Quote of the Week

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

PSST Role Play: "Whose Problem Is It?"
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Monday, July 23, 2012

PSST meetings are so very helpful, not just for learning techniques and skills in working with your teens in a non-combative and non-physical way - but for helping the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles,  and guardians learn to cope with the constantly changing scenarios these teens go through.
A few weeks ago I went to a PSST meeting for help with my anger, frustration, and disappointment with Andy for being removed (FTA'd) from his Half-Way house for fighting.  He spent 4 days in the Juvenile Detention Center before an alternative placement could be found for him.

The incident occurred while I was on vacation with family and Jim only told me over the phone after I had asked a direct question regarding Andy.  We all know that feeling of our hearts moving from our chest to the new position - at our feet on the floor - when we hear disappointing news about our children. Addicts or not!

Jim & I chose not to visit Andy in the Juvenile Detention Center.  He needed to sit and reflect on his actions and life track he has forged since 2009.

I was dead set on not visiting Andy at his new facility for a few weeks until I had the title role in the PSST Role Play session.  After going back and forth with Andy (wonderfully played by Lloyd) regarding who, what, when, where and why this recent incident occurred and where were all the coping skills he has learned in the placements he has been in since 2009.  I realized - I WAS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM!  I am sick and tired of learning the new rules, levels, steps of placements, visiting time and days, phone privileges, etc. I just don't want to do this anymore; Andy please fix yourself and let us all go on with our lives.

Impossible!  Andy cannot fix himself; if he could I am sure he would have done it by now. NO ONE wants to be an addict or have a mental disorder.  Andy is very comfortable and happy at his new residence and is always upbeat and pleasant during our phone calls and visits.

Andy is doing just fine!  I am the one with the problem...hmmmm...who is the adult here?  The role play helped me put my anger and disappointment aside and be the parent Andy needs me to be.  Jim & I are all he has.  We ALL came to the conclusion last year that we would no longer go toe-to-toe with the dual disorder behavior and resulting legal actions.  The three of us will stand beside each other through our life struggles.

I went with  Jim the next day to visit Andy and I am so happy  I did.  I got to tell Andy exactly how I was feeling and that I wasn't going to visit him until I was an active participant in a role play and realized that I was the one with the problem regarding his new residence. Our visit was very nice and the three of us got to talk about some very important issues.

Plan to attend any of the meetings and see for yourself the brainstorming and role playing that takes place each week - The next meeting is Saturday - August 4th at the Juvenile Probation Office in Wilkensburg. ALL ARE WELCOME!

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Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We will be telling our son he can no longer live at home...Help & Support Needed!

I am a recovering woman with 21+ years clean. My family, out of desperation, love, and fear, "protected" (read enabled) me and my addiction for many years. I, of course, was infuriated when my parents finally told me I was on my own, to live or die as I chose, but that they were going to have a life free from the chaos and drama of my disease.

"How could they do that to me if they loved me?" I thought.

I faced reality for the first time, and recognized I was in trouble. As long as they paid my rent and phone bills, bought me food and expensive treatment programs, I never had to see how my life had deteriorated.

I honor my parents for doing what must have been excruciatingly painful and sad ~ separating from my disease, and choosing to get healthy themselves. They provided a beautiful model of how to deal with a grave problem, and, when I was finally ready, I followed their example, and began to get better.

I celebrate, with enormous gratitude, my daily reprieve from the horrors of active addiction into the gorgeous light of freedom.

In loving service ~ Meredith D. ~ Clean date 03.15.91





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Don't beat yourself up!
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, July 08, 2012

This is a message that we have worked on for the last several meetings; especially, at Eastern this last Saturday we put several role-plays together and asked parents to practice "Don't beat yourself up," with "You are tough and I'm sure you'll find a way to work things out."

The ideas behind these two powerful messages are:

1. If you tell someone not to beat themselves up over something it is implied that what they did rose to the level of what one would normally beat oneself up over.

2. It takes the teenager by surprise because his expectation is that as parents we would always want him to beat himself up over screw-ups and, in fact, until he is ready to beat himself up, we'll be happy to do it for him.

3. It appeals to the oppositional defiant nature because of course anything we tell our teens at the point where they fail at something is going to be disregarded. If they disregard us telling them not to beat themselves up then it stands to reason that they would indeed beat themselves up. Sometimes it becomes a game: we try to "save" the teenager by pressuring him to change and he resists by refusing to really change although he teases us by flirting with change.

4. It address the reality that in most situations with teenagers who are in trouble with drugs and with criminal behaviors, it will be the natural or even imposed consequences that they learn from, not our lecture or our verbal attack. In fact, our lecture or verbal attack can if anything interfere with the life-lesson and build resentment in our teenager.

5. Of course, at the point of failure our teen may be asking parents to bail them out of something or other. Hence, our second message, "you are a tough strong capable human being and you'll find a way to get through this." In this way, we might say "don't beat yourself up" but we are not taking any enabling actions that the teenager may ask for that rescues them from their situation.

Let's see how this might play out in a role-play:

Mom: [visiting daughter at Shuman] Hi honey, how are you?

Teen: Oh you know, this place sucks so bad! Do you see that staff over there? She told me that she knows I'm just a rich preppy from the South Hills and she can't stand spoiled brats like me! Do you think staff have any business saying stuff like that and in front of the other girls???

Mom: That sounds like an awkward situation!

Teen: Well duh! What am I supposed to say to that?

Mom: I don't know. I don't even know what to say about that one.

Teen: What do you mean you don't know what to say?

Mom: Well I've never been up here and I don't know what that's like.

Teen: Have you made those phone calls I told you to make?

Mom: Oh to your PO and to the Judge?

Teen: Yes!

Mom: Well yes I called your PO and he said it's "going to take some time."

Teen: Mom! Do you know how long I've been up here?

Mom: Way longer than we thought you'd be up here!

Teen: That's right! Hey, if they can't find a place for me then I guess I need to come home.

Mom: Boy, that would be nice. I wish it was that easy!

Teen: You could get me out of here if you wanted to. Or even just get that staff person we talked about suspended if you wanted to. If you really wanted to you could do a lot of things to help me out, but you don't want to help me out. You don't love me anymore and you're just going to let me stay up here until I rot. Rot, Mom do hear me I'm rotting away up here, are you happy now??

Mom: Yes. I suppose I am. Not very, but yes I'm happy now.

Teen: What! What do you mean you're happy "not very" but you're happy?!?

Mom: You wouldn't understand. Nevermind.

Teen: Mom! I want to know, what the hell do you mean you're happy now?

Mom: Well, I'm happy you're safe from your drug problem for the time being.

Teen: I'm rotting away up here mom didn't you hear anything I said?

Mom: Sure honey, but I think you're a lot tougher than you give yourself credit for. You're a survivor honey and you'll figure out how to get by up here, I really believe you are a very strong person.

Teen: [glaring]

Mom: For example, you are so much better at handling all this than I would be. I'd be completely a basket case up here I mean not being able to use the phone, not wearing make up, not even wearing my own underwear! I couldn't handle it. But you're not like me. You're a lot tougher than I ever was and I believe in you. I really do.

Teen: None of my friends could handle being up here either!

Mom: I know, that's what I'm saying.

Teen: Still, Mom IF you wanted to you could do SOMETHING!

Mom: Well thanks for saying that.

Teen: Thanks?

Mom: You obviously think I'm a very very powerful woman and you know what, sometimes I am, but I'm just saying that's nice of you to say.

Teen: So?

Mom: So?

Teen: So what are you going to do?

Mom: Oh, well you're right you know about what you said.


Mom: I am happy you are up here. I've been so crazy thinking that this drug problem is going to kill you...

Teen: [rolls her eyes]

Mom: No really, I woke up two nights ago in a cold sweat. I had to tell the undertaker what kind of arrangements I wanted for you and I just couldn't decide anything and he was saying, "the people want to come in and pay their respects, is it the blue room or the gold room..." and I couldn't even decide that. My heart was so broken and I didn't know how the hell I was going to ever bear loosing you to this drug problem- so yeah, you're right, I'm happy your're up here and even if that staff over there is the MOST unprofessional person in the world at least my daughter is alive and I can come to Shuman and play Spades, which by the way, I had no idea was this much fun to play!

Teen: I'm done talking to you. It's like talking to a wall, you know that don't you? Now I have to figure out what to do up here, how to handle these people and how to get accepted into a program somewhere.

Mom: Don't beat yourself up over this.

Teen: What?

Mom: Just don't be too hard on yourself. You made mistakes. You'll learn from them and you'll end up being even stronger, you know, especially if you find a way to get a handle on this drug problem. I just know you can do it. Your not the only kid whose made big mistakes you know.

Teen: Yeah. I guess so [smiles]

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