Episode 3 What to do When You’re Paralyzed With Fear That Your Child Will Over Dose

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Episode 3 What to do When You're Paralyzed With Fear That Your Child Will Over Dose

How often do you send a text to your addicted child and breathe a sigh of relief because the text went through, or look on social media to see if they’ve been active, or do a drive by just so you can have a little peace of mind? That fear of all the things that can wrong can rule your life.  You get stuck with horrible images and thoughts about them over dosing and no one being there to help them. You brain gets stuck looping through all the worst-case scenarios. You live your worst fear day in and day out, losing sleep, and wondering how the hell all this happened in the first place. When you have an addicted child you can’t rely on external circumstances to relieve your worry and fear. You have to develop the skillset to provide your own relief. In this episode I talk about how I help my clients provide that relief for themselves. 

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This transcript has not been formatted or edited.


I’m Heather.

And this is a living with addiction podcast where I show you how you have more power than you realize when it comes to helping yourself and your child that struggling with addiction.



So I’m here to talk to you about a difficult topic today and of course, most of the topics dealing with apparent struggle, with their child’s addiction are difficult.

It’s such an emotional situation and that’s why I’m here to talk about all of these difficult topics because we need help.


If we don’t, then we’re at the mercy of our child’s addiction.

We’re not in control of our lives, are dependent on them to be okay, and get sober and start living the life that we want them to live or we’re not okay.


In my focus is showing you all the ways that you can provide your own relief, putting you back in the driver’s seat of your life, giving you power and control.

Over your life again, allowing you to have happiness.


Again, allowing you to start living your life again and being an example of the life that you want your child to live.

And so today, I want to talk about what to do when you’re paralyzed with fear that your child will overdose and die.


As I said, this is a highly emotional topic.

So many of my parents struggle with this.

This and so many people that reach out to me struggle with this as well.

And I struggled with it for years myself until I figured out how to provide my own relief from it.


And, you know, I used to have to text my daughter every single day, To know that she was, okay, I would go through this like, 24-hour cycle where I would text her and need to hear back from her to know that she was okay.


And I could allow myself about, you know, 24 hours of peace and, but my piece would slowly fade over that time.

Until I beep built back up to where I couldn’t stand it again.

I had to reach out to her again to get confirmation that she was okay.


And I know other parents do drive-bys or check to see if their child has been active on social media.

Like every parent has their thing that they do to make sure that their child is okay or they’re just to that point where they’re not having a relationship with them and they’re not hearing from them.


But for those parents who are in the same situation that I was in where, you know, when my daughter had an iPhone, I would text her and if I didn’t hear back from her but I could see that the message was delivered and I would allow myself to believe that she was okay because if she I knew that she had to be alive to charge her phone and then when she didn’t have an iPhone I and she had Android, I couldn’t see that the message was delivered and if she didn’t respond to me and I couldn’t take the agony of waiting anymore, then I would call.


And if it rang and didn’t go straight to voicemail, even if she didn’t answer, I knew that her phone was charged and if her phone was charged, and she must be alive to charge it.

And this is the cycle that I was caught up in really four years.


Just this constant need Need for her to relieve, my fear and anxiety for me.

I didn’t have any power and how I was feeling and I would be stuck with these horrible images in my mind of her dead, in a hotel room by herself of do you know, dead from an overdose or somebody hurt her and she wouldn’t have identification and nobody would know to call me.


Like just truly horrible thoughts to be thinking every day.

For a while that really ruins my life like I had to talk to her at some point every day and then sometimes I didn’t want to reach out to her.

I have this internal battle going on with myself like well if you don’t reach out then you can just keep you know pretending that everything is okay.


But if you reach out and she doesn’t respond in the phone, you know, goes straight to voicemail then you know, her phone isn’t charged, and then you’re going to have to deal.

Would that mind drama?

And so it was just this constant Battle of trying to figure out what to do to get myself relief and the only thing that I knew was her.


And so that’s why I want to talk about this because that’s such a horrible place to be in and I just want you to know that if this is your story that I’m telling right now if you’re involved in dealing with some version The same situation that one.


It’s what so many other parents are doing so you’re not alone in this.

And to, there is nothing wrong with you.

Your brain is actually working, like it should.

And your brains job is to always be looking out for danger.


You know, if you become more aware of this, how many times it comes up in a day that you get the idea that something might be dangerous?

Iris, you know you hear a noise you think you know somebody could be outside of your house, you’re getting ready to go to the grocery store and you think, you know, something could happen on the way to the store or when you’re getting ready to fly on an airplane or when there’s a huge storm, you know, you just never really know like anything could happen at any time, where, you know, really I actually always in constant danger.


We just choose to believe that we’re not and so, The difference is in the sewer situation is so highly emotional that that fear gets a lot of traction and our brain thinks that it’s really important and so it presents it to us over and over and over again.


And so instead of us living in, you know, it being a possibility.

We live it over and over again, all day every day, and it just becomes a part of our reality to be living, our child’s death over, and over picturing it thinking about it.


Just going through being stuck in this vicious thought Loop about it.

And this takes us, you know, from possible Devastation to all day, everyday, Devastation?

And that’s no way to live.

It keeps us In that fight or flight mode?


You know, I’m just talking about it and I can see my brain is changing.

I’m talking faster, you know, our breathing gets shallow, our heart start beating fast, and we’re just full of anxiety.

And since our brain is in constant contact with our body to see what’s going on and to try and keep the current state of being when, you know, you’re feeling that anxiety and your, you know, Brain checks in with your body, like, hey, what’s going on down there?


Brings out your body’s.

Like, there’s a lot of anxiety happening here and the brains, like, Oh, we must be in Danger.

Let’s start thinking more thoughts about that danger.

And so, it’s just this vicious cycle.

And we work in a thought, think feel at psycho.


So, we have this thought that something’s wrong our child is going to overdose and die.

Then we feel anxiety.

Our body reacts to that anxiety, you know, we have that, you know, the clenching in our stomach or for me, I’ll feel it around my heart and, you know, we just have more than we have more fear producing thoughts about it and we feel more anxiety.


And next thing, you know, you’re just paralyzed with fear about a thought that you had.

So now our brains on autopilot, we aren’t directing our thoughts.

We aren’t in control of what’s Happening.

We’re just living in this possibility.


We’re outside of our current reality, we’re not in the moment at all.

So this process has to be disrupted intentionally.

So the next time this happens, I want you to take these three steps, I’m about to tell you and the first step is to just breathe, which sounds, you know, silly.


As you’re breathing right now but I want you to breathe very intentionally.

Taking full deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling.

And then, you know, you need to be someplace where you’re sitting down for this.


Not where you’re driving.

Don’t Close Your Eyes if you’re driving.

But if you’re somewhere, you know, you can just do the breathing exercise while you’re driving.

But if you’re somewhere that you can just sit down and totally relax and tune everything else out, close your eyes.

And feel into your body, feel all of the sensations in your body and listen to all the noises that are going on around you and keep focusing on your breath.


And when I’m doing that, I like to count.

So I’ll start at like five and I’ll inhale for a count of five.

And then I’ll exhale for a count of five.

And then the next time, all inhale, And exhale for six and then I got up to seven eight, nine as high as I can go and then I work my way back down and by the time I’m done with that I have usually really calmed down and I’m very in the present moment and that’s where you’ve got to be.


You’ve got to be in your present reality.

Instead of this vicious thought Loop of something that may or may not ever happen.

Even so this will also help bring your emotions down so that you can access the thinking part of your brain.


So the second step is to use that thinking part of your brain and ask yourself questions.

Questions disrupt – thought Loops they disrupt that autopilot, that’s causing so much pain and it engages your prefrontal cortex.


So I ask myself questions Ins.

I either write them down and write their my responses or I literally will talk to myself out loud or if I can’t do either of those things.

Then I’ll just think it through quietly inside my mind and some of the questions I might ask myself or like, is what I’m worrying about possible, could she possibly overdose and die?


And yes, it is possible.

Would it be possible?

Even if she wasn’t addicted.


It would still be possible.


I think about it all day every day, if she wasn’t addicted, and the answer is no.


And I know this because I didn’t before addiction came into our lives.

The thought used to come up, but I did not indulge in it, I would just let it pass through me instead of grabbing onto it.


Like, I had been doing since addiction came into our lives.

Another question I would ask is, can I stop it from happening?

Can I stop her from overdosing?

And the Heart answer is, no, I can’t stop it.


Another question is, can I make it easier on myself?

You know, how can I help myself in this situation?

Yes, I can make it easier on myself.

I can stop living one of my worst nightmares day in and day out and stop indulging in constant thoughts about it.


Is worrying about it.

Helping anything.

Is it serving me?

And the answer is no it’s not.

If my daughter was to die no matter how she dies, it’s going to be devastating and worrying about it.


Every day is not going to make it less devastating.

It is not going to keep it from happening.

It is just going to torture us.

All day everyday.


And that’s the important thing to know here is that is not going to stop anything.

It is not going to make anything better.

It is only going to make things worse.

By thinking about it all day every day.


So step three is intentional thought creation.

I choose to think in this moment again, remember, we’re in the present moment.

I’m okay.

Nothing has happened.


I’m safe.

I’m seeing these things to myself.

Reassuring myself, keeping myself in this reality.

Creating these intentional thoughts because our brains, you know, when we get on autopilot we think thoughts that we don’t even realize that we’re thinking.


So now I’m in, planting new thoughts intentionally over and over again.

That I am safe.

I am.

Okay, nothing has happened. and then I go into thinking in this moment, my daughter is okay, she is safe, she is alive because the truth is that’s what I choose to believe if I don’t know otherwise in choosing to believe that.


And then finding out later, that’s not true is again, still not going to hurt anything believing that she’s not, whether I know or not is not helping anything.

It doesn’t make me able to help anyone else either.


So, just remember that in this moment.

You’re okay, your child’s.

Okay, everyone is safe.


That’s our present reality.


And indulging in this thinking of the worst case scenario all day, everyday is only hurting you and probably hurting your relationship with your child as well.


You know, when I had to hear from my daughter every day that she was, okay, that just made me, you know, needy creepy and weird.

Like I was just constantly needing her reassurance constantly needing her to make me feel better.


It didn’t feel good.

I didn’t like feeling, so out of control.

And the most important thing that I learned, and all of this, is that all the relief that I needed, It was inside of me.

That’s where all of my relief comes from when it comes to dealing with my daughter’s addiction.


When it comes to dealing with my fears, all of the relief is inside of me because until I cultivate that skill which is like building a muscle in the gym.

When you’re lifting weights, it takes practice, you have to work at it, you have to do these things over and over again until they become a It just like it’s a habit to think these thoughts over and over again, we have to create that skill to give ourself relief.


That’s the answer to all this.

That’s how we help ourselves.

As long as we’re dependent on everybody else to make us feel better.

We’re completely powerless in our lives, were overwhelmed were full of fear were full of guilt, were full of shame, or living, you know, just in paralyzed with fear.


But once we get our learn to provide our own relief, then we experience this shift where suddenly we are in control of Our Lives.

Again, we can start living with, you know, creating some happiness.


Again, being an example of the life that we want our kids to live, you know.

We don’t know how long a diction is going to last.

It’s a marathon, it’s not a Sprint and we need to take care of ourselves so that we can have some quality of life for as long as their addiction lasts.


And chances are that even if sobriety comes, it’s not going to fully Brew bring relief.

There’s still going to be fears with sobriety, you’re still going to feel like you’re not doing it right, you’re still gonna want them to do different things.



And so this will serve you learning to give yourself.

The relief will serve you in every area of your life.

So keep practicing these three steps.

I promise you that it will bring relief because it was brings relief.


To me, it’s helped my clients, it’s help.

You know, people who even aren’t my clients that I just shared it with but remember those three steps breathe?

Bring yourself into the present moment.

Ask yourself questions to disrupt, the thought Loop, and then create intentional questions that you want your brain to think over and over again.


So, that’s all I have on this today and I will be back next week with another topic.

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.

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