At the time I launched Homeward Bound nine years ago, I was an idealist with a burning desire to significantly improve the long-term success of treatment by supporting teens and parents during the critical transition afterwards. Actually, the vision was even loftier than that. We wanted to eliminate recidivism in so far as humanly possible. Naïve? Probably. But was it worth attempting? Absolutely! So with that lofty goal we set sail with gusto on our adventure.
During this same time frame, many treatment programs were busy on their own quests to continuously improve their treatment processes with an eye toward more successful outcomes for their clients. The advances have been substantial and our field, as a whole, is better than it has ever been as a result. Though we may never reach perfection, it’s gratifying to look back and observe what happens when a compelling vision, persistent focus and time converge. New discoveries are made and remarkable things happen.
My career journey reminds me of when I was 16 and I helped my dad and brothers build the home that my parents still live in today. Dad showed us the spot on my grandpa’s ranch where he wanted to build. He then spent a good hour or more describing to us boys how he envisioned the design of the interior, the orientation the house would have to the beautiful cliffs across the forty acre field, as well as where the stock corral would be built. He also expressed his hope and belief that it would be a home my mom would be proud of. That was an exciting day.
Then came the day we started the work. As a teenager who didn’t have the same compelling vision my father had, I preferred dreaming about it rather than making it a reality. Little by little, day after day, the project progressed from a brush-covered lot, to a large rectangular hole in the ground, to cement walls with a floor, to a framed house and so on to it’s completion. At each phase we would take a break, grab a soda and back away from the structure a few feet so we could take it all in and appreciate our handiwork.
Although we have not “finished” or arrived at our ultimate destination with families in treatment, I have come to a place after more than two decades of effort, where I have something to share with you. It has been a taxing project and now it is time to celebrate, and thank you all for your part in it’s creation.
This book, titled Not by Chance: How Parents Boost Their Teen’s Success In and After Treatment, is not something I could ever have done until now after these many years. I also could not have done it alone. The experience required has come as I’ve worked along side many of you. What I have to share has sprung from countless hours shoulder to shoulder with teens and their parents as they apply what they’ve learned in treatment. The principles and concepts in the book have been formulated and refined as together, my team shared their experiences and creativity with me to build the models. They have been further expanded as we have been invited into treatment programs, who held a common vision, to help them create more effective parent programming.
So much has been done in adolescent treatment to refine it, that there are very few things left that will make for a quantum leap in desired outcomes. I believe, however, that engaging parents in the right ways during and after treatment is that game changing component. It’s not just nice to do…it’s crucial. When a parent places their child in treatment, they are at an all-time low in their parental confidence. Our job is to give them what they need to become the game changer in their teen’s treatment and beyond. This book gives them the tools to do it and it’s been my honor to present it.
To Family Happiness!