Quote of the Week

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

It's Official, Bam Bam is Coming Home - Written by Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Monday, June 27, 2011

It's official, after 8 weeks at Bedrock Manor Bam Bam is coming home on Friday.

According to his counselor he has done wonderfully. She told us that when he first came she didn't think he was going to make it but he turned things around. I think once he realized that all of his efforts trying to get kicked out to come home were only going to get him sent somewhere else he decided to figure out what he had to do to come home. And that day has arrived.

He didn't get his off-grounds pass today because he had a tier (sanction) for an altercation with one of the other boys that involved pushing and shoving. I don't think punching was involved. It was enough to negate all the good stuff he did up to that point so that his "percentage" wasn't high enough.

And still he is coming home.

We had our last family meeting so that we could go over rules for when he comes home. He spent a lot of the time arguing over his cell phone. He still is determined to continue his relationship with his drug-dealing "friend" Eddie. The counselor told him again that it is up to us to determine if and when Bam sees Eddie. Eddie is supposed to come over to our house, convince us he is o.k. and will not sabotage Bam's recovery.

If I go to see Eddie's dad; I'm not to go in ‘gun’s blazing’ about the illegal activity in his house. I am supposed to talk about the fact that Bam Bam just got out of rehab and to aim at making sure their house is safe for him. In the meeting when I expressed my feelings about Eddie Bam Bam told all of us that he will just use then if he can't see his old buddy. We finished up with more of the rules and then time was up.

I am sure once Bam Bam has his freedom back he is going to do what he did before and sneak around with this kid. I decided on the way home that maybe my statements that I will never approve of Eddie and I don't trust him, etc, etc, are driving my son to want his "friendship" even more. So, I decided not to do that anymore (well, I'm going to try).

As the counselor tells us we are his parents not his jailors and that eventually Bam Bam will be back out in the world. I'm not convinced he's ready for it but I don't have any choice. Bam's dad will go along with whatever is recommended.

After the usual insurance hassles (we could not get the highly recommended dual dx counselor) we have psychiatrist and counseling appointments the first week he is home. On the recommendation of his counselor there should be a little relaxation of rules for special occasions so Bam Bam is going out on July 4th (3 days after discharge) with the best of the bunch friend (he's used with everyone so I don't really trust any of them).

Now, in the not too distant past he would go out with this kid but end up coming home with someone else or needing a ride from a random neighborhood (we just found out that it was because he was hanging out at Eddie's and didn't want his dad to know; even though I was 99% sure this was the case but then remember I am TOO suspicious).

I am just hoping for the best.

After the family counseling meeting it was time for our last family programming meeting. The counselor who was running the meeting gave each family a large piece of white paper and a marker and starting with the kids they had to do a timeline of their life up until yesterday. They were to put down different milestones in their lives.

Then they had to add on the timeline when they started to use, times they used, what they used. I was sick when I learned that in addition to the weed and acid (and suspected huffing) I knew about, Bam Bam has also tried (he may have been downplaying his use on these) ecstasy and 'shrooms. Knowing this explains to me even more of his behaviors prior to going to the psych hospital in December 2010.

Then the parents had to put on the timeline any family events that were going on during these times. Interestingly, all of the really bad stuff had happened when Bam Bam was younger. The only thing closer to when the using started in July of 2009 (he had the official day) was that his dad had retired the year before. The counselor then went around to each family group to discuss the timelines. He suggested maybe Bam Bam was having delayed reactions to the tragedies but Bam said he was just bored.

Who knows?

While we were doing this exercise Bam Bam told us he isn't going to any meetings until he gets his phone back because he needs to get numbers from people at the meetings. We told him he can still go to meetings anyway. He is still going to have restrictions on his phone. I have a feeling he isn't going to follow through with the 7 meetings in 7 days for 90 days recommendation but I am hoping that I am wrong.

We met another family at the placement where the dad used to work with Bam's dad. The past couple of weeks when we were leaving family programming we chatted for a little while with this couple. It's amazing how many similarities these boys have. And they have become friends.

Last night was interesting because two topics came up that Fred and I are on opposite poles about.

The first was, the other dad was talking about his son's friend had stolen his bike and sold it to someone else. The dad confronted the thief and told him get the back or he was calling 911. Lo and behold the kid got the bike back.

Fred then proceeded to tell him Bam's story about how his BMX bike ended up at the police station because he had left it at one friend's house, then another friend took it and was chased by the cops and the bike was taken to the station.

WELL, I called the police station and they DO NOT HAVE THIS BIKE. Fred, even in the face of this evidence, believes Bam Bam's story. New dad told Fred "he sold that bike." Which is what I think happened. Fred didn't say a word.

The other story was about driving. Our boys are both 17. New dad was saying that he would drug test his son and the kid could only drive (still just has a permit) if the test was clean (he did very well, actually). He said he wasn't taking a chance on this kid testing positive and having an accident that could possibly be very bad and he didn't want a situation where the other party would sue them over and above what the insurance company would pay.

I had just had a conversation with Fred that if Bam eventually got his license (he doesn't have a permit yet) and I didn't want Bam on my insurance and that he would have to have his own car in his own name.

Fred thought this was terrible, it would be so expensive, that's what we have insurance for and I'm being unreasonable. I even called the insurance company and, even though it may not happen a lot, it can happen that we could be sued over and above what the insurance would pay in the event of a catastrophic accident.

Again, Fred didn't say anything but I was glad he heard these viewpoints from someone OTHER than me. And of course he hasn't brought it up since but that is his way-not to talk about anything that bothers him.

Anyway, as you may have guessed I am not jumping for joy that Bam Bam is coming home. I am worried about the plan. He is supposed to have a daily structure and I can see Fred not enforcing it. And again, once he is out in the community I am really worried he is going to use again. He will not be back in group outpatient so he won't be making any deals with other kids like he did before. However, if he does relapse he knows he will go right back to inpatient rehab.

Ready or not, here we go...


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PSST Parents (George & Gracie) Stand Firm - written by George
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, June 27, 2011

Wow!! This is not easy, nor is it fun, but it is faith driven and brings one to communicate fervently to their God. I am talking about the effect of my son Ronnie's drug abuse on our lives.

On Wednesday, June 14, our son Ronnie, after not allowing him back home and after his boss told him to get help or she would press charges against him for stealing money at work, admitted himself into a transition drug rehabilitation living center. He hated it, but my wife and I looked at it as a haven to stop him from using, i.e., clean time. “What a relief!” was our first reply, and good feelings started flowing again inside my body.

Friday rolled around and Ronnie had packed his suitcase and walked out of the rehab center, traveling down the sidewalk with his large suitcase in tow. This luggage was stuffed with his clothes, and all of his other belongings. He made it to a street corner nearby, and after asking a woman if he could use her cell phone, called, guess who, his father and said, “Dad, come and get me.” I said, “Huh, what did you say, where are you, what happened?” Ronnie said, “I hate that place, they just sit around and are afraid to move, you have to say you are getting up every time you leave the room or change locations, just to let someone know you are moving around. Etc., etc.” Looking up from my breakfast plate to my wife for advice, Gracie said, “Tell him to walk back to the rehab center.” So I did ... “No, I can’t do that. I don’t even know where I am.” “Well, will you go back if I come over there?” Ronnie said, “Yes, come and get me.”

So I left for somewhere. I had not gotten the address location, so I called the anonymous cell phone number back, and the kind woman gave me the exact street corner where she talked to him. OK, I was focused on this location and knew exactly where he was. Many thoughts raced through my mind, especially what to do when I got there. I immediately told my wife that I was not going to appear in my white car to save him, but must park a distance away so that he had no chance to escape this one.

On the way over I saw a billboard for drug rehab centers, along with their logo. I kept this in mind as I drove. I parked only a half-block away and walked to the hotel where Ronnie was sitting in the lobby. He saw me and said, “Oh, Thank God.” When we got outside he said, “Where is the car?” I said, “We are walking back.” “We can’t walk back, it’s too far and this suitcase is heavy.” I said, “I’ll carry it”. Ronnie barked, “No, I’m not going!” I said, “Well, we will just sit here till you decide to go back.” He walked away, leaving me with the suitcase. I just relaxed and sat next to the suitcase. He returned almost immediately. We bickered back and forth for awhile until it dawned on me what was happening. I calmed down and said, “OK, then we will find a new placement. Did the rehab center give you a list of other places where you could go?” Ronnie, “Mumble, mumble…”

As I looked around I saw a hospital across the street with a familiar logo. Yes!!! They have rehab centers. I told Ronnie that they have rehab services there and we will walk there. Guess who carried the suitcase. Good Old Dad!! The hospital staff was very helpful and as we talked to the social worker there, Ronnie was again trying to convince her that he did not have a Drug Problem. We were getting nowhere until I brought up the reason that we just needed to know the phone number of any drug rehab center where we could enroll Ronnie.

So Ronnie said, “Oh that’s all you need, well here then,” as he pulled out a paper with the names and phone numbers of 5 or 6 behavioral health service centers. Ronnie was familiar with one of the names, let's call it Rehab Two, so that’s the one we called first. We explained our story and that I refused to let him come into our house again until he got help. We were referred to an advocate, who somehow after back and forth phone calls about health insurance and drug use with Ronnie, got him into the program.

We met the advocate at the hotel, explained the situation, mentioning about Ronnie's drug use again, the trouble at his place of employment, and his boss’s ultimatum that either he got help or she was going to press charges against him for stealing money, and that Lloyd Woodward had been in touch with us. The advocate knew Lloyd well, and soon thereafter she asked me to take Ronnie to the local Rehab Two inpatient services. I agreed and off we went to their office. While sitting there waiting to be picked up by a transport van to go to Rehab Two, Ronnie was still trying to convince a visitor that he did not have a drug abuse problem. The rest is still drug rehab history in the making.

Well for now he is safe and off the drugs (marijuana and other unknowns). We are still not home yet, but on our way. Thanks to many loving and caring persons on earth and in heaven.

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Posted by:Rocco--Monday, June 27, 2011


Enabling is a behavior practiced by well meaning family members and friends of addicts that achive the exact opposite results of their actual intentions. Another definition I read was "Trying to be helpful or useful in some way, but often producing a negative effect or result."

While searching for some information I came across a web site called eGetGoing that has a good explanation of what enabling is, its effects and how to change your enabling behavior. Following is the "Reader's Digest" version

For the entire article click on eGetGoing - Enabling


When family, friends, and associates of a chemically dependent individual allow that individual to continue the addiction to alcohol or drugs, their behavior is called enabling. When repeated, enabling behaviors become ingrained in the chemically dependent person's family, job, or social structures.


We often begin enabling in an attempt to be kind and helpful. For example, we may wake someone so they are not late to work. By doing so, we help them avoid the consequences of oversleeping because they were using or drinking late into the night before. We loan addicts money, often over and over again, and we are surprised when they use it to buy more drugs or alcohol.

Enablers may have their own system of denial that is fed by the lies and deceptions addicts use to cover up their using.


Examples of enabling behaviors include:

- Making excuses for the addict/alcoholic (calling their boss to say they are sick with the flu, when they are really hung over, or referring to your teenager's drug use as 'just a phase')

- Paying their bills (including legal fees)

- Bailing them out of jail / paying their court cost or restitution / paying their fines

- Making rationalizations for their irresponsible behaviors

- Ignoring the problems caused by the addict's use (financial, employment, legal, social, family)

- Cleaning up their messes

- Accepting their excuses or believing their lies

- Not discussing the problem of their chemical use

- Not getting help for yourself

As addicts/alcoholics are rescued from the consequences of their using and drinking, they learn to rely on their enablers to continue their addiction.

Enabling behaviors can be changed, and recovery is possible even if the chemically dependent person does not seek help.


When we begin to identify and change our behaviors, they don't just disappear all at once.

Recovery and changing takes time and practice, practice, practice.

With this in mind, we can look at some examples of changing enabling behaviors.

- Stop making excuses to others for situations or problems that are caused by the drinking and using of the alcoholic or addict. Do not phone the employer to excuse him/her from work. Do not make up stories to others about why the addict/alcoholic was unable to keep obligations such as showing up for the family reunion or missing appointments.

- Refuse to lie. This includes Not Keeping Secrets.

- Do not clean up their mess. If the chemically dependent person makes a mess, such as being physically ill or tearing up the living room, do not clean it up. Allow them to see the damage and result of their actions.

- Do not bail them out of jail / pay their fines, court cost, restitution or legal fees [including children under the age of 18]

- Do not pay bills you are not responsible in areas that do not affect your safety or basic well being. Do not pay for the new TV, cell phone service, iPod he/she purchased.

- Do not continue useless arguments. Go to a movie, take a walk, read a good book, or go to a support group meeting [see the PSST Meeting Schedule].

- Do not make threats you are not 100% willing to back up with appropriate actions. Example: Do that again and I will call the police! or One more time and you're out of here!

- Have a calm and Quiet discussion as possible.If safe and appropriate, discuss your concern with the person in a non-emotional way. If your teen gets loud, beligerent or threatening get up and leave at once.

- Find a support system. This may include [PSST], Al-Anon, CoDA, Nar-Anon, a sponsor, codependency treatment, private therapy or counseling, a spiritual advisor or minister, or trustworthy friends.

When you begin to change your enabling behaviors it is helpful to have a sponsor in an organization such as Al-Anon, or a private counselor or therapist, who is familiar with your individual circumstances.
They can be key to achieving positive changes in you.


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Just for Today - That's Good Enough written by Violet
Posted by:Sally--Monday, June 27, 2011

As I return from another placement to visit Sal, I am full of emotion, again. Nothing in my upbringing has prepared me for this battle which I am in. These waters for me are uncharted. Doubt creeps in, dulling my senses. There is no certainty of success only trial and error. It's just that the errors in this fight can bring death and I am so fearful of that end for my child. At times I feel I am the Lone (or maybe Lonely) Ranger in this struggle. I sure could use Tonto, right about now.

Sal’s new rehab is YFC#3 in Trough Creek State Park about 2 ½ -3 hours from here. It is surrounded by the forest and lakes, quite scenic. The program is different than the others he’s been to, and I am hopeful that will be a good thing for him. They seem to focus on the body as well as the mind.

When I see Sal, the first time in 3 weeks, he hugs me. No, I mean with his arms around me not at his side and his body stiff as a statue. I felt life in him as we hugged. It’s been years since I felt that. Of course I do what mothers of addicts do best, cry. But this time is was not out of sadness.

We talked a little about his recovery in the beginning but I have learned not to make every moment a teachable one. I find, at times, I learn more by watching his mannerism and listening to his thoughts which I am pleased to say he had some. My gut, which is my best gauge, tells me he was being real. And for today that is good enough.

He has gained some weight and I can no longer see the bones in his face. His eyes are crystal clear with a spark in them as we talked of his goals. He looked me in the eye when we talked. He was respectful and thankful that I came.

This is not the child I once knew, nor is it the addict I have come to know so well, but someone who is just developing.

I know I have heard these things before but something is different about him, in a good way. I do understand it is easier in treatment than on the outside but I liked what I saw and more importantly what I felt and for today that’s good enough.

No this isn’t the life I dreamed for us. I wallow in that now and then. I cry for the memories we missed. I cry that we only have each other. I cry for the people we have lost in this battle. I cry out of fear and uncertainty.

But today I cry out of happiness. And once again, for today that’s just good enough.


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A Mother's Pain - by Joan, a PSST Mom
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wow, how difficult this life of parenting an addict can be sometimes – and how differently the difficulty can arise. Just when you think you are managing – something knocks you down and you must struggle mightily to get back up.

Today my child told me – again – that she can’t believe that I am doing this to her.

She’s thought and thought about this, and she can’t imagine doing such a thing to her child. She doesn’t know how, as a parent, I can live with myself, imposing these legal problems on her. She cannot even think about these legal issues – or talk to anyone about it – because it increases her anxiety so much.

She has come so far, and is not using now. In fact, it is only when she thinks about what I have done to her with these juvenile charges that she thinks about using. And this is clearly my fault. She is setting me up for the responsibility if she uses – and causing me to think about the next time she uses right now. And if she disappears from my life – which she plans on doing as soon as she can – well, it is my fault too. And she hopes I have a good life without her in it. Because she won’t be!

And to the extent that I hope we can work together to resolve our differences – I can forget about that – it simply is never going to happen!

I try to live and to keep my life manageable – one day at a time – but today – after this conversation – my life doesn’t feel manageable at all. And all I can think of is the future – and the past. About how many mistakes I’ve made, and about what I should have done, how strong I should have been, what I should have said – and how that would have made today different.

I know that looking back – what I should have done and shouldn’t have done – will get me nowhere.

And I know that looking forward – what life will be like, whether she will use, whether we will ever be a family again– will get me nowhere either.

But what I know can’t stop the spinning in my head. What I know does not take away the immediate feelings of despair.

I am grateful that I have my fellow PSST parents, and the probation staff and counselors to support me, and I know I will get beyond today’s feelings. But, oh, how difficult this life can be sometimes!

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Where’s Wendell’s / Wendy’s Stuff?
Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where’s Wendell’s / Wendy’s Stuff?


When our kids were growing up we had fun reading the “Where’s Waldo” books. You probably did too. Well, we are going to put together a collection here but in true PSST fashion we will use the pseudonyms of Wendell/Wendy for our friend Waldo.

Finding Waldo must have helped them develop some of their cognitive skills. One of the more common things I hear from parents of teenage users is “Our kids are so clever at concealing their supplies and their paraphernalia. If they could put their ingenuity and knowledge to good use they could be very successful at whatever they wanted to do.”

I remember two such moments.

- The first was in the fireplace clean-out box. I found a bong stashed there for safe keeping [I wondered if he even remembered that he stashed it there].

- The second was a more eye-opening experience. In one of his more clear thinking and honest moments our son pulled his boxing gloves off of the hook in his room. He reached inside and pulled out a pipe. He handed it to his mom telling her “I knew you guys would never look in here.” This was after we had turned over his room looking for stuff.

- Under the trash liners (I keep extra in there) in the garbage can in his room.

In between the cushions and the arm of the couch or chair. In any pillow or part of a couch with a zipper.


- Beaver had a VCR in his room and the clever lad took the side off of it, and hid things in there. I only found this after he had been in rehab and I wanted to find the things I had missed in the first 30 go arounds.

He also hid his stash inside his piggy bank. Very clever because when you'd shake the bank it would still jingle.

Our last name isn't "Cle(a)ver" for nothing!


- You are so right about if our kids would ever put their know-how to good use. My daughter's hiding places were in a hole in the wall covered with a poster, inside a smoke detector and in a box of Tampons

Nar-Anon Mom

- [this is a short version - see Wilma's complete comment below]
Here is what I've found: Weed in an empty marshmallow bag in a hassock in his room, weed in a baggie in cargo shorts pocket in the laundry basket, baggies with weed residue in a cup on his computer desk.

Found on the floor under his bed, tobacco from cigars in empty video game cases and empty (Why didn't he throw it away? Who knows. I would never have found this or known he was getting high from this.) sleeve of Coricidin cough and cold in a watch case.

Also, a Texas Hold'em tin that had the SMELL that weed had been in there at some time. A clay pipe was hidden under a hat on his computer desk. His dad busted him making a home-made bong. Bam said it was a whistle and unfortunately Fred believed him. [Of course he would - this is a Classic Case of Parental Enabling]


Other parents have reported finding stuff:

- taped to the inside of dresser tops or taped to the bottoms / backs of drawers

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

- inside musical instruments and their carrying cases

- inside VHS/CD/DVD cases

- taped to the top of a door

- One of the most mentioned hiding places is in their shoes [look inside of the sole or the tongue]. We also understand that you can buy shoes with compartments already in them.

Of course you can go onto the internet and find a whole lot of information on these and other hiding places but what we are looking for here is for you to tell us the clever places [or sometimes not so clever places] your teen has hidden their stuff..

Please respond in the comment section below or send your response to sallyservives@gmail.com

Below are some examples from the fine upstanding responsible "friends" on the internet:

Here is one from our "friends" at Wiki-How called “How to Hide Stuff in Your Shoes”

“Shoes aren't high on the list of places people look for hidden stuff, so hiding things in your shoes can keep them safe. These instructions will work whether you're wearing the shoes or if they are an old pair of shoes that you are just keeping.”

Here is another example from more of our "friends" at Yahoo Answers:

“...if your bed is in the corner against the wall hide it in that corner since most parents look around while your asleep they don't want to wake you up. also try hiding it in a jacket in your closet since it’s not cold anymore use that jacket in the back of the closet an hide your stuff in the inside pockets. DON'T hide it underneath your mattress or your drawers! Also if is a small item try out your shoes....that's another good place. Now the last place and trust me its the best place..well 2nd best place its in the walls...in your closet on top towards the door cut out the sheet rock and use the frame of the door as the floor to your hiding spot. make sure you clean up the mess if you decide to cut out the wall. THE BEST PLACE also is in the air condition vent! keep a screw driver in handy an don't forget its up there when your parents decide to clean the air ducts"

Here is another example from even more of our "friends" at YouTube titled “4 of My Greatest Stash Spots”

The video suggest using cameras, using speakers [all electronic equipment is good], using cases for i-pods [or any plastic case] noting that odors will not get out and here is a good one, that I admit that I would not of thought of, hide stuff in the hollow tube that supports your bicycle seat.

[Editor's Note: Don't you wish that these "friends" that run these sites would come out from hiding under their rocks in their cyber-world and explain, in person, what type of public service they think they are really providing?]

Here are a few more [unedited] suggestions from other web sites written by some actual ‘Subject Matter Experts':

- … behind my coin holder on my dash. Its broken so you can just pull the whole thing out and behind it is a perfect spot for my pipe. The cops would never look their (not that I would know about cops searching your car) but I dont know if a K-9 drug dog could find it. That hasn't happened yet.

- …in various appliances and objects. I have a really old tv in my room that I can take the back off of, and in the space I can fit my pipe, bag, and lighter. I stopped using that because it became a hassle to unscrew it every time I wanted to smoke. I've also hidden bags in flashlights with no batteries in them... just make sure your parents won't ever try putting batteries in it. Another good thing to do is tape your bag to the top of your fan if you have one if you don't use it too much.

- … personally, Like battery compartments on boom-box's.

- … i stash it at the back of this ally under this 1 huge weed patch... another grat place is in an old coat pocket in your closet that you like never wear.


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An N.A. Anecdote - Donated by Ralph
Posted by:Sally--Monday, June 20, 2011

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He descended a bit more and shouted to a man on the ground, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man on the ground below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees North latitude and about 80 degrees West longitude."

"You must be a sponsor," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me, I believe, is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've probably delayed my trip."

"Well," said the man on the ground, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect other people to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

- anonymous NA member

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My Date with the Drug Detection Dog - Wilma, a PSST Mom
Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Date with the Drug Detection Dog

As I have posted on the blog my (newly) 17 year old son, Bam Bam, is in an adolescent inpatient recovery facility. A few weeks ago we found out that he would probably be getting a home pass. Bam Bam was REALLY anxious for this to happen.

I wasn't sure if this was because he missed being at home, missed his dog, (us??) and all that was familiar to him - OR - did it mean that he had some hidden stash he didn't want me to find.

I decided that before he was back in the house again I needed to know.

My local police department does not have a drug sniffing dog [When I called them, the dispatcher said I was the first person to ever ask her about drug sniffing dog and thought it was a good idea.]

So I called the Allegheny County Police who told me they only had an explosives dog. The officer who answered my call sounded a little suspicious when I asked about the drug detection dog but relaxed when I told him what I needed it for.

I tried the sheriff's department but got stuck in the "punch 1, punch 2", you get the drift and never got to talk to a person.

I mentioned this at a PSST meeting and Deputy Jessica (aka DJ Jess) gave me the number for "Scent-Tech" Detection Canines. I called them and got an appointment for the day after Memorial Day.

When I called for the appointment I was asked if I wanted a marked or an unmarked car. I chose the unmarked car as I have an extremely annoying neighbor and wanted this visit under the radar in case the nebby neighbor was home. Two men accompanied the adorable black lab who would be searching for controlled substances in my home. I had a couple of tins that had suspicous smells I had found on my search of Bam's room and one of the men confirmed they smelled like weed had been in them at one time.

The search started with my son's room and that is where the team spent the most time. They moved on to the rest of the house and also searched outside.
They didn't find a hidden stash.

I had mixed feelings about this. One part of me was hoping they would find a nice size stash that I could add to my evidence locker. While another part of me was so relieved that there were no drugs hidden in some corner of my house that I never would have found but Bam Bam would have taken out of hiding at the first opportunity.

The owner told me they usually do searches of facilities and I think I may have been their first parent to call for checking the house before a child comes home from inpatient recovery.

For anybody interested the cost was $150 and well worth it.

I wondered if I should of had the marked vehicle come and drive around the neighborhood like an ice cream truck (and maybe paid extra to cruise past a certain house!) if it would made any of the teens a little nervous! Might have given some parents something to think about, too.

Scent-Tech Detection Canines can be reached at 724-203-9226.
Scent-Tech, Inc. works with Labradors as Bomb, Weapon and Narcotic Detection Dogs, and currently has 8 active detection dogs, working in this field


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Preparing to Launch Bam-Bam - by Wilma, a PSST Mom
Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, June 16, 2011

"I have seen the future, and it's very much like the present, only longer" ~ Woody Allen

Preparing to Launch...

...5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - Wait, I am not comfortable with that!

I apologize in advance if I start to ramble...

We found out yesterday that Bam Bam is most likely going to be discharged from Bedrock Manor in a couple of weeks. And this is prior to his ACT 53 hearing. Apparently, this is how it can be. I haven't called the ACT 53 coordinator yet to discuss this latest development even though I know he can't stay there forever.

I was devastated. I was hoping for at least 90 days. His counselor feels he has made so much progress and that if nothing negative happens she is recommending discharge to home before 4th of July. I said I didn't feel comfortable with him coming home yet. Fred (continuing to hone his enabling skills) agrees with whatever the facility recommendations are and won't argue with them. She asked where I thought he could go so I mentioned a half-way house, Glade Run, self-referral to Outside-In,(anywhere but here)! I'm open to suggestions.

Unfortunately we don't have any relatives that would be able to take him for a month or so. She didn't think Outside-In was an appropriate place as he would be just finishing the program at Bedrock Manor, the 1/2 way house was a possibility and she wasn't sold on Glade Run. Our HSAO service coordinator was also at this meeting and she will help also with the next step. The counselor's recommendation is that Bam Bam come home, we will have a written plan with the rules, referral to SHORES for D&A and possibly re-open MST.

I said that I Would Not go back to the way things were BEFORE.

Several times when I mentioned certain things the counselor would say that that was before and now we are going forward. We all have to compromise. I said what about property damage and she agreed that is not acceptable.

I brought up that when there is a disagreement Bam Bam doesn't go to his own room to cool off he stalks me through the house and usually punches something (though so far it hasn't been me).

Well then we can call for crisis team (they make it all sound so simple, don't they. I told her that we've tried that and it didn't work but she repeats, once more, that that was BEFORE. And so it went.

All I can think of is I will again be locking my bedroom door everyday, sleeping with my purse, not carrying money. Bam Bam will not be allowed to be home alone and I'll have to take a harder look at possible valuables that I don't want to disappear. I may need a bigger safe. At least I've had the drug dog to check for any hidden drug stashes.

Fred and I are not on the same page with everything and Bam Bam works this. Also, Fred is retired and he is the one who is home during the day and will be responsible for implementing the home program and supervision. He thought we were too hard the first time around when Bam Bam came home so this time I think he is going to be all for less restrictive measures.

And this arrangement didn't work too well BEFORE.

Prior to the meeting the facility nurse stopped me to tell me that Bam Bam's medication was changed yet again yesterday. Bam Bam is constantly complaining that his ADHD medication isn't working, he complained about the Prozac so he started a new med yesterday and was already complaining about it.

How can he be sent home if his medication isn't even stabilized???

Medications and dosages have been changed at least as many times as weeks he has been in placement. A week hasn't gone by that he hasn't seen the doctor at least once sometimes more for some ailment or other.

I'm sure he isn't the only kid that does this however this is his behavior at home and it apparently hasn't changed. Is it another manipulation??

We are assured that all aftercare appointments will be made before discharge. This has to happen because in our life BEFORE when Bam Bam was discharged from the psych hospital in December 2010 the hospital had not made a single aftercare appointment so we went home with nothing. There were no smiling faces then.

Now its time for the family programming.

There are two male speakers and we have a full house. At this meeting some kids were there even though their parents weren't. The two speakers are recovering addicts and they shared their stories with us. I couldn't stop crying.

The second speaker said that when he was in about 8th grade he felt he was on a balance beam and his "good friends" were on one side and the "using friends" on the other and he was balancing between the two groups. Unfortunately, he fell into the "using friends" group and now is on probation until 2014 and has been through many programs. He is clean and very grateful that he is alive. He added that he had many friends who are not alive due to their drug use.

I'm hoping the kids took something away from these stories especially my kid. I liked the balance beam analogy as this is where Bam Bam was after 9th grade and he of course went with the using "friends", his best "friends" now.

I know for now he is clean, however, he thinks he can hang out with the same people and not use even if they are. He thinks these "friends" won't pressure him to use again.

We had talked about one friend in particular who I know is selling drugs out of his house and the counselor suggested that "Eddie" would have to come and talk to us in person and prove himself. Right now there is now way in he!!??& that I want Bam Bam to be around this kid. We had forbidden him to see this kid BEFORE but of course we busted him hanging out with this kid anyway.

So what is the point?

I can't monitor him 24/7 and once he gets freedom back I know he is headed straight to Eddie. I would be VERY surprised if he gives this kid up at least right now.

Also, at family programming a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about driving Bam Bam tells me that most of his friends drive better when they are high! And I'm supposed to feel comfortable about him being out with them? I'm supposed to let him learn to drive?

Well, maybe he can learn to drive but once he gets his license he will have to get his own car and his own insurance. Could be he'll be driving when he's 18.

We had a discussion several months ago where I told Bam Bam that he couldn't get his permit as long as he had a positive drug screen and he told me this wasn't fair.

Just because its positive doesn't mean he JUST smoked for goodness sake!

Don't I know it doesn't matter if you test positive if you get caught by the police if you weren't actually smoking right then?

I truly believe just being in our community, at least right now, is the biggest trigger of all. He is going to have to get a job but I don't think that's likely to happen immediately. The one place that would have his "in" job is the store where he was caught shoplifting - so that is off the table.

Anyway, thanks for letting me get this off my chest.


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It's the DOPAMINE, stupid!
Posted by:Max--Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New York Times - Health

"A General in the Drug War"

The following is an article I just read in the "Health" section of the New York Times. Much of the information may not be new to PSST regulars, or the professionals we work with...NEVERTHELESS..it is very interesting from a medical and political perspective. I made minute edits to keep the article focused on our subject of choice, the world of addiction. For the full article, click on A General in the Drug War.

From heroin and cocaine to sex and lies, Tetris and the ponies, the spectrum of human addictions is vast. But for Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the neuroscientist in charge of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they all boil down to pretty much the same thing.

A driven worker with a colorful family history and a bad chocolate problem of her own, Dr. Volkow (pronounced VOHL-kuv), 55, has devoted her career to studying this chemical tide. And now, eight years into her tenure at the institute, the pace of addiction research is accelerating, propelled by a nationwide emergency that has sent her agency, with a $1.09 billion budget, into crisis mode.

The toll from soaring rates of prescription drug abuse, including both psychiatric medications and drugs for pain, has begun to dwarf that of the usual illegal culprits. Hospitalizations related to prescription drugs are up fivefold in the last decade, and overdose deaths up fourfold. More high school seniors report recreational use of tranquilizers or prescription narcotics, like OxyContin and Vicodin, than heroin and cocaine combined.

The numbers have alarmed drug policy experts, their foreboding heightened by the realization that the usual regulatory tools may be relatively unhelpful in this new crisis.

As Dr. Volkow said to a group of drug experts convened by the surgeon general last month to discuss the problem, “In the past, when we have addressed the issue of controlled substances, illicit or licit, we have been addressing drugs that we could remove from the earth and no one would suffer.”

But prescription drugs, she continued, have a double life: They are lifesaving yet every bit as dangerous as banned substances. “The challenges we face are much more complex,” Dr. Volkow said, “because we need to address the needs of patients in pain, while protecting those at risk for substance use disorders.”

In other words, these drugs must be somehow legal and illegal, encouraged yet discouraged, tightly regulated yet easily available.

The experts are looking to the institute for scientific tools that might help by loosening the tight bonds between pain relief and addiction in the brain.

And that, Dr. Volkow told her audience with a small smile, is all about the dopamine. She knows a little about dopamine firsthand: She is a dedicated runner and a helpless pawn in face of dark chocolate. Her most significant long-term addiction, though, has been to the science of scanning the brain with techniques that expose its workings like a map, a passion she has pursued like a guided missile since medical school.

Dr. Volkow’s research career, still based at Brookhaven, has been notable for its “brilliant science,” said Don C. Des Jarlais, an expert in drug addiction who directs the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Dr. Des Jarlais cited her recent widely reported study showing that cellphones alter brain metabolism as a typical example of her unusually creative scientific thinking.

A Merging of Missions

Her days now veer from reviewing raw laboratory data with her research colleagues to leading the back-to-back meetings of a government functionary, but the two roles are joined by the mantra of her time at the institute: Policy should be grounded in valid science.One recent decision in the upper echelons of the National Institutes of Health reflects a similar conclusion: The drug abuse institute and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are on track to be merged into a joint institute on addiction still in the planning stages.

National Institutes of Health watchers have already started a body count. “It will be a big loss that Nora Volkow, current N.I.D.A. director, cannot possibly be selected to head a new institute,” wrote one anonymous blogger on the Scientopia Web site. “This would be too much like N.I.D.A. ‘winning.’ ”

But Dr. Volkow says she is all for the merger, calling the current structure “an artificial division with many missed opportunities,” like having an institute for every particular variety of cancer. Addictions tend to move together, she said, sharing many triggers and a great deal of biology.

Again, it is all about the dopamine.

All addictive substances send dopamine levels surging in the small central zone of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is thought to be the main reward center.

Amphetamines induce cells to release it directly; cocaine blocks its reuptake; alcohol and narcotics like morphine, heroin and many prescription pain relievers suppress nerve cells that inhibit its release.

Addicts and first-time users alike get the high that correlates with the dopamine wave. Only a minority of novices, however, will develop the compulsion to keep taking the drug at great personal cost, a behavior that defines addiction.

Researchers now postulate that addiction requires two things.

- First is a genetic vulnerability, whose variables may include the quantity of dopamine receptors in the brain: Too few receptors and taking the drug is not particularly memorable, too many and it is actually unpleasant.

- Second, repeated assaults to the spectrum of circuits regulated by dopamine, involving motivation, expectation, memory and learning, among many others, appear to fundamentally alter the brain’s workings.

For instance, Dr. Volkow’s group showed several years ago that when cocaine addicts watched videos of people taking drugs, dopamine levels surged in the part of their brains associated with habit and learning, correlating with the intense drug cravings the subjects began to experience. Her research and that of others has also shown that even after addicts are successfully detoxed and long clean, their dopamine circuits remain abnormally blunted. Substances that elevate dopamine levels in normal subjects had notably muted responses in ex-addicts.

This observation, experts say, may explain the intense difficulty addicts have staying clean, as the ordinary rewards of daily life may have little effect on the recovering brain. Only the drug of choice will send dopamine levels high enough for any kind of pleasure.

“Nora is as responsible as anyone,” Dr. Des Jarlais said, “for showing that addiction really does cause changes in brain function. Her work is a primary basis for considering it a disease, rather than poor choices or immoral behavior.”

Arming Doctors With Tools

Dr. Volkow has watched the microscopic events of addiction play out in fluorescent rainbow colors on brain scans for decades now. But those scans are used entirely for research, not for patient care. To the average doctor, she knows, the addict’s brain is impenetrable. All that is visible is irrational, illegal and sometimes threatening behavior. Surveys show most doctors prefer to keep their distance from addiction and addicted patients.

“My obsession is to engage the health care system in addiction,” Dr. Volkow said, to medicalize what is often considered mainly a criminal problem by arming doctors with their accustomed tools: effective treatments, even a vaccine.

“She’s been a champion of bringing addiction science into mainstream medicine,” said A. Thomas McLellan, director of the Penn Center for Substance Abuse Solutions at the University of Pennsylvania. Medicine is finally beginning to understand, Dr. McLellan said, that if you pay no attention to the behavioral factors leading to a chronic illness, be it diabetes or substance addiction, you can never catch up.

“That’s been one of Nora’s big contributions.” In a study published in 2000, Dr. McLellan pointed out that while the overall success rate for curing drug addiction with medications, therapy or both is not high (about half of treated individuals return to active substance use within a year), it is quite similar to overall successful treatment rates for other chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure. Failure to take prescribed medications and backsliding to old bad habits is endemic, no matter what the condition.

The success of treatment for addiction is particularly dependent on the social milieu of the addicted individual, Dr. Volkow said. “So, for example, the best successes in treatment generally are physicians, for they are also the ones with the strongest support.”

But treating people with the prescription drug problems is particularly challenging, because, of course, for these particular drugs, physicians are the nation’s pushers.

The number of prescriptions written for potentially addictive pain medications has soared in the last decade, reaching more than 200 million in 2010, Dr. Volkow said. Surveys asking teenagers where they get pills find that relatively few buy from strangers. Many have their own prescriptions, often from dental work. Even more are given pills by friends and relatives, presumably out of other legitimate prescriptions.

Doctors may be flooding the country with narcotics, but most have never learned much about pain control. Dr. Volkow said that some data suggests that medical schools devote considerably less time to the subject than veterinary schools do. The Obama administration addressed exactly this deficiency in April with a call for doctors to undergo special training before being allowed to prescribe some of the most addictive painkillers.

“Students and residents have gotten the message that pain is undertreated,” said Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, an internist who directs the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. “So they just prescribe higher and higher doses.” Meanwhile, he said, there is no evidence that treatment with opioids for more than four months actually helps chronic pain, or that higher doses work where lower ones fail.

There is good evidence, however, that higher doses raise the risk of overdose and death.

“The dichotomy between good drugs prescribed by doctors and bad drugs sold on the street is just bad science,” Dr. Des Jarlais said. “N.I.D.A. is now having to address the fact that there are real problems with prescription drugs.”

The institute is starting a multipronged effort to teach and to learn more about pain control as it relates to addiction. The teaching part includes sponsoring performances of excerpts from Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night” at medical conferences, in order to humanize for doctors the problem of addiction.
The learning part is continuing: New science for pain control may take some time to devise, Dr. Volkow said.

New Approaches

One promising way to lessen the addictive properties of pain relievers, she said, is to slow the speed with which they reach the brain: A dribble of dopamine is far less addictive than a surge. New formulations to deliver pain relief slowly should minimize older drugs’ addictive potential. Skin patches are one example of this effort (although they can still cause fatal overdoses) and research is under way into others.

Another technique is combining drugs to deter abuse.

The drug suboxone, an alternative to methadone, is constructed with this intent. It combines a methadonelike drug for maintaining addicts on an even keel with another drug that counteracts overdoses and opiate-associated highs. If the suboxone is taken orally, as intended, the methadone effect predominates.

But all hard-core addicts know that if an oral drug is injected into the bloodstream, it will rush into the brain and create a far more dramatic high. If suboxone is injected, the second substance kicks in immediately and prevents the high.

Dr. Volkow generally forswears any interest in politics per se, but midway through a long day of meetings last month she sighed and acknowledged, “science and politics are intertwined.”

We think we have free will, she continued, but we are foiled at every turn. First our biology conspires against us with brains that are hard-wired to increase pleasure and decrease pain. Meanwhile, we are so gregarious that social systems — whether you call them peer pressure or politics — reliably dwarf us as individuals.

“There is no way you can escape.”

Profiles in Science | Nora D. Volkow
"A General in the Drug War"
Published: June 13, 2011

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Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, June 15, 2011


When we left off the other night Sally and I did not know where Cisco was, who he was with or what his plans were. We knew there was not much else we could do. We had texted him several times with no response. We let him know that we would be at our regular Tuesday meeting and we hoped he would be there.

"The P.O." did not quit.

"The P.O." called us early Tuesday morning to let us know that he had made contact with Cisco and that Cisco would see us later in the morning. Cisco was good to his word and returned home somewhat embarrassed and feeling stupid [his words]. He asked if he could go back to Second Run for our meeting. As we promised him we didn't lecture him [too much] on the way. We also did not buy him cigarettes or stop at McDonald's when he asked.

When we got back to Second Run, Cisco was surprised to see the concern and the feelings of relief expressed by his housemates. They gave him the 'talking to' that we usually gave: "Why didn't you talk to us first?" "Don't you trust us?" "Why didn't you answer our texts? We wanted you to come back." "Don't go doing something stupid." "You know we got your back."

Sally, Cisco and I had our meeting with his counselors Tom and Clair. Tom is very good at reaching Cisco. Most of the meeting was about Cisco receiving more freedom and trust from his program and his parents; getting more chances to develop his life skills and opportunities to return the trust. Tom told him that nobody expected perfection but that we were looking for good choices, openness and honesty. Tom made the observation that the main reason that he drug tested Cisco was what he perceived as a recent trend of Cisco's lack of honesty and openness as well as some bad choices.

In a brief summary, Tom explained how using is just the climax of the relapse process. That overconfidence, deception, cheating and lying are the building blocks of the relapse process. He added that Cisco had already laid the foundations of his relapse in the last few weeks; that his using was just the capping off of his relapse.

He asked Cisco how he felt after using again?

Cisco replied "It felt like sh*t."

Tom said quietly "That's good, that's good. Now how does feeling like sh*t help you?"

Cisco wasn't sure.

Tom and Clair explained how his honesty about his relapse now gave Cisco a small window of opportunity to become completely honest; how he had just a brief time, before the window closed, to tell us what happened. Not just the night before but for the last few weeks. Where he was, what he was doing and who he was with.

Cisco opened up a little and explained some of what he had been up to. Tom challenged Cisco again. He explained that this was not the time to give us little bits of qualified details of what was going on. The window was now open but he needed to tell as much as he could before it shut. Cisco opened up one more time and Tom challenged him again and reminded him that omitting information was a form of dishonesty also. Cisco told a little more and Tom asked Sally what she thought about her son's honesty. Sally looked Cisco in the eye and told him that she had heard it all before and [asking him to look her in the eye] told him that quite frankly he was not telling the whole truth. Tom told Cisco that if nothing else; the least he could tell us is that he is "not ready to be completely honest" at this time.

He assured Cisco that he wanted to keep working with him but that he would need to go back into a rehab facility for a few weeks and that then he would need to reapply for Second Run. Then his housemates would need to interview him, be assured that he was serious about his recovery, and vote him back into the house. Tom said, if they voted him in, that Cisco would be starting at square one again and that he would not rush the program. He would need to do it step by step. Cisco agreed that this was a good plan.

At this time Cisco is to be evaluated for voluntary admission to an inpatient facility [his housemates voted to let him stay at Second Run until then. ]

As Sally noted; Cisco has a large tool box with a lot of shiny tools that he has worked for for the last two years; now he needs to get serious and use them. Or as Tom noted Cisco is a big boy and is much too large for anyone to carry anymore.

Sally and I see real progress in this latest episode:

- Cisco ran, not so much to get away from his program but because he was drug tested and knew he would show positive. He admitted that he felt shame for using and "it made him feel like sh*t."
As Tom said "That's good..." It has been a long time since Cisco has felt shame for using.

- Cisco came back quickly and faced his housemates and owned up to what he did.

- Cisco is voluntarily going into an inpatient rehab.

- Cisco wants to stay with his recovery program.

Sally and I are feeling good on how we handled this together. We are going back to our remodeling projects, our yard work, our classes and our Summer of 2011 [and our PSST Meetings].

We, once again, extend our thanks to the Allegheny County Juvenile Probation Program, PSST, Wesley Spectrum and Cisco's Halfway House, his housemates and especially his counselors, Tom and Clair.

This story will be continued, I am sure.

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A Proud Parent Promises to Work Her Own Program
Posted by:Sally--Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Front of shirt: Click 'read more' to see back.

It is necessary for me to start off each and every new day with the following promise to myself: I will remind myself that I am powerless over my sons addiction and promise to work at staying in control of my own life. I will pray each morning that I do not enable or act in a co-dependent manner.

Even though Rocco and I were weary yesterday and things looked bleak since Cisco walked away from his program and we did not know where he was, I felt a calmness from within. I know the source of that calmness came from God.

Cisco is now safe. Lloyd spoke with Cisco last night and Cisco told him he would meet us at our bi-weekly meeting at Second Run. I was not 100% certain that he would show up, however, Rocco and I got a good nights sleep. We stayed in our regular routine this morning and around 10 o'clock, Cisco called to ask if he could stop home and if we would drive him to Second Run.

I had a hard time facing the previous relapse that Cisco had. I think this one was harder on Cisco. He seemed embarrassed to face the men at Second Run who are diligently working their own programs.

The meeting went better than expected. Tom has a way of dealing with Cisco that is so effective. He is by far the best 'counselor' on addiction that Cisco ever had.

Cisco is going to a rehabilitation facility for a few weeks until he is detoxed.

Then he will have a chance of getting back into Second Run; the men who live there will have to vote on it. There will be a meeting and they will talk with Cisco and then make their decision. I got a first-hand glimpse at how AA and NA truly work. These men hold each other accountable. Some of them may be rough around the edges but they have hearts of gold and they care about each other.

I am proud of Cisco. Addiction is a very tough disease to handle and he is handling it well.

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Two Tiresome Travelers Tell Their Troublesome Tale
Posted by:Sally--Monday, June 13, 2011

Rocco and I are the weary travelers on this treacherous road of recovery. We have been at it now at continuously persistent speed for at least four years. Even before we met all the wonderful people at PSST and his recovery facility we will call Second Run we tried many avenues to aid our son in his recovery.

Cisco left Second Run tonight. He walked away from the facility after taking a drug test that he knew would come out positive.

I cringed when I saw the number of Tom, the director of the facility, show up on my phone. After a few years, you develop a sixth sense about a phone call and you realize when you are about to hear bad news.

We sent Cisco a text and explained that he should make a good choice and go back to New Beginnings so that Tom could work with him on this. He texted back that he was interested and we told him we would transport him back (with no lecture) if he would tell us where he was. We did not hear anything else from him. We do not know where he is or what he is doing. We let him know that we would be at our regular Tuesday meeting and we hoped he would be there.

I am simply hoping that we do not get a phone call tonight from the police or worse.

As for Rocco and I, we are seeing this in a very similar manner. I am thankful for this because it is so easy for an addict to drive a wedge between his parents. It is difficult to agree on some of the decisions that need to be made at a time like this.

Maybe it did not fully sink in yet or maybe I have finally mastered the art of detachment but I am in control of my emotions on this one. Rocco said that Cisco needs to 'hit bottom' and even though the weather is nice at this time of year, (he will not freeze his a$$ off - this became a controversy between Rocco and I last winter when Cisco walked away from a different program) he can hit bottom when he gets hungry and tired and has nowhere to rest.

I agree with Rocco on this one.

We have done all that we could to help our son. We are running short of tools in our tool box. There are just some loose screws and nuts rattling around in there at this point.

On the other hand Cisco is carrying around a lot of good tools with him. He better put his Tools for Recovery to good use.

He is the only one who can build a strong structure called recovery.

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The Prodigal Son is Given a Choice - by Joy Y, a PSST Mom
Posted by:Sally--Monday, June 06, 2011

The Prodicgal Son is Given a Choice ~ by Joy Y

The Prodigal came in at 9 a.m. after being out all night, not sleeping and got ready to go to work. As he was eating what I prepared for him, I asked him to please send me the drug test results (still hasn't) and he agreed.

I asked if he blazed last night, to which he responded "a bit". I said "You know if you stop blazing now that you will be able to remain at home after your final exam on June 24th".

P.S. said "If you stop giving me drug tests I can live at home".

I replied "To live at home we will continue to give you drug tests AND they need to be negative".

"As long as I follow the rules I should be allowed to live at home" he answered.

I told him, "Your right, and the rules are to live at home you need to be off drugs and to remain in drug counselling".

There was a silence for a bit then I noted "So I guess you are planning to move out?".

He looked up and asked "what do you mean?".

I said "Well, You know that you can't remain at home if you keep getting positive drug tests. So you must have plans of where you plan to live. It would be good to know if you are moving out".

He replied "Okay then, I will move out".

I told him "That's good to know, it will help with my plans".

He paused again "What plans?".

"Well", I informed him, "This house costs me $2000 a month. If we are only going to be the four of us, we can downsize to a smaller place and live in a place that works for all of us".

He exclaimed "WTF, why would you do that?".

I explained to him that we had been discussing for a while now about moving once you guys are out of high school to a place that is less expensive since we don't need to remain in this area. So knowing that you are planning to move out helps me plan better".

I went into the other room and asked one of the Prodigal's brothers if we moved to a smaller, less expensive place, where would he want to live. His other brother wants to live south of where we are, because it is near the university he wants to attend. But I asked where would he want to live. We discussed it for a bit, all the while, with the Prodigal is muttering from the other room "shut about about that".

We kept talking.

As I drove him to work, I asked if he started to get negative drug tests and remained at home, where would he want to live, if we moved.

He told me "I don't know".

I said "Well think about it, because we will definitely take your input into the decision".

He said "Well me and a bunch of friends are thinking about moving out for the summer".

I told him that was good to know".

He asked "Why?".

"Well, if you are moving out, then we will make the choice of where to live and how big a place we need, accordingly" I explained

"Well, what if I want to move back later?" he asked.

I told him "If you got off and stayed off drugs you'd be welcome to live with us wherever we were living. Hopefully there would be enough room for five of us and it would be in a location that would work for you".

He replied "I am not on drugs! I smoke weed".

I let him know that he is entitled to look it that way, neverthe less, for him to live at home he needs to have negative drug tests, which he doesn't.

He asked "Well nothing is carved in stone yet about moving out?"

"Well, we only need to give a month's notice on the house so if you move out we will take it from there" I explained.

He retorted "I don't see why I can't blaze and not do drug tests!"

I replied "If you live on your own, you can do whatever you see fit. However that is what it will take for you to live at home. We would like you to live at home, but you need to make a choice".

Then the Prodigal said something about "I bet you wish I was like my brothers".

I replied "No, I like you just the way your are, you are you and they are them".

He told me "That's not true! You wish I was like them!"

I said "I'm sorry you feel that way, but its not true".

By then, we had arrived at work. He just opened the door and left, saying nothing.

He is now finally in that place where he actually has to choose what he wants to do.

If the discomfort of remaining the same is greater than the discomfort of changing, then, who knows, maybe the Prodigal is ready to make some choices.

Stay tuned.

~Joy Y.

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Wilma Does Not Waver
Posted by:Sally--Monday, June 06, 2011

Today is Bam Bam's 17th birthday and he spent it at Bedrock manor. I remember 17 years ago getting the phone call from his birthgrandmother (he is adopted) that he was born. I spent the next few days back and forth to Latrobe hospital to get to know my new son. His grandmother and great-grandmother were wonderful very focused on what was best for the baby. His birthmom had many problems and was not allowed to be alone with the baby or allowed to bring him home. She had to have a plan for him. Her family already had custody of Bam Bam's sister(one year older than Bam Bam) and had their hands full with her and all of the drama surounding their mom. They wanted him to have a chance for a normal life with a mother and father. Birthmom Kandy had chosen us over two other couples and we felt so lucky and blessed.

I bonded with Grandma and Great-Grandma so on the day we went to pick him up from the hospital I walked hand in hand in with them down the hall to Kandy's room. Fortunately, she had a c-section and the lawyer had her sign the papers 72 hours after the birth. The nurses were wonderful, very thankful Bam Bam was going home with us. Kandy had been raising all kinds of he@@!! during her stay at the hospital and there was concern about the baby's safety. We had the new-baby crash course in bathing and feeding and went home with tons of formula, diapers for our new precious baby. After 7 years we were parents!!!

Fast forward 17 years and here we are at Bedrock Manor. We have a standing 5:30 appt with the counselor, get there and she isn't there. She was in court all day in another county several hours away and didn't make it back to the facility and forgot to call us. So now we have an hour to kill. Left for an hour and came back at 6:30 for family programming.

First the parents meet with Miss Lacey and she goes over what we will be working on. It is an aftercare plan for when the kids are discharged-what treatment they will have, going to NA/AA, getting a sponser, school. Then it is tougher; the kid has to name which using friends they won't hang out with, which non-using friends they will hang out with, and on and on. A couple of us mention our kids only have friends that use. In fact, my son is friends with the Olsen twins who were recently arrested at school. I think they should be on the friends not to hang out with. Then the staff brings the kids in and we are to go over the plan with them.

BamBam comes in not looking too happy but of course it's his birthday. I did wish him happy birthday. We start on the plan and he writes a couple things like SHORES for D & A in Home treatment, then when it's the meeting part of the plan he talks about how they want them to do 90 and 90 which is 90 meetings in 90 days and says he isn't doing it , its stupid he would do it in 180 days. Fred doesn't know what this is. I suggest Bam Bam explain it to his dad but he refuses. I told him he could spread it out a little if he wants to but it is important. Then we get to the school part of the plan and he asks if what he is doing there counts, and what he did in cyber should count and he might as well just get his ged if he has to do school work in the summer, and on and on. We tell him AGAIN that it all counts, he might as well do school work as he wouldn't get his ged until June 2012 when he would graduate from high school which he already knows. We weren't getting mad or anything then he says something like "this is shit" and calls me a psycho.

From here I could see it escalating into him calling me an F&&&ng B!!*%%$ch. I said I don't have to listen to that and leave the room and wait in the lobby area. He is upset, Miss Lacey comes out to talk to me. Bam Bam wants me to come back and I refused. I can hear him telling them he needs to talk to me but they won't let him out in the lobby thank goodness. I told her that if we were at home Bam Bam would be stalking me through the house . Thank goodness we were at Bedrock and not at home so he couldn't do that. I told her that I am not putting up with his disrespect. She came out a couple times to try and get me to come back but again. I refused. It's freezing in the lobby so i went outside. Lacey comes out again and asks if i could come tomorrow for a session with Miss Margarock and I told her no, i came today and its not my fault the counselor wasn't there. I am very busy at my work right now (I do have a lot of flexibility but I am not jumping through hoops to reward Bam Bam's disrespect). and was not planning on traveling back and forth to the facility on Wednesday. Bam Bam has a 9 hour pass tomorrow and the plan was for Fred to pick him up and they would do a few things together. I would go early to work but then I would leave early to spend time with Bam Bam and Fred and then we would all go to dinner for his birthday. Lacey tells me that he is crying but I am not budging.

She asks if I would do a phone session in the morning with Bam Bam and his counselor and I said I would do that. While I was outside another staff person I had met before told me that I did the right thing so I felt somewhat vindicated. She told me they tell parents they do not have to take abuse from the clients. Bam Bam never went back into the cafeteria to participate in the programming with his dad. So I don't know if he will get his 9 hour pass which he did earn. And if he does right now I don't know If I will go out with him.

So much drama. I do feel bad for him that he is not home for his birthday, however, his plan was probably to hang out and get high/drunk with his friends. And that did not happen.!

Editor: The original image of the Bam Bam birthday cake, which does not appear to be copy writed, was found at http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/692/bambambirthdaycake.jpg/


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Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, June 05, 2011

Recently my 36-year old son’s mother, his older brother and I intervened in his world of addiction.  We surprised him with this move, and his mother and I presented him with letters. A recent addiction-driven, tragic experience within the family of a good friend of mine enabled my older son and me to finally convince my younger son’s reluctant mother that this needed to be done sooner rather than later. It was a somber and difficult, but necessary, meeting. Below is the letter that I gave to my addicted son. In order to maintain confidentially, I have substituted (Son) in the parts of the letter where I used his name. Perhaps some of you who read this will find something in it that will be helpful to you. 

Dear (Son):

We are all saddened, disappointed, angered, frustrated and frightened as a result of the position you have put us and yourself into, (Son). And, those are only a few of the intense feelings that we have at this time.

It has all become, seemingly, very complex after all of these 20 plus years. So much so, in fact, that we all find it necessary now to bring some simplicity and order into all of our lives, most especially concerning the matters relating to your ongoing addiction and addictive behaviors.

So, we have decided together, out of our love for you, to detach ourselves from your struggles. We have not come to these decisions lightly. This is all very painful for all of us.

Your decision to leave treatment early in 2009 left us baffled, but we were hopeful as well, hopeful that you had progressed to the point that you would take responsibility for your life. That has not happened. We have seen precious little effort on your part. In short, (Son), our hope for change has not been fulfilled, and we are left with an empty feeling after all of the love, time, effort and money that we have put into this dilemma.

We all have come to know over the course of the years that change, big change, is an absolute necessity for any addict who expects to experience success in their recovery. But, we cannot change you, we can only change ourselves. And so we will.

We wish you well.



Author's Note: Of course, there are risks that we must face with nearly every decision that we make, and this is certainly no exception. But my thoughts with regard to the risks involved in this decision are that without intervention, my son is on the road to a slow and painful death, albeit most likely an early one.

My son is laden with guilt and regrets of lost years and wasted opportunities, and I firmly believe that this is the best that we can do for him. Please do not wait until your loved one is so low. Take it from one who has been there, you do not want, nor do you or anyone else deserve 20 years of this, especially your addict or addict to be.

Other posts by the same author can be found here:


My name is Ed- Part II: The Plan

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Violet Stands Up to the Challenge ~ Supported By Her PSST Skills - by Violet
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, June 05, 2011

...I am now in mama bear mode protecting her cub. ~ Violet

As I reflect on the events of the past week I find the tools I have learned from our meetings has changed not only the way I interact with my son but the way I interact on his behalf and in the life of the addicts family, where there is limited positive reinforcement, this has shown to be beneficial. So back to the story...

Court for Sal for Consent Decree Review – via probation violation – was Tuesday. His PO is not there so I have a replacement. As I sat waiting for our turn I am confident in what I will say to his judge. Filled with this confidence Sal’s PD [who I might add looks 18 or is it just that I have aged so much through this ordeal] approaches me. She proceeds to interrogate me but she is unaware that I am armed with PSST tools that prevent this from occurring and I am able to turn the tables.

Since we have hours, I utilize this time informing her of my ultimate intent, to save my son’s life. She tries to persuade me towards her position, or as she claims my son’s but I am not budging. She is no match for the mother of an addict. I explain that my son, being a teen and an addict has no idea what is best for him and that I feel it is irresponsible for her to not try and discuss with my son options to save his life. She tries to scare me with a suppression motion. But again as the mother of an addict that is small in comparison to what I have been scared with. Since I have unfortunately been in this position more than once I inform her the judge will be notified of my concerns and recommendations based on my observations which she cannot suppress.

As I puff out my chest she moves away. The line in the sand is drawn.

Then unexpectedly the Tip staff informs us that the case will probably have to be continued because Sal was taken to the hospital because he was throwing up.

I am ashamed to admit I immediately wondered what he took. Since he is technically a prisoner no one was allowed to know where he was taken. Well as the mother of an addict I had to utilize the detective skills I had acquired, which I might add have become quite astute. I found out which hospital he was in and after several tries found a nurse to talk to me. Evidently Sal had bloody urine and it was determined via CAT scan he has kidney stones and one was trying to pass.

At this point we had to ask the judge for a court order so I could see Sal and the case was continued until Thursday. I might add the texts were flying to Val who was such an asset.

As I arrive at the hospital Sal is handcuffed to the cart with the Sheriff by his side. I tell the sheriff I have a court order to see my son but he says he hasn’t received it so I can’t.

Well I am now in mamma bear mode protecting her cub. I speak to Sal over the Sheriff so I can get a handle on his status. The Sheriff tells me to leave the area and I inform him that the hospital is the only one that can remove me from the general emergency area. Hence the arrival of a woman police officer. I am at this point wondering if juvenile probation can help out me should I end up arrested.

Since I am also a nurse I decided to go into the medical mode and found Sal’s physician who was quite willing to tell me whatever I wanted to know probably wanting the disruption to stop. I was told Sal had passed one stone but still has another in the kidney. They were releasing him on medication which included, get ready, Vicodan.

Well at this point I went from medical mode to just raving lunatic. Informing the Doctor that it was negligent of him not to know Sal was an addict. After all that’s what we were in court for. Didn't he notice Sal was handcuffed to the cart? Maybe he missed the sheriff standing next to him? I suggested alternate medications which he was more than happy to write after he ran over to the sheriff to grab the script of Vicodan. OMG!!!

So Sal was sent to Auberle to await court. I now scramble to once again change my work schedule for Court Thursday. I am wondering how many of us get no vacations because all our days are spent for counseling, court etc. Anyways I go see Sal, he is not looking to good but is better than he was. I again inform him of my intent to tell his judge what I have observed and what I feel is needed. He did try some manipulation of that conversation but I had learned the best response and told him no one was permitted to sensor my speech and that court was my chance to work my program. Conversation over.

It is now Wednesday. I see the number for Auberle on my phone. Again that sinking feeling returns. A call from placement is never to tell you how good your child is doing. It seems Sal had another attack from his kidney stone and was once again in the hospital. This time they keep him and consult a urologist and a surgeon. OK, now the texts are flying again. I must mention that although his P.O. was off she was in contact with Val regarding the events and called me to check on Sal’s condition. It is P.O.’s like her that make a difference in saving our children. I am very grateful.

In the meantime I receive a call from Sal’s PD who asks me to have Sal released to my custody so the Sheriffs do not have to stay with him in the hospital. Obviously she has no clue what she is asking. Her lack of concern for the best interest of my son and me is again apparent. I informed her that I was NOT COMFORTABLE with that decision and it was not going to occur. The fact a sheriff must stay is not a rule I made THEREFORE it was not my responsibility. OMG!!

So more tests for Sal. Surgeon says no surgery. The other stone has not passed yet but Sal is OK. Court is now rescheduled for Tuesday, so once again I rearrange my schedule and take another vacation day.

At this point Sal is realizing he will go to another placement. He has tried some manipulation to dictate where he will go but I am holding firm. If I say he should go to A he wants to go to B,C or D.

He has begun to ask about where I want him to go, which is the Youth Forestry Program a 12 week program. Perfect. They have agreed to let him out a few days early so he can go back to college which for him I believe is a positive thing. He now seems settling in to the idea. His behavior is good and he looks healthy which is a lot easier for him when he is in placement.

I am confident his judge will go along with our recommendations but if I see his PD trying to steer it in another direction I will not hesitate to speak up. For you see, I am stronger even if I feel like I am falling apart, I will stand up for what I believe. I have the strength for this never ending fight because of you who have taught me, you who have stood beside me in my darkest hours, you who have picked my son up from the abyss of addiction and given him guidance, accountability and most important life.

Because of you today and maybe just for today I have hope.



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