Amanda’s Story

March 15, 2024

I’m going to be sharing several stories over the next month leading up to the release of my first book! Some of these stories are in the book itself, and others will be included in future books, but all of them have played a part in catalyzing the discovery and creation of our family recovery framework outlined in the book.

Today’s story is about a person I’ll call Amanda.

I was one year sober and working as a case manager in a detox. Detox, in case you don’t know (because it’s not common knowledge) is not treatment. It’s medical stabilization to allow for the safe withdrawal from substances. It basically ensures someone coming off of drugs won’t have seizures, etc., and usually only last 5-7 days.

Detox is where you initially get sober

Treatment is where you begin to recover.

(I talk about the difference between sobriety and recovery more in the book.)

As a case manager in a detox, my job was essentially to help people commit to more treatment, to commit to themselves with a longer term treatment plan.

This particular girl, Amanda, had been to detox seven times in the past year. She just kept coming in and leaving, coming in and leaving. Without treatment, she wasn’t getting the help she needed, the tools and the experience, for her brain to begin to heal and for her to begin to surrender into a recovery path.

The whole week Amanda was at detox, I tried to sell her treatment. 

At several points during the week, she considered it. Her windows of willingness opened.

Toward the end of the week, I found her a bed at a six-month treatment facility that seemed like a great fit. Once again, she considered it.

The next day, she told me she’d changed her mind and was going home instead. She’d talked to her mom, and told me her mom said she could come home. She had two small children, and she told me she knew what she needed to do, that she’d go to meetings and call her sponsor.

I believed she knew what she needed to do. But I also knew from my own experience, and from working with others, that her addiction would likely prevent her from being able to execute what she needed to do.

Later that day as I was coming back from lunch…

I was in the elevator with an older woman who had tears going down her face. I asked her, “Are you okay?”

She replied, “I’m just devastated. I have to pick up my daughter.” 

“Who’s your daughter?” 

She said, “My daughter is Amanda. I have to pick her up because there are no beds. It’s awful that there are just not enough beds. She called to tell me there’s no place for her to go, so I have to bring her home.” 

You know that head tilt dogs do when they seem confused? The one that looks like they’re thinking Huh? That was how I felt at that moment.

Because there was a bed for Amanda. I had found the bed myself. I’d discussed it with her in depth. 

I understood that Amanda had lied to her mom, and I even understood why. I’d lied to my family. I’d lied to my kids. I hadn’t wanted to—I felt like a piece of shit about it—but I did it anyway because my addiction was calling the shots.

But standing in that elevator was the first time I’d experienced the situation from this side of things, and all I could think was, I have to go tell my boss. 

I saw so clearly how Amanda was trapped in her addiction, and her mom was getting trapped with her. Her mom was in the dark. 

I knew it was a problem, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I knew I couldn’t say anything to her mom because of HIPPA, the privacy law protecting Amanda, but surely my boss would have a solution.

So I marched down the hall to her office and told my boss what happened. 

My boss looked at me and said, “You can’t tell that mom the truth.”

And I just remember thinking, Is this real? This is how we treat alcohol and drug addiction?

The only thing winning in this scenario is the disease of addiction. 

Amanda’s not winning.
Her mom is in the dark.
The treatment centers are not winning because Amanda’s leaving early.
The insurance company is paying more because she just keeps coming in. 

Lose, lose, lose, lose. Everybody’s losing, and addiction is winning. 

It was this feeling that followed me to the next job…

and to the next, ultimately leading me to discovering a solution that gets the family out of the dark and at the table. 

Even if Amanda does not want her mom at the table, I can bring her mom to the table. 

Amanda’s mom needs education and support. 

Not just a support group or anonymous family program. Amanda’s mom needs to learn about the disease of addiction. To learn why Amanda is lying. To learn how to help her daughter in those moments where the disease is taking over.

That’s what my book is going to do. It’s a starting point for the solution I’ve worked to bring to families since before I started Tipping Point Recovery.

The book will be released soon, and until then, you can learn about this framework and gain immediate access to actionable tools through our Stop the Chaos training.

What went through your mind as you read Amanda’s story? What feelings did it stir in your body? I’m curious—hit reply and tell me.

I’ll be back with another story next week.

Leave a Comment


  1. J Scott

    Wow sounds so much like the situations I had with my fiancée. She was in 12-13 different rehabs in less than two years and always had plausible excuses why she had to leave or got kicked out before she completed the program. Christy was a masterful manipulator and skillful liar. Of course I wanting t believe her did not help!
    I used to tell Christy that I needed good information to make good choices but this feel on deaf ears. Information has to be shared with everyone in the family or relationship. Christy not only lied to me but lied to others in an attempt to pit everyone against everyone else in an attempt to keep people from sharing truthful information with each other and to also extract sympathy and money as she lied about being a victim of the other’s wrongdoings. She was smart..,to smart for her own good.
    Christy passed away in a hotel room at just 42 years of age!

  2. Jackie Esielionis

    I felt like this was my story. To this day, after so much training, my first instinct is to believe the lies! I have to take a beat now before I respond and think it through. But, even now I sometimes drop the ball. I’m always improving, but I still have to take a deep breath.

    • Lynda Wagler

      Makes me wonder how many times I have been Amanda’s mother and believed the lies .I struggle with staying connected without believing it all💗

      • Kate Duffy

        Lynda, I feel that, yes indeed. There are so many who have been in this situation. It’s my mission to reach them so they know the truth.

  3. Heather Caropepe

    Oh the memories come back as I read this, being the mom. I always have that immediate instinct to believe it all at his word and want to go right into help mode. Honestly I still have a lot to learn.

    Grateful for your mission Kate Duffy!

  4. Danette O’Quin

    Addiction cannot thrive in the light! Your framework shines a light like no one before you!

    I see clearly the “Gap” In that AHA moment in that elevator.

    Your Stop the Chaos training is life changing!

    Your book is changing lives before it is even published!

    Amazing Kate. Brilliant.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Subscribe to our newsletter

to never miss a post.