The Consequences of Addiction
In this episode of The Russ Perry Show, Russ unpacks how dangerous addiction can be to your long-term goals. Russ leads the conversation about how addiction, whether to substances or other dangerous activities such as pornography, can short wire your brain to focus on short-term desires to the detriment of your long-term goals and outcomes.
Russ explains that dealing with stress is usually the motive behind these actions. And he stresses that the way to find a healthy resolution to these problems is not to sedate, but to acknowledge them, and plan a way forward that is in alignment with your long-term vision. That is the only way to pull yourself out of the darkness and into the light. Watch below!
Subscribe to catch the latest episode, released every Tuesday at 12:30 am MST!
Enter your email address to download this week’s Action Guide
& get each Action Guide personally delivered to your inbox
Each week we release an Action Guide filled with relevant exercises from the latest Russ Perry Show episode to help you expand your sobriety across all core areas of your life: body, being, balance, and business.
This week’s Action Guide will have you focus in on your negative short-term behaviors and how they’re affecting your long-term vision.
BONUS: No need to take notes – we transcribed the episode for you!
– Well, hello everyone and welcome again to another episode of The Russ Perry Show, where we unpack every week why sober equals success. I’m super excited for today’s episode.
We’ve been on a journey tackling these conversations around sobriety and today, well let’s just say there’s a lot of people in my life doing dumb stuff. And I’m gonna talk all today about why we do dumb stuff, especially around the context of addiction. Both literally, to chemicals and substances, as well as figuratively when we’re addicted to behaviors and other things that can end up detrimental for ourselves and those around us.
So sit back, get uncomfortable, this is another episode of The Russ Perry Show, let’s get it started.
[Intro] ♪ Let’s go ♪ There’s a new way of living to give you the unfair advantage in all areas of life: Body, being, balance, and business. Follow my journey each week and learn, first hand, why sober equals success. Welcome to The Russ Perry Show.
Welcome back, everyone! So recently in my life, there are just people doing dumb things. Both people I know as well as people around me. Just got back form a warrior week in which I worked with 12, 13 other men, diving into a lot of the dumb things that they did in their lives and how to grow, and where they’re gonna go now that they’ve had that experience.
But it begs the question, “why are we so stupid when it comes to our addictions?” Now for me speaking from experience, my addiction always was around alcohol. When I drank, I did dumb stuff. That dumb stuff got to a very extreme level in 2011 and 2012. But if you’ve never experienced substance addiction, there are still many other ways that we become addicted to things and we still perform and do things in which in hindsight you look back and you’re like, “what the heck were they thinking?”
So that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. And my intent for you today is to understand both the consequences, short and long-term, about why the behaviors in which you are currently addicted to must change. Not just because you’re doing dumb things but because the behaviors over a long period of time will result in consequences that are far greater than the immediate problems that you’re dealing with.
So let’s jump to the tablet. Now I’m no scientist, surprise. I don’t think scientists wear cool hats like this. And I’m not a very good artist. That’s why I hire a bunch of people and you can hire people too. Designpickle.com
But this is a brain. Actually, let me try to get a different color for a brain. Now inside our brain, there we go, pink brain, we have parts of the brain that decides about long and short-term consequences. Now, this is, if you’ve ever dealt with a teenager or been a teenager, which most of you probably are, this is a part of our brain that is very just very active in terms of… ideas and independence and all the things that we want to be going after as a young individual.
Our short-term parts are actively developing. “Hey, we have these needs. I want to do this, Mom. Please let me go out here.” But what we lack and which we develop over time and experience and all of this is we lack that long-term ability to gauge our short-term behaviors with the long-term consequences.
In fact, as we develop as humans, this ultimately becomes our single greatest secret weapon against all the other creatures on this Earth. Humans are masters because of the way our brains have developed over millions of years of taking action in the short-term that is in alignment and directed towards our long-term goals, outcomes, targets, things that we want to achieve. We’re the only species that can do this at the layer of complexity and with the time-horizon that we can.
There are people out there right now planning hundreds or thousands of years into the future for the things they’re working on today. So this short and long-term connection is essential to us. It’s how we’re able to create. It drives creativity. It drives engineering and societies, all the great things that we have done as humankind. And as an adult, it’s easy to have this connection.
When we’re a child we don’t have that connection so much. We’re very much in the short term. And it’s only after age and experience that accrues over time as we get older and older and older that we’re able to see the grasp, or grasp the enormity of our life, our impact in this world. And if you talk to those who are much older than us, they’re able to really have just words of wisdom and insights and value that they deliver because of this ability to live in the short-term but view and be able to perceive the long-term.
So what does this have to do with addiction? In relation to many drugs and substances, this connection between short and long-term is severed. We are no longer able to evaluate long-term consequences. As an alcoholic, this was me going out and drinking at night when I knew I had a big presentation the next day. When I knew my wife was going to be pissed about it. When I knew I had the world of responsibilities on my shoulders and I would still act and behave in a way that was destructive.
The reason is because biochemically, my long-term decision making was shot. I was literally suppressing that part of my brain through the chemicals of alcohol, as well as other substances. When we look at this conversation from a substance-addictive kind-of point of view, it’s very easy to understand. You take these things, you ingest these things and it short-wires your brain and you do dumb stuff. You don’t have to be a doctor to understand this. If you struggled at all with any of these types of addictions, you know firsthand from your own experience, not because I’m telling you, that these are the results.
There is a funny story, I’m actually going to tell a story about my sister. She came home one day, I think she was in college, maybe she was a little bit younger, we’ll just say in college, she had two gigantically swollen ankles and I said, “What did you do? Like, what happened?” She went, “Oh,” blah blah blah blah blah, told me this total lie.
The reality was she was drunk and she literally jumped off a building, or like a tall wall. So tall that, inebriated, drunk, hit the ground, sprained both of her ankles in a dramatic fashion and any sober person would have never, they would have been able to judge that. Like, “Look, if I jump, this is gonna happen. This is dangerous. It looks high.” But when you’re inebriated or when you’re intoxicated, this doesn’t happen.
So there’s the immediate suppression of short and long-term behavior, and then what ends up happening is there becomes a biochemical dependency on whatever it is you’re consuming or doing to where once you start to come out of this substance-induced state, all of the ‘feel-good’ chemicals that you’ve been harboring, you’ve been using up, are completely depleted. You’re just completely drained of dopamine. You’re completely drained of everything.
And so you literally go into a depression, biochemically, mentally, and because you’re not equipped with shows like The Russ Perry Show, because you’ve not read my book ‘The Sober Entrepreneur‘, what do you do to cope with this depression? Well, you cycle back around again in the same behaviors that got you to this place in the first place, which is drinking, smoking, substance abuse, whatever it is. And this cycle continues over and over and over again, where you have the downward spiral and then you try to bring yourself up with the substances. All the while, your short and long-term connection is severed and you’re just immediately living in the short-term without any consequence for what is ahead.
There’s plenty of books to back this up from a biological point of view, but where I want to get to is what happens when people aren’t addicted to alcohol? What happens when people aren’t addicted to drugs? How do they still behave in such a way in which they make dumb decisions even though that, biochemically, you would argue, “Hey, I’m not ingesting something. I’m not altering the biochemical makeup of my body. So why would I still suffer from this inability to have good judgment when I’m addicted to something like a job, or I’m addicted to stress, or I’m addicted to porn or I’m addicted to these other things that are still influencing who we are?”
My take on this is simple. It does not matter if it is a beer or a joint, or porn, or a stressful job, it is completely the same when it comes to that level of addiction and your inability to determine your long and short-term consequences. The reason, for the most part, is stress.
Stress is the killer of so many men and women because they’re unable to cope with it. And again, their short-term desires to not be stressed outweighs the long-term consequences of the actions and the behaviors that they participate in in order to alleviate that stress.
Pornography is an interesting subject. Not one I have a lot of familiarity with. But most men and women who are into pornography lack intimacy in a relationship that’s meaningful to them. And so instead of addressing that stress and instead of going after that uncomfortable conversation with their wife, they resort to escapism and resort to pornography in order to fulfill them in a short-term way.
But the long-term consequences of that is it perpetuates this fantasy, it perpetuates this lack of true intimacy, which only drives their significant other further, or if they have no one, drives them further into a place where they’re unable to maintain any type of relationships with anyone as anything meaningful. And you see this time and time again in people and men who are struggling with addiction to pornography.
They have no relationships with their significant others or they’re by themselves, they have no relationships at all with themselves. This addiction, again, is not quarantined to alcohol, it’s not quarantined to marijuana. You could be addicted to a bad job. You could be addicted to a behavior within your job that is so destructive it could get you fired from your job; however, you perpetuate this behavior because what it does for you is it alleviates the short-term stresses that you’re currently dealing with a short-term dopamine hit.
The behaviors that cause the most destructive things in our life could be circumvented so much earlier in life if we just acknowledge the problems that we’re having. That’s it. Acknowledge it. “Yes, I’m stressed.” “Yes, I’m frustrated.” “Yes, this sucks. Yes, I’m pissed off.” “Yes, I’m overworked. Yes, I don’t even know my wife. I haven’t had sex.”
Whatever the challenge is that you are having, the way you get to a healthy resolution isn’t to sedate, isn’t to gratify yourself in the short term. It’s to acknowledge the current challenge, the current situation that you’re in and then from there step into that truth and own it and say, “I’m not gonna hide it. I’m not gonna try to ignore it or push it away. I’m going to own it and I’m gonna take a step forward.”
And yeah, it might be embarrassing. Yeah, it might be hard. Yeah, it might be shameful. But your ownership is the path to freedom. Owning your hits, owning the darkness inside of you is the only way for you to find the lightness. Let me say that again: owning the darkness is the only way for you to find the light. Period. Hiding inside of the dark only perpetuates more dark.
And so for all of you watching this segment today, for anyone watching this that is struggling inside the dark, stuck in a behavior pattern or behavior cycle that they feel like they can’t get out of, all you need to do is step into that, and to say “Yes, this is terrible.” “Yes, I feel depressed.” “Yes, it feels like things are caving in, but you know what? I’m gonna stop hiding, I’m gonna stop sedating, I’m gonna start living focused not on the short-term, but the plan and actions that you can get and take care of and go forward with in order to get to that long-term vision which is what is going to pull you out of the darkness and into the light.
So if you haven’t already, I encourage you to get signed up for updates on the show, as well the Action Guides. We post an Action Guide within about a day or two of the live airing of this. So if you’re watching this live, check back to RussPerry.co/show And we have the past Action Guides there as well as this show’s Action Guide.
And if you’re not subscribed, get subscribed. We send an email every Tuesday on insights around the show and what’s going on, it’s great stuff. You can go to, again, RussPerry.co/show and get signed up for updates about everything we’re talking about here and this entire on why sober equals success. That’s it for today’s show. Thanks so much everyone. We’ll see you next week, live again, 12:30 Mountain Standard Time. Take it easy.
[Outro] Check out past episodes and download custom Action Guides at RussPerry.co/show.