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Recovery program helps Utah teenager find light in darkness

Sidnee Kassing joins the Project Recovery podcast to talk about how LifeLine changed her life.

Sidnee Kassing thought her life had become unbearable after a recent fight with her parents — until they found the perfect recovery program.

Growing up, friends were everything to Sidnee Kassing. In her mind, her friends were even more important than family. This desire to find comradery outside of her family often caused a rift between Sidnee and her parents. She often fought with her parents over typical teenage issues. So much so, that her parents grounded her right before a school dance.

“I remember being really, really, really depressed,” she said. “I didn’t care about my family anymore. At that point, I just felt like I would rather end my life than be around my family.”

Sidnee began to contemplate suicide because of the pain that she was feeling.

Will a recovery program help?

Fortunately, her parents found out about it and decided to seek out a recovery program. They went to the University of Utah’s Health University Neuropsychiatric Institute for answers.

At the young age of 15, Sidnee would spend a week at the institute. The entire time she was there, Sidnee never really completely understood the severity of the situation.

“Going back to that girl, at that time, I remember not realizing how serious it was,” she remembered.

After that week, she went to the LifeLine for Youth recovery program, a residential treatment center for youth in Utah. It was time for Sidnee to continue her recovery after finishing her stay at UNI. But for Sidnee, another stay at a recovery program was the last thing she wanted.

“I remember being so angry at my parents and thinking that they were crazy for wanting to put me here,” she said. “I don’t need to be here because there were other kids who had harder substance abuse issues.”

For the next two weeks, Sidnee would spend her time learning with the help of on-site teachers and participating in clinical groups; all the while, holding a grudge against her parents for putting her in the program. That feeling of anger completely changed once she saw her family. She described the moment she saw her parents walk through the door.

“I just remember seeing my parents and just instantly bawling. I had missed them so much,” she said.

She gained a newfound lack of empathy and perspective on life after being away from the outside world.

Being able to express her feelings

Along with a new mindset, she believes her favorite gift she received from LifeLine was her ability to express herself.

“I’m a very emotional person and before I was very closed off and didn’t know how to express my emotions,” Sidnee said. “I think that’s a huge reason why I struggled so bad.”

She also has realized that being open and vulnerable is one of the easiest ways of expressing how she feels.

Not all of her inner demons went away after she completed her stay at the LifeLine recovery program, though. Sidnee went back to her old friend group and began to hit some road bumps along the way — until she found out she was pregnant when she was 18-years-old. From that point on, her life began to change for the better.

“I felt like I had a purpose again,” she described “When he was born it made me feel alive. There was a reason to keep fighting every day, through my depression, and to do better every day.”

Sidnee was able to use the tools that she learned from her stay at LifeLine to begin changing her life for herself and her son.

Bringing families back together

Sidnee decided that she wanted to give back to help those who needed it — just as she did years before. She started working at LifeLine as a member of the team’s Direct Care staff, assisting patients.

She’s focused on helping those who are struggling after overcoming her own issues as a teenager. “One of the main things we focus on is bringing families back together and teaching parents parenting skills and how to raise a kid that is struggling,” she said. “If you need help, even if you’re just worried about your child and you don’t know where to go, we’re happy to talk to any parents.

If you or anyone you know may be struggling, you can reach out to LifeLine directly at (801) 936-4000 or you can visit the ‘Project Recovery‘ page on

To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.


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