The recovery journey is anything but easy, seamless or smooth—especially for teens. Instead, the route is filled with twists, turns, rugged terrain and unforeseen detours. But for students like Hope Academy Senior, Ashley, the bumpy ride on the winding road to recovery has been a path well worth taking.
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Last month, at the Rise & Shine for Hope breakfast, Ashley shared her story of recovery and how Hope has helped her along the way. Here’s the message she shared…
My name is Ashley Mash and I’m a senior at Hope Academy.
Growing up I was very emotional. I was sensitive and desperate to fit in. When I was 13 my parents got a divorce. My dad and I started to argue, and our relationship became very toxic. I didn’t see my mom much and I was feeling very alone. I was insecure about myself and my desire to fit in began to grow.
I started my freshman year and my group of friends started to smoke weed. In my attempt to feel included, I tried it too. I immediately fell in love with the feeling. I wasn’t worried about being awkward, how I looked, or how I acted. It became my way of coping.
It started as just smoking with my friends on the weekends. Then it turned into smoking before, during and after school. My life revolved around it. I started treating my friends poorly and making decisions that hurt them and my family. I had a close call with the police at my school, and my parents knew something had to change. I had been in therapy, but it wasn’t working, so they started looking for absolutely anything that could help me.
That was when they found Hope Academy. I started attending my sophomore year and I’ve been here ever since. Hope felt like a second chance.
I had been trying to manage something I didn’t know anything about. Hope offered me not only support but also so much information on what I was struggling with. It felt like they took all the uncertainty and confusion and helped my family and me make sense of it. Hope saved my life.
I don’t even want to think where I would be today without Hope.
Now, I’m on track to graduate in May. I’m almost three months sober and I plan to go to the Business College of Indianapolis to become a Veterinarian Technician.
I want to thank my mom for never giving up on me and always sticking by my side. I want to also thank my dad for being the strongest man I know. Last but not least, I want to thank my beautiful sisters for being by my side since I remember. Thank you for everything you have done for me. I love all of you very much.
And thank you to Hope Academy. I don’t know how to ever repay you, but I can start today by continuing to be sober and living the life that you saved.