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June 30, 2008

I'm Sorry

It was 11 months from when we first discovered that David had a serious substance abuse problem until his death in a drug related drowning.  Just 335 days...8040 hours mark the distance and the difference between joy and hope...grief and despair.

In my family growing up we said "I love you" a lot, and so it was that the last conversation I had with David the night before his death my final words to him were "I love you David" and his last words to me were "love you Dad."   In the months and years since his loss I have played that exchange over in my mind thousands of times. I still hear his voice speaking those words as if he were standing beside me whispering in my ear.

I know how lucky I am to have been able to say those four words to him...and in the years since his death they have brought me great comfort in some of my darkest hours.  But I have also come to understand that there are still things that I never had the chance to say to him.  Prominant among them are the words "I'm sorry." 

So if you will allow me...

David my beautiful boy...

  • I'm sorry you never knew your grandmother...
  • I'm sorry I didn't know enough about baseball to be a better coach to you
  • I'm sorry that I hovered too much...
  • I'm sorry that I didn't listen more...
  • I sorry we never got to see a Pink Floyd concert together...
  • I'm sorry instead of helping you with you homework I sometimes did it for you...
  • I am sorry I sometimes drank too much...
  • I am sorry for the time we argued and you got so mad you hit me...
  • I'm sorry I didn't know how much you struggled with addiction......
  • I'm sorry that I tried to be more of a friend at times than a father...
  • I'm sorry I offered you a beer when you were in recovery...
  • I am sorry I was away when you died...

John Denver got it right when he wrote:

"More than anything else I'm sorry for myself for living without you"

June 30, 2008 at 04:11 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 10, 2008

Understanding the Teen Brain, A Guide for Parents

Yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of our son David's death at the age of 16 from substance abuse and while we spent the day as we always do honoring his struggle by working with young people still stuggling with the disease we also were pleased to learn that a project we have been working on will be announced this week. For sometime now Marissa and I have been involved with the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) in a new initiative called the Parent Resource Center. The PRC is a blending of the advertising expertise of PDFA, the reasearch expertise of the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and the Parent Advisory Board composed of parents whose adolescents and young adults have struggled with the disease of addiction. This cooperative venture began two years ago and on June 11th will unvail the first online parenting tool called "A Parents Guide to the Teen Brain." Developed in conjunction with WGBH TV Boston, the tool translates recent scientific findings about how brain development shapes teen behavior into easy to understand tips and tools for parents.  Follow this link to the Teen Brain site and please let me know what you think of the site and how we can make it better.


On June 11th The Partnership for a Drug Free America held a Virtual Press Conference Announcing Launch of “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”

- New Site to Help Parents Decode Teen Behavior and Connect with their Kids

- Release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study

WHAT It Is About: The Partnership for a Drug Free America will debut their newest online parenting tool: “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.” The site launch also coincides with the release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), a survey of parents’ attitudes about drugs and alcohol. 

WHY We Did It:  For every parent of a teenager who has ever wondered “who is this kid?” the website aims to make answering that question easier. Designed to help parents navigate the confusing, often frustrating teen years, “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain” translates recent scientific findings that shed light on how brain development shapes teens’ behavior and personalities into easy-to-understand tips and tools for parents.

The site explains that the human brain takes 25 years to fully develop, with areas responsible for complex judgment and decision-making maturing last. Through video, humorous interactive segments, role-playing and advice from experts, parents learn how adolescent brain development explains the “normal” teen behaviors that often confound parents—impulsiveness, rebellion, high emotions and risk-taking, especially with drugs and alcohol—and how to use this new information to connect with their teens.

The 2007 PATS study shows that as kids become teenagers, their parents need for information and help talking about drugs and alcohol peaks, and parents’ confidence in their ability to keep kids from using drugs and alcohol begins to wane.

WHO Participated: A distinguished panel of experts will participate in a discussion about “A Parent’s

           Guide to the Teen Brain including:

·         Steve Pasierb:  President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for a Drug Free America

·         Ken Winters, Ph.D.: director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, and a Senior Scientist with the Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

·         Tara Paterson: certified parenting coach, mother of three, founder of the Mom’s Choice Awards (which honor excellence in family friendly media, products and services), author of the upcoming book Raising Intuitive Children and contributor to justformom.com.


Highlights of the Virtual Press Conference will include:

·         Detailed explanation/run through of “A Parents Guide to the Teen Brain”

·         Explanation about the links between teen behavior and the physiological changes happening in the teen brain

·         Explanation of findings from the 2007 PATS study

·         Discussion of how to apply the scientific findings about the teen brain to real life

·         Valuable insight from a parent and parenting coach

To download video of the webcast in broadcast quality format please visit the coordinates below:

Galaxy 26 Transponder 1 C BAND Analog

Downlink frequency is 3720 Vertica

Beta copies can be requested as well, but will require additional time for delivery.


Media Contacts:    Judy Klein, o: 212-251-1204, m: 917-282-9352, e:  jklein@ckpr.biz

                             Paul Costiglio, o: 212-973-3530, m: 917-686-8697, e: paul_costiglio@drugfree.org

For more information about the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, visit www.drugfree.org.

June 10, 2008 at 09:23 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack