Matt: What’s up everybody, it’s Matt here with Project Unbroken and I’m going live here for a little bit, just changing up the pace. And I wanted to just reach out to you guys. It’s Wednesday, it’s the middle of the week, and I just wanted to give you guys a little bit of hump day motivation, especially for those who are new to recovery. You’re working way out of addiction, you’re working your way through a maintenance program like Methadone or Suboxone. Or you’re transitioning from Methadone or Suboxone to just clean living. Excuse the clean term for those of you who don’t like the politically incorrectness of the term. But it is what it is.
Matt: And today I wanted to talk about what recovery really looks like. And give you guys a little bit of what my recovery looks like for instance. Greg and I talk about this in some of our stories, but I feel like sometimes these stories get buried. So for those of you guys who are maybe a little bit new to our channel, Greg and I both have been through heroin addiction. But me personally, when I was ready to quit heroin, I knew I was ready to quit. My life was completely unmanageable. But I wasn’t sure of what was going to fill that void. I mean obviously many of use because we’re missing something in our life and we’re not sure what to do to scratch that itch or fill that void. So for me, heroin really fit the bill. And for a long time I really was quite content in my addiction.
Matt: But when my life kind of started spiraling out of control as heroin will tend to have us do, I realized I needed to make a change. So I went basically to the closest rehab center to where I lived, and the place was terrible. I had a really poor experience there. Most of the people who were in that facility were there by court mandate, so they didn’t really want to get clean. So that means there was a lot of people bringing drugs in, and selling drugs inside the facility. And it just wasn’t a really good environment for me so I stayed for maybe a week and half, or two weeks, and I was like I need to get out of here.
Matt: So I basically left all my stuff there and walked a couple miles to where I was working at the time. And from that point on my recovery really started. That’s when I was trying to figure out things on my own. And that is, I don’t recommend taking that path, its a really difficult way to do things, trying to figure stuff out on your own. But it led me to where I am today. So I can’t make any real complaints about what happened to me. But anyways I came home and I was trying to figure out how to, how to figure out what to do to move forward. I knew there was a lot of issues that I had to figure out, but I just didn’t know which way to turn. So, you know, a lot of times I think when people start to look at recovery they look at it like its going to be a straight path. And it’s not at all, just like life, there’s a lot of ups and downs.
Matt: So for me for instance, I was able to stay off of dope for a long time. But a couple things got in my way. Booze was one of them. I started drinking pretty heavily, and I always liked to drink, but while I was trying to deal with all these emotions in my head of dealing with recovery, trying to make a name for myself in this world. You know, dealing with relationships, and all these stressors and all these emotions that I wasn’t just used to handling, alcohol kind of kicked into gear. And because it wasn’t dope I was like, oh well it’s not heroin, I’m not getting high anymore. But alcohol had the same unmanageable effect on my life, it really kind of threw things into a tailspin.
Matt: Not long after I stopped using heroin, I started drinking a little bit more. I started getting into even more trouble. So I was wrecking cars, I was getting into fights pretty regularly as alcohol will tend to have us do. And I just, I kind of went down that path for a while. But I think because alcohol is so socially acceptable, nobody was as concerned, at least the people in my support group or the people that cared about me the most. They were like, well he’s not using heroin, or at least this is, I’m putting words in their mouths. But, I knew they weren’t quite as concerned because drinking in our society is pretty normal. But what I was trying to do is fill some void or some emptiness that was inside of me with heroin for a long time, and then with alcohol. And it was just continuing to spiral out of control, it was really difficult.
Matt: So, I kept trying to right the ship or steer the ship and take things in a different direction but for some reason I couldn’t get it through my head that I had to do something else in order to help myself fill that void, or you know give myself some sort of sense of satisfaction of what I was doing in my life. And I think that’s a lot of what Greg and I talk about is when we were coming through our recovery individually, I know that I used to really seek out comfort. I used to really avoid anything that I considered to be a stressful situation. Which is completely normal, because again, we don’t have as addicts we don’t have a lot of resources. We never really learned how to deal with difficult emotional situations or difficult stressful situations because we always had a crutch, mine was heroin or alcohol for instance, to help get us through whatever that situation may have been. So if something uncomfortable came up, I could always just go straight to dope or to alcohol and have a drink, and it would kind of numb that feeling.
Matt: Really the issue was never going away, I wasn’t making anything better, I was just pretending it wasn’t there. This kind of kept me in that circle of, I’ll call it just negativity. So while for a long time I wasn’t using dope, or maybe not even necessarily drinking all the time, I was really avoiding any situations that needed to be dealt with. This was with relationships, this was with finances, this was with my job. This was basically with anything that relied on me being responsible, I would really push it away out of sight, out of mind, and try not to deal with it. And I was like this for a long time. I mean it was, you know, absolutely through my addiction and probably almost for a full ten years. It was really when I started putting myself into situations on purpose that I wasn’t really comfortable with, and figuring out that I was stronger mentally than I had originally-
Matt: Cut on you there for a second. A lot of this would be because of what I went through with my addiction and you know you start to kind of build coping mechanisms, real ones, important ones, that help you deal with stressful situations. But it wasn’t until I started intentionally putting myself in situations that required me to step outside of my comfort zone and really work on myself in a positive way. And again, Greg and I talk a lot about joining up with something you might find interesting. And you’ll have to try things out. I was lucky and I tried Crossfit and I was really drawn to it and it was difficult, and I was bad at it at first. And it showed me the importance and the power of putting yourself in a difficult situation and overcoming those obstacles, and coming out stronger on the other side.
Matt: And again, as we say in a lot of our videos, this doesn’t have to be something that is necessarily physically difficult or demanding. This could be something like an art class, or a cooking class, or a writing class, or going back to school for something that you might find interesting, computer programming or graphic design. All sorts of stuff. I recommend throwing out a broad net and trying different things and seeing what kinds of stuff grabs your attention. Again for me I really like the idea of physical activity because exercise is proven to benefit cognitive function, especially for addicts when what we’re trying to hit that dopamine button. That serotonin button, the endorphins, that’s all naturally produced through exercise and it can really help us feel good about ourselves at a time where that may seem really difficult to do.
Matt: Everybody that I know that is really emotionally grounded and has their quote/unquote shit together, exercises in some form. So this could again yoga, or swimming, or golfing, or whatever. But there’s a couple pieces to that pie that I think are really important. The physical activity “a” goes over, it helps all the stuff I just mentioned with those feel good hormones in our brain, but it also teaches you that a little bit of effort can go a really long way with something physical. And again, this can be with anything that you put effort into, but I think exercise has just benefits that kind of stack upon of themselves.
Matt: So if you’re going through one of these transitions, again maybe from heroin to a maintenance program, or from a maintenance program over to, you know, cutting that maintenance program out and just being plain old you. Try this out, it could be really beneficial. Again it’s going to be scary at first, it’s going to be difficult, but I feel the outcome, the benefit of it is so worth it when you get out on the other side that you’ll really thank yourself later down the road. It’s worth a shot.
Matt: Again, if you have any questions about what might be a good fit for you or any resources, shoot us a message, leave a comment, Greg and I would be happy to give you some of our resources, places that we looked, and things that we tried to do to help put ourselves in a better physical place, a better mental place, a better spiritual place. And one of them might work for you, but again I think a benefit is to cast a broad net, try a bunch of different things out and see what is going to be the best fit for you.
Matt: So, anyways guys, I’m going to leave it there today. Thanks for watching. We’re trying out these new live videos. We’d like to keep them coming more often, so we appreciate any feedback you guys have. Again, do us a favor, hit the like button, hit the subscribe button, and we will plenty more content coming your way. And I look forward to talking to you guys soon. Take Care.