Rosecrance partners with Your Choice to address substance abuse with teens, families

The Lybert family: Rick (from left), Tyler, Ashleigh and Sandi Lybert. (Photo courtesy of Rosecrance January E-Newsletter)
The Lybert family: Rick (from left), Tyler, Ashleigh and Sandi Lybert. (Photo courtesy of Rosecrance January E-Newsletter)

From Rosecrance January E-Newsletter

Rosecrance has partnered with Your Choice, a drug and alcohol awareness program, to provide more opportunities for prevention education across the region.

Your Choice is a nonprofit founded by the Lybert family — Sandi, Rick, Ashleigh and Tyler. The Lyberts work with families, speak at schools and give presentations about their own experiences involving substance abuse. The family is still accepting speaking invitations for 2015.

Tyler started using drugs in sixth grade as a way to make friends and fit in. He was overweight, and other students teased him about it.

I wanted people to like me, and I wanted to feel accepted,” he said. “And the easiest way to find that was with people who partied because they don’t care about you at all. As long as you’re partying, you’re good to go.”

Tyler’s drug use escalated, from alcohol and marijuana to pills and heroin. He was in and out of jail. His family life deteriorated from the stress of his drug use.

During presentations, Ashleigh speaks about the pressure to be the perfect sister in light of her brother’s addiction and feeling neglected by her parents. Rick talks about being angry that his son couldn’t conquer his addiction, and Sandi explains how she enabled her son to the point that her marriage nearly crumbled.

I was the standard enabling mom. I protected him, I tried to fix him. I loved him to death. He stole, he lied, and I didn’t tell Rick a lot of it,” she said. “And in every family that we’ve met with, we always see that division. We are very fortunate. Tyler could have chosen to go the other way.”

Tyler entered treatment at age 21 and has been sober for about six years. The Lyberts are passionate about communicating their story and removing the stigma of teen substance abuse in hopes of helping other families.

We know what we’re doing is working,” Tyler said. “It’s affecting everybody, and people are finally starting to open up and try to figure out what we can do about this.”

Your Choice received a grant for prevention education from Rosecrance to expand its efforts in 2015. The Lyberts visited 32 schools during the 2013-14 school year, reaching 12,399 youth and 827 parents through those and various other presentations.

Visit yourchoice-live.org for more information, or call Rosecrance Director of Business Development Kelly Dinsmore at (815) 222-2946 to inquire more about Your Choice.

Posted Jan. 15, 2015

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