In the addiction treatment industry, it’s not easy to forget who we are working for, we are reminded numerous times every day. We believe that in every decision we make the client must always be the first consideration.

If only parents thought that way.

When a parent misrepresents to us, to the treatment program, and/or to their child who is seeking help for addiction, things tend to go sideways. We experienced this today when a Mom manipulated things to the point her child lost out on a scholarship.

Scholarships are valuable, they are only available during a small window of time. If a parent doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity, thinking they can manipulate the system or find something better, the person that loses is their child, our client.

Who knew there would be times when putting the client first would be stymied by a stubborn parent?

It reminds me of those soccer games when my kids were young. And the poor kids on the field who were doing exactly what their awesome coach told them to do, but their over-zealous parent was yelling (screaming) completely different instructions from the sidelines.

To be honest, I hated youth sports.

I hated youth sports because of a) THAT parent (see above), and b) THAT coach (you know the one, the not-awesome coach who believes berating children on the field develops character). Honestly, I’m lucky I was able to control myself. It’s pure luck I wasn’t arrested just for my thoughts about those coaches. Kind of like my thoughts about the Mom today.

In any case, whether in the game of soccer or the game of life (in this case, recovery from addiction), we all need to set aside our pride, and depend on those who are trained, skilled, licensed and authorized to make the best call. In soccer, that’s the awesome coach. In the addiction recovery world, that’s those who are offering support through counseling, scholarships, training. The client and players can’t see the big picture, they need guidance, direction, honesty and support from those who know best how to provide it. And they need love from their family.

And there’s the rub. Love doesn’t equal knowing what’s best for your loved one. Parents need to be parents and let the professionals do their job. Let the awesome coaches teach and train.

That’s putting the client (their child) first.

That’s good sportsmanship.

That’s how to win…in soccer and in life and in recovery.

Everyone in the client’s life has a critical role, and they should be diligent in fulfilling THAT role. Not yours, not mine, but theirs.

Love makes the world go ’round, but it doesn’t replace knowledge and experience when dealing with addiction. So, get off the playing field and cheer on your loved one from an appropriate distance while the professionals do what they do best.

Your love may be the glue that binds once our client is firmly entrenched in recovery, but it’s the training learned by your loved one during treatment and ongoing counseling, meetings, and associations that will give them the skill sets that will save their life. Never forget that.

Love away, but let the professionals do their job.

Client first. Always our goal. On the field and off.

Jean Krisle is the CEO/Founder of 10,000 Beds, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is recovery. We are currently #OnTheRoad4Recovery through 2018 to elevate awareness, change perceptions around addiction and recovery, and connect with partners new and old. You can connect with Jean at the 2017 ETHOS conferences in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and New Orleans. You can support 10,000 Beds by making a contribution today to help provide scholarships for those without resources seeking help for addiction.