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Texas father, son build farm-model drug treatment center in effort to help with long-term sobriety

Ranch House Recovery was built around the farm model and is based in Elgin, Texas.

Four years ago Brandon Guinn and his son Dylon had the idea for a different kind of drug treatment center. Brandon told WFAA that people needed to rethink the drug treatment models that were too costly and not effective. 

What he and Dylon came up with was Ranch House Recovery. It is a treatment center based around a farm where clients can work productively and collectively.

"I knew nothing about farming," Brandon Guinn said. "It was our journey together and our vision to build something different." 

Dylon has struggled with addiction to heroin. It is a struggle that started when he broke his arm playing football in high school. He first became dependent on pain killers. 

Ranch House Recovery was good distraction for Dylon, and was a way to channel his energies. But two weeks before the farm was to set to open, Dylon relapsed.   

"The underlying drive was this was going to keep my son sober. Here we are opening our doors... and it's just like a gut-punch," said Brandon.

It was a difficult moment for Dylon and for his father. Ranch House Recovery would have to start without Dylon.

More than 105 clients have come through the program at 30, 60 and 90-day stays. The group grows crops like cabbage and onions, and tends to the animals on the farm like goats, donkeys and chickens. Just recently, the center welcomed a horse. 

WFAA connected with Jim Dauster, who works closely with the group's nonprofit wing called Simple Promise Farms. Dauster struggles with alcohol. The onions he plants will be harvested and sold to restaurants. The profits will help fund scholarships for men who cannot afford to be at Ranch House Recovery. 

"We're kind of like layers peeling back to get to that core," Dauster said. "Giving the right care and the right space and the right nurturing." 

They all know true sobriety is a journey. 

In early February, Dylon Guinn returned to Ranch House Recovery after time away at a treatment center out of state. He is excited to get back on the farm and work closely with his father again. 

"This is really where my heart was," said Dylon. 

In brief conversations with several clients, they shared that non-addicts will never understand the feelings of shame, regret and the feeling of not being in control. The farm gives them something to work toward. 

Harvesting the crop is the payoff that Brandon Guinn hopes makes a big difference. But there are many complicated layers to healing from addiction. Brandon did not, like many, have a full understanding of addiction until his son relapsed and he built the center. 

"This place, in a way, started out of his co-dependency towards me," said Dylon. 

"My addiction to fixing my son was as strong as his addiction to drugs," said Brandon. 

The former teacher is also getting his own lesson on the farm. Brandon told WFAA that addiction cannot be solved with one magic wand or one simple answer. He even admitted the farm may not be the right course of action for everybody, but it can be an option for those willing to see its benefits.

For more information on Ranch House Recovery, click here