Welcome to a deeply personal episode, featuring best-selling author and podcast host, Laura Cathcart Robbins.

Her memoir, Stash, My Life In Hiding, is a testament to her resilience and authenticity. As a champion for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a TEDx speaker, Laura's voice is a beacon of courage and wisdom.

In this episode, we dive into her struggles with addiction, exploring how privilege could not shield her from the grips of Ambien and alcohol.

Her journey of recovery is a poignant narrative of hustling, resourcefulness, and allowing loved ones their own journey. Her commitment to choosing authenticity and joy is a testament to her transformative path to hope and healing.

This is a must listen episode for anyone seeking permission to go the distance.

Watch The Interview on Video

Have you ever found yourself trying to be somebody that you're not? And the mask just gets too heavy for you to carry anymore, and it crumbles. Welcome to a deeply personal episode featuring best selling author and podcast host, Laura Cathcart Robbins.

 Addiction hijacked her brain and became her only salvation. And in this episode, Laura courageously shares her life, completely imploding, and how privilege could not shield her from the grips of her destructive relationship with Ambien and alcohol. Her journey of recovery is a testament to the human spirit. 

Welcome, Laura. 

Well, first of all, thank you, thank you for having me on. And thank you for saying I had a big life in a short period of time, that makes me sound really young. So I like that. So my story, the story that I tell in Stash My Life in Hiding about a 10 month period during the year 2008. And when I drop you into the story, and I almost do that literally not literally I'm not picking somebody up. But the way that I write the story is active first person. So I don't ever pop out and give you perspective, I don't give you a setup for what's about to happen, I drop you into a scene, which was a really painful scene for me because I had just asked for a divorce. 

How the book, Stash My Life in Hiding Came About

And at the time, I'll tell you what my life looked like. It was pretty fancy. My ex husband is a director. So we had this Hollywood Life. And anything that you can imagine that you've ever seen in People magazine, or whatever that might go with that life is what it looked like. There were nannies and housekeepers, and drivers and private jets and private schools, and I have two sons, they were young at the time. And I was in so much pain at the point that I dropped you into the book. 

Looking back now I can see that I was in pain because of my addiction. But that wasn't quite clear to me. At the time, I thought that perhaps who I needed to be in order to show up for my marriage the way I thought I was expected to. I thought that was the problem. And that I wouldn't need the pills and the alcohol if I didn't have to show up that way. So my best reasoning was to ask for a divorce because that seemed really logical to me. 

And so during this time, the book opens with me asking for a divorce, it ends with the mediation of that divorce 10 months later. And it's broken into three parts. The first part is the part where I told you about you, I'm in the midst of I'm in the throes of this addiction. I'm in this marriage. Shortly afterwards, I'm asked to become the PTA president at this very elite, private school. And I'm asked to join the board of this school. So I called my book, Stash My Life in Hiding for a couple of reasons. 

One, I had stashes all over my house of booze and drugs. But I'd also stashed away pieces of myself in order to survive. And so I thought that was a really important thing to have as the very title of the book. And I was very good at hiding. The reason I brought up that I was asked to be PTA president and asked to join the board is that nobody knew what I was dealing with. So I was quite crafty and strategic about scheduling my detoxes and withdrawals, so that I was not needing to be in front of anybody when those things were happening, 

I would count ahead to see okay, I'm going to run out on this date. So those two days I can't make any appointments because I can't be seen, but then I'll have a refill on this date. So then I can see people after that because I'll be okay, for the next six or seven days and even down to the chemistry of the cocktails that I was making, which was like a little pill, a little Benadryl, a little booze and whatever I needed, just the right amount. to not make me sloppy, or slurring, or to appear intoxicated. But enough so that I could not be in withdrawal when I talk to people, so it was a hustle. It was incredibly hard work. And I teach memoir writing. And I tell people that the thread of this book is my love for my children and my fight for them, which is why I got sober in the second act of the book.

The number one hustle, most people that I've talked to including my son, super brilliant, to be able to hustle like this and do what you just described. There's a brilliance that goes with that, and resourcefulness. And I think those two things get very much missed in the conversation of addiction.

  Yeah, I think probably the most resourceful people I know are addicts. 

Because we've had to be in order to survive. It is a gift in a way, but it's a gift that's not used for good reasons. I can't think of the other side.  But the hustle if one is to survive as an addict, and whatever environment one's in, is real. 

And I had a life that everybody, not everybody, but a lot of people envied. And a life that I felt should have protected me from the pain of all this. There's a lot of shoulds and yet here I was taking really honestly at the end up to 10 Ambien a day, which is the pill that I was addicted to and washing it down with booze. 

And for anyone who's listening, those are lethal dosages, one should never get anywhere near that many pills of any kind a day, right? And let alone mix it with alcohol and or Benadryl when I needed it. So that's where I was, my mind wassaying survival. But that's what it felt like I was just in survival mode.

Oh, absolutely. And it very much feels like the way that I think about it is you're almost hijacked. And you're captive to your disease.

 Absolutely. And I describe that, actually. Because I'm writing this book. And the book itself is a really interesting journey. When I got sober in 2008. I looked for a book because books are how I've always navigated life.  I've never navigated life through other people's experiences. I read about it, then I seek out something different , so I looked for a book written by someone who looked like me, that was going through what I was going through, and I just didn't find any that literally looked like me. Like, they didn't have to be the same shade of brown and the same kind of curly hair. I wanted to buy a woman of color, right? And there were none on the shelves and 2008. And so that was startling to me. I got sober anyway, I did read books, a lot of great books to help me navigate that. And then in 20, when I was about 12 years sober. I can't do math.

So that would have been 2020.

Yeah, 2020. I was doing book proposals. And I went looking for comps, or the book that I was proposing. I couldn't find anything written by a person of color. That was current, right? And so that's another reason why I really pushed this book through. But what I was going to say was, the book was actually sold at auction, which was a really heavy experience, which meant that there were five publishing houses bidding against each other for it. And I went with Atria at Simon and Schuster, because of the editor, who was a woman of color, but who also really just got the book. But what neither she or my agent got, and this is what I was getting to was when you're talking about feeling hijacked. They just didn't understand the motive for me doing certain things in the book, like why would you sneak all your drugs with you into rehab? Why would anybody do that? And I was like, I was an addict, but they didn't get it. So I had to explain it in the book. For people who really didn't understand addiction. And I don't like to write. I don't like to explain when I'm writing. I don't like to, as an aside, tell you what's going on. But I need to. And one of the things that I wrote about was how this was in a very real way. It was my master. And I say as a black person, I especially don't use that word lightly. It's had absolute control of me.

Well, I remember one of the rehabs that Sam was in, which he did like 12. I went to the front desk and I said, What do you recommend? I was one I would always ask, what do you recommend I read, what do you recommend video wise, so on and so forth. And one of the videos was Pleasure Unwoven, which is an addict’s personal journey, and it's by a doctor. And so I watched that video and the way that he described it, and I've since heard a number of doctors talk about it now, is that addiction takes the number one position in our brains relative to our survival.


I'm actually getting ready to do a TED talk too. And one of the things I'm going to talk about is the fact that okay, so you're addicted to fentanyl? It's the only thing that's occupying your brain, because in order for you to survive, you have to get the next hit, huh. So you are hijacked. And it is your entire day. So I didn't know that until I saw that video.

It's a really good example. And it's so true. And it makes it very clear for people who think there's a choice involved. Because for me, there wasn't. If there was choice, I would have chosen my children 100 times, a million times over. Right?  

And I tell this story about a hawk that was found on the floor of this forest after a forest fire, still a smoldering forest. The Rangers are there cleaning up trying to see what animals can be saved. And they find this petrified female Hawk; she's dead. Her wings are spread open on the forest floor. She's laying there flat. And this guy, he is somebody I know. He lifted her up really gingerly, like his breath caught in his throat. And he's like, Oh, my goodness. And behind her are three live baby foxes. 

So when I heard this story, I was still in my addiction. And I immediately started crying. And I don't. I'm not a crier. But I understood what that was. I understood that desire, that motivation to protect one's children I have is my strongest desire, right? There's nothing bigger in me. Right? Yet. There was this other thing that did take priority over my children. And so that you asked about a turning point earlier, that was at least the idea that stayed with me when I decided I needed to go get help. 

Yeah, it's so interesting, because you talk about this, most people's turning points in life no matter what it is, is because of their kids or their grandkids. There's just something about that. And of course my side of the street is on the mom of an addict. I was also the daughter, the sister and I married an alcoholic, but I am the mom of an addict. And in mom code, whatever that book is, we're supposed to fix it. We're supposed to save them. We're supposed to make it better. And we can’t.

One of the most unexpected responses to Stash has come from young adults who have parents struggling with addiction. These individuals, although not children under 12, have reached out to express their gratitude after reading my book. They've shared how it helped them gain a deeper understanding of what their parents were going through. Receiving these messages via DMs was certainly unforeseen for me. It raises questions about how to facilitate change within their families, how to help their parents recognize the need for recovery. It's a challenging question without a simple answer.. 

Wow, in so many ways, it's the hardest question I've had to deal with, with my son, is coming to the realization that he's an adult, his choices are his. He's either going to choose to do what you did, or he's not, and addiction is going to win. And to love Him with the boundaries that I needed to set for myself, to continue to have a life to love him on his journey, not knowing exactly what that journey was in service of, for him or me or the larger purpose. That, I think, is one of the absolute bringing to your knees, hardest things. 

I think, even harder than being an addict is loving someone who is yes, it's hard when they're kids too. And they're struggling with addiction. But you're right, as an adult you don't legally have any right to intervene. And so, I'm sober through a 12 step program. And in that program, I sponsor quite a few women,  I think 11 right now. But I always talk to them about giving someone the dignity of their own experience. And that was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. Because I fell in love with somebody that I met the hour I checked into treatment, who is still my boyfriend and has been sober for just about the same length of time that I have. But for the first four months after we got out of treatment, he continued to relapse. I don't even know if I like that word anymore. But he drank again over and over. And, and I did not. And I had to, like, have that distance and let him have his own journey and the dignity of his own experience and not try to arrange things or intervene or suggest helpful things. None of that stuff worked with me. Iit wasn't like people were trying to intervene. But there were people along the way who saw me. Usually they were addicts themselves. And they're like, if you want any help, if you need luck, I will be here. 

Yeah, I was talking to a woman recovering also. And I was saying being the mom, loving somebody who is dealing with addiction, and she said to me, I also love somebody who is addicted. And my brain went, oh, my God. And so I had this delineation in my head, which was so bizarre. And she cleared that up. And so moving into the position that you just spoke so well to have, how do we love the ones we love? When they're in addictive mode?

I think each circumstance is different. You mentioned fentanyl before which it's something I remember getting fentanyl when I had my first son in the hospital. And thinking, Hmm, this is before I had begun to use anything addictively at that point, but I was just like, this is a party in my veins. But I don't remember anybody talking about abusing it until recently. Right? And the other thing is that a lot of people who are dying, or overdosing on fentanyl, and not dying, but damaging themselves are not addicts they are who have tried a drug at a party, and it's laced with this. And so it's really nefarious, and insidious. Because it's not something that you have to try for survival, because you're an addict. 

These are certain kids who want to do what kids like, when I was my age there were things that you did try at a party that you might not try anywhere else. But I think, there are just different ways to deal with my addiction, because it was so secret. And I was addicted to something that was prescribed. There was less stigma around what I was doing. Because it was something that was prescribed.

I didn't get it at that point, it was more difficult because it was 2008. And certainly you could get stuff on the internet, but I wasn't getting things off the internet. I was simply obtaining prescriptions from doctors, engaging in the whole rigmarole of doctor shopping and such. However, when you're faced with someone grappling with alcoholism, for instance, I've encountered numerous mothers over the years who struggled to put down the bottle, especially when the courts intervened, threatening to take away their children. These are loving mothers, yet they battle this disease. 

Treatment Works, Even When You Are Resistant

As for me, I spent 30 days in treatment, which I found to be an unpleasant experience. I resisted it vehemently, akin to someone with arms folded and dark glasses, that was my demeanor during my time there. Nonetheless, it granted me the necessary distance. Despite my initial resistance, it afforded me the opportunity to assess my situation and make a decision regarding my future. Prior to treatment, I felt I had no choice. There were individuals in treatment who continued to use substances, both during and after their stay. However, I was not among them. I serve as an example of someone deeply entrenched in addiction, where even the agony of withdrawal couldn't deter me. I had to choose a path forward. Treatment provided me with the space to commit to recovery. It's a message I share with others, though I acknowledge it's not universally applicable. Many individuals relapse during or immediately after treatment. As the child of parents who struggled with addiction, I recall the overwhelming love from those around me. Yet, there's a fine line between supporting and enabling someone. While I've briefly encountered this struggle, my father's 39 years in recovery were distant from me geographically, granting me limited insight into his journey. Hence, while I possess some understanding, I haven't truly traversed that path myself.

So, you were essentially left to fend for yourself in a way. The challenging aspect for individuals who love someone grappling with addiction is grappling with the concept of hitting rock bottom. What exactly is the bottom? In my experience with Sam, I kept thinking we'd reached the lowest point, only to discover another one, and another one after that. It's incredibly difficult to relinquish control and allow them to embark on their own journey while witnessing their anguish, desperation, and self-destruction. You're left uncertain whether they'll emerge from it on the other side.

Exactly, right? The reality is, people succumb to this disease. They die from it, sometimes not directly, but indirectly, perhaps even the first time they experiment with a drug. It's a devastating and incomprehensible truth, but unfortunately, it's a reality we face. I've witnessed numerous deaths in the nearly 16 years of my recovery journey. While it's a heartbreaking occurrence, it's not surprising within the recovery community. We mourn their loss, feeling their absence keenly. However, it's not unexpected, given the nature of this illness, which has the capacity to claim lives. Perhaps "miracle" isn't the right term to use here, but what's truly remarkable is that people do find recovery. These cases are exceptions, and the path to recovery is as unique as snowflakes, varying for each individual.

I totally agree with you.

Exactly, you know? What might be effective for one person might not work for someone else, like Sam or my dad, for instance. It's like, everyone requires something different, or maybe certain approaches yield similar outcomes. Nonetheless, the journey into recovery remains deeply personal. Moreover, what sustains one in recovery is also unique. Even after achieving sobriety, it took me a couple of years just to hang on. It felt like grasping onto a ledge, a cliff, or a windowsill, desperately hoping my fingers wouldn't slip until I made it to the other side. Yeah, it was incredibly challenging.

Yeah. Do you think about it now, kind of brain based on the brain chemistry that we know about now, how brain science is that it takes that long to kind of rewire. In order to get to the point where you're not hanging on as if you're gonna lose your grip at any moment.

The Brain Chemistry of Addiction

Certainly, there's a significant chemical aspect to addiction. Additionally, there's a lot of euphoric recall that occurs, where I idealize past experiences that weren't actually ideal. Specifically, I would fixate on those rare moments when everything seemed perfect, like that one time when I slept well and felt amazing in the morning. My mind would convince me that I could handle it, that I could use it occasionally without consequence, maybe get a small prescription and only use it sparingly throughout the year. 

It was a constant battle against my own thoughts, urging me to give in. Resisting that temptation was incredibly challenging. I managed to resist, but there was this one particular cough medicine called Tessalon Perles, a codeine-based medication for severe coughs. It was hard to obtain, but when I did, it was like I was on a mission. 

I remember this one incident vividly. I was four months sober, taking care of my sick child. I called our shared doctor for antibiotics, and alongside them, he sent a bottle of Tessalon Perles. It arrived on a Friday evening, and I found myself alone for the weekend with my sick child, no one to hold me accountable. I was left to wrestle with the temptation of that bottle. Should I throw it away? Should I reach out for help? The whole weekend passed with this internal struggle. 

Finally, in the early hours of the morning, I knelt on the floor of my closet, cradling the bottle, contemplating taking just a sip to satisfy the craving. But then, my son woke up, his feverish arms wrapping around me, pleading for my presence. In that moment, I chose him over the substance. I capped the bottle, returned to bed with him, and eventually drifted off to sleep. 

When I woke up, my ex-husband was there, and I asked him to take the bottle away. It was a pivotal moment for me, the first time I realized that I could choose something other than the addiction when faced with it. It wasn't just theoretical anymore; I actively chose my child over the substance. That marked a significant turning point in my recovery journey. While the withdrawal symptoms persisted, eventually, they subsided along with my cravings.

Just the way that I think about it, it just feels like such a divinely guided moment. And how sweet that it was your son, huh?

Yes, there were other factors as well. My divorce attorney suggested drug testing, which caught me off guard. I questioned why, and she explained that if we ended up in court, having documentation of my sobriety would be beneficial. This conversation happened after I completed treatment, and at the time, I was contemplating using again. 

However, the thought of undergoing regular drug tests dissuaded me. I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain sobriety with the prospect of frequent testing looming over me. So, I chose to remain clean. It was another instance of making a conscious decision, prioritizing what seemed ridiculous at the time over the temptation to use. In my mind, I kept postponing the idea, thinking I could reconsider in a few months. But ultimately, it didn't matter because I resisted the urge in that moment.

Absolutely. And those moments add up. 

Yes, they do. They add up to hours, days, weeks, months, years. And I remember all of them, all of that pain is impressed upon my memory. And then the triumphs that started to come are also like indelible there.

Yeah. And so is the Triumph stacking. And I think about stacking in one way or the other direction. And at some point, the stack of triumphs overtakes the stack of challenges of the disease. 

Yeah, I mean, I've been in this mindset for quite some time now. I wouldn't say I hate working out, that's a bit extreme. But I definitely don't find it enjoyable. Every morning, I wake up and my mind immediately starts crafting excuses to skip my workout for the day. Despite that, I still push myself to exercise. It's about commitment. I dedicate an hour every morning to working out, whether it's at the gym or on my Peloton. 

I approach my recovery in the same manner. While some people in recovery express excitement about attending meetings or engaging in meditation and prayer, I don't share that sentiment. I don't eagerly anticipate these activities. And honestly, I don't always feel better afterward either. However, just like with working out, I recognize that these steps are crucial for my well-being, even if I don't experience immediate benefits.

 Yes, in my efforts to navigate the chaos of Sam's disease while maintaining a thriving life, I refused to settle for just surviving. I cherished the greatness of my life – my successful business, my loving marriage, and my wonderful relationships – and I wasn't willing to let the disease overshadow these blessings. 

So, I embarked on a journey to thrive amidst the challenges. I developed a comprehensive regimen, incorporating various self-care practices, similar to what you're discussing. However, I noticed a lack of conversation around thriving; most were focused on merely getting through the day. I believed there needed to be a different approach. 

Whenever Sam relapsed, I saw it as an opportunity to enhance my skills and prioritize self-improvement. Whether it was delving into new books, adjusting my workout routine, refining my diet, or optimizing my sleep patterns, these actions formed the foundation of my thriving life. Like you, I don't always feel motivated to do these things. Yet, I understand that by consistently investing in self-care, I build resilience to navigate whatever challenges arise.

Absolutely, or at least I stand a better chance of navigating life's challenges after taking those steps. There's a passage in the literature of the program I follow that resonates deeply with me: "Life is not to be endured but mastered." I've spent a significant portion of my life striving for mastery, attempting to exert control over every aspect. I used to enjoy giving people instructions on how to navigate life, expecting them to follow my directives before seeking further guidance. I thrived on control, even though it's impossible to control everyone and everything. Endurance, however, was a different story. I endured hardships in my childhood, young adulthood, and marriage. When I got sober, I realized I no longer wanted to simply endure; I wanted to find joy and actively pursue it. Just as I hustled to overcome addiction, I now hustle to embrace joy. Writing brings me immense joy, and so does hosting Sunday dinners with my family and loved ones. The warmth and laughter of those gatherings fill me with happiness. I make a conscious effort to identify what brings me joy and prioritize those activities, creating space in my life to pursue them.

Yes. And there's an intentionality about that. That's, so mission critical to set the intention to live into and create and summon the joy that resides within and the joy that can reside around us. 

No, I completely agree. The key is intentionality. And with intentionality comes effort. It may seem counterintuitive to work for joy, but it's the result of that labor. For me, one aspect of this is food prepping. I dedicate time on Sundays to prepare clean, nutritious meals, especially since I tend to write without taking long breaks. This ensures that I have healthy options readily available, preventing me from reaching for something that could negatively impact my productivity and mood. It's gratifying to see how these small changes contribute to my overall well-being, things I wouldn't have prioritized before.

Absolutely. I love the joy piece of this. And so it for in my world, it's tied to thriving, because I just believe that our lives are meant to be lived with joy. Could you speak a little bit to the notion of thriving in the midst of all of all of the conversation that we've had? What does it mean to you?

Well, initially, as I delved into this concept, authenticity stood out to me as something I hadn't fully embraced throughout my life, not just during my struggles with addiction. It's not that I was never myself, but rather, I presented different versions of Laura in different settings. There was the school version, and then there was the version I adapted at home, especially due to the presence of my verbally abusive stepfather. I would censor myself to avoid conflicts, essentially editing my personality to fit into different environments. Looking back, I realize these adjustments came at a cost to my well-being, although I wasn't fully aware of it at the time. However, when I made the decision to pursue thriving, I made a conscious choice to prioritize authenticity.

First and foremost, I had to embark on a journey to discover my true self. This involved a significant amount of introspection, therapy sessions, and engagement with my 12-step program to understand my identity, my preferences, and what truly brought me happiness. It was essential to discern what activities actually brought me joy, as opposed to simply going along with things that seemed joyful on the surface. Consequently, I began to assertively decline activities that didn't align with my authentic self, even if it meant disappointing or letting down someone I cared about deeply. This doesn't mean I neglected important responsibilities like taking my kids to the doctor, but rather, I started prioritizing activities that genuinely brought me fulfillment.

If I was invited to a girls' weekend, for instance, I found myself dreading it. I've never been a fan of communal sleeping or the whole notion of getting together just for the sake of it. Despite this, I attended many of these weekends in the past, believing they would bring me joy. However, after experiencing enough of them, I realized they didn't align with what truly brought me happiness. While I cherished spending time with these women, I found that shorter gatherings, like dinners or lunches, suited me better. So, I made the decision to start declining invitations to weekend getaways. Some people questioned my choice, expressing concern, but I reassured them that I was fine. It wasn't about my recovery program; it was about rediscovering my authentic self. This adjustment may have seemed sudden to others, but for me, it was a return to who I truly am.

Absolutely, I completely agree. The word "authentic" resonates deeply with me, especially in today's evolving understanding of authenticity and how we express ourselves authentically. When I watched your TED talk, I was struck by how genuinely authentic you appeared within seconds. It was evident to me that you embody authenticity in your words and actions.

 I was so struck by your authenticity when you did your TED Talk, which again, made me excited to be able to talk to you today.

Laura Cathcart Robbins on Thrive While Loving an Addict

Laura Cathcart Robbins wrote a memoir about her struggle with addiction and what it took to get sober.

The TED talk, "Confessions from the Only One in the Room," stemmed from a series of writings I contributed to the Huffington Post on the topic of race. Growing up, I didn't recall experiencing much overt bigotry, but I encountered subtle forms of racism that I didn't recognize at the time. However, having two biracial sons who are perceived as black has opened my eyes to the different realities we face compared to my white peers. 

People often make assumptions about me based on my appearance, assuming that I haven't experienced discrimination or that it's not as severe as it truly is. I want to challenge these assumptions and emphasize that one's race greatly influences their experiences and perceptions. Additionally, I advocate for the importance of allowing individuals from marginalized communities to lead discussions about their own experiences and not expecting them to educate others on demand. My TED talk aimed to debunk misconceptions about my identity and shed light on what it's truly like to navigate the world as a black woman.

Yeah. And it was just so well done. 

Yes, absolutely. And like I said to you earlier, I'm still kind of really absorbing it and unpacking it. And because it hit me at such a heart centered level, that I'm not quite there yet.

Yeah, I'm really glad it made an impact. That was my intention all along. I hoped it would encourage people to reflect on how they engage with the world around them. It's important for individuals from the dominant culture to recognize their privilege and actively question situations where diversity is lacking. By asking these questions and advocating for inclusion, they can help drive positive change. I'm grateful that my message resonated with you. Thank you for acknowledging its impact.

 Absolutely. Yes. And I would encourage our audience to go pull up her TED Talk. It is absolutely worth watching. And so as we're getting kind of towards the end of our time together, which man this has gone so fast for me! I know, this is a big question, but I ask it anyway, I tend to think in terms of our purposes, why we are on the planet at the moment. And I do believe that each one of us brings a gift that is uniquely ours, to continue to pursue and somehow make some sort of dent in the collective consciousness of humanity. And so can you articulate what you believe yours is, too, for you?

 Well, I think mine is what I don't want it to be.

I think that's true for a lot of us. 

Yeah, I truly believe that my journey with addiction, sobriety, and recovery has provided me with a unique perspective, especially at the intersection of race, addiction, and privilege. While there are stories about addiction written by people of color, they're not as prevalent on bookstore shelves. These narratives often depict experiences involving prostitution, drug dens, and incarceration, which aren't reflective of my own story. However, I recognize the importance of these narratives and have gained valuable insights from them. Despite not fitting the typical narrative, I feel compelled to share my experiences to highlight the universal impact of addiction. 

As I mentioned earlier, privilege doesn't shield anyone from addiction's grasp. Being black and surrounded by addiction, including boyfriends in recovery and my father's struggles with alcoholism, has given me a unique perspective. Many men in my family succumbed to alcoholism at a young age, but my father's recovery has defied the odds. Consequently, I find myself frequently asked to speak in recovery communities, offering a perspective that may not be heard elsewhere. My message resonates with individuals who may not see their experiences represented in mainstream narratives of addiction and recovery.

 Yeah, I hadn't quite configured it the way that you described it. But I do absolutely see the uniqueness of how your life has been blended together. So that you have credibility and a platform, and you have a voice, and you have the ability and the gifts to not only articulate it, but also write it. And it's almost like, uniquely designed to look to deliver a message that most of us don't even know needs to be delivered. 

 I think that's right. I think that most people don't think this message is important until it's important to them.


It's like, oh, my son, my daughter, or my girlfriend, my wife, my kid. Alright. I just said, Well, my kid could be another gender. But until it's personal. People don't know that it's important. Right?

Yeah. And that's, that's the whole thing. And it's getting more and more personal. I mean, 50% of American families now, love somebody who is dealing with addiction. So it is massively personal now. And your the way that you tell your story and live your story and have experienced your story is unique in and of itself. So you have a voice that matters in the thread of voices that's happening in our time. And so I  just want to say thank you for joining me on this podcast for joining us with my audience and bringing your unique story and your wisdom and your authenticity. It's so needed. 

Thank you for having me.

I want to thank Laura again for being our guest on the podcast. She truly is an amazing human. What was so inspiring to me and compelling her conversation was her rawness in sharing how she was hijacked by her disease, and yet how her motherly instincts overrode her addiction. in recovery, she chose and was driven by just this motherly desire to get back to her kids and be able to love them. 

On the other side of her addiction. Her tortuous journey back to her true self is a testament to a mother's love. She chose authenticity and joy, and allowed those who loved her the most to embrace her true and real self. Again, thank you for joining us today. 

If you are really truly finding yourself willing to come out of the shadows of shame, stigma, guilt, we've built this membership for you. Stop navigating this journey alone, it's not necessary. There's so many of us that have walked this path. So join us at www.voicesincourage.com/ thrive. We look forward to seeing you there.