Michael grew up in Farmington, Utah, with four brothers and a sister, not far from where Red Barn Academy sits today. He was a Boy Scout and church missionary, from a close-knit family. After returning from his mission, Michael attended Utah State University on an athletic scholarship. He suffered a back injury that ended his collegiate sports career, but he still managed to graduate with a BA in marketing. Unfortunately, he also graduated with an addiction to pain killers.
After college Michael worked as a Pharmaceutical Rep, then a Biotech Rep but his addiction to opiates continued to worsen. He eventually left the medical field to become a commercial real estate broker. He was highly successful initially, but his addiction eventually became unmanageable. Michael overdosed several times, was repeatedly arrested and spent several stints in jail, psych hospitals and rehab facilities. He ultimately wound up divorced, bankrupt and out of control.
Then something happened that changed the course of Michael’s life, On June, 29th, 2012, his younger brother, Dustin Haws, died from a heroin overdose. Initially, Michael went even further off the deep end; another car crash, another DUI and waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed, on his way back to jail. But then, on July 26, 2012 at the very table that now serves as the Red Barn Academy conference room table, Michael had a conversation with his dad, Rich Haws, that saved his life. Soon thereafter, Michael, his dad, and the rest of the family, made the decision to create a program at the family’s “red barn” to support individuals like he and his brother.
Michael completed the Substance Use Disorder program at the University of Utah in the Social Work Department in 2014. He worked as a case manager for over three years at Davis Behavioral Health and the red barn became a hub for a variety of addiction services to help those in need. In 2017 the Haws family decided to fully commit to making the red barn a classic therapeutic community and “Red Barn Academy” accepted their first student in August of 2017.
Now Michael is the Executive Director of Red Barn Academy, a flourishing TC with 50+ students. He is also an Ironman and Spartan Warrior and is happily married to the girl of his dreams, Tawni Goldsberry Haws, and they have a beautiful baby boy, Maverick. As a true survivor of the abyss of addiction and the ravages it can wreak on families and society at large, Michael is proud to now be able to help others find a life of built on integrity, discipline, hard work and family.