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023 - Mary Jane "MJ" Watman

“If I have a problem, the problem is me. And if I am the problem, I have a solution wherever I go. And if anyone else is the problem, I am held hostage.”


Mary Jane “MJ” Watman from Cornerstone Healing Center joins us to talk about moving from anger and fear to committed sobriety and taking responsibility for her own emotional well-being. She talks about the trap of using possessive language about your children and circumstances that are out of your control, as well as her work with women coming out of the prison system. Enjoy.


The Illuminate Recovery Podcast is about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Recovery. Shining light on ways to cope, manage, and inspire. Beyond the self care we discuss, you may need the help of a licensed professional. Curt Neider and Shelley Mangum are a part of Illuminate Billing Advocates. They are committed to helping better the industry and adding value to the lives of listeners by sharing tools, insights, and success stories of those who are working on their mental health.













https://anchor.fm/illuminaterecoverypodcast/episodes/023---Mary-Jane-MJ-Watman-from-Cornerstone-Healing-Center-e10aq4u

Transcript (no grammar): if i have a problem the problem is me and if i'm the problem i have a solution wherever i go and if anyone else is the problem i'm held hostage mary jane mj watman from cornerstone healing center joins us to talk about moving from anger and fear to committed sobriety and taking responsibility for her own emotional well-being she talks about the trap of using possessive language about your children and circumstances that are out of your control as well as her work with women coming out of the prison system enjoy welcome to the illuminate recovery podcast we shed light on mental health issues mental illness and addiction recovery ways to cope manage and inspire beyond self-care we will discuss you may need the help of a licensed professional my name is kurt neider i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid a conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i'm shelley mangum i am a clinical mental health counselor and my favorite role of all times is grandma i am a seeker of truth and i feel like life should be approached with tremendous curiosity i ask the dumb questions i fill in the gaps the illuminate recovery podcast is brought to you by illuminate billing advocates make billing and collections simple with leader in substance abuse and mental health billing services verification and analysis of benefits pre-authorizations utilization management accurate claim submission and management denial and appeal management and industry leading reporting improve your practice's cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates today kurt and i visit with mj watman she's in tempe arizona currently a business development specialist at cornerstone healing center she's an advocate for lost our home pet rescue and mj is been drawn to the recovery industry on her own journey and is still kind of wondering what her place is and how she can contribute mj thanks for joining us thank you so much shelly i'm uh beyond grateful to be here it still takes me back when people are like hey i want to hear what you have to say or what you think it's still shocking to me and i'm really grateful you guys asked me to be here your woman after my own heart and like you want me to do what you think i have something a story to tell you i don't know what you're talking about so give us a little background how did you end up um in the recovery industry you know go back as far as you need to and and um why are you still in it absolutely absolutely so um i can like the very back story behind that is um you know i grew up a very um angry angry child and it's funny when i talk about my childhood people are like oh that seems a little much and i'm like no i was a horrible horrible child for my father like it was unless you walked it you wouldn't you'd be like okay i understand that and you know i had a um rough internal childhood we'll put it that way so at the age of 12 uh you know i had friends around me and i drinking and i do that and from the moment i picked up at the age of 12 um i started drinking and you know it was it was game over for me i i don't have years of like you know fun drinking with people i don't have awesome high school experiences i mean my drinking and the consequences of my drinking you know put me in juvenile prison by the age of 17. i i from the minute i picked up i was never able to control it or stop you know and um and i have a lot of people they they've talked to me about that especially if somebody's a parent they're like wait hold on what is what do you mean and and what this look like is when you take a 12 year old and um she has no idea how to function in life right even though i thought i was an adult and would have thought you that i was an adult and then you throw booze on it right so you just throw so much alcohol we're not talking wine coolers booze and so what that looked like from the age of the 12 to the age of 17 was was psychiatric hospitals um and every time i would go into the hospital and bless the the doctors hearts bless the the therapist's heart i mean because i i know that when you're faced with what i look like um how can you think of anything but extreme mental health issues like it was and they were there the prominence was there um and they tried to do everything they can and throw every pill at me that they could to fix me and um you know again i believe that they did the best that they could do um but my journey didn't wasn't gonna end there and so i ended up in juvenile prison at the age of 17 and um that that's the consequences of of what it looked like when i drank i was a very violent unruly drunk you know i at 14 i was uh working in a bar fake ids back then were so much easier than they are so much easier that's incredible so you had this angry childhood i imagine your dad had no idea what to do with you my my father handled this with more grace i'm gonna tell you i'm gonna tell you because my father so my father's um he's been sober now for like 51 years okay so i'm 41. you got it so right there in itself means that i was an amateur compared to anything that he had done so he he wasn't that shocked and appalled um he just and i'm really grateful that he had his own experience because i feel that he handled the situation with me better than any other parent i hear that handles us um and he had to he turned to professionals to the best of his ability to go what can you do with this you know what i mean like and he knew he knew the whole time because he had his own journey this way um what was going to end up trans you know transpiring over the years because i wouldn't quit drinking um but you know he he did the best he could and he turned to the professionals and and uh and if you listen to the stories people are like oh my god i can't believe they medicated you you like that i mean you know because then you had alcohol to all those medications they had me on i was getting my stomach pumped continuously but i genuinely believe that they did the best that they could when you have an angry um you know uh drinking uh juvenile like what do you do with that you know um and i believe that they tried i love your outlook it's very positive of yeah i it was like this and the people around me loved me and did the best they could but i had to go through this journey and there's no blame there's no i don't hear any of that in your story i hope not i'm just i'm doing something wrong if you hear well so many do though right i mean if you're not really good in deep into recovery and have a pretty good handle on that then it is it's everybody else's fault well and and you guys i spent my entire life that way see at the time it wasn't like okay you guys are doing the best you can it was well it's all your fault i remember i had a a uh i had a therapist in when i was when i was locked on because again they didn't have treatment centers for juveniles but they didn't have anything you either got locked up in a psychiatric hospital or you went to juvenile jail like they had limited when you were out of control and they would bring my my poor father and they would bring them in and um tell him how he kind of needs to love me more right the reason i'm acting the way i'm acting and i would be like yeah that's what it is you don't love me enough and see i have a brother and sister who went through my entire life with the same circumstances and being the troubled baby i actually got more attention than all of them and neither of them turned out you know what i mean the way i did but everyone would just be like you need to give her more and you need to love her more and i'm like yeah that's what you need to do it's your fault and i spent my entire life being a victim i spent my entire life it i feel this way because of you guys and unless you guys learn to act differently i'm never gonna be okay and and i had a lot of people you know they bandwagoned it i had some abusive stepmoms when i was younger and people would be like oh my god it makes sense on why you are yes right you guys it's not my fault that i'm you know what i mean and and unfortunately i took that and it almost killed me it almost killed me that's incredible well and as a young person you're so you know so impressionable and you're in this really hard place and and people are like it can't possibly be your fault it has to be your environment's fault and of course that's easier to hold on to but the problem with that is you can't do anything if it's somebody else's fault right absolutely absolutely um so tell me your your mental health i'm curious about your mental health stuff is that um alcohol induced or do you really have this pervasive mental health so i can tell you that um mj's emotional nature i that was there with the anger and with the which of course we know now is fear like that that's a hundred percent what that is um that was there way before i picked up so um you know i ended up with some abusive stepmoms and when you take you know i know it's a big big scenario that men are the abusers and i have the exact opposite experience in my life i've walked in and watched you know my dad just putting his hands over his head as women and hit him and and the abusers in my life were were women right the stepmoms that kind of stuff and um when you put somebody like that my brother and my sister i'm assuming they felt fear and they were able to adjust i turned to rage and anger so this was prominent way before i picked up a drink and what happened is that when i picked up the drink it just fueled that so i can tell you that through my entire childhood into my adult years there's been i've had the the consistent diagnosis has been you're bipolar right um i'm very uh age has mellowed me out a lot but i get the very hyperactive um which is the mania and then i go and then i drop down into the depressive and that's a whole other story now but i can say that through that entire time that's what they saw um they saw the bipolar um it presented as the bipolar and it could possibly and still could possibly have been bipolar if that makes sense um so they tried an obscene amount of medications and then of course now this was back in the 90s they would never mix these medications like they do now i have doctors going what do you mean they put you on prozac you should never put somebody you know um and but i i again i just i i if you knew me you'd know that they just did the best that they could do so there was the underlining mental health and i had a lot of people that wanted to focus on the mental health and believed that if the mental health was addressed the drinking would subside and i wanted to jump on that like why wouldn't i want to take a couple pills and my life would end up being okay and it would be better and i wanted it to actually be the truth i don't have stigma with mental health if you can tell and i wanted that to be the truth i wanted it to um in some way not be my fault if that makes sense if it's mental health i can't control it and it's not my fault um which as we know as an adult it's like well that's not the way that works either because i would i wanted the excuse i wanted the excuse of why i did what i did in the blame so i you know that's it does that answer it for you it it does answer it and i love the way you answer it in such great detail because you're certainly your story is unique but it's not the only i mean everybody everybody has a story and being able to hear somebody else and relate to somebody else who's been where they were is super powerful so i love the detail that you bring in um so talk about your recovery right what did that work because i can tell now you're in a much better place and you even question the bipolar piece talk about that recovery journey and and how that got you to where you are now okay so i i um when i was 21 i ended up uh going to prison i went to prison and um right before i went into prison i believed um because see i really don't like i want to i'm i'm the type that i want to do what i want to do and i really don't want to suffer consequences you get that like that's me like i just you know how dare you guys bring consequences against me so i was facing prison and i had a brilliant idea at the age of 21 that they do not send pregnant women to prison i believed that i did from wholeheartedly believed that um and i am proof that they do and so there's a lot of other people so i ended up going to prison at the age of 21 um i had my daughter in prison and she's now going to be 20 this year so that's how long ago that was um and i believed that when i went into prison i believed that this was it i believed that these were the consequences i needed it all makes sense now and that i'm never gonna do this again like i you know it clicked for me um and um i want to tell you guys i'm 20 years uh clean and sober and i'm not you know so i had a lot of pain that needed to come after that a lot of the consequences that came um were that final conclusion that these consequences were never going to be enough um to sober me up and i and i you know i wish they were we this conversation would look very different um and what happened is is that um i uh i got sober and had two and a half years of sobriety i relapsed um i got sober again i had three and a half years of sobriety and during that time when i was not participating in my recovery i had to have some surgeries and then we have a nice seven year stint of hard narcotics um and by time i uh entered the world of recovery i was broken i had uh very young children that i had done everything i said i would never do putting them in the car when i was in blackouts everything i was disgusted by people that did i ended up doing that um and when i got sober um i men they're i don't know how to describe um defeat into a sense of willingness into willingness and what that means is not that i put down drugs and alcohol it's for the first time in my life i was willing to accept responsibility and um and that was something that i never wanted to do i just always wanted to blame my pain my drugs my alcohol use on other people and if you guys had went through what i went through you guys would understand why i do what i do poor mj like that's all i wanted was poor mj nobody gives it to me even when bad times people are like i'm not giving you a poor mj and i'm like please just one give me one um and so um you know i i was defeated i was defeated and i i had to take a a hard look at i'm a 31 year old mom and um drugs and alcohol are more important than they are and that that's the sad truth um i will never beat around like i loved them my actions did not dictate that i've worked with a lot of women over the years and men i love my kids and it's like are your actions well no and and i've also learned a really hard truth guys wait for this you might not know this yet the world judges you by your actions not your intentions and see it was just so wrong guys that's so long you know there's one thing i could change um and so what i was able to do and find in recovery is learn to change the actions and then the rest just kind of followed with that and that was something i was never willing to do prior i was never willing to do that i just wanted to do whatever i wanted to do and um i need you guys to be okay with it you know and of course in this beautiful little journey of recovery i learned that i wasn't okay with it that was you know it took years into my sobriety where i realized oh my god this is hurting me when i'm angry you know like all those things that people talk about and i'm sure they said to me over the years but i didn't put two and two together so you talked about um obviously hitting rock bottom right and that defeat to a sense of willingness is a great way to phrase that the phrase of you saying that the world judges you by your actions not your intentions and that like connected for you you started to take responsibility and change those intentions how did that change the way that you may that you felt about yourself well i remember the first time again years in a sprite i'm a slow learner guys i'm a very painful learner i remember yelling at someone right yelling at them and like having a moment of pause where of of course it was in a relationship right and yelling and having that moment of pause and being like this doesn't feel good and i had spent my entire life with it not clicking that i'm hurting me and that never worked for me in the beginning i need to be very clear that i needed to compute that i don't want to hurt you first like that that that i have this like weird like i don't want to hurt people and of course i didn't realize that the more i hurt people the more of course i hated myself no wonder where this this anger came from this bitterness um and the longer i do this i'm working on sarcasm now i don't want to talk about it i really thought i had a couple more years till i had to work on this on this jabby sarcasm that i have i'm not ready i just i really you know give me and give me five more years of being a sarcastic jerk like and i i was being sarcastic with somebody and i'm jabbing i'm like oh man that why did i do that doesn't feel good the person didn't even respond negatively like they went with it and i was like oh i don't want to i don't like that and they just it it happened so slowly i had a lot of pain and sobriety it happened so slowly um that that's when i realized like my anger it's hurting me i'm not gonna sit in resentment anymore at first it was if i sit in resentment there's a good chance my sobriety is going to be really disconnected right and that's enough i want to stay sober so i'm going to do the work on this resentment i'm not going to sit in it then it became the i don't want to hurt me and that's a huge thing because i just spent my entire life trying to die i mean i literally had spent my entire life trying to die and then to genuinely care that i don't want to hurt me and of course i watch it now i watch my teenagers oh my little teenagers and my little 16 year old oh just the sweetest thing angry about society and things going wrong and i watch her so mad and i'm like please stop hurting yourself and i see it like that anger's only hurting her nobody else cares about her anger and it's like you know it's like oh this is what my dad was trying to say dang it takes forever doesn't it to have that stuff sink in it's horrible curt does it did that answer the question yeah okay yeah absolutely i am i'm listening to you talk about your kids and that that recovery um journey has to obviously include them and impacted them what's that look like what did that look like and what does it look like now so i am i'm i've always been pretty honest with them like let's let's we'll be very clear very honest because i also wasn't one of those that felt that guy should drag him through my addiction but not let him actually see what recovery is if that makes sense um i've worked in treatment a long time and i have people they're like i don't know if i should talk to my kids about this and i'm like but they just played a part in the in the addiction process you know talk with them be a part of the recovery process with you and um it has been uh man it's it's i have the most forgiving children right it's um it's it's amazing how um the life that they've been able to have because of my life of recovery um the the friends that i have that have included them i remember the first time i'm uh it was bringing my kids around people in recovery like bring my kids and then they would bring their kids and we had a home group where our kids would go play in another room right and do this and and i remember looking at these people and and the way they treated my children and and it would i would be dealing with something and hey i got to work late and i would have you know my sponsee and her husband would come watch them for me and do this kind of stuff and so they they get to see nothing but the beauty of of what this program looks like if that makes sense and and um and it's funny because um a couple years ago i went through the uh fingerprint clearance process right so i i've been taking meetings into the women's prison here i've been doing all that but i was like finally i'm just gonna go through the fingerprint clearance and a couple weeks ago my daughter was talking to me and she was like mom what exactly me and her other daughter my other daughter what did you go to prison for and like they knew but they don't you know know and i go here i'm going to send you my fingerprint clearance card so that all my charges i've ever had explanation of all of my charges that i ever had so my 15 and 16 year old i just emailed them the fingerprint clearance card and they're like oh my gosh and some people would be like why because it's the truth and i have no problem i am not ashamed i have no stigma around any of my life i have no stigma around my i have none of it because what i found is that as soon as i accepted it your guys's opinion doesn't really matter that much right like like that's i embrace it today and i am able to help people um but they were like wow mom and i'm like yeah that's this is this is what alcoholism looks like ladies you know that's my best explanation of that wow incredible do your are you seeing your kids follow that pattern because obviously we always want to make break those generational patterns what's that looking like well here's here's the thing so you know my mom my dad my grandfather who died with like being sober for 28 years my other i have alcoholism rampant like you can't get any more with this polish irish family i mean you just you can't like it is it is rampant and i can tell you that you know my my ex-husband he and i get along swimmingly when one of my daughters is pulling something that a teenager does even if it's not addiction or if it's that which they've been to answer that shelly is there they're amateurs compared to anything with me and my ex-husband always has to stay stop comparing our children to you no one's as bad because i'm like oh 14 i was working in a bar i dropped out of high school right like this one she tripped on acid one time like i mean that's not bad compared to me and he's like stop you know so so no the footprints have not been there they're not there um and i can tell you guys from the bottom of my heart i i really don't have that much worry about it um because whatever their path is um i've given them an example of what to do and that's what my dad did with me my dad never never tried to tell me how to stayso like he never i remember you know what he told me about alcoholism if you don't drink you can't be an alcoholic that's what he would say to me right if you don't pick up alcohol you can't be an alcoholic yeah yeah sure and um i'm not sure i'm under no delusion i i do my best with my kids but i am an example to them because i remember when i got sober my my greatest lesson was the way my dad handled me and to know that that man had to accept that as much as that i was his child that he had to do his best to let go and trust that the universe and i are going to figure this out because he i watch parents like he would have been i watch parents now and i'm i'm i'm it's it's watching somebody in addiction when you're watching them how i save my kid and how i save my kid and and i can tell you guys a couple years ago my daughter who was 17 at the time she committed suicide and um when you take somebody like me and you now have a 17 year old who is no longer there right like she's no longer there that that invokes a fear to either want to hang on to your children and never right to fix how do i make sure this never happens or it does the opposite and you want to just kind of detach and push them away because this is going to hurt and when this happened i watched myself start grasping onto these like my other kids do you understand like grasping onto them because that fear the fear and like just i mean it's like that it's gone everything's changed your life has changed it'll never be the same period like there's no conversation to be had and i had to do a lot of fear work a lot of fear work a lot of meditation oh my goodness the amount i mean i would like panic attacks and have to do this to be able to not push my kids away and detached because you're going to go someday and i don't want to feel this ever again not hang on to prevent pain from from happening but learn to allow them to have their life despite my fear if that makes sense and and that is such a work and progress for me and it has fluctuated and it has gone up and down and mine more is more of detachment i mean i'm i'm like i'm going to detach um and so mine is stop detaching like your your fear isn't going to prevent so it's been a lot of work over these last four years um and i think i i do a pretty good job of not putting my fears off onto my kids um because it's not fair that i do that to them it's it's not fair that they have to live a life based on my fears and what i'm going through and so i'm really grateful that if anything tragic in my life has had to happen that i have these these this design of living that allows even the most tragic thing you can imagine to walk away from it being utterly grateful and willing to grow and to have learned does that make does that make sense that makes so much sense and and i'm just i'm just sitting here in awe because what you just shared i mean i can only imagine the journey and i heard you say you're still in that journey you don't lose a child and and and never be free of the pain that comes from that right you just can't there's always that loss but but that piece of you watch parents that are doing everything they can to save their child and it's just pushing them away it's not the message because the message you send when you do that is we can't trust you and and you're not okay by yourself you're only okay if you do what we say and and that's never intended but that's exactly what's sent and what you're saying is you guys are gonna mess up and i'm gonna be here and it doesn't it doesn't change how much i love you and how much i care about you but you're gonna mess up and we're just going to pick up the pieces and figure it out that's it that's so hard for parents you know everybody but parents particularly that's a tough concept to capture and and i can tell you that nobody taught me that what i learned was watching my father what i learned was watching him and knowing that that whatever my my other children whatever path they have ahead of them that if the only thing i get to be is an example then you know i mean i fail miserably of course i do right like i mean who doesn't as a parent come on like like i always tell this to parents i'm like listen no matter how good you do this there's gonna be one parental guilt no matter what like you're gonna right and two they're gonna blame you for everything so it doesn't matter like none of it matters and i have so many women that are just now starting that journey of parenting and i watch them go out right and and it's funny because the only way i can treat my kids and the best way i try to teach the best i can is they're not your kids like they're not yours and that's hard when you're waking up with them changing diapers doing all like i'm sacrificing i'm sacrificing and it's like they're not yours they're going into this world and they're gonna be their own and that's a really hard you guys get it you know i mean you gotta do both of you kurt do you have children yeah yeah and it's like i'm here as as this this small piece of your life right and and that's that's a hard thing you know and the fear the fear is just gnarly oh it is it's incredible it's horrible yeah my oldest two teenagers they taught me like i didn't have a choice right because they weren't going to do what i said you know i would i would come to my my 16 year old son's window and i'd say honey i put the screen back in your window do you have any idea how that came out and he's like no mom i have no idea and the very next day i'd come back and put the screen in again you know and i'm just i come to the realization it really doesn't matter what i do as a parent at some point they they're going to choose and if i want to have a relationship with them and influence them and love them i better change the way i'm thinking and parenting and showing up for them so i love your example because it's spot on and not easy right that journey is not easy no it's not easy and it's really funny because um i i got to spend some time doing interventions which is like oh my unfortunately i did this when my kids were too little so the traveling it just it was a short period of time but i love more than anything working with families because the objective is to try to teach somebody like to take this this mother this father this grandmother and say the most loving thing you could do is offer them recovery so if you're doing anything outside of offering them recovery that's not the loving thing to do and it's hard because what do you mean i should bring them home and i should why well i have to give them money and i have to do this and it's like like like the loving thing to do is for you to be willing to be uncomfortable because that's what it is it's not about about other people like it's not about my son no it's about the way i'm gonna feel with my son the guilt i feel the shame i feel right and it's like you need to be willing to be uncomfortable for your life for your loved one to have this life of recovery and you got to be willing to be uncomfortable you want them to be uncomfortable you want them to put down drugs and alcohol you want them to go into treatment you want them to do that but you're not willing to do that and that's where all the work is in the intervention and it's i i feel it's that way with parenting period yeah you know parents aren't broken they didn't do anything if you'll just fix my child then our whole family would be all better and it doesn't work that way it's a system if you guys could have just fixed my broken family i wouldn't have to go through any of this we wouldn't have to have all that anger exactly exactly so yeah it's it's it's a it's a weird little thing man every i've had people they're like mj i remember the first thing you said to me when i found out i was pregnant or my wife was pregnant and first thing i always say is you're about to learn fear like you've never known fear that's always my first parenting tip you're about to know fear like you've never known fear and it's gonna all be worth it that's all i got you know for a parent that's it there it is yeah well in the opposite side of that is you're going to learn to love deeper than you have ever loved before right because they go hand in hand that's why you fears because you love them and you want to protect them and it's like ah stop doing that it's scary me and what are the neighbors gonna think well you know what's really funny that you say that is is that um about a year after her death my my baby my beautiful little baby who's 15 now um she was going through stuff right like here we go right here hang on i'm getting the the police department at school's calling me and we're going for the ride right and i remember i had to leave work and and i'm raging i'm so mad and i'm angry right and i'm just like and i'm going and then i get another call a couple days later and her and her friends and you know she's just saying this stuff and then it's just it's this nonstop nothing to do with drugs and alcohol that i know how to deal with right this stuff but i do get it i know what happens when a kid lies and wants attention you that whole thing and i remember i'm driving um the the tempe police department they're out looking for her and her friend you know took off from school and and all the stuff and um and i come home and i'm not with her it was about the third or fourth time i'm getting another call from the school we need you to come in we need to sit down you know these and i'm just like i'm i'm so mad and i stop and i go what are you afraid of and so i got to grab pen to paper and i started doing this fear work and you guys like i'm in a joke right now and and this is like and this is the truth right here ready i'm looking at this and i go am i afraid about the life she's going to have and i go i mean kind of but not really like i really like i have an amazing life today you guys like and i'm like okay with my past i'm genuinely okay with it today because i get to like help so many people and it's awesome and nobody would want to hear me if i was like you know had a good life like what do you got mj right and uh and i go is it because of that and i'm like no and i'm like what is this fear where is it what is this fear coming from right and i go okay well if i get called out of work what if i lose my job right i remember doing this to my dad over and over and i go what if i lose my job right and i have this partner i got this partner that i love you guys like i l right i love him and what if he says i can't do this anymore and then it hit me like a ton of bricks that all of my anger at her all of this all of every ounce of anger at her was you're going to inconvenience my life and what i wouldn't give right what i wouldn't give to be inconvenienced by other people that are no longer here right like what i wouldn't give and since that day it's been a com like completely different dynamic on the way i deal with my kids and the way i handle the trouble it is we're done with the anger and the fear because it's a selfish fear it's not even like it looks sounds good i'm worried about her and all my friends are like oh my god yeah like what if she that's gonna be so and it's like no it came all right you know disgusting that is to admit that that i was so concerned about the inconvenience of it but it looked really good on paper oh my god she's acting these waves and the laws that you know like i mean it looked good and you have to admit that like to sit there and say it was all about which it usually is anyways about me and i'm from that moment on i've been able to handle the stuff that comes it's like this isn't about you mj this isn't when it's not about me like that i'm able to be loving i'm able to be more patient i'm able to be you know like let's walk through this so it's a huge thing huge deal inconvenience my anger came from you're going to inconvenience my life so painful that was a tough day guys oh my word i guess so and i can hear the emotions in there of man if i could just be inconvenienced by my daughter that's no longer here then i'm going to i'm going to do it for this one right i'm going to figure this out me up and you've got these tools that you can sit down and start looking i'm afraid of something what is it because until you know what it is you can't do anything with it you can't even touch it yes like anger yeah and how did changing and coming to identify that how did that change your relationship with your daughter um like i mean from night to day right from night to day like i would pick her up put her in the car like that kind of stuff and from night to day it looks like i'm sorry you're going through this i'm sorry that you're hurting um i can't allow certain things right like we're not going to do this there will be consequences with this and when you're not coming from a place of anger and lashing out um you're way more useful i mean you know what i mean and the bottom line is is that if i have a problem and shelley you'll you're gonna like this one like the my living motto is this if i have a problem the problem is me and if i'm the problem i have a solution wherever i go and if anyone else is the problem i'm held hostage and so it has allowed me to be able to interact with them at a civilized as much as you know i can be civilized right um in nature with with my kids i remember my kid one of my kids saying to me mom you're the patient one their dad's a saint guys no like he's insane like i drugged that poor man through just hell he's a saint and for them to say that i'm the patient hold on calm i'm the patient calm with like what world what right and this guy's a sick i mean he is and like they trust coming to me because i'm not gonna overreact that would not have been the case if i blame this on anger and said you need to act better as a kid right because you would just sit there and shame them but now the message you give them is i love you no matter how you show up i'm here to help you and i'm going to set clear boundaries and i'm going to work my recovery so you can figure out yours when you're ready yep absolutely and it's that accountability is they've got it you you're not taking their stuff from them and how powerful is that absolutely that's so cool yeah uh we could talk about this forever i'm just curious what's the kind of what do you love doing at the cornerstone healing center and with the people that you work with talk about that a little bit so here's what i get to do i get to it's called the you know it's business development i don't like that only because it's it's not i mean it is but it's not so i i label myself the community outreach okay so here's what i get to do um so cornerstone in itself like i've been trying to i've been trying to get into cornerstone and work for cornerstone for the last couple years um but when people come in they never leave right so i have this thing with cornerstone and it'll sync up with everything i've kind of said there is that i wanted to work at cornerstone not because of the workers not because of the people who run it they're all amazing is because in this recovery world i'm interacting with people who are like really of service and that i'm going to go to an age and not you know like go to hospitals and care you know just do all these things that come along in the recovery world and i'm like oh my god like where'd you go to treatment they're like cornerstone healing center and i'm like oh my god that place is amazing right because you watch it again i don't care everybody talks about my company's amazing you know i'm not doing that it's from the people that are coming out so the biggest thing that i get to do is i get to work with in the community even with people that cannot come to our facility so there are people that if the insurance doesn't match up um they were cornerstone was male only until february and then we we opened up with the females so i get to work with people that have nothing to do with or without coming to our place it's not this hustle of of business it's not this hustle of business it is go out there and this is from the owners down you never say no to somebody bring them in even if they don't have insurance we'll find a place for them sit with them offer them a cup of coffee we're going to find them the right spot and help them get in and so i get to go like last week and tomorrow i get to go in front of the parole board with a bunch of parolees and and share and talk and it's more about like my story going through i'm not even like pumping cornerstone and i get to talk with probation officers after parole officers and we get to do this so my life and days are filled with being out within the community um and building the relationships that we're able to help everybody even if it's not us at our facility so it's so much more to me than business development you know what i mean it's i get to get out into the community and it is by far i've never been so happy um because i liked pulling away from the individual client care and getting more out there and having hands-on being able to help people because i get phone calls you know domestic violence issues and i've been able to build relationships with some domestic violence places in the community and then i can connect them and that's you know i mean what what feels better than being able to help somebody mj you have an incredible story and and i can tell by just what you said about your job that it's not really a job it's something you love so much that even if they didn't pay you you'd go do it because it's so much fun listen in a heartbeat everybody has bills and everyone needs to pay everything but it is beyond what a what a pr i was doing this even when i wasn't working here so you are correct and i was doing it for free my phone just rocks i get rocked left and right and yet to be able to wear very cool t-shirts i don't know if you guys can see my t-shirt there we have the best t-shirts and be able to just hit pavement out in the community um and they're like just just make it happen you know which it doesn't happen with a lot of bigger corporations and that's why i'm glad we're a really small facility we're very big on accountability we're very big everything is community there's no just the separation um and i mean it's like that thing that that i wanted in the bottle that sense that that ease that comfort that i can fit in i don't need to be afraid right um i've been able to do um by just continuously being able to be of use to other people and who would have thought that that's what makes me happy right who would have thought it you know undoubtedly um mj i know that i have been absolutely inspired by your story and and you will not be forgotten i will think about mj and then we'll probably connect and be best friends now and i imagine other people are going to feel the same way that they want to they want to know you they want to understand you or maybe they want to um have you help them how do they get a hold of you what's the best way so i am at you can always look i'm i'm available and am i allowed to just kind of like put my phone number out there is that okay so i'm always available through email always available through our website we have the 1 800 number uh cornerstone healing center um but i have a num a work phone number that if anybody is looking they need help they need guidance i can help direct them to the right places if if our facility isn't the best fit uh my cell phone number is 480-766-8505 um and i'm available to always answer the phone or at least reply to a text whatever that is it's incredible i'm going to tell you that when i meet with people and they need to experience somebody in recovery i'm sending them your way because i don't know anybody that's done as much as you have as far as personal work thank you my friend and it's so it's so you know what's so sad guys apparently according to everybody uh that has been through this journey a lot longer than me i'm just scratching the surface isn't that horrible i'm like no like what yeah apparently apparently apparently i'm just scratching the surface and now the real work will begin so i guess it's i guess this doesn't end you know i guess enough i'm nothing but grateful to be able to do it i guess you know yeah well i think i think the second half of your journey will be a little bit differently than the first half and and it'll bring you great joy i figure i'm only half done and i got a whole half life to figure out what i'm going to do with and and make make a difference right absolutely who knows what tomorrow will bring you know that's right it's been an absolute pleasure mj thank you i am so grateful to be here guys thank you so much so like he never i remember you know what he told me about alcoholism if you don't drink you can't be an alcoholic that's what he would say to me right if you don't pick up alcohol you can't be an alcoholic yeah yeah sure and um i'm not sure i'm under no delusion i i do my best with my kids but i am an example to them because i remember when i got sober my my greatest lesson was the way my dad handled me and to know that that man had to accept that as much as that i was his child that he had to do his best to let go and trust that the universe and i are going to figure this out because he i watch parents like he would have been i watch parents now and i'm i'm i'm it's it's watching somebody in addiction when you're watching them how i save my kid and how i save my kid and and i can tell you guys a couple years ago my daughter who was 17 at the time she committed suicide and um when you take somebody like me and you now have a 17 year old who is no longer there right like she's no longer there that that invokes a fear to either want to hang on to your children and never right to fix how do i make sure this never happens or it does the opposite and you want to just kind of detach and push them away because this is going to hurt and when this happened i watched myself start grasping onto these like my other kids do you understand like grasping onto them because that fear the fear and like just i mean it's like that it's gone everything's changed your life has changed it'll never be the same period like there's no conversation to be had and i had to do a lot of fear work a lot of fear work a lot of meditation oh my goodness the amount i mean i would like panic attacks and have to do this to be able to not push my kids away and detached because you're going to go someday and i don't want to feel this ever again not hang on to prevent pain from from happening but learn to allow them to have their life despite my fear if that makes sense and and that is such a work and progress for me and it has fluctuated and it has gone up and down and mine more is more of detachment i mean i'm i'm like i'm going to detach um and so mine is stop detaching like your your fear isn't going to prevent so it's been a lot of work over these last four years um and i think i i do a pretty good job of not putting my fears off onto my kids um because it's not fair that i do that to them it's it's not fair that they have to live a life based on my fears and what i'm going through and so i'm really grateful that if anything tragic in my life has had to happen that i have these these this design of living that allows even the most tragic thing you can imagine to walk away from it being utterly grateful and willing to grow and to have learned does that make does that make sense that makes so much sense and and i'm just i'm just sitting here in awe because what you just shared i mean i can only imagine the journey and i heard you say you're still in that journey you don't lose a child and and and never be free of the pain that comes from that right you just can't there's always that loss but but that piece of you watch parents that are doing everything they can to save their child and it's just pushing them away it's not the message because the message you send when you do that is we can't trust you and and you're not okay by yourself you're only okay if you do what we say and and that's never intended but that's exactly what's sent and what you're saying is you guys are gonna mess up and i'm gonna be here and it doesn't it doesn't change how much i love you and how much i care about you but you're gonna mess up and we're just going to pick up the pieces and figure it out that's it that's so hard for parents you know everybody but parents particularly that's a tough concept to capture and and i can tell you that nobody taught me that what i learned was watching my father what i learned was watching him and knowing that that whatever my my other children whatever path they have ahead of them that if the only thing i get to be is an example then you know i mean i fail miserably of course i do right like i mean who doesn't as a parent come on like like i always tell this to parents i'm like listen no matter how good you do this there's gonna be one parental guilt no matter what like you're gonna right and two they're gonna blame you for everything so it doesn't matter like none of it matters and i have so many women that are just now starting that journey of parenting and i watch them go out right and and it's funny because the only way i can treat my kids and the best way i try to teach the best i can is they're not your kids like they're not yours and that's hard when you're waking up with them changing diapers doing all like i'm sacrificing i'm sacrificing and it's like they're not yours they're going into this world and they're gonna be their own and that's a really hard you guys get it you know i mean you gotta do both of you kurt do you have children yeah yeah and it's like i'm here as as this this small piece of your life right and and that's that's a hard thing you know and the fear the fear is just gnarly oh it is it's incredible it's horrible yeah my oldest two teenagers they taught me like i didn't have a choice right because they weren't going to do what i said you know i would i would come to my my 16 year old son's window and i'd say honey i put the screen back in your window do you have any idea how that came out and he's like no mom i have no idea and the very next day i'd come back and put the screen in again you know and i'm just i come to the realization it really doesn't matter what i do as a parent at some point they they're going to choose and if i want to have a relationship with them and influence them and love them i better change the way i'm thinking and parenting and showing up for them so i love your example because it's spot on and not easy right that journey is not easy no it's not easy and it's really funny because um i i got to spend some time doing interventions which is like oh my unfortunately i did this when my kids were too little so the traveling it just it was a short period of time but i love more than anything working with families because the objective is to try to teach somebody like to take this this mother this father this grandmother and say the most loving thing you could do is offer them recovery so if you're doing anything outside of offering them recovery that's not the loving thing to do and it's hard because what do you mean i should bring them home and i should why well i have to give them money and i have to do this and it's like like like the loving thing to do is for you to be willing to be uncomfortable because that's what it is it's not about about other people like it's not about my son no it's about the way i'm gonna feel with my son the guilt i feel the shame i feel right and it's like you need to be willing to be uncomfortable for your life for your loved one to have this life of recovery and you got to be willing to be uncomfortable you want them to be uncomfortable you want them to put down drugs and alcohol you want them to go into treatment you want them to do that but you're not willing to do that and that's where all the work is in the intervention and it's i i feel it's that way with parenting period yeah you know parents aren't broken they didn't do anything if you'll just fix my child then our whole family would be all better and it doesn't work that way it's a system if you guys could have just fixed my broken family i wouldn't have to go through any of this we wouldn't have to have all that anger exactly exactly so yeah it's it's it's a it's a weird little thing man every i've had people they're like mj i remember the first thing you said to me when i found out i was pregnant or my wife was pregnant and first thing i always say is you're about to learn fear like you've never known fear that's always my first parenting tip you're about to know fear like you've never known fear and it's gonna all be worth it that's all i got you know for a parent that's it there it is yeah well in the opposite side of that is you're going to learn to love deeper than you have ever loved before right because they go hand in hand that's why you fears because you love them and you want to protect them and it's like ah stop doing that it's scary me and what are the neighbors gonna think well you know what's really funny that you say that is is that um about a year after her death my my baby my beautiful little baby who's 15 now um she was going through stuff right like here we go right here hang on i'm getting the the police department at school's calling me and we're going for the ride right and i remember i had to leave work and and i'm raging i'm so mad and i'm angry right and i'm just like and i'm going and then i get another call a couple days later and her and her friends and you know she's just saying this stuff and then it's just it's this nonstop nothing to do with drugs and alcohol that i know how to deal with right this stuff but i do get it i know what happens when a kid lies and wants attention you that whole thing and i remember i'm driving um the the tempe police department they're out looking for her and her friend you know took off from school and and all the stuff and um and i come home and i'm not with her it was about the third or fourth time i'm getting another call from the school we need you to come in we need to sit down you know these and i'm just like i'm i'm so mad and i stop and i go what are you afraid of and so i got to grab pen to paper and i started doing this fear work and you guys like i'm in a joke right now and and this is like and this is the truth right here ready i'm looking at this and i go am i afraid about the life she's going to have and i go i mean kind of but not really like i really like i have an amazing life today you guys like and i'm like okay with my past i'm genuinely okay with it today because i get to like help so many people and it's awesome and nobody would want to hear me if i was like you know had a good life like what do you got mj right and uh and i go is it because of that and i'm like no and i'm like what is this fear where is it what is this fear coming from right and i go okay well if i get called out of work what if i lose my job right i remember doing this to my dad over and over and i go what if i lose my job right and i have this partner i got this partner that i love you guys like i l right i love him and what if he says i can't do this anymore and then it hit me like a ton of bricks that all of my anger at her all of this all of every ounce of anger at her was you're going to inconvenience my life and what i wouldn't give right what i wouldn't give to be inconvenienced by other people that are no longer here right like what i wouldn't give and since that day it's been a com like completely different dynamic on the way i deal with my kids and the way i handle the trouble it is we're done with the anger and the fear because it's a selfish fear it's not even like it looks sounds good i'm worried about her and all my friends are like oh my god yeah like what if she that's gonna be so and it's like no it came all right you know disgusting that is to admit that that i was so concerned about the inconvenience of it but it looked really good on paper oh my god she's acting these waves and the laws that you know like i mean it looked good and you have to admit that like to sit there and say it was all about which it usually is anyways about me and i'm from that moment on i've been able to handle the stuff that comes it's like this isn't about you mj this isn't when it's not about me like that i'm able to be loving i'm able to be more patient i'm able to be you know like let's walk through this so it's a huge thing huge deal inconvenience my anger came from you're going to inconvenience my life so painful that was a tough day guys oh my word i guess so and i can hear the emotions in there of man if i could just be inconvenienced by my daughter that's no longer here then i'm going to i'm going to do it for this one right i'm going to figure this out me up and you've got these tools that you can sit down and start looking i'm afraid of something what is it because until you know what it is you can't do anything with it you can't even touch it yes like anger yeah and how did changing and coming to identify that how did that change your relationship with your daughter um like i mean from night to day right from night to day like i would pick her up put her in the car like that kind of stuff and from night to day it looks like i'm sorry you're going through this i'm sorry that you're hurting um i can't allow certain things right like we're not going to do this there will be consequences with this and when you're not coming from a place of anger and lashing out um you're way more useful i mean you know what i mean and the bottom line is is that if i have a problem and shelley you'll you're gonna like this one like the my living motto is this if i have a problem the problem is me and if i'm the problem i have a solution wherever i go and if anyone else is the problem i'm held hostage and so it has allowed me to be able to interact with them at a civilized as much as you know i can be civilized right um in nature with with my kids i remember my kid one of my kids saying to me mom you're the patient one their dad's a saint guys no like he's insane like i drugged that poor man through just hell he's a saint and for them to say that i'm the patient hold on calm i'm the patient calm with like what world what right and this guy's a sick i mean he is and like they trust coming to me because i'm not gonna overreact that would not have been the case if i blame this on anger and said you need to act better as a kid right because you would just sit there and shame them but now the message you give them is i love you no matter how you show up i'm here to help you and i'm going to set clear boundaries and i'm going to work my recovery so you can figure out yours when you're ready yep absolutely and it's that accountability is they've got it you you're not taking their stuff from them and how powerful is that absolutely that's so cool yeah uh we could talk about this forever i'm just curious what's the kind of what do you love doing at the cornerstone healing center and with the people that you work with talk about that a little bit so here's what i get to do i get to it's called the you know it's business development i don't like that only because it's it's not i mean it is but it's not so i i label myself the community outreach okay so here's what i get to do um so cornerstone in itself like i've been trying to i've been trying to get into cornerstone and work for cornerstone for the last couple years um but when people come in they never leave right so i have this thing with cornerstone and it'll sync up with everything i've kind of said there is that i wanted to work at cornerstone not because of the workers not because of the people who run it they're all amazing is because in this recovery world i'm interacting with people who are like really of service and that i'm going to go to an age and not you know like go to hospitals and care you know just do all these things that come along in the recovery world and i'm like oh my god like where'd you go to treatment they're like cornerstone healing center and i'm like oh my god that place is amazing right because you watch it again i don't care everybody talks about my company's amazing you know i'm not doing that it's from the people that are coming out so the biggest thing that i get to do is i get to work with in the community even with people that cannot come to our facility so there are people that if the insurance doesn't match up um they were cornerstone was male only until february and then we we opened up with the females so i get to work with people that have nothing to do with or without coming to our place it's not this hustle of of business it's not this hustle of business it is go out there and this is from the owners down you never say no to somebody bring them in even if they don't have insurance we'll find a place for them sit with them offer them a cup of coffee we're going to find them the right spot and help them get in and so i get to go like last week and tomorrow i get to go in front of the parole board with a bunch of parolees and and share and talk and it's more about like my story going through i'm not even like pumping cornerstone and i get to talk with probation officers after parole officers and we get to do this so my life and days are filled with being out within the community um and building the relationships that we're able to help everybody even if it's not us at our facility so it's so much more to me than business development you know what i mean it's i get to get out into the community and it is by far i've never been so happy um because i liked pulling away from the individual client care and getting more out there and having hands-on being able to help people because i get phone calls you know domestic violence issues and i've been able to build relationships with some domestic violence places in the community and then i can connect them and that's you know i mean what what feels better than being able to help somebody mj you have an incredible story and and i can tell by just what you said about your job that it's not really a job it's something you love so much that even if they didn't pay you you'd go do it because it's so much fun listen in a heartbeat everybody has bills and everyone needs to pay everything but it is beyond what a what a pr i was doing this even when i wasn't working here so you are correct and i was doing it for free my phone just rocks i get rocked left and right and yet to be able to wear very cool t-shirts i don't know if you guys can see my t-shirt there we have the best t-shirts and be able to just hit pavement out in the community um and they're like just just make it happen you know which it doesn't happen with a lot of bigger corporations and that's why i'm glad we're a really small facility we're very big on accountability we're very big everything is community there's no just the separation um and i mean it's like that thing that that i wanted in the bottle that sense that that ease that comfort that i can fit in i don't need to be afraid right um i've been able to do um by just continuously being able to be of use to other people and who would have thought that that's what makes me happy right who would have thought it you know undoubtedly um mj i know that i have been absolutely inspired by your story and and you will not be forgotten i will think about mj and then we'll probably connect and be best friends now and i imagine other people are going to feel the same way that they want to they want to know you they want to understand you or maybe they want to um have you help them how do they get a hold of you what's the best way so i am at you can always look i'm i'm available and am i allowed to just kind of like put my phone number out there is that okay so i'm always available through email always available through our website we have the 1 800 number uh cornerstone healing center um but i have a num a work phone number that if anybody is looking they need help they need guidance i can help direct them to the right places if if our facility isn't the best fit uh my cell phone number is 480-766-8505 um and i'm available to always answer the phone or at least reply to a text whatever that is it's incredible i'm going to tell you that when i meet with people and they need to experience somebody in recovery i'm sending them your way because i don't know anybody that's done as much as you have as far as personal work thank you my friend and it's so it's so you know what's so sad guys apparently according to everybody uh that has been through this journey a lot longer than me i'm just scratching the surface isn't that horrible i'm like no like what yeah apparently apparently apparently i'm just scratching the surface and now the real work will begin so i guess it's i guess this doesn't end you know i guess enough i'm nothing but grateful to be able to do it i guess you know yeah well i think i think the second half of your journey will be a little bit differently than the first half and and it'll bring you great joy i figure i'm only half done and i got a whole half life to figure out what i'm going to do with and and make make a difference right absolutely who knows what tomorrow will bring you know that's right it's been an absolute pleasure mj thank you i am so grateful to be here guys thank you so much

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