Renaissance Ranch

Fatherhood and Addiction Recovery: A Relationship-Saving Combination

Jun 27, 2023

Fathers can have a tremendous impact on their children for good and bad. They are a child’s first and greatest male role model, and they typically set the tone for every male interaction after that. Thus, when a dad gets involved in drug or alcohol abuse, his children are likely to act out, drop out of school, abuse harmful substances, and engage in risky or criminal behavior.

With that in mind, Renaissance Ranch, a rehab for men in Utah and Idaho, has launched a new campaign focused on strengthening dads in recovery. “Fathers Empowered: Reclaiming Lives, Restoring Families” throws a spotlight on how important fathers are in a child’s life and in what ways specialized substance abuse care can help to mend shattered family relationships.

Preston Dixon, COO at Renaissance, described the campaign like this: “As a men’s treatment center, we have had the unique opportunity to focus only on male addiction issues. Part of that process is to help them reconnect with their families.”

He continued, “We do this by working through the 12 Steps to get them to the point where they learn to like the guy staring back at them in the mirror. In doing so, they become empowered to love others, especially their children and other family members. Our program gives clients hope that through recovery, they can begin to connect with their children on a level that up to now has been impossible.”

How exactly does Renaissance Ranch deliver on its mission to encourage and empower fathers with substance use disorder? We use a three-pronged approach:

Fatherhood and Addiction Recovery


Peer-Led Treatment

There’s something powerful about receiving treatment from someone who has walked in your shoes and dealt with many of the same struggles surrounding addiction. The Ranch’s staff mainly comprises men with their own recovery backstories, and many of them have children and families of their own, so they can relate to specific issues that come with fatherhood and substance abuse.

Take Preston and Tyson Dixon, the brothers who lead the Renaissance Ranch team. Preston heads up operations, while Tyson currently serves as CEO. Both are husbands, fathers, and former Ranch residents with several years of sobriety under their belts. Their life experiences allow them to bring unique mentorship and empathy to their roles.

In a 2021 television interview for Good Things Utah, Tyson talked about how being in an all-male addiction recovery center helped him finally make the transition into sobriety permanent, saying that being around other men making healthy decisions and trying to be better fathers and husbands helped him want to do the same.

Other examples include the Ranch’s Dave Callister, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and Lane Porter, admissions director and certified mental health counselor (CMHC). “It’s not uncommon for a patient to get their life back in recovery and then return to school to become a licensed therapist so they can help others coming up behind them,” said Dixon. “In fact, that describes most of our credentialed staff in a nutshell.”

Comprehensive Family Education and Support

Treatment patients are usually surrounded by loving family members and friends who want to help them recover but don’t know how. These loved ones also have suffered trauma, loss, and grief right alongside the person with the SUD.

“Our family education classes, webinars, and podcasts give families the tools they need to not only understand substance abuse and recovery but also to begin their own recovery journey from destructive enabling and persecuting behaviors,” said Dixon.

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSAC) cites a growing body of research showing the positive outcomes stemming from family-centered substance use disorder treatment. These include:

  • Higher treatment retention rates
  • Lower instances of relapse
  • Enhanced parental bonding with children
  • Improved attitudes toward parenting
  • Decreased risk of child abuse

“These findings match up with our own experience, as we have witnessed a dramatic increase in our retention rates due to our patients and their loved ones participating in family education classes,” Dixon added.

Engaged Long-Term Recovery

The hard truth is that up to 60% of those coming out of an intensive inpatient recovery program relapse into old habits within the first 3 to 6 months. A strong after-care plan goes a long way in lowering that rate.

“Our alumni support group, Band of Brothers, is one of the most critical aspects of our recovery treatment success,” Dixon explained. “It keeps the men engaged with and accountable to one another as they continue their recovery journey outside the confines of the drug or alcohol rehab.”

The men’s treatment center alumni group connects former patients via regular meetings, social activities, retreats, continuing education classes, and ongoing communication through social media and other digital channels. Several social and educational events throughout the year also include the alum’s spouses and children.

“We’re here as living proof that recovery is possible and that it’s never too late to become the man, husband, and father you were meant to be,” Dixon concluded. For more information on how to get help for yourself or a loved one, call us at 855-736-7262.