Quote of the Week

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

Your prayers, thoughts and advice are requested by Brigette
Posted by:Sally--Friday, March 30, 2012

This has been a particularly painful week for our family.

After a prolonged series of outbursts, threats, shoving, and verbal abuse that led to 4 CACTIS visits, school interventions, psych. evaluations, wrap around services, and finally, a police visit, Francois and I made a decision. We decided to have our yougest son, Serge, age 14, admitted to a local psychiatric hospital. We don't know how long he will be there or if he will need further treatment at a DAS program. All we know right now is that things feel very, very dark. On Saturday, we will go to visit Serge and from there we will visit Pierre, our oldest son, who is in placement for drugs.

This is not the kind of family life any of us ever imagine when we are holding our babies and envisioning their future. And yet, here we are, facing some of the most difficult decisions we could imagine. We ask for your prayers, thoughts, advice, whatever. We hope we can find the wisdom to make the right decisions for our boys and the strength to help see them through. Then we need to stand back up, brush ourselves off, and keep going.


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Am I overlooking the simple solution?
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, March 23, 2012

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.

A group of friends went swimming one day and one of them lost a ring in the bottom of the lake.

Everyone started diving from different directions to find it until there was so much mud and sand stirred up that no one could see anything. Finally, they decided to clear the water. They waited silently on the edge of the shore for the mud from all their activity to settle. When it finally cleared, one person dove in slowly and picked up the ring.

When we are confused about something in our lives, we will often hear answers and advice from all directions. Our friends will tell us one thing and our families another, until we feel pretty well mixed up. If we look away from our problem and let patience and time do their work, the mud inside us will settle and clear. Our answer will become visible, like the glimmer of silver in the water.

Am I overlooking the simple solution?

You are reading from the book Today's Gift (Daily Meditations for Families) by Anonymous. This is the book from which thousands enjoy a Thought for the Day each day on Hazelden's homepage.

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Greetings from the Other Side - by Jessica Rabbit
Posted by:Sally--Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Rabbit family has finally seen the light and crossed over to the other side. No, we did not die, but quite the opposite, we decided to resume living our lives. On Monday, Roger and I, despite having a few more months of probation left, requested that Herman's case be officially closed . Yes, we his parents requested that Herman be cut free from probation earlier, and face real life with real consequences. It was the next logical step as far as a treatment modality.

Herman has been playing a game of cops and robbers with us since he started smoking spice in October 2010. Although I am embarrassed to say, I did take pride in becoming somewhat of an expert in catching him, however I realized that this game would go on indefinitely with no real winners, only losers. Spice, his current drug of choice, is extremely dangerous, as well as difficult and somewhat expensive to urine screen. It has a 72 hour window, with a constantly growing list of new cannaboid metabolites that cannot be tested for at present. Plus at $7.50 per test, I was looking at a minimum of $15 per week to screen him, along with the tedious work in researching the various tests to keep current with the new JW metabolites as they surface. He has yet to truly test positive for it, or at least so in a court worthy way.

Our marriage and family, (we actually do have four other children, a son 19, twin daughters 16, and a son 15), was really neglected and hurting from the 5 1/2 years of living this chaotic life with Herman. He is 18,and will be 19 in a little more than 5 months. By every standard, we have done all that we could do for him. Also, as I have come to realize, probation itself can eventually become a form of enabling. Herman was on probation for 18 months, a consent decree for 1 year, and actual probation for 6 months. Only 4 months of that probation, split up into two separate 2 month intervals, 2 years apart, was spent living outside of a placement.

I learned very early on that Herman needed to feel the "heat". In the beginning, the stays at Shuman and the various placements were indicated at the time. But as in running, if you continue to run the same course with out changing anything, your body becomes complacent and adjusts to the routine. It becomes easy, unless you challenge yourself. The end result is being in the state of stagnation or a plateau in your fitness level. This principle can also be applied to Herman.
The foundation for recovery has been laid through all the various Shuman stays and placements over the past 3 1/2 years, but at this juncture, these placements are no longer productive and could be classified as the easy route. I believe that we are presently at the point of diminishing returns as far as Shuman, and any future placements. Herman is at a plateau of sorts. It's time for a change in the routine, in order to challenge Herman to move on to the next level and feel some heat. This means showing him the way out of our home to live his life independently, without the support of probation, and deal with the world from which we have been protecting him.

It was funny how this whole thing evolved, because asking Lloyd and his mighty team to cut Herman free was inconceivable to us as little as two weeks ago. But as we PSST parents know, a lot can happen in two weeks. To refresh your memory, Herman has had a plethora of treatment since 2009, probably earning enough hours to get his PhD in rehab (not recovery). He had been gone from our home for 1 year (3 consecutive placements), and returned home on 1/12/2012. We knew that relapse was very, very, likely, but wanted to give Herman a shot at living in our home with controls in place. Within 3 hours of being home, the first reveal (actually we never believed him from the start) was that he had no intentions on working a recovery program. That started the whole "Balloonatic" period, because we felt living with a non-recovering Herman was like we were living with a huge Macy's parade balloon. He admitted to relapsing on spice within the first 13 days at home, and spent a weekend in Shuman. Herman has since retracted all of his admissions of spice use, which was another reason for us to stop playing this game with him and move on to the next phase.

Our top notch PO, Lloyd, tested Herman last week for spice. His test was a S-L-O-W negative, whose line was almost invisible. Although not court worthy, it was categorized as an "informal" positive. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and ordered my own "value pack" of K2 Spice Dip Screens, the exact type that probation uses. For $187.50, I had 25 chances to bust Herman. I was not thinking much beyond that, just that I wanted to catch him. On St. Patrick's Day, my plain brown parcel arrived. My trusty Labrador Retriever, Shuman, lived up to her title and retrieved it first, although she partially chewed up the box in the process. Thankfully the tests remained intact. So after this rough start, I decided to get a baseline as to how a true negative really reacts, and test myself. My negative line was almost immediate, and although lighter than the control, was significantly darker and more intact than Herman's phantom test line. In my mind the suspicions of him smoking spice were confirmed.

We tested Herman later that night, due to more suspicion, and once again, his test was a very slow, very faint negative. We feel he has been using intermittently since getting home in January. It was then that Herman, Roger and I had our own epiphanies. Herman was livid that I had the audacity to surprise him with my own spice test, and had not one, but twenty four of them! He knew I was on a mission to bust him, and it was only a matter of time. Roger and I also realized that I was possibly very close to getting a court worthy positive test and or spice evidence, and then what ? Another stay at Shuman, and yet another placement, or 3/4 house? We knew that was not the answer, but something we had hoped we would never have to do, asking Herman to leave, was the correct answer. Herman then asked me the next day, to get him off of probation, because "he was done". He could no longer stand living in our home with all of my testing and delusional suspicions, especially since he was doing nothing wrong. He wanted me to "stop clinging" to the hope of him working any recovery program. Herman said he wanted to move out, live on the streets, sell drugs, whatever it takes to make it and be on his own. I think I surprised him 24 hours later on Monday, when I told him he was off probation, and he now needs to vacate the premises in 30 days.

Herman was shocked and befuddled, saying he was being a bit "rash" in previously saying that he wanted to leave immediately, he "thought he would have more time on probation". It was priceless, because now he thinks I've really gone crazy, and I believe that is always a good way to keep someone on their toes. He was confused, since I fought so long to get and keep probation, and went to all those crazy PSST meetings... and then this?? It was too much for him to wrap his head around immediately. Now that he sees we are dead serious, Herman is stepping it up. We have given him 30 days notice to leave. He wants to sign up for the military, and since he has a GED, he needs 9 more college level courses to be eligible to officially sign. Roger and I are still in discussion about letting him stay until July to get the 9 credits to enlist in the Marines, if not Herman said he will live in a cheap motel. If Herman decides on the Army Reserves, he will be required to sign a lease in 30 days. The home contract is still in effect, and I still have 23 more K2 tests, plus about 24 THC tests on hand. Herman could also be kicked out before the 30 days is up. If so, he still has his in home D&A therapist to aid him in obtaining assistance, and a new place to live. I will then donate my leftover tests to the newly established PSST "Herman Spice Testing Scholarship", for any parent to use on their child.

Even though we could not get him to buy into recovery, we were able to prepare Herman for life by helping him begin to develop an appreciation for the value of hard work and delayed gratification. We require him to work at least 32-36 hours per week (2 part time jobs) and earn 16 credits (6 of which are college level), while living free of charge in our home. We forced him to hand over all his paychecks, and the result is that he has a nice chunk of money saved. He also learned budgeting and how to use the Quicken money management computer program. Herman is doing well in his college courses so far also. Plus with all of treatment he was exposed to, he could probably run his own group if he ever gets clean.

So far, he has talked to an Army recruiter, but they are no longer taking anyone into active duty. The reserves are his only option, and they called and said that they want him. Herman decided that working 3 jobs ( he is counting the reserves as 1 job, since they require 7 hours per week) to make ends meet is not what he wants .Therefore, he does not want to live in his own apartment This surprised me because just the other day he told his D&A in home therapist and me, that the only reason why he wants his own apartment is to be able to drink and smoke weed. Today he spoke on the phone with a Marine recruiter, and was told a sergeant would call our home soon. Herman wants the structure, financial benefits, and lack of financial responsibility for daily living expenses of the Marines. He said if he is going to be treated like crap, he might as well get paid adequately for it. He said he wants to leave for for boot camp as soon as possible. I told Herman that a dishonorable discharge from the military is not the same as an FTA from a placement, it was lifetime negative consequence. Both his D&A counselor and I feel that this could be a real possibility, and told him so. Herman said this would never happen. I found it also interesting when he said that all of his placements, which exiled him from his friends, plus the boot camp like quality of his last placement, compounded with our "martial law" state at home helped pave the way for his decision to join the military. Herman said he is definitely enlisting, saying if the Marines do not want him, the Army Reserves do. Funny, but five years ago, I would have never thought of the military as a way to keep anyone safe, but I am encouraging Herman to enlist. In my mind it is the best shot that he has at this point.

When I look back, I see things through very different eyes than I did at my first PSST meeting back in 2010. Back then, I thought of PSST as standing for Pushing.Someone Swiftly into Treatment. Now I know it is much more than that, although the swift treatment was definitely necessary. Roger and I would have buried Herman at the rate he was spiraling downwards. The placements, if anything, got Herman out of our home, giving our family some respite. Through the 13 months of placements, we know he was clean for 7 of them. Although not consecutive, it was still a feat he was never able to sustain before. Most importantly, Roger and I made some very wonderful friends at PSST, and learned some extremely valuable, tried and true, Survival Skills.

So there you have it so far. Herman still needs to enlist, or get a lease on an apartment, so this story is far from over. One thing is for sure, I know that we would have never been able to get this far in our journey without all of you walking along with us.

Lloyd, Kathy, Val and Jocelyn, you are true gems. I still plan on keeping you as "favorites" in my cell phone, just as a reminder of all the people who are always rooting for us as we continue in our journey. You taught Roger and me well, and we are very grateful for all that you have done.

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A Quote by Samuel Clemens
Posted by:Sally--Monday, March 19, 2012

At a recent office meeting I was talking with one our therapists about kids and sons in particular. She has three grown sons and shared this Mark Twain quote with me:

On the topic of raising teenagers, Mark Twain advised, “When a boy turns 13, put him in a barrel and feed him through a knot hole. When he turns 16, plug up the hole.”

I know many of us feel this way with our addicted teens! If we could just put them in a barrel maybe until they are in their twenties when hopefully they will have finally "gotten it" and then turn them loose in the world. Wilma

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It doesn't feel genuine.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where did I find this image?
I met with a PSST couple yesterday. We practised the "Agree with One or Two Things First" technique. The mother offered the best reason why more parents don't adopt this technique.

"I want to be genuine. This doesn't feel genuine."

That's right. This approach will not feel genuine. In fact, let's face it- it feels phony. I don't have a good response for that one.

Any approach that is new will feel phony. The only thing that is going to feel genuine is the same old approach. Add to that the fact that the " Agree with One or Two Things First " technique purposely leaves some things out of the conversation until later; then of course, it is going to feel phony.

Keep these two things in mind:

1. Keep to your boundaries. Don't mislead, don't over-agree. Just agree with a "slice" of what your teenager is saying and don't offer too much agreement if it would take you outside of your comfort zone.

For example, if he is pressuring you about letting him get a license and he is excited that he is turning 16, agree that being 16 is a BIG deal. Agree that driving is really fun. Agree if you believe it, that he will eventually become a good driver

If you're not sure about that last one, then don't offer it. Be careful however not to agree that he should get his license as soon as possible because unless you agree with that, it's not only phony but it's misleading and deceitful.

2. When you are pressured to give an answer- give one. That is the perfect time to not pull any punches. If you stick to your boundaries, what could be more genuine?

Teen: So, you're saying that I can get my license as soon as want to and that you'll help me get it?

Mom: Well, I'm not comfortable saying that.

Teen: Well that's what you just said!

Mom: I did?

Teen: Yeah, you said you were excited that I'm going to be 16 and you even said you think I'll be a good driver someday.

Mom: Right, I said that, you are correct.

Teen: So, that means you'll help me get a license right away, right?

Mom: Yes, I see you're point and it's a good one- if I'm agreeing with you that driving is fun, that you'll probably be a good driver, and that's it really big deal that you're turning 16 then why wouldn't I want you to get a license right away?

Teen: Yeah.

Mom: I'm sorry. I think I misled you. But I'm really happy that you are bringing this up so we can talk about it. I think it's important for me to be clear with you about this.

Teen: ok? So? what? Tell me already?

Mom: I have a little problem with this part.

Teen: What?

Mom: You're not going to like my answer because it's not the answer that you are looking for and we know that it's a big challenge for you to hear an answer that you don't like. Huge challenge especially because this driving thing is going to be so important for you.

Teen: I knew it. You were just lying! You'll never let me get a license no matter what I do. There's no sense in us talking about this anymore.

Mom: Yeah, this is going to be a tough one for you. Let's talk about it later- good idea.

Teen: I already know what you're going to say anyway.

Mom: Yes, I've noticed that.

Teen: Noticed what?

Mom: You're very good at predicting what your dad and I are going to say about things. You know us really well and even when we don't want to come right out and say something, maybe because we fear that it will upset you- you still do an excellent job of "reading" us.

Teen: See, I knew you wouldn't want me to drive right away when I turned 16.

Mom: You're right.- You probably know exactly why we feel that way too, I bet none of our reasons would surprise you.

In summary try to think of the "not genuine" issue as being more an issue of timing. You're just giving him the same information while you continue to agree with a lot of the stuff that he is saying- but your boundary is that you are Not Comfortable with him getting a license as soon as he turns 16 and that does not change.

3. Buy some time for yourself. You don't have to know exactly what to say as soon as your teen pressures you.

Teen: So, I can get my license and start driving as soon as I turn 16, right?

Mom: Wow! Good question. I'm not sure what to say about that one.

Teen: What does that mean?

Mom: Well, you just surprised with that question, that's all.

Teen: Why? You know I'm going to be 16 soon?

Mom: I wasn't even thinking about that- I mean with you being in placement the last ten months, and soon you're going to be transferring to a halfway house, I just didn't even think that was an issue at the top of the list.

Teen: Well, it is for me.

Mom: Yeah, well I see that now.

Teen: I think it would be good for me too.

Mom: How's that?

Teen: Well, if I have something to look forward to like driving my own car,I could probably behave better and, you know, I could stay off drugs better if thought you'd take my car off me if I used.

Mom: Oh, so what you're saying is that if you had your own car and license and all that you think that would be the answer to a lot of the troubles we've been having?

Teen: Yep. So can I?

Mom: Oh I really don't know about all that, but what you say is interesting and I have to tell you son, I have never looked at it that way before.

Teen: What do you mean?

Mom: Well, I've only thought of you driving as another problem-area; I've never ever thought of you having a car as a solution.

Teen: So, I can do it then, right?

Mom: You want an answer right now on that?

Teen: Yeah.

Mom: Just like that?

Teen: Just like that. I'm tired of having to wait all the time for answers.

Mom: It's true. It's seems like most of the time all the adults in your life are saying, "I'll get back to you on that one." That's got to be frustrating.

Teen: It is. So, just tell me already.

Mom: OK, well [moving in closer and lowing her voice.] As much as I like your courage for even suggesting that you driving a car right away could be an answer to our problems, I'd have to say it would be a cold day in hell before we ran out, bought you a car, and helped you get a license." Ok? That straight up enough for you?

Teen: Why not? Give me one good reason?

Mom: Ok. But you are so good at reading us you probably know what I'm going to say.

Teen: You're going to say I have to prove that i'm responsible first before you trust me with all that responsibility of driving a car.

Mom: Wow!

Teen: Wow what?

Mom: You just said it better than I could. Nice going. You just surprised me again!

Teen: I'm not stupid.

Mom: No, I completely agree Son; for all things you might be, stupid is NOT one of them.

Note: all this started because Mom said, "I'm not sure what to say." It's OK to not know what to say all the time and while we parents feel that way a lot, we rarely say it to our teenagers. Now, ask yourself, what could be more genuine? Also, it's a paradoxical thing that as soon as you say, "I'm not sure what to say about that" a response starts forming in your brain and soon you have lots to say about that!

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Marijuana and its Synthetic Counterparts: A Look at a New Study - Sarit Rogers
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marijuana and its Synthetic Counterparts: A Look at a New Study
© Copyright 2012 VISIONSTEEN.COM

- Sarit Rogers of Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers

Click here to go to Visions Blog

- December 21st, 2011 - Part one of a three-part blog, wherein I will begin to address the use of marijuana and synthetic marijuana. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, where I will address the increase in prescription drug and hookah use.

Recent studies elicited by Monitoring the Future (MTF) show a decrease in alcohol consumption and tobacco use; at the same time, they found an increase in the use of alternate tobacco products (hookah, small cigars, smokeless tobacco), marijuana, and prescription drugs.

One explanation for the increase in marijuana consumption is a lower perceived risk:

“In recent years, fewer teens report seeing much danger associated with its use, even with regular use.”

The call to legalize marijuana has also contributed to this new perception by extinguishing some of the associated stigma.

As a result, we are seeing a denial of risk and a decline in disapproval amongst our adolescent counterparts. There seems to be a viable change in societal norms occurring at the adolescent level.

No longer is marijuana use relegated to the “losers,” but rather it is now part and parcel to one’s normative social interactions with anyone, regardless of socio-economic status.

With the advent of synthetic marijuana, the perception of danger has been further clouded by the sheer fact that these synthetic substances can be purchased almost anywhere. The surge in the use of synthetic marijuana products like Spice and K2 has created a maelstrom of reported symptoms which include:

- paranoia

- loss of consciousness

- hallucinations

- psychotic episodes

We currently see more and more kids coming into treatment with a history of Spice and K2 use. And Gil Kerlikoeske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) points out that, “Poison control center data across America has shown a substantial rise in the number of calls from victims suffering serious consequences from these synthetic drugs.”

Currently, the House has voted on a ban of synthetic drugs like Spice, K2, bath salts, et cetera, asking that it be added to the “highly restrictive Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.” So far, approximately 40 states have passed laws which criminalize Spice and other synthetic substances.

Whether banned or not, there needs to be open dialogue about Spice and K2 and its various counterparts. These synthetics are popping up faster than the DEA can regulate them, proving that the drug environment is changing before our eyes.

As such, it’s imperative we stay fluent in the language of our teens, and the social environments in which they operate.

We all know the “thrill of the high” is often associated with the verboten nature of its purchase and consumption. Open dialogue removes the mystery, and frankly, it’s not enough to rely upon the justice system to provide the answers.

© Copyright 2012 VISIONSTEEN.COM

Click here to go to Visions Blog

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Message Found on Cisco's Facebook
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, March 11, 2012


I asked our son Cisco's permission to post this message that he has on his Face Book account.

There were many times when I felt so hopeless while my son was in a deep addiction. I write this to give hope to any who are struggling. If you have been following Cisco's story on this blog you are aware of what we have been through over the last five years.

Cisco is working a good recovery program and attends about five meetings a week. He has a steady job and a calmer and happier disposition. He is saving his money instead of squandering it on drugs. Keep fighting the good fight. And I will keep hoping and praying that good fortune comes to your home also.

Cisco's Message posted on Facebook: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 12:29am: ·

What drugs did for me was at first make me laugh make me feel calm and make me feel cool.

At the end drugs got me arrested, locked up, sent to over 20 rehabs, in shackles, hallucinating, thinking i was possessed, putting my hands on my family and one girlfriend, stealing off of work and everyone else, 2 near death intentional overdoses, cutting myself, breaking everything, dropping out of school, suspended and expelled, on house arrest, probation for 3 years, selling heroin to get more, homeless, sleeping in a car some nights, ANGER AND DEPRESSION, paranoid schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and actions, loss of good friends, many funerals, no money, guns in my face, my mother calling me a crackhead, spending 3 birthdays in institutions, retail thefts, D.U.I. and a hit and run, aggravated assault, possession with intent to sell etc. , psych wards, crawling on the floor looking for crack, spending holidays locked up, hate in me, but most of all..realizing drugs will never let me be normal.

Staying clean (priceless)

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Destructive Teens - Article submitted by Brigette
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, March 11, 2012

Destructive Teens

Below is a helpful article from the Empowering Parents website. It's a topic many of us (unfortunately) can relate to. I've only included the first paragraph for copyright reasons, but you can follow the link to their website to read the entire article.

Is Your Defiant Child Damaging or Destroying Property?
by Kim Abraham LMSW and Marney Studaker-Cordner LMSW

Kicking holes in the wall. Breaking and throwing things. Smashing in the windshield on your car. Most of us never expect to face these behaviors from our children, and certainly not when our child is “old enough to know better.”

If you have a child who purposely destroys family property out of anger or spiteful, vengeful reasons, you naturally feel a variety of hurtful and negative emotions. It feels like a punch in the stomach.

First comes shock—how can my child be doing this to me?

Anger, resentment and guilt follow: What did I do wrong for my child to end up like this? If you’re like other parents in this situation, you probably also take an aching heart to bed with you every night.

The fact is, your child is having a problem coping with strong emotions. This is their “cope of choice” right now, which is self-destructive in the long run.

So why do they cope by damaging things when they’re angry or upset, and what can we do to teach our child healthy boundaries and limits?

How can we motivate a child in this situation to develop healthier, more mature coping skills? Kim Abraham, MSW and Marney Studaker-Cordner, MSW, creators of the ODD Lifeline, explain how.

Click HERE to go to Empowering Parents Link


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Facing Fear - by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last week at the PSST meeting one of our wise and seasoned fathers said that we should not be afraid of being in our own homes. He is right of course, but here I am dreading going home. Bam Bam, by the way, is back on home detention.

Last night Fred and I both heard a crash in Bam Bam's room and when I checked with him, he told me it was his chair. He then went to Fred and said he dropped a plate and was glad it didn't break. OK, plausible. THEN he tells me he is not feeling well, doesn't want to take his medications so he doesn't throw up, and that he is so hot he is going to open his bedroom window for cool air. Meanwhile he has shoes on because he says his feet are cold. What?? How about two pairs of socks?!

I go into his bedroom to check on the situation, as when he first was on home detention, we suspected that his friends were throwing things to him through the open window. Fred had bolted the screen in place and put the storm window back. Well, I checked and the window is open and the screen is cut. I get Fred and he notices there is a broken window pane in the regular window, and the storm window is on the floor along with broken glass from the other window. Bam claims the storm window fell out. Hmm, this sucker is tough to get in and out – wonder how it "just" fell out?? I am completely suspicious and Bam Bam is claiming complete innocence. His story is that maybe someone tried to break in. Well, the burglar would need a ladder to get in this window, and there is no evidence of a ladder being under the window, and no reports from neighbors of suspicious activity. Also, there would have been a lot more noise breaking in.

This morning Fred tells me his theory, which I agree with, and I am so glad we agree on something. We think Bam was planning on having somebody throw drugs, tobacco, or alcohol to him through the open window either last night or today (no school). Well, Bam was so upset last night at being unfairly accused that he told me he was going outside to smoke a cigarette to calm down. He's on home detention and not allowed out! (We have a no smoking rule in the house and no kids smoking on our property). I told him he wasn't going out, we had the deadbolts key locked and the security system on. And if he went out I was calling his PO and EHM. Then he was threatening to smoke in the house, but eventually took his meds and went to bed. I thought for sure he would try to break down the door or break something else, but he didn't.

Today Fred calls to tell me a kid I'll call Skylar shows up at our house, telling Fred he wants to see Bam as Bam owes him money. Fred tells him Bam can't have visitors and that he isn't giving him any money. Skylar tells Fred that Bam owes him money for an Xbox game, but Bam hasn't had a game system in almost a year. Bam tells Fred it is for weed, which I believe is what the debt is really for. The kid leaves. I asked Fred if the kid threatened him and he said no. However, my friends at work point out that this kid could have had a weapon - drugs and money equals trouble.

Now I'm worried this might not be an isolated incident. We think Bam owes many people money, and with him being on house arrest and NO job, he has no way to pay. This is the first time we have had someone be so bold as to come to the house asking for money owed by Bam Bam. And money is a huge problem with Bam Bam. He always needs it, will do work for Fred to get it, and I am tired of him using this money for drugs, alcohol and tobacco and not for normal teenage spending on fast food, dates, school activities, etc. It is a weekly, almost daily argument, so this week I told Bam he is getting no more cash from us. Well, he wasn't listening so well because he asks EVERY DAY. I did use the "if you have to ask me again" yesterday and of course that p!$$@$$ him off. But I can't stand going home and having him start AGAIN. I left the house one night for two hours to get away from him!

I am afraid that he is going to get out of control and escalate beyond what he has done in the past because he is not going to get his way. Now I fear having drug dealers showing up at my house. I will, however, call the police if I have to with no qualms – but what the he!!, why should have to worry about that? I resent the fact that I can't relax in my own home.

Bam is going to be 18 in a few months. Until then, unless something happens, I am going to do what I can to help him. However, once he is an "adult", and if he cannot live by our rules, then he is going to have to live somewhere else by his own rules. And I hope I'm strong enough to follow through.

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Is it Water? Or is it Vodka? - by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, March 10, 2012

As some of you know, a couple of weeks before Bam Bam was going to court last November, we busted him with water bottles of alcohol. He also had in his backpack a liquor store bag and receipt for Pinnacle Whipped vodka. He also had TEXT messages back and forth with someone to purchase this same vodka. He vehemently denied any responsibility for the vodka, just that his backpack was left at someone else's house and SOMEONE ELSE put the water bottles of vodka in his backpack. And he was just giving them back. How stupid does he think we are?

About a month ago I was out having dinner with some friends and the subject of Pinnacle Whip came up, and a couple people were saying how mixing it with orange soda tastes like a creamsicle, and mixing it with root beer tastes like a root beer float. Wow, alcohol that doesn't taste like alcohol – can this be so? A couple weeks later my brother-in law busted my 16 year old nephew, who is on probation for possession and who at the time was on house arrest, with a bottle of Pinnacle Fruit Punch. When confronted, my nephew told his dad he wanted the bottle back as he paid for it! Can you believe it? I had also seen pictures of my nephew, posted on Facebook of course, with his red solo cup and several bottles of various flavors of Pinnacle vodka.

So I'm wondering what is it about this stuff that is so appealing to kids, so I decide to test it out for myself. Now, I am well over the legal age of 21, so not to worry anything illegal is going on with the test! I bought a bottle of the whip and some orange crush, and decided to see for myself. Well, what do you know, mixing up these two ingredients IS like drinking a creamsicle. I looked on-line for recipes, and you can mix this stuff with so many different ingredients, it's like having cookies and milk with a kick.

Now I know what the attraction is. I'm sure it’s not intended to attract teens, but I think the fact that it doesn't taste so bad, it makes it really easy for kids to drink a lot of it without realizing how drunk they are getting until it’s too late. And then they are making very poor decisions by driving drunk, mixing the alcohol with weed, and drinking until they become very ill or dead. So just beware of all those gatorade, water and iced tea bottles your teens may be carrying around. Don't be afraid to take them from your child and give them the sniff test. While my son was on house arrest, I found water and gatorade bottles that smelled of alcohol, gatorade bottles with vodka still in them, empty beer cans, and a baggie with a little stem of weed in his closet. He didn't hide the stuff very well AND STILL is claiming he is INNOCENT.

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A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53 - PART 2
Posted by:Rocco--Friday, March 09, 2012

A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53 - PART 2


Pebbles' mom, Betty, sent this follow up to her previous post.

To see the original post click here: A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53

Pebbles hearing was on Monday. She did decide to attend. And we all went together as a happy family.

Pebbles has already spent 28 days at Gateway and (1) whole day at Pyramid. They MADE me pick her up since she refused to eat and has a eating diagnosis they did not want to be responsible for.

So Abraxas was there and spoke with her and Barney and me. It sounded as if they they had a wonderful program for girls that Pebbles could benefit from.

Unfortunately, they did not accept her either because of her history of cutting and she has scars on her arm. So as we went in to see the judge Act 53 had no recommendations to give him.

Since then we did press charges so that after she did her rehab stay she would then have a probation officer to answer to for a longer period of time. She was handcuffed and taken to Shuman to be held until the probation office can find a place to meet her needs.

We were in shock!

I have recovered better than Barney.

Barney is very afraid she is going to be placed with a Wards facility. Barney is a police officer and deals with a particular one in our area that he is not impressed with to say the least.

Our older daughter was put in Wards Independent living (which meant at that time, living independently in your very own apartment that she picked out). She was not supervised AT ALL. She did not attend school, get a part time job, see a therapist, go to NA, or have even one "mandatory" urine test. The apartment was a party place for teens. She left when she caught it on fire.

I think giving them an apartment is no longer part of the program options. Thank God, at least I hope not.

It looks as if they are looking for something more for severe mental issues with an element of D&A. Something I have not prepared myself for.

My husband wants to drop the charges before she ends up in something he doesn't want or have control of. I guess I would rather keep the charges and have her come home with an ankle bracelet and on probation.

And then we can continue to live in our made up asylum.

How could this go so wrong?

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Bam Bam's EHM is Off Again, On Again - By Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, March 04, 2012

A lot can happen in a week (have I said this before?). Bam Bam was reaching the end of his EHM sentence and getting very antsy. He was bugging us to call and find out if they were coming on Friday 2/24 to bust him loose. I told him to call himself which he did, though I don't know how many times he may have called. He was also pestering his P.O. The day before the BIG DAY we had our weekly meeting with Bam and his P.O. about rules and expectations following his release. Bam Bam WAS NOT happy when P.O. told him he is not to associate with people actively using (though I don't know how we can prove this point) and he was not to be found hanging out at Eddie's house (the known social hosting house where anything goes). Also told he has to follow his court ordered curfew and some other stuff. He told us all that he was just going to use the next day as Eddie is his ONLY friend and he just can't give him up! This is NOT FAIR! Bam Bam had his stormy, I'm not listening to any of you look on his face. We tried talking to him about how well he's done, doing good in school and that he is going to be pretty busy anyway what with the community service he hasn't started, some school commitments and looking for (and hopefully getting) a job. Bam Bam was having nothing to do with this. I thought for sure when the p.o. left something was getting broken or he would run. Drug tests were good and before the P.O. left our Service Coordinator from another agency came to the house. Since Bam is on probation the service coordinator has to meet with him every 14 days. Since he was not happy with our p.o. meeting he was not cooperative with svc coord so nothing was accomplished. I again thought after she leaves something is getting broken but miraculously there was no property damage or any physical altercations. Friday arrives. I am at work where I get very sad news about the death my cousin. Then I come home where Bam has the bracelet off and EHM has picked up the monitoring device. He is ready to split. His court ordered curfew (from the JUDGE) is 11:00 friday and saturday and 9:00 sun-thursday. Well, he comes home at midnight Friday and calls Fred after midnight on Saturday to pick him up. His interpretation of his curfew is midnight on weekends and 10 on school nights. what courtroom was he in? I also had seen on his facebook page announcing a party at another questionable house for Saturday night. Bam is having a great weekend now that he is a free bird. You might say just tell him to stay home but I can't physically control him and he doesn't listen. We will have to see what he does with the rope he has.

Monday the whole family attends the funeral and then I take Bam to his outpatient appointment where afterwards I dropped him off for practice. He doesn't come home until 10. He again gets clear instructions from his P.O. on what his curfew is. Tuesday he is just not feeling well so he goes to school late. When I get home around 5, however, he is much better and planning on going to the basketball game. Fred gives him $15 for the occasion. The game starts 8-8:30 and curfew is 9:00 why bother going? It's also at a different school. And I know that he isn't really interested in going to watch a basketball game and most likely has other plans. Well, Bam says, the judge said he doesn't have to follow curfew for special occasions and this is a special occasion. Hmmm, I don't think this is what he meant. I text the P.O. who confirms THIS IS NOT an allowed activity and he sends a very clear text to Bam and forwards to me what is allowed. Bam leaves anyway with an unknown driver and Eddie. Later Fred gets a call to pick up Bam on the road Eddie lives on. Bam said the unknown driver dropped him off in front of Eddie's house but he didn't go in and started walking home. Does he think we are that stupid? Wednesday Bam is just too sick to go to school but I tell him he has to go to to his psychiatrist appointment otherwise he will not be able to get his medications so he goes. While in the waiting room he is on the phone making plans to chill with Gordon. I tell him he is not chillin with anyone-he didn't go to school he goes home. After the appointment we aren't even in the car yet and the argument begins. Then he switches his story to he has to meet with a group member to work on his project. I tell him I don't believe him, he starts yelling that I called him a liar (which I did not use that word). Meanwhile, I am driving across town in rush hour traffic hoping we don't kill someone if he gets really mad and grabs the stearing wheel. I'm exhausted from the week we've been having and start crying. That gets Bam worked up. I tell him to just stop talking but he can't. He gets even madder when I won't pick him up something at McDonald's. By the time we are almost home I can't take it anymore and drop him off in the neighborhood he says his group member lives but I KNOW doesn't. Says he'll be home by 6 (it's 5:15). He is in the neighborhood where the party was on Saturday. When he isn't home after a few hours I call the project partner's house and there is no answer. Then i call the party host's house and ask if Bam is or was there. Lo and behold he had been there but isn't now. The mom and his friend aren't there either, supposedly. He gets home late again.
Here we are, the next Thursday, Bam Bam is too sick to go to school so Fred takes him to the doctor. P.O. has let him and me know that he is not under any circumstances to leave the house beginning thursday through the weekend. The message was very clear leaving no room for misinterpretation. bam bam tells me the DOCTOR said he could go out after a couple days. Now, he has just been diagnosed with the flu, is still contagious and is suppossed to getting as much rest as possible. What? I tell him P.O. says no way and he has already been informed of this. I text P.O. to let him know Bam Bam is again making his own interpretation of the rules and of course making his own rules. Bam is really p!$$d so he takes off in shorts, t-shirt and can of chew. He stays out for five hours before returning home at 10:30. I check the activity on his cell phone on the carrier's website and can see he is calling and texting his friends. Interesting, I thought he only had one-Eddie! Now its Friday again and Bam Bam is either being placed on EHM (phone calls) or spending the weekend at Shuman Resort. We would have to transport him to the detention center and as I didn't feel we could safely pull this off Bam Bam is once again on house arrest, this time for two weeks. I really felt that spending the weekend at Shuman would have made an impact on Bam Bam, demonstrating to him that we, none of us, are playing games. However, as a wise person once said, he will get another chance.


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