Quote of the Week

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

You Gotta Break a Few Eggs...
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Sometimes You Gotta Break a Few Eggs to Make an Omelet!

For new visitors let me explain that one year ago Sally and I were about to crack. We had an addict for a teenage son (we call Cisco). We had tried various forms of counseling, out-patient therapy and 12-Step Meetings for three years and it was not working. In fact Cisco was slipping deeper into the world of drugs and becoming more and more out of control. We were not only considering Act 53 (involuntary commitment of minors into drug and alcohol treatment) for him but we were seriously beginning to ask about how we could make Cisco a Ward of the State. We didn’t think we would ever get our lives or our home back in order and we were not sure how much longer Cisco would survive. He had already overdosed twice by age 16.

In our search we found PSST and have been regularly attending PSST meetings for ten months. They have guided us to professional resources for assistance for our son and for ourselves. We have also connected with a lot of other parents having very similar experiences with their teenagers. There are other very good Help Groups in the area (you can find links to some of them on the right side of the page) but we have found this group to be the one that suits us best.

Please consider attending a PSST Saturday morning meeting if for no other reason other than to VENT your feelings with others that understand what you are going through. You will be reassured, as we were, to see a number of parents nodding in agreement as you tell your story. Within a month or so of attending the PSST meetings we found an amazing thing – Sally and I regained our ability to laugh again. This was a big turning point that we weren’t sure we would ever reach. We, as well as our son, still have a way to go to on the road to healing (with some speed bumps, some usual and possibly unusual detours and plenty of potholes ahead) but we now have our GPS set for Recovery.

On the left side of this page you will find directions to the PSST Saturday morning meetings. On the right side of this page you will notice some links titled “Recommended Posts” and “Key Role-Plays”. A lot of these are based on discussions in the PSST meetings and address subjects and topics common to parents of addicts. They go back to 2001 and contain a lot of experience and wisdom.

One that I have keyed in on several times is “Breaking a Few Eggs” from March, 2007.

The post goes into how we as parents of addicts tend to “walk on eggshells” to keep peace and order in our lives. Our tiptoeing at least provides us “the perception” of peace and order in our lives. Just for the record, let me clarify that I was the one that thought that this was the better approach. Sally learned early on to be a little more direct and frank with Cisco and tended to “stomp on eggshells” to make sure she got her point across to him.

Cisco, like most addicts, needed to be the one in control. He would "play nice" with us as long as it got him what he wanted. But whenever challenged he would get loud, agressive and agitated. This had the effect that he wanted. We sympathized, reassured, apologized, commiserated, comforted and encouraged him just as all good parents do.

To put it into one simple phrase – We Enabled him.

To paraphrase the previous post: …all of our apologies, statements of love, and determination to “understand” were seen as a sign of weakness by our teenager. He played along of course. He understood this game well. The name of the game is “How Many Ways Can I Make This MOM and Dad’s FAULT?

In the last 10 months Cisco has been arrested, voluntarily entered inpatient treatment, violated probation, visited Shuman Center and juvenile court a few times, been on house arrest for a month, successfully completed an Intensive Outpatient Program, attended a lot of 12 Step Meetings, relapsed, gone into a second inpatient treatment facility and has matured quite a bit. He is scheduled to take his G.E.D. this month and is beginning to think about his future. The drug induced fog is starting to lift and Cisco is beginning to “get it.”

During this same time Sally and I, with the help of PSST, have been going through our own recovery process. The abuse and chaos of the last few years is settling we are regaining real peace and order in our lives. But NOT by “walking on eggshells” this time around. Sally and I now “get it” too.

Breaking eggs does not make us bad parents.

We now are dealing with Cisco being placed in a halfway house before returning home. We presented it to him and he didn’t like it. We felt bad but we got over it. Cisco did very well controlling his anger but still tried his best to “guilt us”. We felt bad again, but you know what? We got over it again.

To borrow from the post again: “…we can break a few eggs. In fact, we can break a few on purpose. Why? Because we come to understand that our child’s well being is not fostered by the whole “tiptoe around the eggs thing.” Furthermore, our teenager is not the only one that needs to express a few feelings! As parents, we need to express some things too!”

We realize that if Cisco is going to believe that we have truly changed, then we better show him some of these changes while he is still in placement.

We need to take risks in order to have any chance of helping our teenager make good decisions.

We need to be strong, take-the-bull-by-the-horns parents, who do not shy from confrontation.

“We need to break a few eggs.”


Sally said...

Rocco, what a great post. I like your way of thinking and YES I agree with you it is necessary to risk a few things to gain other things that are more lasting and important. YOU ROCK!

Lloyd Woodward said...

Rocco, you put a lot of hard-earned wisdom in this post. One of my favorite parts is, "We realize that if Cisco is going to believe that we have truly changed, then we better show him some of these changes while he is still in placement." Great post.


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