Ep 63 Family Recovery, A Return to Health and Well-Being with Guest Pam Lanhart

Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
Ep 63 Family Recovery, A Return to Health and Well-Being with Guest Pam Lanhart

In celebration of National Recovery Month, Heather talks to guest Pam Lanhart about her own family’s recovery and how she supports other families in their recovery. Pam is passionate about helping families use evidence-based best practices to help families find peace, stay regulated, create the conditions that support recovery and move their loved ones toward change. She believes that a healthy family gives their loved ones the best opportunity to activate recovery. Pam is a certified family recovery coach, peer recovery specialist, Invitation to Change and CRAFT practitioner and Arise trained interventionist.

3 topics you’ll hear in this episode:

1. What recovery as a parent means to Pam

2. How her recovery has changed her life

3. Pam’s advice for parents that feel like things will never get better

Pam’s Resources:

Thrive Family Recovery Resources: https://thrivefamilyrecoveryresources.org/

Pam’s website and book https://pamlanhart.com/


If this podcast has helped you, please help Heather reach other parents by leaving a review. Leaving a review is like referring the podcast to someone who needs it. You can also share the podcast directly with other parents or share it on social media. Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss any new episodes.

Resources From Heather Ross Coaching

New Support Group Starting in June
Use the link below to find out about the Invitation to Change support group Heather is hosting.

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Learn More & Sign Up For The Invitation To Change Group


If you’re interested in working with me Sign up for a 45-minute $17 Road to Recovery call using the link below


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

GUIDE ABOUT ENABLING – If you’ve ever worried about enabling, this guide is for you! https://heatherrosscoaching.com/perspective-about-enabling/


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

Follow Heather 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 after many wasted years, trying outdated, approaches to my daughter’s addiction, that felt wrong to me harmed.

Our relationship and didn’t help my daughter.

I finally found an effective evidence-based approach.


That repair my relationship with her helped me.

Create my own peace of mind and made me an ally in my daughter’s recovery.

I teach you a loving and compassionate approach to help you encourage change.

Create connection addiction impacts the entire family system.


Family recovery is the answer.

Hey everybody.

So it’s September which you would never know in Florida because it’s still in the high 80s everyday and humid counting down the days till well, it won’t cool down for a couple of months but the humidity will go away probably in November so but you can’t really tell it’s September here, we don’t have a fall but this episode is an honor of National Recovery month.


So September is National Recovery month in according To samhsa’s website, which samsa stands for Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Services Administration and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes.

If you want to look at it National Recovery month, which started in 1989 is a national observance.


Held every September to promote and support new evidence based treatment and Recovery practices the Nations.

Strong and proud recovery community and the dedication of service providers and communities, who make recovery and all of its forms possible.


Today’s guest, Pam, land heart is someone who makes family recovery possible and also is in recovery herself and that’s why I chose her for this episode.


She explains being Recovery is a return to health and well-being, which I love Pam, is the director of the nonprofit organization Thrive family recovery resources, which is based in Minnesota, she started thrive in 2016 to help families with their addicted.


Loved ones, she’s a Certified Recovery coach peer specialist speaker, author and advocate, Edit for those dealing with substance use disorder and their families.

She has a Facebook page called praying.


Our loved ones home that’s also the name of her book, Pam recently lost her adult son.

Jake to the disease of addiction though but she is still continuing to help and support other families so they can help their kids who are struggling with substance use and you’re really in for a treat today.


Because Pam has a lot of experience in the recovery community and I really admire that she lives by everything.

She shares her son, Jake died, little less than a month before helana last year, and we didn’t know each other before that.


But even though she was still in the really early stages of her grief Journey, she reached out to me, I Think somebody on my email list told her about Helena.

And so she reached out to me and we met on Zoom so that we could talk and it really helped me a lot because I’ve been saying I need a mom, an example of a mom that is struggling well, and moving through her grief with resilience and then Pam showed up and it was Such a huge blessing to me and is to get to watch her.


Choose to live and honor her son every day.

While I’m choosing to honor my daughter every day and continue to help people as well.

So I feel so lucky to have met her and get to share her story with you on this episode because there’s just so much recovery and I know that you’re going to probably want to listen to it too.


Vice because there’s just so much good stuff in there.

So, I hope you enjoy hearing about her recovery and her experience helping families recover as well.

Everybody, Welcome to a new episode.


Today we’re going to have a guest, Pam, Lan heart.

So Pam, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your story and then we’ll get into talking about recovery.

Thank you, Heather and I just really want to thank you for having me on your show.


Today, I’m always humbled to be able to share our story because I think it’s so empowering to To share our story and what we walked through.

And of course my hope is always that by sharing our story, we’re going to help other people.


And I know you definitely are so courageous to share your story and I think it really does encourage people.

So I’ll just kind of start from the beginning but I run a nonprofit called thry family recovery resources.

We’re out of Minnesota and I do private work and I’ve done private coaching now for I don’t know, seven or eight years.


And I really am called to work with families to help them activate their recovery.

So it started for me, really back when I was born, I was born into a family where substance use was prevalent.


My dad actually died from substance use when he was 51.

I was 27.

So I grew up in a very chaotic home, a home that wasn’t safe and honestly part of my recovery work has been to recognize that At.

And so many of those things that happen when I was growing up, were things that came out when my son started using and it was trauma and I didn’t even realize it at the time.


So I grew up in this really kind of unsafe environment with parents that struggled with alcohol.

And I have siblings that have struggled know, they always say, it’s a family disease and there’s Some environmental factors.


There might be some component that’s hereditary, but certainly in our family, we’ve had our share of historical generational trauma.

As a result of mental illness, substance use looking back.

I’m pretty sure that my dad was probably undiagnosed, bipolar, which back in the days that he grew up.


That wasn’t even a thing.

It’s really only been something that people have started to really talk about in the last maybe 15.


What is bipolar, what are mental illness, diagnosis, and the, these figment ization of those things has really been helpful.


I think to help people activate their own help and recovery.

And I believe my sister probably also has undiagnosed.


And then, of course, I think my son probably did as well.


So, we were typical Suburban family, my husband and I met when I was 15.

He was 17.

We dated all through high school, we got married right out of high school.

We’ve been married for 41 years and we have four children.

I’m the grandparent of 10.


Our oldest daughter actually has 10 kids which is kind of fun and cool in this day and age.

It’s always sort of crazy and chaotic when we go over there and then we have a son.

So Diana’s our oldest our son, Andy, who is now 20?


Six and then Jake who would be 25 and then our youngest daughter who’s 22 and knowing the history of addiction.

And knowing even the little things that I knew I was aware that our family had this pattern of addiction and in our youth and naivety I think we had a box and we have the Marks and we wanted to check all of those boxes, right?


We can really I don’t it was really born out of when you know better you do better and my homeless so not save that.

I really really wanted to be better.

I wanted our home to be better for our children.


I wanted to be a pattern breaker.


And that was really important to me.

So we created And a family that by and large was the opposite of my family and was really pretty healthy.


We did the things that parents are told to do that, will create great kids, right?

If there is such a thing, if we had that much power, I thought of the time that we did now, I know better, but we ate family dinners together.


We went camping with our kids.

We had Emily nights.

We communicated at the dinner table.

You know, we probably had dinner almost every night of the week at the dinner table.

We were like we’re not letting our kids watch too much TV, get too involved in social media.


We even actually homeschooled our kids for a while.

Then they went to a charter school.

We were active in our church that kids were active in youth group.

So if you were to look at our family from the outside, we did pretty much check all of those boxes.

And yet, as you and I both know, there are great parents that have kids that struggle and there are parents where you look their family and you go, oh my gosh, like, how did that happen in that environment?


They have really great kids, even though they had their own personal struggles, and it doesn’t seem fair.

Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair and certainly mental illness and addiction, doesn’t seem fair ever.

It’s so unpredictable.


All and Insidious.

And there is no Rhyme or Reason to it which is why it’s so frustrating and hard and Wyatt continues to exist because it’s not formula.

Tory one plus one doesn’t always equal to and we’d like it to ya.


And so in you know in our family we did the things that we thought would equal 2, right 1 plus 1 equal to We check these boxes.

And when my son was 12, we kind of started seeing changes in his behavior.

When he was 13, the school called us and said you need to come and pick up your kid.


He came to school at the backpack full of pills and we have realized now that he was trying to fit in.

Hmm, I think he was really born with this feeling of.


I’m not the same as Their people and different even though like honestly he in recovery, he was more amazing than anybody.

I know which is pretty typical of our kids ri-ight.

He set his mind to anything.


He was the kind of kid that if he played a sport, he was all in and he was great at it.

He was it was funny because he was super athletic and ultimately played rugby, he was great at that but he also What’d he was a national champion in chess and so he was super smart.


Can solve a Rubik’s Cube and 30 seconds up to a minute whatever.

However, quick it was.

So he was just this really extraordinary extraordinary child and the way I would describe him is he was just big, he was just big, he had big emotions.


He was extreme a, he was either really, really happy and All the inner he was not and then he was naughty or like you.

I would have to put his make, the stroller straps into his pants and the into the Buckle.


Yeah, to keep him in the stroller because if I didn’t in a half a second, he would be a mile down the road.

He climbed everything and ultimately in his recovery.

She really loved.

To climb and he claimed Norton’s and that was part of his recovery.


So we went through this whole journey early on of trying to mitigate the addiction in our family and I would suggest that we probably did a lot of things that might have caused harm early on.


I don’t know that I would necessarily say That I regret that because what it did was it forced us to be different when things didn’t change when my son’s addiction progressed.


We had to really look at our own behaviors and I say our way of being and I thought Sun the work that I do with families, is a lot about.

Helping them.

Look at their loved ones.


Whether it’s a partner or a child with intrinsic value and unconditional positive regard and because we have had for 80 years this War on Drugs, the War on Drugs, has become a war on the drug user and it’s compounded in.


I think certain Faith communities or abstinence based communities where addiction is seen as soon or a moral failing.

And so your first response when someone in your family is using substances problematically or they are causing behavioral issues is like we’re in a war and we label it as a war, right?


We label it, as this is a battle and when it’s a battle to be won, someone loses.


And that was something that It took me quite a few years to learn that we can be right about our principles or values or ideology and be entirely wrong if we’re wrong.


In our way of being towards someone.

And we have to consider the value of that person in their experience in order to equal the playing field.

So, early on there was a lot of that, we, he was a miner and our home there.


Lots of arguments, lots of fights, lots of Confrontation, there were physical battles.

Like, they were times when we just, he was little thankfully, but we would hold them down just to get bags of weed out of his hands and everything about the what we were doing was confrontational, and that’s what people think we’re telling us.


Thank you.

You have to confront them out of denial, and they have to admit that they’re an addict or alcoholic, which I do Even use those terms, but that was the language.

So, those first four years were well, the first three, two or three years were really Rocky.


Then we got into some trouble and he ended up in a drug court treatment Court, which actually was gave us a couple really great years when he was in high school and it was fun.

It was those were fun years.

They were good years.

We’ve got a glimpse of who, Jay could really be, did a lot of healing.


In an hour after he finished drug party, went back to you Senator, that was born out of a femur break, so he was playing rugby, he was on the field.

He got hit and broke his femur and he lost everything.

He lost his ability to be on the Rugby field.


He was the captain, it was his senior year, he lost his community.

He really lost his identity in that.

And that just Catapulted, his use from problematic Weed and Alcohol to what a much deeper problem with benzodiazepines and opiates.


And addiction is a progressive disease.

And I do think Jake was one of those people that the big book talks about as a real addict.

Like I think the minute he used the first time he would never be able to moderate.


He would probably never be able to You the kind of person that could just sort of dabble.


But once he broke his femur, it escalated his substance use to a whole other level.


And I tell the story often I tell my story a lot.

I tried to, but the dynamic changed for us, when we were sitting in front of a pastor and advisor of ours and we were trying to navigate how to deal with Jay.


Jake and what to do.

And he looked us at us and he said, are you going to be right for the sake of Justice or you?


Love for the sake of relationship because I must love never fails.

And the truth is we had been so concerned about being, right, that we had forgotten really how to love how to love.


Well, I call it loving well, which is treating JQ, mainly, which is being kind and compassionate.

Passionate, which is even in his substance, use honoring him as a human that he didn’t deserve to be treated the way that we were treating him.


And so, that was sort of the moment there is a Kind of Love creating this visual picture of when Clark Kent goes into the Superman Booth, right?

And he goes in as a reporter and he comes out with his cape.

And his superpowers.


And there was a shift in our family where we went, we just knew that if we did it radically change we were going to not just lose our son potentially who’s our other children, whose our marriage.


So we just, we went in to the telephone booth and came out really with they are Superman Unlike we have to we’re going to make some really big changes and we did and what we call that you and I how there is we activated our recovery.


Yes, right.

And the definition of recovery.

So this is recovery month and I don’t know when you’re going to are this, but if you are it in September, wearing recovery month, if it’s in October, then we’re just ending it, but recovery really there’s a couple definitions of recovery in Webster’s Dictionary.


And if you read about recovery on samsa, but one is a return to health and well-being, right?

We had to return ourselves to our own health and well-being before we could help our son.


And then the second thing is reclaiming, something that has been lost, right?

So we’re recovering, something that was lost and in, Since use with the families that I work with, there’s a long list of losses, there’s a whole bunch in the loss column and so what are those things are, what were those things for us that we have lost?


And some of those things were emotional somewhere, physical somewhere, internal things, somewhere external things.

There are Financial losses.

There are Health consequences, there are emotional set math.


There are relational setback, right, social losses, as a result of how substance use impacts the family, all of which we realized we have a choice in whether we lose them or not.


It’s our road and that was really the ship was.

I have a choice.

Yeah, absolutely.

So when you realize like okay, I have a choice here.

What did you start choosing?

Well, as I mentioned first of all, treating Jake, like he was a person right humanizing him in his substance use that.


I knew that what was working was destroying us.

And if I wanted to have a relationship, it was up to me.

So the way I treated him.

Kindness compassion empathy, I changed the way I communicated with him.

One of the things that I did was took our peer support training here in Minnesota and learned some really great communication skills in the therapeutic, world is called motivational interviewing and it’s validating listening.


Well, affirming my son Being more inquisitive and curious and asking open-ended questions and so we changed the way that we communicated with him big time.

I think there’s, I believe in that you Dimensions of Wellness.


So when I think about the things that I changed by stopped isolating, and I just started living my life again.

And I call it pulling the power away from the addiction.



When the addiction.

Action takes our power away, it’s usually because we isolate.

Yeah, okay and I often call it parasitical, it feeds on us, focusing on it and so I can guess family members, we have to take the focus off of the addiction which means I’m going to go to that movie with my husband.


I’m going to go on that date with my other children.

I’m going.

To enjoy time with my book.


I’m going to play Pickleball.

I’m going to do the things that bring me joy because I know that sitting around isolated shrinking my social connections with not keeping me healthy, right, right.


And it gave power to the addiction.

I think other things that we did were we learned everything we could about Rico Coppery from the recovery community.

So the recovery Community is different than 12 step and they believe in holistic multiple pathway recovery for anyone.


It’s person-centered and so we stop doing this whole, you’re either sober, not so we’re clean dirty, I hate those words.

We don’t use them.

We took a more harm reduction approach.

Like what can we do in order to help you how Yourself.


So we stopped working his recovery for him and let him decide what he needed for his recovery and we kind of stepped out of that control.

Yeah, because it wasn’t helping our relationship and we started giving him more power and more say in you know what his choices were.


And we learned how to really set boundaries but in an empathetic Attic way.

So it was more like, it wasn’t like I’m going to grab me by the neck and kick you out of my house, right?

It was unlike body, we love you.

And right now, this doesn’t feel safe for us.


So like here are your choices, right?

And so learning how to set boundaries in a, in a way that still soldered him and then just recognize that this was about us and what we needed to feel safe, boundaries aren’t about.

Wouldn’t they’re not rules, they’re not control, they really boundaries our relationship.


So one of the clips that I love is with brene brown and if you Google brene brown on boundaries she says it’s like the most compassionate loving people.

I know.


For the people with the best boundaries like what the strongest boundary.

So we knew that in order to love our son, well we had two boundary up right?


So if there was chaos or if there was confusion, or if we felt like we were giving in when we shouldn’t, we knew that it was our responsibility to stop boundaries, right?


And then the craft method, which is so awesome, and it’s about affirming and reinforcing positive behaviors.

And then really not plane into the Two behaviors, right?

So I think that one of the ways that families destroy their relationships with their loved ones is by feeding the addiction by giving a person a reason to use.



So if I call it, picking up the rope and the visual picture is a tug-of-war, and if you have the family on one end, the person with the substance use on the Surrendering, your each polling and the different directions, you have a tug-of-war, but if I drop the Rope I don’t even pick it up in the first place.


I can’t get into a tug-of-war and when you take away the Dynamics, that give them a reason to use.

They have to sit with themselves and start to take that responsibility.


So when we argue or confront, or when we’re constantly on them, you need to do this, you have to do You must do this.


Dave feels so shamed in that that, that also feeds the addiction right.

So oh, they just think I’m going to go use anyway, so I might as well just do that or they think I’m a loser, so I might as well go use and that addicted brain, of course, will twist and justify use anyway, but the big thing that happened when we stepped out of all of that, was that I knew I could sleep at night because I wasn’t creating an environment that supported the addiction.



That was, people always say, how how do you let go?

How do you get piece on this journey?

And I’m like, well, the word that we use out there right now?

Is emotional maturity, right?

So being emotionally healthy enough to self care to differentiate.


This isn’t about Me.

He’s not doing this to me, right?

Make this isn’t because he’s a bad person, right?

This is because he is a bad disease and I was able to separate his disease and his behaviors from my value and worth as a human being.


I love that and then finding that purpose then, right?

So so many of the families that you and I work with Heather, Have one purpose and the one purpose they have is to try to get their person.

Well and again that just feeds, the addiction that gives that person power over your life.


So how do we take our power back?

It’s because I’m in a fighting meaning in my life and I’m going to find purpose in my life.

Apart from fixing my son worrying about his addiction.

And here’s the thing.


I know that your listeners know your story and of course you know that we lost our Jake also right?

First of all, I have seen kids died in their parents home and I’ve seen him die on the street.


They there isn’t a right or wrong way about that like people can die no matter what you do.

You don’t have the power of life or death, right?

But when it comes to how I’ve managed The last 11 months because I feel so much peace about the way we treated Jake.


And the way we honored his journey and the fact that we had empowered him, I have a lot of peace.

I’m not this mad, angry mom, I’m not this super grieving, sad.


Mom, I’m a mom, who Decided years ago, that my life had meaning and value whether my son made it out or not.


And what I found that purpose, then it helped me to really just give him his power back because I knew that that I just did his addiction didn’t have really anything to do with me.


Yeah, and that it’s so important.

I think like the The work that you did on yourself the changes that you made, like, for me, those same tools that helped me through her addiction.

Are what’s helping me through my grief?


It doesn’t matter what they helped me during the time that she was sober.

And now they’re like, they’ve helped me in every area of my life.

So it’s the best investment in myself that I’ve ever made to, but spend the time healing and like you, I am so grateful that I can have that peace of mind of knowing that I had the best possible relationship with my daughter.


And that’s really what is the most important thing to me in all of this is, like you said that, you know, you treated your son humanely with, I love what you said, unconditional, positive regard that you like, we’re all in on supporting him in the healthiest way you possibly could.


I think that makes all the difference in the stern and every step of it, no matter how your story turns out.

And, you know, people that I’m so glad you said that because your words are my words, people say, How are you getting through this?

And I’m like, because I had all of those things in place before, Jake passed away.


And even things as simple as in, this is part of recovery, right routines.

In fact, we’re starting something today with our organization called The 100 day challenge.

And it’s I’m going to put something positive into my recovery bucket.


A build my own recovery Capital by doing something that’s recovery-oriented, 100 days in a row.

So people will pick something that maybe they want to reclaim because they’ve lost it, we talked about that, right?


So it might be, I’m going to do a morning meditation all day, every day.

I’m going to go for a two mile walk every day.

I’m going to walk my dog every day.

I’m going to drink my water every day.

Maybe I’m not going to eat sugar every day, but then I’m also going to add and put deposits.

Assets in by choosing to eat something more healthy every day, right?


Or maybe I’m going to stop TurnKey.

One of the things that we did was we got sober like we practiced sobriety and I don’t have a problem with alcohol, but I also believe that I’m not going to support a society where people promote drinking and then when someone ends up with a substance use, they shame them in that.


It’s the only thing you, you have to explain why you’re not.

Doing it right?

Like oh wait, why not have a drink, right?

Well, maybe I just don’t want to but you have to kind of almost justify that and explain that and it seems abnormal in our society which is so sad to me that we can’t have fun without mind or mood-altering substances.


And of course, now we’re moving into the whole legalizing marijuana Arena and without getting into that discussion too much I’m not against legalization because I think it makes our supply safe right on the other hand like why like why do we all feel like we have to numb out and that the way we get through a day is to have that glass of wine or the way we celebrate is to have a drink to me that feels like we’re not living ballistic, healthy lives and I can definitely take it.


Even so, we just decided we were going to be sober that was just one of our things and implementing those routines and implementing those practices every day.

Then when Jake died, I was so used to those practices that I didn’t miss a beat maybe there were a few days where I didn’t turn all but like because of course you know the very first days are super hard and all you can do is kind of sit on your chair.



But getting back into those routines.

And one of the big things for me is physical movement and I think physical movement is healthy for any anyone, even if you just walk around the block, when we are in trauma?


We most often just freeze.

And so, even in a very dysregulated situation when someone is activated, if they move even from one room to another, or take a Walk outside for 20 minutes, it will help them to deescalate.


It will help them to get back into their place.

A balance when were activated, we’re thinking in our lower brain, which is our trauma responses, and our flight and fight responses.

And so in order to get back into our logical, prefrontal cortex brain, we have to wait.


We have to pause long enough to be able to get ourselves out of that activation and back to a place of Regulation.

And so for us we just like for me I just had these practices that I did and they really helped me because I’m kind of one of those like why off the seat of my pants kind of person like I am very reactive.


So for me being super intentional and pausing and not responding, I mean like one of Things I type here is Heather and I’m sure you do as well.

Is you don’t have to answer that text, right?


That minute.

You don’t have to pick up the phone.


You don’t have to respond immediately like you are not at their beck and call.


And when you do, you are reinforcing their negative behaviors.


And so we want to reinforce the positive behaviors, right?

And so learning to set a boundary, Learning to say.

Listen, I am finding it difficult when I’m at work to answer your calls.

I can’t answer them.

How about if we set up a time at 5:00 every day and when you talk, it would be helpful if you show up for that, call in a way that we can have a responsible conversation and if not, then you hang up the phone, then you’re like, okay, I’m sorry.


Like I can’t really talk right now when you’re activated.

So why don’t you take?

Sometime and we’ll talk again when you’re feeling a little bit more regulated, right?


And it’s okay to do that.


Like it’s okay.

People are.

I know, it’s so scary.

When someone’s in active use, you want to pick up the phone because of course, we know that death is a possibility and so everything in you is like have to talk to him, right this minute.

Because what if this is that last call and I’ll regret that I didn’t pick up the phone, but I do think we train our our loved ones.


How to treat us.

Us, right.

And so, they’re constantly calling you were constantly picking up, and then we’re getting into these big conflicts and it’s very volatile like were reinforcing those negative behaviors.

So that’s why us activating our recovery and building.


Our recovery capital is so important because we D model for our loved ones, what emotional health and well-being, what recovery Looks like absolutely yeah I love that idea like I was before I got into my own recovery.


I was asking how Lana to do so many things that I didn’t even know how to do myself.

And when I had that realization of like what I’m asking, her sounds like no big deal to me but when I sit down and try to do it for myself and I see how hard it is.

Like, maybe I could start modeling this for her and figuring it out for myself, and that was like a one of my better thoughts.


They change things.


Yeah, it’s why we do the 100 day challenge because people will quit a date entered, a 20.

And I’m like, all you’re doing is trying to take a 20-minute walk every day and you can’t even make it twenty days.


And we’re asking our loved ones to give up the very thing that gives them life and breath.


For the rest of their lives.


Are you kidding me?

My Peak.

I mean truly.

It’s Almost blows my mind sometimes that we have family members who are like well someone said this one time with alcohol they said the majority of people can take it or leave it but I can almost assure you that they take it pretty much every time.



And if I can’t go 100 days without taking it may be drinking alcohol or whatever might be or if I can’t go 100 days without eating sweets or chip.

Chips or drinking more water, or doing whatever.


I know will bring me back to a place of health and well-being.

And I can’t even sustain that for 100 days.

How can I ask my person?

Yes, the in recovery for the rest of their lobbies.



I think we really have to think about things that way to seeing from what we’re asking of them, what it takes for them to do it, and I decided, Sober as well and it’s not easy to be somewhere where everybody’s drinking and you’re the only person who’s not and they’re on a totally different wavelength from you, even if they’re not drunk there, they’ve had a couple of drinks, they feel differently than you do.


And it it gives you a little taste of what they’re going to face for the rest of their life.

Well, and I think, in some ways, it’s a little tricky for us because we’re like, well, let’s not call them.

Matic for my great lake.


If I drink this drink, I’m not going to drink another one, and another one.

So in some ways and it was, it’s such an interesting exercise because I’ve been sober since February 1st of 2021.

And for the first couple months, every time I went by a bottle of wine or I was at a party it was awesome.


Cecil like I wanted to drink and the funny thing is I I wasn’t even drinking that much, but it’s sort of that thing of when, when you take something away, it’s kind of almost you think about it even more and so doing whatever it is for 100 days doing for us.


This hundred a challenge, just helps put us in a position where we’re recognizing what we’re asking.

Our loved ones to do and how difficult it isn’t.

And when you think about like family recovery, write my own personal, recoveries in the Sam’s that definition there are Our four pillars of Recovery Home, Health, Community and purpose.


And then there’s eight Dimensions of Wellness, which all fit under those four pillars of recovery.

And so for my clients, I take them through an exercise to evaluate the eight Dimensions of Wellness to help identify how they’re doing, right?


It’s so is my home safe and stable is my home clutter-free or in my hoarding?

Do I keep Clean.

Does it feel good for me to be in my home?

How are those things are things?


Like do I even have health care?

Do I have access to health care for people with substance use?

That’s a really huge barrier.

How do I access health care?

But then within the health realm, there’s emotional physical, mental spiritual, right?


And so what are my practices in all of those areas, A has.

Do I take care of myself emotionally?

Do I have spiritual practices and this isn’t a religious practice but it’s a spiritual practice.

Maybe for you spirituality is I’m going to go for a walk in the woods and they have this thing now called Forest bathing right, where I’m going to walk out in the woods every morning and I’m just going to take a bath in the woods because it increases your oxygen, maybe that’s your spiritual practice.


Maybe yoga is your spiritual practice, maybe you, meditate, Maybe.

Do you have a faith that is really important to you and maybe you’ve gotten away from that because of your love and substance use.

I quit going to church.

I don’t go to my synagogue or whatever that the case may be.


And then there’s mental health, which, of course, always suffers when a person is affected by their loved ones, problematic behaviors, you might be struggling with your own depression or your own anxiety, and And model like going to the therapist model.


Going to the doctor, get on medications.

If you need to, maybe you’re in an environment where people have told you that that’s weak or it’s not, okay?

And I’m I’m here to tell you that if you feel that sniffs this area, it’s okay because not being.


Okay, is far worse and then of course there’s the physical well-being, which are those practices of how I take her my physical body.

That was all falls under the health component and then we have community and purpose.


So who are my people?

Who are my people?

We have to feel safe, right?

And healing happens in Safe places.

And so when we think about and we work with families where it’s been going on for a long time and I’m not going to put any judgment on any family because I know they’re all trying and doing the best I can.


But often times someone in substance use doesn’t feel safe.

And the whole harm reduction movement.

It’s really interesting because there’s this whole movement of creating safe spaces for drug users.

So they can go get in the locks, on your, they can to get fentanyl test strips, or they can walk into a building and the people there are completely non-judgmental and they start to move towards Chained, and Wait Health in those environments because they feel safe.



And if you’re not a safe person for your loved one, they will not heal in your relationship.

So, we have to be safe faces.

We have to create safety for our loved one.

Then also, we have to be safe, right?


So if you’re in an environment where you have a spouse, it’s abusive and you have a child suffering from substance use, it might be a good idea too.

Move out of that situation for a while, great or if you live in a apartment complex.


And there’s things going on there and you don’t feel safe there and I know for me in my white privilige, he’s it’s easy for me to say, well just move, right?

And I understand my limitations of people who might be listening, they can’t do that.


But ask yourself, like, how do I feel safe and who are the people?

I feel safe around for me.

I’d like I have a book.

Club and it seems so silly.

But like once a month ago to this book club and they were they just hit it out of the park when they died.


They were like the say they came and soda me and took care of me and helped me and loved on me and we’re just amazing human beings.

And then of course, we have our network with our Thrive Community, where so many of those people that are part of our community, really just jump.


Get in and they are my safe people.

There are people in my family that are not safe.

And there are people that are not in my family that are and that’s okay.

It’s okay for you to gravitate to the people that make you feel safe.


And then the last pillar is purpose and that we talked about that lie, what stirs my heart and what is the Cry of my heart outside of addiction?

And ironically, I’m saying that To a person and we both work in the field of addiction, but that cry of our heart, what stirred?


Our heart was helping people, not we didn’t do it out of a motivation to make our to get our person.

Well, we really did it because both of us found this Special Sauce.

Yeah, we found a special sauce.


We found this thing that we could do that helped us so much that That we want to pass it along to other people.

Yeah, it’s like we found that iPhone and everybody is still using rotary dial and that’s the motivation for us to help other people.


Because like how does the world not know that there’s iPhones?

They have we have to tell everybody that there’s iPhones.

Yeah the beauty of this holistic recovery processes, one person might have an iPhone 6 in the other and iPhone 13 and And iPhone time.


But what we know in this is the one thing that I challenge people on is they will say, well, there’s no right or wrong Pathway to recovery for anybody.

And I will argue to my death, that there is one thing that is always, right, and that is kindness, compassion and love.



And within that there’s a lot of gray, you know what you do, physically what you do?

Ali, how you take care of yourself and your home, whether you let someone live with you or not live with you?

I had a mom.

I coach to truly bought her daughter.


Waiting for detox Potter daughter, save fentanyl to keep her alive until she could activate her recovery.

Now, that’s radical like, for some people listening, they’ll be like, I could never do that, that feels like enabling.

But you know what?

It enabled life, in her case her daughter’s alive, so There is no right or wrong decisions that you make based on your values, right?


Like your values are your values and your practices are your practices.

But what’s right?

Always is the way that we treat our loved ones when they are in their illness.


Yeah, that’s always say when you’re in doubt, just take a step back and go back to connection and give yourself some time and space to Figure out your next steps because you can never go wrong with connection like keep strengthening that relationship.

So that your relationship will, tolerate, whatever conversation you need to have with them.


Well, in and it gives us influence, right?

Yeah, I think as parents, especially we realize that at some point our parenting job is done, but we shift from parenting our children to influencing, right?

And so, when we have a connection and when we are in Relationship with them.


He gives us the opportunity to influence and when were safe, they will come to us and say what, I need help.

What can I do?

And so, if we want to maintain any kind of influence with our loved ones, we, we have to stay connected.



So, my last question, there’s parents listening.

I know who feel like, okay, I’ve tried everything.

I don’t want to try.

I’m Just scared to try one more thing.

You know, that feeling like I just can’t fail again.

What’s your advice for parents?


Who are struggling with their own recovery and feel like they just don’t want to try one more thing.


First of all, I understand and I will evaluate your pain.



Those remarks are born out of here.


I mean, yeah, right a lot of that comes from Internal struggle of I want to fix this and I want to make this better when someone says I’m done and I’ve tried everything.

What I’m hearing 99% of the time is, you’re just tired.



And I have worked with families who would say they have tried everything but what we offer, what you offer is something very Very different and so well, maybe you tried everything that your support group has told you to try or that your church, people have told you to try or that maybe even other First Responders like your pediatrician or your doctor or your therapist have told you to try we’re not effective.


Yeah there’s a lot of well-meaning people out there giving families.

Very ill-advised us help and the data for an Invitational collaborative approach you and I use the craft approach suggests that it is 65 percent effective in helping and more than that again.


And of course you and I had the worst possible outcome Right?

And I know that we both hate having to share that part of our story at the same time.

First of all, that, I think the extraordinary exception.


But here’s the thing, 99% of the people out there are getting fed that you have to wait for your person to hit rock bottom.

And in the world where fentanyl is killing 107 thousand people a year in our country rock, bottom is death for almost 300 people a day like harm reduction.


The action works and reducing Harmon families works.

And I know that for many people, it would feel so much easier to just cut your person off, and be done with it.



And I have never met a person that’s done that.

That hasn’t had regrets.

Yeah, end of the day and I have to say, for me, the worst possible outcome would be if I hadn’t repair my relationship with her, Her.

So while we’re living a tragic in terms of dramatic outcome, it’s not the worst possible outcome.


I think that we both have like what works so hard on ourselves and so hard at understanding and unconditionally loving our kids that thank God.

We’re not facing the worst possible outcome.

Exactly exactly.

That was very well, put Heather, because loss is hard enough but I can’t imagine Then a loss where we would not have been in relationship with our son.


And at the same time, we have to realize and this is the work that we do that my son and he was it was a 24-hour reoccurrence of use and he had a supportive family.

He had access to every resource possible.


Thankfully because of the fact that I spent years, building relationships with the treatment industry and people That offer treatment he could have gone anywhere.

He had a suboxone prescription in his hands.

He had been on Vivitrol and was switching over.


He had a girlfriend that was in his home with him.

When he died, there is a certain insidiousness and unpredictability to the disease of addiction.

And the truth is, here’s the thing.

Like, we all are going to die, right?

We all are going to die, not one of us gets out of life.


We are going to die, but this is I will see you in it I call it Lazarus time and for those of you who are listening that maybe have a faith, you’ll recognize the story.

If you don’t just bear with me because it’s not religious, but it’s the story in the Bible of Lazarus and Lazarus was a friend of Jesus, he died.


He was dead for four days.

Jesus went back and raised Lazarus from the dead.

Right, and Lazarus got extra time with his family and Lazarus ultimately did die for eternity because we all do.

But that time between the time he I was raised from the dead and the time that he died was Lazarus time, we got Lazarus time with our son.


Did you just hear that the biggest crack of thunder?

Like that’s why.

I just jumped.

I mean, it like made me about come out of my skin, that was be safe.

Yeah, our electricity goes out in this stops.


We know, I didn’t care about a holy cow.

It felt like Amen to your story and I was like wow that was quite a response but just the what you got and what I got was because of our recovery and because of the way we change, we got this really special time with our kids.


Like I we got four years with Jake of leaning in and loving him well and creating moments and climbing mountains and seeing him live, really A great life because we activated our own personal recovery and because we change and you know, he did have a lot of recovery time and that was really great but it wasn’t all perfect.


Either, there were some blips, there were some reoccurrences abuse and every time it was like, okay, buddy, what are you going to do?

And when I look back at the last text messages that I sent to him, Heather like and I know you have this gift to but we have his phone and everyone.


Is so supportive and so kind and nobody was like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe you did this.

I can’t believe we’re here again.

It was like I love you buddy, call me.

We’re here for you.

You know what you want to do?

The last text I sent to him was I was at a concert by an artist named or and dangle and she has this song called rescue and it was the words where I will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkness.


Yes, it’s true.

I will rescue you beautiful.

And that was the last thing he got for me.

We have that gift.

Heather, because of our recovery.

So if you’re a parent here and you’re affected by substance use contact Heather, look her up.


She’ll help you learn what recovery is, she does amazing work.

I know that sometimes I think people ask themselves.

Why should I listen to you?

Because you lost your person right?

It’s a battle that I fight every day.


Like I’m an imposter now because I don’t have the Tidy recovery.

Story life isn’t like that.

Yeah, it’s a gift that I have is knowing that We had Total Restoration in our family as a result of the work that we did in recovery.



I think that’s a beautiful place to end.

I am so appreciative of your time today, sharing your story of recovery with us.

I think it’s just such a beautiful story and I’m going to put your contact information in the show notes and I also want to put that book in.



Because now I’ve got to read that book about because what’s that book called well.

So the book that I wrote is actually a prayer devotional book, okay.


And is that Story of Lazarus and there oh nope.

That one doesn’t have it in there.

So that’s just a story that I there’s a speaking of books so there’s a couple books that and I’m in the process of writing my next book.


I really do have a devotional book for anyone in your audience.

That might be a Christian and it’s called praying, our loved ones.

A home and that book was just born out of me sitting on my chair praying for my son over and over and over again and I believe I prayed him home, I really do.


I believe that I personally have a faith that believes that this is not the end.

And so for anyone listening who might have a Christian faith, they would really like that book.

And I’m in the process of writing my next book but there’s a couple books that I really do recommend Your audience and your readers.


And I love the book.

What happened to you by Oprah Winfrey?

Because it talks about trauma at talks about what sort of behind some of these behaviors that are difficult.

And the, why?

We always believe that there’s a, why, why people use on the, why isn’t what we think it is?


It’s all the substances are always the solution for a problem that is much deeper than just, I’m having fun, right?


And it’s The solution to whatever pain they had in their life.

And then the other book that I always recommend is the book, the anatomy of Peace, which is the book that changed our lives.


And of course, I know you probably have your readers, listen, or read Beyond addiction.

And of course, those good books.

But the anatomy of peace is written by the our Rainier Institute.

And it’s, it really was the book that helped us to change our way of In with our son.


Okay, I appreciate that.

And I really appreciate your time today.

Thank you so much for sharing that time with us and for sharing it with the listeners and it’s an honor, Heather again.

And I love you, sister and two Warrior out there doing this.


Good work and just keep doing it because what you’re doing matters.

So much.

So thank you again for having me.

Thank you.

Thank you for listening to this episode.

If you want to learn more about my work, go to Heather.

Ross coaching.com if you want to 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.