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Ranch helps girls with substance abuse problems - Addicted
Ranch helps girls with substance abuse problems
James CoburnWednesday, December 26, 2007
EDMOND â€” Most of the girls being treated for chemical addiction at Four Winds Ranch come from typical families. Their parents have moved to a neighborhood where their children can grow up in a healthy environment.
â€œWhat happens is chemicals get in the way,â€ said Mike Boss, co-owner of Four Winds Ranch in Guthrie. â€œAnd it basically begins to sabotage everything youâ€™ve tried to do to enhance your childâ€™s life.â€
Four Winds is a substance abuse treatment center designed for teenage girls in a residential setting. He also owns a 24-bed-drug recovery center for boys in Texas.
Boss has been a mental health and chemical dependency counselor for 24 years.
â€œMy initial inspiration was I was one of the kids â€” a wild, crazy maniac that needed to learn how to stay clean and do the next right thing,â€ Boss said. â€œAnd out of that through my own recovery came working as a counselor at different hospitals. But my goal was always to have my own center.â€
Girls from as far away as Canada are sent to Four Winds by their parents for a 90-120 day stay before they graduate to an outpatient program in their communities.
A consistent structure is provided to the girls so they can learn to live within boundaries, Boss said. An educational process involves self-worth and family dynamics. Girls succeed by working with their therapists and therapy groups to â€œrediscover or discover who they really are inside,â€ Boss said.
â€œThey make a commitment to stay clean, and then they make a commitment to work on themselves. Then hopefully they make a commitment to go home and continue the process,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s really a spiritual path, not a religious path but a spiritual path.â€
Parents can look for warning signs to alert them of a childâ€™s substance abuse, said Donna Silvermane, a registered nurse and facility coordinator overseeing the daily operations at Four Winds.
â€œThey may see changes in their mood, being withdrawn,â€ Silvermane said.
Symptoms may mirror other disorders. Oppositional behavior of defiance and changes in appearance may be mistaken by parents as a normal adjustment period of adolescence, Boss said.
So a lot of parents get hooked up in, â€˜What did we do wrong? What could we have done? What should we be doing?â€™â€ Boss said. â€œAnd they try to identify where they are involved with the problem and they tend not to look at the chemical use.â€
Parents can learn not to enable their childrenâ€™s chemical dependency problems by setting appropriate boundaries, Boss said. â€œParents need to learn to provide opportunities for their children, but they canâ€™t be responsible for the outcome because they have no control over that,â€ he continued.
He said most parents have used some level of mood-altering chemical themselves during their own high school years. And Boss said about 80 percent of high school students use so...