This is the story about our daughter, Laura, and how Progress Valley substance use disorder services changed our lives.
Nearly three and a half years ago, we were in dire straits. Our daughter Laura had been struggling with the disease of addiction for several years and nothing she had done to date had given her any extended relief from her suffering. She had done detox, out-patient therapy, even a stint in an in-patient rehab program, but to no avail. She was kicked out of rehab after less than a week for stealing medication. After that incident, she was able to stay sober for eight months, but once again relapsed.
All the while, we realized that her suffering was also taking a toll on us. We tried to support her but didn’t really understand what she needed. We kept thinking that all she needed to do was stay away from drugs, not realizing that her issues were much deeper and a more radical solution was needed. We were constantly worrying about where she was, who she was with, what she was doing. At the same time, Laura’s grandfather was sick with Leukemia, so we were torn between helping with his care and hers.
Support for the Journey
Laura came to realize that she needed to get away from people, places and things (including us) if she was to find lasting sobriety. Her sponsor, herself clean and sober five years, had completed Progress Valley and recommended that Laura do the same. The thought of sending her half way across the country terrified us, but we knew our options were few. It was with either a leap of faith or an act of desperation (or both), that we bought her a one-way ticket to Minnesota, not really knowing what awaited her on the other end.
The plan was for Laura to participate at PV for 90 days. She left on a Wednesday in February. Seeing her off at the airport was the hardest thing we’d ever done. That Saturday, her grandfather passed away. We called Progress Valley to have her counselor present when we broke the news. She wanted to come home at first but her counselor convinced us that it was in Laura’s best interest to remain at PV and continue treatment.
Over the next few weeks, we spoke to Laura on a daily basis. Here she was in a far away city, riding the bus from treatment to work (unheard of for a Jersey girl), not even being able to clearly see the facility when she stepped off the bus due to the heavy snowfall. It was hard but six weeks passed quickly and we were able to come out to visit.
We were amazed to see the difference six weeks at PV had already made in Laura. PV helped her take responsibility for herself. She had to find a job, follow rules, and had restrictions where she could go and when she had to return to the program. She had to surrender her cell phone whenever she returned to the facility. She had to attend counseling sessions, participate in group meetings, and start actively working a 12-step program. The little girl (at least in our eyes) that we had placed on a plane in New Jersey had started to become a woman.
At the end of 90 days, we came back to attend her graduation. We had expected that after her stint at Progress Valley she would return to New Jersey, but with the help of her counselor, Laura decided to stay on in Progress Valley’s Sober Housing. Now she had the added responsibilities of paying her rent, buying her food, etc. but she accepted these willingly (she refused to let me buy her food, which really impressed me). While in sober housing, Laura continued to see her counselor and attended meetings at the treatment facility, reinforcing the work she had started. Again, we thought she would be home after another 90 days but by this time she had such a support network that she decided to stay in Minnesota and try to build a life there.
All this time, we also began to heal. It was hard having our daughter so far away from us, but we came to realize that she would never have grown up living under our roof and that we had to surrender our will to a higher power if she was to have a chance.
Flash forward almost three and a half years. Laura is working on a plan to go to school full time. She is in a good relationship. She is active in her church. She has a large circle of friends. She is very active in a 12-step program and has sponsees of her own. And, she stays in touch with Progress Valley.
In this time, our family went from desperation, fearing what would happen next, to optimism and hope for the future. While Laura has worked very hard at her recovery, Progress Valley gave her the environment, tools and support she needed to start in earnest on her road to that recovery.
As parents of a child suffering with the disease of addiction, words cannot express the gratitude we have for the staff at progress Valley, nor can we recommend their program strongly enough to those in a similar position. Thank you, Progress Valley!
—Lance and Fran