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

PSST is Our Mainstay
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rocco is snuggled up for a long winter's nap and I am busy doing some last minute decorating. As I place gel snowflakes on the window pane, I start thinking about today's PSST meeting.

We had a phenomenal turnout of 24 concerned parents listening and learning as Val Ketter and Lloyd Woodward from Juvenile Probation & Kathie Tagmyer and Joclyn from Wesley Spectrum spoke. When Rocco awakes he will give a more detailed report. I just want to say that I heard a couple of my PSST ladyfriends say they are feeling sad or overwhelmed. I think that can be a typical feeling when your child is an addict and the holidays are around the corner.
You are not alone.

I remember feeling very overwhelmed last Christmas when our Cisco was at home. I played detective every day and night. I would check out his facebook and text messages and was compelled to know everything he was up to. It was very exhausting.

It turned out that we discovered that he was using again and he went back into placement on January 19th, 2010. He came home in July and used again and went back in by the end of August. He is now in detention waiting for a bed at an adult facility. I get days when I feel very sad about his addiction but I do not feel that now. Why? Because he has consistently been so 'normal' for the last twelve times when we visited him.
Last night when we visited him, he was grateful as usual. A grateful addict will not use.

It is a long journey when a family is finding their way through an addiction to that contented place called recovery. Rocco and I have attended practically every meeting at PSST for the last year and a half. It is our mainstay. Telling our story and listening to the stories of other parents is so helpful. There is complete support and sincere compassion. And we learn from one another.

Lloyd's role plays are invaluable. We pick out a scenerio that is likely to happen to a parent and a teen. And we play it out. For instance, this week we played the scene of when a parent visits a child in placement who wants to come home now and wants stamps to write to all of her friends.

The mother of the teen played her daughter, and she played her so well (including tears). This young lady really layed it on thick. How awful it was to be there. How she will miss all of her mom and dad's cooking and decorating for the holiday. Lloyd played the dad and I played the mom.

We used a few of the PSST classics:

Agree With Somethings That the Teen Says.
You can agree with the fact that it would be awful to be there. You can agree that the other clients seem shady. You can agree that you would not want to spend Christmas in such a place.
Just don't agree to take them home.

Tell the Teen They May Not Like What You Have to Say and Tell Them They May Walk Away (This works great for the Oppositional Teen)
If you state in the beginning that the teen is not going to like what you have to say and allow them to walk away when you say that you will not bring stamps to them they are probably going to sit there and listen to you.

Keep a United Front.
Even if your parenting style is not exactly the same as your spouse. Do not make this apparent to your child.

When You Take the Blame You Gain the Power.
Agree with the fact that you had something to do with getting them into the placement facility.
This realigns your relationship with your child and you now have some power.

It is so helpful that I have learned the PSST way of parenting. Even though, as of late, Cisco has consistently been grateful and mature when we visit; he wants to get out of the detention facility. It is hard to see him sit in there day after day. I can see how some parents 'cave' in this situation. Especially when your child is acting so nice and respectful.

I keep it clear in my mind that he is an addict and needs to suffer the consequences for walking away from his adult program. I guess I am a forgiving person because I never think of the things he has stolen from us in the past and the very poor behavior that he had. Maybe it is not even that I am so forgiving as much as - I simply don't want to keep thinking about negative incidences? I just have to remember it well enough so that I don't enable again.

We visited him on Friday and will do so again on Monday. I am ready for whatever he throws my way. I have my PSST skills.

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