Derek taking advantage of the drums during music therapy.
Derek suffered at the hands of bullying and began using to cope with his unresolved emotions. Both his individual and group therapy helped him to understand that he is his own person and there is nothing wrong with who he is.
“I had underlying self esteem issues. Back in middle school I was bullied a lot by other people on how I look and everything. I kind of turned into to this person that would like stay away from people or snap at people before they could snap at me. “
Our drug and alcohol rehab helped him turn this combative attitude into one of positivity and compassion.
“I learned to let all that stuff go and just become a more passionate person that actually likes being around other people.”
-Derek on ways he has changed.
We are so proud of Derek’s success and how much he has learned. Since coming to drug and alcohol rehab he has really come into his own. He’s known for being very helpful and caring among the clients as well as staff. He’s an inspiration and we really advocate his message on recovery.
“Recovery is not something that happens to you. You have to be the one to do it.”
Listen to what else Derek had to say about his stay here:
Denise: Hello! Thank you so much for wanting to give a testimonial before you leave. This is a happy day for you right?
Denise: How many days have you been here?
Derek: Uh I really wasn’t counting them but I think it was somewhere around 66 or 67.
Denise: Wow! Okay you say you weren’t really counting them which really is not normal because most people count the days and the seconds. So what made you decided not to count days?
Derek: I had been in a program before and I counted those days to the “T” and they made it seem like forever. So basically the first day I got here I just forgot about it you know. I forgot about what this place was. I forgot that this place was a rehab and I have to do this or that I have to do all these things. I kind of just forgot about it and kind of accepted it.
Denise: You went with the flow of it?
Denise: So you were at treatment before? What brought you to treatment the first time?
Derek: The first time was last summer. I was using a lot with my friends and I ended up throwing a party at my house. My parents were mad.
Denise: The classic (laughs).
Derek: Yeah (laughs). So then they were like we’re going to send him to rehab. Then that didn’t work.
Denise: What were using though?
Derek: Marijuana, Alcohol and Acid.
Denise: Oh okay.
Derek: So after they learned about all that they decided to send me to rehab. It was Oasis Adolescent Campus in Kissimee.
Denise: How was that?
Derek: it wasn’t awful but it wasn’t the best. It was a lot more strict than it is here. It was like gated and we were either in the living part or it or we were outside doing groups.
Denise: It was more of a lockdown?
Derek: Yeah definitely.
Denise: How long were you there?
Derek: I think somewhere around 30 days.
Denise: Oh, not enough days.
Denise: People love to tell their parents 30 days and we can say that to get them into treatment but you’ve been to treatment twice what would you day about the thirty days?
Derek: The thirty day mark you’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even started; I’m still a child of recovery.
Denise: Yeah you exercise it when you leave here. Here you’re getting the tools, keeping you safe and away from drugs. You’re learning new things about yourself, experiencing activities maybe you haven’t before. But it’s not until you get into the real world that you are able to see if you’re committed.
Denise: Is there anything new you learned about yourself?
Derek: I learned that I’m way more compassionate than I thought. I actually like people, I like animals a lot more than I realized. Before when I was using I was a really hateful person.
Denise: Ah, did you isolate?
Derek: Yeah, I would isolate from everyone. I wouldn’t talk to anybody I had a lot of anger and just negative energy inside me. I learned to let all that stuff go and just become a more passionate person that actually likes being around other people. I love animals. I didn’t know that I love animals as much as I did.
Denise: How did you discover that?
Derek: I don’t really know I think it was…
Denise: The dog that comes here weekly?
Derek: Yeah! Luke the dog!
Denise: So maybe you should do something with animals.
Derek: Yeah I’m going to.
Denise: Maybe you can volunteer at the Humane Society.
Derek: Yeah I want to do that and I’m going to apply for jobs at Petsmart.
Denise: Another awesome thing to do is a dog training course. Like learn to train dogs. It’s excellent and a great way to make extra money. Especially while you’re going to school. You can even do dog walking!
Denise: There are a lot of people who make a good amount of money from walking dogs. They’ll do like three or four dogs in their neighborhood daily. Actually you can do quite well with that.
Derek: I think there’s a website called Pets.com or something where you can find like pet sitters and dog walkers and everything.
Denise: Yeah so you can put that up in your area or you can advertise in your neighborhood. Just say I’m willing to walk dogs between these times. So great! You found out that, do you have a dog?
Derek: Yeah I have a Yorkie and Poodle. I don’t know if he is a poodle that’s just what we suspect but he’s definitely a Yorkie.
Denise: That’s really cute. Is there anything you’d like to share or tell somebody who was making a decision about coming into treatment?
Derek: Definitely if you see something a little bit off and you’re like maybe I can’t stop.
Denise: Or maybe I need help because normally there’s a lot of underlying issues correct? Did you feel like you had some underlying issues that was pushing your addiction?
Derek: Yeah mine was self-esteem. Back in middle school I was bullied a lot by other people on how I look and everything. I kind of turned into to this person that would like stay away from people or snap at people before they could snap at me. That’s how I felt. Back in middle school I was bullied a lot by other people on how I look and everything. I kind of turned into to this person that would like stay away from people or snap at people before they could snap at me.
Denise: You are actually a very cool person! You are very much of an intellect, a musician you have very good drumming skills which is a gift. You always have something you can fall back on or have around you. Vibrations and drumming is such a healing experience.
Derek: But definitely of you think you might be addicted you don’t have to go treatment but go to a NA meeting and see what it’s about. Definitely if you do come into treatment you definitely do the 12 steps because that’s kind of what opened my eyes to this stuff.
Denise: I love to hear you say that because they are. They have worked for such a long period of time. I work in this field a long time and the alumni’s I’ve talked to when I ask what’s kept you in recovery they have said the 12 steps. You have gotta work the 12 steps. It’s good to hear you say that. So you feel a lot stronger this time coming out of treatment?
Derek: Definitely, it’s not only the probation that’s keeping me clean. It’s like I just don’t wanna do it anymore. I was so exhausted like emotionally and physically that I just couldn’t.
Denise: It takes a lot out of you.
Derek: Jeez man it really does.
Denise: It takes a lot of energy to be high and angry. You’ve seen that in here when you observe people that come in and they are very angry. You see them shift and you’re like wow it’s so much easier to have a smile on your face. You don’t have to be holding up all this anger, punching walls and the shame that goes with it. You start not liking yourself at all. You did a great job and you really done the work. We’re really hoping that you’ll be able to carry this with you outside of the facility and be an example for other teens, especially ones that are struggling with addiction.
Derek: I’m excited to go back.
Denise: Some of them may not be a little jealous cause they haven’t gone their yet but remember that it took work. It takes work and you gotta do the work. Then you reap the rewards and you definitely earned it. You have a really good family and I think you’re gonna be successful.
Denise: So keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing.
Derek: Recovery is not something that happens to you. You have to be the one to do it.
Denise: At the end of the day we can’t get through life saying yes and no.
Denise: It’s the gray area that we get really murky. When we’re in that gray area we get kind of like ahh I can do this. It’s either no or yes.
Derek: There is no such thing as a weekend addict.
Denise: Yes that falls in the gray area. They say they only use a little bit but we know that little bit grows more and more. It can change and evolve into other drugs.
Derek: Of course.
Denise: People used to say oh no weed isn’t a gate way drug. Even cigarettes are a gateway drug.
Derek: Of course.
Denise: We’ll keep spreading the word and hopefully reach out to others like yourself. That way they don’t have to go down and make their life really difficult. Hopefully you’ll be an example to others.
Derek: Thank you.
Denise: We want you to come back and share with the group. You’ve become family to us and will miss you when you go. Have a safe trip back home and thank you for sharing!
Derek: Thank you!