The first time I heard about P.E.A.S.E. was during Family Week at the treatment center our oldest daughter was attending. My ears perked up; not just a “dry” high school (because all high schools are theoretically “dry”) but a SOBER high school -I didn’t even know that was an actual thing!

I am the resident Manager of the family, I manage all the things… including arranging all the chairs while the titanic sinks (if you’re unfamiliar with the designated family roles all family members fall into when a family member is battling the disease of addiction, please give yourself the gift of attending Family Week at the treatment center your loved one attends). And because I am the Manager of the family, I began gathering information on P.E.A.S.E and loved what I was hearing, so I put it all in a file “for later”. One of the very few wise things I did during the early stages of my daughter’s  first recovery journey was that I waited to let her bring it [P.E.A.S.E.] up (yes, first: a relapse is part of her story). And bring it up she did.

After out patient, Maria returned to her regular high school as her junior year was finishing up. It was like watching a train wreck happen in slow motion, for her and for us. I mean… realistically how on earth is a young person going to stay sober in an environment that we all know is rife with drug and alcohol use? And frankly, I never expected her surroundings to adjust to her. I also did not expect the teachers (lovely people), friends, class mates, and teammates (also lovely people), or my daughter, to understand the disease of addiction. As someone who entered recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol as a 31 year old woman (not a 17 year old high school student) how could I expect her to understand addiction when it is something I only began to understand as an adult?

Regular high school, while not out right hostile to recovery, is certainly not conducive to recovery. Maria finished her junior year at her regular high school, resumed old friends, old haunts, old patterns of behavior, and relapsed in August just prior to the start of her senior year at said high school. Maria brought it [P.E.A.S.E.] up after her first relapse (and to date her only) with about two weeks left of inpatient treatment to go. And- like I said, I’m the Manager- I had Michael Durchslag on speed dial, her transcripts ready, and had examined the curriculum and staff in about a 24 hour period

Maria went to P.E.A.S.E. for her senior year of high school. She was surrounded, and I mean SURROUNDED, by other people in recovery. Her peers were in recovery, her teachers were in recovery, and she was in a place that was conducive to recovery!

Maria got sober at the age of 18 and has been sober since August 20th, 2018. She graduated from inpatient treatment during the Winter of 2019, then graduated from P.E.A.S.E. in the Spring of 2019. Maria is currently a college student at Augsburg University, in their StepUp Program (also a learning environment conducive to recovery) and she has plans to be a software engineer.

P.E.A.S.E. Academy absolutely played an essential part of getting her to where she is today. My relationship with Maria is evolving and improving!!! I am active in Al-Anon and am learning how NOT to be Manager Mom anymore. That role is no longer necessary and I get to be free of it! By letting go of that role that no longer serves me or our family, I can focus on having a relationship with my daughter, Maria. It just gives me goosebumps writing that… How badly do parents long to have an actual relationship with their addict children?! So badly. All things are possible with God and recovery. I am telling you it IS possible!

Read Maria’s Story