Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Small steps

We had our bi-weekly call last night with the therapist, and Katie was still out of Orange, so she was on it as well.

The good news is he is feeling much better. Turns out he was battling Pneumonia last week, and was mis-diagnosed for a while. But he is on steroids and antibiotics now and feeling much better than he sounds. He has that Barry White 'sexy voice' thing going for him right now, deep, gravely and breathy. But I'm glad he is getting better.

Katie - well she is doing slightly better. For support she is at 33% this week, which is significantly better, but still not very good. She tried a couple of things that we talked about. One was that the therapist gave her back her journals, and she 'assumed' that meant she could have everything back. That was quickly corrected.

Also, she 'came to the realization' that she has to do things for herself, not for other people. So she decided to change her goals for herself. We again quickly corrected her, that her stated intention was good, but the goals she has are not for others, but for herself, and they aren't going to change. She has the same requirements to make level 2 that every other person there has.

It felt like most of the call was us talking - to the point of lecturing. That wasn't very effective. She is doing a tiny bit better, but right now I'm not doing anything but waiting. She has shown progress for short times before, the real key point is to start showing it consistently. So for now we just wait, and work our own program. If things go like they have in the past, then most likely she will be in Orange before our next call with her in two weeks. I can hope that she finally decides to break this pattern - at this point though I can't really tell if she will or not.

And so we wait. . .

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Better week

This was our week to talk with the family rep. It was a good call, but then they always are with her. Katie is still out of Orange, and earning positive points. That is a good thing. Will it last? Is she going to start working? Is this time going to be any different than the last half dozen (or more) times she has gotten out of Orange, only to go back in a few weeks later.

Do I sound cynical? I am feeling extremely frustrated right now.

The rep always asks the girls if they have any messages when she is scheduled to talk to their parents. Katie mentioned that I had said I was going to write more, and hadn't. So at least she has learned something about accountability. I just feel a bit indignant that she would call me on a broken agreement (if it even was an agreement, I said

I do intend to write more, but while I’m at a +5 to see you through this program and have you graduate, I’m not there on writing letters.

So I'm not so sure I broke an agreement) when she is at such a state. That is my self-limiting belief, but it is still a huge case of calling the kettle black.

I did write her today. I would like to write more. It is very difficult at this point though. The idea keeps going through my head lately that I'm going to end up with 30 years of fairly oppressive student loans - all for nothing. This school is going to cost about $150,000 to get her to age 18. More than I make in a year. The loan payments are already approaching the mortgage payment for the house, and I still need to get loans for $66,000 more, as we only have enough to get her through March. And what if she wants to stay on after 18 even.

We have her Christmas list, as well as the 'allowable' list from the school. We need to get this together and shipped off. Not that I'm all that enthusiastic about that either. I don't know if that makes me a horrible father or what - to feel such resentment for my daughter.

I thought some of this would eventually get easier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back from Keys

We don't talk to the family rep until tomorrow, so we have no news about Katie.

Diane and I, however, had a fantastic weekend at our 4th Keys seminar "Living a Purposeful Life." I think that, of all we have attended, this was the best of the keys weekends. "Being in Relationship" was great, but not quite as good as this one.

It is interesting to me, how this seemed so much more a continuation of the process we started in Discovery and Focus, as did the relationship keys to a lesser extent. The addiction and Effective Communication keys, in contrast, were much more stand-alone, standard seminars. They didn't seem to build or continue on the others, and didn't seem to connect with them.

Is that because of the facilitators? Carol did this one, Lou did relationships. Carol did our Discovery (as well as the one I staffed), Lou does Focus. David did the two that didn't seem to connect. We were at first excited to hear he would be doing them, but now I'm much less enthused about him.

In May we should become keyholders, and it should be with Carol again at Styles of Communication. I don't know if the content will be as powerful (I've heard it is similar to Effective Communications, and more of a stand alone, with a lot of information, but less experiences) but I am looking forward to graduating with Carol.

This weekend was also special, because so many of the people we started with graduated. This was the largest keys graduation so far, with 40 people graduating. It was hard, because I wasn't able to personally participate with everyone's experience that I wanted to (they did 5 groups of 8, and that meant that several whom I wanted to be with were at the same time). Yes, this sounds confusing, but I can't discuss more without revealing too much - and one of the ground rules is confidentiality. And it isn't because this is a cult or secretive or anything - but simply because the key to a lot of the power of the seminars is experiencing it - you learn and grow by experiencing the process - and knowing what is going to happen ahead of time only serves to spoil the process. It isn't about what the answers are, but in how you find and discover the answers yourself.

So back to graduation. Four of the members of my focus family graduated, two of them being the firsts - one was the youngest ever to graduate (at 19), because before her they limited you to being 21 to attend. She was our focus leader, and is an inspiration to me. The other is a family rep at one of the schools, though not the one Katie is at. The schools send all the reps to Discovery, and some to Focus, but keys is all on their own. She almost didn't continue on this journey with us, but with our support early on continued on with the seminars, and is the first family rep at any school to be a keyholder.

I was saddended that I wasn't graduating with them. I still question how you are supposed to be +5 at everything, when they can conflict with each others. My committment to the Band Boosters at +5 conflicted with my +5 committment to the seminars, so I missed Styles of Communication in July - and we will have to make it up in May. Had we known we were going to miss it ahead of time, we could have gone somewhere else - but it has not been anywhere else except the bay area (again in July) since then. I wouldn't mind not graduating, but it will be tough going in May realizing that all of my family won't be there. Even my keys family will be different - as only one couple will be left (and they should graduate with us). So I'm saddened that I won't be with people I know to graduate. And I'm also saddened to think that I may not see some of these people again.

That is one drawback to these seminars - they provide wonderful support, but once you graduate then it is over. It would be kind of neat if they could have some type of ongoing seminar, once a quarter or something, to continue learning and supporting each other, that you could continue to attend as long as you had a kid in the program.

The one thing I really don't like about the seminars is the drive home - got in at 12:30 last night, and couldn't unwind to sleep until 2 am. So I'm a bit wiped out today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

100th Post!

Somewhat by surprise, I realized that we had 99 posts in our journey so far, so I thought I would go ahead and add a special one for the magic 100!

So, after 100 posts, where are we on our journey? I guess it is a good time to review things.

  • Sept 23, 2005 - Katie was picked up by the escort service, and enrolled in the school

  • Dec 12, 2005 - Diane and I attended Discovery

  • Jan 15, 2006 - Diane and I attended Focus (I am an Intelligent, Worthy and Powerful Man! Diane is a Strong, Worth, Lovable Woman!)

  • February 2006 - Katie graduates Orientation on her second try.

  • March 7, 2006 - Diane and I attended Keys to Success: Being in Relationship

  • April 14, 2006 - Katie is put in Discovery to try and get her moving, and graduates.

  • April 28, 2006 - Diane and I saw Katie for the first time in six months at PC1.

  • May 7, 2006 - Diane and I attend Keys to Success: Addiction Awareness

  • August 4, 2006 - Mike Staffs Discovery, our oldest son attends

  • October 1, 2006 - Diane and I attend Keys to Success: Effective Communication

  • October 19, 2006 - Diane and I have a pass with Katie to see if she is making progress

  • November 18, 2006 - Diane and I attend Keys to Success: Living a Purposeful Life

  • When I look at these milestones - it is pretty amazing how far Diane and I have come in the past year. We have met some truly wonderful people, that have touched our lives in ways we never expected. At some point we have to be greatful to Katie, for we would not have grown the way we have were it not for her.

    She has progressed some as well, though she is not working the program, even after 14 months. There are positive changes in her, but still a lot of old habits and old patterns that she keeps falling back into.

    Life is but a journey, not a destination. And so we continue on ours, living, loving, growing and sharing as we go. When I started this I didn't know where it would go, if anywhere. I have heard that it has touched one or two people, and I'm happy for that. I don't truly know if any of this is ever read, but my hope is that maybe it will help someone else, let them know that they aren't alone, that they don't need to be alone. That was one of the hardest parts about starting this process, feeling that we were completely by ourselves.

    For anyone reading this - please feel free to leave feedback - either publicly in the comments, or privately emailing me or Diane. Thanks for reading.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Still sliding



    I don't know what to say. Katie has gotten out of Orange at least. So we talked to her last night on the therapy call. It wasn't a good call however.

    On Mondays, her therapist goes over with the group what they feel she has done to make level two - and is able to make this a qualified judgement of how much of the requirements she has met. A few weeks ago she had met 18% of them, this week - 6%. Not even trying. And when asked what the requirements were - now remember these are the goals she is supposed to be working on every day - she didn't remember what they were! At all! And one of the girls in her room said she thought Katie threw them away.

    I'm very frustrated. I eventually flat out asked if she just planned on sitting there for the next year and a half until she turned 18 and took her exit plan. At times she will tell her therapist that she wants to come home, but she doesn't act at all like it. If she wanted to come home she would be trying to work the program - and she isn't even trying.

    She asked to be moved to a different group again - that was shut down immediately. She isn't running from her issues. She said that she didn't want to be in the group, but just to work on her goals by herself. Well most of her goals are about interacting with others.

    She wants to be home for her senior year. She still has to complete Algebra before being at a full sophomore level - so she is behind there.

    I asked her if she realizes that Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away - and that she won't be here at home with the family AGAIN. And Christmas is in six weeks - and she won't be here for that either. And did she want to have a third Christmas at the school as well.

    We did get a letter yesterday as well - that talks some of what was going on as well. And has her Christmas list in it. I don't even know what I want to do about that. Maybe just send a huge lump of coal.

    I received the latest statement from the school - for the first time we actually owe money on the statement. The latest loan is being disbursed in installments, and will cover it by the due date. I then did some rough calculations, to make sure the disbursements would cover things, and they do. Then I extended this out - and we will need another $66,000 to make it to her 18th birthday. This on top of the $86,000 we have already taken loans for.


    The loan payments are already close to the mortgage for the house, the next one, assuming we can get it, and that is not a small assumption, will put it WAY over - and I'm not sure we will be able to make it. Yes, we will find a way - I just don't know how yet.

    Am I a horrible father because this concerns me? Am I not supposed to be concerned about student loans for $150,000 and not having her making any progress? I'll be paying for this for the next 30 years. By the time this is paid off, she will be older than I am now.

    Oh yeah, she still wants to be a vet. Admirable goal - never going to happen if she doesn't change. Vet school is what - 6 years on top of a bachelor degree - 10 years of school. We won't be able to help that at all - the best I can do for my oldest son right now is to co-sign his loan, and that may not be possible soon due to the sheer amount we may owe.

    We are heading to our next Keys seminar this weekend. It should be our last, but we had to miss one in July because of the marching band. So we won't be graduating with the people we started with. I look forward to seeing a lot of them on Friday night - I really miss my focus family - there are three focus sisters and our group leader that I feel really close to, and one especially. I'm saddened to think that I don't know when I'll ever see them again after this weekend. Right now it feels like it will be especially hard graduating in May (when the seminar we missed comes around again) because they won't be there - and even if they are they would be staffing, and there isn't time to catch up between staffers and participants.

    We never say things enough - but especially to my focus sisters L, T and K - I love you guys. And to A - you made my focus so special, I still tear up thinking about it - and still have my stick in my wallet. I hope I can support each of you this weekend.

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Still 'in her crap'

    I (Diane had to work until 6, so she didn't get in on the call) talked with our family rep again yesterday. Academically Katie is doing ok, finished off most of here courses she was on except for Algebra. But she is still in Orange.

    Katie has recieved a lot of feedback from the group lately, most of which seems to come pretty close to home. But she isn't taking it to heart like she needs to.

    Apparently she had been talking to a high level girl about things, and got to the point where the girl basically asked for a break for a while, as dealing with Katie was just exhausting for her.

    So the frustration meter moves up a notch. And it doesn't help to hear our keys family talk about going to PC II, or their kids coming home. Everytime someone mentions that, or talks about how we want things to look when she gets home, I wonder if she ever will graduate. I'm not worried about her coming home at this point - I'm worried where the next loan is coming from!

    I need to write to her (I haven't since we got back), but at this point I really don't know what to say. Thanksgiving is coming up quick - two weeks from tomorrow, and it will be the second with her there. But looks like we'll have a dozen (thirteen counting the baby (our goddaughter)) over at the house, so that won't be so bad. Then Christmas.

    I'm not feeling so bad about Christmas this year as I was last. Last year it just sucked - big time. I didn't put up lights or anything. I had to sell the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets that were my birthday present because it was the same weekend as Discovery. Discovery was great, but Christmas wasn't quite the same (I took the 3 boys to seem them this last weekend - Ohio is at the beginning of the tour this year).

    Plus mom and dad are coming in for Christmas this year - the first time we'll have Christmas together in 18 years. (The last time was when my oldest son was a year old, just before we moved to Ohio). They come in late on Christmas Eve, and are here until New Year's Eve. Also last year I paid for the boys to see their mother, so not only was I missing them, but I had to pay for it as well (of course she didn't pay back any of it).

    Maybe just share some of that - make her miss home a bit. I just don't know.