By Yardena Schwartz
Alyssa Dedrick was 15 when she began drinking and taking drugs. A year later, she found herself in her first treatment center. It wasn’t voluntary, and she missed hanging out with her friends, who were still experimenting with pot, OxyContin, Percocet and heroin. But her first treatment program didn’t work, because as soon as Dedrick went back to school, she went right back to her old ways. She received treatment four more times, with the same results.
Finally, she and her mother realized that the answer to her seemingly unstoppable problem was not the treatment she received, but where she went when it was over. After her fifth treatment program at the end of her junior year, Dedrick truly wanted to recover. This time, she and her mother decided, she wouldn’t go back to her old high school. Rather than facing the same temptations and triggers, surrounded by friends who weren’t committed to recovery, Dedrick started her senior year at Northshore Recovery High School. It was minutes away from her old high school in Massachusetts, but may as well have been on a different planet.
“I remember going in and thinking, ‘This is a place full of other kids just like me,'” said Dedrick, now 24 and a recent graduate of Clark University. Dedrick has been clean for five years now, and believes her life would be very different if she hadn’t finished high school at Northshore Recovery.
“There was a 50/50 chance of me either dying or getting better,” said Dedrick. “I think going to a recovery school really increased my odds, not only of recovery, but of survival in general.”
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