Speakers share inspiring stories of addiction and recovery

Touchstone Ranch invites community invited to free event Saturday



ERATH COUNTY (October 11, 2016) – Ryan Leaf was “on top of the world.” But addiction, insecurity, desperation and abuse are enough to bring down a giant.

“He made some wrong choices that ended his career,” Janet Vaher, public relations representative for Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center, said. “He talks about how making the wrong decisions prevented him from reaching the peak of his career.”

Leaf could be seen as the poster boy for failure. He went from being a college football star, No. 2 NFL draft pick and coach before being caught in a downward spiral. He became a downtrodden prescription medication addict, breaking into homes and serving a more than two-year prison stint.

The once multi-million-dollar athlete and ex-con found himself making $15 per hour after his release from confinement. Years of ups and downs in the battle against addiction were always shadowed by a looming threat – he could slip and fall further into the spiral at any moment.

But he didn’t. Leaf continues to climb his way back to the top. His story is a testament to the fact that addicts may never be cured, but they can always find a purpose while living a life of recovery.

“The rest of his story is about how learning to face addiction and seek help made him the person he is today,” Vaher said, adding that person is staying sober and in recovery.

Leaf is an advocate for other individuals who are struggling with mental and behavioral health issues, encouraging people to change the way they think about mental health and addiction.


Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center invites the community to “On Top of the World,” featuring Leaf, keynote speaker, as well as Corbin Medline, a former professional baseball player whose career sidelined by addiction and followed by ongoing rehabilitation; and Zane Miller, an everyday mom turned prisoner and advocate.

Miller had a baby, was living with her boyfriend. A lovers’ spat led Miller to a night on the town to help ease the tension. When the fun was over, she got behind the wheel – a decision that forever changed the lives of four families. The nightmare culminated in a 12-year prison sentence.

“It is a decision many of us could make.” Vaher said, referring to the life-ending and life-altering direction Miller’s took in a few short hours. “A lot of people don’t understand how serious drug and alcohol addiction is, it’s a disease.”

In support of the recovery community and to reach out to others who’ve yet to come to terms with their struggle with addiction, “On Top of the World” is free and open to the entire community. The event, will be held from 12:30 until 3 p.m. this Saturday, October 15 at Cowboy Church of Erath County. Doors to the facility, located at 4945 U.S. Highway 67 toward Glen Rose, open at noon.   

The inspiring lineup of motivational speakers also includes Brandon Knauss, whose life was spiraling out of control until his mother, Debbie Knauss, made a decision that changed their lives forever. Watching Dr. Phil, Debbie decided to intervene and that decision put the family at the center of the first televised intervention and at the forefront of the battle against addiction and recovery.

Debbie and her husband, Doug Knauss, own Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center. The family also owns Vital Intervention Professionals (VIP).

“For families who need help with a loved one but don’t know how to get it or where to turn, Debbie and Brandon will be there,” Vaher said. “They can speak to anyone who has questions, those who are hesitant about seeking help.”

Meanwhile, Vaher said community members who are not connected to the struggle against addiction can still gain a lot from On Top of the World.

“It a great chance to hear these motivational speakers and get a better understanding of the issues others are facing in their everyday lives,” Vaher said.

For more information about other upcoming Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center sponsored events, follow the facility’s Facebook page. You can also learn more about recovery and treatment options on the center’s website or by calling 254-918-2009.


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