49: What The Program’s Really Saying In Its New Informational Pamphlet About Mental Health (Sort Of)

9/20/20 IP 30: Mental Health in Recovery seems to be a controversial informational pamphlet. We explore what it really says in this pamphlet and what implications is has for the program. Does it really say that we can be prescribed MATs and still be clean? Skip to around 30 minutes if that is all you want to hear about. Before that we explore some comments about our last 2 episodes and the presidential candidates stances on drug policy.

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To read IP 30: Mental Health in Recovery: https://www.na.org/admin/include/spaw2/uploads/pdf/litfiles/us_english/IP/3130_MHR.pdf

Transcript:

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

hey there welcome back to recovery sort of i’m a guy in long-term recovery named jason hi my name is billy i’m also a person in long-term recovery and we definitely wanted to just take a moment at the beginning of this episode to thank everybody who listens uh i can’t i mean i know we do this for us in general and and we always kind of hoped some people would listen but i don’t know that i can express the right way how cool it is when people listen and then give feedback and then there’s like more to think about it it really keeps me going through the whole week like we talk about it for an hour and kind of hash it out and then there’s these other one or two ideas that come in and i’m like huh that’s some interesting [ _ ] i’m having side conversations with people and so just i really we appreciate everybody that listens and takes the time i know there’s a crunch for time in the world it’s a lot going on and so if you’re taking an hour or or more usually out of your week to listen we really appreciate that one of the cool things i noticed this week is that for the first time our overall listenership is larger in a different state than maryland and i to me that i was like oh we made it right we’re not just a local show anymore it’s not just our friends right exactly so i was like that’s cool it’s uh it’s california so apparently we have somebody in oakland that streams the [ _ ] out of us so hi oakland uh thanks for listening shout out to oakland yeah uh and and just in line with people who listen you know back to selena giving us the idea for the you know the topic we did last week i want to thank her again for that and and sylvia for coming on she was the absolute perfect guest for that show i think it was just it went so well yeah that was it was really good thank you uh again same thank you to everyone who listened thanks sylvia for coming on you know we really appreciate it yeah definitely all the feedback i’ve gotten uh amber on twitter said she really appreciated sylvia’s insight especially you know discerning that the fellowship and the group are different because she was kind of struggling with an issue she had had with some things going on and another listener julie really appreciated the take that sylvia had and she said that sylvia was just really easy to listen to she’s like a lot of people seem uh more frustrated and it’s harder for her to not get defensive instantly about it but sylvia was just kind of so laid back and easy to listen to about it it allowed her to have the information sink in yeah and unfortunately i mean in talking to her and she explained it a little bit on there but that is that is one of the things she’s learned as being a black woman is how to tone that down so that people don’t tune out or turn her off or get defensive back i don’t know if you caught that when she described that as talking in in like an area service meeting and you get loud and then it’s easy to dismiss people or blow them off like oh she’s just an angry black person you know where she’s worked really hard to not be that and you know it’s kind of sad in a little bit away i know i i didn’t know how i mean i i’m appreciating that people got it and then there’s also a part of me that’s like i don’t i’m not allowed to tell people how to express themselves and they’re angry they’re angry right like right it’s like whipping my son for 20 years and then you know when he’s mad about it and comes to shoot me telling him he’s not allowed to be you know he should have came civilly and told me nicely about it or something like i just don’t get that option i guess but whatever it takes to get the message out i think is is what happens and uh thankfully sylvia had the message that a lot of people have been able to hear and gotten something out of yeah she’s and she’s awesome person in recovery you know she’s a she’s been around you know this area for a long time and she has a lot to offer so awesome awesome so going back we didn’t get to talk much because that episode just kind of cut right to the chase we didn’t get to talk much about the comments about step nine we had a few of those uh sobriety matt our buddy on twitter had posted the episode and asked for some ideas about what people do with their step nine and so recovery man said not to make an amend that hurts anyone including yourself your higher power doesn’t want you mangled in the process of the steps there may be uncomfortable amends but nothing you can’t handle and you know i don’t i don’t remember god it’s been two weeks i don’t remember yesterday really but i don’t remember if we said exactly not to hurt yourself or not but i do think that’s important i know we kind of keyed in on the fact that like the process was really about you it’s not about whether these other people get healed even though that’s the goal the real process is about like me being at peace with myself at the end of the day but yeah i don’t i don’t want to be you know go into the steps and come out worse off yeah that’s for sure i don’t want to cause you know i don’t want to cause harm to myself you know that’s part of the step you know ourselves or others you know and and again i think that’s where a sponsor can help us work through some of that give us a different perspective yeah that’s gotta get really tricky though with some of the things some of the legal things we might be in trouble for or people i know who don’t want to turn themself in or this set and the other like where’s the line of what’s harming myself and what’s dealing with the wreckage of my past properly and it’s got to get really tricky i can only imagine there’s people out there who’ve made some amends that ended up not being so fun for them at least i don’t know if it hurt them or not but yeah well and and there is a balance there too i mean obviously if i have to make a financial amends and uh you know it’s a little painful to give up that money you know but you know and it might create a little bit of a crunch in my lifestyle but i should still do it you know so yeah it’s tricky uh another person crosstalk recovery said some of the amends end up being i’m sorry even though i still have a resentment against you and i thought that was interesting i don’t know can you can you really make an amends properly the way ideal way if you’re still holding a resentment is that even doable i guess you could live the amends process a little hmm i don’t know yeah i mean i i personally just look at any sort of resentment like i’ve always looked at resentments as a failing on my part you know so if i’m hanging on to a resentment i’m trying to work that out like for a completely different reason than a ninth step but right i don’t like it to me these resentments are like a luxury that i can’t afford you know like hanging out in a bar or you know self-pity like even when i deserve self-pity it’s just not a luxury that i can afford myself too long because as an addict you know then it’s all poor me and look at me and i deserve and i start justifying and rationalizing unhealthy behavior um and resentments can be the same way even when they’re justified like i have to for myself it’s important that i practice forgiveness you know and try to get over that resentment because i put myself in a bad situation yeah that whole swallowing poison waiting for somebody else to die thing always hit home with me it’s like man that is the perfect analogy right i’m the one tore up inside over the resentment not they’re all free living you know happy joyous and peaceful and i’m miserable for something that happened and i think there’s some some sort of i would say nuances between like what you consider a resentment like okay so you know i’ve had some issues in my life where people hurt me or caused harm to me and i wouldn’t i mean i’ve forgiven those people but i don’t carry a resentment as as in like i don’t harbor up a bunch of anger and and hatred when i think about those people anymore but at the same time i don’t maintain relationships with them or i don’t like let them off the hook for what they did wrong or put myself back in the same situation to be harmed again you know what i mean but but i don’t think holding someone accountable um for a harm that they caused is a resentment you know to me they’re different things so and i’ve always considered a resentment just like an anger at a past issue with an individual excuse me or a situation but i think our our you know particular program defines it a little differently which is interesting to me it always has been it talks about a resentment is reliving a past situation over and over again and i’m like is that really what a resentment is because [ _ ] i present things that aren’t terrible or or weren’t done to me just well and i put a little bit of i’ll call it a caveat or maybe it’s in there too is that it’s the reliving of the past experience but then feeling the same feelings all over again so that part of it’s really important it’s not that i just remember or think about a situation that happened but it’s that i feel those same feelings whether it’s guilt shame embarrassment whatever it was you know somebody embarrassed me in seventh grade by pushing me down on the playground and then spitting on me or whatever you know it’s like yeah i can feel like oh that sucked you know it was a terrible thing but if i’m sitting alone i start thinking about that and get overwhelmed with shame again it’s like dude that was 30 years you know like like why do i still feel that shame like down to my core you know that’s where the resentment is for me my buddy says you gotta go find him as an adult and beat him up and then the shame will go away and you feel better i don’t know i don’t know if that works um that i just have double shame right i just feel adult shame george c said rigorously examine your motives is the amend intended to honestly correct former wrongs or is it to make you feel better at the expense of the amendy is it ego driven like check out you know clean me uh and he said he got a lot of that badly the first time and had to re-examine his motivation which i think is you know how most of our lessons get better um but yeah i think i think we definitely talked about that the motive is crucial i know a buddy of mine jack always talks about the motive might even be more important than the action and i always found that to be an interesting statement and i want to argue with him about it every time he says it because i’m like well no if i’m just doing the right thing it doesn’t matter why i do it and he’s like no you got to be doing it for the right reason and i’m like well do i do the right thing for the wrong reason or do i do the wrong thing for the right reason like that seems to me obvious you do the right thing right even if you don’t have the right reasoning behind it it’d be better than doing the wrong thing because you want to yeah that’s tough i wrestle with that myself a lot you know just in my daily life obviously there’s a lot of things as a parent as a married person as a you know responsible employee that’s like i really don’t want to [ _ ] do this right now you know what i mean but i do it because it’s the right thing to do and my motivation is probably like i just don’t feel like being bitched at i don’t feel like you know i don’t feel like hearing it later so i’m just gonna do this now

oh man and then and then we talk about in recovery you’re judged by your actions not by your thoughts so right who cares if i do the right action that’s what i’m saying i’m like look it’s better that i don’t rob this bank only because you know some horrible wrong reason i don’t know what than it is that i do rob the bank because you know i want to like right yeah i don’t know i just can’t get down with it but he says it and i i don’t you know i love his recovery and his information so i don’t doubt it i just always want to argue with it because i’m sure it’s probably like most of these lessons it’s like there’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all in life in certain situations you’re just supposed to do the right action despite your motives and in other situations the motives are really important as in this amends thing like it it is really important that we keep track of what our motivation is in our amends like it is really important that we remember like no it isn’t just about going and saying i’m sorry it’s about you know honoring the pain and the harm that he calls to other people well on the other side of that we talk about you can’t think your way into better living you got to live your way into better thinking so if i sit around and wait on this right reasoning to do things i’ll never do them according to that statement right like i have to do the right thing for the wrong reasons first repeatedly and then eventually hopefully i’ll be doing the right thing for the right reason yeah wasn’t that fake it till you make it yeah that’s definitely what i got to do it’s interesting i had this conversation with somebody recently um because i say i just don’t feel like doing stuff a lot of times right and so ultimately my life is set up right now where i can kind of get away with that frequently right i can frequently choose to do the you know so-called lazy thing or the thing that feels better right now even though i don’t really feel better later and they’re like well do you think you’re gonna just like feel motivated one day and then start doing things is that what you’re waiting on and they didn’t they asked it real you know nicely and i was like these [ _ ] got me right because i know that’s not true i i know from you know talking to people who struggle with depression that like generally you’re not just gonna be not depressed one day and then you go out and go to parties and and whatever go shopping like you have to kind of force yourself at some point and no that doesn’t mean if you’re depressed that you need to go force yourself to do anything like i get it there’s a level of like seeking the right professional help to help you start being motivated and possibly that includes medication which is interesting because we’re going to get to that later in this this episode and so through taking these steps with professionals you can find a way to find these little bits of motivation but there are times you need to kind of push through a little bit right i’m not saying depressed people are lazy please understand me clearly here i get it that’s not the case um but it’s the same thing with my situation it was like [ _ ] man they got me i i’m not just gonna feel better one day i need to start pushing myself here and there to do this [ _ ] i don’t feel like doing now so that i feel better later on uh and that inspired me to you know leave my house and and not attend my home group virtually last night i actually went in person because of that damn statement but see that’s where i think that the program is important that we develop you know a support group or a network of people that are gonna you know that would be open-minded and we’re looking for solutions outside of ourselves you know it’s that self-centeredness that gets me into trouble that me living in my own head thinking i don’t you know i got it all figured out and i tell myself bad [ _ ] all the time bad information and it sounds really smart at the time you know it sounds really good it’s right i’m smart i know what i’m talking about i you know i’ve researched this before and uh i don’t realize that i’m setting myself up for a trap you know the last one was sandra uh the first person she had to forgive and make amends to was herself no way could she start until then and that and required a solid six and seven and she said she did them umpteen times until she really understood then she was ready for nine uh i’m gonna guess that’s the other program uh just because i don’t think they’re six and seven is the eighty pages around characters like nope once was enough maybe that’s why we do it that way so you don’t have to do it like 30 times i don’t know but no i yeah i i don’t know it’s interesting that we point out so frequently and i’ve heard it so many times in meetings about eight nine oh you know i gotta be at the top of my list you know i definitely harmed myself the most out there it says that right in the literature and then in the actual literature about eight and nine it kind of says you can put yourself on there but that’s not really the point of this like the point of this is to deal with the way you feel about the others yeah and for me personally i mean i didn’t put myself on the list not that i didn’t think about myself but i thought man look at all i’ve done in recovery like i’m making amends to myself by doing this that’s all that’s all i need you know what i mean like this is what i needed all along you know yeah no i think i think for me i guess the only thing i would say i do totally understand the amends to self from uh like an inner child perspective but that doesn’t seem to fit in like we don’t talk about that in our program you know some other therapy maybe yeah well i think uh aca like adult children of alcoholics they they do a lot of talking about inner child and i believe we might have somebody from there coming on sometime in the next couple months oh nice um but we don’t really specifically mention that and so i’d be hesitant to like pass that information on others in our room but yeah but yeah i could see from that perspective it makes a lot of sense right that we do need to make those amends to that uh inner child but yeah just in the sense of our literature it’s interesting that so many people say it even though in our literature it kind of says it’s not really the point of what we’re doing here right i don’t know so that was some of our wrap up from the last couple weeks one of the things we wanted to get to tonight and just knock out of the way because the presidential election is coming up um and i’m gonna stay politically unbiased to the best of my ability but you know we we do even though it seems like from my internet searches nobody really cares about the stances of the candidates and if you don’t believe me try to find the stances of the candidates because what i found was a whole lot of you know democratic primary stances between the different democrats and what it seems like is you’re all tied into being republican or all tied into being democrat and you’re not allowed to have a stance outside of that box um which was kind of shocking to me it’s like i remember growing up and going to school and we looked at the candidates policies and and ideas and you know even if you were a republican you might you know on this one issue like you might be pro-choice or something you might be outside the box on this one or two issues but i guess that’s just not the way it is anymore and so what i found was their stances i could not find drug policy specifically but they did have a piece where it was talking about the opioid epidemic which i figured tied pretty well in and so joe biden his stance says the best way to tackle the opioid crisis is to make sure people have access to consistent health care including insurance that covers addiction and mental health services that’s why i support protecting and building on the affordable care act which have the rate of uninsured granite staters between 2013 and 2017 and allowed then governor hassan to expand these health care services to over 55 000 granite staters through the medicaid expansion the affordable care act also gave more than 60 million americans access to more mental health and substance use disorder benefits and so-called parity protections requiring insurers to treat mental health the same as physical health in addition i’ll invest in expanding access to treatment for substance use disorder and hold criminally liable the pharmaceutical executives who peddle these drugs finally instead of incarcerating someone for drug use alone i will require federal courts to divert these individuals to drug courts so they receive treatment to address their substance use disorder and i’ll expand funding for federal state and local drug courts so the stance by joe biden the democratic presidential candidate is that he wants to expand drug court treatment so that he’s not locking people up for drugs alone i guess that means that you know if they do other crimes they would have to do the time for that but he wants to get people treatment he wants to make sure people have access to health care so that they can get into treatment he wants to make sure that insurance companies provide access to mental health just like they would for physical health he wants to hold responsible all the people who peddled the you know the oxycontins and stuff like that um so that sounds like something i like um president trump who is also a presidential candidate coming up did not give a stance on this issue at all um i guess me personally i would glean that since he believes himself to be the the law and order president which is what i hear a lot and he wants to kind of you know quelch the the riots with uh higher levels of violence i guess i i’m not sure i would assume that that would be more of like a 1980s ronald reagan you know zero tolerance kind of policy on drug use uh i don’t know any i’d thoughts about that at all or uh yeah and why we’re talking about sitting here trying to look up trump and and what his opioid you know addiction treatment plan is and i couldn’t really find anything either um i i mean this gets back a little bit into the racial stuff as well but i think that criminal reform part is a huge aspect of you know the the drug problem as well i mean we trap people into a cycle once you lock them up for possession or you know put that stain on their record um i myself fell into that you know i was a good student i was a you know well-educated young man but once i started getting a couple of felonies on my record and they were felonies for possessions they weren’t i wasn’t out like robbing places and getting caught with drugs or committing violence or harm to others although i guess you could say i was you know drinking and driving which that could cause a harm you know it’s definitely dangerous but you know my possessions and stuff were all possessions and stuff they weren’t i wasn’t a drug dealer i wasn’t a over criminal you know supporting a drug habit um but once i had those things on my record it i don’t wanna say it made it impossible but it definitely hampered you know my ability to get into college you know my ability to do a couple other things i know you’ve had similar you know experiences with you know once you get that stuff on your record it’s like [ _ ] you know yeah and uh i think we see that happen in a lot of these it’s like the vicious cycle of there’s a lot of drugs in poor and black and minority communities um we see it in poor white communities as well so obviously that’s where the cops are going to go look for the drugs so they’re going to go into those neighborhoods shake down those people find the ones that have any kind of drugs on them most of the time it’s small amounts of drugs but doesn’t matter it’s drugs so you’re going to get charged and you know then you’re in the system and you’re in the cycle and it’s hard to break that yeah i mean my my you know biggest problems when i was younger was getting money to get more and uh i took two checks out of a checkbook 45 each wrote them out to myself and cashed them and because of that i’ve been you know had to have extra interviews to to prove that i was like worthy to get into college like just to have an education uh i’m definitely limited in the ability to like get certain jobs i’ve been turned down to help inner city youth learn to read like all these crazy things and you know my thing is like i’d love to advocate for mandatory you know expungement of all records after a certain amount of time like look you’ve done your time oh you went 10 years and didn’t have any more problems your record disappears like that’s the kind of the point right if you haven’t gotten in trouble again you should be done with it um and i think that would help a lot of people in our community in the recovery community just to have all that stuff kind of washed away after they’ve spent enough time doing the right thing um but yeah i would say you know look i wherever you stand on the next election you know whatever candidate you support or have reason to support like i i don’t know i guess the weird thing to me in looking up these issues and where people stand on policies was that there wasn’t much policy conversation and that felt strange to me because i thought we elected the president based on what they stood for and what their plan was moving forward and so i i don’t know i guess you know people just back people by name now or just by party or or whatever it may be but whatever you’re you’re planning on doing uh if you’re planning on voting take into consideration that if you are in the recovery community and believe in you know helping the recovery community where people stand on those kind of things so yeah well and unfortunately i think just a few years ago two or three years ago like the opioid crisis and the addiction crisis were like way at the top of the list of important things and there was a lot of conversations about it um now with covid with all the racial violence and and the racial issues going on um right you know a lot of the climate issues we have these terrible fires and you know natural disasters happening it’s like you know women and gay rights like and all these things are important i don’t mean to sound like one’s more important than the other but it’s like there’s so many of these things that are being thrown to the forefront it’s like the addiction one seems to have sunk down kind of lower on the list of what you hear on the news or what anyone’s talking about you know yeah yeah i mean you know i hate to say for good reason but for understandable reason at least uh it’s not the top priority going on in the world right now but anyway i just thought it would be responsible for us to talk about that and where people stood on issues that matter to us and to our hearts and so vote with you know vote with the issues that matter to you and what’s important to you um so moving on i’m on a facebook group that i think you put me on to mike and chris’s cool and a history page yeah something like about it yeah okay uh so i’m just you know scrolling through facebook the other day happy joyous and free minding my own business and there’s a post on there it’s like look at this garbage that world service just printed right ip number 30 and i was like oh controversy i got to check it out and so i looked it up it’s uh it’s called ip number 30 mental health and recovery right and like the first 10 comments under the post were all like really bashing it and man they’ll accept anybody they’ll let people do anything in n a anymore you know all this stuff right and and i read it and i was expecting this like crazy new information and nothing like it’s pretty much the same information we already have a pamphlet called in times of illness that i’ve read before and it doesn’t really say anything outside of that it’s very bland and vanilla and generic and i was like did these people read this pamphlet or they just bash it because it exists or what and so there’s there’s like right now 151 comments on this there’s all kind of hatred and arguing about this pamphlet and so i thought we would talk about it just a little bit i i know there’s not really much in it to talk about uh what was your take on reading it uh well first i i thought when you mentioned that page i believe when i told you about that page it was a good place to find controversy and things because just because you typically have a lot of like really old school um traditional uh i don’t know what you want to call it you know not in favor of the current service structure people right that it’s almost like the people that are against big government it’s the same thing like they look at world service and the current service structure is some sort of big government that’s taking power away from the groups and the individuals and narcotics anonymous and typically you know we’ve always been explained that the way you know this 12-step fellowship works is that it’s directed by or or driven by the groups and the individuals sort of drive the direction of the service structure and at times it feels like that’s not what’s happening um and i think it’s just we’ve become a worldwide fellowship there’s so many people that it’s sort of difficult to get the opinion of a couple of million people and difficult to get everyone’s take on any one individual issue i gotta say i i really with the [ _ ] smartphones i just don’t think it’s that difficult i don’t get it it’s kind of like we still do a representative democracy and i’m like everybody’s got a [ _ ] phone man we could have an app and all vote directly on everything you could but here’s a here’s a let’s just say a forsake argument let’s say you know everyone that’s in the 12 step fellowship which not everyone would but let’s say all right you know world service says put your email into our database we’ll send you questionnaires and surveys on when we’re going to do stuff to get your input right if you got a questionnaire that had 10 questions on it you had to do more than eight seconds worth of reading you know in a text one day would you look at it ah [ _ ] i ain’t got time for this and check it aside if it came from world service or would you fill it out i’m probably doing it because i know very few people are in my opinion it’s going to matter right but that’s what i mean but you know already that a lot of people are going to get that and they’re going to look at it and go i’ll do it later i don’t have time it’s more than three seconds of reading so i’m done well those are the people we get to tell later that they don’t get to [ __ ] because they didn’t take that

and you know it’s just it’s the more people you get involved the harder it is to get everyone’s opinion and then the truth is some people’s opinions not going to be the popular opinion and they’re still going to feel like their voice wasn’t heard because you didn’t do it their way right um now with all that being said um you know i read through that ip as well and i i mean there was nothing in there that was shocking it was if anything it was like refreshing to hear like hey you know mental illness is a real thing that people struggle with um i i tend to think having an old school sponsor at one time like there was this attitude and he had expressed this a couple times although he he was sensitive to mental illness stuff because he had a parent that was mentally ill right and he would distinguish the difference in kind of a funny way but he would say like yeah when i came into recovery like yeah i was depressed and suicidal and all these things my life was [ _ ] i was living under a bridge you know what i mean like i had no reason to you know have self-worth i had no reason to be proud of the person that i was like of course i was depressed but i got in recovery started working steps you know started fixing my life and things got better um and i think there’s a general attitude that a lot of our mental health and mental issues just stem from addiction and drugs and if we just stop that stuff it’ll get better um i don’t know that i agree with that nowadays i think we’re much more educated on you know trauma and you know ptsd and how that affects different areas of people’s lives there’s lots of different treatment options for those things whether it’s medication or different types of therapies um i would say if anything i’m almost the other way around it’s almost like the drug use is the second to all these other things going on first all right like that’s the treatment for what we already have but i think and you see this not just from the recovery world but from society in in general it’s like oh all this mental health bullshit’s just a bunch of [ _ ] you know what i mean are a bunch of wimps you know we have soft generation now like they can’t take anything and it’s like there was this old school thing that you know we have truthfully a bunch of people running around with untreated mental illness you know is what it boils down to and uh you know sylvia had mentioned like in the in the black community like it’s almost like you just take that person and you shove them in a room somewhere and that’s just crazy uncle al or whatever you know and you know whether he actually goes to get therapy or medication or whatever is a side note as to you just get used to dealing with a crazy person i think that was actually the post on the page was whatever happened to clean and crazy and then like we should look back to that as a great time yeah like that was a good one being clean and crazy we should all be that way yeah i agree uh i remember when i had first initially gotten clean i actually had to get on an antidepressant just i didn’t i guess i don’t have to i could have went back to using right but that was pretty much my alternatives i got to that point where it was like i’m gonna get high again or i got to [ _ ] try something else right and i think the stance then at least that people projected that i picked up was that antidepressants were like a lifelong sentence to being linked to a pill and i think we kind of understand now that sometimes you just take these things for a season of your life to get through a period like it doesn’t mean you need an antidepressant forever it doesn’t mean yeah your brain chemistry might be out of whack but it might not be that way permanently like i think we just used to say oh it’s always going to be out of whack right i’m going to have to take antidepressants forever because my brain chemistry just doesn’t work and that’s not really the way i understand it now like it might be over time say i’m struggling to sit down and meditate i’m struggling to sit still i’m trying struggling to sleep at night whatever it is right all these things add up and my life is miserable and i can’t get it on track and then i turn to drugs well the alternative is if i can take this medicine that i need whether that’s an antidepressant or some other form of mental health medication and then i can fall into a routine while i’m on that medicine of being able to meditate of being able to get proper rest tonight and go to bed on time of doing the these positives in my life there might be a time when i can take that medicine out and those behaviors are already established and producing the right result and i just don’t need the medicine anymore that’s what i understand to be true now i i thought originally that like once you did it you were just hooked for life because your brain’s out of whack it’ll never be right again and so i think for me it’s a lot different in that aspect it’s not a life sentence and and even if your sponsor was right that we might be a little depressed when we get here maybe there’s a way to help us through that right like we don’t need to be just oh [ _ ] it i don’t want to hide myself for six months until i get better like we don’t have to be there right and if we took some of that you know if we got professional help you know might that minimize our risk of relapse or or minimize the amount of relapse you know and and exactly what you’re describing has been my experience with my wife um i think she shares this pretty openly so i guess it’s okay to say like when i first met her she was on a mental health medication and over the course of you know her life our life together you know some things have stabilized a lot of things have changed in our life and she’s been able to come off and she’s not been on medications for it’s been probably over 10 years now and hasn’t had a need to go back but that’s something we’ve talked about like she’s talked about with her sponsor as like always being an option you know of like hey look you know i know i have a history of mental health issues um you know in the past i’ve needed medication to treat it um right now i seem to be okay but here are some warning signs of if shit’s gone bad and then you know maybe it’s time to get back to a professional but those are all decisions she made you know with the help of like a professional mental health doctor you know what they call that a psychiatrist you know she saw outside help this wasn’t decisions that she made on her own these aren’t things where she just decided one day hey i’m just going to stop taking all my mental health medications because you know somebody in n a said i’m using like no it was you know it was she was seeing her professional and said hey this is what i think i want to do and they said okay well here’s how we can do that safely and here’s a here’s a good approach to doing that and that was you know and then she stopped seeing that professional and you know they said hey you seem like you’re pretty good now you seem like you’re pretty stable you know i don’t really need to see you anymore if you feel a need to see me call or make an appointment or come back or whatever but for now you’re good and again that was you know seeking professional help outside of the program for an outside issue right right so let’s go ahead and take our break real quick and then we’ll uh we’ll come back and get jump right back into this here we are we’re back and uh you know you made a good point billy about people with this pamphlet possibly being more open to seeking this mental health treatment you know we said um that maybe they don’t need to be depressed for those first six months to a year even though that’s yeah that is what we feel and that is where our life is at maybe that’s a thing that’s going to lead us back to that shame and guilt and feeling terrible and and using all over again right and i i think that’s a super valid point that we can involve these professionals and whether that be therapy or ultimately in the long run some kind of medication that we need for our mental health conditions but generally i mean i’ve been to a lot of meetings i’ve heard a lot of people share their story i don’t ever remember somebody saying i used over nothing right there’s always these things going on right whether that’s some one individual trauma that occurred to them in their life you know when they were younger or whether that’s just a series of of feelings like something’s wrong in their thinking or whatever like recovery is an active change in our attitudes and ideals and i think professional help through therapy can help with that not that a 12-step program can’t also help with it i think they work great in conjunction right i’m not saying everybody needs both of them but yeah like if people aren’t using over absolutely nothing and they do have reasons why they use and yes the steps slowly but surely as we work them do address these issues to to an extent at least to the best of their ability right like why would it be a terrible thing to have people possibly relapsing less often or at less risk to relapse when they’re with professionals dealing with this early on yeah and i think that’s part of the i’m gonna call it argument four um and i guess now they’re using the word induction or mats you know medicated assisted treatment for addiction is you know that can be just a bridge to help stabilize somebody through that really hard you know coming off the streets trying to get their lives together getting through you know whatever withdrawal or emotional whatever i mean obviously if you’ve been on drugs for years i mean your great brain chemistry is all out of whack you know it’s going to take some time to start kind of working through that and if you’re working with a recovery professional or a counseling service or whatever then

you know being open to these other kinds of of treatment until you can get stable get into

whatever better mental health position to deal with some of the traumas and issues that you have yeah it’s uh it’s so i mean like we said most of this information or if not all of this information is really not unique to now right we have another pamphlet it’s much longer maybe that’s why they wrote this because it’s way shorter and people might actually read it but it’s called in times of illness it says pretty much the exact same thing it talks about if you need to take prescription medication prescribed by a professional at any certain point in time it’s more i think physical illness focused i would imagine than this where it’s mental health focus but i think it’s got pieces in it that talk about the mental health aspect as well i think the only real difference i picked up on besides the length obviously the other book is ridiculous and you won’t read it unless you’re bored and dorky like some of us but the other book is more it has the tone of hey reader this is going to be uncomfortable for you people are going to judge you in recovery for having to take these prescribed medications for whatever amount of time you need to but you being clean is really up to you and your sponsor and and have you know take heart in the fact that we stand with you and it seems like this newer pamphlet is less addressed to the individual and the tone is more listen here fellowship except these people who need to take these medications stop telling them not to you’re not a professional in our rooms you are just a guy who has the last initial and calls himself an addict let them do what they need to do and prosper and so i think that’s an interesting thing that we kind of wrote and it doesn’t specifically say it like that that’s completely me but that’s the tone i get from it is that it’s more to everyone instead of just the person that needs to take it telling them that they’re gonna face backlash and it’ll be okay and and i don’t know you know i guess in one it’s good i like i like it but and i also think from a fellowship standpoint like that’s strange like that’s strange that we’re speaking to the fellowship and telling them to chill the [ _ ] out about their diagnosis or just you know feelings about medication yeah and i mean i’ve heard this criticism obviously again from from some old school members and and you hear it you know when you hit enough meetings you know when i was new they said come in you know sit down shut up if you want to know how to use you know we’ll ask you and stuff like that um and we don’t hear that anymore other than people that say it like that you know it’s like but you know when new people come in that’s not the kind of [ _ ] that they say you know that you typically say or that i say i don’t know what other people say i don’t say it and i don’t hear a lot of people say that directly to a lot of new people um we have sort of toned it down to be easier softer n a these days and there was a part of me at one point that didn’t necessarily see that as a strength that thought it was a weakness um and now i kind of see it the other way it’s like when we can approach people with like compassion and understanding and all these principles that are outlined in our steps you know it’s like love and empathy and you know willingness and tolerance and patience you know when we can approach new people with all of those things or even using addicts with those attitudes um generally that’s you know i would say a more higher power driven approach than saying sit down shut up you know if we want to know how to use we’ll ask you right right yeah sit down shut the [ _ ] up take the cotton out of your ears put it in your mouth and if we want to know where to cop we’ll ask you where the good [ _ ] is and and there was just you know what you said there there was one line in here that i love because in the times of illness like it’s never what i would say like directly clear that if you take medication prescribed by a doctor you’re not using like they don’t actually say those words right but in this one they do like there’s actually a line in there that says members who take medica mental health medications as prescribed by a healthcare professional are considered clean so it says pretty directly in there that that’s the case i mean yeah i don’t always know how that piece of literature can take the stance for the whole fellowship i mean i guess they can but especially when there is like no actual you know version of being clean in any of our literature really like it never says this is specifically exactly what clean is right like coffee is acceptable cigarettes are cool no heroin right like that’s not listed anywhere it’s always your clean time is for you it’s between you and your sponsor like we don’t make the decision about whether steroids get you high or not like it’s so strange to me right this piece all of a sudden decided to take a stance out of nowhere just [ _ ] it i’m gonna hit him with it you’re clean you’re right yeah it’s really interesting yeah no i agree with you so i hear people share about the old timers and how rugged it was when they got here and it was nobody ever really says that’s exactly what i needed when i got here right they just say it worked it’s like i managed to stay clean anyway even in spite of these jerks at n a right like nobody says man that’s just what i needed when i walked in the door somebody to tell me to sit down and shut the [ _ ] up like that’s what we encounter our whole lives as people telling us what the [ _ ] to do and it ain’t worked yet right the judge did couldn’t tell me what to do my parents couldn’t get me straight by telling me what to do like probation officers whatever nobody that never worked right i think the thing that i always hear people say that works is man i came in and i got this loving [ _ ] hug from somebody right and they they had empathy and they really understood where i was at because they had been there one time too and like so i just yeah i get it we are changing i don’t know if it’s easier softer whatever you want to call it i think that’s maybe a view that that you know i’ve had at another point in time in my life when things were either macho or not macho right that was the only two classifications of how [ _ ] worked it’s either it’s hardcore it’s stupid right and it’s like maybe we’ve just learned like we’ve learned that the thing that we’re missing in addiction is contact and connection with people and empathy like those are things we don’t get and maybe being showered with that can help us i don’t think it’s like a softer enabling version of our message i just think we’re we’re adapting and learning just like we know way more about mental health than we did in 1980 which is why we needed you know information about mental health to say hey shut the [ _ ] up stop telling people not to take their mental health medication because they might stab you tonight right and and just to kind of piggyback off you know sylvia last week saying like we’re this society in a society like we are and we have lots of different cultures and lots of different backgrounds and we all come from different places and there are certain cultures you know whether they’re ethnic or whether they’re military or whatever where that like tough rugged macho like is a huge part of their culture so you know obviously it’s going to be more difficult for someone from that type of culture to come in and admit like hey i have a mental illness you know and i struggle with the voices in my head you know or whatever and you know hopefully we can be a place that people feel comfortable to come in and talk about those things yeah so i guess the only the only hold up or hang up or issue or even question for me that arises out of this pamphlet right it says if you’re taking prescribed mental health medication you’re clean right um we now classify dsm5 you know that’s the the book the handbook for all therapists everywhere to diagnose any mental health issues um they classify substance use disorder as it’s a mental health dilemma right it’s a mental health problem and so if you go to see a licensed therapist and they recommend to treat your mental health problem of substance use disorder that you take suboxone or i i guess methadone i don’t know is that a that’s more of like a drug replacement suboxone’s more of a i don’t know i don’t know so you’re at you’re taking prescribed medication for a mental health issue suboxone but we’ll tell you you’re not clean and i believe to an extent you’re not n a clean whatever the [ _ ] that means right so does this bring that into controversy does this make it questionable like does this say oh well you’re treating a mental health issue as prescribed by a doctor so you’re clean yeah so for me the way i understood you know the difference the point of clarity would be narcotics anonymous the the 12 steps in the program are treatment for addiction we’re not using a separate drug to treat addiction you know and and as far as i understand like suboxone or methadone or or drug replacement therapy is trying to treat your addiction with a substance right um we have a program to deal with addiction we don’t have a program that deals with other mental health issues chemical imbalances right you know things like that so a chemical to treat and a different mental health issue other than specifically addiction you know is okay that’s the way i would clarify it to for myself anyway right right and that makes total sense right so you can have mental health issues treated by medication but not the mental health issue that we’re in the program for just not that one specifically you can’t have substance use disorder or addiction as we call it treated by medication but any other mental health that we don’t specifically treat you know see a professional and take their suggestion on that that’s cool but that definitely does not say that in this pamphlet it doesn’t say if you’re being treated for mental health issues that aren’t addiction you’re clean like it completely specifies i mean honestly i would say you know on a technicality so while i was looking for this new ip that came out the one in the mental illness i came across one that i had never seen before that was released from our world board it’s called narcotics anonymous and persons receiving medication assisted treatment and then there’s a sort of little whatever you want to call it disclaimer on this pamphlet that says this pamphlet is intended for professionals who prescribe medication to treat drug addiction the service pamphlet na groups and medication listed below contains a broader discussion of n a members and other medications so this is i guess more of a pr type thing that we would put out to treatment providers and things right but in this pamphlet again it’s addressed towards uh people that are prescribing suboxone or methadone or whatnot uh one of the sections in here says by definition medically assisted therapy indicates that medication is being given to people to treat addiction in n a addiction is treated by abstinence and through application of the spiritual principles contained in the 12 steps of narcotics anonymous and so that kind of encompasses what you had said about you know we can use mental health medication as long as it’s not in the treatment of addiction itself or substance use disorder which is it’s just an interesting little like i don’t how do you say that right how do you say you can use mental health medications all of them except this one yeah and i don’t understand that and then i mean even you kind of move into some really really iffy territory there because xanax is a prescribed mental health medication and that is definitely something that i would abuse if i had access to it well and it does outline though in some of those uh in different areas in both of those pamphlets that it is also you should be taking it as prescribed i think any time you start cell in it in the mental illness i p it definitely talks about you know it’s important that you take it under the direction of a professional and that you take it as prescribed like we are we shouldn’t be self prescribing medications that’s where it gets yeah even so though i just i can’t imagine somebody giving me xanax even if i took it as prescribed it probably i don’t know i just see it being a bad an iffy territory of whether i’m clean or not right like i don’t know and and of course i’m not the person who needs it so i’m not trying to criticize anyone who who does require xanax for whatever mental health condition they have again that’s what this pamphlet says that’s left to the professionals not to you know jason on the [ _ ] podcast for sure but it does create an interesting area right where where i don’t know i mean i guess people are going to find a way to justify what they want to justify if that’s what they’re doing and if they’re just following mental health protocol and professional suggestions then they’re just going to do that yeah and it gets back to something i know we talked about this on a few episodes back about you know again what is actually clean you know we’re allowed to have nicotine we’re out and allowed to have caffeine you know what about the guy that’s taking the steroids because he wants big muscles you know or hgh or whatever or maybe he’s just hopped up on a ton of you know over-the-counter [ _ ] from you know gnc or whatever you know is that clean you know adderall right so i think there is always going to be a level of self-honesty and self-awareness and uh the other part of it is i know i like to get defensive about what clean is and what clean isn’t because it’s so important to me but the truth is if you go out and get high tomorrow and then come back and say that you’re clean it really doesn’t hurt me in any way you know what i mean it really doesn’t matter that much for my personal recovery my personal spirit it might hurt my ego because you know that really that term has powerful meaning for me and you’re abusing it or whatever right but the truth is you know the the dishonesty if if people are trying to you know get around some sort of being clean it only hurts them i mean so what why do we hold so tightly to that you know moniker of being clean and defend it so deeply like is it because we feel like we put in so much work and and have gone without and have sacrificed that if you haven’t you don’t deserve to use the word or yeah i mean not to be too vulgar but it was [ _ ] hard to get here you know what i mean it took a lot of effort after all this time now we’re not going to be too vulgar yeah well i mean it’s like you know it’s it was a challenge right and it was hard and it’s it’s not a i mean if it was easy a lot more people would stay clean i guess that’s like somebody that has a master’s degree and then somebody else coming along and saying they’re a professional in that arena or something that doesn’t you know they’ve gone to you know no college at all they you know took an online health class or something they’re like wait a minute that’s great can’t call yourself that i get that and i think that’s why people get defensive about other recovery modalities too it’s like we hold what we’re doing in such high regard you know because obviously it’s the only right way you know it’s almost like religions like well we got the right one you guys are doing some other bastard thing over there you know i was trying to think if if a a had a similar dilemma like they don’t really have a a suboxone for alcohol type thing not that i’m aware of at least maybe there is something and i just don’t know about it but i don’t think they have a a similar thing i wonder how they treat like non-alcoholic beer or whatever like you know very differing opinions it’s it’s yeah right i’ve always heard so i remember hearing about this early on in my you know program experience was was my sponsor telling me like that’s ridiculous like that’s using basically you might as well be like what’s the difference why are you drinking that at all anyway and yet my interactions with people online there’s a whole lot of people who enjoy mocktails and and you know near beer and all this stuff and and think it’s fine and acceptable and who am i to tell them it’s not like i’m like my first interaction was oh you can’t [ _ ] do that right like so funny enough our sponsor voices of hope tomorrow night is doing a our luau you know movie thing at their center and they’re gonna have a bunch of mocktails there a bunch of caribbean style non-alcoholic drinks they can’t sponsor us anymore i said i was right with other people doing it not me i can’t encourage any of that nonsense yeah that’s crazy yeah but it’s you know it’s something people enjoy i mean i don’t know it’s definitely not the same as a suboxone from what i understand look i don’t know i never took the box and i never got high off of it i’ve heard differing accounts of whether you really actually get anything from it people do say there’s something but you know it’s not exactly like the other things i mean i guess aa has an abuse but that doesn’t really do the same thing i mean we have vivitrol that’s kind of the same as that yeah well and it’s like methadone i mean you hear people that are on lower doses of methadone and then you hear people that are on these ridiculous doses of methadone and you know that’s based on the individual and what they go in and tell the clinic that they need and this isn’t enough or this is too much you know and each person is gonna be looking for something different you know some people want to be numb to life you know it’s just that’s how they feel that’s what they feel like they need to function while as other people want the least amount of feeling you know from the drug anyway um i know for myself like i was amazed so i had a surgery and had to take i didn’t have to take i chose to take some pain medications and uh i was amazed at how just taking as prescribed didn’t like totally [ _ ] me up like it did when i took like seven you know like when i just took one i’m like oh man i’m not even non-now like you know this kind of sucks i got a fern bag right like here i thought i was gonna be able to you know catch a buzz and not that it didn’t affect me i mean it obviously it affected me um but it wasn’t you know like being high you know it didn’t feel the same so so what do we need to be more like if if we don’t want to hold on to this strong version of clean maybe maybe that’s not the way to go maybe we don’t need to be so defensive about it i mean i don’t think we want anybody obviously intoxicated in front of our meetings for newer members to see like that’s not a good example of you know what it’s like to live differently but maybe for the most part we could just let go of this like is there a a normal person version of that like what do they hold on to that they let go of or i’m trying to think like we talked about you know people who have degrees or are high up in a field being offended by someone who’s not and having an opinion like i’ve seen that argument online like who are you to say that right like you don’t even have a degree or whatever with chiropractic that could be one i mean like i don’t know so i have a friend who’s a runner and runs ultra marathons right she would never be offended if somebody goes out and runs a mile every two weeks said they’re a runner she would be like that’s [ _ ] awesome you’re a runner cool like i run too like she would never it would never be about belittling or you’re not a real runner unless you do this but like why why do we hold on to these things why can’t it just be like oh cool i’m clean too like that’s awesome i’m glad you’re doing it huh i don’t know i don’t know ego or ego self-centered the core of our disease is our self-centeredness so it might not be that she’s a runner and that’s why she’s okay with it she just might not have the ego piece or the self-centered part there’s probably some other runners out there like you’re not a [ _ ] you walk [ _ ] well i mean at least and maybe i’m wrong but maybe like normal people walk around and they don’t give a [ _ ] what you call yourself you can call yourself whatever you want to call yourself what do i care you know it doesn’t affect me but as an addict we’re so sensitive to how someone might think something about us because you said something like we i don’t know i think that’s everybody right i think that’s unique to us do you think so i don’t know i don’t know everybody i meet self-centered but maybe they’re all just maybe i’m just think they’re self-centered because i am you think they all think like you yeah that’s what it is i’m so self-centered and i just assume they all think like me yeah that’s the only lens i got to look through right now i like to think better of the world i know you do i know i was raised with a very pessimistic view of like it’s out to get me [ _ ] everybody uh i don’t know you got anything else about mental health medication i will just say for my you know final take on it i didn’t think it was all too polarizing to to get 151 argumentative comments out of people but what the hell yeah i didn’t find anything overly uh exciting in the ip itself i mean they said some things that i totally agree with like look if you even think you have some mental health issues go talk to a professional you know if you have a sponsor and you have a solid network in recovery you know it’s it’s probably not harmful to go talk to a professional if you’re averse to medication start with a a therapist or a you know psychologist and then they can help you decide whether you might have a mental disorder that needs medication or not you know and which is a beautiful statement and i would one step further for anyone out there 12-step fellowship or not earthling or not addict or not whatever you consider yourself if your life satisfaction is not high go try right nothing else you find out that that’s not what’s gonna work for you right if nothing else you’ve ruled out all right well i don’t have to worry about that [ _ ] anymore that’s not gonna work but like you might find that there’s some power in in that room as well just like we talk about there’s a crazy power going on in in the rooms of our program there’s a power going on in the room of therapy man that just has the ability to help and transform some people and so if you’re not feeling like you’re getting the most out of life we have a limited time here and we’re running the [ __ ] out of it right so don’t wait like go seek out something and just see if there’s something better for you yeah amen all right with that we’ll be back next week enjoy your week everybody stay safe if you enjoyed this podcast please feel free to share it with people you think might benefit from the conversation 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