Boosting Your Way OUT of Depression & Fatigue After Quitting Alcohol or Drugs

In episode 266 of Elevation Recovery, you’ll learn several non-addictive strategies for boosting energy and mood that can really help!

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Chris Scott: I'm just kind of going with the flow of life and workouts are a part of that. And I have a holistic understanding and assumptions about why I need those in my life for, as we said, stress management, but also energy, also physique goals, and general health. And that's part of my life.

Matt Finch: We have so much resistance. "Oh, I know I should go to the gym. I know I should go do this," but you're just low mood, low energy and it's so easy to just like stay home and go on the computer, go on the phone, or go on the Netflix. There's so many easy ways to give us the dopamine boost. It's just sad. It's really sad actually.

Announcer: Thanks for tuning into the Elevation Recovery podcast, your hub for addiction recovery strategies, hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.

Matt Finch: Welcome to episode 266 of Elevation Recovery. My name's Matt Finch, and I'm joined with Chris Scott, my friend, and co-host Papaya. And today we're just going to do a little short episode kind of geared towards boosting your way out of fatigue, out of depression. We just ended winter, what, maybe a week ago, something like that, week and a half ago, it technically became spring. During the winter there was much less sunlight as a whole. It was getting darker earlier. It was getting lighter later. The strength of the sun was less too. I mean, here in America, at least, being far away from the equator.

Matt Finch: So during that time, I noticed that with myself and even with a lot of my clients, almost every client endured at least mild, if not moderate or even severe, seasonal effective disorder, or a seasonal effective depression disorder. Basically here comes the winter, more darkness, less light overall, less intensity of light, less serotonin, less endorphins, less sunlight. So a lot of people were noticing energy declines. There was a few phases over the winter and even at the beginning of spring where I was just exhausted.

Matt Finch: And so during those times, Chris and I have lots of different strategies that we're going to share with you. Some of them on how to bust out of fatigue, how to use the springtime now, much sunnier, the days are getting longer. So this is going to be helpful for people's energy. When do you usually have more energy, summer or winter? Typically it's when it's sunnier and longer days, people typically have more energy. And then there's the people that are susceptible to the seasonal effective disorder, people that just for whatever reason, biochemically, genetically, physiologically, they need a certain amount of good sunlight to have good mental health and physical health and energy.

Matt Finch: And so we'll share some of those things, Chris, and then I'll shut up. But so I know a bunch of people right now are still fatigued. A bunch of people right now, they still have low mood, low energy. So yeah, there's people that are addicted, there's people that are drinking. So regardless of anyone's situation, whether they're off alcohol, off drugs, or on one or both of those, you can increase your energy and increase your mood by doing things that blast away fatigue, dissolve depression, just help to get you up more motivated.

Matt Finch: So for instance, this morning, I took a cold shower, a regular shower, and then I just freezing cold water towards the end until I was like, "Oh, I can't take it." Then after I dried off and everything, I went for just a short 20 minute walk. It's about 65 degrees here, mostly sunny skies. So Papaya and I went for a walk, barefoot too. So I was barefoot walking in nature right by the apartment complex, getting lots of sunlight and I could feel the endorphins, feel the vitamin D. I just felt so much better.

Matt Finch: Now I came back here, had I not taken a shower this morning, and especially had I not ended it with cold water, had I not gone out there and got that dose of sunshine, had instead I just woke up this morning and not taken a shower, not got sunshine, not done barefoot grounding? I guarantee I wouldn't be feeling like I do right now and I feel pretty darn good versus when I woke up this morning, I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so tired. How am I going to do everything today?" So there's ways that are non-opioid, non-alcohol, non-Adderall, non-methamphetamine, ways of boosting energy and boosting mood. I'll shut up now.

Chris Scott: No, that was good. When I was drinking, alcohol was my energy source, which people find bizarre. The normal reaction to alcohol is to feel sedated or to feel calmed. People will say it reduces their inhibitions. So maybe they would do things or not have second thoughts about doing things that would maybe reflect questionable judgment. But most people wouldn't say that it's actually an energizing substance for them. It tends to be energizing for people for whom it increases dopamine. And it does to an extent for college kids. We all hear about people getting rowdy. Alcohol can fuel fights, obviously. So it's a very complex drug, but my problem was that it was the sole thing that I could turn to if I needed energy to do my dishes or fold my laundry or do boring stuff or go up and down in a New York City elevator with people I didn't like or people I thought were weird or they smelled. I needed to be rejuvenated by alcohol. Or at least that's what I thought.

Chris Scott: And so I had this very narrow, limited scope of things, that really was one thing, and just an ingestible thing. So the easiest thing for me to turn to after I quit were other ingestibles that could give me energy. I could wrap my mind around that. And so it was adaptogens, things like Chaga mushroom, or Cordyceps mushroom, dragon herb, spring dragon tea, which we talk about all the time. Rhodiola rosea, that's another adaptogen. Ashwaganda tends to be calming for some people, but I find that it can be energizing if I take it in the morning, because it has that type of direction activity it seems. So, yeah. Chinese tonic herbs, Ayurvedic herbs, anything adaptogenic, obviously coffee. I wrote in Drinking Sucks that I switched my mindset into one in which I decided instead of getting high at night as a reward for slogging through a day hungover in withdrawal, I started getting high in the morning instead. That was the deal I made with myself.

Chris Scott: Like, "All right, we're going to go to bed. It's all right I'm not getting the alcohol buzz. I'm not getting my me time now, because I'm going to wake up in the morning feeling awesome, and I'm going to get fucked up on coffee." And that was kind of my attitude at the time. And it worked and that there was a phase before I discovered the adaptogens, but obviously I knew about coffee, where I was drinking way too much coffee. So I was like, "All right, now obviously you don't want too much caffeine. It's a diuretic. It can contribute to adrenal fatigue. It's not the greatest for energy." But it was something that enabled me to have a conceptual switch away from alcohol as the energy source. And I'm kind of grateful to it for that. These days I have maybe two or three cups of coffee max. It's maybe it's a little bit stronger than, I don't like weak coffee. I like dark coffee. It turns out, interestingly, I didn't discover this to like a year ago, but the darker the coffee, the darker the roast, the less caffeine it tends to have. I don't know if that's a perfect correlation.

Chris Scott: I also don't know if it's entirely true, because I haven't seen studies on it, but I've read that in multiple places that seemed credible. So I guess that's good. I like the darker roast. Maybe you still get the antioxidants, which also give you part of that coffee buzz. But there are alternatives to coffee for people who are sensitive to caffeine. So Rooibos tea, or red bush tea, I think it's from South Africa originally, is really good. I have a cousin who is highly sensitive to caffeine, can't drink coffee, can't even drink green tea, but drinks Rooibos tea in the morning. And Rooibos tea is something that I've had at night because I never take any caffeine after noon because it stays in your system for a long time. I think for at least it has a eight hour half life or something like that. It takes a long time for it to leave. So it will keep me up if I have it after noon. But if I need to do work at night, I'll have some Rooibos tea at times. Yerba mate does have some caffeine, but it also has other compounds. I think it's a great alternative. Mate Factor Dark Roast is a really nice coffee alternative for people trying to cut down on coffee for energy.

Chris Scott: And then of course, nutrient repair. We could go on and on about amino acids for energy like L-tyrosine, which is a dopamine precursor, DL-phenylalanine, or DLPA, which boosts dopamine and endorphins, acetylcholine precursors like alpha-GPC are really good. There's some newer ones like huperzine is another one and I might not be pronouncing that correctly. And in addition to that, things like B vitamins, a lot of people are deficient in B vitamins who have been drinking or using drugs for a long time. B12 shots can sometimes feel like a second boost of life for people, because B12 tends to be really deficient in people who have drank. I have a sublingual B12 that I actually like. There are a bunch of different brands. I can't recall which one this is. But you put it under the tongue. And I don't actually feel that much from it, likely because I get plenty of B12, which is high in meat and I'm eating a lot of like lean grass fed beef and such.

Chris Scott: And I should mention that in the last week I started experimenting with a compound called NMN, which is a precursor for NAD+. And it's a brand called Verso, V-E-R-S-O. I have no affiliation with them. I'm just trying it out. And I've felt as if I've had better energy, less of a crash, which I sometimes get, especially if I eat carbs for breakfast or lunch and I've actually not been doing much of breakfast lately. I'm trying to do a time restricted eating from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM, which has given me benefits for energy. But I take the NMN in the morning, typically with some fish oil and some other supplements. And it gives me, subjectively and anecdotally, a nice, steady, clean energy throughout the day. And I also noticed that I sleep a little bit deeper and it feels like I have the option of going back to sleep instead of bouncing out of bed sometimes at 5:00 or 6:00 AM, but my body will sometimes want to get going for no reason.

Chris Scott: So that's been nice. I like that. I think NAD precursors are look worth looking into for people who need energy, especially if they've been addicted to drugs or alcohol, because their NAD levels have been decreased by that activity, by that consumption. NAD, I don't want give a long spiel on this, nor am I an expert in it, but NAD is a molecule that's in every cell on your body and it's necessary for DNA repair. It's an anti-aging molecule for that reason, but it's also been found to be useful for detoxing people off of alcohol and drugs. There are NAD, as with Dr. Ken Starr's outpatient program, NAD clinics that will give IVs for that purpose for the purpose of detoxing. But a lot of people do it for the anti-aging or for the energy benefits that they get from that.

Chris Scott: So those are just a few things that are on the top of my mind now. I do want to end this little rant with just diet. I used to eat a lot more carbs than I currently do, and I have carbs at dinner for the simple reason that I don't want to start my blood sugar roller coaster early in the day. Now you might say, "Well, if you're having like, you know, a quarter of a sweet potato or some sprouted grain organic bread, complex type carbs, wouldn't you not have an energy crash?" Well, yeah, compared to like, if I was eating lollipops and Jolly Ranchers then, sure. But I find that for me at this point, I'm fat adapted enough, in other words, my body can use fat as clean, slow burning, fuel that I don't actually need or crave carbs until dinner. And that's been a long process.

Chris Scott: If I had jumped straight into like a paleo or especially a keto style diet, which I'm not trying to necessarily do, I don't know if I'm in ketosis, maybe I am sometimes, but again, I have carbs every night. If I tried to jump even into just paleo where I'm eating sweet potatoes and chicken and fish and vegetables right in early recovery, it would've been really hard because I was so not fat adapted. I needed carbs at the time, or at least my body thought I did, and so I needed that constant supply of glucose. But over time, as I became a more well-oiled machine and more fat adapted, I was able to start using a low carb diet in order promote higher energy levels generally. And I find that on most days, Sundays are actually my carb day. So I'll eat carbs even in the morning then, but on every other day, I'm really smooth, feeling pretty good, energy boosted until dinner. And then the carbs make me a little tired, but that's useful because then I can actually wind down easier.

Chris Scott: But on Sundays I do typically feel a little bit more tired earlier in the day. Could be because it's my off day and I'm giving myself permission, power of suggestion type thing. But also I think it's because I allow myself to eat. I have a cheat meal in the morning and sometimes I'll have a avocado smash toast or a waffle or whatever, and that will make me a little more tired. So again, that's a tricky subject, but it's also part of the basics. You and I talk about the basics, getting enough sunshine, getting enough fresh air, doing things like hydrotherapy or just water therapy, screwing around with the temperature, hot shower, cold shower, cold plunge, steam room. That kind of stuff can be so rejuvenating. It can make you feel like a brand new person. So if you have access to a spa, if you have access to a gym with those things, then you can use that in combination with a diet approach and a supplement approach to figure out how to holistically maximize your energy.

Matt Finch: I love it. Those are all beautiful methods and therapies and strategies. I'll just touch on a few of the things and put my own two cents in there too. Regarding the food like you're talking about, diet, nutrition. I found that for me and for, I'd say probably most people, aiming to eat as a way of energy conservation, because we have a limited amount of energy each day, and certain things that we do think and save and can either deplete or increase energy. So regarding diet, more alkaline foods, alkaline foods like fruits and veggies, lemon water, that type of stuff. Protein foods, great amino acids, amino acid supplements, but regarding the fillingness of it, getting your belly to, like instead of being totally stuffed, like most of my life, I remember just eating till I was just stuffed.

Matt Finch: A lot of the time. I would just eat, eat, because it gives you a high. When you stuff yourself with a whole bunch of especially certain food, you get a high off of it. It's not like this healthy, natural high, but it's a food drug induced high basically. So nowadays I eat about typically one third to two-thirds of filling my belly. So if my belly has three full thirds in there, when I eat the most I fill up is only two-thirds full, meaning I could eat another third of that size and then be totally stuffed. But if you leave one-third of room of that you could eat more, but you're satisfied, but you're not hungry anymore, but you're still satisfied, then that conserves so much energy. Also the more carbs a person eats and especially the processed carbs, the more their hunger goes up for more carbs, especially the gluten products that are like all the new hybridized wheat. Man, the more you munch on these processed hybridized gluten products, the more you get cravings and hunger pains for more of those same products.

Matt Finch: So yeah, just lots more water, good water, more fruits and vegetables, more greens, more alkaline things, smaller meals, unless it's like dinner. If it's dinner and you ain't anything to do the rest of the night, pig out or something. But just these types of things. I also love DLPA for energy. I just did a solo cast on just that supplement for addiction recovery, depression, and pain maybe a week ago, week and a half ago. L-tyrosine is a great one for energy. I love the tonic adaptogen herbs you were talking about. I haven't got too much into the Rooibos one you're talking about, but it has been added to certain teas that I've taken and even supplements I've taken before.

Matt Finch: But looking up on my supplements stack, let's see. I have one, according to Dragon Herbs, the company Dragon Herbs, no affiliation. I have a product called Supreme Creation, which I think you've taken before too, Chris. And I have two backup bottles because that one's so important for me. It's the main ingredients are deer placenta, deer antler tips, Chinese red ginseng, and then like probably 10 other things, all that are like jing tonics and qi tonics, basically energy. Adaptability, increase your resistance to physical, mental, environmental, physiological stressors, really cool things. I also have New Zealand grass fed beef liver, which is an adaptogen, but really high micronutrients in there, really good ones. I have wild caught fish eggs. I have three different Omega-3 products. So, yeah, diet's super important, tonic adaptogen herbs.

Matt Finch: Things also like self-massage. Well, how does that increase your mood and increase your energy? Sometimes we've got all these nerve endings and pressure points. sometimes just this kind of self-soothing where you scratch your arms or rub on your chest, this might be getting kind of a little bit weird here. But self-rub on your feet. So give yourself a foot rub. Give yourself a hand massage. You can do this with lotions and oils, CBD balms, pain relieving balms, relaxing balms. So when I'm getting into the bath, before I submerge all the way in, one of the things I do is I just sit with my feet in the bath and then the water's filling up and I'm massaging, self-massage, and then, once the water's high enough, then I get in. That's actually a great way to like just make your body feel safe, turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. The more time we spend in PSNS, parasympathetic nervous system activation, that's the rest and digestive vision of the autonomic nervous system, the ANS. So often we're just ins sympathetic fight or flight. That's where chronic stress comes from, just sympathetic nervous system all day, every day.

Matt Finch: Well, the only way you're going to rest, repair your adrenals, repair your endocrine system, repair your energy, is by getting into that rest and digest division, not the fight or flight division, of your nervous system. So things like the baths we've been talking about. Sunlight, submerging in nature. Oh, man, I've been taking Papaya out with this spring weather. I've been going and taking her on nature submersion walks. We got this little slew over here, which is beautiful. Small, but it's big enough to where you're pretty much submerged in nature.

Matt Finch: But the things that are easy to do, like take a 10 minute walk around the block, drink enough water. These are pretty easy things to do. I got some kettlebells recently. Yesterday I was lifting those, and that's easy to do, right? All these things. 10 minutes with kettle bells, 10 minute walk around the block in sun, 10 minutes to go hydrate, 10 minutes to sit there and like close your eyes and do some breathing. These are all very easy to do, but the problem is they're all very easy not to do as well. And in fact, the way to rewire everything is to make all these types of health habits easier to do than they are not to do.

Matt Finch: So, Chris, you're so finely tuned, it's easier for you to go do your exercise, your fitness stuff, all the different things you do, MMA, et cetera. It's easier for you to go up and do that than to stay home and never work out. You're just so used to it. So that's the key with all these habits of sunshine, supplement. Get them going. The initial inertia is what sucks, to get these things going. Then after you get them going with consistency and momentum, eventually you can make these habits and this kind of new lifestyle. Easy, automatic, unconscious for the most part, and that's when life becomes awesome, because you're done with all the hard stuff. And depending on your situation, it might take a week to get there, a month, a year, three years, who knows, so many people's situations are just such wide differences.

Chris Scott: Well, you mentioned a really interesting concept that I agree with, which is that on any given day, you have a finite amount of energy. And that's true. However, in the long term, you can change that finite amount of energy. So let's say it's this much. This is your energy level when you're addicted to alcohol or drugs or whatever. If you do all of the things, or some combination of the things we just described, just holistic energy boosters, some of which are ingestible, some of which involve action, activity, and especially exercise, which I'll get to in a minute. Then a few years later your energy level is going to be like this, day to day. And that's what happened to me.

Chris Scott: And I was talking to a friend on the phone the other night. We've had conversation a number of times. He never had an issue with alcohol, but I said, "Does it ever seem like the exercise that you do?" if you do too much exercise that can make you tired, but once you adapt, once your body grows and changes and adapts to the energy demands that you're putting on it with intense exercise, it builds up an increased capacity for energy output and it's almost like you have an energy reserve that gets expanded, that you can then choose to expand later on different things. So I've noticed this with working out. Like when I started, when I switched from my 45 minute pyramid deadlift workouts, in my late 20s. Right after I quit drinking, I decided I'm going to get big. I want to be strong. I want my physique to be a symbol of my victory over alcohol.

Chris Scott: And then I realized if I keep doing this, I'm going to blow my back out or I'm just going to get bored. I didn't have the same comradery with lifting that I had when I moved to Savannah, at least not immediately as I had before. And so I joined this MMA gym and I remember for a while, I was doing like two, two and a half hour workouts with just boxing and it felt like my arms were going to fall off and I was tired. I'd have to go home and take a nap afterwards. And I remember thinking, "This isn't sustainable. Am I just shortening my energy reserves?" But eventually I adapted to it and I stopped getting tired.

Chris Scott: And now, this is several years later, I still do those workouts. But rather than making me tired, it actually gives me a second wind. So I get up in the morning, I get a bunch of stuff done and then I feel stale. You know the feeling like mid morning stale feeling, which is why I love working out in midday, if I can, or around noon, which is typically my workouts are somewhere in the 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM range. I'll get a full three hours if I'm lucky. Usually ends up being like 11:30 to 1:45 or something, but still a pretty long workout. And then, assuming that I don't binge on carbs, right after that workout, assuming that I can at the very least go to Chipotle, or Chipotle, as I used to say or often say, and get my triple meat with guacamole and vegetable bowl with no rice, no beans, nothing else, maybe some hot sauce. Then I have a second wind from the exercise and the low carbs and the supplements that allows me to get way more done in the afternoon than I would've if I had just stayed home and worked and not gone to my workout.

Chris Scott: And that's a benefit of that gradual increase over time of my energy reserves created by exercise. It's almost like the energy, it's fungible. Like I reaped the benefits of more energy by working out for a long period of time, but then I get to spend it on whatever I want. And now if I spent my energy on working out for a straight month on doing work or sitting in a chair and focusing, then eventually my energy reserve would go back down. So I have to guard it a little bit. I have to make sure that I'm still doing my exercise routines, but if I need a week to get stuff done, I can go from straight working out to focusing on the other stuff. It doesn't feel as good. My body wants to work out, but I can redirect that energy.

Chris Scott: And I feel like that's why you'll find a lot of high performing people, CEOs, lawyers, doctors, et cetera, surgeons who have almost insanely intense exercise routines. And it's like, "How do they do that? How do they balance that with their work?" And the reality is it was a long process for them in which that became something that they needed to it do to manage stress, but also have high energy reserves that they can call upon. And then most of them probably have periods where they can't exercise like they're used to, but they have more energy than the average person on any given day because their day to day finite energy level is bigger than it would be if they didn't work out.

Chris Scott: And that's something that didn't really occur to me until the last year or two. But I think it is useful to think in terms of you have a finite amount of energy. Another reason that's useful is that since you get to spend your energy on what you want, so if you're still drinking or using drugs, anyone who's drinking, I can't really speak to the opiates or the drugs, but alcohol is an energy sap. So I know that even if I would have just a few drinks, even if it didn't turn into a few more on that particular day for whatever reason, I would feel complacent and a little bit tired. Maybe I'd get the energy to hang out and have a phone conversation with someone for an hour, but then I'd be on the couch, not wanting to do anything. Maybe it would give me the energy in the short term to empty the dishwasher or do my laundry, fold my socks. But then I would be more tired. So it's like a quick up down.

Chris Scott: Whereas these natural alternatives that were taught about that actually increase energy over time, have the opposite effect. You feel more energized after you do them. With exercise there could be a period of adapting where you're tired after your workouts, but your energy grows over time. It seems to me with drugs and alcohol, you have the opposite effect where you have this finite amount of energy, you're using 80% of your energy for your addiction, and then you just kind of collapse. And as an added negative bonus, so to speak, your energy levels, your finite amount from day to day, keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller. So I remember by the time I quit drinking, it seemed extremely onerous for me to read through a spreadsheet, or even to put on my socks in the morning, and not even necessarily because I was in withdrawal or hungover, but just because I had so little energy, my baseline energy was so low, and today it's relatively high.

Chris Scott: I get more done in a day today, even on days when I have random stuff, as Tony Robbins says, "We're always pulling out the weeds." My jet ski has a crack in the hull right now. There's my Tesla isn't doing, having a weird bug in the thing. These are high quality problems. And compared to what I was dealing with before, it's all like, "All right, piece of cake, who do I email? What do I do?" And it's not even cause I have more resources than I did back then, but that's true. I'm also older. But it's mostly because I have more mental clarity. I have more energy. I'm more proactive. And being proactive is another way to increase your energy because when you're not proactive, you end up being in a depressed, reactive state, which is no fun. And if you're addicted to drugs or alcohol, you end up trying to hide from things rather than tackle them. So your whole universe, your whole sphere of influence contracts over time, and so does your energy level.

Matt Finch: Yeah, this is really fun. We're really kind of picking this thing apart and unpacking everything. I love the exercise too. What's really interesting about that, it's so easy to get some resistance band or kettlebells and just keep them in your home and do like 10 minutes. That's going to give most people energy. It's so easy. This is like relative easiness. It's so easy to go to a gym and do a short workout. In the grand scheme of life, these are actually really easy things to do. The problem is that when we're tired, when we have low mood and when we have low energy, that combination, or at the worst anhedonia and exhaustion, but any form of low energy, low mood, all these things that are actually pretty darn easy, relatively easy, seem really, really hard. We have so much resistance.

Matt Finch: "Oh, I know I should go to the gym. I know I should go do this." But you're just low mood, low energy. And it's so easy to just stay home and go on the computer, go on the phone, or go on the Netflix. There's so many easy ways to give us the dopamine boost. It's just sad. It's really sad, actually. How far, how much different city lifestyle is, we'll say, busy city lifestyle, because not everywhere in the world or not even everywhere in America, how much that do differs from how we evolved. I think that too, Chris, let me try and organize all these things here, because there's so many interesting things.

Matt Finch: I think living in places probably like Savannah, certainly Atlanta, here in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and other, Chicago, other busy places, for people that are empaths and or highly sensitive people, it's probably like 80% of my clientele are either highly sensitive and or empaths, using alcohol or other NCS depressants like opioids to kind of numb that sensitivity and that empathy, not all the clients, but a lot of them. And being in cities, empaths and highly sensitive people that live in really busy areas with lots of businesses, lots of telephone wires, lots of people, lots of houses, lots of congestion, lots of traffic, that can fucking zap your energy big time. There's just so much going on and you can hear it, you can see it, you can feel it, you can smell it. Pollution and garbage trucks, just really, it can be quite hectic.

Matt Finch: Versus, imagine, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, Chris, a 30 day or even 60 or 90 day treatment program for drug and alcohol detox and recovery that's just fully out submerged in nature, lots, just everything's total nature. Whether it's the beach or the forest or the mountains, just fully submerged in nature, sunlight, and just no other cars, fucking businesses, just out there. I think people would heal so much faster, versus in a residential area, with fluorescent lights, doctors and counselors in their professional outfits with all the, that's not a very healing environment to me or to many people.

Matt Finch: What about going out submerged in nature somewhere, with doctors and nurses to be able to treat withdrawal if that's needed, but then just fricking the most organic, delicious, whole foods. Maybe there's like doing qigong classes, standing on huge boulders next to waterfalls with all those negative ions from the crashing water and all that power and groundedness from the boulders that you're standing on barefoot, with the sunlight coming down as you're drinking just mega recovery elixirs, drinking tons of the best water, out there, having fun with people, just exploring nature with people, just being away from the city. That's how to recover the quickest. For most people I'd say that's for sure the way to do it the quickest. Unfortunately, there's not too many places like that. Yeah, you could go to Costa Rica. There's one in Hawaii that's kind of in nature, but still these are all pretty close to businesses. They're still next to a city. So what I'm talking about is full on remote, just out, totally remote. None of those like internet signals near, just totally remote.

Matt Finch: I don't know how possible that is, but I just keep getting visions of some grand property that's like a heaven. What if people that were trying to come off drugs and alcohol, what if there was no stigma at all, but nothing but compassion and empathy as it's a medical disorder. And what if we had this great desert island that was like 50 acres or 100 acres or maybe even more. Beautiful desert island where they just make that addiction recovery island, where they've got doctors and nurses and psychologists and counselors and coaches, but it's submerged in nature, obviously. Tons of sun year round and there's organic food. And so all you do is you just go there for 30 or 60 days. They helicopter in supplies regularly. So now you're out on this island, you're eating home cooked food and home grown food. And all that sunlight, all that barefoot walking on the desert island beaches, all the trees, all the nature, all the wind, all the mana, all the qi, all the energy, that's a healing environment.

Matt Finch: So I just keep getting vision of this. And I'm imagining somebody, maybe two weeks off addiction on a desert island like I'm talking about, and then they're on the beach and then everyone buries them. So that you're totally buried, your head's above the ground, but you're just totally grounded with all that sand or dirt or whatever, all the electrons, all the microorganisms just healing you. So I have a much different vision of the future than going into these medical settings, fluorescent nasty lights, white doctor's outfits, the whole thing's just real intimidating for people. Doesn't sound like a healing thing to go do. It's like this sounds worse than just continuing to use drugs, you know?

Chris Scott: Yeah. I agree. I think in combination with concrete strategies like nutrient repair or whatever, medication assisted treatment, depending on someone's individual biochemistry and the whole bio-psychosocial spiritual paradigm that we talk about here, and in my course, Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0. If you combine that with what you're talking about, I think that would be the ideal. I mean, I know there are places in Malibu or whatever that are in very pretty settings. I think that has to be helpful. But you have to have the full picture.

Matt Finch: And I think Mel Gibson went to one of those places in Malibu.

Chris Scott: Is that right? Yeah. Well, I mean, it's hard to tell, I don't know much about that particular one, but I know from looking at websites online for rehab centers, it's hard to tell what they're paying lip service to and what they actually do, as they all say customized nutritional protocol, and yet very few of them, if any will-

Matt Finch: That's basically how do you want your ribeye?

Chris Scott: Yeah.

Matt Finch: Rare, medium, medium rare, or well done or whatever.

Chris Scott: Yeah. Yeah. And you get-

Matt Finch: We'll customize it. How do you want this steak and asparagus served?

Chris Scott: Yeah. So there has to be like real customization for everyone with some pretty serious high level tests and I mean blood tests and genetic tests and psychological evaluations potentially, depending on what a person's root causes are for what their issues are or contributing factors. I don't love the term root causes as much anymore because it implies a certain determinism, but contributing factors-

Matt Finch: Sounds too much like root canal to me. So I don't like it.

Chris Scott: Yeah. We don't want those either. No root canals in the rehab. But, yeah, I was going to say, I don't know if you can see it behind me, maybe you can a little bit. I have a truck tire that was given to me by my MMA coach. I think it's right next to the cactus.

Matt Finch: Oh, for working out.

Chris Scott: I spent like an hour's scrubbing it yesterday. I got to work out scrubbing this thing. It's still-

Matt Finch: Oh, wax on, wax off.

Chris Scott: Yeah. I need to make it very clean before I can bring it in here, I have some mirrors, but it's going to be my new intra work day break. So if I feel stale and I don't have MMA that day, I get on the tire and I do shadow boxing. The reason the tire is so helpful from a boxing standpoint is that it makes you not overextend. So if you throw a punch, if you overextend you're going to fall off, and then that translates into you being able to strike better when you're not on the tire. We have one of our competitive fighters who won by a knockout, one of my main training partners-

Matt Finch: Strike first, strike hard, no mercy, sir. Sorry, I had to, when you're talking about striking.

Chris Scott: Exactly. Yeah.

Matt Finch: That's from, sorry to cut you off, but that's from the Karate Kid show. What's his name?

Chris Scott: I actually haven't watched that.

Matt Finch: Johnny LaRusso, strike first, strike hard, no mercy.

Chris Scott: I've meant to watch that, but, yeah, so this guy got really good in part because he was trying for like an hour and a half on the tire, independently of everything else. I mean he trains six hours a day. He wants to be a professional fighter. Regardless fighting aside, MMA aside, this is a subjective thing that I'm going to start doing, I'm excited about doing, once I can get the damn black stuff off the tire and kind of add it to my routine to ensure higher energy levels. And one of the things that I get questions about is, "What if I don't have the energy to go to the gym? What if I don't have the energy to work out? What if I'm feeling stale?" Well, that's the time, that's the best time, to go to the gym and cast aside your detailed notes, especially if you're a Type A, OCD person, like I have been.

Chris Scott: I feel I've been mellowing out, balancing out a little bit, but cast aside your detailed notes about what you're expect yourself to do. Don't think you're a failure if you don't get all of your or sets in, or if you don't run however many miles or whatever. Aim for the endorphin high. The purpose of the workout could be, if you want to simplify things and increase your effectiveness at actually doing your workouts and showing up, is don't focus on the details of the workout. Showing up is a win. And also the win that you're really therefore is just to get an endorphin buzz, just get a sweat. That's why one of my mottos or my mantras is just a sweat a day. Get some kind of a sweat. Maybe you show up at the gym and maybe you're you're injured or whatever or you really can't get an endorphin buzz from your workout, go to the steam room or the sauna, or go back and take a shower, do breathing exercises. There's always something you can do. And there's usually something to be said for getting a change of scenery and just going to the gym, seeing some people, maybe you know people, maybe you don't, but just getting in the habit of making that your routine. And then over time it grows.

Chris Scott: So you don't need to go from early recovery, or even like a rut in your life, to star fitness person overnight. That's not usually how it goes. And if that had been my goal, I would've burned out a long time ago. Discipline is not what gets me to the gym. I go to the gym out of habit. I have a neural pathway that's like, "All right, we need to go the gym." There's nothing else to it. I have respect for people like David Goggins, but I don't look at my shoes and beat myself up for 20 minutes, calling myself a whatever for not going to the gym.

Chris Scott: I just go. And then once I'm there, I don't really have any expectations, but if I'm lifting, I'm usually there for an hour and I'm working hard. If I'm doing MMA, I try to stay for as long as I can, usually two and a half hours. But I worked myself up to that point and I'm just kind of going with the flow of life and workouts are a part of that. And I have a holistic understanding and assumptions about why I need those in my life for, as we said, stress management, but also energy, also physique goals and general health. And that's that's part of my life. I don't really question it and I do it and it's not pain and sacrifice is what I'm trying to say. So if your perspective is everything is pain and sacrifice, there are some good books that you can read to kind of let you get into the flow of life. I'm reading one currently by see the, he's a Indian guru who's on Joe Rogan's podcast. I can't pronounce his-

Matt Finch: Sadhguru, are you reading one of his books?

Chris Scott: Sadhguru, yeah. I'm about halfway through that book. It's relaxing. And actually I have very deep blissful dreams after I read that. I notice certain books. If I read a book that's stressful, or if I read a book that's about current events or something or a story of wrongdoing, I'll have kind of stressful dreams. But if I read a book like that or a book like Michael Singer's books, The Untethered Soul, I believe, is one of my favorite ones. I think he talks about the flow of life and how he actually has a pretty radical vision of that or a version of that in which he doesn't question anything. He just kind of does what he thinks the universe is asking him to do and that fully releases him from any stress at any point in time. And sometimes the universe has asked him to, or led him, not even asked him, but led him into building million dollar businesses and sometimes it's led him to meditating for days on end. I don't have quite that level of serenity, for lack of a better word, but I appreciate that.

Matt Finch: This was decades ago that he started all this, remember.

Chris Scott: Right. Oh, yeah.

Matt Finch: Before internet, before portable phones, probably, even.

Chris Scott: Right. Yeah. So I think it's worth looking into that kind of literature and trying to go with the flow of life, whatever that means for you. Everyone's different. Obviously everyone has different personalities. Some people are really hard driving Type A and need to calm down a little bit in order to be balanced and some people may need a little pep talk in order to be balanced. So it really depends on the person, but I think I'll stop at that point.

Matt Finch: Oh, so much good stuff. I love this topic and I know you do too. And it's something that both you and I pay attention to on a regular basis, because energy that's like, energy is really important. When you're exhausted, when you have low mood and low energy, let's face it, life can be pretty difficult. When you have low mood and low energy, then that increases life's difficulty. When you have a really high mood, a really great mood and really good energy, then life can be become easier. Then it can be easier to, even though you might have goals and a direction you want to be going in, if something happens, if there's a obstacle, if there's a setback, if there's an unforeseen something, then going with the flow simply just means like, "Okay, well then this is not how things are happening." And just like roll with it.

Matt Finch: Like, yeah, if you can figure something out to overcome something, by all means do. But there's so many things we have to face that we can't control. We can only control ourselves, what we say, think and do, that's it. What other people say, think, and do, we can influence at best. And influence, I use that word lightly. Like you and I influence people, but it's not like a malicious type of influence at all. It's like, here's some cool ideas. Here's some addiction recovery stuff. Some people don't resonate. I think more people do resonate and like it. And so, yeah, but we can really control, we have so much agency over our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own actions, our own self-talk, our own communications. So we got a lot of whole stuff to work with. But yeah, low energy, low mood, it makes all those things different. Makes our thought processes more disempowering, it makes our productivity go down.

Matt Finch: Regarding the exercise thing you're talking about, "Oh, I got to get back to the gym. I just don't have any energy. I'll wait till I get energy." The funny thing, which you mentioned, is the reverse of that's actually the truth. The reverse of that is, "Oh, I'm exhausted. I can't go to the gym until I have some energy." No, no, no. Time to get a little energy producing workout in. So it might not be go to the gym that day. It might be do some of those air squats things you were talking about or get on one of those inflatable medicine balls and just do some core exercises. It could just be sit with your legs, with your back up against the wall. I forget what that exercise is called though, but where you just kind of like rest?

Chris Scott: Wall sits.

Matt Finch: Yeah, what's that called?

Chris Scott: Wall sits. Yeah.

Matt Finch: Wall sits.

Chris Scott: Wall sits, burpees, pushups, hold a plank, also air squats, there's all sorts of things.

Matt Finch: Qidong, tai chi exercises, stretching.

Chris Scott: Yoga, downward dog pose, all that stuff. And that's similar past routine that incorporates some of that. People in my course will be familiar with it. And that's something that's like a tiny abbreviated exercise routine that I did every day for a few years. I might actually get back into it. I've had periods of doing it and then not doing it. Lately I've been doing so much MMA and other stuff that I haven't. But speaking of all of this, I just noticed, I think I can't see my screen well, but you have an epic mustache if I am seeing my screen correctly. Is that right? I'm going to have to-

Matt Finch: I'd don't know if I'd call it epic, but I have a red mustache, red and white mustache.

Chris Scott: Epic red and white mustache coming in. Yeah.

Matt Finch: Showing the Scottish and Irish genetics in me, you know?

Chris Scott: Yeah, I feel like if you make it bushy enough, you'll look Viking.

Matt Finch: Oh. When I was a teenager for a few years, and then in my early 20s for a few years, I had really long, straight, thick red hair and I had a big beard and I looked like a ginger Jesus. I looked like a cross between ginger Jesus and a Viking, and like a Viking warrior.

Chris Scott: I think-

Matt Finch: And a lot of times when I put on the sunscreen, I'd do like war paint, because I wanted to look intimidating. So I'd go out there. So I had my long hair, my big beard, and I had like war paint. And so when I would be surfing out there with other people and like waves were coming, I looked scary as shit. They're like, "I'm staying away from six foot three, long hair, beard, war paint sunscreen in certain areas." So I was like out there looking like a hunter of waves and they were staying out of the way for the most part of me.

Chris Scott: Well, let's recreate that next time I come out. Hopefully soon. We'll make a pact.

Matt Finch: I'll get a red wig.

Chris Scott: Well, let's wrap this one. We'll give everybody-

Matt Finch: Okay. Sounds good, sounds good. Then maybe we'll play around with wigs and costumes in the future. I know some podcasters do that. All right. Thank you audience for listening. We love you guys so much and stay tuned. We'll see you next time.

Author

  • Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.

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