Coaching Episode: The Purpose of Self-Care and Importance of Acknowledging Progress When Your Child Chooses Sobriety

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Coaching Episode: The Purpose of Self-Care and Importance of Acknowledging Progress When Your Child Chooses Sobriety
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ABOUT THE EPISODE:
If you’re here listening to Hopestream, you probably know that working through substance misuse can take a heavy toll on family relationships.  Even after a child achieves sobriety, family dynamics are sometimes still disrupted by  the intensely  emotional process everyone has been through.

In this coaching episode, I’ll meet Alana, a Stream Community parent whose oldest daughter is now 11 months sober.  Alana has watched her struggle — especially during the first two years of COVID — with devastating  bouts of depression and anxiety, which have twice been made worse by personal traumas.

Alana is optimistic about her daughter’s sobriety, but she’s  still navigating those mental health issues. She wants her to be stable and independent but can’t seem to stop trying to “fix” her daughter’s life with a never-ending to-do list and nagging. In this episode, Alana and I work through:

  • How she can encourage  good, sober choices by her daughter – without nagging her
  • Recognizing progress and the importance of positive reinforcement
    how self-care changes the way our children see us
  • and what I did wrong that pushed my son to continue his substance use 

This podcast is part of a nonprofit called Hopestream Community
Learn about The Stream, our private online community for moms
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Find us on Instagram: @hopestreamcommunity
Download a free e-book, Worried Sick: A Compassionate Guide For Parents When Your Teen or Young Adult Child Misuses Drugs and Alcohol

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It is good to be here with you today. It’s really amazing that you’re here taking the time both for yourself and also for the greater benefit of your family. Before I tell you about today’s coaching episode, I want to do a quick check in on your self-care, depending on how long you’ve been a listener.
You may have heard me talk about self-care way back on episode 71, which was called Unapologetic Radical Self-care. When your child is misusing drugs or alcohol, which I highly recommend queuing up and I highlight this now because it’s easy to go in waves with your self-care, you’ll do well for a few weeks or months. Learn some things. Sidetracks you.
Maybe something with your kids. A career thing. Family demands. Caregiver demands. And then it kind of unravels. And you’re back to feeling the impact, not taking care of the mothership or the mothership. And I also want to make a distinction, because the other day, a mom I was talking to said, oh, I’m on top of my self-care. I got my mammogram yesterday.
Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Getting medical tests and going to the doctor and dental appointments in my book does not count as self-care. Those things are filed in the maintenance category. It’s like saying, Oh, my car had no oil in it, so I pampered it by getting an oil change. That stuff is just mandatory. It’s critical and it keeps you running.
Self-care is more like going to an L.A. car wash where you sit inside and have snacks and read a magazine while people vacuum every crevice in the seats, wash the windows inside and out and wax your entire car. And then when you get back in it, it smells amazing. And you could swear it actually runs better. That, my friend, is self-care.
So please don’t think that general body maintenance qualifies as her self-care. Okay, enough about that. But I am really serious and I feel passionately that we often to the very bare minimum for our own bodies and minds. And that’s just not okay. You aren’t the person who is doing that really hard work of figuring out how to best help your son or daughter in optimal condition.
Right. Well, let’s talk for a minute about Alana, my coaching guest today, because she has two daughters and she’s in the process of getting divorced, which means she is probably really struggling with this idea of self-care for older daughter is the one who brought her to this dream community and she’s doing okay. She’s doing better on her substance use challenges, but is still struggling with some mental health issues.
And Alana is in that space where things are better than they used to be. And at the same time, there are challenges. And she wished that her daughter was more actively dealing with her overall health. This is a difficult place to be because on the one hand, you’ve experienced worse times, so you’re grateful for the progress that’s been made.
And on the other hand, you know, things could be so much better. And you’re worried about your son or daughter making backward progress and falling into old habits. So for that reason, I am really, really glad that Alana was willing to share this coaching episode because I know it is a really commonplace that you might find yourself in, and I know you’re going to be able to relate to a lot of what is going on when you hear this conversation.
So take a listen now and I’ll see you on the other side.
00;05;00;27 – 00;05;19;11
Brenda
Welcome, Alana, to Hope Stream for a coaching episode. These are really special episodes are my favorites because I get to talk with our members and just really kind of dove into an issue that your situation that you’re working with. So welcome and I’m excited to chat.
00;05;19;29 – 00;05;22;26
Alana
Thank you. I’m excited to be here. Yeah.
00;05;23;07 – 00;05;40;14
Brenda
Why don’t you start out and give us some context as much or as little as you would like. It’s kind of a starting place and you don’t have to go into a ton of detail, but just enough to say like sort of this is the journey that we’ve been on and here’s where we are now, and then we can get into some of the things that you’re really looking for, for yourself.
00;05;41;09 – 00;06;21;08
Alana
I’m still four years into it, one year into the substance loads, and I’m still trying to get my head and figure out what the story is for me. At least it began during the transition into high school, and it really began around academics and sort of self-worth. It started there. She was not using substances early on. In fact, one thing that she often criticizes me for still is that I, I shielded her too much from my things.
00;06;21;08 – 00;06;31;29
Alana
And so she would sort of blown away by things that she was confronted with in her later days. I was like, Is that really a bad thing?
00;06;32;11 – 00;06;34;28
Brenda
But like, I thought I was doing a good job.
00;06;35;02
Alana
I was like, that was working for. So then COVID hit, things went really down. Her depression got much worse. She was struggling with anxiety and depression, which I think was triggered around her academic identity. But then it spilled over. It definitely spilled over into home and then spilled over into her social identity. But I think that she had started experimenting maybe her sophomore year, right before COVID had covered her.
She was already failing school. We had already looked at. And she was she was going to a big, comprehensive high school. It just I mean, she had wanted to go there, but it just was too big for her. She’s a kind of a kid who needs small. So then during COVID, she went into a really deep, dark depression.
I mean, I just remember months where she was just in her bed. And so then if she went out socially, I was happy. Yeah, that was over her junior year when the world started to open up again and she did start to go back out, which I was relieved about. And I think that’s when she really got into the substances and got in with a really bad crowd who did not go to her school, but she hooked up with through online and they these girls lived in a neighboring town.
00;08;19;24
Alana
We were having just a lot of difficulty, you know, and she had been going to therapists. And so on and so forth. And I was always trying to get us into family counseling. My husband and I separated during all of this as well. So that’s an added factor in this story. Then during her senior year, she wanted to go back to the high school and through different negotiations we finally agreed.
And that’s where it all just like over the fall semester last year, it quickly went down where she was having, I think, you know, there were some eating issues that she was going through. She had experienced some trauma with boys during the summer. There was another trauma in the fall. I think that she really started drinking at school and I was becoming aware of all of this sort of in a rolling way.
And finally, I got her into a peer program that was more geared around mental health. First it was an IOP, then we transitioned her to the P, and after a little while it really she seemed to buy in and she was really making some progress around her depression and anxiety. But there that’s where they sort of uncovered the substance use.
00;09;59;00
Alana
So it was a bit of a shock and it was something that both my acts and I are still processing like really substance. And I’m not sure about that, but it’s true. Yeah, and that’s not that I’m denying it because I know she was youth and I know she was really dysfunctional. So then after she was discharged from the PE, they wanted her to go to a substance abuse program, which we found, and she went to an IOP program, which is she’s still in it.
She’s not in the IOP part of it. But the program is two years essentially with support group and functions. It’s a it’s a pretty amazing treatment, you know, opportunity. And and so she’s been sober for ten, maybe 11 months. And she really worked hard. You know, they they follow the 12 step and you know, she really she she made some great progress at the P.
00;11;10;10
Alana
And then when she was willing to do the substance abuse treatment, she really made progress, made lots of changes. And I was going to the parent group and really trying to make adjustments around my parenting because things had gone really off the rails. So here we are ten, 11 months later, and she didn’t start to use substances again, but she started to go back down into a deep depression.
She had started back to school. I had a private school, one on one instruction, so it was pretty hefty. The the tuition. And I was absolutely willing to pay for it, but not when she didn’t go to classes. And so I was continually struggling with how to set and hold boundaries like that while still being supportive around and her depression and anxiety.
But it’s the depression is really, from my point of view, a profound. So I struggle a lot with that and understanding that difference between enabling and being supportive. I constantly falling over to enabling. Yeah. So when she started to go back down into this depression, she agreed and now she’s 18, so she has to agree to it. She went back to the program to start work on her mental health issues, you know, and I was seeing that as real progress.
00;12;58;24
Alana
Like, you know, she had sort of gotten a hold of her substance and serious and now she was ready to really go back to her mental health. But there just seems to be some continued resistance. And so I’m trying to figure out, one, how to hold boundaries and be supportive to how to let her live her life. Yeah.
And make her own decisions and be okay with that.
00;13;32;16 – 00;13;34;03
Brenda
It’s a lot. Yeah.
00;13;34;17 – 00;13;35;07
Alana
It’s a lot.
00;13;36;23 – 00;14;52;07
Brenda
Well, what strikes me is that, you know, you mentioned oh, by the way, I got separated during all of this, that alone, a separation. I mean, you just kind of threw that in there, like, oh, by the way, I mean, I just I’m always just astounded by the level of complexity and the weight that you everybody who I coaches is caring.
And I think you get to a point where you’re just like, oh, yeah, and then this and then that. And then she had to go to this and then she we found out this and then I got separated and it’s like, like, holy cow, this is so much in. So that’s really it’s a big part of her story, but it’s also a big part of your story.
What do you think motivates her? Like, what do you think motivated her to curb that substance use? What is she sort of looking at in life? And I know you don’t know specifically, but what are some of the things that she that kind of light her up when she starts thinking about her life?
00;14;52;27 – 00;15;23;10
Alana
I know she wants to travel and she wants to do riding around, traveling. She had hit such a bad place with her unhappiness and her sort of lack of interest in living. That part of this treatment program is the peer support that you got. And it’s really I mean, that piece of it has been so vital for her.
00;15;23;22 – 00;15;24;13
Brenda
Huge.
00;15;24;25 – 00;15;25;10
Alana
Huge.
00;15;25;20 – 00;15;55;16
Brenda
Yeah. Because we can’t understand if we haven’t been in that position. And even if we have and it was 20 years ago, it’s different today. Right. So that’s so, so critical. And it sounds like you’ve identified some really great treatment options for her. I love how this the iope and the piece sound and if you’re listening and you’re wondering what those are, IOP is intensive outpatient abuse, partial hospitalization placement, which is a little bit more intense.
Usually it’s kind of like an all day, five days a week. And I think it’s a really great alternative to an out of home placement. And so I think you’ve been really resourceful in finding those things, which is incredible. And she’s probably really benefited from that closeness with you, especially if you went through a separation. And she already was, you know, experiencing some of that disruption in the family.
To be able to keep her home is just such a beautiful thing because that’s it’s just so important, so what is your biggest concern right now?
00;16;32;07
Alana
Well, for me, you know, trying to figure out the boundaries, you know, what I’m willing to live with versus what I’m not willing to live with, you know, outside of substances because I’m you know, I’m pretty clear on if she’s going to use she can’t live with me, but I’m not concerned right now about the substances. I mean, I’m more concerned about her depression and and just her choices, like around school and thinking about her future.
How much support can I give her? Beyond what I’ve already done?
00;17;19;05 – 00;18;12;12
Brenda
It’s a hard road. And and I think sometimes we look ahead and we see a fork in the road and we think we have to go one way or the other. I have to do A or B if she does this, this or this, then I have to do this. Or if I do this, then she has to do this.
And what’s beautiful and really complicated about substance use and mental health and all that is there isn’t a straight path. And if somebody has found the straight path, I would love to know because I have never yet seen it. So until now I can say I have never seen a straight path. So if you look a year down the road to sort of get in a time machine, fast forward a year, hop out of the time machine, what is your daughter doing that makes you feel like, okay, things went pretty well this last year.
00;18;13;11 – 00;18;42;16
Alana
She would graduate from high school, so she would be graduated from high school. I have a stable job. I mean, I just want her to have some stability and then independ once, you know, I know she’s interested in going to college, but I don’t know if really she is right and that’s okay. You know, I’m not necessarily pushing that.
00;18;42;24 – 00;19;05;27
Alana
I’ve even let go of high school. Like right now where we are is that I’ve stopped paying for the for the private school because I can’t anymore. Yeah. And I’ve said, you know, it’s on you now. You’re 18, you’re going to have to figure out how to do it.
00;19;05;27 – 00;19;07;22
Brenda
Yeah. What was her response to that?
00;19;08;16 – 00;19;29;12
Alana
She was okay with it. I think that she thought it was a long time coming. Yeah, but it that has been hard for me. Like I feel really guilty and like I’m sure I should probably just pay for one more semester. I can do it. Yeah.
00;19;30;23 – 00;19;54;15
Brenda
Well, there’s so much pressure around school in particular and and rightly so. Right. It’s not that school is not, you know, unimportant. However, there are a lot of different ways to get through high school, and it sounds like you’ve at least made a move and you’ve explained that move. And that’s and that’s fine because school is always going to be there.
They’re it’s not like they’re going to shut down high schools forever next month. And you’re never she’s never going to have the opportunity to get her diploma. Right. So there’s lots of ways to do that. And I think that’s probably pretty healthy because maybe she was feeling a lot of pressure around school and it was just weighing on her because she’s like, I know my mom is paying all of this money, right?
I’m not engaged. I don’t want to be there. She’s got some it sounds like some trauma that she’s dealing with. So it could I know you feel guilty, but it could have been a really good decision on your point to relieve that pressure from her and say, honey, we can figure out high school. That’s your mental health and your physical safety is way more important than finishing these classes right now.
00;20;43;04 – 00;21;06;27
Brenda
Way more important. Right. And so, you know, just maybe give yourself some grace there that you probably did the right thing in that. So in the time machine scenario, she’s graduated or maybe she’s working towards graduating. She’s on a path there. She’s got some independence. She’s, you know, functioning. I assume you want her to be functioning in a healthy way.
00;21;07;10 – 00;21;35;28
Alana
Yeah. Yeah. You know. Yeah. Whether it’s a full time job. Part time job in another year. I mean, she could still be finishing up being engaged with her treatment because that will be a full two years and I would be okay with that. I just want her happy. I want her competent, self assured, proud, and somewhat independent. Yeah.
00;21;36;06 – 00;21;43;03
Brenda
Yeah. So let’s do the time machine scenario again. But this time you’re getting in the time machine.
00;21;44;05 – 00;21;47;03
Alana
Like, God, wow, that is.
00;21;48;14 – 00;21;53;12
Brenda
And then you get out a year from now, what does Alana’s life look like?
00;21;55;09 – 00;21;59;27
Alana
Wow. Yeah, that I need to start. Probably thinking about that.
00;21;59;27 – 00;22;00;22
Brenda
Yeah, no.
00;22;00;22 – 00;22;34;28
Alana
Worries. So focused on my girls. So I’m not divorced yet. We’re in the process, so I want to be divorced. I’m in a bit of a funk, so I want to have some, you know, zest for life and be I, I do a lot of hiking, so I want to do more hiking with my hiking friends. I want to be, you know, traveling and seeing my mom and my family.
00;22;35;07 – 00;22;37;16
Brenda
What does your relationship with your daughter look like?
00;22;38;20 – 00;22;57;29
Alana
I mean, I would even be okay if she still lived with me and we, you know, got together and we would have dinner and she would bring over her friends. Like that has never happened. So that’s a whole part of what I wanted from our relationship that that has not really happened.
00;22;58;28 – 00;24;13;29
Brenda
So it sounds like, you know, we sort of always talk about what’s in our control and what’s out of our control, right? Of what what are the things that I am capable of putting in place in my life? Obviously, things like her inviting her friends over is not within your control. And it sounds like you’re pretty aware of that and the things that you mentioned, like, you know, going out and hiking and and having some more zest for life.
Those are things that are 100% in your control. So that’s great. And I feel like that might be a good place and you can tell me if you were to to sort of look at these things that are all out there, what would be something that we could talk about now or that you would like to see shift in the next six months to a year that if I flew over your house in that time machine, I could look down and say, Oh, she’s doing it.
Oh, this is this is working out. She’s really, you know, been working on these things. Is there something in particular that you would say, you know what, this is an area that if I could just shift this and it has to be something in your control, that that would make me start to feel like I’m getting closer to what I want.
00;24;14;20 – 00;24;24;28
Alana
I know that I have to start yoga. I have to start doing intentional self-care.
00;24;25;13 – 00;24;26;14
Brenda
And why do you know that?
00;24;27;12 – 00;24;29;01
Alana
Because I’m not doing it.
00;24;29;17 – 00;24;32;06
Brenda
And what happens when you don’t do it?
00;24;32;06 – 00;24;42;13
Alana
I get tired. I get I have a hard time making decisions. I get into really negative thinking patterns.
00;24;42;13 – 00;25;03;09
Brenda
So I’m just wondering, you know, our kids see everything. They are watching us under a microscope, even though we think they’re not, even though we think that they are so sidetracked or in their own world. So how do you think your daughter sees her mom right now?
00;25;04;18 – 00;25;28;01
Alana
I mean, she would say I spend time with friends because I do. But maybe she would say I, I am still spending more time thinking about her and trying to do stuff around supporting her than when focusing on my own self.
00;25;28;13 – 00;25;39;21
Brenda
Yeah, yeah. Do you think who spends more time thinking about her and her challenges, you or her?
00;25;39;21 – 00;25;51;17
Alana
Well, I think it’s it’s I mean, I think she thinks about it a lot, especially right now. But I think that’s you know, we’re pretty neck and neck.
00;25;52;07 – 00;27;15;27
Brenda
It’s a it’s a it’s a close race, right? Yeah. Yeah. I have something new and really special to tell you about if you’re listening in real time, which means it’s either December of 2022 or January of 23, you can join me for a six week Kickstart coaching program where we’re going to focus on a goal you have or an area of life where you are feeling stuck and will help you make progress in the first 60 days of the year.
This is great for you. If life feels a bit more stable and you’re not living in chaos or crisis, it’s perfect. If your son or daughter is in treatment and you have a little bit of time to regain some of your self, or if they’re in sober living or just plain doing well overall and you know, it’s time to shift your attention away from them and back on to you.
It is really common to lose ourselves when we have a child or children in crisis. So this coaching program is a chance for you to think about a goal or a dream that you’ve been putting off some examples of things that people have worked on in this program are starting the book that you want to write, reducing your sugar intake, starting a podcast, getting your life paperwork in order, starting a consistent movement practice, decluttering your home and going back to school.
00;27;16;11
Brenda
There are lots of things that get put on hold, so if you’re ready to start the year with focus and intention and you know, you could use some accountability and encouragement along the way, you can get the details at Brenda SI.com. Forget kick start. I hope to see you there. And now let’s get back to the conversation. What’s your communication like?
Like if the two of you were at home one night and there wasn’t a lot going on or just kind of hanging out, you and you just both happened to be home. What kind of conversations can you have?
00;28;03;25
Alana
Well, our communication is sort of like up and down. I mean, sometimes we’ll just watch movies and that will be really nice, you know, and sometimes were around in the mornings, were around and we sort of chat superficially, but I definitely and I’m trying my hardest to get out of this but I definite at least air on the side of.
Have you gotten this done have you done this? And I know that that is not a good way to build a relationship with her. But I get stuck in going through sort of my agenda items.
00;28;47;09 – 00;28;48;09
Brenda
Yeah, yeah.
00;28;48;11 – 00;28;50;13
Alana
The moment I have her.
00;28;51;03 – 00;28;57;24
Brenda
It’s so hard not to do that because you don’t have a lot of time with her. So when you do, it’s like, Oh, we got to get in this and we got to get it.
00;28;57;25 – 00;28;59;26
Alana
This guy. Right, right.
00;28;59;29 – 00;30;25;22
Brenda
Yeah. Because I’m just wondering if, you know, you’ve recognized so much and you’re very self-aware, which is a huge step ahead that some people are not aware of those kinds of things. Right. So you’re aware of that. And I’m sure there’s times when you catch yourself and then there’s times when it happens and then you’re like, Oh, you did it again.
And that’s 1,000% normal. So, you know, as you’re working on these things and we’ll get back, I want to get back to the the yoga and the self-care. But in in this situation with her, I just wonder if you have the kind of communication where you could even say to her, hey, I know I kind of default to this interrogation and that can’t feel great.
So I’m really working on not doing that and just see how that lands with her. Just to say, I recognize this, it’s something I’m working on because it really just shows her that you’re coming alongside her instead of at her. And then with some of these things, like school or the other things that you’re you’re not really aligned on, you know, sometimes using language that will let her know that you’re trying to partner with her and, you know, saying, where can we find some agreement around school?
00;30;27;10 – 00;30;31;09
Brenda
Maybe that means we put it off for six months. We just don’t even think about it.
00;30;31;24 – 00;30;32;03
Alana
Right.
00;30;32;10 – 00;32;11;12
Brenda
Or maybe that means we look at like you, you do some research and bring me three options that you’re interested in just to sort of start opening that back up, but not making it like so structured and intimidating and like, Oh, I don’t want to have this conversation with my mom, right? Or, you know, how can we work together to get to a better place around you staying in your room or whatever it is that she’s doing that’s concerning to you so that she feels like you’re her partner in it and you’re not trying to solve it for her.
You’re just there to help her brainstorm through it. And it might take a while, right? It’s not. I always try to tell people, like the first time you try some of this language or some of this approach, it might completely bomb because she’s like, What is with my mom? Like, That’s weird. Like, why would she ask me that?
Right? Because it might sound so different than how you’ve been communicating in the past that she’ll be like, Okay, my mom’s tripping out. I don’t know what’s going on, but as you really continue with that and say, you know, really coming from a place of curiosity, I just would love to know how you’re feeling about school. I’d love to know.
Let’s talk about let’s just like blue sky the next two years. What are you doing? Oh, you know, I really want to go to Indonesia or whatever to start bringing some of that out, because we do tend to just laser in on the difficult things and that becomes everything that our conversations are about. And so just and I always like to people experiments to try.
00;32;11;13 – 00;32;46;02
Brenda
Could you say for the next two weeks I’m going to just shut my mouth about any of the reminders, any of the nagging and just sort of like approach her from almost like a dream standpoint. Like let’s figure out what you’re looking forward to because then what you can say is, okay, what’s getting in the way of that, which is what I’m going to ask you in a few minutes about your self-care, just as a warning that that for her, you know, to start to recognize, because sometimes we say, well, what do you want there?
00;32;46;07 – 00;33;12;05
Brenda
I don’t know. I don’t know. Right. I don’t know what I want. So. Okay, what don’t you want? I don’t want to not have a high school diploma. Okay, that’s interesting. What else don’t you want? We don’t have to solve it, but we can just keep asking because a lot of times they can’t see, right? Because maybe she’s been in some struggle for so long that she doesn’t necessarily have a vision.
00;33;12;05 – 00;33;34;22
Brenda
Yes. And then if you ask somebody, what’s your vision and you don’t have it, then you feel like a loser. Because I don’t how vision for my life is like, oh, my gosh, now I’m even worse. So it can just be a little bit less intimidating to start with. What don’t you want? Because most people can articulate a couple of things that they don’t want in their life, and that could even be a great way to show her the progress that she’s made.
00;33;34;22 – 00;33;50;27
Brenda
If she’s like, Well, I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to have be using drugs. Great. Look at you already. You’ve already overcome that one. Amazing. That’s a huge accomplishment for her. I’m just when you said that when you’re like, I’m not really that worried about the substances, I was like, Oh, my gosh, that’s amazing.
00;33;50;27 – 00;33;52;23
Alana
I know. It’s amazing.
00;33;52;23
Brenda
So even some of that just, you know, I’m just such a big fan of humility, of being able to say to her, Oh, my gosh, I just I was having a covers that you don’t have to tell her you were talking to me. You can just say I was having a conversation today. And it just struck me how amazing it is that you have overcome this.
Like, I don’t know if I’ve told you that recently and if I haven’t, I’m really sorry, because that’s pretty badass, right? You did.
00;34;18;10 – 00;34;20;12
Alana
That, right? Right.
00;34;20;27 – 00;35;36;13
Brenda
Those are some of the conversation starters that can just let her know, okay, my mom’s on my side. She’s somebody I can go to brainstorm with. I don’t have to. And she’s not going to be solving it for me because it’s it’s easy to just get into, well, you need to do this or you need to do that, or did you make that phone call or did you?
And it doesn’t allow for any of that sort of free thinking and creativity. And the great thing about today, which probably is, you know, somewhat thanks to COVID, but also just because treatment and different programs have come so far is that there are lots of options. And you found some great ones that are not, it sounds like kind of nontraditional, but there’s so many programs out there, especially because she’s 18, they get even more creative and better because they know that, you know, young people have to agree to go.
So some of these programs for 18 to 25 ish year olds are super cool. I’m like, I want to go to that because that looks really awesome and it doesn’t have to be about substance use. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore, you know, there’s like therapeutic gap years where she could travel and just be with safe people and have some light therapy or some heavy therapy or whatever it is.
00;35;36;26 – 00;35;47;12
Brenda
Broadening the lens to some of that could be a way for you to to reengage with each other in a less kind of harsh way.
00;35;47;27 – 00;35;48;17
Alana
Yeah.
00;35;48;17 – 00;35;49;27
Brenda
Would that feel good to.
00;35;49;28 – 00;36;31;18
Alana
Yes. I mean, that’s exactly. I mean, I have been trying to use different ways of communicating with her to do that because that’s it’s like we have a really great foundation. Our relationship. But over these last four years, there was a moment when I decided I was like, I’m going to do the conflict with her because I’m not sure that I wanted her to do the conflict with her dad and so I was like, I’m just going to do it because I’ll be able to do it.
00;36;31;18 – 00;36;40;24
Alana
And that’s really ruptured our relationship. I mean, I think we both have acknowledged that we want to rebuild.
00;36;41;01 – 00;36;41;16
Brenda
Well, that’s.
00;36;41;16 – 00;37;03;10
Alana
Good. Yeah, but it’s harder to take that action then. So that’s what we’re finding hard to do. And I think like, for instance, my habit of just, you know, going through my required topics to yes. It’s just.
00;37;04;09 – 00;37;04;26
Brenda
Yes.
00;37;05;05 – 00;37;13;28
Alana
I mean, I just think that one way. But that’s just a way that I have not gotten out of a bad habit.
00;37;14;00 – 00;38;31;13
Brenda
Right. Right. And so maybe, you know, you can after after this, you can figure out kind of what what pieces you want to work on. But that might be a really good first piece is just to say and keep a journal of it for two weeks or one week or a month or whatever you can kind of fathom and do is I’m really I’m really going to put that aside and you can even tell her that.
Just say, Hey, I’m trying this experiment. If you catch me doing the nagging thing, like have a code word or ring a bell or whatever, I don’t know who you know. Hi. But just so that she knows you’re working on it and it can almost become kind of like a little bit of a game for the two of you, and you can just say, I am, you know, it’s like when our kids were little and we the swear jar, right?
Like, oh, like this is what I’m doing. And so, you know, every time I nag you, I have to put a dollar in the in the nag jar. I don’t know. It can just lighten up some of the like it gets so serious. Right. And a lot of this is serious, but we can find ways to connect sometimes over our own craziness and our own, you know, have bad habits.
00;38;31;26 – 00;39;03;04
Brenda
And it just lets her see that you’re real, you’re human, too. You don’t have all the answers. You’re not supposed to have all the answers. And I felt this way, too, and I was going through it. I thought I had to have all the answers. And if I didn’t have the answer, I got very like kind of defensive about it, you know, with my son.
And I realized that wasn’t doing either one of us any favors because why would I have the answer right? Nobody had trained me in this stuff. So does that sound like an experiment that you might want to try?
00;39;03;12 – 00;39;05;24
Alana
Yeah. Yeah, actually, it does. Okay. Yeah.
00;39;05;28 
Brenda
Now, let’s go back. Before we wrap up, I want to go back to you and you taking care of yourself. So you mentioned yoga, you mentioned hiking. So what seems like kind of a reasonable like a goal that you could set for yourself to do one or two of these things in the next week that feels realistic so that you start getting some of that self-efficacy, right?
Of like, okay, I did that and then that feels really great. So now I’m going to do the next thing. Is there something that comes to mind?
00;39;36;22 – 00;39;51;12
Alana
I mean, I think if I went to a yoga class, one yoga class, yeah. I mean, I used to be into yoga and then I just let it slide and, you know. Yeah.
00;39;52;00 – 00;39;57;01
Brenda
How what, what makes you want to do the yoga? Like, what’s the outcome of that when you are doing yoga?
00;39;58;06 – 00;40;19;15
Alana
Because I feel stronger physically. I also I love the flow when I doing the flow that helps my brain like let go of the anxiety. But I also just love like after a while I need to get back to being physically strong.
00;40;20;09 – 00;40;22;00
Brenda
Yeah, that feels good.
00;40;22;00 – 00;40;22;09
Alana
Yeah.
00;40;22;16 – 00;40;27;11
Brenda
Yeah. What would get in the way in the next week of you taking a yoga class?
00;40;28;03 – 00;40;32;19
Alana
How? You know, just myself would get in the way, to be honest.
00;40;33;25 – 00;40;34;26
Brenda
Tell me more about that.
00;40;35;22 – 00;40;49;01
Alana
It’s hard for me to start something, but once I started, I’m good. But it’s that initial do it. Yeah. After like push through how I do it.
00;40;49;09 – 00;40;55;13
Brenda
Now, would you be doing an online yoga class or an in-person yoga class? When you think of this, what what are you envisioning?
00;40;55;29 – 00;41;02;21
Alana
I probably need to do it in person. You know, I have to have, like, the structure. Yeah.
00;41;03;01 – 00;41;06;06
Brenda
Is there a place that you’ve gone in the past that you like?
00;41;06;15 – 00;41;28;03
Alana
Yes. Yes. And I can go back and I and they have a slow class and I think maybe doing it during the day, although that impacts my work. But I’m like, I’m willing to do that. I think that’s easier than doing it in the evening when my younger daughter is around. Yeah.
00;41;28;20 – 00;41;31;25
Brenda
How confident do you feel like you’re going to do that in the next week?
00;41;33;02 – 00;41;38;24
Alana
I think I’m going to. I mean, I really I think I’m pretty confident. I think I’m 90% confident.
00;41;38;27 – 00;41;42;12
Brenda
Okay. So why is it 90% and not 50%?
00;41;43;13 – 00;41;53;23
Alana
Because, you know, I’ve identified that I’m going to do it during the day. I’m going to put it on the calendar. And because it’s important to me.
00;41;54;00 – 00;41;58;07
Brenda
Yeah, yeah. And I bet your girls will benefit, too.
00;41;58;27 – 00;42;05;27
Alana
I think they will. I, I definitely think both of them will in different ways. Yeah.
00;42;06;02 – 00;42;16;23
Brenda
Yeah. They like to look at mom and see that she’s healthy and strong and got some balance in her life, literally and figuratively.
00;42;16;23 – 00;42;19;17
Alana
So true, right? Yeah.
00;42;20;08 – 00;43;19;05
Brenda
Yeah. That’s really important for them. And when you’re doing that, you’re modeling for them. This is how I take care of myself and this is how you can take care of yourself. Because if we want somebody else to do something, we have to be willing to do it ourselves. Right? And that’s the best way you’re going to you’re going to swap out your nagging for going and doing it because that’s going to be a thousand times more impactful for your daughter to see.
Oh, you know, I know my mom’s really busy. I know she’s got a lot of work, but she’s actually getting in the car and leaving and going to yoga class that says so much, right? That just speaks volumes about you and how you treat yourself and your body and you’re getting out of the house. So I think that’s going to be really impactful and then, who knows, maybe one of them will want to go with you at some point.
Right. And you never know.
00;43;19;19 – 00;43;35;20
Alana
You never. Right. And I’ve been talking to my younger one about yoga, about my guy. I’ve been talking about my wanting to get back into yoga. And then out of the blue, she was like, Oh, well, maybe I’ll do yoga. One think, Oh.
00;43;36;09 – 00;43;53;19
Brenda
Yeah, that’s so great. That’s great. Well, so it’s something you have to sort of action items experimenting with the nag jar or however you decide to execute that. I love that. And get into a yoga class this week. How does that feel to you?
00;43;54;04 – 00;44;12;13
Alana
It feels good. You really good? I really yeah. I really appreciate this. I mean, both of them are hard. The communication piece is really key and I’m aware of it. I’m just not always that great with it.
00;44;12;19
Brenda
Well, it’s it’s hard. It’s hard. I think that’s the thing for people to know is it’s really easy for me removed from your family and your house and all of that. It’s easy for me or any coach to say, Well, just do this. You could say this or you could say this, and here’s some words to use. And then it’s like, Well, that sounds lovely, but when you’re in my kitchen 7:00 in the morning with a really irritable 18 year old, things don’t flow as easily.
So just make sure and give yourself grace for that, because it sounds really easy. It is extraordinarily hard to do so. If it flubs, you just say, Well, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to start again, you know? And the more we can be really honest about that with our kids to say, well, sheesh, I could have said that a lot better.
00;45;08;01 – 00;45;20;21
Brenda
Again, it’s that modeling that she’s going to say, Oh, maybe I get to do that too. Maybe I get to screw up and then say, Oh, she’s like, Let me let me try that again. So it gives you some leeway.
00;45;21;22 – 00;45;21;24
Alana
To.
00;45;21;24 – 00;45;26;29
Brenda
Go, yeah. And, and it’s good modeling. So it’s kind of a win win both ways. Oh.
00;45;27;14 – 00;45;31;16
Alana
Wow. That’s cool. Awesome. Can I ask you something?
00;45;31;16 – 00;45;32;11
Brenda
Absolutely.
00;45;33;15 – 00;45;51;03
Alana
You know, did you have a period where and I think you your son had troubles, did you have a period where maybe he was doing okay and, you know, things were going okay, but.
00;45;51;03 – 00;46;15;01
Brenda
You were still stuck? Yeah. You know, he when he was in treatment multiple times and every time he would come home within two, sometimes three months, he was right back in the same lifestyle that he had been in. So I never really let my hair down because there was always I was always on red alert.
00;46;15;19 – 00;46;15;28
Alana
Right.
00;46;16;05 – 00;46;43;21
Brenda
You know, all systems go, something’s going to happen. So I never really got to a point where I was like, Oh, I think things are good, you know, until he is after his last overdose and he had moved down to San Diego. And I’m in Seattle, so I couldn’t see him every day. So then that was a point where I was like, Oh, now, now it’s just me, you know?
00;46;44;12 – 00;47;11;25
Brenda
And I was a complete mess. A complete mess. I could I was so sick. I was so malnourished, I was so exhausted, which is why I do what I do now, because it just kills me when I see other parents who are in that place where you have lost yourself. And, you know, I will look in the mirror and be like, who is that?
00;47;11;25 – 00;47;12;08
Alana
Right?
00;47;12;15 – 00;47;19;14
Brenda
I don’t even know who that person is. And that’s a place that’s really scary for us, but it’s also really scary for our kids.
00;47;19;28 – 00;47;20;07
Alana
Right?
00;47;20;17 – 00;47;33;00
Brenda
Right. So so I never had kind of the place where you are every time he was kind of out of a treatment setting. Things always fell apart very quickly.
00;47;33;13 – 00;47;33;22
Alana
Right?
00;47;33;28 – 00;47;47;28
Brenda
So yeah, it’s a little different, but I think that we go through the same things, right? You’re just you have some guard up, but then you’re kind of wanting to let the guard down and you’re kind of thinking, okay, well, now what about me?
00;47;48;09 – 00;47;49;06
Alana
Right, right.
00;47;49;06 – 00;47;50;08
Brenda
So yeah.
00;47;51;00 – 00;47;54;28
Alana
And does he think that this is pretty amazing what you do?
00;47;55;20 – 00;48;22;26
Brenda
He does. He’s very glad that I do what I do because he saw his mom fall apart. And he has told me many times, Mom, when you are a mess, crying, falling apart. I was always crying in the bathroom or crying in my closet. And he he would say, he tells me now I knew I was the reason for that.
00;48;23;12 – 00;48;30;22
Brenda
And the only way not to feel horrible about that was to go out and use more Xanax because it just numbed everything out.
00;48;30;22 – 00;48;31;03
Alana
Right?
00;48;31;06 – 00;48;54;17
Brenda
Right. So I didn’t realize that I was feeding the cycle. And I don’t I don’t say that to put the blame on myself at all. I just didn’t know that there was a better way. And so that’s why I do what I do, because I found craft and I found all of this later, much, much later. So we went through years and years of me crying and blaming him and shaming him.
00;48;54;18 – 00;49;19;02
Brenda
Can’t you see what you’re doing to me, Casey? What you’re doing, the family. And we didn’t raise you this way. And you know, just like heaping more and more and more shame on him. And I didn’t know what that that was actually just fueling him quit because he was so ashamed of what he was doing and didn’t have the words to tell me that didn’t have the ability to tell me that.
00;49;19;02 – 00;49;32;00
Brenda
So it’s just that’s why it’s so important to me to do this. And he recognizes how important it is as well. So yeah, I feel very blessed to have him to have his support behind me.
00;49;32;13 – 00;49;35;19
Alana
I bet. I think that’s I think it’s so cool.
00;49;35;19 – 00;49;44;22
Brenda
And he’s I don’t know if you know, but he’s now helping kids, too. He works at a treatment program that he ran away from home and he. Yeah, buddy.
00;49;44;22 – 00;49;48;22
Alana
Oh, cool. Yeah. So he’s a counselor.
00;49;48;22 – 00;50;16;22
Brenda
He is on staff, so he’s a supervisor in the house that he lived in and ran away from when he was 17. So it can go full circle. Took a long time, you know, took eight years, full cycle for him to get there. But that’s what he does now. And he loves it. And he works with 13 to 17 year old boys who are going through exactly what he went through and yeah.
00;50;16;22 – 00;50;20;11
Brenda
Finds a lot of fulfillment in that. So it’s pretty cool.
00;50;20;29 – 00;50;21;29
Alana
Yeah, it’s awesome.
00;50;22;08 – 00;50;40;13
Brenda
Yeah. Well, I’m so glad that we got to connect and I’m glad that you have some things that you can try out. And, you know, sometimes it’s nice to just have like something tangible to do and to try and to track and journal about or think about or whatever and, and just see how the dynamic changes. Right.
00;50;41;08 – 00;50;52;21
Alana
Yeah. And I love the idea of journaling it because then you can really document if there is a change. Yeah. So you don’t rely on your own. Well.
00;50;53;01 – 00;50;58;15
Brenda
Well, yeah. Because our memories, it’s like everything’s a blur. So if I don’t write it down, it’s like lost.
00;50;59;04 – 00;51;00;13
Alana
Right? Yeah, right.
00;51;01;09
Brenda
Good. Will, I will be checking in with you in the community just to see how it’s going and I’d be sure to get connected with either a partnership coach or one of our coaches, and they can sort of continue on this with you for as long as you need. And sometimes it’s just great to have a partner to check in with and, you know, brainstorm with like, okay, well, this happened.
Okay, great. Well, now let’s try this approach and so really encourage you to do that.
00;51;26;22 – 00;51;28;22
Alana
I’m going to I think that’s great.
00;51;29;07 – 00;51;29;20
Brenda
Awesome.
00;51;30;06 – 00;51;31;19
Alana
Well, thank you so much.
00;51;31;19 – 00;51;33;24
Brenda
Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.
00;51;33;29 – 00;51;36;04
Alana
You too. Okay. Thanks.
Bye. Okay, that is it for today. If you would like to get the show notes for this episode, you can go to Brenda Zane ICOM Forward Slash Podcast. All of the episodes are listed there and you can also find curated playlists there, so that’s very helpful. You might also want to download a free e-book I wrote. It’s called Hindsight Three Things I Wish I Knew When My Son Was Misusing Drugs.
00;52;05;07 – 00;52;33;24
Brenda
It it’ll give you some insight as to why your son or daughter might be doing what they are. And importantly, it gives you tips on how to cope and how to be more healthy through this rough time. You can grab that free from Brenda’s income. Forget hindsight. Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate it. And I hope that these episodes are helping you stay strong and be very, very good to yourself.
And I will meet you right back here next week.

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