We often hear back from Alumni after their experience at The Bridge to Recovery and love it when they give us permission to share a glimpse into their often-painful, yet beautiful journeys into wellness, recovery, and healing.
Below, we share with you some of the testimonials we have received. Some of the information they provided has been redacted/removed for various purposes, including confidentiality of someone mentioned, brevity, confidentiality of their group’s process/experience, etc.
~ Liz, Georgia
I was struggling with anger and rage, especially directed at my kids, along with intermittent depression, and my emotions were controlling me. My marriage was also at a breaking point. I was seeing a counselor, but I needed more help to deal with some underlying issues. I thought I had dealt with my trauma, but my life was proving otherwise. If something didn’t change, I was going to lose my family.
This is so hard to pinpoint because there were so many important parts of my experience that I feel like intertwine.
Practically speaking, the explanation of the trauma tree and family systems, putting words to ideas that I sensed but couldn’t really outline, gave me a framework for understanding my own trauma and family dysfunction so I could dig into what was happening inside me. Coupled with the inner child work, what I learned about myself was invaluable.
As for the most impactful moment, I would definitely say my empty chair work. There are no words that can fully explain how freeing it was.
Overall, being at a place where I could finally be completely honest about what I had experienced, how that had shaped me, and even what I had done as a result, was life changing. Feeling accepted and heard in the midst of that honesty brought restoration. I have never had that in such a meaningful way. That sense of authenticity and connection, feeling understood without judgement, was so healing and also made me want that in all my relationships moving forward.
I got connected with ACA to continue understanding my family dysfunction, and I am recognizing patterns in my behavior that stem from that dysfunction, which is the first step to real change. I am in a step group with folks from The Bridge, and we are working through the ACA steps together. Their support gives me what I need to keep walking the journey, and I am healing from my past more and more every day.
In addition, I am slowly changing the way I react to my kids. As I understand myself and my past more, I am able to see in the moment what is triggering me about their tantrums and whining, and I am able to respond in a calm way rather than react to them. I have also connected to a DBT group that is helping with my emotional regulation, so I am not as triggered in the first place. My anger is not controlling me like it used to, even when it’s still there.
My husband and I are doing marriage counseling and working on our relational issues. I feel more empowered to express my feelings (now that I know what they are!) and ask for what I need. We are slowly reconnecting and able to handle conflict in a more productive way. I am also setting boundaries in other relationships. I feel strong and confident standing up for myself.
Now, this is a daily process, and some days are better than others.
I definitely have my ups and downs, but I am so grateful for The Bride and the journey it started me on because now I have hope that real change is possible and there is full freedom ahead of me. I feel like I am stepping into becoming the warrior woman God always intended me to be.
I am in the full throes of motherhood at the moment, but I am dreaming about what I want to do in the future, likely something that will help others experience the same healing I have begun.
~ Lyle, Denver
I have been attempting to get sober for a number of years and have been in a cycle of chronic relapse the entire time. After my most recent relapse, my therapist suggested that I was stuck in this relapse cycle because of unresolved trauma and he suggested that I go to The Bridge to address this trauma.
There were several but the ones that stand out are the grief ceremony I did around the life I used have and the HIT list I did at my addiction.
These experientials have allowed me to let go of trauma that has kept me stuck in my addiction and to find peace in my life.
So many good things have happened since I have been home mostly because I am so much calmer and at peace. People seem to sense this because all of my relationships are improving and I am building new ones. I have also stayed in touch with some of the people I was there with and I value their ongoing support.
Jewel, San Francisco
I grew up thinking being mad or sad was a bad thing. I didn’t know how to properly handle these feelings in a healthy way… And it did catch up to me as an adult. This compounded into so many other unhealthy habits, but I kept pushing myself. I didn’t have the time to take care of this. I had to take care of everyone else and anything else, but myself. That’s the tragic part about being unable to cope… Thinking you can keep going and going, until you either drop or get help. I eventually had no choice but to get help, and wow. I am so grateful I did.
I loved so many things about The Bridge, but I’d say the most influential part was my fellow trauma campers. (Backstory: We had a running joke, my other group members and I, that we were at “trauma camp.” Hey you can’t get through the hard stuff without some laughter too!)
But in so many ways it did feel like camp - that comradery, that bonding, doing everything together, telling each other’s stories… It was seeing others just like me that made me feel so at home. I tear up as I write this next sentence because I have never felt so validated, so welcomed and so like myself in my life than when I was in a room with my group. Those moments with them, the crying, the pain, the laughter, and even those moments of anger - they all mean the world to me.
Oh… I love this question, lol. Immediately after the Bridge I felt ready to take on the world, but I kept asking myself how I was going to prove this. How was I going to show everyone in my life I have changed and gotten better? I scheduled my therapy appointments and meetings, and set up my self care routine. Oh so ready for this!
And then March of 2020 happened… And I had to go into Covid survival mode. I won’t even go into detail about what I had to go through because that doesn’t matter, but I did have to put my recovery on a hiatus and take care of life. The Bridge saved me because I would not have survived 2020, and I don’t mean by not getting the virus. They taught me the tools I needed to mentally survive.
My family no longer has to walk eggshells around me in fear of me breaking down. I feel anger and sadness, but I don’t have to be angry or sad and let it control me. The guilt and shame I used to carry with me from childhood traumas no longer exists. Poof! Gone! I set boundaries and enforce them. I ask for help. I talk about my feelings with absolute confidence.
Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself.
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“ Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself. ”
- Jewel, Alumnus