Speaker Series: Full Episode Page

Taking Care of the Mothership: The Power of Self-care


Brenda Zane is a Sky's the Limit Fund board member, Founder of Hopestream Community, and podcast host of Hopestream


Mike Ferguson, former Executive Director at Sky’s the Limit Fund

About the episode:

A conversation about getting healthy for moms in particular when your family is in crisis. Brenda Zane tells her experience as a mother of a child with substance abuse and discusses the importance of self-care as she shares ideas to help cope and seek support.


                     Livestream broadcast

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The Woods Community – for dads of kids misusing substances and who struggle with mental health
The Stream Community – for moms of kids misusing substances and who struggle with mental health

Mike 0:00
Welcome. I’m Mike Ferguson. I’m the Executive Director of Sky’s the Limit Fund. And hey, if you joined us last month for Dr. Reedy’s talk, welcome back for here for the first time. Thank you so much for joining us. Our mission here at Sky’s the Limit Fund is helping to make wilderness therapy more accessible for youth and families in need. And we’ve helped over 740 families find the support that they need all with your help. About 90% of our funding comes from individual donors. So if you’d like to support our work, you can simply click the donate button right up here, or you can text STLF gifts to 41444. Now a core tenet of the work at Sky’s the Limit Fund is providing opportunities for the community to learn a bit more about the work around wilderness therapy. So our speaker series is born of this since we’re all at home for who knows how long, we have a pretty unique opportunity to gather and spend some time with some of our best experts in the field without really having to leave our house. So we’re joined today in conversation with Brenda Zane. And since the conversation, should you have any questions, feel free to put them in our chat and we will get to as many as we can. Today. Brenda is a family advocate, a parent coach, the host of the podcast hope stream, parenting, kids through drug use and addiction and the founder of an online community the stream for moms of kids with substance use disorder. You could find her at Brenda After going pretty much alone for five years while her oldest son struggled through his addiction. Brenda left corporate America to serve other families dealing with fear, confusion and helplessness parents usually feel when they have a kid who’s misusing drugs or alcohol. Brenda really focuses on getting and keeping parents healthy mentally, physically, spiritually, because healthier moms and dads are way better able to help their kids. She also speaks out publicly and honestly to try and reduce the stigma associated with addiction because parents who feel ashamed and stigmatized tend to delay or not look for help, which means kids suffer longer and families suffer longer. Brenda joins us today from her home in Seattle, Washington. Hey, thanks again for joining us, Brenda.

Brenda 2:09
Hello. Hey, Mike, good to see you.

Mike 2:11
Good to see you. Thank you for coming in. We’re excited to have you. And Brenda is one of our board members, that Sky’s the Limit Fund. So we’re very excited to have her here and join us.

Brenda 2:21
Thank you so much. It was a must commute to get here to this.

Mike 2:25
I know this is these are much easier than the conferences where you have to get on a plane and find a hotel. And that’s it. You know, it’s like, well, sorry, we had to make you come downstairs.

Brenda 2:35
I did have to come downstairs.

Mike 2:39
Exactly. Exactly. Well, good. Well, it’s great to see you. I’d love to hear a little bit, you know, touched on a little bit about your bio, but we’d love to hear a little bit more about your background and tell us a little bit about what you’ve what you do.

Brenda 2:53
Absolutely. Well, to expand a little bit on on what you said in the intro, I’m a veteran mom of having a child with substance use issues and really did struggle for, you know, five, six years, with a wonderful, very supportive family and friends, but not really having a group of people who understood what I was going through specifically. And so we are fortunately on the other side of his struggle, and he’s healthy and recovery. And so I really started thinking about what I could do to sort of give back I think I’m one of the very, most fortunate moms that ever probably has walked the earth to be able to have my son here after going through this. And so I have some really great hindsight and some really great learnings and I just thought how can I pass this on to all of the moms and dads who are struggling and so I just thought what would I have wanted when I was going through this and then I tried to create that and so that’s that’s what I do. So it’s it’s fairly fluid. But so far, I’ve come up with a podcast and a space online for for moms in particular to get together and just going with that and and trying to hold each other up.

Mike 4:19
That’s awesome. Awesome. Well, now a trick question. Why did you title this thought taking care of the mothership? I love this title. By the way, it’s one of my favorite titles of a talk.

Brenda 4:31
Yes. Well, the mothership I you know, I’m actually not into sci fi at all. So I don’t really know anything about that. But just the concept of this kind of hovering thing that really nourishes and feeds and gives life to all different sources. And that’s what moms really do and dads. I focus on moms because I’m a mom and I know what that feels like. And moms tend to have Have this umbilical relationship where we kind of have that hovering. And then when something goes wrong, we immediately go into fixing mode, or we go into solving mode, protecting mode. And so that just that title, taking care of the mothership, it’s so important because we when faced with stress and anxiety, especially when it’s something as serious as having a kiddo who’s dealing with substance use, we really sort of like walk away from the mothership, and we just leave her on her own. And it’s, you know, it’s just, it’s bad for everybody, when that happens. So that’s, that’s the reason for the name.

Mike 5:45
I always think, you know, when when you’re dealing with addiction, or substance use disorder, it’s kind of like we’re dealing with the shark that’s closest to the boat. And like, that’s where you are, which means you’re just dealing with that shark, but then there’s everybody else on the boat, right. And that’s the piece that I think we’re seeing in treatment is so much more important. So I love this, this is a big part of the reason. So now why have a community specifically focused on moms?

Brenda 6:10
Well, again, I’m a mom. So I know that experience, but I just, I learned through all of my years that without sort of a team around you, you feel this sense of isolation, that you’re the only one going through it, your kid is the worst out there. And it’s just a very isolating feeling. And so finding a place for moms to really focus on their health and wellness. So focusing lens on our kids, our kids, believe it or not have and some of you out there might not feel this way, but there are tons of resources for our kids, you have to know where to find them. But there are there are very few health focused resources for moms in particular, as we take on and I’m sure Mike, you have seen this with with sky’s the limit fund, moms tend to go into that sort of, I’m going to fix this mode. And they often take the lead in finding treatment, going through all of the hoops. And so mom gets exhausted, it’s just Mom’s not okay, and nobody’s taking care of her. And so my focus was really to say, let’s wrap all these resources around our kids. And let’s wrap some resources around mom too. Because if she’s down, everyone’s down. So that’s, that’s not a good scenario.

Mike 7:41
Definitely not. Definitely not. And I come from a family with a strong mom, who I know when we’re in crisis, everything is on her right. And that piece is challenging for every mom. And I think that the expectation societally is that you’re going to carry this burden for us. And without complaining, right. I think that’s societally, how it has been. It’s not the way it needs to be. But that’s sure seems like the way it’s been anyway.

Brenda 8:06
Definitely. And I think there’s an expectation that Mom’s gonna know what to do. And often we can figure it out, we’re pretty resourceful. This is something if you’re dealing with substance use emotional issues. Most of us unless we’ve been trained in psychotherapy, or for you know, somehow magically, this is our career, we don’t know anything about it. And so the expectation that mom’s going to take the lead, great, but how is she going to take the lead, she’s got to learn a lot of stuff. And it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of resources. And sometimes we lose ourselves in that and in our kids problems become our entire world. And they they really just consume every piece of us until we have either lost or gained a ton of weight. We are not sleeping, we can’t focus, we sort of have this brain fog, where we’re not really sure what we’re doing most of the time. We isolate, we don’t see our friends. And then you layer a pandemic. On top of that. We’ve seen COVID due to a group of of women in particular who are struggling so hard, not only with just just a pandemic, but that other epidemic that was going on prior to COVID. It’s it’s sometimes unbearable. And so my focus is to say, this is a place where you can come either the podcast or community and exhale, know that you can talk about anything and no one’s going to judge you. And just let mom sort of get refilled.

Mike 9:55
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. It’s it’s such an important piece I always say As a for in my previous role as a consultant, I always talked about, you know, the kids go off and get, you know, the kids go off and get 90 days, six months, two years of treatment, and parents get four days. And then we expect everybody on returning home things to go really smoothly. So I think the more the more we talk about this, and the the more we talk about, you know, what resources are available to parents, because it’s not like that the emotions that you’re feeling are being contained or going somewhere, if you’re not talking about them, they’re just sitting. And then it’s that peace of I’m just sitting with this constantly. That’s so challenging. Yeah,

Brenda 10:41
and also, you know, for the, for the both I know, in the audience, there’s there’s parents, and there’s probably also some treatment providers, I think one of the things that gets missed in all of this with substance use, and just the the drain that it takes on parents and moms is that when you are so consumed with this fear and anxiety, you can’t contribute to the world, all the things that you’re supposed to be contributing to the world. So if you’re an attorney, or you are a school principal, or bus driver, or an Amazon executive, or whatever it is, you’re not able to contribute your talents to the world. If if over here, your your entire world is falling apart, and you can’t sleep and you can’t eat and you can’t function. And so kind of if you go up to the 50,000 foot view of, of why I’m so passionate about this is to keep women in particular, able to give their talents to the world as they need to because the world’s missing out if you just think about how many millions of women in particular, are losing out on opportunities for themselves for their careers for contributing to their organization. It’s pretty staggering. So there’s there’s sort of a higher level, meaning behind it as well. Yeah.

Mike 12:09
Well, I think I was looking at reading something about our COVID-19. And like one in four women considering specifically dropping out of the workforce, because there is no net other than mom right now. And that’s really challenging. And that’s a lot of talent off the field, which is never great. Yeah, that’s Yeah. And it feels unnecessary. That’s, you know, that’s why we’re here talking about this stuff, right. So, now, when I know you talk to a lot of moms, what do you typically see when moms are going through the experience of having a child with substance use

Brenda 12:45
issues? Well, surprisingly, it’s fairly consistent. I think all of our kids have these kinds of unique scenarios of what they’re going through. But what I typically see, when I interact with a mom is she may be in the very early stage of, I just found this little bag of stuff in my son’s backpack, and I’m not totally sure what it is. And there’s sort of that looming anxiety all the way through to, you know, I have an adult 2627 year old child has been an active addiction and living on the streets for 10 years. So there’s quite a range. But the physical and emotional impact of that tends to be pretty similar. I would say the the number one thing is just complete anxiety, because you kind of go through every day wondering, when the phone rings, who is it going to be? Is it going to be your child? Is it going to be the police? Is it going to be a hospital, there’s just so so much anxiety that lives within you that can just cause all kinds of physical symptoms. So there’s that lack of sleep, just you know, poor nutrition. So I found either people are stressed eaters or stressing on eaters. So for me, I was stressing on eater, so I was walking around like a skeleton. And if you’re doing that, then, you know, your brain can’t function because you don’t have any food in your body, let alone water. And at the other end, people have said I’ve gained 100 pounds. So there’s, there’s just different ways that we cope with that level of anxiety. And there’s a huge amount of shame because our society still really has such a huge amount of stigma around addictions. If my son had had leukemia or diabetes, or a brain tumor cancer, you know, our neighborhood would have like hell to go fund me and they would have been helping me with my yard work in delivering casseroles and this is something where you just don’t talk about it. And so Even if you do need help, nobody knows that you need help, because you’re not talking about. So there’s that stigma and shame of I must be a bad parent, I must have done something wrong to make this happen. And so those are probably the most common things that I see.

Mike 15:16
Yeah. Right on. I mean, it’s all I think about just the conversations we have constantly with, you know, just about how, you know, we see all these kids struggling, and yet, we don’t talk about it. It’s just, it’s that quiet piece. And then if you talk to, you know, one out of every six people in the US struggles with mental health is and it’s 10. We don’t talk about so I’m, I’m very encouraged that a there’s this community for moms that you’ve established to create a safe space to talk about the stuff and be we’re talking about it now. And we’re putting it out in the public sphere. I think that’s a, it’s a huge deal. It’s just a big thing to, you know, normalize people struggling? I think that’s okay. You know, it’s just what do we do about it? And now we’re gonna get into the, you know, what are the biggest hurdles that moms face during this experience? Because that I think it ties into all of this right? stigma and shame.

Brenda 16:13
Yes. Yeah. As far as hurdles, I think one? Well, big one is shame. So the shame, and the stigma around this, I really do believe prevents parents and moms from just sort of immediately jumping into finding resources. Whereas if you, if your child was diagnosed with cancer today, you would be out, you know, getting all the resources that you could telling everybody you could, what is the latest treatment? What is the most you know, all of that, and this, you might go for a year or longer with a child who you know, in your gut, because you mom’s you know, you know, you’re gonna go for a long time. Oh, who do I talk to about this? Or do you call a pediatrician? Or do you call a psychologist? Or do you cut Like, who do you call and there’s, so that stigma can just hold that back in during that year, or even if it’s three months, with with the dangers of fentanyl, and we can talk about that. There’s not time anymore, you can’t ignore it. And so shame and stigma is definitely a hurdle. I think of it also is you kind of feel like you got dropped on Mars, and you don’t know the language, and you don’t know where anything is, and you don’t know how to get transportation around. And so when you sort of find yourself in this world of addiction, or substance use, it can feel like where am I? What What are they talking about? What acronyms are they using? You know, it’s just a whole new world that you have to get acclimated to, which is difficult. And there can be a lot of confusion, if you’re using Google, you are trying to figure out, where’s the treatment program? What is the right treatment program? Do I even need a treatment program and you start getting one 800 numbers flashed at you and you get, you know, email chains following up, it can just feel very invasive, you’re very vulnerable. And, and so learning how just to navigate the system can be a huge hurdle of trying to find the right resources for what you’re going through.

Mike 18:46
Completely, I always say, you know, the difficult part with finding treatment on Google is like, it’s the same thing of trying to find a movie on Netflix, there’s a lot of choice. And it’s not always vetted, you know, and the algorithms going to tell you what it’s going to tell you. It’s not going to necessarily tell you which program is good. So yeah, I think that for sure. There’s a there’s a huge piece of Okay, now what you know, so I’m yeah, the more communities we have that are able to support parents, they go through that decision. I mean, it’s, it can feel like an impossible decision. Right. And that that piece, I think, the more the more weight we can lift off parents by giving them space to have that conversation. Yeah, the better.

Brenda 19:27
Yeah, definitely. I mean, there’s, you know, I think there’s a language and an understanding. Addiction is so hard to understand, even if you study it, I think there’s not clear answers. And so, for parents who, you know, if you have no training in psychology, no information about this. It can just feel like this world that you know, you’re looking at this mountain and so Oh, I would say when you do find the right resources, they can be life saving. And also, pretty much people in this field want to help you, they really want to help you. And so really taking the time to vet the resources that are out there, and then really lean on them. I come from corporate America. So I’ve, I spent 25 plus years in corporate America, and in marketing and all of that, and it was kind of a dog eat dog world, it was like, you know, everybody is in there trying to get their own thing. And having now transitioned into this sort of realm of being in a helping profession, and working with all of the professionals like you, and everybody, it’s Sky’s the Limit Fund, all the therapeutic programs, if you really want to help, it’s amazing. So I can say that coming from a very fresh perspective in a different world, so lean into those people that are there to help you. And you know, with a with an ounce of caution, you have to make sure that you vetted your resources and done all that research, but can really be it can take some of that burden off to say, Okay, I’ve got this team around me. And that’s really something that I recommend, to moms and to parents in general is build your team. Just like if you were starting a marathon, you would have your trainer and you would have, you know, your nutritionist, and you would have all this whole team around you supporting you. And that is exactly what you need is to make sure that you’ve got all all sides covered. So that because it is a marathon, these things don’t usually correct themselves in a few weeks or a few months. And so making sure that you’re prepared for that journey is super important. Oh, yeah.

Mike 21:58
I remember in my, my treatment experience hearing, Oh, yeah. 28 days, and then that’s, that’s treatment right now. It’s like 20 years later. And you know, here we are. So I just laugh about that, all the time of remembering thinking that it will be this will be 30 days, no problem, no problem, and then continuing on it continuing on. It’s great. Because I think what you’re talking about gets into the important, you know, some of the important pieces about self care, and what does it look like in practice for parents? I’d love to hear more about your perspective on that.

Brenda 22:29
Yes, well, I have an email that I send out every week. And yesterday’s was about this, because I honestly had never heard the term self care, until I started seeing a therapist when my son was in treatment. And she said, Well, what are you doing for self care? And I looked at her like, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. What is that? So first of all, if you haven’t really heard of the concept of self care, don’t feel bad. But it’s really it is taking care of the mothership it is treating yourself like you would want to the person that you hire to solve this problem to treat themselves. So if you’re getting on an airplane, would you want your pilot to be short on sleep short on food, you know, brain fog, all of the things that we have, that’s not the pilot that you would want have in your plane, that’s not the person that you would want to hire to take care of your child, right. So making sure that you take the time for yourself. And the number one thing I hear from moms is, I’ll do that later. And right now I have to solve this crisis right now my son is I don’t know where he’s out somewhere or right now. You know, I’ve got to figure out who I’m going to have to transport him to wilderness therapy, or whatever it is. That is the time to do it. If that’s what you’re saying to yourself, that is the exact time and it doesn’t mean that you’re going to go out and get a pedicure, and manicure and a massage and you know all these things, it could literally be get in your closet, close the door. And breathe for about five minutes. Just breathe, grab a glass of water to take in there with you. And just spend the time to look inside yourself. Figure out what you need. You probably need some fresh air, you probably need some actual food. It’s very simple things like that. It could be calling a friend who gets it when you can talk to it could be petting your dog intentionally. It doesn’t have to be I think the media has made self care out to be this you know, thing that people with time and money do. That is not the case at all. And and really one of the best forms of self care is connecting with others. People, it’s very hard sometimes during a pandemic to do that, even if it is online, it can just be like, Ah, okay, I get it, I, I’m, I’m not alone, I’m not doing this alone. So it’s, it’s just, I have found in being a health and wellness coach, also that people know what they need. More often than not, I have yet to find anybody who says, I have no idea what makes me feel better. There’s usually one or two things that people know, I need to go do this, I need to walk my dog, or I need to get on a sailboat I need whatever it is, people typically know. And it’s those things that we forget about, especially if you’ve been isolated for a long time, whether it’s COVID, or your kid, or whatever it is, you know, both people will say, you know, I used to love to paint, and I don’t paint anymore, or I used to make bracelets, and I don’t do that anymore. So often, if you’re having a hard time with self care, it can just be spend a few minutes to think about what are the things that I used to do that I’m not doing anymore. And, and start there, and five minutes a day, you know, meditation is great, there’s great meditation apps, Insight Timer, and headspace and calm. And you can just take a minute. And again, it might be in your closet, and that’s okay. I’ve spent a lot of time in a walk in closet, just crying or trying to meditate or whatever it is. So, you know, just know that it’s okay. However, you have to make it happen.

Mike 26:52
I think about it is like, you know, same with a meditation practice. It’s just self care practice, it’s a practice. So you don’t have to do it perfectly. I remember the first time I sat down to meditate, and I made it like 40 seconds. And I was like, everything is too loud. I can hear the lawnmower outside. It’s all Baba. And you know, just takes practice. That’s all now now I can do 10 minutes. That’s my ADD limit. But that’s good for you know, for me, that’s progress. And acknowledging that, you know, this is practice, it’s not, I don’t ever have to win at this, and there’s no real way to win at it. It’s that I can really just look at what’s gonna work for me today to help them deal with whatever we’re dealing with. Right? And sometimes it can be a massage.

Brenda 27:35
Yes, I would recommend that. But it’s not always. The other thing about just the this self care and meditation in particular, which again, I had not heard of, or while I’d heard of, but I thought it was for weird people in India on some sort of a mat with incense. I was fairly uninformed. Let’s just put it that way. But I think what I have found the biggest benefit of getting quiet, especially when your life is in complete chaos, is that it lets you almost have sort of an out of body look at what’s going on. I used to call it the Dr. Phil view, where I would think if I was watching Dr. Phil and I saw myself on there, what would I think but now I’ve kind of moved into this more of a space where if you do just spend a few minutes, quote unquote, meditating, which really just means being really aware of what’s going on. You can get that view and look at your situation to say, okay, she is stressed out, like, really look at it from that out out of body perspective she needs to eat, she needs to go call a friend, she needs to get some resources, and try to pull yourself out and just look at that view to see what you need. Because we can get so wrapped up and so consumed and so frozen, sometimes just with that anxiety and the fear of what is going on in my life, that you lose, it’s the forest for the trees, like you lose that perspective. So sitting in the closet with your glass of water, you can look from the other perspective and see what she needs or what he needs. And then say okay, how am I going to do that? How am I going to get either resources for her and sometimes it sounds a little weird, but you can think of it that way. Like really look at her and think what does she need or what does he need to get through this? Because it’s a lot. It’s It’s overwhelming.

Mike 29:53
I think I mean, the power of taking a pause in chaos feels pretty good. acing, because it’s just that I mean, the way we’re wired Now, generally is just go go go. And then you throw in a kid with substance use disorder. And you’re like, Okay, I’m going with work and family, and I have crisis. And I have a pandemic. And and in the end, you can just keep stacking that up. And it makes it really easy to make the excuse of I just don’t have time to do this. Yes. And that’s why I think the, you know, why is self care so important in the process of helping a child with substance use disorder?

Brenda 30:35
Yeah, the I would say the other thing that I see we talked a little bit about, you know, what kind of, I guess, what’s the downside of, of not really taking care of yourself. And what I see and what I experienced, is there some pretty bad physical symptoms and things that can happen. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, I actually ended up with such bad pain in my legs that I could not walk around one city block. And every doctor I went to said, You’re the healthiest person we’ve ever saying, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re, you’re great, like no problem. And I’m thinking, I can’t walk. Most definitely wrong with me. And it wasn’t until I saw a neurologist who said, Yes, you are feeling pain, I’m not telling you that you are making this up, or that your pain is imagined, you are actually having pain, but it is caused by mental stress and anxiety. And I was not managing it. And I have heard from so many moms, all of the different random, physical, I get colds all the time, and I can’t get better. I have this weird pain in my shoulders and my neck, my back, you know, my knees hurt, or just this myriad of actual physical symptoms that are occurring because of the stress. And so again, that goes back to. And I really hope that employers start thinking about this more as what are we doing for this 20% of our population that is either going through it themselves, or they have kids who are going through it, and they’re missing work, they’re missing, you know, deadlines, their work is truly impacted because they can’t function. And so, you know, if you’re kind of looking at self care as like, should I or like, Do I really have time for that? Yes, you really do. Because your body will start to tell you when it’s maxed out, and it’s done. And so try to catch it before it gets there like?

Mike 32:56
Well, I’m just wondering, bring it if you want it to, you know, well, well, we have here, I know, it’s episode one of your podcast, which I would recommend hope stream, take them listen. But I’d love to hear a little bit of your story. And then we’ll open up we’ve got some questions in the channel. We’ll open that up. But I wanted to just want we have yet said, I would definitely recommend listening to the episode. It is very insightful. But I’d love to hear just your life take and maybe things have changed since you recorded that too. So

Brenda 33:21
yeah, that was actually a year ago, that I recorded that. So hope stream is the podcast that I host full disclosure, I was never ever intending on having a podcast. So I am in no way a professional at it. I just talk when I talk with people. So don’t get your hopes up if you’re like a professional podcast listener, but I really just tried to bring resources and information to parents. And then I do solo episodes where I it’s heart to heart, I just try to really connect parents who are in the thick of it. So the first episode I thought, well, I better sort of lay the groundwork for why I’m talking about this. And I had a I have a son, I had a son who was in a lot of trouble. probably similar to what many of you if your parents are listening 1314 messing around with marijuana and messing around with alcohol. His dad and I had been divorced for a couple of years. I thought everything was going pretty well with that because it was very amicable. Little did I know his world was really imploding on him and he went through a lot of different experiences and had a pretty big shift and friends and now that I look back, he literally could be the poster child for the kid who’s going to end up with substance use issues. Like he checked every single box. And I didn’t even know I didn’t even know that there was a poster right So he was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in between third and fourth grade, highly sensitive emotionally, but also from kind of a sensory standpoint. Sure, sights and sounds and tastes and just, you know, one of those highly gifted, and then losing his core group of friends that he’d grown up with. kind of pushed him out to a not so great group of friends. So you had this perfect, he had this perfect storm of parents got divorced, I’m losing my friends, he was a little bit less athletic than a lot of his friends who was hired are very artistic. So then there was that, and then you add in this really kind of cool group of bad guys, bad kids. It was just he loved the risk, and the, you know, the adventure and all of that, that went along with that group of people. And he ended up in in kind of a long set of years of high risk lifestyle, substance use, and went to wilderness therapy, which is why and how I sort of got connected with the sky’s the limit Fund, which is just the best, best thing I could ever imagine. So he did go to wilderness therapy, he went to residential treatment, detox, 30 day programs, sober living, kind of, we did the smorgasbord,

Mike 36:39
I was gonna say you got you did that you ordered the whole menu. Got it. Okay, we did everything.

Brenda 36:43
And then he experienced to fentanyl overdoses in the same week in 2017. And the second one, they said, Get your family here, you know, he was in the emergency room, he was on life support. And they said this, this doesn’t end well, you know, especially this was on a Friday, he had also overdosed on a Thursday on Wednesday, he had a horrible case of pneumonia. So he is the miracle child who pulled through that he had to re he basically had a stroke and a heart attack and all of his organs shut down. At the same time, the medics had to do CPR for 30 minutes, still couldn’t get a pulse. But they, you know, stuck a trach in him and got him to the hospital. And he lived. And so that’s why I do what I do today. Because I just think you can’t be handed a gift like that, and not do something with it. And today, he is healthy, he is living a whole new life. He’s on the Dean’s list at his community college, studying psychology so that he can work with kids who are struggling with this. So for the parents out there who are pulling their hair out and terrified, I know what that’s like, I know what it’s like to get the phone call about the overdose. I know what it’s like to get the phone call from the police, and the hospitals and the treatment centers, and you know, you name it, but you just cannot give up on these kids. If they’re alive. You cannot give up on them. And if they have tried treatment, and they’re now back relapsed, it’s okay, they learned something. And that’s going to add to their experience. Don’t think treatment failed, don’t think, you know, this is just a big waste. It all adds up. And so I have the, you know, the gift of seeing that, seeing the other side of that now. I wouldn’t have always said that. So I just tried to tell parents that because you need that hope. And I don’t think there’s enough stories of recovery out there. This was a kid who was doing bad stuff. And he was really harming his body. And that first episode tells that story. And I say it tells a slice of the story because I could never have included all all of the things. That’s fair.

Mike 39:36
Yeah, fair.

Brenda 39:37
So it’s the kind of G rated version of our story. But I think it’s important for people to hear that because they can recover and it can take a long time. So you just again, it’s a marathon and you’ve got to be prepared for a marathon and you can’t do that on an empty tank with some No food, no water, no shoes. Like, that doesn’t work.

Mike 40:05
Yeah, it doesn’t. Honestly, I was thinking about, you know, my, I feel very lucky that, you know, I think one of the things that as parents we try and do, I’m a parent of small kids. And the thing that’s most important to me is that my kids feel safe. And even if it’s about really uncomfortable stuff to talk about, and I think that’s the, you know, when you’re doing self care work, that’s actually what you can provide as a parent is when I know for me, when I take care of myself, I am way better at being able to contain and to provide a safe place for other people. It’s just the way it works. If I take care of if I put on my oxygen mask first, right, that’s the whole thing. Right? Right. And I

Brenda 40:47
think you know, if anybody was at last month’s talk with Dr. Reidy he talked about the shame factor. And I, you know, I have the gift of being able to talk with my son, and he has told me Oh, mama, it just, I hated it when I saw you. So sick, and so stressed out and crying all the time, because he said, I knew I was the reason that you were doing that. And so how did I resolve that? I went, and I took more Xanax, because then I didn’t have to feel it, it would just numb everything out. And so it becomes that cycle. And Dr. Ratey talked about that. And I just think it’s so important to understand. And he talked about, you know, you don’t have to be fake, but take that somewhere else, right. And that’s also, the really important part of a community is to be able to, to let your hair down and be frustrated, and, and all of that, but, but when we project that onto our kids, it just, it just feeds that spiral of shame. And then not that you’re making them use. But you know, it’s sort of like one more reason, I’m just gonna go numb that out. I mean, my mom stressed out, so I’m just gonna not feel it

Mike 42:08
completely, completely mine, I think, the power of community both on, you know, on the parental side, and also on the kids, I think about all the students I had as a as a consultant where I saved the literally word for word, the exact same thing that a parent said, and the student could hear it, because it wasn’t from a parent. So I think there is something to be said about, you know, we, we build a little balance, but if you can create, you know, the environment where if it’s an emergency, it’s not going to, it’s not going to blow everything up, right, like, that’s the, for me, that’s what self care does, is that when I get in an emergency, everything doesn’t explode. That’s really. So you know,

Brenda 42:46
there’s going to come that day when, and I experienced this when my son actually called me after a period of not talking for months. And he said, Ken, will you go to court with me, you know, I have this court hearing. And I’d really like to have you there with me. And I needed to be able to be there for him. And so there, there can be a lot of waiting time, but you want to be prepared, if you get that phone call. Yeah, if it’s three o’clock in the morning, if it’s three o’clock in the afternoon, whatever it is, if, if you get that call, whether it’s good news or bad news, to be able to process that in a healthy way, and to be there, especially if your kid reaches out for help. You want to be able to be 100% ready to step in. And, and so I think that that can also be a good motivator to, to do some of that self care and just think about all of the reasons not just that you’re doing it for yourself. But and I talk about this too, with with the moms I work with is there can be times when you are doing everything that you can for your child, you are holding boundaries, you are letting them feel natural consequences, you know, you’re doing everything that you can do. And there’s not a lot else you can do. You can take care of yourself like you taking care of you is part of your kids treatment plan. So if they’re in treatment right now, or if you’re trying to get them into treatment, part of that plan is you and so check that box every day, right? That’s it’s so important to make you part of that plan and dads too. I’m not just saying that this is moms but but think about it in that terms of have I contributed to my child’s treatment plan today. What am I going to do to do that?

Mike 44:51
Absolutely. So I’m gonna there are a bunch of questions here so if you don’t mind, I’m gonna I’ll put a couple up as banners. We can Talk about them and, and we’ll go from there. So if there’s something that feels like we’ve already answered, I’ll try and avoid it. Otherwise, we’ve got, we’ve got questions. If you want to put more questions in the chat, everybody feel free, we’ll get to as many as we can. And we’ll go from there. So here’s one that popped up, how do I share that I’m struggling with a child that has an addiction problem with the family, I’m afraid of being judged. Yeah, I would imagine you’ve probably heard that one once or twice. It’s so

Brenda 45:28
hard. It’s so hard. And I think the first thing I would say is, get comfortable with it yourself. So if you are feeling shame, or you are feeling for some reason, like you’re responsible for this, try to work with that first, until you’re really confident in yourself to say, I didn’t cause this, I didn’t make my child this way. So if you’re comfortable and confident in it, it’s going to be a lot easier to share that. And then also just think about, what if you know what if I had just gone to the doctor with my son or daughter and they were diagnosed with cancer, the first thing you would probably do is pick up the phone and call mom or call Dad or call you’re and kind of make it the same thing and just say, you know, we’re dealing with this thing. And it’s scary. And, you know, it takes a little bit of education on your part to be able to answer some of the questions. And what I might do before talking with whoever it is in your family is anticipate what some of their questions are going to be? Well, when did this start and just think about all of those things so that you can preempt any of the ones that might get uncomfortable? So really, get yourself comfortable with it. First, educate yourself so that you feel like you can answer questions, but also feel like it’s okay to say, I don’t know. I just don’t know, right. I don’t know how this happened. I don’t know. But we’re looking into it. I don’t know. But we’ve got a great therapist on our team, or I don’t know, but we think wilderness therapy might be the right solution. So I think it comes down to a lot of your own self confidence and sort of like bolstering yourself to be okay to say, here’s what it is. Here’s what it is. And we’re dealing with it. It’s just like any other disease, we’re dealing with it and I could really use your support. Sometimes we forget to say that right? We just were kind of anxious about it and feel weird. So we’re just sort of like we just blurt it out. And then it’s like, okay, let’s just move on. So if you can say, this is what it is, and I could really use your support. Sometimes that’s just what family needs to hear. Because it’s kind of a, it’s kind of uncomfortable on their part too. Because what do you say? Like somebody says they have cancer?

Mike 48:07
You can use a script for that. Right? Like, yeah,

Brenda 48:11
when someone says My kid is smoking Percocet. Unless that person has dealt with that before, it’s like, I don’t even know what Percocet is. And I wouldn’t know how you smoke it, right. So sometimes people can be their responses cannot feel supportive only because they don’t understand. So it takes it takes a little bit effort for us to educate them maybe. Or if you’re too tired, just say I’m exhausted, I don’t have the time to educate you on this. Go look it up, right. Because it’s just the reality of it. So yeah.

Mike 48:49
And by General, you know, my, my feeling with this is just choose your audience, there’s probably a member of your family who is more open to this conversation than others. And I think I know, in my experience, the the first time of disclosing something like substance use disorder or talking through that is the hardest part. Once you’ve talked about it, it becomes easier. So finding somebody who, you know, can you can trust with that, even if they’re gonna be like, Whoa, what you know, but if it’s someone who emotionally you feel close to, and safe enough with that piece, I feel, you know, it’s, again, it’s about communicating this and making sure that you’re as safe as you can be as you go through this. Yeah. Thanks, Brenda. So let’s see. We had another question here. I struggle with the feeling that I failed to prevent my teen from becoming an addict. How have you managed to keep from going down that rabbit hole and I’ll caveat and or have you gone down that rabbit hole and gotten out of it? So yes, put there?

Brenda 49:50
I have been I think I dug the rabbit hole. And then I think I dug the sister rabbit hole next to it. I think we all do that. I think you look into and and moms in particular are so talented at this. We can remember every word we said of every minute of every day of every interaction. Oh, it was it. That was it that wasn’t because I had some wine that night was you know. And first of all, that just takes a lot of energy that you don’t have. So don’t do it, don’t spend that energy. And then the other thing I would say is, and my therapist helped me with this is she said, you know, you have other kids. And so if you’re, if this is the only child, then I feel really badly for you. Because it can be hard to have perspective. I have other kids and she said, Are you going to take full credit for their awesomeness, and the fact that they’re doing so well, and they’re getting straight A’s, and they’re playing varsity sports and right, you can’t take credit for the bad without taking any, you know, without taking credit also for the good. And so, I mean, there’s probably 1000 research papers on this, just to say kids all deal with things in their own way. My kids went through our divorce my my divorce from their dad, same exact divorce, one went this way, one went that way, right, they have different ways. I think we can help them, like you said, Mike to let our kids know, it’s okay to talk about hard stuff. And I was terrible at that. So just making it okay to talk about heart issues and heart difficult feelings would have really helped. But to say that you caused it, or you could have prevented it is, I think it’s a little bit of what therapists are, you know, psychologists talk about magical thinking, and it’s just not productive in any way. It’s, it’s so destructive. And again, you have a limited battery. And that’s going to drain your battery really, really fast. So I would just sort of say, let it go and, and keep the focus on what can I do right now?

Mike 52:18
Totally. Well, I always say, you know, drugs, to me, drugs, alcohol, tend to be especially among teenagers tend to be a coping skill, right? Or it’s either experimentation or coping. And drugs work really well, they work really well to cope, and they work on immediately. And they require no work. So whenever somebody says, My kid is trying drugs, I’m like, Yes, that makes total sense. It’s more about having the conversation and really having the education about it, I think it’s more of the, you know, this is really about figuring out healthier coping skills, both for you as a parent and for your child to to allow them to experience something different. Because I do that is the thing, you know, it just happens that drugs happen pretty quickly. So and pretty effectively at times. Until that’s my my key phrase always, when talking to parents is drugs work really well until they don’t. And when they don’t, they really don’t. So that’s

Brenda 53:20
but you know, it’s so true what you said about, about just a better coping mechanism. And I think a lot of times what’s confusing for parents is it does start out as this experimentation because kids are curious, of course, they’re going to experiment and some do that, and then they move on. And it’s never an issue. And for some, it’s like, oh, this works. And this solves all of my problems. And so, in thinking about that, just to recognize, okay, we need to find some other coping skills. And the more that you can talk and be open and to, you know, I think a lot of times we try to figure out how could I say this or do this, and sometimes just the best way is just to say it, it’s like, Wow, dude, like, this is an interesting coping mechanism you just came up with here, pretty effective. Kind of illegal. So maybe we can find something else, you know, and just acknowledging it and, and I know that can sound kind of, well, that’s really easy to say when you’re sitting there on the other side of it. But the more open you can be about it, because these kids are so marked like these kids who get themselves in it’s such an interesting contrast because the kids at least from my experience in talking with so many parents, these kids are smart. They’re they’re smarter than the average bear and they get it and it’s like This works instantly. And it takes care of all the problems that I had. Why would I not do this because they can’t fast forward, right years down the road or a year down the road when that Xanax has fentanyl in it, and they’re in the hospital. So it’s kind of like that short term, immediate solve

Mike 55:24
completely, and helping them move, you know, move everybody away from that. The system is I think the goals, right effective treatment.

Brenda 55:33
And that’s actually the perfect full circle is, if they are seeing their mom and their dad, coping in healthy ways by sitting in the closet, meditating, or riding a bicycle, or just standing outside and breathing air. They are watching what you’re doing, again, you’re not causing if you’re coping unhealthy in an unhealthy way, you’re not causing that. But if they are looking at you, and the way that you deal with the stress mirrors what you want them to do, it’s going to be so much easier for them to say, Huh, my mom used to scream and yell and go crazy. And now she’s sitting in her closet with an app and have you know what I mean? Like, they notice these things. And so as you change your habits and your coping skills, and that’s why that self care so important. When they see you investing in yourself in a healthy way, they can go hmm. And it’s not going to be like, Oh, I’m gonna go sit in the closet to instead of using fentanyl, that’s not going to happen. But there’s going to be little signals to them to say, Okay, that’s interesting. My mom didn’t used to do that. Right. So it’s, it’s those daily decisions that can start to just tweak a little bit how they are looking at things.

Mike 57:05
Yeah, I say, Yeah, doesn’t have to be over an overwhelming huge change. Right. That’s the I think the, the big piece that can be little incremental changes, and you add up, you know, you have enough paper cuts, eventually, you’ve got a big cut. So I figure if you’re, well, I also look at like, you know, we go into the treatment experience. And it is like, as a parent saying, like, Hey, can you just play Moonlight Sonata on this grand piano over here, without any practice, we’re not going to tell you about it. It’s just we’re just going to shock you with a concert. But I bet if we gave you some resources, and somebody who could teach you the music, and you got to practice for like a year, you probably be pretty good at it. It’s just it takes time. And it takes permission, I think to fail at this stuff a little bit more. And to try and be emotional and struggle with it. I think that’s okay. It’s figuring out that language that works for you.

Brenda 57:57
Yes, that’s absolutely.

Mike 58:00
So there’s a I feel I feel very passionate about this in case you’re

Brenda 58:06
not for like seven hours talk. Exactly. Exactly. All right. I’m gonna

Mike 58:09
there’s a question here about my son doesn’t use me self harms, I sink myself worrying. And he’ll take self harm further, and have suggestions about how I can help myself from catastrophic thinking. There’s a second part says, right now he’s safe at a therapeutic boarding school, but he’s emotionally young, six, six foot man’s body. So

Brenda 58:28
isn’t that crazy? When you see these big kids in these big bodies? And then inside, they’re just a mess? That’s a great question. And a first of all, it sounds like whoever’s asking, has some maybe has gotten some therapy, because you’re talking about catastrophic thinking, which is really great to recognize a lot of people don’t even recognize they’re in that mode. So congratulations on that. I, I think when you’re in that situation, and again, you just have that nine anxiety about what’s going to happen or what’s going to happen after he’s done where he is. You really have to, for me, it’s it’s leaning on a higher power. So whether that Scott or whether that’s universe or source or Mother Nature, whatever it is, there are some of these things that are bigger than us. And so I have to recognize that that’s been a big part for me is to recognize that I am not in control. When he was five, I was in control. When he buys I am not in control or 18, or whatever it is, right. They are in control of themselves as much as they’re messing it up. So recognizing that I think is one big thing. And then also just recognizing that this is part of his journey, and this is part of of what’s making him up as a human being. And he has got some great resources. And where, where I think the catastrophic thinking gets really bad is when we keep everything about us. And we have to fix it and what’s going to happen, and it’s just sort of this, we internalize everything. So the more we can look around us and say, Okay, what’s real here real is he’s got some great help where he is right now real is I’m not alone. Real is, this is part of the bigger picture, you know. So sort of having more of an external view of it can help get out of that just, I mean, I can see this mom, if it’s a mom, just probably, you know, her physically like feeling like this because it is, it’s so hard. So breathe. Think about what’s real. Think about what’s really going on. And I also, I think, just starting, especially if he’s in a good place, right now, taking a little bit of time to help someone else, it can be so therapeutic, go hand out meals at a COVID, you know, food bank, or whatever walks, walk a neighbor’s dog or something, it’s, it’s easy to let this just totally consume you and eat away at you. So I think healing happens by addition. And so adding in some things to your life that take your mind off of that and give you perspective, can help with that. That sense of

Mike 1:01:48
that sense of I’m just sitting here waiting for the next shoe, right? Because that I think is the part that that is hard for everybody of getting out of that. And it is true, though, if you’re in service with somebody else, it’s really difficult to think about yourself. So another question here pops up? How do you find the balance of assertiveness and kindness while setting boundaries with your son?

Brenda 1:02:13
Yes. Well, here’s another, here’s another if I love this audience, so boundaries, I didn’t know what a boundary was, I was like, What are you talking? So really, super educated group. I love it. You know, the way that I think about boundaries now is much healthier. And the way I sort of have the right balances to think about it not with my son, I think about how would I hold this or set this boundary with anybody? How would I set this with somebody that I work with, or a cousin or an uncle. So if if you’re saying, I don’t want anybody smoking weed in my house, that means anybody, not just my son. So you don’t get to do it, nor does anybody else. Right. So it’s, it’s what you can live with. And you can always say it with a smile on your face. And you can say, good news is, you can do whatever you’re going to do, because I can’t stop you if you’re 1819, or whatever. Can’t do it here. So I think there are ways and again, that goes back to you have to be in a healthy state, to be able to use the right tone of voice to be able to have the presence of mind, just decide what your boundary is going to be and how you’re going to hold it. So if you are frazzled, and no sleep, and you know, all of that, you’re just gonna scream, you know, you can’t smoke weed in my house. Well, you know, whereas if you are a little bit more put together, you can, you can say that you can say, Nobody gets to smoke weed in my house, that includes my children. That includes my husband, that includes my parents, my, whoever your boundary is for you, not for them. It’s for you. So you get to decide, and then it makes it a lot easier to communicate because it’s like, this is for me, you get to do what you want to do.

Mike 1:04:31
I think that the giving yourself permission to say, this is okay. And this isn’t, is a big deal. And it’s also you know, I would imagine that I think for me as a white guy who is entitled and bratty. That’s a pretty comp like that, to me feels like a done deal. I can do that. And I could see that not being the case for folks. Not in my position, right.

Brenda 1:04:56
Yeah. And I think it’s hard for parents Again, from a mom’s perspective, there’s something also about a son or a daughter who’s in active addiction, or even just experimentation, especially for single moms, I just want to give a shout out to the single moms. When your kid is like the last question six foot six, and you’re a single mom, you’re doing this all by yourself. There’s an intimidation factor that happens that I don’t think people talk about a lot, whether it’s a daughter, your daughter could be 95 pounds and, you know, shorter than you but there’s, they somehow become really big and scary and manipulative, and, and you’re like, What is going on with me? I’m a grown adult, how come? I don’t know how to deal with this? And they push you not push you around physically? I mean, hopefully not. But they manipulate and they scare you. And it’s in you don’t want to say no, because you don’t want to deal with what’s going to come after that. And so it is really hard. Which is why I think you really have to make sure that your boundary is about you. And they know that it’s about you, you not them. And and communicated that way, with a smile, if you can, and a presence of mind that you can hold your ground, if they if they and they will at first come back with that manipulation and that gaslighting where you literally think you’re crazy. You can’t you can’t control that if you aren’t semi healthy and semi taken care of.

Mike 1:06:47
Yeah. Makes sense. It makes sense. I mean, I think there is that piece of if we’re not being mindful, then we’re just kind of just spraying out whatever trauma we’re in at everybody else. Right. And I think if you’re living with active addiction, you’re sitting in trauma pretty constantly. And that’s, that is a tough piece. Let’s see, we’ve got another question here. Related for some reason, I think if I worry enough about the worst case scenario, I’ll be prepared for it. So I worry constantly, how can I reframe this? I could have written this question. Thank you to whoever wrote this.

Brenda 1:07:28
Oh, yes, again, we, you know, I talked about this a couple weeks ago, where I think I could have won an Emmy for the incredible things that happened to my son, that had never happened. But I, you know, I went down there and went down to the worst case scenario. Again, it goes back to what’s real. And sometimes we start fast forwarding the movie, right? We like put the movie on fast forward. And what we don’t realize is sometimes that movie, it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure. Like, oh, actually, I took the movie this way. But there was another path over here. And I didn’t see that path. And so we get, you know, so caught up in the story that we’ve created, that we don’t realize that it might actually go a different direction. And what’s hard about that, parents is that that other direction might be jail, or that other direction might be a hospital. And so when we make the story, we leave out the hospital in the jail and right, we like, Okay, we’re gonna go this way. And I will tell you that my son had to have his biggest kind of epiphanies about life, waking up in a jail cell and waking up in the hospital. And do you want your story to go there? No. But if we try to solve every problem down the road, and prepare ourselves for it, we can still get knocked off, of course, right, we can still end up with, like, Well, wait a minute, this wasn’t in my story. How could this happen? And so again, it’s it’s just that energy on your limited battery. You don’t have battery life for that just you just don’t you need your battery life, to learn some parenting skills and to learn some self care skills, and to spend the time online that you need to do the research to make sure that the therapist is licensed and right like those are the things that you need to spend your time and your energy doing. It’s going to happen whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. You’re not going to change to that by mentally writing a story for your son or daughter. And again, it might go in a different direction. And that direction might look terrible. I mean, when I’m looking at my son in the hospital with on a ventilator, with like, nothing, I would have not written that into the story. I can guarantee you that not been in my worst case scenario. So, yeah,

Mike 1:10:32
everything that you plan for and then it’s still like, Oh, and there’s more. Okay, great. So I think there was a study that I read, I’ll have to, I’ll have to find it that said, you know, if you worry about the worst case scenario, and experience that worst case scenario, you’re just going through the same thing twice. You don’t actually need to do that. You’ll feel that way. When you go through it. You don’t need to do you don’t need to have that emotional experience twice. That’s so I thought that was interesting.

Brenda 1:10:58
Totally true. And I guess I, you know, I mentioned that the story could go worse, it could also go better. Totally, definitely could go better than you thought was gonna go.

Mike 1:11:09
And I think taking the space to have some hope about this is a good thing to project out. What happens if this goes really well, I think there’s, there is some comfort in that. Absolutely.

Brenda 1:11:20
Absolutely. I mean, when I show up at the wilderness therapy week, parent weekend, and my kid who is a nightmare is like, tying knots for my little campsite and making me gluten free spaghetti. I was like, how did this happen? So it doesn’t always go worse. It can also go better. And then that’s a beautiful, beautiful experience. It is.

Mike 1:11:49
So they’re on there are a couple of questions in here about kind of like transition bringing the student home after treatment. I’d love to just sharing a little bit about because you did the the joy of our experiences Brendan’s we can talk about a myriad of treatment options that we’ve experienced. So I’d love to. So I think the the question that came up first was we want our son to come home after wilderness, but the online school experience will work for him transitioning to therapeutic boarding might be right for a few months until the beginning of fall. But I think generally just a little more talk about what your experiences were kind of post treatment or post wilderness and maybe what worked and what didn’t?

Brenda 1:12:27
Definitely, oh, I just, I can’t imagine. I mean, if I had to layer COVID, on top of what we went through, I can’t even fathom so just huge props to all of you that are going through this right now. I just, it’s unimaginable. So I also wanted to bring our son home after wilderness of it’s kind of funny, you know, it’s it’s like he was causing so much chaos in our lives and so much trauma for me. And my biggest concern was Why can’t send them to wilderness in December, it’s gonna be really cold. You know, it’s like, what?

Mike 1:13:07
So it’s not, you know, it’s rational, but not rational. I get it

Brenda 1:13:13
this month, but I’m worried about him. So, you know, after you’ve done his nine weeks, I was like, Oh, but I really want him to come home because you kind of you have that, like he’s doing so well. And he’s building fires, and he’s making me spaghetti. And every specialist and every professional that we worked with said that is not a good idea. In particular for him. That doesn’t mean that that’s every kid. This is just my experience. My son was addicted to a high risk lifestyle. He loved that he loved all of everything about it. And so they knew that nine weeks was not going to remove that from his DNA. So it killed us, Mike, myself and his dad to have to make that transition straight from wilderness literally the same day. That therapeutic boarding school went and picked them up. They had a cup, and here’s great thing. They know how to do this. And they know how to do it. Well, they had the coolest of the guys in the house, go pick him up, stopped at Applebee’s dude, or steak or whatever you want. Right? And he’s just like, I get to order food. Like I get the post wilderness meal. That’s the Yeah, know how to do this. This is what they do. And so it you know, I couldn’t have imagined it being a good situation and it turned out to be fine. And so again, focus group of one I haven’t seen a ton of kids be able to just have that wilderness experience and and get plot All right back into their high school, their online school right now, their neighborhood, you know, just all of the stuff is there. And again, work with your therapist and your, your your school. Don’t listen to me on that. But that’s my experience is that it’s really hard for those kids. And sometimes I think we, we make decisions based off of what we want. Because we want our kids to be home, we want to, we want to believe that this is going to it was a blip. And now things are good. Listen to what they’re telling you. They know. Now my son went to therapeutic boarding school and ran away. So I just want to be open about that as well. So talk about devastation. We just went through this, right, this whole experience, and he came home on a home visit and ran away. So that can happen. I think parents need to know that it’s a bumpy journey. It just is a bumpy journey. And you just have to be ready for it. And and know that the people you’re working with, see this over and over and over and over. So while this is all brand new to you, and you have feelings, and you think that you might know, I would just encourage you to listen to what they’re saying. Because most of them I mean, Mike, I don’t know how long you were a consultant, longtime gapes 1000s of times. And so just by the statistics, I think that can tell you a lot versus your own emotions of one experience.

Mike 1:16:47
Completely, completely. So here’s a question about resources allanon or swasta been a part of you and your son’s recovery? If yes, what when was it most impactful? If no, what experiences have helped here? So what resources have you access that have been helpful to you, Brenda? Yeah,

Brenda 1:17:07
specifically, Al Anon, I did go to Al Anon my mother, who might be listening. If she is thank you for encouraging me, I think she probably talked to me about Al Anon for I don’t know, a year. And it wasn’t that I had anything against Al Anon. I just, I couldn’t process one more thing. I couldn’t figure out how to look up a meeting. I mean, it was literally like the logistics of it, to me just seems so overwhelming. So maybe now that they’re online, that’s a good thing.

Mike 1:17:36
But barrier to entry. No parking,

Brenda 1:17:40
here have to drive.

Mike 1:17:43
turn your camera off if you want anyway.

Brenda 1:17:45
I do think that’s a benefit, actually. But it was helpful to me at a certain point, I remember I went to my first Al Anon meeting on the day that I had to kick my son out of the house. It was about a week before his 18th birthday. And he that’s a whole nother show. But I remember walking in and I told the lady that I you know, I had to kick my son out today. And she didn’t freak out. She was like, I’m sorry, would you like some coffee? And I was like, okay, that’s so weird. Normally, if I said that to anyone else, they would be just panicking and freaking out and asking me a million questions. And so I thought, Whoa, this is cool. I could talk about stuff here. So that was great. Ultimately, I didn’t go long term, that it gave me what I needed when I needed it. And for sure. So that was super helpful just to know, I wasn’t alone. And that’s where I first remember hearing, this is going to be a long process. And I just needed to hear that from somebody who had been there. Because I really thought he’s gonna go to wilderness therapy, he’s maybe going to go a couple months at this cool place, and Utah, and then he’s gonna be back and get back into high school. And here we go. So, so I think just having that perspective, was really, really helpful and other experiences helpful in my recovery. Just being able to serve other moms, I think is for me, because it is even though my son is almost four years now in recovery and doing so well. You still worry. You know, when he texts me and says, can you talk, right? Four years later, I still get a panic. And so this just continuing to be around other parents and and working with other parents and serving them to just to help them be a little bit more prepared than I was, is is a big part of my my recovery.

Mike 1:20:11
That’s awesome. And self care, very important. So speaking of self care, we’re getting towards we have about 10 minutes left. So we’re getting towards the end of our questions. But here’s one that I thought was appropriate while we’re talking about self care, focusing on self care, feels like putting my head in the sand and also looks that way to other family members. Like I’m not doing enough. How can I balance that?

Brenda 1:20:34
Yes. Good questions. One thing I would say is, don’t worry about them. They’re not going through your family members, they’re not going through it. And then the other I think you balance that by telling them, give them the oxygen mask example. Ask them, Mom, if you’re getting on a plane, would you want your pilot to be sleep deprived? Nourishment deprived, anxiety ridden? Like, like, if you’re in bad shape right now say, Would you want the pilot to look like me? Right? I think sometimes, they think, you know, the self care is just self indulgent. And she’s only thinking about herself. And I guess the way you practice your self care matters. So it could look like that if you’re jetting off to spas, or whatever, every weekend? I don’t know. That’d be amazing. But so I guess you’ve been conscious about how you practice your self care and maybe telling those those people why you’re doing it. So why Mom, why do you go in the closet every morning for 10 minutes, that looks kind of weird. And I’m nourishing myself, right, I’m taking care of my brain, I’m, I’m doing all of these things. But only do that to the point that it’s helpful. And if they don’t get it, they don’t get it and just move on, you know, you can’t, the best way for them to understand is to see you healthy. So if they don’t get it, and you don’t have the time or the energy to explain it, just keep doing it. And the healthier you get, they’re gonna see, oh, something’s different about her or him, right? So you got to balance sort of the battery that you’ve got, and you have enough charge in your battery, to spend time explaining to other people why you need to take care of yourself. And the other thing, if it’s siblings, if it’s other people in the family who are thinking like you’re putting your head in the sand, invite them to do it with you, right? Go on, let’s go on a walk. How do we feel we get back, oh, my gosh, we feel like a different person. Learn some yoga with me, let’s go look weird on a mat together. So I think there’s ways that you can pull people in, but the biggest kind of proof is going to be in how you’re so much more calm, centered, able to deal with what you’re going through.

Mike 1:23:12
The other part is, you know how how you deal with the crisis in your life is up to you. It’s not up to your family members, it’s up to your friends. And you know, different people cope with different things differently. I think as long as it’s healthy, you know, that’s what self care looks like. So cool. Um, let’s see. We’ll do one quick one. Well, theoretically quick, and then we’ll wrap up here. So your story seems as though you did everything you could to get your son help and save him and yet he’s still battled with addiction. What advice for parents? Can you give that are dealing that are doing everything that they can? Yeah,

Brenda 1:23:44
you’re absolutely right. I mean, I I don’t know what else we could have done. Really, you know, we, we always told him. We’re here for you, we love you. We’ll do anything we can if you want help, we will give you help. And so you do get to that point where you’re like, what else can I do? And I think that maintaining the relationship with them, no matter what that looks like. So we got to a point where you know, my son couldn’t live with us anymore. We would often go weeks without hearing from him. His phone, of course, never worked. And if we’d hadn’t sold it, to buy drugs. But I always said, you know, let’s get together for breakfast. Let’s get together. I’ll take you grocery shopping. Some people might call the grocery shopping enabling to me and to him, that was a way for us to stay connected. And I knew it was food and not you know, something else. And so the role though with us in that time was we could not talk about drugs or addiction. So we would go to I up, and he would have chocolate chip pancakes, he still loves chocolate chip pancakes. And we would talk about anything other than drugs, addiction, substance use jail, whatever, whatever it was going on at the time. Well, sometimes those were really quiet breakfasts. Because there wasn’t a lot to talk about, because that was his whole world. So I would just say, keep the connection, however you can without making it easier for them to use, or to stay in that lifestyle. And take care of yourself. Again, you are part of that treatment plan. So ask yourself every day okay, am I holding boundaries? am I letting him or her feel natural consequences? Am I taking care of the mothership or the father ship? Like what have I done for that hovering thing? So that it’s in good shape when when somebody comes to it? So it’s so hard? I know.

Mike 1:26:05
I think you said you, there’s one part that I want that I was pulling out where you said, you know, well, I bought some groceries and it’s not a you know, some people might see it as enabling I’m my general feeling is we can set boundaries to limit we’re comfortable with. And if you’re setting a boundary, as long as you’re able to hold it awesome. If grocery shopping is grocery shopping, and that’s your time. That’s your time. Like that, to me makes a lot of sense. And I think you know, really, with boundaries. The biggest thing is, if you say it, you got to stick it because your kid will test it. 100% So, we’re getting to the end of our talk. I want to thank you so much for coming and doing this with us. Brenda, this has been awesome. I would love to hear Can you tell everybody where to find you and find your stuff?

Brenda 1:26:50
Yeah, it’s just my name, Brenda And we happen to have it loaded up right here. Perfect. I wish that happened everywhere I went, I know.

Mike 1:27:01
We’ll work on that we’ll work on and then podcast is called Hope stream that’s available everywhere, right on any any platform.

Brenda 1:27:10
Anywhere you get your podcasts and it’s all there on my website. So you can you can get to, you know, articles, the podcast, the community, everything is right there. So try to keep it simple because I know everybody’s in a frame of mind. frazzled, and don’t make me remember anything so

Mike 1:27:30
awesome. That’s fantastic. Well, thank you again, for participating. And for everybody out there. We hope to see you on April 8 for Tracy Hopkins, who’s going to do a talk about belonging and wilderness. And just a reminder, we did record this talk, you will get a link to it in our follow up email here shortly. Everybody have a great rest of your day and rest of your week. We’ll talk to you soon. Brenda thank you so much again, you think Take care everybody



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