EP81 “The Enabler” Stigmatized Just Like Addiction with Guest Andrea Seydel from Saving You is Killing Me

Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
EP81 "The Enabler" Stigmatized Just Like Addiction with Guest Andrea Seydel from Saving You is Killing Me

Join Heather and guest Andrea Seydel from the Saving You is Killing Me podcast as they delve into the challenging world of supporting loved ones struggling with addiction. In this episode, they share their experience with the stigmatized beliefs surrounding the term “enabling” and offer alternative perspectives that prioritize compassion, support, and understanding.

Together they explore the negative connotations associated with the term “enabler” and challenge the beliefs that perpetuate shame and judgment. Heather and Andrea invite listeners to reframe their perspectives in order to create an environment that fosters healing, growth, and positive change for both their loved ones and themselves.

Tune in to discover how shifting our mindset and embracing compassionate support can transform the way we approach recovery. A few topics covered in this episode:

·      Rethinking the term enabling

·      Heather and Andrea’s personal experiences

·      The dangers of shame, silence, and stigmatized help

·      Helpful vs unhelpful helping

·      Normalizing the desire to help

·      The importance of self-care

Previous episodes Andrea was on :

Episode # 15 Saving You is Killing Me

Episode # 48 The Struggle is Real, How to do it Well

Learn more about Andrea & SYKM: https://www.savingyouiskillingme.com/starthere

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

GROUP COACHING PROGRAM –  Peace of Mind Group for moms – Join the waitlist

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



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.

And create connection addiction impacts the entire family system.


Family recovery is the answer.

Adair, Andrea Seidel here.

And I am joined by the amazing Heather Ross.

We are doing a joint podcast today.

We’re so excited because we both have been touched by addiction and we are both advocating to support those who love someone or have lost someone to addiction.


And so we are here and we’re going to talk about a really, really fantastic subject matter that we kind of feel like along the way, it has gotten stigma around it and it’s all a bit.

This idea in a Resting the stigma and recognizing that enabling going to talk all about enabling and that it’s often driven by a genuine desire to help and support our loved ones.


And so instead of shaming ourselves or shaming the family members and and things like that, we want to offer help.

We want to focus on allowing you to see the light around enabling and and see it the difference between helping effective helping.


And we’re going to talk all things, all things.

Like right, Heather, yeah I’m excited to share about it today because we hear so often what not to do.

But we don’t hear very often what we can do.

And so the fear of enabling ends up being a roadblock and we’re going to just open up a clear path to healing for you today.


I love the way you said that open up the clear path to Healing is so true and so it can.

Let’s think about it may be a time where we felt like I know for me when I was with my addicted.

Love one.

He I paid for his truck payments.

I like he couldn’t pay for his truck payments.


And I did all kinds of things and I think that I did them and I know that I did them actually because I was coming from a place of love and I was coming from a place that you know what, I will do anything for this man because you know what I’m I love him and he’s struggling and that’s usually what we do when we love someone, right?


We are there to care for them.

Were there to pick up the pieces, we’re there to help them when they’re struggling and so that’s why I think in a Bowling is so hard because a lot of us who love someone with an addiction.

It’s so hard because we think that what like something that comes so naturally to us as humans to care for others is suddenly told don’t do that, don’t do that because you’re enabling so I think that it’s so important that we’re talking about this subject.


So can you talk a little bit about your experience?

Yeah so when my daughter started struggling with substance use I had already He heard a lot about enabling I’d gone to a lot of different meetings so when I realized it was going on with her there was already that fear and me of enabling and the knowing a lot about what I shouldn’t do and kind of these what I consider stigmatized approaches where we’re told that we have to wait for them to hit rock bottom, that there is nothing that we can do to help them.


We just have to wait.

Wait for them to be ready.

And so I wasted a lot of precious time, not knowing what to do to help my daughter, being stuck in fear really, having that dark cloud of fear over every decision that I was trying to make to help and support her and feeling really just guilty about everything that I did, I felt like everything that I did was wrong and it just, it led To me, taking a lot of fear-based actions that didn’t feel right to me.


And it felt so good.

When I finally learned that there’s really no science behind any of those stigmatized beliefs and that actually, it is best to create connection and maintain that relationship and a healthy way and provide love and support in a healthy way that there is science behind that approach, which is totally different than what I had heard.


For all the years leading up to my daughter, starting to struggle with substances.

And what you said earlier, I think is really important is that we are hardwired to want to help our loved ones.

It is normal, there is absolutely nothing wrong with us for wanting to help and we would never be told that we shouldn’t help our loved one and any other Circumstance.


But it is normal for us to want to help them and there’s no other situation where we were helping someone that people would tell us that we shouldn’t.

And so I just want to focus on helping everybody understand, maybe more things that you can do and how maybe if that word enabling feels like a roadblock to you that you can just some other ways to think about it to help you move forward and not.


Not stay.

So stuck in the problem, so good.


And so I think that the first step here is to recognize that we are supporting our loved ones due to a genuine desire to help and protect them.

We are wired to do that.


It stems from a place of Love, is stems from a place of concern.

And we do not want any of the listeners here to feel at all.

For a second, bad about that.

And I remember feeling a lot of the times is like, oh my gosh.

Of course, I’m going to show up in this way but then I’m like, how could you be so stupid Andrea this and that and like I was so hard on myself.


So when you’re in the mock or when you have a loved one that’s struggling with addiction it is so easy.

It’s already hard.

So why are we beating ourselves up even more and giving us more pressure around this idea of enabling, and just kind of being slapped with another term that makes us feel worse.


And so, as you know, my postgraduate training in positive psychology, E and positive psychology is like, that is not a wonderful way that is a way to go down a downward spiral of Despair and I just iaso in.

That’s why it’s so important that we’re talking about that.

So the first step is I want to jump through the line.


I always say in rap all the listeners with love and recognize that, you know, what you are human and that you are showing up in such a brave way.

That is a show coming from a place of love and concern and it may be inadvertently contributing to maybe King a situation worse?


Or maybe it’s inadvertently, like we don’t realize it at the time, but let’s separate ourselves from addiction and recognize that we are great humans and doing what, you know, we would do.

And so, to remove any sort of judgment around, it is the first very, very, very first step wouldn’t you say Heather?



And what you said just made me think like, yeah, maybe sometimes we will inadvertently do things that actually contribute to the A problem.

But how else are we going to learn, right?

Like we don’t come into this situation knowing what to do and there is no set of instructions.


That works for every single person in every single situation.

We’re dealing with human behavior here and every person is very different.

And so the only way to learn is one, another part of that is their substance use or addiction is changing faster than we can learn.


So really, a lot of times by the time we notice that something is going on.

They’ve already been struggling for a while and so their struggle with substance abuse or addiction is happening faster than we can catch up with.


So we just have to give ourselves some Grace there.

It takes time for us to learn.

To understand to find approaches that work.

I think of it like a science experiment.

Sometimes the only way you learn is by making mistakes by doing things wrong, and we just have to give ourselves a lot of Grace along the way to and self-compassion, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.


There is no list of things to do.

The only way to figure this out is to just keep trying different things to see what works.

And what doesn’t I love that approach and it’s not one size, fits all and everyone’s situation is so individual and unique and different.


And I think one of the really beneficial things we could talk about then is the difference between helpful helping and not helpful helping.

And so I don’t like using the word enabling but the not helpful helping AKA and they believing which kind of is what the stigma has come up with from I think that knowing about these things.


So it might be Examples of like providing financial support or might be things like making.

I used to make excuses all the time for my addicted.

Love when I was protecting them from from so many things I would say, I am, maybe you’re dealing with depression or maybe, you know, like I would like, give him out sore and just made the it perpetuated, the problem and I was in denial and I was actually the curtain was pulled.


Like I didn’t have the curtain open yet, so I didn’t know.

I was dealing with addiction at the time but then once I did know, I would still excuse out.

Behaviors like wow.

Well, it’s not that bad or, or for him, it making actual excuses for him.

I covering up hit, what’s going on for him, especially to kind of just perpetuating this denial, I giving him out, maybe he’s low blood sugar or like I had all these excuses for him, so that might be one.


Or just can you think of any other ideas of unhelpful helping?

Yeah, like you mentioned, I think probably giving cash is the biggest one and it’s so hard to say no.

By the time, my daughter ended up moving out of the house a little bit before she turned 18.


And she, of course, was really struggling financially because by that time her substance use had progressed to a place where she couldn’t hold a job.

She really just wasn’t very functional and everyday life anymore and so in the beginning I would give her money sometimes and eventually I had to learn to say no to that but it was a process.


Of me figuring out how to create that boundary from a place of love and not from a place of fear or anger.

And for me, I was able to get to a place of love with that boundary when it came to money of thinking about I remember clearly the first time I told her no and it felt good to tell her, no, because it came from such a place of love for me, which was me being really clear on.


I couldn’t handle giving her money her using it to buy drugs.

And then possibly, oh, Dosing.

And so when I told her know that I wouldn’t be giving her cash anymore and told her why, it felt as good as saying, no could feel right?


Because there’s no way that saying no is going to feel great.

And but then the other side of that, I like to say like for every no, have your yes.

And for me the yes was always but I will bring you some groceries or I’ll take you to get something to eat.


You can come over and take a shower or I’ll do your laundry.

Laundry for you because that was my way of connecting with her and getting my eyes on her twice.

Like I could go pick her laundry up and I get to see her then.

And when I brought it back, I got to see her then as well.

And it fulfilled something in me to get to do her laundry.


Like I got to do something that I enjoy doing for her as a mom and I didn’t have to feel guilty about at all.

And so I think that as far as like, deciding how you’re going to approach, Things and how to be helpful.


It’s the overall approach to how you’re supporting the person that struggling, that you love and making it as easy as possible on yourself as well, because the situation feels bad enough.

Like we have to take the opportunities to create things for ourselves.


That feel good to give us the chance to connect with the person.

We love in a way that feels good too.

To us in a way that feels most supportive to them.

So that was the big one for me was just really saying no, to actually giving her money but then saying, yes, to something that felt like it was connecting and supportive and actually really helpful to her.


Oh my God.

It’s so they know what’s coming up for me as we’re talking.

It’s almost like enabling, it’s almost like it’s pointing at the finger at you, you’re blaming their, it’s almost like you’re getting blamed for Their addiction.

And as we know that we didn’t cause it we can’t get cured.


We can’t, we can’t control it.

And so what’s so interesting about that is like just just that word enabling.

What’s coming up as you were talking.

It’s almost like so if we end up giving them money it’s like we’re making them their addiction were so we’re like, you know, so it’s almost like putting the blame on us.


But I always say our side of the street is clean and again, a separating ourselves from addiction and so that was just coming up as you were talking, but I love that.

You brought up this idea of, it’s like, okay, well, if you’re looking at the things you’re doing, if it’s helping their well-being, like, it’s so lovely that you could do her laundry and that’s helping her well-being.


And, and so, that would be more considered, you know, helpful helping and so was coming up from mine, too.

For me and my mind as well as that if we’re always is like rescuing and diving into those Rough Waters, then they’re trying to swim were tray with.

Everyone’s going to end up like drowning.


And so this idea is that, although it’s Noble for us to jump into those Rough Waters.

So to speak.

It’s also important for us to make sure that we’re looking after ourselves and that the help that we’re helping is helpful.

They go Ross, were both going to go down and so, I don’t know if that’s a good metaphor, but it’s almost like they were both struggling in the water.


So I love this idea of helpful helping and that you brought up the laundry because it’s kind of, like, as long as you’re providing them with support, that’s empowering that allows them to take responsibility for their own Own actions and that it helps make positive changes and it really does help them in their world.


And in the psychology World, it actually gives them more autonomy.

It helps them with personal growth and helps them with their own development and their own accountability because we don’t have control over anyone else and else’s Behavior.

So when we’re doing helpful helping is kind of like going through that checklist in your mind is like okay is this encouraging them?


Is it helping them seek support for themselves is it’s Powering for them.

Is it?

Am I offering emotional support that?

It’s that can help them through it when my creating a safe space for them that if they need someone to communicate, they will come to me.


Like so the helping behavior is helpful, helping is also boundaries like you brought up.

It’s like, you know what establishing like I won’t give you money because the last time you used my money for drugs.

So moving for, I can’t give you any money so I can though, offer you Clean laundry or, you know, like I love that.


So, can we speak to that more helpful helping?


Something that you just said, are you doing?

You’re talking about like we’re both going to end up drowning, if we don’t take care of ourselves.

And I think that that is a part of helpful, helping like taking care of yourself, making sure that you are not sacrificing, your own needs for somebody else.


It is the best possible thing that you can do too.

Take care of yourself and the situation is, well it’s really easy to get focused on your loved one on, trying to do, whatever you can to fix this problem and get it over with as fast as possible.


And that’s just going to totally burn you out.

You have to take a marathon approach.

You cannot take a Sprint approach to this.

So taking care of yourself is really important in the process.

Taking time to be really clear on what you do.

You want to do, what feels good to you.


What feels right to you and taking time to make sure just even meeting your most basic needs.

Like I wasn’t meeting my most basic needs, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t drinking water.

I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t eating healthy and just those taking care of those most basic needs, can really clear your mind and give you the space and Clarity that you need to make these really hard.


Shannon’s and I think that so helping yourself as a part of really helpful, helping, if you are nagging somebody, all of the time, then you’re getting in the way of them, experiencing natural consequences, because then you are the problem, they’re focused on you and instead of feeling the natural consequence of their substance use.


So you have to really again think through prioritizing safety when you’re going to allow natural consequences.

But It might be like not calling in for to work for them, not making excuses for them but then with the calling into work thing like it’s not black and white.


If it’s a case where this person is providing for your family and you don’t have a job then maybe you will decide to call into to work for them.

It’s not black or white, there’s no one-size-fits-all there.

So another really important part of allowing natural consequences is deciding like what’s right for you and Family and trusting yourself to make those decisions.


But some other things are, if they don’t have a job, like we talked about, not giving them money, maybe not paying their rent, or if you really value having them, having them have a place to stay, you know, that having safe housing, safe stable, housing is an important part of recovery.


Then you do get to decide that you want to pay their rent.

Like it could go either way and I just said, Giving both sides of that because I want to make sure that I’m making it clear that you get to decide what’s right for you and your family in this.


I’m so glad you brought that up because like, for example, in my situation, if I didn’t pay those truck Pavements, I’d be the one that’s messed up because it was under my name because he couldn’t get a loan.

So, the truck was under my name.

If I didn’t make those payments, then I’d be screwed, right?


So you’re so right.

So it’s very individual and You brought up is so important because so many people are in the situation where I have to pick up all these bills.

I have to pay for this house and mortgage and like a rust.

My family were going to be out on the street or like so like we have to make decisions based on what’s right for us and our family and our children often times.


And but I think the message here is that, if we’re repeatedly rescuing them, if we’re repeatedly going into the waters, eventually, I love your message to.

Is that not only?

Are we were picking up the slack for them and we’re making them stronger, and then they’re feeding their own addiction.


But at the same token, if we’re constantly jumping in the water to save them, and where repeatedly rescuing them were, and I don’t like, saying, we’re actually work, making their life easier were were making their lives better, but we kind of are and I where I was going with that is that we’re going to eventually drown ourselves.


If we’re constantly picking this person up and that’s why I called the podcast in the book there.

Saving you is killing me, loving someone with an addiction because it literally feels like that.

And so you brought up self-care, which I think is part of the helpful helping as part of making sure that we’re not caring so much for someone else that were losing ourself in the process.


I’m so happy that you brought that, that piece of, and this repeatedly rescuing, or saving, or fixing her doing all that it’s, we sometimes can unintentionally reinforce their Reliance on us.

What was happening for me is that I constantly was keeping it all together, like we all do that, right?


Like it’s amazing how in a lot of situations.

It’s amazing what we end up doing to pick up the slack.

We unintentionally are doing that because someone has to and I often hear from my clients like someone’s got to pick up the slack, like he’s not.

And so in that situation I just want to wrap you with compassion and also give you Kudos and like a celebration of how strong you are.


And how powerful you are.

And again, just like you said, your situation, you are managing it based on your own individual situation.

To not feel bad about that.

But recognize when you are getting depleted in your well-being, is taking a back burner.

And I think that is the key, the second that we are over helping, or we are rescuing, or we’re doing things that are depleting us and our own mental health and our well-being, that is when we have to really look at ways that holy cow, like, I need to To take back my power, I need to focus on me, I need to tap into my own resilience and strength and just focus on me for a while.


I always say, let’s do me for a bit, any thoughts come up around that Heather?

Well, what I was thinking when you were talking was about how responsible I felt for my daughter’s happiness and how uncomfortable it made me to see her be uncomfortable, and really, it was a skill that I had.


To build to sit with my discomfort about her discomfort and not take action.

So I think another really helpful thing to do is just allow yourself time to pause and not respond and just sit in that discomfort because part of loving somebody so much is that it’s going to feel uncomfortable when they’re struggling and then in turn, we have to learn to manage our own.



So just taking a pause to process that and not instantly reacting to it, but being able to intentionally respond when we’re ready is another part of helpful helping, that’s when we’re going to make our best decisions are most helpful decisions and create kind of that separateness between our own feelings in theirs because that’s Other part of this that creates so much it just so much struggle for us, is it feels like our kids or other loved ones?


Have to be okay for us to be, okay?

And it really doesn’t have to be that way.

So when we stop and we pause, and we take some time to separate our feelings from.

There’s, then we can start creating our own joy and happiness and fulfillment even if they’re still struggling.


And again, that’s a part of of care.

It’s not wrong to have a good life, even when your child is struggling, you’re giving them something to look up to something, taking the pressure off of them, the pressure that they feel that they have to be okay, so that we can be, okay.


It’s really a wonderful thing to do to take that pressure off of them by taking care of yourself.

I love that you bring that up and that’s like, it’s actually a really beautiful way to describe codependency actually.

It’s like detach Yourself from that and not feeling their happiness is makes you dependent like you depend on their happiness, to be happy.


It’s like separating yourself from addiction and from your loved one.

And recognizing that you have, you are responsible 100% for yourself and to take allowing someone else.

It’s almost like stepping back and allowing someone else to take responsibility for their own addiction and that’s can that can be so challenging.


And I love that you brought that up because it’s almost like let it Take its course, and recognizing your role in it.

So understanding that you can’t control or fix someone else’s addiction and acknowledging.

Maybe that there is obviously still a bit of a problem.


There is not pretending it’s not there but at the same token, recognizing Your Role is to basically, yes, Provide support but not to take responsibility for their actions or their choices.

And then the other piece of that I think two is educating yourself.

Like I remember researching and Googling like everything.


Could know everything about what is addiction, what’s it look like when it’s this drug or all these things because I just became more aware of educating myself.

So that I knew what they were dealing with and what was going on for them.

So I could be more compassionate.


Super hard for me to be compassionate when it’s a spouse and their out all night and it feels like they’re choosing other friends over you.

It’s like, why don’t you come to bed?

You’re up all night in the garage like frustration anger, all those things and so by Eating myself.

I kind of had a better understanding so that I could approach that situation in a bit of a different way in terms of feeling more empowered with my conversations with him and this and that and also to recognize that you know what he’s not the person I fell in love with back then he is a new different person.


So I was holding onto the person.

I fell in love with hoping he would come back and he did not, and he just kept going down down into a darker and darker place.

So just Kidding myself that to know.


This that is what happens.

They become empty vessels of humans, right?


I was mourning.

The loss of somebody who is still alive, so I found that that education piece really, really did help me as well in terms of letting go detaching a little bit, letting go of taking responsibility for what’s going on in his life.

And I even started saying, you know what, I’m not the problem here.


I would say that I think that often I don’t have a problem.

You have a problem.


Any thoughts come up for you.

Heather from Europe.


Yeah, so the more I learned about the actual science of substance use the more I was able to show up with compassion for my daughter, and the more I was able to come up with solutions that really aligned with the reality of substance use and recovery.


And a couple of things that I learned that we’re really helpful to me in, this comes from the invitation to change approach.

And one of those things is that behaviors make sense.

So I kept I was always thinking that nothing my daughter did made sense and I couldn’t under all.


I could only see from my perspective where the problems that her behavior was causing.

But when I learned that behaviors all make sense, I started asking myself that question instead of saying this doesn’t make sense.

How does this make sense?

And it makes sense because substances are extremely rewarding.


They offer immediate positive reinforcement.

It’s not like putting your hand on a hot stove which is how I saw it before.

Like why is she keeping your hand on the hot stove?

But instead she was getting a reward a positive reinforcement from it.

Another thing is that ambivalence is normal which means that you can want two things at the same time.


So a person can really want to quit using substances and also want to keep using them at the same time.

And so I think that that really helped me have compassion and really think of it for my own perspective.

Say like if I was on a diet or wanted to go on a diet and wanted to lose weight, but then I also really didn’t want to go through all of the meal planning and prepping and all of that.


So I could want to lose weight but also not want to go through the work that it was going to take to do that.

Good example, and that, that is normal for somebody to feel two things at the same time and The other thing that really helped me was learning that one size doesn’t fit all which we’ve said a couple of times, it helped me, pull back and come out of that black and white thinking and allow room for gray area and just to have a more compassionate understanding realistic approach to supporting my daughter.


I love that.

I love that understanding and compassion peace to it.

It was very hard for me to have that when I was in the muck.

There is so many behaviors that just were under unacceptable and just he lost all my trust in everything.

So it was really really tricky and I’m sure a lot of the listeners are have gone through that as well.


So it’s hard to get to that place of feeling empathy and compassion.

But I do say educating yourself around addiction and kind of having that awareness can help us have a little more glimmer of that because especially it’s like, oh my gosh.

Like, do they know what they’re putting me through?


I often say like their numbing out like so, So, they don’t even realize they’re, they’re having the greatest time right now.

I’m thinking, they don’t, they don’t even realize the pain in the struggle and the turmoil that they’re putting the loved ones through.

And so, I had some frustration with that and I and just some anger around that for a long, long time.


And then the other piece of it is I realized after through my healing Journey that I was dealing with a lot of guilt and guilt and also just like because okay so my world Is positive psychology.

My world is resilience and well-being and happiness.


And what was perplexing to me is like I almost took him on like a project and like, oh, it’s okay.

Like I didn’t know we’re dealing with addiction at the time, but I literally was like buying him essential oils Eyes by Him special supplements because of his his mood swings and everything.


I was helping him.

I was, I even hired friends that are coaches to help him and I paid for them.

Like, and is like, I did so much.

Much to try and help help help.

And I just because I loved this man again, coming from that place, and I realized that I needed to Foster Independence and I needed to encourage him to take ownership for his own behavior, and his own recovery because it was exhausting me, like, giving him articles on this and, like, getting and my whole world became obsessed with trying to save him and trying to help him and trying him to help him navigate.


Instead of numbing things that I was helping them to have the tools, they hear all the tools to help navigate feeling a band of Abandonment.

And why it might be, you know, what’s driving you to blah, blah, blah anyway.

So I needed to let go of guilt.


I felt so much guilt around.

The fact that I could, I took so much responsibility for his addiction.

I took so much responsibility for his well-being before I knew about the addiction and that when I couldn’t help him and when I couldn’t, like, get through to him, or like support him.


It was just gut-wrenching for me.

And so I had to get to this place where I really had to let go of these feelings of guilt or, like, blaming myself that I couldn’t save him.

I couldn’t fix him as, like, I used to say, I believed in, I believe in you, more than anyone believes in you and like I did, I believed in him anyway, so that’s a whole side tangent.


But I think that that, that piece of it kind of I was in that enabling cycle and I was trying So hard to fix, save and rescue.

And I was just a pleading myself and and then I had to get to the point later to let go of that guilt that he’s still out in this world.


Holly doing what he’s doing with an addiction is a functional attic apparently, right?

Because he can keep going.

But but yeah, so I think that now, like, after looking back, it’s like, oh my gosh.

Yeah, we can’t fix her saver, change.

Anyone else?

And it can be really exhausting and depleting in the process we are.


I do.

I think it’s, I need to say that I’d wasn’t always this calm and compassionate and loving.

Yeah, we bring this up to dealing with my daughter substance.

Use my initial approach was I think it was first, fear and panic and then it turned to a lot of anger and resentment my own way of numbing was over working because if I was at work, then I didn’t have to face.


What was Being in my home it was kind of like this alternating back and forth.

I was just as unstable as she was.

I wasn’t able to bring stability and balance to my relationship with her and all of this love and compassion until later when I had found an approach called craft, which is community reinforcement and family training which was the first thing that taught me that it was okay to show up with love and taught me that That the different that their everything wasn’t enabling and creating those gray areas.


So I didn’t just show up with this approach.

I made a lot of mistakes.

I have a lot of regrets but I am very grateful that I was able to also come out of that guilt.

You’ve talked about, I had a lot of guilt and shame is a mom, of course.


My first thought was, if I was a good enough mom, this wouldn’t be happening.

Where did I go wrong?

And I was blaming myself, and I was me King her addiction about me.

And so of course that also, you know, it was like kind of robbing her of her own experience by doing that.


And then the guilt also came between us.

So when I was coming from a place of guilt, what I really wanted was connection and to know that everything was going to be okay.

And so I was always turning her to her to make me feel better, which just pushed her away from me.


So, I just think it’s important to share that to like it is so normal.

What we talked about experiencing to be angry to feel resentful, to do things that you are not proud of.


And to feel guilt, like we always feel like we should be able to do something else.

And so again going back to really having a lot of compassion and Grace for ourselves so that We can make it through this really difficult situation.


And I also just want to say like I think that I’m really grateful to myself for the work that I put into understanding addiction.

Understanding the science of it to working on myself so that I did know how to pause.


So I could process my own discomfort and other feelings so that I could respond.

Finally, in a way that felt good to me.

So I could love my daughter in a way that felt good to her and was supportive to her because we did repair our relationship and my daughter did get into recovery for a while but she also she had a reoccurrence of use and she ended up passing away because she was given fentanyl.


So nothing.

I don’t have to live with the way I would have felt had, I not Down the work on myself and repaired our relationship and learn how to show up with love and compassion, and be proud of the way I was showing up as her mom.


So no matter, I think sometimes we feel like our I felt like, I don’t want to put words in anybody’s mouth, like, why do I have to do all of this work on myself for somebody else?

But I am so grateful that I did because it gave me a beautiful relationship with my daughter.


It gave me the opportunity.

T to make up for all of the times that I showed up with anger and now it gives me peace of mind knowing that my very last conversation with my daughter was very loving and supportive and she passed away knowing that she was loved and supported by me, and that we had had beautiful healing in our relationship.


So you don’t want to do this work from a place of fear but you do want to do this work so that you can feel good about how you were showing.

In this incredibly difficult situation.

That is so good.

Heather and I know your story and I just I see your strength through the whole entire thing.


I’ve kind of been right alongside there with you throughout this whole journey and I just want to celebrate how strong and brave and just compassionate.

You’ve been through all of this and I felt your pain all along the way of losing your daughter and it’s everyone’s worst nightmare pretty much.


So you have so much to teach the world and that’s why you’re doing what you’re doing turning.

In your pain into purpose here and I’m helping so many others and I do love this.

What you bring up about this compassion peace and letting go of guilt.

We all have this guilt is like I remember thinking God I just said something different or had I you know.


Maybe I was too hard on him or maybe this maybe that.

And so I really do love that you bring up this idea and that we that guilt made it into our conversation today.

Because you know what we need to not feel guilt around.

Else’s addiction and just understanding that it’s addiction.


Is so complex and that we’re doing the best with what are given situation and that if we can practice and I like to say self compassion, like being kind to our self and just acknowledge that you’re doing the best with your capabilities right now and to not blame yourself for someone else’s addiction or for their poor choices or for.


Did I do something wrong or was I enabling or is that With cause this overdose, or whatever it is, is just not to blame yourself.

Treating yourself with some serious compassion and just offer yourself that support.

And then also just obviously reframing it to a place of like that you’re not responsible for their addiction.


I think that that is the key.

And then is this helpful, helping, it’s this whole circle of this subject matter of enabling but not from the stigma point of view.

It’s from helpful helping.

From a place of compassion, from a place of letting go a little bit and releasing any sort of blame or shame or guilt around the whole process.


I don’t know.

I think, did we summarize that pretty?



And you said something really important that I just want to reiterate, is how complex this is.

We have a tendency to oversimplify things and especially when we’re approaching substance use disorder, and it is Plex what they’re experiencing is complex, what we’re experiencing is complex and we just always want to oversimplify thinking that that our approach should be easier or it should be easier for them to stop.


And human behavior is very complex in this Condition.

It’s very complex.

It’s so don’t oversimplify it.

And tell yourself that you’re, you should understand this by now.

It should be fixed by now that it should be easier.


Because it’s just not, it is a very complex situation with a lot of moving pieces with its highly emotional.

There’s up so much involved so don’t oversimplify things.

That’s a good point.


You also raised like something a little while back about how you moved into your own recovery or you moved into a place where you are turn the lens onto yourself and started with your own healing.

And so in, this is what I would love the listeners to take it this idea because I couldn’t stand it.


When someone says you need recovery you should go to meetings.

You like you know, I started I’m not the one with the problem.

Like why is everyone telling me this?

And so what I would love to invite the listeners to hear and this is think of recovery as more about recovering who you were, you got sucked into this world of addiction.


You got sucked into the trying to save rescue and like figure this all out.

So confusing addiction is not a typical disease, that has it comes with, you know, stealing and lying and like, all kinds of things that also bring up emotions and weird, strange behavior.


And like it’s so hard to wrap your head around it so it’s almost like we want to recognize it.

This idea of recovery isn’t pointing the finger at you like you have.

And that’s why I’m so glad we’re doing this about enabling the stigma around enabling and the stigma around like you’re pointing the finger at loved ones.


It’s like you were already dealing.

With so much that I’m really passionate about this idea is like, okay, but remember, so take that word that you need recovery.

Like don’t take it that way, take it like, you know what I need?

If you’re feeling like you’ve been sucked into the Vortex of addiction, it’s like and you feel like, you know, saving you is killing me, that feeling alone?


Is that feeling of?

Okay, I want to recover little glimmers of the person.

I used to be, I want to recover because right now I’m exhausted.

I’m depleted, I’m confused.

I’m like My whole world is revolving around this, loved one with an addiction.

And I need to save myself right now because arouse were both going down and so this idea of recovery is recovering.


You is like getting back to what brings you Joy getting back to some moments, even if their micro moments of positive emotions and finding those times of joy and reaching out to friends and slowly.

It doesn’t have to happen fast with slowly recouping recovering yourself.


If and that is so essential, I had to totally do that.

It just like you know, and did an episode like just do you for a while like it’s like a, what does that mean?

And so, yes, I like this idea of self care and in self-care, not being that buzzword self-care.

But caring for yourself, moving yourself up on the priority totem pole, coming in front of addiction, not behind it.


And I think that that’s really key and I love that you brought that up, I love that you brought up that fact about like that.

We need This is exhausting.

It is like when we are loved ones impacted by addiction, like it, it, it affects the whole family, it affects you.


So wholeheartedly.


And I have to admit that it when I first started working on myself, I did it because I hope that my daughter would see what I was doing and she would start working on herself.

But eventually I started doing it or continue doing it just for me because it did feel good to be It’s on my own health for once, and really discovering things about myself that I never even knew before and creating the sense of happiness.


And also, I learned what I was expecting my daughter to do.

Wasn’t that easy when I started working on myself, right?

I started doing the same things that I wanted to her to do setting that example, but so many wonderful things came out of doing that work on myself and a big part of it was really just getting To know and love myself in a way that I never had before that.


And so, there’s a lot of unexpected benefits that come out of this.

And like what you said Andrea about when people tell you, we’ll just go to meetings.

Just do you just focus on you.

It almost sounds feels and sounds like another attacker accusation, like, you’re doing something wrong.


So, I like explaining it from this perspective of what we both experienced, but it’s actually, Really can be a beautiful experience for you to focus on yourself and maybe learn things about yourself that you never understood before that.


That is so well said and and just like the suggestion of recovery and is not a judgment, the suggestion of that’s.

Let’s not even use the word enable that’s helpful helping, right?

And recognizing that we can support our loved ones and that it comes from a compassionate.


And genuine desire to support the well-being of our loved ones and that’s the whole cycle.

And that’s what we want to talk about.

That were recognizing that enabling behaviors are well-intentioned that you aren’t, we’re not pointing the finger at you.

There is a stigma around enabling but moving it to a place of helpful helping that’s empowering that is about setting boundaries to protect your own well-being and your own health and allowing others to take responsibility for their actions, right?


And so offering the Support alongside them but not for them.

Any additions to that Heather?

I’ll just say that.

If you’re struggling right now, you’re not alone, you’re not the only one going through this or so many parents that are going through this alone because they feel a lot of Shame and guilt.


But find people that you can trust to support you through this.

Find people that are saying things that resonate Your heart instead of make you feel worse or fearful.

This is not your fault.


You don’t have to do it alone and trust yourself like you do have the answers inside of yourself to support yourself and your child.

People are going to tell you to do a lot of things and you’re the only person that has to live with the results of doing those things that other people tell you.


So even if they seem really convincing Young and they believe that they’re right and you’re scared not to do it.

Listen to what your instincts are telling you, because you’re the only person that has to live with the results of the things that you do when you take other people’s advice.


So, just focus on trusting yourself and getting support that resonates with your heart, instead of making you feel even more.

Fearful, I love that.

I love this.

I love that.

We are stripping away.

The stigma of enabling And and not allowing it to be another finger pointing to people, the loved ones of someone struggling with addiction, because we just want to offer you so much love and compassion through the lines, right?



I hope we achieved that.

So, okay, so of course, everyone’s going to want to get a hold of you, Heather.

And then, obviously, I would love to share my community with you and vice versa.

My book is called saving.

You is killing me, loving, someone with an addiction.


I also have a support group and The podcast and please do share what you are offering as well.

Yeah, I have a podcast called living with your child’s addiction and my website is Heather, Ross coaching.com.

And we’ve both been on each other’s podcasts in the past where we shared a little bit about ourselves and our personal stories.


And so, I will put those episodes in the show notes on my podcast, and I will put all of Andrea’s information in the show notes so that you can Get in touch with her and learn more about her and I will do the same.


Thank you, everybody for listening.


We’re sending you a huge hug and love and we will hear each other soon.


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.