Quote of the Week

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

Lindy Lou- A PSST Mom, Finds An Interesting Anti-Drug Video
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, January 29, 2011

Take a minute to watch this clip about what heroin metaphorically does to your brain, your relationships and your life. Lindy suggests that you go to YouTube and type in "Brain on Drugs." Share

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Chemicals in 'Bath Salts Have Harmful Effects'
Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, January 27, 2011


"From the Deep South to California, emergency calls are being reported over exposure to the stimulants the powders often contain: mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV.

Sold under such names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, the chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts, authorities say. The chemicals are in products sold legally at convenience stores and on the Internet as bath salts and even plant foods. However, they aren't necessarily being used for the purposes on the label...

...Dr. Mark Ryan, director of Louisiana's poison control center, said cathinone, the parent substance of the drugs, comes from a plant grown in Africa and is regulated. He said MDPV and mephedrone are made in a lab, and they aren't regulated because they're not marketed for human consumption. The stimulants affect neurotransmitters in the brain, he said."

Copyright ©1997 - 2011 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Here is a link to the article in the PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE concerning the 'Bath Salts' already being carried (or about to be carried) by smoke shops and convenience stores near you! Sent in by an attentive PSST Mom.

Chemicals in Salts Have Harmful Effects - January 24, 2011 - By Shelia Byrd, The Associated Press

Thanks for the alert.

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Alert received from Dauphin County re: "Bath Salt."
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, January 27, 2011

More snorting 'bath salts' -click on picture for  story.

This memo from the desk of Russel Carlino, Director Juvenile Probation.

----- Original Message -----
From: Carlino, Russell
To: [Juvenile Court Managers]
Sent: Thu Jan 27 17:00:12 2011
Subject: FW: Posing as 'bath salts,' synthetic cocaine sold at local stores


-----Original Message-----
From: [Daulpin County Juvenile Probation]
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 2:51 PM
To: [Juvenile Court Directors across Pennsylvania]
Subject: FW: Posing as 'bath salts,' synthetic cocaine sold at local stores


As each of you are aware in December 2010 the federal government took the necessary and required action to ban synthetic cannabinoids. Since the inception of this band Dauphin County (Probation and law enforcement agencies) have seized and confiscated a considerable amount of “Spice and K2”.

If you recall from some of the previous bulletins that I sent out on synthetic cannabinoids I also mentioned a form of synthetic cocaine (scientific name, Mephedrone) that was on the rise. Unfortunately, we have seen a significant increase of juveniles and young adults abusing a product called “Bath Salt”, a marketing form of synthetic cocaine. It has been identified in our schools and is commonly seen in our local gas stations and “mom and pop” convenient stores (click on the link below). This was a concern of mine when the banned was placed on the cannabinoids. Be aware of this product in your respective county. Thanks and be safe.

Subject: Posing as 'bath salts,' synthetic cocaine sold at local stores

Posing as 'bath salts,' synthetic cocaine sold at local stores

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Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, January 27, 2011

People, Places and Things

Our teens in recovery are told to stay away from any people, places and things that will remind them of using.

- Party pals, friends they used with (even if they have been clean for a month), or friends that supplied them.

- Parks, parking lots, schools, convenience stores, certain streets or corners, alleys or other places that they associate with copping, picking up or using.

- Clips, pipes, tubes, socket wrenches, bongs, spoons, stems, vials, lighters, cocktail glasses...

There's an AA saying: "If you hang out in the barbershop, eventually you'll get a haircut."

Staying away from “friends” is one of the biggest arguments we get from our teenagers in recovery. Until they can give up their people, places and things they are not serious about their recovery. When you confront them about their contact with them they will tell you:

How do you expect me to give up my friends?”

They are the only ones that I can talk to.”

They are the only ones that understand me and won’t judge me?”

I’m the one that got them to use.”

Who are you to judge my friends?”

We had this discussion at our Family-Anonymous meeting on Tuesday night. Some wondered how long it would take, if ever, for our kids to “get it”.

Miss Deb summed it up in a way that hit home with a few of us. She reminded us that our children not only can do this but that they have already done this once. This is something she said she reminds the kids of in their sessions.

When our children made the choice to start using tobacco/drugs/alcohol they made the choice to leave behind their friends, the places they hung out and the things that they used together.

They left the people; these were friends that they probably had for most of their young lives.

They left the places; the gyms, the athletic fields, churches, auditoriums, dance and martial arts studios, skating rinks and scout meetings.

They left the things: balls, bats, karate uniforms, shin guards, dance outfits, skates, scout uniforms, musical instruments and their dreams.

They had no trouble leaving any of these people, places or things.

They didn’t have their parent’s help.

They didn’t have counselors to guide them.

They didn’t have meetings to explain the steps to change their lifestyle. They didn’t have booklets and websites telling them where and when their “meetings” to buy and to use were held.

They had no problem reaching out and finding people to help them and advise them on their lifestyle choice.

They didn’t have sponsors to reach out to and talk with when they felt an urge to return to their old ways and to stop using.

They didn’t have transportation issues; they could find their way to “meetings”, even in the middle of the night, to buy and to use.

They didn’t have trouble figuring out methods of financing their habits; they cheated, manipulated, coerced, lied, begged, borrowed and stole with the worst of them.

All on their own, without anyone’s assistance, they were able to give up on all of their people, places and things so that they could slip into the world of substance abuse.

So the next time your son or daughter in recovery tells you how hard it is to give up their “friends” feel free to remind them that they already know how to, they already have the experience and that now they have all the resources in place to help them.


Recovery is not a cure. Recovery is a lifelong process. It begins in treatment, but it doesn't end when treatment ends. How far your teen goes in their recovery is really up to them.

Recovery is a family process. Like their adolescent, families damaged by addiction can take a couple of years to recover. They will need to change their behavior and rebuild their lifestyle as they go through the recovery process with their child.

It can seem like a very long process but a real commitment to the recovery process can strengthen your family’s well being. The discipline of recovery can bring significant benefit that will help all family members.

Recovery is tough to handle alone. Like any other life threatening disease addiction recovery is somewhere between difficult to impossible to handle on your own. Addiction and recovery can be so consuming that families sometimes lose track of their other needs. Relationships are strained, hopelessness sets in and families can be pulled apart. Because addiction and recovery affects the whole family, it is absolutely necessary to look for professional help and counseling for the whole family.

Look for specialized groups for parents and siblings of the recovering teen in your area. These groups may be offered through your school or church, a family service agency or through your local chapter of Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon or Alateen.

Parent Survival Skills Training (PSST) is here for all parents, and care-takers, to get the help they need to assist their teens in their recovery. We are made up of parents of teenage substance abusers and addicts who have been, or are going through, what you are going through. We have the assistance of professional counselors and probation officials. We are not here to judge you; we are here to help you.

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PSST Mom from Across the Border ~ Recommends a Book
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, January 23, 2011

I would like to recommend the following book. It is not a book at all related to parenting teenagers with addiction issues but it is a book that provides some excellent techniques and skills for interacting with them.

How to Deal With Your Acting up Teenager: Practical Help for Desperate Parents by Robert T. Bayard

I think we all tend to forget that not all of our addicted teen's behavior is related to their drug-addiction; some of their behavior is what one would expect to see from a non-addicted teen. That being said, this book provides very practical skills for dealing with the kind of manipulation that all teenagers use and drug-addicted teens have perfected.~Joy Y.

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Virtual PSST Mom from Across the Border Gives Us an Update
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, January 23, 2011


I thought you would want an update on the "Prodigal's return". Tomorrow will be two weeks since he came home. He had his first random drug screen this week and passed. He has seen his drug counselor two weeks in a row and has an appointment for next week. We are very well aware that this kind of result is the rare exception and don't assume that it will necessarily continue as such, but are grateful for today.
~Joy Y

Thank you for the update. It is good to hear that your son is doing so well and we hope it continues.

No matter what neighborhood we live in or what state or country we are from, we are united by the same challenges.

Addiction is a disease that knows no boundaries.

~Rocco and Sally

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Posted by:Max--Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Saturday, a fantastic turn out was had at our Mt. Lebanon location - Outreach Teen & Family Services - There were 21 Super Parents representing 16 families. We are getting so big (I mean in number - although with all the delicious cookies, cakes and donuts that show up each week, it could be girth as well) that Kathie T is exploring other venue options so we can all fit more comfortably in the same room.

We were happy to see the usual suspects; Lloyd from Juvenile Probation, Kathie T from Wesley Spectrum, and the parents known on the blog as Wilma, Angela, Violet, June, Becky & Tom, Jessica, Marci, Patti, Alice, Rocco & Sally, Jane, Daisy, Max, Jim & Cheryl- along with new parents Francois & Brigitte and Jenn and Brad.

WHEW, that's a lot!

Before going around the room for updates, something important to consider:

In a previous post, you will see an image of a bulldog on a leash, with Lloyd's face superimposed as the bulldog. Lloyd wants to remind all of us that it is the PARENT who holds the leash!

Many of us have weak moments and do not want to be the bad guy, or the "snitch" as our wonderful kids call someone who rats them out. NEVERTHELESS...the parents who rat out their kids are the ones with the true POWER.

The parent can hold their bulldog (PO) on the leash for added backup; but the kid needs to respect and respond to YOU. You are the parent and the kid lives in YOUR house with YOUR rules.

I have been guilty in the past of saying to my son's P.O. "Don't let Michael know I called you - if he knows it is me who ratted him out - he will flip on me!"

Well, doing that gives away all the power to the P.O. as the one to respect and fear consequences from. It does not help Michael understand that I am the parent and I am in control, I hold the power.

When I finally stepped up and told my son I had reported his misdeeds directly to the P.O. and/or Gateway, he saw ME as the one to behave for, and noticed the PO would sanction him if I requested it. I had more control of my home, and more POWER as a parent not to be toyed with.

Lloyd pointed out - be prepared to be disliked for a while. It's true, they may be angry at you and even hate you for a while. Or they may just throw an occasional temper tantrum like Michael did when he realized I was indeed the snitch. But you'll know you've got the POWER back when they respond with anger towards you!

Now, around the room we go..

Our first powerful parent was Wilma. Wilma has been a force to be reckoned with. While she waits for her insurance company to give the go-ahead for the residential treatment her son Bam-Bam needs, she is also dealing with Bam-Bam's refusal to attend school.

She is looking for alternative schooling for him, has already taken his phone, his bedroom door and his freedom; she also screened the one friend she allowed to visit her son by having him empty his pockets before coming in the house. Wilma is doing all of this without the help of a PO, and has only just started attending PSST meetings.

Way to take back the POWER Wilma! You get our vote for PSSTrophey for The Parent of the Week!

Angela, a relative newcomer to PSST, really has daughter Samantha in a snit! It seems that the Recovery Facility and Lloyd, their bulldog, had granted Samantha permission for an 8 hour off-grounds pass with her folks. Angela and husband Tony said "we aren't comfortable with taking Samantha off the grounds at this time"...they refused the pass!!

What power they possess! Samantha has NO IDEA why her parents would refuse such a "well deserved" pass; after all, she has a "98%, following all the rules, and doing everything they tell me to do".

Angela and Tony are not comfortable with the fact that Samantha has refused to sign releases allowing them to be involved with her treatment, refuses to discuss with them what she is doing in treatment, and believes that since it is her treatment, it is none of her parents business.

Angela and Tony know their daughter well. No doubt she is going through the motions of good behavior, so she can be discharged as soon as possible. But, by leaving her folks out of the loop, she is also letting them know that she is not really invested in her recovery.

Angela and Tony, we are all proud of your courage by taking a difficult stand.

Later on, we will do a role-play using this scenario to demonstrate how, buy refusing to take Samantha off grounds, Angela and Tony put themselves in a true POWER position.

Violet is happy today, and she has a right to be. Son Sal has been successful during the first 2 weeks of college, staying clean.

For the first time in a long while, Vi and Sal talked about school, classes, and what he was learning. When Sal talked of things that were of concern, they were "normal, everyday" things. He even told his mom "if I mess up it is my problem, not yours!"

When not in school, Sal goes to two or three meetings, and as Violet says, for now, today, he is ok. Violet believes that in Sal's case, he now has hope, something great to look forward to and to be working on. He knows what he could lose if he relapses.

Sal has really taken some huge steps forward, and all of us at PSST are with Violet, and pray that Sal stays on this healthy path!

June Cleaver is feeling strong! Her son, the Beav, is currently at a half-way house. They had a tough Christmas. However, June took a deep breath and employed PSST techniques; "I'm not comfortable with that", "Ask me again", and ended up cutting her visit short.

Strength and Honor, oh mighty June!

New family Francois and Brigitte have a 16 year old who we have dubbed Pierre. Even though this was Francois and Brigitte's first meeting at PSST, they have already used many PSST tools.

As many of us have done, they tried bribing Pierre as in "If you go to your class, I'll give you such and such". When they came to the realization of how this doesn't work, they quickly changed methods and confiscated Pierre's phone, car & door to his room.

He has started IOP at a Recovery Facility, but Brigitte is ready to start Act 53 if anything goes awry. When Pierre threatened suicide as a manipulation, Francois and Brigitte did instinctively what we have posted in the past; they called the police and had him taken for evaluation.

NOTE: If a kid makes a suicide threat, NEVER IGNORE IT- immediately get him/her to the nearest emergency room for evaluation. If it is a manipulation, they will soon grow tired of being dragged to the ER every time this tactic is used. If there is truth behind the threat, then the teen is exactly where they should be; in a hospital for evaluation.

Francois and Brigitte, please keep coming to PSST for support and new ideas; you are off to a strong start!

Becky and Tom are pleased to report son Syd has "turned a corner". He is currently at a half-way house, with 80 days clean. He still has some behavioral and legal issues to deal with, and is drawn to "older kids that are not so good for him".

Becky and Tom are showing a strong united front, and have all us PSST-ers behind you for support! Keep us posted!

Jessica's son Herman is back at an inpatient treatment facility. Roger, her husband, acts as her pit bull on a leash. If parents operate in sync their POWER is exponentially multiplied.

She knows Herman is saying all the right things, being a compliant and friendly camper so all the therapists will love him and wonder why such a great kid is in a place like this! Remember our kids are super manipulators.

Jessica, whose sleuthing skills were revealed in a recent post, knows her son inside and out. She has declared a self-imposed black out period. Jessica and Roger will not visit Herman immediately.

Their Wesley Spectrum therapist Cathy C. "blew Herman's cover" and exposed his darker side. It is okay, and even preferable that our kids act out while in inpatient recovery. The counselors and therapist are there to help them through it.

Herman is not too happy and doesn't yet understand fully that a "whole new life" awaits him; or that life as he knew it doesn't exist for him any longer. Roger and Jessica will visit Herman, but on their terms; when they are good and ready.

Hang in there Jessica and Roger; It sometimes takes a lot of heart to do what is right for your teen. It's not always the easy way, but it is the PSST Way!

Welcome to our other new family, Jenn, Brad and son Dylan. Sadly, Dylan has already entered the juvenile justice system one year ago at age 13 for stealing.

Brad and Jenn know he has tried pot, but don't know if he continues to smoke anything besides cigarettes. He now refuses to go to school, and where he used to hang out with the jocks, he now hangs around with hoodlums.

Although Jenn & Brad know that more drug involvement is possible, they really haven't seen evidence. Bulldog Lloyd asked how they felt about the police bringing a drug dog into the home to check? Jenn & Brad have already agreed with each other that they will call the police if any drugs are found. They continue to watch their son's behavior escalate, but now have a new support team and tools in the kit from PSST.

Jenn & Brad, we hope you two will continue to come, learn and share at future meetings.

Marci is proud of son Linus, who after being busted for having pot in school, is working his program, attending his IOP, staying clean, staying away from negative peer groups, and is spending more time with the family. He is more open, and is "back in line" behaviorally.

Linus is starting a young persons NA group as a community service project, but also because it is in response to a problem many of our kids face. When they attend NA/AA meetings, the age range skews older, and our teens often feel they cannot relate to the people in the group.

Some parents likewise commented that they are not comfortable with their teen being in a group of older adults in recovery that they do not know, and may have influence over the teen. So, we hope Linus is able to complete this project.

Marci, you should be proud of Linus, but also proud of yourself for doing the difficult job of being the BAD GUY!

PSSTip: As parents of troubled teens we sometimes forget it is sometimes OKAY to be proud of our teens. Take time to find some little thing to praise your teen for. It will surprise the vernacular out of them!

Marci once again brought friend Patti, who continues to keep a close watch on her son. Patti, you are welcome any time to come for support and/or tricks of the trade, which clearly benefits your friend Marci!

Alice Kramden came without hubby Ralph today. That was actually great news, because son Ed was attending a church event with his dad - something he may not have done 1 year ago.

Ed is doing well after discharge from his placement. He is involved in school, on the basketball team, busy with church and family activities, and is easier to live with. Alice brought up that although the family is sad that older brother Norton has decided to leave the country and return to his birth family, there is no doubt that when the brothers were together, they were a "team in crime". Alice also brought up the NA/AA meeting quandary:


Like Marci and Linus, The Kramdens felt that at some meetings the atmosphere was not a good one for Ed. They have instead focused on one-on-one counseling to take the place of group meetings.

Many of us want to know where are reliable meetings aimed towards teens?

Lloyd suggested the NA Meeting in Dormont on Tuesday.

If anyone else can recommend a meeting location that is more teen oriented please send it to us in the Comment Section below or to sallyservives@g-mail.com

In addition, we hope Linus' project becomes a reality so there will be a teen meeting in the East End.

If meetings are inappropriate for your kid, or you are not comfortable with the idea, do what the Kramdens did. Find out where your teen can do some one-on-one counseling, having a mentor, or join a church group that can serve a similar purpose.

In fact, here is another great idea from Ralph and Alice:
When Ed was in placement, Alice sent a message to her church, telling them of Ed's situation. She asked that if it wasn't a problem, could they write letters to Ed?

The response was overwhelming. Ed had many "pen pals" through this ingenious plan. He knew many at home were waiting for him, praying for him, and giving him hope of community when he returned home.

One man started taking Ed for golf lessons. This led to Ed having enough confidence to go out for the golf team at school. Another introduced Ed to audio-visual work. Now, Ed is involved with the AV crew at church; Ed is too busy to fool around with bad influences.

In fact, to refer to one of our PSST Quotes of the Week: "I'm not comfortable putting down a curfew time for Ed. His curfew is as late as he wants if he is doing good, safe, and healthy things. However, HIS CURFEW IS '10 MINUTES AGO' IF HE IS DOING ANY 'OLD' THINGS."- Ralph Kramden (to Ed's therapist)

Our stalwart bloggers Rocco and Sally are dealing with their 18 year old son Cisco in an adult halfway house. Cisco, like so many of our kids, is a master manipulator. Cisco has improved a lot from one year ago when he relapsed and Rooco and Sally had him placed back into inpatient recovery. He has improved a lot from last August when he relapsed and Rocco personally drove him back to Shuman for a placement hearing. His anger management is working well. He is liked by all at his recovery facilities. He is thinking about his future. All things that Rocco & Sally wondered if he would ever get to.

He still has a way to go in his recovery. He probably cannot return home because it is too big of a trigger for him. Rocco & Sally know they are doing the right things and that Cisco is in the right place, never-the-less as a parent you have your doubts. It hurts. Cisco still manipulates but sometimes you wish your dream/nightmare would end, you would step out of the shower one morning and your "real" child would be returned to you.

We're getting a little too dramatic here but it is how you feel sometimes.

It's good to have good friends that understand and are there to listen to you.

Jane has been with PSST for about three months and has worked very hard to save her son Elroy from a life of addiction. Elroy got himself into the juvenile justice system. Even though the hearing didn't result in the inpatient treatment (that Jane understands he needs) it did result in a P.O. for Elroy.

Finally Jane has someone to work with her. The P.O. has been testing Elroy and the results are not good. Jane has made it clear that she will not keep any secrets for Elroy. Keeping secrets takes away your power as a parent and it enables your teen to spiral down into their addictive behavior.

You are your son's best hope Jane. We here at PSST are here to support you.

Daisy is a single mom with a 15 year old son, Ozzie, in an Inpatient Recovery Program. He now has been clean for over 120 days because Daisy stood up in court and used her power as the parent.

Ozzie has been doing pretty well in his program but Daisy received a panic call from him last week. The P.O. came to visit Ozzie. He brought up the possibility of Ozzie going to a halfway house before returning home. This resulted in Ozzie's head spinning and his panic phone call to his mom.

He asked Daisy "What is this talk about a halfway house? I am coming straight home after this placement, right? The P.O. is full of bovine waste, right?"

Daisy left her options open and calmly replied "Honey of course I want you home. My problem is that I am not comfortable that you can handle being home without using. I am busy right now Sweetie but we can discuss this on my next visit."

This response reaffirms Daisy as the parent with the power, it buys her some time and it motivates Ozzie think about his future with his mom. If Ozzie chooses to act out then he is in a good place with counselors there to help him.

After your child comes home it is virtually impossible to get them into a halfway house. While they are still in a recovery program is the time to determine if they should come straight home or f they need to transition their way home.

You've got the Power Daisy - you are an inspiration to us at PSST!

Max, our steadfast PSST Mom has two sons Michael and David. Max and her husband Mel have worked together this last year to take back the POWER as parents in their home. They made the extra effort to get both of their sons on the road to recovery. This included "Detaching with Love" (not an easy thing to do) to maintain their own sanity and health.

Michael, their older son, has completed his recovery program and currently has a job, earned his driver's license and is working to graduate high school. He has had a couple of issues but he is working hard to stay clean.

He shocked Max the other day when after using her car (with permission) he offered her $20 for gas. Max's bells & whistles went off! "Why is he giving me this? What happened to my car? Where did this come from?" We parents have our triggers too. He reassured her that it was okay.

[Note: I think that I probably would have these strange feelings even if my clean & sober son offered me gas money ~ Co-Editor Rocco]

Max felt better but admitted that she gave her car the once over th next morning.

David, their younger son, is enrolled in an out of state Therapeutic Boarding School. He is working hard and attending school. Max and Mel recently visited him and all went well. Their family's next step is the "RE-ENTRY" of David. He will complete his schooling in a couple of months and return home.

The big question for David is: "What will be different when you get home?" This is a great question to pose to all of our kids that are in a recovery facility away from home.

Max and Mel have done a first-rate job at turning both of their sons around. They still have some work ahead but it will be a lot easier because they have taken back the power and parental authority in their family. Thanks again for being a big part of PSST.

Cheryl &Jim have a 17 year old son Andy. The good news is that Andy has done very well in his recovery program - he has achieved a Level 3, has completed his high school courses with a 4.0 GPA and was scheduled to come home.

The other good news is that Andy's home pass last weekend did not go well. Cheryl & Jim decided that were not comfortable and that Andy will need a little more time at his inpatient recovery facility before coming home.

Why is this "good" news? This is what home passes are for; to see if your teen is ready to return home. Many PSST Parents will explain to you what happens when your teen comes home without a true commitment to their recovery.

Cheryl & Jim feel that Andy needs to understand that he will not be the one in control when he returns home. They are also concerned that Andy may be a threat to run. As we noted above it takes a lot of heart to do what is right for your teen.

Now that they have demonstrated that they are the ones with the power and in control of their family Andy can really begin his recovery process. He will need to demonstrate that he can make his parents comfortable enough to return home.

Cheryl & Jim - All of us at PSST respect your decision and understand how tough it is. You have demonstrated again that you are the best hope for your son's recovery.


We took a well derserved break for coffee, tea, cookies, cake and casual conversation; including a birthday cake for Daisy - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAISY! - probably a happier birthday than you have had in a few years.


We decided to revisit the scenario Angela and Tony had with daughter Samantha, who had earned an off-grounds 8 hour pass from her in-patient treatment facility. Her counselors and even her P.O. thought she was ready but Angela & Tony were not so sure.

Samantha believes she is the boss, so she refuses to give her parents access to her treatment plan by not signing releases or discussing important issues. Angela & Tony need to take charge and regain control, so they will not take Samantha out for fun, until they get a better read on the situation.

For Newbies to PSST, I have italicized the PSST Power Statements:

  1. Agree with the teen when you can (not totally but to some small point)

  2. Use "Nevertheless" rather than "But"

  3. Use "I'm not comfortable" rather than "no"

  4. Say "Thanks for letting us/me know that" when the teen announces he/she will or won't do something that is upsetting to you

  5. Warn her that she "probably won't like" what you are about to tell her, and assure her "I'll understand if you need to get up and walk out if you are upset". This prepares the oppositional teen to be oppositional to what you have just said...and end up listening to you, just to prove you wrong.

  6. When the opportunity presents itself, remember to take time to praise your teen. It doesn't cost you anything and can change the mood of the discussion.

1st. Role Play

Mom & Dad: How are you doing?

Teen: (angry) I can't believe the two of you! I did everything I was supposed to do - I earn the off grounds pass, and you are saying no!

Mom: (calmly) We aren't comfortable with saying yes to that right now.

Teen: WHY?! I have done everything I am supposed to do! I even got a 98% from the staff! They all love me!

Mom: We need to feel that you are more invested in doing your program.

Teen: This isn't about you, it's about ME! Get out of my business!

Mom: We agree, Samantha, this is about you. Nevertheless, Dad and I need more information.

Teen: Then I won't do ANYTHING!

Mom & Dad: Thanks for letting us know (getting ready to leave, willing to end the visit).

Teen:: (yelling) I can't do anything here, I can't even have caffeine! ALL I WANT IS A F$%#@*G STARBUCKS! I can't believe you aren't taking me out!

Mom: We just aren't comfortable with that.

Teen: (losing it) WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME??!!

Mom & Dad: Honey, I am so glad you finally asked that question. But we're gonna tell you now, you probably aren't going to like the answer! And we want you to know, if you get really upset and need to leave, we'll understand.

Teen: (irritated though intrigued) Well, what is it..

Mom & Dad: We want to know more about how your treatment is going; we want to be able to have discussions with you about it. We need to be included in the information loop.

Teen: This is MY business and MY treatment, not yours!

Mom: We agree, Samantha. This IS your business, and your treatment. Nevertheless,
as your parents, we need to feel comfortable that you are serious and committed to your treatment and recovery. Right now, we don't' feel comfortable that is the case, because we are not included in anything, and we feel in the dark.

Teen: So this is why you won't take me out?

Mom & Dad: Yes, that is correct. If you would sign consent forms, it would make us feel much more comfortable.

Teen: WHAT?! You can't make me do that!

Mom & Dad: You're right, Samantha, we can't make you do anything. So, it's getting a bit late, and since we've reached an impasse, maybe Mom and I will cut our visit short for today. Or, maybe we could play some cards?

What we discussed and learned from this role play: The teen isn't the boss, and the parents need to remain or regain control. In order to do this, Mom and Dad have to say "no" to something their daughter wants, and may also want for themselves; a fun/normal outing. Parents also should be prepared to cut visits short if necessary, leave their child hanging without discussion resolution if necessary.

Being self-centered is a common teenage trait, and a hallmark of addicts.

Samantha is shocked that her parents would willingly give up an outing with her. This is a good thing; the hope is that the in-shock teen will wake up and realize she doesn't have the power she thought she had, and in order to progress, must do some things differently.

Then we discussed what Lloyd called a "stutter step", which is highlighted in purple above.

During tough exchanges, when your kid finally says "what do you want from me?" or similar, it's usually rhetorical. But you will disarm him by saying "I'm so glad you asked..." as if it were a serious question directed to you.

Take this as an opportunity to use the opening he unwittingly gave you to steer the conversation to the topic you need to discuss. Not only has he led you there, YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF THE TOPIC, take the POWER back!

2nd. Role Play

In this role play Jessica and Roger's son Herman is back in placement and he is not happy. As mentioned above Herman doesn't yet fully understand that a "whole new life" awaits him. His parents have a new set of "Power Tools" to work with. Life at home as he knew it doesn't exist any longer.

This is one of their first visits and Roger and Jessica know that Herman will want to vent his frustration on them, never-the-less they are ready for him. See the six talking points above.

Mom & Dad: It is so good to see you son. How are things going?

Teen: I’m doing everything I need to do here to get out of here in ninety days. And let me tell you, this place really sucks. There's no TV, no cigarettes and a lot of bull shiyett. This place is tough. But let me tell you this, I’m doing my ninety days and then getting back to my normal life with my normal friends.

Dad: Wow you really are doing well here. I bet this is really tough. No cigarettes and no TV is a big change.

Mom: But I guess the hardest thing for you to give up is your friends.

Teen: My friends! I’m not giving my friends. I can put up with a lot of stuff and make it through this #@#$-ing place but I am not not going to give up my friends!

Dad: Well I’m glad you are being honest about your feelings; never the less we are not comfortable with you coming home and hanging out with those kids.

Teen: Dad, all you ever do is go to work, make money and bull shiyett. What do you mean you don’t want me to come home? What do I care if you aren't comfortable with my friends? They're MY friends! You can’t control me.

Dad: You know son, I have NOT been that effective with parenting you. You really have been out of our control.

Mom: But we are definitely going to work harder at being better parents. But I don't think that he is ready to hear this right now.

Dad: Yeah, he's right we can talk about his friends later.

Teen: Wait a minute, what do you think YOU know about MY friends?

Mom: Well honey we want you to know that things will be different before you come back home this time.

Dad: We will need you really buy into your program...


Dad: It has to be more than "doing" your program, it is you buying into your recovery. It's not about "doing 90 days", it's about working your recovery.

Mom: We need to work at recovery with you, we need to have new rules at home starting with a home contract that we can work on together...

Teen: So what does all this B.S. have to do with my friends?

Dad: I am glad you brought that up. Your friends will be a big part of your home contract. You know that people and places thing. But you know what, you probably don't want to talk about this right now. We just wanted you to know things will be different when you get home. How about a game of cards?

Mom: Yeah, we don't need to be preaching to you today. You get enough of that here. I'll go and get some soda out of the machines and you can deal the cards.

Remember even though we want to reaffirm the parent's power at these visits they do not have to be all about teaching and preaching to our teens. Participating in Family Counseling Sessions at the recovery facilities is an important time to bring up our points. We do hope to get some key points in during the visits, like giving up old friends. This is very tough for most of teens. Don't be afraid to agree with them that it will be tough. But then just take some time just to visit with them. Play some cards or just talk. You do not need to stay for the entire time allowed. If you sense your teen is getting restless or if they become rude don't be concerned with cutting your visit short. Ending the visit early is a good Power Tool for a parent.


1. Don't be afraid to work with your local police department in dealing with your teen. Some departments are parent friendly - some PSST Parents have told us the Bethel Park and Shaler are good to work with. If you can recommend other parent friendly Police Departments please let us know. The police will talk with your teen, some will test them for substance abuse and help you to keep evidence.

2. Whenever your teen in recovery is at home (for a visit or for good) make sure there is no alcohol in the house and that medications are locked up.

3. RECOVERY IS A FAMILY ACTIVITY. Parents need to change along with their teen. Parents need to find a support group and counseling. You would not try to cure yourself or your child from a deadly disease / Don't try Recover on you own.

4. Relapse is not the end of your child's recovery. Get them help a soon as possible.
Work with them.

5. Praise your teen when they do the right thing. Many of us have been hurt by our teen addicts. Part of recovery is changing the way that react.

6. If you are looking for some additional help Gateway Rehab in Squirrel Hill is hosting a "Families Anonymous" support group meetings weekly on Tuesdays from 6:00 - 7:30PM


The next Parent Survival Skills Training (PSST) meeting is Saturday, February 5, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Trinity Lutheran Church 2500 Brandt School Road, Wexford, PA 15090

C'mon in and join us.
Our PSST meetings are open to all parents who are serious about making a difference in their children’s life.


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Tuesday Night Parents Meeting - Families Anonymous @ Gateway
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, January 17, 2011


Gateway Rehab in Squirrel Hill will be hosting a "Families Anonymous" support group weekly on Tuesdays from 6 - 7:30PM

This group was previously known as the Gateway Parent's Support Group for parents of teens with drug/alcohol issues.

It is now BACK - Facilitated by Deb Cohen and Romi Abdullah of Gateway.

The group will follow the "Al-Anon" model. Sharing, learning how to "detach with love" as well as useful information on addiction will be the focus.

We hope you will join us!

Gateway Rehab Squirrel Hill

5818 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Click Here For Map

Near the intersection of Forbes Ave and Murray Ave

(412) 697-0928

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Posted by:Rocco--Friday, January 14, 2011

Relapse Happens

Relapse is a reality. Recovery is a Family Activity. We all wish that life would go the way we want it to. We have been through a lot with our teen addicts. They likewise have put a lot into their recovery.

When a relapse happens it doesn’t mean that their recovery program was a waste of time, that they are a failure or that we, as parents, did something wrong.

Relapses often occur within the first 3 months after treatment. Most often, teens need to go through treatment more than once and follow a long recovery process to remain substance-free.

Relapse handled correctly can be a learning experience. It can be an integral part of your teen’s recovery.

You can support your teens in their recovery by:

1. Keeping communications open with your teen. Talk openly with them about how they are feeling. If you detect that they are close to relapsing get them help immediately. Some signs of relapse can be complaining that their meetings and therapy are no help or if they begin skipping them. Be alert if your teen is bored, depressed or even if they are over confident that they can handle it themselves.

2. Be there for them if they relapse. Encourage them to get back to a recovery activity instead of nagging them, guilting them or lecturing them. But at the same time AVOID ENABLING them. Do not make excuses for them, cover up for them or ignore them. Do not return to CODEPENDENCY.

3. Offer them encouragement when they follow their recovery plan, go to their meetings and therapy. Don’t just take them to their meetings and therapy sessions. Join them when you can. These are good times to understand how your teen is doing and to let them know how you are feel.

4. Help them to stay organized and set their priorities, so that they are not too busy or stressed out between their school, work and recovery activities.

5. Encourage them to connect with teens that don’t use drugs or alcohol. Urge them to develop hobbies and activities and to find work that appeals to them. They can replace the time spent using drugs or alcohol with time spent for the new activity.

6. DO NOT keep any alcohol or tobacco in your home. Keep your medications (prescription and over-the-counter) locked away. When you no longer need drugs or they expire dispose of them properly. Be a role model for your teen.

7. Consequences, consequences, consequences. Talk with your teen about personal consequences. Explain that some behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, can lead to consequences that will last a lifetime. Discuss how the use of drugs and alcohol while trying to graduate from high school, attend college, find a job can affect his or her future.

Note that teens live for the moment, so discussing long-term health consequences of drug use generally does not help prevent a teen from using substances.

Talk with your teen about legal consequences. Talk about the increased risk of losing their driver’s license and other privileges, car crashes, violence, and arrests related to substance use.

8. Expected behaviors. Talk with your teen about what to do in social situations involving alcohol or drugs. Be very clear about what action you expect them to take in these situations. Discuss your expectations regarding teen parties and activities where drugs and alcohol may be available. Use a parent-teen contract to write down expected behaviors and consequences if the plan is not followed.

9. TEST YOUR TEEN. There are a variety of inexpensive and accurate tests for drugs (amphetamine, methamphetamine, opiate, marijuana, and cocaine) and alcohol available in pharmacies and on-line. If you come to a PSST Meeting we can provide information on both urine screens and oral swabs.

Nolo contendere - Remember that your teen's refusal to submit to a test is the same as testing positive.

10. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF. Your teen’s addiction and relapse is not your fault or a reflection on you. Attend regular Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meetings, join a parental support group (LIKE PSST), see a therapist and remember to TAKE TIME TO DO THINGS THAT YOU ENJOY.

Relapse happens – Recovery activities (12-step meetings and therapy) helps to get them back on track. Like someone having a stroke, the sooner they seek help the better.

Take action before they make a full return to their old substance-abusing lifestyle.

Understand that “Recovery” and “Not Using” are not the same thing. “Not Using” is only the first step in recovery. Recovery is attending meetings, avoiding people, place and things and making a comitment to change their lifestyle.

It is not your teen’s relapse that determines success or failure it is how you and your teen handle it.

Come to the next PSST meeting to discuss relapse and other teen substance abuse issues.

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Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, January 13, 2011

No, but if you have to, ask me again...

PSST Mom Jessica took the PSST "No, but ask me a again" Technique one step further by holding up a "NO" sign to her son's continuous questioning and badgering.

This inspired us to create the following for use by all parents.

Feel free to click on this, print it and cut it out. Better yet come to our next meeting and get a couple already printed.

Thanks Jessica!

For more information on the PSST "No, but ask me a again" Technique click on the following:

Ask me again. Ask me again! (who is the big dog?)

Won't you give me three steps, gimme three steps mister...


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Posted by:Max--Monday, January 10, 2011

Saturday's PSST meeting in Wexford (the first of 2011) was another well attended event.

Yours Truly had the dubious honor of keeping the meeting moving. I am happy to help Lloyd and Val facilitate any time, but I feel badly about having to tell someone it is time to move on. For the record, I understand the need to share. All of our stories are "share worthy". However, in the interest of time, the process of quick intros by all, followed by more in-depth sharing by the parents most in need that day, followed by a break and then role-play, seems to cover all bases.

We are a democracy however, so all are encouraged to speak up with helpful ideas for the meeting.

We had Val and Lloyd from Allegheny County Juvenile Probation, Kathie and Justin from Wesley Spectrum and 16 powerful parents (including one of our PSST Alumna).

The support our group gives each other rejuvenates us,and provides us with strength to face another day with our teen. KEEP ON COMING!

The 17 parents representing 12 families are known here on the blog as Alice & Ralph, Wilma, Violet, Angela & Tony, Jessica & Roger, Max, Daisy, Sally & Rocco, Candy & Aaron, Lori, Millie and Jim.

FIRST A HUGE THANK YOU: All of us were warned with in an inch of our lives NOT to purchase anything even close to a gift for our wonderful leaders, Lloyd, Val, Rebecca, Kathie T, Jocelyn & Justin - and WE AGREE - WE WILL NOT PURCHASE A GIFT! Never the less...we wanted to show how much we appreciate all the great advice and help that is constantly provided. We took up a collection and made a donation to "Coffee House Nation", a group Lloyd started that helps provide teens in recovery with fun sober activities. After presentation of this donation to Lloyd, and many heart-felt thank yous, it was time to go around the room.

Let's Talk

First to share was Alice and Ralph. Their older son Norton has chosen to return to his birth family and give life a go on his own. He is in violation of his probation, as well as being out of the U.S. He is over 18 at this point, and if he chooses to return to the Kramden household, there will be legal ramifications.

The Kramdens are a united front - they will not buckle under with guilt or worry - they are true PSST Parents! Younger son Ed has recently been discharged from his placement, and is doing very well at his private school. He is kept busy with extra-curricular basketball, and kept in line with a very tight contract.

Ralph says "we are buying clean time by being strict about his contract".

Although Ed misses brother Norton, both Alice and Ralph plainly see that the two boys were a real tag team; Ed alone is getting the positive attention and strict boundaries that are helping him stay clean; in fact, he just received his 6 month key chain.

Ralph and Alice, just keep on driving that bus!!

Next to share was Wilma. Her 16 year old son Bam-Bam spent 3 weeks at a psychiatric facility, and has been quite upfront about how he sabotages his entry interviews for drug rehab by making the counselors think he is mentally unstable and wanting to harm himself. Wilma knows better; she is a new PSST parent, but has already started the ball rolling by being in touch with the police. Val added that she will help get Bam-Bam a much needed PO.

Wilma, keep on doing what you are doing; you were on the right track before we met you, and you've picked up PSST methods quickly. Hang in there!

Violet was next. She was obviously relaxed and happy, which her friends at PSST were thrilled to see; her son Sal has recently left the half-way house after a long stint for heroin addiction. He is doing well enough to start college at a small branch campus. Violet has worked hard to get Sal a P.O., which she is happy to report is very tough, and loves to show up unannounced for drug testing.

Violet feels like she has the right support to help keep Sal in line; now she can concentrate on herself for once.

Angela and Tony's daughter Samantha is beginning to show her true colors at her in-patient treatment facility, which is a good thing. After a couple of okay visits Samantha is starting to act out. This is good, their counselors can watch them and are there to help them.

She was basically compliant; She turned down the home pass she earned in exchange for coffee with Kathie T...little does Samantha know Kathie T is an expert sleuth and has learned more about Samantha than Samantha is aware of!

Samantha did have a good telephone conversation with Tony, who made very clear that she cannot have communications with any friends. Tony was tough and had his PSST game face on! He sat back and let her vent. As Tony put it, "just sit back and listen and they will tell you everything you want to know". Tony held his ground like a good PSST-er, and at the end of the call, both he and Samantha were able to say "I love you" to each other.

Congrats, Tony and Angela - you are beginning to see the fruits of your labor!

The question of "assignments" for our kids came up. Tony wondered if he should have Samantha read the blog to see if the kids recognize their negative choices and behaviors in some of the stories. Ralph Kramden shared that he often gave Ed "homework" type questions that he had to think about and answer when they next met.

The consensus was that you have to know your kid. Sometimes this approach can work, sometimes it can backfire. It certainly isn't wrong to have your kid think about a serious question for a while, to discuss at a later time. On the other hand, some of us are better off just having a family visit, trying to rebuild the relationship by playing cards and chatting. You know your teen the best, the decision is yours.

And now, from the woman who once described herself as "pathologically compliant with authority figures" - Jessica is now a self described Renaissance Woman - she can bring home the bacon (actually, it was shrimp), fry it up in the pan, during which time she rightfully suspected her son Herman was high, ran upstairs while the shrimp was cooking, grabbed and bagged evidence, and came down in time to finish the shrimp before the timer went off.

She was so efficient, her husband Roger is nominating her for "Secretary of Homeland Security".

Jessica and Roger, we at PSST greatly appreciate your ability to recount your stories with such good humor. If we don't laugh, we will never stop crying. Hats off to your quick reactions, and to putting into practice what you have learned in a few short weeks at PSST. Herman constantly tries to provoke Jessica, sometimes getting physical in the process. But Jessica (and Roger too) stayed tough; she held up a sign that said "NO"; she refused to answer or engage verbally with Herman, and simply held up the sign for him to read. Jessica and Roger took control of their son's situation.

Herman was constantly telling his parents what "the experts" were saying about him. The "experts" in question didn't seem to have a good read on what Herman was really about.

With the support from PSST,and the confidence of their own convictions and the evidence that she collected Jessica and Roger were able to stand up at Herman's Walk-in Hearing and demand that Herman get what he really needs; to be in a court ordered in-patient treatment program. They feel he probably needs time in a a halfway house before he returns home again.

Since then Jessica found more K-2 Spice in Herman's socks at home and called his Inpatient Facility to ask them to check his socks. Jessica and Lou are both comfortable skipping some of their visits with Herman and spending the time with themselves and their family at this time. This is called detaching with love. They are not abandoning their son, they are recovering physically and mentally.

Sometimes Mother Really Knows Best! Thanks for being part of PSST Jessica and Roger.

Max gave a quick update on her 2 boys, Michael and David. Michael is about to be off of probation; he has kept his job and loves to work. He has continued to attend his Nar-Anon group; he got his drivers license, and has some goals after graduation - he even said he has new friends.

Max and Mel are really proud of him - but old habits die hard. It is difficult not to be suspicious and mistrustful of Michael, but we are trying hard to keep communications open, and understand it will take some time.

Max gave a nod to Kathie from Wesley-Spectrum for her very subtly suggesting that Michael might consider a halfway house before returning home from placement. When he confronted his dad with this on the phone, Mel very calmly replied the "I am not comfortable discussing that at this time." Before Michael could persuade Mel to tell him more time ran out on the phone call and he was left contemplating what it all meant. Having our teens contemplate what they need to do to make their parents comfortable is another good tool in the PSSTool Box.

Younger son David is doing very well at his therapeutic boarding school. The family will be together at the end of this month for a little R & R and bonding, something positive we can look forward to.

Note from Rocco & Sally: Thanks for all you add to PSST Max

Daisy, who once had the honor of "most likely to weep" during her story, has turned into a POWERFUL PSST PARENT. Son Ozzie, currently at a court-ordered rehab, is doing very well with all the strictly enforced limits.

During a recent visit Ozzie asked his mom "If I relapse after I come home you're not going to call my P.O. are you?" Daisy replied "Yes, I will." Secrets keep us sick.

Even when Ozzie harangues his mom about needing a cigarette, Daisy says with confidence "I'm not comfortable with that", along with saying "I know I let you before. But now I know it was wrong. I have changed my opinion and the answer is NO". After a while, Ozzie calms down and not only apologizes to his mom, but hugs, kisses, and tells her he loves her.

What rewards Daisy has reaped! Go Daisy GO!!

Our dear friends Rocco and Sally are hopeful about their son Cisco, who is now in a new half-way house. He is grateful, and "a grateful addict won't use". Cisco still wants to know if he can come home, but Rocco and Sally aren't comfortable with a carte-blanche invitation. They feel that when Cisco comes home, it is a trigger for him to use. They need "stall tactics". Cisco has to want to recover more than his parents want it for him. He needs to be clean and successful in his current situation for a suspended period of time. They also, gently, reminded Cisco that if he had not run and stayed with his last program he would have probably completed it by February.

An idea of a Role-Play popped up.

What to say to a kid who wants to come home? How do we stall and not dash his hopes, while being honest? The following was acted out by Sally (as Cisco) and Lloyd (as Rocco):

Cisco: I really want to come home.

Rocco: Son, you read my mind. I really want you home too; but right now, I'm not comfortable with that.

Cisco: What do you mean? Don't you want me to live with you?

Rocco: I'm not comfortable with that discussion at this time.

Cisco: Dad, you know how hard I've been working to stay clean. Are you saying you will never let me live at home again?

Rocco: I am really glad you want to live with us, Son - however, I am not comfortable discussing where you will live at this time. But I will be happy to discuss it in 3 months, after you have worked your new program for a while.

The point is to let the kid know that you haven't said "never" or "forever" or even "no". You are only saying it's too soon to have this on the table for discussion. It might be that the kid cannot live home again. But we don't need to decide that while he/she is in treatment, and we certainly don't need to get into an argument about it. They need to know that there is hope for that, if all goes well.

Note to Parents from Sally & Rocco: You can't want your child's recovery more than they want it.

Candy & Aaron, have an 18 year old daughter Tori. Tori has been in placement in a recovery facility for the last 4 months because her parents were strong enough to file charges and stand up in court to save their daughter from her addiction last summer.

Tori transferred to halfway house after a good home pass for Christmas. She has been clean for 4 months but Candy considers the 9 days clean she has in the halfway house to be the real test. This is not to disregard the 4 months clean. All clean time is time for our children to grow and recover.

They said that Tori has been very good the last few months and especially on her home pass. Tori has acknowledged that returning home later may not be the best thing for her. Aaron was wondering is this the real Tori or is she manipulating them? Lloyd reminded him that even when our kids are manipulating their parents with kindness they are practicing being a nice person. A lot of times they may find that they like the feeling and the results that they achieve from being nice.

Only time will tell. Addicts are champion manipulators but they can only pretend for so long. Her time spent at the halfway house will tell.

Candy & Aaron you guys deserve the PSSTrophey this week because you have saved your daughter's life and have her heading in the right direction (and because we didn't have a PSSTrophey for you when you two were going through the court system last summer).

Jim is a PSST Dad of a 17 year old son, Andy. His wife, Cheryl, was not at the meeting because she was with Andy at an N.A. Meeting.

Andy has done very well in his recovery program - he has achieved a Level 3, has completed his high school courses with a 4.0 GPA and is about to come home.

Even though Andy completed his High School requirement he wants to return to his school and graduate. The school has set him up in a special program. Andy will be at the school but he is not allowed to ride the bus, has a special lunch period and will complete his school work on-line. He said he would also like to find a job.

At home Cheryl has taken back the power and Jim is there to
back her up and (just in case) they let Andy know that they have Lloyd
their guard dog on the leash to call out if needed!

Our probation officers and counselors are a great resource for us parents but they are most successful when they work themselves OUT OF A JOB!

PSST was developed to give the Power to the Parents.

Congratulations to Cheryl & Jim. It looks like your family is well on the road to recovery.

Our good friend Lori, is an Alumna PSST Mom of a 24 year old son Richie. Richie began using marijuana and alcohol when he was 13 and eventually progressed to heroin. By the time he was 15 they had been through inpatient programs, outpatient programs and counseling. When he was 17 Richie was arrested and Lori found PSST.

It took Richie several programs and several years to make it. Lori came to accept that he could not come home and stay clean. Eventually he left town and earned his bachelor degree and a good job. He had his ups and downs and he came to the realization that he could spend his money on drugs or on food and a bed. He had some more realizations in the last year or so such as PSST is a good thing and that he cannot do "Recreational Drugs." He realizes that he needs to stay 100% clean.

Lori reminds us to hang in there for the long ride. Do not give up if your child relapses. It might take a few years but eventually they will get it. To read more type "Lori" into the "Search This Blog" window at the top right of this page. Lori has been thoughtful enough to contribute her thoughts and feelings to the blog over the years.

Thanks Lori for showing us all that there is hope.

Lori's friend Millie has a 24 year old son Freddy who is friends with Richie. Like Richie he progressed through his teen years from marijuana and alcohol to heroin.

Last weekend Millie said he had his first breakthrough and finally understood that he cannot do this (recovery) on his own. Monday he was going through withdrawal and
attended an A.A. meeting. He went from there to Gateway intake at 1:00 a.m.

Millie is being cautiously optimistic about his recovery. He has been attending 2 meetings per week and working out in the gym.

Thanks for returning to our PSST Meeting Millie and sharing your story. We hope the best for you and your son.


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PSST Mom from Across the Border ~ Tells Her Story
Posted by:Sally--Monday, January 10, 2011

PSST Welcomes Virtual Members!

I am a new "virtual" member of PSST. I found the web site about 2 weeks ago, when I was looking for a template to write a contract to negotiate our 18 year old son's return to our home (he had been out of the house for 7 1/2 weeks due to violence related to drug use).

We had two non-negotiable conditions for him to be return:

(1) get a clean quantifiable drug and alcohol screen

(2) begin drug counselling

and we wanted to write a contract with those and some basic rules.

The good news is that last Thursday our son got a clean drug screen and came home. He starts drug counseling on Tuesday. He will be subject to random drug screens as needed. So far we have not seen the need.

Its been challenging for his two brothers (his twin and brother a year younger) to adjust to having him at home...not because of anything he is doing but because for 2 months, they had our undivided attention. We have learned a lot since that son was out of the house and are making every effort to NOT go back to having the house, discussion or our time center on this son and what he does or doesn't do. So far, so good.

We found the series of articles on Top 3 Ways Teens Manipulate, VERY insightful. Boy did this son have 2 of the 3 perfected!! At present, he is not using any manipulation (overt or covert)...not even acting good to get anything. He is just being compliant. I guess 7 1/2 weeks couch surfing and being hungry the last few days of the last week, taught him something. We'll see how long he remembers the lessons.

God bless you and all those who give their time to PSST. Know that even parents up in Canada are benefiting! I pray for Cisco. - Joy Y.

Here is the contract we created ~

No Drug and Alcohol Use While Living in Our Home
Home needs to be a clean, sober and safe place for all of us.

Summary: Zero tolerance for use of chemicals, working toward abstinence from marijuana, non-intoxicating levels of alcohol (1.5 oz hard liquor / 2 beers). Begin seeing a drug & alcohol counsellor before coming home with a transition to attending weekly 12-step program (sponsor within 30 days).

1. Accept random drug & alcohol tests on 2 hours notice and provide consent for parents to see the results

a) Positive Test Results for any of the following will result in the immediate need to find alternative place to live until a detox program is completed and follow-up drug counselling is obtained
(Summary; Zero tolerance for chemical use while living at home)

· amphetamines/methamphetamine
· benzodiazepines
· cocaine
· MDMA (ecstasy)
· methadone metabolites
· opiates
· psilocybin (mushrooms)

b) Positive Test Results for cannabinoid ≥ 50 ng/ml after returning home indicates current use of marijuana
(Summary; tell us if you slip and get help, repeated slips will be considered a relapse, using but not telling us will result in needing to find another place to live)

(1) Tell us if you slip right away and get help from drug counsellor / sponsor

(2) ≥ 3 slips in a 6 week period will be considered a relapse. You may be asked to find an alternative place to live until a clean drug test is achieved

(3) If we are not told of marijuana use before the drug test and the drug test is positive, there will be a need to find an alternative place to live until a clean drug test is achieved

(c) Urine ethanol ≥ 300 ng/ml (more than 1.5 oz hard liquor / 2 beers for 150 lb male) follow up with drug counsellor. Drunkenness will result in an immediate need to find an alternative place to live. (Summary; drink in moderation / below level of intoxication)

*** Note***: REFUSAL to submit to random drug & alcohol screen will result in immediate need to find alternative place to live until results of a clean drug & alcohol screen is received

2. Make an appointment for drug and alcohol counselling before moving home then make and attend weekly appointments with a drug and alcohol counsellor (minimum 6 weeks) à transition to weekly 12-step meeting (find 12-step sponsor within 30 days)

· on-going regular weekly attendance at drug counsellor or 12-step meeting

These are the basic house rules;

ANY acts of intimidation, aggression or violence against property or people will result in an immediate need to find alternative place to live.

Possession of any knives or other weapons will result in an immediate need to find alternative place to live.

Attend school minimum 30 hours per week or work minimum 30 hours per week (pay room and board) or combination of school & work for minimum 30 hours per week.

Pay for personal purchases including own transportation (bus pass), cell phone, clothes, shoes, etc.

THE DOORS WILL BE LOCKED AT 11:20 p.m. on weeknights (Sun. – Thur.) and 1:00 a.m. on weekends (Fri. & Sat.). If you are home before that time, you can come in. Let us know before 11:00 p.m. where you are staying overnight.

Speak politely to and about others (say positive or neutral things, no criticism or ridicule)

Listen respectfully to others when they are talking.

Maintain a pleasant atmosphere around the table at meals (comments, if offered to be positive or neutral).

Have considerate and unselfish interaction with others (think of others).

RESPECT parents & siblings & RESPECT their personal property. Ask if you want to use something; accepting the answer whether it is yes or no.

Speak calmly and quietly. There is no reason for anyone (you or us) to raise our voice. If you disagree with something calmly express your opinion, respecting that the final decision rests with us in our home.

Respect that quiet is wanted in all common areas of the house (use electric guitar, computer, music, X-box, etc. only with headphones. Use of acoustic guitar in the house requires everyone’s consent).

CLEAN UP after yourself (bathroom, bedroom, family room, kitchen, etc.)

If going to bed later than brothers, either get changed outside the bedroom or sleep on the couch.

CALL to let us know the plans / if there is a change of plans.

Do chores well and without needing to be reminded.

PAY FOR ALL REPAIRS caused by damage to other’s property (even if unintentional).

Attend family counselling, when requested; this is so we can all move forward and find positive ways to resolve differences.

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