When I first met “Amy” she had three weeks clean from methamphetamine and she was very angry about everything! She thought that her life should be perfect now that she had been clean for three weeks. “Amy” is twenty-seven years old and has a four-year-old daughter. “Amy” was an athlete in high school, never touched alcohol or drugs and was diagnosed with depression when she was nineteen years old. She took medication and managed her illness very well. While in college she became pregnant with her daughter, at the age of twenty-three. Her doctor advised her to titrate off her medications. After the birth of her daughter, she chose not to go back onher medications and was doing ok for a while but started going downhill soon after. She started partying, leaving her daughter with her mother and soon discovered methamphetamine. After putting up with her daughter’s irresponsibility for a year, her mother kicked her out and took guardianship of her baby. “Amy” lived here and there; couch surfed, lived on the streets and escaped death more than once. After a few years, “Amy” had enough. She couldn’t get the thought of her daughter out of her head and knew she needed to get back to her and be her mother. Her mother accepted her back home and insisted she get help.
“Amy” was in the “Preparation” Stage of Change but had no idea what to do next. She thought that not using methamphetamine for three weeks would make everything normal again but it seemed just the opposite. She was angry, moody, couldn’t sleep. I explained Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome to “Amy” and normalized her symptoms, which gave her some peace of mind. I was able to point out to Amy how amazing it was that she was able to stay off of methamphetamine for three weeks by herself and she felt a real sense of accomplishment. That helped her see that change was possible and maybe a bit easier with help.
“Amy” was ready to move to the “Action” Stage. We collaborated on an Action Plan with small measurable steps. 1. See her PCP for her depression. 2. Attend Crisis Addiction Counseling Early Recovery Groups and an NA or church recovery group weekly. 4. Start Parenting Classes in six months. “Amy” felt comfortable with this and agreed to start a group the next day. After she got home she called me and said, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard. I just won’t use methamphetamine and I’ll be fine.” Developing discrepancy, we then went on to discuss “Amy’s” goal of getting her daughter back and living a productive, meaningful life without substances could not be met if she chose the road of “I CAN’T.” She was able to rethink her statements and realized she really just felt overwhelmed. We reworked her Action Plan and broke it down a little more and she felt less overwhelmed. She was ready to begin her recovery journey.
As “Amy” was working in the “Action” Stage she met others who were also in recovery. She soon realized she was not alone in the way she felt and thought concerning her recovery. She has learned to open up in groups and is an encouragement to others. She also reports she is very active in her church recovery group. She shares with anyone who iswilling to listen that getting your spiritual life on track and moving makes everything else work in recovery. Anger continued to be an issue for “Amy” She realized that to be a good mother she needs to learn more about anger and how to control it. We started working together in the SAMHSA Anger Management Workbook and she has been an excellent learner. She remains motivated to continue learning more about controlling her anger and uses the tools learned in the workbook daily. She looks forward to attending Parenting Classes soon. Amy continues to work on her recovery from substance abuse and depression daily. She takes her anti-depressants faithfully, attends groups, Narcotics Anonymous, and Church Recovery Groups. She looks forward to getting a job, living in her own apartment with her daughter and leading a productive, meaningful life without substances.
Ellen Eggert-Hallgren, CADC II, SAS II Crisis Addiction Counseling/Hotline