ABOUT SAN DIEGO FREEDOM RANCH
From 300 acres of land in the high desert, 50 miles east of San Diego, San Diego Freedom Ranch offers long-term residential care for men struggling with substance use disorder. Medical detox is not available on-site — new clients must have been clean and sober for at least 72 hours before arriving for treatment.
For residents of San Diego County who are receiving subsidized treatment, there's a wait of four to six weeks for admission. Any clients paying the full price can bypass this wait. The center is among the 53.3 percent of rehabs in the state of California that operate as private nonprofits.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
Admission into San Diego Freedom Ranch begins with an interview to determine that the ranch is a good fit. If not, staff will refer the client to another, more appropriate facility. Among the admission requirements is a commitment to stay for 120 days, positioning this center among the 33.6 percent of rehabs in California that offer residential treatment lasting longer than 30 days.
Treatment is based on the 12-Steps, supplemented by evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Clients participate in five group classes and one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting daily, and have a weekly one-on-one discussion with staff. Topics of group discussion include anger management, family wellness, and changing thinking patterns.
Community service forms a major part of treatment. Residents are expected to serve in local churches, schools, museums, and other community centers, as well as providing day labor for the community, as needed. Daily chores around the facility are also required.
All clients compile an aftercare plan prior to leaving treatment, including details of their sponsor and 12-step meetings they plan to attend. Men who need further time in treatment are referred to other residential or outpatient facilities.
San Diego Freedom Ranch's website indicates that many staff members are in recovery themselves. The executive director of San Diego Freedom Ranch has a master's degree and more than 20 years of experience in substance misuse treatment. The facility also employs certified alcohol and drug counselors, certified addiction specialists, and a cook. The three individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the staff's level of training and experience gave it two four-star ratings and a five-star rating.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
San Diego Freedom Ranch is settled on 300 acres of secluded land that promote recreational activities like horseshoes, hiking, and meditation. For those residents who are physically able, working in the fruit and vegetable garden is among the required chores. Residents live in bunkhouse-style dormitories, and clothing and toiletries are provided for those clients who need them.
The three individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the center's cleanliness and upkeep gave it two four-star ratings and a five-star rating. All three of the same reviewers gave the center four stars for its exercise and leisure offerings.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
The seven alumni polled by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing gave overwhelmingly positive feedback. Though one reviewer complained of poor treatment from staff and a lack of amenities and proper programming, many more respondents credited the facility with saving or changing their lives.
Reviewers most frequently praised the fellowship they found in strong male community, as well as highlighted the remote location and the staff's dedication. Several alumni noted that the facility changed their lives even though there were minimal recreational activities. “Don't get the wrong idea, these residence will also teach you to always have fun in life while we remain sober,” wrote Richard. Alum B.T. added: "The staff are very serious about recovery and this place changed my life."
San Diego Freedom Ranch also had overwhelmingly positive feedback on secondary sites at the time of this writing, with a 4.8 out of five-star average rating based on 49 reviews on Facebook (where the facility may manage its own page) and a four out of five-star average rating based on nine reviews on Google. 
Like alumni polled by Rehabs.com, the reviewers repeatedly credited the facility for saving their lives. "It is a great program. A place to find yourself and learn a new path from great teachers and staff. It saved my life. Thank you Freedom Ranch," Chris wrote in a representative review on Facebook.
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
The three loved ones polled by Rehabs.com to date also gave San Diego Freedom Ranch high marks. D.B., who gave five-star ratings for the inclusion of 12-Step and faith-based approaches, wrote: “They are a strong team. It's far out of the way in a space that feels sacred. A great start to a new way of living.” Offering four stars for the facility's counseling options and five stars for the likelihood they'd recommend the facility, another anonymous loved one felt that their loved one "came home a different person who has been clean for two years” following treatment at the ranch.
San Diego Freedom Ranch does not turn clients away because they can't pay. For San Diego County residents, costs are determined through a sliding fee scale based on income — positioning the facility among the 61.2 percent of rehabs in California that offer a sliding fee scale. Those from other areas of the U.S. must pay fees in full. The two individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the center's affordability gave it a four-star rating and a five-star rating.
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