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

On the road again - Summary of Sally and Rocco's Personal PSST Meeting.
Posted by:Rocco--Sunday, September 26, 2010

There was no regular PSST Meeting last weekend so Sally and Rocco took the PSST Meeting on the road. Actually we had our own meeting in our car on the way home from visiting Cisco.

Our 18 year old son, Cisco, has been a wannabe gangsta rapper since he was about 14. That is, coincidently, around the same time that he tried his first joint.

Who is to say that if he had continued to hang out with the “Preppie” kids, stayed in sports, been more spiritual and studied harder he would, or would not, be a teenage addict?

Well what if he was into to alternative rock, hip-hop, jazz or maybe even country music? Could Cisco have avoided alcohol? Should we have insisted that he could never play “Grand Theft Auto”, listen to rap music or log onto Facebook/My Space? Would he have never popped a pill? How about if we would have kept him in the smaller private school? Would he have never overdosed?

What was it that we could have done to make sure that Cisco did not become an addict?

We have beat ourselves up, from time to time, with all of these “what if’s”, “should of’s”, “would of’s” and “why didn’t we’s” for the last few years. To be honest I don’t think that there will ever be a time that these thoughts will ever go away completely.

What we have done is “detached with love”.

We are learning to accept that:

- We did not CAUSE his addiction
- We cannot CONTROL his addiction
- We cannot CURE his addiction

We did regain our SANITY when we stopped focusing on our son and began to focus on changing our own attitudes and behaviors.

So what we have today is an 18 year old son recovering from his addiction and his behavior problems and we, ourselves are in recovery from his addiction and behavior consequences and our own co-dependency issues.

We had a pretty good week with some ups and downs. We finally received word that Cisco earned his G.E.D. diploma. We made it to a couple of Gateway meetings, Sally had two new girls join her knitting class at Ridgeview and at the end of the week we received the word that Cisco was okay but he “needed” money and was letting everybody know that he would be using as soon as he was out of his program. Time to detach we need to remind ourselves.

On Sunday we had a visit with Cisco. We talked, had a few laughs and even got in a couple of games. It appears to be a good program for him; he seems to be accepting it and his anger and language are under control but he has only been there for 17 days.

Then towards the end of the visit he showed off some of his best manipulation skills (he is really good.)

He started with frustration and then tossed in a good helping of self pity (“Danger, Will Robinson! Danger. Detach, detach.”)

We know a lot of Cisco’s frustration comes from being in yet another program but Sally noticed something else worth mentioning. Cisco had told us early on in the visit that he had also invited some friends to come and visit. It turned out that one friend was working; one said they didn’t know how to get there and three others didn’t respond. And these are his “good” friends. It seems that the only ones he can count on to come and visit are mom and dad.

We did pretty well ourselves during the visit. We praised him for doing as well as he has, in a really tough program. We gave him a bit more for passing his G.E.D. Exams and earning his diploma. We attempted to talk a little about his future but agreed with him to concentrate on “one day at a time.”

When we finally got to the manipulation portion of the visit we were able to handle it well. We were able to find those little bits to agree with him. Yes, this is a tough program. Yes, you may not make it. Yes, you may relapse someday. Yes, you can return home someday (of course only if you are clean and sober and able to follow our rules.) Yes, we are here to help you with your recovery. Never the less you are the one who needs to accept and finish the program. You are the only one who can recover from your addiction.

As parents of addicts we tend to enable teens because we care. Out of our parental instincts to protect our child we think we are helping them. But enabling them is the worst thing that we can do for them. Remember that “Detaching” from our addicted teen is not the same thing as abandoning them. The idea is to still care for them while “Detaching Emotionally”.

Because you care for them does not mean that you are responsible for their addictive behavior and consequences. In other words: do not get all wrapped up emotionally by an addicts destructive behaviors.

This is difficult.

Practicing detachment should make it easier over time.

Only when addicted teens are faced with real consequences can they start to make a change.

At Parents Survival Skills Training (PSST) there is help for parents available in the form of free meetings with other families who are dealing with family addiction. The purpose of these meetings is to learn from one another how to stop being codependent and how to end enabling behavior.

PSST can assist you in the following ways to stop enabling behavior:

- Hold regular meetings for you and other parents of addicts.
- Direct you to professional help for yourself.
- Help you establish “Tough Love” consequences in your home.
- Show you how to stop providing money, privileges and excuses for your substance abuser.
- Provide a support system for you with other parents of addicts.

You must be cautioned, however, that there is a possibility of a long-term side effect in attending PSST Meetings: In time you will begin to regain your SANITY, and will begin to feel a sense of self-respect and peace despite any crisis you face.

If you have the same hopeless feeling that Sally and Rocco felt just about one year ago please give PSST a try.

There is no cost and no commitment. You have nothing to lose but sleepless nights, a lot of anxiety and headaches and that feeling of being all alone.


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