Chris headshotMy name is Chris. I am 51 years old and a student here at Gateway PROS. I came from an extremely dysfunctional, chaotic, rage-aholic family upbringing.  As a result, I developed severe anxiety and PTSD at a relatively early age, but wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was in my early thirties. Furthermore, I suffer from chronic recurrent depression and psychosis. I’ve also been hospitalized three times due to my disorders and panic attacks on the job and have experienced bouts of extremely horrible insomnia that caused intense paranoia, amongst other symptoms.

I reverted to drinking alcohol and doing drugs starting in my teens as a form of ‘self-medicating.’ It seemed to give me a reprieve from my symptoms but only proved to be a temporary fix that ultimately led to a downward spiral of self-destruction. However, I am now very proud to say that with the help of PROS, I am now five and a half years clean and sober. I also finally got on a medication regimen that has helped to alleviate a lot of my symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and psychosis. The program here has even been instrumental in helping me to quit smoking cigarettes, which was a thirty year habit.

And, although, medication played an integral role in helping me to manage my symptoms from mental illness and recovery from alcohol and substance abuse, I still felt an inherent lack of connectedness to others, isolated, depressed, and anxious most of the time. Medication helped immensely, but I needed something more.

Fortunately, I was introduced to PROS in 2016 via my case worker at the time and SPOA (Single Point of Access). At first I was nervous, a bit apprehensive and had some reservations, but much to my surprise, the other students and staff were extremely welcoming, personable and in a relatively short period of time I became more and more comfortable and trusting. I can now honestly say that PROS changed my life. I felt safe at home and like I had a new family!

Furthermore, it offered the holistic (whole body) approach to recovery that I had been seeking. Classes offered here, such as DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy) introduced me to the life-altering concepts of mindfulness, staying balanced, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation. The class “The Healing Journey” was instrumental in helping me process the traumatic loss of my father in 2017. In “People, Places, and Things” we focus on relapse prevention and identifying triggers in recovery. Finally, in “Good Eats” we learn about proper nutrition, having balanced, healthy diet and moderation.

The entire staff at Gateway Hudson Valley are just so caring, dedicated, personable and professional, and their doors are always open. They’ve inspired me on many levels, and encouraged me to overcome the stigmas associated with both mental illness and substance use recovery. They have also helped me to strive for my best possible potential. Moreover, PROS has provided me with the ‘emotional tool box’ and skill set to cope with whatever life throws my way! I’m truly grateful that this program exists and I encourage anyone to give it a chance!