On today’s Episode of SHAIR Podcast Luis Congdon, the founder of the Lasting Love Connection takes us through a Decade of Alcohol and Drug Abuse that began when he was only a child in the streets of Medellin Colombia in the 80’s.
“My mother used to lock me indoors while she scored cocaine, came home and did drugs, then she was murdered when I was 5 years old, I was homeless, then adopted at 8 yrs old.”
Omar: So Luis, tell us a little bit about your show.
Luis: Okay so I do The Lasting Love Connection podcast. It’s committed to helping couples and singles find the keys and strategies to have a lasting love connection.
Omar: I had an opportunity to check out a few of your Podcast’s.
One of them was The Keys to Finding Your Soul Mate. My anniversary was this last weekend, my one year anniversary with my wife. We had an amazing time. We went over to the hotel where we got married and I was listening to The Keys to Finding Your Soul Mate with soul mate coach Kathryn Alice, and I said “honey, we should listen to this. It coincides a lot with how we met and why our marriage is the way that it is” and when we were listening to it, I went “wow, that’s very similar to how we found each other” so that was a very cool interview.
Also the one that we listened to next was “Let’s Talk About Sex” with Tristan Taormino. That was one heck of a podcast show! I don’t know if I could ask those questions. How were you when you were doing that interview?
Luis: I was completely comfortable. Tristan is so comfortable with talking about sexuality that it just kind of opens you up. When you get around certain people, you enjoy the music that they listen to, but you wouldn’t listen to it if you weren’t around them. When it comes to talking about sexuality, you get around Tristan and you just get comfortable talking about it and going to areas that you probably wouldn’t with most people.
Omar: I really enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, we’re probably going to check out her website.
Luis: Cool, cool. Awesome, awesome. I’ll let her know.
SHAIR – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery
Here are Luis’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Omar: Luis and I met through the podcast community. This is my first guest that is coming on board that I met through the podcast community so I’m very excited to do this interview.
Now Luis, you wouldn’t consider yourself an addict, right?
Luis: I would not.
Omar: Okay. My first question to you is how old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly, how did that make you feel?
Luis: You know, I’m pretty sure that I was about three or four years old when I was given my first drink. I was born into a household with a single mom in Colombia during the 1980’s when the Colombian cocaine cartel was at its height, so Pablo Escobar and that whole movement was huge. I grew up in a neighborhood about two miles away from where he was raised and his family was located at. I’m sure he moved them out when I was alive, but that was his neighborhood so to speak.
I grew up in a highly impoverished neighborhood where drug abuse was pretty common and normal and my mom was a pretty hard core alcoholic, cocaine addict and in Colombia we have some other drugs that you don’t have here in the US and I’ve seen them. I have a memory of my first drink being probably about 4 or 5 years old and she sat me in the middle of her friends and gave me some booze and told me to drink it and it’s kind of a hazy, foggy memory, but I do recall being given something to drink that was an alcoholic beverage or at least it was in a bottle of Aguardiente because I remember those bottles. When I go back to Colombia now as an adult, I see those bottles and it’s a very palpable experience of I held one of these bottles when I was 4 or 5 years old.
Omar: Do you have a favorite book that you could recommend to someone that’s struggling with drug addiction?
Luis: Well, anybody who is looking to have a successful recovery and anyone who has a drug addiction problem, I think one of the key features of all people who are drug addicts is they’re really incredibly sensitive people and they’re people who are suffering and they’re searching for some sort of happiness, some sort of understanding, some sort of way for everything to make sense.
For me and my gateway to discover that my life makes sense and that sadness is natural and that I could feel that and find some sort of beauty in all that came, for me it was poetry. Pablo Neruda, specifically “The Captain’s Verses” was a really wonderful way for me to find some sort of outlet and some sort of person that could speak to me about the beauty of life and also the sadness in a way that made me go “there’s gotta be some beauty here” and I can accept the pain that’s happened in my life and be happy about it even.
The Captain’s Verses – Pablo Neruda
Omar: Perfect. Excellent. What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Luis: My mom a lot of times tells me that I can choose the reality that I want. For me really what that means is that I have a choice in the way that I perceive things. I don’t know if I can change the outcome of things, but I might be able to change how I perceive things that have happened.
Omar: That’s a great suggestion.
Luis: My mom died when I was five years old. She was killed and I was homeless after her death. Prior to that, my mom just left me locked indoors all the time and I didn’t really have friends. I didn’t have a life outside of being locked in my mother’s home and witness her doing some of the most atrocious things that I think a young child could witness.
When I was adopted and came to the United States, a lot of that pain came to surface so “why the hell would my mom die? Why did I have to leave my country? Why did I have to become homeless? Why do I have to be adopted?” and I really had to learn how to perceive that in a different way so it didn’t hurt me. In a way I could find some sort of beauty in it and my way of perceiving it is my mom decided to die you know, because she was a drug addict and because she was a mother, she knew that she couldn’t be the mom that she wanted to be due to her addiction and the life that she led and so she chose to die.
She created a situation where someone would kill her of her own choice so that she could be my mom in a different way. She became my angel afterwards and ever since I came to that recognition, my mom’s death has been one of her parting gifts to me and has been a way that she can always be present to me in a way that a mom wishes that she could be.
Omar: That’s incredibly powerful. This is part of the suggestion you got from your adoptive mother, right?
Luis: Yes. Yes.
Omar: She helped you with that then. She was one of the early instruments for helping you shape the way you looked at your relationship with your mother.
Luis: Yeah, she was. It took a strong woman for me to help me with that and my adoptive mom gave me the kind of love it takes for someone to make that shift.
Omar: My wife and I were listening to one of you podcast’s and you had referenced a quote from your mother and then the coach Kathryn Alice had said “wow you have a pretty awesome mom” because she had made a suggestion to you. Do you remember what that suggestion was?
Luis: My mom had a lot of times tells me that anything is possible. One of the other things that I think Kathryn might have been responding to is I told my mom that sometimes when I watch movies I envision myself being the character in the movie and feeling everything that character feels and my mom said “that’s a great thing. I want you to continue doing that” and Kathryn said “you have an amazing mom that she recognized that”.
Omar: My dad worked a lot so he was out of town a lot. I have two sisters, no brothers so basically I was raised around women my whole life so I identify more with women, but I’m assuming that you do the same.
Omar: It certainly has made a difference in my life. No question about it.
If you could give one of our newcomer recovering addicts and alcoholics a suggestion, what would that be? Especially as teenagers.
Luis: I would suggest for them to find something other than drugs that they love and start spending more time doing that. For me, it was writing and the more time that I spent writing and around writers, the healthier that I got.
Omar: Excellent. Well Luis, we’ve come to the end of our show. Why don’t you tell our listeners once again about your website, your workshops, what you do and the best way for our listeners to get a hold of you.
Luis: Definitely. I’m a relationship coach, specializing in helping couples get aware of where their relationship is breaking down and the patterns that are causing them to have breakdowns in their relationship. If people are interested in getting some relationship coaching, some free content, whether it’s interviews with the experts that I’ve brought on or articles or some kinds of games that I’ve created for couples in order for them to have more fun, more connection in their relationship, then go to LastingLoveConnection.com and they can also check out my podcast Lasting Love Connection.