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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.
If your daughter is ready that is the key. Therapists don't help
-- in fact I believe they enable and get you off on the wrong
My son, 17, completed the out patient program 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.
I didn't respond earlier because I didn't have any direct
experience with the Thunder Road outpatient program. But my
son went through one month of their inpatient program (AND also
private therapy). I suggest you ask your questions directly to
the TR staff. They are good at answering such questions. Yes,
TR does use the AA/NA 12-step program but that's just part of
it. And everything they do is because they know it works.
Most of the staff are recovering addicts themselves (the AA
philosophy is that you can't ''cure'' addiction). In fact,
many parents of addicts have themselves had some kind of
addiction at one time or another, so for the inpatient program
the PARENTS have to go to a weekly AA meeting at TR if they
want to spend the full allowed visiting time with their kid.
But that's not all the kids do that they wouldn't do with a
therapist: they also learn how to develop healthy interests by
doing fun things, and learn how to avoid the circumstances that
led to their addiction. My conclusion: TR will probably give
your kid more tools for recovery than a private therapist would
Mother of a teen with 2.5 years ''clean''
Does anyone have any experience with the effectiveness of
the outpatient drug treatment program at Thunder Road in
Oakland? What does the outpatient program cost? Or
thoughts on any other East-bay drug-treatment programs for
teenagers. We're trying to figure out how to help our 16-
year old son.
My son went through the out-patient program at ThunderRoad
when he was 15-16. He was drinking and experimenting with
many drugs at the time, though he still hasn't disclosed all
he was doing. My husband and I benefited from the support
of the staff and from the other parents and teens. It
helped us keep him safe for another year. He is now 19 and
I'm not sure if he feels it was beneficial. I know that he
liked and respected the counselors very much and enjoyed the
support of some of the other teens. He also started
attending Narcotic's Anonymous meetings at The Gilman and
that was helpful as well. Truthfully, he is drinking
occasionally now at parties and with his friends and no
longer attends meetings. We still worry about him at times
but feel better knowing that he gained some insight and some
skills with regard to addiction from his experiences at
ThunderRoad and NA. As far as the cost goes, it was covered
by my insurance so I can't say.
Best wishes for your family,
Re: Teen support group for marijuana abuse?
My son has had a good experience going to the Narcotics Anonymous
meeting Wednesday nights (9:00pm) at the Gilman. ... We also benefitted from the out-patient and in-patient services of, but if your son is interested in quitting on his
own NA may be
enough support for him. Best of Luck
another teen mom
Re: Son, 16, drinks to get drunk - need suggestions
Our family is currently in the intensive outpatient program (IOP) at
Thunder Road in Oakland (510-653-5040) after discovering our
teenager was heavily using marijuana. They offer free
assessments there...which may be an intervention to choose if you
want an outside look at your son's situation from folks who are
experienced (and to give him a strong message).
We are considering the outpatient program at Thunder Road for
our 16 year old who has been using/selling marijuana and needs
some help. He doesn't need a residential program at present, but
does need to receive a strong message, support and some
education, as well as family work we can do.
Anyone have experiences with the Thunder Road outpatient
program OR any suggestions of other outpatient resources in the
I can highly recommend the Thunder Road program. Our son
went through the out-patient program at our insistence. He did
well for the first month, then started using again and we ended up
putting him into the in-pt program for 3 weeks. This helped remove
him from his using friends and showed him we were serious about
his recovery. We are still participating in the aftercare program.
We've benefitted from hearing about the experiences other
families are having and what has or hasn't worked for them. The
coordinators for the outpatient program are great at getting to the
heart of issues in a non-judgemental way. They've provided us
with much needed support with limit setting and the group has also
provided my son with some non-using friends (a difficult task in
Berkeley). We waited perhaps longer than we should have to
intervene because drug and alcohol use is so prevalent in
Berkeley that we figured in moderation it was unavoidable. Our
son, however, sped right through moderation and really needed
this intervention. It isn't a perfect program and requires a lot of time
and effort from the familes and the users but it gave us invaluable
support and education around drugs and drinking and we hope
that whatever the future holds for us we'll have some skills for
meeting it. I have also heard great things about al-anon (though I
haven't yet gone) Check out their website to find a meeting in I
think Danville that caters to parents of alcohol/drug abusers.
Best of luck
Re: can intervention succeed? 15-year-old doesn't think he has a problem
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
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.
When my daughter was 14 we found her stash and it had ecstasy, adderal &
pot so we called Thunder Road and went in immediately, with her, for an
evaluation by a counselor. They separate the parents from young person
and do an intake questionnaire orally with both parties. It's very
serious and, I imagine somewhat intimidating for the young person. They
recommended family therapy 4 or 5 evenings a week in a group therapy
setting on their premises with frequent pee tests. It was really
hardball and sent the message to her: you want to do drugs? OK, here's
what happens in our family when you do drugs: we care and we're
committed to your not doing them and cannot accomplish that on our own
so will get help. She had been seeing a therapist who found it kind of
overkill. We continued to send her to this therapist (very skilled and
trusted by all involved) and were able to sort of avoid the TR and keep
her in line. I think the evaluation scared her into compliance and so I
found it to be a good tool at that level. She's been an excellent
student since and created lots of opportunities for herself for
college. I'm sure she experiments like they all do but she's a good,
solid person whom I trust now.
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