From heavy drugs and self harm to happiness, this is my story. “I’m going to do whatever I want and I don’t care any more.” That’s how Emily T. describes her attitude. “My life was falling apart before RedCliff. I was into a lot of heavy drugs and drinking. I had a lot of issues with self-harm. My identity was lost and I didn’t know who I was.”
Emily dropped out of school and says she lost herself. “I had no self-esteem.” When a close friend died, Emily felt she had hit rock bottom. She says, “One night I woke up and I really just had one of those moments. It was like, ‘What am I doing to my life?’ I got fired from my job. I’ve lost everything and I’ve lost myself.”
Her father approached her with the idea of RedCliff. “When my dad presented it to me first I said no. Then I had a wake up call and I just knew I needed to do this. I didn’t know exactly what was facing me. I just knew I was going to Utah.”
Thousands of miles from her home in Australia, without drugs or drinking to fall back on, Emily loathed her first weeks in the Utah desert. She hated her father for sending her and hated herself for agreeing to go. “Anger was my only emotion and I hated everyone.”
“I was angry for a long time,” she says. “I was very unmotivated and doing nothing was my agenda”.
At that point, Emily says, was when she began asking herself why she was angry. “I just started really looking into why – why am I angry? I started trying to find answers. My realization was my father had done nothing to deserve this anger.”
“It was a very clear moment when I realized I need to take this opportunity and help myself,” she says. “When I made that decision, that’s when things started changing in my life.”
She began opening up – first in her phase work and her therapy sessions. “Each phase you had to write about a certain topic with certain questions. That’s really where it started – asking myself those questions and starting to write about it.” “My whole attitude changed towards everything. I wasn’t miserable any more. It wasn’t like I have to do this. It was like, OK, let’s do it!”
Emily says what she learned at RedCliff, and later at Discovery Ranch, gave her the skills she would rely on for life. A year after completing those programs, facing the pressures of her first semester of college and life on her own, she started smoking pot. “I stopped myself,” she explains. “I said, ‘Whoa! What am I doing? I can’t ruin my life again.’ I realized that’s not what I want for myself.”
Emily says, “RedCliff was the first thing I had finished from beginning to end and really gone through everything. It was finding that inner courage in myself that I can do what I set my mind to. I really can do it!”
“In the past I would always give up. Now it’s like when I struggle I just go back to that place and I remind myself I can do it. It helps me on my way in many aspects of my life. I am able to set goals and achieve them. I will be able to achieve if I just do it.”
One of those goals is graduating from college. She finished her Associate’s Degree and Is planning a career in law enforcement.
“Being at RedCliff I really started a journey of finding who I was.”