Gray Wolf Ranch is a unique residential program that combines 12-step ideas, clinical therapy, outdoor activities and community living to help young men ages 14 to 25 years find sobriety. Treatment is offered on a 15-acre campus, 50 miles northwest of Seattle, nestled among tall trees and native plants on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Founded more than 20 years ago by a group of former Hazelden counselors, Gray Wolf Ranch aims to shape young men in their formative years, enabling them to lead more fulfilling and healthy lives.
Accommodations and Food
Gray Wolf Ranch can accommodate up to 20 young men at a time. The Lodge is the main building on campus, featuring a state-of-the-art kitchen, an attractive dining room, a comfortable living space with fireplace and television, and a large room for evening group sessions and other meetings. Eight clients share four double occupancy rooms in the Lodge, each of which has a full bathroom. All rooms at Gray Wolf Ranch are large enough to accommodate queen-sized beds and desks, and come with plush carpeting and balconies. In addition to the Lodge, there is a rec center that sleeps four on the upper level and a house known as the Cedar Tree, which sleeps eight residents nearing graduation. The buildings on campus are all architectural gems with an eco-friendly eye; counseling services and the music program are even held in two large yurts.
There is a professional chef on staff who provide an array of full course meals. Fresh seafood, chicken, steak and fresh fruits and vegetables are served daily. Clients work with staff to prepare meals and to pack their lunches. The sports court includes basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. Clients have a gym on-site along with access to a full health club in nearby Port Townsend. There is also a music room on the ground floor with a piano, a guitar and electronic equipment for audio recording.
Treatment and Staff
The first step in treatment is an assessment. The team at Gray Wolf Ranch screens potential clients carefully, as the program is specifically geared toward young men who have already completed detox or some sort of clinical treatment for substance abuse. Chronic relapsers and active users are not accepted. As there is no licensed medical staff at the facility, clients must be in good health and have a doctor’s approval to participate in this very physical program.
A typical stay at Gray Wolf Ranch is five months. The average day starts with breakfast meditation and chores. Gray Wolf Ranch is a big believer in education; clients attend school at a special education center in Port Townsend, from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. The education center is state of the art, equipped with the latest computer software and state-accredited teachers. All class curricula are custom-designed, so there are many levels of instruction available. Residents who have graduated from high school and are not interested in college must participate in volunteer work during these hours. As Port Townsend is a maritime community, residents can work in various industries such as boating and fishing. They can also become assistant coaches for outdoor sports. Once clients return from town, they attend group or individual therapy before dinner. After dinner, residents attend four off-site 12-step meetings a week, and on weekends they participate in a recreational outing, like adventure camping. Visiting is possible after 30 days at the primary counselor’s discretion and scheduled at the family’s convenience. Phone calls are also made per counselor recommendation, so it is possible that contact with family may at first be limited.
A licensed substance abuse counselor facilitates individual and group sessions. Topics include substance abuse education, peer pressure and goals group. Counselors use CBT and many groups are peer driven with a counselor as facilitator. Group topics for individuals with co-occurring disorders include anxiety and depression, coping skills and an ADHD group, all facilitated by a Master’s level therapist. The client-to-staff ratio is three-to-one.
Clients take part in at least two of Gray Wolf Ranch’s signature wilderness treks: five to 10 days of outdoor adventure with a small group, led by experienced counselors. Clients are taken hiking, kayaking or sailing. These treks are an opportunity for residents to put their sober living skills to work in new surroundings while gaining a sense of accomplishment and forging deep bonds with their peers.
Private music lessons, acting classes, access to a professional recording studio, massage therapy and Tai Chi are offered as part of the program. Clients can also get individual personal training sessions at the gym in town. Art classes are provided as a form of art therapy, or for those interested in pursuing the arts. Visits to museums, symphony concerts and plays are all part of the schedule here. Clients are also taken water skiing, rowing, sport fishing, indoor rock climbing, cycling and snowboarding, depending on the season.
Gray Wolf Ranch also operates four sober living houses, two in Seattle and two in Port Townsend. Each house is state of the art and flawlessly designed, with six individual rooms equipped with private bathrooms and queen-sized beds. Each house has a full kitchen and an entertainment room. These houses are not staffed, though clients do get the services of a dietitian to help them plan and prepare their own meals. They still see primary counselors and attend certain groups as needed, but the point of living here is to have a safe and sober place to sleep while attending work or school full-time.
Gray Wolf Ranch strongly believes that young men need to find a passion and area of interest to live a fulfilling sober life. To that end it exposes clients to the outdoors, sports, and the arts, as well as state of the art education services, making sure they have every opportunity to be fully engaged in a world that is compelling enough without chemicals.
Gray Wolf Ranch
PO Box 102
Port Townsend, WA 98368
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