Headed down the path of destruction

Before I came to Thayer Learning Center I was a complete wreck. I was using drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, shrooms, and ecstasy, as well as drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. I was also using medically prescribed drugs in the wrong way. My life was headed down the path of destruction, and I couldn’t care less about it. My parents tried everything, they spent an abundance of time and money on me, but I continued to stick with my bad habits, even when my parents threatened me with programs. I arrived at Thayer Learning Center on June 30th, 2003 and I have now attended Thayer Learning Center for 12 1/2 months. My first days at Thayer Learning Center were very hard on me emotionally, I didn’t think I belonged here. At first I thought my parents were playing a joke on me, and that they were trying to scare me with boot camp. After my 5th day I realized that my parents were not playing games with me and that I was going to be here for a while. I hated my parents for sending me here, and I couldn’t believe they would do such a thing. Once I figured out that I was going to be here for a while I decided that I was not going to change my life, because it seemed too hard, so I tried to run away from my problems, which turned out to be a very big mistake. I was put into isolation and was given a red suit, which is the lowest you go in the program. I was in isolation for (2) weeks, and once I got out of isolation I decided to at least give it a shot. So I started by giving a 100% effort on my physical exercise, and by being the best at everything I did. Around my 20th day I started setting goals for myself. The first goal I set for myself was to get a brown shirt and become a team leader. On my 32nd day I earned my brown shirt and was appointed the Co-Team Leader of Bravo. While I was the Co-Team Leader I maintained a positive attitude, and kept on striving to be the best. On my 40th day I became the Team Leader of Alpha. As a Team Leader I actually felt in some ways how my parents felt when they told me something to do and I mouthed off to them I learned how frustrating it can be. By this time in my life I felt excellent about myself. I had set goals for myself, and I worked hard to achieve them. For once in my life I had accomplished something for myself that would improve my well being. In boot camp I learned to set goals for myself and that goal setting is a very important key to obtain in life.

While in boot camp I had a decent relationship with my family, it was a lot easier for me to talk to my parents through a letter than to their face. After a while I started getting tired of just writing my parents I wanted to talk to them on them on the phone, and I knew that in residency you could talk to them. So I began working as hard as I could so that I could become a resident. By my 84th day I made it up to residency. In residency I learned that it was a lot harder to communicate with your parents on the phone than through letters. I had a few setbacks in residency that resulted in boot camp, but each trip back to boot camp was a quality learning experience. I learned that we will all mess up, but what really matters is how we will handle ourselves when we do mess up. After my 3rd trip to boot camp I was done doing the wrong thing. I knew I was better than that. I began to realize it’s not that hard to do what you are expected of. As I improved myself life got easier and easier. I still had issues, but I learned how to handle myself in a mature way. In residency it took me a while, but I became consistent. Instead of following others I started following through on my own beliefs, and doing what I knew was right. By my 9th month I began thinking seriously about Junior Staff and a month later my tremendous effort throughout the program paid off and I advanced to Junior Staff.

In Junior Staff I learned that to get anything you must give everything. In Junior Staff I had normal arguments with my dad, but I learned how important it is to keep communicating so my dad knows how I feel instead of just shutting down. Before I thought there was no point in arguing so I just shut my mouth and didn’t say a word, which may seem like the better thing to do, but when I did that I was just Isolating myself. Junior Staff was the greatest learning experience of all because you find out exactly who you are, and your integrity is constantly being tested. I know all you guys think Junior Staff is just a bunch of fun and games, but there is a lot of work involved with Junior Staff, and much more is expected out of you than any other stage of the program. But along with all the hard work came loads of fun, and plenty of exciting moments. Thayer Learning Center has been a gut-check for me and I am leaving here a completely different person that walked in here 385 days ago. I am pleased to know that I have a successful future ahead of me.

The first individual I would like to thank for giving me a second chance in life is my Father in Heaven. The second person I’d like to thank for sticking with me through thick and thin is my father. I know there’s not a soul in the building that’s as proud as my dad is right now. I would like to thank Mr. Bundy for being a father like figure for me. I would like to thank Mrs. Willa for all the helpful moments she provided. I would also like to thank the staff for making a big difference in my life. All the fun rides up to the chicken coop, for instilling discipline into my life, keeping faith in me throughout my stay here at Thayer Learning Center. And last but not least I would like to thank all the junior staff and senior residents for helping me get through the program. Thank you, God bless.