For Lauren H. the road to recovery was not a one stop destination. But the 20-year-old college student credits RedCliff Ascent for being the first, possibly most important, stop on her journey.
Lauren was an angry 16-year-old who found herself in the Utah wilderness after an unhealthy relationship ended in a suicide attempt. Besides anger issues and depression, Lauren had substance abuse problems her parents feared would ultimately kill her.
She spent 105 days in the Utah desert. “It felt like forever!” she says with a groan. “I didn’t make fire until day 70.”
“It was hard, frustrating and it was horrible,” she says. And, she adds, “I think it was the best experience of my entire life. I was able to prove to myself that I could do something. All my life I had people bailing me out of everything,” she says. “I learned I was able to fend for myself and build up my own strength.” Lauren would need that strength. After her return from RedCliff she fell back into bad relationships and drug abuse. She tried a local rehab clinic but relapsed again.
One day as she sat thinking about her RedCliff experience she had an awakening. “I realized I was worth something,” Lauren recalls. “I was worth something to myself because of everything I overcame at RedCliff. My value was more than those drugs I was using.”
“That gave me a foundation. I had to finally decide I don’t want to do this with my life. I don’t want to be an addict.”
Lauren started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings a little over a year ago. She’s been sober ever since.
She’s a straight ‘A’ student in college, studying psychology and English. And she’s in a healthy relationship.
“At RedCliff,” she says with a laugh, “I remember we wrote on our shoes ‘This too shall pass.’ At the time, I hated RedCliff and I thought my life was completely over. Now I look back and, in the grand scheme of things, three months is so tiny compared to life.”
“I know I’m capable of doing a lot more than I think I’m capable of. I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. When things get tough I don’t just give up any more.” She adds, “I’ve learned I can overcome things that I didn’t think I could overcome.”