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Interview With Patty Smith and Grayson Smith, Authors of Beyond Rock Bottom
Beyond Rock Bottom is a mother-daughter collaboration about the struggle of addiction and codependence. Learn more about Patty and Grayson and how they overcame their challenges to experience a fuller life, and a more meaningful relationship.
Grayson Smith lives in Salt Lake City, with his dog, Lady, where he works in construction. He attended school and pursued a degree in civil engineering from the University of Utah. He stays busy climbing, skiing and active in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Patty Smith lives in South Carolina with her husband, Buddy Smith. He was involved in Al-Anon and other 12-step groups. Patty embraces holistic health, emphasizing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. He earned a Master’s Degree in health coaching from the International Health Coach University. Her “been there, done that” experience helps clients find their own way to lasting health and wellness.
Welcome Patty and Grayson, and thanks for joining us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers what Beyond Rock Bottom about everything?
patty: Beyond Rock Bottom is a story of addiction, codependency and recovery. It’s a mother and daughter writing about their journey through addiction.
Grayson: Beyond Rock Bottom about my addiction and how I dealt with it. It’s also about the struggles of my mother, who was dependent and wanted to “fix” the many things that were wrong in our family.
What inspired you to write this story?
Patty: I felt compelled to write about my journey as a mother of an addict. I need to write about how I learned to take care of myself and respect my son’s struggle with addiction. I had to write about how I found peace and happiness, no matter what my circumstances.
Grayson: My mother called me one day to ask if she could write about me. I said he could write whatever he wanted. He called back a few minutes later and asked if I wanted to write it with him, and I said sure, not really knowing what the project was.
How important is it to you to get your message down on paper and out into the world?
Patty: It is important to me to share my experience of pain to help others find this hope for themselves. I want to help others who are struggling with their child’s addiction – not knowing if they will ever recover. Sharing how I learned to be okay, when those around me are not okay.
Grayson: It was fun to do and I got a lot of freedom to share my story with people. I did not start with a mission or a goal to get my message out. This is a very similar story to anyone who is a recovering addict. I don’t think the message of the book is unique.
What is the hardest part of writing Beyond Rock Bottom?
Patty: For me, the hardest part of writing this book was reading what my son wrote. He shared some stories of his addiction that I didn’t know. I didn’t know the extent of her pain until now and learning about her childhood trauma through writing the book was difficult.
Grayson: Pick a title!
This is a great title! What do you hope readers will get from the message of Beyond Rock Bottom?
Patty: My hope for readers is to know that they are not alone in their pain, and to learn the importance of community. To learn how to be okay, even when those around you are not okay, and how to experience joy and peace, no matter what your situation is.
Grayson: Anyone can recover from addiction. No one is too far away.
What kind of feedback have you received so far?
Patty: The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. People are very happy that we had the courage to write our story. People can relate to our struggle and pain, and find hope in themselves when they read our book.
Grayson: I had some comments about the language I used and how graphic some of the details about drug use were. I take that feedback as a compliment. Most of the feedback I received was that the book offered hope. Many people have come to me saying they can relate, either through themselves or a family member.
What did you do to get the word out Beyond Rock Bottom and spread your message?
Patty: We have done some book signings and speaking engagements. We really want to spread the word of hope to those who are still suffering. We’re doing a podcast about family healing with Bryce Bauer: Rising from the Bottom. A treatment center promotes our book, Beyond Rock Bottomand we would like to see more centers become aware of our book.
Grayson: It’s hard for me to promote my own book. I often wonder, “Who really wants to read this, anyway?” My mother was a natural born promoter, handing out our cards to anyone who would take them.
What did you learn/how did you grow or change from your experience, and what had the biggest impact on your life?
Patty: I learned how to take care of myself and respect the struggles of others. The overwhelming response of others struggling with addiction had the most impact on me. It’s an epidemic.
Grayson: The biggest thing I’ve learned is how powerful it is to share our stories with each other. I think this is the foundation of recovery from anything.
How has your relationship with each other changed since recovery and writing Beyond Rock Bottom?
Patty: My son and I are closer after writing this book. Through our vulnerability we experience greater connection. We don’t know the pain of others. We go together and have fun.
Grayson: That’s a hard question for me to answer. Surely there are no more secrets. I think it brought us closer, to share in such success. It also confirms what everyone has been through and found a way out. This is very exciting.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received – about recovery or writing or life in general?
Patty: As far as writing – writing, writing, writing. As far as healing – go to meetings, it’s about community and surrender.
Grayson: The best piece of writing advice – I’m not sure if I read it somewhere or someone told me, but I remember it well, “If the writing doesn’t hurt, then you won’t publish it”. I always think about this when I think back and forth about including disease events. The best recovery advice? Do things for other people.
What advice would you give to people seeking help?
Patty: Help! It’s all about community and commitment. “Leave and Let God”. Find an AA or Alanon meeting.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your book, Beyond Rock Bottom, and connect with you on social media?
Our website is www.beyondrockbottom.com. We also have a Facebook page @beyondrockbottomthebook.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
You are not alone. There is hope.
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