Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recovery Down on The Ranch

Peter R. Coleman, M.D.

Last weekend Joan and I visited some dear old friends in Nashville – Al Adams and Barbara Larew-Adams.  It was fabulous to reconnect with these two wonderful souls.  I have known them both for over 15 years and we have shared many precious moments and experiences.  Good friendships are one of the cornerstones of recovery and one of the best benefits of sobriety. 

From its inception, Al and Barbara have been very involved with the Recovery Ranch - a cutting edge treatment program on the outskirts of Nashville.  Al left his job in Virginia Beach to start up the men’s program.  Ten years later, the treatment center has grown to 76 beds and for the last couple of years Barbara has taken the position as the Clinical Director for the whole facility.  The Recovery Ranch does fantastic work and really fills an important niche in the spectrum of addiction treatment services.

With 76 beds, The Ranch has stayed full for a number of years.  They have special sections for different groups of patients.  There has always been a women’s program and a men’s program, but now they have added specialized programs for eating disorders, co-occurring psychiatric disorders, and sexual addiction.  They are even in the process of developing a geriatric addiction program.  The Ranch is located in rural Tennessee, about an hour west of Nashville.  The campus spreads out over about 500 acres and includes an active cattle ranch.

Part of the success of the Ranch comes from the fact that the recommended length of treatment is 90 days.  This length of treatment gives patients enough time to really understand addiction and recovery, and enough time to really make changes in their attitudes and behaviors.  Another nice thing about the Ranch is that it is so isolated.  Once patients are there, it is very difficult for them to leave (although I am sure that over the years, there have been a few people who have tried!).  So, once patients make the decision to go to the Ranch, there are few distractions. They have very little choice, but to stay and work on their issues.  The patients really can concentrate on being there.  This makes it easier to “surrender” to the process and allow recovery thoughts and attitudes to take hold.  I believe that surrender and letting go (or in other words - acceptance) is a vital part of the recovery process.

The other unique thing about the Ranch is that, from the beginning, they have recognized that experiential therapy can help patients to overcome deep seated blocks.  Many people struggle with getting into recovery or staying in recovery because of past traumas and childhood issues.  Experiential therapy is a very powerful technique that can not only help patients get in touch with past trauma, but it can actually heal much of the pain.  By re-experiencing the old feelings as an adult, and in a safe place, it is possible to let go of the past and learn how to take care of ourselves in the present. 

The staff at the Ranch has been well trained to help patients with this deep work.  It is nice to see a program doing such good work.  It is nice to know that we have the Ranch as an option for our patients who need this level of care.  

 At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We also believe in exceptional aftercare such as the services offered at The Ranch.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Help, hope and healing begin here!

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