Insights, Wisdom And Coping Strategies For Parents Of Kids Struggling With Substance Use From A Mom Who’s Been There, Twice, With Cathy Cioth, Director of The Stream Community

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Insights, Wisdom And Coping Strategies For Parents Of Kids Struggling With Substance Use From A Mom Who's Been There, Twice, With Cathy Cioth, Director of The Stream Community

How does a parent cope when you have not one, but two kids struggling with substance misuse and all the issues that surround it? This episode provides inspiration and hope if you’re trying to navigate this experience with your child from a mom who watched her family implode when her 17 and 19-year-old kids simultaneously spiraled out of control with drugs and alcohol.

Cathy Cioth has seen the world of adolescent and young adult substance use from all angles and shares openly in this conversation about her family’s journey which included wilderness therapy, ‘gooning’, an unwelcomed intervention, and lots of coping skills. 
Cathy is now the Community Director for The Stream and supports hundreds of parents as they work to get and stay healthier through this challenging season of life.

Listen in to hear:

  • how Cathy and her husband became aware that both of their kids were struggling with drugs and alcohol
  • the differences between their kid’s journey to and through treatment
  • how Cathy and her husband decided on wilderness therapy for their treatment-resistant daughter, and how they got her there
  • what it was like to have an intervention with their 19-year-old college student and how it went
  • what tools Cathy used to stay sane when both of her kids were struggling and then in treatment at the same time
  • Cathy’s path to finding The Stream and what it provided her as a member
  • Cathy’s role now as Director of the community
  • Her words of wisdom for any parent currently at the end of their rope
  • And much more


This podcast is part of a nonprofit called Hopestream Community
Learn about The Stream, our private online community for moms
Learn about The Woods, our private online community for dads
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

Hopestream Community is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and an Amazon Associate. We may make a small commission if you purchase from our links.

Cathy:  I don’t say this lightly, but just don’t give up. I know there are times where you feel like you just want to give up. You’re tired, you’re exhausted. You’re just physically ill. You’re mentally sick. and it’s so, so hard. Just to know that tomorrow is a new day. And, you just feel like you just can’t get it together for today, now that tomorrow’s a new day and you get to start all over, that’s the beauty of having a new day and just, try not to give up hope. And pleased, please reach out for help. I think that’s one thing that. As parents we’re so afraid to reach out for help. I know I was there for a while. I just, I didn’t know what to do
 I am so glad you’re here today. It feels energetically. I just have to say, like, there is a lot going on with kids right now. And I have to say also that in the past month I’ve gotten a definite increase in the number of emails from parents whose kids are addicted to fentanyl much more so than in the last two years that I’ve been doing this podcast. 
 So, I don’t know if that’s because I just talk about it incessantly and now people think of me. I don’t know. Maybe I’m the crazy fentanyl lady or something, but. If you have a son or daughter who is addicted to fentanyl, or if you know that they are playing around with pills. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you do two things. One is to get Narcan in your house. 
In your car. And also give two doses to your child. And number two is to get some medical intervention going in whatever way you possibly can. 
 Fentanyl is such a powerful substance that approaching it solely from a mental health standpoint. Is really potentially putting your child at risk of an overdose. For so many reasons. And I know that we want to get into today’s episode. So. That’s about all I will say, because I will direct you to hope stream episode number 93, to learn more. 
 I’ll expand in that episode a little bit on those two points that I just [00:03:00] made. Why the Narcan is so important, why it’s especially important to give to your child. And also why medical intervention is really, really necessary. So hope stream, episode number 93, we’ll help you out there. 
 For today’s episode, I got to have a really lovely conversation with a very lovely person, Kathy chaat. Who I actually talk with every day anyway, because she has a bar community, the stream, but today’s conversation was special because I got to talk with her. Specifically about her family’s journey through substance use through the world of treatment. 
And I also got some insights from her vantage point in working with moms and parents day to day. As a coach and also as a community leader. Kathy is probably one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met, which is why I approached her. As a stream member to work with me. And she has such a gigantic heart for anyone who is parenting a child, who’s struggling with substance use and mental health issues. And you will hear that come through loud and clear in this little conversation that we had. 
 If you’re currently in the thick of it, you will appreciate Kathy’s wisdom and insight. Now that her family is in safer waters. She shares how she and her husband had to make the excruciating choice to have both of their kids in treatment [00:04:30] at the same time. We talk about the difficult decision to have your child gooned and you’ll learn that. 
What that means, if you don’t already know. She shares their family’s experience with conducting an intervention. With a 19 year old, which means that he could have easily refused to accept the help. And she talks about how all of that went down. If you want to talk with somebody who has been through. 
A lot in capital letters, Kathy is your gal. So grab your pooch. Or make up a reason to hop in your car so that you can catch every second of this awesome conversation with mom, coach and community director in this stream. Cathy cha. Well, Kathy, welcome to the podcast. 
Cathy: Thanks
Brenda: this is the first time I’m having you on.
Cathy: I can’t believe it either a bit. I think it’s just perfect. The way it is. I’m excited to be here.
Brenda: I think it is. I think we, you and I both kind of subscribed to that things happen when they’re supposed to happen. So
Cathy: Right.
Brenda: I think this was meant to be, and gosh, we have so much that we could cover. 
Cathy: Where do we start? Where do
Brenda: Where do we start, I love your, vantage point. And I think people listening will get a lot out of your vantage point because you’ve kind of circled this whole, experience of having kids for struggling with substances, which we know is the [00:06:00] band-aid for something deeper, from a lot of different angles.
So I kind of see you like, orbiting. A lot of this, because you’re seeing it from the viewpoint of the parent. You’re seeing it from the viewpoint of somebody who’s kind of taken on a role with the wilderness,program that your kids went to and supporting those parents. And then now, working with me in the stream.
So I’m excited to get all those different viewpoints because I think there’s overlaps for sure. And it really provides a nice, robust view.
Cathy: I agree. I think there’s a lot of overlaps.
So, I’m excited to, give those vantage points and, yeah, it’s just very happy to be here.
Happy to be your partner on the stream.
Brenda: I’m so lucky. Well, why don’t we do this? I was thinking it would be kind of interesting to start with a, you know, you see these, I see these on Instagram, like how it started and then how it’s going now. You know what I’m talking about? 
Cathy: Oh yeah. I wish I could make it as succinct as, you know, a 32nd little video like that. 
Brenda: I know a cute little Instagram post, but this experience does not fit into anything cute, short or simple as we know. Why don’t you just give us the where it started, how you sort of entered this world that we talk about being a world that nobody knows exists Until they get into it. [00:07:30] You don’t want to know it exists until you get into it and then you don’t want it to exist. So why don’t you just give us a little bit of a, a glimpse into your world as you started realizing, oh, this is, this is 
Cathy: Oh, this I can’t resolve this on my own. it’s great because you know, I would have to say that it, it probably when I really came to that realization that I just can’t do this on my own was, coincidentally, right around this time, about six years ago, obviously, things were going kind of backwards a couple of years before that. and we went down the route of. Let’s get our kids into therapy. What do we need for support? and it was really more focused on the kids. I would say, let’s, let’s get them help. and, after doing that for a couple of years and realizing that not a lot was helping and we hadn’t really changed our approach, we tried, but it was. We’d always kind of fall back into the same patterns. And, about six years ago, we decided that we would explore wilderness therapy and, that’s kind of what happened. We, our kids at the time were 17 and 19. And so, it was a really tough decision, to do that because it just seems [00:09:00] so extreme.
Brenda: Right. So wait a minute. So 17 and 19. So that means you have two, and both of were struggling?
Cathy: Yeah. Both were struggling. It was really, I just, I like to say that our family kind of was imploding. I mean, it just, we had a lot going on. We had, elderly parents that we were taking care of. In fact, my mother-in-law had died during this time. She was very, very sick and, life was busy with work and school and, Our son going to college and coming back home, it was just so much going on. And, yeah, so both of our kids were struggling in their own ways and it was just, we felt so helpless. we just didn’t know what to do.
Brenda: So I’m trying to imagine that because I obviously went through it with one. So if I had had that, doubled, I don’t know that it would have survived. I’m trying to figure out how you. First of all, I guess, as much as you’re comfortable sharing how you became aware that this was going on because, I think for a lot of us, I don’t even think it’s denial. I think it’s just flat out. We don’t realize it because our kids are pretty good at hiding stuff and they can appear one way and be doing some other things. So I’d be curious just to know how you came to the realization of. This is [00:10:30] actually like we have kids who are misusing substances. They’re probably imagining living kind of a dangerous lifestyle cause they usually go hand in hand. So what, what was going on there?
Cathy: You know, I’ll start with our daughter. she, you know, had, Issues that happened to her when she was in elementary school. And so we knew there were, you know, problems with that. And so we did get her into therapy. when she started high school, she asked, she asked for help, which was great. And so she was kind of doing that, but, and it worked for awhile for her, but then we started noticing, you know, Kind of some substance use issues. She lost interest in playing sports and, you know, she was struggling and we just didn’t know what to do. I mean, it was the typical grades not being grades and all of that. fighting, you know, we were fighting all of us. It seemed like, and our son. Had gone to college at that time. So it was just really, you know, our daughter.
And I think she probably felt like the focus now was all on her. and then with our son, you know, he was not really doing that great in school, but we just thought, well, it’s a freshman year in college. This is typical and normal. And we had gone to visit him and we thought, wow, he’s drinking a lot. Or, you know, or just in general, [00:12:00] all the kids were doing a lot, you know, it was a typical college situation. And you’re, you’re wondering is this normal? And we just, it just seems more than when we were in college or. Is this just something that you know, is specific to us, and our family and, our son wasn’t happy and was telling us, I want to come home.
I want to come home. And so, after lots of visits and phone calls, we did, bring him home from college and things got worse. Physically. We could tell things weren’t good. he was gone a lot, and we knew that substances were involved. We just didn’t know exactly what kinds of substances, And he just, he hid it really well. Like you say, he hid it really well. And I think that his parents also, we didn’t always want to see what was right in front of us. We knew it wasn’t good, but there was that part of us that also thought. Can’t be that bad and looking back now, I think what was I thinking? But, you know, I really do believe in things happen for a reason.
And, yeah, so it was about six years ago around this time that things just got so out of control, You know, there were car accidents. There were times with our son that he wasn’t coming home for long periods of days and he was miserable. We were all miserable. And, it just kind of hit a breaking point. and I had heard about wilderness there. [00:13:30] I didn’t know much about it. but I made a call to, a wilderness therapy company that I knew, and they were just, it was like this amazing lifeline when I reached out. I mean, all these behaviors that I was talking about, the galaxy. Line on the other side of the line said, oh yeah, that’s yes we know all about that and we can help and you’re not alone. And I just felt this sense of relief, I guess, that there is help. because I was scared – we were both scared. My husband and I were both very scared at that point. And I remember him coming home from work that day and we had to. Go out in the car cause of course we couldn’t talk about anything in our home, you know? because we were so concerned that the kids would know and we’d blow our chance. And so I remember going to, a parking lot and we sat next to each other and I kind of said, I, this was my phone call with this wilderness therapy company.
What do you think? And we made the decision to gather, to have our daughter, gooned – I really have a love, hate relationship with that word because it is it’s traumatic for us and for the kids, but it was at the time, the only option that there was,
Brenda: And when you say gooned and maybe explain, cause there’s probably people who don’t know what 
Cathy: sure, basically means that, you reach out to a transport company and it sounds kind of cold, but it’s really [00:15:00] not, they’re therapists and often helpers, because our daughter was, a female. She needed to have a male and a female take her and they come to your home. You sign over your rights as parents and saying this. Now this just sounds so awful. But really it was, you know, I think the, what I really want to convey is we had tried everything. We tried therapy, we tried, you know, kind of teenager drug interventions. We tried reaching out to the school. therapists that we knew were friends and nothing was working. and our daughter was really crying out for help. I mean, I can say this in hindsight, we have a great relationship now and she has since said, mom, I would have never gone, no matter what you guys would have said, I would have never gone.
But, you know, she and our Senate said that we saved their life doing what we did. but yeah, so, so a transport company comes in the middle of the night. and that’s, that’s the time we had said to come because, you know, we knew our daughter would be home and, we woke our daughter up and said, we love you so much, but we know you need help. And, as parents we need help and she knew she knew, what it was and, She went, thanks. Be to God. She went willingly and, it was scary. Our son was home at the time, but you know, he woke up and said goodbye to her and they take them [00:16:30] to the wilderness therapy company and they are in constant contact with you from the second they drove out of our driveway to the time they got to the airport. The entire time we were getting text messages, about what her demeanor was, whether she was coming around or not. and by the time they dropped her off, she actually gave, the therapist that took her a hug.
Cathy: And so we felt, okay, this was the right thing. And then, you know, from there, when she got into wilderness therapy, they were also in constant contact with that. She’s here. She’s been brought out to a group and the next day, within 24 hours, we heard from her therapist who was fantastic, who basically said. Every single thing that she had been struggling with and, you know, we felt like she, you, our family, we thought, how does she know?
Brenda: Right.
Cathy: does she know all of this? and that’s how it started with our daughter. And. We looked at each other and we were sad. It was, it was a hard thing, but we also felt this kind of odd sense of relief that she was safe. and then we thought we can’t ignore the elephant in the room and our son needs help and we can’t help them. And so we reached out to, Heather Hayes, who I know you’ve had on your podcast,
Brenda: She was just on the podcast. 
Cathy: She was she’s fantastic. and [00:18:00] I, I owe so much to Heather. Been wonderful. And she called and spoke to me for a good gosh hour and a half, and told me about, what addiction is and what it’s like and how we can help and all of those things. And so we scheduled an intervention with our son and so grateful that he chose to get help. I mean, you know, it was him, he made that decision and he went to wilderness too. 
Brenda: And I know I just wanted to intervene there because that all sounded really lovely, but it did not go so easily. and I think that’s important for parents to understand is that, sometimes you make these decisions and it gets rough in the moment. Like you, I know, had to call the police. he, you know, there was all kinds of drama that went down in that it wasn’t like, oh mom and dad. So much, I’m going to go to therapy. Like it did not go down that way. And so I think people just need to be prepared to know that it can get pretty ugly and, and at the same time they can also decide to go. So I think that’s an, it’s just an important element to, to put it.
Cathy: Yeah, I think thanks for saying that. I think that you’re right. we were kind of stealing ourselves for what could be a Rocky day and, it really didn’t go well. And I remember. When the interventionists said, we need to call the police [00:19:30] and I thought you gotta be kidding me, you know? I had agreed that we would listen to what he had said.
And so, we called the police and I told them what we were doing and they were awesome. shout out to our local police department. They were great. They actually sent police officers who were, schooled on what to do in these situations. And they were so loving and attentive and they were just fantastic and they
Brenda:  Was it like a crisis response team 
Cathy: it was not a crisis response team. Now they have those in place. but you know, back then it was just, two police officers who were educated in crisis response, but they weren’t a so-called crisis response team and they were fantastic. And I remember one officer in particular had for, Young adult children at the zone. And so he spoke to our son, as if you’re speaking to our kids and his own children. And he was just wonderful. And so, I really just was so grateful for that. but yeah, it didn’t go well. And, and it also, while I thought my husband would have, and the interview. And this would have more of a starring role in this. It turned out to be me, because my son would just respond to me more than he would to my husband or the interventionist. And so, I was doing a lot of the talking. And so I was a little afraid because I thought, oh my gosh, what if [00:21:00] he doesn’t go? And I just decided, then I just can’t focus on that. I had to focus on the hope that he would go and that’s what I did. And, I drove him to the airport. I drove our son to the airport because we’re at such a time crunch because you have to have a flight prepared. 
It’s kind of weird how the dance happens, that it all has to be choreographed around the same time. And, so you have to. The spontaneous. And so I had to drive our son to the airport and I remember driving in there and he was really upset. And I remember thinking and saying to him, if I could take away your pain right now, I would, I would take away all of it, but I can’t. And so this is the only option I have, and I love you. And I know you’re going to get better. He got out of the car with the partying partying goodbye, which wasn’t really a goodbye to my husband. And we joke about that now, but it was very, you know, it was hard at the time. It was father’s day weekend. It was just a really tough time. but he went and, you know,
Brenda: Yeah.
Cathy: just jump forward to those parents listening to this right now, our son’s going to have six years of sobriety on father’s day, weekend. And so he’s amazing. And he has embraced his recovery and all of the healing that [00:22:30] goes with it. But, yeah, it was a rough time. 
Brenda: So just. thinking through that makes me exhausted. because it’s, so it’s so 
Cathy: makes me exhausted. 
Brenda: it’s so much, and I wonder how you physically got through that. Mentally got through that. Like, did you have a team around you? Because that’s all a lot for anybody to go through, just one of those experiences, but let alone two within what was the time frame within both of these events happening? Because I’m trying to figure out how you stayed alive.
Cathy: It was three weeks.
Brenda: Hey, they’re taking a quick break to share a little bit about the community we’ve mentioned here that Kathy heads up. It is called the stream. And it’s an online membership for moms who have kids struggling with substance use and mental health issues. It’s where we provide connection, knowledge and healing for you so that you’re better equipped to navigate this really challenging season in life. 
 If you’ve been looking for a positive space that is not connected to Facebook or any other social media, you can join us in the stream. Our members describe it as their safe space, their lifeline, and as a priceless part of their current journey with their child. Kathy. And I know it is. Not the club you want to qualify for, but we know for a fact that having a [00:24:00] tribe around you right now can dramatically change the way you go through this. 
 And our goal is to focus on you and getting you as healthy as possible. You can get all the details and join us free for two weeks. By going to the stream, Okay. Now back to the conversation with Kathy. 
Cathy: So our daughter went and then three weeks later, our son went and honestly, it was three weeks between our daughter leaving and our son leaving GRE pretty quiet. He S he spent a lot of time away. he would come home at night occasionally. but it really wasn’t combative in our home during that time. but it was scary cause we did notice his physical appearance deteriorating.
And so, how I did it. I think that, you draw on stores within you. You don’t think you have. And I remember when he left to go and we, that day, I remember just spending the entire day just on the couch. One with the couch. And so as my husband, we were just exhausted and crying. And when we found out he made it, they’re fine. And he got within a group within wilderness therapy, we felt a little better. but, You know, really it was when our healing began and, wilderness therapy, our kids went to Wingate and so they were fantastic.
They reached [00:25:30] out and they said, Hey, we want you to read these books. And one of them was the anatomy of peace and the other one was leadership and self-deception. By the Arbinger Institute. And so we started with our own healing journey. We started reading these books. We didn’t just read them once we read them multiple times. And then we were working with our kids therapists and we started doing our own work. I have a very strong faith practice. And so I really, got into that. I had some serious. Friends who would invite me to go worship with them every morning.
And I thought that’s what I’m going to do. And my husband has an amazing meditation practice and he really, dove into that. And, I think I’m an odd him because honestly he’s working, you know, a full-time job. He was so busy and doing all of this and his colleagues were wonderful around this time because they were aware of what was going on. but really we kind of did all this in our little bubble. we were trying to figure out how are we going to let our family know? and we. Slowly let, our immediate family know, we didn’t share a lot, only with friends on a need to know basis. We kind of thought we don’t need to tell everybody. and, and our friends and family were wonderful. Um, but the one thing that was missing is they just know when I, I knew had gone through this, I really didn’t [00:27:00] know anybody who had been through this. And so the wilderness therapy company had a support call every Tuesday. And I thought, let’s get on that call. And I got on that call six years ago and I stayed on that call. For a long time,
Cathy: even long after our kids were doing better and everything else, it was just, I discovered community. It was amazing.
Brenda: It’s kind of that lifeline that you depend on to keep you connected and. Sane because you realize, okay, other people are doing this. And, and, and also, I think the perspective, I don’t exactly know how to articulate this, but we have such a, narrow focus on our one child or in your case, two children. But these, organizations, you know, the reputable. wilderness therapy companies and treatment programs and, and even just individual therapists who are working in the community, they’ve seen this problem thousands of times. And so while we get really scared and paralyzed, because it’s our one child or two children, they’ve seen this over and over and over and over, and they obviously have, you know, degrees.
Cathy: Right, you know, in, in multiple and they’ve, I think there’s just such [00:28:30] value in connecting with somebody who has seen this a thousand times before. And even though your child is unique, obviously there are definite trends and parallels, you know, that you can draw. Which is why the calls that you mentioned are really valuable because you’re getting that wisdom from.
Brenda: Those people who’ve seen this over and over and they can give you some of that insight, which then can call me your kind of anxiety and fear.
Cathy: right. And that’s exactly what happened. It was so calming. And I remember on one of those calls, I went to say something and I was just choked up. I was crying and. I remember asking, when does this sadness stop? And an alumni parent on the call? I remember she said, I’ll never forget her. And she said, it does get better every single day it gets better. And she was right. Every single day, it did get better. And, you know, and I think in a way by her saying that too, it gave me permission to allow things, to get.
Brenda: right.
Cathy: that as parents, when we have kids in crisis, we don’t allow ourselves that permission, right. To, help ourselves, because we’re so focused on our kids and what a burden for them. Right. But that’s so tough, because the focus is all on them. And [00:30:00] so, the beauty about, having them go. Start their own healing journey in wilderness was it gave us permission to really, do our own work,
Brenda: Yeah, it’s a community thing, right? It’s, it’s a family thing.
Cathy: It’s not just your children that need help. We all need help, you know? And, so anyway, I love that that alumni parents told me that. The confidence that I got from being on those calls and from the therapists telling me things were going to be okay. even if they weren’t going to be okay, I just knew a different way to be with it all.
Brenda: Yeah. 
Cathy: If that makes sense. 
Brenda: Totally does. I wonder what, because you are six-ish years past this, and things are going well. If you look back, to those days, even, even in the days where you were trying to decide what to do, because I think that’s such a confusing time, kind of like once you make the decision, wherever they’re going, whether it’s wilderness or rehab or a, you know, a friend’s house in another country, whatever your solution is, the days leading up to that are so difficult. Is there anything that you could give people who are listening a little gift of hindsight, looking back that you [00:31:30] wish either that you would have done differently or that you would have known that might’ve helped you again, it’s not going to change necessarily your child, but that’s just would have helped in your process.
Cathy: Yeah, there’s, there’s a couple of things, especially in today’s day. That’s so different that, I didn’t, maybe those, it was around six years ago. I just didn’t know about it, but there’s a couple of things. having a parent code. I think is so essential. it’s someone that’s usually gone through the same process in some way or another. I think having a parent coach is just key. it would have been great to have someone like that because even though you could talk to a therapist, a lot there. Aren’t really in your same boat and it’s just nice to have somebody who’s actually had children who maybe have been in wilderness, who his kids maybe have gone to rehab their pay to boarding school, residential treatment, whatever that is. It’s just nice to be able to know. Talk to them and find out that there are other ways to communicate. that’s so great. And the other key key piece that I did discover after our kids went away, but I wish I had known before they went. I think it would’ve made my life a little easier was the importance of self care. And I know that kind of sounds so trite. You hear it a lot.
Self-care self-care. It’s [00:33:00] it’s so important to kind of restore yourself. And, I had always loved walking and hiking, but I really. Really started loving it after our kids were gone, it was just such a metaphor for what they were doing. hiking out in wilderness and just said, I’m going to start this on my own. And, that really helped. It gave me time alone. It gave me a lot of time to have perspective, to think, to just to get healthier because I think, it’s moms, especially, that’s the one thing that kind of falls by the wayside
Brenda: for sure. I’m like, oh yeah, I’ll take care of her when this crisis is over. You wait over there, honey. And I’ll, I’ll just, you know, I’ll get back to you in like five years.
Cathy: Right. Right. And, I think that the misunderstanding is to self-care doesn’t have to be this big thing. It doesn’t need to be the spa weekend away. It doesn’t need to cost money. It doesn’t need to even be a huge chunk of time. Like I know, you know, for me an hour, I would have considered an hour, a bit chunk of my time when my kids were in crisis. I just felt like I could just couldn’t do anything for a sustained period of time. So starting small. I remember walking around the block, basically starting that was it because I was crying a lot and I felt like kind of silly, you know, I’d be walking around the block and I started thinking about my [00:34:30] life and I would start to cry and I thought, oh my goodness, just get home. 
Brenda: What are the neighbors going to think? 
Cathy: Or worse, maybe they know and they just didn’t know how to help. Right. So, start small, it’s just a couple, couple, of five minutes. That’s all you need, to just do some deep breathing and just tell yourself for three days, I’m just gonna do a little practice of deep breasts for five minutes, and then you’ll find that you want to do it for a little longer or whatever that is.and just grow on it, 
Cathy: you know, but I think self-care was so important and a parent coach.
Brenda: Yeah, I would agree. And I know you’re now a parent coach as am I I’m through the partnership to end addiction. And I’ll put in the show notes, a link so that you can find that if you’re listening and you’re like, wait, what is that coaching thing that she’s talking about? there is an option for free coaching through the partnership to end addiction, which is by far the best kept secret on the planet.
Cathy: Oh for sure.
Brenda: So we’ll put a link in the show notes to that because I agree just to, again, it’s another one of those lifelines. Where you need, you need somebody to lean on you really do I talk about it all the time. If you were going to run a marathon, would you just try it out in your old worn-out shoes and you know, not have any water and like you got to get your team around you. Cause this is a long journey. So a coach definitely. [00:36:00] Definitely is one of those. So it sounds like from a, like where it started and how it’s going, things are, things are going pretty well with your kids. I know they’re both doing well. which is so great to hear. And I think not something to gloss over because there’s a lot of parents who, and I was there. I don’t know about you. I’d like to get your experience, but when we were in the middle. I could not see a day when my son would be healthy. I just couldn’t see it. I was like, he is so far gone. I don’t know how we’re going to get that kid back that I know. And so when you do get them back, it is so amazing. Um, I’m sure you probably see the same thing.
Cathy: Yeah. I often say too, we lived in ignorant bliss in a way with our son’s addiction. We didn’t really know all the drugs he was using and I am actually grateful that I didn’t know. I don’t know how I would’ve handled it. Talk to you about your story and, and it’s just, boy, I, I it’s, it’s what parents are dealing with now today and the drugs that are out there. It’s just so, so scary. I will say that, you also look at your child and you think what happened to this kid that used to climb trees, and play and run and has, you know, it was just so different. What happened? What caused all this.
Brenda: Yeah.
Cathy: So seeing them thrive and flourish now in a healthy lifestyle, it’s just, [00:37:30] it’s just, I have so much gratitude for that. I really, really do. And I just, I love being around my kids. they’re just the most amazing teachers for my husband and I too. and, and I’m just so very grateful for the whole journey. I can say this now. and I don’t say this lightly, but I think that we’ve learned so much along this whole journey and have learned as a family, how to communicate, how to be with each other. You know, it just has brought us so much compassion for each other that, it was really hell for a while, but I really love all of the tools that we have learned in all of the wonderful, Outcomes of the whole journey have been really a blessing to us all I think the honesty that we have with each other now is, is very different.
Brenda: I kind of visualize like this family walking into this fire, and then you come out with like, these toolbelts full of amazing tools. If you’ve been fortunate to have great treatment and great people alongside of you, which I know a lot of people are not fortunate to have that. So I want to recognize that for sure, but if you are able to collect those tools and insights, and help along the way you, you do emerge from it. Well stocked, right? 
Brenda: like, like, okay. We, we are in such a different [00:39:00] place now. And I know I’ve talked to a couple of people on the podcast, from the therapeutic world who have really changed my mind about looking at this to say, you know what, that kid who is struggling, who caused this big blip in your life, really, they gave us such a gift and they brought us to a point where we all as a family had to heal. so yes, they might be the instigator, but I think what these guests on the podcast previous. Kind of taught me was they were the instigation for healing and for change for the better, it happened in a way that really sucked, like would have been great if we could have done this in a different way.
Cathy: Yeah, I can’t, we can’t. We leapfrog over all of that? 
Brenda: But, but it’s really true, you know, and I think it’s the, there’s an episode with Rebecca Tybee. It’s the third, most downloaded episode consistently. And the title of it, I think is why, because it’s titled your child is not the patient. And, you know we see our kids as the identified patient. Like you got to fix this kid cause he’s doing a lot of drugs. He’s drinking a lot of alcohol and dah, dah, dah. And that is really just the instigator to get everybody healthier. So anyway, if you haven’t, if you’re listening and you haven’t listened to that episode, look up, I [00:40:30] don’t know what number it is, I should know these things. I’ll put it in the show notes. A good one. so then let’s go to how it’s going now. So you are our fearless leader in the stream community, and you stumbled upon me in my work in my early days when I was just starting out, which I’m ever so grateful for. And so. I’d love to get your, again, you have this unique vantage point coming from all of that, which we just talked about to now helping other moms who are, you know, in the midst of it.
And actually we have range, right? We have moms who are Darren headlights, who are just coming in like completely freaked out. And then we have. Moms who are on the other side and then some it every stage in between. So I just love to get your thoughts on what you see day to day. Cause you’re, you’re in this all day, every day, basically.
Cathy: Yeah. Well I think too, I want it. I want to go back to how I found you, which is so great. Well, first of all, it was a wilderness parent that I knew, which was so great from one of the calls. And, you know, she said, you gotta check this out. And she sent me a link, I think it was. And so anyway, I had been part of groups. when you go through this, when you’ve got kids who are struggling with substances, you of course search out. Other groups to help. And so, I’d gone to, Alanon I [00:42:00] done the 12 step course, which was fantastic, but I just had a hard time kind of finding a niche that I really, you know, felt comfortable.
Cathy: Yeah. Even though some things worked, but some didn’t work as well. And so when I popped on the stream, I thought, well, this is different.
Brenda: Right. 
Cathy: This is, really nice. And, you know, and I, I want to make sure that I’m not just saying, I really am saying this coming in, not knowing anything about this space. And it felt really like walking into this, just warm. Setting that was just so inviting and loving. And, I instantly got a, welcome post, which was kind of nice then I thought, oh, this is really great. And, and just some really wonderful parts of the stream that I just loved, that just. More comfortable. It just felt like it fit, like a good shoe fit.
That’s what it felt like. It just fit so well. And so, , I just loved being part of this now and, and guide parents because having been on that other side and being so scared, you know, I know what that’s. And it’s, it’s such a tough, tough time. So, I love, my new tools over the last few years have been, the beyond addiction book, which, I had discovered a few years ago. And then of course, craft. [00:43:30] Which we base our parent coaching on through the partnership. And, those are just amazing, amazing tools and, getting to share those tools with, the moms and the stream is super great too, because I think that that is one thing back then I wish I had was how do you communicate with your kids? How can you, motivate them to change, in a loving way.
I didn’t have that back then. So now it’s just so nice to be part of a community that, moms are learning this and then they are sharing it with everyone. I, I love seeing that. Right. I love that these moms that have come in, you know, like you say, deer in headlights, and then they’re doing their work and they’re, they’re getting their self care and they’re really. Just embracing everything that they can in the stream. And then next thing, you know, a mom comes in with a deer in headlights, and then you’ve got these moms who were there just, you know, a few months ago and they’re doing the same thing. It was just, you know, guiding them along. It’s a beautiful, beautiful process.  I’m so grateful for the moms in the stream. I mean, they’re amazing.
Brenda: Oh my gosh. They’re amazing.  Absolutely. The most amazing women. 
Cathy: Yeah. They are. And they give hope to others. Right? I mean, what do I see now? I see hope and hopefulness. I see looking for the positive and these kids who are [00:45:00] struggling so much, I mean, you’ve got moms on here. Kids are doing some really dangerous things in terms of. Their drug of choice, which, you know, I don’t even like to call it their drug of choice. These poor kids are addicted to these drugs.
Brenda: Oh, I got schooled on that. I think it was on the marijuana episode, either that or the Xanax one with, Dr. Nzinga Harrison, and I said, drug of choice. And she schooled me. She was like, oh no, it is not the drug of choice. It is their brain’s substance that it needs. I was like, I’m so sorry, Dr. Harrison.
Cathy: Right. Because, they might’ve chosen at one time and then it hijacked you. And that after that you don’t have a choice. And so, you know, some of these moms though, of kids are really struggling with some very dangerous drugs. Okay. You’re seeing these great, positive things of their kids, you know? Well, she texted me and She helped me pick out an outfit for an event. And I thought these moms are amazing, right? I mean, they’re not, they are just, it’s beautiful to see. And so,, I love that they’re bringing resources to all of us, right. I mean, we bring resources to them and they said, Hey, have you heard about this? My kids, you know, partaking in this, or I read this amazing book, and they’re bringing resources to us. It’s just, amazing.
Brenda: Yeah, it’s  a, it’s a pretty cool, pretty cool crowd. I would say
Cathy: It’s a pretty cool crowd. 
Brenda: for, for a club that nobody wants to [00:46:30] belong to. It’s the weirdest business model. Like I have the hardest time explaining it to people. I’m like, yeah. So I, I run this community. Nobody ever wants to be a part of it. However, when  they, when they are a part of it, it’s really good.
And then we hope it’s someday. We hope that they will be able to leave and go out and then tell other people about it or stay on as advisors, hint, hint. For any of you members who are listening. When you’re on the other side, we don’t want you to leave. We want you to stay and be advisers to help our other mamas. But, yeah, it is a really special group. And I think what I see you doing all the time is. A lot of validation. A lot of, yes, yes. This is normal. Yes. You’re going to get through this. Yes. You know? which is so great and people really need that. But also I think you you’re really able to, empathize obviously, cause you’ve been there and it’s not in a, It’s not like in a wallowing sympathetic way, it’s in a very empowering, empathetic way that says, yes, I, you know, I totally can see why you would feel that way. And here’s a couple of things that other people have found or that I found. And that’s just so beautiful. Cause we’re not about advice, you know, in, in the community at all. We’re really about. [00:48:00] Here’s something that I tried or here’s something that I experienced and add that to your, you know, repertoire of what you’re considering.
And it’s so powerful. I started the community because I didn’t have it like you, I was like, okay, it’s kind of crickets out as a mom. and what I would have given to have, you know, when I look at the volume of content, that’s in the stream, I’m like, oh my gosh, I can’t even find things anymore. Sometimes we might have to have a meeting later about that, but, You know, to, to have had access to not only the human beings that are in there, who are the most amazing human beings ever, to have access to the content and the resources and the tools and the workshops and all of that would have just been a total game-changer.
Cathy: I completely agree. I completely agree. And you’re right. Just having these resources available. now made such a difference and, regarding what works for people, sometimes it’s like a great, mixture, right? It’s like a, a great little recipe. You might need three or four things that are going to work for you. And, and some families are lucky just to have one thing that kind of works and that’s all they need to tweak. Right. But, it is really, really nice that having gone through it and be supportive and just kind of be a hand holder because I really feel that, you know, back then that’s really what I [00:49:30] wanted. And that’s, what happened when our kids went into wilderness, there was someone there to hold our hand to tell us we’re going to get through this river of change. And it was. Tumultuous. I mean, I felt like we were crossing the category four river. 
Brenda: Right. Get your life jacket on.
Cathy: Yeah. Get your life jacket on. And I love my husband and he used to tell me when I would feel kind of sad about it, or I just felt like I couldn’t go on and he’d say, I can see the other side. I thought, okay. I can see the other side too, you know? And it was just, you had to, you had to kind of be in your world like that to give you. And they keep moving. And so I hope that, for the moms in the stream that I can help them see this, this tough time and that, they can see the other side, even if it’s a tiny little glimpse that they can see it and, them having hope. I think also I really do believe that it translates to hope for their kids when their kids see, you have hope for them. I think that they, they feel they can do it. And, you just hope they get that moment of clarity where they see it and if they can move on and get their,
Brenda: Yeah. There’s just so much we could talk for, well, we do talk all day, but we can talk here all day. any last parting words for anyone who’s listening, who’s just like at that place that you were, or even, you know, their kids are starting to do better. You’ve been through it all. So any [00:51:00] words of wisdom or encouragement that you want to leave people with?
Cathy: No. And I don’t say this lightly, but just don’t give up. I know there are times where you feel like you just want to give up. You’re tired, you’re exhausted. You’re just physically ill. You’re mentally sick. and it’s so, so hard. Just to know that tomorrow is a new day. And, you just feel like you just can’t get it together for today, now that tomorrow’s a new day and you get to start all over, that’s the beauty of having a new day and just, try not to give up hope. And if you feel like you’re, you know, pleased, please reach out for help. I think that’s one thing that. As parents we’re so afraid to reach out for help. I know I was there for a while. I just, I didn’t know what to do and it’s okay. Reach out, whatever that is, the partnership to end addiction, like you said, Brenda is such an amazing resource
Reach out and it might not be the place for you, but they can help you find a place. That is a place for you or reach out to whoever that is a close friend, or of course we’d love to have you on the stream. you know, just don’t give up and, and know that there’s help for you. And we’re here for you.
Brenda: Thank you. Well, thank you for all the work you do in our space. And I know there’s a lot of moms that appreciate [00:52:30] you. So they’re there in the background, cheerleading as well. And, okay. Now get back to work. You’ve been chatting long enough on this podcast.
Cathy: You got it. Boss lady. I’m outta here. Thanks for having me, Brenda.
Brenda: Yes, of course, we’ll put, links in the show notes to everything that Kathy talked about, the Partnership, the books, all of that, so that you can grab those there. And, thanks for being here.
Cathy: Thanks for having me.
Thank you so much for listening. If you’d like to go to the show notes, you can always find those at At, 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 Thanks again for listening and I will meet you right back here next week.

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