Confronting the Fear of Recovery

By The Fix staff 09/26/17

“Most of the time people say to just deal with the chemical dependency and the other issues will resolve themselves...I found the absolute opposite to be true.”

woman cradling knees by window
At Maple Mountain Recovery, they address PTSD in order to begin the intimidating process of recovery.

Andee Cooke grew up in a family full of alcoholics. When she started using meth at age 11, Cooke already had a history of trauma, and her drug use just added on more turmoil for the next 11 years.

“I got involved with gangs, drug dealing, a lot of crazy stuff,” she said. “I was also homeless and ended up becoming a prostitute. After doing drugs I lost everything.”

Cooke’s rock bottom came when she woke up alone in a bathroom with a needle hanging out of her arm.

“I called my mom and said ‘if you don’t come get me now I’m going to die.’”

That was 15 months ago. Cooke’s mom came to get her, and she was able to get into Maple Mountain Recovery, a trauma-informed addiction treatment center that also specializes in treating people with co-occurring mental illness.

When Cooke arrived at Maple Mountain, which is housed in a historical mansion in Mapleton, Utah, she was most thankful to be alive and to have a roof over her head. However, she wasn’t yet ready to be vulnerable enough to do the hard work of recovery.

“I would hide my eyes and wouldn’t talk to anybody,” she said. “There was a lot of fear.”

However, her therapist urged her to speak openly about her past and her pain, telling her, “Let others love you until you can love yourself.” Cooke decided to do just that, opening up to the group in a way she never had before. Doing so changed her life.

“It made me realize even though I did this I wasn’t alone,” she said. “People couldn’t relate to the story but they could relate to the feelings.”

Patrick Rezac, 44, had a similar experience.

“For me, my addiction was symptomatic of my trauma history and maladaptive coping mechanisms,” said the former meth addict who has been clean for two years.

Rezac had been to 17 recovery programs before Maple Mountain, and he was not particularly hopeful that this time would be different. However, Maple Mountain was able to focus on healing Rezac’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Once his PTSD was under control, Rezac no longer needed to self-medicate with drugs.

“Most of the time people say to just deal with the chemical dependency and the other issues will resolve themselves,” Rezac recalled. “I found the absolute opposite to be true.”

It was only after addressing his trauma that Rezac was able to succeed in recovery.

“PTSD was a problem for me for many years, and I did not recognize that until I started to deal with it at Maple Mountain,” he said.

In order to help patients with PTSD and other mental health concerns, Maple Mountain uses evidence-based treatments including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, neurofeedback, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). By using these techniques, clients are able to replace maladaptive coping mechanisms like substance abuse with healthier patterns.

Both Cooke and Rezac show the promise of the program. Cooke now works at Maple Mountain, coordinating the alumni program. Being involved with the program professionally now helps Cooke stay accountable and honest — the foundations of recovery.

“I love the people, and love the understanding that comes with it,” she said. “Whether people are in recovery or so-called normies they still understand my experiences.”

Rezac is the founder of One Voice Recovery, an organization that aims to break down the stigma of addiction, HIV and mental illness. Now that he has dealt with his past trauma he is able to work to help others get into recovery too.

“Maple Mountain’s approach to trauma changed everything for me,” he said.

Maple Mountain Recovery is a trauma-informed addiction treatment center in Mapleton, Utah. Learn more about their program at and follow them on Facebook.

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