When I first got to Outback in winter of 2013, I wasn’t very happy. I tried to make clear that I didn’t have any problems. But in doing so, I reinforced their beliefs in that I did have a problem. My first week was terrible, I was cold, I missed what I had left in New Jersey and I didnt want to be in The middle of nowhere. About 3 weeks in after my second or third letter of accountability I felt better. My parents knew just about everything, and it was good to begin to move forward From admitting my mistakes to what I will learn from them. I began to open myself up with the girls and the staff there and started to connect with my surroundings. I really enjoy the wilderness And I would not have known that if I didn’t go to outback. I learned a lot about the fundamentals of how my thought process’ works. I was happy to be away from home. I liked that the only things I had to worry about was going to the bathroom in the cold. I think the most important things I learned in my 3 months there was how to connect with my mom and how to deal with my anger. I have not had a good relationship with my parents for a long time, Tracy helped me realize that I viewed my mom as a bad guy and put my dad on a pedestal. I got a letter from my mom on February 23rd 2013, and I hated reading it. I wanted to throw it in the fire pit, Tracy wouldn’t even let me keep the letter. I was sent off to think about what was said and I could start to hear what my mom was saying. I struggled with coming up with enough humility to say that I was in the wrong for the way I viewed her. A few weeks later I looked back on the letter and it made even more sense. I could see that she wasn’t out to put me down or prove her point. She wanted to help me and from that point on I truly let her. For a while I had felt alone, so I turned to external resources to fill that emptiness. When I went on my solo, I was actually alone. And i enjoyed some of it and the rest was a learning experience. I felt like I Had to never be bored. When I’m bored I start thinking too much and get into trouble. But this was different and it was good to be bored. I read a whole book in one day, that will never happen again. I learned to be ok with myself and to not judge my experience as harshly as I was. I learned to forgive myself as well which helped my anger tremendously. When I left outback I was scared. I got comfortable there but did accept the fact that I needed to take a shower. I left and continued my journey to understand myself. I moved on from the aftercare I went to and had a very difficult time at the place after that. I was removed from the home shortly after my 18th birthday. I did a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have and have owned that. When I moved into the house I’m living at currently, I cried to my mom on the phone and told her that I didn’t want to deal with anything anymore and that I wanted to give up. She was blunt, and told me that wasn’t an option and that I’ve worked too hard to give up now. The first thing I did after that phone call was read my impact letters. I had definitely backtracked and I needed to pull myself out of what I had gotten myself into. I found my necklace with all my tokens on it, and hung it above my bed. The first week out of a treatment environment I made a lot of adjustments. Recently, I talk to my mom every day, and talk to my dad when he has time. I have a 3.7 gpa in school, I have a starting spot on varsity for softball and have made good friends with girls on that team. I adopted a cat to keep me company when I’m lonely.. Lol. I work 6 days a week at arctic circle which is nice because the pay check helps me be nice to people and smile more than I ever have. I help babysit 2 little boys when I have free time. I finally got my drivers license. I got accepted into 3 out of 4 colleges I applied to and have a 13k a year scholarship to Westminster. My coach is working on getting me a scholarship for softball as well. I don’t know if I want to go to college though, I may take a year off and do service work in another country. Outback has taught me to enjoy helping other people. On the weekends I spend a lot of time hiking in the canyons. I love it out there and will lose it if I don’t have a spot to get away from everybody and everything for a bit. Outback has helped me in so many ways. The people there and the wilderness Have so much to offer when you make efforts to find it. My experience showed me that giving up truly is not an option, and that there is light at the end of every tunnel. I am doing really well at the moment and I keep outback in the back of my head, literally and physically with the flat spot from smacking my head against the field house wall during my intake ? I loved it out there and will visit one day. If I hadn’t gone there when I did, I have no idea where I would be now. I keep in touch with almost every girl that was with me there. A lot of my current state of mind is due to what I’ve learned and experienced in that desert, more than any other place I’ve ever been.”
D.F. Female Student
My Outback experience was a challenging, rewarding, and unforgettable journey. The obstacles I overcame in the wilderness have laid down foundation and anchor I can always look back on and know that if I got through Outback, I can get through anything. Hiking, building our own campfires, cooking for ourselves was all part of an emotional cleanse and change I needed at the time. Understanding how to survive in the wilderness has helped me tremendously because it involves bare minimum essentials, common sense, and emotional stability. I was able to channel my issues through these activities and learn how to be selfish in the right ways. Being miles apart from my family only made me appreciate and miss them more. During my stay at Outback, I was able to forget the materialistic aspects of my life and work on how I wanted to represent myself in the future. I was able to hash through my problems and resentments without anyone interrupting, able to start the healing process. During most of my time I interacted with the other girls in the program who I still talk to today. I will never forget the laughs, cries, stories, and recovery we all shared together in such a beautiful place. I had time to participate in arts and crafts and writing, as well as reading books which helped me tremendously. My favorite part of my experience at Outback was my gifted therapist Tracy Schrunk, who helped me come to terms with how I was treating not only myself, but my family. Her and I worked very closely in planning my new journey, and throughout that process helped build up important life changing characteristics I still hold today. I was 16 when I was at Outback and now I am 20. I am sober, a full time student and employee, rock-climbing, and keeping in touch with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. I am thankful for my experience at Outback, as it truly saved my life. Though the experience can be seen as dramatic, it was exactly what I needed during the phase in my life. It is always an experience I can look back on and remember how strong I was, therefore I am.
F.C. Female Alumni Student
(Our son’s Outback therapist) is the first therapist with whom (our son) ever connected. (Our son) grew tremendously as a result of his relationship with (his therapist). (Our son’s therapist) has had an incredibly positive impact on (our son), and we are very grateful. We found (our son’s Outback therapist) to be warm, wise and solid. In a very caring way, he imparted his wisdom to (our son) in a way that really reached (him). He reached us with his wisdom as well. We are all using the ideas, and even the terminologies, that we learned. Our regular telephone calls with (our son’s therapist) were informative, useful, and reassuring to us. He was always available and never seemed to mind when we called him (probably too often!) outside of our prescribed time. He was extremely helpful to us in making the difficult choice on schools. We are extremely grateful to (our Outback Therapist).
Joanne and Stuart, son 14
I have been blessed in life many times over. Frequently angels appear. You seem to be one of them. Thank you for all the love and care that you have given (my daughter). I will thank you every day in my heart for the rest of my life.
Julie, daughter 17