Quote of the Week

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

Wisdom from Wexford (December 12th)
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here are the tips that parents shared at our second Sixth Annual Reunion/ Holiday Meeting. Once again Valerie took notes. Also, once again, the food was excellent and we even thought that we should post receipes from the meeting. So if you want to post a recipe for one of those great dishes, email Lloyd. By the way, we are doing this one last time at our Mt Lebanon meeting so if you have missed the fun you have one more opportunity and that would be this Saturday morning. Check the calendar on the right and the location finders on the left.

1. Don't enable

2. Before coming to PSST my self esteem had gotten so low and I have regained it through these meetings.

3. You need to detach to avoid becoming co-dependent.

4. Don't feel guilty that you don't like your kid sometimes (who would?).

5. It's ok to admit a mistake and recoop a mistake.

6. Get a greater knowledge of the system to alleviate your fears and distrust and then you will know better how to use it to help your situation (you get the inside scoop when you come to PSST about the system and how to use it best to your teenager's advantage.)

7. The stories that others share at PSST helps me because I can relate.

8. Read the NA text book. It is very helpful especially in trying to understand recovery.

9. Do what you think is right no matter how many professionals seem to disagree.

10. Read, listen, call and find the experts and a good book is How To Control Your Out-of-control Kid: author is Bayard.

11. Decide what part of the problem is yours and what part of the problem is your teenagers.

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Rocco’s response to Tips from the Sixth-Year PSST Reunion.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, December 07, 2009

"It's not like we stuck our heads in the sand. We accepted that he had problems. We sought out counselors, psychiatrists, tutors, advocates and advice on how to help him. We were on a first name basis with principles, vice-principles and school counselors and we started our run through the "rat-in-the-maze" world of health insurance for behavioral therapy.

"After two years, two overdoses and visits from the police we were not sure what options we had left. We were drained emotionally, mentally, physically and financially and our son still didn't care."

Thanks Val and Lloyd for creating and maintaining PSST.

We enjoyed last Saturday's meeting and appreciated the advice from both the veterans and the newer parents.

Following are my thoughts on the posting.

We attended our first PSST meeting in either late 2006 or early 2007 and quite frankly we were a bit overwhelmed by it. These parents were talking about their teens using not just marijuana and alcohol but crack cocaine and heroin. Their teens were stealing and dealing to support their habits,refusing therapy and running away from treatment centers.

We felt that son was nowhere near that wild. He was 14 years old and his grades were falling fast, he was becoming a discipline problem at school and at home, he was distancing himself from our family and he was hanging out with a lot of new-found bad "friends" (NOTE: trust your first impressions here). We suspected that he was using marijuana, probably some alcohol and we knew that he was able to pick-up packs of cigarettes whenever he wanted them.

If we confronted him he was very defensive about all of these issues. School sucked, his teachers were out to get him, family was boring, we were stupid and his new "friends" were the only ones that understood him. But we just knew that our son was nowhere near as wild as these other kids, yet.

It's not like we stuck our heads in the sand. We accepted that he had problems. We sought out counselors, psychiatrists, tutors, advocates and advice on how to help him. We were on a first name basis with principles,vice-principles and school counselors and we started our run through the "rat-in-the-maze" world of health insurance for behavioral therapy.

Our son's consistent response to all of this was "I don't care." We didn't understand or accept this but we slowly came to realize that he meant it.

After two years, two overdoses and visits from the police we were not sure what options we had left. We were drained emotionally, mentally, physically and financially and our son still didn't care.

We finally attended our second PSST meeting in May 2009. Since then we have, at least for now, saved our son's life and we have most importantly saved our own lives and our marriage.

And this is just my response to point #1.

Point #2 - You may feel that some of the new techniques offered at PSST may be uncomfortable, may seem harsh, and quite frankly might not work but you know in your heart that your old methods definitely do not work. See point #18.

Point #4 - You will never get the little girl or boy you knew and loved back but you may keep them alive and have the time to get over the issues and pain that their addiction caused.

Point #5 - Do not continue to blame yourself - see Point #12.

Point #6 - We have used this and it works.

Point #9, #17 and #20 - We have not needed to resort to these but we are ready to try them if necessary.

Point #10 - Another parent advised us in one of our first meetings "It seems like you will never get through this but you will" and it is starting to come true.

Point #11 - It is crucial for parents to stay on the same page. We don't always gree but we discuss. Our discussions are none of our son's d@mn business. Failure to follow this will either confuse the kid or more likely supply them with additional ammo to manipulate you.

Point #13 - The meetings are very beneficial to us. We found that we could finally talk openly to people that know exactly what we are going through.

Point #14 - We have used this and it works. Thanks Lloyd.

Point #15 - We used this and it is wonderful to be able to enjoy our home again.

Point #19 - See Point #1.

I agree with Sally that we should continue this format in the next meeting or two to get input from some other parents.

Once again I would like to thank Val and Lloyd as well as Cathy and Kathy from Wesley Spectrum for their continued support and encouragement.

[find other posts by Sally and Rocco below]

Message from PSST parent: 8-30-09

Thanks for empowering us: 9-12-09

Sally finds the right tools to get the job done 9-15-09

Update from Sally: 9-26-09

Relapse-takes-mom-for-ride-on-emotional Roller Coaster 10-26-09

Sally, Rocco, and Cisco: To be continued. 10-26-09

Learning to unlearn 10-22-09

Rocco Sally and Cisco: the story continues.

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Tips from the Sixth-Year PSST Reunion. (Use comments to add more wisdom to this post please.)
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, December 06, 2009

The tips that parents were giving to each other were so good that Val started taking notes on her Blackberry during this rare reunion meeting. We saw some faces that we haven't seen for a while. Some parents who showed up first started attending PSST five years ago. There were about 13 parent/family members present. Instead of going around the circle like we often do, we shared by who had the most PSST seniority.

1. If it seems like things aren't working out right, keep coming back to PSST and there's a good chance that things will get better.

2 Once you find yourself at a PSST meeting you can never go back, i.e., you can never go back to the old ways of interacting with your teenager because you realize that the old ways don't work anymore. You're past the point of no return and you have to move forward with the new techniques even if seems at first like it's not working.

3. Acceptance, expectations and keep the focus on yourself. For example, you may have warned your teenager that if they didn't do better in high school they would have to go to Community College. Now, you would love to see him go to Community College.

4. Admit that there are times that you don't like or feel the love towards your teenager. It's OK to admitt that and in light of what you've been through- it's very normal.

5. Hold your teenager accountable for his behavior, decisions, etc. This came up more than once.

6. It's OK to stand up to your teenager and even call the police if it feels horribly uncomfortable. It gets easier after the first time.

7. Our teenager will probably eventually be OK. We will be OK either way.

8. Go to NARANON for additional help.

9. If your teen won't get out of bed in the morning "skip the spritzers and dump the water!

10. It might not look good now but you will get through this.

11. Parents need to stay on the same page and prevent "splitting."

12. Drug addiction is a disease- but there is hope.

13 Coming to PSST makes you realize that you are not alone ("I realized once I got here- Everyone here has a teen like mine! And that was such a good feeling.")

14. Sometimes when your kid is released from an institution or treatment program he acts like a cat that just got out of a pillow case. (and then Lloyd will come for him in the middle of the night.)

15. Take time to focus on fixing the damage at home while your teen is in placement.

16. Chaos does not have to be the norm.

17. Once they are out of the house, don't invite them back.

18. A lot of things you learn in PSST don't feel right when you first try them. Keep trying.

19. Just like in any field, all counselors, therapists, and other helping professionals are not good at what they do. If you're getting advice from someone, and it feels wrong- get a second opinion. Several parents shared stories of how they were undermined by professionals and how hard it can be to find out "what to do."

20. Use ACT 53.

21. Perhaps the funniest advice all meeting was: If you are driving your teen to rehab and you are afraid he might run, take him the longest way possible so that he has no idea where he is but so that he believes that he is really really far away. Later, he will probably tell you that he "found a much better way to get there."

You really had to be there to get the import of some of this wisdom. It's contextual. It was a very powerful meeting. Thanks to all who showed up to lend a hand and support PSST.

Should we do again the same way next week in Wexford?

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