Quote of the Week

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

Posted by:Rocco--Saturday, October 08, 2011


This week’s PSST Meeting was held in Wexford. We had the expertise of Lloyd and Julie of Allegheny Juvenile Probation and Kathie T and Justin of Wesley-Spectrum.

There was also another great turnout of of 17 concerned parents, some regulars, some returning alum and some new parents.

EDITOR'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.

Wilma did a super job at keeping us focused as our group leader this week.


- We had an opportunity to congratulate Daisy as "2011 Allegheny County Juvenile Probation Parent of the Year"

- Lloyd is looking for volunteers for a PSST Booth at an upcoming Alliance Against Drugs Training program scheduled for Oct 19-20 (Wednesday-Thursday) 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at A.W. Career Center, 9600 Babcock Blvd, Allison Park, PA 15101 - Lloyd will post more information on the blog.

- Wilma reminded us about the live workshop on Oppositional Defiant and Anger Issues in Children and Adolescents at the Embassy Suites at the Airport on November 11, 2011. CLICK HERE if you wish to look at the information online.

- DO YOU NEED SOME MORE PARENTAL SUPPORT? ~ "S.O.S. FAMILIES ANONYMOUS GROUP" Squirrel Hill meets Every Tuesday night from 6:00 - 7:30PM

NO Fees - NO last names used - NO forms to fill out ~ NO formal sign-up

NO saying “I’m Sorry”

Families Anonymous is a group of concerned parents, relatives and friends whose lives have been adversely affected by a loved one's addiction to alcohol or drugs.

~ Like PSST, there is no cost and no commitment to attend Families Anonymous

LET’S TALK - because of the large turnout we went around to do short introductions so we could get back to those with more to discuss.

Wilma's son Bam Bam completed his IRF this summer but was not ready to buy into his recovery. Mary worked her best PSST skills to get Bam Bam into a Mental Health Facility. She reported that Bam is doing okay.

Tess’ 18 year old son Linus is doing okay and is adjusting to a 1/2 way house before returning home. She said that they were just informed that Linus has more charges pending.

Remember we here at PSST are here to support you through this Tess. Feel free to reach out to us as you need to.

Rose has an 18 year old son, Joe that completed his High School Diploma while in his Inpatient Recovery Facility (IRF) this spring. Joe's drug of choice is "robo-tripping" [using over the counter cough/cold medications in combinations that produce a high] and he had not lived at home with Rose for over a year. When he completed his IRF this June he left town to be with his dad and try a job in North Carolina. He did okay with the work and saved a nice amount of money over the summer. He stayed clean but lost the job. He decided to return to Rose's house last week. Before the week was over he had ordered "legal" artificial drugs over the internet [labeled "Not for Human Consumption" of course] and relapsed.

*More on this later in this post*

Jessica's son Herman, 18, has been through a couple of Inpatient Recovery Programs and a halfway house but is not ready to accept his recovery and now is in another Inpatient Recovery Program. If Herman really wants to come home [and he says he does] then he is going to need to learn how to assimilate with his family. He will need to live by rules that Jessica and Roger never thought they would need to have in their house but then they didn't know what it was to be parents of an addict.

If Herman is not ready to live by their regulations then he may need to start working on a plan to live independently on his own. They will visit Herman this weekend.

Jessica and Roger now know that they hold the power. They now feel comfortable disagreeing with counselors and other "experts".

Jessica, you and Roger have been through the whole spectrum of recovery in a little less than one year and you guys are doing well and appear to be taking good care of yourselves and your family. Thanks so much for being part of PSST and being there for others.

Joan's daughter Melissa, 20, drug of choice is opiates. She is currently in an inpatient Recovery Program and is clean for 5 months. Melissa has not been home for the last 10 months has indicated that she wants to rebuild her relationship with the family. Joan understands, intellectually, that this reconciliation will need to be carefully laid out and planned and worked on but her heart tells her to hurry up.

Joan realizes that Melissa probably cannot come back home and will need to work on "personal responsibility" and learn how to support herself independently.

For today Joan is "cautiously optimistic."

Daisy has a 16 year old son Ozzie. Daisy is a single mom and an inspiration to us at PSST for how she has turned her own life around. Ozzie is another teen who did not accept his recovery and is in his third IRF. Daisy told us that she has had some good family sessions with Ozzie but that his anger seems to be resurfacing.

This might be because when the therapists and counselors ask Daisy if she could give in a little and maybe compromise a little; she firmly tells them "No I am not comfortable compromising, but ask me again if you need too." She knows that she never wants to go back to the way things were.

Thanks for being a big part of PSST Daisy and one more time, Congratulations on being named 2011 Parent of the Year.

Emily has a 16 year old son, Jerry. Jerry recently was assigned probation has been in an IRF for almost three months. He is almost ready to complete his program but Emily is not sure if Jerry is ready to accept his recovery or to come home yet.

Lloyd said he will work with her to review this and help determine where Jerry stands at this time.

Jenn has a son, Dylan, 15, has been in an IRF for about 5 months. Dylan is coming along well in his recovery but is still having some anger issues. Because of this he has missed out on his 3rd home pass. He is having an issue with following rules. On the good side he is not complaining that someone else is to blame for him missing his pass or making him angry. He is taking responsibility his mistakes.

Thanks to Jenn and Brad for their contribution to PSST and for being a good example of moving on with their lives. Hope that Brad had a good time taking some time off on a beautiful Satuday like we had.

Sally and Rocco's 19 year old son Cisco is currently in an adult 1/2 way house and is doing very well in his recovery and working towards finding a life skill so that he can eventually live on his own.

Cisco had an interview for a job last week and indications are that will get it. This is a good thing in itself and is something that we have been working towards. It does not act as a trigger to us [since Cisco never really had a steady job] but it does wave a couple of red flags in front of Rocco and Sally.

The little angel on our right shoulder is telling us "Cisco will handle the job, learn how to budget his money well, buy his car and mature with the responsibility and take another clean and sober step towards his independence. Everything will be just fine. Remember this is exactly what you wanted."

The little devil on our left shoulder is screaming at us "OMG!! Cisco will blow his money, on clothes, on cigarettes, on fast food and he will be tempted to spend his money on drugs and alcohol!!!" That little devil is also warning us that Cisco will come back home and 2 weeks later he will either quit his job or get fired and we will have him back home with no job and no ambition to find one and relapsing! "Are you guys crazy?!"

The reality, of course, is somewhere in between.

But there are a lot of issues that have popped up quickly and we both need to heed Jerry's advice and take a deep breath, take a step back and move slowly. Because Cisco brings up coming home NOW doesn't mean we need to make a decision NOW.

We have scheduled a meeting with Cisco and Jerry for Wednesday to discuss and plan where we go from here. One day at a time.

Brigitte's 17 year old son Pierre has been home from his IRF for almost 2 months and has had some issues. He is doing well in school, he is keeping his room clean and has a good attitude. Brigitte and Francois are feeling better about where he is but it will take time for the family to heal and for Pierre to regain their trust. Addiction is a family disease and each member needs to work on their own recovery.

Violet has a son, Sal, about to turn 20. Sal has been through a few Inpatient Recovery Programs. He is currently attending his second year of college and is doing well both in school and in his recovery.

Violet is working on her recovery. Like so many of us she knows in her head where she should be but is not quite there in her heart. She feels like she may never get to the point where she will be able to trust Sal, like she is waiting for the other shoe to drop. It all takes time.

At first we just want our child to get some help and to have a few months of clean time. Then we are looking for a major change in attitude. Then we are looking for them to begin to think about their own future and all along the way they have their ups and downs, Relapse and more recovery. We wish it could all just end but it takes time. We still have our child and we have some order in our homes and our lives. It is more than we could imagine a year or two ago.

As we noted before, lets look for progress, not perfection in our own recovery and our child's recovery.

Kitty has two sons, Carlyle, 18, and his older brother Cat, 23, who was home for about 2 months from a recovery facility before relapsing. Kitty told him that he needs to check himself in to another recovery program and that he can not live at home while he is using. Kitty heard that he was living in a garage in the neighborhood and sure enough when she checked she found him sleeping in her garage. She will not enable him but she is letting him keep his phone so that she can stay in touch with him. Kitty knows that there is not much that you can do to force your adult son into his recovery but she is checking all of her options and open to suggestions.

Her younger son, Carlyle, is clean and doing well and had his hearing and is off of his home monitor. He is still on 5 months of "Observation." He seems to be on the right track and is looking for a job. He plans to register for the spring semester at Community College.

Vera has a 16 year old son Tommy. Tommy is currently in an Inpatient Recovery Facility (IRF). He has a 12 hour home pass last weekend and Vera said he did well. He wanted to go to an N/A meeting and to do some shopping and to spend some tim eat home to see his sister. Vera explained to him that there would be no friends, that his was a visit to reconnect with his family and he was okay with that. He thinks that he will be ready to be released after 45 day in his inpatient program but Vera wants him to stay for the full 90 days.

At first most of our kids visualize their Inpatient Recovery Program more as a jail sentence [especially if they are court ordered into the program]. instead of accepting and working on their recovery they count the days they are there. If anyone even mentions to them that it is possible to be released in 30 or 45 days that is all they can think of. It is like "Hey, I've done my time. I am getting off early for good behavior. My counselor told me."

Having been in this situation, during Cisco's first placement, Sally and I can relate to the panic and confusion that you feel with the idea of them coming home before they are ready. We had endless conversations explaining to our son that it was not about "time" it was about his accepting and working on his recovery. This took a while to sink in for him and still pops up once in a while.

Unfortunately some counselors do bring up the subject of an early release and parents need to be prepared to tell them and their child that they are "Not Comfortable with that decision". A suggestion that worked for us was to tell Cisco that if he and his counselor insisted on his early release then he would need to be released into a 1/2 way home for 3 to 6 months because, again, we are "Not Comfortable" with him coming directly home and will not accept him. Cisco was more than happy to complete his 90 days after that.

Another determining factor here, unfortunately, is that many times our totally callous and perfunctory health insurance industry [better known as our Health Insurance Denier]. The reality is that many times our health insurance will just outright deny payment for our children's recovery.

Maria, one of our PSST Alumna Moms, returned to tell us that her 20 year old son, Bert, is now 2 years clean and doing well. He is living with his dad and working. Unfortunately he does not communicate all that much with his Maria. But she can accept that his being alive and clean is the most important thing at this time.

This is a regrettable situation with some of our children in recovery. In order for them to work their recovery successfully they need to almost completely detach from their parents and family for a time.

Thanks you so much for visiting with us at PSST Maria, it is always good to see you and encouraging to hear about one of our children making it in their recovery.

New to PSST is Maddie and her mom, Agnes. Maddie has two sons Davey, 17, and Herb ,16 and they live with Agnes and her husband.

Davey began using around age 14 and has progressed from marijuana and alcohol to opiates and any other drugs he could get hold of. Maddie used ACT 53 to get Davey into an Inpatient Recovery Program which he successfully completed. He did well enough that his ACT 53 was closed in late summer of 2010.

Since that time Davey's drug abuse increased, as well as poor school attendence, his disregard of rules and his anger problem. All of these issues are tied closely together and a lot of us at PSST have experienced them with our teenage addicts.

Davey spent the first 3 months of this year in another Inpatient Recovery Program and was released with an in-home intensive outpatient program. He has totally disregarded his program, and gone back to his same friends and old habits. His in-home program discharged him with the recommendation to use ACT 53 and to file charges to get him onto juvenile probation.

Davey has a hearing for this at the end of this month and Maddie and Agnes are both concerned about 1.) telling him that he has a hearing and 2.) getting him to his hearing.

Her younger son Herb continues to use marijuana despite all of the trouble he has witnessed with his older brother's drug use. He also has a hearing coming up.

You certainly have your hands full Maddie but you certainly are a pro-active parent and hopefully with the support of PSST things will begin to work better for you and your parents in the near future. Thanks for attending the meeting and please continue with PSST. We all have had very similar experiences and are here to support and encourage you in your family's recovery.


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