Hurting and Healing

Intro by Amy Olseth:

Susan has incredible insight into the delicate balance of loving our kids and enabling dangerous behavior. Susan's journey is one I've heard many times as I work with a family planning an intervention for young adult children. One of the most difficult and important parts of my job is getting the parents to commit and follow through on boundaries. As a mom, I empathize with wanting to keep our kids safe. Asking a parent to cut off the money supply, change the locks, or block their kid's phone number, are not things I take lightly. It is not always necessary to draw such hard lines, and I do try a compromise of loving support and healthy limits. What I have to remind many parents is that 'their way' is not working. Depending on severity of use and illness, it is often best to remove parents from the dynamic for the benefit of all involved.

"What if they die on the street because I locked them out?" they ask.

"What if they die on your couch from the heroin you purchased?" I say.

Once an Interventionist is needed, it's because parental love and support is no longer stronger than the substance of abuse. It takes incredible courage to let go in order to potentially save their life. There is never a guarantee that an Intervention or Treatment Plan will work. At some point, it becomes the best option in a very dismal situation.

As my focus is directly on getting the client appropriate and individualized treatment, I cannot get sucked in to the chaos within in the family unit. I always offer referrals for loved ones so they can begin their own INDEPENDENT healing journey. When the loved ones take accountability for their own actions and outcomes, they are better able to promote a stable environment once family is reunited. If the outcome is not as we all hope, the family has already begun to understand themselves as separate from the substance use of their child.

In the pre-intervention phase, I work with select family members to provide education and guidance to facilitate a successful Intervention. Once the client accepts a treatment plan, it is important that the family continues their own work. That is not my specialty, so I have a variety of referral options. One such option is Susan DuBois of Serenity Family Recovery. Not only a mom who has lived experience, but she's an experienced coach completing her ICF life coaching certification. She offers a self study course as well as an online live class series. Susan is positioned to work with the family for long term support and success. Here is part of Susan's story. Thank you, Susan, for sharing and the work you do with families.

Loving an addict means living through someone’s death a thousand times.

by Susan Dubois

The pedal of the car was pushed to the floor as I instinctively made the turns in the city streets. The steering wheel seemed to turn by itself as I was unable to keep the vehicle from reaching its destination. I felt myself slam the car into park and hustle to the door with a determination that can only be described as a lioness hunting the pack of hyenas who hurt her cub.

Looking back, it was though I had become someone else. I banged on the door of what I had labeled “the trap house”. The door was opened by a familiar face, one that seemed as shocked as I was by the wild look in my eyes. I demanded to see the dealer “NOW!”. I was met with stammering, stuttering and finally an answer of “She’s not here”.

The fire in my heart and the fury in my mind grew as I growled the words “They almost died”. The face stared back at me with sadness and defensiveness. She stated matter of factly “She was here all night with me and your child hasn’t been here”.

This explanation only made the madness inside me grow to the point where I thought I was capable of sitting in prison for a very long time. I responded with the calmness of a psychopath, “If anything happens to my child, I will make it my life’s mission to hire the best private investigator money can buy. I will hunt her down and make sure she pays for the rest of her life”.

I was the mother who was terrified after seeing her child blue and being revived by the paramedics. I was the mother who received a frantic call at 1138pm on a Monday night saying “COME NOW!”. That night, I was the mother who was certain, given the opportunity, I would have plowed someone else’s child with my car to save my own.

It was only one of the many instances, over the years, that I completely lost my mind. I cannot count how many times I put my own life in danger. I texted dealers, I stalked houses, I kept names and dates. I took pictures of license plates and installed security cameras. I even once spoke to a company who would bring drug dogs to your home to find the hidden stashes.

Those of you who haven’t watched your loved one dying, in front of your eyes, may not understand. If you are one of the blessed, take a moment to thank God or whoever your higher power may be, for that privilege. For those of you who have been to the brink of insanity, my heart goes out to you.

It took me a long time to understand, my brain was as sick as my child’s. It almost broke me to realize, I could not save this young adult whom I had carried, nursed, supported, taught and loved all those years. I sat in a chair, in a catatonic state, for three days. Then I realized, I needed help as badly as they did.

Saving my child was my addiction. Let me say that again, SAVING MY CHILD WAS MY ADDICTION.

If you or someone you know are in a similar situation, I would love to talk to you. I would be happy to share some of the things that helped me get to a place of peace.

Serenity Family Recovery was founded to help parents get the education and support they need regain their sanity while helping their loved ones in their journey. We offer services which include a year of evidence based practices and individual family recovery coaching to help you apply what you are learning to your specific circumstance.

You can reach me through linkedIn messaging, facebook or instagram by searching for Serenity Family Recovery. You can also send an email to or through my website

In case you are not quite ready to reach out, you can follow me on any of the above platforms to read blogs and posts about addiction, recovery and hope for healing.

To all my family warriors- Healing your family is possible. Honoring yourself while helping your loved ones is attainable. You are not alone.

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