• Unraveled: A Mother and Son Addiction Story | Laura Cook Boldt and Tom H Boldt | Episode 179

  • addiction in familiesWe all have ideas about what addiction looks like in a person: that the outward appearance should match the inward mental and emotional state, that if you don’t look and feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, that you can’t be addicted. That you’re just having a little mental trouble. And we apply these ideas not just to others, but to ourselves as well. Mother and son Laura and Tom Boldt join Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to discuss their story in their book Unraveled: A Mother and Son Story of Addiction and Redemption. They help in understanding addiction and how it manifests in both parents and teenagers. They share so we can better understand what addiction looks like, feels like, and how we can help ourselves and our children through this struggle.


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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Helping and supporting your child is different from bailing them out.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Addiction in Families:

    Quote about addiction in familiesLaura is from a family of alcoholics; she saw her mother’s alcoholism and swore she’d never do that, but it happened anyway.

    Addiction doesn’t have an ‘on/off’ or ‘reset’ switch; it’s a disease, not a tripped circuit breaker.

    Addiction stereotypes often have the outside match the inside; if you look like you have it all together, you’re not an addict.

    Tom used for years, but didn’t believe he had an addiction. He knew something was wrong, but his life was mostly under control, so he didn’t think he could be an addict.

    Both Laura and Tom reached their rock bottoms, and, consequently, their realizations of addiction, on their own. They had to understand by themselves that they needed help.

    You can’t help someone who doesn’t want help.

    ‘Rock bottom’ looks and feels different for everyone. There’s no universal measuring stick.

    Many parents send their children away or kick them out until they’ve dealt with their addiction. That just makes it harder for the kids to find the understanding and support they need during their recovery.

    Communication is vital. Talk to your teen about their addiction, and offer them support and help with rehab and recovery. In Laura’s words, “I wanted him to get sober. Nagging him won’t make that happen.”

    Make sure to take care of yourself and the others in your family too; it can be easy for parents to put all their focus and efforts into the one child who has issues and end up leaving the others to fend for themselves.

    Set boundaries. Laura and Tom set boundaries, but they weren’t getting upheld, and she kept making excuses for his behavior. Once she sought more help and support for herself, she and Tom were better able to communicate and enforce healthy boundaries for his rehab and recovery.

    Today, Tom is recovered and running his own small business. He has a girlfriend and a 4-year-old daughter, and they’re looking to get a house of their own. He’s struggled, but that hasn’t destroyed his ability to be happy.


    Unraveled: A Mother and Son Story of Addiction and Redemption by Laura and Tom Boldt

    Alcoholics Anonymous Family Groups 

    Alcoholics Anonymous 

    Parenting An Addicted Child | Brenda Zane | Episode 143

    Understanding Addiction In Teenagers: Risk, Prevention, and Treatment | Richard Capriola | Episode 165

    Our Guests:

    Laura and Tom Boldt discuss addiction in familiesLAURA COOK BOLDT was born and reared in St. Louis, Missouri. Married to Tom for thirty-plus years, mother of four grown boys, and sister to a mix of five siblings all currently living in the US, she graduated from Colorado College with a BA in English and continued on to Parsons School of Design in NYC. Laura has also completed courses at Pratt Institute and Washington University. Currently a retired designer, Laura continues to travel, spending most of her time in the mountains of Colorado and with her family. Unraveled, a memoir, is her first book, and she has begun writing another nonfiction book, Bastard by Dawn.

    THOMAS HENRY BOLDT was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the son of Laura and Tom Boldt and the eldest of his three brothers. He has traveled extensively across many continents for racing, surfing, and exploring. Tom remains close with his brothers and extended family. His current interests include travel, hiking, and snowboarding wherever he can, and he loves anything involving recreation on the water. He is currently living in Orange County, California, and owns and operates a small company nearby. Unraveled is Tom’s first book.

    To learn more or connect with our guests visit https://unraveledthebook.com/ 


    Greenleaf Publishing: publishers of Unraveled