Quote of the Week

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

Two letters to the Court reprinted from our blog archive.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pen-names have been used instead of real names:

Victim Impact Letter - by a PSST Mother
Originally Posted by:Sally--Sunday, December 05, 2010

Jane comes to the PSST meetings regularly. Her son, Elroy has a court hearing this week. Jane would like to read the following letter to the judge. We hope the judge takes this into account and that Elroy gets the help he so desperately needs.

"Here is what I know:

"Our family has been devastated, fractured, and nearly destroyed by drug abuse. We have been dealing with this for 10 years starting with my step-son who is now incarcerated in a state prison due to his actions while being under the influence of drugs. His drug problems began after his 18th birthday and he refused treatment. The chaos that has ensued has literally nearly destroyed our lives, our marriage, and our home.

"As Elroy’s mother I see a similar pattern forming in his behaviors:

• He has been suspended from school, skipped classes, had numerous detentions, his grades have deteriorated, where he once talked about going to college, he now displays no interest or motivation and was most likely too impaired from being out all night to even show up to take a scheduled SAT exam. .

• He has been cited several times for disorderly conduct, possessing drug paraphernalia, curfew violations, stealing, and cheating in school.

• He has put himself in dangerous situations where he has been assaulted and sustained one if not 2 concussions, requiring an ambulance ride to the ER.

• He has no respect for the rules of our home and most often will “disappear” at least one night of every week-end and not come home, nor will he call, and we have no idea where he is, what he is doing, or if he is alive.

• I have found drug paraphernalia in my home including, pipes, marijuana, papers, lighters, numerous empty Visine bottles, home made bongs/pipes made from pop cans and bottles, “grinders”, and toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer sheets…all of which I still have in my possession and will utilize, if needed, to press charges. I have found blunts on my second floor roof that he has thrown out the window from the 3rd floor, ashes and seeds on my bathroom floor, and attempts at germinating marijuana seeds in our home.

• He has stolen liquor and beer from our home and often he is “too sick” to go to school after being up late vomiting. He has had the poor judgment to video tape himself on my camera bragging that he drank an entire bottle of wine and later, that same evening took our vehicle without our permission. He also taped himself smoking a pipe of marijuana on a neighbors back patio.

• He has distanced himself from the good relationships he had previously had with his grandparents and other family members, all of which love him dearly and worry about his safety. His current circle of friends has similarly had legal troubles and will be lucky if they graduate from high-school.

• He has stolen money and personal property from our home.

• As his mother, I will do whatever it takes to save his life. I will fight to do what it takes despite the anger, resentment, and the possible estrangement that may ensue to make sure he has a chance for a safe, productive life.

"What I fear the most:

* That without the opportunity of treatment that this downward spiral will continue and that instead of receiving a phone call that my son has been injured and arrive at the scene to find him being placed in a neck brace and on a back board before being transported to the hospital in an ambulance, that I will arrive on the scene to find him being placed on a gurney with a sheet over his face and being transported in a Coroner’s vehicle. I am here pleading to save his life."

Editors Note: So far, since finishing treatment Elroy has stayed clean. He has had issues that his mother and probation are working together to address, but so far the progression of his disease has been arrested. Every day clean is one more day that Elroy's teenage brain does not suffer from the toxic effects of drugs.

Editors Note2: If you want more of Jane's story, simply put "Jane" into our search window. For example, Visit 2 with Elroy is one of several that will show.

Letter Two:

Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, September 07, 2007

This letter was read to one of our Juvenile Court Judges in 2007 by a PSST mother. We also borrowed this scenario at a PSST meeting for a courtroom role-play. Much thanks to the brave parents who granted permission for this letter to be posted. Both parents were present and gave testimony at the hearing.

Apparently, the hearing took quite a while for the Judge to sort out and the teenager's Public Defender argued for a less restrictive disposition. However, the Judge in the case ordered inpatient treatment and he directly confronted the teenager about the seriousness of his drug problem. Below is the actual letter. Only the teenager's name has been changed and the name of a drug treatment program has been deleted.

"Your Honor, Today I speak as a concerned loving parent, not a Drug and Alcohol professional. As I perceive the situation there are two Jarred's in this courtroom- the Jarred before drugs and the Jarred that has become a chronic Marijuana user.

"The Jarred before drugs was an A-B student, played sports, was trustworthy, interacted with our family and made us laugh. Once the chemical took hold of Jarred- we see a completely different child. One who begins to fail school, one who requires approximately 45 minutes to be awakened in the morning that leads to Jarred yelling and screaming, kicking and fighting with us. We now receive numerous phone calls and letters from the school informing us that Jarred's grades are falling and even though he is in school he is constantly late for his First Period Class. He is also sleeping in class and being required to attend multiple behavior modification programs and in-school detentions and suspensions. He doesn't play any sports and really shows no interest in any activities. He verbally abuses us, lies to us and steals from us. He certainly wants almost no interaction with our family. We are so sad now and tried to help him with 2 outpatient programs, two inpatient programs, four drug and alcohol therapists, a psychiatrist, and ICM, and Cactus.


"We do not feel Jarred is a criminal or a bad kid. He has just made some poor choices and needs some direction to the right path. Whatever is decided is out of our hands. I would just like to say that we do not feel comfortable sending Jarred to the the [name of facillity deleted] inpatient facility, since the last time he was there he ended up in the hospital due to getting possession of a razor blade and trying to tattoo his upper arm. We feel that the supervision was inadequate.

"We miss the old Jarred and would love to have him back, but through this crazy journey with him we understand that the ultimate choice is up to him- no matter what is decided today.


Editors Note3: This young man stayed clean from marijuana and drugs after his release from rehab. He had other issues, but today he is clean, graduated from high school, and is employed fulltime and doing very well for himself. His parents, who attended a lot of PSST and one year were chosen as Parents of the Year in Allegheny County still ocassionlly attend PSST. They would be the first to admitt it took a long time to turn Jarred around, but it all was worth it in the end.



Joy Y. said...

Thanks for re-running this story. A line that resonated with me was "we miss the old Jarred and would love to have him back but through this crazy journey with him we understand that the ultimate choice is up to him- no matter what is decided today.". When the Prodigal was out of the house from Nov 15 2010 - Jan 6 2011 due to violence secondary to his drug use, I used to say I missed my son [name] but that he hasn't been home for over a year. That referred to the point at which his drug use had spiraled out of control. It continues to be a "crazy journey" at times, but I recognize, as the writer did that the ultimate choice for how this ends is up to my son. Thank you for updating us that Jarred is now clean, graduated from high school and is employed full time and doing well. As a result of PSST, there will be more success stories.

Anonymous said...

Hi from Jarred's mom! Although I haven't been to group in ages I still read this wonderful blog! I was totally surprised when I went on it this morning and saw my letter staring me in the face....Wow it has brought back so many painful memories...But today we are making good ones and although my son does not live in our house we are working on a better relationship. At the end of a phone call or before he leaves from visiting us he says those 3 powerful words I never thought I would hear but always hoped I would--"I Love You." I do not know if he is clean today or not, I can only "Hope" he is... This disease is a life long battle and we the parents must always fight it too and work on our own recovery as the addict must work on theirs. We can only provide the tools for them and they must pick them up and want to use them...An acronym for Hope-Hang On Pain Ends--I wish you all well and good results with your children and remember it is ok to love them too!

Wilma said...

Thank you for sharing these stories again. And from Jarred's mom thanks for the the acronyn for HOPE-we can all use it.



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