7: Anxiety (Sort Of)

12/1/19 Talking about anxiety, quitting vaping, dying. All kinds of fun stuff.

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Transcript:

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

hi this is Billy I’m here with Jason for this week’s recovery sort of gonna kick it off talking a little bit about some anxiety and some issues I struggle with around anxiety learning kind of what that is and and how it affects me in my daily life most recently we took a trip up to Massachusetts to visit my stepdaughter lives up there and we went up there to spend Thanksgiving and during the trip I realized we didn’t really have a heavily scheduled itinerary or anything it was just kind of go up and spend time together hanging out we got a stay in this hotel resort thing and we had you know puzzles and games and you know they’d have a pool and stuff there and we figured we just chill out and kind of have easy relaxing days and what I noticed for me is that having unplanned or unskilled time is just uncomfortable and I start sitting in my head thinking what I could be doing what I should be doing um what I don’t want to do and and creates a lot of anxiety and so you know with my family the way that comes off is I’m irritable and annoyed and don’t want to be around them which half the time in those situations is true that is how I’m feeling in the moment I just want to be left alone I don’t want to do anything and I want everyone not to talk to me which is a really difficult place to be when you’re stuck in a hotel room with five other people on a family vacation so I try the best that I can not to sort of give in to it what I found this trip is I took a couple opportunities to just sneak off down to the exercise room they have a exercise room with weights and stuff and I said I’ll just go down there and kind of work out and try to just burn off some of that anxiety but for me that’s kind of a new realization I would say within the last year or two that I struggle with anxiety I never really quite understood what that was I dunno I used to just realize that I thought a lot about things and that my head kind of went in fifty-seven directions and that you know it kind of everything felt like a fire drill all the time when any sort of minor issues came up it’s like a fire drill in my head I’m like what are we gonna do and how we gonna fix it what do we got at it and I just thought that was you know again that was normal to me so I thought that was kind of normal and as I’ve been in recovery I’ve learned that’s not really that normal and there are some things that I’ve learned to do about them one of them that helps a lot is meditation I believe exercise helps a lot as well just helps me to burn off some of that whatever excess mental energy but it’s a something that I’ve struggle with and so this trip you know and I think it has a lot to do with the amount of meditating I’ve been doing lately this trip I really try to sit with those feelings like when I was feeling like annoyed and irritable and angry for in essence no reason whatsoever what is you know why do I feel that way and what’s going on and try to sit and be present in that anger and annoyance to find out sort of the causes of it and so that’s a side benefit of meditation one of the things I’ve learned from meditation to do is kind of sit with those uncomfortable feelings and and feel them and look at them and recognize them be like yeah this is what I’m feeling and that’s okay and in that I learned that I should still just plan myself itineraries for things even if they’re rough and now the trick is I have to be flexible and they have to be a little bit up in the air but just to have a plan even if it’s just for myself of what I’m gonna do with my day what my next thing is gonna be what might you know what what my plan is for that day so that I don’t get stuck in those situations yeah you know I want to completely disagree and tell you I’m nothing like that at all but if you talk to my wife that is probably exactly how I am I do I like to plan things out I feel more comfortable and safe when it’s planned out I feel like it’s taken care of it’s accounted for again the problem being with that I don’t do well when it doesn’t go according to plan like the plans only great as long as the plans rolling yeah I I have been you know so I don’t like to say I have anxiety either though it’s very obvious through most of my life what it looked like it was a fear of trying anything new it was a fear like I didn’t want to go to a theme park that I’d never been to because I might not know where you go to get tickets and I don’t want to ask and it just seemed overwhelming and so I couldn’t do it I would never go there right it was restricted and limited to things I had done in my life and accomplished well and that’s the only things I could repeat my wife and I used to try to go out to dinner and we would we would get in like vicious arguments on the way to the place to eat because I was terrified that there wouldn’t be something on the menu I liked like this is the you know so that’s what I see my anxiety and I’m like I don’t [ _ ] live like that anymore anxiety right and that’s just not the case I think I still do I do still have a [ _ ] ton of thoughts going on at all times I joke with my family because my five-year-old doesn’t shut the [ _ ] up ever and I joked it like there’s already 16 voices in my head and his is just one too [ _ ] many for me right he drives me crazy it’s very difficult for me to sit and just listen to him non-stop talk for like half an hour maybe he just reminds me of my anxiety because he doesn’t stop I don’t know but it’s overwhelming I know right now I’m going through like extra so I I smoked for 20 years and then I I quit that like four and a half years ago by vaping and now I just quit vaping two days ago and I so like 25 years of having something to do regularly to kind of calm myself and I don’t [ _ ] have that now and I’m like going out if I wasn’t going bald I would be from pulling my hair out for sure like it’s it’s brutal man I’m used to having that comfort and I’m and I’m saying things like life’s just miserable without that like what the [ _ ] why do I want to keep doing this dumb [ _ ] if I don’t get to you know have a little fun and I enjoyed it and like I mean there might be some truth to that to some of those things but I don’t like why the [ _ ] do I need that to be okay right and that’s where I keep coming to why does life not okay if I can’t vapor smoke or something like why can’t it just be okay so I’ve been feeling some extra anxiety lately and irritability and annoyance and disconnection from my family through all that and just wanna I don’t I probably shouldn’t say what I really wanted to a long um but yeah so I I gets just sitting still it’s tough man I’ve been sitting in my house for the last couple days because it’s been this Thanksgiving break type time and not a whole lot of agenda and bored out of my [ _ ] mind and not vaping and and you know I eat and then I’m like what do I do now while I vape well I don’t bake now so no I guess I [ _ ] heat again I don’t know like I just don’t stop eating and I wanna yell at people and get angry and then I voiced my opinion they’re like I’m sorry you feel that way [ _ ] you too because that’s basically all you just said you invalidated what I said I I’m with you I struggle with the anxiety and I don’t know the great idea because when I make plans I get mad if they’re not if they don’t go that way yeah and what’s interesting so putting a couple pieces together you know for myself over this past couple of days so my daughter has a disability called prader-willi syndrome it’s a rare genetic disorder it affects her brain in a couple of different ways but one of those is this inability to sort of abstract think and and there’s some she has a lot of anxiety around food and meals and planning and impulse control and things like that so a big part of her treatment a big part of you know her daily life is very regimented routines we eat at this time and this is the meal that we’re gonna have like those things are posted you know at her house where she’s at like all those things are planned out well in advance so she knows and there’s a schedule and when she lived at home with us when she was younger these are some tools that they taught us like you would everything would be planned out so that it would help her with that anxiety if she wanted to know what we were gonna have for dinner was already posted on the refrigerator that’s what it was for that week and the schedule the way they had us do a schedule it was it was always meant to be a rough type schedule like it wasn’t supposed to be completely regimented down to the minute but it was the order of things like this is the order that the day is gonna go we’re gonna do you know breakfast and then this and then this and then you know school and then you know when we come home from school it’s gonna be this and then exercise and then dinner and it went in that order all the time and you know so remembering all those things and when she lived with us in the way she is when she’s up there in her program and being up there around it was like wow like I think I need that and I’ve always jokingly I’ve always said to my wife like I am I do way better with a schedule and a routine than not like you know for me I’m I’m better when I get up like the same time seven days a week just get up at the same time go to bed at the same time you know and do those sort of routine regular routine things I just functioned better that way mentally I feel sharper that way so I know that’s a thing about myself and you know or joke and I always feel like to myself I’m like that character from South Park tweek who’s always like amped up on coffee you know and wants it go 27 places it’s like if I don’t have that you know routine or that schedule sort of in my head of what I’m doing next like I want to run around and chase my tail in circles you know half the time or I can’t focus on what I really want to do cuz I’m not sure if that’s the best or rightest thing to be doing in that moment and so I’m trying to you know and this is all for myself it’s sort of new reflections I I was talking with my wife a little bit about it on our ride and and we were sort of talking about you know well what do you what do you do with that you know so okay so you have anxiety there’s different things you can do obviously the big thing now that you hear everywhere is you know marijuana Maine it’s a THC and it’s great for PTSD and you know anxiety and depression and all the pain and everything else it’s the wonder drug of the 21st century I guess but like for me like as a person in recovery I don’t that’s not an option at least for me right now I’m gonna say no you know that that’s not something I want to consider I don’t feel like a I don’t feel like my anxiety is that bad and B that’s a pretty for me pretty heavy mind changing mood altering substance that I can’t mess around with you know my history is that you know that one is too many a thousands never enough mentality and I don’t I don’t want to even go down that road it’s it’s not worth it at this point so for me that that’s out there’s the CBD I guess is the other step down from that where you don’t have the psychoactive component or you can get it without the psychoactive component I told her I may take a little bit of time to look into that a little bit just to do my own sort of research and see what I think and what kind of stuff is out there cuz now you know obviously CVD is everywhere it’s in coffee and food and supplements and you know just it’s this a miracle amazing thing you know which again I’m sure it’s not all right not nothing against it whatever I love marijuana and THC you know you know that’s my problem is that I love it too much and then ever like oh well now I’m allowed to smoke weed then I’ll just be high all the time and you know back again in my addiction you know for a while so I had been on heroin for a number of years and I got off heroin and just said well just drink and smoke pot and I did that for another four years and stayed off a heroin and my life was just as crazy and unmanageable on drinking and smoking pot because every day that I woke up I had to get high and be high until I went to bed at night and that’s how I function through every moment of every day sounds like my baby yeah so you know I that’s my track record with that so that’s not you know something for me that that is a good option to explore but and I didn’t have I don’t know it is not something I want to check out but the M I mean the CBD oil could be interesting but I tend to go back to I think most of the time there’s more natural maybe taking a little more work remedies but things like my you know making sure I’m meditating on a regular basis and and if I treated you know meditation like it was medication would I do it more you know right now it’s sort of this thing that’s like an optional thing that I just do for some whatever kind of benefits and maybe my approach needs to be more of a hey this is really like a quote unquote medical necessity for me to meditate like it isn’t it shouldn’t be considered like an optional supplement to my day it should be like this is like medication that I should be taken for myself every day and if I took that approach with meditation and and you know exercise and really made those things like hey these are like for me dealing with anxiety critical not you know optional things that are like just to enhance my life but really things that I need to mentally be well maybe that’s an approach I need to sort of start taking to those activities hmm I mean that could definitely make him seem a little more important if we looked at him like a medicine you know I wouldn’t uh at times when I was really struggling in my life maybe with a depression and I ended up on an antidepressant I didn’t feel like it was optional whether I needed to take that I want to get any given day like it was Wednesday I better [ _ ] take it right I mean it wasn’t of course it’s slow acting wasn’t gonna do it but similar principle it wasn’t optional for me you brought up so many different things trying to touch on each one you talked about the marijuana which in general I don’t have any particular issue with like I don’t I don’t think it’s for me I don’t know that it’s like hey this is great medicine versus hey this makes it easier to deal with life like I agree didn’t want to punch everyone in the face walking around I was it’s very stressful leaving it’s very relaxing like I give it that I don’t know that it’s necessarily the greatest way for me to get there and if people want to do it that’s look I’ll say this if alcohol is legal we should definitely be funny right right like just looking at those two compared to each other that’s the most ridiculous thing but yeah I would agree weeds not the answer for me I don’t believe the CBD oil which is you know mark marketed as the wonder drug like every new drug ever is obviously I’m not gonna fall into believing that it’s gonna be that wonderful does it do anything possibly is it gonna really fix me I doubt it like nothing is you talked about like they’re happy in a natural way versus a biological way right so this is a tough one right because there’s actually a third part of that too that could be possible so there’s there’s that there could be a harder more difficult natural way to deal with these things that most of us don’t want we want you know the pill band aid form that’s easier there could be that there is no natural better way to deal with it and we just are stuck taking the biological solution and then there’s also this other possibility that comes to me frequently that I like to think that sometimes we’re given things for a [ _ ] reason right like this anxiety keeps me away from the cliff and I don’t jump off and die or fall off and die right like I I find purpose for the things that I’m given and is it always fun to live with now it [ _ ] sucks right I do seek ways to try to tolerate it and manage it better but I I always question am i treating the very thing I’m supposed to have right is this anxiety supposed to be the thing that helps me create the you know crazy shelter in the basement of my house where I end up actually surviving a war because I was anxious I wouldn’t one of my clients said this the other day and it was like the perfect thing it was what if I worried that if I didn’t worry I should have worried and I was like yes you got it down perfectly that’s exactly what I think and so I I struggled with that like am I supposed to treat it am I supposed to be this way for a reason am I supposed to be bored so that I invent something useful like I don’t know maybe anxiety is leading me somewhere yeah and I know we so in recovery a lot we talk about fear and you know how we should have all this courage and you know fear is this horrible thing that holds us back from life and I always think the same thing about fear and like well it’s got some really good characteristics you know to it that you know sometimes fear is a really you know thing that will save me from either myself or other people you know if I start to trust after some time and recovery I learned to trust some of those instincts and some of those fears as being healthy and it’s not all bad all the time I think for myself where the anxiety part starts to get to be problematic is like say we’re just all chilling out relaxing at a hotel and I want to yell and scream at all my family to get away from me and leave me alone or I just want to walk out and leave and just go spend a bunch of time by myself which again and spending time by myself isn’t always horrible obviously I can do that in little bits and pieces I’d like went off to exercise or whatever by myself more or less but what I found was even that wasn’t seeming like it was enough like I wanted to be isolated and alone by myself for what wanted to be days and you know that’s where it’s like wow maybe this is more than just like hey I’m a little anxious here you know and and recognizing like what is a healthy level of anxiety obviously we’re all gonna have a little bit anxiety you know when there’s a or I would think it’s normal to have some anxiety when there’s some you know uncomfortable issue at work or whatever you know dealing with your kids school or you know you’re gonna have a little anxiety in some situations um but it’s funny it’s like you said where where it paralyzes me into a place of even now still with directions a lot of times like I do not want to ask people for directions and and the fear isn’t that I don’t know what I’m talking about for me the fear around like say directions is that I’m gonna go into a place and I’m gonna let them know that I am vulnerable and weak and like I don’t know where I’m at and I don’t know where I’m going and then they’re gonna be able to take advantage of me because I put myself into this weak place you know and and that’s what I think a lot is like I can’t let all these people know that I don’t know where the [ _ ] that I’m at like that sorry that’s scary that’s overwhelmingly scary for me a lot of times so I think when it it’s like the character defects you know in recovery is sort of a lot of my character defects come from overblown assets this is the same kind of thing like some anxiety and some fear and so that’s good but when it becomes overblown it becomes a defect I’m still trying to picture what these situations are and I’m not trying to minimize what you’re going through but I was relating it to what I was thinking about struggling to go and ask people for directions that I was like I was thinking about I think going to a theme park like Hershey Park and I was like what is the Hershey kiss gonna could you put that in context like where were you thinking about asking for directions where they might have took advantage of you also well anywhere for one most of the time it’s when we get into like getting into a city that I’m not really familiar with or you know going places like that the other thing is I learned to recognize that most of that [ _ ] isn’t even really practice totally impractical and it’s totally a rational thought but it’s like trying to explain to my wife like just because I know it’s irrational doesn’t that doesn’t just make it go away that doesn’t just fix it it’s still there and it’s still real and it’s still you know can be overwhelming I can fake my way through it a lot of times I think socially I deal with it pretty well but it doesn’t stop the anxiety from being there yeah for us especially so we did our traveling around the country we went to tons of areas where we had no idea where we were what we were doing where we were trying to get you know like we were everywhere we went was new so it was sort of a constant you know trying to figure out where we were going or what we were trying to find you know the funny thing is I will avoid most of that anxiety by just using Google but when I really think about I should probably have much more anxiety trusting Google to do all this thinking for me like it could easily tell me hey turn left Drive off this cliff I wouldn’t [ _ ] I’m sure left I go right I don’t know like well the other side of that with when you’re driving in a big camper so we were in a full-size pickup truck towing a 40-foot camper you know in a city like you there are certain [ _ ] areas you can’t get out of you know you can literally get yourself stuck you know not being able to get under low bridge or you know and we’ve had those situations too you know of where you’re going down a road and all the sudden you see underpass 8 foot 7 and we were 14 feet you know 13 6 anyway and you know so you’re like [ _ ] we can’t go that way and Google isn’t the best at rerouting for campers and you know just and there is other software you could use for that we had some other software but even that [ _ ] it’s not always right it’s sometimes it’s wrong and and you know it tried to take us we were out in Utah so we’re out of the middle Utah we’re in the kind of middle of no man’s land and the GPS and this is a you know camper RV GPS and it wants to turn us on to this dirt road through this national parkland and I’m like yes look at the mapping thing and my wife actually was like no way we are not going on that road with this camper like we’re gonna [ _ ] get stuck somewhere in the middle of the desert you know we’re not going that way and we argued about we actually got in an argument because the way around was an hour something longer like it was that much of a shortcut and so I was like well we just gotta take that way like that’s the [ _ ] way that the thing says I’m gonna trust this technology that it knows and she said no way we’re not doing it and so we didn’t I gave in and smartest decision I ever made actually when we got around and talked to some other people about that right they’re like oh no you would have never made it poke your camper up that road like people can’t even they get stuck in cars and [ _ ] like you need like either a jeep or at least the 4×4 truck and even then it’s like these hairpin turns and you know it’s just like you would have been totally [ _ ] I know and then we wouldn’t have been able to turn around cuz there’s you know you can’t turn around a four-foot I mean a 40-foot camper in a 8 foot wide road like that ain’t happening so it was a good thing I listened to her but you know yeah just getting in situations where I don’t I’m not prepared or I don’t know the answers or I gotta ask for help as like that’s a overwhelming to my anxiety a lot of times one of the other things that kind of came up when you were talking about the different methods of treatment for anxiety and how you sort of attack yours you know more regularly with meditation or excuse me we’re trying to burn it off at the gym because it isn’t formal energy you know and that comes into a lot of like if you go to therapy right there’s sort of the the theory of cognitive behavioral therapy versus you know more of dealing with your inner child and feelings from your childhood right and so the CBT type thing will will give you good coping skills for how to deal with it today coping skills that can possibly help you alleviate some of the anxiety you’re going to feel coming up coping skills for after you start feeling it things to do to lessen it and I like I like that idea it’s good to have a few of those but at the same time I kind of wonder if I don’t think I’m ever gonna learn enough coping skills where that underlying stuff from my childhood is just gone right like I think that’s always gonna be there driving me guiding me you know telling me sort of how my life is gonna go and I don’t think that goes away just because I learned some coping skills the coping skills can minimize the effect of it in the moment but I really personally believe I need to go back and deal with some of those things in order for them to be alleviated altogether and I don’t know you know if that’s real if that’s just some [ __ ] that I come up with because I believe in therapy or or what but I believe that like I don’t think that just coping with it today is great I think dealing with it so that it doesn’t really exist it’s almost like back to the future like I can go back and change some of that past through talking that allows it to not really be here in the present yeah and I found actually in a thing that helps me a lot in a skill I learned in recovery is just talking about it out loud sometimes you know helps saying some of the stuff that I’m thinking or what’s going through my head in those situations you know again those voices in my head make all the sense in the world and they seem so rational and logical and and they seem so you know intuitive but then you say them out loud and you think wow that doesn’t like it sounds so much different when I say it out loud and sometimes just talking about it and recognizing like oh yeah this is what this is oh really it takes a little bit of the power away from it um but in the moment it still can be pretty overwhelming which is maybe where some sort of I’ll say substance or chemical medical assistance could help mom I find it is way less it affects me way less now in my life than it did when I was younger earlier in recovery and I don’t know if that’s because coping skills are just I’ve gotten older or um because I wouldn’t like say until about a year or two ago I would have never said that I had anxiety like I didn’t even recognize that that’s what it was right so they have anxiety medicine that I’m just not a big fan of I’ve never taken it personally myself but I don’t like the idea of it but I do wish they had more of like a almost like a like if you have a sore throat damn a throat spray I wish they had like an anxiety spray like a short lasted there just for in the moment hey let me spray myself real quick in the last five minutes and then I’ll calm down and things would be great all right what is uh looks like we’re gonna pause for you know our advertisement here and then we will be back this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in Maryland voices of hope is made up of people and recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.canadianoutback.com

but anyway some of the conversation she used to say a lot of the same things that you had said about you know that’s her coping mechanism to deal with anxiety and stress and you know whatever what I had always read or you know researched about that nicotine addiction was that it actually creates some of that angle that you feel like it it’s like the hook that it gets you it’s like once you’re hooked in when you don’t have it that’s all they stirs up all that anxiety and that part of the addiction is the need for that relief from that anxiety but it was interesting you know she still vapes we’ve been trying to talk her it’s good I think the kids were a little more successful in pressuring her into quitting than I was and I had nothing to do with that I never you know told them to pressure her to quit I of course made my subtle smartass comments when they were available there was just envelopes with hundred dollar bills left under their pillow no but you know that’s the messaging I guess they get in public now from school or other people or you know plus we watched my mom smoked her whole life and got COPD and continued to smoke and you know the grandkids all watch their grandmother in essence smoke herself literally to death and you know I tried to just point that out to him not in a bad way but as they were younger like hey don’t smoke cigarettes that’s kind of what happens you know you it messes with your health I smoked for a long time I actually quit smoking before I quit using which is odd but I went through with this so the end of my using was crazy as most people’s is and it wasn’t all this overly traumatic stuff that most people go through like my bottom was just totally weird so I had been hooked on heroin for years I went to jail and so I’d convinced myself when I was in jails there for like eight months I said well when I get out I’m not gonna do heroin or any hard drugs anymore like that’s my problem it’s heroin cocaine it’s all these heavy drugs and at that time I was 20 I think 22 or 23 I can’t remember um but I was 20-something it was legal to drink so I was like I’ll just drink and smoke pot you know even though that wasn’t legal then but whatever and what I found was like say even doing those things I couldn’t manage one I always smoked like a crazy attic that smoke probably two packs a day if not more um but I got to a point where I’m like all right [ _ ] it on sheer willpower I’m gonna quit everything I’m gonna quit drinking I’m gonna quit smoking and I’m gonna quit you know cigarettes everything I’m gonna start going to the gym and eating healthy and I did that for about three months just cold turkey [ _ ] completely everything did that for three months and then it was Preakness came to Baltimore and a bunch of my friends were going down to Preakness and I said I got a great idea I’ll be the designated driver and so I was the designated driver down to Preakness and you know once we got down there it was a [ _ ] party so I started drinking his stuff again but didn’t pick up cigarettes so I started drinking that day and then went back to drinking and probably smoked weed still but didn’t smoke cigarettes again and I used for another I don’t know four or five months before I actually finally got clean but that was like the first time in my life that I felt like I had really tried every bit of willpower that I had to stop use and then you know I was like one of those saying like willpower just didn’t work and so and that’s kind of where I’m at with this so I I have not made I think the last bit of juice I had right now Thanksgiving night around 7:00 p.m. and since then I’ve been committed at least like a week now I know at least a week and a half a week before I even stopped I was committed that wasn’t that juice ran out I was quitting hell or high water it was just what I was going to do mentally committed to that fact right ever since I’ve stopped I’ve had these thoughts throughout the day man you should just go buy one of those stupid little beeps you know Royal Farms or Wawa just take a hit or two right you should go get a black and milds and just smoke one of them that’s a little different that’s not the same thing right something different I’m like bored I don’t know why the [ _ ] bored I got a billion things that could be doing that are useful but I’m not gonna do them right I’m just sitting around my house I’m like I [ _ ] do this all day long every day for the last 25 years I don’t like not doing it I want to do it I think it’s enjoyable this is all the [ _ ] I’m telling myself and by into most of it right until I start that my brain starts that whole life’s just not fun without it because that rhetoric sounds way too much like what I believed about drugs and I don’t believe that [ _ ] anymore right so that’s the one that keeps keeps me tied in every time I hear that one go through my head I’m like that’s [ _ ] [ _ ] let me just hang on a little longer right and I don’t know I don’t know maybe I am [ _ ] miserable without vey thing I have no idea I know I am today will I be in a month I hope not I’m hoping that it goes away but I’m just not gonna do it no matter how many thoughts tell me I should that’s where I’m at right now I don’t know what the [ _ ] else to do but it it brings up the question because everything else I’ve quit in my life I never made the commitment to quit it and quit it I had some awful horrible terrible life consequences that led me to a point of like dear God removed this from me please write like I just [ _ ] you gotta [ _ ] take this from me I’m I’m lost I’m going crazy and that’s not where I’m at today I’m not lost or going crazy I’m making a decision and it feels so much [ _ ] different like all the other stuff I was happy to be rid of those at by the time I got there I’m not happy to be rid of this and this is [ _ ] difficult for me and I don’t like it yeah well maybe that’s getting wiser in your older age you know we there’s always a saying that I heard and I always liked it said smart people learn from their own mistakes wise people learn from other people’s mistakes and that’s kinda you know do I need an early in my life like yes I needed to have all the same [ _ ] negative consequences that I watched all the other addicts around me have before I finally say hey could it really be drugs that are my brother like and you know nowadays in my life like with smoking there or vaping or any of that stuff like I feel that way I’m like it’s been 20 years since I’ve smoked cigarettes or you know and I never fate that wasn’t even a thing 20 years ago so and I don’t miss it at all in fact now I look back on it like that’s a pretty disgusting habit um and I tried I don’t place that judgment on people that smoke I just see it and I’m like oh how can you be so I don’t say stupid but how can you be so unintelligent about your personal health like how can you care so little about yourself and your body that you would smoke cigarettes and me personally I just put vaping right into that like it’s the same obviously we can make all kinds of you know quote unquote you know comparisons to justify that it’s better and all that I’m like man I don’t know they you know what did they tell you forty years ago about cigarettes you know it’s the same thing they just didn’t know the damage or no maybe they did know the damage and they lied to us about it or whatever but it’s like we know the negative effects you know we see these people getting sick and died and then all you hear V Defenders say is well it was this chemical and they were doing that it’s the THC ones and it’s not the and it’s like okay okay sitting on the outside of somebody that doesn’t make like if you told me there was even a chance that I could have like a collapsing lung disease and go into the hospital at any moment from doing this thing and they think they know it might be on some chemical but they’re not really sure like the smart person would not do it the smart decision would be to not take the health risk no I hear you I hear you I think I always I never looked at vaping is like hey this is like eating my vegetables it was definitely uh hey this seems way less dangerous and intrusive than smoking cigarettes right I truly used it in the fact of quitting cigarettes to vape like it wasn’t a hey let me pick up vaping because it seems cool it was a I’ve never been able to quit smoking and this thing actually worked for me so I I will defend it as a acquitting cigarettes mechanism I think it’s great for that I think it works I think it’s a good replacement habit I know that’s not really the answer long-term but it did work a lot for me and I found that putting it down has been easier than anytime I’ve put down cigarettes and that’s something I did notice while I was vaping – I could go longer periods without the problems like cigarettes man I was having one every half an hour and you weren’t [ _ ] staring at my work like god I you know I’d sit on the I buy the plane ticket that was on top of the plane just to [ _ ] smoke while we were riding um vaping it didn’t bother me like that I could go five or six hours and not think nothing of it if I had to and so I did look at it it’s definitely different and it’s been around for I don’t exactly know I know it’s been around for at least ten years in some form or another people didn’t really start getting sick and dying until real recently which tells me that it’s not so much the vaping itself that’s doing that there is some particular thing that whatever they’re trying to do now with it that’s making it [ _ ] up but either way like I just want to feel I don’t want to be in prison right like that’s the goal of being free and and in recovery is to try to limit the amount of Prisons I got to be in like I guess I’m always going to be in some but this is another one I don’t want to have so as a person who for me personally like one of the great things I think all the time about not smoking it’s like how much [ _ ] money I’ve saved over the years of not smoking and we had kind of talked before the podcast today a little bit about money like how do you justify that expense like do you compare that expense to say fast food or eating out or is that your right you’re absolutely right it was it definitely was cheaper than smoking I’ll give it that but yeah that is another thing that I will be saving money from now I don’t know if my wife is cheaper than smoking God we buy them fake things are [ _ ] $18 a pack and I swear she goes through a pack every two days she’s on that that high you know that high-tech [ _ ] I was on some old-fashioned stuff yeah she said I don’t know it seems very expensive and and I still throw that up to her all the time like this is so expensive you quit how much money we could say I think we’re a man and look I’ve you know going into this quitting I made a list of all the things that pissed me off about vaping it’s like there are things that bother me my [ _ ] windows in my car get all stupid and I gotta clean them like real regularly noise to piss out of me right that’s one of the things I’m happiest about is I’m gonna clean them one more time but I’m done like I don’t have to clean them all the time sometimes juice gets in your mouth you know I had to charge them pretty frequently it was like a whole lot of [ _ ] they got on my nerves I guess I just at this point wish there was some fun replacement behavior like if there’s some [ _ ] cool thing I can do now that I’m not you know vaping this neat flavor into my mouth eighty thousand times a day what the [ _ ] can I do like I didn’t think about it from replacements but I thought when I quit smoking I did all the tricks that they told you to do like I carried gum like a big pack of gum and I would chew gum and I don’t chew gum any more because I think it’s kind of it I’m not just think but like it was at the time like say it was better than smoking you know so I also did a thing where it was like the negative reinforcement so I took a rubber band and kept it around my wrist and any time I would want to smoke or think about smoking I would sit there and just snap it on my wrist not overly hard but just enough to make it irritating and annoying and it was like it was supposed to be like an like a negative reinforcement almost like a little electrical charge like hey this is a negative thought this is a not a good thing and I I don’t know I didn’t smoke anymore so I guess it worked or helped and I don’t have a positive view of smoking so I don’t know those are little tricks that helped me get through that initial I mean I know with me with cigarettes like and this was what I would always talk to my wife about like she would quit for a week or two be like oh this is still [ _ ] hard I’m like it’s gonna be hard for a while like it took me I bet you it was two months before I was pretty comfortable not smoking just not smoking and I still thought about it a lot and it was probably six months to a year before it was like oh I don’t even think about it anymore but now it’s been so long like I don’t even like to look at it and think that’s such a terrible thing like I can’t believe I ever even did that to myself like shooting drugs you know it’s like I didn’t [ _ ] believe that I would do that to myself like the only so I used chanak’s twice during my smoking career which was a bad [ _ ] idea for me and had a horrible experience me too so both times and I worked in construction at the time and both times I would end up like on the 13th floor of a building we were building that had the sides wide open and I would be like five feet from the edge just thinking this [ _ ] wall goes right yeah and I’m like what the [ _ ] why run that’s great so I had to stop and then I would both times I got about 30 days without smoking before I ended up going back to smoking and I I never experienced the peace of like I don’t wanna I don’t want to smoke no more and so that’s gonna be the tricky part like this is [ _ ] day three right and it starts a little better than that they never have to go through this again I mean look the physical withdrawal symptoms are not bad but you can see you know I’m sure Billy can see sitting across from me I’m like fidgety and I mean I’m usually fidgety anyway but this is ridiculous I can just I don’t know man I just wish there was I do have the gum I do have gone my chew gum I’m not gonna chew over talking on the podcast but I’m doing that and I and I have looked at like not so much as a you know snap my wrists with a rubber band but just more of a every time I think about vaping use that as a reminder to talk to my higher power right try to turn a negative into a positive and so I have been doing that a little bit and it’s just like I know I’m like done with my family [ _ ] them they’re getting on my nerves I’m just done with everything and I I am mad that I have to stop I guess I don’t have to I’m choosing to but it’s like I can’t there be fun [ _ ] sometimes I can’t you just have some [ _ ] that’s not good for you and that good for anything you just do it right but yeah but this is like and I applaud you like I look at the whole thing is like this is a you know practical application like spiritual principles in action of like I want to do something that I’m gonna say I know is bad or wrong or unhealthy for myself but I’m making a conscious choice not to go with that impulsive decision and I’m going to practice these principles of commitment and self-love and perseverance right and you know patience and and all these things to try to get through you know satisfying that you know self-centered self-serving craving because that’s really what it is yeah and you know there are rewards to that like and that’s how for me personally like that’s how I’ve learned to practice a lot of these spiritual principles it’s not like they just came all naturally and it was great and fun you know to practice forgiveness like there was you know it’s it’s an active thing of like you know God [ _ ] that [ _ ] like I just want to stab them in their neck you know like but then go like and say that in my head and then the the countering to that of being like no you know I’ve made a decision that I’m gonna let this go I’m gonna turn this over to the universe and I’m not gonna carry that anger and I’m making the decision just right now just in this moment that I’m gonna let that go and I’m not gonna give in to that anger and trying to let those thoughts go and not feed into them and it’s the same thing it’s you know like making that positive negative inventory why am I making this decision do the positives really outweigh the negatives I mean [ _ ] it if the negatives outweigh the positives then [ _ ] go back to vaping you know make the list and see where you fall see that’s tricky though cuz am I only coming up with positives and negatives I feel like that’s based on what I really want to do show like I could very easily make vaping sound like it’s the better option and ignore all the actual positives that might be there if that’s what I wanted I don’t I don’t even know if that’s a good enough reason to go back just because I want to I want to already I know that right but I’m hoping that there will come a day through not doing it that it won’t seem like the thing to do anymore I think if I made a positive negative inventory right now that’d be [ _ ] shaky I might go get one all right and I don’t want well your values have to fall in there too like it doesn’t just matter which side of the list is longer it matters which of your values are more important you know and I mean like I can rattle off you know 15 reasons why smoking weed could be good for me but it doesn’t outweigh the few of the negative things that I feel like those are way more important values you know for me like my present like how present I am with kids and with my family on a daily basis outweighs 10 justifications to go smoke pot you know that one thing carries way more weight so I have to look at the values that go into that list too it can’t just be a list of counting up the tallies it’s got to be a list of where my values are in that list I don’t know I just looking come where I don’t feel like I’m missing it anymore that’s gonna be a nice day I will it is there it will happen I believe that I wouldn’t I wouldn’t be sitting I didn’t believe that’s the ho bright just like addiction it’s though it can happen for you too it will happen for you so one day I’ll be at like lunchtime maybe like oh I didn’t even think about vaping yet today that’s crazy it’ll be that [ _ ] that same miracle that happened with music you know I just didn’t realize one day that I hadn’t thought about it and then after a while you can become a self-righteous prick like me [ _ ] people vaping with their [ _ ] kids in the car what an [ _ ] I love you but that [ __ ] stinks yeah I tend to do it more I joke about that I try to do it more like I just for me I still remind myself of the Mond like man the money like cuz and when I smoked cigarettes were not whatever they are now seven dollars a pack I think they were probably 20 years ago probably three or four dollars a pack I think they were still less than five um you could get cartons for like 50 bucks I think so you know 45 50 bucks so what’s that five dollars a pack now they’re I think they’re twice that it’s crazy but you know I just remind myself like over those years you know I got to reinforce some of those positive decisions because a lot of my friends vape and I think all that looks cool and it’s all healthy and I’m like I’m not you know I just I’m not gonna go down that road it’s not worth it

to birds a monster now I’ll just vape CBD oil you know see if that helps my anxiety definitely not um yeah I have learned that a value for me as I care about my body and my health and I don’t just want to get old you know for the sake of being old I want to be healthy into my old age and you know it’s a big value for me like if I’m 80 and somebody’s pushing me around in a wheelchair and I can’t [ _ ] walk up the steps then I don’t want to be 80 you know I’ll die in 75 see I’m alright with that one but I I interesting you bring this up I’m having a lot of this in my life lately so my my wife’s grandmother is 92 I believe and she does not seem happy never with life like that she’s always in pain she’s always uncomfortable she can’t really do much of anything she doesn’t really leave her her house and it’s just like why right and not for her I’m not like whoa I advised that [ _ ] – oh my god I just even her like so she’s in an in-law suite that at my mother’s parents house and but she’ll come over sometimes and it’s like it’s a huge effort and day of work for her to make it from one side of the house to the other with her Walker right and the other part is that like there’s the constant fear of oh my god is she gonna trip over something and die or like right here right now like this is scary right but she makes this noise when she’s doing any effort or any exertion and it’s like it sounds like a noise of somebody that’s you know close to death and I’m just like I don’t want to be to a point where I can’t [ _ ] leave my house right I don’t want to be to a point where I’m no longer able to live and then so I we go and we see my mother recently and she’s talking about you know her oldest remaining sibling is pretty much losing their mind – and I’m just like I just don’t [ _ ] think I want that like I don’t think I want to live to be old enough to where I’m not here anymore that doesn’t sound interesting I definitely don’t and I saw this so when I first met my wife her dad was he was 70s and he was in a wheelchair he had diabetes they had cut off his leg from the knee down and then he had some heart issues and had a you know whole bucket full of pills that he took every day and you know just couldn’t do a lot for himself and we kind of lived there and helped to take care of him help to take care of the house and all these things and he would say things like that like my life is over and I’m just ready for this one to be over and I would think like oh my god Nick why would you say those things like that’s so terrible you know you and I didn’t get it at the time so learning about him a little bit so he had the house that we were living in it was his house he he actually built that house his self from the ground up you know he was given some property when he married my mother and build a house on it his self and did all the work and laid the brick and built the roof you know that’s life and that’s the kind of person that he was very self-sufficient very you know capable physically of doing hard work and he worked in a I think a mushroom plant for most of his life and you know he just was a hard worker physical labor type person and enjoy doing that kind of stuff really liked it and so to be stuck in a chair where he couldn’t really even do certain things for his self was like I would say I’m gonna use my own words what I’d say a little bit humiliating a little bit you know and it took a lot away from his life and um I didn’t understand why he would not want to be alive there but now in my life I totally get it yeah like I totally get it and I watched the opposite so my mom was the opposite she had COPD and she like hung on and fought death to the very last minute um mostly because she was scared of death she had an incredible amount of fear over dying and that was tough to watch there was times because her health was so bad I mean like you talked about she couldn’t even get up and walk across a room with a walker you know let alone I eat or talk like she was to the point where she would talk and you didn’t even know what she was saying and and it was really tough to watch and there were times I think both my sister and I just sort of thought why don’t we just like quadruple her medication and let her just go to sleep because of the level of suffering and she but she wouldn’t let go because of fear so that was really tough to watch – yeah it’s not it’s not an easy topic or look I might very well feel very [ _ ] different what I’m you know seven five and people are like hey why don’t you just die off us what you said are poor okay I just I I don’t know man I want to be here and if I can’t be fully here right and and I’m look I can be in a limited mobile capacity I think I think I can tolerate that I want my whole brain working I feel like there’s something I can do with that even if I can’t get around like a wheelchair okay all right maybe I got a wheel myself around but I can wheel myself somewhere and do something useful with my brain I feel like that’s the important part of me anyway I’m praying for technology come on technology let’s use all this science and AI for [ _ ] health let’s stop you know creating algorithms to generate [ _ ] advertising for Google and let’s start focusing on health care goddamn it no so I just I get the feeling that they could like find a way to put a brain in a machine and it would live forever and they wouldn’t choose my brain they choose some rich idiots brain like Trump or something and he’d be [ _ ] living forever with his wonderful you know greatness that’s all right Kurt you know Ray Kurzweil and some of his craziness he’s a technology sci-fi thinker guy and he says a lot of that we can upload our brains into computers and stay living indefinitely you know and I have some other good to participate opinions I think you know when you look at consciousness consciousness actually extends out through your physical body you know things like that so whatever but it’s just it’s fun to hear you know people just theorized and pontificate on all that [ _ ] I find it fascinating I truly think seventy years of me is probably enough for the world I don’t think there’s any more of me that’s probably plenty but I think if you had your brain in a robot body then you could vape all the [ _ ] you wanted and there wouldn’t be any negative I don’t know what the [ _ ] did we talk about today anxiety vaping yeah I have no clue death sort of anxiety in vaping you got anything else no I think I’m talked out yeah it’s been a rough week okay next week I’m feeling better from not vaping and and definitely hopefully next week I have still not beat a [ _ ] terrible now our on the countdown day three day three next week would be day ten I need you that just sounds shitty honey like day a hundred or so for today just for today one day the time I’m not gonna beep guys alright I guess we’ll see you sometime in the near future that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for topics you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through Anker email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of

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