After I met with Dylan, I began to question myself. Maybe Bird and Dylan were right. Had I failed at my most important job, of being a parent? It seemed clear that the anger Dylan had toward me was not going away, and in fact seemed to be getting worse.
I called Dylan’s substance abuse counselor. I expressed my concerns and our conversation became heated. I was really worried about Dylan. I felt it was time to put him in treatment, but Bird disagreed. I felt as though the counselor had misinterpreted the situation in suggesting that I hand Dylan over to Bird. I wanted to convey to her that Dylan was now being cared for by his primary enabler.
“Bird is buying Dylan weed!” I blurted out. I was scared to say it. I didn’t want Bird to get in legal trouble.
“Well then why haven’t you called the police? That’s going to be a mandatory report to DHS, which will lead them back to you as the source of the information. You should know that Jess, you’re a social worker”.
My heart sank. What had I done? As I mentioned before, I felt complicit and it didn’t seem right to be calling out Bird if I wasn’t also going to implicate myself. Still I felt certain that an intervention was in order. If Dylan stayed in the situation he was in I knew that things would get worse.
I pointed out to the counselor that he was not compliant with the substance abuse diversion agreement we had signed. I wanted him in treatment, if nothing else than to give him some time off of drugs so that he could see himself clearly. The counselor agreed that he needed treatment. However, she warned me about the possible outcomes. The local adolescent treatment center was not a locked unit. Dylan would likely run. In addition if Dylan acted out as he had been doing, he would end up in a detention center. I was afraid of both outcomes. But I was more afraid of doing nothing.
The counselor explained that Dylan’s pending legal charges could be used as leverage in convincing Dylan to stay in treatment. Since the counselor’s recommendation was inpatient treatment, the juvenile court would likely remand him there if he refused to go on his own. She called the treatment center and made an intake appointment for Dylan the following Monday.
I called Bird on Sunday night to give her the news. I told her everything that the counselor and I had discussed.
Bird was not pleased. “I don’t think he needs treatment”, she said. “This is ridiculous. For marijuana? He is just doing what teenagers do!”
“I think he needs treatment,” I said, speaking as evenly as I could. “His counselor thinks he needs treatment. If he doesn’t follow through with the counselor’s recommendation, he will be expelled from school”. I told her about the intake appointment.
“What if I don’t bring him there?” Bird replied.
I was prepared for this. “Then you will be seen as interfering with medically indicated treatment.” I said, parroting the words the counselor had suggested.
A short time later I received a text from Bird saying, “I’ll have him there on Monday”. I was surprised. I expected much more of a fight.
Then I received a call from Dylan. I told him everything I had already told Bird. He was angry and kept talking in circles trying to find his way out of the situation.
“Dylan, I’m doing this because I lov..”
He cut me off. “You’re a stupid fucking bitch,” he said, hanging up.