VIC 5 | Addiction
Meet one of Voices InCourage’s founding community members, Sparkle.

Sparkle speaks on the journey of our experiences with alcoholism and addiction.

Being ready and willing to be open and honest is different for everyone. Learning to respect, honor, and acknowledge that everyone’s timeline is different is an integral piece of understanding the journey with an addict. Allowing time and space is a crucial part in everyone’s personal development journey.

Sparkle acknowledges the courage it takes to step into this space. You will also hear about another pain point in this segment – the tough ways to navigate when your loved one is in active addiction mode.

Learn what Sparkle means when she explains that the addict is in an active addiction stage, and why his or her relationship to you may be purely transactional for survival purposes. Tune in!

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here


Inside The Mind Of An Addict

I have been super excited about having this conversation with you, Sparkle. Everybody that’s going to be reading this is going to be well-served. On the loved one’s side of the equation, we are constantly trying to figure out what is a healthy way to support and love someone that we care so deeply about in the midst of dealing with their own addiction. They’re not in recovery. They’re still in it. If you would give us a little bit of background on your story. This is going to be a conversation that will serve so many people.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited, nervous, and anxious about this conversation but that’s fine. It is what it is. interestingly, as I was bending in anxiety, I was like, “I’m going to pull the tarot card to see what guidance my soul and spirit can send me through tarot.” I pulled the justice card which is part of the Major Arcana, which is all about the major life lessons. Justice is about rational decision-making, accountability, and responsibility.

That is fascinating to me because I was in the emotion and justice is all about the rationale and stepping back from the emotion. It’s like, “That’s an interesting message,” but that’s not answering your question. I grew up in the biggest little city in the world also known as Reno. It is a medium-sized, large town, small city, at the time, fairly conservative and not a good place for people who are different.

As a queer kid in Reno coming to grips with who I am, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities to see that reflected anywhere in that environment. It’s a very adult town. For teens and kids, there is no opportunity. This was also at the height of the HIV epidemic as that began to hit. The messages I was receiving broadly from society were, “This is God’s punishment on the gays,” and that I didn’t deserve to be there or be alive, etc. Lots of things got internalized. I started using meth at about 16 and used it for about six years until I was 22.

At which point, I did a geographic intervention on myself. I had recognized at some point that this was not what or who I wanted to be. I saw people who were ten years older than me who were still in the throes of their meth addictions and I was like, “That’s messy. I don’t want that.” I plucked myself out of Reno and moved up to Washington to restart my life and let go of that. That span of six years though was the end of high school, the beginning of college, and an important time for the growth and development of the brain.

I rewired my brain early from that. That’s something I’ve had to deal with for the rest of my life. I didn’t realize that for several years until I was like, “This is interesting.” I started tracing it back and being, “Okay.” Some of my coping mechanisms or the ways in which I’m making my way through the world are in response to having rewired my brain. They’re functional in that sense but it was interesting to tie that back and realize, “I screwed myself.”

VIC 5 | Addiction
Addiction: If you’re a parent and your child got addicted, you think to yourself if you could have done things differently. Let go. It wasn’t you.

On the one hand, I screwed myself. On the other hand, I look back and I’m like, “I wouldn’t change anything because who I am now is in large part due to what I went through.” In terms of family structure, my parents are still together. They were together then and it was rocky. It was the peak of my dad’s alcoholism. There was a lot of family stuff going on around that. I have an older sister who was two years older. Right around the same time that I started using, dad’s alcoholism was coming to a head, she went off to college.

There was a sense of abandonment for me. My older sister’s gone, out of the house, leaving me to deal with this “everything falling apart” thing. They didn’t know at the time that I was using it. My sister may have found out first maybe 10 years later but it was probably 15 years later that my parents officially found out. A funny story about that, we were at this big family reunion. It’s on a river. It’s my mom’s extended family. There are like 25 five people. It’s late afternoon. We are all sitting around in the backyard, outside drinking sangria.

I had a lot of sangria and mom asked a pointed question. I responded with an affirmative. It was me and mom sitting there, talking to each other, and the whole family is surrounding us listening to the story. It was like, “Okay.” Some of them seem to forget and re-found out later when I would post something about the anniversary of coming off meth. It was an interesting way to disclose as it was.

We had to deal with all of the feelings that came up for mom and dad. The first response was, “That explains a whole lot of things,” then working through the, “What did I do? Was it my fault?” My mom was like, “What could I have done differently?” I’m doing lots of work with her around, “Let that go. It wasn’t you.” My mom and I had a rocky relationship for a long time until years ago when I was like, “It’s time for us to have an adult friendship separate from family, separate from the holidays.”

I would see her in the holidays. We would get 2 minutes here, 5 minutes there, 3 minutes there, and didn’t have the opportunity to dive deep with each other. I invited her up to Seattle for a weekend and she came up for a long weekend. We had an amazing time every year since then, except during the pandemic. We spent a long weekend in either late winter or early spring. We will fly somewhere to meet and hang out, just the two of us, talk, eat, shop, and walk. We rebuilt a relationship since then. That has been a good thing. She carried a lot of burden around that once she found out and how rough it was when I was coming of age.

Who was aware at the time? Was it just friends?

Your coping mechanisms or the ways in which you’re making your way through the world are in response to having rewired your brain. They're functional in that sense. Click To Tweet

The friends who I was using with. I was hiding it. I remember distinctly at one high school assembly, the principal getting up and talking about how wonderful it was that there was not a drug problem at our high school. I was like, “You’re right because I walked across the street to use meth.” I wasn’t at school. I was high as a kite during this assembly. I’m like, “You all are clueless.” I had a lot of privileges. I don’t want this to sound, too, like a hottie or whatever but I was one of those who feels like my smartness doesn’t match the school system.

That school was a game. What’s the minimum I can do to get the passing grades to be able to satisfy everybody while I’m still high as a kite? I ended up graduating 5th in my class despite being a meth addict. I took a gap year and went to school at the University of Nevada on a full-ride scholarship. I was able to get that while in a meth addiction because I came into the system.

Two years in, meth use was increasing, attendance in class was decreasing, grades started to plummet, and I was like, “I’m out. I’m done. This is not working for me.” I gave up my full ride, which my parents weren’t too happy about. I was like, “I can’t do that. It’s not working.” That was shortly before I left and moved away. I was like, “This is not a game I want to play anymore.”

In the throes of that, what I’m thinking about is the shame, secrets, silence, lying, and deception that goes with all of this. For a parent or somebody who loves somebody who’s in the throes of their active addiction, that’s one of the hardest things to wrap your head around. Your brain has been hijacked and reconfigured in a way that we don’t know you anymore. If you would speak to those elements of being in it so that people who do not and have not had this experience but love somebody who is in it have a better window into understanding what is going on.

What you’re hitting on is a difference in perception. On the outside, what you perceive as lies, deception, and change, on the inside is not that at all. I’m not lying to you. I’m surviving and figuring out how to feed the addiction. It’s not deception. It’s not lies. It’s my survival mode. It’s got nothing to do with you. Part of what happens is that emotional attachment. Your mom, dad, or family shifts to become you’re either a resource, you’re in the way, or both. My relationship with you is, “How do I get what I need?” If I can’t, I’m moving on, next.

That’s the piece of it. On the inside, I’m not lying to you. That’s it. It is layered with shame because there is a part of the brain or the soul who’s like, “I’m screwing this up. I’m a mess. By the way, I’m going to get my next because that will quiet that little voice down.” That’s there. That feeds how we interact. Everybody picks up on judgment easily. When you’re in addiction, you pick up on it even more.

VIC 5 | Addiction
Addiction: Everybody really picks up on judgment really easily. But when you’re in addiction, you pick up on it even more, even the subtlest thing makes you rewire your brain and interpret it as judgment.

We pick up even the subtlest thing that you all do not intend as judgment. and interpret it as that. The addiction and the rewired brain interpret it as judgment. That adds another layer of, “I don’t want to be judged because they’re shaming addiction.” I’m not trying to lay blame. As we make our way through the world, one of the things that happen is we judge people and people pick up on it. People with addiction would pick up on even more.

There’s a hypersensitivity.

You could say hello and I would be like, “You’re judging me. Why aren’t you saying hello to me in that tone?” You’re like, “I’m just saying hi.” Going back to that rewired brain piece, from the outside, you’re interpreting things based on “normal brain” progression or activity or the norm. From the inside, it’s a different norm. It’s like drug norm as it were. Those two don’t match which leads to so much tension. While you’re like trying to logic it or be like, “This is that,” that barrier in the middle is getting in the way of interpretation.

On my side, it’s rational that I’m going to go ask mom for $500 out of the blue when I haven’t talked to her for two weeks. I say, “Give me money.” That’s perfectly rational and reasonable. I’m like, “I need $500 because either I got to pay for some bill or I need some more meth.” On your side, you’re like, “What? I haven’t seen you for two weeks. Suddenly you appear all you say is, ‘give me money.’” That’s not rational. That filter in the middle from both sides is getting in the way of that.

We’ve been through it so many times. My reaction to it is somewhat annoying. At the same time, even when I’m in that, I’m like, “This is somewhat annoying.” I am remembering that he’s in survival mode. He will do anything to make sure that he has whatever dollars that he needs in order to get the next high. I had not quite thought about it as clinically as it sounded when you said, “I’m not mom. I’m just a resource.” Either the resource is going to help from his perspective or it’s not. If it’s not, then next. This is how it’s appearing to me.

That’s why your world gets smaller is because generally speaking, like me, I’m not going to give Sam money. Patty’s not going to give Sam money. Courtney is not going to give Sam money. His world is shrinking in terms of who’s going to continue to give him money to feed the addiction. He’s left with nobody surrounding him as a resource that loves him. He’s turning to other things that are illegal and not who he is. He is trying to hold that in the same space as a mom of who he is in addiction mode is in survival mode. Whatever he’s doing does not at all square up with who I know him to be when he’s clean.

Someone who’s addicted has a different perception about things. On the outside, what they perceive as lies and deception on the inside are not that at all. Click To Tweet

You’re right because it’s a different perspective. That whole thing about family, love, and network of support gets buried under this other piece which is, “How am I going to get through this? How am I going to survive? If you can’t help me, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter who you are.” That’s the addiction talking because it’s like, “You look like mom but you’re a wallet. If the wallet’s empty, I got to find a different one.” That’s that hard part, too. We don’t interpret the actions that you all take to try and love and support that way. It’s transactional. For your side, it’s relational. On the inside, it’s transactional. Those don’t mesh well.

This is so helpful. Given where we are, Sam is in the throes at this point, down a deep dark hole. We are trying to figure out how to navigate this in a way that we stay sane and still hold the space for him to hopefully emerge out the other side at some point so that we can be present for him when and if he gets back to relational.

To be honest, the sad truth is there’s nothing you can do that will help that along. That’s the hard part about it. He’s got to get there himself. We have to get there ourselves and come to that spot where we can begin to switch that back to relational. In the meantime, what do we do? How do we stay loving and supportive when it’s not being interpreted that way or it doesn’t seem to matter? I was thinking about this since you asked me to do this interview. The question you posed was, “What are the top three things that made you feel loved and supported while in action?”

The answer is there is not anything. That is not to say that there aren’t things you can do or are doing. It’s going back to this other piece that love and support are relational. Addiction is transactional. When you’re doing things like setting boundaries which are a wonderfully loving thing to do relationally, transactionally, empty wallet, moving on. That’s the hard part.

That distinction that you have described for me personally gives clarity and more permission to hold the space for him, allow, turn it over, and surrender to whatever this journey is of his. We have no idea whether he’s going to come out the other side of this or he’ll overdose. There are all the possibilities. This is the first time I’ve heard this distinction of relational on our side of the equation versus transactional on the addict or alcoholic side of the equation.

In all the stuff I’ve read, all the movies I’ve watched, and all the people I’ve heard, this clarity had not shown up until this moment. It’s fascinating. I’ve certainly learned the brain science piece of it, understanding that his brain has been hijacked and rewired. I hadn’t thought about it through the lens of transactional resource, no more money, next. That was not how I had it framed in my head. That is a huge gift.

VIC 5 | Addiction
Addiction: Taking accountability and responsibility and recognizing that the roots of the addiction is okay but you never really know why your child acted the way he did.

Thank you. I’ll be honest. I hadn’t thought about it in that way until when I started talking about it. It’s a gift from the spirit and the universe. This is what needs to come out and come through the day. Maybe this might be the anxiety that I was feeling. You asked a wonderful question, “What made you feel loved and supported as a way to help folks who are loving and supporting people with addiction?” I was like, “I don’t have an answer because there is not one.” Maybe that might’ve been some of the anxiety of like, “I have to tell all these people who are reading.”

That it doesn’t matter what you do. I’m still not feeling loved and supported because that’s not what it’s about. The message is to keep loving and supporting, holding your boundaries, holding space, and continuing to love so that when they do come back out, you’re there and you still love them. You’re working on that judgment thing of paying attention to how judgment creeps in unintentionally because that’s what folks pick up on. I was like, “They want the answers. There is not one. Sorry.”

When he would call up until a few days ago, it’s like, “What do you talk about?” Our thing is, “You need to get to rehab.” It’s not like I’m going to say, “What have you been up to?” I do but I realized there’s a game being played here. It feels weird to know that we are playing a game here until you asked me for money. Do you just keep playing the game?

The answer is you know it’s a game. He knows it’s a game. There is no way around it until he makes the decision to say, “I’m coming back out of this,” at this point. The stuff you want to say is, “Get your stuff together. Get yourself to rehab. Be a responsible adult.” We know it. Being reminded of it then adds to the shame, the guilt, and the desire to like, “Let’s cut this off” There’s another reminder of that part of the brain that’s still cognizant of what’s happening. I don’t want that because that’s not where I’m at, as hard as it is to not do that.

It is learning to rewrite the script on the other side of being a loved one who cares about somebody. There are so many things going on in my head now. We have it easier because we are not in the same state. He doesn’t live here with us.

He doesn’t show up at the door.

It's really easy to take ownership and blame yourself when your son or daughter got addicted. But the truth is you just don’t know what really happened. Click To Tweet

In some ways, we have it so much easier. I can wrap my head around this conversation and then show up differently next time based on this conversation. I’m going to have time and space to practice and get it ingrained in my thinking as best I can. To be able to legitimately say, “How are you doing? What’s going on?” and be prepared, for me, is the struggle of wanting to do something that will turn the tide and being told that there is nothing we can do to turn the tide. What can I do to serve from afar?

There’s his addiction and he’s in that. He’s got to do it. He has to turn the tide. There’s your relationship to his addiction. That’s where you have control. That’s where you have things to do. When you think about what you can do to turn the tide, it’s not, “What can you do to turn his tide?” It’s, “What can you do to turn your tide?” That’s a good reminder too, to say, “I can’t change that behavior. I can change my relationship with it, my understanding of it, how I respond to it, and prepare to hold the space and for the return.

That’s where you’ve got the control. That’s where you’ve got things that you can do. It’s taking that feeling of helplessness and letting that go. Everything you read about addiction is like, “They have got to do it themselves. They have got to figure it out.” Maybe an intervention will work but what it comes down to is are they going to do it? Taking that and being like, “If I can’t do anything there, where can I?” None of us are helpless in our own lives.

Because the industry of addiction is so messy and I’m being kind, you are spot on in terms of the part that we can control is ourselves. It is rewriting what that looks like, sounds like, and feels like. I know what I was thinking. When you read books or watch movies, they’re talking about this. In some ways, they’re not.

One of the books I read pretty early on when we realized Sam was in addiction was Beautiful Boy. That dad was so sucked into finding his son all the time, throwing him in rehab, and doing an intervention and all the things to fix him. I was like, “I don’t want to be doing that but what do I do?” There are a lot of mixed messages out there. That is another reason why this conversation is so critically important for those of us who love people to understand what’s going on.

They did make a movie out of that book, Beautiful Boy, and I just watched it. I was like, “Why did I do that?” That reminds me of the cultural messages we get that we can fix other people. Broadly, that’s the overarching narrative. “We can fix you. I can fix you. You can fix me. I can fix whoever.” We can’t. That’s not possible. The reality is you all don’t know what this is about, where it started, and what influenced it. It’s easy to take ownership as it were to say, “This is my fault. I’m a parent. I should have done blah, blah, blah, this or that, or whatever.”

VIC 5 | Addiction
Addiction: Moms particularly take ownership of how their children have become in the world and internalize it in ways that are not helpful for the kid.

You don’t know. One, take accountability and responsibility for what role you played, which may or may not be anything. It could be, “I was this way and not had an influence,” or it could be like, “I was the best mom in the world and still.” It’s taking accountability and responsibility for yourself and recognizing that you will never know the roots of this for the other person. It was a rough time because there is alcoholism in the family. More broadly, for me, it was these broader messages that were coming around identity and coming on the HIV epidemic.

Those were the roots. They got layered by dad’s stuff with alcoholism but that wasn’t the cause. That’s dad’s journey to take ownership and responsibility for that. We are not at a place where we can have a non-judgmental, non-emotional conversation about that. He hasn’t done his work and that’s fine. That’s not on me. I can recognize, “This had an influence on that because that exacerbated that.” It could also be like the soul is still working on a lesson from three lifetimes ago that has nothing to do with you and you happened to be the one for the ride.

I don’t mean to be lighthearted about this. The point is you don’t know. Taking ownership of it is pointless because it’s not about you all in that sense. That’s hard, too, because you want to do your own stuff. Moms, particularly, like to take ownership of how their children have become in the world. They internalize and personalize it in ways that are not helpful for you or for the kid in this conversation.

As those play out again in that relational-transactional thing, it’s coming from this space of like, “I gave birth to you. I nurtured you. I wanted to create a beautiful human being then this happened. How did I fail?” That is against the transactional. The failure from this side is your wallet’s empty. It’s not attached to any of that other stuff. Later coming out, then you’re going to have conversations but, in that place, it’s not helpful.

I am curious because I don’t identify with the feeling that I failed as a mom. I do identify with wanting him to be well. I don’t identify with “fixing him” necessarily either, other than I want him to be well. I think about this particularly since he’s been in rehab, relapsed so many times, and has not been able to stop as you did or relocate and then stop using. That has not been his story so far. Even having said that, there are a lot of parents that “fix them” is the first thing then everything will be fine. If they dare to even remotely think, “What did I do?” You go down that rabbit hole, too, and that’s crazy-making.

The message that we get from society is, “As parents, you are responsible for everything that your kid does and who they are in the world.” That’s the narrative. That’s why it’s so easy to go down that rabbit hole and fall into that because that is common. “It’s your fault and your responsibility,” when it’s not. That’s counter-cultural.

Take accountability and responsibility for what role you actually played but don’t put too much blame on yourself for what happened to your child. Click To Tweet

One of the huge things surrounding this is the shame, the silence, and the secrets. We live in a culture that encourages all of that. It is counter-cultural to do what we are doing to have a real and raw conversation about both sides of this equation, tell the truth about it, and have dropped the shame, the secrets, and the silence around this so that we can understand. The breakdown is taking place so a breakthrough can happen. Addiction, alcoholism, and all these things are all part of the breakdown humanitarian-wise so that we can elevate. That’s how I frame it.

I have not let go of the shame. I’m holding that over here and doing this anyway but it’s still there. I also want to acknowledge too that my journey is different than most. I was able to quit. It’s been several years. There are times when I still want to. It’s a pretty rare thing for somebody to be able to quit by themselves, not go through some program, and do it in that way. I want to acknowledge that too, that piece of my story is not very common.

Within the context of the statistics, it’s like a unicorn. The statistics are so dismal. 2% reach out for help and out of that 2%, basically, 2% survive. The fact that you did it without rehab or a program, is a unicorn. At the same time, the wisdom that you’re sharing relative to your side of the equation and the disease is invaluable for those of us who don’t understand it to better understand and be prepared for letting go of our own crap and rewriting our own stories. If we have shame, guilt, or judgment of ourselves around this, we have to drop that.

It was probably fifteen years after quitting before I was even willing or able to talk about it. It’s coming to a place where I can be raw, open, honest, and vulnerable about it with someone who is not on this side of it. That’s a journey to get to that point. I live in a state of open vulnerability. That’s so important for the world to have folks who are willing to talk about this stuff and be vulnerable. That’s a learned hard-fought space to be from.

I don’t understand it necessarily through your lens and your journey. I understand it on my own, having grown up with a mom who was addicted to prescription medications and a brother who was addicted to cocaine. I married an alcoholic. I have been on a lifelong journey myself around understanding my walk in the world and who I am meant to be. Given all of this, like, “What’s the calling that has emerged out of this?” which is how this show got born.

You and I have only known each other for a few years. We did a deep, intimate, vision quest process for months together where everything was up and talked about. We gave each other permission and love to be able to be who we both are in all of this. I so deeply appreciate the trust and the bond that has created this conversation.

VIC 5 | Addiction
Addiction: It’s a pretty rare thing for somebody to be able to quit addiction by themselves and not go through a program.

There are hard drugs or alcohol that people are addicted to that are bad. If you step back and think about it, humans, for their entire existence, have loved to alter their consciousness through some chemical means, fermented stuff, coffee, chocolate, sugar, and all those things. We say addiction and what we are talking about is hard drugs. The reality is, “Don’t get in the way of my morning coffee.”

As culture and society have gotten so much more complex and capitalism has had its long-term impacts, we lose more people to that as we get further away from the more natural ways of altering one’s consciousness. These chemical drugs that are out there that are wreaking havoc are hugely problematic. Culturally, we blame the individual. It’s not to say I am not responsible for my own addictions and my own stuff in the world. We can hold that there is a broader cultural phenomenon happening that we are part of.

That’s important to acknowledge, too, particularly in this context of, “How do we on the outside support somebody on the inside of it?” it’s that whole blame, guilt, and fault thing also. Our society sets us up for failure. This is a place and example of how that both lead people into these addictions. If I hadn’t grown up in a place that had nothing for young people to do and was not a good place for folks who are different, would I have turned out different? I don’t know but that was part of it. I became a meth addict in the middle of the war on drugs. All of that is context and fodder for it.

There was a book that I read back in 1996 called The Paradigm Conspiracy. It has been by my bedside ever since. It gives the larger purpose for me in all of this. It’s the comparative contrast of cultural thinking. One is power and control over which we are steeped in compared to soul honoring. The soul-honoring example that they give is the Iroquois Confederacy, which was born out of the near annihilation of the Northeast tribes back in the 1500s because they were killing each other. They were on the precipice of wiping themselves out.

Out of that, they flipped it to a soul-honoring culture. We invaded and flipped it back. That context has given me a larger purpose for all of this. I think about all the things that are crumbling in and destructing that have been born out of power over in control of the paradigm. My hope is that my role in flipping the script is what I’m up to at this point to help move humanity back towards a soul-honoring culture. A lot of this conversation that we are having are all red flags. This is not working from a spiritual perspective.

A lot of people don’t even understand they’re in a paradigm of thinking. They don’t even know that there’s something to get out of from a way of thinking perspective. Although, there are more people that are having these conversations now and speaking about this evolution of humanity away from power and control.

There is a broader cultural phenomenon happening that we are parts of. That's really important to acknowledge too. Click To Tweet

In this context, it’s important to think about, “How are we as individuals playing out those broader cultural things no matter which side of this addiction coin we are on or this addiction dynamic as it were?” We are talking about parents and children or loved ones and working with loved ones. It’s important for us to recognize our part in those broader things as they play out. It’s not an excuse to step away from accountability.

It’s understanding, “If this is how I’m playing this out as the mother of someone who is addicted and in the throes of addiction, is that helping this situation at all or not?” That requires some deep, rational, honesty, and vulnerability with oneself to be like, “Am I further contributing to a dynamic that is harmful to both of us?” You beating your relational head against the transactional brick wall is not healthy for you. It is not setting you up to be in a loving, open space to hold love out when they come back.

Being direct and honest with oneself about how you’re playing into this situation, helping our harmony is going to be helpful. On the other side, we do that all the time. There’s a little part of us while we are in the middle of it that’s doing it that we keep shushing up. That voice is what we are facing when we come out of it on the return and that spot where you don’t want to contribute to that.

When we are coming back out, what we need is hold. That’s it. We are facing those demons and those voices that are loud at that point because we’ve been shushing them for a while. Whatever you can do to not contribute to those voices on the return and hold. That’s critical. For years, I’m still dealing with those voices. It’s not quite as loud anymore, but they’re still very loud.

I can see it. The fact that your shame was still present for you in this conversation. I don’t know that I would have thought that. Again, I appreciate you being so vulnerable and open so that I can better understand the journey of all of this and that others can, too. It is not just about moms and dads. It’s watching friends go through this. It is heartbreaking for anybody who’s watching somebody go through this.

It shatters the dreams that you held for the person that you love so much. Having been through the shattered dreams part of this and giving it up to understand, I don’t begin to know what his spiritual journey is. It’s not my job to “know.” Whatever it is that I know, I’m making it up anyway. I’m going to make up a story that serves the planet. I know that much about myself. There’s going to be a higher purpose in all of this in his journey and certainly in mine.

VIC 5 | Addiction
Addiction: As culture and society has gotten so much more complex and capitalism has had its long term impacts, we lose more people to that as we get further and further away from the more natural ways of altering one’s consciousness.

For many folks who are going to read this, they’re not there yet and that is okay to work on the story that is the most healthy and helpful for yourself. You’ve done a lot of work to get to the point where you’re like, “I’m working for a healthier planet and a higher purpose.” I also feel like it’s important to give people permission to not serve their own soul’s higher purpose. I also feel called to acknowledge that I, too, have been on your side of the equation with people I love. Despite all of what I’ve talked about and knowing this, I’m still falling into frequent common traps like, “What did I do wrong? How could I have done all that?” It’s a journey for everybody.

In addition to everything that you’ve said, is there one driving pivotal message that is important for those of us who have loved ones to hear, understand, and think about things differently?

It goes back to what the loved one needs. Only hold space with love. All the rest is extraneous and challenging. It’s not about doing anything. It’s about being the highest purpose of a loved one, a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a sibling, or a relative. There is an urge to do something. That’s fine but do it for yourself, not for them. Doing it for them means being for them. That’s what I would hold up as the hardest thing to do and probably the most important.

It goes counter to everything that we’ve been taught>We have been taught to be doing machines. Doing means changing it and that is not what this is about.

Everybody is on their own journey. Some are going to make it and some are unfortunate. That’s holding love for those who don’t make it. It’s as important as holding love for those who do or who are in it. We don’t know what their soul’s purpose or journey is.

Sparkle, this is why we want to have these conversations with people. I won’t be the same on the other side of this conversation and neither will you. There’s so much power in the conversation alone for both of us, much less giving other people the opportunity to witness this conversation. They can do whatever they choose to do with this. They have an opportunity to have a window in and witness a conversation that most people do not have or witness.

The chances of me having this vulnerable and deep of a conversation with my mother are about zero. The chances of you having this deep vulnerable conversation with Sam are about zero. It’s a gift of our journey together that we can do the stand-in and have this.

That’s a way to think about it. I would love to think that this conversation would be possible with Sam knowing full well that probably not but I’m happy to have you stand in for him.

Right back at you.

I have a lot to think about. This has been super-rich and deep. Whoever’s reading this will have a lot to think about, too, and marinate with. Hopefully, they will have gained a nugget or two, so that it helps in their own journey as a loved one dealing with people that we love. We want to figure out how to navigate this.

Maybe in a few months when we marinate a little bit, you can have a part two and go a little deeper.

I would love to. We have done a round two for quite a few of the conversations I have had. In the course of the conversation, we both shifted or all three of us shifted. I think about these things deeply after I’ve had these conversations. I would love to have another conversation if you’re open to that.

Indeed.

I’m going to say thank you. I don’t even know that there are words in the English language to say how deeply grateful I am for this conversation, and who you are in my life and now in other people’s lives that we may not even know. Deep gratitude, my friend.

Thank you. Likewise, for you as well.

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