EP 2 How To Connect With Your Child Who is Struggling With Addiction

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00:22

So today I want to talk to you about how we end up creating the opposite of what we want in most situations. So how often do you intend to create a positive experience with your child that’s struggling with addiction? And you start out, you know you’re going to see them.

 

00:48

You plan ahead, you think you’re just gonna keep it light and polite. You know, you’re just gonna give them a little bit of love, enjoy spending whatever time with them you can. And then instead, it turns to disconnect, arguments. And then you’re wondering, like, what the heck just happened? Like…

 

01:11

I went into this situation thinking that it was going to be one way and I was going to create some connection and the next thing you know everybody’s angry and you don’t even know what happened. Well, I used to find myself in that position constantly and this isn’t something that showed up after my daughter’s addiction. It was always this way. It was just that.

 

01:38

her addiction shined even more of a spotlight on that issue. And I think it’s something that so many parents face whether they’re dealing with addiction or not. Like they’re trying to connect with their kids, but yet they end up just wondering why they’re uptight and angry all the time.

 

02:01

and why they can’t just enjoy spending time with their kids. I mean, it’s baffling. And I used to experience that all of the time too. And I knew that things had changed over the course of my daughter’s addiction and me really working on myself.

 

02:25

but I wasn’t getting to spend as much concentrated time with my daughter until she got sober and now she’s at home and we’re getting to spend a lot more time together and I’m getting to really see where I really created a lot of the problems in our relationship by the way I thought about things before. And so that’s why I wanted to talk about that today because I had this incident with her.

 

02:55

um, a couple of weeks ago where I had planned this day for us, we went to this spa where they do like sound healing and you know, it was this beautiful relaxing experience and they play these crystal, um, singing bowls and you lay there on a meditation table, you know, and

 

03:22

They do that for like an hour and it was just this amazing beautiful experience. And we had driven 90 miles to do this and I was also excited about going to that town because there’s a beach there I wanted to check out. And so I create, you know, plan this ahead. I was looking forward to it. I was excited.

 

03:43

And so was my daughter, neither of us had ever done that before. So we’re going to go do this thing that we, you know, neither of us have ever tried. We’re going to get to experience together. And, you know, I’m just wanting to enjoy every minute with her because there’s been just so many years that I haven’t been able to do these things with her while she was in active addiction. So we go and we have a beautiful experience at the spa with the singing bowl meditation.

 

04:12

And then we go to lunch. And this is where I start noticing the huge difference and how I would have acted before I started doing all the work on myself versus the way I acted that day. It was like I was experiencing what was actually happening and also seeing the way I would have acted in the past and seeing…

 

04:43

how different of an experience I would have created based on literally just a few thought changes. So after the spa, we went to lunch and it was someplace that we had never been before, of course, and my daughter didn’t like her sandwich. So this is something that would have actually made me mad in the past.

 

05:09

because I would have felt like now I have to buy her a whole new meal. Isn’t she ever happy? Why can’t we just have a great day together over a sandwich? These are really the thoughts that I would have been having. And it feels crazy to even admit this, but this is true. These are the kind of thoughts that I had all the time and it was repetitive in every situation, very similar thoughts.

 

05:38

It’s all involving some version of why can’t I make her happy? Why aren’t the things I do ever enough? And I was taking situations like not liking a sandwich and making it about me, this feeling that I had for some reason.

 

06:06

which wasn’t her fault, it had nothing to do with her. It was just something that was already there in me that I couldn’t really connect with her and that I couldn’t really make her happy as if that was my job. Like, as parents, we get so wrapped up in, if our kids aren’t happy all the time, then it reflects poorly on us and we’re not doing a good job. But when we think about…

 

06:35

how we are as humans. We have this huge wide variety of emotions. We are not made to be happy all of the time. We are made to experience positive wanted emotions and so-called negative unwanted emotions. Like we’re made to experience the full spectrum of human emotions, but we become parents and suddenly we think that we have to

 

07:04

create these tiny humans who are just happy all of the time. And it’s so much pressure on our children and on us. Just think about being under that microscope, like every time you’re not happy and excited that you’re being told that you should be and that you don’t appreciate things and you’re ungrateful just because you had human moments.

 

07:33

of unhappiness. I mean, we all know how it is. Some days we just wake up for no reason, not feeling great. And so the same things of course happen with our kids. But if we’re personalizing all of those, you know, that variety of emotions, especially when they’re teens and early twenties and they’re going through all of these changes and it’s just natural to experience more of that. And we’re making about it.

 

08:01

making it about ourselves and we’re just going to be on this huge roller coaster ride. And I was just able to see that day what I would have created had I had those thoughts.

 

08:16

Instead, I was just like, here, you want part of my sandwich? You know, I order stuff I don’t like all the time. You know, there’s a reason she just comes by it naturally, but you know, that she’s picky about eating sometimes. She gets it from me. And so I didn’t have to order her a whole other meal or go through all of this emotional, you know.

 

08:42

ruining the day, feeling like this amazing experience that we just had was ruined over a sandwich. And it just was such a blessing for me to be able to see that. And then, you know, we went to the beach and it was kind of a chilly day and it had rained a little bit, chilly for Florida, you know, it was like 75 degrees.

 

09:10

And so we weren’t planning to stay very long, but this is kind of later in the day, my daughter’s tired. We’re, it’s kind of a long walk from where we parked to the beach. And she was saying she was tired and she was ready to go home. And again, I could see where my alarm would have went off and I would have had the same or very similar thoughts that I had in the restaurant, which would have been something about her not appreciating.

 

09:40

the experience that I was giving her that day and why can’t I make her happy and all these negative things that would have just pushed her away from me. But instead I ended up cracking a joke because…

 

09:58

we’ve just totally changed places so much. I used to be the one who always wanted to go home and now I’m the one like, let’s stay longer. Like we’ve totally switched places and that was my thought and we laughed about it and we spent some time at the beach and had, we really got to connect and enjoy each other. And so when I got home, you know, I had been thinking about it while I was driving home.

 

10:28

And I was the next day, I just kind of wrote out what happened versus what would have happened because it felt really important to me to really just let it sink in and acknowledge how much I had changed and how important.

 

10:54

the work is that I have been doing the last couple of years and how important this work is that I get to share with my clients because it just creates this life transformation where you get to create what you want instead of unintentionally creating what you don’t want and being stuck with that feeling that I just had for so much of my life of…

 

11:23

not understanding why I couldn’t create connection when that was really all I wanted, but I would end up creating disconnect. So I wrote down what would have happened. And I wanna point out before I go into that, like how our brains work. And our brains work on a think-feel-act cycle. So we have a thought.

 

11:51

And many of our thoughts are based on our beliefs. So if we believe something, our brain is always looking for evidence that it’s true. Like there’s a part of our brain that’s actually dedicated to that, to looking for evidence that our beliefs are true. So it’s really important to be aware of that and question your thoughts because our thoughts are not all true. And so…

 

12:19

Back to the think-feel-act cycle. We have a thought, and that thought releases a chemical that creates the feeling that we actually feel in our bodies. So whether the thought is true or not doesn’t matter. It still releases a chemical that creates a feeling that is very real. I mean, it’s actually a feeling that’s happening in your body. And then we take action in our life based on whatever that feeling is.

 

12:48

And that creates all the results that we get in our life. So it’s really important to know that this is always happening whether you realize it or not. Like even when you’re daydreaming, there’s just these thoughts are very repetitive, they’re subconscious. And so it’s important to create awareness about what you’re thinking and notice when you have a feeling.

 

13:16

remembering what you were just thinking about. So what I wrote down about what happened that day was my daughter said, I want to go home. And then my thought, this is what my unintentional thought would have been had I not done all of this work. This isn’t what actually happened. This is just me thinking through what would have happened in the past.

 

13:42

So my thought would have, she would have said, I wanna go home when we were at the beach. And my thought, what would have been, she doesn’t appreciate me taking her to the beach, which would have made me feel angry. Would have actually felt the sensation in my body of being angry. And my actions would have been, you know, I would have made a snide remark about her never appreciating me.

 

14:05

I would have then been stewing in silence and judgment about her not appreciating me and judgment of myself as well for not being able to make my daughter happy. I probably would have left the beach without even bothering to check it out even though I was really excited about doing that. I would have just been in such a negative mindset that I would have just turned around and walked back to the car.

 

14:32

I would have felt disconnected and distant. I would have felt like the day was ruined. I would have been mad at her for ruining our fun. I would have been thinking there’s no way I can ever make her happy. I would have been feeling disrespected and unappreciated. And then, as I said, we drove 90 miles there, so it would have been a tense drive home at 90 miles. We wouldn’t have talked. I would have just been silent.

 

14:57

And what I would have created there is my anger would have kept me from appreciating her or the beach or having that whole experience. And I think that a lot of parents go through this. It might not be the exact same thoughts, but it’s that feeling of like…

 

15:23

Why do I always feel so tense? Why do I always feel so angry? And those thoughts are the reason for that. So now I wanna go through what actually happened and what I was able to create with that because it’s such a different experience and it’s just literally one difference, which is the thought. And so she says, you know, I’m ready to go home. I don’t wanna stay at the beach.

 

15:53

And my thought was, this is hilarious. You know, I used to be the one who always wanted to go home and now she does and my feeling was playful. And I ended up, you know, teasing her about how we switched roles. We laughed about it. We walked on the beach and talked for a little while and got to soak up some beach vibes. You know, I got to talk and connect with her. I got to just…

 

16:19

appreciate being there with her after, you know, so many years of not getting to do things like this with her and just appreciate what a gift it was to have that time with her and Then as we were leaving I felt fulfilled. I got to spend a little time at the beach I got to check it out I got a felt like I had a new place to go the next time I wanted to go to the beach and Then you know, we had a relaxed drive home. It was just nice

 

16:48

And so what I did create there was fun and connection and healing after all of this time that we have spent apart all of these years. And so you can see how that’s just such a different situation. It’s just completely different and it felt so good to

 

17:15

be able to just so clearly see how much I’ve changed in the last couple of years of doing this work. Like I knew that I had changed, but it was like one of those moments. It’s kind of like somebody who’s been training for the marathon and they think they’re going to be able to do it and they know that they’re getting better, their endurance and everything. And then they go run the marathon. And that’s what that moment.

 

17:44

felt like to me because all this time I’ve been waiting for my daughter to get sober so that I could spend time with her and so that I could do all the mother daughter things again that we had missed out on for so many years. It just felt so beautiful to get to do that with her and experience it and know that all of this hard work on really being intentional.

 

18:13

with my thoughts and awareness had just paid off in such a big way. And I wanted to share this story because it just shows how we really do have power and control in this situation when we focus on ourselves. And so what I want to share with you that you can do is just start observing your thoughts.

 

18:43

Like noticing how you feel in each situation and then backtracking into what you were thinking just before that feeling came up for you. Like when you feel angry or guilty, whatever comes up, just try and backtrack into what you were thinking. You don’t even always realize your thoughts because they do happen so subconsciously. I mean like…

 

19:09

You don’t have to think about breathing and you don’t have to think about having thoughts. Like they’re both happening no matter what. And so it’s a skill that you build to be able to be the observer of your thoughts. And then just question the thoughts that you have. Like focus on yourself. This is really important. Not focusing on anybody else.

 

19:36

Don’t focus on your child, don’t focus on their addiction because when you do that, you’re just completely powerless. All the power and control comes when you focus on you. Focus on yourself and your thoughts. All your power and control comes from this. I realize it doesn’t come naturally and that’s okay because this is just how our brains work, but I’m telling you how you can take…

 

20:05

the way your brain works and start directing it and putting it to work for you. So then after you’ve gone through that process of observing your thoughts, questioning them, focusing on yourself, now just notice the outcome that that created and then thinking about how different that is from what you intended to create.

 

20:30

or maybe you didn’t intend to create anything, it’s just one of those situations that happened, but you can start being more intentional with the outcome that you wanna create. And so the next thing is just choose a different thought about that situation. What else could you have thought? How could you have given, you know, seen your choices, given yourself some power and control in that situation? And…

 

20:57

Be very careful not to pick a thought that you can’t believe yet. So this isn’t about just choosing positive thoughts. It’s really about choosing thoughts that are intentional and believable and that serve you. So we don’t want to, you know, every situation we wouldn’t choose some amazing wonderful pie in the sky thought.

 

21:28

It’s just about seeing your choice and being intentional and choosing thoughts that serve you. And so, as I said, just make sure it’s something that you can believe and just keep practicing that thought. Keep being aware. Like, baby steps go a long way here. Like, I’ve just had a million baby steps.

 

21:53

along the way of these changes that I’ve made in my life from where a place where I was just so unhappy and feeling so powerless and desperate and not knowing how to help my daughter, her feeling so unsupported by me and me trying so hard to create connection with her and I didn’t. I created disconnected every turn like I said. To being able to turn that around.

 

22:22

to a place where my daughter felt supported by me and I felt confident in being able to support her and myself and really just being able to see all of these changes in my life. They just happen little baby steps at a time and they happened by me being intentional and putting in the work. It’s like going to the gym and building muscle except we’re just working on our brain.

 

22:50

So keep being intentional. And the other thing in this process when you’re trying to make any kind of change is being really compassionate for yourself. I had to practice some compassion for myself the other day when I had this clear vision of what an awful situation I was creating in the past and how much pain.

 

23:17

I was causing for myself and my daughter with these unintentional negative thoughts. I really had to practice compassion for myself instead of going into self-loathing and hate or anything like that because that’s not gonna help me. I just had compassion for myself that for so long, this was just the way I operated because it was the only way that I knew how to.

 

23:46

Soon as I knew a better way, as soon as I heard something that made sense to me, as soon as I had some instructions to follow, I started changing. And that’s what I wanna offer you today with this podcast is some instructions to follow so that you can start changing, but just really have some compassion for yourself along the way that you’re not always gonna like what you see when you start looking into

 

24:14

what you’ve been creating up until this point, but that’s okay. That’s just a part of the human experience and growth. And that compassion that you have for yourself will really help you create more connection with your child and have more compassion for them as well. So that’s all I have for you today on this. And…

 

24:43

I will be back next week with another topic, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week.