My first couple of months in residential treatment were a roller coaster. I was trying to keep it together so that they would think I didn’t have any problems. I wanted to get out and get out fast. I had to think of a plan and it had to be perfect. I didn’t need help.
Yeah, I used drugs and drank too much alcohol, but that was just normal teenage experimentation. Yeah, my parents and I couldn’t be in the same room without yelling, but that was just normal teenage stuff. Yeah, I snuck out all the time and was constantly lying, but I was just trying to live my life. Everyone else was stupid and I knew what was best for myself. So I had to find my way out.
I tried the whole good-girl act. I was overly sweet to all the staff and I tried to be nice to the girls. But, I didn’t know how to make friends sober and slowly all my old patterns began to seep through. In the past, I had made my friends (that were girls) by being mean to other girls so I looked powerful. Or, I made friends by using with them or talking about using. And, since I clearly couldn’t get high or drunk in treatment, I resorted to being mean. I put down those around me that I didn’t like and ganged up on them with the girls I did like.
All the crap really started when the people around me started to call me out on my unhealthy behaviors. But, I didn’t care, why should I change, they should just stop being so sensitive. My thinking patterns were seriously messed up.
But, then I thought I had an opportunity. Maybe if I just stopped being mean, but wasn’t nice, no one would notice a difference.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really doing any work; especially not in therapy. I was still trying to manipulate my parents and make them feel sorry for me. I was constantly saying things like “The staff just don’t understand me” or “The girls single me out and hate me.” But, I knew exactly what I had to do to work my parents; it just wasn’t time yet. I had to wait for the right time or else my plan would fall apart. I knew exactly what I was doing and I thought my plan was perfect.
I just had to make it to a home visit. Then I could get my parents to see what they were doing was wrong and unfair. I mean, they were ruining my life! I had friends and a boyfriend and parties to get back to. I was so worried my friends would forget about me. What if they all moved on without me? It seemed like the world would end if that happened. I had to try this plan and it had to work.
So, I changed my attitude, a little bit, at least externally. Everyone believed it. I advanced to the second level of the program. (Quick detour…So there are four levels in total. Usually girls are on the first three levels for 3-4 months and then you remain on the last level until the graduation. When girls advance to the next level, they earn more privileges. Once a girl is on the second level, they can start having home visits that are 5 days long, about every other month. On the third level, a girl earns a home visit every month for 8 days, can go places without staff, and is allowed back on Facebook at the discretion of their therapist. On the last level, a girl becomes more in charge of monitoring herself, rather than staff monitoring her behavior. So she will rate herself daily on how she thinks she did with certain behaviors, and the staff can pitch in as needed.) So since I advanced to the second level, I earned a home visit. This was what I had been waiting for…
The next post will be up next week, same time. Tuesdays at 10:00 AM (MST). Don’t forget to check it out. You will hear all about my first home visit and the chaos that took place…