top of page
  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Passages Alaska - You Made Us Better...

My son is doing better. He is no longer walking around like he has a cage of birds in his chest, his feet appear to be on the ground, he a part of the earth he walks. He got there by paddling...and the loving, caring force of a place called Passages Alaska.

I sent him there with only a small understanding of the program and the people. I felt like I should have had a swimming pool of information, instead of the thimble I felt I had. But I was desperate. My home life having devolved into a pit of despair, in which all of us were drowning every single day. I had to do something and this place stood out like a beacon in a very dense familial fog.

I want to publicly thank them because a private one just isn’t good enough. They saved my son. They met him on the ledge of his own self destruction and slowly walked him back to a respectable human being who is capable of doing hard things and making better choices. They did that.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with the owner and the guides. All good people. All caring people. All people who seem to know what it feels like to be lost, and found. As I sat there at lunch with them all, I watched the laughter flow, the love of each other, for Alaska, for the kids. I watched them take pleasure in a simple meal of pizza.

They were somehow able to transmit this appreciation of life to my son. They gave him the ability to appreciate the cover of a tarp, a hammock, the way an oar enters the water and propels you forward. They gave my son the ability to not only do hard things, but to appreciate the flow of life.

Whatever disconnection existed within my son, they found the two ends that lie limply on the floor of his soul. They helped him see that his life-force was leaking out and helped him find a way to mend. My son was able to reconnect his internal disassociation and find a way to see life from a new perspective, a new vantage point. Passages did that.

I tried to do all those things too but I failed, repeatedly. I lacked the power to get through to him. I was unsuccessful, apparently what I mostly lacked was an understanding of the wild Alaska landscape and how nine weeks there will alter your interiority. I could not provide what my child needed. But they could.

I live every new day indebted and grateful for the men and women serving on the front lines of adolescent rebellion. I am thankful for their service, love, kindness and inherent joy that they freely share. I am grateful for their ability to find the inroad to my son’s soul, and then teach him how to open it up so he has access. So that he may share his most wonderful self with others who will value and appreciate him.

Passages is more than wilderness. It is more than treatment. It is a life altering, fundamental tide turning opportunity to be lost at sea and learn how to rescue yourself. It is perhaps the first time these young people are ever really introduced to who they are in a way and manner that allows them to really see, see deeply enough and wholly enough so that they themselves are motivated to change. Because all of them are in that dark place of change you must, or die you will.

While I am grateful to them all, I developed a fondness and friendship with Sean the owner and director. He is a wonderful man. He lives and breathes this life. His life is being of service to the families of war torn adolescence. He a guiding light in our deadly thick fog. I live each new grateful to his man and his vision.

I pray that you never have a child that lives beneath your roof who is dying a self inflicted death daily. But if you do, go to Sean and his people. Take your wounded broken child to them. It may not work, but perhaps you will find just a little piece of what I found there which was completely absent in my life: hope.

My son found a way to love himself there. He found himself in the fish he caught, the miles he paddled, the torrential rains that soaked him through. It was there that whatever was disconnected within my child, was reattached. Perhaps it might always be a faulty connection, but Passages showed my son, how, no matter what the circumstance, that nature can and will heal you. On a wild river, on an open shore. In a blade of fire weed. Nature has the answers to the questions that live inside the hearts of all of us. And some kids, hell likely many of us regardless of age, get lost from time to time. We spend the second half of life getting over the first...I don’t know why, I just know we do. If your child is lost, perhaps reach to Sean, see if his program might work for your child. It worked for mine. It gave him a chance to take another road. No guarantees my son will stay the course, but I know, when I lay down to sleep at night and my head hits that pillow, I know, that I have done all that I can to ensure that my son, my child was given every chance and opportunity to save himself. And while I want a happy forever ending, all I really have is this abiding peace that lives inside my soul where once there was only a hollowed out nothingness...

Thank you Sean and Team Passages. I am really forever in your debt. You and your program have made us all better which is just a new fancy way of saying thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul.

95 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page