Interview with Patty Smith and Grayson Smith, authors of Beyond Rock Bottom

Beyond Rock Bottom is a mother-child collaboration on the fight against addiction and codependency. Learn more about Patty and Grayson and how they overcame their challenges to experience a fuller life and a more meaningful relationship.

Grayson smith He lives in Salt Lake City with his dog, Lady, where he works in construction. He attends school and is studying civil engineering at the University of Utah. He keeps busy climbing, skiing, and is actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Patty smith lives in South Carolina with her husband, Buddy Smith. She is involved in Al-Anon and other 12-step groups. Patty embraces holistic health, which emphasizes the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life. He earned a master’s degree in health coaching from the International Health Coach University. Their “been there, done that” experience helps clients find their own path to lasting health and wellness.

Welcome Patty and Grayson, and thanks for being with us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers what Beyond Rock Bottom is about?

Patty: Beyond Rock Bottom it is a story of addiction, codependency, and recovery. It is a mother and son writing about their journey through addiction.

Grayson: Beyond Rock Bottom It is about my addiction and how I handled it. It’s also about my mother’s struggles, being codependent and wanting to “fix” a lot of the things that were wrong in our family.

What inspired you to write this story?

Patty: I was forced to write about my journey as the mother of an addict. I had to write about how I learned to take care of myself and respect my son’s fight against addiction. I needed to write about how I found peace and joy, regardless of my circumstances.

Grayson: My mother called me one day to ask if she could write about me. I told him he could write whatever he wanted. She called back a few minutes later and asked if I wanted to write it with her, and I said yes, not really knowing what project it would be.

How important was it to you to get your message on paper and to the world?

Patty: It is important for me to share my experience through pain to help others find this same hope for themselves. I want to help other people who are struggling with their children’s addiction, not knowing if they will ever get better. Sharing how I learned to be okay, when those around me are not okay.

Grayson: It was fun to do and I had a lot of freedom in sharing my story with people. I did not start with a mission or a goal to spread my message. It is a story very similar to that of any recovering addict. I don’t think the message of the book is especially unique.

What was the hardest part about writing? Beyond Rock Bottom?

Patty: The hardest part of writing this book for me was reading what my son wrote. He shared some stories of his addiction that I didn’t know about. She did not know the extent of her pain until now and it was difficult to learn about her childhood trauma from writing the book.

Grayson: Picking a title!

It’s a great title! What do you most hope readers will get out of the message on Beyond Rock Bottom?

Patty: My hope for readers is that they learn that they are not alone in grief and that they realize the importance of community. To learn to be well, even when those around you are not well, and to experience joy and peace, regardless of your circumstances.

Grayson: Anyone can recover from addiction. No one has gone too far.

What kind of feedback have you received so far?

Patty: The comments so far have been overwhelmingly positive. People are very happy to have had the courage to write our history. People can relate to our struggle and pain, and they find hope for themselves when they read our book.

Grayson: I’ve had some feedback on the language I use and how graphic some of the details about drug use are. I take those comments as a compliment. Most of the feedback I’ve received is that the book offers hope. Many people have approached me to tell me that they can relate, either through themselves or through a family member.

What are you doing to spread the word about Beyond Rock Bottom and spreading your message?

Patty: We have had some book signings and talks. We really want to spread the word of hope to those who still suffer. We did a podcast on family recovery with Bryce Bauer: Raising the Bottom. A treatment center promotes our book, Beyond Rock Bottom, and we really would like more centers to know about our book.

Grayson: I find it difficult to promote my own book. I often think, “Who really wants to read this, anyway?” My mother is a native promoter and hands out our cards to anyone who accepts one.

What have you learned / how have you grown or changed from your experience and what has had the greatest impact on your life?

Patty: I have learned to take care of myself and respect the struggle of others. The overwhelming response from other people struggling with addiction has had the biggest impact on me. It is an epidemic.

Grayson: The most important thing I have learned is how powerful it is to share our stories with others. I think this is the basis for recovering from anything.

How has the relationship between you changed since you recovered and wrote? Beyond Rock Bottom?

Patty: My son and I are closer after writing this book together. Through our vulnerability, we experience a greater connection. Little did we know of the other’s pain. We hang out together and have fun together.

Grayson: That is a difficult question for me to answer. There are certainly no more secrets. I think it has brought us closer, to share such an achievement. It also reaffirms what each of us has gone through and found a way out. It’s very exciting.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, about recovery, writing, or life in general?

Patty: As for writing, write, write, write. When it comes to recovery, attend meetings, it’s about community and giving.

Grayson: The best writing tip. I’m not sure if I read it somewhere or if someone told me, but I remember it very well: “If it doesn’t hurt to write, you shouldn’t publish it.” I thought of this often when coming and going about including painful events. The best recovery advice? Do things for other people.

What advice would you give to people seeking help?

Patty: Ask for help! It’s about community and giving. “Let go and let God.” Find an AA or Alanon meeting.

Grayson: ASK!

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your book? Beyond Rock Bottom, and connect with you on social media?

Our website is We also have a Facebook page @beyondrockbottomthebook.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

You’re not alone. There is hope.

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