Personal Stories from Our WA Addiction Treatment Campus
At Gray Wolf Ranch, we are committed to helping residents encounter transformative life change while equipping them to live healthy, purposeful lives. The following is a true story of a Gray Wolf Ranch resident who is now a recovery coach, himself. Walking beside teens and adults as they work to overcome many of the same obstacles he once faced, Jordan de Haan shares transparently about his story of redemption and empowerment.
To learn more about our Port Townsend residential treatment center and our nationally recognized wilderness trek program, connect confidentially online. To get help for someone you love, call our admissions team at 206.785.1676, 24 hours a day.
Meet Jordan de Haan: Gray Wolf Ranch Alumnus Turned Recovery Coach
Not unlike many Gray Wolf Ranch residents, Jordan struggled with feeling uncomfortable in his body when he was young. “I came from a relatively stable home and had a normal life. I just remember feeling extremely self-conscious and socially anxious. It caused me to entertain suicidal thoughts at times, and I found myself looking for something to take the edge off my anxiety.” At the age of 14, Jordan began smoking marijuana a few times a week, a habit that soon turned into daily pot use.
“I saw nothing wrong with it,” said Jordan. “I felt completely justified, and it was working well—until it didn't.” After months of use, Jordan’s daily marijuana fix began aggravating his anxiety and depression, so he moved to the “next best thing.” By 17, his routine consisted of daily drinking and Xanax doses, which soon progressed to smoking crack and shooting heroin.
“After surviving high school, I wanted a change of scenery. I moved to Poland to work, planning to meet new people and excel in my job. I told myself I’d still party, but in a more ‘controlled’ way,” Jordan recalls. “Obviously this didn’t work. I eventually ended up on speed, showing up at work in psychosis and sleeping only one or two nights a week. I lost my job and was back at square one.”
Having bottomed out in Poland, Jordan returned stateside with a similar plan: to attend Florida State University, join a fraternity and become a ‘controlled’ partier—drinking and smoking pot and steering away from the hardcore drugs that set him back in Europe.
“Not surprisingly, I got into all the same stuff. After two and a half years of college enrollment, I had hardly attended class and was only passing one or two courses,” says Jordan. “Even when I was doing pretty well in a class—holding onto a B or C—I’d do something totally irrational like not show up for a final exam. It was the drugs. The addiction consumed me, and I was officially out of control.”
During his time at FSU, Jordan became involved in an intense relationship with a chemically dependent young woman. Shortly after failing out of school, he moved into her apartment in Orlando. “We were doing heroin and crack together every day. Our lives were a mess. At one point I remember getting arrested for blacking out and kicking in the door of a house I thought was mine,” he said. “Shortly after, I was arrested again. I couldn't keep up with the cost of my drug habit. What used to be $1K a week was now gone in two days.”
Weary of the physical, emotional and legal consequences of addiction, Jordan’s girlfriend determined to get sober. “I halfheartedly agreed; then I went out and smoked crack all night. The rest is a fog,” he remembers. “At one point, my girlfriend’s mom showed up. There was a lot of screaming and fighting, and the police came to arrest us both. When we got out of jail, she moved to Maryland and got serious about getting clean.”
After years of believing he’d never escape his life of drugs and chaos, Jordan promised his mom he would try recovery.
“I started rehab at a wilderness treatment center in Montana. We were essentially doing manual labor on a farm, and I became pretty sick from the withdrawals. I was finally able to complete the detox phase with a low benzodiazepine prescription for the symptoms,” he says. After detox, Jordan finished a residential treatment program and was given the option to move to Port Townsend, Wash. for extended care at Gray Wolf Ranch.
“Gray Wolf was unbelievably welcoming,” he said. “The counselors were on my side. They were extremely kind, and I had such a positive experience at the campus. The entire staff was great, and the treks were amazing. It’s a gorgeous area, and I strongly considered staying in Port Townsend after my extended recovery was over.” Instead, Jordan moved to Los Angeles to reconvene with his ex-girlfriend, who had also gotten sober during their time apart.
“It was under a year before I relapsed,” he recalls. “It’s hard to explain how intense the compulsion is to use. It was all I could think about—all the time.” Knowing he had to get help right away, Jordan returned to Gray Wolf Ranch where he felt safe and loved.
“My Gray Wolf counselor became like a father to me,” said Jordan. “At a time when I would go years without talking to my dad, my counselor filled that role for me. Today, because of Gray Wolf Ranch, my life is so different than I ever imagined it being.”
“Addiction was all I had known for so long. It was my lifestyle. I had fully accepted I was going to die in my mid-20s of an overdose,” said Jordan. “I wasn’t even bent out of shape over it. I watched my friends die, did CPR on their dead bodies—and accepted that it was only a matter of time."
After finishing his second program at Gray Wolf Ranch, Jordan moved to San Francisco to attend goldsmithing school and open a custom art-jewelry studio. “It was fun, but the pay wasn’t enough to support my life in San Francisco. I met a guy who was a recovery coach—and decided to join him. I became focused on helping other people, and I realized that was my calling.”
Today, Jordan leads a vibrant, sober life in San Francisco. After years of being enslaved to drugs and alcohol, he says he no longer thinks about drinking or using. “I spend my days helping others work toward a recovery mindset. I never dreamed this would happen,” Jordan said. “If you would have told me five years ago that I’d soon be clean and helping other people beat their addictions, it wouldn’t have crossed my radar. Gray Wolf Ranch played a huge role in my new life.”
The first time Jordan arrived at Gray Wolf Ranch, his self-esteem had bottomed out. “Any recognition felt extremely positive,” he says. “Gray Wolf staff members paid attention to me and remembered my name, even if they weren’t specifically involved with my case. People like Cihan always made me feel important. He recognized I had potential, and he keeps up with me by text or phone, even now.”
“I think one of the biggest differences with Gray Wolf is that it’s a loving environment where residents feel like human beings rather than ‘problems’ that need fixing. Because of my time there, I am healthy. I have restored relationships with my parents, and I’m a recovery professional and personal trainer helping others find their way out of chemical dependency.”
Jordan de Haan is a Nationally Certified Recovery Coach, Level II (NCRC-II) and a nationally certified intervention professional. As the head recovery coach at Independence Recovery Coaching San Francisco, he and his team partner with parents and addiction treatment facilities to conduct interventions, transport teens and young adults to rehab, and offer one-on-one recovery coaching and sober companion services.
“My personal experience has taught me how to communicate with young people reliant on drugs and alcohol,” says Jordan. “The reality is that addiction is a disease of relapsing, and sometimes people aren’t ready for recovery. My job is to plant a seed in their mind; to give them a taste of recovery. That way—when they find themselves wanting more out of life—they remember that it’s possible to get help and live differently.”
Jordan is also a certified personal trainer, and he emphasizes the importance of fitness and exercise in recovery. “During times in my life when I was going through a rough period and felt the compulsion to use resurfacing, exercise helped keep my head on straight. It’s the closest thing sober people can get to drug-induced gratification—and it’s tailored to what you enjoy. I’ve done bodybuilding, CrossFit, high-intensity exercise and other programs—and now I use my personal training experience to help clients integrate fitness into their personalized recovery programs.”
As a teen, Jordan also struggled with a binge eating disorder. “I’d eat to the point where I threw up. I had a sugar addiction, and I was extremely overweight for much of my young life. Now, I help clients develop healthy relationships with food and use that to their advantage during all phases of recovery.”
Though Jordan would never want to revisit his addiction and the consequences that came with it, he knows his testimony carries a lot of weight with his clients. “I share my story all the time. I tell clients how I did crack and heroin, dropped out of school, went to jail and struggled with family relationships. I can show them a photo of me when I weighed over 200 pounds,” he said. “It means more coming from me than from parents or friends. Sometimes, though, despite my best efforts, my job is really sad. You can’t fix every person. But when it goes well, it’s the best thing ever.”
Jordan credits his sobriety and his recovery coaching success, in large part, to Gray Wolf Ranch. “It was the first place that allowed me to seek out the potential I was always told I had. Now I’m trying to help other people realize their potential, too.”