When I posted that thread, I was kinda curious about how people would view the situation.
FWIW, the decision had already been made prior to that, but I was still curious.
Anyhow, here’s how it went down.
The director, at first, required that all clients turn in their cell phones at intake. Needless to say, this was met with substantial resistance. So, for a while, the rule was no cell phones. This put a great deal of stress and burden on staff. Instead of helping clients with things like medical appointments, therapy referrals, housing referrals and many other worthy endeavors, the staff was consumed with playing, “Cell Phone Police.” One person said, I spend all my time trying to score a “GOTCHA.”
Another situation was the clients themselves. Nobody likes a snitch. So, we don’t use the term “SNITCH.” Instead, we have euphemized the concept and call it “Supporting one another’s recovery.”
So if Jimmy rats on Joey, we don’t say that Jimmy snitched on Joey, we say that Jimmy was supporting Joey’s recovery. Pretty soon, the whole house was seriously involved in “Supporting One Another.”
One of the officials in the organization posed this question: “Has drug use within the facility decreased as a result of having everyone turn in their cell phones?” The answer was that it made no difference. People who are going to use are going to find a way to get what they want regardless of rules or laws.
The debate continued and a statement was made about “Even Charles Manson has been able to get cell phones in prison.” Another statement, “Even the homeless on the streets of San Francisco have cell phones.”
Then another fact came to be realized. There were a number of people who abandoned treatment because they were not allowed to have their phone. Others declined the opportunity to get treatment at all if they must forfeit the right to have a cell phone.
Let’s face it, if they are not in treatment, there’s nothing we can do to give them the treatment they need and desire.
For some people, both addicts and normies, the cell phone has become like a security blanket. That is not a judgment, just a fact.
So finally, the decision was made to allow them to have cell phones, with a few minor, but reasonable restrictions. No cell phones during groups or meetings and things like that.
At this point, the decision appears to be the right one. Our philosophy is that we are not employed to be punishing anyone. Our job is to provide treatment. We keep searching for better, more effective ways of doing this. As the world changes, our methods may need to change also.
Oops, almost forgot this tidbit. A number of clients are within certain “Protected Classes.” This means they have disabilities or other situations that give them special privileges and rights. One of these is access to free legal counsel. Be assured, our organization has no extra money to afford attorneys to wage endless war with the Legal Defense Teams that clients have access to. Going to court over a cell phone? I don't think so.