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Counselor's advice - 2 meetings a week is enough?

Two meetings a week enough?
My Step daughter just got out of rehab and is a month clean. She's doing really great and is very open now about everything. We are really proud of her but it's more like "cautious optimism." Trust is broken and it will take a long time to rebuild. And while we may trust her, we do not trust meth!

She started her session with her new drug and alcohol counselor yesterday. Now, mind you, this new counselor did not see her before she went to rehab. She was 94 lbs, strung out, and a total mess. She's now gained 15 lbs and looks really great, has a positive attitude etc. My problem with this new counselor is she supposedly told my step daughter that she didn't understand why she went to inpatient rehab, questioned the decisions made (by the department head and my husband) for the place she went, and said she looks just FINE. It seemed to me that this counselor had a problem with minimizing or something. She also told my step daughter she only has to go to two NA meetings a week....

WHAT kind of a drug counselor tells an 18 yr old who has been using meth heavily for two years straight, and only has 30 days clean under her belt, that she is doing so great she can cut down on going to meetings to two times a week? I am wondering if she really said that or not, because neither my husband nor I think it's good advice and I am tempted to call the department head and ask why they would advise such a thing. What do you think?
Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Honestly, this is why people do not seek treatment. Some counselors are absolutely ignorant to what addiction is about.

I had a similar experience when I went for a treatment interview. This was Illinois in the year 2000. Meth had just hit hard here. This woman didn't know what meth was. She was almost unbelieving when I told her they make the stuff in my house. Needless to say, I left that place and didn't look back.

To me, a counselor has to have some idea what the patient is going through in order to truly help. I suggest your daughter seek out another counselor. Sounds like this one needs to go back to school.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
First it's easy staying clean in a rehap or program it's what you do when you get out that counts. I can't tell you how many people I know that just used the detox's and rehabs as a place for a spin-dry. Get some strength back, go out and do the same thing over. IMHO she has earned 0 trust. And with that being said do you know for certain that the counselor said this or is that what your Daughter is telling you the counselor said. Never forget we addicts lie. Maybe just maybe she is the one that doesn't want to go every night and she is trying to manipulate you.

HMMMM To call or not to call?
That's a tough call. If it's true will that's fine but if not what are you going to do?

Will you confront her? This could get ugly if she has no intent on staying clean. I see my kid (b4 I had him put in a program for 16 months) totally flipping out and telling me I'm trying to control his life. I had no right to call his shrink, I invaded his privacy, I treat him like a 5 year old You get the picture.

I would sit down and with your hubby and come up with some ground rules for your home. You need good strong boundaries so you don't end up back where you were just 1 short month ago. My husband and I worked out our family values which are Respect, honesty, Support, Love and Fun. We sat and defined which each of these meant, the kids where involved in this, and it is posted on the fridge. WE all worked on it and agreed on it.

We have an 18 year old who took his exit plan from our home two weeks before his 18th birthday. He knew the values and the rules of our home and the consequences, he had a written contract with us as it's been a long hard road with this one. I didn't throw him out he had lots of choices and he choose to live on the streets. A little more than six months later he came back and is living within our values and rules. He has a much greater appreciation for us. I have no control over what he will or will not do however I have control over what I will allow and not allow in my home.

Hope all goes well.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Well, this is a tough thing do deal with, I'm sure. I hear it happening a lot. It happens even more with adults and there is even less that can be done.

I am a firm believer in moving when the spirit moves you. Letter writing is cool in my book and there is no law that says you can not give your thoughts on your daughter (ok-step-same thing here).

There are minimizing counselors...

No one can fully understand what you have seen and experience with your s-daughter's meth addiction and this is where you probably would be good to use the program for loved ones-Naranon or Alanon to gain some peace.
It's a long road ahead...
It will always be two steps forward and ??steps back and you won't ever have the power you want to help her so pick and choose your battles and keep on filling yourself up with love and strength.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
I understand what you are saying and I don't think it's worth talking to the HMO about the counselor. Also it did occur to me that she isn't being honest and is trying to get out of doing her 90 in 90. I mentioned to her that it sounded like a contradiction to what she had learned in Rehab, and she agreed with me. She also said she would go to as many meetings as she can, considering she doesn't drive so that makes it more complicated. Busses work, however there is one main bus she says she can't ride because it goes by her old dealer's house and when she tried to ride that bus she started shaking as it drove past there. I understand. She just needs to get that driver's license but no dang wonder she couldn't learn anything enough to pass it while on meth!

She has a couple of huge motivations to stay clean. One being her child. Yes it is what goes on in our house that we do have control over (now, finally!) and her dad and I have both stressed the 90 in 90, as part of her staying here. When we do that, though, her response is always, "I am going to meetings for ME, not for you." I told her yes, she is going for her, but she is also going to them to show her dad and I that she is serious about her recovery and because she made a commitment about the meetings. I know she is right, she has to be going for her, not because we insist on it or because we make her. BUT, I do not see much of making amends, which is part of the reason for going. She lied to us for two years straight, brought drugs into my house, and brought stress & tension in our lives that nearly cost us our marriage. Her Dad told her 90 meetings was the least she could do after all that.

One of her biggest problems that I see is the inability to organize her time now. She's always been somewhat flighty but this is ridiculous. Her short term memory is all but shot. I hope it will heal and come back someday....

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Well, Time Takes Time and there is a catch 22 with her being young in her program. She will be guided by her sponsor if she has one (I hope) to take it One Day at a Time and not skip the steps and she is definitely only working on the first still. She won't be working on making amends for quite a while yet-not the sincere work that can only be done once one really looks inward.

For you, patience is a Must just to keep you sane. Yes you have to have rules and boundaries, but also you have to have a mature and loving plan if she breaks those rules-and some way to have peace about dishing out the consequences.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Here is what I think about MOST counselors...
Idiots that think they can read from a text book and have all the answers.
I do believe they could have said that....
My doctor sent me to see a counselor or he would completely cut off my meds... I agreed.
( worried about suicide and relapse )
I have cartilage worn out of my hip. I also have a sciatic nerve problem that when my hip moves around, it hits the nerve.  walking is painful. I also have other issues I won't go into.... anyway This idiot counselor ( who knows if i don't see her, i loose my meds )  Wants me to seriously take yoga classes to help with my pain...
I cant walk never mind sit Indian style singing chants.
And... I'm a roofer, can you imagine me on a roof singing chants sitting Indian style? My friends would beat me up
I'd keep going to meetings.....

Sfj Re: Two meetings a week enough?
To Imgetinrite (and others)

I know we shouldn’t take things personally so I’ll try my best to keep this as generic as possible in my discussion of how others feel about counselors.
1. I realize you qualified your post with a disclaimer using “MOST.” Which means, “Not all.”
2. I am a counselor, and so obviously, I have many friends who are counselors.
3. This statement, “Idiots that think they can read from a text book and have all the answers.” Is not true.
Would you prefer a counselor who is unable to read from a book?
Counselors are not idiots and I’ve never met one who thought he/she had “all the answers.”
4. “Wants me to seriously take yoga classes to help with my pain.”
Does that recommendation shock you? Why?
Have you ever done Yoga? How much do you understand the about the principles of Yoga? How many hours have you spent doing Yoga? Seriously?
5. “I’m a roofer”
Ok, that’s a good and worthy trade.

Let me ask you this. Could you apply the way you look at counselors to your own occupation?
Are all roofers smart, skilled, honest, worthy, noble, caring individuals?
I doubt it. Just like any profession or job category. There are some counselors who are inept, and should not be in this line of work.
But I can guarantee you that the opposite is usually the case. The pay is very low, at the bottom, for people with the required degree of education. Most of the counselors I know are very committed, caring, giving, empathetic, compassionate and selfless. I have to admit though, that there are some who are not among the world’s brightest.
There is relatively little thanks – at all – ever. Many people b!tch and moan and blame counselors for not fixing them or their loved ones. You expect us to fix you. We can’t turn anyone away. We have to deal with the people who have some of most incredible emotional baggage imaginable. Even the chronic relapsers, who won’t go to meetings, won’t work a program, refuse meds, and show up as seldom as possible to keep the probation officer off their backs.

I’m not trying to invalidate your feelings about us, because you have every right to feel the way you do. I also support your right to tell it as you see it.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
When you use the word "Counselor" what kind of counselor do you refer to? Only counselors who have some form of drug treatment license (all states have some form) should be trusted to give recovery advice. Drug and alcohol treatment is a specialty. Without this, they may be practicing outside the scope of their training. (social workers do this all the time, I'm sorry to say.)

Sfj Re: Two meetings a week enough?
You're right. I'm sorry for not being more specific.
I was referring to CATC. ( Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor )

In my case, CAADE certified.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Sfj... I meant no disrespect to you. I actually didn't even think about you being a counselor when I was posting.
Please accept my apology if I offended you.
I was speaking of only the ones I have dealt with personally

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
I truly believe that meth is such a problem and hasn't hit the hands of "true counselors". Meth kills. My son didn't have any success with numerous rehabs, inpatient and out patient. I believe in patient rehab facility is required for a minimum of 1 year for meth addicts. Meth lies, meth kills and anybody that does meth knows just how to play. Your step daughter really could've convinced this counselor that she wasn't bad enough to be in patient. Until they are ready to truly come clean for themselves, nothing will work. Just keep praying and try to rebuild the trust back with your step daughter. DO NOT ENABLE HER. Be there for her, but not to support her addiction. Be strong for you. She has to accept this and do recovery for herself. My 22 year old son Austin took his life this past August. Austin had a 10 year battle with drug addiction. The past 6 years was a love affair with crystal meth. He couldn't escape it. Please visit his website, light a candle, read his story, share it with your step daughter.
I hope Austin's memory and story can give you all strength to deal with the grips of meth.
God Bless You!

Sfj Re: Two meetings a week enough?
To So Much Guilt,,
First, I'm very sorry for you and your family.
I lost a daughter to death some years ago.



meth is such a problem and hasn't hit the hands of "true counselors".

Is that what you meant?
I tried to read that quote and I'm not sure what you mean?

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Well the problem we saw was her inpatient rehab was for 3 weeks. She could have had another week, but she set her sights on getting out right before Christmas. I don't mean to discount her progress, actually she is doing amazingly well. Both her Dad and I wanted her to stay in longer but of course since she's over 18, that's got to be her call, not ours. She is very open to us about her feelings and the one time she felt like she wanted to use, she was on the phone to me and her Dad immediately. That was in her plan, to talk to us. But I don't think she really has the organization skills to make it to meetings daily. It's really sad. I honestly don't know what to do to help her with that, but I did let her use my old palm pilot to try and see if she could use it as a day planner because she is so frustrated at herself for her memory.

It's also really sad that she can't read. She always had learning problems and is dyslexic. At this point, we have high hopes but truly aren't sure if she can function in the real world. She never has. She told me that every time there has been anything stressful or that was hard in her life, at least since the age of 12, she would "cope" by picking up a joint, dropping acid, club drugs, and eventually cocaine, which she first became addicted to. Most of the drugs were given to her by her mom. The last two years it's been meth. I do believe this about her: She is tired of being on drugs. She truly doesn't want to be like her Mom, who literally could be on the faces of meth pictures and is psychotic and abusive and probably not going to be around much longer. She knew she was starting to act like her. She wants to be a good mom but has a very hard time knowing how to handle her 2 yr old and needs a lot of advice and support from us. She is very unsure of herself, but at least now she asks for advice and listens. Before she just got mad.

I do think she is headed down the right path and of course relapse is always right close at hand, with any meth user. I wish she could have been in rehab longer, and then gone from there to some kind of halfway house where she could take her son and learn how to get a job and function in the world and be the good parent I know she wants to be.

She's a great kid, deep inside and I know she is trying very hard. But has a long way to go. I know the meetings will help her so we will encourage her to go at every possible opportunity, and get as close to every day meetings as she can. Other than that, we have to take care of ourselves and our own relationship because HER problems have loomed so large, over all of everything for way too long. I don't think that's healthy.

One of the things I notice is she seems to be in constant pain from one thing or another. Her mouth hurts because of her teeth, her legs ache, her "skin hurts", she just got an eye infection, her wrist hurts, her chest hurts, her back hurts, I mean the list goes on and on. I mean, she's still smiling... but she sounds like she's a hypochondriac. Yet I know her aches and pains are really there, not made up. She does have a Dr. appointment coming up and I hope they can start to address her health issues. I keep telling her that much of this might be her body dealing with after-effects and trying to get the poison out of her system. I dont' know how long that takes, though. Does anyone know, and are these physical aches and pains common after quitting? I don't think her health is very good at all....

Sfj Re: Two meetings a week enough?
To Missyfussit
This is a very good thread and post. There’s obviously quite a lot going on with her, with you and with the entire situation. Since you came here and asked for help, and some advice, I’m going to try to help you as best I can. Remember, this is the internet and answers need to be somewhat generic because we don’t know her or you and we can only go on limited information. Very limited.

As far as the counselor saying that she can get by on two meetings a week, maybe there is an unknown reason for that. Did the counselor think that your SD might have severe difficulty with more? It is possible considering what you’ve told us. Rather than go to the counselor’s superiors, maybe you could go directly to the counselor and express your concerns. Remember, counselors and addicts both, are human beings also.

This sentence jumped out at me:
“Most of the drugs were given to her by her mom.”

I can’t tell you how many times I get dismisssed when I try to let it be known that parents and other family members are the number one source of introduction to drugs.

Three weeks of inpatient isn’t very much, you’re right, but as far as drug treatment is concerned, in most cases, Intensive Outpatient is just as effective and often better if the person is not homeless and if the person is able to take care of themselves. Being with family is usually much better than being in an in-patient setting unless the family is using drugs or has other forms of severe dysfunction.

“She is tired of being on drugs.” This is a very good sign.

Constant pain can be a result of meth withdrawal, but not necessarily. It could be other causes. A good primary care physician might be able to help.

I’ll try to answer your other questions, but first, let me ask you.
If you know the answers: How long was she using? How much did she use in a week, or month?
Keep posting questions and you’ll get answers - guaranteed.
Drug abuse begins for one reason and continues for another.
We meth addicts will stop when the pain of continued use exceeds the fear of withdrawal

And finally, I admire you and applaud you for what you are doing.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?
She said she was addicted to coke when she got pregnant, and tearfully told us of her fears that her son might have problems because of it. She didn't know she was pregnant for the first couple of months. She said, prior to that, she had tried meth when she found it in her Mom's bedroom. I don't think she used during her pregnancy, she was really serious about this child. Considering the Mom she had, well, this child was someone to love unconditionally... if you know what I mean.
Anyway, on the meth use. After the baby was born she got into it again and since then it's been two years of using. She said at first she used only on weekends, then of course pretty soon it got to be more often. She was snorting it at the time but said after a while she couldn't get high doing that, so she started smoking it sometime last summer. She said once she started smoking it, that's when things really started to get out of hand. I know exactly when that was, I knew there was a change in her that wasn't good. She told me she would use every chance she got, often on a daily basis, and often with her Mom. She can only recall one time her Mom came to pick her up when they didn't go off an use meth together. That was the one time her Mom came to her crying and handed her the meth, saying "please get this away from me, I have to stop." My SD said she "gladly" took it off her Mom's hands.... and that she would also often steal her Mom's meth for her own use. She would go to her dealer and the lady would give her the meth for free, at first. Then later, she began to pressure her to pay, so she would do things like try to clean the dealer's house to pay for her drugs.

She says she's so excited at how much more money she has now. She also told us she was the one who begged her boyfriend to do meth with her. They got in lots of fights about it. He didn't' want to anymore and she says she begged and begged him. (Of course that was his choice to give in and use, no one can "make" you do it...) She also told me she would beg him for money under the pretense of needing something for her son or herself, but it was always for drugs. She said they had recently talked about that and realized that in the last 6 months they had spent over $1800 just on drugs....her child support, his work money, and every dime of her own, made from a short-term part time job making pizza and what her Dad had given her.

Her use was very heavy over the last 7 months, probably 3 or 4 times a week. Her downward spiral was evident to me, via her weight loss and sunken eyes and general attitude. It's still amazing to me that her Dad's denial prevented him from seeing it. Denial is such a weird thing. Her drug eval codes (DSM-V codes on her treatment referrals) were what finally showed him the truth. I went online and found the listing and looked up the codes. Cocaine dependence, Amphetamine dependence, cannibas dependence, and Bi-polar.) I took it that this was not the results of her drug test but more what she had admitted to using. My husband told his daughter that her drug test showed those things, and that really amazed her since she said she hadn't used cocaine since before she was pregnant. She is still puzzling over how the drug test could have showed coke. It's possible it did, though, as often pot is laced with other things. My SD thinks her dealer was cutting her meth with coke, as she usually got it in powdered form.

She says she never really started "fiending" for meth until she started smoking it and getting it from that dealer. She says she had "fiended" in a big way for cocaine but that hadn't happened with meth up to that point, and she's saying she thinks her dealer cut the meth with coke but she's not sure. She says it wasn't like she could "take it or leave it" either, because she was addicted...but it wasn't the type of jonesing cravings as she had with coke. I don't know about all that.

On the bi-polar, they do have her on Trileptal to stabilize her moods and that has helped her a lot. They also have her on Trazedone for sleep, as she cannot sleep at night because her body and legs twitch. It's like her ability to sleep naturally has been lost, but maybe that will come back....

She asked me what to do when she feels panicky and like she can't cope, because before she always just used a drug. Now she doesn't have that and says she doesn't know how to handle normal stress without it. It's sort of like starting over as a 12 yr old with no adult coping skills, only being nearly 19 with a huge responsibility of her son, the need to get a job, finish her school etc. Sometimes she is so overwhelmed and it's too much. Her Dad and I told her to take one thing at a time, one day at a time. She also says she feels a huge pressure to make it because she can't stand the thought of letting her Dad down again. She is heartbroken that she didn't know how much he loves her and cares, and angry that her Mom taught her he was "evil." She keeps crying over having broken his heart by using drugs, and letting him down and she wants to prove to him she can do it, so he will be proud of her. We are already very proud of her for her determination. I told her when she feels panicky and that she can't cope, to try the Serenity prayer. She told me yesterday that she tried it and it really did help.

The thing I love the most now, is she actually SMILES. She never smiled before. But there's so much I don't feel we have the time and knowledge or resources to help her with, such as her learning and reading problems and problems structuring her time. My husband and I both have to work, so our time is limited.

Sorry this is so long, I know it must be tedious! Hers is a very long story, and believe me I have only touched the surface as to the things she has been through. One thing that helped her in Rehab was to learn that though her life story is really awful, there actually ARE kids who have had it worse than she has.

I do appreciate your input, and plan to get my husband in on this thread, at least to read it, as well. All of this really helps me, so I know it will help him too. Despite how hard all this is, just having some action being taken and her on the Recovery Road is such a relief! Thank God!

Sfj Re: Two meetings a week enough?
To Missyfussit,

Titled "A Mother on Meth"
The situations are a bit similar.
Here's a few additional links that may be helpful.
Do's and Don'ts

CMA Website

How Meth Addicts Think and Feel 
Re: Two meetings a week enough?
Missyfruit, your loving and careful observations are just that-loving! All of your information you have posted on the intricate details of your SD's addiction and recovery life are so very helpful to me and I'm sure many others. Sometimes details that the addict can't organize and correlate-even catalogue are so very important.

I see what you feel. Keep it up-you are helping so many!

I also see so many comparisons in a 42 year old (much longer time of addiction) meth addict. They really don't sound much different at all which gives me hope that treatment is getting more effective and meth addiction is being OUSTED and therefore, weaker. Meth is tough, but love and knowledge is tougher and God's obviously bringing up lots of warriors right here learning how to fight for those weak ones we love.

Re: Two meetings a week enough?

I'm recovering from using meth (smoking) for 6 months. Meth did not give me the rush, or high it gives others. I am not diagnosed ADD or ADHD. I am diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia since 1995 from an on-the-job injury. I had the first onset period, got well with tremendous work and prayer from and with great doctors...and have had 2 relapses since diagnosis. Meth gave me my 3rd or current relapse. When I used it, it extended my energy letting me go and do my job, college, things with family and friends, etc. as if I was much younger than early 40's.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia both cause great physical pain among many other health problems. A google search will give you good sites to see if these things seem to indicate how your SD feels now. "Brain-fog" and/or "Fibro-fog" have been big things for me to overcome.

As for cutting meth with coke...yes it does happen. Is the "jonseing" different? As a former coke addict in my 20's, if I were to do drugs again...it would be coke. I had that lovely habit for 2 years and did zero rehab or steps or counseling. I just cold-turkey quit after a situation caused or expedited the need to quit. My opinion is that drugs, legal or illegal, affect each person somewhat differently. How could they not when no 2 of us have the same genes?

Her communication with you and her honesty and her drive and her following rules of the home...I think you are going to be fine. As you stated, she wants to do her 90 in 90, and you seem willing to get her there. Telling my Mom about coke in my 20's was hard....can you imagine how I felt breaking her heart yet again in my early 40's with meth?

Keep loving and communicating. She will be fine as I sense she has strong motivational reasons all her own.

See also:

Recovery Meetings: AA, NA, 12 Step Program Topics

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