Episode 245 Michaela Canterbury How to Support an Addict In Your Life Transcript

This transcript is from episode 245 with guest Michaela Canterbury.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast Today my guest is Michaela Canterbury. Michaela is the author of the book, Sister Siren, a nonfiction about addiction. And in the book, she details the ups and downs of being the sister of an addict and shows the reader the journey it takes to love someone through addiction.

Scott DeLuzio: She’s also. A a lawyer and studied law at Gonzaga University and graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. And so she has quite an extensive background in addition to her experiences, unfortunately, with addiction. So, [00:01:00] In this episode, we’re gonna be talking about how addiction affects people and how we can best support those people in our lives who are struggling with addiction.

Scott DeLuzio: And without further ado, welcome to the show, Michaela. I’m glad to have you here. Thank

Michaela Canterbury: you so much for having me, and thank you for your service.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, thank you. And yeah, I am glad to have you here because this is something that a lot of people struggle with and I feel like some of the listeners who are.

Scott DeLuzio: Tuning into this podcast. They may have someone in their lives who is struggling with addiction. Could be could be alcohol, could be harder drugs. It could be any number of different things. But addiction is a very real thing that does happen in people’s lives. And sometimes we don’t know how to deal with that.

Scott DeLuzio: What to do with the people who are in lives. We love these people. We wanna help them, we wanna support them, but we just don’t know really what the best things are to. Or what not to do, I guess, in some cases. And so, you know, I’m kind of glad to have Yon to talk about some of this stuff. So, before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit more [00:02:00] about yourself and your background?

Michaela Canterbury: Sure. Yeah. So, I’m a trial lawyer from Eagle River Alaska. I practice in Anchorage, Alaska. And I practiced law with my husband and the, our law firm was started by my father. And so yeah, I’m a lawyer by trade and I’m educated that way. And I was raised in the same towns I was raised in Eagle River, Alaska.

Michaela Canterbury: And the background with how addiction came into our life is that so my sister is 13. My junior. So it’s like, my parents got a built in babysitter, , if you will, and I was like a really cool sub parent. And there were, like, we had, we’re connected, but we were also like two only children, you know?

Michaela Canterbury: So, She was she was an elite athlete, like she was a speed skater. She represented our state at the, or winter games. She was a college athlete, so, you know, she was a high functioning person. And we are a family of [00:03:00] high functioning professionals. My, my dad’s a trialer, like I mentioned, my mom has a PhD.

Michaela Canterbury: My kids are good athletes and the playing college athletics and such. And so, This addiction thing was happening under the noses of our, under the nose of our family, our community. I mean, the coaches didn’t know, and employers and all that, they didn’t know because the. We were so high functioning and she was high functioning, she was performing very well, you know, A’s and B’s and, you know, and, you know, making great teams.

Michaela Canterbury: And so this was happening and we didn’t know. So that’s kinda the background of me. And so when it came into my life I have I didn’t know and I didn’t know what to do because I’m just going to, being a trial lawyer, raising my kids, being a hockey mom, you know, all that jazz.

Michaela Canterbury: And so I didn’t know about and my sister’s addiction was heroin and meth, and it started with pills. When she broke [00:04:00] her ankle at a at the Arctic Winter Games in Canada, and they prescribed her they gave her hydrocodone and oxycodone, and that started like when she was 13 ish. So preteen time.

Michaela Canterbury: And then she, you know, Overcame that injury and that was a significant injury, an ankle break. I’m a personal injury lawyer, so that’s my deal. I know slip and falls, ankle breaks, they’re serious injuries. Anyway, shortly after that she was assessed with ADHD and given the medication for that diagnosis, and this is like late eighties.

Michaela Canterbury: Early nineties when the medical community didn’t know a lot about the addictive qualities of those medications and didn’t know this. A D H D assessment at that time was. People were, I’ll just be real. They were just making fun of it. Like, oh, I should have ADHD because of blah, blah, blah, whatever, you know?

Michaela Canterbury: But that was happening. And she was on these [00:05:00] medications at a young age. And then her, and this is my theory, , I’m no medical doctor. I just play one on tv. Like I tell people, but her body, mind, and spirit became dependent. I mean, it’s just part of her being as being dependent upon medications. And it progressed from there throughout high school, into college, into post-college and life and it went down a slippery slope.

Michaela Canterbury: In her mid thirties is when she slipped down and began IB drug.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and that’s such a terrible thing too, because obviously none of the doctors who prescribed those medications earlier on in her life, Were thinking that any of this negative effect would’ve happened, right? They, you know, obviously there was some pain, right?

Scott DeLuzio: You break your ankle that there’s some pain involved and you’re gonna need some something to help manage that pain. But [00:06:00] knowing what they know now, and, you know, I know hindsight is 2020 and, you know, you can look back, but knowing what they know now, I’m sure the doctors would not have wanted to get her into that situation because that’s life altering.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, that, that could have. Terrible consequences down the road. And for a short term, you know, the ankle healed in a relatively short period of time in, in contrast to the lifespan of an individual, right? You know, a hundred percent you can deal with something that is a little bit less potent as far as the pain killer goes to be able to manage that pain, but not necessarily.

Scott DeLuzio: Make the person become dependent on whatever it is, you know, something like Advil or something like that would be a little bit easier to manage and not become addicted to. As opposed to some of these other medications that she was prescribed. Right. So,

Michaela Canterbury: yes you’re exactly correct. I mean, and a hundred percent my also, like my parents were, I mean, she’s like a preteen going into her teen years, and so [00:07:00] they’re doing what the doctors are telling them to do.

Michaela Canterbury: You know, my dad was a personal injury attorney too, and we worked with doctors and we worked with people who were in pain and so, There was so much guilt around this when it was reaching fever and she’s homeless and on the streets, and I mean, each of us, each member of our family was this heavy thing on our chest about is this our fault?

Michaela Canterbury: Did we contribute to this? Right. You know, and we battled that our own self as to what our contribution was. And so, and that’s how, you know, noodling through how. Each person in a family can support and love this person in their life that’s struggling with this. While you’re struggling with your own what did I do to contribute to this?

Michaela Canterbury: You know?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. And the thing is it also takes you off guard when you’re in a family that is high functioning, like you were saying, like advanced degrees. [00:08:00] Excelling, athletics and everything else. You have people who seemingly like this can’t happen to these people because how are you performing at this high level with.

Scott DeLuzio: All the stuff that the drugs are doing to your mind and your body and everything, how are you still able to perform at that level? Exactly. I mean, how would you think that would be something that would actually happen to someone in your family? Now, obviously if the person was functioning at this high level performing elite athletic performances and and doing great, and then all of a sudden did a 180 and couldn’t even.

Scott DeLuzio: Couldn’t even qualify for some of these things. Then you might say, okay, well there’s something up here. But when they continue to excel academically, athletically, professionally, whatever the case may be, it’s not easy to. Really spot what the problem might be because it seems like everything’s going well.

Scott DeLuzio: Right? It’s

Michaela Canterbury: so sneaky. It’s so sneaky. [00:09:00] It just, you know, it’s like a little eel, , like, into your life’s eating, gets bigger and bigger. And then these things start happening, you know? And there’s car crashes, there’s losing jobs, there’s having these injuries and there’s. Destabilizations in marriage relationships or family relationships.

Michaela Canterbury: And I mean, my parents, like, like I said we’re all, we all have advanced degrees and. In my business as a trial lawyer, I’m always learning and studying like what my client’s injury is and how it gets fixed and those kinds of things, and what the options are. And so, and it just didn’t even cross my radar , but we would talk about, gee, does she?

Michaela Canterbury: A disability. Does she have a mental health component here? Like my mom is [00:10:00] was head of her department at the University of Alaska at, in the human services department. And so she’s, and she’s a mental health counselor, and a d, you know, and so we were thinking maybe my sister needs to be on disability because of the adhd and we, the panic attacks.

Michaela Canterbury: And so we, we were trying to plug in these presentations that we thought were evolving and didn’t put our finger on that this was the consequences of addiction. You know, like amping it up. And of course she wasn’t telling us that she was using. Drugs, but we knew that she was, you know, that ADHD was managed a certain way and physical injuries from wear and tear injuries you know, from the car wrecks that she was involved in, were managed a certain way but just didn’t, weren’t able to put our finger on it.

Michaela Canterbury: And I had a lot of guilt over that too, because I was like, I was representing her in the car wrecks, you know, I mean, the car wrecks were her fault. So, I mean, I’m just like, so like, yeah I touched on that a little bit earlier about she, what our contribution to each of it, to, to this and so [00:11:00] yeah I kind of dealt with that.

Michaela Canterbury: And so that’s kind of what I’m so, grateful that you invited me on the show because I can look at these things in hindsight and say aha. And then this is what worked for me to support her when things were getting real, you.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, let’s talk about that a little bit because I know there’s probably some listeners out there who are dealing with someone who is in their lives.

Scott DeLuzio: There’s a loved one, a family member, someone in their lives that is struggling with an addiction. So what are some of the ways that we can support them in through the process that they’re going through?

Michaela Canterbury: Yeah. I first recommend getting real with your own. About what you can do. People talk a lot about this as like setting boundaries and I’m kind of reframing that cuz it sounds so mean to me.

Michaela Canterbury: Actually my boundary. So I reframe it to you know, what are people’s, where’s your skill and what are the limits? What are your. This is as much as I can [00:12:00] do. I love you, and this is as much as I can do. You gotta love yourself first to figure that out. All right? So self care and really noodling on how you can show up with the addict that you love that’s in your life.

Michaela Canterbury: And we all have different limits, and you can’t be getting mad at other people’s limits. All right? So I can’t be getting mad that my husband can only do so much. Just like, like I knew analytically my kids, they were teenagers at the time. They will only do so much, you know? Right. And then as they evolve, I mean their relationship with their auntie, their relationship with their auntie, now that they’re adults, I’m not gonna control that.

Michaela Canterbury: I’m in control of my relationship with the addict that I love. Okay. And where are my limits on that? Okay. And it might not be the same every day or every month or whatever, but anyhow, getting real with that as to what you can do to and not. I’m an over giver just by [00:13:00] nature. So, and not where it’s taking away from you and dehydrating your own, you know, life, energy.

Michaela Canterbury: I mean, I got to that point and so that’s why I really encourage people self care noodle with yourself how you can love, that’s number one. Okay. And how do you can step in with this person that you love? And so these were the things that I did , I. Wanted to, I could be her emergency contact. I could step in that way.

Michaela Canterbury: I could be her power of attorney and I could be, I could get releases of information and I could support her that way. I had that capability. My day job’s a lawyer, I got the papers, I can do this. I know how to talk with doctors, you know, so I had that capability so I could step in that. You know, so like my husband couldn’t, other people could.

Michaela Canterbury: So whatever people’s skillsets are, that’s how you step in. I also, [00:14:00] I love to cook . I love to bake. So, I would bring meals. So anything made with love is good for you? Right, ? So, I would make healthy meals and I would bring them if I knew that there were things that she needed. Narcan, a first aid kit water a phone charger.

Michaela Canterbury: Things that weren’t taking away from me but I could do and I could show up with love. She also liked to journal and she would revert to color. . And so I would bring, I, it was a form of therapy for her. She desperately wanted recovery, , but relapse is real. And this is hard. These slippery heels are hard.

Michaela Canterbury: And so doing what I can do to support her in her recovery that’s knowing also, third, Read up a bit and inform yourself on what your loved one’s addiction is. So you can forecast perhaps what their what their triggers are and what their needs are. So, love [00:15:00] yourself. Show up in love with how you can, how you show up in love and inform yourself about their addiction, and, you know, do what you can do, what skill sets and tools that you bring.

Scott DeLuzio: And I think that’s important too, because if you are trying to stretch yourself too thin you’re gonna end up burning yourself out and getting to the point where perhaps you just give up on. On the person. And that’s not helpful for anybody in that situation, that’s not really gonna solve the problem.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s not gonna make, it’s not gonna help them get any better. It’s not going to make you feel better about what you’re doing because you know, at some point, giving up is giving up. And that’s a crappy place to be in any sort of relationship. You don’t wanna be doing that, especially not in. You know, a sibling relationship like yours or any, you know, close family member, you don’t want to just give up on them no matter how bad things get, but you do have to take care of yourself first.

Scott DeLuzio: And I use this example all the time when you get on [00:16:00] an airplane. They tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first if there’s, you know, a loss of cabin pressure and then help others who might be around you. So if you’re traveling with your kids, it may be a paternal instinct to go and help your kids first, but if they’re struggling, cuz they’re scared and.

Scott DeLuzio: They’re resisting putting the mask on. Well, both of you are gonna end up passing out before anyone gets a mask on. So, you know, take care of yourself first, then you’re gonna be able to take care of the other person. And I think the same kind of idea applies here because if you’re not able to take care of yourself, then the other person.

Scott DeLuzio: Is going to be just be draining you down and you’re gonna have nothing left to give. And so you right, you have to be able to take care of yourself. Go for walks you know, or exercise. Get yourself you know, a good night’s sleep. Get a good meal, get a, you know, take care of yourself. Do the things that you need to do for you, and then you’ll be able to come.

Scott DeLuzio: And support the person in a [00:17:00] loving way and be able to give more than you would otherwise. Right? A hundred

Michaela Canterbury: percent. You are exactly correct, Scott. I mean that’s part of when you’re when you don’t take care of yourself, your ability to step into those moments. That you are called to, you are called to these moments.

Michaela Canterbury: They are before you for a reason, but to step. I mean, everything feels so desperate and emergent. You know, like when the plane’s going down, this is desperate. This is emergent, you know? But you know, particularly when my sister was on the streets and then trapped out places, I was like, you know, the phone would ring, I would be traumatized.

Michaela Canterbury: Everything. It was like, I almost felt guilty taking care of myself because if I did, I wouldn’t be there for her when the call came. And so I started developing a little routines. To trigger in my head, positive routine is to trigger in my head how to care for myself. So I could step into those, to those those moments those moments.

Michaela Canterbury: And so I would, I have what I call [00:18:00] M W B T. Morning wellbeing time, and I now wake up early to have my M W B T and I get kind of snarky at people if they’re getting up early too, including my dogs. I’m like, Hey, you’re interrupting my M wbt. You know? But, you know, and that’s a practice that I develop for my own self, and everybody might have a different one.

Michaela Canterbury: I make myself a beautiful cup of tea. I light a candle, and I contemplate and discern head on what? What I call an rff, a red flag feeling. When my sister was in active addiction, it was fear, it was resentment, and those were hurdles for me to connect with her. And so I needed to. Meet those RFFs head on so I could do what I needed to do.

Michaela Canterbury: And doing that is so frigging healthy. So, but I could get lost in thought too, so I’d have to set a timer. But then yes, I’d go on a walk in nature. I had this routine with my dogs and it just like, Filled me so [00:19:00] I could step in and I would be, I would know this is fear and this is how I’m dealing with her, or this is resentment and this is how I’m dealing with her, you know?

Michaela Canterbury: And then in the evening, a wind down practice, which for me that was just a beautiful tub. You know, with some EP salts and this and that. But I’d also, you know, what were the blessings of the day, even though it may have been a rough day. And I have this thing that’s called the rose. Because there’s more petals on a rose than there are thorns, and our brain tends to go to the thorns.

Michaela Canterbury: And so, oh, this went wrong and this went wrong. Or, you know, I didn’t, blah, blah, blah, you know? And so I’d let my brain think that because it’s gonna think that, but then I’d say for every thorn there’s three petals. So I’d have to have three. Three blessings, three goodness, three wins, three that, and then I can pull the shade.

Michaela Canterbury: On the day and, you know, put the cell phone around the corner. So that’s not, so, I’m not wigging out about, you know, who’s calling , but those kinds of things. So I [00:20:00] developed practices for my own self to navigate through the day and then sleep well the night. So then when I wake up the next day, I’m not, I can close the day and then wake up with a new day.

Scott DeLuzio: And again, these practices are going to be different for everybody, but I think it’s important for everyone to be conscious of this, that they need to take care of themselves and figure out how best to take care of their own needs before jumping in and helping anyone else. And I think this is true.

Scott DeLuzio: Regardless of whether or not you have someone in your life who is struggling with addiction or needs you know, special medical care, you know, they may have some illness or disability or whatever that you are the caregiver for, and you need to provide help for them. It really, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life, I think it’s important to kind of take care of your own needs first, so that way when even unexpected things, Someone is in a car accident and they’re in the hospital now.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:21:00] Now, okay, now there’s something that I need to go and care for this person. This is unexpected. I wasn’t planning on this. But I’m already stretched too thin because I’ve overcommitted myself. I’ve done all these things. Now I have nothing left to give to this person who needs me.

Scott DeLuzio: And, you know, this is a person, a loved one in your life. You wanna be there for them. But when you’re stretched too thin you’re, Find yourself resenting the person, oh, I can’t believe that they got into this car accident. You know? Oh man, if they were just a little more careful, you know, then I wouldn’t have to do this for them.

Scott DeLuzio: And, you know, and that’s not the best place to be mentally either. So, you know, practicing some of these things I think is a good thing. It’s just good all around in general practice, but it’s really important when you’re dealing with something like a loved one who’s going through an addiction because.

Scott DeLuzio: A lot of times you try to put, you end up putting yourself on the back burner so that you can give more to that person. But if you don’t have anything left to give, it’s gonna be hard, so. Right.

Michaela Canterbury: Well, so you can fix them, so you can rescue them. You can get them to [00:22:00] rehab so you can, I mean, that’s what I started figure learning.

Michaela Canterbury: I, I was wanting her recovery more than she wanted. I was giving too much that way. Like I’m driving through snowstorms to get her, you know, two trap houses to pick her up and take her to a doctor’s appointment. I wanted it more than she did. And when that, I was just like, whoa, this is, you know, I’m giving too much.

Michaela Canterbury: I’m doing too much, you know. Retracted. Sure. And that doesn’t, and that was another thing is like, what do they call it? They call it detaching with love. I reframed that one too. to, because I couldn’t stop loving her. Scott I just couldn’t stop. I couldn’t like, like just turn that like, I’m gonna turn off the hot water.

Michaela Canterbury: It’s too much here. No, I can’t do that. I can’t, I can modulate this best I can, but learning to love her from afar and that would wax and wane and ebb and flow depending upon, you know, What I was doing in my life. I wanted to be able to still show up for my, my, my children and in my marriage and for my parents and in my law practice [00:23:00] and for my clients.

Michaela Canterbury: But I wanted to show up for her, but there’s only so much I can do. So these other things aren’t shutting down, you know, in my life right

Scott DeLuzio: now. We talked about some of the things that, that we should do for the people. Who are struggling in our lives, who might be dealing with addictions, what are some things that we should not do?

Scott DeLuzio: I think that maybe is equally as important. What to do and what not to do, because sometimes we may walk into something well intentioned, but if we are doing the wrong thing, no matter how good we might feel about it. If we’re doing the wrong thing, it’s gonna. Causing a bigger problem than it’s worth.

Scott DeLuzio: So, so what are the things that we should not do when we’re trying to support an addict in our lives?

Michaela Canterbury: Yeah. And this goes for, and this is just, again, based on my experience and my feelings. I, my book, I also call it a Field Guide on How to Love Addict . So, this works for people who love addicts as well, cuz it, it’s a very lonely place.

Michaela Canterbury: It can be [00:24:00] loving an addict feels alone. And for sure people in addictive and an active addiction feel alone. Number one, don’t tell them what to do. , nobody likes to be told what to do. And I remember, I mean, I was loving her so much and missing her so much. And somebody I love somebody else. I know that I love so much was like, you know what you need to do with your sister.

Michaela Canterbury: I’m like, my relationship with my sister is my deal. Your relationship with her is your deal. Just, you know, so don’t tell them what to do. Rather on the. Hold space, how you can know that about yourself. So , don’t tell ’em what to do, . Just hold space or be there and show up and love. With my sister in particular, and she was, like I said, [00:25:00] hard drugs.

Michaela Canterbury: Don’t give him cash. That’s gonna go right to the, you know, right to the drugs. That includes gift cards, things that can be easily be sold. And don’t be signing contracts that . That connect you. Whether it’s a rental contract or a new car those are what people call enabling type behaviors.

Michaela Canterbury: And so, then it gets you on the line as well. And our family struggled with that. Um, Especially my mom and I had to navigate what I could do because remember my day job as a lawyer, so I always got the calls when she was in jail. You know, , I’m like, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t get you free legal stuff.

Michaela Canterbury: This can’t happen. So like paying bills and things like that. I mean, when I had talked about the guilt, there was a lot of man, did we prolong? Because we were doing things for her basically, you know, no accountability for the legal issues that she was getting involved in because we would come in and fix it, you know, or do [00:26:00] it or, you know, navigate her through the process in a way that benefited her and there was no accountability, if you will.

Michaela Canterbury: And so I had often. Gee, and I felt bad about it and, you know, I prayed about it. Did I pro, did I prolong it? And so anyway but that’s a, that’s also like the M W B T and the RFS that people experience. What is enabling for you is a, is again a personal thing. It’s a you gotta nav noodle that your own self, so you’re at peace.

Michaela Canterbury: So that’s the best advice I have to give . Yeah, I think not to do with an at.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I think that those are great pieces of advice and especially some of the things that you mentioned. I didn’t even occur to me that this would be an issue. But even you’re right, you know, things like you know, co-signing on a loan or like a car loan or a you know, rental agreement or things like that.

Scott DeLuzio: Then you’re on the hook for. The payments of those things if they don’t come through. And I think a lot of people understand that when you have someone who’s an [00:27:00] addict, a lot of times they blow a lot of the money that they come through or come across on the drugs that, that they are using to maintain that addiction.

Scott DeLuzio: And then they don’t have the money for the rent or the car payments or whatever else they might need, and. Now you’re basically looking like you have your own rent for your own place, and now you have somebody else’s. Now you’re basically doubling the rent and Right. That’s And the damage more than a lot.

Scott DeLuzio: Right? Yeah, exactly. There. That’s true too. Yeah, that’s true. Because now they have that money freed up and they’re able to now go and, Do even more damage with that money. So, so yeah, that, I mean, those are great pieces of advice. You know, the things to do. Things not to

Michaela Canterbury: be Yeah, but like, like damage to the rental unit or, you know, like you’ll be on the hook for that too.

Michaela Canterbury: And then, if they’re , like if it became a trapped out place and there’s damage and there’s broken windows and crap and stuff like that, and then they become [00:28:00] homeless. I, again, I only know this from experience, . It wasn’t me, but I saw it, saw this unfold and then. If you sign this, then you’re on there and you can get sued not only for the back rent, but for the damage done.

Michaela Canterbury: And then there’s the legal fees. And in Alaska we have what’s called the loser pays. And so you gotta pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and your own, you know, so it’s just really the consequences of that. Of what of is putting your name on something and you think that you’re helping, you’re getting them a place to live, so they’re not on the streets, but you know, you become accountable for everything.

Michaela Canterbury: I mean, like financially and legally accountable for that down the road.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And that’s not a place that anyone wants to be in because then that, that just leads to more problems. And again, we’re talking about things like resentment and stuff like that, where. You’re dealing with those situations.

Scott DeLuzio: Like I was trying to help, I was trying to do all these good things, and then they just t rooted my face and they did, you know, like, that’s not the type of relationship that you want to have. So, know, really [00:29:00] I think it, it is a matter of just taking some time and thinking through what it is that you’re doing and providing for these people.

Scott DeLuzio: Like things like a, providing a meal, like you said, you know, you. Took a meal for your sister and provide that to her. That’s a nice thing you can provide that she has warm meal in her stomach for that night. And that’s something that you could feel good about. It’ll help her out.

Scott DeLuzio: You know it, that’s a good thing, but you’re not long term, you’re not on the hook for damage done to an apartment or something like that. Right. So Right. Or be

Michaela Canterbury: sued for it.

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. Exactly. Right. So just

Michaela Canterbury: thinking about Right, the long. I mean, cuz you it’s good intentions. It’s exactly what my mom did.

Michaela Canterbury: My mom like signed there and, you know, and then she’s on the hook. But being, and that gets back to what we started with is how can I step in? What are my limits? I can’t give you a, I mean, I think the long term, okay, this could potentially be eight to $10,000, you know, sorry, I’ve got a family, [00:30:00] I, my husband and I, we talk about our, you know, our finances, so we’re not gonna be, you know, that’s not fair to him.

Michaela Canterbury: You know, that’s not fair to that relationship, you know, to over commit this way. And so, but you can speak that truth to the at you love, you know, and that’s exactly what I. You know, honey, I, you know, I got kids that are gonna be going to college. I, you know, Chris and I, we, I can’t do that. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

Michaela Canterbury: I love you, but the what can I do? You know?

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. And when you have that that moment when you realize what it is that you can do, and you set those limits, those boundaries you’re, you don’t cross over those boundaries. And then it allows you to do the things that you can do and those things.

Scott DeLuzio: You move closer to the goal line as opposed to taking you further away or taking you outta the game entirely. If you get to that point where you’re like I just can’t do this anymore, you know? All right. And

Michaela Canterbury: there’s truthful respect there without the the characterization that you don’t love me or that love is conditional, [00:31:00] you know?

Michaela Canterbury: Right. I mean, when you, when it’s said with love, like, this is all I can. It’s the truth. I love you. This is it. You know?

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. And when you do all that you can do, I mean, there’s really nothing else that people can ask for realistically. And so that’s a good way to think about it.

Scott DeLuzio: I think when you have these situations you know, come down, sit, you know, if you’re married, sit down with your spouse and say, okay, this is a situation I want to help as much as I can. What are our limits? And let’s figure that out so that way I don’t accidentally cross over the line and commit to something that we can’t realistically support.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, such an

Michaela Canterbury: excellent point, Scott. I mean, that was one of the things that we were talking about is like how does support. The addict you love during the holidays and session this time of year, like going into January when you have the blue Monday and the like, saddest day of the year, whatever.

Michaela Canterbury: But when you’re gathering with your family, it’s just like, how are we going to, what are our limits here, right? [00:32:00] How are we going to gather when we know that we have there’s, you know, we have, there’s an addict and we love them. How are we going to support them? Like we just had, you know, Had Thanksgiving and my sister and her boyfriend were able to join us and we’re celebrating four years of recovery this March, which is awesome.

Michaela Canterbury: But we were, you know, there was alcohol there and there, you know, for. But having options for, you know, the people that are in recovery and what’s going to be triggering them, what their backup plan and are you their exit buddy? Are you know, if this, then that what you, what, you know, what, how can I support you in this?

Michaela Canterbury: Which it may be a triggering moment, you know, and if. Uncle Bob is like kind of antagonistic or you know, whatever. Don’t Sure don’t be the foil to Uncle Bob or whatever. So, right. But also talking about talking with your family members and the people that you’re gathering with is. You know, how are we gonna gather for the holidays or how are we gonna do this?

Michaela Canterbury: And it doesn’t have to, we can also have sober events and we can do things, you know, in Alaska we are getting more [00:33:00] snow, but we can sled and we can ski and we can skate and we can have cocoa. And we can do other, we can walk in nature, you know, and we can play games or what, whatever. But just like talking with each family member about how they can show up, and their comfort level.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I think it’s important to understand that each situation, each person’s gonna be different. And they may change along the way in their recovery journey too, where maybe early on in recovery, they may not be able to go to an event where there’s gonna be alcohol or other things like that where they are gonna be tempted to partake in that.

Scott DeLuzio: Later on in their journey, maybe they’ll be more. Able to, but they’ll build up some of that resilience and they’ll be able to go to these events where there is alcohol around and they’ll just be okay with other people partaking in it and not. Do it themselves. And so, really, like you said, you gotta have that conversation with the people and make sure that you understand what they’re able to [00:34:00] handle and have those alternatives, you know, don’t don’t have a whole bar of, you know, beer and wine and spirits and everything else out and have no other alternative beverage, you know, offered. Right. That would be. In your face, kind of a rough thing to do, right? So I. Just provide those options. If

Michaela Canterbury: you see that happening, if you see that’s happening, then go get them some water.

Michaela Canterbury: You know? Or go, you know what I mean? Like, like, just being aware and observative, I mean, like, if you’re hosting have an alternative, but if you’re someplace else and you see that they’re there, you know, and okay, well what are they gonna have to drink? You know, , right. Go do it. You know?

Michaela Canterbury: So they’re just not sitting there awkwardly being on their phone, being thirsty, going, oh,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. But you mentioned something else which I wanted to highlight here too. That there is hope for those who are struggling with addiction. Your sister’s coming up on four years of recovery here and not not using the drugs that she was using before.

Scott DeLuzio: What [00:35:00] was that recovery journey like for your sister and you and your family as she was going through all of.

Michaela Canterbury: Yeah, it was, she was in active addiction for three-ish years. I mean like homeless, all that kind of stuff. And her story of recovery. There were relapses and went to rehab and those kinds of, those, you know, what twice in and outta rehab.

Michaela Canterbury: And that’s, you know, she. We’ve talked about this. We talk in tandem together too. And her story of recovery is that there were some major things that fell down. And you know, they call it hitting your rock bottom, man. Did I hate that word, ? I hate that term. Cause I was, again, I was trying too hard, harder than her to get her into recovery.

Michaela Canterbury: And they’re like, well, did she reach rock bottom? I’m like, are you asking me if she’s dead yet? No, she’s not. Can you help me? And like, I would get so mad at these people. And it was, and that [00:36:00] was, you know, I didn’t know. And I, you know, I pray about it. I asked for forgiveness cause I was kinda snarky. But the road to recovery, you know, there were bumps and there were, you know, you take three steps forward, two steps back, and then there’s some lateral moves.

Michaela Canterbury: And there were, there was just a compilation of events that happened as she tells her story to recovery. But my story to recovery, And loving her is learning to love her from afar. At those moments where it was hurting too much for me, and I never stopped loving her. But there were times I needed to really have some distance and put my limits out there and we have an understanding about it.

Michaela Canterbury: And now, Well, let me back up just a little bit. She called me. I mean, like I had she called me and she told me that some stuff had happened and can I get her ? I’m like, yes, I can. She can’t stay with me. , [00:37:00] I can get you to someplace, but this is all I can do. We also, our family also did an intervention.

Michaela Canterbury: She never denied that she was addicted. And that she had, that there were issues there. It was almost like thanks, but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere, you know? She said, I’m gonna do it my way. My family thought that was you know, that the intervention was a failure. I never thought that because we all spoke our truth and she spoke.

Michaela Canterbury: And so we were all on the same page and she knew we loved her and we just can’t be on this crazy train with her anymore. And so the door was always open for her when she wanted our help. To go into rehab. And so when she’s, when she reached out for that, we were able to step in and do that.

Michaela Canterbury: And it wasn’t, you know, like I said, it was, you know, rehab and then rehab again and things like that. So, but yeah, she found what worked for her. There were some, you know, with this is just an outsider view and being someone [00:38:00] who loves her. Is, and she’s a mental health therapist too. So when she’s going into, and she worked in substance abuse counseling, so when she would go into rehab, she knew exactly what was going on.

Michaela Canterbury: And I almost think like it threatened . She was like a threat. Like they were afraid of her because she’s like, you can’t do that. Yeah, that’s a violation of hipaa, you know, . And but if you didn. When she didn’t fall in line, I’ll put it that way, fall in line with the rubric of the rehab facility she’s in because she’s like calling them on what she thought were not appropriate ways to do things, then that’s not stepping in line.

Michaela Canterbury: And so, Boom. You know, and she’s like, no, I, this again, this is a team sport. Are you on my team? Or is this punitive? So she had kinda her winding road on that, you know? She eventually found her way with yeah, finding recovery. And then she was also able to get her [00:39:00] Her husband entered rehab, which was great.

Michaela Canterbury: And that was after they were divorced, so that was . Yeah. But it was a rough journey. No, I’m not gonna try to sugarcoat it or, you know, there heartbreak and everything. But she did the work. She did the work.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And at the end of the day, I think the key here is that there is hope for people who.

Scott DeLuzio: In addiction and they just, they do need to put in the effort and you know, I, I don’t know that anybody really wants to, like, they, no one wakes up one morning and sits out and is like, you know what? I’m gonna get addicted to something, you know? Right. When I grow

Michaela Canterbury: up, I wanna be an addict.

Michaela Canterbury: No, no one that. Right. I of.

Scott DeLuzio: I wanna live on the streets. I want to, you know, be an addict. I wanna, you know, whatever. Nobody really does that. And that I think at the end of the day it’s hard to get off of that addiction train, but it’s worth it in the end, you know, so, so you have to put in the work.

Scott DeLuzio: I think anything worth doing is gonna, is not gonna be necessarily [00:40:00] easy. It’s necessary to do at times to do tho those hard things in order to achieve whatever the goal is. And in this case recovering

Michaela Canterbury: from that. Right? Another thing that she mentions and see, like her story of recovery is different than mine, but I’ve heard it.

Michaela Canterbury: And she. Had she knew a life with stability, stable family being a professional you know, having a car , things like, like she, she knew that life and she knew that she could have that life. So that was never lost on her. And I was always able to see her light. Like I’ve known her, her whole life.

Michaela Canterbury: Whenever I saw her, I always saw my sister and I always saw her light. Now it got really small, but I still saw it. And so there’s, there is. Hope there is [00:41:00] healing, even though there’s three steps forward, two steps back, there’s hope, there’s healing, you’re making progress. And those little successes when they start building on each other, become big things and their light becomes bigger and the light that you.

Michaela Canterbury: You have with each other becomes bigger. Now she’s able to step in. I mean, like I mentioned, our parents are older and they have some medical conditions and she and I are able to step in together to care for our parents. And when my dad had his stroke, she’s like, my mom has Alzheimer’s, so we had to care for my dad, my mom, while my dad was in icu.

Michaela Canterbury: We show up at my parents’ house and my mom’s very confused. And my sister’s like, I’m so glad I’m clean that I can step in and be here and be present. Even though this is shitty , I can be here and show up with the family. And that’s part of what we, what I was trying to, I get what I pray for.

Michaela Canterbury: I prayed for

Scott DeLuzio: that. Yeah, and that’s part of what I was trying [00:42:00] to say before too, is. If you’re not taking care of yourself, then how are you gonna be able to be there for other people when they need you? And in this case, your parents they need you guys to be there for them, but you know, they’re in that time of their life where they need that support.

Scott DeLuzio: And, you know, if your sister was still actively addicted to something, whatever it happens to be she wouldn’t be able to show. As, as well or even at all in this case. And then everything with land on your plate, in addition to trying to figure out how to help your parents, now you’re also gonna have to figure out how to help your sister.

Scott DeLuzio: And now you’re stretch even more thin and you’re not gonna be a hundred percent there for anybody. So, so it is important to just really at the end of the day, take care of ourselves and. That can help so many different ways you know, and it’s an important thing to do. So I’m glad that you came on and talked about that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Michaela Canterbury: Thank you. Well, also being [00:43:00] respectful, like in that road to recovery that we were both on, she on hers, mine, you know, I know her limits and she knows mine, and we can honestly communicate that to each other and not get mad each other. You appreciate whatever. You never, you know, no. That is so unnecessary and doesn’t help.

Michaela Canterbury: And she’s like, SIS, I gotta work or I gotta do this. This is what I can do. That laid track, for us to be able to step in effectively with our parents,

Scott DeLuzio: right? Yeah. And communication, I think. Any situation is always gonna help things out. No matter what it is. I can’t think of a situation where we’re communicating what you’re able to do, how you’re able to do it, all that kind of stuff.

Scott DeLuzio: I can’t think of a situation that, that would hurt, you know, just come together, be open and honest. Don’t be critical. Don’t be judgmental of the other person and, you know, yeah, you’re, you may be able to give X amount and they may be able to give you to. Less than that, but don’t be critical. Like, oh, I’m doing more [00:44:00] than you, so I’m better, you know, anything like, that’s just not helpful because then they’re gonna start backing away and not wanting to help at all.

Scott DeLuzio: And that doesn’t help the end goal of whatever it is that you’re trying to do. So, so yeah, definitely I like that advice as well. Before we wrap up, tell us about your book Sister Siren and you know, why you wrote it and obviously we talked a lot about the situation here, but tell the listeners what it has to offer them when they read that.

Michaela Canterbury: Sure. So Sister Siren, a nonfiction about addiction and a field guide on house Love Attic is just that. It’s the three year journey of our family. It’s written memoir style. In the back, I have a glossary of terms I like, I realize d C is drug of choice and not department, department of Corrections.

Michaela Canterbury: So I have a whole glossary of terms that I learned. Because remember I didn’t know any of this. And then we also, so it’s I have also the intervention letters that we wrote to my sister. I have letters that I wrote, my sister, I have my M W B T practices in there and some kind of prompts for people to do their own [00:45:00] and then their evening practices.

Michaela Canterbury: And I have what that, I wrote the book, Scott, that I felt I needed. When my, when it was happening because I was looking everywhere and I could find nothing. And so I wrote what I needed and I want to share it with everybody. So all the tools, what worked here, there was hope and healing and recovery, and this is what helped me and I hope , it helps others on their road to.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And that’s a key thing. You know, you wrote the book that you wish was available when you were going through this, and I’m hoping that other people who are going through this get a copy of the book. It’s. Has a lot of the answers to questions that you’re probably asking yourself and trying to figure out what the best thing to do, what the best thing not to do.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, how to just navigate this whole time in your life. So again, Sister Siren, a nonfiction about addiction. I [00:46:00] will have the link to the book in the show notes. So anyone who’s looking to get a copy, please check out the show notes. You can find the link there. McKayla, it’s been an Absolut.

Scott DeLuzio: Pleasure speaking with you. I’m glad that we had this opportunity to chat and I’m glad to hear that your family is you know, getting back to some sense of normalcy after all of this. So thank you again for taking the time to join us.

Michaela Canterbury: Thank you for having me.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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