Kayla Causey started drinking alcohol at 10 years old, and her addiction landed her in a rehabilitation center for six months last year.
With a history of alcoholism in the family and resources easily within her reach, it wasn’t difficult to slip into that life, said Kayla, now 16.After finishing her 12-step rehab program, Kayla sought long-term help at the Oklahoma Outreach Sober School. The outreach school is one of only 19 of its kind in the nation.
The school helps Oklahoma City-area teenagers recover from drug and alcohol addictions, while allowing them to finish their high school educations.Rather than returning to the public school system, the school’s teenagers learn through Web-based classes and participate in daily counseling sessions and drug-free activities, said the school’s program director Tina Barker.“The more long-term sobriety they have, the better chance they have at life,” Barker said. “We want to get them through this hurdle in their lives. . . and get them in that new environment that doesn’t require drugs or alcohol.”
Fourteen teenagers have graduated from the school since it opened in 2006. The Oklahoma Outreach Foundation provides funding for the school’s operations and student treatment programs, Barker said.Students must already complete a rehab program before enrolling and must agree to follow a recovery plan led by the school. But each student’s situation is different, so overcoming a drug-addiction might be easier for some than others, Barker said.
“We’re talking meth addictions, alcohol — everything from hard drugs down to drinking Freon — just incredible things to end their life,” Barker said.
Though the average student is 17 years old, Barker said she’s worked with some as young as 14 and others that started their drug addictions as early as third grade.“It’s that void in their life that they’re trying to fill for whatever reason,” she said. “We want to get them through this hurdle and get them in that new environment, where they don’t have to turn to drugs and alcohol.”
During her three months with the program, Kayla said, her transition back to a drug-free life has been made easier by the supportive and stable environment at the outreach school.
“I get my schoolwork done easier and with less stress, without having to worry about people under-the-influence around me,” Kayla said. “I definitely think this is going to give me a good foundation to go off of, once I get out of school.”
For more information
Oklahoma Outreach Sober School
7101 N Classen Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Oklahoma Outreach Foundation
1700 W Britton Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73120
Association of Recovery Schools