Resident Testimonials

Ironwood Maine Resident Testimonial – N., Age 17

Ironwood has given me the opportunity to start my life over and rebuild my family.  I have been able to take a long, hard look at myself and my past, and reflect on the way I treated my parents and myself.  I have discovered that I am worthy of happiness, and a future of positivity.  I am in control of my actions, behavior, and attitude towards life.  I’ve learned to laugh every day, appreciate all that I have, and cherish memories with the people I love.  My family has placed me here to challenge myself, re-evaluate my values, and live in a safe environment, where I can no longer self-destruct.  At home, during a lifestyle that now disturbs me, I was a depressed, verbally abusive, and drug-fueled teenager with no respect for my parents and the people who love me the most.  Now, I cannot even picture myself living the way I was, and I cannot imagine that I would ever live like that again.  I caused incredible pain to my family, and they deserved none of it.

When I first arrived at Ironwood, I had nothing nice to say about anyone or anything.  “I hate the food, I hate the kids, I hate the staff, there is no help for me here,” I would say to myself.  After the acceptance started to crawl into my life, I began to invest and fully commit to the program.  Slowly, as I became more comfortable, my life felt like it was finally betting back on track.  My interest in education was regained.  Miss Kathy inspired me to take school seriously again.  She lit an academic fire within me, and I was motivated to work hard, focus, and hopefully finish high school here.  At home, it felt impossible to sit through a day of learning. I was irritated, distracted, truant, and my effort was non-existent.  After I started to abuse drugs and alcohol, I would rather stay home and drink or use alone than set myself up for a successful future.  It became my one reliable friend.

I had blown away all my other real friendships.  I no longer cared for them.  I was unreliable and couldn’t maintain or even obtain healthy relationships.  I plan to work on developing social skills that have been absent from my life for so long.  I wish to create connections with staff and peers, so when I go home, I can surround myself with positive influences.

Having my freedom, the ability to go where ever I want, and do whatever I want, my privilege, and possessions taken away from me made me realize how much I have taken for granted, and how lucky and blessed I actually am.  I have learned that when I abuse these luxuries, they can be taken away from me overnight, and they were.  And it’s the greatest thing that could have happened to me.  I now have a deeper appreciation for the things in life that I actually need, and not what I desire.

Having to finally deal with myself and my emotions was extremely difficult for me.  I had gotten so used to not feeling like myself, and forgotten who I actually am, and what it’s like to live in a clear reality. Being separated from my family was something I have never experienced before and made me feel things I had never known.  I was placed in an environment where there are consequences for my actions, and I finally care that my wrongdoings matter, and can actually affect me and the people around me.

I have isolated myself so long that it’s been difficult to open up to people, express my feelings, and experience trust.

Something I have never done is given myself credit for my accomplishments.  I haven’t appreciated myself and the growth that I’ve made.  In level three, I plan to change the way I treat myself, and have more respect for my capabilities and compassion for others. I would like to explore the leadership qualities that lay deep within me and incorporate them into my life.  A leader isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right and identify when something is wrong.

Whenever I have been asked what I want to do or be in my future, I’ve always shrugged my shoulders and let out an: “I don’t know.  I don’t have to worry about that yet.  I’m just a kid.”  Well, I have recently realized that adulthood is close enough to where I should start tossing ideas around.  I can’t avoid it forever.  I have to make my parents proud.  I hope I’m able to sit down and talk to my parents, have a conversation, express my emotions, and work through problems.  This is something we have never been able to do, and we will have to push through unpleasant barriers to get there.

When I look back, when I’m old and wrinkled, Ironwood will just be another chapter in the book of my life, and this chapter, although challenging and uncomfortable, will make it possible for me to be happy for the rest of the story.

Ironwood Maine Resident Testimonial – J.

Thank you for this opportunity.  I had many challenges in my life at home.  There were many problems in my life.  I was truant in school, I had a bad attitude, and I used to get super rude and disrespectful to my parents.  I suffered from anxiety and depression.  I was not contributing to my household.  All these factors led me to a needed and hopeful conclusion of arriving at Ironwood.  It’s obvious to me now that I needed some help.  I needed to change.  I discovered that I was becoming an abusive person.  I never wanted to believe it when my mom would tell me you’re going down the wrong path.  I would get angry and push it to the side.  Being in a structured, substance-free environment, I realized that she was right. I realized that I can change myself to have a good life, but where I was in a destructive, depressing place.  I understood that I had a bad attitude, work ethic, motivation, and ability to follow through.  It has been brought to my attention that I want to be better. That I want to get well.  That I have desire to act like a good person I am.

At Frye, I faced many, many challenges.  I remember my second family therapy session with Shawn feeling like my life was over, feeling like my life was messed up to the point of no recovery.  I remember feeling like I didn’t want to live any more. I felt worthless and heartless, like a blob that was breathing.  Sadness was all I knew.  Sadness was all I thought I could feel.  I couldn’t make myself happy.  There was a change of mind that occurred from that time to when I started accepting the program.  I realized that I didn’t like the position that I was in and that the only way to change the position I was in was to change my actions and attitude.  The thing that pushed me to this place was a lot of structure and consistency, my mom and dad not giving-in to my pleas made me understand that my only option was to do the program and try my best.  I felt challenged by everything at Frye.  I had trouble with authority, even though I didn’t want to admit it.  I had hard times focusing in school and on normal activities.  I experienced a lot of anxiety throughout the ins and outs of my days.  I struggled with a bad attitude.  I battled with being focused and present.  I had a hard time with being calm and staying focused on one task at a time. I struggled with staff redirection and being respectful.  I had to overcome these things, and this was hard work.  I rose above these things using coping skills.  Some of these were breathing, talking to staff, keeping myself busy, and doing my best in the present moment.  I learned many things at Frye.  I discovered that I am stronger than I thought I was.  I learned that respecting authority not only works better because it is the right thing to do.  From my experience I found out how to be a good leader.  I discovered how to gain trust and push through.  I accomplished making new friends and succeeding at my goals.  I realized how to be content in the moment and not to stress about the future.  I learned that happiness is a choice and that it is possible at all times.  I struggled with a bad attitude.  I had a “I’m done with Frye, there’s nothing more I can learn here” type attitude. That attitude on its own showed that I wasn’t ready.  I had to change my attitude and accept Frye.  I had to seek to learn something in every moment.  I had to try to be content in my circumstances, even though I did not like them.

There are going to be things that will be hard for me at the farm house.  I think that some of these things will be staying serious even when I want to joke around, knowing the time and place for fun, being present in the present moment, accomplishing one task at a time, keeping track of my items, slowing down, and being positive.  I am going to breathe deeply, engage in the present moment, utilize staff, slow down, try my best, and be aware of the time and place for things.  Some things that I want to gain from level three are being present and happy, earning trust and handling responsibility well, having a good work ethic, building good relationships, and letting go of all my anger, doing well in my junior year of high school, and being positive. I am looking forward to more freedom and a new setting.  I am excited for a new set of challenges and gaining more skills.  I am looking forward to being the best me that I can be.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Ironwood Resident Testimonial – C.

Good morning treatment team, I would like to start off by thanking you for inviting me to present to you today.  My stay at Frye was a long one.  I spent seven months dwelling on the past and getting angry about things I would not change. I was scared, because I didn’t want to leave Frye.  I got comfortable.  Then I start thinking about all of the great opportunities that come with moving up to level three.  Some of you might know about my passion for horses.  When I was told I was able to ride here, my eyes lit up and my heart started racing.  Riding was something that kept me out of trouble.  When my relationship with my dad started to falter, I started going to the barn less and less.  We didn’t communicate at all.  I started to get angry and started to ruin my health with self-destructive behavior.  I spent years working with the horses at my barn, but because I was so angry and defiant, I lost all of it.  I threw that part of my life away.  My dad and I drew farther apart and we couldn’t communicate without yelling.  Years of therapy didn’t help anything.  Within these past seven months, my dad and I have been able to have civilized conversations with each other.  We can talk to each other like adults.  The distance between us definitely helped.  We were both able to work on communication in a respectful manner. This helped me gain my confidence back. I started to open up, create strong relationships with the staff, and other girls at Frye.  After losing my color the first time, it opened my eyes. I didn’t know how much work still needed to be done.  I got way too comfortable in purple.  I didn’t care about my folder and often got agitated if people asked me about it. When I was orange for the second time, it really motivated me to start working on my purple folder.  I realized that if I wanted to move forward, I had to work on my folder and my attitude.  I feel like I have made a lot of progress in level two.  I can process difficult situations on my own.  I no longer rely on staff to help me deal with my problems.  I have made a lot of progress with emotional regulation during level two.  There’s still a lot more room for improvement, but I know I am capable of it.  This is going to be a big challenge for me, and I’m scared of change, but this is my chance to move forward, and I’m willing to take that chance.  Thank you for listening.