On April 1, 2014 my husband received his monthly counseling. It was a positive counseling. No missed appointments. Right place, right time, right uniform, etc. All true and I work very hard to ensure it stays that way.
On April 2, 2014 I walked into the office where Mikey was and he was receiving and amended negative counseling! I read the counseling and it stated that he was being counseled for a "myriad" of issues. His leave was revoked, his profile was revoked and he refused to attend a treatment that was recommended. The next line said that was not an option.
Did you catch that? "A treatment was recommended." "It was not an option." Beyond the fact of those contradicting sentences my husband never refused treatment. He put himself into treatment a long time ago. He had a plan. He continues to follow that plan. The treatment he didn't want to go to was a 12 Step program that is religious based. We went to the IOP (Intensive outpatient) program and spoke to three different people including the clinical director. She told us he was not a good fit because of all of his medical appointments and not being able to attend groups. She said he was welcome to attend at any time any part of the program he wanted to or could attend.
Let me add that I have never seen an order from anyone telling him it was Command Directed that he attend anything.
That counseling also contains proof that his profile was revoked. Proof that his Chain of Command is going against a Doctor's recommendation.
He is already bogged down and overwhelmed with all the appointments he currently has. Both medical and psychological.
ASAP Counselor (Army Substance Abuse Program) - weekly
ASAP Doctor - monthly
Off post Counselor - weekly
SMART Recovery meetings 1 time week
PCP - WTU (Primary care physician) 1 time month or more
NCM - WTU - 2 times a week (nurse case manager)
Social Worker - WTU weekly
Neurologist and tons of tests - too many trying to find answers that are impossible to find
Psychiatrist - monthly
Dentist (some pretty extensive dental work being done) - too many
Do you see how he might have this whole substance abuse issue covered about as well as (actually better than) anyone?
He didn't choose to have the issue and has worked hard to overcome substance abuse. The Army needs to stop focusing on it and focus on his health issues that caused substance use to become a problem.
On the back of the counseling statement there are boxes that a Soldier can agree or disagree with the statement. He checked disagree and wrote what I said above about PHP and IOP.
When called into the Battalion Commanders Friday April 4th to discuss it even he had to admit the wording was bad.
It was also this meeting that the Battalion Commander told us to put in a new leave packet so my husband could get a break and visit with family. It's not approved yet. I'm hoping to finish the packet tomorrow to get it toward final approval.
Today, April 7th my husband had dental surgery. Fairly extensive and he was put under completely. The surgery went well. I took him to the Company to turn in his "quarters" slip. It is for 5 days. This surgery was approved over a month ago and had 5 days quarters listed on the preapproval request.
While there turning it in the Battalion Commander asked to talk to me. He asked again about IOP and someone said that my husband had indeed rejected the treatment. He asked if I disputed that. I said I absolutely did because I was there and know what was said. I told him again about speaking with the clinical director a lady that is on leave until the 22nd. He told me the director is a male. I said that may be true but the clinical director is a female. I even have her name and if I call to speak to the clinical director that is who I get connected to or told she is on leave.
After that he told me he had taken down all of the SMART Recovery material because he did not know if it was sanctioned. Really? An endorsement from both ASAP and IOP and he doesn't know if it's okay. This program is also used in the VA system. It's not something I started. It's something I had to be trained to do by a national non-profit organization.
I could tell I was losing my temper but simply said I have no issue with you taking down the SMART Recovery material as long as there is no 12 Step information available too. Keep in mind that any approved inpatient treatment the Army sends soldiers to is a 12 Step program and proven to be religious.
This is also where it comes into play that a soldier can fight for your constitutional rights but they can't have the same rights. That's another story in itself. But let me say before anyone tries to argue about 12 Step being a good program. It is for those it helps. But it will not help everyone. Just as one heart medication will not be effective for all people with heart problems. There are options and choices. This is not true in the Army for substance abuse. Yet.
About the time I felt I was really getting angry one of the Squad leaders told me my husband was bleeding all over. I excused myself from the Battalion commander and helped clean up my husband and took him home.
At around 4:30pm I got a call from the Squad Leader telling me that I would have to bring him in to see his PCP to have his quarters approved for all 5 days. I was incensed! I immediately questioned this because last time he had to get quarters approved it was because it was an off-post doctor. That if it were an Army doctor it wouldn't be an issue. I also said that I felt WTU was the biggest mistake I could have ever pushed my husband into doing. The protocols are ridiculous and NOT in the best interest of sick or wounded soldiers.
20 minutes later, just a few minutes after posting something similar to the above paragraph on Facebook I got another phone call telling me he did not have to see his PCP that he was good to go.
They need one story to stick to.
More on SMART Recovery:
SMART Recovery is a recognized resource for substance abuse and addiction recovery by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Center for Health Care Evaluation, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), US Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. You can get more information here!