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Harriet’s House helps those recovering from addiction

What began as a place for family and horses became more as Christa and Richard Reynolds found the perfect spot in the country outside of Loris.  They purchased 40 acres of farm property with a nice farm-style home on Liberty Church Road so they would be able to raise their four children and have the ability to care for and ride their horses every day of the week.

With early retirement from the grueling hours in real estate and management, the Reynolds decided they wanted more of a country atmosphere while saving $700 a month in boarding fees for their horses.  Finding the land and caring for the animals they were looking to hire an au pair to assist with the children and chores.  Instead of an au pair they hired a man who came by the ranch looking for a job; he explained his situation of recovering from addiction and stated he wanted to stay on the property to continue his sobriety.

Not long after the new hire the ranch began receiving requests for help with sobriety and help with addictions to alcohol and opiates.  One resident explained that they had been in an accident and with broken bones, he was provided an opiate prescription by the doctor treating him.  He said it didn’t take long to become dependent upon the opiates, but when the doctor discontinued prescribing opiates he began searching for a substitute; he said it took less than 30 days of a two times a day dosage to cause addiction. He found heroin, fentanyl and other street drugs as a replacement.

Beginning in January 2018 The Recovery Ranch, also known as the Harriet House, named in honor of Christa’s mother, their purpose was known.  They applied for non-profit and began making the ranch livable for residents.  Christa stated that her mother was an alcoholic until four months prior to her death from cancer. She was in recovery and earned her chips. Christa stated that her mother had placed her for adoption at the age of 10 months because she was unable to take care of a child with her compulsion for alcohol.  As a recovering alcoholic Christa said, “I know that my mother loved me and I don’t believe I could have been as selfless as my mother was;” she continued, “and I’m grateful for the life she did give to me.” 

There are 37 residents at the ranch who are continuing to remain sober.  Each resident has a story to tell and a reason they consider themselves a risk for relapse at any time.  The ranch is a safe place with an intake evaluation requiring a physical examination to be accepted into the program. They are to focus upon themselves the first 30 days as a resident, afterwards they are advised to seek employment and re-enter society with confidence in themselves.  Yet, as with other recovery facilities and rehabilitation centers, there are some setbacks in the recovery process with only a few who choose to leave the facility early without completing the program; though the Recovery Ranch has a 98 percent success rate.

There are neighbors who are unhappy with the ranch and would like to see the ranch relocate, however, the Reynolds continue to fight to keep the ranch alive.  Captain Anthony McCullough with the Horry County Police Department stated that there had been reports of trespassing by residents of the ranch and has investigated the reports.  The Reynolds showed a map of the properties where claims of trespassing were made recognizing that they are easements not owned by property owners.  Richard stated that one resident was cleaning out a drainage ditch of debris providing a better flow of water which was reported as trespassing to the HCPD.  All reports of trespassing have been investigated and no charges were filed. Also, nearby property owners made a formal complaint with the county planning and zoning department of possible code violations.  The zoning commission is working with the Reynolds to give them time to bring the property up to code.

The Recovery Ranch is a non-profit rehabilitation center, which makes them able to continue to support the residents from the monetary donations provided to them.  Each resident has chores, equestrian therapy and gardening which helps them occupy their time while learning to live without their substance in a low-stress environment.  There are mules, cows, chickens and roosters, pigs and goats the residents care for and feed.  One resident, Bubba, cooks on the weekends providing a hearty meal with his famous cheese biscuits.

Residents attend five meetings a week and church on Sunday.  The required meetings are Alcoholics Anonymous, and each Sunday at 7 p.m. they meet in the prayer circle as part of the recovery process.

The Reynolds children, Paxton 9, Parker 12, Preston 16 and Payton 17, attend school and return home to chores.  Both Paxton and Parker have stated they are proud of the work their parents are accomplishing with their program.  Parker helps residents learn to work with and care for the horses and is an avid rider.  They said that they feel the work they do at their home is a service that is a calling from God for them to learn and to fulfill the needs of people who need extra help to recover.

Harriet’s House/The Recovery Ranch has a Facebook page and on Sunday afternoons from 2 to 5 p.m. is visitors day.  The Reynolds welcome anyone to visit the ranch to see the work they are accomplishing with the residents, many of which have bachelor and master degrees as well as associate degrees.  The residents are not vagrants; they are every day people who need a little help to learn to live a clean and sober life.

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