Jim Savage is a licensed chemical dependency counselor with over 30 years of experience working in the addiction field. His book Rehab Works! A Parent's Guide to Drug Treatment identifies what "works" and what "doesn't work" in the world of drug rehab, and offers hope that the battle against addiction can be won, and lives can be saved.
"While treatment success rates can be alarmingly poor, the truth is when a client relapses it's not really that difficult to look at a case and identify what went wrong," says Savage. "Being able to recognize and avoid common pitfalls is the key to treatment success."
Savage is passionate about helping parents avoid the "revolving door syndrome" of drug rehab with their children. Here are 7 things he suggests that parents can do to give their child the best chance for treatment success:
- Become an "educated consumer." Treatment success is an interactive process in which parents have much more to do the result than is generally realized. Commit yourself to becoming a student of how drug treatment works. The more the parent learns how to use the rehab experience effectively, the greater the chances are for success.
- Avoid the "substitute teacher phenomenon." "No Mrs. Johnson, our teacher doesn't make us do that." By learning everything you can about what your child is learning (or is supposed to be learning) in treatment, you will be less vulnerable to being manipulated by a teen who is trying to cut corners with regard carrying out an effective recovery plan.
- Reset your boundaries. When addiction occurs in a family system, healthy boundaries are displaced by unhealthy boundaries and the family winds up being controlled by the addiction. Family members develop behaviors that ultimately cater to the addiction. The first step towards successful treatment is learning how to undo dynamics that support unhealthy behavior.
- Learn a new language. How you communicate is the first step towards establishing new boundaries. It may feel like a foreign language, but learning to use words like "no," or phrases like "I'm sorry, that doesn't feel like recovery to me" is a simple first step that can have a dramatic impact on how your child responds to treatment.
- Trust your gut. While there is no precise definition for the term "recovery," you know what feels right, and what doesn't feel right. It's OK to trust your feelings and stand up for what you sense is right.
- Follow the plan. One of the biggest reasons for treatment failure is quitting before you're done.By becoming an educated consumer and learning everything you can about how treatment works, you will have a thorough understanding of what goes into an effective plan for recovery. Don't become a case that withdraws from the process before completing the plan.
- Recover yourself. When you hear the treatment program talk about your need to "work on your own recovery," take this seriously. Learn everything you can about what it means to establish your own recovery and do it. It is one of the best things you can do to support your loved one's recovery.
Rehab Works! A Parent's Guide to Drug Treatment spells out everything parents need to know about the world of drug rehab and give their child the best chance for treatment success. It is available on Amazon. For more information please visit www.jimsavage.net
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