People who suffer from chronic relapse are not the only ones who suffer from addiction…

Families do too. 

What to Expect for Cients of Long Term Addiction Treatment

It is an uncomfortable reality to be repeatedly confronted with relapses, dashed hopes, and ever worsening consequences. It can also be uncomfortable for the family to change its response to the addicted loved one’s behaviors, crisis, and misadventures. Afterall, once the family system acclimates to living with addiction, and all the attendant craziness attached to it, each member grows familiar with the patterns, the responses, and the roles they’ve been assigned. Before long, it becomes normal. Painfully so.

At Burning Tree Ranch we invite our families to develop a deeper relationship with honesty. We ask them to explore where the disease of addiction has brought them to. We then invite them to prepare for the uncomfortable process of doing things differently.

David Elliot, Founder
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We want our families to come to the Family Program to help themselves, not to help their loved one.
~ David Elliott, Founder & President

Treating Addiction as a Family Disease

Addiction may seem like a self-contained affliction, but it impacts those around the addict and alcoholic profoundly. Addiction is proven to wreak havoc upon families emotionally, financially, and physically. In many cases, it destroys families entirely.

To evade feelings of guilt and shame, some families unwittingly contribute to their loved one’s addiction by making well-intentioned gestures such as lending money, making excuses, lying for and covering up behavior. Sadly, this only prolongs the chronic relapser’s suffering, and the family’s too.

Most family members — whether a spouse or a parent — feel compelled to help their loved ones, yet they end up feeling helpless and powerless over what their loved ones are doing. Sometimes they redouble their efforts at helping only to make matters worse. Now they are burned up and resentful as the addict or alcoholic continues forth with the same behaviors that continue to cause so much harm.

The Family system is in disarray. Behaviors like manipulation, dishonesty, enmeshment and codependency abound. The addicted loved one is dishonest, and so is the family. They hide secrets, don’t talk, and sometimes start using and drinking themselves to cope with the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, anger and despair.

As the addicted loved one manifests crisis after crisis, the family feels obligated to respond with ever increasing urgency. As one fire is put out, another quickly develops. There is very little rest for the family of a chronic relapser. We want this to change.

"I have been very familiar with Burning Tree Ranch since 2010, as I am a proud family member of one of its many successes. Like many folks before me, I was initially very skeptical of how helpful Burning Tree’s program would be, but once our family fully embraced its program and let its staff take control of addressing our situation, the resulting success speaks for itself.."

Joel H. Father to Marlena - Burning Tree Ranch Alumna
David Elliot, Founder
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We want to see everlasting results, and a changed life
~ David Elliott, Founder & President


Hear first hand experience from Lisa M., the mother of a Burning Tree Ranch Alumnus

Dear Families,

I once heard a speaker talk about sitting in front of the ocean and trying to stop the waves from crashing on the shore - that this is what powerlessness felt like. While the speaker was talking about their drinking and powerlessness over alcohol, I could relate to what he was saying. I was powerless over someone else’s drinking, and while I tried so hard to stop them, the waves kept coming and coming, no matter what I did or how hard I tried. It was only when I gave up trying to be the solution, trying to be their solution, that things changed.

They say the things you focus on become your higher power. My husband and his disease was my higher power. I was addicted to fixing him - if only he would stop drinking I would be OK, everything would be OK. I was vigilant - watching his every move and behavior - so attuned to his drinking that I knew what to expect of him simply by the level of liquid in the bottle. I tried everything to get him sober and in my heart, I knew I could find the right words to get him to stop drinking so I talked to him all the time. Enabling, manipulating, bargaining, judgment, rescuing, punishment, retaliation - this was the language of our relationship.

My life was solely focused on getting him to stop and the misery of what it was like when he kept drinking. I took responsibility for his drinking: “If I were smarter, prettier, more successful he wouldn’t drink.” I judged and condemned him for his drinking: “He’s the one with the problem and if he’d just get it together we would be fine”. We were both lost in his alcoholism.

The more I tried to fix him the farther away that possibility became. The more afraid I was to lose him, the farther gone he was. I often wondered where we had gone - the two people with so much hope and promise that were standing at the altar the day we got married - they were lost.

My strength and hope was in Alanon. There I learned that I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it. I learned that the disease is a family disease and often the behavior of the non-drinker is crazier than the behavior of the drinker (while I didn’t like the idea, it was true in my case). I learned to separate the disease of alcoholism from the person so that I could hate the disease, but love the person.

I learned that I could love, understand, encourage and support without enabling. I learned that I wasn’t alone. I connected with a higher power. In reading Al Anon literature and the big book, I found us, my husband and me, among the pages of those books. I listened to open AA speakers and learned compassion born of understanding. And I learned that I was not equipped to help my husband - that I couldn’t make him stop drinking and that his recovery was his business and my recovery was mine.

By the time he reached Burning Tree Ranch, we were both in a state of surrender. I had given up - I knew that I couldn’t fix him, but I also knew that I couldn’t bear to see him suffer. I laid down my sword and followed the direction of the Burning Tree staff - it was a Step 3 moment. I was relieved that he was safe, but knew that the work he had to do was his work, not mine and left him to the process, the counselors and experts at Burning Tree.

I respected the rules and did what was asked of me. I knew that I had already lost him and it was only in surrendering him to the Burning Tree program that we had a chance of coming together again. When he embarked on his journey at BTR, we had been married 13 years. We are about to celebrate our 31st anniversary.

BTR gave us a new start - when he graduated, we became newlyweds - starting our life together over. It was strange at first, almost like we had never met even thought we had been married for well over a decade, but BTR and the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon gave us the tools and language to (re)build our life together - grounded in recovery and speaking the language of the heart.

With gratitude,
Elisabeth K


A sincere message for families of loved ones entering our program.

Dear Families,
I often meet you after the whirlwind that ends with your loved one arriving at Burning Tree Ranch. I meet you in the space between relief that your loved one made it into long term treatment and fear that they won’t stay long enough to accept the help being offered. It is in this space that our treatment team will begin construction of something new with you. But remember - new construction takes time and growth is sometimes painful.

We talk with our families at length about how time is one of our greatest gifts at Burning Tree Ranch. We know that 30-, 60- and 90-day treatments have not worked for our clients. If it did they would have been sober already. While there are people who can get sober in those facilities, our clients just aren’t those people.

When working with families, I often reference this odd form of amnesia that possesses the alcoholic and addict. It is baffling to watch someone be so desperate and distraught after burning it all to the ground and then, sometimes within days, be equally as convicted that they can control it, or it wasn’t that bad. I see families have this same amnesia. Families share the same desperation when trying to get their loved ones to treatment and become equally as convinced that the client is doing well despite a professional clinical team stating otherwise. The client will begin to look better physically, begin to sound better and start to believe that maybe 6 months is long enough. Families will start to question if Aftercare is really that important despite their loved one’s history of doing well in all those other treatment centers only to relapse a short while later.

Early on we begin to talk with families about their participation in the disease and most will, without fail, provide assurances that they are committed to doing what we ask of them. Then, as the client begins to have feelings, to be held accountable, and as their disease begins to ramp up, we will hear families start to defend their loved one, to ask for exceptions; some even begin to question the processes and approaches we have here.

At Burning Tree Ranch, we will ask that you begin participating in treatment the way we believe you need to. We are going to ask that you trust the process and follow the direction of the treatment team. We are going to ask that you attend a series of activities like a Family Workshop, Family Program, etc. and begin participating in Al-Anon. We will begin to confront ineffective family dynamics in real time, even if they are uncomfortable for you. We view this as a life and death errand and frankly, we are okay with you and your loved one being uncomfortable.

What we know to be true is that you love your addict/alcoholic. What we also know to be true is that the disease of addiction takes love and uses it as a weapon. Sadly, we have seen many families literally love their addict/alcoholic to death. At Burning Tree Ranch, we are going to ask that you let go of your control, hand us the reins and follow direction. This will be difficult at times. There will be moments when you may not want to do what we are asking you to do. But even when it's hard, we are going to ask that you support our process - and do it anyway.

We aren’t for everyone and we understand that, but, we do have a way - and it is a way that works.

Meghan Bohlman, LPC, LCDC, EMDR Trained
Clinical Director - Burning Tree Ranch

Separation And The Journey Of Healing

To treat addiction as a family disease, there needs to be separation from the addicted loved one and the rest of the family members. The first thing Burning Tree Ranch asks is for the family to establish some form of separation. We do this with limited phone calls and limited contact. We ask that topics of discussion during this period be restricted to “news, sports, and weather.”

As the separation begins to occur, it allows both sides to begin their own healing journey. Each person, the family member and the client, begin working on their personal recoveries independent of one another.

What sometimes happens to family members once their loved one enters long-term treatment is that they begin to lose their sense of identity and purpose in the relationship. They feel a void or loneliness because their primary role as enabler, fixer or codependent is no longer needed.

This is when we see the family begin to act out with their own unhealthy behaviors. As feelings of guilt, shame, or fear come to the surface, the family member may want to avert these feelings by buying gifts, showering praise, or dismissing past injuries in hopes that doing so will mitigate the addicted loved one’s discomfort. In other words, they try to make things all better, and they try to control. This is not what the chronic relapser needs. This is not healthy behavior.

We encourage our family members to actively participate in Al-Anon and Families Anonymous. Just as their loved one is expected to participate in the twelve step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, we expect our families to participate, too. We also ask that family members attain a sponsor, a home group, and that they begin working all twelve steps with their sponsor immediately.

Our families were generally quick to answer the crisis call for their loved ones in active addiction. We ask that they apply that same sense of desperate urgency to their own personal recoveries. When they do, the outcomes are not only better, they are sustainable.


Olivia Wilder of Burning Tree Programs On How To Achieve Great Success After Recovering From An Addiction

An Interview With Penny Bauder

When people are trapped in a severe addiction it can feel like there is no way out and there is no hope for a better future. This is of course not true. Millions of people are in recovery from an addiction and they go on to lead successful, fulfilling and inspiring lives.

Authority Magazine started a new series about women who were able to achieve great success after recovering from an addiction. The premise of the series is to offer hope and inspiration to people who feel trapped in similar circumstances.

As a part of this series we had the pleasure to interview Olivia Wilder. Olivia Wilder serves as Director of Admissions for Burning Tree Programs, and is responsible for helping execute the organization’s vision of excellence, Olivia leads a talented team of admissions specialists dedicated to Burning Tree’s philosophy of “creating a life of excellence beyond sobriety.”

Olivia serves as the chief clinical liaison between families/clients and the executive & clinical director of each of Burning Tree’s 3 programs. Not only is she a leader within the Burning Tree organization, she has been sober since 2014 and is a proud alumna of Burning Tree Ranch. Trained in multiple intervention disciplines, Olivia utilizes mindfulness, DBT skills, and a solutions-focused approach to help achieve dynamic results on behalf of the...


What Happens to Families as Their Loved Ones Stay in Treatment

As the alcoholic or drug addict begins to change and find a solution to their problems, family members start to get their personal lives back.

Once both sides become more healthy, the treatment team starts to integrate the two back together.

In the first few months of a client’s stay at the Ranch, the treatment team will work with the family to help them set boundaries, and become established in their own recovery routines. Then, in a workshop setting, the treatment team and family will learn how to work together to provide the best possible treatment for the client.

Burning Tree holds its Family Workshop every six weeks. This workshop helps the family learn more about the Burning Tree process, while determining what hasn’t worked for the family in the past and what could work better in the future. This workshop assists family members in establishing a new set of beliefs about the family system and challenges them to more deeply explore how to approach life together differently.

We often ask our families during these encounters, “What are you willing to do to get what you say you want?”

Once we can establish the family members’ commitment to the therapeutic process at Burning Tree Ranch, the family begins to integrate again.

Independent Recoveries

Family members and their loved one will emerge from the Burning Tree Ranch experience as independent people with independent programs and recoveries. They will learn to express their support and love in a more healthy way, which will be specific to each unique family system.

They will no longer burn up energy foolishly in an attempt to evade, control, or mitigate a relapse. Instead, they will be responsible for themselves, and themselves only. They will learn how to say no when they mean no, and yes when they mean yes. Communication will become more clear, more direct, and more authentic. Taking things personally and making assumptions will fall by the wayside.

Gerad Davis, Admissions Specialist

Gerad Davis

Admissions Specialist
Gerad serves as a dedicated Admissions Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. Engaged in his passion for helping others, Gerad exudes a calm and attentive ear for every person seeking our support. By gathering insights, focussing on solutions, and identifying resources for our family members, he fulfills a vital service to those afflicted by the disease of addiction. In long-term recovery since 2018, Gerad is a grateful Burning Tree alumni whose mission is to serve the interest of those in need. In his spare time he enjoys writing, painting, and training for marathons.
Paulo Jacuzzi

Paulo Jacuzzi

Admission Specialist
Paulo Jacuzzi serves as Admissions Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. After graduating Burning Tree in 2001, he returned home to help manage the family business. Serving in various C-Level roles including President and CEO, Paulo declares, “It was an honor to be entrusted with my father’s legacy; a true gift of sobriety.” He rejoined the Burning Tree Team in 2023. “My passion is to help families struggling with addiction, and to aid them in finding the freedom we discovered.” Sober for more than twenty years, Paulo and his bride, Jennifer, live in Arkansas with their ever-expanding brood of rescue animals.
Holly Burnett

Holly Burnett

Admission Specialist
Holly Serves as Admissions Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. Having worked in various clinical roles throughout her career, what Holly most enjoys is connecting clients and families with the services they need to achieve their full potential in recovery. With the ultimate goal of becoming a licensed therapist, she is currently completing her degree in Social Work. Certified as a Mindfulness In Recovery Facilitator, she seeks to lend a sense of calm, diligent attention to the important needs of each and every loved one that seeks help from the Burning Tree organization.

Jim Long

Jim Long Serves as Counselor at Burning Tree Ranch. A former U.S. Army Sergeant and Fire Department Captain, Jim enjoys collaborating with his clinical and psychiatric counterparts to help uncover and treat the root causes and conditions of addiction. Sober since 1994, he utilizes his own experience in recovery to help our clients gravitate towards a new way of living, a new sense of freedom, and a brand new happiness. As a highly trained EMT-P and first responder, Jim delivers a deep sense of confidence that the crisis of addiction can be overcome. Happily married for over 30 years, Jim shares 4 children and 2 grandchildren with his amazing wife, Shelley.


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.
Sarah Adams, Admissions Specialist


Admissions Specialist
Sarah serves as a dedicated Admissions Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. Known for her compassionate and insightful nature, Sarah is often one of the first friendly voices a client or family member will engage. “I like to meet people where they are at, listen and learn. It is always an inspiration to get to be the outstretched hand that someone is reaching for in need.” With a degree in biology from Stephen F. State Austin University, Sarah is constantly seeking to expand her education. Most recently, she has begun pursuing her counselor’s license. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, traveling, exercising and exploring the great outdoors.
Erik Jokinen, Admission Specialist

Erik Jokinen

Admission Specialist
Erik serves as a dedicated Admissions Specialist at Burning Tree Programs. Being in long-term recovery himself, Erik enjoys helping families and individuals find the same freedom that he and his loved one’s discovered on their shared journey to wellness. With over 8 years of professional treatment experience, Erik’s favorite part of his career is getting to support those in need as they engage in the inspirational process of asking for help. Erik has a 4-year old daughter, one dog and two cats. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and attempting to be decent at golf.
Sally LeBeau, Admission Specialist

Sally LeBeau

Admission Specialist
Sally serves as a dedicated Admissions Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. An alumna of Burning Tree Ranch, Sally believes that “by aiding our clients and families in the process of finding a program that best fits their needs, I get to play a small part in helping them accomplish a life beyond their wildest dreams.” Sober since 2005, Sally has over 5 years experience working as a professional in the treatment industry. She believes in the virtues of honesty, integrity, and compassion. Happily married, Sally enjoys the beach, reading, and eating her favorite icecream with her husband, Matt.

"A Message To Families"

Brook McKenzie, LCDCI, Chief Operating Officer


Alexis "Lexi" Thomas

Admission Specialist

Alexis “Lexi” Thomas serves as Admission Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of Arizona, Lexi lends passion, knowledge, and insight to the admissions process. Treating every inquiry with a sense of tenderness and empathy, Lexi knows first-hand what the family member’s experience of addiction feels like. After losing her own family member to addiction, Lexi dedicated her life to helping others find the freedom they deserve. A native of Tucson, AZ., Lexi is happily married and expecting a baby. She counts one dog and a cat amongst her growing family.


Jimmy Epperson

Chief Communications Officer
Jimmy Epperson serves as Chief Communications Officer for Burning Tree Programs. Responsible for helping communicate the philosophies of the Burning Tree brand, Jimmy utilizes his background as a journalist to develop meaningful content meant to inspire faith, courage, and hope. Demonstrating strong organizational skills nurtured by his professional background with AT&T and Facebook, Jimmy helps craft the executive communications that promote Burning Tree’s long-established vision of excellence. Married, with two boys, Jimmy’s sister and wife are both graduates of the Burning Tree Ranch; they are still sober to this day.
Lauren Juvers

Lauren Juvers

National Business Development Rep.
Lauren Juvers serves as National Business Development Representative for Burning Tree Programs. Responsible for acting as an ambassador of the program, Lauren’s duties consist of sharing her personal story of recovery, working with professionals who specialize in treating addiction, and giving hope to families who are desperate to help their loved ones. As an Alumnae of Burning Tree Ranch, she describes the program as a “nationally known, long-term residential treatment center for the chronic relapser and treatment resistant individual.” An avid animal lover and PADI-certified scuba diver, Lauren has been sober since 2011. She resides in Dallas, TX.
Julian Duran

Julian Duran

National Business Development Rep.
Julian Duran serves as National Business Development Representative for Burning Tree Programs. By educating families and providers on the unique program offered at Burning Tree Ranch, Julian seeks to create as many opportunities as possible for the chronic relapser. Prioritizing open-mindedness, teachability, and faith as the foundational principles of his own recovery, Julian helps our network of community partners continue to grow on a daily basis. Counted amongst his favorite hobbies are weightlifting, reading, dancing and service work. Sober since 2012, Julian resides in beautiful Arizona.
Patty Raymer

Patty Raymer

SR. National Business Development Rep.

Patty Raymer serves as Sr. National Business Development Representative for Burning Tree Programs. Active in the national recovery community since 1992, Patty has enjoyed over 30 years of sobriety, service, and excellence in her personal triumph over addiction. Today she helps guide families and clients in their own quest for meaningful, individualized treatment solutions. As one of the most recognizable names in our industry, Patty believes that enrolling in one’s own personal work is the best way for the family to heal from the wounds of addiction. Subscribed to the mantra of “Trust God, Clean House, Help Others,” Patty and her husband reside in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

KC Gooding

KC Gooding

National Business Development Rep.
KC Gooding serves as National Business Development Representative for Burning Tree Programs. An active committee member for NAATP, NAADAC, and CASA, KC engages with multiple organizations to help expand our country’s commitment to important policy decisions that affect those suffering from addiction. He prioritizes service to others as the cornerstone of his own recovery, and seeks to ensure that as many families as possible are aware of the broad range of services available to support their needs. Sober since 2012, KC and his wife reside in gorgeous Dana Point, CA. He is the proud father of two.
Eric Button

Eric Button

PRSS | Family Liaison & Sr. Business Dev. Rep.
Eric Button serves as Family Liaison & Sr. Business Development Representative for Burning Tree Programs. A customer service expert, Eric unites our families with the clinical process at Burning Tree Ranch, introducing each family to the support, education, and resources available throughout their loved one’s treatment process. As an alumnus, he shares his personal recovery story throughout the United States, helping connect as many families as possible to the wide network of professionals who, like Eric, are dedicated to improving the lives of others. An avid aircraft enthusiast and aviator, Eric has been sober since 2005. He and his fiancé reside in Austin, TX.
Anthony Morengo

Anthony Marengo

Chief Marketing Officer
Anthony Marengo serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Burning Tree Programs. Responsible for helping execute the organization’s strategic vision, Anthony leads a talented team of Admissions and Business Development professionals who represent Burning Tree’s three programs, Burning Tree Ranch, Burning Tree West and Renewal Lodge. With over 15 years of treatment industry experience, Anthony’s commitment to his own personal recovery has afforded him the opportunity to help countless individuals. Married with two boys and residing in Arizona, Anthony has been sober since 2004.
Olivia Wilder

Olivia Wilder

Director of Admissions

Olivia Wilder serves as Director of Admissions for Burning Tree Programs. Responsible for helping execute the organization’s vision of excellence, Olivia leads a talented team of admissions specialists dedicated to Burning Tree’s philosophy of “creating a life of excellence beyond sobriety.” Trained in multiple intervention disciplines, Olivia utilizes mindfulness, DBT skills, and a solutions-focussed approach to help achieve dynamic results on behalf of the loved one in need. Sober since 2014, Olivia is a proud alumna of Burning Tree Ranch. She counts her two children and loving husband amongst her greatest blessings.

Her intervention training includes a specialization Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Applied Suicide Prevention.

Jade Perry

Jade Perry

Human Resources Administrator
Jade Perry serves as Human Resources Administrator for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for coordinating functions related to the organization’s employees and contractors, Jade helps manage human resources policies designed to support the health, safety and welfare of all Burning Tree personnel. An expert at facilitating health care benefits, Jade is also one of the friendly voices our callers hear when inquiring with the Ranch. Happily married for 25 years, Jade enjoys her nine grandchildren every chance she gets. A proud Texas native, she has been with Burning Tree since 2009.
Kristie Mays

Kristie Mays

Finance Assistant

Kristie Mays serves as Financial Assistance Coordinator for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for a host of duties to include payroll and client billing, Kristie boasts a 25-year background in the financial services industry. Utilizing clear communication to assist the team mission of excellence, Kristie demonstrates her commitment to Burning Tree’s fiscal viability by the method of accurate accounting and financial modeling. Happily married for 26-years, Kristy has 3 beautiful children, a long-haired dachshund, cocker spaniel, and a 1-year-old terrier. She is a proud Texas native.

Cody Odom, MS, CEO

Cody Odom, MS

Chief Financial Officer
Cody Odom serves as Chief Financial Officer at Burning Tree Programs. With a Master’s of Science in Accounting, he is responsible for overseeing all financial operations within the organization, including budgeting, financial analysis, and reporting. He understands the financial burdens that families face when seeking treatment for their loved ones, and he is passionate about finding ways to make treatment more accessible and affordable. A native Texan, sober softball enthusiast, and parent to two adorable cats, Cody and his wife, Sarah, reside in Bastrop, TX. Sober since 2015, he is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction.
Shelia Sirls

Shelia Sirls

Client Care Manager

Shelia Sirls serves as Client Care Manager for Burning Tree Ranch. With a 30-year background in behavioral health, Sheila assists our clients in developing the needed life skills to support a full life in recovery. Blending kindness with practicality, Shelia demonstrates the virtues of personal responsibility by helping our clients coordinate their chores, weekly food shopping, supplies inventory, and menu planning. Known across the entire United States for her country fried chicken, Sheila joined Burning Tree Ranch in 2006. A native of Kaufman, TX she has two grown children and six beautiful grandchildren.

Keisha Miller

Keisha Miller

Treatment Tech
Keisha Miller serves as Treatment Tech for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for coordinating logistics, client transportation and scheduling, Keisha incorporates kindness and compassion to help facilitate a client’s journey through treatment. As a certified medical assistant, Keisha blends her background in the human services field with Burning Tree’s steadfast commitment to quality of life improvements. “Making a difference in someone’s life gives purpose to my own,” says Keisha. Born and raised in Kaufman, TX, she has been bringing value to the Burning Tree team since 2017.
Leroy Woldridge

Leroy Wooldridge

Director of Maintenance

Leroy Wooldridge serves as the Director of Maintenance for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for maintaining one of the most unique properties in the nation, Leroy manages all aspects of Burning Tree’s two-thousand acre ranch. With a professional background in commercial construction, Leroy employs a broad range of skills in his quest to maintain Burning Tree’s facilities at optimal functionality. Earning “employee of the year” multiple times since 2009, Leroy exhibits Burning Tree’s passion for “creating a life of excellence beyond sobriety.” He and his wife reside in Kaufman, TX, and are the proud parents of three grown children.

Donna Brown

Donna Brown

Operations Assistant
Donna Brown serves as Operations Assistant for Burning Tree Ranch. Dedicated to Burning Tree’s standard of excellence, Donna utilizes her administrative skill set to manage all facets of logistical planning, EMR integration, and internal clinical communications designed to support the health and welfare of every client. Whether scheduling appointments, managing patient records, or coordinating staff, Donna plays a vital role in the delivery of healthcare at Burning Tree Ranch. Originally from Kaufman, TX she counts two children and a beautiful grandchild amongst her growing family.
Shelley Long

Shelley Long

Operations Manager

Shelley Long serves as Operations Manager for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for upholding the core principles of the organization, Shelley utilizes a combination of efficiency and attentiveness to create a safe place for our clients to recover. Shelley has worked for Burning Tree for more than a decade. Shelley’s strengths are strong organization skills, taking initiative, and using her sense of humor in her day-to-day job. Shelley wants to help alcoholics and addicts find their way to a successful sober life. Shelley and her husband have four grown children and two grandkids.

Angie Buja

Angie Buja

Family Program Facilitator
Angie Buja serves as the Family Program Facilitator for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for co-creating Burning Tree’s nationally recognized family program, Angie is a practiced therapist who believes in treating addiction as a family disease, not an individual disease. By helping families navigate through the repeating patterns of relapse, Angie guides families in identifying how they can contribute differently to help achieve better, more meaningful results. Her presentations include humor, education, experiential exercises as well as sharing about her own “growth opportunities”. She also holds the license of supervisor and enjoys working with new clinicians as they pursue their professional development. Angie is happily married with a teenage son. She works and lives in Dallas, TX. and is the co-founder of Sparrow House Counseling.
David Elliot, Founder

David Elliott

Founder & President
David Elliott serves as the Founder and President of Burning Tree Programs. Responsible for architecting the vision of the organization, David’s chief mission is to promote lasting change in the lives of those suffering from chronic relapse. With a hands-on approach, involved presence, and unyielding commitment to excellence, David serves as the heartbeat of our organization’s steadfast commitment to long-term, progress-based treatment. “My favorite part of what we do is to witness the evolution that individuals undergo during the course of treatment at Burning Tree.” An avid dog lover, Mr. Elliott resides in Dallas, TX. He has been sober since 1992.
Dawn Wilson

Dawn WIlson

BS | Director of Transition Services

Dawn Wilson serves as Director of Transition Services for Burning Tree Ranch and has a Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from The University of Texas at Dallas. Responsible for extending Burning Tree’s standard of excellence into the transitional phase of the program, Dawn incorporates accountability, structure, and consistency to help our clients reintegrate into independent living. A weekly participant at Burning Tree’s Master Treatment Planning, Dawn is familiar with every client, from their very first week all the way to graduation. An active participant in the Down Syndrome Community, Dawn fundraises for the Down Syndrome Guild and The Rise School of Dallas, a non-profit that serves children with Down Syndrome. Happily married, she is the loving mother of 6 beautiful children. Dawn has been sober since 2004.

Carey Ferren

Carey Ferren

LCDC, Director of Alumni
Carey Ferren serves as the Alumni Director for Burning Tree Ranch. With fifteen years of service as a Ranch team member, Carey has participated in multiple roles throughout his career ranging from Counselor to Assistant Clinical Director. Today, as Director of Alumni, Carey incorporates his therapeutic background to engage our Alumni in a host of community-based activities designed to inspire a deeper sense of fellowship and connectedness. An alumnus of Burning Tree Ranch himself, Carey became sober in 2004. He is happily married and the proud father of two children ages 18 and 14.
Brook McKenzie, COO

Brook McKenzie

LCDCI, Chief Operating Officer
Brook McKenzie serves as Chief Operating Officer for Burning Tree Programs. Based at the Ranch facility in Kaufman, TX, Brook plays an everyday part in the lives of our clients and families. His leadership style is informed by his own experience as a Burning Tree Ranch alumnus. With compassion, understanding, and a deep insight into the mind of the chronic relapser, Brook gets to engage in the healing experience of every family that Burning Tree serves. Happily married with two young boys, Brook enjoys fatherhood, sobriety, and all the wonders of living a full life in recovery.
Ashley Martinez, Personal Trainer

Ashley Martinez

Professional Fitness Trainer
Ashley Martinez is a Professional Fitness Trainer at Burning Tree Ranch. With a background working for Camp Gladiator and a certificate in drug and alcohol counseling, Ashley’s goal is to make fitness fun and show her clients that they are capable of overcoming challenges. Ashley works on all types of fitness and sees a direct link between working out and growing stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. She finds her passion in seeing others overcome their addictions and struggles. Ashley also sings and plays guitar. She has been married 10 years, and enjoys her three beautiful children.
Colleen Quinn, Licensed Counselor Intern

Colleen Quinn

LCDCI, Clinical Team
Colleen Quinn serves as a valuable member of the Burning Tree Ranch clinical team. Utilizing her multi-year training in the behavioral health field, Colleen incorporates practical experience with sound clinical interventions to help facilitate the therapeutic process. Through Colleen’s own recovery, she has learned that once dysfunction has been addressed, lives can drastically change. Colleen’s goal is to help others discover what is not working in their lives and make lasting changes. Sober since 2017, Colleen is an alumnus of Burning Tree Ranch. She lives in Dallas TX where she participates in a vibrant women’s recovery community.
Meghan Bohlman, Clinical Director

Meghan Bohlman

LPC, LCDC, EMDR-Trained, Clinical Director

Meghan Bohlman serves as Clinical Director for Burning Tree Ranch. Holding a Master of Arts in International Disaster Psychology, Meghan’s therapeutic specialties include Trauma, Addiction and Family Dynamics. Her leadership style encourages the team to integrate objectivity with compassion while remaining consistently focused on the mission of offering ethical and authentic clinical interventions to the chronic relapser. A published researcher, Division I athlete, and EMDR-Trained therapist, Meghan embodies the Burning Tree standard of excellence. Happily married, she and her husband reside in Kaufman, TX.

Jesse Earwood, Executive Director

Jesse Earwood

Executive Director
Jesse Earwood serves as Executive Director for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for upholding Burning Tree’s core philosophy of “creating a life of excellence beyond sobriety,” Jesse’s primary function is to help the client community realize their full potential in recovery. His leadership style inspires trust, confidence, and security as our clients navigate through the difficult challenges of becoming fully and permanently sober. As an alumnus of Burning Tree Ranch himself, Jesse utilizes practical, real-life experience to help our clients establish their own “life of excellence beyond sobriety.” A scratch golfer, Jesse lives in Forney, TX with his wife and daughter. He’s been sober since 2010.

Jennifer Boofer

BA | Neurofeedback Technician
Jennifer Boofer serves as Neurofeedback Technician at Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for managing the program’s neurotherapy department, Jennifer works collaboratively with the clinical department to help address a host of brain-based disorders. Known for her charismatic smile and warm, easy-going demeanor, Jennifer holds degrees in both Health Information and Sociology. While the science of biological activity and behavior are her specialty, Jennifer also helps manage Burning Tree’s state licensing and compliance standards. A Texas native, Jennifer joined Burning Tree in 2007. She is happily married with two children and ten beautiful grandchildren.

Terry Busse

MS, LCDC | Counselor
Terry Busse serves as Counselor for Burning Tree Ranch. Holding a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Masters of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Terry believes that anyone suffering from addiction can make a full and permanent recovery. “The best thing about Burning Tree is that we address co-occurring and addiction disorders simultaneously. This allows us to focus on the big picture and the big result.” says Terry. “Supported by the gift of time, our clients finally get down to root causes and conditions; and because of that, they finally get to heal.” Originally from Minnesota, Terry has been sober in 1977.

Keyana Lee

MS, LCDC | Counselor
Keyna Lee serves as Counselor for Burning Tree Ranch. Informed by her own lived experience in sobriety and supported by her advanced degree in psychology, Keyna offers invaluable insight to the client community as they engage their own opportunity for permanent recovery. Her dedication to the Burning Tree standard of excellence, coupled with a collaborative, teamwork approach help Keyna fulfill her shared goal of “offering quality care that makes good things happen for someone else.” Following a successful career in law enforcement, Keyna joined the Burning Tree team in 2016. She and her family reside in Kaufman, TX.

Drew McLaughlin

LPC-A, LCDC, EMDR-Trained | Counselor
Drew McLaughlin serves as Counselor for Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for helping advance the Burning Tree philosophy of love, service, and excellence, Drew blends clinical expertise with over twelve years of personal recovery experience to assist the client community in realizing their own “life of excellence beyond sobriety.” As a Burning Tree Ranch graduate, Drew feels privileged to get to help others find freedom from the bondage of addiction. A team member since 2013, Drew holds a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling from Amberton University. He is most proud of being a sober father, husband, son and brother.
Dr. Leslie H. Secrest | Medical Director/Psychiatrist

Dr. Leslie H. Secrest

Medical Director, Psychiatrist
Dr. Leslie H. Secrest serves as Medical Director and Psychiatrist at Burning Tree Ranch. Responsible for helping uphold the organization’s commitment to excellence, Dr Secrest believes in a holistic approach to treating mental health and addiction. Specializing in Adult Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine and Psychotherapy, Dr. Secrest is board-certified by both the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Preventive Medicine / Addiction Medicine. A native of Dallas, TX his numerous awards and recognitions serve as a testament to his 20+ years of service in the field of medicine.
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Peter Piraino

Peter Piraino

LMSW, LCDC | Chief Executive Officer

Peter Piraino, LMSW, serves as Chief Executive Officer for Burning Tree Programs. Responsible for executing the vision of Burning Tree’s philosophy of excellence, Peter’s primary goal is to help as many clients as possible gain access to the treatment they need. A clinician by training, Peter incorporates sound, ethical business practices to help inform the organization of its duties to the greater community. By placing the needs of his staff and company ahead of his own, Peter leads with a team approach that continues to inspire the mission of Burning Tree Programs. A proud father, Peter and his wife count five dogs amongst their family members.