Quote of the Week
When I consider helping my son (an addict) with an issue or problem that he has, I make my decision based on my answer to the following question: “Am I enabling my son to use drugs, or am I helping him to get better?” ~ PSST Parent
Thoughts from a Recovering Alcoholic
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, October 16, 2014
But I’m also going to say something else that might not be what other people in recovery want to put out there, but what I have found in my experience to be completely true.
Sometimes, sobriety sucks.
* * * * * * *
And absolutely, sobriety is a lot of work. But the result of that work is miraculous. I have amazing relationships, I have a life with meaning, I have an active spiritual life. The juice is completely worth the squeeze.
So yea, sometimes sobriety sucks. But you know what? Sometimes LIFE sucks. That’s just the nature of existence – there are ups and downs on the rollercoaster. The point is to make the most of the ride."
For the full post, written by Deanna de Bara, click here.
Posted by:Jenn -- Thursday, October 16, 2014
Congratulations to our 2014 Parents of the Year !!!
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, October 10, 2014
Congratulations to this year's winners, who brought their family back from the abyss, as they faced their sons' drug use and behavioral health issues, and made some very difficult choices along the way. They have much to be proud of & grateful for, as their family has made significant progress. During their journey, Francois and Brigitte also provided very helpful advice to other parents via Yahoo Groups emails, as well as through their participation in PSST meetings and role plays.
Since many parents were unable to attend the awards ceremony in Pittsburgh, the text of their acceptance speech is included with this posting. Just click "Read More" at the bottom of this post to read their speech.
Although Francois and I were singled out as this year’s recipients, this is a shared award among many brave and talented people. The sole reason we are even standing here today is that parents and professionals, many of them from PSST, were there to help us when we most needed it, and we are forever grateful for the guidance, empathy, and encouragement we received.
We are the parents of three boys. When our oldest son, Pierre, was 16, we started to notice changes in his friends, grades, and attitude. By the time he was 17, we could no longer deny his behavior problems and drug use. He was volatile, stealing from family members, flunking classes and refusing to go to school. The rest of us walked on eggshells around him; he was out of our control.
We insisted that he go to an outpatient drug program. Unfortunately, the program didn’t make much of a difference in our son’s drug use or behaviors, but it was there that Francois and I discovered a very powerful weapon, the PSST group. We went to our first meeting the next week and were shocked to find that there were so many other parents dealing with similar issues.
Over a three year period, our son ended up in multiple placements and rehabs, two stints at a halfway house, and two years of probation. He lost his driver’s license, was arrested for possession, could not keep a job. Eventually, he was asked to leave our home because of his drug use.
At the same time, our youngest son, Serge, who is on the autistic spectrum, was suffering from serious mental health issues and had become physically and verbally abusive. He was hospitalized 6 times in a two-year period and he was also out of our control. Our family was in crisis and falling apart. There were daily battles and power struggles. There were tears, threats, accusations, holes in the walls and broken doors, and plenty of sleepless nights. We were dealing with two out-of-control children and trying to protect our middle son from the chaos. Those were what we fondly call the dark years.
During the dark years, though, we had a guiding light. We went regularly to PSST meetings and tried to learn the skills we were so lacking. We worked on setting firm boundaries and stopping enabling behaviors. We made tough decisions, like having our son arrested to get him into treatment. We learned from other strong, skillful parents who also made tough choices. We mourned with parents who lost their children to drug overdose. We learned from role plays and from the wisdom of the professionals. Two of the most helpful skills we learned were: 1) that strong parents can still be respectful, kind, and loving even when they hate what their child is doing and 2) parents need to take an honest look at their own behaviors and ask themselves if they are helping their kids or enabling them. All the while we were learning and growing, so were our children.
This story has a relatively happy ending. It’s not the kind of perfect, happy ending you find in a movie. It’s a real-life happy ending. Today our oldest son is 20 and living on his own. He has been working at the same job for close to a year and is learning that his choices in life come with consequences, both good and bad. Our youngest son, now almost 17, has been home for six months after extensive treatment at a residential placement, and is doing quite well with no physical altercations. We are amazed to think of where we were three years ago and where we are now as a family.
Our family is working to heal old wounds and resentments, to forgive and to accept, and care for each other again as a family. From the bottom of our heart, we want to thank the parents of PSST who supported us, the judges, probation officers, and police who helped keep our family safe and get our children the treatment they needed, the therapists who worked with all of us, and a special thank you to a very unique group of people: Lloyd Woodward, Val Ketter, Kathie Tagmyer and her team, and Jerry Stradford. Lastly, we thank our boys, Pierre, Jacques, and Serge, who have shown incredible perseverance and a willingness to grow and change. This award is for all of us. Read More......
Posted by:Jenn -- Friday, October 10, 2014
Training available for Volunteer Parent Coaches
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Posted by:Jenn -- Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Celebrate with us at this week's Wilkinsburg PSST Meeting!!
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, September 28, 2014
Posted by:Jenn -- Sunday, September 28, 2014
National Recovery Month
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Posted by:Jenn -- Tuesday, September 23, 2014
National Drug Take-Back Day: Sept 27, 2014, 10am-2pm
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Since launching the nationwide Drug Take-Back Day effort in 2010, the DEA has collected more than 3.4 million pounds (1,733 tons) of prescription medications.
On a national level, estimates point to upwards of 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste being generated each year. Over the past few years, pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors have been detected in growing amounts in surface and drinking water sources around the country. This issue has been increasingly covered in scientific literature and the mainstream media. A series of Associated Press stories brought the issue to the national spotlight in 2008.
President Obama signed the "Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010" into law on October 12, 2010. The law removes a key barrier to creating statewide programs that allow residents to safely return and dispose of leftover medications. The legislation is intended to support the creation of medication take-back options that reduce prescription drug abuse and reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals getting into the environment. Once the new law is implemented, providers of medication take-back programs will have more options for where and how they set up programs that accept controlled substances, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Ritalin.
Currently, only law enforcement can accept narcotics and other controlled substances from residents. The intent of this federal law is to authorize other convenient community return locations – like pharmacies – for secure disposal of controlled substances. Currently pharmacy take-back programs (the legality of these vary from state–to-state) around the country can only accept the return of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications that are not controlled substances. However, controlled substances make up about 11% of prescription drugs sold.
Posted by:Jenn -- Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, September 13, 2014
There is no need to stay isolated and alone with our fears. In fact, it is proven that when we reach out to others and share our experiences, we get stronger. When we are stronger, the addicts in our lives have a better chance of recovery.
When one person in the family is addicted to drugs and alcohol, we all get sick. And while we cannot control the choices our children make, we can control the choices we make. But how would we know what the choices are, what works and what doesn’t work, if we don’t participate in a forum where we can learn about what has worked for others? ~ Lauren Springer
For the rest of Lauren’s article, click here.
We are able to feel both supported and challenged in a group experience. As the group bonds and trust develops, people feel safer to speak honestly with each other. In groups we can both get and give. Both feel good. The experience of past loss, damage or trauma (whether from our family or from other relationships), may have profoundly affected our self- concept. A group can become a "family" that responds to us very differently, and can give us a corrective experience that impacts us emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. We can also learn that conflict is part of being in relationship, and can be tolerated and worked through. We can't rationalize our negative feelings away, but I believe we can slowly heal as we learn to take in the love and acceptance that emerges in a group. ~ Wendy Fennell
For the rest of Wendy’s article, click here. Read More......
Posted by:Jenn -- Saturday, September 13, 2014
Free Mental Health Education Program for Parents & Caregivers - Pittsburgh, PA
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Posted by:Jenn -- Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Robin Williams R.I.P.
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, August 16, 2014
Speaking after Robin Williams' recent death, his widow said, “ . . . it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
One of Williams’ many contributions was his willingness to speak publicly about his battle with substance abuse. After 20 years of sobriety, in 2006 he sought treatment for alcoholism. During an interview with Good Morning America, Williams explained that falling back into alcohol abuse was "very gradual."
"It's the same voice thought that … you're standing at a precipice and you look down, there's a voice and it's a little quiet voice that goes, 'Jump,'" Williams told Diane Sawyer. "The same voice that goes, 'Just one.' … And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that's not the possibility."
When asked why he relapsed, Robin answered: "It's [addiction] — not caused by anything, it's just there … It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, 'It's fine now, I'm OK.' Then, the next thing you know, it's not OK. Then you realize, 'Where am I? I didn't realize I was in Cleveland.'"
For the full article, click here.
Posted by:Jenn -- Saturday, August 16, 2014
Detaching with Love
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, August 11, 2014
Posted by:Jenn -- Monday, August 11, 2014
A Mother's Letter to Her Son
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, August 04, 2014
Here is a quote from the letter to her son:
Posted by:Jenn -- Monday, August 04, 2014
Dangers of Liquid Nicotine
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, July 27, 2014
Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal.
Toxicologists warn that e-liquids pose a significant risk to public health, particularly to children, who may be drawn to their bright colors and fragrant flavorings like cherry, chocolate and bubble gum. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child.
Posted by:Jenn -- Sunday, July 27, 2014
It's a Long Way Down!
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, July 21, 2014
Abby, you are our hero(ine)! Wonder if rappelling down a building is listed in the book "101 Natural Highs"?
Posted by:Jenn -- Monday, July 21, 2014
101 Natural Highs
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, July 16, 2014
"101 Natural Highs is a treasure trove of ideas that bring joy, meaning and enjoyment into anyone's life."
"Engaging, not too long, and a reminder that there is so much a person can do without drugs or alcohol."Read More......
Posted by:Jenn -- Wednesday, July 16, 2014