Our son Ted says treatment is a place where one acquires education and enlightenment as to one’s addiction and is given tools, and new habits to embrace a new and different way of living apart from substances. Whether it’s a 180 degree change of thinking, a pursuit of one’s goals and heart desires, or a routine of getting and absorbing help from others in counseling and a 12-step program, treatment covers it.
As with anything requiring practice, a longer time in treatment might be better, but 30 days residential seems to be the norm according to insurance coverage. Out-patient treatment may be required first by insurance, or may follow residential. Ted did 90 days in residential treatment, 30 days in a half-way house, a summer home working full time and going to meetings under a sponsor’s guidance, and then to a collegiate recovery program at Augsburg College to finish his college education.
In my experience personally and with others I’ve helped I would suggest asking questions of the treatment facility.
For me, and as I’ve walked alongside parents whose children are in treatment, I’ve found some things to be common:
We found out about Compass while Ted was already weeks into treatment. I called owner Dr. Judi Bessette anyway and was amazed that this resource exists. Judi helps parents wade through the myriads of treatment options for their troubled teen. It’s an excellent service for parents who have no idea what help is available, how to narrow down the options and navigate insurance — which is most of us. The process can be overwhelming to be sure.
Judi has extensive experience as a professional in the treatment arena and personal experience as well. Her company was born of her own frustrations in finding help for her son. There’s a fee of course, but Compass can save you quite a lot of money by finding a treatment program that is the right fit for your child. Judi also saves time, anxiety and confusion while you’re in a place of emotional vulnerability. She is well-loved by those who know her — including me. Not just addiction problems, Compass Consulting works with teens in depression and emotional challenges.
Treatment facility choices can be overwhelming apart from the quality Midwestern big ones, Hazelden/Betty Ford Foundation, Rosecrance, Rogers Memorial and Nova. It’s often a good idea for our loved one to get out of Dodge. Acadia Healthcare has a premier site in Tucson and other sites around the country. For personal service, pick up the phone and talk to our friend Ben Bertsch, a Treatment Placement Specialist at Acadia (763-516-1016). His drumbeat is getting people the specialized help they need at whatever treatment facility is the best fit.
Tentative or freaked out and need a filter? I would encourage you to call Judi Bessette at Compass Consulting (above) to see the broad spectrum of services available here and across the country. She has seen over 250 of them and she knows them well. She can cater her suggestions to your insurance, budget, the child’s needs of course.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a helpful “Find Treatment” locator page by address, city or zip code.
Teen Challenge is a low-cost affordable Christian treatment program (my understanding is that you don’t have to be a Christian, but just know the foundation of their treatment is Christian-based.) Their centers are located all over the country. Important note: Teen Challenge is not just for teens. They accept adults as well.
The Salvation Army also provides substance abuse help. Explore their website for particulars.
Many treatment centers have scholarships available or financial provisions. It never, ever hurts to ask.
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a treatment program, however people can and do get clean and sober here. Whether the primary or supplemental sobriety destination, plain and simple, it’s a place to go for someone who wants to stop drinking. There are meetings everywhere, day and night and it’s free. The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. www.aa.org
For those who prefer to zero in on the difference between alcohol and drug addiction, Narcotics Anonymous is based on the same 12-step principles and traditions. It is not treatment, but it is free and a place of hope and help. www.na.org
There’s pretty much an Everything Addictive Anonymous program. A Google search will point you in the right direction.