By Lorena, Mother of a 26 year old Wooden Graduate

Our Ranch Journey


When the Ranch asked if I would share our family story, it took a long time for me to agree.   I was embarrassed, ashamed and felt like I failed as a mother.   I felt that if I could just love him more everything would work out.  With more love, patients, forgiveness and understanding Nick would be able to turn himself around and get on track.  I believed it with all my heart.   He was a smart boy, successful in school, had lots of friends and appeared to be making good choices.   It was all lies.  If I am honest with myself, there were years of lies.   My son was the master manipulator.   He was a smooth talker and could paint an elaborate story.  There were stories about wrecked cars, dropping out of college, drunk driving, sick for weeks and it goes on and on.    


In May of 2015, we knew Nick was in big trouble.   He was sick, rail thin and exhausted.  We got him into a 3 day detox facility.  Now what??  We had never had to deal with this before.  How do you know where to send your son?  Who do you talk to?   We aimed all our energy and resources to save Nick.   We talked to dozens of rehabilitation facilities.   My favorite was the one on the beach in LA where they have a 5 star rehab resort with chefs, massage, reflexology and a pool.    Our son did not need a 30-day spa rehab.   After countless calls and sales pitches, I was on the internet and came across The Ranch.    I knew in minutes that the Ranch was the right place for Nick.    Our addicted son didn’t need a doctor, he needed the Ranch.   A group of peers that would hold him accountable, by the hour, until he could hold himself accountable.   He had totally lost his way.  He didn’t have the skill set to deal with difficult situation (life) and so he used drugs to medicate fear, pain, boredom and failures.           


The decision is made; we are going to the Ranch.   In speaking with Jared, the intake manager, I’m taken by his calm, matter of fact tone.  “Just bring Nick, don’t stop and don’t worry about what time you arrive. We will be here for you.”  We arrive, we are all nervous and I know in that instance we are in the right place. Every young man, all 50 of them, made it a point to walk up to us, look us in the eye, introduce themselves and shake our hands.  Most of the boys hugged me because I was a hot mess and struggled not to cry.   


We walked through the Ranch rod iron gate two years age this Memorial Day.   The journey has not been easy.  Its not suppose to be easy.   It hard to look within yourself everyday a 100 times a day and be accountable, honest, present, honorable and in service.    The key for our family was complete trust of the process.  You can’t give in to the lies and manipulation.  I remember 60 days in and Nick is trying to convince us, “I can come home now. I’m good mom.”  It takes time.   It takes a long time.   And the longer he stayed, the more opportunity he had to make mistake, learn, grow and practice accountability.   


Nick graduated.  It took almost a year and many different forms of setbacks.  Humility vs arrogance, in service vs selfishness, accountability vs laziness.  Every day… all day you must show up and be accountable.  He thought he was ready to get back into the mainstream and come home.   He wasn’t ready.  Remember, I said, it takes a long time.  He needed to stay and work for his Wooden degree.   It turned out to be another great opportunity for Nick to have a few more possessions, and continue holding himself accountable while also being in service to his brothers by sponsoring upcoming young men.   


9+ months Nick is a Wooden graduate.   It’s the first time that he has done what he said he would do.  He followed through.  He was accountable.  With Wooden graduation comes more freedoms and opportunities.   Nick lives in Santa Barbara, is attending college, getting straight A’s, working for the Ranch and hold himself accountable every day.   The daily struggle to show up and be accountable is very real.   We are proud of all he has accomplished.


Thank you for letting me share our story.  Today, I am proud to share the struggles, setbacks and successes of our Ranch journey.   The Ranch gave our son the tools he needed to develop life skills.  He is happy, strong, humble, in service and has purpose in life.  The Ranch saved our sons life.  I will always be grateful.


With gratitude,

Lorena Bubel

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