Is radical, positive, lasting change even possible?
When you think about the fact that the typical time for a youth at risk between the ages of 16 and 24 to remain in a job is less than 90 days, 2 years is a long time. When you consider that young offenders have a recidivism rate of approximately 43% and usually wind up back in the system within 3 years, 2 years is a long time. This is Jeff’s story.
At the time that we began coaching (January 2004), He was in his early 20s, recently married with a young child under 2 years old. When he came to me for help, he had just come out of detox, was separated from his wife because of domestic disputes, restricted from seeing his child, unemployed and couch surfing.
We began immediately with the Anger Solutions(TM) Coaching program and he committed to be honest and to follow through on his assignments. I have to mention his commitment, because without it, he would not have experienced such drastic change.
Within the first month this young man secured employment. It wasn’t easy for him because he was still learning to control his tendency toward aggression, but he worked through his frustrations and stuck with it. After demonstrating his commitment (there’s that word again) to changing his behaviour, his wife gradually began to invite him back into her life and to grant him more access to their child. By the time we completed coaching, he was gainfully employed and had already received a raise, and was working through reconciling with his wife.
There are so many neat things about our follow up that I could share, but it would eat up all the space in this newsletter. So here are the key points that he shared with me at his TWO year follow-up:
- He hasn’t gotten drunk in 2 years – in fact, he can count on one hand how many beers he’s had in 2 years
- He and his wife are fully reconciled and now have two children
- He has been employed steadily with the SAME employer for 2 years
- He has not had any negative contact with the law for 2 years
- The coolest thing of all is that since the age of 12, my client has been in trouble with the law and struggled with addictions. Since completing the Anger Solutions Program, he says this is the first time in his life that he has not been in jail, on bail, or on probation! Amazing!
Let me tell you something, when a client comes back after 2 years with a report like that, it gives me goose bumps. In each case that I have worked with, I have been truly amazed and awed at the program results. The key to the program’s success is twofold: the client must be fully committed to doing the work involved and the coach/counsellor must be open and flexible in order to facilitate the process of change. I believe that when these two factors are present, it is impossible for change not to occur! (This original case report was completed in February of 2007 – what follows is an update on this case).
One of the most amazing things for me about Jeff is that over the years, he has continued to struggle with his addiction, but has had long bouts of sobriety in-between each topple off the wagon. Jeff reached out to me on my birthday last year to let me know that he was in an addictions rehab program and was committed to working through his many challenges where addiction was concerned. Jeff has continued to use the tools he learned in Anger Solutions to challenge his personal beliefs, to re-direct himself from continuing in poor decision-making, and he continues to strive to be better than he was! That’s change in action! ~ Julie Christiansen, July 2019.