Andrew's issues with substance abuse started in high school and there were many years of off again, on again use with escalating severity. I was always trying to find a sober house or some living situation away from Austin that would enable Andrew to maintain sobriety and fulfill his many potential abilities. He is a great person, good sense of humor and everyone liked being around him! Except when things were really bad.. then he stayed away from everyone that really cared about him. During one of my research frenzies online, I came across "Recovery Ranch". At first, Andrew was not at all interested and he was actually doing well. He completed all the required real estate courses to take the state real estate exam and was just about ready to take the exam to become a licensed realtor. Then... bam, it all went down hill fast. I called Recovery Ranch back and they said, we will be happy to take him.. just get him here! You know, that that is a life saving response! Andrew said he would go because he knew he needed the help and needed to remove himself from the environment that he was in. I booked a flight, he disappeared. I re-booked the flight, he didn't show up. All the while, someone from the ranch was keeping in touch with me and attempting to reach out to Andrew, not giving up on getting him there. Several days later, I finally got a message through facebook from Andrew that I could come pick him up (his phone had been stolen or lost, not sure). It was all very scary. This time I told Jean Claude at the Ranch that if I got him in the car.. I was just going to drive him there! I had his bags packed and when I got him in the car it was a road trip to Santa Ynez from Austin, TX. Jean Claude kept in touch with me the entire trip and after 3-4 days of driving, we made it. Sorry, if this seems like a long story (it is actually just a very short explanation of one part of a very long journey).
The point is, Recovery Ranch is a true life saving operation with people willing to go above and beyond to help someone who wants the help. It provides a safe place for recovery and also provides work opportunities for those who want to stay long term to enhance the probability of long term sobriety. It isn't an easy road. Andrew stayed at the Ranch for about a year, came back to Austin (mistake). relapsed (horrible), went back to Recovery Ranch in January 2016 and he is still there today (going on 16 months sober), staying long term this time. We are very grateful to Recovery Ranch for providing this life saving opportunity for him and many others.
Martha and Mark Olsen