In Her Own Words: Crystal’s Story

I never felt good in my own skin. I suffered from low self-esteem for many years. Started drinking at age 12. Soon I was smoking marijuana. My dreams of an education and career were constantly sabotaged by my poor choices. To make matters worse, I was diagnosed with bipolar at age 30. Life was horrible. I was in and out of jail, my relationships were broken, and I felt hopeless and ashamed. But then someone told me about Beautiful Minds.

When I came to the office it was like walking into a sanctuary. It was peaceful and serene. I knew I was where I needed to be. The addiction programs I attended before focused on what you’re not supposed to do. “Don’t drink.” “Don’t smoke.” “Stay away from your old playthings, playgrounds, and playmates.” This was good advice, but I needed more. In fact, I found that focusing too much on the drug problem and being surrounded by other people who weren’t strong in their recoveries actually made me more likely to relapse.

As I started the Intensive Outpatient Program at Beautiful Minds, the classes blew my mind. I learned a full range of tools to help heal my mind and body. These included nutrition, sleep, gratitude, and healthy thinking tools. I also learned the mental health benefits of doing kind things for other people.

I felt very safe at Beautiful Minds. Just going there every day was stabilizing. I love that the program covered everything about being human. Not just addiction, but everything that normal people need. They treated addiction like any other illness, and that’s the way it should be.

Last week, I celebrated 6 months of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. Next week, I’ll celebrate 3 months tobacco-free. For the first time in a long time, I’m looking for a job and making plans for the future. I couldn’t have made or maintained these choices without help.

I feel more grateful for things now. Before, my mind felt clouded and foggy, but now I can see things more clearly. I’m grateful for little things, like the air conditioning in the car or a green light. I’m grateful that my relationship with my mom has been repaired. She says she “has her daughter back.” I’m grateful because, for the first time in my life, I feel comfortable in my own skin.

*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality

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