The Person Who Listened – Thank You!

Throughout our experience with our son’s addiction, there were many people (licensed professionals) who listened – initially – but stopped hearing what we were saying shortly thereafter. They were somewhat helpful, but not ultimately helpful. They offered us what they could, but not necessarily what we needed. Until our son met the person who put things in motion and the person who made it happen.

In no way do I think this was intentional, but unfortunately, it seems like it’s the norm more often than not. That’s because addiction and mental health are complex, and most professionals are either generalists or specialists. Until our son met the person who put things in motion and the person who made it happen.

Yet, we kept seeking, kept learning, kept trying. Until our son met the person who put things in motion and the person who made it happen.

We got better at sharing our situation, at asking for help, at discerning the options. We kept trying to find that person.

Still, it was frustrating. Every parent who is witnessing their kid’s addiction knows what I’m talking about. Throughout the process, we learn that our role is to become educated, to provide unconditional love, to provide emotional support, to set healthy boundaries, to insist on answers and to press for information, to hope and pray, to keep on keeping on. Until our son met the person who put things in motion and the person who made it happen.

At first, this was our exercise. We were the ones who knew there was a problem and wanted to get help for our son. He was in denial. He was not interested. He didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to listen. So, we did all the leg work.

Years later, it became his exercise. He was somewhat ready to get help, to stop using, to start addressing mental health needs. But everyone wanted to push him into traditional programs – programs that he wasn’t interested in. You might argue that these are good programs – and they are – but without his buy in, these simply wouldn’t work for him.

Aha! We were beginning to realize that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, sobriety and recovery.

But, the majority of professionals weren’t on board with this. Again, the frustration mounted. Until our son met the person who put things in motion and the person who made it happen.

You’re starting to see the pattern here: “Until our son met the person who put things in motion and the person who made it happen.” Thank goodness, we kept trying to find this person and our son was, too.

Who was this person? The first person was a mental-health assessment professional who listened AND provided concrete feedback and steps our son could take. Interestingly, the pro said, “Get 30 to 60 days of sobriety through treatment and then come back; but, in the meantime, here’s how you go about getting the treatment program that you want.”

He offered up another assessment option called Rule 25 (a Minnesota program through the Department of Human Services). I will forever be grateful for this person who listened and put things in motion with clear, actionable steps that my son could embrace – because he’d been heard.

After some procrastination, my son made an appointment for a Rule 25 assessment, and without hesitation, the assessor identified three options that met my son’s preferences.

She was not trying to stick him in a program he didn’t want or an approach he couldn’t embrace. She was also able to put a name to what he was looking for – an approach called Health Realization. All these years and no one had ever given the approach he wanted a name; yet, here it was, an actual approach. I will forever be grateful for this person who listened and put things in motion with clear, actionable steps that my son could embrace – because he’d been heard.

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved.

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