Mental Health Treatment – Zachary’s Review
I learned about Sovereign actually through my parents. They brought it out as a possibility probably six months ago and I wasn’t quite ready to you know kind of make that next step to come here and then I hit a wall and had some issues about two months ago and decided that I needed to get some help.
It was actually school related so I am in school the University of Kansas and I was really struggling with kind of motivation so many negative thinking on my part in terms of my outlook on the world and that was causing me to not be able to go to class, not be able to complete a job or you know keep a job some substance abuse in there as well so it really just came down to I am not living life the way I want to and I really need to get help because I have an IOP process in the past and it helped for about month or two and then I kind of hit that wall again and lost of kind of everything that I learned and so I really needed to get some more rigorous kind of training in terms of how to deal with life.
I really liked actually the woman that I talked to on the phone that kind of was kind of telling me about the program she really sold me on it. I did a lot of research kind of just on my own and kind of calling different places throughout the US and I know I wanted to go somewhere warm because I am from Kansas so it is not all that warm all the time. Yeah it really came down to the location here in Florida. I have never been to Fort Myers so been in Florida before but never Fort Myers and I saw a picture of the campus and liked the way the campus looked and I heard good things from her and she really recommended this location and there is California location but this was the location she really recommended to me.
I did this thing in IOP and it was very it is called intensive outpatient but to me it was very not intensive. It was three times a week for three hours and it was really a lot of just teaching you. It wasn’t so much here is how you can apply it so from that perspective I didn’t think it was all that intensive and that was just in my hometown Dallas so I would just commute there spend three hours and commute back so there wasn’t really any accountability so they will say here is what you need to do and I would say okay by my head and then go home and not do it. So it was good in a sense that I have you know kind of the tools I knew what the tools were but I wasn’t able to apply them and that is why I don’t think it was beneficial to me. But it definitely helped my experience here because they are teaching similar things but they are actually forcing you to apply it because if you don’t then you can’t succeed in the program. The staff and your therapist really hold you accountable to the things that hey here is what you need to work on we want to see you progress because ultimately it is what I am here for.
It was 1 o clock at night. My flight was delayed a little bit so I got in real late and it was dark so I didn’t see anything. I just remember doing my intake signing lots of papers they went through all my stuff did had a little thing with medical and talk with them then I went right to bed. Yeah so my first experience was probably the next day when I kind of see how things work and what I really like was the structure that is something that I was completely lacking when I was on my own was the structure. I tried to have that with school and with work but I could never manage it. It was something that just I was not able to do on my own at the time so I really like the structure of here is what you need to be here is what I have in groups here is when you know you are meeting with therapist who have much the same time so that was kind of what I really like about the whole experience to start. The first few days were absolutely kind of a shock and I didn’t sleep well for just because it is a new environment and I wasn’t you know where I wanted to be in terms of where I was at when I first got here so that took some adjusting to the new surroundings but it was really good. You know I never felt like uncomfortable in the sense of the surroundings where I was uncomfortable the staff has always been nice the other patients really kind of so it was a good experience.
The expectations of the program was you know go to group get along with the other patients work with your therapist and you know just really focus on yourself. I thought that was something that I think really benefited me because I have always been the type of person to it is easier for me to focus on somewhere else than it is to me because frankly I didn’t really like me so it is so much easier to hey how can I help you and so how can I help myself so that working with my therapist was really kind of the catalyst for me of here is you got this problem and only need to address it. And so I had a really good experience with both my case manager and my therapist they work really well with me to kind of identify the problems that I was with or that I had and how we can solve them. So from the standpoint
of my expectation was I want to get better obviously but I think especially my therapist far exceeded that because I have had therapist in the past and have had you know mixed experiences you know I got to find the right one and I feel like I really did here I had a great experience.
A motel style environment so each little block has four five rooms each of them has a two bed two double beds and a dresser a desk and then a closet and then bathroom. Carpeted it was nice and clean I never had an issue with you know cleanliness or anything like that it was definitely different you know because sleep in a queen bed going to a little bit of smaller bed was a change but I never had any problems in terms of you know cleanliness or feeling unsafe or anything like that.
I think one of the shining aspects of this program is the how involved both you know the techs and therapist and case managers are and in the whole treatment we really get to know people when you are here for 30 plus days. So I mean I know everyone all the techs I know pretty much all the therapists most of the case managers and people who really do care about you know how you are and how you are doing and so from the techs’ standpoint a lot of the techs are in recovery themselves so they really have an understanding of where you were and they can give experience of here is how I did it and you can really learn a lot from just hanging out with techs and just talking and my case manager was really good he is very invested in how my treatment was going and that is what I thought I was really impressed with was the fact that you know I saw him everyday and say hey how are things going today what can I do to help you and I really appreciate that because there were times when I was struggling I need help and he was always there to say hey how can I help and then like I said with my therapist he has been awesome really have touch on things that I didn’t even know that I needed to address and I definitely feel like as I said before everybody cares and my therapist more than anyone has kind of gotten to know me and has been able to say hey here is an area I feel like you could need to work on here is what we are going to do to solve the problem and then here is hopefully what it will be like when we do address the problem.
The group therapy you get with all your peers all the other patients and have a either counselor or therapist or case manager will come in and discuss the topics so the topics range from stress management, brain wellness, grief and loss was a group that we did today, lots of things there are some more recovery related or relapse prevention triggers those kinds of things. But it was really beneficial because when you are in that group setting it is up to forms so the therapist or whoever the facilitator of the group will you know maybe present something and then discussion so it is a really good format for seeing what other people think and even I know I am a pretty outgoing person so I am one of those people that will speak out and say hey here is how it felt for me but when I first got here was much more timid because it is a new environment I don’t know these people you know and what they all think of me I thought that form was really good for both the people that are more introverted and maybe with the new people because you can see the people that are talking and you can relate and you can say okay that applies to me. I didn’t necessarily I want to say that to everybody but that applies to me. And then individual therapy would be meet one on one with therapist you are talking about problems that you have had the first couple of sessions are usually history hey how was your childhood just try to diagnose if there is something that from your past that might be influencing you or that led you to be some place like here. So I really got the most out of my individual sessions because that is when I was really able to kind of dive in and get really deep and kind of vulnerable as oppose you know a little more guarded when you are around a lot of other people.
I love games any kind of games. Computer games videos games or whatever so we had a brain wellness was one of my favorite groups and that was when we actually went into the cognitive lab and did brain games and it was kind of gauging how are you able to handle tasks and things like that. That was my favorite group and the other group that I liked was it is kind of a neuropsychology here is how the brain works I am a very I like to learn different things so those are probably in terms of me enjoying the most the group that I got the most out of was probably was stress prevention and grief and loss because stress is one thing that I have not been able to handle since my depression and anxiety and substance abuse so that really helped me to cope with some of the things I was dealing with I mean everyday stressors was something that would just ruin my day and now I feel like I am better able to cope with those things and then the grief and loss is something that I have experienced in the past was you know was processing and learning how to process through those types of things.
So a typical day I guess that previously it is very structured and so when you first get on the program if you have substance abuse if substance abuse is why you are here then you are going to detox and that will consist of you know waking up at 6 take your meds and then every four hours after taking meds you know to bring you down off of whatever you are one when you are here and breakfast starts at 7:15 goes to 7:45 then we have a morning meeting which is where the patients all gather together in the morning to kind of discuss what is going to happen during the day if there was any outside meetings going on if there is any outings like that will be addressed and then your group start at 9 in the morning and they go for 15 minutes and then every hour on the hour till lunch at noon. And at noon you have lunch you got to hang out have something to eat and then after that you will go into a process group which is where you just gather with your therapist and the other clients that have the same therapist and you start to talk about how you are feeling that day if there is something that happened that you want to talk about you can always you know that will be a time to bring it up if you felt comfortable in that situation. And then after that, more groups throughout the afternoon until about 3:30 and then from 3:30 to roughly 5 free time do whatever you want to do if you want to go to sleep if you want to there is a basketball for you play basketball look at the river you know do all those kinds of different things and then at 5 you have dinner then you have another period of doing whatever you want and then they always bring in an meeting whether it is AA, NA you know CA just something to recovery related to help you you know kind of get acclimated to those types of groups because they really are beneficial when you are able to go outside it is a lot of fun to go to those meetings and hear people share their stories that you can relate with and then after that we have a wrap up meeting where we discussed the day we always say we are grateful for which is something that I really like because I feel like that is really crucial to my recovery was realizing the things that I am grateful for because that is something I have never done in the past. Then after that free time again and until lights out at 11 and then midnight on the weekend.
I will definitely say the techs I love all the techs they are all really nice they are very invested in getting to know you and helping you through whatever kind of problems you have whether it is you know here is what I dealt with in the past and this is how it made me feel and like I said before they can relate very well with here I totally understand what you are going through here is what I did here is how it affected my life and you know there are members of society now they are not you know kind of stuck where we were previously they have a job some of them have families you know they are living life so that is really nice to see kind of the program and action and you know I have had a lots of really good conversations with techs and been able to you know really open up to them where previously someone I didn’t know I would be like I don’t want to share anything with you so yeah that is absolutely my favorite.
I will take away a lot of the relationships that I built. Something that I personally struggle with was kind of a self esteem and self worth aspect yeah and being able to be in a situation where I felt comfortable and was able to relate to patients staff whatever may be kind of made me feel normal you know and in the real world I didn’t feel I feel like you know I am an outcast so that was really beneficial for me to be able to there are other people like me and they are good people and so that is probably the number one thing I will take away is that you know it is okay to be a little different and there are people just like me and they are good people and they really raise my self esteem and that is probably the best thing that I will take away from here.
I will definitely say it is worth it. There is lots of roadblocks in the way you know I think there is always resistance when it comes to treatment because we don’t like to admit that we need help we always want to say I can do this on my own and that was a big roadblock for me it was you know I got this I can do this. And the reality for me was that I could. So if anyone you know is having those types of feelings that I would say you know what give it a shot because in the long term and the big scene of things 30, 45 days isn’t a big deal but it could change your life and I know that it has changed mine absolutely for the better and you know the whole AA saying that it works if you work it and that is very true pretty much anything in life and especially here if you put your best foot forward and actively want to get better you will because they provide all the necessary tools from you know they have got that structure they provide meals you don’t have to worry anything but yourself and proving yourself and so that is what I would say to anyone seeking treatment is that it is scary at first and there are roadblocks
but if you put your best foot forward you will come out of the program a better person and a better individual with the way you handle things and how you move forward in life because I know I was not able to live life on life’s terms and now I feel like much better able to do that.