Giving Back After Recovery: Alumni Returns as Clinical Assistant

Before seeking treatment at age 17, Danny White couldn’t imagine the life he is living today.

A husband and father of two, Danny is now working as a clinical assistant at Paradigm — one step closer toward his career goal of becoming an adolescent therapist.

We had the opportunity to learn more about Danny’s treatment and recovery, including how he was able to overcome years of childhood trauma and help other young people who face similar challenges.

As an adolescent, why did you first seek treatment? Several reasons. I was completely overwhelmed by emotions and functioned at a high level of constant fear and anger from years of physical and emotional childhood abuse. I had also gotten into quite a bit of trouble with Law Enforcement and I was currently facing 14 different juvenile citations. The final straw for me was the amount of depression and anxiety I was dealing with stemming from the amount of childhood trauma I had lived with.

Why was recovery so successful for you? I believe it was due to the amount of love I received and from the authentic and compassionate approach offered at what is now Paradigm’s Escondido facility. I felt that from my therapist and the other staff that they truly wanted to help me and help me get to a place where I could process things and express the pain. It was the first place I had ever been where I felt completely accepted for who I was and not judged for my past actions.

What was the best part of the healing and recovery process? Due to the healthy environment and love, I was able to examine what I needed in my life, look at my actions, and take responsibility where needed. It also helped me address things in my life and the people who had harmed me. I was able to tell them what I needed to be a happy and also be open to what they needed from me.

How has life been since treatment? [It’s been over 10 years] I enjoy a fully present life with so much joy and love. I have become a father and a husband. It’s been extremely rewarding to be a father to my children even though I didn’t have a good example in my own childhood. Also getting to be married and be a husband and partner and love someone unconditionally and have a emotionally healthy relationship that I also never saw as an adolescent.

On an individual level, I’ve been able to create good healthy friendships and have been able to truly love myself.

What are you most proud of? My marriage and the birth of my children. Seeing my own children accomplish things and get to be the father that they need is the greatest joy in my life.

Going to college is also a huge accomplishment for me and something I never felt smart or valuable enough to do as an adolescent.

What are your future goals? I want to continue working with our youth and become a Therapist. Paradigm is the perfect place for me to do that.

Regarding Danny’s work at Paradigm, Co-Founder Cole Rucker shares, ‘It would be impossible to be more proud of anyone than we are of Danny. With the odds stacked against him, he has reclaimed his life and made it his own. In the process, he is now helping many young people. He is an example of all that we aspire to.”