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Speaking in Tongues

September 25, 2012 by Sharron Cosby


I felt like I had fallen into a bowl of alphabet soup when I began my job with an international organization. In addition to learning new responsibilities, I had the challenge of mastering the peculiar jargon. FBI is not what you think. In this organization it stands for Florida Business Institute. You guessed it; TMI doesn’t stand for “too much information.” As a matter of fact,  I’m sure “Territorial Music Institute” never popped into your head.

Parents are similar to employees absorbing the vernacular of their workplace. To survive one’s job, learning and understanding the company language is critical. To survive our teenagers, we need to familiarize ourselves with the terms for drugs and the environments in which they are bought and used.

Here’s a brief look at a few of the common drugs. See if you recognize any of the slang terms.

Marijuana, the drug that blasted onto the hippie, love-child scene in the 60s, has many names: Mary Jane, reefer, whacky tabbacky, Black Bart, and Aunt Mary to name a few.

Cocaine goes by: Bib C, Bernice, Aunt Nora, C-dust, Chippy, Dama Blanca and blow.

Pain pills hide behind: Oxys, Blues, Percs, OC, Morph, Kicker, Benzos, Bricks. Gatherings where prescription drugs are used are called pharming parties. Trail mix refers to various prescription drugs mixed together like Chex Mix or trail mix.

Ecstasy tablets are usually imprinted with pirated trademark logos such as Calvin Klein, Mitsubishi and Donald Duck and are used like a code. For instance, I overheard a young man tell someone he had a new Mitsubishi. I thought he had a new car, but he was discussing Ecstasy pills. Another common name for this drug is beans.

I was at a commercial diagnostic lab several years ago to have blood drawn. The facility performs employment blood and urine screens and it was in that setting I overheard a conversation between two young men:

#1: “Man, I’ve got about a thousand beans!” the first young man announced.

#2: “No @!#%! Where are they?”

#1: “My brother and I have ‘em stashed in a can. You interested?”

The lab technician called #2’s name and he left the waiting room. I looked at #1 and said, “Have you ever seen anyone overdose?”

“Uh, no ma’am.”

“My son almost died from an overdose and it is not a pretty thing to watch. I know what you’re talking about—the beans. I know you are selling Ecstasy, and I hope you get caught.”

The young men spoke openly about Ecstasy, presuming no one would know about “beans.” That’s how it works. The kids talk all around their parents or other adults with confidence because most of us are clueless.

Do your kids sound like they sometimes speak in tongues? To the untrained parent, teacher, or youth leader, the lingo makes no sense.

What can parents do to combat the language barrier? The Internet is an instant source to drug information. It’s easy. Type the drug name plus “slang terms” (Cocaine slang terms) in the search line and hit “Enter.” Multiple sites are yours to browse. Resources abound to assist parents. Use the available tools; familiarize yourself with your child’s culture and listen for the buzz words.

Another excellent resource is a publication called Street Drugs by Publishers Group. It is a pictorial guide to the drugs most commonly used, including the street names. The magazine carries brief descriptions of the signs of usage and other helpful information. The website is

The Internet and other resources is your Cracker Jacks decoder ring. Sure, young people speak their own language, but parents today have a wealth of information at their fingertips if they take advantage of it. Use the “decoder” tools and be prepared.


Rock in My Shoe

September 11, 2012 by Sharron Cosby

“I think there’s a rock in my shoe, but I’m not taking it off right now, it’s too much trouble. I’ll check later.”

My friend limped around a few minutes before deciding the shoe had to come off. Her grimace relaxed as she slipped the shoe off and the offending object fell into her hand. She held up a small black piece of plastic resembling a miniature game board piece.

Why would someone choose to ignore something causing obvious pain and discomfort?

.Too busy – My friend was in the midst of cleaning up after a large church event. She didn’t want to take the time to remove her tennis shoe, check for the object, put the shoe back on, and tie the laces.

  • Ignoring - She thought by ignoring the pain it would go away or she could stand the discomfort long enough to finish the task at hand.
  • Denial - At first she said, “I think there’s something in my shoe.” She didn’t admit there was something causing the discomfort.

The shoe scenario sounds much like addicts and their families, doesn’t it? The same question applies to us as to someone with something in their shoe. Why do we ignore what is causing our families so much pain and suffering?

We are an on-the-go society. Most of us exist tethered to a calendar, whether it is the old-fashioned paper kind or an electronic one on a phone, electronic notebook or computer. Families with children active in sports, gymnastics, dance, and a host of other activities keep the roads hot going from one activity to the next. When a problem presents itself, we are too busy to stop and address it. It’s easier to stay occupied and add another date on the calendar than to take a break and initiate action, which turns into ignoring the problem.

If we disregard something long enough it will go away—at least that’s our hope. Have you ever had a leaky faucet that drips incessantly? Lying in bed, trying to sleep, the steady plop, plop, plop will not be ignored. Your frustration reaches the boiling point and you throw off the covers, stomp to the bathroom ready to rip the faucet out of the sink. A closer look reveals the faucet isn’t broken, it wasn’t completely turned off. The dripping demanded attention—it couldn’t be ignored or put off to a more convenient time.

Denial is probably the most dangerous way families, particularly parents, handle problems. I denied for too many years my son had a problem. I overlooked the depth of its seriousness. I hoped that if I turned a blind eye there would be nothing there when I looked back. It doesn’t work that way. How long will we deny the pink elephant in the living room?

A counselor once told me, “Acceptance is not approval.” Those four words had a profound effect on my life and ability to handle difficult situations over which I had no control. I came to accept my son as an addict and all that label encompassed. I tried to deny it, but denial didn’t change the truth. I did not approve of his choices, but I did accept the truth about him.

Acceptance freed me to love my son right where he was—a young man in need of help. I returned to those four words often as I struggled with the addiction that didn’t want to turn him loose.

Do you have a rock in your shoe? What will you do about it?



September 6, 2012 by Sharron Cosby

People chattering, dogs barking, and loud music cloud the ability to hear a conversation, but a whisper brings the words close. The message comes through soft, low and direct.

In I Kings 19, the prophet Elijah hides in a cave in full pity-party mode. After successfully defeating the prophets of Baal in an epic showdown of God’s power, he contemplated suicide. God instructed Elijah to stand at the mouth of the cave to wait on the Lord’s passing. A violent wind ripped through the mountain, shattering rocks. No God. Next an earthquake shook things up a bit, but no God. Fire appeared but the Lord remained silent. Then he heard a gentle whisper. God asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Do you sometimes ask “Why am I here?” A large part of why you are here is to teach and train your children. Pull in close and let’s whisper some things together:

  • Destiny – Each child has a destiny. One of our parental goals is helping our children identify their destiny and work toward fulfilling it. An oft-quoted Proverb says that “we point our kids in the right direction and when they’re old they won’t be lost,” (Prvb 22:6 MSG). Your child may wander but, at some point, he will return to his teaching.
  • Others – We have a responsibility to teach our children to care about others, the world doesn’t revolve around just them. At the risk of preaching, I think this is a disturbing trend in our society. Young children are taught at an early age they are the center of the universe. When the rest of the world doesn’t treat them accordingly, they are unequipped to handle the rejection.
  • Encouragement – Reassure your child of your love. Encourage their interests. Help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Love them – Spend time with your children. Turn off the TV and connect eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart. Love them for the person they are, not for who you want, or expect, them to be. Revel in their uniqueness.
  • Teach them – Teach your children to love God, others and themselves—in that order.  Model for them the characteristics of integrity, character and moral values. When temptations come, and they will, they will remember how mom or dad handled a situation and draw from your experience.
  • Take them – Include your children on outings. Take them fishing, bowling, to car or boat shows, swimming. There are countless ways to spend time with your children other than in front of a TV. Use these moments to teach skills and life lessons. Just be together.
  • Talk to them – Share age appropriate stories of your childhood. They will love hearing them. Weigh carefully sharing war stories of alcohol and drug usage if this is a current problem for your child. Talk about their birth day, describing your feelings and emotions. Use these talking times to share your hopes for them as an individual.
  • Touch them – Touch is a powerful means of conveying love. An appropriate hug or a kiss on the cheek shows affection to your child, confirming their special place in your heart.

If you missed opportunities in these areas with your children, don’t beat yourself up. Start where you are to rebuild or reinforce your relationship. You may need to ask for forgiveness, a great place to start the reconstruction process.

The noise and chaos of addiction gets in the way of hearing the voice of reason. Draw your child aside, lean in close and whisper, “I love you. I’m glad you’re here.”


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