The Ups & Downs of Alcohol Recovery – Ft. JohnnyO

In episode 299 of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, Chris Scott interviews John O’Connor, AKA JohnnyO, a client of Fit Recovery.

They go over his introduction to alcohol, rehab, detox, and first-hand testimonials of the journey to alcohol recovery through the use of fitness, biochemistry, and nutrient repair.  

Links to Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

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JohnnyO: Yeah, and I've learned so many things from you. There's just so many things. That's the great thing about your program because it's not just about stopping drinking, which I did, but it's like discovering all these new things. There's so many things that I've learned from your podcast that I haven't even tried yet.

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

Chris Scott: Welcome everyone. I'm Chris Scott. This is the Elevation Recovery Podcast, and today we have a really cool episode. I'm here with JohnnyO. I'm going to call you JohnnyO because that's how you introduced yourself to me in the email online and all of that, really cool guy who lives in Hawaii. And he's going to share some of his really inspiring story today. You look great, JohnnyO. You're glowing, you've got the backdrop of some Hawaiian shrubbery and scenery, looks like a beautiful day out there. Thanks for being on the show.

JohnnyO: Thanks. Yeah, I got my avocado tree in the back. I just actually got finished picking all the avocados off it, believe it or not, and it's January.

Chris Scott: Yeah, well, how warm is it out there?

JohnnyO: It's pretty nice.

Chris Scott: Yeah, that's great. Yeah, we're waiting for it to warm up a little bit in Savannah. But why don't you tell us a little bit about how you started drinking? I guess we'll start at the beginning of your story because you've had a transformation here, but what drew you to alcohol in the beginning, and how'd you get into it?

JohnnyO: Sure. And it's a pretty long story. I've had a long history with alcohol. I'm actually 61 years old, and so I had a 40-year relationship with alcohol, 40 years. And it started when I was around 17, 18. And I'm originally from Pennsylvania, kind of the Philadelphia area, and I lived a good portion of my life there till I was about 40 or so. But yeah, so started when I was 18 and just beers with the guys. I drank beer pretty much for a long, long time. And at that time in New Jersey, the drinking age was 18, and where I was in Pennsylvania it was 21. So I discovered I could take little trips. There was about an hour drive to a little town called Milford, New Jersey. And I used to go there and get cases of beer and then bring them back over to Pennsylvania.

So that's kind of how I started to work around the system during this couple of years when I was kind of 18 through 21. And I kept doing that, going to Milford, get a case of beer. And then eventually I found this little bar in Milford, New Jersey, and I used to sit in the bar. And I would go there in the daytime and sit there in good afternoon, get into the evening. Pretty much when it started to get dark, I might kind of drive home. And boy, I'll tell you, I mean I don't know how I made it home. I mean we're talking an hour drive.

And so, one night I left that little bar in Milford, New Jersey, and I woke up and I was in my car and I was on someone's lawn. I mean my car was in the middle of this guy's lawn. I didn't know where I was at. I had a feeling I was still in New Jersey because I don't think I drove very far before I pulled over. And it was morning. So I look on my windshield and there's this note, and I kept the note. I still have this note to this day. And the note, I'll show it to you. This note says, "Bert, this guy is drunk. Let him sleep, Dan."

Chris Scott: That's a hell of a note, sounds like a nice guy.

JohnnyO: I mean, he was a great guy, right? Who would do that? So I kept this note. At the time it was like funny and I kept it, but now looking back on it, I can still laugh about it now, but this was really a call to me because it was telling me, "Hey John, you just blacked out. You were drinking and you encountered a blackout." And so this note, as profound as it is, never really hit me in that way. But that was my first sign that I didn't recognize, that I didn't realize. I just blacked out.

So I kept drinking in my younger years and just pretty much beer. And I was pretty much a weekend warrior in my 20s. I would go Friday and get my case of beer, that's all I could afford back then. Get my case of beer, drink that case over the weekend, and be done with it for sure by Monday, and then just go back to work.

Chris Scott: Were you drinking alone or with other people?

JohnnyO: A little of both. It was definitely both. Yeah, I was definitely social, but there were times I can remember where I was alone. So I pretty much drank that entire case for the most part. Friends came over, maybe they'd bring beer, whatever. But yeah, it was a little of both. So there was social drinking. I used to hang out with my friends on the weekend and we used to just drink all weekend every weekend. And during my 20s, there were things that we got into that allowed us to pretty much stay up and drink the entire weekend. And I had some pretty bad Mondays in those years in my 20s.

So I kept going in my 20s, and around that time, cocaine was really popular. Dabbled in that. Dabbled more. I stayed a weekend warrior, but it was something that was not good. And then I got married and then I had a newborn come along. So when that newborn came along, my son, my wife, she was a partier too. She had put it aside of course. She got pregnant, she did the right thing, and then she kind of walked away from that sort of life, but I was still stuck in that life and I had a newborn. So she put up with me for a little while and eventually she left, went back to her parents, with my son.

So that really hit me hard, and so I did go to a rehab. And I was in a 30-day inpatient rehab, and I got out and I lasted about two weeks. Two weeks. But then by a miracle, what I did was after that I joined a gym and I had never belonged to a gym. And in this gym, they had racquetball courts there. And I started playing racquetball and I got really into it, really into it, super into it. And that actually is what got me to stop drinking, and I didn't drink for five years. I stopped drinking for five years.

Chris Scott: How old were you at the time?

JohnnyO: I was in my early 30s at this time. So in a sense, I was doing sort of a fit recovery program on my own in a way. So then after the five years, I was at a baseball game one day with a friend and decided I was going to have a beer. And so I did, and so I started drinking again. But during those years, had my son, I really kept it under control. I didn't binge drink or anything like that. It didn't present any problems for me at work or any family issues or anything. So some of my 30s, I was pretty good.

And then towards the end of my 30s, I went to the doctor one day. I said, "Doctor." I knew I had something. I knew I had a problem with alcohol, I knew I had something. And I did want to kind of stop. And at that time I was still sort of that weekend warrior kind of guy. So I went to the doctor and said, "Hey Doc, I drink on the weekends. And at the end of the week, Friday, I just want to just have a drink. And then sometimes on the weekend I drink a lot more than I want to. Is there anything that you could help me with that might help me curb that scenario?"

And he goes, "Oh, so you mean like a cocktail?" And I'm like, "Yeah." So he prescribed me Xanax. And this was in 1997, so this was before Xanax really became sort of this monster thing. So here's a doctor, and again, this was before Xanax really turned into a monster. Here's a doctor, I'd tell him I drink too much, he prescribes me Xanax. He didn't address anything about my alcohol issue, he gave me Xanax instead. And I think back to that, wow that's crazy, I mean because that's how Whitney Houston died, as you probably know.

Chris Scott: Did he give you instructions? I'm just curious. I mean at the time was he like, "Look, if you want to drink, maybe take one Xanax and be very careful and don't take more if you have anxiety."? Typically, that's the legitimate use for Xanax is acute anxiety. But I feel like it should come with a hefty disclaimer as all benzodiazepines should.

JohnnyO: I didn't get a hefty disclaimer.

Chris Scott: I'm sorry?

JohnnyO: I'm sorry. No, I didn't get a hefty disclaimer.

Chris Scott: Yeah, okay.

JohnnyO: But he did prescribe me a fairly low dose, I think it was like one milligram, which is pretty minimum dose. And actually for quite a few years, quite a while, that did the trick for me. I didn't really ever go over the dose. A lot of times I just took half at nighttime or whatever. And I took Xanax for quite a number of years, probably like 10, 15 years.

Chris Scott: How often were you taking it?

JohnnyO: Kind of every day eventually. It was like every day. Started with the weekend, but eventually over the years it got to every day. So then 2005, about 40 now, 45. I left Pennsylvania, I moved to Florida. And in Florida, I lived there for one year and I didn't drink at all in Florida. You know the thing is sometimes when you move somewhere else, it kind of worked for a little while, but that really doesn't work. And I can tell you why, but that concept doesn't really work.

Chris Scott: But it is interesting that you didn't drink for a whole year. I mean for a lot of people with alcohol cravings or struggling with this, I've heard from people who have been drinking since they were 12, they can't imagine going a day without it, much less a year. So there's something that you must have been doing right, or at least the power of what you focus on. You feel what you focus on is one of my favorite sayings. And if you're not focused on alcohol or the absence of alcohol, all of a sudden time passes, an entire lifetime can potentially pass. But then again, if you don't understand alcohol or the nature of the addicted brain, then if you decide to heavily get back into it, you can find yourself in big trouble.

JohnnyO: Absolutely. Yeah, and that was exactly what it was. I had things around me. I basically spent my whole life in Pennsylvania wanting to leave Pennsylvania. So here I was in this new place. I lived by the ocean. I was living in Miami Beach. I had so much activities. I was still playing racquetball. I could play outdoors, and I was working out, healthy. And I was warm, had the ocean. So yeah, I had all those distractions. So it made it really easy. It did. I didn't really think about alcohol, but every night before I went to bed, or every evening, I took that Xanax, half of it, and then maybe a whole one. Every night, yeah. So I hung onto that. It actually did curb me for a while, but then it turned against me eventually. It turned against me.

Chris Scott: Describe that. How did it turn against you?

JohnnyO: Well, after I left Florida, I was there for a year, and I got a job in California, so I moved to northern California and I lived in Santa Cruz. And I have my Santa Cruz colors on here. In Santa Cruz, here I am moving to a hippie town, party town, beach, surfer town, probably not the best place for me to be. And when I moved to California, I was blown away just how available alcohol was everywhere. I was just not used to that. You could get it anywhere, anytime too. Back in Pennsylvania if you drank liquor, you had to go to a state store, and the state stores were closed on Sunday. So this was like oh man, alcohol was all around me.

So I hung in there in California for a little while, but then had an issue with my neck and eventually had to give up the sport of racquetball. So here I am in California, I have no sport. I started drinking more, and then it started to kind of increase. But then, I found the sport of volleyball there. So then I found another sport outlet, but I continued to drink.

But it wasn't until I turned 50, and I was in California still, that's where it really turned into ... It escalated. My alcohol use disorder escalated like crazy. When I turned 50, I got laid off from a company that I worked for 21 years. I lost my girlfriend, and I was not happy about turning 50 at all. I was really depressed about it, and that's kind of when it started.

So I started giving into this binging pattern, and that's what I fought for the next 10 years. I had a binging pattern, it was really bad. I'd kind of live a dual lifestyle. I was super healthy and played volleyball, went to the gym. I took vitamins, I took supplements, I took a lot of the supplements that you recommend. Super healthy. But then, whatever it was, some little thing would happen, maybe I was depressed about something at work or maybe something else went wrong, or maybe I just finished playing volleyball and I'm sore and tired and I just wanted something, I would pick up a drink. And it was like bam, I would go into this binge, and my binges would last for two weeks solid.

It would start kind of slow, but then it would quickly over a couple of days just escalate to a point where I ended up, I was drinking around the clock. What I was doing, basically I was drinking, and at that time I was drinking hard cider, I would drink cider for like four hours, eat something, fall asleep. And then I would sleep for a couple hours until the alcohol wore off. Woke up, started drinking, and this would continue into the night and into the middle of the night, around the clock.

And the binges got so bad where eventually when I'd fall into a binge, everything I was doing before, taking vitamins, supplements, all that stuff, out the window, stopped. I started eating garbage. I craved garbage food. I was going to McDonald's and getting four sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffins and eating them and stuff. It was bad. I didn't take care of myself. I didn't shower, I didn't shave, I barely brushed my teeth. It was horrible, what I was doing to myself.

But then at the end of two weeks, I was always able to just ... What happened was I literally drank until I couldn't drink anymore. And I knew it was like okay, two weeks has gone by, I got to get it together. And so, I just kind of just stopped. I just stopped. And it was a little hard at first, but not super hard. But as the years went on in this binging pattern ... I had sort of a cycle, every couple of months. As the binging went on, the binges got worse and it got harder to get out of the binge as the years went by. So during that span of 10 years, towards the end, the binges were getting really hard to get out of, like scary hard.

Chris Scott: How did you deal, if I can ask, with your obligations or relationships? If you're in the middle of a two week binge drinking around the clock, I mean that sounds like a recipe for a disaster.

JohnnyO: I didn't have it. I didn't have any of those things.

Chris Scott: So would you say you were isolated?

JohnnyO: Oh yeah, that's what I would. Because usually, I'd pick up a drink because I had some kind of problem. But the thing is, once I picked up that drink, man I was addicted instantly, and then that just set me off.

But yeah, what I did basically was I just stayed home. I didn't do anything. I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't answer text messages. I didn't look at emails, I ignored my work. I couldn't keep a girlfriend, no way, I just couldn't. I met girls, but they quickly left me. It was just a total in the hole man, really bad.

Chris Scott: I can relate to that. When I lived in New York, I was kind of holed up in my apartment in Manhattan. And I had some friends from college there, some pretty impressive people. I had a buddy who was working on his PhD in Columbia, and he somehow managed to seemingly drink as much as I did when we were together. What I probably didn't see was him taking cold showers and working out while I was back still drinking by myself.

So I would end up taking too many sick days if I was in kind of a binge week, then maybe I'd have a good week where I only had a bottle of wine a night. And then I was like, "I'm a normal New Yorker. We all drink wine. We're in New York, whatever. I've got the skyline, I have to have a glass of wine in my hand when I'm looking at the skyline," all these excuses. And yeah, I got to a very dark place where I thank God I didn't have a car, I walked to work, but I was either drunk or hung over or in withdrawal all of the time.

Usually in withdrawal when I was at work, but I could not wait to get home, which I'm sure affected my job performance. I mean finance in Manhattan is not a job where you get to go home at 5:00 p.m., so I'd maybe push it to 6:00 and my hands would be shaking too hard it's like, "I got to go." Then it's like the guilt and the shame knowing that there's probably people who are wondering where I am. I didn't want to think about that, so I drank more and then I wouldn't worry about it. Very odd, reactive, isolated, insular pattern that I had going on there, and yeah, just a total vicious cycle.

But I can relate, and what I didn't understand, this is kind of amazing to me and I would guess that you didn't either at the time, is that it seemed like I was always looking for a break where I would just have that perfect night's sleep and wake up the next day and it would all be over. And what I didn't understand was that the bright, beautiful, sober tomorrow was not going to come as long as I kept destroying my rem sleep with alcohol. I was to inevitably biochemically wake up feeling like hell.

I had to break that cycle, but in order to break the cycle I had to do it intelligently and I had to rebuild myself from the ground up with nutrients, get back into exercise slowly. At that time, deferred gratification and deferred reward for goals was not something in my lexicon. It was all like now, now, now. I would spend three days doing hung over workouts or workouts in withdrawal. If I didn't perceive a benefit I'd say, "Oh, this sucks, I'm going to go back to drinking." So I didn't understand the process that it would take to actually get to the point that I wanted to be, that I knew I could get to, and fundamentally that's because I didn't understand how alcohol worked and how many days it took to get out of my system.

People talk vaguely about toxins leaving your system, it's so much more than that. You have to rebuild your neurotransmitter levels so that you feel like a human being. I could go on and I've gone on about this. People who are watching have probably seen my other videos on that. But I'm guessing that maybe similar to me, despite the fact that you had had periods where you were healthy, and I think it shows because you don't look your age at all, you look very good despite the damage that you did and I did a lot of damage to myself as well. Maybe that's why I don't have hair, I don't know.

But despite that, it seems that we didn't totally understand what we were dealing with on a biochemical level. And that could've helped at least explode the illusion that we could kind of snap out of it magically.

JohnnyO: Absolutely, and that was very confusing for me because I was confused because I had all these healthy periods. I knew there was something wrong, but I spent so many years trying to just have that one or two. And it was confusing because sometimes I would, sometimes I would, but then the next I'd have three. And then the next day, I might have four. And them boom, binge, binge.

So it took me years and years over and over over and over to figure out okay, there's no way. It took me a long time to really accept that I had alcohol use disorder and be okay with it. I fought it. I fought it. I just felt like why does this have to happen every time? Why does this have to happen? Why can't I just drink like a normal person? Because like I said, some days I would have two. And I would mark it on the calendar, "Okay, two."

Chris Scott: I do think tolerance is probably genetically determined, and that I don't think anyone's behavior is genetically determined because I'm not a determinist. And I've had other episodes where I've gone in-depth about my I think nuanced views on alcoholism as a phenomenon. There is certainly a lot to talk about, which is why we have a podcast on this. I think it's extremely nuanced. There's more of an element of choice than people realize.

However, I would say two major points. The first is that tolerance does seem to be genetic. The first time I ever drank, now I'd probably had glasses of wine with my parents or whatever as a 14 year old on Thanksgiving or whatever, but the first time I really drank, I had an entire bottle of 99 Bananas. And my two friends who were with me had two sips and they were passed out, they were hammered. And I finished the bottle and I'm like, "What the hell is wrong with you guys? The party just started." And I'd go down to my parents' liquor cabinet and see if they have some port or cooking sherry, we're just getting started here. So I do think the tolerance and perhaps some dopamine sensitivities could be inherited, which people should watch out for.

But I think the second thing is that once we understand the nature of the thing, the nature of the substance, and the nature of the brain, and our own brains individually, we can then see that we have way more choice over what it is that we do. And for a lot of people out there, even if they can have periods or even entire lifetimes where they can have one or two and stop at that because they can use their choice to stop, maybe it's not fulfilling. Maybe it's a losing game because two doesn't feel that good. Especially if you've had two and then three and then four and then five, and you're feeling the same effect with five several days later as you did with two before, that's a problem.

And it's not a problem in the sense that it's something that it's inevitably going to kill you or make you miserable, but maybe it's a problem to the extent that it should make you reevaluate whether this thing is worthwhile for you. Maybe it's too annoying. Maybe it just sucks, hence the drinking sense. Most people don't get more out of alcohol than alcohol gets out of them, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, when they start wondering about these types of things.

And so that was certainly the case for me. I'm not afraid of being held at gunpoint. If someone came in here with a gun and made me chug a .40 of beer, there's no chance I can tell you that I would run to the liquor store and get more because I have enough power over my life to say ... And actually, having been served accidentally, I can say it's not that pleasant once you're really balanced. There's these other things. I'm not isolated. I've got so many other things my first thought would be how do I get this out of my system so I can do a three hour MMA workout tomorrow? It's like reprioritized.

But for people who are out of balance biochemically or socially or spiritually or who don't have those other things to strive for and they haven't conditioned their dopamine circuits to want those things more, it's a serious issue.

JohnnyO: Yeah, yeah. And I'm of Irish heritage, so it totally makes sense. And yeah, I mean I had a traumatic event when I was young, when I was about 14, but I don't really think that was the root of my drinking because bottom line is I pick up that stuff, it's just like an instant thing. It's a physical addiction for me for sure.

I even had a period in California where you know that Kombucha brand called GTS?

Chris Scott: Yeah.

JohnnyO: Well, I used to drink Kombucha and then they came out with this black bottle, and it had a little bit more alcohol in it-

Chris Scott: It has like one and a half percent or something? I think they got in trouble because someone tested it and I think some of them ended up being more.

JohnnyO: Really?

Chris Scott: Yeah.

JohnnyO: Yeah, I know. I actually called them, I called the company to find out, "Hey, how much is in this black bottle?", and they gave me, "It's less than point five," which is what the regular bottle is. It's-

Chris Scott: I think point five is the limit for nonalcoholic beer and Kombucha, yeah.

JohnnyO: Oh yeah. So I'm thinking to myself, "No, it's not. It's more than that." So anyway, I started the Kombucha, and I could have one of those at night and it's like, "Oh, that feels good. It kind of relaxes me." And then I started to have two at night, and then have three at night, then I started buying them by the case. But-

Chris Scott: When was this? Was this in the 50 to 60 period?

JohnnyO: Yeah.

Chris Scott: Okay.

JohnnyO: It was my attempt at an alternative at that time.

Chris Scott: Okay, yeah.

JohnnyO: And I would buy it by the case, but I didn't get drunk off it. Even if drank six, I didn't get drunk. But it was just the thing, I just was drinking more and more and more, and buying by the case.

Chris Scott: There's a lot of sugar in there. Not that much per ... Maybe there's five or 10 grams in them, but if you have five or 10 of them, that's a whole sugar boost as well.

JohnnyO: Yeah. So yeah, I have Irish heritage and it definitely has play in it. My grandfather had alcohol use disorder. My dad had periods where he struggled with it at times. He pretty much kept it together, but he definitely always had Seagram 7 in the house for sure. [inaudible 00:31:36] for the lineage, I think you're Scandinavian, is that right?

Chris Scott: Actually I have more Irish than I do Scandinavia, and I have a little bit of that in me. I have a mishmash of things. Irish, Scottish, some Central European. They can't really tell I guess the difference between French and German for some reason, so whatever that is. But yeah, and then a little Russian Scandinavian and Native American, which is not a good makeup for an alcohol drinker generally, probably some of the worst of the worst.

Yeah, and little did I know, I thought I was Italian. I grew up in New Jersey, and the drinking age was not 18 when I was 18, otherwise I'm sure I would've taken advantage. One of my earliest stories about that though is I was with a friend of mine, we were both on the swim team in high school, and it was a Friday night. This was very odd in retrospect. He and I went driving to just the local strip mall to see if there was any way we could obtain some alcohol. We had no plan. We weren't going to walk up to a person and ask them to buy us. We thought maybe we can somehow find alcohol.

And sure enough, someone for some reason had left I think it was a 24-pack of beer in the parking lot. And we got it and we took it home, and I think he had a couple of them and I drank the rest of them. And yeah, that was a very weird thing. That was before I turned 18 because I must've had some permit or something. I wasn't heavily drinking at the time yet, at least not regularly. But it didn't make me think twice, but I knew the next morning I felt odd and I thought, "Alcohol is a really weird thing. I see why people do it." And I would remember thinking, "I don't see how people get through the morning after it."

And I was like, "Oh, well I'd probably do it again." That was the extent of my analysis at the time. I was like it seems like the pros outweigh the cons because that was a lot of fun, but I think the fun was that it was just the coincidence and the novelty and he and I having a great story. And there was no need for me to go home and just clobber my brain with that stuff and not get good sleep. So it was kind of a harbinger of things to come, but I never had any deep insight into any of this really amazingly because I always thought of myself as inquisitive in school with topics that I liked. And yet, I never started analyzing myself in any meaningful way with my relationship with alcohol until after I quit.

JohnnyO: Wow. Wow, interesting. Yeah, and to go back to the lineage thing and the Irish thing. I did years ago come up, because I always was trying to stop drinking and I used to attend AA meetings and stuff, but I came up with a good little line for myself. When I went to a party, and you have that issue where somebody says, "Well, why aren't you drinking?", this is very common among people like you and I, right? So what I say is, "I'm Irish, so I don't drink."

Chris Scott: That's a good one.

JohnnyO: And it's a good one because not everyone gets it at first, right? It's kind of like a joke, but it's not. It's really serious. I'm Irish, so I don't drink.

Chris Scott: I like it. It's a more humorous way of what I use to tell people. And now no one asks, and I don't know if it's because I'm usually hanging out with people I know. I don't remember the last time I was asked. And I think part of it is that people ask questions, that kind of question at least, if they sense something is off or if they sense that you're vulnerable in some way. That's my theory because I was a shaky nondrinker for the first year off alcohol in that I would be probably a little awkward because I was thinking about alcohol. I'm like, "No, no. Let's refocus on the people." It takes time to develop those neural pathways to where it's just natural and you act as if you were a person who either doesn't even know that there's alcohol and that people are drinking because you feel better than they do by default, or you have such a good time that you're out dancing and you're acting as if you did drink but you just don't need the alcohol. You have the natural endorphin rush and everything that they're doing artificially naturally.

But yeah for a while, people would ask, and I always said, "I don't drink because I used to drink too much, so I quit," and that was it. Yeah, yours is a more humorous version of that, but yeah, I think it gets to the point.

JohnnyO: Yeah, I still get asked.

Chris Scott: And I never felt an obligation to share with anyone. But typically, they wouldn't mess with me after that and be like, "Oh, I think you should drink anyway." That's a weird thing to say to someone who just told you ... It was just enough divulging of my past that they respected me for being transparent, but not enough to tell them all the embarrassing things about my past. So it seemed to me to be acceptable, and then now I've got my lemon juice and Pellegrino or whatever and it's not a big deal it all. Just no one cares, especially when they're strangers. I feel like no one cares.

And there was a spade of weddings right after I quit drinking, which I think was the universe testing me at the time, and I've had fewer weddings recently. So maybe that's it. Maybe there'll be a wedding next year and someone will ask, but it's really the last thing on my mind and I just kind of chuckle it off. I have a way more nonchalant, nothing can hurt me kind of mentality, whereas back then I felt I think a little more vulnerable about it.

JohnnyO: Yeah. Well and these days, I don't even care anymore. I'll tell people the whole story if they want to hear it.

Chris Scott: Yeah, exactly.

JohnnyO: Because where I'm at now, I'm past all that. I really kept my drinking super secret to everyone. All of those years I talked about, there's only a couple people that knew, like my sister, my son, other members of my family of course. But I didn't tell anyone, super secret about it.

Chris Scott: Well, you have a really impressive before picture. I don't know if you wanted to bring that up now or later, but we will put that up on the screen for anyone watching on YouTube. And for anyone listening, we have a YouTube version of this at the Fit Recovery YouTube channel. And so yeah, why don't you tell us a little bit about that before picture?

JohnnyO: So this is a picture of me, kind of what I looked like, this is at the end of one of my binges. I don't know how many weeks, a couple of weeks, not taking care of myself at all. That's how I looked.

Chris Scott: What compelled you to take that picture?

JohnnyO: Well, because I was struggling. I couldn't figure out how to stop this cycle. I spent so many years just trying to get out of that cycle, and I was so frustrated. I used to mark on the calendar what days I went into a binge. I have a bunch of calendars for, I don't know, maybe five years where I have it all checked off what days I drank the entire year. So I struggled with it, I was really struggling. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted to stop it. It was so hard to get out of that pattern.

But I knew in my heart that there was something physiological about it, the way I would go in and out of super healthy. Because after I looked like that picture, I managed to just stop drinking. It wasn't easy, but I did it. The first day or two, it was horrible. Well, I'll say the first week. I forget where I was going with that, but-

Chris Scott: Yeah, well let me bring it back. And also, I think my dog Magnus feels your pain because he was groaning behind me when you were describing how bad you felt. Yeah. So you had these two week benders typically, and then would you get off completely, or was there a period of drinking just a little less than usual?

JohnnyO: No. I would just hardcore stop it.

Chris Scott: Just stop. Now do you find that withdrawal got worse? Or each time, there's something called kindling, and so each time you go through a withdrawal, it tends to be worse than the time before.

JohnnyO: Yes, yes.

Chris Scott: Okay.

JohnnyO: That developed over the years where I would recover very quickly and get myself back into shape and looking good really quickly, and then it took me a little longer each time. And then each time I had a binge, it was harder to get out. And just before I was finally able to stop, I mean I was doing crazy things just trying to get out of the binge. I was calling rehabs and stuff and just crazy stuff, like sending crazy messages to my family, "Help me." It was scary, scary stuff, just trying to get out of that binge. But I hard-lined it every time. I just did it on my own with nothing.

Chris Scott: How much time would you typically have between the two week binges?

JohnnyO: Usually a couple of months, like three months. But then, they started getting closer to each other. So I would look at those calendars and I could see glaringly, I knew anyway, but yeah they started to get closer to each other. And then, they started to last longer too.

Really the last binge that I had, it was right when I was here in Hawaii and the pandemic hit and we were locked down. And I was on a contract job, the job was over. I had to move out of my place. Oh man, I was in a bad place and I started drinking, and I just didn't care. I just didn't care. I was buying champagne bottles. I was drinking champagne.

Chris Scott: I've done it, yeah.

JohnnyO: It lasted a month. That one lasted a month, and I had to go to a detox to get out. And I went to one detox, my son helped me get to a detox, and it was a national hospital chain, and I won't mention the hospital name. So guess what they did? They put me in a bed, I was sort of in a hallway and there was nurses there that could see me. And so I was laying back in the bed, they didn't give me anything. Nothing. Nothing. And every time I would get up from the bed, they would go, "Lay back down."

Chris Scott: That's very odd.

JohnnyO: Dude, I didn't last in there. I don't know how many hours I lasted in there, but wasn't long and I called my son and said, "Hey, come get me."

Chris Scott: I've heard of similar stories. I won't mention either, but yeah, that's appalling, and it's dangerous too.

JohnnyO: Horrible. It's horrible.

Chris Scott: Yeah. So was it after one of these binges you just decided, "All right, that's it. This it it," or did you know that you were going to get onto a much better path? How did that kind of transpire?

JohnnyO: No, I didn't know. When I was on that binge of a lifetime I told you about in Hawaii, I went to that detox and I got right out of that. And then my sister helped find a place for me here. It was a really good place. They gave me a medically-assisted detox. The doctor there, it was a nice facility, I stayed in there overnight. They pumped me with a bunch of gabapentin and a whole bunch of other stuff. And man when I woke up, Jesus, it took me an entire day to just feel like normal again.

But I got out of there, and I only spent one night in there. I had to leave. I couldn't stand being in there either. But they helped me out and I got introduced to gabapentin through there. So I left there, got home, guess what I did? I started drinking again. I started drinking again. My son, he literally dropped me off from that detox, and he left. And I had a bottle of champagne somewhere, I started drinking again. He came back, he caught me and he was so pissed.

Chris Scott: I bet. I recall when I was in the detox for a while myself, they would actually sit us down. Whenever someone would leave the rehab, we had people that were there for six months drying out, and then some of them would just drive to the liquor store immediately from rehab six months there. I'm laughing, it's not funny, but it's kind of ridiculous. And I couldn't understand it and I always remember wondering what's the thought process there, if anything? And now I have more insight into it, but I'm wondering if you could tell us what was going on in your head when you had just gone through this kind of ridiculous, but effective I suppose, gabapentin detox> it seemed like something maybe you wouldn't want to repeat again, it probably wasn't cheap. But then you go drink champagne. What was happening in your head, do you remember?

JohnnyO: I don't know. I think just because it was there. Maybe if it wasn't in my house it wouldn't have happened. But yeah, I don't know, was not happy with myself.

A couple of years before that, I saw that Ted Talk with Claudia Christian about Naltrexone and the Sinclair Method. And when I first watched that video I was like, "I'm not doing that. I don't want a pill to keep me drinking. I want to stop drinking, right?" So I didn't go that route. But then later on after this crazy binge and I was home and I had the gabapentin, that's when I went to my doctor. And my doctor goes, "Naltrexone, I've never heard of that." So he pulled it up on his screen, he read a little bit and he's like, "Okay, we can try that."

Chris Scott: At least he was open-minded, yeah.

JohnnyO: Yeah, yeah he was. No, thankfully. So he prescribed me that, and so that's how I got out of that binge. I had gabapentin, Naltrexone, took me about three or four days to a week. I would slowly just taper down. Every couple hours I would take that Naltrexone and the gabapentin, along with drinking.

Chris Scott: During your binges, right. So it was still targeted in that you weren't taking Naltrexone when you didn't have alcohol in your system I assume?

JohnnyO: No. I actually used that along with the gabapentin to sort of ween myself down to a point where I could actually put it down altogether. So then, I kept up with that for probably a year. And I've heard you mention this story about Naltrexone because I think you were prescribed it once and when they prescribe it to you, they don't prescribe it the right way because it says take one a day, right? But the Sinclair Method calls for you to take it an hour before you have a drink, so I was doing that. I don't know how long I did that, maybe six months or maybe close to a year, I don't remember.

And so I was drinking, but I was drinking smaller amounts. I didn't go into any binges. And that kept me pretty stable for the most part, but still drinking. And then that's when I found your podcast or your video, and your video was titled How I Quit Drinking by Rebalancing My Brain Chemistry. And that title struck me, and then when I watched that video it was like ...

Chris Scott: That's good, so that was a turning point for you. And that video is also on YouTube for anyone who wants to check it out. But that's interesting, so it was kind of like there are certain steps on your path here, the Sinclair Method seems to have helped. The gabapentin seems to have helped. And then you found the new [inaudible 00:48:46] in Fit Recovery.

JohnnyO: Yeah, I found your video and I saw Fit Recovery, and I was like that's it. I watched that video and I'm like this is what I've been looking for for a long time. This is exactly what I was looking for, For Recovery. This is me. And so, found that podcast, and then I started ... I found your Fit Recover YouTube channel, and I just started watching those.

And it was amazing. After I watched that first video, eventually fairly quickly I went out and got some DLPA, DL-Phenylalanine, some glutamine, and some tyrosine, and I started taking it in the morning. And Chris, it was like a light switch was flipped off, and that was almost a year ago. And from that first day that I started doing that, I have not had a thought or a craving or anything. It's like for me, that targeted group of those amino acids is like a miracle.

Chris Scott: That's amazing. Those also, among other things, helped me tremendously. Can you describe what it felt like, the difference once you took those?

JohnnyO: I don't know. I mean I felt good, right? I know with DLPA that it definitely gives me a good sense of wellbeing, makes me clear-headed, almost like a cup of coffee but not stimulating like a cup of coffee, very different kind of a clarity, energy. And it really helps me with depression too, really helps me with depression.

Chris Scott: Was depression something you struggled with? Was it a lifelong thing or just as the binges got worse maybe you depleted some brain chemicals?

JohnnyO: Oh, I definitely did deplete for sure. And that was one of the first things I learned from you when I watched that video because you mentioned about how post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last up to a year and I was like, "Whoa." That blew my mind, and it makes total sense. This is why I could never stop because I would go into a binge and then I would only go three months, so I never really achieved that full-on repair. I was doing short little bits and then boom, back. Yeah.

Chris Scott: And the good news is you might've achieved if not full repair, at least closer to it, if you had had the nutrient repair when you started binging years and years ago. You could've gotten closer. It might've preempted you from either having a worse binge or going into one in the first place.

JohnnyO: It totally would've. It absolutely would've. Now mind you, I'm 61, I've had a long history just battling this thing. It was a battle. I have to just mention also that I was really ready to stop. I'd been through so many things with it I was at a point, and now I've turned 60 and I made a promise to myself years ago that I'm going to stop drinking by the time I was 55 because I know once you turn 55, your system starts to degrade and you don't want to put alcohol in there. You do not. But I failed on that promise, but 60 I was able to turn it around. So I had these factors, and I live in Hawaii. So had a long history, and so what I'm saying is I was really ready.

I think that if you took the average guy off the street, let's say you get a homeless guy off the street, and you give him those three targeted amino acids, it might work. But I also do think that you have to be ready as well, do you think?

Chris Scott: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, I mean that's why I like to put the nutrient repair in the context of the biochemical, psychological, social, spiritual. I haven't found a better model for that because that's actually all-encompassing for people whether or not they have a substance issue. Like my dad has told me all the time, "I know Fit Recovery is recovery, but I feel like it's kind of helped me categorize the parts of my life and make sure I have balance." Yeah, I think that's also to say that the mindset piece is super important, the spiritual piece, the social piece. All of these things fit together, none of those things are in isolation. They're all interwoven as well.

And I do think the desire to live a certain kind of life, the desire to have a certain kind of routine day in and day out. The strategy, just even cold, calculating strategy and how am I going to arrange my day and my week and my month and this next year? People don't have to be as maybe borderline OCD as I am about this, but if you're really committed to those things, then it's going to be hard for any force, whether it's a genetic predisposition or someone physically trying to stop you, from acting out that vision for yourself. So you have to have that vision and that mindset, the mentality, because otherwise you can slip into a sort of nihilism.

And you hear people say all the time, "Why did you drink again?", oh I drank because I felt great and figured why not. That's a lack of foresight, I've certainly done that. But what that indicates is a lack of a vision because like, "Oh, that means you didn't care about the quality of your sleep tonight, which means you didn't care about how you're going to feel tomorrow, which means you don't care about your productivity tomorrow," and then the cascading effect that that has. And you didn't think about the fact that if you feel really crummy tomorrow, you're more likely to do something to cover up feeling crummy. That's how the vicious cycle gets going. It's not that mystifying as to why alcohol tends to become this snowballing, cascading train wreck for people who have this predisposition and ability to rack up an immense amount of tolerance quickly and then feel awful and then deplete their brain chemicals.

So I do think the mental aspect is important. You were ready. But I think also there are probably people listening right now who are in their 20s even, 20s, 30s, maybe teenagers. I've had some surprisingly young people reach out to me. And I don't think it's impossible for them to have that light bulb moment, that epiphany. Perspective is everything, which is a cliché. But if you have the right perspective, especially at a young age which is possible, I didn't have it in my 20s, but there are people who do seem to have that light bulb epiphany perspective-moving moment where that falls into place. And then if they get their biochemistry in order and they have things that they love doing, they can live an awesome life. And this is not something that hangs over it like a dark cloud.

JohnnyO: Right. And one of the great things about your program is I mentioned the targeted three amino acids that I talked about. Again, phenylalanine, glutamine, tyrosine. But there's so much more that you've introduced me that it's helped me so much. Because when you're recovering, or let's say when you're transforming and regenerating all of those neurotransmitters and so forth, there's a lot of other things that help me with my everyday life. You turned me on to CBD oil, CBD Pure. You got me started drinking chamomile tea.

And this one thing, chamomile tea, I've experimented with that years ago. Years ago, I tried all that kind of stuff that helps you sleep, like all the herbs and everything, and I tried chamomile tea. It never really worked for me. I never really liked the taste of it either. But when I heard you say that you used to take eight tea bags and put them in, I was like, "Oh, okay."

So I went out, and I'm going to show you, this is the brand that I've found. I found this by Googling "best chamomile tea," and this is a brand called FGO. I know you guys like to share brands and stuff. This is from Egypt, and it doesn't have anything else in it. There's no other flowers or honey or herbs or anything, so it's straight chamomile. Oh my God, the taste of this stuff is so good. I don't use eight bags, but I use three.

Chris Scott: That's probably good, yeah.

JohnnyO: Yeah. And then what I do is I take the CBD oil, and then I put it in there, and I mix it around. It doesn't really mix that good, but it's okay. And it kind of throws off the taste sometimes, so sometimes I'll just drink straight chamomile. But a lot of times I'll just put CBD oil in my chamomile tea. What a hell of a nightcap that is? It's a great thing. And chamomile has so many health benefits for you. It doesn't just help you with sleep. It helps you with digestion, helps you with depression. There's a whole list of health benefits that chamomile tea can give you, which you can probably list better than I can.

Chris Scott: Yeah. A natural antidepressant, natural antianxiety agent, a natural gabapentin in some ways. Non-addictive of course. The CBD added to that is turbocharged inflammation reduction, amazing anxiety reduction, craving reduction. I have chamomile tea every night. I went to Austin for a few nights last week just for some business actually, and I brought a tea bag of chamomile tea for every night that I'm there. I'm at the point now where, I think because I have more fine-tuned biochemistry, that I don't need the massive amounts. I need it a lot to feel anything of anything, maybe because my gut was imbalanced it probably had ... Alcohol is very bad for the gut, so it's not uncommon to have trouble absorbing things for a while.

But now it's like I have a molecule of something, it's like I sense it. So I can do one tea bag now like a normal person. But then again if I had jet lag or something, I'd be putting eight tea bags back in if I needed to go to sleep or whatever. I have all these strategies that I used to use for the post-acute withdrawal for the rest of my life in case I need them for anything else.

JohnnyO: Yeah, and I've learned so many things from you. There's just so many things. That's the great thing about your program because it's not just about stopping drinking, which I did, but it's like discovering all these new things. There's so many things that I've learned from your podcast that I haven't even tried yet.

Chris Scott: That's awesome to hear.

JohnnyO: Yeah, there's so many things that you guys have introduced me to. It's amazing. So it's not like I'm stopping something, which I did, it's like I'm starting something new. And it's just fabulous. It's a fabulous life. Fabulous.

Chris Scott: That's a great way to put it. Yeah, it's like you're exiting this kind of confined alcohol-based universe, which I used to be in, and alcohol is a very confining substance. Socially, spiritually, biochemically, you're confined to the alcohol, to this just vast universe of all of these things. And yeah, I think having an open-ended approach to what it is that you want to explore is huge.

And you mentioned that at one point, racquetball was something that really helped you. And for me, it's been MMA. And I had a period of just doing heavy deadlifts all the time, and now I'm trying to learn to kite surf whenever it's warm. It's a little cold right now, but that's another thing. It's like how the hell did I spend 10 years not even knowing what kite surfing was? I didn't know what jujitsu was, and now I've spent a fair amount of time doing that. It's like it's not regret about time I wasted, it's just amazement now about the ... Because I think all phases of life serve a purpose, but now it's like a gratitude that I'm able to immerse myself in all these things and that I'm in control of my life. I get to choose what I'm going to do, and that's I think the best for people starting out who might wonder how am I going to get through this life without alcohol? It's like trust me, that's a myopic way to conceive of the whole thing.

So don't even think about not drinking. You don't even have to swear off drinking. Immerse yourself in other things. It'll get crowded out pretty quickly. And if you get served accidentally in the future, which I've been, even if you decide to [inaudible 01:01:55]. I've had a bunch of people ... We are so open-ended that we're not abstinence-only people. I've helped people who want to cut down. It's up to them. If someone doesn't want to quit, they don't have to quit. They can figure out for themselves whether or not that's too much of a pain in the butt to deal with.

But a lot of people then find, "Oh, I naturally just drink way less because it's just kind of a bad trade-off and I want to do all these things." For them, maybe it's not jujitsu and kite surfing and whatever random things I have on my agenda, but maybe it's other things I've never even heard of.

I had an awesome client a few years ago who had put off her lifetime passion of painting so that she could drink for decades. And then she sent me a picture a few months after we stopped coaching, and it was her basement filled with these beautiful landscape paintings. And she had just gotten back into this and she was like, "This is what I do every night. I go home, it's my comfy routine. I have my dinner, I do my stuff, and then I go down and I paint." And she actually had to go down and dust everything off, and yeah, really cool stuff.

JohnnyO: Wow. Yeah, and that's the other great part about your program is I have just about a year now of not having a drink, but I feel like I'm still in my infancy. I can still feel so many more things I can achieve physically, for the most part health-wise, and mental health, all those things. And your program, it's not just about stopping drinking because you talk about other things that are just general health. So many things I've learned from you just about general wellbeing and health, it's not just about take this herb or that herb. It's about what you're putting in your body, what you're eating, meditation, all these kinds of things. Yeah, it's amazing. It's an amazing program you have. There's nobody doing what you're doing. There's no doing what you're doing.

Chris Scott: Which is surreal to me. I mean there are a lot of great programs out there. But yeah, it's pretty unique. We have a special group of people. I'm curious about what is your day-to-day like? What do you fill your time with now that you have all this energy? You look vibrant. I take it you spend some time in the sun in Hawaii. But what's a week like for you at this point?

JohnnyO: Yeah, pretty much I work. I'm blessed that I get to work from home in Hawaii. And then when I'm not working, I'm a big beach volleyball player, and I've been doing that for a bunch of years, so still doing that here in Hawaii. And I'm a surfer too.

Chris Scott: That's great.

JohnnyO: Yeah. Go to the gym, cycle a little bit. So yeah, a lot of outdoor stuff. I like to hike. There's so many good hikes here.

Chris Scott: I really think the outdoors just generally is medicine. There's that whole thing about relocating not solving the problem. I'm like yes, but I have to say now that I live in Savannah, which is not quite as temperate as Hawaii, but when I'm here, I feel like my blood pressure is so much lower just regularly than when I lived in the middle of a bunch of buildings in Manhattan. I'm not anti-city. I like to go back to Manhattan and visit for a few days. But when I come back here it's like, "Ah." We're back, there's not cameras everywhere, and I'm not stressed out. There's not people drunkenly ... Well, there are downtown. Savannah actually is a big drinking city. I'm kind of on the outskirts of it right near the water, so I just see nature.

And I've seen studies showing that people, and I've mentioned these before in previous episodes, but people around more green things, trees and whatnot, tend to be mentally healthier. I don't think it's a coincidence. We evolve to be outdoors for more than 10 minutes on your walk to work.

JohnnyO: Absolutely. And amazing benefits that the sun provides you. I mean the sun does amazing things, provides you with lots of healthy things, vitamin D. But it also is a big one for depression too because I know when I lived in the East Coast, Pennsylvania, it was gloomy all the time. It's very different when you have that sun.

Chris Scott: Yeah. Well, vitamin D levels and serotonin levels are correlated, so I think vitamin D's involved in that. Yeah, and it does so many things. Just the sun on your skin releasing endorphins, that's why the best buzz I can get now is the combination of a workout buzz ... And my dad's actually always said this, since I was a kid I remember him saying that there's no high that he's ever had that's actually been better than a good workout. I remember thinking about that back when I drank, and I think it was just my baseline sense of wellbeing was so low that I couldn't actually get an effective workout, so it didn't feel good. So then alcohol felt better because that was my habitual high at the time.

But now that I'm a fine-tuned machine, it's like he's absolutely right. There's nothing better than a workout unless it's a workout in the sun, and then you get the endorphins from the workout and the endorphins and the vitamin D and everything from the sun as well.

JohnnyO: Yeah. And when you say fine-tuned machine, that makes me want to say too that's the other great thing about your program is I watch all your podcasts. Every day, I watch one, and it's part of my day every day. So I see you, I see Matt Finch, your co-host, and you're a fine-tuned machine. You've gone so far with it, and so that's really inspiring for me because I want to get to the same place you guys are.

Chris Scott: I have to say I learn from Matt Finch all the time. He's probably got 3,000 smoothie recipes in his smoothie cookbook that he hasn't published yet but he needs to. I mean yeah, that guy is ... When I came across Matt Finch's blog years ago, and he was only blogging about his past with mainly opiates but also alcohol, really everything, and I remember thinking I want to get on this guy's level. And then turned out we had things to teach other and then this became a project just totally serendipitously, but really glad to hear that it's a part of your routine.

And I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I say that not with a sense of being mad that I'm not there. It's more like this is an evolving adventure for everyone. I'm far from perfect. Right now, I'm three days into resetting my carb levels, and I had some intestinal discomfort last night because my body was like, "Screw you, why didn't you have any rice with your Indian meal?" It's like I'm not going full keto, but I'm cutting carbs after the holiday phase. I find I always have phases. I'm not training for a bodybuilding competition. At some point, we might do some more things on social media which will probably give me an incentive to get back into my after picture fitness level where I think I was probably 10%, maybe 12% body fat, I don't know.

But yeah, I mean I say fine-tuned machine. There are people who are way finer-tuned than I am for sure. But the important thing for me is everything I do is really for my own mental health at this point, and anything else is a byproduct. And if I feel good, then that's good. And not in a sense that if I ate 12 donuts right now I'd probably feel good, but that would be the same kind of artificial stimulation and feeling good as the alcohol was. But as I said, I'll have some chocolate cake over Christmas if my mom made it or if one of her friends made it, but then there's this natural balancing that goes on now where it's like I'm aware of my sleep, I'm aware of the importance of my mind state when I start my day, the importance of my state of mind when I end the day, and then everything in between. It's a coherent whole rather than a fragmented series of random, convoluted actions, which is what it used to be.

JohnnyO: Yeah, yeah. And again, that's the best thing about this is we're not just stopping drinking, we have so much to just explore. It's not stopping something, it's like starting a new life. And it's a great life, a really great life.

Chris Scott: I'll say also I think that this is a great time to do that because I say that I don't love cities all the time. I had an amazing time in Austin last week, and every nice restaurant I went to had these nonalcoholic cocktails. And there's a never-ending new supply of spirits that are not spirits, and then ways of mixing them up. And here I am sipping a big martini, looks like a martini, and I'm like, "I hope no one sees me in my course and thinks I'm ..." Then again, we have a very open-ended system. We have people who are not trying to quit, they're trying to better their lives and whatever.

But at the same time, it is a cool time to be alive because I feel like it's part of the zeitgeist. Holistic health, people who don't have problems are cutting down on drinking or they're cutting it out. My dad quit years ago when I quit just as moral support, and then he realized that he liked it better. So I just think what an amazing time to be alive. I mean obviously there are problems in the world, but looking through this lens, it's never been easier to go to a new place, find a really cool yoga studio, or get into martial arts for the first time. It's like I'm excited for anyone who's starting out on this kind of adventure.

JohnnyO: Yeah. And how many pushups does your dad do a day?

Chris Scott: I believe it's 500, last time I checked. He does a number of pushups. He has a little bit of range of motion issue from a shoulder injury, but it's impressive. Yeah, I mean he's strong. He's very strong.

JohnnyO: I love hearing about your dad, he sounds just like a super cool dad. Just how he supports you, it's really cool.

Chris Scott: Yeah, he's fantastic. I'm lucky, both of my parents are awesome. And that was a huge part of the early process for me of becoming unisolated was just deepening my bonds with my parents. I always knew I had the best parents ever and I was super lucky, I was adopted at the age of six weeks, but yeah, having people who really care about you genuinely is something that it's easy to take for granted when you're in an alcohol-induced or drug-induced stupor. And then when you get out of that, you can actually take more reward in those genuine connections than you could when you were drinking for sure.

I've heard who are trying to quit say, "I feel bad because I should be enjoying my daughter's first dance recital, but I can't unless I'm drunk," or that kind of thing. That's heartbreaking. And it's not that there's something wrong with them. They always assume, "Well, it's because I'm a bad person. I'm selfish and I just want to drink, that's what it is." No, no, no. Your brain has been re-calibrated and the alcohol is monopolizing the pleasure. When you get out of that trap, you then liberate your brain to take pleasure in those things that actually matter.

JohnnyO: Yeah. Yeah, and I'm so lucky too because I have very supportive family. My son is amazing. He's seen me through this battle, and so happy to be where I'm at for him. And my sister too. And I didn't mention it, but I'm also doing your online rehab, Fit Recovery 2.0 it's called.

Chris Scott: Yeah, Total Alcohol Recovery.

JohnnyO: Yeah, what a great program that is.

Chris Scott: Thank you, I'm glad you like it. Yeah.

JohnnyO: Yeah, it's very in-depth. And one of the best things about it is you're not just giving me some online thing to do. I'm doing it, but it's got a good mix of just video, text, whatever. But you have coaches on there that each section you go through, you're asking a question. "What about this? How did you feel here? What do you do, this strategy or whatever?", and then you answer the question and you have coaches that actually reply to you. So it feels like somebody is with you on the course, and that's a great aspect.

Chris Scott: Yeah. Well no, I'm really glad that you've enjoyed the Total Alcohol Recover 2.0. Yeah, I mean that it's been a work in progress since 2017. We have Coach Tanna and Matt Finch, he's been really involved in responding to people in there. And Coach Tanna took a little hiatus to have a kid, I think her third child at the moment, and she's actually making a course of her own. So we have some other courses coming in probably the next six months or so by our other Fit Recovery coaches. I won't go too much into that, but for anyone who's interested in delving into some of the more specialized things, yeah I won't mention them right now because the topics might change. I don't want to let anyone down. But basically, we try to make the main course almost the A to Z, bio, social, spiritual, and then if people want to delve further, right now they can do coaching with one of our coaches. I'm booked at the moment, depending on when someone's watching this, but I'll probably take a bit of a sabbatical in 2023, probably mid this year actually, to write my book and really try to finish up scale and delegate the supplement, which is another work in progress.

So we've got a lot going on, but we always love to hear that the program is helpful. And yeah, I think you're doing great and I think you're a stellar example and an inspiration to a lot of people out there. I'm sure we'll get a lot of comments on this video. I've kind of in a sense followed Joe Rogan's advice, "Don't read the comments," but I have to say that the comments on YouTube, on our channel, tend to be overwhelmingly positive. Every now and then you get a bot or a strange individual, but most of the time it's really uplifting stuff. People are supporting each other, and it just goes to show I think there's a really wide community of people out there who are open to this kind of slightly unorthodox, open-ended, open-minded version of what I think traditionally has been a bleak, very black and white, fire and brimstone almost approach.

JohnnyO: Absolutely. Yeah, it's revolutionary. I want to use that word.

Chris Scott: I appreciate it.

JohnnyO: Yeah, and we need to teach all of the medical doctors in the country about what you profess.

Chris Scott: I appreciate that, and I am good friends with Dr. Star among other. He's twice board certified in addiction mention, former ER doctor I believe, and he's the head medical consultant for Fit Recovery. But he and I, we have some plans to maybe make that happen as well, so we'll see. I need people much more qualified than myself such as him to help with that, but I think we're on the right track.

And from what I can tell, it used to be even back in 2018, people would say, "Oh, I talked to my doctor and they said don't do vitamins, they don't work. Here's your drug script." And now, it's almost universally, occasionally we get someone who says that, but now it's almost universally like, "I talked to my doctor and they said it's very interesting and they want to look into it," which is really nice and you like to hear that people who are experts in medicine would be open to nutrients and alternative approaches.

JohnnyO: Absolutely, yeah.

Chris Scott: Well JohnnyO, it's been great talking to you. I'm sure we'll be in touch. Thank you so much for being on the show. Keep up all the great work down in Hawaii.

JohnnyO: Thank you Chris. Thanks for having me, it was great fun. Aloha.

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've 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 Again, that's for Matt's course. Or for my course, go to Again, that's You can also go to to see the Show Notes for this episode.

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The information we provide while responding to comments is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The responses to comments on are designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition.

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