The Every Brain Matters community understands how difficult and painful it is when you have a child or loved one with destructive behaviors such as using marijuana or any drug. We also know that each family navigates recovery and healing in different ways. Applying valuable tools from many types of effective support systems. The information given here is taken from one of these reliable systems.
We are grateful that the Cornerstone Team Counseling community addresses these tough recovery questions and is allowing us to share their insight with you. Since it is beneficial to hear different perspectives, the following answers are from clinical staff, teens in recovery, and parents.
To learn more, please visit The Every Brain Matters Support Section or click under the meeting tab to find more information on our support meetings for parents and families.
Note: The following are quotes from real people and some may use language and/or terms that may not be accepted by some readers. A glossary of terms is listed at the bottom of the page.
note: The following are quotes from real people and some may use language and/or terms that may not be accepted by some readers. In the recovery world, we learn to take what we like and leave the rest.
I sent my kid to rehab – Aren’t they “fixed” now?
Perspective from Clinical Staff:
If your child’s recovery will have a chance at lasting, then residential treatment is just the beginning of the recovery process for the family. If your child is in residential treatment, they are most likely have a substance use disorder or the disease of addiction.
That means that the parents will need to learn about addiction and the dysfunctional family concept, break down denial, understand what early recovery really means, and most likely gain a support group to be able to practice clear and tough love (establishing loving boundaries) with the abuser.
Unfortunately, your kid will never be “fixed.” Recovery doesn’t work that way. It takes about 18-36 months to change old habits, and it will require continuous work to maintain those new habits. That is why aftercare is so important after residential treatment. Your teen will need support when learning the tools to stay sober at home.
Our program provides a group of positive, sober peers that will help your teen through recovery, and a parent group that can help you through your own journey in recovery.
Addiction is a family disease, and so it will require the whole family to change their behaviors for the user to heal. This is where Cornerstone Outreach or any APG (Alternative Peer Group) can help because it provides long-term support for both you and your teen.
Perspective from Parents:
Though he was introduced to the 12 steps and had remained sober in rehab for 60 days, my boy definitely didn’t come back “fixed”.
In the big picture, 60 days is a very short amount of time. He had more work and action to take in order to stay sober and to make recovery a way of life. A recovery community and the 12 steps were paramount to helping him to do that!!
For me as the parent, I had to learn not to sabotage his chances of sobriety with my codependent thinking and actions!!! I had to get educated about the abuser/codependent relationship. I had to learn, understand and practice Parent Driven Recovery.
These are all things I learned about in the Cornerstone program. I saw these ideas in action by watching and listening to my new peer group in Meetings, Climbers, Step Study, Retreats, talking to my sponsor, etc…until I could make it MY way of life. I could NOT have done it by myself.
I believe that all these things working together are what created the best case scenario for my son’s sobriety and the healing of our family.
Perspective from Teens:
The only way that I had a real chance at sobriety and some real healing was through an aftercare program. I joined the Cornerstone Team Counseling’s Group Therapy within a couple of days after I had discharged from residential treatments and without it, I wouldn’t have stayed sober.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, there’s no getting “fixed” in this program for any real person with the disease of addiction. But you need Cornerstone or some type of support group to learn more about yourself, codependency, and addiction through the experience of other parents who have been through exactly your situation. There is tremendous power in community and really understanding that you are not alone, but that you as the parent have your own actions and behaviors that are vital for you to work on. I’ve noticed that the hardest thing for new parents when they come in is thinking that they’re not the ones with the problem.
Going to meetings isn’t a bad thing. It shouldn’t be something you shame yourself about or wonder how you ever got your family in this position. It should be something you are stoked about!! The opportunity to learn more about yourself, expand your mind, grow closer to your Higher Power, and in return be able to show up for your family healthy and honest is something that a lot of people go through life without ever doing.
And if you want your kid to have any chance at making it, you need to really see and hear what works and what doesn’t, take suggestions from other parents, and see that a lot of kids have the same patterns and attitudes that this disease feeds off of. You can play a huge part in crushing that by changing your behavior.
We hope that you find encouragement from reading this parent story:
I Lost My Daughter, Stayed, And Found Myself
“I was able to get her some help, but I was not really looking at myself. I didn’t realize that I needed help myself. I was so focused on trying to fix my family; I didn’t notice that I too needed fixing.”
I’ll begin with my marriage to my ex-wife. We met in Las Vegas, March 1993, on a trip that I was invited to by my brother and his wife. She and I began to talk while we were on a bus tour, which included visiting the home of Red Foxx.
After we arrived back in Houston, we agreed to see each other on a causal friendly basis. We went out to dinner, took in some movies, and attended musical concerts. As we became better acquainted with each other, we agreed to meet our parents and get to know each other’s family. We also met each other’s friends from childhood. Our relationship began to grow stronger and stronger. This was the summer of 1993.
After my father passed away in July, we began to talk about marriage. We had a lot in common, so to talk about marriage was easy.
So I asked her father for her hand in marriage. He had no objection. We went out to dinner at Pappadeaux’s, and that’s when I asked her to marry me. She said yes.
In October, I went out of the country on a two month business assignment to the Middle East. While I was away, she planned for the wedding. After I returned home from the Middle East, we continued to make plans for our wedding. We were married on June 11, 1994. Our first years of marriage were really wonderful.
My son was born in June of 1997. He was truly full of life and brought much joy and happiness to our lives.
In the year of 2001, we decided to adopt our daughter. It was an in family adoption. She is the daughter of my ex-wife’s youngest brother. Her brother and his wife were both doing drugs.
CPS got involved because of the horrible living conditions at their home. Their kids were eating whatever they could find. My daughter and her sister were removed from the home because their mom had picked up my daughter and thrown her out of the house and into the front yard. Because her mom was upset with her dad, she decided to try and hurt my daughter. After that incident, CPS removed my daughter and her sister from the home. They began to live with their grandmother. At her grandmother’s age, it was difficult for her to raise two toddlers.
So we adopted my daughter. She was a very sweet little girl. We had fun together as a family going on vacations and doing things at home.
Fast forward to when she was around 9 years old. My now ex-wife started to say things about our daughter’s behavior that were very concerning. She said that she was becoming defiant. When I was with her, I didn’t see much of that type of behavior. My ex continued to accuse our daughter of wanting to act out sexually. She also started to accuse our son of bad behavior.
When our daughter was twelve years old, my ex and her got into a physical altercation. My ex filed assault charges on her.
Yes, while all of this was going on, we were seeing family counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists as well as talking to our church minister and some of our family members. Nothing helped. Then my ex accused me of having an affair. I asked her who this other woman was, but she could never tell me. She accused me of having an affair with women at my job, the gym, at my church, and in Brenham.
She decided one night that she would tell our children why she wanted a divorce. That just broke their hearts. My family was never the same after that. After the divorce was final, she was given custody of the kids
One morning she was upset with our daughter about being disobedient. She called me and said that she was not going to pick her up from school. My daughter had color guard practice, so she could not ride the bus. I picked her up from school and took her over to her mom’s house. She and I talked, and I told her she needed to be polite and kind to her mom.
After I left her mom’s house, about 15 minutes later, I got a call from my daughter. They were arguing, and I could hear that it was getting very heated. So I turned around and went back. When I arrived there, I could hear them yelling and screaming from outside. The front door was locked, and I couldn’t get in. I called my son and told him to hurry home. By the time he arrived, they had broken some things in the house and my ex bit my daughter on the arm. My ex filed assault charges again on my daughter. My daughter was given probation, with community service hours, and a strict curfew.
She began to stay with me. This was September of 2013. Things started to get bad with her, and I would find boys, running out of my house or hiding in the closets. She continued to break her curfew. I had to report all of this behavior to her probation officer. She was also getting into trouble at school (fights, in school suspension, Saturday detention). She was even videoed behaving inappropriately with boys. All of this led to her being placed in Juvenile Detention. She stayed there for about a month. Then I was able to get her into the Center for Success and Independence. There they found out she was doing drugs; marijuana and Xanax.
I was able to get her some help, but I was not really looking at myself. I didn’t realize that I needed help myself. I was so focused on trying to fix my family; I didn’t notice that I too needed fixing.
After a 7 month stay in the Center, I was thinking she was healthy and life was good again. I was wrong. She was out for about 3 months before she ran. She was gone for about 4 days. Thank God for the kids at Cornerstone, because they were able to get her back. Then Mr. Joe Parker, counselor of West U/Sugar Land groups, suggested we get her to Sundown Ranch for residential treatment.
That’s when I realized that I too had hit rock bottom. Now I began to really work my program.
I worked hard, studying, going to as many meetings as I could, sharing, listening to other parents, and going to Climbers. Joe said that I had to be ready when my daughter returned home. So I was. I wasn’t perfect, but I had made major progress in my recovery. My biggest obstacle, was detaching with love.
When she returned home the summer of 2016, she entered group counseling in Cornerstone. She grew a lot there and in 9 months and SO’ed. She entered Second Stage, and we began to talk about Awakening together. That was a beautiful moment for the both of us.
December of 2016, things began to change. She called me and said that she was having suicidal thoughts. I was able to get her in the hospital for treatment. After being released from the hospital things settled down some, I thought.
Her and her boyfriend decided to take a car and run away. When I received the call that Thursday morning, that she had run away, my heart fell to the floor. But I had to rely on what I had learned in recovery and the support and love of the group.
I ended up having to take her back to the hospital because she was trying to put her head under the water in the bathtub. After being released from the hospital, I checked her in at the Center for Success and Independence where she stayed for three weeks.
Their outing lasted one day, because they wrecked the car they were in. They were riding around, drinking vodka and taking Xanax. Once again, the Cornerstone kids found them.
On February 23, 2017, my daughter took her life. That was one of the most difficult days of my life.
After her funeral, I continued to stay in recovery. That was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. Not only did I help myself, but I was also able to help others. And now, here I am, ready to Awaken.
Glossary of terms:
Addict: A term used to describe a person with an addiction or a substance use disorder that some people view as not socially accepted anymore.
Al-Anon: A twelve-step organization that provides support and hope for families affected by another person’s marijuana use.
Awakening: A term used after Completion of the 12 steps and the requirements of the Cornerstone community. Like a graduation but it’s viewed as a “spiritual awakening”
Climbers: an interactive educational group for family members to bring issues, questions or concerns, and receive direct feedback from a counselor and other family members. As well as learn tools of recovery to help you and your family. The Every Brain Matters community offers a Climbers meeting every Wednesday.
Destructive Behaviors: Self-destructive behavior is when you do something that’s sure to cause self-harm, whether it’s emotional or physical. Some self-destructive behavior is more obvious, such as: attempting suicide. binge eating. compulsive activities like gambling, using harmful drugs, gaming, or shopping.
IOP (Intensive Outpatient Therapy): treatment programs used to address addictions, depression, eating disorders, or other dependencies that do not require detoxification or round-the-clock supervision.
Mar-Anon Family Groups: A twelve-step organization that provides support and hope for families affected by another person’s marijuana use.
Parent-Driven Recovery: Tools that Work is a must-read for parents of substance-abusing teens. You’ll learn how to maneuver through the chaos to create a harmonious family life. Even if your teen is not ready or willing to change, there is help and hope.
Recovery: A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. A healing process.
Shots: A term used in the recovery community is called Couerstone Team Counseling. It’s a customized list of rules and consequences each family makes for their homes. To learn more, attend the Every Brain Matters Climbers meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm Central time. A list of our meetings is at this link.
SO: Stands for Significant Others, a term sometimes used when graduating from an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) after making amends to our “significant others”, or people we have harmed.