top of page

Loving Someone to Death with Michelle Kixmiller

Welcome back to Consider Yourself Hugged! Click below to watch, or Click here to listen to Episode 172.

Welcome Fellow Huggers for the last time this season!! Today, Michelle Kixmiller joins me for the first time in a bit 😊 You are going to be SO blessed by what she has to say. FYI, below are her notes & suggestions, but be sure to listen to hear the touching story of her brother.


In today’s episode, titled “Loving Someone to Death,” we delve into the crucial topic of mental health awareness, focusing on addiction, codependency, and emotional needs. This episode is dedicated to understanding the challenges faced by those who watch a loved one struggle with addiction and the emotional toll it takes on them.

A Fish Out of Water: Watching a Loved One Struggle

In a study cited by USA today in March of 2024, 25 % of Americans (70 million people) admitted to using illicit drugs and 48.7 million Americans in the same study acknowledged they struggle with a substance use disorder.  Today we will be talking about on family's struggle with addiction, codependency and the journey to hope. Scot Smith loved family, had a love of life and a one of a kind personality. His story although seemingly tragic in the end, was beautiful in what he brought to the world. When addiction steals that light from you loved one, what do you do, what can you do?Codependency plays a significant negative role in these dynamics. It’s defined as being the caretaker of others' emotions, often to achieve your own sense of peace. But are your choices meeting emotional needs in a positive or negative way? Watching someone struggle with addiction is like watching a fish gasp for air as it lays beside a stream. Loved ones so often enable someone back into the toxic stream they came from rather than allow the suffering that comes with working one's way to a healthier stream. Is God trying to move you out of the way so your loved one can want to do the work to get to the healthier stream?

Emotional Needs Per Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy outlines five essential emotional needs:1. Secure Attachment to Others: This need refers to a sense of safety, stability, and acceptance by a caregiver or loved one. However, someone in active addiction cannot provide the stability and safety needed to meet this need for you.2. Autonomy: It’s about feeling confident in your independence and ability to complete tasks. Reflect on whether your choices are preventing someone else, or yourself, from achieving autonomy.3. Freedom to Express Valid Needs and Emotions: Were there harsh consequences growing up for voicing your needs or fears? Were you shamed for this? Assess if you can share these with your current support system.4. Spontaneity and Play: Were you always the caregiver, or did you have time to be carefree? Do you take time to be carefree now, or does it feel frivolous?5. Realistic Limits and Self-Control: Evaluate if you have these limits for yourself and if you require them of others.


Despite the struggles, there is always hope. Inpatient recovery programs and 12-step groups such as NA, AA, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families, CODA, and CR offer paths to recovery. Accountability and therapy are also critical components. Remember, it’s never too late to start the journey to recovery and healing.In today’s episode, we hope to shed light on the complexities of loving someone with an addiction and the importance of meeting your own emotional needs. Join us as we explore these topics and offer insights and hope for those navigating these challenging waters.Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences in the comments or reach out if you need support. Remember, you are not alone in this journey.


Resources from Michelle:

For substance abuse treatment and mental health referrals, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or


Additional Resources can be found at:


Celebrated Recovery


Celebrate Recovery Meeting Locator:


Narcotics Anonymous


Alcoholics Anonymous


Finding a therapist:


Psychology Today


Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families


Co-dependents Anonymous


Description of Schema Focused Therapy


Michelle Kixmiller, MSN, MAE, RN, APN, PMHNP-BC 

Michelle Kixmiller is a Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Licensed Educator. She works with children and adults with mental health needs including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Michelle served as a public school teacher and science department chair for over a decade when a family tragedy pulled her in a different direction. The death of her younger brother after a multiple year battle with depression and alcoholism led her to pursue a career in the mental health field. She went back to school to become a registered nurse graduating and gaining experience as a critical care nurse at a level 1 regional burn center prior to completing a graduate degree to become a mental health nurse practitioner. Her vision is holistic care through teamwork to create a more peaceful school environment for students and staff alike. No one should have to struggle alone. Michelle currently works full time for a non-profit community mental health center at an outpatient clinic and works PRN for an inpatient crisis stabilization unit. When not at work she loves spending time with family, traveling, watching movies (not scary ones), running (slowly), and Crossfit. Contact Michelle at Silver Lining Psychiatric Solutions, 615-378-7713 or 

Thanks for joining!

I hope this has been helpful today, and thank you for joining! As I've always asked in the past, please pass the show link along to your friends and subscribe, download, and review wherever you are listening. If you’re a woman and you haven’t joined our private FB group A Place for Women, please do that now! It’ll be your source of encouragement. I'd love for you to follow my Tami West Seminars Facebook page as well. If you'd like to know more about my Mental Health First Aid Courses, contact me at 615-497-7714 or

And until next season, Consider Yourself Hugged 😘🤗


The information in this show is not intended to be therapy or to address your individual situation. It is information based on experiences, opinions, and research. If you need further help, please reach out to one of the resources below, or others in your area.

Mental Health Resources:

Tami West, PhD

Stress and Mental Health Expert Dr. Tami West uses her entertaining and compelling style to shine a new light on how to transform your life and discover solutions to life’s challenges.

Tami has worked in a variety of industries including healthcare, school nutrition, corporate sales, and 10 years as a public-school teacher. In 2013 she received her PhD in Human Development, studying the connections among stress, emotions, and identity.

Dr. West has spoken in 48 states across the US, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. In any given year, Tami speaks to groups with audiences consisting of anywhere from 100 to 3,000 people.

Dr. West is the author of several successful publications including three books: The Stress Club, Life Without the Monsters and Thrive. When she's not speaking or writing, you might find her with her traveling with her husband and family, reading historical fiction, or watching Big Bang Theory.

Tami connects with audiences through real experience, cutting edge research, and transparent stories – all sprinkled with humor! She will make you laugh, cry, and shine a refreshingly new light on life's challenges.

Television Interviews

Contact Tami at or follow her at Tami West Seminars. 

80 views0 comments


bottom of page