What Seemed at First a Flimsy Reed

By Beth Legacki, Alumna Tonight, at my homegroup a memory came to mind that I hadn’t thought about in years. It was about an interaction I had in community with our founder, David Elliott, over 11 years ago. I had been at Burning Tree Ranch for two months, still very much spiritually asleep and full of self-centered fear. I had already been to seven treatment centers. I had a head full of information, but lacked any real working knowledge or spiritual experience. One day I was challenged in community, and I struggled. I wanted to sound good and look good, but my words and internal dialogue didn’t match. I fell apart. I broke down crying, and I was full of fear. David stopped the process and asked me to get quiet and invite God in. I shut my eyes, and all I could think about was that everyone was staring at me. I wanted to melt into the chair. To disappear. Frustrated with what had been asked of me, I opened my eyes and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what you’re asking of me. I don’t know what it means to ask for God’s help and suddenly have clarity. I DON’T KNOW WHAT LANGUAGE YOU’RE SPEAKING!” David re-adjusted. He then asked me if I could breathe and count my breaths. That I could do. It made tangible sense to me. I shut my eyes and counted my breaths. Now, when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t 100% calm and ready to share some profound truth, but I was aware that my mind was not racing. For a few moments, I had forgotten about me, which felt freeing. So much of [...]

Who Likes to Be Held Accountable?

By: Jay Staples Alumni Friends, family, and work associates hold us accountable. Accountability is paramount for anyone who is inclined to make a change in his or her life. Accountability is necessary when dealing with addiction. If you have a desire for long-term recovery, you must be willing to accept help. But in that request for help, you must allow loved ones to hold you accountable for past, present, and future thoughts and behaviors. Recovery from drugs and alcohol becomes nearly impossible if an addict is still prone to the same thinking patterns, habits, and behaviors. Comedian and recovering addict, Mark Lundholm, hilariously exclaims, “first thought wrong!” It has been said that accountability is a form of honesty. Merriam-Webster defines accountability as the quality or state of being accountable;  an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. Addicts and alcoholics often have a misguided belief that consequences don’t apply to ANY of their actions. Whether it was stealing something or hurting a loved one, the obsession to drink and use drugs trumped any potential consequences. Addicts and alcoholics run from responsibilities. At Burning Tree, accountability is preached as a life lesson. We believe that accountability and honesty go hand in hand. For an alcoholic and addict to get into long-term recovery, they must be expected to become honest, responsible men and women. Examples of these responsibilities include setting a commitment to do something that day and following through; being five minutes early to group; holding your peers accountable for actions and behaviors and accepting feedback from others as well; being accountable and honest with a sponsor you choose to work the Steps with; and keeping a neat and maintained living [...]

The Importance of Aftercare

By: Megan Souther, Alumni Successfully completing Inpatient treatment is just the beginning. While in treatment a client begins to recover, start working the steps and see how behaviors can hinder recovery. Clients who don’t complete Aftercare have a lower chance of success of maintaining sobriety. So what is Aftercare? Aftercare can range from IOP (Intensive Outpatient), sober living, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) to individual therapy. Treatment is most effective when it is individualized. The extent of the Aftercare program will be determined by a treatment team and the individual’s needs/progress made in treatment. Based on my experience, until I embraced the recommendations, I was unable to stay sober. I saw it as “optional”. I wanted to pick and choose what I thought I needed. That kind of thinking led me right back out the door. At Burning Tree, I completed an entire year of Aftercare and it was just what I needed. Without it, I don’t think I would still be sober. All three of our programs incorporate Aftercare programs from day one. In order for me to be willing to do continued treatment, I had to understand what the purpose of it all was. The main reason would be putting into practical application what is learned in treatment. It is easy to follow direction in a safe, confined environment, and it is another thing to continue once treatment is over and integrate back into life. Our goals of continued care are teaching the clients structure, accountability, financial responsibility, balance, rebuilding relationships, and integrity with work. As an addict/alcoholic I had copious amounts of free time and structure was foreign. I didn’t know how to balance work/recovery/fun/relationships because all my life consisted of was getting high [...]

Legally Blind to the Solution

The tragedy that happened in Austin, Texas during the SXSW music festival is just another horrific event caused by lack of communication and education between the addiction field and the judicial system. This, like the countless other high profile addiction fueled “accidents” will soon lose steam and people will get back to their day-to-day routines and think nothing more of the deaths, injuries, and solutions of this latest tragic event. Alcoholism, and addiction, is a disease. Yet it continues to be the only disease that is thought about socially as a disease of self-will. The myth that if an addict or alcoholic truly, deep down in their soul, wants to stop they can do so by self-willing drugs and alcohol out of their lives. This disease, like cancer, needs treatment early and often. “This time will be different.” “Next time you’ll go to jail.” “I’ll monitor my drinking and using.” These things not only an addict or alcoholic tells him or herself, these things are being told by our judicial system. Burning Tree Long Term Rehab Programs is committed to working with the legal community on several levels, both statewide and nationally. It is a long term process, much like drug and alcohol abuse, to educate, create awareness, and treat those individuals that have drug and alcohol run-ins with law enforcement agencies. Burning Tree promotes treatment over incarceration. The need for mandatory, intensive treatment for anyone arrested and/or convicted of a crime where drugs and alcohol played a major role in the offense. Loss of license, fines, threat of jail, probation, etc. is not working. First time offenders need to be educated and made aware of the possible consequence of continued use, and be educated [...]

Time Plus Pain – Long Term Recovery

When an addict or alcoholic hits rock bottom, they know it. The air gets thicker, future looks bleaker, and all hope is lost. The family of a chronic relapser experiences much the same feelings. Much like an addict or alcoholic searches for the next high, family members and loved ones are addicted to “healing” the addict or alcoholic. Sleeping with phones next to them, needing to know where the addict is at all times, spending money on treatment, the list can go on and on. In the end, the family member or loved one ends up much like the addict themselves. Without hope, and feeling helpless. Burning Tree Programs opened in 1999, and has not changed since. While counselors, techs, executive staff have come and gone, the vision has never changed. Treatment centers want to tell you that they can treat chronic relapse, but ultimately no one can truly break the cycle of chronic relapse like Burning Tree Programs continues to do. Long term recovery seems to be an impossible feat for the true chronic relapser. Time plus pain equals growth. Long term recovery and long term drug and alcohol treatment is not going to be comfortable all the time. Since 1999, Burning Tree is the only long term treatment option for the chronic relapser. Articles continue to be written, complaints filed, and state of Texas called, yet Burning Tree Programs hasn’t changed. Burning Tree believes that long term recovery can be attained by attacking the roots of both the addict and the family dynamics. Family members and loved ones are not just going to be able to drop their loved one off at Burning Tree, and 8-12 months of inpatient treatment later they get [...]

The Road We Leave Behind

His name is Jordan Belfort, star of “Wolf on Wall Street”. Self-proclaimed “former member of the middle class raised by two accountants in a tiny apartment in Bayside Queens. The year I turned 26 is the head of my own brokerage firm I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.” He points out his Ferrari is red. Jordan works as a penny stock con artist, who cons working people out of their hard earned money, only to leave them broke and hopeless. Belfort, was fueled by drugs, women, power, and money. It was valium for breakfast, marijuana for lunch, Quaaludes for dinner, and women whenever he could find time between conning and abusing drugs. His name is John. Yeah John suits him just fine these days. Self-proclaimed “former resident of using you to boost me up the ladder of success. Raised in sunny California by two tremendous teachers that put me first in everything that they did. I owned my own insurance company in my late 20’s making more money in a month than my hard-working parents did in a year combined educating our youth.” John built his company on fraudulent business ethics, drugs, alcohol, and greed. It was bound to come crashing down on him. John just didn’t know when. Jordan Belfort claims he changed his life after 22 months in jail, due to his business tactics. Facing a steep uphill battle to repay damages, trust, and his life, Jordan is a motivational speaker and is receiving money for selling his story to Hollywood. While insisting his life played out on movie screens nationwide, Jordan seems more apologetic that he got caught [...]

Kratom Overdoses and Drug Rehab

In the ongoing search for changing the way that people feel, there is a trend all too alarming to Burning Tree Transitions Services (BTTS) staff concerning people in early recovery, more specifically, young people in early recovery. It may start out by drinking a few more cans of energy drinks, and when that doesn’t work some search for ways to give them the high they crave, yet staying under the supervised radar of drug tests. In recent months, BTTS has seen some in and out of the Burning Tree Transitions Program turn to Kratom. A decision that has turned fatal for one former client. While Kratom is not a synthetic drug (K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc.) it is entirely legal to possess and use in the US, for now. It was recently added to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of “drugs and chemicals of concern.” Kratom is another name for the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa tree. While the tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia and the leaves have been used for medicinal purposes in that region for centuries we are seeing an increase in use for recreational purposes in the US. The leaves are dried and powdered and can typically be ingested in the form of tablets, capsules, powder or liquid. While Kratom overdoses are rare, it is the trend of abusing Kratom then turning back to the drugs of choice that led the individuals to seek treatment in the first place. “Our program has seen a rise in the use of synthetic drugs such as bath salts, the biggest problem right now is the use of Kratom,” says Burning Tree’s Director of Transitions Services Dawn Wilson. “We are seeing people starting to use Kratom [...]

Heidi Smith, Clinical Director

Heidi Smith, (LPC, MA), is the Clinical Director at Burning Tree Ranch in Kaufman, Texas. Along with her full-time responsibilities at Burning Tree, Heidi is a published author, addiction blogger, and keynote speaker. She has presented at numerous conferences, luncheons, and networking events and is quickly becoming the most trusted voice on chronic relapse. Heidi’s experience within the addiction field is extensive, but she found her niche with dealing with chronic relapse when she joined the Burning Tree team over seven years ago. Burning Tree is the trusted solution for the hopeless and helpless since 1999. Burning Tree is a long term drug and alcohol treatment center, with an average stay of 8-12 months of inpatient treatment. This length of stay clarifies and solidifies Burning Tree as a genuine, true long term treatment center. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long term treatment is 6+ months of inpatient treatment. Although many centers would like to mislead you by telling prospective clients and family that they are long term and they specialize in chronic relapse, Burning Tree is truly long term and only deals with chronic relapse. Heidi Smith is part of team concept at Burning Tree, meaning that all decisions are handled as a clinical team and not by individual counselors or directors. “We always make sure to invite God into our decisions as well,” says Smith. Length of stay is never predetermined at Burning Tree. Clients never know how long they will stay at Burning Tree, and will only be discharged when the clinical team as a whole believes that individual is ready to move onto the Transitions phase of Burning Tree. Burning Tree is private pay, meaning insurance companies play no [...]

Drug Addiction and Long Term Rehab Statistics

In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users. This estimate represents 9.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 31% of patients achieved one continuous year of abstinence after completion in a treatment program of 90 days or fewer. Over a 4 year period, 73% of clients that completed the entire continuum of care that Burning Tree provides are still sober today. Find out more addiction statistics from the infographic below... Use this Infographic! We'd love for you to be able to make us of this infographic on your website or blog, but our licensing requires that when doing so, you link back to us. Not to worry, we've made the entire process easy for you by including this embed code here below. Embed Code <a href="https://www.burningtree.com/drug-addiction-and-long-term-rehab-statistics/"><img alt="Drug Addiction and Long Term Rehab Statistics Infographic" src="https://www.burningtree.com/wp-content/uploads/Drug-Addiction-Long-Term-Rehab-Statistics.jpg" width="650" /></a>

Chemical Awareness Resource & Education for Families with Members in Rehab

“After my parents split up when I was young, I spent time at both my mother’s house and my father’s house,” says Reverend Paul Rasmussen, keynote speaker at the CARE (Chemical Awareness Resource & Education) breakfast held in downtown Dallas on Monday, November 4th. “My father would go out drinking, leaving me alone in his apartment for a night or two. I would sit by myself watching cartoons, this was before Ipads, my mother would call me to see how the weekend was going, and I would always answer the same way. Fine. Great.” Rasmussen’s message was clear, and he used his, I experience of growing up in an alcoholic household where his dad and brother were active in their addictions to drive home the point. “If you don’t talk about it, it becomes normal.” CARE is a non-profit, community-based organization established as a response to the increasing concerns and challenges associated with alcohol and drug abuse. CARE serves as a confidential resource and ally to families, offering tools to educate and empower substance abusers and their loved ones. Collaborating with schools, civic, educational, government, business and private groups, CARE continues to extend its message of hope and recovery throughout the greater Dallas area, employing comprehensive courses and community outreach programs such as New Directions, Because You Care, Red Ribbon Week, CARE Scholarships, Community Luncheons, and the CARE Calendar Art Contest. These initiatives combined with a compassionate staff and respected clinical referral network has enabled CARE to help thousands of individuals and families. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol or drug use, please look to CARE for help. We’re more than a confidential resource, we’re caring members of your community. Burning [...]