Learning to Love, Finding Happiness

Dear Teachers of Radical Authenticity 2006,


You are all so awesome. You guys are beyond brilliant. You are geniuses in facilitating love and happiness for other people. I am so blessed to have come to The Option Institute. I am so blessed for the experiences I have had at Option – especially this last one.

As I watched how you approached my 21 year old daughter Hilary throughout the week, it was artistry in motion. You were loving, allowing, gentle, not pushy, open and still incredibly encouraging. Wow. You are role models for me. You are role models for the human being I want to become and for the parent I want to become.

I have overwhelming trust in your love and in the process of learning, growing and changing in the safest, most secure, loving environment on the planet.

During the program, Hilary would say how she had to get out of there, how she would take the next flight out if she had money, that she hated how she was feeling, the program wasn’t for her. She blamed me for suggesting that she come.

The Saturday after the program, you would not have believed it. She said she hadn’t felt that peaceful and calm in a very, very long time. She said that she wanted to go to another Option program. (I couldn’t believe it!!!!) She said that she felt she would be forever changed in a positive way because she had attended Radical Authenticity.

It’s only been 4 days since the program ended, and I could write you a book about the new and wonderful things that have changed inside of me.

Here’s one of the coolest things. I know I have Care-Taking-Issues-Supreme. Yesterday at work, (I have worked as an RN for 10 years and a naturopathic physician for the past 14 years) – yesterday was the first day I actually felt like I was in heaven while working. It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yesterday, I did not have one care-taking bone in my body. I asked questions (that I would not have normally asked) and watched patients come up with their own answers. I had no agenda that they had to resolve anything, and just a few minutes of questioning was such an awesome way to love them. I have always thought giving them prescriptions, answers, suggestions, treatments, advice, being present, was what I had to do in order to be helpful. I know different. I can love them in thousands of ways. I can love them by inviting them to accept or refute my advice. I can love them by asking questions without restraint on my part. I also for the first time, started to believe – I mean really believe – that my patients are doing the best they can and that they can take care of themselves.

I had a 50 some year old woman yesterday in my office that I was administering massive IV doses of vitamin C and other IV anti-cancer herbs to. She has breast cancer with extensive bone mets and severe anemia. I can’t even explain how it was different yesterday. It was like it was OK that she had the disease. I didn’t have to facilitate a cure for her. Loving her, helping her immune system to be strong for whatever time she has left, was enough. Not only was it enough, it was sheer grace to be there doing what I was doing. Wow. Thank you.

And best of all, Hilary and I talk differently to each other. Before Radical Authenticity, I tried dialoguing and being a mentor to her, but I was consistently met with: “stop asking me those stupid questions”. Now, when she is upset and I start asking questions and dialoguing with her, I am met with an open demeanour and a lack of resistance to my questioning.

I will be taking the parenting course with my husband in October 2007. This course was specially designed for me. I know it. Before you teachers even conceived of it, the universe had me in mind and said, “I am designing this course for Kathy Graham. By the time she takes it, it will be perfect for her”.

I want to share this wonderful course with the most glorious, wonderful man who ever walked the planet. We are partners in parenting and we will learn wonderful things together. I can’t imagine a sweeter experience to share with him.

When Bears says about Samahria, about looking at her and seeing that he is waking up next to an angel every morning, I imagine that that is similar to what I feel about Bill. He is a prince, and an angel, and a heavenly being that I can’t believe how blessed I am to wake up beside every morning. I love the Option process. I love him. Taking the Parenting Class would not only be the best gift I could ever give myself, it would also be a gift to my children, and a gift to him.

Anyway, you are all angels. I am truly, truly blessed. Thank you again and again.



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Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar