Some of these pages are a continuing story of how I, Mac, became someone who knows alcohol and drug treatment and why others depend on him for connections and answers.
In trying to educate physicians on the dangerous manner which these drugs effect a majority of persons, I am met with blank stares and an indignant attitude where they are wanting to say “HOW DARE YOU!”… “Do you know who you are talking to?” Well, frankly, yes, I do.. I might have been educated to connect symptoms of pain and discomfort to specific pharmaceuticals, but for a simple twist of fate, I didn’t finish my medical training and, instead followed my heart into a new therapeutic field, addiction and recovery. In those beginning years, the medical community ignored and looked down on those who were addicted. In spite of our society having some of the most talented and genius of its ranks being addicted… Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, etc., etc..
because of many different I would have never believed this to be the truth if I hadn’t had addiction in my own family and witnessed three of what I thought were the “best” rehab program in the country” doing nothing to make her conditions better. These programs run over $30,000 a month and my loved one got worse and not better, which led to her heightened life-threatening addiction and everyone feeling more despondent and hopeless.
This woman did not have mental illness or other problems outside of addiction, but their clinical approach, which was nearly identical in each rehab center, only made her feel less capable and more of a victim than she had before treatment. This outcome was tragic for the addict and everyone who is trying to help.
From these ineffective treatments, my family member actually lost her conviction that she was responsible for her problem and believed that there was nothing she could do to change her conditions in life. She came to believe that she had a disease that was chronic and progressive and that she would have to go to support group meeting the rest of her life to only sustain life, and doubtfully to succeed at the level where she could reclaim her earlier dreams and aspirations.
So what are the lesson or lessons that I have learned over the years as a licensed professional counselor?
First of all, there isn’t a rehab program in business that will tell you that their outcomes are 3 to 5%, which is the average of 30-day programs. Almost all advertising or intake counselors will claim that their program gets better than 75% success.
Secondly, most addicts have come to believe that they are incurablly addicted and will never have any life outside of the highs that they get from their alcohol and drug use.
(I talked to a young man who called in for help and he said that he had been to five previous treatment programs. I asked if they believed that addiction was a disease and he said they did. I told him that I had programs that don’t see it that way. He asked if I believed it was a “disease” and I told him that it didn’t fit the classical definition of a disease and, therefore, I didn’t believe it like his previous programs do. He then got angry and said that it is incurable disease and hung up! That was a very sad moment in my career, since I knew that he couldn’t think outside of his indoctrination that he was the victim of a disease. I realized that this justification of addiction being an incurable disease had been his alibi for his continued addiction. He wasn’t even open to thinking it could be cured.)
Thirdly, and most improtantly, there is also good news! Amongst all of the failing programs that are attempting to handle addiction without the proper orientation or skills, there are some programs that actually work at a level equal to that of any other therapeutic modality in medicine; at around 70% success.
First of all, if you look at the two major forms of alcohol and drug treatment you will find 12-step based treatment and Therapeutic Communities (TC’s) or modifications of these programs. Most of these programs are not worth your time and money since they can’t give you a track record of anything close to even 50% success. When you ask them the outcomes of their program, they will give you a vague answer and say something like: “What really matters is how our program will help your son or you or whatever…”
If you call any of these centers, you are going to start your interaction with them based on a lie. None of these centers will admit that their outcomes are as bad as I am reporting. However, in all of my experience, I never saw either of these modalities get outcomes even close to 25%.
When accreditation organizations started requiring outcome measures for all rehab programs, these inadequate programs protested that you can’t evaluate a program based on whether a patient stay clean or not, since “addiction is a chronic and progressive disease”, so they were allowed to measure the number of patients that finished the program rather than the outcome that the public needs… that it works!
Any relationship that is based on a lie isn’t going to help you or your loved one. I am not saying that some people don’t find help and quit using at these treatment centers, but do you have the time and money to invest in multiple rehabs in trying to save a life? Most of us don’t and certainly the addict can risk any more life-threatening episodes of alcohol or drug abuse.
Our family had good insurance and we sent our family member to three of these above mentioned types of programs before we realized that things were not changing and if they were, it was only getting worse.
One of the teenagers in our family was in tears when she was confronted with her mother having to go to treatment again. I was concerned for their grief and said that maybe this time it will work and not to worry. Her response was “I’m not crying about that “drug addict” I am telling you that I am not going to another family week at one of these goofy programs.” From the mouths of babes…and a typical response from a teenager who can see through the artificial psycho-bable programs that we all went through during these family week programs.
Unfortunately, you are one of the few that has read this page to this point, so I will try to be brief. Most people do not read more than three sentences on a webpage, but since I haven’t lost you yet, let me tell you that there are programs that work.
Our family member found effective treatment. That was over twenty years ago. There was only one of these types of programs availble then and they have now grown to 13 across the nation. Call our help line and we will tell you more about the treatment scene and lead you to programs that will keep you and your loved ones from multiple treatment episodes.
There are treatment programs that work! Call us and we will tell you about those that do and share our positive treatment experiences with you.
What Should Be Done If Your Young Adult Is Having An Addiction Problem
When families have to confront one of its members with an alcohol or drug addiction problem, you find that even the most functional families feel awkward, insecure and intimidated when it comes to confronting an addiction problem in their own families.
Many times it is a teenager or a young adult that goes from using alcohol and other drugs on a recreational basis and progresses to a point where his life is being totally occupied and destroyed by an addiction.
Family member see this downward spiral as it is developing, but it is astounding how many families report that they just didn’t’ feel comfortable saying anything about what was so obviously happening.
Families are confused and have mixed emotions when they see their loved ones destroying themselves in, what appears to be, a willful decision to use excessive alcohol or other drugs. One of the main reasons for this type of reluctance in confronting the abuser is because parents often feel that they must have done something or didn’t do enough of something that has led to their child becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Of course, families also have fantasy thinking that if you don’t confront the addiction issue, maybe it isn’t really as bad as it appears and maybe it will magically go away. Parents find themselves over emphasizing the times when their addicted child has been successful and they use those times to blind themselves about the many other times that he has been an embarrassment to himself and the family.
The addicted loved one also knows how to handle any attempts at addressing his problem. Young addicted men and women that are still living at home are usually skilled at shutting off any communication that might mean that they will have to take responsibility for the problem. This can be as covert as changing the subject every time someone intimates that there is a problem, or they may find it more successful to yell and slam doors and make the parents feel guilty for “making this intrusion”.
No matter the tactic, this confrontation becomes a battle of wills and many times it is also a matter of life and death. Too many families that have procrastinated about what they knew that they had to confront are faced with criminal proceeding, an automobile accident or an overdose before they finally realize that things don’t just get better on their own. With addictions, time doesn’t heal all wounds.
It is imperative that if you have a loved one that you know is abusing alcohol or other drugs to a point that it is disrupting his or her productive abilities or is tearing the family apart, you cannot hesitate to either confront the issue with a resolution that leads to ending the problem or you enlist professionals to help you.
Ultimately, most addiction problems are going to require professional help and there are many trained and skilled professionals who dedicate their lives to helping others with these problems.
In finding the right professional to help, look for a professional that is licensed and degreed and has years of experience. There isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to handling these problems. Each addict requires a different approach and seasons professionals have the tools to help you bring sanity back to your family.
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