Quote of the Week

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

COURAGE in 2012
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Friday, December 30, 2011

"What we need to overcome adversity in 2012 is a seven-letter word. Can you guess what it is?
William Ward said "Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records."
If you have it, you can slay your giants too. But first have you guessed what the seven letter word is?
Of course, it is COURAGE!
Courage challenges the unbeatable, dares the unthinkable and achieves the unattainable.
Dare to get out of bed with a positive attitude.
Dare to begin again with grace after a moral failure in your life.
Dare to back up and apologize to somebody you have hurt.
Dare to do what is right when everybody else is doing what is wrong.
Dare to dream even when life seems like an unending nightmare.
You can defeat any giant in the New Year, IF you will but have the courage to pursue your dreams!
Max Lucado said, "Concentrate on God and your giants will tumble. Focus on your giants and your feet will stumble."
excerpts from message to USMC 2/9 families from Navy Chaplain in Afghanistan 12-29-2011

Read More......

The Video "Deception":
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, December 29, 2011

Juvenile Probation partnered with The Alliance to make this video several years ago. Michael Bartlett produced and directed.

Special thanks to all the courageous individuals that made this video possible and especially Jessica, may she rest in peace.

Read More......

Don't Drink and Drive or Allow Anyone to Drink and Drive
Posted by:Rocco--Saturday, December 24, 2011

Important Public Service Announcement

Have a Very Happy Holiday Season


We posted this last December and feel it is important enough to re-post.

This link needs to be passed onto everyone who has keys to a vehicle (especially our troubled teens).

This is one of the most intense Public Service Announcements ever made.

It was made by the "Transportation Accident Commission" of Australia.

Australia should be complemented on having the courage to "Show it like it is" to all drivers and to air it on TV...it is very moving and very life like...it has a very strong impact.


Click on the full-screen view at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Read More......

Parent Alert – New Dangerous Synthetic Drugs
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, December 19, 2011

Fake Cocaine is Newly marketed as 'Cosmic Blast'
- from addictionsearch.com

Editor's Note: As we had warned previously; as quickly as authorities can outlaw these imitation drugs, the greedy manufacturers and dealers [this includes your friendly neighborhood smoke shops and convenience stores] will develop a different formula so they can keep raking in money on the backs of our families and children.

Parent Alert – New Dangerous Synthetic Drugs
- from The Alliance @ www.drug-alliance.org

New synthetic drugs are now being marketed in Pennsylvania.

A new product named, Jewelry Cleaner” (synthetic cocaine) is on the shelves of head shops and some convenience stores. It comes as a power in a vile.

Two that we know of are called Eight Ballz and Cosmic Blast.”

There are probably others. These are very dangerous chemicals and can cause hallucinations and body temperature increases up to 108 degrees.

Disguising drugs by marketing them for other use is beginning to be big business and the drug dealers continue to roll in the cash while many of our young people become sick, addicted, and sometimes die.

Drug dealers are continuously coming up with new ways to create substances that can be used to get high. Synthetic drugs like the newest version of cocaine are circulating and this one is labeled 'Jewelry Cleaner'.

Disguising drugs by marketing them for other use is beginning to be big business and the drug dealers continue to roll in the cash while many of our young people and adults become sick, addicted, and sometimes die.

The new synthetic cocaine that's circulating today is called Cosmic Blast that contains MDPV which is a hallucinogen and Naphyrone. MDVP is a designer drug that's structured similar to MDMA and is found in the dangerous bath salts that people have been abusing in the past year.

People have died using bath salts and some by taking their own lives. It's just a matter of time before the newest version of synthetic cocaine begins to take hold and destroy more lives.

Naphyrone is a crystalline white powder that can be found under the brand name MRG-1 or Energy1. Naphyrone is a stimulant drug that has similar effects to mephedrone. According to a Toxicologist Naphyrone can create changes throughout the body that last for days.

These changes in the body can cause a person's temperature to reach as high as 108 degrees. If your brain reaches temperatures that high it can fry your brain and you will never be the same.

The other form of synthetic cocaine that has made headlines for the past year is Bath Salt that's marketed under names like Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Blue Silk, and Vanilla Sky.

The dangerous fake Bath Salt also contains the hallucinogen MDVP and Mephedrone. These new designer drugs mimic the effects of cocaine and because when they first come out they're legal many of our young people want to see what they're like.

Many people have been taken to the emergency room or called poison control due to the symptoms they receive when using fake bath salts to get high.

The synthetic designer drug causes your heart rate to increase and beat rapidly, intense hallucinations are experienced, and intense paranoia sets in. Due to the paranoia and hallucinations some people have even taken their own lives.

I worry about our young people today because they're so inquisitive, trusting and naive. They don't realize that drug dealers depend on them and their curiosity to make themselves rich.

Drug dealers don't care if a young person ends up in the emergency room, if they overdose, commit suicide, causes an accident or dies.

They bank on the fact that there's a lot more young people out there just as curios, willing to take risks, and just as trusting.

All they care about is not getting caught, getting people addicted, and spending their cash.

It's sad to think that many young people will try this synthetic cocaine Cosmic Blast just to see what it's like and they'll never be the same again if they live through it.

Read More......

Request for Parent Volunteers
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, December 17, 2011

At a recent PSST meeting, Lloyd (of “What Would Lloyd Say” fame) asked for a few parent volunteers to form an informal committee to act as liaison between PSST and other organizations, such as CISP, who may seek parents to speak at a meeting, participate in a panel discussion, host a booth/table at a conference, etc. A committee member would be responsible for talking with the contact from the other group, then preparing an email and/or a short notice for the PSST blog with the details (what, where, when, why, . . .) and asking parent volunteers to help out.

In the past, Lloyd (“WWLS”) would coordinate these requests, but due to scheduled and unscheduled parent rescues, crisis interventions, mundane court paperwork, and various close-encounters of the weird kind, the requests sometimes fell through the cracks until shortly before the event, at which time Lloyd would exclaim “OH NO … (or something similar) … that event is tomorrow night …!”, then frantically call for parent help. In an effort to reduce a small amount of the stress on Lloyd (gee, hasn’t he done a lot of that for all of us?), help is needed. Any volunteers??? Please contact Brad and we will muddle through this together.

Read More......

Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, December 15, 2011


Our good friend and PSST Mentor Ken wrote a post in January 2007. He summarized what families of addicts felt as "What I Wish I Would Have Known...".


Ken, I hope that you don't mind but I am taking the liberty to re-post it as:

"What I Have Learned at PSST"

I have learned that...

...I wasn’t alone through all of this and there is a good support system out here. When I reached out and had a chance to talk with others I realized I wasn’t going crazy.

...taking care of myself is just as important as helping my addicted child recover. I had to get better so the cycle of enabling could be broken.

...Addiction occurs in any type of family. It is not just something that happens in dysfunctional families. That being a role model or even a great parent role model is not enough to stop the disease of addiction.

...the longer I wait to get help for my child to begin their recovery process the better the odds that my child will be hurt, hurt someone else, get arrested or die.

...this disease has a huge impact on the entire family; it is very important to make sure that everyone gets the help they need as soon as possible.

...it is extremely important to see that everyone involved in a child’s recovery (all parents, family members, counselors, probation officers, school officials and others) are on the same page and updated at all times. Never agree to keep secrets, not even little ones.

...there is a strong spiritual component to recovery from this disease; church can be a significant resource for me, my spouse or partner, my child and my family. Our recovery comes from faith in a Higher Power.

...I need to “Let go and Let God” as soon as I am able (the sooner the better). I cannot want someone's recovery more than they do. Recovering from the impact of addiction in the family is a process that takes time and is different for each person.

my addicted child will go toterrible lengths (lying, manipulating, stealing, violence, threats, running away and much worse) to obtain drugs. Valuables need to be removed from my child’s grasp before the family heirlooms end up in the pawnshop never to be seen again.

...there is a difference between encouraging my child and enabling my child. Enabling can result in spending hundred or thousands of dollars on drugs and replacing/repairing items over the years. I understand now that I must NEVER pay my child's fines or restitution. Even as a minor it is their personal responsibility to either pay off the their court costs or to work them off with community service.

...I enabled my child to use drugs when I lied for him, made excuses, paid his fines and protected him from other consequences. Codependency allows your heart to rule your decisions instead of your brain. You are not helping your child by protecting him from the consequences of his actions no matter what your heart tells you.

... I actual learned how to feel good about my child being in jail or placement because he was safe, warm, fed and not using drugs. If he is out on the streets or at a "friend's" house I don't know what he is getting.

...I FINALLY learned to listen to that little whisper from my heart that told me my child was using drugs. Do not dispose of, or destroy, drugs or drug paraphernalia that you find. Bag it, label it, date it and put it in a safe place where your child cannot get to it. Save it to use as evidence to get your child into the system A.S.A.P.

...I need to watch for the standard warning signs: dropping grades, withdrawal from sports and school activities, disappearance of old friends (the “good kids”), new friends who have first names only, no parental contact, missing items (i.e. DVD players, video games, cameras, jewelery) increased secret activities, not being where they told you they were, sneaking out...etc...and act on them.

...I need to step up and be the parent, not my child's BFF. He will hate me for a time, and will let me know it in many ways, and that is okay. I will do whatever it takes to keep him alive and clean and I will let him know that in many ways.

…this IS NOT “Just a Phase”, NOT "Just marijuana",NOT "Just alcohol", or NOT "Just an adolescent right of passage.” Understand how to distinguish between normal teenage behavior and drug related behavior.

...I accept that drugs are available in ALL communities and schools (lower, middle and upper class - Drug Dealers are Equal Opportunity Destroyers). Unfortunately most parents, are Ignorant of the drug problem with a capital “I” in our community and schools. We need to educate ourselves about street drugs, their potency and symptoms of use, as well as the potential for the abuse of prescription drugs, over the counter medicines and other chemicals that we have in our homes.

...I need to listen to the clues given by teachers and the school principal. Many people knew or suspected my child’s drug use before it was acknowledged at home.

...drugs are literally everywhere including churches, schools, recovery meetings, rehabilitation centers and places of employment.

...I will not waste my time having long circular arguments with my child. When they tell me that I cannot give them one good reason for my decision(s) I will agree with them. "You're right! I could explain my reasons until I turn blue and you would never get my logic. So I will not waste our time. Thanks so much for pointing that out, you really know me better than I thought."

...even when I tried to make my child safe by “grounding” them that drugs could easily be “delivered” to the house.

...when they will not take a simple "No" for an answer I will use the PSST Ask Me Again Method.

"Can I go out?"

"No, but listen, this is the fourth time that you ask so I know it is really important to you to keep asking, so go ahead and ask me again."

"Huh? Can I go out?

"No, but if you really need to, please, feel free to ask me again."

"Oh, I get it, that's more of that PSST $#%@ again. You guys are like $@#% zombies or something..."

...no matter how much I loved my child, how much I cried, how much I hurt, how much I bribed, how much I punished, I couldn’t make my child stop using drugs.

...I know now and accept that treatment is not a one-shot deal and it is not a cure.

...recovery from addiction is a really long process (sorry to say but it can be years not months) and that after abstaining from drug use it takes an addict a long time for my child to catch up with their peers intellectually and socially even though they want so much to be normal.

...all recovery meetings are not the same and I need to shop around to find the right program for my child. I now realize that I know my child better than anyone else and I have a right and a voice in their recovery process. I am my child's best advocate. I will stand up for them when they are accepting their recovery and do everything I can to get them the help they need when they are using.

...to never gave up on my child. Recovery takes time. “Just for today” are watchwords. What a difference the years make! There is not a good reason to give up hope (discouragement and anger are part of the process - use outside resources to help yourself - do not try to get through this on your own).

...I can challenged the educational professionals at school more. There is a truant officer at some schools to support efforts to keep your child in school but you have to ask. There are alternative education programs and other resources at schools that you are paying for but you have to ask.

...I can Question the doctors and the experts more. Addiction can masquerade as depression. The age of your child is an issue in treatment. Techniques that work well with a 23-year old may not be appropriate for a 13-year old.

...I can Learn about Act 53, a government funded program to involuntarily court order a child into treatment without a criminal record. File for Act 53 A.S.A.P.

...I am not afraid to contact Juvenile Probation authorities and file charges against my child. Getting him into "the system" can give you the support that you need to get him the help that he needs to begin his recovery. Yes he WILL meet other users, drug dealers and thieves but guess what? He already is best friends with other users, drug dealers and thieves - check his cell phone contacts regularly.

...that cell phones are drug paraphernalia and my child does not need a cell phone. My child has access to numerous cell phones anytime he wants to manipulate - er, um, that is - contact me. If for some reason they have to have a cell phone I have the right to read text messages and check contacts on a regular basis and have a right to confiscate the phone at any time (even if they paid for it). I do not allow drug paraphernalia in my home and I will save the text messages and contact numbers as evidence to file charges against my child.

...any access to the internet is to allowed ONLY under my close supervision when I allow it (this includes cell phones, I-Pads and X-Box Live). Your child may need access to the internet for a school project but you have a right to observe them while they are on the internet (They can access drug purchases including K-2, how to beat drug test and how to use other mind altering substances for example).

...I know that drug tests can be manipulated. Go ahead and type it into Google.

...that there are other parents going through exactly what I am going through and they are willing to listen to me, help me and support me at PSST.

Read More......

Delicious Ambiguity - By Sally
Posted by:Sally--Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Delicious Ambiguity - By Sally


On Monday the Fifth of December Rocco and I kept our promise to Cisco.

Cisco has been living at home since October 17th. He is holding down a full time job and seemed to be getting it, however, the weekend preceding that Monday Cisco went to a bonfire and relapsed.

With Rocco's quiet and unfaltering strength we were able to keep our promise....

...We had told Cisco (19 years old) before he re-entered our home from placement that he cannot stay in our house and use drugs or alcohol. After a couple of days of discussion and planning Cisco let us know that he needed his freedom to "do it his way". He could not live under our house rules. So Rocco asked Cisco to pack his bags. Rocco offered Cisco a ride to Resolve, back to his halfway house or 'where ever'. He gave Cisco a medical card, his bus pass and a hug and Cisco was gone.

The interesting and hopeful thing about this is our ability to detach from working Cisco's recovery. I think letting go was easier for me because Rocco handled all the tough stuff. I kept myself busy with other things. Rocco worked from home all that Monday and dealt with Cisco. Luckily, it was a busy time for me at the office and I kept focused. I also had a paper to write for a college course so I immersed myself in that.

This is the first time in five years that I changed my priorities. Cisco's addiction and/or recovery always was number one. In the past, I never was able to focus on a critically informed paper well enough to receive an excellent grade. Now I can.

I am hopeful because I truly know what "Detaching with Love" means. I have spoken to Cisco this week but I am not enabling him. As far as I know he is clean. Cisco has all the tools and contacts that he needs to stay clean; he now needs the desire. The desire not just to stay clean; Cisco needs the desire to work his recovery. There is a significant difference.

I am certain that if Rocco did not ask him to leave.... he would have stayed here and spiraled downward.

It is rather ironic after five years of counseling, placements and therapy that he needs to lose the comfort and safety of his home to stay clean and find his own way on the road to his recovery.

He still has his job and he is living one day at a time.

"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Radner

Read More......

Valerie Ketter named Supervisor of the Year for Allegheny County Juvenile Probation!
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Valerie and her supervisor, Mary Hatheway on 12-13-11
 after receiving Allegheny County Supervisor of the Year!

Some would say this is long overdue. Parents who attend PSST regularly would be some of the ones saying it! I'm sure that those of us that work for Valerie and work with her are the other ones.

Without Valerie's commitment to PSST there would be no PSST. She did more than set this parent support/ education program as a priority in her unit, she rolled up her sleeves and jumped in to help. She not only attends almost every meeting but she works tirelessly with any desperate parents who wander through the PSST doors hoping against hope that finally someone somewhere can do something to put the brakes on their teenager's slide to destruction.

When Valerie first became a Supervisor and transferred to the Drug and Alcohol Unit of Eastern District Probation PSST was in it's infancy stage. In fact, PSST was more of an idea than a reality. We had started monthly meetings and we had a handful of parents interested, but they didn't all show up all at the same time. Back then, (about eight years ago) three parents and two Probation Officers was a big meeting.

You might even say that PSST was born prematurely. We didn't have any funding. We had only a handful of parents interested. And most importantly we didn't have any time to really make this idea a reality. Lloyd Woodward was about to pull the life supports on baby PSST and admit that it was a good idea, but one whose time had not yet come.

Valerie changed all that. She thought this baby was more than worth the time. She thought it could be a critical never-before offered service for Allegheny County and by making PSST a priority project, it could end up saving lives. She never doubted that PSST was well worth the time and effort. Her enthusiasm was contagious right from the start!

I recall having this conversation with my new supervisor:

Lloyd: I don't think we can keep PSST going.

Val: Why not?

Lloyd: Well, for one thing I just don't have the time this project deserves. I'm trying to put all my extra time into it now, but I just don't seem to have much extra time.

Val: Well, that's what we need to change.

Lloyd: Excuse me?

Val: I just don't think we do this on "extra time" because obviously you don't have any extra time, do you?

Lloyd: Ah, no, I don't.

Val: Well then.

Lloyd: Well then what?

Val: Well then, we have to make this kind of project a higher priority and maybe some other things have to wait while this gets done.

Lloyd: Oh.

There was kind of a pause here and I must have had a troubled look on my face.

Val: Something else bothering you?

Lloyd: Well, yes.

Val: What?

Lloyd: I never planed on being the only group facilitator. I wanted to share it with another Probation Officer, preferably a female officer. I think it is ideal to offer both a man and a women as group facillitators since we'll be having both mothers and fathers attending. Anyway, I just lost my partner. You know, she transferred out leaving me in the lurch.

Val: That's no problem.

Lloyd: It's not?

Val: Not at all! I'll be happy to do it.

Lloyd: You?

Val: Yes, me of course.

Lloyd: A Supervisor?

Val: Do you have a problem with that?

Lloyd: Well, no not as far as it goes.

Val: What do you mean by that? [looking straight hard at me as if I might have offended her.]

Lloyd: Well, it's just that the meetings are on Saturday Mornings, and I don't think Supervisors work on Saturdays do they?

Val: I do.

Lloyd: You do?

Val: Yes, I would happy to come in on the weekend for a cause like this.

Lloyd: Well.

Val: Well what?

Lloyd: Well it's settled then.

And boy was it settled. My initial skepticism evaporated as Valerie Ketter became a working Saturday Morning Supervisor and, in fact, since then she has rarely missed a meeting.

I could not have predicted the impact that having a supervisor at our meetings would make. It spoke volumes to the parents about how important this project was to Juvenile Probation.

Soon it became apparent that part of PSST'S growing success was not just because we had "a supervisor" at our meetings but because the supervisor was Valerie Ketter. She not only brought with her an impressive background, having worked for years as a Counselor at Cornell Abraxas Center for Adolescent Females (an inpatient drug treatment facility) but she had also been a School-based Probation Officer at Shaler Area High School. As such she was no stranger to teenagers with drug problems. Valerie was a big hit with Shaler Area High because she routinely loaded up a van with probationers and transported them from the school to the local Police Department for drug tests.

Another big plus was that Valerie Ketter understood our Juvenile Court system. No doubt her commanding encyclopedic knowledge of Juvenile Probation made her a good selection for Probation Supervisor. Now, it made her the perfect coach for PSST parents. Of course, Valerie could do more than just coach. She could move things along for parents "in between" meetings, especially if the parents were frustrated with the pace or the direction of their teenager's case.

Empowerment of parents has from the beginning has been a primary goal of PSST. It soon became apparent that nothing empowered parents like knowing that they had Supervisor Valerie Ketter on their side and that she would do everything she could to see that PSST parents had the best chance to save their drug-addicted teenager's life.

It seems like these last seven years have gone by so fast. We have grown to where not three parents, but 24 parents, two Juvenile Probation staff and one or two Wesley-Spectrum In-home therapists make up a big meeting. Now our partnership with Wesley-Spectrum in the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Unit is taken-for-granted because it's such a brilliant match. But back in the day, it was my supervisor who was always clamoring:

Valerie: Have you referred that case to Wesley-Spectrum yet?

Lloyd: Not yet.

Valerie: You're not going to wait until you're ready to close it are you?"

But back before we even had this blog we had something else. Valerie Ketter was determined that we would send a letter out before each meeting to PSST and to prospective PSST parents. These letters NEVER would have gotten sent out without Valerie Ketter reminding me, "Lloyd, we have to print and get that letter out today! C'mon! I'll help you fold and seal the envelopes. Now make sure it doesn't go over two pages!"

Many of those early letters were typed into this blog by Ken Sutton, the parent who started this blog and who apparently saved every letter. Later, when the blog started taking off the old two-page letters fell by the wayside (can you imagine me keeping something I write to two pages!).

In summary, without the driving force and enthusiasm of Supervisor Ketter, baby PSST would never have gotten off of life-support.

Well, our baby outgrew the life-supports and as you readers know, we are no longer the best kept secret in Allegheny County. People we run into all over the state are envious of PSST and are always asking "How the heck can we start something like this?" I always answer that question with another question: "Do you have any supervisors that will work Saturday mornings?"

Finally, Valerie Ketter's contributions and skills will no longer be one of Allegheny Counties best kept secrets either! I wish to congratulate Supervisor Valerie Ketter for her much deserved Supervisor of the Year Award and on behalf of PSST parents and teenagers everywhere whose lives you have helped save, THANK YOU SUPERVISOR KETTER!


Read More......

Let's Sing About Losing Friends Who Still Get High ~ by Jessica
Posted by:Sally--Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Sing About Losing Friends Who Still Get High ~ by Jessica

We are planning Herman's return from placement, and the need to change people, places and things is very important, Just today one of his best "friends" asked one of his siblings when he will be coming home. It seems like he is still pining for Herman after all this time, He still must not realize that he can no longer be in Herman's life. I was hoping that this old friend could find somebody new to get high with, and leave Herman alone !! ;-)

I was in the car, when the song "Someone Like You" by Adele came on. I am not sure if you heard it, but it's about breaking up, moving on.... AND FINDING SOMEONE NEW.

Click Here to go to a YouTube of " Someone Like You" by Adele

Well, my answer to life's dilemmas is to write a song about it, So here goes my remake (parody) of Someone Like You. I wrote it from the using friend's perspective to my son who is starting his recovery.

Someone Like You

I heard that you've settled down
That you found recovery and your clean now
I heard that your pee's clean too
Guess rehab gave you things, I couldn't give to you

Old friend, why don't you get high ?
Ain't like you to hold back, you partying guy

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it

I had hoped you'd see my face
and that you'd be reminded that for me,it isn't over

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but some "fun" for you, too...

Don't forget me I beg
I remember you said, sometimes you have to change your places, things and friends
Sometimes you have to change your places, things and friends.

You know how the time flies
Only yesterday getting high was our lives

We were daily baked in a "Grade A" haze
Bound by the surprise, of your placement days.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it

I had hoped you'd see my face
and that you'd be reminded that for me , it isn't over

Never mind I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but that you'd get high too

Don't forget me I beg
I remember you said, "my home contract doesn't list you as my friend"
Your home contract doesn't list me as your friend.

You say nothing compares, no worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes, they're amends to make

Who could have known how bittersweet your recovery would taste to me

Never mind, I'll find someone like you.

The End

Read More......

PSST Will Not Be the Same - Without YOU, Val Ketter
Posted by:Sally--Wednesday, December 07, 2011


I believe that every parent at our PSST meetings feel as I do about the announcement that Val Ketter will not be attending the PSST meetings anymore:

Val's insight is so precise and her knowledge so valuable that we already feel the loss. Her strength and encouragement will be greatly missed.

We love ya!

Val Ketter, We will always remember and never forget all that YOU have done to help our situation.

Thank You,


Read More......

Verse Which Describes This PSST Mom's Behavior by Violet
Posted by:Sally--Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Below is a quote from a song by the Police...

...I thought it demonstrates my behavior through my son’s addiction.

[ and being from the Police...how appropriate ]

Every single day...
Every word you say...
Every game you play...
Every night you stay…

~ Violet

Read More......

Take Me In
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, December 05, 2011

Type rest of the post here

Read More......

Thanksgiving, Weed & Frustration - By Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving, Weed & Frustration

An update from Wilma....

On Monday we went to court for Bam's ACT 53 and pre-conference on the criminal charges. I had found out the week before that a bed had been found for Bam based on everything that was happening he could be placed for further treatment.

I was surprised as I thought his judge would never approve placement as Bam had just recently come home from the D.A.S. program. However, since we got the recommendation from the dual diagnosis program the bed was canceled.

With the ACT 53 we have to rely on our own insurance. With an outpatient recommendation the insurance most likely would not approve in-patient at least not until Bam tries the out-patient therapy with medication management component.

I really think Bam Bam needs to be in placement away from this community and was feeling awful that I had worked like a dog to find him the dual diagnosis program and get them to give him a chance, that was recommended for him by his former psychiatrist and the outpatient eval he had had.

I feel like I put the wrench in what he really needs with something that, at least based on past history, he will not follow through. Now he is staying home and its very stressful with him here.

Everyone including the judge let Bam Bam know this was his last chance-he needs to continue in school, take his scheduled S.A.T.'s, go to meetings, stay away from people, places, things, get a job, go to PD office for a lawyer...

...his case was continued to January.

After the hearing we met with probation, filled out some paper work and then (with Bam arguing he didn't want to do this TODAY) went to the P.D.'s office for a lawyer. Bam told us he wanted a private attorney and we informed him NO WAY - we are the ones pressing charges!

How was he planning to pay for it?? What world is he in???

I had seen text messages on his phone with him sending the message "Need Any?" Hmm, wonder what this means.

Tuesday morning Fred found a neat stack of empty baggies on top of our garbage cans. What could these be for?

Bam claims no knowledge. However, he was the one who took the garbage cans to the end of the driveway and had been out for a short time with a friend the night before. Suspicious but as Fred said not evidence of anything.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day - Bam gets picked up by a friend and is gone less than an hour. When he returns home we tell him to empty his pockets. At first he refuses but we tell him we are not leaving his room until he empties the pockets. I turn Miss Margarock's (from Bedrock Manor) phrase back to him to "bunny ear" his pockets. We even said take off the shorts and we would search them. Finally, Bam empties his pockets and lo and behold an individually wrapped package of weed (it was in a shrink wrapped package) and in his wallet a larger baggie of weed.

Bam's explanation is that he's holding it for some kids and the smaller package was for his cousin (who is himself on probation for possession) that we would be seeing later in the day.

He remains calm and I take the weed. I don't want to leave it in the house so I take it the local police station where I'm told they can't arrest Bam as they would have to find the weed on him. The cop said he believed my story of where it came from but that he could only write a report and will keep the weed in the evidence locker. He said that even if we would have called them to our home the police would still have had to find the weed on Bam Bam to do anything about it. The police officer did say though that if there had been more of the individual packages that would have looked more like Bam was intending to sell and would be a felony.

So, at least the weed is out of my house and I don't have to worry about Bam breaking the house apart looking for it. Bam Bam tells us now he owes people money and that we are going to have to pay. I don't think so.

So, now we wait for January. Bam doesn't want to go away again but less than a week after being in court he sure doesn't seem like he is ready to follow the rules laid out for him.

And January seems like a long way away.


Read More......

Thoughts from Joan
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 20, 2011

The below advice is excerpted from a newsletter email sent by consultant/author/coach, Nancy Stampahar, www.silverliningsolutions.com.

While this addresses the general adult population, not just parents, it echoes so much of our PSST coaching that I thought I’d share it with you. For example, while Nancy advises that we ask ourselves: "What would make me most happy and fulfilled?”. PSST advises that we ask “What would I be comfortable with?

As I reflect upon things I am thankful for, high on my list comes the support of PSST parents, and that of Lloyd, Val, Kathie, Justin and their colleagues with Wesley Spectrum and Allegheny County Juvenile Probation.

Happy Thanksgiving!



The crazy, hustle-bustle holiday season is approaching.

By learning how to occasionally say "no" and treating each other with respect, you can take control of the demands at work and home you are facing. You must learn how to not fret over your own feelings of guilt, fears of rejection or possible repercussions. You can still be helpful and considerate of others, but you must take care of yourself first. Before you respond to someone, ask yourself, "What would make me most happy and fulfilled?" Once you develop assertive communication skills, you will be able to effectively handle difficult people and awkward situations.

Aggressive Communication Looks Like This:

"This is what you're going to do and you have no say in the matter." Too many dominating, overbearing behaviors surface and push people away or into submission. The aggressive person lacks self-esteem and acts out of fear to control people and situations. Unfortunately, most people get turned off and don't want to be around this type of person because they are too disrespectful and demanding.

Passive Communication Looks Like This:

"Whatever you ask, I'll do it whether I want to or not." Too many unwanted yes's build up resentment and passive-aggressive behaviors can surface. The passive person lacks self-worth and self-respect. Unfortunately, the word of a passive person cannot be trusted because they are not open and honest about their feelings, needs or opinions.

Assertive Communication Looks Like This:

"I know that this is important to you. This is also important to me. Let's talk about some options that are fair to both of us." Respectful, healthy behaviors evolve. This healthy, mature style says, "I hear you. You matter, and I matter too."

7 Tips to Say "No" and Assert Yourself Today

Become self-aware of your communication and behavior patterns. What is consistently happening in your life? How do these patterns affect you?

Evaluate the reasons you feel the need to please or control everyone.

Realize the goal of assertive communication is to express your thoughts and boundaries while being direct, honest and respectful of others.

Realize it is necessary and okay to say "no" sometimes and to ask questions.

Example for Anyone: "I see why this is important to you. I am unable to help this time. Let 's try to figure out some other possible solutions that could work."

Example for Boss: "This is what is on my plate right now. Which one of these priorities would you prefer I remove to accommodate your request?"

Example for Anyone: "I'd love to join you but my schedule is already full that week. Please keep me in mind the next time. Have fun."

If you do not address your own unique needs, your frustrations will build, you will feel taken for granted and your performances and relationships will suffer. As Dr. Phil says, "We teach people how to treat us." It is up to you to face the fears and guilt you carry from your disease to please. Find your courage to change and grow. When you stop feeling guilty and seeking approval of others, your days will be fueled by positive energy, confidence and self-respect. You will feel empowered and in control of your life because you utilized your power of choice. You hold the power.

Enjoy the season and assert yourself today!

To you,

Read More......

Wilma Waits
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 20, 2011


Well, it's been 23 days since Bam Bam came home from the Quarry Rock DAS program. And we are on the roller coaster with all of the loops.

The first week home Bam Bam had an evaluation at an outpatient rehab facility. Initially the therapist was recommending an Intensive Outpatient Program (I.O.P.) treatment. However, after consulting with colleagues it was determined he needs a dual diagnosis program because of his aggression and other mental health problems. This in addition to the drug addiction, so no treatment for him at the rehab facility.

Now, in July I did find a dual dx therapist for Bam but he didn't like her and he refused to return! Now what! I had already been through the (short) list from our primary insurance and now we have to START OVER!

I really felt I wasn't up for this task and thought maybe Bam Bam could tackle this himself since after all he is over 13 years old and can make these decisions himself. However, it was recommended that I try and get an appointment set up for him.

So on the 11th day home I call everyone on the list that the outpatient facility had given me and even called the insurance to see what they could come with.

So after coming up with NOTHING(programs only had dual dx for adults, not participating with our insurance, etc) I was ready to go to work when I get a phone call from from the director of the facility where my son's psychiatrist is with the news that his doctor is dropping him.

Now, no doctor to monitor Bam Bam on his SIX psychiatric medications. And one of the medications was supposed to be tapered off. I was devastated.

The doctor from Quarry Rock had agreed to maintain Bams meds until we find another doctor. I had tried in July to get him a different adolescent psychiatrist who participates with our primary insurance and could find none.

Once I pulled myself together I contacted the insurance again as now we are in desperate need for a psychiatrist. I insisted that he needs a physician who specializes in adolescent co-existing disorders and they had NONE. I made the decision to go out of network so that Bam Bam could at least be evaluated by a local adolescent dual diagnosis program.

This same day, Bam's 11th day home, as he was leaving the house I asked to see what was in his back pack. I found a water bottle filled with alcohol, a state store bag and receipt for vodka. Fred told me to look at the bright side that is was "only alcohol!!!" Doesn't he get that mixing alcohol with Bam's medications can be deadly?!!

Day 21 Bam Bam's evaluation at the Dual Diagnosis program - After many wrinkles they agree to treat him. However, the recommendation was for only 1 day a week but it's better than nothing.

17 days after coming home Bam admits to me that he relapsed by smoking weed.

18 days after coming home Fred gets a text message from Bam's friend Eddie that we need to take Bam to the hospital as Bam had texted Eddie that he took 50 Benadryl. I checked on Bam and he denied taking anything. He said that he was upset as he and Eddie were on the outs. He did not appear to have taken anything and told me he had been making that up.

Bam had posted on twitter that he overdosed. This time, he was trying to get attention by lying about overdosing.

During these past weeks I have suspected him of using, figuring he was drinking and smoking weed but now I'm thinking he might have added over the counter pills to his repertoire.

I am worried because he is also on those SIX legitimate medications. This past month I have also found text messages on his phone making arrangements to purchase alcohol and weed. I just saw yesterday that he texted to one of his friends that he sold some drug but he wasn't specific.

This last week Fred also caught Bam cheeking his med's and Bam said he was going to throw them away. Of course I don't believe this as I know some of this stuff can bring Bam some ready cash which Bam always is need of.

He continues to hang out with his old friends and doesn't attend meetings.

Now in the midst of all of this negative stuff Bam did find out all of the information needed to schedule himself for the S.A.T.'s. He applied to one college and even had a job interview this week. He observes his curfew and has only missed two days of school. He claimed he was sick but I'm not buying it.

Luckily we have court on Monday and hopefully his ACT 53 stays open and we have a pre-hearing conference on his criminal charges.

He continues to demonstrate that he cannot live at home and stay clean and out of trouble. He will have another chance to turn things around so we will see what he does with it.

So again we wait....

Read More......

What is YOUR Thought or Action TODAY?
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Monday, November 14, 2011

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny."


As parents of teens who are abusing substances, every conscious decision we make TODAY (whether it be keeping a secret for our teens, excusing an infraction of preset family rules/contracts, or choosing to look the other way while thinking your teen is just sowing their wild oats, etc.) will affect your future and the future of your teen (substance abuse ends in two ways: Recovery or Death).

Are you a parent who is being manipulated, lied to, verbally (or even worse - physically) abused by a teen who you suspect is abusing alcohol and drugs?

Learn techniques and skills at a PSST meeting to communicate with your teen and quite possibly, save their life.

Read More......

Sally and Rocco’s Handy Healthy Household Reminders
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, November 07, 2011

Holiday Clean-up Time is Here

This weekend Sally and I were doing our fall clean-up and getting the house ready for the fast approaching holidays.

I was just taking my fifth or sixth load of leaves down the driveway when the fireplace clean-out caught my eye. I couldn’t resist taking a look inside of it. This used to be one of Cisco’s favorite hiding places for his stuff. I am happy to report that I found nothing except ashes and cobwebs.

Another of his favorite places to hide his stuff, early on, was in a tin box in a hollow tree in the woods behind our house. It may have been that the elves were manufacturing something besides cookies but I am pretty certain that it was Cisco.

We recently converted Cisco’s downstairs bedroom into an office and we remembered finding stuff in his mattress, in the heater vent and, in one of his more clear thinking and honest moments, he pulled his boxing gloves off of the hook in his room. He reached inside and pulled out a pipe. He handed it to Sally telling her “I knew you guys would never look in here.”

It is time for another: Sally and Rocco’s Handy Healthy Household Reminders - households with teenage users that is.

Holiday Clean-up Time is Here
As you are cleaning up (that would be redding up for all of yinz Pittsburghers n’at) for the holidays be sure you also clean out all of your teenager’s stuff so that you can really enjoy them.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: DO NOT DISPOSE of any drugs, alcohol, K2 or any paraphernalia you find. Put it in a plastic bag with a note of where and when you found it and keep it as evidence. Lock it in a safe place - ask a trusted family member or friend to keep it or, if possible, ask your local police to keep it for you. I kept my evidence in a locked file drawer in my office.
I clearly marked it and notified my Admin Assistant what it was in case someone else discovered it.

In addition to checking the usual places like in their clothes/shoes, in their mattress, in the fireplace clean-out and in their drawers be sure to give their closet a thorough going over. Check for baggies duct-taped to the bottoms / backs of drawers, under tables and desks and on top of door frames. Look inside stereo speakers, TV and VCR cabinets, cell phones, computers, cassette cases (any kind of tin or plastic case is good for hiding odors) and inside of any cushions while you are dusting and polishing.

A few other interesting spots our bright little scamps like to stash their stash are:
(thanks to the PSST Parents and our readers who submitted these clever places)

- Under the trash liners in the garbage cans

- In arm of the couch or chair

- Inside their piggy banks. Very clever because when you'd shake the bank it still jingles

- In a hole in the wall covered with a poster (also check for holes above the doors in closets and crawl spaces)

- Inside a smoke detector

- In a box of Tampons

- In empty video game cases and empty cigar holders [while cleaning look for tobacco from hollowed out cigars, baggies, dryer sheets, plastic straws, rubber tubing, wrench sockets, empty soda/juice bottles, pipes, duct or electrical tape and other paraphernalia in their rooms]

- Inside books and empty food or drink containers or
water bottles

- Inside of backpacks and gym bags (many PSST Parents insist on a backpack check before a “friend” brings them into their home.

- In a watch case

- In a Texas Hold'em tin

- Inside a hat / hat band

- Taped to the bottoms of beds and inside mattresses / box springs

- Inside musical instruments and their carrying cases

- Inside VHS / CD / DVD / video game cases

- In their shoes [look inside of the sole or the tongue]. They can buy shoes with compartments already in them.

- In the air condition / furnace vents and returns

- Inside cameras and camera cases

- In the hollow tube that supports a bicycle seat

- Behind the coin holder in the car

- Inside of flashlights in place of the batteries or in any other battery compartment

- Taped to the top of a ceiling fan

- Inside of make up cases /compacts / lipstick tubes / mouthwash bottles / breath mint containers

- Inside remote control cars

- Inside bed posts

- Taped in and under toilet tanks, vanities and sinks

- In flip rings and lockets

- Inside pens and mechanical pencils

- In baby powder, body powder and perfume containers

- Taped to the back of a poster / picture

- In coffee mugs (you can buy them with false bottoms)

- In stash pockets, clothes seams, coat linings

- In wallets/purses

- In contact lens cases

- In dropped ceiling tiles, light fixtures and door /window frames

Of course you can go onto the internet and find a whole lot of information on these and other hiding places.

REMEMBER: If you find ANY any drugs, alcohol, K2 or any paraphernalia - DO NOT DISPOSE OF THEM - Tag them / Bag them / Lock them in a safe place for evidence.


If you have any other hiding spots your teen used please respond in the comment section below or send your response to sallyservives@gmail.com


Read More......

“Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop” Feeling by Jim and Cheryl
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 06, 2011

The "Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop" Feeling

As Andy continues in his current court ordered placement, Cheryl and I are very pleased with his progress. His letters home are very upbeat, containing good news for the week…and also very neat penmanship. He was chosen to participate in a SMRC, where they visit and help with taking elderly residents at the local senior care facility to church on Sundays.

Andy’s weekly five minute phone calls are very pleasant. He’s very polite and positive. During this week’s call he had several pieces of good news: he was selected as the program's “client of the week”; he was selected to participate in the L.E.A.P. (Leadership Experiential Adventure Program), he is about to receive his Level 2 and he is taking the SAT's on Saturday.

After four plus years of some ups and mostly downs with Andy, all of this good news should be a parents’ dream come true (and we are happy for him), but why can’t I shake the nagging feeling that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Andy’s past track record is to be on his best behavior for about three months before going into a self destruct mode. We have gotten our hopes up so many times in the past, only to have them dashed when his behavior “crashes and burns” in self sabotage.

Will we, as parents who love him unconditionally, ever get back to the point of trusting our son? Trust that Andy is telling the truth? Trust that he is clean and sober? Trust that he is obeying all laws? I feel guilty for the self defense mechanism that I’ve developed to guard against the hurt of behavior let down and lawless activity. Will these emotional callouses ever be removed and let us live a family life with some level of normalcy?

We certainly hope so, but there’s that damn other shoe!

Read More......

Parent Improvement written by 17 year-old recent grad of Outside In
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, November 05, 2011

Page One

I want to share this well-written essay with all of you. This young man at first declined to write this essay pointing out to me that he really just needed to focus on himself, not on anybody else. I ask to consider doing it as a favor to me and then he was happy to do it. I think he put some real thought into this assignment, which was "What advice to you have for parents who are struggling with teenagers who have a drug problem."

I think it is better to read this in his own handwriting, so I am putting four links in this post, one to each page of this young man's essay. By the way, I did not discuss with him what he would write. This is all his own thinking and put in his own words.

Read More......

PSST for Today
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, November 04, 2011

Reading the quote of the week "Just For Today" made me think of something similar. PSST for today.

1. PSST for today I will not yell at my teenagers. If they yell at me, I will take an inch of their space, lower my voice, talk slower. I will deescalate not escalate.

2. PSST for today I will make it my business to find part of what my teenager says that I can agree with and tell him that I agree. PSST for today I will PSSTwist that agreement to my own talking points.

3. PSST for today I will not reward any behavior that I would like to extinguish. If my teenager is pushy, loud, or manipulative when he asks for something the answer will be NO. When I see behavior I like I will pay attention and find a way, not always a material way, to reward that behavior.

4. PSST for today when my teenager harasses me repeatedly to give in on something that I already said 'no' to, I will tell him that I get it that he just 'needs' to keep asking. I will invite him to ask me as much as he wants right now, and get all the harassment over with. "No, but ask me again," I might say after each harassment.

5. PSST for today I will remember that when I'm saying 'No,' power words such as 'Nevertheless' and 'Regardless' are my best friends. They keep me on track and help me not to be distracted from the real issue.

6. PSST for today I will not argue with or 'debate' my teenager.

7. PSST for today I will try to really listen to what my teenager is saying. I may not agree, but it is my job to show him that I pay attention to what he says.

8. PSST for today I will try to present situations or problems to my teenager designed to help me build new trust. I know that people change, and when my teenager starts changing I want to be their to support him and ready to allow more trust when it is earned.

9. PSST for today, if I do not believe that my teenager can be trusted to go where he says he is going, to do what he says he is going to do, then I will tell him to stay home where I can supervise him. I will let him know that by accepting this gracefully he is starting the process of trusting again.

10. PSST for today I will not keep secrets for my teenager if it is significant to his recovery or his probation. PSST for today I will remember that secrets keep us sick.

11. PSST for today I will hold my teenager accountable. I may hate to be the bad guy, but PSST for today I will remember that my teenager needs me to be his parent, not his friend. PSST for today I will remember that when he is older hopefully we can be friends.

12. PSST for today I will remember to set a good example. PSST for today I will remember that my teenager may defiantly refuse to do what I tell him but he will never fail to imitate me. PSST for today I will model an adult who is like someone that I want my teenager to grow up to be:  honest, law-abiding, caring and able to be free from substance abuse.  

13.  PSST for today I will model an adult who is able to pursue happiness, which may include having interests and hobbies that I feel passionate about, a career that I am proud of, or friends that I care about. PSST for today I will let my teenager know that I am more than just a parent and that even if my teenager is in placement or inpatient, life for me goes on.

 14.  PSST for today I will try not to ask my teenager "Why." PSST for today I know that I will get more information from him by asking him questions like, "What was that like for you," What would it be like for you if", "Tell me about how that whole thing happened." PSST for today I will remember that open-ended questions are more effective and help me get to know my teenager better. PSST for today I will remember that "Why" tends to make people defensive and makes teenagers shut down.

PSST for today I will use good strong body language, direct eye-contact and say things like I mean them. PSST for today i will mean what I say and back up what I say with actions.

16. PSST for today I will place safety as my first priority. PSST for today, I will remember that drugs and alcohol kill and PSST for today I will take whatever actions I deem are necessary to keep my teenager safe.

17. PSST for today I will remember that taking some action is better than taking no action. PSST for today I will allow myself reasonable time to make a decision, time to ask for suggestions from people whose opinions matter, but within a reasonable time I will make a decision and take action commensurate to that decision. PSST for today, I will remind myself that teenagers don't listen to what I say, they listen to what I do.

18. PSST for today I will allow myself the freedom to change my mind, especially if new information is available. "Oops, Sorry but I'm just going to change my mind about that."

19. PSST for today when my son is frustrated and tells me to "go away or I will lose it", I will respect his need for some personal time & space. However I will also assert myself by saying "You're right, it would be better to talk about this later."

20. PSST for today I will strive to be consistent.

21. PSST for today I will try to remember to compliment my teenager when they do something right. We sometimes get so wrapped up in our personal resentment / fear that we forget that they are trying to improve themselves.

22. PSST for today I will accept, maybe even embrace, that my child who is an addict hates me (for now) - I know that I am doing the right thing and I can wait for them to thank me at a later date (if ever) - For now I know they are alive.

23 PSST for today I will take my time to give my teen an answer. If possible I will consult with my spouse (even if they are a step-parent) or someone I trust before I give my answer. They will need to learn to be patient and not expect an instant yes or no.

Please leave a comment especially if you can add to this PSST for Today ideas.

Read More......

Dealing with O.D. and Death
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dealing with O.D. and Death

Someone very close to us just lost a cousin to an overdose last week. This of course brings mixed feelings of sorrow and anger, of release and guilt, of "I told you so" and of "why?" Many of us at PSST have been touched by the death of someone due to an overdose, an accident while under the influence or by suicide.

It makes the assertion "Well, it is only marijuana / alcohol / K2 / whatever... " ring very hollow.

Following is a condensed version of an article on Death by Overdose by Dr. Abraham Twerski. Much of what he says can also be applied to dealing with a loved one's addiction.

As Dr. Twerski notes: There is a mixture of intense anger and guilt. Why did he/she use drugs? Why didn’t he/she accept help when it was offered? How could he/she have done this?

To read the entire article click on the title below:

Reacting to O.D. by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

"It is natural that when one has lived to a ripe old age and passes on, that the grief can be assuaged by sharing memories.

It is totally different when parents mourn the loss of a child. This is a disruption of nature, and the pain is profound. Even when the acute pain subsides, the wound is never healed."

It is much different when the death is the result of a drug overdose.

It is not unusual for mourners to feel some guilt. They may think back at some harsh words they may have said toward the departed person, or not having been as considerate as they might have been. But such interchanges are part of normal living, and these guilt feelings generally evaporate. Sometimes psychotherapy may be necessary to assuage these feelings.

It is much different when the death is the result of a drug overdose.

There is a mixture of intense anger and guilt.

Why did he/she use drugs? Why didn’t he/she accept help when it was offered?

We drove ourselves into deep debt to pay for treatment. How could he/she have done this to us?

Then there is the guilt.

Why wasn’t I a better parent?

Why did I put other things before the welfare of my child?

Why didn’t I notice that my child was depressed?

Why didn’t I seek help earlier?

These and similar feelings torment the survivors endlessly.

These feelings are difficult to overcome. As powerful as logic may be, it is weak when it confronts such intense emotion. But on the other hand, logic is the only tool we have.

After forty years of treating addiction and writing on the condition, I must admit that I don’t understand addiction. Like many kinds of pain, it is a phenomenon that exists but defies our understanding.

No one starts life with the goal of becoming an addict.

It happens in dysfunctional families, but it also happens in families where there is no apparent dysfunction. Invariably, parents of an addict feel responsible, and much more so when there is an overdose.

Yet, with few exceptions, parents are well-intentioned, even if they did not practice ideal parenting techniques (whatever these may be). We try to do our best, but our best may not be what the child really needed, yet we had no way of knowing this.

Our culture preaches that everyone has a right to pursue happiness, but there are so many obstacles to achieving it. Youngsters who feel deprived of happiness, and who have the immaturity of youth may resort to chemicals in the hope of finding the elusive happiness.

When Nancy Reagan launched the program, “Just Say No to Drugs,” some researchers interviewed young people for their reactions. One 14 year old girl said, “Why? What else is there?”

This is an indictment of a culture that has failed to teach youngsters that there is more to life than getting high.

We may try to place blame for an O.D. death, but there is really no one to blame, not the addict and not the family.

Guilt can be constructive when one has committed a wrong, because it encourages a person to make amends and set things right.

When guilt cannot serve this purpose, it is a destructive feeling. As limited as logic is, one should realize that beyond making amends and avoiding hurtful behavior, there is nothing to be gained by wallowing in guilt.

Anger, too, can be constructive if we are angry at wrongdoing and injustice, because such anger may motivate us to try and prevent injustice to the extent we can.

But when anger cannot be productive, it is foolish to harbor it.

The wise King Solomon said, “Anger rests in the bosom of a fool” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

You may not be able to avoid feeling angry, but there is nothing to gain by hanging on to it.

There is very little one can say to comfort those who grieve an O.D.

Perhaps all one can say is that acceptance does not mean approval. Accept the pain, because there is no choice.

Do what you can to make today and tomorrow better for yourself and others.

Stop trying to make yesterday better. It can’t be done.

Copyright © Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski. All Rights Reserved.

Read More......

Sad Day in Western PA-13 yr old dies fr Smoking Synthetic Marijuana
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Friday, October 28, 2011

"Boy, 13, Ill From Synthetic Marijuana Dies

A western Pennsylvania boy who became ill after smoking synthetic marijuana (spice) and had a double lung transplant has died. A 13-year-old, died Thursday morning at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC. The boy smoked the fake marijuana out of a plastic PEZ candy dispenser and suffered chemical burns to both lungs as a result. He was put on a respirator in June and had a double-lung transplant in September.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law outlawing such substances a few days after the boy smoked the substances. The ban took effect in August" WPXI TV

Thank you Gov. Corbett for enacting this law. This family will NEVER be the same.

Parents, if you are struggling with a teen abusing substances or even suspect it, come to the next PSST meeting 11/5/11. You will find help and support from a team of professionals and seasoned parents. You won't regret it!

Read More......

The Transitioning Your Teen Trip ~ By Sally and Rocco
Posted by:Sally--Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What a Long Strange Trip It Has Been

It is a long and winding road to recovery for most addicts and their families.

It has been about five years now since Sally and Rocco first saw some major red flags and realized that Cisco needed help.

He had gone from our happy well behaved kid with a great sense of humor, an inspired imagination, a love for all kinds of animals and very outgoing personality to a very angry teen who was getting in fights, having a lot of school issues, withdrawing from our family and bringing home some rather dubious “friends”.

We started on our adventure with an outdated road map, a couple of well intentioned glossy brochures and no idea where we were headed. We had no GPS or AAA TripTik® . We knew where wanted to get to but had very little idea of how to get there, how long it would take or what we would find on our way down the road.

If you have followed our posts over the last two years you may be aware that we got Cisco into counseling for anger management back in 2006. His first overdose occurred in September of 2007 . The get-a-way weekend that Rocco and I planned for our thirtieth anniversary ended up as a nightmare in the emergency room.

So here we are five years, 2 overdoses, a couple of relapses, eight or nine court appearances and seven placements down the road and we are (as we like to say in PSST) cautiously optimistic.

We have all made adjustments in our lives and we are working on our own recovery. Rocco and Sally have gradually learned, modified our lifestyle and understand addiction better now. We just got done talking with our cousin (who became acquainted with addiction herself through her two brothers who suffer from it). She said that she had noticed a big change in Cisco lately. We agree.

We thought, at first, that the toughest part of addiction was Cisco causing trouble at school and creating general chaos in our home.

We used to think the toughest part of addiction was when Cisco was getting high and was having emotional issues.

We used to think the toughest part of addiction was when Cisco was stealing and dealing to get drugs.

We then thought that the toughest part of addiction was when Cisco was confronted by the police who told us that they were filing charges against our son.

No! No! The very toughest part had to be when he was finally placed into an inpatient recovery program and we had to deal with how much he hated us and the F##ing facility and he was going to use again as soon as he got out...

…or could it be when we had to meet in court and Cisco had to go before a hearing officer…

...or maybe when we first experienced all of the buzzers and banging doors at the Shuman Detention Center...

…or maybe when he would successfully completed his treatment program and we thought that we could get on with our lives and then he would relapse.

Well, now we know that the “next” toughest part of our journey still lies ahead of us

What really is happening is that each new day holds its own set of toughest challenges, bumps in the road and detours.

Cisco, Sally and Rocco have come a long way. Cisco has started a full time job. This in itself holds a lot of challenges for all three of us. At this point we are allowing him to stay at home, on a part time basis, as we adjust to each other once again.

With the help of Cisco’s counselors, and his P.O., we are trying to assist Cisco in his transition to a “normal” life style.

We are trying to work him into living back at home until he can manage (and afford) to live independently. Cisco needs to adjust how he deals with our family, how he handles his money, how he handles friends and how he acquires career training skills. He needs to work on his skills for handling the pressures of work and his personal life.

Most important, of course, is how Cisco continues to work on his recovery. He should attend meetings on a regular basis. He should make his sponsor a big part of his recovery and his life. He should avoid people and places that affect his attitude or that puts him into circumstances that jeopardize his recovery. He needs to sharpen up his ability to make good decisions and good choices on his own. He needs to be able to ask for help when he needs it without hesitation.

As for Sally and Rocco, we need to redevelop our trust in Cisco; that he can eventually handle this on his own and to accept that while Cisco will not do it perfectly; he has and he still is making progress. In the meantime he is doing well at his job and he is following our home rules. Sally has worked up a budget with him but he is still debating it.

We have both explained that, IF he really wants to purchase a car, besides the initial price he will need to save a lot of his paycheck for fuel, insurance and repairs. That will be Stop #1 on Cisco’s own road to independent living.

Will keep you posted on how the trip is going…

Read More......

Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, October 23, 2011


Once trust in another person has been damaged or lost, rebuilding that trust can be a very emotional and difficult journey for both parties. For most PSST parents, our teenagers have shattered our trust in them – trust that was so freely given at first, but now lies in ruins. On their journey to recovery, our teens hopefully will want to know what they can do to restore that trust. If we believe that they are truly serious, and that they are willing to commit to the demanding process involved, here is a step-by-step approach that we can try. The Four Steps to Trust and Freedom, developed by Larry Babaczewski of Milwaukee Solution Focus, was discussed at a PSST meeting by one of our guests.

Four Steps to Trust and Freedom!!

1) Do as I/we say.

Certainly not a fan favorite coming right out of the chute, but … classrooms, ball fields, and McDonald’s all begin with the ability to LISTEN and FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. No soccer game, term paper, or Big Mac was ever conquered without this first basic stepping stone of proving that you can get the job done according to plan.

○ On a scale of 1-10, rate the current level of trust – e.g. 5 [parent rating].

○ Then, ask if step #1 was followed for two full weeks – what would the trust level be – e.g. 6. In a month, what would the trust level be – e.g. 7.

○ At the end of two weeks, everyone rates how well the step was followed – on a scale of 1-10. Any rating below an 8 calls for another two weeks of step #1. Ratings above 8 call for a discussion of moving to step #2 – and perhaps, moving to step #2.

2) Ask me first.

So, if you can do the first step well, then maybe the authority figure you are facing may actually listen to you as you carefully and respectfully describe whatever it is you are wanting. This challenges your DISCUSSION and NEGOTIATION skills. Want to change the topic of the class term paper or argue for a later curfew time? Absolutely! … unless you forgot to do step #1.

Conveying what you want respectfully and carefully does not guarantee you will get what you want – so it may be wise to start “small” – e.g. ask for a chance to see a movie and not for a car of your own. This step is an opportunity to get better at negotiation [develop your effective ‘voice’] – all parents feel more positive when they see and hear that their child is developing an effective voice [versus a ranting or whining/”poor me” voice]. This is a time to let your parents know that you have used good judgment or used your head “out there” – e.g. you chose to call them to take you home from a party where there was underage drinking.

On a scale of 1-10, everyone rates how it is going with step #2 – e.g. “asking”/negotiating = 3 because it was not done – you went ahead without asking; or a 7 because it was done in a way that “discussion” and “negotiation” occurred and if a “no” was the response it was accepted. Here, mom and dad need to be clear about what is a “no” that is not negotiable – e.g. while you live under our roof you may not have your boyfriend sleep overnight in your bedroom! And what might be negotiable – if you get nothing less than a B for two grading periods, you can get your driver’s permit.

As negotiating gets stronger/more effective, using a scaling, you are ready to move to the next step – e.g. if you and your parents rate you at an 8 or 9 for a month.

3) Keep us informed/Tell us later.

By now you have earned enough trust and freedom and proven you are responsible so well that you can let your parents know if plans have changed – keep them informed or explain later what changed and why – if you make something up … whoops! … go back to step #1 for a while.

With cell phones and texting, it is easy to keep your parents informed, so err in this direction instead of telling them later. Be prompt about letting them know – let them know as soon as you know. Again use a 1-10 scale to measure how well you are doing with this step. If your rating differs from theirs, it is a chance to use your negotiation skills. This step may need to go on for a while before moving to the next step – yet another chance for negotiating.

4) You’re on your own.

Congratulations! You must have proven yourself to dress appropriately for school, hang around with decent enough friends or eat right, so that your decisions/judgments in these areas of your life are not even questioned by the powers that be. You’ve ESTABLISHED a sense of independent operations … at least in some areas of your life. But remember, do something dumb and fail to honor the basics of step #1, and back to basics you’ll go.

Read More......


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