Quote of the Week

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

INTERVENTION on A&E by Lorraine
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, October 23, 2007

There is a great show on A&E that deals with substance abuse. It is a reality TV show that proceeds through the intervention process with the addict and the family. It provides real life scenarios of families and how they deal with their addicted family member. It truly is a must see.

I not only watch every episode, I have it programmed on my digital cable to automatically copy into the DVR box so that I can keep all the episodes for awhile. There is one episode that is very close to my son's story and I will probably never delete that one. The new season will start on Monday, Nov 5th at 9PM. Their website is ... http://www.aetv.com/intervention/ It has information on the show, but is also a good resource for information on street drugs and treatment centers. Intervention is must see TV for anyone dealing with substance abuse within their family!!

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"The Real Deal” w/ KDKA’s Marty Griffin, Nov. 2, 2007 at Orchard Hill Church in Wexford
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This year, The Alliance Against Highly Addictive Drugs has invited parents from PSST to participate on the panel. This will broadcast live. The radio part of the show will begin at 9:00 AM and run through Noon. The booth in the lobby where we can pass out literature will start at 8:30 and also run though noon. Please click "Read More" for a listing of the other group participants. We are also invited to have a booth out in the front lobby where we can hand out pamphlets and get the word out about PSST. We need volunteers for both. Please click Orchard Hill Church for directions.

The Alliance Against Drugs
Invites you to attend an Open House Resource Fair to address


Featuring KDKA’s Marty Griffin & “The Real Deal”

Date: November 2, 2007

Location: Orchard Hill Church 2551 Brandt School Road Wexford, PA 15090

Time: 8:30 to 1:00 PM Resource Fair
9:00 to Noon Live Radio Program w/ Panels of Experts

Alliance Members, School Delegations, Faith Based Delegations, Law Enforcement, Government Officials, Medical Professionals, Business & Community Leaders, Concerned Community at Large. Adults only please

To discuss “What Help Looks Like” when dealing with drug use & addiction issues.

Agency Professionals will be on hand to provide materials and answer questions as they relate to prevention, screening/assessments, intervention, treatment, recovery and family support.

Marty Griffin & KDKA will broadcast a 3 hour program that will include live testimonials from recovering addicts and family members. Panels of Experts will discuss the various ways that concerned families can seek help for drug related issues. THERE IS HOPE.

This Event is an opportunity to meet and have conversation with your community leaders and numerous community experts who support the message that we share a responsibility to be part of the solution regarding youth drug use and addiction, and who support the work of our community coalition; THE ALLIANCE. There will be special messages from numerous community leaders and the Alliance’s Honorary Chairperson:

If you are from an Alliance Member School or from a Faith Based Congregation, the Alliance requests that you attend with a delegation of 10 or more people. Please consider inviting School Administrators, Board Members, Counselors, SADD Sponsors, PTA/PTO Members, Booster Parents, Youth Leaders, Pastors, Community Leaders, and Friends & Neighbors. All community members are invited to bring delegations.

Please RSVP your attendance and approximately how many delegates you will be bringing no later than October 29th to:

Debbie Kehoe, Executive Director
The Alliance Against Drugs
724 612-5554



Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office: Michael Manko
Allegheny County EMS Services: Knox Walk
Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office: Dr. Williams and Steve Koehler
Pennsylvania’s DUI Association: Catherine Tress
Allegheny County D&A Department: James Allen


The Alliance Against Drugs: Dr. Al Wille and Debra Kehoe
The Reality Tour: Norma Norris
Allegheny County Police: Michael Spagnoletti
ENCORE (Emergency Nurse Association): Donna Galbreath


Testimonial: Ryan
School Student Assistance Counselor: Jeff Longo
School Based Mental Health Assessment: Terry Reynolds
Treatment Assessment and Plan of Action: Josie Morgano, Pyramid Healthcare
Judicial Placement: Lynn Redick, Act 53 Program


Testimonials from panel of young adults and parents
West View/Ross Magistrate: Richard Opiela


Testimonial: Suboxone Patient
Testimonial: Patrick Boyle
Physician Authorized to prescribe Suboxone: Dr. Elizabeth Marsala
Allegheny County Medical Society President: Dr. Adam Gordon
Gateway Rehabilitation Director: Dr. Neil Capretto
Addiction Specialist: Dr. George Lloyd


Testimonials: Recovering addicts from Teen Challenge
Teen Challenge Counselor: Dave Louis
The Doorway: Joyce Erdner
North Hills Youth Ministry Counseling Center: Rev Ron Barnes


Testimonials from parents who attend a support group
Parent Survival Skills Training: Valerie Ketter and PSST parents.
Bridge to Hope: Joan Ward, Diane Clayton
Celebrate Recovery: Dave Herbert, Peg Schindler


State Representative Michael Turzai
State Representative Randy Vulakovich
Superintendent Dr. James Manley
Community Business Leader Robert Wright


Richard Opiela
James Manley
Pastor Kurt Bjorklund
Michael Turzai
Randy Vulakovich
Ben Roethlisburger
Robert Wright
Steve Zappala
Jason Altmire
Tom Corbett
Larry Bracko

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Letter from mother to daughter by Paula.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In a way this is a letter to the disease of addiction. It is powerfully written by a mother to her daughter, however, it is the disease of addiction that possesses our loved ones and creates the pain that everyone around the addict feels. Paula granted permission to post this actual letter that she wrote her daughter. Much thanks to Paula for sharing. Judy is not Paula's daughter's real name.

October 9, 2007

Dear Judy:

I hope this letter finds you are well and safe. I wanted to let you know what’s going on with me and let you know what my reaction to your behavior is.
First and foremost, I love you very much and I always will. Unfortunately, this is not a question of love. Instead, it is a situation that calls for strength and the ability to stand-by what I say. This situation that we are both in involves you---to stand on your own two feet, and pull yourself out of this abyss.

You are spiraling downward. You need to learn…I mean really learn and understand that you do not call the shots…you do not run the show. Ridgeview was a blessing in disguise. QUIT CALLING THE SHOTS, JUDY. I am you mother and I am weary of you. You deplete people –you suck them dry and put them aside…people are tired. I am tired. What is it going to take for you to realize that you are on the road to killing yourself!

This isn’t about marijuana or any other drug for that matter, Judy. This is about attitude, self-respect, humility, and honesty. Your attitude is one of righteousness and arrogance. Humility? Not even close. Honesty is not part of your vocabulary.

I am not going to be around forever. I am your greatest enabler. I am not going to do that anymore either. I am going to do everything in my power to help you get better…to help you want to live a lifestyle that is without drugs. Think about it, Judy. If this weren’t such a horrible way to live, no one would be clean. You must go through the agony of getting better before you are better. It takes time. It takes work on your part. It takes a desire where you will do anything to not use…just as you do anything now to stay high.

When you came in the house the other day with a bruise on your chin crying…saying someone punched you…you know, Judy, I don’t know what the truth is and what the lies are anymore. You intermingle them and so it is hard to determine. Anyway, at the time, your spirit was broken, you were crying, hurting and you said that you would do anything not to live this way. You asked me not to give up on you…and two hours later you were on the run again.

That’s a no-brainer. You scored with some kind of drug and you went to who was providing it to you. When I spoke to you in the phone at 4:30PM the next day, you acted as if nothing ever happened. I understand. You got what you needed. You told me that “I’m fine, Mom. I’m fine.” You had a drug in you…and yes; it does temporarily make you “fine”. The problem with that is that it doesn’t stay forever and three hours from that point, chances are you will be running around looking for money, looking for drugs, once again. It never ends. It never ends. It never ends until you are so sick of the cycle that you would do ANYTHING to stop.

I am going to make this difficult for you, Judy. I don’t know what I would do if I found you dead, overdosed, beaten to death, getting HIV, which today is a death sentence many times…. I will be changing the locks on the doors. You are not wanted at my house anymore, Judy. If you are big enough and grown enough to quit school, to refuse to sign releases so you can be funded, to stay out all night and not come home, and all the other things that you do, then you are grown enough to find a shelter and some food. To eat, there are food kitchens all over the place. You can eat there.

The most I will give you is a blanket. Nothing more. O.K. so go be grown. Feed yourself. Shelter yourself. Pay for your gas, your light, your heat, and your phone. You have that phone only because I pay for it. I will not enable you any longer. You must learn this on your own, Judy. Even though I will hate to let it come to pass, I must let you suffer all these consequences. Then may be you will get tired of living as you are now living.

I want you to think back to when you were at Ridgeview. How adamant you were about leaving. How you told everyone to fuck off. How you were so tunnel-visioned about leaving-that was your addiction calling you, Judy. That’s all. You wanted to get loaded. And you did.

This is your trip, Judy…not mine. I already had my “fun”…. anguish, degradation, etc. You can save yourself from it…I cannot save you. You are the only one that can save you. It is all on YOU.
Need I go on?
Hopefully, someday, God willing, you have children. Only then will you understand this relationship…I hope that your child does not put you through the hell that I am now experiencing.

I do not intend to be dramatic…merely factual. The scenes that conjure up in my mind when you pull your MIA’s (Missing in Action) are frightening, horrible, but not outside the realm of possibility.

1. I see you dying, being used, raped, and beaten.

2. I remember the last thing I said to you, the last time you left.

3. I remember the first time I rested my eyes on you, when you were born, and all the happy flashbacks in between: building sandcastles at the beach, hiding from you in the store to teach you and your brother a lesson not to hide from me.

4. I remember Christmases of the past. All of these visions come back and I remember you as you were through each age period.

5. Now I see a transformation in you that hurts my heart to watch. You are slowing dying in front of me. I am not exaggerating. I’ve seen this too many times. I am beginning to notice hardness about you.

You know, Judy, after you experience so many of those bad scenes, you are no longer innocent…nor do you project that to others. You are taking on the persona of a hardened street girl. It is not attractive at all. Your softness is leaving you. You’ve been through some horrible circumstances at such a young age that your face, your smile…. it is all leaving, Judy. The innocence that you had is fading. You are more rigid…cynical.

I am, and have been watching this outward transformation for a while now. It rips my heart out as I continue to see flashbacks of my little girl who was so full of life and so wanted to live, my little girl who was overflowing with compassion and understanding. The little girl who whispered in her grandma’s ear and comforted her when she was dying by telling her that it was O.K. to go…that we were all O.K. My daughter, the one who treated the child with Down’s syndrome so kindly and so unselfishly, where is she? Where is she? Where is she?

Please, please, Judy. Don’t become another Jessie. She’s dead now because she didn’t stop…couldn’t stop. You cannot stop on your own. You need help desperately. You can just as easily become another Jessie.
I am crying for you Judy. Please, please cry for yourself. Then get up, brush yourself off, and run the other way. This disease will take everything…including your life.

I will love you forever,


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Ken receives Parent of the Year on October 4, 2007.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ken was recognized both for his outstanding parenting and for his generous volunteer work to help other parents. He almost singlehandedly started the successful North Hills PSST meeting. He started, maintains and edits this blog, the Relapse Blog, the

Coffee House Nation Blog, and the Bridge To Hope Blog. He shows leadership wherever he goes. Other parents often call Ken to ask his opinion and he has even done home visits to help identify drug paraphernalia.

Right Picture: Judge Mulligan, Judge Woodruff (Probowl Cornerback of the Pittsburgh Steelers), Judge Flahrety, James Rieland Director of the Juvenile and Adult Probation, and Ken.
Left Picture: Judge Mulligan, Judge Flahrety, James Rieland, Ken, Supervisor Valerie Ketter, PO Lloyd Woodward, Judge Rangos, Judge Woodruff, and Judge Clark.

Ken has tirelessly worked to help youth in Allegheny County by being of service to his community. His acceptance speach was so gracious and well done that I wish I had it recorded so that I could reprint it here. One point that Ken made was that the idea that a youth is "in the system" is not a bad thing: to the contrary. It is working in the system with Judges, Probation Officers, therapists, and caseworkers that can help save a teenager's life from this too ofen fatal disease of addiction. Hats off to Ken for a well deserved honor!

Probation Officer Jeff Nartowicz, Supervisor Valerie Ketter, and Probation Officer Lloyd Woodward all nominated Ken for this award.

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The Turn of a Phrase
Posted by:Ken Sutton--Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It was Sunday and I was visiting with my daughter J. at a half way house. The sun was warm, the weather was trying to decide if it was fall or summer and we were on the smoking deck outside. This place has been just one of many stops for her in the last 4 years as she tries again to arrest the drug induced downward slide of her life.

She had gone to church with some other women from the house that morning and our conversation somehow came around to how powerful words are. . .

. . .and how God used words to speak the world into being. I took the opportunity to talk to her about the importance of affirming self-talk.

Later, another young women came out to the smoking deck and told J. that she had just got word that two of her friends had overdosed. She said “.it should have been me..”. J nodded in agreement and echoed her words as if it was a ritualistic chant. After some hugs and lots of crying between day old friends who have years with the same struggles I pointed out to J. that there is no reason it should have been her and how saying so is not healthy. She seemed to understand, or at least her eyes sparked as she ran to comfort the other women.

So words are important. We all cringe when we hear “just marijuana”. Maybe we have to remind each other that the sentence “It was just marijuana that killed my child.” is a real possibility. I know that is harsh but how else to get the words right?

To appreciate the words we have to listen carefully and speak carefully. Look how different “relapse is part of recovery” is from the Lloyd Woodward version of “the consequences of relapse are part of recovery”. Or “this disease ends in jails, institutions or death” compared to “this disease ends in recovery, jails, institutions or death”.

I had come to believe that saying anything to J. would not help her with her struggles. It has never worked and all the platitudes, heart to heart talks, and emotional threats seem useless against such a huge problem. But when I hear Lloyd talk about our overall strategy of “buying clean time and waiting for a miracle” (miracle, now there is a word!) I have come back to the idea that the words, the right words, words with lots of thought and lots of love can be very powerful when spoken or prayed.

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Let's go out for Murder Mystery Dinner on October 26th.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, October 11, 2007

Here is a unique opportunity to support the work of one of the Coffee House Nation. Khalil has been working hard to change his life. He is the President of his Business Club at CCAC. The club is putting on a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre where the actors interact with the audience. All proceedings go to The American Cancer Society. Many of you have followed his progress at the Wilkinsburg PSST via reports from his mother.

Here are the details for the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre:
WHEN: Friday October 26th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
WHERE: Jones Hall CCAC Allegheny Campus (North side).
PRICE: $40.00 single or $70.00 for a couple.
WHO TO CONTACT FOR TICKETS: contact Khalil through his mother Sue at 412-726-8033.
I will be there. Sue will be there. Other parents have said that they are interested. PSST should be able to sit together. Khalil will be our waiter. Let's get together for a good cause and a good time!

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Bridge to Hope Video Premier
Posted by:Ken Sutton--Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our friends at the Bridge to Hope are premiering their new video and you are invited.
Click here for details.

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ADHD/Special Needs Parent Classes - Click Picture for Details
Posted by:Ken Sutton--Monday, October 01, 2007

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This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.