First visit with difficult child in Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by ck1, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Yesterday was our (husband and I) first visit with difficult child. He's been at the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) for three weeks. Thankfully, it was very good. The first part was a family therapy session and it was non-eventful, no heated arguments just calm conversation. Then we just hung out outside for the next three hours. husband got us lunch, husband and difficult child threw a football, it was nice.

    difficult child is very anxious to come home. Everyone there (at Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)) tells him how well he's doing and how he should be able to get through this quickly. We understand he's working hard and he's saying all the right things, but I don't want him to come home before he's ready, so there's the $$$ do you know when they're ready???

    Plus, we asked him when he comes home, what will he do when faced with all the temptations we know he'll be faced with? For example, he goes to a party and there are drugs there. What will he do? He said, well, I know I won't do them because I'll be on probation and I don't want to get in trouble. Also, I won't do that stuff again because that what made this whole mess start! That's good to hear, but the problem is with the probation comment.

    Somehow, he thinks he'll be on probation until he's 18. Unfortunately, that's not the case, he'll be on probation until February!!! I'd love it to be until he's 18, but I'm not sure if I can do that. When all is said and done, he only has a simple assault (misdemeaner) charge.

    Well, we were really happy with our visit. He seems much more mature and open to talking about everything. Also, every staff person (at least 6) we saw made a point of coming over to meet us because they wanted to say how highly they think of my difficult child. They said they he is ALWAYS very respectful and well-mannered and that he is a great leader and very positive influence for the other kids there. Obviously something has changed because I don't think he would have been described as a leader just a few months ago!
  2. KFld

    KFld New Member

    What kind of drug was he using? I don't like how the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is saying he should be able to come out of this easy. It's never easy. It's a lifetime commitment and it will not be easy for him once he's back in his usual environment.

    I'm not saying this to burst your bubble, but so many people kept telling me how age was on my sons side when he first went into rehab a little over 2 years ago. I thought the first time he went and I heard all the right stuff that it was going to be easy and we would be through dealing with the drug problem. Being young is a hard thing. Think about when you were 17. If someone told you you couldn't hang out with your friends and you had to find new ones, what would you do?? My difficult child had such a hard time staying away from his friends and would come out of rehab and go right back to the friends and the drugs. This didn't change until he wanted it to change. You ask when you will know when he's ready?? You will just know. Believe me. It took a year from my sons first rehab stay and about 3 others after that until HE knew what he wanted to do with his life. He checked himself back into the state rehab he had been in a year before and then moved into a soberhouse away from his friends, got a job and followed his program. He was one year clean last Saturday, just moved out of the soberhouse after a year and is now living in an apartment with his new girlfriend, and he's following his program. He still goes to meetings, has a sponsor and knows he cannot stay clean without all of this in his life.

    Like I said, I'm not saying this to burst your bubble. This is actually a success story I'm telling you, but it was far from easy getting there.

    Not sure of the extent of your sons drug use either. Mine was a full blown heroin addict by the age of 18.

    How much longer will he be there?
  3. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Thanks for the insight and I agree that it will probably be hard road. I'm not so sure, though, that it will be because of drugs. He started smoking pot and was doing so daily for three weeks before the violent incident that landed him where he is.

    I know, many say, that what they admit to is usually only part of the whole story. However, we did drug test him (even after he admitted use) because we wanted to confirm that pot was the only drug in his system. He has also talked with many counselors (in detention center and Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)) and has had two drug evaluations with two different D&A counselors. All believe that what he is saying is true.

    It took him three weeks to make a huge mess and truly, I knew something was different during that three weeks. I thought maybe he was using drugs but hoped it was just him suffering through his first broken heart.

    My fear is that his lack of impulse control will make it difficult for him to make good decisions when faced with lots of temptations, even coming home late. I guess I have time to worry about that later. For now, I'll be happy that we had a good visit, that he's safe where he is, and learning other coping skills. I really wish I could keep him on probation until he's 18 though, we all do better with some scare tactic, oh, wait, I mean, motivation!
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    We, too, heard all the positive comments at all THREE programs
    our teen participated in over a one year period. The most common
    staff feedback was "your son is unique because he respects and loves you" and "doesn't want to cause you any stress".

    The issue wasn't about his love for us or our love for him OR
    how tight we were. The issue was, and still is, his impulsive
    behaviors, choice of friends and pot and alcohol abuse. There
    hasn't been one day that he has doubted our love nor have we doubted his. It just 'aint the issue.

    You are wise to recognize that the frosting may look great but
    the cake may be rotten. My husband and I, plus many CD families,
    believe that the polite, handsome, bright, well mannered teens
    with family support are deemed successes in the making because
    many of the teens in programs display open defiance etc. etc.

    Do I have an answer?? Heck, no. Wish I did. on the other hand, I am glad
    you are leery of the accolades. Hugs. DDD
  5. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    most places ant was in, they said he didnt belong there, didnt act like the others, was preppy and mannerly. what will your son do for his education when he gets out? back to public school??
  6. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    I am hesitant to be too optimistic, but at the same time don't want to lose hope. We're not sure what school he's going to go to. I'd like to find out what options our school district suggests.

    Two weeks ago, difficult child said he didn't want to go there, yesterday he said he would. He can change his mind hundred times before he leaves the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) because no decisions will be made until then. I want to do what he's most comfortable with, if possible.

    I'm worried about him going back to the public school here because it is very tough, academically, and I don't know if he'll be able to keep up since this semester is pretty easy for him. I don't know what to do about school...any suggestions there?
  7. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I think three weeks is not a very long time. It's easy to do well in a treatment facility ... where there is support 24/7 and where drugs are not readily available. My daughter used to call being in a facility living in the "false environment".

    I would suggest finding alternate schooling options. Even if it's home schooling. NA/AA motto: "Must change the playground and must change the playmates". Absolute truth.

    How about moving him to a small rural school?
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Im with the others.

    Though my kid never honeymooned, most do. Mine also was one that we always heard the comments about how much he was connected to us and how loved he was. That wasnt the issue with him either. If love was gonna fix him, he would be fixed!

    My son has been in and out of various types of residential facilities since he was 11. No they werent for drugs but they were for mental health reasons. It was easy to say in the beginning that he was gonna do really well but then something happened and the real boy emerged.

    You will know...everyone will know.
  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It was easy to say in the beginning that he was gonna do really well but then something happened and the real boy emerged.

    Janet makes a really good point that jogged my memory (getting old blows huh?)

    Our daughter did really well for about 6 weeks. Her therapist said that most kids can 'keep it together' for a number of weeks and then 'the mask comes off' and the real therapeutic work begins.
  10. OTE

    OTE Guest

    I agree with the others, this is the honeymoon phase. 3 weeks just isn't enough time. In a few weeks he will still be saying those things but you'll know for sure that he doesn't mean it.

    FYI: in terms of transition to home, it's a transition, not a send him home and it's over. He'll come home for weekends for awhile and they'll test when he goes back to see if he used over the weekend. So he has a chance to prove he's going to change with the old kids still around.

    I understand that this may be only a short program but a week can make a lot of difference. They also take the kids out in the community to observe what they do.

    The probation comment is just proof that he still doesn't get it, doesn't admit he has a problem. Give it time.

    Don't worry about school yet, too soon.

    One other note, he won't be ready to come home until he faces his mental illness, learns his trigger points, skills to use when he's facing temptation, recognizes his moods, etc. As other said, it's virtually never one stint in rehab and they're "cured".
  11. DFrances

    DFrances Banned

    What program is he in? 3 weeks is nothing. The program is suppose to be guidng you on steps as to what the treatnment plan recommends. Most successful programs do not even want you discussing coming home for at least 5 months.
  12. branbran

    branbran New Member

    I too agree with everyone. I have had several honeymoons with my difficult child. So I am trying to learn how to just embrace the good moments even if they are far and few between. Things won't be perfect when he comes home, there will be bumps in the road, so relish in the good times. It's nice to have a good visit even if you know its just temporary. I think we parents of difficult child's only get moments of happiness with our children, so when those moments do come, enjoy them. So, good for you, your husband and your son, you had a wonderful time. Hope to hear about future good times. :smile:
  13. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Glad your visit went well.

    Your difficult child sounds like he has alot going for him. I hope he gets all the counceling, coping strategies, learns his triggers etc while he's there.

    I hear ya about the hard school system. I think it's better not to go right back into the public school that he was in before. Are there any homeschool groups around that you might try?

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad you had a nice visit. Be wary of too much praise. My son, at age 11, honeymooned for almost 2 months while in a locked down psychiatric facility. It was very scary for us. He was actively trying to kill his little sister, and I have permanent damage in one hand from his attacks. They were ready to send my son home. We had had nice talks in family therapy. He was nicely behaved on the unit. Never tried to run away.

    I wnet in to a therapy session KNOWING he wasn't showing htem any of his "at home" or "real" behaviors. And then knowing that if he came home it owuld be a nightmare. So, with the OK fromhis therapist, I tripped every one of his triggers. Every sitnking one of htem. It was a therapy session from nightmares. The wonderful people here on this board kept me sane and functioning through those months.

    One session with me pushing at him rather than following the "plan" the therapist had for the session was all it took. HE spewed the most horrible vicious things anyone could say, and told us things he had done.

    Overnight my son went from the polite boy who will do well to the most manipulative they had seen. because once I blew his cover he didn't bother with it on the ward.

    The turning point for my son was that day, and one day about 3 weeks later when he was in a group therapy session and another kid was upset with what my son was saying. Other kid had impulse control issues, and punchedmy son in the face from across a small table. My son was bragging about the abuse he had given his little sister nad the other boy was upset that he woudl treat a little girl that way.

    Anyway, make sure your son is showing the therapist what he shows you at home. Ask him, in front of therapist if you feel it is useful, about some of his actions. Don't be afraid that you will provoke him. He is in hte safest place to be provoked. IF they don't see the behaviors, they can't treat them.

  15. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Thanks for the comments...everything is helpful! My difficult child is in Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), on their website they call it psychosocial rehabilitation.

    I'll see him on Monday along with the entire treatment team to set his treatment plan. The reason why his therapist feels he may get through the program a little bit faster is because he is very open to listening and working on helping himself. Surprisingly, he readily acknowledges that his thinking is distorted. He's being given the tools and coping strategies to help him get his distorted thinking straightened out and I'm hoping to be able to continue working with him on that when he comes home.

    I'm really unsure about what to do about school when he returns. LVM, I'm considering cyberschool, but not sure that he'll really be motivated to do his part. Also, I don't know how much I would need to it like homeschooling? I'm not sure I would be able to devote several hours a day just to teach him. I'd like to, but I don't think my toddlers would go for that! They need a lot of attention as well.

    Thankfully, my difficult child has always picked good friends. When he was smoking pot at home it was mostly alone. He's not friends with the kid he bought it from, unfortunately, though, that kid lives across the street! The only real questionable friends he has live where we used to live. He became friends with the questionable ones after we moved or via meeting on myspace. difficult child sees them when he visits my parents, obviously, he won't be doing that alone anytime soon!

    Susie: Thanks for the input about the triggers, unfortuntely, I'm unsure of how to do that. What triggered him at home was hearing "no" in regards to something he wanted. Excellent point that the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) can only treat what they see. The only thing I can think of to help them with that is to write scenarios that he would have to answer so that they can see his thought process. I'm going to keep trying to come up with ideas though.

    One more thing about his Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), more specifically, his therapist. I'm very happy so far because almost every time I've called, she's answered the phone, or called me back quickly. I haven't asked to speak with anyone else yet, but I'll meet the psychiatrist on Monday at the treatment plan meeting, however, I'm not sure what to expect at that meeting, I've never been to one before.