I know I’m the Lucky One

Purple background with peacock feather.

I don’t really have the words to describe how I feel at this moment. I remember watching these graduations from a classroom wearing my blue oxford and thinking, “I can’t imagine doing that. I feel like I’ll never get there.” I really don’t think I would have made it this far. I didn’t think I’d be standing up here in front of you all with one year sober, a high school diploma, and the accomplishment of graduating from this program after 13 months. It all just feels so surreal.

On April 15, 2020, I was sent to Spring Ridge Academy, absolutely fighting for any last chances of going home. Screaming at my transporters, telling them this was all one big misunderstanding, which in fact, it wasn’t. I was thinking a few days ago about my journey with mental health and substance abuse, and something that I always talk about is my relationship with God. The night before I left for Spring Ridge Academy, I made a bad decision, you know. Did something I shouldn’t have, and I was having a terrible reaction to it, and it was just awful, and one of the only things I can remember about that night was thinking, “This is the last time. I can’t do this to myself anymore. I’m done. Never again.” It took me feeling like I was actually going to die for me to take a step away from my body, look at myself and think, “Wow. Okay. This is terrifying.” I think that was an act of God because I woke up that morning, and at 9 am off I went, and it was the last time.

I know I’m the lucky one. The one that got out. I got the help, but at the time, I didn’t feel so lucky. I longed to go back to my terrible ways of living. I saw my problems as my identity and didn’t know who I was without them. I found comfort in them. I didn’t want anyone to come and save me, for anyone to try and convince me that my life meant more than the things I put myself through. I simply did not care. I do now. It just took me a while. I walked into Spring Ridge Academy and approached my room Medina Room 2, and I saw the doorway all these posters and signs the girls had made for me. And there was this one that stuck out to me of an awfully illustrated cactus, and in big pink letters, it said, “We’re happy you’re here.  Even if you’re not,” and that stuck with me through the whole process.

My second day at Spring Ridge Academy was a Thursday, and it was the day I met my therapist. I remember lying to her in all of my intake questions because I assumed she’d deem me “perfectly fine” and tell my parents to come pick me up. That’s not how it went. The saying is true: the only way through it IS through it, which I finally accepted 3 and a half months into my stay. Recovering, accepting the help, coming to terms with the fact that I couldn’t keep living the way I had been was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. Yet, it was the most fruitful, most rewarding.

I left Spring Ridge Academy with the best friends I had ever made, who just fought through it with me every day. I will forever be grateful for the things I learned from each and every one of them. The amazing staff. My treatment team, who at times I absolutely resented but now know that they only had my best interest in mind. I got to work with the best there was, and I am so so thankful for each of them.

My mom and dad watched me give up on myself and who I put through so much. And they, day after day, fought for me and did everything they could to give me a better life. I love both of you. I have the two most amazing parents anyone could ever ask for. I did this for you guys until I found the strength to do it for myself. My sisters, Chloe, for all of the amazing artwork you sent me, the days you waited for me to get home from my 9-hour shift at McDonald’s just to tell me, “HI Princess.” And Elizabeth, all of the stories so vivid that I feel I was actually there and updates over the phone. I’m so happy to be with you guys again.

I learned so much from my time here. I want to thank everyone here for fighting for me when I couldn’t fight for myself. It’s bittersweet to move on, but I’ll never forget my year at Spring Ridge Academy.