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Finding Cisco
Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PART 1 - Thursday - Cisco Disappears

Sally and I are the parents of Cisco, a teenage addict. We visited a PSST meeting in early 2007 and felt a bit intimidated. We then worked with his school, several private counselors and a Dual Diagnosis Program but Cisco’s addictive behavior just kept getting worse. It wasn’t until we came back to PSST in May 2009 that we discovered that our own codependent behavior was a big part of Cisco’s addiction. Since then Cisco has been in and out of juvenile detention, several recovery programs, relapsed and he has made significant progress. So have Sally and I.

In July Sally and I stood up in court and asked for an extension of Cisco’s probation. This turned out to be significant because…

Our son, Cisco, relapsed again in August.

Because he was still under Juvenile Probation Cisco was immediately placed in an inpatient recovery program. Since he is 18 we asked for an adult facility. With the help of the Allegheny County Juvenile Probation and Wesley Spectrum we chose a “Behavior Modification” program. Sally and I toured the facility ahead of time and were impressed with both the facility and the program.

Cisco appeared to be doing well in this difficult program. We had a fairly good visit with him last Thursday evening. Several people came over to tell us how good he was doing. But towards the end of the visit he seemed to be getting a bit agitated. We had tried to get him to talk about where he would go and what he would do after completing the program. We decided to end the visit and let him chill out.

After we left he unexpectedly walked away from the facility (it is an unlocked facility) and disappeared.

Unfortunately his Probation Officer wasn’t informed about Cisco leaving until Friday morning. He and Cisco’s counselor went into immediate action; contacting Sally and me, gathering information and preparing a request for an arrest warrant for Cisco.

Sally tried her best to detach and refocus but was, of course, concerned about where Cisco went to, where he would stay, who he was with, and which drugs, if any, he might use. I was also apprehensive but tried as well as I could to refocus on the fact that Cisco could not get all that far on $20 and not a lot of urban street smarts.

Sally arrived home early and made sure that all of the windows and doors were locked. She made some calls to some of Cisco’s “friends” that she felt she may be able to trust. They all said that they did not know where he was but would contact her if they heard anything. Sally and I, as well as his P.O. and his Counselor all had our doubts that these “friends” would make the call.

We felt that Cisco would eventually be hiding out at one or more of their homes. How long his “friends” and their parents would allow Cisco to hide out was the next question.

Sally and I were concerned but did our best to accept the wisdom that this was something that we could not change, the serenity to understand that, along with Cisco’s relapse, this is yet another step in his recovery process, and the courage to continue on as normally as we could.

We heard nothing on Friday night and we did some shopping and watched a movie. Saturday morning we went to our PSST Meeting and had a good chance to vent out feelings and emotions. We received a lot of empathy and understanding in return. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Aladdin’s.

Sally called our local police about Cisco and found out that it was our high school’s homecoming weekend which of course results in a lot of parties which would be attractive to someone like Cisco. Cisco's counselor suggested getting a picture of Cisco to the local police department along with a request to detain him and to call the P.O. if they spotted Cisco in the township. We took his picture to the station. We were greeted by an officer who knew and liked Cisco; he gave us a chuckle and told us that they really didn't need a picture. That gave us a peculiarly disconcerting kind of feeling as his parents.

That combined with driving back home past the homecoming football crowd gave Sally and I that sick feeling (that big codependency trigger) that a parent of a teenage addict knows. What did I do wrong? Why am I not allowed to enjoy this beautiful autumn day at this celebration with my teenager like all of these “Normal Folks” are? Why isn’t my son or daughter enjoying the homecoming dance? We talked it out and refocused our emotions again.

We went home and spent the next five hours in our garden taking out the remains of the summer and planting 80-some bulbs for the spring. We cleaned up and went for a leisurely dinner at Denny’s.

That’s when we received a call from Cisco’s P.O.

Part 2 – Saturday Evening – Let’s Turn Over a Few Rocks

The P.O. was in our neighborhood and wanted to speak with us. We invited him to join us at Denny’s for dessert. Over dessert he explained his plan to attempt to flush Cisco out from hiding. He had started at one of Cisco’s “friend’s” houses and asked if he could search the place to be sure that Cisco was not hiding there. As a professional courtesy a local police officer accompanied the P.O. in the search.

What the P.O. needed from us was more addresses where we thought that Cisco might be comfortable hiding out at. We discussed quite a few possibilities (Cisco always was a very social person) and we had it down to three possibilities; an ex-girlfriend (Chrissie), a friend who happened to be a girl (Janet) and his former best friend (Jack).

We decided on Janet’s first, a favorite place for Cisco to chill (and we always suspected a favorite place for him to use). Janet’s dad answered the door and was suspicious, of course, but her mother knew and liked Cisco. She understood and invited us in.

Janet told us that she didn’t see Cisco and didn’t know anything about his whereabouts. A smile came across her mom's face and she said "Sure you do, he was here yesterday afternoon." Janet gave her mom that look but switched gears at an astonishingly speed and said “Oh yeah, right, Jack brought him here but we dropped him off back by your neighborhood.”

The P.O. asked her as a favor to bring up Cisco’s Facebook page to see if Cisco had been on it since Thursday. With her parents watching she pulled up the page and we found that he had left a kind of rambling note on Friday. It didn’t give us any clues but we were now reassured that Cisco was back in the neighborhood where he was most comfortable.

We left for our #2 choice; the ex-girlfriend Chrissie’s grandma’s house. Janet agreed that that would be the most likely place that he would be.

When we arrived Chrissie was not at home. We spoke with her grandma. She assured us that Cisco was not there and had not ever been there. When she heard that Cisco had walked away from a recovery facility she was very surprised and said that she would not want anyone who did drugs to visit with her granddaughter.

When the local police officer arrived to assist the P.O. in a search of Chrissie’s bedroom the grandmother said it was okay but she just needed a few minutes to tidy the room up. Her granddaughter was very sloppy and she was a little embarrassed to let anyone see it.

Despite both the P.O.’s and the Police officer’s repeated assurances that they were not offended by sloppy teenager’s rooms the grandma would not allow them in unless she was able to go in first, just for a couple of minutes. The discussion came to an end when the grandma received a call from Chrissie asking for a ride home from her girlfriend’s house.

When Sally heard who Chrissie's girlfriend was her heart jumped up and then down. I didn’t feel much better but we both knew that if we hurried Cisco would be there for sure. Chrissie was at Bambi’s house. Bambi is the biggest pill popping, pot smoking, addict in the township. Bambi is also the girl that Sally came home from work to find sleeping on our couch the day that Cisco overdosed on Robitussin and who knows what else.

We all followed grandma to the house. Sally got a sick feeling in the car and called the P.O. on the phone to tell him that she felt sure that the grandma was phoning ahead to warn them. The P.O. agreed but said let’s keep going.

When we got to Bambi’s Chrissie was already standing on the street waiting for her ride. The P.O. got grandma to roll down the window so he could talk to Chrissie. She admitted that Cisco was with her at Bambi’s but cut out early before Bambi’s stepfather got home from work.

No, she didn’t have any idea where he would go to, no, Cisco did not stay at her house the night before, no, she was not intoxicated. No, the P.O. didn’t believe her on any one of the three statements. He gave grandma his card with his phone number in case she heard anything about where Cisco was. No, he didn’t think that he would ever get a call from grandma.

The P.O. and Sally were admitted into Bambi's house with no trouble. I waited outside for the police to show up. They checked the bedrooms and even the closets. Only later they would find out how close we came to catching Cisco. Bambi was clearly intoxicated. No surprise there, except that her mom and stepdad were sitting in the living room watching TV while these kids were getting high in the bedroom. The P.O. thanked them for cooperating but was clearly annoyed that we just missed Cisco. Sally and I were also disappointed. It seemed that Sally’s intuition was correct. Someone had warned them that we were coming.

The only consolation the P.O. could offer is that we had flushed him out on a cold night. He felt that there was a lot of texting and twittering going on throughout the township warning that hiding Cisco was like posting an invitation for the police to visit your home. The last thing that Cisco’s “friends” ever want is a visit from the police.

It was after 11:00 and we debated what our next move was.

People are generally less agreeable to opening their home the later it gets. We thought of going back to grandma’s house thinking that she may have picked Cisco up a street or two away. Or Cisco could be hiding nearby, possibly in Bambi’s back yard waiting for the parents to go to bed.

Or Cisco may have headed home even though it was totally locked up. If he could get to our camping gear he would at least be more comfortable if he had to sleep in the woods.

Or Cisco may have headed for Jack’s house. We gave Jack a call. Jack assured me for the second time that night that he would not allow Cisco in his house. I believed him because I have known Jack since he and Cisco went to first grade. He cut off his friendship with Cisco anytime Cisco was using. The P.O. wasn’t sure and wanted to talk to him.

We called him and asked Jack to text Chrissie to ask her what was going on with Cisco. He called back and said that we probably missed him in Bambi’s closet. Sally assured us that she did not miss him as difficult as it was to get the door open with all of the debris on the bedroom floor. Cisco is a big kid and could not have hid in there.

The P.O. wanted to talk to Jack in person. Sally wanted to go home and go to sleep. I decided to ride sidekick with the P.O.

Go to PART 3 – Saturday at Midnight – A Time to Sit and Wait

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