“Being in a state of gratitude is a safe place for a recovering addict to be.” — A.B.’s Recovery Story

By Wasatch Crest Program Graduate A.B.

Wasatch Crest program graduate A.B. shared their recovery story with his. Read the full narrative below.

Wasatch Crest was the third inpatient program I attended, and although the first and second of the three were solid and beneficial, Wasatch Crest exceeded those programs in every possible way. I received individualized and group therapy at Wasatch Crest, both of which were stellar. Groups were well planned, well run, and had substance. In my individual therapy, we identified and dealt with issues, which I believe helped me to move on in life.

The facility itself is beautiful. I resided in three rooms at Wasatch Crest, all of which were very comfortable and each more elegant than the next. The last room I stayed in had a fireplace, a whirlpool bath, and a balcony that overlooked the entire Heber Valley and the majestic Mt. Timpanogos. Although the latter of these facts may seem superfluous to some, the views of natural beauty that enveloped the facility put me in a state of gratitude every morning I looked out my window; and being in a state of gratitude is a safe place for a recovering addict to be. Furthermore, nature has always had a profound healing power for me and being in the presence of pristine nature is an integral part of my recovery to this day.

I had countless opportunities to experience being and pushing myself in natural settings well beyond the grounds of Wasatch Crest in many localities of Utah. At Wasatch Crest, I was able to rekindle passions in my life that I had lost touch with in my addiction. I grew up skiing competitively and hadn’t skied, even for pleasure, in years. The recreation therapist took me to Brighton Mountain in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was a day I will never forget and a day that marked a pivotal moment in both my recovery and in my life. For it was that day, knowing truly that when leaving the facility upon completion, I would have the full support of the Wasatch Crest team and the community they introduced me to.

I decided to relocate from the East Coast and begin my life anew in Utah. We as well went hiking, rock climbing, swimming, played capture the flag and laser tag, and got to experience much more. Two of my close buddies were even taken to see a minor league baseball game. I am an amateur musician, and in music therapy, I was reacquainted with my love for playing music, and my practice of music has continued with fervor since I left Wasatch Crest.

Through these experiences, I found joy and excitement in life that I had lacked in my alcoholism and addiction. I found the happiness I had experienced in my youth, without drugs and alcohol, and I realized that being sober through all my joy and pain far exceeded any kind of life dulled by substances.

We had access to a local gym almost every morning and those of us who had the inclination to get up early enough were driven to the local Fit Stop. In my first twenty or so days, I sat in the steam room for physical relief, and to sweat out the toxins in my body. After that, I went to the gym several times a week to run. This was extremely beneficial for my neurological, physical, and spiritual well-being.

The facet of the Wasatch Crest structure, which is in my estimation the greatest strength of the program, is its access to and utilization of the 12-step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The treatment center implements group and cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies during the day, but every evening, seven days a week, we would attend a 12-step meeting. On two of those days, members of the local AA fellowship brought a meeting to the facility. It was in that fellowship that I built the foundation of my recovery, one that I stand on and continue to build upon to this day. Furthermore, we as clients were encouraged to find a sponsor and begin working the steps. My sponsor was allotted times to visit with me at the treatment facility, and I was also allowed to leave the residence to work with him.

Lastly, I could not say enough about the people who work at Wasatch Crest. The individuals that constitute the staff have a measure of empathy and compassion that I find unparalleled in my experience in treatment, and beyond this setting. Some of them have overcome their own issues with substance abuse, which makes them highly relatable and examples in recovery. Those who had not, had a remarkable level of understanding for our respective plights. From the maid staff to the clinicians, I was shown such kindness, and all of my relationships there had a profound therapeutic value.

I was fortunate enough to have the clinical director as my therapist. About halfway through my respite, my family was dealing with very serious medical and financial issues. The clinical director went so far above and beyond, in a successful effort to help me process everything I was dealing with, and all the emotions attached, it was unbelievable. In a stretch of personal hopelessness and despair, we spent hours hiking and talking in the mountains. He helped me walk through it all. Even now, in my recollection of this time, I am overwhelmed with the emotion of gratitude.

In some regards, I feel I grew more in the four months I spent at Wasatch Crest, than in 30 years on this earth. I feel indebted to this program for the amazing life in sobriety and recovery I have today. For as long as I live, I will remember my days at Wasatch Crest and mostly the loving and wonderful people who make this program what it is.

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