What Is Sobriety To You? Can Ex Heroin Addicts Drink Or Smoke Weed?

Greg:                     What’s going on everyone? It is Matt and Greg here, Project Unbroken. As you know, we’re both former drug, heroin addicts and we’re doing this project to help spread the word, so make sure you subscribe below, we got tons of videos coming.

Greg:                     Today’s topic is kind of a question we got in from someone, and they asked us, “You’re off the heroin, you’re off the hard drugs …” He’s been off for 10 years, I’ve been off for about seven, he used Suboxone and I used Methadone, we’ve been off those for a few years at least, it’s been five for me, seven for you on Suboxone I believe.

Greg:                     And someone asked us, “What do you consider sobriety? Do you still drink, do you still smoke?” Today we’re going to be talking about that, what we consider sobriety. I think it’s different for everyone, in my opinion. I think the mainstream sobriety is not touching anything, right? But to me, that’s not necessarily sobriety, it’s different for everyone. What’s your take on that?

Matt:                     If I’m thinking of just the word “sobriety”, I do look at it that way, where you’re not doing anything. You have no outside chemicals changing the way that your brain normally works. But, when you say normal society looks at sobriety like you’re not doing anything, I think you’re right in theory, but that’s not what they think. They think alcohol-

Greg:                     I’m sorry, when I said mainstream society I said mainstream recovery I should say, programs.

Matt:                     Yeah, and I agree, that’s what I was thinking you were saying. They’re saying, “You’re not drinking, you’re not doing hard drugs obviously, you’re not smoking weed.” But I think what they do take out of it is … Do they need a cup of coffee to get their day going every single day? Are they addicted to cigarettes? Do they eat sugar?

Matt:                     All these things are drugs with addictive qualities to them that the mainstream recovery whatever, they’re okay with leaving those out.

Greg:                     That’s true.

Matt:                     But if you smoke weed it’s kind of demonized, if you drink you’re not sober. So even for what most people say is completely sober, I don’t think they’re looking at the big picture and everything that could actually go in it and things that can have addictive qualities and change the way you think and behave and act … I think people like to pick and choose what works for them.

Greg:                     Yeah, I wonder why that’s considered … For example, weed or alcohol, we’ll use alcohol because it’s legal. Why is that considered against sobriety, but maybe sugar and tobacco isn’t? When that sugar and tobacco kill more people than anything combined? Why do you think that is, why is that looked at that way?

Matt:                     I think alcohol has … The effects of alcohol, the negative effects, are so overwhelming and apparent immediately-

Greg:                     Immediately.

Matt:                     Yeah, when you get shit-faced and you wreck a car, or you-

Greg:                     True, the immediate … That’s a very good way of putting it.

Matt:                     I think that’s what it is. But it’s really difficult to separate that, because for instance … For both of us, alcohol was when we were younger it was a bigger problem for me. You never really enjoyed drinking at all. But now I have absolutely no issue having a glass of wine and then not doing anything else.

Matt:                     I don’t consider that sobriety in terms of the word, but I also don’t look at that glass of wine as threatening my lifestyle. And again, we’re both healthy, we watch what we eat, we exercise almost to a point of insanity, but we’re very careful, Greg and I, about what we put in our bodies, how we treat our bodies and things like that.

Matt:                     I don’t look at a glass of wine as any threat to throwing my progress, the train off the tracks so to speak.

Greg:                     What would be throwing the train off the tracks? Doing opiates, is that one of the bigger drugs … Or would you say the bigger drugs, like cocaine, opiates, pretty much we were mainly addicted to opiates, heroin, pain pills, and all that. So if you did cocaine again would you consider that going against your sobriety?

Matt:                     Yeah, yeah, I’d say that’s an issue. I’d be concerned about that.

Greg:                     I think maybe it’s each person’s different.

Matt:                     Sliding scale, it’s … Yeah, absolutely. I would say something that is very important to keep in mind … When you’re working your way out of an addiction or out of a problem, I would try to stay as sober as I possibly could for as long as I possibly could, in the true sense of the word. Again, whatever, coffee, cigarettes, I don’t look at them like a big deal either, but I also don’t look at weed like it’s a big deal.

Matt:                     But when you’re first coming out of your addiction you need to be very careful, because your mind will be able to rationalize things in a different way that might not be so healthy.

Greg:                     Yeah, it’s true, when I was coming off heroin and methadone I didn’t drink for five years straight. I didn’t smoke weed, didn’t drink, nothing. I actually smoked weed when I came off methadone once to try to help with the pain, for me it made it worse because I get anxiety when I smoke. But I didn’t drink for a long time, and I haven’t had a drink in a year and a half now.

Greg:                     I was actually at your bachelor party recently and everyone was … I guess they thought I wasn’t drinking because I’m an addict. That’s not why, drinking does nothing like that for me. My wife went to rehab for alcohol about a year and a half ago, and when she went to rehab I figured, “Why should I drink?” I’m kind like her roll dog, if she’s not going to drink I’m going to not drink with her so she has someone not to drink with. Drinking’s so accepted that everyone around her drinks, so if her roll dog’s not drinking it makes it a lot easier on her, so that’s why I don’t drink.

Greg:                     But for me, drinking, smoking weed, does not jeopardize my recovery at all because I don’t like it that much. It’s almost like the more you like a drug the more dangerous it is for addiction, right?

Matt:                     I agree with that, yeah, absolutely. And you have to keep in mind … I think when I’m looking at my big problem, our big problem, was heroin. If there’s anything that in any way would kind of open that door up to me again, I would avoid it at all costs. For me, smoking weed … If I get high, I’m not … If I’m smoking weed, I don’t think, “I need to hit the block and get some bags.” That never crosses my mind at all. And same with a drink, it doesn’t come up in the thought process at all.

Greg:                     I apologize I’m sweating, I just got done working out like 10 minutes ago, so if you see sweat beating down my forehead that’s why, my body’s still pretty hot.

Matt:                     He’s not nervous.

Greg:                     But I think for a lot of people out there that are watching this video that are newly sober, I don’t want you to get confused and think that you can drink or you can smoke weed, because that may not be the case for you. Everyone’s different, you got to know your body, and like Matt said earlier I think it’s a good idea to just stay totally sober for a while as you’re coming out of any type of recovery.

Greg:                     And then, even if drinking or anything comes up, you got to be careful going into that, because each person is going to react differently. You could be the person that says, “Well, Matt and Greg were fine with it,” and you’re two years clean, you go out and have a drink, maybe that spirals you out of control, back into your addiction.

Greg:                     So you got to be very careful with it, very comfortable with where you are in your recovery, and just know where you’re at.

Matt:                     Yeah, and it makes me a little bit nervous to even say those things, but Greg and I are trying to be as open and as honest about our experience as we possibly can. So I really hope this isn’t misconstrued as us saying that it’s okay for you to go drink or smoke or whatever when you’re working on your recovery. That is not the point of this video whatsoever.

Matt:                     As Greg just mentioned, when you’re working your way out of this you need to look at every mind-altering substance with a degree of concern. And again, in my eyes, if we’re going to say sober is sober is sober, I’m talking about cigarettes, I’m talking about caffeine, I’m talking about alcohol, sugar, everything. You need to be very aware of what your system does when it comes into contact with those different chemicals. Yeah, some are worse than others, but I think it’s a sliding scale on what’s going to really threaten you and your recovery.

Matt:                     You need to have an open and honest conversation with yourself, and with your support group or system or whatever that is, about what’s appropriate for you. Because it really is different for everyone I think.

Greg:                     I really like the point you made earlier about alcohol being immediate, that makes so much sense. Because I always wondered, “Why don’t people look as cigarettes as bad when they’re killing 10, 20 times more people than alcohol?” But you’re right, it’s the immediate things that alcohol can do, kind of the immediate, life-changing things.

Matt:                     It’s slow, I mean … I look at the big picture. It’s hard to say this, but I do think that cigarettes are worse than alcohol.

Greg:                     They are worse.

Matt:                     They are, statistically they kill more people. But again, we don’t demonize cigarettes, or sugar for that instance, which is worse than both, because the negative effects are not as immediate. You can’t connect it like, “He had this drink, he wrecked his car.”

Greg:                     “He had this drink and acted like an asshole and punched that guy in the face, or he just acts like a dick when he’s drunk.” It doesn’t change your behavior too, when you smoke it doesn’t really change your behavior.

Matt:                     Not immediately. But slowly it does, with sugar for instance, it’s just as addicting, as a lot of studies say, as cocaine is. And we start feeding our kids these sugary cereals, next thing you know they have diabetes, next thing you know they’re obese, next thing you know they’re in the medical ICU unit with a chronic disease.

Greg:                     Or maybe not as erratic. If you’re smoking or having a lot of sugar you’re not acting erratic. When you drink you can act erratic.

Matt:                     Absolutely. Again, all of these different substances affect us in different ways. In the truest sense of the word, sobriety means you don’t have any of that stuff in your system, but I would argue that less than one percent of our society is “sober”.

Greg:                     Yeah, if you consider sobriety that. And to the question, “Do you or Matt smoke or drink?” I’ll let Matt answer his side, but for me I don’t drink or smoke at all anymore. I did drink a very little bit before my wife went to rehab. Again, I don’t really like drinking, I would have a drink or two and it just wouldn’t do anything for me.

Greg:                     Smoking nowadays is kind of … I have some businesses I’m working on, I work out all the time, it just kind of slows me down, gives me a little bit of anxiety, so I don’t smoke either. I don’t really do anything. My sugar intake’s very low, I don’t smoke cigarettes. I do drink coffee, so a little bit of caffeine in there, but that’s about it for me. I don’t drink or smoke.

Matt:                     I’m not far from that. I can have a beer or a glass of wine occasionally, and I kind of treat marijuana the same exact way, but those sort of things, there’s not that much time for them. Because they do have … Greg and I have had this conversation over the last couple years, because I think just always … At least for the last couple of years I’ve smoked more than you have, and it came to a point where I was like, “I’m not getting as much accomplished as I’d like to.”

Matt:                     Still very functional, building businesses, stuff like that, it’s never been a problem, but I just noticed it’s hard for me to wake up in the morning with it. And it’s not like a hangover, it’s just I’m a little groggier. So anything that’s stepping in the way of what I find as progress in my fitness, my family, my business, it just doesn’t really have room right now.

Matt:                     Again, I’m not demonizing those things at all, it just depends on where you’re at in your life and what’s going to benefit you and what’s going to hinder your performance or success.

Greg:                     Cool, so that kind of answers the question on what is sobriety. Hopefully that helps. Again, at least me personally, I recommend that you stay as sober as possible until you learn yourself at least. But that’s what we think on sobriety.

Greg:                     Make sure you subscribe below, leave a comment, like, help us get the word out about Project Unbroken. We’ll be having another video coming out soon, and we’ll see y’all later.

Matt:                     See you guys.

Greg:                     Have a good one.

In Category: Addiction

Greg Morrison

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