In the driver’s seat of my recovery: an interview with Dan B.
We recently sat down and talked with Dan B.*, a young man in recovery who used the services of FRrē. He now has goals and a strong foundation for his recovery.
What event or events brought your family to FRrē/Marc Hertz Consulting?
I was going back to school and things had not been going well for a while. They did not agree on a traditional intervention; my dad didn’t think that would work and I believe he was right. I agreed to talk with Marc about my drinking because I was finally ready to listen but if he had recommended treatment right away I would’ve stopped listening.
What were your thoughts and feelings about engaging in family therapy?
I wasn’t sure about the family aspect of it at first, but I felt comfortable when I realized Marc was advocating for my family and me and not picking sides with my parents. I felt like I was in the drivers seat of my own decisions and for me that was the key. I knew the relationship with my mom needed some work and we both were taught tools to communicate better.
Please talk a bit about the process. How did your therapy unfold?
Right away the finger pointing was taken off of me. It became about all of us right off the bat. I appreciated that I was met where I was at during the process. Even if Marc suggested something to me, it was more like “here is what I think you should try to do, but I can’t make you do it”. The process felt more like a partnership and while Marc made suggestions for me, it didn’t feel like I was being pressured or controlled.
Can you identify specific events or activities that were especially meaningful or helpful?
Marc was upfront, open and honest. It felt more like coaching rather than therapy. I was treated like an adult throughout and I appreciated that.
I was not overloaded with “the plan” – we took it in small steps, focused on where I was at and he didn’t overwhelm me with things too far in the future. This helped me with attainable goals. It was not a “one size fits all” approach. It felt personal to me and that is what worked for me. When I had other ideas, Marc would challenge me but never told me I was wrong for my thinking. My commitment to my recovery was reinforced because I was able to attain smaller goals, step by step.
I didn’t want to go to a formal treatment program, so we all reached an agreement that I would only go to treatment if I was unable to stop drinking with the help of Marc.
Is there anything that you wish had been approached or handled differently?
Honestly I can’t think of anything. Right away I felt understood and the process really worked for me.
How have you benefitted from your work at FRrē?
I have goals again and I have a solid foundation for my recovery. Even when I feel triggered from current stress, I am able to get past it with the tools I have learned.
How has your family benefitted?
Our family has benefitted because we have better boundaries, and my recovery is for me, and not for my family. And whatever they are working on is for them. Ultimately the work has helped us as a family system heal and move forward.
What do you think differentiates people who succumb to self-destructive tendencies as opposed to people who learn how to accept and manage these tendencies?
Those who want to accept have a sense of readiness. Whether they want it that bad or not – if they can they see the positives, which might be the one thing that will help them get started. Seeing some immediate and concrete benefits enhanced my position with therapy and recovery.
Timing plays a big part too – I found Marc at a time when I was ready to listen!
What should therapists know about working with young men who are struggling with addiction, emotional problems, or family issues?
That everyone will find what he or she needs in a different place – meet the client where they are at, not what your agenda is or the family’s agenda is.
Anything else you would like to add?
I had a lot of questions and Marc was patient with me and treated me like a competent adult. This helped immensely – the plan was customized for me and what was in my best interest. I felt heard and understood from the start.
*name changed for anonymity