Episode 31 Recovery Coaching & What It’s Like To Work With A Coach

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Episode 31 Recovery Coaching & What It's Like To Work With A Coach

Guest Colleen Kachmann and I discuss what it’s like to work with a coach and how she helps people with her recovery coaching.

In this episode we discuss:

Why telling people what actions to take doesn’t work long term.

Her work with a recovery coach after she quit drinking.

The difference between therapy and coaching and how they complement each other.

The power of investing in yourself.

Some misunderstandings about addiction.

What it’s like to work with her as a recovery coach.

If you want to get in touch with Colleen https://colleenkachmann.com


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


For additional resources:

GROUP COACHING PROGRAM –  Peace of Mind Group for moms

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

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

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

Link to my free Facebook group for parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction


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


This transcript has not been formatted or edited.

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

Okay. I was not expecting that. Hey everybody. I am recording with a guest today on zoom. And when I hit record, it said this meeting is being recorded. So you might even hear that at the beginning. So, as I said, I have a guest on today. Um, her name’s Colleen and she is a life health and recovery coach. And we met on Instagram, which

I feel like I’m meeting more and more people on Instagram lately, which is funny because I was so resistant to getting on there initially, but you know, we just started talking as women who both have a coaching business and next thing you know, I’m her coach. And it was unexpected because she didn’t have a child struggling with addiction. And, but I’ve loved working with her because it’s been really fun to watch.

how much you really dig into making changes. Like you don’t mess around. If something is not working in your life, then you go after it and fix it. And I love working with clients like that because it’s a fast pace. And so we’re gonna talk about two things today. One of those things is what it’s like to work with a coach one-on-one.

getting that perspective. And the other thing is Colleen’s work as a recovery coach. And I want to talk about that because recovery coaching has been around for a little while, but not everybody understands how it works or what it’s about. And I love bringing new options to people. So I want to share that with the audience. But before we get started, you want to introduce yourself, Colleen? Well, um,

I’m Colleen Cashman and I am 47 years old. I am a life health and recovery coach, like you said. I started as a health coach because I went vegan, which I don’t use that word anymore, but I love cooking. And so I started kind of in plant-based nutrition and then, you know, recipes and cooking classes and all of that.

And then after my own journey into sobriety, I just found the whole recovery and broader scope of life coaching to be transformative for me. And then also working with my clients too. I didn’t feel like I was changing the world with the vegetable thing, even though that’s so important. And I still do it.

that’s kind of like my side hustle now where I just add value to the clients I am working with. Like, oh, and oh, you want to make your own sourdough bread? Well, I can do that. Or you need dairy sauces for plant-based food instead of, you know, the milk and butter. Then I can work with that. So I like doing a lot of things, but I am really enjoying the life and the recovery coaching.

Yeah. I mean, you’ve even helped me with a couple of recipes because I’m trying to change my diet since my diagnosis and just trying to be healthier in general. So, I mean, I love watching your videos and.

because it can be overwhelming and daunting to make big changes like that. And you make it look so easy. Well, and you’ve discovered my secret evil plan. Being your client, that’s actually my roundabout way of getting you to switch over to the light side with all the current stuff. It’s a long, expensive process to convert people, but I do my best. It’s working.

for, you know, before I started working with a coach, I actually appreciated hearing a little bit about what it was like. And so for people who are listening that have never worked with a coach before, can you give some of what your experience with being coach has been like? Sure. And I’ll start with acknowledging first, the doctors and many therapists I’ve seen in my life, because coaching, like you’re speaking of, it’s new.

So, you know, I’ve gone to doctors and therapists my entire life, and I’ve been given a lot of medication and a lot of advice. Some of it was helpful, some of it wasn’t. And with therapists and counselors, you know, I’ve done deep dives into my childhood and my relationships and various traumas because I’m always trying to understand and overcome my own health challenges.

And to be quite honest, I was bulimic for 20 years. I thought that, you know, that was a teenage thing, but I’m still 35 years old and struggling with it. That was a long haul. I’ve been suffered with various degrees at times in my life with depression and anxiety. And then, you know, I did overcome alcohol use disorder.

So like I said, I’ve been given lots of medication and lots of advice, and I’ve always tried to attack my dysfunctional behaviors using that advice, whether it be throwing up my food or drinking too much. And I try to do what I can do, you know, with diet and exercise and mindfulness and yoga, but also seeking the help of qualified professionals. I think we all kind of have this sense that someone out there has our answers.

But honestly, for all the money I’ve spent on healthcare, you’d think I wouldn’t have had so many problems. And as I look back, I’ve kind of got a working hypothesis. And I talk about this in the book that I wrote and published, Life Off the Label, that the more healthcare you get, the more you kind of need. Because to this day, every time I go to the doctor, I’m given

prescription for medication. I don’t care if it’s antibiotics. I’m offered an antidepressant, or depressant. I mean, it’s like appetizers at a party. I mean, I can always walk out with, you know, and I refuse, but you know, I’m always offered drugs because that’s kind of our approach in this society that, you know, something’s wrong. There’s a pill that can fix that. And for a long time, I carried the belief that something was wrong with me and that I needed somebody out there.

to fix me or a pill to fix me. But I learned the long hard way up the wrong mountain that it really doesn’t work. So what I’ve learned through my own evolution is that ultimately when we’ve got a problem that’s caused by our thoughts and our behaviors that only new thoughts and behaviors can help fix that. And there’s always other things that can be going on. But when a thought and a behavior is an issue,

That’s where coaching comes in. So before I became a coach, I was a teacher. And I was a teacher from the time I was a little girl holding class for my stuffed animals. I’ve always loved playing teacher and being a teacher. Out of college, I taught high school biology and chemistry and botany. And then I moved into nutrition. I started teaching exercise and yoga classes. And then

more into cooking and herbal remedies and all that. But the more I tried teaching people to transform their lives and the more that required them to change, the more I realized that giving people information does not lead to transformation. And that was true in my own life. I ended up feeling like I was passing out band-aids, even though I knew so much and I could help so many people.

The guidance I offered with all the motivation and enthusiasm that I have just did not transfer. And when I’d follow up with people or clients or friends and family, years later they were still stuck in the same stories with the same patterns of behavior and I got real discouraged. I felt like I was wasting my time and my energy.

And so one day I started looking for a better way and I kid you not, I decided on my own that I wanted to be a coach. And I Googled health coach because I thought, oh my God, I’ve just come up with this groundbreaking concept. Turns out it’s a thing already. And so when I Googled it, I found certification programs and that’s when I enrolled right away into a coaching certification.

And that challenged everything I thought I knew about helping people. I learned why telling people what to do without any context to their existing beliefs, their home environment, their relationships, their values and strengths and what they want. Telling people what to do does not work because, and this is what we learn in coaching, people believe what they already think.

Even if cognitively they understand there’s something illogical and they know it’s not working, when it comes to lifestyle, the expert model, which is our doctors and our teachers and our healthcare workers and all the people we go to for advice, that expert model is akin to giving somebody your own eyeglass prescription and expecting them to be able to see. It just really, really works. And so I became a coach.

and the strategies that we’ve been taught and that I experienced then had a massive impact on my ability when I worked with people. And so consequently, I wanted to know more and get even better because as you know, coaching is a skillset. I mean, our first instinct is to just tell people, oh, there’s your problem, here’s your solution. So after my initial certification, I went right into a master’s degree.

And then from there, I’ve gone on and earned multiple specialty certifications. So there’s so many things that you said there that were good that I want to touch on. And one of them is that feeling like something is wrong with us. And so we go to the doctor and then we get a pill that addresses the symptom, but it doesn’t really get to the root cause of what

we were dealing with. And I mean, I’ve done that too. Like I’ve been on antidepressants a couple of different times, but it really, they just made me feel very numb. And it just, I can remember being also nervous though, about not taking them anymore, you know, I, but I went through the process of getting off them. And it was actually once I had started working with a coach.

kind of gave me the confidence in my skill set to be able to do that, to try a different route. But before that, honestly, like, I didn’t know what else there was to do. And not to say that some people don’t have specific brain chemistry issues that they need help with, but that was not my case. I just didn’t know any alternative that literally that it could just be as easy as changing my thoughts would act.

would change my life. So it’s did the same things that you did. I went to all the doctors, all the different people and nobody ever really. Nothing ever really made things actually better. And then you think about like now me with having breast cancer, like I have all these different doctors and I am very careful about what you said. Something about like the more you go to the doctor, the more you’re going to go to the doctor, which is.

easy to get caught up in with breast cancer. And so I’ve had to have, I’m so glad actually that I have the discernment now to really kind of drive my care because as I’m listening to you talk about that, I’m like, yeah, if you don’t have the tools, then you can, it is so easy to get caught up in that system of always thinking something’s wrong with you and never being able to really get the real solutions. So.

What initially attracted you to working with a coach? Well, to be honest, I had never, I was a coach before I worked with a coach outside of coaching. I mean, obviously in coaching, we coach each other and that’s how we learn. But I never sought outside of that help with a coach. So the first time I did seek help,

um, or support, I guess would be a better term for coaching is after I quit drinking. And I had, you know, one day I had just made the decision, this is not working. It’s a problem. I feel like I’m losing control. Um, and so I had quit drinking, but I wasn’t thriving. I felt more like I had kind of pulled my car over off on the side of the road and I wasn’t sure how to get going again. It was, it was a little, I felt stunned to be perfectly honest. I was so happy

that I was doing it and it felt so good to be free of alcohol and that cycle, but I wasn’t thriving, like I said. And I was spending a lot of time in my head going over the past and trying to figure out what had happened. I mean, why, how did I become addicted to alcohol? I’m a, you know, vegan extraordinaire and I teach yoga. Like, how could that have happened to me? I always thought of myself as a responsible drinker,

I drank regularly, but I didn’t think that I was abusing alcohol. So I was trying to figure all that out. And in that, I did see a therapist for a few months. But then I got real sick of navel gazing and talking about the past and writing in my journal and all the things that are necessary. I just needed something more. And so I knew if I wanted to move forward and really reconnect with my purpose, I needed a coach.

Um, so I, this is before you, I signed up for an eight week package with a recovery coach, somebody that kind of specializes in, you know, early sobriety. And, uh, I got him on a podcast that I listened to and it was great. Those eight weeks, I made huge progress. He really helped me identify the fears and the limiting beliefs that were holding me back and he gave me accountability, which is huge and guidance.

So I was able to move into action. And then I got into action and started, you know, trying to get my coaching business going again, switching from plant-based nutrition into recovery. And I wanted more support. And by then having seen how powerful those eight weeks were, that was when you and I connected and I was…

I’m like, I’ll have whatever you’re selling. Like even if I have to, you know, I don’t have a kid that’s addicted. Thank God that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Mine are still transitioning into adulthood. They’ve got lots of time, but, um, I just really liked the way you kind of approached problems from listening to your podcast and from you and I talking. And that was it. I was like, please take me. It’s interesting how, and this was my story too, that it takes.

desperation for us to get to coaching. Like I wish that we, you know, and maybe as more coaches come out in the world and more people like you and I talk about it, that it won’t be a plate approach from a place of desperation. Like people will, more people will come to it from a place of just empowerment and wanting to do better with their lives. But unfortunately, I think that’s the case that so many people have to be desperate enough to try it.

And that’s, you know, if I can, if I can share, you know, when I came to you, I was desperate and we, I did your 12 week package. And then I really had to make a decision when I renewed with you because you had, we together had moved me to a really good place. So I didn’t feel like I needed coaching, but I feel like something clicked in my head and now I notice, you know, we’re only meet, you and I are only meeting.

every other week instead of every week. And it’s kind of just like emotional hygiene. It’s just flushing the toilet. And so I noticed that when I bring a problem to you, it’s a lot less smaller. It’s a lot smaller. Like sometimes I feel like, well, why you gotta bring that up? Well, because I’m paying you to help me work through this. And so I’m finding that my bottom has come way up because I work with you regularly, even though I don’t have…

a crisis or, you know, I’m not actively needing specific direction. You and I, I just bring whatever’s going on in my life. We work through it and I’m better because of it. So I’m sold. I will always have a regular coach on my support team. I think it’s like going to the gym or having a personal trainer or something like that, just to help to keep you like, yeah, you said like just that regular, that hygiene of.

And I like the term raising the bottom too, because we, if we let things build up, they just get so overwhelming. And that’s why I’m always connected with somebody too, whether it be a coach or a counselor. Sometimes I, you know, go off into energy healing or something like that for a while. And then I come back to it, but I always have some kind of support team around me because I just, it’s become a way of life for me now.

But for you, like, what do you think is the difference between therapy and coaching and do they compliment each other? Oh, well, first of all, yeah, they do. You know, I’ve worked with a lot of therapists over the years. I, like I said, I’m kind of new to getting coached myself just in the last couple of years. In general, therapists have helped me unpack childhood issues. You know, I remember going for a year dealing with my mom.

in therapy and now when stuff comes up, I’m like, I don’t have mommy issues anymore. I worked those out in my thirties and I did. Therapy was really helpful. Anytime I’m dealing with a relationship or behavior, sometimes therapy is good. And therapist have helped me to understand why I am the way I am, from my nuclear family and behaviors that I was taught and beliefs and all that.

And that can really help me cope with emotional issues. I think coaching though, and therapy absolutely do compliment each other and they’re not the same at all. Therapists kind of help you in my understanding, they help you deal from the past, heal, deal, all that stuff. And very importantly, like you brought up earlier, they can help with mental health issues. You know, I’ve taken medications throughout my life and I’m not saying I’ll never need them again.

So, you know, they have a lot more knowledge and their scope of practice includes diagnosing and treating mental health, whereas we don’t have that scope of practice. And, you know, I’ve started with clients who’ve come to me for coaching, I’m sure you have too, and we’re not making any progress. And often that’s because they’ve got some unresolved stuff that they need, you know, more of a medical professional to help them.

And then they can come back into coaching where, you know, we’re focused on taking action. So, um, as coaches, you know, we, we are ready to, we work with clients who are ready to figure out where they want to go and how they want to get there. Um, and we leave the other stuff to, you know, the licensed professionals. Yeah. For me, a big difference was that.

I had been going to counseling for a really long time before I found coaching, but it was just kind of like letting the steam off. I wasn’t really able to kind of make big changes until I found coaching. And it was interesting that, I mean, I still have the same counselor, so it wasn’t

I was like, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to do that.

I had to have this other level of really understanding myself. And it was like, once I understood why I was doing what I was doing, then all of a sudden the counseling took off and I was able to really start looking into, I didn’t even really think I had any issues, which I know sounds crazy because I know exactly what they are today and who doesn’t like every human does. But.

That’s like, I was just living in denial of everything. I couldn’t crack that open until I had coaching. So I think that they really compliment each other too. And now I learned so much more in counseling than I ever did. So I think that they really do complimenting each other. They just are different. And I agree with you that coaching is more working on your future and counseling helps you like resolve your past.

So what surprised you the most about working with a coach?

Um, gosh, just how darn effective it is when you’re ready, you know, I must admit that working with you on those intentional, I don’t know if you call them intentional or unintentional, whatever those thought model things have allowed me to completely level up in my personal relationships in my life. I really feel like I’ve evolved. You know, I truly understand that my thoughts are creating reality and that nothing is true unless I believe it.

And you know, that’s the difference with therapists. You know, they kind of believe all the bullshit you say, and they take it and you’re like, maybe you should tell me that’s not true. But you know, I truly understand my thoughts create my reality. And you and I have worked on some pretty serious thoughts. Like I want a divorce. My thoughts have included, there’s something seriously wrong with me, either my mental or physical health. And the fact,

I now understand that those are just thoughts and not facts and that I can question them is huge. And I’m not going to lie. It’s, you know, you said earlier, it’s just so easy to, all you have to do is change your thoughts. No, that’s the hardest, hardest thing to do, especially if you’ve never done it or don’t have a lot of practice. But I think it’s getting easy over time. You know, once you get it, you kind of get it.

And now I know that if I can just get the thought that I don’t like out of my head, if I can identify it, write it down on paper and just bring it to you and be like, I don’t know what to do with this, this is big and bad, that you helped me find an alternative. And I’m even now doing it on my own. Last week, I was super busy feeling bad about myself because I haven’t been exercising like I normally do. I’ve been working a lot and going to either hot yoga or the gym for,

an hour, you know, that’s multiple hours by the time you factor in hair and makeup and all of that sort of thing. And right now that’s just not fitting with my goals. Um, that other goals that I’m working on. And so I had dismissed that the easy, easy and obvious solution as a runner would be to just go run outside by myself. And I was dismissing that I caught the thought and it was, I can’t do that because my dog gets upset when I leave. I was not going running.

because my brain was telling me, well, if I did, my dog would be upset. So, oh my gosh, when I realized I heard the thought and I caught it and I was like, whoa, and I just, I literally laughed. And so I quickly then once I realized that thought’s not even true, my dog, she, she doesn’t care. So I started running for 15 or 20 minutes real fast and then coming back and taking my dog for a walk and.

It’s quick and easy and no dog is harmed in the process of that workout. So it’s just funny because it, I, I was just letting that subconscious thought that, well, I would run, but I can’t cause of my dog. Really? You can’t. Is that really true? No, it’s not. That I think is so funny about the dog because I’m the same way with my dogs. I will. And one of my dogs is having a bad dream right now. That’s.

I was trying to come for him while you were talking. But I will do the same thing. I’ll think like, I need to go home. I’ve been gone for two hours. My dogs are probably upset. Where does this thinking come from? Yeah.

It cracks me up, but I’m so grateful that I can identify it. And you’re really good at identity. Like you always come to a session with this is the thought that’s the problem every time, so we don’t even have to go through the process of figuring out the problem, what the pain point is. So it makes it easier and more efficient, but just knowing that makes it so much easier to solve.

You know, the things that come up day to day and realizing just the way that we think about ourselves unintentionally is pretty nasty sometimes, and we are so hard on ourselves. And I think that that’s another, a huge part of what coaching has given me. Like I was, I’m working on my podcast. It’s going to, well, it will have already come out when people hear this. About love today and you know, approaching things from love.

And coaching really gave me that perspective too, and helped me to understand that, like having love and compassion for myself and others in a way that nobody had ever really taught me before. So, and the other thing about coaching is, it’s an investment. It’s not like going to a counselor where you can, you know, you just have to pay a co-pay, you have to invest in a coaching package. And that was something that took a little bit.

of getting used to for me, I had never invested in myself that way other than honestly just like college. That was, and that’s common. Like you’re where I went to, I went to school in New York and that was all you heard was go to college, go to college, go to college. So it was just what you do. It didn’t, didn’t feel bad to me to spend money on that, but I had to work on investing in myself with coaching. So what do you think about that? Like how did you work through that?

Well, I mean, you’re right. And that’s probably why even as a coach, I didn’t jump right into coaching because it does feel like an investment. But I’ve learned there can be no return on investment if there’s no investment. And I’ve learned this by working with clients for free, which many of us coaches out of the gate, when we’re studying to be coaches, we start…

in that way. And we feel guilty taking money for our valuable time that we’ve also invested to become educated and skilled. And we feel guilty about that. And so because people can’t pay with insurance and you know, our just our cultural beliefs, I love what you said, it felt okay to spend money on education. It doesn’t feel as good to spend money on, you know,

emotional hygiene, you know, talking about your dog doesn’t want you to go running. But I think it trickles into so much more power that it truly is an investment. I know that working with you has directly impact my business. I’m going to say, and we’ll talk about this in a minute, but it’s cost me to not have to get a divorce. I mean, you know, you can’t measure the cost of all the prevention that having solid mental health and support is giving you.

So, you know, and I’ve, I even if you can find somebody that’s, you know, free or less expensive, I’ve found that even though I’ve show up to those client calls with great intentions and they show up respecting me, my time, the results just aren’t there. And, you know, when I look at my own life, I can see why, because I’ve never gotten very far on free or super cheap advice either. We just don’t assign it the proper value

When you work with a coach, you have to bring your own energy and accountability and a sense of integrity. The coach can’t do the work for you. It’s hard to change your thoughts. So if you’re not vested in that process, then it’s, the results just aren’t gonna be there. And what I’ve also learned from working with a therapist also, since I’ve worked with the coach, I’ve learned how and I show up differently.

And it really doesn’t matter that much, you know, what the coach’s strategy is. Every coach has a unique strategy. And let’s be honest, some are better than others, just like there’s better doctors and better therapists. Yeah. You know, it’s not always reflective of their price or even their education. Everybody’s different in how you connect with those people are all gonna be different. So, you know, when you’re looking for a coach, you just have to find somebody like…

I did with you, you resonated with me. And I looked into you, you’re qualified, you’re experienced, boom, you’re hired. And even though you specialize in helping parents of addicted children, somehow you were a perfect fit for me. And so the results that I get from our sessions though, they’re not just coming from you, it’s how I show up. I pay you, but I’m investing in myself.

Yeah, I totally agree. Um, and this just came to me as I was listening to you talk was, you know, I shared earlier that my counseling wasn’t that great initially, and that’s because I wasn’t invested. I actually pay who cares. Right. Yeah. I think mine was mine’s ridiculously low. It’s only $15. So I, I had to actually be coached on that.

I had to be coached on being invested in myself. And so that was one of the big transformations too. Like the initial just like signing up for a group coaching program initially. And like that was part of the initial transformation was just I’d never done anything like that for myself before. And then when I signed up for coach training, you know that’s an $18,000 investment. I had to be, I was actually really excited

about making that investment in myself. It actually felt really good. And then I started that opened the door for all these other things that I do for myself, like energy healing and sound baths and all of that stuff that really is an important part of my quality of life. But it is true that even though you’re paying me, you’re investing in yourself. That’s…

That’s the first part of the transformation. I think of working with a coach is that initial investment in yourself. And it should feel good. Even though you’re a little scared, it’s like buying a house or a car or something. You’re a little bit scared. You’re a little bit nervous, like, Oh my gosh, what am I getting myself into? But you’re also really excited about it. And so it’s, it’s a fun feeling. Yeah. So the last question about this is like, what are some of the results that coaching has created in your life?

Well, like I said, coaching is way more paid for itself many, many times over. And so, you know, I don’t mind getting personal, you know my story and I’m not ashamed of it. When I quit drinking, I primarily did so because I was really unhappy in my marriage and I thought that I needed to get a divorce. I thought I was looking at divorce number two. And I didn’t want to quit, or I didn’t want my husband to…

point to my drinking and say that it was all my fault. You know, I did know that my alcohol was a problem, but ultimately I felt that our relationship was the problem and quite specifically, I thought he was the problem. But after I’d been sober for a while and did the work with my first coach and then started with you, I was able to separate my feelings and my thoughts from the actual circumstance. And whoa, like,

But without even directly working on my marriage in all of these coaching sessions, I was able to see how my own codependent behaviors were creating a lot of my problems. You know, at one point I was crying at my husband and accusing him of not caring about any of my needs. He doesn’t know what they are, he doesn’t care, he doesn’t show up. And it was at a time when he was like listening to me,

And he said, okay, I hear you. What needs am I not meeting? Like, how can I be a better husband? Well, and then I just started crying harder because I realized I could not answer that question. I mean, well played. He said, what needs do you have? I could not name one. I had no concept of what my needs were. I just felt like my needs weren’t being met. But in the end,

I was neglecting my own needs. And so as I started making self-care a priority, which sounds so like, woohoo, you know, I mean, we think of self-care as pedicures and Prosecco’s and did you shower and do your hair, you know, it is so beyond that. But I started making self-care a priority and learned how to put boundaries into place, which…

I had never done. And he started responding to those boundaries because I did it in a loving caring, thoughtful way. And I stopped resenting him. I slowly changed the rules in our relationship and he responded. He didn’t have any drama. He was like, okay, so I guess, you know, you’re not going to do that for me anymore. And I was like, yeah, no. And so then as I move forward, every time I found myself angry at him,

I used it as an invitation to dig into myself. And seriously, like, I’m still shocked. 90 plus percent of my crap that I was angry at him about was ultimately on me. You know, there were things that I had agreed to that I didn’t really agree with. You know, I wasn’t being honest about my own opinions and, you know, unknown needs. You know, he and I have seven children together. He’s my second husband.

I have four, he has three, and he’s a busy surgeon. And when we moved in together and blended our families, I took on way more than I could chew, or quite honestly, anybody could chew. I used to joke that I signed up to be Mrs. Brady, but I actually was cast in the role of Alice. I’m going around with the vacuum cleaner and doing security all night long with teenagers. And it was just crazy, and I completely lost myself.

And then, you know, once I started being honest with what I’m okay with and what I’m not and what I need in terms of time and sleep and space and support, then our relationship completely shifted. The passive aggressiveness going both ways changed. You know, you change it. We all, I think, pay homage to the fact that you can only change yourself. And if you change yourself, the whole system change.

But I’m kind of shocked at how amazing, I mean, I thought I was getting a divorce. I moved out of our bedroom, I moved into the guest room, I started looking at houses, this is happening. But slowly we started communicating. And now for the first time since we’ve gotten together, it’s been probably six months now, we both have respect for my boundaries. He’s real good with his boundaries and I never had them before. So.

I firmly believe I know that I would be divorced right now if it wasn’t for coaching. And you know what? I would have been fine. I would have, that would have been my journey and my story, but I still would have had to figure out all this crap on my own or worse with a new partner. And I’m really glad I got to skip that part. I’m really grateful that my current husband is willing to work with me through all of this.

And I don’t want to oversell this, you know, he’s had to grow and change, but he’s been willing to. It takes two to suck the fun out of the dysfunctional situation and we’re still working on it, but gosh, we’re doing better. We like each other again. And I just feel comfortable and confident that, you know, we can communicate and work through any conflicts that come up.

So, you know, and it’s coaching that gives me the tools to stay the course because I bring my little issues to you and I session and I work through them. And sometimes it requires me to have a conversation with my husband. And usually it doesn’t usually is just me. I love the power of owning that though, because it really is so powerful that.

Like he doesn’t even have to know that most of those stuff happened, right? Like he never even has to know that all that that was going on when before he would have had to know because it was him and he had to fix it. And that’s that powerlessness that we get stuck in. And this I want to point out is literally every marriage. Yeah. You know, and it’s parts of it are very similar to even the parent child relationship with feeling that.

they are the problem in that they have to change. And that, you know, as you pointed out, one person can change. And you said that your husband also responded and changed too. But I think that part of that was you creating a safe space for him to do that. Well, and creating and being okay with him not being okay. You know, the…

Um, I get up really early and I’m hitting the ground running at 7am. When he works all week and doesn’t sleep, he needs to sleep in. So Sunday we’re at the lake and I’m up at seven doing all the things that need to be done. He gets up at noon or one as he deserves and needs. He finally gets rolling. Well, by seven o’clock at night, I’m ready to sit down. I’m done. And he’s kind of just getting going. And then I feel guilty.

that I’m gonna sit down and not continue to help. And he’s not making me feel that way. I’m just feeling that way. And then what I would have done passive aggressively, well, first of all, you shouldn’t be doing this. We can do this next weekend. And then making excuses at like, it’s all about the way I feel. So now like Sunday night, I sat down when I was done and I said, I’m done for the day and I need to go to bed early. And then I noticed that I was a little uncomfortable with that.

I noticed that he was a little, little judgy and I just let it be. Like if he wants to think I’m lazy, that’s not any of my business, you know? And so I’ve just learned how to set the boundary and then deal with my own discomfort on my side of the street and let him, if he wants to be mad or whatever, but not engage or react. Like I can give them a minute.

you can get through that. And I don’t need to explain or ask for his approval or understanding to set my own boundary. And that has been the most powerful shift that I think I’ve come to since I’ve been working with you. Yes, and it’s so beautiful that once you really understand yourself, you can really understand somebody else. Like if you don’t understand…

you’re thinking that it’s them, but you’re not understanding that, oh, I’m feeling guilty right now because he’s working and I’m tired, but I’m just gonna sit with this discomfort, then you think it’s them. And then you can’t even think through, well, it’s okay for him to feel discomfort that I’m going to sleep early because that’s similar to what I was feeling earlier with him, you know? But if you don’t understand that, it’s just.

always outside of you. And I love the way that creates space for us to just be who we are and let be okay with a little bit of discomfort. Like that’s really all it boils down to most of the time. So yeah, great, great examples. I love all those examples because they’re really like so many people were related to that. That’s like every marriage, I think. And like some of the things that people fight about that they just don’t have to fight about. It can be so

So much less drama, so easy. So now that we’ve talked about your experience being coached, I want to flip over and talk to you about recovery coaching because I know that some of the more progressive rehabs are using it, but I don’t think people really have heard of it much. I know that I hadn’t heard about it until I actually started, until probably maybe the last year, I started meeting a lot of recovery coaches. But before that, I really didn’t know much about it.

But I was open-minded to it right away. Cause I know about coaching and I thought like I would fully support my daughter if she wanted to do it because I want her to learn the power of her mind and her inner wisdom and how she can heal herself. And I know that that’s what coaching gives people. Cause that’s what it gave me as well. And what I see it do for my clients. And.

I want her to be able to use her brain as a tool. So I would totally support it. But for the parents who don’t really understand how recovery coaching works, I want them to get the chance to just at least be exposed to it if it ever comes up in their life. So can you give us like a high level overview of recovery with a coach versus AA or counseling? Well, first, let me be clear that coaching, it doesn’t have to be either or.

coaching can absolutely enhance both AA and counseling. I mean, the more tools you have access to, the better. You know, as we’ve talked about, I think you need a coach before you go to a therapist so you can listen to the therapist and then go back to the coach. I mean, you know, there’s so many different, you know, parts of the process, you know, and so it’s not either or. And if anything, you know, AA can provide community support

that most coaches and counselors don’t. Now there’s group programs out there that are great, but I think of recovery as an expanding process of self-actualization, not just a I’m not drinking alcohol kind of goal. So I don’t think there’s one right way to recover. And I don’t think there’s a set definition of what it includes.

I think recovery should be self-directed, maybe not early in the beginning for some people, but for at some point it needs to be self-directed. And I know from my own experience and with my clients and working with a lot of other people, it’s a patchwork of connections with people and strategies and self-care. And people need to explore the best options.

for them, you know, like I said in the beginning, I can’t give you my prescription eyeglasses and you can now see it just doesn’t work like that. Especially in the beginning, we have to respect not only that we have needs but that those needs change over time. There’s not one way to recover because what’s the alternative? If you don’t do it my way, then you can’t recover.

If AA isn’t for you or stops working or your needs change, then you have to be able to move on. I do think that in early recovery, I know this for myself, it’s very reassuring to just follow somebody else’s blueprint. Just do what you’re told and get through, at least the detox process and maybe those early days. But if…

a recovery program is actually doing its job, people then start to think for themselves and realize they need to add and subtract what else works for them. Personally, I did go to AA meetings for about two weeks and they were super helpful and gave me a lot to think about. But after a few weeks, it’s not a but. And after a few weeks, I was ready to move on. And I decided to look for other groups

better aligned with my personal philosophy and my needs. And I found them. And also in that time, I went to see a therapist, my husband and I actually did some relationship therapy. And I tell you that didn’t work as well as me getting a coach, but whatever. And then I moved into coaching when I was ready to focus on more than just not drinking. I put air quotes around not drinking. That is all you need to worry about in early sobriety and for as long as it takes. But…

when you’re ready to do more than just air quotes, not drink, then you need to look for other avenues of support. I don’t think I need a lot of support right now, but that can change as life happens. Something, my husband could decide he’s sick of me. He’s sick of all my boundaries and he done. And in that case, I might need more. Or you and I talked about hormone changes and all that stuff. I mean, there’s different times in our lives where we need more support.

You know, right now I feel good and I, I can figure out that my dog can wait till I go running, but at this point in my recovery, my only rule is to practice self care, uh, whatever that looks like and whatever I need on any given day. Yeah. And I agree that it’s not either or I love having alternatives and the idea that it can change that, you know, there’s times when we do need more help. Like I.

Like when my daughter has relapsed and I’m dealing with breast cancer, I certainly need more help than when she’s sober or before I was diagnosed or something like everybody’s life is going to have those kinds of events. And I love having multiple options. I spent tons of time going to AA and Al-Anon meetings when my. Daughter was younger when I was married to my first husband. Like I’ve, I’ve went to three or four meetings a week for like five years. And I don’t talk about that a lot, but.

It was this huge part of my life and I learned a lot from it and I’m grateful for it. But coaching transformed my life in a way and gave me a tool to get answers on my own that I never got from those meetings. So I love have that we now have all these different alternatives that there’s not just like one way or the highway, because I think that.

We’re just people, we all need different ways to get help. So I always say that addiction is not the problem. It’s just a symptom of the problem. And I heard you say that as well in your webinar, but I think it’s just a coping mechanism that doesn’t work. So like what tools or coping mechanisms do you focus on with your clients? Well, you know, the biggest one is the one you got from,

that I got from you and be careful with your students because they might come back. This is one that in working with my own clients and hearing myself repeat that addiction is not the problem, it’s just a symptom of the problem. And I got that early in AA and probably that statement comes in a similar vein to you. I think it’s very 12 step philosophy

to quit drinking and then think that you need to dig in and why did you drink? But you’ve taught me well and I’m working with my clients to challenge this and it’s actually pretty cool. Addiction is not the problem, it’s just a symptom. Well, that’s a catchy concept and it’s memorable.

And it also does apply in many contexts, but there’s some contexts where it doesn’t. And let me explain what I’ve worked with, with one client in general, where we kind of got down to this was the belief that was the problem. You referenced my webinar, so you know that I believe alcohol use disorder is a spectrum. I don’t think of it as alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder is also a progressive disease.

I think the caveat, the difference is that if you remove the use, you remove the disorder. Where AA folks talk about, you know, it’s a uncurable disease, you’re gonna have it for the rest of your life, you’re gonna struggle, and that we drink because we have unprocessed trauma. And that most of us stop developing emotionally when we start drinking. That was a big one for me to swallow in those early meetings. I’m like,

All right, you know, I started drinking in college. So all of this time, I thought I was this emotionally intelligent, high functioning, I’m a good mom, I’m a good wife, I’m a good ex-wife, you know, all these things. And now I have to think that because I started drinking around 18, that I’m the equivalent of a dysfunctional 18 year old. You know, that version of recovery, it makes you feel like there’s…

character flaws and moral defects. And all of those things were what led us to drink in the first place. They also teach that if you don’t do this work, this deep emotional work to discover what’s wrong with you, that you’re just a dry drunk. So, you know, I did try that belief on, but it didn’t fit. I grew up in a healthy and happy home.

I do have some little T traumas like many people do. I got bullied in eighth grade. We moved a lot of times because of my dad’s career. People I knew loved, knew and loved, they died. That was hard. But let’s be honest, I’ve been privileged my whole life just with my skin color, my socioeconomic class and my healthy genetics. You know, I bounced back pretty quick.

I did not start drinking because I was traumatized or disenfranchised or a victim in any way. Nonetheless, I did spend some time searching for the root cause of my quote problem. And I even tried to connect it as I shared with my eating disorder. Was I sexually abused at a young age? Well, probably not. My mom didn’t work outside the home. Do I have an underlying mental health disorder? Well, maybe, but

I’m sure doing well right now. You know, so I stopped looking for the source because I learned that most likely I drank because it felt good and it was fun. I mean, duh. And I kept drinking because alcohol is addictive. You know, that’s the problem right there in a nutshell that I have with the AA philosophy.

that we get addicted to substances because there’s something wrong with us when actually it’s quite normal to get addicted to an addictive substance. Look at all the people who smoke, look at all the people, if you’ve ever been in an airport lined up in the back of that Starbucks line, I mean, something’s going on with air. And it sounds like, I mean, only an addict would stand in a Starbucks line for an hour and a half that weaves through two terminals, you know? It’s…

those people that are smoking or drinking coffee, we don’t look at them as addicts, but they’re smoking or drinking because they feel bad if they don’t. Nicotine cravings and caffeine withdrawal makes people agitated. Well, so does alcohol withdrawal. And when I came to understand that regular drinking leaves us with really high levels of stress hormones all the time, our cortisol and adrenaline levels are through the roof because

alcohol or the brain has to counteract the depressant effects of the alcohol. Alcohol depresses us. It slows down our central nervous system and our brain doesn’t want us to get so relaxed. We forget to breathe. So I realized that for the most part, I didn’t drink because I was depressed and anxious in my childhood. I was depressed and anxious because I drank too much. So I really believe that.

while of course there’s other things going on in my life and everybody’s life. And there’s no one root cause to any, chronic lifestyle problem. But ultimately my addiction to alcohol was my primary problem. And quitting drinking and eliminating the alcohol in my life solved the majority of my mental and emotional issues. And it expanded my bandwidth so I could deal with the rest, get a coach and talk to my dog about going running.

So I, I have a lot of similar beliefs in that it’s definitely a spectrum. I probably drank somewhere on that spectrum for sure. At some points in my life. And I had somebody on one time as a guest and she was talking about how, like when some people drink their share their serotonin shoots up. And so those are the people that really like to drink and then other people that

Um, they don’t have that same reaction. Like I’m thinking at some point in my life, I was like that. And now I’m not, but I look at drinking is like, or any other use of like a buffer, like the same as, um, overeating or overspending or gambling or. Overdoing anything like we’re it’s like, uh, just trying to do it so that we don’t have to face whatever’s bothering us.

So it’s similar, like it feels good, like you said, and I think it’s really a different way of the kind of the same similar belief that we do these things because we want to feel better and that’s what makes us feel better. Yeah. And I don’t agree. I agree that I don’t think that everybody who drinks or uses necessarily has a huge trauma, um, but I think some people do as well.

but I think it’s still for everybody underneath, it’s just a coping mechanism. It’s just that some people use cigarettes or Starbucks or overworking or whatever is their coping mechanism. Well, I definitely think that, and I’ll also just look at it from another angle, because I was drinking, I wasn’t coping.

So it’s, you know, was I, which came first, the chicken or the egg? For me, I really believe that because I was drinking, I wasn’t practicing that emotional hygiene. You know, I used to have this saying, well, I’m just gonna drink through it. And yeah, so the longer you drink, the more you’re removed. And when you do quit drinking, the more opportunities you have to dig in, you know, because it becomes a practice to not deal with your feelings.

So I definitely think there’s room from both angles to see that. Yeah. And it’s interesting that we use alcohol to feel better, but it’s really a depressant. So can you talk about how a negative mental state and drinking are related? Oh, you know, I don’t know if I would have even ever gotten addicted to alcohol if I had known what I know now.

You know, we forget that alcohol is a drug. It’s the only drug in our society that we have to justify not using. Why aren’t you drinking? You know, do you have a problem? You know, like what’s going on with you? It’s presumed something is wrong with us if we’re not drinking. But you know, the withdrawal from any drug, alcohol is a drug, is always the equal and opposite reaction to the drug.

So to speak to your point that it makes you feel good, well, alcohol releases two to 10 times the amount of dopamine as normal activities. And that’s probably speaks to some genetics. I do think I had a higher dopamine hit. I felt really good when I drank and other people, they’re like, meh. So, but regardless of how much more, it does stimulate an excess, an unnatural amount of dopamine in the brain.

And because of that excess, the brain stops producing dopamine in response to normal activities. So we don’t get as much pleasure from walking on the beach or reading a book or eating our favorite foods or even having sex. Our brain doesn’t produce dopamine because it knows it’s gonna be getting some. So drinking really stops our joy.

And the other component to that is that when we have really high levels of dopamine, you know, the brain’s always trying to get back to homeostasis. It, it, it, it’s job is to maintain balance. So it releases a neurotransmitter called dynorphin, which I term it the, I don’t give a shit neurotransmitter because it makes you not care. So we not only are not getting the feel good sensations from normal everyday

suddenly kind of feel apathetic. We’re not dealing with our own emotions. We’re not really even having a lot of emotions outside of the anger and the craziness, the emotional chaos, but we listen to other people’s conversations and we’re just bored. And why are you tearing up at that Hallmark commercial? You know, that’s dumb. And so we start judging people. We stop caring about things we used to, and we’re just apathetic. And then the…

The fact that alcohol depresses the central nervous system, this is kind of the third leg of the brain chemistry, because our brain wants us to keep breathing and not get so relaxed that for survival reasons, we don’t succeed, the brain releases the stress hormones, the cortisol and the adrenaline. And so it jacks our stress hormones way up. And the kicker is that those stress hormones last.

far longer than the buzz, you know, the dopamine hit. So it can go on for days. And for somebody that drinks most days like I did, they never return to a normal sense of pleasure, a normal state of calm. And I was a responsible drinker, you know, I wasn’t, but I was drinking a bottle of wine every night, which I guess is not all that responsible, but I didn’t know. But so my, every single day, my stress levels,

were really high. And because I felt stress, I started assigning that stress to people and things going on in my life instead of recognizing that the stress was coming from inside. So I just was in a chronic state of high stress and it felt normal. So I didn’t really realize that. I thought it was all the things in my life that were the problem. And even when I took a night off or people, they only drink mostly on weekends,

there’s still a lot of agitation and apathy because it can take multiple days to withdraw from your last drink. And so that’s why it’s so hard to moderate or cut back because I used to say, well, I’m not gonna drink tonight. And for sure, five o’clock would come and go and I’d handle that like a rock star. But by eight, I really was truly suffering. I was really agitated and didn’t feel good. And ultimately I’d end up caving in.

not because the drink made me feel so good, but because not drinking made me feel bad. And then that becomes a cycle. And as you know, with thought patterns, the more you think of thought, the more it becomes true. So the, I need a drink and a drink will make me feel better. That becomes true. And then the apathy that’s in our brain, I don’t care, this is stupid. I hate you, I wanna divorce. There’s no point in any of this. Those mantras also kind of

infiltrate our reality and we don’t challenge them and we just continue. And so yeah, I mean, I can see beyond any physical effects that alcohol truly compromised my mental health and kind of kept me in a chronic snowball of negative negativity. Yeah, it’s interesting like that changed for me on its own when I.

was used to drink when I was younger and I felt that great high from drinking. And I didn’t really have much of a much consequence from it the next day. But then as I got older, it didn’t feel good when I drank and I felt awful the next day, like the, the withdrawal, the depression, that I would feel like crying all day, it was like having the worst PMS or something. I mean, it was just not worth it to me anymore. And so.

Luckily it was easy for me to just quit altogether before, because there was no reward in it for me anymore. But you’re right too, even just when you don’t drink, it’s so normal for people to drink that people are always asking like why they wanna know why you don’t drink or what’s wrong, or not just that it’s like okay not to just have a drink. So. Yeah.

My favorite line now is, well, I don’t drink laundry detergent or hydrogen peroxide either, you know? It was like, why, why would I drink ethanol? It’s rocket fuel literally like why. Yes, that’s a good one. I’ll try that one next time about the laundry detergent. So I actually have more questions, but I think that we’ve come up with so many good things already, and I think we’re getting to.

long point. I really, really appreciate you sharing everything so openly because I think it really helps people to hear and be able to relate to what they’re going through in their life and then getting this information about recovery coaching maybe for themselves or their kids, you know, if they’re interested in it or something too. So you want to just let people know how they can get ahold of you? The easiest way is my website. I’m Colleen Cashman. That’s complicated.

So I’m going to go ahead and put that in the chat. And then I’m going to go ahead and put that in the chat. And then I

on and share this information today. It’s been fun. Thank you. It’s good to talk to you outside of our little box of my BS. I get to share my BS today too.

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