First a little background on my son, the Benchmark Transitions client. My 23 year old son went through the Benchmark Transitions program. He was/is a dual diagnosis client (substance abuse and bipolar). He was in a psychiatric hospital going through his third psychotic episode (mania) brought on by excessive use of Dabs (honey butane oil, wax, shatter, budder are other names for dabs) which was his drug of choice (DOC). He has told us that he has tried pretty much everything other than heroin and meth but Dabs was his DOC. So after his third admittance in the hospital, second admit in less than two months, we (his parents) made it very simple for him; go to a treatment program (for the second time) or find someplace else to live other than our home. If you are a user or parent, be clear - this was not an ultimatum. This was a choice for him and no one else to make. He initially refused to go to another treatment program. He lasted one month in a program two years prior in a different from Benchmark. After much research, consideration and a recommendation from the psych hospital my wife and I decided the program we would offer to him was Benchmark Transitions. He tried to threaten us by saying he would go to a transitional living home the hospital would drop him off at or even go to a homeless shelter. We told him that was his choice to make but he would not be allowed back in our family home until he COMPLETED. a program. We let him know that if he decided to go to a program that all the decisions of his treatment and stay needed to be made by the professional staff at the facility and not by us, his parents, or him. After trying to threaten us that he was going to live on the streets or in a homeless shelter for about a week during his last few days at the hospital, he agreed to go to Benchmark the second to last day of his hospital admittance.
We specifically chose Benchmark because they treated both substance abuse and mental health illness. Benchmark was also one of the only facilities that would take clients even when they new the client did not want to be in the treatment program. Many facilities told us the client had to want to be there for them to be admitted to their rehab program.
Upon admission to Benchmark our son was places in their "Wildwood" facility. He was still coming clean from his drug use and was receiving a few different kinds of therapy. During his time in Wildwood his therapist, was a tremendous help to him. She was a straight shooter and understood how our son was feeling. His feelings went from anger and blame towards us to the start of acceptance and responsibility on his part.
After completing the treatment at Wildwood our son transitioned to the “Cypress” living facility. Here they have more freedom and responsibility. At this point our son was assigned a therapist and case worker. We could not have asked or prayed for two better people to help our son. After meeting with we agreed that we would work on our sons recovery as a team. My wife and I decided that we would never undermine what was being required of our son from the program. Best decision we ever made! When our son asked us if he could vary from the rules of the program, we always deferred and told him that we would discuss it with before making any decisions. He almost always knew what the answer to his requests would be. I definitely feel that our unity as a team was tremendous in our sons recovery. He knew he could not vary from the program without consequences that he did not want (i.e. him not allowed back in our home or extending the time he was going to have to stay in the program).
From the Cypress house our son transitioned to apartment living where he was given even more freedom and responsibility. He was required to make his meetings, therapy and Dr.’s appointments on his own. He had to complete community service and look for a job. He was well aware that had his best interests by now and by paying close attention to those around him at different phases of their treatment, our son knew what the consequences were for any type of behavior that was not conducive to his rehabilitation. We know this was not easy for him, but we believe that our son knowing he had a team that included the Benchmark staff, along with his parents and family standing behind him, holding him accountable and not enabling him to continue with any type of destructive behavior he was able to be successful at Benchmark.
Our son has been out of the program for two months now. We hold him accountable to attend 12 step meetings, maintaining a sponsor and allowing us to do random drug testing. He is also responsible for maintaining his therapy sessions, Dr.’s appointments and taking medications as directed. He is pursuing a career while maintaining a job to provide for himself and be accountable for his responsibilities. His life is definitely not easy but it is so much better than seeing him spin out of control, upsetting everyone around him, losing his job and being close to losing his family due to substance abuse.
We owe this to all the staff at Benchmark Transitions. We feel that if you do not enable your family member and make sure you attack the problem of substance abuse and/or mental health as a team with the professionals at Benchmark, your chances of success for your family member will go up tremendously.
Thank you Benchmark!