Marsha Vanwynsberghe

Marsha Vanwynsberghe

A Family’s Triumph: Navigating Teen Substance Abuse              …

Marsha Vanwynsberghe   Relationships, Health

Marsha and Brad Vanwynsburghe had a great family life until their boys were introduced to drugs.

After years daily struggles and sleepless nights, Marsha discusses their journey of overcoming their son’s teen substance abuse and the life changing lessons they learned along the way.

Their story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of self-care, forgiveness, and having strength in the face of diversity.


Episode Summary:

For the first 7 minutes, we have the pleasure of speaking with Brad about his journey to maintaining peak health after 50. Brad shares how he found weightlifting and strength training to be his secret to staying in shape, emphasizing the importance of doing something you love and enjoying it. He also shares his mostly-clean diet and how it has contributed to his improved health today compared to 20 years ago.

We then explore the difficult life of addiction as it relates to parenting.  Marsha recount their son’s substance abuse journey and the challenges they faced navigating this difficult situation.  Through their story, we learn how to navigate life with substance abuse.  We touch on the importance of allowing children to own their wins and mistakes, the dangers of ‘lawnmower parenting’, and finding gratitude in the present moment. Brad and Marsha’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of self-care, forgiveness, and staying strong in the face of adversity.



(0:00:00) – Fathers Maintaining Peak Health After 50
(0:06:32) – Parenting and Addiction
(0:14:50) – Teen Health and Addiction
(0:20:57) – Navigating Addiction as a Family
(0:26:32) – The Healing Power of Writing
(0:35:47) – Let Go, Own Your Wins
(0:40:19) – Finding Inspiration in Life Stories


Chapter Summaries:

(0:00:00) – Fathers Maintaining Peak Health After 50 (7 Minutes)

Brad highlights the importance of finding something that you enjoy doing and staying competitive. He shares his experience with weightlifting and strength training and how he has incorporated mobility work into his routine. He also shares his diet, which is mostly clean with some treats, and his eating habits. All this combined has kept him in great shape and he is in better health today than he was 20 years ago.

(0:06:32) – Parenting and Addiction (8 Minutes)

Marsha’s story is explored, detailing how her son’s substance abuse began around 12 years ago. It was a perfect storm of his son’s predisposed addiction, and the developing brain of a 12 year old. The importance of making it difficult for kids to access addictive substances and how to spot signs of substance abuse in children is highlighted.

(0:14:50) – Teen Health and Addiction (6 Minutes)

Brad and Marsha faced a lack of resources to support their sons during their addiction, and how their sons were enabled by one another. Canada’s laws regarding parental rights, as well as the lack of education on the risks associated with substance abuse, further complicated the situation. Marsha’s decision to join a Facebook group for mothers was a turning point in her understanding that she was not alone in her struggle. Addiction and its impact on a family can be complex, and this chapter explores how this family navigated the situation.

(0:20:57) – Navigating Addiction as a Family (6 Minutes)

Brad and Marsha had to make themselves a priority during a difficult and isolating time of addiction in their family. They had to learn to forgive and move on in order to create a better relationship with their sons when they returned and to not hold mistakes on top of them. We examine the repercussions of ‘lawnmower parenting’, where parents want to make it easy for their children by removing all obstacles. We also explore how laws and resources in Canada are not sufficient to support families struggling with addiction.

(0:26:32) – The Healing Power of Writing (9 Minutes)

Marsha had to learn to share their story from her own perspective rather than that of others. Marsha discusses her journey of writing her solo book and how it became a healing process for her. Her sons were aware of this journey, and Marsha emphasizes the importance of action in making changes, and the power of stacking habits to create change. She shares the lessons she learned along the way, and how the title of her book, When She Stopped Asking Why: A Mother’s Journey Through Teen Substance Abuse, came to be.

(0:35:47) – Let Go, Own Your Wins (5 Minutes)

We discuss the importance of allowing children to own their wins and mistakes. We talk about how having expectations for the future can be detrimental, and how to find gratitude in the present moment. We also explore the importance of setting and sticking to standards, and how the pandemic put life in perspective for Brad and Marsha. Finally, we talk about their journey of sharing their story, and how to find out more about Brad and Marsha’s coaching, books, and the best way to reach them.

(0:40:19) – Finding Inspiration in Life Stories (1 Minutes)


You can learn more about Marsha and how to navigate teen substance abuse by visiting: MarshaVanw

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