Quote of the Week

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

Daisy is a ROCK STAR!
Posted by:Max--Monday, February 28, 2011

My dear friend Daisy and I often talk about our kids together, helping each other through difficult moments and comparing notes after interactions with our boys.

When I started to get to know her (in our sons "family night" at Gateway Out Patient), she was more of a "Shrinking Violet" than a blooming Daisy (with no offense meant to our other dear friend Violet!)

I begged her to come to PSST with me. She was a bit reluctant, but then I said "I'll drive you and we'll pick up donuts!" I'm not sure which made her come with me, but come with me she did.

At first, I nudged her. "You ought to introduce yourself to Kathie T...she may have some good ideas for you and Ozzie" I would whisper. She would always say "No, I don't really want to bother her.....".

Then, BOOM - one day it happened. I don't know what event or interaction with Ozzie "triggered" Daisy, but she became more and more assertive, less and less of a pushover, and didn't cry so easily over Ozzie's comments.

She had become PSST POWERFUL.

I knew she had arrived when she stood up in court and said "I want my son to get help and I am not comfortable with him coming home" - this, after he had already been away for a month.

The Daisy I knew originally would never have done this; The Daisy I met would cry at the thought of the possibility of her son going in patient.

THIS Daisy didn't cry at all.

THIS Daisy was very calm when Ozzie started yelling at her in court "why, why are you doing this to me?"

Daisy calmly answered "because I love you". I walked out in the hall with her, and she felt relief. I, on the other hand, felt sick to my stomach. I was much more anxious than she was. She became a ROCK STAR and I am her devoted FAN!

She has come further still. Daisy and I often talk about how disrespectfully our kids sometimes speak to us. We often burst out laughing at the outlandish ways in which our boys would assert their power, and try to intimidate or manipulate us.

Why did we laugh?

Because, when we weren't in the heat of the moment, and could review with each other, it became so clear how outrageous their behavior and attitudes are.

With this in mind, I would like to share another amazing Daisy moment:

Ozzie is scheduled for another home pass this weekend from his RTF before his discharge date in 2 weeks. Daisy and his counsellors know that he gets annoyed at his mom very quickly if she doesn't do or say what he wants, especially in front of other people.

Daisy is sick and tired of every visit starting or ending with Ozzie being in a snit and acting rudely towards her, which turns into a "big talk" before everyone settles down to enjoy the time they have left together.

The straw that broke off Daisy's stem was this past Tuesday's visit. Ozzie started having one of his "OZZFEST" attitudes.

Daisy wisely said "I'm going to cut the visit short and leave". Ozzie went nuts. He begged and pleaded to give him a few more minutes to "calm down and talk".

But Daisy had enough; she was sick of being disrespected for perceived slights. She refused to stay and walked out, went home and went to bed....without guilt!

This morning she called Ozzie's' counselor
and told her "I am not comfortable with Oz coming home on a pass this weekend, and "I want to be the one to tell him so he realizes IT IS MY DECISION ALONE".

Daisy was actually making sure she took all the blame, in order to keep the power.

When she talked to Ozzie, Daisy made her case clear:

She will no longer tolerate his disrespect, and she is not willing to be intimidated by him any longer. Her actions of walking away and denying the pass matched her strong words; she walked the walk and talked the talk! DAISY, YOU ROCK!!

Daisy realized deep in her gut what she knew all along in her head: this was a classic Ozzie manipulation, and she had been unconsciously feeding into it by staying and talking.

Daisy and I both admit we are guilty of giving in to this "feeding frenzy" because there is an underlying fear in some of us moms that says "what if I walk away (like I should), but this time he really does need me?"

The problem is, we are believing the powerful emotions we feel when our kids needle us, rather than trusting the reality of the situation. We are frightened to trust our intellectual knowledge, because our guts are telling us to feel otherwise.

How to get over this? DETACHMENT is the only answer (you can use "Refocus" if "Detach" sounds too harsh).

It isn't easy, it won't come on it's own, we have to WORK at understanding what the kid is actually DOING, and work at understanding ourselves and what triggers our "magical thinking".

As Daisy and I often say to each other "once you see the truth behind the lies and manipulations, once you know what it is really going on, there is no going back!"

Come and join us at one of our PSST meetings. Talk with us, and other parents like us, as well as our professionals (probation officers and counselors) on how to detach, stop enabling and where to get the assistance that you and your child need to solve your behavior / addiction issues.

There is no cost, no registration and no obligation; put a stop to the chaos, confusion and sleepless nights in your home.

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DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana - K2 SPICE
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, February 28, 2011

DEA Enacts Emergency Ban on Possession and Use of K2-Spice Type Products

MEDTOX Scientific News Release

On November 24, 2010 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in a rather swift reaction to the Spice phenomenon emergency listed various chemical iterations of it as a Schedule I substance. This move by DEA puts Spice into a collection of dangerous drugs and narcotics that includes heroin and L.S.D.

Schedule I is also the regulatory home to marijuana and other cannabinoid products.

K2's (Spice) label says that the drug is "not for human consumption."

That admonition has not been followed by what appear to be hundreds of thousands of synthetic cannabinoid Spice experimenters.

The DEA ban includes spice synthetic ingredients. These now banned drugs have been spiked onto plant material that has been sold to the public at large in small packets of smokeable incense.

In a short time, Spice products have generated a great deal of public interest. The synthetic cannabinoids in Spice are powerful agonists of the main THC receptors in the brain.

Following smoking the product, Spice users report a litany of symptoms that range from pleasurable feelings of increased sociability to those of hallucinations, anxiety and profound dysphoria.

Spice is smoked using typical marijuana smoking instruments such as water "bong" pipes and smaller ceramic pipes. The experiences of Spice users can be found on blogs and drug use websites; users of Spice have not been bashful about relating their experiences and assessments of the drugs.

It remains to be seen whether or not DEA's emergency action here will deter the use and abuse of these drugs.

One of the most appealing aspects of Spice products for users was that the synthetic cannabinoids in it were not detectable using traditional THC testing assays.

In response to the explosive use of these drugs, testing laboratories like MEDTOX quickly assembled new tests and protocols that can now accurately spot and identify patterns of Spice abuse in suspected urine samples.

Further research and study of Spice will continue in light of the DEA ban. The DEA regulatory action taken here will last for at least one year.

At MEDTOXwe are committed to providing clients with the services and solutions you need to run a successful drug testing programs. Our news releases are just one way we show that commitment.


MEDTOX Journal

MEDTOX Scientific, Inc.

Copyright by MEDTOX 2010

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Thanks to everyone for your support.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You know I always thought that when there is a horrible tragedy that there is nothing I can do. It's so horrible, the loss is so great, what can I do? I won't even know what to say. Well, I might not think like that again. Everyone's support helped. Every condolence meant something. And my wife and I much appreciated every act of kindness, every type of support, every person who called or showed, every card, every dish, flowers, everything; and not the least, we appreciated every prayer. -

Kevin will be missed more than words can say.

Words cannot express how devasting this is. The fear of this happening was devasting even before it really happened.

I shy away from turning this into a big lesson because I don't want our loss to be minimized or "text-booked" (as I have a tendency to do with things).

We just wish we could turn back the clock and see Kevin walk back though our door.

Nevertheless, I want to share something. Just because.

Take pictures of the loved one that your are afraid you might someday loose. Take lots of pictures. Leave no family person out of the pictures of the loved one. Take videos. Take lots of videos. If tragedy ever happens you will not have enough of them no matter how many you take, but each one will become so important and irreplaceable. You have no idea.

It would be nice if the act of taking a lot of pictures and videos could in and of itself provide another wakeup call for your loved one. Probably not. Still, you will really want those pictures and videos.

From the bottom of our hearts, thanks so much for all of your concern and for all that you have done to help us through our loss. It does matter and it did help.

In memory:
SCHREIBER KEVIN ANDREWAge 32, sadly on Saturday February 12, 2011 of Carrick. Beloved son of Diane (Lloyd) Woodward and Paul L. (Debbie) Schreiber; grandson of William and Jean (Rostek) Hays; brother of Kenneth (Heather) Grant, Ashley, Nathan, Sarah and James; step-brother of Ryan, Sara and Allison; uncle of Jaiva and Kenneth, Jr; also survived by many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and friends.

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"Bath Salt" Abuse is a Growing Menace
Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The staff at MEDTOX believes the problem with "BATH SALTS" warrants a special "Be on the Lookout" advisory.

The MEDTOX Drug Abuse Recognition (DAR) Hotline has been peppered with calls about ingestion and abuse of bath salts over the last several months. The first Hotline calls were fielded in June of 2010; volume hit a peak this month.

Abuse of bath salts and particular strains of powdered plant food has now been reported by a number of media outlets, as well as by state and federal law enforcement agencies. This activity is real and it represents a notable public safety threat. Readers should be sensitive to this substance abuse and be prepared for bad outcomes for some users.

Ivory Wave, Red Dove, and Vanilla Sky are the more common forms of these products. Nominally marketed and sold as bath salts, these substances are not intended for human consumption. These products are nothing more than compounds or mixtures of esoteric designer drugs.

These drugs are powerful mood-altering stimulants that can provoke effects that are not unlike cocaine and methamphetamine.

By sporting a stamp or advisory on their packaging that says "not for human consumption," manufacturers have skirted federal drug control laws.

These drugs have no known medicinal use in the United States. As a result, they would likely fall into DEA Schedule I if they were the subject of regulation and enforcement.

Methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) is a designer drug take-off of the primary ingredient in a plant-based stimulant and acts as a central nervous system stimulant by manipulating transporter systems involving dopamine and norepinephrine.

The drug is alleged to have some modest ability in causing users to feel more social and interactive.

MDPV, on the other hand, is a more brazen stimulant drug. Users of this drug point to powerful energy boosts and activity while high. When taken in larger doses, MDPV can lead to muscle spasm and a dystonia seen with methamphetamine abuse.

As time wears on with an MDPV high, users may begin to engage in meaningless repetitive motions and behaviors. Some high dose users have experienced hallucinations and profound paranoia.

In combination, these drugs can have added stimulant effects:

- Pupils will be dilated, quite possibly so dilated that they could be classified as "rimmed." Reaction to light will be slow.

- Heart rate and Romberg internal clock will be accelerated outside the range of normal.

- Blood pressure and body temperature will be elevated.

- Skin will appear flushed and the mouth will be dry.

- Speech will be fast and thoughts and dialog will jump back and forth between subjects and discussions.

- Because these are both powerful stimulants, there is the potential for seizures and other nervous system disorders, when these drugs are taken.

There is substantial potential for chronic, even addictive, use of these drugs.

Although these drugs are packaged and bear some resemblance to bath salts, they are relatively easy to prepare and ingest to get high. The white bath powders can be snorted or smoked. Preparation of these salts is quite similar to preparation of powdered methamphetamine or cocaine for "snorting."

The length of a high can vary substantially. Experiences so far tend to indicate a rather modest span of effects that last for 3-4 hours. Users report that when a high starts to abate, those effects drop off very quickly.

Afterwards users also report feeling out of sorts, slightly blue, or depressed. This experience is routinely cited by cocaine and methamphetamine users who can often feel wrung out or exhausted following extended periods of use.

4-MMC may also appear as a stand-alone product in certain brands of foreign made plant food. Coming from places such as Russia and Cameroon, these substances are typically packaged in small plastic baggies for individual use.

Like the bath salts, the plant food drugs are ostensibly branded "not for human consumption." But they too are prepared and snorted in a fashion identical to ingestion of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Abusable bath salt products pose a threat to patients and participants in drug court and drug rehabilitation programs. Although technically legal to possess, their use as mind-altering substances will violate terms and conditions of treatment and probationary agreements; use of these drugs may also be a trigger to relapse.

Apart from readers recognizing the physical signs and symptoms of someone who may be abusing 4-MMC and MDPV, there are a number of labs that can provide forensic drug testing services for these substances.

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Recap of the February 12 PSST Meeting in Wexford
Posted by:Max--Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recap of the February 12 Meeting in Wexford

Another great meeting in Wexford last Saturday, attended by the usual suspects: from Juvenile probation, Lloyd and Val; From Wesley Spectrum, Kathie T and Jocelyn; and of course, all of our amazing parents!

Our meeting went a bit differently this time. Everyone wanted to share and talk, so we never got around to role plays. Therefore, here is what is going on in the lives of our parents:

Jane is beaming. Son Elroy has been in a court-ordered RTF for a few weeks now. She has had positive conversations with him, and as she said, she is in a "good place". She hopes he takes his treatment seriously.

We all need to remind ourselves: it is very common for the teen, new to treatment to be in a "honeymoon" phase, where things don't seem so terrible, the counselors aren't so bad, and if they are really good, they can get this over with and get out!
Usually this phase will end, and the kid will show his/her true colors at some point. This is actually a good thing. If the treatment team can see what your kid does when he acts up, they will better be able to address the issues. And, if YOU don't believe he is ready to come home because you feel he has not taken treatment seriously, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO SAY THIS!!

But I digress. Jane has never looked better - probably because she now sleeps very well at night, knowing Elroy is safe.

Daisy's son Ozzie is in the same court-ordered RTF as Elroy. He is doing very well, dealing with some tough issues. He has finally earned a 24 hour home pass. Daisy is anxious, nervous and excited all at once. Daisy, we too are anxious - anxiously awaiting the story of Ozzie's first home visit!

We know you have the tools and the power to not only get through the weekend, but enjoy Ozzie's company as well!

Violet is grateful. Violet is hopeful. Violet is finally seeing positive returns on her hard work of the prior years. Son Sal has been in college now for 2 months, and doing well. He even asked a girl to a dance! He is conscientious about studying, has been clean every time his PO tests him, and is living a pretty ordinary life for a change. Violet is quick to point out that is "for now"; she is living each day at a time. She also says "last year at this time I didn't know if I would even have a son, and here he is in college, and doing well. I want to give other parents in my situation hope". Vi believes that college gave Sal hope, something to work towards that was positive. Lloyd pointed out that isn't necessarily true for all our kids. But, Violet knows her son, and did what she thought was in his best interest.

Parents, we DO know our kids better than anyone else, and sometimes, you must take that leap of faith. Violet, we are so happy that things are well at this time.

Angela's daughter Samantha is in an RTF. Angela reported that her 12 hour visit went well, and for the first time, Angela feels she finally has her daughter back. Samantha has another 12 hour pass on the day of this meeting, and she sent her husband to have special alone time with her.

Our old PSST friend Posey is back, but not too happy. Son Thor got off probation in November, but recently failed a drug test at his school. He then ran away from home, couch surfing. At the time of this meeting he has been gone one week. Posey, all of our hearts are with you. We all know the pain you feel. We are praying that Thor will be back sooner rather than later, and that you keep coming to PSST to help remind you that YOU are the one in charge and have the tools to stay strong.

We appreciate your sharing Posey. You can always count on us being here for you.

Jessica and Roger decided to take a one month break from son Herman, currently in a court-ordered RTF. Herman has been disrespectful of his parents at each visit (not to mention the havoc he wreaked when he was at home)and they have had enough abuse! Lloyd reports that Herman seems to be doing ok. More importantly Jessica and Roger understand that Herman cannot come home until he changes his tune and learns some appropriate communication skills. The Rabbits are rejuvenating while away from Herman, and trying to focus on each other and their other bunnies at home.

Becky and Tom are thrilled with son Syd's progress. Syd is doing well in his half-way house, has gotten a job at McDonalds ("he LOVES it"!) and will be coming home soon. Becky admits that at first, she thought placement would not be good for Syd. But now she sees it was the best thing for him.

Rose is going through a very tough time with son Joe, who has been in more than one placement. Joe has diagnosis of anxiety and depression that need to be addressed,but he needs to be clean of all substances for a solid period of time before an appropriate therapist can evaluate his needs. Rose brought him out of his half-way house after being clean for several months to attend an NA meeting. Joe got out of the car and went into the meeting. Sadly, he kept on walking right to the corner drug store to purchase cold medicines used for "Robo-tripping". Once Rose got wind of the situation,she took control and not only got Joe into another program, but went to the drug store of Joe's purchase and made sure they knew they sold cold meds to a minor, who was abusing them. Rose, you not only did the right thing here, we ALL should report stores that sell cigarettes, cough syrup, Mucinex, etc to minors. We are the village that are raising our children - we all need to look out for, and report, these irresponsible retailers. The good news is Joe is doing well with his school work that he continues with in his new placement. Even though there was a relapse, it was short lived. Joe appears to have significant clean time under his belt with all of his placements combined. Hopefully his mental health issues will be resolved soon. Rose, Joe is safe now. Please get some rest, have some peace of mind, and keep talking to your PSST friends.

When I first met Maria, it was my very first PSST meeting. She told the group then, as now, that her son Bert was a recovering heroin addict. She was so calm and collected, and had such a pleasant demeanor, that I looked to her in awe. Can a mom who has a son that is a recovering heroin addict really not be hysterical at all times? I didn't understand that detaching from your addicted child is a healthy and necessary process. But Maria's attitude showed me she successfully had done what was necessary not only to save her son, but to save herself as well. And here she is over a year later, with continued good news about Bert; he is still clean, and is going to school to learn to be a Drug and Alcohol counselor. Maria is sad however, that her relationship with Bert isn't what she was hoping for. It seems there is friction from unknown sources (at least to Maria) that make Bert withdraw from her, and not seem to want regular contact. Maria keeps trying new ways to involve her son so they can have a relationship; she recently took him to a sporting event, and they both had a good time. Maria says however, that Bert's being clean and in recovery is the priority; if his relationship with her isn't where she wants it to be at the moment, she is willing to wait. At least he is alive. This mom is healthily detached, and detached with love. For more on this subject seek previous blogs on detachment, or detaching with love. Or, come to Families Anonymous and learn how!

Wilma has written some very poignant blogs lately about her son Bam-Bam. Bam-Bam has some mental health issues that, until he is clean for extended time, will be difficult to decipher. So, Wilma is biding her time while Bam-Bam attends his rehab, has therapy, as well as some home based service. She has several routes she can take; press charges and get him into the juvenile system,or have him court committed in the mental health system. It is a lot to think about, but we here at PSST have nothing but Kudos for Wilma, navigating these systems (especially the insurance quagmire) while keeping an eye on Bam-Bam and his text messages that read "I got that stuff"...she plans to add random drug testing to Bam-Bam's routine.

Jim and Cheryl just received upsetting news about son Andy who is currently doing well in his half-way house. After a bout of stomach problems, Jim and Cheryl took Andy to the ER for some testing. The doctor was concerned to see that 17 year old Andy had the liver of a 40 year old. He has to face up to the fact that his own alcoholism is what caused this. Andy is in shock, but according to Jim and Cheryl , Andy does in fact understand that his liver problems were avoidable and brought on by his addiction. And although it is a serious medical condition, perhaps this shock will keep Andy on the right path. We pray,nonetheless, for Andy's good health and continued recovery. On a positive note, he likes his placement even though Lloyd had predicted "you probably won't like it there".

Bienvenu, Francoise et Brigitte, our new friends. Son Pierre is still going to Gateway IOP, and started seeing positive results. Therefore, they gave Pierre a bit more freedom as a reward. Unfortunately, he failed his weekly drug test. He is now bumped up to Partial. His grades are not good. Francoise and Brigitte are in a holding pattern, waiting to see if a court ordered stint at Gateway YES may be in store for Pierre.

Joan and Melissa are having more problems. Melissa has forged some of Joan's checks. She is facing legal consequences because of this, and was shocked that Joan had no intention of providing her with an attorney. Melissa is staying with friends (that Joan doesn't know)and appears to have no interest in going in-patient to an RTF which Joan believes she needs. Joan is also concerned about possible mental health issues for Melissa. Joan admitted that she has been acting as a "buffer" between Melissa and the outside world consequences. But no more! Joan, everyone at PSST and Families Anonymous are here to help you through this!

Joan brought her good friend Kitty to PSST. Kitty has a son Carlyle who is currently at IOP Gateway. She also has an older son who is a heroin addict who was kicked out of his half-way house and arrested for possession. Is Carlyle going down that same path? Kitty wants to insure that Carlyle have a probation officer until he is 21. Stay with us Kitty, and you will get support and guidance regarding this.

And last for the day, but certainly not ever least, Rocco and Sally; the saga of Cisco continues. At this point in our story (oh, wait, this is real life!Sally, you may want to consider writing a book or a screen play!) Cisco is determined to get off of probation, and his hearing is coming up.

Rocco and Sally are anxious; what if the judge agrees with Cisco?

What if he actually is off probation?

How will they ever have control?

Cisco is clearly not ready for this. He still wishes to contact old friends, he mentioned running away from his current program ("If I ran, would you tell Lloyd?" "of course!").

Rocco and Sally know they may need to stand up in court and announce "Our son still needs the support of a probation officer; we are not comfortable with him being off probation".

They are trying to keep having a good relationship with Cisco and remain a part of his life. But they also realize they may not be able to.

They need to continue to work on detaching with love; love the child, hate the disease, move on with their life, work on themselves and how to make themselves happy and enjoy their life, without letting Cisco and his issues over take them and drag them down.

As a PSST Parent once told us “I never wanted to visit the world of addiction but now that I am here; I will learn all that I can to help myself, my family and my child in our recovery.”

We would all would like to sincerely thank Trinity Lutheran Church for the use of their first class facilities that allows PSST to empower parents who are learning how to help their troubled teenagers.

This is another great example of how Trinity Lutheran has been reaching out and serving Wexford and the northern suburbs since 1845.

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PSST Mom Describes Her Relationship With Her Son
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, February 13, 2011

There is an eminem and rhianna song that my son likes

( amazingly I like it too ).
its a song / rap about domestic violence but the one phrase describes mine and my son's relationship a lot.

Maybe our relationship isn't as crazy as it seems
Maybe that's what happens when….

a tornado meets a volcano
All I know is I love you too much to walk away

We are at odds so much of the time I feel like we are the tornado and the volcano (don't know which of us is which) but I'm not giving up on him whether he likes it or not.


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Better Late Than Never....Recap of 2/5/11 Meeting
Posted by:Max--Friday, February 11, 2011

As usual, we had a great turnout in our Wilkinsburg meeting location, which also happens to be the Juvenile Probation office of our leader Val Ketter, who was in attendance with PO's Lloyd and Rebecca and The Wesley Spectrum team of Kathie T, Jocelyn and Justin.

With Rebecca acting as leader, we went around the room for each parent to give the "Reader's Digest" update of their situation. After a break we worked on the following role plays:

Role Play #1
New parent Joan (welcome to PSST, Joan! Keep coming back!) has a 19 year old daughter Melissa. Melissa started drinking in high school until a bout of alcohol poisoning set her straight for a while. But in her senior year, she met some new friends, became rude and obnoxious, was removed from her place as captain of her sports team, and in the National Honor Society. By this time she was smoking pot and snorting opiates. She was picked up for shoplifting and finally asked Joan for help. Melissa went to NA by herself (not through a rehab program); she made new NA friends who helped her stay clean for a while. She went on to freshman year at college, but started a downward spiral, becoming depressed and drinking more. She went to campus counseling, but by Christmas break, Melissa was "a mess" according to mother Joan.
Joan and Melissa agreed that she needed to take a leave from school to get straightened out. Joan told Melissa that she couldn't be in the house when Joan wasn't there, but Melissa broke in anyway. Joan told her she had to leave. Melissa couch surfed with her NA friends, who convinced her to enter a RTF. Melissa did not take the program seriously, and received an "administrative discharge". Melissa's NA friends are totally on to her, and will not speak to her at this time. Joan made a contract with Melissa; she could live in the basement, was forbidden upstairs, and had a lock put on the door to ensure this. If she broke the rules or used, she would be kicked out of the house. Melissa finally agreed to try a different RTF, and was clean for 31 days, but left the program. She continues to live in the basement. She has asked her mom if two of her friends from college could come and visit, as they were "good influences" and although they drink socially, they are committed to helping Melissa by not drinking in her presence - what should Joan do? We played it out, with Joan playing her daughter Melissa, and yours truly acting as Joan:

Melissa: Mom, can my two friends come to visit? They promised to stay in the basement with me, and even offered to stay in a hotel if you weren't comfortable with them being here.
Joan: Well, they do seem like nice girls...but I am not yet comfortable with you having anyone over.
Melissa: (indignant)WTF?? Why? I just told you they wouldn't drink around me! I told you they HELP me, they even went to NA meetings with me! I can't go on like this all alone in the basement!
Joan: (agreeing)Being in the basement all the time sure does SUCK...
Melissa: it is worse than that...it BLOWS!
Joan: I agree - it is a miserable way to live!
Melissa: I know, so will you let me have my friends in for a visit?
Joan: (LEANS IN )Melissa, I am going to tell you something you aren't going to like. In fact, you are going to be wild...and if at any time you don't want to sit here and talk, please feel free to leave the room. I am not comfortable with your two friends coming in for a visit. The answer is no.
Melissa: WHAT?? I thought you understood how unhappy I am! Why can't I have my friends over?
Joan: I'm not comfortable with it.
Melissa: You are so unfair! You don't care if I rot in the basement alone!
Joan: You are so right, honey, you really do think I am unfair and that I don't care!
Melissa: Right! So can they come?
Joan: No...but I sense you have the need to ask me again.
Melissa: huh?...
Joan: Go ahead, ask me again.
Melissa: Can my friends come in?
Joan: No. Would you like to ask me again?
Melissa: Mom, can my friends please come to visit?
Joan: No. Do you need to ask me another time?
Melissa:(finally understanding that she is getting nowhere)@#$%!!!

Techniques we used in this role play:
agree with your teen whenever you can - it surprises them that you would agree about anything lately. Please note: you are not agreeing to their demands, or agreeing that they are correct in their thought process. You are agreeing with something you are comfortable agreeing with - if they are angry, you can agree that they are really angry! If they say you are so rotten, you can agree that you have become really tough!
The second useful phrase that we PSST-ers rely upon is "I'm not comfortable" rather than saying no and feeling the need to, or be pressured in to,explaining why. There is not a lot to say back to a parent who says "I'm not comfortable with that". It may actually stymie them for the moment. The only thing they can really respond with is "WHY" - to which the parent responds again with "I'm just not comfortable with that".
Another technique used here is the "prepare the oppositional teen for disappointment twist"...Newbies, listen carefully. Our teens are oppositional, which sets them up to DISAGREE with anything we try to tell them. So we are setting them up to prove us wrong. When you are about to give difficult information-or simply to say "no" to your ready-to-explode teen, prepare them. Say "I have something to tell you that you will not be happy about" - being oppositional, they begin to think "ha, they think I won't like what they are going to say, but I'll show them...I just may like it!"
You tell them "if you at anytime get so angry that you feel the need to walk away, I won't be angry if you do". Again, in their mind, they say "if they tell me I can leave, I'll show them...I'm staying!" Of course, they may end up leaving, or blowing up. But in my experience, my kids actually sit, listen and do not walk away. It was a real coup for Mel and me!
And now,one of my personal favorites, "Ask me again". When you have said "I'm not comfortable" and "No" enough times for the meeting to be over, but your child is relentless in asking for something, just respond as above: "the answer is still no, but I see you still need to ask...so, ask me again". Continue this 3 or 4 times, and your kid will walk away in disgust (as mine finally did - this technique REALLY WORKS!)
An important addition to what you say....your body language. Lloyd reminded us to lean in towards your kid...get into his personal space, make him feel the discomfort. That one is a difficult one to remember to do, but it is a physical position of power. You need not limit this to when you are serious or angry. You can do it to good effect when you are saying how much you love them! And through all of these difficult interchanges, it is always appropriate to say "you're right, I am a real jerk for not doing what you want, but this jerk loves you so much, she'd do it all again, just to keep you alive and safe".

Role Play #2:
Our super veterans Rocco and Sally needed to work out some issues with son Cisco, who is in an adult half-way house. His hearing for probation is coming up, and Cisco believes he doesn't need the supervision any longer. He is sick and tired of probation, and wants to do things on his own. His parents feel differently:

Cisco: are you guys still going to those parent meetings?
S & R: yes
Cisco: You guys are the ones who are addicted to parent meetings! I want to move on and get rid of Lloyd.
R & S: That is a great goal for you, son. Why? (AGREEMENT)
Cisco: Now for the first time in my life, I want to stay clean and HE is stealing my accomplishments. If Lloyd says I have to do something, and I do it, it isn't "real" because it didn't come from me!
S & R: We agree with you on that. Nevertheless, we are not comfortable with you not being on probation yet. (AGREE & NOT COMFORTABLE)
Cisco: This isn't about YOU!! This is MY recovery!
S & R: Well, we aren't sure we understand...I mean Lloyd isn't really even around that much...
Cisco: That's what I am talking about! He really doesn't even do anything. He acts like I need to do stuff for him, but I really need to do it for me.
R & S: (LEANING IN) Cisco, we are really proud of that statement; it says a lot about how much you have worked. You have really come a long way! As long as you are working your program and doing ok, you really shouldn't have any problems with probation. (AGREEMENT)
Cisco: So you admit I'm doing well!
S & R: Yes, we feel we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with you! However, you are not out of the tunnel yet, so we are not comfortable backing you on this one at this time. But if you keep working your program seriously, I know one day we will!
The discussion after this scenario was - the PARENTS HAVE THE POWER! They are the ones making a decision about their son, not the PO. They will take the blame/rage/anger that may come up after this talk, but they will also be the power to recon with. Don't be afraid of your kids anger towards you - see it as a sign that he/she REALIZES YOU ARE IN CONTROL! They are testing you by pushing your buttons, waiting to see if you mean what you say. Take it as a compliment of sorts - what you are doing is working!

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Time for Cisco's Six Month Review ~ Part II ~ Once on the PSST Track - You Never Go Back
Posted by:Sally--Friday, February 11, 2011

I know I can, I know I can, I know I can...

I have not received word from Cisco that he has cancelled the hearing and accepted the fact that his parents believe he needs to remain on probation.

This PSST Mom and this PSST Dad have reached a new level of change.

We have been taught well by Lloyd and Kathie and have gained insight from all the wonderful parents at PSST. (These people are our dear friends and probably know us better than anyone). Cisco thinks he knows us well also. Why does he want off of probation right now? Because he thinks he stands a chance at gaining the power back because he thinks the power is with Lloyd and PSST. He does not get it yet. He should not be allowed off of probation until he realizes that Mom and Dad have the power.

Rocco and Sally will stand side by side in court and state that Cisco is not ready to be off of probation.

Cisco is still contacting friends that he used drugs with. So called friends who are not in recovery and can drag him down so low and so fast that there is a good chance that he would be found dead in some God-forsaken alley.

Cisco is still impulsive and spoke (very recently) about running from placement if he knew he could get away with it. He ran three times from two other programs. When he ran he bought drugs with money from his college fund and started selling on the streets.

Cisco is still too manipulative.

He will have to learn that good things are worth waiting for and they need to be rightfully earned.

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A PSST Mom Works On Acceptance ~ By Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Thursday, February 10, 2011

"We must be willing to leave behind the life we had envisioned for our child in order to save their life as it is."

I love this quote from the blog. We are living this right now.

Even though I know my son isn’t going to be living the life we had hoped for him I am still having a hard time accepting it.

When I see kids he goes to school with, and used to be friends with, and they are all doing the stuff a typical Junior in high school would be doing, and having fun, I ache that mine chose to get high every day, jeopardize his future by not going to school, shoplifting,etc,etc.

I’ve seen pictures on Facebook with these happy kids doing fun stuff and am sad for all of us and jealous at the same time.

Our house has basically been a prison since Christmas Eve when "Bam Bam" came home from the hospital. But last Friday we let “Bam Bam” go out with a couple of his borderline friends. (I don’t think he has any now, that he hasn’t gotten high with).

Then Sunday we were letting him watch the superbowl at a friend’s house. When I went to check; they weren’t there. The friend’s sister called her brother to see where he was and, even though she didn’t mention I was there, I think that tipped them off. Within minutes of me heading to the other location "Bam Bam" called me to say he was heading home and had been out riding around. (I Didn’t believe it but couldn’t prove otherwise.)

We let them watch the game at our house. I was tempted to drug test him even though he didn’t appear to have used but I’ve missed that before. I knew he would be tested at his evening drug rehab.

Anyway, thanks for the wonderful quotes and great information on the website/blog.


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Another PSST Mom Shows Her TRUE GRIT Episodes I & II
Posted by:Sally--Thursday, February 10, 2011

PSST GRIT - Episode I

Hi Sally, Thought I would share my most recent experience and insights…especially in light of a recent quote on the blog saying to the effect “take the blame, take the power…"

Elroy is now in an in-patient treatment center with 2 other teens (let’s call them X & Y) whose parents are active participants in PSST. He seemed to be adjusting fairly well… and then… he was informed that his case would be transferred to a new P.O.…


Through the grapevine he found out that X & Y also were under the umbrella of Lloyd. Elroy being a typical teen went about his way of getting the scoop on “this guy Lloyd”.

Both X & Y were in agreement…Lloyd was tough and “always votes for long-term placement”, which left Elroy shaking in his boots.

Elroy also found out through Y that, “All 3 of our parents attend that “Lloyd Group”… (I guess meaning that we are “Lloyd’s Group Groupie’s”). Elroy had a few days to chew that fat over.

Fast forward to the next visiting day….

… A “Shuman Showdown” but with a much less panicked intensity on Elroy’s part.

“Mom…you got to tell that 'Lloyd guy' that if I work hard at this program and do everything I am supposed to do….you will tell that 'Lloyd guy' that I can come home!"

"I heard from Y that his parents may as well be 2 of you! All os you do whatever the P.O. tells you to do.”

I let him vent for a while, and then pulled in the reins and leaned closer to him across the table…..

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…let’s get the facts straight here!

Who do you think stood up in court and said you could not come home?

Who do you think stood up and told the judge that you need treatment?

Who do you think ratted you out on the fact that you were not complying with the stipulations of your Consent Decree?

Who do you think hauled out your drug paraphernalia from our home and filed charges?

Whose name is listed as the petitioner?

Who do you think told the judge that you were drinking?

Who do you think informed your P.O. that you were searching for information about how long Vicodin stays in your system?

So tell me Elroy, just how does that make me a P.O. Puppet?

At this point Elroy was leaning so far back on his chair, a breath blown in his direction would have sent him on the floor.

A short pause later he said, “Well you got me there.” Knowing Elroy…..this just means “Give me a day or two to come up with a comeback.”

I told him, “Of course I want you home, but I need to feel comfortable with my decision. I want you home when I know you have the tools and the ability to make good, healthy decisions for yourself. So rather than put the cart before the horse, you need to think about what you need to do to make me comfortable. So, shuffle those cards and deal(with it)…let’s finish this card game.”
We parents do have the power, we have always had it, we just have to choose to use it.

Editor's Note: We also need to learn HOW to use it. Come to PSST and we will show you.

My experience is that it does help me feel as if I am gaining back some of the control of my life that I had lost.

I can’t tell you how good that has made me feel…. worthy of being dubbed one of “Charlie’s Angels”!


PSST GRIT - Episode II
This could also be titled: Enabling is your own worst enemy in your fight to help your child.

Sitting with my son Elroy passing the time playing cards during a recent visit, Elroy was trying to fill me in on the in’s and out’s of his program.

Explaining the “levels” and privileges that go along with each increase in status, as well as what you had to do…or not do… in order to achieve these new “levels”.

Acquiring a consistent daily point value based on behavior is all part of this process. Elroy said that some of the kids were also demoted a level and a week was added on to their “sentence” for serious infractions. I asked him for examples. He said, “Well, getting caught smoking or being caught with “chew”.

I said, “Smoking….how do they get cigarettes?” Elroy said, “Some parents bring them in.” Shocked, I then in turn asked, “Well, don’t you think the parents know the consequences….an extra week added to their stay?” Elroy said, “I guess.”

A thought sparked in my mind and out shot, “Well, if their parents knew the consequences, I guess that means that they either don’t want them home, or they are not ready to have them home.”

Replaying that conversation in my head on the long drive home that night, I realized that enabling my son by either choosing to ignore the problem (so much easier than doing something about it), choosing not to speak up, choosing to keep secrets, choosing to allow myself to be worn to a nub so that I just caved into his demands out of pure exhaustion….all were sabotaging my efforts to help him.

My enabling him was feeding his illness and I had become my own worst enemy!

Acknowledging that realization to myself, hopefully will be the first step, of many, in my own recovery.

I see myself as an airplane that had been sitting on the run way…. being fueled up with tools I have learned through PSST and the support of my PSST Posse, add in a can or two of fuel cleaner (some insights of my own)….and I have been cleared for take-off.

I know that there is a chance that the engines are likely to sputter, may need to return back to the same run way because there has been a malfunction on takeoff, turbulence will surely be encountered, a detour or two will most likely occur, or even perhaps an emergency landing may be needed……..but the trays are up, my seat is in the upright position, I know where the emergency exits are, and I know there will be oxygen available should I need it.

So, I have fastened my seatbelt with the knowledge that I have a flight plan and Air Traffic Control is always available.

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Time for Cisco's Six Month Review ~ Part I ~ PSST Mom Reaches a New Level of Change
Posted by:Sally--Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Change comes hard for me.

I have been attending the PSST meetings long enough that I know what I should and should not do. I know how not to enable. I understand how manipulative an addict can be.

At the meetings I can easily point out what the other parents should do to get their child on track.

Now, enter Cisco and my emotions come into play and my logic temporarily goes out the window. I think Cisco used to count on me caving and doing things his way because he instinctively knew that my love for him would turn me into a marshmallow.

Well this is not Burger King anymore and I do not like marshmallows.

The issue at hand is that it is time for Cisco's six month probation review. When his Public Defender called him, Cisco jumped at the chance to say YES! when asked if he wanted to get off of probation.

It was not a good sign that Cisco took this upon himself and did not consider that it should be a group decision of Cisco, Jerry; director of the recovery facility Cisco is in, Lloyd; Cisco's PO, Kathy; Cisco's Therapist and both Rocco and myself. As it stands only 1/6 of the people involved feels that Cisco should be released from probation at this time. The other 5/6 of us thinks he needs to be on probation until he finishes his program and accepts his recovery.

Rocco and I took Cisco to apply for his driver's permit last Saturday. This is one of Cisco's goals he is working on. The line was long and Rocco and I took advantage of this time with Cisco to discuss the upcoming hearing. We made sure we let Cisco know that we were "not comfortable" with allowing him to be off of probation at this time. In fact, I felt it was necessary to tell him emphatically that we would do every thing in our power to keep him on probation until he completes his recovery program that he is currently in.

Cisco clearly heard our message and understood that we were serious; this was obvious because he transformed into the completely obnoxious and ungrateful Cisco.

Little did he suspect that by becoming ungrateful he was simply affirming our convictions about keeping him on probation.

We filled a lot of the visiting time by letting him drive with his crisp and new permit. He drove very well, had great control of the vehicle and had a nice mix of confidence and caution. I chose to sit in the back seat with my seatbelt secured while Rocco became the driving trainer. It was so pleasant to witness father and son at this moment. Rocco was calmly giving just enough instructions and Cisco was attentive and following rules of the road. (When one has an addictive son it is a treat to witness them following any rules whatsoever.)

The day went on but Cisco still had a chip on his shoulder because we would not budge on our decision to fight to keep him on probation. We allowed for some of his moodiness but did not give in to any important things. For instance, he asked if a friend could come over to visit and we did not cave at this.

He was getting crankier so I asked if he wanted (an early) return to his recovery facility. He answered yes but then quickly changed his mind and said he needed to get to an NA meeting. Rocco started the car so we could get Cisco there on time. Cisco sat on the porch stoop and smoked a cigarette. I stood and watched cautiously because Cisco was not in a good mood.

He was weighing things out. I could almost see the gears working in his mind. He knew we would fight in court and we were successful when we did this last time. It was dawning on him that he was surely going to be in his recovery program for several more months. I stood several feet away, arms folded and silent.

He asked me if I would call Lloyd if he ran. I quietly but firmly said yes I will.
The smoke from his cigarette blew downward and out of his nostrils. He hung his head and rubbed his hands through his shortly cropped hair.

Suddenly, he got up and walked to the car; we were on our way. He decided he needed to go to the NA meeting.

He was in a better mood after the meeting. We went to a restaurant for some dessert and Cisco commented that he felt sure that he would be able to finish his program. It is difficult for him to realize that he still needs probation. He said he would call the PD on Monday.

(The PD was not ready to give up yet. Sally needs to rejuvenate at her knitting club! So my story continues tomorrow.)

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The teenagers of PSST parents generally end up with way too much power. Where does it all start?
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, February 05, 2011

This commercial shows us the child's early grab for power and how natural it is that children reach out for it. Children vary. In some, the force is strong from the very beginning.

Happy Superbowl to all PSST parents everywhere. :-)

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Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"When are they going to get it?"

"I wonder if they are ever going to really change? "

"I have tried pleading, begging, getting angry, being extra polite and tried making deals with them."

"If they would just listen to me, follow my plan and do what I ask them to, things would be better off for everyone."

"Why can’t they just think logically?"

"They are so-o-o-o-o-o-o frustrating. I guess it’s ‘cause they are just parents. They don’t get it."

"What is a kid supposed to do?"

You CANNOT want your teen’s recovery more than they want it. If you do; you give your teen the power back.

You cannot do their recovery program for them, as much as you wish you could.

Remember - 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. It is a choice to change their lifestyle.

To put it another way recovery is like dieting. Dieting helps you take off weight. But diets come to an end. Once you reach your goal weight it is now up to you to keep the additional weight off. If you do not change your lifestyle you will be on your next diet in short order. No one can want it more than you do and no one can do it for you.

Initial recovery can take years. It can be a very difficult process for both your child and for you to handle on your own. Your child is an addict and a master manipulator. You as a parent will have your doubts and your weak moments and, on occasion, your son or daughter may play on them. They use guilt and other manipulative tactics to persuade parents and other family members to continue enabling them in their behaviors.

Falling back into this trap will inevitably lead to frustration, worry, anger, sleepless nights, and all manner of toxic behaviors in attempting to deal with addiction/co-dependency problems.

If you feel you are falling back into co-dependent behavior try the following:

You don’t need to give instant answers – it is okay to tell your son or daughter that you need to think about it or to discuss it further. Impulsive responses now may lead to regrets later.

Go to meetings – try PSST or your local chapter of Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon or Alateen.

Join a home group – find a meeting you feel comfortable with and attend on a regular basis.

Find a sponsor – find someone at the meeting that you feel at ease with and exchange phone numbers – agree to call each other as needed in a crisis or just to talk.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – talk to your spouse, partner, minister or a co-worker or friend that you can trust.

Get counseling / therapy as required – get professional help (note that if a counselor makes you feel uncomfortable - try another one – one size does not fit all)

Get active (in the program) – helping others in recovery will help you.

"One day at a time - this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so it will be worth remembering."

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