Finding Hope In The Wilderness
Written by Craig Rogers, in Section Teen Paths
Finding Hope In The Wilderness
For most of her childhood, Felicity Potter was a pretty typical kid. She went to school, spent time with friends, and generally lived a normal and happy life. However, this all started to change around the time she turned 14 and her parents got divorced. Like most kids who find themselves in this situation, she was pretty upset and was looking for a way to cope with the changes in her life. Unfortunately, this difficult situation encouraged her to turn to cocaine, marijuana, and other illicit drugs for relief. Using these substances quickly led to the development of other serious issues, including depression and severe anxiety, which spiraled Felicity's life out of control.
Living In Desperate Conditions
Though she was able to keep her drug use hidden, Felicity's parents quickly noticed the symptoms of depression that she was displaying. The sent her to a therapist, but like many youths in this situation, she was reluctant to open up about the problems she was dealing with. Ultimately, she ended up keeping her drug addiction from her therapist and subsequently was unable to make any real progress with her mental health issues. Unfortunately for Felicity, this meant it would still be years before she got the help she needed to overcome the terrible burden of addiction. So, with drug addiction continuing to dominate her life Felicity chose to forgo college and move to another city for art school. This would signal the beginning of a severe downward spiral for her.
Her Problems Intensify
After graduating high school at the age of 17, Felicity quickly moved to San Francisco with a close friend. Though they had both moved there to attend art school, they quickly found it wasn't something either of them was interested in seriously pursuing. This left Felicity with a great deal of free time, an easy income being supplied by her parents, and an already established drug habit. Unfortunately for Felicity, this combination encouraged her to begin experimenting with heroin. For the next three years, her life would completely revolve around her heroin use, entering and exiting rehab programs but never truly getting clean. It was only due to the quick thinking of her parents one day when she fainted that she was able to reclaim control over her life. When the ambulance came after she fainted, her parents lied and told the medics that she had talked about committing suicide. This resulted in her being forcibly committed to the psych ward of a local hospital. During her stay there, she was offered the option of leaving early if she was willing to commit to going through treatment at Wingate Wilderness Therapy. Luckily, that was the option she chose.
Getting Control Over Her Life Back
Felicity stayed at Wingate for 99 days. At first, she was resistant to the help that was being offered, but a counselor that wouldn't give up finally convinced her to open up to the experience. Once she had changed her mindset about treatment, everything started coming together. She was able to use the experience of living in the wilderness to really examine the choices she had been making and the reasons behind those choices. She would later say that the simple and distraction-free environment was like holding up a mirror to her life. She was forced to really examine how she had got to that point. This gave her the push she needed to retake control over her life, and that is exactly what she did after returning home. Within a few months, she found herself attending Prescott college in Arizona and truly thriving. She would eventually go on to graduate from Prescott and choose to further her education with the goal of becoming a clinical therapist. She is currently living in San Francisco and attending a graduate program through The California Institute of Integral Studies. Her dream is to open up her own practice someday and help people who are experiencing the same issues she struggled with for so many years.