A Harm Reduction Approach To Risky Behavior In Teens And Young Adults, With Dee Dee Stout

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
A Harm Reduction Approach To Risky Behavior In Teens And Young Adults, With Dee Dee Stout

When your son or daughter refuses or can't seem to embrace abstinence, what do you do? Harm reduction is an approach that can help navigate your child to safer territory and…it's confusing .

Dee Dee Stout is someone Psychology Today includes in their list of "the top 10 harm reduction names you should know" so I was thrilled she agreed to come back for a second episode of Hopestream.

We dove into:

  • what harm reduction is and isn't,
  •  how we can strengthen relationships with our kids when they're misusing substances, 
  • how to have better conversations, 
  • how to improve our family dynamics, 
  • lapses and the dreaded pre-lapse
  • AA's stance on medication for addiction treatment (MAT)
  • and her answer to a common question parents have, " when does harm reduction become enabling with my child?"

It's a hugely informative episode with one of the foremost leaders in the field of harm reduction.


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Dee Dee
[00:00:00] All too often when families come to me, they’re exhausted. I get it. Of course they are. And I often say this point, like, I’m going to ask you to make changes and I know you’re tired. You don’t think you need to make the changes. I get all that. And you know what? You’re going to have to do it anyway, if you want this situation to change, because you’re the one who has some ability to do that at this point, your loved one probably doesn’t have that ability anymore.
In the same way. We want to look at an illness. At least in part in medical condition, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have any capacity to make decisions anymore. That’s not what I’m saying, what I am saying that they are ill and when our kids are ill, that’s when we need to protect them more. That’s our job.
Mama bears, Poppa bears, whoever we are. So let’s look at that and say, they need your help even more now.
Okay Friends, you are in for a treat today. I have a guest back for her second episode because her first episode, which is number 65 has been in the top 10 on hope stream. Pretty much since we recorded it, I thought who better to have back on the show to continue our conversation, which was all about craft and harm reduction.
So now you probably know who I’m talking about. Dee Dee Stout, Dee Dee has such a robust bio that there is no way I could properly introduce her here. So you’ll have to read all about her on her website, which is DD stout consulting.com. But here are a few nuggets that you should know. She holds a master’s degree in health counseling was a certified drug and alcohol counselor for 20 years has studied with every expert in the book, in the fields of motivational interviewing craft harm reduction mindfulness-based relapse prevention, brainspotting trauma, anxiety, Everything. She’s worked with too many universities to list. Numerous treatment settings has conducted some 900 presentations and trainings to date most particularly on motivational interviewing, including topics like anger management, families of substance users and abusers, the stages of change human [00:03:00] sexuality, nutrition and a lot more. See what I mean? And I am literally on the first paragraph of her bio, but you get the point D D is someone who says it like it is she doesn’t shy away from tough conversations. She has been there, done that and seen it all. So it was really great to catch up with her and talk in more depth about some of the things we talked about in episode 65, about harm reduction and craft.
But we get a little deeper into what harm reduction isn’t, isn’t how we can strengthen relationships with our kids. When they’re misusing substances, how to have better conversations, how to improve our family dynamics, lapse, and relapse. So many things we covered a lot of ground. So buckle up, grab your animal, your shoes, and let’s dive straight into it with Dee Dee.
We’re just going to roll into it because we have so much to talk about, but it sounds like there’s some, um, I don’t know if they’re organizations that are kind of representing something that might sound like CRAFT, but it’s actually not. And there’s a little bit of like masquerading going on. Tell me about that.
Dee Dee
What’s what’s going on. Oh boy. So I wish I could pull up the name on my be able to cause there’s one, I found recently that the gal said she’d been trained in craft and I thought, you know, I’ve got a few minutes. I’m feeling lousy. [00:04:30] Anyway, bitch goes through this, got on her website, took a deep dive. And at the end of it was like, holy shit, forget it.
I was just enraged. And all it took was some of the titles of some of her episodes, or I want to call them more modules, a program. You sign up. And so you’re also paying money for this and it was just offensive, absolutely offensive. Wow. And I just did not, I don’t think I wrote to her. I sometimes do. I kind of have to do the, do I have the energy and the time to do it?
I don’t right now. Okay. I’ll let it go. Maybe I can come back to it another time, or sometimes I’ll posted on my Facebook page and let the community out there. Take care of it. So let me take an example of what a lot of places call harm reduction. Yes. I would love that because that was going to be my next question.
So harm reduction gets touted out. A lot of times she’ll get, you’ll see an agency, a rehab for lack of a better phrase, get on their website. And they’ll say that they’re practicing harm reduction. In fact, we have a place called the harm reduction center.com. That’s doing this when you read through what they’re doing is.
So medicated assisted treatment, right? Okay. Now mat is technically not harm reduction [00:06:00] it’s treatment. Isn’t it like exactly. Do we call when my dad takes his medication for his heart, do we call it math for heart disease right now? Do we call insulin for diabetes? No, we don’t have special labels for it.
We don’t have special clinics where you need to go. We stop with the stigma because this is adding to stigma. I know people don’t mean to do that oftentimes when they’re doing that, but it does, because again, it’s only for those people, right. And it’s an indication that it is not a legitimate way to recovery.
Like, well, if you know, this is a step in a better direction, which yes it is. Okay. But that is oh, wow. That’s really interesting. Yeah. Yep. So I kind of got on the bandwagon about that on Twitter just said, I’m getting a little tired of this. And we saw the same thing back in years when programs certainly programs here in the bay area were unwilling to accept people on antidepressant.
That was the big Prozac had come out and here we go. So they were unwilling to accept people on any psychotropic medication is what they generally called it. Well today that’s a non-issue in fact, most people expect people [00:07:30] are on some kind of psychiatric medication, which is a whole nother rabbit hole.
We won’t go down.
That is the same kind of idea because people didn’t see it as truly being in recovery. Oh, you’re taking something you’re using a crutch. Now I heard this in 12 step meetings all the time. It is such again and insulting and abusive terminology. Of course, you’re going to use a crutch. If you have a broken leg, that’s what you do or you’re liable to not heal.
Right? So how is that a bad thing? It just blows my mind. The other thing that I, speaking of 12 step and medications that I want to make sure that everyone is aware of within earshot here is that there’s a pamphlet from a and N a, those are separate organizations by the way, AA is much more medication friendly.
We’ll call it then an a and a is accepting of some things. But in AA, there is a very lengthy pamphlet. Now that’s been around for, it’s been around for at least 35. And it’s called the AA member medications and other drugs it’s available on their website in a PDF and it’s been updated. So it talks about medication assisted treatment.
And the gist of it is if your doctor thinks you should be on this [00:09:00] medication, then you take your medication because you know what, we’re not doctors. It’s none of our business. Interesting. Interesting. Okay. So that’s the AA, but you were saying N a isn’t necessarily the same. Yeah, they actually, and I wish I, I don’t have that one printed out.
They have two different pamphlets in general. They don’t like it, but they’ll be okay with some of it is kind of how it comes down. Nice and clear. I know. Exactly. So a lot of times I’m still telling clients just don’t disclose. Yeah, I don’t like saying this, but ultimately yeah. You know, again, do I go in and talk about my heart disease medication or the fact that I’m on insulin?
Probably not maybe, but probably not. So let’s just not do that, right? Yeah. That’s I think for somebody who’s looking for a community and looking for that support, you do, it’s too bad that people have to tread lightly in that area because it’s not like you don’t have a million other things that you’re trying to navigate, but that is good to know.
And I think it’s good to know. I think it’s good for parents to know. That if you are, you know, which is the people listening here, usually teens and young adults, you know, maybe until the late twenties, early thirties is, as you are helping your son or daughter look for resources. It’s [00:10:30] good to know these things.
Like here’s what N a is sort of all about. Here’s what smart recovery is about. Here’s what, you know, there’s the like Buddhist yoga one, what’s that called recovery farmer recovery. So there’s all these different ones. And I, first of all, a lot of people don’t know that there are so many different ones, right.
Um, second of all, that there are very different approaches and very different mindsets. And so I think that’s super important. So one of the questions that I would love to just get your thoughts on, because this keeps coming up with parents again, these are a lot of the time I’m talking about. Young people who are under the age of 18.
So they are still beat him. I’m using air quotes in charge legally. Um, and that’s a whole nother discussion of like, well, I’m legally required to care for this person, but I’m not allowed to make any decisions for them. Just like in the state of Washington, the age of consent is 13. After your child turns 13, you lose all control of you.
Can’t get their medical information. You can’t get your therapist, any of that, but you’re still required to. Parent them too, you know, like how’s them, all that, right. All that good stuff. It’s insane. But the question that keeps coming up for these parents is as I am practicing harm reduction, because many of them are getting on board with that.
It can feel like enabling, it can feel like I am approving of this and that I’m enabling my, my 15 year old or my 16 year [00:12:00] old to smoke weed or whatever it is that they’re doing. And they’re trying to reconcile how to, first of all, I kind of process it in their head, but also how do I communicate that to my 15 or 16 year old to say, I’m on board with keeping you as safe as possible.
However, I am not on board with you putting pot in your brain every day, because there are going to be some implications from that. So I would love to get your thoughts on how do you do that in a way that is respectful of harm reduction or respectful of your kids, and still feels like you’re doing your job as a parent to not let your.
Child or not, I guess, encourage your child to have this really dangerous unhelpful behavior. Yeah. And first I want to say there are no explicit, hard and fast rules in harm reduction. So let me go back to kind of the definition of harm reduction again and say by harm reduction, we’re really talking about being flexible, being transparent and keeping the lines of communication open.
We’re also about any positive change and that’s an important piece of this discussion. I think. So on top of that, I want to add to all parents and I’m going to say this. I just became a grandparent this week. So I find myself at 43. That’s quite a miracle. They’re their age, not mine, obviously [00:13:30] that expectations are resentments under.
I know it requires some shifting on our part and change fields said it best. The only things I’ve ever let go of in life had fall marks all over at Garfield, the cat. And that’s the idea is like, no, no, no, no, no. I’m not letting go. I’m not letting go. Well, yeah, you are. You can either do it the hard way or something in between.
And that’s kind of what we’re asking. And I realized how difficult that is. It’s also necessary. So I’m fully onboard with having conversations with our kids and hopefully this isn’t something new, right? That we’ve been having these conversations about all kinds of risky behaviors over their lifetime.
So when you’re 12, 13, whatever age it is, and we sit down and we’re going to talk more about drug use and risks behind that, that first of all, I’m going to go somewhere and get accurate information, not the information that. Oh, shall we say like Dr. Phil or Dr. Drew might give to you Instagram, Instagram.
That’s right. You know, we’re going to get, and I have a couple of books that folks are interested. We, you know, we have books out there that are based in good information. There’s some [00:15:00] really good websites that have good information and just straightforward, not pro or con cause even our government health services can get a little bit on the app side.
And I understand that, but we just want to be here with that because kids are going to latch right onto that. So we want to be as unbiased as possible with that information. Now, the best way to go about that of course, is to ask your kid, what do you know? I did this with my son and when I stopped using drugs long before ecstasy became a thing.
And I didn’t know anything about it. And I was very nervous. He was a teenager. And I said, you know, tell me a little bit about ecstasy. What do you know? And I’ll never forget. He looked at me with that. Is she really serious? Like, is she trying to trick me? Right. This must be. And I had to say, no, no, honey, I don’t care if you’d used.
It, is that all assume you have how’s that? And he was not a big drug user, but I assumed he had, at that point, what she had. And I said, I just don’t know. And so tell me what’s going on out there. Right. Cause I can’t be out there. That’s not my world anymore. And I find that. Really opens up the conversation.
It shows my teenager that I trust them, I believe in my ability to [00:16:30] parent. So I’ve given you good information these years I’ve been supportive of you, um, of other behaviors that maybe I haven’t always liked. And that’s one of the things that I think we have to get comfortable with as parents. And I remember the moment I won’t talk about it, cause it’s not my story, but I’ll just say, I remember the moment with my own son when it became clear that he’d made a life choice, that I found offensive, but you know what, that was not my life and he’s responsible.
And I still find him to be that. And I really needed to just trust in that. I also needed to tell him I’m not really happy with that choice. However, I’m really glad. Yeah. Now tell me what’s your thinking. And he had thought it through, he had a plan. I still didn’t like it. This is not about my liking. It’s about my having this conversation.
Yes. I can see that. I think you have to kind of back up all of this to start with. It’s not my life, it’s not my life. And, and that’s really hard when your kids are younger. I think if you’re talking about it, 20 something, 30, you know, it’s easier to sort of let that go or to find some distance between yourself and your child, but when they’re living in your home, when they’re so young, it’s really, it’s a [00:18:00] new way to think.
And so to really be thinking that way and to just be curious about who they are as a person, and then. To be able to separate your need as a parent for them to be safe. I think this is where the rub comes in is I am a hundred percent okay. With them being whoever they are. And I need them to be safe. It is my job to keep you as safe as I can for as long as I can.
Right. And so that’s where I see the moms and dads that I work with really struggle. It’s like, but it’s not safe, what they’re doing. And it’s like, I know it’s a really hard, I’m so glad you brought that up. Right. Because we are living in a time where there’s this expectation or desire that somehow if we can just move all the chess pieces in the right way, we can create safety.
Yeah. Let go of that. Right. All right. So when I talk to couples in particular, and one of them is a substance user and the other is not, or is not using substances in the same way. Oftentimes I will open that conversation by saying about the risky behaviors [00:19:30] that are allowed that you can live with. And I usually get what you mean.
I don’t want any risky behaviors and I’ll say, well, then that means you’re not driving a car and let’s see. It means most of the time you can’t walk down the streets in many too. I don’t know about your area, but San Francisco is kind of famous sadly for car accidents, downtown with pedestrians and residents.
We’re not talking tourists and they’ve now shut down the streets as a result of that. Um, so licensed. Is my point. And I don’t mean to be facetious here, but I really do think we need to have that conversation with ourselves and then figure out what I can comfortably be uncomfortable about my level of anxiety.
So my question might be to my young person, why are you not uncomfortable? How come you’re seeing this in a completely different way than I am. And again, there’s those lines of communication. Help me see what it’s doing for you, that you feel like nothing else will get you there. And I want to really emphasize that drug use is always a symptom of something else.
Sure. It doesn’t have to be too dramatic, but oftentimes it is that something is going on, something happened and I’m not suggesting for a moment that people are bad [00:21:00] parent. ’cause I think a lot of things happen outside the home that parents never know about. Right. That then lead to traumatic events for that young person.
And, uh, and then that leads to their drug use and then problematic drug use. But it’s about them treating those symptoms. Right? Yeah. So true. And I wonder what, what’s some language that a parent could use if they’re having this conversation that could communicate, I’m so willing to work through this with you.
I really want to understand what this is doing for you. And also I don’t like it. I mean, do you just say that, like, is it just that to say, like, I it’s, it scares me. I know it’s bad for your body, but I’m not bailing on you and I’m not. Saying, you know, I’m going to kick you out of this house. If I ever see marijuana in our house, like, do you just, is it that black and white or is there language that you like to really keep the communication open, but to clearly state you are not okay with this?
Like from a safety standpoint, not like normally morals out or whatever, but just from a safety standpoint, 
I mean, I think it’s perfectly okay to talk about it from a safety point of view [00:22:30] of just saying that, you know, I’m uncomfortable in the same way I’d argue. How would you talk to your, your son or daughter or person young person who’s going to, I don’t know, going to a party that you’re nervous about, how would you have that conversation?
How would you have it if they were, if they wanted to go to some other. That you weren’t totally on board with. Maybe it was a concert they really wanted to attend and you don’t like that music or something, or the people that tend to be there and you’re concerned about it. So, you know, how would you talk to them?
Uh, and again, looking at this as another risky behavior, teenagers are all about taking risks. In fact, it’s an obligation, right? Exactly. In our majority culture, we don’t have rites of passage anymore to speak of some in the Jewish faith do in some, in other traditional faiths do, but we general white majority culture do not.
I think it’s a problem, but there we are. So this has become part of that Rite of passage. There’s also a developmental piece to this of kids trying to separate from their parents, whoever their parental units are. Um, The fact that they know they still need them. And so this sort of back and forth, I hate you.
I love you. I hate you. I love you. I need you. I don’t, I, you know, um, that is perfectly [00:24:00] natural. So I used to say one of the things that helped me a lot was when I got clearer that my son’s job as a teenager, was to make my life a living hell and just get over it and go, okay, he’s doing his job. So now I need to do my job and I need to get into my own work around us.
And I need to trust. I’m going to go back to this. I need to trust that I have been a good parent, that I have to make other decisions that turned out okay. I have given them tools to be able to think for themselves. And I also have to get okay that they are going to go down that path with some other friends on occasion.
And things are going to happen. So I want to make sure in this day and age things like everybody has Narcan. Now I have it in my bathroom now and I have one in my bag now I don’t go anywhere without it anymore. And that’s just part of the course. So when, when my son was a teenager and I took him a box of condoms, which embarrassed him to death, let’s just say that out loud.
You know, it was his 21st birthday. He was living out of the country and I said, look know you’re having these because I went through the exactly. I’m not going to have you die as much as I can help it from [00:25:30] something like that. So here we are with the same idea. Yes. Narcan, please get narky. Exactly, exactly an argument.
And I don’t care what you think your child is. Exactly it just, yeah. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that on this podcast is that if they are smoking weed and drinking, they are not maybe one in a million, but, but maybe their friend is using something else too, right. At the same party. So how good are they going to feel that they were able to save their friend’s life?
And we have lots of those stories. Yes. Right. I know. I don’t know. I think I might just have to get a tattoo on my forehead because I can’t say it enough and I’ve had the conversation so many times, but anyway, so, okay. So we just have to be really upfront. We have to feel comfortable being uncomfortable, knowing that we’re, it’s just going to be how it is.
The more that we can be. Straightforward and honest about our fear. Um, because I, I do think that that’s the sticking point is if I tell my, you know, 15 or 16, you know, you can’t smoke pot in this house. Like, here’s what I can control. You. Can’t do it in this house. What you do outside of this house is, you know, beyond my control.
Would that [00:27:00] be a harm reduction or is that more craft or is that sort of a blend? No, I would just call it smart parenting. Right. It’s the thing I would add to that is I would want to have the conversation too, about why is this young person using this substance? I think what I’m trying to get to is don’t just make rules.
Yes. Have some logic behind. And find out what’s going on with your kids, what is happening to the best of your ability? And oftentimes the way to get them to open up is for you to open up. Right? Cause there’s nothing worse than I’m sitting with. Let’s say a cocktail at six o’clock every night and I drink between six and eight and then I go to bed and do whatever.
And I have no moral obligation about that either. I mean, that’s fine. I’m just saying that if you’re doing that, and then you tell your child that they can’t have cannabis or something else, they’re going to say, well, you’re a hypocrite, right. Look at you. And we can all say, well, they’re a teenager and you’re an adult.
Well, they know that. So that argument doesn’t work. All it is, is an argument. So instead of getting into that say, you know what, you’re right. I do. So let’s talk a little bit about why I’m having that drink. Yeah. And take a hard look at that for yourself and just to be clear, Yeah, maybe it’s because you have a [00:28:30] hard job, maybe it’s because, you know, the pandemic has been really hard on all of us and we’ve seen alcohol rates increase significantly almost 50% significantly.
It will go back down, but it has gone back up. So, and we think why instead of looking at it automatically is, oh my gosh, we got to change this right now. Say, just hold on. And that’s the first thing we need to know is how come you know, are you okay? Just, that’s what I really want to know. Are you okay, honey?
Right. And what I hear a lot is that the kids are the kids, the young people are really struggling with anxiety, so much anxiety and marijuana seems to at first work very well for that in their mind. I think we all know just, you know, logically. Down the road that isn’t going to work, it’s actually going to increase anxiety, but in the short-term.
So let’s also kind of back this up here comes that accurate information. Right. For most people it can be very helpful. Yeah. It doesn’t matter your age. Uh, I mean it does brain-wise and frankly cannabis can be a whole lot safer than taking some of the psychotropics. Yeah. So definitely there’s that side too, right?
Yes. Better would be things like exercise, looking at their nutrition. What are they doing socially? Are they connected to other people? And that’s [00:30:00] been the difficult part during the pandemic because those things were not able to be put in place in the same way. Right. And I interrupted you and I’m sorry, Brenda.
Oh, no, that was really good. Um, I think it’s, yeah, it is important to understand that. And, and sometimes I think it’s important to be able to explain to our kids or to have them look up. From the scientific standpoint, what is this doing? What is it not doing? What would be an alternative? Cause sometimes I think we, as parents want to take that control.
Well, I call the psychiatrist and here’s what I talked to him or her about. And I did this and then I looked up this place and then I did this and we’re doing all of this stuff and we’re not empowering our kids to say, what do you need you? Because the other thing is, a lot of times we want to know, why are you smoking?
We well, what is it doing for you? And they can’t articulate it. They don’t really know. They just know. I don’t know. I just like it. It just makes me feel, it makes me feel good. So there’s a little bit of that too, where they’re not able to communicate with us to a degree that we can really say, okay, if that’s the case, would you be willing to look at some alternatives to this because.
It’s impacting your school. You can’t play your sport anymore because this is what I see is it starts out. Okay. And then as they continue to smoke or they smoke more, um, [00:31:30] it’s he or she dropped out of sports. No more drama class, no more marching band, no more anything. And so it’s just draw, becomes more narrow.
Yes. And that’s a big concern in addition to the brain. So really trying to understand at that point, like, whoa, what, you know, this isn’t gonna work long term, but right. Giving them some of that control because there’s nothing worse than having somebody say here, I found these seven things that I want you to do.
And you’re like, yeah, I can’t do that with adults. Right. We’re supposed to know better. Yeah, exactly, exactly. And that’s where I say. I’ve got to work on my uncomfortability, my own anxiety. That’s my job. And I may need to have a little come to Jesus with myself before I have that chat with my child. Right.
Right. That is not the person that I want to get upset with because that’s not going to help. That is what we’ve learned. So dial down the dramatics, let go of the expectations and let’s just have a conversation. One thing that I do suggest to parents all the time is please don’t do the, let’s sit down and talk kind of encounter, you know, do it while you’re out.
I don’t know, having McDonald’s one time in the car or, you [00:33:00] know, you’re out taking a drive or you’re out raking the leaves or, but, and then make it fast. Do a chunk of. But don’t have these big lectures. Yeah. That’s not going to work either. So it might just say, you know, I found the thing in your room the other day, and I don’t even know what it is.
It’s this pen looking thing. And I want a little bit about that, Brenda. What’s what’s up with that. Yeah. And wait for them to think, oh, I’m in trouble, Batman or whatever. And just be curious and curiosity requires that we let go of our expectations and the idea that we have an outcome in store. I don’t, I, and like I said, even with my own son, I had to say, I’m serious.
I’m just curious here right now. And I really had to emphasize that. And that’s such a different mindset, I think then is natural to have to, uh, do you know Erica? Lebetkin, she’s a craft therapist in New York. But I think I’ve heard about her. She worked at CMC for a couple of years. She’s fantastic. Her father is a well-known psychotherapist in New York, but anyway, we were talking and we were just saying, cause that my question to her was what do you do when your partner or your spouse or your ex spouse is not on the same page with [00:34:30] adopting a craft approach.
And I think it kind of goes along with what we’re saying here about being curious. Yeah. If I’m yelling and I’m screaming and I’m shaming. And, uh, and this was me. So I, I was the one who was like, can’t you see what you’re doing to me? Can’t you see, you’re killing me. Can’t you see what you’re doing to your grandparents?
And if you’ve been doing that and it hasn’t been working your child, isn’t like magically going, oh, mom, you’re right. I am killing you. I am going to stop taking Percocet. That is laced with fentanyl. Like that’s never going to happen. So if, if what you’ve been doing, isn’t been, hasn’t been working what’s the harm in trying a more craft approach or a harm reduction approach.
Look at it as an experiment and say, okay, nothing has to be forever, but would it kill me to adopt this for a month or two and see what happens? And I just was on the phone with a mom yesterday who was really adorable. She said, okay, I just, yeah, I joined your community. I’ve been at this for 10 years. And she said, I started reading beyond addiction.
She said, I, I met him with my daughter. Who’s I think in her mid twenties, she said, I tried this one little thing. And she said it was the first conversation that we have. In months. And I was just like, yes, like give it a try, give some of this a [00:36:00] try being open, just because you’re curious in, like you said, tell me about this.
What is this babe thing? What is this pen? That’s not going to make anything worse. It’s just going to let them know that you’re a safe place to have the conversation. I think so anyway, that was sort of a light bulb that went on for me. It was just, you know, give it a go and see what happens. Yeah. And I think that’s the point.
I think all too often, when families come to me, they’re first of all, they’re exhausted, which, and I get it. Of course they are. And I realized, and I often say this point blank, I’m going to ask you to make changes. And I know you’re tired. You don’t think you need to make the change. I mean, I get all that and you know what, you’re going to have to do it again.
If you want this situation to change, because you’re the one who has some ability to do that at this point, your loved one. If you’ve been doing this for 10 years, your loved one probably doesn’t have that ability anymore. They are, you know, in the same way, we want to look at an illness. This is a, at least a medical condition.
They are ill. And when our kids are ill, that’s when we need to protect them more. Mama bears, Papa bears, whoever we are. All right. So let’s look at [00:37:30] that and say, they need your help even more. Now this is not the time to say like good luck I’m out here. Exactly, exactly. Unless, and I, and I will say this, if there’s violence going.
That’s different and it may break your heart, but you may have to have a little bit stronger boundaries in that way. You know? So then we can do some negotiating then maybe we can brainstorm about how to be supportive in other ways now, but not in person, right. If it’s going to be a violent confrontation, right?
Hey, there, I’m jumping in for a quick minute to let you know that there is a very special community. I created online where moms of kids misusing or addicted to substances gathered together and get through this hard stuff with each other. It’s called the stream and it’s unique and that it is not on Facebook.
And we focus on positively holding each other up. When our kids are struggling. It’s a place where we focus on you, because if you are one of these amazing moms, there’s a lot of focus on your son or daughter. But who is taking care of you? That is what we do. And we would love to have you join us, to get a team around you, to help you learn some great tools for encouraging change in your child, and to have a place to connect with real moms who totally get it.[00:39:00] 
You can take a look@ourmembershipoptionsatthestreamcommunity.com and I will see you there because I am there a lot. Okay. Now let’s get back to D D.
I found a little nugget on your website, which by the way, if you’re looking for resources, please just go to DDS website because you have amazing resources. Your resource section is gold. And so I’m here. Cause I worked hard on that. I vetted every single thing on there, myself. Yes, it is legit. And it’s in-depth so take a look at that, but I just want to read something that I found on one of your blogs that I just thought was so perfect.
And it is, this love has no limits, but which we’re allowed to set for ourselves and to change when we need to renegotiate, but before not after an unwanted behavior love, especially when parenting requires behavioral limit setting, it’s part of the job description. And I just thought that’s it that’s really it.
Thank you so beautiful. So well said, and I think it is part of the job description. And sometimes you’re looking at your 17 year old who is ragged and doing all the things they’re not supposed to do. And you’re just like, I just want to tap out. It’s so hard. And you can’t, you just [00:40:30] can’t, everybody gets, uh, gets to do that.
Of course, but tapping out permanently. No, you know, you signed up for this. They did not. I mean, I think that’s also a part of this and again, I’m not trying to blame anybody. I’m just saying we are responsible for those kids and being the best parent we can for the child’s behalf. And that’s of course the tricky part.
I only had one, so I only had to learn what I can. I have so much empathy for people who have multiple kids. We’re told that you treat each child the same, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s like, no, that’s wrong. Each child is not the same. So if you give each child exactly the same thing, well, what if they don’t need it, but another one needs more, right?
When you flew in one needs red. Exactly. And then you got another one says, no, I just want poker. Right. And then you go, oh man, what are you doing to me? Yeah, definitely. Well, the emotional grit that it takes with these kids, I think is underestimated. Um, and I’m glad that you said that, that yes, you do need to tap out for a short amount of time, 24 hours or 48 hours or a week or whatever it is.
But I think what, um, what I love about craft and what I love about harm reduction is it gives you tools to hang in there. [00:42:00] And to try different things, because I know I got to the point after, I dunno, five years of yelling and screaming and all of that, that I was like, this is not working. There has to be something out there that works.
I look at what it did to you. Yeah. Right, right. I mean, seriously. Yeah. It completely changes. Not just your child, but it changes you in such a way. We were talking about this yesterday on one of our calls in the community was that even if like take away your kid, even if you learned these tools, absent of having a child struggling with substance use, you would still be such a better person.
Cause you know how to relate to people. You stay in your hula hoop and you let other people stay in theirs and it’s powerful. It just makes life so much easier, so much easier. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. You said that I had a mom that I worked with. Mostly weekly for about a year in Silicon valley. No powered job has an, a, an adult kids kind of young adults who was getting into some serious stuff.
With their drug use and we had conversations and this is a lot of the work I do is around communication. I just call it family coaching. It’s around communication. How can you have better, more constructive conversations with your loved ones? And when we decided it was time to call it an end [00:43:30] of our work, at least our regular work, um, cause I always say, you know, you can come back for a checkup anytime.
And I stay in touch with folks and she said to me, you know, I’m taking this into work and I’ve been amazed at the difference in how I talk to my employees. And I was like, yes, yes, this is what it can do. Absolutely. It is so true. There is a language to this that I think is, it takes a little bit to learn because.
What I have found, and I love to hear your professional thoughts on this is it, it usually starts with I or me, which is not necessarily the way our society is. It’s always about like, you did this, you are that you’re doing this. And what, what the language of, I think craft in particular does is just flips that to say, I me, like I’m feeling this way and it’s just, it’s different.
And it takes a little bit to learn that instead of you’re screwing up your life, you’re making my life. Hell you’re you, you, you, and so it takes a little bit to learn that, but when you do as a parent, I found at least personally that it just. Liberated me from all of these arguments and all of these power struggles that I was getting into, not only with [00:45:00] ex-husband and with my newer husband, like all of the people that were involved in this situation, it was so freeing.
I just had a different perspective on it. That was so unique. Do you find that with clients, like when, when you’re working with somebody, can you see when they make that switch of like, oh, they’re getting it. Yeah, because I told them that I do, I get excited, that’s it? And it’s usually when they start leading the conversation, because oftentimes what I’m doing with folks is practicing these skills.
You be your kid and let me be you only in a different way. And let’s try some things because I don’t know what’s going to work. I don’t know your kid. And every kid is different. Every family is different, so let’s try some things. And then what I love is usually the next step to getting it is, well, let me try it in my words.
I know that’s exactly right, because I don’t want it to sound like me. I want it to sound like you, or I’ll start asking, tell me what you would use for words in here. These are kind of my words, but you know what, and I love it. I’ve one time who would jump in the mom and the dad together and he’d go.
Maybe this is how I sit. Go. Yes. That’s what I want you to do. Yeah. Yeah. Analyze it. Yeah. Yeah. It is exciting when you see like the guy we talked to yesterday and worked, you know, and [00:46:30] eyes lit up and it just, you see that hope because even if you know, her daughter is still doing the exact same thing, she was the day before from a substance use standpoint, but she’s starting to build the relationship back and the communication back, which is incredible.
And I also just, there’s a confidence that comes back and I’m sure you see that too, with the people that you work with because you, you just get so worked over and you feel so, like you said, exhausted and just, I don’t know, there’s, there’s a loss of confidence of like, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.
I’ve entered this world that is so foreign and you can start giving people tools and then they. Oh, all right. Like that’s pretty cool. I feel like I’m a little bit back in control. Yeah. I, I see. And I’m sure you do too. People being very lost. Very small. Yes. And this is what happens. It’s a parallel process for the problematic substance user.
And let’s be clear. Not all people who are using substances are doing it. Problematically doesn’t mean you have to like it. I’m not saying that either. I’m just saying let’s be clear. Right. But when someone gets into that really problematic, they’re going down the rabbit hole around their substance, use the family’s going with them all too often, family PTSD, they have their own set of symptoms that are mimicking the ones over here that their [00:48:00] loved one is going through.
And I think that’s the other thing we need to really hold on to as parents. This is while you may have contributed. All right. And frankly, probably because people like me, we’re telling you what to do and telling you all the wrong things. And, you know, I own some of that because years ago I’ve been doing this for a long time and I told you the wrong thing, which is why I’m so adamant about saying the right things today, because I can’t do anything about those years that I can moving forward.
And I have for the last 20, almost 25 now done this work and I feel better. So it’s looking at the fact that you are being hurt. Yes. But your loved ones are not doing it to you. It has nothing probably. I mean, it does in a way, because you’re part of it. But I did not use substances for 20 years to get back at my parents.
It had nothing to do with them in a lot of ways, there were events, they were feelings. They were things happening to me that they didn’t even know about. A lot of times now their reaction to that is they’re part of it. And so a lot of times what I’m also working with folks on is, you know, look at your response to return, to use.
For instance, when the old behaviors come up again, do not change, do not [00:49:30] get angry. All the things you were talking about, Brenda, those sort of yelling, screaming, all of the drama that comes, you know, it’s really important that you take a deep breath or five deep breaths. If you need take a step back and say, okay, hold on.
This is not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean they need more treatment. It simply means something happened, all changed. For the most part, occasionally we can do it in a straight line, but very rarely, most change is in a very roll way. And so we’re going to have lapses back into old behavior. You know, there’s no other medical condition where someone gets in trouble for having a lapse of some kind right now, people don’t wind up eating a bunch of sugar when they should have had their insulin for the day and wind up in the emergency department and get shamed for that.
Right? No. So, you know, let’s just hug them closer and tighter even when they don’t launch it to I’m so glad you brought this up because we were having a conversation about this, where, where parents can see what they’re calling. I don’t know if this is a term in the field of, uh, pre-labs like mom and dad are watching, especially when the kids are living in the home.
And they’ve, they’ve been to treatment or they’ve done whatever, and they come back and they’ve been, you know, sober and they’re doing really well. And then they start to see the pattern [00:51:00] and they’re like, oh no, I know what this means. This is clear warning signs. Like this is a danger will Robinson. Yes.
This is a lapse coming at us. Are there things that you would recommend that they do in that situation that you’re seeing it, it might have already happened or it might not. You’re just seeing the behaviors and the different circumstances. What could a parent do at that point to have the best chance of, of either a Verde in that, or at least just being a really good parent in that lapse.
And that’s a great question. So the first thing is that hopefully before the person ever left treatment, they did some sort of what we standardly call a relapse prevention. That they look at the reasons that they were using in the first place. And those reasons may have changed over the years. That’s fine.
But looking at how come that can be a challenge sometimes, but that’s part of that work that’s done at the same time. I’d be walking through with a family around. Prevention plan because families lapse back into their old behaviors too. Right? This is a dance that’s going on here and we’d rather have it a dance than a wrestling match.
So that’s a step in the right direction. We don’t want to just be reacting to [00:52:30] each other back and forth. So if everyone is on board with understanding that change is not a linear process, so things are going to happen most likely then let’s get prepared for it. You know, I live in the San Francisco area.
We have an earthquake kit. That’s right down here behind me. Now it’s mostly cat food and water. So we know who’s important here, but you know, I’ve got a couple of chargers in there in my medications, but we have one, not because I’m waiting for the earthquake to happen. Oh my God. Yeah. But because I’ve lived through.
So it makes sense to have something that I’m prepared for. I am not going to spend my life on the edge of fear. However that I refuse to do that. And I invite families to not live on the edge of fear either. Cause that’s going to get you worn out. So we need to have a plan, have earthquake kit. Exactly.
And that’s what I used to call it. I said, you know, let’s not call it a relapse prevention plan because that people didn’t like it. And actually we now know that the use of that word is problematic. So let’s call it the earthquake prevention or the earthquake kit. So, you know, the be prepared if you were an old boy scout, right?
It’s whatever term you want to use, that requires we have a conversation because we’re going to have a family prepared kit. So [00:54:00] questions like, so if you wind up. Drinking using whatever it is again, what would you like to have happen? What would be helpful? And if the person says, no, I don’t think I really want anything.
Like, I don’t think, I mean, I don’t think I’ll have to go back to formal treatment or anything, but you know, what would be really helpful mom is if, if you could just sit with me, maybe just make sure I’m okay. And if you just wouldn’t lecture me, that would be great. Okay. Okay. I can do that. That you might need to remind me because I’m human too.
Yeah. But we’ll give that a try. Yeah. The emotions all kick in. And what I see is as soon as the, some of those signs start to show up for our kids, mom and dad go back into like FBI mode where they’re fully on 24 7 just on. Son or daughter like white on rice. And it’s just really late the clamps come on, the curfews, come down.
You know, there’s just this like, and making things worse, but you are, it is should all be practicing this for fires in the house, right. There are certain tools that we should have. If you have a multi-story home, you should have a ladder. For instance, you need to have some fire extinguishers and people need to know where they are and how to use it.
It doesn’t do any good [00:55:30] to have a tool. If you then don’t know what to do with it. So, you know, those are the kinds of things that we need to be doing, and yes, it’s going to take a little time and you may have to do it more than once. Yeah. In fact, you’re probably going to have to do it a few times, but that’s, that is what helps us to be ready when shit hits.
Right. Cause the problem is, and we do this in treatment too. The problem is that we give people all these tools. We don’t really help them to walk through it, not in, or in an actual setting because we’ve taken them out of their natural setting. And now they’re in an artificial environment. And I can tell you, as someone who went through treatment, I came up with a whole lot of my warning signs while I was there, but I didn’t come up with all of them because I wasn’t even aware of all of them until I got back into the environment and went, geez, okay.
I didn’t even realize this, but you know what? I have this sudden urge. Now, here we go. Yeah. So the other thing I need to be able to do is I need to be able to tell you, I have an urge I’m having these cravings mom. Now I also appreciate that might be too much. I just can’t be that person. And I say, okay, that’s fair enough.
Then you two need to agree on who is the person who is right. And you need to not get [00:57:00] upset. You can just simply say, honey, remember we talked about this. I can’t be the person. And if you’ve done your family planning, everybody knows mom, isn’t the person to go to for this. Right, right. Maybe I need to go to aunt Brenda.
Okay. Right. But I need to be able to share that without everybody freaking out. And going, oh my God, they need to go back to your treatment. Oh my God. Yeah. I was like stop. Yeah. Yeah, because I think that is the fear, especially with young people is, oh my gosh, my parents are gonna freak out. They’re gonna send me back to wilderness therapy.
They’re going to send me back to residential treatment. I don’t want that. I just had a joint at a party and it doesn’t mean that I’ve got to go back to treatment. And so I love that idea of having a plan, having the whole plan or the earthquake kit, and also what you said of going back and revising whatever it was that was created and treatment.
Because once you’re back in the wild, you might see the burger king where you used to go through the drive-through and get the Percocet. And it’s like, oh, I didn’t think about that when I was in Malibu at therapy or whatever it is or during. Got it. So good. So good. Oh my goodness. Any, any last thoughts that you want to convey?
Any? I always think, you know, there’s gotta be a question that you get asked all the time, or it’s a question that people never asked you that [00:58:30] they really should ask you that you would like to clear. Uh, I think the question that I get asked the most is what do I do about, and here comes the scenario. And so the answer to that is I honestly don’t know.
Right? I can tell you what some tools are. I can tell you, we can brainstorm together that I can tell you that if I have a pat answer to that, you better go running because anyone who says this is the way to do X, Y, and Z are. I don’t know if they’re lying or, but they’re certainly lying to them. Yeah, because no two families are the same.
No two children are the same. Right. So how could it possibly be the same to try to, um, help someone through this really traumatic point in their life? Yeah, because by the time somebody has been using for a number of years and using a significant amount and, um, especially if it’s illicit drugs, which does make a difference in what happens lifestyle, if you will.
Right. And you know, it’s a whole different world and you’re not just going to pluck somebody out of that overnight. So I say, be [01:00:00] patient, be curious. And I keep going back to that. Um, and remember, it doesn’t matter if you caused it. I don’t think most parents have. If you had a part in it, it was your lack of knowledge own up to that.
I made mistakes. Now I remember telling my own son this, I am going to make mistakes and you know what, I’m, I’m willing to send you to counseling or whatever you need. I’m willing to have conversations with you about it, but I can’t do all the heavy lifting. I can’t, but I’ll have any conversation in the answer.
Any question you put before me? Yeah. So I think that’s the other side too, is if, again, if I’m open and transparent with you, my trials, then I can more reasonably expect that you might do that with me, but we’ve got to show it first, right? I think what’s hard about the curiosity stance is it requires us to give up control.
And we so badly want to control the situation. I know. And so you have to be willing to, to set that aside. If you’re going to be really curious and realize that’s not going to happen, well, let’s take it a step further and really pull the sheet back or the curtain back to use the metaphor of the wizard.
Right? We don’t have control of [01:01:30] anything. Anyway, you’re not giving anything up. You are really not giving anything up other than your fantasy that you have control in the first place. So let’s get into reality. I love that. So, gosh, what if I said that to my kid? You know what? I don’t have any control here anyway, so I’m not going to go grounding you and doing all this.
Now I’m not going to be stupid and get handed you the car keys either because you might hurt yourself or somebody else that way. So we’re not going to go that far, but these other things are not working. What I am, is it, we have some conversations about this, and I’m going to be willing to answer any question you have, and we’re going to do the sort of truth or dare.
And, you know, if you answer any question in mind, okay, what’s that sound like? And we’ll just do one question. It’s not going to be, uh, you know, peppering of interrogation here. I’ve worked over, I’m not doing that anymore either. So maybe around the dinner table with everybody here, we’re going to talk about what’s going on just for a bit and what I’m struggling with as a mom and working and the pandemic and all the things that are going on in the world and how it’s affecting me.
And yeah, I’m having an extra glass of wine at night and, you know, I need to work on that. Yeah, you’re right now. How about you? How’s it going? Yeah, it’s hard. It’s really hard, but I love that pulls back the curtain and there is not a big, like a box of [01:03:00] control back and, you know, I’ll let you, you know, the secret.
I can’t tell you how many therapists and other professionals in my world believe that they have control over. Right. I could imagine that’s all. Yeah. That’s a whole nother. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And I do know the one, I think when we talked last, you said that the thing that people really never ask you is could you use, you are substance user for, for a long time.
People never asked you, why are you using, they sent you to treatment and they did all these things, but they didn’t ask you DD. Why are you using, so that’s just a good reminder. I think for parents, if, if you haven’t asked that. Yeah, and I should put it this way. So what I got was why are you using drugs?
Oh my God. That’s not what we’re talking about. Different. Forgive your eardrums on that one. It is how come what’s going on, baby. Talk to me and here to help. And if it can’t be me, no problem. Then let’s find you, somebody that you feel comfortable that you can talk about with this. You let me know what you need.
There are a lot of times where we so badly want to be the person that our kids talk to and that’s just not going to always be possible. So we have to be okay with that. Oh, it goes back to the control issue. So
revisit the wizard of Oz. How’s that? [01:04:30] Okay. So everybody now go to go watch the wizard of Oz and well, thank you so much. This was a really great conversation. I have no idea what I’m going to call it because we covered so much ground, but I will figure it out. And it’s just such a pleasure to talk with you.
And it’s always a pleasure to talk with you again, Diane, with your listeners, they love you. And we’ll put this out there and see what happens. Hopefully it’ll help. Some parents kind of get a little bit of grounding and some pudding and. And let me put in a plug just real quickly for a couple of books.
Yes. And one is obviously beyond addiction. Yeah. Jeff and Carrie have written an amazing book. There, there are companion books, the workbooks, the parents, and the partner’s 20 minute guides are brilliant. I use those all the time. And the other one I love is called listening. Well, that’s by William R.
Miller, Dr. Miller, who is a developer of motivational interviewing. And one of the people that trained me in my profession and it sort of motivational interviewing for laypeople. Uh, and it’s just a really simple. Small book about a hundred pages, and it’s all about becoming a better listener as a little exercise this at the end.
True. I love that. Well, there’s also a little book called coming into harm reduction, kicking, and screaming. And I heard about[01:06:00] 
these books, but also I’m really serious about your resource section on your website, um, which is DD stout consulting.com. Right? Very thorough. Like you said, bedded, which is huge because you just never know what you’re going to get. I I’m adamant about that. Brenda, I get inundated by people sending me materials or wanting their rehab to be up there or whatever you do not know who I am or you wouldn’t be sending me this garbage.
Cause I wouldn’t put that up anywhere. Yeah, no, leave me alone. Rarely does anybody get up there and they don’t, unless I know someone personally. Who knows that, or I know the people, firstly though, that’s how I, that my client says, yes, I went there. It was decent. Or I check this out, I’ve gone to the support groups.
I’ve done it. Or someone I know has it makes such a huge difference because Google is very scary place. It’s a wild, wild west. So if you want to save yourself some time, go to DeeDee’s website and look at her resources. Cause they’re fabulous. I really appreciate that. Thank you so much for listening. If you’d like to go to the show notes, you can always find those@brendazane.com forward slash podcast.
Each episode is listed there with full transcript, all of the resources that we mentioned as well as a place to leave comments. If you’d like to do that, you might also want to download a free ebook. I wrote called [01:07:30] hindsight three things. I wish I knew when my son was addicted to. It’s full of the information.
I wish I would’ve known when my son was struggling with his addiction. You can grab that@brendaane.com forward slash hindsight. Thanks again for listening. And I will meet you right back here next week.
Thank you so much for listening. If you’d like to go to the show notes, you can always find those at At Brendazane.com/podcast, each episode is listed there with a full transcript, all of the resources that we mentioned, as well as a place to leave comments if you’d like to do that. You might also want to download a free ebook I wrote called Hindsight: Three things I wish I knew when my son was addicted to drugs. It’s full of the information I wish I would have known when my son was struggling with his addiction. You can grab that at Brendazane.com/hindsight. Thanks again for listening and I will meet you right back here next week.

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