“I came in as an immature 17 year old going into my senior year of high school. I had more problems than you could imagine. My passion is life was partying and getting as messed up as I possibly could and I had absolutely no intentions of stopping. I also struggled with severe PTSD from all the times I was sexually abused and had flashbacks numerous times a day because of that. I was also very suicidal and struggled with self harm. I was a master manipulator and didn’t care at all who I hurt. My biggest issue was my anxiety disorder. I was having panic attacks every day and had trouble living my everyday life. I came to Elk Mountain taking about 10 different medications and got the nickname “skittles” from Mike Linderman because of it. I was a mess but that’s where I felt comfortable. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to be like this anymore. I started to actually do the work and take the therapists advice and it worked for me. I started getting real with everyone and being honest and I was able to turn my life around. It was not easy but I managed to get through it with support from the staff and students.

I can’t thank all the Elk Mountain staff enough for everything they have done for me. Thank you so much for talking to me and helping me every step of the way, especially the psychologists. I could not have done it without you guys. You are all amazing at what you do.

As for the girls, I am going to miss you guys more than anything. You are all amazing girls with so much potential. We have had many great times at Elk Mountain and I am leaving with so many memories. You guys are my sisters and I will never forget any one of you.

Some words of advice I can leave with you are to take each day you have at Elk Mountain and make the most of it. Although sometimes it seems like you may be here forever, I promise you, you won’t. So while you are here work as hard as you possibly can and enjoy each and every day because one day you are going to leave and it will all just be a memory. Although you are all here for different reasons, Elk Mountain can and will help you as long as you let it. All you have to do is work the program and don’t hold back and you will succeed.

Never in a million years did I imagine that I would be leaving Elk Mountain in a place that I am. I am leaving one day after my 5 month sobriety birthday. I am confident in my sobriety and plan on staying sober at home. I am also a high school graduate and am starting college in September. As far as me emotionally that is the most incredible shift. I am going home confident in myself, my choices, and my future. I am independent and can fully take care of myself. My relationship with my parents is going great. I have a positive outlook on my life. I have healthy coping skills that I practice every day. I also have integrity. And most importantly to me, I have self respect and that was the most difficult thing for me to achieve.

My whole life I felt like my family was never proud of me because I was nothing but a screw up and I was just a big disappointment to everyone. Today I can finally say that that is no longer true because now they are all proud of me, but more importantly I am proud of myself. I honestly couldn’t be prouder of myself for all the progress I have made and everything I have accomplished here. I never thought this would happen. I have come so far in this program and in my life. I wouldn’t take back this experience for anything. Although, I realize that it is my time to move on and go back out into the real world. I do have a Chihuahua that needs me and is waiting for me to come home. I will never forget Elk Mountain Academy and everyone who has impacted my life here. I will miss you guys so much. Thanks for everything.”