How many times do we hear from clients in treatment, that they are not getting their needs met by drug treatment center treating them? This can go both ways because when the addict first enters drug treatment their focus is usually on everything, but recovery. This is somewhat normal in the aspect that they are not thinking clearly. It also could be they are still going through detox and it’s very easy to defocus from the primary goal which is to stay focused on their treatment, and recover from their addiction.
As the client moves through the process of treatment there could very well be some validity to what they are saying, this needs to be monitored very closely. On one hand they could want to defocus, because the issues at hand are becoming very overwhelming, or it could be true. As a family member of an addict in drug treatment these are signs for you to be aware of.
What could be very beneficial in this process is a weekly progress report from the primary therapist at the drug rehab center. These progress updates will help keep the family informed as to the components of treatment being received by their family member. There comes a point when the client just might be right, due to the treatment process they are now beginning to realize their own issues, on their own, which indicates a positive growth process.
The addict in treatment must trust their therapist. If your family member doesn’t trust the therapist, at any point in their treatment, this could be a red flag. If the client is constantly expressing his/her needs, this may very well be a good sign of growth, but could also be very stressful if these needs are not being met.
As treatment professionals we are bound by ethics, and should always do what is best for the client, no matter what. Too many times in my own experiences I have seen these ethics compromised. As a treatment professional I question this. If we are not providing the services that the client needs, then who loses?
The client loses, and this is just not acceptable.
The parent child relationship is the most unique of relationships. It is also the most difficult to figure out. It is parasitic. It is symbiotic. It is dynamic and therefore often changing. It is exhilarating. It is frustrating. And that is for both parties.
In the world of addiction the parent/child relationship is even more challenging for both parties. Children will be children no matter what age and often have a complete inability to “cut the cord” even if the relationship is an unhealthy one. Parent often are co-dependent and have an inability to “walk away” even if it is everyone’s best interest.
Thank God for the addict that parents don’t give up. They are resilient. They take every punch that an addict can give and keep moving forward. They continue to be willing to wrap their arms around their child and console them. No matter what.
The addict however is a different story. They want to believe that they are independent. They want to believe that they have grown up and can make their own decisions. They want to believe that it was their parents who screwed them up and that if it wasn’t for their parents they would be just fine. Bulls_ _ t!! Addicts often direct their anger at their parents but it is all very displaced anger and is often inappropriate and unfounded. At the same time as soon as things go South and someone needs to be called that someone is always a parent. Parents will rescue. For better or worse, parents will rescue.
All of the above leads to a tremendous need for family therapy whenever an addict enters treatment. Never neglect or minimize the power of the parent/child relationship. Making it right will go a long way towards successful recovery.