If your son still isn't sober after completing substance use treatment, he might want to consider an alternative program. However, you can't make that choice for him. The Saint Jude Retreats program is self-directed so it is based on his individual needs and preferences, but he must be open and willing to benefit from it. Take the following steps before you reach out to him with information about our program.
If you're familiar with 12-Step programs and their philosophies, you probably worried about "relapse" before he was even out of rehab. Many people who enter rehabs and 12 Step programs return to drugs after their first attempt to stop but that doesn't make it any easier for parents to watch their kids choose drugs again. It's especially difficult when the drug use becomes even more frequent. 12 Step programs and rehabs view relapse as inevitable and a part of "recovery" to cover up the fact that their programs that little in the way of content to help people change their habits and lives. It's no wonder that they return to use shortly after returning home, as they haven't worked on a curriculum and plan for changing their habits and lives.
If your son participated in a program that didn't consider his individual needs at all, he might not have derived much of anything valuable from the experience. However, it's very unlikely that his temporary sobriety was a complete failure. His decision to seek help was time for him to know he could be successful being sober. Now he needs to build on that knowledge to stay sober and change his life goals.
If you're frustrated and angry by your son's decision to continue using drugs, imagine how he feels. He started using drugs because they served a purpose in his life, whether it was passing the time or helping him forget a traumatic experience or handle stress. If he's using them again, it means he failed to find anything else that can fulfill or relieve him in the same way. No one wants to depend on external factors to get through life, and he probably doesn't either.
Instead of being angry, making accusations, or expressing your disappointment, show him that you love him no matter what. Instead of telling him that he's throwing his future away, remind him that he's strong, smart, and capable of thriving without drugs. Instead of saying rehab "didn't work", notice any other changes that happened since he was sober and point them out to him. Discuss his lost dreams or interests and if he is willing to engage in them again and how you can help. Tell him you are concerned that he may be increasing his drug use and ask what would help him best and then, most of all, listen. If he's more pessimistic or unsure of himself, maybe the label of "addict" often given in 12 Steps and rehabs is weighing him down and limiting his perspective. He is your son and not an "addict" so help him remember he's not his behavior.
You want what's best for your child, so if you think your son should try our self-directed, Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) program this time around, you might want to encourage him to look at our approach on line and give us a call to see if he likes what he hears. Trying a new, more personalized angle may be more effective and permanent for helping him leave behind substance use and move successfully into adulthood.
Tell your son that you're proud of his individuality and independence, and you're sorry he was discouraged by his time in rehab. Then tell him about a program you found that will allow him to be himself and set his own goals. If you're willing to help him with the logistics, say so, but don't pressure him into staying with us. Once he has the facts, it's his decision. His commitment to change is the most predictive factor in his long term success.
If we can help answer any questions for you or your son, call us at Saint Jude Retreats today and we'll be happy to talk to you about our program and how we help our guest take personal responsibility, feel empowered, and leave substance use behind in favor of a purpose filled, happier life.