Change…

My mother died four years ago at the age of 64. I was the sole heir of her fortune, which if you follow my writing, you know by now is the sum of over forty years of journals, pictures and an entire completed book entitled, Dear Mick; or Waiting on a Friend(Thoughts on Life and Love). The book is told through letters she wrote to Mick Jagger through the years. Upon finding the journals, I was completely overwhelmed, especially since in the last year I have found many secrets of her life begging the question, how well do we really know even our closest friends and family members? A simple Post-it note dated August 16th, 1996 explains the purpose of her journals.

“Peter, I take for granted sometimes that I can pick up a telephone and call you anytime I want. I hate calling people long distance because it validates the space in between. As for calling you, if its when you’re gone and I leave you a long message, especially if it pertains to a beautiful snow or old movie, you get very angry. I think of things to tell you every day, but afraid I will cause anger and combustion of the answering machine. Therefore, my journals. Allow them someday to serve as a telephone call. Not long distance though, because as my son, you will forever be in my heart every second of whatever we find defines eternity. Mamamutra!”

I have spent the last year consolidating these journals with hundreds of scraps of paper littering her basement with jotted little notes such as “The spirit of man is cruel if he forgets the wonder of being a child and experiencing Santa Claus for the first time.” I will never know what occasions inspired her to write some of these notes or thoughts, but hopefully, by weaving together the journals and thoughts together into a book, readers will be able to learn a secret she unearthed only at the very end through her own writings. “The human experience, especially woman’s, is lonely and alone, independent from others needs but undefinable and definitely unexplainable to any man. But of course, as they are quick to tell you, their experience is independent from definition too. Probably true, but I still think Eve made a grave mistake for the rest of us. Then why do we need people? Ahh…because the memories are ten times worth the experience itself.”

I have retitled her book Press Conference; Thoughts on Life and Love, a reference to my mother’s years in therapy, which in person she advocated but in her journals secretly unveiled, “Therapy is a waste of my time. No real life questions are answered. It is all just a press conference of my actions.” In the next few weeks, as I finalize construction of the book, I will be posting segments for my readers to enjoy. By spending hours upon hours, sitting in my dark basement late at night, reading these journals, I have learned a very important lesson. Maybe the most important lesson…Life is but a mystery. And we are on borrowed time as it is…

Change

To My Only True Love…

The apartments on Fall Creek and the near 52nd
where we came and went on weekends
are the same.

The old, drab rooms in yours are still there,
perhaps occupied by other lovers now
and someone sits on my old balcony
with champagne and Robert Frost

The rooms and balconies are still the same
but we have changed.

No more the winning smiles,
Your happy whistling as you exit from a small, blue car
with a bottle of Scotch in your hand
and a hope for an evening in your heart.

The hasty song or listening,
The happy stare of love,
The young heart leaping in the dark room.

And no more the wild young man
who talked too quickly and too loud
of love and life,
ideals he wished to give away.

Seldom the morning sun catches you
lying in bed late anymore.
Seldom the birds in Holcomb Gardens
or any grass
see you stretched out upon the grass.

I pace unfamiliar streets now
attempting new solutions to old problems
and the answers seldom come.

But there was a time in the Fall and Winter
of the year when our problems seemed small,
money and things were nothing
and wine, poems, nights together
and the streets in Indianapolis
were our whole world.

Sometimes I’m sorry for feelings once known,
it doesn’t justify the years you spend remembering.
I was always shy about you loving me.

But I am happy still
that even for a moment
you were thrilled in my direction
and dreamed of my in the daytime.

For maybe six months of love
is worth the lifetime you spend looking.

And White Castles.
And wine in vistas in Brown County.
And knowing you love me.
Is enough.

Barbara Joan Sconce

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Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves…

Some men live lives of quiet desperation. Some men just live. I like to think my Uncle Dave is the latter.

Every Christmas for years my Aunt Kathy would buy me the James Kavanaugh poetry book There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves. One year she inscribed in the inside cover “this poem always makes me think of your Uncle Dave.”

I don’t think I actually ever read the poem before today. This morning I found myself looking for the book to see what my Aunt had actually inscribed, remembering it from years before. Scurrying though my mother’s junk I hope to one day sell on Ebay I found three copies of the book. All inscribed by my Aunt Kathy. I chuckled to myself as I found that two had the exact same inscribed quote listed above. Although I had previously received several copies of the beautiful, poetry book…I had never actually read the poem. I stood in the basement knee high with all of my mom’s old crap and read it for the very first time.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with eager appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant’s world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove.
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant’s world,
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

Hmmmm…while I immediately loved the poem I wasn’t as immediately reminded of my Uncle Dave. In fact, I think the poem is written about a much weaker man than that and I like my men gentle…but also somewhat masculine. I like a little bit of wolf in my husband, father and uncle.

I decided instead I would write what I think of when I think of my Uncle Dave.

These are the lessons I’ve learned from my Uncle Dave:

Nap everyday.
Only stay as long as you want, its your life after all.
Never compromise but never be difficult either.
Laugh often.
Don’t ever get in serious conversations just stand up and walk away.
Only eat what looks good to you.
Cherish friends and family.
But cherish yourself more.
Watch movies often.
Read books often.
Because fictional life is better than reality.
Enjoy people’s best moments.
But be willing to tolerate their worst moments too.
Don’t over think anything.
Ever.
Change your career mid life.
When its time to go its time to go.
Do what makes you happy.
Send meaningful emails.
Never Age…(Seriously, I think my Uncle Dave has looked the same for 40 years!)
And above all else.
The most important lesson of all…
Always Always…
Keep a clean car!

James Kavanaugh is correct. There are men to gentle to live among wolves. And my Aunt Kathy is correct also in comparing my Uncle to him because he’s a good guy. One of the best. But she wouldn’t really like him if was a wimp like Mr. Kavanaugh’s guy. No, she likes a little bit of wolf…don’t we all?

My Uncle Dave has a little howl in his step…you just have to look for it.

He’s always reads everything I write and might just be my biggest cheerleader. For that reason I thought this would be my Christmas present to let him know exactly how much he’s impacted my life. After all…we’re on borrowed time as it is!

The One That Got Away…

This wasn’t the blog I was going to write tonight. I had something else completely planned but I got sidetracked. As many of you know, I believe everything happens for a reason and tonight has proven to be no different. Recently I started a YouTube channel called PEMOVISION. Tonight I recorded a video about an old, lost love inspired by the new Katy Perry song The One That Got Away. After recording it, I came home and edited it and posted it. Alex had told me to watch the video for the song, but I hadn’t actually had a chance to look at it yet. I sat down and searched for the video and began watching. I found myself transfixed by the images before me. You see, the video is about an older woman looking back on an old romance in her life.

I guess I related to it because I often feel as if I’m looking back instead of living in the present or looking forward. A lot of people comment on my constant dialogue about aging and think I have a problem getting older. That’s not it at all. I love getting older. I actually love the gray hair, the wisdom and the “I don’t care” attitude that comes with age. I just wish time would stop and we wouldn’t have to get any older, not because I’m afraid of the years. I’m just not ready for it to be over yet. I think my mom dying at such a young age forced some stop watch to begin ticking in my brain. If you have things you want to do, you better do them now. You’re not going to be here forever!

Earlier in the evening, we had a ridiculous fight at dinner which resulted in the two of us screaming at each other over the dog. Threats of break-ups and boundaries drawn were smeared all over the place. We hadn’t had a fight like this in quite some time. Interestingly enough, now writing this, I can’t remember how the fight originated. But, as I watched the video, I wasn’t reminded of my old, lost love, as I was when I heard the song and recorded my own video. This time, I saw Alex and myself, joking, laughing, fighting and loving on the images flashing before me. And I realized…I didn’t want that to ever stop either.

We grow up…maybe too much sometimes. All enjoyment of flight and fancy stops. We don’t have time to finger paint with each other, or watch movies in bed with movie popcorn and melting chocolate on our fingertips. Long car rides and even longer discussions about love and life stop as we have to be at work to clock in or get the kids to soccer practice on time. Time warps us into believing we have to live a certain way. Aging reminds us we’re living that certain way. And yet the clock just keeps on ticking.

I don’t want to live that way. Recently I got on a friend of mine for having her son go to bed so late. She told me she likes having him on her schedule. As soon as I left I realized what a cool mom she is because she makes sure he has everything he needs to grow up and achieve success yet he lives this bohemian lifestyle. He’ll probably be much better off than any of us.

My goal is to stop living by the rules we’re told we have to follow as we get older. I want to finger paint a little bit more. Drink fresh squeezed apple juice. Eat cookies on Christmas Eve with Santa. I want to live the greatest love I’ve ever imagined with my husband. Crazy, stupid love. He’s the one I chose to be with and I don’t ever want him to be the one that got away. And I want to enjoy being 39 years young…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

Check out the video…you’ll love it!

Own Your Coolness!

I was driving around this afternoon listening to some old music I loved in high school. The Cure. The Smiths. The Grateful Dead. Thumbing through my iPod I found songs I hadn’t listened to in a few years; probably not since I had downloaded them during one of my “back when” memory fits. As I went over song after song, my eyes finally rested on the words of a song I could not remember having heard since my last days of high school “Anchorage” by Michelle Shocked.

I couldn’t just immediately play the song. It had to be perfect. So I lit a cigarette, took a sip of my coffee and finally pushed the play button.

As the words flew through the car my mouth rested on every syllable, remembering every last rhyme and intonation as only happens to me today with songs I’ve heard 9 million times. And I was reminded.

Of smoking Camel Lights late at night in my friend’s back yard. Of endless nights driving around Carmel, Indiana looking for “something” or “someone”. Summer days so hot we could barely breath. Winter days missing school but able to drive over to each others’ houses to complain about how our parents were driving us crazy. Notes passed in hallways. Threats of fights. Butterflies flapping wings of love uncertain in our stomachs. Movies like Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles. Moonlighting. Roseanne. 90210…the first time.

And listening to the words of this magical song I instantly remembered one person.

Shell.

I had a small group of friends in high school but she and I were the closest during the first years of high school while I ended my days there being best friends with her sister Margaret. I’m not really sure why I thought of her or why her smile and ever changing hair flashed through my memory. Maybe it was the funny cartoons she used to make for me of a imaginary triplet named Trendy Hairlip. Or maybe it was my having found my old journals which reminded me why we stopped being friends in the first place…because I had found and read hers. Or maybe it was just perfect timing. I don’t know.

I miss her though. I miss all my friends that knew me way back when. Sometimes I wish they were still around me today. And I’m not afraid to brag…I’m cool. I’m probably cooler now than I was then because I don’t care much, or at least I’ve convinced myself of this, of what other people think. Nonetheless I found myself wondering if she was still cool today because she was back then. Man…we were cool!

And laughing to myself as I type this I find it interesting I didn’t realize how cool my own mother was until mere years before her death. But she was very, very cool. The kind of cool that would smoke clove and vanilla cigarettes with coffee at midnight, light a few candles and say, “you know I still don’t understand how Oswald got Kennedy from the 6th floor. There’s just no way.” Or, dancing in her kitchen to Janet Jackson and Garbage while walking miles in her neighborhood to The Grateful Dead and CSNY. Her greatest claim to fame was having finished Ulysses in one weekend and knowing Steve Martin was going to be famous when she saw him on Johnny Carson. “I just knew it“.

She was way cool.

And so am I.

And so was I. And so was Shell. And I hope she still is today. I hope she wakes up every once in awhile, the sun straining her eyes and thinks for a split second it was all a dream and I’ll be picking her up for school in just a few. Maybe she’s forgotten the journal incident. But if not, I apologize. This is my amends for a horrible act…but I liked what I read, sorry. I hope she remembers and retains that coolness…because we’re on borrowed time as it is.

Laugh…

I recently began a YouTube channel called Pemovision! I’ve had really mixed responses but a lot of people seemed a little unsure about what to say or even feel the need to inform me they think I’m making a fool of myself.

Exactly. I don’t care anymore. The time has come to grow up and grow back into being a child’s life filled with imagination and wonder and stop caring if wearing a Burger King crown looks ridiculous or not. Who cares! What…a relief!

In the same breath, I have also chosen to stop coloring my hair. For those that don’t know, my hair began turning white when I was 23. I’m sure this is genetic although I like to paint some mystical and magical story along with it to make my life seem more interesting than it already appears to be. Nonetheless, my hair is white. Not salt and pepper, as many people like to assume, but white.

At first I wasn’t sure I was o.k. with the idea of letting my hair go. Within the first two weeks I got guessed at much older than I am, 39 to be exact, when I had typically been guessed at much younger. People I had known for a long time didn’t recognize me and almost everyone had a comment, whether good or bad. (I loved receiving all the comments but I was just surprised that the changing of my hair color was such a drastic change to my overall look.)

After my wedding this past August, I had a discussion with my dad about getting older. His hair is snow white. Blizzard perfection. “You know Peter”, he said, “I believe in being authentic as we grow older.” He said. “We do the best with what we’re given and we present our genuine self.”

Ahhhh…wisdom. And yet, I still wasn’t sure.

But as the words dripped down into my brain over the next few days I knew he was right. I began to embrace this new transition point in my life and accept that as I turned 40 I could let go and not care as much. What’s the point any way.

And 40! I never thought I’d be 40! But the reality is I’m actually enjoying getting older. I just want time to stop. I don’t want to continue getting older and older with a destination point of death. I’m just not ready for it to be over yet. And with a mother who died at 64 I see the proverbial clock ticking in the distance.

But ticks for all of us, no matter who we are. We’re on borrowed time.

Getting older is a gift. Don’t get me wrong. If I could go back to 25 knowing what I know today, I wouldn’t in a Texas second, but I can’t. And there’s something horribly sexy about looking in the mirror, white hair and sun kissed wrinkles, and finding yourself mildly more attractive than you did at 25. Because you don’t care anymore.

Thus the birth of Pemovision!

In the future, my friends, family and readers can expect to see me doing much more foolish things in hopes of pushing myself even farther. Living on the edge, with safety nets attached. Dancing on table tops. Singing operas I’ve never even heard. Gambling with winnings from penny slots. Kissing in the middle of the grocery story. And laughing my ass off.

After all…we’re on borrowed time as it is!

On Borrowed Time…

“We’re on borrowed time as it is”…As many of you know by now, my mom used to say this to me on an almost daily basis. How true, but I guess I think about it more philosophically than realistically. We are, in fact, on borrowed time. I was really thinking about this last night as I was driving home from work. For some reason I was having a Mom day, which means I can’t get her out of my mind and usually I’m a little bit more fragile than other days. I was thinking about how much I would love to see her just one last time. What I wouldn’t give for a little more time with her. A whole day…an hour…a half an hour. But what would I say? I’ve joked with people for the past three and half years since she’s passed away that if she came back for a day, we would hug and cry and laugh for the first two hours but then we would probably be bitching at each other again. If you knew us together, you know this to be true. We were like Italian alcoholics in recovery, downing coffee and screaming one second and crying and saying ‘I love you’ the next. It was insanity.

I was thinking about how many clients have told me how much they wish they could spend just one more day with a loved one who had passed away. The funny thing is, we never think about this on the days that we DO have time to spend with our loved ones. Honestly, how many days have you spent with your husband, best friend, mother or even your dog where you appreciate every second, every moment of the day. Even just a half an hour where you think to yourself, “I really appreciate this person. I love them so much and I am so present in this moment I am spending with them.” Don’t even think about it because the chances are you’ve haven’t. Most of us can’t conceptualize losing someone until they’re terminally ill or have passed away. It is only in those moments when we say we wish we could have them back to spend precious time. Oh, the things we’d say and do.

Why aren’t we doing those things now?

And further more, we grieve all of those dreams we wish our loved ones would have achieved. Why aren’t we pursing our own dreams on an intense level every day. In the end, we’re the only ones who can make them happen.

My mom had several dreams. She wanted to be a costume designer in Hollywood for epic films like Gone with the Wind. She adored the designer Edith Head who did all of the costumes for the Hitchcock movies and she dreamed of following in her path. She also wanted to be an actress or a writer. I have since found over 30 journals and an entirely completed manuscript. So she was, in fact, a writer. She was just never published. I do have the copy of her rejection letter from Robert Bly, the poet laureate of Minnesota, for his literary magazine. She always believed someday she’d win an Oscar and would talk about how she played the main character in The Bad Seed her freshman year of college at Indiana University. She was really going places. But most of all, she wanted to be a criminal trial attorney, living on a houseboat in San Fransisco harbor. She’d say, “don’t you think I would have made an amazing trial attorney?” And everyone would just stare like she was crazy, imagining Bobbie Monn in court, the judge unable to shut her up or pull her hands from the neck of a rapist…or Republican.

She never accomplished these things. I’m not sure she ever would have even if she lived to be 104. Fear kept her stuck in place. Fear keeps me stuck in place. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of commitment. Fear of the unknown. Maybe it’s just how I’m programmed that throws those walls up in front of me, but I think that fear harnesses my thoughts of “I wish I had one more day” instead of “today I will set out to accomplish everything I dream of and spend the time with the people who mean the most!” I remember while my co-worker’s father was terminally ill she beat herself up because she wasn’t visiting him regularly because of her demanding work schedule. Towards the end a friend told her, “Years from now, you won’t look back on this situation and wish you had worked more.” God…ain’t that the truth!

Take time today to really enjoy the day. Smell the air. Drink some really good coffee. Enjoy the freshness of a glass of water only the way it tastes, icy cold, first thing in the morning. Smile. Dance down the street. Be unafraid. Jam your music and sing at the top of your lungs, even if it’s Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music. No one cares! Have an adult lemonade stand. Start writing that book you always wanted to write. Or start reading the book that has been sitting next to your bed for months. Look up casting agents in Hollywood. Put your pictures up on Model Mayhem. Take some chances. Have great sex with your partner. Do the whip cream and chocolate strawberry’s you’ve been talking about forever. Stay up late watching a scary movie in bed. Tell old memories to friends. Make new ones. Eat lunch somewhere you’ve never eaten before. Eat dinner somewhere you’ve never eaten before. Get a slushy and mix the flavors. Buy a children’s book and read it to your dog. Take a walk. Take a run. Buy a bike! I did…just to ride around the neighborhood and say hi to my neighbors. Enjoy today…because you could be gone tomorrow…or someone you love could be gone tomorrow. We only have a limited amount of days here and no one knows how many.

At the end my mom looked at me and said, It’s not the things you did that you regret. It’s the things you didn’t do.” She was so right! And somewhere up there, I believe, she’s still dancing with an umbrella to Singing in the Rain, kicking at puddles on her front porch, splashing raindrops of dreams and opportunities for all of us down here….just smiling and smiling…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

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Help the Kids!!! All of the Secrets Revealed!!!

Please Help the Kids…Serve as Hope for Someone Else!!!
Contact me and be part of the movement!
petermonnmsw@gmail.com

My Twelve Steps Companion iPhone application tells me that as of today I’ve been clean and sober 16.76 years or 201.14 months or 6,122 days or 146,927 hours. That’s a lot of time but honestly, sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that I was with my friends in high school drinking and partying. For years I worked with teenagers in an inpatient, addiction treatment center but today I am a private practice therapist who works with clients with varying issues and ages. Pain is universal.

But before I get too deep into the background story…for those of you who just want to be part of this project, let me take a moment to pause and explain. Daily I’m asked for advice on the strangest, but most honest, parts of the lives of teenagers using drugs and alcohol. Most days I receive phone calls from teenagers asking me how to talk to a friend or what drugs are safe for them to use. While my answers to these questions varies, I rarely give advice on safe drugs to use, what is apparent is most kids feel they have nowhere to turn for the real answers. Parents, teachers, other counselors, nurses, etc…call me daily too asking all kinds of questions about new over the counter drugs, or how much certain drugs cost or what boundaries they should or shouldn’t set. I have decided to begin a project where all of this advice can be easily accessed so parents and teenagers can be more successful and have the lives they dream of having. You want to be the next Jennifer Hudson, Kurt Cobain, Kid Cudi or Lil Wayne…it’s all waiting, you just have to reach out and grab it. I am asking anyone who had drug and alcohol problems as a teenager but is successful today to be part of my project. I am also asking anyone affected by these teenagers drug or alcohol use, but learned what worked and didn’t work to be part of this project. If you’re interested, please contact me at petermonnmsw@gmail.com for more information…but I encourage you to read on!

I can still remember being on the adult unit of the hospital where I got sober and listening to the teenage girls while they smoked on the patio at night, laughing with each other and talking about the dude’s number they got at the AA meeting they had gone to earlier. I remember watching in disbelief as the counselor monitoring them sat inside writing group notes, not paying attention to the girls or they mindless chatter. How could she not want to be part of this mesmerizing conversation? For years I had therapists who would fall asleep during our sessions or would trust the word of my parents instead of mine, never attempting to relate to my youthful beliefs or even remotely trying to see things from my point of view. So I thought to myself, I could do this. I could be that counselor or therapist I never had when I was a teenager. I could relate and show kids that adults can relate to them. Adults can be wrong and apologize first. Adults can listen to the same music, watch the same music and watch the same movies and television shows…not because they’re fake, but because that’s what they enjoy. (I can’t stand anyone fake so in my years of working with teenagers it’s been vital that when I am uneducated on a certain band or movie, to honestly more about their interests and ask for suggestions so I can decide on my own if I like a certain band. Some I’ve loved…some I still can’t stomach.)

Years ago I read a book by the editor of Sassy magazine where she described her attitude towards putting a magazine out for teenage girls. She described how her reader was the girl who walked down the hallway and had freckles or underdeveloped breasts, or overdeveloped breasts. Every boy looked at her or no boy looked at her. These girls didn’t feel they “fit it” and for them, this was traumatic, much the same way we consider sexual or physical abuse. She talked about sitting down on the floor and pulling her jeans up and getting down on their level to talk. Later, I had a professor who worked at Indiana Girl’s School who shared that she had a huge basket filled with cheap bottles of cheap nail polish. In exchange for talking to her, the girls were allowed to paint her nails. Often, she walked out of those sessions with a different color on every fingernail…but the girls talked…and they eventually felt better. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

And then the boys. The forgotten diverse population of our times. After 15 years working in the field of teenagers I have realized we assume our boys are going to be just fine because they’re boys. We make statements to boys like “grow up” or “be a man”, but nobody teaches them how to be men. They are afraid of growing up in a world without instructions and therefor front to make it appear they have a clue about the real world. Most do not and we are setting them up for failure. It is our job to hold their hands, even if they are resistant, through the dark, guiding them until they find their way. As a gay counselor I was apprehensive at times to work with male clients, but even to this day, I’ve always had amazing trusting and therapeutic relationships with the hardest core teenage men. They don’t care for bullshit and I do not bullshit.

Parents have asked me for 15 years what my secret has been working with teenagers. I just think like a teenager. I don’t have to try because honestly, most days I feel like I could wake up and this could all have been a dream and I’m still in high school myself. I try to treat teens the way I wanted to be treated, while still setting limits, boundaries and structure because I believe that’s what I wanted and needed. I had a mother look at her daughter during family group while she was discussing the love she felt for her boyfriend and the mother shouted “you don’t know what love is! You’re 15!” Let’s be honest. Love doesn’t feel a whole lot different at 15 than it does at 50. Quit lying to your kids. They know you’re full of shit when you do!

And that’s really the secret. Really listening to what the kids are telling us.

This has never been better stated than in the movie Bowling for Columbine when the director Michael Moore interviews singer Marilyn Manson whose music supposedly served as inspiration for the violence.
Michael Moore: If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community, what would you say to them if they were here right now?
Marilyn Manson: I wouldn’t say a single word to them I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.

Today…I am listening. I have cleaned my ears out and I am listening like I have never listened before. For years I have been frustrated with the lack of resources for teenagers, parents, siblings and everyone who has been affected by drugs and alcohol as a teenager. The parents have no clue what to do and what decisions are right and the kids think what they’re doing is normal. I get questions daily like, “Since my son is in treatment, should I pay his dealer because he owes him $1500.” or “I don’t really care that she hangs around Sally. They’ve been friends since they were in 7th grade and Sally is a really good girl and comes from a good family. What about the other friends.” First of all, don’t ever pay your kids drug debts, you might as well have bought the drugs, which indirectly you did so own it. And second, Sally isn’t as pure as you think she is but that’s not the point. Your daughter is the worst friend she’s ever had so stop focusing on her friends.

But where is this advice? Where is the truth from kids, teachers, drug dealers, parents, siblings, therapist, probation officers and cops that everyone searches for and ends up calling me or some other therapist. It doesn’t exist…yet.

Every day I am contacted in some way by past clients or patients who I worked with as teenagers. Not all of them liked me when I worked with them, but somehow, they made it out and are successful today. Not all are in 12-step programs and not all of them are clean and sober, but ALL are successful in my book! I had a passing thought of starting a small project and so I chose ten of these young people and contacted asking for their help. ALL ten immediately responded and said they would be more than happy to help. Thus grew a larger idea and a larger idea and a larger idea. At this moment, I have a project in place to provide this advice and guidance my past families and patients have been looking for but couldn’t find.

This is where I help YOU to HELP THE KIDS!!! I am looking for anyone who struggled with drugs and alcohol as teenagers but made it out and is successful today. This does not necessarily mean you are clean and sober, but I am encouraging those people as well. I am also asking parents, sponsors, teachers, probation officers, therapists, counselors, doctors, friends, siblings, neighbors…anyone who experienced working with a teenager suffering from drugs and alcohol who has the inside scoop on what did and didn’t work for you that helped them be successful. If you are interested, please contact me at petermonnmsw@gmail.com with your name and email and I will forward you the outline for the beginning of this exciting project. And let me be very clear! This by no means is an attempt to replace any 12-step program. I am hoping that members of 12-step programs will also assist to offer examples of what works for them to be successful as well. I no longer want anyone, no matter their age, to feel that they don’t know where to turn for an honest answer about addiction and recovery.

Please help the kids! Serve as hope for someone else!
And if you have any questions or need immediate assistance you can always reach me at 317-796-3101.