Substances made me feel invincible

I was stumbling down a path of bad influences

Before I arrived at Shelterwood, I did a lot of “soul-searching” and not in the right ways. I turned to drugs, alcohol, and bad influences to fill me up as a person. I thought that I was discovering myself and substances made me feel invincible, the person I thought I really wanted to be. I started to get into other things like sneaking out, ditching school, and not getting along with my parents. My parents started to catch on to my behavior.

The summer before I arrived at Shelterwood, I left my house because the tension between my parents and me was just too much for me to handle. I left my phone at home and packed my bags. I stayed with one of my friends for the entire summer and couch surfed with nothing on which to survive. My parents contacted me and we made a plan to meet up.

I thought I was going to be able to move back in for the school year but next thing I know, I am saying goodbye to my little sister and driving all the way out to Missouri. I thought my world was crashing down all in one day. I didn’t think my life would go this way and thinking about how out of control I was, it was really scaring me.

There are so many things that I could say impacted me at Shelterwood. The one I most value is learning how to relate to people and just getting to know them on a personal level before I make a judgment. I really benefited from just learning who I was as a person. I set goals for myself and I really figured out what I wanted to do with my future and how I was going to get there.

I left Shelterwood feeling the most confident, happy, and healthy person I really have ever been. My parents and I had some rough patches after I left Shelterwood. But we are starting to learn who we are as people, how we work, and to love beyond the things we can’t change about each other.

I am a strong person now, and I know what I want and how to achieve it. I am so thankful for everything they did for me at Shelterwood. It was a great time to get away and just spend some time to discover who I was. I am so grateful that I got this opportunity.

Chloe S.

Change is a process

Screen Shot 2015 04 09 at 12.25.11 PM 300x199 Change is a processChange is a process, not an event

Do you ever say, “We have already dealt with this, why is he/she still struggling with this?” As parents we crave growth and change so deeply that once we see it displayed, even once, it is really hard to accept when it isn’t immediately repeated. Seeing behavioral growth might even tempt us to get caught up in the success and bring our teen home prematurely. After all, it is really tough to cover the costs of residential care and live so far away from our kids. It is natural to want them home, especially when we see good things happening. But teens that are required to attend treatment tend to demonstrate improved behavior before they have truly changed on the inside. Much like a cake when it is pulled prematurely out of the heat, it will always flop. Change isn’t about making one good choice when everyone is watching. The true mark of growth is when your teen makes the right choice when no one will know. This type of deep character growth that impacts all future decisions is what you should be seeking. So be patient and move through Shelterwood with purpose rather than with reaction. Your teen might return home with a depth that might surprise you.