Getting Your Sh*t Together

Interview: Recovering Yourself & Redefining Motherhood with Laura Cathcart Robbins

December 03, 2020 Cynthia Season 3 Episode 6
Getting Your Sh*t Together
Interview: Recovering Yourself & Redefining Motherhood with Laura Cathcart Robbins
Show Notes Transcript

Hey everyone, in this episode I interviewed the lovely and unapologetic Laura Cathcart Robbins of the podcast, The Only One in The Room."

I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and it gave me a fresh perspective because similar to her, I had my addiction really take hold later in my life. 

In this episode, we will discuss:

  • Being the "only one" in the room! How being a black woman in predominately white spaces led to keeping up appearances and utilizing alcohol as a way to numb ourselves and escape
  • Motherhood! Pre and post addiction and how Laura learned to put herself first and why it was detrimental for her recovery.
  • How her life evolved after rehab and what she does daily to keep balance and perspective with herself and loved ones. 
  • Why she was called to pen the HuffPo article about Hunter Biden's struggle with addiction during the election
  • Plans for her podcast, her writing, and her world!

I learned a lot from her grace and humility. I hope you will too. Please make sure to follow her on social and check out some more of her writing on HuffPo here

About Laura:

Laura Cathcart Robbins is a freelance culture writer and host of the popular podcast, The Only One In The Room, living in Studio City, California.  She has been active for many years as a speaker and school trustee and is credited for creating The Buckley School’s nationally recognized committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her recent articles in the Huffington Post on the subjects of race, recovery, and divorce have garnered her worldwide acclaim. She is a 2018 LA Moth StorySlam winner and currently sits on the advisory board for the San Diego Writer’s Festival and the Outliers HQ podcast Festival.  Laura is also a founding member of Moving Forewords, the first national memoirist collective of its kind. Find out more about her on her website, or you can look for her on Facebook, on Instagram, and follow her on Twitter

There are simple things to use as a foundation for your recovery and are for those who are sober curious, new to recovery, or have been going at it for a long time. Nothing wrong with revisiting those blocks as we continue to work on our lives.

Stay safe out there, friends! Here is the link to some online AA meetings. 

And as always, thank you for listening to my lovely show. If possible, I would love for you to review me on iTunes, Google, Stitcher -- anywhere, really. 

If you have comments or suggestions feel free to hit me up via the ways below! And sign up for my mailing list. I do like to do giveaways from time to time. 

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Hello, my name is Cynthia. Welcome to the latest episode of getting together a podcast where we discuss what it's like to get it all the way together or at least attempt to one day at a time. Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining me for another episode. Today I am interviewing Laura Cathcart Robbins. And she is the host of the podcast, the only one in the room, which I'm a big fan of. And I'm so happy that she's on the show. Well, thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. And thank you so much for having me. I love what you're doing. And I really appreciate the invite. So I really just wanted to dive right on in. Typically, I open the floor to you rather just to talk about your story. Really, as most people that have been on the show that I've interviewed, they just go in and say like, this is how I ended up being me. I like to term it as like their origin story, which sounds like like a like a comic. Yeah. But I'm a big geek and nerd in that area. Oh, nice. What? What are you into? So when I was little I collected Archie Comics. Oh, me too. Oh, did you? Yeah. Well, I actually have probably 100 of them bagged and boarded when I was a teenager in storage somewhere. But my son is an avid Marvel Comics geek. He does need into DC a little bit. But he's really into Marvel. And he's been so since he was little he's 2022 now. Wow. Yeah, I feel like we grew up on it together even though it was really him growing up. That's very cool, though. Yeah, my family was similar. I had the Archie Comics, I wish I had the foresight to take care of them and house them and stuff like that. I don't even know if I have left and storage anywhere. But I'm a big Marvel Universe fan DC Comics a little bit similar to your son that really just enjoy that world, I guess. And I think for me, it was a lot of those comic books and things like that kind of took me out of like the world I was living. So it gave me a place where I could not necessarily see myself because I didn't really say I could see myself in Archie Comics or anything but the alternate ways of experiencing life. I guess that makes sense. Yeah, I mean, I think they're an escape. And they are for me, they were like my friends. Like, yeah, stories in those comic books were stories I could disappear to into Yeah, and and what I need it to totally, I'm totally with you. But so with that being said, since you said use comics as a way to escape in your friends like, so tell us about you like what is your origin story? So without going too far back? Because I'm 56 a lot of years back. But I so I'm in recovery for the last 12 years. Nice. Yes, yeah. And thank you and I are 12 plus years now. So I was 43 when I got sober. And at that point, I was leaving a 13 year marriage and I had two then they were little kids and their dad and I were trying to keep it together for their sake. But but there was there was not much good happening in our house at that point. So the best course, as I saw it was to get divorced and get sober all at the same time, which I would never recommend to anyone. Very intense, very intense. So prior to that I had a career in public relations. I was an entertainment publicist, I had Cathcart public relations. That was my company. And we handled every studio and label but the urban stuff, which is code for black. And so I it was it was a very successful company. It was a boutique company. It was doing that type of work that that I grew, a lot of the people are collected a lot of the people that I interview Now, a lot of people that I interviewed for my podcast are people that I met when I was an entertainment publicist, and it was great. And I i shattered it as soon as I got pregnant, so that was 23 or plus years ago. And then I had my my second son, my younger son The following year, so I never went back to work. And I was definitely one of those people who really just I don't know, I didn't have any experience with kids. I never babysat or held babies or changed diapers. I didn't really have any interest in them, honestly. Okay. And so when my kids were born, I really didn't know what to do with them. And I knew that I tell this story. This is another kind of digression but My mother is an avid hiker, and she goes hiking with this forest ranger. Sometimes I love my mom for this. And he was telling her the story about cleaning up after a forest fire a few years ago, one of the things they do is look for animals that need help. And then they give them the care that they need to get them well after the fire. And he came upon this petrified Hawk and it was laying on the ground with his wing spread open. And he was just like his breath caught when he saw her and he like, lifted her up very gingerly. And behind her were three live baby Hawks. When my mom told me that story, I was I was a mom, and I was in my addiction. And I burst into tears. Because I understood what that was. I knew that that was maternal instinct. Mm hmm. That even though I didn't know what to do with my kids, I was so compelled to protect them and love them and, and defend them that I would have done anything for them, I would have absolutely burned to death like that mother Hawk did without a thought, because that's how powerful my maternal instinct is. And that's, I think how powerful maternal instinct is, if you have it, it is this this kind of mastering nothing overrides it, but I had something which overrode it. And that was my alcoholism. Mm hmm. And I understood at that moment that I had this very powerful thing, which was my instinct to protect my children. And my alcoholism was more powerful than that. And so what I needed to do is find something that was more powerful than my alcoholism, which was more powerful than my maternal instinct. And that journey took me a few years, it took me a few years before I was willing to look at giving anything up. Honestly, I really wanted to juggle it. I really wanted to do both. I wanted to be able to take pills and wash them down with booze at night and be a mom during the day. Hmm. When did you start using like did was that something that started before your marriage? In your marriage? What was like what drove you? When you look back at it? I totally do. I I don't think I I started drinking or using alcohol. Luckily, until after my kids were born, okay. But I definitely like to party. And I laugh when people say that now, because people said they like to party and they're not really partying, right. It's just like getting loaded, which is not it's not very glamorous or social most of the time, but I really didn't like to party it was it was social. And it was glamorous, and it was really fun. We would go out and like maybe someone would have coke. And like, I got sober before ecstasy became big. So we didn't do that. But I'm sure if it had been around at that point, I would have done it I got sober before edibles or any of that I certainly would have done them. I didn't like smoking weed. So I never did that. But the idea of a chocolate or a candy gummies sounds really good. Okay, totally done that. But I like to go out and have fun with my friends or my husband, and then come home. And I was I wouldn't think about it again until maybe the weekend. So I was not focused on it. I wasn't obsessed with it. I wasn't, I wasn't trying to do anything other than just live my life. And then after my kids are born, I know now that what I was probably dealing with was undiagnosed postpartum depression. But I definitely use pills and booze to treat that. And I got really hooked on them. Like I was really, really sick really progressed when I finally checked myself into treatment. So even though I didn't start drinking or using alcohol, luckily, until later, it really took me down. Yeah, no, I'm with you. I'm not a mother or anything like that. But my alcoholism didn't come into play until like my 30s. Mm hmm. I was I was like, I partied. I hung out with people when I was younger and did things but I was very mature for my age, because I had to just take care of family and stuff. But I know that mine, I'm always interested in people that are not interested. Like not, maybe they're not the right word. But it always like I always like to understand, like the people that have started later, and it kind of like, like they realized they had a problem later. Like what was that defining moment? Because if you weren't like Ray's doing it and and things like that, like, what was that trigger? So it seems like for you, it was like maybe you enjoy going out having fun, but a lot of that stuff just came to a head once you became a mother and you had the postpartum depression, and then you didn't know how to necessarily Pick yourself out of that. Yeah, and I can't remember that famous Hemingway quote is from the Sun Also Rises. It's like how do you go bankrupt and it's gradually and then suddenly, Hmm, that's how it was. For me. It was very gradual. Like I was I was definitely in that supermom category. I was, you know, parent association president at my kids school. I just been asked to join the Board of Trustees. Actually, where I still sit even though they're long out of that school. Mm hmm. I was planning Gala. I was working at a homeless shelter. In my spare time, both my kids had learning differences, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. And they both needed occupational therapy for their handwriting, which I look back on now. And I'm like, why did I devote so much time to that no one writes anything. Everybody types everything up. But it seemed to be a great concern at school, that their handwriting was really messy. So I was making all those appointments, they play basketball, like I, I was everywhere that they were, I was doing everything above and beyond. But to in order for me to do that I had to be pretty loaded all the time. And I had to keep it balanced. So that no one knew that I was, um, it was, it was quite the trip. And at the end, I just couldn't pull it off anymore. And that's why I decided to go to treatment, because I was afraid I was afraid of getting caught. Honestly, did you feel like you had a lot of this added pressure that you had to be better than everyone else? Or better than the other moms or anything like that the kind of would that add anything to your need to be loaded or to keep your addiction going? It's like this kind of kept you or numbed you probably enough. So you can get through the day in some kind of ways, because it seemed like you were all over the place. I'm speaking from black woman, like I know that when I've been in certain places and spaces that I've had to feel that pressure of being like perfect, or what I think of as perfect, even though that's not like a realistic thing, because no one's perfect. And I know a lot of that. And are that pressure added on to my addiction? Because I was like, well, I this is what I have to do. Was that similar for you? Or is that different? Oh, it's really similar. I mean, I think that the fact that I was so over committed was absolutely due to the fact that I, I see if I can put this the right way. So when when my ex husband and I got engaged, people were like, Oh, my God, you guys are the perfect couple. And then when we got married, they're like, you guys have the perfect marriage. And then when we had kids, people were like, you guys have the perfect family. And I really wanted to maintain that appearance. And, and in order for me to do what I was doing getting loaded wise, I had to be above reproach, like he couldn't even know that anything was going on. So I had to not only do all these things, but be the best at them. And certainly being most of the time, the only black mom and these very white spaces of the Independent School world, I probably would have done that. Anyway, even without the getting loaded factor. I probably I had learned early on that it was never okay for me to just as good as I had to be better than in order to be good at Hm, my, my, my white peers. And so that's that is deeply ingrained in me then, is the added fact that I am an alcoholic or an addict mom, which would put me very much below every. So I couldn't let anybody find that out. But the irony was I needed the pills and the booze in order to achieve the way I was achieving. I really drink and use to show up the way I was showing up. And I did so for a very long time. And eventually, like I said, I got really progressed and it turned on me. But there were a bunch of years and there were it worked. But I needed it in order to show up the way that I did. Was there one was there like a situation that was really like a defining moment for you just like I can't go on this way did you have like a rock bottom of like, it could be a physical one or emotional one? Or were you just like, just woke up and you're just fed up and you looked at your kids? And you're just like, I can't keep doing this to them? Was there like one key thing? Or was it like a series of events is all of that there were definitely series of events that they they really honestly started around January of 2008. And they most of the events that I'm I'm thinking of were just me almost getting caught and taking taking bigger and bigger risks and almost getting caught and like afterwards shaking myself going, what are you doing? What are you doing? Because next time you are going to get caught the the time that I decided to to put myself into treatment was July 4 2008. Wow. Okay. And so yeah, so that continued on for a while. And so July 4 2008, we had a home in Malibu, my ex husband and I and I was there with the kids on my own, but we had neighbors who were had kids the same age and we were pretty close to them. And I was not well, I was starting to shake I was starting I was detoxing, basically. Okay. And the kids wanted to go see the fireworks Of course because it's July 4, and I was just like I can't I can't take them so I like made an excuse like I'm getting a headache or something which was I always had like a little bit of truth to my life because I did have a a headache. But it was from detoxing, it wasn't just because a headache came over me. And my neighbors were happy to take my kids and they took them to see the fireworks. And I, soon after they left, I took everything I had and drank everything, I had. Nothing, nothing, I wasn't at all buzzed, I wasn't at all loaded, and it scared the shit out of me. And I was just like, this should have wanted one, it should have like, put me to sleep. But two, it should have made me feel well, and it didn't have any effect on me at all. And I was just like, I, if I can't get high anymore, I can't do this. So real talk, I went to treatment for a couple reasons. One, because I, like I said, I was in the middle of a divorce. And I didn't want to lose my kids. And two, I needed to get a break so that I could get high again. And I knew that I wouldn't be able to take that break on my own. So I decided that treatment was a good option, because I'd heard they give you drugs, it's meant to rock. So I wouldn't be very uncomfortable. But I never been away from my kids for that long before. And that scared the shit out of me too. I didn't know how I was going to do that. And I didn't know how they're going to do without me. So I look for places where I could go like outpatient where I could go during the day and like sleep at home. But I also knew that I would never be able to keep that up that I would end up breaking whatever protocol they had me on because I would need to get high, I needed to be away somewhere or I couldn't get to it. Because and that's that's how that's again, that's how I progressed. I was so I went to Arizona and stay there for 28 days and then came back. Wow, what did you tell your kids? Or how did that conversation go with your? I don't remember much about it. Honestly, I was crying a lot. But basically, I think what we told them was that I had to go to like a mommy school, huh? To be a better mom. Okay, or something to that effect. They wouldn't have understood anything else. And yeah, they they didn't ever see me drink ever. And they never saw me take anything. So they they wouldn't have understood the explanation. Okay, did you only do one stent and rehab? Like, how did you feel about the Rehab Treatment experience? Because you feel like you received everything you needed out of a program? Did you stumble and fall through things? Is there anything that you wish you could it could have been better in certain aspects, anything like that I hated it. I hated every minute I was there. And the only thing that kept me through was that I was going to get out and get all my refills and get a bottle on the way to the airport. All right, okay. And it would satisfy my soon to be ex husband that I had gone and take care of this thing, taking care of it. So that is I I really don't remember much of it. Honestly, I know I was awake for 11 days, because my detox was ridiculous. It was the most painful thing I've ever gone through Wow, coupled with the fact that I was away from my kids. So I was I was literally crying the entire time for probably 20 of the 28 days that I was there. The other thing is that I met a guy, the hour that I checked in, I was ushered into this orientation. And I heard people introducing themselves. And I'm like, Oh, this is a huge mistake. These people are hardcore, like heroin addicts. And I do not belong here. I'm a mom with a pill problem. And I bolted and ran for the office to check out. And this guy followed me out of there out of the orientation. I thought he worked there. And he was just he started telling me about his daughters and explaining like, if you have kids, you should stay. And I he was really annoying. It's like when you get away from me. He was slowing me down. But he ended up being somebody that I struck up a friendship with there and kept a friendship with afterward. And then we ended up dating later on. And then David for like six years, and now we've been living together for seven years. Wow. Yeah. So he actually made rehab bit bearable for me, which is also not recommended. We weren't like a hookup then or anything. But But if he hadn't been there, I don't think I would have stayed he actually left with me. He was flying back to the state where he lived. And I was flying back to California. So we left is a two and a half hour ride to the airport. And we passed the drugstore, where I called it my refill and intended to get both the bottle and the refill on my way to the airport. But I couldn't with him because he was really serious about his recovery. And I didn't want him to think that I wasn't I didn't stop and I just figured I would get it when I got back to LA but I never did. And that was July 14 was the day I checked in and that was well aside from the drugs they detox me with. So I actually I say my sobriety date is August 14, because I don't know what day I was completely detox while I was in treatment. So I just needed it. What caused you not to get the refills and like go down the path when you got to LA? So what stopped? I don't know. I think part of it was I had a very intense divorce attorney, she was pissed. When I told her I was going to treatment. Like she's like, we're going to lose and you're sucking it all up. And Can't you just wait until after I get you divorced? And I was like, I don't think so. I think I might die. And I think I need to go. So when I got out, she's like, okay, we're gonna get you drug tested twice a week, so that he has nothing to say what if, if and when we go to court, and I want you to keep track of all your meetings. So she put me on this schedule. Mm hmm. And I did the drug testing for six months. And so I think I thought in the back of my mind, I'll wait till after the six months, and then I'll do it. But you know, it was so hard to be a mom again and get divorced. And by the time the six months it passed, and I was actually divorced, I had found a recovery community that I really leaned on. And I actually found the the principles that were suggested by that community to be very helpful for someone like me, who had been so dishonest for so long. And I don't think that I ever knew that I could be honest and still be love. Wow, be honest, and and still have intimacy or be close to people, or still be seen and valued. And once once I started telling the truth, and not just telling the truth, but admitting the truth to myself, and then living in that way, I think I got scared of losing it. I'm totally with you identify exactly what you said about just that whole being true, like first the first time just really owning all your shit and owning it. And just and just putting it out there. And then when you finally I guess it's like freeing, it's scary, but it's freeing at the same time, because you don't have to, like try to connect the dots or figure out like, what did I say? What did I say? And you're just putting it out there for everybody. And people were just like, yeah, holy, like this is amazing, like, and I think when you're early in early recovery, that's something that can be very daunting at times. But I think it's something that is, like I said, very freeing, because it's the first probably for a lot of us the first time that we're really seeing ourselves like fully at that. Yeah, I agree. And the this thing happened with my kids, where I had been very busy kind of being this the supermom before I went to treatment, and I don't know, I just like I mean, I still do. But for a lot of the years that they were little, like, a lot of the parents I know just can't wait to get away from their kids. They're like, I need a vacation for my kids. It's so hard. It's so hard being a mom. But after I got back for treatment, it was such a pleasure. Like all of it was I woke up I went to bed so grateful for my bed. Oh my god, the beds and treatment are terrible. And I really I really had a hard time with that I was such a princess. And that I wish I brought my sheet that's what I wish I had done differently is brought bedding. That's what I would have done next time. Hopefully I won't ever be in next time. Right? Right. Hopefully there won't ever be a next time but but yeah, I I fell into my bed I'm in love with my bed. And I was so grateful to sleep in it, I was just so grateful to have a bed and and all the freedom I was allowed in my normal life. Like I'm so free, I can do anything, I can do anything at any time that I want to. And that was I was so grateful for that, that I had all these rights and freedoms that were afforded to me, um, simply because I wasn't using or drinking and I wasn't in treatment, which was like to me I know it's not like talent. I haven't been to jail but it was it wasn't incarceration of sorts, and I didn't have any freedoms there. And I definitely felt the impact of that but really the thing that happened with my kids was all the fights that used to be exhausting all the entertaining them when I when I didn't have any more energy like all that stuff that just felt too heavy before really felt light and I was so grateful to be anywhere near them be any part of whatever they were doing from that moment on I still am and so I think it made me this I thought I was this great mom and and i and i was in a way I was I was really I was very caring long. I cared about drugs and alcohol more. It's what I found out now, but I definitely cared about my kids but I wasn't a great mom. And after I got back I was really able to be a great mom and really just devote myself not my entire self because that was the other thing I learned was that I needed to take care of myself too and and make space for that. But I was really to devote the appropriate amount to just being a mom. And that felt really good that that was a high unlike any other hire before. That's amazing. Very good. As a mother did you feel you were judged in ways differently as being a mother, a black woman had an addiction or had an issue. Did you see like any, like fallout from that? Or did you experience that? And in any kind of way, from what I see, I feel like mothers are judged differently in certain aspects. First, there is a definite there is a larger stigma on moms who are addicts or alcoholics. And and I was one of those people who judge them for a very long time. Yeah. And I, I would always compare myself actually, that kind of kept me going, because I'm like, I'm not that bad. Like, she got a DUI, like that's messed up, or she got kicked out of the house or she's, that's her fourth time in treatment. And she she lost custody of her kids like all these measurements that made me feel better about where I was, I used them to judge other people, which is why I which is one of the reasons that kept me out for so long is because I was terrified of being judged and being scrutinized that way. And you know, what I found for most people, but I got two reactions. One was just surprise, shock. But I had no idea Oh, my God, how did I miss it? That kind of thing. And then the other was no, actually there's three reactions. So there's one that's pity. Oh, my God, that must have been so hard for you. I hated that reaction. I didn't want to tell anybody who was going to come back to me with pity like that. That was worse for me than anything. Mm hmm. I'm the same way. And then the third was good for you. Which I also I would get a pat on the knee. Good for you. That's great. That's really great. It took me a while to be open about my journey, because I didn't like any of those reactions that I got from people. I'm sure that people including my friends spoke about me in probably not so kind terms behind my back, but to my face. No one ever said anything judgmental tonight. Okay. Yeah. Why do you I guess my thing is like, do you have opinion on why mothers are judged more harshly on this? I mean, has I'm just curious, just from your standpoint, what do you think? I think that there is it goes back to my heart story that there's this instinct that makes mothers are held to a higher standard, because of the way we view them. And there are just certain failings that they're not supposed to be prone to like, because they're a mother, they should be above this or not, not be susceptible to it. And there's probably infidelities, like one of them, right? Mm hmm. mothers have affairs are judged very harshly compared to men where there's like a biological excuse there that that moms don't have. Mm hmm. And when it comes to any kind of addiction at all, whether it's gambling or over eating, and the things that you have in your life should be able to keep you from doing these things. And when they don't, there's something wrong with you, you are innately flawed, because being a mom didn't keep you from overspending, or over shopping, or over eating, or taking too many pills or drinking too much, or whatever it was, they're looked at askance, because they, they, they, they don't have that, quote, unquote, strength, which is another term that I don't like, especially when it's applied to women, I don't like it when people tell me that I'm strong. And that's because it's not really the case. The case is that I have surrendered. And a lot of people view that as the opposite of strength. And so my, my accepting of, of who I am and what I am in the way that I am has led me to live a life that other people perceive to be quote unquote, strong or brave. I'm, I'm I don't know how brave it is. I guess it is brave actually, to live authentically. I don't feel particularly brave now. But in the beginning, it was very, it was I was very scared of it. So walking through that was indeed brave. The life I live now is not brave, because I'm not scared of it anymore. Hmm. Thank you for that comment. Thank you for your statement about that. I'm always just curious to hear just from a woman that is a mother just like if you everything, just to quickly go back a little bit. So you were in treatment. You that out you were back with your children, how did you start learning to be able to like you got into recovery community? And also in California? Was that was that easy for you? Was that? Did you have to like move, jump around a little bit? And then also, how did you start learning? Because I know you mentioned something about being really a good mother to your kids after you got a treatment but also learning how to put you first or put you don't like necessarily, I'm trying to say like put you first but you prioritize you and your benefit as well. So how did you start learning to be able to do that? Well, that's it. That's an excellent question. So I think the answer to that, is that pretty early on, I want to say I made this up but I'm not really sure somebody might have told it to me. I don't remember much from my first year. Every honestly. Well I really don't think is I always picture like you ever seen a cat run across the street? Yes. And then they put their ears back and they just go. Yeah. And they like cars by becoming they don't even know they're just like racing. I felt that first year like I was a cat with my ears back just going in there might have been like bombs dropping on either side of you, I didn't see anything. I was just like, I got to get across the street, I get to get to 365 days. But at some point in that first year, I decided that I was going to have a batting order, because there is also Scott who had gone back to Utah. That's where he lived, but he was in my life and I was getting a divorce. And I knew I wasn't ready to get into another relationship yet, but I just didn't know how to do it. I didn't know how to be a good ex wife be a good daughter. Be a good mom be a good sister. I have five brothers. Wow. Yeah, I'm the only girl and and be a good friend by disappeared on a lot of my friends. Not not I just had I dropped out of their lives because I had, I was too preoccupied with with everything that I had to do in order to get loaded. So I want to I want it to be all those things. And I didn't know how so I decided that this batting order was going to help me and it was going to be my recovery had to come first, my kids had to come second. And everything else, including Scott had to come third in no particular order. There everything else that came through. So that my next thing was to figure out what my recovery consisted of. So if that comes first, and that's what's going to keep me whole, then what do I need to do for it. And for me, it was going to recovery meeting, at least every day, if not more, it was in the morning, which was very difficult for me at first. I started off with 30 seconds, and I think worked my way up to a minute and like around six months, like it was really, really hard. And now anything less than 20 minutes feels really short to me. Yeah. But this is 12 years of practice. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Yeah. So So yeah. So I was like, okay, meditation is good. For me meetings are good for me talking to the woman that I chose to guide me Not that I chose to guide me through this program on a regular basis for me than it was every day. And and then eventually it was guiding other women through this program. So that's part of it. The other part was I need to exercise and I need part of my exercise to be outdoors. I play tennis. Okay, so I needed to make my tennis regular, I needed to make my strength training regular, I need to look at how I ate and and do something much different than the way I was eating before, which is basically snacking on anything that I could get my hands on a typical mom diet, like whatever they didn't need and that kind of stuff. So I started doing like meal prep on Sunday shopping, and then meal prep. So I had stuff throughout the week that I could eat that were actual nutritional meals. And so I didn't have to cook during the week, I could just pull out some of the stuff that I prepped on Sunday. And so that took care of like my exercise that took care of eating well. My sleep hygiene had to be definitely addressed. The pills I were addicted to were sleeping pills, they were Ambien. So I need to learn how to sleep without them. And that was that was a really big deal. For me. That meant I couldn't go into my bedroom until I was ready to go to sleep. And for me, I had to have fresh iron sheets, which is more work. But it really helped me to go to sleep, I needed a dark room. Sometimes I needed to meditate beforehand. So all these things had to come before my kids. So I needed to invest in them and automate them so that I could be a good mom to my kids. But what happened was all those things made me whole, which made me a better mom. And then whatever time I had leftover I devoted to making amends to my friends, to being present for my parents and to starting a new relationship with Scott, who was lovely, and really seemed to care about me and have met me at my absolute worst. Like I could not front in front of this man because he met me day one of rehab while I was detoxing. There was no no facade I could put on for him. So I didn't have to live up to anything. Yeah, yeah. Freeing different freeing way to because it's like you've seen me again, not recommended. But yeah, it's really good. I totally get it. I get swept up in the store, I guess. I It is my experience. I would never tell anybody that they couldn't date anybody they met in treatment or in their first year because it would be completely hypocritical. Yeah, I I'm taking 11 women through my recovery program now and their sex lives or their business. I'll help them with it. But I'm not I'm not giving them too much guidance around it. It's my mind. opinion is that it'll either take you out back into drinking and drugging, or it'll get you deeper into the program. If, if you're dating, which, yeah, that's my opinion. Okay, so I would love to know about, I would like to know about your program that you're taking women through as well. But how did all this like, it seems like you're just doing a lot of work on yourself on your relationships with your children and Skye, your family, your friends and everything like that. And I guess I guess I want to like segue into like, your, your, your idea for your show, and like things like that. And do any of that, like play a role into you wanting to do the podcast was just more of you wanting to talk or reconnect with people that you worked with? before? prior, were you before you were pregnant? Was there is was there something that kind of drove you to say like, this is something I want to do and put out into the world. I what what happened was, I'm a writer, and I was writing, I was blogging at that time. And I went to, you know, a retreat that at 600 people, I was the only black person, it was a three day retreat. And so I wrote about that experience and submitted it to huffpo. And I had submitted other things to other publications at that time, but nothing had ever been published. It was just me self publishing my blog. And it was it was about being the only one in the room. And it got published The next day, like it went live right away, the editor loved it. And it went viral right away. And I started getting all these all these direct messages. Like, it was also surreal, nothing like that had ever happened to me before. And so by the time I woke up the next morning, there were almost 600 of them. And they were from all over the world. And people that really connected with the with feeling others was feeling like they were the only person having x experience in the room. And I happen to have been in a podcasting class at the time. So I used that title for the project that I was doing the podcast project. And it one thing led to another and someone connected me with someone else. And they're like, you should do this as a podcast. So we launched it in April of 2019. I went to the retreat in October, it was this time two years ago of 2018. Wow. And so we launched, we launched it, we started filming started taping in January of 2019. And we launched in April. And in the meantime, I did it because I'm writing a memoir, which I'm really blessed to be working with an agent now. And that's as a result of everything is cool. But But at that point, I had some writings that I had submitted to agents, and they're like, nobody knows who you are. You're a great writer. It's a great story. But I can't tell you. So I was told to build an author's platform, which could be anything from storytelling, which I also did, I actually won a moth Grand Slam with my story about being drug tested for those six months. Wow. Funny story. And so I learned how to storyteller like, I'm not anyone I do live in Los Angeles. But I was never an actress. I was never someone who was in front of an audience. So that was that storytelling was my first time appearing in front of an audience. And that really was much more difficult than I thought it would be. But it was great. It was great. And I learned a lot and it helps me with speaking, which is something that is brand new for me. Since I started the podcast. I've been booking speaking engagements. So I have to go speak in front of people in front of classrooms and that type of thing. And that just happened. It happened. It was really rolling right before COVID hit. And but I've been speaking virtually since COVID. So it's it hasn't really slowed down. It's just changed. And it's very interesting. But all of that the storytelling, the speaking engagements, and the podcast helped me build a platform and Instagram. I wasn't on Instagram two years ago. So I got on Instagram and started building an audience there. And we have one for the podcast. And so all those things being built at the same time helped when I submitted my pages to a new agent over the summer. And she's like, you have a great profile. I love this story. Let's get it done, which was like what it worked. They told me what to do. And I went out and did it and it worked, which is so much of my recovery. I follow instructions very well now, and I know that when I resist them, I usually don't end up with what I want. And sometimes I don't end up with what I want, even when I do follow instructions, but I always get further along. There's always a game for me by I don't mean like blindly following, but this is like the prescribed route to get from here to there. It's like with exercise or with diet or anything like I want to do it my way but I know that there are these things that have to be in place in order for To attain my goal, and I'm usually very resistant to doing them. So with this I, I listened to what they said, and I did everything that they told me to do. And we'll see where it goes. But my goal was to get an agent and and be deep into a book by this time, when are you going to be wrapped? Let me that think that's awesome. When are you planning to submit your your first draft or your manuscript? Like, do you have a plan deadline for that? No, she didn't give me a deadline. She really wants me to take my time. But she's very worried. She's like, new agey, like, whoo. Okay, which is very, very interesting for someone who's an agent. Yeah, but you need to be in the flow and take my time, she's like, you may have to put it down. Because it's really deeply personal. I write really personal articles, and I've published them on major platforms, but the book goes deeper. And it's really hard to write honestly, especially the part where I am now. It's everything that led up to me going to treatment. And, and I've never written about it in this kind of detail before. And I do have to take breaks, because it makes me feel very heavy. Sometimes it makes me feel embarrassed, it makes me sad. And I need kind of time to heal before I can go back in. It's like being in a boxing match. I think I would imagine I've never been in a boxing match. But just getting just like pounded on and you need a break before you go back in and finish the match didn't know how much had not healed until I started taking a deeper dive into this stuff with this writing. And that's what she keeps sending me back with. I need more of this. So she's reading the pages as I go along. Okay, and sending me back to to either go deeper in places or to add more. And it's usually that stuff that really gets me but I know it's the good stuff. The only way out is through sometimes. Yes. You also wrote an article for huffpo. On on hunter Biden. Yes. And how that and how that impacted you? Did you I don't try to get political on my show or anything like that. You wrote up an article for huffpo, which I'll link to and I i totally resonate with what you were saying? And just how like it was very hurtful for you to hear that and that you have stepped back from it. Like Yeah, I mean, it was thank you for that question. And for the plug for my article. I was I was watching the debate along with a lot of other people in the world. And I was I was really I was quite hurt. When he brought that up as though the way I heard it was because he was an addict, he could be no good. Mm hmm. And I was just like, Wow, that is fucked up. And there are people like my son's friends who know I'm very open about being in recovery, that kind of thing is going to impact them. You know what I'm saying? It's like, people in my thought it was fine may may hear it in a different way now, or people who perceive it as a disease can see it as like, not a disease, but a bad or a good thing. You're a bad person. If you have this and you and you act this way, you're a good person if you don't. So I did turn off the debate after the debate was over. And when I woke up still thinking about it. I emailed the web editor at huffpo, who has been the one news she's published, I think 10 or 11 of my pieces since that first one. And I was just like, I don't even know if this is anything but this is on my heart this morning. And she's like, write it but I need it by end of day. And I'm like, Ah, okay. And end of day she's in New York, I'm in LA so the other day for her as much earlier than for me, so I had to like get on it and figure it out. And it was very fortunate that it just poured out of me because it wasn't anything I was trying to manufacture. I genuinely felt the way that I described in the article. And really, I just think it's really important that the stigma around addiction is removed because I believe it is a disease I believe I was born with it even though I wasn't actively alcoholic until later in life. I can certainly see if I look back like what you were describing, even though I didn't really act out but I have always been this way with chocolate like not with things that what is that that definition to continue to indulge despite negative consequences. That's addiction. So I didn't I didn't indulge in these things despite negative consequences, but I definitely over indulged in them. And and like chocolate is ice. That's a funny one. Right? People laugh at that, but but I really I have a hard time without chocolate still. Like if there's no chocolate in the house. It could be two in the morning. I'm driving out to get some there needs to be chocolate in house all the time. I mean, I'm that's an exaggeration. I've never done that. But that's how I feel about it. So I've had these kind of telltale signs my whole life. I believe I was born that way. My father is in recovery. 36 years, I think wow. My grandmother died in October. Holic, all of my grandfather and his, he had 13 siblings, all the boys died of alcoholism. So I believe that it runs in my family. And so I want the stigma removed, I don't believe that my grandfather or any of my great uncles, or my, my grandmother, or my father were bad people, I believe they had a disease that had mastered them. And my dad was fortunate enough to to find a solution for it. And the others in my family weren't. And now recovery runs in our family too, along with alcoholism, but I very, very strongly want to advocate for the removal of the stigma. And if I could do even a little bit of it with that article, I was happy to do it. What's upcoming for the only one in the room? Well, no, thank you for asking that to what I what I'm doing. My intention is to continue to put as much content out as possible, because as content makes you relevant. And it's important, even though I have achieved something that I was looking to achieve that I continue to stay relevant, it also has to be quality. So I can't overextend myself or over commit myself. But we are, we are putting out three to four podcast episodes per week, which is a lot. And we do what we do a full one hour interview, then we do an agenda and podcast the following day. And then we have a now normal episode on Thursdays, which is tied to the news cycle. And then we do a Sunday edition, which are just stories that have been submitted to us that I really love that and they may not have name recognition or a platform, but I just really want to tell those stories. And so we're going to continue on with that we have AI right, keeping as much content out there, making it making sure it's quality, and beyond the podcast and writing articles. That's it right now, except for my self care. And are you introducing anything new and for your self care? I know you said like tennis and everything that you're in the meditation eating well. But is there anything? I'm always I'm just curious. I'm just being very nosy. Is there anything you'd like to try? Or bring into your self care regimen? Yeah, actually, I have introduced something new, or just different. I guess I'm during COVID. I would write all morning and then take a break and go out on my balcony with a book, leave my phone on the charger inside. And I read a chapter. And yeah, that's been really healthy for my head, actually. And my writing is so important to read when you're writing. And I forget that sometimes. And it's really been really helpful. And it's just, it's just good for me. And it's a book. It's not like the newspaper, which are all sorts, and I just don't bring anything with the screen out there. It's similar to like we were talking about earlier about like being into comics in the new world. And like we we have comics in our hands. So I think like going full circle in a way. I agree. I agree. There's something very soothing about it for me, which I forgotten about until I started that ritual. I enjoyed getting to know you or getting to just have this conversation with you. I know that he so beneficial just for my audience. And I appreciate your candor and your honesty. And I really just want to thank you for your time and just being willing to come on the show and just tell your story and just be authentically yourself. Well, I so appreciate you and just the fact that you're doing a show I love I love the title of it. And I love that you're talking about recovery because of the very reasons that we discussed. And just anything that is holding anyone back getting it out of your head or getting the shit out of my head. Yes, it really is. Yeah. So thank you for that. And thank you for a great conversation. I really appreciated it. I loved it. Me too. I really needed this today. Isn't that funny how that works? Yes. So thank you so much. You