How to Identify, Support & Love an Addict

How to Identify Support and Love an Addict

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Mr. Biz Radio: How to Identify, Support & Love an Addict

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right, welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me and Mr. Biz Ken Wentworth. And this week we're gonna talk about something that, gosh, especially with everything that happened with the pandemic, and I know a lot of ho host of things happened with, you know, people's mental wellbeing, things like that. And along with that came I think a very sharp increase in different forms of addiction. And our guest this week we're gonna talk to is gonna, we're gonna talk through some things about, first of all, how to identify someone who is, is maybe an, an addict. And again, I think a lot of people when they think of addict, they think of, you know, some heroin user or something like that. It's not always that. It's, it can be in many, many forms. We're gonna talk about how to identify those high-functioning people that may be addicts how to support them, how to love them, and you know, kind of digging through and, and peeling back the onion a little bit. And again, I think this has been much more prevalent since the pandemic and all the shutdowns and all that kind of stuff. So our guest this week has none other than Michaela Canterbury. She is from Alaska. She's coming to us from Alaska. She's an owner operator of a small business. She's an attorney writer, author of the Amazon Hot New Release Sister Siren, a non-fiction about addiction, a field guide on How to love an Addict. So, Michaela, welcome to Mr. Biz Radio.


Thank you so much for having me, Mr. Biz.


Yeah, absolutely. So this is you know, this is an example of one of those topics. I think a lot of people, you know, when they hear Mr. Biz Radio and they think it, we just talk about numbers and cash flow and budgets and all this other stuff. And, you know, I like to talk about, and we've been doing the show for over six years now. So I really like to dive into topics that really, anything that impacts entrepreneurs and business owners. And this is definitely one of those things. And again, I feel like the, the prevalence of this has been, you know, just gone through the roof since the pandemic and things like that. Just, you know, the, the shutdowns and me people being, you know hold up in their houses and, and everything like that, and not having the same social interactions they had. But before we start diving into all that, Michaela, if you would give us a little bit of your entrepreneurial journey.


Will do. Yes. Well, I, I think I started in kindergarten <laugh> when I went to school and work with my parents. Honestly. My dad went to law school and I sat right next to him. And my mom worked as a probation officer in North Carolina, and they decided to come up to Alaska after they finished the school and kind of that work. And I was just trudging right along with them doing those kinds of things. And they came up to Alaska in the mid seventies. So I grew up in Alaska in the mid seventies and eighties, and they started their own businesses up here. Alaska was a lot of opportunity, still is actually, I think <laugh> And both my parents started their own businesses. My dad started his law practice and my parents also started non-profit and for-profit businesses. Again, I'm working right with them as part of the team.


And then when I graduated high school, I went outside for school in law school. And I, I came back I came back up to Alaska in the mid nineties, and I started to work in the law practice with my dad. And I also worked in those other I, I taught at Night <laugh>, and I like my mother. My mother taught at night, and I worked in the law practice with my dad during the day. And then I also worked in those other businesses that my, my parents had started up, which was providing educational opportunities for people in Alaska. And yeah, and I, I just, that's, that was how I started it. And then, you know, life comes <laugh> your way. I graduated law school. I went right in working with my dad. And I was, I'm blessed to have my parents as mentors and laid the foundation to to, to working and how to, how to run a business, how to operate a business, and how to work with people of all different, you know, <laugh>, all different, a abilities and capabilities whether they can read or they have a subsistence lifestyle or just all different types.


And so and I became acquainted with a fellow I went to high school with here in Alaska. And we were charmed with each other. And he's a lawyer too, <laugh> <laugh>. And so we, we worked together. My dad has since retired, and so I work with my with my husband and I work together. And good news is, is that our kids both our kids are talking about going to law school and stepping into this legacy law practice. So it's really great. My entrepreneurial journey was I'm, I'm blessed with the mindset that my parents embedded in me, that I can create, build and overcome anything. I can work with anyone. Both my parents were mentors in my life and laid the foundation for that success and gave me great guidance and support and motivation to leap over, you know, what would've been beginner hurdles, those types of things.


They also taught me like accountability. At the end of the day, it stops with you, you know, <laugh>. Yeah. And the only one blame, so to speak, is your own self, and there's no excuses. And you gotta step in and assess the lay of the land, do your research, prepare for encounters, evaluate your risks, and acquire the right support if you need it here. And and, and they also taught me to teach <laugh> to share, to share what I've learned so people don't have to reinvent the wheel and give this, you know, share this with other share this with other, other, other people. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And that got me, me into Yvette be becoming a writer and an author. And and so I'm going to, I wrote, wrote, published one book and shot to number one on Amazon Hot new release.


And I'm starting to write my second book now. Working title is Happy Birthday, Will You Be My Easter Bunny, the ABCs to Aging, Alzheimer's and Dementia. My mother has Alzheimer's she's a PhD, <laugh>, you know, so it's how to step into it is gonna be written similar to my other book, but it's, it's basically how to step in when these difficult diseases in life enter your, enter your sphere and come onto your, come onto your path, how are you gonna step in? And so that's, that's <laugh> that's my entrepreneurial journey in a nutshell. <Laugh>, ms.


Well, it's quite the journey. So I guess, you know, we've only got about a minute and a half before the, we are gonna had a break here, but what's one, what's, what's one piece of advice that sticks out? Or, or maybe not even that they gave you the advice, but you learned from being, having, you know, having such an entrepreneurial upbringing. What's, you know, is there one thing that sticks out that you're like, oh my gosh, I really picked up on this early on that I needed to do X or y


You know, just sh sharing what you've learned with others, there don't need, there, there doesn't need to be any hurdles or like secret codes to share this, because when you're generous with others, it comes back. You know, my mom was always, and my dad just, you know, give people the access so they can do them own their own selves, you know, be there for them and be the access point for them. Share it.


Got it. Yeah, no, and I, I agree with you a hundred percent. I mean, it's so critically important, and I think esp especially with entrepreneurs and, you know, the grind and the hustle and everything, some of those sort of intangible things, you kind of forget, right? Because you're, you're running after all these different things and chasing a bunch of goals, and sometimes you forget some of those things. So I think it's good to always take a step back and think about that, you know, you know, the, the, the karma aspect of things and, and, you know, the golden rule, frankly you know, is, is also another big, big important part. So again, this week we're talking with Michaela Canterbury. You can find out more at her website. It's, and we'll put it in the, in the show notes as well. Come back after the break, we'll give the Mr. Biz tip of the week, and we'll continue talking with Michaela.


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All right, welcome


Back to the Show. It's time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this week's tip actually has to do with my most recent book don't Fake the Funk, and I actually don't there's a copy of it over there. Not this book, different one, but and, you know, in that book, I outlined my SMAC methodology. SMAC the acronym. And this is about what's the m in this four step process of achieving massive goals. And the m stand SMAC stands for model expert behavior. So find someone who's already been there, done that, and accomplished what you're looking to achieve. You know, learn from them, follow them, watch videos, read their books. You can probably avoid a lot of bumps in the road and mistakes because you can learn from their experience, right? Maybe they made those mistakes as they were building whatever they built and achieving their goals.


So definitely consider that model expert behavior. Very, very important. I do this with everything. I, I just had this talk with, with our middle daughter last night. She's having struggling with one of her classes at in college, and I said, find someone in class who's kicking butt and taking names. Find out. She said, well, I'm working my butt off. I said, well, you're it. That's, that's admirable, but you gotta find someone who's already doing it and doing it. Well, maybe what you're studying is not the right stuff, right? Find someone and model their behavior critically important. So, and I, like I said, it just literally came up last night with a late night dad daughter talk pep talk in college. So that is Mr. Biz tip of the week this week. And we're talking with Michaela Centerbury . So Michaela, I gotta ask you you know, obviously as you mentioned in the first segment, a lot of entrepreneur spirit with, with you as you were growing up and were exposed to it early.


What what did, how did you shift or sort of, gosh, I hate to say that I, I, you adapt, I don't wanna use the, the pivot word that everyone's been overusing for the last few years, but and I know you're still doing your law work and everything, but what, what I guess caused you to kind of, you know, change, adapt a a little bit and go down this path of, you know, writing this book about addiction. And you, you know, you're writing a book now about some other things. What sort of caused that, that, that change for you?


Right. Well addiction came into my life unexpected. I mean, my, I as as discussed earlier, I come from a, a family of high functioning professionals. My dad's a trial lawyer. My mom's a PhD. I'm a trial lawyer. My sister is a mental health professional. She has a master's degree in in counseling. And she was a high performing college athlete. And one of us suffered from heroin and meth addiction, and the rest of us did not know. And I'm pleased to report that this story has a happy ending that we just celebrated four years of my sister being in recovery from heroin and meth addiction. So this came into my life, and we needed to step in and navigate how we were going to <laugh>, how we were gonna love her. Can't stop loving your sister <laugh>. Right? You know, you just can't stop, you know, moms can't stop loving their kids.


So then how are we gonna step in to navigate this? And so I was, I, I wrote the book that I needed on, on how to love an addict and, and a field guide, because I know what the heck, you know, here, I got my hockey mom car, and I'm like driving around trying to find her in Ang, Anchorage, Alaska <laugh>, you know, so I'm, I'm, I wrote the book that I needed. I mean, I tried all my lawyer tools, Mr. Biz, and they weren't working. And so I had to step outta myself and kind of do some other stuff, and that's why I wrote the book.


Well, it's interesting, and that's one of the reasons why I wanna have you on to talk through this, because I can't imagine the challenge you know, I'm a, I'm an old school tough love type person, but in most safe situations. But I think that could probably, in a lot of situations with an addict, could really backfire and go the other way. So how do you, how do you sort of walk that fine line of supporting, but not what's the word, word I'm looking for? Not being an advocate, enabling, but enabling. Enabling. Thank you. Yes. That's what I mean. So how do you support without enabling? And that's gotta be super difficult.


Yes. Thank you for asking that, because our family went through that. And, and, and every, everybody in the family has a different way that they're going to respond. And so, digging within your own self, first, first I needed to educate myself on addiction. I knew nothing, even though I sat on the Lawyers' Assistance Committee, and the lawyers have this special group that supports other lawyers, which is a wonderful, wonderful thought. And I, I wish more businesses would have this, or more professions would have these kinds of committees that step in not being judgey, mc judges. And that's what needs to happen. Now, in order to do that <laugh> to step in without being a judgey, mc, judger, you have to learn what's happening to this person. And then you need to be aware of what your own limits are. So it's kind of a two-part thing, right?


<Laugh>, right. Ed, educating yourself, what's going on with this person, and then being true to yourself about what your limits are. And everybody has different limits. My limits are different than my husband's, and I can't put my limits on him, and he can't tell me what kind of relationship I'm gonna have with my sister, and I can't tell him. Right. He's gonna have his own relationship. And so each person has their own responsibility if they choose to step up as to how they're gonna navigate that. And it was, it was challenging because, especially with my parents, I mean, my, my mom was the consummate enabler, giving my, giving my sister cash, and my dad was tough love, dude. You know, <laugh>. Yeah. And, and, and then, and then I'm here in between, and I'm trying to effectuate, and then we didn't know it at the time, Mr.


Biz, but when my sister was in active addiction, I can now see in retrospect that that was the beginning of my mother's Alzheimer's. So at the time I was thinking, holy, I mean, and my mom's a PhD, you know? Right. And, and the way she was reacting, you know, head of her department at the university had these other businesses of, of giving education to people and GEDs and things like that, a grant writer. And I'm like, her response is crazy <laugh>. But then I, I rationalized it, like this is perhaps emotional, overwhelmed by a mother, you know P T S D, which it could be all of that, you know? Sure. Which are also all symptoms, every, so anyway, that's just to illustrate how everybody has their own limits, and you've gotta respect other people's limits. You can't be telling them what they should do. Don't be shooting on other people, especially the addict, the addict, you know? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, just stepping in with love.


Well, it's interesting. So I have to tell you, Mrs. Biz, has she, I've come in the room every once in a while and she'll have on one of those channels has, I think it's called, I think the show's called Intervention, where it's got someone who's, you know, an addict and, and they end up doing a, you know, an intervention with someone and seeing, you know, just like you're describing Michaela of different people in the family, right. The parents and how the parents are reacting. And even just like you said, the juxtaposition between a father and a mother and, and, and the gender differences of that and how they approach things. And, and then you've got the sister or the brother, or, you know, or the, you know, the daughter if they're, they're a parent or, you know, all those sorts of things and seeing how they interact and they're all different. And then seeing how the addict reacts to some of those things. They may take feedback pretty easily from, let's say a sibling. But maybe the judgment from mom or dad is just crushes them, right? I mean, so, you know, I totally have seen it on that show before here and there when, when she's my wife has watched it, is, you know how that comes in. We're gonna hit a break here. I wanna put a pin in that, as they say. And we're gonna continue talking with Michaela after the break.


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All Right, welcome back to the show. And again, no speak for talking with Michaela Canterberry. You can find out more at her website, check out all the different things she's got going on And again, we'll put it in the show notes as well to make it easy for you. She's the author of Sister Siren, a Non-fiction About Addiction, a Field Guide on How to Love an Addict. So let's, let's start with one of the things that I think is, is critically important, right? Right from the get-go. H how do you spot someone who's a high-functioning addict? I know we, we had someone on a guest a several months back. Now that himself is a recovered addict. He's, I think 14 or 15 years sober now. And you know, he mentioned, you know, the analogy that he used, he said, I was a high functioning person, he had a very high level job, he said, but I was, he said, you're ever putting on a shirt that has buttons on it? And you get all the way to the top and you're like, oh, crap, I'm one button off. You don't realize it until you get to the, you know, the top and you're like, oh, geez, I'm mo off. Right? And that's how he described it. He said, you know, you're high functioning. And so a lot of people don't pick up on it. So what are some things, Michaela, that are, are, you know, sort of those warning signs or maybe some of those yellow or red flags?


Yes. again, another very important question. And this was a real, I can see this in retrospect. You know, I, I see this in hindsight now. At the time, I did not know because I'm in the helping industry. I'm always helping people overcome injuries and and such. So in retrospect, I can tell you that there was always a crisis, whether it was a car accident or a flat tire, or things were stolen. And just a general inability to manage life. Losing track of when bills are due. Not, not, not keeping appointments always being late, lot of legal, legal problems evictions arrests, <laugh> and so that's, that's one. There always seems to be a crisis where things are overwhelming. Also you mentioned the one button off their appearance how they dress with my sister, I started noticing changes in her skin.


I, I know that now. I can see that now. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. She started dressing different, always long sleeves, layers. Her, she was dis disheveled. There were, she was covering up the sores on her bodies. And so when she did wear shorter sleeves things just seeing bruises or, or wounds her skin and her complexion also picking her hair, pulling at her hair, things like this, and to the point where her eyebrows were actually coming off, and she was combing her hair over to, to cover that up. I mean, my sister's a beautiful woman, <laugh>, and so I just noticed, oh, she's styling her hair different. Or if I would bring it up, she would say, yeah, I have a, I have a <laugh> dermatological condition that I take medication for it. I'm like, okay.


I can see this in retrospect now. Sure. The teeth, the changing of the teeth and twitching and, and nodding off nodding off in meetings or, or twitching in those kinds of, so that's another, is there appearance? They're mannerisms and behaviors. I mentioned earlier, everything's inab overwhelming, like an inability to hold a job, inability to manage life, the legal problems, mood and behavior changes from, you know, being reactionary and toggling between panic and rage. Medical conditions, sick all the time. I now know that to be, my sister was always sick, and I would make the chicken noodle soup and pumpkin cookies, and she'd never invite me into her apartment. So I'd just leave it there. But I now know she was dope sick and that that was the being sick all the time. Yeah.


Later, not showing up, isolating, she began to withdraw from family activities and wouldn't come for kids' birthdays and holidays or, and I have a, you know, we have a, we would have a standing date where that's what our family does. Like I have, I now have lunch with my, my dad every Friday. Sundays are with, for my mom, and Friday nights are my sister. We have sister dates, but she was not showing up. And and she would just leave me, leave me hanging out there and not back to me or have an excuse or have our, have our mom say, oh, she's got too much to do, too much work to do <laugh>. And you just kind of see their light going out mm-hmm. And the toggling between the high energy to low energy and rage or panic ity they got new group of fans. You're noticing kind of hanging out in the parking lot, <laugh> always asking for money is another thing.


Ah. So, yeah. Yeah, I could see that. So what are, I mean, I've read along those lines, I guess, what are some common myths that come along with, with, you know, how people think about addiction or addicts?


Yeah, another great question. Junkies and addicts are not always heroine people, heroine addicts under the bridge, and it's not a choice. You know you don't know. So I'll tell you with my sister, she sustained a like I I mentioned earlier, she was a high performing athlete, and she broke her ankle at the Arctic Winter Games, which is a serious injury. And this was in Canada, and they put her on hydrocodone and oxycodone at the age of 13, and she's on a morphine drip. Oh, wow. And shortly after that, she was assessed with A D H D. And so her body, mind and spirit learned at a young age being dependent upon medication, something outside of herself. There was no choice in the matter, and my parents were just doing what the doctors told them to do.


Sure. and then it, so it lays its foundation, at least in, in our case, it laid that foundation at an early age. And it, and it grew from there. And <laugh>, she was doing everything. And we did not know, <laugh> coaches didn't know, I mean, we're in a small town in Alaska, and she's, she's getting good grades. And it followed her through college and to grad school, to the point where it just, I mean, she was on the streets and homeless, and that's, you know, <laugh>. But the, the addiction kept revving, revving, revving. And we, we didn't know. So a, a, a common misunderstanding or myth is that addicts were just, you know junkies under the bridge and that it was Yeah. And that is a choice. She had no choice in the matter.


Yeah. So I guess along those lines, and we've only got a couple minutes here, but you know, what are some things maybe one or two things that we can take away from this that, on how to support an addict without enabling, like we were kind of talking about a little bit earlier? Yes,


Yes. Educate yourself on their addiction and, and, and like defining your limits and what you can do. For example, like if you're in the workplace and you're in hr, does the health insurance cover rehab? Can you step in to help this addict that you love or that's in your atmosphere? Or their family, I mean, their family needs some more too <laugh>. Sure. You know, show up hold space and don't be a judgy mc judger <laugh>, and please don't tell them what to do. Nobody likes to be told what to do, but just offer what, what you can do, whether it's being an accountability partner, whether it's being their emergency contact talking with their family and their coworkers and, and setting expectations that are attainable. Yeah. Maybe not having, maybe sponsoring sober events. <Laugh> learn what their triggers are and have options that don't trigger that, that don't trigger them and distancing them from people that, you know, are antagonistic or triggering to the addict you love or their family.


Yeah. Well, I think a lot of that, especially the, the latter thing you mentioned there is, you know, that whole, the Jim Ron, you're, you're the product of the five people you spend the most time with. If you're hanging out with people who are living that lifestyle, it's gonna be extremely difficult for you to pull yourself outta that. So I think that's, that's another critically important thing. Again, we're talking this week with Michaela Canterberry. You can find out more on her website, Michaela. Unfortunately, we're out of time. But thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.


Thanks for having me. It was great.


Absolutely, guys. Well, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Sure. You love this show. Have a great week. And as always, don't forget, cash flow is king


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Business owners have a continually growing to-do list with little time for revenue producing activities, with Check Off Your List and their experienced team of virtual assistant. You can focus on growing your business, visit, to learn how Check Off Your List. Skilled team can handle your day tasks like social media, bookkeeping, calendar maintenance, and much more. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 8 8 8 2 6 2 1 2 4 9. To see how their virtual assistants can help you live to work rather than work to live.

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