Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Role-play: Parent helps to prevent relapse.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, March 20, 2007

We have all learned a great deal about the signs of relapse. As Mary pointed out, overconfidence and anger can be signs. Home Alone hit on a lot of them, including the fact that a relapse happens in the teenager's mind before he actually takes "the first one." Hanging out with old friends and attending fewer meetings can be signs. But what is a parent to do to help?

Preparation can often be the most helpful thing. For example, what was the plan that your teenager came up with while he was in the rehab? Or what plan did he come up with before the "stinkin thinkin" set in? Stick to that plan, even if your teen no longer believes that he needs to do that. Don't be distracted from the recovery plan by the attitude of your teenager. Yes, we wish that he always kept that "recovery high" that he had when he first came home from the rehab, but since addiction is "cunning, baffling, and powerful," it is often the case that we don't get our parent-wishes. In general, don't be distracted. Insist that your teen follows the plan.

Dad: Hey, can we talk a minute?

Son: What's up, Yo?

Dad: Well, I've noticed that you only went to a few meetings last week.

Son: Dad- [making a face of disgust] I know when I need to go to a meeting!

Dad: Yeah, but we agreed on a meeting a day for the first 90 days. Then we said we'd talk.

Son: You know you really kill me. You really do. You think cause you went to a few of Lloyd's meetings, and a couple of Gateway family meetings that you're some kind of expert on addiction! You probably think you're going to write a book about your experiences, don't ya?

Dad: Well, I don't know about that...

Son: [cutting off his father] Well, don't quit your day job! I think after what I've been though, I know how to stay clean. You never even been addicted you said. So, you don't really know, do ya?

Dad: Well, no but...

Son: [cutting off his father] Listen Dad, I know you worry, but my sponsor said something that's important. And HE knows about recovery, cause he's in it- you know what I mean? Well, he says that you and Mom are trying to work my recovery for me. And that just makes me angry. In fact, if anything THAT makes me want to shoot dope! So, you should back off, Yo!


Son: Anyway, you think I would ever do anything to make me go back into rehab? You think I want to get sent away? You're crazy! I hated that place! I will NEVER do dope again! I'm to smart for that shyt now man- no way! You think I'm stupid?

Dad: Ok, ok, ok, let's back up here can we? Just hold your horses [dad puts up the traffic sign for stopping traffic].

Dad: First of all, no I do not think that you are stupid. Far from it. Second, you are right, I am not an addict and I don't know a lot of stuff about it- [laughing] AND I’m not starting my book yet so YOU back off, Yo!

Son: O.K.- that's good! [struggles to put up a smile- but it's not working as he is too upset to relax].

Dad: Son, do you know who taught me the most important stuff about addicitions?

Son: Abe Twerski, when he gave that lecture at Gateway?

Dad: Ooh- that was a good lecture- but no not him. Not at all.

Son: Who then? I know you're gonna tell me anyway! [Rolling eyes].

Dad: You did. When you were in rehab.

Son: [Looks surprised]

Dad: Yes, son in rehab you taught me that you need to go to a meeting a day for at least the first 90 days. And you taught me that you need to go to those meetings regardless of whether you feel like going.


Dad: And you taught me that you need to cut yourself off from all the people that you used with. Remember that list that you came up with? That list of people that you need to stay away from? Well I learned a lot from you coming up with that list- you really gave that list a lot of thought. And I was surprised at how many names were on it! I was proud of how much work you put into that. Well, I see that you have started to hang with Denny. [pause] and Son, we both know he is on that list.

Son: Ahhh Dad! He don't use no more. He's goes to meetins now!

Dad: Nevertheless, he is on the list- and he is someone you shot dope with.

Son: You think I'm stupid- I will never do that junk again, man, you make me mad talking like this - [getting louder] you trying to work my program for me!

Dad: Regardless, we are sticking with the plan that you came up with in the rehab. We are not changing plans now. Son, trust me on this one; we ARE NOT changing plans now.

Son: But, even my sponsor says...

Dad: Regardless, we are following the plan we came up with in treatment. It's non-negotiable.

Son: I'm not going to all those meetings anymore, Dad. I mean- I'll go when I need to go that's all. And Denny's not a bad guy like you think- he's my friend - and you can't pick my friends for me neither!

Dad: [moving closer with strong eye contact the father says slowly and softly] That is unacceptable, Son.

Son: You can't make me do that stuff!

Dad: Son, we can do a lot- and if you want, your mother and I will discuss with you what we are prepared to do. But maybe it's enough for now if you just trust me- trust that I am prepared to do whatever I need to do to see that you follow the plan that you came up with in rehab. That's all.

Son: [walks off in anger, muttering obsenities]

Dad: [ Lets him go.]


Anonymous said...

"...he says that you and Mom are trying to work my recovery for me..."

In my opinion, there are a couple of things going on here:

1. I am not sure how much experience a sponsor may have with a teen addict and they may be providing the same advice they would for a 25 year old.

2. With a younger teen -You drive them to the meeting, wait outside, take them home. You put THEIR meeting plan into your schedule. They are so dependent on you that it may feel like you are working their recovery. Maybe the best answer is that you are "supporting the return to home plan" because you want them home - recovery is something only they can get.

Anonymous said...

My past efforts with my child did make me feel like I was "working her recovery" for her. Stating it like that to my child makes sense to me and hopefully will to her as well.


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