I found Alternative to Meds Center on the internet when I looked up “Holistic Health Centers for Bipolar Disorder” … This experience has been amazing and transformative. Alternative to Meds Center is an incredible facility.
When I arrived at Alternative to Meds Center on March 22nd, 2016 I was an absolute mess. Fifteen years of a very unhealthy marriage and several unfortunate incidents at my place of employment had sent me completely over the edge. I was in a “Humpty Dumpty” place and I desperately needed to figure out how to put all my pieces back together again.
It’s ironic that my doctor actually told me not to go on antidepressants. I didn’t listen to him. There was so much pressure from everyone in my life telling me that it was the only solution. I said no to several suggested medications, which were recommended by my therapist but I decided to try Prozac and started taking that last November. Big mistake. The highlight of my day was to travel from my bed on the second floor of my house downstairs to the sofa in my living room.
I felt awful. Well-meaning friends kept suggesting that I needed to up the dose or just keep taking the medication for several more months. New Year’s Eve came and I was ready to die. I called a friend and asked if I could stay with her because I couldn’t trust myself. I knew I had to stay alive for my twenty-one year old son. I stopped the medication cold turkey and decided to try bupropion. Luckily that didn’t have many negative side effects.
I never agreed with that label, but I didn’t know what else to do. My trip to Phoenix from Pennsylvania is a total blur. I had a hard time figuring out how to find the terminal and gate numbers because I was so scared and confused. Miguel met me at the airport and he was amazing. I don’t remember much about my first days at Alternative to Meds Center. I do remember that it took me a long time to figure out how to start the washing machine because I was so impaired. Eventually I started to notice a difference in how I felt at about the three week mark and I knew I would need to extend my stay beyond the initial month that I had previously paid for.
Everyone is so caring on the staff. My caregiver Charlie’s direct approach was just what I needed. Alan was also incredibly helpful and my therapist Carisa was fantastic. Brendan, Eric and Ula put so much love into the food. Every single person on staff went above and beyond for me every single day. There are really no words to express how appreciative I am to everyone. Their love and genuine concern pulled me through.
Here are some tips that I’ve extracted from my stay:
- Go to class. What you learn there might be something that saves your life. Pay attention to everything that Katherine says. The woman is a genius and her special blend of supplements that is put together just for you will totally rewire your brain. Sometimes it’s hard to take all of the supplements. Do it! Force yourself if you have to.
- Get as much time in the sauna in as possible.
- Get yourself organized and work in as many extra treatments in the Detox Shoppe as you can.
- Ask Rob to put on the Bruce Springsteen channel when you exercise because Bruce is “The Boss” (my bias).
- Even if you’re exhausted on the weekends, get out there on the hikes. Sedona is an amazing place. The natural beauty there is spectacular and a simple hike can absolutely heal your soul.
- Don’t complain about the morning smoothie. It can be tough to get it down. Just drink it!
- Do the cleanse. It was an exercise of mind-over-matter for me. It heals your gut so it heals your brain. You can do it. Just take it a day at a time.
- An “attitude of gratitude” will really help.
- Listen to the birds and the crazy frogs.
- Use the hot tub at night and look up at the stars. That’s a miraculous experience.
The single most important phrase that I learned that carried me through all aspects of this program I learned early on from Alan Hicks. This is what he said: “Don’t focus on the heat, focus on the results”. It worked for the sauna, the cleanse, my therapy. That one simple sentence absolutely changed my life!
I have met some of the most courageous and amazing people here at Alternative to Meds Center. If you are here, or if you are contemplating a stay at Alternative to Meds Center, here’s my parting advice: Give it to yourself because you deserve it. Work the program. It can be difficult but you will emerge as a new and improved person. This was one the best gifts I ever gave to myself. Trust the process and trust the staff. They have your back.
My single biggest shout out goes to Lyle Murphy, the founder of Alternative to Meds Center. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He took his personal misfortunate and turned it into an absolute gift for humanity. He created a place where people can be truly healed and not simply medicated into submission by the pharmaceutical industry. His commitment and vision saved my life and I will forever be indebted to him. He is an extraordinary man.