I went to Maryhurst when I was 15 — almost 16 — and completely out of control. I had been using drugs and alcohol for some time to ease the pain of emotions I was unable to understand. My parents couldn’t manage my behaviors at home. I kept stealing the car and going out driving while I was drunk. Eventually, I was taken from my family so I could get the help I needed.
At the time, Maryhurst did not have a specific drug and alcohol program like they do today. Still, the structure was very good for me. I had no access to drugs and alcohol, and having set expectations and responsibilities helped me stay in control. I was safe while I was there – and so was society since I wasn’t out endangering others by driving drunk.
Unfortunately, after I left Maryhurst, I continued to struggle because I had not dealt with the roots of my addiction. Like others, I had to hit rock bottom before I finally was truly able to make changes in my life. I am so glad Maryhurst now has such an excellent program to help girls with these battles.
I had the privilege of returning to Maryhurst a few years ago as a staff person, getting to help others as I had been helped. When I was a youth at Maryhurst, I remember how important relationships with staff were – having people to listen to me and talk to me. Even years later I remember specific interactions I had with staff who became significant to me. Because of this, when I came back as a staff person myself, I tried always to remember how important that human connection was to the process of treatment.
I finished my master’s in Social Work in 2012, and by the grace of God I have been sober for 10 years. I moved on from Maryhurst when I received my graduate degree and have worked with women battling addiction in halfway houses and jails. I want to share my own experiences with them in hopes of helping them get off the destructive paths they are on.
If I had a message to share with Maryhurst’s staff, it would be to encourage them to continue working with the Good Shepherd values of mercy, zeal, reconciliation, and individual worth. I would also remind them that spending a few minutes listening to a kiddo today may have incredible benefits 20 years from now. Keep trudging (walking with a purpose) and thanks for all you do.