This is a story by a student who struggled with alcohol abuse. He left our program a few months ago.  I keep in contact with him and he is doing really well still. He gave me permission to reprint this – Roger Nelson, LCSW, RedCliff Ascent Therapist

For I was Blind, But Now I Can See
Here I am, with a new life, new goal, new aim. I see myself today as a much more different person than I was before.I look back at my past life as if it happened decades ago, like when an old man recites his past.

 I went to RCA a week after I turned 15. To be honest, I don’t remember much before RCA and I try not to think about it. I tell myself I was born at RCA. I don’t care what others say about my birth.

RCA has changed me. I remember I never even used to believe in change. I couldn’t imagine it.  I was totally stubborn about change. I was just not interested in it.

I was more interested in other things, like ‘getting laid’, alcohol, smoking, drugs, clubs that I somehow got into and making out with girls while drunk. I couldn’t be bothered with school. I was distracted by the things I considered ‘fun.” I became really depressed because my mum had hidden all the alcohol in the house. Without me even knowing at the time I was hooked on alcohol. I was addicted. I thought that when I was drunk I was in control of myself. I thought I could easily control how much I had and that I could handle it. Obviously, I thought wrong and I realized this only at RCA.

I looked at alcohol as an escape route. When I was drunk I could be whoever I wanted to be. I could have as much fun as I wanted. It was only later I realized that I was trapped. I depended on alcohol so much to make me happy that I ended up hurting others as they watched me go down a bad road.

I had 5 different therapists before RCA, 2 family therapists and none of them seemed right for me. That was until I went to RCA.

Me, my mum and my dad had a meeting .My mum brought up the idea of this place and showed me the website. I thought I knew everything about this place. A few months at somewhere in a hot desert was amazing to me because in England it’s cold. All I thought was ‘I’m going to get one heck of a tan and look awesome’. And it’s therapeutic so I’m like, “OK, let’s see if this therapist has the power or is strong enough to beat the crap out of me and get me the heck out of depression.”

Turned out he was a mind-reader. My first therapy session he told me that I like to avoid questions.  No-one in my life had ever noticed that. None of my past therapists told me this! Man, I used to love therapy day.  I actually cried a few times. Deepwater (my therapist) was pretty good. Deepwater is psychic. He is my genius therapist.

My first day at RCA it all hit me. I was so concerned about being trapped there and all this work. I have never worked for anything in my life. I didn’t need to. It was all done for me, or I was sort of manipulating them to do the task for me.

I finally saw the right path to keep on. I had a totally different mind-set. I used to be kept really mysterious and to myself. I was basically wearing a mask the whole time, shielding who I was. But then I saw positive things on revealing who I am. I trusted that my therapist and the staff would help me. I saw so many other people just walking up to the staff and talking to them so I wanted to give it a shot and so I took off my mask and told them who I was, and that I needed help. They helped me out so much and I’m ever so grateful of them and for me, for even thinking of opening up.

I was developing a new character, a new mind-set, a new work-ethic (this is a trait I’m proud of because I used to be a lazy guy). I gave others a ton load of respect and I also received some in return. In the process of this, I learned to be self-disciplined in my actions and showed others compassion and that I really did understand and care.

 Deepwater had always been helping me see the good path, a better view in the light. I had always been struggling to escape the darkness. The alcohol was tough to get out of my mind, but I was open about it, that I was finding it hard to get alcohol out of my mind, so he helped me. It took a while but I finally understood. I don’t need to involve alcohol. It just got in the way of my goals.

 The values, everything I had learned at RCA are now applied to my life. I exercise every day, I eat 5 fruit or veg a day, haven’t failed yet.  I’m writing good poems. Now before I engage in situations I think of the values, such as, if I do this it shows I’m a compassionate person. If I do this it shows I’m honest and reliable etc.

I’ve been told that I’m doing crazy good by my teachers (not in these words though!). They’ve been saying that I’m doing way beyond expectation. I’m predicted A’s for my exams with nearly all my subjects. For a few I’m predicted B’s. I’m learning the piano. Man, I’ve got a list. My goal is to become an author just after I leave University, to do good at school, so I’m aiming for it. I’m going to accomplish this.

For I was blind, but now I can see, for it was my guide that set me free.

I have finally found my inner peace. I don’t care what people say, I was born at RCA.