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 [...]

2017-08-07T23:48:17+00:00 March 27th, 2014|

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 [...]

2017-08-07T23:48:23+00:00 February 17th, 2014|

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 [...]

2017-08-07T23:48:32+00:00 January 15th, 2014|

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 speciaosa 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 [...]

2017-08-07T23:48:49+00:00 January 7th, 2014|

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 [...]

2017-08-08T00:09:16+00:00 December 2nd, 2013|

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=""><img alt="Drug Addiction and Long Term Rehab Statistics Infographic" src="" width="650" /></a>

2017-08-08T00:09:22+00:00 November 25th, 2013|

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 [...]

2017-06-07T01:06:06+00:00 November 6th, 2013|

Video: Burning Tree Alumni Golf Classic

The sun played peek-a-boo all afternoon, but nothing could darken the spirits at the 1st Annual Burning Tree Alumni Golf Classic held at The Golf Club of Dallas in Dallas Texas. The event raised money for the Burning Tree Alumni Program (BTAP). BTAP is made up of a committee of Burning Tree alumni, and money raised will go directly to bringing awareness to drug and alcohol abuse in DFW, and beyond. “BTAP’s mission is to enlighten, enable, and enjoy recovery,” says Burning Tree Alumni Director Jay Staples. “Our goal being to educate people in schools, churches, and twelve-step fellowships about recovery options, opportunities, and events.” The event was a huge success due to tremendous sponsor support from treatment centers all over Texas, and beyond. “We could not have done this without our sponsors, “says Staples. The golf was followed by keynote speaker D.D. Lewis, which was open to everyone that played in the golf event, Burning Tree alumni, staff, and families. Lewis, a former Dallas Cowboy, spoke candidly about his upbringing, challenges, successes, and his drug and alcohol abuse while playing football and after he retired. If you are an alumni of Burning Tree, whether you spent a day or a year there, and would like to get involved with the BTAP, or are having trouble dealing with drugs and alcohol, feel free to email Jay Staples at

2017-06-07T01:06:09+00:00 October 22nd, 2013|

Burning Tree Annual Reunion 2013

Burning Tree held their annual “Alumni Reunion” on Saturday, October 19, 2013. The 11th annual reunion went off without a hitch, or none the staff will admit to. Family, friends, alumni, staff, and current clients gathered in Kaufman, Texas to revisit old memories, twist a few truths, and catch up on how life has been since leaving Burning Tree. The reunion is a small piece of the vision that David Elliott, Burning Tree’s founder, had when he originally opened Burning Tree in 1999. “Today symbolizes their winning battle against addictions and freedom to move on to enjoy lives of excellence. The best part of the event, for me, is when the alumni share their experience, strength and hope; they carry an inspiring message of how the odds were stacked against them but they persevered to find the truth that set them free.” Under a giant tent which proudly displayed the beautiful colors of the United States, there was laughter, tears, and mouths full of delicious BBQ. Alumni of Burning Tree came one by one to get their chip, and gave current clients and their families hope and encouragement. There were speakers, skits put together by clients, and music playing in between. A cool October Texas breeze swept through the Ranch landscape, which provided for a comfortable Texas afternoon and evening. “Burning Tree is a long-term, residential facility, so we spent a lot of time here and revealed our very souls,” reports Bethany Lutz, Burning Tree alum. “The alumni, including myself, get excited to reunite with peers and staff, with whom we’ve shared both laughter and tears. We get to celebrate the gift of recovery and be honored for the ongoing service work we do for [...]

2017-06-07T01:06:13+00:00 October 22nd, 2013|

Diet Coke and Alcohol : BAC Overload?

For people still keeping their New Year’s resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, etc. some troubling news recently came down the pipe about diet sodas, more specifically, Diet Coke. Diet Coke contains no calories, but the added ingredient aspartame complicates Diet Coke as a healthy option for losing weight and eating healthier. Studies show that Diet Coke affects sleep cycles, aggravates current health issues, causes headaches, and acts as a toxin within your system. These side effects are not guaranteed, but happen in most cases in one way or another. Ever gone to the doctor with real, physical symptoms, but he/she can’t find the cause? Well, it’s probably your diet, your environment, or both. Aspartame is the common denominator for over 92 different health symptoms at the root of modern disease. Aspartame is broken down by the body into three substances: methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Each of these substances can have alarming effects on the body. Methanol is converted to formaldehyde by the body. Known for its use as an embalming fluid, formaldehyde is not something that many people willingly put into their bodies. Whether the amount of formaldehyde that is produced by the breaking down of aspartame is cause for concern has been the source of some debate by scientists, but it has been proven that low levels of methanol and formaldehyde are toxic. Phenyalanine is an amino acid. It is generally considered safe for everyone except for sufferers of phenylketonuria (PKU), a somewhat rare genetic disease. But it has been argued that high levels of the substance could cause neurological damage, especially in fetuses. Pregnant women are therefore advised not to consume aspartame. Aspartic acid is known to be an excitotoxin. A [...]

2017-01-01T08:43:18+00:00 February 6th, 2013|