“Casa rebuilt me—mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I am super grateful for the opportunity I had at Casa. They honestly saved my life.”
Beautiful, vivacious, athletically gifted—the San Marino teen appeared to have it all. That bright exterior masked how Macall truly felt inside. She was lost, scared and alone, and hid those feelings from even her closest friends.
The youngest of six, Macall grew up in an observant Mormon home. By high school, Macall realized that she was not on the same high-achieving, academic path as her older siblings. She had a learning disability, and that undermined her self-confidence.
“It was challenging for me, especially in San Marino where there is so much competition,” Macall said. “I just thought, ‘Screw it. I cannot compete with anybody here.’ I just never thought I was good enough.”
She discovered alcohol during her first year of high school. She soon craved it and would go to parties to drink as much as she could.
It was a different story on the soccer field. There, Macall was a superb soccer player and played on club teams, but Macall discounted her athletic talents. Her prowess on the soccer field earned a college scholarship, but she had also developed an eating disorder. Eventually she came home and entered an eating disorders treatment program. The program effectively treated the eating disorder, but it did not address her drinking.
“I felt like they were taking my eating disorder away, so I would use alcohol instead,” she said. “I just went to a different coping mechanism.” After completing treatment, Macall graduated from cosmetology school and moved to Arizona with her partner and found work at a local salon. It was there that her drinking spiraled out of control, and she quit her job.
Of course, Macall’s parents were deeply concerned about their daughter and came to Arizona and took her to a local alcohol treatment program, but it was not successful. In 2015, they brought her back home to seek care at Casa Treatment Center.
A Flicker of Hope
Since Macall did not have insurance finding a high quality treatment center she could afford was a problem, but a family friend, told her parents about Casa’s scholarship program. Macall felt the beginning of hope.
She also felt lost and worthless when she entered our residential program. At first she stayed quiet during groups. Looking back, Macall now realizes she needed extra time, kindness and direction. Casa patiently gave it to her.
On day 67, Macall finally spoke up. “My personality started coming out,” she said. “I started making friends, who remain my best friends to this day. They showed me love and friendship, how to be a friend, and how to love myself. The foundation of my sobriety comes from that.”
When the initial 90 days were up, Macall received two Casa scholarships to further support her recovery: 30 days of intensive outpatient treatment, plus 30 days of sober living.
Macall thrived in our sober living setting and was able to continue in the program for an additional eight months. She became involved with our alumni group and helped plan events. Her natural wild and crazy personality came out, and her dance parties were legendary. She also styled everyone’s hair, including Casa staff.
Sober and able to see the world with clear eyes, when she ran into Chris, an old high school classmate, she recognized something special. They quickly resumed their friendship and it soon it became something more.
Her Future Restored
With renewed self-confidence, Macall applied to be a house manager and was hired. She worked hard—and loved it. “Casa believed in me and my ability to do good things,” she said. “I had never felt capable before. People can tell you, but until you believe in yourself, it does not mean a thing.”
Next, Macall applied to become a Casa program assistant and got that job, too. She found herself fascinated by the clinical and medical aspects of substance abuse treatment. A long time ago, Macall had thought of becoming a nurse. She dismissed the idea because she felt she wasn’t smart enough.
In 2018, Macall began what she considers the hardest, most intense period of her life: attending nursing school while working at Casa. The classes were challenging and moved quickly. For those two years, life consisted of school and work. Macall didn’t see her family. She didn’t even have much time with Chris, who was now her fiancé.
Through it all, she never once considered using alcohol. Now she had better tools for coping with the stress. She credits Casa, especially her network of supportive friends, and her parents for helping her stay in recovery.
Our Health Care Hero
Macall graduated in 2020 and passed the NCLEX-RN registered nursing licensure exam. Then she headed straight into the frontlines of the pandemic. She now works at a local hospital, where she heroically spent six months working on a COVID-19 unit. Macall loves her work and is confident in her capabilities—and her future.
Currently finishing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Macall hopes to eventually become a nurse practitioner, but first, there is a wedding coming up. Macall and Chris are getting married on July 23. “Life really comes together when you get sober,”
Macall said. “My family always loved me and tried
to do everything in their power to help me, but you
don’t accept help until you are ready to change. My
family never gave up on me.”