Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Drug Take Back Day

This Saturday is a nationally coordinated Drug Take Back Day. All across the nation there will people at various locations to take back and properly dispose of unwanted pills and medicines. I personally want to encourage you to take part in this effort.

You don't need to have a young adult or teen in your home to make it dangerous to have unused or expired medications around the home. I hate to say it this way but kids will find a way to get to what you have if they need it or want it. Grandma's and Grandpa's medicine, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends, you are all vulnerable.

My personal experience is enough for us to understand the danger we all face. About 8 years ago I had a joint replacement, shoulder. That was a very painful experience so when I was released from the hospital I was given an ample supply of pain medication, Vicoden. I took a few, particularly after visits to the physical terrorist, but not too many. During a followup visit with the doctor I was ask how the pain meds were working for me? My reply was they were good and worked well. When I went to check out at the doctors office another prescription for Vicoden was waiting for me. I still had several from the first prescription but as a good little patient I stopped on the way home and filled the second prescription, just in case, you know. I never took a single pill from the second prescription and it was a fairly large bottle. Never thought much about it until several months later I found that pill bottle empty in my son's bedroom.

This was very early in my son's addiction. I don't know if this was Alex's first experience into prescription meds. I do know for sure that my carelessness and not being aware the dangers of unused medication in the home made me one of my own sons drug dealers. Yes, I do think about that as a father and it is not a good feeling.

For me and yourself, help every single young person out there by not having unused medication in your home. Take back and dispose of unused medication.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has organized a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 29, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In all 50 states and U.S. territories, you can drop off unwanted or expired medicines at thousands of take-back locations, getting them out of your home (and out of your children’s reach).

go to, put in your zip code, and find the nearest take-back location.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Home, Safe and Sound

Nothing routine about coming home from work tonight. I was riding my motorcycle home and cruising down the highway at 60 mph minding my own business. It was a nice evening to ride.

All of a sudden the engine stopped and the rear tire locked up. Before I even knew what happened I was sliding sideways. Don't know how I knew to do it so fast I grabbed all the clutch I could. That released the rear tire from being locked up. I was able swerve back to getting it straight tracking while holding clutch. Braked to a stop using front brake into the center median.

Darlene was thank god you are OK.  

OK!!!  OK!!!  I'm not even close to being OK, I got a broke Harley sitting in my garage, maybe a locked up transmission or locked up engine. I'm far from OK.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Favor, Please?

Finished another day of talks to students at Basehor Linwood High School. First of all, Thank You, Susan Mayberry for allowing me into your classroom. This is much more important to me that it is to all of you that listen. I'm sure every POA would understand what I mean by that and would side with me on that one.

The beginning of each talk these last two days I opened with a video that was produced for The Medicine Abuse Project. It is the story of 5 teens that abused prescription medication. I couldn't believe the impact this video had on the students and the parents that attended.

I asked and The Partnership has posted the video on their website.

It's hard to talk with your children about drugs. Studies show parents would rather talk to their kids about sex than drugs. Mostly because they don't know what to say and they are afraid of THE QUESTION. You know the "question", "Dad, Mom, have you ever used drugs?" You know what I tell these kids in class, you start the conversation with dad and mom. I also tell them don't be afraid of putting dad and mom on the spot. I explain to them the very best conversation they can have with dad and mom about drugs is a honest one, no secrets.

I am asking a favor from all that read this blog. I know many of you are POA's. The favor I am asking is for you to watch this video. It's only 11:43 minutes of your life. After you watch it PLEASE forward a link to a parent of a young teen. Ask them to watch and beg them to talk with their children about drugs. If they don't know how to talk about drugs to their child send them a link, The Partnership has an entire section about how to talk to your child about drugs.

Here is the link:  PARENTS360 Rx  Click on the video link on that page.

If you need help talking to your kids about drugs:  PREVENT

Leave me a comment.......Watched & Talked

That is all the fuel I need to keep fighting the monster.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's In Their Eyes

I spoke to two classes at the high school today. Along with the students four parents attended.

I really cannot find the words to describe what it is like to stand in front of these young people and parents and talk about what we have been through. I've given this talk for I really don't know how many times. There are parts for me that are very painful. It's like taking the scab off a wound that really needs the air and light. The process is healing for me but it is not without giving up a part of me too.

However much it hurts at times it is all worth it when I look at those young people listening to me. It tough when I recount how long it took me to learn what has to be done and how to be a father with a son addicted to drugs. Not sure but I might even scare some of the kids when I launch into my old worn out phrase that is used before I understood about addiction. "No lying, no stealing, no drugs, JUST WHAT THE HELL IS SO HARD ABOUT THAT!!!!" Of course I deliver that phrase at about one quarter the volume and zero percent of the anger I used when it was screamed at Alex.

The kids seem to be listening. Guess it is my training on recognizing Alex's condition. I look at their eyes. No pinpoint pupils. LOL. They are wide open. If you have seen the videos you know I can't stand still during these presentations. They follow me with their eyes. I think they hear me because I see it in their faces but mostly in their eyes.

One of the parents that attended today critiqued me at my asking. She said, "I pride myself on being a people watcher and I have never seen kids this age so focused. You touched some people today. I admit, at times I was fighting to hold back tears."

Hate to admit but there are times the speaker fights hard to hold back the tears too. This is so personal.

Two more classes tomorrow. I'll be ready, hope they are ready for me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Ron Road Show

The road show is on off and running next week. Wednesday and Thursday next week I am giving my presentation to another bunch of high school students in my local school district, Basehor Linwood.

This week I got an email from representatives of the Blue Valley School District. I was ask to speak at 4 middle schools in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week in October. Their plan is to have whole school assemblies and I will talk about the impact of addiction on addicts and families. They want a personal story that impacts the students at their level. Over 2000 middle school students along with teachers and any parents that attend will hear my story in one week.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes schools each year with the National Blue Ribbon Award.

(from the U.S. Dept. of Education website)
What are the benefits of being a Blue Ribbon school?

Blue Ribbon Schools are nationally recognized as some of America's most successful schools. The award acknowledges and validates the hard work of students, staff members, families, and communities in reaching high levels of student achievement. Moreover, Blue Ribbon Schools report a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment at their school. They may be sought out as mentors to others schools or may find that receiving grants and raising funds is a little easier. Communities often report that the award makes their neighborhood a more desirable place to live because parents want their children to attend a Blue Ribbon School—and real estate agents use the Blue Ribbon award as a selling point for those neighborhoods. Tangibly, each fall, all winning schools are invited to Washington, D.C. for a ceremony to celebrate their success, share information, and receive a plaque and flag to commemorate their achievement.

In Kansas there were only six schools recognized across the entire state of all public and private schools on the 2012 Blue Ribbon School list. Basehor Linwood School District and The Blue Valley School District each had one school on the list. From the Blue Ribbon Schools list in Kansas 2 of the 6 school districts have ask me to speak to their students. This tells me the highest performing schools in the nation DO NOT ignore the realities of drug addiction and the impact it has on their students. I feel good in this knowledge, hopefully I can do them justice with my message.

As always, I can sure use your thoughts and ideas. If you have something that every student must know, leave me a comment. Nothing is so good it can't be improved.

Here is a link to videos my presentation to high school students last school year. You Ask For It, You Got'em

Another parent beginning to write. Please give her a shout.
My Life of Constant Intervention

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It is day by day. I really understand that now and it was so hard to get but this dad finally got it after a few years. This is my revelation for myself.

Regardless of living for the joy of each day I don't think it is wrong to occasionally put little check marks in the column of normal father /son growth and relationships. Today Alex got back from a family vacation. He and Kristy took their family on their first family vacation. It really is a mark on the life list for a dad to take his family on car vacation. Ask your dad if that adventure doesn't have a special place in their dreams and nightmares. It is such a milestone a movie was actually made of the adventure. I don't know anybody that hasn't laughed at the Griswold's on their vacation to Walley World.

This dad is proud of his son. Not so long ago I didn't even dare to dream. Today dreams come true.

Ocean City, Maryland, USA

Friday, September 7, 2012

What Would You Say to an Addict?

A few weeks ago Adrienne Hurst, Managing Editor at All sent me an email explaining that she was soliciting quotes for an article she was writing. The subject of the article was "What Would You Say to an Addict", if you could only say one thing. She ask if I would be willing to submit a quote for her article, I agreed.

Today I received an email from Adrienne Hurst, "Thank you for sharing your addiction advice with AllTreatment. We received several contributions from bloggers and treatment providers, and yours was among the few that we choose to be included in our article. The point you made about parents of addicts needing to take care of themselves really struck me, and I am excited to share it with our readers."

You can read Adrienne Hurst's article here:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why Do We Write?

A friend that writes and maintains her own website B Here Today posted a quote that started me thinking. "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.", Ernest Hemingway.

Why do I write? That's a really hard question. In fact Barbara over at Back To Being Me is having a very difficult time with her son and life and her last post was about taking a break from writing because she didn't feel she could give enough time and herself to continue reading and commenting on others blogs. She felt blogging was a two way street. She had to contribute to others in order to write.

I write for myself. Writing is a very selfish endeavor. Even if the room is full of people, when I write I am alone. Writing allows me to be alone with myself, guess it is like having a conversation with my best friend, me. ;-) I've always had a feeling that anyone that couldn't stand to be alone probably doesn't like themselves.

Blogging has never been a two way street for me. Yes, I read many blogs and I sometimes leave comments for others. Comments on my blog make me feel good that someone reads and takes time to comment. Comments are therapeutic and I learn a great deal from all of the wisdom shared by those in a similar struggle. However, for me the real meat of the therapy is the process of writing. The organization of my thoughts, the deliberation on my experiences and beliefs before I commit them to "paper". But it's not paper any more is it?

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.", Ernest Hemingway. Who am I to disagree with Ernest Hemingway about the process of writing, but I do. Look at this fool, disagreeing with arguably one of the greatest writers of all time about writing. For me it goes more like this. "There is nothing to writing. Writing is what I do while I am licking my wounds.", Ron Grover. When I wrote about our experiences the battle was over. Blood was all ready spilled. The battlefield is strewn with hurt, anger and tears. Writing is what gave me the strength to fight this addiction monster one more day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Something Different: Schools

I had a discussion lately with a person that proclaimed that the thing wrong with our educational system today is that it needs to be run more like a business. That seems to be a popular thought today. I hear so many people proclaim, the problem with government is it needs o be run like a business. I'm not getting into politics. I just want to share my thoughts on the educational system as to how I think it should or shouldn't be run like a business.

Maybe I have a unique perspective, maybe not. My kids are all out of school. I was once a board member in our local school district. (thankless job) I have been involved in our local schools for over 2 decades.

But I have been involved in running businesses for over 2 decades also. Big companies with 100's of employees and small companies with 10's of associates.

There are aspects of a school district that does indeed model a small, medium or large business. When I was on the school board our small school district had nearly 200 employees. Business models in accounting, management, and maintenance are very appropriate in the public education sector. However, how would that work in the classroom?

I think of a business model and how it works in the industries in which I worked, manufacturing. In each case there were inputs, transformations and outputs. How does that compare to our educational system? In education there are young students enter the system at the age or 5. Transformations take place over the course of 12 years and the outputs are educated, competent young adults. Seems simple doesn't it.

First of all in a business we strive to have complete control over the inputs. We spend hours on specifications. Out of specification, then an input is rejected. Transformations take place in a tightly controlled environment, no outside influences, quality standards such as ISO or QS dictate methods and minimize non standardization. Any input out of specification is rejected and placed into quarantine for later modification or scrap. Outputs are highly scrutinized. They must meet quality control requirements as established before an input is accepted. The customer then finally determines the ultimate functionality of the finished product. That really is how the business model works. Not including the P&L.

How does it work in our schools. Inputs must be accepted regardless of the person. Students arrive as inputs each day, some are hungry, some are angry or sad, some have no support outside of the school walls for their mission each day, some not understanding the language in which the teacher speaks.  Transformations take place each day, most of the time at an individual pace, some easily, some struggle in the same classroom. In my business the transformations take place at a predetermined rate. People transform at their own pace dictated by thousands of variables.

In business my customers are well defined, in our schools the customers are those students. Students/customers have expectations and outside influences sometimes not articulated. A teacher looks out and assesses each day what are my customers expectations and what influences are their that are beyond my control.

All of sudden a revelation, my inputs are my customers! My stockholders are the parents and citizens of the district. My stockholder that owns the "company" are not uniform in their expectations, some have no other interest other than to tell me how poorly I perform with a desire to strangle me by taking away what meager tools I am given to transform my inputs. The expectations of my "company's" stockholders is that I improve my outputs with less and less tools.

Outputs of a business determine the success of a business. Without meeting a customers needs no business will succeed. It's the same for an educational system.

When looked at in a holistic nature, for myself I'll stick with manufacturing. My business model will not work in a classroom. My business model is simple in relationship to managing a learning process.

Should we run our schools like a business? Are we allowed to reject our inputs that don't meet the specs? Can we fire those parents that do not support the learning process of our customers? Can we eliminate the destructive outside influence on our inputs like drugs, alcohol, depression, dysfunctional homes, physical and sexual abuse along with every other negative aspect of a child's life that happens outside of our classroom?

A teacher does the best they can with the tools and inputs they are provided. There are teachers out there that live education 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the classroom bell.

As a stockholder in our school district I don't want my classrooms run like a business. I want my teachers to continue living their dream. They are doing more than I do with less than I have in my company to make sure of success.

Business models work for business, education models work for school. Myself, I cannot see where they are interchangeable.

Thank you teachers.