We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
The general public is becoming more aware of the overwhelming data around addiction and deaths caused by accidental overdose and long term health affects. The recovery community has always spoken of addiction as a “family disease” but the stigma behind that label has landed with families as shame and judgement for something that they did wrong in their households. In the past, that label has been used to blame families, which drives people deeper into shame and isolation.
In my work, I am redefining what “recovery” means in the entire family system. I am helping families to understand how addiction has changed the core of who they are, without them even realizing it. Addiction being a “family disease” actually means that every person in close relationship with the person in use needs and deserves their own form of recovery and healing.
Data behind people who have found successful long term recovery, shows that connection and compassion from a community is an essential piece of the recovery process. The family system is the closest and strongest system of community that people have. Helping families combine the science behind understanding addiction and behaviors, along with understanding themselves and their needs allows support systems the opportunity to lean into those struggling with substance use disorder with kindness and empathy using communication and behavior tools that foster connection, and ultimately, influence.
When families begin to recover, individuals feel valued as people, and they can be empowered to care enough about their life to change their behaviors.
In order to make a dent in the crisis around substance use, the entire community is going to change our thinking around the disease of addiction.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I became who I needed most when I was searching for help and answers for my family’s struggle with substance use disorder. In my own yearning and love of research and evidence to support my feelings and experiences, I found overwhelming data to support the connection and kindness approach to a relationship with my son. In this discovery, I decided that I wanted to share my story of recovery in hopes of inspiring others to step out of the isolation and shame of addiction in their families.
As a former public school educator, my combination of experience, knowledge and training in the addiction field as well as an understanding of how people learn combines in a unique way to allow me to present information and materials in practical ways that can reach all families and give support.
While my personal journey has been very hard, I am here today with the knowledge that family recovery is real and can influence individuals to seek help for their substance use. I live today with purpose and joy in my personal life when I was once only surviving the days. I approach your family’s needs with compassion and understanding, while helping you navigate your personal path to recovery.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As an adventure and outdoor enthusiast, our time would be focused around those activities. We would begin with a hike up the Manitou Incline to celebrate our strength and resilience with beautiful views of the city below-hopefully we would be blessed with a fresh dusting of snow. We would spend an evening at the SunWater Spa in Manitou, soaking in the healing of the sacred mineral waters of Manitou, and breathing in the fresh air of the area.
A trip to Colorado would not be complete without some skiing, and staying with my local connections, we would go to Monarch to experience a locally owned resort not yet taken over by big resort business. Skiing only natural snow on a fresh powder day is an experience to share with my friends.
To take a break from the outdoors, I would bring my friend to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Pioneer Museum to look at the exhibits that are touring as well as the always fascinating Colorado history Tuberculosis exhibit at the Pioneer Museum then catching a musical production or play put on by the Fine Arts Center Theater Company.
In terms of food, I have some local favorite places that always provide great food-Saigon Cafe (fresh, authentic Vietnamese) Sherpa Gardens (Tibetan and Nepalese), Cerberus Brewing (local brewpub with great food) and Goat Patch Brewing (local brew pub) with local food trucks rotating.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My work stems from my own lived experience in my family with Substance Use Disorder, Although I had well meaning guidance by professionals, the impact was not being seen in my family’s lives and the guidance did not sit well with me as a mother trying to support her son.
I found guidance in my own research with the combination of the modalities of CRAFT (community reinforcement and family training), Invitation to Change (combining science with kindness) and Motivational Interviewing.