Quote of the Week

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

Like A Rolling Stone - by Jessica
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bob Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone” really struck a chord with me when I listened to it recently. I have always been a fan, but listening to the youthful, cynical voice of a young Dylan really got me thinking about Herman’s new chapter in his life. Author, Oliver Trager describes the song as “Dylan’s sneer at a woman who has fallen from grace and is reduced to fending for herself in a hostile, unfamiliar world”.  Now I am not sure if Bob Dylan would agree with me, but I feel that the song could easily be about Herman, as well as the “Miss Lonely” mentioned in the song. 
Here is the YouTube link if you care to listen (or play along while you read this post)

The chorus, “How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home, a complete unknown, like a rolling stone” pretty much summarizes my thought processes lately regarding Herman.    The beginnings to the answer of that question were revealed on Saturday.
After 3 ½ weeks of independence, Herman called and asked if he could stop by and go over some “business” with his father and me. I must admit I was a bit concerned about what “business” he wanted to discuss, being that he specifically requested that we stay out of his business. However I threw all caution to the wind, and told him he could come at 5PM, but that we were leaving at 7PM for dinner with friends.
I was upstairs when I heard my trusty Lab, Shuman, viciously barking and Roger saying “sic him”. Concerned that we were being victims of a home invasion, I quickly descended the stairs only to find Herman being held at bay at the door’s threshold by Shuman, his former trusty dog friend, laughing along with  Roger, and his four other siblings.
“Welcome To Our Home”, was definitely not the first thought Shuman was thinking.  I think she also likes the new calm in our home, and was dead set on protecting it.  Shuman did eventually back down, and looked sort of embarrassed, but it sure was funny to see that tableau.
Herman’s first visit as a guest in our home, guard dog attack and all, set the stage that lead into our beginning to find out how Herman “is” on his own, along with starting to work out this new level of relationship with him. Foremost, I think Herman wants our advice and approval, as well as a relationship. The reason for him stopping by was to go over his budget and fill out his 2012 income tax forms. Herman made a point of proudly telling us that he still uses the same hanging folder that we made for him last year. It was pretty much intact with how it was initially filled, minus that pesky junk mail of Probation papers, including his dismissal papers.
Roger patiently assisted Herman with his tax forms, and painstakingly went over the budget again. He advised Herman that 39-40hr/wk.  at $8/hr. was not enough to live responsibly (i.e. planning realistically for expenses). It seems the 2 jobs that employ Herman have cut back on his hours. Roger’s very simple solution was to pick up a 3rd job and work on Sundays. Herman did not seem very receptive to that option, saying he would rather have “chill time” than be a slave to a job. He still cannot afford cable TV or internet, and his food budget is minimal, but he should be able to pay for everything, including his cell phone, if he sticks to the budget/austerity plan. Overall, Roger and I believe he has all the extras that he needs, although he is living pretty much hand to mouth.  Roger and I can relate to initially living on a shoestring while in our first apartments and surviving. The only big difference is that we were not drug addicts. 
Herman admits that he still relies on finding loopholes as a means to get more than what he has earned in life, and does not plan on changing.  We told Herman that he really surprised us when he said he knows we are too slick for him to try any of that loophole stuff on us.  We also agreed with him about us being too slick for him.
This brings up another good point, using the PSST tools is so much easier when your addicted child no longer lives with you.  When you are holding someone accountable, there is very little resentment.  In addition, the break from living in chaos, combined with the sanity that comes when the atmosphere of addiction is not constantly in your face, also does wonders in improving the interactions.  We are no longer “balloonatics” holding on for dear life to that huge Baby Herman Macy’s Thanksgiving parade sized balloon of addiction.
The first few days after Herman left were difficult for me, but two very wise men gave me some sound advice that I frequently keep reminding myself.  Lloyd Woodward, “our wise PO” said, “you have done all that you could do, it is up to Herman to figure out the rest”. The second wise man is my husband Roger, who said, “Now is the time we need to let Herman be Herman, move on and continue living our lives”.  Sort of like “live and let live”.
I know Herman is still using, most likely more than marijuana and alcohol. We informed him that he was not welcome in our home if he is high.   The change in Herman’s appearance is concerning. He has lost weight and is looking very strung out.  We told Herman that he could always count on our advice whenever he asks for it. After all, Roger and my combined ages equals 110 years of experience, which is greater than Herman and his 4 inner circle friend ages  combined. Also adding, that “you don’t get this far in life by being foolish”.
I would be lying if I said I did not miss Herman, because I do. He is one funny kid, and I miss the humor we often shared.  I am however enjoying the cleaner bathroom void of any strange vegetable matter and other various drug debris, a significantly lower water bill, and saving money on food by learning how to buy groceries for the entire family. (It seems I bought a lot of special food for Herman, foolishly believing him when he told me everyone liked it…I have come to find out that they didn’t.) Life in the Rabbit household is very ordinary now, and that is a good thing. We bought new furniture for the living and dining rooms. This was partially because they were  remnants of Herman’s wrath of mayhem, especially the scratched and broken dining room, where so many arguments, many during and after family sessions with his PO and Wesley Spectrum occurred.  Today, I am no longer breathalyzing, testing urine, or scanning for drugs/ paraphernalia, although I did find a few things when we lifted the area rug in our living room (a hiding spot I never checked).   Things are very different now, because this time I THREW THE EVIDENCE IN THE TRASH!!  I, like Herman, am working on forward thinking. 
Herman says moving out on his own was the best thing that happened to him. (Note how it is now HIS idea and we let him have that one.) He said it’s great to be free. But unlike Dylan’s lyric “when you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose”, which I believe refers to living on the streets, Herman has plenty to lose. We just hope that it does not happen. It is very evident that it is a new beginning for Roger and our other four children.  As far as Herman, like the” wise guy” said…it’s now up to him to figure out the rest.


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American Indian Wisdom & My Son's Recovery - by Roxie
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, January 28, 2013

American Indian Teachings Relate to Lenny’s Recovery  - - - 

My insightful African American / American Indian grandmother died when I was 12-years-old. I learned from her uncanny wisdom based on her Indian beliefs. A couple of sayings she taught me while I was a little girl were “Pretty is - as pretty does,” and “If you cannot say anything nice about someone, please don’t say anything at all”.

On the recent home pass three weeks before Lenny returns home permanently, we both were “ugly is – as ugly does.” In fact, I do not have anything substantially nice to write (or say) about the recent home pass, except that he was sober with the family. That should have been enough, but I expected more cooperation from Lenny.

I will not share the unsuccessful end of the home pass here, but related it to Lenny’s counselor. The counselor said if the information was known when Lenny was returned back to the halfway house, Lenny would not have been promoted to a higher level. I take full responsibility for setting the tone for the whole pass by starting it off with ridiculous car behavior demands. As to the ugly details that I chose not to share, I will discuss it at my PSST home group on Saturday morning, February 16th, at the Mt. Lebanon United Methodist church.

“Ugly is – as ugly does” began after Lenny positioned himself in my car’s reclining position while picking him up for Sunday’s pass. The following statements from Roxie were:
1. Get the car seat out of the recline position.
2. Do not change the radio to 96.1, for I want Gospel. 
3. Why didn't you wear church clothes today?
4. Turn down the radio so I can listen to the GPS. You know I am scared to get lost.
5. Do not sing while I am driving, for I cannot concentrate on where to go.
Whenever Lenny returns to the halfway house, there is always a mental tape that fast forwards and relaxingly rewinds in my mind. The review of the home pass was pretty ugly! Unfortunately, my knee-jerk reactions ran rampant during our 24-hour pass together. I should have taken positive control as soon as he entered the vehicle. Instead, I began Sunday off on the wrong foot. With hindsight being 20/20, the following positive "pretty is – as pretty does" scenarios could have been created by Roxie thinking first.
1. I need the car seat up please.
2. I will listen to Gospel this morning while you listen to rap this afternoon.
3. It is acceptable to wear regular clothes on Sunday, but I would like you to wear the church clothes that I bought next time.
4. Turn the radio down so I can hear the GPS voice without my phobia of getting lost kicking into overdrive.
5. Do not sing in the car while I am driving this morning.
It takes Lenny, Roxie, dad and twin sister to make or break the pass! Nevertheless, I am 35 years older than Lenny, so I need to try a little harder since I am the older adult, and spend most of the time with him. To be honest, the ages of 14 to 17 were more difficult for us to raise Lenny than my other two children combined. Lenny makes me feel like we are on a drug-induced roller coaster ride, in the dark, with an all-day pass stamped on our left hand. We never saw the roller coaster coming; scooping us in while experiencing the 60 mph loop-de-loop. 

My grandmother used to pray for generations of descendants before they were born. It was her belief that if she made requests to God decades in advance, He would ensure a blessed life for her future family. A Lakota Sioux Indian saying is, “Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance.” Even tribal wisdom acknowledges that I cannot compel Lenny to enter a smooth, easy ride in life. The bumpy home passes, though not desired, are ok. The roller coaster lifestyle he has experienced, in the past, will only end permanently when he decides.

I believe my grandmother prophetically knew who was coming down the track in her bloodline, which includes high incidents of alcoholism in American Indians. That is why she saved this roller coaster ride for my adulthood with Lenny, while she and I only rode the merry-go-round at Kennywood Park when I was a little girl.

The next time that I have a home pass that begins wrong from the onset, I will take the high road and turn it around. I possess the ability to change the direction of an otherwise downward spiraling, out of control situation with my fragile, recovering 17-year-old, Lenny.


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Big Dog series
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, January 27, 2013

So far we have four Big Dog posts.

Each post gives some practical tips on how to be the parent-in-charge. We understand that being a good listener, being supportive, and using the art of compromise all play a part in being a positive well-rounded parent; however, if part of the problem is that the parent is not established as the "one-in-charge" then until that problem is addressed, none of these other parental skills will bear much fruit.

Who is the Big Dog in your car?

Who is the Big Dog at home featuring use of the word "NOW."

Who is the Big Dog featuring how to Accept a Win.

Ask Me Again Ask Me Again (Who is the Big Dog?)

There are times when we don't want to admit that our teenager has over time become "the one-in-charge." We feel like failures when we admit that. Until we face that it is difficult to take back control and the fact that we are in denial about it is big problem. If we have concrete ways in which we can begin to take back control it becomes possible to begin to change things. Every journey begins with the first small step.

We do not advocate that you take back control by being mean, belittling, or abusive. We certainly don't think yelling is a way to regain control, in fact, yelling and loosing control of ourselves is a sure way to forfeit leadership. Rather, taking a firm, business-like approach to putting limits on our teen's behavior can, over time, help put a parent back in the driver's seat.

Also, there is a lot of interest currently on our blog about contract writing. This is another great way for parents to put themselves in the drivers seat so long as the rules are enforced.

"If you have a rule that you are either unwilling or unable to enforce, then don't have that rule." BACK IN CONTROL Gregory Bodenhamer.

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An Iron-Clad Home Contract
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, January 22, 2013

For those of you who are writing a home contract for your teen (or young adult), here's a sample written by Jessica and Roger, two PSST parents who have had LOTS of experience writing such contracts.

HOME CONTRACT FOR (name of Subject)

Begins:(date) Ends: (date) When ______________will vacate the premises at (address) ______________________________ to find a different place to live.

You have had 18 years to learn how to make it on your own. Now it is time to put it into practice. As your parents, we are attempting to eliminate the atmosphere that comes along with using, from entering our home. We see that you are trying, but your kind of trying just does not make thecut. There may be a place for you "to shine" in a way that you cannot do here.

We appreciate your honesty and consistency in telling us exactly where you are in your addiction.


1. There will be a zero tolerance for violating any of the following Provisions that you must follow in order to fulfill this contract. If any of these rules are broken, you must immediately seek a new place to live and vacate the premises within 24 hours. Once you are out, you are out.

2. There will be no substance abuse, or being under the influence of any chemical unless it is medically prescribed.

3. There will be no stealing.

4. There will be no borrowing without consent of the owner.

5. You must comply with all alcohol and drug screens as requested by your parents. Refusal to do so will be interpreted as a positive test result; and you will be asked to leave the premises (as in provision 1).

6. There will be no lying with regard to any provision in this contract. Be prepared to answer all questions truthfully. If we cannot feel comfortable with you in our interactions, you will be asked to leave (as in provision 1).

7. Always let us know where you plan to be when you are out of the house.

8. You must always answer you cell phone when we call you.

9. Curfew will be as per your Conditions of Supervision:
Sunday - Thursday: 10 PM
Friday, Saturday: 11 PM

No overnights ever. Adjustments will be considered for your work schedule only. These times will be consistently reviewed, and may be considered for adjustment after each 30 day period throughout the term of the contract. There will be no grace period to account for any excuses to break curfew. Plan activities accordingly; for any violations refer to Provision 1.

10. Take your laundry down to the basement laundry area every Tuesday morning before 9 AM.

11. You must help with chores around the house as requested… i.e. taking out trash, cleaning your bedroom, cleaning bathrooms, etc.

12. There will be no insulting, abusive behaviors or breaking things.

13. Re: PEOPLE, PLACES and THINGS… We do not want you to withdraw from the world. We are not a cult. You need to find different people to "hang out" with, find different places at which to "hang", and find different things to do during your leisure times.

14. Avoid all "using" friends, and those that are known to use illegal substances or commit crimes (i.e. underage drinking). This means the entire __________________________ student body with the obvious exceptions of your siblings and any of their friends that may be in our home.

15. You will not have the use of Facebook until you move out.

16. You will not have the use of X-Box Live until you move out.

17. You must avoid old "using" places:
* Woods.
* Parks - in _________________ and ___________________.
* Elementary Schools and school properties.
* Middle Schools and school properties.
* High Schools and school properties.
* Any secluded areas.

18. You must have a designated activity when you go out. "Chilling", "Joy Riding", "Hiking", "Camping", and "Sitting in Secluded Areas" are not acceptable nor allowed.

19. The onus is on you, (name)___________. There is no debating any of the provisions of this contract. You must sign as is and make no further comments.

20. You must continue with Shores D&A Therapy as per Probation.

We are not sure how you can stay clean on your own. We have not known of anyone who has done this without support, to help fill in gaps. As we have come to learn and live. "Abstinence without change equals relapse".

21. We reserve the right to modify, add, delete any provision of this contract at any time.

22. We reserve the right to require that you vacate the premises at any time prior to (date).

JOB AND SCHOOL: Goals and Conditions

1) At this time, with your current course schedule, you must find legitimate employment where ever you can to total 20 to 24 hours/week. For each week that you are unemployed or under employed, a set of home responsibilities and chores (without pay) will be appropriately assigned to coincide with the required hours. With refusal or resistance to performing any assigned home responsibilities or chores well, you will be asked to leave the premises (as in provision 1).


3) If you are not enrolled in classes at CCAC, under the circumstances, you must maintain the equivalent of full-time employment (40+ hours/wk) and additional part-time employment (up to 20 hours/wk). (Your reward will be your freedom with some measure of financial security when this contract is terminated.)

4) For the coming summer term at CCAC, you will verify your schedule with parents.

5) Based on a review of your summer term course load, you will be required to continue working significant hours as in condition 1 above.

6) If you elect to drop your current course load or to not take classes for the summer term, see condition 2 above.

7) Free-Loading is unacceptable. Now is not the time to "…take a year off to have fun…". You must be applying yourself in a significant capacity toward furthering your education, be it job-training, or working. You will have plenty of time for fun when you are successfully on your own. You can then plan your education, work days and evenings, leisure times and vacation times wisely.


1. You will only drive a vehicle with your parents' permission and will turn over your PA DL at your parents' request.

2. You will share in the expenses of Auto Insurance ($90/mo), vehicle maintenance and fuel and repairs based on use and student status. See the Money Management section for more details.

3. You must keep a daily mileage log…starting and ending mileage must be verified by parents (LJC or BJC initialed).

4. You will not ride in vehicles with those that are on your no contact list, and will not accept a ride with anyone thought to be impaired.

5. Any event that even raises a suspicion with regard to behaviors while privileged with use of a vehicle will result in the immediate loss of that privilege and other sanctions as deemed necessary.


• To develop the discipline to save on your own.
• To get in the habit of saving.
• To understand the reasons/need to save.
• To understand your financial needs and develop a savings plan to meet them.

Use this time living at home as a springboard to a great start for when you live independently. Make saving automatic.

1. Your parents will assist with money management as deemed necessary.

2. Specifically, while living at home under this contract, you must save 90 - 100% of your take-home pay. This is not negotiable. This is your money, but this savings account will not be accessible to you at this time.

3. You will bring home your paycheck rather than take it to the bank. If your employer offers or requires direct deposit, the direct deposit arrangements must have parental approval. You must provide your paystub or a copy for verification.

4. Likewise, for any cash you receive from any other sources, you must save 90-100%. Again, this remains your money.

5. All of your funds will be made accessible to you when you are on your own; either at the completion of this contract or at any time prior to the end of the contract when you vacate the premises.

6. All purchases must be made with the debit card for your FCU checking and savings accounts. You are expected to be responsible with its use.

7. You must provide additional proof (original receipts) of all expenditures. Ask for a receipt if one is not given.

8. You will carry no cash.

9. You must be transparent to us with the moneys that you earn and receive, and your intentions to spend or save money.

10. Spending toward extra-curricular activities, classes, clothing, entertainment, eating out, games, etc. or toward major purchases (car, home furnishings, etc.) must have parental approval.

11. Parents will have access to your bank accounts for verification of compliance.

12. You are responsible to reconcile/balance your online bank accounts weekly.

13. If there is any tampering or unauthorized (by your parents) withdrawal of funds from your savings during the term of this contract, you must immediately seek a new place to live and vacate the premises within 24 hours.

We hope you take the best advantage of your time in our home.

As promised, if you can abide by this contract through (date), we will transfer the title of the Buick to you prior to you moving out.

In the meantime, there will be no discussion of prior relapses. If you have questions about independent living, ask (therapist).

(name of subject)  Date

(parent) Date

(parent) Date

Witness Date

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I cannot control labor, delivery, or Lenny
Posted by:Brigitte--Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Possibility of Giving Birth during Inconvenient AA Meeting, One of The Best Problems

The following is a true account of a recent day in the life of Roxie, and her son, Lenny.

After our regularly scheduled counseling session at Lenny’s halfway house, our family decided to change his home pass from a Saturday to a Sunday.

I was delighted that Lenny agreed to go to church with us. I deliberately kept it from the congregation so Lenny could be lavished with extra hugs.

On that particular Sunday, my older son called at 8:00 a.m. to tell me that his wife’s water broke and she was in labor at the hospital. I woke up the family to give them the great news. “We have to miss church today,” I exclaimed, “for the baby is on the way!”

Consequently, there would be no huge fanfare for Lenny at church, with kisses from the older women and a special prayer from the Pastor.

While getting ready and envisioning the entire day in my mind, Lenny asked, “Are we going to an NA or AA meeting before or after the hospital?”

I thought I misunderstood his question. I felt my eyebrows touch each other in the middle of my face. Is he thinking about going to a meeting when my first grandson is about to be born?

I rechecked my mental faculties and realized I was experiencing an error in judgment and thinking. That was so very selfish of me. My sobriety goal for Lenny was for him to yearn to attend a meeting, but not today!

I swallowed hard and smiled as I said, “Let’s go to the hospital first, if you don’t mind.” The latter part of the statement was politeness, not consideration. I slowly exhaled. Lenny eased my worry of missing the birth by saying that he knew of a meeting that occurred all day, every hour on the hour.

We arrived at the hospital and my daughter-in-law was not quite ready to deliver. After 1.5 hours of waiting, I suggested that Lenny and I go to an AA-NA meeting and come back. He agreed.

I was delighted that my plan was coming together:

1. hospital;

2. NA-AA meeting;

3. hospital aka grandma.

We left the hospital during my daughter-in-law’s controlled breathing at 11:00 a.m., and arrived at the meeting facility at 11:30 a.m.

Several dudes were outside smoking cigarettes when Lenny and I arrived. I parked the car and anxiously walked over to a group of them with Lenny in tow. I told them I was dropping off my son for a meeting. “Ya’ll are super early,” said the young man who looked 16. “The meetin’ ain’t startin’ til’ 1 o’clock.”

Did I hear him right? That is one-and-a-half hours from now. I cannot deal with this ‘inconvenient meeting’. I’m going to be a grandma any minute! “I thought these meetings were all day,” I sternly stated. “No, the next one is at one,” he replied.

Before resorting to offering them money, I pleadingly asked, “Can you take my son inside and have a non-scheduled one hour meeting with him? Kinda' like a real meeting but it would only be between ya’ll four. We really can’t wait until one o’clock...Please?”

“Awww shucks, mam. We’ll do that for you and straighten him out,” said the older stranger. He looked at Lenny and stated, “Don’t disrespect your moms...give her a hug before we take you inside.” Excitedly, I hugged the stranger first and then my son. I left Lenny like a swaddled baby on cold church steps.

While speeding back to the hospital, my GPS indicated that I would not be able to pick up Lenny in an hour after encouraging my daughter-in-law to push. What had I just done?

I left my son with sober strangers who seemed a tad rough around the edges. Did I abandon my son for a grandson? Worse yet, I felt like I broke a cardinal rule on what constitutes an AA-NA meeting by coercing them to have a mini-meeting for my Lenny. I nervously pulled off the road and called Lenny’s Probation Officer, for fear of being arrested for aiding and abetting.

I do not know if Sunday morning calls from parents are the norm for him, but the Probation Officer did not seem surprised that I called. After asking if dropping off Lenny with strangers and convincing them to hold a meeting according to my time was legal, he said, “Hmm, I don’t think this has ever happened before.” I looked in the rear-view mirror; coast still clear.

After a pause that seemed like hours, he stated, “Under the circumstances, I think it is okay. If two or more addicts are together in discussion, it can be considered a meeting. When you speak with Lenny’s counselor next week, just make sure you mention what happened. Counselors can sometimes be sticklers about meetings.” After feeling a lot less guilty, I drove back to pick up Lenny, and arrived at the hospital 28 minutes before becoming a grandma.

The personal lessons I learned:

1. Two or more alcoholics/addicts in a discussion can constitute a meeting.

2. I cannot control labor, delivery, or Lenny.

3. If Lenny puts going to a meeting as top priority, no matter what, then I can’t afford to send him a message that I think something else is more important. My grandson has a brand new chance at life; Lenny’s daily decisions may shorten his own. Both are life and death.

4. If I feel afraid and need a second opinion, I can reach out to those who work with and love our kids. I think any parent will feel at ease talking with those who are there to not hinder our families, but to help.

For such a long time I hoped that Lenny would “get it” that 12-step recovery is going to be a big part of his success. I’ve wanted him to embrace it. He resisted.

Now that I see that what I had hoped for seems to be happening, it has caught me off guard. “Be careful what you ask for…” and we all know the rest of that saying.

In this instance I was left feeling grateful about my new grandson and my son.

Both have a new lease on life. Looking back, I’d say that was one of the best problems I could have!

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The Molly Craze - submitted by Lindy Lou
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, January 09, 2013

On my Facebook feed, someone posted a photo of white powder with information about the Molly craze and its dangers. The well-meaning post was meant to educate parents about the popularity of a 'new' drug that is being sung about by many popular musicians that young folk listen to. I thought it was great to get a little D&A education via social networking, but there are quite a few hoaxes circulating out there, so I was initially skeptical. As it turns out, the Facebook post was not a hoax, but it also did not provide accurate information on the drug known as Molly. The post claimed Molly was crack, which is not correct. Molly is a pure form of ecstasy that comes in powder form. Though technically not a 'new' drug, its rapid increase in popularity is recent. Apparently young folk consider it to have minimal side effects, as reported by CNN in the following article

I asked my college-age son Drew if Molly was something he was encountering within his networks. He verified that it was pretty popular and was being taken as capsules. These probably are gel caps filled with the powder. My son assured me that he personally didn't see the point of taking hallucinogenic drugs that mess up your brain. What a perfect opportunity to agree with him and to let him know that from what I was reading about Molly, it would be very, very wise to stay away from it. Messing with brain chemistry has permanent side effects and this, like other synthetic drugs, is of questionable manufacture, quality, and purity.

I can only hope that the resolve he expressed this evening sticks with him when he finds himself in party and concert settings.

Lindy Lou


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Synthetic THC pills - submitted by Jessica
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, January 07, 2013

I wanted to share some new information that I discovered as a result of Herman's latest relapse.  Just when we thought that spice was the only synthetic cannaboid out there, I have come to find out that there is a synthetic THC pill. It is called Marinol and is typically prescribed for nausea and loss of appetite associated with weight loss in patients receiving cancer treatment.  However, it made its way into Herman's drug using formulary, and it could easily be abused by someone you love as well.

What is particularly alarming is that while the average THC potency of domestic marijuana now averages about 10%, these pills are 100% potency. Comments by users say that "the stuff gets you blasted for hours".  If you read the pharmaceutical information, you can overdose. This pill has many psychoactive as well as cardiovascular side effects.  Many (like Herman) foolishly think that since it is a synthetic THC, it will not show up on standard urine screens, but thankfully it does.

You can find more information at www.drugs.com. and search Marinol.

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IT’S THE FRIENDS, STUPID - written by Max
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, January 07, 2013

(Initially written by Max on 12/2/12)

About 2 weeks ago, I got a call telling me my 17 year old son David was picked up with his friend (who I will name Doofus) for smoking weed in an alley. They saw the cops coming and of course they ran. Later David found out that had he held still, the officer was just going to give him a trespassing citation; but because they ran, and had to be chased, they were charged with misdemeanor possession of weed and paraphernalia. Doofus went to big-boy jail as he is 18. David was just shackled to a chair after getting his prints and mug shot taken. He was pretty rattled, and realized that he had better shape up.
David immediately started to look for jobs, swore off weed, and started coming home directly after school. He even told us we could test him, because he knew he may be ending up in an outpatient drug program. We barred Doofus and another kid, Dumbo, from the house. We told our son, we know we can’t control you, but we can control our home. We talked about how he had too much time on his hands and that he needed to work, and only started smoking again because he was bored, which he agreed with. Mel and I could see how bad he felt, and realized, this was the best punishment, the natural consequences of getting caught, facing probation, etc.

Some of you veteran PSST folks may remember that Mel and I sent David out of state to 2 different schools, to keep him physically away from these situations – he was doing REALLY well, had matured, hadn’t smoked weed, was doing well in school, made better choices in friends, and was lovely to live with at home. Because of this, we allowed him to give a shot at our local high school, where his grades are good (for him) and he met a nice girl friend who we feel is a good influence. HOWEVER, he also met his new friends, Doofus and Dumbo. Doofus seemed like an ok kid; he was going to Community College, was polite and respectful in our home, and spent a lot of time with us. Dumbo, on the other hand, looked suspicious. Mel and I brought this to David’s attention. David's reply – “he doesn’t do stupid stuff when he is with me”.

Last night, we got a call from the police . . . again. I thought it had to be a joke, David wouldn’t be THAT stupid twice in one month. But, he was with Doofus and Dumbo and another kid I had never heard of before, who I will name Gumby. It seems that Dumbo and Gumby were walking down the street followed by Doofus and David. A woman with a few bills hanging out of her pocket was walking in front. Dumbo and Gumby approached her, grabbed her money, and ran. David and Doofus didn’t know what to do and started to run out of obvious fear, but the police were on it immediately, hauling all 4 idiots into the station.
According to police reports, it appears that David had the misfortune of just hanging with these people. However, as Lloyd pointed out to me, “just being there” makes one guilty and therefore held responsible. I am relieved that David wasn’t an instigator or participant, because I really never saw him as a kid who would rob. Smoke weed in an alley, yes. Assault another person, never. But, while waiting for the police report, I wondered . . . maybe I didn’t know him after all, and we had a much bigger problem on our hands.

So, believe it or not, I am happy this morning after no sleep because, even though my son is in Shuman, and has 2 charges pending, he is under 18 and we have a bit of time to work with him. I am grateful this morning because Lloyd had the dubious honor of calling me from Shuman with the information, and took a bit of extra time to talk with me. I am blessed with so many of you from PSST who answered my email of last night so promptly, when I asked for Val’s contact information. And, I am thankful for my dear friend Daisy whom I called immediately. How many of us have friends that we can call to say “my kid is in Shuman” and have the other person empathize, counsel, and not judge? Only someone who is really PSST!!!
Thanks Everyone. Will keep you updated.

Max and Mel

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Surprise Folks I'm moving back home!
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, January 05, 2013

Click to see source for photo
(This role-play was shared a month or so ago on our PSST Yahoo group.)

Teen: Mom, I was thinking that instead of me moving into a 3/4 way house I decided that it would be better for me and for Dad and you if I just came home.

Mom: Really, you've surprised me.

Teen: I know!

Mom: Well let me hear more about that I [Mom is staying cool on the outside but inside the temp gauge is rising fast.]

Teen: I just worry about you and Dad and now that you are both getting older I want to help take care of you. I figured that if I went into a 3/4 way house you'd just worry about me too much, you know wondering what I'm doing and stuff.

Mom: Well, Son, I need to process this but tell me more about how this would work out if you moved home.

[Then after ten minutes of Teen telling how much he wants to be there to support his mother and all the big things he was going to do to help them out, which pretty much boiled down to him driving places for them, almost like he's their new delivery boy and Mom can see that much of this surrounds him getting his license and being able to drive at will.]

Mom: You're right about a lot of stuff Son.

Teen: I am?

Mom: Yes, you are right that I worry about you. You are right that I would prefer if possible to have you move back home. Your father and I miss you. And I'll admit that It would be so nice and it's so sweet of you
really to offer to do all that nasty driving the car around for us...

Teen: [Interrupting] So, I can then?

Mom: Well, as I said I'm just starting to process this, I need some time on this one, don't I?

Teen: Well when!?

Mom: Right, you'd like a time frame on that and that is a pretty big topic that you brought up and you'd like to know when we can deal with it and that's a reasonable question. I think at our next family therapy session we could talk about it, what do you say?

Teen: I think you don't want me at home cause if you did you would have already said I can come home. If you don't want me home just don't come visit me anymore or anything.

Mom: [Mom thinks about it quickly and decides to skip the blackmail part for now but she knows that it's an important item down the road, but on the other hand, it's old hat by now with this teen.  Instead she decides to follow Best Conversational Practices and talk about what she needs instead). You're right Son, I'm hesitant, I'm afraid, you see I need my sanity at home. It's very important to me and now that I've gotten a wee bit it back since you've been gone and sue me but I'm reluctant to give it up. I need us to sit down and talk talk talk about this and frankly, Son, I'm concerned that you don't want to talk, you just want to tell us what you decided. And if you don't like the answer that you get you just walk away from the table.

Teen: Forget it. I don't want to move back home now anyway. I was just saying that to see if you wanted me home and I see that you don't.

Mom: Ouch Son, that hurts. Was I that obvious or do you just know me too well?

Teen: I know you pretty well.

Mom: Yes I think you and I know each other better than anyone else knows us.  [Mom takes the most contentious part of the conversation and "joins" with her Son.  They are both members of the elite club called "We know each other better than anyone else."  You have to feel special to be in this club!]

Teen: That's why i'm not surprised.

Mom: Right, you knew that I would insist that we talk about this in family counseling right?

Teen: Yup.

Mom: Well you do indeed know me well. Can i ask you a question Son?  (assuming he hasn't stormed out by now) What did your sponsor say when you talked about moving back home?

Teen: I didn't talk to him about it.

Mom: Oh, well I know he's hard to reach sometimes, what did your "we" of the program say when you shared about it in a meeting that you wanted to come home?

Teen: I didn't share that cause I knew you didn't want me and it wouldn't happen.

Mom: So, you were just testing me?

Teen: I guess so.

Mom: Hm, I'm sorry I feel like I failed the test, did I?

Teen: Sort of yeah.

Mom: So to pass the test I just had to say 'Yeah we want you home tomorrow lets' pack your bags tonight?'

Teen: Would have been nice!

Mom: I bet that would have sounded good, huh?

Teen: Yep, but I'll never hear that will I?

Mom: Maybe not like that fast no I don't think so, but tell me what your therapist said when you talked to her about this huge change of plans.

Teen: I talked to you first about it.

Mom: Oh ok. [pause, now Mom is considering pointing out how manipulative his whole approach has been, to try to catch her off guard and pressure her for an answer before he even ran it past anyone else and she almost starts in with something like "you need to talk to your probation officer, your therapist, your sponsor, and your higher power before you pressure me with this stuff" but she decides that just for today, she'll try to catch more bears with honey.]

You know what?

Teen: What?

Mom: I think it's sweet that you talked to me first. I feel kinda special. I'm sorry I failed your test honey. I'ts complicated.  [These are concessions that cost Mom nothing to make.  Is Mom lying?  Let's hope not.  For one thing, Mom is special so there is nothing wrong with feeling that way.  Mom did fail his test although of course she would and by pointing this out, she helps her teen realize that he was playing some sort of game by testing her.  And life is complicated.  It's not so much whether these relationship building concessions  are lies, rather it is about whether Mom can challenge herself to look for positives in places where she isn't used to finding them.]

Note: (It's complicated is one of the favorite phrases of young people, you see it all over face book all the time especially when describing relationships and it's one of the things that teenagers get: life is complicated. In fact, when parents suggest that things aren't really all that complicated, then teens get offended, what? of course my life is complicated- so it sort of becomes a power phrase for parents to embrace, not as a door closer but as a careful way to open certain doors.)

Teen: I know. But you talked to me about it with me anyway.

Mom: You know I have kind of a goofy dream. Do you remember the dream speech that Martin Luther king gave?

Teen: Yeah, [smiles] we had to learn it in school but I only remember the first part.

Mom: Yeah I can't' remember that whole thing either but can I share mine with you?

Teen: I guess.

Mom: Well I have a dream that you do come home but that's its way different than it was before. For one thing you do try to help take care of your father and I. You seemed to want to follow the rules. You
seem to be concerned that I might worry and you try to help ease my anxiety by checking in with me all the time. And you don't mind giving urine samples when I want to screen you and I guess one of the biggest things that I dream of is that when you ask us for something and we so 'no I don't think so', that you are very adult in the way that you accept no. You don't manipulate or push us or anything.

Teen: Ok, can I go now this is boring?

Mom: Sure honey, I just thought I'd share my dream with you. Thanks for listening even though it WAS boring (laughing). Sorry about that test thing [smiles].

Teen: You didn't really fail. Not really- maybe you surprised me a little too.

Mom: I did?

Teen: Yeah, but lets' not talk about it now, cause this went on too long already and I don't want to make too much work for Lloyd who has to write all this down.

Mom: What a thoughtful young man you are!  You're even looking out for Lloyd now!    :-)

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