Hey everyone! This week we’re back with another episode of You’re Gonna Be Great! My mini-podcast series for the COVID-19 era. My goal was 6-7 episodes and I’m almost there. On one hand, I’m sad to see it coming to an end, but on the other hand, I’m really proud of myself for doing something totally different and uncomfortable. Hooray! This week’s episode is about addiction, preventing relapse, and sustaining recovery during social distancing. I talked with Matt Wright, LCSW, who specializes in addiction, works at a recovery center and is a recovering addict himself. It was an eye-opening and heart-wrenching conversation for me. As many of you know, my younger brother was a drug addict and he died just over a decade ago. I thought that I would be fine but during the conversation, I found shame and guilt sweeping in full force and spent a few days in a dark place afterward. I’m sharing this because, well, oversharing is my thing, but also to remind you that no matter how much work you’ve done on yourself, no matter how much trauma you think is “behind you” it’s really important to prepare yourself when you’re going to be in a situation that could possibly trigger you. Next time, I will have my self-talk ready, i.e., “I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time,” and I’ll have a session with my therapist lined up right fucking after. But I’m feeling much better now and I’m really happy with the episode and Matt. He was brilliant and funny, and kind, and just a genuinely great guy to talk with.
We kicked off the conversation with Matt sharing his own experience with addiction in his twenties, how he got sober and stumbled into a career helping others. He has a ton of great advice on how to get help, how to help those in your life who might need it, and how to sustain your recovery during this really difficult time. These past weeks have been so hard on all of us, and harder still for those of us battling mental illness, sickness, economic hardships or addiction. But Matt has some great advice on how to reach out, stay connected, visit meetings, and find the community you need right now to make it through this happy, healthy, and sober.
Matt said something that I will never forget and I’m paraphrasing but it was, “Addiction is really an affliction of loneliness. A lack of connection to others.” I’ll spare everyone the details of why this hit home with me, but I think that many of us who have known someone who has struggled with addiction can see why this might be profound.
Listen, share, comment, and like. Stay safe, stay home, and remember that it’s okay to reach out when you need a little help from your friends. And hey, if not them, comment here and I’ll respond, or call Matt. Seriously, he’s into it.
About Matt Wright, LCSW.
Matt Wright began his journey at Ascend Recovery first as a patient. His experience was life-changing and it inspired him to change careers from finance to the work of recovery. Matt is deeply involved in the Utah recovery community as a mentor, activist, and advocate. He has worked tirelessly in providing recovery resources to communities through local nonprofits and even helped establish a support group for students at the University of Utah. Matt enjoys meditation and worked as a research assistant in a lab testing its benefits for recovery. He has a specific interest and specialized experience working with OCD treatment. Matt has a Master of Social from the University of Utah.
He enjoys playing/writing music, spending time with his wife and three children. Matt has been with Ascend since 2012. You can find Matt here. Or email him at mwright (at) ascendrecovery