Much of the work done in a treatment center revolves around retraining clients to think, feel and behave differently than they have in the past. Take “Billy” for example. Billy was a young man who grew up in a typical middle American family. As a teenager, he began spending time with “the wrong crowd,” a group of boys who introduced him to smoking marijuana and drinking. Billy began to lose interest in school; his grades were slipping. When he graduated from high school, he really wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. His parents were upset how he had lost the opportunity to attend a prestigious University due to his GPA. He enrolled in a local community college, where he dabbled in a few courses, but nothing held his interest. At a part time job, Billy met James who introduced him to other, harder drugs. Billy’s drug use escalated. He started skipping classes and lost all interest in school. He continued to go to work every day because work was his link to drugs.
Related Blog: Why Did I Relapse?
Fast forward five years and Billy has been arrested multiple times on drug related charges. He has mastered the art of manipulation and stealing to get money for drugs. All of his old friends from high school have now graduated from college and have nothing to do with him at all; his parents are beside themselves. They take a line of credit to secure treatment for Billy. He goes, but never engages in the program. He goes through the steps as instructed, but never invests in the process. When the treatment session is over, he immediately finds his group of friends and is using. Before long, he’s arrested again.
At this point, Billy is finally starting to realize that he’s made some mistakes in his life. He sees the happiness that his friends and family, who were not abusing drugs, had. He hears stories that this person is getting married, that one just got a great job and is moving out of town. In the meantime, he’s looking for a place to sleep, an opportunity to score and evading law enforcement and his parents. He attends treatment again and this time, he’s engaged. He actively listens to what the counselors are saying, he participates in the group sessions. He starts to analyze what he’s done in his life and the people he’s hurt by his substance abuse. His treatment time is coming to a close and he’s working on his transition plan and relapse prevention plan. He’s not sure where he will live because he’s burned so many bridges and his parents don’t trust him. He ends up getting a part time job and finding an apartment in a neighborhood known for heavy drug activity. Initially, he starts off okay, focusing on going to work and 12-Step recovery meetings. He’s asked to take a few more hours at work and gladly does. One day, he has a rough day and gets out of work too late to attend a meeting. He runs into an old buddy on his walk home from work. The guy offers him a beer, Billy accepts and a relapse has happened.
Billy’s drug and alcohol use spirals out of control. Finally, he is arrested again for drug-related charges and given the opportunity to go to treatment one more time. There, he really connects with his counselors and some of the other clients. He’s fully opened up about his situation, his fears and is truly engaged. At the end of treatment, he makes plans to live in a sober living community associated with the treatment center. He finds a job in a part of town that is safer; he attends aftercare meetings at the treatment center and 12-Step recovery meetings. After time, he even begins sponsoring and mentoring other people who are new to recovery.
Stories like Billy’s are not uncommon. Recovery is a process and not everyone is ready for the changes and work they have to do to chance their lives in a short treatment cycle. It takes time to buy into the process and see the fruits of the effort because it’s easier to keep going on the way things have been.
Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.