Brian started experimenting with drugs and alcohol around the age of 14, but his parents didn’t become aware of it until he was 17. His parents send him to a psychologist in search of answers and subsequently was referred to a wilderness program in Utah. “Brian did really well there,” his father remarked. Trusting that program, he followed their recommendation and sent Brian to a therapeutic boarding school in Atlanta.
Brian wanted to leave that school from the start. But his father thought that his addiction was partly rebelling on his behalf. Finally, after a year there, Brian ran away from the school and called from the first phone he could find. “I can’t stay here; it’s bad,” he said. Brian’s father relented and brought him home in Atlanta.
The school was shuttered a few years later because of a class-action lawsuit.
Eight Programs in Eight Years
Brian attended eight more programs over the next eight years. His father could afford the best, and that’s what Brian got. Or did he? Each time, Brian came home sober but disconnected from the program that he’d just completed. Each time, he relapsed not long after coming home.
Finally, Brian’s father found a program that worked. Brian even called to say that he wanted to stay longer, and he did. He finally came home sober and stayed sober, but tragically, that wasn’t enough.
Was His Treatment Enough?
Brian committed suicide 13 months later, sober but exhausted from his bouts with anxiety and depression. These conditions were not even diagnosed or treated by the first nine programs that he attended. Brian’s suicide note thanked everyone for all their help but also derided our country’s indifferent addiction treatment system that failed to serve him and others he met on his journey, during their desperate time of need.
- Brian’s story happens all too often. A well meaning treatment community delivers sobriety, but fails to measure progress, follow up and provide aftercare options.
- Measuring progress and outcomes are critical. If the treatment center had stayed in close contact with Brian through FIT, RecoveryBound, and Aftercare systems during the first years after treatment, when Brian’s sobriety was most fragile, and his anxiety and depression still present, they might have saved Brian’s life.
- Lives depend on our work. FIT and The Right Technology will help us improve.