I will start this story by saying thank you to the Malibu Wellness Ranch for my son’s life. My son, Steven, has been struggling with addiction for the past 16 years. We have put him into treatment so many times that I can’t even remember the names of all of them. By no means am I saying anything derogatory about those programs.
When Steven would go to treatment he would make it through the detox portion and then leave. I know that when he would do this he really wanted and believed he was going to stay clean and sober. He could have passed a lie detector test. What would happen, like a vicious cycle, was he would stop going to therapy and 12 step programs. His anxiety of the mess he made of his life would take over and then he would use. He was absolutely getting high again because he was alone in his tormenting thoughts.
At first I admit I enabled him. I felt sorry for him. There came a time a year ago when he asked for help again I said no. I told him to figure this out on his own. He knew what to do and who he could call. He actually did it. For the first time in his life he made a few phone calls and he was back in a detox bed in Pennsylvania the next day. Something was different this time. It is so hard to put it into words what that was. I guess the easiest description is he was finally surrendered.
When he went through his detox he asked the counselor to find him another place to go. Long term. That is where the Malibu Wellness Ranch comes in. Steven called me the night before he was going to their program. He described a place that sounded great. Like everyone else, my interest was in how their horses play a role in a treatment center. I’ll get back to that shortly. The best way to describe what was happening was when I got to visit Steven at the ranch one Saturday. The first thing we did is we went and sat down with his counselor. My first reaction was utter amazement that he knew everything about my son. Steven has hid his past for a long time. Even at those other programs the clinical people knew almost nothing about him. Because he wouldn’t tell them. Now, there was a lot of ground being covered to expose the reasons for his use and his relapses. He wrote what they call an inventory. He allowed me to hear some of the parts of it too. I was mesmerized listening to him. For the first time in our lives throughout active addiction I knew that he was going to be ok.
Now back to the horses. Steven was assigned a horse named Hawkeye. At the ranch they teach their patients how to groom, saddle, and ride. I watched how the patients interacted with their horses and I was blown away. When I spoke to the guys and girls that work down at the barn they explained how and why horses work in the therapy for recovery from drugs and alcohol. They explained how smart a horse is. That they can feel your feellings. Then they can help you.
Watching Steven and Hawkeye interact and how happy he was put tears in my eyes. I haven’t seen him smile, laugh, and be at peace like that in his entire life. Steven is now over a year sober. He attends 12 step meetings. daily. His new friends are all (mostly) guys that are walking the same path that he is. Steven has found a barn on Long Island that they allow him to volunteer. I do believe in a God and there is just no other way of describing what has happened to our family other than that. Please call Malibu if you need help with either yourself or a loved one. I can say it over and over again that miracles happen there. Steven is proof of that.