My ATC Experience: Shane C
Written by At The Crossroads,
in Section Featured Focus
Building a family in St. George, Utah
What brought you to ATC? Had you been to any programs prior to ATC?
Drug Addiction, Mental health disorder, and a complete lack of faith/belief in myself.
How did you feel about enrolling prior to arrival? What emotions were you experiencing?
Honestly, I remember being terrified. Knowing that my life needed to change but blindly flying across the country, to a place I had never been, to this day is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Fear was the biggest emotion I felt during that process.
How did you feel while acclimating during your initial time at ATC?
I had a wonderful and caring Orientation counselor during my initial time at ATC. He, along with the other staff really brought me out of my shell. Acclimating was still difficult, I had isolated so much that interacting with others was difficult my first couple days but with time and the care of the staff, I was able to make friendships with other students, friendships I have to this day, almost 5 years later.
What did your goals look like when enrolling at ATC? Did you know at the time? If not, how did you start to figure that out while at ATC?
Of course, I had an idea of what work I needed to do at ATC. Deep down I knew the amount of effort it would take to get my life back on track. My problem was myself. I had to begin to care about myself enough to push myself to do the things I didn’t want to do in order the become the person I needed to be. I figured that out through therapy, my colleague and making healthy connections with other students within the program. I didn’t do it perfectly, but progress really started about two months into my stay at ATC.
What life skills did you learn at ATC that you have found to be the most important? Why?
Accountability. I learned that my life is in my hands, and my present situation is a result of my actions, choices, and perspective. It is no one else’s job to live my life for me. If I wanted things in my life, I had to take accountability for my own mistakes and being willing to do the work to get the things I want.
- Hard Work. I had a good work ethic to a point in my life, one I was able to “resurrect” while at ATC. I had to first abandon the idea that I was entitled to things because of well, any reason I could justify it. First and foremost I had to do the work.
- Letting go. Whether it be pain from my past, or a friend that I saw making the wrong choices I had to learn (sometimes very painfully) when to let go.I’m the kind of person who tends to hold onto things, it being pain that I believe defines me or people I find myself loyal to. I had to learn when to say no to things that weren’t healthy for me. It still difficult for me even to this day. Doing the right thing. This one sounds simple or almost even natural but for me thinking things over before I made a choice took some learning on my part.I now continually check my motives for any decision I make. Sometimes my initial thought isn’t to act out of kindness but rather is selfish or out of fear. Learning to really analyze hard decisions from all angles has been one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life.
- Me (Self Awareness). I learned about myself, as deeply and thoroughly as possible, that alone is my greatest lesson from ATC. Understanding how I think and respond, knowing when to take a risk and knowing when to focus on my responsibilities. Knowing that I’m instinctively hard on myself why I don’t perform to level I know I’m capable. I could write an entire essay on all the things I’ve learned about myself while at ATC and since then. However, the most important thing I did there was learning myself, not my fear, my pride or my ego but who I really am to my core.
Did you partake in any educational opportunities while at ATC? If so, explain.
No I did not partake in any traditional education opportunities at ATC. I learned about finance management, fitness, time management, and others from staff but I did not attend any further “academic education” while at ATC.
Where did you work while at ATC? What was this experience like? How did you get connected with your job opportunities? Did a mentorship evolve in the workplace? If so, how has that impacted you, your story, your experience and where you are now?
I worked at the retailer Ross, until getting a job at Red Rock Canyon School. Part of the program was doing a job search and making myself financially independent. Took some time but I got there. The most mentorship I received as a student was from our staff. And in many ways, their tutelage helped saved my life.
Can you give a brief overview of what your stay at ATC looked like, taking into account the individualized approach? What did your progression and trajectory look like?
My therapist and I worked on goals for myself individually and my colleague was my main point of contact in accomplishing those goals. Whether it was getting a job, attending 12 step meetings, being more involved in the ATC community, being more involved in the community. I had things to get done before I returned to being on my own.
How did you prepare to transition out of ATC towards the end of your stay? What emotions were you experiencing?
There were certain goals I needed to hit, a certain amount of finances to afford my own place, a certain amount of time clean & sober. Good influences outside of the program, peers whom were on the same path as I. I felt ready, I finally had the confidence in myself to be on my own again.
Where are you now? What are you doing? What goals are you working towards? Did any of these evolve while at ATC?
I stayed in St. George, while my time at ATC and after I have built my own “family” here. Through both hard work, and mistakes along the way the life I have in St. George is one I feel I created for myself. I’m very proud to call this town home. I’m working two jobs both in the social media marketing field. One for a retail location, one as apart of a social media marketing agency. Through continued job experience I found my passion, profession, and career. I’m with an amazing woman, who I’ve been with a little over a year and when financially ready I plan to marry.Furthering myself in my career and have the ability to work from home, or wherever I may be, pay off my debt not only my loans but also to my parents for helping me throughout my life. Start a family, buy a house, start a business. I’ll be 5 years clean & sober off drugs and alcohol in July of 2018.
Is there anything else positive you would like to say about ATC, your experience or staff that were meaningful to your personal experience?
There is no cookie cutter way to handle an individual’s needs who is struggling as a young adult. There is no one “curriculum” that guarantee the success the individual and their family is looking for. This is why I believe ATC is so valuable. The individualization of the program caters to the needs of that student/client. Each of us had different experiences, different problems, different goals etc. ATC’s mission to the best of my understanding, is provide the tools and resources for that individual to truly reach their own potential in life.I wanted to see drastic change in my life, ATC was their to teach me how to do just that, with all the tools and resources available I learned I had to be the change I wanted to see in my life. Now almost 5 years since my first day at ATC, I see the very life I set out to create.So thank you ATC, for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.