LauraW has seen her adult daughter responding beautifully to a drug court team and is allowing herself to feel hopeful about some real change. She wonders, is mandated drug court enough, and can it be connsidered treatment?
"Hello. First I would like to say thank you for this wonderful resource. Your site has been a great help and comfort to me already.
My question is this: Is drug court considered treatment? My daughter is 34 years old and has been using illegal opioids for the past 12-13 years. She is currently on probation for the third time, having already served time in prison for drug-related crimes. She was recently sentenced to drug court for the first time and, from what I understand, will meet regularly with her counselor, probation officer, public defender and the judge. I’m hopeful that this team will be able to help her make some positive changes.
My daughter has been very co-operative and, dare I say, even enthusiastic about some of the opportunities this program offers.
I’m not sure whether I should still try to encourage her to get into a residential treatment program or just be content that she’s responding well to drug court."
Wow! It sounds like your daughter has a renewed sense of determination to work on her substance use. That she is focused, and seems to have a positive attitude towards any programs or requirements that the courts expect her to fulfill, is very encouraging.
Consider adopting this stance
I would encourage you to 1) continue providing support for any/all of her attempts at compliance, while at the same time 2) give her some space to still struggle and learn what is going to work for her. This can help direct her and help her acquire a strong foundation in her recovery.
Is drug court considered treatment?
To answer your question, “Is drug court treatment?”, no it does not replace actual treatment. But drug court can provide invaluable encouragement, incentives and motivation to support her towards a better life path. It provides her a structure where she has to meet with counselors, her probation officer, the public defender and the judge — which can keep her working on accountability and encourage her to carefully consider future decisions.
If the courts are giving her incentives to work towards, that will be rewarding to her in the end — it's just more motivation for her to improve her situation. It's important, though, for everyone involved to allow her the space to struggle through. This recovery stuff is hard, and people are not perfect!
Stay on the lookout for "wishes" and "dips" — an incredible CRAFT tool
One thing you could do is to practice being alert: listen to her neutrally and be aware of any wishes or dips that she may express.
If you are in need of a refresher on wishes and dips, head back to the videos and exercises in Module 4 on communication (I would highly recommend watching all the videos and doing the exercises over again in Module 4 to refresh and practice; also, see the topic tag: wishes & dips).
Now (while she's got some momentum of her own) is the time to really hone those communication skills and add in rewarding positive behavior (Module 5). Be on the lookout for any hints that she may need a higher level of care — that would be a moment to suggest residential treatment or an intensive outpatient program.
Research a few options for her and suggest she give it some thought. This might sound like:
Daughter: “I'm really struggling with depression. I wish I could get beyond this and do something with my life.”
Mom: “This sounds like it's a very difficult thing to go through. I really appreciate you sharing this with me. Would it be okay if I shared a few of my thoughts with you?”
Daughter: “I guess.”
Mom: “Well, there is always residential treatment. That might give you a chance to take a break, finding a way to balance out your feelings. You could also consider an outpatient program. I've heard there are different types of programs and options, and this could get you connected to others who understand your situation.
What about a recovery house where they have a whole bunch of services built in? It’s kind of like a one stop shop. They can support your mental health, get you connected to a recovery community center with life coaches, and give you a break to focus on just you. What do you think? Would either of these options work for you?”
Daughter: “I don’t know. I'll have to think about it.”
Mom: “Sounds good. If you need anything or want to try any of these, let me know. I love you and want to support of your efforts. I've written down the names of a few places that take our insurance. Here's the list.”
Also, if there's a stumble on her part, let her know that the judge typically will give her another chance if she does attend a higher level of treatment. Her lawyer should be able to advise her on this. But this is something you could mention to her, so that she could discuss it further with the public defender.
I hope this is helpful and I am so happy to hear that your daughter has shown the desire to move in a positive direction. Many times, that itself is half the battle. I wish you luck and hope you'll stay in touch. Please reach out with any questions we might help with and keep us updated on progress.
All the best,