- Testimonial 1
Hi, my name is Courtney. When I decided to come to Brookhaven, it was not really a choice. I knew I had to come. My life was completely unmanageable and I had got to a point where I had lost all credibility with my family and my friends and especially myself. There was just no way that I could keep going and know that these two little boys were in my care and that my care was really not good anymore. It wasn't good for myself, for my family, for my kids, for my husband, and it was starting to show in all aspects in my life. Between marriage and children and postpartum and then the substances that I used to cope with all of those issues, I was basically on the ground crawling when I got in here. And I can honestly and truly say to you that I've never been as in touch with myself in my adult years as I am today.
I am at a point now with the Poncho™ program where I look at a lot of angles in my life and how I am going to live a better way when I get home; how I'm going to be a better mom, a better wife and a better me. I reconnected spiritually here, which to me is very important. But without the air to breath at Brookhaven and all the people here, there's no way I would have been able to take that breath or see even what the sky looked like anymore; I was that gray.
Ultimately, I feel like I will be ready when the day comes that I leave Brookhaven. Not that I want to leave all of the wonderful therapists and all my friends and the safety of this place, because it truly is safe. And its soft and warm, but its also great work, life work.
I'm not saying it that it was at all easy to leave my children. I almost had some sort of area and barrier up against leaving them because I thought, "well nobody can take care of my children the way that I can." But that wasn't true. I wasn't taking good care of them. I wasn't taking good care of myself. How could I take care of two small children?
Being away from them has taught me so much. All the guilt is gone now and I can look for a new day, every day. I do think it is day-by-day. It took a lot of work and it's going to take a lot more work. But here I'm better than I've ever been, and I will be ready when it is time to go; to be with them again, which is what they deserve and what I deserve.
- Testimonial 2
I came from a very, very good family. I was brought up in a very nice home. I don't have any domestic violence issues. Everything about my life would seem like it was picture perfect. And then I ended up losing the best friend of my life in a very tragic car accident and had to go through basically putting her funeral together. And I wrote her eulogy and everything like that.
So I never really dealt with it; just kind of pushed it down so I wouldn't have to deal with it. And then my boyfriend of seven years, only person I've ever been with, I'm twenty-three, so the only person I ever dated or anything left me for another girl. And at the same time, I ended up hurting myself in one way, you know, but I'm never going to do it again because it was very, very painful. But so my roommate, another best friend of 10 years, left so I had these three major losses of the most important people of my life in less than a year, in about nine months.
And I figured I could deal with it because other people can deal with this kind of stuff and they don't need to go to treatment centers. So I needed to, but I didn't even realize that I was completely sinking. And I have a great job; I work at a magazine that goes up and down the eastern coast line and it's a great job and I've worked in New York for magazines and I should have been going to work and loving what I do, but it became so monotonous and nothing was fun that used to be fun anymore. So my parents and my sister found this place and brought me here. And I was doing basically everything besides kicking and screaming when they dropped me off because I did not want to be here, and it took me a few days to get acclimated.
But the first memory that I have of coming into Brookhaven is the smiling warmth. Nobody was judging, nobody was doing anything besides being real and trying to help me and just being there. And it was so nice to finally be around women who were dealing with issues that were so similar to mine. There was no hiding; the masks were off. It was like a breath of fresh air after being under water for months. And through the classes and just the sense of community and the friendship, I've come to call this place adult camp. I feel like I'm at camp. Because it's every day, I find that it's good to have something to look forward to everyday, that's just how I get through the day. And at home, I wasn't doing that anymore because I didn't want to go to work and I even work with fashion week and I didn't want to do that and who wouldn't want to work with fashion week.
So, but here it's just like you've got so many options and all of the classes, every single one will teach you a few things or even just one thing that's applicable in your own life; like empowerment and art therapy and equine therapy and mental health therapy. I mean, every aspect of this program will teach you something that will help you in some way.
And although there are people here for drug related issues and alcohol issues and I'm not here for any one of those things, in some way we're all interconnected because we all lost a part of ourselves and we came here to find it.
And I've still got a few more weeks to go, but my family came this past weekend to visit and they couldn't even believe that it was me. They were like, "You are a completely different person." And I'm also learning how to accept compliments and everything and so I was like," No I'm not, I'm the same." And they were like, "No, we can't even recognize you. You are so different, you're so much brighter." They even related it to an old penny that had just become smudged and tarnished and they said I was starting to shine again.
And a really big thing to me, the thing that has impacted me the most here is the individualization of the program. You know, you think you're going to come in and just have this regimented, printed out schedule and the classes are fun and everything, but you just don't realize what Jacquiline puts into it to make you feel not only at home, but like you're doing things that are productive to your specific reasons for being here.
You know my best friend Laura passed away and the one year marking of the day she passed away was coming up so Jacqueline let me go to Loe's and pick out all these different color daisies because those were Laura's favorite flower. And I got to plant a garden with help from the other girls; I had four or five other girls just volunteer. We got out there with shovels and got dirty and we planted Laura this beautiful garden and just stood back and looking at it, it's magnificent to know that she's got this garden of daisies, right here in Tennessee, which is where she's originally from, in her memory. And it was just such a great way to feel close to her and at the same time remember her.
So it's crazy how individualized the program is, what they'll do to make sure that your needs are met and to make sure that you feel like your recovery is a top priority. I just love that, I'm so impressed by that. That's why I think this program is so different from other ones that you see in movies or on TV or in documentaries or on PBS, because this isn't any kind of an institution; it's not scary, it's bright, it's luminous and it's healing. And everything about it just makes you learn, or rather remember, who you are and who you've yet to become; who you will become once you gain all these tools.
So for that, I really will be forever grateful because I cannot wait to leave here and just be excited because I think nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm. And I can't wait to be enthusiastic again and I know that I'm getting there and that I will be.
- Testimonial 3
When I first came to Brookhaven, I was severely depressed. I definitely did not want to live. My family searched all over the country to find a facility that would treat both issues, as well as cater only to women. I thought it was too good to be true when we found Brookhaven. I had spoken with Jacqueline three or four times and decided that a ninety day program would be the best treatment for me; after all, it took me several years to get to where I am.
Of course I was scared and nervous upon arriving here, but soon I began to grown, learn and heal. I am so grateful to the entire staff for giving me clarity and purpose. I'm a wife and mother of four; they're going to get the best gift ever; me.
I have four beautiful children. I do love them, but what I've come to realize is that if you don't love yourself, it really is hard to love others. One of the songs I've sang to all four of my children since they were born is I Love You Forever.
I love you forever; I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be
I love you forever, and I like you for always
As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be
- Testimonial 4
When I got to Brookhaven, I was broken, I was damaged, and I felt defeated. And the really great thing about being here is that everyone understood because everyone here has felt broken, defeated and damaged at some point in their life.
Through the program at Brookhaven, I learned that I'm not broken and damaged, and I'm working toward a better me. The staff is simply amazing and Jacqueline is like an angel on earth. Everyone works together to make sure that we are healthier and happier when we leave.
The classes in the program are amazing. I now know how to regulate my emotions instead of avoiding and running from them. We start everyday with mediation, so that we face the day with clarity and calm. Other activities in the program include equine assisted therapy, yoga and art therapy. Brookhaven really is an amazing place where every woman here feels safe and loved.
I leave here in a few weeks, and I'm not going home the same girl that came here. I'm going home happier; healthier; stronger. I love me, and that feels really great.