How Substance Abuse Destroys Families – A Lawyer’s Perspective on Addiction, Suicide & Relationships – with Jackie Harounian

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In this episode, Jackie Harounian shares how substance abuse / addiction takes its tolls on our lives and the lives of our loved ones.  Jackie is a partner of the Law Firm of Wisselman, Harounian & Associates. She is a recognized leader in the field of matrimonial and family law.

Jackie’s experience and background, including a graduate degree in behavioral forensic psychology and family systems therapy, enables her to adeptly handle complex divorce, custody and support matters in the family and supreme courts. Jackie has performed extensive pro bono work and has raised awareness and funds for a large range of social and legal causes. Among her many exceptional achievements over 20+ years of practice, she was chosen to the Super Lawyers list for seven consecutive years, and also twice selected to its most prestigious list – “Top 50 Women Lawyers” in New York, as the only Long Island matrimonial lawyer.

Jackie served as Instructor of Family Law at Hofstra Law School for over ten years. She lectures regularly to attorneys, mental health professionals, accountants, and women’s groups, and is a highly sought after speaker for a range of topics including financial and legal empowerment, divorce, sexual and cyber- harassment, intellectual property, parenting issues, negotiating skills, and mental health/addiction issues.

Connect with Jackie:

Listen to the Podcast

What we discussed during the show:

  • 00:30 Intro
  • 02:03 A quote that Jackie finds inspiring 
  • 03:02 Jackie’s background
  • 04:42 How substance abuse affects / destroys families
  • 06:31 Steps we can take as a society to destigmatize addiction
  • 10:24 Suicide – Warning signs & prevention
  • 19:01 What makes a relationship thrive? Signs of an unhealthy relationship
  • 25:31 How to leave an abusive relationship
  • 28:39 Lowest point of life
  • 30:31 Happiest moment of life
  • 32:42 Who Jackie looks up to
  • 33:39 What people get wrong about her
  • 34:45 Favorite book – Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
  • 35:39 Rapid Fire round – 5 Questions
  • 40:06 Advice to anyone struggling with addiction

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Episode Transcript


Hello this is Soberside Chat and I am your host Pranaya. Welcome to the show! Today, I am very excited to have Jackie Harounian as my guest. Jackie is a partner of the Law Firm of Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, she is a recognized leader in the field of matrimonial and family law. 

Her experience and background, including a graduate degree in behavioral forensic psychology and family systems therapy, enables her to adeptly handle complex divorce, custody and support matters in the family and supreme courts. Jackie has performed extensive pro bono work and has raised awareness and funds for a large range of social and legal causes. Among her many exceptional achievements over 20+ years of practice, she was chosen to the Super Lawyers list for seven consecutive years, and also twice selected to its most prestigious list – “Top 50 Women Lawyers” in New York, as the only Long Island matrimonial lawyer.

Jackie served as an Instructor of Family Law at Hofstra Law School for over ten years. She lectures regularly to attorneys, mental health professionals, accountants, and women’s groups, and is a highly sought-after speaker. 

Jackie, I am very grateful to have you as my guest today. Welcome to the show. 

Why don’t you get us started by sharing a quote that you find inspiring and what that means to you?


Pranaya, thank you very much for inviting me to your Podcast. I think it is a very interesting and timely topic of discussion certainly in the New York area with legalized marijuana and cannabis really becoming a topic of conversation professionally especially for me. And one of my favorite quotes is “Fall down seven and rise eight”. I think it’s a Japanese expression. 

What I like about it is that it acknowledges that sometimes failure and setbacks and challenges are part of life and you might fall down but as long as you rise up that one last time, that’s really what’s going to help you move forward in your future with strength. Adversity really sometimes leads to a return of strength and success. 


Thank you for that Jackie. I just give a brief overview of your background to our audience. Why don’t you tell us a little more about yourself? 


So I am, first of all, most importantly a wife and a mom of four and I am also a family law attorney in New York. I’m a partner in a top rated firm. We are one of the largest firms in the area. And I also have a degree in psychology which makes me unique among family law attorneys in my area and it’s based on forensic behavioral psychology. And I’ve been practicing for almost 30 years in the area of family law. 

And what I’ve come to understand because my multi-disciplinary background is that mental health, challenges with substance abuse, depression, and anxiety are really part of the human condition and definitely are a big part of family law practice where individuals and families are struggling. And the question is whether they can overcome those struggles as an individual or as part of a couple or as part of a family. And what happens when they don’t have family support? 

And what resources and referrals are available to help them get past their challenge and thrive in the future. So very much part of my professional practice, I don’t have any personal experience thankfully, with severe mental illness or substance abuse in particular. But I am surrounded by my practice and like everyone else. I have family members that are dealing with issues, a two a greater or less a degree it’s a very very much a common part of our experience as human beings.


Jackie let’s dive right in. In your experience as an attorney that has helped families for almost 30 years now. How have you seen substance addiction affect families, destroy families?


Well, substance abuse is something that’s highly stigmatized in our society; it’s becoming less stigmatized over the last couple of years. I think we have various trends to thank for that, including just to have a more open discussion about mental illness and substance abuse, celebrities talking about it on social media, and people sharing their stories. But it’s still a shameful secret in most cases. It’s not something that society views as something that can be treated from a medical standpoint.

It’s dealt with as something of shame, as a failure, as personal weakness of an individual or maybe their parents or maybe their upbringing. So it’s kept in the closet and I think and I am grateful to see that from a legal standpoint there is more of a recognition that substance abuse is something that needs to be treated not from a criminal loss standpoint or as a legal standpoint. But more something that needs to be treated, rehabilitated, healed, and allowing people that suffer from addiction and their families to be given much more support and much more of an understanding that it’s a disease and needs to be treated and understood by the medical community, by the legal community, and by society at large.


Unfortunately, the stigma that you just mentioned is still strong and I mean it has gotten way better, much better in the last decade or in the last few years but it’s real and it’s leading. It’s directly resulting in so many deaths, so many relapses, so many people living in this cycle of addiction. Not being able to get out of it because they’re not getting the help that they need. What do you think are some of the steps we can take as a society to this stigmatizing addiction?


I mean I think people have to be much, much more aware about the steps that can be taken to save a life. A couple of years ago, I did the training for Narcan, training that I think anyone should do, I think it should be known to the community. How to save someone from an overdose, how critical it is to get someone to the ER, or to call the police or get an EMT on the scene or to have an Narcan kit on the home if necessary. It has to be destigmatized at that level. 

Everyone has to know what it means to help someone survive an overdose and it really is a matter of hours before it’s too late. So that knowledge has to be out there in my own local community that there has been an effort in the schools among parent leaders to be aware of how to do the training and how to access it to local pharmacies and EMT’s because you can’t save a life from an overdose. And relapse is very common and we have to have a more forgiving attitude about it. Drug use, legalized marijuana and cannabis is a very big topic of discussion as I mentioned before in the New York area and in my community which is right outside New York City. 

There is more and more growing recognition that marijuana, cannabis is going to be available for adults only. But obviously, that’s a situation of concern for parents. It can be used for mental health treatment, I think more and more this understanding about medical marijuana and its place in mental health treatment the more this message gets out, the more acceptance there will be. And there has to be initiatives to increase awareness, to increase understanding, and also to know what is okay and acceptable and what is dangerous and unacceptable.

And medical marijuana is a very big topic in family law because they’re many parents that are using marijuana and cannabis lawfully but they need to understand how to protect and safeguard substances from their children. In the same way as with alcohol, you have to be a responsible parent and if you are going through a family law matter, you don’t want to be accused or you don’t want false allegations to be made about substance use. Whether it’s lawful or goes beyond that line. You have to make sure you understand what the law is and protect yourself and protect your children. 

I mean the bottom line, the most important thing is you can’t drive a vehicle if you are impaired and that’s for prescription medication or alcohol or cannabis.  You have to make sure that your children, especially minor children are protected at all times and you have to be a responsible user if you’re gonna use substances lawfully.


I would like to shift gears and talk about something you have done quite a bit of work on – which is suicide prevention. Unfortunately, there is a lot of depression and other mental illnesses that are leading to suicide among people afflicted with substance addiction. Can you talk a little bit about suicide prevention? What are some of the productive or crucial steps that can be taken and by whom?


Yeah, so suicide prevention, really is all about preventing the act before it occurs and unfortunately people especially young people sometimes make a plan to end their life and carry out their plan and obviously leave behind a lot of restricting. Friends and family members who wish that they could have done something and in many instances, they can do something and that really is the important thing when it comes to prevention. I did serve on a board of a significant non-profit in my area its called “A Long Island Crisis Center” and it is the main hotline for suicide calls in my area and I’m in Long Island in New York.

And what I learned from many trainings I did there and because of my own background in mental health, I learned that when someone is acting out of sorts and acting not like themselves and they’re severely depressed to the point where it’s not reasonable and observable. But they’re dressing differently and acting differently and saying things that they wouldn’t ordinarily say. Including, “I don’t wanna live” or “I don’t wanna be here anymore” or they start giving away their possessions. You’re supposed to say and do things very specifically to get information about whether they need to get intervention and it has to go beyond how are you? Do you wanna hurt yourself?

It has to be questions like, “Do you have a plan to end your life?” and “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” and “You know can I go with you to talk to someone” or “Do you wanna talk with me?” You have to show and demonstrate real concern and go beyond casual conversation and you can actually stop that suicide from occurring. Because a lot of times, someone who’s planning suicide feels that nobody cares and that nobody notices that they’re making plans.

And if you ask specific questions, sometimes you will get answers that are very alarming but at least will give you a clue that there is going to be an effort to end their lives. So are you making a plan to end your life? Are you thinking of killing yourself? What plans are you making? Sometimes you’ll get a response that will lead you to call a police officer to protect your friend or family member or will cause you to take them to the hospital so they can be admitted and get some help.

And a lot of times, young people that are planning to end their lives, they do so on impulse and they do so because in the moment they feel so much despair that they think nobody cares and that ending their life will bring them relief. And in fact some of those young people or people that are thinking impulsively, they just need to know that there is a way out of their despair and that there is treatment and medication sometimes or other things that can be done. And that their mood will uplift and they’ll find hope in their situation and so I am far from an expert on suicide prevention. 

I know enough to know that there are ways to prevent it and if anyone is in this situation who is listening today or a loved one, a family member who is released at the end of their rope because they’re worried about someone that they love. I think the answer is to reach out to some place like the Long Island Crisis Center, to any local crisis center to a mental health services agency, or to NAMI (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). Which is a National Organization that helps people suffering from mental illness or their family members. There are resources available, there is training you can do. 

It’s a place to go for help and that’s the main message. Don’t suffer in silence, people care about you, ask for help and the relief is there and you’ll find it. 


Thank you for that Jackie. I think some of the things that you talked about, I feel that it kinda requires a friend or a family member to be in tune with the emotions of the person who is suffering because it’s going to be really far to have a deeper conversation with someone. Even if it’s a close family member or friend if we haven’t had that level of conversation before or unless that person is seeing a therapist who can’t identify some flags. How do you suggest, you also mentioned the impulse decision-making process. Is there a warning sign if you will?


I mean, right now during the pandemic a lot of people have been isolated from their friends and family members. And a lot of people are not necessarily sharing their pain on social media and even to their friends or even to the people that love them so much. So there are warning signs but sometimes they are subtle and I think warning signs could be using substances, could be acting recklessly, acting unlike yourself. 

There could be a diagnosis that hasn’t been made yet that needs to be made so it really is getting to a trained mental health professional and somewhat the owe is on family members and friends. They have to really go beyond text messaging and phone calls. It can be a face-to-face visit, really showing that you care in a way that goes beyond, just casual conversation and inquiries about health.

Sometimes you have to drive your loved one to the doctor. You have to drive them to the ER if they made a threat and harm to themselves or they’re acting in a way that is violent. As embarrassing as it might feel, as shameful as it might feel, even to you as a parent you have to call 911. You have to get help and you have to be willing to do that and if it means saving the life of your family member that’s what the police are there for. 

The police spend a lot of time helping people find services and now there is a recognition that social workers may need to be part of the picture. Try to get your loved one to a social worker, to a therapist it’s easier than ever. You can do it on an online support group, a zoom support group now there are so many available. If you go to an agency and you can just Google suicide prevention, find a local agency or a not-so-local agency that offers therapy group sessions and maybe that’s your starting point. 

A place of support, it is easier now than ever and there are places that do it at no charge. In my area, the Long Island Crisis Center and the Safe Center are just two examples of people who can go at no charge and get services for mental health and almost every community has that you just have to look for it and find it so hopefully, a friend or family member will direct them to the right place. 


Jackie, let’s talk a little bit about relationships. Throughout your career, you got first time experience at understanding what makes a relationship thrive and what does not. Let me ask you this. What are some signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to avoid one?


So in a healthy relationship, no relationship is perfect and lots of relationships can improve even if they are not in a great place. But it comes down to healthy communication and feeling safe in that relationship. If you can use your voice and be heard in your relationship, if you feel safe, then it’s at least a healthy relationship from that standpoint. When it comes to marital relationships or sibling relationships or co-working relationships, sometimes you have power and balance. 

And you can have power and balances that are severe and severe power and balance we’re talking about in a personal relationship. We are talking about domestic violence. Where one party is using threats, or assault or verbal abuse or financial control will lead to harm to the other party and control the other party. To the point where you can have real psychological damage and if you have children in the picture that are watching in abusive relationships, they’re being abused as well. 

Even if they’re not the target of the physical and verbal abuse, just observing it and being in the environment is harmful to children. So if you are in a romantic relationship, well if you are in a work relationship and you are being abused, verbally abused or God forbid physically abused, you can quit and leave, and that’s exactly what you should do. No job is worth that. If you are in a relationship with a friend, platonic friend and you’re being verbally abused or financially taken advantage of well then you end that friendship. That’s not an appropriate friendship. 

You should never be in a relationship with someone who is taking advantage of you and if you are an adult, you can walk away from those relationships. When we’re talking about relationships with the spouse or someone you are living with or have children with it’s much more complicated. It’s much harder to leave and it’s harder to leave especially if you are the spouse or the partner that doesn’t have money or doesn’t have income or the financial ability to walk out the door. 

If you have children with someone, you really just can’t walk out the door all together because obviously, you need to have a legal agreement regarding how children are cared for, provided for and it’s not so simple to leave. So the question is, what is the breaking point and what is the line that can be crossed in a relationship? And for me the answer is always physical violence. Physical violence is not safe. 

You can’t be in a relationship with someone who is physically assaulting you or threatening you with verbal harm. That is not okay. That is never okay. The person that is threatening you might have a gun, he might carry out his threat and harm you. 

You cannot stay in a relationship like that, nor can that relationship really improve. Not with that real intensive intervention and even men, honestly, I don’t have a very optimistic prognosis. You cannot be in a relationship like that. There are people that get killed every day, whether it’s a same-sex relationship or traditional relationship, so almost always the women or the party that doesn’t have the economic power that is abused. 

That is physically, financially, verbally, emotionally damaged and this goes more at a higher percentage for people in certain religious and cultural groups. There’s even more of an atmosphere or sometimes control and abuse and so the question is, how can you get legal help? How can you get mental health help? What counseling is available to you, so that you can take steps to either leave the relationship or protect yourself in that relationship or get help.

Marriage counseling sometimes can help but marriage counseling has its limits too. I have seen couples that can recover from even verbal abuse, even financial cursive relationships but once it’s peering into the territory of physical abuse and that is something that is serious. Never okay, never can be normalized. We need to have as a society a zero tolerance approach to physical abuse in a relationship and at the same time verbal abuse can be just damaging in certain ways.

It doesn’t leave obvious scars, but can also be extremely damaging from a psychological standpoint. So we need to have awareness about this and as a society. We have seen a movement that needs to move victims of violence stepping forward. Even celebrity victims are now sharing their stories and I do see a shift in the way we view victims and it takes a lot of courage to speak out or to leave a marriage or relationship that might be financially comfortable and can base status but ultimately is harmful.

So it’s really important for people similar to what I’ve said about suicide, don’t suffer in silence. If you feel generated and abused in your relationship, find someone who will listen and believe you and don’t stop speaking out until you get the answers and the help that you need. Because if you don’t protect yourself, you are really putting yourself and your children in harm’s way and that’s not something that can last long term. There are going to be consequences and repercussions.


What is the safest way to leave an abusive relationship?


Well actually the most dangerous time is the moment you make the announcement you wanna leave. A lot of women, that’s when they, unfortunately, meet with violence because they make that announcement they wanna leave and that’s when they’re harmed. So you don’t wanna make that announcement without getting help, meeting with the lawyer, having a plan to leave.

Maybe getting an order of protection if necessary. If you are in a violent relationship, you need to get legal advice and in my law firm we offer free consultation many many family law attorneys do. Many victim services agencies have legal counsel who can offer some advice, and in most states including New York. You can go to family court and get help without a lawyer in many, many instances. 

You do need to have proof, you need to have details regarding abuse, you know medical reports, police reports, times and dates, and instances, and a lot of times a lawyer can help you with that. To how to build the case and get help if you need to. 


Jackie, let’s say you are in a good relationship that you are enjoying it and seeing a long-term potential in it. How can a romantic relationship be improved to avoid divorce or a break-up?


I like that question and I really think it helps us to end this on a positive note. I’m married myself, I’ve been married for 31 years. I believe in marriage, a lot of people do. Especially people like me who come from a little bit more of a traditional background and marriage, a long marriage, any long relationship it takes good communication as I’ve mentioned before.

It takes mutual respect, it takes growing with a partner, even the partner who’s changing and over the course of a long marriage such as mine, I have changed and so as my husband. We have thankfully stayed on the same path. We’ve shared goals but obviously, I am not the same person I was when I first got married and neither is he.

And in a good relationship, you are going to be supportive during the down times and be excited and celebrate the good times and every long relationship has those. And if you have a long view of your relationship and are willing to be forgiving and be supportive and have shared goals and communicate well, that’s as good of a set of advice that I can give anyone. That’s really what you wanna focus on. Shared goals, support, obviously love and respect, and good communication as much as possible and there is always room for improvement and there are ways to get help with those things if you need it.


On that positive note Jackie we are at the second part of the show. I would like to ask you a few personal questions to get to know you a little bit better. Is that okay with you?


Sure! My pleasure, sure.


What would you consider the rock bottom or the lowest point of your life?

Jackie (28:15s)

So the lowest point of my life was a few years ago when I dealt with a health crisis actually and thankfully overcame it. And it really gave me a new perspective on my life and on my loved ones and all of the goals I still wanted to still reach in my life. And luckily, I was able to overcome those challenges personally, professionally with my health and I’m in a good place right now. And it really is sometimes with high n sight, when you look back on challenges that you realize how far you’ve come. 

And I really think having gratitude for the people in your life, for your health most importantly because there is nothing more important than health. And really just on the closest circle of relationships that you have which really have the biggest effect than you. And there’s a saying out there I’m not sure if I have it exactly right but ultimately “The five people closest to you, your five closest relationships are going to have the biggest impact on your mental health” and I keep that in mind. 

I mean who is in my five closest, obviously my spouse, my children, some of my coworkers. I am very selective at this point. Who I let close to me and who I spend time with and there are people that are negative and they’ll bring you down. And sometimes social media gets you down and one of the things I did recently is I canceled my cable television. 

So now I don’t listen to the news all day and negative news stories and politics and I’ve really cut that out of my life because it does have an effect on your mental state. So making good decisions and sometimes editing the people in your life and influences in your life.


Jackie I want you to think of a moment in the past that you’d consider one of the happiest moments of your life. A snapshot if you will, what comes to mind?


So very very recently, I packed some very happy moments because I mentioned I come from a traditional background. My parents are middle eastern immigrants but my oldest child just got married. My son got married in my backyard, a very small, almost that a surprise wedding because it came together very quickly and it was a really joyful, truly joyful moment. 

Not only for me, but for my parents and my inlaws who are still alive, from my entire family and very much a dream come true for me. So I would say that comes to mind. They also celebrated my daughter’s graduation this past weekend from college. That was an exciting and joyful time and because I have a very demanding career and I really think my career has really taken up a lot of my free time. 

But I always have to remind myself that it’s those family relationships as I mentioned before, celebrating those moments, those wonderful moments is very important to do. To take the time to spend time with your family, take pictures, celebrate, you know, go out for a nice meal or have a nice meal at home. It’s those simple moments celebrating that really brings so much joy and I think a lot of us have learned that in the past year. We have a lot of people who have reported having closer ties with their families. 

At first, people joked that there was gonna be a spike in the divorce rate and people fought and of course there was and there was an increase in domestic violence actually for certain people, unfortunately. But there have also been a lot of people who have reported happier marriages and happier relationships and more time spent with  their children and family members. And I really think that’s gonna be a lasting effect from this pandemic that hopefully will last for a while that we all remember. How important friends and family are and reaching out to friends and family is as much as possible.


Jackie, who is someone you look up to?


So, I would say up to this moment my number one role model in life up to now was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who sadly passed away last October. But for many many reasons, I looked up to her and I consider her to be an extraordinary person who achieved extraordinary things at a time when women did not have a lot of opportunities and I know a lot about her. I am a little bit of a groupie. 

I’ve read about her, I’ve done presentations about her actually. About her life and career. I met her a number of times and she has left an imprint on me and many others. And I consider her to be a role model for me and many others.


What is something people often get wrong about you?


There’s a lot of judgment and criticism of women professionals and women lawyers. And I think that’s really a price to pay if you want to have a life on your own terms. So I think a lot of people think that especially in family law that I’m an advocate for breaking up families. I take plenty of heat for that.

When in fact the opposite is true. I have really mended a lot of marriages and families. I consider myself to be a peacemaker in a very real sense. I really try to bring peace and healing to families.

Unfortunately, some of them do end up divorced, but I tried to emphasize family transition in a way that’s amicable whenever possible and co-parenting amicably whenever possible. There are stereotypes about women, about women lawyers, about women professionals and I guess that’s okay. Women professionals can pretend that they’re not ambitious or that they’re not looking to make an impact or grow  their businesses and their brands. I think very much part of what we’re trying to do and I think that’s more than okay at this point. 

I wouldn’t have said that years ago as a younger lawyer, but at this stage of my career when my business is thriving and growing and hopefully will continue to. I’m hoping that you know I can still reach goals in my future.


Jackie, we are now in the last segment of our show which I call the rapid-fire round. I like you to answer these questions in one sentence or less. Are you ready?


I’m ready!

Pranaya What is on your nightstand right now?


On my nightstand at home, I have some beauty products that I apply at night. But also a stock of books and articles that I’ve ripped out and notes that I need to follow up on. I’m very much a bookworm and a reader and my nightstands are things that I save on the weekends to really catch up on and I really enjoy reading as I mentioned I got rid of my cable tv so I’m not watching as much television as before and I think that’s a good thing. 


What is your favorite meal?


My favorite meal if I have to choose a favorite meal it would be either a poke bowl or something with fresh fish and a salad. I like to eat but also I like desserts so sometimes despite my best intentions I’ll have too many calories for dessert but it’s one of the pleasures of life, I do enjoy dessert.


A recent favorite book?


A book that I’ve read recently that really had an impact on me is by Esther Perel. She’s a psychologist who is very well known in the relationship world and her book is called Mating in Captivity. So I’m reading her book and also enjoying her Podcast. She’s an excellent speaker.


How many hours of sleep do you get every night?


I sleep really well and sleep is incredibly important to me and so I sleep at least 8 hours a night, occasionally a little bit more on the weekends. Occasionally a little bit less if I am at an evening event and I get home late but I’m definitely one of those people that believes in having a sleep routine and sleeping well and it has a big impact on how well I feel the next day. 


Jackie I know you disconnected your cable so you may not have an answer to this question and that’s okay. What is a TV show you binged and truly enjoyed?


Oh no, I still watch Netflix. I have Netflix and I download it. A show that I binge on lately. Let me think. There was a cooking show by an Iranian chef. 

I am trying to remember the name of the show but I watch all the episodes in one sitting. I think it’s called Salt and Sweet and Sour, something like that. It was a terrific show on Netflix. I avoid anything with violence or too much drama or suspense and I am not really a serial TV person. I once in a while sit and watch a movie or documentary.


Jackie, what is one thing you are truly grateful for today?


I am grateful for my health. I am grateful that I am healthy and my children are healthy and I am knocking wood right now Pranaya. My parents, my inlaws, my loved ones, everyone I care about – we’re in a unique moment. I’m sure it won’t last forever. 

Where everyone is doing okay and is healthy and that’s something that I’m grateful for. My sisters, their children. This is a good moment and I hope that lasts.


Jackie, we have now reached the conclusion of the show. I have one last question before we wrap things up. My mission with this Podcast is to reach out to and help anyone struggling with substance abuse and addiction. What advice would you give someone who is currently listening to this show and struggling with substance abuse, who wants to quit alcohol or any other substance but is lost and confused?


So gosh this is gonna sound like I planned it. But it’s gonna be that quote that I first started with which is “Fall seven and rise eight”. It’s okay to fail, a relapse is part of recovery. I know that to be true from observing it with my clients. 

That it’s about making progress and understanding your illness and taking responsibility and accountability for the treatment and may not really be on you. And hopefully your friends and family will support that so it means attending meetings, they’re very effective. It means taking steps day by day to reach that goal. If you have children in your life they are looking at you and depending on you to get healthier and ultimately it’s your responsibility. 

So even if you fall seven times you have to rise that eight times and take control of your addiction, don’t let it control you and you will find success. The resources are there, the help is there, your friends and family are rooting for you and hopefully you will do your part to make that happen.


Lastly, Jackie, where can people find you? Learn more about you or connect with you?


Thank you Pranaya. I enjoyed our conversation today and I looked forward to connecting with people that want to connect with me. It’s easiest to find me on LinkedIn. I engage very frequently there, my website is there is a lot of information about me there. 

And I do frequent presentations on a host of topics sometimes on clubhouse, sometimes on Facebook Live, my law firm does many many presentations on family law issues and I frequently present on a variety of topics related to family law. My upcoming topics are crypto currency and divorce. I’ll be doing presentations on medical marijuana, legalized marijuana, and cannabis. And how it affects family law and many many other issues relating to my professional practice and my email is


Thank you. I will add all of those links to the show notes for this episode as well. 

That brings us to the end of the show. Jackie, I would like to acknowledge you for the countless hours of pro bono work you’ve contributed towards helping others, for your volunteer service in several professional, community and non-profit organizations, and, most importantly for being a fierce advocate for those who need you the most. I am truly grateful for your time today and thank you.


Thank you very much Pranaya, I appreciate you too. Thank you.

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