Welcome to the Unbreakable Boundaries Podcast
Oct. 19, 2022

#60: Freida Macdonald: You Gotta Know Hope


Know Hope North Carolina's mission is to remember those we have lost, support those in recovery and give hope to those still struggling.  Create memorial banner and billboards with faces of those lost to addiction in NC.  Refer clients to detox and treatment centers.  Facilitate grief groups.

 

Outline of Podcast Topics

  • The power of creating a space to honor your feelings in a safe way. 8:17
  • Grief doesn’t always have to be a direct result of a loss. 15:24
  • Don’t go down the road of “enabling”. 21:53
  • “They weren’t my answers to find.”. 24:11
  • What are some of the regrets that you have? 33:40
  • Life goes on, we don’t move on. 37:07
  • Don’t quit! Find your something! 43:11
  • What would you tell your loved ones that are still going through this

 

Website: https://www.knowhopenorthcarolina.com/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/4283060278435570

 

Transcript

Jen  00:03

Welcome back to the unbreakable boundaries podcast with your host, myself, Jennifer Maneely. And today's episode, I have a guest with me that I met recently at an event and her story was just, oh, it was so powerful. And I knew immediately that I just had to reach out and be like, you gotta come talk to my audience. So her name is Freida, McDonald. And I am so honored that she was willing to come here and chat and tell us a little bit about her story and what she's doing in the community to help others so free to welcome to the podcast.

 

Freida  00:40

Thank you so much. Jennifer is wonderful to be here. And I'm so happy that we met.

 

Jen  00:44

So me too. And I think we met at a prism event, which stands for and I hope I can get this right. People's recovery. I don't remember the rest. But it's a recovery services conferences. It's basically the idea is we, all the providers in this community and other people get together and we talk about how are we helping in the recovery community, whether it be with the families, whether it be with the person that needs recovery, it's all about education, and just a great community to be a part of when you know, we have loved ones with substance abuse issues, and we don't know where to go, that it's all sorts of different resources like myself, like free to, and so free to, could you tell my audience a little bit about what your organization is doing?

 

Freida  01:46

Absolutely. Unity. Yeah, thank you. I never really refer to the event as prism, even though I know that's it. It's the opioid Summit. And it really is other substance use as well. And I've always been so honored to have Maryland and bite me. It's it was the third year. So it was the third time that I was able to be there. So again, I'm glad I got to meet you there. And no hope North Carolina is my nonprofit. And the reason that I started No Hope North Carolina I always start off with is because of the loss of my two sons. My oldest son Steven had the tattoo, no hope. And when I asked him why he got that particular tattoo, he said, because you got to know hope more. So that has really stuck with me through the through these losses. I lost him 10 years ago, January 26 2012. And I lost him to gun violence. So that was not an opioid related loss or a substance use disorder loss. But it was a profound loss in my life and my family's life. And I did not really know where to turn. So in not knowing where to turn, I found that there was just an absence of resources and things for people that were in early grief that was tragic and unexpected. And it really had a huge impact on his younger brother who was just just turned 20 That year, and he ended up going somewhere with his pain, which was substance use. And it turned into an addiction opioids that actually ended up in heroin use, which ended up in his death in Wilmington, Valentine's Day 2016 in a recovery house room. From fentanyl in 2016. I didn't know anything about fentanyl at all other than fentanyl patches for cancer patients. Right. So that was a beginning of a learning opportunity right there. So no hope North Carolina represents my son Michael and his struggle with opioids as well as unfortunately many of his friends. And it is a banner behind me that if you can see that on the the YouTube that that Jennifer will put up and it shows 100 Loved ones that all have lost their lives to substance use disorder. And they that they all are an average age on this first day in or they're 24

 

Jen  04:43

Wow. And on the banner. So when you were speaking at the opioid summit, I something really cool. You brought in the banners which it's it's such a I don't want to say like, it's a cool thing, because none of this is very great. Like, this is all very sad. And it's like, if this happens, how are we taking care of ourselves managing ourselves? How are we healing and growing from this, and in these banners, really, it sounded like, helps a lot of people that since they have lost their loved ones, this was a great community just support and come together in remembrance of the people that they've lost. Yes, and go ahead.

 

Freida  05:43

I was gonna say that. Initially, when I made the remark about not knowing where to go with my pain, I didn't really have anyone else that I knew that had experienced what I had experienced. But as time went on, I became involved and, and began to participate and facilitate grief groups. And I began to meet people. And as I met people, I think we both said to each other earlier, it takes a village as I met people, it was a real common thread, everybody wanted to do something. Nobody wanted anybody to have to experience what they had experienced. And they really had that drive to, I want my person to be remembered, of course. And also, I believe that my, my person would want me to continue on and do something to help their friends and anyone else who struggled the way they did. And that was a very common thread with the people I began to meet. So in the interest of being able to connect with even a wider village, so to speak, I created a Facebook page, no hope North Carolina. and own it, it was it was the mission, which was to remember those that we've lost, support those in recovery, and give hope to the people that are still struggling. And I was very surprised at how many people in such a short period of time began to join the group. And it was just for North Carolina. So I had been on groups like can you see me now that do banners all over the country that have everyone from California to North Carolina posting their loved ones, and they have 30 banners with 150 people on each of them. And I had I had gotten support from Tracy, Curtis Carter and seeing that happen. But I did think when I reeled it down to just North Carolina, that I might have a couple of banners, and they would just be nice to take with me to anytime I spoke at a rehab or anywhere that I went for a visual or any type of remembrance event. But as it turned out, more and more people to this day are still submitting their loved ones. And I'm currently working on the fourth banner. And it's only been a nonprofit for a little over a year.

 

Jen  08:17

Wow. And it's so I there was one summer of two or three years, maybe like three years ago, and I lost a lot of people pretty close together. It was like, a it was not a great summer for me. Hard. Yeah. And I was such in deep grief that I didn't know what to do for myself. So I'm obviously gonna start getting a little emotional. But I just, I just, I was in so much pain that I didn't know how to handle myself and I came up with this idea, even for just just me of creating. I have like a wall in my office, which you can't, you can't see because there's like a little block. But there's a wall that I have posted pictures of all the people that I've lost. And what was so powerful for me was my ability to kind of create that space, so that each person I can still like I'll every now and then I'll go to that wall, and I'll stare and I'll pick someone to have a moment, a space that I can think about them, to miss them to grieve them to just honor them and how powerful creating that space has been for my own grief process. So I imagine that With these banners that you're talking about, it's, it's such a tragic thing to have people that we love have to go on to these banners. And what a, what an amazing place for them to be that we can honor them that we can remember them that we can keep their thoughts alive. And then we can help other people in their process of grief.

 

Freida  10:28

Absolutely love what you just said, to have that sacred place that you can just go and when you're feeling those things, and honor those feelings, because those feelings are going to come out one way or another, and very, very safe place for them to come out in your sacred place that you go to remember. And it's a totally believe it helps so much. i It makes me think about so many things that people do. But this past spring, I did an internship at Hill and transitions in Raleigh, and they have a place for people that they've lost too soon with, with pictures in their detox unit. And I am always amazed at how the impact of people whether they're brand new to detox that night, or whether they're, they weren't there and they've looked at it. Many, many times, they they always stop and reflect and remember when they look at those pictures. So it's it's a, it's a very, very sacred way to handle those kinds of losses. And in my own personal space that I'm sitting in right now, I have the smaller version of all of these banners. And I look at them every day in much the same way.

 

Jen  11:57

Yeah, yeah. And I think it's such a, it's such a special thing for us to do for ourselves. Because I know from my past of not really dealing with a lot of my emotions, and covering things up that they have a tendency to come out in very interesting ways when I don't allow myself to really honor where I'm at, in my feelings, whatever that means, however painful it is, when I don't honor those feelings, they have a tendency to come out in odd and interesting ways that usually involves me unintentionally hurting someone else. And it maybe it's through lashing out. Maybe it's I you know, maybe I'll say something mean, or my decisions impact someone else. That's that's a lot of how I have found that, that my own feelings come out. And what great thing for that you're doing is creating a space, a safe place, a community of people that can acknowledge their feelings in a safe way. And I think that's so crucial. When we are in this type of community, whether it's a grief of actually losing a loved one, or maybe it's the feelings of they're still alive, but they still feel gone, and they still feel lost, and you still feel hopeless, and you don't know what to do. And I think sometimes we're like, well, we don't want to bring up problems if we don't have solutions to the problems, but sometimes we just need to talk about it. Absolutely.

 

Freida  13:57

And the one thing I really love about the Facebook site is not only does a loved one send in their picture and birthday, and I call them Angel dates, the date they left us not only do they do that, but they join the form, they come in on no hope and they begin to talk to one another court that they have by comparing stories and feelings and where they are and how they're handling it being October in the days getting shorter and the leafs falling off the trees and going into another season without their loved one. This is simple is a conversation that I had yesterday, but the ability to share that with somebody that's right there with you that has that common thread in their life, I believe is a very healthy way to process grief.

 

Jen  14:52

Absolutely, absolutely. And it's just that having other people around that really understand what it is that you're going through, we don't have to solve all the world's problems. Right? Right. Sometimes there is, yes, sometimes there isn't a solution, it doesn't mean that we can't still need the ability to talk about what we are experiencing and how we feel and just know that we are not alone in this. Yes.

 

Freida  15:25

And I think that is so important to not feel isolated, which the COVID of course, didn't help at all with no, but not feel isolated. And to not feel like you said, just alone in your grief or alone in your circumstances. And I can honestly say that some of my closest people, the people that are my go to people now are people that I have met, because of our common bond, going through an immediate family loss. And it can be a spouse, it can be a sibling, it can be just a dear friend that was with you for your whole life even but just someone that you still want to pick the phone up and call when something big happens. And you're unable to do that. That's, that's very common in a lot of the conversations that I have. Because it takes a long time to process grief. And it's, there's not no timeline on it.

 

Jen  16:27

No, there isn't. And, you know, grief doesn't always have to be just as a direct result of, of losing someone to within passing, it can also look a lot in, in a way of we have to sometimes grieve and let go of who we thought our loved ones were going to be and love who they are in the moment. Right? Yes.

 

Freida  16:58

And meet them where they are in the moment and meet them force includes when they're still struggling with the disease of substance use disorder. Yes. I have learned so much about that in the last six years since losing Michael, that I try my best to share those feelings with everybody I can that still experiencing the grief of having a living person, but they're not having the life that they had always hoped and dreamed for them? That that's a struggle for a lot of families. And, and being there is is often a challenge and people don't know quite how to handle it.

 

Jen  17:44

Yes, because it looks very different. It's so counterintuitive, as if you're a parent, being there, for someone that has the substance use disorder. It looks it is very counterintuitive to everything that you think of being a parent to someone is so

 

Freida  18:07

yeah, I always make it and people smile when I say it, even people that are grieving, but they say you know how can you not be so overly concerned about the situation when you spent years trying to make them eat their green beans, I don't know where I got that from. But all I ever meant by that was, you know, you were so concerned about every little thing that they did whether they had on the right code, or, you know, whatever their nutrition level was, or whether they needed to just go see the pediatrician are not in this Spoken like a true mom here. I know. But, you know, to be like that, and then have substance use disorder. And where do we go with this? And what do we do when it's never been something that you've had to face before, but you're facing it with someone that you love beyond measure is, is a challenge. And I think that it's so incredibly helpful to find others that are going through the same just as it is if you are suffering from grief of someone that you've already lost. So either one of those is just grieving on a different level.

 

Jen  19:19

And you had just mentioned that you had learned so much since passing of your loved one. What would you say would be the number one thing that you've learned?

 

Freida  19:33

I have learned that being there for someone you love through no matter what it is that you will never regret it because life is so unexpected and can be so short and I am so incredibly grateful for everything that I did with him for my children. I just I just hang on to it. And those are some of my fondest memories. And, Stan, I've been in many, many conversations about enabling and all of that. And I get it, I know that there's like this. It's an art not a science of when to step in, and when to step out, kind of, quote, write it, that is very, very, very true. But you know your person better than anybody, when it's a family member, and you know, how they react and what they do. And you've got to trust your own gut, on what, what to do for them. And I have really, really learned that, because I can live with the fact that I had many, many conversations, went to many NA meetings, did so many things with Michael, and he became so honest with me about his struggles that I learned from him, I learned more and more each day that he went through that. But if I had said that, if I had made the choice to say, you can't live here, or you can't be in this environment, until you get yourself together, or I'll just wait until he hits rock bottom, I would have never had the opportunity to be with him over the last couple of years of his life, because his his addiction was relatively short, I lost my two boys, four years apart, and he he started down that road after the loss of his brother. So I didn't have that much time. So I'm so thankful that would be my number one thing that I'm thankful for, for being there for him in every way. I knew how at the time.

 

Jen  21:53

Yeah. And I think what you're saying it because this is a lot of the work that I do with with parents that come to me, is I don't go down the road of talking about enabling or anything like that. I think that's a really vague thing. And it's very unclear. And I can't like me, personally, I cannot tell anybody else what the right answer is for them and what they feel. And so what we do tap into, just like you're saying is, you know, really paying attention to a person's instincts. So what feels good at the time, what do you think is going to really serve this person that's right in front of you. And that's really what we explore is, let's look at all the ways in which you think you're going to help now if you feel uncomfortable in in an action that you're taking, let's look at that and see where we can be of service to this person in front of you, while you're also comfortable. Like with the decision, not that it's easy. No one's saying the decisions are easy. But how do you feel about the decisions that you're making? Let's forget about everyone else, and what they're saying, Who cares?

 

Freida  23:10

Right. And, and, and what what I have gotten better at than I was that when my son was still here is that I really do meet people where they are. And I really do talk to them about what the advantages that they feel they have by the lifestyle they're living and what the disadvantages are about the lifestyle they're living and get them to just talk about them. Because people listen to themselves more than they listen to anyone else apps and say, that's what I that's how I operate. That's, that's that's what I do. I can't say I was always the best that with my sons. Because as I said, I am learning I have been learning since you know, I more at that point took on the role that I was the parent and I was supposed to be the one with the answers. And that's that's really not true. I did not have the answers to that particular problem. And they're in Michael's life.

 

Jen  24:11

Right? Because they weren't your answers to find.

 

Freida  24:15

Yes, that's exactly Oh, that's powerful. Like that. They weren't my answers to find and in reality, even if someone is your, your, your main partner or your or your child, we all have our own life. And we all have our rights, our own choices. We just hope for one another that we make choices that are good for each of us. And that's really the way it works and in the end. So I think I think that my church, my children gave me the gift, the most important gifts in life that I will ever have. And that is how to respect how wherever People are and try to meet them there and help them in whatever way that I can. With without, without hurting myself in the process. Yeah.

 

Jen  25:10

Well, and it all comes back into, because we have a tendency, it's like if someone's really struggling immediately our The idea is oh, if you're struggling? Well, let's, I'm going to help you. Yes, yes. You know, like, that's just by nature. Because I think at the end of the day, you know, we care about each other, and we want to support each other. And it's like, okay, well, let me tell you how you should live your life.

 

Freida  25:40

Right, right. And in reality, they're having the knowledge of resources, and being able to give them but letting them go with whether they want to take advantage of those resources or not, goes back to when to step in, and when to step out. It's, it's very helpful to someone if they're struggling, and they don't know where to go or what to do, to be able to supply that for them, you know, and do your homework and figure out what may work and but then let them choose what's best. Yeah,

 

Jen  26:15

I am. This reminds me, so next week, I'm getting ready to go talk to some high school kids about you know, all of this. And of course, by the very nature, it's all most of the time, people want to lean very heavily on that idea of prevention and how bad drugs are, and the horror stories and the fear and all that stuff. They to keep them away from all the bad drugs. But of course, for me, it's like I had all of those same talks. When I was in high school, all those people came in, and they tell all the horror stories. And I'm like, yeah, those never really helped. And I was thinking about this, it's more of like, well, my approach and angle is talking about my experience of my emotions of what I was experiencing when I was in high school. And then also, when they're ready, if they do go down a particular road, where can they go? What are ways out there, and that there is there are things out there, they don't have to live the way that they're living, they don't have to experience the feelings that they're experiencing by themselves. And that there are resources out there, what are the good resources to turn to even even if they're in ninth grade, or 10th grade, and they're having feelings of just not really knowing who they are, and they're floundering? And where do they go? How, how do they ask for what it is that they need?

 

Freida  27:47

Exactly. And what you are really doing is you are offering hope, and that is really, really vital in this particularly and I can remember middle school as well as any everyone you know, we where we are in high school and the decisions that we're trying to make. And it's a very confusing time to so to have someone at least hands you. These could be the options for you. These could be the resources, these are things that I believe gives people hope that they can do something a little bit different that maybe will be better for them.

 

Jen  28:20

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I really want to make sure that we have enough time, because I think part of this is I would love to hear who were your son's?

 

Freida  28:39

Oh, thank you for that opportunity. I love it. Stephen was my oldest son, Steven Hoyle. And he was a single mom for many years. And so that made him in his mind, the man of the family. And I love this question. And we had a lot of good times because it was just the three of us. And he was very, very athletic. And he loved basketball, and he loves soccer. And so Michael was four years younger, and he idolized his brother. And it really does paint the picture of the impact on Michael's life when he lost his brother, because he did not get to see his biological dad very often. And he just it was the three of us most of the time. And he just, he just really looked up to him and he wanted to do all of the things that Steven could do. And Steven was very coordinated. And he was very witty. He was he was very well liked. And Michael just adored that and that as far as Michael he was, he was a quieter child he was he wasn't as active as his brother. He he did have many, many friends and he was social. He He was just, he just compared himself, he's just so much more skilled than I am, he can walk in a room and he doesn't have any trouble talking to anybody. And so they were, they were very different. But Michael, Michael just didn't give himself enough credit in that area, because he still has friends to this day that check on me, that talked to me. And Steven does as well. But they, they knew, because they were three years and nine months apart, they knew a whole lot of the same people. And Michaels, and his main thing, he loves staying home a lot of times on Friday nights and watching the movie with me, he loved doing that. We just had a lot of good times together. So with that background, neither one of them had children are or got married in their lifetime. And so that, that is something that as a parent, you know, I do regret that for them that they didn't experience and I'm a selfish way that, you know, I didn't have the the the ability to be able to see them get married. So when I go see a friend get married, I'm always happy or a friend have a child, I'm always happy. But it's just that there is that void in my life that I was hoping that they would feel in be there. So I missed them every single day. I that I am so incredibly grateful for the 24 years that I had each of them, you know, they were born four years apart, and they died four years apart. And now they are very right beside each other in my father's hometown in Oxford. And I just, I just want to say as far as the question, Who were they, they they were the light of my world. They really were they. They they made me who I am today. And it's because of their memory. Sorry. It's because of their memory that I'm doing now hit North Carolina. And as I mentioned earlier in this podcast, no hope came directly from Stephen. And Michael's favorite reading was just for today. So all of the time, I say no hope just for the day and just for the day is on Michaels headstone. And I've also got no hope and just for the day on bricks over at healing transitions in their garden. And I tell people their stories, because I want people to realize that they were just, they were just kids and they had not ever really made their way to even the 25 year mark, when your frontal lobes are completely developed. I mean, I have to say that, you know, they were still, they still had a long ways to go in their growth. And we don't know they would both be in their 30s. Now, we don't know what they would be today. And that'll be a regret. But I do believe that they live on through me. And I do believe that they live on through No Hope North Carolina. And that brings me so much peace and hope that their lives are some how helping even if it just one. They are helping others by people hearing my story. So thank you for the opportunity to remember then.

 

Jen  33:40

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think it something that you are really acknowledging is both. You know, who they were, and then some of the regrets that you have, and that part of that grieving that you're doing in terms of, I didn't get to see them get married. And that makes me really sad. That's a problem that will never have a solution. Right? And yet, it's so important that we can still acknowledge that you have those kinds of regrets for yourself for them. And how healing that can really be is to just say, instead of just going oh, I'm not going to talk about it, because there's nothing I can do about it anyway, of really embracing that and saying, Yeah, that's something I really miss. I really miss the opportunity to see who they would have turned out to be today. And right. And you really miss that. Yeah. And I think those are all of the really important things that we need to talk about for ourselves of this is this is what I thought was going to happen in my life. as it related to them, and that's not what's happening. Right. And that's sad.

 

Freida  35:06

Because it doesn't meet the expectation that you had through their lifetime, you know, as they're going to school and learning and you're starting to think about what their futures are going to look like. But to flip it over to try to always have a silver lining, after I taught through that, because there are silver lines, and I just want to point them out. To flip it over, I've been members of so many groups now. And like grass, brief recovery, after substance passing, I will go to that. And I will meet somebody that looks like the deer in the headlights, because they have just lost their person. And I'll sit down, and I'll just tell a really mini version of what I just told you. And people will look at me and I have heard this many times, and you're still walking and you've lost two. And I and I'm I'm not saying that for any reason other than I love to demonstrate that life does, even though it's different, and it's never going to be the same life does go on. And our decision of what we're going to do with it is our own and whether we do something good with it, or whether we don't, it's completely up to us. And that it actually goes hand in hand, in my opinion, with struggling with with addiction or substance use disorder, I should say. It goes hand in hand in the sense that we're never going to really be overweight, we can be in recovery, but we're never going to be cured. And as I talk with people about that, and they see that I am still here, and I've been in this journey for a decade, I have been told that that gives them hope that they can make it and so I try to share it anytime I can for that purpose. And I do believe that's the silver lining in the story is that we can do something positive with an unspeakable loss.

 

Jen  37:07

Yeah, absolutely. And I and you're hitting such a good point, which is, life goes on. We don't move on, we move differently. And we move

 

Freida  37:18

we can continue to move through it. But we will never move on. It's how I usually say it. Because it's it's always with us. You don't ever wake up one day and not think about it. It's just not possible.

 

Jen  37:31

And I think what's so great is, you know, bringing in that message of hope that it's like we move differently. Because I have seen families that get swallowed up by the grief. I've seen my families, I've seen people get swallowed not even the grief of losing. But I've seen them get swallowed up in the situation that they're in, where it's just so much darkness to the point. You know, I remember, I was talking to this woman, and I was asking her just about herself. And she was very quickly to tell me all the problems with her son in NITSA. But what about you? She goes, what about me? And I said, Well, what are you doing for yourself, she goes, Oh, I don't do anything for myself, I literally sit on my couch all day long waiting for the next day because I let go of all my friends, I've let go of everything, everything in my life and I just sit on my couch and wait for for him to need something for me to you know, Sue, like she was very honest about that. And, you know, to me, it's like, I look at that as like your your life is being swallowed up.

 

Freida  38:48

And I think that's the perfect way to put it. And I have far too many stories of multiple household families that have lost siblings and and even afterwards their mother. And because of being swallowed up in in grief. And it's it's so heartbreaking to see that happen, that I just want everybody to be able to know that they're finding their purpose or finding their their way to at least have someone understanding their pain is will bring them hope and will and will develop into a purpose if they don't have a purpose that they feel. Many people when they lose a child they'll say I just don't feel like I have a purpose anymore. But there is always purpose. There's something that you can do with that to help so many. And I often compare it to the 12 step of AAA or na where it's, you know, to give back to give back to take that pain and that struggle that you've been through and give back and it's been my experience of people in recovery, that in the giving back, they find so much joy. And in the giving back, I do as well.

 

Jen  40:10

Well, and it's a big piece because, you know, I'm in recovery myself. And it's a big piece of the things that were taught, which is to think about something outside of ourselves to, of course, we have a saying that says, you can only keep what you have by giving it away, you know, and it just, it just basically means that what you've learned and the wisdom that you've gained, it's now time for you, just like someone else taught you how to do that, it's now time for you to do the teaching to other people, right. And that's how we get it now, in these 12 steps. And this is I can't, I can't stress this enough, in the 12 steps in any sort of recovery thing. I always look at recovery, or in your situation. Everything is like kind of a piece of a pie, right? And all the pieces to make a whole person to make someone feel whole, they need all of the pieces of the pie, and recovery, the 12 steps or whatever is only one piece of the pie to make a whole person. And I say that because it's like some people really think that that's the end all be all of of it all. Who am I? No, no, no, no. We need more in our lives. And just that right now, just like you need more than just what you're doing to make a whole thing. This is a piece of your pie. And then it's like, I guess the biggest thing that I love to help people with is gaining clarity on what are all of the pieces of the pie that a person needs, to have that purpose in their life, to be strong to get what they need for themselves to have those moments where it's like, yes, we can both be sad. And we can also laugh, at the same time, to have a multitude of emotions, to embrace the idea that we don't have to not feel worthy enough or not feel like we deserve happiness in our lives, no matter what's happened, we can still honor what has we have experienced and the things that we've lost the things that we expected that aren't coming true and still have happiness?

 

Freida  42:44

Absolutely, absolutely. There's nothing that makes me feel more happy than sitting in a group and talking with people that are in recovery. And all of a sudden, we're just all hitting on the same. Same page, and we're just really communicating and there. And we're, I just feel in the air that it's like a topical come up. You know, we just don't quit, don't to do nothing. And I'm like, Absolutely, we got to find our something. And I can't say that I just quit my job to do something. But I can say that I can put down my degree and I can put down my pain for just a second there. And I can find a purpose and an in even joy I can seek for joy in my life, just by watching other people who have struggled do better. It just brings me such such joy. So again, silver lining, right, it's just those are the moments and we

 

Jen  43:50

need we need each other to teach each other, how to honor ourselves and how to be happy. You know, left to my own devices, I certainly wouldn't be sitting here today. I've needed every person in my life that has shown me that I am worthy that has reminded me that I am worthy of happiness of having goals in my life of teaching myself how to get out of bed and like be a functional member of society. It wasn't by myself. And I think that you know, when it comes to people, whether it's their loved ones that are in the situation, whether it's us like we all need each other to share that wisdom and to feel connected to each other that says, Yes, I know exactly where you're at. And these are some of the things that I've done that have helped me and don't forget that you're worthy of feeling okay lately.

 

Freida  45:00

One of my angel moms has that on her plate on her car, you are worthy. She lost her daughter. And it's so true, you are worthy. And you got this and you can do it all. All it takes is that your own internal desire, and reaching out for the resources and going for it. And I just I love seeing people do it. Just look at what you're doing with this unbreakable boundaries podcast, right? And you're giving this person here me the opportunity to share? And that's that is as a mother's greatest fear that are be forgotten, and that how can they be forgotten when you're doing a podcast. So that's an awesome opportunity, and I appreciate it so much.

 

Jen  45:48

Absolutely. And that's what I really wanted this space to be is just a place for people to land to, okay, maybe, because what I have found is that a lot of times parents that are going through this are not quite ready to reach out to talk to anybody, they're still kind of in hiding. And it's like, well, I want to create a space that gives them just a little bit of courage that gives them the information that makes them feel not so alone, that makes them feel like they can let go of their shame for a minute and says, go reach out, you know, ask for you may not even, it's not even asking for help. But even asking, So what do I need to do? Where do I turn to get some of these questions that I have answered? Does my loved one even really have a problem? Are we in the place where I can consider them having an addiction or substance use disorder or however you want to frame that? I don't even know that? And it's like, okay, well, where did those people turn? It's like, we're not at the resources of rehab or all that yet, but so many questions, and feeling so alone, I really wanted to create a place that can have people feel not so alone in their journey, while also getting resources, connections, places that they can go, it doesn't take much to go to a Facebook group and join a group. You don't have to do anything else.

 

Freida  47:17

Right? It you can be laying in your bed for Yeah, yeah, well to get on Facebook and talk to somebody it's been been through. So you can be anywhere. And it can be anytime, day or night. And I do love that about it. And I think that, I think that in the early days, it and and even now it continues to have so much purpose to it for me to be able to connect to when I need to, and connect on simple things like the leaves falling off the trees, you know, whatever it is, or the days getting shorter, like I mentioned earlier, you know, the holidays coming up, all of those things can can be triggers in a lot of different ways. And so I'm so grateful for this community of people that that understand me, and that is exactly what your podcast does it. It gathers people together, and gives them a place to talk and gives other people somewhere to find out information and find out how other people are managing. So what a gift.

 

Jen  48:22

What a gift. Well, thank you for that. And I want to ask one last question before we wrap up is for my families that are out there listening to this, and they have their loved ones that and they're in the heat of the moment, they are still going through it. What would you tell them?

 

Freida  48:42

I would tell them to and I know it's difficult and I know you're weary. But keep on believing keep on encouraging hope keep on looking into whatever is in your community as far as resources because they are out there. And there are people that can help you find them. You know, you can even reach out to know up North Carolina, we've got a website www.no Hope North carolina.com and that will take you even to the Facebook if you want to start interacting I mean we can help you there. I literally have a a file, but the main thing is hang on to your hope. Because as long as there's breath, there's hope. And there there are many many friends of mine and loved ones of mine that are in sustained recovery. That so it's very possible and and it's getting better because we're not sweeping it under the rug as much as we were before. Still are to some degree. There's still some stigma, but it's getting better because we're talking.

 

Jen  49:47

Absolutely and we're just gonna keep talking, you know, my the original name of this podcast, which I later changed after about 13 episodes was in the stigma in The stigma and the stigma. And that was the original thing. Now it went down an interesting road. And so I was like, I think I need to reevaluate the name for the podcast. But at the same time, it is like we need to talk about it. Because we don't need to be running around having all these this stigma stuff happening. So well free to I just want to thank you so much for being willing to come on, and share your story and share what you're doing in in this community.

 

Freida  50:32

It was really a pleasure to be here. And I just appreciate it. And if you we now have billboards, I just want to throw that in there. So if you're riding down the road, we're putting aid in Wilmington, November the ninth, if you're riding down the road, and you see no hope North Carolina, just send some warm thoughts to all those families represented there.

 

Jen  50:53

I meant to say something about that earlier, while we were talking about your signs that you have is that you you did actually turn them into billboards around in North Carolina and how have a an amazing thing that has been that allows people to have just something so powerful up almost in the sky, reminding people like we're here, this is happening, we are talking about it or encouraging people to reach out and these are the faces that we've lost what a great remembrance of of those powerful billboards. I can't I mean, the fact I hate to say this in such a way, so I want to honor both the the tragedy of it and going I can't wait to be able to run into a billboard of this.

 

Freida  51:50

Yes, there. There was. On August 31, there was one in Boone. So that was it did get out in the western part of the state, which was the first time it's mostly been Easton as just as far west as Greensboro. But as as opportunities present themselves. I will I hope to have one in the Asheville area.

 

Jen  52:12

So man, yeah, and I just I can't I just, I mean, it's not like I can't wait, but it will be exciting for me. When I'm driving down the road one day and look up in the sky and see no hope North Carolina,

 

Freida  52:26

you'll know the story. And I know

 

Jen  52:27

this so I'd be like, hey, yes person I know. Yeah.

 

Freida  52:32

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you really appreciate what you do. It's such a pleasure to meet you just for today,

 

Jen  52:39

just for today. And thank you guys for listening to this podcast. If you want to listen to more find more information out about this podcast and more of what I do to help families. You can go check out my page at unbreakable boundaries podcast.com. It's full of other great podcasts just like this one, and other great resources to look through. And please remember to share this podcast with others. You never know who may need to hear this people are often hiding their battles in this arena and sharing is a great way to provide this valuable resource to a person you may not even know who needs it. And don't forget, there is always hope even when things seem the most hopeless

Freida Knott MacDonald Profile Photo

Freida Knott MacDonald

Founder, Know Hope NC

Know Hope North Carolina's mission is to remember those we have lost, support those in recovery and give hope to those still struggling. Create memorial banner and billboards with faces of those lost to addiction in NC. Refer clients to detox and treatment centers. Facilitate grief groups.