Alumni Testimonials

Alumni Mike Malyjurek Speaks About His Experience at Cedar Ridge

alumni mike malyjurek

"I came to Cedar Ridge Residential Treatment Center in November 1997 wondering if I would find the life changes I needed. Severe depression and anxiety plagued my daily life at home and I struggled socially with peers and family. Now, looking back almost 15 years later, I can say without a doubt that my life was saved by my time at Cedar Ridge.

My fondest memories of the thirteen months at Cedar Ridge are of spending countless hours in the Dojo, Sensei Rob Neilson presenting me with my black belt, and the tough family meetings where you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. I enjoy thinking about the students I mentored in the two years I later spent as a staff member and home manager.

The transition home was hard, having to give up certain people and habits, but it wouldn’t have gone as well had I not returned to a good home environment. While away working on myself, my parents were also working out their own issues, making home life much better than before. This, plus my solid base for how to deal with life’s issues made this all possible.

All of the progress made since Cedar Ridge has taken a lot of focus and I still rely on friends to help me through the hard times because they never fully go away. It starts by admitting there’s an issue to work through. I still practice karate when I travel to keep me mentally and physically sharp. I continue to learn about myself and use the past as a base to grow upon.

It’s hard work that has permitted me to obtain my childhood dream of becoming a professional pilot flying internationally and working with tough executives in a very demanding environment. I have to say this would never have been possible without the experiences of Cedar Ridge, Rob Nielson, and many others who strive to improve our lives in so many ways. Thank you to all who have been with me over the years."

Alumni Kathryn Musto Speaks About Her Experience at Cedar Ridge and Her Transition Home After Graduation

alumni kathryn musto

"I graduated from Cedar Ridge on December 10, 2010. Since then, I have further practiced skills I learned and have continued to grow as an individual. The time I spent at Cedar Ridge taught me life lessons that I will never forget. Learning how to identify my feelings and work through them in an appropriate manner is a skill that I will always put into practice. One of the most important tools I acquired at Cedar Ridge through karate training is mindfulness. I define mindfulness as being aware of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. Being alert allows me to work through the struggles and obstacles I face daily in life.

When reflecting upon my life thus far, I am proud of who I am today. I am approaching my junior year in college and have never felt so ready to experience the next chapter of my life. I’m working towards achieving my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with which I hope to help individuals who struggle with substance abuse. Every day my dream becomes more tangible, and I am proud of myself for maintaining full commitment towards achieving what I know I deserve. The direction in which my life is moving resonates with how I imagined it while at Cedar Ridge.

Transitioning home from Cedar Ridge was an empowering experience. Although it was far from easy, Cedar Ridge provided me with the tools and skills needed to succeed. Anyone leaving Cedar Ridge can expect to experience bouts of loneliness. With the right support, patience, and believing in oneself, the feeling of loneliness can be overcome. It takes time to make the meaningful relationships that we all know we deserve. But by putting into practice the strengths learned while at Cedar Ridge, these obstacles can be worked through.

I will always be grateful for the time I spent at Cedar Ridge and for the new family I gained while there."

Alumni A.B. Speaks About Her Experience at Cedar Ridge and the Lessons She Learned Years After She Left

"Currently I am at work and I am thinking about how good my life finally is because lately my family and I have been faced with some tough decisions to make and I am now strong enough to make those decisions. My mind drifted off to my stay at Cedar Ridge today and I am glad it did. I want to tell all staff at Cedar Ridge that Cedar Ridge SAVED MY LIFE.

I would not be married to a wonderful man like my husband today, I would not have a stable job, I would not have a four bedroom home to accommodate our soon to be growing family, nor would I be sober by any means. I am confident and strong because of the staff at Cedar Ridge pushing me to be me each and every day and try my hardest. Half the lessons I learned there didn’t even click in until recently and I have been home for 2+ years now. I know it may be discouraging when you see kids giving up on themselves but I want you to know that what your doing now to help the kids could save their lives too just like mine.

To all the kids waiting for e-mails from their family that want to go home, trust me when I tell you that everything there at Cedar Ridge may seem like its a little too serious or too intense or even that you have watched Marsha 100+ times or heard Rob talk about the same thing over and over. LET IT REALLY SINK IN because once you leave, life is HARD. Support systems are incredibly hard to build up, bill are really hard to pay, and making healthy friends is a BIG challenge. With that being said, I know that staff there will be more than willing to help find yourself or become a better person.

You can do it! Thanks to the staff for helping me get this far!"