Family Testimonials

Memories from a Mother

Memories from a Mother

"Our son Laurance was born in 1960. He was an adorable baby named after his Daddy and Uncle, (who died when the USS Wasp (carrier) sank in World War II.)

Our boy was loved by his grandparents, cousin, and everybody he would be with. His winning smile and infectious laugh was something else. I've always wished I had a recording of his laugh.

When we went to adopt a little boy in 1963, at the Children's Home, Laurance said, "Well, let's take him home!" The family was very close.

The boys had many little friends in the neighborhood. My husband would bring home big furniture boxes and yell "boxes!" Then, the whole gang had a good time breaking them down and sliding.

In high school, a class trip was the start of his downfall because the kids smoked and drank. In those years of public high school, he smoked pot, etc. I threw away pipes when I found them. His dad even grounded him when he found booze in his room the night of the Prom.

College wasn't any better. He was using even more. He was drinking, doping, and spending money on things he couldn't pay for. He went to treatment facility for 30 days, but it didn't cure him.

It wasn't until 2006, when he gave his life to Christ in the County Jail. He told me later that he read the Bible 3 times. We sent him to Fresh Start and we rejoiced with him on his wise decision. Then a little while later we flew out for a visit and found a son who was a totally different person, our clean and loving boy was back to his mom, dad, and family.

All those 30 years I knew things were not right and I couldn't fix it; but God did. Your treatment program was the answer to our prayers for the entire family.

This is a wonderful day for me!
Laurance is now a proud dad and granddaddy!
A special thanks to everyone at your facility,"

Rita B.

Luckily, our child did not die

To Whom It May Concern,

My daughter had been a concern since high school when she first started pot. We got her into a drug treatment program and she supposedly did well. We did not realize that a strict follow-up was needed and a change in thought.

After another treatment in a 30 day program 4 years later, the thought was this was it and all was well. The problem is that the treatments did not focus on what to do afterward, mainly no association with past friends and a whole new way of thinking was needed. Life was a turmoil prior to her receiving help from your facility.

Luckily, our child did not die but hit bottom with continued drug use. A program that was greater than 30 days was needed as well as follow-up and strict adherence to the program. The impact on the family is really indescribable. Health, money, energy, and relationships were lost. I do not think that a lot of that is restored and somehow you go on. It is usually due to self-preservation and care for other family members. Really it is a form of getting a cancer. The fight is on.


Your treatment program was a great help. A change of thought was needed to break the cycle and the your program teaches that. We finally have a hope that addiction can be altered with a set plan. The constant turmoil is gone and we can finally begin to heal. The education that is being taught at the program is so valuable to the addict. A way is shown to pull out of a dead end way of life. Most important a better way is shown through an extended stay longer than 30 days program.

Joan Z.

A Letter from an Aunt

"How do I start? Our family is like most families. We are close and care very much what happens to each other. Being large in number we do have many different problems and challenges. I have 5 brothers and only one sister. My sister and her husband have worked very hard to build their lives and provide for their family. They started with nothing and have built a successful business and family of their own. The rest of the family was so proud and happy for them. They have 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. They have been given much. Their folks wanted them to have what they didn't as children. So yes, they were spoiled, they looked like they had it all and were doing so well.

My niece, Michelle, is their second child, she was so sharp, did well in school, and loved her family dearly.

Why was it she who turned to drugs?

In our eyes she had it all. Remember we are a large family; I have two brothers who use drugs and alcohol. They are lost to the family. They bring heart ache and pain to us all. Sadness and sorrow is felt for them.

It is a hole in the heart of the family.

So when our niece turned to drugs it was devastating to us all.

How, HOW, could this happen? The hurt and loss we were feeling were unbearable. The thought of this evil taking another one of us was so over powering, the hurt so painful. Why do they choose this over us? To see a young healthy, sharp, vibrate girl turn into a sunken, crashed, broken body, what a shame, what a shame on us we thought.

I am not sure quite how it happened, but the choice for her to go to your treatment facility was chosen. So far from us all but a choice was made. Hope was in sight and to know she was in a safe place. Your treatment facility gave us hope and she started the program. We all learned. Not easy, not quick, not even sure, but slowly we got our niece back. We all learned that we can make good choices and live up to them. We are in control of our own lives and bodies. We must be responsible for our own choices and life.

Your facility and staff has brought me back a niece I thought we had lost and didn't know why. I know now choices, responsibility, clean living and to give back.

Your program can teach and relearn the value of life.

Who we are and how to be a productive person in society. Choices and where they take you. Your facility was that choice that saved my niece and bought her back better to us. She is better then before because she knows the value of her life and how it is intertwined with us, her family. She knows now that she is in charge of her choices and what happens to her body and soul.

The mind is clear; Your program has taught her this and has given her, her life back and ours too.

Your recovery program eoes not use drugs to get them off drugs.

They re-teach them to be themselves and to be healthy; to be aware of the reality of life. I have been to the California facility, It's a safe clean place. NO fancy frills or extra stuff just a place of hope and choices. I am so glad for the choice your program and again I say I have my niece back, to me, better the before. For she knows her choice and why and I know why too."

Sheila H.
Gillette, WY

My husband and I would like to express

Dear All,

My husband and I would like to express our gratitude toward your organization and the group of selfless individuals who run it day in and day out. Our son Frank was a good person all of his life up until his early teenage years. Even through his remaining teen years he was a good kid but we could tell that things were changing and not for the better.

Slowly but surely as Frank grew older he started to attract the wrong crowd of people and he became less and less the person we always knew he was. He started to seclude himself and of course wound up using drugs and alcohol to excess. It started on a smaller scale in the beginning but progressively grew to a stage where he needed help. At first we thought it was just recreational and that he'll grow out of this stage and move forward in life. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We knew over the years that he had dabbled with drugs and alcohol but did not for a second see what was coming.

One day he came to us upset and crying and asking for help. We found out that he had an addiction to pain medication that he was buying for "partying" purposes and just having fun. Of course we as parents did what we felt was right and helped him find an outpatient program. He attended this for a while and we figured that the problem was handled. Again, we didn't know the magnitude of what he was involving himself into. Frank eventually did a few inpatient programs for short stints of time because his addiction then became heroin and he still hadn't handled anything that got him into this situation. It was a gradual downfall for him that wound up getting him hooked and dangerously to this potentially lethal drug that he was buying from horrible people on the streets.

Our son had fallen apart. Nothing worked. My husband and I supported and assisted him in anything we thought would help him and of course got swindled into believing anything he told us. Meanwhile nothing was changing for the better. It got worse. He wound up in jail at least a couple of times that we knew of and still that didn't wake him up. Our son had become some kind of mechanical being that seemed to have no true feelings and no remorse for the pain that he instilled into anybody who loved him or showed concern or care for his well being. He simply didn't care.

His wife desperately struggled to keep him from harm's way but he was on some type of destructive mission and wouldn't be stopped. Some of the horror stories that his wife would tell us of the manipulation methods he pulled on her were simply astounding. How could someone so intelligent use all ingenuity to slowly kill himself? And furthermore how could he not even care about himself enough to stop when all things that kept happening were without a shadow of a doubt killing those around him?

Finally we had received a phone call from a friend of Frank's who had gone through a program in California to get her life straightened out.

It had worked for her. She was living the good life that her family deserved and that she deserved for herself. She gave us the name and number and we called. We had never heard of this place and for that matter we had never really had a need to know of any place of this nature. It took a hell of a lot of effort to get Frank to drop everything and agree to go but we did it. We didn't take no for an answer. The truth is, whatever he had left at that point was about to be lost regardless and that included his wife and our support. It was simply tearing us into pieces and our lives were not our own anymore. It wasn't easy but he finally got onto the plane and made it to California. I flew with him to make sure he wouldn't run off. It was that bad. We were met by a staff member at the airport and they took him to their facility to start his program.

Frank spent about 3 1/2 months in California to do this program and this was back in 2000. Frank is still clean today and hasn't turned back at all. He took on the opportunity to stay out there and work for the organization. My husband and I missed him greatly but felt a great sense of relief that he was out there and not back here killing himself anymore.

My son today has a beautiful 2 year old daughter coming from his wife who stuck with him through all of this. Our son is happy, his family is well and happy, we are happy and our son lives every day to help other people. He stayed with the program and works there. We have been out there to visit many times and every time we do, we are more and more proud of our son. He is truly showing his colors that we knew were always there. It still took a while to trust our son as there was so much damage prior to him leaving, yet we have found that trust again in him. To a parent, that means the world.

I can count on my son! I know that what he tells me is true and that he'll back that up anytime. We know that the indescribable and hideous past that we all shared with Frank through his drug addiction is over and has been for quite some time now.

Sending Frank to the Fresh Start facility was worth every dime that it took to do so. We really thought that our son was going to die. We really started to prepare for that. We didn't have hope anymore. Then we were contacted by one of the Staff named Dave who mentored him through his program and then some. Dave wasn't alone. Frank raved about the staff there and showed a true caring for people that we haven't seen or heard from him in years. It seemed like his inner self had returned. Slowly but surely he became more and more responsible and I believe that he is a better person than he's ever been.

Your treatment facility truly gave us our son back!

Catherine A. R.

I just wanted to write to you

Dear Staff,

I just wanted to write to you and tell you what our lives were like before I found your program for Michael.

Everyday was so scary, not knowing if our son would be safe from drugs. Every time he left our home, I would dread answering the phone. Sometimes it would be his work calling to say he hadn't shown up and they were worried; which would put me in a panic wondering was he ok?

How many times did my husband and I call the hospitals to see if he had been admitted, or called jails to see if he had been arrested? We would get in the car at all hours of the night to search for him. We could not sleep or carry on a regular family life with Michael on drugs. He would lie, steal and sneak out the window in a panic for drugs; it consumed all aspects of his life. He lost our trust, but never our love for him. We wanted him safe and free of drugs.

That's when I found your program. I am so thankful that I made that first

Phone call. The staff at your facility was so reassuring and confidant that they could help our son.

They were so right! We have our Michael back. He is happy and living a productive full life without drugs. Your facility and staff gave Michael a second chance on life. The program works and we are so thankful to them. Our daily lives are peaceful, and I can say quite normal again.

Patricia S.

And once something so valuable is lost

To whom it may concern,

Prior to our oldest daughter going to your treatment program it was like playing the game of life with several cards missing. Our family was not whole. Life goes on but the game is not the same. We were successful in so many ways but an all important part just was not there. Her brother, sisters, nieces, nephews . . . we all missed her terribly. She was not only lost to us but her own young family; husband, son and daughters. After a while we kind of gave up on the drug problem after years of trying. It gets to be worse than trying to pound a square peg in a round hole. It becomes seemingly impossible. There gets to a point of no answer.

We had this child we conceived. She meant more than any fortune could buy when she was born. We tried to raise her well with all the love and guidance we could. Certainly the same love and guidance we used with our other children. But we were young too . . . was that it? Where did we go so wrong was a constant question? After all we sure were not perfect parents. But this . . . why?

Our daughter went to your program by recommendation and things changed actually fairly quickly. Soon we got word she was doing well. I might add for the first time in years. Soon we heard from her but not the same old thing. She meant it with certainty that it was working for her. It has worked for her exceptionally well.

It has been several years now and we have our little girl back. We have the missing link to our family as a whole. We have the fabulous daughter we knew forty years ago would grow up well adjusted and happy.

When our daughter was born there were no tests to tell whether it was a boy or girl. We never cared. Our only concern, right hand to God, was he or she will grow up well adjusted and happy.

Your facility has made that wish come true for us. Has the worry, time, heart ache and expense been worth it? Yes . . . she is worth more than any fortune could buy . . . priceless!

And once something so valuable is lost it becomes more valuable given the opportunity to have it again. Priceless is not enough of a word to explain the joy, pride and value given to our lives once again after knowing for certain it was lost.

Your facility and our dearest daughter . . . thank you!


When Gordy went to your treatment program

To Whom It May Concern,

My brother Gordon has been an addict for over 24 years. He drank alcohol like a mad man, chased women and basically destroyed almost every positive relationship that he ever had.

Once the blast of crack cocaine was involved, all hell broke loose.

Thanks to your program, Gordy has his life back. He is a responsible, caring person and has taken cause over his life. The program changed his behavior, but more importantly it changed the way he views life.

When Gordy went to the treatment program my family was at wits end. We have finally found a place different from the 12 step. Your program offered that choice. Instead of blaming his genes, family, job, and society-Gordy now takes control of his situation and knows that he is the master of his domain.

He is NOT powerless. He realized now that HE caused the problems and HE made the choices. He is more independent today then I have ever known him. He is a pleasure to be around. His responsibility level is off the charts.

I can't thank you enough. You gave me my brother back.

Your facilities approach to addiction is, too me, the best possible solution. It teaches the addict to take control over his life and raise his responsibility level.

That is just what Gordy has done and we will always be grateful to the program for bringing out Gordy's potential and God given talent.

Douglas V.

My son was addicted to drugs

To Whom It May Concern,

My son was addicted to drugs and in all kinds of trouble with the law. He no longer had a driver's license due to multiple DUI's nor did he have a vehicle due to accidents. His father and I were at our wits end and basically cut him out of our lives. He was living on the streets and getting into more legal trouble. If anyone would have asked us 2 1/2 years ago where our son would be today, we would probably have said "dead" or at the very least, "in jail". We honestly believe that your treatment program and his willingness to help himself saved his life.

One day he was stopped for jay walking and was arrested for outstanding warrants. We were told that he was probably looking at 18 months in jail. I knew in my heart that jail was not where he belonged and would do nothing to turn his life around.

A year earlier, a woman I knew had told me about your recovery program. She sent her addicted son there and also talked her brother into sending his addicted son there. She was very happy with their son's progress and recommended them highly. My husband and I decided that we would look into it. I talked to them and got all the information sent to me. I also talked to a local treatment center and had their information sent. I reviewed both and quickly felt that your facility was the place for our son. Their program was long term and in house. The local center was a 30 day program in house but also right in town where temptation was all over. I also felt that a 30 day fix was never going to work. Your facility had a 30 day (or however long it took) sauna program alone that would extract the drugs from his system which needed to be done before any change in behavior could even start. Their program didn't include those RaRa (what I like to call them) group sessions where they sit around together and try to one up each other. I thought the individual process of looking deeply into himself and what he wanted out of life felt like the best path for him. I was looking for something that would make him realize he had a long life ahead of him and his possibilities were endless if he could only think with a clear, drug free head. He is a very smart young man and we knew he had value not only to himself but to the world. We decided that your facility was the best choice.

We bailed him out and with the courts' permission and drove him directly from jail to your facility in California on Nov. 3, 2006. He had some very rough days and we had phone calls trying to convince us that they weren't doing things right in his mind which made us feel they were making progress and we made the right decision.

I am very happy and proud to say that he graduated the program in a few months. He was accepted into the Internship Program and began his Training and after a few months was accepted onto staff. This made his father and I elated to know that he was truly turning his life around.

I eagerly invite anyone with reservations or who simply just wants to talk to someone who has been there to call me.

I will be more then happy to help in any way that I can.

My name is Joanne W. and I am once again very proud to say Ryan is my son!

6 Years of Nightmares

This letter today, which is overdue, is to offer hope to family members that think there is no hope. It is a letter to every single staff member of your program with our deepest gratitude for helping our daughter.

Our life was idyllic with our only child in the Hudson valley region of New York, until addiction took over. Looking back, we think it started towards the end of her junior year at high school, starting with over the counter cough syrups, marijuana, and alcohol...

Our home became a living nightmare. We screamed, we raged, and we threatened. We went to our own meetings and tried the "tough love" thing. We took her to so many "professionals," none of whom helped a bit. We dragged her to 12-step meetings, but my daughter responded by becoming a crack addict.

Crack took over her life and ruined ours. She lived in "flea bag" motels with who knows, she came to our home to shower, change clothes, and to take some of our food.

"Fortunately," she finally stole from us. We searched the internet, found a referral service, and by the grace of a Higher Being, we were told that there was only "one" program that would work... Our daughter was then given an ultimatum, go to your facility or pack your bags and forget you ever had parents.

In February, my husband flew with our very strung out daughter to California. She fought the program every step of the way but hung in there. Until, one day all the tools that the program was teaching had finally "clicked."

Five months later, in July, we were watching her graduate from the program. How happy we were, finally, after six years of nightmares. Your treatment program gave us the chance to re-establish a relationship with our daughter.

Our daughter, Michelle, has emerged into a lovely young woman, whom we are so very proud of. We are thrilled to also say that she is a staff member of the program. That was enough for us... However, life has even gotten better!

We are ecstatic to also tell you that Michelle has become engaged to another staff member at the facility and she will be coming home for her wedding.

In closing, we would like to tell family members, "If it happened to us, it can happen to you!"

With our heartfelt thanks,

Dale & Jerrold B.

I was once right where you are now

Dear Moms, Dads, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins and friends:

I was once right where you are now. Wondering if my son was going to live to see another day...wondering if I was going to make it through another day. I felt like I was watching my son die in slow motion. It was like watching a semi truck barreling down the road and your child is running out in front of it. You know what's coming, you almost kill yourself to save your child, but the truck keeps on coming. You see the three year old, five year old, eight years old you've watched grow, flash before your eyes. You don't see the emaciated gaunt person your child has become. That's what it felt like. I didn't know this Michael; the one who stole money, stole my camera, television, tools, and my friend's laptop computer and the Michael who lied more often than he told the truth. My Michael has a soft heart, loved children, was artistic, and had a great sense of humor. He was my GQ young man. He is the oldest of my five children and has always held a place of honor in my heart for this very reason. I loved him first and the longest.

Last year, I was at a point where I couldn't sleep, I was going to counseling, and taking medication to help me get through the day. I was an emotional wreck because I was watching my son destroy his life and the lives of all those around him. My youngest just left to serve a tour of duty in Iraq in April 2007. By the end of May and my work year, I work in the school system, I thought somebody was going to lose their life and I wasn't sure who would go first. I kicked Michael out of my home then my mother took him in (his grandma). He lied and used at her house. She ended up kicking Michael out after she became a physical and emotional wreck. Then, his other grandparents took him in. He did the same thing there and he kept getting worse and worse. We ended up calling the police one time because he threatened me and his grandparents. The last straw was when Michael stole my friend's laptop. It was his livelihood and it had sensitive work information that compromised his entire career. Michael ended up selling it for a bag of crack. I ended up going and withdrawing $150 from my bank account to retrieve the laptop. We made the police report and I was done.

I had been on the internet looking for programs that dealt with addictions, but never called. Michael had already been through treatment, but that was a 28 day program. He did well and stayed sober and clean for a period of time. Then, the events of the previous year started all over again, progressing to the point where the last straw event prompted me to call several places, narrowing choices to two. I spent hours on the telephone with different people. All of whom gave me so much hope.

I decided on your program because of the holistic approach in dealing with addiction. It was physical, mental, and emotional healing. There was no set number of days, weeks or months in which the person had to achieve sobriety and wellness. Michael talked with an intake counselor and agreed to fly to California. Little did he know that I made the plane reservation for the next week! He arrived in California drunk, but I received the call that he was there and his arriving drunk was not that atypical. It was the first real peace I felt in a long time. We were able to visit with Michael after the initial period of time in sauna. He looked better and better every visit. I had hoped he would consider doing an internship upon graduation from the program, but Michael informed me he would be more than ready to come home (Did I say I moved from IL to AZ to provide a safer haven for him?).

A couple of weeks before he was to graduate, we learned my youngest would be returning from Iraq to attend Michael's graduation from the program. On October 19th, I received several blessings. I saw my youngest for the first time in seven months and I watched my oldest get up in front of a group of people to accept his graduation certificate. Two sets of grandparents, his dad, his siblings, his niece, and I were present for that moment. Michael also decided to stay and complete a six month internship. He signed a one-year contract to stay and work for your facility. I have never seen Michael as healthy and full of hope and peace. He is proud of what he is doing at the facility and is making plans for his future. I can't believe he is the same person. He is an adult taking care of his own needs and taking responsibility for his life. He is so healthy and is definitely GQ material! (He is so handsome!) I thank God every day for your treatment program. Some of Michael's siblings, me, and his niece (who he is very close to) traveled again to the facility in California in May of this year to watch Michael receive his six month certificate. It was Mother's day weekend. It was the best Mother's day present I've ever been given. I didn't think I'd see another mother's day with Michael.

For those of you considering this program, I highly recommend and encourage you to have faith in them. It has been a miracle for our family. The program works!

God bless you all! – Debbie

Once upon a time

To whom it may concern,

Once upon a time I had a cheerful little daughter she loved to help others and made lots of fun plans for the future everybody wanted to be around her. But something terrible happened to her that caused her a great loss. She became ill from this loss and started using vicodin to deal with the pain of what had happened. She found a way to cope with life and the pain but got lost in a very dark place. She became addicted to the drug for many years in quantities that could kill anyone. She got worse and worse. She could not take care of her children, she could not hold her marriage together and she could not keep a job to support herself. She was so smart and so able and really wanted to become cheerful again and wanted to make lots of fun plans for the future but could not. She was in the grip of the drug. She was sad most of time because she could not be with her children so she tried many, many ways to get well again through program after program. Each program worked for a bit which gave her, her children and me hope that it was going to be alright before it was too late.

But it wasn't all right. Every program went to fell by the wayside and would not stick; she began to use the drug again. She had several bouts with death and bouts with being in the hospital for many heath problems. When she couldn't get vicodin she would turn to anything she could that would numb the pain and help her stay lost.

The drug addict behavior went on and on for over 18 years.

Then one day I discovered your treatment facility and I began to hear story after story of people recovering from drugs and alcohol with long term success. I knew your program used a technology that had not been tried in the other programs my daughter had tried and maybe just maybe it might work this time. I decided we must find a way to help her get there to your facility and give it one more shot before she finally did herself in. At least at that point we would have tried everything in our power to save her life. We found the funds needed to get her on an airplane and send her to the facility in San Diego. I knew it must be a distance away from family and friends because many were helping her to stay lost. I put her on that plane and a program staff member picked my drunken daughter up at the other end. She began the first step, detox with great pain and discomfort but finally made it to the next step and next and the next. Your program's technology started to take hold for my daughter; she starting sounding cheerful and hopeful again, like she when she was a young girl.

Each time she would come home for a visit I could see a little more progress I knew it was working. She would talk about all the great tools she had learned to use when life got rough. She graduated the program six months later and was herself again.

Able-bodied now, my daughter left the facility this year. She is handling life very nicely. I know things come up for her but she uses the tools from the program technology to pull from when they do. She is cheerful most of the time and giving to others the way she has always wanted. She has a great job and is back in her children's lives working to repair any damage she has caused. But most of all I have my daughter back she is her cheerful, helpful, productive self and for that I can not thank the facility staff enough. She is so fun to be with and tries to bring everybody else up around her. They saved her life.

The reason I am writing this in story form is because the pain was so great while living in this drug addiction with my daughter and my grandchildren I could not hear it that way again. So I decided to keep it light.

My name is Sheila W.

Over the course of several years

To whom it may concern,

"Over the course of several years, I have watched my son, Josh; go from a very happy, intelligent, goal oriented person to a depressed, moody, drug addicted person. He could never save any money and always lived paycheck to paycheck.

Over the last year, he began looking very unhealthy and was on a spiraling path of destruction. He had lost so much weight. He stayed out very late every night and then couldn't wake up in the morning to go to work.

In July 2008, he agreed to go to the facility in Nevada. Once there, Josh was determined to beat his addiction. He was very much focused and set his goal to complete recovery. During this time, I have seen such a change in his demeanor and attitude. Our conversations have gone from small talk to long meaningful talks. Josh has accomplished his short term goals and is continuing to set new goals and accomplishing them.

Josh is such an inspiration to me. He continually helps me to become a better person by sharing and explaining what he has learned and how he's applying it to his every day life. I am applying to my own life the same principals and techniques that I learn from him.

Josh graduated and is now doing an internship at the facility. I am so proud of him and his accomplishments. He is helping others and the extra time there allows him to continually work on applying the principles and techniques that he's learned to his life. Josh is a much stronger, happier, healthier, more confident young man with a very promising future.

Thank you, your program is the very best program available by teaching better communication skills, accountability, social and anti-social characteristics, and common sense guidelines to live by instead of treating addition like it's a disease."


Rhonda K.

From a Sister

"My brother and I have always been relatively close, but a few years back, he began slowly fading into the background of my life. I didn't exactly notice it at first, and when I did, I chalked it up to me growing up and us being at different stages in our lives.

We continued to drift apart for months, and during this time, my brother spent more and more time at work or out with his friends. He would be out all night, come home, and sleep until he had to get up and go to work. I missed him. I knew there was something off with him, but I really had no idea what it could be. One weekend, my brother just up and told my mom that he was doing drugs and that he wanted to get help. When my brother sat me down to tell me, I wasn't expecting it in the least. But once he did tell me, everything sort of clicked in to place.

My mom got him help right away and he flew to the addiction treatment facility in California. I missed him like crazy, but the first time I talked to him when he called home, made me know for sure that he was going to get through everything. It was a very long, very hard struggle, for all of us, but especially my brother. But this crazy struggle ended up bringing us closer again. He would call a few times a week and tell me about what he was learning and talk to me about my life, and I felt like I had my brother back.

When he graduated the program, I wish I could have been there. Even though I wasn't there, it is still one of the things I admire most about my brother. When he came home, he was so excited. About everything. He wanted to teach me how to study the way he learned and it was fun. He wanted to know all about everything he'd missed.

I was ecstatic and he really was here. Home. Whole. Himself again. Even better than he had been before the drugs. I am continually amazed at the recovery my brother has gone through, the strength he has and the person he has become, completely blows me away.

Susan D.

I can remember what an energetic child

Dear Erica,

I can remember what an energetic child you were and how often I had told you as long as you do the right thing, good things will happen. As life went on you choose several paths that were not what you were taught or the lifestyle that you came from. It started at around 15 when you attend a drinking party by sneaking out of the house and your father and I received a phone call from a police officer that you had been in a really bad accident and that they could not locate you. We soon found out a person had died and we thought it was you and that they were not telling us the truth. You soon appeared at our door, drunk and disoriented with cuts on your face. I thought that after an experience like this that you would never get involved with drinking or drugs. That was the first time I had experienced what it felt like to almost lose a child.

This experience did not stop you. I found re-occurring empty alcohol bottles in your closet. You stopped attending soccer practice and games (you were so good). During this time you had told me, that "you're only young once" and you need to have as much fun as you can. Your fun was taking you on a very dangerous trip. Then you finally graduated and immediately took up with D. I was so disappointed. I knew this was a big mistake. That you would be further from home and we would lose communications with you. I can remember one of the first holidays you appeared to be anxious and I ignored it. The next holidays we would find D. sleeping and you were running around with your head chopped off (too much energy). I knew there was an issue. I was just not sure how big and what to do. Then when you finally admitted that you had a problem and needed help. You had explained how you and D. were going to get help. I know of three treatment centers that you attended. At those times, I would say, she will get clean. I believed this with my whole heart. It was short lived. You would finish the program and continue to lie to your family on how well you were doing; ask for money, make arrangements to meet for shopping trips or promise to come over for a holiday. It got to the point I would tell our family that you were not showing up for a holiday, even though you promised you would. I would tell them you were working. I was lying for you. I hated to lie for you; it made me feel like I was accepting who you were becoming. Then your dad and I starting getting calls for money to keep you out of jail. I was mortified. I would never have dreamed that my grown child would go to jail. Your dad and I gave money to bail you out of jail and visited you in jail. You have no idea how demeaning it was for me to be in that place visiting you. After that experience, I told you to never call me to bail you out or to come see you in jail again. I was at the point I did not even want you to call. I then began to blame myself, what kind of mother was I...? What did I do wrong? Do you realize how humiliating it was to tell others that my daughter works at a strip joint? No, I never admitted to them you were stripping, because you lied to me and told me you were only a waitress. I truly wanted to believe you, but the truth was you were supporting a drug habit for you and D. and stripping was a way to big $. . It broke my heart to know you would put yourself in that God you were my daughter! The worst part was to trying to explain to your Grandfather and Uncle that you were only working at a strip joint to earn big $. It was at this time I was once again lying to Grandpa...I know he knew because he had seen me cry when he would ask how you were doing and that he missed see you. The nightmare continued, you were my daughter and I could not get through to you.

Then tragedy strikes. H. is on heroin. Then Sara dies and now I am in panic mode. Who will I lose next? Do you realize how beat-up and disappointed I felt? You did not even try to help H. when you knew how devastating this drug was. I went through a funeral realizing my next oldest (you) may be in that casket next. I would ask my self—why did I have children—for pain? My God would it ever stop.

The next step after pulling myself together was to get help for H. H. was recovering at the program and was pushing me to get you help. H. told me "I know Erica is in big trouble, she needs help now or she is going to die." I told H. she has to come to me for help. I told her I am not sure she can break away from her drugs or D. I did a lot of crying and feeling very lost. I could not stand that thought of losing another child.

Then the call came. You said, "Mom, I need help and I am afraid." I told you we would help you if you were serious and you had to show up at your Dad's before I would reserve a ticket to fly you to the facility. It took you forever to get to your Dad's house. I knew if you were strong enough to get to your Dad's house you had a chance. I remember you called me throughout the night assuring me you were going to Dad's. It took you 10 hours to get to your dads. It was only an hour and 1/2 drive; tops.

I even helped you at the airport (we won't go there- yes I would do it again to save you) to be assured you would get on that one-way plane out of Hell. You had every opportunity to jump off the plane and go back to MI, and you did not. You had made the most important decision of your life and kept your first promise to me for the first time in many years.

I know your trip through the program was difficult at first; you were scared, depressed and had a hard time letting the past (people) go. You are learned it's part of finding YOU. YOU had been gone for many many years. You have been so strong during you up hill climb. There were times you wanted to leave, when you wanted to reach out to those enablers and go back to what you thought was an easy life style. Look at what you have done, you have made it almost to the top of the hill, you are ready for more responsibility and a new beginning. Erica I will never truly know how hard your climb was, but I do know that without it, you would not be here. I am so very very proud of you and your accomplishments. Remember I have been following you on your climb. You are excelling within the program, you care about your family and you show it, you want to come home to be with us (you miss us), you made your promise to get clean and you are doing it, you have caste out those individuals that helped to cause your pain and did not help you, and you finally feel the loss of your sister.

Do not ever sell yourself short or let someone control your life as you have in the past, you have been through more than an individual will go through in a life time. You are now a butterfly having the opportunity to come out of your cocoon to enter a brand new world.

I love you with my entire heart,


I am writing this letter as a mother

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter as a mother who almost lost her daughter to alcohol addiction. In June I saw my daughter at her lowest point in life, I didn't know if she was going to live through the day. Every holiday seemed to bring on a week binge for her and I knew that she would be dead on the 4th of July if we did not do something to save her life. Through her addiction our family lost a friend, a daughter and a sister. She turned into someone we didn't know anymore. She stopped talking to us, telling us the truth and showed up in and out of our lives for years. She had lost all confidence in herself and drive to achieve. She went into hiding from herself and the world. She was settling for environments and people that where so out of her characteristics it scared our family to even trust her to be around.

On June 18 my husband and I drove our daughter to your Nevada facility. This was a huge financial decision that we had to make because we knew that it would prolong my husband's retirement but our selling decision was that this was much cheaper than a funeral. We had searched the internet for hours and called many different centers and this was the one. Your program offers a guarantee something that no other addiction recovery could offer. She had tried AA meetings, she had gone to other group meeting and nothing short term was working. She needed long term and long term results.

After 3 weeks of her being at your facility we saw a drastic change in her and her attitude. She has continued to grow since then.

It has been years since I have been able to sleep at night peacefully and I have that now. I can answer the phone with out the fear of it being the police or finding out that she was somewhere dead in a ditch. Now I answer the phone looking forward to hear from my daughter, my friend. Each day she continues to grow. When she started the program I felt like I was watching my baby take her first steps into life and now I am watching her walk into life with the life that she deserves with confidence and drive to achieve. We are so thankful for the program and the staff for all of their efforts and care each day that they put into saving lives and bringing families back together.

Sheila T.

Gosh! Where do I begin?

Dear Dena,

Gosh! Where do I begin? I think the best word, if there really is one that could describe what has occurred in the past few years would be "rebirth". That kind of sums things up from my perspective, Dena. There was a time, years ago, when there was a huge part of our lives that was just missing. Like a puzzle with a big piece that had been lost. It was so much more than just "missing my sister", which I truly did. There was a gap in our lives. I very often had no idea where you were at any given moment and, although I had a pretty good idea what you were doing, I was so lost. So sad.

Dena, a family isn't just a bunch of people that see each other on holidays and whatnot. A family is a unit. A living, breathing entity that needs all of its parts healthy and active to be whole. Your absence was felt by each and every member of our family. It was worse than a death in that, death has finality. It has, to use a cliché, closure. When you were gone, it was worse than that.

The day you finally made the decision to go to this program, there was an immediate change. There was a "rebirth". We all knew that it would be a difficult time in your life. We all worried. But, we also rejoiced. The joy came from the rebirth. Like a new baby brought into the family, you gave us the most special gift you could possibly give; you. I got back my sister and bonus; I got a person I could look up to and be so very proud of. A person that showed me there is always hope and there is great strength in love. You have inspired me in ways that YOU know very well. You have made our family whole again, too.

Thanks, to all the Staff.

Amanda L.

Before my Dad went to Treatment

Dear, Kia

Before my Dad went into your treatment program on July 7th 2006, he was living in a small town and was addicted to crack. There was nothing that he wouldn't do to get high. Being on drugs set him on a path of stealing, lying, and neglecting his family. He would get up in the morning and his day would start off with him doing any thing to be able to find crack. He would steal from stores, and pawn anything in the house that he would think would get him enough money to get drugs. He would lie to his job and wouldn't go into work because he was too busy looking for an extra dollar to get high.

While being on drugs he would neglect his family. Not anything that would happen with the family would matter unless it had to do with getting high. We would come down to visit to make sure everything was going okay, and my Dad would leave to go find drugs while we sat at the house and waited. We would be sitting there and sitting there and the hours would go by and still there would be no sign of my Dad. When my nephew was born none of the rest of the family would go and get Dad because they thought it wouldn't be worth it because he wouldn't stay around long enough to see the new baby anyway.Not only was his life going bad but his health was too, he had lost a lot of muscle that used to be there and he wouldn't eat on a regular basis. Being on drugs really put my dad as an outcast of the family. He missed out on a lot of things that I wish he could have been apart of.

Now after the completing the program, I have my real dad back. Seeing my Dad sober for the first time in years made me the happiest man alive. He now cares about what goes on in my life, he calls just to make sure everything is going good.We get e-mails and things on a regular basis talking about family and love. He even flew back to North Carolina from California to come to be "best man" at my wedding. He got to meet my son Dillon for the first time and sat on the floor and played with him which could have made me cry. On occasions he will send money down to us just to help us with bills and stuff. He also got a job and goes to work everyday instead of ditching work which he was doing before. Since my dad has been off of drugs he has been caring for him self such as eating healthy, exercising and lifting weights. My dad has gotten back to the size he was before he started on drugs.

After doing the program, my Dad became the man I new that he could be; caring, loving, and happy to be sober.

Eric B.

Living through my daughter's drug addition

Living through my daughter's drug addition was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. As a parent you love your children with all your heart unconditionally, you raise them to be honest productive people with values. When they are "using" none of those qualities exist, and it is so hard to comprehend how we got here. I say "we" because it affects the family as a whole. When they are using it makes it very hard to live your life, to provide for other members of the family, it affects every aspect of your life and your family. You fear for the child in the midst of their addiction, and you fear for their siblings. There are no set rules for handling drug addiction; you will hear everyone's opinion. If you have a loved one who is an addict you have my heart felt sympathies; I have felt your pain. Please understand you are not alone.

While my daughter was at home and we were dealing with her addiction there was not a minute in the day that I was not on edge. You just never knew what was going to happen next. She could be gone for days or show up on your doorstep out of the blue. You worry if they will live or die, you try to prepare yourself for anything, the inevitable. You worry about what your other children may have to deal with from their peers; you worry about their mental and physical safety. You wonder if you can possibly provide a normal life for them. As parents you do not always agree on the next step. I believe the addict prefers the chaos they create in the family as it provides a diversion to what they are doing. Everything of value must be under lock and key, or more. We actually purchased a large safe to keep anything of value in, which included car keys.

When my daughter called in the middle of the night to ask for help, there was only one type of help we were willing to provide, long term, in- house treatment. If she would not agree we would not help. She entered the treatment program in California; it was what we had been looking for.

My daughter is now days short of being 18 months drug free. Although she does not live with us; we do have constant contact with her. She is now a hard working productive, individual. Every time we see her she is 100% better than the last time we saw her. It is amazing the progress she has made as a person.

The treatment brought back our beautiful, wonderful, loving, daughter.

Kris D.

To the wonderful staff,

Although I have been clean for over 7 years, I can still vividly remember the pain of being addicted to drugs. I grew up in the most loving and caring home one could ever hope for. However, all the love in the world wasnt enough to keep me from experimenting with drugs. I started smoking cigarettes at 15 and eventually moved on to smoking marijuana too. When I attended college in the fall of 1998, I fell in with the wrong crowd and began using all sorts of other drugs. I experimented with LSD, mushrooms, ecstasy, nitrous oxide, opium, and prescription drugs.

At that point, I was recreationally using drugs on the weekends. Then one night I tried cocaine. From that night on, my entire life centered around getting and using cocaine. I went from having a lot of friends to only a select few who used as much coke as I did. When it came to my appearance, I looked like a different person. Im 55, and by the time I attended the program I had wasted away to 90 lbs! When I look back at pictures, it makes me ill to see how thin and sickly I had become. However, at the time I didnt see it that way. None of those things mattered to me. I was completely obsessed with using.

After using cocaine every single day and night for almost a year I had become someone I didnt like. I had lost my job, I was lying to everyone including myself, and I was high all the time. One morning I woke up with a realization, I was addicted to cocaine. I knew there was no way I would be able to stop using on my own, I had already tried and failed to many times to count. I decided to tell my parents the truth and ask for their help. Not only did they welcome me with open arms, but they had found me a drug treatment program. They had suspected that I had a serious drug problem and had started to take action to find out how to help. Within 24 hours of telling my parents that I needed help, we were driving from Tucson, Arizona to Orange County, California to enroll me in the program.

I was so scared to leave my life in Tucson, even though it was full of pain. The unknown is sometimes scarier. When we pulled up to the facility the panic really set in, I was so far from everyone I knew. Once my parents and I walked through the door I was overcome by how friendly and welcoming everyone was. Even though there is no physical withdrawal from cocaine, the emotional withdrawal I went through was extremely hard for me. During that time, the staff and students were so supportive and caring. It was amazing how fast I went from feeling all alone and overwhelmed to the outgoing and social person I had been before my addiction.

While in the program I learned so much about how to be a better person and remain drug-free. Basic life skills that had fallen by the wayside during my years of using were re-instilled in me. I also found that after completing the sauna portion of the program I felt clear headed and cleaner physically in a way that I never thought possible after taking so many drugs. As the months passed I became the person I had once been before I started using drugs. I was able to look people in the eye and not feel ashamed of who I was and what I was doing with my life.

The day I graduated from the program means more to me than even my college graduation. It is because of the lessons I learned while in the program that I am alive today. Since completing the drug program I have been sober for over 7 years. During that time I went back to college and graduated in 2004. I was also able to quit smoking cigarettes, which was almost as hard as quitting cocaine. A couple years later I married the most wonderful man. He knows my history and helps me stay strong when times get tough. The most wonderful accomplishment is that six months ago my husband and I welcomed into the world our first child, Gavin. My life is everything I wanted it to be now that I have my sobriety. I know it is because of what I learned while at the program that I have become who I am today, a woman who is happy with her life and loves sobriety.

Mother & Daughter Celebrate Victory Over Meth

Former meth addict urges parents; "Before school starts I hope parents will take time to talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs to health and goals."

"August marks our daughter's fifth year since conquering meth at the addiction treatmentprogram" comments Susan, mother of five and teacher who recalls living with a meth addict; "One day she'd be very nice and the next you'd have thought Satan walked through the door."

A middle-class family, active in their church with no history of drug or alcohol abuse in the family... until their daughter's. An honor student active in sports, Edee earned a collage scholarship. But three weeks after high school graduation a close friend died of an overdose. Susan recalls "Edee shared with me years later; she wanted to experience what her friend had. So began two years of hell-raising. She tried ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, alcohol & smoking. Meth hooked her."

"For a while we didn't know what was wrong. She was short-tempered, couldn't hold a job. Out all night, sleep all day; stopped going to church. Finally we realized: drugs! You worry all the time. Will she kill herself, or someone else? Edee tried a 28-day program. It replaced illegal drugs with legal drugs. She reverted." added Susan.

Edee's grandmother continued searching the internet and found this program, a drug-free life skills program. "What impressed us," Susan says, "was the sauna part; drugs are sweated out of the body. Edee told me she could see sticky tar coming out in her sweat. This helped eliminate physical cravings."

"Soon after arriving, Edee wanted to go to church, the staff was happy to take her. With the local Bishop and congregation helping, Edee rediscovered her faith. Today she enjoys full fellowship with her church" says her proud mother. "She's been working ever since, paying us back and now happily married." Susan makes time for drug education and answers questions from parents of addicts. "This program saved my daughters' life!"

Daughter Edee adds: "Before school starts I hope parents will talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs to health and goals. And Mom — thank you, for going through all you had to with my addiction, for believing in me, and getting me help. Our relationship is better than ever. You are my best friend!"

Former Drug Addicts Serve as Volunteer Fire Fighters

"Fire fighters are the ones who run into a fire when everyone else is running away"

Our Appreciation for Fire fighters has gone off the charts this week in Southern California! Many of these courageous individuals are Volunteer Firefighters.

Among them is a unique team made up in part by of former heroin & meth addicts, graduates of the program. In addition to their duties at the center located in rural San Diego County they've stepped up to the plate to face new challenges; wild fires and medical emergencies.

"I have witnessed the generosity and commitment to the community. Not only are most of our firemen from the program but we have on the Board a valued member of that facility. The dedication of these people is to be applauded, and restores my faith in human kindness!. noted Bobbi Witt, member, Board of Directors SSVFD.

Battalion Chief Knight noted "Over the years we've assisted in handling some of the larger fires; Cedar, Border, Camino, Witch Creek and Poomacha. But the small fires in our own neighborhood get the same attention. About 80% of calls to the station are medical emergencies. Our crew is trained in First Aid, & some are also Certified EMTs. Once at a nearby senior community, an 86 year old man was having difficulty breathing; it turned out to be a heart attack. Using CPR and a defibrillator we were able to save this gentleman's life." We've worked hard to keep our response time within ten minutes. In a soft voice and a shy grin he adds "as a kid I always I wanted to be a fireman."

"Over the past few years, the majority of our Firefighters have been staff members. commented Board Member Connie Cole in a recent letter to the Program's Director" She continued, "They are such upstanding citizens and are a wonderful reflection of our station to all they come in contact with."

Fire fighter, Jon, said "When I was handling my addiction at the treatment center I.d see the rescue truck on the highway; responding to a call. I knew they were going to save people's lives. Now I can help others too. And I've been drug free three plus years."

"We respond 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to any local emergency--fire, car accident, or medical emergency that might come up" remarked Kyle Whitaker, the 2nd staff to join the Department. "I was given the privilege of joining the Volunteer Fire Department a few years ago. Fire fighters are the ones who run into a fire when everyone else is running away. You can either do it or you can't. It took every bit of my program training to the test as well as all of my nerve. A few years prior to this I'd let methamphetamine take control of my life, I didn't care about anything much less helping other people. It saved my life and being a volunteer fire fighter will always be a highlight in my life."

Freedom from Drug Addiction: Is it possible?

Former Crack Addict writes .I smashed the pipe with a hammer!.

Often we hear "relapse is part of recovery" but No Relapse is also possible! Here are two testimonials; the first from the parent of a long term drug free individual and the second from a long time drug abuser - recently drug free individual; both Graduates of the program.

"...Both my wife and I were impressed with the program and the dedication of the people involved. More impressive is the result we have seen in our son. With your help (and that of our Creator) he has gained back his life after twenty years of lost time. Enthusiastically he is looking forward to productive and enjoyable remaining years. Even I have learned from watching his growing maturity during the four years since he left." -J.S.B.

"I passed! I was at home and surprised myself with the discovery of a crack pipe; hidden a long while ago. I pondered.should I or shouldn.t I? Fortunately I had the tools I.d learned at the program. I made the right decision; I smashed the pipe with a hammer! I told my wife and she was happy." G. S.

The drug treatment recovery program is a non-profit, public benefit corporation providing effective drug addiction recovery and drug education services. The Program uses a holistic, drug-free educational approach to drug addiction treatment and is open to persons of any race, creed, color or religion.

For more information call 1-855-734-2223.
Catherine Savage, Director of Community Affairs

Motherhood conquers drug addiction

A text message just to say "I love you Mom"

In a report by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Children Living with Substance-Dependent or Substance-Abusing Parents it was noted: .Parental substance dependence and abuse can have profound effects on children, including child abuse and neglect, injuries and deaths related to motor vehicle accidents, and increased odds that the children will become substance dependent or abusers themselves.. Think about it; drug and alcohol addiction bring about devastating consequences for a family. Usually we envision parents of a teenager or young adult enduring the nightmare of fear, grief and despair that walks arm and arm with addiction. But when the alcohol or drug addict is a parent the recovery story is reversed. For example a former addict mother we.ll call .Sarah.. relates her story of hope. .Four years ago this month I was coming off of heavy antidepressants and opiates.  I was hopeless, depressed and in apathy. Finally I had my .wake-up call. and got into treatment..

When I was at the program for several months getting clean and acquiring life skills; my twenty- something daughter didn.t want to talk to me or have any kind of relationship with me.  She felt like there was too much damage to make up. But I didn.t give up.  I continued to work out of the condition of liability with her. Since I have been home things have improved immensely.  We see each other at least once a month and talk on the phone often.  She will send me a text message just to say .I love you Mom. and even dropped by my job one day to bring me flowers .Just because..  She got engaged on New Year.s Eve and called me to tell me the good news right away.  We spent last Friday night looking at wedding magazines together, and she said, .Mom, you know three years ago you were not even going to be invited to my wedding and now you are helping me plan it!. Sarah continued, .Completing the program saved my life and my family.  Since I left my life has been really good.  I work at a Public Health Law & Policy office; I have my own place, a new car and I pay all my bills on time. And best of all, I have my Daughter!.

Catherine Savage, Registered Addiction Specialist at the program urges .Families can talk about basic points: 1. All drugs can be toxic or poisonous and when put into the body, they change the way the body works or the way the person thinks or feels. 2. Drug addiction & alcohol abuse kill creativity and ruin goals. 3. Alcohol & drugs hurt athletic and intellectual performance. Arranging family dinners several times a week gives parents an opportunity to stay in touch and observe their children. Best of all parents can set a good example.. If you are losing a loved one to alcohol or drug abuse, please call 1-855-734-2223. Let them help make a difference.

Articles quoted in this report can be found at SAMHSA web site.
Catherine Savage, Director of Community Affairs