In This Month’s Alumni Spotlight, We Are Highlighting Kevin G. And His Recovery From Alcohol.
Kevin G. did not have an easy road to recovery from alcohol. He began drinking at the age of seventeen as a senior in high school. As a young man, he always said that alcohol was a “man’s drink,” and he saw nothing wrong with the way he drank. At most, it quelled some social anxiety allowed him to be the life of the party. He even stayed away from other drugs to avoid any negative stigma with his use.
At twenty-four years old, Kevin got married to his high school drinking buddy. Alcohol was the glue that held the relationship together, but it also drove them further apart. After awhile, his wife attempted to control her drinking; Kevin obliged that he would as well, and this is where he had his first experience with 12-Step meetings. Neither could stay sober, and eventually the marriage ended in divorce. With plenty of free time on his hands, Kevin’s drinking got worse. And thus began the cycle of active addiction, relapse, and recovery.
Kevin frequently visited 2 inpatient programs, 3 detoxes, 2 psychology wards, and 2 or 3 IOP’s. After completion of each program, he would stay sober for a short while, but every time followed with a worse relapse. He was eventually suspended from work and had nowhere to go. During one stint in detox, he was determined to find some sort of long-term program, but his insurance only recommend he attend another IOP. After some time, his insurance had no desire to cover his bills any more. Kevin was running out of options and recovery from alcohol continued to be elusive.
In 2016, Kevin’s girlfriend had heard about Surfside Structured Sober Living. At that time, Surfside was in its infancy and only had three other residents. As Kevin sat in detox once more, Surfside’s Executive Director drove and picked him up. Later that afternoon, Kevin was admitted into Surfside, and the 31-year old began his journey into recovery.
What is your sobriety date?
This time my recovery from alcohol started June 24th 2016.
What do you do for work?
I am a quality control manager at a solar manufacturer company.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy running, going to the park with my dogs, taking things apart, and home projects.
What were your biggest concerns before coming to Surfside?
Being 31 and going into a long-term program. I was wondering what I was going to miss in the outside world. A minimum of a three months [commitment] seemed so long at the time.
What was your biggest takeaway from Surfside?
Honestly, the 12-Step recovery program and how it truly works if you work it. I always would listen to others, go to meetings, and try to do 90 meetings in 90 days, but never could stay sober. I would try and work the sayings instead of the 12-Step program. I didn’t know that the 12-Steps could actually work. I used to see people “working the steps,” and they looked miserable. When I went to Surfside in Ventnor, I saw a lot of people in the community doing the steps and be happy. I learned that I could have fun, be sober, and be happy If I put in the work.
How was Surfside different than the previous programs you have attended?
I was immersed into the 12-Steps like had never been before. Although I was 31 and living with guys in their mid-20’s, I became grateful for what I had and had accomplished previously. The staff knew my name and really cared for me. I was not just a body in a seat. They listened to my concerns and crazy thoughts. They mentored me. A big part of Surfside is that it took me out of my self-created drama and showed me the good parts of life. The bonds I made there are incredible.
What are the best and most challenging parts of living independently after Surfside?
The best is my newfound freedom. I’m free to live life to its fullest potential. The structure that I hated at Surfside is some of what I have implemented into my life today.
The most challenging, I think, is being away from the Ventnor recovery community. The move and adjustment were really difficult. Although I am only an hour away, I am not in as active of a community for young people in recovery. I miss the camaraderie. Needing to balance my life, family, and recovery is also an ongoing challenge.
Now that you are out of the program, how do you stay involved with Surfside and your recovery?
I try to be around for barbecues or trips when I can. I talk with some of the fellow graduates. Ian (Executive Director at Surfside) was the best man at my wedding, and a bunch of Surfside guys came to support me. As for my recovery from alcohol, I still have a home group, a sponsor, and willingness to help the newcomer.
Final thoughts on Surfside?
Can I move back in??? (Kevin laughs)
Surfside has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams. It is not what I expected, but it’s better than I could have imagined. Surfside showed me how to start over with an open mind and accept people for who they are. Recovery has taught me to see the good in people when in the past I could only see the bad.
What is your 5-year plan?
In the next five years, I want to have a larger family, stay sober, and continue to help others where I can.
During the interview, Surfside staff also talked with Ashley, Kevin’s wife. She was the one that helped him find Surfside and continued to push him toward recovery from alcohol.
“I had mixed thoughts. I Knew he was going to be safe, but being away for the extended period was a bit overwhelming, but I new he was not safe on his own and there was nothing I could do to help him. I was looking forward to the separation because our relationship was very rocky. We both needed to re-evaluate. I was glad for the length of time because the 7-28 day and outpatient stuff never worked. I was excited that the program was new and small compared to the other places. I thought he was going to get more individual attention then places he had been before.
Surfside was a blessing. It gave him a life he didn’t dream of having. Working with the staff, being mentored by men in recovery and the 12-step process was really what he needed. The program brought life back into a shell of a man and taught him how to be a man.
Surfside really saved my husband. The man I met 2 years before Surfside was very different. Today he is proud, has dignity and is a hard-working man. I know that a lot of that was because of Surfside and the time the staff spent with him and the diligence they spent trying to teach him about 12-step recovery, because he never got that anywhere in the past or even in the meetings he went to.”
For those that do not know:
Surfside Structured Sober Living is a long term extended care sober living for 18-34yo men. Surfside’s life development program is an opportunity fueled by 12-step immersion, action based sports and a supportive staff. We teach life long principles of honesty, integrity and accountability helping our residents work toward a sustainable independent life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction there is help available. Please reach out to us for help or advice.