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Treatment for Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Please Note! BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has moved to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
My son has been smoking way too much pot (what is not too much?) and I am trying to learn more about options. It has effected his grades, honesty, motivation, etc. Anyone have a child who did there teen drug group and parent component (if there is a parent component). Did it help? Ongoing support? Thanks. needs help
I need the name of a very good therapist for my teenage daughter who has drug addiction problems. She is 16. Of course Kaiser failed to help her with their pitiful mental health resources so I'm looking for an excellent therapist for her to work with several times a week if necessary. Also any programs people would recommend would also be much appreciated. Anybody use Coyote Coast in Orinda?? She is currently at a therapeutic boarding school which is NOT a drug rehab program and I don't want her to stay there. Thank you so much in advance. I live in Walnut Creek. Desperate mom
A family member who has recently moved to the Bay Area is battling a 2- year heavy addiction to heroin. He's been clean for 2 months, and is working hard to stay clean, but needs some help dealing with the cravings and other issues. He's also been a victim of abuse. He's 23. Can anyone recommend a therapist, preferably female? At this point he'd prefer not to go into a rehab group or program, but might do so if a therapist recommended it. Anon
I'd like to hear from parents who have recent experience with their teens participating in Thunder Road's Intensive Outpatient Program (most recent archive post is 2008). Is there a strong one-on-one therapy component or is it mainly 12-step groups? My high school aged teen finally admitted that she's been drinking as well as smoking weed. She said she's ready for treatment (which she had refused when I discovered the extent of weed use); she wants to work with a therapist again. No longer Kaiser members unfortunately, so can't access its excellent teen Early Intervention services, but Thunder Road is a provider under my new insurance.
I don't know whether to pursue Thunder Road or similar outpatient program or look for an individual therapist who specializes in teen substance abuse and depression. Information on Thunder Road and/or individual therapists much appreciated.
My son, 17, completed the out patient program at Thunder Road in February of this year, but was resistant and never did click with the leader. I was disappointed that the leader did not control the group very well. It was very difficult to get in contact with anyone at Thunder Road or obtain any individual assistance. But it was covered by UBH. It's the only program in the area. Anonymous
My 17 year old son is becoming a heavy marijuana user. We have worked on this with him (private therapy, expressing disappointment, etc.) since he was 14. Before, he would NEVER bring it into the house, now he seems to smoke it all the time, the minute I leave. At this point, I am at my wits end. I am looking for a therapist who can work with our family. One to maybe help him and two, to help me move on. I really want him out of our house the minute he turns 18. He was on a path to go to college (not now, doesn't care) and then considered the military (but he has a drug bust in school and shows no sign of stopping marijuana use, so I'm guessing that's out). Anyone know a good therapist in San Ramon, Pleasanton, Danville area? I could really use some help here. shelly
Timmen Cermak, MD 239 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941-2841 Near intersection with Park Avenue (415) 381-4009 (Addiction Psychiatry) Specialist: Psychiatrist (Addiction Psychiatrist)He specializes in teens w/drug abuse. We found him to be excellent & soooooo diff from other children's shrinks. We were also dealing w/a child with a chronic illness that was affecting both body & mind-using drugs to ''mask'' his symptoms. However in Mill Valley not EBay. May have other offices or can refer. Elizabeth
Our son, who is college-age (but not in college), is struggling with addiction to drugs. Because of his age, we don't have charge of him any more, but are providing him with as much moral support as he will let in, which is not much. Mostly, we argue! We would like to find him a therapist who is strong about addiction, very clear, firm, and not enabling his addiction, but also motivating--someone who could explore and explain addiction to our son in a way that would get through to him. We are familiar with addiction and have done reading and talking, but also could use some book recommendations to read for ourselves about being parents of an addicted kid, or about setting firm but still loving boundaries about the ways in which we should or should not be involved in his life and struggles. Also, are there any support groups for parents of addicted kids? Of course there are twelve step groups, and they are great, but we are also seeking ordinary therapy or support groups as well. Our son could also use a support group as well as a great therapist. He needs strong structure that is not provided by us, as he is rebelling against us and doesn't want to listen to us, but might go to some other resources for help if we could figure out the right ones. He is angry, sad, confused, resistant, and also well over eighteen, so we can't tell him what to do, we can only try to help. We are not at the very beginning of this, so have tried some avenues that haven't worked out, such as therapists not familiar with addiction. Our son is not currently in therapy, but we think that if we could find a good person, he might be willing to try again, since he is unhappy as well as angry and defiant. We live in the Oakland area, but are open to therapists anywhere in the East Bay, including the Lamorinda area, Alameda, Berkeley, wherever. We just want to find what might help. Although he is not yet willing, we would also like to learn about recommendations for residential treatment programs so we can be ready with good ideas if he becomes more open. appreciative of help
From personal experience of delaying getting a sponsor and wanting to do it on my own, I didn't get as much out of a 12-step program. I really wasn't ready to use the help that is available. Once I got a sponsor, everything good happened. When I was truly convinced that my way wasn't working, I asked for the help I needed and wanted regardless of my possible contempts prior to investigation of 12-step. First, I learned that it is okay to ask for this kind of help because I am worth it and I don't have to do this alone. Any prejudices can be addressed if I talk about them with my sponsor.
Best wishes to your family.
Practically all legitimate recovery programs, will advise going to 12-step and getting a sponsor to work the steps. Some people refer to in-house recovery programs a $20,000 Big Book. (The main recovery book in 12-step programs.) I'm not knocking recovery places. Some people really need to be watched, have medical care, etc.
If you don't care for Alanon, Codependents Anonymous is a good program. And there are quite a few meetings at Mandana House in Oakland on 41st and Howe I think.
I am looking for an outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program, in any East Bay city, but preferably Contra Costa County. I have gotten the names of some psychologists in private practice, and I know that there are programs associated with hospitals, but I am looking for something that is not ''community'' and yet might have a small group of teens meeting once a week along with a once a week individual meeting. This is for a teen coming out of residential rehab where follow-up care is needed. Any recommendations much appreciated. He is 17. anon
Other resources: Kaiser, Thunder Road in Oakland, and Coyote Coast in Orinda which is an intensive outpatient program for kids coming out of residential placements. Good Luck! Mary
A close family member who is an alcoholic, had his third DUI last year (within a 10-year span - his first offense was 9 1/2 years ago). Unfortunately, unexpected difficulties in his personal life caused him to relapse last year and he started drinking heavily. One night, he was caught driving under the influence. As a result of the 3-strikes law, he was recently sentenced to either 10 months in jail or 7 months in a residential facility. He is fully aware of his problem and recognizes he needs help and he wants it, but hasn't been able to locate a free residential program for the 7 months that the court mandated. He lost his job last year -- thus, the drinking -- and has no financial resources. Despite numerous calls to places/resources, he has only learned of a couple of 90- day programs that are free. These will not help him since he must attend the program for 7 months. He can not afford a private program, so those are not an option. Any suggestions/feedback/advice on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Anonymous
Is there a routinely scheduled suppport group for parents of teens in residential treatment? I'm interested in joining a group in Marin or San Francisco. parent of RTC teen
My son is 17, an excellent student, accomplished musician, popular, and an all round excellent kid. However, according to him, he is using more marijuana than he should. He has agreed to join a support group for teens trying to reduce or stop their use of grass. Does anyone know of such a group or a therapist who runs such groups east or west of the tunnel? Concerned parent
I am close to a bright 19 year old young man who has recently been dual-diagnosed with the above. He has Kaiser coverage, was hospitalized for a few days with symptoms of psychosis, then discharged on three psychotropic medications for the bipolar diagnosis. He attended an outpatient group briefly, but felt that the other young people were much sicker than he (and it sounds like he's right), and stopped going. He stopped one of the meds without consulting his psychiatrist, and just changed from a Solano County Kaiser to Oakland Kaiser. He reports having finally seen a psychiatrist who (he reports) told him to ''take [his] meds and [he'll] either relapse or not''. No referral for any other kind of help. No mention of the chemical dependence issues.
Meanwhile, I've been reading a very good book for people with bipolar disorder and their families which emphasizes structure, support and information of all kinds, as well as a working relationship with health care providers. I've given him the book, and he felt encouraged upon reading around in it, so what felt like a rebuff at Kaiser was hard for him.
Personally, I feel that the mental health diagnosis has to be adequately addressed before we have a shot at dealing with the substance abuse issue. He denies active meth use at this time, but is smoking pot. And I don't know whether to believe that he's not using meth.
Does anyone have experience dealing with Kaiser around these two diagnoses? Must we have a fundraiser to see if he can get help privately? His parents, while concerned, have their hands somewhat tied due to Kaiser's confidentiality rules, and do not have the cash it would take to get private care. The young man has such a high anxiety level that he can only work 4 hours per day and sometimes not even that. Thanks for any help you'll offer. Anon.
The key to successful treatment of bipolar disorder is pharmacologic therapy (drugs). A mood stabilizer such as Lithium, Depakote (or one of the other anticonvulsants found to be effective) is vital, and psychotherapy (''talk therapy'') is generally ineffective (and in many cases actually harmful) until the patient is controlled medically with the drugs.
Resistance to the medication regimen is common among sufferers (because the drugs tend to moderate the ''highs'' of the disorder), and it often takes months before the proper medication regimen is achieved. Also, patients with bipolar disorder should be managed by a psychopharmacologist, a psychiatrist (M. D.) with special training and experience in the area.
I am involved in several Lists for the ''significant others'' (including parents) of persons with bipolar disorder and can be e-mailed directly (see address below) for more information. Also, I would suggest surfing: www.bpso.org for additional information and links. Robert
The symptoms of bipolar, or depression/anxiety can mimic the side effects of meth/pot/alcohol. So, I think the substance abuse issue should be dealt with WHILE dealing with the possible bipolar. While it is certainly not impossible, I find it hard to believe that a psychiatrist would overlook or dismiss the substance abuse issue. And marijuana is mentioned in your letter as a side issue, but it is not benign. I suggest that this family meet again with either the psychiatrist OR another psychiatrist at Kaiser. I have been there 3 years, but have had Kaiser coverage for many more and find it a very good health care service. Going outside of Kaiser is going to be expensive and you will not find the continuum of care that a place like Kaiser has to offer. Did the parents meet with the doctor as well? How much family involvement was advised?
So many unanswered questions for a very tough situation. Hopefully, this can be worked out through the teen's current Kaiser coverage. I have a very good friend who works only with children and adolescents. He charges over 1,000.00 for the initial work up. Granted, he takes several hours to days, and gathers much information from all sources, but it's quite expensive. Child and adolescent psychiatry is a sub specialty and it's tough to find a really good psychiatrist with openings....they are in great demand. Kaiser has many. Diane
I need advice on alcohol abuse and boys. I have a 16 year old who drinks to get drunk, but denies he has a problem. I am looking for programs, ideas or suggestions on what to do. Thanks
There's also a very good book called ''Teens Under the Influence'' (sorry, can't find the book or the author at this moment)...but I got it from Barnes and Noble.com or Amazon.com) which has an excellent summary of everything about teens and drugs...what to look for, what to do, etc. Good luck. anonymous
I found out a month ago that my 22 year old son was in Colombia freebasing cocaine-- which I have been told is very addicting. He was there for about six weeks. Before that, I know he used cocaine occasionally, that he smoked marijuana from age fourteen and smokes cigarettes.
Last week he partially acknowledged he had a problem with the cocaine, and I was able to persuade him to leave Colombia. He's due to arrive here soon and I need as much information and support as I can get--to make an assessment of his needs and find out what kind of treatment he might need.
He also does not have health insurance, but we would go into debt to pay for treatment if necessary.
For the next step, I would greatly welcome recommendations for organizations, treatment facilitie, programs, therapists, groups, websites, etc. that might be helpful. Thank you so much. terrified mom
The professionals I have absolutely 500% confidence in who practice in SF are: David Smith, MD, at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic (he sees a small number of private patients thru his home office) Peter Banys, MD ( on California St near Laurel Heights) Kathleen Unger, MD ( on Van Ness St)
A sidelight is that the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic has a solid program in the Haight in SF which is free. That might be an option if you are willing to pay for the BART and MUNI.
In the East Bay, I know Dr Robert (Bob) Matano PhD. who's office is in Rockridge. Though I'm not as personally familiar with his work, I think he'd probably do a good job. He headed up the Stanford Substance Abuse program for many years.
In the long term, since addiction is a chronic, relapsing illness (like diabetes), consider getting your son a Kaiser Permanente policy that covers substance abuse as they have a really extensive and good substance abuse clinic (Martinez and SF).
I recommend that you consider going with the best for your initial set of recomendations as it might become a road map of sorts for many years to come.
If, along the way, you find that you and your other family members are arguing or disagreeing on what to do for your son or dealing with a lot of guilt (neither of these is unusual) there is a fabulous Social Worker in SF who will see your family (with or without your son there) once or a few times to work with your issues and help you find common ground. His name is something like Maurice Kamens (Kamen, Kamin, Kamins) and his office is on Divsadero (I think). He's a great resource
Best of luck to all of you at this difficult time. JM
Finally, out of desperation I took my child to ''Hogar CREA'' in the Dominican Republic. Of course I'll never know for sure, but I could easily believe that they saved my child's life.
This was about 8 years ago. I will tell you some good things about it. When I called, they said ''We'll help.'' I said but what about Visas, etc. they said, ''just come, we'll work it out''. We did and they did.
When we got there, we got in a Taxi. The driver asked where we were going. We said ''Hogar CREA''. ''That's a great place! My cousin went there. He's fine now.'' He then turned to my child and said ''You are so brave to come. Good for you. You are a good person. Don't worry. You'll be fine.'' And to me, he said ''What a good mother you are. You must love your child very much indeed to come all this way. Don't worry. We'll take care of her''.
And so it was. Everyone, absolutely everyone there had that attitude. On the street and in the Homes. There was no shame. No one looked at me and judged. There were no ''you are a bad parent'' looks. There were no ''you are a bad child'' looks for her. Everyone welcomed her with open arms. This was such a contrast with the treatment I got here. With the looks from co- workers, my friends, and parents of my child's friends.
I don't know if I've ever done anything harder than that in my life. Taking my child there, a place I'd never been before and leaving. But when I got home, I wept. Just wept. Because I knew he'd be alive the next day and the day after that.
Other good things. I could afford it. They charged what I could pay, and let me tell you, I gave them every cent I could.
Bad things: Well, it is far away (I travelled there about 5 times in the almost 2 years she was there. It is not too expensive and I stayed at a rooming house when I visited).
The phone bill.
The 2 year length of the program. (This is really the only way to treat addicts effectively).
But with all the visits, the phone bills, and the money I sent monthly to them and to her, it didn't come close to the 20K + other places here wanted for very short treatment programs with really high recidivism rates.
If your child doesn't speak Spanish - he will by the time he leave. But people there speak English. There were a few kids from New York and Florida.
They now have a web site: http://www.hogarcrea.org/ The contact information listed there is: Padre Billini # 505, Ciudad Nueva Tel. : (809) 689-4329 Email: email@example.com
Good luck. I've been where you are, my heart goes out to you. There is a light, it's just around the bend. Good mommy
The first thing that you need to know is that drug addiction is a disease. Major changes in your brain chemistry occur when you take drugs - especially ones like cocain and speed - that take a long time to go away. There have been studies in mice and rats showing that these changes can occur with the equivalent of one recriational dose of cocaine and can last over 2 months(I used to work for a biology lab that studied addiction as well). Also scientists believe that you cannot classify the addict's urge to do drugs as simply ''pleasure seaking'' or ''pain avoidance'' (as in withdrawal). It is much more complicated, so ''just say no'' doesn't work.
Your son may stop using when he gets back home to another environment where it may not be as plentifull - but coke is pretty easy to get in the US. If he doesn't stop, then he won't be able to, no matter how many rehabs he goes to, until he WANTS to stop. Usually people don't stop until it is to painful not to stop, me included. The best way, in my opinion, to get sober is also the cheapest: AA and NA. I also would suggest one-on-one coulseling, especially if you can find someplace that specializes in drug abuse and has a sliding scale fee.
Now this is the part that you probably don't want to hear- nobody does- The ONLY thing that you can do to help your son is to help yourself by either going to alanon, nar-anon, or counseling/therapy with someone who specializes in co-dependance. I would highly recomend going to alanon and/or nar-anon meetings and reading some of their literature. I like the ''Big Book'' and the ''12 Steps and 12 Traditions'' of AA, but some of the stories are very old fashioned since it was written in 1935. Narcotics Anonymouse has more modern and drug focused stories. The meetings and liturature will help you understand your son's problem and inform you on what you can expect from watching your son go through this very difficult and painful process and help you make healthy choices as to how you will react. It is almost more difficult to be the co-dependant because you have so liitle control on the outcome, you can only watch and hope and try not to hurt yourself or your son by feeding into the addiction yourself.
Please don't spend a lot of money sending him to rehab when he doesn't want to go- you might as well take $20k and burn it in the back yard for the good it will do. My ex would generaly start using again within the moth after leaving a rehab and it was just a waste. I have been in many group therapy sessions with other family members at various rehabs where the parents bemoan the enormose amounts of money spent on rehabs(They are incredibly expensive!) with no effect, and I think it is a common trap parents fall into.
You have to make your son take responsibility for his drug use and the problems that arise because of it(don't bail him out of anything!). ''Helping'' just makes it less painful for him and will make it take longer for him to be ready to quit. And when he is ready he will need to take responsibility for getting sober as well- that is the only way that you can know that he really wants it(the addict will tell you they want to get clean because they know thats what you want to hear and that it may make you help them).
Anyway alanon/nar-anon groups are safe places to get emotional support for going through this. It will help you stay strong when you need it. Try going to a meeting 2-3 times before deciding you don't like it and try going to a variety of meetings first to find one you feel comfortable in. Start going to meetings now, before your son comes home, to prepare yourself.
It is a very very difficult thing to go through, similar to having a loved one dying of cancer, but worse, because you can't help with out making there condition worse. Good luck and stay strong! anon
Our son has become involved with drugs and alcohol. All of his friends are also ''loadies''. I have spoken with two of their parents and they seem unable to intervene. We see a therapist weekly and are planning an assessment with a drug/alcohol program this week. Our concern is whether or not a program will succeed as long as we live in this area and all of his friends are here. He doesn't think he has a problem and none of his friends seem to think there is anything wrong with getting drunk or high -most of his friends are 15 like our son. Any success stories out there? Any experience with Thunder Road or New Bridges? worried mom
my son also drifted into drinking and drugs when he was 15. this was mostly with his school crowd at ECHS -- it did not seem to involve his ''old'' friends, at least at the beginning.
my son was always quiet in class, but very gifted, sweet and caring, had good friends and many interests. he was the last kid anyone would have picked as ''most likely to be in deep trouble.''
spring semester of his sophomore year, things began falling apart. he suddenly began getting terrible grades. we did not realize until after the semester was over that he had skipped dozens of classes -- 2 of his 3 teachers did not return our calls, and the school failed to tell us of his truancy. meanwhile, he was tearing up the house and being very abusive at home. in retrospect, i don't know how we put up with it, but at the time, we were trying to get by each day, scared and confused and alone.
we tried a family therapist first, focusing on his use and the problems it caused [especially between him and his dad]. we also switched him to a small private school in berkeley [where they at least called if he was in trouble]. those interventions weren't enough -- after 2 ER visits, 2 overnight runaways, and getting busted for paraphrenalia at his new school, he went to thunder road.
my son did great at the thunder road inpatient program, aside from being angry at being sent there. i think a lot of the wonderful staff, and appreciated the parental involvement their program offers. insurance only covered 30 days, and that wasn't enough.
he went to the outpatient follow-up program for 2 months, and we parents also participated twice weekly -- and then he was flunked out of the program, because he tested positive several times and was wasted at home several other times -- and we kept finding drugs, research about drugs, home-made alcohol, etc in his room. we later learned that to retaliate for sending him to rehab, our son decided to try everything he could get his hands on after he got out of inpatient. there was a third ER visit while he was in the outpatient program. it was a nightmare.
we finally went to an educational consultant, and he went to a therapeutic wilderness program out of state for 2 months [second nature, in utah]. he got clean, and our family started repairing itself -- even he agrees that program was excellent. since april, he has been at a 12 step boarding school, and he is a changed person -- we have a decent relationship, he is funny and smart again, he is alive and has a future.
in the early stages, we just kept thinking each dramatic awful thing was isolated -- we did not see how deep he was in trouble, and naturally, we were not hearing much truth from him. it is incredibly easy for kids to get alcohol, weed, mushrooms, cough tablets, ritalin, adderal, vicodan, methamphetamine, etc. -- my son even tested positive for PCP once. [especially places like telegraph ave., but other places locally, too. teen clubs like the gilman are NOT clean places.]
it broke our hearts to send our son away, but we had tried local options and they did not work. i don't know how we could have managed without the educational consultant, because there are a lot of places out there, and they aren't all good. since my son left, his doper ''crowd'' has broken up -- some arrested, some sent to boarding schools, some decided it wasn't fun anymore.
Thunder Road did give our son a foundation for work he did later. it gave my husband and me a LOT of support and education, which gave us strength for the next phase. but i suspect the kids who do best there are the ones ordered there by a court, for 9-12 months, because it takes a LONG time to really break the cycle.
it is too bad the other parents you have contacted are not willing to join forces, because we did learn that parents communicating makes a big difference. [that is a big part of why the ''old crowd'' broke up...] a lot of kids can experiment and not get in much trouble, but a lot of kids can't -- my kid could easily have killed himself or ended up in jail.
my take on the morality of interfering with experimentation is different than it was a few years ago. it's our JOB to snitch them off, restrict them, and keep them safe. and if we need help doing that, we need help -- it's important to find the right help. good luck to you, and all the other parents in a similar struggle. another mom
While I know she had not started experimenting I knew that it was only a matter of time before she turned from observer to doer.
I told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to drop these friends (while I also explained why they were not the people I wanted her to associate with) and, that this was non-negotiable.
She could still say hi to them and, be friendly but, that hanging out was not going to happen, or I would pull her out of that school (and I was SERIOUS). I let her take her time to extracate herself from the friends, but monitored and, talked to her a lot about the process (keeping communication open is key).
Now, today she is in BHS and, has reaquainted herself with the older friends she looked over during her ''cool friend phase'', and has picked up some new friends at BHS. She still sees her old friends and is friendly to them (one of them also changed for the better and, is in the new crowd).
While I am not sure about the programs, or how they will work. I definitely think you need to remove your son's friends from his sphere of influence if, your son is going to do an about face and, stop dabbling in drugs.
Especially, since their parents are seemingly passive and, feel they can't help their own kids.
He needs to be made aware that getting into that drug culture now, will limit his choices in the future. And, that you are concerned about the road he has chosen.
I think that having many heart to hearts where you can bring to break down his wall (if he has one) and, get to the real issues will help (it did for me). But, I am a firm believer that you need to have real boundaries, and if your child crosses them then there will be consequences.
So, if he gets caught hanging out, he will suffer the consequence of whatever you have decided upon. Don't accept phone calls, take away his cell phone (if he has one) don't let his friends come over, or have him go to their house. Call the destination of where he says he's going so, you can make sure he is where he says he is. Let the other parents know you are doing this (maybe, it will inspire them).
Basically, monitor him, and let him know you are doing it. And, let him know he is responsible for his actions and, if he chooses to do certain things he is responsible...So, if he does A,B and C, then D, E and F will occur...Be serious and, negotiate on some smaller issues but, for the big issues you need to stick to it, and do not back down.
So, get him away from the friends, and impose some strict limits that if he crosses he will be responsible for the consequences that follow. Good Luck!! Authoritative Mom with clear boundaries
I would query, however, how are the other parents ''unable'' to handle the problem? They have 15 year old children, for *% sake, and theoretically! These are NOT adults we are talking about and drug use is ILLEGAL. Okay, so you don't want to incarcerate your child, but even hemming and hawing about whether you can deal with it because the kid isn't admitting a problem is truly copping out on your (or anyone's) job as a parents. Do what you have to do to help your kids -- call the Hannah Boys Center, for starters (in Napa) and find out if they can help. Send your kid away, if you have to, and even if that means getting police involved. You have a moral and ethical responsibility to your child. Heather
Can someone recommend a counselor or therapy method, besides AA as it tend to get rather religious, for alcohol counseling. While I realize that there are mixed views about learning to drink in moderation someone close to me is looking for such a method. thanks. anonymous
Individual therapy can do wonders for treating alcoholism, but the individual has to stop drinking as well. The woman who founded the ''drinking with moderation'' groups for alcoholics died in a car accident while she was drunk. It just doesn't work.
Alcoholism is a physical illness with a very strong psychological component, and the only thing that works is abstinence and some good support either from a 12 step program, like AA, and/or a good individual therapist.
All alcoholics look for a program that will tell them that they don't have to stop drinking completely when they first decide that it is making their lives unmanageable, and they need to do something about it. If they didn't they probably aren't alcoholic.
I donít think that AA is essential but I think that it can be extremely helpful. I have 14 years of sobriety, and no longer go to AA meetings, but it was an important part of my early recovery. It mainly gives the individual a way of meting other people with the same problems , to create a support group, and form new friendships that are not based on drinking for social stimulation.
I know the ''higher power'' stuff in AA sounds very religious and off-putting to many. And some people in meetings talk about their higher power in explicit Christian terms (i.e. Jesus, etc), while everyone else in the room rolls their eyes and grits their teeth, but if you read the ''Big Book'' and the steps carefully you will see that it is written in a very deconstructed manner- the concept is ''spiritual'' not one particular religious discipline at all. It is just meant to help those in early sobriety get out of their own self defeating behaviors and trust that they will be OK without alcohol.
Good Luck anonymous alcoholic
I just found out my 23 year old son abuses cocaine. Listings for substance abuse counselors are a bit old. Anyone have any more recent recommendations? Or any advice on how to proceed in general? He wants to stop. I don't think he needs an inpatient treatment experience. We live in Walnut Creek but Berkeley isn't too far to go for treatment. Thanks in advance. A broken heart
I would like information on the following: support groups for parents of teens who are smoking too much dope; suggestions on programs, interventions, groups for teens with this problem. Thanks very much.
I feel a tremendous relief already to have begun this program. I hadn't realized how much we were NOT talking about the boys' behavior. It seemed so obvious that they were using - lots of covert comings and goings, routine departures each evening for 40 minutes to visit "a friend" who lived "around the corner", little tiny ziploc baggies with herbal remains in them falling out in the wash, etc. We tried to talk about it several times but met a stone wall. Kaiser's program gives a lot of support to the kids and the family, provides structure, and gets people talking. I recommend it.
If you do not have Kaiser, you might consider calling AA or Marijuana Anonymous or Al-Anon. I didn't think our sons were at the stage where this was appropriate, but Kaiser requires that the family (the kids and the parents) attend these programs and I find that they are really helpful. Also, it turns out that they ARE appropriate for us - we really didn't have a clear idea of the extent of our sons' use of weed and alcohol until we began the program. Now, we find that they were using weed every day or two, and alcohol pretty frequently also. They need as much support and structure as possible while they are trying to wean themselves of these things! Good luck! D
Over the past year and a half, our 15 yr. old son has been caught a couple of times using marijuana, and a couple of times using alcohol. He's seen a therapist, promised several times to stop (though his heart really wasn't in it), and has maintained that he's only used occasionally on weekends. Any substance use is unacceptable to us, though there really hasn't been any way to control his movements at all times. the most recent event was getting drunker than I've ever seen anyone be--he didn't know where he was when we brought him home--really scary. He says that he learned a lot from that about his limits (not to stop drinking, though). We've agonized re urine testing (of limited value it seems to me), changing therapists (he's really not willing at this point to see anyone--says the previous one wasn't helpful, and I tend to agree). He's getting by in school, not very engaged, but is on a sports team and never cuts classes. Several people have reccommended an evaluation at Thunder Road, and so my question is what people think about that as a next step, and what kinds of experiences people have had.
To contact the young people's recovery groups call N.A.'s hotline, which is in just about every phone book in the world, and ask them about the Young People's meetings/groups. Anonymous
Help! My 17 year senior son at Albany High School has a substance abuse problem. His grades have fallen since school began and he cuts class quite a bit. He is in danger of getting pretty poor grades for his first semester and maybe even of dropping out. He has told us that he smokes pot almost every day and has been smoking (on and off_ since he was 12 1/2.
We have been aware of the problem for sometime and have been to family therapy with some individual sessions for him. It has not been helpful as the therapist seemed not to respect our zero tolerance attitude. Our pediatrician feels our son has self-esteem issues and that is why he selects marginal kids for his friends and smokes pot. Well, duh... I think the doctor thinks we should send him away to some kind of school, but we don't want to do that unless we absolutely have to. We still have hope that he can salvage his life without being uprooted from his environment, missing his senior year of high school and jeopardizing his chance to get into a UC Campus, which his previous grades would allow.
There are recommendations on the website for therapists in general, but none mention substance abuse issues. Can anyone recommend an outpatient program/therapist who could help us/him? Thanks for your help.
Some resources for families with teens who have substance abuse problems:
1. There is Al-Anon which is a fabulous support group for families with members who have drinking or substance abuse problems. Actually this is a must. Call 528-4379 to find out where and when the meetings are in Berkeley. In San Ramon and Walnut Creek there are Al-Anon meetings specifically for parents with teens who have drug/drinking problems. Call 925-932-6770 for dates, time, and location.
2. New Bridge Foundation 548-7270. This is a drug rehab in Berkeley for 18 and over. They have a teen program around San Ramon but are starting one here in the East Bay.
3. Thunder Road in Oakland 653-5040.
4. Therapists who specialize in substance abuse:
Butler Nelson 547-6282
karen kaufman 524-8755
Regarding the social worker for the substance abuse problem: Try Marin General or Merritt Peralta substance abuse "Intervention" Program. Both hospitals have excellent programs. Merritt-Peralta staff developed this model and I know they also refer to Marin General. I've referred to both in my capacity as a clinical social worker. Good luck
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