Optimizing Adaptability & Resilience for Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery

In episode 280 of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, Chris Scott and Matt Finch discuss the importance of optimized health, how to adapt to stressors of life without returning to substances, and how these concepts relate to addiction and alcohol recovery. When someone is able to adapt to the stress of life, they show resilience in life! 

Resilience and healthy adaptive behaviors along with biochemical optimization can significantly boost alcohol and drug recovery rates.

These concepts, tools, and resources are a true gem and this episode contains several actionable tips to help you recover from addiction and improve your lifestyle.

Links to Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Here are some ways to learn from this episode:

Chris Scott: And now he's thriving, and he's over 70 and still working and doing cool stuff as an entrepreneur. So it's never too late to start being more adaptable. And I think when we think in terms of adaptability, we can also think in terms of how can I become more adaptable in the biochemical sense, psychologically, socially or spiritually.

Matt Finch: With online shopping nowadays, we can just get our best pick of Adaptogens tonic herbs that help your body respond to stress, respond to physical stress, emotional stress, environmental stress, situational stress. And we can source these Adaptogen tonic herbs and substances from all over the world in different delivery systems. And that alone helps to make you more adaptable.

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

Matt Finch: Welcome to episode 280 of Elevation Recovery. My name's Matt Finch, and I'm here with my friend and co-host, Chris Scott. We're going to talk, today, about adaptability and addiction recovery. Specifically, we're just going to kick it off with a real short passage from the book, The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, by master herbalist, Ron Teeguarden, who is an expert on Chinese medicine and Chinese tonic herbs, and an expert on adaptability. So this is under the heading, Adaptability, the measure of your life. Success in the modern world can often be measured by how well we can handle stress. Those who handle stress well, generally move up in the world much more quickly, taking on greater challenges, heavier workloads and more confrontation. And in general, getting more done. Successfully overcoming obstacles is the truest way to grow in experience knowledge and wisdom. All very good things.

Matt Finch: It could easily be said that the motto of our age is, he or she who can handle more stress, most successfully, wins. Resilience is a significant aspect of radiant health. Quick little side note. His definition of radiant health is health beyond danger, to where your health is so optimized, so radiant, he calls it, that normal stressors of life, normal toxic exposure to toxins, and normally really stressful situations, with radiant health you're so much healthier above the danger line that you're able to stay up there. So anyways, radiant health, yeah. It results from adaptability. And thus the concept of adaptability is central to the concept of radiant health.

Matt Finch: So today we're going to be talking about adaptability, radiant health as a form of long term addiction recovery. Because what I've found is, the clients that really work on their health, big time, mindset to environment, social, all those pillars of recovery. But the ones that just get really physically healthy, high vitality, they typically are able to adapt to the stressors of life without going back to alcohol, or without going back to drugs. The ability to adapt to stresses of life is fundamental to life itself. Adaptability is the root of evolution and the secret to biological success. The more adaptable one is, the more flexibility and resiliency one will be capable of showing in one's life.

Chris Scott: I love that book. It's been a while since I've read it, but you recommended it to me. And I have to say I'm drinking my Dragon Herbs tea, spring dragon.

Matt Finch: Cheers. Virtual cheers.

Chris Scott: Yeah, cheers.

Matt Finch: Cheers.

Chris Scott: And I drink this tea twice a day. We have no affiliation with Dragon Herbs. I think you have to be a registered herbalist to do that, but I just love the company. And also, in that book, which I expected to be just a marketing book, which was not just a marketing book, just highly educational. And of course I read everything with a grain of salt. I always have the devil's advocate, skeptic sitting on my shoulder when I read this stuff and I have to consult. But I found that book to be really good and to vibe with my own experience taking Adaptogenic herbs. So of course there's physical adaptability. And I think what he's arguing for in that book is to fortify your system, such that you can adapt to things on a biochemical or a molecular level in ways you might not even understand, if you don't read up on this stuff where you don't have time to look into, how does the endocrine system work?

Chris Scott: How does my brain work? How does my gut work? So you do the invisible work by taking these Adaptogenic herbs, and learning about them, and figuring out which ones work for you. And as we know, there are also other lifestyle ways to become more adaptable. And some of these are in the zeitgeist right now, like cold plunges or hot saunas or exercise, anything that creates hormesis. Hormesis being a type of stress that makes you stronger. This morning, we were talking, before this episode, about how much I've been trying to get done lately. And I've been pretty successful getting a lot done. Weathering a little bit of sleep deprivation, but I was getting mauled by my coach, former UFC fighter in jujitsu, this morning. And of course we do boxing, before that, we do some striking, some Muay Thai stuff.

Chris Scott: And then it's time for grappling. He makes me change my shirt. He makes me wear a surfer shirt now because I get so sweaty and I'm slippery. So that was my number one weapon. Now I don't have it. But anyway, I have to adapt now and I have this shirt that keeps me relatively dry and I'm getting head locked, I'm getting arm barred, I'm getting triangled. Everything's happening. And then the rest of the day seems really easy. And I had a flashback to when I was a heavy drinker on Wall Street and everything seemed unmanageable, which is a word that they often use in AA. And part of that, the part I didn't understand, I understood that I was addicted to alcohol on some level, even if I didn't totally admit that for a long time. But what I didn't understand were the biochemical reasons why I was so not adaptable.

Chris Scott: Literally, if I had a scary meeting at work, here I am a pretty big guy. I had a boss at one point who was probably five foot six and small, not threatening at all physically. And he terrified me, because of course, he had power over me as a boss and I'm like 23 or whatever. But I literally had to fight the urge to run home and just open a bottle of vodka and strip down to my underwear, and sit on the couch, and hide under the covers like a little boy. That's not being adaptable. And of course, one reason for that, among many, is that, my GABA, my calming primary inhibitory neurotransmitter was deficient. And I really only had GABA activity when I was drinking, because ethanol stimulates GABA activity. And my glutamate, which is the counterbalancing stress hormone increases electrical activity in the brain, was off the charts.

Chris Scott: So even little things like if I were in the elevator and someone moved and I didn't expect it, I would have a full-fledged jolt. And I remember, it's my entire system, it seemed like there's too much... If you had said, is there too much electricity in your nerves? I would've said yes, but I wouldn't have understood what was involved there. But that little imbalance, which, again, is one of many, not to speak of the inflammation in every cell and organ system in my body, just like the toxic sludge that my liver was forced to process instead of activating vitamins, and burning fat at night, and helping me have energy, et cetera, et cetera. These things were relevant for me. And I didn't think to address them. I actually had a client recently, and of course, everyone's anonymous here, but I had a client recently who was struggling with some things that appeared to be psychological, but then had some tests done and it turned out this person had heavy metal toxicity. And heavy metal toxicity can cause full blown psychosis and all sorts of things.

Chris Scott: And I shudder to think what her experience would've been if she had just been told that she wasn't being honest with herself, and she needed to go to more AA meetings, when the culprit was heavy metal toxicity. And as soon as she did some protocols to remove them, she started instantly feeling better. And then she was able to absorb the supplements, because the supplements are not well absorbed when you have heavy metal poisoning, essentially. So that was the missing link. And so, it could be different for everyone. I have an uncle who was a Marine in Vietnam, had several purple hearts, and he had PTSD that was untreated. And he had emotional breakdowns and got to some very dark places. And that hurt his ability to adapt to circumstances in his life that I think he could have adapted to better if he had resolved that problem or identified and addressed that problem much earlier.

Chris Scott: Fortunately he did ultimately identify and address that problem. I don't know if you ever resolved something like PTSD or war trauma, but he's, at least, got a better grip on it than before, and now he's thriving. And he's over 70 and still working and doing cool stuff as an entrepreneur. So it's never too late to start being more adaptable. Then I think when we think in terms of adaptability, we can also think in terms of how can I become more adaptable in the biochemical sense, psychologically, socially or spiritually.

Matt Finch: Love it. Love all that stuff. It brought up, when you were talking about the cold plunge too. I just watched probably my favorite interview I've seen online in years. It was Tony Robbins in one of his really, really expensive retreats or seminar programs. Anyways, it was Tony Robbins, and I think he's got to be in his mid sixties by now. So much energy and just so much health and vitality. It's on Tony Robbins' YouTube channel. I think the title was something like the Fourth Turning. The Fourth Turning. The guy he interviewed, I can't remember his name, but he's the author of two books. One that's 700 pages called Generations that when Tony Robbins met Bill Clinton in the mid 1990s, he was working with Bill Clinton as a high performance coach, helping him handle the job of being the leader of America. And he recommended that book to Tony Robbins, and that's where Tony Robbins got his knowledge about the seasons of life. Winter, summer, spring, fall. There's seasons of your life. There's seasons of you business.

Matt Finch: There's seasons of a country. So the second book the guy wrote, called the Fourth Turning. I'm definitely going to read it because the interview was mind blowing, because I love patterns. And it's just going by and showing all these patterns in history of holy moly, there are seasons of history, and it repeats itself regardless of where it is in the world. So anyways, that was a long-winded way of saying, one of the things that Tony Robbins does to stay highly adaptable, stay very resilient, he's got a cold plunge at his house. Of course, I think he might be a billionaire. He's at least worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if not a billionaire by now. Who knows. But every single morning he does this cold plunge in freezing, freezing cold water. He's got a machine outside or something where all you got to do is just plunge right in.

Matt Finch: It's already freezing cold. If I were to want to do that beyond a cold shower, I'd have to put a whole bunch of ice in the bath and then wait for it to melt enough. I think that's one of, you were saying, the hormesis. I think that's probably one of the best ways to become way more adaptable. Because when I used to surf and body surf on the regular, and body board, I would often go out, people would be wearing full wetsuits, three millimeter, four millimeter wetsuits, because the water was in the upper fifties or the low sixties. And a lot of the time, if it was at least sunny out, I would skin it. I would trunk it. So no wetsuit, no rash guard, just swim trunks. And when I first would get in, if it was in the upper seventies, for example, it felt like pins and needles, and I'd duck under the water and like, oh, oh, freezing cold, right?

Matt Finch: Painfully cold, sometimes. Lower sixties was great, really refreshing without the pins and needles. But anyways, regardless, if it was from as low as the fifties or even up to maybe 62, 63 degrees, even if I just went out for 15 minutes, but I'd usually go out for a longer, I would come in from that. And of course you're getting the exercise therapy as well. But if I did it in 70 degree water in the summer, I didn't feel... Even one 10th probably is great, is when the water was really, really cold. And I would just come out, not just feeling refreshed, not just feeling, well, worked out, but feeling noticeably different. I had no idea back then why the cold water did this. I just knew that I felt way better after trunking it in freezing cold water. So I think that's a huge way.

Matt Finch: Another way is the Chinese tonic herbs too. And we do talk about Dragon herbs a lot. Another company that's really good, that's not as expensive as Dragon herbs, they have a lot more bulk powders. So the stuff that you and I get is liquid extracts and capsule extracts. Well jingherbs.com, no affiliation either, they get these big bags of powdered extracts. So it's less expensive. It's more bulk. I've tried them before. They're also really good. So Chinese tonic curves and other Adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, AKA Eluthro, [inaudible 00:14:47] from I think Tibet, Makhroroot powder. Makhr from high altitude, Peruvian mountains. So we can source, with online shopping nowadays, we can just get our best pick of Adaptogens tonic herbs that help your body respond to stress, respond to physical stress, emotional stress, environmental stress, situational stress.

Matt Finch: And we can source these Adaptogen tonic herbs and substances from all over the world. And we can get extracts of them in different delivery systems like these teas, and that alone helps to make you more adaptable. What I've found is that, typically for me, now that I'm 43, in two days I'll be 43 years old. When I was in my early thirties, I probably didn't even need Adaptogens. I started taking them around 33 or 34, but I don't think I necessarily needed them. Now, it's like almost life and death. Not to that extreme, but I need to do things like a good Adaptogenic herb stack, not just one thing, a stack, preferably two or more of them, and my morning cold showers, and barefoot nature walking, and doing personal development and reading, and learning Buddhist and Daoist philosophies and psychologies and practices, spiritual development, emotional development, mindset development, relational development, increasing finances, because that makes you way more adaptable.

Matt Finch: If you have enough finances, you can go get NAD treatment. NAD infusion therapy, which really heightens your adaptability. You could buy all the tonic, tincture, Adaptogen herbs you wanted to. Because you can take a lot of these things without getting any negative consequences. You probably have to take so much. There's three different types of herb. They're inferior... Sorry, there's unedible herbs. These are herbs that are not edible. Then there's inferior herbs. This is according to Ron Teeguarden again. Inferior herbs or even things like Camomile and passion flower and pretty much all the Western herbs. These are herbs that you take for a purpose, to get some type of quick effect, like elderberry to boost your immune system, incase you're catching a cold. Camomile to boost your GABA and to be an anxiolytic, a sleep aid.

Matt Finch: Tonic herbs, he calls them superior herbs. They have a nonspecific ability to help your body come back into homeostasis and to make your energy higher, everything just feeling better and better, emotions, your mood, your energy, your focus. So these are things, that the first day you take them, you usually don't even feel anything. In fact, a lot of people don't feel anything after a few weeks of being on them. I start to notice them typically, maybe within a few days after taking them, but people respond differently to them. So the superior herbs are ones that you can take every single day. And they're ones that are tonic herbs, meaning they're just giving your whole entire body just more vitality and more tonification. What the inferior herbs do, it's medicinal use. Tonic herbs are a way, for not just medicinal use, but they're a way to shortcut your journey to radiant health.

Chris Scott: I have to say, I'm also a fan of some of the so-called inferior herbs such as-

Matt Finch: Me too. Me too.

Chris Scott: ... Camomile. I drank Camomile tea, several tea bags steeped for 10 minutes until I had a dark amber color, and a big pitcher of it, every night for months after I quit drinking, because I could feel something in my brain. It turned down the volume of my brain, like something clicked off. The craving for alcohol was reduced, in addition to other things, like nutrient repair. There's no substitute for you, you're not going to fix it with a medicinal herb, or potentially even a superior herb. Although that would have been interesting to see how the Jing herbs or Dragon herbs would've helped me in early recovery. I'm sure I would've ultimately felt that difference. But everyone's different. I have a pretty sensitive biochemistry, so I can usually feel things pretty quickly. That also means that I'm probably somewhat susceptible to the nocebo effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect.

Chris Scott: Maybe less so, a little bit, to the placebo effect, but mostly the nocebo effect. Because I'm always worried that something's going to make me feel not good. And if I obsess about that and I take it, then I'll feel not good. The first time I took GABA... No sorry, it was glutamine. I had taken glutamine before in blends, but I hadn't realized that I had taken it, but I took it, and I was worried that... I had done a little bit of research and I was like, all right, this is going to help my GABA. And then I realized I'd taken a much higher dosage than I had thought that I had taken, or that I researched. And I was like, oh no, my GABA's going to totally implode, everything's going to be crazy.

Chris Scott: It's going to get converted into glutamate. I'm going to have too much glutamate again. And then I had a mini panic attack. It was totally psychological. And then the next time I took glutamine, I took probably more than I did the first time. And I felt amazing. Because I let the effects happen themselves rather than psyching myself, either, up or down. So that's something to keep in mind as people's sensitivity to things. But I do wish that I had known about things like Cordyceps, a mushroom that helps with energy. I suppose that's also an Adaptogenic herb, so when we're talking about the so-called superior herbs or the tonic herbs, the Adaptogenic herbs, you can't really say that it helps with one thing. I guess we can say it tends to help with one thing. For example, people associate reishi mushroom with sleep, but I found that it helps me with balanced energy.

Chris Scott: Especially if I take it with coffee. I was drinking way too much coffee, which is, I guess, a single direction action or compound. They're antioxidants, of course, but caffeine itself, goes one direction. I don't know anyone who takes caffeine to go to sleep, but I was basically addicted. You could say cross addicted to caffeine after I quit drinking. I was drinking over a pot of coffee most days, just to get through the day, and I probably had a severe dopamine issue. I ultimately fixed that by taking Tyrosine, DLPA, other dopamine amino acid precursors. But I did learn about reishi mushroom.

Chris Scott: I didn't know what a Chinese tonic or Adaptogenic herb was, but I did hear about reishi mushroom. I knew the brand for Sigmatic. I think they've been around for a while now. And I took some reishi and I started taking it with my coffee each morning, and my desire to drink more coffee went down. And I don't know what the explanation is there, but I suppose with an Adaptogen you're supporting the entire stress response system, and other systems in your body, so that if you have too much energy, it brings you down, and if you have too little energy, it brings you up.

Chris Scott: And that's why I love this spring Dragon tea. I drink it in the morning and it seems to give me energy, and I drink it at night and it seems to bring me down. So it's a balancing effect. It's bringing you back to your center. They're centering herbs, is what they are. If I had to come up with name for them, homeostasis inducing herbs. And I love that. And again, I feel like there are things that you can do in your life that are tonic lifestyle choices, like meditation, it can bring you down if you have too much energy, but it can also energize you and get you ready to take on the world, if that's what you need. And same thing's with exercise as well.

Chris Scott: Sometimes I'll go for a run because I'm jet lagged and I can't sleep, and that'll bring me down. Sometimes I'll go for a run because I need to wake up. So I feel like a lot of the activities that we do, that are healthy, are really bringing us to what our homeostasis should be. By the way you look radiant for turning almost 43.

Matt Finch: Thank you.

Chris Scott: So that's really good. I feel like-

Matt Finch: You should have seen me before I shaved.

Chris Scott: Yeah. I have a little bit of five o'clock shadow at this point.

Matt Finch: I had a one week shadow this morning.

Chris Scott: Well, one of my favorite things, and it's been about a week since I've done this, is just go to the beach, have a day where I get all my work done in the morning. And of course, we have the luxury of doing this because we're both close to relatively close to beaches and we can get our stuff done. We don't have a set schedule. We don't have to be sitting in an office. But I'll try to get as much work done as I can. And then I'll just spend the rest of the day on the beach, going in the ocean. It's easier to body surf where you are. We don't usually have big waves, although sometimes we do, if there's a storm. Soak up the sun, go earthing, grounding, get some contact with the ground barefoot, which is super healthy. And that's another thing I would've dismissed as a woo woo practice years ago, but now I've just seen the benefits of doing it. Even not at the beach, even just barefoot walks on the earth around here. But it's been too long since I've come out to San Diego.

Chris Scott: So I'm going to have to fix that at some point, because there's something super healing about getting up in the morning and going into the Pacific. You don't even need a cold plunge pool. I think you can buy them now for five grand. Actually I feel like I checked it once and it was five grand and now it's seven and a half grand. So that thing keeps going up in price. I guess, like everything else. But yeah, if you want a home, temperature maintained, cold pool, plunge pool, which is an appealing thing to have. However, being so close to the Pacific, I don't see why you would ever need that anyway, you just go jump in the ocean. It's not like it gets particularly warm in the summer, and in the winter, it's probably as cold as a plunge pool.

Chris Scott: And I just love, no matter what month I've come, and I think I've come out there various times of year. I always start my day by body surfing in the Pacific. And I always try to get a hotel right on the beach so I can wake up, I'll usually have a little tea, Spring Dragon tea, half a cup of coffee, and I'll drink it slower than I would here. If I'm around here, I might have three cups of coffee. I need to slow down. Rarely ever do more than four now. But I will walk down to the beach, body surf for 30 minutes. And it's impossible to have a bad day after that. And I feel, oh, the world's going to give me a challenge today, bring it on. I was just body surfing in 60 degree water.

Chris Scott: It's beautiful. I got some vitamin D. Whatever tension or weird, inner turmoil I might have been ruminating on, it has gone into the ocean and I can let go. And I feel like adaptability enhancing practices, and herbs, and supplements help you to just let go. When you have enough of these practices, you start acting as if you're being propelled by a force. You're doing what you're supposed to do rather than trying to muscle your way through life.

Chris Scott: Let me see if I can put that a better way. You're being gently nudged through your day by the cosmos. Even if you do a bunch of stuff, and it's what most people would perceive of as stressful, but you get it done and you look back on it at the end of the day, and you go, well, I got all that stuff done. I did all these things, but I didn't feel like I was white knuckling through it. And that's the difference, I think, between a lifestyle that has adaptability enhancing practices, and supplements, and that awareness, and one that doesn't, and I have, of course, lived both at this point.

Matt Finch: Yeah. How you were describing it,. It sounds kind of like woo way, which is a Dallas principle, where, instead of swimming against the current, swimming upstream, which is a lot harder than if you're in a inner tube and you're just going with the flow of the river. You got to have some aim in life. So you have your aim, but it's just this way of, if there's a certain current that picks up, maybe you have this plan to do one particular thing, and then even though the conditions for that are just awful, it's really not a good idea, but then just force, force, force, force, force, force, force when maybe in four days time or something, for whatever reason, it's going to be a much easier time. So that going with the flow, it sounds like wooy, wooy, airy fairy, but we have different seasons of our energy too.

Matt Finch: Sometimes when we have lots of energy, all right, great, catch up on a whole bunch of stuff, time to rock and roll. Maybe you're going through a season of low energy, like I just recently did, where I was having super low energy, just so fatigued. For probably the past week now, maybe even longer, I've been building my energy fast. I got so much more energy than I did before. So while I was really exhausted, it was borderline burnout. I was not getting nearly as much stuff done as I needed to, so my list kept getting bigger and bigger. I'm like, crap, lot of stuff to do. I've been doing a bunch of cleaning and decluttering, and having my mom and dad come help me, and a couple girls came over to help too. Just washed all the windows in the home, took out all of Ashley's old stuff and gave it to Goodwill.

Matt Finch: There's just hardly anything compared to all the stuff that was here before. That's been making me more adaptable. And then I went on a huge biochemical optimization campaign, self campaign, basically. Because I know what works for me. That's one of the good things at this point. 10 years, post addiction and learning about health and fitness and wellness. I know what works for me. So I just got back on a massive protocol that's expensive. I've spent like $400 on Chinese tonic herbs. I just got a new shipment, so they're brand new, but the first $200, I don't even think lasted me two weeks. Maybe it was 10 or 11 days. So that's more than a hundred dollars a week, more than $400 a month, might even be $500 a month. So it's not something I'll probably be able to continue month after month, but to get out of that low adaptive state. Real quick, I know you got to go pretty soon too, but I used to be so non adaptive back in the day, really sensitive.

Matt Finch: Didn't have a lot of life skills. Anyways, drugs and alcohol were my adaptation. Maybe that's not the right word for it. They were my solution to my problems. Very effective in the short term. Feeling stressful, feeling freaked out, feeling resentful, I was feeling just totally helpless in life. If a girlfriend cheated on me or anything like that, if something gnarly happened, alcohol was right there to help me, maybe adapt isn't the best word. Maladapt to my emotions.

Chris Scott: Yeah. Blocked out.

Matt Finch: Yeah, exactly. Just numb out. People drink to forget. Some people drink to get euphoric energy and confidence. Some people drink a little bit here and there, throughout the day, just to calm their nerves. I've had so many different types of drinkers as clients and many other people on prescription drugs too.

Matt Finch: Everyone uses the substance or substances for very specific reasons to them. They may mimic other people's reasons. There's only so many reasons to use drugs or alcohol. But ultimately, one of the core principles, and I just talked about this in the last podcast, mentioning I was reading a chapter or a part of a chapter in Dr. Charles Gant's book, End Your Addiction Now. It was this cool reading to where I was teaching people that addictions, substance problems, addiction and cravings and relapse. He was saying, it doesn't come from low willpower. This is where I primarily learn this stuff from. It doesn't mean you have low willpower. It doesn't mean you're defective. It doesn't mean you're a piece of crap or anything. He was saying that there's four main risk factors, AKA causes. So four main risk factors or causes, of why people develop substance use issues and then quit and then get cravings and use again and relapse.

Matt Finch: So they're all under the umbrella term of substance issues. Number one, poor nutrition. Within that is poor food choices, as well as soil that is grown. So food that's grown in soil that's depleted in minerals and other nutrients. So poor soil, poor food choices, as well as maldigestion and malabsorption. So all four of those are just under the first main risk factor, poor nutrition. Number two, toxins. You were just talking about this, when we were talking, before we started the episode about heavy metal detox... Oh wait, you'd mentioned that on this podcast too. We talked a little bit about it before too. Heavy metal detox, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, drugs and alcohol and cigarettes. Chemical sweeteners that are not natural sweeteners. These are all toxins. So many different toxins. Number three is stress, acute and/or chronic. And number four is genetic vulnerabilities.

Matt Finch: So those are the four things. So a lot of people just simply don't know, oh, I'll go to AA meetings every single day for 90 days and that'll help me stop. That works great for, I don't know how many people, one in 10, two in 10. Who knows? But it doesn't work great for the vast majority of people to go there. Why? They're not changing their eating habits. They're not changing their amount of stress. Well, I guess AA meetings can definitely reduce stress, but poor nutrition is the main one. Toxins, genetic vulnerabilities, all that. AA meetings, counseling, individual counseling, that does nothing for our biochemical health, does nothing for our cellular optimization, does nothing. And then drugs and alcohol. The funny thing is, instead of doing healthier things to adapt to stress, since drugs and alcohol work so quickly, they kick in so quick.

Matt Finch: They require almost nothing, especially alcohol, it's so inexpensive. All you have to do is drink it. It's not even like pills you swallow, or not even something you have to smoke or inject. It's a beverage that you drink. Available everywhere, very inexpensive. And it helps us to deal with those emotions we don't want to feel, with those thoughts that we don't want to think, with those feelings that we're done feeling. It's, ah, alcohol can... But what does it do though? It's not like it's got this mystical cunning and baffling and powerful effects, like mystical alcohol. All alcohol does is bind to the GABA receptors, which spikes our GABA. And then it also spikes our dopamine. And for a lot of people that have this genetic vulnerability to alcohol, there's this toxic byproduct of alcohol, THQ, which I think I've heard you talk about a few times, which means that we also increase our endorphins from drinking alcohol.

Matt Finch: And then for some people it elevates their serotonin too. So these are neuro chemicals, mood and behavior neurotransmitters that we already create. When we're younger, when we're growing up as kids, they're optimized, we're in a good mood. We're not craving drugs or alcohol. We're not depressed, for the most part, I know. Not all kids are created equal, but then when we become adults, and we have all this stress, and we got all these bills, and we go through all these negative experiences in life, relationship breakups, bad jobs and careers, betrayal, getting stabbed in the back by your best friend. So much stuff happens. Then we start eating shittier and shittier. As we age, things will catch up with us. So all we're drinking for, and all we're taking opioids for, all we're taking meth for, is simply because they bind to receptor sites in our central nervous system, brain and spinal cord, that we already have the raw materials to create these neurotransmitters. All drugs do is, they come in, bind to receptors, and depending on the substance, they create specific neurotransmitters.

Matt Finch: Along with dopamine, all addictive drugs produce the neurotransmitter of the receptor they bind to. For example, opioids are our endogenous pain killer. So opioids spike endorphin and dopamine, alcohol spikes at least GABA, because it binds to GABA receptors and dopamine. Adderall and other stimulants of that type, where do those bind to? Dopamine receptors?

Chris Scott: Dopamine. Yeah. Or their [inaudible 00:36:58] uptake of dopamine. Yeah.

Matt Finch: Yeah. It's a little bit interesting. So there's just so many different things. That's what's cunning, baffling and powerful. It's when people don't understand that the physical substance that they're administering to themselves is having physical effects on a physical organ, the brain. And when we stop doing that, after repeated consistent exposure, our brain has taken a break on producing those specific neurotransmitters, because the substance was doing that. So to save energy, it stops doing that. And to make sure we don't get too much of it, it stops doing that.

Matt Finch: Then when we stop, it's not doing that. It's still short circuited. That was a long way of saying, how does one become more adaptable for addiction recovery? First of all, figure out what's going on here. If your drug of choice is alcohol or if it's benzos or whatever it is, figure out where it binds to, what neurotransmitters it spikes, then figure out different ways you can spike those same neurotransmitters with supplements, with protein foods, with cold plunges, with exercise. Exercise increases pretty much every neurotransmitter, and brain drive neurotrophic factor, and our endocannabinoid system. It's just amazing. Yesterday I was feeling, not necessarily bad, but I was used to a certain amount of energy, getting more and more each day. And my energy tanked yesterday. I was like, oh no, what the hell?

Matt Finch: So that kind of bummed me out. I'm like, is this it? Am I going to get that energy back? So rather than go and buy some pills, some stimulants, like I would've done in the past or snort a bunch of oxycodone, which used to give me energy, or smoke some heroin, which used to give me energy, I went right up the street to YMCA, did a 25 minute jog on the treadmill with beautiful scenery. There was this beautiful run program, so I was also calming pictures and feeling like I was there. And then I did a leg workout after that. Then I came home and I took a shower and I felt amazing. Slept really good and woke up today feeling amazing.

Chris Scott: Hey everyone, Chris Scott here. If you like the information on today's episode regarding supplementation and empowerment strategies for addiction recovery, then please subscribe to the Elevation Recovery podcast and leave us a rating and review on iTunes. And if you benefited directly from this information, I'm confident in saying that you'll love the information packed online courses that Matt Finch and I have created. Matt Finch's ultimate opiate detox 4.0 is a six module, 30 activity course that contains video lessons, written lessons, PDF downloads, worksheets, audios, and much more. And it has everything you could possibly need to know to conquer opioid addiction in the easiest and most comfortable way possible. My own course, Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0, is the most cutting edge resource for anyone who wants to transcend alcohol and build their best lives. To get these courses, to learn more, and to read testimonials, simply go to opiateaddictionsupport.com/ultimate. Again that's opiateaddictionsupport.com/ultimate for Matt's course, or for my course go to fit-recovery.com/course. Again, that's fit-recovery.com/course. You can also go to elevationrecovery.com to see the show notes for this episode.

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