Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I really hope this investment pays off

My wife and I are not wealthy people. Yes, we live in one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, but we are not wealthy. In fact, our income falls well below the median income for both individuals and families living in our community. We spent 16 years living in one of the smallest houses in our entire area (it was less than 900 sq. ft.) and only moved up to a bigger house about seven years ago. (A house that's now worth about half what we paid for it.) We desperately need a new car. Our two cars have a combined age of 24 years, and one of them is literally being held together with tape in certain places. We have much needed house repairs that we've put off for quite a while. You get the picture. Bottom line: Money has always been tight for us.

So yesterday, when we had to make a rather substantial payment to the treatment facility our son is in, it was tough. Insurance not covering our son's room and board because they think he's "medically stable" and capable of receiving the rest of his treatment on an outpatient basis is total bullshit. But there are lots of things that are total bullshit when it comes to insurance companies and substance abuse/mental health treatment. So we deal with it, bite the bullet, and pull out the credit card. (That's what credit cards are for, right?)

The payment we made yesterday was in addition to the initial payment we made when our son was admitted. And this most recent payment only brings us up-to-date through today. We'll still owe for more room and board after our son's residential treatment is completed. That's about another two weeks' worth of room and board. Then we'll get to pay his sober-living house rent for at least a month. And that isn't cheap, either.

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that addiction hurts people in different ways. The emotional damage this disease inflicts upon the loved ones of addicts is bad enough. But there is also a financial burden, even if you have health insurance. This is now the third time we've paid thousands of dollars for our son to go to rehab. And even though it's painful, and even though it totally fucks up our budget, and even though it will greatly affect our financial future, we continue to pay the money. Because we love our son and want him to get the help he needs.

That being said, this will probably be the last time we can afford to do this. Unless I win the lottery or something, I can't imagine being able to pull this off again. It's just not realistic. So I really hope this investment pays off.


UPDATE: My son's latest treatment plan is a compromise of sorts. Instead of staying two additional weeks in the residential treatment facility--as his therapist first recommended--he's agreed to stay one more week. (Hey...Less room and board!) After that, he will move into a sober-living house in Palm Springs for a month and do an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). After that month is up, my wife and I aren't sure what the next step will be. But we're trying not to think that far ahead right now.


  1. Hey Dean, this is terrible to read and I can only imagine what you're going through. Your son in rehab and you worrying about finances....f**k. I wish you well and hope you work it out somehow. Your family is, honestly, very often in my thoughts.
    On a brighter note: you can always come to Holland! Contrary to what many people believe, we're not all junkies (in fact, the percentage is a lot lower than in most industrialized countries including the US!)and we have excellent health care. Bet your son would be treated here for free......Furthermore, nice families are always welcome here!

  2. I'm sorry to hear life is so hard for you. I wish you winning in that lottery. ;) Keeping my fingers crossed for you and your son. Greetings from Poland.