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Burning Tree Ranch was founded in 1999 with a clear mission to help the chronic relapser create a life of excellence beyond sobriety.
Jesse Earwood, Executive Director
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I found out I really have a passion for helping people like me. People that wound up hopeless, not knowing what was wrong with them.
~ Jesse Earwood, Executive Director/Alumnus

One tell-tale sign of a chronic relapser is their high IQ. Along with it, an incredible talent for wit, quick thinking and humor. Having mastered the English language, they use their vocabulary to outmaneuver nearly any obstacle. However, as their addiction develops, intelligence becomes their greatest liability. Instead of using their brilliant minds for good, they use it to disarm loved ones, treatment providers, and anyone who has set out to help them. They are masters at dishonesty, justification, and persuasion. The stories they weave and the lengths they go to evade personal responsibility boggle the mind. One of their most baffling features is how they often leave you wondering if you are the crazy one.

The chronic relapser acts as an emotional vampire. They create confusion over harmony while simultaneously sucking the life out of their loved ones. In relationships, the chronic relapser uses the “I hate you, don’t leave” approach, which leaves loved ones feeling terrified, confused, and emotionally used up. Instead of enjoying life, loved ones find themselves “walking on eggshells” to avoid setting the chronic relapser off on a spree. In addition, their self-centeredness is at such an extreme that every little issue is taken personally. This is evident with clients even in treatment with their counselor. If their counselor doesn’t show up for work because they woke up with a fever, the client will often take it personally and feel abandoned, victimized and guilty, spending all day wondering why their counselor “left them.”

Despite all of this, chronic relapsers are incredibly lovable. They are magnetic, charming, adorable and clever. Their personalities can actually be quite intoxicating. We hear stories about our clients excelling in academics, sports, fine arts, social skills, and fantastic careers, only to waste their talents through years of addiction. Not surprisingly, the chronic relapser is an expert at using charm to avoid consequences. They have done it for years, and it has always worked. Using their hypnotic, persuasive personality, they weaponize their intellect, both in and out of treatment. They know what you want to hear and exactly how to pull your heart strings. They have been able to navigate around the rules in all areas of life, from family, school, work; even the legal system. The chronic relapser is so adept at diversion, masking, and storytelling that many should have won an Academy Award by now.

Here’s the good news . . . At Burning Tree Ranch, all we treat is chronic relapsers. We know our client like no other provider on earth. As a staff, we are able to see our clients through their attempts at manipulation, emotional terrorism and intellectual domination. We get to stay one step ahead of them, anticipate their next diversion, and help them to find permanent recovery.

An Introduction to Burning Tree Ranch

Jesse Earwood, Executive Director


LMSW, LCDC | Counselor
Kristina Robertson serves as Counselor at Burning Tree Ranch. Holding both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Social Work, Kristina’s greatest joy is “watching our clients learn to love themselves again.” An avid equestrian, mother to twenty-one horses, and all-around animal lover, Kristina serves as a bright shining example of long-term recovery in action. Her commitment to whole person health: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual makes her an invaluable member of the Burning Tree Ranch clinical team. As a distinguished Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Zeta member, Kristina believes deeply in each client’s pursuit of becoming their best selves.

"who is a burning tree client?"

Beth Legacki, Burning Tree Ranch Alumni