Quote of the Week

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

Thanksgiving, Weed & Frustration - By Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving, Weed & Frustration

An update from Wilma....

On Monday we went to court for Bam's ACT 53 and pre-conference on the criminal charges. I had found out the week before that a bed had been found for Bam based on everything that was happening he could be placed for further treatment.

I was surprised as I thought his judge would never approve placement as Bam had just recently come home from the D.A.S. program. However, since we got the recommendation from the dual diagnosis program the bed was canceled.

With the ACT 53 we have to rely on our own insurance. With an outpatient recommendation the insurance most likely would not approve in-patient at least not until Bam tries the out-patient therapy with medication management component.

I really think Bam Bam needs to be in placement away from this community and was feeling awful that I had worked like a dog to find him the dual diagnosis program and get them to give him a chance, that was recommended for him by his former psychiatrist and the outpatient eval he had had.

I feel like I put the wrench in what he really needs with something that, at least based on past history, he will not follow through. Now he is staying home and its very stressful with him here.

Everyone including the judge let Bam Bam know this was his last chance-he needs to continue in school, take his scheduled S.A.T.'s, go to meetings, stay away from people, places, things, get a job, go to PD office for a lawyer...

...his case was continued to January.

After the hearing we met with probation, filled out some paper work and then (with Bam arguing he didn't want to do this TODAY) went to the P.D.'s office for a lawyer. Bam told us he wanted a private attorney and we informed him NO WAY - we are the ones pressing charges!

How was he planning to pay for it?? What world is he in???

I had seen text messages on his phone with him sending the message "Need Any?" Hmm, wonder what this means.

Tuesday morning Fred found a neat stack of empty baggies on top of our garbage cans. What could these be for?

Bam claims no knowledge. However, he was the one who took the garbage cans to the end of the driveway and had been out for a short time with a friend the night before. Suspicious but as Fred said not evidence of anything.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day - Bam gets picked up by a friend and is gone less than an hour. When he returns home we tell him to empty his pockets. At first he refuses but we tell him we are not leaving his room until he empties the pockets. I turn Miss Margarock's (from Bedrock Manor) phrase back to him to "bunny ear" his pockets. We even said take off the shorts and we would search them. Finally, Bam empties his pockets and lo and behold an individually wrapped package of weed (it was in a shrink wrapped package) and in his wallet a larger baggie of weed.

Bam's explanation is that he's holding it for some kids and the smaller package was for his cousin (who is himself on probation for possession) that we would be seeing later in the day.

He remains calm and I take the weed. I don't want to leave it in the house so I take it the local police station where I'm told they can't arrest Bam as they would have to find the weed on him. The cop said he believed my story of where it came from but that he could only write a report and will keep the weed in the evidence locker. He said that even if we would have called them to our home the police would still have had to find the weed on Bam Bam to do anything about it. The police officer did say though that if there had been more of the individual packages that would have looked more like Bam was intending to sell and would be a felony.

So, at least the weed is out of my house and I don't have to worry about Bam breaking the house apart looking for it. Bam Bam tells us now he owes people money and that we are going to have to pay. I don't think so.

So, now we wait for January. Bam doesn't want to go away again but less than a week after being in court he sure doesn't seem like he is ready to follow the rules laid out for him.

And January seems like a long way away.


Read More......

Thoughts from Joan
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 20, 2011

The below advice is excerpted from a newsletter email sent by consultant/author/coach, Nancy Stampahar, www.silverliningsolutions.com.

While this addresses the general adult population, not just parents, it echoes so much of our PSST coaching that I thought I’d share it with you. For example, while Nancy advises that we ask ourselves: "What would make me most happy and fulfilled?”. PSST advises that we ask “What would I be comfortable with?

As I reflect upon things I am thankful for, high on my list comes the support of PSST parents, and that of Lloyd, Val, Kathie, Justin and their colleagues with Wesley Spectrum and Allegheny County Juvenile Probation.

Happy Thanksgiving!



The crazy, hustle-bustle holiday season is approaching.

By learning how to occasionally say "no" and treating each other with respect, you can take control of the demands at work and home you are facing. You must learn how to not fret over your own feelings of guilt, fears of rejection or possible repercussions. You can still be helpful and considerate of others, but you must take care of yourself first. Before you respond to someone, ask yourself, "What would make me most happy and fulfilled?" Once you develop assertive communication skills, you will be able to effectively handle difficult people and awkward situations.

Aggressive Communication Looks Like This:

"This is what you're going to do and you have no say in the matter." Too many dominating, overbearing behaviors surface and push people away or into submission. The aggressive person lacks self-esteem and acts out of fear to control people and situations. Unfortunately, most people get turned off and don't want to be around this type of person because they are too disrespectful and demanding.

Passive Communication Looks Like This:

"Whatever you ask, I'll do it whether I want to or not." Too many unwanted yes's build up resentment and passive-aggressive behaviors can surface. The passive person lacks self-worth and self-respect. Unfortunately, the word of a passive person cannot be trusted because they are not open and honest about their feelings, needs or opinions.

Assertive Communication Looks Like This:

"I know that this is important to you. This is also important to me. Let's talk about some options that are fair to both of us." Respectful, healthy behaviors evolve. This healthy, mature style says, "I hear you. You matter, and I matter too."

7 Tips to Say "No" and Assert Yourself Today

Become self-aware of your communication and behavior patterns. What is consistently happening in your life? How do these patterns affect you?

Evaluate the reasons you feel the need to please or control everyone.

Realize the goal of assertive communication is to express your thoughts and boundaries while being direct, honest and respectful of others.

Realize it is necessary and okay to say "no" sometimes and to ask questions.

Example for Anyone: "I see why this is important to you. I am unable to help this time. Let 's try to figure out some other possible solutions that could work."

Example for Boss: "This is what is on my plate right now. Which one of these priorities would you prefer I remove to accommodate your request?"

Example for Anyone: "I'd love to join you but my schedule is already full that week. Please keep me in mind the next time. Have fun."

If you do not address your own unique needs, your frustrations will build, you will feel taken for granted and your performances and relationships will suffer. As Dr. Phil says, "We teach people how to treat us." It is up to you to face the fears and guilt you carry from your disease to please. Find your courage to change and grow. When you stop feeling guilty and seeking approval of others, your days will be fueled by positive energy, confidence and self-respect. You will feel empowered and in control of your life because you utilized your power of choice. You hold the power.

Enjoy the season and assert yourself today!

To you,

Read More......

Wilma Waits
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 20, 2011


Well, it's been 23 days since Bam Bam came home from the Quarry Rock DAS program. And we are on the roller coaster with all of the loops.

The first week home Bam Bam had an evaluation at an outpatient rehab facility. Initially the therapist was recommending an Intensive Outpatient Program (I.O.P.) treatment. However, after consulting with colleagues it was determined he needs a dual diagnosis program because of his aggression and other mental health problems. This in addition to the drug addiction, so no treatment for him at the rehab facility.

Now, in July I did find a dual dx therapist for Bam but he didn't like her and he refused to return! Now what! I had already been through the (short) list from our primary insurance and now we have to START OVER!

I really felt I wasn't up for this task and thought maybe Bam Bam could tackle this himself since after all he is over 13 years old and can make these decisions himself. However, it was recommended that I try and get an appointment set up for him.

So on the 11th day home I call everyone on the list that the outpatient facility had given me and even called the insurance to see what they could come with.

So after coming up with NOTHING(programs only had dual dx for adults, not participating with our insurance, etc) I was ready to go to work when I get a phone call from from the director of the facility where my son's psychiatrist is with the news that his doctor is dropping him.

Now, no doctor to monitor Bam Bam on his SIX psychiatric medications. And one of the medications was supposed to be tapered off. I was devastated.

The doctor from Quarry Rock had agreed to maintain Bams meds until we find another doctor. I had tried in July to get him a different adolescent psychiatrist who participates with our primary insurance and could find none.

Once I pulled myself together I contacted the insurance again as now we are in desperate need for a psychiatrist. I insisted that he needs a physician who specializes in adolescent co-existing disorders and they had NONE. I made the decision to go out of network so that Bam Bam could at least be evaluated by a local adolescent dual diagnosis program.

This same day, Bam's 11th day home, as he was leaving the house I asked to see what was in his back pack. I found a water bottle filled with alcohol, a state store bag and receipt for vodka. Fred told me to look at the bright side that is was "only alcohol!!!" Doesn't he get that mixing alcohol with Bam's medications can be deadly?!!

Day 21 Bam Bam's evaluation at the Dual Diagnosis program - After many wrinkles they agree to treat him. However, the recommendation was for only 1 day a week but it's better than nothing.

17 days after coming home Bam admits to me that he relapsed by smoking weed.

18 days after coming home Fred gets a text message from Bam's friend Eddie that we need to take Bam to the hospital as Bam had texted Eddie that he took 50 Benadryl. I checked on Bam and he denied taking anything. He said that he was upset as he and Eddie were on the outs. He did not appear to have taken anything and told me he had been making that up.

Bam had posted on twitter that he overdosed. This time, he was trying to get attention by lying about overdosing.

During these past weeks I have suspected him of using, figuring he was drinking and smoking weed but now I'm thinking he might have added over the counter pills to his repertoire.

I am worried because he is also on those SIX legitimate medications. This past month I have also found text messages on his phone making arrangements to purchase alcohol and weed. I just saw yesterday that he texted to one of his friends that he sold some drug but he wasn't specific.

This last week Fred also caught Bam cheeking his med's and Bam said he was going to throw them away. Of course I don't believe this as I know some of this stuff can bring Bam some ready cash which Bam always is need of.

He continues to hang out with his old friends and doesn't attend meetings.

Now in the midst of all of this negative stuff Bam did find out all of the information needed to schedule himself for the S.A.T.'s. He applied to one college and even had a job interview this week. He observes his curfew and has only missed two days of school. He claimed he was sick but I'm not buying it.

Luckily we have court on Monday and hopefully his ACT 53 stays open and we have a pre-hearing conference on his criminal charges.

He continues to demonstrate that he cannot live at home and stay clean and out of trouble. He will have another chance to turn things around so we will see what he does with it.

So again we wait....

Read More......

What is YOUR Thought or Action TODAY?
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Monday, November 14, 2011

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny."


As parents of teens who are abusing substances, every conscious decision we make TODAY (whether it be keeping a secret for our teens, excusing an infraction of preset family rules/contracts, or choosing to look the other way while thinking your teen is just sowing their wild oats, etc.) will affect your future and the future of your teen (substance abuse ends in two ways: Recovery or Death).

Are you a parent who is being manipulated, lied to, verbally (or even worse - physically) abused by a teen who you suspect is abusing alcohol and drugs?

Learn techniques and skills at a PSST meeting to communicate with your teen and quite possibly, save their life.

Read More......

Sally and Rocco’s Handy Healthy Household Reminders
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, November 07, 2011

Holiday Clean-up Time is Here

This weekend Sally and I were doing our fall clean-up and getting the house ready for the fast approaching holidays.

I was just taking my fifth or sixth load of leaves down the driveway when the fireplace clean-out caught my eye. I couldn’t resist taking a look inside of it. This used to be one of Cisco’s favorite hiding places for his stuff. I am happy to report that I found nothing except ashes and cobwebs.

Another of his favorite places to hide his stuff, early on, was in a tin box in a hollow tree in the woods behind our house. It may have been that the elves were manufacturing something besides cookies but I am pretty certain that it was Cisco.

We recently converted Cisco’s downstairs bedroom into an office and we remembered finding stuff in his mattress, in the heater vent and, in one of his more clear thinking and honest moments, he pulled his boxing gloves off of the hook in his room. He reached inside and pulled out a pipe. He handed it to Sally telling her “I knew you guys would never look in here.”

It is time for another: Sally and Rocco’s Handy Healthy Household Reminders - households with teenage users that is.

Holiday Clean-up Time is Here
As you are cleaning up (that would be redding up for all of yinz Pittsburghers n’at) for the holidays be sure you also clean out all of your teenager’s stuff so that you can really enjoy them.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: DO NOT DISPOSE of any drugs, alcohol, K2 or any paraphernalia you find. Put it in a plastic bag with a note of where and when you found it and keep it as evidence. Lock it in a safe place - ask a trusted family member or friend to keep it or, if possible, ask your local police to keep it for you. I kept my evidence in a locked file drawer in my office.
I clearly marked it and notified my Admin Assistant what it was in case someone else discovered it.

In addition to checking the usual places like in their clothes/shoes, in their mattress, in the fireplace clean-out and in their drawers be sure to give their closet a thorough going over. Check for baggies duct-taped to the bottoms / backs of drawers, under tables and desks and on top of door frames. Look inside stereo speakers, TV and VCR cabinets, cell phones, computers, cassette cases (any kind of tin or plastic case is good for hiding odors) and inside of any cushions while you are dusting and polishing.

A few other interesting spots our bright little scamps like to stash their stash are:
(thanks to the PSST Parents and our readers who submitted these clever places)

- Under the trash liners in the garbage cans

- In arm of the couch or chair

- Inside their piggy banks. Very clever because when you'd shake the bank it still jingles

- In a hole in the wall covered with a poster (also check for holes above the doors in closets and crawl spaces)

- Inside a smoke detector

- In a box of Tampons

- In empty video game cases and empty cigar holders [while cleaning look for tobacco from hollowed out cigars, baggies, dryer sheets, plastic straws, rubber tubing, wrench sockets, empty soda/juice bottles, pipes, duct or electrical tape and other paraphernalia in their rooms]

- Inside books and empty food or drink containers or
water bottles

- Inside of backpacks and gym bags (many PSST Parents insist on a backpack check before a “friend” brings them into their home.

- In a watch case

- In a Texas Hold'em tin

- Inside a hat / hat band

- Taped to the bottoms of beds and inside mattresses / box springs

- Inside musical instruments and their carrying cases

- Inside VHS / CD / DVD / video game cases

- In their shoes [look inside of the sole or the tongue]. They can buy shoes with compartments already in them.

- In the air condition / furnace vents and returns

- Inside cameras and camera cases

- In the hollow tube that supports a bicycle seat

- Behind the coin holder in the car

- Inside of flashlights in place of the batteries or in any other battery compartment

- Taped to the top of a ceiling fan

- Inside of make up cases /compacts / lipstick tubes / mouthwash bottles / breath mint containers

- Inside remote control cars

- Inside bed posts

- Taped in and under toilet tanks, vanities and sinks

- In flip rings and lockets

- Inside pens and mechanical pencils

- In baby powder, body powder and perfume containers

- Taped to the back of a poster / picture

- In coffee mugs (you can buy them with false bottoms)

- In stash pockets, clothes seams, coat linings

- In wallets/purses

- In contact lens cases

- In dropped ceiling tiles, light fixtures and door /window frames

Of course you can go onto the internet and find a whole lot of information on these and other hiding places.

REMEMBER: If you find ANY any drugs, alcohol, K2 or any paraphernalia - DO NOT DISPOSE OF THEM - Tag them / Bag them / Lock them in a safe place for evidence.


If you have any other hiding spots your teen used please respond in the comment section below or send your response to sallyservives@gmail.com


Read More......

“Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop” Feeling by Jim and Cheryl
Posted by:Sally--Sunday, November 06, 2011

The "Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop" Feeling

As Andy continues in his current court ordered placement, Cheryl and I are very pleased with his progress. His letters home are very upbeat, containing good news for the week…and also very neat penmanship. He was chosen to participate in a SMRC, where they visit and help with taking elderly residents at the local senior care facility to church on Sundays.

Andy’s weekly five minute phone calls are very pleasant. He’s very polite and positive. During this week’s call he had several pieces of good news: he was selected as the program's “client of the week”; he was selected to participate in the L.E.A.P. (Leadership Experiential Adventure Program), he is about to receive his Level 2 and he is taking the SAT's on Saturday.

After four plus years of some ups and mostly downs with Andy, all of this good news should be a parents’ dream come true (and we are happy for him), but why can’t I shake the nagging feeling that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Andy’s past track record is to be on his best behavior for about three months before going into a self destruct mode. We have gotten our hopes up so many times in the past, only to have them dashed when his behavior “crashes and burns” in self sabotage.

Will we, as parents who love him unconditionally, ever get back to the point of trusting our son? Trust that Andy is telling the truth? Trust that he is clean and sober? Trust that he is obeying all laws? I feel guilty for the self defense mechanism that I’ve developed to guard against the hurt of behavior let down and lawless activity. Will these emotional callouses ever be removed and let us live a family life with some level of normalcy?

We certainly hope so, but there’s that damn other shoe!

Read More......

Parent Improvement written by 17 year-old recent grad of Outside In
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, November 05, 2011

Page One

I want to share this well-written essay with all of you. This young man at first declined to write this essay pointing out to me that he really just needed to focus on himself, not on anybody else. I ask to consider doing it as a favor to me and then he was happy to do it. I think he put some real thought into this assignment, which was "What advice to you have for parents who are struggling with teenagers who have a drug problem."

I think it is better to read this in his own handwriting, so I am putting four links in this post, one to each page of this young man's essay. By the way, I did not discuss with him what he would write. This is all his own thinking and put in his own words.

Read More......

PSST for Today
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, November 04, 2011

Reading the quote of the week "Just For Today" made me think of something similar. PSST for today.

1. PSST for today I will not yell at my teenagers. If they yell at me, I will take an inch of their space, lower my voice, talk slower. I will deescalate not escalate.

2. PSST for today I will make it my business to find part of what my teenager says that I can agree with and tell him that I agree. PSST for today I will PSSTwist that agreement to my own talking points.

3. PSST for today I will not reward any behavior that I would like to extinguish. If my teenager is pushy, loud, or manipulative when he asks for something the answer will be NO. When I see behavior I like I will pay attention and find a way, not always a material way, to reward that behavior.

4. PSST for today when my teenager harasses me repeatedly to give in on something that I already said 'no' to, I will tell him that I get it that he just 'needs' to keep asking. I will invite him to ask me as much as he wants right now, and get all the harassment over with. "No, but ask me again," I might say after each harassment.

5. PSST for today I will remember that when I'm saying 'No,' power words such as 'Nevertheless' and 'Regardless' are my best friends. They keep me on track and help me not to be distracted from the real issue.

6. PSST for today I will not argue with or 'debate' my teenager.

7. PSST for today I will try to really listen to what my teenager is saying. I may not agree, but it is my job to show him that I pay attention to what he says.

8. PSST for today I will try to present situations or problems to my teenager designed to help me build new trust. I know that people change, and when my teenager starts changing I want to be their to support him and ready to allow more trust when it is earned.

9. PSST for today, if I do not believe that my teenager can be trusted to go where he says he is going, to do what he says he is going to do, then I will tell him to stay home where I can supervise him. I will let him know that by accepting this gracefully he is starting the process of trusting again.

10. PSST for today I will not keep secrets for my teenager if it is significant to his recovery or his probation. PSST for today I will remember that secrets keep us sick.

11. PSST for today I will hold my teenager accountable. I may hate to be the bad guy, but PSST for today I will remember that my teenager needs me to be his parent, not his friend. PSST for today I will remember that when he is older hopefully we can be friends.

12. PSST for today I will remember to set a good example. PSST for today I will remember that my teenager may defiantly refuse to do what I tell him but he will never fail to imitate me. PSST for today I will model an adult who is like someone that I want my teenager to grow up to be:  honest, law-abiding, caring and able to be free from substance abuse.  

13.  PSST for today I will model an adult who is able to pursue happiness, which may include having interests and hobbies that I feel passionate about, a career that I am proud of, or friends that I care about. PSST for today I will let my teenager know that I am more than just a parent and that even if my teenager is in placement or inpatient, life for me goes on.

 14.  PSST for today I will try not to ask my teenager "Why." PSST for today I know that I will get more information from him by asking him questions like, "What was that like for you," What would it be like for you if", "Tell me about how that whole thing happened." PSST for today I will remember that open-ended questions are more effective and help me get to know my teenager better. PSST for today I will remember that "Why" tends to make people defensive and makes teenagers shut down.

PSST for today I will use good strong body language, direct eye-contact and say things like I mean them. PSST for today i will mean what I say and back up what I say with actions.

16. PSST for today I will place safety as my first priority. PSST for today, I will remember that drugs and alcohol kill and PSST for today I will take whatever actions I deem are necessary to keep my teenager safe.

17. PSST for today I will remember that taking some action is better than taking no action. PSST for today I will allow myself reasonable time to make a decision, time to ask for suggestions from people whose opinions matter, but within a reasonable time I will make a decision and take action commensurate to that decision. PSST for today, I will remind myself that teenagers don't listen to what I say, they listen to what I do.

18. PSST for today I will allow myself the freedom to change my mind, especially if new information is available. "Oops, Sorry but I'm just going to change my mind about that."

19. PSST for today when my son is frustrated and tells me to "go away or I will lose it", I will respect his need for some personal time & space. However I will also assert myself by saying "You're right, it would be better to talk about this later."

20. PSST for today I will strive to be consistent.

21. PSST for today I will try to remember to compliment my teenager when they do something right. We sometimes get so wrapped up in our personal resentment / fear that we forget that they are trying to improve themselves.

22. PSST for today I will accept, maybe even embrace, that my child who is an addict hates me (for now) - I know that I am doing the right thing and I can wait for them to thank me at a later date (if ever) - For now I know they are alive.

23 PSST for today I will take my time to give my teen an answer. If possible I will consult with my spouse (even if they are a step-parent) or someone I trust before I give my answer. They will need to learn to be patient and not expect an instant yes or no.

Please leave a comment especially if you can add to this PSST for Today ideas.

Read More......

Dealing with O.D. and Death
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dealing with O.D. and Death

Someone very close to us just lost a cousin to an overdose last week. This of course brings mixed feelings of sorrow and anger, of release and guilt, of "I told you so" and of "why?" Many of us at PSST have been touched by the death of someone due to an overdose, an accident while under the influence or by suicide.

It makes the assertion "Well, it is only marijuana / alcohol / K2 / whatever... " ring very hollow.

Following is a condensed version of an article on Death by Overdose by Dr. Abraham Twerski. Much of what he says can also be applied to dealing with a loved one's addiction.

As Dr. Twerski notes: There is a mixture of intense anger and guilt. Why did he/she use drugs? Why didn’t he/she accept help when it was offered? How could he/she have done this?

To read the entire article click on the title below:

Reacting to O.D. by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

"It is natural that when one has lived to a ripe old age and passes on, that the grief can be assuaged by sharing memories.

It is totally different when parents mourn the loss of a child. This is a disruption of nature, and the pain is profound. Even when the acute pain subsides, the wound is never healed."

It is much different when the death is the result of a drug overdose.

It is not unusual for mourners to feel some guilt. They may think back at some harsh words they may have said toward the departed person, or not having been as considerate as they might have been. But such interchanges are part of normal living, and these guilt feelings generally evaporate. Sometimes psychotherapy may be necessary to assuage these feelings.

It is much different when the death is the result of a drug overdose.

There is a mixture of intense anger and guilt.

Why did he/she use drugs? Why didn’t he/she accept help when it was offered?

We drove ourselves into deep debt to pay for treatment. How could he/she have done this to us?

Then there is the guilt.

Why wasn’t I a better parent?

Why did I put other things before the welfare of my child?

Why didn’t I notice that my child was depressed?

Why didn’t I seek help earlier?

These and similar feelings torment the survivors endlessly.

These feelings are difficult to overcome. As powerful as logic may be, it is weak when it confronts such intense emotion. But on the other hand, logic is the only tool we have.

After forty years of treating addiction and writing on the condition, I must admit that I don’t understand addiction. Like many kinds of pain, it is a phenomenon that exists but defies our understanding.

No one starts life with the goal of becoming an addict.

It happens in dysfunctional families, but it also happens in families where there is no apparent dysfunction. Invariably, parents of an addict feel responsible, and much more so when there is an overdose.

Yet, with few exceptions, parents are well-intentioned, even if they did not practice ideal parenting techniques (whatever these may be). We try to do our best, but our best may not be what the child really needed, yet we had no way of knowing this.

Our culture preaches that everyone has a right to pursue happiness, but there are so many obstacles to achieving it. Youngsters who feel deprived of happiness, and who have the immaturity of youth may resort to chemicals in the hope of finding the elusive happiness.

When Nancy Reagan launched the program, “Just Say No to Drugs,” some researchers interviewed young people for their reactions. One 14 year old girl said, “Why? What else is there?”

This is an indictment of a culture that has failed to teach youngsters that there is more to life than getting high.

We may try to place blame for an O.D. death, but there is really no one to blame, not the addict and not the family.

Guilt can be constructive when one has committed a wrong, because it encourages a person to make amends and set things right.

When guilt cannot serve this purpose, it is a destructive feeling. As limited as logic is, one should realize that beyond making amends and avoiding hurtful behavior, there is nothing to be gained by wallowing in guilt.

Anger, too, can be constructive if we are angry at wrongdoing and injustice, because such anger may motivate us to try and prevent injustice to the extent we can.

But when anger cannot be productive, it is foolish to harbor it.

The wise King Solomon said, “Anger rests in the bosom of a fool” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

You may not be able to avoid feeling angry, but there is nothing to gain by hanging on to it.

There is very little one can say to comfort those who grieve an O.D.

Perhaps all one can say is that acceptance does not mean approval. Accept the pain, because there is no choice.

Do what you can to make today and tomorrow better for yourself and others.

Stop trying to make yesterday better. It can’t be done.

Copyright © Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski. All Rights Reserved.

Read More......

Sad Day in Western PA-13 yr old dies fr Smoking Synthetic Marijuana
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Friday, October 28, 2011

"Boy, 13, Ill From Synthetic Marijuana Dies

A western Pennsylvania boy who became ill after smoking synthetic marijuana (spice) and had a double lung transplant has died. A 13-year-old, died Thursday morning at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC. The boy smoked the fake marijuana out of a plastic PEZ candy dispenser and suffered chemical burns to both lungs as a result. He was put on a respirator in June and had a double-lung transplant in September.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law outlawing such substances a few days after the boy smoked the substances. The ban took effect in August" WPXI TV

Thank you Gov. Corbett for enacting this law. This family will NEVER be the same.

Parents, if you are struggling with a teen abusing substances or even suspect it, come to the next PSST meeting 11/5/11. You will find help and support from a team of professionals and seasoned parents. You won't regret it!

Read More......

The Transitioning Your Teen Trip ~ By Sally and Rocco
Posted by:Sally--Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What a Long Strange Trip It Has Been

It is a long and winding road to recovery for most addicts and their families.

It has been about five years now since Sally and Rocco first saw some major red flags and realized that Cisco needed help.

He had gone from our happy well behaved kid with a great sense of humor, an inspired imagination, a love for all kinds of animals and very outgoing personality to a very angry teen who was getting in fights, having a lot of school issues, withdrawing from our family and bringing home some rather dubious “friends”.

We started on our adventure with an outdated road map, a couple of well intentioned glossy brochures and no idea where we were headed. We had no GPS or AAA TripTik® . We knew where wanted to get to but had very little idea of how to get there, how long it would take or what we would find on our way down the road.

If you have followed our posts over the last two years you may be aware that we got Cisco into counseling for anger management back in 2006. His first overdose occurred in September of 2007 . The get-a-way weekend that Rocco and I planned for our thirtieth anniversary ended up as a nightmare in the emergency room.

So here we are five years, 2 overdoses, a couple of relapses, eight or nine court appearances and seven placements down the road and we are (as we like to say in PSST) cautiously optimistic.

We have all made adjustments in our lives and we are working on our own recovery. Rocco and Sally have gradually learned, modified our lifestyle and understand addiction better now. We just got done talking with our cousin (who became acquainted with addiction herself through her two brothers who suffer from it). She said that she had noticed a big change in Cisco lately. We agree.

We thought, at first, that the toughest part of addiction was Cisco causing trouble at school and creating general chaos in our home.

We used to think the toughest part of addiction was when Cisco was getting high and was having emotional issues.

We used to think the toughest part of addiction was when Cisco was stealing and dealing to get drugs.

We then thought that the toughest part of addiction was when Cisco was confronted by the police who told us that they were filing charges against our son.

No! No! The very toughest part had to be when he was finally placed into an inpatient recovery program and we had to deal with how much he hated us and the F##ing facility and he was going to use again as soon as he got out...

…or could it be when we had to meet in court and Cisco had to go before a hearing officer…

...or maybe when we first experienced all of the buzzers and banging doors at the Shuman Detention Center...

…or maybe when he would successfully completed his treatment program and we thought that we could get on with our lives and then he would relapse.

Well, now we know that the “next” toughest part of our journey still lies ahead of us

What really is happening is that each new day holds its own set of toughest challenges, bumps in the road and detours.

Cisco, Sally and Rocco have come a long way. Cisco has started a full time job. This in itself holds a lot of challenges for all three of us. At this point we are allowing him to stay at home, on a part time basis, as we adjust to each other once again.

With the help of Cisco’s counselors, and his P.O., we are trying to assist Cisco in his transition to a “normal” life style.

We are trying to work him into living back at home until he can manage (and afford) to live independently. Cisco needs to adjust how he deals with our family, how he handles his money, how he handles friends and how he acquires career training skills. He needs to work on his skills for handling the pressures of work and his personal life.

Most important, of course, is how Cisco continues to work on his recovery. He should attend meetings on a regular basis. He should make his sponsor a big part of his recovery and his life. He should avoid people and places that affect his attitude or that puts him into circumstances that jeopardize his recovery. He needs to sharpen up his ability to make good decisions and good choices on his own. He needs to be able to ask for help when he needs it without hesitation.

As for Sally and Rocco, we need to redevelop our trust in Cisco; that he can eventually handle this on his own and to accept that while Cisco will not do it perfectly; he has and he still is making progress. In the meantime he is doing well at his job and he is following our home rules. Sally has worked up a budget with him but he is still debating it.

We have both explained that, IF he really wants to purchase a car, besides the initial price he will need to save a lot of his paycheck for fuel, insurance and repairs. That will be Stop #1 on Cisco’s own road to independent living.

Will keep you posted on how the trip is going…

Read More......

Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, October 23, 2011


Once trust in another person has been damaged or lost, rebuilding that trust can be a very emotional and difficult journey for both parties. For most PSST parents, our teenagers have shattered our trust in them – trust that was so freely given at first, but now lies in ruins. On their journey to recovery, our teens hopefully will want to know what they can do to restore that trust. If we believe that they are truly serious, and that they are willing to commit to the demanding process involved, here is a step-by-step approach that we can try. The Four Steps to Trust and Freedom, developed by Larry Babaczewski of Milwaukee Solution Focus, was discussed at a PSST meeting by one of our guests.

Four Steps to Trust and Freedom!!

1) Do as I/we say.

Certainly not a fan favorite coming right out of the chute, but … classrooms, ball fields, and McDonald’s all begin with the ability to LISTEN and FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. No soccer game, term paper, or Big Mac was ever conquered without this first basic stepping stone of proving that you can get the job done according to plan.

○ On a scale of 1-10, rate the current level of trust – e.g. 5 [parent rating].

○ Then, ask if step #1 was followed for two full weeks – what would the trust level be – e.g. 6. In a month, what would the trust level be – e.g. 7.

○ At the end of two weeks, everyone rates how well the step was followed – on a scale of 1-10. Any rating below an 8 calls for another two weeks of step #1. Ratings above 8 call for a discussion of moving to step #2 – and perhaps, moving to step #2.

2) Ask me first.

So, if you can do the first step well, then maybe the authority figure you are facing may actually listen to you as you carefully and respectfully describe whatever it is you are wanting. This challenges your DISCUSSION and NEGOTIATION skills. Want to change the topic of the class term paper or argue for a later curfew time? Absolutely! … unless you forgot to do step #1.

Conveying what you want respectfully and carefully does not guarantee you will get what you want – so it may be wise to start “small” – e.g. ask for a chance to see a movie and not for a car of your own. This step is an opportunity to get better at negotiation [develop your effective ‘voice’] – all parents feel more positive when they see and hear that their child is developing an effective voice [versus a ranting or whining/”poor me” voice]. This is a time to let your parents know that you have used good judgment or used your head “out there” – e.g. you chose to call them to take you home from a party where there was underage drinking.

On a scale of 1-10, everyone rates how it is going with step #2 – e.g. “asking”/negotiating = 3 because it was not done – you went ahead without asking; or a 7 because it was done in a way that “discussion” and “negotiation” occurred and if a “no” was the response it was accepted. Here, mom and dad need to be clear about what is a “no” that is not negotiable – e.g. while you live under our roof you may not have your boyfriend sleep overnight in your bedroom! And what might be negotiable – if you get nothing less than a B for two grading periods, you can get your driver’s permit.

As negotiating gets stronger/more effective, using a scaling, you are ready to move to the next step – e.g. if you and your parents rate you at an 8 or 9 for a month.

3) Keep us informed/Tell us later.

By now you have earned enough trust and freedom and proven you are responsible so well that you can let your parents know if plans have changed – keep them informed or explain later what changed and why – if you make something up … whoops! … go back to step #1 for a while.

With cell phones and texting, it is easy to keep your parents informed, so err in this direction instead of telling them later. Be prompt about letting them know – let them know as soon as you know. Again use a 1-10 scale to measure how well you are doing with this step. If your rating differs from theirs, it is a chance to use your negotiation skills. This step may need to go on for a while before moving to the next step – yet another chance for negotiating.

4) You’re on your own.

Congratulations! You must have proven yourself to dress appropriately for school, hang around with decent enough friends or eat right, so that your decisions/judgments in these areas of your life are not even questioned by the powers that be. You’ve ESTABLISHED a sense of independent operations … at least in some areas of your life. But remember, do something dumb and fail to honor the basics of step #1, and back to basics you’ll go.

Read More......

Bam Bam is still Flexing his Muscles ~ by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bam Bam is still Flexing his Muscles

25 days in the DAS (Diversion and Acute Stabilization) program, and what is Bam Bam up to?

Well, in his first two weeks he “fell” on his already fractured hand and had to go to the ER and orthopedic surgeon where his re-fractured hand was wrapped up. THE NIGHT he went to the orthopedic doctor he was mad because his dad wouldn’t pick him up if he signed himself out so he punched a wall with the FRACTURED HAND. He called home begging Fred or me to go up there to take him to the ER.

We were told it was not an emergency and refused to be manipulated into picking him up.

I think this demand came from the day before the trip to the orthopedic doctor, when Fred drove up to Quarry Rock and picked Bam up to take him to the ER at our local hospital to check him out for chest pain. It was determined that there was no physical problem but that Bam Bam was suffering from anxiety.

The ER doc gave him a Xanax. Neither Bam nor Fred informed the doc that Bam Bam was a recovering addict.

After the hospital visit, Fred took Bam Bam home to change clothes, spray on some body spray and then stopped for some fast food on the way back to Quarry Rock. No wonder he wants Fred to take him to the hospital ER!

Since he punched a wall with his fractured hand, he again was taken to the ER by Quarry Rock staff and another appointment made for the orthopedic doc. This time the hand was casted. However, Bam Bam decided he didn’t need a cast so two days later he took it off himself.

We had a family meeting this past Thursday and we discussed Bam’s aftercare plans as Quarry Rock was planning on discharging him next Tuesday. At first the meeting was going o.k.

Then Bam decides he’s going to manipulate the meeting.

He tells us he’s not going back to school (he already had agreed to go back to his home school) and wants to go back to cyber school (he likes how cyber school with a teacher works in placement) which he’d already failed at earlier in the year and we had said NO CYBER SCHOOL, started making demands about his phone and friends, said he wouldn’t go back to his psychiatrist.

We all just stared at him – WHAT IS GOING ON? He is less than a week from discharge!!

The therapist told him she wasn’t taking sides, but that we as parents are not being unreasonable to have him earn his phone back, ease into friends, and that he had already agreed to return to his psychiatrist.

For those who don’t know, Bam was on the outs with his psychiatrist when she called him out on drug seeking behavior. He didn’t want to go back. However, I could not find another adolescent psychiatrist participating with our insurance that would take a dual diagnosis patient that had not been clean for longer than 16 months.

By the end of the meeting Bam was back on board with all the after care plans, which by the way he was involved in making. After the meeting he and Fred fished in the pond on the grounds even though it was drizzling and freezing.

At this point I felt o.k. with bringing him home on Tuesday. HOWEVER, that evening he called twice. Even after the first call I thought we still have a plan. After the 2nd phone call I felt as if we were at SQUARE ONE again.

Bam Bam told me he wasn’t going back to school, he wanted to do cyber-school as the teacher at Quarry Rock told him he was doing a good job there. Bam said after all he doesn’t have an x-box or i-pod to distract him, and of course he would have probation (by the way, he has charges now). I tried to explain to him that Miss Meg from Quarry Rock wasn’t moving in to monitor his school work and that his P.O. wouldn’t be sitting with him all day to make sure he does his school work.

All I could envision is that Bam comes home Tuesday, Wednesday he refuses to go to school. This is exactly the type of situation that brings cops to our house!

I called the case manager and therapist the next day and told them unless Bam Bam has the school piece of his discharge in place (even if it is an alternative school but not cyber school at home) we would not pick him up.

Of course we were informed that then CYF would be involved and I said I knew that and I’d go through with it. If Bam Bam wants to make his own rules and not follow rules at home, he doesn’t have to come home. His discharge was moved back to Thursday. He and the therapist have more work to do and then we all get back together on Tuesday.

Fred and I decided not to go up on Saturday and take Bam out for a meal as it felt like we would be rewarding him for all of the upheaval. Needless to say Bam Bam was not happy. He called his aunt who went up for a visit and took him fishing at the pond. I was actually glad that he reached out to her. He has not wanted to be around family for a long time. Except his cousin, Cool J, who was arrested for possession a couple of months ago.

Bam called us later Saturday evening about coming up on Sunday, but we told him we couldn’t. He told Fred then he wouldn’t go back to school if we didn’t come up! He called later to tell me his he broke his closet door frame at Quarry Rock because he was mad.

And he is supposed to come home this Thursday!

So, it is Sunday night and I am wondering what is going to happen tomorrow??

I just want to say that posting our story on the blog is cathartic and helps me by talking about it. I also hope it might help someone else out there going through a similar situation.

Read More......

Should I try to get my teenager a Juvenile Probation Officer?
Posted by:Rocco--Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There is a lot of good information in the PSST Blog archives. Here is some information for parents wondering why they would ever want to get a Juvenile Probation Officer for their teenager. It worked well for our son Cisco and Sally and me, however, you will need to determine if it would help your teen and you. As always, if you are looking for help with your troubled teenager, we invite you to our PSST Meetings to discuss this and other ways to get help for your family and to restore order in your home.

Should I try to get my teenager a Juvenile Probation Officer?
Posted by Lloyd Woodward --May 25, 2009

Sometimes parents in group hear other parents talk about how helpful it was to have a Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) for their teenager. This post will deal with the pros and cons to having a JPO and also cover the process of how Juvenile Court determines which teenagers to supervise. Also, if a parent decides that it would be a good idea to get a JPO to help supervise their teenager, it is not necessarily an easy thing to do.

First, we'll cover the process for getting a JPO and we will follow that with the downside and upside of having one for your teenager. Before you decide whether or not to go down this road make sure to read the downside part too.

To read the entire post click on the title: Should I try to get my teenager a Juvenile Probation Officer?

Read More......


This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.