These Are Our Stories
We have helped men from all walks of life recover from alcohol and drug addiction, these are some of their stories. If you can relate to these men, and have a desire to find recovery as they have, please contact us today.
West Pointer, paratrooper, Ranger company commander, decorated combat vet, MBA – Jim was all of these … and a drunk. After mustering out of the Army and completing the Master’s he’d begun while in uniform, Jim headed to California to earn his law degree. But the barroom proved a bigger challenge than the state bar, and “I drank my way out of law school,” he recalls. Eventually he found his way to the Freedom Ranch, where he got his bearings and started again, from scratch. Eventually, “I passed the bar on the first try – I was firing on all cylinders.” He now has an established practice, which touches on all aspects of the law. “Probably 99% of my criminal cases are directly related to drug and alcohol use,” he figures. He works with prosecutors and judges to incorporate rehabilitation in sentencing. Jim continues the Ranch legacy of service in other ways, too, lending his experience to local nonprofit boards of directors.
Before coming to the Ranch in the summer of 1989, John was one of San Diego’s homeless who subsisted on panhandling and charity of downtown missions. “While at the Ranch, I was taught a way of life,” he recalls. A successful contractor since 1991, John credits values he learned during his stay with helping him to build the enduring relationships with customers and employees that have helped his firm weather the economic storms of recent years. He continues to work with newer “Ranchers”, helping them into the mainstream of society. “I have a life today I could never have imagined,” John says. “I have a stable, quiet life with many friends and outside interests. None of this would have been possible without the Freedom Ranch and its continued support over the years.”
He was a good cop who fell on bad times. After nearly a quarter century enforcing the law, Sean was finding on himself on the other side. “It’s kind of humbling being wrestled to the ground by five cops and being hustled off to jail.” Even in the work hard-play hard NYPD, there had been warning signs. When sent to a department counselor, “I talked my way out of it. I was a great manipulator.” And imposing, too. His wife tried to stage an intervention, but fellow officers did not want to incur his wrath. A career-ending traffic accident changed everything. Following a month in a coma, Sean went home. “I’d stay at home drinking Jack Daniels and follow that with a couple of Percocets. Drinking with a frontal lobe injury is really, really bad.” He eventually left his wife, retired from the department and headed for California. His brother, a Ranch alumnus, steered Sean to Campo. Sean had learned to use the AA program and acquired the habit of helping others. “I had more clarity than I’d had in years. I was aware of what was around me. I started making friends,” he says. “I started helping.” A year after leaving the Ranch, he reconciled with his wife of 19 years and she returned with him to San Diego. They have since moved to Texas where Sean remains sober, helping newer alcoholics and addicts.
The ex-aircraft carrier pilot crash-landed at the Freedom Ranch at age 38. By then Glen had left the Navy and drank himself out of good jobs, homes, a marriage and much more. In one week he got two drunk-driving citations and totaled a Porsche. That was “just bad luck,” he recalls. By the time he got to the Ranch, the 6-footer -- who a decade before passed rigorous flight physicals -- weighed 116 pounds. He was suffering the ravages of advanced alcoholism and was subsisting on public relief. “Everyone thought I was going to die,” he recalls. The Ranch’s program and people helped rekindle traits that had made him an achiever, values like service. After completing the Ranch program, he signed on as a volunteer at a nonprofit. He later was hired and worked his way up to executive director. He remarried. In time, he went back to school and earned his Master’s degree. Today he is a recognized leader in his field, a member of a statewide advisory board, a happily married man and a respected leader in his community. His success, he says, is due “to what the Freedom Ranch brought back into focus in my life.”