Matt: What’s going on everybody. Matt and Greg here and today we wanted to answer the question, why is heroin so addictive?
Matt: There’s a lot of reasons. First and foremost, just at a scientific level, heroin’s flooding your dopamine receptors. Dopamine’s that real feel good hormone that just makes us feel like all is well in the world and when you take heroin it’s just blasting your brain full of that. The feeling that you get when you eat a great meal, the feeling you get when you have sex, the feeling you get when you buy something really cool that you wanted. It all hits that real good, feel good feeling in our brain. We’re wired to seek that out, just biologically. We’ve all, as human beings, that is there so we can seek comfort and safety.
Greg: What came to mind is social media, how it’s come into play. People make posts and the more likes they get, hits that dopamine, they’re like, “Oh people like me, it feels good.”
Matt: Yeah, speaking of which, hit that subscribe button.
Greg: Yeah, hit it.
Matt: But yeah, that’s essentially, heroin is the ultimate dopamine button presser.
Greg: And then you got the opposite effect of that, right? So when you’re not hitting that or you keep hitting that dopamine with the heroin, then you don’t get your heroin, you feel like total garbage, right?
Matt: The worst.
Greg: So, I mean heroin withdraw, or opiate withdraw really, is probably one of the really big obvious reasons why heroin is so addictive.
Greg: People get to the withdraw stage and they’re like, fuck this.
Greg: I’m going back to the heroin, I’m not going through that shit. So I mean that’s one of the obvious big reasons is, it makes you feel so good when you’re on it and when you’re off it, it makes you feel the complete opposite, like complete garbage, right?
Matt: And the only thing that will fix it, at least in the mind of an addict, is more heroin.
Greg: [crosstalk 00:01:54] Right.
Matt: So I think that’s kind of the basic mechanism of heroin and why it’s addictive. But Greg and I have been talking a lot lately about how heroin used to make us feel on completely different levels.
Matt: And I was just talking to Greg about a conversation that I had with a guy years ago when I was working construction, and this was after or during me like trying to get away from heroin. I don’t remember exactly where I was at when the conversation happened. But, as heroin addicts tend to do, we just started talking about heroin, neither one of us knowing that the other was an addict, which is crazy to me, because I would never bring that up. But anyways-
Greg: Well it’s funny, like as a heroin addict we say that. It’s like when you’re on it or kind of, in that in between level or maybe you’re using, you’re not totally serious, someone else mentions heroin, you’re like, hm? Did you say heroin?
Matt: Yeah. Heroin?
Greg: You have that like instant connection, its pretty much instant. It’s funny.
Matt: We were talking about it and we both had a significant amount of experience with heroin and he said something that really rang true with me. He was like, “Man, I love who I am when I’m on heroin.” He’s like, “I love the person I am when I’m on heroin.” He was saying, “I feel confident, I can go to a bar and talk to girls with just like the greatest sense of ease, there’s no anxiety, I’m not nervous. I just feel loving and cool.” I was like, yeah. That kind of nails it. And I think that’s one of the little things that people don’t talk about, about what makes heroin so addictive.
Matt: I felt the same way. I really enjoyed who I was and how I acted when I was on dope. Again, same thing, I was just really patient and kind and felt good with every social interaction I had. I was very friendly and I’m not really like that day to day. I can have a short temper sometimes or I want to get shit done, or you know.
Greg: Oh, you’re human?
Greg: Heroin makes you not human.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Greg: And then, you know, coming out of that I think we’ve talked about this, you feel all that, you feel so confident on it, when you’re coming off it, or even if you get through that initial withdraw stage, like fuck man, I don’t even know who I am. I don’t feel good about myself, I don’t feel good about my life. I don’t even like the person I am. You just feel shitty about yourself.
Matt: Yeah. Reality sets in.
Greg: So why don’t I just use heroin and feel good?
Greg: You know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah and when you know that heroin will fix all those problems that, or you think it will fix those problems that are at least in your head, it’s really hard to not go back to that. Nobody wants to feel like a piece of shit. And unfortunately just the way heroin addiction kind of works, I would steal and lie and fuck over people that I really cared about to get heroin, but the heroin would make me feel like I was justified in doing that.
Matt: Like I never thought like hey, you need to quit fucking living this way because, again, just that chemical, is like, no it’s all right, you’re good.
Greg: So we talk about what people don’t talk about. So everyone talks about the initial stages of withdraw, right, like that first week which is complete hell. What they don’t talk about, which is another reason why it makes so addictive. Now that part’s obvious. The second part is unobvious which we kind of just covered. You know you get out of those initial, physical symptoms, and you think, okay if I can just get through the physical stuff I’m going to be good. Then you get through the physical stuff and you’re like, fuck man I don’t like myself. And maybe a few days goes by and you’re like, am I going to keep feeling like this? A week, two weeks, three weeks goes by and you’re like I still, I don’t feel good.
Greg: Right and a lot of the times it’s because people aren’t making changes and we have a video on the steps we did to get off heroin. We’ll put that below so we can give you steps to kind of get over that phase. because there is a phase, when you go through the initial withdraw symptoms, even if you’re a maintenance program, when you come off the maintenance program, where you have to make specific changes to start bettering your life. You’re going to be stuck in that phase where you’re not confident, you don’t feel good about yourself, you don’t like your life and then you’re going to be like, fuck this, I’m feeling like shit anyways, I might as well go back to feeling good using heroin.
Matt: Dude I swam in that fucking lost place for years. I mean, because, Greg and I do outline these steps that we went back and we looked at like what helped us find success with recovery and there was … I mean, the steps again they work really well and if I knew what I knew now back then, I wouldn’t had to fucking spend two, three years just feeling like shit. It took a really long time for me to find the things that would help me feel more confident or be a better person, or actively try to improve myself. Because the whole time I was just like, when the fuck is this going to go away.
Matt: And it was just kind of by chance, Greg and I both, we took separate roads to do this stuff, but the things were similar, the steps were similar and looking back it could’ve just saved us a whole lot of fucking time, and just time being miserable that we didn’t need to do.
Greg: Definitely. And for those of you who get through the initial week of the horrible withdraw. I’ll give you credit, I never made it through that, you know what I mean, I never made it through that.
Greg: I give you credit and that’s awesome, but just know just because you get through that, there’s really almost a harder phase after that. That’s almost a harder phase, if you don’t know what to do especially. It’s longer.
Matt: It’s not as acute.
Greg: Not as intense, right?
Matt: It’s not as painful, it’s not as obviously painful, but there was a long time where I was kind of like floating around like what the fuck am I supposed to do now?
Matt: And I knew I didn’t want to go back to heroin, but it was just really, it leaves you with a sense of just confusion about who you are. Because now there’s like identity crisis. You’re no longer a heroin addict, but are you a heroin addict? Is my life going to be miserable from here on out?
Greg: Are you a loser because you were using heroin? Will you always be a loser?
Matt: You know, I see a lot of you guys can relate. Heroin, when you’re in the middle of your addiction, you’re not progressing any real way in your life.
Greg: You’re probably degressing.
Matt: Fuck yeah, quick. But you know, maybe a lot of people that you know, whatever, from high school, you see them going to college, graduating, getting jobs, starting families, in the meantime you’re going in the fucking opposite direction. So, when you kind of come out of that heroin fog, you’re like, fuck, everybody’s killing it out here and my life’s going to shit.
Greg: Again, especially with social media. Right, because everyone posts the happy shit-
Matt: I was going to say that.
Greg: They’re going through.
Matt: First of all don’t fall for it. Everybody’s got shit in their lives going on that they’re not happy with and trying to improve. So don’t think that what you see on social media is really the truth. I do recognize that feeling where I was like fuck man, everybody’s killing it, he’s making a ton of money, they got a … like all these things that I wanted, buying houses, you know, all this shit, and I’m fucking just trying to get my shit back together, fucking square one.
Greg: I think everyone does that to an extent. I think you can also use that as a tool. Like change your mindset. Like I remember when I was coming off methadone, Matt reached out to me to come back in the gym, and at that time I had some success with business, I did business first before health. I wish I got into health earlier, but it is what it is. And I remember watching videos of him and my now friends in the gym lifting weights and they were lifting all these like huge, heavy weights, and I’m like fuck I want to do that shit. You know what I mean, I know it’s kind of the same thing, where it’s like man, they’re doing way better than me with their health. But instead of feeling bad for myself I was like, I’m going to do it. I’m going to start going there, I’m going to start doing that, I want to do what they do and that’s kind of what I did. So I used it more as motivation rather than like letting it get me down. That’s something you can kind of think about and change your mindset.
Matt: That’s a huge key and that’s a lot of what we talk about. We can get a link to the video where Greg and I talk about the steps to how to approach the whole recovery process in that way. Where you kind of see things that you want to do and kind of attack them in a certain way, instead of being like poor old me, I don’t have this or that. You can really start to work your ways toward things in a productive manner.
Greg: Yeah. So, do you have anything else to add, why heroin is so addictive? Any little things you can think of? I think that’s the main point we wanted to cover.
Matt: Yeah. I think that’s it. I mean it’s just, you’re going from a general false sense of comfort and security and confidence and basically when you quit heroin or heroin’s taken out of your life, whatever, you no longer have those things and you have to find a healthy way to build them back into your life.
Greg: Yeah. I think we just wanted people to know that the initial stage of withdraw, that week, yeah it gets a lot of people stuck in the heroin addiction, but maybe equally as dangerous is that period after the initial withdraw if you don’t take the proper steps, where you feel like shit about yourself and then you’re just out of touch with everything and that drags you back in.
Matt: You got to start over.
Greg: Yeah. Hopefully this helps you. If you have any more questions, let us know. We’ve been through the ringer with heroin, drugs, so we’ll share all the experience we can to help you out and we’ll see you all in the next video.
Matt: See you guys.
Greg: Subscribe below.