Today we have Katrina King joining us on The SHAIR Podcast. Katrina contributed to an interview for the FBI’s documentary on opiate abuse, “Chasing the Dragon” and has been interviewed for several other podcasts and articles on addiction awareness and recovery. She is currently working hard at completing her first book, a memoir on her family’s tragic experiences with drug abuse, and is attempting to return to school to become a certified addictions counselor.
The obstacles are many, yet she remains determined and undeterred to personally reach out and make a difference in the lives of youth in emotional pain and despair due to depression, abuse, and drug addiction. She continues to battle her own demons while adjusting to life as a mother who’s lost a child and as a felon. However, giving up is not an option. Katrina has an adult son who is currently attending college to be a robotics engineer.
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This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation
Here are Katrina’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights:
Katrina: Okay. Well, I’m in a relationship now, have been for a couple years. I actually do quite a bit of work with his marketing for his business and handling the calls/inbound calls regarding the maintenance of ongoing administrative related task on that end. Then I would say the majority of my time is spent basically networking not just with Kirstyn’s Story, but also working on a memoir…
I’ve been working on for some time and also networking with other addiction-focused and recovery-focused groups, mothers who’ve lost children, that sort of thing. It’s a passion of mine. I pretty much from the moment I wake up till I go to sleep – it would be all hours of the night actually – I’m looking for ways to have some sort of effect, whether if it’s on a one-on-one basis or with a way that I could figure out on how to change laws and things like that.
Omar: Absolutely. Now on a day-to-day basis, there’s a few things at least for me and for other people that need a routine to maintain our sobriety.
What is your regular routine to maintain your sobriety?
Katrina: What I do is I focus on other people. I chose to do this stuff not to become a hero. I’m not in promoting this awareness and promoting just Kirstyn’s Story or my story or whatever for that purpose. I do it to give back because if I’m focusing on other people, I’m not focusing on myself. If I’m not focusing on myself, I don’t feel the pain. If I don’t feel the pain, then I don’t feel the need, so if that makes any sense.
Omar: It absolutely makes sense, Katrina. You only keep what we have by giving it away. What better way to hold yourself accountable than to commemorate the memory of your daughter and being her voice now that she is no longer here? It’s absolutely beautiful. What is your anniversary date and how much clean time do you have?
Katrina: I never actually reflected on the actual date, but right after my daughter passed away…I want to say for that week after…someone had given me something and I was using. I was furloughed by the jail at that point…I was actually considering suicide, but my son kept me going. I was remanded back to the jail to finish my sentence.
I got out and was on work release. Of course, I had to be straight for that and then once I was released to the ankle bracelet they put me through several stair steps. I got out from the ankle bracelet. I was free and it was all around me because the only job I could get at that point even though I had education and all this experience was a job at an IHOP, which was through the work release.
I worked myself up from a waitress to a manager. It was all work release, jail right in the center of the town where all the stuff’s going on. It was all around me. I think there were a couple times where I partook. Number one, I couldn’t get high. It wasn’t the same as before. I don’t know what happened, but I just couldn’t. Number two, it was such a sense of guilt and I don’t even know, just feeling really disgusted with myself. It wasn’t solving my problem and it was making me feel worse. I guess about … Oh, I want to say at the point that I ended up living in the townhouse that my daughter had lived in with her fiance, about that point is when I had decided. I want to say it was … Mid-2012 when I was completely, you know what I mean?
Katrina: Not for the fact that I was on probation or whatever that I personally chose … Made the conscious decision to not do anything anymore, so about 2012.
Omar: So about four years now.
Omar: Okay. Do you have a spiritual practice or do you have some sort of a connection with a higher power of some sort?
Katrina: Well, absolutely. I mean, I’m not going to lie to you … I know I’ve gone back and forth about that throughout my life. I had a unfortunate situation in the church when I was younger, so I had a lot of doubts. A lot of people that said they were religious. They believed in God and yet they were horrible people. However, after I lost my daughter at the point where you would think someone would say (because I did) before she passed away, I thought to myself in the jail.nI was talking to a corrections officer and she said, “Katrina, you’ve lost your home. You’ve lost everything. You’ve lost your car, but you still have your children and you still have your health.” I stopped for a moment. I’m like, “You know, you’re right. You’re right.” I thought to myself, “There’s no way God would actually go as far as taking my children.” That’s how I thought of it. He wouldn’t take my children. I’d lost my parents when I was a kid, so I’ve hit rock bottom and it’s just not possible.
Then when it happened, I was angry and I was bartering. I was like, “Oh, I can’t believe this shit. Really? Who does this happen to?” I just saw it … I was angry and I was like, “I can’t stand You. I don’t believe in You and I don’t even think You exist” and this whole thing. I came to sort of … I don’t know … a peace that, yeah, absolutely. I do. I do believe in God. That doesn’t equal church for me because I don’t believe that you find your God or spirituality in a church, but it’s a peace and a belief that I’d never had before.
Omar: Wow. That’s exactly how I feel and many of the people that I’ve interviewed feel exactly the same way. It’s a spiritual relationship individually that I have constructed between myself and my higher power, which I choose to call God. It is void of religious interference. That’s basically what I have going on as well, so I can totally relate.
Katrina: You know what I always say? People look at me and they’re like, “Oh, that’s just a cop out.” No, it’s not. I said, “I’m too humble.” Too many times I’ve thought I’ve known things or I’ve figured things out only to find out that I didn’t know anything or I’ve judged or whatever. I’m too humble to assume that I absolutely know all the answers.
To go with one thing or another just to me doesn’t seem … I said, “We’ll find out in the end.” I went through the whole idea of God taking and then I started understanding that it isn’t God taking my child, it’s a cause and effect sort of thing with your life. Whether it’s somebody else, the actions of someone else, it’s still a cause and effect thing.
I came to a point where I said, “I’ve got a peace there. There’s no God up there punishing anyone or putting us through a series of things that we have to get through to become a better person. It’s a matter of choices because life throws things at different people for different reasons.” We just have to get through it the best we can and that’s what I’m choosing to do. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but you know what? It gets me through now.
Omar: What is the message you want to get across to our listeners, to the parents, to the children? What information, your website, the movie? Tell us everything you would like us to get involved with or take a look at?
Katrina: The documentary was “Chasing the Dragon.” As I said, that was the piece that was put together by the FBI and in combination with a couple of agencies. The goal for that comes with a study guide. The goal for that is to be used in rehab centers, but primarily middle schools, high schools, for the sole purpose of trying to promote awareness early. There’s one version with curse words, one without.
There’s been some disputes about the idea of having the language or whatever and parents wanting to opt their children out. I look at it and I’m like, “You know, you may not think of me as an authority, but I would think that you should open your mind a little bit. The curse words in the grand scheme of things are nothing compared to what your kid is probably seeing on a daily basis.” I think is film is extremely … The people that participated in it were very raw and very honest.
Some of them are still not doing well and then there’s myself and then there’s another mother. I would definitely encourage them to check that out. Of course, you can find us at Kirstyn’s Story, which is a personal page. Not a personal page, but it’s a community page. We also have a group page that’s also dedicated to the same. We have set up a website that’s currently in process. It’s kirstynsstory.com. We hope to have that up and ready here shortly. In addition, I’m also on Twitter @kmkaddiction and then as well as Katrina King, which is actually @katkkingnow.
Omar: Do you have one piece of parting advice that you want to give to our listeners?
Katrina: Yeah. It’s the biggest thing for me is that when I fell apart, I was so focused on what I didn’t have. I was like, “Oh, I don’t have my parents. I don’t have this, I don’t have that.” I was abused. My pain … It was eating me up. I couldn’t stop long enough to say, “Oh, my God. You have these two beautiful children. This is better than most people have. I have my health. I’m a strong woman.”
I just was in the position of feeling sorry for myself and let that overcome and overwhelm me. That’s when it started to take hold. I believe with my whole heart that there are so many people out there – this sounds cliché, but it’s absolutely true – that have it so much worse than we do. You have to consider that. You have to consider that it could get worse, believe it or not.
SUGGESTIONS FROM KATRINA
“If you focus on yourself, if you isolate yourself, then you’re going to end up with just yourself. ”
If you focus on yourself, if you isolate yourself, then you’re going to end up with just yourself. You have to open up, you have to think of others, you have to give to others. When you do that, you’re not thinking of your own pain and these things don’t happen. I wish that I could go back, reflect on what I did have going for me versus how bad I had it. It did get far worse and it still could.
Thanks again for your SHAIR, Katrina!
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
See you then!
Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.