Week of May 18, 2005

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All in Favor
A Crossroads testimonial: I wish I had known Malcolm Gay was writing an article on the Crossroads Program ["Kids & Drugs & Rock & Roll," May 11]. I would have gladly volunteered to tell our story. My daughter was in that program for three years. She voluntarily left three months ago without "graduating," with the option of returning if she felt she needed to.

She was never an "addict," but I believe she definitely could have become one without the program. She was at that fork in the road. We were lucky. She managed to get what she needed from the program without having to go to outpatient or Step Two, both of which are fairly expensive (but trust me, no more so than similar programs). It was strongly suggested but never forced on us. The only expenses we incurred during those three years were nominal fees for weekend "functions" and biannual campouts.

She left Crossroads with excellent methods for coping with the stresses of being a teenager, a much clearer idea of who she is and what she wants out of life and, most importantly, the ability to be honest and take responsibility for her actions. She is completing her freshman year at a highly respected local private college with a 3.8 GPA and is a pretty normal eighteen-year-old. She has a part-time job, pays her own bills and parties responsibly occasionally -- on her terms. She knows her limits and is still honest with me.

Crossroads is available to any child who meets the criteria and is the only program of its kind that you can walk into and get help, today, without giving them money first. The stories told to Malcolm Gay by the unhappy parent and the unhappy counselor are definitely in the minority.

I went to a lot of Crossroads' parent meetings, and though most of the parents there truly loved their kids and wanted the best for them, they had this "you fix it" attitude towards life. Maybe because so many of them are so very wealthy -- something that really surprised me. Most of these kids that my daughter was hanging out with lived in upper-middle-class suburbs and had pretty much unlimited incomes. Many of them didn't see much of their parents because Mom and Dad were at the club or traveling or out of town on business. These kids were scoring high-end drugs with their parents' platinum cards. These kids were terminally bored and basically raising themselves. They were "running away" in their brand-new SUVs. I was amazed that these parents' idea of coping with the situation was to go on vacation.

Now you have parents coming to Crossroads desperate for help and later criticizing the program for being cultlike and expensive. Boy, we Americans sure do have a hard time taking responsibility for our actions.

Frank, Mike, Marcos, Amy, Dave and all the other dedicated counselors at Crossroads deserve Purple Hearts, not criticism.
Suzanne Swanson

Say amen, somebody: I am a parent of a Crossroads kid and knew this article was going to be printed but didn't know how Crossroads was going to be portrayed. I must say that I was a little disappointed. I felt the negative aspect to the program was your first priority and you didn't provide a fair story.

I am thrilled with Crossroads. One thing that wasn't mentioned in the story is how this program has not only helped my child but has helped me as an adult, as a parent and as a person living in recovery. As with most twelve-step programs, not everyone will benefit. It takes a lot of hard work on the part of the individual and the group.

I wish the Riverfront Times would have done more for the positive side of Crossroads. There is enough negativity in this world; it would be nice to read and hear about good things happening -- like the Crossroads Program!

Please do not publish my name; I'd like to preserve my kid's privacy.
Name withheld by request
Webster Groves

Thankful for Crossroads: I am a parent of a kid who has been in Crossroads for two and a half years. I was disappointed Gay's article leaned heavily to the negative side. I hoped there would be more positive information/ viewpoints. I have four short comments:

First, not every program works for every person. Second, I hope your readers are intelligent enough not to believe everything they read. Third, the article mentions that Crossroads asks kids to give up old friends; I invite your readers to inquire of any Alcoholics Anonymous member in successful recovery whether it is suggested to them to do the same. Fourth, I invite readers to visit www.thecrossroadsprogram.com for positive viewpoints.

Crossroads taught my son what he needs to do to remain sober and has instilled in him how important honesty, openness and willingness are to live a successful, productive and rewarding life. I am thankful Crossroads was available for us when we needed an answer that works.
Name withheld by request
south St. Louis County

Bells Letter
He liked it! I am so glad Dennis Brown enjoyed our show at Kirkwood Theatre Guild ["Call Weighting," May 11]. I am the assistant director for the production of Bells Are Ringing and am proud of what we have accomplished -- it has great music and is quite an audience pleaser, as Brown found out.

Thanks for the good notice!
Jackie Aumer
St. Louis

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