The Beartooth MT Ascent Parent Testimonies
Our son Brandon was 21 when he went to Beartooth. He had no drug or alcohol addiction. He wasn’t in any legal trouble. He was actually a rather normal teenager until halfway through his senior year in high school. Then the bottom just dropped out. He wouldn’t go to school. Wouldn’t get a job. Wouldn’t DO anything. He hated his life, was angry, depressed, miserable and couldn’t face the world. He slept 18 plus hours a day to avoid the pain in his life. No matter what we tried, he didn’t seem to want to change. I took him to doctors, a psychiatrist, 2 counselors, a pastor and a social worker. We kicked him out of the house and he lived on the street for 5 months. He was on every antidepressant known to man and never showed any improvement. We even shipped him out to California hoping a change in environment would help. It didn’t.
His presence in the house was detrimental to the rest of us. I have three more boys, all younger than Brandon. My husband and I fought constantly over what to do about him. We had debated on hospitalization but he wasn’t insured and the doctor, counselor and prescription drug bills were already very high. I was torn about what to do. We had a counselor tell us that he’s an adult, throw him out and not be co-dependant. That didn’t seem right to me. We thought we would try one last ditch method.
Last November we looked at therapeutic type Outward Bound courses, a young adult halfway house in Missouri and Beartooth Ascent. The problem with the OB course was that they have a definite beginning and an end. If the issues aren’t resolved at the end of a month then we would still be looking at trying to find a place to put him. The halfway house didn’t have much of a plan to address underlying issues Brandon had and again, we would be looking for alternatives after the program ended. Beartooth’s Mt Ascents open ended program left room for progress to occur while not forcing an exodus before the participant is ready. Some things just take time.
I had a tremendous amount of guilt, as a mother of a struggling child. But I felt that Beartooth wasn’t going to play the “blame the parents for everything” card. And they haven’t. Brandon has since expressed deep appreciation for all we have done for him. He has learned to take responsibility for his own behavior.
Although I had alot of reservations sending him into the wild unknowns of Wyoming (we live in Appleton, Wisconsin) and of the rustic nature of Beartooth (we are basic city people), I trusted the validity of their program. They have a good success rate. That was important. Although we are not Catholic, we trusted that the spiritual lessons he would learn would make him a more mature man. That proved to be essential in his growth. I have come to appreciate their spirituality.
I think that Brandon needed discipline, a structured schedule, a work ethic, a program that encouraged him to succeed, an environment that could be positive about who he is and could instill a vision of who he could be become. They have a balance of the past and how it affects a person, the present responsibility in the work force and a vision for the future. It is a good balance.
I don’t know what your present financial situation is, but we saw the situation with Brandon as an opportunity that was more important than employment, college or hospitalization. He needed a wholistic approach. As it was, he could not succeed in college or employment. Any money we spent would be wasted unless the underlying problem was addressed. I currently have two other boys entering college and finances are tight. But I feel that Beartooth is an essential financial necessity. I want what will ensure the success of my kids. That’s all what we ever want.
Beartooth Mt Ascent was a “last resort” for us. Brandon found what was necessary to living life. He has grown into a man of God, with integrity, and is ready to face the difficulties in life. It is in these difficulties that we find who we become. Beartooth Mt Ascent helps in those decisions.
Good luck and God Bless You,
We tried everything to help our son. As we went from program to program and therapist to therapist, nothing ever seemed to get any better. We started looking into boot camps, military schools and behavior programs for troubled boys. Beartooth Mt Ascent’s program seemed to encompass everything I was searching for – the mountain environment, the horse therapy and the fact that this place seemed as though they would not take any gruff from my son. I knew Beartooth Mt Ascent was the right place when Tom George told me, “Our program is based around the relationship Christ had with His mother. We teach the boys here first and foremost to respect their mothers.”