November 21, 2019
Where Are They Now? Lauren’s Story
It’s hard to believe that it has been 11 years since I stepped foot at Turn-About Ranch. I remember driving up to the barn in the middle of a blizzard. Being from Texas, the amount of snow coming down was unbelievable. Right as we parked, I was rushed out of my car and into a truck that escorted me down the road to Roundy. Little did I know that was the last time I would see my parents and the beginning of my time at Turn-About Ranch.
Before Turn-About Ranch I was lost. At age 15, I had found myself in a world of hurt and falling down a tunnel I didn’t know how to get out of. After years of battling with depression and anxiety, I began to self-medicate. I found comfort in sex, drugs and alcohol and also had begun cutting myself. I was on a very dangerous path that no one seemed to be able to derail me from. I was skipping school, sneaking out every night and had begun dating my drug dealer.
Finally, my family had enough. After a month-long bender, I opened my eyes to what was around me and found myself in the middle of no where Utah, covered in snow and sitting in an impact circle on my 16th birthday of all days. As a gift, Wayne allowed me to keep the flavor packet of the ramen noodles I was to heat over my fire. At the time, I hated everything about my life. I remember feeling so low, that dying seemed like a decent option. Over time, life at Turn-About Ranch began to sink in. The shock of your new reality fades away and eventually you learn to accept how things are… well at least you were supposed to. I don’t think that acceptance part clicked in for me until a bit later than others. At a point in time, I was sent back to Roundy, did numerous walks around the arena and back pasture and during my time there, they renamed the “Limbo” desk to the “Lauren” desk. I really woke up about a few weeks before graduation. We were having some drama with the other girls and Myron and Peggie had us all sit in a circle to hash out our issues. I don’t remember the details, but I will never forget my conversation with Myron. I assume I was being difficult, arguing back. I know there had been talk about sending me on to another camp because I wasn’t getting it. At this point, Myron told me, “You haven’t changed! You’re the same girl that got sent here!” This lit something inside of me. I looked at him and said, “I think I’ve changed. I know I have.” In that moment I knew; something really had changed. I didn’t know what or how, but over my time there, I was not the broken girl that had walked in. I felt strong. Strong enough to stand up to Myron, which is saying something. I knew that my heart had changed and it was time to embrace it.
So where I am now… Well, like I said, it’s been 11 years. I am now 27, mother to the coolest kid on the planet and soon to be step mom to 3. I am getting married in a month to the best man I know and I am healthy. After graduating, I still took some time getting back on the straight and narrow. I made some mistakes, took some tumbles, but I think Turn-About Ranch gave me to confidence to know that I could do it. My mistakes didn’t have to define who I was. “If you can own it, you can change it,” right? To this day, that is still the motto I live by. Thanks to Tom, I can change my own tire and oil. Because of Karl, I can always find something to laugh at in any situation, good or bad. Thanks to Peggie, I have come up with the best chores for my kids (raking gravel is the favorite around here)! Wayne taught me to never give up. Keep pushing even when you’re down. Myron gave me the fight I forgot I had. He lit the match inside of me that wanted to show everyone that I really could do it, don’t tell me I can’t. And my sweet horse Stucky, taught me what a pain in the ass I can really be! I honestly don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Turn-About Ranch. I made some life long friendships with the people I was with and I have memories I won’t ever forget. I now look back on my time and laugh fondly. I grew so much in just the short time I spent there. I am truly grateful for those mentors and counselors. At the time, I was so annoyed and mad at how hard they pushed me. Now I am beyond grateful. They have shown me just how strong I really am.