ELGIN, Texas — A recovery center for people recovering from substance abuse is using farming as a way to help residents obtain long-term sobriety.
Ranch House Recovery, founded by Brandon Guinn, is located about half an hour east of Austin and those in the program say it's been a game changer.
“I love it, you know I honestly don’t really wanna leave and I’ve been to treatment two other times,” said Chris Weber.
The program focuses on animal care, harvesting, and beekeeping among many other activities. The key behind the program is its focus on rebuilding brotherhood and a connection to community.
“You know my drug of choice was heroin but I’d do anything you put in front of me. Once I started doing heroin it really brought me to my knees,” said Weber.
Some who have already gone through the program, like Jonathon Stewart, now work at the farm. He struggled for 16 years with addiction.
“I tried to get sober multiple times in my life and nothing really worked and then when I came here I was at a really broken point in my life,” said Stewart.
The type of work at the center and the emphasis on teamwork and brotherhood is critical for those wanting to stay on course.
“Addiction thrives in isolation and what we do here with Ranch House is base everything around very strong close knit community bonds,” said Jim Dauster, a farm manager with Simple Promise Farms and a man who's on his own journey of recovery.
Dauster argues that this type of work is a much more effective response to addiction. Punitive measures he says only end up exacerbating addiction and could lead to further misunderstandings of what addiction is, and most importantly what it's not: a personal shortcoming.
“Stigmas end up driving addicts further away from connections to community and the strong relationships that we have found to be central to long term recovery,” said Dauster.
While Ranch House Recovery has started showing some presence at local farmer's markets and restaurants, Guinn hopes to have even more in the months to come. Proceeds from those sales go toward scholarship funds for the those in recovery.