I’m still in
After a few days, treatment begins. Sam has to attend mandatory 12 step meetings and his given a journal so he can write down what he is feeling. He writes that he hates being there and as soon as he gets out he’s going back to partying and getting high. His writes Rap lyrics and mentions his favorite rappers, Eminem and Fifty-Cent. Sam relates to their lyrics about living on the street and glamorizing drugs. He writes “if you mess with me, you’ll be sorry you ever got started.” He is given an AA book and tears out the pages.
It takes at least a week for the medical staff to stabilize Sam and when they finally do, they look for a treatment center that has openings. It seems like all of them are completely full. Sam’s counselor finds an opening at a place called Dellwood, in
We are in unchartered waters. The STOP unit does not offer transportation and Barb, Sam’s social worker has another commitment and cannot drive him up there. Channa and I are left with the task of getting him there. We’re nervous because Sam doesn’t want to go. He’s in a foul mood. I make precautions before getting him in the car: I make sure we have enough gas to get there without stopping and also set the child door locks to prevent him from opening the back door and running away. I try to find a route where we will be on the freeway the whole way up. Just as I figured, on the way up, Sam asks us to stop so he can use the bathroom but I tell him we’re not stopping until we get up to the treatment center. Next he asks if we can stop so he can get a haircut but I tell him no. When we get to Dellwood, Sam won’t get out of the car. He’s all has shaken him up and agitated. Having learned not to try to take matters in my own hands, I tell Channa to wait in the car with Sam while I go to the admissions office and ask for help. Eventually, the program director, Dwight – an older gentleman with a round face and soft soothing voice comes out and spends some time talking to Sam. After twenty minutes or so, Sam agrees to give it a try.
In a way, I’m glad this place is far from home because if it were in town, Sam would have run for sure. We have to drive up once a week for family therapy. In group, we learn from Sam that his drug of choice is no longer pot. Knowing this helps explain the disappearance of things from the house and all the missing money. The kids are shown movies every day about the perils of using drugs. At a session with the kids and other parents, we’re asked to watch one of these movies. I notice looking at each other and laughing amongst themselves.
The only kids going to get better are the ones who admit they have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. The big challenge is how do you get a fifteen year old to admit he has a problem? When I was used, number one: I didn’t think I had a problem and number two: When I did think I had a problem I was too afraid to ask for help.
I’m not impressed with this place. The counselors seem sloppy and unpolished. Timing wise, Sam happens to be there during the holidays and the place is all decked out with Christmas trees and candy canes. I just don’t feel comfortable with this place.
After twenty-nine days they ask us to come get Sam. Although a thirty day program, Sam is released early for talking back and being disrespectful to the staff. When we pick him up, Sam wants us to stop and buy him cigarettes. He says he has his own money. I ask, “Sam, how did you get money?” He tells me one of the kids wanted to wish him well, so he gave him some cash as a going away gift. Only later did we find out that Sam had sold the clock/radio I bought him to another kid.
Fresh out of treatment, Sam quickly starts using again. His treatment requires him to attend a relapse prevention group called “Fresh Outlook.” The group meets once a week in
Kristy, the program director, calls with progress reports and says although Sam is “there”, he isn’t willing to admit that he has a problem with drugs and alcohol. He seems to glamorize drugs, rap, and the gangster lifestyle. Kristy things Sam is not living in reality and is living in the moment. She sees him as being very impulsive.
Living with Sam is like living in a war zone. We constantly tiptoe around the house never knowing when we might step on a landmine and have to suffer through another one of Sam’s temper tantrums. Without a school to go to, Sam stays up all night and sleeps all day. We’re trying to find another school for Sam – one option is a sober school but Sam refuses to go.
Barb finds a school that Sam has to attend. It’s called IDT (Intensive Day Treatment) funded by
Monday, after school, Sam comes home really upset. A kid he likes and was friends with has died. He got in the middle of a drug deal went bad. Although tough on the outside, Sam is visibly upset about the loss of his friend. They’re tough on the outside but on the inside they’re just kids.