Beginning Recovery at 17

by Tania
(Maryland, USA)

My 17 yr old son is 19 days into recovery from his addiction to pills.

He is in rehab and the counselors are complaining he is not getting with the program and are threatening to fail him. It is a 60 day program and he is only 19 days in.

Personally I have been in treatment myself and learned that you are just starting to heal at 30 days. I feel their expectations are way 2 high for 19 days. They keep taking away extra curricular activities for say, throwing a paper ball or milk carton. These actions happen when he is angry but he acts as if he is joking.

So when visiting my son, what advice can I give him, other than to try his best to get with the program.


It is very common for adolescents to act out when they’re in treatment and it seems that, this is what your son is doing.

Before a person goes into treatment, their lives are out of control. Addicts are rule breakers, and a very important part of his recovery is to follow house rules. Throwing paper balls or milk cartons is unacceptable in this program, and the counselors are punishing him and hopefully he’ll learn.

As you said, 19 days is not long in recovery. The counselors are threatening to fail him, so that he’ll buckle down and abide by the rules. Don’t enable your son, by feeling sorry for him. When you visit him, tell your son that you love him, but you disapprove of his behavior and you’d be very disappointed if he fails the program.

Tell him that regardless of what he thinks, the counselors are there to help him and that he’s lucky that he has a chance to turn his life around. Many are not so lucky.

All the best to you,


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