Addiction in the Family with Jamila Reddy

Jamila Reddy Sober Curious podcast addiction grief ruby warrington

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My guest today is Jamila Reddy, a lifestyle designer, holistic wellness advocate, and empowerment coach, who has first-hand experience of how one person’s substance abuse can impact on the wider family system.

Jamila lost her older sister to addiction coming up on three years ago at the time of recording, and I invited her on to talk about how she and her family coped with this loss. Many of us have experienced watching our loved ones struggle with addiction – as well as navigating the mental health issues that are often behind this – and have felt the pain of knowing that there is only so much we can ever do to help somebody who, for whatever reason, is unable to help themselves.

In this conversation, Jamila shares vulnerable truths about her journey with her sister. Along the way, we discuss the life events that can trigger addictive behaviors, the fine line between helping and enabling, the guilt and shame that can permeate families experiencing addiction, and how the grieving process has helped to inform her work and her mission in the wider world. In the episode we discuss: 

-Why siblings can have such different experiences with substance abuse – despite having the same upbringing and genetic imprints.

-The differences in how she and her sister processed the fallout from her parents’ divorce.

-Feeling like she lost her friend after her sister started drinking – and the impact of her sister’s using use on the wider family system.

-Drinking to enable extreme behavior and “act out” the feelings we can’t express in words.

-How her sister’s drinking progressed to harder drug use.

-The fine line between helping and enabling a person who is struggling.

-How the unexpected nature of her sister’s death – and how much harder this made it to grieve.

-How a person’s agency and the choices they make are compromised by addiction.

-How her Buddhist practices have helped her process and make sense of her sister’s death.

-How the hardest of times can help us flower and bloom in new ways.

-The importance of resourcing ourselves with rest, pleasure, and joy before we burn out.

-Missing her sister the most in times of intense joy – and seeing the death of a loved one as a permission slip to live life to the fullest.

Discover more about Jamila and her work HERE and follow her on Instagram @jamilareddy

Big thank you to Optimist Drinks for partnering on this episode. Find them @optimistdrinks and get 15% off your order with the code CURIOUS at Optimistdrinks.com