By Wasatch Crest Admissions Coordinator Ed Manion
Wasatch Crest admissions representative and program graduate Ed Manion shares his story of addiction recovery. You can watch him tell his story and read his narrative below.
My name is Ed Manion. I’m an admissions coordinator here at Wasatch Crest and in honor of National Recovery Month, I would like to share my story with you guys.
I am also an alum of the Wasatch Crest Program which I think gives me a unique perspective to be able to help people because I understand what it’s like to be a client.
ATTENDING RESIDENTIAL ADDICTION TREATMENT
Without harping too much on the past, I guess I want to describe what it was like immediately before entering treatment. I am someone who has been to treatment before. I had some sobriety at previous times in my life but was never able to maintain long-term sobriety.
Immediately before coming into Wasatch Crest, I felt pretty hopeless. I woke up every day feeling very depressed. I was stuck in this cycle of doing these repetitive things that I knew were damaging my life, but I didn’t have the power to change.
I ended up getting in touch with someone who went through Wasatch Crest themselves and is in long-term sobriety. They had recommended the program.
Getting into Wasatch Crest was a very easy process. I called the phone number and spoke with an admissions representative. She was able to get me into treatment that same day, which was a relief. I had heard great things about the program.
When I first arrived at Wasatch Crest, I noticed how beautiful the property is here in Heber City, Utah. The center is located on a seven-acre property tucked up in the Wasatch Mountains in Heber Valley. I like the natural setting and the open area that the property sits on. I was totally blown away by how nice the property was.
I was also a little nervous. I didn’t know anyone or know what to expect. The staff and other clients made me feel extremely welcome.
Rich, my therapist at the time, did a fantastic job of meeting me where I was at. As I mentioned before, I came in here really down on myself. It was bad. I laugh about it now, but I think I was at the point where I’m not sure if I wanted to live anymore. I also didn’t want to die, so I was stuck in this weird place of despair. Rich and the rest of the staff did an incredible job of showing me so much kindness and compassion at a time in my life when I had very low self-esteem.
During treatment, I most enjoyed Wasatch Crest’s focus on adventure-based experiential therapy and outdoor activities. As I mentioned, Wasatch Crest is located in Heber City, Utah. The property is gorgeous. There’s so much stuff to do around here. In those early days when I was so depressed, the outdoor adventure therapy helped. We would go hiking, rock climbing, and floating on the Provo River.
A couple of weeks into the program, we were out on this hike. I struggled to get up to the top. I was in pretty rough physical shape at the time. At the top of the hike, there was this gorgeous view. It was in the summertime, and it was a totally clear day. The sun was reflecting off the water. I was consumed with this feeling that everything was going to be okay.
I frequently tell people that moment was a turning point in my story. I came back to the facility that day with this new outlook. From that day forward, it was not easy. There were still a lot of struggles, but that was the first day I actually — I don’t want to say laughed — but had an enjoyable day without the use of substances or being consumed by depression.
MY EXPERIENCE IN TRANSITIONAL LIVING
I completed the residential treatment program, and the second thing I absolutely love about Wasatch Crest is their transitional living program. After completing 30 days of residential treatment, clients have the option of staying at one of our Uinta transitional living residences. In my opinion, and I might be a little partial here, they are the nicest sober living facilities in the entire state.
When I first entered transitional living, I was still in pretty bad shape. I had completed 30 days of residential treatment but I had exhausted a lot of my financial resources. I had destroyed a lot of relationships in my life. I was unemployed. Continuing treatment during sober living helped me get back on my feet. I was able to work, save money, and gradually transition back into society from treatment.
Often, individuals go to treatment with the expectation that they’re going to come out “fixed” and immediately return to their life as it was before addiction. The reality is that recovery is more complicated than that.
For me, and I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, transitional living afforded me that opportunity to get some additional sobriety time under my belt while remaining in the structure of the program but still reacclimating into the real world. I started showing up for work every weekday. On the weekends, I learned how to enjoy myself.
I stayed in transitional living for an additional four months. That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life because it provided me with this strong foundation to get out of treatment, become a functioning member of society again, and be happy with myself.
BEGINNING MY LIFE AFTER ADDICTION TREATMENT
Once I left sober living, I still had some challenges. I basically had to start over. I found an apartment and employment, but it was a little bit of a struggle in the beginning.
I commonly tell clients the hardest part right is getting that initial momentum going. In my experience, once I got the initial moment going and I continued to do the right thing every day, things got better and better and better. Now I’m in a position where I absolutely love my life and I would not trade it for anything in the world. I look back on what my life used to be like, and it almost seems like a bad dream. It seems it wasn’t even real in comparison to how happy and how fulfilled I feel today.
HOW I NOURISH MY RECOVERY
To remain sober today, first and foremost, I maintain a strong support structure. For me, that looks like going to meetings. I have a sponsor. I have a home group. I work the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve been going to the same homegroup ever since I got sober, and I’ve met so many friends from that meeting that I hang out with on a regular basis.
That brings me to the second thing I do to stay sober. I personally stay very active. As I mentioned before, one thing I loved about Wasatch Crest was the focus on outdoor recreation. I grew up in New York and had never really even seen a mountain until I moved out to Utah. I went rock climbing for the first time as a client at Wasatch Crest and absolutely fell in love with it. Now it’s something I do regularly. It really helps me in my sobriety.
What I enjoy about rock climbing and physical activity, in general, is that it forces me to be present. That endorphin rush, all those feel-good chemicals, going through my body work as a healthy substitute for drugs and alcohol.
ADVICE TO THOSE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION OR IN EARLY RECOVERY
For anyone who’s currently struggling or is maybe new to sobriety, I would say really the most important thing is reaching out for help. Early on, I felt like a burden or a disappointment, and it was very difficult for me to actually reach out to someone and say, “Hey, I have a problem and I need help.” Calling Wasatch Crest and entering treatment is probably one of the best if not the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. Developing a solid support structure is also very important whether that’s through friends, family, meetings, or other people in sobriety. Social connection is such a crucial part of recovery and something that is unfortunately overlooked. Additionally, having some type of hobby is very beneficial.
RENEWING ADDICTION TREATMENT AT WASATCH CREST
Through compassionate care, specialized treatment, and purposeful experiential therapy, our specialists guide clients to heal from addiction and create new lives in recovery. To learn more about our inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs in Heber City, Utah, reach out.
About the Author
Wasatch Crest Admissions Coordinator Ed Manion
As an admissions coordinator at Wasatch Crest, Ed guides individuals and their families through the intake process, answering questions and arranging care. Having completed Wasatch Crest’s residential, outpatient, and transitional living programs as a client, Ed offers an insightful perspective to those seeking substance abuse treatment.
With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and experience as a Wasatch Crest recovery advocate, Ed enjoys helping clients creatively solve problems and overcome obstacles. Understanding first-hand the adversity that those in early recovery often face, he’s able to offer clients well-founded support and strategies for navigating the beginnings of their sobriety journeys.
Outgoing by nature, Ed welcomes the chance to connect with clients, their families, and the center’s staff members daily. He also appreciates the ability to work with the majestic Wasatch Range and idyllic Heber Valley as his backdrop.
Originally from New York, Ed has made Utah home, attracted to the state’s renowned rock climbing, world-class snowboarding, and endless alpine adventure opportunities.