At the end of the Rose Hill Adolescent Treatment Center’s drive, four clients and a counselor are gathered, even though it is only 7 degrees. As they shiver a bit in their winter jackets, one of the clients places a painted rock on the stone wall that lines the drive. It’s his last day. Excited and anxious to be returning to “the real world,” the client receives words of inspiration and praise from his peers as they stand in a semi-circle around him.
When they are done, the counselor steps forward, gives his own encouragement to the client, and then hands him a rock “for strength”, and a marble, “because when they had gotten here they had lost all of their marbles.”
The group gathers in a circle around the soon-to-be discharged client, puts his right foot forward “for the still sick and suffering,” and for a final time, the soon-to-leave client leads the group in the Serenity Prayer,
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
Tradition says that the painted rocks the clients place on the wall symbolize the lives they have left behind. They leave the rocks on the wall in preparation of moving forward as a renewed, revitalized and recovering individual. Having successfully navigated their way through the program at Rose Hill, clients are ready to say their good-byes to peers and staff that a few months ago they may have looked at with fear and mistrust.
As they prepare to leave treatment, and the safe, supportive environment that it provides, in their pocket they have a rock to remind them to be strong and glass marble to remind them of the insanity they have hopefully left behind for good.