Ep 48 The Struggle is Real -How To Do It Well

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Ep 48 The Struggle is Real -How To Do It Well

How you show up for yourself determines how you experience your child’s addiction. We aren’t wired to be happy all the time. Struggling is inevitable and it’s normal. There’s wisdom in all our emotions, even the most difficult ones. We need to honor all the feelings that our life circumstances are triggering. Struggling well gives us new perspective so we don’t get stuck in apathy. When we embrace the growth and change that our struggle is showing us we can grow and move forward through trying and even traumatic events.   

Guest Andrea Seydel and I discussed:

Honoring where you are in your individual journey

Struggling well looks different at different times in your life

How we struggle well and build resilience in the process

The 5 steps to struggling well


What to listen to next:

Episode 37 Post Traumatic Growth 

Episode 38 How to Have Self Compassion

Episode 06 Your Words Create Your Quality of Life 


Watch the YouTube video of the interview for episode 48


Watch the YouTube Video Andrea and I made last year about struggling well 

Andrea Seydel is the Author of the book and host of the podcast Saving You Is Killing Me We Loving Someone With An Addiction.

Andrea’s website https://www.andreaseydel.com/

Saving You Is Killing Me Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-saving-you-is-killing-me-loving-someone-with/id1549250469

Saving You Is Killing Me Book https://www.amazon.com/Saving-You-Killing-Me-Addiction-ebook/dp/B08SR5WLYX


If you want coaching about your child’s addiction or anything else Sign up for a 45 minute $17 call with me using the link below



For additional resources:

GROUP COACHING PROGRAM – Join the waitlist – New Group Starting soon! Be the first to get details. https://heatherrosscoaching.com/peace-of-mind-community/

Sign up for my free guide 3 Steps To Stay Sane When Your Child Is Struggling with Addiction – How to Move Forward With Confidence TODAY http://heatherrosscoaching.com/3-simple-steps/

Follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heatherrosscoaching

Follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heatherrosscoaching/

Join the free Facebook group for parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction

Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/heather-ross9/message


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.


Good morning or afternoon or evening whenever you’re listening to this. I just wanted to record a quick little introduction to this episode. Andrea Seidel and I got together to talk about struggling well. I mean, that’s a really big focus for me right now is how I can struggle well, how I can show up for myself. Andrea is the author of the book,


and podcast by the same name, Saving You Is Killing Me, Loving Someone With An Addiction. And she was on a previous episode of the podcast and her and I have done a couple of videos together. Last year we did a video about struggling well, but of course I was in a completely different place in my life at that time and struggling well looked different for me than it did now. And I’ve linked


a link that you can use to watch that video from last year. It’s on YouTube. And there’s also a video of this episode on YouTube. But we talked about struggling well, and there’s five steps to struggling well, which we didn’t outline in our conversation.


So you’ll hear us go through those, but we don’t exactly say what we’re doing. We kind of miss that part. So I wanted to talk about that in the introduction as well, that Struggling Well has five parts. Educating yourself about the subject that you’re struggling with. Learning to regulate your emotions and nervous system. Disclosure, which is just talking to people about what you’re going through.


creating an intentional story. And so that’s about being very careful with how you think about the situation that you’re trying to struggle well with. And then of course, helping others. And that doesn’t have to be as big as having a podcast or telling everybody what’s happening in your life.


it can be, you know, something like just listening to somebody in a support group, just showing up, holding space for them. And so those were the five steps that you hear us talking about in this episode. And I also linked to a couple of other episodes that I thought would pair well with this one in the show notes because


Struggling well is a part of post-traumatic growth. These, some of these steps are very similar. So I also wanted to point that out. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, go back and listen to it. There’s a link in the show notes. It’s, I think, very empowering to see that we can be going through these very difficult and traumatic times dealing with our kid’s addiction or anything else in that, for that matter. And…


growing and changing and creating fulfillment in our lives as well. We can be experiencing something really hard. Like everybody knows who listens to the show what I’m going through that I am grieving the death of my daughter. But I am also experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions, which includes joy. If something funny happens, I can laugh about it. If I am sad.


then I cry. I don’t want to just live in one emotion or have that one part of my life dominate everything. I mean, there’s times that it takes up more space than others, but that is a beautiful part of struggling well is how you show up no matter what is going on in your life. So keep listening and you’re going to hear Andrea and I talk about struggling well.


Hey there, Andrea here. I’m so excited because today we are talking all about this concept of struggling well. And together, Heather Ross and I are going to take you through all these wonderful ways to turn turmoil into wonderful triumph. Right? So welcome. I’m Andrea Seidel and I am the author of Saving You is Killing Me, Loving Someone with an Addiction. And Heather, introduce yourself.


Hi, my name’s Heather Ross and I work with parents who have a child struggling with addiction. And I have gone through all of the stages of addiction in working with my daughter. She started struggling with addiction when she was in her around 12, 13 years old. That was when she started really using and experimenting.


And then, you know, it just escalated over the years. And in my early part of my journey, I felt very alone. And like I felt I had, like I had a huge lack of resources. And so I had to do a lot of work trying to figure out how to support my daughter. And in the beginning, I did not do well at all. And there was a lot of skills that I had to build in order to support both of us. And so…


That was, that’s a big part of my story and a huge part of my journey. And, you know, just the changes that I have made to be able to support both of us. And, you know, my daughter was doing really well earlier last year. You know, she had, was mostly sober for more than a year and a half, just really doing amazing, but at the same time, like the rest of us also struggling and


In December, she relapsed and she was sold fentanyl. And she died from fentanyl poisoning in December. That’s hard for me to even say. I’m stuttering over the words because it still seems so unreal. It’s only been a couple of months. But because of how I showed up for myself in her addiction and continued to learn and grow through it…


I’m now able to focus on showing up for myself in dealing with the, you know, real, the trauma and the grief of the loss of her in this phase of addiction. It’s another, you know, phase. It’s a possibility of what could happen really to any of us at any time. But then, you know, there’s just this increased risk when you’re dealing with addiction. And so a big part of my focus right now, as you said, is just…


How can I struggle well? Oh my gosh, well, first of all, we’ve been friends for a long time now and what brought us together is the common thread that we both loved someone with an addiction. And so yes, when I saw your posts, I reached out to you right away and my heart just sunk. When, and I just wanna share, you know, and we talked about this just before we hit record and we don’t wanna go there because the tears will flow. And you know, although


part of struggling well is honoring the feelings, honoring all the feelings. And I’m just so grateful that we can have this conversation today, Heather, because you and I both know firsthand how hard it is to love someone with an addiction and the struggle is tremendous. And I just wanna commend you also on how strong you have been through all this and how you continue to show up and be of service to other people with your podcast. And…


your coaching and everything that you do. And so I’m just so thrilled that you’re here and that we’re having a conversation today because there are so many, it’s sad, there’s so many other people. And I always say this in my community as well is like, you know what? I wish we were meeting under certain different circumstances, but I’m so happy that we found community here and that we are together. So that’s why we’re doing this podcast, right, Heather? This is why we’re going to we’re going to help people so that they can struggle well.


And what’s interesting about this and my story too is we all have our own experience and story. It didn’t end well. And but I did have to use all these strategies in order to be resilient through it, in order to take back my power, in order to, you know, put one foot in front of the other. Right. So so let’s jump in. Let’s jump in. Let’s let’s talk about this idea of resilience and and and that sort of stuff. So, yes, share, share your perspective of.


struggling well, because we did do a little bit of an episode before and we just, you know, it really resonated with a lot of people. Yeah. And we’re both at different places in our lives right now, too. For me, struggling well has looked very different at different phases in my life. And so I think that that’s really important to recognize that I feel like everything that I’ve experienced has been in an order.


that has helped me work my way through everything. Like dealing with my daughter’s addiction, that came first. And then, you know, last year I dealt with breast cancer, which pushed me to really grow and change in a totally different way. But both of those things gave me the resilience and


the skills to be able to struggle well right now, I think it would look very different for me if say my daughter had died early in her addiction and I hadn’t had the time to do the work on myself that I have done to build the skills, really that are life skills that we need, but it was just her addiction that pushed me to do it. And then…


you know, building this totally different set of skills as far as really loving myself through breast cancer and loving my body through the changes of breast cancer and experiencing my own battle. Right. It was just me in this in the rain and the arena this time, instead of my daughter being in the battle and me trying to support her. So my struggling well looks


very different now than it would have if things hadn’t happened in this particular order. But I’m so, so grateful that I had the skill set to be able to just like, cleanly, I call it, grieve because I’m just grieving. I’m not like working through all the trauma or, you know, trying to build these tools at the same time. I’m able to just like grieve the loss of her.


without having the heaviness of all of these other things. And so I can just really honor that and have it be about that and also be able to, I’m so grateful that I can still like work and help other people and experience joy even. I can be crying and laughing at the same time because of these skills. So I think that that’s a really important part of struggling well is just.


honoring where you are with it and that how it will look different for different people, never compare yourself and how it will look different for you at different times in your life. What was your experience with it? Oh, I love that. I love that you bring that up because it’s so true. Cause my struggling well version while I was in the muck of loving someone with an addiction, you know, had to be more like real time resilience sort of strategies or like, just like, you know, it’s almost like


mental health first aid in those moments or like, you know, it’s like CPR while I’m in that moment. So my ability, like in that moment of struggling well was more about learning regulation, self-care, things like that and self-compassion. Whereas after when, you know, when he suddenly left and just disappeared for a month, again, different type of struggle. And then, you know, after putting my life back together when, you know, he was no longer in my life.


So I love that you bring that up, that struggling well really is different in different stages. And I also enjoy that you bring to our attention this idea that resilience is, and the way I always put it is like a muscle. The more we do it, the better we get at it. And the more, not that we want, I always say, what doesn’t kill you make you stronger, but like, I don’t need anything else. I don’t need anything else to make me stronger. Like, no, thank you. But this idea is, is that the more that we practice the tools of resilience,


we get that bounce back factor. And now wherever you are on this resilience level, wherever you are, you have the ability to bounce back. And the concept that I love about struggling well is that it’s all about post-traumatic growth. It’s about going through trauma. It’s about going through chaos and challenge and struggle, which, by the way, we’re human, so we’re not exempt to that. We’re going to, whether you love someone with an addiction or not.


there are going to be challenges in our lives. This idea of struggling well is to see the growth potential and to be able to look at it more from a perspective of post-traumatic growth. So how can we grow from this? We can turn struggle into strength. And sometimes that’s really hard to do. But the first step, I always believe, is recognizing that this concept of struggling well is that, you know what? It’s not about positive. I always say toxic positivity, like where people are like,


Yeah, I’ll just put a brave face on and smile all the time, pretend everything’s really good and just notice positive. And like, and that’s actually the the feedback of positive psychology is when people don’t understand the science of human flourishing and they think that it’s just positive polyanny stuff. Then what happens is, is that you’re putting your head in the sand and pretending bad things don’t happen. That is not what we’re talking about. And that’s why I love this concept of struggling well, is it honors the full gamut of emotions. It honors.


the fact that we are going to go through struggle, we are going to go through growth. But science has shown that struggle can actually lead to some amazing things, some potential for growth, connections with other people. Like you and I met through this and you know, you have a whole career because of what you’ve gone through. So so yeah, so I know I just went off on a whole tangent because I’m really passionate about this subject matter.


But let’s talk about this idea of that struggle is inevitable and it actually can be useful. Do you wanna talk about that a little bit? Yeah, but I also wanna touch on what you brought up about how struggling is just part of the process. It’s inevitable and it’s okay. That’s why I love this term struggling well so much because we are always, like you said, there’s that toxic positivity, like that we should always be happy.


looking for the good in things, but we have to really honor those painful feelings, those, you know, I like to call them unwanted feelings. We really have to honor those. And so it’s not about like pushing away my grief or sadness. It’s about allowing the full spectrum of human emotion. So I can experience the grief and sadness and I can also experience joy because it’s okay. Like it is okay.


to have a bad day. It’s okay not to be okay. And so, I just love reminding myself even, I’ve used this term a lot. Like I ask myself this every day, how can I struggle well? To remind myself like, of course I’m struggling right now. Look what I’m going through. And not even don’t ever compare what you’re going through to what either of us is going through. It’s about our own individual journey.


that it is okay not to be okay. I just, I can’t say that enough. That’s something that I learned. I always say like, it makes sense that you are upset right now. It makes sense that you’re angry. Like it makes sense that you’re sad. It makes sense that your heart feels broken and just honoring that. And that brings that whole, that whole piece of self-compassion.


is honoring your emotions. They’re there for a reason. They’re communicating something. And then just sit with it. And there’s an expression. I love it. It’s like, sit in the wet diaper for a little bit. It’s like, just to honor yourself and your real feelings. It’s like, okay, sit in your wet diaper so you know what’s going on. And I mean that in the most sincere way. We call them a little mini… Like a pity party almost. It’s like honoring those emotions. They’re there for a reason. It’s like…


I feel sad and I feel it in my heart. I feel it in my, you know, where do you feel it in your body? Like just like embody it and notice where you feel it because that is part of processing those emotions and then give it love. Like how would you talk to your best friend that is clearly hurting, that’s super sad, that’s disappointed, right? You’d probably like rub down their arms, you know, rub their back, give them a hug, embrace them, like give them comfort. That is the first step, how we can meet our pain, that we can…


so that we can struggle out. I love the way you put it. It’s like, how can I struggle well? Like that just honors the fact that yes, I’m struggling. How can I go through this as best I can? Yeah. Yeah, I love what you bring up about love because there was this point last year, I was facing a double mastectomy and I was so, so scared of that surgery. And all I could do really to help myself and to


be there for myself, like you said, the same way I would be there for a friend was I would just put my hand on my part, on my heart and say like, I love the part of myself that is so scared. I just love this part of myself that is making me feel so anxious. And it was like the only thing that was soothing to me at that time, like nothing else that I would be walking, you know, miles and miles.


trying to, you know, move my body because that’s a really important part of struggling well for me is moving all of that energy through my body. I have a lot of energy that I need to release every day. And so I would just be walking with my hand on my heart. I didn’t care who saw me. And, you know, just talking myself through it that anything I was feeling was okay. And it was so soothing to me. It was the only thing that would help me with that fear.


And it really reinforced that no matter what I was feeling, I was going to be OK and that all the feelings are OK. Love it. Love it. Yes. And it’s almost when you honor those feelings, I know mine would be like tears would just like, they go, Andrea, I love that part of you or Andrea, you are doing so well, considering what you’re going through. Like, I remember my parents would call me and ask me, like, how are you doing?


I’d be like, I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing as good as I could be given this situation. And I can, so I love that. And I do enjoy this fact. And I’m all about movement too, because if you think about it, emotion is energy and motion. It wants to move. So in order, a part of that processing and that ability to struggle well is to put that energy into motion. So how can you move it through your body? Once you’ve sat in that wet diaper, once you’ve honored those emotions, once you’ve given them love, self-compassion,


And then just like, how can you move it through? I remember I lost like, I think what I lost like 10 pounds when, you know, my addicted loved one was out of my life. And because I had to move this emotion, I was like on the street running and I’m not a runner. I don’t even like running, but I needed to get that energy out of my body and just like, oh, yeah, not to mention I lost my appetite and I wasn’t hungry. But it’s crazy. It’s amazing what stress can do to us, right? And those emotions. So


Honoring is the first step and I love that you bring that up. And just like that self-compassion piece, you know, going for a walk, giving yourself a hug. Yeah, so the other pieces too, I know we talked about a lot about that struggle is inevitable and actually can be useful. It’s like, what? What’s this? Like, you know, people are thinking, how can struggle be useful? And let’s talk about that, because that’s kind of like, I don’t know, like when you’re in the muck of it, you don’t really see it as useful. Well,


Yeah, I mean, I resisted it for a long time. I wanted to have all the answers and be in control. And so, you know, like, accepting that struggle is like, it was the first step for me, like, accepting the reality of my situation. And then I could embrace what I could learn from the struggle. And my daughter, you know, like we think about how


we’re supposed to teach our kids, or that’s what we think anyway. But my daughter was definitely my biggest teacher. And that, you know, my willingness to learn from her was such a growing experience for me. Like it opened me up to things I never would have ever discovered in my life. And that’s because


I was struggling and I was willing to learn from the struggle. You know, see what it was. I always say addiction is like a mirror. It just is showing you all of the things that you need to work on in your own life. We get so focused on our child or loved one that’s addicted and what they need to do to change.


But that mirror is also reflecting to us what we need to change. And that’s part of the struggle is really how hard it is to look at that. And so we just even have to have compassion for ourselves that we’re in this situation. And this situation is requiring us to step up for ourselves and create our own sense of relief instead of looking outside of ourselves for it. So there is.


so much to be gained from this struggle. Like it really is an opportunity. As painful as it is, as hard as it is, it’s really an opportunity. Oh, I love that. It’s definitely an opportunity for self-advocacy because it also, it’s like sometimes when you love someone with an addiction, you’re at such a low point because your life becomes consumed about the concern of them that you feel like you really are in struggle. You really are.


not doing so hot, right? You’re not, you know, you’re exhausted, depleted in many times. So this idea is to see that it’s useful. It’s like what this is not useful. But what it does do in many ways is it allows you to tap into that realization that, okay, you know what, I need to advocate for myself. I need to take back my power. I remember looking in the mirror thinking, where did my sparkle go?


Like I like used to sparkle and I looked in the mirror going, oh my God, I look like I age because I was not sleeping. I was waiting up all night for him and like, you know, like just so stressed and heartbroken and all these things that I like, literally felt like I lost my spark. And so this idea of like, how is this useful? But now looking back, I can’t even believe the amount of learning and growth that has come into my life as a result of that, not to mention like.


I’m so educated when it comes to the subject of like, you know, drug addiction and like struggling well and like, and my background and my training was in resilience and positive psychology. And even though I had that training, going through that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. So the experience of it was so challenging. And so that’s one of the steps and I love Ken Felkes and Josh Goldberg’s book on struggle. It’s called struggle well.


And it’s all about this idea of post-traumatic growth and seeing things as a, through the lens of growth, of a growth mindset, like, how can we turn, like don’t put struggle to waste. Like, and, and I was damned if I was going to put this struggle to waste. That’s why I created the SYKM community. I wrote the book because I needed to turn that pain into purpose. And so I educated myself. I love that you bring that up. And in their book, they talk about all these phases of growth.


And the first phase is this idea of educating yourself, finding out everything that you can about what it is you’re struggling with. And how is it like, so if you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re going to research everything you can about anxiety, right? If you love someone with an addiction, I mean, how many times were you on the computer, Heather, Googling? Google, Google, Google. Google is my best friend. It’s like, what does someone act like when they are high on cocaine? What does someone, you know?


how much cocaine can they snort or how much does it cost? Like I literally was absorbed in that life, trying to figure things out and we become experts. And I love that moment when you realize, oh my gosh, I need to start switching the focus onto me and how I can get myself back, how I can focus on me. So it’s amazing that my Google searching, here’s the struggle well piece and how you’re saying it’s different stages


focused on searching everything about him and educating myself and everything about addiction to how can I take back my power? How can I tap into my resources? How can I build my resilience? How can I connect with other people? How can I build myself back up? How can I get my sparkle back? And that was a huge piece for me in terms of this idea of struggling well. Yeah, and I think another really important part of education is we can get to where


we’re just consuming so much information. And then if we don’t stop to digest that information and make it our own, it can become extremely overwhelming. And the other part of that is a lot of it is conflicting. So we really have to create our own belief system about addiction. Make sure it’s not the default belief system that we started with, because my belief system I went into addiction with was very


it caused me a lot of pain. It was an uneducated belief system and it probably had to do a lot with things that I had just heard and not been very intentional about. So I had to become very intentional with how I thought about it, what I believed about it, and then have the confidence in myself to decide what was right for me and my daughter and my family. And knowing that what worked for somebody else might not work for us, there’s no one size fits all answer.


And it is really, really important that we take the steps to take all of that information and make it our own. Don’t make any one person think that they, maybe just because they’re an expert, that they know what’s best for you because they’re just human too. And so anything that I share or Andrea shares, just take what you like from that and what you think is best for you and use that and make it your own.


I think that that is so important. That is something that so many parents struggle with because there’s so much information out there that’s conflicting. And we really have to become that expert we’ve been looking for. Like I had to become the person that I had been looking for to help me all along. And that is really empowering when you reach that point of like you make a decision and you really have your back in that decision. And


like you said, like I think the magic really happens when we turn the focus to ourselves, when we stop focusing on the other person and how can we fix or change them, but how can we change and help ourselves that that’s when our lives really start to get better. And yeah, so education is a really, really important part of struggling well and post-traumatic growth. Yes. And the other thing too that you bring up so nicely too is


this idea of self-regulation and practicing things that make you feel safe and taking ownership for yourself, shifting the focus back onto you. So I always say one of the elements that kind of goes out the window when you love someone with an addiction is that feeling of safety and predictability and things like that. So…


one of the and the stress that comes along with it. So it’s another way to struggle well. And according to science and positive psychology and post-traumatic growth, is this idea of learning regulation. So learning practices that make you feel safe. And you yourself, I love that you walk down the like went for a walk and you put your hand on your heart and you made yourself feel safe before your surgery. This idea of down regulating your nervous system is so important. It’s been


Think about all the things that help make you feel safe. So for me, it’s meditation, it’s a warm blanket. I sometimes just throw my blanket in the dryer to heat it up and I wrap it around me and I just, oh, I melt, I feel so good. It’s reading a really nice book for me. It’s yoga, it’s burning incense in my house, it’s lighting a candle. It’s emulating this idea of safe return home. So things that make you feel grounded, maybe it’s a nice warm cup of tea. And these sound like crazy things,


is science has shown that this really helps to downregulate the stress response and downregulate the nervous system. And so this is another way that we can struggle well. So what are some of the things for you, Heather, that helps you with this regulation or downregulating your nervous system from stress? It’s very similar for me to what you said. Last night, I went to a sound bath on the beach, which is a form of meditation. Yeah. I mean.


It is three hours round trip for me to go to the sound bath on the beach. And I go usually like twice a month. It’s been a little bit cold. So I haven’t gone as much lately and I Florida cold sympathy. No. So I love doing stuff like that. Meditating is so important because it keeps me in my body. And you know, we were talking about


moving before and how important that is. But also like you mentioned, like the stillness is really important. And that’s a part of like sitting with our feelings. Like last night I went through this full evolution of emotions during my, during the sound bath. Like when we got really still and first started, I was crying and I was like, oh my gosh, I’m crying, it’s gonna last forever. But it didn’t. And then by the end, I just felt so like I had, you know, just so released so much junk.


And, you know, I left there with a smile on my face. So, you know, I use essential oils and incense, like you said, meditation. I love crystals. And energy healing. Yeah. Going for walks. Like, but the thing is also, it’s just the repetition of those things. Like even sometimes just going outside can change how I feel. Like if I’m really struggling to regulate myself and I’m sitting here working,


I’ll go outside and sit outside for a few minutes and that can help me get my feelings regulated. But it’s also just the repetition of these things like your mind gets used to it and you start to look forward to it and you kind of realize like what you know the feeling I get when I’m driving to the place I walk every day.


It’s just, you know, I can feel that relief coming on before I even get there. Or, you know, using certain oils like, you know, that the smell we’re used to it and we create this association with it. And so even just doing things over and over again, the repetition really helps regulate our nervous system as well. Love it. Yeah, it’s taking care of yourself. It feels so good. I know even if it’s just like grounding your feet on the ground and looking up to the sky, you can have some awe and


Just be in that present moment. Mindfulness practices too are really grounding in the present moment. So you’re not thinking about worrying about the future, dwelling on the past. It’s like right here, deep breath, like you’re OK. It’s OK. You’re safe. Talking to yourself. Affirmations are very powerful too. But making sure they’re realistic affirmations that feel comfortable for you.


And yeah, there’s so many wonderful. So that’s one of the other ways to struggle well, is to learn this idea of regulation and down regulating the nervous system, especially if it’s been chronically activated. Like unplugging from stress is just one thing, but we also need to unplug and down regulate. Find that calm, find that peace. And you kind of bring up the next one too, which is disclosure. And this is just all about, and you brought it up in the beginning too, admitting that you’re struggling. So having that admission that you’re struggling,


and maybe reaching out to other people. So this idea that there’s a common humanity, there’s so many other people that are struggling much like you are for the listeners. And that’s how we met Heather, is we reached out to each other and we shared in the pain, the common pain of loving someone with an addiction. And this idea of just talking and admitting when you’re struggling, or like, I know we came on, I’m like, I’m chaos today, like putting up the microphone and figuring out the room and then the…


you know, that nothing worked and it’s like, OK, deep breath, let’s have fun and like, let’s jump into it. It’s just admitting that you’re struggling, admitting that, you know, and that that’s very surface level. But you know what I mean. So I love this idea of people so that they don’t feel like they’re alone. So individuals reach out to support groups, reach out to friends, disclose what you’re feeling, express. Like, I know sometimes if you, you know, you want to portray that everything’s going good and you’re putting on a brave face.


But sometimes expressing this vulnerability with a close friend, with a family member, with maybe even someone you don’t even know but are sharing a similar experience is so powerful and helpful for us to struggle well. That common humanity and the compassion that you’re going to get is going to really serve you in a profound way. Yeah, and I think that the relationships that I have built


through dealing with my daughter’s addiction have been so incredible. And then even just doing this work I’ve met, like I love that I’ve met so many people who we do the same work, but we just support each other because we all wanna help people so bad. And we know that there’s so many people who love somebody with an addiction and they are living in shame and secrecy.


And we want to band together to help pull them out of that. Because when I was living in that shame and secrecy, it was a really hard, dark place to be. You know, and we do deal with the stigma of addiction. So, of course, we don’t want to be judged because we’re already judging ourselves so harshly. And then we can’t even the thought of anybody else judging us is so painful. So building those relationships with people who.


understand what is going on in your home. And then you hear somebody say, like, I always hear people say to me, like, you told my story with just, you know, a few minor differences. And yes, like I say, I could have you said exact those words could have come out of my mouth. Yeah. Yeah. And feeling that connection, like with somebody, they’ve never met me, or you, but they feel that instant connection with us. And then they feel recognized and validated.


And that is such a good feeling when you experience that in the beginning, when you find your people. And it’s also like a relief because you realize nothing is wrong with me. Like this is happening to so many other people and I am not alone on this journey and I don’t have to be alone anymore. And that, again, that skill of reaching out to others and building relationships and accepting help from other people.


has served me so well in this process and has helped me to struggle well, like to say, you know, I’m sure I said it to you, like when you were offering to help me after Haleana died, asking me what I need, I’m like, I don’t even know what I need right now, but just keep reaching out to me. Right. And so you did, and you were doing whatever you could to help me. And it’s just that skill of asking for what we need. Right. We’re so


I think beat down by addiction sometimes by the time we start building those relationships, we don’t even know what we need. And so these relationships that I’ve had have helped me to really understand what I need or what I might need in the future and to be able to communicate that with people and that it’s safe and that it’s okay to do it. Like these relationships, I could just go on about every part of this. So I’m going to cut it off here, but it is a key part of struggling well for me is.


the community that I have with other people who are going through the same thing that I am. It’s paramount. It’s like, this is something that really has helped me. And yes, so if you haven’t reached out, any of the listeners here, if they haven’t reached out, I do suggest you reach out to either Heather’s wonderful Facebook group as well as my Facebook group. And there’s a wealth of support there and so many positive people.


that are there to lift you up when you’re knocked down, and also that you can lift up when they’re down. Really, really important. And I love that you bring up this whole element of self-awareness, so being aware of your emotions and no shame around them, that they’re real, they’re there. But then also this element of connecting with community and recognizing there’s a common humanity to not feel isolated in this.


very important so that we can struggle well, and also feeling safe and in the community of kindness. So being kind also will serve you, and which brings us to one of the other elements of struggling well, is this amazing piece is basically called being of service. And what it is is serving and showing up for other people that are struggling. That makes us feel better. It is shown to help us struggle well. So if you’ve gone through trauma, you’ve gone through.


abuse or struggle or anything along those lines, one of the best things we can do is then use that experience to be of service to others. And that could be as simple as just showing up in the support groups and commenting on people’s posts to help them, you know, let them know that they’re heard, that they’re not alone. Or it could be as grand as, you know, like us writing a book or starting a podcast or, you know, creating a group or a coaching practice.


It’s really important that element of being of service. Yeah, and the interesting thing about being of service is like I set out to help other people, but it always helps me more than I’m able to help others. It’s just this beautiful energy exchange. And I always try to tell people like in my group that share what you’re going through, the good and the bad.


Because there’s people in every group that might not ever share, but they’re going to read what you’re experiencing and just literally just sharing what you’re experiencing can help somebody else not feel alone. It really doesn’t have to be that big, like you said, and, you know, or just a comment or anything like that. But the beauty of it is, you know, one, it’s going to help you build those relationships that we were just talking about in that sense of community into.


is going to help you just as much or more than you’re able to help other people. So it is something that has really carried me through this process, even with losing my daughter. Like I wanted to get back to helping people. I had this calling that, you know, I’ll admit it first, there were moments where I thought, I don’t know if I can do this anymore. It might be too painful.


But then, you know, I listened to this episode that I had my daughter on my podcast and I was like, it’s more important than ever. I have to be others. So many people that need help. I’ve got to be out there and be available. And, but it’s like, it helps to ground me knowing that I can help. And so we just get more out of it than we give.


you know, even though we go in intentionally trying to help others. You are such an example of being of service and turning your pain into purpose. And I just commend you for that, Heather. And and it’s very fresh for you, too. Like it’s so you your strength is such an example. And I just, you know, I’m so thankful for you because there are so many other individuals that, you know, have daughters or sons or, you know, children.


that struggle with addiction. So the other piece that I like that you just brought up too is this idea of narrative and a positive news story. And the one thing that really, in order to struggle well, is all about stepping up and realizing that you’re not a victim, that you can change your narrative around. I remember I felt so sorry for myself. I’m like, oh my god, this is terrible. I like.


I remember feeling so sorry for myself. And then I had to literally talk to myself and say, wait a second. It’s like, we all go through it. It’s very human and it’s okay. Like we’re not criticizing or judging that moment, but there is a wonderful way in order to struggle well is to shift your story from feeling defeated and like a victim and moving to a place where you can create a positive new story for yourself, where you become the hero of your own story.


And it’s like, so how can you shift the narrative and shift the perspective so that you see it through the lens of, I’m amazing. Like, look what I’ve gone through and look what I’m dealing with. Like, look at how, you know, look at the struggle that I’ve been through and I’ve triumphed or look what I’m navigating right now. This is hard and wow, I’m doing so good through it. I’m taking initiative, I’m learning.


I’m using self-regulation, I’m reaching out to new people and friends, and I’m being of service. How is it that you can shift the narrative? And science has shown that when we do that, we really become an advocate for ourself and we become better able to deal with struggle. Do you have anything to add to that? Yeah, I think that…


how we think about things, how we think about our kids or whoever we’re in a relationship with every day is gonna be like the background to our life, right? Like that’s the story. So being really intentional with how we think about our kids or our loved one and ourselves, like you were just saying, really can change your whole, like we can’t change the circumstance. We can’t change what we’re dealing with.


but we can change our experience of it. And so how we think about it, the story we tell like you’re saying, that’s gonna create our experience and our perception. And the thoughts that we think really, they release different neurochemicals in our body. So we wanna make sure that we’re thinking empowering thoughts so that we’re not bringing ourselves down like.


It’s not that it’s about like making the story happy, like you said, or that toxic positivity, but it’s really just owning your strength in this difficult situation. And one thing that really helped me with my daughter, like, you know, of course I was judging her for her addiction and I used to think so positively about her before that. And I really missed being proud of her. And I started thinking about like,


how could I be proud of her now and active addiction, like not trying to change her, but just like she was in that moment, you know? And I would think like, I can be proud of her because she is resourceful. Like she doesn’t, you know, there were times she didn’t have anywhere to live and she always found a place to live and she always found a way to get money. And even though I didn’t agree with those ways, I had to admit that she was really resourceful. And so I could be proud of her.


for that. And I used to always say to her, you know, you have reached this part of your brain that I’ll probably never reach when it comes to getting, you know, going after and getting what you want. So someday, you know, when you really put that to use in the, in a positive direction, you’re going to be unstoppable. And she was for a while when she was sober, she was doing so amazing with her life. And so having like even just, it


Sounds unthinkable to be proud of somebody who’s an active addiction, but it really served me well and it served our relationship well and it served my story well. And then I could turn around and use that on myself as well. Like the words we use and the thoughts we think are so much more important than we realize. Like just being intentional with those can actually change our whole experience of our life. It’s so important.


I love that. I love that you brought up focus and on creating that positive new story, being a hero and this whole idea too about self-regulation and that idea of down regulating your nervous is taking care of you is so important in order to struggle well. We talked all about too about educating yourself really is empowering. So this idea too of being of service, connecting with your friends, family, reach out, reach out, reach out.


you know, other people matter. And when we act in kind ways to it comes back to us and we feel good and we feel like we’re being of service. I love that you also brought up that idea too about positivity and that you’re not burying your head in the sand and pretending that bad things don’t happen but it’s honoring those emotions but then also shifting your focus to, you know what? You can see joy in your life and you can put your focus on, you know, being a hero of your story and you can focus on, you know, all these.


looking after yourself and these grounding techniques that we talk about where you can restore that feeling, your sparkle in your life as well and that’ll help evoke some positive emotions and bring some some joy and peace back to your life and so that we can struggle well. I think we really crushed it. I think we talked all about struggling well and that that is a wonderful element too.


boost your resilience so you can have that, that ability to bounce back in your life to get your sparkle back. And let’s face it, struggle is real. So if we can turn that struggle into strength and look at it from a perspective of growth then it’s really gonna help us. Yeah, I agree. And I think this is such an important conversation. It’s so needed. Like if you are struggling today, give yourself some compassion.


Don’t compare yourself to anybody else and just keep asking yourself that question like, how can I struggle well today? What does struggling well look like for me? Not for anybody else, but what does it look like for me? How can I love and support myself today? And don’t go through it alone. Find your person. Even if it’s not us, keep looking. Find your person. Find somebody who you resonate with.


that is telling your story, somebody who can help you, like do not go through this alone. Yes, and which people are going to wanna get ahold of you, Heather, and we will put our links in the show notes, obviously, but of course, my website is savi and would you love to share where people can get ahold of you as well? Yeah, my website is heat and I’m…


at Heather Ross Coaching everywhere on Instagram and Facebook. And my podcast is called Living With Addiction. Excellent. Yay. And mine is all saving you is killing me. Loving someone with an addiction everywhere as well. So we would love to connect with you. Private message us if you like. We would also love to hear from you your stories of strength and resilience so that we can share that with the world as well. And.


Any suggestions for future subjects that Heather and I can discuss, we will be open to that as well. So thank you, everybody, and wishing you all the best. Thank you.


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.