Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Setting Goals for the Future

When you embark on a comprehensive drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation program for your substance-abusing teen, you are opening the door to a path that offers him the opportunity to work toward a future that is bright and exciting. What defines that future specifically in terms of academic accomplishment, mental and physical health, and interpersonal relationships will depend upon the goals that you and your son choose to focus on during treatment and beyond.

When you are aiding the therapeutic team here at Muir Wood in identifying goals for your son’s treatment, it is recommended that you:

  • Be open to suggestions. We specialize in teen substance abuse treatment, personalized treatment plans, and treatment goals. We’re here to help your son succeed.
  • Listen to your son. Even if your son is uninterested in substance abuse treatment, helping to engage him in his own recovery begins by taking his opinions into consideration when developing some of the goals for his treatment plan.
  • Think outside the box. Goals for treatment can extend beyond the cessation of substance abuse and academic improvement. Consider social goals, mental health goals, and personal goals as well.
  • Prioritize. It may not be possible to incorporate every goal into the initial phases of treatment. Comprehensive and individualized care often means heavy focus in certain areas first and then shifting focus as necessary to include new goals as the first ones are achieved.

Contact us at Muir Wood today to begin the recovery process for your son or download our enrollment packet to get started.

Different Areas of Focus

Consider the many areas of your son’s life that influence his happiness and ability to function. They may include:

  • Home life. It’s likely that your son’s relationships with you, his other parent, and siblings as well as extended family have been damaged by his drug use. Broken trust, angry fights, and disrespect can make it difficult to simply forget the past and move forward. One of the primary goals of any effective teen treatment program will be to help mend broken relationships at home and give all the primary players the skills they need to better communicate with one another and get their needs met.
  • School life. It’s rare for a substance-abusing teen to maintain straight As and a perfect attendance record at school. Treatment goals can include helping your son to get back on track academically by working on an independent treatment plan that addresses concepts he needs to stay at grade level to move forward despite his time spent in treatment.
  • Friends and acquaintances. Your son may have been making choices in friends based on drug use rather than applying more positive criteria. Treatment goals can include peer relationships and the nuances of finding and maintaining healthy friendships.
  • The future. Depending upon your son’s personal interests and hopes for his future, these goals may include development in areas of sport accomplishment, hobbies, or career interests.


The first priority in substance abuse treatment is to help your son stop using drugs and alcohol and stabilize medically. The next step is to determine which therapies and treatments will be necessary to aid him in addressing the co-occurring disorders or problems that are causing obstacles for your son’s development. The rebuilding of family relationships is always an important part as well, but the specifics and details of these goals and all others are determined by the personal experience and circumstances of the patient. What is most important to your son? To his future? Help him to think about the big picture, his life now and later, what he wants for himself, and how he wants to go about accomplishing these goals.

We Can Help

At Muir Wood, we jumpstart the recovery process with a comprehensive set of diagnostic tests and evaluations called neuropsych testing. From the results of this testing, we can create a course of action for your son’s treatment that tackles the co-occurring mental health issues, learning and cognitive abilities, behavioral obstacles, and family needs that must be addressed in order to help him maintain sobriety for the long term. The more comprehensive your son’s treatment, the better able he will be to manage issues healthfully – without turning to drugs and alcohol for escape or support.

Parents are heavily encouraged to be active and involved with every part of the recovery process. Contact us today at Muir Wood to learn more about our unique substance abuse treatment program for boys here in Northern California.