Quote of the Week

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

Words of Encouragement - by Daisy
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, March 31, 2013

I don't normally post things but I just wanted to maybe offer a little encouragement to anyone struggling with not being sure what to do to help their child. 

Three years ago I attended my first PSST meeting.  I listened to the parents of kids who got involved in the juvenile court system on their own and also to parents who pressed charges against their kids in an effort to get them help.  I remember thinking I could never be the one to press charges against my son--I loved him far too much to do that.   

After several months of the downward spiral my son was on, I decided pressing charges and getting the help of the courts was my only hope--I loved him too much to do nothing.  

After three placements and a lot of tears and a lot of prayers, we are in a good place today.  Peace has replaced all the chaos in our home and I am enjoying every minute of it.  

I am sharing this conversation with my son yesterday to reassure every parent that deep down our kids appreciate the help we are trying to give them. 

My son:  Mom, you are really a great parent, I  couldn't ask for a better mother than you.

Me:   Thanks.  Why  do you say that?  

My son:   Because after everything I had done and how much I hurt you, you still loved me enough to help me. 

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Life After Rehab
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, March 15, 2013

Take Care of Yourself After Your Teen Returns from Rehab ~ by Roxie
The whole family has been awaiting this wonderful next chapter in Lenny’s 17-year-old life as he comes home to live with the family permanently. We were so excited, anxious with anticipation of his long over-due presence in our otherwise boring household. We are very proud of his clean journey, thus far. Yet, Lenny has a way of livening things up while returning to his own room / man-cave.
“You bull******* the counselor by never using the talking rules at home. You’re a liar,” he stated, after I vehemently tried to persuade him to attend an NA meeting close to home. “We can attend one five minutes away in three hours instead of going to the one 45 minutes away in 15 minutes,” I rationalized. “I have plans tonight,” he said. “This sucks. I don’t have money for ice skating - drop me off to put in job applications – I’m hungry – buy me face wash – go get dressed to take me to the meeting, and hurry up,” he demanded.

I retreated to my bedroom again, similar to what I did when he was living at home before. I did not cry, though. What did I expect? Love stiflingly thick in the air, the smell of cookies in the oven while Lenny offers to clean up the kitchen after the dough rose. My happy home is Lenny’s handy home – roof, food, bathroom, clothes, internet-connected X-box, laptop, Facebook, webcam, cable in three rooms with a big screen TV. Quite handy for someone who left our home with nothing, and moved back with expensive tennis shoes and high-end placement clothes purchased at fashionable Plato’s Closet.

It should have been my special time of growth while Lenny was gone. I mentally matured, but I feel that now will be a major time in my life for change. I think I hit bottom while Lenny was away, chugging my own sorrow until I became chock-full of emotional up-chuck. I am more confident now, taking charge over issues with Lenny, and coming into my own.

I promise to support Lenny physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally. I will be at every school meeting to encourage his 12th grade graduation. He will obtain free rides to meetings from me, three to seven days a week. Cooking, cleaning, and attempting to converse with a quiet voice will be a forceful, deliberate part of my day. It ain’t easy. In order to take care of Lenny, Roxie has to take care of herself. Consequently, I need to engage in the following activities to stay empowered while Lenny is at home:

1.     Attend a Parent Support Group meeting such as PSST. A treasure trove of knowledge is within each parent that attends meetings, especially PSST (Parents Survival Skills Training). When Lenny was in placement, the meetings provided information for me on how to deal with him being away. Now, my ears are attentive for advice on what to do since he has returned home. The key is to give and gain support in a group setting while maintaining your own sanity through talking with others.

2.     Find something you love and just do it! Whether it is working out at the gym or taking time to read a great novel, find an activity that makes you feel good about yourself. It will bring out the best in you, and keep your mind from wandering to negative, unpleasant thoughts of ‘what if’ scenarios. As soon as those thoughts begin, turn the treadmill up to the 20 mph steep hill climb, or begin to speed read; depending upon the activity. Let your imagination take you to a happy place.

3.     Share your thoughts with a close friend. The last few years could have made you feel like you have lost your mind. Don’t fret, you did. Find a friend to confirm that your feelings are normal. If that person loves you, they will never steer you in the wrong direction. Do not be embarrassed to seek validation.

4.     Determine it is OK to make mistakes. No one is perfect, including my dysfunctional family as we attempt to change. Make those heart-felt raising-your-child blunders, admit them privately or within the family, and move on. Do not wallow in parental guilt.

The above list sounds so selfish, like a “me, me, me” statement; making myself an idol. As parents of addicts, we need to become selfish in order to help our children. If we fall apart, who is going to be there when and if they crumble? We are saving their lives by taking care of ourselves.

The way I perceive Lenny conditions my behavior towards him; with the decisions eventually affecting Lenny. I resolve to build our family’s hopes, accomplishments, and dreams for his future. I purposely consider him in recovery, in his right mind, with him choosing the correct path for a worthwhile, meaningful life.

I have a strategy to strengthen Lenny outwardly and within. He will accompany me to the gym so we can both become empowered, purposely fortified, and confident in our life’s journey together. I will take him to an NA meeting afterward. He may even be the speaker, based on the assertiveness and courage garnered at the gym with his mom, Roxie.

            “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”       ~   Thomas Paine


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Sharing The Load
Posted by:Brigitte--Monday, March 11, 2013

Submitted by June Cleaver
A young man went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the initial interview, and now would meet the director for the final interview. The director discovered from his CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent. He asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" The youth answered "No". "Who paid for your school fees?" "My father passed away when I was one year old; my mother paid for my school fees." he replied. "Where did your mother work?" "My mother worked as clothes cleaner."

The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect. "Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?" "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, my mother can wash clothes faster than me." The director said, "I have a request. When you go home today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning."

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back home, he asked his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son. The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother winced when he touched it. This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes every day to enable him to pay the school fees. The bruises in the mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his education, his school activities and his future. After cleaning his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother. That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.
Next morning, the youth went to the director's office. The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, when he asked: "Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?" The youth answered," I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes. I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, I would not be who I am today. By helping my mother, only now do I realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done on your own. And I have come to appreciate the importance and value of helping one's family."

The director said, "This is what I am looking for in a manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired."

This young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and worked as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop an "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, they may be successful for a while, but eventually they would not feel a sense of achievement. They will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying our children instead?

You can let your child live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch on a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your child learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

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Congratulations to our favorite new P.O.!!
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, March 07, 2013

It's official - Justin is now a probation officer!  Here are a couple photos from the special day:

Swearing-in ceremony 
on March 1, 2013

Justin, Kelly, and adorable Rania
celebrate the special occasion 

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