I was young and I didn’t know how to cope properly with life’s pressures. Growing up with the expectation of having to be perfect in every possible aspect of my life suffocated me and drove me to deviate not just from the standards inside my family but also from that of society. I created my own ideals, adopted extremely religious if not political ideologies, and engaged in dangerous behaviors not caring if I was putting my life at risk. I asserted my freedom in venues where I lost my sense of self and confused it with other extreme associations just to feel like I am someone and that I had a purpose. My idealism got the best of me and led me to become self-destructive – I quit school, moved out of my dorm along with other secret engagements I had lied about to my parents, told my family that I’d detach from them, and was bent to live a completely different life.
I was brought into treatment to which I was naturally resistant in the beginning. I was counseled, confronted, and taught many things. I learned that the problems I had were just the surface of things and I had a lot of deep-seated issues that had to be resolved. Facing and understanding my past, and addressing my traumas and wounds, I got to understand why I had such a negative sense of self-worth and why, while blaming myself for it, I chose to deal with life in a very destructive manner. I realized that I was being propelled by unconscious forces in my life.
Sacrificed by my family, embraced by a community who relentlessly loved and confronted me, accepting I have a problem, understanding what was the problem, and being helped with what to do has helped me a lot in my recovery. I learned the Nazareth way of life, understood myself better, and why I did the things I did. I learned to get out of my negativity which I thought the whole world was about and was able to build connections with other people. My relationship with my family got better and I found productive endeavors that make me grow as a person.
I have a sense of accountability over my own life now and am constantly learning responsibility and independence. Now it’s clearer what I want to do and am continuously planning my steps to how I achieve my goals because I found meaning and purpose in what I do. But if I ever get confused or have a hard time, my support group is always there – my loved ones, the program, and the good friends I have outside. I completed the program a year ago and I still face challenges as a recovering person, but I also still have people who care for and invest in me. Sometimes I still wonder how I got here from being cynical to being grateful for everything I have now. I even accept things I didn’t dare to do before. And finally, a relationship with a higher power to which I allow myself to be vulnerable. Truth is, I don’t wish for an easy life, but that I will be able to be strong and grow even when things get difficult. That’s why I can’t be complacent. The harder it gets, the stronger I should commit to my recovery.
K.- Was enrolled in the adolescent program for behavioral and psychiatric conditions; now currently a full time college student