The Link Between ADHD & Addiction – Ft. Zach Reeder, Fit Recovery Coach

In episode 291 of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, Matt Finch interviews Zach Reeder, a Fit Recovery Coach. They discuss their personal experiences with neurodivergence and addiction, and how they can impact each other.

They talk about how different substances and symptoms can mix to affect the body differently, and how to push through the addiction.

Links to Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Here are some ways to learn from this episode:

Zach Reeder: Journaling and exercise, and meditation, and things that I'm intentionally exacting focus into my task positive network of my brain. And that's been so much more effective and it's such a hell of a growth experience. Instead of going, "Okay. Well, I just need to be able to get this prescription. There's a pill for that. I need to make sure I can get my medicine." Your medicine is how you choose to accept your diagnosis and grow from it. Grow from the discomfort of it because it can be very uncomfortable.

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

Matt Finch: Welcome back my friend. My name is Matt Finch, your host. And here is Papaya, my sidekick. And today we're sitting with coach Zach Reeder, a fit recovery coach who you and I have done a few episodes now. They always seem to be really popular. You and I have a very similar background with our addictions and with our neurodivergent brains, with our interests, with music and such and stuff, our personalities and everything. So they always seem to flow. And we've had several topics before. I think the last one you and I did together was how to create a alcohol-free life that is enjoyable and not boring, right? That was the last one. [inaudible 00:01:27]-

Zach Reeder: Yeah. That was a good one. I enjoyed that one.

Matt Finch: Yeah. That one was great. Today is going to be something that I feel like a lot of watchers and listeners are going to really resonate with, and that is the topic of ADHD and the link between ADHD and addiction and how those two interplay, how they both can exacerbate each other, how the statistics are in... Basically people with ADHD get into alcohol abuse and alcoholism exponentially more, and drug addiction exponentially more too. There's the two types of ADHD or three types really, the inattention, the hyperactivity, and then there's combination of both. And it happens way more in boys than it happens in girls. It happens in childhood, typically. So many adults nowadays are finally realizing, "Oh. This is why I've been like this all my life. I have ADD or ADHD."

Well, a bunch of people still don't even know. You and I both didn't know any of this back then. We found that when we mixed certain substances together, when we were our own master chemist, better living through chemistry, you and I figured out through trial and error, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, different dosages, different types, different routes of administration, what have you, and we didn't really take it so much to get high, although we did like to get high and euphoric a lot of the time. But the reason you and I both did this stuff chronically, long-term, is kind of a coping mechanism, adaptation, even resource you could call it, was just so we could feel balanced, so we could feel kind of normal, so we could be not depressed, not anxious, not hyperactive, not inattentive, not low dopamine, whatever it was. And we didn't know all this stuff back then. We didn't have the language. We just knew that something was messed up with us. And when we used certain substances and those combinations I said, ah, we felt balanced. So with that, I'll just open it up and we'll see where this goes. ADHD and addiction, my man.

Zach Reeder: Yeah. So if you go the Doc Amen route, Daniel Amen... Some of the work that he's done with brain scans and ADHD, I just love hearing him talk about it. But by his account, there's actually seven types that fall within the paradigm of inattentive, hyperactive or both, and then some variation of symptoms. But that just kind of gives insight into how neurodivergence is such a broad spectrum, and I even say spectrum because we're dealing with something that very similarly can be looked at like an autism spectrum or any other thing that has the dichotomy that way.

Yeah. I'll tell you, it's a blessing and a curse to be able to put a label and kind of a diagnosis, so to speak, on why you do some of the things that you do or why I do some of the things that I do. I go, "Oh. That's my ADHD." When things are out of sight, out of mind for me, and if I don't write it down or if I don't do it right away, it's gone. Or the fact that everything feels equally important and urgent all at the same time. Man, it's a pain. Or there's sometimes where I just feel completely anhedonic and I might have had a strategy and a structure for the entire day, and I hit a wall with how I feel, and my plans go out the window because I'm in such an alarmed state of craving some sort of stimulation that if I were in a different place in my life, would ultimately lead me into some very terrible place where I'm going dark side for days, just finding everything I can to put in my body to stimulate until I'm done.

But that's the dichotomy of being understimulated, we get overstimulated and then we're goners for days. We'll just crawl under our seats and stay away from everybody. We'll isolate for days until somehow the pendulum kind of starts swinging a little less and a little less from that pain, pleasure spectrum. But I'm kind of going off on a big, long tangent. But I guess the place to start, and what I would want all the listeners and the viewers to challenge is, "Am I overcome by this societal stigma of being an alcoholic or an addict, or am I self medicating something that I haven't considered?" Because it's not even a secret that there's such co-occurring comorbid circumstances happening with alcoholism and other substance use disorders along with mental health disorders or mental health issues, situations, however you want to say it.

But for me, I remember being diagnosed with ADHD at a very early age. And when I was eight years old, I was medicated. I was on Ritalin, I was on guanfacine, which is generic for clonidine. I remember being in fourth grade and that being... I remember when I got medicated, that being the best academic year I ever had, fourth grade. I got all my schoolwork done. I was pretty good kid in class, well liked. I didn't have a lot of issues at home. And my biological father, who I didn't live with, was very agitated at the fact that I was eight years old and being medicated with stimulants and other things. So through enough pressure, I got taken off the medication in fifth grade and I chunked out. I got pretty big for a 10-year-old, and my grades significantly dropped. I was very distracted. And then that carried into middle school and in high school of just being very, very distracted and exploring substance use as I got into the end of middle school and then high school. And then that carried into my adult life of drinking and using stimulants.

And here's the challenge too... And this is something that I started to understand not that long ago as I started to recall being medicated as a kid. So Ritalin being a stimulant, methylphenidate, and clonidine being something similar to a benzo, but not quite a benzo. Clonidine slows you down a little bit. So if anybody's ever done amphetamines or methamphetamine, you understand what it feels to be keyed up and tense, and you're jittery, right? So the idea of clonidine is, that kind of pumps the brakes on that and keeps the body relaxed so you can stay stimulated and your executive function can do its work. They work really well together. Also, clonidine is really good for people that struggle with... And a lot of people with ADHD struggle with RSD, which stands for rejection sensitivity dysphoria. We can talk about that in a little bit.

So imagine being on a stimulant and something of a benzo, and we know that benzodiazepines are the closest thing to alcohol, right? So we're playing on our GABA receptors, we're playing on our dopamine and norepinephrine through either what I described, Ritalin and clonidine, or as an adult I was doing the exact same thing and I didn't realize that I was doing it with cocaine and Jameson. This was my Ritalin and my clonidine and as an adult. And there was these windows of time, and of course you're going to go over it if you're medicating yourself with illicit and otherwise substances, but every day that I would use, there was this window of time that it felt perfect. I felt right. I felt normal, one with universe type. And it wasn't I was drunk or high, it I could think. Yeah. That's when you feel those amazing conversations come through and those epiphanies in your mind and you're like, "This is how I'm supposed to feel." Of course we go back to it. Of course you're going to go back to that. So I'll pause right there. What do you think?

Matt Finch: Oh. Just like all our podcasts we've done together, every time I hear you say anything throughout the beginning, all the way to the end, it's just so interesting for me. And this is really good for ADHD too, because it helps to keep us focused on something that we're both very interested in, passionate about. And one of the key kind of hallmarks of ADHD is that kind of tuning out and having a really hard difficulty paying attention and staying tuned in for extended periods of time with things that we're not motivated to do so. And I really don't like studying ADHD because it's just... I can study addiction because it's easy, because I transcended that shit a long time ago. It's hard for me to study and even talk about ADHD because I haven't transcended it. I don't know if I ever will completely. I go through phases where I really have it under control, managed, mitigated, mostly balanced, but to attain a level of consistency with that, having not transcended it, outgrown it, completely changed, it's kind of bittersweet to talk about, because we're going to be helping people, and you and I have made so much progress.

But I love what Dr. Gabor Maté says about ADHD. He's so amazing. I remember him saying that most traditional doctors, the average doctor, views ADHD as not just a disorder, but a disease that is both genetic and inheritable. Well, it's a inheritable genetic disease. And he says that it's neither. He says, "It's not a disease, nor is it inheritable." And he likens it to in childhood when we're especially one or two years old, if the parents are stressed out, and especially if we're kind of higher sensitivity children than regular kids, high sensitivity children are extremely prone to absorbing the stress of the parents in that environment. And he says that most doctors... He didn't learn this in medical school and most doctors still don't even know about it, how the environment shapes and programs our brain. So he likens the process to if there's early childhood stressors as a one or two-year-old, three-year-old, whatever, if it's stressful stuff going on, guess what? You can't fight back and you can't flee. You can't fight or flight. So what do you, you tune out. You can't fight and you can't flee. So there's this natural tuning out.And so, he views ADHD, most of the time, as a early onset childhood coping mechanism of tuning out when they can't fight or flight. Instead, they're absorbing the stressors. So he says it's a coping tool, an NLP, we could call it a resource. So it starts off as a resource just like drugs and alcohol start off as a resource for many people. So ADHD could be a resource, that tuning out. Then what happens is, it becomes an exhausted resource, or it becomes a coping tool that started off for fitting a good purpose and being helpful, but then later on in life, no, it's not a resource anymore. It's not helpful now. What was once an asset has become a liability, and now your brain has literally programmed the circuitry to be the certain way of tuning out and not having the ability, oftentimes, to sit there and focus through things that are really boring or that you really don't like. So then when people with ADHD find, like you said, those magic combinations, whether it was the Ritalin and the clonidine, a stimulant and sympatholytic blood pressure reducing, calming, you had an upper and a downer...

My man, I used to love the combinations of uppers and downers. I remember this one time, and like you, I had so many different drug combinations and experiences, but I remember this one time feeling, just like you were saying, that just perfectness, presence, good mood, focus, not too high, not too low, just dialed into reality. Just wow, fully present, mood was good. I was like, "If I could just feel like this all the time, I'd be unstoppable in life." My friends and I were going to see an air show down in downtown San Diego at Seaport Village, which is on the bay right next to the Pacific Ocean, next to downtown San Diego. So in the backdrop, there's all these big skyscrapers and all this commotion going on. Where we were was this little tourist attraction called Seaport Village, where there's all these cool touristy shops and restaurants, and there's this beautiful boardwalk right along the water, which is the bay. And then on the other side of that, it leaks into the Pacific Ocean.

So this air show was all these really old airplanes doing tricks and stuff like racing, doing tricks. So we were on the way down there. I think I was 25, maybe 26, 25 or 26. There was a bunch of us. So somebody gave me one Adderall. It was a 30 milligram Adderall, which is pretty powerful. I didn't have a tolerance. Another person gave me a 10 milligram Norco, and I was riding in the back of this truck on the freeway, and we were smoking a little bit of weed, not a lot, just a few hits of some good chronic weed. So I had taken the 10 milligrams of Norco, which was binding the mu opioid receptors, thereby boosting my endorphins, enkephalins, dynorphins, all those endogenous euphoria painkillers, and really spiking my dopamine. Then the Adderall just spiking the living daylights out of my dopamine. And then we were smoking weed in the back of the truck while those were kicking in. And the weed is spiking dopamine and serotonin. So I was on uppers, downers, painkillers, and all-rounders and psychotropics. That's the only time I ever tried that combination. A Norco, an Adderall and some chronic. I never was able to do it just like that again. For whatever reason, it didn't work out like that. But I felt, like I was saying, amazing, perfect.

Many other times I loved opioids and I loved alcohol, but oftentimes those would make me hypomanic. So the hypomania from these CNS depressants would make me more hyperactive and more impulsive, which led to horrible decisions, not thinking about the consequences. "Oh, yeah. Let's go to Mexico and let's stay up all night, and go surfing, doing coke or whatever." Just bad decisions. Hypomanic, hyperactive. So I really liked to combine, especially opioids with benzos like you're... Because opioids were my methamphetamine basically. Opioids gave me hypomanic energy, unlike alcohol even, and really focused energy because on those I wouldn't black out, I wouldn't get arrested. Like alcohol, it gave me energy, but I would often go to jail or black out, do something stupid or drink too much and then the energy went away and I was passing out. Opioids, the more I did, the more energy I got. But it was really hyperactive energy and I would cut people off when they were talking. I was really talkative and excited, right?

So I found that the combination of opioids with benzos, for example, a Percocet and a Valium, or a morphine and a Xanax, or a couple hits of heroin and an Adivan, any combination of opioids and benzos, that was much like the combination of the Adderall, the Norco and the weed. The benzos brought down the hyperactivity and brought down the impulsivity while simultaneously, synergistically boosting my sedation and relaxation. So it was energy with the breaks on it. Just like your combinations you were talking about. There's this point where you can go too much with the energy. Then you're just like, "That doesn't solve the ADHD problem, that makes [inaudible 00:20:42]-"

Zach Reeder: Makes it worse.

Matt Finch: Makes it worse, right? So then it comes down to being our own doctor, being our own chemist, self-medicating. And at least with you, you got diagnosed at an early age. So you kind of knew that from the start. I had ADHD my entire life and didn't know until my mid thirties probably.

Zach Reeder: Yeah. So as a kid, I was diagnosed, yes, but well into my recovery, did it correlate that I still wasn't treating my diagnosed ADHD from an early age. That has translated now to adult ADHD and God knows how the alcohol and stimulant use has exacerbated on a semi-permanent or a permanent level made my ADHD worse, right? So now it's this adventure of getting diagnosed as an adult. And this is what I'll say in terms of that. It's really, really difficult to get an ADHD diagnosis as an adult, regardless of whether you've had one as a kid. Because to get prescribed ADHD medication as an adult seems like it's frowned upon. And I'll just say it seems like. I certainly have no specific evidence to back that up other than my own experience with my own doctors and psychiatrists in trying to... I think that there's definitely efficacy in modern medicine as well as homeopathic and what we do with fit recovery and supplementation, athletic or otherwise.

So I think that to a degree, when you're dealing with a biochemical issue that is not brought on by substance use and is there long after substance use, there's something that has to be addressed on a medical level and a psychiatric level. So now it's this adventure of figuring out what medications are acceptable and actually getting the diagnosis, and then having to be transparent with medical staff and otherwise that you've had a preexisting substance use problem. So now there's this underlying stigma. So they have to wonder, "Is he looking to get medications because he's a drug addict, or is he trying to be better as a human being?" And they're just trying to watch their asses. There's obviously the do no harm and they don't want to get sued or whatever. Again, I'm going off on a tangent. This is my current experience with almost a year now of wrestling with nurse practitioners and a doctor, and a psychiatrist on being appropriately medicated.

And the realization I've come to is that one, I'm my best support when it comes to managing my ADHD. And regardless of the medication, there's definitely interventions that I can have intervene on myself in very efficacious ways regarding supplementation as well as behavioral, and especially behavioral. What I've found is, when we do things that can strengthen our own executive function and changing our habits, and structuring ourselves in a way that is pro-growth and proactive instead of reactive in the sense of... People with ADHD and RSD are emotionally dysregulated pretty severely anyway. So our feelings become very explosive, whether they're good or bad, they're just big. So I've learned that the best thing I can do for me, regardless of... Medication's incredibly helpful and currently I'm prescribed Wellbutrin. I don't feel like it's really helping the situation. Maybe it does for some people, because it's an SNRI. It's supposed to help boost dopamine, norepinephrine. I feel like tyrosine and DL-Phenylalanine does a hell of a lot better.

But journaling and exercise, and meditation and things that I'm intentionally exacting focus into my task positive network of my brain, that's been so much more effective and such a hell of a growth experience. Instead of going, "Okay. Well, I just need to be able to get this prescription. There's a pill for that. I need to make sure I can get my medicine." Your medicine is how you choose to accept your diagnosis and grow from the discomfort of it. Because it can be a very uncomfortable thing to... Like you were talking about you, are you going to transcend it? No. But can you live with it? Can you find ways to challenge or even see it as an asset?

Because another thing Gabor Maté said is that being ADHD isn't about being attention deficit. We have too much attention. There's a surplus of attention, everything. We pay attention to everything and all at once. And that's the problem. But can it also be harnessed? I think so, because I think that some of the most creative things that I've ever been able to come up with as far as in the entrepreneurial spirit, in music, in my life is because my brain is going everywhere all the time. And once you find a way to harness that, then there's something, and it makes you special. It makes you special I don't want to be neurotypical. I'm completely cool with being neurodivergent.

Matt Finch: Oh, yeah. I love all that stuff you were saying. And I don't look at it as a disease or even a disorder. I look at it as our brains are just a little bit different. And if you look online, there's even articles on the best types of jobs or careers, professions for people with ADHD. And so, interestingly, some of the top ones on that list are entrepreneurs. So many entrepreneurs and business owners have ADHD and or anxiety or even bipolar, but it's very high. Musicians or other types of artists, teachers, sales representatives. That's why I just love talking about know thy self, self-knowledge so much. The more people can really know about themselves and their uniqueness, and their brains, and their values, and their personalities, all this type of stuff, what gets them lit up, what helps them the most, then you can really... The more you know about yourself, the more you can customize your life, your personal life and your professional life, to be a good congruent resonance to yourself. What makes you unique?

And that's another reason that you and I... I'm sure you too as well as me, why we did alcohol and drugs and everything. A big reason was because our lifestyles, personal and professional, were not optimized to cohesively glue together, what makes us unique with what would best serve us personally and professionally? Now for both of us, our lifestyles are way more in tune with how we can best live.

I had the same thing with psychiatrists too. Once I realized, "Oh, shit. Some dopamine and or norepinephrine stuff, some type of medication would probably really help." I was looking into testing it out and trying it just like you, with the history of drug and alcohol addiction, all on my record, overdoses, hospital, detox administrations, arrests, getting busted by the DEA. You look at my record and it's like, "Oh, I'm not giving this guy anything that could possibly addicted." No benzos, no ADHD stimulant meds, no anything like that. I could get clonidine, I could get a SSRI, I could get a SNRI, I could get anything besides stuff that could potentially be addictive.

So fortunately, several years ago... God, it must be maybe six years ago actually by now, I learned about Nootropics or Nootropics or Nootropics, or so many fun ways to pronounce it. And I started studying those and I wrote a big long article on them and learned a lot about them. And I started to test them out on myself. So for at least two or three years, I would periodically take a Nootropic called adrafinil, which is a 12 to 14-hour fast-acting dopamine reuptake inhibitor. And oh my goodness gracious, I would take one 300 milligram capsule, which is the smallest dosage it comes in, and some of the best articles and videos I ever did were under the influence of one capsule of adrafinil. And I would stack it with citicoline, aka Cognizin, another Nootropic that is just supposed to boost the efficacy of the adrafinil.

And so, every day I took that, I would be focused, I would be motivated, I would be on point, I would be energized, I would be able to just... My creativity was at least 10 X'd, Zach. I was like, "Wow." So it went from using it maybe a few times a month, and then over the span of several months, maybe once a week to twice a week, and then another several months down the line, I would take it two to three, maybe four times a week. Eventually I was just like, "You know what? I think I should just..." Because when you don't take it every day, then you don't get as much of a tolerance and you certainly don't get a dependent. So for a few years, I think, I was using it without ever getting physically dependent. I never got a psychological addiction or dependence to it. It's long-acting. So it's kind of 12 to 14 hours. It's not like taking a fast-released Adderall, amphetamine salt just like, "Whoo."

Zach Reeder: That's what amphetamines do too, though. They inhibit the reuptake of dopamine and that's why they last forever.

Matt Finch: They last so long. So anyways, here I am, finally getting to the point where, "Okay. Maybe I should just take this stuff daily." There's a cost benefit analysis. I was like, "I'll get a bigger tolerance to it and I will become physically dependent." Meaning that if I were to stop it cold turkey after prolonged daily use, I'm going to go through physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. I crossed that bridge when I came to it and after years of using it without dependence, finally I just said, "You know what? I'm just going to take this every day and see what happens." So I started off taking one capsule per morning. Then after about a year, I moved up to two capsules a morning, and I never went above two capsules. I think four capsules a day is a high dose. So I was on a moderately low or moderate dose. And it was great. That's how we built the podcast. Just so much ADHD relief when I was on adrafinil daily. I didn't need a damn psychiatrist. I didn't need a pharmacy. I could go to nootropicsdepot.com, great website. They probably have over a hundred products. And it was really inexpensive and I could dose myself. I didn't have to go through any hoops and hurdles, and red tape with seeing a psychiatrist every month or couple months, making sure the pharmacy had it, paying all these ridiculous prices for it, potentially.

Then guess what? The Food and Drug Administration said, "Oh. Too many people are taking adrafinil". And obviously they're in bed with Big Pharma too. So it was taking away from a lot of Big Pharma profits. I'm not a conspiracy theory, this is just one plus one usually equals two. If you Google, if you type into any internet search, pharmaceutical companies criminal fines, you'll just see thousands and thousands of pages of articles on all these big pharmaceutical companies paying millions or even billions of dollars of criminal lawsuits and fines, and reparations. So they're fraudulent as shit all the time. Anyways, they took it off the market and banned it. Then I had to go off it cold turkey. It was easy because I just had a bunch of L-Tyrosine, DLPA like you were talking about, caffeine and everything. So it wasn't hard. But ever since then, it's been about 18 months, guess what? I've had ADHD again. My magic little two capsules in the morning are gone. So now I'm like, "Fuck." So that's my experience with it.

Zach Reeder: Yeah. And that's interesting that you brought up adrafinil. I'm sure you've seen the movie Limitless, right?

Matt Finch: Yeah.

Zach Reeder: There's this other prescription drug that they've... And I've never used it, so I don't know. I considered asking my nurse practitioner about it.

Matt Finch: Modafinil?

Zach Reeder: Modafinil. Yeah. Which is Provigil, which is an off-label medication that's been tried with ADHD, but is not something that's typically... It's typically something that's prescribed to somebody with narcolepsy, right? So wakefulness prescription.

Matt Finch: [inaudible 00:36:30].

Zach Reeder: Yeah. Yeah. So I've been looking at that too. So that's what made me think of that. So I wonder if that was the evolution of that, going from a Nootropic to a prescription drug.

Matt Finch: Well, that's what adrafinil does. I didn't mention that, but all adrafinil does, soon as you swallow a capsule, or it also used to come in powders, all it does is, it converts in your body to modafinil. Just like you were saying, the Bradley Cooper movie, Limitless, when he would take this pill... That movie was allegedly based on the modafinil, Nootrpic, long-acting dopamine reuptake inhibitor, wakefulness promoter for things like narcolepsy, for things like daytime sleepiness from being on opioid, chronic pain treatment.

Yeah. So I guess I could ask my psychiatrist for modafinil. Because I did five years ago, and she said, "No. I asked for modafinil. She said, "No." But now after five years of never doing anything bad with any types of treatments that I've been... Just always being a good patient, only going in there about twice a year typically. So I guess I could ask again. But like you said, man, the doctors, psychiatrists, and physicians, there's always this fear you were talking about where, "Oh. They've got a history of addiction. So if I prescribe them this and they get addicted, they overdose on it or whatever, that's going to come back to me." So I think many of them, if not of the highest percentage of them, are very cautious. And I would be too. It's like, "Hey. You got a history with addiction. I'm not risking my medical license and my livelihood in life on somebody that has this past." So it's like you become between a rock and a hard place. You know and I know that we could take these... I took adrafinil responsibly for all those years, of course I could take modafinil responsibly.

But then there's this point where you get diminishing returns when you take it daily, because you get a tolerance. And then if you're to not be able to get it again, then you go through a withdrawal process. So it's no fun to be chemically dependent on something to where if you were to stop taking it, you might not be able to function.

Zach Reeder: Right. Right. So that's probably a good segue into talking about in terms of how do we... So for the listeners and the viewers that are going, "Okay. Well, this makes a lot of sense. So if I don't want to go the route of having to talk with doctors and get on prescriptions, is there something that I can do in terms of supplementation and lifestyle changes and nutrition, some concepts that I can wrap my head around that I can start doing right now for considerably less effort and cheaper than having to go through the whole rigamarole of do I or don't I have ADHD?" And I'll say that all of this is strictly educational and it's just meant to be information, certainly not making any-

Matt Finch: [inaudible 00:39:45].

Zach Reeder: Yeah. Yeah. So there's things in addiction or in neurodivergence, and really to me, it all feels the same. So we have lower executive function, and that's because of lower dopamine and norepinephrine and epinephrine. And actually, we have some other issues with the way that we process choline, and the way that we metabolize glucose, which we need glucose to function for our executive function. So you have all these things working against you, but there's some supplements and nutritional concepts that we can discuss before even behavioral changes.

So we already talk about the importance of incorporating something like L-Tyrosine and DLPA into alcohol recovery to boost dopamine, to boost endorphins, but for someone that's neurodivergent, this might be something that you want to consider doing long-term instead of just in your recovery process. What I've found personally is that... I take somewhere around four grams, probably, of DPLA a day, and that's about two grams in the morning, two grams in the afternoon. And that seems to be a good spot for me. And I take a little less tyrosine. I take a gram and a half of tyrosine in the morning with that DLPA and my glutamine, to take five grams of glutamine in the morning.

And so, being able to boost my dopamine, boost my discomfort tolerance, I guess, through our endogenous opiates, opioid receptors, and regulating my glucose more efficiently through the use of glutamine, I'm in a way dealing with the deficiencies that are naturally biochemical with or without the alcohol recovery piece. So dealing strictly with the ADHD, there's a positive outcome in just the use of tyrosine, DLPA and glutamine in boosting the three things that you need for better executive function, which means that you're going to be less impulsive, means that your tolerance for discomfort is going to be higher. So you're having a higher distress tolerance. And I guess that's really about it as far as supplements in relation to ADHD, other than things like... We can boost choline with something like alpha-GPC, which is a... That's something that I use. If I know I'm going to sit down and have to really focus, and this is something I learned from Andrew Huberman, Huberman Labs, alpha-GPC about a half an hour before I know I'm getting ready to do some deep work, about a 300 milligram capsule, and I can sit for about an hour and function a lot better than if I don't take it. So that's all I got. I got distracted and then I remember I had food in the oven, so.

Matt Finch: Don't let it burn. Stay right there. Let me just grab this supplement. It's right here. I got it. I'm coming [inaudible 00:43:33]. This is a good jump off point into different types of supplements. Then we can talk about lifestyles, habits, routines, and then we can end it.

First of all, I love L-Tyrosine, boost dopamine and focus real well. And it's amazing. I like DLPA for my biochemistry even better. Like you, I often stack them together and I take about the same dosages as you too. And I experiment with him. This is something that I've taken from time to time. I don't take it often all the time because it's so expensive. This is by... I think his name's Ben Greenfield, right? The Ben Greenfield fitness podcast guy. I'm not sure if he's on this company or just promotes it, but it's by Neurohacker Collective. I don't make any money promoting this. Qualia Mind, premium cognitive support, focused memory and drive. Like you were just saying, alpha-GPC, it's got citocoline like I was talking about earlier, Mucuna pruriens, DHA, theobromine, phosphatidyldine, ginkgo biloba, let's see, Huperzine, L-theanine, taurine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, DLPA, rhodiola, Bacopa, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, high-dose B vitamins, some vitamin C, some vitamin D3 and a few other things. And the dosage is seven capsules first thing in the morning when you wake up, and they're gigantic capsules. So I've had really good... And it also has organic coffee berry, so there's fruit extracts. So it's got 90 milligrams of caffeine. There's also a caffeine-free version.

Anyways, a lot of these kind of Nootropic combinations, I've found, can work well, especially with extra DLPA, extra L-Tyrosine, glutamine, but they're often so expensive. And with inflation the way it is, I don't know about you Zach, but inflation with food, with feeding a family... It's just me and Willow here, but she's going to be 13 in a few months. She's five foot nine. I wasn't even five foot nine sophomore year in high school. And she's in seventh grade and she's five foot-

Zach Reeder: I'm not five foot nine now.

Matt Finch: Right. So she's like a little 12 and a half-year-old. Anyways, she eats more than I do. And so, between inflation with the groceries, with the gas prices, I can't afford the types of supplement protocols that I was taking even a year ago. Before, about a year ago, I was on the Bomb Diggity supplement protocols. Now I really got to be picky and choosy. And I notice that when my supplement protocols are not as juiced up, so to speak, the ADHD and the fatigue... As you know, I just had to take four weeks off of 95% of work due to chronic burnout, ADHD burnout. You were saying earlier, and then I'll shut up, I know you got food in the oven, that we focus too much and everything has the same importance. That takes up a lot of glucose. Our brains burn way more glucose and stuff like that, and power and energy, and vital energy than physically. So then here we are, our minds are just, "Whoo whoo.", that's burning out our daily power and vital energy. It's not an efficient way to go, go, go when we're doing that. So it's so important that we do these types of minimum natural therapies. So we talked about supplements. I'll also mention real quick lithium orotate and fish oil or other types of omega-3 [inaudible 00:47:27]-

Zach Reeder: Omegas, for sure.

Matt Finch: You and I were talking about this earlier too, limiting or completely eliminating or greatly limiting things like high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, especially the artificial colors and artificial flavors, stuff like that. And then we can just talk about kind of habits and routines and then we can end this episode, which has been amazing by the way.

Zach Reeder: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I love it. Yeah. I think when we're talking about habits and routines, the behavioral thing is what really sets things positively in motion. And it's moving from being reactive to trying to put everything into a proactive lens, right? So things like journaling, because there's so much going up here all the time. And I think most people probably have that problem, and I think most people would benefit from some sort of journaling habit. But I've recently, over the last several months, have taken up bullet journaling. So the bullet journal method. It's-

Matt Finch: Like one line a day or something like that?

Zach Reeder: No. So there's a book on it and it's written by a guy named Ryder Carroll. He's the one that developed the bullet journal method. I would highly suggest that you look that up. So essentially, I use a gray dotted notebook but it's very shorthand. So everything's real short. It's not writing paragraphs of... I use this for my daily planner, my to-do list. So it's kind of this mixture of my digital calendar and this instead of a structured daily planner. This is not structured and I don't feel confined to it. I can keep it interesting and novel, which helps with not feeling bored by it or feeling like I'm kind of getting burnt out on doing the same thing over and over. I can write it however I want.

But developing structure around having a morning routine... The morning routine, for me, has been really, really good. And this is something I talk to my clients about all the time. Getting yourself together in the morning. Maybe you won't follow it every day all the time, but if you can have your plan together in the morning of the things that you're going to do, not just the things you have to do, the things that you want to do, because if all you ever focus on is the things that you have to do, you are going to shift. It's inevitable. You will shift into the, excuse my language, but fuck this schedule. I'm going to do whatever the fuck I want to do because you're going to burn yourself out. So you have to, as often as you need to, put in chunks of time to either break away from your work or find something that you enjoy, even if it is scrolling Facebook or taking a power nap or walking around.

Matt Finch: [inaudible 00:50:43] make love with my partner.

Zach Reeder: Perfect. Yeah. But I think that the mornings... I've kind of got into the whole Hal Elrod Miracle Morning, using the savers. So if nobody's familiar with savers, it's silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading and then scribing. And I think that being able to utilize that and really having an agenda... Because the more that we can initiate, again, into a task positive network... And I'll explain this really quick. So essentially, we work through two different modes in our brains, our default mode network or our DMN, the demon, or our task positive network, our TPN. So the idea is that we can shift back and forth between one and the other, but with neurodivergent people, we're doing both at the same time a lot. So we can be sitting here focusing on having this conversation, and I'm thinking about my food that's in the oven right now, or I could be sitting here reading a book and I'm reading this paragraph and I'm reading the paragraph, but I'm thinking about what I did earlier or that I got to call this person and then I go, "Shit. I got to read that paragraph over again."

And so, what I mean is, our default mode network is where we go to ruminate, to worry, to daydream, to think about thinking. That's where we go to think. Task positive network is being like... If you were to try to think of going through the entire alphabet, A to Z, and trying to name a band from every letter, you would have to go task positive network. There's not a way you could think about being mad or what you're getting ready to eat or anything else, a pink elephant. You're not going to think about anything other than naming your band from A to Z, right? So that's just task positive network.

So the best thing we can do is to try to put ourself in our TPN. And the way that we do that is through proactive work, like developing our schedule or being intentional with meditations. Meditation is a really powerful way to practice going into our TPN, just focusing on your breathing and then noticing when you have thoughts, being able to accept and then just roll back into the focusing on the breathing. And so, getting yourself into habits and behaviors that are intuitive and conducive to strengthening your ability to focus because there's no replacement for that work.

Matt Finch: Brain exercises like that.

Zach Reeder: Yeah. Yeah. There's no amount of medicine or supplementation, or nutrition that can replace doing the intentional work to strengthen those concepts and those pieces of our neural networks and our neural pathways.

Matt Finch: Oh. That's so beautiful. Yeah. Those types of things are so beneficial because our brains are plastic. Through neuroplasticity, our brains can go descending as far as their optimization, and balance and health, or through neuroplasticity, we can upgrade and then balance and then re-upgrade and create new higher levels of baselines. What I've found is that things like stress can make all that more difficult, but it makes it even more important. Okay. So I know your food's about going to get ready. I'll just say quickly, my routine for the morning, and then I think we gave people... This has been a fire hose episode. This is like drinking from a fire hose for the information.

Zach Reeder: It's a lot. It's a lot.

Matt Finch: So I get up, lots of water to hydrate, a bunch of different supplements with amino acids, the Qualia Mind, at least currently. Then I jump in the shower, end it with cold water because that cold water increases norepinephrine, which gets your motivation and your focus and your happiness going, and beta endorphins. So it's like an upper a downer. Then I come out and I write one or two pages in my journal, sometimes three pages.

Zach Reeder: Oh, wow.

Matt Finch: I at least write a few paragraphs. And lately I've been journaling two to three times a day. Just today I probably have five pages in my journal. And then in the morning after journaling, I do my whiteboard stuff. I read the daily thing out of this Jesus Listens book, Daily Devotional Prayers of Peace, Joy, and Hope. Sometimes I'll read-

Zach Reeder: Nice.

Matt Finch: Today I read the one for today, October 15th, and then sometimes I'll be like, "That's not enough." I'll go and I'll read through two or three or four more. That helps me get spiritual and all thinking about unconditional love and peace. And then what else will I do? Brush my teeth, have caffeine, and then I got my robe on. Then I'm like, "All right. Cool. I got my caffeine, my supplements, my cold water, my journaling, my prayer, my seeing what I have to do, my Rule of Five."

I got these new sticky notes from a seminar I just attended called Rule of Five. These are like seven or $8 on jackcanfield.com, the Rule of Five. It's got five check boxes and it has five lines. I just stick it right next to my laptop. That way, by the end of the day, if I've checked off all five of those, it's epic. Even if I get three or four done, and I do that daily, that is so much better than when I wasn't doing this. Then it's like, "There's my whiteboard, this Rule of Five, this is the most important stuff." And so, it keeps it right in front of my eyeballs a lot of the day. Yeah. Then evening routines are great, structure. Like you, if I don't write shit down, Zach, if I don't have a routine and structure, I will be like, "What am I supposed to do?" It's like I have no idea.

Zach Reeder: Yeah. Or I won't do anything. Because it's all right here, and that's a very daunting thing to not know where to start. Analysis paralysis, that's what that's called.

Matt Finch: Yeah. Analysis paralysis, and the complexities the enemy of execution. So if you have analysis paralysis, there's... Like the stock market, if you're seeing on the news, there's all the stock market prices going on that banner, it's like a whirlwind of that in our minds, and everything seems important, "What should I do?" So then you walk in one room, walk in another room, think about doing this, think about doing that. And finally you catch yourself binging Netflix for a few hours and ordering a pizza. So structure, writing things down, journaling really helps too. I love the journaling stuff.

Zach Reeder: For sure.

Matt Finch: All right. I think we've covered it all. Do you have any final words, anything that you want to share with the listeners and the audience, the watchers, anything you're excited about right now and anything in the future, yada, yada, yada?

Zach Reeder: As far as the ADHD thing, I would just encourage anyone who thinks that they could have that going on to definitely explore it, but not to do it in a way that they feel like they're dooming themselves. Because if you start trying to explain everything in your life away and trying to put it under the umbrella of, "Oh, well. I'm ADHD and I've made this mistake.", it can get daunting. And then it starts to sound like an excuse even. There's a lot about this that sometimes we just have to accept it and just work through it.

And I would say don't let a diagnosis, SUD, mental health or otherwise take away from who you are as an individual. We're all beautifully and intricately, and perfectly designed with intention, and that's what I truly believe in the most spiritual sense. So you are the way you are for a reason, and it's either to teach you something or to help somebody else. So just as long as we can focus on being pro-growth and pro-social, we're all going to end up all right, no matter what.

So as far as anything that I got going on, I'm really excited about my new program here in Ohio that's getting ready to launch in mid-November, Level Up Wellness and Recovery powered by Family Life Counseling, which is the agency that I work with. And we were able to raise about $60,000 in grant money to build a fitness center. So we're going to be able to start offering fitness education and nutrition coaching as part of our agency's treatment components for substance use disorders. And I'm just really excited to be able to bring that piece to outpatient treatment because it's more than talk therapy and it's more than Suboxone and all of these things. And unfortunately, for the low man on the totem pole, and I hate to say it that way, the Medicaid carriers and things like that, that have limited resources, they get limited effort. And I want to be able to contribute in the best way possible, in the most holistic and comprehensive way possible to heal the body, mind, and spirit. So I'm really looking forward to that, and that's getting ready to come up. Yeah.

Matt Finch: Right on. Thanks so much, Zach. This was a pleasure as always. We'll just end it on that. That was a beautiful summation. And what are you eating for dinner?

Zach Reeder: It's baked chicken with some potatoes and some green beans with some Italian dressing seasoning over it. Italian chicken.

Matt Finch: Sounds good. I'm going to go make me some cheeseburgers with ranch ketchup, sauteed red onions wrapped in lettuce, so bunless. Little mini cheeseburgers with tons of lettuce as the bun. So let's go eat. Thank you audience, for listening or watching. We love you guys and see you on the next episode. Take good care of yourselves.

Chris Scott: Hey, everyone. Chris Scott here. If you liked 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.

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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