|Before coming to Circle Tree Ranch I had been in a 28-day program. My experience here has been very different. Instead of just learning facts about drugs, alcohol and mental illness, I’ve learned to change my old behaviors, and to hold myself and others accountable. I’ve been here six months, and today I know how to make a real friend, how to motivate myself to do what’s right, and I have a good work ethic. I’ve learned to speak truthfully about my life experiences: the things I did to myself, the things that were done to me, the things that I did to get drugs. Nobody put me down, they helped me through it. Today I feel good about myself. I’m not ashamed anymore. — A 32 year old man.
I started using drugs when I was 19, and for the past 3 years I’ve been addicted to oxycontin and heroin. My family sent me to a 28-day program where I learned about AA and the 12 Steps, but I relapsed a couple weeks after returning home. My Dad found Circle Tree Ranch on the internet, and thought a longer program would be beneficial for me. I’m learning to rely on my peers in the program, to take advice, and to listen. Learning to build relationships is really important for me. I never had good relationships when I was a kid. We moved a lot and the girls hated me, but here I’m learning how to make female friends. There is a lot of group interaction, and I’m learning about people through their stories; I’m learning to care about people. I’m learning to deal with my feelings without acting out or isolating myself. I feel good about myself today. I feel stronger. — A 23 year old woman.
I’m 21 years old, and started using drugs when I was 14. I’ve been to psychiatrists and in mental hospitals. I first went to treatment when I was 17. There were a lot of 12 Step groups, talking with psychologists about feelings, a lot of hanging out, and an emphasis on mental illness. I lied a lot, and didn’t take it too seriously. When I got out I started drinking, and soon was using drugs again: smoking pot, then pills, then heroin. I came to Circle Tree Ranch four months ago. Here they don’t focus just on your drug abuse; they focus on all your behaviors. You know you have a strong support group here; people really care about you. I like the groups because they are real. You hear things that are valid whether you want to or not. This place has given me a lot of confidence in what I can do. — A 23 year old man.
I’m 42 years old, and started using drugs at the age of 14. I have been a heroin addict for twelve years, and before that I was hooked on cocaine. I’ve been in several treatment programs before coming to Circle Tree Ranch a month ago. Other programs only dealt with the surface behaviors, but here we are really dealing with the inside; the feelings. I run from feelings. I don’t like to feel so I’ve run from program to program, to prison, to drugs and back again. This time I’m realizing how much I’ve hurt my family and friends over the years. Before I thought I was only hurting myself. This is the safest place I have ever been; it is safe for me to deal with my feelings and share them with others. — A 42 year old man.
I started using drugs at 8 or 9 years old – smoking marijuana. I was very rebellious, and was drinking at the age of 13. By the time I was 18 years old I had been pregnant twice, was suicidal, and was put in a mental institution for two months. Over the years my drug addiction and high risk, self destructive behaviors progressed. I became addicted to cocaine, freebasing, crack, then meth; then I started using needles. I was 30 when I first went to treatment - a 28 day in-patient program. There we learned about the effect of alcohol and drug abuse on your body and brain, but I didn’t deal with my behaviors, my anger, my molestation and sexual abuse, my life experiences. I drank the day I got out of treatment. I tried other programs that focused on mental disorders and chemical imbalance. I never understood why I continued to repeat my old behaviors. Circle Tree Ranch has taught me to understand my feelings and emotions, my history and the reasons for my anger and self-destructive behavior. I’ve really developed close friends here; we’ve become like a family. I’m no longer afraid to say how I really feel. This is a very safe setting where I’m not ostracized; I can get outside of myself and my perceptions and see myself as others see me – both good and bad. That happened because of the curriculum and the group process. It’s very liberating. I understand myself and others like I never have before.— A 38 year old woman
I was always a discipline problem as a child. My substance abuse history began at age 13, and I was in the hospital for alcohol poisoning four times before I started high school. Before coming to Circle Tree Ranch I had been in 27 drug and alcohol rehab programs; all 12 Step based, all very clinical with lots of diagnosis of mental disorders. There was too much information and too little time to absorb it. We learn about AA here too, but we also talk about things in the curriculum that are very important for me that I did not learn in 12 Step programs. I’ve been here four months, and have been walking through some life experiences I thought I had resolved. I had a son who died, and didn’t realize how much the grief and loss surrounding his death affected me. The faculty here don’t act superior, but share their own experiences and stories. They don’t try to give you a diagnosis, but try to understand you and help you understand yourself. When I arrived here I had no friends and I have no family. I was very cynical, and didn’t think it would ever be different for me. Here people didn’t let me isolate; they are very friendly and have surrounded me to make me feel comfortable, encouraging me to relate to them. Today I have a very different viewpoint; I now think I can change, and I never felt that before. Here you are treated like part of a real family – where people really care about you.
— A 42 year old man
I am 28 years old, and started using drugs when I was 12. My drug and alcohol use progressed, and by the age of 17 I was selling drugs and using meth. Even during my pregnancies I couldn’t stop using. All my kids were substance exposed. By the age of 20 I was suicidal; I wanted to stop but didn’t know how. I was in mental institutions three times, and went to my first drug treatment program at 23. Nothing they said made sense or made an impression on me, and when I finished the program I went right back to using. I’ve been at Circle Tree Ranch four months now. I thought it would be like any other drug rehab, but what I’m learning here really makes sense. The groups are great; I feel safe and I’m able to be honest, share my feelings and to be open minded about other people. Hearing other people’s stories gives me confidence that I can change. I understand the consequences of my actions, and the tools I’ve learned here are really applicable. I don’t think I’ll ever have to be in another program. I’m learning to be the person I really want to be. — A 28 year old woman.