Quote of the Week


"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.



"Parent of the Year" Celebration Meeting
Posted by:Brigitte--Monday, September 28, 2015




Please join us on Saturday, October 3rd at our Eastern Probation Office in Wilkinsburg from 9 - 11 a.m. as we announce this year's Allegheny County Parent of the Year

We all know that each and every one of the parents who regularly attend PSST are real-life Parents of the Year, but only one family can be officially recognized at the annual awards ceremony. The Parent of the Year is selected for their acts of bravery in addressing their child's drug use and/or criminal behavior, demonstrating non-enabling parenting skills, and for being a role model to other parents.

At the PSST meeting, there will be cake, of course, and a very special guest speaker who will talk about his experience in the justice system and his life in recovery. We hope all PSST parents, old and new, will be able to attend. 

The official award will be given at the Family Court House, located at 550 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh (the Old Allegheny County Jail) on Thursday, October 8. The event starts at 6 p.m. (try to get there at 5:30) and runs about 2 hours. Please come if you can and support our PSST Parent of the Year and to hear their personal story.



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Our Son is in Jail
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Narcotics Anonymous tells us that continued drug use is a sure-fire path to institutions, jail, and/or death.  Our son Dylan is continuing to follow that dangerous journey.
 
After 4 years of spending a high percentage of his time in juvenile placements, it appeared that Dylan was trying to turn his life around.  He expressed interest in going to college.  He spent 6 months in ¾ housing and accepted his 6-month clean tag with pride.  Unfortunately his 2 separate attempts at college failed, due to drugs (alcohol, marijuana) and poor choices for friends.  And now, his most recent actions have landed him in the county jail for assault and attempted robbery.  We expect that he will serve some prison time for these felony charges.

How are we reacting to Dylan’s actions? 

After our initial shock, we were left with strong feelings of disappointment and sadness that he would make such choices, choices that are so completely foreign to our family’s values and beliefs.  We are so grateful that no one was badly injured or killed.  We still love Dylan, and will help him when he gets out of prison, but only if he commits himself to making serious lifestyle changes.
 
Are we obsessing over what he did?
 
We refuse to drive ourselves crazy by obsessing over what he did, why he did it, and how much time he will spend in prison.  As one of our PSST parents said at a recent meeting, we are not distancing ourselves from our son, but instead, we are separating ourselves from his actions and his drama. 

Did we post bail? 

Dylan is angry with us because we are not willing to post bail.  The judge said that he would require Dylan to live at home if he were out on bond, but if Dylan keeps the same circle of friends, as well as his adventurous spirit and lifestyle, it would put significant strain on our family.  We know that following our rules just isn’t part of Dylan’s current playbook.  We believe that he would skip bail to avoid doing prison time (he ran away from juvenile placements twice), leaving us stuck with a huge bill. 


Did we hire a lawyer?

After much deliberation, and talking with many people in our extended support group, we decided to hire a lawyer.  The charges against Dylan are serious felonies.  A public defender would probably do just fine, but we feel more comfortable with a private lawyer of our own choice, who will keep our family’s best interests in mind.  We know that there will be consequences for Dylan’s actions, but we’d like them to be as fair and reasonable as possible.

Are we sorry that Dylan is in jail?  Do we worry ourselves sick every night about his safety? 

No, instead we are grateful that he is safe, because at this time in his life he is a danger to himself and to others.  We know where he is.  He is safer in jail than he was on the streets.  Dylan is fun-loving and generous and intelligent, but he also thinks that he is street-smart and (of course) invincible.  He has no idea how na├»ve and impressionable he really is.  

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And the Countdown Begins . . .
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, September 22, 2015

As part of the annual Allegheny County Juvenile Probation awards ceremony scheduled for Thursday, October 8th, a new Parent(s) of the Year will be announced. Will it be a PSST parent this year?? 

The awards ceremony begins at 6pm, and lasts about 2 hours. It is held at the Family Court House, 550 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA (the Old Allegheny County Jail) on the second floor. In addition to various awards presentations, there will be a keynote speaker for the event. Speeches from the Parent(s) of the Year and the keynote speaker are always well worth the investment of time. Hope you can make it!

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Relapse is a Part of Recovery
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, September 09, 2015

If an addict relapses, does that make him/her a failure? 

Science says NO.  In fact, research shows that relapse rates for chronic diseases such as asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes are very comparable to those for drug/alcohol addiction.  Just as patients with asthma and diabetes relapse, by failing to take prescribed medication or engaging in behaviors that are risky in light of their disease, so do drug addicts.

It is common for addicts to relapse, and it may happen multiple times.  Literature about addiction tells us that the best way for an addict to avoid relapse is to understand what his/her personal triggers are, then try to avoid or minimize those triggers, while reinforcing new recovery-focused behaviors.  Common triggers are emotional stresses (such as frustration or anxiety) and being around people/places/things that remind the addict of using.  If an addict has already relapsed, s/he may need help to accept what happened as a temporary setback, to view it as an opportunity to examine what triggers caused the relapse, and to put renewed emphasis on treatment (such as support group meetings or therapy). 

Click here for an article published in everydayhealth.com that gives excellent advice to family members on how to support the addict who has relapsed.  One of my favorite quotes from this article is Hold addicts accountable for their recovery from the relapse, just as it was important to hold them accountable for their addiction in the first place.

Click here for an article in Psychology Today entitled “Why Relapse isn’t a Sign of Failure” that discusses how drug-related cues can lead to relapse.  The author also explains how being in recovery creates new habits/triggers for recovery, and how Over time the addict subconsciously dissociates the cue from the past reward of using and associates it with the new reward of sobriety.

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YES, We are Meeting on Sept 5th !!
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, September 02, 2015



Give your weekend a powerful start!  We will be OPEN for our regular PSST meeting in Wilkinsburg on Saturday, Sept 5th from 9-11:30am.   There will still be plenty of "weekend" left to enjoy with family & friends . . .

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