Four weeks at Venture Academy taught Rachel something she may never have learned otherwise: that her mother really did love her.
“I’d been here about a month when I realized she does love me and that she wouldn’t send me to this program to get help for both of us if she didn’t care,” said 14-year-old Rachel during her exit interview. “She showed me she cares enough to send me here.”
That revelation, coupled with new coping skills, will serve Rachel well in the weeks, months and years after she leaves Venture Academy; a place that helped give her back her life and her relationship with her mom.
“We’re learning to communicate in a good way rather than battling it out and I’m going to listen to her more and be more open to some of the things she has to say,” she said. “I’ve realized how stupid it was to try to escape into drinking and drugs. It only made everything worse.”
Rachel’s problems began the day she found out her father was dying of cancer. Within months, he died and she moved in with a mother she hadn’t lived with since her parent’s divorce many years before.
“My mom had her own life and I had mine with my dad but when he passed away I had to move in with her and it was really hard because she had different rules and different boundaries,” she remembers. “We were arguing a lot, just not agreeing on anything.”
Rachel abandoned her friends and hung out with kids who supported her decision to drink and do drugs. Thoughts of returning to sports – on hold since her dad became ill – quickly evaporated.
“There’s no way I could figure skate or play volleyball when I doing drugs and drinking,” she says.
Eventually, Rachel’s mom called Venture Academy and got the help their family so desperately needed.
“I realize it’s not always going to be a perfect road and that there may be times when I don’t get along with my mom or when I can’t cope, but I’m going to work at it and I won’t turn back to drugs and alcohol.”