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In this episode, Bob Gardner is back to talk about battling addiction, dropping the habits, and ending the fight.

He dives into dreaming BIG, the idea of possibility, dealing with your doubters, and the wrong way to deal with an addiction.

Show Highlights Include:

  • Dreaming BIG and believing in the idea of possibility (1:20)
  • Dealing with people who underestimate you, and doing the impossible (1:40)
  • How a parent’s affection can shape a child’s happiness (5:20)
  • How NOT to solve an addiction (13:30)

You can find out more about Bob’s work over at:

Read Full Transcript

No don't go in there, Daddy's working.

Jonathan: Yes, yes, y'all - it is another edition of the Daddy's Working podcast. If you were listening last week, then you heard part one of the interview, and I left you hanging. Gosh, I'm such a tease. But we're here. And we're ready to rock and roll. So let's dive back into part two of the interview.

We're part of something bigger, whether it's religion or whether it's, good God - the sun is there and the earth is here - how did this all get here - we're in touch with something bigger.

Bob: Thank you for that.

Jonathan: But wow… So, in a lot of these programs, when you're dealing with the idea of addiction, you said that people live a life with that and they cope or manage. Why couldn't you accept that, since that's what everybody else is saying? [0:01:09.9]

Bob: I'm stubborn. I want … I mean, I grew up wanting to learn to be a Jedi and shoot lightening beams out of my fingertips - yes, I know that's a Sith thing. But you know, Yoda did it and [Rachel asking Bob about this] did it. I grew up wanting to be …I believed in the magic of the world. I could feel it, that there was something really powerful, this idea of human possibility and there's something inside of me that as soon as I run into a wall, a limitation, anyone… anytime anyone's "No, you can't," something inside me rises up to say, "You're clearly blind and let me show you why what you're saying is not true." So sometimes I respond very well to a challenge that way. Thank heavens that that's the situation that it was because that's maybe what propelled me out of it. I kind of feel like every human has this to a certain extent, that there's something, some longing in them that as soon as someone presents them with "Well, you'll always be this way," something in them is like, "That can't be right." [0:02:06.1]

Jonathan: I think it depends on the person because some people just say, "You're right. I never will. Thank you for letting me know."

Bob: Some people accept it. It's true; I've seen people accept it. I don't know if it's every person that really has this drive, but I kind of… my feeling is that what it means to be human is to reach for that which is limitless. People try to do it in all kinds of different ways. They try to do it with money. The problem with the way that we're doing it is, you can't get to limitless with money because you always have to count by ones or tens or hundreds or whatever it is. You can't get … they try to do it with people. So if I collect more people in my circle and relationships, but again, you're counting by ones. They try to do it with knowledge and information. So, I'll get to a point where I know, I know and they're trying to reach for the state of omniscient or something. So they're collecting, collecting, collecting but there's never an end to that. So that's kind of the struggle is to transcend that by just touching something that's infinite, which is the thing that I'm talking about - life itself. Right? [0:03:04.9]

Kind of be swallowed up in that. We're all trying in some way, shape or form to reach for more than what we are. So maybe they're not reaching in terms of addiction - be like, well, no, okay, fine - I'll always be that way. But they're reaching in other ways. It's like all the people I've seen who have accepted, okay, yeah, this is just the way I am - I also see them going to church every Sunday, trying to figure out how to connect with God in a different way. I also see them trying to make business decisions to reach a little bit better or to make health choices to help them reach a peak state or some other possibility for them. Maybe that's just an area of their life that it's not operating in. I see it in everyone, kids especially.

Jonathan: Yeah. Don’t do that. Yeah. I'll show you.

Bob: But adults, I think get shut down because we have adopted everybody else's belief system about life and the danger of that is that what their telling you is not necessarily malicious. When people say, "Well, you'll never get out of addiction," we're not being malicious. They were saying what they had discovered and they simply hadn’t experienced the other, so they didn't really see it as a possibility. They're prepping you to like, well don’t get disappointed. I don’t want to get your hopes up. I don’t want to whatever because then we can avoid all of the disappointment on the other side. That doesn’t make it true. It just means hey, that's what I've experienced. [0:04:19.6]

Jonathan: Incredible, man. Let's see where I want to go with this. I want to go back because it reminded me of a conversation we had when we first met where you said you didn't have friends, you didn't know what it was to be a friend and all that. But …

Bob: By the way, when we first met, if you have not had a chance to have a conversation with … what do you prefer to be called on this podcast?

Jonathan: I like J.R. but people call me different things - hey you, jerk off, I mean all this stuff.

Bob: If you haven’t had an opportunity to have a conversation with jerk off here, with J.R., you have never… like, there's not a person in the world that I know of who knows how to listen with the intent to actually hear you as well as I've seen it happen with J.R. [0:05:02.8]
So, it's just a gift to be able to sit on a couch with him and shoot the breeze because for the first time in my life, it was like, oh, someone's actually listening just to listen.

Jonathan: That is a lovely thing to say. Thank you. I didn't know that. You talked about not being able to feel love, and you didn't love yourself and first of all, as a child growing up, how did you not feel love growing up? Where was this void? How did this happen and how did you put your eye on it and realize what was going on?

Bob: Wow. That's a good question. There's two different pieces to that puzzle. As a kid, I'm sure I did feel love because kids don’t really have some sense of identity, you know. They're just awake, fully engaged with life. They feel all sorts of things. When they're not in the middle of having a tantrum, they're usually just involved in play and love and fun and just they're alive. But as I grew up, I had certain experiences that I interpreted a certain way. This happens with everybody. We pick up these subconscious interpretations of things just because you're a kid, you ask the question "Why?" all the time. Adults do it, too, but we're only asking it when it's something new. [0:06:10.2]

Kids have.. everything's new so they're always asking it. Adult … by the way, if you're not seeing yourself ask the question "Why?" very often in your life, maybe it's because you're not encountering new things and that would be a good checkpoint. I had some experiences. We moved around in the military a lot, so I was born. Then we moved to Texas for a few years and then it was like quickly Alamogordo for six months in New Mexico and then to California for a year. Then we shifted over to Germany, and I lived in Germany for six years and by the time I got back to the States, I was 13 and I didn't really have any friends because it was a new place and I still… I had already picked up all these patterns. We lived in a tiny little German farm town because my dad spoke German, had spent a couple of years there when he was younger as a missionary and wanted us to enjoy all the culture and everything with it. [0:06:59.8]

I did. It was amazing. It's still my favorite place that I ever lived. It's got so many beautiful memories. But I constantly was aware of being left out. The town we lived in, there was only one other American family and everyone else, I either had to ride my bike 5 kilometers to the next town to play with the whole group of kids there or it was on Base, which was a 15-minute, 20-minute bus ride. So I was constantly aware of being alone, being left out. So I felt like I didn't fit in and because I felt like I didn't fit in, I started to make assumptions about how other people looked at me. The girls that I liked, oh dear - girls - girls that I liked didn't seem like they liked me back or I felt like they couldn’t or wouldn't like me back because I was really self-conscious about things. I wasn’t the most athletic kid, but I wasn’t unathletic either. So I was just comparing myself to other people and my little kid brain is like, well, why is this happening to me? Why is he better at sports than I am? Oh well, it's probably because he's just better than I am and there's something wrong with me and that's why I can't play as well. [0:08:02.2]

That's a total kid response. Any 6-year-old would come up with it. It's totally stupid. But there's no adult around to say, "No, that's just what happens. You know, he's got these muscle fibers. He's a black kid so he's naturally got a few more muscle fibers this way, and he's been practicing for 3 more years than you, and that's why he's better at it." If you just practice, you'll be probably fine and chances are you'll go through a growth spurt here or there, and a lot of things will even out by the time you're done. If I had had that, a lot of the stories I made up as a kid would not have continued in my life. Because I didn't have that, and I didn't even to think to ask the questions to an adult or someone who might know, I just why is this happening - made up a story - I accepted it as truth and moved on. Everybody does this. You pick them up through your life. So you've got tons of these little things - your money stories, your relationship stories and everything else. For me, it was around love - obviously, money is in there. But love, I'm like, I was literally asking my older sister to put in a good word with me for the girls that I liked to let her know that I was really good so that I could get a hug. [0:09:08.0]

I was seriously like trying to con the crowd into convincing people that I was worth loving. When all I wanted to do was just love people because I thought they were amazing. At the time, it wasn’t even necessarily romantic. It's just I felt like they were beautiful people. I wanted to be around them. I wanted to just sit in their presence because I felt some admiration toward them or something, which is creepy to say as a kid. And I wasn’t aware of that. So where did the feeling like I couldn’t love or I didn't deserve to be loved come from? It was probably in part from all the moving - okay, cool - life is always going to be this way - like I'm always going to move. I'm always going not to have friends. I was going to have to start over. So then if you believe that, then part of you is going to just shut down and not create deep relationships because there's no point. You're just going to end up having to break them, and that sucks.

Jonathan: You're protecting yourself. [0:09:59.8]

Bob: Yeah. Then if you believe that you're not lovable, again, you'll do things that will prove it true and you'll also do things that prevent you from getting into a space where somebody could love you or if they do, you'll interpret it a different way because you won't even be able to see it. No, that's not love - they just want something out of me. You know? No, they didn't love me - they just saw that I did something cool and they were just giving me a compliment. You see this play out all the time. people are like, dude, anybody in their right mind can see that she's digging you, guy. The guy's like, no, no. From the outside, you can see it, but from the inside, he's got a bunch of blinders on. So that's how I felt about love. So fast-forward, and I'm just feeling this desire to be connected with another human being. I think that somewhere along the way I picked up that sex was the highest expression of love, and so I got kind of obsessed with that and pornography and other things. When that didn't pan out, when that didn't provide connection or powerful stuff, then it just became like, well obviously I don’t know what love is. [0:11:03.9]

Valentine Day comes around. Everybody else is saying I love you and I'm just like, I don’t even know what it means. I feel like I've wrecked everything. I've hurt another person. I'll never really be able to repair that damage, so I don't know what love means at all. That was an awareness that just, over years, it seeped in, like I don't even know what it means to love another person because all I feel is either a lustful desire to be with them or like a despair because I want them to want me, but that's not happening or at least it's not happening the way that I think it should and all that stuff that shows up.

Jonathan: You're going through this. You have a wife who clearly loves you or she wouldn’t be putting up with this crap. Children. So what do you think your children… like what is the disconnect there? They don’t love me or they don’t love me the way I want to be loved? What is that feeling that you had with these little guys?

Bob: They only loved me if I'm showing up for them in a certain way. So it's not me being lovable as a being. It's me being lovable because of what I am providing for them, and if I can't provide it for them, oh my gosh, then I'm not lovable anymore - so pressure. [0:12:08.0]

Jonathan: That must have been so terrible.

Bob: I told you - I was suicidal.

Jonathan: Oh, wow - I can't imagine because that… I mean, those are my, the two loves, I mean there is different love but the love for my child is just like so amazing. I guess it's like the love of your dog - unconditional love. Right? Before you have kids. But it is just that pure, unconditional love and to think that you were starved of that is so horrible. So how do you say, holy shit - I'm nuts, I'm nuts - I've got to…. This love thing, I got to work out. Like where in the process was that in that 20 hours process - was that something that was growing? Where was that that you were like, oh, I'm really screwed up here and I'm about to fix this?

Bob: So it was part of the whole thing. So a lot of people look at addiction as the problem. It's not. It's the solution. It's like life is miserable for all these reasons and at least when I do this, I don’t feel so dang miserable. [0:13:06.7]

I am living on rung zero of the ladder. Rung one is name the addictive behavior or the compulsive behavior - whether I argue with people compulsively, whether I'm deeply into politics and so absorbed, whether it's pornography or drugs or alcohol, whether I'm just inhaling food like nobody's business, or whether I can't actually be present with another human being. Whatever it is, that's the next rung up. It helps me feel at least a little better than I'm feeling. So when people are trying to solve addiction as if it's the problem, what's going to happen is if you take the pacifier away from the baby with a poopy diaper, they're just going to start screaming. They're going to look for another pacifier until you change the diaper. Then life doesn’t stink so much anymore.

Jonathan: Nice.

Bob: That's what needed to happen. Right? That's the stinky part, the little poo babies that I had created, that's what I had to figure out. So I didn't, in my head, really connect it with oh, this is why I'm having love issues - oh, this is why I'm having like insecurity issues around my kids - oh, this is why I'm having financial issues and struggles in my business. [0:14:11.7]

I didn't connect that because the only problem, in my mind, was porn. I knew that there had to be a way out and what happened to help me find out what was at the bottom of it showed me this tangled web of all these contradictory ideas that I was holding and really some deep ones, and the deepest ones, when those started to disintegrate, the behaviors just changed like on their own, almost like magic. I didn't have to fight it. It's not like I had to fight urges. It's just like there weren’t any. It's not that I had to … because, you know, baby doesn’t need the pacifier anymore, but feels fine. No more diaper rash. You know? No more pacifier. Like that's really what was beautiful. Then all of a sudden, I started being able to see my wife as a person instead of just as a means to help me kind of feel loved. That was a crazy shift. I started to be able to feel things in the natural world that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. [0:15:05.1]

Then my connection with my kids, now literally, I don’t feel like I have anything to teach them. They're generally happier than most people, so I don’t want to ruin that. I just have skills. If you look at most adults, they're miserable. They're like I got to teach you what the real world is like, and that tends to pound the happiness out of people. Right now, it's just like, oh yeah - I have some skills that I think would be useful. While you're under the roof, I'm going to have you practice them, but ultimately, all I care about is ….

Jonathan: What are some of those skills because I mean, your kids, like I said, they just were wonderful when we were talking? I'm like how does this guy do it? What is he doing over there?

Bob: For me, the …

Jonathan: Or maybe we need your wife over here. She …

Bob: Yeah… she'd be ….

Jonathan: ….Oh, I'll tell you the way it really works.

Bob: For me, I call it emotional jitsu is like one of the big ones. I don’t think they need to know a lot. I think money skills would be useful in helping them see and feel around money, but that has to do with me and how I operate around it. [0:16:03.4]

They'll absorb it. How to communicate - the words that come out of their mouth and the way they're talking and asking questions. All I do is kind of help them see that like some of the questions they're asking are limiting them. I'm just trying to get them to constantly speak in a way that opens possibility instead of closing it down.

Jonathan: Give me an example of that.

Bob: Every kid asks this question - "Why can't I do this?" They're asking for a reason why they cannot do something and I don’t find that's a useful question. You really want me to give you a reason why? You want me to give you evidence why it's not possible for you? So, okay, cool. How about, hey mom, can I do this? If they say "No," cool. Well, can you give me what your reasoning is behind your answer?

Jonathan: Oh really?

Bob: Why did you say that answer?

Jonathan: Starting a debate here.

Bob: Yeah. Because I want the kids to be like, okay, cool - well, if I do this and this and we work it this way, then can I do it? What if I created solutions?

Jonathan: They create a possibility.

Bob: Yeah.

Jonathan: That's an interesting take.

Bob: Then should versus could. You should do this. You should do that. Well, how about you could do this. You could do that. But I want them to always feel like they have a choice. [0:17:05.9]

With emotions - this one they hate me for - but I want them to see they have a choice in how they feel. That's what I teach all my clients. It's what I had to teach me. Your emotion is not something that happens to you. It's something you create. When they're upset, "Dad! He hit me!" Because that's their voice. What comes is emotion. They're sad. They're upset. Well, like, "Well, he did this and he did that." I'm like, "Okay, so he did those things. How are you feeling right now? And they're like, "Oh, just like you know, just really frustrated." I'm like, "Okay, cool - so you're frustrated. How long do you want to stay that way?" "Well, well, but he did …" "I know, I know he did that. We'll talk to him in a second. How long do you want to stay that way?" And that is like they "Daddddd - come on." Like, that's cool - like if you want to stay frustrated, that is fine, but is he doing it now? No. Okay. So he's not doing it right now. So do you want to keep feeling this way?" "Well, no." "Do you know how to get out of it or do you want some help or?" "No. I'll just… Yeah, I guess I could use some help." [0:18:05.7]

Then I help them if they need it. But I just want them to always constantly be aware that if something is happening in their life and they feel like they're not in control of, they're always in control of their response.

Jonathan: Right. Right. That's the one thing that's always in their control. I love that, man. Look, we're coming up to the tail end here. We have gone down a few different paths. I didn't even cover all the things I wanted to cover with you. So we'll have to do that another time. Is there anything that you thought that we would talk about or that you wanted to talk about that maybe we didn't cover so much?

Bob: I didn't really know what you were going to cover because I know you just kind of do things off the cuff because you want to see where it's going to go. So I didn't have any plans. One thing I think would sum up what we have talked about - whether it was with my own story or whether it's with the kids and raising kids - whether it's with spirituality or anything else - the only thing I would really want to say is look, any time someone puts a limit on what is possible for you, that you internally don’t like, I just want you to know it's possible. [0:19:04.5]

Because every great movement in history has come from somebody defying what's possible and discovering that what's possible is bigger than what everybody said was possible. I want you to know that from the bottom. Whether you're dealing with addiction, whether you're just stuck and depressed and anxious, all the things that we work with with people, you know. We take them through some really deep processes to help them just drop all this baggage they've picked up and give them a fresh start at life. It's possible to turn your whole life around right now because the past does not exist; what exists is this moment. So who cares what happened 10 seconds ago. What are you doing to do next?

Jonathan: Love it. Love it. So, Bob - the Alive and Free Show, I'm pretty sure I've got the name right. Where can people find you? Like gang, you can go to anywhere you listen to podcast - find Bob there, Alive and Free. Where else can people find you?
Bob: So, podcast obviously - all your major podcasting stations. If you want to kind of talk to us, you can go to TheFreedomSpecialist.com because we specialize in freedom. You can go to the TheFreedomSpecialist.com. [0:20:07.4]

There's not a lot on the website right now. We're building it up. That’s really just a place for people who are looking to get on the phone with us to look at their situation and if they want some help, let's get you some help. But you can also just connect with me on Facebook. It's Facebook.com/TheBobTheGardner. That's my personal profile. You can send me a friend request. We can chat. You can read the stuff that I put up there. You can call me names, good ones and bad ones. You can give me love and hugs so that I'll learn how to be a friend. Do all of the above.

Jonathan: Awesome, awesome, man. I'm going to have to have you on again to talk about some of the other things, but I am grateful that you're taking the time out to rap with me and the other daddies out there. Gang, Alive and Free Show. TheBobTheGardner. Go find this guy. He is amazing. He is amazing. Thank you, Bob.

Bob: You're welcome. It was my pleasure.

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