(Disclaimer: This transcript was made using AI technology. Please excuse any errors.)
Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery Podcast, where we talk about finding hope in recovery. And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 0:11
Hello Atheists in Recovery and welcome to Episode 88 of the atheists in recovery podcast. And today, I'm excited to bring our guest Luke Worsfold on. And I think you're gonna like this episode, Luke has a very touching personal story. He grew up with a drug addicted mother who died when he was 10. And that experience of her death really caused a lot of trauma and deep wounds in his life. And eventually, Luke decided to cope with drugs. And when he finally did realize that he had a problem, he said that he decided that his mom's life would be an example to him, and her death would be a lesson. And so, I do hope you enjoy this show, we talk a lot about his coping mechanisms, his habits, therapy plays a big part in his recovery journey along with mentors. Okay, let's talk a little bit more about Luke. After losing his mom, Lisa to drugs at the age of 10. Luke has gone from an emotionally dead drug addict to a fulfilled recovery counselor. He now runs Lisa inside addiction that provides online recovery programs to hold the light down the tunnel of darkness, helping people stuck at the level of consciousness of addiction to become the best versions of themselves ensuring fewer people people lose their lives to drugs and alcohol, like his mum did. Alright guys, onto the show. Luke Worsfold, welcome to the show.
Luke Worsfold 1:58
Thank you very much for having me. It's amazing to be here.
Adina Silvestri 2:01
So I just want to start our conversation by just talking a little bit or getting a sense a little bit about, you know, your deepest roots from childhood.
Luke Worsfold 2:12
Yeah, sure. So my deepest roots from childhood, I guess it comes from my mom, my mom was an alcoholic and a drug addict. And as I grew up much on childhood, we're being surrounded by that. At the age of 10, she passed away. But before then, in my early formative years, there would have been a lot of chaos, and I have loads of memories. for lots of chaos, lots of drinking, not understanding why mum wasn't there not being able to go around mom's house because mom and dad weren't together. And not understanding why I couldn't go around mom's house. No sense. I just wanted to see her mom walking around. And my brother's got two older brothers, they were allowed some kind of life there. And I was around mom's house I was in. So yeah, a lot of that was going on. And then there was the sense of things coming to my brothers, we were all free boys. And there will be a lot of times when we have fights. And it wasn't necessarily spoken and unspoken, due to kind of like masculinity and stuff like that looking back, for a sense of is not trying to show emotions, impartial emotions, or cry, then I would get beaten up or get called names. And if I sort of fall back or started fights, oftentimes, then that will be okay, they'll be away from me express my emotions. Anger was okay, throwin' toys in their head was okay, punching them fine. And that was a lot of time. But actually showing my emotions like crying or talking about them, there wasn't really anyone to talk to them to. But that wasn't really kind of appropriate, in essence. And I just got that sense. As I grew up, I sort of learned not to show my emotions and just sort of bury them deep inside. So they were sort of the roots of where things came from. And then as time went on, and I went into school, drugs and alcohol was sort of introduced smoking cigarettes, and you know, smoking joints, that kind of stuff. And then as I got older, I was doing lines of coke. And things sort of escalated from there, as I sort of left school, but they're kind of my roots, in a sense. Yeah.
Adina Silvestri 4:24
So it sounds like your roots were this sort of masculinity code of, you know, I don't show emotions. They're not okay. And you probably learned early on that when you did show emotions that there would be like this negative consequence or whatever the case may be it probably, yeah, maybe you could talk a little about that.
Luke Worsfold 4:45
Yeah. So I think that really made me shut down all my emotions. They say there was a negative consequence. So much like when you put your hand on a fire, you get conditioned not to put your hand on the fire, but it's almost like well, if you put me on the fire And then get someone punches you in the face. It's like that's a negative consequence. But it's still a healthy response, you need to cook your food. So it was cool most crate that like Miss worrying is like, Okay, show my emotions as a healthy response. I'm a young kid, I've just lost my mom, I'm going through a lot of emotions. I didn't know how to handle them. I wasn't taught about in school, unfortunately. And that was like, the normal response was to show them but then every time I would, I would get beaten up, not in these in like severe beatings, in a sense, I'm not saying I was abused or anything, but it's just like boys will be boys having fights punching each other calling each other names. And that was just the common response. So there's like, that mis wiring of information. When I showed her emotion, I would get her. And that just conditioned my brain, okay, don't show emotions. And because it's that kind of coping mechanism that develop from an early age, and they become maladaptive thought at the time, it was completely appropriate for their surroundings. And then when drugs and alcohol came along, is that our so this is how you see your emotions. Using this, this works better than punching everyone. So it just made a bit more sense,
Adina Silvestri 6:10
right? Yeah, you don't really want to be punching people on the street. That could be pretty bad for you.
Yeah, I love I love what you just said about, you know, those coping mechanisms were appropriate. They were protective. I mean, they, they kept you safe, in a sense. So I'm wondering if you could sort of take us now, through your recovery journey, just to give us a sense of how you came to find out that, you know, maybe I have a problem here. And, you know, what did you do next?
Luke Worsfold 6:39
Yeah, so I remember the time, it was very familiar that specific time. But I remember sitting on a park bench from the corner from my house, or just had a business lead failed. And I had to move out of my flat overlooking the sea, into a house share with other people. And I used to go around the corner to sort of smoke and use drugs and sit on this park bench. And I remember calling all the numbers in my phonebook, trying to get someone to lend me money, or to give me drugs or help me out. But I had used all of those resources and all of those people out and emotionally manipulated them the best I could. And there was one last part in my phone book that I didn't want to call, who was one of my friends at the time. And when I called him up, he said, Luke, you're a crackhead. When I asked him for the money, and although I've never smoked crack, he just pierced that denial, that veil of denial. And I was like, I'm just not my mom. I never thought I was I never thought I'd be an alcoholic. I never thought I'd be an addict. But then when I turned around and looked, and he said that comment to me, I was like, wow, I mean, I've just become Exactly. And I realized, sitting on that bench that I was kind of heading towards death, just like her. And I sort of discovered in time that her life was an example, her death was a lesson, I realized, I don't want to do this. And at that time, I didn't know what being authentic men, but I read a lot of and watched a lot of videos on YouTube about authenticity and stuff like that. So I knew I wanted to become authentic. And I knew that counseling was a thing because I listened to a podcast. So I just was like, Okay, I'm just going to become authentic. And I'm just going to Google counselor. And I just booked the closest one, whatever came up on Google. And that's basically the story. So I went to counseling, I went to a few counseling sessions over and over and started to untangle the mess of my emotions, by I remember, walking into that first therapy session, feeling like I would die, from bringing back up all that pain, I didn't know what would happen, I'm buried so deep. Again, it was like, if Luke shows emotions, or I should own it, I if I show emotions, then I will get beaten up and hurt and the pain will be inflicted. So I didn't necessarily think my therapist was going to jump and beat me up. But I just thought, it's gonna be dangerous to show these emotions, what's going to happen that was just unknown, going into that part of the experience and not knowing what was going to happen. And that's kind of where my recovery journey started, or from those first few counseling sessions.
Adina Silvestri 9:17
love that and actually want to pull a quote from your website that I found quite striking, you say, but walk and this is from the website, Lisa inside addiction, and we're gonna, we're gonna link to it in the show notes as well. But walking into my first therapy session, I really believed I could die from bringing back up the pain I carried, I had suppressed so much of my emotions, I did not know what I would find. And that scared the hell out of me. I quickly had to develop the courage needed to embrace the uncertainty and anxiety of this journey of self discovery.
Luke Worsfold 9:48
Yeah. And that was really difficult. I remember just not knowing what would happen and that uncertainty of that emotional experience just scared me. And it did take courage to go are back and to keep going back. And it's really hard to be in an emotional space and to open up your emotions, and to sit with them, especially when I had sort of suppressed them, especially with drugs and alcohol for so long, I didn't even know what emotions were. And being able to sit with them for 60 minutes was hard, being able to talk about everything was hard, and not knowing how it's gonna all work out. Or if there was a rule or if any of these problems can be solved, didn't know what was gonna happen. I guess I just had faith in a sense that it would work out or a belief that I didn't want to dial out my alarm. So anything is better than that. This is seems like what people are yapping on about this thing called counseling. Let's give it a go.
Adina Silvestri 10:44
Yes, yes, people do yap about counseling. But I guess I want to maybe get a little bit into the weeds here, because I feel like I hear this often. And I talked about this in the podcast so often, but I think it's that vulnerability piece that's so hard for the women, maybe not so much, you know, and I'm gonna get into the gender wars here. But for the guys, definitely, because of what you just said, you know, you don't show emotion. And you learn that from an early age. And so, you know, how were you able to sort of walk into this therapist office and have the courage really to talk about the pain, without feeling like you were going to just die from the sheer heaviness of it all, you know?
Luke Worsfold 11:32
Well, I guess I felt like I was going to die anyway. You know, I was drinking and using drugs so heavily, I was gonna die, you know, I was gonna die a drug addict, just like, there was no two ways about that. If I kept doing what I was doing day in, day out, you know, I will be around for long, I would just have died like that we would just have been obvious. And knowing that that's exactly what mom did, was just like, such a stark realization that that was going to happen. I've seen it happen. I've experienced the pain, you know, watched it happen. And I didn't want to go through that, in a sense. So it was like, Yeah, my emotions gave me there was kind of like the balance of the devil, you know, when the devil you don't, in a sense, but it was almost like, I'm gonna choose the devil I don't, because the devil I know, is just not not what I want to experience. So I walked into that therapy room facing those emotions. Because I didn't have an option. It was like a gun to my head situation. In a sense, it was just and that was the realization. So I just sort of trusted in that experience. And I think I've been grateful that along my journey, I've been able to not necessarily understand or have a frame of reference for success or different milestones, that by looking at mentors, and people who are 10 years ahead of me, being able to really believe that that's possible, I guess, even if not my frame of reference is a frame of reference, you know, to be able to understand, oh, it is possible this can happen is not just me that's going to therapy, and solving one of these emotions, it has been done before. It's just now my turn to walk through that door. I think that was another thing by watching all these mentors and stuff online. I know it's possible, my people I trusted and who I got loads of wisdom from, they had told me that therapy works and that this thing was good. So even if I didn't understand how scared to Hell, I knew that it worked. And I knew it was possible, and I didn't really have much choice.
Adina Silvestri 13:33
I mean, that's, that's a great way to put it. And we were going to at the rate that you're going, you're going to die anyway. And so why not give this therapy thing a chance?
You mentioned mentors. And I want to know what you mean by mentors? And how do you think that they helped you, and your recovery journey? And I've heard you speak before, I know that you're a big proponent of therapy, in your in your counselor yourself. And so, yeah, what was it about therapy that you think the tools that that you learned from your therapist that you think were really helpful maybe? And what is this idea of mentors,
Luke Worsfold 14:11
So I think the biggest frame of reference that I got was that sense of emotions are okay? And just the sense of men have emotions and seeing people who are kind of working on themselves in personal development. One person that's been a longtime mentor of mine who I had a my podcast actually is Peter sage. He showed me that psychology matters. You can pay attention to psychology. And even in his story, he spoke a lot about becoming a millionaire and he driving his Lamborghini or his supercar home from the office, and he was so tired, he fell asleep and he crafted the wheel. And he was sitting by the side of the road with the car and crumbles thinking why, what am I doing here? I've got no love. I've got no connection. I've got a car. People want to drive because they can't afford it. Of course. All of this money and success, so unfulfilled and broken. So like, I know it's possible to feel emotions, I know the direction that I think I'm gonna go in is the wrong one, which is to be successful and rich by knew that emotions were important and psychology was important and that you don't necessarily have to change the contents of life. But you can shift the context. And that's what therapy helped me do is to shift that context and be able to sit with my emotions, and really understand what were this meant to me, it was just that area to really apply everything. And it was just that space, just understand what feelings were. And it was a very safe space, thinking of the space that wasn't safe in my brother's therapy turned out to be obviously the safest space, which we aim, both of us to create with our clients is that safe space, but it was so safe, I felt, okay. I didn't get beat out when I shared my emotions. Of course, the therapist is amazing, and still is amazing. She's a therapist now. And she's my therapist now. But still going through that process. And having that space safe space was good. And being able to feel those emotions were some of the lessons and how that sense of mentors ties into it was our frame of reference.
Adina Silvestri 16:12
Yeah, and, and I love that you talk about therapy as being a safe space. I feel like, you know, and let me know your thoughts on this. But I feel like you could be the best therapists in the world, you could have, like magic skills. And you know, if you don't trust the therapist, even just a little bit, it's not gonna work.
Luke Worsfold 16:31
Yeah, yeah, that does come back to that kind of Carl Rogers quote, I heard, and I'm paraphrasing, but when I was studying, was that sense of don't do counseling, be counseling, in a sense, and it's about being and not doing. And I've always taken that idea to heart of Who am I, I am important in this relationship. am I'm trusting and trustworthy, you cannot be present in this relationship and show up and keep doing the work myself and all that stuff. So I think that's a really important piece of the puzzle is to say the relationship building trust, being able to trust someone and allow them to trust you, and in essence, to trust ourselves, that we can handle those emotions and handle our safe space and handle what the client brings. Because that's also important. And I think that's why for me personally, doing the work myself is important, because I've been to those places that are scary, where I wanted to spontaneously combust. So I understand what it's like, or I have a frame of reference for what the client is going for. I'm not their mother and have their life experience. But that definitely helps in the therapeutic relationship.
Adina Silvestri 17:38
I love that. Look at how did you find your mentor?
Luke Worsfold 17:43
How did I find this? Well, I watched a podcast called London real. And I just came across a random episode on there, of Peter sage. And again, there's obviously the debate between physical mentors, sort of virtual mentors, if that's called everything, but I guess I've never necessarily I've met Peter Xavier a few times, actually. But I have to say we're best friends. I've never kind of spent long periods of time in his company, when I've been to seminars and stuff. But even just digitally, looking for different people. I've had loads more since then. But I do a lot of stuff on YouTube, when I find someone to listen to a lot of their content, I take a lot of stuff on board. I don't recommend using too many it can get overwhelming. And with the internet, a lot of things are kind of can be overwhelming, because you have so many people to choose from. But I would look at people's story or look at what they've been through. Are they really telling the truth? I do your due diligence, I'd think about what they're working on? Are they still working on themselves? Are they still conscious and paying attention? Have they achieved what you want to achieve? and more like some of the people you see where it's like, oh, I've got a seven figure business come and build a seven figure business and click on this link right here. I'm talking more about the emotional reading their story, what is the value of their emotional bank account? So we have the physical bank account and their emotional bank account? You know, do some due diligence around their emotional bank account? Read what they're writing doesn't make sense cross reference here. Do you believe and I think that's one of the ways I've kind of tested mentors, is I've taken idea, like that context contents thing, which I learned from Peter sage, I believe, and apply it to my life. Does this idea Make sense? The idea that I'm not shifting the contents of what's happening, bump shift in the context and how I'm looking at the situation? Yeah, that makes sense. I've applied down my life. That's good. That's valuable information. If he said, Our pigs fly, I would love that. I don't believe that. So that's something to kind of filter information through is applying into ourselves.
Adina Silvestri 19:44
Yeah. So a lot of the people that listen to this podcast are individuals that perhaps don't subscribe. They're in recovery and that they perhaps don't subscribe to the traditional mode of AIA. And so this concept of mentors is intriguing. It's sort of like Maybe a way for them to, to tell their story. Maybe not with a therapist, or maybe as a therapist, you know, in addition to therapy with somebody that just is, is empathetic, you know, that would allow them to be vulnerable. And, of course, you'd have to vet this mentor, like you had said, but yeah, I just I love the idea of mentors.
Luke Worsfold 20:23
Yeah. And I think gain inspiration from the people around us is insanely valuable. And even the people listening to this podcast in the here, and now, I'm sure we're getting value from our conversation, and even little things like that are mentors. Even people who here in recovery, who have done it, give you a frame of reference, and you don't have to go on drinking and using and it is possible. And that can be really important to look up to people and to find people like that doesn't have to necessarily be you know, m&m and Oprah Winfrey and big people are that they can just be it can be your your kid or your child or someone or your partner, or, you know, someone who opened the door for an old lady and Sainsbury's, whatever, it doesn't have to be the biggest thing to be a mentor. It's just about learning and having that different perspective.
Adina Silvestri 21:12
Yeah. wondering if you could just talk a little bit maybe now about what parts do you feel of yourself are different now than back then, you know, where are you currently maybe in your, in your journey?
Luke Worsfold 21:26
Yeah. So straining for pay, I always get value from therapy, and I'm always still kind of growing and working on stuff. What's different now from back then, I guess, one of the things I think about often is my ability to experience my emotions, and just to be able to sit with them. And I think that's important, you know, before I drink and use drugs, based on my feelings, I didn't feel them, my just suppress them and blocked everything out. And now life isn't always amazing, you know, there's coronaviruses, and stuff that we just can't see coming. And there's not all sunshine and rainbows, but to be able to sit with those emotions and process them and have the healthy habits in place to be able to deal with that is what's important to be able to solve, go with the flow of the river rather than, you know, swimming upstream. That's the important thing. And just developing that confidence in myself, I guess, based on all the time I've spent in recovery, confident that I can handle emotionally challenging situations. And times when things are hard. I don't have to drink new drugs. And I think in my early days of recovery, having some challenging situations, and not using drugs was like, wow, I can actually do it. This sucks. And I didn't want to go through this again, while I went through this, I didn't drink new drugs, and you know, patting myself on the back for that. And it gives me strength now. And that I can handle those emotional fluctuations on myself, and use my healthy habits to sort of regulate my emotions. And that's why I guess it's been sort of the biggest change.
Adina Silvestri 23:01
Do you have any specific healthy habits that that you could share?
Luke Worsfold 23:06
Yeah, so some of them are exercises, obviously, one of the best ones are to ride my bike that gives me you know, endorphins in the moment, give me something to focus on. Close my lungs pumping gets me outside when I'm stuck during a lockdown. So it has lots of benefits. Also, meditation, meditation has been a foundational pillar for changing all of my behavior, which I think meditation is just the best thing ever. And then some other ones would be Yeah, journaling, and counseling, I would consider a habit, something I do regularly. And then just focusing my attention and choosing what lens I see life on what context I'm putting on the contents of the things in my life.
Adina Silvestri 23:50
What context I'm putting in the contents of the things in my life. I love that. So look, as we kind of wrap up here. If you could write a phrase on a billboard for for all to see, this could be a word, this could be a sentence, what would it say?
Luke Worsfold 24:06
The strongest trees grow in the strongest winds
Adina Silvestri 24:10
strongest trees grow in the strongest winds. I love that.
That's awesome. Thank
you, Luke, how can people best find you.
Luke Worsfold 24:19
So they can just go to inside addiction.co.UK where we have all the information and stuff there. If they want to download my free ebook, which covers those habits, I explained in a few more, they can go to insightaddiction.coUK/foundation. And they can just download for free, seven healthy habits I use and I recommend clients use. So there'll be the best places to go and find out about me. Feel free to send me an email if you've got any questions. I'm easily accessible. If you just want to pick my brain jump on a call, just let me know. I'm here to help in any way that I can.
Adina Silvestri 24:53
That's great. Look, thank you so much for taking the time out to have a chat with me today.
Luke Worsfold 24:58
Thank you very much. It's been amazing. And thanks very much for having me on the podcast.
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