Quote of the Week

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

It's Peaceful in Bedrock Today – by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, May 31, 2012

A quick update for those who have been following Wilma's stories about life in Bedrock . . .

Bam ended up in Shuman, then his new placement which I will call ABC123. Bam didn't go to the prom even though he had his ticket, and he won't be graduating yet. And I am ok with it. Prior to placement we had been arguing over the prom and his wanting kids at our house afterwards, to which Fred and I both said NO WAY. AND we were NOT planning a graduation party as we could NOT have his friends at our house. Bam had sent invites on Facebook for his own party at our house – how bold – but I canceled them.

Now Bam will celebrate his 18th birthday and most likely graduate in ABC123.


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Parents Who Host Lose the Most
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, May 31, 2012

TEENAGERS LOVE TO PARTY – especially during Prom and Graduation season. Often alcohol is involved. Some parents think that hosting their teenager’s party in the home will keep the kids out of trouble. You may not understand that it’s illegal, unsafe and unhealthy for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol. Did you know that Parents Who Host Lose the Most?

Here are the facts: If you make alcohol available at teenager parties, you can be prosecuted. If you allow teen drinking parties in your home, you can be prosecuted. So parents, please protect yourselves and your kids — don’t be a party to teenage drinking. Do your part & start planning now to make this prom and graduation season safe for everybody.

The information above is provided as a public awareness message by the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Association. PA DUI is a professional organization which is working to address the DUI problem in all of its many stages — from prevention to enforcement up to, and including, adjudication and rehabilitation. For more information, click here to go to their website.

Thanks, Wilma, for providing this timely link!

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A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53 - PART 3
Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53 - PART 3


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

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

and A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53 - PART 2

A lot has happened since Pebbles' first hearing back in March. She was placed at Mars Home for a month.

During that month she received some counseling but the majority of it was spent on what would be set up for Pebbles to go to for out-patient support. There were quite a few things set up to help Pebbles with her issues. However, Pebbles obviously was not on board with the plans.

Not long after coming home with an ankle bracelet did old attitudes begin. Having a pity party for herself, complaining of being bored and lonely, excuses for doing minimal 12 step recovery work. Was not allowed a cell phone unless taking a bus to therapy or meetings. Nor allowed internet access unless supervised. However, a sympathetic neighbor (adult) gave her an I-pod to use to text friends.(Whole other story).

From the time she was able to contact friends she was more secretive. By 3 weeks home her father found her drunk and passed out. At first he thought she was dead!

This was at 11:00 a.m. and I left at 9 a.m. for work. That's a lot of drinking in a very short period of time. A friend of hers brought her alcohol and later I found out Xanax. We called her P.O., had a warrant faxed to the police station and she was handcuffed and sent back to Shuman.

When I came home for lunch and found out about the situation, I cried and asked why?

Her reply was, "because of you." I was too hard on her, never satisfied, blah, blah blah. Thank God for what I have learned about this disease and not to take her answer personally.

In fact, I don't know why I even asked her, why?

Having said that my head knows that is what addiction is telling her. My heart though is hurt and heart broken. It's been over 3 weeks and she is still at Shuman being interviewed for placement for a much longer & intense placement. We warned her the last time we would not visit and pick up her collect calls several times per day like the last time. We haven't either. We spoke to her maybe 3 times. Once was her birthday.

There is a hearing scheduled that I already have a medical procedure scheduled at the same time and I am going to take care of myself. Barney is going to the hearing.
In fact, with the state of mind this last episode has put me in, the less I am involved the better.

Barney is taking over as much as possible. It's not easy giving up control but a personal defect I need to work on. This much control or attempt to control has made me ill. It may be one of the reasons Pebbles has remained ill too.

We were informed one night by Shuman, Pebbles was taken to WPIC due to concern for her safety. We did not go nor have we been informed whether she was admitted or sent back to Shuman. Barney hasn't called to find out. He feels either way she is safe and alive and better off than here at home.

There is a void in my life because I am addicted to her.

But I am going to Nar-Anon meetings, making phone calls, reading PSST, meditating and listening to encouraging CD's to cope. It does help.

She is 18 now. Far from the adult the law says she is but I need to focus more on myself. It's been a long time since I have and it's a challenge. I ponder whether it was easier to stay obsessed with my girl's addiction and their problems then my own.

It's quiet at home. Something I yearned for; but uncomfortable with. It's foreign to me. However, as much as I hope Pebbles works on her problems, I hope the same for myself. Then one day we will even be a healthier family with a healthier relationship.

I want to be able to say one day that,"If it wasn't for all the pain and grief addiction put us though, we wouldn't have been BLESSED with where we are today!

That would be so nice.

Pebble's Mom, Betty

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The New Face of Addiction
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Mother’s Journey Through Love and Loss

"The face of addiction has changed. Addiction does not discriminate by age, gender, race or socioeconomic class. The addict is no longer that homeless man on the corner begging for change to get his next fix. The addict is no longer that rebellious kid with the tattoos and mohawk that comes from a troubled past full of abuse and neglect. The new face of addiction is the cleancut boy from a “good” home and attending a well-respected private school. The new face of addiction is your neighbor’s child. Or my child. Or even yours."

Lori Swanson knows all too well about the new face of addiction. She saw it in the face of her son, David. Click here to read her heartbreaking story of love and loss, as shared with RockfordParent.com.

Lori’s advice to other parents dealing with children struggling with addiction: “Acknowledge it! . . . Do not be ashamed to let others know you are seeking help . . . Most of all, love your child, especially when it is most difficult.”

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The Psychopath Test on This American Life
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, May 21, 2012

Click here to go to to This American Life to listen.
If you'e like a lot of us at PSST you are no stranger to the nature verses nurture issue.  Somewhere in this episode it says something to the effect that psychologists, teachers, and social workers used to think that everything was about how a person was raised.  All behavior was thought to be learned; however, today people seem more aware that the hereditary cards that a person is dealt may have more to do with how people turn out than learned behavior.

Especially, when you look at psychopathology, some people may not have the "hardware" necessary to feel empathy, remorse, or even fear.  Still, there is a danger that in the use of this Psychopath Test some people might get "written off" when really there was a miracle for them right around the corner.

This show raises more questions than it answers but it really does help a listener to be aware of exactly what the questions are.  Of course this piece is educational;  like everything that Ira Glass and This American Life examines, it is wildly entertaining as well.


  Type rest of the post here

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Join Us on our Yahoo Groups!!
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, May 14, 2012

PSST now has an additional tool for parents to communicate. In addition to the blog, we have set up a group on Yahoo. Here is a quick overview of the group:

Any member of the group can send posts and contact members. The posts are sent out by e-mail to all members. To comment on the post, you simply reply from your e-mail. You don't need to log in or go to the site.

Any member can add events to the calendar (upcoming meetings, special events, dinner at Tibby's, whatever). A reminder is sent out to group members the day or week before (you specify).

All members and their contact info are listed in the database. This info is only accessible to members of the group, no outsiders.

If you haven't already joined, it's easy to do. Just follow this link and click "request to join". We'd like to get as many PSST parents as possible to join to make it worthwhile. Probation and Wesley Spectrum are also invited.


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Happy Mother's Day!!
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to all the Strongest Mom's in the world that have children in placement today.  Remember, your children are safe and clean today because of your strength and perseverance in this chapter of their lives.  Enjoy YOUR day.

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More Bedlam in Bedrock - by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, May 12, 2012

Can it only be a month since I shared our latest Bam Bam update? You think how much more can I take, and find out more than you ever thought possible.

On April 9th Bam was placed in a brand new day/evening program with state-of-the art GPS tracking on his ankle. After his first day in the program, where he was tracked all over a questionable area, his P.O. and the program put him on strict supervision for at least 30 days. Well, here we are 30 days later and things are worse. Or maybe better, depending on how you look at it.

During this last month Bam Bam was discharged from his dual diagnosis program for lack of progress. He had a preliminary appointment with Wesley Spectrum with a therapist and was scheduled to meet with the psychiatrist for medication management later this month. He did get a job where he actually worked, and I thought maybe he is making some positive progress. Well, on April 19th after a stressful evening with Bam, a friend of his called to tell me that Bam was threatening suicide. Fred asked him if he was thinking of suicide and Bam Bam answered yes. I had no choice but to call 911 for an ambulance. The police and ambulance arrived. Bam Bam said he wasn't going to hurt himself and was very angry and agitated that I called for help. However, we take suicide threats very seriously. The friend who called us experienced a close family member's suicide, and I trusted that when he called he was very concerned about Bam.

Now maybe Bam was using this as an attention getting tactic, but I was not taking any chances. Bam Bam was verbally abusive to the EMT's and police. They asked what I wanted and I said he needed to be evaluated at the hospital. Bam was not cooperating, so the police were going to take him in the squad car. Bam gave them some trouble and spit on one of the officers. The cops were not happy. They had a taser to Bam's back while escorting him to the car and told us that they were very close to tasering him. Bam was told charges would be forthcoming for spitting on the police officer. After several hours at the ER it was determined Bam was not a danger to himself or anyone else, so we all went home.

Bam had also been having issues at his day/evening program involving his GPS bracelet and being disrespectful to staff. Bam earned a 24 hour sanction at Shuman resort the next weekend, April 28-29. In the meantime Bam has been going back to his old tricks to leave school early, to which he added that his GPS needed charged so he had to go home. I finally called his intrepid P.O. who said that Bam was to stay in school and he would work out the GPS charging issue with the day/evening program. Well, guess what? The program said they were showing the GPS was 90% charged! It appeared that Bam just wanted to come home. During this week, he also let our family therapist know that he only needed about a 44% in all of his classes to graduate, so he wasn't doing any work. Meanwhile, the judge sent him home because he felt it was important that Bam graduate. However, with the attendance issues, not working on his graduation project, etc, graduation wasn't looking like it was going to happen!

Now we are at last weekend (can it only be a week??). Friday Bam goes to the nurse's office claiming he has tunnel vision from his medication and needs to come home from school, so Fred picks him up. I talk to the school nurse to see what the heck is going on, and we review how many times in the last few weeks he has been to the nurse's office and came home from school. His vitals were all normal but he insisted that he needed to come home. However, he was just fine to cut grass for money from his dad and went to work.

The next day he went to community service, did a short mandatory job shadow with his uncle and came home. I'm thinking we are going to have a quiet evening. Hah! By 6 p.m. Bam is badgering me that he needs to get a haircut (nothing is open but he has to argue about it anyway), then he starts on the prom he was supposed to go to tonight, then he calls his case manager saying he has to have a meeting with his group member for his grad project. Now, that was a possibility as the students are presenting projects beginning this week, so he gets a window and Fred takes Bam to a house where I KNOW THIS GIRL DOES NOT LIVE. Something was just not right, so I had checked on the address and confirmed that this girl's family DOES NOT LIVE HERE. I pick Bam up less than two hours later – the drive is 5 minutes or less, and he vomits on himself in the car. He makes NO ATTEMPT to get out of the car, open the window, nothing. He was out of it. I knew something was wrong. The next day I call this house and they do not know who this girl is. I confront Bam and he tells me this is an aunt's house and the crazy uncle answered the phone! You have got to be kidding me, am I that stupid?

A short time later, Fred is leaving the house with Bam and they tell me that Bam got a window to go back to this house and work on the project. What!??? I would not have known about this except I unexpectedly saw them leaving. Less than an hour later, Fred brings Bam back home, and in less than ten minutes Bam is vomiting on his bedroom floor and then goes to sleep (passes out?). Fred has gone out and when he returns I go to this house and demand to know who lives there and what the heck did my son take? I discover (and I'm not surprised) that no girl lives there, instead it is some kid I don't know. He tells me he stole a bottle of vodka from his dad and that Bam had been drinking. I tell him if I have to call for an ambulance for Bam, then the police will be at his house. The father is not home, which I can tell as there is no car in the garage or driveway. An uncle is there and kind of confused and this kid is worried. I am scared, wondering how much Bam drank in so short a time. And did he take anything else?

I go out and buy a breathalyzer and test Bam and he has an initial .04 several hours after drinking. He demands to be tested again, so I test him twice more and he tests at .03 both times. Despite the overwhelming evidence, he continues to tell me he has not had anything to drink or taken anything. In the meantime, for two days he has been giving us reasons why he had tunnel vision in school and says that someone slipped something in his coffee, then it's that a kid slipped weed into a candy peep – nothing made any sense and he just compounded lie after lie. Does he even believe his own lies?? I feel he is setting the stage so that if he tests positive for anything he will be the innocent victim. Of course Bam does not want me to report ANYTHING to ANYBODY.

The next day I e-mail Bam's P.O. and all service providers. Bam Bam has the guardian angel of unlimited chances, so I'm thinking that he will still be allowed to go to the prom and get some sort of sanction. So when his P.O. calls me to discuss what's been going on, I am surprised. He tells me that he has scheduled a walk-in detention hearing for the following day. Bam is a liability now and WILL NOT be allowed to go to prom (what have I been saying for a month??). He tells me that Bam has been calling/texting to tell him that yes he did drink and HE SMOKED WEED at some point over the weekend. Of course the days change with each telling, but Bam is convinced by being honest he will get a free pass to do as he pleases. NOT THIS TIME!

His P.O. has left Bam a message to call him after school, but Bam can't wait that long and finds out that he has the detention hearing. He gets very agitated so goes to the counselor's office and tells the counselor he is in trouble, upset, feels like he wants to kill someone or punch something. He calms down and goes back to class. I have a message from the counselor and when I call her back, Bam is back in the office demanding to go home. She tells me that he is calm and wants to go home, but she feels that he is about to explode and is concerned about what will happen when he goes home. I also have a conversation with his therapist who expresses similar concerns. I am also extremely worried about what could happen if he goes home, so I call his P.O. who approves admission to Shuman that day.

Fred and I pick Bam up from school and don't tell him he is not going home until we are leaving school property. Bam is furious! I am driving, Fred is in the back seat and Bam is ranting. He does not stop. He is texting people, then he calls the P.O. and he is crying, pleading, wanting to go home, promising NOTHING will happen but it is very clear to Fred and me there is NO WAY we can take him home. I just know that if we take him home, the police will be involved in some way and it will not end well. Meanwhile, Bam is becoming more and more agitated, yelling, crying, pounding the dashboard.

As many of you know, the road to Shuman is under construction and not an easy drive. Well, now we are all yelling, telling Bam to just stop, which of course he's not, then I start having difficulty breathing, I feel like I'm going to pass out, my vision is going dark. I have to pull over (now we are on 28 and there is NOWHERE really to pull over) to switch to Fred driving. I call 911 as I am afraid I am having a heart attack or an asthma attack, I don't know what, but I feel awful. We meet the paramedics at zone 5 police station where I get oxygen and evaluated, and they determine I am hyperventilating and having an anxiety attack. At least Bam has stopped his tirade. Fred told me later that Bam was actually worried. I am pretty stable so we take Bam up the hill to Shuman. I tell Fred he has to take him in (usually I have the honors of admitting him).

On the way home, the director of the day/evening program calls to tell me that they have had concerns about Bam. On several occasions he has been to the program with dilated pupils, they are concerned that he is not taking his prescription medications as prescribed (I have been worrying about that myself – we have caught him cheeking it on several occasions). He actually had been telling them over the weekend how he suspects that he was drugged, and she felt that he was setting up a story so that if he tested positive he would be innocent – exactly the feeling I had. I felt vindicated somehow that I wasn't crazy.

The next day, Tuesday, Bam is detained and now has a hearing before his judge. Placement is the recommendation and this is what I have felt Bam has needed for months, but we have had to follow the guidelines. Also, in addition to his guardian angel of many chances, he also has the judge of many chances. And maybe this is what was supposed to happen. Bam has been given so many chances and now he has proven that he really needs to be out of our home, out of the community, and that he needs to be in a residential placement where he can get the help and treatment he needs. So now we wait until next Tuesday. Lucky Bam's police charges are not as severe as the police officer originally said he was filing, but these are more serious than the ones we filed, so they will have more "teeth" when Bam goes before his judge.

So this Mother's Day weekend I am hoping that my child will be going away next week. His actions last weekend have made it even more clear that, to save his life, he needs to go away. And that is really hard as a mother, to feel this way about the child I waited so long for, to want him gone. But that is what he needs - what we all need - to save him and our family.

So for today, we have peace in our home and Bam is safe.


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Mother’s Day Message - written by Brigitte
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Yesterday, as I was feasting on an early Mother's Day dinner, cooked and served by my oldest son, Pierre, I reflected on the events of one short year ago.

I vividly remember Francois and I sitting dejectedly in a PSST meeting the day before Mother's Day. Pierre had just been picked up and handcuffed at school and taken to Shuman for violating his probation. He was only one month home from a short-term placement and was already back to using weed. He revealed that his younger brother was using at the house in front of him and was the reason for his relapse. (We found out later this wasn't completely true but didn't know it at the time.) Our youngest son, who has special needs, was being bullied at school and came home with a bloody lip. I remember making a comment about dreading Mother's Day the next day because I felt like a complete failure of a mother.

The PSST members did what they always do best. They lifted us up with their sincere words of comfort and encouragement. They gave us warm hugs and let us know that, not only were we terrific parents, but that we were not alone. Several phoned during the week to check in and sent e-mails to continue to show their support.

Fast forward to yesterday. Francois and I are sitting down to dinner with all three of our boys. Pierre is on a home pass from his placement and was due to go back in a few hours. I had an incredible feeling of peace and joy at being able to enjoy this simple gesture of sharing food together. The setting was light years away from the horrible scenes that took place in our house only one year ago. Each day seems to creep forward towards a better life. We don't know where the future will lead for any of our children, but living with hope is so much better than living in despair.

Thank you to everyone at PSST for sharing your stories, strength and courage with us. We would not have had that beautiful dinner without all of your support.

Happy Mother's Day to all of us!!

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