Serenity Ranch at Central Alberta Recovery Centre

Serenity Ranch at Central Alberta Recovery Centre

December 02, 2008 10:00 ET

The Addiction Cemetery, Where Addictions Go to Die

TEES, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2008) - "REST IN HELL - HERE LIES MY ADDICTION AND OBSESSION WITH ALCOHOL, I LEAVE BEHIND THIS CUNNING, BAFFLING, POWERFUL DISEASE...MAY IT REST IN HELL. MARCEL 02/07". "I WAS LOST AND NOW I AM FOUND, I'VE BURIED MY PIPE IN THE GROUND". 2/10/94 TO 21/07/08 STACE A. "BENEATH THIS ROCK ARE MY ADDICTIONS BURRIED FOREVER..." RILEY 18/08. These are just a few of the inscriptions that can be found on the headstones in the Addictions Cemetery at Serenity Ranch.

Serenity Ranch was born from a near tragedy that struck the owner, Jim Gray. After 15 years of sobriety alcohol came back into his life to try and take his son. Gray's son Mitchell was hit by an impaired driver in December 2004.

Now recovered for 18 years Gray was inspired to fight back in a positive way "I wanted to get drunk drivers off the road, a small way to give back to the gift of recovery that was so freely given to me". Gray started the centre in July 2006, primarily operated by recovered alcoholics and addicts, one addict helping another. "Ninety Nine percent of the staff here are recovered themselves, so they can relate to where the struggling alcoholic/addict is coming from and for the most part the addict responds with their trust and willingness to change," says Gray.

The cemetery was developed as part of the 6 week treatment program, to lay the 'addicts' addiction to rest. A funeral for the addiction takes place after the participant burns their 5th Step as suggested in Alcoholics & Narcotics Anonymous. Senior Counsellor and recovered alcoholic/addict, Jim MacLean, says the ceremony is very moving. "It is a very powerful 'letting go' part of their recovery. A counsellor leads the participants in a procession to the fire-pit while beating a deer skin drum in a heartbeat rhythm, when they arrive they burn their 5th step, then in the same fashion to the cemetery, the final resting place for many participants' addictions". MacLean continues, "Our program has a very high success rate, we feel because it was designed by recovered alcoholics/addicts and facilitated by recovered alcoholics/addicts."

Over 135 headstones and crosses sporadically line the rustic cemetery overlooking a farm field near the Hamlet of Tees Alberta.

Gray adds, "It is a very tangible way of letting go of the disease. The addict can see that the addiction is where it should be, in the ground, and that is where it should remain!"

Serenity Ranch: at the Central Alberta Recovery Centre, our mission is to provide a natural, safe, supportive as well as structured residential care facility for men and women for their families and significant others who have been affected by addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.

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