Episode 41 Interview With My Daughter Helanna Johnson Part 1

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Episode 41 Interview With My Daughter Helanna Johnson Part 1
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This week I got to interview my daughter. You’ve been hearing my experience of her addiction so I think that it’s important to hear what her experience was like. Some of the things we talked about: 

  • What was it like when I looked to you to be ok to make me feel better instead of me being stable for you?
  • What else did I do that wasn’t helpful to you?
  • What did I do that was helpful to you?
  • Is there anything I could have done differently to help you not struggle with addiction?
  • What did you get out of using?
  • What made you want to get sober?
  • What has relapsing taught you?
  • What makes you feel supported in sobriety?

I learned a few new things and had some realizations while listening to her insight and I ended up sharing some things I’ve never shared before.

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Transcript

This transcript has not been formatted or edited.

00:06
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.

00:20
Just a little intro to today’s podcast. First, I wanted to give a little warning that there’s a lot of F-bombs in this episode. One of the things that I absolutely love about my daughter is she shows up as herself no matter what. And I think that was one of the first words out of her mouth responding to one of my questions. So if you’re offended by that or are listening somewhere,

00:49
where other people might hear it and be offended. I just wanted to give a little warning about that because I usually don’t swear in my episodes. And the other thing is we talk about a few things about her using and how she felt about things that might be triggering for some people. So I just wanted to give a little bit of a warning about that and just say that I think that this is a really great episode. I thought…

01:19
I was really proud of my daughter for being so vulnerable. This is the first time that she’s ever shared, you know, and experience her experiences in a public way like this. So I think it was really brave of her to be willing to come on and answer these questions. But she’s got such a kind, helpful heart. And she’s always liked that we’ve been sharing, you know, I’ve been sharing our experience in order to help people. And I think it was time for her to get to do that.

01:48
So here we go. I hope you enjoy listening to me interviewing my daughter. Hey everybody. I have a very special guest today. I have my daughter, Helena here, and I wanted to have her on today because you’ve heard so much of my story and my side of things that I thought it would be great to hear her side of the story.

02:17
and just learn from her experience. We don’t always get to understand what our kids are going through, but she was kind enough to come on here today and let me ask her some questions that will hopefully help you understand what your kids are going through and help you decide.

02:41
which approach is best for you when it comes to supporting your child and what’s best for you and your family. And so I just wanna tell you a little bit about her in case you’re, maybe this is the first podcast of mine that you’ve ever listened to. My daughter, Helana, she’s 21 and she’s living in sober living right now. And we’ve had quite a few ups and downs over the…

03:09
The last what, like six years, I think her, it’s not really positive when things started with her addiction, but she was 14 or 15. I really started noticing things happening when she was about 15. I think that she was able to hide it pretty well before that. So we’ve had quite a few years of going through active addiction. And it’s just been a very gone on a long journey of I think…

03:36
healing together even before she got sober. And over the last 13 months, I think you’ve been living a very different life than you were living before. Even though you haven’t been sober the whole time, you’ve really made huge changes in your life. And what’s funny, so today on Google Photos, it’ll bring up a memory. And this day…

04:05
Last year is the day that we were driving from Oklahoma City to rehab in Houston after you had left. And the pictures that came up were of us taking pictures in the car with me, you and honey. My daughter’s dog is honey. And I thought that was pretty cool that we were doing this podcast exactly one year later on that day.

04:34
I just want to thank you, Helena, for being willing to come on here and share with us today. Yeah, of course. I’m glad to be here. And it’s just, yeah, I’m really glad to be here. Well, first, I want to thank you because I don’t know if you remember this or not. But do you remember me asking you permission to do this niche? I was so nervous to talk to you beforehand because…

05:03
I wasn’t sure if you would understand my intention with it. And we were sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot, the one on Janeway and more. And when I asked you, I was so nervous. Do you remember this? Yes, I do. And I asked you how you felt about me working with parents who had a child struggling with addiction because in order to…

05:30
tell my story, I would have to tell some of yours. And do you remember what you said? Ah, kind of, not really. You tell me what the idea of everything that we had gone through, helping other people. That sounds about right. I mean, I remember what I felt. I didn’t remember exactly what I had said. I was feeling, I was feeling halfway good and halfway not so good about it because at the time, our relationship was not even close to as good as it is now.

06:00
Yeah. And I was like, just hoping to God, like the wrong message did not get spread. And I just wasn’t sure of it yet. But I feel a lot differently now, of course. Yeah. So what do you think about me doing this podcast? I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to sit here like sober today and feeling as comfortable as I do and just hoping that something can come out of this and

06:29
you know, just help other people. Like I’ve just always had a very like helpful heart. And you know, just doing this is like the blessing in itself that I’m like sitting here in the state that I am today with you. And our relationship is as amazing as it is today. Just all of it is. It’s great. It really is a blessing. It’ll probably be.

06:55
I don’t know if I’m going to make it through all the way through this without crying because it just makes me so emotional. It is, it’s huge. And especially looking back at those pictures and seeing how much you’ve changed and what an emotional day that was. So the story behind last year when I said those pictures came up was she had been in rehab in Houston. And I had…

07:18
She had had an overdose in rehab. I think it was medication related. She hadn’t actually taken anything. But I got a call that from the hospital, the rehab didn’t call me and tell me. And I was really confused when I got the call. I didn’t know anything that had happened. And I was talking to like a nurse and I thought I was talking to the rehab. I didn’t even know she was in the hospital.

07:40
And while this is happening, Halana’s, they’re trying to get me to get her to stay. And I think they’re trying to get me to get her to stay in rehab, but they’re actually trying to get me to get her to stay in the hospital. And she’s like, I’m out of here. And she left the hospital. I don’t even think you had shoes, did you? Yeah, she didn’t have shoes or anything. So I just jumped in my car and I live in Florida driving there. I drove like all night.

08:06
And she was outside of the rehab waiting for me when I got there wanting to leave. You were wanting to leave. You were like, that’s it. I’m done. And so I ended up taking her back to Oklahoma City. And it was just this huge emotional event of getting her back there. I had to stop. I don’t even know how many times because I felt like I couldn’t even do it. I had to keep pulling over, feeling like I was sick. But I just also knew that I couldn’t stop you. I knew what you were going to do.

08:35
And so I dropped her off at the house that she had been living at. And then the next morning, thank God, you came over to my hotel with me. And we talked like really openly, like I was standing there naked and crying. I’d just gotten out of the shower. I started crying in the shower and I got out and this was like, oh, my gosh, you know. And you were like, I’ve made a mistake. I want to go back. And so that’s what those pictures where we were driving back. So I’d been 20.

09:03
a very, very emotional 24 hours. But it was like a huge, huge, like just such a great decision that you did that. So anyway, if anything that I asked makes you uncomfortable, you can say pass. Like I wouldn’t blame you at all, but I’m not going to spring anything on you either. But so like yesterday we were talking a little bit like, do you remember, I was always trying to convince you that your life was good.

09:32
Right. Instead of just listening to that you were struggling, I was always coming at you with like, well, you just have such a great life and we have everything. And do you remember like how that made you feel at the time? Because I think that’s something a lot of parents do to their kids is try to convince them that things are better than they feel. Yeah, I do remember a lot of dark things were floating around in my head.

10:02
One of them being like, I fucking hate her. She has no idea what she’s talking about. She’s blind to seeing what’s going on. And I had like, but that wasn’t like, I didn’t hate you. I really genuinely just hated myself in my life. Like I hated anything that I had to do. I just, you trying to make things seem like good. I didn’t like anything good. And so I’m like, what the fuck does she have to be so happy about?

10:32
I just, it felt like the world was coming to an end for me. And so like anything that you had said against that, I just, the defense came up and I was really defensive. And yeah, I just, I felt such hatred towards you and my life in general. And it just, that’s a huge thing that I felt was just like hatred. And I felt a little, yeah, I just, I felt like I couldn’t make you see what I was seeing.

11:02
which is okay because you know how in the world are you supposed to get into somebody’s head and understand them whenever I wouldn’t even really hardly talk to you it would just come out I would lash out and I wasn’t even giving you really a chance to like understand how I truly felt and I don’t think that you were very much in touch with your emotions at the time as well so I that made it even more difficult for you to see how

11:28
my emotions affected me. You couldn’t even really understand how your emotions are affecting you. So yeah. Yeah, and I looking back know that the reason I was doing that was you’re right. I wasn’t in touch with my emotions. I was totally numb. I would have said that I was conscious about things, but I was pretty unconscious. And because our life looks

11:55
good on the outside and seemed successful, at least from a financial standpoint. We had all the things that everybody wants. I thought that we had a good life. But then also, I needed you to be okay so that I could be okay. And so I kept trying to convince you to be okay instead of just listening to you. So I can only imagine how hard that is when you’re trying to convey to somebody like, hey, I’m in pain. And you keep telling me how great my life is.

12:25
Yeah, it was a very difficult time for everybody for sure. And I think about it’s different. Like now I see things from a whole another perspective. So it is a little hard for me to like get into touch exactly with how I felt at that age. It’s just like I keep thinking like, just only if I knew the things that I knew now, but maybe that just wasn’t my path and that’s okay. So.

12:53
Another thing like in the beginning was, you know, I’ve said before, like I did, I was trying to do whatever I could to help you. But a lot of the things that I was doing was making things worse, like dragging you to every doctor and counselor I could possibly find making you do the martial arts when you didn’t really want to do it. And you mentioned something about how you just wanted stability and guidance from me. But…

13:22
you weren’t getting that. What did you feel like you were getting instead of that? I didn’t even know that was the thing. Like I just, I was always trying to figure out what was going on through your head. Like I was like, you know, does she not care? But then again, because I, at the time couldn’t, I just couldn’t see it, but I knew that you cared because you were trying to do all this stuff, but trying to work this correctly. I felt like you were just at a loss.

13:51
what to do and I just didn’t even want you to care. I’m just like, why does she care? Why does she, you know what I mean? Like just let me ruin my fucking life. What does this woman want from me? Did it feel like pressure? Yeah, yes it did. It felt like a lot of pressure and I was just having a war with myself constantly. But it was mostly a losing battle because I was just doing anything and everything I could to…

14:20
destroy my life, whether it was with an eating disorder, self harm, using, just anything and everything. I was just on a total rampage to end my life in some way or another. Yeah. And I could see it happening, but I felt completely powerless to do anything, which made me more panicked and less stable at a time that you needed me to be more stable. But it just, it also set off this process of me.

14:49
wanting to help you so bad. Like that’s why I did everything initially. And that’s what led me to figuring out how to become stable on my own so that I could be stable for you. But like before you moved out, there were times that things that you did that you would have never done when you were sober, like stealing from the house and selling that stuff. And I know that this is something

15:19
another thing parents really don’t understand. When you were doing those kinds of things, what were you thinking? What was going through your mind at that time? It sounds messed up, but I was like, these people owe me. I’m thinking, oh, they intentionally put me all through these things and I was like, telling my, my brain was just convincing me of any reason possible of why stealing from you guys was okay so I could get high. And like,

15:49
I mean, because that’s all that that money was going towards. And my brain still tries to do this to this day, even sober, convincing me of why this won’t work, of why my sobriety won’t work. So we’ll go back to that in a second, like why your brain tries to convince you that sobriety won’t work. But I know that parents spend a lot of time going over what they did wrong, trying to figure out what they could have done different. Is there something, do you think there’s something I could have done different?

16:18
that would have stopped this from ever happening? No, I don’t because in a way I feel like I was like addicted before I was addicted. Like I remember in school being really young, like never there passing out the D.A.R bracelets, you know, like to not do drugs. I was like, I’m definitely doing drugs. I mean, I was really young, like 10 years old and I was just already planning to use before it ever happened. And so I think there’s

16:47
For me personally, I think there’s like a chemical like imbalance there with like addiction some way somehow. I don’t really wanna like speak too much about on that because I don’t really fully understand it quite yet. So I feel like I was already on that path before any, so I really don’t believe whatsoever that you could have done anything different so that this would have never happened. I mean, like some people, it’s just how my brain is wired, I feel like.

17:16
just a firm believer in, you know, some people live way worse lives than me and choose not to be addicts and choose to do quite amazing things with their life. It’s just, I just, I feel like it was kind of just how I’m hardwired. Yeah. Well, and there’s times that I think it’s hard not to think that, right? As a parent, you wonder where, what you could have done differently. And I think like, if I had understood emotions.

17:44
for it when you were little and taught you how to process emotions and things like that. But then we would have been two totally different people. So it’s hard to really know what that have wired your brain differently. Like, we never really know what would have happened. And so that also gets us stuck in the problem and not focusing on the solution and how. Because that’s where I was stuck for a long time. I never moved forward from that. It was like, I got to figure this out so that I can fix it.

18:14
instead of like, how can I support this process now and help her get what she needs right now? So another like, so okay, so we’re talking about several of the things that I did like wrong, or not really, I don’t know if wrong is the word, but just using the only coping skills that I had, which was basically numbness at the time. So once I started what? The same here. True story, right?

18:44
But on the flip side of that, what did I do as like, what was helpful to you? Like once I started changing, trying to approach things differently, what actually was helpful to you? I think that’s whenever the huge shift started happening, like whenever you started to like let go and a sense of like, yes, like at that moment, I was very upset. I’m like, yeah, but.

19:13
whenever you just started letting me leave my own life. Of course I was 18 at the time. So I could leave the house and stuff like that, you know, live anywhere. But you just supported me in the sense of like, telling me that you’re always gonna be here for me. Like if I ever need to talk, but you know, we are gonna have to set healthy boundaries. And in terms of like, say whenever I asked you for money, you know, you weren’t getting money. You’re like,

19:42
I’ll buy you groceries like for you bring the groceries to your house, but I’m not going to give you money for groceries.” She’s air quoting. Yeah. And just setting healthy boundaries really helped. Of course, at the time I was angry and was like, oh my God, she doesn’t care. But that’s just not, you’re just trying not to feed my habit and being an enabler. There’s a difference between being an enabler and…

20:12
just setting boundaries. Yeah, but you know, you, you actually really responded well to it. You seem to be very understanding from pretty quick. Like you were, I don’t know, it’s almost like when I established boundaries for myself, I was able to bring some stability to our relationship and finally be the parent and really be an emotional adult in the relationship. And maybe you are responding to that,

20:42
you were never even mad at me when I… Well, there were times you got mad. But that was only like extreme circumstances, like where you were really either on Xanax or like really, really desperate. But for the most part, you responded really well to it. And it was surprising, which made it easier for me to… Not all the time, but in the long run, I was like, okay, this process actually works. I was able to do it. Okay. So here’s another thing.

21:12
I heard somebody, so there’s, I think I told you a little bit about the Safe Home podcast. And she brought this up, which I think was a really great point. So I wanted to ask you about it too. Like one of the things that parents really wonder is why, like why are kids doing this? Why are they abusing these substances? When on the outside, all I could see was the destruction in your life and how much it was hurting you. But obviously you were getting something good out of it. Like when you first started, what were you getting out of it?

21:42
that feeling that I was searching for of like being able to breathe and like for me personally, I was just dealing with a lot of anxiety from a young age. Like I started having panic attacks whenever I was like seven. I will never forget the first time I had one. And after that, I just started to really seek out anything that would numb that, suppress that, not have to deal with that like instant gratification, all of that.

22:10
And so I remember the first time I was starting to use whenever I was like 13. Well, I mean, I started drinking actually younger than that, like probably like 11, 12 years old, 12 years old. And I thought I was just having fun. And like, I just was just so addicted to being numb and not having to feel like anything. And then I obviously got more serious.

22:39
and escalated very quickly. I went from smoking weed for the first time when I was like 14 to shooting up heroin for the first time when I was 14. And I was willing to just do anything and I could just make me feel different. Even though it was creating chaos in the home, I just remember I’d come home obviously high and we’d be arguing like, I know this, I’m going to drug test. And I would be

23:09
until I was peeing dirty, I was still trying to convince you that I wasn’t high. And then you were trying to convince me there was something wrong with the drug test. Yeah. Anything I could think of to say to get me out of that situation so I could just be left alone and be high, I would say it and do it. And it’s just like, I felt like whatever I had to do was worth it to be able to just be okay. But that didn’t, it’s not like that easy though.

23:38
Like, I know it sounds hard what I’m saying, but like, it’s just, it’s a living hell. What’s a living hell? The whole lifestyle of drug use, alcohol use, whatever use, like whatever you’re addicted to. It’s just a constant, like, it stops being fun. And like, you may have, you know, times where you feel fine, but those are very short, lasting times. They become shorter and shorter.

24:07
until you’re basically miserable no matter what. Because you’ve given up everything. Do you remember when it stopped being fun and when it got miserable? I would say about whenever I started consistently shooting up heroin when I was like 17. And I remember going, I was in trouble with the law and I had done heroin the night before my last.

24:36
court day and risked everything. Like he could have, my probation officer gave a drug test to me that day, that morning. He thought about it. Yeah. And he’s like, and he didn’t. And then I remember the judge saying, I think you’re really going to be, I can’t remember what he said. He said something like, you’re like a success story. Yes. A success story. He said something like that. I think you’re going to be one of those success stories. And after I left that courthouse, I went.

25:06
did heroin right away. And that’s when everything started getting really bad for me. I was living disgusting in every single way you can possibly think of. It was terrible. It was… Yeah. It was not fun. And I remember the first time I ever got dope sick, I was walking through this field to go get high. And I was just like, wow.

25:35
I’m starting to have to depend on this. I’m gonna have to start doing some really bad things to keep this going, but I’m willing to do it because I need it. I can’t live my life without drugs. And I would just remember that whole process of like that thinking going through my head. And like basically at that moment, I felt I knew I was like signing my life away to the drug. Or that you already had, I guess. Yeah, exactly. I was just like sealing the deal.

26:04
The deal that had already been written up, I was like, I was stealing it. So the background is, Helena had gotten in minor trouble, like really wasn’t even in that much trouble for running away as a minor. And she didn’t even really get arrested. But she resisted being put in the back of the police car and ran. And so she ended up being put on not really probation, but because she wouldn’t comply with what they wanted her to do, she ended up being put on full on probation.

26:34
And we had to go to court. And this is the backstory of what she was talking about when she started using heroin. And this is what her brain was telling her was logical at the time. She had to quit smoking weed because she was smoking weed. Then it was going to show up on her twice a week drug test. But she could do heroin and plan it so that it didn’t show up on your drug test, basically. So you were able to.

27:01
pass your drug test because you kind of knew when they were going to be. And here’s the thing. I didn’t see it at the time. I thought she was a success story too. But I remember that day, you and I had plans for… We were going to celebrate that you had finished and how great I thought you were doing. But you couldn’t wait to get out of there and you were like ditched our plans and you wanted me to drop you off at your friends. And at the time…

27:31
I had already kind of, that was when I had started releasing. You were almost 18 at that time. We had gone through you being on house arrest and everything. And so I let her go and I didn’t find out until you weren’t living at home anymore. I started noticing the black marks. I always just kept thinking like, why are her fingernails dirty? And why does she always have mascara all over her face? I didn’t know that it wasn’t mascara, that it was the marks from the heroin.

28:00
And I didn’t know that that was what was under your nails too. But it was just like slowly after that, I started having these questions about it. But that thought process, I think, is really important to point out because that’s where our kids’ thinking is when they’re going through this. They make a decision like, oh, I’m going to give up smoking weed and start smoking heroin instead for injecting it.

28:28
But I think I also wanted to point out how you said you were addicted to being numb. And I’ve said, I’ve never used the words that I was addicted to being numb. But I said, like, I just wanted to be numb all the time. Like that was my go-to emotion. It’s so interesting how we were using different things to feel numb all the time. And how important it was for me to see the similarities in us because I’d been so focused on our differences. You know, I started focusing on our similarities.

28:58
Yeah. And that’s kind of when things, I think, started changing in our relationship a little too. Yeah. I mean, like, I just thought about this, like, whenever you said that, like, how different things might have been if we had just started seeing each other’s similarities and, like, been there for each other, like, instead of, you know, like, instead of just looking at our differences and how it’ll never work and how I would just think a relationship would just never work.

29:27
Yeah. Can we remember saying that? And like we’re actually, I mean, a lot of like. Yeah, we are. We really are. We’re a lot of like we just use different sources to get to what, you know, how we want to feel. Mm hmm. So I used to be really like afraid of what your bottom was going to be, like what it was going to take for you to quit using. And I actually was.

29:55
really scared of how bad it was going to have to be. I didn’t even know if it was ever going to get bad enough, because for me on the outside, it felt really, really bad. So I was really surprised, actually, when you called me and told me that you wanted to go to rehab at that point. One, what was it that made you want to go? And two, is there anything that anybody could have done to make you want to go sooner? No.

30:21
The answer to the second question, if there’s anything that anybody can have done to make you want to go sooner is no, because that is so important to know is that an addict will not get sober unless they warns you. Like it doesn’t matter how much their family loves them and supports them and is there for them or anything like that, it’s a self thing. That is just something that is a constant that I see like now, you know, no one’s gonna get sober unless they personally are ready.

30:51
And to answer the first question, I was doing some very degrading things to get money. And the house that I was living in just became really unsafe. And I really loved my roommate a lot. And she was somebody, she’s somebody I still think about and worry about.

31:21
even though we were using together, I genuinely loved and cared for her. But it just was in a safe environment. And I was making some enemies and things just started to become really unsafe. And I started to get a little worried. And I also had a dog that I really cared about as well. And I just… I was really sick of disappointing everybody too. Every time I talked to you and my grandmother, I could hear like…

31:51
how scared you guys were and your voices. And you started to get closer. And everything was just kind of unfolding at once. And I just kept… I would lay in my bed. I’d be dopesick, of course, and just be like crying. And I’m like, this could all be over if I just go get sober. And just the thought just started coming up in my head. I think it was the beginning stages of me starting to care for myself. I wasn’t nearly there yet. But…

32:21
I don’t know, something just shifted inside of me where like, I felt like I deserved a second chance in myself. And I feel that way now. Like at the time I didn’t see that, I wasn’t convinced that I was doing it for myself yet. I just knew that I was tired and I was sick and I was just felt disgusted in myself and the environment around me that I was creating for myself. Yeah. Finally got what I wanted. I can have been destroyed.

32:50
right in my life left and right, there’s not much more to go. And I saw the future ahead of me a few times. I saw all the potential things that were about to happen. And I knew I needed to get out of there. And the only way to do that was to get sober. Cause I couldn’t leave the state without getting sober. Know what I mean? Yeah. Now there’s just no option. So I finally did, I finally called you and was like, well, okay, well first I also had a point where I was like, right.

33:18
Maybe if I call my mom until I want to get sober, she might give me some money because I’m really sick right now. Look, I got to commit now. I was like, I got to commit. Because I was like trying to tell everybody, I was like, I will not go without if I’m sick. And then I didn’t not think sick anymore. And then I’m like… Well, I’ll admit right here to be honest, because I was actually talking to…

33:42
a mother about this the other day who was feeling guilty about it. And I’ve never shared this before, but I think it’s important to share that I sent you money at that time, knowing that it was, certainly wasn’t for groceries, but I knew that that was what it was going to take to get you to rehab. And I stand by that decision to do whatever it took to get you there. And I also like jumped on a plane with it and was there within like,

34:11
four hours of you getting that call. I made you call the rehab first. Yeah. You called and you had actually done it. I was committed to getting you there. So I appreciate that you were gonna not share that and like protect me in that, but I think it’s important for me to share that I did that because I know other parents that have done it and feel really guilty about it. And I don’t feel guilty about it because I think it was, I look at it, it is like it was just one thing on the list of getting you to rehab.

34:41
Yeah. And of course, that’s not going to happen every time. Like, you know, that’s not going to happen with everybody. You know, like addicts will say and do everything that they can to get their next fix. I could see that change in you. And the other thing that was happening was you were getting really you kept getting sick at that time, like cellulitis. You kept having to go in the hospital. You were in a lot of pain. That was another thing that really, like, like traumatized me a little bit, like being in the hospital for three or four days.

35:11
I felt like I was literally dying. I had cellulitis in my hand. My hand swelled up so big. Like it just looked like an elephant hand. It was bad and it was very scary. I felt really alone because I could have moved with my mom to Florida. But, and the only reason why I didn’t is because I was using. I had no family there. I was like, man, like I left the hospital early feeling like absolute,

35:41
shit because I needed to go get high. And I was like, dude, I felt like I could have died and no one would have been around. It was bad. And all of those things led up to me. I was feeling a little schemey whenever I called my mom telling her I want to go to rehab and I need a little bit of money. But I was like, I can’t disappoint her. I know. I was like, I just can’t.

36:10
I have to go through with this. I feel like if I had kept using longer and longer and longer, my soul would have not been much like as present in that moment, you know? Like if I was using, if it had been like in a few years, I probably would have just tried and scanned my mom and not gone, but I don’t know. So me leaving, so that was really the hardest decision, really, really hard. But I came to the conclusion

36:41
that if me being there was helping you, I would have stayed. But I didn’t feel like it was. That was really kind of like my deciding factor to be able to leave. Did that, do you think that me just not being there for you on a daily basis played any part in you deciding to go to rehab at that point? Yes and no, because I was just on such a destructive path and getting involved and really

37:10
bad things, that lifestyle, you know, getting to the lettuce in my hand from injecting and missing and stuff like that, that everything just kind of came together. Maybe that probably was a part of it. Yeah, it probably was just a little bit. You know, that’s what you needed. You needed to move there and like, you were actively trying to do something for yourself. And I think seeing that was like, I understood.

37:39
And I was just so happy in our relationship. Like just whatever you were doing that was helping you like heal yourself. That is supportive. Yeah, that’s just that made me really happy. So after that, you relapsed a couple of times. What did you learn when you were relapsing? Because I think that sometimes people I look at this journey is like over the last year, you’ve made incredible changes in your life.

38:09
each time you’ve done better. And I know sometimes that’s really hard for people. They see it as just a total loss and starting over when they relapse. But I know you’ve learned from relapsing. So can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve learned? Yeah, I just had to try it out again. Like when I was talking about earlier, like my brain just convinces me of every reason why being sober won’t work. And like, I was learning each time that I wasn’t dealing with like my mental health and like,

38:39
you know, trauma and because you have to be mentally stable to lead a strong recovery. You just have to to lead a strong recovery. Like, yes, you can be sober and be abstinent from the drugs. But if you’re not healthy mentally, then you’re just it’s just not it’s not a good life to live. It’s not you just important in any aspect using or not your mental health is very important. So do you learn to prioritize that?

39:09
I learned to prioritize that. I learned to love myself enough to try and stay sober one more time. And it was just a huge reminder of using is not glamorous whatsoever. I was trying to romanticize using and how good it is and whatever, how I’m not gonna have to feel this way anymore. But you still feel those feelings are actually intensified when you’re using all those feelings. Yeah.

39:37
And I love that you bring out the mental health and loving yourself because when you said when we were, I think it was yesterday or the day before we were talking about how you were going to invest the money in yourself to see Jana every couple of weeks. Yeah. And you were like, this is my fucking life and I’m going to spend this money on it. I was like, hell yeah. Like that was the best thing that I ever heard you say. And that’s like something I’ve thought before too. Like I only have one life. And if I have to see a counselor…

40:07
and have a coach and a this and a that, then I’m gonna do it all because I get one life and I wanna enjoy it. Yeah, exactly. So what makes you feel supported? Either what I do or what you wish I would do or what makes somebody in recovery feel supported? Just doing it, like even if you don’t understand like addiction and stuff like that, at least trying to. Like…

40:34
I admire that and I appreciate that whenever somebody’s at least trying to understand the mindset instead of like being judgmental. Because that’s a huge one and like looking down on somebody because everybody has advice. Don’t try to act in a certain way. Like I’m not saying the way I’m living is great, but don’t try to look down on somebody. Like the patience that you give me, I appreciate more than anything.

41:03
I’ve gone through some major mood swings in the first few months of recovery. Just your love and being real with me and honest because that’s something that I’m crave and need is the realness, the raw truth of something. Because I might not… That’s something that was hard for me to do for a long time, to be that vulnerable and raw and honest with you.

41:31
that day that I’m standing there naked in front of you crying before you went back to rehab. Like, I’d just been in the shower, I start crying in the shower. And I’m like, I was feeling like it was my fault that you left. Like if I hadn’t have come, you wouldn’t have left. And so I get out of the shower and I’m just like standing there naked water dripping off me crying. Like, I feel like this is my fault. But be being that vulnerable, then you were vulnerable. And you’re like, Mom, I think I made a mistake. I want to go back. And I’m like, well, let’s go.

42:01
And so it was a great lesson for me. I’d been trying to be vulnerable before that, but I just keep getting more and more. And then I think that it’s also really just helped make us closer when I do share my real self with you. But I think there’s this thing like moms don’t do that. These conditioning that we get that how moms are supposed to act. And I just have had to throw that totally out the window.

42:31
Yeah, it’s important because, yeah, that’s a really good topic to bring up is about how, you know, moms are supposed to be and how things are supposed to be. Like, that’s a very good thing to bring up. Okay. So is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want to share? I don’t believe so. I don’t want to make it seem like I’m just suddenly like here and I’m blessed and I’m happy and like this was

43:01
help to get here. I’m not even gonna lie, like it’s not going to be an easy road, but it’s a road sure worth going down and at least trying to get through it. But I definitely am thankful though that I at least gave myself a chance for sure. I’m grateful too and I it’s really important to

43:26
Yeah, I’d like to acknowledge how hard you’ve had to work for this, that this was not easy for you, that you have really had to fight for yourself. And that just removing the substances does not fix anything in that I’ve got to work on myself and my own stability so that I can be supportive.

43:51
of you working through your, like we’re both really basically working on the same things. For people who like ever feel like ashamed or guilty or whatever, like any person who is getting sober is going to feel those feelings and like, you know, just having accountability is okay, but you cannot, you just have to, you have to find some way to move past that and surround yourself with people who can help you move past that as well. Like that’s very, very important to like

44:21
It’s not just the drugs that are addicting for some people. It’s also the lifestyle. So like, you gotta make sure that you’re creating a new, better lifestyle that isn’t anything like the old one, because that will just suck you right back in. Yeah, I think that’s important for parents too, right? Like we have to do the same thing. We have to surround ourselves with people who are emotionally healthy so that we can create new habits.

44:47
Really, really appreciate you doing this. I know like it’s, you had to go back and face, think about times that were unpleasant. And I know that that is not easy. To me, it feels like a lifetime ago, like it’s hard for me to see that I was that person. Yeah. The biggest thing was just remembering, like my memory from like using and trying to block things out is very, very bad. So it was hard. It was a…

45:16
Little hard for me to put myself back in that mindset and think about how I was thinking then because I am very different person today than I was six years ago, which is a very fucking awesome thing to say because I never would have thought I’d be saying those words that I’ve changed my thinking patterns, changed my habit, like starting to love myself, care for myself and others, like, and have the capacity to care for others. So it’s…

45:46
pretty cool. It is. I love watching it. I’m so, so proud of you. I can’t even express how proud of you I am and how grateful I am that you’re sober today and that we have the relationship that we have and that we could even have this open conversation. And hopefully, there’s some things that come out of it that help people, help parents understand their kids a little bit more.

46:13
I mean, I think it’s amazing we’re having this conversation as well. We try and, you know, just how I would have been in old days, like just. Oh, this would have been a great chance for you to just tell me all the things you didn’t like about me. Well, thank you. And I really love you and I appreciate you doing this. Of course, I love you too, Mom.

46:44
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.