By Michelle, Mother of a 26 year old Wooden Graduate


I ­­­write this testimonial out of a place of unwavering gratitude to Daniel Ross and his vision in developing the Recovery Ranch, Jared Erb for his sage advice while talking me through my hesitancy to send Reid to the Ranch from Colorado, sight unseen, to Mark, Zach and to every other gentleman who grabbed my son’s hand and refused to let him descend any deeper into his heinous addiction.   Reid’s story is like so many others.


He was in Honor Society, took AP classes, played sports and never got in trouble throughout his school years.  In his sophomore year of high school he went to Mexico for a fall break and returned with a serious ear infection.  He was prescribed opioids to manage the pain and, of course the rest of his story can be guessed.  


My husband and I had no idea how far he had fallen until his sophomore year at college. His grades fell, he got kicked out of the business school, was moody and mean spirited, became estranged from his younger brother, withdrew from his friends, stole from us, lost his job...  


When caught lying yet again, he admitted that he was addicted to painkillers.  He found a psychiatrist in Boulder who prescribed additional medications that eventually turned in to additional addictions.  While attempting to wean off one of these prescription drugs, he had a seizure and fell, knocked out his teeth and cut up his face.  Reid’s father found him on the floor shaking and thought he had overdosed.  Terrified, he called the paramedics which lead to 3-day hospital stay.  Once released, he promptly resumed his drug habit.  


Reid lost all of his meaningful friendships (including his younger brother) as he continued to self-isolate, refusing to hike, shoot hoops, read or do anything other than listen to music alone in his room…. He also lost interest in his appearance, nodded off, was difficult to wake, and his speech was often slurred.  He acted exceedingly nasty and was in complete denial about the extent to which the drugs were destroying his health and every fiber of his being.  It’s difficult to express on paper the reign of hell that became our life.  Since outpatient treatment was ineffective, the next plan was a local in-patient care.


Following a 4-day hospital detox, Reid entered a 28-day inpatient drug rehab program.  During this program, he failed to take responsibility for his choices, blamed me and continued to act like a spoiled brat.  The rehab suggested he be released to a 90-120 day program and provided names of three places they recommended.   As I began calling and Googling these rehabs, I thought they all looked like wonderful places to vacation, which of course is the last thing a selfish addict needs to get well.  I made it my mission to find something different and eventually found the Recovery Ranch.  Fortunately, I had a friend in CA who could vouch for its effectiveness in working with addicts.  

I called Jared, against the recommendation of Reid’s counselor at rehab #1, who insisted Reid was far too introverted to go to a place like the RR.  He feared the tactics too draconian and that Reid would flounder.  I expressed these concerns to Jared who explained that he had seen shy young men flourish with the aid of the brotherhood.  On Jared’s word, my husband and I picked Reid up at the end of his stay at drug rehab #1 and put him on a plane for California to attend the Recovery Ranch.   This was the best thing that could have ever happened to Reid and our family.  Every single day, I express gratitude for the men at the RR for saving our son’s life.


The Recovery Ranch was a perfect match for my son.  He was not coddled, was made to take responsibility for his choices and most importantly, was unable to manipulate his fellow alcoholic/addict brothers.  Within this context, he started to improve, and over the course of several months, thrive.  On our rare phone conversations, I could start to hear the confidence return to his voice as the blaming and refusal in taking responsibility for his choices, dissipated. He was taking small steps to return to the smart, funny, caring young man, we thought gone forever.  


This evolution continues as Reid grows every day at the RR.  He is a thoughtful, compassionate young man who is now giving back through the Academy.   


Reid’s is a common story that often has a bad ending.  He would absolutely have died if not given this second chance at the Recovery Ranch.  This program instills discipline, taking responsibility for one’s actions, re-teaches methods to enjoy life minus substances, employs a sense of community and connectedness along with so many other positive ways to live a healthy life.  The fact that my son is no longer beholden to drugs, and lives a life of purpose is a gift to not only himself but to his entire family.  For this, I will be forever grateful for the Recovery Ranch.

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