Creating Impact From Tragedy with MAPDA’s Janet Janes

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Creating Impact From Tragedy with MAPDA’s Janet Janes

Mamas are so fierce. They are incredible protectors- and not just of their own children, but of the whole village. My guest today is Janet Janes, is a warrior mama and founder of MAPDA (Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse). She is bravely telling the story of the loss of her son to one methadone pill in hopes of saving others from this unimaginable loss. 

Every five minutes, someone dies of a drug overdose. What’s worse is that this tragedy is entirely preventable. But as a society, we’re so unaware of how powerful these drugs are. While she is proud to advocate for this cause, Janet shares how intentional she has to be about self-care to prevent burnout as she tells her story again and again. 

We also talk about how grief can absolutely undo us and make us strangers to ourselves. This episode is a reminder that when we have the courage to deal with the shame of finding ourselves here, there is help and hope waiting for us- and our children. Be sure to share this episode and what you learn with someone you love.

In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • How Janet was able to turn her pain into action
  • Why we’re going numb to the rampant use of prescription drug abuse
  • Some of the bright spots of the work Janet is doing
  • Why we don’t have time to worry about having uncomfortable conversations with our kids
  • What Janet is learning about herself in this stage of her healing


  • MAPDA: Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (Website) 

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[00:00:22] Hello welcome. 
[00:00:23] Brenda: This is hope stream a podcast for you. If you’re parenting a teen or young adult child through substance misuse, or if you have a child in a treatment program or the early stages of recovery, I’m your host, Brenda, Zane and I have been through this journey myself, so I can totally relate and I work to bring you the information.
[00:00:45] The resources and a little bit of inspiration to keep you going each day and to find ways to help motivate your child to make positive changes. So relax, 
[00:00:58] Janet Janes: exhale. 
[00:01:00] Brenda: You are in the right place and you’re in really good company. You can learn more about me and how I serve parents like you at my website, Brenda, Zane dot.
[00:01:12] It’s really good to meet you here today. I hope that you can take this time to just disconnect from all the things that might be swirling around you, whether that’s life in general, or if you’re in a particularly hard time right now with your son or daughter, or if things are going well, and you’re looking around and wondering, do I dare breathe?
[00:01:35] Is the other shoe about to. Or if you can just be really extra grateful for the place that you’re in right now, we all need that time and a space where we can be truly absorbed by something that can help calm our nervous system. And that can help give us back some perspective on where we are in the world.
[00:01:58] It can be very disorienting. When you have a child who’s struggling with substance use. I was telling someone, my family story just the other day. And as I was talking, I was thinking how completely mad it sounded. And by the look on this other person’s face, I realized how not normal everything was that I was saying.
[00:02:21] And I remember when we were in the thick of it, I kept looking for the movie cameras because I was positive, completely positive that somebody must have dropped me in my very normal, simple life. Into a film and they just forgot to tell me about it because nothing that was going on made sense. There are just so many weird and scary and crazy things that happen that you sometimes have to just take a step back and get some perspective.
[00:02:53] And my guest today is someone who has a lot of perspectives, some of which she would rather not have. And she’s also found a way to be proactive and intentional in the aftermath of a tragedy. In 2011, Janet James was experiencing the devastating loss of her son, Christopher who died tragically at the age of 19 from an overdose of methadone.
[00:03:20] so these were pre fentanyl days, but young people were still experimenting. And Chris took two methadone pills, which ended up tragically taking his life. And because of this experience, Janet ended up contacting her local news media as all fierce mamas do. And she told her story about this devastating loss and about the outcome of young adults who are experimenting with drugs.
[00:03:49] In hopes that other people would not befall the same tragedy as her. She eventually made a connection with Congresswoman Mary bono and together through that connection and through the connection with other mothers who had lost their children to overdoses from prescription drugs, mothers against prescription drug abuse or Mata was founded.
[00:04:13] Janet was honored as 2013 woman of distinction by the California legislative assembly for her hard work and dedication and her perseverance in the community. And today mapped it is chaired by Mary bono, who is widely recognized as a national leader, uh, privacy and technology issues, as well as a powerful advocate for issues important for addiction prevention for treatment and recovery.
[00:04:42] Congresswoman bono was elected in 1998 to serve California’s 44th congressional district. After the untimely death of her husband, entertainer turned Congressman son bono. I am really grateful for Janet taking the time to speak with me for this episode. I think that we can sometimes forget the strength it takes for a parent to talk about the tragic death of a child, even if it is 12 years later.
[00:05:10] She has some thoughtful pearls of wisdom. If you’re a parent currently in the fight. And she also has thoughts for you if you’ve lost a child and you’re waiting through the aftermath of grief, I know you’ll get a lot out of this 
[00:05:25] Janet Janes: special episode. 
[00:05:27] So 
[00:05:27] Brenda: please listen in now to my conversation with Janet James founder of MAPDA and a fiercely strong warrior mama, making a difference.
[00:05:41] Well, Janet, I am so. Thrilled to have you on today. I, um, I, I have a lot of different kinds of guests and I haven’t had as many, um, advocacy, I guess I should say advocates on as I would like. And so when I came across Mata and I came across you, I just thought I’ve got to get you on the show because you’re doing great work, your organization.
[00:06:05] And it’s just really, really important to me to highlight people who are doing. This kind of work. So thank you for taking time and joining me today. 
[00:06:15] Janet Janes: Well, thank you. It’s, it’s really a pleasure to talk to you and to, uh, say how important it is to have advocates out there and just trying to get the word out.
[00:06:29] Most people nowadays know how, um, serious the epidemic is, but there are still a lot of people who just don’t are just totally. and it’s a problem that, uh, is, is not just with kids in school, you know, there’s grandma who was, you know, prescribed some kind of pain medication and she thought she was doing the right thing and she took a little more every day.
[00:06:58] And then all of a sudden, now she’s got a problem. So it’s a widespread problem, I think because of. The answer is quite multifaceted. It’s not just one answer is gonna be the fix, you know? Right. Okay. 
[00:07:19] Brenda: Yeah. And I, this is why I really like to highlight people who are doing different kinds of things, because the feeling I get sometimes when I look at what’s going on, and I’d be curious to know how you feel about this.
[00:07:32] I feel like it’s such a drop in the ocean. You know, my work, the work that I see other people doing, sometimes it can get, just get really overwhelming and I can just feel. Am I making a difference because it just seems so huge. And the people who are producing fentanyl and all these, you know, drugs, it just seems like at some point they’re winning and I have to remind myself, you know, you can only do what you can do, stay focused, um, highlight people, you know, like you and how do you grapple with that?
[00:08:11] I I’d just be 
[00:08:12] Janet Janes: curious. That’s that’s a good question. Um, sometimes I don’t grapple with it quite as well as I would like to it’s I felt like, you know, I’ve been at this for kind of 12 years and, um, and I felt like we were maybe making a difference and then, and then fentanyl stepped in mm-hmm and, uh, it just changed the game.
[00:08:41] Completely. And so it, it is difficult to deal with how, how, 
[00:08:50] Brenda: where do we go from here? 
[00:08:52] Janet Janes: Right. And, um, and I think that fentanyl is not just coming from across our borders now. Um, there are people here manufacturing it and making pills. That, you know, look like Xanax, but they’re not Xanax. They’re a copycat and there’s fentanyl in it.
[00:09:15] And so I think that awareness, especially of that is particularly important for parents to let their kids know that just one pill can, can kill you. And. I myself through those 12 years found it, um, difficult to, to stay engaged because telling my story is emotionally draining and hearing because I’m connected to other advocacy groups, hearing about another child died or sad stories and, and just it’s.
[00:10:00] It’s tough. It’s really tough for, um, for anyone. And, um, especially for parents or moms who have lost a child. 
[00:10:12] Brenda: Yeah. The, the emotional to has to just be at some point. And it sounds like you’ve gotten there and we’ll, we’ll go a little bit into your story and then your organization. Because the emotional toll on a day to day basis, if you’re doing this, um, would be a lot to say the least.
[00:10:36] And, and I wonder because I see this and I was mentioning it before I see this with some of the. The moms that I know that have lost kids is there’s this instant desire sometimes to just jump in 250% into advocacy work. And because that naturally, you know, you, you have this anger, there’s this like, desire to do something.
[00:11:01] Um, so maybe , um, so maybe before we get into. You could give us to the degree that you’re emotionally able to. Cuz I do understand that it’s a lot to just share a little bit about your family, your story, and, and give us some context sort of from where you’re coming from. 
[00:11:20] Janet Janes: Sure. I moved from Canada. To the United States.
[00:11:26] I, I was born in the United States and I had lived up there for some time. And then we moved back down because most of my family was here and I had become a single mom. And, um, and I just wanted my boys to know the family and, and we moved down here and everything. You know, kids went to school, graduated was pretty typical.
[00:11:51] And then Chris, my, my older son was going to become a civil engineer and he changed his mind and became a helicopter pilot. And now he’s, uh, training to fly those great big air buses. So, you know, he went along in his life. Like young kids do chose his profession, changed his mind, and now he loves what he’s doing, being a pilot and Christopher was going to.
[00:12:22] Uh, college and he had a job and he, I think he struggled a little bit more with his identity, but he was 19. So that’s kind of to be expected in any event. I had a feeling that maybe he was like, I, I knew he had used marijuana. Did know for a fact that he was taking pills, but I had a feeling and wish I had listened to my gut instincts a little bit more, um, at the time, but then it’s like, what do you do?
[00:12:57] And that’s what the advocacy is all about. And, um, and then one morning, um, I got up and made coffee and went to ask him what time he worked and, and I could not wake him. Had I had Naloxone. I think he would’ve been okay. Seriously. He wasn’t from what the paramedic said is, is, uh, by the time they got here is that, uh, um, that he hadn’t been gone for long.
[00:13:33] And I mean, I’ll never know right. Raising one way or another, but I, I, I found him and. Once the reality sunk in that I had actually lost him that he had died. I just, I think that’s why other moms jump into advocacy because they just, sorry, I get a little emotional. They just don’t want it to happen to another family.
[00:14:04] Yeah. To another child or just. we’re just like mama bears protecting our Cubs and all the other ones too. Right. We just gotta, um, do what we can to hopefully make, to prevent this from happening again. It’s it’s not an easy battle. 
[00:14:30] Brenda: No, it’s just so unimaginable. I think for, for those of us who haven’t. Lost a child like that to even come close to comprehending what you have to go through and how you put one foot in front of the other.
[00:14:51] After that, um, to me is just mind-boggling. I can’t, I can’t wrap my head around how you do that and how do you then turn to something that’s so tragic. Into action. And maybe tell us a little bit about that journey. How long did it take? Like, what was your path to becoming an advocate after that? 
[00:15:15] Janet Janes: Shortly after?
[00:15:16] Um, I finally got the diagnosis or the. Results from the coroner of how he had died, which was, uh, methadone poisoning. And then I started researching methadone and realizing that it just was all such a sad set of circumstances. From what I was told, he only took one pill in half an hour past or something.
[00:15:41] He didn’t feel anything. So he took another one, but his body had no to. and, um, and methadone, isn’t fast acting, like, say Xanax, if you took a Xanax, you’re gonna start to feel something in 20 minutes. Right. But, so that’s all it took because he had no tolerance. And so he fell asleep and just didn’t wake up.
[00:16:07] So, um, so I found out it was methadone. I found out that just one or two pills could kill you. So. I wanted to, I wrote letters to several local news outlets and, um, and Karen Devine called me and said, Hey, I’d like to do a piece on this. And so she did, and it was a live news article or news casting. And, um, and she also put me in touch with Mary bono, Mac or Mary Bon.
[00:16:46] And at that time, he was Mary bono back and Mary was at that time a Congresswoman and she connected me to another mom. And so we decided that we wanted to start a nonprofit organization because that’s where we would be able to make the most impact. Mary was an honorary board member at the time. And it was very exciting.
[00:17:18] And we jumped in with both feed and we went to schools and told our story and, um, and that was very difficult and exhausting, you know, but at the same time, I mean, a lot of kids, they think they know better. And so they’re just, they are not listening, but you can tell. That there are a lot of them out there when we are speaking to them that are listening.
[00:17:46] And my whole thought in the very beginning is that if I could just save one life, just one, that it would all be worth it. Yeah. And who knows? Hopefully I have . 
[00:18:05] Brenda: I am sure you have. I’m sure you have. Yeah. Oh. And do you think that when you’re talking with kids or when you’re talking with parents, That they really understand, because like you said, 12 years, um, a lot has changed.
[00:18:27] I feel like we kind of went from, I was trying to think of a good analogy and I can’t really think of one. I was thinking of like, we were playing monopoly and now we’re playing battleship. I mean, it’s just such a different landscape now that we’re dealing with. Do you think they get. Because I, I sometimes feel like I’m shouting from the rooftops and nobody’s listening.
[00:18:50] Um, but you’re, you know, in the, in the work that your organization’s doing, are people waking up, do you feel like 
[00:18:58] Janet Janes: it’s really hard to say? I think that it really so much has changed and people have gone numb. I mean, we went from that into like fentanyl was, I think things were kind of turning around. and, um, people were becoming aware and then the pandemic happened and then it was just hard to get healthcare, let alone people who were abuse, substance abuse, abuse, doing substance abuse or abusing drugs.
[00:19:33] Didn’t weren’t able to get help the way they were. Before the pandemic and they were just kind of, they just kind of got shuffled off to the. Because we were dealing with the pandemic. Are, are they listening? Do they hear us? Um, I don’t know. And ho hopefully we’re, you know, the pandemic is under control now and people can focus on other things and hopefully this will, once again, become a topic of importance.
[00:20:06] And, uh, I think that it needs to be more important to our government. I mean, As a country and as a, even the world, we are dealing with so many problems and wars and starving people. And, and there’s just so much in the mix, but, but I think, um, the government needs to look at, um, mental healthcare and, and, uh, making it easier.
[00:20:42] For people to get treatment if they need it.
[00:20:47] Brenda: Hello. I want to take just a minute to let you know that if you’re a mom listening and you’re having a hard time right now with the impact from your child’s substance use, there is a place I created specifically for you. It’s called the stream. It’s a membership based online community. It’s completely private away from all social media sites.
[00:21:09] Where you start to take care of yourself, because through all of this who is taking care of you in the community, we teach skills to help you have better conversations and relationships, and we help you get as physically, mentally, and spiritually as healthy as possible. So you can be even stronger for your son or daughter.
[00:21:30] There is a two week free trial, so you can see if it’s the right kind of support for you. And you can learn more about all of the. I hope to see you there. Now let’s get back to this amazing conversation,
[00:21:51] right. And I saw on your website and I’ve seen this statistic before, but it reminded me that, um, somebody dies of an overdose every five minutes in this country. That is shocking. and it doesn’t seem, I love that you broke it down on the site to that level, because I think you’re right. We get numb to these big numbers, 108,000 people a year, you know, will dive and overdose.
[00:22:20] And that’s really hard to wrap your head around. What does that mean? But one, every five minutes just kind of like sliced my heart open and I thought, what, what other. You know, what else is going on today in the United States that is this severe and this tragic that people are just overlooking, like it’s not happening.
[00:22:45] That was, that was just a really good reminder to me that sometimes I think we need in the work that we do, we need to break it down to that degree so that people can actually comprehend what’s going on. 
[00:23:00] Janet Janes: And. One person every five minutes that is dying from an entirely preventable 
[00:23:10] Brenda: death, right? Like 
[00:23:12] Janet Janes: that’s what is so, I mean, that’s, I guess what got me in the very beginning is this didn’t have to happen, right?
[00:23:22] This should not have happened, but it does every five minutes. And, um, and I, you know, I don’t know what it is that we need to do to wake people up and to make them realize that these are preventable deaths, you know, it’s, it’s not like the pandemic or COVID or AC accidents that, you know, are. I suppose accidents can be prevented to a certain degree, but, but in any event, it’s just really difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that so many people are dying and dying every five minutes from something.
[00:24:11] That is preventable. 
[00:24:12] Brenda: Right? Right. If, if people were dying, every somebody died every five minutes from eating broccoli. I think we’d probably start looking into where what’s going on with the broccoli. Right? Exactly. It’s just so mind boggling, what I’d love to talk a little bit about map done, um, where your key areas of focus are.
[00:24:36] So where you have decided to get surgical about this is where we are going to focus to try and make a difference here. Um, because I’m always curious how, how people find that, um, focus and then what you’re doing today. And, and then also if it’s changed, You started cuz I’m sure it, it has to have changed a bit since, uh, since you began all of this.
[00:25:01] Janet Janes: Yes. I, I think at, at first we were like trying to go to schools and trying to talk to the kids and. And, um, you know, doing fundraisers and, and trying to work with the government to make some, to make some changes and hopefully get some bills in place that would help either with mental health or anything in this regard.
[00:25:31] And to a degree we’re still doing. And Mary is doing a great job with that. So that’s kind of remained there cause you know, I think that the government has more power to try to do something about this than, than most other avenues. Mm-hmm although the advocacy groups are growing. because the number of people who are dying and the number of mobs out there who, who are faced with that tragedy, they wanna make a difference.
[00:26:08] And so there are the number of advocacy groups are, are, are, are growing and, um, and hopefully that will help. But what we’re trying to do now, I think. A little different is we’re trying to, um, drive solutions before the abuse starts, which you know, is just making awareness. So there’s kind of that’s remained the same, but how to go about it changes all the time, um, and support individuals in recovery, um, who are trying to get back on track in their.
[00:26:51] We have, um, done co scholarships for people who are in recovery and now they wanna go back to college. And, um, so we’ve done some scholarships. And that’s. And another thing that we’ve done is joining forces with other nonprofits, because, you know, like I said, the number of the group advocacy are growing, but I think it’s like joining forces really can help make a difference.
[00:27:26] You know, more, more can be done with teamwork. 
[00:27:29] Brenda: Right. Right. And, and some, like you said, you’re focusing on prevention and then supporting people in, in that early stage of recovery, other nonprofits focus in other areas. So I think that’s really smart to say, Hey, let’s, let’s join arms here. Um, and, and make this a bigger conversation.
[00:27:52] So that more people can hear and more people can be impacted. And I think I’d love to get your thoughts on. Why is it that, is it the umbilical relationship that we have with our kids as mothers? That it seems, I just see so many moms creating these nonprofits and going out and doing this work. And certainly there are men too.
[00:28:14] I am not saying that there aren’t, but I see moms have this almost visceral reaction to, I have got to get out. and, and do something about this. Um, what are your thoughts on that? 
[00:28:30] Janet Janes: Well, I, I do think that it has something to do with the ABI cord in that we are moms. And I think that women, but particularly mothers can be extremely fierce.
[00:28:49] And when it comes to protecting our kids or our family, there’s, there’s just no stopping us. I think when we dig our feet in and we make a decision in, in that way. You know, women and men are very different. And like you said, there are certainly men who have also, um, started advocacy groups and I have met some men who’ve lost children or have struggled and helped their kids through, um, addiction.
[00:29:25] I just think there’s this special strength that women possess. I agree. 
[00:29:34] Brenda: I fully agree. Yeah. It’s almost like you can’t not do it, right. You just can’t sit by when you know what’s going on. You lived it and. And there, there just gets to be a point. And, and this is at least what happened to me where I just couldn’t not do anything anymore.
[00:29:54] People will say, well, how did you decide to do this? It was like, it, it decided me. I couldn’t not do it because like you said, you see. So many people struggling and you know that it’s preventable and you have some ideas about how it could be prevented. And it’s impossible. Just not to get out there with those messages.
[00:30:18] Janet Janes: Yeah. I think that. You know, for map to, you know, we can try to do all these things, but one of our big goals is just to raise awareness. Like you said, screaming from the rooftops. Yeah. Whatever it takes to shake people up and go, this is real, you 
[00:30:37] Brenda: know? Yeah. Yeah. Is there a message that you have found resonates most?
[00:30:42] Cuz I’m gonna steal it if you have 
[00:30:46] Janet Janes: ah, no, I’ll have to think about that, 
[00:30:51] Brenda: but I mean, I like the one pill can kill. I think that’s really powerful. I think kids in particular might go, oh, um, I don’t know so much with parents, if there’s a, a message like that, that I’ve seen really be so impactful that they kind of stop in their tracks and go, oh, 
[00:31:15] Janet Janes: okay.
[00:31:16] I think for parents, if they could, you know, um, like I see pictures of fentanyl and that fentanyl or car fentanyl, certain ones, the, the size of a grain of salt. Can kill you. Yeah. And, and, um, and you know, you put a pound in front of you and that can kill how many million or billions of people, you know, it’s just, yeah.
[00:31:45] Um, I, I, I think that for parents, I wanna think nowadays that if they could grasp that. And they could realize that people are making pills and, and putting fentanyl in it and having really no idea how much, how much fentanyl is in there. And, and if it could kill somebody, but, um, parents could just parents could just look at that and realize that there are knockoff pills.
[00:32:26] and kids could be university. Students could be buying, um, Adderall, right. To help them study, you know, online or through TikTok or wherever, but they’re not getting all. And all of a sudden now they’ve got fentanyl. Right. And, um, and so it’s, you know, and one pill can kill. I mean, it basically pretty much. I mean, it was two pills that killed my son.
[00:32:57] Yeah. Um, and, and there wasn’t even fentanyl in there, 
[00:33:00] Brenda: you know? . Yeah, that’s really interesting about methadone and I, and I think we just don’t hear about that as much today because of fentanyl, but that is so very true, especially for somebody who has a low tolerance, which happens a lot when you’ve got kids who are just kind of new to the scene or they’re coming out of a treatment program or they’re coming out of.
[00:33:25] Jail, uh, a period in jail. Yeah. Where they haven’t been using. It’s just such a, um, delicate time for them. And I think too, that I just wonder what your relationship was like if you were able to have the conversation. Cause I think a lot of times. parents might realize. Okay. Wow. Now I’ve seen that picture of the grain of salt, but my kid’s not taking pills.
[00:33:52] Right. My kid’s not doing that. I think they’re out drinking. I know they’re smoking pot. They’re not taking pills. Um, how do you get to the point where you can be comfortable having that conversation to say. Hey, this is, you know, was that a, a conversation that you were able to have or how was that relationship 
[00:34:15] Janet Janes: for you?
[00:34:16] When I thought that there was a possibility, you know, I mean, anytime kids are abusing any substance, there’s always a possibility that they take pills and even, um, alcohol. The conversation can be like, geez, you’re drinking and you’re smoking pot and you are not gonna be thinking very clearly. And you’re gonna be having a great time.
[00:34:48] And if somebody offers you a pill and there’s two or three people doing that, then you think why not? Mm-hmm and then, and then the conversation can be, this is why not. Right. You know? And then. Try to, um, share some of the information, um, about a grain of salt or just one pill, those sorts of things. And, and I think kids have selective hearing.
[00:35:20] So if there’s a way to deliver that information with love, And not, not preachy. I guess that the key is, is not just the talking, but knowing that they’re listening. 
[00:35:39] Brenda: Yeah, yeah. Saying that with love, um, makes all the difference because no one wants to be preached at no one wants to be judged. And I, I like your, uh, I like the idea of really framing it in.
[00:36:00] Yes. Maybe you are just smoking some marijuana and you’re drinking and that just lowers your. ability to make good decisions. And so maybe in a million years, you didn’t set out to take a pill, but that made sense at the time, because you were under the influence of other substances. So that’s a good tactic.
[00:36:22] I like that. I like that tactic for getting in there. Cause I think sometimes the conversation can be really uncomfortable to have with our kids. And what I say all the time is we don’t have time to worry about being uncomfortable. With a conversation because you experienced something way more uncomfortable than an awkward conversation, right.
[00:36:43] That, you know, maybe opened a dialogue that could have changed things or could not have. But, but I think when people say, oh, it’s just so awkward to have this conversation with my, what I try to say is yes. And things could get a lot more awkward and uncomfortable. If you don’t have the conversation. So if there was, if there was something that you kind of, one partying thought that you could give to a parent, who’s listening and I’ll, and I’ll say that the parents who are listening.
[00:37:19] Are gonna be the majority, you know, have a kid who is struggling right now or who might be in a treatment program or they’re in those first days of early recovery where you kind of feel like you’re, you know, walking on eggshells and you need some training wheels. So kind of given where you’ve been and the work that you do, what would be some of your, your thoughts or advice for parents?
[00:37:49] Janet Janes: One of the first things that came to my mind is that, um, there is no shame and there shouldn’t be shame on the parent’s side or on their child’s side. Yeah. It, it just happened and we can’t. That’s what my thought would be for the parents for the child is, is we don’t need to go back to why it all started.
[00:38:17] Maybe it’ll help with your recovery to know, um, if you have something emotional, that’s triggering why it started, but, but it happened. Yeah. And we not, we need not to be ashamed of that and we need to move forward and do everything we can. To prevent that from happening again, or to prevent it from happening to begin with, you know, somewhere in that conversation, the awkward conversation with your child, because you don’t really.
[00:38:52] A lot of the times and the conversation should happen before you really know mm-hmm , you know, it’s just that there’s no shame. And if, if this is what’s happened or this is what’s going on with you, you don’t have to be ashamed. You can tell me anything. I love you, or I 
[00:39:11] Brenda: wanna help you. Mm-hmm thank you for that.
[00:39:14] I think that’s, it feels really good to hear that and it feels. Good almost to have somebody give you permission to say, skip that part of it and let’s just get right to, how can we get you healthier? How can we get you safer? Because if we get so caught up in that shame, which is real, I mean, for us and for our kids.
[00:39:38] Yep. It just takes a lot of time and, and brain space that we know we just don’t have anymore. 
[00:39:44] Janet Janes: Yes. And as a parent, even. . I was never ashamed to say why Chris died. Um, I don’t know, 30 or 40% of the time. You could almost see the wheels turning and, and people actually avoiding me after I had said that, you know, it’s like, oh, how many kids do you.
[00:40:08] you know, which is a Terri. It’s just like the worst question I can get. Yeah. Yeah, because I, I can’t just say one, right? I say two because Christopher’s life was real and it was significant and he is my child. He’s not here, but he’s still my child. 
[00:40:28] Brenda: Absolutely. Well, I appreciate you. Um, going through the, the emotional, uh, rigor that it takes to, to talk about this.
[00:40:38] I know that it’s probably something that, um, you limit because. Of that. And, and I know that you, you said that you’ve stepped back a little bit. What is your role now in map? Um, and how are you navigating kind of the long term grief that comes? Cause I, I bet there are gonna be other parents listening who are either fresh in, in this grieving process or maybe they’ve been at it for a decade or more like you.
[00:41:06] And what are some of your, um, tools that you use to, to keep moving day to day? 
[00:41:14] Janet Janes: well, first I’ll answer the first part of your question with, with Mata. I have, um, I was the president for quite some time. And then, um, and then it just like it was taking its emotional toll mm-hmm and it was really difficult for me to get out there with my story and continue to do things.
[00:41:37] And, and, um, I felt that Mary. Given all the people she knows and that she, um, is familiar with how the government works. And I just felt like she would be able to do a lot more than me. And I asked her if she would, um, if she would take over Mata and, um, and she happily accepted and, and I was a board member and now I have become, um, I’ve I’m on the advisory board.
[00:42:14] Um, so, uh, I’ve stepped back some. And how, how do, how I cope now is during the pandemic, I decided I would learn to play the guitar. Oh. And because I love to sing and, um, And so I have found that in a way music has saved me and, um, I write some songs, but mostly I just do covers and, and I like sad, poetic songs.
[00:42:50] so, but that’s, that’s kind of how I’m coping and, um, And I’m and I have two dogs. Oh. And my dogs are fabulous. And, and if I didn’t, I don’t know what I do without them. Oh, 
[00:43:04] Brenda: oh. Dogs are truly such great helpers through, through difficult times. 
[00:43:11] Janet Janes: Aren’t they? They’re just, uh, yeah. Yeah. So, um, so I, and, and. I swim every day.
[00:43:20] And that’s another thing I find that swimming can be very meditative and, and I say little prayers when I swim and, and, uh, and I think that there’s just a number of things I do and that to cope. And, um, and I’m not the same person that I was. And, um, and I think that. Coping mechanism that we just, we, we can’t be that same person because we can’t deal if we are, I, it’s not like an entire personality change, but, but we do.
[00:44:01] And I can’t remember. I was, I heard a saying, I think it was on TV and I found it so profound and it was grief makes us strangers. even to ourselves. Mm. And it does, it does. And so you just have to, every, we all grieve differently. We all live differently, but we, and so, um, how we cope is going to be different for everyone.
[00:44:36] Brenda: Yeah. That’s, that’s really good to hear your different strategies because I think. People need to know that grieving doesn’t look a certain way. And if you’re swimming and playing with dogs and, you know, cooking or making music or, or whatever it is, that might be your, your way. And it doesn’t have to look like somebody else’s way.
[00:45:03] And. The, the advocacy work. I just, I also am glad that you talked about how you needed to step back from that because that’s really important. And I can see that somebody might. Feel like, oh, I have to keep doing this. I have to keep doing this to the detriment of their, you know, mental and physical health.
[00:45:25] So thank you for sharing that journey that you took and how you’re still involved, but not running it day to day because that’s a lot, it’s a lot 
[00:45:37] Janet Janes: for anyone. Yes. And, and some mothers I know in different advocacy groups, that’s, that’s what makes them tick. That’s what gets them through. Is somehow that advocacy group is, is what they absolutely need to be doing until for the rest of their life, for as long as they can.
[00:45:57] Right. I, I was different though. Like I said, we all brief differently and I, I could, I could just feel that, um, it was, it was pulling me. And we only have one life to live and is, is tragic. And with the tragedies, all the tragedies I’ve had in my life, it, it,
[00:46:31] I feel for myself, I shouldn’t let that define me. And the more it was dragging me down, the more I found that it did define me and I, I didn’t wanna let that happen. Mm. So, um, So I just, you know, I I’m still involved, which makes me feel really good, but not so much so that, um, that I can’t rise above and try to move forward.
[00:47:01] Right. Hmm, 
[00:47:04] Brenda: thank you so much for being here and sharing this. And I know there’s gonna be parents who really connect with a lot of the things that you’ve said and some of the permissions that you’ve given, uh, which I think we all need to give ourselves that grace. So, um, thank you for this time and for what you’re doing and for the organization and give Mary a thank you for us for all the work that she’s doing.
[00:47:30] I know, day to day as well. . 
[00:47:33] Janet Janes: Yep. Yeah. She’s she’s great. She’s she’s very, she’s another fierce one. yeah. Yeah. 
[00:47:42] Brenda: That’s what it takes. That’s what it takes. And thank 
[00:47:46] Janet Janes: you so much for, for your time. And you’re interviewing me because, um, it’s just another way. Raise awareness. And right now I think that’s 
[00:47:58] Brenda: what we need.
[00:47:59] It definitely is. And if you’re listening, I’m, I’ll put links in the show notes to Mata into some of the resources and, um, you know, you can always take a look at the work and, and find your own way to, um, Advocate, whether that’s one day a year at a vigil, or if it’s every single day, I think everybody has their, their way of participating and giving back and, um, trying to make a dent in this huge, huge epidemic.
[00:48:31] So thank you, Janet. I really appreciate your time. Thank you 
[00:48:35] Janet Janes: so much, Brenda. Yeah. 
[00:48:39] Brenda: Okay. That is it for today. If you would like to get the show notes for this. You can go to Brenda 
[00:48:48] Janet Janes: All of the episodes are listed there 
[00:48:50] Brenda: and you can also find curated playlists there. So that’s very helpful.
[00:48:55] You might also wanna download a free ebook. I wrote it’s called hindsight three things. I wish I knew when my son was misusing drugs. 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.
[00:49:18] You can grab that free from Brenda 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 
[00:49:34] Janet Janes: here next week.

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