Blog: Breaking free from chains of my past
by gotcha862003

chantel, meth

treatment isn't recovery…treatment is discovery.

Date:   10/13/2006 8:43:38 AM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 3830 times

The Oprah Winfrey Show's first investigation into this insidious drug occurred earlier this year when we met Chantel, a blonde, 17-year-old all-American addict.

After an on-air intervention conducted by Chantel's mother, Penni, sister Kortnie and addiction specialist Debra Jay, Chantel left our stage and headed to rehab. On her ride to the airport to transport her to rehab at the Caron Foundation, Chantel pleaded to be able to not go.

Chantel did go, however, and weeks later spoke from rehab about her struggles with cravings. "I had a really bad one the other night. I really tasted it and I just thought about all the bad things that the drug has done to me and it made the craving go away."

"What was harder than I thought it would be was caring about people," Chantel says. "I've always had the drugs to cover up my feelings. You have to deal with it here: If you fight with your parents you don't have drugs, if you have a fight with one of the girls you don't have drugs.
Halfway through her scheduled stay in rehab, Chantel was asked to stay for an additional 30 days. At first she resisted, but came to realize she needed more time and asked to stay for an extra three months. "In some ways, I'm scared to leave. Just going back to my hometown is going to be like a huge trigger for me to want to use."

After a total of 122 days in treatment, Chantel left for home. After six weeks, Chantel and her family were starting to feel the pressures of her habit. "Being in rehab I thought I'd come home and everything would be good. Nothing bad would happen to me anymore."

It certainly has been far from easy. Penni, Chantel's mother, describes the days after Chantel's return as being "very much like a roller coaster."

Chantel felt torn between doing what she needs to do to stay clean and drifting back to her old crowd—all of whom "are into meth or have done meth," she says.

At one point, Chantel did meet up with old friends, prompting her stepfather to kick her out of the house. Chantel then sent messages to Penni, saying that if she suffered a relapse, she would blame her for pushing her to it.
Chantel and Penni
Chantel says that though she has not used meth since coming home from rehab, when she was kicked out of her house, she was tempted. "I called my mom because I wasn't using but I felt like I was living the lifestyle of using."

Part of that lifestyle included a posture of blaming her mother. "I was mad and angry and I got my addict behaviors back. I was blaming her for kicking me out, blaming her for everything that's ever happened to me."

This posture does not fully explain things, Chantel says. "Our relationship has been rocky, but it's getting better."
Penni admits she was not entirely prepared for what would happen after Chantel returned from rehab. Just as Chantel did not anticipate the difficulty in avoiding all of the bad influences and habits in her hometown, Penni harbored unrealistic expectations for Chantel's recovery.

"I thought you put your car in the shop and it comes out repaired, and I thought that's what would happen with Chantel," Penni says. "Obviously it's not what happens."

After a period of re-entry marked by heated confrontations, Penni says she sees positive growth. "I'm learning also how to take care of me and what I'm doing wrong," she says.

Addiction specialist Debra Jay, who organized our initial intervention for Chantel with Penni and Kortnie, highlights the fact that "treatment isn't recovery…treatment is discovery."

She has advice for Penni and Chantel. "I think what's happening right now is that you both are doing some good things. You've got that program of recovery started."

Debra is worried about Chantel's tendency to take her addiction lightly, increasing the possibility of relapse. "You have to take it day by day."

One way for Chantel and Penni to refocus their energy, Debra says, is by focusing less on everything that's wrong. She encourages Penni to think about what Chantel is doing: both wrong and right. Debra tells Chantel to ask one question: "Am I being trustworthy today? You see how different that is than 'Will you trust me, mom?'"

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