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Alcohol, Addiction & Child Custody; Divorcing an Alcoholic in Texas

Shannon White, Founder and Executive Director of GracetoChange, joins Mark to share a view into the world of addiction or alcoholism in family law as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Listen as she shares her experiences with divorce and child custody proceedings and outcomes seen first-hand. From judges’ attitudes towards addicts and alcoholics to how often a chemically dependent person is awarded custody of (or visitation rights to) their children.

Mark Scroggins  

Hey folks, Mark Scroggins with Scroggins Law Group, and we are back for another episode of the reclamation transformation. And today we have a very good friend of mine, Shannon White, who, golly, Moses, we have known each other since high school. And I’m not going to give anybody the date five years ago. That’s right, five years ago. Yeah, we’re both accelerated through through school. So anyway, thank you for joining us today.

Shannon White  

Thank you for having me. It’s great fun.

Mark Scroggins  

You bet. Well, Shannon is the executive director of a group called Grace to change that I am on the board. That is one of the things I’m very, very proud of. But can you explain a little bit about what brace to change is and what y’all do? Because I think the services that are offered to those that can’t afford to pay, you know, 25 $50,000 to go to treatment is an underserved area. And so the work y’all do is just phenomenal.

Shannon White  

Well, I’ll tell you, it’s super fun. So Grace to change has been around for I think we’re on our 12th year in May, it’ll be our 12th year. And we started off as a very unsuccessful for profit, because I wanted to do this and I wanted to work for the underserved population. And my issue was, as soon as people got to my door, I would say, Okay, you need treatment, you can’t afford it, I’ll just give it to you, right. And then about eight, six or eight years ago, the county made a shift to a nonprofit model, so they could utilize the funding from life path, they switch and when you say the county, you’re talking about Collin County, so Collin County chose to go from Northstar to life paths. So life path became the local behavioral health authority. And in order to utilize county funds that were funneled through life path, we had to become a nonprofit. So we made the decision to do that, which I didn’t know anything about. But from the very beginning, my passion was helping the people who are underserved, right. And so now we are one of two nonprofits in Collin County that work with this population. And we are one of two outpatient treatment centers that work with Child Protective Services. Wow. So we are outpatient substance abuse treatment. So they come three nights a week to us for group, and then they do individual counseling with us once a week for their program.

Mark Scroggins  

Let me ask you, I mean, how did you I know this story, but how, how did you get this passion for wanting to start this because as as you know, it’s not something it’s not a business where you’re gonna go into and say, Gosh, I’m gonna get rich, right doing this not in a not for profit, right now serving the people that y’all are serving that are unserved for a reason.

Shannon White  

Yep. So I got sober 15 years ago. So when I got sober, I was compelled to elementary school teacher before I taught for 15 years. So when I got sober, I really, it’s so drastically changed my life, right? That I said, I want to go back in and I want to do this, and I want to help other people. So I went back to school and got a counseling degree to become a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, and started working. Now the irony for me was I my addiction didn’t take me into the legal system. I, you know, as they like to say, I was somewhat of a high bottom drunk, my trauma, was it terrible, not to the people that loved me, they would say different, probably, but comparatively. And so what i My goal in the beginning was just to help really literally other women who wanted to get sober, that didn’t have legal issues. And so, you know, ironically, my life took a different path. And I began working in the court system in the legal system, and just fell in love with the intersection between the legal system and recovery. And so most of my people are in jail or come out of jail or Child Protective Services, and just absolutely love it.

Mark Scroggins  

Well, I think that’s, you know, I’m glad that you just mentioned are in jail or just coming out of jail. And so the services that that grace to change provides, I think, are so incredibly important, because otherwise, you’ve got an opportunity to get someone out of the legal system. Yep. Or you get the opportunity for someone to, you know, give up their amateur status and go pro right, come locked up, off and on for our, for the remainder of their lives.

Shannon White  

And I think what I what I got passionate about was the expense to the county and to taxpayers. When we don’t reset, we don’t help these people and they were supervised, right. So it you know, my program is a drop in the bucket compared it’s similar to less than 30 days in Collin County Jail, to get treatment that you need, and we all know that you don’t get treatment in jail. Right. So and, you know, not to mention the attorneys fees, court appointed attorneys are in foster care, kids in foster care. I mean, it’s just an exorbitant cost to the county that people don’t want to talk about, right? Because it’s not I’m not in my backyard.

Mark Scroggins  

Well, so I want to talk a little bit about, you know, where y’all are involved in the legal system. Because, as you know, with being a board certified family lawyer, I have got drug and alcohol issues, I bet probably in 50 to 70% of my cases that at any one time, and so it plays such a huge, huge piece. And one of the things that I see is you get the person who is an addict or alcoholic, and they are so overwrought with guilt. And they come in with the, you know, well, I know that I’m never gonna get to see my kids again. And it’s like, that’s total bullshit. Yeah, unless you decide that you don’t want to see your kids, you’re going to be able to see your kid. So that’s like, you know, an awakening, but you still have to overcome this shame and guilt that people feel. And you know, and then you see it from the other side, too, which is like he or she did X, Y, and Z, so they should never be around. That’s not what the law is in the state of Texas, if you can get sober, stay sober. You know, the worst that’s going to happen to you is having a step up plan, and you know, your whole life can change. And, you know, the life that you have with those children will change dramatically as well. But were usually for the better. Exactly, yeah. So. So what is your experience? When you said that you come in, you know, into the court system? What kind of role are you typically playing?

Shannon White  

So it depends on depends on the situation. But a lot of times I testify. So I have been around for a long time doing this. And I am, I am, I was much more naive. In the beginning, I will say that I’ve played some people say hard and some people just say more knowledge. But I am absolutely more than willing to go into a legal proceeding and testify on someone’s behalf, that, you know, I will never be on the cover of many magazines, not something that I charge for because I believe if they’ve put the hard work in right, then I’m willing to go in and support them. So I’ve testified in divorce hearings, child custody hearings, obviously, DWI drug charges, I’ve kind of run the gamut on those. But I think it’s really important to have an advocate that that understands addiction, you know, the very premise of addiction is you do things against your moral compass, right. And so the symptoms that are outward to everybody else’s are repulsive, in some cases, yeah. But they’re not who the person is, there’s what the person has done. And so when someone’s willing to do the hard work and make the changes, I want to be an advocate up at the front with them saying they’ve really done the work, right. And an AI, everyone who knows me knows I’m not going to lie for you. Right. So well. And

Mark Scroggins  

that’s hugely important. Because, you know, I remember a little bit ago when I first started practicing law, almighty, actually, just to be blatantly honest, May 7 will be 30 years, and it’s hard for me to believe that. But, you know, one of the things when somebody comes in, and there is an issue of alcohol, okay, or drug addiction, right? Whether it is the client is telling me that, hey, I’ve got this problem, and how do we overcome it? Or that the other side is going to be making this allegation? You know, something that I will typically do is I will want a drug and alcohol evaluation run by an expert who can go in and look at the situation. So that’s something that you do

Shannon White  

We do. We do a lot of those, and we do them for run the gamut. So attorneys send people to us for an evaluation. CPS sends people to us for an evaluation probation, since we will do an evaluation. And our evaluation basically says, does a person need treatment? And if so, at what level? Right, so do they need inpatient? Do they need detox? Do they need outpatient? Or is their disease in remission they haven’t used in six months. So based on self report, they don’t have a need for treatment at that time.

Mark Scroggins  

Even you get some part of so I use it for for two reasons. Okay. You know, one, I want to get someone to help that they need. Yes, thank you for that if they need it. Yeah. But conversely, my experience in divorce proceedings or any child custody proceedings, is you know, when there is a, a high level of acrimony. It turns into, you know, people throwing shit at each other. And so there are allegations that let’s just say sometimes the veracity of which could be called into question, right. So there are plenty of times where I’m having a drug and alcohol evaluation performed to see is the person actually an alcoholic or a drug addict? Right. So what is your experience been in in that regard, and then going in and testifying and the you know how receptive the courts are in Collin County to that

Shannon White  

Collin County, one of the things that they’ve done is I feel like they’ve really educated the judges on substance abuse. I was actually in a courtroom the other day, in a custody situation, I didn’t have to testify, but and the judge actually called out the attorney, because they were making allegations that the person was an addict and could never quit. And the judge actually said, Wait, you said two different things. If they’re truly an addict, they can’t quit for the short period of time, and I wanted to stand up and cheer. I know, she saw me shaking my head and, and approval. So I think they’ve done a good job of understanding addiction, and really paying attention and you know, providing grace, you know, they, they genuinely want people to be successful. And so when everybody works together, and there’s a high level of accountability, and a lot of love, which is what we get to give right, then I think they’re receptive to giving people their children back giving, you know, having people get custody of their children and not being totally removed from their lives. Right. But the whoever’s in the courtroom has to do the hard work. Right, which we know is hard.

Mark Scroggins  

Well, and I’m glad and I think the the judge you were talking about was Angela Tucker. Shout out to Angela Tucker. She was fabulous, doing a great job on that. But one of the things I wanted to expand on a little bit is there seems to be there are a lot of misunderstandings about drug abuse and alcohol abuse, and where you talk about, you know, if someone doesn’t use or drink for a period of time, what that actually means. So being a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, and from a personal standpoint, right, having experience in this regard, can you expand on that a little bit and explain to folks what does that mean if somebody doesn’t drink or doesn’t use for a significant period of time, right.

Shannon White  

So when we do an evaluation, a qualification for treatment is, you know, usually inpatient is used within five to 10 days, right? Outpatient is usually a 30 day period. We run into sticky situations when someone has a second or a third DWI. And they say, Well, I haven’t had a drink since I was arrested. Well, may or may not be true. And there’s oftentimes that we will recommend treatment for someone who says I haven’t had a drink in three months. But I’ve had three significant continued use despite negative consequences. Right. So it is frustrating because it is all self report. So we do do drug testing, and we do a pen and pencil thing, a test and but we actually interview them for usually 30 to 45 minutes. One of the things I love about grace to change is we’ve got a heroin addict, we’ve got a meth addicts, we’ve got someone who does all the drugs, we’ve got an alcoholic. So we usually line you up with whoever has your drug of choice. Right. So it’s hard to be awesome, right?

Mark Scroggins  

I think that’s really important. Because there’s a difference between someone who is your garden variety alcoholic, and someone who was smoking crack or doing meth.

Shannon White  


Mark Scroggins  

So you know, having commonality and walking that same path, I think is is incredibly important.

Shannon White  

It is frustrating, because you hear people go get an evaluation, and it’s a pen and paper test, right? They used to have, oh, I can’t even think what it’s called. There used to be a test that you could do. And it you literally bubbled in the sheets. It was a scantron that you put over the top of it, and you had no conversation and people that had maybe once or twice had the same test, figured out how to lie on it, of course. And so based on that, they would say, Oh, you don’t need treatment. And that was always very frustrating. To me. There are very specific things that document treatment, right. But there are a lot of things that are extraneous, you know, if you’ve got a third DWI, and you’ve never had any type of substance abuse treatment, then chances are I’m going to say, hey, you need to do a little something. Right? Right. Even though you’ve told me you haven’t had a drink in six months, right? And just so as you’re proactive about whatever. 

Mark Scroggins  

So you can have alcoholism rears its ugly head in so many different forms and fashions. You have somebody who is the daily drinker, you can have somebody who’s a binge drinker, right. And sometimes depending on where they are in the process, it can be any one of those at different times.

Shannon White  

Right and you know, it. People like to say, when the legal system gets involved, that I’m good and I’m clean. For most of the people that we work with the hardcore addicts and alcoholics, they they wrap themselves out over time, right. So you know, they can tell a certain story, but then over time when they come back, you know, it you can’t put it at bay by just choosing not to do it.

Mark Scroggins  

Right. So I can you know, tell you about a recent case that that I had where you know, other side is making out Allegations of alcoholism. You know, he can’t control himself and all of this stuff. And so we were in Dallas County and shout out to judge Diaz doing a really good job on this. But she ordered. She ordered a sober link on both parties. Okay. And for a period of 30 days, and what you see a lot of times is where sober link will be ordered just during periods of possession, right. But if you really want to check and see if somebody is alcoholic, absolutely make it all day, every day for a period of 30 days. Right. You know, and so through the end of this, nobody has had any drinking. So that kind of nullifies those allegations are that’s, that’s my read. And I think that’s what a lot of judges see. Is that Yeah, an accurate read?

Shannon White  

Yes, it absolutely is. And I think that the part that’s so tricky, is when a judge orders there, we went through a phase where the judge was judges were ordering scram devices for everyone.

Mark Scroggins  

Can you explain what that is?

Shannon White  

So a SCRAM device is ankle monitor that you put on that detects alcohol at any given time, right? Through the sweat in your body, right, it is a great detector for people. But what it doesn’t do is prevent you from driving your car, like the deep lung device does in the car. And so, you know, us alcoholics are were MacGyver, right? So they had a deep lung device in your car that you have to blow into in order to start your car. While alcoholics figured out if I can have my kid in the backseat blow into my deep lung device, then I can start my car. Well, now there’s a camera Exactly. And so you can’t have the camera. So then they also figure out well, I’ll get a beater car. So I’m going to get another car to drive without the deep lung device in it. I’m going to drive that on the weekends, right? And so we tell everybody that gets at start your car every day, make sure you start your car every day, because there needs to be documentation that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Right. You know, I feel like people can sometimes stop for 30 days, I do feel like they can do that. Right. So people need a longer period of time of the checking. But it’s, you know, CyberLink works. Yeah, it does work.

Mark Scroggins  

So, you know, it’s, it’s interesting. One of the things that I wanted to ask you about is, you know, so often we see people that are, you know, dual addicted. And so the biggest one that I tend to see is depression. You know, depression seems to be a big piece right of this. And so people self medicate a lot of the time to try to, you know, you get the dopamine or the serotonin releases, and all of a sudden I feel better. But then you know, when you don’t, you’re right.

Shannon White  

We go back to what works is our alcohol.

Mark Scroggins  

Exactly, yeah. So Do y’all refer people out to a psychiatrist? For those people that you think need medication management? Absolutely.

Shannon White  

One of the beautiful things that happens in Collin County is Life Path provides mental health and substance abuse treatment free if you qualify. So they actually have psychiatrists on staff at life paths that we can use for CO occurring disorder clients, they can get put on medication. And again, it’s at no charge to them if they qualify. Right. And so that’s wonderfully helpful. We do have some psychiatrists that we send people to addiction specialists that we love. Because I do think that’s a big issue.

Mark Scroggins  

Absolutely. So and I also wanted to clarify your treatment is not just for adults, but a large number of adolescents that yall treat.

Shannon White  

We have a separate adolescent program now and we are the only one in Collin County that works with adolescents that utilizes the Collin County funding. And so and we are in person, and we have a wonderful therapist, Bonnie Donaldson, who does an incredible job with our adolescents. I can I can tell you, they all come in. And there was a time that she texts and she texts about 720 groups over at usually 657. And she said, it’s going to be a little bit they want to stay and play a card game with me again, these are high school kids that want to stay with their therapist and play another card game or they go home. Yeah, so she does just an incredible job. And and again, that funding for adolescence is can be free through the county we have we can utilize that. We also take Medicaid for our adolescents. So anybody that has Medicaid can qualify.

Mark Scroggins  

You know, I think that is so important because one of the something that is very sad to me, is the in child custody matters whether it’s coming out of a divorce or just what we refer to as a SAPCR or, so a suit affecting parent-child relationship, just like child custody. Thinking about that, but, you know, people get confused over terminology that is used in child custody cases. So when we talk, the presumption in Texas is that parents should be You name joint managing conservator. Okay. And they think that that means a lot of people think that that means, you know, 5050 5050 possession and access and that doesn’t have anything to do with it actually. Right. Conservatorship is all talking about the rights and duties that you have to make parenting decisions. Right, right. So those the big ones out there are the right to make decisions on non emergent, medical or emergent or invasive medical procedures, but also to make psychiatric and psychological decisions for the children and the right to make educational decisions. And so what I see an awful lot of the time is, you get this vortex, for lack of a better way of putting it where all of those kind of come together. And so where I see, let’s say that you’ve got a child that has a drug or alcohol problem, or let’s say that you’ve got a kiddo that’s got a DD ADHD problems, and so you’re getting something from the school that is saying, Hey, little Johnny, you know, needs to be put on some medications, because he’s running laps around, you know, around the classroom, and I can’t teach him or anybody else while that is happening, right? And unfortunately, you see parents that want to argue, because one says, Hey, we ought to get them on medication. And the other says, Oh, well, if he or she wants that, you know, I can’t agree to that. Right. You know, because they’re the child suffers. Exactly. Yeah. You know, not to mention, I mean, the child suffers in so many different areas. And that’s really a hotbed I think, for dispute on, you know, do you treat someone for a DD and ADHD because, you know, we have a history of, boy, the pharmaceutical companies make a freakin mint off of everything. And it’s super easy to just throw shit at someone, when maybe they don’t need it, maybe they need a little extra attention. But there are plenty of times when someone really really needs it. Right. So, but I also see that with, you know, different medication that might be important for adolescents. And that’s a hard one, in and of itself. Yeah, if you’ve got some a kid that needs depression meds, the effects of those medications on an adult and an adolescent are vastly different.

Shannon White  

And I think that’s the, that’s the issue. So back to what you were saying, Yeah, joint conservatorship, or what’s the one you want? If you’re a parent, you want to joint conservatorship or managing or what is it?

Mark Scroggins  

So there are different there are different ones. Okay. So the presumption in Texas is that parents should be joint managing conservators of their kids. The other options are that someone could be named. So managing conservator, someone could be named possessory, conservator or someone could not be named a conservator at all. So if you’re not named a conservator at all, that’s pretty rough. There are a lot of bad facts out there. And either the judge or the jury made a really difficult decision in doing that, or they made the wrong decision. And that’s something that can be righted on, on appeal. Okay. So when somebody is named sole-managing conservator, those rights and duties that I was talking about, you know, invasive medical procedures, psychological decision, psychiatric decisions, educational decisions that are there others, but they don’t come into play as much. So I don’t want to really waste any time talking about, but it means that that person has the exclusive right to make those decisions. I should mention, the biggest of all of those is the exclusive right to determine the primary domicile of the child or children. So that just means if the kids live 51% of the time or greater with you. So when you hear someone say I’m primary, that’s all that means, okay? Okay. It doesn’t mean that they’re the best parent or anything like that. It just means that the children live primarily with them. So when someone’s soul, and they’ve got all those exclusive, it’s the same thing with the domicile issue. But additionally, there isn’t going to be a geographic restriction. So if you think somebody is named soul, and they want to move up to Seattle, bye, bye. You know, they can do that. And so that’s a large impact, because you see that with people that you know, let’s just talk about traditional gender roles. So let’s say wife is from Boston and follows husband to Dallas, and they get a divorce and she doesn’t have any of her support system right here, a Dad’s got really, really bad facts that would allow mom to get so managing. So that’s not something that happens very often. It happens, but you’ve got to have bad facts. The biggest one is where you have somebody that has been either a conviction for family violence, or the district court finds that there has been family violence within two years. And so by statute, the court cannot name the party’s joint managing conservators.

Shannon White  

Oh, I didn’t realize if you have an assault, family violence, you cannot be.. 

Mark Scroggins  

Within two years, so not just a conviction but let’s say what happens in a lot of these cases now is the victim, let’s say has been stuck in an abusive relationship. And so they do what they do most frequently, and they don’t want to press charges. That’s where you hear. The district attorney is saying, Well, okay, that’s great, but we’re still going to pick it up. Right. So if that court prosecutes it, and they find the defendant guilty of family violence, and it is alleged and brought forth during a divorce proceeding or a child custody proceeding, and that has happened within two years, the court has to name someone’s soul. Okay.


Wow, that is fascinating. Yeah. So

Mark Scroggins  

That’s a big, big deal that is out there. And that’s one of the reasons that that is such a big fight. Not to mention, it also just some other things in the context of a divorce. So I don’t know if you know this or not, but probably not Texas doesn’t have alimony. Okay, Texas hat. You can have contractual alimony. Okay. But Texas doesn’t a court can award alimony, right, a court can award what is called spousal maintenance, okay, which is very similar. But a court can increase it or decrease it based on a series of facts. And I don’t want to bore everybody to tears with all of that. But the impact of a family violence conviction or a finding of family violence, is that a court can award spousal maintenance, where they wouldn’t be entitled to it otherwise. So there are a whole family violence is the big caveat on everything. And it’s why it is I think there are some attorneys that tried to get a funding of family violence, where it’s absolutely unwarranted because of the advantages that it plays in divorce, and obviously plays into the division of community property, but also the impact that it has on child custody. I mean, because that’s a checkmate, right?


Well, and think about it, so any, most alcoholics have gotten in a good bar fight. So you know that that aggressiveness comes out and with substance use, and so we see a lot of that.

Mark Scroggins  

So let’s talk about like, what you just what you just mentioned, so let’s say that somebody’s had a number of bar fights. Okay. And then there’s an allegation that is made by you know, the wife against the husband that there has been family violence in the marriage, but the police have never been called. I’ve never been any witnesses to this outside. But you’ve got a he said, she said, and you’ve got these other convictions that can be mentioned. You know, what do you think the outcome is on that a lot of time, and now we’ve got you know, in, in Texas judges are elected, which is not the way it is in a lot of other states where they are appointed. Right. And so, you know, so you have politics that are brought in, and most judges aren’t looking to just serve a single term. They’re looking to seeing, you know, to serve multiple terms, so no judge wants to have their picture up on the nightly news right now, hey, they didn’t put this in place. And this guy went out and killed his wife. Yep. Were you hear about that? Yeah. Do you really watch the news? Multiple times during, you know, during the year, we had one not too long ago. I think it came out of Southlake where they got done with a mediation. I don’t think they got things resolved. Dad pulls up next to wife at a stoplight and shoots and kills her. I know it’s crazy. I mean, what people do is insane.


Yeah. And I think it’s, you know, one of the things that you and I’ve talked about before is people need to have representation, because just in this short period of time, I’ve been not married and I haven’t gone through a divorce. But, you know, you learn things that I mean, all of those things are super important to the people that I work with. You know, this is why you say stay away, don’t engage. Don’t do any of those things because the deposition of truth is basically a lot of times we’ll all that they need. That’s right. And I like what you’ve said bad facts, right? I’m going to use that term, because bad facts are things that we can’t dispute.

Mark Scroggins  

That’s right. Well, I don’t want to say that you can’t dispute bad facts, but there are things that are out there. And the other thing is, like what we were talking about a little bit ago. You know, just because you have bad facts doesn’t mean it’s a checkmate. Let’s say that there has been a finding of family violence. Okay. And the family violence is just against this passage, just but it doesn’t include the children. Does that mean that you’re not going to have a relationship with your children that you’re not going to have possession and access of your children? No, it absolutely does not mean that now, doesn’t mean you’re going to have to go through a BIT Program, which is for those that don’t know, battery intervention and prevention program, right. So yeah, they’re probably going to have to do that. And they’re going to be hoops that that person has to jump through, right. But just because someone’s sole-managing and someone’s possessory, it doesn’t mean that they’re not going to have a standard possession order, which is what is the presumption that is in the best interest of the kid? Right? Okay. So for those out there that don’t know what that is, you know, that’s basically the the first, third and fifth weekend. So to make it easier to digest, when you think about someone having basically every other weekend, typically, that’s going to be kind of a standard possession order. It’s different than every other weekend. But that’s easier for me to get across, right. And so where you’ve got alternating holidays, and a big chunk during the summer, right, and stuff like that. So even if you’re possessory conservator, you’re still going to have that most likely, you might have to go through some step ups, there might have been some counseling that was ordered, there might have been a child-custody evaluation that was performed that recommended certain things, but as long as you, you know, follow what those recommendations are. It’s kinda like, you know, jumping out of a plane I recommend. Right, you don’t have to write you know, I strongly recommend it, right. It’s the same thing here.


Yeah. And one of the things that we do at Grace to change is because I fully to my core, understand the ups and downs of recovery, right? So we give free aftercare for life.

Mark Scroggins  

That’s so big, it’s, it’s so big. 

Shannon White  

They can come back and come to a group, we do reduce rates on individual counseling, but we do it for a reason. So if somebody comes to me in the beginning of their family, custody situation, or criminal case, they can start, they can do our program, which is 12 weeks, but then they can come back and stay in contact with us once a week for as long as they want to. Or they can come three times a week, we had a man that came three times a week for eight years, oh my gosh, because he had a choice to go to AAA or to go to treatment. Right, his probation officer allowed him to come to us. So instead of doing AAA, he came to us. 

Mark Scroggins  

That speaks really loudly about the connection that your clients patients, you know, feel with grace to change, which, you know, I can tell you based on my experience, and a lot of my clients experience, that’s not typical.


No, and I think I’ll say it because it happened today. We lost a client this morning. So I found out on the way over here that we lost a client, and it’s a client that we’ve been in contact with for eight years. And, you know, we haven’t said anything but fentanyl is deadly. Right. Now,

Mark Scroggins  

Let’s talk about that.


Let’s do it, because it is in this specific instance, we you know, obviously they just pronounced him dead at 130 last night, so we’re not 100% Sure. But it does appear that it was a one hit wonder relapse. And so what we found it grace to change. We’re drug testing for fentanyl. Now, what we found is it’s literally in everything. So we’ve tested people that said, Oh, I’ve only smoked weed. 

Mark Scroggins  

Let me back up for just a second when you said it’s literally everything and you’re not talking about prescription meds that somebody actually gets from a pharmacy. 

Shannon White  


Mark Scroggins  

But everything else

Shannon White  

Any pill that you buy on the street, there are any any illicit substance basically now, right? So marijuana, alcohol, Xanax, Percocet. Percocets they don’t even make perk 30s anymore. So if you’re taking a perk 30 You’re absolutely taking fentanyl. Oh my god. So and, and it’s different. So in this case with this client last night, I’m making a an educated summation, right? But my hunch is he went back and did his drug of choice. And it had either been too long since he had done it and his body wasn’t ready for the amount that he did. Or it was laced with fentanyl. And my hunch is we’re gonna find out it was laced with fentanyl.

Mark Scroggins  

Yeah, it’s amazing because that is such a you know, there was the thing was it at RL Turner with A house that was just across the street, they had fentanyl in everything. And you know, so all you have to do is pick up the paper and read stuff. And they’re talking about the national epidemic of fentanyl, because it’s so damn cheap. And then the study that, you know, someone thinks they’re buying pills off the street, and so they’re thinking they’re getting pharmaceutical grade. But all these people have to do is go out and they buy a pill press right, they go out there and buy a specific dye that is generally the color of whatever that pill is. And it can be 100%, fentanyl. And I mean, these are people that have absolutely no grounding in morality, because it’s well, fentanyl is cheapest. And we can make it look like this and we can sell it for you know, this is what the return on our investment. 

Shannon White  

Yes. And the legal system is now trying to make it a homicide if you are dealing with and you know, you’re dealing phenol even if you don’t know, and someone dies of it. So and I think the issue with people have is it’s not this isn’t adults making adult decisions. We buried a 16 year old like four months ago, who had a fentanyl overdose. And that was the only drug in his system. And so you think you’re taking all these other things and you die. We have a client that’s on a Thursday, it’s Mike land. And he right now he lost his son to a fentanyl overdose. And he is on bike tours. Do a national parks are represented and his son took to perk 30s. And the only thing in his system was fentanyl. And he died sitting up in his chair. And Mike is out trying to raise awareness. So, you know, gone are the days where everything is safe. I mean, this is literally killing people all the time.

Mark Scroggins  

That’s so incredibly sad. And you know, for those kids that it’s like, Hey, this is cheap. And I’m looking for, you know, an easy, fun, high kind of deal. It goes from euphoria to it’s over.

Shannon White  

Yep. And we’re hearing now in the in your aspect of it in family law cases. Right. So there’s babies that are that are dying. Now. fentanyl overdoses. And it’s because it’s transdermal. So you touch it, and it gets into a baby’s skin. And so parents are in custody battles right now where both of them are high on fentanyl and the baby tests positive and dies.

Mark Scroggins  

I have not experienced that..

Shannon White  

Sadly, I think you will I mean, I really do. Because we’ve experienced in our office, people who have said My husband was dealing, I haven’t done it the baby test positive. So you pray the baby test positive in their hair when they’re alive. Right. 

Mark Scroggins  

That’s so scary.

Shannon White  

 It is so scary. 

Mark Scroggins  

I want to back up and talk about one thing that you you mentioned a little bit ago with the drug testing, because typically, whether it’s been ordered by the court or not, I am going to if I’m going to have someone undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, I’m going to want that person tested. And most evaluators are going to order it anyway. But you mentioned that you’ve got some new testing abilities we do add that are incredibly important. So can you elaborate on that a little bit?


You bet. So people do have what’s called a point of contact test where you go and you pee in a cup, right? And then you use a dip test and it tells an initial positive or negative, right. What that doesn’t do is it doesn’t test for levels of the substance in their system. So when you get a particular substance, correct, okay, so it just says positive, ragged, right? So we do a 12 panel, we do alcohol with alcohol, we test for ETG.

Mark Scroggins  

Can you say when you start talking about a 12 panel, can you explain what that is? 

Shannon White  

So the 12 panel means it tests for 12 different drugs. Okay. And so from THC to opiates to methadone to suboxone we’ve been offering so it tests for cocaine tests for the 12 prominent things, okay, not alcohol, okay, then we do a separate alcohol test. And in our alcohol test, it’s what tests for ETG? Which is ethyl glutamate, smart, smart something, but it’s the enzyme that your liver excretes. Okay, so and that goes actually about three days. Okay, so we can do all of that and a point of contact test. Okay, what probation does is they have an observed test. So someone observes them taking the test, so they can’t bring fake urine or whatever, right? And then they send it off to a lab, right. And so there is an initial screening that’s done by the lab tells positive or negative, and they have certain cut offs for different substances that say, if you’ve got 500 milligrams of cocaine in your system, anything above 500 And you’re going to be positive. Okay, so we’ve hooked up with Millennium drug testing, okay. And they are the CDC is their CDC, number one people. And part of the reason I wanted to do this is it is a more expensive test, but we test them in house, we can do a dip test on them. So we’re going to have an initial screening of whether they’re positive or negative for immediate purposes, right. If someone tests positive for fentanyl, chances are I’m going to refer him to a hospital. Absolutely. So we can do that still. Then we send it to the lab. AB, and it is it’s actually got deeper cut offs. So it’ll test more than probations test will.

Mark Scroggins  

So when you say deeper, you’re talking to actually a lower right. 

Shannon White  

So cocaine was 500, at on a probation test than ours is like 100. So in many cases, it’s going to catch even the smallest amount of a substance in someone’s system, it can actually differentiate when it does the testing between delta A delta nine, delta 10, and marijuana.

Mark Scroggins  

So that’s something that I wanted to delve into a little bit more, because there are a lot of these tests that while it’s my understanding that delta eight, nine and 10, at least currently, Right are legal..

Shannon White  

nine is not, 8 and 10 are, nine is not.

Mark Scroggins  

Okay, so that makes it all very interesting because it’s an over the counter substance that you can get. And it’s not, it’s not illegal, but it’s showing up as a positive on marijuana a lot of the time, so. So you will have the ability to differentiate between those?

Shannon White  

This test will absolutely do that. And I think it’s really important, you know, especially with our adolescents, you know, Delta eight, its legal myths, we should be able to do it all the while you’re still not old enough, it’s a moot point. But it absolutely tests positive. So we’ve got adults that are heroin or whatever, and they’ve stopped for probation, but they go in by delta eight, because they can get it at the over the counter stores. And they test positive for marijuana, and it’s a violation of their probation.

Mark Scroggins  

What is your what is your opinion For what it’s worth on Delta eight, or I hadn’t heard of delta 10 frankly, or delta nine for that, for that matter. But you see delta A that, you know, I don’t want to say 711? Because I don’t think that’s right, but Right, all the various mom and pop stores that, you know, they got it selling over the counter. And so what’s your thought on it?

Shannon White  

I mean, I think I think if you use it appropriately, I mean, I do think we have a dear friend who owns a store, and they actually sell that there you know, they’ve taken all the precautions, I put it in the back, they listened to when we talked about it, you know, we don’t want it in front, because you’re going to put delta ate up and all of our kids are going to try to race it and do it. Right. So they’ve taken the precautions with it, I think, you know, it’s kind of the same philosophy with near beer. Yeah, you know, you want to tap beer, and you’re doing the same thing, you’re cracking one open, at the end of the day, it’s going to remove stress, and pretty soon, you’re going to edge back in to doing the real stuff. And I feel like, especially with our younger kids, if they get a Delta eight pin, we’re just going to suck it inside out and see if we can get as high as we would on regular marijuana. So, you know, I think it has to have a lot of education behind it, you know.

Mark Scroggins  

So how often with what you do are, are you actually having to go back into go back into courts?

Shannon White  

More now, we didn’t a lot during we didn’t a lot during COVID, I spent a lot of time working on the drug courts in Collin County. And when I did that, that was a weekly, you know, exposure to judges and you know, the team making decisions for people, right? We do more of that now. And quite honestly, we have gotten a lot of our clients or CPS. And so we work with CPS for to get kids situated to get kids back in their custody to do that before they actually go to court. Right. And so that’s been a huge blessing. We very seldom have gone for termination hearings. I think I think we’ve maybe lost two kids that didn’t go back to their parents, which is something we’re really proud of. Yeah, but huge. It is huge. And part of that is awareness and part of it is CPS being willing to reach out to us and let us help them and really listening to what we say, right? Today in our office. We’re seeing a family who doesn’t have a CPS case, but I’m seeing the dad, my other therapist is seeing the mom who is the alcoholic and our adolescent specialist seeing the child all in the same family. Oh my goodness. And so we talked about we work with the the entire family. And so, you know, fortunately, we’re not spending as much time in court, but we are helping attorneys get their ducks in a row. So they have the ability to make a good good plea agreement for our clients.

Mark Scroggins  

Well, that’s, that’s big as well. So one of the things that I want to talk a little bit more about what can we do? You know, as far as awareness out there to help people become aware of not just all the problems, right, our alcoholism and drug addiction, but what resources there are like Grace to change and what that can do for your lot.

Shannon White  

Yeah, I’m grateful that you said that because one of the things especially with this fentanyl, so there’s a bunch of videos that are going around now called fentanyl factor. It’s a good video, but it shows very sad families who’ve lost their children. And we suck people into the fear and the anxiety and I want to be a person that delivers hope about these things. You know, there’s there’s a strong dose of reality that has to come with it. This is a real problem. But there’s also love and solutions. We’re actually doing something with the potter’s house, where the churches are going to get involved.

Mark Scroggins  

When you say the Potter’s house, for those who don’t know what that is..

Shannon White  

Potter’s house church, so they have reached out to to us and we were going to do a presentation in front of their group on a Saturday morning. And what they’ve asked is that we do a presentation, they’re going to film it and to show it in all of their services. So wow, we are super proud of them for you know, not often do you get to mention God and drugs in the same sentence. Probably shouldn’t do more of it. But so there are a lot of resources in Collin County. And there are a lot of resources that help with substance abuse that help with housing that help with all the issues that come out of what happens when you’re trying to get your life together. After you’ve admitted you have a problem, right. And so we want to be a voice of of help in that we want you to be able to pick up the phone and call us. If we’re not a fit for you, which we’re not for everyone. If you’ve got managed care insurance, I would rather you use your insurance. But we have a connection to a lot of other places around where we can point you to get the help that you need.

Mark Scroggins  

So y’all can be y’all can kind of for lack of a better way of putting it quarterback of the situation.

Shannon White  

Absolutely be consultants. Okay. Yep. And we want to do that. Because we know making that phone call is really hard. Right? You know, I, our phone rings, and people often say I have zero idea where to start so I’m just going to start talking. Great, That’s what you do.

Mark Scroggins  

That’s so huge, because you actually see now or I’ve seen, you know, you’ve got private consultants that do exactly what we’re talking about, you know, and whether it’s starting with an intervention, because the person is is not there. And I have my own opinions about interventions. Right. You know, that can be great. It most of the time, it’s a great show..

Shannon White  

You want to watch it for entertainment value.

Mark Scroggins  

But then they’re there lots of people that are that are looking at that. And then you know, they’re helping them get to what makes sense for that person. And it might be in state it might be locally might be, you know, out in California or Arizona, they’re very well known programs in both places that are very, very expensive.

Shannon White  

Well, and a lot of people think, Oh, I’m just going to send them to AA, right, or I’m going to send them to NA and, and they are a fabulous support. But I think times have changed. You know, back in the 60s, when people were smoking weed, it was so minimal in the content in the content of THC right now the drugs that people are using literally are deadly. And so alcohol can kill you. Xanax can kill you and detoxing from those substances. There are plenty of people who come to me and they are drinking so much alcohol that I literally have to say you cannot stop cold turkey because it will kill you. Right. So you either need to titrate down or you need to go to a hospital and that they manage it. Exactly. And people don’t know that. So people just say you got to stop drinking right now. Well, you could kill someone you love by demanding that request. Right? And you know, that’s an extreme cases. But you know, this is this, you need an expert to help point you in a direction of exactly what they need.

Mark Scroggins  

Right? Well, I love hearing what y’all are doing with Potter’s house. How do people get a hold of you and get a hold of the folks that at Grace to change to begin that journey?

Shannon White  

So pick up the phone and call us we we are very proud that we just got a high tech phone system, we’ve just upgraded our phone system. So now you can actually call and you can talk to Jennifer or Kim or Bonnie or Daniel or Shannon and leave a very specific message and we get it on our phone. Okay. So we are we are not 40 hour a week workers. So this is a set for 24/7 addiction. So you can call reach out, leave a specific message we can get get back to you, you can check out our website grace to change.org. I encourage people to follow us on Facebook, we’re gonna try to put more awareness out about fit in Hall and get some facts out.

Mark Scroggins  

So is this also something let’s say the folks at Prestonwood Baptist Church who have 40,000 plus Yes, members could say call you or reach out to you on the website and say Shannon, we need help on educating our folks?

Shannon White  

Please do that’s our hope we’re our hope is that we can put something together with police with fire with all these people. So we can actually navigate this crisis together. And I do believe churches get a ton of phone calls about people that are suffering with addiction. And as much as I love churches, they’re not equipped to handle. You know, we can pray for people and that’s always a great thing. But a lot of times people need more than that. And so we want to encourage them to utilize the resources that are out there and to ask for the help that they need, we would love to go to any church that wants to do it and give a presentation of facts.

Mark Scroggins  

Right? Well, and one other thing I want to make people aware of so grace to change, you know, gets gets public funding and the rest are benefactors. Right? Right. There’s there’s not enough of the self pay to keep y’all doing what you’re doing. So, you know, getting getting donations is something that is hugely important for y’all be able to continue to do this work.

Shannon White  

It absolutely is. And it’s very hard. It’s hard to ask for help. It’s hard to do it. And let’s be honest, drug addicts and alcoholics aren’t the sexiest people, right? Small children that need daycare or special needs kids, people can get funding for that we have a really hard time. And so I want to encourage people to do their research to figure out what’s out there to figure out where to donate money to places like Grace to change that actually have impact. We are boots on the ground, right? We have anywhere from 25 to 30 adults at any given time. And right now our group, our adolescent group is getting close to full 10. Wow. So and we figure probably 85 to 95% of our people don’t pay for anything that comes to us, right? So their treatment is free.

Mark Scroggins  

Well, and one thing you’ve got coming up now is there’s going to be a gala, where people can learn more and can make donations and can actually do something.

Shannon White  

Yeah, sponsors come and see. So I encourage people that follow us on Facebook, we try to stay ahead of what’s going on. We’re encouraging people now if you’ve got lost a loved one that our treatment program costs $3,500 for 12 weeks of treatment, and lifetime aftercare. So if you want to start a scholarship fund in honor of someone that you love, we will we will treat someone for that small fee, and give you the recognition. So, you know, their life doesn’t have to be in vain. 

Mark Scroggins  

You know, and I hate to hate to mention this, but this is something that’s always good when you start making these kinds of donations. You’ve got tax write offs. Absolutely. With that, right. So absolutely. You can help yourself in in the right guard for sure and do really good for the community. 

Shannon White  

Yeah, and I wish I could figure out more I don’t understand all that. But I do know it is you know, you do get a benefit on your taxes. And it does go and we’re doing a strategic plan that’s going to come out pretty soon. And it when I’ve done it, it’s been shocking, quite honestly shocking to me, our expenses and our probably 90% of the money that goes into expenses at Grace to change our for salaries and rent, right, we probably spend between eight and 10%. If even that on phone, food for the people. At the other thing, people can make donations of food water, we had a client drive back up and say open the back door. Here’s my truck, and you probably brought us $500 worth of water and snacks and everything from Sam’s. That’s so so we tried to feed the clients every night adolescents and adults because most of them if they can afford if we can feed them a meal, they can put the $10 towards the meal towards gas for their car, right. So we try to do that have stacks of candy of water. So that’s another way people can get back. Well, thank you. Thank you for letting me do this. This was fun.

Mark Scroggins  Good. I’m glad I really enjoyed it. And I thought it was so important for people to understand what an organization like Grace to change does for the community and how, you know, getting educated is so important because this is something you know, this is the kid that lives next door to you. Is you know, an Eagle Scout and straight A student and all of this that. Yep, you know, Ron, what do you think? That’s exactly right. Well, thank you all for joining us for another version of the reclamation transformation and make sure you reach out and find Shannon and her great group at Grace to change. Look them up on Facebook or any one of a number of other places on social media. And don’t forget folks change starts with you, so leave your mark.

Alcohol, Addiction & Child Custody; Divorcing an Alcoholic in Texas

Listen to Reclamation Transformation with Dallas Family Law Attorney Mark Scroggins for inspirational and candid discussions on topics relating to family law from the perspective of real people. And without any overwhelming lawyer-speak so you can remember that change starts with you and remember to make your mark.



Hey everybody, Mark Scroggins back for another edition of the Reclamation Transformation and today I’ve got a special guest; Courtney Hemsley has joined me. How are you today?


I am fantastic.


I am really excited about this. We had a really nice discussion prior to and the similarities are frankly a little scary.



To me it sounds like we are kind of cut from the same cloth on a lot of stuff but I wanted to introduce you and let everybody get to know you a little bit.


Can you just talk about what you do professionally and then we’ll get to talk about some of the good stuff as well?


Yeah, exactly.


Professionally, Empire Development Solutions were the one-stop solution for any of your construction project needs.


Everything starts with the land acquisitions, what looks right for land,


What can be built there, single family, multi-family, commercial retail, then I go from there, my company does infrastructure and development. Therefore we are doing on your streets, curbs, gutters and roads for sites to be ready to go vertical. So if anyone knows that word on all of the stuff before vertical coming in, you are building up. In addition to that, I have the lending aspect of it which has been a big part of my business providing construction loans. Land acquisition,



What’s the best way to do it?


Construction loans. Construction loans which are really, really hard for a lot of these developers to get into place.


And from there also being an investor resource.


It sounds like a lot of crazy things going on but all lines up. You have to start with the land, you have to have infrastructure and development done, you, a lot of people have to have that financing in place for construction and then on the investor side, at the end of the day find ways to put your money to work.


I can walk into a room and talk to investors and go, hey, have you ever invested in a business?



I have to be in real estate, let me show you creative ways to invest in real estate.


Nothing is guaranteed.


Of course.


But put your money to work and just get awareness about what is going on in that space.


The only way to get aware or to be aware is to being in those rooms and being around those resources.


So are you doing stuff both with, you mentioned a developer.



But let’s say if I wanted to build a house and so I’m trying to figure out, hey, Courtney, I want to build this real modern house.


There’s an area generally that I want to build in.


Is that something that I would get?


I don’t do anything owner occupied.


So it wouldn’t be like a primary residence.


Anything I’m going to do or going to lend on or be a part of is going to be anything what they would consider in the commercial space.



Even though it may have a residential component, but it wouldn’t be anything owner occupied that would be your typical mortgages like Fannie or Freddie.


Mine’s going to be more of we’re building a single family development or, you know, I’m an investor.



I have some land.


I want to buy this land.


I want to build two townhomes on it.


I’ll connect them with the builder.



If they don’t know how to build and they bring in the money, if they need lending, I’ll bring in the lending.


So just kind of connecting all those pieces together, building multifamily units.


Right now I have three of those going on, doing the financing for that.

And then again, there’s again, investors.


Like here’s opportunities to invest in multifamily.


That’s probably your long play on money.



So like if I wanted to do something like with one of the things that I’m intrigued by right now is the whole inland port.


Things so like, you know, going down 45 where we’ve got the, the inland port right there and let’s say that I wanted to put together some – build some multifamily down there. And to service the people that are actually going to be working at the inland port.


That’s something that’s right up my alley.




All right.


You come up with the idea.



I can do anything to help partner it, you know, find the land to get that entitled for that specific use.


Obviously, if you’re not about going out and swinging a hammer, there are plenty of resources that build single-family townhome, multifamily.


That’s their space.


Having the construction background, which kind of still leads me down this niche.


My career started in construction, like on a job site all day, every day, and develop with multifamily.


I think I went home crying every single day.



I didn’t understand it.


There was no HR.




No, I was like, Oh, my God, what did I get myself into?


But it gave me just tough skin and, you know, that’s so unique to have, you know, frankly, to have a female that is involved in that space on the ground floor.





You’re talking about being on a job site because I remember working some construction summers when I was in high school and it was not a, it was not a PC environment.


Definitely not.


But I will say, you know, it’s interesting because being the different person has made the difference in my career.


There’s not a room that I walk in.


I actually want to walk in a room and be the oddball out.





Because your first thing is not about attention as I’m like, Oh, look at me, but intention.




What is she doing here?


First off, it’s like that.


What is she doing here?


Or secondly, you know, if you’re opposite in a room that you’re in, you get that attention.



Then you, what you’re talking about makes sense.




You just, they’re not going to forget you.


No, that’s exactly right.


So that’s my biggest thing.


I encourage everyone, you know, like, man, walk in those rooms, especially.



Well, you’re the oddball out of the different one, but just make sure you know what you’re talking about.


And, you know, people won’t forget you.


You’ll make those connections.


You’ll have the resources and you’ll make a big difference.


That’s truly been being different has made the difference 100% in my career as a woman in construction.


I can, I can absolutely understand that.



And it sounds like one of the things that you also just mentioned is something that I mentioned to people all the time that knowledge is power.


Oh, you know, so like when I have somebody asking me, you know, what should I be looking for in a family law attorney?


It’s like, well, you know, start with looking for someone who’s board certified because it’s a higher level of understanding.


It’s, you know, and you have to meet all these criteria.




But it’s about knowledge.



You know, if you’re kind of a jack of all trades in the.


You do family law.


You do personal injury.


You do criminal and all this shit.


You know, it’s like you’re, you’re a jack of all trades, but master of none.


So you don’t know what you don’t know.





So you better make sure you get someone who knows what they know, which I can’t imagine.


You know, you hear all the terrible stories about, you know, contractors that have taken deposits and they run or they do an absolute shotty job.


And then you find out, oh, well, they’re not numbers of their business.


You know, all these different complaints and stuff like that.


So, yeah, it’s important to.



And a key to that is I think I don’t market anything about myself.


Everything comes from referrals or resources that I’ve worked with before.



Just like you.


I think that I think people look over that sometimes people want to look on Google or look on however you find people these days social media.


And I just want to see what somebody’s talking about in the moment.





I think the real way that you get people that are legit and their business and then we’ll do their best for you is to check the resources or apps.


Somebody, who did you use them?


I mean, if you problem is, most of us don’t want to ask because we’re too embarrassed to say what we don’t know.




But if you would me, I’m going to ask everybody.





This is what I mean.


I don’t know crap about it.


But who has not who’s dealt with the best person in this?


Who’s dealt with it?


And how did they treat you?



How did it turn out?


I think that’s what we tend to overlook is to instead of not asking or being embarrassed that we don’t think we don’t know is to really just ask people.


Who did you use for who was your best law attorney?


Who was I think that’s probably the key?


Well, and I think most of those for sure.


I completely agree with you.



I think that is you know, it’s amazing though.


You also hit on something that I think is really important that you mentioned that sometimes we’re too embarrassed to ask, which I think is we get in our own ways.


And I shouldn’t I shouldn’t say that like we like third person.


I get in my own way.


All right.

Because it is difficult.



I think one of the hardest things at the end of the day is just being an authentic human being all the time.




Because I think most people it’s easy for me to get caught up in what the idea of a certain role is.




So I have people thinking, you know, that, wow, I should be dressed in a suit all the time.


And you know, this stuff sure kind of kind of deal and it’s like, man, that ain’t me.





You know, so and they, you know, hear me drop some interesting terminology on things.


And, you know, I cuss like a sailor.




You know, but that’s just me.


And it’s more of an authentic thing.



So understanding, getting to that point of, you know, I don’t give a shit.


What people think to a certain degree.



I mean, you’ve got, you know, a healthy amount.


You have to have a healthy amount of you to be able to survive.


But to keep that from turning into an unhealthy narcissist and being a people pleaser or being being concerned about, you know, God forbid you get codependent on stuff.


And I’m so worried about what everybody else thinks that I can’t, you know, do my freaking job.



And that’s not what it’s about.




And when I say do my job, I’m not just talking about being a divorce lawyer.

I’m talking about being a friend, being a husband, being a father, you know, being a son.


All of these different things are different roles where they’re all I look at it like I want to be there to support or to help. 100%.



But if I’m worried about what everybody thinks, I also can’t protect myself by setting proper boundaries.





You’re right.


I think you touched face on something really important there.


Roles can be deceiving.






And they can cause, they can cause a lot of pain whenever or heartache or disappointment.


I’ve experienced myself.


We all get these roles and titles.


Mother, father, husband, boyfriend, daughter.




And somewhere along the way, we’re taught that this role means we have to be this way.





And that’s it.


And when we set ourselves up to go along these roles that everyone else is trying to make us be or that we see or that we think or that we read.


And then that doesn’t happen.


That’s where that disappointment comes in or that for others and even for yourself.


I think that’s when you touch on that and that really, really, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back in life, not today, but back in life and then been disappointed by myself thinking I wasn’t doing the role right, a role.



Disappointed in others when really now what I’ve learned is you just have to, we spoke on this earlier before, you just have to be here now and you have to love people for who they are and what they are in your life now.


Love yourself for who you are and what you are in your life right now.


And just be here in that moment.


There’s no past.


There’s no future.


But those roles, man, they can you really, you know, had a good one with that one because they can really, really cause us to go all different directions emotionally and mentally.



You know, and the interesting thing to me is that when we talk about, you know, those roles, so the definition of those roles, well, who created the definition?




It is the generation previous.




The generation prior.


So like, I’m generation X. Yeah.



You know, and so you had the baby boomers for us that were defining certain roles.


And so, you know, I look at the way my dad was, the way my mom is, you know, different things of what their expectations are of those roles.


So at that time, it was very gender specific, right?


You know, dad’s going to be the big earner and mom’s going to be home with the kids and, and all of these things.


And, you know, for generation X, that was those definitions are still in play to a certain degree, but less so, you know, so understanding how certain things work and you can be your own individual, I think is difficult a lot of the time for the baby boomers to really understand.


And yet, you know, my daughter, who is now 25, you know, looks at me with some of my thoughts and what makes sense for me and thinks you are out of your damn mind.



Live life a little, honey.




That’s right.


You know, so, but I don’t, I don’t, I can only see it in my perspective.


I can be very open to listening to what she says and what the way they think and think, you know, one of my dad saying said I love and now I understand it was, you know, you’re entitled to your own opinion, no matter how screwed up it is.





You know, so, so I think about that now.


And so, but it’s funny based on what the perspective is.


And so getting comfortable enough in your own skin to be able to say, well, that’s fine.


You can think I’m absolutely out of my mind.




And that, you know, you’re entitled to that opinion.



But I don’t have to live my life.




Based on what you or society in general, you’re right.




I’ve got to figure out what absolutely works for me.









So it’s like one of the things we were talking about before we began the podcast is you’ve really seen an acceleration in your business just going to new fights.


Based on exactly what we’re talking about, being the authentic you and being able to be present right here right now.




So 100%.



So how did you, you know, we all have our own, our own journeys for sure that we have to go down.


You know, mine is kind of mine is steeped in recovery.




And that has allowed me to obtain a certain level of spirituality and some people, you know, that don’t know me well would probably hear that and go, you’re full of shit. Because I’ve seen you in the courtroom and you do not appear to be the most spiritual person in that particular moment.


And that might be true at that moment.



But it’s like, you know, if we’re going to have a street fight, you know, I’m not going into it without.






So, but how did you, what got you to the point, what has worked for you to be able to really be the, the authentic Courtney and be true to who you are and live life the way it makes sense for you instead of worrying about whatever other people see.


And that’s a good question.


I would say that my entire life I’ve been in survival mode from childhood to adulthood as a wife when I was a wife as a parent.



I’ve been in that survival mode and being in that survival mode, you know, we all talk about, yo, I’ve got to be strong up, got to be tough.


But in those modes, I mean, I lost myself 100%.


I was so focused on how to career a great beautiful daughter.


She’s wonderful.


But who was I?


What was I doing?



And I was just what I learned was we, we often, we don’t do it on purpose.


We get stuck in these modes of survival.


And when you’re trying to survive, you’re really not living.


And that’s where there was four years ago, I went through always, like I said, struggled, you know, and just been in that fight, fight mode, not where I’m fighting everything, but just like, man, you just got to make things happen.


You know, I can’t fail.


I can’t do this.



Four years ago, I went through a divorce, really, really bad divorce.


And I was 30, me and my daughter kicked out of our home right at the beginning of COVID.


All of my business was shut down, you know, construction.


There was nothing going on kicked out of our home.


And in that moment, everything that I knew was gone.


And from my home to being a wife, my daughter, we lived in a hotel for several months.



She went to college.


I mean, even my dog died for 15 years.


So a girl was like stripped down to nothing.


I had nowhere else to go.


And I really, and in that time, you know, we can’t get away from ourselves.


A lot of times we do things to distract ourselves.



We do things, you know, as a husband, a wife, as a mother, because we don’t want to stop and work on ourselves.


We don’t want to stop and look what’s really going on inside of us.


But when God puts you through these things so you can get to your purpose, you have to allow that stripping of everything down.


I mean, you don’t want to build back up with the same shit on the bottom.


I mean, eventually, eventually resurfaces.


So I took that time, that time of, instead of feeling sorry for myself, instead of going back in that fight mode and survival mode.



I had to, who is Courtney?


What is she about?


What excites her?


What motivates her?


What keeps her going when all of these things that I’ve lived for when they’re gone?


Because they were gone.





So trying the typical, what everybody does, okay, I’m God, love God, believe in God 100%, but not everything looks the same as what everything looks.


You know, I’m going to go to the church.


I’m going to go to counseling.


I went through all these steps to become my best me because I knew that’s what I needed.


And it wasn’t until I went on this journey, an awakening journey, I call it awakening of the soul, practicing Ayahuasca, that it really allowed me to go deep and address what had me in that survival mode for my entire life.



And not until I was able to address that and really see it and understand that the past is dark, it’s deep.


I don’t necessarily have to keep reliving that or reminding myself of that to be who I am today.




And not allowing what’s going to happen tomorrow or what am I going to do tomorrow?


What’s going on?


Not allowing that.



I’m really focused on, you’ll hear me all the time now.


When moments come up, be here now, be here now, be here now, because that’s all I can do is control what’s going on now.




So I think my biggest turning point was quieting all the noise outside of me.


What people think, what people say, you know, you’re divorced or you have nothing, you’re starting over and everybody wants to.


And really just digging into myself, my faith and God and what worked for me, not being worried about what worked for other people was my big turning point for me to be the best and to be where I am today and to learn and know my purpose.



And in that, it has allowed my business to grow tremendously.


It’s allowed me.


At this age, this point in my life, I feel the freest, most fulfilled that I’ve ever felt in my life.


And it’s all just because I stripped it all down, allowed it to be stripped down.


And I took that time, really took that time to build myself back up.


You know, that is, I think that is something, I will just talk about me again.



But that is something that I struggle with is, nobody enjoys the pruning.






I mean, that’s when you really get your ass kicked.


For sure.


You know, there’s a, there’s a prayer called the Prayer of J. Bess.



And so back in the day, when I actually went to church, instead of just relied more on spirituality, I remember we had a, had a book study about this book.


Called the Prayer of J. Bess.


And it talked about the necessity for the pruning so that the future blooms could be better than they’ve ever had.


But nobody wants to go through that process or understanding that that is just part of the process.




You know, that there are times when I’ve got to learn certain lessons.



So I made big believer in karma and, you know, so what you put out there, you’re going to get that.


And, and so part of that is like doing things.


Charitably, whether it is time or money or whatever where, you know, nobody else knows about that.




And it’s nobody else’s business.





And if I turn it around and make it a look-at-me kind of thing, well, that does – does away with, you know, what it’s about.


That’s exactly right.


But it’s the same thing with other things, you know, I think it’s, it’s very easy to get caught up in those roles or get caught up in certain trappings, you know, whether it’s, you know, people get derailed by different things, whether it’s, you know, booze or money or sex or whatever shining


glibly, you know, and exactly.


And I like sparkly.





You know, so I like it.


But it can’t be what I am all about because if it does, then it’s hollow.


There’s nothing for sure.


There is nothing left inside.


If that is what it is truly about.





And so it’s super easy to get caught up in that instead of focusing, you know, how can I truly serve my fellow man, but within the parameters of healthy bound.




That’s exactly.




That’s 100%.





So there’s, there is a, you know, there’s a saying in the recovery community.


You know, we carry the message.


We don’t carry the alcoholic.






You know, so you can’t do it for someone.



And it’s the same thing.


And I mean, that’s just an extreme example that applies to me.


But that is an example, I think that carries over into every aspect of life.


You know, you can see somebody struggling like hell, you know, and really suffering.


But you can’t make them take the steps that you believe they need to take.


You know, you’re right.



And I think you, you, you really setting those boundaries.




That’s a hard thing.


I mean, I’ve dealt with that in the past setting those boundaries where.


And those come from where you learn how to, for me, they came from learning how to, like I said, going back.


They were somewhere along the way where I saw myself as less than.





We all do it.


At some point.


We feel like we don’t fit in where they were not qualified or not.


And somewhere along that way, when I found myself as less than that’s when I allowed boundaries to be broken in those things.


I think when we’re going through these things as they always come up, someone’s always going to try to, you know, go past the boundary or you allow it.



Not really people sometimes, such as who they are and what they are.


You know, they said they don’t know any better, but maybe they don’t.


But it’s also up to us.


But, you know, we can’t, we can’t play victim to people that have crossed our boundaries.


We have to be responsible for those boundaries and the way, a way to get those is to, it comes with confidence, self love, awareness, awakening to be able to protect that and not in a bitter or have a wall up or, you know, no emotion type of way.


But just what’s wrong with selling someone, my biggest thing.



Now I’ll tell anyone business personally.


Hey, I just don’t think we’re aligned.


Those are probably thinking, what is she talking about?


It’s my easiest way to say is like, “You’re not for me and I’m not for you.”


And that’s cool.


I respect you in your space.



But I’m going to respect myself as well.


But it didn’t come until I was able to break myself down and realize what was allowing me to allow those boundaries to be crossed.


And now to set them and stand by them.


And like I said, love myself and be aware of what works for me.


That may not work for other people.


You know, and that’s, that’s, I think that is so important and difficult because I can be lonely.





And well, and as I sit here though, when I look at, when I’ve allowed my boundaries to be violated.



One, I’ve allowed it to happen.




But the whole reason that I am allowing it to happen is because I want someone to think better of me.




If I do this, which goes against my core values.




And it might be helping this person who says that they need help or doing whatever that is for the benefit of someone else.


But I’m like, this isn’t right.




I should not be doing this for them.



This is stressing me out.


It’s not even my deal.





You know, a perfect, perfect example is, you know, loaning money to those that are closest to you.





You know, don’t do it unless you can view it as a gift.


And you don’t.




And you’re not going to see it as a result.




For sure.



Because then all you’re doing is you’re harming the relationship.




And someone might be pissed at you in the process of you saying no.




But actually what you’re doing is you’re, you know, you’re harming the relationship by saying yes. 100%. For sure.





Because you’re resentful.













It’s just amazing to me how those kind of lessons continue to pop up until I have learned the lesson of don’t do that.




It’s like, you know, I have what I, what I refer to as white knight syndrome.




You know, I want to ride in on my white horse and save the day.





You know, and, and most of the time, that is not my job.


And most of the time, the people that you do that for have absolutely no appreciation for it.


I am 100% convinced.


And then you’re like, what?


I did all that.


I did this.



That’s right.




I am convinced that is where the saying of no good deed goes unfinished.


For sure.


Originates from.





You know, because I’ll see that.


And I will, I will do that.


I’ll do, for example, I’ll do that on a pro bono situation where I’m going to go in and oh, I know I shouldn’t do this.


But I’m going to help this person.


And they are the most ungrateful individuals.


Think that the world owes them everything and has absolutely no self awareness about.



You’re not a victim in everything that happens.


Or if you really think that you are, then what’s the common denominator?


It’s you.


The Bob brings the whole yes.


You know, I mean, it’s amazing.





You know, I will have people that walk in and will do that.


And, and it’s like, yeah, do you take responsibility for anything?


Right. 100%.


But that’s what I meant when I said setting these boundaries off.


I’ve felt it’s been lonely in a good way.





Because it really, when you.


Like, I don’t mind saying no now.




So, I mean, that means that they’re probably going to be pissed that I said no, but okay, well, they’re probably not going to call.


They’re probably.


But that’s what I mean by you have to be comfortable, which I think we both kind of.



Learned how to set those parameters because it can be very lonely, feebling.




Because a lot of times these boundaries, we let them down because we want to be accepted or because we want to save the day or we want to be loved or there’s something missing.


So when you set up these boundaries until someone knows and then they don’t ring your phone again.


Well, first off, that tells you their motives were off.





And, but it feels lonely in the beginning.




When you start setting these boundaries in your eye, how all these things we do to improve ourself feel horrible.






Well, and you get for, I get a warning about it.





Because I am a big believer in what my get.


Oh, yes.




And that’s the way I am a big believer that God talks to me in that way.


And every time I go against what my God is telling me, it’s a shit show.



Why didn’t I?




And it’s like, I knew.


I knew.


You had a ton of warning there.





You know, I was sitting there telling you don’t do it.


Don’t do it.


No, no, no.


I can make it work.


I can do it.


I can fit.



That’s ego.


We are ego.


Man, it can get the best of us.


Well, you know, I think anybody who thought God didn’t have a sense of humor.


I mean, who wants the happiest you can be is when you were living in God’s will.





But I’m going to give you free will.




So you got to give it back to you.


It’s like, wait a second.


How do I get it?





It’s a trick.




It’s like that doesn’t logically make a lot of sense.




But that’s when I met my most comfortable is when I feel like I am aligned.


And for me, that is where, you know, I am in concert with what my gut tells me on stuff.



When I go against it, I have more turmoil.


I feel more disjointed, disconnected.


I am not as nice to be around.


Things are coming out sideways.


And it’s always coming out at those that are closest to us.




Because who you’re really pissed off at or who I am really pissed off at is me.




You know, but who I’m taking it out on is, you know, where’s my next victim?


Who’s the next person that’s walking in here?


You know, that it’s going to come out that way.





So, you know, I know an area that I constantly have to wrestle with is perfectionism.


You know, and it’s hard for me from a professional standpoint because I want things done a certain way.


I want to make sure that we represent people in a certain way.


But one of the things that I’ve had to learn and I continue to learn over and over again is just because it’s not my way.




It doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.





It just means that it’s different.




You know, now sometimes it’s not right.




I’m not going to go along with that.





But a lot of the time, different is just different.


Yeah, you saw this.


And I think it’s about stopping and listening for a minute, looking.


And then from that point, seeing if it does a line or doesn’t align with what you’re doing or what your purpose is or what you’re serving or what you want to represent.





That’s who you are, who your business is for sure.


Well, and that’s, you know, that’s one of the things.


So I started Scroggins Law Group six, a little over six years ago on February 1st, which was also my parents anniversary before my dad died and it’s my anniversary.




Now, so there’s a lot of meaning to that date for me, but it was to create a law firm or family law boutique that is different in that.





I don’t want to say yes to everybody.




You know, I don’t want to represent everybody.


We’re not for everybody.

And when you do that, you have, just like people want to pick us to serve them in business.





I’ve realized I want to pick who I work with and who my clients are as well.


And when I’ve started doing that, it’s kind of so much more peaceful.


I’m not frantic.


I’m not feeling anxious, anxiety.


It’s – I choose who I want to work with.


And if it aligns with me, and it’s it’s so crazy that I can turn around because we all we feel like a lot of times in business that we have to serve everyone that calls us or everyone that wants our services or everyone that says they need us.





But if you just stop for a minute, listen to them, listen to who they are as a person, what they’re doing in their business, how they do handle their business, how they handle other people.


It tells you how they’re going to handle you, how they’re going to handle their transactions with you.


Do they pay you?


Do they talk to you crazy?


All types of things like that.



And with what you’re saying, I think it also comes with all of this, you know, setting boundaries, not just personally, but in business to choose those that we want to surround ourselves with and work with.


And, you know, that makes a big difference anyways.




You know, who you’re working with.


Well, and I think.


Who you are as a person.





I mean, because one of, you know, I will tell people watch their feet.






Everybody’s got this or not everybody, but a lot of people have this.





The gift of gab, right?




They can talk a good game.




But do the feet match up with the game that they are talking and what my experience has been is that for most people, that’s a no.











So, you know, I picked the people who I choose to have as mentors in different areas of my life.




And they allowed me to choose them with it wasn’t where I set up the parameters of exactly what this relationship was going to be or how we were going to do things because I’m coming to them for a reason.







So, it’s basically, if you want what I’ve got, are you willing to do what I did?




You know, so it’s kind of the same thing for me professionally in a lawsuit where I can say, I can help you get from point A to point B. Yeah.


If you are willing to do X, Y and Z, are you willing to do that?





Well, when you see somebody that deviates from that, that’s when you get your real answer.


It’s easy to say yes.




You know, but when they’re not and they continue to do it over and over, you know, that’s where you’re left with a difficult choice.


For sure. 100%.



And especially in, you know, in personal relationships.


Oh, yeah.


You know, so if, you know, if you’ve got someone that is in your life that is a soul sucker, you know, I think we’ve all had them or probably been one.


Yeah, exactly.


And some of that is, you know, I’m not talking about somebody just in a dip going through a difficult time.





That’s, you know, I think that’s one of the areas that we really get the opportunity to be a good friend.


Oh, for sure.


Or a good partner or whatever.


But it’s when, you know, that person who you only hear from them when they need something.




Mm hmm.



And it’s always when, you know, everything is a disaster.






You know, oh, now I’m really willing.


But then you take the time to help, but then they still don’t.


And then they disappear.



That’s called.


You know what those are called?


What’s that?


Ask holes.


I’m gonna, I’m just telling you I’m stealing that.


They are called.



Ask holes.


Ask holes.


Call you.


Ask all the questions.


Yeah, yeah, I’m going to do it.


I got it.



I got it.


And you’ve told them 15 times and they turn right around and do the same shit.


They’ve always done to get themselves in a situation.


That’s, you know, and I stay away from those because like you said, they will drain you.


So like, I don’t have time to repeat myself 20 times.





So if it didn’t work for you the first time or if you didn’t take my advice, I’m saying it’s right.


Or it’s the perfect thing for you.


But then stop asking me the same question.


And again, it’s me going, I’ve already told them that listen, I’m not picking up the sun.


You know.


So that’s, I think that’s something else that’s really important is understanding that that’s a boundary that you are setting for yourself.





For self preservation.


And that’s okay.





Because there’s something unhealthy in society that gives this idea that it’s almost like you shouldn’t have any boundaries.



People are now boundaries have become a buzzword.




In the last few years and setting healthy boundaries.


And, but what does that actually mean?


And when people understand it’s, I can only do so much.


I’m here up to a point.





But that’s all I can do.


That’s all I have to give.


And there’s a societal piece.


I think that tells us, no, no, no, you’ve got to give more.


You’ve got to do.



And it’s like they’re calling me because they need, they need you.


I mean, but there are days, man.


You just need yourself.


There are days when I have nothing else to give someone.


And when ask hole rings my phone, I’m not answering, you know, because you’ve all right.


I mean, you’ve sucked 15 other times that we’ve had that.



So I think, like what you said, boundaries are an individual thing and they have to be.


We can’t think our boundaries have to match everyone else’s and they can come across sometimes as like what you said as, or your cold or you don’t show any motions.


You don’t like I’ve learned right now.


I have to through all of these other past experiences and lessons.


I have to put myself first.


And if I don’t do that, I’m no good to anyone else.





So that is really I stand by that now.


And more than I’ve never done that in my life.


Let’s talk about that a little bit because I think that something like I was talking about just a minute ago that societally we talk about those boundaries and taking care of yourself.


But then you get that same message that, well, don’t pay attention to what I just said over here.


I’m not taking care of yourself.



You need to be there to help everybody else.


And you do need to be there.


I think you do need to be there to help people and to serve your fellow mayor.


But how do you figure out where that line of demarcation is because that’s a struggle for me anyway.


You know, that’s hard.


And you know, and I feel like a complete jackass when I say no.



So no, right.




You know, so how do you go about figuring that out?


It’s hard.


And I think every situation is going to be different because sometimes it’s someone in business.


Sometimes it’s a loved one.



Someone I mean, sometimes it’s a long time friend.


And I’ll just keep going back to once we have really sat down and aligned ourselves first.


That’s when we can.


It’s not going to say we’re not going to have moments where we feel like a butthole, but we can really follow through with what our boundaries are and what our wants are first.


And that often comes across selfish and uncaring and all these other words that people want to use.


But when you go back to anyone, if they’re not okay with themselves, they’re literally destroying themselves trying to fit into this mold of what everybody else needs or wants at that time.



So you’ve got to learn how to say no for the benefit of yourself.


And it’s you have to.


There’s a re at the end of the day, there’s a reason you’re not able to set boundaries.


And that’s what you have to look at.


There’s a reason that you can’t say no to people.


Those are there’s something underlying there that is causing you to not have boundaries or to not take up for yourself or not to stand up for yourself or not to say, Hey, I need me time right now.



There’s something that is underlying right there.


And I think we all are responsible for going back and looking at that and figuring out what that is so that we can be our best selves and be confident enough to tell other people.


Listen, I just I’m sorry.


I don’t have any more of me to give right now.


There’s nothing wrong with.


I mean, that’s normal.



How many times have you ran yourself to death for everyone else?


And everyone else told the great, but you feel like shit.


I mean, that happens constantly.


You do it in your relationships.


You do it in business.


And if you were to pick up the phone and call those people, they wouldn’t answer or wouldn’t be there to do crap for you.



And it’s not a thing where it’s a tit for tat, but we get so caught up in that underlying thing that’s causing us to do that.




That we really need to.


I advise anyone.


You know, you have to stop and become aware of yourself, which is really, really hard and lonely and painful.


It can be painful.





But you have to do that in order to be the best you feel the best and fulfill your purpose.


Otherwise, you’re just you’re just going along through the motion.


You’re surviving.


You’re not living for sure.


I completely agree with that.



And it’s it’s hard now with, you know, one of the areas that really hits me a lot and thank God I’m the age I am because I am not prey to it like, like, I’m not.


Like others are, but the duality of social media.






You’ve got now.


There are more and more studies that have gone on that show that, you know, Gen Z specifically and.



Oh, God.


What was the millennials to have an issue with depression related to that and an inability to truly establish relationships because everything is right here.


And then the problem is, you know, you’ve got an aspect of social media, which is, look at me.


Look at me.


Look at me.





And all that is is a snapshot in time.




You know, of an event.




You know, and 100%.


And a lot of it is created for a specific purpose where people, you know, have the ability once you have enough following that you can monetize it.





So boy, I better look good and I better do this.


Oh, look at me on the swing in Valley.


You know, you don’t know Jack should about what their life is and how they feel and what makes them tick.


I mean, do they have a hollow existence?


Or are they really pleased with who they are as a person?



Are they spending six hours a day taking pictures of themselves all day every day?




You know, and then you’ve got everybody else that’s looking at those that is, you know, oh, I better heart that.


I better like this.


I better do do that.


And then these people that are sucked at, well, why isn’t my life like that?



My life isn’t as good.


And it’s like, you know, anything about what their life is.




So you’re comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.


You’re right.


And, you know, I don’t know how we get past the duality of it because right now, I mean, you know, it’s just, you know, cranky old man, curmudgeon.





Kind of shit.


Get off my lawn.


You know, kind of stuff.


If I say something about that, but it scares me to death with the comparison like that.


And it’s like, you don’t know what makes that person tick.



You don’t know if they are happy or not.


You know, I’ve been really poor and I’ve been pretty well off.


I like pretty well off better.


For sure.




But it doesn’t solve your problems.



You know, if you are just an asshole, you know, you can just be exactly.


That’s exactly right.


I mean, you know, I loved one of the, one of the sayings that Robin Williams had, which was that cocaine is God’s way of telling you you’re making too much money.




You know, and, you know, I have represented plenty of trust babies.





I can tell you that their problems are not any different than anybody else.


And the problem is, is that they’ve got the resources to be able to fund whatever kind of debauchery they want to get into trying to fix themselves at the moment.


If I’ve got to feel good now, right?


You know, and that’s great.


You feel good now.





What do you feel like in half an hour?




What you’re coming down from that.


You feel like when you lay your head on at night.


That’s right.


Can you look in the mirror?



Can you look in the mirror? 100%.






You know, I think identity is a big struggle at some point in anyone’s life.


As a child that may be, you know, how do I fit in at school?





Both of the same parents that look the same.


Do I have a mom and a dad?


Do my parents do what they do?


My hair is frizzy, crazy.


What, you know, there’s always, even as adults, you know, people are always trying to find out where do I fit in.





And that comes with, I think, social media.


Like you said, it stems around a lot of putting this stigma out there.


It’s like, oh, look at me.


Do you want to be like me?


Do you want to be like this?


But when you’re not loving yourself, when you haven’t aligned with yourself, when you’re, when you’re truly not living your purpose, those that identity ego is what I call it.



Oh, it’s always going to get in the way.


It’s always going to have you second guessing yourself.


It’s always going to have you allowing people to run over you because you think that that’s going to get you where you need to get.


I’ll say, and I’ll say it a thousand times over, being confident in who you are, knowing your purpose, and doing what is best to be you.


It can be lonely, and that’s what most people fear.



It’s being alone and not identifying with other people.



But in these last, probably three to four years where I’ve been alone, lost everything, felt like I did not identify with anyone.


I felt that way, growing up, same in business.


I don’t mesh well with everyone.


I don’t look your typical person in construction.




But when I started loving myself and being confident in who I was, which takes work, that’s when I don’t care, but I don’t care.


And that takes all of us going through things and being willing to continue to grow through them as you go and stop and going, okay, what is this trying to teach me?


What am I going to take from this?


How am I going to become better?


What am I going to learn not to do again in this situation?


So I’m not making repeat mistakes and going like that, but it really, anything, identity, self love, setting in rollboxes, all of that comes from that pressure of society, social media, making us think or us allowing it to make us think we have to be this way, and that’s the only way to be.


That’s a hard deal to get your hands around, because talking about the 20-something that’s swinging on a beautiful swing over the ocean in Valley.



Hell, I’ve never been to Valley yet.


I am dying to go to Valley.


I hope they have a swing that will hold me.


But a lot of people, it’s like, I want that.


Are you willing to walk the journey that it takes to get that?


Because it’s almost not almost.



I’m going to take that out.


It is a sense of entitlement.


And a lot of people think, “I need to quit doing that.”


I need to just say, what I thought for a long time was that I had these expectations.


I would set goals and then I’d achieve them, and then it’d be like, okay, this isn’t what I thought it was.


If I do this, then I’ve made it.



And then I achieved that, and it’s like, well, that wasn’t an idea.


So I better do this.


So all of those things are hollow unless you can really be in the moment, I think, to enjoy it.


So it seems to me that everything is, the one constant we have is change.


You’re correct.


And that you can fight it all you want, but it’s going to happen regardless.



So you better learn to get comfortable with it.


But for me to truly get comfortable with who I am, it’s figuring out what’s really important to me.


Is it working four days a week?


Is it that I want to retire at the age of 58?


It’s not.


I couldn’t imagine what I’d be doing.



It’s like figuring out what really makes me tick and what’s important to me.


But you have to know your, in order to answer those questions, what makes me tick, what you have to know yourself.


And truly stand by who you know and who you’ve become and who you want to be.


And that’s what you said.

In order to make those things tick, you have to start with that, which is putting in a word, knowing yourself, standing by protecting it and then staying aligned with that.





Well, and I think there’s also a big piece of, you know, that changes too.


As we get older, everything, your perspective changes.


It’s like the old saying of, you know, youth is wasted on the young.




You know, because you don’t have the, you don’t have the life experience there.


It’s like, so after I got divorced, I didn’t start dating a bunch of, you know, really young girls.



Because my experience with dating someone that was a whole lot younger than I, they didn’t have the life experience.


And so it’s like, what are we going to talk about?




You know, I remember a number of years ago, we had a, had a young associate and, and I was telling her, I was so excited.


I was going out to Vegas and we were going to see Billie Idol and concert and House of Blues out there.


And she just looked at me, dear in the headlights, like, I’m like, you have no idea who I’m talking about.







And she goes, no.


I know we’re Vegas.







Can you not know Billie Idol?


You know, but I mean, that’s the whole thing is everything changes as we get older.


So understanding that my perspective on things is going to change too.




And that I have to be willing to walk the journey to obtain whatever it is I’m seeking to obtain, you know, whether that is, you know, greater self awareness, whether it’s to be able to do ex philanthropically, whether it’s able to do this for family, whatever it is.





And your journey is not going to, your journey will never match anyone else’s.


And if you’re trying to align your journey to be a certain way of what you see someone else doing or whatever, it will never, there’s no way for you to stay on that path.




You know, I mean, it’s just really, it’s really hard to maintain that.




You know, because it’s not really who you are.



It’s not the road you want to be taking.


Well, and things are things are not always as they appear.




You know, there there’s been something that I’ve actually liked seeing on social media a little lately.


There was one showing of a shot towards the pyramids.


And then just you turn away from that.



And most people don’t realize how close the pyramids are to actually downtown Cairo.




And that, oh, there’s a McDonald’s and a pizza hut.


And, you know, and that kind of crap.


But that’s not the vision that you see, or that’s portrayed.


You know, so understanding it’s all about figuring out who I am, what works for me.



And just because that’s what works for me doesn’t mean that that’s what works for anybody else.


And being okay with that.


That’s right.




That’s right.


Well, Courtney, thank you so much for today.



Yeah, this has been a great evening.


Thank you.


You’re sharing your journey.


I mean, it’s beautiful.


I really appreciate that.


Thank you.



And ditto here.


I mean, we’ll become the mutual admiration society here.






Everybody go see Courtney because different and willing to speak to all these stories.


Isn’t that something new?



So, so thank you again.




And thank you all for joining us on another episode of the Reclamation Transformation.


And remember, change starts with you.


So leave your mark.

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