The opening of the Rock Bottom Ranch recovery center will include an Oct. 25 ribbon cutting and Oct. 26 open house, before the program starts operating Nov. 1.

The program will focus on women in recovery coming out of jail or prison, who already have undergone the most intense phase of physical withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.

With an annual budget of roughly $198,000, the ranch will serve up to 12 women at a time.

With roughly 50 applications already received from women seeking placement in the one-year recovery program, the ranch's opening will provide sorely needed drug and alcohol treatment services in Anderson County. Now, the closest re-entry programs are an hour or more away in Longview, Kilgore, and Cedar Creek Lake.

Ranch founders had hoped to open the private, non-profit center last spring, but they delayed the opening six months to enable renovations to continue through the summer. Meantime, the founders of Rock Bottom Ranch have referred women in need of shelter or recovery to other programs.

Dozens of community members have volunteered to repair, paint, and service the building’s electrical and plumbing systems. Church members, businesses, and others in Anderson County have donated supplies, furniture, and cash.

Rock Bottom Ranch will not be for everyone. Because it receives no state or federal money, founders can admit whomever they want. To succeed in the program, applicants must be comfortable with the program's Christian principles, which organizers say are the foundation for hope and recovery.

Women who are not comfortable with the program's Christian-based principles will likely be referred to another program. Rock Bottom's curriculum includes daily Bible studies.

“We’re not trying to shove Jesus down people’s throats,” Program Director Kelly Tinley told the Herald-Press. “If you don’t agree, you don’t have to come.”

Two-page applications to the program are available online at www.rockbottomranch.org.

Confidential interviews with applicants are designed to determine each applicant’s suitability for the Ranch’s 12-step, Christian-based program. Criteria for admission includes religious beliefs, criminal background, and medical needs.

The ranch, just outside Palestine on Highway 287, is at the former location of Be Fruitful and Multiply, a half-way house for men released from prison.

Drug treatment will focus on methamphetamine's. Alcohol and meth are the addictions most common among women in the Anderson County Jail, where the four founders – Tinley, Nima West, Lori Wolf, and Tesne Davis – have led a weekly Christian Bible study.

The Ranch’s programs will focus on breaking the cycle of addiction, poverty, and the criminal justice system.

This month, the Ranch will host an adult pajama party to raise funds for operating costs. Tickets to the party, sold for $50 each, will include a dinner on Friday, Sept. 27, and breakfast on Saturday, Sept. 28, with guest speakers at each. The 12 rooms will be auctioned; women who buy those can spend the night at the ranch, enjoying movies, games and snacks.

The Ranch’s founders also want to teach life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, hygiene, and trade skills, that will help women become self-sufficient. 

“I’m hoping to see the girls come to learn life skills and to learn they have a community behind them,” said Lori Wolf, another of the four founding partners. “We want to help them break the cycle and to know they have other options.”

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