Quote of the Week

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

Parents of Teen Drug Addicts and Alcoholics Tell Other Parents What NOT To Do
Posted by:Rocco--Friday, October 26, 2012

Parents of Teen Drug Addicts and Alcoholics Tell Other Parents What NOT To Do
Borrowed from drugrehabtreatment.com

By the time their children enter treatment for substance abuse, most parents have been through a long nightmare of constant worry and heartache. Other parents may fret about SAT scores and college choices – these parents worry if their children will live to see their sixteenth birthdays.

What went wrong? What do parents regret the most? In long interviews with a dozen or so counselors who work in therapeutic boarding schools and wilderness programs, there were some answers. Although each family’s situation is unique, nevertheless certain themes keep reoccurring.

“I wanted to believe her so much” is a constant theme. Often there is a long history of lying, even about small things. One parent put it this way, “I’d ask, ‘Did you clean your room?’ and she’d lie. ‘Did you do your homework?’ she’d lie. ‘Will there be parents at the party?’ she’d lie. ‘Are you using drugs?’ she’d lie. I’m not a stupid or weak person – I just wanted to believe her.”

“I allowed my teen to manipulate me.”
One single mother rued the fact that she had overly adored her son and allowed him to “work her” ever since he was little.

“He knew how to pull my strings,” she said. “When he told me ‘Drug tests would destroy the trust between us,’ I fell for that.”

When parents finally own up to the fact they have been used and manipulated, they usually feel betrayed and angry. At that point, they can begin to work through old negativity and develop honest and open communication with their child.

“I should have set stricter limits.”
Parents often regret that they allowed their teens to make too many of their own decisions about issues like marijuana, drinking, and sex. They may not have realized that their child was facing a totally different, more dangerous culture than the one of their own youths. They believed in giving children freedom and choices. Now they wish that they had given their child more direct guidance and specific information about the dangers of drug use. They wish they had set and enforced stricter limits

“We let the problems in our marriage ruin our child’s life.”
Parents often feel guilty that they did not understand how deeply their fighting was affecting their child. “We were so preoccupied with our own problems that we neglected his,” is a frequent theme. They often come to realize in therapy that their child was acting up to unite them.

If the couple is divorced, then they often believe their separation caused their child’s problems. “He didn’t have a Dad at his soccer games” or “She did not have Mom to help her get ready for a prom” are the kinds of things they bring up in therapy.

“We spent too little time with our child when she was growing up.” Parents often believe that they contributed to their child’s problems by working too many hours, traveling or volunteering too often. They regret that they kept too busy to pay attention to what was happening to their child, and that they allowed things to reach a crisis level.

“We let our child’s situation become too desperate.”
Parents often regret that they didn’t want to “rock the boat.” By not taking control of small problems, they allowed them to grow bigger. Often out of shame and embarrassment, they endured years of one bad event after another before getting help. Their child was in front of criminal courts, expelled from school, involved in car wrecks, ran away for weeks at a time or even dealed in drugs. These parents keep living the nightmare too long before seeking help.

The parents of teen alcoholics and drug users have heartbreaking stories to tell. No parent wants to believe that they raised a drug addict or alcoholic.

Their emotions range from anger and betrayal to sorrow and powerlessness. It is hard to absorb the depth of their pain.

However, their stories are worth repeating here – if just one person reading this article recognizes his own situation and gets help.



Thanks to Drug Rehab Treatment Centers - Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Young Adults - Teen Substance Abuse

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Internet Acronyms for Parents
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lloyd passed along the following document of Internet Acronyms that parents should know. These are not the usual LOL or BRB acronyms that most of us are familiar with - personally, I've never heard of most of them before.  My personal favorite is KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless. See how many of them YOU know!

Click here for the Top 50 Acronyms document.

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Marijuana Coming From Youngtown May Be Laced With Heroin
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thanks to Jessica, who sent in the following link. This article from KDKA Pittsburgh warns about the latest drug-related danger in our community.

Click here for the article.

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Addiction and "Logic"
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Addiction and "Logic"

"A person who tries to understand addiction using intellectual logic will become frustrated and feel manipulated by the addict."

"We can sum up emotional logic in the phrase 'I want what I want and I want it now.'"

One of my favorite PSST-isms is "We are good parents; we are not good parents of addicts."

As noted above trying to use our "logic", or "common sense", with our out of control teens can lead to disappointment, frustration, exasperation and anger. It very rarely works. In fact we have come to learn that our teenage addicts are very adept at turning our "logic" or "common sense" around and using it to manipulate us. Below is an interesting explanation of an "addict's logic" vs "our logic".

Emotional Logic

The Addictive Personality - Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior by Craig Nakken - Hazelden 1988

Addiction starts out as an emotional illusion that is entrenched in the addict before others around the addict or even the addict himself realizes that an addictive relationship has been formed.

The addict starts to build a defense system to protect the addictive belief system against attacks from others, but only after the addiction is well established on an emotional level. On a thinking intellectual level, the addict knows that an object cannot bring emotional fulfillment.

Alcoholics have heard the old saying "You can’t escape into a bottle." Workaholics know "there’s more to life than just work." Addictive spenders understand "money can’t buy happiness."

The illness of addiction begins very deep within a person, and his or her suffering takes place on an emotional level. Intimacy, positive or negative, is an emotional experience that is not logically evaluated. Addiction is an emotional relationship with an object or event, through which addicts try to meet their needs for intimacy.

When looked at in this way, the logic of addiction starts to become clear. When compulsive eaters feel sad, they eat to feel better. When alcoholics start to feel out of control with anger, they have a couple of drinks to get back in control.

Addiction is very logical and follows a logical progression, but this progression is totally based on what I call emotional logic, not intellectual logic.

A person who tries to understand addiction using intellectual logic will become frustrated and feel manipulated by the addict. This is partly why talk therapy (talking one-on-one with only a counselor and without a support group) is so ineffective in convincing addicts to end their destructive, addictive relationships.

We can sum up emotional logic in the phrase "I want what I want and I want it now." Emotional needs often feel very urgent and compulsive. Emotional logic works to satisfy this urgency even if it is not in the best interest of the person.

For example, a compulsive gambler tells himself he is done gambling for the week. Shortly, however, he has a rough day at work and feels uneasy, so he looks over his racing form to try to ease his feelings, still telling himself he won’t gamble anymore this week. While reviewing the racing form, he starts to hear his emotional logic telling him he has found a sure bet. "Why didn’t I see this before?" he says. "It’d be crazy for me to miss this opportunity!" Thus, he becomes pitted against himself ---- one side believing in his "sure thing," the other reminding him of his promise not to gamble for the rest of the week. Inside, the emotional pressure builds. Because addiction involves the deep need to have emotional needs met and emotional pressures relieved, he finally must give in to his urge, especially after he has convinced himself he would be stupid not to grab this opportunity.

Emotional logic pits the addict against himself or herself.

In the book Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a sentence that reads, "Remember that we deal with alcohol ---- cunning, baffling, powerful!"

This is also one of the most truthful ways to describe the emotional logic found in all addictions: ---- cunning, baffling, powerful.

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An Award-Winning Speech
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, October 14, 2012

In early October, our Parents of the Year spoke at the Allegheny County courthouse, where they also received recognition for their award. They did an encore performance at the following week's PSST meeting, but for those of you who missed that, the speech is attached here.

Click here to download the speech.

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Congratulations to our Award-Winners!!
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Parents of the Year award will be presented to JESSICA & ROGER on Thursday, October 4 at an awards ceremony beginning at 6:00pm at the Allegheny County Courthouse.  In addition, Bam Bam will be there to receive the award for winning the essay contest. 

Congratulations to all!!!!  Anyone who would like to be there to cheer them on is invited to attend.

There will also be a celebration for Parents of the Year at our next meeting in Wilkinsburg on Saturday, October 6.

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Healing Grief
Posted by:Sally--Monday, October 01, 2012

Someone handed me a small pamphlet called "Healing Grief " by Amy Hillyard Jensen.

I'm in a state of mind that others cannot understand. I probably would have tossed it in the garbage can except the person who gave it to me is a dear friend who recently lost her 32 year old daughter. Maybe, she does know, a little bit, what it feels like to have Cisco snatched up and forever gone from view.

When I was particularly low and did not know what to do to console myself, I read the pamphlet. It contained the basic clinical study of bereavement; Shock and Disbelief, Anger, Guilt, and Sadness and Depression.

Rocco and I are going through all of those emotions, except depression. We are fighting hard to ward that one off. There was one verse that was extraordinarily helpful: "Don't try to get around the grief. Instead, have the courage to go into it. Let your heart break. That will bring healing."

Click hear to read a related post called "Dealing with O.D. and Death"

It was thoughtful of Kathie and Lloyd to plan an additional PSST meeting for this month. We sincerely thank them and all of you who showed up (and we understand those who wanted to but couldn't make it on short notice).

It takes a load of courage to face the death of one of our children. It was very helpful to tell our story to you and we had more to tell except that I could not bear the sad looks on your faces as we spoke. It reflected our sadness back at us. I guess I was trying to get around the grief instead of going through it.

For now we will take it one day at a time, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, knowing that you are all there beside us when we need a helping hand.


"Get rid of imagined guilt. You did the best you could at the time, all things considered. If you made mistakes, learn to accept that we are all imperfect. Only hindsight is 20-20. If you are convinced that you have real guilt, consider professional or spiritual counseling (with a competent and trustworthy counselor). If you believe in God a pastor can help you believe also in God's forgiveness." - Amy Hillyard Jensen

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Heroin's Siren Song - submitted by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, September 21, 2012

Thanks to Wilma, who provided the link to this article, part of a series in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Click here to link to the article called
Heroin's Siren Song: The effects of a child lost to addiction

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'Smiles': The New Killer Drug
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, September 21, 2012

'Smiles': The New Killer Drug Every Parent Should Know About

Click here for the online article from Yahoo Shine.

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Posted by:Rocco--Friday, September 14, 2012


Drug Lingo - Know What to Listen for

Have you ever heard your teen reference the time "4:20?"

Many parents don’t realize that 420 (pronounced "four-twenty") is code for a time to get high.

The reference to 420 presumably dates back to '70s stoner lingo but is still widely recognized by the youth of today. Some people have even designated April 20th as "National Pot Smokers Day."

If you hear your teenager reference 420, see that he is using the term while instant messaging with friends or has a 420 sticker on his car or backpack, call them on it.

When it comes to teens and drugs you will never know everything but you don’t want them to think you are an idiot. You need to keep communication open and be aware of the dangers of the Internet and texting.

Let them know you know what they are talking and texting about and set up a time for a longer conversation about your family’s No Tolerance Policy for drug and alcohol use.

Search for drug street terminology and slang on the internet and do not be shy about checking your teens texts, tweets, Facebook and computer use.

For a start check the following sites:

iMOM.com - A Guide to Teen Drug Slang

webMD.com – Teen Drug Slang: Dictionary for Parents

uatest.com – Drug Slang Terms

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Cisco 1992 - 2012
Posted by:Rocco--Thursday, September 06, 2012

We will always have our regrets but we will always thank God for the 20 years we had with our beautiful son Cisco. He fought hard and now he is at peace and in God's hands. Our most sincere thanks for all of our good friends at PSST and their prayers and thoughts and their love.

Sally and Rocco


Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours and not expect to get over my child's death, but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.

Just for today I will remember my child's life, not just his death, and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days and moments we shared.

Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside, for maybe if I smile a little, my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.

Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child, for they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other.

Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt, for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world I could of done to save my child from death, I would of done it.

Just for today I will honor my child's memory by doing something with another child because I know that would make my own child proud.

Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship to another bereaved parent for I do know how they feel.

Just for today when my heart feels like breaking, I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving and the only reason I hurt is because I had the privilege of loving so much.

Just for today I will not compare myself with others. I am fortunate to be who I am and have had my child for as long as I did.

Just for today I will allow myself to be happy, for I know that I am not deserting him by living on.

Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did, my life did go on, and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.

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To Rocco & Sally
Posted by:Cheryl, Jim, Andy + 3 Stooges--Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Read this quote and thought instantly of you.  Your gentle ways of helping us all in PSST with the knowledge you have gained through your journey with your beloved son, Cisco.

"The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others."
Solomon Ibn Gabriol

A Complete Standing Ovation to you both from all the PSST parents you have touched at the meetings and through the website; and when you are ready, we hope for an encore!  You still have so much to teach us.

Our most sincerest condolences & sympathy to you and your family,

All the PSST Parents
(cheryl, jim & andy) 

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In Memoriam
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, September 01, 2012

In Memory of Cisco ~ beloved son of Rocco & Sally
Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.   - Terri Guillemets

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The PSST Support Group is now on Yahoo!
Posted by:Jenn--Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Join the Parent Survival Skills Training support group

on YAHOO Groups & start your conversation today!! 

If you've ever come to a PSST meeting, then you know that it is an invaluable resource for parents who are looking for help with their out-of-control teen. PSST goes beyond the typical support group and offers role plays and advice from the Dream Team of Lloyd, Kathie, Justin and various other professionals who give up their Saturday mornings to attend. If you attend, you also know that PSST is a place where every other parent knows, to some extent, what you are going through and is there to offer support without judgment.

What if:
·        The support and advice you find at the PSST meetings were available 24/7?
·        You could post a question to the other parents or professionals, ask for advice, or simply connect with others who understand what you are going through? 
·        There was a way to have a virtual meeting during the "off" weeks when there is no real meeting?

I guess you know where I am going with this. The Yahoo "Parent Survival Skills Training" group is that place. It's easy to join and closed to anyone outside the group, so your family's anonymity is protected.

It's easy to join:
·        Sign up for a Yahoo account
·        Click on "Groups"
·        Type in "Parent Survival Skills Training" in the search box. You will see the PSST logo. Click on that group and click "join". The administrator will add you to the group.

OR . . . just enter your email address below and click on the Yahoo Groups widget! 

Subscribe to ParentSurvivalSkillsTraining

We hope to see you there!


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