BONUS One Poisonous Thought Can Affect All Areas of Your Life

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
BONUS One Poisonous Thought Can Affect All Areas of Your Life

Your thoughts create your reality. One poisonous thought can cause you a lot of unnecessary pain.  It can be the difference between discomfort and great suffering.  Recently I realized I had one thought about my future that was draining my creativity, making me feel like I had a limited time to enjoy myself, and it was setting me up to create a bad experience when I have the ability to create a really positive experience. 

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This transcript has not been formatted or edited.


I’m Heather and this is the Living With Addiction podcast where I show you how you have more power than you realize when it comes to helping yourself and your child that’s struggling with addiction.


This is just a bonus episode. I’m not starting a new season yet, but when I wrapped up season one, I decided that if I had something come up that I really wanted to share with you guys, then I would record a bonus episode. And so that’s what that is. And I’ve had this thought that I’ve been thinking that has been causing me a lot of stress.


And I knew that it was not a good thought for me, that it wasn’t helpful, but I just needed to sit with it and keep thinking it while I worked through it. Of course, initially, I didn’t even realize, I didn’t have the awareness of how unhelpful of a thought that it was. And then I had the realization, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to change the thought to yet.


And I have an episode that is dedicated just to teaching you about the model. And so I’m going to be talking about the parts of the model in this episode. I’ll put that episode in the show notes so you can listen to it if you haven’t already. It’s a very important episode. It’s the basis of everything that I share with you. And that is that we have circumstances in our life and those…


Circumstances initiate thoughts. We have thoughts about those circumstances. And every thought that we have creates a feeling. The thought actually causes our brain to release the chemical that we feel in our body as an emotion. And we take actions from our emotions, and those actions create the results in our life. And that’s how our brain works. So when we have thoughts that are


not helpful or unintentional autopilot repetitive thoughts that we aren’t questioning because our brains lie all the time, then those thoughts can cause us a lot of pain. And we’re not being intentional with the results that we’re creating in our life. It seems like we’re at the effect of all of the circumstances in our life when in reality.


you have the choice of how you want to think about every single circumstance. And I share that a lot. It’s spread out through my podcast, how I choose to think about things, how important it is that you choose to think about things in an intentional way because the way you think about it is going to shape your experience. You have so much power and control in the way you experience your child’s addiction just in the way that you choose to think about it.


Now it’s a process. It’s not like I’m saying, oh, you’ve got to think great thoughts about it, but you can challenge what you have been thinking. See if it serves you. See if you even really believe it, because there’s so many things that we think that we don’t even actually believe. We just never took the time to question those things. So I want to share with you how this thought that I have been having is affecting me. So


that hopefully you can apply it to things that you are thinking about your experience with your child’s addiction or anything else in life. And a lot of what I’ve been dealing with lately is about, you know, related to breast cancer. Things with my daughter are really good. I have a couple of episodes where I’ve interviewed her. If you haven’t listened to those yet, you should.


So I don’t have to do a lot of mind management around her. She’s sober. I’ve done so much mind management around her active addiction that her sobriety has actually been very easy for me. I don’t sit around and worry about if she’s going to stay sober or not. And so I’m actually thinking about myself more than ever.


which is really important. We should be thinking about ourselves more than ever because so many people come to me not even knowing how they feel or think about anything to do with themselves because they’re so busy thinking about everyone else. And it’s really important for us to be focused on ourselves because that’s where all of the answers are. The reason we’re in so much pain is because we’re focused on everybody else, trying to get them to change so that we can be okay. But the truth is we have the power to change ourselves.


so that we can be okay. And that’s what most of my episodes are dedicated to as well, just teaching you step by step exactly how to make those changes. So if this is the first episode that you’re hearing, make sure you go back and listen to those other episodes. Don’t just start listening going forward because you’re gonna miss a lot of important content about how to actually make those changes on your life, how to focus on yourself. I don’t just tell you


what to do, I tell you how you can actually do it. Because that was something that I struggled with forever, was I knew that I needed to make changes in my life, but I didn’t know how. And so that’s why I share with you exactly how I make changes. So what I’ve been focusing on lately is how I think about my upcoming surgeries. I was diagnosed with


breast cancer in February of this year. I had a double mastectomy in June, and then I had another surgery at the end of June and at the end of July because I was having complications. Right now I am flat because my breast reconstruction failed because of complications, and I am going to have breast reconstruction done again in January. So going into


my initial surgeries, of course, I mean, I had a ton of fear. I was just full of it no matter what I did. And my fear was that it wouldn’t work and it didn’t. But I am really just living probably the happiest I have been in years, even though I am dealing with that complication.


because I’ve just come to this place that I’m not willing to let any circumstance take any more from me than it already has. I’m not willing to let my daughter’s addiction take any more from me than it already has. I’m not willing to let breast cancer take any more from me than it already has. I’m going to have a good time and enjoy my life no matter what these circumstances are.


And dealing with these things has really given me this unique perspective to really lean into and experience a level of joy that I’ve never experienced in my life before because I also leaned into experiencing the full spectrum of my feelings about those situations, about experiencing the grief and sadness about my daughter’s addiction, experiencing the deep


grief and sadness about having breast cancer. And that opened up my capacity to feel more joy and happiness than I’ve ever felt in my life. And this sense of what is really important to me, what matters, what doesn’t matter, just not sweating the small stuff and realizing more and more how much


I am in charge of how I experience every aspect of my life. Every aspect of my life, I experience through the way I think about it. And I am 100% in control of how I think about every situation that I have. And I’m very intentional with how I think about having breast cancer, having reconstruction that failed, having a daughter struggling with addiction.


it’s very empowering. And so when I have a thought that is disempowering, I think it’s important to share that too and what that does so that you can relate to that and see how that you can change those kinds of disempowering thoughts that you’re having in your life as well. And this disempowering thought that I had been having was, I’m going back to prison. That’s what I thought about.


facing my surgeries that I’m gonna have in January or February. I have to have at least two surgeries. And so I’m thinking about that period of time from June until the end of September, when I was able to really start moving and getting into life again, it felt like I was in prison. And the thing…


that I’ve realized recently that is the most important realization is that I created that prison. Didn’t have to be that way. But the thing is, I’m willing to give myself a lot of compassion for is that along with that, I also created a sense of support. I allowed an incredible


didn’t have the capacity to receive or allow any more than that. So you think about the capacity to receive anything great in your life. It’s like the thermostat of your life. If you’re used to being on 60 degrees and your life warms up to 70 and you don’t have the capacity to receive that 70 degree life, then you will cool your life back down to 60 degrees.


So I increased my capacity to have a great life during that time, but I could only increase it so much at a time. So I allowed myself to receive an abundance of love and help and support, but I could only receive so much. Like I had already expanded beyond what I was able to receive because when I first started out,


I had offers to help me. Like when I went for my biopsy, my sister and my mom both offered to go with me, but I said no, I went by myself. And I really wished when I got home from that, that I had allowed somebody to go with me, that I had allowed myself to receive that love and support that I felt like I needed after that. But I didn’t know ahead of time that I was gonna feel that way.


I actually made a promise to myself after my biopsy that I wouldn’t do that to myself again, but I did. When I went to get the results of my biopsy and found out that I had cancer, I went alone. And again, my sister and mom had both offered to go with me, but I said no. So there I was sitting alone. Anybody knows when you hear the words, you have cancer?


You don’t hear anything after that. You know, I got like tunnel vision and couldn’t was like the doctor’s voice was really far away. And I didn’t have anybody there to hear the next things that they said that were probably really important. And so I decided that that time, okay, I am going to have to receive help. I am going to have to open up.


to this, I’m going to have to allow what I want. I wanted help, I wanted support, but I wouldn’t allow it. And that’s really important to realize, and really important for me to own. And a lot of people experience tough times in their life without allowing somebody to help and support them. And we have to own that we have a choice that we can receive more


love and help and support than we currently are. Like the more we’re able to expand into it and the more we’re able to allow it, the more we’re going to receive. But we can also block it, which is what I was doing. So I stretched my capacity to receive love and help and support, but I can only go so far with it. And so I was still blocking some of it.


I had friends that offered to come and stay with me, to come and help me after surgery. And of course, in my mind, I’m like, I do, I just, I’m very healthy, this is going to be fine. I’m not going to have any complications. I’m going to heal faster than anybody has ever healed. Like these are the things that I’m picturing. I’m like superhuman. I’m not going to have any problems. But then when I did…


It was kind of late for me to reach out for help. It was, you know, I was just kind of in the middle of it. And it was like a hamster on a wheel. I was just like spinning and I felt like I was stuck in this situation. I didn’t even know if I was gonna get out of. I started to feel like, you know, when you’re in the middle of anything, like when you’re in the middle of your kid’s addiction.


And it feels like it’s never gonna stop. It’s never gonna get better. Nothing is ever going to help you. You’re never gonna be able to get what you need to feel better. Your life is going to be exactly like it is right now forever. It just feels so heavy. And that was how it felt during that time. Like my body had been through this huge surgery and trauma and mentally and emotionally, I’d been through this huge trauma.


having to make decisions that were just really life altering, lifelong decisions with no, you know, I’ve got way more hindsight now. I understand everything more, still stand by my decisions, but having to make those decisions and then just being caught up in that cycle of things going wrong, feeling like helpless cause I don’t know what to do to get out of this. My body is not fighting these infections.


more and more of them. I’m having more and more symptoms. I’m having to lay in bed more and more, spending days in bed. And I’m just not that person. I’m very active. I’m always doing something. I always have something planned, something that I want to do. I work out every day. I’m very active. And laying in bed all of that time was like kind of torturous. And I look back on it.


a really, really tough memory because I could have allowed friends to come and stay with me. I could have called up one of my best friends and said, fly out here and lay in bed with me. But I didn’t because I just didn’t have the capacity for it at that time. And then after my third surgery, my friends came out here and we went to the beach for the week.


And it was the first time that I had seen them in like a year. And the only reason that I hadn’t seen them in so long was because I hadn’t allowed them to come here. They had asked, offered, I’d had other friends offer, but I said no. And, you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about why did I say no? Why didn’t I allow that for myself? And it’s just because I was maxed out.


at my capacity to receive help, to allow what I wanted. I couldn’t even see that there was that possibility. And that’s how it gets with our kids’ addiction too. Like there’s so many possibilities that are right there in front of our face that we can’t even see. And that’s what I’m always trying to offer you with my podcast.


is all of these possibilities that are right there that you can’t even see. And I love it when I hear from somebody who’s listened to an episode and it changes their whole perspective of their child’s addiction. And by listening to one episode, they start changing their experience of their child’s addiction. They start changing their relationship with their child.


And that’s always available to us in every situation in our life, in every relationship, in your marriage, in your career, with your family. That is always available to you. There’s always options that we can’t see. And so we just have to question the thoughts that we’re having about every situation. See what help is available to us that we are blocking because of the way that we’re thinking about things.


And so I’m having to be very cognizant of how I’m thinking about going into these next surgeries. I certainly don’t wanna be thinking I’m going back to prison, cause that was my thought like, I was in prison, somebody opened up the door and let me out. I’m gonna live like as fast and furious as I possibly can for the next few months. And then I’m gonna have to go back into prison.


Like that was really my thought process. And it is not helpful because it was putting all of this pressure on every area of my life. It was really breaking down my creativity. You know, I’m usually flowing with creativity, ideas, like writing constantly, always having so many social media posts. But it was really putting all, so much pressure on me to think like I only have this short period of time to live my life.


and then I’m going back to prison and who knows what’s gonna happen, anything could go wrong. Instead of thinking, this could be easy, right? I could have a totally different experience this time. And not just because of luck or because it just happened, I bumped into a good experience, but because I’m very intentional with how I think about it going into it, because I see that it’s a choice.


I see that I can create a different experience. I see that if I’m having a hard time this time, because I have way more capacity to receive now than I did six months ago, way more capacity. That’s one of the gifts of this situation is my ability to receive love and support and help from other people that I would have rejected in the past that I would have wanted, but I wouldn’t have allowed myself to receive it. And I know that if you’re listening to this,


that you’re feeling the same way about something in your life. There’s something that you want that you aren’t allowing yourself to have. And I just want you to know that you can change that. You can be intentional with the vulnerability that it takes. I’m like a vulnerability expert now, because I’ve had to be really vulnerable to allow all of this, allow myself to receive all of this help and support that I wanted.


you can do the same thing. It’s going to require you to be vulnerable, but on the other side of that is what you want. And so you have to allow yourself to have that. And I have to be very intentional with how I think about what I’m gonna create going into these next surgeries. I’ll have friends lined up to come and visit me if I need them, if I end up having to spend way more time.


embed than I planned on like last time. I will allow that. I’ll never tell a friend, no, don’t come here when they offer. I will have much different thoughts about it than I did last time. And that’s what’s really important because those thoughts that I’m going to have about it are going to create my experience. I obviously, I haven’t worked out exactly how I want to think about it yet, but…


The important part is just the awareness of what I was creating with the way I was thinking about this situation. Because I promise you 100 percent, had I not caught this, had I not realized what I was doing to myself and set the intention to change it, that I would have created that experience. I would have gone back to prison. Because no matter what would have happened, that would have been my perception. Our perception is our reality.


So my thoughts would have been all based on that. I would have been thinking, seeing everything through that lens. It wouldn’t have mattered what my circumstance was. It wouldn’t have mattered what was actually happening. And that’s really important to know that I would have created my experience just by thinking that. Like we have this part of our brain that is dedicated to seeing


the evidence of what we proving us right. So looking for evidence that what we think is correct. It’s like, you know, when you Google something and you’re gonna get everything about what you Googled, that’s what our brain does. It filters out everything that doesn’t have anything to do with what we think is true. And so that’s how we create our reality with our thoughts. We have this tendency to filter out anything


that disagrees with what we believe. And so that’s how we create our experience. But it works both ways, right? We can create a really miserable experience. I also created a lot of greatness in that time. I’m not totally trying to, I’m not judging myself for how I went through it. I’m actually really proud of myself for how I went through it. But I can up-level.


and go through this next experience totally different because I have increased my capacity to receive. I’m comfortable with a much higher thermostat in my life and I’m just gonna keep raising that thermostat and you can do the same thing. You can use that part of your brain that filters everything out to believe good things, to create.


a positive reality, to create results that you’re proud of, to create an experience of your child’s addiction that is just letting it be what it is, right? It hurts sometimes. Sometimes it’s sad, but you can also experience living a joyful life. That reality is available to you.


So I just wanted to share that with you, how our thoughts create our reality, because I think that that’s a really great example of that. And I really recommend, if you’re listening to this, that you go back and listen to the episode on the model. Again, I’m gonna put it in the show notes. There will be more bonus episodes. As things come to me, I’ve got a couple other things. Now that I’m not.


blocking my creativity so much with this horrible thought. I’ll be able to, I’ll start sharing more on social media as well again. But if you need help with this or anything else, help with anything to do with your child’s addiction or any other area of your life, you can sign up for a $17 first time call with me to get some of your questions answered. And


maybe get help with a specific situation or see what it would be like to work with me. I’ll put that link in the show notes and I will be back soon with another bonus episode.


So when I recorded this episode, the recording that you just heard was my fourth try recording. I was just having all kinds of bad luck that day. So all the recordings I had made kind of just merged together in my head. So I forgot what I had shared in each recording and I left out something really important I realized as I was listening.


And that’s that after my diagnosis, my sister went to every single doctor’s appointment with me. And I moved in with my sister and her wife before my first surgery. And so I was never alone. They were always with me. And…


The whole point about that with the friends was, I just have been spending a lot of time with my friends lately because I can, and it’s just been, I’m wondering like, why didn’t I let them come here? It didn’t make any sense to me. And so the only thing that I could come back to was that thought of I’m going back to prison and that prison that I had created for myself with my thoughts during the time when things got the toughest. And…


There’s no way I could have prepared for that. There’s no way I could have known that that was gonna happen. You know, I did a great job preparing in a lot of other ways, but now realizing that I was having that thought, again, about my second set of surgeries.


I started really questioning where that was coming from and seeing how I had actually created that and seeing that I would create prison again. But I just think it was really important to mention that was a huge step for me to ask for that help, even though it had been offered to me to have my sister go to every appointment with me. It was a lot of appointments. When you have breast cancer or any other type of cancer, next thing you know, you have.


all kinds of doctors. And I had genetic counselor and I had an oncologist and I had an oncology surgeon and a plastic surgeon. And then I had a whole set of doctors that I decided to change. I changed to another set of doctors. And so sometimes we were going to the doctor three or four times a week, and then all of the surgeries.


My sister was there for every one of them. My mom was there for one of them. So I was never alone. The problem was never that I was alone. The problem was my thoughts, which is our problem when it comes to anything. It’s that unintentional thinking. Sometimes we get in a situation that we’re just not in the place to bail ourselves out of. I just wasn’t in the place to bail myself out of that. I was physically…


My body was going through so much and of course that was taxing on my mind and I just wasn’t in the right space to be able to keep creating wonderful intentional thoughts like I had in the past. So I think it was important to mention that though. So I had created this huge capacity to receive. I was receiving a ton of help. Like


just way more help than I was comfortable with, way more help than I had ever received or allowed in my life. And so I was growing and increasing my capacity to have that, but I was also limiting it because there was more available to me. And so next time I’m gonna be very aware of that and I’m not going to limit it. And if I need…


extra help, I’m going to call in reinforcements. But that was a really important part of the story that I left out that I had recorded on a different recording. And after I listened, I realized it was missing. And I wanted to make sure that I recorded this extra piece to add to the end so that you could hear that as well.


Thank you for listening to this episode. If you wanna learn more about my work, go to heat If you wanna help other parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction, you can do it two different ways. First, you can share the podcast with them directly, or you can share it on your social media. Second, you can leave a review. Talk to you next week.