I came to the ranch for sex and love addiction. I had just gotten out of a very addictive and unhealthy relationship. I also was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, binge drinking and black -out drinking issues. The ranch helped me to understand how my past trauma and other events contributed to a cycle of addictive patterns and behavior in all of my relationships in my life. I also worked a lot on codependency that I had noticed in relationships with my family as well as romantic relationships. Drug and alcohol use were a direct result of my sex and love addiction, as both seem to spiral out of control whenever I was actively involved in a relationship or single. I began to see that I was self-medicating and stuffing down feelings, because looking at my feelings and my self truthfully was unbearable at the time. My childhood also had a big part in my addiction, because I was taught to maintain an image of perfectionism on the surface, and that sharing my feelings was not okay.
I can honestly say that the ranch saved my life. I was in hilltop house at the ranch for two months, then I transitioned to a sober living house in Asheville, North Carolina that also includes an IOP program. I have an AA sponsor, and I am attending 90 meetings in 90 days. I have an AA home group and a service commitment with my home group in which I open meetings once a week for three months. I am working on steps to figure out if I’m going to stay in Asheville longer for three months, and I am looking at re-enrolling in nursing school. I also attend 3 SLAA meetings per week, and I am working on finding an SL AA sponsor. The most integral piece of my recovery has been my spiritual connection with my higher power. I can honestly say that my relationship with my higher power, whom I choose to call God, has kept me sober for over 90 days now. The ranch helped me connect to God and cultivate that relationship – for that I am forever grateful. Emily Glenn, who was my therapist at hilltop, absolutely changed my life and I am forever grateful for her and the investment she placed in my recovery. I realized before I left the ranch that I needed to live in a community of like-minded individuals to stay sober and to maintain a strong support network. Community and groups have been another one of the most important parts of my recovery.
To a new client looking at going to treatment at The Ranch, I want them to know that the feelings of hopelessness and despair do subside after one takes the initiative to ask for help. Throughout active addiction I used so many thinking errors to rationalize and minimize my behavior such as “well all of my friends are doing this”, ” I’m not that bad”, “I don’t have an issue with alcohol”, “I don’t have an issue with relationships”, “it’s not me it’s them”, etc. I came to the ranch feeling dead inside. What I didn’t realize is that I had made my partners in relationships my higher power and I had no self-esteem or self-worth. I always thought that the other person would complete me or make me feel better about myself. The substance abuse was my way of numbing and escaping my own reality. Dealing with the ramifications of my sex and love addiction was unbearable when I did not have the coping skills and tools that I have learned from the ranch. I now have found a sense of inner peace and a joy that I have never felt before in my life. I want others to know that a life in recovery and sobriety has brought me more peace, tranquility, fulfillment, purpose, hope, joy and connection than anything I have experienced in my entire life.