On June 1, 2018, Katy B graduated from Houston’s Archway Academy and will be attending college in the fall. In many ways her journey is nothing short of a miracle. Here is her story, shared (with her permission) by her mother, Myra B.
Katy started struggling in 8th grade.
She experienced bullying and exclusion and reacted by trying to prove how “cool” she was by drinking and using marijuana, as well as acting out with boys. We sought treatment for her depression and therapy to deal with the other issues. By the summer, we felt that things had been righted and we looked forward to high school and leaving all those memories behind.
But things only got worse in high school.
We caught her with marijuana and she was caught bringing alcohol to a church youth retreat. She continued to test positive for drugs and alcohol and to lie to us constantly. We met with the therapist at The Council for Recovery numerous times and imposed steeper consequences.
Nothing was working.
The therapist said, “Katy needs to go to wilderness therapy, and she needs to go now.” We chose Outback Therapeutic Expeditions in Utah. She was a tough nut to crack, and she ended up spending 101 days in the Utah desert. The therapist there told us that she needed residential treatment and we transferred her to a facility where she spent the next 7 months.
Houston has a number of Alternative Peer Groups (APG’s) which provide counseling, meetings and social activities for teens in recovery. Archway is a Recovery School and teens must be in an APG to attend. Archway provides substance abuse counselors, 12-Step meetings and drug and alcohol testing. All of those things are important, but it’s the love and acceptance that change lives.
Back into high school.
We were terrified at the thought of Katy returning to Houston where all her “using” friends are. Knowing that she would be in a Recovery High School gave us so much peace of mind. If she wasn’t at school, we got a call—in each case she was either sick or at an appointment, but it was comforting to know that I’d be notified if she didn’t show up.Being a teen in recovery is difficult, and all of them have days of struggle, just like any high school kid. At Archway, they can go talk to a substance abuse counselor or one of the other staff members. The teachers and staff became like family to us.
Loving the kids makes all the difference.
Archway believes in loving the students until they remember who they really are. Katy B celebrated 3 years of continuous sobriety last month. Knowing that Archway understands your child’s struggles as well as having contact with other parents going through the same issues allowed us to find joy again.
We worried about our daughter’s future.
We are a family that values education and we were concerned that such a small school focused on recovery might not provide the education that would lead to the kind of college we wanted for our daughter. I can truly say that the teachers are outstanding and the education she received allowed her to be admitted to the University of Texas and other great schools. She will attend a highly-regarded private liberal arts college out of state in the fall. We are eternally grateful to Archway and to Palmer Church for hosting this fantastic and much-needed school.
-Myra B, parent of Archway Academy graduate, Katy B