I know I said I would be talking about my transition today from wilderness to a treatment program, but there is something else I really want to tell everyone about. On Friday morning, I graduated from my program!
I am feeling a whirlwind of emotions. I can’t believe this really happened. I am nervous about how life will look outside of that intensive setting. I am excited for what my future holds. Wow. I’ve been waiting for this day since the second I was placed in treatment. And it’s here!
The graduation itself was a beautiful event. Four other girls graduated with me. All of our parents made speeches, we each made a speech, and the director of our program picked out a necklace for each of us individually. She chose a necklace that means accomplishment and serenity for me. Her wish for me was to continue to look for that peace within myself and to never forget everything I accomplished while I was at her program. I am so grateful for the entire experience and I will never forget it. I am so proud of myself and my journey. I never thought happiness was possible, and especially not sober! Yet, here I am! Happier than I’ve ever been and I’m healthy. Who could’ve guessed?
Straight from my graduation, my parents and I flew to Southern Utah. I went back to my wilderness program for the weekend. They hold a workshop every six weeks for the parents who have a child in their program. This was also an incredible experience. I have gone once before, but this time was even better. I spent the weekend helping the parents understand what the process is like and reminding them that there is hope. I shared my own story at wilderness and all about my journey through treatment. If they think my participation helped them, I wish they knew how much the weekend did for me and my family.
It was so interesting for me to see the parents interact with each other. Some have girls in the program, some have boys and some have adults (adults are in the program by choice). Yet, they all bonded so much. I think it was so important for them to recognize the fact that they are not alone. I know I felt that way through a lot of my life, as though I was the only one and I had to keep it a secret or everyone would think I was a freak. But the connection between two people who have gone through something so similar is so genuine.
There are different branches of the wilderness program I went to in different locations. But, only one therapist leads the parent workshops, and I was very lucky that it was my old therapist! It was so amazing to see him. When he talks and explains things, it all makes sense. Everything just seems to click. I honestly never get bored of hearing him talk. I noticed the same feelings with the parent. I could see it in their eyes when he spoke, the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. I love being able to work with him again. He is such an inspirational and talented man.
I also know that from a kid’s perspective, I felt so supported. My parents attended the workshop while I was in the program over a year ago. I thought I was going to be the only one working. But my parents presence and actions said otherwise. It meant the world to me that they wanted to learn and grow along with me. I believe that was a crucial part of my success. I couldn’t change the family dynamics on my own. My whole family had to work together to figure out what we wanted life to look like and what we wanted for our future. I respect my parents so much for the work they did and the effort they put into this process. I hope that every family can recognize that and work together. It is very important to the healing process.
Overall, this past week was surreal. It feels as though it is just a home visit. But it’s not. I did the work, my parents did their work. And it paid off. I am officially a treatment graduate!
Don’t forget to come read next week’s post! I will get back on track and talk about my transition from wilderness to my residential program. The fourth blog will be posted at the same time next week, Tuesdays at 10:00 AM. (MST)
Comment any thoughts or questions you have!