Walden Living will always be a place of great significance to me. When I first made plans for where I would stay after leaving residential treatment and stepping down to an outpatient program, I was very reluctant to stay in any sort of structured environment; however, I made the best decision by going to Walden instead of staying at a hotel long-term. Walden ended up becoming my home for over a year.
I had grown weary of all the strict rules in residential treatment and was initially afraid that I would not have my freedom if I stayed in an organized setting, but just a short amount of time at Walden dispelled those fears. I had gained a lot from residential treatment but had sometimes encountered people in charge who weren’t equipped to foster a nurturing atmosphere there. At Walden, though, I became part of a network of awesome coaches and fellow residents. My coaches genuinely cared about my well-being and became a huge support to me during difficult times. They were there to encourage me, check in on me, support me, and give me advice.
The ladies who were my coaches are beautiful, kind, compassionate, funny, intelligent, and laid back. They are also enthusiastic about working with people to help them get better, and I can’t stress the importance of that enough. At Walden, I maintained my independence but was also able to have structure and accountability so that I maintained my progress and kept myself from relapsing. I gained useful skills like making a resume, applying for jobs, and learning how to cook, all while in a safe space with people I could depend on.
In addition to my wonderful coaches, I also had the privilege of meeting and forming close friendships with the other residents at Walden. Living together, we were able to share both our highs and lows and support one another as we went through life and treatment. I am very grateful for the people I met and grateful that I wasn’t alone. Some of them are still my good friends today.
The only thing I wish I had done differently was to take more advantage of the environment I was in. Walden is a unique space. Doing group activities, meeting with my coaches, and being engaged in the program were all very helpful and rewarding to me, and I wish I had utilized those aspects even more. I am grateful for my experience there and believe it’s the kind of environment that all people in the process of recovery should be able to experience.
- Past Resident from Memphis, TN
Hi! My name is Rachel and I am in eating disorder recovery. I have been to hospitals and treatments 4 times before I came to Walden and each time I came out of treatment, I engaged in eating disorder behaviors that very same day. I struggled with even worse body image, which made depression worse, which in turn made me isolated and even suicidal. Treatment can only do so much, but who is there to help you maintain that post treatment?
This time I knew I needed to do something different. I couldn't be on my own after the weight restoration process. I knew I couldn't be left to isolate and starve and go through the cycle again.
That's where Walden came in. Walden is a transitional Living with constant support. The coaches there, Kristy and Beth, have taught me to cook, socialize, and self regulate. They have helped me comply with my medication regimen, something I've always failed at in the past. They were there through panic attacks in grocery stores and always available for meal plan support. I have learned to meditate and journal and breathe through anxiety. I even got help to cover my mirrors so I wouldn't body check!
I stayed at Walden for 5 months until I was ready to take what I learned and continue it on my own. I have been in recovery for over a year now. I will always be grateful to the Walden staff for holding my hand at every step of the way. Walden changed my life, and I'm sure it'll change your life too!
- Past Resident from Brooklyn, NY