Mark comes from a family with strong values. Activities involving the family have always been important. On a family trip to Disneyland, his addiction to drugs became apparent. We wondered how such a smart person, Mark has an MBA, could let drugs affect his life and family. Once his addiction was recognized, we enrolled him in two different programs with no success. Because of his failure in these programs, we reached out to Recovery Ranch to help him beat his addiction. We now know that Recovery Ranch should have been his first choice. Our journey led us to understand that no matter how important family is, it’s the individual who has to decide to come clean and overcome this disease. Recovery Ranch offers a structured and disciplined program that holds the individual accountable for his actions. Immediately we saw that everyone at the Ranch cared about Mark and what was happening with him and us.
In the beginning Mark found it hard to get with the program and when he walked away one day, we felt hopeless, disappointed, and very sad. But the Ranch took him back and worked with him. Gradually we saw a different Mark. In the beginning our Sunday visits were strained – what would we talk about, how long should we stay, what was he thinking and not saying? As the months went on we saw a big change in him. Time flew by during our visits. We had real conversations, laughs, and updates about our family. Of course there was sports talk between Mark and his Dad. This summer there was a month between visits and we saw a very big change in him. He was earning more responsibility at the Ranch, the newsletter, mentoring guys, leading tours, and enrolling in some college classes. The Ranch camping trips, trips to sporting events, golf, and dressing as Santa may appear mundane to some, but these are the activities that have turned Mark around. He’s been able to joke with the guys and have a good time without using drugs. He’s developing habits that will help him continue to overcome his disease. These activities have added purpose to his recovery and give real life meaning to his day-to-day schedule. With every visit we have become more hopeful that the Ranch is working for Mark and his family. All of us, including Mark, know that he still has a lot to work on.
The Ranch has helped him recognize his areas of strength and weakness and Mark now openly talks about those areas with us. There are so many positive aspects about our visits with him at the Ranch. The Thanksgiving dinner really felt like a family gathering and it was emotional for us when Mark spoke about us to the group, a very big step in his growth. During our last visit with him, he talked about completing his Steps, graduation, and going to the grad house. There are once again goals for him to complete and he is excited about these prospects. With the holidays approaching, we’re happy that we can spend a full day with him, give him lots of hugs and encouragement. We’ll go back to being a family again as we visit with him off the Ranch.