Testimony of David - WinGate Student

Almost 5 full years ago I was struggling with a very intense drug addiction coupled with terrible mental health and everything that comes along with it, damaging thoughts, actions and even attempts on my own life. I was struggling for years and was very stubborn not accepting the position I was in. I was lying to my family and friends trying to hold up the lie that I was doing fine and my life was manageable.

I was restless, irritable and discontent all the time while trying to hold up a facade that I was happy and successful. I was telling my friends and parents I had a job and working, as if I was content and there was nothing to worry about. In reality, I was suffering and living through a personal hell all while trying to find any escape other than stopping. I had wanted to find a solution but couldn't bring myself to any option other than trying to end my own life.

Luckily my parents noticed that something was off and by the grace of god they were able to get an intervention scheduled when I happened to be home. I was not excited to do it, and after a bit of resistance and some other hurdles I ended up agreeing to their proposition to go to the wilderness instead of being kicked out (for good this time).

I Began Enjoying Myself

When I landed in Utah, I was a bit confused as to what was happening, but once I arrived at the campsite and met my group, I became calmer. I ended up kicking all of the drugs I was coming off while in the wilderness, which wasn't a great experience: but it was one of the challenges I would have to face in order to have the life I have today. I enjoy camping and the outdoors, so once I was clean and off all substances, I began enjoying myself a great deal.

I began to feel real emotions for the first time in years. Happiness, joy, frustration without anger, and true serenity, were emotions I hadn't felt in quite some time and I was beginning to feel them again, which was truly a new experience for me. When my mind and body were free of all substances for even a short period of time, I became hooked on the feeling of having a clear mind and feeling emotions that aren't chemically induced.

I learned how to work as a team, be a leader, and take responsibility for my actions while I was in the wilderness. This granted me the opportunity to be involved in the decision for my aftercare and then decide to follow through with completing that as well. Wilderness truly was essential for my personal recovery and story and I believe that I would not be here today if it weren't for the actions of my parents and my true desperation to do anything to change my life for the better.

Now What I Practice in My Daily Life

I now have nearly 5 years of uninterrupted sobriety. The gifts that I have received from maintaining this lifestyle are ones I never dreamed I'd be able to enjoy. Honestly, I didn't think I would see my twenties, and now I am having success in school, my personal life, and also my professional life. I currently work as a case manager helping young men in recovery as well as sponsoring young men in Alcoholics Anonymous. I couldn't have the gifts I have today without giving it away, and that is now what I practice in my daily life.

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