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A Deeper Look into Behavioral Health with Dr. Sheila Shilati

42:45 min   |  Dr. Shiela Shilati |  Finding New Waters

In this insightful episode, Dr. Sheila Shilati, COO of Seasons in Malibu, shares her extensive experience in behavioral health. Dr. Shilati discusses the impact of comprehensive evaluations in addiction recovery and addresses the effects of cannabis on mental health. Her expertise highlights the complex relationship between substance abuse and mental health challenges, offering valuable insights for families and professionals navigating these issues. Join us for a deep dive into the evolving world of addiction treatment and recovery.


"We're all just really wounded and we're just all seeking a way to feel seen and heard at the core of everything that we go through."

-Dr. Sheila Shilati

  • Podcast Transcript
    Graham: [00:00:00] Good morning and welcome to our inaugural podcast, finding New Waters. My name is Graham Durge and I'm the founder and CEO of New Waters Recovery in Raleigh, North Carolina. I'm joined here today by our medical director, Dr. Harold Hong and Francis Sson from Whole Family Interventions. Francis is a professional, certified interventionist recovery coach, life coach, and holistic health coach. In addition, Francis is an author, speaker, retreat leader, and a yoga instructor with 35 years of sobriety. Francis believes addiction is a family disease which is exhibited in her work as a coach. Her mission is to help individuals and families make grace-filled changes toward health and wellbeing so that they can live a life of recovery, resilience, and wholeness. Francis has published two books, breathe, see, nourish. Energize A Pathway to Healing and Heal Your whole Body. The 12 Day Power Plan to flush toxins, balance hormones, and reset your body's most essential organ. Our goal in creating Finding New Waters is to create a resource for families to help navigate the complexities of supporting a loved one [00:01:00] struggling with substance use, dependence, or mental health. The fact of the matter is that when we find ourselves in crisis due to one of these issues, most people have no idea what direction to turn. My hope is that we can help shed some light into what can be many families' darkest. And Francis, thank you for joining us today. Obviously always a pleasure to get to see your face and spend a little bit of time with you. And I'll, I'll just start with like a little bit of background. Francis and I actually met years ago. At the Arise Intervention Training up at Cumberland Heights, up in Nashville. So I kind of saw her starting this journey and it's just been amazing to, to see it all transpire and, and all the amazing work that you're doing up to this point is, is really incredible. So thanks for coming Frances: today. It's a privilege to be here with you. I'm so proud. Of what you've accomplished here and it's it's an honor to be here. Thank Graham: you. Fantastic. Thank you. So, you know, wanted to start out today you know, with a couple questions. I know that you [00:02:00] just got off a flight from doing an intervention, right? Thank, and obviously that's kind of the, the core of, of, of what you're doing these days. So can you tell us a little bit about. You know, in particular the intervention that you, you know, just were a part of, but you know, maybe the intervention process and, you know, what families need to kind of learn about what an intervention is and, you know, just give us a little bit of background on, on kind of the mechanics of, of that process. Frances: Can do. Yeah. I think the first thing that I wanna say is that the way whole families. Orchestrates interventions is nothing like the show , , and that there is a preconceived notion among many families that it is a meeting that is confrontational. Mm-hmm. and can feel quite shaming. Hmm. To the identified person. Hmm. Often a loved one, and I am passionately committed [00:03:00] to the concept that the meeting itself is a meeting of love. It's a meeting of truth, and it's a meaning of a meeting of kindness and it's solution based. Yep. So the way it begins is often the call that I get, is often the last gasp that the family has. Yep. To try to help their loved one. I am truly the last house on the block if I'm getting the call. They've tried in their mind everything else. Yep. So it's often a call of desperation. Yeah. And what I tell families is that true, that often it is the case that we don't get better. We don't ask for help. We don't want to get help until we, I, as a, as an addicted person, [00:04:00] have come to the end of my rope. Ha I've hit my bottom. But I also, and I also believe that interventions. when the family has hit their bottom mm-hmm. and when they are suffering enough mm-hmm. to say, we're done and we need help. Yeah. Mm-hmm. And often that is exactly what I say to the identified person. The minute we walk in the door is, your family reached out to me because they are suffering and they don't know how to help you. Yeah. And so we're gonna be here to offer you a. , right? So the process begins by someone in the family reaching out to me and saying, my loved one is suffering. How do I get them to treatment? How do I get them to start this road to recovery? And one of the first things that I ask this person is, Do you have a line in the sand that you're willing to draw? If this person in your life whom you love or [00:05:00] have loved, maybe they're at their end of their rope too. Do you have a line in the sand if they don't go right? Because if they don't have a clear boundary, if they don't have a clear consequence, if they don't have a clear. line in the sand, then we need to work on one and come back to me, or I'll help you create one, right? Because simply to ask your loved one to go to treatment. When you don't have in the back of your mind, if you don't go, I'm willing to do or I'm not willing to do it. In my experience, it's not gonna be nearly as successful. . Yep. And that often for families, it's a very challenging place for them to land because they don't think that that's loving, right? Mm-hmm. , right? And what I tell families is, the most loving thing you can do is to speak the truth in love. Mm-hmm. tell them you're suffering and offer them a solution. , right? [00:06:00] So then I say to the person who's reached out to me, do you have a posse? Do you have three to four people? Five people? Four? Whom with whom your loved one has a relationship? Cares deeply enough about what they have to share. Do does your loved one care about having a relationship with this person long-term? I can't have anyone in the room who, for whom? Or with whom? The loved one has a massive resentment. Mm-hmm. , or has a massive resentment toward mm-hmm. . There's no room for resentment or shame or blame or any condemning language. This is a love meeting. Yeah. Nothing but compass. and empathy. They may not have it at this moment because they may be kind of sort of done, but we're gonna at least pretend right for this meeting and we're gonna prepare mm-hmm. for that meeting by having one-on-one conversations with me, and I'm gonna help you [00:07:00] go down memory lane. You're literally opening up your photo album and you're gonna remember. Beautiful times that you've had with this person way before this person picked up or began struggling with mental health challenges. Right. And we're literally gonna share those memories with your loved one because that person has forgotten. Mm-hmm. , that person has forgotten who they are at their core. Mm-hmm. , how much they're loved, how much they have been affirmed and appreciated. In their life by this circle of friends and family. Mm-hmm. . So I help the family members, friends, employers, maybe. Mm-hmm. . Literally go down memory lane and pull those up. Remember, bro, remember when we were sailing around the islands and we saw the sunrise and we were drinking coffee, and you told me this was [00:08:00] like the most incredible moment of your life. We're gonna, we're gonna share those right memories with each other. Yep. And with you. Yeah. Yeah. I love you so much. I'm not willing to sit on the sideline and watch your life implode. Mm-hmm. because of your substance use disorder or your mental health challenges. Yeah. I love you too much to let you stay here. Hmm. And this is how we've shared our lives together. Yep. Graham: Love it. Yeah, absolutely Love it. So powerful. Frances: So, so, so in that preparation we do that and then they set out writing their letters where they put it down in writing. Mm-hmm. Graham: Now, are you inviting them to the intervention, the, the person of concern? Frances: You ask a great question. Yeah. Because there's so many approaches, right. To interventions. I. Kind of sorta created my own approach [00:09:00] by what I feel like picking the best out of a rise, and also following love first with Deborah and Jeff J. Got it. I think the way they approach interventions is beyond brilliant, right? Mm-hmm. . So most of the time for me, if, if, if this family, if these people have talked about and talked about wanting to offer this person a lifeline, mm. It may be very appropriate to invite them. If the family feels as though that person is either gonna overuse mm-hmm. harm themselves, perhaps harm someone else, or Bolt, then it's more of we're gonna have a coffee. Yep. Mm-hmm. , and we're just gonna share what's been on our heart. And then you get the floor. Yeah. Mm-hmm. , and I'm telling you, , nine 99% of the time the identified person wants to be in the meeting. Mm-hmm. , [00:10:00] because we as human beings love to be talked about . Right. And especially if I know from the get-go that you're gonna tell me things that are. lovely about me, right? I'm gonna want and sit. I don't, I'm gonna want to sit and hear you. Yeah. Mm-hmm. a hundred percent rarely had someone up and leave. All I say is your family is struggling. Mm-hmm. , they feel powerless. How to help you. They've asked me to join you. They have a few things they wanna say to you, and then if you're willing to listen to. the floor is yours. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And so we literally go around the circle. We know where everyone's seated. We've had a rehearsal, we've gone through the letters. Everyone's heard each other's letters. Mm-hmm. . So now the healing begins with the family because there are secrets that perhaps come out in these letters that a person hasn't heard. Mm-hmm. , for instance, just came off an intervention. Grandmother, [00:11:00] mother of the identified person. shared with me that she was an alcoholic, ex-husband, was an alcoholic father to this son was an alcoholic. He died of a alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, and she was emotionally and physically abused, and he never knew that. He never knew it. Wow. Incredible. She tells me, she starts crying and saying, I've never shared this out loud. I'm getting goosebumps even telling you this. . I said, Sally, you need to put it in your letter. Oh no, it's been under the rug. We gotta talk about that. Mm-hmm. , it's been under the rug for 45 years. Yep. Son is 50. Wow. Can you put that in your letter? Yep. It would be so important. Yeah. For your son to hear this Graham: and it really reframes the entire family system, right? It's, it's a hundred, a hundred percent. It's everything that we've [00:12:00] ever known. This whole perception of who we are as a family is false. Right? Oh and a hundred percent. And it really kind of is those, those types of, I feel like that piece of information can really wake somebody up and say, holy cow. You know? And again, and it's. You know, we're not, you know, just trying to work with a client here. You know, we're, we're working with the family, right? Mm-hmm. , and this is a family disease. And, and that's, you know, I love working with somebody like yourself because by the time they get to us, they're kind of teed up and the, and the, the family is, you know, been coached and they know what to expect and they're. Ready to hold the line. And you know, it's, it's difficult when we get families who don't really understand that concept that, you know, listen, we're working with, with you, but we're also working with the family as well, because everybody needs to do some work here. Right. Frances: The secrets will kill a family system. Yep. They will destroy the fabric in the family. And when she said it out loud, he visibly. Began to shake all over Wow. [00:13:00] As he's been the identified black sheep. Right. Everybody else has been towing the line and just living the sort of perfect life. Mom shares this bombshell and all of a sudden now, mom and son are both sharing in this pain and suffering. Wow. And they're, and the and, and the empathy. is is literally tangible in the room where Sun says, , oh my gosh. I've known, I've known that there was something off. Mm-hmm. in this family. I could feel it. I never knew what it was. And at 50 years old, he hears the secret that mom has been protecting. No wonder, no wonder he's using, he is literally physically embodying the trauma, the generational trauma. Yep. Mm-hmm. that, who knows where it started? Yeah. I mean, it could have. [00:14:00] three generations ago, five generations ago. Yep. The family begins to heal no matter what the identified person chooses. Mm-hmm. for him or herself. In terms of his own recovery. The family begins to heal right away. This is secret that the other brother never knew. Yeah. Best friends never knew. Wife never knew. Wow. Jesus. And we're all hearing. Except for me. Right. All at the same time. Incredible. Incredible. Incredible. Yeah. Incredible, incredible, incredible. Dr. Harold Hong: Tell us, Francis, a little bit about what was going on with the family, that, that got them up to that moment of, of reaching out to you. Like how did they reach Frances: the of their life? Ah, ah, great question. Wife. I always fall in love with the family. Just so you know. , , I love this woman so much. I've known her for a whopping two months. Right, right. She's incredible. Well, Graham: you get very close to these people, you know, [00:15:00] doing this Dr. Harold Hong: type of work. You're spending like months getting to know them Frances: well, it just depends on how. Desperate. The crisis is Uhhuh. . I've done it in four days. This family, this woman, this wife specifically planned it to be post his birthday. Mm-hmm. and post a skiing trip. Yep. . Right? Some families don't have that kind of time, right? Mm-hmm. , because there's too much risk. She thought she could do it. She's been living with it for five years. She called me because her therapist, and she lives outside of New York City. Mm-hmm. I live part-time in New York City. She's been talking to her therapist. Her therapist told me to call, told her to call me. It took her six months to pick up the phone and call me. She Wow. And the reason she was willing to call me is that she finally realized she was done. Yep. And what she said was, I'm living a single parent life in a two-parent home, and I've never been [00:16:00] lonely here. Yeah. This husband, who is just an awesome star got laid off in Covid. Mm-hmm. , and he's an extrovert and his world crashed and burned and he sleeps until 2:00 PM He wakes up just in time to pick up their 10 year old daughter from school. he's sober for about four hours, starts drinking at about six, and then he stays up until five. Wow. And she said when her daughter, her 10 year old daughter, came to her after Christmas and said, why does daddy sleep all day? Hmm. I don't feel safe with him in the car when he picks me up from school. Chill bumps again. Yep. Then mommy knew right then and there. if I don't do this, I am modeling to my daughter that this is normal. Yep. And this is not normal. And mom knew right then and there to save her daughter, she had to [00:17:00] intervene on daughter's behalf. Yeah. To save the two of them. It's so, it, it makes me wanna weep. I mean, I mean, the strength of these families is. and then we have other families who are really stuck. Right. Yep. Really, really stuck. And I have those too. But Graham: yeah. And you know, it is, I think back to the arise training, you know, sometimes too. And one of the, the pieces that I loved that we pulled out of that was, and Dr. Hong actually, you know, uses the genogram. Yeah. Quite often with our assessment clients and. And it's just so incredible and so powerful to you know, the genogram is a chart. It's kind of a family tree, so to speak, where we start going generations back and start identifying some of the issues and some of the, you know, the family system issues, some of the individual issues with you know, generations previously. And, What was so cool that I found from it was when the, the person got sober the following generations. You saw that break in addiction, right? And you saw that break in the cycle which is so, so powerful. [00:18:00] And, you know, I'm a person in recovery. My wife is a person in recovery. We have three daughters. And you know, it used to say, gosh, you know, chances are one of 'em is gonna have an issue. But you know, my hope is that we are raising them. In a very different household. Mm-hmm. than, you know, a lot of us grew up in. Right. And, and you know, hopefully we can model that behavior and listen, we're not perfect and you know, life happens and everybody, it's tough raising kids these days, But you know. Do you still use a genogram? Frances: I do. Yeah. And what I've noticed in, in looking at that and filling it out. Sometimes it's on the fly. Yeah. Sometimes I have longer. Yep. And it really begins to. Clarify itself when I have these one-on-one conversations with every single person in the circle. Yep. I, I, I require that, I mean, I su highly suggest it because I learned so much right about the family system when I have individual conversations with everyone here, and what I am [00:19:00] becoming so clear about is that generational. Substance use disorder, mental health trauma, trauma is beneath so much of what I see. Yep. When I enter a family system. Yep. And when I started, I didn't understand the power of the generational trauma. Yep, yep. Yeah. It's amazing if we don't stop the cycle. . It just gets passed down. Yeah. It just continues on and on. Yep. All the time. Graham particularly, particularly with the mental health stuff. Yep. Mm-hmm. , we live what we learn. Yep. We live what we learn. . Graham: Yep. Yeah. And as Dr. Hong likes to say, one of my favorite quotes is from you is where there's addiction, there's trauma, . You know, and that's just, that's the [00:20:00] reality of, of the world these days. And a hundred percent, I mean, I would say we see it with, with most in or if not all clients. Right? Dr. Harold Hong: Totally. A hundred percent. It, I mean, the, the family you're talking about, I mean, you just feel the pain and the weight that they've been carrying for generations. it. One, one thing that I, I learned in my ethics class way back in college was there's a strange good reason mm-hmm. for every bad thing that we do, and with all the pain and the weight that this family's carrying addiction as a way to deal with that pain. It just makes sense. Mm-hmm. , but there's so much judgment and shame and dysfunction that comes along with it, and you. what you're talking about, Francis, sounds like such a relief, like the people in the family are getting what they wanted for so long, but what about all the pain and anger that's come along with it at the same time?[00:21:00] Frances: And what's so wild, Dr. Hong is this mother who's been carrying the secret for 45 years. Hmm. She has congestive heart failure. Okay. She's got high blood. and she's got high cholesterol. Mm-hmm. . She says that her pain medication costs her 25 grand a year. Holy God. And I wanna know if she had shared that secret 45 years ago and been willing to be vulnerable mm-hmm. with these children and really help the children understand it wasn't her fault. It may not have even been daddy's fault. He has a disease. I have a disease. , we can get help for this disease. Would she have less health problems? Now jury is out. Mm-hmm. But my sense is that trauma lives in the body. Hundred percent. And the body never, ever, ever forgets. [00:22:00] In fact, interestingly enough, because it's soak, it's so fresh in my mind, right? Mm-hmm. , I just got off the plane yesterday. Yeah. That the husband said to mom. Daughter doesn't know about this, right? Oh, she's 10. And in fact, the wife said, no daughter's actually written you a letter. Dr. Harold Hong: Wow. She was, she was actually the reason she was, she was hundred percent right? Frances: A hundred Graham: percent. The delusion is strong, right? The Frances: delusion and denial is like the Berlin wall, truly, and what she asked. Her husband in that moment, because husband now had heard mom share his letter. He, she asked, what did you know? Did you know anything at 10? Yep. And he said, I knew something was wrong. Right? [00:23:00] Yep. And so then she asked husband, so what do you think Vivian knows at 10? Hmm. Yeah. Graham: Yeah. Frances: The body never Graham: forgets. And you know, and, and you hear that all the time with you know, with people that are, you know, trying to, you know, find treatment on their own is that they need to, you know, they want to keep it a secret or they don't want this person to know, or they don't want that person to know. And the reality is, We're always the last people to know Right. We we're fooling ourselves if we think that everybody around us doesn't know exactly what's going on, you know? And in some cases it's, you know, kind of waiting for people to really crash and burn and, and get willing to, to seek treatment. But yeah, I mean, I love how you spoke about trauma. And you know, how it's stored in the body. And I mean, I am a huge believer in that, number one. And, and one of the things that we started doing here at, at New Waters is really introducing a lot of these holistic modalities, right? And doing, you know, massage, acupuncture, breath work, which has been. Incredible for our [00:24:00] clients. It, it has hands down their favorite thing that they do here. And that was a big surprise to me, right? So we're, you know, gonna be adding more of that type of work. But, you know, it's incredible to see these clients go in and they do a breath work session and they don't have any clue what it is, what it's all about. And they have this like, transformational experience. And really what they're doing is they're just releasing that energy, releasing that trauma, and it's. You know, it's a, it's kind of a short glimpse into, you know, some of these modalities that we can really utilize that are great tools for us when we're in recovery. But I know that you, you know, are a very holistic person and, you know, you believe in, in all these types of, of things. So would you elaborate a little bit on that and your, your work with it? I Frances: will. Yeah. So when I was, I, my, my card caring, most proud achievement is that I've been a sober. . Mm-hmm. 35 years. Which, which is a miracle. A miracle . But early on when my children were infants, I took up yoga. Mm-hmm. , and I'm [00:25:00] dating myself because I used a videotape , not a DVD v Mm-hmm. not, not a YouTube. Yep. A videotape. Yeah. And what I had heard in recovery, Was that the mind was not a welcome place for me. Mm-hmm. to stay for very long. I had no idea what that meant. But a friend in recovery said, you may wanna try some yoga. Mm-hmm. And in the very first Asanga class tape that I watch, , they taught breath work. Mm. At the end of class, in Sanskrit, it's called pr, yama prana meaning breath. It's it's a, it's an ancient word, ancient language. It's hard n not spoken anymore. Mm-hmm. Except in the yoga world, prana means breath. It means life. Mm-hmm. . And yama means control. Right. [00:26:00] Control of the breath. And it's actually. The, the fourth limb of this eight limb practice that is thousands. Mm-hmm. of years old. Wow. And I realized that in those early days of parenting and recovery, I was about five years sober at the time that I just needed some grounding practice. Mm-hmm. , and between being challenged to stay in the body, take the. into the heart. Underneath the skin. Into the body. Mm-hmm. , be there. Be on your mat. Breathe. Yep. Just for 55 minutes while the kids were napping, it began to change my life. Yep. Truly. And what I realize is this breath work, this mindfulness practice of being right here, right now. Mm-hmm. , observing, [00:27:00] noticing with no judgment. Hmm. is literally 5,000 years old. It's probably as old as millennia. Right. And we westerners think we, we, we just, we just found it. Right? ? Yeah. Graham: A hundred percent. Yep. Frances: Uhhuh and I hear a lot, oh, this facility offers mindfulness and breath work and body work and yoga and. . Same. Same. Like this is what I do. I'm a yoga instructor. I teach students how to become teachers, right? Mm-hmm. and I lead a mindfulness practice. That's the curriculum that I wrote and I teach. It's all about mindfulness and Okay, we're just catching on. Mm-hmm. and the Desert Monks. . Yep. The yogis have been doing it for literally 5,000 years. , but you know, we haven't known what we haven't known and I'm so grateful. Mm-hmm. for the practice, it is at our fingertips. It can be at a [00:28:00] stoplight. Yep. It can be while we're watching the coffee drip. It can be every time the phone rings, it can be every time we hear a text ding. Literally just to pause and to breathe and notice what am I, believ? Literally, what am I believing right here in this moment, right? Is my story 10 miles out or am I beating myself up for something that happened 10 miles ago, right? Mm-hmm. , where my feet are, that's where I am right here, right now, I'm just here staying with my beloved son, his wife, and. Precious. Just wanna say precious grandchildren, Uhhuh , and on Sesame Street, they're learning, I think, from Elmo to breathe. Wow. Breathe in. Breathe out. It's about time. Breathe [00:29:00] in. Breathe out. Mm-hmm. , breathe in, breathe out. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. It works in schools. It works at three and it works at 33 and 63, Dr. Harold Hong: a hundred percent. I, I gotta say though, I think culturally in the West we have just lost touch with reality. . Like we believe that we can work, eat, sleep, wake up, do it all over again, and that is sustainable for decades. it doesn't work. And, and what I see happen is our clients do that. They get burned out. Well, it's the Graham: expectation Dr. Harold Hong: too, right? Right. It's like you're not normal. If you can't do this, you can't do this. Right. And, and they burn out. The pain is unbearable and alcohol becomes that good idea in a bad situation. And then they, they hit bottom. And, and so our clients here, when I talk to them, , they feel so shocked that they feel better when they actually take care of themselves. . Right. You [00:30:00] know, it's like a mystery has suddenly been solved for them. Right. But this, it's just, it, it goes back to this what the vibe I was getting from what you were talking about and this family story, is that there's this massive reality under the surface that people are just out of touch with. They are so fortunate to have worked with you, Francis, cuz you, you connected them with the truth of their family and it sounds like such a huge blessing to them that all these things they've wanted are finally available to them. Mm-hmm. , Frances: they they were so grateful, but it's not me. Mm-hmm. , I'm just literally, I am just. Hands and feet of a higher power. Yep. And I just decide I'm walking alongside you and you can do it because we all need encouragement, guidance, and accountability. And that's what our [00:31:00] three-legged stool is as our whole family's mantra is that we're there to. , encourage and hold some kind of accountability. And it's not my accountability, it's their accountability to themselves. Mm-hmm. , I just hold the mirror up, hopefully with a little bit of meta, a little bit of loving kindness and empathy. Mm-hmm. , they're doing the heavy lifting. I'm not, I just ask questions. Dr. Harold Hong: Well, I'm, I'm blown away by this, this spiritual realm that you're, you're bringing up. And I, I've been in situations with clients. , you feel that there's a spirit in the room, and I think a lot of the people who are listening or watching would really benefit from hearing a little bit about what it's like to be in the room and, and does it result in a moment of decision and, and, mm-hmm. If you could tell us about a time where something like that comes to mind for Frances: you. Well, given that it just happened 24 hours ago, , [00:32:00] I can tell you about this one. The spiritual life is truly sacred to me. I feel like I've learned. Everything I know about the spiritual life from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Mm-hmm. . It's not recovery for everyone. Mm-hmm. . I know that, and I'm so grateful that there are other modes of recovery out there because the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous doesn't float everybody's boat. I happen to have gotten. Privilege Miracle to be able to get sober in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I walked into my very first a meeting in midtown Manhattan, and I've been sober ever since, and that is not me. That is my higher power, having some kind of grace and mercy. Mm-hmm. toward me. And for me, it's the power of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are the most profound [00:33:00] pathway. Toward living a life of contentment and peace and service that I know, and they can be used on top of batons, eightfold Path, Buddhas Four Step Path, smart Recovery Refuge Recovery. The, the, the, the, the language that the 12 steps use can be so fluid and so open and so gracious. It, it makes my heart heavy when, when I hear somebody saying it's not for me. Mm-hmm. , because I feel like there's a big tent there, but nonetheless mm-hmm. I am passionate about, for me the fact. Staying sober, and I mean really sober, working hard in the interior life to be [00:34:00] transparent, to be authentic. I did not live an authentic life when I was using. Mm-hmm. . What I was feeling inside was not what you were getting outside. Mm-hmm. . And that disconnect was the thing that brought me to my knees. Truly, I was imploding. Mm-hmm. . . The spiritual life is hugely, hugely important to me, and I I'm very open with families when I'm working with them, and I'm very open with clients in early recovery as their coach that I don't care what it is, but it can't be you. Mm-hmm. . Yep. It can be your higher self. Yep. There's plenty of Buddhist. for the 12 steps of recovery. Mm-hmm. , if that's your, yeah. If that's your thing. But it cannot, it cannot be my own self will. because my own self will got me to my knees. Yeah. Graham: Yeah. And I think too, that it's also important to highlight that for me at least, religion and spirituality [00:35:00] are very different things. Right. And I think that's where a lot of people get hung up is they think, oh, this is a religious program, or this is that, or they say God, or, you know, and, and you know, it's, again, as you just said, it's, it's very fluid, right. And you know, and it's just a start, right? And it's, and you just gotta. do your part to believe in something. But I think that puts a lot of people off. And, and it's always interesting when I'm, you know, talking with clients and they say, oh, I, I went to some meetings and it didn't, wasn't for me. I, you know, I couldn't relate or yada yada yada. And, and then my next question is typically like, well, tell me what that experience was really like cuz it's inevitably. Went to a meeting or two and sat in the back and didn't say hi to anybody. And you know, that's, that's not what 12 step is. Right. And you know, typically the reason that we say go to 90 and 90, me, you know, 90 meetings and 90 days is so that you go to a ton of different meetings. And you find your people, right? Yeah. And, and that's really, it's not, you know, this isn't a sentence, you know, that we're giving you, like, you need to go to a meeting every day. It's, it's for your benefits so that you can really [00:36:00] find your tribe, you know? And that's what it's all about. So, you know, and I think that it's really unfortunate that, that, that, like spiritual component p puts people off because it's, it really like, in order to, to recover from this thing, we need to have a total psychic shift. And I think that that only happens really at the spiritual. , right. We're so disconnected and and it's just such a, an important element and I feel like people are just so fearful of talking about it. You know, it's unfortunate. Frances: I also think that substance use disorder and mental health can be so isolating. Mm-hmm. , I think that those diseases are diseases of isolation. Mm-hmm. and I really believe. That we need community connection. Absolutely. And connection. Yep. Connection. And I a hundred percent agree with you. I have a client now [00:37:00] who's been to treatment living in a sober house in DC and that was his expectation by the sober house. 90 and 90. Yep. Right there on DuPont Circle. And that was the very thing, find your people. Yeah. Because this 30 year. . I get it. I understand it. His life has come to a crashing halt. He thinks he has literally come to the end of his existence because he has no idea, because the culture is out there presenting it. That if he can't have a drink, well, let's just say it's not a drink. We know that by the time we get to treatment, it's not a drink. Right. That he can't have Graham: a life. Yep. That's so hard. Yeah, so Frances: painful. And if he finds his people, Yep. It's not gonna take 90 meetings. New York City, Raleigh, New York, they're all over these 20 and 30 somethings and they're living a life they never imagined. Right? Yeah. Yeah. It's [00:38:00] beautiful. And they realize that. We can do it without alcohol and drugs. Graham: Mm-hmm. and, you know, do it in, in such a dramatic, amazing way too. I mean, that was, you know, I was 26 when I, when I went to treatment for the first time, or really the only time. And you know, I was super fortunate and I still say like, I was touched by the hand of God when I was about two weeks in a treatment. I all of a sudden just had this. Shift this awareness where I said, okay, I can sit here and say my life is over because I can't use these substances. How am I going to, you know, what's my wedding gonna be Like, what's my, you know, this, that, and the other thing that I listed off. And, you know, I couldn't possibly do these things without drinking. Right. And I all of a sudden have this awareness that I can, I can, you know, be down and out because of that, or I can just start doing awesome stuff. And I started fly fishing. I started playing more golf and I just like threw myself into all these different hobbies and things that I'd always dreamt about doing. But I didn't do because I was drinking by myself in a basement in Boston, , you know, . So, you know, [00:39:00] once I like had that kind of shift in perspective, I was like, oh wow, this, this, you know, life can be amazing. And then, you know, I still, I go to a ton of concerts and. I just do it differently now, right? I go with the right people and I don't go to the concert four hours before the concert and sit in the parking lot, you know, because nothing good is happening there for me, right? But then now I can remember the concert, which is a whole new thing, , which I never did before, but, Yeah, I mean, I think especially with young guys, you know, it's, and women as well, but you know, I've primarily worked with a lot more young males and and it's just getting them fired up about life again, right? Mm-hmm. and, and whatever it is, if it's free diving, spear fishing, fly fi, whatever, they're into skiing, you know, just getting reconnected with that is, makes all the difference in the world with these young. . Yeah. Yeah. Agree. Yep. Dr. Harold Hong: So for instance, with all the, with how amazing life can be after recovery, I think a lot of people, they don't know what joy is or happiness is until [00:40:00] they've gone through the recovery. But again, people just don't know what they don't know. Right? And so if, if there are people out there who, who have a sense like maybe something's not right with my loved one or, or our family system. , like what are some things that are a telltale sign that they, they would really benefit by working with someone like you? Like what are some things that they could have noticed a year before they hit rock bottom or six months before they hit rock bottom? What are some signs that they Frances: need help? That's a really good question. What's interesting for me is that by the time I walk in the. for the loved one, that loved one knows exactly what's happening. Mm-hmm. time and time and time again. Mm-hmm. and 90 plus percent, the loved [00:41:00] one in the meeting will say, yeah, I've had a problem. Mm-hmm. , which is often surprising to me because I know how heavy and large and wide denial is. Mm. And what's interesting is that families, when they call me, I ask them, how long have you known it was a problem? And inevitably, the longer they talk to me, the longer we are working through the process, writing the letters, having conversations, the longer the usage tends to be. Mm-hmm. where. Oh, it's just the past three months? Nah, no, actually it's been a couple years. No, actually it's more like five years. No, actually it started in high school. Whoa. And what I often hear from families is I wish I'd said something then, but I didn't know what to say. Yep. And one of the things that I know, and [00:42:00] you all know, is that words can be pretty thin. Mm-hmm. pretty cheap and often ineffective. Mm-hmm. , we're never gonna convince someone that they need to go get help one-on-one. Yeah. One-on-one. It will never work. The disease, whether it's mental health and or substance use disorder, will run circles around us. Yep. Wow. So what I often say to families, Compassion, compassion, compassion. It takes what it takes. And no matter how bad it's been, we're gonna offer a solution today. Yep. And who knows whether it would've worked 10 years ago, five years ago, five months ago. When the family is ready, the teacher arrives. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . You know, it's the same as when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. Mm-hmm. . . Dr. Harold Hong: It's beautiful. [00:43:00] Wow. Graham: I love it. Well, you know, this has been a great conversation and I think you have given us such, so much great information for families and hopefully they can, they can, you know, reach out to you if they need help. And we will have all of your information you know, in our, in our clip, in our thumbnail on, on the website. So thank you so much, Francis, for coming in. This is always such a pleasure of seeing you spending time with you. Thank you. and look forward to working with some more clients with you soon. Yes, Frances: yes, likewise, collaboration. Thank you both so much. It's been a privilege. Thank you. Course. Graham: Thanks y'all.
  • Show Notes
    Welcome to the New Waters Recovery podcast, where we explore the journey to recovery alongside esteemed guests from the addiction treatment industry. Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Frances Murchison, a professional certified interventionist and recovery coach from Whole Family Intervention, who brings a wealth of expertise to the discussion. With over three decades of sobriety, Frances is a holistic health coach, author, speaker, retreat leader, and yoga instructor with a passion for supporting individuals and families to break free from addiction and embrace a life of recovery, resilience, and wholeness. In this episode, our CEO/Founder, Graham Doerge, Medical Director, Dr. Harold Hong, and Frances Murchison, dive deep into the intervention process, which is a carefully planned procedure that involves a team of professionals and loved ones. The aim is to encourage individuals struggling with addiction to seek help in a compassionate, caring, and respectful manner. Frances shares valuable insights into the intervention process, from preparing for the intervention to selecting a treatment center. She emphasizes the significance of having a trained interventionist to guide the process, ensuring that it is done with the utmost sensitivity. Throughout the podcast, Frances dispels common myths and misconceptions about interventions while addressing the role of family dynamics in the recovery process. Listeners gain practical strategies and tips for navigating the intervention process, providing hope and support to those struggling with addiction. Join us on the New Waters Recovery podcast as we journey towards recovery together. Don't forget to subscribe and tune in weekly to gain further insights from our esteemed guests. Frances Murchison Links:
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