At the new Liberty Ranch Rehabilitation Center, one young lady’s journey to sobriety began with a can of Diet Mountain Dew. The rehab center opened in April 2017, offering an IOP program to individuals suffering from addiction. IOP is an acronym for “Intensive Outpatient Program.” At Liberty Ranch that means 30 days of rigorous discussion and study designed to give clients the tools to overcome crippling addiction.
When the young lady arrived for the program, said Liberty Ranch Rehabilitation Center, Clinical Program Director Brandy Corder, it was clear that she didn’t want to be there. She was dirty and belligerent. “She did not care what anybody thought,” Corder said. Corder took the girl back to her office for an initial assessment. The girl said she wasn’t feeling well and laid down on the floor of the office. All she said was “I want my mommy.” She refused to answer Corder’s questions. She began mumbling and ranting and Corder couldn’t understand a word she was saying. “Well, it would appear that we have a stalemate,” Corder said. On the edge of Corder’s desk was an unopened can of Diet Mountain Dew. And then, out of nowhere, the young lady said, “What’s a girl have to do to get some of that Diet Mountain Dew?” Corder poured her a cup of Diet Mountain Dew and the girl sat up and began cooperating. It was a breakthrough. Today, the girl is sober. She embraced the IOP program that Corder leads at Liberty Ranch Rehabilitation Center and it changed her life. “The only thing that got her up off the floor was a cup of Diet Mountain Dew,” Corder said. “She had a lot of problems in her life, and to find hope in a can of Diet Mountain Dew, when I think about that it cheers me up.”
The new IOP program at the Liberty Ranch Rehabilitation Center offers a curriculum that provides clients with a strong foundation on which to build a life of sobriety. The program stresses healthy decision-making skills, relapse prevention, coping skills, and more. Small groups of eight to ten clients attend three one-hour interactive group sessions per day. Clients are encouraged to participate in discussions on topics including the perils of complacency in sobriety, family dynamics and addiction, and living one day at a time. Clients receive both individual and group therapy.
“If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired we’re a place to give you hope,” said Corder. “If you give us a chance, we’ll give you the tools. That’s what we live for. That’s what we do.”
Ally Deshields, age 18, began smoking methamphetamine when she was 15 years old. Her parents sent her to military school but she relapsed soon after leaving. At age 16, she ran away from home. There was an “Amber Alert,” issued over her. When she finally returned home, her parents kicked her out of the house. She spent the next few years in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Still, she continued to use. Just before her 18th birthday, she went on a meth binge. She went without food or sleep for six days. She took one hit too many and had a violent seizure. “My first reaction when I got up,” she said, “was ‘I need to get higher.’” Her friends screamed at her to stop. She knew then she needed help. “It’s a sick feeling to know that I would choose drugs over my own life,” she said. One day after her 18th birthday, she checked herself into Liberty Ranch.
She immediately enrolled in the new IOP program. She attended group discussions on topics like anger management, dealing with grief, and more. She watched videos on addiction and neurotransmitters in the brain. The hardest part, she said, was getting honest in front of other addicts, people she didn’t know. One day they released balloons into the sky, one for each friend or loved one who had died from the disease of addiction. She cried. She felt like she was set free from her addiction and that weight on her shoulders. The IOP taught her coping mechanisms that she employs today in her life of recovery. “Being sober, it’s a struggle to start off,” she said, “but once you have a steady program, you can accomplish anything you want to do.”
Clinical Program Director Corder said that it’s rewarding when former clients call back to say they are doing okay. “It kind of gives you hope that what we do really does matter,” she said.
To those still struggling with addiction, Corder says, “Don’t give up. It’s not over ‘til it’s over and it doesn’t have to be over even then. The hardest part of any journey is always the first step. Make that first step. We’ll be there when you do.”