Jordan is a senior at PEASE Academy in Minneapolis, a sober high school. He talks about how his life has changed since coming to the school, the positive things students are involved with and the importance of having peer support.
Jordan was helping out at a pancake breakfast fundraiser at the school, which meets at a church building near the University of Minnesota. PEASE traces its roots to 1989.
I came to PEASE academy at the age of 15, confused, and scared of what was to come for me in the journey known as life. I had no concept of what recovery truly was and no friends in recovery. PEASE gave me both those things. In my time at PEASE academy I learned many things that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I learned what it was like to be honest with not only others but myself as well. I learned how open up to people about the issues that were going on in my everyday life, and how to deal with them. I learned I was not alone in the struggles I was facing, and not only that others had faced them, but they had overcome them as well. But the most important thing that I learned as a student of PEASE academy was how to have fun in recovery. None of this would have been possible without the great staff that I had the privilege of working with. Without them I truly don’t know if I would be clean today. I am forever grateful to them for helping me get through those challenging years known as high school. I truly love PEASE, and hope nothing but the best for them. Without PEASE I would not be able to be in college. Without PEASE I wouldn’t have been able to get through high school. Without PEASE I’m not sure I would be alive today, but because of everything PEASE gave me, today I can live my life to the fullest, happy, and chemical free, and for that I am truly grateful.
You’re doing a fantastic job of supporting your students and I think it’s important for me–as a mother, and a recovering person–to shout this fact from the rooftops. Over the last few weeks of summer break I was given the privilege of sharing my world with a core group of extraordinary P.E.A.S.E. students. While it’s true that they’re loud, and messy, and completely unwilling to go to bed until they witness the first shards of morning light, they’re also hilarious, and compassionate, and more than willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. They’re committed to each other, and they’re focused on recovery rather than sobriety. Given how treacherous the waters of early recovery are, and the yuck circumstances in which some of them live, it’s frankly astounding that these eight students consistently show up to life in such positive ways. So what’s the secret? That’s easy. It’s P.E.A.S.E. How do I know this? Because at least half of these young people, at one time or another, made it very clear to me that they love P.E.A.S.E. and that they couldn’t wait for school to begin again. Additionally, two students displayed a tremendous amount of pride for having 3.0+ GPAs; and one student is–for the first time ever–open to attending college. Though P.E.A.S.E. cannot right all of the wrongs in its students’ lives, nor can it heal all of its students’ hurts, it can–and does–provide a sacred space for the integration and healing these young people so desperately need. Okay, enough mush. You’re doing a kick-ass job; thank you!
Some people might it’s ‘Parents Enforcing A Sober Education’ but it is ‘Peers Enjoying A Sober Education,’ so thank you to my peers.