Quote of the Week

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

Thanksgiving, Weed & Frustration - By Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving, Weed & Frustration

An update from Wilma....

On Monday we went to court for Bam's ACT 53 and pre-conference on the criminal charges. I had found out the week before that a bed had been found for Bam based on everything that was happening he could be placed for further treatment.

I was surprised as I thought his judge would never approve placement as Bam had just recently come home from the D.A.S. program. However, since we got the recommendation from the dual diagnosis program the bed was canceled.

With the ACT 53 we have to rely on our own insurance. With an outpatient recommendation the insurance most likely would not approve in-patient at least not until Bam tries the out-patient therapy with medication management component.

I really think Bam Bam needs to be in placement away from this community and was feeling awful that I had worked like a dog to find him the dual diagnosis program and get them to give him a chance, that was recommended for him by his former psychiatrist and the outpatient eval he had had.

I feel like I put the wrench in what he really needs with something that, at least based on past history, he will not follow through. Now he is staying home and its very stressful with him here.

Everyone including the judge let Bam Bam know this was his last chance-he needs to continue in school, take his scheduled S.A.T.'s, go to meetings, stay away from people, places, things, get a job, go to PD office for a lawyer...

...his case was continued to January.

After the hearing we met with probation, filled out some paper work and then (with Bam arguing he didn't want to do this TODAY) went to the P.D.'s office for a lawyer. Bam told us he wanted a private attorney and we informed him NO WAY - we are the ones pressing charges!

How was he planning to pay for it?? What world is he in???

I had seen text messages on his phone with him sending the message "Need Any?" Hmm, wonder what this means.

Tuesday morning Fred found a neat stack of empty baggies on top of our garbage cans. What could these be for?

Bam claims no knowledge. However, he was the one who took the garbage cans to the end of the driveway and had been out for a short time with a friend the night before. Suspicious but as Fred said not evidence of anything.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day - Bam gets picked up by a friend and is gone less than an hour. When he returns home we tell him to empty his pockets. At first he refuses but we tell him we are not leaving his room until he empties the pockets. I turn Miss Margarock's (from Bedrock Manor) phrase back to him to "bunny ear" his pockets. We even said take off the shorts and we would search them. Finally, Bam empties his pockets and lo and behold an individually wrapped package of weed (it was in a shrink wrapped package) and in his wallet a larger baggie of weed.

Bam's explanation is that he's holding it for some kids and the smaller package was for his cousin (who is himself on probation for possession) that we would be seeing later in the day.

He remains calm and I take the weed. I don't want to leave it in the house so I take it the local police station where I'm told they can't arrest Bam as they would have to find the weed on him. The cop said he believed my story of where it came from but that he could only write a report and will keep the weed in the evidence locker. He said that even if we would have called them to our home the police would still have had to find the weed on Bam Bam to do anything about it. The police officer did say though that if there had been more of the individual packages that would have looked more like Bam was intending to sell and would be a felony.

So, at least the weed is out of my house and I don't have to worry about Bam breaking the house apart looking for it. Bam Bam tells us now he owes people money and that we are going to have to pay. I don't think so.

So, now we wait for January. Bam doesn't want to go away again but less than a week after being in court he sure doesn't seem like he is ready to follow the rules laid out for him.

And January seems like a long way away.


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Thoughts from Joan
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 20, 2011

The below advice is excerpted from a newsletter email sent by consultant/author/coach, Nancy Stampahar, www.silverliningsolutions.com.

While this addresses the general adult population, not just parents, it echoes so much of our PSST coaching that I thought I’d share it with you. For example, while Nancy advises that we ask ourselves: "What would make me most happy and fulfilled?”. PSST advises that we ask “What would I be comfortable with?

As I reflect upon things I am thankful for, high on my list comes the support of PSST parents, and that of Lloyd, Val, Kathie, Justin and their colleagues with Wesley Spectrum and Allegheny County Juvenile Probation.

Happy Thanksgiving!



The crazy, hustle-bustle holiday season is approaching.

By learning how to occasionally say "no" and treating each other with respect, you can take control of the demands at work and home you are facing. You must learn how to not fret over your own feelings of guilt, fears of rejection or possible repercussions. You can still be helpful and considerate of others, but you must take care of yourself first. Before you respond to someone, ask yourself, "What would make me most happy and fulfilled?" Once you develop assertive communication skills, you will be able to effectively handle difficult people and awkward situations.

Aggressive Communication Looks Like This:

"This is what you're going to do and you have no say in the matter." Too many dominating, overbearing behaviors surface and push people away or into submission. The aggressive person lacks self-esteem and acts out of fear to control people and situations. Unfortunately, most people get turned off and don't want to be around this type of person because they are too disrespectful and demanding.

Passive Communication Looks Like This:

"Whatever you ask, I'll do it whether I want to or not." Too many unwanted yes's build up resentment and passive-aggressive behaviors can surface. The passive person lacks self-worth and self-respect. Unfortunately, the word of a passive person cannot be trusted because they are not open and honest about their feelings, needs or opinions.

Assertive Communication Looks Like This:

"I know that this is important to you. This is also important to me. Let's talk about some options that are fair to both of us." Respectful, healthy behaviors evolve. This healthy, mature style says, "I hear you. You matter, and I matter too."

7 Tips to Say "No" and Assert Yourself Today

Become self-aware of your communication and behavior patterns. What is consistently happening in your life? How do these patterns affect you?

Evaluate the reasons you feel the need to please or control everyone.

Realize the goal of assertive communication is to express your thoughts and boundaries while being direct, honest and respectful of others.

Realize it is necessary and okay to say "no" sometimes and to ask questions.

Example for Anyone: "I see why this is important to you. I am unable to help this time. Let 's try to figure out some other possible solutions that could work."

Example for Boss: "This is what is on my plate right now. Which one of these priorities would you prefer I remove to accommodate your request?"

Example for Anyone: "I'd love to join you but my schedule is already full that week. Please keep me in mind the next time. Have fun."

If you do not address your own unique needs, your frustrations will build, you will feel taken for granted and your performances and relationships will suffer. As Dr. Phil says, "We teach people how to treat us." It is up to you to face the fears and guilt you carry from your disease to please. Find your courage to change and grow. When you stop feeling guilty and seeking approval of others, your days will be fueled by positive energy, confidence and self-respect. You will feel empowered and in control of your life because you utilized your power of choice. You hold the power.

Enjoy the season and assert yourself today!

To you,

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Wilma Waits
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 20, 2011


Well, it's been 23 days since Bam Bam came home from the Quarry Rock DAS program. And we are on the roller coaster with all of the loops.

The first week home Bam Bam had an evaluation at an outpatient rehab facility. Initially the therapist was recommending an Intensive Outpatient Program (I.O.P.) treatment. However, after consulting with colleagues it was determined he needs a dual diagnosis program because of his aggression and other mental health problems. This in addition to the drug addiction, so no treatment for him at the rehab facility.

Now, in July I did find a dual dx therapist for Bam but he didn't like her and he refused to return! Now what! I had already been through the (short) list from our primary insurance and now we have to START OVER!

I really felt I wasn't up for this task and thought maybe Bam Bam could tackle this himself since after all he is over 13 years old and can make these decisions himself. However, it was recommended that I try and get an appointment set up for him.

So on the 11th day home I call everyone on the list that the outpatient facility had given me and even called the insurance to see what they could come with.

So after coming up with NOTHING(programs only had dual dx for adults, not participating with our insurance, etc) I was ready to go to work when I get a phone call from from the director of the facility where my son's psychiatrist is with the news that his doctor is dropping him.

Now, no doctor to monitor Bam Bam on his SIX psychiatric medications. And one of the medications was supposed to be tapered off. I was devastated.

The doctor from Quarry Rock had agreed to maintain Bams meds until we find another doctor. I had tried in July to get him a different adolescent psychiatrist who participates with our primary insurance and could find none.

Once I pulled myself together I contacted the insurance again as now we are in desperate need for a psychiatrist. I insisted that he needs a physician who specializes in adolescent co-existing disorders and they had NONE. I made the decision to go out of network so that Bam Bam could at least be evaluated by a local adolescent dual diagnosis program.

This same day, Bam's 11th day home, as he was leaving the house I asked to see what was in his back pack. I found a water bottle filled with alcohol, a state store bag and receipt for vodka. Fred told me to look at the bright side that is was "only alcohol!!!" Doesn't he get that mixing alcohol with Bam's medications can be deadly?!!

Day 21 Bam Bam's evaluation at the Dual Diagnosis program - After many wrinkles they agree to treat him. However, the recommendation was for only 1 day a week but it's better than nothing.

17 days after coming home Bam admits to me that he relapsed by smoking weed.

18 days after coming home Fred gets a text message from Bam's friend Eddie that we need to take Bam to the hospital as Bam had texted Eddie that he took 50 Benadryl. I checked on Bam and he denied taking anything. He said that he was upset as he and Eddie were on the outs. He did not appear to have taken anything and told me he had been making that up.

Bam had posted on twitter that he overdosed. This time, he was trying to get attention by lying about overdosing.

During these past weeks I have suspected him of using, figuring he was drinking and smoking weed but now I'm thinking he might have added over the counter pills to his repertoire.

I am worried because he is also on those SIX legitimate medications. This past month I have also found text messages on his phone making arrangements to purchase alcohol and weed. I just saw yesterday that he texted to one of his friends that he sold some drug but he wasn't specific.

This last week Fred also caught Bam cheeking his med's and Bam said he was going to throw them away. Of course I don't believe this as I know some of this stuff can bring Bam some ready cash which Bam always is need of.

He continues to hang out with his old friends and doesn't attend meetings.

Now in the midst of all of this negative stuff Bam did find out all of the information needed to schedule himself for the S.A.T.'s. He applied to one college and even had a job interview this week. He observes his curfew and has only missed two days of school. He claimed he was sick but I'm not buying it.

Luckily we have court on Monday and hopefully his ACT 53 stays open and we have a pre-hearing conference on his criminal charges.

He continues to demonstrate that he cannot live at home and stay clean and out of trouble. He will have another chance to turn things around so we will see what he does with it.

So again we wait....

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What is YOUR Thought or Action TODAY?
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Monday, November 14, 2011

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny."


As parents of teens who are abusing substances, every conscious decision we make TODAY (whether it be keeping a secret for our teens, excusing an infraction of preset family rules/contracts, or choosing to look the other way while thinking your teen is just sowing their wild oats, etc.) will affect your future and the future of your teen (substance abuse ends in two ways: Recovery or Death).

Are you a parent who is being manipulated, lied to, verbally (or even worse - physically) abused by a teen who you suspect is abusing alcohol and drugs?

Learn techniques and skills at a PSST meeting to communicate with your teen and quite possibly, save their life.

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Sally and Rocco’s Handy Healthy Household Reminders
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, November 07, 2011

Holiday Clean-up Time is Here

This weekend Sally and I were doing our fall clean-up and getting the house ready for the fast approaching holidays.

I was just taking my fifth or sixth load of leaves down the driveway when the fireplace clean-out caught my eye. I couldn’t resist taking a look inside of it. This used to be one of Cisco’s favorite hiding places for his stuff. I am happy to report that I found nothing except ashes and cobwebs.

Another of his favorite places to hide his stuff, early on, was in a tin box in a hollow tree in the woods behind our house. It may have been that the elves were manufacturing something besides cookies but I am pretty certain that it was Cisco.

We recently converted Cisco’s downstairs bedroom into an office and we remembered finding stuff in his mattress, in the heater vent and, in one of his more clear thinking and honest moments, he pulled his boxing gloves off of the hook in his room. He reached inside and pulled out a pipe. He handed it to Sally telling her “I knew you guys would never look in here.”

It is time for another: Sally and Rocco’s Handy Healthy Household Reminders - households with teenage users that is.

Holiday Clean-up Time is Here
As you are cleaning up (that would be redding up for all of yinz Pittsburghers n’at) for the holidays be sure you also clean out all of your teenager’s stuff so that you can really enjoy them.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: DO NOT DISPOSE of any drugs, alcohol, K2 or any paraphernalia you find. Put it in a plastic bag with a note of where and when you found it and keep it as evidence. Lock it in a safe place - ask a trusted family member or friend to keep it or, if possible, ask your local police to keep it for you. I kept my evidence in a locked file drawer in my office.
I clearly marked it and notified my Admin Assistant what it was in case someone else discovered it.

In addition to checking the usual places like in their clothes/shoes, in their mattress, in the fireplace clean-out and in their drawers be sure to give their closet a thorough going over. Check for baggies duct-taped to the bottoms / backs of drawers, under tables and desks and on top of door frames. Look inside stereo speakers, TV and VCR cabinets, cell phones, computers, cassette cases (any kind of tin or plastic case is good for hiding odors) and inside of any cushions while you are dusting and polishing.

A few other interesting spots our bright little scamps like to stash their stash are:
(thanks to the PSST Parents and our readers who submitted these clever places)

- Under the trash liners in the garbage cans

- In arm of the couch or chair

- Inside their piggy banks. Very clever because when you'd shake the bank it still jingles

- In a hole in the wall covered with a poster (also check for holes above the doors in closets and crawl spaces)

- Inside a smoke detector

- In a box of Tampons

- In empty video game cases and empty cigar holders [while cleaning look for tobacco from hollowed out cigars, baggies, dryer sheets, plastic straws, rubber tubing, wrench sockets, empty soda/juice bottles, pipes, duct or electrical tape and other paraphernalia in their rooms]

- Inside books and empty food or drink containers or
water bottles

- Inside of backpacks and gym bags (many PSST Parents insist on a backpack check before a “friend” brings them into their home.

- In a watch case

- In a Texas Hold'em tin

- Inside a hat / hat band

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

- Inside musical instruments and their carrying cases

- Inside VHS / CD / DVD / video game cases

- In their shoes [look inside of the sole or the tongue]. They can buy shoes with compartments already in them.

- In the air condition / furnace vents and returns

- Inside cameras and camera cases

- In the hollow tube that supports a bicycle seat

- Behind the coin holder in the car

- Inside of flashlights in place of the batteries or in any other battery compartment

- Taped to the top of a ceiling fan

- Inside of make up cases /compacts / lipstick tubes / mouthwash bottles / breath mint containers

- Inside remote control cars

- Inside bed posts

- Taped in and under toilet tanks, vanities and sinks

- In flip rings and lockets

- Inside pens and mechanical pencils

- In baby powder, body powder and perfume containers

- Taped to the back of a poster / picture

- In coffee mugs (you can buy them with false bottoms)

- In stash pockets, clothes seams, coat linings

- In wallets/purses

- In contact lens cases

- In dropped ceiling tiles, light fixtures and door /window frames

Of course you can go onto the internet and find a whole lot of information on these and other hiding places.

REMEMBER: If you find ANY any drugs, alcohol, K2 or any paraphernalia - DO NOT DISPOSE OF THEM - Tag them / Bag them / Lock them in a safe place for evidence.


If you have any other hiding spots your teen used please respond in the comment section below or send your response to sallyservives@gmail.com


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“Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop” Feeling by Jim and Cheryl
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 06, 2011

The "Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop" Feeling

As Andy continues in his current court ordered placement, Cheryl and I are very pleased with his progress. His letters home are very upbeat, containing good news for the week…and also very neat penmanship. He was chosen to participate in a SMRC, where they visit and help with taking elderly residents at the local senior care facility to church on Sundays.

Andy’s weekly five minute phone calls are very pleasant. He’s very polite and positive. During this week’s call he had several pieces of good news: he was selected as the program's “client of the week”; he was selected to participate in the L.E.A.P. (Leadership Experiential Adventure Program), he is about to receive his Level 2 and he is taking the SAT's on Saturday.

After four plus years of some ups and mostly downs with Andy, all of this good news should be a parents’ dream come true (and we are happy for him), but why can’t I shake the nagging feeling that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Andy’s past track record is to be on his best behavior for about three months before going into a self destruct mode. We have gotten our hopes up so many times in the past, only to have them dashed when his behavior “crashes and burns” in self sabotage.

Will we, as parents who love him unconditionally, ever get back to the point of trusting our son? Trust that Andy is telling the truth? Trust that he is clean and sober? Trust that he is obeying all laws? I feel guilty for the self defense mechanism that I’ve developed to guard against the hurt of behavior let down and lawless activity. Will these emotional callouses ever be removed and let us live a family life with some level of normalcy?

We certainly hope so, but there’s that damn other shoe!

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Parent Improvement written by 17 year-old recent grad of Outside In
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, November 05, 2011

Page One

I want to share this well-written essay with all of you. This young man at first declined to write this essay pointing out to me that he really just needed to focus on himself, not on anybody else. I ask to consider doing it as a favor to me and then he was happy to do it. I think he put some real thought into this assignment, which was "What advice to you have for parents who are struggling with teenagers who have a drug problem."

I think it is better to read this in his own handwriting, so I am putting four links in this post, one to each page of this young man's essay. By the way, I did not discuss with him what he would write. This is all his own thinking and put in his own words.

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PSST for Today
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, November 04, 2011

Reading the quote of the week "Just For Today" made me think of something similar. PSST for today.

1. PSST for today I will not yell at my teenagers. If they yell at me, I will take an inch of their space, lower my voice, talk slower. I will deescalate not escalate.

2. PSST for today I will make it my business to find part of what my teenager says that I can agree with and tell him that I agree. PSST for today I will PSSTwist that agreement to my own talking points.

3. PSST for today I will not reward any behavior that I would like to extinguish. If my teenager is pushy, loud, or manipulative when he asks for something the answer will be NO. When I see behavior I like I will pay attention and find a way, not always a material way, to reward that behavior.

4. PSST for today when my teenager harasses me repeatedly to give in on something that I already said 'no' to, I will tell him that I get it that he just 'needs' to keep asking. I will invite him to ask me as much as he wants right now, and get all the harassment over with. "No, but ask me again," I might say after each harassment.

5. PSST for today I will remember that when I'm saying 'No,' power words such as 'Nevertheless' and 'Regardless' are my best friends. They keep me on track and help me not to be distracted from the real issue.

6. PSST for today I will not argue with or 'debate' my teenager.

7. PSST for today I will try to really listen to what my teenager is saying. I may not agree, but it is my job to show him that I pay attention to what he says.

8. PSST for today I will try to present situations or problems to my teenager designed to help me build new trust. I know that people change, and when my teenager starts changing I want to be their to support him and ready to allow more trust when it is earned.

9. PSST for today, if I do not believe that my teenager can be trusted to go where he says he is going, to do what he says he is going to do, then I will tell him to stay home where I can supervise him. I will let him know that by accepting this gracefully he is starting the process of trusting again.

10. PSST for today I will not keep secrets for my teenager if it is significant to his recovery or his probation. PSST for today I will remember that secrets keep us sick.

11. PSST for today I will hold my teenager accountable. I may hate to be the bad guy, but PSST for today I will remember that my teenager needs me to be his parent, not his friend. PSST for today I will remember that when he is older hopefully we can be friends.

12. PSST for today I will remember to set a good example. PSST for today I will remember that my teenager may defiantly refuse to do what I tell him but he will never fail to imitate me. PSST for today I will model an adult who is like someone that I want my teenager to grow up to be:  honest, law-abiding, caring and able to be free from substance abuse.  

13.  PSST for today I will model an adult who is able to pursue happiness, which may include having interests and hobbies that I feel passionate about, a career that I am proud of, or friends that I care about. PSST for today I will let my teenager know that I am more than just a parent and that even if my teenager is in placement or inpatient, life for me goes on.

 14.  PSST for today I will try not to ask my teenager "Why." PSST for today I know that I will get more information from him by asking him questions like, "What was that like for you," What would it be like for you if", "Tell me about how that whole thing happened." PSST for today I will remember that open-ended questions are more effective and help me get to know my teenager better. PSST for today I will remember that "Why" tends to make people defensive and makes teenagers shut down.

PSST for today I will use good strong body language, direct eye-contact and say things like I mean them. PSST for today i will mean what I say and back up what I say with actions.

16. PSST for today I will place safety as my first priority. PSST for today, I will remember that drugs and alcohol kill and PSST for today I will take whatever actions I deem are necessary to keep my teenager safe.

17. PSST for today I will remember that taking some action is better than taking no action. PSST for today I will allow myself reasonable time to make a decision, time to ask for suggestions from people whose opinions matter, but within a reasonable time I will make a decision and take action commensurate to that decision. PSST for today, I will remind myself that teenagers don't listen to what I say, they listen to what I do.

18. PSST for today I will allow myself the freedom to change my mind, especially if new information is available. "Oops, Sorry but I'm just going to change my mind about that."

19. PSST for today when my son is frustrated and tells me to "go away or I will lose it", I will respect his need for some personal time & space. However I will also assert myself by saying "You're right, it would be better to talk about this later."

20. PSST for today I will strive to be consistent.

21. PSST for today I will try to remember to compliment my teenager when they do something right. We sometimes get so wrapped up in our personal resentment / fear that we forget that they are trying to improve themselves.

22. PSST for today I will accept, maybe even embrace, that my child who is an addict hates me (for now) - I know that I am doing the right thing and I can wait for them to thank me at a later date (if ever) - For now I know they are alive.

23 PSST for today I will take my time to give my teen an answer. If possible I will consult with my spouse (even if they are a step-parent) or someone I trust before I give my answer. They will need to learn to be patient and not expect an instant yes or no.

Please leave a comment especially if you can add to this PSST for Today ideas.

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Dealing with O.D. and Death
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dealing with O.D. and Death

Someone very close to us just lost a cousin to an overdose last week. This of course brings mixed feelings of sorrow and anger, of release and guilt, of "I told you so" and of "why?" Many of us at PSST have been touched by the death of someone due to an overdose, an accident while under the influence or by suicide.

It makes the assertion "Well, it is only marijuana / alcohol / K2 / whatever... " ring very hollow.

Following is a condensed version of an article on Death by Overdose by Dr. Abraham Twerski. Much of what he says can also be applied to dealing with a loved one's addiction.

As Dr. Twerski notes: There is a mixture of intense anger and guilt. Why did he/she use drugs? Why didn’t he/she accept help when it was offered? How could he/she have done this?

To read the entire article click on the title below:

Reacting to O.D. by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

"It is natural that when one has lived to a ripe old age and passes on, that the grief can be assuaged by sharing memories.

It is totally different when parents mourn the loss of a child. This is a disruption of nature, and the pain is profound. Even when the acute pain subsides, the wound is never healed."

It is much different when the death is the result of a drug overdose.

It is not unusual for mourners to feel some guilt. They may think back at some harsh words they may have said toward the departed person, or not having been as considerate as they might have been. But such interchanges are part of normal living, and these guilt feelings generally evaporate. Sometimes psychotherapy may be necessary to assuage these feelings.

It is much different when the death is the result of a drug overdose.

There is a mixture of intense anger and guilt.

Why did he/she use drugs? Why didn’t he/she accept help when it was offered?

We drove ourselves into deep debt to pay for treatment. How could he/she have done this to us?

Then there is the guilt.

Why wasn’t I a better parent?

Why did I put other things before the welfare of my child?

Why didn’t I notice that my child was depressed?

Why didn’t I seek help earlier?

These and similar feelings torment the survivors endlessly.

These feelings are difficult to overcome. As powerful as logic may be, it is weak when it confronts such intense emotion. But on the other hand, logic is the only tool we have.

After forty years of treating addiction and writing on the condition, I must admit that I don’t understand addiction. Like many kinds of pain, it is a phenomenon that exists but defies our understanding.

No one starts life with the goal of becoming an addict.

It happens in dysfunctional families, but it also happens in families where there is no apparent dysfunction. Invariably, parents of an addict feel responsible, and much more so when there is an overdose.

Yet, with few exceptions, parents are well-intentioned, even if they did not practice ideal parenting techniques (whatever these may be). We try to do our best, but our best may not be what the child really needed, yet we had no way of knowing this.

Our culture preaches that everyone has a right to pursue happiness, but there are so many obstacles to achieving it. Youngsters who feel deprived of happiness, and who have the immaturity of youth may resort to chemicals in the hope of finding the elusive happiness.

When Nancy Reagan launched the program, “Just Say No to Drugs,” some researchers interviewed young people for their reactions. One 14 year old girl said, “Why? What else is there?”

This is an indictment of a culture that has failed to teach youngsters that there is more to life than getting high.

We may try to place blame for an O.D. death, but there is really no one to blame, not the addict and not the family.

Guilt can be constructive when one has committed a wrong, because it encourages a person to make amends and set things right.

When guilt cannot serve this purpose, it is a destructive feeling. As limited as logic is, one should realize that beyond making amends and avoiding hurtful behavior, there is nothing to be gained by wallowing in guilt.

Anger, too, can be constructive if we are angry at wrongdoing and injustice, because such anger may motivate us to try and prevent injustice to the extent we can.

But when anger cannot be productive, it is foolish to harbor it.

The wise King Solomon said, “Anger rests in the bosom of a fool” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

You may not be able to avoid feeling angry, but there is nothing to gain by hanging on to it.

There is very little one can say to comfort those who grieve an O.D.

Perhaps all one can say is that acceptance does not mean approval. Accept the pain, because there is no choice.

Do what you can to make today and tomorrow better for yourself and others.

Stop trying to make yesterday better. It can’t be done.

Copyright © Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski. All Rights Reserved.

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