Some rehabs are old school and some are new age, but what The Ranch offers defies categorization. Starting with facility itself, The Ranch is a 2000-acre plot of land in Nunnelly, Tennessee (roughly 45 miles west of Nashville) that was recently acquired by the Elements Behavioral Health group. It offers treatment not only for drug and alcohol addiction but also for an assortment of other maladies including eating disorders and sex addiction, and all with a variety of traditional and cutting-edge treatments. At the same time, The Ranch is also a working horse and cattle ranch with a penchant for Native American mysticism.
Accommodations and Food
The Ranch houses 18 men and 18 women and the set up is somewhat unusual. There are five cabin-style houses: Hilltop, Spring and River House are for men while Lake and Creek House are for women. Each decidedly rustic house focuses on different recovery issues though they all offer easy access to the Piney River, which runs through the facility’s campus.
Most of the houses feature large, open-spaced kitchens that spill onto even larger dining rooms, allowing for communal food preparation and eating. Some of the houses boast wood burning stoves, 360-scenic views of Tennessee countryside in the dining room and granite counter tops.
Treatment and Staff
Treatment at The Ranch is wide-ranging and eccentric. The basics are on-site detox and an emphasis on AA (a 12-step meditative nature trail and in house and off-site meetings). Other group therapy and counseling sessions focus on relapse prevention, dual diagnosis and other psychological issues that may be present. There are gender-specific programs, and contemporary therapeutic methods like EMDR for trauma as well as CBT. When all is said and done, residents will spend over 100 hours in various therapy groups per month.
In addition to AA’s Big Book, residents are also required to go through a series of spiritual recovery programs. Everyone must have a copy of Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, which draws from ancient Toltec wisdom on how to live a balanced life and is broken down into four central tenets (abridged: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best).
Perhaps the most defining aspect of the Ranch is its emphasis on outdoor activities and almost shamanistic approach to recovery. Apart from an array of people on staff—including a physician, spiritual coaches and therapists of all stripes (though no resident psychiatrist)—The Ranch also boasts a variety of “four-legged staff” members that includes horses, cows and donkeys. Those looking for a rehab with a focus on equine therapy needn’t look any further: the team is made up of equine therapists with more than 20 years of experience, and the schedule allows plenty of time for horse play.
The Ranch is reportedly on ground that was once used by Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw Indians as a shared hunting ground and those traditions live on in a medicine wheel meditation area and sweat lodge ceremonies. The latter entails building a fire in a structure built of willows and blankets, heating stones in it and dumping water on top to steam up the place during group therapy. All the residents have various outdoorsy recreation activities available to them, including fishing, hiking, volleyball and yoga. Residents are also allowed to visit Nashville for rodeos, movies or county fairs.
Overall, treatment takes a minimum of 28 days, though many residents stay longer for an average of about three months.The Ranch offers a professional staff and a comprehensive range of treatment options. Combine that with a small resident population and quiet isolation on a beautiful ranch, and addicts may be looking at a potent recovery recipe.