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Interview With Patty Smith and Grayson Smith, Authors of Beyond Rock Bottom

Beyond Rock Bottom is a mother-son collaboration about struggling with addiction and codependency. Learn more about Patty and Grayson and how they overcame their challenges to live more fulfilling lives and a more meaningful relationship.

Grayson Smith lives in Salt Lake City with his dog Lady, where he works in construction. He goes to school and is pursuing a degree in civil engineering from the University of Utah. He keeps busy rock climbing, skiing and is active in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

PattySmith lives in South Carolina with her husband Buddy Smith. She is involved in Al-Anon and other 12-Step groups. Patty embraces holistic health that emphasizes the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. She 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 path to lasting health and wellness.

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Welcome Patty and Grayson, and thank you for being with us today! Why not start by telling our readers what Beyond Rock Bottom everything is about?

Patty: Beyond Rock Bottom is a story of addiction, codependency and recovery. It’s a mother and son writing about their journey through addiction.

Grauson: Beyond Rock Bottom is about my addiction and how I dealt with it. It’s also about my mother’s struggles, her codependency, and the desire to “fix” many things that went wrong in our family.

What inspired you to write this story?

Patty: I was compelled to write about my journey as a mother to an addict. I had 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 joy regardless of my circumstances.

Grayson: My mother called me one day to ask if she could write about me. I said she could write whatever she wanted. She called back a few minutes later and asked if I’d like to write it with her and I said sure without really knowing what the project was going to be.

How important was it for you to get your message down on paper and out into the world?

Patty: It’s important to me to share my experience of heartbreak to help others find the same hope for themselves. I want to help others who are struggling with their child’s addiction – not knowing if they will ever get better. Sharing how I learned to be okay when those around me aren’t feeling well.

Grayson: It was fun and I have a lot of freedom to share my story with people. I didn’t start with a mission or goal to spread my message. It’s a very similar story for anyone who is a recovering addict. I don’t think the message of the book is particularly unique.

What was the hardest thing about writing Beyond Rock Bottom?

Patty: For me, the hardest part about writing this book was reading what my son wrote. He shared some stories about his addiction that I didn’t know about. I didn’t know the extent of his pain until now and it was hard to learn about his childhood trauma through writing the book.

Grayson: Pick a title!

It’s a great title! What do you most hope readers will take away from the message Beyond Rock Bottom?

Patty: I hope readers will learn that they are not alone in grief and the importance of community. Learning how to be okay even when those around you are not feeling well, and how to experience joy and peace regardless of the circumstances.

Grayson: Anyone can recover from an addiction. Nobody is too far away.

What feedback have you received so far?

Patty: The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. People are so glad we had the courage to write our story. People can relate to our struggle and heartbreak and find hope for themselves as they read our book.

Grayson: I’ve heard a few comments about the language I use and how graphic some of the details surrounding drug use are. I take this feedback as a compliment. Most of the feedback I’ve received is that the book gives hope. Many people have reached out to me and said they can relate, either through themselves or through a family member.

What are you doing to spread the word? Beyond Rock Bottom and spread your message?

Patty: We did some book signings and gave talks. We really want to share the word of hope with those who are still suffering. We did a family restoration podcast with Bryce Bauer: Raising the Bottom. A treatment center promotes our book, Beyond Rock Bottomand we would really like to bring our book to more centers.

Grayson: I have a hard time promoting my own book. I often think, “Who actually wants to read that?” My mom is a natural promoter and hands out our cards to whoever takes one.

What have you learned/how have you grown or changed from your experience, and what has had the greatest impact on your life?

Patty: I’ve learned to take care of myself and respect the struggles of others. What struck me the most was the overwhelming response of others struggling with addiction. It’s an epidemic.

Grayson: The biggest thing I’ve learned is the power of sharing our stories together. I think that’s the basis of recovery from anything.

How has your relationship with each other changed since recovering and writing? Beyond Rock Bottom?

Patty: My son and I are closer after writing this book together. Because of our vulnerability, we experience greater connectedness. Little did we know of each other’s pain. We hang out and have fun together.

Grayson: That’s a difficult one for me to answer. There are certainly no more secrets. I think it brought us closer to be a part of such an achievement. It also confirms what we’ve all been through and found a way out. It’s very exciting.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received—about recovery, or writing, or life in general?

Patty: As far as writing goes – write, write, write. As for recovery – go to meetings, it’s all about community and dedication.

Grayson: The best writing advice – I’m not sure if I read it anywhere or if someone said it to me, but I remember it very well: “If it doesn’t hurt to write, then you shouldn’t publish it”. I’ve often thought about including painful events as I went back and forth. The Best Recovery Guide? do things for others.

What is your advice to people who are looking for help?

Patty: Get help! It’s about community and dedication. “Let go and let God”. Find an AA or Alanon meeting.

Grayson: QUESTIONS!

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your book, Beyond Rock Bottom, and get in touch 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 tell our readers?

You’re not alone. There is hope.

Thanks to Sheri Hoyte

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