May 1
  • Written By Scott Drochelman

  • 182 – Ask The Expert – Kim Muench

    182 - Ask The Expert - Kim Muench

    Parent Coach On Supporting An Addicted Child

    Kim Muench is a Jai, Institute for Parenting Certified Conscious Parenting Coach who specializes in working with mothers of adolescents. 

    Kim’s expertise is grounded in her own life experience of raising a son who struggled with substance abuse issues. To make matters more difficult, she was also trying to navigate the difficult world of co-parenting with her ex-husband, a man who struggled with his own alcoholism. 

    Kim is passionate about educating, supporting and encouraging parents to raise their children with intention and guidance rather than fear and control. 

    Kim’s experience raising five children and years of coaching other parents, empowers her to lead her clients with compassion into healthier, happier, and more functional relationships.

    Kim has a self-published Amazon #1 New Release entitled Becoming Me While Raising You – a Mother’s Journey to Her Self. 

    Her mission is to help more people parent WITH rather than over their children.

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    Episode Transcript

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (00:00):

    Coming up on this episode of The Courage to Change sponsored by Lion,

    Kim Muench (00:06):

    I think that we are so egoically tied to our children as a reflection of how we parented who we are, and sometimes vicariously living our lives or success through our kids. It’s a disservice. It’s a disservice to our kids to not allow the natural consequences to their actions to come about. And I have had people say to me, well, you know, your son is 12 years sober. You know, like it’s easy for you to say like, what if he had died? I don’t have that experience, but I do believe that I would feel the same way.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (00:45):

    Hello, beautiful people. Welcome to the Courage to Change a Recovery podcast. My name is Ashley Lowe, blossom Game. And I am your host. And today I am joined by Kim. Kim is a Jai Institute for Parenting certified conscious parenting Coach. Kim’s expertise is grounded in her own life experience of raising a son who struggled with substance abuse issues to make matters more difficult. She was also trying to navigate the difficult world of co-parenting with her ex-husband, a man who struggled with his own alcoholism. Kim is passionate about educating, supporting, and encouraging parents to raise their children with intention and guidance rather than fear and control. Kim’s experience raising five children and years of coaching other parents empowers her to lead her clients with compassion into healthier, happier, and more functional relationships. Kim has a self-published Amazon number one new release entitled Becoming Me While Raising You A Mother’s Journey to herself.


    Kim has amazing experience as a parenting coach and as a parent who has been through the struggles that come with having a child who is struggling, who is addicted, who needs parental support, oftentimes that support is not something that is super intuitive. So Kim walks us through what her experience looked like, how she came out the other side, and what her relationship is like now with her son who is sober over a decade. Please check out her book, her TikTok. She puts out a lot of content on parenting and I know many of you reach out for advice and guidance like this. She is fantastic. You’re gonna love her. Without further ado, I give you Kim nch. Let’s do this.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (02:50):

    You are listening to the Courage to Change a Recovery podcast. We are a community of recovering people who have overcome the odds and found the courage to change. Each week we share stories of recovery from substance abuse, eating disorders, grief and loss, childhood trauma, and other life-changing experiences. Come join us no matter where you are on your recovery journey.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (03:19):

    Kim, thank you so much for being here.

    Kim Muench (03:21):

    Ashley, I’m super excited to have this conversation with you today.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (03:24):

    Me as well. I feel like there are so many things that I can learn from, from your experience, especially as a, as a boy mom with alcoholism in our family and all the families and parents that listen to this podcast. I get so many parents listen to this podcast who have a teen or a young adult that are struggling that want advice. So I, I’m, I’m looking forward to hearing. Can you, can you gimme a little bit of background about what your life was like growing up, just so we get a feel of, of where you come from?

    Kim Muench (03:56):

    Sure. I grew up in the, um, suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And parents were married. I have two younger brothers. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. Um, we went to private Catholic school all growing up through high school. And I went to college my freshman year in college and ended up pregnant halfway through the year. And that dramatically changed the trajectory and the relationship that I had with my parents at the time. I was asked to leave home and go out on my own because I, my, my parents were certain that I was meant to give this baby up for adoption that I was pregnant with. And I just really had a hard time reconciling with that. So I ended up figuring out the welfare system, nine months pregnant, leaving home and moving into a tiny apartment across town from my parents. I didn’t have a car. And starting my journey as a new mom at just barely 19 years of age, I did actually my mom, my mom was very supportive of me in terms of, she ended up babysitting for my son and, you know, being instrumental in me being able to get off of welfare benefits. But I was not allowed to live back home after he was born.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (05:17):

    Interesting. And when you think about that with regard to having your own kids, do you think that that was their best form of support? Like what they knew how to do or how to respond? Oh,

    Kim Muench (05:29):

    I think my, my parents had very, my, my parents themselves had a slightly different viewpoints. Um, I think to my dad, what we looked like to the outside world was fairly important. And I know that his oldest and only daughter getting pregnant at 18, you know, didn’t fare well. And I, I do believe that he came from a place of love in thinking that I wasn’t ready to be a mother at 18, 19 years of age. And I can see that as a parent now. I can see that in some respects. I don’t think he went about it, you know, he, he essentially gave me an ultimatum and that, you know, made it very difficult. And I didn’t, I didn’t go against him because I was trying to be rebellious in any way. I felt in my heart that I was meant to be this child’s mom. And I just couldn’t wrap my head around not doing that. And my mom, my mom is wonderful. She still is wonderful and she wanted to support my dad, but also wanted to support me. So she was in that tough position as a mom. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, trying to balance, you know, how do I support my husband while also, you know, showing my daughter I love her cause I can see that she is really struggling with this decision.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (06:44):

    Yeah, yeah. How was the relationship with your son’s father?

    Kim Muench (06:50):

    It was challenging. Well, initially of course we thought we were in love, right? He was a year older than me and we were like head over heels and all the things. One of the first things my dad wanted to do was have us get married when he first found out that I was pregnant. Fortunately for both of us, uh, I, neither one of us thought that was a good idea to compound the issue that we were in. So thank goodness we didn’t do that because as things played out a year or so into, after my son was born, I realized that I was in an abusive relationship, um, emotionally for certain. And then over time it got to be physically, um, abusive as well. And it took me about a another year to get out of the relationship with his dad because it was so, he was very controlling and I knew how difficult it was gonna be for me to get out of it. So it took about a year before I had like, the strength and the plan on how I was gonna do that. So he and I, we parted ways when my son was just about three years old and then of course had to co-parent for many years after that.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (07:55):

    And did your son’s father have struggles with substance use?

    Kim Muench (08:00):

    Yes. Well, at the time, you know, it was, we were in our early twenties and everybody drank. So I don’t think, you know, it it, it wasn’t until later that I, you know, that I could tell that it was really affecting his life. And of course at that point I wasn’t with him, I just had to co-parent with him. But there were definitely signs when my son was, you know, even in elementary school where his, you know, he just, when I had occasion to see him, cuz we had to switch my son off back and forth, that he would reek of alcohol and that, you know, that kind of thing. So when we were dating, I did not see it as out of normal behavior. I think it progressed much more as he, you know, got older.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (08:44):

    When you look back, were there indications that your son was going to struggle at some point? Any mental health struggles before the introduction of the actual substances?

    Kim Muench (08:56):

    Yes. When he was a preteen, so around I would say 10 or 11, he began to get really anxious about certain things. First it was storms. Um, we lived in Wisconsin and there was thunderstorms and, you know, there was, there was a chance of tornadoes and whatnot. So he was very, very preoccupied and anxious on nights, especially when it was gonna storm. I can remember it taking a long time to get him to go to bed at night when those were occasions he went through a period of time when he was afraid that he was gonna choke on something. And so we did have him for anxiety issues. I got him into counseling and did a few sessions myself, even did some with his dad, but it didn’t really seem to like do much. And I don’t know, I mean this, we’re talking about, you know, like the early nineties. I know that my son struggled with sleeping at night.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (09:47):

    You probably have more information now, but what did you see at the time when you now know that he was transitioning from some of the other coping skills to what would eventually be substance use?

    Kim Muench (10:02):

    Very difficult time getting out of bed in the morning. I, but it was my first teenager, it was my first time going through the teen years and I, I was a girl, I wasn’t a boy. So like, I’m trying to, as a, as a parent go, is this normal, not normal? He also had horrible smells coming out of his bedroom and I again thought, you know, that it was, it just boy smell like <laugh>, you know, like hormone changes. And part of it was, but I also learned many years later he was actually brewing wine in his closet. Um, so that was part <laugh>, part of the smell and that he was smoking marijuana and blowing it out the window, you know, through a tube and the bounce and the whole thing, you know, to be able to calm down enough to sleep at night. Hmm

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (10:48):

    Hmm. What did it look like when it started to get, when it started to concern you at a level higher than, I’m just concerned that he’s struggling with teen issues. Like when was it like, okay, there’s something really wrong, I need to do something?

    Kim Muench (11:02):

    Well, a couple of times during high school now I, um, was married and had four other kids with my husband. Okay. And so I’ve been married 30 years at this point. But while Nick was a teenager, if we’re talking specifically about that, one of the things that happened, I’m probably a handful of times is my husband would come to me and say there’s alcohol missing from the cabinet. And because I was the biological parent and because that’s the way we parented, it was my job to go and talk to Nick about it. And Nick and I had a very, I thought at the time, very close relationship. He would come to me with his par, his friendship challenge or you know, he was dating some girls and we, we had good conversation. I know it was hard for him to go between two his house or our house and his dad’s house.


    And we had many more rules at our house than his dad did. However, um, we, we have it, what I would say is a good relationship and I think Nick would say the same thing. So my husband would come to me and then I would confront Nick with this information and Nick would adamantly look me in the eyes, tell me that that is not the case, that he is not taking alcohol. I mean, I believed him because at the time I, I thought we had a good relationship and it went so far as I began to doubt my husband at times because I thought he was trying to maybe cause an issue between my son and I because we did get along well. We were not friends, but we got along very well as, and, and I felt like he was trying to make an issue when there wasn’t obviously came to find out that I was wrong about that.


    And I think part of it too was just not as apparent being afraid if there was a problem. Like had not having any idea how to deal with that. No frame of reference. He was 20 when I got what I call my parenting wake up call. We were living in the state of Texas, my husband and the four kids, we had moved down to Texas for my husband’s job a year prior. My son had graduated from high school at that point, had moved out because on his 18th birthday my husband got tired of me going to my son with the whole alcohols missing from the cabinet thing. And he finally took it into his own hands on my son’s 18th birthday. And that led almost to a physical altercation between the two of them. My son just said, I’m going to live with my dad, I’m out of here.


    And so shortly after my son did go to live with his dad, um, my husband took this job and we all moved to Texas. So about a year after we were in Texas, I got a phone call from my son and he said, mom, I need to let you know that I’ve spent the last day recovering from an alcohol binge. I had blacked out for three days. This isn’t the first time and I need help. I knew he was struggling with some mental health issues prior to that just cuz he had told me. And so we had again found him a counselor. I knew that when I called him to check in with him, it would take him several days to call me back. But again, as a parent, I wrote that off as, oh, he’s 19, 20 years old. Like, I didn’t wanna probably wanna call my parents either. So again, it was easy to write off. I mean, looking back, it’s maybe a little bit clearer to me at this point, but at the time I was writing things off that maybe should have paid better attention to.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (14:17):

    One of the things I hear you describing, and I’m sure that you work with, cuz you work with so many parents and you have this conversation as well as I’ll hear a parent start to describe a similar scenario to the one that you’ve just described. And they’ll say, well, I just, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. And and, and they start to describe this self-doubt that’s being created and how angry their young adult child will get with them when they challenge anything, when they set a boundary, any of that. And immediately I can tell when the person is struggling with some sort of substance use disorder because there is this special form of doubt that we are able, uh, and full disclosure, I’m, I’m sober 17 years I was that child and my parents in my family’s place quite a serious problem. And we’re so good at creating self-doubt, at creating this possibility that you’re losing your mind.


    And to the point where even as a clinician, as someone who’s worked in this industry for many, many years, and as a person who did it themselves, sometimes when I interact with people who are in active addiction, I forget that. And like, why do I feel like I am losing my mind? Why do I feel like I’m going crazy? Or what is this feeling? And I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s what it is. And it, and their ability to create self-doubt, to create this idea of like, no, you’re the crazy one is so intense that it’s almost my top red flag of if you feel like you are going crazy, that is a manufactured phenomenon that is very much linked to this problem. When you got that phone call, what did you do next?

    Kim Muench (16:06):

    Well, I was definitely in shock, but then, you know, I was like, okay, some of this stuff is making sense now. The fact that when I call him, it’s three or four days before he calls me back, he was struggling in school and he had always struggled in school. He wasn’t a strong student, but he was in, um, community college at the time and he just, he wasn’t doing well with that and he wasn’t, he would miss work. And it just, some of the scheduling things, things that were falling through the cracks and stuff, things that we had, I thought imparted, you know, uh, responsibility to be at work on time and all that, you know, that was, all those things were kind of slipping. So when I got the call, clearly I understood that there was a problem and I, my biggest problem with that was that I was 1200 miles away.


    So I was trying to figure out what’s the best or what can I, you know, what can I do in this situation? I, I ended up calling our insurance company and saying, you know, I have this situation. I, I tried to get educated from them in terms of like, what’s the next logical step of, you know, and that was, and at the time we did have insurance for him, but when he left school, this was prior to Obamacare and he ended up needing to leave school because he clearly was failing and it, she needed to concentrate on his mental health, but once he left school, we no longer had health insurance coverage for him. So that complicated, the issue of paying for any kind of inpatient or outpatient program. I mean, it, it just, it was challenging. That was another element of it that made it challenging.


    The first thing I did was I talked to my mom. My mom lived very close to where he was and he was living in an apartment with a friend because he, even though he had moved to his dad’s house, that quickly became a nightmare for him. I didn’t know this at the time, but he just said his dad was too hard to live with and I totally understood that. So he moved <laugh>. So he moved in with a friend and the reality is you got two 20 year olds, nobody’s really watching them. And I, and I’m sure that exacerbated his issue. So when he called me, I said, let me see if grandma would take you in, because my parents had divorced and my mom was living alone within that week. My son moved in and then the weekend that he moved in, he had a very major binge episode and my mom called me and had to tell me about this. So again, I’m 1200 miles away, my mom is now dealing with this. And it became apparent very, very quickly once he called me just how serious an issue it was.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (18:33):

    When you were co-parenting with your son’s father, what were some of the challenges that you ran into when you would disagree on how to handle various parenting things that would go on?

    Kim Muench (18:48):

    So his dad and I, I, as I said, I left the situation because it was emotionally and physically abusive to me. And he had never exhibited that with my son when I was present. What I didn’t realize is that when I left that relationship, that abuse shifted onto my son. And my son was very, very loyal to his dad through the years. And no matter what happened, he was very, very loyal to him. So I didn’t know, he certainly didn’t come and tell me the kind of thing that was going on. I didn’t learn about it until he was in treatment and he started really talking about it. But the kind of challenges that I dealt with his dad were, we saw things very differently. I’ll just give an example. When my son was 16, he gave my son one of his cars and I did not agree with that, but his dad no longer wanted to see me to ship Nick back and forth because he was really, at that point his dad was really drinking heavily.


    And I was starting to catch onto it and, you know, I mean really it was becoming very apparent. So that was one thing we didn’t agree on because then one, once my son had a car that was from his dad, it caused all sorts, you know, like I couldn’t put any rules around this car because in his mind, you know, my dad gave me this car and my dad has no rules. So it was, it was just another, you know, that was very upsetting. So I think his dad loved him as much as he could love him, but I don’t think he had a very good parenting example himself. So I don’t think he knew what to do. Plus we were both very, you know, very young. What I think happened is essentially my, my son went to his dad’s house where there was no rules. His dad did remarry, but they never had any children and his dad was very vocal, a lot about never wanting anymore children. And then at our house, I was married and we had four more kids. So I think that my son felt, and we’ve talked about this since he’s, you know, been an adult, but I think that he felt not a hundred percent accepted for who he was in either place. Did

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (20:51):

    You reach out to your son’s father when you found out what was going on with

    Kim Muench (20:56):

    Nick? Yes, eventually I had to, because he was in Wisconsin, uh, he was in the vicinity. I ended up having to make a couple of like split second decision plane trips to go up to Wisconsin to take my son into medical detox. It got to a place where I had to get my mom out of the situation because I didn’t want her involved in that. My husband, we were clear that he wasn’t, um, that Nick wasn’t coming to Texas to bring that issue with four other kids in the picture. So again, it was trying to, trying to help my son with circumstances that were a lot of ’em not under my control. Obviously there came a time when the only option, you know, we gave, we gave Nick a second chance at my mom’s, and then again he would, he would be able to be sober for three or four weeks and then completely go off the rails.


    And the second time that happened, he knew that he would have to move in with his dad cuz there just, there wasn’t anyone else and he was gonna have to do that. So that is what happened. His dad really treated him like a prisoner and, and really put some hard rules on him feeling that that’s exactly what he needed. Meanwhile, his dad was seriously an alcoholic at that, you know, really in serious his own alcohol issue at that point. And what happened was, and what brought him to inpatient treatment was my, um, getting a call from his dad who said, you know, I, I found Nick out in the car. What happened was his dad tried to drag him into the house and Nick hit his head on the side of the car and gushed opened the back of his head. He was, wasn’t aware that it happened, but his dad called me and, you know, screaming and saying, you know, this can’t go on and blah, blah, blah.


    Like, he was overwhelmed. His dad was overwhelmed. So I ended up flying up there again. And really the intention was to put him in inpatient treatment, not in the state of Wisconsin was I, I didn’t want him, I knew he needed to get out of the situation. He had a girlfriend, he had a job. That was the only police place he ever knew, but I just knew that if I just put him in, you know, like a local place, he easily could leave. I mean, he was 21 years old, like, and, and he wanted help. He wanted help. So I ended up taking him to Texas, but I put him in a treatment center that was six hours away from us specifically, so that I wouldn’t go get him or I wouldn’t, I, I, I really wanted him to get help, but I also, well, I guess I was afraid of having him really close by too and what was gonna happen there after a last minute, 72 hour hold because he had a last hurrah getting him on a plane and getting him into inpatient treatment. And I wish I could say that that was, that was the end, you know, I just had to deliver him to treatment with this huge check and everything would’ve was fine. That isn’t what happened, but in my mind, that’s what I thought would happen. Mm-hmm.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (23:52):

    <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Oh no, that’s an important clarification because a lot of people believe that that is how it works and, and it is a, you know, is a windy road for many people to get to where they need to go. And, and it, it can be scary and feel like you’re failing and when in reality it’s part of the process. What were some of the feelings that you had as a mom going on during this time from the phone call through the first placement in treatment?

    Kim Muench (24:24):

    Well, I was obviously devastated. I was anxious. There were moments, there were a lot of times I didn’t want the phone to ring because I didn’t know it was gonna be on the other end. I was, you know, trying to remain a present parent to my other kids. While also there were times when Nick would call me and I would be on the phone with him for hours and he’d be drunk and I would be just continuing to try and reassure him that we loved him. So there was just, there was a lot going on. And I, and I tell a story in my book actually, about how in the darkest days of his active addiction, I would not allow myself to have any kind of emotion until I could hear my husband snoring next to me and I knew all the kids were in bed and asleep.


    Then I would allow myself to cry myself to sleep most nights. And there was one night during this time period that I went to sleep and I didn’t have a dream, but I woke up with a p feeling of peace because I knew that I didn’t control the situation and I didn’t know why Nick was in the world. I woke up with this like feeling of like, I don’t know why he’s here. I don’t know what he’s meant to learn. I don’t know what his life is supposed to be about. As sure as hell don’t control it because I, I mean, every time I tried to help or do something or put something into place, it w it didn’t last. So I knew I didn’t control it. I knew that any kind of change needed to come from within him. And I just knew that every decision I made as a parent needed to come from a place of supporting and encouraging him without enabling any of the self-destructive behavior.


    So money bail him outta jail. None of that was part of what I was gonna take part in. I, I ached with the knowledge that he was self-destructing and I had not because I needed validation, but I had worked so hard from the beginning of his life to fight for him to have a, a, a good family life and, and a mother who loved him and that wasn’t enough. So it, it made me ache to think that he was using alcohol as a way to self-medicate some very deep pain. I mean, as a parent, obviously, that, that feels awful.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (26:40):

    How did you manage feelings of blame for your son’s father around this topic? How, how did you figure out how to, how to recover? That’s

    Kim Muench (26:51):

    A really good question because I know that parents often get stuck in that whole blaming and shaming and I definitely acknowledged where I contributed to the problem. I would tell you that I don’t, I didn’t have any guilt at all about not working hard enough with his dad over the years. Like I had given everything I could to try and work with his dad. That just, you can’t, can’t work with someone who’s completely unreasonable and not ha doesn’t have that ability. I acknowledge that I definitely was in part to blame. However, it wasn’t going to serve me in the situation with my son or my son to sit in that. So if I had one thing to say to parents, I absolutely think you need to look into the history and to acknowledge where you played a part. However, sitting in that doesn’t help the situation.


    And I think many people get stuck in that part of it. And I, I wish there was like some miracle like, answer, I could tell you, yeah, you just do this and this and this. I guess I just again realized I was a part of this, but I’m no longer going to be a part of this. I decided how I was gonna participate in this situation as it was unfolding and I wasn’t going to sit in the blamed shame, unproductive part of woe is me or why is this happening to our family or my poor baby.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (28:16):

    What is it like having a child from a previous relationship who’s struggling, who you wanna be there for, who is also disruptive to other children you have and the marriage you have, whether it’s the same or, or otherwise. But I would believe that the fact that you’re married to non the, not the biological father and you have these other kids in this whole other life that is pretty separate from this situation and you’re being pulled so intensely in these two different directions. How did you manage that and what does that feel like?

    Kim Muench (28:48):

    It was definitely stressful. I, it definitely created a lot of anxiety and tension within my marriage at times because my husband is a very different personality than my son, obviously. And they, they had, you know, a tense relationship obviously. So it didn’t, that didn’t necessarily make it any easier. I think that my husband has always loved my son as much as he could as well, but you know, moms and dads have very different ways of dealing with things. I’m certainly more empathetic than, you know, my husband. So, and I was empathetic with Nick at the time that he was going through it for sure. I had my mom, I, I had had my son at 18, so all of my friends were years behind me. I was the first one to figure out how to send him to kindergarten. I was the first one to figure out how to, you know, enroll him in high school, whatever, and the first one to get ’em into treatment.


    I didn’t have friends that I could look to that had any relevant experience and not that my mom did, but my mom has always been an emotional support for me. And so I leaned a lot on her, quite frankly. And my mom is always the person that’s, you know, looking at the best in people in general. So she would come back and say, well, you know, Tom, which is my husband, you know, Tom feels this way because, and I don’t know, she was <laugh> she was my, my mainstay of emotional support during that time. And I know that that is not everybody’s situation. They may not have a mom or a parent or someone in their lives, but that would be one thing that I think, you know, would be super important if you’re walking this path. Yeah. When did your son’s father die of alcoholism?


    So my son went to treatment in November of 2008 after I got that wake up call, that wake up call came for a timeline for you. The wake up call came in May of 2008 when he first called me from across the country and said, I’ve lost three days. Things went back and forth. He tried an outpatient program and then we, it got to a place where in November of 2008 he went into treatment and I remember cuz I went up to Wisconsin and that his, he was at his dad’s at the time living there. I had to see his dad. And at the point, at the point I saw his dad, I hadn’t seen him in several years, and the whites of his eyes were yellow and he was bloated and I knew he wasn’t gonna make it to 45. I just knew it when I took him from his dad’s house and they hugged for the last time I made a mental image of that because I’m like, I just know this is the last time they’re gonna see each other.


    I just know that. So got Nick into treatment, Nick went through treatment and then went into sober living. And while in treatment, he did not want his dad to come to the family program. And quite frankly, I think his dad was probably too ill at that point to be able to do that. But his dad did try and reach out to Nick several times between he, him leaving treatment in 2009 and his dad died in February of 2010. He tried to reach out to him, but Nick was trying so hard to stay sober and he, the sound of his dad’s voice and all of the physical and and emotional abuse that he suffered during his childhood every time would, that would, you know, that would come flooding back. So he would not call his dad. So he did not really talk to his dad after he went to treatment for that length of time. And then when he got the news from his aunt that his dad had passed away, that sent him into a relapse, that was really devastating because he really felt horrible that he hadn’t talked to his dad. He thought maybe he could have saved him in some way. And I do think that when I took Nick out of there, that that was probably a major catapulting of his dad into just drinking himself to death. I mean, that’s what happened.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (32:41):

    Yeah. What happened when your son relapsed after his father died?

    Kim Muench (32:46):

    So he went to treatment in the southern part of Texas and then did sober living in Austin. And so that’s where he was living at the time. When his dad died, he went, he did fly back to Wisconsin and go to the funeral. And when he came back, I did go down and see him a couple weeks later he appeared on the phone to be processing it well and doing okay and not drinking. And that really wasn’t the case. We went down as a family to one of my songs in a tennis tournament. So we all went down and we were going to meet at the tennis courts and my son showed up drunk and that was the first time that I had experienced him drunk that he, you know, we were with all of the other kids and whatnot. And it was so, um, it was appalling to me that he had, like, I, it was a line I didn’t think that he would cross.


    And so what happened was I asked him very kindly to leave and then I caught up with him that evening, my son, and it was probably one of the most difficult evenings I’ve ever spent with my son because he continued to drink and drink and drink and drink. At the end of the evening with him, it got to a place where he and I began arguing about whether or not he could have saved his dad and him coming after me. And I knew, and I, I mean he was clearly blacked out, he was clearly not there. And I, I fled because I knew that if he hurt me in that state, he would never forgive himself. And so I fled, like I got out of there. He ended up getting arrested twice for domestic abuse. I didn’t bail him out of jail either time. The second time that he got out was May 20th, 2010, and he’s been sober since then.


    And he attributes in part the fact that I didn’t bail him out either time as the reason why. And he called, I mean, he called me several times from jail crying, mom, please, you know, this is not who I am. And, and I just, I said, I know this is not who you are. I know this is not who you are, but I am not, you don’t even know why you’re there. Like, you don’t even remember what puts you, what puts you in jail. And quite frankly, I’m actually thinking that you’re safer to yourself and other people in jail.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (35:08):

    I love what you said there to the parents in the back, do not bail them out of jail. It is really, really important for them to have that experience and you are taking that away from them and potentially prolonging things. And I’ll, I’ll never forget my dad saying that the nights that I was detained or otherwise in treatment or taken, um, you know, by professionals were the rare nights he was able to sleep through the night that he was, it was a relief that someone knew where I was. And that more or less, even in the, even in situations where I was not in great situations, that he felt relief I was safe.

    Kim Muench (35:48):

    I would absolutely say that. And not only that, but Nick had been picked up drunk driving and, and you know, I just knowing that not only was he safe, but other people on the road were <laugh> were also safe, was, you know, I I just, I could not, it, it also helped that I didn’t have the money, I’ll be honest, <laugh> I think I still would’ve said no, but I think it would’ve made it more difficult had we had the money, but just getting him into treatment. Again, we didn’t have insurance at that point. There was a lot, there was a lot that went on with regard to getting him the help that he needed. And when he landed in jail for the second time, I was like, I just, I can’t do this with you

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (36:27):

    Can’t. Yeah, yeah. It’s so painful. And, and I think, I think that one, one of the things I, I spent a lot of time talking to parents about is that the way to interact with someone in active addiction, particularly who is your child, is completely not intuitive. The way <laugh>, the intuitive thing is to show up for your kid, do anything you can for them, bail them outta jail, keep them, hold them. There’s so many things that as a parent, that’s what our intuition says to do, to protect them from these things. And so often what actually works is not intuitive. And part of that is because you’re not dealing with your child. You’re dealing with their, the iterations of their disease and it is a very maladaptive version of who they can be, but it isn’t who they are. And if you are trying to treat them like a logical, sane, well adapted person, you are going to be sorely disappointed with how they respond to that.

    Kim Muench (37:30):

    Yeah. I really, when I, when I think about it, when I go back to that story of that whole waking up one morning and not realizing, and that transferred to all of my kids, I will say like, and a lot of what I do when I work with parents is helping them learn and understand. We don’t know why our kids have come through us or to us if they’re, you know, adoptive or whatever, but we don’t really know why or what they might have to go through. If, if, and I’m sure you could say this, if you look back and I look back at my own life and having to walk through teen pregnancy at 18, that was a very growing experience for me. And so when we take those experiences away by trying to rescue or fix a situation for our kids, we don’t give them the opportunity to grow through that.


    Yes, as parents, we love our kids. We wanna protect them, we want them to, to feel loved and cared for and safe. But the reality is, there comes a point at which it’s, it’s almost like it’s, there comes a point at which where it’s, it’s me or you and I can’t, I just can’t do this anymore. Like I, I have to detach lovingly. There are ways to love your child very, very much, so much that you have to take a step back and allow the natural course of events, whatever’s gonna play out to play out. And I think part of the problem is that as parents, I will just talk about like my generation here. I think that we are so egoically tied to our children as a reflection of how we parented who we are and sometimes vicariously living our lives or success through our kids, it’s a disservice.


    It’s a disservice to our kids to not allow the natural consequences to their actions to come about. And I have had people say to me, well, you know, your son is 12 years sober. You know, like it’s easy for you to say like, what if he had died? I don’t have that experience, but I do believe that I would feel the same way. I do feel like when I look back at the experience, I didn’t know many days what was gonna happen. I mean, he could have died over and over and over again like a number of times. And I think I still would feel, I mean I love and care about him, but I also have this separation between who he is and what his life is about and who I am. And I’m not as tied as some parents can be very obviously codependent and meshed in this situation. I just don’t think that serves anybody.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (40:08):

    I also think people, they pick the wrong hills to die on in terms of, you know, this this, you know, how would you feel if this person died? Well, they’re not gonna die from you leaving them in jail. I have seen situations where someone is on death store and an intervention may keep them alive longer and wart some consequences that would cause irreparable damage and make it harder to get sober. And tho there are circumstances where I say, Nope, this is one of those times where we step in them being in jail, <laugh> them, you know, having to take a bus, them having to get a job. I mean, even sometimes them being homeless, they’re not gonna die from that. That right there is a very uncomfortable experience, but it isn’t a death sentence. And people confuse some of the things that feel really uncomfortable and really bad and feel like an emergency to your child with an emergency to you. And, and it’s important to remember that their emergency isn’t always your emergency.

    Kim Muench (41:13):

    Yeah, I agree. I agree with that wholeheartedly. There, there are definitely times when you have to step in because it’s a safe, it’s a, it’s a life or death safety issue. You know, calling the police. If your kid just left the house in a car completely drunk, you, you intervene in that. But they’re in jail and they don’t even remember why they are in jail. That’s not a, that’s, you know, again, it’s that those were the peaceful night’s sleeps. I, I know that sounds horrible, but not that things can’t go on in jail. But again, I, you know, I slept peacefully when he was in treatment and when he was in jail.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (41:50):

    Tell me about what it’s been like with your son getting sober and, and how you’ve transitioned into coaching other parents.

    Kim Muench (41:58):

    My son and I at this point, um, he really didn’t have anything. So he went to sober living and that didn’t work out because he got kicked out because he relapsed and ended up, he’s now married to. So he found this girl and they dated for a long time and yada yada. And he went from, um, working in a grocery store in the middle of the night driving a bike across Austin in all sorts of horrible neighborhoods to get to this job. Cause that’s all he had. I ne I did not financially help him in any way to now he works in it. He never did go back to college. His O c D affects him in that. He like rereads rereads 20 times. He can never get through a chapter in a textbook like, so school has just never been his thing. So fortunately he at a level of computers and has been able to find a career in that.


    We talk probably once every week and a half or so. And we have still have a very close relationship. There’s no topic off limits. He knows of the work that I do. He wrote the forward in the book that I published. He’s very, um, I think inspired by the work that I do with parents. What happened was, I, when we went to that family program and I learned all that stuff about addiction, I, in my brain, I was like, well, I need to go back to college. Cause I had left college when I had him after my freshman year. So all these years later I’m like, I, I gotta go back to college and I’m surely supposed to be a licensed chemical dependency counselor and work with teenagers <laugh>. So I went back, I went back to school, I graduated, I passed the state of TE Texas exam, and I started working my 4,000 internship hours with teenagers.


    And about a thousand hours into it, I thought, yeah, this is not, this is not what I’m supposed to be doing. However, part of my job was to support the parents who came in once a week while their kids were in the program. And I dearly loved supporting those parents and trying to educate those parents. And then by the grace of something on social media, I saw, um, an ad for parent coaching. And so I, I went to, through this program to become a parent coach. And it’s really evolved because I, I always worked, I’ve been doing this since 2016. I always worked with like middle school, high school parents because I, I didn’t think there was enough support and encouragement for older, for parents of older kids. So I’ve always worked with that age group. However, what has evolved as I’ve been on social media and sharing my personal story is parents of 18 to 25 year olds who are really struggling with their young adults, either failing to launch substance use issues, mental health issues, helping parents set appropriate boundaries for themselves.


    When I say setting boundaries, it typically, I think people think that means around their kids’ behavior kind of thing, but I don’t mean that at all. I mean, what at the parent getting very comfortable with sometimes being uncomfortable and allowing the natural consequences to play out in their kids’, uh, choices that they’re making so that their child can learn. And it makes it, I can tell you right now because of the greater level of adolescent mental health issues, that is just another layer for parents. It’s not just, and I say that very loosely substance use disorder. It’s a mental health diagnosis on top of that. So parents are, are like a ultra, like, I can’t, I don’t, I don’t know what to do, you know, I can’t, I don’t know what to do. And it’s really, I, the families that I work with, it’s not a blueprint.


    Every kid should be able to do this by this time and this by this time, it’s really, I mean, I’ve worked with parents where a raising the bar for their young adult son was in order to get dinner or get served dinner or eat at the family table, he had to take a shower. And I mean, it’s that incremental, right? And some, some families who’ve never dealt with this would probably roll their eyes or be like, really? But you have to understand that sometimes when a young person is dealing with a mental health one or more diagnoses, raising the bar is something as simple as them leaving their room and taking a shower. And those small steps, those small wins. And, and it’s beautiful to watch parents then add something else. Like, okay, you need to, not that this is the next step, but you need to afford to put gas in your car.


    So at this point we’re gonna expect that you’re gonna put gas in your car or they’re gonna take on their phone bill or, you know, whatever, whatever it is. And watching parents have the patience to hold the space for their kids to take those incremental steps so that they get to a place where they can be independent adults. It just takes, it takes longer. And, and if parents would not spend so much time looking at what every other kid is supposedly doing, and I, I will tell you that family, it doesn’t matter what the economics are, it doesn’t matter what area of the country, parents all over this country and all over this world are struggling with their late teen and young adults mental health issues and things. And when parents are willing to work on themselves and heal themselves, sometimes having to look back at their own childhood and, you know, heal things that maybe have been inadvertently and unconsciously projected onto their children, that is the greatest help that they can do. So that is the work that I do with parents.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (47:31):

    Absolutely. And and you started this in 2016, this, this, this parent coaching. What have you seen in terms of change in the last, you know, four years or so? I know I’ve seen an incredible increase in mental health struggles in young adults. What has been your experience?

    Kim Muench (47:51):

    Absolutely. That, and I think that there were issues with mental health for sure before Covid. I think that lockdown exacerbated a lot of social anxiety. Gaming is addiction issues even whether it’s use of substances or, you know, again, gaming or even shopping or, you know, so behavioral addictions have been exacerbated and it just failing to launch. I I would say what I’ve seen is more young men than young women that are struggling with moving ahead in their lives. Now, what I didn’t realize, so I was, I started in 2016, have always worked with middle school, high school parents, mainly because my kids were older and I just didn’t think there was enough support for older parents. But I jumped on TikTok in 2021. And what repeatedly, because I started by sharing my own personal story, what kept coming back at me and what I now exclusively coach are parents of 18 to 25 year olds.


    And I didn’t, I didn’t even know that was a th like, I didn’t even know that was like a thing. I, and I run moms groups, um, because I believe that moms are really the emotional barometers at home 99% of the time. They’re the ones that come for help. And so I run mom’s groups online, just giving parents moms of older kids the space to come to a trusted place and see, first of all, they’re not the only parents going through this because I think parents feel very isolated and to just have, again, the support system of other moms that are facing similar challenges, the camaraderie that goes with that. Because when our kids are little, we, you know, we have play dates and we have friends around and stuff like that. But once kids get older and they start making choices that are unhealthy, parents don’t share that information and they kind of shut down and, you know, you’re looking at, at, at Facebook and whatever else and thinking everybody else’s family has their stuff together and it’s your family is the only problem when that’s really not the case. I love supporting women that way because I think that we also don’t value motherhood in general. We don’t give it the value that it certainly deserves.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (50:08):

    Yeah, yeah. Well you’re amazing and I’m so grateful that you are resource out there for parents. Where can people find you and your book and your TikTok?

    Kim Muench (50:19):

    Well, my website is real life parent and my book is on there, but it’s also available on Amazon and it’s free on Kindle. And the title of the book is Becoming Me While Raising You A Mother’s Journey to Herself. So it is about my childhood story and then walking my son through his addiction and kind of the lessons I learned as a parent through that. Um, TikTok is Kim Mench, parent coach. And on Instagram I am Kim Mench, real life parent guide.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (50:53):

    Awesome, awesome. Well, I’m personally very, very grateful to you that you’re out there getting the word out and helping parents and, uh, supporting your son and so grateful that he found recovery and this life. And thank you for sharing your story.

    Kim Muench (51:07):

    Ashley, it’s been a pleasure. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to your audience.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (51:11):

    Likewise, likewise. Thank you. Ah, the old parenting topic.

    Scott Drochelman (51:19):

    Hmm. Good thing we’re not parents. Yeah.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (51:22):

    Good thing we never talk about this.

    Scott Drochelman (51:24):

    We don’t have to deal with it. Yeah. <laugh> free and easy.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (51:27):

    Yeah, just free and easy, easy. Just hanging out, sleeping nine hours a night, never getting sick.

    Scott Drochelman (51:35):

    Just vacations and vacations and vacations and massage, massage, massage. Ooh.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (51:41):

    All restaurants and date nights and movies. Oh my,

    Scott Drochelman (51:46):

    Oh my. At this point, yeah. Wouldn’t you be kind of tired of that? Somewhat of just like, you know, just the kind of like,

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (51:54):

    Nope. <laugh>, I

    Scott Drochelman (52:00):

    Just, I sometimes, cause

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (52:02):

    I ask me in 10 years,

    Scott Drochelman (52:04):

    I think if there was like a social thing where there was more people that were taking that life choice, but it’s like, I mean, they’re out there. Let’s say, okay, let’s say where I am in the country, not a ton. Yeah, yeah. Okay.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (52:16):


    Scott Drochelman (52:17):

    So it would just be me and Cassie cruising around doing the same stuff over and over again. And I don’t know, there’s just a certain point where I’m like, all right, well what am I doing this for? What’s this about?

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (52:28):

    To be clear, like, you’re also making the argument that doing those same, like we’re doing the same stuff over and over again now it’s just different stuff.

    Scott Drochelman (52:38):

    It’s very different and meaningful. Ashley, every moment is a treasure,

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (52:41):

    Every moment. <laugh>. I feel like I would’ve been a really great nineties parent where like we, there was a lot of carpooling. We didn’t have to go to their practices otherwise, parents were like, who’s that loser, not walk, come into the practice. I’m like, they’re practicing. Why don’t we have to watch the practice? Can’t we watch the main event?

    Scott Drochelman (53:02):

    That’s a very fair point. My dad was always the coach of everything and the parents were never there. The only one that no had to be held accountable. This guy right here. That guy.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (53:12):

    That guy right there. Yep. That guy right there. But like, so nowadays the, the parenting is a little bit different than, than it would’ve been in the nineties where I would have been a, a superb specimen of a parent. I could have done nineties parenting really, really well. Intuitively almost. But parenting today is a whole other ballgame. And was I tired of doing a lot of the things that we were doing? Yes. But do I think I’d get tired of iterating on what I’m interested in and relaxation

    Scott Drochelman (53:48):


    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (53:48):

    No. Do I regret my kids? No. I think that was the right choice. Is it joyful at every moment of every day?

    Scott Drochelman (53:57):

    Of course, of course. Yes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (53:58):


    Scott Drochelman (53:59):

    <laugh>, that’s

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (54:01):

    The point.

    Scott Drochelman (54:02):

    No, I mean, again, that’s, that’s what I get to is like, for me it’s like if you could gimme like six months, I would prefer that actually over the, just like, I just, I’m free and clear. I’m Oh, yeahm tired and I just would like a long break. I could take do, but do I like once, do I, yeah, one month would be fantastic, but just like a week, just go all the way back to that. I don’t know, by the end I was getting kind of tired of it. I

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (54:26):

    Hate having extra

    Scott Drochelman (54:27):

    Income at least. Well no, this feels like it’s going somewhere at least, right? I’ve got purpose. Yeah, yeah.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (54:31):


    Scott Drochelman (54:31):

    True. There’s, there’s, there’s somebody who, you know what matters.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (54:35):

    I guess your kids don’t have two alcoholic parents. So like when I think of it’s going somewhere, I’m like, <laugh>, it’s definitely

    Scott Drochelman (54:41):

    Going somewhere, <laugh>,

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (54:43):

    Where is it going? I feel like we went, we’re it like our world’s? You know, it’s like, what toy did we get in this happy meal of kids? Right? It could be a great toy. That’s very helpful. Or it could be the toy that doesn’t stop ringing. I don’t know. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in like 30 years, <laugh>. But I’m just saying that was another my fantastic analogies.

    Scott Drochelman (55:07):

    I love that. Actually, it reminds me of the point she made, which I thought was really interesting. It was something I hung onto was the idea of this, like, how much of your ego goes into like what your kids present as, and you’re like, okay, so everybody sees this kid and whatever they’re doing is a reflection on me and how my shortcomings and I do see how that introduces a whole nother, I mean, just somebody getting help for their kids, right? Because it’s all wrapped up in this thing of like, oh, well, oh, that’s not happening with my kids. And wonder what’s happening at home that caused that kind, you know? Like I feel that already. Like if I go to a parent-teacher conference and there’s any little comment, I’m like, well, hold on. That came pre-programmed. Okay, <laugh>, I didn’t put that in there. My wife did not put that in here. I can guarantee you never saw that behavior at my house. This

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (55:59):

    Child was born knowing the word fuck, <laugh>. I had nothing to do with it.

    Scott Drochelman (56:04):


    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (56:07):

    That is, I, I, I also feel like I’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching the parents who were judgmental and concerned about all these things, have their asses handed to them later when they thought that their kids were superior and then boom, it was not pretty. And I, I feel like that lesson has been embedded in me just seeing the parents who like, yeah, you know, he who judges has kids who Alcoholic fifth.

    Scott Drochelman (56:36):

    Yep. That’s how, that’s how it was written in the old Bible. I

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (56:39):

    Mean, that’s, that’s what Jesus wrote. <laugh> <laugh>. It’s, it’s in the Bible of

    Scott Drochelman (56:45):

    Parenting. People don’t realize how religious this show is, but <laugh>, I know. I just quoting the Bible left and right.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (56:51):

    Try to tell him. I try to tell him, John 34 85 go that high. The terrible part. I went to Catholic school for eight years, so I should know that information.

    Scott Drochelman (57:04):

    I like that though. That was, that’s just like the deep cut. Those are like the tracks. Most people don’t get to, it’s in there just like it’s in there. You don’t you didn’t listen to the whole album

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (57:12):

    All. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s all it’s in there. You don’t know about that interlude life.

    Scott Drochelman (57:15):

    Um, well if you’re in this boat and you are trying to figure out what to do with your kids, I hope that there is a solution coming to you soon and we are rooting for you this week as we always are. Ashley, anything that you wanna leave ’em with this week?

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (57:32):

    Yes. I wanna leave you with, if you’re searching for Kim, her name is Kim nch, but it is spelled m u e n c h. So look her up on social media, her website, check her out, check out her book, and please let us know if you end up working with her and want to report back. We hope you have a wonderful week. If you’re going through it, hang in there. We’ll see you next time.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame (58:01):

    This podcast is sponsored by Lionrock.Life. is a diverse and supportive recovery community offering weekly over 70 online peer support meetings, useful recovery information and entertaining content. Whether you’re newly sober, have many years in recovery, or you’re recovering from something other than drugs and alcohol, we have space for you. Visit today and enter promo code courage for one month of unlimited peer support. Meetings free. Find the joy in

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