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My parents had what I’ll call “associates,” which is where my journey began. These associates were hired to escort me from my home in Alaska—kidnapping, in my humble opinion—to take me to a Utah-based wilderness therapy program where I would spend the next 90 days.

On my 18th birthday I was released, only to be admitted into a residential program in California. After going through a cycle of sober livings, I believed I was ready to take on the world. After learning valuable lessons, or so I thought, I never suspected that I’d have to endure more of the treatment shuffle.

How mistaken I was. At the end of the day drinking was still on the table for me, and little did I know the dark path it would lead me down once again.

I let my will run riot and drank after finally moving out of sober living. I wholeheartedly believed I could manage my using this time. That first drink quickly led me down a path of meth use and, eventually, oblivion. Heroin was once my drug of choice, and I thought that if I didn’t touch it, then I wasn’t doing too bad after all.

After getting a little taste, meth quickly became my new drug of choice. My life became a whirlwind of attempts to control my drug and alcohol use. I cycled through toxic relationships and geographic changes and finally ending up getting strung out on heroin once again. I landed face first into a bottom I never dreamt could be so bad.

I still had all the knowledge gained during my past attempts at sobriety, and I knew I needed help—quickly. Once again I found myself packing up my belongings and heading back to treatment. I left my apartment and my job dropped out of school and got my ass to L.A.

I arrived at Rebos around 10 a.m. on a warm August day. I was sick as a dog but willing to give this a shot again. I had never been to an IOP before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was sent to detox and was enrolled in full-time rehab—PHP, or partial hospitalization program—where I spent a significant amount of time.

I wanted to create an entirely new life for myself, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to get there. I took full advantage of my amazing treatment team. At my fingertips, I had a spiritual advisor, a CDC, a case manager and a therapist, plus so many helpful groups per day. Rebos taught me how to suit up and show up and helped me create a life that I wanted to live and wasn’t willing to throw away.

I now have eight months of sobriety. Who would have thought that eight months ago I would be where I am today: working in the drug and alcohol addiction treatment field, helping people.

Doing what I love.

Alumni Memoirs: Meet Mackenzie
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