From hopeless to hopeful: A teen’s story of healing and recovery

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - From hopeless to hopeful A teen’s story of healing and recovery

Congratulations to Star Guides graduate–“Purple Arrow”! May you be the first of many youth who find healing and recovery in the Star Guides Wilderness Field.

Earlier this year, seventeen year-old P.A. reached the lowest point in his life. He had become hopeless and was contemplating suicide. His hopelessness was the result of a long history of addiction to pornography that had he had used to numb himself from the pain of his childhood. His addiction had gradually evolved into child porn–and he felt trapped and hopeless. He felt like a monster and could not bear what he found himself becoming. He was overcome with self-loathing, shame and hatred for who he was.

He had carried the burden of childhood trauma on his own for many years having witnessed terrible abuse in the form of domestic violence and his parents’mental health issues, Years of repressed emotion weighted him down. In this hopeless state of mind, he made a plea for help. His plea was answered.

P.A. was given a chance to enroll at Star Guides Wilderness. Although the most difficult and demanding experience of his young life, it turned out to be a life-changing opportunity. He was able to finally find the safety and security to share his childhood trauma. He was able recognize the underlying issues that were driving his sexual addiction. He developed healthy coping skills and was able to break his dependency on porn and sex for escape from his emotional pain. P.A. learned assertiveness, communication skills and leadership. P.A. began to define himself through his change and who he was becoming rather than his past behaviors. P.A. began to recognize that he was capable of great things. His self-confidence grew and he regained optimism for his future. P.A. left his old self in the desert and walked off the mountain a new person–with hope for a bright future.

Congratulations Purple Arrow! Your efforts are commendable and your future is bright!

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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