Sunday, August 22, 2010

Are you listening

There are times when I have the privilege to sit down and talk with other adults that deal with teen substance abuse issues and our conversations often leave me with even greater insights and sadly far too much confirmation of what I already know to be true.

Here's what scare me folks - the deterioration of the family unit; family's are dysfunctional and then there is second generation addiction... scary, scary stuff. Listen, I am truly not blaming parents for all the drug use and addiction within our teen population -that would be crazy talk. But what I do know is there are far too many hurting young ones out there and someone needs to start listening, really listening to them. Not listening and thinking at the same time 'what can I do to fix this'? We need to be listening first - to them without interjection... just hear them. Spend some time empathizing with them, their pain, their problems. Guess what that big break up with the boy/girlfriend is devastating to your young one. Now is not the time to minimize it. Their feelings, their emotions, their reactions are real - just because we as parents don't necessarily find their problems really "problems" - (in our minds we're thinking - just wait until you have to face REAL problems). What we see as tiny little issues are often huge mountains they are trying to figure out how to climb.

What you may not be "hearing" underneath are all the thoughts about drugs, alcohol, sex etc.... listen... shhhh... listen... to what may not be spoken...

It truly isn't enough to ask your young one what's wrong and just take the stock answer "nothing" or "you wouldn't understand" and leave it go. That's surely an easy approach to take... well he/she said I wouldn't understand, they're probably right so why bother. Or maybe it's this thought process if I do try and understand you'll only end up in another confrontation... easy out. I've done that one myself. I am so not in the mood for a teenage confrontation tonight... hard day at the office, still have dinner to make etc. forget it I'll let it pass. I just told you I've played that card and regret every time I have done so. I think of how many opportunities I missed with my daughter. Opportunities to communicate, to hear her, to let her know I HEAR HER.

Our young ones want direction, they long to trust us with their hearts. Broken families leave them wondering where does trust and stability play a factor in their family. Busy lives leave us with barely enough time to shower and of course as adults with so much responsibility we need our "me time" as well. I agree... "me time" is important but it is never more important than kid time. Never! As parents we have a responsibility first and foremost to those children which God has entrusted us to love, guide and raise up to the best of our ability. And yes we all make plenty of mistakes.

If you've tried to get your young ones into a conversation and have failed, don't give up. Try another tactic... another time, another situation but come on folks don't just give up. They need you and this is far too important - you must give it your all!

Blessings... remember when you are feeling like you just can keep going... look up and remember to draw your strength of the Father of all creation.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Who is accountable?

I stand so often in a room full of young ones looking at me with tired eyes. They look weary and much older than they really are – drug use ages you folks and not in a good way. Assessing the room is always emotionally difficult for me; the range of emotions emulating from these young folks makes me feel as if I am part of some concoction swirling around inside of a blender. There always seems to be one that stands out in the group that is doing his/her best to double up on the “hardened shell” persona. This breaks my heart. On the inside they are full of so much pain, pain they won’t show with their words or outward appearance yet it hauntingly radiates from under their downcast eyes.

Others are far too quick to tell me how much they have learned through the sessions and how they will never again touch drugs or alcohol. So eager to say the right things that it scares me. I know how difficult it is for them to stay clean. In my heart I am hopeful that they are sincere. For some in the moment they are totally sincere, they just don’t realize that it might be easier said than done. For others it’s just a game they play with me, thing is I’m not playing. During our discussion time they will often unknowingly reveal to me just how sincere they really are about their commitment to sobriety. If they are in truth only playing a game, it’s a deadly one to play. They hurt themselves the most. I tell them upfront to only speak their truth… if they can’t speak the truth then don’t respond. But teens will be teens and their immaturity surfaces easily.

Posing to them the question “how did your parents react to you getting in trouble with drug?” is never easy for me. Mainly because I am almost always astonished to hear that they really didn’t react or seem upset. From the level of apathy in the parent groups, I believe them. Hearing those responses inevitability get’s my feather’s ruffled. I just don’t understand it – parental apathy. I’m not sure if parents realize that their apathy is often passed on through the generations. Not the best gift to give your child(ren).

Let me tell you folks, believe it or not these young ones are yearning for someone to give them direction. They may scream and complain about consequences, but they are old enough to understand that being held accountable by their parent’s means their parents care about the choices they make in life. Too often they are filled with feelings of abandonment and confusion. They lack structure in their lives and they have not been taught how to regain their footing. There are painful situations that they have been through in the short lives and no one is showing them how to deal with their emotions; how to process their experiences so that they can move on to a healthy adult life. How are they to find their way without the help from the parents that brought them into this world?

Who is to be held accountable in these situations? I ask you to consider this question.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stay the course

When I was a teenager I pushed the envelope that's for sure. My parents set clear boundaries for me, but I was in truth a tad bit rebellious. I was an only child but believe me I wasn't as spoiled as one might believe. But I was head strong and determined to experience life. That said, when I was defiant and disobeyed the rules I was more than willing to take whatever consequences came my way. I missed many a school dance or sporting event because of my groundings. My parents never left me off early; though I did do some begging and pleading they stuck to their guns.

As a parent I was not very good at that - sticking to my guns. As a child my daughter was so well behaved. It wasn't very often that she needed a time out, or punishment of any kind. Of course the teenage years proved to be a very different story and I for one was not very well prepared. Looking back - one of my worst parental offense was the inability to stay the course with the consequences set forth from her "defiance". I strongly urge all parents, regardless of the age of your child to take this to heart. It is one of the most important lessons you can learn. The earlier you learn it, the better of everyone in your family will be.

In our particular situation I always began to feel sorry for Ang when she was in trouble. I know that I spent most of my life trying to make up for the pain of her young life and the voids that were left in the wake of others dirty deeds. That was my rationale. As good as my intentions may have been, the back lash was devastating. She did not learn to respect my authority and I often let her run rough shot over me. I urge you to consider your specific situation and rectify where necessary.

When consequences are rendered they need to be followed to the letter. Clearly define the consequence and course of action so that everyone has a true understanding of what is expected and stay the course. No matter what. No time off for good behavior. No giving in when you see they are bored or sad or angry. Guess what they are going to be bored, sad and angry. Punishment is not supposed to be fun. It is suppose to be a deterrent from repeating the unacceptable behavior. I guarantee, if you lose your backbone your child will use it to their advantage in the future. The media is constantly showing our youth how to scheme. While we are trying to teach responsibility, respect and good values our youth are hearing vulgarity, disrespect for authority and seeing violence as entertainment.

Drug and alcohol use in teens continues to climb. Our youth are experimenting earlier than ever with drugs, alcohol and sex. They are spending their time texting, instead of learning how to truly communicate with each other. Without strong boundaries, clear expectation and the willingness of parents to stay the course with the consequences of improper behavior it only further solidifies to our youth that more and more we live in a society where "anything goes". Is that what you want for your children?

Stay the course folks... take back your family...your children will respect you for lessons you teach them... after they get through the "I hate you for ruining my life" stage.

God Bless

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Missing Piece

It is so very frustrating when a young one is stuck in an impossible living situation when they are trying to stay sober. Our system is not set up to deal with the in between situations that arise when a young addict does not deserve a lock-down environment and their current home life is not conducive to a positive recovery outcome. Many young people find themselves between a rock and a hard place when those that love them the most are entangled in issues that create torment and drama on a continual basis. This is not to say that the family doesn't love or support the addict themselves... the majority of the time they do... love them and want success for them. However, what happens to this struggling young one when they find themselves in this an atmosphere of adult issues that leave them urning for their drug of choice... simply to escape what they can not change and can not reconcile for themselves?

In order for an addict of any age to succeed in their recovery, they need to be in a positive, nurturing environment. One with clear boundaries of acceptable behavior, consequences and compassion. If they are constantly swept up, even on the peripheral in the drama and pain of others they are not free to work on the very reasons they turn to drugs in the first place. Where does that leave them? Hopelessly lost I am afraid. We are not set up to foster this lost group... it's either rehab or detention. If home isn't working... it's lock down... or yet another stint in rehab. Are either one truly appropriate for one that has been through the rehab program and desires recovery but finds themselves continually seeking refuge from the reality of their current situation. It seems to me that there should be something in between... a half way house of sorts where they are free to work on themselves... visit with their loved ones away from the eye of the storm. Able to love and be loved with out the drama...sadly... there is no such an animal available for those under the age of 18.

Perhaps we are missing a very important piece of the recovery process from our young ones. I will seek the Lord in prayer and hope that we find a way to stand in the gap for the struggling teen addict perhaps BrokenButLoved can be part of the solution.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Discipline vs. Punishment

Often times as parents we use the words discipline and punishment interchangeably. I'd prefer to think of the two like this:

Discipline is the guidelines and set of expectations you set forth for your young ones

Punishment is the consequences of non adherence to this set of guidelines

Simple? Sounds simple... it is simple yet ever so difficult. Far be it from me to tell you this is a simplistic look at parenting. I made so many mistakes as a parent, however... I learned heartbreaking lessons that I share with you all in hopes of tempering your desire to let things ride verses nipping them in the bud.

Children need to be told up front and with authority what is expected of them. They need to have a clear understanding of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. To us it may seem ridiculous to have to tell them that all drugs are off limits. But they need to hear it from YOU. Not just the school, not just the TV from YOU. It is your job as a parent to inform your children of this dangerous situations that can ruin their lives or take them. Just as you explain to them what you expect from them in terms of household responsibilities, school work, etc... they need to know all of peripheral issues as well, drug, sex, honor, honesty...

Outlining your guidelines and rules is the first step. The second step is letting them know clearly the consequences to breaking the rules. I had no problem with setting the guidelines... I had problems with sticking to the punishment "plans". Apply consequences to your young ones is not mean... it does not make you a horrible parent although they will probably bring that to your attention rather quickly... you do them more harm by NOT applying the consequences. If they see you crumble or disagree with a level of are in for the ride of your life. They won't forget and they will play you like a fiddle moving forward. Again, been there... done that. They need to be ready for the grown up world and the early they understand that there will always be rules to follow the better.

Drugs kill folks... this is not kindergarten stuff... once our young ones start playing with drugs and alcohol on any level they have hit the big leagues ready or not. They have crossed the line from childhood into a dangerous... very grown up world. Get them ready to understand that... let them know... hold your ground and take back your family.


Friday, May 21, 2010


How involved in your child's life are you? This question has nothing to do with how much you love them. I am amazed at how many parents are afraid to look at the issue of teen drug/alcohol use. Are we worried that we won't be looked at as the "cool parents"? Are we afraid to see that there may be brokenness within our family unit? I understand that there are multiple problems in this country and around the world. I get that we are all trying so hard to keep our head above water in a world that seems determined to destroy itself... yes I understand. But what happens if we choose not to look the issue of teen substance abuse square in the eyes and deal with it. If we continue to turn a blind eye to this issue the future of our country becomes even more uncertain. We can not allow that to happen people. We NEED our young ones to be thinking clearly and ready to use their intellect, their creativity and their drive to create a better world.

It all starts at home. Don't wait for your school district to do all the work. We must take back our families... we must bring our children back into the fold. Hold them accountable, teach them responsibility, let them know it's okay not to be perfect and help them work through their weaknesses and issue that prey upon them on a daily basis. Your children are a blessing from God. I can't think of anything more important then our youth.

Pray for the children...blessings!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tween Angst

The words of a young teens whose feelings are broken... take them to heart my friends... tweens and teens are feeling this way every day... every where...

The little black mini skirt
never looked quite right on me
sometimes I'd pretend
that was really me

I'd pretend that I was skinny
that I was buff, babely and blonde
that I was the head cheerleader
with the little outfits on

I'd pretend to be beautiful
like I was always number one
like I was a super model
with the glass slippers on

I'd pretend that I was popular
loved by everyone
that no one thought I was nerdy
no matter what I had on

Now I see the real me
and maybe it's not so bad
I didn't need the glass slippers
that I never even had

I didn't need to be
Like Cindy Crawford or Naomi
I don't have to pretend
cause I'm fine just being me
~~A. Faus~~~(copywrite protected)

Our young ones are constantly under the microscope within their own peer groups. Trying to fit in... was stress and pain it causes them. Parents do you best to really hear what your children are saying to you about how they see themselves... because they are using seeing themselves thru the eyes someone else.

God Bless

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A short put powerful message - there are many times that as parents we look at our troubled child and don't like what we see... then we don't like how we feel. There is a huge difference between the love we feel for our children and whether or not we particularly like them in the moment. They must clearly understand that we love them no matter what... we also must be certain they clearly understand what behaviors we simply do not like. Don't beat around the bush with it... lay it on the line... a long, bold, glowing line!!! When a young one gets involved with drugs/alcohol we see them change before our eyes... we watch them become disrespectful, angry... at some points almost unlovable... when they are pushing you away... when you find that the feeling of love is covered in the thick fog of darkness remember these words...

The ability to love what appears to be unlovable
The ability to embrace the inner depth of what appears to be untouchable
This is a gift from God… endowed to you

These words came to me in prayer... God's gift to me in a moment of unbelievable stress and frustration... remember them.

God Bless!!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Middle School Trauma

March 1997 from Angela's diary... "S & J (names withheld) are mad at me again because I'm not girlie enough... H isn't talking to me right now either. Girls suck. Mom's happy right now. Me on the other hand thinks life sucks. To tell the truth I hate almost everything about life. There are times that I wish I could end it and go out like a real woman (gun)". My daughter wrote that at the age of 12!!! What makes a 12 year old feel this way??? My heart just breaks to write this...middle school years are horrible for alot of young ones.

In the entries prior to this she had been writing for weeks about off and on "friendships". It appears as though her circle of friends changed their minds about who they wanted to be friends with like they changed their socks. If you were a bit different... or not as skinny... of if you had a bad hair day could mean you are "out" of the club. My daughter was very sensitive and this crowd broke her heart over and over and over again. She wanted so desperately to fit in and she took the abuse. She smiled and hid the tears and pain... but inside she wanted to die. That's how devastated she had become. Young people need to be taught that their judgements, criticism, cruelty and abandonment can scar people for life. Some are not strong enough to overcome this... other will. My daughter developed her tough girl persona and pretended it was just fine with her. This is when her attitude began to change.

She no longer felt good about herself...she was no longer proud of the fact that she was smart... pretty and loving. It didn't matter if I told her how special and beautiful she was... I was her mom I 'had to say that'. The cruelty of the young... tweens and teens get crushed daily by the careless words and deeds of their peers. Many of them waiting for the day that someone else is on the chopping block and they are just forgotten by the masses which is equally dangerous. As parents we need to become more aware which side of the fence your children are on... and we must be able to accept if they are on the side that is giving out the punches to others. Watch your child, their reactions to others... the gossip they talk... how do they speak of the fellows peers? Do they speak kindly or do they always have some sort of "negative trash talk" to spread even about their "friends". If they do you as their parent need to teach them the right way to be a friend and the proper way to respect those that are not in their circle.

In a time when the world is fixed on issues of racism etc. (and I am not saying these are not important issues - they are) we show little concern for how are children treat each other across the board. Folks, I'm serious... don't chalk this off as teen age growing pains. That's crap. One of the biggest problems in this world today is the way we treat our fellow man. No we aren't going to like or befriend everyone. People are different... but respect every man... yes absolutely. Let's do our part to bring up a generation of kind, loving, respectful young people. Do your part... it's your job and it's a tough one no doubt.

Angela began her drug use the summer she wrote this entry... let's save other young ones from this feeling of inadequacy... step it up folks... monitor your young ones behavior. Pray for the children.

God bless..

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wee Ones

I often wonder when all the craziness began. I try to think back when we as parents became so busy trying to keep all the balls in the air. Do you remember when? My heart breaks when I hear how are wee ones are learning about life. Youngsters, just babes not understanding how to be kind to each other. Children learn nothing from screaming parents. They don't learn by process of osmosis... they need to be shown in word and deed how to play, how to interact, how to care about others... how to embrace the differences in others... how to accept and love themselves. As a collective group I feel we are all far to critical of each other across the board. Our wee ones suffer when we as adults don't connect with them one on one. We want them to grow up way too fast... to be little adults when they are merely children. As the adults we need to slow down and let them be little. Take the time to teach them, to lead them... it's our job folks. It doesn't matter how busy we are... how tired we are... how frustrated we may be with the world around us... we can not slack off here... it's far too important to their future.

Wee ones grow up to be teenagers... without direction and understanding... without clearly defined lessons of right and wrong... without being told they are special and loved where are they going to turn? These aren't lessons they can learn on the street folks... Drugs, alcohol, violence become far too appealing to teens that have no discipline and parental guidance.

Love them... teach them... lead them...

God Bless You

Friday, April 30, 2010


This week I tried to impress upon a small group of young drug users how quickly life can end. The dynamics of this group was extremely diversified. Every single on of them said they were using drugs for fun. No one would admit they used for any other reason... okay perhaps that's true but the vibe in the room said otherwise. See I watch their eyes, their body language... I listen to the tone of their voices and their reaction to my discussion points. Teens often where their hearts on their sleeves and in this case they were all wearing clues. My heart aches for them and how I wish I could speak with each of them individually... perhaps BBL will raise enough money to be able to afford private office space some day and I will be able to really touch them... deeper... making more of an impact.

So there are pushing the envelope of drug use for fun. Fun? Okay I get that on some level because drugs feel good. I was young once... but these young ones have so many things to keep them entertained. Hmmm perhaps that why they use drugs to have fun. Maybe they have too many "things" and not enough opportunity to be truly young... using their imagination... their brain power in order to create amusement. Perhaps they are spending too much time in front of the TV or video games cooped up inside without the fresh air and sunshine.

Think of it... we as adults long to be out of the office and into the fresh air. Long weeks taking care of our adult business leave us hungry for sunshine to the point where driving home with the windows down is actually a treat for us. Maybe the youth of today need to feel the wind caressing their faces... they just don't know it. So for them sneaking out with their buds behind the garage in the back yard and getting high is their escape from the plugged in world they live in. My guess is they just don't understand that point. When was the last time you sent your kids out to rake or mow the yard? When was the last time their friends came over to shoot hoops in the driveway or hang out on the back porch with iced tea and snacks listening to music?

Life can be over with the snap of your fingers. Drug related deaths occur more often than you can imagine. Snap you fingers folks... right now... snap them... your child's life could be over just that quickly. Snap... snap... snap. I am not talking rice crispy type cereal here... I am talking about the very last breath of a young one. Just that quickly.

Pray for our children... they are all children of God!


Ephesians 6:10-20

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May 15 2010

May 15th is a very special day for BrokenButLoved. It is our first annual teen substance abuse awareness event and prayer vigil. This event is being held in Lancaster Square, Lancaster, PA across from Binn's Park from 5-7:30 pm. With the help of Christian rock band Thur Me, numerous speakers and a slew of volunteers we seek to spread Christ's love through music, speakers and prayer. We are losing teens every day to drug/alcohol use and it is up to each of us to take back our family unit - bring the focus back on family, faith and love. If you are in the area please stop by and support this very important cause. What could possibly be more important than our families, our community, our children?

Parents come out and bring your tweens and teens.... this is a free event... for all ages.

Visit our website find us on Facebook and Twitter...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Prom Time

Yes prom time is upon us. So much preparation, the right dress, the right shoes, make sure we get our hair done just right.. and guys have to have the right "ride" and or course the corsage. Parents are usually involved in the whole preparation process with the exception of who our teen is actually going to the prom with this year. They manage that process all own their own. If you don't know your teens date then find out who they are... do some detective work folks it is important to know who your teen is spending this evening with...

Now I present to you for your consideration how much time as a parent have you put into communicating a message of safety and good choice to your teen prior to this big event. Have you broached the subject of alcohol, drugs and sex? If you haven't you need to... right away. It is imperative that your teen understand that just because this is a big event in their life doesn't mean all the rules fly out the window. They aren't being given a 'get out of jail free' card to do whatever they want to just because it's prom time. Right and wrong still exist... legal and illegal still exist... and peer pressure may be even greater during this season of festivities. What are you instilling into your young ones? Are you renting the limo "just in case"? There shouldn't be a just in case scenario. It is amazing to me how many limo driver's "allow" drinking etc. in their limo's when they know darn well the kids are under age. Once again we see other turning a blind eye... I ask what does that say to the young people of this country?

Parent sit them down and let them know what your expectation are and how they must be responsible. Some of these young ones are getting ready to take their first steps into the real world in a month or so. They have to understand the importance of making the right choices when presented with behaviors that will compromise their futures. Standing strong against the crowd is brutal no doubt. But it's time for them to decide who they are... who they desire to be moving forward. One night of abandon could end tragically. This is no time to get wimpy parents... no time to let it be ok "just this once"... " kids will be kids"... "okay, just this once because it's the prom"... please don't take that stance. Take it once and your teen will remember it I assure you. They will remember the one time mom and dad said we'll let it slide and they will push the envelope at a later date.

Pray for the children my friends... pray for a safe prom season... pray over your child... give them the tools they need to make the right choices. God has so much for them to do, they are growing into the adults of the future. Send them forth with the right attitude, the right confidence in who they them make the best possible decisions.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Size Part 2

Let me say again for the record that AA/NA are great programs! Folks have a lot of success utilizing the 12 steps. The majority of outpatient and inpatient rehabs use the AA/NA steps for helping addicts get into recovery. Great rehabs out there as well. Angela spent time in numerous rehab programs, the problem was she wasn't ready to stop using drugs. During the tender teen years I was not surprised by that... even though we all wanted her to "recover" teens think they are indestructible.

One of the main issues she had when she returned to the real world was finding AA/NA groups that had other teens attending on a regular basis. She had a hard enough time being around other teens let alone going to meetings where for the most part she was the only teen in the group. Unfortunately, meeting attendance for her became a horrible issue and she flatly refused to attend. Of course part of her issue with the "meetings" were the accountability factor... she hated that part. But I must also state that couple that aspect along with her mental health and self esteem issues, I understand why it was so torturous for her.

That's one of the reason that I want to see BrokenButLoved be able to start teen meetings only... where teens can deal with their special issues and feel more comfortable addressing their drug use. This is something that I am currently working towards. Bringing teens into an environment where they feel more secure, with their own age group... I see that as a great resource.

See - not every addict responds to one single course of treatment for addiction. There is no cookie cutter stamped program. I have gone rounds with some counselors when I made mention of that... they don't want to hear such things. But folks it's true... some youth respond differently than others... some learn differently than others... why wouldn't it stand to reason that not all kids will respond positively to only a 12 step program. The 12 steps are awesome and necessary... but it's a lot for a teenager to take in... to process and then to apply.

Angela knew the 12 steps backward and forward... but could not... or would not apply them. Recovery from drug addiction is very difficult... but possible. It takes time... and effort... teens and effort... well sometimes those two words do not go together... especially when they consider themselves invincible.

No perfect program... but many great ones... when treating a teen bringing the very best of many programs may just be the best solution. Never give up... Love them... forgive them... hold them accountable...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One size? Part 1

It would be so nice if drug addiction recovery had one single solution. Unfortunately, in my opinion and experience there is no "cookie cutter solution" available. It simply is not a one size fits all world. The same goes for those suffering from drug addiction and looking for a way out, looking for a rehab program that is going to cure all their ills. The truth be told there just isn't "one perfect program" that works for everybody.

I find that tweens/teens/young twenty-somethings have all types of other things going on with them that many adult addicts no longer deal with... peer pressure, parental pressure, hormones etc. This particular group needs even more special attention. They haven't found their "voice" yet. They are still in the early stages of seeking to find out where they belong. They've already thrown drug/alcohol abuse in to the mix so their waters are even more muddied than they should be. So, is there a perfect rehab program for our younger generation?

AA/NA are great programs please don't think I am stating otherwise. The only issue I take with these programs is the "God as you know him" or "you higher power". I am not sure how you feel, when it comes to our young ones giving them the option to define for themselves God as you know him or a higher power is dangerous business. It's hard enough for adults to make that definition. Our young bucks... well imagine how them might choose their God to be defined? Imagine how leaninet God might be with them? Now... if you teach them about God, about Jesus, about the Holy Spirit and why and how they are connected and influence our lives... well then you actually lay a foundation for their spiritual growth. You help them truly define and understand God... or at least begin to understand. Only through their own personal walk will they truly attain God's grace and how it helps with recovery.

Tomorrow I will continue this thought process... until then


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Never Rest

Sunday is my day to rest, glorify the Lord and just spend time "being". Life right now is so different than 3+ years ago. The drug drama in our life has ceased to be... along with our daughter. Drug use/addiction never takes a Sabbath... never takes a holiday. For those caught in the web of drug use every day is a marathon... energy must be spent to find the drugs needed, figure how to pay for them, acquire the drugs, get high and than if necessary cover up the drug use... a vicious cycle.

When Ang was active in her heroin addiction she was often "missing" for long periods of time. She was with her friends chasing the high - it was a full time job. The hell of not knowing where she was, how she was is a feeling I will never be able to shake. It is forever embedded in my memory. But the reality of drug use/addiction is that the drug is needed... needed... a must have right now "kind of need". There is no rest for the spirit... even for those who know the Lord forget to whom they belong... they rest for no one... imagine if you can what your life would be like if you were caught in such a demanding cycle of destruction.

This cycle becomes the addict...

Enemy - by Angela Faus
Fighting with an enemy,
That's not even on my level,
The painful lust,
I carry still,
The blessed light,
I bury,
I watch the hands,
Commit the crimes,
And how fast they deny it,
And the aftershock,
As it returns,
The chaos of each day,
It's no longer quite as painful,
To just turn my head away,
The losses I've won,
The time that I'm losing,
A wasted life,
A hopeless fear,
It knows I won't deny it,
The pain it caused,
The childhood I lost,
The memories slowly fading,
I cherish my pain,
As I cherish my loss,
And as I cherish the time left remaining.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just one more nite

As I prepared for lights out my heart is a bit heavy. Earlier today I heard a parent saying to their young one some derogatory remarks that left me cold. I'm sure the young one was hurt by the remarks that made mention to a time when life was sweeter without them and much, much easier as well.

Of course the teenage mind pretends not to be affected by such rude and insensitive statements. The teenage posture is one of 'I'm tough - your words can't and don't hurt me' and yet inside... I imagine the shattering of fine crystal as their hearts and spirits are very fragile... we adults forget that because their exterior seems so impenetrable.

Parents... no matter what your child is going through, no matter how angry you might be right now, no matter what you should stop right now and thank God for them. Look around and count your blessings. If there is struggle in your life right now be thankful you are still breathing and ask God to help you in your situation. Pray for your children... pray for children every where. Tell your child(ren) you love them... love them... hug them... tousle their hair... make them smile... maybe even giggle... fill the house with the sweet laughter of childhood even if it is just for a moment... then the moment is gone. Some moments happen and then there is nothing.

There are no more tears to comfort... there are no more meetings to attend,, no more lectures to give... no more giggles... no more smiles... love them please... forgive them always...

What I wouldn't give for one more night with Angie... when more talk...hug... smile... tear... I Love You...

Blessings...thank you Lord for giving me 22 years with my baby girl

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All that glitters

Angela liked things that sparkled. Anything that sparkled fascinated her from the time she was very small. Many parents out there have held a little one who was hypnotized with shining dangling ear rings, reaching out for them, grabbing on tightly whenever possible... Angela was no different... as she grew she her love for the sparkly things of life grew... glitter... glitter every where. Glitter for projects, glitter nail polish, glitter eye shadow... glittery I miss those days.

One day her love for all that glittered was replaced with a sign on her door that said "All that glitters is NOT gold"... from that point on glitter lost its shine during the periods of her life when the lights went out and as heroin ruled the days and nights... as it extinguished what little light was left in my glitter gal... The crushing blow of drug use in our children deflates our own spirits... snuffs out the light within us. Relighting that flame feels impossible for the most part, but we continue the best we can, using our flashlights and wondering through the darkness looking for a way to save our child from the grips of drug use. There ought to be a parental safety switch right??? An emergency button we activate during worse case scenario's... and yet there is no such device. We are on our own.

How do you save someone who does not want to be saved... even if that someone is your child? You can't, plain and simply put, they have to want to save themselves. Now I am not saying that as parents we can't do every thing we possibly can to establish a process for healing. Yes, that we can do. We can establish boundaries, consequences to inappropriate actions and activities... that we can do... or at least attempt to do. Most importantly though, in my humble opinion is being fully present with them while they are struggling... help them learn how to process life and all that is happening to them. Love them, teach them... forgive them... so that when they are ready they know you are there for them. For most parents this process is long and excruciating... and patience wears thin... I get that, I totally understand, but do your very best to hang on even when you feel like throwing your hands in the air and saying "forget it...I'm done... you're on your own". When you feel like that pray... ask God to give you strength... re-assess the situation, regain your composure and keep going.

Remember... there is a great deal going on inside your young one right now... things you can't possibly know or even understand. Looking back...reading Angela's writings shed a great deal of light on those things... the places I couldn't reach...I am sharing one of her writing with you all...

Seven ~Angela M. Faus~

I don't hate you for what you are,
but for what you represent.
The happiness in your eyes,
isn't a lie,
the life that flows from you,
makes me want to cry.
because you're everything I want to be.

Somethings we as parents will never understand... I must go now and cry... I still do that you know... cry for yesterday... cry for all the tomorrows that will never come... cry for all those kids I can't reach and for all the parents I can't help.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Power in Parenting?

Recently during a parent group session I ran across a woman who was obviously at her wit's end, frustrated and angry by her child's drug use. The young one had been huffing for two years and had finally been "caught" by authorities - hence the reason for her participation. It was clear she didn't want to be there. Her attitude was much different than most parents... but everyone handles their pain in a unique way... this was her way.

Here she was, somewhere she didn't want to be and she had done everything she could do for the last two years and yet nothing had changed. Huffing meant that she had to clean her entire house from aerosol cans. She had removed everything that her child could use to get high from her home. She had grounded him, cleared his room of all his belongings, attempted to monitor friends... all the things that made sense. Yet she said nothing had worked so they just gave everything back to him and stopped trying to control him - because it didn't work anyway. I truly felt for her because I so clearly understood where she was coming from... been there... done that.

So during our discussions I mentioned that perhaps if juvenile "records" were kept on the books until a child's 21st birthday they might give more thought to their actions as juveniles she went off on me. She would have no parts of that, her thought process was 'that could keep my child from getting into college'. In my mind I thought... okay... yes it might... but if your child keeps huffing and using other drugs his brain capabilities probably won't let him get in to college to begin with. Yes, we must keep our children's future in mind, but first and foremost we must figure out why they are using drugs and help them straighten out this mess. First things - first.

During another part of the discussion I noted that I felt our children today are more bombarded than ever with outside stimuli. They are always plugged in to something... video games, cell phones, TV, music...have you seen some of the video games your kids are playing? Their minds are filled with drugs, ho's, theft and violence... as is their music and television. Now I am not suggesting any form of censorship from the government. I believe in free speech. But parental censorship - yes - absolutely. I am not putting total blame on the media over stimulation, but I also refuse to believe that it does not have an impact on their thought process. I feel there is some degree of desensitizing going on here.

Another point she disagreed with and that is her right, I'm okay with that...she felt 'peer pressure' is the only thing that has any power. Folks this is called denial. Today's youth are much smarting than we give them credit for, they have a better understand than we think. They are just willing to take bigger risks than we would like. I truly feel peer pressure is a large part of the reason kids turn to drugs but do not believe it is the only reason. Bear in mind any child can be the one putting the peer pressure on someone else. It has to start with someone and none of us like to consider our child might be at the heart of the pressure. Therefore, to not look at all of the influences in your child's life is to be in denial. It means that you have some tough parenting to do. Perhaps she felt that way because she had tried to control the outside influences and had found herself so frustrated that she just gave up.

I felt for her, I truly did. She did not want to admit her anger, her fear, or her guilt. She had put on the mask of a parent in denial and commented as we were leaving 'I didn't expect to have to stay here the whole time'. How I wished I would have been able to sit down and speak candidly with her one on one. There is no judgment here folks... only stating the facts and hoping that you learn something from this encounter. When you child is involved with drugs, you are in it for the long haul. Deal with your feelings, open your eyes and be prepared to be frustrated. Don't allow yourself to wear the mask of denial for too long. Her child has something going on inside of them... there is no place for a 'shut down parent' in this situation. Parenting from this situation is not for the faint of heart.

Be Blessed

Friday, April 9, 2010


Anger has reared its ugly head, fear has left you shaken... hold on because the biggest monster of all is about to shattered everything you ever thought you knew about yourself. Here comes guilt... guilt is relentless. Guilt is like a weed, you think you have gotten rid of it only to see it's found its way back into the garden that is your mind. It's roots are deep and rugged...

My kid is using drugs? Where did I go wrong? How could I have let this happen? I missed something... yes I must have... what was it? Was it working all those hours to make ends meet? I mean I was still at every baseball game even if I was dead tired. Maybe its when I stopped packing lunches... yes that's it... no wait... it must be the car... that driver's license, new friends, struggling in school, depression... the divorce... stop. Just stop... because you are thinking so rapidly you aren't digesting anything... just stop before it's completely out of control. Too late huh? It only takes a split second until guilt has spread through your entire parental lobe and into your heart which is now so heavy you can barely stand to be alive.

During Angela's addiction I can't begin to tell you how many times I said "what did I do? If you loved me you'd stop..." and she would reply "Mom this isn't about you... not everything is about you". I was the King Kong of guilt. I had a laundry list of ways that I had failed as a parent. I stomped around holding that list in my hand crushing my own heart just like they were buildings... the way a good monster should. I was convinced for a very long time that I was the sole reason she used drugs. Guess what, there were so many factors that led to her use of drugs... so many.

Kids begin to use drugs for various reasons and I know you know them... pain, boredom, fun, anxiety, abuse, peer pressure, low self-esteem etc... you know the list. And yes sometimes as I stated before parents are actively involved with doing drugs with their kids. Sometimes it is true that irresponsible parenting leaves our young ones with no guidance, no boundaries and way too much time on their hands.

Here's the thing, if you - as the parent are honest with yourself then you know whether or not you have lived up to your parental responsibilities. There is no book on parenting... no rules to the game... but if you can seek inside your heart and say "I've done the very best I can"... then guilt has no place in this new equation. If you have blatantly harmed your child through abuse, abandonment etc... than you need to take stock - put the blame away and atone...

Assuming that you have done your personal best then take a long hard look at what is driving these feelings of guilt. Absorb them, feel them, don't deny it because if you do it will return with the vengeance of a firestorm from Hell. Look at your guilt, study it... think it through... then let it go. Let it go but remember that any little insecurities you have, any parental "slip-ups" will be used by your child against you when they are confronted. Yes - your child/tween/teen will do that to you... when young ones are on the defensive their attacks are brutal. So be prepared, be very prepared.

That is why it is so important for you to check your anger, fear and guilt at the door before you approach your teen about the issue at hand. Everything and anything that you have ever done "to them" becomes a weapon. It's not that they don't love you - it's that their secret is out and their only recourse is to defend themselves.
Ang said to me one time "Mom you scarred me for life when you made me wear colored socks that match my outfit in 3rd grade". At the time I broke my heart... how could I do that to her... then I realized in the big picture... hello??? Colored socks? She pulled at my heart strings numerous times with that one... if that's the worse thing I did as a single parent then so be it.

So put the guilt away (remember you may have to lock it up numerous times during this journey)... focus on the child, you have already studied all your reasons for feeling guilty. Don't waste time going in circles within yourself... just focus on them and how to get this situation under control. Think, breath... think... focus... time to talk. Time to sit down and talk.

Be blessed!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


So, the anger is subsiding... and the parental lobe is shifting into second gear and you are full of fear. Fearful you should be because drugs on any level is pulls your child into a danger zone unknown to you prior to this experience.

What kinds of drugs are they using? How long have they been using? Why? Why? Why? How introduced them to drugs, where are they getting them, where are they using them? Your mind is racing as well it should be, think it through. Think about their recent behavior patterns. Have they changed? When did they change? Are they talking about new friends? Are they talking at all?

Drugs and alcohol use in tweens/teens is even more dangerous if they are mixing it up a bit. Please don't be soothed if you find out that marijuana is their drug of choice. I can't stress enough that minimizing the use of marijuana makes the drug even more dangerous. Does that make sense to you? Think about it for a moment. Whenever we as human minimize the risk of anything in life we may possibly find it creeping into our lives and out of control.

Your young one isn't going to get the fear issue. At their young age they feel they are invincable. They will let you know quickly that you are blowing this way out of proportion and this is no big deal. You may hear "this is the first time I ever tried this stuff"... don't buy it folks. It is very unusal for a parent to catch them in the act the very first time. I am not surprised by the reaction I get from parents that their child just started using... I was once in that spot, in denial. I understand it completely. Denial protects us as parents from knowing more than we care to know. But the quicker you get over the denial issue the better off you and your young one will be.

Denial kills. It kills relationships, it kills addicts... it kills our young ones as well. Face your fear and process it... think it through... figure on the worse case scenario. How will you handle it? Think of the best case there one? Yes there can be because hopefully you have been alerted to the drug use in its early stages.

It is important that you do not allow yourself to be frozen by fear. Take a deep breathe, think it through. Expect the best outcome but prepare for the worse one. Again, you must own your fear, feel it and put it away. I have never experience a good response from my daughter when I approached the situation being motivated by anger or fear. So while your fears are justified do not let them consume you. Think it through... parents talk it out and prepare for the next phase.

God bless you... look to God and pray for wisdom.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What now?

Okay, you suspect or you have already confirmed your child is using drugs. What now? Phase one is usually anger. What? Not my kid? I'm gonna break him/her in two... and then....

Phase two... fear... oh bad is it, who introduced them to drugs???

Phase three... guilt... how did I miss this? What did I do wrong?

Phase one, two and three happen within minutes... even moments of each other. It is but a flash in time within your mind. Now it's time to settle down and think it through - before you react.

Today we will touch on Phase One... anger. Yes you will be angry, accept that of yourself because you are human. It is hard for parents to accept that drugs/alcohol have invaded their family's private space. It is so important for you to acknowledge your feelings of anger, to own that feeling for its 15 minutes of fame. Then be rational and settle down before you even begin to deal with the situation. I know from first hand experience that acting out while motivated by your anger serves no purpose but to further isolate you from your child and the issue at hand.

We simply aren't dealing with an average tween/teen issue here, is isn't about not cleaning their room. While in our parental mind we believe all we have to do is say "this is not acceptable, I taught you better etc." and the problem is solved. Sorry, but in most cases this issue will need to be handle, monitored in steps. Be prepared to be in this for the long haul. Preparing in multiple phases was something I was never prepared for thus I spent a great deal of time backtracking. Feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Expending massive amounts of energy and never getting anywhere.

So, acknowledge your anger - really feel it so you don't find yourself reliving the anger over and over again. Feel it and then put it away. As a parent your first hand experience with drugs is now official. Prepare for Phase two and hold on. Begin that conversation in your head. Process the situation... don't go off half cocked... a raging bull in an already fragile environment. There is a reason that your young blood has decided to bring drugs into their life. Deal with it you must... but not from a place of anger.

Phase two tomorrow


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scars of War

During my daughters 9 years of drug addiction she went through numerous stretches of soberity. Sometimes they were long periods and sometimes... not so long. Battling heroin addiction is like trying to swim in the ocean with your arms and legs bound while being stung by a school of jellyfish. It is heart wrenching to witness knowing that you are helpless to do anything but love them.

It was during a lengthy stint of soberity that Ang was working as a waitress at an all night dining establishment. She was a great waitress and worked very hard to please everyone. When she was sober she was amazing at everything... simply everything!!! So, I went into the "restaurant" for breakfast and she was visably upset beyong words. With tears in her eyes she said to me "This guy saw my track marks and said 'oh gross she's a junkie, look at her arms man the girls a dope whore'". My heart broke into a million pieces right there on the stool. She was like "Mom, here I am trying so hard and yet the scars remain.. a constant reminder, everyday, every minute... and the world is full of jerks!"

She took a break and we walked outside. Me personally - I wanted to break the guy in half but unfortunately he wasn't there. I told her honey - jerks are everywhere and that guy well he was a jerk. I tried so hard to get her to see how powerful she really was... how valiantly she was fighting a dragon far, far bigger than she. I told her I was proud of her hard work and that I loved her more than "infinity much" (which was something she used to tell me when she was little - with her arms out-stretched) and always would be there for her. She settled down and went back to work. But that day, that very day another scar was added my baby girl - this time to her heart, not her arms.

That new scar, along with the ones she was already carrying both inside and outside proved to be another back breaker for her. This stint of clean time was coming to an end - again. See for those young folks suffering from addiction there is a very fine line between giving up and staying sober. They are young, filled with fear and lacking the wisdom that comes with age. If only I could have given her the strength to make her stronger... alas I could not... love was all I had to truly give her... loving arms, a shoulder to rest upon and the words of God whispered into her ears.

I miss her so much...


Supporting a Good Cause

Sending out love to all those who have been supporting this ministry from the onset. Losing my daughter to heroin was the most devastating event in my life. I can't explain to you how it shattered our family. We were so thankful for God's grace and the love and support of family and friends as we tried to adjust to the "new normal" that had thrust upon us. What do you say to a family that has lost their daughter in such a needless fashion? Angela didn't have to die and yet she did. How do you reconcile such a painful scenario? You can't, you just need to trust God's plan and God's will and know that His healing for her, was perfect healing. You trust, you learn, and for me - move forward and try to make a positive difference for struggling youths... this is God's purpose for my life.

Folks, there is hope on the other end of drug addiction. Healing is possible; help is available. BrokenButLoved was born in order to bring hope to today's youth and their families where drug/alcohol use/addiction have come to roost. Hope for drug free futures, hope for healing!

BBL is grateful for your continued support. This ministry plans to grow and continue its outreach... reaching as many youths as possible. Youth events are currently in the planning stages throughout the summer - stay tuned as we grow.

Even one more drug related death is one too many!!!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Distressed Parenting

I just can't believe the number of parents that are getting high with their children. In some areas it is worse than others but that fact that I have to address this issue at all causes my heart great pain.

Our children look to us for guidance, support, life lessons, the difference between right and wrong. While raising a family so many issues we are faced with are not black and white... they are varying shades of gray. But there is one issue we are dealing with right here and it is drugs are illegal!!! Not only are marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, mushrooms etc... extremely damaging to your health (both physical and mental) and potentially deadly but I repeat they are illegal.

It is a parents job to teach their children to respect the law, the system and the government even if they do not agree with them. There are many laws and situations that I myself may not agree with, however, that does not give me the right to break the law, just because it doesn't suit my personal preferences. No one has that right! It is imperative that children learn laws are put in place for a reason and regardless of our personal opinion they are to be obeyed.

What kind of example are parents that actually get high with their kids setting for them? What kind of respect will these young people show other adults in authority and eventually - what kind of respect will they grow to have for their own parents?? My guess is little or none! The frivolous pursuit of attaining a high, an illegal high to top it off... squandering money on illegal drugs, risking their own freedom and the welfare of their children is irresponsible and potentially deadly. This does not show lack of love per say... but it does show an inability to think and reason clearly when it comes of responsible parenting.

I want to make myself very clear in that I understand the trappings of addiction.I condemn or judge no one with addictions issues. But there is never a good reason to pull a child into that set of circumstances. It is the responsibility of the adult with the personal issue of addiction to get help with their recovery - not to offer their own child or someone else's child the option of getting high with them. That action I condemn whole-heartedly. I've thought through this issue quite thoroughly and cannot find any good reason for a parent to get high with their children.

We too often turn our heads from these situations because we have become a society of "me" and not "we". It really is time for us to start caring for each other, helping each other and not leaving today's youth to fend for themselves when a situation such as this is part of their up bringing.

I ask you, if you know of a situation such as what I have described, please notify someone. Perhaps, a school guidance counselor, local authority figure... clergy... someone... reach out and give a child in this dangerous state and opportunity to grow up drug free. Doing so will perhaps give the parents involved as reason... an eye opening reason to clean up their lives, to stay in recovery and be able to teach and love their children as they deserve to be parented.

God bless...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daughters-Daddys Part 2

Yes the bond between daughters and their daddy’s is unique and special. Sadly, not every little girl has a daddy in their life; some little girls have their daddy but he may not be a positive influence in her upbringing. It’s a worldwide epidemic – the one parent household. It affects boys and girls but today we are focused on the girls.

What do you do if there isn’t a positive male role model for the little girl in your life? How do you fill the cosmic void that is left when daddy isn’t there… or isn’t able to handle his parental duties? Some men – as with women – just do not have the parental instinct, the desire or the ability to learn how to parent effectively. It is the children that suffer when met with this reality. Is there a solution, a remedy for the missing “daddy”?

While there is no one that can take the place of a loving, ever present daddy in a little girl’s life in some fashion it is important that they are exposed to positive, loving attention from a positive male role model. Single mothers must be intelligent, fussy, picky about whom that male will be; throwing them in to the arms of just anyone in order to bring the male perspective into the mix can be disastrous.
In our personal situation my own dad took on this very important role from the birth of my daughter. When her father walked away for good he took on more and more “responsibility” of being that surrogate. Sadly, even those we love dearly are not always going to maintain the status quo. As I mentioned before his life took a different turn and that left my little girl out in the cold again… twice “abandoned” by a supposedly “forever” prominent male figure in her life. I should have had a backup plan; I should have exposed her to more than one positive male. I certainly don’t mean that I should have thrown her to “wolves”… just anyone of the correct sex. I was at a disadvantage in that I am an only child with no uncles that lived even remotely close to our home.

So, there I was once again left to pick up the pieces of someone else’s mess that cut deeply into the heart of my precious little girl. Its gut wrenching to try and explain why once again why another man in her life has abandoned her. Having to discuss the reality of the fragile human condition with a six year old is cruel and unusual punishment, far too many single parents must be at the ready to do just that.
Be careful, very careful with whom you trust to help with all things connected to raising your little girl. Do you have a father, a brother, an uncle within your family that could bring positive experiences to your daughter’s life? Is there someone in your closest circle of friends, someone at your church that would be willing to spend time with her in a loving fashion? Consider it carefully, talk with them… they are not expected to become the household “daddy”. Explain what you need from them, set the boundaries from the get-go. You can’t begin to lean on them for parenting responsibilities but you can ask them if they would be willing to lend the male expertise in order to give your daughter the “male stuff” she needs in order to get the full scope and understanding of life, love and the development of relationships.

I would not expose her to a revolving door of men, or try and replace the daddy figure with a boyfriend that might only be a temporary figure in her life. Stability is the key, a strong, stable, positive relationship with a male who can give her a look into the positive male psyche. Even little girls see into the soul of those they meet. They may not at a young age be able to articulate what they gleam from those they meet, but they certainly have a better understanding of an individual’s character then we give them credit for.

There are wonderful organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters that offer help in this area as well. Don’t be afraid to seek them out for help. It is much better to turn to this type of reputable organization then to let your daughter “wing it”.

I know I wish I had the chance to do things differently with my own daughter.
In her teenage years it became very clear that her self-esteem and self-image were low. She either chose young men she could control, ones that were abusive to her, or older men that took advantage of her on every level. Her abandonment issues created so much pain within her and she truly didn’t understand that she deserved so much better than the young men she kept choosing in her relationships. As her mother I tried to teach her and she understood where I was coming from… but as she saw it… men come and go… and she couldn’t trust them to stay regardless of who she choose. Things went downhill from there folks… abusive men… drugs… pain… death.

God bless you in your search… God bless you in all areas of your life. Remember to always watch over your little princess…even when she becomes a "tween"/teenager (and seems unlovable at times) because she is a GIFT from God.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Daughters-Daddys Part 1

Little girls need their Moms - no argument there. They need the special something that only a woman’s touch can give to them (I touch on that next week). Just as importantly - they need their Daddy's just as much. Little girls grow up to be woman and those that grow up without a positive male role model often suffer on so many levels. There is so much that only a Daddy can teach them. Take note that I said a positive male role model, not just anyone who happens to be male.

My daughter’s birth father walked away from her at the tender age of three, just a few years after we divorced. Thankfully at that point in her life she still had constant contact with her Grampy which gave her in bits and pieces access to a positive, loving male figure. He doted over her, loved her gently and compassionately. But as life would have it his life turned in another direction and the time they spent together as she began to grow up became sporadic and then distant. I remember how her little heart would break when she asked “why doesn’t Grampy come around anymore”.

As a single mother I did my very best to be both mother and father to her. I worked diligently at teaching her "guy stuff" like how to play baseball and shoot a basketball, how to roller skate and build stuff. She loved to work with her hands as my dad taught her and I tried to follow through but I know I feel short of being a good male figure in her life. What I learned much later is that is wasn't the "guy stuff" I was teaching her that was the really important part. What she longed for was the emotional connection with a strong male figure. The real void was the “guy way”, you know the way that men think, feel and react to life. She missed out on that very special bond that grows between and daughter and her Daddy.

There is a special way a Daddy holds his little girls hand, the look he gives her that lets her know she is the most beautiful girl in the universe. Little girls pick up on those things. Girls need to see a positive male figure to understand how woman are suppose to be treated. They need to see woman in their lives being treated with respect, to witness them being loved and cherished by their partner. The key word here is witness. It’s one thing to be told how to be treated; however, actions speak volumes over mere words alone. How else are they going to really know what they should demand from relationships later in life? It is one thing to see a woman of strength moving through life and taking care of business. It is another to see that woman of strength being cherished for who she is by the partner that loves her.

Sadly, no matter how hard I tried to be both Mommy and Daddy, she suffered from lack of proper male role models. She needed to be shown by a man how very special she was and that she deserved to be treated like a princess. Not spoiled or totally dependent on a man that's not what I mean at all. She needed to see that she could be anyone she wanted to be and still find someone in her future that would treat her with kindness, respect and be her equal partner moving forward in her life. Daddies your little girls are going to grow up to be woman – daddies teach them how to love and what to expect in return. There is something mystical about the strength of a father in the eyes of his little girl. My Daddy passed a way over a year ago and at 47 I still think he was magical. How I miss him.

Daddy’s everywhere (or other wonderful positive male role models) you need to spend time with you daughters at every age. If you make the effort to be actively involved with them from birth everyone comes out a winner. If you are not careful you will miss there progression from toddler to woman – life happens so quickly. There is no shame in a grown man playing Barbie’s, tea party… or dancing with their little girls. Don't let the “tween” and teen years scare you into hibernation stay with them, be involved in their life. Take them for pizza or ice cream. A night with Dad could turn into a great conversation night and a time to show your growing little girl what you are made of - the grown up stuff. You helped to bring her into this world... don't let it end there. She needs to know she can count on you to be there...always. She wants to know you, even if you don’t think so – in secret she longs to be close to you and to know that you love her.

Dysfunctional relationships, low self esteem, poor self image are all big factors in young women turning to destructive behaviors, e.i. drugs, alcohol, early sexual activity. From the time they are small girls are bombarded by TV, magazines, and now the Internet showing them images of how women are suppose to look, dress and behave. Don't let the the media direct your daughter's thought process and base who she is on what the media tells her to be. Your direction here is very important... very important- do not underestimate your power as a source for your daughter's decision making process.

Help her to have a life filled with nurturing, functional relationships... show her, teach her that she deserves a future full of love and joy. Let her always be Daddy's little princess - a precious, unique gift from God!!!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Child's Light

Have you seen the light in your child’s eyes? When was the last time you searched for it? If it’s been awhile it’s time to look again. If the light has dimmed now is the time to find out why. Has their passion for their favorite pass times diminished? Are they more withdrawn and distant? Don’t chalk it all up to growing up… it’s time to spot check where they are in their lives. Many of us as parents think this is just a phase they are going through and it very well may be. But this is also the time when drugs use seems to creep in, when they are changing and trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into the scheme of things.

Life is hard; young people have not yet developed their coping skills. Drug will retard their growth and ability to learn these necessary skills. Direction is very important at this pivotal point in their growth. Parents need to be watching and listening for the signs that drugs have begun their invasion into their children. It can happen so quickly and without warning sometimes. That is why it is so important to do your best to be one your toes at all times when raising children.

Young people are beginning to push the envelope early and early. Their descent in to destructive experimentation begins at a much earlier age then in generations passed. The bottom line is children are growing up faster so we must be more mindful of changes in their behaviors and appearance. It is not that we should not allow them to change and develop, we just need to watch that they are developing with positive attitudes, with goals and dreams that will lead them into adulthood with the proper skills they need to become happy, well adjusted, productive citizens.

Parents – be there… be aware!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A call from God

As I was running errands today I was listening to the radio and the announcer was talking about spiritual gifts and how different folks are called to minister in different ways and each individual must discern what their gifts actually are and how to use them. I always had a gift for gab and I was never afraid to speak in front of a crowd, but I never would have thought that God would lead me to this place.

I remember as my daughter's addiction became more intense and we were all dealing with the stress, pain and fear of the situation it occured to me that I was pretty tough (ha! little did I know at the time it wasn't my strength at all). I loved her so much, I would do anything and everything to try and save her, even if she didn't want to be saved... (ahhh the rub of addiction... we can't save anyone who doesn't want to be saved.) I was so glad that she was my daughter, that God blessed me with her. What if she had ended up with a mother that just threw her away instead of loving her unconditionally? I thanked God for her precious life. I knew God then, I believe in Christ then... but what I didn't know was that God was ever more present than I ever knew... I did not at that point have a real, true relationship with my Jesus.

So much pain in drug addiction, so much fear, every moment is filled with uncertainity... where is she tonight? Is she safe? Is she alive? When is she coming home. Sleeplessness... night after night... walking the city streets at 2:00 am looking for her... facing drug dealers on their turf... God was surely protecting me... every night I was there asking the Lord to protect my baby girl where ever she was and to save her from this horrible drug. Heal her please dear Lord... heal her.

And then he did... one Sept. 1, 2007... he took my baby home... He healed her scars, He restored her peace and she rests with Him... serving Him... filled with Joy!!!
And I... well I gather my strength every day from God, my Lord fills me with His presence and I step out again and again to tell our story... her story... to try and reach as many young people and their parents as I can. Fulfilling my calling from God. Thank you Lord for loving me and directing me.

Dear Heavenly Father... watch over these young ones - let them come to know you and be set free from drugs and alcohol. Let them grow drug free to find their own calling - a gift from you. In Jesus' name. Amen

I love you pumpkin..


Monday, February 22, 2010

A new day

When young people embrace the use of drugs/alcohol for whatever reason they lose a part of themselves. Looking back on my daughters early drug years I remember clearly the changes in her. The defensive attitude, the deepening resentment she had about who she was, the rebellion against authority - she believed she found her independence when in truth she was becoming more dependent than ever. Teens will argue that they know exactly what they are doing and that they are in control of every situation. The more substance abuse - the more defiant they become. Why? Because the drugs become their comfort, their friend, the only thing they believe makes them a better person. More desirable to others and themselves. Drugs allow them to "be who they are", to "feel good", to "laugh", to "speak their minds"... drugs... yes drugs give them all this courage they might not have had before. False courage... but they don't see it that way at all.

In my small groups the majority of teens really believe the lie of independence they speak so openly about. It matters not to them that they are in trouble with the law. Why should it? It will be wiped away when they are adults, this is their time to do as they please with little consequence. Drugs feel good... the law - it doesn't apply to them and "laws are meant to be broken - right"? When I hear how casually they take their life situation it breaks my heart. But my daughter was the same way, in her case it was all about killing the pain. Why deal with life when you can erase it for a while.

How I wish I could go back and this time utilize all that I have learned since her death. Parents, hear me when I say this... learn from others around you, if not from me... then someone else who has been there and back. Boundaries, rules, consequences... important, important, important... ask for help if you need it. Teach them to love who they are... show them what is special about them!! Check yourself, your reactions - what foundation are you setting in place for your children?


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where were your children last night?

Do you know where your children were last night, what they were doing and who they were doing it with?? I'm talking about all your children... all ages. What were your younger children doing? Were they watching TV, playing video games... or were they reading, coloring, using their imaginations? Were they spending quality time with you and perhaps their siblings? Your "tweens" and teens who were they spending their Saturday night with? Were they active? Were they passive? Were they partying? Do you know, did you check on them? Did you call other parents? Do you even know the parents of your tweens and teens? Too many questions for a Sunday morning? Perhaps, but they are all pertinent questions, all of them need review.

It used to be that parents knew each other. Mothers and fathers would talk among themselves... keeping track of their children's activities. These days were lucky to know our neighbors by their first name. There are parents out there that justify allowing alcohol to be consumed in their home in the "name of safety"... 'if they are drinking here and staying here then we know they are safe'. That my friends is a bunch of hogwash and is totally irresponsible parenting. There is no justification for allowing children to break the law. The law was put in place for a reason, adults need to lead by example! Allow them to break one law and they will push to break another or develop the attitudes that rules don't apply to me - they apply to everyone else not me!

I am amazed at how many parents are actually doing drugs with their kids. What is that about? How can they justify their actions? I cannot imagine how they can allow their children to follow down a destructive path such as this but it is becoming more and more of a problem. School districts are finding it harder and harder to reach out to these youths because parents will not allow intervention. Very, very sad state of affairs.

Okay, take stock... where do you stand on these issues. What example do you want to set for all your children?

Your younger children... are you spending quality time with them? Do they have an electronic babysitter? Are you allowing them to use their imagination in their play? Are they watching your behavior and learning positive things from you. Good communication... personal interaction... faith in God... how to make a positive difference in the world.

Your tweens and teens... do they know you are watching them? Are they left to their own devices when setting boundaries for right and wrong? Let them know you are their parents not their friends... let them know you care enough to check up on them and monitor their behavior, actions and reactions...teach them faith, give them a foundation, give them strong roots so that they can stretch their wings without fear.

Let your entire family know you love them... teach them well. Learn from my weaknesses... learn...


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tough kids vs. Strong kids

I remember when Angela was little I used to remark "what a tough little girl" she was, she had been through so much. He birth father walked away from her at the age of three. She was never lacking from love though, mom and I did everything we could to surround her with love and friends. Mom and Dad had separated as well so grammy and grampy weren't the solid foundation she once had in her life. But as a child she seemed resilient and was happy and loving and playful. Ang always had a smile and a hug for everyone. She was smart as a whip, loved to learn and was ahead of her time. This tough little girl began to fade as she entered middle school and all the pain came to the surface... here's the point.

I have learned the hard way the difference between raising a tough kid and a strong one. I urge you not to make the same mistakes I made in assuming they are one and the same because that is far from the truth.

Tough they grow up often become more hardened in their nature. As a troubled teenagers Ang took on the persona of a gangster chick. Showing herself as "hard core tough". Rough around the edges, she could handle anything baby... just watch me - I can kick your butt... the outside persona she created was much different from the scared little girl that was crying out inside her. In private she was frail and child-like needing to wear the mask of a tough girl just to be part of the outside world.

When you raise a child to be tough, they sometimes perceive that as being a bully, teasing others in order to flex their muscles. Often being the leaders of their clique making it known to others that they are just not the "right" kind of person for their group. The problem with tough is that they never learn how to draw strength, how to become strong in their character. They don't develop the skills they need to be part of all that lies ahead of them in adulthood. Tough will only get you so far; limiting their growth and potential. It seems I raised a tough kid who never really learned to draw of God's love to give her strength. She never realized her power, never owned who God intended her to become and that my friends is just sad.

Teaching children to find strength is showing them how to believe in who they are without stepping on anyone else in the process. God gives each of us all we need to be all He wants us to be. As parents it is our job to help them find out where their strengths lie and help them develop them. It is our duty to lead these little blessings from God down the path that teaches them to love themselves and those around them. To teach them patience, faith, kindness... to give them a solid foundation on which to gather strength in times of trouble. To build a character which is true to itself which shows its "strength" through positive actions and reactions to life.

Are using raising a tough child or a strong child? I urge you to consider this carefully. Teens often turn to drugs and alcohol to make themselves "stronger", to cope with pain and boredom. This is a false strength and a false security which leads them down a path of negative actions and reactions. I know - I've watched the destruction and I live with the pain of losing my precious gift from God.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Who is the teacher?

Let me ask you this... who is teaching your children? From the time they are small it should be their parents that are their greatest teachers. As infants and toddlers we are all too willing to be there every step of the way, teaching them to walk, talk, use a cup, potty training and the list goes on and on. But somewhere along the line when they start school many of us begin to back off a bit and expect the professional teachers to do the bulk of the work from that point on.

Hold on!!!! Don't lose them there!!! They need you more than ever!!!! They need your love and guidance. They need to be taught not to bully and tease. To be kind to others, to turn the other cheek, to be thoughtful and considerate. It's our job as parents to teach them manners, good posture, how to be healthy, how to work hard and do their best in all things. It's our job to teach them about beauty and God and how to gain strength through their faith. We need to be teaching children about life - not letting life teach them.

When we let life be their teacher we end up giving power to the media, to other children, teenagers, etc. leaving our youth to fend for themselves. That my friends is dangerous business. Young people let to their own devices may follow down paths of destruction, drugs, alcohol, violence. Adults - this is our job, your job... to teach them well... to pray for them... lead them in the way in which they should go.


Horray & Thank You

A big loving thank you to MGYSGT Nicholson, Ret. of North Carolina for being the first to donate to the BrokenButLoved cause... Taking Action Against Teen Substance Abuse. Thank you first and foremost to your dedication and service to our country as a US Marine and then secondly (but just as importantly) for your continued dedication to serving our country by helping to support organizations like BrokenButLoved that are trying to help the youth of our republic. God Bless you...

Want to help visit for information where you can send your private donation. BBL is a 501 (c) 3 registered nonprofit organization.

Blessings everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We are broken people

We are all broken people, in some way. Teens seem to have more than their share of folks pointing out to them just how broken they are and not enough folks showing them how special they are. Trying to fit in to the right "crowd", to gain popularity somewhere within their generation is a constant looming necessity for them. All it takes is one little thing for them to be cast out or voted out of whatever group they fit in to... that is with the exception of those who are drugging and drinking. As long as you have money or trade you can stay.

I remember my daughter's pre-drug years. She was in the "smart and popular" crowd. Going to all the right social engagements, being seen with all the "right" girls and guys. All it took was one show of her own thoughts separate from theirs and she was cast aside like a chewing gum wrapper. Not only cast aside but then ridiculed to top it off - making sure the "world" knew she no longer "fit in" with the "chosen few".

This was devastating to her and looking back I did not do enough as a parent to help her regain her self esteem. We need to be mindful as adults of what our young people are going through on any given day. Are we present for them? Are we lifting them up every single day? Are we watching their moods closely? Are we just chalking everything up to "growing pains"? Big mistake folks... we need to be watching, monitoring and then gently steering them back to center. Back to looking at how special they are within themselves. We need to be teaching them the coping skills they need to find their way, to find out who they are and what they can accomplish, how to to stand for something.

It sadness my heart to see how fragile friendship has become in the last 20 years. Young people aren't sure how to be a good friend, how to stay a good friend. They are uncertain of how to be who they are when everyone around them is trying so hard to be somebody else.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

You already have all you need

One thing I strongly impress upon the young people that I talk with is that they were born with everything they need to succeed in life. God gave them the tools, the instincts, the talents...each unique to who they are and who they were meant in this life. No one is "stamped" with a note "please bombard this body with drugs and alcohol in order to achieve ultimate joy". They each need to explore and develop those talents and gifts by looking inside and putting in the hard work of growing up.

Just as important is that parents understand that they need to help their children along in this process; they cannot leave their young people to do this on their own. The animal kingdom does not even do this... they help their young learn the skills they need in order to just survive. Teaching our young people to merely survive just isn't enough. It's important to nuture youth, to show them love, affection and the art of discipline in order for them to find their way to becoming productive citizens- drug free citizens. This first comes from teaching them how to be part of a family unit. They need to know and understand their role, importance and responsibility within their family. Yes, responsibility is part of equation.

When we leave children to their own devices they are often left floundering aimlessly following whatever or whomever will allow them to be part of their crowd.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life Well Spent

How do we define a life well spent? As I meet with teens on a regular basis and talk about their drug and alcohol use it occurs to me that their understanding of how what they do today effects their future is either non-existent or irrelavent. I try so hard to help them comprehend the ripple effect of their youthful drug use and how very often is carries over into adulthood. This generation know nothing of moderation - everything is extreme. It's an all or nothing generation and they take it quite literally.

Teens need to see the results of a life well spent in those who come in contact with them on a daily basis. Family, teachers...adults who set an example of excellence not perfection... excellence. Mistakes are a part of life they are expected. It is how the adults in their life help them process those mistakes and learn to make better choices that leads them to strive for excellence in themselves.

Teach them to forgive... others and themselves... by setting the right example.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Birthdays-Loss & Family

Today is my 47th birthday. I don't care about my age, growing older doesn't bother me at all. Although I must admit I never thought I ever be 47. No one ever thinks like that when they are a teenager. We never see older age coming...

This is the third birthday without Angela, my darling precious baby girl. Heroin took her from me, all her pain drove her to seek the ultimate forget-about-it-all-and-never-deal-with-it drug. I watched her try and try... I spent years seeing her sober, clean, working, loving, laughing and at any moment the dragon would rear it's ugly head and she'd be lost to us again. Her tears mixed with mine... and all that love her flowing like a waterfall without any beauty - only fear - fear of the inevitable... and yes it came. It came calling one beautiful, sunny September morning that in an instant began the darkest day in my life. A day I remember, relive and speak about over and over again to all the young people that will listen.

So here I am, awaiting the arrival of what is left of the family I love so much. Not feeling at all like celebrating... we all aren't together...sitting around the dining room table. How I long to see her smile... but she is with me always in my heart and in the memories we shared for 22 years. I miss her, dear God I miss her so very much. The light of my life, I love her so!!!!

If only it would really sink in to drug users how they hurt the ones they love. I know they don't do it intentionally... that's not their objective... yet we love them so we hurt... we hurt ever so badly... and when they are gone their pain ends, the Lord heals them that believe, which my Angela did... he heals them... we are left to deal with our pain until the day He calls us home as well. Dear God keep giving me strength.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Attention Parents

We all need to be aware of the funding cuts for mental health and substance abuse treatment in this country. Pennsylvania has already had their funding slashed in these areas while we continue to build shopping malls we don't need or move railroad tracks or pay high salaries to our government officials. What's the deal folks? We need to get our priorities straight. Our young people - their health and well being has to remain our top priority!!! I have been praying for answers, trying to figure out why it's okay to let youth that need help go without it. Yes, we parents need to do our part - totally agreed with that... but when outside help is needed and becomes unavailable because of lack of services or high expense then we lose... our children lose... the country loses its most valuable resource. Drugs kill... let's not let the government spending issues help it along.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Current State of US Affairs

Believe it or not teens are very plugged into what is going on in our world today. They understand the tension over job loss, healthcare reform and the earthquake devastation in Haiti. They may not appear to even realize what is going on around them but they know... they are paying more attention than you realize. Part of the issue is they have become a bit desensitized to devastation due to video games, music and TV, more so than previous generations. How confusing it must be to be partly desensitized and partly emotionally distraught over the state of the world today. Are we listening to our youth? I'm listening... speak to me... talk to me... tell me what's on your mind. Talk to me about why you are turning to drugs and alcohol to elevate your stress and boredom. Let's work together and find a way to get your proactively involved in your life and the life of your community... your country.

Parents are you actively listening to your child of all ages? Are you fully present with them during conversations or is your mind worrying about something else? As parents we've all been there trying to listen and yet our mind is "wandering" off into worry-land. Please - be with them... only them... what they have to say and how they say it is more important then you'll ever know.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letting Go

Letting go is hard very hard and some folks never learn how to "let go" of their "stuff". It's even harder for teens. Their hearts are worn on their sleeves. It's the job, the responsibility of adults to teach our young how to process life.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Those in need

Good morning world! What a beautiful, clear day the Lord has made. Have you thanked God today for all you have? Have you thanked Him for the blessing of being able to read this post on a computer? I would ask you on this Sunday to be grateful for what you have and mindful of those out there who have much less than you.

Today there is a young person somewhere struggling with drug addiction. They may be alone, scared, cold and hungry. They may have no one praying for them, they may have been abandoned by those who love them, they may be living on the streets making horrible choices that allow them to continue their drug use. Please pray for them... they need your prayers.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Teens - can you do it on your own?

Life is complicated, life is hard... living is beautiful! Are you living the best life you can? Are you reaching the full potential that God intended for you?

If your life revolves around your next high, your next withdrawal - then you have so much more of life to experience. Drug use stunts your ability to enjoy all that life has to offer you. Think about it. What are you living for... partying with you friends? Sneaking a joint in the back yard? Is that where your excitement begins and ends. If so I urge you to rethink where you are headed and why.

What you perceive as "innocent partying" can very well lead you down a path of destruction that you can now only imagine. Jail, addiction... illness - death are all very real possibilities - I know first hand. I watched drugs destroy my only daughter. Take heart - there is a way to change your life, to begin living it to the fullest without drugs or alcohol. Step back... assess the situation. You don't have to go it alone. Drop the drugs - turn to your family... ask for help and accept it. Will it be easy? No, probably not... but you're worth it. You deserve to live the best life you can... to be everything you always dreamed you'd be. Talk to someone you trust... and remember to talk to God. He's listening... he's watching over you... he knows your struggles.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Safe & Warm

Are you safe and warm today? Here in Pennsylvania it has been bitterly cold and my mind turns to thoughts of my daughter's days living on the streets. One of her longest runs was from December to February living in her car, abandoned houses and sadly enough even dog houses just to try and get out of the elements. It was heartbreaking at the time for me wondering if she were alive, did she eat, when was the last time she showered. Addiction is so all consuming that the simple needs we all take for granted are forgotten and the only thing that matters is getting high and staying high.

As I type this my heart is heavy and my eyes fill with tears as I remember my pain and her pain. Even though she is no longer with me I remember every plea, every promise, every tear, every pain... and I know today... tonight and tomorrow there will be others just like her, chained to drug addiction, writhing in pain both physical and emotional... longing to be high... longing to be warm... longing to be home.

Be Blessed Dear Hearts... Jesus love you!