Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by comatheart, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. comatheart

    comatheart Active Member

    I know many of your kids have gone off to rehab, sometimes multiple times. What kind of aftercare did you provide for your son/daughter? Did they go back to their old school? If not, where did they go? Ultimately, what seemed to work, what didn't?

    husband and I are actively trying to plan for our son's aftercare. Of course we don't know when he will be released, but we want the days in rehab to mean something and be as successful as possible when he gets out.

    On Friday, we visited a private school for teenagers that have completed treatment so they don't have to return to their former school and using friends. The program sounds amazing and not only can he graduate with a diploma, but they include counseling both private and group, AA meetings, alternative peer groups and planned social activities so they learn how to have fun without using. They keep them busy from sun up to sun down. Seriously, some of his days he's immersed in recovery from 8:30am to 8pm. He's not going to have TIME to get bored! Of course, it's very expensive and we don't really have the money to pay tuition. Also, even if we can come up with the money, they only have one spot open and difficult child is still in rehab. Not exactly ready to start tomorrow.

    Anyway, I just wanted to get your thoughts, recommendations and suggestions on aftercare.

    OH!!! On Friday when difficult child got his weekly phone call, he came clean to my husband as to where we could find some of his "stashes" that we didn't know about in the garage and & bedroom. We were thoroughly impressed as he did this completely on his own. I think this is a huge step in the right direction!
  2. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi there,
    What works or doesn't work? Hmmm...that's a really good question and I think much of it depends on the individual as almost all of us would agree that it is a personal battle and a personal daily decision to remain sober.

    For us...We took the boys to AA meetings and also private counceling session's. Unfortunately, neither of these things ultimately worked out well as both of our son's continued to look for drugs/alcohol after they were released.
    We tried different kinds of schools too including: alternative school, church school, a wilderness school type program, homeschooling etc.

    What has seemed to work (yrs in the making) was simply having to deal with life as an adult. Our oldest son was very involved with Meth for awhile. He even stole computer equip from one of husband's client's for this drug. He ended up in prison and struggled a bit with alcohol after he was released. But having his first daughter seemed to change everything...that and being given an opportunity to share in the workload and benefits of a partnership in his own company. Now he has a wife, 3 beautiful daughters, his own home, and is a partner in his own company. Lots of pressure and far he is successful.

    Now, our younger son is a different story. While his older brother was in prison he decided to join the military. Made it through basic but a year into it was given a general discharge (honorable) as I believe he came up positive on a UA and did not fit into military well. He now has 3 beautiful children and a very sweet has made no difference for him as you can see through my recent posts.

    So it will be up to your difficult child. No matter how much money you throw at the problem...the decision to turn his life/his will over to the care of God is his alone. It cannot be forced or bought.

    The rehab your son is at should provide a discharge plan that will include meetings, getting a sponser, alternative activities to use, schedules, etc.

    I am impressed that your son "told on himself". That does sound like a good sign as now his hiding places have been exposed. I am hopeful that your son is truly ready to embrace sobriety. You just never know what it will take!

    I also think the school sounds good...However, given my experience, I would want to see a period of sobriety before investing yourselves further. Like for instance, if difficult child can keep up the work for 2 months after rehab, then you all might then be willing to pay the tuition on this new school. It would give him a goal to work for...and I think that can make a difference.

    Glad you are looking ahead at the possibilities.
    Thinking of you,
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Hmm, mine did basically intensive outpatient treatment and after that aftercare was mostly meeting addiction therapist first once a week and later twice and once a month for year and half. He did move three hours away and there was big friend change but that wasn't to help with addiction. After all his addictive behaviour was solitary.

    However I would be wary of that kind of school. Considering the relapse rate of addicts who actually are self-motivated, and considering we are talking about minors so it is not necessarily the kid who is motivated but a parent, there will most likely be more actively substance abusing kids in this type of school than in ordinary school, I'm not sure it is worth the money. At least be very cautious about actual success rate.

    And even if you forget the relapses, you have to remember that those kids are likely to be far from ideal peer group. While it is very possible to develop pure substance addiction issues, it tends to take some time. So either those who are addicts before they are old enough to vote have started very early, which is a telltale of bigger issues or they do the very steep addiction spiral that tends to be a sign of bigger issues too. I'm not convinced that putting together group of very troubled teenagers and calling them a support network for each others is a winning formula.
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would beg, borrow, or steal to get my difficult child in that kind of situation if she was as young as your difficult child. I remember reading, once, that the single best thing you can do is to get your substance abusing child away from their substance abusing peers. The author went so far as to suggest splitting up the family if need be to get the child away from the drug using peer group.

    I truly believe that the longer a person is in treatment the greater the chance of successful recovery.

    Just my take on things . . .

  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My worry would be just this: "Getting him away from substance abusing peers." All the kids in that school are at least former substance abusers. Statistically quite a few are also current users most likely.

    It is very common theme when people with substance abuse issues talk about their substance abuse history. When they are sent to treatment as minors, they get to know other, more experienced, users and learn to use harder stuff from other kids. And learn how to avoid getting caught better.

    This can be true even with adults, who go to treatment voluntarily. They too can get marginalized and immersed more to substance abusing sub culture, but it is even more a threat with minors, because often many of them are there against their wishes or just to please parents and without their own motivation. Many may find their motivation during treatment, but many don't.

    Treatment and stopping a youth to their tracks is still often needed with substance abusing teens and pros heavily outweigh the cons. But this type of school as an after care could be more iffy when it comes to pros and cons.

    Of course immersing your kid to (mostly) sober peer group who have always been sober and haven't used substances, while ideal, can be very difficult to do in reality. So I would first find out if there is things to do while sober for kids outside this school program, and if your kid could be interested about any of that, and if there is therapy and support groups available outside this school, I would first think about managing it without sending a kid to spend all his time with other kids with (recent) substance abuse history and likely other big problems.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter quit using when she moved away from her bad peers.She was ready, but they just wouldn't let her do it.

    I think the school sounds good.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The kid has to WANT to get away from SA-peers.
    If not... there is no school you can find where SA-peers do not exist... and they WILL find them.

    If the kid wants a fresh start, they don't have to go looking for the SA-peers at the new school... harder to hide at the old school.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    IC, exactly. Outpatient is just as lethal to a kid who doesn't want to quit. Nowhere is really safe if the kid isn't serious. However, I'd prefer a setting with addiction counselors and lots of activities to keep the kids busy to coming home with lots of free time and Dad and Mom easily fooled or disobeyed.

    Naturally, nobody will REALLY quit for good unless the person is highly motivated, but it happens every day. Every day people give up the drugs and get clean. Every single day.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    MWM: But it could be much cheaper to find a therapist and AA group from community than pay the tuition for that type of school. And find teen groups and activities that are sober (church, maybe scouts (though I have been drinking during scouts functions when a teen, as were most of my patrol), art/music lessons and so on, whatever is available.) Also a part time job can keep kid active and responsible.

    Of course if kid is not willing to seek out more wholesome activities, that type of school could force them. But as said, he is bound to find (active) substance abusers also from recovery focused school (or even Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or rehab to be honest), if that is, what he is looking for. And in those places he is more likely to find more experienced and harder stuff using addicts than from regular school.
  10. comatheart

    comatheart Active Member

    Hmmm, INTERESTING takes on the school...things I hadn't worried about! Does it change your mind if I tell you they only accept kids who WANT to be there, WANT to stay clean? Plus they random drug test them twice a week or more. Finally they are extremely low ratio... there are only 10 students in the program at a time.

    Some of you gave us something to really think about. I think I'll pose some of these questions at the Parents Counseling Group this evening. (They have a weekly family counseling group and a weekly group for the parents! We were invited to attend even though difficult child won't be able to join us)
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That does make it sound more like worth the money. Though cheap, quick drug tests are not always especially trustworthy. But if kids want to be there and are afraid of tests, that does make it more likely they actually try earnest to stay clean. Only having ten kids at a times can again have pros and cons. finding a friend can be an issue so is it spending all of your time with so few people, you can get really excluded from the 'real world.' But then again, having so few students makes it easier for the staff to really know their students.

    But it is a really good thing that you have a chance to take part to parents group. Look around, take notice of the families that are there, ask your questions and listen answers, and take also a notice if your questions are welcomed and given a real answer or if they are brushed side or given the 'brochure answer.' If possible, try to have a private word with parents who are the most quiet or least engaged. Even though they re not likely to be more right than those being the loudest, they may have something to say, that you want to know. Try to be critical but fair to everything you see and hear. I'm sure that after the meeting you know much more about if it could be a good fit for your son.

    Also, if possible, try to find and talk with people who had children in this school few years ago. They have different perspective than parents of current students and that too can be useful to you.

    Don't get me wrong. I obviously don't know the school and can't know if it is a great place or not. And even less if it would be a great thing for your son or not. I'm just playing devil's advocate here and bringing up some things, I would want answers to before investing lots of money to getting my kid there.

    Good luck!
  12. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Talking to the parents of kid's who have gone to this school is an excellent idea!
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The problem with going back to the same school is that he is already known as a druggie (fair or not . . . that's how kids think) and the good kids won't accept him even if he wants to change. The only kids that will be welcoming are the other kids with substance abuse issues and that is the peer group where he will end up.

    Yes, but they are all in active recovery. The peer group at the original school are active users and want everyone else to use, too.

    I believe with all my heart that the best thing you can do is find him a fresh start and this school sounds wonderful. Yes, you are taking a chance and you may pay all of that money for nothing but I don't see that as money down the drain as others do. It will be money that you spent to give your child a second chance and you will always know in your heart that you did everything you could to help him down the road to recovery.

    I think you and I might have a different perspective than the others because we both came so close to losing our children. It certainly gave me a different outlook.

  14. comatheart

    comatheart Active Member

    Well, husband and I are thoroughly impressed. There were parents at the meeting who have children currently in the program, a few couples had children in treatment centers, like us. There was one family who's child went to this school after treatment and did great. So this year they put him back in public school, he relapsed and is now inpatient again. It really was a good mix of people from all walks of life.

    I expressed my concern, sending my son to school with a group of known users. It was explained that the model is not perfect, they only have a 90% success rate (I think that's pretty good!) It will never be 100%, because not everyone will be able to stay clean. The kids do a great job at holding each other accountable. Actually, after sitting through the parent meeting listening, I can attest to that. Apparently there is an issue with one of the kids in the group. Her parent was upset that some of the others aren't letting her get close. One of the other parents spoke up and said her child was afraid of "the relapse"... Of course we dont know the whole story here, but what I heard was some the kids who are working to stay clean are avoiding one that is questionable. We were also told that being in a small private school under the close supervision of trained counselors and teachers is much better than throwing them to the wolves in a sea of public school kids where few, if any of the teachers and counselors are certified in drug and alcohol treatment. Even if they are, what are the odds they going to notice your kid among the masses? These kids succeed because they relate to one another.

    We put in an application for financial aid. I really feel it's a good place for him to go. It's like a step down from inpatient... He'll be able to be home with us in the evenings and we'll see him everyday, but other than that he'll be in treatment very similar to what he's doing now. I really hope we can make it work. It's just for 6 months or so. Then he'll graduate and we can look into our next options. I've always strived for him to go off to College and have that full experience. Now, not so much. LOL For the first time ever, I just want him to go to a technical or trade school or something get on with his career. It's so strange how addiction changes your outlook on things. I'm very much mourning the fact that he's missing so much of his Senior year. Homecoming and all that entails... Senior pictures next week... Cap/Gown fittings... :crying:
  15. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I couldn't agree with that more. And even when we do, parents often are not receptive to being told that we suspect that their child is using drugs and/or alcohol. I know I have become gun shy after trying to reach out to parents of students who I suspected were using drugs.

    A 90% success rate is astounding. I actually think is sounds a little high but I hope that it is right. Even so, it certainly is going to be higher than students who leave treatment and go right back into the same social groups.

    I totally understand your feelings of sadness about what your son will miss during his senior year. However, he is alive and sober and that is the important thing. by the way, there are colleges that have sober support programs that you might want to look into. There are even half-way houses specifically for college students. We had looked into a highly rated one for difficult child when were still hoping that she could finish college. Your son is still very young and has his whole future ahead of him.

    You are doing an amazing job advocating for your son and finding programs for him.

  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you are missing all the traditional senior year stuff. It does sting. But you have younger kids, hopefully you get to do all that with them. For your difficult child to miss that stuff, to be honest, I would guess you care more than him. My difficult child finished his school on his own way (in other words very untraditionally) and I certainly felt a sting of loosing all those traditions we have. Luckily my younger son seems eager to make that up to me. But remembering back when I was doing that stuff myself, I certainly have to say, it in fact tends to mean more as a parent than i5t did back then to myself. And I think it is true to my kids too. My easy child seems to enjoy the stuff, but I don't think he feels it to be important. And my difficult child is just happy to escape it all. But for the mom, yeah, it does sting. :hugs:

    I'm happy to hjear this school seems a good thing. If there is no opening at the time your son gets out from the treatment, could it be possible to have him in some other new school for him? Because Kathy and everyone else is right, that getting him back to same school and same friends is bad. But also non-addiction orientated new school would give him a chance for new peer group, if this school doesn't work out. And if that wouldn't work out, maybe online school and sober community activities?

    I also agree with Kathy that 90 % success rate sounds bit suspiciously high (and suspiciously round number.) Did you ask how they research their success rate? And if that 90 % is for 6 months they are there (and how do they rate one time slips or short relapses) and have they researched their longer time success rates?

    I don't want to come off as overly negative (while I understand this may feel like that), but you are considering paying big bucks to this school. You have the right to ask also hard questions and get honest answers. You are desperate and this school is something that seems like an answer, that is a situation that can cloud your decision making. Try to keep your eyes open and make a well informed decision about it.

    You can ask the school, if they could give you references to their customers few years back. If you could talk even with one or two families, you would get lots of information, because in that tightly knit environment those families are almost bound to know how also other families whose kids were at the school at the same time are doing.

    I hope this school turns out as good as it seems and you are able to get your kid in. But do try to come up with back up plan too.
  17. comatheart

    comatheart Active Member

    Thanks guys!

    We are definitely looking for a backup plan. Several reasons... First if we don't qualify for the maximum financial aid %, we simply can't afford it. Second, the director reminded us that students have to be accepted into the program, they don't just take anyone. I think that helps their success rate. We have to get my son out on a day pass and set up a time that my son can sit down and talk with him before they will accept him.

    When they said 90% success rate, I'm pretty sure it's their graduation rate. That's 1 student out of 10 that doesn't make it since there are only 10 students. That doesn't seem that inflated to me because the program is so individualized and the ratios are so low. Who knows how those students are doing since graduating.

    Good idea to ask if we can talk to some of the former student's families. I'll work on that.

    I'd love to find out more about the colleges with sober living programs. How do you go about that? Do you have any program names you can pass along to me?
  18. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is an article on the movement towards sober living programs in colleges.

    The fourth school on the list is the one that we looked at for our difficult child. I know that there are more schools, too. I bet that the people at the school you are looking at would know the names of some colleges or steer you towards someone that could help you find that information.

  19. comatheart

    comatheart Active Member

    Thanks Kathy!
  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wrote you a long response yesterday and somehow it was all lost. You've gotten a lot of good advice so I won't repeat but to tell you our daughter went into an intensive outpatient program after she was released from the 60 day residential program. Coming back home she went right back to her old friends and relapsed while in IOP and ended up with us kicking her out of the house and eventually her going to a sober house for 6 months, then another sober house and finally moving into an apartment with another sober girl and eventually just totally relapsing and going on a year long binge.

    If we had a program like yours I would have moved heaven and earth to get her in. She lasted about six weeks in college before she was arrested for drug and alcohol use and eventually suspended.

    You are doing all the right things by checking out all the options.