[Transcript] – The Addiction Free Lifestyle: How To Break Free From Nicotine, Caffeine, Drugs, Porn, Masturbation, Alcohol, Serial Relationships & Much More With Ronnie Landis.

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From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/ronnie-landis-podcast/  

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:38] Podcast Sponsors

[00:06:50] Walking Along Zilker Park

[00:08:05] The Addiction-Free Lifestyle by Ronnie Landis

[00:09:46] Why the soul is the most important element of your existence on the earth

[00:10:31] Ronnie Landi's story/journey to spiritual fulfillment, confronting addictions

[00:16:29] How to define addiction

[00:20:25] Genetic predispositions to an addictive personality

[00:32:01] Having relationships with relationships, not the people

[00:37:06] Podcast Sponsors

[00:39:24] Contrasting the values we project vs. what we actually want

[00:45:54] The 3 most important elements of Ben and Ronnie's spiritual life

[00:50:43] The “Quantum Collapse Process”

[00:58:20] Where we should be getting our energy

[01:02:51] How movies and entertainment spur addictions

[01:08:02] The Dopamine Reset Protocol

[01:23:27] Ronnie's 3-step process to effectual fervent prayer

[01:28:26] Closing the Podcast

[01:30:21] Upcoming Events

[01:32:59] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Ronnie:  The physical body is an instrument, a divine instrument that has its own inherent intelligence and it's being run entirely by the power of the soul. They're trying to just get to the next thing, the next thing, but they don't integrate who they are essentially.

What does it feel like to feel whole healed and complete in your body right here, right now?

White knuckling it and forbidding certain habits and trying to willpower yourself through because that doesn't work. You actually have to look in the mirror and scan.

Ben:  Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

Alright. I was in Austin a few weeks ago, and one of my new friends gave me a book about addiction, and I almost didn't read it. But then, I was on the airplane, I popped it open. I couldn't put it down. It was really good. And, I flew back to Austin, and I wanted to walk with him, and I interviewed him. His name is Ronnie Landis. This book on breaking addiction is amazing. It's really good. You got to listen to this interview, and you got to get the book.

I'm going to put all the goodies for you over at BenGreenfieldLife.com/BreakingAddiction. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/BreakingAddiction. I hope you enjoy this show. We did it when we were walking right along the walking paths there in Austin, Texas. Absolutely amazing chat. So, I hope you dig it.

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Alright, so remember last time you might have been at a gas station on the counter you saw those so-called, pardon the expression, dick pills, the horribly branded pills that promise to give you an erection and better sex but who also give you a four-hour erection that sends you to the hospital, and nasty side effects, and heart problems, and artificial chemicals and sweeteners? Well, there's this new stuff called Joy Mode. It's a sexual performance booster that's totally natural, totally science backed. It contains clinically supported doses of L-citrulline, arginine, yohimbine, and vitamin C created with best-in-class scientists and biochemistry PhDs. Blood levels of arginine and yohimbine increase when you take this stuff. That promotes nitric oxide production. That promotes penile tissue relaxation, increased sex drive. The antioxidant action, the vitamin C protects the nitric oxide from degrading too quickly. And, see they were smart when they put this thing together. That enhances the blood flow promoting activity, so it's just basically pumping up your whole body. By the way, this stuff works great as a pre-workout also.

And, the folks at Joy Mode made this because the products on the market are terrible. They knew they could do better. These over-the-counter gas station pills are sketchy. They're fragile and a lot of guys take them because they don't have a better option. But, with this Joy Mode stuff, you just tear open the sachet, you mix it with 6 to 8 ounces of water just like your favorite electrolyte packet. You take it 45 minutes to four hours prior to sex and you get better blood flow, better erection quality and firmness, increased sex energy, increased sex drive.

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So, Ronnie, do you think we'll get dehydrated to the point of cramping on this hellishly hot and muggy walk, or did you bring some Gatorade in your back pocket?

Ronnie:  No Gatorade, but I did take a good amount of electrolytes on the way here.

Ben:  You stopped at all, but all the places, whole foods, SunLife, all our favorite spots just stack up on salt.

Ronnie:  I had to get fueled up for this.

Ben:  I got my usual bag of salt and my fanny pack. But, I showed that to you last week when we ate at the ABA.

Ronnie:  I think so.

Ben:  Mediterranean restaurant. Great restaurant. And, Ronnie and I had dinner there and I just put that salt on just about everything. So, anyways, though.

So, Ronnie Landis and I are walking along the path here in Austin, Texas. This path have a name?

Ronnie:  Zilker Park.

Ben:  Zilker Park. Alright. So, you may occasionally hear things such as the tractor that we're about to walk by. Every podcast needs a good tractor. Hopefully, everything else is more soothing in nature bass like the sound of ducks or maybe a squirrel chomping on it.

Ronnie:  Yeah, we're moving through. We're just moving through these little nuances.

Ben:  Yeah. So, forgive us for the occasional tractor.

But anyways, the reason that I wanted to go on this walk with Ronnie is because he wrote a book. The name of the book is “The Addiction-Free Lifestyle.” It has a subtitle too, doesn't it? Ronnie's holding the book. “The true path to inner peace and self-mastery.” It's only fair, he has to hold the books, I have to hold the microphone. And, this book, “The Addiction-Free Lifestyle,” I get handed a lot of books and Ronnie gave it to me at PaleoFX a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn't sure if I was going to read it or not. But, I wound up cracking it open on the plane and just read it for three hours on the way home and finish it when I got home. It was just great. Just chock full of a lot of really good stuff related to these attachments, these addictions that even us seemingly healthy people can really accumulate in life to the extent to where it becomes damaging. And so, if you feel you're attached to certain things: supplements, drugs, coffee, exercise, relationships, porn, masturbation, you name it, Ronnie tackles it in this book.

And, I had some specific questions I wanted to get into on this walk with Ronnie. So, Ronnie, welcome to the show, man.

Ronnie:  Thanks, Ben. It's an incredible honor to not only be on the show, but just to hang out with you. And, just the testament of the embodiment that you've held for so many years in not just the health world, but really bringing in a more spiritually orientated message, which is really what this book is about. Underneath everything, it's a spiritual manual for our own inner evolution and our own salvation.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

I mean, that's really when you step back and look at the idea behind physical culture. At least my take on it, and the reason I'm weaving so much of the sacredness of spirituality into my messaging is because at the end of the day, not only is your soul really the most important part of your existence, but I mean the source of happiness, of fulfillment, of meaning, of connection, of love, it's really not necessarily your kale smoothie or instead of dumbbells, it's all these spiritual practices.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, I think that the topic of addiction is really interesting because it creates a lot of friction in terms of spiritual development.

And, I'd love to hear your story because you're an athlete, I know you're competing in the games, I think, for taekwondo. So, tell me a little bit about your story particularly as it's relevant to addiction.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, we got time, we got miles and miles walking trails —

Ronnie:  Yeah. So, I was raised as a martial artist since I was four. And, when I was four, I can't really recall but my first conscious memory was a Bruce Lee. And, it was just one of those destined moments of the iconography of Bruce Lee. And, so many people can relate to that when I mentioned that. He was just such a legendary figure. And —

Ben:  Except that movie, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” a lot of people got pissed off about the way he —

Ronnie:  Yeah, I didn't even bother to watch that thing. But, it kind of imprinted this icon of a real-life superhero that was both philosophical and physical. And so, that kind of followed me throughout my life. And, going through martial arts and being a basketball player and all that, I was really motivated towards my own greatness as a physical pursuit. And then, I dove into philosophy, eastern mysticism, theology, just on a spiritual pursuit. And, long story short, I had two knee surgeries when I was 18 and 21. And, that drove me beyond the body to go into both the mind, but then also had to learn how to heal the body.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  Because before, it's just really all sports performance.

Ben:  What was up with the knees?

Ronnie:  When I was 18, I tore my MCL on my right knee due to overtraining.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  I was just so driven and I just had to constantly train, train, train. And, I overtrained and that was my first opportunity to take a step back from the physical training and start to delve into more of the psychological and philosophical aspect of life.

Ben:  Right.

Ronnie:  And —

Ben:  Gift of injury, personal development.

Ronnie:  Yeah, yeah, that's right.

Ben:  Sometimes I'll get a little upset at God for throwing me a curveball in the injury department. And, typically, the outcome is it's there to keep me humble, there to teach me a lesson I can teach to other people or there to push me towards some type of spiritual development because I've built an imbalance between physical and spiritual development.

Ronnie:  Yeah. And, it was all my own personal pursuit. But then, that forced me into actually teaching and I ran a martial arts school for many years, hundreds of students, mostly children. And, I really was just passionate about leading the next generation through martial arts. And then, eventually, I got into the holistic health world. Just through osmosis, just going on YouTube University, I stumbled on Paul Chek and David Wolfe, and these people and it completely blew my mind. I had no idea that this world even existed.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Ronnie:  And, that opened up a big rabbit hole where I just became inspired to redirect all my energy towards becoming a health motivational speaker and a nutritionist and studying how to heal physical, not just injuries, but diseases and degeneration and that kind of thing. Just speeding through it.

As far as addiction goes, I think that there was always the subtle energetics of addiction just as coping mechanisms through trauma and the intensity of my own personal life, which athletics was a great way to cope with that and to channel that energy. But, when that was taken away, I had to deal with the internal angst and this almost existential pressure that I felt.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  And, things like tobacco smoking.

Ben:  Yeah, I was going to say. I want to hear about the specific addictions that you dealt with, especially as a guy who was immersed in health. I would imagine you weren't eating Big Macs and smoking cigarettes.

Ronnie:  No. No, no. Well, actually, not conventional cigarettes, but there was a point where I got into American spirits tobacco and “organic tobacco” and different things like that is just part of the pseudo alternative health culture.

Ben:  Yeah. Nicotine is probably one of the most addictive currently popular supplements out there. I'm shocked the number of health influencers I hang out with who basically —

Ronnie:  Chain smoke.

Ben:  No, they don't chain smoke, but they have nicotine almost 24/7 for a while. And, one of the sponsors of my podcast is Lucy gum. So, they make nicotine lozenges, little gums. And, I really wasn't a nicotine user at all and they started sending me this stuff. And, it's great, it's a good little cog to pick me up, gives you some focus. I think it pairs great with a cup of coffee for a long riding day. But, I found myself like I'd chew two pieces a day.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  You chew three pieces a day, but I wouldn't really feel it as much. So then, I chew four pieces a day now that I've dug into it and researched and discovered that you got to be super hyper-aware of nicotine and very, very careful with it. I might use anywhere from 0 to 4 milligrams a day of nicotine. But, I mean, that's one that's very popular right now, shocked me how many people once I started paying attention use snoozes and stop at the gas station by these little Zyn packets and —

Ronnie:  And things like that.

Ben:  So, you had nicotine going on, what else?

Ronnie:  Yeah. So, basically, the main things that I dealt with was a nicotine tobacco habit, on and off pornography. Alcohol was never really a big thing although I drank in my younger years, I never had an addiction to, is more of a social thing. And then, social media, those things were major, major addictions, if you will, in the closet. The thing is I didn't really know that I had any addictions until I did which was only maybe four or five years ago. It really became obvious that I'm in the throes of an addiction cycle.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

And, I'm just curious, and forgive me if I'm probing too much.

Ronnie:  No, go for it.

Ben:  When you say something like a porn addiction, what's that actually mean? Because I know some guys especially might be listening, I know a lot of girls will view porn as well, some guys might be listening they're like, “Well, geez, I don't know, I look at it once a week and maybe jack off a couple times a month to porn.” Or, are we talking about the people who are sitting in front of the computer from 9:00 p.m. to midnight scrolling and swiping? What's an addiction –?

Ronnie:  Yeah. So, let's get really clear on this thing of addiction. We have to separate the mechanism versus the actual human condition itself. So, they're two separate things. I'll just throw some things out there whether it's substances, it's cannabis, it's tobacco, it's alcohol, it's sugar, it's certain types of food, processed food, it's pornography, et cetera, et cetera, those aren't actually addictions, those are just coping mechanisms.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronnie:  So, when you ask, what's that addiction? It was actually a deeper psycho-spiritual void that I was trying to fill.

Ben:  Interesting. That reminds me of a quote I think by Dallas Willard, favorite author of mine who says that, “When men go to porn, they're seeking God.” That's what he said, “When men go to porn, they're seeking God.”

Ronnie:  That's really good.

Ben:  Because again, there are both laudable and also potentially shameful things that we tend to try to cram into the eternal abyss in our souls that God-shaped hole that authors like Blaise Pascal or C.S. Lewis or Augustine write of this idea that — and as hyper related to what you're talking about right now, yeah, porn is seeking God, nicotine is seeking God.

Ronnie:  Yeah. It's a substitute. It's a surrogate. It's like, you're trying to fill in that space of inner tension or boredom when really what you need is connection and creativity. And so, that space of boredom is actually an access point to find that creativity but we're uncomfortable with being uncomfortable, so we have to find something outside of us to soothe that internal disconnect that, again, can only come from God or self or source. It can't come from something outside of yourself.

Ben:  Yeah, okay. So, back to your explanation what it actually means to be addicted, what boots on the streets, what that looks like. You use an example something like porn or nicotine or something like that.

Ronnie:  Well, what defines an addiction technically clinically is how much dopamine it produces in the brain and how easily accessible it is. And, that's a really important insight because — and we'll get into the dopamine thing, but how easily accessible something is to you is really important because then, we start to talk about delayed gratification versus instant gratification. And, our ability to delay gratification i.e., discipline ourself is really the most important —

Ben:  The classic marshmallow test.

Ronnie:  Totally. Right. So, I mean, it's such a deep topic that I began to explore. And, going through my own process as I was writing this book, the book just started writing itself through me because it was also part of my own cathartic process of unwinding both the conscious awareness of these things but the subconscious aspects of how addiction patterns or attachments form, whether it's through our childhood, parental attachment wounds that that form and those play out in our relationship dynamics. And, that also plays out in this pornography or sex addiction conversation.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

I mean, for me personally, I guess if I could lend my own flavor to this because I tend to have a very — my wife, it's so funny, she doesn't get attached to anything. If you camp and you give her a towel and maybe a knife and she's good; whereas, I'm like, “Yeah, wait, wait, I need these two supplements and I need my little noise maker thing and I'll wear my wax ear plugs so the birds don't wake me up at 3:30 a.m.” And, not only do I get into that mode where I become attached to certain things, but even based on genetic typing. And, I don't recall if you talk about this in your book, I have some genetic predispositions to an addictive personality mostly from my, well, it's actually from both my father's and my mother's side, both of whom were not super heavy drug users but definitely had some substance abuse issues in their early life as well. And so, I received some of that.

And so, for example, I've dug myself into holes before where I couldn't function during the day without a minimum of four cups of coffee, just severe caffeine addictions that I eventually weaned myself off of very, very simple for me, I just switched to decaf and started slowly diluting and diluting and diluting. And now, I have about, oh, three to four cups of coffee a week, which is horrible considering I own a coffee company, but that's my gem and I love it, and it has its desired effects that way.

Ronnie:  Coffee. I didn't mention before, but I actually had a really strong coffee. And, as I speak, I'm being mindful of using the word addiction because it's not really totally accurate to my perspective, but we're going with it. I had a strong coffee attachment. And, that's a really interesting one too, and just studying the methylxanthine chemical grouping —

Ben:  Yeah, talk about that for a second. I'll come back to my addictions. Let's about that. You call it a psychotropic compound in your book.

Ronnie:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean, anyone that's drinking coffee then gotten off coffee and come back to it has to admit that this is a mind-altering drug. Now, that doesn't necessarily make it good or bad. And, the thing with coffee is that it has a utility, and in the entrepreneur community it's a double-edged sword. For me, what I found was that when I first started getting into it, it gave me this cognitive boost, it linearized my thoughts from scattered visionary to really focused. But then, at some point, I realized that I'm sitting at a coffee shop, I'm drinking coffee and I'm not getting a damn thing done. And, not only am I not getting anything done, I literally can't function.  I'm stressed out, there's anxiety building in my system.

Ben:  Wow.

Ronnie:  But, what's really interesting is I had the conscious awareness of it, but I continue to repeat the pattern, which that in of itself is —

Ben:  Right. This is the people with lung cancer who literally, and I've seen, they call it a stoma or a hole in their neck that they could smoke a cigarette through. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is one of the identities that one would associate with addiction is engaging in the habit despite the knowledge that it's harmful or holding one back in life.

Ronnie:  Yeah. And, that's what we call — what's the term? It's a death habit, it's a subtle death habit.

Ben:  Yeah, you use that term in your book. What's what subtle death habit mean?

Ronnie:  So, I got the term subtle death habit from an author named Leonard Orr, and he was this holistic health and longevity expert in the early 1900s. And, his whole thing was about reaching immortality. Now, he died a while ago, but one of the —

Ben:  Obviously, didn't work out very well for him.

Ronnie:  Yeah. But, one of the interesting things that came out of his work was this perspective on subtle death habits. And, essentially what that is is exactly what you're speaking to and what I'm speaking to is that these repeated patterns of self-sabotage that are causing us to go down a death spiral, meaning atrophy, increasing the aging process, stress, anxiety, causing us to go in a downward spiral and yet, we're repeating these patterns and behaviors and that essentially — 

I would go this way.

Ben:  Alright. We're turning and going across a bridge everyone. So, we'll give you the play-by-play. Alright, go ahead. Sorry.

Ronnie:  Yeah. And, there's a metaphysical perspective to it, which is essentially there's something that's attached to us like our psyche. It's a parasite. That's the best way of putting it. It's a parasitic energy or parasite consciousness that is causing us to do things that not only are robbing us of our vital life force but are robbing us of our life.

Ben:  Yeah. It's such a good point because it feels it's almost not self when those type of what you call subtle death habits take over.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  It makes me wonder though because you said we're uncomfortable being uncomfortable as humans, yet it seems that in many cases this self-sabotage that occurs is almost a need for drama, a need for discomfort, a need for this angst that we create. It's almost like we create these dependencies because we want the struggle.

Ronnie:  Yeah, it's self-inflicted. And so, it's a neurotic pattern, a neurotic psychological pattern where somebody can't stop scratching an itch or stop whatever the pattern is. It's self-inflicted abuse.

Ben:  So, this idea of addiction back to me, I talked about coffee, I talked about nicotine, which I eventually weeded myself off using some black pepper extract and some different essential oils along with just the mouth feel of gum. I just switched to a brand of gum that was the same size and shape and texture. It didn't have nicotine in it kind of like the strategy I used with decaf coffee. There was a time in my life when I'd travel every single night before I go to bed to help me get to sleep. I'd pull up some porn and masturbate, and it became one of those things like, “Oh, I take my CBD, and I take my melatonin, and then I masturbate, and then I go to sleep.” And, you build up this addiction, this attachment. Another horrible result of that is you become dependent on it, you start to objectify women, it changes your dopamine circuits in terms of the way —

Ronnie:  Changes their whole personality.

Ben:  When you view a naked body. And so, there's all sorts of downstream side effects that just ruin you sexually in a scenario like that. 

Actually, let's go this way, so less cars.

Ronnie:  It's a form of pressure release. So, that pressure release valve we're trying to find a way to release this built-up compressed pressure inside the system. And, if we don't have a better and more productive strategy, then we're going to find any strategy to manage our own stress response system. And, the pornography, man, it's just such a deep one and it's so unassuming because in our culture, it's so in our face and it's been so socially accepted. And, that's the thing with a lot of these “drugs or drugified technology” is that it's so socially accepted that we don't identify it as a drug or as an addiction.

Ben:  Right, right. And, one thing that this makes you think about a little bit is there is this, so as a guy who believes that we were created by a divine being and wired up a certain way, there's this deep-seated human desire through essentially drugs/plant medicines, sex/relationships, and music/rock and roll, the whole sex, drugs, and rock and roll piece to crave this altered state of consciousness. It's almost like we spend half of our lives seeking an altered state of consciousness, which again, I think, is partially the desire for God. And, I say this out of personal experience because as my connection, and my union, and my dialogue daily with God has increased in leaps and bounds. By the grace of God, I'm so grateful for that. My desire to shift states of consciousness has decreased dramatically. And, I mean, even down to subtle, subtle nuances like when my wife and I would make love, I'd be like, “Oh, let's take a hit on a vape pen, and let's do some intra nasal ketamine and oxytocin, shift our state of consciousness.”

Ronnie:  Let's just stack it.

Ben:  Right. Let's stack it, which has its time and place, right? 

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  But, it can become a crutch. And then, as I've grown closer to God, it's almost as though you're able to slip into altered states of consciousness using natural activities without the use of external supplementation. But, it is interesting. I think a big part of addiction, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, is almost seeking out that altered state of consciousness that was so beautifully built into us.

Ronnie:  I mean, that's such a perfect context because that really is the most practical way of looking at it. I think what it is is that most of us have become accustomed to such a flat reality. Our frame of reality is so flat and densified and heavy that we need something to alleviate that flatness or to bring color back into our black and white type of reality if we've numbed ourselves out throughout our life. And, we're just used to this humdrum sitcom black and white reality, the 9:00 to 5:00 and the “American Dream” that we're all sold, work 'till you die and then maybe you'll be liberated at some point.

I think it's definitely at a spiritual metaphysical level. It's definitely a yearning for the divine, and just practically it's from a brain chemistry and brain wave state, it's like we're trying to shift out of the beta brainwave state. That's an interesting term too with this whole thing with beta males.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  This hyperactive, seeking, hungry ghost energy, beta, beta, beta, beta, beta. It's like we're trying to get into the alpha, and gamma, and hyper gamma states. And, it makes me think of Joe Dispenza‘s work because he doesn't use any external substances to get his people into that state —

Ben:  Yeah, that's what I've heard. But, people have this deep spiritual awakening experience.

Ronnie:  Yeah. And so, it's really interesting that you bring that up because that's been my experience too. The more I just commit and devote myself to basic principles and practices like meditation, breathwork, self-regulation, self-honesty, accountability, just my health practices, I can get myself into that state and set a new set point in my brain. So, when I do a plant medicine ceremony or microdose, it's not escaping from my reality, it's enhancing my set point.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It makes sense.

When we're talking about especially things like sex and masturbation, it makes you think about relationships too. I hadn't really thought about this that much probably just because I've been married for so long, it hasn't really been something I've struggled with although I know at my core if I weren't married, I would struggle with the same thing, and that's this relationship addiction. Can you talk about your relationship with relationships?

Ronnie:  Oh, yeah, that's powerful. Yeah. I've had a lot of really deep relationships with women at different points. And, you might call it a serial monogamist or just getting involved in really powerful connective relationships with women that ultimately were not good for me, but because the connection was so strong. It was an immediate access point to that divinity, if you will.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  But then, the problem was potential projections onto the person that they're my twin flame or my karmic partner, whatever spiritualized perspective that would overcast the red flags.

Ben:  Right.

Ronnie:  And, that led to a lot of what we call trauma bonding, and a lot of…

Ben:  Trauma bonding.

Ronnie:  Yeah. When two people's traumas, their childhood traumas, they fit in together like puzzle pieces. And, that also explains the magnetic pull that two people might have together with that very sexually charged passionate charge versus a connection that has a very heart-centered connection. And, that passion slowly develops over time. We might call that a healthy bonding process.

Ben:  Now, is that related to attachment theory?

Ronnie:  Yes.

Ben:  Because I personally constantly seek out verification from my wife. I should rephrase that. I have the tendency to do that since I have recognized it, it's not something I do as much. But, seeking out approval from my wife, seeking out verification, seeking out praise; whereas, she is very distant and wants to be very lone and independent. It's the yin and the yang of attachment styles. I think mine's called anxiety attachment and hers —

Ronnie:  Yeah, anxious attachment.

Ben:  What would hers be if you're distant and —

Ronnie:  Avoidant.

Ben:  Yeah, avoidant. So, I'm anxiety attachment, she's avoidant attachment. And fortunately, when we live our lives right, and we pray together, and we're bonded, and we meditate together, and we're making love a lot, and we're just being super open and transparent with each other, it's as though those two tendencies almost pull us together a little bit.

Ronnie:  Right.

Ben:  but, at the same time, it's yet another scenario in relationships where I think especially if you have the anxiety attachment, you're constantly seeking out relationships to verify you.

Ronnie:  One hundred percent. It's seeking validation and gratification to validate your own existence or your own worth, your own value. So, as a man, growing up with a single mother, I found out for me actually about a year ago doing a really deep shamanic clearing session, it came to my awareness that a lot of my relationship challenges were partly due to this anxious attachment wound that I picked up from my mother who I didn't receive that nurturing love from. Not because she was a bad mother, but she just didn't have the tools and I, as a child, had to develop adult-like strategies to get attention and love from my mother.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  So then, I started to recognize how this was subtly showing up in my relationships with other women, and then those trigger responses, those survival responses that would kick on in moments of conflict or if the other partner was avoidant, the more anxious I get, the more avoidant they get. Usually, the avoidant thing is usually from the father, the daughter to father, son to mother kind of dynamic.

Ben:  Right, right. Yeah. And, it's really interesting how all of that can stem from the way that you were raised. I often look to my mom for approval. And, I'm very careful with my own sons with the way that I compliment them in terms of like, you're smart or look at those muscles. And, instead, I'll say things like, “Oh, man, you studied hard this week” or “I noticed how much effort you were putting into that barbell or kettlebell this morning,” but I'll rarely praise them based on attributes because I don't want them to, I think I did to a certain extent, develop an attachment to certain attributes whether it's your body or your intelligence, or something like that because what I found myself doing back to the relationship piece is seeking verification that those attributes are present.

This trail is getting a little gnarly, so we can turn around steer, it's your bare foot.

Ronnie:  It's valuing the process versus valuing the outcome.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  You're not the product of the results that you gain. The value is in the effort, the process, the determination that you give to something, the discipline no matter what the outcome is.

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You mentioned the meditation guide, Joe Silva.

Ronnie:  Yeah, Joe Dispenza.

Ben:  Joe Dispenza, yeah. But, there's another guy who you talk about in the book that you say that you learned a lot from, a guy named John DeMartini. I think I actually have his book, I read a few years ago, “The Values Factor.”

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  He wrote “The Values Factor”?

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. Tell me about what exactly you got out of John DeMartini relevant to addiction.

Ronnie:  Man, I mean, John DeMartini is one of the living masters in this world and the human development specialist. And, I spent a lot of time with him, I did a great interview with him many years ago, and I spent two days with him in one of his workshops.

So, there's two things that come out of his work primarily is this value system determination, which is essentially understanding your own core values, not the things that you say you want or the things that you project onto the world, the social motifs and stuff, the things that you think you should value, but the things that you actually intrinsically value as a way to be more authentic, to be who you actually are. And then, this other piece is he has a perspective that built into every single situation as well as the universe as a whole are the complementary opposites. So, the yin and the yang, parasympathetic/sympathetic, anabolism/catabolism, male/female, support and challenge, entropy/syntropy. There's always support and challenge built into every situation because as human beings, we're wired for growth and the right/left hemisphere of the brain.

So, his whole thing is about integrating the polarities into a state of neutrality so you're not too positive, you're not too negative, you're not up, you're not down, you're always centered and integrated so you can perceive reality accurately.

Ben:  Now, is that related to the eagle eye perspective that you talk about?

Ronnie:  Yeah. The eagle-eye perspective is just a term that I coined in relation to this perspective being able to see life from a higher vantage point because we get so caught in the myopic minutia. The Hindus would call that the maya. We get caught in just the small little trivial details of our life and we get stressed out and just bogged down by those things. But, if we're able to take a more neutral equinimitous perspective where we can rise above and get a God's eye view on things, we actually see the implicate perfection in life in all situations. The geometry of life is working out perfectly. But, if we're a fish in a water tank, you can't teach a fish about water because you're in it. You have to be able to zoom out in order to see what's really going on.

Ben:  It's a little bit related to my own process of evening self-examination where I will close my eyes, I'll play the entire day like a movie in my mind watching myself acting out my day. Third person, right?

Ronnie:  Right.

Ben:  So, I'm looking at myself with that eagle eye standpoint.

Ronnie:  You're detached from your persona.

Ben:  Yeah, on the movie screen detached in this situation as I'm meditating. And, this is a four to five-minute evening practice. I'm asking myself what good have I done today, what could I have done better this day, and that in many cases includes identifications of areas where I fell into attachment or I fell back into addiction to something because you can nip that in the bud when you examine at the end of each day. And then, of course, where was I most purpose-filled back to something we've alluded to already that having a strong life's purpose along with the connection to God is one of the best ways to reduce that need for escapism and that need to shift state of consciousness using substances. But, yeah, it sounds very similar to that evening process of self-examination.

Ronnie:   It's a self-inventory process. And, what I what I'm getting from what you're saying is that you're essentially being honest with yourself. And, this is the whole thing with addiction, by the way, it's not so much about white knuckling it and forbidding certain habits and trying to willpower yourself through it because that doesn't work. You actually have to look in the mirror and scan and assess, and just be honest and take it out of the shadows and put it into the light. And, I really like the spiritual framework because it orients our mind towards something that's beyond our own self-limitations, our own stories, our beliefs, our wounds, our traumas, our phantom fears. We get so caught in that. And, I think one of the biggest issues spiritually speaking is that we've been taught through this scientistic, materialistic, atheistic culture that we're insignificant, we're isolated on this planet, we're all by ourself.

Ben:  Right.

Ronnie:  Whether people believe in any type of religion, it gives us a framework to actually look beyond to something beyond us to a creator. Whether that's ultimate truth or not, I believe it is. I know it is just like you do. But, without that, my mind would go into chaos.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, I agree. I mean, another book I'm reading right now called “Renovated,” excellent book. Two great books of people I think who are listening to this who are into the spiritual side of addiction: “Renovated” by Dallas Willard, the last book he wrote before he died that guy mentioned earlier who said that when men go to porn, they're seeking God, and then also the book, “Resilient” by John Eldridge, which more talks about how to stay in daily union with God. Because for me, when it comes to the hyper-awareness and the ability to slow down and breathe that I think is necessary to be able to identify, oh, is this a true need for energy or am I just having a craving for nicotine? Or, is opening up this website right before I go to bed in a hotel room at night the type of thing that if my wife were sitting right here with me that she would really enjoy seeing or feel proud of me about? What would this look like if I were on a movie screen right now engaged in this particular activity?

All those type of mental triggers, they seem easier to come by when as this book “Renovated” points out, I'm engaged in what I consider to be three of the most important aspects of my spiritual lifestyle: daily dialogue with God. And, I don't say “prayer” as much as “dialogue” because I think sometimes, we forget that God is a father and a friend who's here to help us. God's not here to, like you might learn in Sunday school, send you to hell for touching your penis. That's not what God is.

Ronnie:  So, like a shadow masculine interpretation of God.

Ben:  Right, exactly. So, dialogue with God, and then setting aside all fear and placing all trust in God. Fear. Oh, I'm not going to have enough energy today unless I do the coffee and the nicotine, or I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight unless I take this supplement and that supplement, or I'm not going to feel myself in this social situation unless I have engaged in this relationship or this sexual practice. And so, it's the daily dialogue with God, the trust, and then finally fully loving other people, just fully acting out the golden rule. And, those three things: dialogue, trust, and love, really to me, have made tackling my own propensity towards getting addicted and attached to certain things a lot easier to manage.

Ronnie:  That's so well put. I completely agree with that. And, it's how I think about the utility of the idea of God as a loving heavenly father is that it keeps us honest and accountable especially us as men. I mean, the accountability factor as a man is so key. We need that, we crave that, we're designed that way. And, it's not just accountability with other men because other men are just men, we need a higher source of accountability so we can aspire to be more than we currently are.

Ben:  Right.

Ronnie:  Not through fear, not through shame, not through guilt, but through aspiration and inspiration. And, that's also by the way what came up for me when you're talking about the dynamic with your wife. And, it's very similar with my partner where I had an ayahuasca experience, the last one I did last December, and aya starts stripping me of all my attachments in social media, my career, all these things that I think are important, it just starts stripping it all and it showed me the only thing that's actually real is relationships. Fundamentally, the only thing that's actually real is relationships and it showed me this image of me with my wife with children in the future. And, it was, if you really want to devote your life to God, devote your life to one woman.

Ben:  Yup.

Ronnie:  And, I was like, “Oh, okay. Thank you.”

Ben:  Yeah. Well, coming from a married man who has been happily married for a while and is likely biased because of that extreme amount of fulfillment and satisfaction that I get from having a strong family rooted in faith at home, I can tell you that once I realized that aside from my relationship with God, family comes first like equipping my children, loving my wife. When I leave the home making sure just everything is set up for them in terms of preparation, in terms of provision, in terms of love. I always thought you go out and you work and then you bring the bacon home to the family and it and would often put more energy into work than in the family. And, I've completely reversed that total 180. I put a lot of focus on the relationship with my wife, the relationship with my family because at the end of the day, it's all this work that you do, it's all for naught, the people who make a bunch of money, and have cars, and boats, and homes, and fancy toys, but don't have time to do anything with it because they're just working.

Ronnie:  Have you found through that way of being that that's increased not only your prosperity but the quality of opportunities that come to you?

Ben:  I don't know about the quality of opportunities because I honestly —

Ronnie:  Or, you choosing which ones are really —

Ben:  I almost say no to more. But, yeah, choosing and prioritizing those things that would best allow me to be there for my family, absolutely. So, the quality has profoundly increased. And, we got down the road of talking about certain tactics like stepping out and looking at yourself in the third person developing a spiritual walk with God, we talked about some practical things using black pepper instead nicotine or decaf coffee, instead of regular, but then there's some other tactics that you talk about in the book.

One was called the “Quantum Collapse Process.” That one intrigued me. Tell me about that one.

Ronnie:  Okay. So, the “Quantum Collapse Process” is it's a process that I've developed that I take clients through and do workshops on. And, essentially what it is is it's a hybrid between what I've learned from Joe Dispenza and John DeMartini. And, it's a meditation breathwork practice where I have people go into just a normal state of breathing in through the nose out through the mouth and guiding them to drop into their autonomic nervous system. And, essentially what the process takes people through is their own inner landscape. Meaning, they're able to track, scan their own nervous system response. And, through the breathwork practice of them completely just surrendering and being guided through it, they're able to track the sensations in their body and detach from the stories in their mind that are essentially blocking them from really feeling what's going on in their physical system.

Ben:  Yeah, it's interesting. It sounds a little bit like contemplative prayer.

Ronnie:  Sure, sure.

Ben:  In contemplative prayer, at least my own flavor of it, I sometimes will talk about things and feel bastardize and turn them into my own version. But, contemplative prayer, you sit and you first become mindful what's the temperature and the sensation of the air that's coming in through your nostrils with each breath, what is the sensation of the fabric against your skin or the socks against the sole of your feet, what little puffs of wind can you feel in the room, what's the sensation in your hands, are they tingling, are they numb, are they cold, are they hot to the feet, what's the sensation in the gut, is it settled, is it tight, is it cramped, is it bubbly? And, you just do a full-body scan. And then, the prayer part of it is you then just basically imagine Jesus coming into the room. This is really powerful because a lot of times you'll literally just see Jesus as a vision coming into the room and you can even do this with your eyes open, which is interesting. A lot of times with contemplative prayer, you start eyes closed and then you go eyes open. As you begin to look for Jesus and you pay attention to how's he carrying himself, what's the tension in his shoulders or the lack thereof, what looks of love and forgiveness and pride is he giving you, how is he comforting you, and you just basically sit there with Jesus —

Ronnie:  You're getting a model.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly. And, this can be something that you just pause and do for two to four minutes at a couple points during the day. But then, at the very end, you just basically asked Jesus for what it is that you need, ask him for help, ask him for strength, ask him for direction, ask him for peace, ask him for wisdom. So, contemplative prayer essentially is mindfulness meditation combined with seeing and talking with Jesus. And, it's incredible in terms of just connecting with where your body is in the moment but doing so with the guidance of a deity.

Ronnie:  That's really interesting because that theological framework is great because that's essentially what I'm guiding people through. And, I have audio recordings. People can do this on their own too. One layer of it would be that process. You're doing a scan to clear the preliminary layers from the system. And then, once you do that, now you have more of an access point to actually determine your internal set point. So, for example, when people are deep in the process and their system is downregulated, I'll go through a process and say, “Okay, what does it like feel to feel whole healed and complete in your body right here right now?” So, the idea is that we're creating new reference points for lived experience so the brain and the body can sync up together because the stress, the anxiety, the depression, all the things, we've patterned those in our neurochemistry and our nervous system. So, those are reliable reference points for states of being that are familiar.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  And, if we're trying to change those things at the level of the mind, we're just going to be in our mind. And, we're just going to be going back and forth, but we're never going to move an inch. So, it collapses time essentially in past, present, into the moment, into the physical body. So, somebody can actually gain a new reference point and practice that so when they go out into the world, it has an accumulatory effect in their system.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It's so interesting that a lot of this does come down to mindfulness. And, I mean there are other things too. For example, this is going to sound super trite compared to what you were just talking about, but three of the top things that I do if I have some craving or I'm trying to break an attachment to something, I think you talk about one of them in the book, push-ups.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  Meaning I want this piece of nicotine gum or —

Ronnie:  Fifty push-ups.

Ben:  I want to have a cup of coffee, whatever. Yeah, for me, it's 30. Thirty is the magic number, 30 push-ups. Popping a piece of gum which I realize could sound like an addiction of itself, but it's this tiny little sweet little dopaminergic hit that's just it's not that damaging. And so, just chomping on a piece of gum when you're craving something else that you might be addicted to.

And then, the last one is music. I find that just listening to a really, really great song can make you forget about what it was that you felt helplessly attached and addicted to five minutes earlier.

Ronnie:  Okay. What just came to me is so dopamine is a really deep interesting topic. One of the things that dopamine does is it controls our time perception. And so, when somebody has low-level dopamine, they go more into a depressive state and they usually are more focused on the past. And so, time, the perception of time slows down and it gets too long.

Ben:  Right. This is when you're low on dopamine, sometimes this can happen after a weekend of partying, for example, and you go to the gym and you feel soul crushed, sweat in your eyeballs out, you feel you've been there an hour, and you look at your watch and it's been four minutes.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  A lot of times, that's low dopamine.

Ronnie:  Yeah. You're doing a withdrawal program or a cleanse or a detox or a dopamine fast. And, this is why it's so challenging if people don't have the right strategy because their dopamine baseline drops. And, that's when all the cravings come up because the brain gets addicted. I don't necessarily believe that — well, that's a whole other topic, but the addicted personality, the way I look at it is that your brain actually develops addiction pathways of its own. And, it has associated an outside substance as the way to alleviate its own stress response, its own inflammation. And so, that craving or that agitation is a way for the brain to trigger the body into getting that thing to relieve its own addiction tendency.

Ben:  Yeah. And, part of this though makes me wonder like push-ups or gum or music or these little bursts of energy.

You have a section in your book, I wrote down the page, it's page 112. You have this quote in the book where you talk about where we should be getting our energy from. Okay. And, I think we may have alluded to it a little bit, but can you go into that quote? I could read it if you want me to.

Ronnie:  No, I know what you're talking about.

Ben:  Okay, tell me about it.

Ronnie:  There's actually a perspective I have on that real quick from a cellular metabolic perspective. And, especially in our relative field, in the audience that listens to you, everyone's familiar with basic cellular respiration of glycolysis, sugar metabolism, in ketosis, fat metabolism as the primary energy sources for ourselves. And, that's level one. That's the materialistic level.

Ben:  Right, macros.

Ronnie:  Yeah, the macros, right. And then, underneath that, our cells respire on oxygen and hydrogen, which is why things ozone therapy is so powerful and hydrogen therapy. And, we're made mostly of water. We all know that. So, that's an interesting perspective. Then, underneath that though — and you learn this through fasting. I did a lot of fasting especially when I was a raw vegan for many years. That led me into the world of cleansing and detoxing. And, I'm on a five-day water fast and I'm like, “Whoa, I have more energy right now than anything.” And, maybe that's because of autophagy of protein deposits turning into cellular energy and ketones and glycogen, all that. Okay, fine. But, through that process and through my own research, I came across another perspective from a theoretical physicist named Fritz Albert Popp who discovered that our cells fundamentally are operating on what's called biophotons. And so, this is ultimately to me really where true energy comes from is from our living environment; biophotons, photons, light frequencies or light energies like we're doing right now the penetration of the UV light to our skin. And, our skin has more photoreceptors than anything. We're light beings, right?

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  We're water-based beings, we're light beings, we're —

Ben:  We're not quite plants, but we interact from an energetic standpoint with light photons way more than most people even realized.

Ronnie:  Yeah. And, Rudolf Steiner said the human being is an inverted plant.

Ben:  Yeah, that's true.

Ronnie:  So, the leaf of a plant is a solar panel that's receiving the light through photosynthesis turning into energy. We're doing the same thing in our own unique process. And so, I found through a combination of fasting, cleansing, and getting into nature, getting barefoot on the ground, the negative ions that are pulsating and going through my system and getting spring water, getting into bodies of water, and then getting the sun exposure, my energy levels skyrocketed. But, it wasn't a stimulation, it was more of this core ojas, jing, restorative primordial energy.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, I've felt that. It's the energy that you have when you're camping and enforced away from all the devices in the indoor boxes. And, it's barefoot, it's water, it's a lot of times clean or natural food or very little food at all. And, you're, of course, walking in your bare feet right now, I had to ride my bike down here. And, I'm a wimp, so I've got shoes on, but I am a little jealous because right now, I mean, I would imagine you're even harnessing some of these negative ions from this trail right here as we walk.

Ronnie:  Well, I had to meeting up with you. I was like —

Ben:  I know. You're all excited for me to be connected to Gaia and Maia with my Brooks on. But, that is really interesting, this idea that we're energetic beings. I mean, Nicola Tesla, I think it was, who said we're all just vibration and energy. And, many people especially since the days of at water and calorie counting and measuring the clerk equivalent of foods have kind of made this assumption that our energy is derived from either supplements or calories. But, I mean, even Jesus Christ says that we are not sustained by bread alone.

Ronnie:  Right, right.

Ben:  There's a lot more. And, I know he was alluding to subtle energies as well when he said something like that or at least have a strong sense that he was referring not only to your life —

Ronnie:  The 40-day fast on Mt. Sinai. Right.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Okay. So, in terms of the addiction piece, there's one other thing that I wanted to ask you about because I thought this was interesting related to addiction specifically, and that was movies and entertainment.

Ronnie:  Right.

Ben:  Because I think a lot of people they're super into it and it's, of course, super accepted to have your Netflix show. And, that's not a struggle of mine, but I know a lot of people deal with that and they probably benefit from your take on it.

Ronnie:  Yeah. So, I call it entertainment entrainment. This is really key to understand, so the brain doesn't actually have a context for what's real and what's not actually real. And so, what we're perceiving through the optics of our eyes that go into our brain and our consciousness is being deposited in our subconscious mind. And, not to say any of this is inherently wrong; however, when we're glued to the television or we're watching these enthralling movies, all movies, all successful movies are built from the framework of “The Hero's Journey” kind of cycle that Joseph Campbell put together, which is a predictable cycle that mirrors our own hero's journey if we're on a hero's journey.

Ben:  Right. Ordinary world call that adventure Refusal of the Call. 

Ronnie:  Yes.

Ben:  Meeting with the mentor, crossing the threshold, test allies, enemies, approach the innermost cave, the ordeal, the road back, the resurrection, and the return of the elixir.

Ronnie:  That's amazing.

Ben:  I think that's it.

Ronnie:  Wow. Yes. And, what's interesting about that too is so we can get inspiration from these things, but usually, we're actually numbing out because it's just entertainment and we're not actually on our own hero's journey and we start to live vicariously through the characters in a movie. And, the brain can register that as if we're having the lived experience, which is why we know it's a movie but something in us we can get emotional, we go on the ride with the characters, and our brain, well, it can just interpret it as if we're having the experience but we're not actually living it. And, this is the same thing with video games or pornography for that matter. If somebody's watching pornography, you get this hyper normal stimuli of dopamine, which again controls time perception and your brain is so flooded with this stimuli, the simulation as if you're the one having it.

Ben:  Yup.

Ronnie:  And then, as we know as a lot of us men know is you have this increase, almost cathartic release, then after, it's kind of weird, it's like leaving a crime scene. It's like, “Oh, wait. Oh, gosh.”

Ben:  Yeah, didn't feel quite right, something's missing, something's wrong there.

Ronnie:  Well, I'm just going to clean up and just walk away as if that didn't even happen.

Ben:  Yup, yup. So, yeah, I agree with that. And, the part about watching the movies and living out someone else's story, it's really interesting because a lot of really impactful people I know, they don't consume a lot of entertainment. And, I think that's because they haven't scratched that itch of having done something epic through someone else's experience so they're creating their own epicness in their own life. I've also —

Ronnie:  This is why people watch sports so much, right?

Ben:  Right, right. I've always been a guy who'd much rather play. And, even during the Super Bowl, I'd be the guy who's like, “Yeah, let's go throw the football. I won't watch the game.”

And then, the idea behind movies also, I think, and this is an interesting theory that I think I first read about in a book about “The Secret Life of Plants” of all things is this idea that it suppresses dream cycles because all of the lights and flashes and colors on the television screen allow the same type of cognitive processing that you'd normally achieve through dreams. And so, you miss out on a lot of the memory consolidation and the building of creativity circuits in the brain when you're outsourcing your creativity and your dream cycling to the television instead. Does that make sense?

Ronnie:  Yeah, you're essentially fragmenting your psyche with all this external input. But then, what about the output, what about the cognitive dumping? Where is all that stuff going? It creates all these open tabs in our brain, but just like a CPU processor or your browser, if you have all these open tabs, it slows down the processing system and it just creates congestion.

Ben:  Right, right. And then, related to the piece about porn, one last thought on that is a lot of times you're watching other males, you're watching other males have sex with these females that you're desiring —

Ronnie:  That you wish you were, yeah.

Ben:  And, it creates this beta process where you're literally watching the other members of the tribe do the thing that you wish to be doing physically, and it almost hardwires this beta circuitry and what you become —

Ronnie:  It puts you in a beta brainwave state.

Ben:  Yeah, you become a less dominant male because you're just so used to watching other males do what you're craving to do.

Ronnie:  It's so insidious.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, there are entire books on this and websites like yourbrainonporn.com, but it's definitely a big one.

And so, there's obviously a lot of considerations here. There are a lot of solutions, but one solution that you lay out that I'd love to dive into a little bit is something you call the dopamine reset protocol. I know some people might be aware of this because there was a gal who recently wrote a book on dopamine, I forget her name. You may have heard like she —

Ronnie:  Yeah, “Dopamine Nation.” Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah. It was Anna Lembke.

Ronnie:  Yes.

Ben:  Yeah, Anna Lembke. So, anyways, talk to me about the dopamine reset.

Ronnie:  Okay. So, I really got deep into this about two years ago. I've been studying dopamine just on and off since 2011 or something. And, I got into it with multiple sclerosis research and Parkinson's and realizing that dopamine not only is this really powerful neurotransmitter that's related to pleasure and reward. So, I came to find that dopamine it influences all your motor functions, and the myelination of your nerve cells, and just so many aspects of the physical experience. So, I just been kind of tracking this on and off for years, but then about two years ago, when I started working through my own coffee and tobacco addictions and realizing that I'm stuck in this perpetual dopamine loop, I realized that I needed to actually start studying this a lot deeper. And then, I started looking into this idea of dopamine fasting. And, the basic idea with that is that you're essentially abstaining from all external dopamine inputs. And so, all the “addictions” —

Ben:  Wait, quick question. I mean, all the people who are supplementing with L-Dopa and Mucuna, which is again kind of nicotine, something I've found, and I think you mentioned this in your book too. A lot more people than you know are literally taking dopamine as a supplement, they've built up such a tolerance to it.

Ronnie:  This is actually a really good point. So, with the dopamine dilemma as I call it, you have two things going on. You have the dopamine receptors in the brain that have been blunted and numbed out from excess dopamine stimulation. And, those receptors when they get blunted out, there's so much more dopamine coming into the system that the receptor sites can't take in all that dopamine. So, they just get numbed out over time so the receptors themselves have to be repaired and rebuilt through neurogenesis. And, that's part of the thing there is when you're fasting or abstaining on the external dopamine inputs, it gives the brain space to go through its own neurogenic neuronal regeneration process.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronnie:  And then, there's the other side, which is the dopaminergic system itself that needs to go through some sort of repair process. Some people are not able to produce dopamine because their hormones are out of balance, their adrenals are out of balance, they have some form of toxicity they built up in the body. They're in a perpetual sympathetic stress overload state, right?

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  So then, the L-Dopa, which I got into about 10 years ago getting into this research is really an interesting ayurvedic herb in of itself. But, basically, what people are doing is they're trying to rebuild the dopamine circuits.

Ben:  Yeah. And, I forget, by the way, with that one, the Mucuna pruriens from which the L-Dopa is derived, that is a plant, right?

Ronnie:   Yeah. It's ayurvedic herb. They call it the velvet bean. And, it also has growth hormones in it.

Ben:  Interesting.

Ronnie:  Yeah. So that's what they prescribed like a pharmaceutical version of it with people that have Parkinson's and other dopamine-related issues.

Ben:  So, we know what dopamine is. And, as far as the dopamine reset protocol, walk me through the soup and nuts what that actually looks like for someone who's like, “Okay, Ben, Ronnie got me convinced it super bugs me, whatever, nicotine, caffeine, porn, social media, relationships, food, exercise, you name it.” What does it look like?

Ronnie:  Okay. So, I'm going to lay out my protocol. And, I've adapted this over just the last 10 years of my framework that I work with people on. So, the first level is what we're talking about. It's the abstaining and withdrawal process that I call the reset process. So, there's three phases. There's the reset, the reboot, and the recovery. And so, the reset is just it's the withdrawal process but the way that I do it is I don't have people just abstain cold turkey. That doesn't really work very well. So, what I do is I implement particular nutritional protocols to help people reboot their neurotransmitter system to sometimes rebuild their microbiome system for nutrient absorption, the gut-brain connection dietary kind of protocols. All those basic things that you talk about all the time, amino acids for rebuilding the neurotransmitters, different types of supplements, B vitamins

Ben:  So, on the dopamine reset protocol, it's not cold turkey water, you're essentially replacing it sounds to me a lot of the nutrients or the minerals that would have tended to have become depleted as the body has been in sympathetic overdrive for so long like probiotics, amino acids, magnesium, et cetera.

Ronnie:  Minerals trace minerals. Yeah, things of that nature. Understanding, for example, in my online program, I have a PDF that I'll walk you through right now just the framework.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  There's specific protocols for coffee, for cannabis, for social media, for porn, for —

Ben:  So, you can dish sugar from vice to vice?

Ronnie:  Yes. And, the basic supplemental protocol is relatively the same. There's going to be a full spectrum B vitamin supplement with B6, B9, and B12. There's going to be an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. There's going to be a full spectrum magnesium like the BiOptimizers. There's going to be always free-form amino acids like the ones that you guys used to use. Because that's really —

Ben:  Like the Kion Aminos?

Ronnie:   Exactly. Those are the building blocks. So, I want to help people restore the building blocks and also re-engage with their cellular metabolism so they can start to produce energy naturally. And, they don't have to go through this drastic dopamine withdrawal, they can just start to kind of build their baseline back up. They can work through the cravings. Now, implementing the second factor is the lifestyle itself. So, integrating a lifestyle blueprint including some sort of movement fitness protocol, which is up to the person, it can be martial arts, weightlifting, running, yoga, whatever getting into nature. Whatever your deal is, you just need to move the body, you need to start engaging with the body.

And then, there's another piece to it which I think is one of the most powerful insights, which is it's a waking and sleep cycle framework.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronnie:  So, what I walk people through is this understanding that just like nature has its own seasons and cycles, our body has its own seasons and cycles. And, these seasons are actually happening throughout every day. So, we have a morning cycle, a midday cycle, and a night cycle. And, through developing a nighttime ritual leading into sleep, it helps people actually drop into a restful sleep practice. And then, when they wake up, there's a morning ritual, morning practice that they develop for themselves, and then you're starting to set the stage to balance out your biorhythms. And then, in some point in the midday, there's also a transition phase. So, for example, in the morning, you're transitioning from sleep time, you're coming back into your body. So, what I tell people is before you get out of bed, definitely before you check your phone, put your hand on your heart, and just take 10 diaphragmatic breaths. You're engaging with your body, you're scanning it, you're essentially prioritizing yourself first thing in the morning.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. There's even an app that I've used in the past for this though I've since distanced myself from the app because I can just do it without using the app, but I think it's fantastic. It's called the Pause app. And, it's kind of interesting because when you first get it, the only pause you're able to unlock is the one-minute pause. And, you got to do that three times and it brings you up to the three-minute pause. And then, I think there's a five-minute after that, and I believe at 10, but really you can play it when you get up in the morning. It's soothing music, soothing voice, walks you through kind of something very similar to that contemplative prayer and mindfulness practice I talked about.

Ronnie:  Yeah, that's it.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, whatever it takes, it's this idea of, I mean, the way I think about it, Ronnie, is checking in with the body and checking in with God at the very beginning of the day.

Ronnie:   That's exactly what I'm saying. The tendency is that we check our phone, we have an alarm clock, we get on Instagram. Immediately the moment we do that, our dopamine system is so sensitive that we get neuro linked into this digital interface, and our brain wave gets all scattered, and our energy for the day just gets scattered. And so, the idea is that we're organizing and structuring our energetic with intention and focus first thing in the day to create that foundation.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Okay. So, the 21-day dopamine reset protocol, you said the first part is reset.

Ronnie:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. And then, reboot.

Ronnie:  Okay. So, reboot is essentially if you think of your computer like the iOS processor on your Mac, every now and then, you're going to upgrade to a new operating system, right?

Ben:  Right.

Ronnie:   So, the idea is that you have to reset the system itself before you can reboot. You always have to —

Ben:  Or, you can go from maverick to leopard to cheetah —

Ronnie:   That's right.

Ben:  Whatever, oddball OS name they call [01:18:16] _____.

Ronnie:   Yeah. Most people in the human potential or optimization world are trying to skip levels. They're trying to just get to the next thing, the next thing, but they don't integrate what they've learned or who they are essentially. And, there's a great quote by Ken Wilber which is, “Transcend but include.” So, transcend the level that you're at, but include everything. And so, that's kind of the idea. You have to learn how to reset or turn off —

Ben:  Well, you mean, include everything that's positive?

Ronnie:  That's right. Yeah, yeah. Your life experiences, the wisdom —

Ben:  That you gotten rid off on the reset part.

Ronnie:  Yeah, that's right. And, that's why we do the reset so the brain can go through its cognitive pruning process. If we don't learn how to shut down the system, then we're not going to be able to auto-delete all those old files. So, you go through the reset which is essentially abstaining and letting go of the detrimental habits themselves. The brain is going to go through its own cognitive reset process and then we support it through the nutritional and lifestyle practices. And then, the reboot process is kind of a skill acquisition process.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronnie:  So, we're engaging with new patterns and behaviors and habits that are going to help restructure a new identity.

Ben:  Okay, got it.

Ronnie:   And so, the reboot if you imagine on the operating system when it's loading, now you're in a loading phase.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronnie:  So, you're loading new information, a new version of yourself. And, obviously, you have to practice the things. And then, as the brain restructures itself and re-adapts to these new patterns of being, then you go through the recovery phase, which is really just the integration phase. Last thing I'll say about this is a little bit of a metaphysical perspective. The recovery phase to addiction is that we're essentially recovering the parts of us that got lost through childhood trauma, or through relational trauma, or the parts of us, the innocence, the innocence in us that got lost along the way of life.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  What I found through leading people through these processes over 30 or 40 days, not only did they get all the physical benefits, but what I started hearing from people was simple things like getting off coffee. They started to feel that child inside of them that never got the love or the attention or felt abandoned. There was something inside of them that kind of clicked in and integrated, and that's the recovery process. It's not that you're recovering from being an addict, you're recovering a part of yourself that got lost and led to the addiction.

Ben:  Yeah. Yeah. It's really interesting because I feel to a certain extent even before I read your book, I'd kind of stumbled across doing something similarly when I'd find myself attached to certain things basically asking myself, “Okay, what has this depleted or what hole is this attempting to fill?” Meaning, in many cases, an addiction can only deplete minerals. Let's say coffee, for example, depletion minerals, depletion of some of the docosahexaenoic acid you talked about, the oleic acid for your myelin sheaths, and then the adenosine receptors. It's like, what do I need to reset, and then what do I need to replace that's been depleted? And then, there's kind of that phase that you go through which I suppose would be the reboot phase where you're just kind of listening to your body as it deals with not having access to what it had before while having what that thing depleted replaced. And then, finally, you get into this phase where it just becomes the new normal, the new lifestyle.

Ronnie:  It becomes the new normal.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Ronnie:  That's right. And, there's a thing that just came up. I think you'll really appreciate that I really want to get across to people. My personal perspective is that the physical body is not just being run on electrolytical impulses from the brain to the body or whatever the basic physiology of it. The physical body is an instrument, a divine instrument that has its own inherent intelligence, and it's being run entirely by the power of the soul. So, the more somebody is ensouled, meaning they're embodied in their physical body, they feel safe to be their body, they're fully expressed, they're authentic, they're in their value system, they're following what's truly meaningful to them the more the body turns on.

Ben:   Yeah.

Ronnie:  And, I know this because we've seen it in cases of spontaneous remissions where people have an automatic healing that has no rhyme or reason or no medical explanation. Somebody's completely revived, their addictions, their afflictions completely removed, their identity shifted completely. And, I want to drive that point because it's not just that the physical stuff is the support and maintenance for the physical body. But, the spiritual aspect, the metaphysical aspect really to me is really the real deal.

Ben:  Now, related to that, you talk about your own kind of unique 3-step flavor of prayer in the book and how prayer has helped. I know that you believe in the power of prayer, you and I even prayed before this podcast, not a pharisaical, hey, look at us on Zilker Trail praying type of manner, but just to dedicate it to God and ask God to help some people out, which I'm hoping if you're listening right now, you're learning some things that help you. But, Ronnie, you also talk about prayer in the book, and I believe you say three different kind of steps or you point out three different steps for prayer.

Ronnie:  I'd have to go back to find those three exact steps, but what I do know that I talk about in the chapter is essentially my perspective on prayer is a living prayer. It's not just words you speak or it's definitely not coming from desperation or treating God like a vending machine.

Ben:  Yes.

Ronnie:   To get me out of this thing that I got myself into time and time again, it's an embodiment practice. So, as I go into a prayer practice, I'm seeking to embody the energetic of my prayer so it's living inside of me versus me grasping for something outside of me to bail me out of something.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, that comes back to the dialogue piece. I think that considering your relationship with God as being dialogue not vending machine-based is it's just a very magical way to live once you're able to feel the presence of God in everything that you do and see God in everything. I don't believe that we are God or that plants are God, I don't have a universal approach in terms of who I believe God is. But, I do believe he reveals himself to us in a bite of steak, in a sip of wine, in a lover's embrace, in the smell of a rose, in the feel of the sand and the gravel against your feet. Right now, Ronnie, all of these are revealing God to you. And, if you're engaged living with creation fully mindful while at the same time opening dialogue with God throughout the day, even just taking a breath, a simple breath in through the nose and having it be a breath of gratefulness, I just can't emphasize enough how much I've found that to help me manage just about anything that I've been trying back to the eternal abyss in the soul that I've been trying to fill with other substances as soon as you plug God in. And, it's so simple yet it's something people resist so much, I think, because they just feel there's got to be another solution the next supplement the next —

Ronnie:  It's confronting, right?

Ben:  Yeah, the next recovery protocol. But, it's got to start, in my opinion, with a spiritual connection.

Ronnie:  One hundred percent. And, what comes along with that is a confrontation with the shadow, our shadow tendencies, our traumas, our less than moral or ethical behaviors, our self-interest or agendas. We have to confront that shadow nature of ourself and we have to do it through love. That's really the only way, but it's a journey to get there. And, it can be arduous and it can be lonely and very confronting. And, I think that's why it's hard for people to go in front of the mirror and really look themselves in the eyes and really scan and really see themselves. Yeah. And, when I say they, I mean us, of course.

Until I started doing this, I started looking myself in the mirror and scanning like, okay, bags under the eyes, okay. And then, tracing, like, okay, well, you know what, you didn't get enough sleep, you didn't follow your own practice, or just being honest with myself.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ronnie:  And, I found through that process, yeah, it was a little bit confronting for a moment but then it was also very liberating because I didn't have to hold it in the closet, I didn't have to pretend like I needed to have everything together or be this kind of Superman character where I had to be the healthiest person ever just to get out there and speak about things to help people. I just need to be honest with myself and give those things over to God, like you said, to lighten my load so I could actually let go of the stress I was carrying, which what was leading to these addiction patterns which was just a way to cope with my own drama.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean you jam-packed a lot into that book, man. And, it is available for sale right now on Amazon, people get it.

Ronnie:  Yeah. And, they could actually get it on the website, the AddictionFreeLifestyle.com.

Ben:  Cool. Alright, I'll make sure that I link to that in the shownotes. The shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/BreakingAddiction. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/BreakingAddiction.

And then, the reset protocol, the recovery, you work with people one-on-one as well?

Ronnie:  I work with people one-on-one, and I actually have a dopamine reset video course. So, it's a 30-video course that goes really deep into everything to do with dopamine. It also goes into personal development aspects. It goes into trauma, addiction, supplementation, all these kind of lifestyle factors. So, it's called the Ultimate 30-Day Dopamine Reset Program. And, it's a self-study course, but every quarter, we do a group dopamine reset as an add-on for everybody who signs up for the video course.

Ben:  Okay, cool. Does anybody ever get addicted to the course and keep coming back for more?

Ronnie:  That's an interesting thing. Sometimes you got to —

Ben:  I'm addicted to Breaking Addictions.

Ronnie:  Yeah. Well, that is a thing too.

Ben:  Yeah. Here we are back at the tractor, isn't that good timing and a way to bring it full circle?

Ronnie:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Back to the annoying beeps and loud crashing sounds. And, I hope that the fact that we recorded this while walking was not too distracting for those of you who are listening in, but man oh man, I would just highly recommend Ronnie's book to you or to anyone you know who is dealing with an attachment or an addiction in life. Again, it's The Addiction-Free Lifestyle. I'll link to the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/BreakingAddiction.

And, Ronnie, I feel we connected for a reason. I'm glad to be acquainted with you now. Hopefully, I can call you a friend.

Ronnie:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Alright. Well, cool. Give me a hug, brother.

Ronnie:  Thank you, brother.

Ben:  There's a nice sweaty hug that you guys can listen to on the microphone. And, thank you all for listening. It's Ben Greenfield Fitness even though I got to remember I got to start saying BenGreenfieldLife.com because I rebranded, BenGreenfieldLife.com/BreakingAddiction. Have an amazing and beautiful and hopefully addiction-free day everybody.

Okay. So, you've probably heard about peptides. There's 7,000 different kinds of peptides, which are these short strings of amino acids. And, scientists, naturopaths and doctors have been using peptides now to treat a whole bunch of different complex chronic illnesses, protect against cognitive decline. I've used them for muscle gain, for fat loss, for healing up injuries faster, for gut issues. They're even really good for anti-aging and longevity. Many people even use different kinds of intranasal peptides for a smart drug. They use injectable peptides to get lean super-fast. There are so many uses for peptides. And, the fact is it can be kind of confusing, what to use, how to use it, et cetera.

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More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.



Ronnie Landis is a leading expert in holistic health, natural nutrition, peak performance, and human potential.

He is also an international speaker, author, entrepreneur, and a full-time athlete.

Ronnie holds a 3rd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a former semi-professional athlete and personal trainer. Ronnie focuses his life work on educating people on the benefits of a high raw plant-focused lifestyle for optimizing the body, sharpening the mind, and expanding the human spirit.

Exploring the fringes of cutting-edge health sciences and food-based nutrition, Ronnie combines customized self-mastery training, supplementation strategies, and a deep passion for helping others overcome long-held mental and emotional roadblocks so they can experience every area of their life at their full potential.

Ronnie is also a public speaker, teacher, published author of multiple books, podcast host, holistic performance coach, and above all else, a man who has devoted his life to uplifting humanity to its next level. He also offers a course called The Ultimate Dopamine Reset (BENGREENFIELD for $50 off single course, BENGREENFIELD VIP for $100 off VIP course).

I recently met Ronnie, and he gifted me his book The Addiction-Free Lifestyle: The True Path to Inner Peace & Self Mastery. It was so excellent and thought-provoking that I just had to get Ronnie on the podcast to take a deep dive into the concepts within the book. If you struggle with attachment to anything from nootropics and smart drugs, to caffeine, to porn or masturbation, to serial relationships, or anything else, this show is for you.

In this episode with Ronnie Landis, recorded while we walked along the lake in beautiful Austin, Texas, you'll discover:

The Addiction-Free Lifestyle by Ronnie Landis…08:07

  • A spiritual manual for your inner evolution and salvation

-Why the soul is the most important element of your existence on the earth…09:50

-Ronnie Landis's story/journey to spiritual fulfillment, confronting addictions…10:31

-How to define addiction…16:29

  • Separate the coping mechanism vs. the human condition
  • Addictions are just coping mechanisms
  • When men go to porn/nicotine, they're really seeking God
  • Dallas Willard on pornography
  • Need connection and creativity
  • What defines addiction is how much dopamine it produces, how accessible it is
  • Delayed vs. instant gratification
  • The Addiction-Free Lifestyle by Ronnie Landis
  • Attachment vs. addiction

-Genetic predispositions to an addictive personality…20:26

  • Coffee has a utility as a mind-altering substance
  • Aware of the negative effects, but continuing with the behavior
  • Leonard Orr – Subtle death habits
  • Self-inflicted abuse; a need for drama
  • A form of pressure release
  • Social acceptance lessens the stigma of porn, social media, etc.
  • Craving an altered state of consciousness vs. worship of a divine being
  • Joe Dispenza

-Having relationships with relationships, not the people…32:02

  • Trauma bonding – people fit in like puzzle pieces
  • Attachment theory
  • Seeking validation and approval from others to validate your own worth
  • Value the process vs. the outcome

-Contrasting the values we project vs. what we actually want…39:25

-The 3 most important elements of Ben and Ronnie's spiritual life…45:55

  1. Dialogue – daily dialogue with God
  2. Trust – setting aside fear, trusting God
  3. Love – fully loving other people
  • Men crave accountability with other men
  • The only thing that's actually real is relationships
  • If you really want to devote your life to God, devote your life to one woman

-The “Quantum Collapse Process”…50:43

  • Hybrid meditation/breathwork practice
  • Track sensations in the body and detach from stories in the mind
  • Contemplative prayer – mindfulness meditation combined with prayer
  • How Ben breaks addiction: Pushups, nicotine gum, music
  • Dopamine controls our time perception (hyperfocus on the past)
  • The brain develops addiction pathways of its own

-Where we should be getting our energy…58:20

-How movies and entertainment spur addictions…1:03:06

  • Entertainment entrainment
  • The brain does have a context of what is real and what is not
  • The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell
  • We live vicariously through characters in the movies
  • Porn overstimulates dopamine; almost like leaving a crime scene after
  • Impactful people don't consume much entertainment
  • The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins
  • You miss out on a lot of memory consolidation and dream cycles are harmed
  • yourbrainonporn.com

-The Dopamine Reset Protocol..1:08:04

  • Dopamine not only is a neurotransmitter related to pleasure and reward; it influences all motor functions
  • Dopamine fasting – abstaining from external dopamine inputs
  • Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke
  • L-Dopa and Mucuna
  • Dopamine dilemma:
    1. Dopamine receptors in the brain have been numbed out
    2. Dopaminergic system needs to go through a repair process
  • Dopamine Reset Protocol:
    1. Reset – abstaining and withdraw process
    2. Reboot – Lifestyle change; new skills acquisition
      • Movement/fitness
      • Waking/sleep cycle
    3. Recovery – Integrate/practice; recovering parts we lost through trauma, parts that led to addiction
  • Basic Supplemental protocol (the same for the different addictions):
  • One Minute Pause app
  • “Transcend but include” (transcend the level but include everything) – Ken Wilber
  • The physical body is run by the power of the soul

-Ronnie's 3-step process to effectual fervent prayer…1:23:27

-And much more…

-Upcoming Events:

Resources mentioned:

– Ronnie Landis:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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