Quote of the Week

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

Personality Disorder as the Underlying Force Driving All Negative Behavors - by Cheryl
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, August 29, 2011

Personality Disorders and Drug & Alcohol Abuse

I have been reviewing the laundry list of licensed social workers, psychologists & psychiatrists we have seen over the past 6 years with Andy (now 18) and all of the diagnoses he has received.

A specialist in dual disorders stated:

*a personality disorder as the underlying force driving all negative behaviors.

*It is illegal to diagnose a personality disorder in anyone under 18 years of age but a disorder may be hinted at.

"A person must be at least 18 years old to be diagnosed, though the pattern can begin in early childhood or adolescence. Called 'conduct disorder' in children and 'antisocial behavior' in adults, this untreated and unresolved behavior pattern can develop into sociopathic behavior."

Click on Causes of Sociopathic Behavior for the complete article.

One psychiatrist stated ‘Bi-Polar Type 2 with Mania’. The Mania stems from a stable emotional balance for 3 months and then self destruct for a period of 5-7 days and then level out again for another period of 3 months.

Other Licensed Social Workers, Counselors and Psychologists have given their opinions of 'Oppositional Defiance Disorder' (ODD) with 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder' (ADHD); anxiety and depression with an addictive personality.

All Educational Psychologists have concluded that Andy is in the near genius level of intelligence. He graduated with a 4.0 his senior year of high school because he was in placement and off of alcohol and drugs.

We were so very proud of Andy as he even tutored other residents in the facility!

Whose opinion do you trust? What do you want to believe and especially what diagnosis do you truly NOT want to believe, but must, for the sake of your family and the community?

I decided to do a little more research on my own today and found three facts listed below that apply to personality disorders and drug & alcohol abuse:

1 - Those with antisocial personality disorder lack normal feelings of responsibility and compassion and thus have little motivation to restrain their reactions.

2 - Alcoholism and other addictions, like pot/marijuana, prescriptions drugs, cocaine, etc, are the result of a personality disorder.

3- Addiction is extremely toxic, and greatly worsens the effects of a personality disorder. But if the substance abuse stops, the underlying personality disorder is still there. http://www.livestrong.com

Unfortunately, we as parents of a child with a personality disorder have experienced these three facts for 15 years (Oh, the first three years were wonderful; he didn't begin talking until the age of three as he had three older brothers to talk for him!)

Jim & I love Andy dearly (our children are Our Hearts walking on this earth.) We can’t punish him anymore; the legal system has had to take over that end of parenting, but we can love Andy, counsel him on his future decisions if he is willing to listen and want our input.

That is up to Andy, and we are sure he will tell us when to get lost.

Carry on Soldiers!

Cheryl, Jim & Andy

Read More......

September is National Recovery Month - Let's Get Involved
Posted by:Sally--Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In September we celebrate, National Recovery Month.

America celebrates recovery from alcohol and other drugs – testimony that Recovery Benefits Everyone - that life’s defeats can be reversed and made into victories benefiting individuals, families and communities. Recovery celebrations occur across the country.

The Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions 8th Annual Recovery Sports Link is sponsoring the National Anthem at the Friday, September 9th Pirate game.

Our goal is to bring awareness to the disease of addiction and the stigma associated with it.

Our group is asking everyone associated with us to wear a light blue shirt to identify our group.

We are also selling light blue t-shirts for $9.00 per shirt that will have the pictures of our loved ones who have fallen victim to this awful disease.

If you are interested in purchasing one of our group shirts to support our cause, please contact Lucy at lucy@myjadewellness.com - We will need to know a size if ordering – youth or adult – s, m, l and xl.

We are still trying to figure out a meeting spot for a picture to bring awareness and create impact. As more details are available, we will update you.

If you can’t make it, please forward this invite to anyone else you think may be interested.

Thank you for your help in such a great cause.

Read More......

Every Day is Good Day to Start Over
Posted by:Sally--Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I got this quote in an e-zine that I get from Diana Fletcher, coach. Here is her website: www.dianafletcher.com

The first words that came to mind when I opened my eyes on Monday morning were,
"Every day is a good day to start over."

These words reassured me that it was going to be ok. I didn't need to berate myself, I didn't need to feel bad...all I had to do was start over.

The past didn't matter.
The future wasn't here yet.
I have right now.

Read More......

Earthquake hits Pittsburgh: PSST parents NOT affected.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Honey, I didn't know Tommy had a homepass today!?"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A moderate earthquake hit Virginia Tuesday afternoon and the tremors were felt hundreds of miles away. The epicenter of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake was about 87 miles outside of Washington, D.C. around 1:51 p.m.

The tremors were felt as far north as Massachusetts and as far west as Cincinnati. Dozens of viewers called into the KDKA-TV newsroom minutes after the ground shook in the Pittsburgh area. Click here for complete article.

Parents who attend PSST meetings in Pittsburgh for the most part seemed not to be concerned. When asked about why PSST parents took the earthquake so lightly, one parent put it this way:

PSST parent: You see, with our teenagers we feel tremors ALL the time.

Interviewer: You mean, like an earthquake?

PSST parent: Oh yeah, are you kidding? It's like Jurassic Park, you know when they could feel the T-Rex stomping around and see the ripples in the glass of water? I feel tremors all the time at my house when my teenager starts stomping around, hitting walls and throwing things.

Interviewer: But surely that's not like the earthquake?

PSST parent: Well, all I can tell you, and our teenager is in placement right now, that when the earthquake hit, I was in the living room and I felt the strong vibrations and it seemed like things were moving sideways, and I yelled out, "Honey, I didn't know Tommy had a home pass today?!!" But come to find out, I could relax because it was only an earthquake and I just went back to watching TV.

Interviewer: Sounds like you're sort of inoculated against earthquakes!

PSST parent: Well, we've had plenty of experiences with vibrations, that's for sure!

Read More......

Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, August 23, 2011


This week’s PSST Meeting was held in Wexford at Trinity Lutheran Church. We had the expertise of Val and Lloyd of Allegheny Juvenile Probation and Kathie T and “The New Look” Justin of Wesley-Spectrum.

There was also a roomful of understanding and compassion with the presence of 17 concerned parents.

ROCCO & SALLY'S DISCLAIMER: This is an attempt to summarize our latest PSST meeting. We don’t always have the chance to get it done quickly and we sometimes cannot read Rocco’s handwriting [or even imagine what it was he was trying to write] so: Please feel free to edit, elucidate, correct, amend or add to our summary as required in the comment section below. We will not be offended.

Joan did an excellent job at keeping the meeting on track as our group leader this week.


Max reminded the group that the S.0.S. Chapter of Families Anonymous meets on Tuesday evening from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Gateway Squirrel Hill. (Forbes Ave.) This twelve-step program focuses on helping parents become less co-dependent. All are welcome to attend these helpful meetings. There is No Cost and No Commitment.


Joan spoke about her daughter Melissa who is living at a ¾ house and has 90 days clean. Joan has been trying to concentrate on her own life but is not having an easy time of it.

Keep working your recovery Joan. You have worked hard for and you deserve a stress free home.

Jim and Cheryl are dealing with their 18 year old son, Andy, who is currently in the County Jail for car thefts and a few other related charges. He walked out of his Adult Halfway House. Apparently he went to Rave where he got high on ecstasy.

He drove away in cars that had keys in the ignition to escape from the police. We were all relieved to hear that nobody was hurt and we all understand that any of us at PSST could easily be in their shoes.

Please note that prior to this incident, Jim and Cheryl stood up in court to fight to get their child the help he needs and deserves. He had eleven months clean through their commendable efforts.

Jim and Cheryl expressed that they will continue to fight against their son’s addiction. I marvel at the strength and resolve that draw from each other and from their faith.

Lindy Lou has been attending meetings probably as long as Rocco and I have. She was busy lately with other endeavors while her son, Drew, 19, was away for seven months at an inpatient recovery facility (IRF). Drew did well there and liked the physical aspect it offered.

Lindy Lou also noted that after five years, eight schools and three placements he has earned his high school diploma. He graduated and is ready for college. Lindy Lou is feeling that natural touch of anxiety as she contemplates his return into their home.

We wish Lindy Lou and Drew and their family well.

Max took the floor next and spoke about her 16 year old son, David, who has been away at an out-of-state therapeutic boarding school. He has thirteen months clean not only from drugs and alcohol but also clean from tobacco. He is now coming home and Max expressed thankfulness that she and Mel took the measure to send him out of town and away from persons, places and things at an early age.

Their older son Michael, 19, has completed his G.E.D., his juvenile probation and is currently living at home and working part time. He is supposed to be looking for a full time job so that he can eventually get his own apartment. Max said that they have informed him that as of September 1 he is expected to start paying rent to live at home.

Max mentioned that it may be time to revisit Michael’s home contract but that as of this time his worst offense appears to be laziness.

Good luck Max and thanks for reminding us that our children’s recovery does not end when they get out of a program; it does not end when they get off of probation; it does not end when they get a diploma or a G.E.D.; in fact our child’s recovery does not end. It is something that they will need to work on for the rest of their lives. We can be there to support them but we cannot work their recovery for them.

Tess and Danny’s 18 year old son Linus has been in an IRF for about a month so he has his 30 days of clean time. He has not quite adjusted and talks about leaving [as most of our kids do]. He has hearings on 3 different charges pending.

Tess and Danny hope to take a vacation this week – We all hope they can do it and have some quiet time for themselves. While our kids are clean and safe in an IRF, it is a good time to relax and begin our own recovery.

Gracie and George have a son Ronnie, 19, who has returned home from an adult IRF and has 60 days of clean time. Ronnie wants to live at home.

George sent a very powerful message to Ronnie by nailing shut his 3rd floor room and letting him know that he will be sleeping in the basement in the open. This sends a couple of messages to Ronnie: he cannot return to his familiar “places”; he have very little privacy; but most of all that George and Gracie are in charge.

When Ronnie got angry about his living arrangements George locked him out on the front porch until he was ready to accept his terms.

Gracie and George, None of this is easy but we as parents need to establish that we have the power in own home. You guys have done a good job with your son and we hope he continues well in his recovery.

Lloyd reminded us that, as much as most of want it, it is not a good sign when our children over 18 years old want to live at home. It is normal for adolescents to want to move away from their parents. If they do want to stay home you need to establish standards for them to follow including not using any drugs or alcohol, attending school or having a full time job or both.

Sally and Rocco’s 19 year old son Cisco is working his recovery and is currently in an adult halfway house. Cisco wants to get an apartment; Sally and Rocco want him to get the skills for a good job; and “The Counselor” wants us all to slow down, take it easy, take it “One Day at a Time” and let Cisco work his recovery first.

Cisco is now doing well with his weekend passes and is attending one or two meetings every day. We occasionally have that dream of Cisco returning home and being the “Old Cisco” but we realize that this will probably never happen.

But just in case he does return, even temporarily, we are taking back and converting Cisco’s former downstairs bedroom (with its own entrance and bathroom) into Rocco’s office and model train room [minus the purple walls and posters of course].

Jenn and Brad’s son Dylan has been in an IRF since the end of April. He is in better shape both physically and mentally with almost 4 months of clean time. He is doing pretty well at managing his anger - never the less - he missed his home pass do to behavioral issues. On the good side he showed some maturity in accepting the blame and taking the consequence (working with the other boys involved on some manual labor).

Jenn and Brad first came to PSST in January and weren't sure what to do with Dylan or themselves. Now Dylan, Jenn and Brad are well into their recovery. It is still a long road but all of us at PSST will be here to support you.

Brigitte and Francois’ 17 year old son Pierre successfully completed his and came home form his IRF with 100 days clean. His first day home went well and then his anxiety hit him.

Like almost all of our kids in recovery the realization that they need to change people, places and things is very tough to accept, especially "people". Even though they managed very well on their own to dump their "clean" friends for their "using" friends they swear there is no way they can go on without their "using" friends.

Anyway Pierre argued that he had no desire to get high but he needed to be back with his old friends. Despite Brigitte and Francois’ objections he went out at 11:00 at night and drove around for 2-1/2 hours. When he came back home he appeared to be clean but was agitated and argumentative. Brigitte said it was too late at night and she was too tired to handle this. She had the feeling that she was right back where they had left off prior to Pierre's program and just wanted to go to bed.

We discussed this a while and will discuss the role play later in this post but basically it came down to the consequence of Pierre losing his driving privileges, indefinitely, Brigitte and Francois are comfortable with his recovery.

Brigitte and Francois have done a great job not just with Pierre but with their other two boys. But like many of us with our families in recovery they hit a wall and need a break. Hang in there guys we at PSST are here to support and listen to you.

Kitty has two sons in recovery, Carlyle is 18 and Cat is 22. Cat is a heroin addict who is 7-1/2 months clean, attending meetings and living in the basement. Unfortunately he is not motivated to do much else at this time.

Talking while driving him to a meeting recently Cat said Kitty was to blame for his problems. Kitty told him “Your right, but I did the best that I could at the time.”

Carlyle had a hearing last week and is on house arrest. He is now attending an I.O.P. (Intensive Outpatient Therapy). He told Kitty that he has enrolled in Community College but she has not seen any evidence of it (i.e. bill, schedule, etc.) in the mail.

On a good note, Carlyle took the blame for violating his probation and did not blame his mom for turning him in.

Kitty you have a way of appearing “Calm in the storm” and have been a good ear for the rest of us at PSST. Thanks for being there and for the delivery of the beautiful flowers.


Read More......

The Long Run: Interview with the author.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, August 22, 2011

This inspirational story is also about a man's relationship with his mother.

Matt got sucked under a bus riding his bike, given less than 5% chance of surviving first night.

If this mother refused to enable this man can we do less for our sons and daughters?

Read More......

Tell all of Those People to Go Away and Leave Us Alone.
Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, August 18, 2011

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I really hate when those people interfere in your family’s private issues. I hate when you go to those stupid meetings. I hate those people thinking that they know how to handle your child better than you do. I hate it when they make you feel uncomfortable. I hate when they blame me and tell you to get rid of me.

Remember me? I make you feel comfortable. I am the one that is here to reassure you. I am the one who brought you to where you are.

Tell all of those people to go away and leave us alone.

Allow me to introduce myself:

I am your ever present Codependency. Cunning, baffling and powerful, that’s me. I have stopped thousands of people from seeking the help that they need.

I love to catch you with an element of surprise. When you least suspect it, POW, here I am.

I enjoy pretending that I am your best friend. I have always given you comfort, haven’t I? Wasn’t I there when you were lonely and confused? When you wanted to keep everything quiet, stop the debate, make it all go away, didn’t you call me? I was there right away, wasn’t I? I agreed that it was the best thing you could do.

Yeah, I might make you hurt. I might make you cry. I might make you so numb that you can’t hurt or cry. Hey, that is when I am at my best. I will give you whatever you ask for and all I ask of you is a little bit of long-term suffering.

But I’ve always been there for you, right? When you wished everything could just be like it used to be, you invited me. When you said that we could handle things by ourselves now, I was the only one who would side with you. Together we were able to ignore all of the guidance and counseling that we didn’t like or agree with.

You know people don’t always, like, take me seriously. Anxiety and stress they take seriously, headaches they take seriously and high blood pressure they take seriously. Like, how dumb are they? Don’t they know that without my help a lot of these things wouldn't be possible sometimes? Funny, they always tell me that they hate me and yet I never come in uninvited. They choose to keep me in their lives. So many people have chosen me over reality and peace. I am so much easier, ya know.

More than you hate me; I hate all those goofy twelve-step programs. Your programs, your meetings, your Higher Power; they all weaken me and I can’t function in the manner that I am accustomed to.

So for now I will just lie here quietly. You won’t hear or see me but I will always be here.

When you're ready to go it alone again; I will be ready to live your life for you. When you are ready to live your life again; I will be here, all alone. But I will be here.

So until we meet again...

...I wish you would tell all of those people to go away and leave us alone.

Editors Note: Thanks to NA for providing the basis for this piece.

Come to our next PSST Meeting and learn all about dumping your Codependency.

Read More......

Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I recently attended a recovery meeting where the leader went over the basics of what the Disease Of Addiction is. As one of our PSST parents said “I never wanted to visit the world of addiction but now that I am here; I will learn all that I can to help myself, my family and my child in our recovery.”

Following is a recap of the handout from the meeting.

Addiction is a disease which can be clearly defined and described. It is present when the use of mind altering substances causes any kind of continuing problems in any area of a person’s life. Even though their use of drugs / alcohol has harmful consequences on the individual emotionally, socially, mentally, physically and spiritually, he or she continues to use.

Addiction takes precedence over all [and devalues relationships] in life; God, family, friends, self and community.


1. PRIMARY Addiction is NOT just a symptom of underlying problems, but a disease in its own right. Addiction treatment is successful, in part because it treats addiction as a primary illness.

Addiction causes mental, emotional, physical and spiritual problems – it is NOT the result them. These problems cannot be addressed, until the substance use stops. Some addicts do have emotional problems, which need treatment, but this is a separate issue from the addiction and must be treated as such.

2. PROGRESSIVE & PREDICTABLEOnce addiction starts it will get worse without treatment.

Addiction has a start and an end; addiction moves through a series of stages. If the addict stops using and then starts using again, they do not go back to the beginning, they pick up right where they left off.

Occasionally a crisis [i.e. school suspension, medical issue, job loss, arrest] may trigger a leveling off, or even an improvement, but over time and without treatment the disease of addiction will inevitably get worse. The problems that that addiction causes will become closer together, more intense and will spread into more areas of the addict’s life.

3. CHRONIC & PERMANENTOnce you have this disease you will always have it.

Addicts are able to lead normal lives, if they accept and maintain a solid program of recovery; but the disease remains present in remission and will become active again if the addict lets go of his or her sobriety program.

”One is too many; and One Thousand is never enough.” – recovery meeting saying

4. FATAL ADDICTION KILLS, whether from a heart condition, high blood pressure, liver trouble, bleeding ulcer, suicide, overdose, car accident, bar fight or a drug deal gone bad - IF THE ADDICT CONTINUES TO USE.

Editor’s Note: There is a recovery meeting saying “Addiction will end in either Recovery, Jail, Institutionalization or Death.”

At our meeting the leader correctly pointed out that that saying can simple be shortened to “Addiction will end in either Recovery or Death.”

5. TREATABLEThe addict who is willing to do whatever it takes to stay clean and sober can be given the necessary tools to maintain sobriety.

Editor’s Note: The addict is THE ONLY ONE that can work his or her recovery program. Parents, spouses, partners, children, family and friends can assist and support the addict – very often they want recovery more than the addict does – but you cannot work the program for them.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS Following are signs and symptoms of the disease of addiction:

1. TOLERANCE – The state of progressively decreasing responsiveness to a drug. This results in the need to use increasingly greater amounts of drugs to obtain the desired effects.

Tolerance results in physical alterations to the central nervous system and the liver to function while under the influence of the substance.

2. WITHDRAWAL or abstinence syndrome. The physical symptoms relating to a declining amount of a substance in the body; this begins when the level of the drug in the body declines, not just when the substance is removed.

3. CRAVING & COMPULSION – The chain of thoughts, feelings and behaviors which tend to progress in severity and intensity unless they are interrupted. The following is a representation of that chain:

Dreaming > Conscious Thoughts > Arguments with self about using > Intrusive thoughts about using > Daydreams about the pleasurable aspects of using > Obsessive Thinking > Plotting to Use > Experiencing Powerful Withdrawal > Getting the Drug and Using It

Cravings begin at "Dreaming Level" and will progress over days, or weeks, until it sticks at the “Obsessive Thinking > Plotting to Use” Levels. This is where the addict must make their choice to put their recovery tools in place to stop their relapse process [i.e. attend meetings and ask for help / contact their sponsor] or to complete the chain and eventually relapse.


5. CONTINUED USE DESPITE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES - This is the hallmark of what it means to have the disease of addiction.

6. DENIAL / DISTORTED THINKING -- This is an addict’s defense mechanism to convince/justify to themselves that whatever it takes to procure the drug is normal and is worth the time and money invested. Denial allows them to put their addiction ahead of their family, friends, work and social responsibilities.



Please be aware that this is a very serious and potentially deadly situation that you and your child are involved in.

If you know, or even suspect, that your teenager is using controlled substances please attend one of our meetings or seek help with another group, facility or agency.

This is not something that you should attempt to resolve on your own. The longer that you wait to find assistance the more serious the consequences may be for you and your child.

Understand that your child's life and their future are more important than your community social standing, what your family, friends, boss or co-workers might say or think about you, your child's High School activities and graduation, and what college they may attend.

Many of us here at PSST once used these same excuses to delay looking for the help that our children needed.

PSST is here to EMPOWER YOU, THE PARENTS of teenage substance abusers with the support, information, skills and techniques a parent needs to help their teenager to save their life.

While there are no quick fixes, at the PSST Meetings we learn from other parents and professionals how to cure our codependency and how to end our enabling behavior.

Read More......

An Update on Bam Bam ~ By Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Monday, August 15, 2011


As you may know my son Bam Bam was released after 60 days on July 1st. He had been placed into an in-patient recovery facility through ACT 53 . His discharge instructions included that he attend 90 meetings in 90 days. His counselor said she would be happy if he did at least three a week. He hasn't gone to any.

His 2nd ACT 53 hearing in July court-ordered him to mandatory, random drug tests at Juvenile court. I was ecstatic that I wouldn't have to administer them. However, when I took him to the first one (he didn't give me any trouble going downtown to court) he couldn't provide a sample even though there was a male screener with him. He told one of the workers to just to mark him as positive rather than wait.. She told him is she did it would show positive for 6 drugs.

He said he didn't care.

He then became belligerent with me. He was getting mad because he had to wait (only one person ahead of him) which was unavoidable as one of the workers was having problems with the camera.

There were a few other minor issues that got him more agitated. I had it and told him I was leaving and he could find his own way home. He followed me out and I noticed a deputy sort of following us probably thinking a fight was going to break out!

We called the act 53 case manager from the lobby and she said that if Bam provided a sample with a trusted male witness (he decided he could do this in front of his dad) or would consent to a blood test (he refused) we could do that.

However, the judge will know at the next hearing in September that he refused at court. So far he has had one 12 panel test and one weed only test and they have been negative. I intend to also screen for alcohol.

He is hanging out with his same friends and I'm sure at same places though they have been "going fishing" a lot. I did see a photo on his friend, Eddie's, Facebook showing him with a fish down by the river so maybe they are really fishing at least some of the times.

Bam's dad, Fred, spends a lot of time chauffeuring Bam and his friends around as they all don't drive.

Today Bam called home very upset to tell his dad that one of his friend's who was here this afternoon stole beer from our basement refrigerator (Fred had not removed it but did count it yesterday so he knew that this kid, I'll call him Celo, took 11 beers). I have told Fred his beer should be locked up but.....

They went out the back basement door so Fred didn't see them. Now, Bam said he didn't know about it. I'm not so sure but Fred believes him [of course]. However, now there is no key kept by the back door and ALL backpacks will be checked at the front door.

Bam is scheduled to go back to school at his home school as a senior at the beginning of September. I am hoping this works out as Cyber-School was a miserable failure.

EDITOR'S NOTE / OPINION: I do not know of a case of a child abusing drugs [including our son Cisco] that is able to handle the demands of Cyber-School. Don't waste your time.

We have a had few minor issues lately and Bam has been very good about following his curfew.

His 16-year old cousin that he is close to was arrested last week for possession. Bam said he needs to talk to "Cool J" to help keep him out of trouble but it's a little late for that. Maybe he will be joining some of our PSST campers soon.

Anyway, that is where we are for today. Unfortunately, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hope it stays on!

Read More......

The Devil.......or the Angel ~ By June
Posted by:Sally--Monday, August 15, 2011

PSSTarious! (PSSTarious refers to a certain type of humor found funny to members of PSST) ~ L.W.

I am once again trying to listen to the "Learned Ones" to regain my sanity. Take 30 minutes a day just for you. Meditate, listen to music, and read........... "Hm", I think to myself. "Read............that sounds like a perfect idea!"

I begin perusing the books around the house and stumble across the book...............

"1001 Things to do With Duct Tape" Slowly, methodically...............

I begin to flip the pages.

As I stated before, I am just beginning to regain my sanity.

Therefore, I am not responsible for the thinking process that began to occur in my brain.

"Duct tape-- boy wouldn’t that hold the Beaver’s mouth shut” I chuckle to myself, sort of, and then an angel and a devil inexplicably appear on my shoulders.

“Go ahead, do it” Junette the devil urges. “You can tell him it’s a new way to shave. Yeah, it’ll take all the facial hair off in one fell swoop. Do it, do it, do it” Junette says gleefully. “Think of the silence, think of the pleasure of removing it, think of……….”

“STOP!” cries Junie the angel. “Remember the parents that taped their toddler to the wall last year? Think of all the trouble they caused for themselves. Posting it on Facebook like they were proud of it. Tsk-Tsk! They should be ashamed of themselves. Beaver will begin to learn to filter what comes out of his mouth, and change takes a long time to happen. Baby steps, June, baby steps” the angel Junie exhorts.

“Posting it on Facebook” I mused. “That would be terrible to have Beaver’s mouth taped shut; let alone posting it on Facebook................”

And this is where I learned meditation. I seriously pondered this, briefly, but I did: I heard the sound of applause, and the television trucks arriving outside my home to film "The mother who dared do what others only could dream about." The Star Trek theme music began to play……… The chanting began “June for President”………

And then I heard, loud and clear, and very much in the present, “It’s your fault, It’s ALL your fault……………!” from the Beaver.

I will state for the record that single parents, or any caretaker of recovering addicts, are not responsible for the thoughts that occur between their ears.

Remember Judge, thinking and doing are two different things.

Read More......

Walking the Tightrope ~ by Brigette
Posted by:Sally--Monday, August 15, 2011

"I'm up on the tight wire, one side's ice and one is fire..." - Leon Russell

We got home from the PSST meeting yesterday and, lo and behold, I looked in the mirror and saw a 5 of diamonds. Damn, I thought for sure it was an Ace of Spades two days ago. (Lloyd's excellent post: Indian Poker Anyone?)

Francois and I were walking a very thin tightrope with Pierre, afraid of the other D word (depression). Having had a brother who committed suicide from depression, another brother who spent most of his adult life behind bars because of struggles with schizophrenia and alcoholism, and depression running in both families, I have an intense fear of missing something with Pierre. To the point, that I didn't want to cause more stress in his life.

So, Pierre was home for two days and we overlooked him missing two NA meetings. We didn't react right away when he took the car for a drive at 11:00 at night.

I know-- it sounds crazy to me as I'm writing this.

After all our PSST training, we knew better. Somehow, we thought Pierre's story would be different. After all, he did so well at the YES program, right? He must have all the tools and motivation to make the right choices, so why add more stress to his life?

I am glad that no one (Lloyd) sugar-coated the truth at yesterday's meeting. We were on our way to enabling Pierre quicker than you can say Indian Poker. It took someone compassionate, yet bold, to state the truth clearly.

So, we went home from the meeting and took the car from Pierre. After Pierre blew off some steam and returned to the discussion, Francois went over the contract with him again and reiterated our expectations.

We will continue to address his mental health needs, but as one wise shaman said (you know who you are) "The depression will still be there, the accountability is another issue."

We are going to have weak moments and moments of doubt and fear. We are asking each of you in PSST to continue to hold us accountable as we need to hold Pierre accountable.

We will not agree with everything that is suggested, but we will listen and continue to evaluate our behaviors and actions. Thank you!!!

Brigitte and Francois


Read More......

Indian Poker anyone? (updated Sunday 8:15 AM)
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, August 13, 2011

Indian Poker is sometimes called Blind man's bluff. 
The Disease of Addiction was talking with a newly recovering addict. The Disease said, "I'm a family disease and my core is denial denial denial; however, if you tell anyone else in your family I said that, I'll deny it."

In families of addicts the tendency to say everything is OK is tremendous. And with denial, you don't just break through to the other side once, and then you're good. Denial can creep back anytime during the addict's recovery.

No matter how bad things may look, no matter your inner voice is telling you that this is BS, an addict and his family sometimes can't see it. Instead the family makes excuses such as, "He is depressed," "I can't work his program for him," "Even though he might be using, it's not as bad as it used to be," "I can't be so negative all the time, “If he gives up all his old friends, he won't have any friends at all, and that's not acceptable either," "It's time I worked on my own program and let him worry about working his program."

Addict's families need help on this one. Everyone can't see it. But people don't want to give feedback that might hurt someone's feelings. Naturally, there is a risk involved when giving feedback to someone. Sometimes the feedback is too much and it turns out to be counter-productive. This happens when the person receiving the feedback pushes away from the group because they don't want to hear it. To coin a new word the whole thing becomes counter-frontational.

It's a little bit like playing Indian Poker. The players have one or two cards held up to their forehead so that everyone can see the cards except the person whose card it is. The only way he can catch a glimpse is by the way others around him react. Sometimes, someone with a five thinks they have a face-card. It's funny to everyone else who can plainly see that it is indeed only a five.

So what can we do?

We can invite feedback. We can ask our friends, family, and fellow PSST members to tell us what they see. We can ask on a regular basis. Our real friends will tell us the truth but sometimes only if we ask. Otherwise, they think we don't want to know, we wouldn't listen anyway, and if we speak our mind our friendship might end.

Another thing we can do if we're really brave is just tell the other parent that they're not thinking clearly. Or, if we're not brave, we can just write a post and somewhere in there put this line, "You know who you are." The problem, of course, is that often the parent does indeed not know who they are.

Let's use the ole You Might Be a Redneck if ________!

1. You might be in denial if you know your teenager who is supposed to be in recovery is still using, although he doesn't appear to be as "badly off" with it as he was before he went into rehab, if you've decided that the best course of action for right now is to do nothing.

2. You might be in denial if your teenager isn't following his contract that you wrote before he was discharged from inpatient drug treatment and you've decided that the best course of action for right now is to do nothing.

3. You might be in denial if your teenager isn't being responsible in some major areas of his life, such as following his contract, and you've decided for right now it's OK if he still drives a car.

4. You might be in denial if your teenager has violated his Conditions of Supervision and you've decided for right now not to let his PO know about it.

5. You might be in denial if your inner voice is telling you it's time to be a stronger parent and take action but your other inner-voice is saying, "There's really nothing I can do that would help anyway." Especially, if your child still lives at home there is always something that can be done to send your teenager a message. Not acting also sends your teenager a message.

Remember, being in denial doesn't mean that you won't admit that stuff is happening. Usually, the Parent can admit that there are issues, but then deny that they need to take any action by telling themselves that in some ways what's happening isn't really that bad. Denial results in a failure to admit that you should take action, not a failure to admit that there is an issue.

If your teenager lives at home there is always something you can do to send a message that his behavior is unacceptable. If your teenager no longer lives at home, then you may be limited to making sure that you are not enabling him in anyway although sometimes even the estranged parent has other options.

And finally,

6. You might be in denial if you hear another parent share that 1-5 above is happening in their home but you've decided that there is no use in you confronting them because:

          A.  They already know that what they are doing is wrong.

          B.  They will never come back to a meeting.

          C.   They will kill the messenger.

          D.  That's not my job, that's Lloyd, Kathie and Val's job.

The problem with D is that parents helping parents can be more powerful than Lloyd, Kathie and Val doing the same thing. I don't know why, it just is. Also, when we reach out to help others we end up helping ourselves. It's the "If you really want to learn something, teach it"- kind of a thing.

So, to sum up: let's try not to let a fellow PSST parent drive down the road after a meeting with a five on their forehead thinking it was a face-card. But if we do do that (and there will be times when this just happens because we are all naturally afraid of being counter-frontational) remember that reaching out to people in between meetings can be just as powerful!


Read More......

Long Term Effects of Drugs on the Brain
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, August 13, 2011

I came across an explanation of the effects of drugs on the brain that was rather easy to understand. Click here if you wish to hear about it.

Read More......

Solutions verses problems: what do our teenagers need the most?
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, August 08, 2011

I wrote this role-play with one family in mind. It turns out that I missed the boat and this role-play might not have played out this way at all in this family. Still, I think that it demonstrates the principal of how parents would do well to challenge their teenager to accept responsibility for the problem rather than always try to help give him solutions. It also uses PSST skills to avoid being sucked into manipulation.

As you read this role-play try to refrain from choosing either that this young man should go to a halfway house or that he should come home. That is the trap. Accept in your mind first that that decision will be made later not now. In fact, as parents, you may indeed have a strong opinion on that subject and that is fine..later. But for now, this is not something that the 'team' can either rule out or not rule out. This is the best way to get the sense of what this mother is doing with her teenager and, of course, what she is not doing.

Robert: You don't feel that I need a halfway house do you?

Mom: I didn’t think about it until you mentioned it the other day.

Robert: See, you didn't! You think I should come home right?

Mom: I'm not sure.

Robert: I'm getting so depressed in here thinking that I might have to do that.

Mom: Yes, I'm sure you are- it is a depressing thought.

Robert: So, do something!

Mom: What is it that you think I should do?

Robert: Something! Tell Lloyd he can't do that! Go to bat for me! Be a MOM! Tell him you demand that I come home- don't let this looser PO tell me after all I've been through that I can't come home! Oh yeah and did I tell you they smoke K2 down there!??? Is that what you want for me? Huh? Is it?

Mom: Well, good points all of them, and of course I don't want you smoking K2!

Robert: OK then so you'll do something?

Mom: Of course I will. I'll speak to Lloyd.

Robert: Will you tell him that I can come home, that you want me to come home?

Mom: I'll tell him that we are concerned and that We'd like to know more about it.

Robert: What more about it?! That sucks you don't have to know any more than what I'm telling you.

Mom: Yes, dear, I know you'd like me to guarantee you that you won't have to go to a halfway house.

Robert: Right!

Mom: Well, I can't do that can I?

Robert: This is soooooo depressing- why do I have to go there?

Mom: Well, I'm not sure that you do- but we have time on this one- let's talk later about it OK?

Robert: Mom! I'm going to be so depressed! That's what Lloyd said too?!

Mom: Yes, I think you're going to continue to be quite upset over this.

Robert: Well?

Mom: You're going to figure it out son.

Robert: Figure what out?

Mom: Figure out how to come straight home from here or figure out how to deal with the halfway house if you have to go there.

Robert: You make me depressed now. Get out of here! I'm done with this sh&t for today!

Mom: OK, I'll be back soon honey.

Robert: What, just like that you're leaving?

Mom: Well you said you had enough and that I should go.

Robert: But you never leave when I say that! I'm just saying I'm depressed, that's all!

Mom: Yes, you're dong a pretty effective job of telling me that you are depressed.

Robert: Not that you care! You're not doing anything to help.

Mom: No, I'm not am I?

Robert: You're making it worse.

Mom: I am. I can see that you are right. I'm making it worse. I'm going to leave but I'll be back soon- this visit has been hard for me too and I need to get going.

Robert: So nothing!? No help on this one- I come to you asking, begging for help and I get nothing?

Mom: Apparently, you're right! I got nothing on this one- other than the little bit I said, I'm afraid you'll have to figure this out on your own.

Robert: What if I just say fu&k it and walk out?

Mom: Is that crossing your mind son?

Robert: No, I'm just saying what if?

Mom: Well you'd have to do what you feel is best for you but I wouldn't like to hear that you did something like that.

Robert: Well what am I supposed to do? You won't help me?

Mom: That's right. You're just going to have to suffer this one out tonight I'm afraid.

Robert: Tonight OK, but you'll call him tomorrow?

Mom: Sure I said I'd call Lloyd, you know, to get more information about the halfway house and stuff like that.

Robert: You're messing my head up. I'm so out of here!

Mom: Wow. No! (concerned look) I'm really sorry to hear that!

Robert: To hear what, that your fu#&ingmy head up with this sh&t? You know what you're doing to me- you're doing it on purpose!

Mom: No, sorry about that too, but I meant I'm really sorry to hear that you might run. Have you talked to your therapist about that?

Robert: What the f^&k? Of course not!

Mom: I think that would be a good idea honey.

Robert: No! and don't you say anything to him either!

Mom: Ahhhh I can't keep that one secret.

Robert: Oh, I will be so mad at you - I trusted you! I trusted that I could talk to you?!!!

Mom: Oh?

Robert: And I'll never never never going to tell you anything again!!!!!

Mom: Oh well...

Robert: Yeah and don't come visit me again if you tell that on me.

Mom: Nevertheless, I can't keep things like that secret. (said slowly and moving in closer to son- but not yelling.)

Robert: You know what, I'm not even really thinking of doing that- haha you think I'm crazy? Man that’s a good way to get sent to Abraxas, I'm not stupid!

Mom: You're right! That would be a great way to be sent to abraxas! Oh. So you just said that about running?

Robert: Yeah, so that you would help me out- but your being such an a$$hole- that's why I had to lie to you.

Mom: OK, im' going to go now.

Robert: You're not going to say anything about this then?

Mom: I’m going to mention to your Counselor that you tried to manipulate me by lying, that you admitted that it was a lie, and that I think that was good, but they should keep an eye on you just in case.

Robert: You're ruining my life you know that don't you?

Mom: Apparently yes

Robert: I'm twice as depressed, no three times as depressed, as when Lloyd talked to me- he was bad enough but he's a PO so they pay him to be a d$$k- but you? You're my mother and you're acting like you don't even want me home!

Mom: I’m sure this is a lot to digest- lets talk later bye honey give me a hug.

Robert: I wouldn't get close to you if you was the only mother left on earth?

Mom: Hahaha. (A soft laugh- not a hahaha at him so much as just amused sort of laugh)

Robert: You laughing at me?

Mom: It's just funny what you said- you're hilarious Robert even now you haven't lost your sense of humor. It's one of the things I've always love about you.

Robert: [glares]

Mom: But it just makes me love you more. [positive affirming statement- even in "tough love" scenarios there is usually a way to lay the love on ;-)]

Robert; What the hell was so funny?

Mom: Never mind I'm not sure it would be funny to you.

Robert : What, tell me?

Mom: Ok, well you said if I was the last mother on earth- I am! I'm sort of the last mother on earth that you have, aren’t I?

Robert: Walks away mutting "MKothers! Mother f%^kers is more like it!"

Discussion: This started out as an email where the mother was telling me that she was trying to keep him "up." My advice was not to attempt even to keep him "up." It's his problem now. Tell him you feel confident that he can handle whatever comes down the pike. Don't weigh in on the halfway house idea yet. Tell him you are not sure at this point. Yes, that makes him more depressed but really he needs to see that you are not still invested so closely into making sure he feels better. Sometimes when you go through treatment you won't feel "up" and that's OK. It's a safe place to feel "down."

"There is no limit to the advice or solutions that we give our teens, for every sort of problem. But we seem to fail at giving them enough problems to solve." I forget who said that but it wasn't me.

How are our teenagers going to gain confidence if they can't solve problems? Also, giving solutions all the time reflects an underlying premise that you feel your teen is so incompetent that he couldn't figure out anything for himself. That's a confidence killer. Your teenager is competent. He can come up with solutions. He can work through depression. He can consider his options. Yes, he can also make mistakes and where possible learn from making those mistakes.

Also, double-check with staff that he is acting depressed. Sometimes teenagers want us, parents and POs to think they are suffering and miserable, but they aren't really acting that way at all when we aren't there. It's worth checking out.

Read More......

Proof That PSST Parents Have Strength AND a Sense of Humor
Posted by:Sally--Monday, August 08, 2011

As we await the finding and the eminent incarceration of “AWOL Andy - Day 6” I received this writing on Friday and actually giggled when reading what is behind that new door opening.

As parents of addicts we all have been standing in this ‘Hallway of Hell’ desperately trying to get back out, shut and triple dead bolt the door of addiction out of our families.

"Whenever One Door Closes Another Always Opens, Even Though, Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway!"

I would rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend while I'm here than a whole truck load when I'm gone.....

Happiness keeps You Sweet,

Trials keep You Strong,

Sorrows keep You Human,

Failures keep You Humble,

Success keeps You Glowing,

But Only Faith keeps You Going.

"Worry looks around,Sorrow looks back,Faith looks up."

Change the World....one act of random kindness at a time!

~ excerpt from Tequila & Salt - author unknown

Cheryl, Jim & AWOL-Andy

Read More......

Shattered Dreams
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, August 03, 2011

An article just published in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review highlights once more the dangers of smoking synthetic marijuana. A 13-year-old teen from Westmoreland County is fighting for his life in Children's Hospital, his lungs damaged so badly that he is on a respirator to keep him alive. It's just one more reminder of why we as PSST parents need to keep up the fight for our children - their hopes, their dreams, and their very lives may be hanging in the balance.

Click on this Link for the Full Article

Read More......

What We Did This Summer at PSST
Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What We Did This Summer (at PSST)

We are happy to report that the attendance for the PSST meetings this summer has been consistently high. It is encouraging to see the number of parents who are not only assisting their child in their recovery but also learning how to work their own recovery. Addiction is a family illness.

ROCCO'S DISCLAIMER:Regrettably the number of attendees has made it difficult to keep the meeting summaries updated. So this is my attempt to summarize our summer of 2011 at PSST.

Please feel free to edit, correct or add to my summary as needed in the comment section below. I will not be offended.

First we thank our professionals, Val and Lloyd from Juvenile Probation and Kathy T, Justin, Jocelyn and Michelle from Wesley Spectrum for their advice and assistance at the meetings and for supporting our families.

Secondly we would like to thank our PSST Parents.

As Sally said "We are not Super Heroes; We are Real Heroes. Super Heroes have super powers and are indestructible. PSST Parents are Real Heroes because they are ordinary people who are destructible and who will work through the pain of addiction and do whatever is needed to save their child’s life."

Sally and Rocco have a 19 year old son, Cisco, who started around age 14 “just using” marijuana. In a very short time he progressed to just using a little DMX, just trying a few percs and then a little heroin. For the last 4 years we have been through the chaos of addiction and recovery and the nightmare of dealing with our insurance providers (should be labeled insurance deniers).

Cisco has been progressing well in his recovery. He had a relapse in early summer, admitted it and voluntarily entered an inpatient recovery program. He has returned to his halfway house, is attending meetings regularly and trying to launch himself in a job and living on his own.

At his counselor’s suggestion we had a meeting with Cisco’s support group (friends and counselors) and it went well. However Cisco hesitated in inviting any of his friends in recovery so we want to try this again with his entire support group. As his counselor noted “Cisco says he thought that his friends in recovery and his ‘normal’ friends would feel uncomfortable. What he meant to say is that he would feel uncomfortable.”

Sally and I have been working on our own recovery for the last two years and have relapsed [read: enabled / let our codependency resurface] a few times. With the help of PSST we have made a lot of progress and are doing well.

Daisy is a single mom with a 16 year old son, Ozzie. Daisy has been with PSST for about 1-1/2 years and has progressed with getting back the control in her house and over her son. Daisy stood up in court and had Ozzie placed into an inpatient facility when she realized that he was not doing well in his outpatient program.

As one of “PSST’s Charlie’s Angels” she grew stronger as her son progressed in his recovery. He came home to a new order at home this spring and finished up the school year but slowly regressed.

When Daisy confronted him a few weeks ago he warned her that if she dared to “force” him back into another inpatient program he would come home worse than he ever was. Daisy asked him “What makes you think you can come home again?” This is something that Daisy could not have said a year ago and certainly got his attention. At our last meeting Ozzie was in Shuman Detention Center awaiting an opening in an inpatient program.

Max and Melhave two sons in recovery, Michael 19 and David 16. their younger son David has spent the last year in an out-of-state program. He has done well and was scheduled to come home in August.

Their older son Michael completed his program and is working. He has had some good discussions with Max and Mel but Michael tends to argue over trivial matters. Max is doing her best to detach and back away from working Michael’s recovery. This is a tough point for parents, especially moms [I am observing here not trying to be chauvinistic].

We really want for our teens to work their recovery successfully - never the less - we need to understand that they are the only ones that can work their programs.

Michael chose not to complete high school and will work on getting his G.E.D. His goal is to get a good enough job so that he can get his own apartment and live on his own. This is a good thing.

As we have noted in the meetings if your teenager’s goal is to live at home and depend on their parents to support them, it is probably a bad sign. Along those lines they informed Michael that as of Sept 1 he will need to start paying rent or find another place to live. Max and Mel as always are there to support him, not enable him.

Violet is another single mom. Her 19 year old son, Vinnie,, is a heroin addict. He too has been through several recovery programs but the latest one, a youth forestry program, has worked better than the rest.

Thanks to Violet’s initiative and fortitude Vinnie has made it through his first year of college and is looking and sounding better than ever. He will complete his program in time to return to his second year of college.

Like a lot of us Violet has been through all of the stages of recovery with her son from hopefulness to despair to relief to anger, regardless she has hung in there to do everything she can to give her son a chance at college and at life.

Violet’s words of wisdom to us, when Vinnie tried to tell her how she should behave, were “You can’t work my program.” Thanks Violet, I have since used this line successfully on my son.

Alice and Ralph have two sons, Norton and Ed. Their younger son Ed has successfully completed his inpatient program and is attending school and running a landscaping business. He attended his 90 meetings in 90 days and Ralph and Alice have held him strictly to his contract. Now that Ed has his driver’s license he has a driving contract. Ed has pushed a few boundaries but as of the last time we met he has accepted the consequences and has dealt with them for any violations.

Ralph noted that you do not need to have all of the consequences spelled out in the contract. In fact in some cases it makes sense to deal with the consequences depending on the seriousness of the infraction or even to have your teen wait and contemplate what the consequence will be for a few hours.

Their older son Norton, as Ralph thought he would, has returned to the state and is willing to accept his consequences which may include jail time for skipping probation.

Unfortunately Norton was an adult when he was charged with his crime so he cannot be helped by the juvenile system. But like with Ed, Ralph and Alice will do what they can to assist Norton but will not cross that line into enabling him.

Candy and Aaron have a 19 year old daughter, Tori in recovery. Last summer, even though Tori had already turned 18, they were able to file charges in juvenile court to have her placed into an inpatient recovery program. Without these charges Tori may have lost her life by now.

She has completed her inpatient program and her stay at an out of town halfway house. She has decided to stay in that town and get an apartment with some others in recovery. While this has Candy a bit on edge she realizes that this is not a totally bad thing.

Sometimes they can work their recovery better if our children do not come home. And as we noted above sometimes this is a sign that they have the desire to work their own recovery rather than moving back home and being dependent on mom and dad to support them.

June is a single mom. Her 18 year old son Beaver spent about 16 months in several inpatient recovery programs. He has come home and has worked his recovery as June has worked hers. She too has gone through all of the feelings of recovery and all of the stages from the “Super-Glue” stage of sticking with him 24/7 to the “letting go and trust [a little] stage to the “Darn it, I am not a failure of a Mom!” stage.

June you are far from a failure – you are a PSST Strong Mom and have saved your son’s life.

Jane is not a single mom but had to drag her husband George protesting into their son’s recovery. Jane [the second of PSST’s “Charlie’s Angels”] stood up in court to have her son Elroy placed into an inpatient program for his recovery. While he was in his recovery program she worked on her own recovery as well.

Elroy completed his inpatient program and has returned home. Jane tried to set up help for Elroy but all she got back was anger, resentment and blame directed at her. Elroy is on house arrest for underage alcohol use.

At the last meeting that Jane attended she said she was going to let Elroy work on his recovery and planned to spend more time on her younger son and on herself and getting rid of her negative feelings.

Becky and Tom’s 16 year old son Syd completed his inpatient program and returned home. He has done pretty well but Becky and Tom were disappointed that their school system insisted on Syd returning back to the high school. Becky says that the best thing for him in his recovery is his job.

Kitty has two sons in recovery, Carlyle is 18 and Cat who is 22. Kitty is in waiting mode. Carlyle completed his inpatient recovery and did okay when he first returned home. He was dismissed unsuccessfully from his outpatient program and is violation of his probation. Kitty is waiting for his hearing to see what steps she will take.

Kitty asked us, like a lot of us have wondered, how can you tell what typical teenage behavior is as opposed to ADHD behavior or as opposed to addictive behavior? The best I can answer is to trust your feelings, especially moms [there I go being chauvinistic again]. We sometimes want our teen’s recovery more than they do and often over- rationalizes their behavior. If you have an answer for Kitty please add it to the comment section below.

As of our last meeting Kitty had asked Carlyle to leave her home if he cannot follow her rules. Her older son Cat was home and, following a talk, is doing better than his younger brother.

Joan is a single mom. Her 19 year old daughter Melissa has walked away from / been asked to leave a number of recovery programs in the last few years. Joan has refused her permission to come home but Melissa has found her way in on several occasions. This led to Joan filing charges. Melissa is waiting for her next program.

Joan reminded us that we all need to work on ourselves, including therapy. Do not allow your child to isolate you from living your own life and your family friends.

Rose is a single mom of Joe, 18, who drug choice is Robo-tripping (DXM). He has recently graduated high school [he completed his required classes in his recovery program but got to walk at his own school] and has successfully released from his inpatient program.

Joe’s dad Manny recently returned into Joe’s life and asked him to come to work with him out of state. This was a major red flag to Rose who noted that although Manny is doing well now he has had issues in his past. On the other hand Manny is in recovery and it takes Joe away from his people, places and things. But it also takes him totally away from her and her ability to observe how he is doing.

After a lot of talking and a lot of soul searching it was decided that Joe should go with his dad and start a new life and a new job. As of our last meeting Joe was doing well and Rose was leaving to visit him. Keep us posted Rose.

Cheryl and Jim’s son Andy has almost 11 months of clean time. He completed his inpatient program but Cheryl and Jim knew that he was not ready to return home so Andy is in a halfway house. Many times this is a better choice than our teens returning back to their people, places and things. The halfway houses offer recovery assistance and can prepare our children to start a new life on their own with a job and a place to live.

Cheryl and Jim let Andy know that they were not comfortable with him coming home. This is tough decision for any parent to make but these are the things we learn how to do at PSST. They sent a very clear message to him that they are serious about his recovery.


Jennifer and Jonathan's 17 year old son Maxwell also “just began” using marijuana around age 14. In addition to his drug abuse issues Maxwell exhibited anger management concerns. Often our teen’s addictive behavior manifest itself in anger directed at their mom.

Maxwell was unsuccessful at his outpatient recovery program and is now in an inpatient recovery program.

Jennifer has expressed her concern about him relapsing when he completes his program. This is a very real concern. Relapse happens. Relapse is not failure if the addict returns for treatment. One of the advantages of having your son or daughter on probation is that “the use of any mind altering drug” is a violation and they can be “placed” back into a recovery program.

As many of us have found it sometimes takes multiple relapses and recovery programs before your child will accept and begin working their recovery in earnest. The key to helping them is to stay consistently strong and sure that there will be no use of drugs, alcohol or “any mind altering substances” illegal or legal, by anyone in your home.

We once had a mom [who will remain anonymous], attending one of her early PSST meetings, who found her child in recovery drunk and asked if she should report it. She received a resounding “YES” from the rest of us at the meeting.

Addictive behavior pushes family relations to the maximum limits. It takes some time before parents realize that logic and common sense don't work. They need to understand that addictive behavior causes tunnel vision. The ONLY thing an addict can consistently focus on is where I can find my next high. It does not mean that the addict doesn't love their parents, care about their family or even that they don't understand that they are making the wrong choice. Their addiction will insist that they need to do whatever they need to do to feed their addiction, and then they can get back to all that family stuff.

Until your adolescent’s mind is clean they cannot resolve any other issues that they might have including low self esteem, ADHD, depression and anger management.

Please Note: Remember to be careful if your teen exhibits aggression towards anyone and DO NOT HESITATE to leave the house and / or call 9-1-1 [for an officer to ‘Keep the Peace’].

Jessica and Roger’s 18 year old son Herman completed his second inpatient program and is currently in a halfway house. Jessica [the third member of the “PSST Charlie’s Angels”] has run through the whole bank of emotions with Herman – confusion to anger to hopeful to trusting to happy to doubt to reality stinks to untrusting to anger to confusion. Our teen addicts can do this to us – sometimes in one day.

She and Roger are concerned that Herman’s consent decree runs out by September, that Herman has not bought into his recovery program, that he won’t accept their rules and that he spent too much time on his last home pass in the bathroom [allegedly to get a shower] using something that smelled like bad incense.

Jessica is stepping back and let Roger prepare Herman’s home contract.

Wilma’s 17 year old son Bam-Bam has “just used” marijuana, acid, ecstasy, and mushrooms but insist that he does not have a drug problem. He spent a month in an inpatient recovery program and was deployed home. Wilma had no support from the program or her husband Fred the Enabler.

Since he has been home he has flipped out on his counselor, is breaking curfews, is not going to meetings and is not avoiding places or people that he should be. As Wilma said he is constantly exhibiting “Drug Seeking” behavior.

Brigitte and Francois have three sons. Their oldest son Pierre, 17 spent 3 weeks in an inpatient recovery program. To kick the summer off Pierre relapsed but let his parents know that his younger brother Jacques was also using.

Brigitte and Francois took quick action with Pierre’s relapse and, with the help of his P.O. and his therapist, took control of the situation. Following a short stay at Shuman and a hearing he was placed in another inpatient program for 60 days and is scheduled to come home shortly. He is doing well on his home passes and they are working on Pierre’s Home Contract.

As we have discussed at PSST meetings it is best to have these contracts completed while your teen is still in their recovery program. Their counselor can then evaluate how well they are accepting their recovery by how they work with you on the contract. Whether they are cooperating or if they are acting out it is best for them to do it, while they are in the program.

As for Jacques, 15, Brigitte and Francois acted quickly again and, together with Jacques friend’s parents, set up drug testing and consequences for all of them. They were very brave to confront the other parents and lucky enough to be dealing with other parents that would work with them.

Many of our children express anger and/or depression as we, the parents, take control back in our homes and our families. Much of this is their addiction realizing that we are changing and they are grieving their loss of power over the family. They realize their chances of manipulating their parents into enabling them get less and less as we learn to break our own codependency.

Jenn and Brad’s 18 year son Dylan also started his journey “just using” marijuana. He is currently in an inpatient recovery program and has run though the typical spectrum of behaviors from compliant to angry to showing his real self to showing signs that he is beginning to understand and maybe even accept his recovery.

Remember as much as we parents want our child to accept their recovery process we cannot work it for them. The most we can do by getting them into an inpatient program (either voluntarily or through placement) is to keep them away from the people, places and things that encourage their habits and to buy them clean time.

This last item is more important than many think. Their brain and their body can recover but only with abstinence from mind altering substances. The more time they have clean the more their brain can recover. This is especially important for the adolescent brain which keeps developing until around age 25.

Maria stopped by to let us know that her son Ernie celebrated two years clean. Ernie has done very well following his inpatient recovery program and a stay at a halfway house. He has a full time job, is successfully working his 12 Step program, attending meetings and encouraging other young men.

Unfortunately, despite his success he has cut off most communication with Maria. They do get to meet on occasion and she had had the opportunity to celebrate his 2nd anniversary.

Maria has learned to accept this and get on with her life and she knows that she did the right thing to son’s life.

George and Gracie are veteran PSST Parents. They have a 19 year old son Ronnie who was doing well in his recovery from a heroin addiction the last few years. Recently they sensed that something was going wrong and Ronnie admitted that he was “only using” marijuana.

George and Gracie have strong feelings for their son, as we all do, but they know that they cannot enable him. They had to take strong actions, which were not pleasant but were needed. Tjis included going to a magistrate and writing a dismissal letter, packing his bags and changing locks. Whatever it took to get him out of the house until he was ready to admit himself into a recovery program.

Click on PSST Parents Stand Firm to read the rest of the story.


Read More......

Every successful addict requires at least one prime-enabler.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Every successful addict requires at least one prime-enabler. Without at least one PE, the addict has no means to continue to abuse substances at high levels.  

When we send our teenagers away to expensive treatment programs, we probably aren't going to see the big changes we want to see until we change ourselves. We have to find a way to stop enabling and then pray that someone else doesn't continue to enable our loved one. Once the enabling stops, the addict usually can't afford to continue using at high levels. Drugs don't grow on trees and even the ones that do actually grow on trees are still expensive.

This is why it's so important that we parents change ourselves while our teenager is in placement or treatment. We must be strong. We must cease all aide if indeed our aide might go to support the enemy: our child's disease of addiction.

If we continue to enable, then chances are good that our son or daughter will return to drug abuse. Now most of us might agree with what I've said so far; however, the devil is in the details. What is enabling? What is just helping? For more on that point put enable or enabling in our search box on this blog.

Here's the rule of thumb on this. Ask yourself if the aide you give could possibly further the disease of addiction? If the answer is "Yes," then consider not giving that aide. Err on the side of caution. Remember that arguing and debating can also aide the disease of addiction by generating resentments and because we can loose debates and arguments and end up giving in to demands.

If your teenager is 18 or over and they continue to abuse drugs, let them go. They will either find another prime-enabler or they will hit their own bottom.

Treatment programs are great and they can be effective; however, if the addict returns to his PE, who may think they've changed a great deal, and he is given a roof over his head, food in the fridge, a cell phone, and maybe even a car to drive, then you have a recipe for disaster.

This is a family disease of denial. The addict is in denial. The family always must guard against denial too. We say to ourselves, "it'll be OK," or "it's not that bad" or "he's not nearly as bad as he used to be." Wake up. He's still using.

Sure, when we can, we work to buy one more clean day for the addict. When our options run out on that strategy, then we have one powerful tool left. Stop enabling. There's more power in that than you'd imagine.

Read More......


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