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Addiction Recovery Success Story from NYC

A Happy New Year from all of us here at Surfside! We are looking forward to another successful year of helping young men in their journey to recovery from addiction.  Let’s kick off the year with an incredible addiction recovery success story from NYC.

This month officially marks the 1-year anniversary of the first Surfside Alumni Spotlight Interview.  We hope you have enjoyed hearing stories of recovery and redemption as much as we have! To start off 2020, we will celebrate the recovery story of a young man from NYC, who finally hit his rock bottom and became willing to get help. Through all of his hard work, he now enjoys life as a free and sober man.  In the spirit of anonymity, and per the request of our alumni, we will refer to him as Mark.  Enjoy!

Born in New York City, Mark moved to New Jersey early on where he grew up in a loving family.  Some would say he had the perfect childhood- he had plenty of friends, excelled in athletics, and enjoyed endless love from his parents and siblings.

Upon entering high school, alcohol and drugs never really crossed his mind.  He had a history of alcoholism and drug addiction in his extended family, so Mark threw himself deeper into athletics and academics to stay on the right path. However, at his high school, partying and prescription drugs were acceptable and easily accessible, but Mark stayed determined to not let anything interfere with his goals in life.

During his senior year, Mark suffered a devastating injury during the basketball season.  He voiced his concern about staying on the court regardless of the pain, so a friend gifted him with a tiny miracle that would help him play: Percocet.

What started out as a “one time thing” certainly became more of a regular occurrence.  He didn’t use painkillers every day, and looking back on it, Mark felt he had complete control of the situation.  However, deep down, a conflict between good and bad, right and wrong, boiled inside of him. He knew his family’s history of drug addiction. He had seen what prescription drugs could do to his peers. But Mark thought he was different than the rest and that he could control it.

Eventually, his parents caught on, and Mark attend some brief outpatient sessions. In his mind, he didn’t have a problem. After a few sessions, everything went back to normal.

Mark graduated high school and went on to college.  He joined a fraternity, where the brothers were regularly enjoying the “party drugs”- alcohol, cocaine, and some marijuana. He enjoyed the party scene, and loved experiencing college like any other young adult.

But senior year, it all changed.  One of the brothers offered him a painkiller. Mark remembers, “Oh, it had been awhile. I could put it down when I wanted to.  I might as well give it a try.” Mark had no idea that he just ignited an addiction that laid in the shadows for years… ready to explode.

After college, Mark spiraled into a full blown opioid addiction.  He found himself in the viscous cycle of getting high, detox, a brief period of abstinence, getting high, etc. Over, and over, and over, and over again.

Multiple trips to rehab didn’t seem to change his mind. He never really wanted to get clean.  In his mind, being happy and clean at the same time didn’t really seem like a possibility. He found himself living in an apartment in New York City- not really doing a lot besides getting high and waiting for life to be over.

Finally, Mark admitted to RCA Lighthouse to begin another hopeless attempt at getting clean. During his stay, he met a local sober living home operator named Ian, who ran a program in nearby Ventnor for young men who could never seem to stay clean and sober.  Hearing about Surfside, Mark begrudgingly said he would give it a try for a few weeks, with the thought of returning home and getting high firmly planted in his mind. Little did he know his broken, hopeless life would become an addiction recovery success story.

He arrived at Surfside that first day, met some of the guys, hit the beach, and has been a clean, sober man ever since!

addiction recovery success story from nycInterview with an Addiction Recovery Success Story From NYC

What is your sobriety date?

August 23, 2017

What do you do for work?

I am the President of Online Sales for an electronics distribution company.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love fashion and clothes. I love art, live music, basketball, and reading.

What were some of your biggest concerns before coming to Surfside?

Giving up the control. I was scared to lose some of my freedom. I didn’t want to listen to anyone, and I thought I could do it on my own.  I had to face the fact that I couldn’t do this by myself.

What was your biggest takeaway from Surfside?

The bond that I formed with the guys there.  And the staff was amazing- shoutout to Jared! I wouldn’t be here without him. He and Ian saved my life.

How if Surfside different than the previous programs you have attended?

I loved the focus on “doing” life.  The gym, doing fun activities.  It’s a really well-run program.  Surfside knows what they are doing, and they know how to treat the guys when they come in. It doesn’t feel like a business. They genuinely care.

What are some of the best and most challenging parts of living independently after Surfside?

The best part is I am a full grown adult now. I pay rent for my apartment, and pay my bills on time.  Coming out of college, I felt like I had stunted my growth, and still acted like a child.  Being self-sufficient is an amazing feeling. Surfside gave me the tools to be in this position.

The most challenging part is being a grown up! Balancing my social life with work and taking care of my responsibilities. Sometimes it can be hard to juggle everything on a daily basis. But it’s all worth it.

Now that you are out of the program, how do you stay involved with Surfside and your recovery?

I still keep in touch with some of the guys I went through the house with. And some of the staff.  I live in Manhattan now, so I don’t come down to the house as much as I’d like to. But I try to check in with the guys that became my good friends.

For my recovery, I go to meetings every week. I have a strong network of friends and mentors.  I’m doing what I was taught at Surfside, and that is to always stay connected to my program of recovery.

Any final thoughts on Surfside?

Looking back on it, Surfside was the last thing that I wanted to do.  But it was the most important decision I made in my life. I couldn’t be more grateful. I can confidently say that the program saved my life.  I couldn’t be more appreciative for Ian and the rest of the staff.

What is your 5-year plan?

I just want to keep improving myself. I’m content, but I’m ambitious. I want to continue to grow professionally and spiritually. I want to be a better brother and son. I want more responsibility. And one day, I’d like to own my own business.

We reached out to Mark’s mother for her thoughts on Surfside. Check out what she had to say… you won’t want to miss this!

Why did you decide to send your son to Surfside?

When Mark was 18, we realized something wasn’t right. We took him to a day program, he still went to school… everything was fine. He stayed clean for two years, but when the third year came around, he started dabbling in drugs again.  I thought I could fix him, like any other mother could.  From there, the journey began.  I started to go to a bunch rehab centers, the best of the best.  Mark thought he was different than anyone at these rehabs. He didn’t believe he was an addict. In his mind, Mark was too good for these places. Eventually, someone mentioned Surfside. I called Ian, and fell in love with his approach.  We started talking a year before Mark finally came to Surfside.  Ian stood by our side the entire way.  I truly believed that Surfside was the only way to get Mark clean. I thought I was going to lose my son if we didn’t do something drastic. If he didn’t go to Surfside, I would lose him.

What should prospective parents know before sending their son to Surfside?

Every journey is so completely different. Every addicts’ story is different. Especially for the parents. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut. Don’t give up on your son. There were times I wanted to give up. I look back on what happened, and I can’t believe it. It’s so heart wrenching watching your son go through that.  I had plenty of guilt. Did I do something to cause all of this? But at the end of the day, just don’t give up on your son.  I’ve learned so much.  There are amazing people you will meet on this journey that will help you along the way.  It’s hard to believe it in the beginning. But it’s all true. It does get better.  I did everything I could to help my son, and I would do it all over again. Do not lose hope, and please, please, continue to help your child. Take the time to get educated. I had no idea what I was doing. Talk to the people who know what they are talking about. Surfside knows exactly what they are talking about.

How have things changed now that your son has completed Surfside?

Ian and Surfside took a broken boy, my son, and taught him how to be a man. Something as simple as cooking. I can hear it in Mark’s voice. He felt so good about cooking for the guys in the house. It’s so much more than that. Sitting at a table, making others happy. It’s incredible. It builds so much self esteem in these men. The little things start to add up and you start establishing the man you are supposed to be.  He is an absolutely amazing human being.

We are so proud of Mark and all the work he has done. He now lives freely, self sufficiently, and most importantly… clean and sober. He has amazing support from both his family and Surfside family, and we could not be happier for him. Congratulations, Mark!

If you or a loved one are in need of help, please do not hesitate to reach out. One phone call can change a life!

Want to check out another addiction recovery success story from NYC? Enjoy!