Quote of the Week

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

Adding to your Toolbox
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, April 27, 2014

One of our PSST dads shared the following at a recent PSST meeting:

Over the years, most men accumulate a lot of tools in their toolboxes.  It seems like you can never have too many tools for doing work around the house.  Before PSST, I had only one tool in my toolbox for dealing with my child’s addiction.  It was a hammer.  I used that hammer for everything.  With PSST, I now have many tools in my toolbox, and I am better-prepared to deal with the challenges that life sends my way.

Add to your toolbox – come to a PSST meeting to share and learn, or read some of the role-plays or articles on this blog.  Help to save your child’s life, and perhaps save your own life in the process!

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Presentations on Addiction Prevention & Treatment - Tuesday, April 29
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Power of Intention, Wisdom & Hope

You are invited to attend an evening of presentations, specifically designed to educate and support parents (and other family members) who are dealing with the challenges of adolescent drug and alcohol abuse.  Sponsored by the Pittsburgh-based Little Wings of Hope charitable organization, this event features speakers from Caron Treatment Centers, Gateway Rehabilitation Center, Little Wings of Hope Foundation, and Parent Survival Skills Training (PSST).  Topics include: Recognizing the Face of Addiction, Signs & Symptoms, Prevention, Tips for Parents, and Treatment Options.

Lloyd Woodward and our 2013 PSST Parents of the Year (“Jim & Cheryl”) are among the presenters at this event!  

Date:  Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Time:  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location:  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church Hall, 330 3rd Avenue, Carnegie, PA
Notes:  Parking is available, and light refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend, click here to go to the Little Wings of Hope website, where you will find the Registration Link. 

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Lives in the Balance
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, April 14, 2014

The FDA recently approved a new opioid pain medication called Zohydro ER, which is intended for patients dealing with chronic pain.  It is the first prescription narcotic that provides a pure dose of hydrocodone.  Already there is controversy surrounding this new medication, given its potential for abuse. For an article from Forbes.com about this topic, click hereBelow are 2 quotes from the article that highlight some of the major issues fueling the controversy.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is fighting the FDA’s approval of this new drug, states:
“The prescription drug epidemic has already damaged and destroyed the lives of far too many individuals and families, and hydrocodone is one of the most abused substances out there. The last thing we need is a drug on the market with 10 times the hydrocodone of Vicodin and Lortab, with the capability of killing an individual in just two tablets.”

Dr. Ethan Weiner shares an opposing opinion, saying:
“Although these drugs have significant abuse potential, that does not negate the fact that there are significant numbers of people suffering chronic pain who cannot live a functional – or even a remotely tolerable – life without them.

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Starting Over, One More Time
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, April 04, 2014

As a short recap, Dylan was released home in January from a placement (his fifth), soon after his successful graduation from high school.  At home, he began to struggle.  He was hanging around with friends he shouldn’t have been seeing, ending up at places different from his agreed-upon destinations, sneaking alcohol, becoming verbally combative with his parents, and otherwise having difficulty dealing with his newfound “freedom”.  Within 5 weeks, he found himself back in court.

At court, Dylan was offered the opportunity to come home, but instead he requested a halfway house.  Maybe he knew that he would not be successful at home.  After working with Dylan for the past 3 years, the judge seems to have a pretty good handle on what’s right for Dylan, and she ordered him to be placed at “Halfway House”.   

Dylan has been at Halfway House for 6 weeks now.  We think of it as supervised independent living.  He is doing his own laundry, keeping his room neat (what a concept!), and helping with the cooking.  He got a job right away at a fast food restaurant.  He was worried that he wouldn’t like it (i.e., that it would be “uncool”), but instead he finds that he is happy to be working, enjoying the people interactions, and excited about the prospect of earning & saving money.  He enjoys his coworkers, and even says that almost all the customers are really nice.
His therapist at Halfway House is fantastic, and the therapeutic environment seems to be stronger than at his other placements.  Intervention seems to focus on more than just correcting the immediate behavior problem, but also on discovering the underlying issues behind the behavior, and tackling those issues head-on.  For a teen who normally can barely sit still, it’s amazing to learn that Dylan is now using meditation and writing to deal with his anger/resentment issues.  He also found an NA sponsor that he seems to be happy with, and he’s attending a local church on Sundays.  Naturally, his irritation with authority and difficulty in abiding by rules has not disappeared, but he seems to be handling himself better.
Usually when Dylan starts at a new program, he is angry & uncommunicative with his parents, but not this time.  He has been calling us regularly, and we have visited him quite a few times.  He doesn’t think he wants any home passes, but he is interested in having offsite passes to play soccer for the local travel team, where we will watch and cheer on the team.  That’s good enough for now.

Much as we’d prefer that Dylan live at home, that option is only truly possible in some alternate universe.  It’s not what will work for him right now.  Dylan will be 18 years old in another month, and we realize that he may never live at home again.  Attending PSST meetings, where we have learned so much from the experts as well as other parents, has helped us to accept that reality.  We are so grateful for the progress that Dylan has been making towards becoming independent, responsible, and free of drugs/alcohol.  He has had a lot of crucial help and guidance along the way.

Brad & Jenn      

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Finding your own Path
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Click here and here to read the story of a father’s struggle to deal with his son’s heroin addiction.  Below are two quotes from David Cooke’s story.

When it comes to addiction there are two victims, the addict who battles with their disease and the families who struggle to understand, cope, and live a normal life.  Many parents commit every ounce of love, time, energy in their quest to save, help, and cure their child to the point where they often have so little left to give themselves or to the point where it nearly destroys them.  It is as if the addiction has taken control over two sets of lives.

I learned how to build boundaries around [my son’s] addiction and define a path for me that helped me live, celebrate, and enjoy my live.  Though I may never be a complete peace with the threat, pain, and loss of his addiction all around me, I have learned that his choices do not define me, his decisions cannot stop me, and his addiction will not destroy me. 

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