Call: (866) 287-2877

Contact Burning Tree

Our Promise: Deliver life-changing clinical interventions to those who have been unable to find freedom from the unending cycle of relapse.

Send us a Message

A Letter for Families from Lisa M., Mother of an Alumnus

Table of Contents

Share this:
Hear the first-hand experience from Lisa M., mother of a Burning Tree Ranch Alumnus

Dear Families,

When I started this letter for Burning Tree families I thought about what I would have wanted to hear when I was at the point you are at now. What words of wisdom could someone give me? It wasn’t more addiction horror stories; you’ve experienced that firsthand.

My son and I had some harrowing ones and I look back and wonder how we made it through those seven years of setbacks, heartbreaks, and craziness. I assure you it was as bad as it gets; multiple stints in jail, stealing, homelessness and life-threatening injuries and infections.

“I assure you it was as bad as it gets; multiple stints in jail, stealing, homelessness and life-threatening injuries and infections.”

I was willing to do anything to save him without realizing my willingness, my determination, even my love left me open to manipulation and failure. I had to empower myself.

I knew if we continued down this path there were only two endings, long-term incarceration, or death, so I changed my expectations from “fixing” it to just keeping him alive long enough to choose recovery.

I gave up trying to make his life normal by keeping him part of family gatherings and talking about going back to school or a new career hoping he would see how great life could be and quit. Yes quit, like it was that easy. I gave up keeping him fed and sheltered.

I gave up looking for him when he was homeless and running around like a crazy person fixing his messes, including paying off his debts to preserve his credit rating as if that was the greatest problem he was facing.

“I knew if we continued down this path there were only two endings, long-term incarceration, or death.”

I committed to keeping him in my life but with boundaries. No more bringing him back to stay at my house, no more money or food or bailing him out of jail but always letting him know I would be there in an instant if he decided to get clean.

I have an MBA, run an $80 million company, been through 4 back surgeries only to become a yoga instructor and I had to finally admit I couldn’t do this; I couldn’t fix his addiction. That one choice, that one decision was critical in leading us to Burning Tree and, even more importantly, sticking to that choice was the difference between success and failure in the program.

I had to stop being what I thought was the best parent. That manual, the one none of us ever received when they were born, if it existed and it had a chapter on addiction it would be one sentence…. forget everything you just read about being a good parent. To do what’s best for an addict you have to resist the urge to take care of them, believe what they tell you and give them second, third and fourteenth chances.

“If love and determination alone could save him, I assure you he wouldn’t have needed anything else.”

If your family member is at Burning Tree, what you’ve done in the past hasn’t worked. Hand over the wheel to the people that know what works. Play by the rules the staff set and begin to hold your loved one accountable. There is no one better than a recovering addict/alcoholic to see through the bullshit of another addict/alcoholic.

They have entered a place where there is no place to hide so don’t you give them one outside of Burning Tree Ranch. The staff are not being cruel or mean by insisting on routine, and hard work, sweat and yes lots of tears.

Allow them to be confronted and to confront themselves. Allow yourself to be realistic about this devastating disease and allow Burning Tree to assist you in finally being part of the solution. Let go, your loved one is the right place, this is not your problem alone to solve anymore but you are a critical part of the solution.

What can you do? Be supportive, believe what the staff is telling you and follow their guidance. They are a thousand percent invested in guiding them to recovery and they know what it takes to get there because most of them have been there. Listen to your loved one but don’t try to fix it.

“Be supportive, believe what the staff is telling you and follow their guidance. They are a thousand percent invested in guiding them to recovery.”

Show up for visitation and take the weekly phone calls. What you say, don’t say, do and don’t do can be the difference between recovery and another relapse. Be their lifeline but for once in a healing, helpful way. Take advantage of them being safe and take care of yourself. Attend AL ANON meetings, take a vacation, rest easy.

My hope for you is that you are at the beginning of the end of this nightmare. You have committed financially, emotionally and you can help end this. You have paid your dues and it’s time for the pay off.

My son has been clean and sober for over 3 years, and I am in awe of him. He chose life, he chose to put in the work and give in to something bigger than himself and most importantly he keeps doing the work and so do I.

Stay the course that Burning Tree has put them on; support them staying for aftercare and you can get your loved one back and just as important get your own life back. It takes a lot of love and a lot of grace to survive this and come out the other side. You’re on the right path. Stay the course.

Sincerely,

Lisa M.

Mother of a Burning Tree Ranch Alumnus

CREATING A LIFE OF EXCELLENCE BEYOND SOBRIETY

- SINCE 1999 -

Related articles:
A Letter for Families From Our Clinical Director Meghan Bohlman

Dear Families, I often meet you after the whirlwind that ends with your loved one arriving at Burning Tree Ranch. I meet you in the space between relief that your loved one made it into long term treatment and fear that they won’t stay long enough to accept the help being offered. It is in this space that our treatment team will begin construction of something new with you.

Read the Article »