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Hoping to heal, Recovery Centers of America offers new program directed at youth

Posted at 11:29 PM, Mar 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 23:31:35-04

A new rehabilitation program, rolled out by the Recovery Centers of America, focuses on young adults and representatives say they are gaining traction.

In the middle of almost 600 acres of rolling Earleville hills, sits a house, narcotics addicts call home.

"I can remember watching him walk by in the hallway, he had a black hoodie on, and was very downcast and anxious to the point of in group he couldn't even speak," Primary Therapist Carrie Smith said about her former patient Zachary Wood.

Wood, 24, came to Bracebridge Hall last October to detox from opioids, like heroin.

"I'm an anxious person as is, but with all that [drugs] it was way worse. I think anxiety too comes from not being okay with yourself and not being happy yourself, and I was at the lowest point in my life," Wood said.

Wood had the typical childhood, growing up with two older sisters, playing sports with neighborhood kids in Perry Hall. Then, as a teen, a friend introduced him to pain pills, "I was probably about 17."

He wanted to fit in, so he tried them. Popping one every once in a while, then addiction dragged him deeper.

"All my money went to drugs, I wouldn't show up to work...like court charges pending... I never did anything major but just still as a man just embarrassing things just stuff you never want to do," Wood said.

He called this stage "animalistic" because he did whatever it took to keep chasing the high. He jolted back to reality when his friend overdosed and died.

Wood and his mother looked at programs seeking recovery, they found RCA's Bracebridge Hall.

"You get up every day at the same time, and we write down our goals for the day, we go around the circle and everybody shares their goals and that helps a lot because that's building the structure in your life, it's building that foundation," he said. A foundation built on sober living.

He went through the 30-day Young Men's Program, tailored to men 18 to 34-years-old, the demographic hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

"They have trouble sometimes balancing a checkbook, managing a checking account, simple things like nutrition dietary, you know eating healthy, communication skills, relationship skills, that's the biggest thing we see in this age group is healthy relationships," CEO of RCA's Bracebridge Hall, Domenica Personti said.

They have a similar program, focused on young women, 18 to 28-years-old.

The goal, to teach their clients how to find happiness and fill the void drugs left in their lives.

"We were painting pumpkins outside, we had a hay ride, yeah it was fun. What else did we do? We had fishing," Wood said they also created art, but nothing beats the pride of coming back sober and successful, wearing the coveted visitors badge and a smile.

Wood became a leader in the house, and strives as part of the alumni group to pull others into sobriety.

He's also working full time at his father's carpentry business and never misses his own outpatient treatment each week back in Baltimore County.

"When you get to know the person under the addiction it's one of the most powerful things you can witness is the growth through that process," Smith said.

A growth, that, for Zach, has meant another chance at life.

Personti said some of their graduates contact them to share their success stories, while others remain quiet. She hopes they all find happiness in sobriety.

Each addict requires their own path to recovery, and some find success in rehab centers, while others need a medicinal approach.