Quote of the Week

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

Roxie's Rodeo - by Roxie
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, April 28, 2013

In 2007, I was a proud mom watching my twins, Lena and Lenny, win their state’s Bible Quiz Championship. Obtaining that winning spot resulted in them participating on the national level in Missouri. One of the highlights of the Bible Quiz trip was their visit to the Dolly Parton Dixie Stampede and Rodeo in Branson, MO. Little Lenny watched in amazement while the clowns distracted the angry bulls, and cowboys held the reins for dear life.

Six years later in 2013, Roxie’s Rodeo featuring Lightning Lenny would be the weekly attraction in my own home.   The bang-up rodeo recently began when Lenny’s teacher contacted the sheriff dude, Lenny’s Probation Officer, explaining that he was not on task or completing the schoolwork assigned. The message was relayed to me, and I assured the PO that I would go through the mill in order to fix the situation. Surprisingly, Lenny threatened to go to juvenile jail before apologizing to the teacher, or even turning in the homework. My vivid imagination flashed to where the jig was up. I imagined Lenny played out, shackled, handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit with brown plastic sandals and gray socks in jail.

From 10:30pm until 11pm, I begged, demanded, pleaded, and gave up the gun for Lenny to:        
        1. Apologize to the teacher
        2. Give her the completed homework assignment
        3. Shut his bazoo

He was adamant about heading to jail before following any of the three requests above. Lenny didn’t mind being in a heap of trouble, and went to bed with me unable to break his will.
The next morning, while he conducted his usual routine in getting ready for school, I again urged him not to shoot his mouth off to the teacher. Five minutes before leaving the house, Lenny exclaimed, “I’ve changed my mind, mom. It’s not worth the consequences so I’ll talk to the teacher and turn in my paper today. See you later.” He shut the door and caught the school bus.

Feeling like I was over my head in rising manure-infested water, I fetched the sheriff dude for advice. “You needed to take the bull by the horns, and you did. You took a stand, did not budge, and he finally came around to seeing things more sensibly,” he encouragingly stated. As a limp-wristed mom, I felt empowered that I strong-armed Lenny to see things my way. He actually listened like a horse with an unbridled bit in his mouth. As parents, we need to get back in the saddle each time our unruly buck tries to keep us from riding. Remember that you have the power and control the reins.

Before Lenny moves to another feeding trough, I will nurture, care for, and attempt to break him into a prize-winning stallion that a young filly would be proud of. It is one of Roxie’s goals before her life is over, and she is eventually put out to pasture.

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Letting Go - by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, April 21, 2013

THANKS!!  I want to thank Roxie for bringing the balloons to opening day at our new meeting location.  I would also like to thank Jim and Cheryl for finding our new meeting place and setting it up.  It was great seeing you today (and everyone else who attended)!!
After the meeting several of us released Roxie's balloons to symbolically release our obsession with our child's addiction.

For me personally, it reinforced my resolve to NOT check out a store where Bam had spent a large sum of money since his discharge from 1/2 way house to 3/4 way house. My dear friend Jane had advised me NOT to go and I had resolved not to go, BUT being in the area I was starting to relapse thinking MAYBE I should check it out anyway. However, afterwards I stuck to my resolve and did not go.

And in a larger sense, since Bam transferred to the 3/4 way house I have found myself falling back into helicopter mode. He was making poor spending decisions, had problems with work and medication. I was checking on what he was spending money on and within days he had spent about $800 on a new phone, cologne, jewelry, e-cigs, food, loans, etc.
Then he didn't have the money to cover his rent check. When he asked me to help him out, saying it could be his birthday gift, I said NO and have stuck to that. I guess he figured it out. I don't think he was happy about it but he is still working and trying to get extra hours, has applied for two new jobs, has interviewed with one place and has another one scheduled. He says he got the money back from the loans - maybe, but I am not making myself nuts (not today anyway) trying to find out.
I was making myself sick. When I wake up in the morning, even though he doesn't live here, I am sick to my stomach worried about what the day might bring. I resolved this week to STOP, he has to be accountable for his decisions and I have to step back. Trust me it's hard but I am trying. Releasing that balloon is making me accountable!

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***NEW LOCATION - PSST South Hills Meeting - This Saturday April 20***
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, April 15, 2013

We've moved!
Begining This Saturday April 20, the 3rd PSST Saturday meeting of each month will be held at Saints Simon and Jude Church, located at 1607 Greentree Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the School building. Look for PSST signs to guide you.

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The Changing Faces of Addiction
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, April 12, 2013

Switching Addictions with Lascivious Lenny – by Roxie
Lenny’s twin sister, Lena, hears him talk openly at home about his sexual exploits or lack thereof. “He’s only a regular teenage boy,” she remarked. I began to contemplate on whether she was right. Yet, my heart says she is incorrect. I am afraid that Lenny’s addictive personality is taking him in a new direction.

While searching for information regarding his drug addiction, I discovered a 2010 letter written by world-renowned Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, the 1972 founder of Gateway Rehabilitation Center. “I doubt that there has been any time in our history that there has been as grave a threat to the morality of our people and to the stability of the (Jewish) family as the plague of addiction to internet pornography. If it were possible to restrict access to the internet, this would be ideal. Unfortunately, this cannot be achieved and we must deal with the reality.”  For the full letter, please visit www.guardyoureyes.org.
That’s my Lenny, spot-on. A week before he was released from placement back to our home on February 27th, Lenny nonchalantly told me “I’m switching my addiction from drugs to sex. I’ll be sober, and that’s what you want. I’m going to need condoms so if you don’t buy them, you know what can happen, don’t you?”He was holding me responsible for his safe sex practices. He has condoms in his room next to a red lighter, but Roxie did not buy either. Apparently, he is having sex and smoking cigarettes out of my view. Irrefutably, I am not a smoking voyeur since it irritates my eyes immensely.

Since Lenny has returned home, I have caught him twice in three weeks on pornography websites because he forgot to delete the computer history. I don’t consider it normal teenage activity like Lena. I believe it is part of an OCD / addiction / impulse-control disorder that can take over his life like drugs. These days, folks can die from sex. No joke.

Lenny having sex, with or without protection, evokes the same ‘butterflies in the stomach’feeling for me, as if he was using drugs or alcohol. He told me the truth, but it was a different kind of truth. I am able to deal with substance abuse, but not his sexuality.
I have become a co-dependent mom by lying to lasses for my Lenny. “He’s busy,” I stated on the phone as he suggested. I knew emphatically that he was with two other ladies on an outing. I stunned myself at the willingness to engage in double-dealing deceitfulness, for I thought I had healed over his past suicide attempt over a romantic breakup two years ago. That is why I lied for Lenny.
I remember the crisis so vividly. Lenny’s girlfriend dropped him like a bad habit after he cheated on her. Crying and distraught, he grabbed a butcher knife and sat in the broken living room chair, sticking the inside of his left wrist until blood began to slowly come to the skin surface. My brown rug absorbed his globulin like a vampire in ecstasy. I was terrified to get close to him; for fear that the skimming of the knife would turn to sawing of an artery. The ambulance took him away to a psychiatric hospital for observation. He was diagnosed with ADHD, not sexual addiction.
If Lenny is willing to take his life over sex, then it is a manipulative, sexual addiction. The scheming suicide attempt helped me to be dishonest for his future sexcapades. I did not want him to die, so I will lie to his sweetie pie.
He asked me,“Would you rather me get high or have sex?” I didn’t answer. Honestly, I’d like him to have a daily dose of saltpeter with Concerta chased with vitamin-fortified spring water.
If I was back in counseling at his placement agency, I would be told that I am experiencing thinking errors that need to be stopped immediately. I cannot continue to enable or cover up for Lenny’s sexual indiscretions. This teaching moment, based on a heart- wrenching suicide attempt, is for Roxie to learn from and begin change.
If you are concerned about finding internet pornography in your home, you can visit Dr. Twerski’s website recommendation at www.guardyoureyes.org, or read the article on Teens & Internet Pornography at http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/teens-and-internet-pornography/.

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Redemption - submitted by Roxie
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Lenny’s Role in Recovery Play Leaves Roxie Profoundly Hopeful – by Roxie

One-and-a-half years ago, Lenny robbed a woman, knocking her to the ground to steal money from her purse for drugs. On Saturday, March 30th, Lenny was in a play portraying a young man who kicked and robbed a helpless, drunken man, mocking him while he stole drug money. The compelling irony brought tears to my eyes, and gently touched my healing heart. Lenny was no longer in bondage to his addiction; he was in a play entitled, “Redeemed!”

While Lenny was in placement, the boys from the agency became involved in a Life Recovery play at South Hills Assembly. Although he was released from placement a month ago, he continued to practice at the church with the boys he used to live with.

After an hour of music by The Good News Blues Band, comprised of men with 30+ years of sobriety, the lights were lowered and the play began.

Out stumbled a drunkard, blindly staggering into unknown surroundings. A group of boys, including Lenny, came out with black t-shirts on with labels printed on the back such as Hopeless, Depressed, Insane, Self-centered, and other names that describe the human spirit in its dejected state. Paradoxically, Lenny t-shirt was labeled Hopeless.

While the drunkard was being beat and robbed, a man with Grace printed on the back of his t-shirt covered his body as protection. Hopeless, Depressed, Insane, and Self-centered attempted to get to the drunkard again, but Grace served as armor against them. During this part of the play, the song lyrics were heard stating “Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours.”

Those with the t-shirts turned around, and each label was ripped from their backs, allowing them to be clean outside and within. The message was loud and clear for redemption through recovery with Christ in one’s life.

Lenny’s probation officer had an even more poignant idea for the play. He suggested that when the t-shirts were taken off, the boys would have additional t-shirts underneath entitled “Urges”. The impulses and strong desirous actions of the boys could eventually lead to the t-shirts entitled Hopeless, Depressed, Insane, and Self-centered. Consequently, addiction is a disease comprised of numerous layers in which recovery occurs after reaching various inner stratums.

I am very proud of Lenny and the boys from the placement agency. Their performance in public is a true sign that recovery is searing their mind-set. I have wondered how Lenny felt re-living the robbing incident in the play. I didn’t ask him; for I am quite satisfied that he is finally showing signs of being “Redeemed!”

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A Younger Sister's View of Addiction
Posted by:Brigitte--Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I want to share a short story my daughter Kitt wrote for her high school Literature class. The assignment was to write a short story based on the book The Catcher In The Rye. The guidelines were that the story could be fictional or as real as you like. The only criteria was that it must be written in the voice of the character Holden. Kitt's story is very real, and provides a glimpse into how siblings are affected when one of them is a drug addict. Many of the posts on this blog are written by parents, but  I think you might find this post written by a 17 year old insightful.

I redacted and gave pseudo-names to keep things anonymous. Many of you know my story, and some have met Kitt and my family. Kitt and I both agree that Herman provides great inspiration for writing material. Who knows? Maybe a book is in the making.



My Goddarn Screw Up Brother

I don't remember much, but Toontown used to be such a vibrant place. I would walk down the narrow roads looking in all the store windows. Such gorgeous streets and gorgeous windows. They were decorated with twinkling lights and flowers that you could smell without sticking your face in them. The fall was the best time to roam around. They had this jazz festival that added the perfect touch of velvetiness to the crisp air. I swear, you could hear those guitars no matter where you were in town. I didn’t mind it that much. It was sorta relaxing. Listening to the solid bass keep time for the guitars as they improvised. These guys just did whatever felt right at that moment. They did what they wanted and stole the show while the bassist kept to the same old beat. I would hear people say, "Wow, that guy can really play" and I always knew it was about the guitarist. Never the bassist. That always bothered me. He was the one that kept everythingtogether anyway.

It wasn’t until 2004 that things started to go downhill for the town. Hurricane Ivan grabbed it by its neck and shook it to the point that the town is now unrecognizable. The flood destroyed all the potential greatness Toontown had in one night. My dad had a newly remodeled dental office down there. New walls, new floors, new everything. Ivan barged in and decimated the office. Ivan didn't play favorites, he knocked down all thriving businesses and families. Toontown is now a ghost town infested with drug dealers. Those goddarn drug dealers.

Herman lives there now. I find that funny. I don't know why, but it is. We drive down there sometimes and drive past his apartment. It's a dainty, three-story building with red bricks and white windowpanes. His apartment has a window that faces the street. I like it. Right before you reach his place you have to drive down this long road. I wouldn't mind it, but there isn't much to see. Just broken down houses and old businesses filled with people just trying to get by in their lives. As we approach his building, my mom always says, "I wonder if we can see Herman through the window." I don't get why she thinks he'll be there. He never stands by the window. Ever. If he does, it's to water his already dead plant. That bothers me. That he keeps the plant, that is. It's such an eye sore. I don’t know why he doesn't just buy a new one, but I guess I'll never understand. The thing is that's what makes Herman so frustrating. His reasons behind his actions never make sense. Probably not even to himself. He just does what he pleases and doesn’t give a darn about anyone else. He wasn't always like that. I remember when I was little I use to think he was the coolest person ever. God, you should have known him. He killed me. His mannerisms would make about anyone smile and laugh. He was a chubby, brown hair, red Kool-aid mustache kid. You'd liked him. We would play this game. We called it "Rescue Babies". My sister and I were probably four years-old, making my younger brother about three and Herman six. I would sit on a bed with my sister and brother and we would be hugging each other singing "Kumbaya". We pretend the bed was our wrecked ship. Herman would be laying underneath the bed, swimming in the made up ocean. The game was always the same. We would be singing, Herman shakes the bed, and we would scream. Herman would grab one of us and drag up into the "water". The order was always the same, too. First Katt, then Rick. I would be stranded on the bed alone. It probably doesn't sound all that fun, but it was for us. Herman was the ringleader of all the best games. God, I wish you knew him. He was the one of the funniest kids you would ever meet. Teachers would always say he was never a student, but they still liked him anyway. That Herman is gone now, though. I'm not quite sure where he went, but I doubt he would be coming back anytime soon.

Anyway, it's Sunday, so I know what to expect for the day. "Kitt, Herman is coming over. Help me clean up a little," my mom says. I don't exactly mind helping. I like cleaning. If you want to know the truth, I just don't understand why we have to clean for him. He doesn't want to be here. Well, he does, but for the wrong reasons. I don’t blame my mom for wanting a clean house. It's good to have at least something nice while he's here. It wasn't long until we could hear his bass blasting from his 2002 Buick. He looks pretty stupid in that car, if you asked me. Take this typical old person car and imagine seeing a nineteen year-old blaring rap from it. It just doesn't look right. I watch him as he pulls into the driveway and opens his door. As he steps out, I can see a few bottles roll out and on to the ground. I don't want to know what was in the bottles and I don't care. He walks to the door with his electric cigarette hanging out of his mouth and rings the doorbell as if that's what he's suppose to do. The only people who stayed downstairs for him were me, my parents, and my dog who won't stop barking. She usually only barks at strangers. She usually does it to protect us. The funny thing is that she knows Herman. She used to love him so much we would say Herman was her boyfriend. Recently, though, she's been acting like an angry ex- that is still bitter about the break up. Nonstop yelling.

"You look good, Herman" my mom said. We all know though that he doesn't, but it's the only thing to say to a person like Herman without fearing the response. He walks into the livingroom as if he still owns the place and turns on the TV. Next thing I know, he turns to me

"Turn the Wii on. I want to watch Netflix." I turn to him and he coyly says,"Please." I could have smacked him right then. I was watching my favorite show.

"Sure. What are we watching?" (I really want to throw this Wii remote square in his eye.)

"I want to watch Jackass. My friend said I remind him of one of the guys." He laughed. His laugh just makes me angry. Not because it's annoying, but because it's the pot head laugh. A mixture of a monotone "huh" and the typical "ha". If you ever have the displeasure of talking to a pot head, you'll know what I mean. Herman's friends have that laugh, too. They're all such phonies. None of them even like each other.

"Kitt, give me the remote!" I didn't realized I was still holding it. I tossed it over, but I missed. I was shaking too much. I pick it up and hand it to him. "Here." I avoided eye contact with him the best I could. I knew if I looked that I would risk seeing them red and glassy. I don’t think I could handle that. We watch Jackass and I can hear my parents in the kitchen.

"Roger, do you think he's high right now?"

"I don't know. Maybe hung-over."

"Go check," my mom, her neck begins to become beat red. I feel bad for her. I know she's worked up and there is nothing I can do to make it better. Her own son turned into her worst nightmare right before her eyes. That drives me darn near crazy. I think of what I would do if I ever had a son like him. Makes me darn near crazy. I know my mom did everything possible to help him and has given him so many chances, yet he still refuses to follow any type of rule. I just want him to leave. I would take the honor of kicking him out of this house myself. I keep picturing me grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. I would say, "What are you doing with your life? Just look what you have done." But I know I wouldn’t have the guts to do it. So I just sit here, teeth clenched and palms sweaty. I look over at Herman and he's asleep. I watch him and imagine how peaceful he would look in his coffin. It's a depressing to picture, but I know if he continues what he's doing, I'll need to be prepared.

I guess wasn't really paying attention for awhile because I heard yelling. It was Herman. I don't want to hear it, but I know I have to stay. I have to. "Herman, please calm down. It was just a simple question," my mom said. "This wasn't meant to be an argument."

"F" you, guys," Herman snaps as he stands up. That hit me right in the gut. I know it wasn't directed towards me, but it still stings. I couldn't help but feel hurt. I wanted to say something, but my father stepped in for me. "Herman. Sit down. Now. Don't you ever speak to anyone, especially your mother, like that."

"You guys effing suck." I hate when he says that. "I'm glad I'm out of here. I can't wait until I develop Alzheimer's. I don't wanna remember any of you." Does he even realize how ridiculous he sounds? Next thing I know, the door slams. He left and I can breathe again.

I stand in the living room by myself. He has to realize what he does to us. His siblings no longer want to spend time with him. He has to know they're all starting to hate him in the order of our "Rescue Babies" game. First Katt, then Rick. Not me though. I don't think I hate him. I hate what he does and what he will do, but not him. Sometimes, before I go to bed, I pray that he gets arrested. Maybe he needs to hit rock bottom. But I guess the thing is, he hit bottom awhile ago. I thought that would change him. But he is still continues down the same path. I could feel the tears starting to cloud up my eyes. I try to wipe them away, but I felt someone grab my hand. "It's okay, Kitt. We'll be okay."

 Living with and addict is like being in quick sand. If you ever been stuck in an end-less cycle like this, you'll know what I mean.

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22 Things Happy People Do Differently
Posted by:Brigitte--Monday, April 01, 2013

Submitted by Kathie T (original internet source unknown)

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn't come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that? It's quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they:
1. Don't hold grudges
Happy people understand that it's better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you'll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges
The word "problem" is never part of a happy person's vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have
There's a popular saying that goes something like this: "The happiest people don't have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have." You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don't have.
5. Dream big
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don't. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don't sweat the small stuff
Happy people ask themselves, "Will this problem matter a year from now?" They understand that life's too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses
Benjamin Franklin once said, "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." Happy people don't make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present
Happy people don't dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they're doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you're better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You'll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely
Misery loves company. That's why it's important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others
Happy people don't care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it's impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone's approval but your own.
14. Take the time to listen
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others' wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
16. Meditate
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don't have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
17. Eat well
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it's difficult to be happy when you're in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body's ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape. 
18. Exercise
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your Self Improvement and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your Self Improvement, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others' trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it. 
21. Establish personal control
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don't let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one's own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you'll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

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Family Fun
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, April 01, 2013

Looking for ways to have more fun with your family?  
Here are some ideas...   

1) Plan an adventure together- having a game plan for fun ensures special excursions and activities don't get put off for 'someday'.
2) Turn your home into a fun zone - making room for games, creativity and plain old hanging out can make a house a home.
3) Celebrate the little things - look for excuses to add a dose of happiness to otherwise ordinary weeks.

4) Narrow the gap between playing and learning - make time for curiosity and exploration.

 5) Fill their lives with sweet surprises- kids thrive on routines, but it's often the unexpected joys that they truly treasure. 

 6) Find the silver lining- use a look-on-the-bright-side mind frame to banish disappointment and turn it into delight. 
7) Make work and chores feel like play - tackle household chores with a party spirit-- If it's gotta get done, let's make it fun!

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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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