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Family turns hardship into anti-drug message

Kennedy Middle School parents hear reality of drug use

May 13, 2013

Germantown — Kennedy Middle School parents last week heard a message of drug and alcohol awareness from a family who lived through substance abuse.

Your Choice was presented over two days at the middle school by the Lybert family. The Lyberts, who formed the organization, shared their personal experiences with about 80 parents in attendance.

Tyler Lybert started using drugs and alcohol when he was 11 years old.

The drug use tore the family apart. Lybert used for 11 years before finally agreeing to go to rehab.

His family was able to put the pieces back together, forming Your Choice to prevent other families from going through what they went through.

"Never ever did we dream that it would happen to our family," Lybert's mom Sandi said. "When it did happen, we totally missed the signs and when we saw them we didn't know where to go."

Kennedy Middle School students also sat through a Your Choice presentation Friday. The presentation is different for students: The student program is focused on helping them be better decision makers.

It was one small choice Tyler Lybert said that caused his life to spiral out of control. He had his first drink at 11. By freshman year of high school he was using prescription medication. By sophomore year, he was using heroine, which he continued using for eight years before getting sober in 2008.

"From 11- to 21-years-old I did nothing with my life," Lybert told the room of parents. "Our entire family was consumed with my choices."

Rick Lybert, Tyler's dad and founder of Your Choice, said the only time he and Sandi slept an entire night was when Tyler was in jail because they knew he would not die that night. Every time the phone rang, they not only feared but expected the worst.

"Please, whatever you do, please let your kids know about drugs and alcohol because I don't want you to live a day of hell I went through," he said.

Sandi Lybert told parents to know their children and to be the parent, not the friend.

"I lost myself as a person, I lost who I was," she said. "I became a friend to Tyler, I lost myself as a mother. I became a friend because I was so scared if I was not a friend I would lose him."

The turning point came when her son was arrested on his third DUI. Seeing him at 80 pounds, handcuffed and in an orange jumpsuit, Sandi Lybert realized they had to try something different. They gave their son an ultimatum: get help or don't come home.

"That ultimatum has changed our lives, but we also changed as a family," she said.

The Lyberts' main goal is now prevention and awareness. They travel around sharing their stories, signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse and resources to get help.

For information on Your Choice, visit yourchoice-live.org.

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