I am writing this review after seeing a review posted by Sharon regarding the Recovery Management Service (RMS) in Concord, posted Nov 2010. Sadly, we had a very similar experience at RMS — Everything Sharon said is true, but Ill add to what she related. We were at RMS before Sharons son was perhaps Sharons family couldve avoided their bad experience if I had written a review back then. I wish I had, but it has taken me a long time to recover from what happened to us there Im only now able to really write objectively about it. Our son had an addiction to alcohol and we turned to RMS in desperation. It seemed the answer to our prayers. We were convinced that it was the right place for both our son and for us their program included a parent support group led by a counselor which we sorely needed. We did not even consider the great cost of the program because at that time we wouldve paid anything for someone to help our son even though we do not have a lot of money. Upon admittance into the program, the staff was warm and caring and we left our son there feeling that he was in kind and caring hands.
Our son tried to tell us that he was being treated badly there, but we did not believe him, partially because he had been lying to us for years, and partially because the owner and other staff counseled us on what he might say. Also, we were so vulnerable ourselves that we werent thinking very straight ourselves. The owner convinced us that our son needed to be there for more than a month in fact we kept him there for almost 4 months. However, by the third month, it had become clear to us that the environment at RMS was not healthy. We were appalled at the constant yelling and bad language that we heard from the staff. The family members that ran the center did not get along and did not behave professionally there were several instances when we heard them yelling and swearing at each other. We witnessed the owner in particular being rude, overbearing and condescending to other clients and their family members; and we also experienced this behavior directed at us multiple times.in fact, we became uncomfortable at our weekly visits to RMS, fearing that we were going to be chastised or chewed out by the owner.
Our son seemed to be in constant trouble as well at times the explanations for why he was denied family visits or weekend privileges just seemed wrong. I know that our son was difficult to have as a client there but then most addicts are difficult. And we, as parents, did not always follow the rules of the center, mainly because we did not realize exactly what the rules were or why they were so important and we were not the only parents that had this experience as several other families told us they were getting in trouble for breaking rules they did not know were rules. We wouldve gladly followed all the rules if they had been clearly explained when our son was admitted, but they were not, nor were they provided in the paperwork.in fact, to us, the rules seemed inconsistent and made up on the spur of the moment. Family members were supposed to be provided tools and guidance to help them recognize and stop their enabling behavior as part of the RMS program instead of guidance we were treated as if we were sabotaging the program, and doing it on purpose. When we broke a rule, we were treated as though we were criminals instead of being coached and guided as would be more appropriate. We feel that RMS lost sight of their important charter that the addicts and their families are people, both in need of serious help and compassion. We feel that our son was beaten down, targeted, yelled at constantly, and made to feel like he was the lowest of the low treated like an inmate instead of client. The owner began telling our son that she was going to write a bad report about him and that he would have to go back to jail; I guess she thought that would scare him and get him under her control perhaps it was her habit to use that threat with her many clients who were actually there under court order. But in fact, our son had not been in jail and had not been on a court order to go to RMS we had chosen RMS on our own. How could she not be aware of that?
Perhaps the owner truly hated our son as her behavior toward him indicated, but if that was the case, she should not be in the business she is in. Staff at recovery centers need to rise above clients behaviors and demonstrate how the clients should behave.instead, the staff, especially the owners, allowed their own behavior to drop to that of the clients or even lower completely unprofessional and in our opinion, damaging and hurtful to the clients and their families. I will say that it appeared to us that the male clients were treated much worse than the female clients, so hopefully the female clients had a more positive, nurturing experience than the men. One of the female clients repeatedly told one of her family members that our son was targeted and treated badly and that she felt he did not deserve it that family member talked to us about it several times. And finally, several male clients actually reached out to us directly and told us that our son was being targeted unfairly by the owner. Even despite all of these things, we decided to keep our son there through the agreed-to completion date as we felt that he needed to learn how to work with and survive difficult situations in life. We even considered having him stay in RMSs clean and sober house after he completed the program, but we decided during the last week to go to a different clean and sober house. At the point of that decision, treatment of our son by the owner became even worse. Based on her behavior, we believe that the owner was so angry that we chose to leave the center, that she took her anger out on both our son and on us.
Just like Sharons son, the owner kicked our son out of the program before his completion date. The owner actually threw a fit at us during a family night and when we stood up for our rights not to be treated rudely, yelled at and chewed out in public, she kicked us all out of the program and made us take our son home that night. RMS refused to let our son have the appropriate closure by going through the program graduation, and they refused to refund any of our fee. The program cost us over $30,000 and we found out afterward that they had charged us more than any of the other clients we talked to I guess they knew a sucker when they saw one and took advantage of our vulnerable state. Our son was so traumatized by the treatment he received at RMS, that when a good friend of his was arrested for drug addiction and given a choice between jail time or going to a recovery center, our son actually advised his friend to choose jail. That alone tells you how bad of an experience it was for our son at RMS. Luckily, our sons friend chose the recovery center and I am happy to say that he has had a very positive experience at a center located in San Jose, California where he says he is happy, and is treated with respect and compassion. So, thankfully, not all recovery centers are like RMS. I dont feel guilty for having sent my son to a recovery center after all, he was an addict and he needed something to bring him to his senses but I do feel guilt for having chosen RMS, and for not changing to another center when it became clear that our son was being treated so inhumanely. Neither my son nor I and my husband have completely recovered from our experience with RMS perhaps we never will.in fact, my son is the one who saw the posting by Sharon and told me about it today, so his experience is still heavy on his mind. But, perhaps now, we can move on. Today, when we talked about Sharons posting, my son said something that has made me feel that things will be ok despite the damage that RMS caused us. When I said to my son that I wished that I had listened to him back then and moved him to a different recovery center, he said You know Mom, you did the best you could back then and its ok, because Im ok now, and I made friends there that I would not give up for anything. Even though it was the worst experience of my life, I now have these friends because of it. For him to say that is truly a gift to me it has allowed me to finally forgive myself for making the bad decision to trust RMS with my sons well-being. And thank you too, to Sharon, for having the courage to post her experience, for giving me the strength to post our experience as well, and for confirming for me that I am not crazy. What happened did happen, and it wasnt right. It has been a few years since our terrible experience with RMS, so I sincerely hope that the center has changed its ways since then. Recovery Centers provide a great service that is necessary and if you need it, I strongly advise you to go to one. Despite our experience, I still believe that we did the right thing in admitting our son to a recovery center. But I advise anyone considering a recovery center to choose it carefully. And if it doesnt feel right, leave it, and find another one before it damages your loved ones self-esteem more than their addiction already has.