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A Story of Hope: A Healing Community

March 26, 2024

HopeWay Alumni Support

When I received an email about the new ‘Alumni Garden Club’ at HopeWay, I immediately texted my friends from treatment to sign up with me. Going back to HopeWay is more than just revisiting the physical campus. It reminds me that I am not alone and, more importantly, how far I have come.

Treatment Journey at HopeWay

My time at HopeWay spanned 10 months in 2022 and 2023. My outpatient therapist recommended HopeWay when I was no longer able to function. I took a leave of absence from work, but it took me a month to work up the courage to finally call the admissions department. Walking into HopeWay, I was terrified, almost non-verbal and shut down. I was in the 5-day-a-week program at first but transitioned to the three-day-a-week program as I got closer to discharge. By the time I left, I had nicknames for several of the staff members, and was known by fellow clients as bubbly, and even funny.

Integrative Therapy Benefits

The clinical groups that HopeWay offered were more robust than anything I had ever experienced in other treatment centers. Similar to most clients, I was initially resistant to the integrative therapies like music, horticulture, art and yoga. I remember thinking – what is planting this seed or picking these weeds going to do for my recovery? I quickly found that the integrative therapies allowed me to express myself in a way I could not with words. Doing yoga allowed me to find a calmness in my body I had never experienced in my 31 years of life. Many of these tools, like digging in the dirt, I continue to utilize today.

Individualized Treatment With Dr. Coley

My psychiatrist, Dr. Coley, or as I refer to her, ‘Queen Coley,’ worked with me in a way no other psychiatrist had before. She was patient and did not try to push me, taking time to help me understand how and why my brain was working the way it was. She explained that because of my abusive past, my brain developed high levels of cortisol, which impacted my ability to control my emotions and behaviors. This realization provided so much context for my life and felt empowering to know that as an adult. With the skills I was learning in treatment, I had the opportunity to change my brain.

HopeWay's Supportive and Inclusive Community

Ultimately, though, when I reflect on my time at HopeWay, I think about the community that it offers. That community and sense of belonging was life-changing for me. Witnessing other clients’ vulnerability in group therapy gave me the courage to share my story. With each group session, my walls started coming down and I was moving forward on my path to healing. I was finding my voice again.

For me, participating in alumni events is so much more than just going to an event, it is going back to my community and knowing that HopeWay always has my back.

I started the Garden Club because I have seen over the years how clients become attached to the physical space at HopeWay, including the garden. Clients spend time planting seeds, caring for the plants and harvesting produce during treatment, so I wanted to give them an opportunity to revisit campus and reflect on their hard work. The Garden Club is an opportunity to reconnect with their love of gardening while participating in a seasonal hands-on activity. - Bobbie Mabe, MA, Horticultural Therapist


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Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.