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

Beyond the bottom of the rock is a mother-son collaboration about fighting 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 lives in Salt Lake City, with his dog, Lady, where he works in construction. He attends school and is pursuing a civil engineering degree from the University of Utah. He keeps himself busy hiking, skiing, and is active 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. She earned a Master’s degree in health coaching from International Health Coach University. Her experience of “being there, doing that” helps clients find their own path to lasting health and wellness.

Welcome Patty and Grayson, and thanks for being with us today! Why doesn’t she start by telling our readers what Beyond the bottom of the rock is about?

Patty: Beyond the bottom of the rock is a story of addiction, codependency and recovery. It is a mother and son writing about their journey through addiction.

Grayson: Beyond the bottom of the rock It’s about my addiction and how I got over it. It’s also about my mom’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 a mother of an addict. I had to write about how I learned to take care of myself and respect my son’s struggle with addiction. I needed to write about how I found peace and joy, regardless of my circumstances.

Grayson: My mom called me one day to ask if she could write about me. I told her that she could write whatever she 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 the project would be.

How important was it for you to bring your message to paper and to the world?

Patty: It is important for me to share my experience through heartache to help others find this same hope for themselves. I want to help others 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 got a lot of freedom from sharing my story with people. I did not start with a mission or a goal to get my message across. It is a very similar story to that of anyone who is a recovering addict. I don’t think the book’s message is particularly unique.

What was the hardest thing to write? Beyond the bottom of the rock?

Patty: For me, the hardest part of writing this book was reading what my son wrote. He shared some stories of his addiction that I didn’t know about. I didn’t know the extent of his pain until now and learning about his childhood trauma through the writing of the book was difficult.

Grayson: Picking a title!

It’s a great title! What do you most hope readers take away from the message in Beyond the bottom of the rock?

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

Grayson: Anyone can recover from addiction. Nobody is too far away.

What kind of feedback have you received so far?

Patty: The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. People are very happy that we had the courage to write our story. People can relate to our struggle and heartache, and are finding hope for themselves when they read our book.

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

What are you doing to spread the word about Beyond the bottom of the rock and spread your message?

Patty: We’ve done 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 the bottom of the rockand we would really like more centers to know about our book.

Grayson: It’s hard for me to promote my own book. I often think, “Who really wants to read this, anyway?” My mom is a born promoter, handing out our cards to anyone who wants to take one.

What have you learned/how have you grown or changed from your experience and what has had the biggest 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 biggest thing I’ve learned is how powerful it is to share our stories with each other. I think this is the basis for recovery of anything.

How has your relationship with each other changed since recovery and writing? Beyond the bottom of the rock?

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 each other’s pain. We hang out together and have fun together.

Grayson: That’s a tough question for me to answer. Certainly there are no more secrets. I think it has united us more, sharing such an achievement. It also reaffirms what each of us have been through and found a way out. It’s very exciting.

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

Patty: As for writing, writing, writing, writing. As for recovery, go to meetings, it’s about community and giving.

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

What advice would you give to people seeking help?

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

Grayson: QUESTION!

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your book? beyond the bottom of the rock, 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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