Ali – January 2011

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I arrived December 17th, 2010 to Arizona, a long way from my home in Connecticut and did not know what to expect or what I actually expected. Scared, alone and far from home, I can hardly remember today how I walked through the doors to the River Source. I was picked up at the airport, one duffel bag in hand, having bought a one way ticket, not sure when I would see home and loved ones again. I had enrolled in the 30 day program, but was open and willing to stay for as long as it took to stop living in the insanity that I had been for so long. Little did I know how important openness and willingness were going to be in the next days and weeks. I did not want to be the person I had been, living the way I had been, hurting everyone that I loved and cared about, but was completely lost in how to change. After settling into my room and unpacking my things, I attended my first group with the other clients. Titled, “Evening Review”, I was not sure what was going to happen, but I knew that I was just going to sit and listen because I was not one who talked about anything that was going on in my life or anything personal with people, let alone strangers. As came into the room, I found a chair that I hoped would keep me unnoticed enough not to be called on for anything, but also noticed enough to get a check for attending since I knew that was required. Sitting there comfortably, I began to listen. Out of nowhere, a girl spoke and said that she was grateful that I was there. I was shocked. Who was this person that I didn’t even know? Grateful I was there? I didn’t get it. Somehow, that broke a bit of the ice for me and I felt a bit more comfortable. As the days started, I was amazed at home warm and welcoming everyone was towards me.

As the days began, I attended meetings and groups and was overwhelmed by how much knowledge and experience everyone had. Sessions with my counselor were absolutely amazing. I began to feel more and more comfortable and before I knew it, the closed private person I knew myself to be was participating and sharing. Presenting in front of a group was not a strength of mine, but the setting was so comfortable, I was talking more than I could have expected. I learned so much about myself – more than I ever thought possible. To say that the River Source was working my mind, body and soul is an understatement. I am a new person today and could not have ever predicted or wished for anything more. A meeting and yoga to start the day always cleared my mind and for the first time in my life, my brain was not running a million miles an hour. The opportunity to go to outside meetings opened my eyes to so much. There was a community of amazing people to meet and to hear and connect with. Getting back into shape, allowing us to go to the gym, brought back memories of how much I enjoyed it. Memories of all sorts of things I enjoyed started to come slowly back to me.

I have been home now for barely a week and my family and loved ones have seen such a change in me. I feel like I am a new person today and can only thank the River Source for all that they have done for me. They saved my life and opened my eyes to a new, better and more fulfilled future. The promises are coming true day by day. I am at peace today. Acceptance is a word that will never mean the same thing to me. I live in today and for today. That is not who I was before. I am happy today and grateful for everything I have in this moment. I know that as long as I work the program that I have been taught and shown, am honest, open and willing, life can only get better. I look forward to each day, the good, the bad, and everything in between.