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Lauri And Josh: Part II

After an emotional year, Lauri Waring Peterson and her son Josh speak candidly about his battle with drug addiction.

By Lauri Peterson

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week, we conclude our two-part conversation with Lauri and Josh.

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo Thursday, July 11 at 9/8c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Bravo App. [Talk about Josh moving out ....]

Lauri: ...That's when I think parents have most difficult time raising children: when we have wisdom, and try to spare our children from hurt, and they refuse to listen to that wisdom. And I think that was a perfect example. And, what happened was Josh did move over there immediately. And, yeah, my perception from it all, in hindsight, looking back on it, was that I think he did do it to hurt me. And I think Josh had voiced that he thought that George had replaced him in my heart, and I think that was a way just to hurt me, and maybe even to hurt George too. And then also I think that he was lured in with free rent in lieu of being a weapon to hurt my relationship with George.

Josh: I don't feel like I tried to hurt her... ...Going back to the therapist...iit seemed like what you see from tonight's episode that a big part of the argument was your thought that all drugs are bad, and Josh not necessarily thinking that - that he had gotten off the harder stuff, but not all are bad necessarily. I didn't know if you guys had come to an agreement or if Josh feels differently now.

Josh: Since I was in 7th grade, I wrote an article on the Constitution and how marijuana should be legal. ...I put it together and it was amazing. I made points that people were stunned. They were in awe. ...There were so many facts that I put together about marijuana...The government is very lenient on marijuana. It's a slap on the wrist; it's a ticket now. Especially in California, all my friends [have]their cards. I have my card too [for the] Cannibus Club, where you go into a dispensary and you can buy marijuana legally. My mom's perspective is drugs are drugs period. I would have a very bad opiate addiction, and getting off of it was very difficult. I told my mom that I still smoked pot. She was just not happy about that. Her perspective was, "Drugs are bad. While you're using them you won't be talking or associating yourself with me.

Lauri: That is the way it is. Josh summed it up perfectly. Drugs are drugs, ...Well, statistics say that it's the gateway drug. Josh was the perfect statistic — it was for him. We have young children living in our home. That was my rule: Josh, you know, if you're using, you cannot come around the family. I'll meet you out for lunch or whatever, but you cannot associate with the family. And that is still how I feel. I'll never change that. I'll never be accepting of it. Josh, do you go over to the house a lot?

Josh: I mean we do stuff. I love my mom. Family isn't blood to me, that determines your family. It's who you love, the people close to you that you share that platonic love with that make you feel good — that's what family is to me. I love my family. I love them so much, and I would do anything just to make them, make them accept me for who I am, not [because] I'm my mom's son. Sometimes I feel like I'm the black sheep, and sometimes I just wish that they had never even known about the negative things that I've done in my past. Lauri, what do you tell the younger girls? Do they know everything?

Lauri: Through the guidance of psychologists, we've had to discuss drugs with our younger kids simply because it's impossible to keep everything from them. So, we made them very aware, I mean, even just through Josh's actions, it's clear to even a young child that something's not right. When he's using, it's clear that there's a problem. And so, for us, to actually identify it, have the opportunity to discuss drug use with the children, it's opened up all sorts of conversations. So, yes, our kids are aware of it. We don't discuss it in detail. There's much that they don't know, but they know enough. Hopefully, they've seen the path that Josh took — that it wasn't a productive path, that it was nearly deadly, and hopefully towards staying away from drugs in the future. Josh, you're working at the restaurant now, are you thinking about going back to school?

Josh: Oh, I am. I'm enrolled in Internet classes. I start two classes Feb. 2nd.

Lauri: Going back to the family real quick, Josh ... we had a big Christmas Eve dinner and he spent Christmas day with us. We try to do family meals, with everybody's schedule it's kinda hard .... We try to get everybody together. Josh, where are you living now? You live by yourself?

Josh: Yeah.

Lauri: No you don't! You don't live by yourself.

Josh: I took in my mom. [Editor's Note: Josh was kidding.]

Lauri: He's back in my [town]house again. Once he went through his drug rehab, I moved him into the house, so he's got his original room back, and Ashley is his roommate.

Josh: We have so much fun, yeah! Good thing you didn't get rid of the house.

Lauri: I actually took my house off the market because I can justify it now that there's two bodies living there. When it was just Ashley, it was a huge mortgage for one person. Now that Josh is here. He's trying to get himself back on his feet, and college is really important for me. So, basically if he's going to school, he's got a roof over his head. Staying clean, going to school, he's got a roof. And that's the way it's been. Knock on wood...that's the way it will be. Is there anything else you guys want to clear up?

Lauri: Um, I think we covered everything. I just think as far as, the thing that I would actually like to address is that some people have attacked me saying I exploited Josh for my fame, which I think is hilarious because when I agreed to do this series three years ago, I sat down with the kids and laid it all out on the line and said, "Do you want to be a part of this?" And the kids were all over it. They really wanted to do it. Even that infamous newspaper article that came out where Josh said I forced him and exploited him, again I think those were all things that I think he may have just said to hurt me. Josh, do you feel exploited?

Josh: I wouldn't say that, not at all...

Lauri: Were you ever forced into doing the show?

Josh: The way I felt that...just the way things are put together, just manipulated with the media.

Lauri: You feel exploited that way. Well, I agree with that. I think that even in Season 3, I specifically wouldn't allow Josh to be a part of the filming because he wasn't healthy; he wasn't in the right frame of mind. And it was only at the very, very ... end of filming that he was pulling it together, and he really wanted to be a part of it. I think probably in watching Season Three, he probably feels left out. But that was his own doing with the situation he was in. I think that's a huge misperception. You know, my kids love being part of this show. Sophie's just enjoying it so much, and it's been such a positive experience, and it's put her places that she would never have been. And the same with Ashley. It's really opening up doors, and it's really exciting for all of us. ...IIt is important for me to have all the kids on the same wavelength as far as the show's concerned, but I don't know...That's really it. Thank you so much. We can't thank you enough for being so open.

Lauri: I would like for [people to know] how courageous he was in exposing his life and his problems. And I think that because a young person goes through these types of trials and tribulations at a young age, that doesn't necessarily label them for life. People can change. People can move on. People can accept change and do better in life. And I think that they can reach success ....

Josh: They say that the first step to getting what you want out of life is deciding what you want out of life. So, that's where I'm at right now, so all the viewers know, that's where I'm at right now - I'm deciding what I want to do, where I want to be. I fell in love and [Hannah] got me to take a second look at my life because as far as I was concerned I was so happy making the money I was making, even though it was dirty money. ...She made me look twice, and she said, "I would love you if you were dirt poor." So that made me look at my life and go...that made me look at my life and see that it wasn't wrong and the second step was finding out what I needed to do to be clean and sober, clear-headed. I did that, and now I'm trying to find out what I want.

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