Any good experiences of rebellious kids coersed to twelve steps programs?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SuZir, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I could use some encouraging anecdotes about the matter. For me it doesn't sound like a good plan and I was hoping we could avoid that with difficult child. Looks like no such luck.

    difficult child's favourite option for his next employer is a great fit sport wise. It is also abroad and will provide him a total break from his life. New environment, new people and lots of old baggage hopefully left home. One season deal. It gives him an opportunity to concentrate to his career and all that is very attractive to him.

    Thing is that they require him to attend GA meeting twice a month. GM of the team is zealous long time AA member according to himself and real believer of the program. difficult child really don't like the idea, but thinks he will be able to fake it through those about 15 meetings he will have to attend.

    difficult child is an agnostic leaning to atheism, immature, finds all twelve steps stupid and ridiculous, considers whole philosophy ineffective, outdated, religious bulls*** and whatnot. He also has huge trust issues and while his treatment had some group therapy, that was never for him. And circumstances considering, it will not be anonymous, so basically all difficult child has for a guarantee of confidentially is another gamblers' word. He very well knows that is not much. Our lawyer is not eager for difficult child talking much about issues he wants to keep private in that kind of group settings. There is no legal confidentially and tend to be rather gray area in confidentially perspective.

    difficult child hasn't been gambling in two and half years now, has graduated from the treatment program he attended and I have to agree with him, that his main problems are currently something totally else than addiction issues. But the GM is from the school of thought, that all problems stem from addiction and addictive personality and when person works the steps, problems disappear.

    For me that doesn't read like a good situation, but I try to promote difficult child to keep the open mind and not to judge before knowing more. That of course made him find 'The Big Book' and now he is reading it, making textual analyse of it and ridiculing and making sarcastic comments about every sentence. :sigh: Still he doesn't want to pass this opportunity because of this.

    There is a loop hole in his contract. He agrees to attend GA or other, more fitting treatment twice a month. And a person deciding if GA is fitting or something else is needed, is difficult child's treating psychiatrist. And there is an agreement he is not changing psychiatrist, but will use his current one even though he will be in different country. But it is short flight away and he has breaks, so it will possible for him to fly home three or four times during season for few days and book his psychiatrist appointments to those times. But first he has to try GA.

    I hope he could take an attitude, that he takes what is useful for him and let's rest to be and just tries to find those useful things from the experience. I'm not holding my breath though. More likely he will sit there and make snide comments or be extremely showy and petulant. How much co-operation do these things require from coerced people to still count it a attendance?

    And really does anyone have any encouraging stories how twelve steps could be beneficial even with this bad circumstances?
  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Suz, I can't read your full headline on my phone - so I am not sure I am grasping the question.

    But if you are asking if we (I) know anyone who has had success w a 12 step- I know MANY people. None if them particularly religious, many were rebellious at the start and I have 2 long standing friends-one still a BFF-who started AA in young adulthood (17 & 21) without rehab and have had tremendously positive experiences.

    I think the very idea of being day by day and turning it over to something bigger than yourself is a great relief to many ppl.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Are the GA meetings held with townspeople or with team members? That might make a difference in how they are seen and what the depth of analysis might be. I realize your difficult child is young and volatile but my Dad attended AA meetings for years and years (thirty or more) after he had given up drinking. He found that attending the meetings made him feel better about himself as a person since he could lend support to newbies. Perhaps your difficult child could look at the process as a community service action.'s possible..he could see how life befalls some people in a more difficult way that it has to him. Any chance? DDD
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sig: I was hoping some encouraging stories about rebellious and immature kids who don't even want to attend and who have benefited from twelve steps programs. Unfortunately I just don't see the approach a fit with my kid at least now that he is still so very immature and passive-aggressive. And because I'm a worrywart, I worry he may do something stupid just to rebel against the program and being forced to it.

    DDD: That of course would be fabulous, but I doubt difficult child would be yet ready to even consider that his experiences could help others and he could support them. Unfortunately it is more like him to try to ruin whole meetings. I of course truly hope he would try to be sincere, even if not share much, to listen. It could be extremely beneficial for him to understand how much others have struggled with the addiction and how devastating it really is. After all, difficult child has had quite easy recovery if you just look the addiction part.

    Meetings will be with townspeople. It is unlikely any of his new team mates have yet to developed gambling problem bad enough to make them GA members. The area seems to have two GA groups to choose from, both having meetings every two weeks. difficult child probably have to attend both at times to make that two meetings a month, his schedule will be varying like always.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    You know Suz- regardless of difficult child's beliefs - there comes a time when a rebellious kid learns (or doesn't learn) the golden rule - he who has the gold makes the rules.

    Presumably, he wants this position w the team? You said it's a great fit & a fresh start otherwise. Seems like the GA requirement is the only thorn.

    I realize we have different cultures & religious beliefs. So I do not mean to be glib and I apologize if I come off that way.

    How is difficult child's current approach worked for him? I realize there are bigger things at play, but it doesn't seem as though "doing it his way" Is working well for him in the long many more great opportunities are out there after this one?

    I think if he were my kid, I'd tell him that if he wants this opportunity, he needs to agree to GA both in spirit & action. A deal's a deal. Faking it won't work. And if he can't stomach it, then this opportunity is not for him.

    If he wants change, he has to seek change & can't put his own conditions on a wonderful opportunity. I imagine the mgmt is taking a chance & wants to help difficult child succeed. He should try it their way. What does he have to lose?
    Lasted edited by : Jul 17, 2013
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suz, I think it's a great program and you can leave God out of it and the philosophy is still good. "One day at a moment at a time..."good for anyone with anxiety. Won't hurt him at any rate.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sig: He does have lot to lose. His very good control over his addiction issues, his progress with his other, much major, issues, his career and rest of his reputation, he has been re-building. In some ways he has pulled himself out from very deep hole. And the other type of approach to addiction management has worked very well for him and he has worked hard on that program and has had very good results. And this team wasn't one who was giving him a chance, when he really was in deep poo-poo. It was the last one. And all the hard work done there is the reason why this option is on the table.

    Telling difficult child that he has to do it their way, because it is the only opportunity he has left wouldn't work. Simply because this isn't difficult child's best paid or highest level or most lucrative option. It is just the one, that would maybe be one of the best for his sport development for the moment and give him a break and adventure factor. His other two sport wise best options don't offer that and of course have their own down factors (like very small town in backwoods and with long bus drives to away games in other one.)

    And to be honest, while I really hope difficult child would give GA an honest try, if GA isn't working for him, I also hope difficult child chooses to advocate for more fitting treatment for himself. Improper and medically inadvisable treatment would not only be against the contract the team has with player's union but against the worker laws of that country according difficult child's agent. In fact trying to force GA in the first place is very iffy. It doesn't have medical support and is a laymen movement. Very helpful to many, but not something our employers are allowed to force their employees to. Of course it is much more cost effective to the team than providing difficult child private addiction psychiatrist or psychologist appointments. difficult child wouldn't get those from the public side any more, because he is not considered to be in need of that treatment any more.

    EDIT: Of course it could be considered wrong from difficult child to go into a contract knowing he doesn't like one of the requirements and knowing he may be trying to get away from it. Of course other side knows difficult child agent wasn't happy with that clause and wanted the loop hole there for the reason. And difficult child of course has every intention to give the team the services they are paying for him in his best ability. These negotiations were not easy in the first place. The agent had to even threaten to end negotiations there because GM was unwilling to make a clause about them providing difficult child sport psychiatric services, either local one or paying the fees of difficult child's own with difficult child providing transportation for his own sport psychiatric (yeah, we are buying quite a few plane tickets in future if difficult child signs to this team.) And according the agent it seemed to be more about principle than money. That of course is a red flag, but then again coaches seem to be open to mental coaching, only GM is old school. And GM's have usually very little to do with everyday life of the team.

    MWM: Yeah, those are good stuff. difficult child is mostly against admitting no power over the problem and giving it to the hands of higher power. The treatment he has received and done well with, emphasizes the control over actions and thoughts and also over addiction and active techniques to control person's own addiction cycle.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    easy child/difficult child was required to attend AA meeting when he was in two s.a. residential programs. He is not like your son on any emotional level (they are opposite with addiction and oppositional thinking in common, sigh) BUT easy child/difficult child found the outings into town a nice break from the intensity of his peer group and counselors. The adults were polite to him and did not press him in any way. Most of them had very lengthly and sad life stories that they were eager to share. He drank coffee, ate snacks and half listened. DDD
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Well, that would likely not be the worst possible outcome with my difficult child's case. Maybe I should just tell him to keep his mouth shut, be polite and promise he will likely get coffee there. Could be much worse.

    To be honest I don't see addiction treatment anyway a priority to difficult child in this point, so him not participating and not getting much out of GA would not be a bad outcome. What I worry about is that he would decide to be oppositional about it. To ruin the group for others, who are there to get help or to do something rebellious just because he doesn't like that he is coerced there.

    If you ask me, he would benefit much more about a plain old supporting therapy twice a month in this situation than anything addiction concentrated.

    He will take a break from his exposure therapy. He may continue having an appointment every two weeks via skype through his old therapist for supportive therapy, but isn't interested starting new intensive therapy in this place, which is easy to understand, he won't be there more than about eight months and that is too short time for therapy he needs.
  10. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    The very foundation of all 12 step programs is surrender. It may happen that your son will hear, comprehend, and act upon his powerlessness over anything but himself. That does happen, and it can. But coercion simply isn't part of the program.

    Still, it can;t hurt for him to go. He will harm nobody there if he chooses not to engage, and he might just store away some wisdom for another day.

    I attend Families Anonymous and I apply many of the principals to situations having nothing to do with my difficult child.

    Good luck to him!
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    The surrender part is what he has most problem with. And Higher Power. He did like the treatment method he went through and it takes a very different attitude about surrendering. Idea is not to surrender but take control over the addiction. Not to be powerless, but learn to have power over their own addiction and behaviour. That has worked very well for him. After he was first caught gambling and started treatment he had two or three slip-ups during first half a year, but hasn't gambled since. Not even during very stressful periods of life and he has had few of those during these two years. Knowing relapse rate of this specific addiction that is incredibly good outcome, so I understand why he feels good about that type of program and is leery to very different type of thinking twelve steps represent.

    difficult child can have a very sharp tongue in him, if he chooses to and a talent for creating havoc. I really hope he will not be doing that in any support group. Our courts can not order addiction treatment and employers etc. can normally only require medically approved treatment so twelve step-groups here are not used to people being coerced to attend so they may not be too apt to deal with people who really don't want to be there.

    And, yeah, difficult child has decided that he has serious problem/don't accept/will not even consider steps 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11 and 12. :sigh: He also doesn't consider it wrong to accept the offer if he is not ready to give a try to GA, he says that his contract will have a clause about attending, not about buying the model. Lovely!
  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    difficult child has been able to go and try one meeting with both available groups (living in the country which official language you don't speak a word, or well, he did make an effort to learn numbers and some pleasantries for a first thing, but anyway, really limits your options in this) and he says other one was okayish - at least the coffee was good and most people were pleasant, but other he considered weird. Unfortunately he will have to mostly attend to group he didn't like. Other one is at their most stable game night so when season starts, he is very seldom free that night. He also said that he hasn't been thinking so much gambling in almost two years when he thought in those meetings and he had tougher time with urges after the meetings than in longest time. But he feels he can handle it, if he just keeps in mind he is in control of his gambling despite what was said in the meeting.

    He sounded rather level headed about the matter and that I like. I also like it that he seems to follow an advice given to him by us, his agent and his sport psychiatric to have a good start and be co-operative even if he doesn't like everything. Being petulant and passive-aggressive would not do him any favours. And he already has two meetings done. He still has time to attend one meeting of the more pleasant group before the season starts and then he will have less than 15 meetings with less pleasant group left.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There is a way around this, because nobody else has to know what your higher power is.
    My GFGbro decided there were two sides to his personality, the "light" side and the "dark" side, and he had to take the problem out of the control of his "dark" side and give it to his "light" side... (i.e. bad/good, whatever other words you want). So... his higher power was within him, but it was a conscious effort to tap into that... and he got some good out of 12-step programs.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thanks IC! I will tell my difficult child about your brother.

    One of the main things difficult child's earlier treatment taught to him, and which is very important to him, is, that before the actual gambling he is making numerous concious choices to do so and that he has full control over everyone of those choices and he can chooses differently in any point. And even if he would slip, he still has all those choices left. He just has to recognize those strings of choices and make right choices when they are still easy. I.e. it is much easier to stop the first thought of gambling than stop right before pushing the button to start. And even if he slips, it is much easier to stop next morning, tell what happened to people you should tell and deal with it, when you have maybe lost few hundreds than a year later when you are so indebted you will never get out of it.
  15. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member


    I think our addictive difficult child's have to want the change in order for the 12 steps to work.
    They have to really want to learn something new that they don't know now. That is why guidance from "God" is so important in my humble opinion.

    My difficult child is rebellious too and says he doesn't believe in an Almighty Creator. It's sad because then he isn't learning new coping tools and values to help him make a different choice and "Lean" on a "Higher Authority" beyond his current "stinkin thinkin" as they say.

    All he is left with is his "OWN" best thinking...and of course that hasn't worked.
  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I think this is the biggest problem for my difficult child with GA at least now. difficult child is happy with there he is with his addiction issues. His 'stinkin thinkin' does work for him and I can imagine him taking offence, if someone tells him it is 'stinkin thinkin.' After all, issues he does have currently either have very little or nothing to do with addiction or are things that can not be changed.

    If, and when, he suffers the effects his past actions caused to his reputation, there is very little he can do to help that other than continue to behave differently and let the past be past. He has made his amends for those he did hurt, some relationships have been healed a lot (mostly those with family and others who were close to him to begin with), some a bit, some had nothing worth healing to begin with. If someone who was in no way part of those past issues chooses to keep them a true testament of difficult child's character, there is little difficult child can do to that and I understand very well, he doesn't feel like using all his energy to trying to prove them wrong. What has happened has happened and can't be taken back. Yes, trust was broken and that is a biggie, and there were some momentary damages (though he has paid those back) but I do understand difficult child wanting to look forward and not spend his time thinking of mistakes he did when he was 16 or 17. So for him changing, when it comes to addiction, doesn't seem a current issue. For someone who is only 20, three years is awfully long time and he has been doing very well managing his addiction till now.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    SuZir... in other words, he has bigger fish to fry right now, including his work with the therapist that has a focus on current issues, like how to interact with peers, which is essential to being part of a sports team. Some of these current issues may have been part of the source of the addiction problem in the first place. But more work on the addiction problem isn't going to fix the "rest" of your difficult child... and your difficult child knows it!
  18. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Sorry Suzir,

    I think I was really relating your post too much in regard to my own difficult child who definitely does have "stinkin thinkin".
    And for my son...Mine really does need to look at the past several years and mine has made No Ammends.

    I guess I'm kind of too caught up in my own little world right now.
    Sorry I said things that obviously don't apply to your son.

  19. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Ummm... Totally trite ... But it just struck me that "Good experience" + "rebellious kids" + coerced don't belong in the same sentence.

  20. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Lovemysons: No need to apologize. We all write based on our own experiences and situations. And of course my son's situation isn't common. You don't usually start going to that type of support groups, when you have been in recovery 2,5 years and it is going well and addiction is not really causing much current issues. In fact I suspect that many who started going when their situation was bad, may stop going or go only once in a while, when their situation is better and they have new things in their life.

    IC: Yeah, difficult child doesn't see much point in going to GA at this point. While his addiction was partly trauma reaction; and it may be that it was the biggest factor, treating addiction doesn't much change other trauma symptoms and neither his other pre-existing issues. And he isn't so naive that he couldn't understand his employer's thinking in forcing him to it. While the GM of the team really is a believer of the twelve steps system, they also hired a kid they know has had issues, by forcing him to free support group they can claim they 'did everything they could to support him' with no cost to them, if difficult child does end up having issues. Providing him more appropriate treatment would had cost them. And not doing anything at all would look bad, if difficult child ends up having (public) problems.

    Of course neither are I and husband or difficult child's agent naive enough not to understand that. But what difficult child wanted for this season was focus on sport and a break from his real treatment and other 'real life.' His PTSD therapy has been out of his employer's hand from the get-go, his former team did provide psychiatrist appointments, but from now on we want those to be out from his employers' (current and future) hands too. His former team was great to him, but sports can be cruel business and we don't really want anything too important to be depending on his employers' whims. At this point we wanted his sport psychiatric to be affiliated with the team, mainly because some of difficult child issues are such that sport psychiatric absolutely needs an access to his coaches etc. and when the team is paying the fees, they are more likely to listen too. But if difficult child continues to make progress and also does well with his sport career, also sport psychiatric is a service he will want to have in his own payroll, not team's.

    Sig: Yeah, that kind of is the problem. I think I just have to hope, that my whelp has matured enough to put his goals first and not to rebel for rebelling sake if it will only bite his own butt.