Residents' Stories of Hope & Recovery

In My Own Words: Reflecting on the Ranch

I arrived at Spring Lake Ranch in January of 2014. At the time, I was in my early 30s and living with my parents, having just been kicked out of yet another halfway house. Addiction and depression had been the predominant narrative of my life since my early teens and, once again, I felt I had failed at confronting these demons. I felt dejected and hopeless.

At the urging of my parents, I spoke with Rachel about the SLR program -- not with an expectation that I would go, but with a sense of obligation to those who, seemingly against logic, loved me. In relaying her own experience, Rachel reminded me that recovery was possible. I had little confidence in confronting my addiction and depression, but felt that attending the Ranch couldn’t make my struggles any worse.

In My Own Words: Sandy

I had been in and out of hospitals since 1996, and my mom had been looking for places for me to stay. Spring Lake Ranch was the chosen place. In August 2001, I arrived at Spring Lake Ranch. At the time, I wasn't really aware of where I was or even if I was in the state of Vermont. I was, needless to say, pretty out of it. One of the first people I met at the Ranch was long-time staff member Doug Patton. Doug had become part of my team and was an advisor to me. I stayed for some months, worked in the work program and started to become more aware. I had been working on the gardens crew and then met Lisa Gardner, the leader of the crew and another one of my advisors. I really began to like the weeding in the spring and summer and quilting and sewing in the fall and winter. The crew also had a kitchen crew to help out the kitchen with preparing the lunch for the staff and residents, about 50 people. I really enjoyed the kitchen so much that Barb, the head cook, had offered me a kitchen assistant position. That job was one of the ways that the Ranch has changed my life for the better. I hadn't worked in two or three years and very much appreciated some fun work that also paid me money. 

In My Own Words: Theo

I came to Spring Lake Ranch as a resident in March 2003, following a period of severe depression and drug and alcohol abuse, culminating in a suicide attempt by overdose. I was 21 at the time, and my attempts to break free from mental illness through rebellion from the white suburban culture I had seen as its cause had left me physically and spiritually broken – strapped to a gurney, getting my stomach pumped. 

In My Own Words: A New Perspective

Although it feels as though my entire world has shifted and changed from almost one year ago when I arrived at Spring Lake Ranch to today, I can still remember all of the details of my first days on the hill, as if it were yesterday. I remember I felt completely deflated when I arrived in Cuttingsville, Vermont, as I was at the lowest point I had ever been in, in my entire life. What I also remember from those days are the first breaths of clean air I took, the stillness of the environment around me, and people bustling around and suiting up for work crew. I remember feeling completely broken but also gaining a sense of hope upon my arrival. I knew that this would be unlike any experience I had ever had, if I allowed for it to be. 

In My Own Words: Jenna

Spring Lake Ranch saved my life. This is a bold statement, but one I believe with all my heart. Now let me tell you how. 

In My Own Words: Sarah

The old adage reads “Seek and ye shall find.” At the point where my life path merged with SLR, I was seeking darkness, however unintentionally, and that was what I was bringing into my life. I was a Resident at Spring Lake Ranch’s program in Cuttingsville the summer of 2011. I had a terrible history of addiction, as well as more than one significant mental illness. My time at the Ranch was restorative and grounding, and helped me be ready to start facing the challenges of life -- in some ways, really for the first time. 

In My Own Words: Sara's Story of Change

When I left home last January I wasn't sure what was set before me. At that point in time I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life nor was I sure if I even wanted to survive.