Claire's #LifeTake2

A roadmap from “darkness” to “amazing” at Tribeca Twelve

After 28 days in rehab, Claire B. found her way to Hazelden’s Tribeca structured recovery housing facility for 18-to-29-year-olds, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. She believes the opportunity she received to join that community—thanks in large part to the generosity of donors—saved her life. Here’s her story, in her own words.

I grew up with three siblings in a crazy, loud, energetic household. I did really well in school—swim team, vocal jazz, chorus. Yet I always felt out of place, as if I didn’t quite belong. I started to drink in high school—it worked as a social lubricant and helped me connect to people. But one drink was never enough—I had to keep going. I tried to convince myself that everybody felt that way. Still, I knew it wasn’t really normal. When I drank, there was this dark beast inside of me that surfaced—dark thoughts, reckless behavior.

Then, two years ago when I was 24, I lost my cousin to kidney cancer. She was like a sister, a best friend, a mentor. And from that moment, drinking became a mission for me—a mission to numb myself. It was the only thing that mattered. The low point came when I got arrested for public intoxication. My friends bailed me out, but within an hour, I was back at a bar, drinking. When I woke up the next morning, I finally admitted what I had normally, I couldn’t stop.

I went to a 28-day rehab program, thinking I would go home when it was over. But after just a couple of weeks, I realized that a structured sober living situation would be the best next step for me—I still had so much work to do. That’s when I learned about Tribeca Twelve. I loved that it was just for young people. I loved that they focused on helping people get back to school or find jobs. I was amazed at that! Not only would the program help me stay sober and continue treatment—the incredibly caring staff there would also help me finish up school and figure out what I wanted to do. And I loved that it was in one of the most desired neighborhoods in one of the best cities in the world—Manhattan!

I moved into Tribeca Twelve in July 2014. After three months living there, participating in onsite outpatient programs, I was supposed to move out—but I really didn’t feel ready. There was still so much more work I needed to do. But I couldn’t afford to stay. So even though I was worried and upset, I started searching for an apartment. One day, my recovery coach saw me crying, and she pulled me aside. She said, “I think we might have some money available so that you can stay here longer.” My jaw literally dropped and I teared up. She told me that there was a small amount of financial aid money from donations. For someone to be willing to help someone like me who they don’t even know—to take a chance on me—I thought it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard.

I was able to stay at Tribeca Twelve for six months. I know it saved my life. I learned to accept that I have this disease—and I hate it—but I’ve also learned that I can live with it. I found a new mission in life: I want to live life and love life and experience and connect with people—all things I wasn’t able to do when I was drinking.

What’s next for me? I studied sociology as an undergrad, and after my amazing experience at Tribeca Twelve, I’ve decided that I want to get certified as a drug and alcohol counselor. I want to strive to help somebody else out—to pass the torch. Tribeca Twelve was amazing. I’m happy. I’m doing really well. I think what I’ve experienced in the past year has been nothing short of a miracle.
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