if they open up we’re not gonna take the kids there so what the [ _ ] do we need yeah so yeah the plan of fitness just they just stopped charging you and then they were they like [ _ ] ended up refunding us some money because some people freaked out i guess that you know i didn’t care i was like ten dollars you know who cares and then they ended up like oh well since we closed on like whatever it was march the [ _ ] 14th or whatever day we’re going to refund part of this and i was like jesus [ _ ] is scary man that is it is very weird they’re talking about infants having it and finding like 85 infants in one county that tested positive and yeah well then there was a weird like so and it’s like how far out do you go with the worry so one of our service techs at work his wife is uh what they call a dental hygienist works in a dentist’s office and so someone that had came into the dentist’s office tested positive so then of course they tell the people at the dentist’s office so they all go get tested but then he tells us he’s like i don’t know it’s his girlfriend actually not his wife he’s like my girlfriend’s dentist office had a positive you know patient came in it was positive she went and got tested you know what he’s like do you want me to come in do you not want me to come in do you you know what we want to do do you want me to go get tested and she got tested but it’s going to be a couple days for the results so you know what i mean it’s like [ _ ] i don’t you know i don’t know does that mean i mean he has came in the office he doesn’t come in there a lot he doesn’t spend a bunch of time in there but he’s been in there he’s come in giving us checks or you know right he came in comes in sometimes talks to me for a couple minutes in the morning and it’s like well [ _ ] how far out do you gotta play that thing you know now turns out his girlfriend’s test was negative and he got a test and he’ll know his results by monday so but if she’s negative you know there’s a good chance he’s negative too but it’s like [ _ ] you know although it’s all the way down to like now am i supposed to get tested do i like dude i really just i have no answers about it yeah i was annoyed with this whole school debate i feel like that’s all they want to talk about right now is whether they’re going to open schools and everything just it becomes this huge 24 hour a day [ _ ] conversation because so many people are [ _ ] panicking because they gotta be home with their kids they aren’t used and see luckily for us i mean when we traveled around we’re used to being around our kids a lot or homeschooling or doing whatever and their school’s gonna go back so we’re like whatever you know if it goes back that’s fine if not we’ll figure that part out too i guess the worst part right now though is that of course billy he’s only 11 but he ends up being home by himself some days so it’s like [ _ ] that’s messed up so because sophie is kind of working at school so she goes in and abby’s not living there so we’ve been getting happy to come over and hang out or take him to do stuff because she doesn’t do a lot during the day or like jen’s usually working between one of the voices office she can go there but well he’s sitting home a lot doing nothing that’s what i had to come to this week because i’m getting annoyed by it because i’m like i don’t i don’t honestly give a [ _ ] what the government decides i don’t feel like it’s safe enough to send my kids to school that sounds like a [ _ ] place where everybody’s going to get chronic honestly it definitely when you see how it runs through their nursing homes and yeah and i’ve seen look i never got sick before my kids went to school like before my kids were school age i never ever got [ _ ] sick like never i felt that way and now i get like three colds every year no doubt and so i’m like mine aren’t going back but i was getting so angry and i’m like why am i getting angry you know what they’re going to make a decision people are going to be pissed they’re going to protest and then then a week later right and then a week later they’re going to come up with a new topic that everybody’s going to get pissed about after they make it like it’s just a never-ending cycle of people getting pissed and gives a [ _ ] and i think it more has to do with what people want is things to get back to normal and unfortunately that’s not what’s happening and i’ve been saying all along and i said it from the beginning no one wanted to grasp that flattening the curve when i heard that the first thing i said is well we’re going to drag this out over a much longer period of time this isn’t a we got to shut everything down and we’ll be back to normal in a month it’s like let’s take what would normally happen in let’s say two to three months and we’re going to try to flatten it and when you looked at the curve it went like this or it went like this you know now we’re in the this part of that you know the long it’s the [ __ ] long game we played the long game and now everybody’s like well this is months yeah that’s the long game that’s what keeps more people alive you ready yep uh yeah people didn’t understand what the nobody did knew what the long game was

all right all right all right

and here we can see you guys but i cannot hear anything no here me huh that’s like no

it might be me

it was me okay so we’re good to go yeah we’re good to go awesome how are you man i’m good good to meet you guys good to meet you nice to meet you thanks yeah looks comfortable there yeah it’s not too bad it’s not too bad so i’m jason and this is billy jason billy good to meet you guys i’m daniel obviously okay so you like daniel to go by daniel yeah daniel’s good that’s great awesome okay cool just wanted to double check and make sure before we did anything so generally uh i mean we’ll sit here for a couple minutes and bs a little bit make sure everything’s cool should be the layout of it um just to let you know we do record the video portion of this also and we throw it on youtube and then the audio portion goes on the on the podcast um so you know just making sure you know where you are being recorded i don’t know what kind of lulls it is to not know that so are you are you in canada or in europe yes no this is canada beautiful british columbia west coast of uh west coast of the country so i am like 45 minutes outside vancouver which everyone knows vancouver right so a little bit yeah it’s probably heard of the downtown east end like hastings street vancouver’s east end is a bit notorious for its drug use and home and homelessness world famous uh infamous i suppose uh not for the best reasons but because of uh because of what’s been going down there for so many years the vancouver bc is really progressive in their response and approach to drugs and drug policy so we’ve we’ve had a lot of firsts in this area which trickle into other parts of the north america really so yeah right that’s so interesting i it’s crazy i’ll watch these things that talk about like americans are so self-centered and stupid and we don’t know anything about the world and then i’m like there’s stuff in canada on the west coast and i’m like god damn it i feel like one of those americans i’m quite sure when i see those videos that they are heavy on the editing that’s cool so um generally we just we jump right into it for the most part sometimes we’ll take some time to talk about last week but we’re not going to do that since we have you on here and we got your time uh invested in this so we’ll start the podcast we do just a little quick introduction i introduce myself and then billy jumps in and introduces himself and then i’ll say and then today we have daniel who’s going to tell a smart recovery and then you’re welcome to i’ll pause and you can say hi or hello or however you’d like to say it um and then we’ll mostly jump right in a lot of these uh tend to be questions that kind of relate to i guess they use almost like a 12-step fellowship as a ground zero okay sort of ask from that perspective like hey do you have anything that’s similar to this concept that they do in 12 steps right yeah i do want you to know like none of that to be offensive or to say that this is the right way it’s just my only reference point to ask and so no that’s totally valid and i think it’s important that we try and like even for me what i’m communicating i’m not trying to come across like i i have the answers for all the people right i see recovery as a journey and it’s unique to each individual so i really just want to empower people to find their path and that could include smart it could include 12 steps it could include both or it could be something completely different like you know i’m not no one should claim to have all the answers so we’re good one of the one of the most interesting things that i have found is like people in at least in in my program n a for sure tend to think that n a is the absolute only way and then it seems like also on the other side of it a lot of people who get clean without 12 steps are so they can’t wait to it’s almost like people right it’s almost like people who run marathons it’s like they’re so ready to tell you oh i didn’t need those 12 step things i did it all on my own and i’m like why are you so ready to tell me that like that’s interesting so i loved that you were more when we talked you were definitely more open to the idea of like hey let’s just do what the hell works for us and everybody gets a piece of this great freedom stuff well yeah if we really care about people then we’re going to want to help them find their path right as opposed to being sold out to our what worked for us or what’s popular or that sort of thing so yeah i’m sure i’ll share a bit of my my story and why it ended up going the direction it did and why smart ended up resonating me with me more than than the 12 steps i mean there’s obviously a reason for that uh so we gotta kind of dig underneath it and find out why right interesting and we’ve tried to find different people that are doing different recovery modalities you know jason and i both came from 12 steps and a couple of years back my wife got involved in peer work and we started to hear about some of these other like recovery options that you know we’re in a small really small rural area so we didn’t even know a lot of these things were out there right yeah so now we’ve had a couple people on that are doing some different things it’s been pretty interesting so there’s lots out there and there’s lots of like you know kooky stuff out there too like one guy figured out he has the solution for the world and he’s running an operation out of you know tiny little apartment and thinks that everyone needs to do his program right but we all see passages malibu i don’t know if you guys know what that is in canada have this uh it’s this guy comes on tv and he’s in i guess malibu california on this beautiful giant estate thing and it’s like come to passages malibu we don’t believe in any of that 12-step hokie nonsex you’re you know we have the cure here and it’s whatever many hundreds of thousands of dollars oh yeah

yeah that sounds not good yeah so are you ready uh are you ready to get started i’m set yeah go for it awesome okay

all right welcome back to recovery sort of as always this is jason i’m a guy in long-term recovery and i am here with billy i’m also a person in long term recovery and today we have a wonderful special guest named daniel hey guys yeah thanks for having me i’m a former heroin addict so great to be on the show and talk with you i was curious how you were going to introduce yourself there i know not everybody believes in uh either recovery or recovered or or any of that specific language it’s interesting how everybody’s got their own way so i’m sure i’ll change it at some point too i’m not locked into that like whatever yeah it’s all good that’s funny we always tend to say uh between billy and i that like whatever it is we believe now just give us five years and we’ll probably tell you some other [ _ ] 100 100 yeah and so daniel’s here today he’s gonna he’s from smart recovery uh and you know while no one person should ever represent a recovery modality we are going to put him on the spot and ask him to anyway um just sounds good sounds good um and so the best thing we’ve heard while we do have a ton of questions to learn more about smart recovery i think the best thing we’ve learned is that it’s always good to just kind of start with why don’t you tell me about smart recovery before we ask questions right no good good place to start so um smart basically uh stan well i’ll tell you what it stands for self management and recovery training and the essence of smart is that they see uh addiction as a learned behavior uh they are based primarily on cognitive behavioral therapy so their focus is primarily just like let’s let’s center in on ideas and techniques that can help you change from uh self-destructive life one that you’re probably unhappy in to one that is constructive and satisfying and a real a key takeaway or a key thing that most people notice and discover right at the beginning of their uh smart journey is that they we don’t focus on labels or use labels like addict or alcoholic we actually encourage people uh to not use those kinds of labels and smart’s principles are entirely based on scientifically validated methods which are really designed to empower you so we’re all about uh self-empowerment and developing a more positive lifestyle whatever that might look like for you and so if you don’t mind uh you want to tell us just a shortened version of your story i believe you told us that you know it kind of your story is a little relevant for why smart seemed like the better choice for you yeah let’s see if i can do a condensed version that kind of everyone’s true everyone says that right like it’s like okay give us the life story in five minutes please um so i was actually raised in a fairly conservative christian family and so my my upbringing was i would consider it fairly sheltered um i was not exposed to things like substance use or a lot of alcohol consumption or anything like that it was maybe a little on the extreme side in terms of the the sheltering and the the fundamental kind of moral focus that i that i grew up with and uh in my late teens as a result of some really what what i would later reflect on as being traumatic experiences uh some things that happened both within my family and also within the um the church that i was a part of i kind of just said there seems to be something foundationally wrong here with the way i understand the world the way i understand god as uh as he was taught to me as a as a young person and uh with my entire belief structure as it’s as it’s built because it seems to me at least that the people the adults the ones i trusted the authority figures that were presenting the truth of the world to me um were hypocrites and were misleading me and were not really telling me the the honest truth now were they really i mean or how much of that is the the youthful mind not really able to understand reality in the world and i’m growing and learning but in any case my reaction was very um very intense it was kind of like i’m turning my back completely on this way of life uh the the moral sheltering that i grew up under i’m gonna push back against that so like let’s the sky’s the limit let’s explore and uh i basically went from being a sober individual who had never used or experimented with any drugs or alcohol to clubbing and using smoking weed and drinking uh every every day within a matter of a couple weeks to a month like it was a very rapid transition and uh one of the things that i i look back on in in um kind of retrospect i understand that one of the things that i interpreted about the way god existed in the world uh was that he was there to make you feel good that was my understanding as a young person when you when you’re feeling bad when life’s when you’re depressed when life’s not going well you pray to god and he will make you feel better that’s a very fundamental kind of immature childish understanding of the spirit world i suppose but it actually had the counterproductive effect of priming me for for substance use i think i think that in a sense i understood god like he was a drug right you take a drug to feel better you take uh you can use god to feel better about your life like i really had no good foundation for understanding greater spiritual truths or understanding the faith of the bible as it was taught to me it was very elementary school and uh as a young person i think most people that grow up in a in a religious framework they do go through some sort of crisis of faith at some point in time like you can only ride your parents belief system for so long and then you really do have to develop your own right so maybe maybe part of that journey was a necessary part in order to come to my own understanding of faith but as a result in in my early years in addiction when i was first introduced to the 12 steps the spiritual components of the 12 steps were something i was highly resistant to because i obviously had arrived at a place in my life where i was like i don’t i don’t want god to be a part of the solution for me i really was like no no no i can figure this out on my own like i s i felt that i screwed my life up and so i needed to take responsibility for it myself and then kind of find my own way out of that and then i was i mean you meet all types like i have only my experience to go by in terms of my my experience with n a n a in the 12 steps like i can’t compare the meetings that i attended due to ones that take place anywhere else in the world but some of these early experiences i met people that had very strange uh spiritual beliefs that and their higher power their concept of a higher power was so foreign to me or so illogical really like because i’m a very analytical logically that’s how my mind works like even though i do still have a i have a faith today and it’s it’s based in my own journey that i came to uh from moving away from what my my parents taught me in kind of a fundamental framework um the the illogical version of spirituality that i saw certain individuals presenting about their what their concept of a higher power was to me it was like this is just ass backwards like this makes no sense how can how can the bottle of beer that you don’t drink in your fridge be your higher power like that was one that was one story that i remember hearing at a young you know early 20s impressionable age where these people are my example for recovery and this is kind of from the front of the room what they’re hearing so i was maybe i had some really early bad experiences but for whatever reason it kind of primed me with a distaste for the 12 steps which was very hard to shake and then a couple other things that just did not resonate with me based on my personality like i really believe person recovery is a lot about personality and that as we grow we can we have more opportunity to become self-aware and get to know ourselves get to know how we work i highly encourage people to do personality tests to do things like the strengths finder and the big five like the ocean personality profile and myers-briggs and there no one of those uh personality profiles tells you who you are like that’s not what their intention is but they do reveal things about you that are valuable and so as i i got older i was able to figure out more about my personality and realize oh this is a reason smart recovery and cognitive behavioral therapy clicks for me and why na in the 12 steps didn’t really click for me some of it is my my analytical mind my my thirst for knowledge my need for scientific evidence to be underneath um what i believe and so so that makes it a challenge for the faith element right well you can’t put science underneath all of that all the time and that’s a bit of a learning curve it’s a wrestling match like i’m literally wrestling with that all the time still in my in my day-to-day life but i remember hearing um people introducing themselves as you know i’m so and so i’m an addict and and hearing that saying that kind of cliche the once an addict always an addict and i think maybe i didn’t really understand it in my youth but seeing people that were 5 or 10 or 20 years sober and still at these meetings calling themselves an addict an addict didn’t make sense to me that’s really what it came down to is like wait wait i thought you’re sober for like 10 years you don’t use drugs anymore you don’t like um have that as a part of your lifestyle like how are you still an addict that was the reasoning that was going on in my mind now i can look at it in a different perspective now i can see this is a person who has probably felt empowered by that label they probably were attempting to stay uh prevent themselves from becoming complacent and to stay motivated in their recovery journey they didn’t want to forget how how dark and bad it was so it that label in a sense is uh is something that can keep them grounded in in preventing them from going back right but for me it felt like a hopeless thing for me it was like oh this is like i had no framework for addiction yet i’m 21 and i loved using drugs and they were a lot of fun and partying was great but problems are developing and relationships are being affected and it’s affecting my work so it seems that i can’t totally walk this you know drugs every day and booze every day and a functional life very effectively right and so i was coming to that realization part of it part of it i came to in the back of a police car but uh like like like you do right uh but you know and then i hear i’m hearing that oh if you if you step out of denial and admit that what’s really going on for you is an addiction you will have to carry this label around with you for the rest of your life and to me that was such a hopeless uh idea that i was just immediately from day one i was like resistant to that i’m like i’m not taking this label on and so part of that was denial i think and there was an element of that which um i had people around me like you know no you need to come to terms with your behavior like you are a drug addict you can’t deny that and it’s like okay yes that is true uh i do see how my behavior is is classic drug addicted behavior i can’t deny that but at the same time i see this label as being a harmful thing that’s not inspiring hope for my journey or for my future so it was a real real wrestling match and that was kind of sorry a very long answer to your your question but that’s a little bit of my personality and i think why i was primed for finding something that was an alternative to the 12 steps it’s interesting i think there’s definitely been times in my recovery where i’ve heard about people who had problems with 12-step fundamental issues with you know whether it was we called ourselves addicts forever or maybe they just had a really terrible experience early on with somebody in their version of a higher power not look i know there’s been times in my recovery where i’ve kind of judged that idea and like well you just need to get the [ _ ] over it and you know get home at life and learn recovery obviously uh but i’m almost wondering now the more i learn about these other modalities it’s like you know what maybe you could have got over that and you could have worked a 12-step program and maybe that would have worked possibly who the [ _ ] knows right but the awesome thing is it’s great that there’s these other places that you can have a resentment against n a and go to these other places and still find help like isn’t that better like why would i judge that right yeah no i mean i think we need to have like recovery is a journey and anyone that’s that’s struggled with an addiction and then finds themselves kind of on the recovery road uh knows this right it’s not a straight line there is a lot of up and downs you know i think our families are all like oh there it’s a relief he finally went to treatment everything’s going to be great now right and obviously it’s just it’s not that way i mean i can’t even count how many detoxes i went to or how how many times i was in treatment centers and things like that so it’s a it’s a journey and one of the ways i look at that journey actually for myself is like this really volatile stock you know if you take a look at a stock that’s super volatile it’s up and down uh on any given the us dollar is a good example for uh on any given day you never know what direction it’s going to go a little bit right but if you zoom way out and look at the last 30 years that even though there’s a lot of ups and downs in it it’s been trending up the whole time and so that’s kind of how i see my recovery journey too is like i had a lot of ups and downs i had a lot of lapses i i really felt i almost say that my recovery was defined by relapse for a long period of time because i just had so many and um yet if i look back at it now removed from it and and out of it i can see that even in those really though those low points and when you bottom out and you relapse i was trending in one direction and that trend line really started to go way up when i learned to look at relapses as a learning experience as opposed to just a failure and that was something that smart really helped me with because again just through the way my mind operates and the way i interpreted the the n a modality like i i suffered i think most people in addiction can relate to feelings of shame and guilt right and like that’s that’s super common so uh and mitigate like guilt is valuable it’s it’s not a bad thing we don’t we shouldn’t be running away from our guilt but shame is harmful and shame is something that we don’t want to encourage uh and that we we really want people to begin to see their value and to not wallow and live in shame and for me just the i had so much overwhelming shame as a result of my behavior because i did not like the life i was living i was not happy with the direction it was going in i did not feel i was living up to the potential that was it within me that when a lapser happened the idea of needing to get that just for today fob again was so it’s so compounded the shame that i felt about myself as a as a failure because that’s that was my belief structure right i believed i was a failure that i just couldn’t bring myself to to go to that point because it felt like a restart it felt like day in a sense it is it’s day one but na really kind of emphasizes like you’re at day one i mean there was i felt there was an over emphasis on counting days sober and a lack of emphasis on what is the quality of your life like if someone’s had 10 years of sobriety and their life is amazing they’ve got family and children and a successful successful career and then for whatever reason something goes sideways and they have a lapse maybe that lasts lasts a day or a week or even a month but they pull themselves out of it that 10 years of recovery is not a write-off and you know perhaps they’ve stopped themselves from going too far and they got back on track and we need to find a way to for them to learn from that experience and identify the things that went wrong that led up to that because it probably wasn’t a one second decision it probably wasn’t a bad day that uh just they decided to use drugs all of a sudden i think it was probably a culmination of things studies show that most relapses are like two or three months in the working before they culminate in actually picking up the substance so you know smart really emphasizes learning experience like what can you learn from this and what went on why did you relapse and we i really want to focus in on that for individuals so that we can just get away from the whole shame story and the the narrative around shame and whether i don’t think that’s an intentional creation of any like i don’t think they intentionally are like we gotta make people feel as shameful as possible about the behavior i just think it’s an a side effect that is perhaps just inherent to some extent in the way that that is that system is created with around the fobs and the celebration of of sobriety sobriety’s thing to celebrate for sure and like you know i just never put it up here on my value list in terms of like needing to count my days i i don’t i don’t even know precisely right now like it’s not something that is the most meaningful thing to me for some people it is so again i’m always qualifying my statements because i don’t want to offend people and say my way’s better it’s not what i mean it by any any any means right i’m just saying like again this was how my brain processed this stuff and so i’m a unique person we got to help unique individuals find their unique path right yeah absolutely it’s uh yeah i mean i don’t know we’re going to offend people along the way i try not to offend people too but i know i do um a couple of interesting points in there just the the shame thing and the celebrating sobriety and and how important is that versus how good my life is on a daily basis like which one holds the importance and the relevance i think all that’s super relevant for my life and things that i think about um i know i think one of the only times i think clean time does come into play in my head is when i’m trying to like when i have an argument with somebody who has less and my ego is trying to use it to prove me right it’s like oh he’s only got three ears over there he doesn’t know what he’s talking about that is actually a really uh key point because i i felt like we do emphasize uh it’s like we offer a little more credibility to to people based on how how long they’ve been sober and so um you guys didn’t ask but if you had asked me how i wouldn’t have answered you and i actually i actually do that intentionally it’s just a decision i made uh along the way because i really don’t wanna i i don’t want people who were like myself to feel shame for having less days sober i just like if you’ve only got one day if you’re just starting like you’re still you’re you’re still valuable and your life has tremendous meaning and value and it’s fine like and and what you have to offer and the the knowledge and the wisdom you have isn’t any less than someone who has five or ten years sober necessarily right like it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have something to offer yet and so i i just was like i just decided you know i’m in long-term recovery it’s been a while and i don’t i don’t need to like broadcast that because i don’t want to make anyone feel like they’re they’re not valuable for where they’re at in their journey that’s super interesting so i don’t if somebody asked i will definitely like tell them how long i’ve been in recovery or clean or whatever you’d like to call it but i generally don’t ever say it when i share about it either and it’s a different reason for me it’s just more of a humility thing it’s like it’s really not that relevant like how am i living today because i can have whatever amount of clean time and go home and [ _ ] smack my kid across the mouth and be a huge jerk and i’m like that’s really useless to have clean time for that like that’s not how i live yeah are you in improving your life like is your who you are as a person improving on a day-to-day basis and those things are far more important than uh the number of days you’ve had sober right yeah no absolutely you also you kind of made you made a smart recovery sound like planet the planet fitness of recovery modalities with like the judgment free zone or something uh well i mean i’m sure that it’s uh that in writing it’s perfect in that sense but i mean it is facilitated by human beings so i’m quite certain that we don’t escape all uh critical uh attitudes and judgments um

yeah we do make a strong effort to just accept people where they’re at and um smart’s primary focus is on abstinence but they’re willing to encourage bring people along that aren’t there yet so they will take a harm reduction uh approach to things um they will encourage now if you’re coming to a meeting and you’re not sober that’s gonna be a problem we’re gonna we’re not gonna be like going down that road but we are you know plenty of people are navigating their recovery journey some people who are feeling like maybe they want to uh reduce the harms of their harder drug use and they’re they’re going to just smoke some cannabis on occasion and they’d still be welcome i mean i think they’d still be welcome in in a 12-step meeting too it’s not like you would tell them to leave but um we because we don’t have the entire system or any any emphasis around counting days sober or celebrating that or handing out fobs it’s just not part of the the meetings it’s just not part of the space right like so people do talk about that they do have conversations about their their sobriety people i’ve met people that have come that were drinking a lot and they just want to reduce as opposed to being completely abstinent i mean that was that was me for a time i really really tried hard to be a rec uh a social responsible drinker like i really wanted to be and then through about a period of eight years of attempting that and i realized it was not working out multiple times i was like okay i give up i’m not gonna i can’t drink it just it doesn’t work for me right but some people need to go out that need to go on that journey they need to figure that out right so let’s have grace for them in the process like if they haven’t come to a place of accepting that abstinence is what they need for them then then that’s okay maybe they will get there maybe maybe we can you know have some compassion in the process right super interesting uh just to check off some of these as you’re answering i mean you did say what uh smart says that addiction is which is a learned behavior and i would say i guess a learned behavior with a negative consequence or oh yeah clearly like i mean substances are useful i think that’s that’s something that that we can acknowledge and if behaviors serve a purpose um they will help people cope with life problems and you know emotional difficulties and whatnot but uh clearly for anyone that’s been using substances for for a while and they’re developing problems like it’s there’s a lot there’s negative consequences right and i think um i think the uh the focus really needs to be on helping an individual find out what’s underneath the substance use so what what kind of pain and things in life were they were the substances helping them with uh like let’s be honest about about it it wasn’t at some point it went away from just being a party and being fun to serving a purpose that dealt with the pain and trauma and emotional upsets in some way and we need to identify what those things are so you need to acknowledge that it it served a purpose so when we say learned behavior smart doesn’t really take a position on disease theory um that they’re open like people can subscribe to disease theory or not there’s a lot of like in the work i do uh there’s a lot of opinions on addiction theory um i mean disease theory obviously stands out as kind of the definitive the de facto it’s in the dsm-5 right now basically like addiction as a disease

when we use the terminology learned behavior the emphasis i think in smart is on personal responsibility so if i can give you an analogy about choice because the word choice comes into the addiction quite often like people talk about addiction is it a choice uh and then people who have been in addiction will often say well obviously it’s not a choice you didn’t choose to be addicted it’s not a choice i think it’s it’s really hard to use a simple word like choice to explain a complicated idea like addiction the best analogy that i’ve heard is to look at a tug of war for for an individual that is in addiction as if they’re in a tug of war and you have one side that’s pulling them into their addiction to stay in it to to stay addicted and those things that are pulling them in that direction might include their their childhood trauma the difficult circumstances of their life the destroyed relationships and burn bridges that they’re in the fact that they’re actually physically and pro and psychologically dependent on a drug so they don’t want to go into withdrawal all those kinds of things their financial situation are pulling them to stay right it’s it’s tough it’s easier to just escape and and get out of this uh these feelings by numbing out and disconnecting right and the other side of the tug of war is the things that are pulling that individual to a better life so uh the hope that they have for their future the people that see potential within them the family and loved ones that support and surround them and are encouraging them and trying to give them uh give them hope and support them in the process and so is there a choice in this uh yes i think there is but for many and for myself too for many years in addiction this side was just pulling it was it was loaded right there’s 10 10 big strong guys pulling this way and there wasn’t much pulling me pulling this way at all so uh we need to load up on supports for individuals we need to uh get more give them more hope we need to not be condemning and shaming them we need to have compassion and empathy for where they’re at we need to be able to connect them with healthy support systems and models of of recovery that work for them and that they resonate with so that’s kind of the way i see addiction working in an individual um that choice plays a role but uh it’s not that reductive yeah i personally avoid the uh the conversation about whether it’s a disease or not at all costs mostly because honestly at this point like the most beneficial thing that came out of the disease model is the fact that insurance covers it and if we ever lose that i don’t i don’t what the [ __ ] are we gonna do then right so like let’s just act like we don’t care well a hundred years ago i mean we we operated strictly on the moral model so if you’re addicted you are a reprobate sinner who needs to repent you are bad drugs are bad you need to stop using drugs and so we’ve come a long way uh from there obviously and i think the disease model is a necessary part of our evolution and the understanding the way we as a society understand addiction because of one of the key points you mentioned it has allowed us to acknowledge addiction as a health issue rather than a moral failing rather than you know you’re just weak willed rather than just oh it’s just the drugs you just got to stop the drugs like as if the drugs are what caused the addiction uh we’ve moved into you know understanding this is a health issue we need health supports for these individuals and we really need to take that a step further in our society because while we’re treating as a health issue we’re also still criminalizing people for their addictions and that’s a real problem because that further disconnects them from the support system that might actually help them break free yeah absolutely uh try to get us back to smart i know so much i get off topic are there any qualifications for membership in smart none at all no no qualifications for for membership smart doesn’t really have a membership uh in the sense of like the people that attend meetings there’s no formal requirements to to come um or we don’t collect names phone numbers we do it as anonymously as possible we don’t even need people to use their real names when they attend meetings uh so yeah no membership there is some training for facilitators of course uh and so that’s a bit of a different story but anyone could become a facilitator if they wanted to and they could get onto smartrecovery.org and find out what that process looks like right awesome um what about like what about somebody who necessarily maybe they they never used a drug like and they just showed your meeting is is can they benefit from it are they allowed to stay like yeah they can stay and it does happen uh mostly in the context of family supporting an individual so we’ll often have a young person come with a mom or a dad or a love a loved one come with like a spouse and they just they don’t understand addiction um but they want to support their their loved one and so they’ll participate by all means um there’s also like smart acknowledges behavior and process addictions too as equally as potentially destructive so people may not be dealing with substance use disorders they may be dealing gambling or sex addiction or shopping or any any kind of process addiction you know netflix and chill too much

so you know people need to uh are welcome by all means yeah excellent so this is kind of a loaded question that i i don’t think could even be answered for our fellowship honestly uh what does recovery look like how does that look yeah yeah well i mean all i can comment on is my recovery i suppose right because i think smart focuses on helping individuals find out what would give them a meaningful and satisfying life so for each person you’re going to have to identify what that is for you and i really do believe as a that you can’t sustain recovery without some sense of meaning and purpose um for me doing this kind of work like advocacy and recovery work facilitating meetings um speaking and sharing my story that those kinds of things actually are part of the meaning and purpose of of my life and they’re part of my recovery really like facilitating meetings is highly therapeutic for me um i don’t sit up like smart facilitators don’t sit on a platform or we we generally do all our meetings in a circle so you know there’s no obvious hierarchy facilitators as a facilitator i try to just say i’m at the same level as as everyone in the room like i’m not other than the fact that i took the training so i know how to facilitate i haven’t um i haven’t arrived anywhere in my recovery journey beyond the fact that you know i’m here and and still learning and so what does recovery look like each person is going to honestly have to answer that for themselves and i think that’s really really important because a lot of times i do feel like people try and tell people what their recovery should look like not okay i go down this road like is 90 meetings in 90 days absolutely necessary maybe it is i don’t know maybe it is it for me i’ve never done that and i can tell you right now i would never do that i would never have done it in a million years only because my other life circumstances like um with work and with family obligations and with other things that i had going on in my life i i don’t think it would have been actually healthy for me to do 90 meetings in 90 days i probably would have been counterproductive and burned me out and been a little bit too much so i remember in treatment one time you know how they make you uh come up with a relapse prevention plan and uh you need to write it out and i i presented my relapse prevention plan to this counselor and he was like i don’t that’s way too much man you can’t do all that stuff like it’s not realistic right and it was a real eye-opener it was like i had this this tremendous ambition but um that i was trying to write out for myself but i needed the council to be like okay pace yourself what do you want your recovery to look like are you doing too much are you not doing enough is there a lot of down time boredom’s a killer especially in early recovery we know that right so people need to find their own path for sure and what it looks like for them absolutely so uh just in general in a more generalized version obviously it’s going to look different on each individual but what does like how does the recovery process work in smart how would you say that process takes place like for 12 steps it’s easy we say you work the [ _ ] 12 steps right that’s how it works so what does that look like i think i’ve seen some of the meetings how how people kind of interact and learn some tools during that what else happens along with that and can you expound on it a bit please so smart has four uh key areas that uh they would say are their their four-point program is what they actually call it so building motivation uh and maintaining change coping with urges to use managing your thoughts feelings and behaviors in an effective way without result resorting to your addictive behaviors and living a balanced positive and healthy life whatever that might look like for you and then so as as you mentioned yeah smart has tools that is basically what they call them and their tools are there’s a whole there’s actually a smart handbook um look at that smart recovery handbook and it’s got all their tools in them they’re not they can be worked out in any order but basically their their frameworks for identifying uh belief structures emotional stumbling blocks triggers uh things that are preventing you from maintaining your motivation in your recovery and you can work through them so let’s i’ll just give you an example of one of my favorite smart tools it’s called disputing irrational beliefs they give all their tools acronyms so dibs right disputing the rational beliefs and basically it says like let’s look at what you are actually thinking about a given situation or circumstance and let’s just let’s identify let’s step away from ourselves let’s try and be as objective as possible here and identify if what you believe is rational or irrational because it’s it’s amazing when people start really taking a look at their thought processes how many irrational thoughts they think and how many things they actually believe at a foundational core level that are untrue so in the smart guide gives some really like some really fundamental and probably relevant examples like um here’s an irrational belief i always fail and that was one that i actually held because i i really identified strongly as i am a failure and i spent a lot of my time um comparing myself to other people comparing myself to peers people that were in my kind of age bracket my life stage so like i’m in my early 40s now but when i was in my early 30s and in and i was getting into recovery and i would look at people that i knew that were married that owned houses and that had happy families and i would always compare myself to these individuals and say look i’m such a failure i’m 10 i’m 15 years behind these people in life if i had only got on got my act together when i was younger you know i would own a house now and i would have this you know my my life would look this way and so the irrational belief uh underneath all that was was i am a failure right and and so you have to question that smart would teach you to question that like are you really a failure at everything does everything you do do you fail at and so so then you can be a little more objective and you can identify a couple things you do well a couple things you’re good at a couple things you’re actually really gifted in and so it’s it’s about honesty in that in that sense and there’s a you can spend a whole day paying attention to your thoughts thinking about are they true are they rational is this reality and like another one for me was uh i think this is pretty common to people with addiction is uh that idea that you know when a craving when a really powerful craving would come on you have this belief that you can’t get rid of it unless you just give in to it it’s like and i would tell myself oh i’ll just give in and then i can restart right because then i’ll get rid of the craving like this emotion because it’s it’s it’s difficult it’s emotionally painful to like have this thing weighing on you like driving you to want to use and you you wait 10 minutes and you wait half an hour and it’s not going away you wait an hour or maybe you push through a day and it’s still there it’s like okay if i give into it then i can get rid of it right is this rational is this uh is this true like what so you gotta step outside of yourself smart really encourages people to be become self-aware and i think that is something that is difficult in youth i think it does get easier as first people mature and grow um i mean we know that substance use tends to stunt our emotional growth right so if you started using drugs when you were young say in your teenage years and then you finally arrive uh at a season of sobriety in your late 20s or early 30s you really haven’t matured emotionally much and so learning to become self-aware uh is going to be a process that you need to go through and smart really helps with that absolutely i could definitely identify with uh it’s funny when and i’ve had this experience so far anytime i talk to someone from another recovery modality they they seem to share that they found these answers or or you know ways of understanding themselves that i’m like that’s exactly the same [ _ ] i came to right that’s the same conclusions i got that helped me live a healthy life today and it’s how we we go different ways to get to that same understanding or similar understandings at least they might not be exactly the same but i could identify a lot with what you just said well for most of us our starting point is the same goal right i mean for most people if they’re struggling with addiction their goal is abstinence in this and a life that’s free of that controlling substance so how you get there who cares right find your find your way right right so uh our program specifically ours at least i think all 12-step programs might have a similar uh idea as this but ours says that the promise is freedom from active addiction along with some other freedoms hopefully that you get but that’s the main promise right there free affirmative addiction is there any such promise that smart has about their program that it provides anything um i would say that their focus or their their hope would be i mean in their language it would be developing a more positive lifestyle so yeah developing a more positive lifestyle and and so again it really does leave it up to the individual to define that uh and so i mean addiction is an interesting and complicated thing that a lot of people are discussing on the fringes now in terms of the way we define it and recognizing some some experts are are recognizing that everybody’s addicted to something and that addiction in itself is not really a very helpful word uh there is a psychologist in in europe that’s actually prefers the word bonding which i find very interesting because his he says what are you bonding with and then we can determine if our bonds are healthy or unhealthy just like the way uh johan hari the journalist has come up with that saying you know the opposite of addiction is connection so um because i actually use my my time in addiction i’ll often say i was in a relationship with heroin and because that’s really what it was i mean uh my wife and people in my life would say like like we would call it your my mistress right it was like it’s such a powerful relationship and so uh if we think of addiction like bonding um you may be developing new healthier addictions right and not all addictions have the potential of killing us quickly like a lot of substances will or shortening our life or quality of life or resulting in bankruptcy and other other serious life altering problems many addictions uh could be beneficial so you know i’m kind of in this uh new learning curve where i’m trying to figure out how we define all this stuff because take for example we’ve had individuals that come to smart recovery with food addiction they’ll identify as having a food addiction and you can’t stop eating food right so you know this is not something so they have to come up with a way of measuring uh when it’s when they’re eating has become healthy as opposed to problematic and so that’s a really interesting thing to navigate and i think our understanding of addiction uh medically and as a society is going to continue to evolve yeah it’s so interesting you’re right because uh in talking to people that deal with like the sex addiction programs or the food addiction programs and you know they have these what they call bottom lines or or inner circles of behavior that constitute like a relapse for them what they would call a relapse and just trying to think of that in my terms like of i don’t know that i can have a healthy relationship with heroin right like i just don’t think that exists so it’s definitely an interesting thing to look at um but you probably figured that out through trial and error oh yeah yeah yeah experimentation for sure yeah yeah so that you get you arrived at a conclusion that’s true for you and i think if that same conclusion is true for me uh and that’s that’s valid like no one can take that away from us i’m never gonna come to a point in in time in my life where i’m like well i think i think heroin might be an okay option now like it’s just it’s just out forever right so yeah so are there any signs and and this is another one where you know there’s no real way to tell if somebody in our fellowship was like on the verge of going downhill but there’s some kind of behavioral signs that we can see i just didn’t know if since you’re using more of a cbt method if there’s any signs that would indicate somebody is you know really needs to take a look at themselves because they’re headed in a possibly a bad direction or the opposite signs that hey uh you know i look for these in people and that tells me that they are pretty strong in their current recovery so i have a good story for this uh from my own life because i was i had a counselor that asked me to write out my next relapse which sounds pretty morbid but it was a really healthy experience in the sense that i had mentioned to you already that relapse was a real defining thing for my life it felt like it just over and over and over again and so the fear was you know another relapse right that’s that’s what everyone that was close to me and loved me was afraid of it’s like how do we know that he’s really done with this like there’s been seasons of sobriety three months six months a year a year and a half um and then he’s gone back so you know everyone wants an assurance that it will never happen again but i had this counselor that was like write out your next relapse and tell me what leads up to it because it’s key and i’ve already mentioned that there were studies that show that relapses typically are developing two to three months in advance of actually picking up the drug of choice so that means there should be a lot of warning signs right leading up to that so uh smart doesn’t really have anything super specific about helping identify these things and of course they’re going to be unique to everyone but i found a tool um that uh with this counselor gave me in conjunction with that assignment writing out my next relapse that really helped me identify vulnerabilities for me areas that i needed to watch for that were signs that would be come into play if i was heading back down that road and so that tool is called the faster scale you can google it people f-a-s-t-e-r scale and it’s also an acronym faster faster scale step each letter in the faster scale stands for some something which leads to relapse so the f is forgetting priorities the a is for anxiety s is for speeding up t is for ticked off e is for exhausted and then r would be the actual physical relapse and underneath each one of those letters is a whole series of potential behaviors or or um attitudes that could be developing in a person that would build off one another and then and then lead down that road so when i wrote that assignment i identified like key stressors for myself that would be things that i would need to watch for like finances money was a huge one for me i had a huge debt load as a result of my addiction and bills coming due and extra like feeling tight financially was a real put me at a real risk of moving up in the faster scale so just to give some examples of of like things that are on that um on that scale under forgetting priorities like are you starting to keep secrets are you finding yourself bored more than usual are you isolating more than usual are you developing obsessions in your relationships are you um hiding money or procrastinating or lying and you know people so this requires a level of of real honesty if you’re going to answer those things accurately and you could actually find out where you’re at on that scale uh and it’s let’s see if those behaviors are showing up for you or which ones you would be most vulnerable to and you would get an idea so then you can reset like i’m if you haven’t picked up and used yet you can you can get back you don’t have to keep going down that road right so if you find yourself somewhere on that scale you can take measures to get it get into proper accountability get in touch with loved ones let them know where you’re at and reset yourself and so interesting because a lot of times i feel like we associate relapse uh with the inability to clearly see ourselves anymore and so it would be like from my i guess just from the perspective and i’m not saying this is the right perspective but just one that kind of has been given to me over time is like it’s really hard to not be in denial during that relapse process and so it would be really hard to answer that scale honestly so i agree with you i hear what you’re saying and i suspect that that that might be further down the scale like if you’re already getting into that denial mode you may have allowed it to go too far already now like if you’re checking boxes off i mean this i had a propensity for for prepping for a relapse uh and hiding money or st or getting a stash right so if you see that box hiding money and you are hiding money and you can’t answer that honestly then there might be a bigger problem here that i don’t know if anyone can help you with that you might not be ready for recovery like really if you’re at that at that point because that’s early in the scale right right so if you’re if denial comes a little bit later and then yes i agree with you i think if you’ve entered into that denial stage reversing it is going to be much more difficult and that’s where i hope that you have established good accountability and people in your lives that are aware of your warning signs that you have made yourself vulnerable to those people and told them your warning signs so that they can call you out on it and right that’s that’s the healthy connections that everyone in recovery needs in order to maintain their recovery to go back to one thing you said earlier and i meant to ask this when you were telling me about how the program works uh you learn these tools which seem super valuable and kind of like the core of the program do you only learn them in the meetings or are there other ways to learn them throughout the process is there like just skills classes or readings or so smart leaves almost the entirety of an individual’s recovery journey up to them uh the meetings the physical meetings or the online meetings there are online meetings that people can participate in are um are available but outside of that it’s really up to the individual they can purchase a handbook and work through it at their own pace uh but smart doesn’t have any external offerings of counselors they don’t have a sponsorship system um they don’t really emphasize or encourage uh relationships in any capacity that’s totally up to individuals like as far as how much socializing you do within a meeting or outside of a meeting with other participants is totally up to you so yeah there’s not not anything in that context for for individuals they’ve got to take ownership now with that handbook is that meant to be gone through by yourself without anybody else it can totally be done by yourself and like with anything recovery related i would always say just do it as best you can like you don’t have to do it good you don’t have to you don’t have to have all the right answers you don’t have to it’s like things change right we change our minds you know one of the early things in the recovery handbook is uh your hierarchy of values and it’s identifying the five things that are the most valuable to you in your life like what do you value most right and for a lot of people obviously in addiction if they’re truly honest with themselves they put their substance at the top of that list right but if you’re entering into recovery you want to rearrange your hierarchy of values so and those probably change i mean maybe the first time you sit down and write those out you come up with your five things that you find the most valuable and i bet you if you’re you’re really going on a journey in a year those are going to be different and in two or three years they might be different again and i think as people grow and mature age in life uh maybe those things will become a little more solid and rigid and not change quite as much but interesting i mentioned uh not having like the the handbook can be done by yourself and then not having a formal version of sponsorship not that i mean honestly uh the 12-step version of sponsorship isn’t formal either but it’s just kind of implied we just did our episode last week we talked a lot about sponsorship and how that looks we try to incorporate like how this looks for somebody new to recovery but also what it would look like for somebody who’s never been in recovery or had an addiction problem in case they’re listening like maybe they could get a better understanding and we sort of i think came to the conclusion i know monopolizing talking here billy sorry uh we came to the conclusion that like having a guide and or mentor figure in your life is pretty universal for every human and so it’s interesting that there’s not one uh in smart i guess it’s just kind of like an outside issue to them well i don’t think smart says like this is all you should do is smart if you’re going into recovery like just just go to smart meetings and you’re good like i think that we we always encourage people to pursue one-on-one counseling i think it’s really tremendously valuable and probably necessary i don’t think you’re gonna no matter how comfortable you might be feeling at a smart meeting i think some of the deeper traumas and emotional issues that people are facing are not gonna come out in those settings uh so yeah while we don’t have the formal sponsorship thing i mean i would be a person who who says mentorship and accountability and counseling are are very important elements of a person’s recovery journey and probably absolutely necessary in early recovery right and maybe you can revise that as as time goes on interesting uh so i i already know the answer to this next question but we’re gonna ask it anyway uh is there a specific higher power or do you have to follow a certain religion now obviously smart does not identify with any of those so i guess this question is more is there a place for a higher power in your smart program like is it ever fit in somewhere i think yes smart intentionally distances themselves from religious and spiritual messaging um but they don’t take a stance in any in any way right so individuals are free to have their belief systems free to believe what they will and have faith um my faith which i said i went on a journey uh like i’m i’m still a christian i still believe in in the god of the bible and i still operate with uh with that faith it’s it’s different and evolving and like i said i kind of called it a bit of a wrestling match uh in a sense trying to figure all that out um and it plays a role in my recovery it is it is important because of some the things the bible teaches i i feel are are valuable lessons of wisdom that um if people follow those guidelines they can improve their lives and they can influence and other people in a positive manner and i mean like even the um even aaa uh foundation on the four absolutes right of absolute honesty purity unselfishness and love i mean those are in essence uh spiritual biblical principles right so a lot of those smart doesn’t take a stance or position or even encourage uh faith in any way um again they give individuals that participate the freedom to to incorporate whatever faith they would like into their recovery journey awesome uh do they have any specific rules about what is clean or sober or is that up for everybody’s own interpretation they do

i i actually don’t know them off the top of my head but i i know i that they’re on their website um maybe i can find it it’s but in any case one thing that i do know that they um they are okay with is what we call up here in canada opioid agonist therapy or i believe in the states it’s referred to as mat medication assisted therapy so drugs like methadone and suboxone will be people on them will be welcome to to use them and participate in smart meetings um and again i think just with based on the way smart is structured in their their principles if that person wanted to call themselves fully in recovery or sober that would be their prerogative like no one’s going to tell them that they’re not and i think that that’s valuable i think that that person has to find find their journeys you know some people resign themselves to being on methadone for the rest of their lives other people are are keen on on tapering and getting off of it as soon as they can but that process is complicated and and not not easy or smooth so um yeah smart smart is okay with people uh identifying where they’re at in their recovery in their recovery and how they would want to call themselves or if they’d want to call themselves sober absolutely very interesting i think one of the main things that i’m going to leave this conversation super curious about not that we’re quite done yet but just the fact that smart does kind of have a stance about using and and and a goal of you know hopefully complete abstinence one day and yet at the same time it’s not like this hardened goal that if you’re not living up to that you can’t still be considered a full-fledged member or whatever you would want to call it it’s really interesting it’s kind of like a little ambiguous it it is i mean they are they are abstinence oriented i think that that is their their emphasis but again i mean maybe we’re being repetitive here now like they recognize the journey for each individual and what it might take to get there and so that’s a process like for instance i mean we haven’t talked about smoking cigarettes but i mean that addiction is almost always attached uh to a lot of other substance use and many people most people uh that do quit other drugs that still smoke wouldn’t consider themselves um wouldn’t consider that as the they would consider themselves sober still right they would consider themselves absent i still smoke cigarettes but i’m still abstinent because i don’t use the other drugs that were the the major problem in my life right right so it’s a bit of a gray area uh for everyone people need to find their own path on that note here’s a bit of i’ll leave you with this funny thought because just on the idea of labels and people identifying as an addict or whatnot i quit smoking as well i know many people that have quit smoking cigarettes i mean people’s quit all the time no one walks around 10 years after quitting smoking cigarettes and calls themselves a smoking addict true right so it’s very strange to me i mean nicotine is widely considered one of the hardest drugs in the world to uh people do say it’s almost as difficult to quit nicotine as it is to quit heroin uh when they’ve had a long-term like addiction to that drug so uh it’s and most people that do quit quit without help of 12-step groups or treatment programs or detox facilities they arrive at a place in their life where they recognize the drug is not serving the purpose it used to and that there’s other more meaningful things that they would like to pursue and that that drug is interfering with and so they they eventually quit and that might take a bunch of tries and a bunch of lapses but most people that do want to quit smoking eventually do and uh they don’t they don’t walk around with labels yeah up there five years later like i’m a smoker named jason

right everyone would scratch their head at that one yeah so is there a type of person uh and i know you described yourself who you know smart seem to be the ideal kind of personality fit for you so is there uh generally a type of person that you personally believe is a good fit for smart as opposed to a different place so i would say that um if you’re on a recovery journey i just i would encourage a person to try every possible modality that they can get their hands on just to find out what resonates with them and that like don’t be locked into to anything i think in canada um we don’t really do this it’s it’s a difficult thing that i hear about in the states where courts sentence people to the 12 steps and that i’ve heard multiple stories about individuals being wanting to to do something else wanting to do smart recovery or wanting to go to a different program and uh that that not being an option for them so on it that’s disappointing um because we need to give people as many options as they want and i think people should try as many things as they can with that said as smart as a psychological approach with the cognitive behavioral therapy so i would say that people that are are more analytical more um that lean away from the the spiritual solution uh would maybe be the ones that would benefit the most from smart but i mean you’ll never know until you try it and we have plenty of people who participate in both so that’s also worth noting right they come smart but they also go to aaa or n a meetings uh at other times in the week and they find they find them helpful like if you find smart helpful it doesn’t mean you find n a unhelpful it just means you know it’s clicking for you on one on one level and and maybe that’s clicking for you on another or or vice versa right so that’s super interesting and and you also bring up another question i want to ask do you guys sign court slips at all is that a thing uh we do sign slips for probation officers so that um we have a couple probation officers where i live here in this area that will we’ll ask guys to go to smart recovery because that for whatever reason that officers uh keen on it i guess uh or maybe i think they probably give them an option like go to a meeting right and it smarts one of the options and so we’ll sign those for them that they they were there yeah so i’m sure you’ve heard of recovery housing we have a crap ton of recovery housing down here and a lot of times the recovery house will also have slips to be signed to prove you hit these meetings would you also be willing to sign we would we would sign anything acknowledging if a person needed it for their accountability structure whatever that looks like whether it’s a recovery house or a court system we would we would participate in in that for sure and you said there was no like rules about dating in the program so anybody who’s looking to get laid early on go to smart

is there anything else now obviously you know we would say uh behavioral therapy is something else that is like smart recovery but uh maybe even beyond that is there any other program that’s even remotely similar and if there’s not what would be the differences between like a cognitive behavioral therapy with a counselor and what you would get in smart so uh i mean cognitive behavioral therapy is very similar to dialectical behavioral therapy and then rational emotive behavioral therapy which would be its precursor so all those psychological approaches would be have their similarities um the difference between whether you do one of those with a counselor and in the more meeting context of smart would be probably the depth you can go on your personal issues and your comfortability with being vulnerable and open in a room as opposed to being one-on-one so the principles are the same how an individual would apply them in their into their life would be the same uh the only difference would be uh probably the safety that a person might feel in the different environments and and the cost for sure and the cost yeah no i don’t know how it is where you guys are but we have um we have some free counseling substance use counseling available in canada so uh like in my city people that live within this city can get sessions one-on-one sessions with a counselor uh uh for free so that is and they can get cognitive behavioral therapy or uh even other approaches in that model no cost wow we need more of that you hear that usa what the [ _ ] are we doing down here we need more of the canada stuff man that’s great um is there an end to your program or a graduation does that exist does not exist no end um the general encouragement to individuals is that they come as often and as as long as they would like so you know you come to as many meetings as you would like um as often as you would like for for as long as you would like if you feel that smart needs to be part of your life for the rest of your life then you should do that and if you feel that you have got what you need from it and you’re kind of done then you can conclude that as well and be free to go but yeah in that sense there’s not a heck of a lot of emphasis on like i already said celebrating sobriety there’s no cakes there’s no uh graduate yeah there’s no graduations nothing like that and i i think it’s got a value in that sense and that it’s just like sorry we’re not we’re not getting too excited about this it’s your life like make your life what you want it to be and we’re glad that you benefited from the program and what we offer but um you know no one’s gonna stand on a chair and bake you a cake i liked all of that except no cake i’m really sad we at we do have a in the in the one meeting that i participate in we have a baker and she is great and she brings in baked goods all the time so that’ll make up for it then it’s hard hard for the people with the uh the food yeah right you wouldn’t like you wouldn’t have a meth uh lab person yeah bringing in samples so is there any like i i don’t want to just say hope because i think there’s always hope that we find this recovery and and in our life purpose decide to give back some but is there any principle of smart recovery of like hey even when you’re done maybe we’d love for you to still hang out and be you know i guess not because you don’t have guides right like how does that well there is an encouragement to become to volunteer and even become a facilitator and i mean smart is there are a lot of meetings it is all over the place but it’s not even i mean it doesn’t even compare to how many n a and a 12-step meetings exist around the world so there’s a lot of room to grow so the encouragement would be that that if you’ve really benefited and found this program valuable that you would become a facilitator maybe start a meeting in your neighborhood so we do we we need more for sure gotcha what about dues is there any dues of any sort how does smart pay its way so most of the uh meetings are held in spaces that would be rented so we do a pass the hat we pass the hat around the room and people throw in a loony or a tunier or whatever they’re they’re able or or if they’re not that’s fine too uh and those would go towards um just paying for the space so there’s no re facilitators are not paid there’s no paid positions within the smart uh organization at least at the at the meeting level uh and so yeah there’s no um nothing to worry about there so mainly covering rent which would also include we put coffee on generally speaking and that sort of thing uh would be all we need to collect collect some dollars for awesome is there anything we didn’t ask that or i’m sorry i should give you damn i’m just forgetting you’re here billy uh okay is there anything you wanted to ask um just during the meetings would there be like a sharing session or i mean that’s kind of all our meetings are we didn’t yeah we didn’t uh we didn’t really talk about what the meeting really looked like what would a meeting look like yeah so i said we tend to sit in a circle uh which is to avoid any any hierarchy but um our meetings are loaded with crosstalk so while we we have an introduction and we read our opening statement then we do a check in so we’ll go around the room and we’ll ask everyone to check in uh essentially how their last week has been good the bad and the ugly whatever they want to share whatever they’re comfortable with if you’re new to the meeting then we clarify you don’t even have to say anything uh you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to you can you be free to observe after the check-in uh we kind of the facilitator will listen for cues because oftentimes there’s themes within a check-in a lot of people were feeling the same way you know how uh maybe a bunch of people are experiencing their first summer sober and that comes with new triggers uh or that or christmas season is around and or approaching and part and there’s parties happening and so we the facilitator may bring that into a conversation which will be in which crosstalk is permitted so maybe an idea is put forth we’ll discuss people’s thoughts people’s concerns or what are you going to do about these all these parties your family is inviting you to and there’s going to be a lot of alcohol around this this christmas season how are you going to handle that what’s your what’s your plan and people will put out their ideas people put out what they’ve done and so we’ll have a very uh casual conversation in that sense and then we will generally go through uh something from the workbook so we’ll photocopy uh a page because not everyone’s got a handbook uh hand that out and then we’ll read through it discuss it have an open crosstalk conversation about the tool and at the end of the meeting we do another round of checks out what stood out for you did anything resonate with you did anything did you find anything particularly helpful this meeting was it completely useless for you and then you know do that and then sign off till till next time so that’s that’s how meeting looks yeah i’m surely glad nobody asked me if some of the n a meetings i’ve been to were completely useless for me because i would have felt really bad saying yes um is there anything we didn’t ask that you feel like you want to talk about with smart or that you want people to know before they check it out or if they’re interested no um i thought this was a really uh productive conversation i really enjoyed chatting with you guys and talking about this i always get my own thoughts clearer you know when i have conversations like this so that’s great smart uh if you’re interested in more you can find their official website at smartrecovery.org there’s also a fine meeting button there so you can hit that pop in your zip code postal code and find a meeting near you uh so and i also mentioned online online meetings but everything you want to learn about smart is there so highly encourage people to to check that out and uh and then just a note about myself i do a lot of uh advocacy work sharing my story uh thought around recovery and also in response to the ongoing overdose crisis which we didn’t get a chance to discuss but is something that uh is very close to my heart in terms of my passion in mitigating the crisis and then seeing what we should do as a nation uh in north america with with our drug policy and so if people are interested in those things and what’s been happening in those areas they can check my facebook i’m at dga snyder d g a snyder with a y on facebook or my twitter is at danielsnider1 um i did have a question so our podcast sponsor is a local community organization voices of hope and they have sponsored a or i don’t know if you call it sponsored they were hosting a smart recovery meeting in this area um would you have any suggestions on how to promote that or or get that out there or how to kind of reach more people that may be looking for an alternative one way that it’s been um effective at people finding out about it in our community is the fact that our local community services organizations uh promote it and actually host a meeting so langley community services where i live they have a substance use counseling division and they are 100 on board with smart recovery uh as a modality uh so they a meeting is hosted there as a result if you are someone in our community that’s struggling with substance use you’re probably going gonna end up calling them at some point so that’s one reason people find out about it because they are the place where you can get the free counseling or find other resources and whatnot uh so i would encourage uh that meeting to obviously do what they can online do the facebook stuff and everything but see what other organizations are doing recovery related stuff recovery houses treatment centers and things in the community that exist and have a following and and let them know about your meeting put up uh flyers over there put up posters there and try and draw people in that way um meetings are a funny thing like you know we we they go through their evolutions they have five or eight or ten people and then they go to 20 and we had we had 30 people we had we couldn’t fit any more people in our room at one point which becomes another problem right so you know you want to you want your meeting to grow but then you you find you have a limit right you need another either another meeting or a bigger space i find with smart meetings because of the crosstalk format um about 15 people to 18 is like really max it’s really max like 12 to 15 is probably super ideal and when you get to 20 or 25 people the loud people do all the talking and the quiet people say nothing right whereas if you’re right in that wheelhouse of 12 to 15 then you can level the playing field and allow everybody an opportunity to speak and a good facilitator knows how to um tell certain people to stop talking and allow other people to to talk right that’s interesting that you put it as high as as 12 to 15 just in study and it sounds a lot like group therapy i know it’s technically not because there’s not a therapist in the room but uh like the you know the guru of group therapy yalum suggests like eight as a max and it’s hard to handle more than that so 12 to 15 i’m like good god can you imagine having 15 people in a group it would be that’s a lot like that’s interesting i hadn’t heard that so you know i’m not going by any research on this one i’m just going by experience with the room size but i mean every meeting’s somewhat different too you definitely want people to feel comfortable to share and i know yeah when it gets too big the comfortability and the willingness to be vulnerable goes down right so can i ask are you in a crunch for time or anything no not particularly i have a poker game later tonight and i’ll tell you why and i don’t know you might have to edit this out if you’re not interested but i am incredibly interested in like some of the more progressive things they’ve done in canada oh like insight the safe injection stuff and um i can’t remember the name but didn’t they have the big hotel there in vancouver where they were housing uh like for homeless yeah and addicts and stuff um i read a book or actually listened to an audiobook about it a few years ago and yeah that’s the portland hotel system yeah there you go yeah yeah so i haven’t had up with that stuff but in our area again that you know we have a local community organization that’s pushing for a lot of those um we’re i guess you would call it a pretty conservative area as far as the culture here so they’re not on board with like safe injection sites and things like that so it’s a local community organization pushing for some of those things and just how they kind of played out in canada so yeah like i said canada is really progressive bc in particular and my opinions on harm reduction measures have come full circle too so i i was raised conservative as i mentioned and i actually would still probably lean conservative on well i would say i’m economically conservative but because of our approach to um drug issues i’m i’m really socially liberal on those things and so i would be someone who is conservative but supports harm reduction and even decriminalization and even potentially the legalization of drugs and one of the things like vancouver is the first city in the world to have a safe injection site legally in sight and now there’s overdose prevention sites and safe consumption sites in many parts of the province and moving across canada as well um our harm reduction approach includes things like handing out needles a very very thorough naloxone program so naloxone is widely distributed it is it is free it’s easily available um anybody can get it uh you can get it from almost any pharmacy by just walking in and asking for it and they will hand it to you uh so those kinds of approaches in my like i said my perspective on harm reduction came full circle in light of the overdose crisis and just the devastating number of deaths that we have in british columbia a population of about five million people the last three months we’ve been losing as many as six people a day so i don’t know how that scales uh on a per 100 000 basis but it’s really high like it’s probably in north america bc is one of the hardest hit areas i think in the us uh the pennsylvania region might be one of the hardest hits i’m not 100 sure but um so when i saw the number of people dying and then recognized also for myself as an individual that with had i been using uh with the drug supply as contaminated by fentanyl as it is now when i was using i might not be talking to you guys i might not be alive right so we have a highly toxic drug supply and we need to do we need to do something about it you cannot help a person in recovery if they’re not alive so that was that was the shift point for me on harm reduction it was like the the argument is always about tough love versus versus enabling as if it’s like this black and white thing like you know you’re the loved one with your family member and your loved one is struggling with an addiction and you’re either enabling them or you’re cutting them off you’re tough you’re operating in tough love and like the tv show uh intervention which i have a real problem with because i find that it does more i harm than good and studies have been done on that method of intervention the what the method in which you sit you blindside the person you sit them down and say if you don’t go to treatment today we’re cutting you out of our lives we’re not even going to talk to you anymore until you make a change and you’re taking an individual who’s already disconnected from society they’re disconnected from themselves they’re disconnected from their family they’ve burned bridges and then you are going to tell them you’re going to threaten them with more disconnection if they don’t do what you want them to do and somehow we’re surprised that they don’t we’re surprised when they run down the street as far and as fast away as they can right so that method of intervention is clearly ineffective so my my thinking on harm reduction is let’s keep people alive let’s get them naloxone let’s here’s a program that we’ve embarked on in british columbia it’s called safe supply so we recognize how toxic the drug supply is and we recognize we have extremely vulnerable individuals who are very precariously housed in our high risk of overdose and they are using such a toxic drug supply that their risk of overdose and covenanting is through the roof we need to do something to mitigate this let’s give them prescription grade substances of their choice that are clean not contaminated by fentanyl and will at least prevent them from being at the same level of risk of overdose now there’s a lot of controversy around this it’s a bit messy it’s not been rolled out properly most doctors are not totally on board with it it’s not something like when you try and make broad policy changes like this and implement them kind of uh in the provincial manner like the state state at the state level as opposed to coming in from the federal level it’s going to be messy and it’s not going to they’re not going to roll out very smoothly but it is something we’re attempting to do it does at least mitigate the toxic drug supply in some respect and all these places the needle exchanges the overdose prevention sites uh the doctors that they see for safe supply they become healthy they become connection points for individuals who are disconnected you have to go there you have to see these people and hopefully the workers there recognize that they have a role to play in which they can be a voice of reason hope influence a positive encouragement someone that shares with that person that they have value that they have potential that there’s more to them than the life that they’re currently living that change is possible and yet at the same time we’re accepting you where you’re at and we’re recognizing that this is a process and it’s a journey i mean if you’re someone like myself who was addicted to heroin you might recognize the amount of time you invest in the hustle to make sure you have enough drugs and avoid withdrawal and like that is a that is a time-consuming that’s more than a full-time job right like it is and if you’re homeless and needing to come up with the money like i maintained my housing and employment throughout my addiction and most of my drug uh money came from credit cards which was a major major overwhelming debt and resulted in in an eventual bankruptcy but if you’re homeless and you you don’t have a job and you’re spending all day you’re spending 20 hours a day trying to come up with enough money to uh maintain your your opioid addiction and so if you can meet that person where they’re at and take the need for that hustle out by providing them with a safe supply then the world opens up to them in a sense they’re now connecting with people in a healthy regard they don’t have to they have free time to maybe get a shower or pursue housing or you know take care of themselves in in some other capacity so i think the argument for harm reduction should not be a conservative versus liberal argument i think it should be an economic and compassion argument if you can’t win the conservatives over with the compassion angle you could probably win them over with the economic angle and a lot of these programs save taxpayer money in the end right the drain on the system uh criminalizing individuals uh break and enter the justice response the police the first responders responding to to overdoses the drain on the financial drain on the taxpayer is huge and when you do a housing first policies and you put people into treatment uh or give them the option you you make sure that they’re not at the high level of risk for overdose you actually decrease the cost on society and so there are are some surprising studies done on how much money that actually saves and so we need to i mean the drug wars failed uh people will always use drugs we’re never going to get away we’re if if there are still conservatives out there somewhere that believe in some kind of utopia where all drugs will be gone one day and all addiction will be gone like they are so deluded they’re probably unreachable like we’re all getting drunk at night thinking that and we’re in a culture right now in this county where we are we’re probably about 30 years behind the actual time so yeah you know so i mean there’s a lot of organizations and work being done uh to to change drug policy we just legalized cannabis uh again it wasn’t rolled out very well the black market for for marijuana is still thriving in canada because the government marijuana is too expensive uh so they gotta they gotta work on that they gotta do something about that but you know it fentanyl is not going to go away just because of the dea does a really good job stopping it at the border it’s just not going to happen and with the number of people dying we need to take a different approach to drug policy we really do i can’t tell you how severely disappointing it is when i just agree with everything you [ _ ] said and i can’t argue with you oh my god i can’t even there’s no fun in this that’s too bad well it is good to have people advocating for for positive change yeah have you seen we’ve seen a huge impact with coven i guess has really impacted our overdose rates like in the last three months in this county we’ve seen a huge you know increase in overdoses yeah you’ve seen the same thing in canada they have similar lockdowns to kind of what’s going on in the states yes what we did we had a we were locked down here kind of quarantined for for quite a while um but yeah our over those numbers are up as a result of covid and i think there’s a a couple key reasons for that i think the first would correlate with what’s been identified as deaths of despair so uh in the states for sure the increase in opioid overdose deaths depression anxiety and suicide uh they’ve been kind of identified as deaths of despair and so what’s underneath that because it’s not just about drug use it’s about people’s sense of meaning their their beliefs in in life um the perhaps the destruction of the nuclear family in some capacity moving away from uh the move away from christian values i think has perhaps something to do with it i mean america was founded on those principles and they are pushing hard against them and people if we step back from the picture and we don’t just look at individuals in their journey but we look at the broad story of what’s happening in america it seems like the culture is eroding because people are losing out on i’m canadian so you can take everything i’m saying with a grain of salt here guys i’m not sitting up here in canada judging the americans by any means but it just seems i mean we’re experiencing it too in a smaller capacity um so you know why are people so depressed like drug use actually is down uh youth especially are using less drugs than they were 20 years ago yet anxiety and suicide and depression are way way up and one in five americans are prescribed some sort of prescription drug i think one of five are on antidepressants or sleeping medication so like that is 35 what is that um i don’t know how many people down there it’s a lot of people right at the end yeah it’s like 70 million people right are on medications and then more than that of course too so um so that you know this is a difficult topic to talk about because now i’m getting into territory where i have no ideas about solutions all right i don’t know what you do about a nation that’s depressed and anxious well one thing i say with all the progressive movements you seem to have up in your area what’s the climate like weather yeah yeah i mean we might want to move there the weather may be one problem one reason we we have such a homelessness problem in vancouver i mean it’s it’s where everyone perhaps ends up in uh in canada because you would gravitate towards the west coast because it’s the most mild climate and within an hour’s drive of where i am i have the ocean and i have skiing on mountains and i have beautiful lakes and the climate is mild today it was 30 degrees the sun is shining so it’s uh it’s beautiful our our winters we sometimes get a little bit of snow so it’s pretty it’s pretty nice here we don’t know what the [ __ ] 30 degrees is that’s so cute all right

you’ll have to do a conversion on that i don’t know what 30 degrees converts to fahrenheit it’s probably 72 and sunny it’s probably beautiful

that’s great man so one last thing you did uh you had pointed me towards a blog you had written at one point uh was that like a guest blog or was that on one of your sites or yeah it’s about one of uh it’s a site that i don’t do a whole lot with but yeah i’m maintaining it and maybe i’ll pour a little more energy into it in the coming days but it’s mindfulhope.com and i enjoy writing and i enjoy writing about my story and my experiences and just the way i see recovery and drug policy so i put a lot of my writing up there and also on my facebook okay yeah i just i remember you said your facebook and your twitter account to look you up and i didn’t want to leave out the blog if that was something you were interested in yeah mindful hope mindful hope excellent well it’s so nice that you came out here tonight daniel uh i’ve definitely learned some stuff about smart recovery that i didn’t know and it’s just been it’s been engaging talking to you honestly about all kinds of different stuff i wish we just had more argue about it i love your brand thanks i appreciate that yeah i’m sorry we didn’t disagree a little more i know right now i love this too because it seems like every time we do one of these with someone who’s doing a different recovery modality i’m like i’m gonna go start going there now like i’m gonna check that out the only time i’m gonna have a problem with another modality is when they say it’s the only way yeah right and you know because that’s just clearly untrue right there’s lots of paths so yeah that’s awesome thank you so much for coming out hopefully our payers will cross again and we’ll talk yes absolutely take care guys thanks have a great night all right good night see ya hi yeah oh well then he brought up that insight now portland hotel that’s all that book i listened to i can’t remember in the realm of hungry ghosts that’s what it was

it was about a doctor that worked in that portland hotel and they had i mean they just had an old hotel and they open it up to homeless people and whatever just if you need a place to live you can come live here and they provided them free like mental health pre-physical health did they get free mental health for drug addiction well that was not through this so the portland host portland hotel thing was like independently funded it wasn’t like state funded it was an independent org independently funded like that like uh donations and charities donating to that who’s like oh man we need to pour millions into this drug epidemic well as he said the thing was in portland i mean uh in vancouver it was just this huge huge homeless problem they had a tremendous homeless problem there and to wear like a whole section of their downtown area is just [ _ ] overwhelming probably like similar to what you see i don’t know if you’ve seen some of them in like la and you know how la’s getting now and some of those places it’s similar to that it’s like whole sections of the city like businesses and [ _ ] down there like we can’t even open because so anyway they came up with this portland hotel authority and then they i think they had to shut it down or they you know because they did have a hard time keeping up with money and they had a hard time keeping up like health standards and things because you have a bunch of mentally ill and homeless people that have all sorts of issues and aren’t clean and right drugs and you know like i mean you’re you’re inviting in all those people to live there and but they live there and get mental health and death health and physical health you know doctors right so one of the things i had thought about uh even before we did an extremely long time on this podcast was that maybe we should do a recap as a second episode and i i don’t know we we’ve we’ve gone back and forth on this idea from the beginning of like should we break it into two episodes and i’m i only say that because like we won like for today we can’t go any longer that’s like an hour and a half so but maybe if we always like i feel like people do complain that oh they took half an hour to get into the subject matter well i think it’s a little different for us because our subject matter is still our subject matter even when it is the recap but maybe if the recap was its own separate half an hour and then the shows were more like an hour hour and ten hour and a half in this case yeah or if and i can get hard i don’t want to pigeonhole us into strictly but if we said all right we’ll do the show be an hour and a half and the first half hour is the recap and then we give an hour to whatever the subject is well i feel like that’s what we usually do close to it and i try to keep us on it we have gone over that hour and a half the last couple of episodes quite a little just like i guess it’s getting harder well like but with one like this like dude and see this is where it doesn’t make any sense though because it would be to me it would be you release your main episode sunday like we’ve been doing but then you release your recap like wednesday or thursday but it’s the recap from the week before like we’ve already had another episode so it almost doesn’t make sense to have unless you just release them both sunday but that’s [ __ ] weird too

then the other thought that really occurred to me and i hate this idea because i i’m right now it’s all about like hey listen if it’s convenient for you but like people have talked about having a donation way what’s the thing that people do though oh yeah you know what i’m talking about pay money and then they have like the extra material yeah right what is that called uh patreon yes and i’m like well we could have the recap episodes on patreon or behind the whatever and i’m like yeah that [ __ ] feels weird i don’t know why

i mean i see and i go to like i don’t [ __ ] care if it’s three hours

well and and so i mean and then it gets into are we doing this because this is what we enjoy doing which is generally what we’ve been doing so far are we doing this because we want it to take off which is i don’t think the way to go about it yeah i don’t even do it because it’s what we like and then it doesn’t matter it takes off because we like it i’m down with that to some extent but also like doing the recaps

i like i think it’s relevant material usually it’s usually something i’m like oh man that was a good idea yeah i was i at first i was like we don’t need to do recaps but then since we’ve been doing them i kind of like that i think it’s good yeah i like it too

i don’t know i just don’t know how to do it i mean would anybody give a [ _ ] that we did it like we would still record it on sundays if we just put it out on thursday it’s a separate thing like hey is the recap from the i don’t know yeah that might how do you label it like all right episode 39 and a half well you’d almost have to do it by title like like this one will be sponsorship recap right but then i’d be so confused if i was the one listening to the [ _ ] podcast i don’t think it’s gonna work i think we just do a recap and people want to stop listening they stop listening i’ve looked at uh i don’t know the statistics across the board but it’s depressing when you go back and you do look at any one episode statistics and it’s like it only shows you for the spotify like itunes is completely different i think that’s where more of our more thorough listeners are at i don’t really know that for sure but i’m hoping but like the spotify stats on any hey for the first you know 25 minutes people listen and then half of those drop off and then at the hour mark half of those drop off and it’s just like people ain’t really listening for an hour and a half anyway what depends on what you mean by drop-off like say because me i don’t i listen to lots of long podcasts that i never listen to the whole thing at one time you know what i mean so i don’t know what it means when i drop off but there’s a lot of them where my drive to work is 20 minutes right the 20 minutes when i get to work i turn it off and i come back in the car i turn it back on and go you know and listen to the next 20 minutes on the ride out and see i don’t know yeah i don’t know how it accounts for that either and spotify is known for being really

weird about its rankings and numbers and [ _ ] like people have really put that question like they don’t even have show notes on spotify yet i’m like that’s kind of important isn’t it to tell you what the [ _ ] it’s about yeah i don’t know i guess we’ll do the recap stuff i pull this up and get it on and then we’ll edit all this [ __ ] in the middle after the podcast part

let’s see what do we got here we gotta pull up uh

damn i should probably stop this and yeah [ _ ] it it’s easier this way we’ll just do it looking at the screen that’s [ _ ] weird we got to stop that don’t we and then like move our chairs and look at each other what or just look at each other for the recap yeah there’s a lot of moving [ __ ] oh yeah i would just do it just like this okay you need to do a waiver at some point you need to talk to jen about re-recording the voices ahead yes so there wasn’t a whole lot to recap do you think would you be home we were supposed to start early mm-hmm let’s go to this save to somebody half the night because i just well of course i said i keep yelling i had a nap and drank a coffee late today i drank a coffee right before i came here i did take a nap too

oh [ __ ] that’s not what i want to do

original post let’s do that so there isn’t there really isn’t all that much to recap honestly just a few things so it shouldn’t be bad too to pull up and talk about real quick

okay those two things

i was trying to look up clean and smart recovery did you find anything ready i don’t know why that’s still open we’re still recording yeah good do we need that oh no no i don’t think that would be fine it doesn’t matter

so we did a weird thing now what normally we would do our introduction and then do the recap but we did an introduction with him right

so i guess we’ll just have to find a segway real quick uh and i’ll probably just throw one of those stupid little like three second jingles or something in between so that people know time elapsed yeah it’s convenient okay we’ll do it like this

so that was a great conversation with daniel about smart recovery uh we do want to you know we usually do our recap at the beginning of the episode we’re going to do it here at the end just to cover some of the things people had to say about sponsorship and thoughts um one of the things our our friend stephanie who who messages us frequently during the week i i was talking with her and she shared a lot of her personal struggles i’m not going to get into too much of that it’s a little bit of a personal matter but just her experiences with 12 step and how she put her sponsors on a pedestal early on because of the way she felt internally and you know how that worked out and made the sponsorship sponsy relationship pretty murky and and just the whole dynamics of it got weird and what she was looking for out of it might not have been really what we talk about what we’re hoping to look for out of it and i i think what i got out of that was that you know it was a pretty good thing to explore sponsorship and maybe not that there’s any definition of what it’s supposed to be but just some general ideas of like hey this is what a healthy sponsorship relationship probably resembles you know and because i think kind of like what he said what daniel was talking about was smart like i think a lot of people come in and they hit a meeting or two in the wrong town or with the wrong personality and they just get a really sour ass taste of what n a is supposed to be that is not what i believe n a is at all right and and he did bring up some important points about you know sort of not as much the sponsorship but like some of the aspects of shame and things like that that i thought yeah we absolutely do those things and i have not directly i would say indirectly i’ve tried to do some things in my personal program to shy away from that things like and you know when people ask me to sponsor them i say this is your journey this is not i’m not lee you know i’m just helping to kind of steer you along your path this is your journey and your work it’s not about me and what i have to give you you know um and things like that i i think that’s i mean for me personally it’s important but i think it’s important for the individual to take some responsibility for their recovery it’s absolutely about me and what i’m going to give you if i’m sponsoring you i’m kidding oh my god you know it was hilarious if anybody watches the youtube video watch daniel give his hand motions for the the tug of war that was great man if i do some video editing that’s not gonna look like tug of war um but no i definitely appreciate stephanie’s feedback uh we also had uh so it was weird we posted this on facebook and facebook’s been acting really [ _ ] stupid this week about like not being able to find posts or notifications or this that and the other so the one place that we posted it i had some conversations through comments with people about sponsorship completely disappeared and i even messaged like the person i know that is a you know the group moderator or whatever it was like uh did y’all removed us did we do something wrong like not in a mean way but just i’d like to follow the group’s rules uh and they weren’t aware that we had done anything or that it had been removed but i could not find it and i’ve had that issue with facebook too i think we’ve talked about that at times like i know like you’ve made posts and i’ve been tagged in them and i i will go read the comments and stuff and then all of a sudden i can’t find the posts anymore like where did that go why is that not in my feed and i try to you know try to do the things you’re supposed to do with a like or an interact with the post so that it keeps it kind of relevant in my feed so i’ve had some facebook issues yeah for some reason i never remember to save or bookmark or i like once in a while i do and then most time i don’t so uh we we lost some things i’m sure what they had to say was beautiful about sponsorship think of the most beautiful thing you can think about sponsorship and that is what our listeners had to say about it for sure um on the other place we put it on facebook though uh maximilian said i used to tell people that they had a favorite drug dealer someone who showed them how to use so if they wanted to stay clean they needed a hope dealer aka a sponsor something to that effect i thought that was kind of interesting because i mean i i kind of agree with that even though it’s a little i don’t want to say it’s a little ridiculous but it’s a little strange to you know compared to oh when you were using but yeah somebody had to show me the ropes i didn’t just pick up a you know a needle at safeway and buy a pack of them and say you know what i bet i can figure out how to squirt some water on this spoon with it and like we didn’t have the internet really i was doing that and learning that yeah so i needed somebody to show me the ropes i couldn’t are there even videos i hope there’s not [ _ ] do-it-yourself videos of this [ __ ] on youtube i’m scared now yeah but yeah we needed somebody to guide us and mentor us even in terrible things uh so why wouldn’t that apply to us now all right and then if you go over on twitter um

a-c-o-a-a-c-o-a tom said i think step five specifically calls for admitting to another human being because we we’re we’d be tempted to admit it to the dog or the plants it takes a relationship with a sponsor to help us make it to step 12 and the spiritual awakening that is waiting it’s a beautiful cycle of love i wasn’t completely sure what he was going for there but i think the inclusion of another person and maybe that love and the sense of acceptance for the first time that we feel from sharing our souls with somebody and they don’t like deny us or whatever i think that was my big fear for a lot of my life was that i was going to bear my soul to someone and they were going to know who i really was and then they were just going to reject the [ __ ] out of me for being that yeah and so i think that’s what he was talking about i hope maybe maybe i’m putting words in his mouth um and then david said always make sure your sponsor has a sponsor make sure they’re working the program make sure you can identify with them i think they’re all pretty key points ah

my idea of whether my sponsor needs to have a sponsor anymore is changing not that i don’t think they they don’t i think they need to be in recovery and learning and and still open-minded and growing i don’t know i’m i’m getting a little iffy on the sponsorship thing now dude yes well

so one of the things i get my experience with sponsors is that at the time that they were sponsoring me they had all those things but they don’t have those things now in their life 15 years later you know my first sponsor that i shared my first fifth step with used you know right so he when i shared that fifth step with him he had all these values and principles and all these things that i admired but probably not since so you know right so i don’t know i don’t know why that’s that relevant i guess if you’re gonna trust in the process i think for me the the process of having a sponsor and sharing this stuff with him and all that is really um about me getting to be okay with me not necessarily about me trusting this other person i guess i think a lot of our our you know hardcore holding on to everyone needs a sponsor this that and the other and i’m not disagreeing with that idea like i think if i’m my own sponsor i i’m in trouble right i do think that right so it’s not like i want to say oh i have the answers i just i think we fall into this belief kind of like we talked about with daniel a little bit where we tend to believe we have the only right way right maybe n a was the only right way that worked for me but i don’t think it’s the only way and we can say hey everybody that goes out you know i end up seeing most of them come back here if they ever make it back that’s a little biased because the ones who don’t ever use again or don’t have problems with their using come back yeah they don’t need to come back right like so i i do know people who have left 12-step programs and yeah they just use in a way and they’re still on my facebook feed and living happy 15 years later like i mean am i still waiting for the ball to drop on them i know i doubt it like it doesn’t seem like it at this point yeah and i can say like say my first sponsor that left i still keep in touch with him his life’s not a complete train wreck of a disaster right you know but he’s not in n.a anymore and then definitely there was a time where his life was a complete train wreck disaster because of using and he came to n a and got some years of recovery and got some stability in his life and went back to using and didn’t come back here you know and found some other i don’t know what his process was for getting to where he is now but it’s just interesting so yeah i don’t want to say your sponsor shouldn’t have a sponsor i i just think the important part of that is that we’re teachable and we have teachers available yeah and i don’t think we talked about this in our sponsorship episode but i think i noticed it we talked about it in the in the pre in the lead up to that episode was in a lot of hey i read it made it seem like sponsors were just for new people like and then old farmers didn’t have sponsors and when i talked to someone who was familiar with aaa they actually said yeah i think when you’ve been around a while you don’t really have a sponsor anymore by name now this is just one person’s limited experience take with that i can’t say that that’s a hundred percent true right not speaking for a fellowship that i don’t even go to um oh [ _ ] it let’s be funny you know the ideas would be that you know if i have a regular meeting that i attend and a regular support group or a regular you know foundation of people in my network that are other people that are in recovery do i need a sponsor per se right right as long as i still have powers you know greater than me or powers outside of myself that i’m accountable to or almost some of those principles daniel talked about you know if i’m accountable to these people if i’m open-minded suggestions if i’m keeping in touch and and being open with them about what’s going on in my life do i really need that quote-unquote sponsor label on someone and and i think that’s where we in n a i’m and i’m going to include myself not that i believe it but i will you know i’m part of our full too if somebody said they didn’t have a sponsor or if their sponsor didn’t have a sponsor and they didn’t give a [ _ ] i’d judge them because i would assume that that meant their ego was such so big that they didn’t need anybody to tell them anything anymore they had already figured it all out they had all the answers when that really doesn’t necessarily have to be true it could just be that look i use these six guys in my life i run [ _ ] past them they all help me with stuff like super teachable because i obviously don’t have the [ _ ] answers but i just don’t have a sponsor in name right like it’s not one person that i go to right that’s not necessarily a terrible thing it sounds like you’re in a great spot recovering right here i’m just on a doing 10 11 12 for a while in my life i’m i’m in this process you know yeah i have a service commitment you know i’m doing these other things as long as you’re doing those other things i mean now if that starts to sort of wind backwards where like i don’t have a service commitment and i don’t really have a home group and i’m not really doing these things and i don’t have a sponsor then it sounds bad right right when we had to answer that what was that faster scale or whatever yep i’m hoarding money and lying to people about it i’m like i want to do that every day uh and then the the last comment on our twitter was uh anna anonymous said brutal honesty with her sponsor was what helped she can’t allow herself to hold anything back for fear of shame or embarrassment or anything she said she sometimes discerning in meetings about what she can share depending on who’s in the room but with her sponsor she doesn’t want to have that luxury and that’s been one of the most beneficial things and i think you know all the stuff daniel talked about that smart recovery does is all stuff that i found in our program thank god because it’s all very useful but the elimination of shame right that was one of those things i found uh not elimination but the process to deal with a whole lot of it that i had and not carry it like i used to and i think that’s what she’s referring to is the ability to really talk about some of that [ _ ] that we were taking to the graves before we got here like nobody was ever going to know this embarrassing awful part of my life and then we get to talk about it and not have it rule us anymore yeah and i think there’s a lot to be said for you know i forget how he described it but he talked about that insane thinking that we have you know and like i always call that my addiction i don’t know i forget what he called it the absolute statements uh when it was dibs oh yeah so that line of thinking all i could think is yeah that’s what i always just call my addiction like all the you know things that i say that totally aren’t true that i’ll tell myself um i think some of these shameful things that i have are exactly like that they’re irrational thoughts that i tell myself you know like oh this is the worst thing that could ever possibly happen and it feels that way inside of my head but then when i say it out loud it’s like it’s really not that bad compared to like a jeffrey dahmer who drinks people and eats their hearts you know like like was it really the worst thing in the world that i stole drugs from my mother you know like is that really no i get you and i’ve seen the the actual thing he’s talking about in some therapy workbooks where it’s like you know you list oh you say the core belief is i’m a failure uh well did you have you done anything that didn’t fail well yeah i made a [ _ ] peanut butter and jelly sandwich yesterday for lunch and i hate it right like we start to see that it’s just not a true statement anymore and uh another acronym they use a lot of time is ants for automatic negative thoughts like a lot of us just tend to have that snap negative thought about everything and i would say i am definitely one of those people that always has a negative thought first like it’s always about how the world’s out to get me or about how poor me or like that’s the first thing that comes to my mind anything that happens whatever’s happening to me is the worst yes nobody has it this bad everything and even the ways i just think about things my therapist loves to point it out she’s like there you go again talking about how everything’s bad she’s like maybe it just is why does it have to be so terrible um but that was mostly all we had we’re you know as always we share our memes uh now on facebook like we do on instagram so there’s just all kind of brutal and savage awful pictures uh that are supposed to be funny in some way shape or form um hopefully you don’t get too offended by them i’m trying to find more groups to share them in because they’re always fun to laugh at for me um and then we we i did want to mention a friend of mine stephanie a different stephanie weird words episode of stephanie’s um did our logo for us and she does graphic design and so she did the the new did you i’m sure you saw it we didn’t talk about it yeah i [ _ ] love it it’s beautiful the puzzle piece and the maryland flag in it which is uh absolutely awesome looking right now and then you know she is supposedly working on doctoring up some other stuff for us to use in other places and i i just incredibly thankful to her for doing that i think that she’s done is awesome yeah it’s beautiful looking i i was so excited she actually wants to like switch it up a little bit and go a different direction i already put it everywhere because it’s great but no i i can’t wait i think she uh i just want to be able to plug her graphic design you know uh business i guess i don’t i don’t even know if she has a business just yet but she’s kind of getting into it and apparently from what i’ve seen it’s really really good so we gotta make some bumper stickers and sweaters and hats [ _ ] yeah that’s what i know i’m ready to ask her if she knows how to like do websites and [ _ ] because i’m just tired of technology is getting to be too much i spent a lot of time like god if i ever go back to work i’ll never be able to keep up with this [ _ ] maybe if we get over 150 regular listeners we get a production person a production yeah we’ll hire we’ll hire an assistant well harm is an intern that means you don’t have to pay maybe we can get an audio intern from a college or something no i don’t anyway uh yeah so stephanie thank you

there you go uh thank you for that and and i can’t wait to put your name of your your entrepreneurship out there as soon as we uh know some more about all that um beyond that i don’t have anything left to talk about it’s late at night on a [ __ ] Saturday I’m ready to go to bed and yeah me too awesome so everybody stay safe out there i will hate Billy tomorrow when we’re trying to edit all this uh but stay safe out there and we’ll talk to you again next week


One response to “40: Smart Recovery – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)”

  1. It’s hard to
    come by well-informed
    people for this subject, but you seem like you know
    what you’re talking about!