Finally at Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by ck1, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    It's been a little while since I've posted/updated. My difficult child was in the juvenile detention center for almost five weeks. It was used more as a holding facility more than anything else, so I wish he wasn't there for so long, but he's finally out. It was very hard on all of us, but I'm thinking it was good because he knows his actions got him there. If he would have gone straight to Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), he probably wouldn't have been ready and wouldn't have realized the changes he needs to make. Anyway, he was transferred to the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) yesterday. He had been accepted to the four we sent referrals to, I checked them all out, and it turned out that the one I thought would meet our needs best is the furthest away, two hours, each way.

    I know we'll live through it but at least while he was in the detention center I could see him a few times a week, now it may be a couple times per month. When I talked with him last night, about an hour after he got there, he sounded really flat. I was hoping to hear more enthusiasm in his voice since he left the detention center. I'm kinda sad now and want to check on him, but I don't want to become a high-maintenance mom and wonder if I should wait a few days? Also, I'm thinking that I shouldn't baby him too much while he's there, we should go to the family therapy sessions, visit when we can, but keep it low-key. I really want him to get the most out of this possible. This is really hard!! I miss him very much but know that he's not ready to come home yet, that would only set him up for disaster and I certainly don't want that! Any advice on how to make this easier for me and help him make some real changes? Thanks!
  2. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    my dtr went to her first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when she just a week shy of 16--it was a couple thousand miles away, across the country. The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) did not allow us to talk by phone for the 1st 2 weeks so I couldn't talk to her on her birthday but I could send letters whenever I wanted to. She was able to call home twice a week for 10 min. conversations and then we had weekly family therapy on the phone. We visited her twice while she was there but waited 3 months before our first visit.

    I think it was important for her to know we cared but that our lives had not come to a standstill just because she was away. We tried to make it clear that she had a job to do while there and she would not be coming home til she had done it. This was a lockdown facility so after a couple of months of her trying to manipulate her way out of there she realized she was going to have to do the program.

    She relapsed after leaving this program--could not handle the "real" world. But I think she now is using the tools she learned there. She learned how it felt to be confident and to be in charge of herself--she learned a bunch of healthy things.

    You are on the right track--keeping it low-key, not babying him. Express confidence in him--you know he can do this, but just be matter of fact and neutral. I felt I was playing a role--my dtr would call and just cry on the phone and my heart would be breaking but I would just stay neutral and tell her she could do it. I am so glad those days are over!

  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It's so darn hard to think of our "babies" as closing in on the
    majic adult number of 18. Each of us has to make a series of
    choices on how to be supportive...and when. In theory it seems
    best to let them "own" their position but still be confident
    that they are loved. I think of it as like walking a tightrope.
    Let's hope the placement is really valuable to him and that the
    family counseling helps all of you. Hugs. DDD
  4. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I agree with everyone. When my difficult child was in a rehab we tried to always let him know we were there, we loved him but he had to gethimself help. We wrote him letters, went to the parent meetings and sometimes i was the overprotective mother and called to see how he was doing. They really want them to stand on their own two feet without mommy seeing if they are alright. I am still in the same boat today. My difficult child has been to some rehabs but he says he was forced to go. I wish he would go again. He is 24 now. I know how you feel There was a time when I couldnt talk to him at all. I prayed and prayed and talked to everyone I could because I was anxious and panicky but he was always ok. Yours will be ok too.
  5. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member


    I'm sorry ... I know how difficult this is. I really do. I was a basket case when our daughter left home for her Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    For me, I needed to call often to make sure she was OK. I didn't talk to her, but to the staff. They were very understanding and supportive. I was a high maintenance mom ... and they really did understand. Her therapist told me that they preferred families like ours who were really involved ... to the families who just dropped kids off and were rather uninvolved after that. So, if you need to know how he is ... contact his case worker.

    Like the others, I found it very helpful to write. I wrote almost every day. I sent funny cards ... newspaper clippings from home, etc. My daughter really appreciated the letters and helped her feel connected to family and family life.

    This is just so hard. And each families journey looks a little different.

    Best of luck.
  6. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Your feelings are normal. He is your baby and I know it makes us all sick to watch what are children do to their lives. I'm sure he sounded flat because it's all new to him and he's scared. Hopefully it's a good facility that once he fits in, gets to know the other people there and gets involved, he will work the program and learn to do what he needs to when he gets out.

    It's probably a good thing that he's far enough away that you can't run and see him all the time. Send him cards and letters. Let him know you love him and are there for him when he's ready to make the positive changes he needs in his life.
  7. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Thanks for the great advice! It's so comforting to know that others understand how I feel. I certainly don't get that feeling being in my own home :frown: My husband is a good man, I think it's just the difference between ment and women. Anyway, I decided to call to check on my son this morning. The counselor said that he had a great first day and would ask him to call me. I said that wasn't necessary, I didn't even want him to know I called. I just wanted to hear that he was ok.

    KFLD, I'm sure your right about why he sounded flat. I hadn't realized it until much later, but when I talked with him he hadn't even seen the whole house or met the other kids yet. So he was probably still apprehensive about what was going on. He had also taken his Serophil already and that makes him pretty tired.

    I really want to do what you all have suggested. Let him know we miss him and love him very much, but that he has to stand on his own two feet, it's up to him now. I think I'll be asking more about how to do this as we continue down this road...
  8. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    I am going to echo Goldenguru's comments regarding involvement. I heard the same advice when N* was at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) this spring. The kids who have parental involvement DO BETTER. There is no guarantee, of course. It is a sad site to see kids who have been warehoused for months without a visit from a family member.

    One of the things I did with N* was writing in a journal that we shared. Write down some of your thoughts and concerns, ask open ended questions, and invite him to do the same. You can mail it back and forth, or you can exchange it when you see each other. It's a non-threatening way to communicate -- free of hysterics, slammed doors, walking away, etc.

    If he won't participate, you might keep one for yourself.

    TYLERFAN New Member

    When the courts finally sent my difficult child to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) after many months of begging, I felt I had to go up there as many times as they would allow, also to let the staff know that someone is watching and caring. To be honest and blunt, which is usually my way, I went to see her too much and this trip was 5 hours from my house EACH WAY! :bravo:
    If I had to do it again, I would have shown up there less, spoken with the counselors and case managers by phone more, and saved myself alot of aggravation as the outcome would have been the same, I believe. For my difficult child Residential Treatment Center (RTC) did absolutely no good, that isn't to say they all are no good, ours was a private facility , but she was but court-mandated.

    Hope you take care of you while he is away.

    Melissa :angel:
  10. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    If you miss him, then he misses you. let him feel that for a bit. do write him and tell him you love him. visit monthly and let him know when you will be there and dont disappoint him to let him have something to look forward to.

    it is hard. I cried a year I think when ant went to glen mills at age 16. I went monthly six hrs each way. I wrote and he wrote. I tried to remind myself this was needed, and would keep him alive longer.
  11. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Oh goodness I remember when my sons first went into drug rehab at 13/14 years old. Boy was I devastated. That's when I found the board.

    We only had a 4 hour round trip and we went to visit 2 times a week. Once was for individual therapy the other for family group night. On one weekend a month we did rope exercises, symbolizing trust issues, etc.

    I was so very codependent on my sons and wanted to blame someone for their condition. I ended up turning on my husband and by the end of Rehab, or a few months later, was at the breaking point with husband. We nearly divorced.

    I think it's very important to remember that addiction is a disease, not personal or because of mom and dad not doing their very very best!

    I would just listen closely to what the councelors tell you is best to do from your end. I know you miss your son, I remember just bawling on the stair case and barely being able to look in their rooms without sobbing on their beds.

    hugs and stay well,
  12. DFrances

    DFrances Banned

    I assume your child is in a state run Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) being that it is only 2 hours from home. Monitor it very closely ... hoover, hoover, hoover!
  13. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    The Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is actually run by a for-profit, rather large company. They are a licensed and accredited facility. When I went to visit, they didn't have any notice except for the two hours it took me to get there. I talked with the director of admissions for a while then told him that I could only make a decision if I saw it and decided it had to be right then. Thankfully, they were all fine with that and I met with three people while I was there. I saw the house (very clean) and the kids had just gotten back from school and they all seemed fine.

    I've talked with other staff members several times since Friday and I've talked with his therapist. I'm very happy with her and we'll talk again on Thursday and Friday for our first family session via phone conference. From what I'm told, my difficult child seems to be adjusting well. I'm anxious to talk with him and may call him tomorrow evening. He can call me once a week, but I'm not sure what night yet.

    All who have met him have said that they believe he is very "workable" and should be fine. There are some issues for him to work on, but he's very agreeable about doing so, therefore, the professionals feel we've intervened quickly enough to be able to help him. I really hope so but only time will tell. Thanks for all of your comments and please keep them coming if you think of anything I should ask or find out more about.
  14. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    if you can it would be good to go on a vacation about now with him under someone else's wings for a bit. when ant was in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I took my first cruise. just a 4 day one.
  15. KFld

    KFld New Member

    That is a really great suggestion. I remember doing quite a few things when difficult child was in rehab. I knew he was safe and I didn't have to worry about him coming to the house and robbing me blind while I was gone. Probably the most relaxing 6 weeks of his difficult child life.
  16. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    How wonderful that the professionals there with your difficult child see him as very "workable" and that you all intervened in time. Will your son be at this facility for 30 days or longer than that? Our insurance only covered the first 30 days but I wrote an appeal letter that allowed my difficult child's to stay longer.

    When my sons went to rehab, the younger said he hated me the oldest just wanted to manipulate and outwit his councelor from the get go. The councelors said it was good to see their true colors. Mine were at drug rehab for 4 1/2 months (young difficult child) and 5 1/2 months (older difficult child). It was younger who made the most progress while there...The one who said he hated me, lol. Man I was broken up at the time though.

    Hang in there sounds like You really have done what is in your child's very best interest.
  17. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    I'm hoping we intervened in time! As I think I mentioned, he didn't get into a lot of trouble, that's not his primary problem. However...he is a master manipulator. I know many teens share this gift, but I've been told that he surpasses most. So, that's what they need to work on. That, and the fact that he has to accept that we ALL live by rules.

    Our insurance has agreed to pay for the first 90 days, then there will be a review to determine how much longer his therapists think he needs then the insurance will determine how much more they'll pay. The average length of stay is about eight months. If he hadn't spent almost five weeks in the detention center, I would think he'd need at least that long. Now I'm thinking (and hoping) he gets it a little faster, maybe five or six months. But, I know, however long it takes is how long it takes. I miss him so much though! He's supposed to call tonight, I'll get a good idea of his attitude then, I'll let you know...
  18. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    We plan on going on a few trips while he's gone. However, they probably won't be too relaxing because my two toddlers will be with us!

    We talked with difficult child on Wednesday and then again today for our first family session via phone conference. He sounds really good. Admits he doesn't really like where he is, but understands why he's there. He also said that he feels like the biggest change in him is because, or will be because, he spent so much time in the detention center. He had a lot of time to think and realized he really didn't have it so bad here. His therapist thinks he's adjusting very well and she's very pleased with his progress. We'll see if this is just a honeymoon phase or if he really is on the right road to making better choices!
  19. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I agree with ants mom. When my son was in a correctional facility we visited on visitation days. the ride was only one and a half hours but still we did it I wrote regularly and told him I loved him and missed him. They have to have something to hold on to. my difficult child said he always looked forward to our visits. he always looked good and had to behave because they were being watched by the co's. It has been 3 years since then. he has relapsed some and is on probation now but i will never give up. i cried a lot too and prayed a lot.
  20. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hoping your son really is on the right road to making better choices. Glad the phone visits went well.

    Hang in there, will be looking for your updates.