According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction and, in Oklahoma specifically, one in five people have a problem with drugs or alcohol. However, only 10% of those will receive recovery treatment, leaving a significant number of people dealing with addiction on their own.
Addiction impacts the whole family, not just the person struggling with addiction, often leaving lasting impacts. Dick and Betty Liddell lost their son, Robbie, as a result of his battle with addiction. They took their grief and sought to help other families.
“The Liddell’s hope was to prevent as many families as possible from having to go through what they experienced,” said Jake Hill, chief financial and operating office and former client, turned staff member of Rob’s Ranch, an Oklahoma-based, post-acute addiction treatment facility. “Rob’s Ranch started in 2010, seven years after Dick and Betty lost their son, as a place of guidance for families.”
There are a multitude of obstacles to seeking recovery treatment from addiction but cost and the stigma that goes along with recognizing an addiction, which is a vital first step, rise to the top. Hill said it is crucial to understand that addiction is “a disease, like cancer and diabetes.”
“Although the result of addiction can often lead to immoral or illegal behaviors, the underlying problem typically resides in unresolved trauma mixed with a predisposition to addiction,” he explained. “It’s like when someone is hungry or thirsty, eventually, they will do just about anything to quench that thirst or hunger, including hurting the ones closest to them. Drugs and alcohol affect the same part of the brain that controls your basic human instincts, such as the need for food, water, the basics of survival.
Statistics show that a vast majority of people with addiction start using drugs and/or alcohol before the age of 18, but Hill qualified that addiction does not discriminate, “anyone can be addicted.”
“The stereotypical unkept, unclean, homeless drug addict is a fiction. It does not matter where you live, where you’re from, what your occupation is, how much you have in your bank account, or who you know.”
Trauma, environmental factors and genetics are more accurate indicators of a person’s risk of addiction.
“Some individuals are genetically predisposed to an increased likelihood of certain disease,” Hill said. “It is not someone’s fault for developing cancer, just as it is not someone’s fault for developing an addiction.
“We do believe that fault begins when people consciously realize they are addicted and do nothing to treat their illness, the same as if someone was diagnosed with breast cancer who chose to not seek treatment. The disease will progress and, in most cases, lead to death.”
Based in Oklahoma, Rob’s Ranch offers two addiction recovery programs, a faith-based 30-day and 90-day inpatient treatment model centered around the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Currently, Rob’s Ranch is a men’s only facility with a location in Purcell and Sayre.
“The 12-Steps have been around for nearly one hundred years, and is a time-tested, proven model for recovery,” Hill said. “Everyone who works for Rob’s Ranch is in recovery and most are alumni of the program.”
Addiction rehabilitation programs vary in price depending on the type of facility and the type and size of the program. Rob’s Ranch provides financial resources for all financial backgrounds.
“The greatest barrier people run into is cost. Treatment can be very expensive. But just because it costs the most doesn’t mean it’s the best,” said Hill. “When the Liddell’s lost their son, they created the non-profit, Road to Recovery Foundation, in order to provide resources for anyone, regardless of the ability to pay.”
Rob’s Ranch accepts health insurance, private pay, monthly terms and grant/scholarship agreements for those that qualify.
If you or a family member are dealing with addiction, Rob’s Ranch has resources and information about their recovery programs available at robsranch.org.
What should parents be talking about when it comes to addiction?
It might come as a surprise, but your children almost certainly know more about drugs and alcohol than you realize. Since addiction is so prevalent, children have likely experienced the effects of addiction, either by witnessing someone in their community or by hearing stories about a friend, family member or celebrity. Here are some important tips Hill shared that can help jumpstart a conversation with your child.
- Don’t treat addiction like a taboo subject. You want their information coming from you, not the internet, social media or the kid in homeroom.
- Take the time to get into the details. Sometimes it’s just the curiosity that needs to be addressed. Refrain from saying things like “marijuana is bad, or heroin is addictive.” Tell them why. Explain the long-term effects of addiction, the health consequences, the legal ramifications, etc., depending on your child’s age and maturity.
- It’s okay to learn together. If you are unsure of the facts, you can always call Rob’s Ranch with questions. There are also helpful articles on robsranch.org.