How To Create & Maintain Your Own Curriculum For Addiction Recovery

In episode 263 of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, Chris Scott and Matt Finch discuss the similarities between routine, models, and curriculum in leisure activities, and they apply these concepts for addiction recovery. They go on to talk about the steps to take and how to make it your own to fit your personal recovery journey.

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Matt Finch: They say, find somebody that has what you want and ask them what they did. There was no one at all the AA meetings I went to that had a life that I wanted. So then I was like, huh? So I had to start looking elsewhere. Because my intuition was saying, "Well, I don't want any of these lives," not even my own best version of that, whatever that looks like. That's when I found and reading books and personal development, then I was like, "Oh, I don't need to go to physical AA meetings and have role models here. I can read books by Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer and Jeff Primack, and so many other, Brian Tracy, the list went on and on and on.

Chris Scott: So we don't really get to decide if we drank a fifth of vodka and want to test to see if we walk off our balcony whether we're actually going to fall or whether we have superpowers, we don't get to decide that truth, as far as I'm aware. We don't get to decide whether the finances stack up if we avoid it by drinking. But we do get to decide what significance we want to imbue our overall lives with.

Speaker 3: Thanks for tuning into the Elevation Recovery podcast, your hub for addiction, recovery strategies, hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.

Matt Finch: Welcome everyone to episode 263. My name's Matt Finch and I'm joined here with my friend and co-host Chris Scott. We were just chatting for a while actually before this, and I think I found a good place to tip us off for this episode, which is something that you said, Chris, which I found really interesting. And I thought about it kind of recently, too, we always seem to be in sync with at least one thing regarding what's going on in our lives or regarding where our head space is at regarding podcast topics and things.

Matt Finch: You were saying that you've been training for years now at boxing, mixed martial arts, judo, jujitsu, you're learning all these different things. I might be butchering exactly what you're doing, but you said that number one, you're practicing a lot. Number two, I think Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, several hours a day. And then when you're not practicing, oftentimes you'll be doing things like watching YouTube videos of other fighters and learning their techniques and learning their stories and then watching other people train as well. That's how you're getting better and better and better.

Matt Finch: One way that I got so good at surfing back when I was a teenager was I loved it like you like the MMA fighting and training, and I would surf so much, I was a Waterman. I'd surf and I'd body board and I'd body surf, longboard, shortboard, with fins, without fins, just doing all... sometimes bringing an inflatable raft out in the ocean and catching waves on that. When the waves sucked or when we were too pooped and tired to go back out after we'd been surfing, my buddies and I would watch surf videos. We'd sit on the couch and we would watch video after video after video and sometimes it was the same videos. Actually, back in the 1990s, before the internet, and then before the internet got big, we had VHS surf video tapes and we'd just put them in and we'd just watch the same surf videos over and over and over and over again.

Matt Finch: It got to a point where by some point I had been riding waves for hundreds of hours, duck diving and navigating incoming waves and assessing them and predicting them for hundreds and hundreds of hours, watching other people do the same things for hundreds and hundreds of hours, people that were way better than me. And so there was this combination of being, I was really passionate about it. I really had a strong desire to get better and better and better. Part of that was just this drive of competency and mastery. Another part of it back then was egotistical, and I wanted people to respect me more and think I was higher value by being better at surfing.

Matt Finch: But through all that, I became very, very proficient. And then you've done the same thing with MMA and fighting and training and people can do the same thing, to my whole long reason of saying all this, people can do the same thing with addiction recovery, which is why I've noticed that the people that listen to our podcast, watch the podcast, on a regular basis and they text me about it or they email me about it or they post on one of the YouTube podcast videos, they comment about it. It's like they have a goal for addiction recovery. Then they're learning different sources out, trying things out. They're hearing you and I talk about it. And then we're bringing up stories from our past. We're bringing up stories of clients, stories of people that we've known, keeping them anonymous.

Matt Finch: I don't know where I'm going with this, but it's like this kind of school. It's like you're making your own self-taught program. When you go to public education or even private education oftentimes, there's a curriculum. There's a protocol, there's a blueprint, same thing with inpatient or outpatient, mainstream, traditional treatment, or even alternative. There's some type of structure. There is a nuts and bolts of framework. And what we're teaching people is, yeah, you can go do those methods, but there's also, or you could avoid them. And in the meantime, there's so many things that people can do to create their own curriculum for their own life. And so alcohol recovery, drug addiction recovery, alcoholism, drug addiction, that tends to be a phase of life for some people and a permanent identity for other people. And it doesn't need to be, necessarily, a permanent identity, permanently addicted, permanently alcoholic, even if someone's in recovery for 20, 30 years, unless that's an empowering identity for them.

Matt Finch: So what do you think about this kind of making your own curriculum for what you want to learn at the... I'll keep it related to addiction. If somebody is trying to quit drinking or has recently quit drinking or the same thing for drugs or another addictive behavior, what do you think about this, what I've been talking about where, number one, they're practicing something because they want to get better at, it could be self-care for recovery, could be have pro recovery habits like diet or exercise, but then also watching other people, and then that way when they're not doing the habits themselves learning about, oh, because what's that doing is, that's rewiring their brain. That's giving them different ideas from what you and I share, what we've learned from books, what we've learned from other people or what our guests can come and share.

Matt Finch: Then people can make this kind of more... Rather than just listening to stuff as the content comes up, having a curriculum. A self enforced, a self-induced learning curriculum for addiction recovery, for relapse prevention, for whatever phase a person life is in. I don't know what... I told you it was kind of early for me today, so bear with me.

Chris Scott: No, I think that's good. Because I had so many ideas as you were talking. I think first of all, for anything that is a learned skill, whether it's martial arts or surfing or living life in transcendence of addiction, whether you want to call that being recovered, being in recovery, transcending addiction, leaving it in the past, leaving alcohol behind, anything that's a learned skill like that, you benefit from having a role model. I'm sure you had role models for surfing. My coach who fought in UFC is a role model for MMA along with some of the people in current and past MMA champions, who I watch on YouTube often. We were talking about Fedor Emelianenko, who's the former... Well, he didn't fight in UFC, but he fought in Pride and some of the other MMA leagues, arguably the best heavyweight in the world and really fun to watch.And so that's, he's a role model, even though I don't know him, I'll probably never meet him.

Chris Scott: When you want to get better at something, you watch people and you learn from people and you listen to people who have done something that you want to do. That's a classic tenet of the Tony Robbins philosophy, and Tony Robbins is another role model for the psychological pillar of Fit Recovery of Elevation Recovery for both you and I. We had both discovered Tony Robbins pretty early on in our recovery journey as an alternative to what we perceived to be the bleak, fire and brimstone, permanent, perpetual disease recovery approach.

Chris Scott: So that's number one, having a role model is huge. And one of the things that you and I hope to do by putting these videos out there, is to give people food for thought and to guide people through some of the thought processes that we had and concrete strategies and actions that we were able to take to transcend addiction, so that we can be a role role model of sorts for those people. Now role models aren't perfect. Sometimes they lose, sometimes they mess up, but again, such is the nature of being a human, any role model is a human. But there are things that people can take. And then, my motto is take from your role models what works and discard what doesn't. And everyone's different.

Chris Scott: So that leads to the next thing, which is that, I think anything that's a learned skill involves a vast universe of strategies and potential strategies that may or may not work for any given person. So for me, for example, given my body type for MMA, there are certain things that work better against certain opponents, and so I have to focus. Let's say I'm fighting a guy who's six foot eight. I probably don't want to do a lot of stand up striking with him. His reach is way longer than mine. I have to basically be Mike Tyson if I want to get in there. So maybe I'm not going to try to take him down. I'm going to focus on grappling stuff. And then I can negate that reach advantage to some extent.

Chris Scott: With alcohol recovery, and maybe I'm stretching this analogy a little bit, but maybe some people have a more stable biochemistry than others and they realize that most of their issue with alcohol revolves around trauma that they experienced as a kid. Then they might want to look into, spend more time at least, looking into say, brain spotting or CBT, or particular specialized forms of therapy. I have an uncle, who's a really awesome guy, who realized that one of his missing links for addiction recovery was trauma resolution that stemmed from the war in Vietnam. And he'd never really gotten over that. So he found a group to help him support his healing emotionally from that. So the idea of drinking himself into oblivion never seemed like a good idea after that.

Chris Scott: Now, that's not to say that people can't benefit from multiple things. So just as I do want to keep my boxing skills on point, I want my wrestling and my judo and jujitsu to be on point, and again, I'm not trying to compete. I'm not trying to be the best in the world, which I'll get to in a second. I think it's good to be well rounded, so if someone is new to alcohol recovery, they don't know whether or not they've done damage to their body brain system. Most people have, to some degree, but maybe it is a good idea to look into nutrient repair, to start taking supplements. At the very least, minimize sugar so you can stop being hypoglycemic, which is 95 plus percent of people with alcohol dependence have some blood sugar rollercoaster that's going on, because alcohol does tend to cause that with repeated exposure. And maybe you just clean up your diet, you take some basic supplements and you're good, but there are other people who may want to spend a lot more time on that.

Chris Scott: I think you and I were two such cases where we really needed to look into some almost obscure, actually not almost, definitely obscure supplements to fix a bunch of imbalances, hormonal imbalances, that still lingered after we fixed the basic neurotransmitter stability. So vast universes with lots of potential strategies and you have to leave your ego out of it and just try to objectively figure out what works best for you.

Chris Scott: For me, MMA was the third thing that I had done in my life where I wasn't trying to win all the time and where I was trying to keep my ego out of it. And that's not an automatic thing. I'm sure when I first walked in there, I had some ego. I wanted to do MMA because, I could psychoanalyze myself in my childhood, I had a hearing impairment as a kid and I was at least at risk of being bullied for that, so I wanted to be able to beat anyone up who if there was a misunderstanding because I couldn't hear or it would turn into to some kind of recess situation, I wanted to be the guy that decided what would transpire after that rather than ending up in the bottom of a dog pile or getting beaten up.

Chris Scott: But anyway, I realized that the first thing I ever did where I kind of cast my ego to the side was alcohol recovery. Because I wanted to know, apart from whatever I wanted to be or have people think I was, I wanted to know that I was doing things that would help me, that would help me to become a better person, to heal myself, to reach a new level of life. And I had to become as genuine as possible, and being as genuine as possible is not usually compatible with trying to be the man all the time. So that was the first thing I did.

Chris Scott: Now, that's not to say that I didn't harness my ego to some extent to further my recovery. I think wanting, for example, a physique that symbolized my victory over addiction, that's a little bit of an egotistical thing. I'm sure some AA people would not approve of that, and they told me so at the time, but eventually that turned into me working out not because of that, but because it was a habit. I habitualized it and it was serving me and it was helping other people by giving me more energy to eventually help people. If I didn't work out these days, I can't imagine that I'd have the energy to do what I do with Fit Recovery or anything else.

Chris Scott: So that kind of turned into something that transcended ego, but it began as an ego related endeavor to working out in alcohol recovery. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but eventually, I became more Zen. I'm not quite as Zen as you. I don't meditate for hours every day like you can, and have reality just dissipate. We were talking about that before the podcast. I'm working at it though. You're a couple years older than me.

Chris Scott: The second thing that I did where I wasn't trying to win and where I was able to leave my ego out of it, was yoga. And that was part of my alcohol recovery journey, I guess, adventure. I realized that there was some mind body stuff going on that I didn't understand. And I'd heard that yoga was a good thing to do, and I also had some mobility issues because I'd been doing so much heavy lifting that I figured it's time to switch gears a little bit, try yoga. I definitely became addicted in a good way to yoga, hooked on yoga, I guess, addicted implies negative consequences. No consequence, no negative consequences for yoga for me.

Chris Scott: But I realized that, to this day, I've been doing yoga for seven years at this point, basically as long as I've been out of my old lifestyle of drinking my face off all the time. And to this day, I still can't do side crow, which is one of the poses, because I can't get my damn hips to untighten such that I can rest them on my tricep or elbow. But that's fine. I'm not trying to win. I'm not trying to beat all the people in class. And there's a tremendous sense of serenity that I get from doing something that I know is productive for me and for other people, ultimately, by giving me better vibes and energy levels, allowing me to be happier throughout the day, and yet I'm not trying to win per se.

Chris Scott: And then with MMA being the third thing that I've, at the very least, I won't say there's no ego in it at all, but I've learned to somewhat cast my ego aside, that drew on my experience with alcohol recovery and with yoga. Because in MMA, if you walk into an MMA gym or a boxing gym and you think you're the best and you're the man and you're not, some people have this complex. I'm sure I had it when I was a little kid. I would watch Jackie Chan movies, and I still love those movies. It's great. Or the Matrix or whatever, people think they're Neo for no reason. There's no rational chain of thought for them to believe that they're invincible, but people have, especially men, especially guys in their twenties with high testosterone levels, think they're invincible. And then they can go to one of these gyms, and that myth will be shattered very quickly.

Chris Scott: Imagine sparring someone in Muay Thai who's been doing it for 10 years and you haven't done it at all, you're going to get hit in the face and the head. You're going to get swept. You're going to end up on the floor. You're not going to know what happened and you're not going to want to continue the fight. So you have to leave your ego out of it a little bit. So I'm kind of grateful that even though I did martial arts as a kid, I did TaeKwonDo, I did a little bit of boxing in New York, I did some Krav Maga in New York. That gave me maybe a self defense edge in case something bad happened, but I didn't really get into martial arts until I was supposed to, which was after I'd learned how to keep my ego separate from what I was trying to learn. And after I'd learned that the best way to get good at something is by finding a role model and just practice, repetition.

Chris Scott: We often say on this podcast and I tell my course members and private clients that, if you want to transcend alcohol, of course you need to fix the biochemical pillar and you need to find a way to clean up your diet, take targeted supplements in such a way that you restore yourself to balance, but at the same time, you need to accumulate new experiences with a new mindset. And that involves mistakes. Some other programs call it data points. Sometimes you'll mess up. Whether you want to call it a relapse or a slip, or maybe you just had a bad day, whatever, it's going to happen.

Chris Scott: And that's parallel to what my MMA coach says, which is, he says, "There's a lot of bad boxing going on in here. There's a lot of bad MMA going on in here. And the reason for that is that there has to be a lot of bad martial arts going on before we get to the good martial arts." It's just practice. You keep doing it. There's no secret ingredient that makes some guy fight like a genius. He's not. No one came out of the womb fighting like a well oiled machine. They just spent countless hours doing it, probably for more time badly than skilled, unless they've been doing it for many, many, many years. And even then, there's still stuff to master.

Chris Scott: As a brief aside, that's one of the reasons I like MMA so much, besides the fact that I started doing it after I'd learned to detach my ego a bit from my desired outcomes, which is a huge help, but there's so many facets of it, and it's so dynamic, there's so many things going on, that it's impossible to be a master at any of those, at all of those things at the same time. You'll get, even in UFC, for example, you'll get guys who are really good at boxing and maybe they're really good, I don't know, D1 level at wrestling or you'll get guys who are jujitsu black belts who have competed in Muay Thai. But it's very rare, I don't know if I've ever heard of anyone, who is a D1 wrestling champion with a jujitsu black belt and who's Olympic level in judo and also won some Muay Thai thing. It's just, there's too much stuff. You're not going to find it.

Chris Scott: And I think a similar thing could be, a case could be made for lifestyle optimization or alcohol recovery, where you're not against an opponent. Your only opponent would be yourself or your past self. And you can beat the crap out of your past self, in an optimization sense and in an addiction recovery sense, but as we've discussed, there's only so much you can focus on at one time in your life, like the four burners theory that you discussed a few months ago. And I still have this. Sometimes I'll be doing great stuff with my work, I'm super productive. And I'll also make progress in some personal relationships or whatever, and do things that I've been waiting to do for a long time, like go on a ski trip with my dad for the first time in nine years, that kind of thing. But then of course, I go into MMA and have a crick in my back and when I can't turn my my head right because I've been looking at my computer too much and I'm just, I've lost my snap. So now it's back to the drawing board with the boxing.

Chris Scott: So it's a little bit like Wack-a-Mole with everything, but to the extent that you can develop a Zen sense of things, and leave your ego out of it as much as you can and realize that what we're mainly limited by in life is focus, then you're going to at least be okay with the fact that A, you're human. B, you're making the most of it. And C, life is really too short, since we are limited mainly by focus and time, life's too short to be obliterating yourself with a toxic substance. And if you really get that down deep into your subconscious, you're likely to essentially win the game of transcending addiction.

Chris Scott: I often say, of course, I could drink two bottles of wine tonight if I wanted to, but I don't have time. Have there been periods of time in the last seven years where that sounded mildly appealing? Maybe, but I never really gave it any second thought. I mean, namely, because I wouldn't want to deal with the hangover or potential withdrawal or inflammation and the chin bloating and the gut problems and all that, and sense of malaise, but also because I have so many other things that I'd rather focus on. And I know I'm limited in this life by time and my own focus and I'm happiest when I'm trying to make the best of it without judging myself too hard.

Matt Finch: Have you heard this quote, I'm going to paraphrase it. I don't know who it's by. Something along the lines of, success comes from good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment. It's something along those lines to where success, whatever that looks like for the person, whatever their definition of success is, to get there, you don't get successful unless you've made lots of good decisions and taking good actions. But the only way you get those is by learning and by making some mistakes. No one, everything that they've done has turned out good. We learn so great through failure. We're designed to learn through failing our way forward. There's even a famous book by it, Failing Forward, which I've read. And I did a podcast episode on it, a solo cast, quite a while ago. It was one of my favorite topics.

Matt Finch: And what you're talking about, role models, and then in neurolinguistic programming, they talk about this a lot, the act of modeling. The act of modeling is to get a role model, some person that has had some type of result that you want to achieve, you either want to duplicate, mimic or get something similar. Well then what do you do? You find a role model that has gotten what you've wanted or become what you've wanted or did what you've wanted. They either did something, became something or went somewhere or learned something that you want to do. Find them, okay, here's what they did. Then you find out what they did and you model what they did. Success leaves clues, so the theory of modeling is, do what someone else has done, follow their step by step, whatever they did to get the same result.

Matt Finch: A new show I just watched recently is called Reacher on Amazon Prime. I really liked that. This guy gained 30 pounds of muscle, the star, I forget his name, to play the lead for this. I think you'd liked that show, Chris. It's like this really smart-

Chris Scott: I've seen the previews. Yeah, everyone's telling me [inaudible 00:24:52].

Matt Finch: Yeah. Total badass dude. Really smart, kicks lots of ass, really just funny. But anyways, so now there was a YouTube video, which I didn't watch, but I saw it, I saw it scroll by, where it was his, an interview of how he built that 30 muscles to get that part. What kind of exercise he did, how many reps, yada yada yada. So that means that people can use that video to model the Reacher workout to experience, not the exact same results as him, but see if it works for their situation.

Matt Finch: You and I, when we used to go to AA, that was us modeling what other people, what our role models there, were suggesting of us. I picked out a sponsor. He was my role model at the beginning for the first few years of on and off AA. But my problem with long-term AA, once I quit this last time was, I didn't want a single life of any other person that I met there. They say, "Find somebody that has what you want and ask them what they did." There was no one at all the AA meetings I went to that had a life that I wanted. So then I was like, huh? So I had to start looking elsewhere, because my intuition was saying, "Well, I don't want any of these lives." Not even my own best version of that, whatever that looks like.

Matt Finch: That's when I found reading books and personal development, then I was like, "Oh I don't need to go to physical AA meetings and have role models here. I can read books by Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer and Jeff Primack, and so many other, Brian Tracy, the list went on and on and on. And I would read one of their books or multiple of their books and I'd learn all their different theories and all the things that they did, which I could then model. I could go read the same books they did. I could go do the same morning routine that they did, experiment with these things. See which ones worked well for me as well. Because all of us are different, so what works for one person might not work for another person or might not work as well. So that's why, try on different role models, try on different people and approaches to modeling. Once you find something that works good, stick with it.

Matt Finch: And I think that's who we get, the people that find this podcast, that sign up for coaching. A lot of the times they they've modeled AA. They've modeled Annie Grace, they've modeled the Quit Drinking Expert guy, I forget his name. They've modeled a lot of this stuff and it wasn't necessarily the best fit for them, for them to actually quit drinking or to quit drugs. Or maybe it wasn't the best fit for them long-term. They needed something more out of the box, more open ended, more holistic, versus just looking at the spiritual of addiction or just looking at the psychological primarily or just looking at the biochemical primarily.

Matt Finch: So where we are is, we're always interweaving, not maybe on every episode, but as a whole of this podcast, we're talking about the biochemical, psychological, social, environmental and spiritual. And so we're teaching people, okay, here's the core elements. Here's what's worked for us. Here's what we read in this book, yada, yada, then people are like, "Oh, that sounds rad. I'm going to try that chocolate M3 shake. I'm going to read that book, Atomic Habits, that they recommended. Oh, Matt's been doing this to boost his mood. I'm going to do that." And then, some people it's not for them.

Matt Finch: One of the newest videos on the Fit Recovery Channel was a more esoteric kind of philosophical, existential, spiritual, metaphysical episode. And someone in the comments wrote, "Oh, this is kind of gimmicky. No thanks." So that's perfect. They saw this video and they don't want to model that at all. Their gut told them, no, this is gimmicky. They're probably a materialist that believes that everything's just all by an accident and there's no spiritual force of plants or humans or anything. That's it. There's no spiritual side. And that's great. That's what they believe and that's where they're at. They saw a video, don't want to model that.

Matt Finch: So it's also about being in tune with your heart and your intuition, rather than just being stuck in your head all the time. Because when you're looking for things to model and role models, if you're in your head, it's probably not going to give you the best feedback, but if you have a clear heart, clear and open heart, if you're centered and you're in tune with your intuition, then you can feel and hear and even see signs and signals and messages that'll be like, oh, this is it for me. I have a feeling a lot of people listening to this podcast, maybe the first time they started listening or eventually, they're like, "Wow, this is exactly what I've been looking for. This is exactly what I needed and didn't know I was looking for."

Matt Finch: Part of it is in their head, logically this makes sense. But I think it impacts people. Some people I'll find on YouTube or I'll find a book by them and I can just tell right off the bat, oh, this is exactly what I'm supposed to learn next. Then I'll see someone talking about something I'm interested in, but just by the look of them or just by the sound of their voice, whatever it is, something happens, and I can just feel, nope, I'm not supposed to learn this. I'm not supposed to learn from this person. So it's kind like being... we can get out tune with that when we're drowning it in alcohol, drowning our heart and our intuition with alcohol, numbing it with pills.

Matt Finch: I like how you think about it to where it's like hitting Wack-A-Moles. Where I was like, Wack-A-Mole, Wack-A-Mole, got to keep up with work, keep up with work, lots of clients right now. Then I was like, oh, but here's the sunshine. The sun hasn't been out in a while, and I haven't been getting nearly enough sunlight to be healthy, because I need good health, good sunlight a lot to feel this energized and good. So I was out there making sure I got my walks and then I was like, well, I wasn't getting as much work done when I was just going for two or three walks out in the sun per day. Okay, so then get back to work. Then, oh, okay. I got to order a few more supplements that I just ran out of.

Matt Finch: I was talking with a client two days ago, or no, that was just yesterday, just yesterday now. And he was saying how, when he was drinking, it was like he only had to focus on work five days a week and then his free time. It was work time, suit up and shut up, do a good job. In his free time he was drinking. He was partying. It was all about how to reduce stress, how to increase pleasure. Now that I think it's probably been about two weeks now that he hasn't drank, he's like, whoa, there's so many different... I got to worry about my finances now. It's like, "Yeah, now I'm not drinking, but now I'm like, oh crap. I really let my life go downhill." So he's like, "I got to get my finances back up. I got to get my mind set up. I got to get my health and fitness back up." So it was like the more he drank, the more those Wack-A-Moles in life all started to come up. So then when he stopped drinking, it was like, "Ugh, I got a lot of Wack-A-Moles to hit."

Chris Scott: Yeah. The game of Wack-A-Mole keeps going. You crawled under the machine and fell asleep. But I feel like, I mean, to some extent Wack-A-Mole is a good analogy for life, but you get to decide whether you're an excited little kid having fun playing it, or whether you're like an old, in spirit, wretched person, resenting the game. Really it's more fun and more diverse than Wack-A-Mole. You can play Wack-A-Mole in a flow state. And the open-ended nature of life means you get to focus on whatever it is that pops up. It's really up to you.

Chris Scott: So I think there are some truths that are simply unavoidable that we don't get to decide. And then there are some things that are really in the realm of interpretation, where we get to decide the frames through which we're going to view them. So we don't really get to decide if we drink a fifth of vodka and want a test to see if we walk off our balcony, whether we're actually going to fall or whether we have superpowers. We don't get to decide that truth, as far as I'm aware. We don't get to decide whether the finances stack up if we avoid it by drinking or whatever. But we do get to decide what significance we want to imbue our overall lives with. We get to decide what we want to believe about questions that will probably not be settled as long as we're alive, such as what's the nature of the universe or is there a grand plan or design of any kind or are we all just materialists? There are implications for how you live your life based on what your interpretation is there. I don't recommend concerning yourself too much with the absolute validity of any claims in that realm, because you'll go crazy.

Chris Scott: I have some friends from high school who went into post-graduates studying Hegel. And I don't know if they've emerged since then. They're still studying Hegel and other philosophers. I mean, if that's their cup of tea, then go for it. But I think that it's important to keep, or helpful at least, to kind of delineate between, all right, this is the realm of truth. This is reality. And I can't avoid certain things and I have to deal with them and I need to pull out the weeds and try to proactively solve problems, which by the way, being proactive is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety.

Chris Scott: I was speaking with, and that's true for general existential anxiety or situational anxiety. I was speaking recently with Vera [Salsburn 00:34:42] who's been on our podcast before. She's an expert in trauma resolution and a very talented lady. And also, I know her from yoga. She's better than me objectively at yoga. She can do side crow with ease.

Matt Finch: Can I do my impression real quick?

Chris Scott: Go for it.

Matt Finch: So then taking a trauma informed respect, then what are your strengths? How can you grow from this?

Chris Scott: She has a nicer voice, but unfortunately I can only do one accent. It always sounds like an off British accent, but that's good. But guess what? Vera is from Ukraine, originally. And I asked her, "How are you doing?" And she was like, "It's a tough time, but I know that the antidote to anxiety is being proactive." So she's offering free sessions to people in Ukraine and just trying to do what she can to help. And of course, she has family there. She could be worrying all the time, but she's doing something, and that's at least keeping her stable and well what's the point of being stable? Is it just a selfish thing? No. As this case shows, by staying stable, she's able to actually help people and make some kind of difference in the world.

Chris Scott: That was something that I'd wanted to share since the other day, but I think that's a really good example, especially people who are struggling with anxiety or feeling depressed, or maybe have insomnia, keeping themselves awake at night in odd hours where they should be asleep with all sorts of what ifs running through their mind, very common in early recovery from addiction. And something to remember is, to the extent that you can be proactive, you can help reduce those negative feelings by increasing your self-efficacy and by channeling your focus towards things that align you with the rest of the world, so to speak. So that was a bit of a convoluted and long aside there, but hopefully helpful.

Matt Finch: That's the title of one of my favorite books, the Convoluted Universe series, books one through five, which I've done four of the books. No, I love Vera Salsburn. She comes off so great on video, too. I remember that. I'm not sure if you interviewed once or twice. Maybe just-

Chris Scott: A couple times.

Matt Finch: A couple times. The most recent one, which was maybe, I don't know, eight months ago, give or take. It was a video and it was when you had your new, just got your new webcam. The video was so bright and you guys were right next to each other, I guess it was probably at your apartment. And yeah, I interviewed a woman from Ukraine right when we first started the podcast, when we were just audio, and her accent too, I just, I don't know what it is, I just love the Ukraine accent. I love a lot of different accents.

Chris Scott: You also, not today, but at some point need to share your Jordan Peterson impression. For anyone who doesn't know, Matt's quite good at impressions. And that's one of my favorites that you've been working on.

Matt Finch: Yeah. I'll have to bring that up next time. Let's see. I'm a little rusty on the JP one. There's a new video out on YouTube. One of my favorite comedians, Kyle Fischer, or Tyler Fischer, sorry. Tyler Fischer. He's a new comedian. Well, he's not new, but he's got newfound YouTube popularity where he's been a comedian for probably 10 years or longer. But now within the past year, he's starting to really blow up. I think just since I started watching him, he has doubled his subscribers or maybe even tripled it. But he's got a new video. I think the title is, when bros watch too many Jordan Peterson videos. If you haven't seen it, Chris, I'll send it to you after this. It's him, Tyler Fischer, and then one of his buddies that's a Jordan Peterson impressionist, too. And it is the best Jordan Peterson impressions I've ever seen.It's so hilarious.

Matt Finch: But anyways, yeah, impressions are fun. Sometimes on coaching calls, I'm not sure if I ever shared this with you. So any of my clients, if I've done this on the phone with them and they're listening, they're going to laugh right now. But I come out with alter egos, just out of nowhere on coaching calls. Just sometimes it's not like it's a regular thing, but every once in a while, some alter ego will come out. Sometimes it's alter egos that have been out before, sometimes it's brand new people. All of a sudden, just out of nowhere, there'll be this voice and accent and character and then I'll be making them laugh somehow. So I won't get too deep into it. You're going to have to get coaching with me to find out, so I know the suspense is killing with these, so you'll just have to become a client, but one of them was welcome to the phone call of Fit Recovery coaching session number three.

Chris Scott: I think you started a podcast like that before. Also this is inspirational for anyone who doesn't know if they can succeed in addiction recovery. Matt might be certifiably insane, and he has been very successful.

Matt Finch: Yeah. You got to goof around. I used to be super serious after... Not during addiction, I wasn't super serious. I was a joke. But after addiction, the new phase of life, I was Mr. Serious a lot of the time and I became more and more stern and metallic and serious. And that was great at achieving goals and productivity. But then I had chronic pain and chronic anxiety. I had all these crazy things coming up. I had to ease up on the science of achievement and I had to focus more on the art of fulfillment. And part of the art fulfillment was getting back to my innate silliness, playfulness, funniness. I used to be playful and funny and not serious. So getting back into that, but also not being afraid, oh no. If I get too joke around then I'm going to get to back into drugs and alcohol and become a total...

Matt Finch: I told another client this recently, that the main goal could be seen like this, for drinking or drugs, in this person's case, drinking. Imagine addiction is a size four shoe. Then when you quit, quit the addiction, the goal to through personal and professional development, mind, body, spirit, relationship, financial, growth, self mastery to increase and grow. And then that growth can be your shoe size. So Shaquille O'Neil has a 16 foot, 16 size shoe. Imagine that you've grown so much, your mind, body spirit, self mastery, relationship growth, life mastery, now you're at a 16, a size 16 shoe. That's how big your foot is in this case.

Matt Finch: Now, something happens, a tragedy happens. Even if you try to fit a size four shoe, which is the addiction size shoe, now, if you try to put your big, huge way grown feet into these little tiny shoes, no matter how much you stuff them in and tuck them and bend the shoe and stretch it, there's no way you can fit in that same shoe. So in a sense, I believe, and I know you believe this too, that it's possible to one time, and it may take months, it may take years, it may take longer than year, it may take a decade longer. But people can outgrow addiction, outgrow alcohol use disorder, outgrow it so much and make so much progress that they're just completely different on so many levels, that no matter what happens in life, they're never going to be able to fit into that way of life. It's like, "No, I've already learned that lesson. You've learned that lesson so much, totally passed the test. Now you're on the new and better are things.

Matt Finch: So I really believe that. And for some people that's not an empowering belief. For some people that might be dangerous to believe that. Some people they feel more powerful and more taken care of by just saying I'm a lifelong alcoholic. I'm a lifelong drug addict. And that's okay. And that's empowering for me to just view myself as that and to just have that identity. So it's disempowering and empowering depending on the person's preferences, which is so crazy just how customized this can go. I got a couple other ideas, but I'll shut up. Because that would be a tangent.

Chris Scott: No, I definitely see addiction as a phase of my life that I left behind and outgrew. And I see it as something that initially served some of my interests, but which couldn't possibly serve all of the interests that I have now. There's no chance that the little bit of artificial euphoria I got from the first couple drinks back when I drank would be worth sacrificing, and it would be a sacrifice, everything else that I've built since then, that I get now more euphoria from. And I've tried to explain. Sometimes clients on the phone have a hard time believing it. I'll say, "You know how you feel when you drink a bottle of wine or a fifth of vodka or whatever." And they say, "Yeah." And I say, "You feel kind of calm and kind of euphoric and like your life's in control and you're competent enough to handle things and everything's going to be okay?" And they say, "Yeah." And I say, "Well, that's what I looked for out of alcohol. And that's how I feel all the time now, or at the very least 90 plus percent of the time. That's how I feel."

Chris Scott: I'll be hanging out, I seem serious. And there are reasons that I have a more serious professional persona, I suppose. I'm trying to outgrow that a little bit. There are some subjects I'll probably never discuss on the podcast because my parents listen to this. But at the same time, I also have a dry sense of humor.

Matt Finch: Hi Mr. And Mrs. [ Crosstalk 00:00:44:49].

Chris Scott: If you saw me in my house, you might think I would insane. I mean, I might be walking around having staring contests with my dog, singing Lady Gaga songs that are 25, or 25, probably 15 years old at this point. I don't know. I feel like it's good you have that sense of life. I had used to have to drink a fifth of vodka to walk around singing dumb songs. And now I don't.

Matt Finch: Okay. And then keep that thought. But I wrote this down the other day because I knew, I swear, I knew you were going to say something. I just wrote this down maybe two days ago. And I swear, I knew you were going to say something about it on this podcast. So I wrote this quote.

Chris Scott: Sing it to wrap it up. Because I've got a-

Matt Finch: Perfect.

Chris Scott: Hot yoga class to go to.

Matt Finch: Perfect. So here's two quotes to go by what you were talking about and what I was talking about. Quote, number one, "You've got a dance like there's nobody watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening and live like it's heaven on earth." I don't know who that quote's by. The second quote I think's by the Dalai Lama, "Eat half, walk double and laugh triple." And I would add my go in the sun. I'd be like, eat half, or eat normal... Mine would be eat normal, sunshine double, walk triple, laugh quadruple or something like that. But yeah, I thought those two quotes would come up. and I knew it. Then boom, just like that, you started to talk about what I was talking about in a way that made me feel good that I wrote those quotes down.

Matt Finch: Those are good man. Dance like there's nobody watching, sing like there's nobody listening, live like it's heaven on earth, walk a lot, get lots of fresh air and sunshine, talk and sing to your animals and cuddle with your animals, hug the people you love, laugh. There's no shortage of knowledge on how to live a good life and how to create and maintain a good life. There seems to be this huge knowledge action gap. We've got all the knowledge we can... we're swimming in knowledge. We're drowning in knowledge. So many people, like you were saying, are stuck in either analysis paralysis or chronic fatigue, so they can't do it.

Matt Finch: When people can just get some momentum going, get some momentum going, get some energy, then it's like get into action, that erases fear. The moment you stop procrastinating on things, just start doing stuff. Just like, fuck it. I'm so sick of procrastinating on things. You just get fed up with it. Sick of it. Just start getting, just start attacking everything. Attack this. Attack that. I got to do this. I've been putting this off.

Matt Finch: Soon as you start taking action, proactivity, what you were saying, pro action, pro activeness approach, that decreases or eliminates fear and anxiety, increases productivity, which then boosts dopamine and your feelings of good about yourself, goodness and progress, which becomes self-sustaining because now you've this activation. You're like, "Okay. I feel good about myself again. I want to keep feeling good about myself." So you keep taking care of at least the bare minimum responsibilities. Then you can work your way into a good situation. And then you're like, okay, I'm in a good situation. Then you can keep building and keep building. So then when shit happens in life, you're way more powerful and you're not just going to be... your first thing when shit hits the fan is not, I'm going to drink or I'm going to go get back on snorting oxycodone or smoking the 90% cannabis all day, every day or whatever it is for the person.

Matt Finch: Thank you guys for listening. We love you guys so much and we can't wait to see you next time. Take care.

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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