Matt: What’s up guys? This Matt.
Greg: And this is Greg here.
Matt: With Project Unbroken and today we wanted to talk a little bit about the bright spots or the positive things that can come out on the other side of addiction. So Greg and I have talked a few times about the things that we learned through our struggles or dealing with all that adversity, and I think it’s important for people who are out there now that are struggling with addiction trying to figure out a way out of it. It all looks … And I know … We know because we’ve been there. It all looks very dark and gloomy moving forward.
Matt: It doesn’t seem like there’s many positive things as you’re trying to get out of this but we know that that’s completely not true.
Matt: So I’ll let you go. Like what are some of the things that you think … just personal traits that you have now after going through this whole thing?
Greg: Man, so many. People always ask me like, “Are you ashamed to be a heroin addict? Do you regret it?” I’m like, “I’m happy that I went through that.” Because I think that I now compare a lot of things to heroin addiction and my addiction to struggle through that and so like most things that come up, I’m like what’s the big deal?
Matt: No big deal.
Greg: Yeah, like my fiance always gets mad … Not mad at me, but she gets discouraged because I am so easy going. Something will come up and I’m like it’s not a big deal. She’s like, “How do you think like that?” I’m like, “because it’s not.” When you come out of addiction, you just compare everything to that super tough time and everything just seems so much easier. I think one of the big things it’s taught me which we’ve talked about before is instant gratification. Right? So like heroin or any type of drug, you use it and it’s like you get immediate gratification, like right then, you feel good. But long term, what happens, you downgrade substantially. So one of the first areas I was successful in was business and I think my addiction was a big help with that and I always looked at it as like, “All right. If I just buckle down now and I put in the work, I can work for the next five, ten years and set myself up for the rest of my life.” And I’m actually almost … I’m pretty much at that point now because I put in the work, but I had friends at the time that were going out and wanting me to come out and they were like, “Come out and drink with us. Come out and do this.” And I’m home working.
Did I want to? No, I would rather be out either having fun with my friends or watching TV or just chilling on the couch or doing something. But I put in the work because I understand the instant gratification of going out with my friends or watching TV is not going to pay off for the long run and that’s … Again, that core came from addiction, where it’s like I know that things that kind of satisfy me right now are usually not going to help me long term. So one of the first things I got in line was business and I started working very, very hard on my business. I would go to my day job and when I say day job, I actually woke up 3:30 in the morning and I would go to … I worked at a casino called Delaware Park, I would be there by four.
I would work till noon and I would literally work from like 12:30 when I got home in the afternoon till like nine o’clock at night and that every single day, I would just grind and grind and grind. And when I first started this business almost 10 years ago, it was actually kind of mixed up with my addiction. I would actually get high and start working too, so it kind of tied it in that way. But it really didn’t take off until I got through my addiction and started realizing that and got that on positive path and it kept building. So that’s one of the big things I think it taught me is that instant gratification doesn’t pay off. I mean even with health, which you’ve taught me a ton about, I’m like, “Yeah, this candy bar would be great but I know it’s just going to not do anything positive for me in the long run.” You know things like that. Of course, from time to time you want to have your treats and all, that’s a different topic of discussion but it just … One of the big things it taught me is to be careful with instant gratification.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s a great point and it’s hard … Unless you’ve been through something where instant gratification is literally ruining your life, it’s hard to learn that any other way. I mean nobody’s … I shouldn’t say nobody, but most people aren’t going to learn that lesson because of eating too many candy bars or whatever because it’s just not … It’s going to have a negative effect but not as negative as heroin addiction. You know what I mean? When you learn a lesson that strong, it does transfer for the other areas of your life. I never even thought about that but I 100% … I’m the same way. I mean it’s very easy for me … If I’m trying to clean up my diet or whatever, it’s very easy for me to be like, “I’m done. I’m not touching it.”
Matt: And it’s … People are like, “Go ahead and have a cookie.” And again from time to time, like whatever … You’re fine, it’s not a big deal, but it’s just the ability for me to be able to say no to things that will provide me with … maybe short term enjoyment or instant gratification. But for my goals, for my health and whatever I have going on physically, mentally even, I know it’s just going to kind of … It’s not going to be putting me in the right direction. It’s going to be putting me in the wrong direction.
Matt: So that’s a great point.
Greg: It’s funny because there’s like a lot of sayings out there what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. If you’re going through tough times, it’s going to make you stronger. A lot of times, especially like an addict, you’re like, “Shut the fuck up. Like I don’t want to hear that.” You don’t really understand the message. Right? But really, those messages are very true. Going through a tough time like addiction makes you so much stronger. You know?
Matt: Adversity, it does so much for a human being. I was listening to a podcast the other day and this guy was saying every interesting person he knows has been through the ringer. Like life has just thrown obstacles at them over and over and over again, and when you overcome those obstacles, you learn so much about yourself, about other people. I think you become more empathetic to other people. It just really helps. The problem is as humans, we are built to avoid all conflict, all problems, all struggles. So … And it’s the same for our kids, we don’t want our kids to go through anything tough but I think they need to. They need to learn how to adapt and overcome.
Greg: That’s a very good point.
Matt: One thing that I know that I … It’s been a huge benefit as a business owner … that I got from addiction, is kind of going back to what you were originally saying. Like if you … Anything that comes at me that would typically seem like a very, very stressful situation, it does not bother me in the least.
Matt: I don’t know. I mean it’s because nothing compares to what I went through getting through addiction. I mean … It really … There’s no instance I can think of. I’ve had stuff like big, big events fall apart, sponsors pulling out or whatever it is the week before and everybody’s running around with their hands in the air and they don’t know what to do and it’s … I’ve been able to really navigate those situations calmly and not have to struggle with it and that’s been a huge benefit.
Greg: You know it’s crazy is I’ve … I feel like I almost look for struggle now.
Greg: Like when I found Crossfit which … If you’ve never done Crossfit, I mean it’s a really, really tough workout because I mean you can make it as tough as you want. Some people go a little easier but I mean I go really hard at these workouts. Why? Because I suffer and I learned that suffering progresses you. Right? So it started with Crossfit where I’d do these really hard Crossfit workouts and I enjoyed the suffering, because I knew that although I’m suffering, like it’s really making me better. And now I’m at the point where I’m like very healthy, I eat right, because I understand it long term. You know like, long term. Like I’m feeling good pretty much all day ’round because I’m avoiding things like just laying on my couch all day and stuffing candy bars down my throat and drinking soda. I’m giving those … all that instant gratification and the other thing that I’ve found recently is jujitsu.
Like I went jujitsu and the first class, I fell in love because it’s extremely challenging. You know you go in there and you get your ass whooped, you get your arm nearly taken off, you get choked out. Right? I’m like this is a challenge, like this is going to be a great challenge. This is why I want to do this. That’s why I want to do an MMA fight one day because it’s challenging. Stepping in that cage with someone where it’s just you and him and that’s it. There’s no one to break … Like you go till someone wins or loses, that’s freaking awesome to me. I mean like I love that. I love that struggle. So I think addiction to me has taught to almost … not to like struggle or to look for it-
Matt: To seek out challenge.
Greg: Seek challenge.
Greg: And to better … Like know that you’re going to better yourself when you’re challenging yourself.
Matt: That’s huge. I mean I really do believe if you’re not continually trying to grow or better yourself in every area of your life. I don’t know. I feel like you’re dying in a certain way. I mean there’s a lot of people that again are trying to seek comfort and they do that by hiding from these things. That if you’d give it a shot, you’ll find it’ll bring you so much joy and benefits in ways that you just would never understand and it’s … I own a crossfit gym and people come in all the time, they’re very skeptical, they’re … you know? “You guys are crazy doing these workouts. It’s not worth it.” And then they do a couple and they’re like, “Oh, I want to try to get better at these. I want to try to get better at this.” Just-
Greg: Something to work towards.
Matt: Yeah, it’s something to work towards and the human mind is conditioned to improve. So a lot of times I know people that are struggling and they’re like … They’re trying to seek refuge by sleeping in. They’re trying to seek refuge by taking it easy or sitting on the couch. That’s the last place you’re going to find it. You’re going to find it on the other side of a challenge every time and I think that us going through addiction taught us that. Like that was a huge lesson.
Greg: Yeah. I’m trying to go back to the addict right now that’s kind of on their couch watching this video and they’re thinking like, “All right, but I feel like shit. Like I’m not there and I feel like shit.” I think what we’re trying to do for you is … Like for those of you who are ready, you got to prepare yourself for that battle and I think knowing that once you get through it, you’re going to be even stronger than you were before is really important and it’s not … Those aren’t just words, like those are facts. Like you will be stronger once you get through and you will start enjoying life more than you ever have. So I can just picture myself being an addict right now and listening to this, “But yeah, great for you. You know I mean you went through it.”
Matt: You’re doing this.
Greg: Right. But-
Greg: You got to understand that like the point of this is to get you to that point where you like sack up and you’re ready for battle. And you’re like, “All right. I just got to get … Let me get through this. Let me get through this battle. How I feel right now is not going to last and let me get through this battle.” I think that’s the main point we’re trying to get to addicts.
Matt: Yeah. I mean that’s what … They say forge through fire.
Matt: Like you come out on the other side of that, you are literally unstoppable. I mean there is … The outlook I have on things now because I didn’t … I thought I was going to be doing heroin until I was dead.
Greg: I remember one point, like in the first six months, I was like I’m just going to do heroin forever. Like I can function and when I got a job and all that. But eventually it gets out of control, you do more and more. You start losing connects here and there where you can’t get it and you withdraw and it’s not sustainable.
Matt: When you show yourself that you can get through heroin addiction and find recovery, there’s literally … I mean when I look at challenges, it’s not a matter … Or things I want to accomplish, it’s not a matter of if ever, like ever.
Greg: It’s when.
Matt: It’s when. When is it going to happen? I mean I have certain goals and things that I want to do with my life and the mindset I approach them with is with 100% confidence, because I know that I got through one of the biggest struggle I’ll probably ever deal with in my entire life as I know. I mean hopefully. But I know that if I … Like there’s nothing else on my list has been nearly as difficult. Same with you. Finding a happy relationship, building a successful business. In my mind those things were never like, “I hope this works.” It’s just like, “What do I need to do?”
Matt: Like as soon as I could find my pad, I need it done and without having … have gone through heroin addiction, I know I wouldn’t … I didn’t have that mindset before. Absolutely not. Only after I went through that, did I start to think the way that I think now.
Greg: Yeah, definitely. I know they’re still in the attic sitting there, withdrawal on the couch, it’s like, “Fuck you guys.” You know but-
Greg: You got to … You got to believe that and I know it sucks and we’ve both been through withdrawal. We know what you’re feeling like but I’m telling you man, once you get through that, get through that first week or two, it gets better and better and better and better and it will take you places you won’t even believe. So just get through that initial phase, I know it sucks. I know you want to get your instant gratification right and use and make yourself better, but remember you’re going up here for two hours then you’re back down here again and it could be permanent if you don’t stop.
Matt: Absolutely. Well I think that’s about it for today guys. I hope some of this information was helpful. If want to find out a little bit more on our back story, you can check us out at projectunbroken.com. If you guys want to see us or hear us cover any topics or answer any questions, leave us a comment, shoot us a message. We would love to help in any way that we can. So thanks again for watching and we look forward to talking to you soon.
Greg: See you guys soon.