McKinly’s Mountain Vista Farm Story

“I loved the serenity and the peacefulness of this place. You go to bed at night and you hear the crickets and sounds of nature. It’s very peaceful and it’s very quiet.”

Before I came to Mountain Vista Farm I was in the process of killing myself. Honestly I was abandoning my family, I had suffered two strokes, and was on my way to death before I realized that I needed some help. I saw a commercial late at night for this place and for some reason something drew me to it. That’s the deal that I made with my wife on my last run: I said “I want to come home, but I want to go to Sonoma first.”

She said, “No baby, I’m gonna come and get you.”

I said, “Well please call them first and see when I can go.”  She called Mountain Vista Farm and she came to pick me up. 

On the ride home she said, “I called them and they said you could come now or you can come in a couple of days: however you need to do it.”

I went home. I was a stimulant user and I slept for three or four days. Then I got up, got in the shower, got in the car, and my wife brought me up here.

When I first got here, I was walking with a cane because I had suffered my second stroke and I have left sided weakness now. I walked into that room right there and they said, “Well, can you get around on the rocks?” They took me for a walk around the place.  They said: “yeah, you’re gonna be okay. Come in and have a seat.” They told my wife: “You can leave now.”

“Wait hold on wait, wait, wait,” I exclaimed. My wife left… and the rest is history.

They treated me great. They made me feel that I was in the right place. As far as the accommodations, I am 6’3” and at that point I weighed about 360 pounds. The beds: I barely fit in the bed, but guess what: it didn’t really matter. I slept well and loved the serenity and the peacefulness of this place. You go to bed at night and you hear the crickets and sounds of nature. It’s very peaceful and it’s very quiet. The grounds themselves are wonderful: I was actually walking with the cane but I had no problems getting around.

The food: we don’t even need to talk about the food. That’s one thing if you come here and eat, you’ll just want to always come back and eat. I just drove two hours just to come up here.

Everything was great: The people here are all in the same place: you get here and you just became part of a family.  People in recovery, that’s what we do: because we’re going through things, we’re all struggling to get better and we connect. There’s a lot of recovery at that little well right there: That’s that’s a magical spot right there.


Personally, I’ll tell you this: I’m an early riser. I get up at 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the morning which was a change in my lifestyle. That was one of the changes that I made. Every morning I walked out to the corner of that little building. There would be a deer or an elk standing right here: you know with you know eight points. Me and him would commune every morning. I’d come out and he would look at me like “how are you doing?” And I would think “I’m doing pretty good.” It was like there was a higher power here.

I had a great experience when I was here, I really did. For many years I would say, “By my next birthday I’m not gonna use, I’m gonna be clean. By my next birthday I’m gonna be clean… “ and I never picked the phone up. It took effort to say “I’m done.” I really had to get there.

Now if I would have done it earlier I maybe I wouldn’t be crippled right now. You really have to look at where your life is going and what you want out of life. Then think about it: do what you can. Will you accept help?  Because sometimes we all need help getting off of whatever drug of choice that we have. Addiction is a very powerful thing and we need help. Sometimes we can’t do it by ourselves. I needed to come to a place like this.

So for somebody looking at that commercial late at night: pick up the phone. After I recovered, I worked here overnight. I used to answer that phone. Pick up the phone. You know just that first step will lead to other steps: just take that first step. Because I’m gonna tell you: the hardest thing is just picking up that phone.