Parents Speak




"Hi Betsy and Patrick,

Thank you so much for the wonderful Family Weekend! We enjoyed it beyond words! It was very powerful and our son was outstanding! We learned so much and enjoyed every second with our son... His behavior and growth was remarkable! We are very hopeful! Thank you for all of your help!!!!!!!!!! We are so grateful that our son is with you!

Thank you again! You guys rock!

In Balance Parent"

 

" Dear Patrick,

Our son's therapist is awesome. The evaluation did not give us enough space to tell you how we feel so please include this letter in his therapist's file.

When our son first arrived, we were terrified yet hopeful. We had seen so many incredible changes in him just since his experience at his wilderness program. So much was new again when he arrived at the ranch and we were unsure about everything. Our son's therapist was new too. There were a few scheduling glitches as we all found our way and our son's therapist handled any and all of our concerns with complete honesty and sincerity. He seemed to understand that sometimes all we had was him and we needed to be completely confident in him because at that point he was the one and only person reflecting the Ranch program to us. Simply because that is how I was focused at the time and we hadn't yet been to a family weekend.

Our son's therapist patiently worked with our son and seemed to be able to find the way in to our son's mind and heart. Being in therapy for so many years, he needed someone new, different and smart. He found that in his therapist at In Balance. He began to trust what his therapist was saying and saw the belief he had in him, even when our son was not able to see that about himself. The respect our son has for his therapist is refreshing and allowed our son to listen in a different way.

Our family sessions helped us grow so much. We were able to talk openly and it was a relief to hear our son's therapist zone in on exactly the issues we felt were important. He really got our son and that was so comforting.

On Mother's day, our son called to say Hi and told me his therapist had spent a day with him last week. He talked a lot about what they did together and he seemed like it was the most natural thing that they would be together for a day. I realize that it may be in part of the program, but honestly, hearing our son talk about it was such a great gift to me. There is just no denying how much our son's therapist cares about our son and sees so much potential in him. That in, itself is so much to be thankful for.

Please share this with our son's therapist and know that we so appreciate all he has done for our soon and our family.

Sincerely,

In Balance Ranch Academy Parents "

 

"Dear Thad,

We are so grateful for all the ways in which you were able to connect with my son and to teach him how to navigate through his life. He made such amazing strides with you Thad and we do not think he would be where he is today without your help. We have thought of you so often these past months and what you may not know is the very big burden you took off of us when we realized that he was in good hands. Each conversation with you helped us to move on with our lives too: knowing that you cared for him and most importantly, believing in your abilities.

There really are so few words that seem adequate. When he showed us the beautiful beaded piece you gave him it was clear the connection between the two of you and we hung it on the tree-it now hangs near his bed and we hope it will be a reminder of all the cumulative lessons between you.

We have been busy since he came home and didn't even get our Christmas cards out this year (hence on email to you and not the beautiful card I envisioned) He spent a lot of time and effort writing a great college essay which we will try to forward to you as I know you will be interested to read his reflections on "diversity" and what he could bring to the student body. We realize there is more work to do and the road might be a little bumpy but we know he has the skills to accomplish his goals and the awareness acquired to be true to himself.

Please know that you will always be thought of with love and gratitude.

Warmest Regards,

Jerry and Karen "

 

" Melinda,

I wanted to give you an update on how things are going with our son. They are going better than I had dared hope. He is now working as a cashier at WichWich, a sandwich chain, going to his meetings, taking piano lessons, and working out at the YMCA. We have had him tested twice, both negative, but even better, he does not seem to me to want to use, like it is not something on his radar. Everything is on track for him to start at U of South Carolina in August which he is excited about, particularly his dorm choice for serious students (strict rules). We have booked him to come to the Ranch in June, which I think MM sent on the itinerary for.

Had he crashed immediately, it would have been an enormous blow, but the last month and a half of relative peace I think has given us strength to get through the tough spots ahead. We still haven't found a therapist because of insurance, but are at the point now of just paying out of pocket, if needed. I frankly worry more about his emotional maturity and strength than addiction right now. He still really needs to talk less and listen more when he encounters people his age, but he seems to listen when I gently address it with him. Same with trying to impress people, which is related, I think. The challenge I see is that we have essentially a 14 year old (in terms of maturity) trying to assimilate and transition to college. Nonetheless, I think MM and I are more at peace than we have been for quite some time.

I hope all is going well for you out there. In retrospect, your MO of gently, but directly challenging Peter when his BS got too deep was exactly what he needed. We were fortunate to be assigned you. We need to keep following through. Best regards,

In Balance Parent"

 

" Shannon,

I am sorry that I have not continued to communicate our son's progress with you. You played such an enormous role in him being where he is today. He is just about to finish his first year at the Citadel. He made President's List last semester with a 3.93 GPA and is slated for the same this semester. He is one of the few in his Company that has not had to "Walk Duties" for misconduct, he Skype's with me on many Saturday and Sunday nights from his room while he is studying and others are out on the town. We are just so incredibly proud of his choices and how driven he is to succeed. He is part of a Christian Group on campus called Valor and has made many wonderful friends.

He is going to stay in Charleston this summer. He already has a job at a Resort & Marina and he and his roommate choice for the fall are subletting an apartment for the summer. He has continued to grow so much and is so polite you would not even know him. We just returned from visiting him this weekend. When I get all the pictures uploaded later this week, I will send you a few.

Thank you in advance for helping Kathy. I told her that you may think it best that she engage Andy E so she is prepared for that. She has heard us rave about you and was interested in speaking with you. She has no children and the financial ability to help and would prefer to do it now rather than leaving money to him after her death. "

 

" Good Morning,

I hope this email finds you all well. I haven't written in a while but thought I should tell you about our son and his path since leaving the ranch.

He has been almost "clean" since he left the ranch. He had one slip about 6 months after he came home, and woke us to inform us of his slip, and that it would be the last time- it was. He is a third year university student majoring in business. As the pictures show, he is in tip top shape, and these were taken on the beach in Tel Aviv. He decided that since he didn't go out of town for university (his choice, so that he wouldn't be tempted), that he would like to take a semester at the University of Tel Aviv. The school curriculum is very difficult and he needed an 'A' average to get acceptance, and his first semester marks in Toronto were 4 'A's' and a 'B+'. He is happy, has a great set of friends who respect his need for sobriety, and we feel truly blessed.

We wanted again to thank you for all that you did to help him find his path. He left the ranch confident in his intelligence and appreciative of what 'we' all did to bring him to this stage in life. He speaks very fondly of the ranch, (even after his walk to the gas station!), and stays in contact on Facebook with some of the people he met there. Shannon, he often speaks of you with a smile on his face, and said you taught him to love and respect animals, and that with all you were going through at the time, you kept your head up and stayed focussed on the kids.

We don't worry about him anymore (at least about his drug issues), he is a determined young man, who has goals and aspirations for the future, this couldn't have been said a few years ago. I know we all played our parts in this transition, but we owe a lot to In Balance and the staff. Please let the other's who were there during our son's time know how he has progressed.

If you ever visit Toronto again, please advise, we would love to catch up in person.

With best regards,

In Balance Parents "

 

" Hello Patrick and Betsy,

I've been meaning to write for a while now to let you know that our son is doing great! After 2 years at our local community college and living at home, he transferred to Oregon State University in Corvallis this fall as a junior to study Environmental Science. His interest in nature continues; he enjoys hiking in the woods and finding creatures, just like he did when he was at the ranch! (spiders, snakes, etc.) He is sharing a house with 3 other young men close to campus so has his own space to study and nice quiet environment. He really likes OSU and his major. He is also continuing to read voraciously and write. I think he might either minor in English/writing or possibly double major; we'll see as writing papers are his favorite homework assignments. I am just so proud of him.

From time to time I receive calls from prospective IBRA parents and am happy to give them my perspective as a parent now almost 5 years out. Wow, just realized that a week from now will be our son's IBRA 5th graduation anniversary! So if there are any changes at the ranch that you want me to know about to convey to parents, please let me know. Otherwise, I will just share my perspective and story as a parent of a graduate; I hope my experience helps other parents in the journey.

Please say hello from Bob and me to any of the staffers from John's time who are still there.

I hope this finds you and your family all doing well! Thank you for your dedication to these boys - please keep up your valuable mission!

Warm regards,

In Balance Alumni Parent "

 

" Dear Betsy,

I hope you are doing well in this new year. Thank you for the 2013 calendar, it was so fun to see pictures of our son through the year. I do want to tell you he is doing well. He got a job, working in a pet food store, and is enjoying the work. He is still going to meetings, has a sponsor, and staying clean and sober. I think he is realizing that living with us isn't so bad, and we are continuing to grow, as is he. Our biggest challenge right now is not getting ahead of today while we wait for school applications to come back.

I am writing to say that if you ever need someone to talk to a parent about In Balance or needs a sounding board, I would love to offer myself. I have been so blessed by In Balance and TL, the staff and the vision to help families into recovery. As a parent, it was so nice to have people who understood my situation and treat me with kindness. I really hope to do the same for others. Honesty, if I lived in Tucson I would volunteer anywhere I could to help. But alas, I don't, but I will do what I can.

We are remaining active in Al-anon and saying that makes giving back all the more important. Again if there ever is a parent who needs someone to chat with I would love to listen.

Thanks for all you do. "

 

" Patrick and Betsy

I wanted to take a moment and thank you both for all that you do:

OUR SON graduates tonight and moves out into the world again; however, he is a very different individual than was sent to you two years ago. He is all around high on life and generally excited about the prospects of every little detail that might come along, including wanting to know how he goes about paying income taxes (which he wants to make sure he does on his own). Talking with him these days is a joy and Mel and I both sense that he is armed with a powerful resolve to succeed and that the world will be that much better as a result.

Having said that, for all the reasons we all know, the prospects of his ability to simply stay alive were in deep question just a few years ago. It has not been by accident that his life has turned around and that he has taken hold of the opportunity to live again. So, it is with a great amount of gratitude that Mel and I thank you both again for doing what you do. I am sure that Norman is not the only son whose life has been saved by your significant contributions.

Lastly, many great things to say about your program and staff. Tiffany hat been fantastic from day one and Jordan has been fantastic since Norman hit TL. I don't have enough space to brag about the In Balance program.

In Balance Parents "

 

" As I sit down to write this open letter, my eyes well up. I can't help myself, I am a parent, who entrusted our son into your hands. We had a lot of trepidation going into this, Joe had just come off a stint at wilderness, and while he got through the program, we felt that he had not truly embraced the program and were concerned about his next steps.

This has been quite an adventure for Shanna and I as well. We have grown as parents, and we understand a lot more about the disease of addiction. Lord knows I wish Patrick's mind were like a Blackberry and I could just plug in and download all of his knowledge, but that not how life works. What we have learned is knowledge acquired by listening, reading and observing, and we have tried to be diligent students in this regard

When I look back at the last couple of years, the years of frustration and despair, I can't believe where we are today. We all know that Joe can be "trying" at time. He over analyzes things, argues his point until you lose track of what started the argument, and he can be very testing of people. As I write this, I wonder why I needed to tell you this, you him better that we do, in fact probably better than he does!

All we wanted to say, was thanks, and to express our appreciation for all you have done for Joe. The bi-weekly sessions with Joe and Maria have been insightful, and we have watched the progress in Joe's ability to process information, and deal with it in an adult like manner. Maria, your calm demeanor in getting Joe to open up about his feeling, your right on questions, were always met with acknowledging nods by Shanna and I when we were on the phone watching you pry open Joe's feelings and get him to express himself.

We all know that Joe can be very calculating, that he chose the day we were there for parent meeting to "take the walk" shows just how calculating he can be. But thanks to our growth and the ever-supporting staff at the ranch, we were able to get through the day, with some tears, but with our backbones firmly in place. It was a game changer as they say, Joe for the first time saw that while he made some changes, that we too had made some changes and that we were no longer going to play his game on his side of the field (boy lots of sports metaphors!).

Having just spent time with Joe in LA, we Shanna and I couldn't help but be impressed by his maturity, his outlook on his future, and his joking about how he could now put real sentences together again. Okay, the fact that he was 3/4 the way through a psychology course and analyzed the heck out of us, wasn't the best part of the vacation, but we truly enjoyed the time we spent together.

I don't want to leave anyone out, and if I do please forgive me, but special thanks to Marla Kuhn, Steve Nath, Shannon Dexter (you truly are an inspiration) and the kitchen staff that took Joe under your wings and allowed him the use of the kitchen and let him help out. To Tiffany for the wonderful parent group sessions you ran, to Mike Dorman for bringing Joe along and getting him to believe in his abilities and anyone else who touched Joe's life.

As parents some of the best days of our lives were spent during the family weekends, seeing how the kids were growing, meeting some unbelievable parents all with similar hopes and aspirations for their kids. We took a lot away from those sessions, and we now feel like gatekeepers of the knowledge we gained and continue to pass on information to parents who call us here in Toronto to ask about what they should do with their kids.

We don't know what the future holds; we say to Joe you have the tools to make a wonderful life for yourself, but that it is his journey. We are there for him, but that he must choose the path for himself. He seems confident, and we believe that with the proper support and his own continuing belief in his abilities that he will be successful. We owe a lot to the staff and environment that you created to nurture our son, and we will never forget.

We thank you so much for everything, we are sorry we can't be there for Joe's graduation, we would have liked to be there to see him graduate but after all this is his ceremony for the work he did. We know he is proud of himself and we too are brimming with pride.

If you are looking for advocates for the program, if parents need someone to call and speak with, please forward our numbers to them. It would be our pleasure to pass it forward.

Best regards,

In Balance Parents "

 

" I cannot thank you enough for your commitment to Ryan and others at the Ranch and T.L. When Ryan was lost, you guided him in the right direction, thanks to you and your programs he is alive and happy. He has found his place in the world- helping others find their way. He is responsible, independent and compassionate.

With Gratitude. "

 

" Dear Patrick,

How are you? I think of In Balance so often and have the best intentions to write an e-mail and pretty soon another month has gone by.

Tim has been home from In Balance for 8 months and watching him grow and change and stretch himself has been a journey. No matter how we were prepared in the family seminars, I believe that that preparation cannot be stressed enough. There have been changes all along the way - a lot were very subtle, but looking back I see that it is an ever-changing process.

I have been involved in the Nar-anon program and cannot say enough about how much it has helped me grow and understand not only addiction but all relationships. I highly recommend this program for all the parents and siblings that are in your program. It is a great reinforcement for what you teach on family weekends. It taught me how to take a step back from thinking I could be the "all encompassing mother". I continue to remind myself to let go.

Mike and I got back together in the beginning of June. While that too is a work in progress. I believe this has had a very positive effect on Tim. When he first came home he registered for school, but soon dropped out. While he did have a part time job - there was way too much down time. There was a lot of regression from the active schedule at In Balance and he went back to staying up late and sleeping half the day. He continued to have a sponsor, but he after the 1st 90 days his meetings became less regular. (and I was concerned.)

When Mike came home we had many talks with Tim explaining he would need to go back to school full time (community college) or work full time. As of August 24th he is enrolled at Scottsdale Community college and taking 13 hours, working 1 day a week, going almost daily to meetings - working the steps, continues to have a good relationship with his sponsor and just recently, has taken on a sponsee! He is also involved in a program called Not My Kid where he has been trained to go into middle schools and share his story.

When he got his (restricted till October) driver's license about a month ago we started to see a positive shift in his attitude. A little more mature and responsible. He has visited the Ranch twice since his return home and both times has looked forward to spending time there and has commented to me that he has missed talking to Steve.

Patrick: As we are now on the other side of our time at the Ranch we continue to marvel and feel grateful for all the staff who make In Balance the fine healing place that it is. We hear of other programs, but none come close to the high standards that you have set and take care to maintain excellence and integrity with each student in the program.

We realize the finite amount of time we have left to make an impression on both our kids (Lleana just turned 21) and that modeling stable, consistent and loving behavior keeps it calm for all of us here.

We are so proud as we watch Tim continue to work on himself in healthy ways and we can see that he is happy and feels good about himself. We think you would be pleased as well. Please send our regards to the staff especially Steve Betsy and Shannon. Linda and Mr. Black. (Judy. and Jackie, etc.)

We hope all is well with you and your family and send our very best.

With best regards,

In Balance Parents "

 

" Well, Sam is on a fishing boat in the middle of the Bering Sea in Alaska. This summer he got his Merchant Mariner Card. TWIC card, HAZWOPER Cert, BST training and Passport. He turned 18 on 8/26 and got himself a job with a great company. I couldn't be more proud of him. Send me what you need for Outcome Study. IBRA has a screaming success with Sam!! "

 

" Hi Lynda . This is now Dan writing back. I will repeat Jeff's thank you for what you did for Jeff's graduation dinner as well as throughout the year. The Ranch really has such a dedicated and wonderful staff that all contribute to the re-discovery and transformation of the boys that attend there and over my last couple of visits and past few months talking with Jeff. I really discovered how much you do do there! Thank you

Kind regard, Dan "

 

" Hi Betsy

I just wanted to say thank you for a truly wonderful weekend. As I sit in the Toronto chill, I dream of the mountains of Arizona. I loved every moment of the time spent there. Tiffany is such a wonderful presenter and all information that she conveyed was interesting and important. I truly feel that I understand addiction now from a more scientific perspective.

Shannon and the equine are phenomenal. To see my city boy riding so confidently and to hear him talk about his horse with such love were amazing times.

Thad, as always, was kind, patient. caring and brought a fun aspect to our experiences together.

Ugo got us to participate in activities we never imagined. Patrick enlightened us about boundaries in ways that we know will help allot our children/grandchildren, not just Dante.

Each and every staff member we met appeared to be genuine, caring and knowledgeable.

We feel even more confident than before that Dante is at an amazing place and that he will grow in ways none of us ever imagined possible through his experiences there.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you,

In Balance Parents "

 

" We're very proud of William's sustained efforts to accomplish this goal and we're very thankful to everyone )and especially Kathryn) at IBRA who had "touched" our son along the way. Your "steady hand" has allowed William the time and space to help him heal re-build familial relationships, re-discover his own "voice," develop new (hopefully life long) friendships and interests, and commit to a healthier and happier life. "

 

" Excellent and exciting news. I could not be more pleased with the work that you and everyone at the Ranch have done for Sam and his family. As he allows himself to fully realize it in the years to come, I know that Sam will appreciate even more the extent to which you have altered, perhaps saved, his life. "

 

" Patrick and Betsy

I wanted to take a moment and thank you both for all that you do:

OUR SON graduates tonight and moves out into the world again; however, he is a very different individual than was sent to you two years ago. He is all around high on life and generally excited about the prospects of every little detail that might come along, including wanting to know how he goes about paying income taxes (which he wants to make sure he does on his own). Talking with him these days is a joy and Mel and I both sense that he is armed with a powerful resolve to succeed and that the world will be that much better as a result.

Having said that, for all the reasons we all know, the prospects of his ability to simply stay alive were in deep question just a few years ago. It has not been by accident that his life has turned around and that he has taken hold of the opportunity to live again. So, it is with a great amount of gratitude that Mel and I thank you both again for doing what you do. I am sure that Norman is not the only son whose life has been saved by your significant contributions.

Lastly, many great things to say about your program and staff. Tiffany hat been fantastic from day one and Jordan has been fantastic since Norman hit TL. I don't have enough space to brag about the In Balance program.

In Balance Parents "

 

" Once again. I cannot express to you my deep, deep gratitude for the work you did with our son. He is doing so well. He's on track a graduate (early) at the end of this semester. Right now he is very enthused about going onto Pacific Maritime Institute in May and I think he will do it. The furhter away from the Ranch he gets, the more he realizes what a gift the program was for himWe were talking the other day about the Ranch and how he has managed to stay on track since he's been home. I told him he should go back to the Ranch for a day or so and tell the guys what it's been like for him since he's been home and how he has kept it together. He said he would like to do so and maybe would see if he can come down in February. I told him we could both fly down for a few days, stay at a nice hotel in Tucson and he could go out to the Ranch for a day or so. It could be our Family Graduation Trip - and whether he realizes it or not our Family Gratitude Trip. Who knows if he will still want to do it after he graduates but you might be getting a phone call from him in February.

I will never, ever stop being grateful to all of you. God Bless You.

In Balance Parent "

 

" Dear Patrick and Betsy:

I don't know if you know or not, but our daughter was in a terrible car accident last Wednesday. Although her injuries were minor, the driver of the vehicle was killed. He was a good friend of hers and it has been absolutely horrendous and heartbreaking. They had been off-roading on a dirt road and alcohol was involved in the accident. I am telling you this only to preface why our phone session with Shannon and Semmes yesterday was so uplifting to Gerry and I both. We were still in the car traveling home from the funeral and I think we are both just emotionally spent. I heard the voice of my child radiate hope and security and confidence in a way that I thought was lost forever. I heard my child talk of a future drug and alcohol free, with the hopes of possibly going to TL and the possibility of college at U of A. I heard excitement and genuine happiness in his progress and success. I heard determination and effort and could tell he was responding to the tools end resources being offered to him at the ranch. For the first time many days tears of joy rolled down my face instead of tears of grief. I could feel my heart begin to mend and the smile on my face was radiant. Shannon is incredible and I think Semmes feels very comfortable with her and is reaping the rewards of your wonderful program. I am forever grateful and appreciative for this chance for Semmes and am so thankful for the progress being made. A very personal thank you from me to you. Hats off to a job well done by all!

Take care,
In Balance Parents "

 

" Our son has come to grips with the fact that he is staying for his senior year at the Academy. He resisted a little but then realized that that would be what's best for him, given the fact that he also knows how well he is doing. I think that it also helps to know that his main squeeze. Sarah, has encouraged him to stay also, suggesting that he is in a perfect position academically and athletically to get scholarships. Even though he was just home last week, and it went very well, I forgot to talk to him about the student you would like him to speak with. He will be gone all weekend long at a basketball camp in Flagstaff, but will call us the first of next week. I promise to ask him then about speaking to this student. He is doing so well Shannon, you would be blown away at his progress. At a recent awards ceremony before break, he won five awards: Most Improved in Varsity Baseball (he lettered), Dedication and Commitment with 20+ hours of Community Service, Outstanding Participation in Varsity Basketball, Most Improved Academic Achievement in Upper Level English, and last but not least, Outstanding Achievement in Educational Excellence! He didn't expect any at this, so as you may have already guessed, he's on cloud nine with his success. Of course, none of this would have been possible without all of the hard work you did at the Ranch. He turned 17 on the 3rd. and has become quite the leader at the Academy. Aside from his size (6ft. 190 lbs.), he has a gentleness of spirit that is inspirational to all of his underclassmen, and has gained the respect of his peers. I could go on and on. I promise that I will be in touch with you about speaking with your student, I'm sure he won't mind. As a family, we have done a 180 degree turn around. We are growing and life is grand! "

 

" Hello Patrick,

Parent's Weekend had the intended results for our familysmall steps in rebuilding our relationship with Matt. I'm in awe of what he's accomplished and in awe of what we were able to accomplish together as a family thanks to your guidance and that of your wonderful staff. "

 

" We spoke with our son yesterday. He sounds powerful, focused, groundedwow, what you guys have done with him is near miraculous. Shannon, Chris said he finally opened up to the group about the death of his friend Tony and they prayed. He said it was very healing. How can we thank you?? What is a kid's life worth? Perhaps just know the impact you all make on people's lives is enough vindication to keep going. Thank God you guys were there for us, that's all I can say. "

 

" Once again I would like to commend you and Tony on the sterling work you are doing with those young guys. People like yourselves perform a tremendous service in our modem society and I gather that whilst you may not always see the fruit of your endeavors, some of the young men I met might pleasantly surprise you one day. "

 

" Dear Patrick and Betsy,

It is now a year since Sam graduated from the ranch and we wanted to let you know how he is getting on from our perspective. The most important thing is that as far we know he is still sober and committed to staying that way. He and his girlfriend come home probably twice a month from college so we do get a good idea of how he is doing. He does seem happy and while attending AA is not a big part of his life I know from my talks with him that he is using a lot of the tools that he learned at the ranch. He has almost completed a year at the University of Oregon, is passing his classes and remains committed to finishing his education. We are so proud of Andy and we will always be grateful to you and In Balance Ranch for helping him gain the self awareness that he says has been such a major factor in his continued recovery. I hope you, your family and In Balance Ranch continue to thrive.
Best Wishes,

Jennie and Tim "

 

" Dear Patrick and Betsy,
Thank you or your email. We are so happy to have Johnny home and pray that he will continue on a successful path. He is excited about attending a small Catholic University close to home and having the opportunity to hopefully make really good grades and the chance to attend a college out of San Antonio next fall. I get a little nervous every time he leaves the house and I know it will take time for him to rebuild our trust in him. Again, thank you and all of your family and staff for believing in Johnny and allowing him to stay at the ranch after trying your patience so many times. He has so much potential and a really good heart that I still struggle with what made him go down the wrong path. Thank you for all the time you spent with him guiding and talking to him. He really loves and respects your entire family. You and your family are continually in our prayers and we are so thankful for what you have done for Johnny and for us and for what you are doing for all of the other boys both at ranch and at T.L. and your outpatient program. You were truly an answer to prayer for us. It must be so rewarding to see the transformation in so many of these boys and to know you had a hand in it. "

 

" I wanted to thank you all again for the extraordinary work you did with Ari while he was with you at the ranch. He truly is unrecognizable, both in his commitment to his recovery and how much more comfortable he is in his own skin. We know that there is no possible way of repaying you all so we will be mindful of passing along the caring, compassion, support and understanding we received from you to those families we come in contact with who have experienced a similar struggle.

As for Ari's initial transition, we arrived home at midnight last night from Tucson. Ari attended a noon meeting today, made an appointment for a job interview at 2:00 p.m. at a restaurant owned by a family acquaintance and was hired on the spot. He's off to play ball hockey with some trends then will head out to an evening meeting tonight. Ari's job will be at a crepe restaurant where all of the staff speak French so he will have an opportunity to brush up on those skills while working in the restaurant business which is, as you know, a keen interest of his. The restaurant is only open until 7:30 p.m. each evening so Ari will have the flexibility to make a number of evening meetings and they don't serve alcohol so that Ari won't have to deal with that potential trigger during his early recovery. A pretty unbelievable day for all of us and Ari did it all without prompting many organizational assistance from Mom!

We'll keep you posted on Ari's progress and are so very grateful that he has been returned to us as a healthy young man in body and spirit.

Be well and God bless,

In Balance Parents "

 

" Dear Patrick,

Re: Our family weekend at the Ranch

We wanted to write a letter to you following our family weekend at the ranch. We want to thank you and all the staff at the ranch for being so dedicated, proactive and vigilant with all the boys. We have learned so much in the last four months that Adam has been there and appreciate that we are dealing with a family issue and one that needs addressing as a whole. It is this practice at the ranch that we so appreciate of bringing the family together and helping us realign the way that we interact with each other.

We know that the process does not happen over night but we are so pleased to see the beginning of a shift taking place with Adam. The family weekend also allows us to interact with other families going through the same issues as we are. The positive peer culture that you champion among the boys has a very positive impact on the honesty and openness that the parents have with each other. This makes the group therapy and work shops very productive. This was our second family weekend and we were able to help parents of newer boys while still learning from the parents of boys that had been there longer. We commend you and you team for all the work that you put in on a daily basis. The most important thing for us is that we know that Adam is not only safe but also engaged end learning more than we ever imagined.

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your dedication and commitment,

In Balance Parents "

 

" My Dearest ALL,

I want to thank you all, for one of the most amazing weekends of my life and I can't wait till the next one, I wish it were sooner. Our family reconnected and we discovered new things about ourselves and one another. My son has worked hard and I can see & feel his steps towards recovery. I am excited for him and for all of us because we are starting to build new relationships filled with trust, respect and understanding. Thank you for your true dedication, love and support for all the young men and their families. Two months ago I was terrified and lost, I now sleep at night knowing my son is safe and when I wake in the morning I know my family is blessed and I am filled with hope.

May God Bless you all,

In Balance Parents "

 

" Dear Patrick,

Just a note to express our deep appreciation for the Family weekend at your facility May 23rd through 26th. It was a well planned, skillfully conducted, beneficial experience for both Sam and his visiting family members. We were all gratified and moved to see Sam's healthy progress over the first two months at the ranch. Now we are more than encouraged about the rest of the year ahead and his prospects for a lasting recovery.

As I said at the closing ceremony, your vision, deep concern and enthusiasm for all the students under your care, while huge, is only part of the story. Equally crucial is your exceptional ability to attract and retain high quality staff. In my experience, the better the staff, the finer the leadership. Across the many disciplines and talents required, your people are just plain outstanding. Of course, we are the beneficiaries of that.

Now, all the devotion, focus and hard work required to build and operate your program at In Balance Ranch Academy, still only results in addressing the needs of just under 50 of our kids. If you are one of those, or the family of one, you are lucky enough to be receiving everything you need for your particular heart-wrenching crisis. But what about the vast majority of our nation's troubled teens who were sucked into the vortex of substance abuse? So many of these kids with the very same needs are not so fortunate. They continue to wander through each day at grave risk for lack of such a program.

This brings me to my final point: to face of the huge proliferation of drugs in the United States, we most support every viable countermeasure. In Balance Ranch Academy is a perfect example to cite. It is a wonderful model of success - on example of how we can respond to such troubling issues- a beacon from which other programs can gain the knowledge and methods required for their own effectiveness. I sincerely hope the present concern in Congress over some I'll conceived programs in need of reform does not end up compromising of the many strong programs in the NATSAP family which face so courageously and effectively the "tsunami" of substance abuse now threatening our nation. I feel that continued state regulation is a better solution than new federal laws.

Thank you, Patrick, for all you have done for us and all the other In Balance Ranch Academy families who need and treasure your program.

In Balance Parent "

 

" To be brief, our son is doing fantastic. I am continuously amazed at his ability to deal with all aspects of his life. If you have not heard about his trip to Japan this summer I would be glad to forward you some of his emails that he sent from Japan that give a great flavor of his trip with his brother. I can not thank you and the In Balance staff/family enough for what you have done for my son and us. All I can ask is that you keep up the great work for all the others that need your help. "

 

" Our son is doing really well at home. He remains committed to his sobriety, is attending his 90 meetings/90 days, following through on commitments, following our house rules and DOING VERY WELL IN SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has never been this engaged in school-even as a kindergartner. He makes his homework a priority and does it without prompting-and he does it with the TV tuned off so he can concentrate. He is thorough and careful in his work. Nothing like the messy, thrown together work he used to turn in. Even his handwriting is almost unrecognizable to me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you did with my son. He is doing you proud. I would never have believed a year ago that he would as be performing as he is in school.

Thank you, thank you, thank you..

In Balance Parent "

 

" I am very happy to report that my son has been doing extremely well since he returned from In Balance. He goes to an AA meeting everyday, and all his friends are AA members. He has not had a single relapse since he came home. He told us that the AA group was essential to his success after leaving In Balance. I don't know if he has spoken to you or Shannon since he left, but he has continued his weight lifting and is now a very substantial individual. You should put our son in the success column. Please accept our gratitude for what your program did for our son. I doubt that we would have him if not for In Balance. "

 

" A parent upon finding out that their son will graduate: YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! I am SOOOOO PROUD of Him! God truly does answer prayers! Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to Chris. We will always be so grateful to In Balance Ranch and the wonderful people there who have dedicated their lives to helping these boys grow into fine young men. See you at his graduation(s)!!! "

 

" Thanks, Betsy. I know you're really busy, but for several weeks I have been meaning to just say THANK YOU to you and Patrick. Our son was friends with on 18yr old who died of an overdose at his parents home in our neighborhood a few weeks ago. It reminded me that you literally are dealing with life and death situations, and just how lucky the community is that you are willing to sponsor your programs. Keep up the incredible work, and trust that my wife and I are behind you 100%. "

 

" Thank you to Shannon and Jackie and many staff I have not yet met for fostering our son's love for horses, and therefore himself. Thank you to Patrick for helping me to look for areas where I am over-identifying with and emotionally-enmeshed with our son, and for sharing the picture of the struggling caterpillar. Thank you to David for clarifying for my son during our list work that my emotions appeared to be based on my missing him.

Thank you to Jackie for telling our son he might want to set an "overwhelmed" boundary during emotional encounters with us. Thank you to Jerry for providing Adventure Therapy that reinforced how our kids benefit from seeing us model integrity, and for providing an activity where our sons were the obvious strong leaders and parents needed to be encouraged and helped. The role reversal was a powerful stepping stone in our quest to replace our adult-child relationship with an adult-adult one.

Thank you to Skip for sharing that you spent a great deal of your life running from your emotions and for sharing your great sense of humor. Thank you for allowing me observed confrontations where one person identified another person's conflicting statements: an apparent lie. They did so without judgment, and stopped way short of trying to interpret why the person might be lying. To not confront the statement would have been enabling addictive behavior. To have guessed the underlying motivation would have been a boundary violation and demeaning. Modeling the process was much more powerful than talking about it.

Thank you to all the staff for not letting us stay comfortable in our intellect, but to probe our feelings. Thank you to all of the staff in recovery for modeling how you can struggle with addiction, and through that struggle, become incredibly remarkable human beings and wonderful models for anyone who is searching for themselves (aren't we all?). "

 

" Thanks for a phenomenal weekend. Our entire family had a wonderful time just spending time together. We picked up a few pointers about communication that we are committed to implementing. I had a great time at the family weekend, and felt like all of the activities that we participated in were extremely beneficial. As you know we have a daughter enrolled in a program similar to In Balance Ranch Academy. They also have parent's weekends, so I feel like I am in the unusual position of being able to compare the two programs simultaneously. In comparing the two: I felt like I got much more out of our weekend at In Balance. I felt like your programs drew me in more because each of the activities was personally meaningful to me. They gave me some insights to see where I can make my own personal changes. Obviously the list work couldn't be more personally meaningful, so as much as I didn't want to do that activity, I think it was the most valuable thing we did during the weekend. All of the other activities seemed to come together to give me some insights not only on my family dynamics, but also my parenting habits. "

 

" On the plane ride home, I thought of some more items that I wished that I had put down on my critique of the weekend, and thought I would send them to you via email.

I really appreciated the fact that In Balance Ranch Academy hires staff who are in recovery themselves. Not only does it provide for wonderful role models for the kids, but provides me with hope for a positive outcome for my son. Thank you so much!

I appreciate all of the homework assignments (reading, list work and Al Anon) that you have given us as parents. It really drives home the fact that in addition to our son's recovery being his responsibility, his addiction has affected the family too. Before the kids left for their residential treatment programs, our family was in such a state of chaos that we were all floundering, and in spite of seeing multiple therapists, no one ever looked at our family as a whole. Thank you for seeing our son's recovery as also a family systems process so that we can all get better.

That's all! Thank you for facilitating such a wonderful and meaningful weekend. We think our son is in great hands. Thanks you for all that you do. "

 

" Our family has benefited by our son's experience by attending the Family Weekends, and in our son's home visits where he has shared with us the insightful and revealing ways in which our family can learn to improve our mutual communication. His direct, yet non-threatening and sensitive communication has helped us to better understand our own tendencies, miscommunication and ways of avoiding issues. In all, we see our son, who was so troubled and who we almost lost only one year ago, becoming a wonderful loving young man who will make a real contribution to a better world. "

 

" We are not able to adequately express our gratitude 'for what the staff at In Balance Ranch Academy has given to our son and our family. I am confident that any family that is fortunate enough to be able to have their son be part of this experience will also feel the same as we do. "

 

" Thank you again for a life changing family weekend. It was more powerful than I can begin to describe. I know I will spend the next few months getting more and more meaning from it as I await the next Family Weekend with excitement. When we first told our son that we were going to bring him to In Balance Ranch Academy, we described it to him as a gift. Now I know what an understatement that was. We feel so indebted to you for building such an incredible staff and program to help him grow. Again, words fail me. "

 

" Just received the In Balance Ranch Academy calendar in the mail today, awesome!! The "Dream" story gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. What a gift. Words alone can't express the joy and thanks we hold for you and your dream, and the incredible positive effect it has had on our son and our family. Thanks for sharing and touching our lives. We will treasure it and this time we have with you forever. "

 

" This is the letter that all parents want to frame for prosperity. Not that we would have ever done different, but it's all been worthwhile. All of you at the Ranch have been there for our son and he in turn has stepped up to the plate. You are setting him up for success and I just want you to know that I don't take that for granted, not for a minute. Soa humble thank you. "

 

" I am glad to know that you (Patrick) have such clarity with your vision, with your dream. My wife and I have been heartened by our conversation with our son lately. Sounds like he is getting on a good path. Thanks so much for the work you and your staff have done with him. "

 

" There were lots of thank yous that I meant to say during my little speech at our son's graduation. However, I was at a point where serious amounts of tears were ready to flow. All the staff made a huge impact on our family. We feel lucky to have found In Balance Ranch Academy and to have encountered people of dedication, courage, and empathymany thanks. "

 

" I wanted to thank all of you again for all of the kindness that you showed me during my visit. Based on glowing recommendations, we were already completely committed to having our son come to In Balance Ranch Academy, but meeting all of the people has made the transition so much easier for me. The staff and students I talked with there were inspiring. While I do not underestimate the work ahead for our son and the rest of our family. I am confident that our son will thrive there and find a new direction. thank you for making this opportunity available to us. Two months ago, we were feeling very hopeless. "

 

" What a great Family weekend for our son end our family. Thank you so much for your part in our family and your wonderful connection with our son. Mere words cannot express our appreciation! Our son has recently had his one year sobriety - it is a fabulous time to celebrate!!! "

 

" There are no words to describe how happy I feel about our son and his new life. Whatever work he did down there at the Ranch really had a tremendous effect on him and I am glad to say that I have been less worried than I have been in years. I can tell that our son has made a deep psychic change. I look forward to the future now, rather than dread it. Thank you once again for helping us all have a meaningful life again. "

 

" I guess I have been ruminating a bit to try to figure out how best to thank you (and everyone at In Balance Ranch Academy), and express our gratitude. Sadly, the more I've contemplated writing you this letter, the more I've come to the conclusion that there aren't any existing words that adequately express the good that you guys are doing. We both realize that our son still has a long way to go. But seeing how far he's come in just a couple of months is truly mind-boggling. It was also sort of interesting to watch the small changes he went over the course of the Family Weekend. Please accept our thanks and gratitude -and blast the English language to hell for not having the right words to emphasize our feelings properly. "

 

" Now that I have some distance from the Family Weekend, our son's progress is incredible!!! You and everyone at In Balance Ranch Academy have accomplished nothing short of a miracle!!! I only wish there were some way to bottle what you do, and bring it home so we (and everyone else who needs it) could accomplish the same thing without sending kids away. I was truly blown away by a couple of things while we were there. First, our son really GETS it. He knows and completely understands what his challenges are - in order to function well on his own. He definitely is in need of a bunch more practice doing so, but the fact that he owns his bad habits, and is committed to changing them – is wonderful beyond words! Second, I never ever anticipated that the Family Weekend would be so good for his siblings. Without exception - every single one of them learned a lot. His sister was impressed because she never imagined that this kind of an experience could be both didactic and fun. She was beyond enthusiastic coming out of the weekend!!! Sorry for the length of this letter, but I thought it was important for you to hear all of it. It was just impossible to write you about anything, without also acknowledging the incredible things you guys are doing at the Ranch. All I can say is: I'm a believer!! Thank you In Balance Ranch Academy. Thank God for Making people like you who care so incredibly much about others that you give a huge part of your life making all this happen. "

 

" WOW - this 5-day hike sounds GREAT! I must tell you that I am SO pleased with the program and with my son's success and his changes. My weekly phone calls barely feel like enough - we are having REAL conversations for the first time. If you have any parents that are on the fence or hesitant about the cost, I'd be happy to share my experience, brief though it is, my son is reaching new levels of depth in his growth. I'm thrilled!!!!! "

 

" I seriously could not believe the change in our son when he came home for Thanksgiving. He was absolutely independent, willing, and probably responsible for more smiles then the other two kids combined!! Suffice it to say he was sufficiently entertaining to keep the other kids amused. He gave some pretty profound advice to his little sister about going to a party. "My advice to you is to go to the party. It'll probably be really fun, and you might meet a bunch of people you like. If you don't like them, just stay positive, and keep yourself in a good space till it's over." He hugged his sister and told her he was really proud of her. It struck me that for the first time in her life: she has "Billy" as an older brother. A concept both touching and HIGHLY effective. Just wanted to let you know the change is just spectacular. So, now that I've talked (or written as the case may be) your respective ears off – I'll end with a THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!! You and everyone at the Ranch ARE miracle workers and have been very much on our minds and in our hearts this holiday. PS - the barbecued chicken and biscuits we had at last Friday night's dinner were genuinely just about the best I've ever had - so many thanks to the cook!!!!! PPS Shannon - I don't think you'll ever know what a profoundly wonderful effect you've had on our daughter - but you have, and I just wanted to acknowledge and thank you for taking the time with her. I hate to say it, but maybe you guys should charge more. We're getting two for the price of one right now!!! "

 

" I am now dealing with a son who is: rational, perceptive, analytical, emotionally secure, and amazingly mature. The absence of a chip on his shoulder, and his candor amaze me. Something about what you hove done with him over the last few months makes me think that we may have back the boy we once knew. For the first time in his life, our son seems to have the inner peace he has often lacked, knowledge of the challenges he will face, and a growing number of tools to help him to deal with those challenges. I don't know where he is in the spectrum of your expectations for a boy who has been at the Ranch for the time he has been there, but I do know that my wife and I could not have done for him what you have enabled him to do. "

 

" I wanted to write and tell you what a lovely tradition you have there with your graduation ceremony! Our son was so "wowed" to hear so many people at one time in one place say nice things about him. It was cool for him and cool for us to hear also. Thank you for everything. "

 

" Wow-so much positive energy at the Affirmation Ceremony. Tremendously helpful-each leader did a fantastic job. I am really grateful for the positive approach and the amazing insight of all the staff. "

 

" In Balance Ranch Academy has made the difference between helping our son to succeed instead of dooming him to fail. He has completely changed, for the better, as well as the way in which we resolve family conflict. "

 

" I want to extend, on behalf of myself and my wife, our deepest and most sincere appreciation for all the work you have done with our son. Words, printed or otherwise, cannot come close to expressing our appreciation for the In Balance Ranch Academy program, its excellent staff, and its outstanding community of young men. From therapy to group work, from the academics to the adventure experiences, from the positive peer culture, to the Twelve Step programs, all the pieces of the IBRA experience have worked to help my son heal and grow. He has shown tremendous growth in many areas of his life and shown that he now has a healthy and positive vision for the future. The program has truly healed him physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I applaud you for your outstanding efforts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the bridge you have built for my son. I am truly in debt forever. "

 

" My son has become a new person his sense of self, connection to people, nature, and animals, and overall understanding of the human condition, is exemplary, and has emerged as a result of his experience at In Balance Ranch Academy. The recovery process is substantiated with the Twelve Step program, equine therapy, personal and group therapy, individual trauma therapy, public service, Indian traditions, and communion with nature. Factors of nutrition, physical exercise, and both spiritual and emotional wellbeing round out this experience. In all, we see our son, who was so troubled and who we almost lost only one year ago becoming a wonderful loving young man who will make a real contribution to a better world. We are not able to adequately express our gratitude for what the staff at In Balance Ranch Academy has given to our son and our family. I am confident that any family that is fortunate enough to be able to have their son be a part of this experience will also feel the same as we do. "


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