Stephanie Cuccio
Mar 8, 2009, 07:21

Stephanie Cuccio
Letter to the Editor

March 08, 2009

I sent my daughter to Anasazi June of 2006. She was 15 and out of control. She was using drugs, drinking, running away, cutting school, spirialing down. I pulled her out of school and put her into a private catholic school which had 120 students as opposed to 2000, but that wasn't enough.

I knew I needed a major intervention, but was really unsure where to send her. Most of the places that I researched were either "boot camp" oriented or "behavior modification" oriented. Most of these places had also had deaths, which really bothered me. I had a friend who had sent her daughter to Anasazi and she loved the experience for both her daughter and herself. I remember calling Anasazi for the first time and speaking to Virginia, who is the admissions director. I told her about the other places that I had looked at and how they wanted to "break these kids' spirits" in order to change their behavior. She said,"Stephanie, she's (my daughter) already broken or she wouldn't be doing what she's doing." That was it for me. I broke down and cried, like I am now remembering it, and decided to send her there.

We didn't tell her she was going until we pulled up to the building. When we left her, I never worried about her after that. I knew she was in great hands. It was a relief. After that the parents have to go through their own "re-training." I loved that component. They believe that this was a family problem. They weren't going to "fix" your child and send them back like a lot of other programs tried to do. When we were learning how to change ourselves, the trail walkers had to go through the 12 hour workshop with us. That way they got to know the parents of these kids they would be helping. I remember that almost everyone of them said that they were going to take the love that we parents had for our kids and bring it to our kids. I hugged everyone of them. They had met my daughter and made the connection.

I went home and her step father and I worked on ourselves. I went to Al-anon and therapy. I got rid of some of her stuff and cut off the friends that were not conducive to where we wanted to go in the future. I sent her letters. She sent me great letters. I felt such relief to know that she was with people who were just going to love her. The trailwalkers at Anasazi never said a mean hurtful word to her, they just loved her and she adored them.

Family camp was difficult physically for us, we were so impressed with her. Emotionally it was wonderful. When we got home it was a big adjustment and there has been some backward walking, but nothing compared to before. She loved Anasazi, but there was a time when she rejected it. We've definitely struggled, but her essence is back to the real her, my little girl. We are so much closer and can face anything now. Anasazi shows us what you're made of, how strong you are.

Before I went to Anasazi I called about five different parents that looked like they had similiar situations to mine. I really appreciated it and every parent had nothing but great things to say. I've talked to many people where I live and really enjoy sharing my experience. My daughter is 18 now and ready to graduate and move on to the next stage. She's in such a better place, as am I. I don't think she would be here if it wasn't for Anasazi. I truly believe it saved our lives and I will be eternally grateful

Stephanie Cuccio
95 Veneto circle
Chico, CA 95926

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