Life After Hope: Rachel’s Story

Graduation is a milestone of joy and excitement and the path students take after high school can be for better or worse. Rachel, a 2011 Hope Academy graduate, had many personal struggles, but she thanks the recovery high school for getting her to where she is today.

Overwhelmed by the freedom and responsibility she inherited after graduation, Rachel quickly went back to using. At first, Rachel didn’t believe she needed help because of the perception she still had about people who struggled with addiction.

“I didn’t think I was an alcoholic or drug addict because I thought they were homeless people that lived under a bridge,” Rachel said.

In 2012, Rachel was in a frightening car accident that made her question her recent decisions. She knew that she needed to face her reality and change in order to save her life.

“I was finally ready to do it for myself,” Rachel said. “I am more inspired and want to enhance my life through education.”

Rachel was able to use the guidance and tools that she learned at Hope Academy from teachers, coaches and counselors to face her struggles and create career goals.

A year clean and sober, Rachel aspires to be a writer and currently attends a local community college. Next year she plans to transfer to a Chicago university to further her academic goals.

“I do what’s right for me now, have a great relationship with my parents and have great friends in the program,” Rachel said.

Today Rachel understands that recovery must be her top priority.

“Recovery has to come first because the first thing I choose to put in front of my sobriety is the first thing I lose if I break that,” Rachel said. “I wouldn’t have anything I have in my life today if I didn’t live a clean and sober life and do everything I can to keep it that way.”