What Are Boundaries And Why Parents Need Them When Their Child Misuses Drugs or Alcohol, with Cathy Cioth

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
What Are Boundaries And Why Parents Need Them When Their Child Misuses Drugs or Alcohol, with Cathy Cioth
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ABOUT THE EPISODE:
You might hear the term "boundaries" thrown around as you work to parent your child who's misusing drugs and alcohol – but what exactly are they, and why do you need them?

Hopestream Community co-founder Cathy Cioth and I deep dive into this topic today because we see parents in our communities struggle with it constantly. 

We share:

  • What boundaries are and are not
  • We divulge some of our own struggles with setting and holding boundaries
  • What can happen if you don't have boundaries 
  • Why Cathy called herself the "marshmallow" when it came to holding boundaries with her kids
  • Examples of boundaries we set with our families during our experience with our kids

It's practical, a little humorous, and revealing in a way that may help you gain some confidence and control in what can feel like a very out-of-control situation.

Please click here if you'd like to join the Hopestream Community two-hour boundaries workshop and come away with an actionable plan to make a change in your life and family.

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_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 0:01also breeding resentment, right? That’s another emotion comes with it. There’s so much resentment, only with your kids, but seems like with everybody like you said, that anger to me, it overflowed to everything, I was short with everybody and then it, that was then this emotional. Turmoil this war inside me with trying to present myself as everything is fine. Nothing to see here to what I was struggling with at home. And by the way, I’m also guilty for throwing an electronic across the room
0:43You’re listening to Hope. Dream the place for those parenting teens and young adults who are misusing drugs and alcohol in a treatment program or working their way toward recovery. It’s your private space to learn and to gain encouragement and understanding from me. Your host, Brenda Zane. I’m fellow parent to a child who struggled, and I’m so glad you’re here. To learn more about all the resources available to you besides the podcast, please head over to Hope Stream community.org.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:16Welcome back, Kathy Trot. I feel like I should do a formal introduction like I do with everyone else.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:24No introduction needed.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:25we just roll into it.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:27Literally,
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:28Yes.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:29to be here.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:30it’s lovely to have you back. we are getting better at doing a few more of these and we decided, because we talk about boundaries a lot, we thought that boundaries would be a really good topic because not only are they helpful with our kids who are struggling, they’re also very helpful with other people in our lives, right? Like spouses and parents and siblings.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 1:58It’s really true because they’re great. our kids that are struggling is one thing, right? But when we have other family, we could almost practice. I hate to say that, that sounds so awful. But really it is really difficult to create boundaries for our kids who are struggling. And sometimes it’s best to start practicing with, our spouses, for example.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 2:21Yes, exactly. before we do that, what’s going on with you? what’s happening in life? Just checking in. I know you had a hundredth birthday party for your father-in-law.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 2:34we did. We had, my father-in-law turned a hundred years old, And family all came from all over the country, And from across, the pond, we had some family come in from England and his old war buddies one of them was there, he’s a World War II vet. He fought for the Polish resistance. So it was super exciting and boy did he. Have a great time. We all had a great time, but it was just awesome to see him having just a wonderful weekend. We had a party and we even golfed, at top Golf
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 3:11Nice, and I saw you
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 3:13the club. I danced with my father-in-law. It was great. One thing I love about him, and we always say wonder why he’s lived so long. But you know what? He lives a life of gratitude. all the time he says, I wake up in the morning and I say, oh, thank you, God, for another day. And he goes to bed at night and he just asks for blessings on his families and how grateful he is to be alive. So anyway, that started off our summer. It’s been really great.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 3:44That’s so
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 3:45And how about you? What’s going on with you?
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 3:48I just had my son with me last week, my former troublemaker, which is so nice to be able to put the word former. There. so that was amazing and it really, talk about gratitude, man, when you wake up and that 26 year old body now is laying in the bed healthy and not hungover, not under any influence of any substance, and you’re just having really meaningful time together. It, I have to pinch myself every day. I really do. I
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 4:21that’s so special. So special.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 4:25years. yeah. So that was pretty amazing. So I can’t complain. but yeah, that’s the check-in.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 4:31That’s a great check-in.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 4:33Yeah. Yeah.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 4:34I guess we should move forward on this topic. We’ve right.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 4:39yeah, we could go a lot of other directions, but we won’t. so boundaries, why? I’m gonna start out with a question to you. Why do you think so many parents struggle with setting and holding boundaries? let’s go. Especially with the ones whose kids are using substances since that’s our thing. Why do you think parents struggle with it so much?
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 5:03Wow. I can just give my own personal feelings around it. And they are hard. Boundaries are so difficult and it can be confusing cuz we often aren’t sure what a boundary is when we start. Wanting to set boundaries, and so we can go into really what a boundary is. We’ll, we can give a little brief lesson on that, but I just think they’re really difficult. Personally, I had such a hard time. I used to call myself the marshmallow. I was just so soft, And my kids knew that, and My husband, their dad, would be really tough. And so the harder he got on them, I would get really soft. And I was also so scared to set boundaries.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 5:52Like, why were you scared? What? What was the scary part about it?
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 5:58I guess I was just scared that, I would. Lose my kids. that, setting a boundary and saying, for example, you can’t keep drugs in our home. What I was worried about was once I said that, they would say, fine, we’re outta here and we’re never gonna be home. And the reality was that happened without me setting that boundary. clearly, I didn’t even really have to say it. they chose to not be around anyway. and, yeah, we did find drugs in the home and we can talk later about that was one of the boundaries we set was no drugs in the home.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 6:35No, I think you’re right. I like to ask what, what feels hard about it to people, because I think sometimes we just say, oh, boundaries are so hard. But it’s like, what’s hard about it? But also I. When I think back to my experience, I don’t think I ever even knew that there was such a thing as a boundary. Like I don’t remember thinking, oh, I have weak boundaries, because I didn’t even know what that was. So I think if you’re listening and you’re like, What are they talking about? That’s normal? I think the word gets thrown around a little bit more now just because sort of mental health is a little bit more out in the open. But for me, I had never heard the term, so it wasn’t like, oh yeah, I have weak boundaries. I just didn’t know that I didn’t have them. I’m trying to remember when that. Kind of terminology came into my awareness, which everything’s so fuzzy that I don’t remember. probably when I finally got in regularly with a therapist. But, I think the other thing that I hear people say is really hard for them about boundaries is, like you said, the outcome. It’s the outcome of holding a boundary that means something might happen. That is going to either be emotionally painful or could be, like you said, scary, like maybe my kids aren’t gonna be able to be at home. so it’s often the natural consequence of holding a boundary that makes us avoid it because we’re like, I know what’s gonna happen if I do this or. Also with substances. There’s often emotional outbursts, right? And of course we always talk about with like red lights and green lights, if it’s a red light situation, if they’re under the influence, do not, this is not the time to, to communicate a boundary for sure. But sometimes you don’t know. And sometimes they’re just Err radically emotional anyway, so you never know. If you start to communicate a boundary or you start to hold a boundary that you’ve previously communicated, the reaction might be unknown because they might blow up. It could be huge landmine like you just don’t know.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 8:48Yeah, I was the queen of avoiding those landmines. I just didn’t wanna hear it. And you’re absolutely right and you know that Yes. I think my fear. was also based in the outburst that would happen. And it’s interesting you say that you didn’t know when that word, just became that you realized what it was. And should clarify that when I say that I was a marshmallow in my boundaries. I really didn’t know that until after my kids had gone to treatment and having family therapy, and realizing, oh boy, that’s exactly what went on in my house. And yeah. Yeah, it is. it’s complex, but. I will say this, when you learn how to create a boundary, when you realize who they’re for, and once you do it and you have a little bit of success, it feels so good, and then you want to keep doing it, you want to build on that, it’s like you’re exercising this amazing muscle and it gets stronger and, exercising it appropriately and knowing Hey, it’s okay that I can pull back a little bit here. And having real conversations. It just seems once it’s done and it’s done right, things get a little calmer, a little bit.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 10:09Why don’t you give your definition of what boundaries are and what they’re not.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 10:15I’ll never forget when I joined this dream and you talked about being in the hula hoop, and that’s where your boundaries, imagine this hula hoop around you. and, I like to, say that if I were to do my own definition, it would be my own little, Spot of land, there’s green grass around it, your boundaries are for you. So I have a really beautiful white picket fence, that I imagine that is around me. And, it’s just this really nice and serene area. And there is a gate in my picket fence. And so when I create boundaries, I know that this is to protect. Keep my world safe and healthy and what I want. And I’m not saying that you can’t come inside. I can come out. You can come in. But, it is really just for, you, your boundaries are for you, and what you need to be safe, what you need to feel healthy, and, and go from there. It’s your environment.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 11:20right. You’re not trying to control what’s happening outside your fence. And you’re communicating, Hey, here are the ways in which the gate opens. And if you wanna open the gate, that’s totally cool. here are the ways that you can unlock it. And if you don’t wanna do that, then you have to stay outside the fence. So I think that’s a really good visual, either the fence or the hula hoop. and we’re gonna talk about a couple different kinds of boundaries. And for me, like the hula hoop one I visually think of that in my mind more when I’m thinking of emotional boundaries. And then when I’m thinking of a boundary with someone else, I tend to think about the fence analogy and just This is how you get to come into my yard. so I love that and what I see and what I experienced when I didn’t have boundaries, when I didn’t even know what I didn’t have, but when I didn’t have any boundaries, what I always felt like was a doormat. Like everybody, not everybody. A few people in my life were trampling over all the things that I was, and I was even being very nice in requesting these things, But I felt like a doormat. I was always walking on eggshells. Like I just never knew when I was gonna step in the wrong place and everything was gonna become a mess. I had a lot of anger like, It really was boiling up, boiling and boiling. And I’m a very patient person, so it probably took a lot longer to surface than with other people. But then I would just explode. And my poor kids, even though they were one of them in particular, was causing mayhem. He didn’t deserve me. Yelling and screaming at him. And I remember one time I just lost it. They had been playing Xbox for six hours or something insane. And because I was I just let everybody walk all over me. I finally, at one point, I just started yelling at them and I went over and I like unplugged the Xbox and I think I threw it across the room. That is not good. That is not a good, and sometimes people will say, I feel really mean when I hold a boundary, or I feel like that’s mean. what is mean is yelling at your kids and throwing their Xbox across the room. That is not healthy behavior.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 13:49and not like you. That’s so not like you sit there and you’re thinking, what have I become?
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 13:56Yeah, so I think if you’re wondering like, why do I need boundaries? Maybe you can recognize some of those times in your own life where physically you feel like, Ugh. Like why is this happening again? I’m giving in again. I’m just saying. Okay. And sometimes it’s cuz we’re just too tired also, I’m just too tired to deal with whatever is gonna come on the other side of me holding this boundary. So that’s real too. And that’s where you just need to go back to taking care of yourself. making sure that you’re fed, watered, all the things that we need to be
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 14:32Yeah. Yeah. And, and also breeding resentment, right? That’s another emotion comes with it. There’s so much resentment, only with your kids, but seems like with everybody that just, like you said, that anger to me, it overflowed to everything, It just was, I was short with everybody and then it, that was then this emotional. Turmoil this war inside me with trying to present myself as everything is fine. Nothing to see here
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 15:07Right.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 15:08to what I was struggling with at home. And by the way, I’m also guilty for throwing an electronic across the room. My, my kids are listening to this. I know my son’s say I remember that and I remember when I did it and thinking. What is wrong with me? What has gone so bad that I have gotten to this point? so anyway, I really resonate with what you just said and the doormat. I remember feeling really dumb, feeling like just not my best self.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 15:44Yeah, aren’t I supposed to be the parent here and why do I feel like I’m being bulldozed by? This kid who’s, in their teens, early twenties, and it’s like, why are they running the household?
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 15:59the relationships, everything. as we know, I mean our, parental relationships, right? I felt again, that was that thing where I was home with them. My husband would come home and here I am trying to, tell’em what was going on and. I felt like one of the kids at one point, I just thought I lost my role completely. It was crazy.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 16:22It’s the worst feeling. It is the worst feeling. And when we get to that point where we lose it and maybe we throw an electronic or perhaps a coffee cup, I only know my experience. but I felt like I had snapped at some point. you, you do step into this third person, like she is crazy right now. But you can’t stop what you’re doing, and I just think it’s important to acknowledge that because I think there’s a lot of shame as a parent when you get to that point where you have let everything boil up to the point where you do lose it. You don’t recognize yourself. You can’t believe what you’re doing or saying, but you can’t stop yourself because you get into this place of am I mentally stable? This is why. and I think a lot of times when people talk about boundaries, they don’t talk about this this is why you really need boundaries, really good self-care so that you don’t get to that volcano point. cuz it is not good for anybody, especially our kids to see that. So, okay. So you talked a little bit about what they are and they aren’t, and I just wanna add to that. I think the most common thing that people think about when they think about boundaries is saying what in their mind is you can’t do this or you can’t do that, and if you do this, then this is gonna happen. And what they’re actually thinking about are ultimatums to try to control someone else’s behavior, which is 100% not a boundary. So, like Kathy said, the boundary is for you. So it always starts with I and. It’s not always about someone else. So we’re gonna give some examples of boundaries that we held, in our families. But I just wanna call out that there are emotional boundaries that we need to have just as equally as important as boundaries with other people. And then there are some sort of, what I’m thinking of is I don’t, this is not a thing cuz we’re not therapists. Just to reiterate, we probably should always say that at the beginning of our episodes,
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 18:33really should. We’re
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 18:34not therapists, these, this is a parental sort of example, but I think of them as more of attitudinal boundaries and we’ll talk about what those are. but to go back to the ultimatum thing. An ultimatum is you trying to control what someone else is gonna do. A boundary is you controlling what’s going on around you and how you are going to respond to different inputs from the world, not just your one child. like if Kathy was talking about her white picket fence, and I’m sure you have lovely green grass in your, garden that you’re thinking about. And so if I come into Kathy’s yard and I start letting my dog like poop all over her yard and I’m tearing up her grass, And I’m, doing whatever she’s gonna say. Um, no, that’s actually not okay. This is not how we treat our lawn. This is how we treat our lawn. If you would like to come into my yard and not bring your dog and not tear up my lawn, cool. But if that’s your plan, go to my neighbor’s yard. No,
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 19:40I would never say that, but yeah. Train your dog. Bring your doggy bags. Yeah.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 19:46So I think that’s just a kind of a non-child related example of what we’re talking about, which is here are the conditions in which I interact in my world and I need to feel safe and healthy and sane. And so if you’re cool with those, we’re in business. If you’re not cool with those, We’re gonna need to wait until we can come to an agreement on those. And it doesn’t mean that your boundaries can’t shift, like you said, sometimes you can adjust as long as they still work for you.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 20:20Right.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 20:21yeah. And they always start with, I, so I need this, or I feel this way. Therefore, this is what I’m gonna do. So let’s give just a couple of examples, because I think it’s always easier to hear, one that’s real, that either worked or didn’t work, right? Because sometimes they don’t, and we have to adjust. But do you have an example of one that you wanna share that you had in your family and how that
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 20:49yeah. we did have one, we used to call, The drugs in our family, the software and the implements to use the drugs, the hardware. So if you’ve got a kiddo that’s using T hc, the hardware, the bongs, the pipes, and all of that. And and the software is obviously the pot, and really any drug. And so one of the things that we had said, was that we would not allow any software in our house if we found them. because we wanted to keep our house safe, and healthy. And so we said if we found them, they, we would dispose of them. And, one of the consequences also would be that you would not be able to stay the night at home that night. And Oh boy, that was such a tough one for me, honestly. that was really tough. so we did that and, my son ended up staying out of the house. Lots of times and it was difficult. I almost felt so defeated every time I would find something. But, the first time I remember, oh gosh. And I remember my husband and I tag teaming, oh, hey, we found something. And he’d be the one to have the conversation and. And I’ll be honest, most of the time it was him having the conversation cuz I was so afraid of the outbursts, like we had talked about earlier. I definitely got much better at that over time. but anyway, that was one of the most difficult boundaries that we had in our home.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 22:26And was that something that you co-created with your husband to say, okay, we know that this is going on. What can we live with and what can we not live with? Is that like, how did you arrive at that, I guess is my
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 22:36Yeah, that, that was basically exactly what happened. We had so many incidences of finding, you know, NS or whatever pot and, honestly never really found. Really tough drugs in our home. They were there. I, we just never found them. but it was, what are we gonna do? this keeps happening, what are we gonna do? and, then we’d hear, oh, these, implements that we use to smoke pot. They’re so expensive. You can’t tell us that we can’t, where are we gonna leave it? We can’t leave it in the car or whatever. and so that’s how we came to that boundary with our, With our kids. And yes, it was definitely something that my husband and I talked about for a long time. We, we didn’t, I was so scared to implement it, it took a long time,
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 23:23A couple of things on that I think are worth just highlighting is that first of all, you came up with it together so that it wasn’t one, one of you saying one thing and one of you saying the other. Another thing is that you took the time to figure out what it, what you wanted it to be, because I think sometimes we feel like something happens. Okay, so in your case, we found a baggie of weed. And right now we have to do something about it, like right now. And the truth is, you can take the time to say, okay, we found this. We are not okay with it. This does not work in my white picket fence, green grass situation. So we’re gonna come up with something. And you took the time to figure it out and figure out something that would work for you. That was doable. That seemed fair. Then you probably communicated it, so that pause right there, whether that was four hours or 24 hours or a week, you get to decide what that is and you can be communicating to your son or your daughter, Hey, we found this. Your dad and I are not okay with it. We don’t really know what we’re gonna do yet, but there’s gonna be some boundaries set around this in the future, just so you know. So that when you do have the conversation, it’s not like springing it on them at three in the morning when they’re under the influence and you haven’t slept like huge red light situation. So I just wanted to highlight those things cause I think that’s really important
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 24:57I think it’s really important to say that. I’m so glad you brought that up because I. We did have the wherewithal to know that back then, which was so great, To, gosh, it’s not gonna go well if he’s coming in at two in the morning and we’re saying, okay, here it is. What was nice is when you do say that to your kids, by the way, in a really calm way. Hey, we found this. Try to take out all that emotion of your anger and your fear. Because, and I know that I’m not saying that lightly. I know it’s difficult, but I often like to say, pretend you’re talking to your coworker and just say, oh, hey, I found this in your drawer, and it also paved that way to have that conversation later. And it was a little more calm because they know what is coming. And I will say when we first set out that boundary, My son took it really well. It was really good. Of course, I was bummed it when it happened and he’d have to stay away, but at least he took the boundary and he followed it and he accepted that this is how we wanted our home to be, and it felt good,
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 26:05Yeah. a lot of it, like you said, is in the delivery. So if you have, paved the road to say, your dad and I are talk about this, or if you don’t have a co-parent, I’m gonna think about this. maybe you have a parent coach. Maybe you’re in one of our communities and you can reach out and get some input. And to say, once I figure out what I can live with, I’m gonna let you know and we can talk about it. Then let’s say it’s two days later, you can go back and use the information sandwich and say, Hey, would this be a good time to talk about how I found your weed the other night? And remember I told you that we were gonna talk about it again. So it’s just so much better than the. Big, crazy emotional confrontation at three o’clock in the morning when nobody is in a good position to do it. and then you have something that you can actually work with and hold, and you’ve also been able to think through what are gonna be like, you said, what are the consequences of me holding this? Wow. My son isn’t gonna be home and that’s gonna make me nervous. So then you can start working on the, how am I gonna not be so nervous, and that’s all the stuff that takes time to do. thank you for sharing that. That’s a really good one. Oh, and the last thing I was gonna say about that is that was what worked for your family and for another family. They might, somebody might be listening, going, what is she talking about? If I ever found a bong in my house, I would throw that thing in the trash, and that’s fine. is totally fine. Boundaries there, there is no like the book of boundaries, right? It’s what works for you and your family. And so I just wanted to highlight that because some people might be going, what is she talk, why would she let them have a bong in the house? And it’s because that’s what worked for them. And if that doesn’t work for you, That’s fine. And if maybe you’re like, I don’t care if they have weed in the house. I just don’t want fentanyl in the house. Okay, that’s fine. That’s your boundary. So there is no hard and fast rule. Just thought I would mention that.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 28:05No, that’s really important to say. And by the way, which is so funny because I would look at that boundary today and say, oh, there’s no way that anything would be in our home. so boundaries can change over the years, and so I love that you just said that they are very personal and you’re right to one person. It’s one way and to another. just you can never say, I would never do that because you never know.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 28:31Exactly. Exactly.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 28:34glad that you said that. What about you? I’d love to hear what was the boundary that you had in your home?
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 28:41Oh, like I said, I didn’t really understand the whole boundary thing, but when I did start getting my head wrapped around it, two things come to mind. One was a boundary that I had for myself, and I’ll just share that, which was I had decided I was gonna start allowing the natural consequences to happen if my son didn’t get up to go to school or to get up to do whatever he was supposed to do. I’m so crazy that I could not stop myself from going down. Even if I didn’t go into his room and wake him up, I would go downstairs because I suddenly had to vacuum at seven in the morning because,
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 29:16Oh, I hear you.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 29:18to admit these things. But anyway, so I was like, I can’t keep waking him up. I need to let him figure this out. And the only way I could stop myself from doing that was either to leave the house and go on a walk. Or to get in the shower. And so that’s what I would do. I would be looking at my watch. I would be looking at the down the stairs. There is no sign of life and I would just force myself, I would put that boundary around myself to say, I am not gonna do this. Instead, I’m going to keep myself busy, which eventually it got me more emotionally regulated. At first, it was just painful. I’m in the shower just
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 29:56did it feel so forced? Like, why am I doing this? This, I should be waking him up. I hear you. it feels so unnatural.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 30:04the worst. It was the worst, but then it really didn’t take long before I. I realized, first of all, he was like, mom, you don’t wake me up. It’s no, that’s why they invented alarm clocks or that’s why they invented alarms on your phone. and just me handing that responsibility back to him and I told him that, I was like, you know what buddy? You’re, 15 or whatever, however old he was, you are now responsible for waking yourself up. And I’ve talked about this before, my apologies. Like I am so sorry. I’ve been treating you like you were too, cuz I did have to used to wake you up. so this is your thing now. Is there anything I can do to help you? do you want an at an actual old fashioned alarm clock that you have to get up and turn off versus your phone, which is in bed with you or, so we talked about it, but I still was so neurotic that I would try to go down and wake him up. So did the shower thing and it started to have an impact, which is like what you said is when it starts to work, it is exactly like a diet or exercise. Once you start to see some results, it’s oh, and sure enough, there would be times where I would come back for my walk with the little dog and he would be gone. Now, sadly, he was usually not at school, so like baby steps. So that was one, that’s an example of what I call an emotional and attitudinal boundary, which is what am I gonna do, to protect myself and my own feelings and do what I know is right, the harder one. and I had to actually go to therapy for this one. The harder one was we were moving as a family and I had set out the conditions under which my son would be able to move with us, and that included going to therapy. Not using, or at least not using around me in the home. packing up his room. We’d lived there for 11 years, so there was a lot of stuff. pack up your room First of all, you have to be out of the house by eight o’clock in the morning because realtors are gonna come through and show the house. And I can’t really have a, zenned out kid in the bed. That is not a really good selling point. It’s here’s this lovely home. Know the drugged out kid in the basement does not come with the house. You don’t have to have him. So those were some of the conditions, right? Like get outta bed. You have to make your bed so the realtors can show your room. Well, he did none of those, so I was an absolute. Crazy person I’m at work thinking, oh my gosh, there’s a realtor that’s gonna come to our house and my son is gonna be dead to the world on Xanax in his bed, and that is gonna be horrible. So we got to the day when we were moving and the pods were in the driveway full and the house was empty and he was. Curled up in a sleeping bag in the corner of his room saying, I’m not leaving my house. I’m not leaving my house. And I had to go through his room with trash bags and put everything from his childhood, everything from 11 years in those trash bags and say, you cannot move with us. And I cannot tell you the address of where we’re moving to because I’m too scared of the people that you’re hanging around, people that I know you’re dealing with. And so that. took a lot of therapy to be able to do that. a lot of support from his dad and my parents and everybody else, but I just knew I had to hold that boundary. And again, it wasn’t necessarily like the saying that it was the outcome of that in knowing that he didn’t have anywhere to go and that he would likely be, and this is what I often hear is, well, if I do that, then that’s gonna push him closer to. The drug dealers, the users, whoever. But guess what, he would’ve done that anyway. So just because I let him move with us wouldn’t mean that he was gonna stop seeing those guys or hanging out with them or dealing or whatever. So that was really hard. and I’ll say that if you are at the point where you have to hold a boundary that severe. Get yourself some support, right? Don’t try to do that alone and make sure that siblings understand, cuz here I have a son who is moving with us and now he can’t tell his brother where we’re moving to. I didn’t do enough planning cuz I was too busy packing the house, but I should have. Done a little bit more work upfront to prepare our other son for the fact that his brother would not be moving with us. but, have a therapist or a coach or a buddy or a somebody who can hold you through that because that is torturous.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 34:49The stream. Stream. Come join us in Hope Dream, because I agree these, that’s really so tough and I, there’s so many stories like yours, right? And it is so important, to surround yourself. With that, community of people who get it and, extra added support of a therapist, a personal therapist is really important because, like you say, our boundaries, they’re for us and they for our whole family around us too, right? So yes, it was for your son, but also, it affected his brother.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 35:30Yeah. And I should clarify that, I talked about the boundary starts with I or me. the way I phrased it probably wasn’t super clear because I was like, you can’t move with us. But what it was I need to live in a home. Where I am not terrified every day that there are going to be drug dealers coming here, that you’re gonna be here under the influence that I have to be anxious every time I’m in my home. So th that was the, the root of the boundary. and we’ll talk about, we have a workshop that we do that goes through all of this, because you really have to, you have to root your boundaries and a value that you hold. And the value that I was holding was safety and peace in my home, and I had none of that when my son was living with us. And that same boundary would’ve applied to his. Stepdad or anybody who was going to be moving with us. It wasn’t that it was only about him, it was if anybody in our household is gonna make our home unsafe, uncomfortable, potentially dangerous, that doesn’t work for me. That’s the green grass and the picket fence situation where actually no, you can’t come in here and let your dog poop on my grass. that’s what the equivalent was. So, but in a very, very, very difficult situation. but yeah, the support is really important. so those are just some examples of, I think the emotional ones we tend to forget about. So I think I would just encourage people to think about those. What do you need to do for yourself to keep yourself emotionally regulated? Physically regulated. So you might need to have a boundary that says I need to exercise five times a week in order to stay sane, or I need to order a meal service three times a week so that I can nourish my body because I don’t have that bandwidth mentally or physically to cook right now. That doesn’t mean you have to do that forever,
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 37:28Let’s talk about social media. I actually created a boundary around that too, and I love that I did that and I still to this day do it. It, by the way. there are just certain times a year that for me, honestly, it’s a little tough and we’re in a great place and, but I really feel that, it’s so important to give yourself permission to say, Hey, you know what, I’m either gonna hide some accounts or I’m just not gonna check, social media. Maybe it’s. Prom and graduation time, maybe whatever that is, Christmas, whatever that is for you. give yourself that grace. Set a boundary around social media or whatever that is, that, that might be affecting you, because I think it’s just so important. those are some really tough times emotionally and,
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 38:21I love that. I also think it’s important to think about boundaries with other family members because there you often get into really awkward positions where it’s we’re having a birthday party for Uncle Joe, but we don’t want. Your son, Sam to come because he might be high or whatever. So you have to start to really think about how this expands out to, so that you feel comfortable at family gatherings or oh, I don’t wanna get together with my sister because she always starts telling me exactly what I need to do with my daughter. And you need to send her there and you need to do this, and maybe you have a boundary that for a while. If we’re together, sister, we just don’t talk about my daughter and if that works for you, cool. Come on into my, through my picket fence. If you feel like you honestly need to tell me every time we’re together, what I need to do with my daughter, then I’m gonna need to spend some time away from you for a little bit and maybe we can text or maybe we can share photos on Instagram, but we’re probably just not gonna get together. And that’s so hard, especially with
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 39:27It is so hard,
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 39:28But it’s, again, it’s what works for you to keep you safe and happy and healthy.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 39:34Right, and to understand too that this is a forever, that’s I think one thing that I think hold us back is cuz we think, oh my gosh, if we do this will never. This’ll be forever. And, it isn’t forever. It isn’t forever. And maybe it’s just not working the way you want it. It’s okay to tweak your boundary a little bit. like the example that you just gave, Brenda, maybe you could say to your sister, for example, Hey look. minutes, we could chat about it. But after that, I just really wanna enjoy this holiday with the family. Are you cool with that? And because our family members love us and are well-meaning, and, so you could maybe tweak your boundary a tiny little bit if you feel like I just don’t wanna not celebrate with family. so tweak it so that it works for you.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 40:28Yep. I love that. That is a really good point. we could go on and on, but I think we should let people know we do have a boundaries workshop where we do this for two hours. Doesn’t that sound fun?
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 40:43It actually does sound fun because I’ll tell you this, if I had known. Seven years ago that there was something like that that would’ve said, Hey Kathy, come on in here in this really safe zoom meeting room. You could have your screen off if you want or whatever. You’re gonna have a nice cup of whatever you’d like to drink and just sit here and we’re gonna talk about something that is really difficult and we’re gonna guide you through it. I would’ve been all on board with that. So it is something that I think is a life-changing thing and really we just hope that, you sign up for it and come because don’t be afraid. Everyone gets it, the people in that meeting room have all been where you are or worse. and so we often say there’s not much you can do that, shocks us at all. please come. It’s a nice, safe place and gosh, you learn so much.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 41:43yes. The next one, so if you’re listening in real time, the next one is July 22nd, 2023. it is two hours. You can go to Hope Stream community.org and click on parents. You’ll see a dropdown that says Learn with us and then you can get all the information and sign up. we do have scholarships, so I think it’s$49, but if you can’t do that, we do have scholarships, for those who need a little bit of help. So don’t be shy about that. And yeah, this is what I love because you have a workbook that you go through and you walk away with a boundary written down, thought through why you’re holding it, what it means to you, how you’re gonna communicate it, what you’re gonna do when it blows up in your face, like all the things. So it’s very helpful. It
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 42:28It’s a playbook.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 42:30is a playbook. I never thought about it that way, but it is a playbook.
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 42:34Yeah, I imagine like you could wear one of those wrist, playbook, things like the football player’s wear, and then you know, when you’re walking around your house and something happens, you’re gonna go and. Flip that open and say, okay, this is the time.
brenda_2_06-29-2023_140438:
 42:46I love that we might need to create some merch, All right, thanks for joining me
cathy_1_06-29-2023_140438:
 42:52I will see you soon. Bye.
42:55I’d love to ask you to do one quick thing before we sign off, and that is if you enjoy this podcast, if you would go into your podcast player, whether that’s in Apple or Spotify, or Audible or Google, and just tap the Stars to rate it. That allows other people to see that people are listening and engaged in the podcast. And you’ll be helping another parent who is in a difficult time to find the podcast. So if you’re in Apple in particular, you’re gonna go to the main page of Hope Stream and then just scroll down and you’ll see the stars. And it also gives you an option to write a little review. So if you do listen and enjoy it and get something out of it, that would mean the world to me. That is it for today. If you’d like to get a transcript for the show, there’s always a transcript at the show notes page, which is at brenda zane.com/podcast. You can either scroll and find the episode that you’re looking for, or you can always just do a search and type in a person’s name. You can type in a topic, and you can also find all of the resources that we’ve mentioned in the episodes there as well. And if you haven’t downloaded my free ebook yet, I’d invite you to do that. It’s called hindsight. Three things I Wish I knew when my Son was misusing drugs. It’ll give you some really good insight into why your child might be doing the things that they’re doing, and there’s some really great tips of things that I learned along the way that I so wish I would have known. It’ll also give you great ideas on how you can navigate this in a healthier way to preserve yourself, your sanity and your wellbeing, which we all need. So that is at brenda zane.com/hindsight. As always, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for putting in the time and the work and the effort and energy into getting your family into a healthier place, and especially for your child, and I cannot wait to meet you right back here next week.

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