I arrived at Chambers Hill Adolescent Program a mentally broken, physically exhausted, and emotionally empty boy. The freefall of my life had come to a jarring halt as I slammed into the bottom of the hole I’d dug for myself. I hated the person I had become. Lost in a sea of confusion and uncertainty, I passed through the threshold to begin the next chapter of my life.

Immediately I found myself feeling like an outcast, quickly finding many reasons to separate myself from my new peers. I dressed differently, listened to different music and spoke what felt like a completely different language. I wanted to go home, yet I knew I never wanted to go back to the life I’d left there. Deep down I knew I needed to find a new way to live, and thought, just maybe, Gaudenzia would help me.

During my first one-on-one session, I tried to “play it cool,” as if I had it all figured out. My counselor saw right through my antics and kept me honest. I had spent so many years masking my feelings with drugs that I had no idea how to deal with them. Just as the Gaudenzia Philosophy says, until I was able to confront myself in the eyes and hearts of others, I was running. Through further sessions and other assignments, she helped me learn healthy outlets for my emotions. I no longer had to run every time I didn’t like the way I felt; I could deal with the ups and downs of life in a productive way. When I fell short, the staff at CHAP picked me back up and got me on the right path.

From there, I began experiencing life in a completely new way. I certainly had my share of challenges, but I worked through them. I came to CHAP as a timid boy and left as a resolute young man. It’s been thirteen years since I walked out of those doors with my head held high, and I’ve kept the same clean date. I have earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and now work as an engineering manager at a high-tech company.  I have a beautiful wife and a house, but most importantly, I have serenity.