Finding Recovery is Possible!
As addiction rates skyrocket and the news is filled with doom and gloom its time to celebrate a little hope. Each month Surfside Structured Sober Living will select one of our graduates to be in a spotlight. With the proper help and willingness addiction can be overcome.
The first graduate we would like to spotlight is Sean A. Sean started his addiction in Haddonfield NJ. Where he quickly became addicted to opiates and other pills like Xanax. Sean used for years, causing him to isolate and forget about the things he really likes in the world. Little by slow his addiction stole from him and his family. He had tried multiple times to get clean and sober at Intensive Outpatient Services (IOP) but none of the 3 or 4 times he went had even the slightest success.
On November 26th 2017 at 25 years old, Sean surrendered to his addiction and days later found himself in Ashley Addiction Treatment in MD. Sean was at Ashley for 3 long months. He completed their 30-day program and with some hesitation went into their 60 day young men’s extended care.
Toward the end of Sean’s stay at Ashley he was recommended to continue on and rebuild his life. He came to Surfside Structured Sober Living in early March of 2018. His family believed that Surfside was the best fit for him because “there were a lot of practical things going on at Surfside – it was closer to home for Sean, but not home, it was by the beach (who doesn’t love the beach), and it was a program that was really targeted to him (young adult male). He had a great experience at Ashley, so the recommendation there carried a lot of weight. But in the end it was about Sean’s own recognition that he wasn’t quite ready to go out on his own, and we knew he needed to relearn some coping and living skills that had gotten lost in his addiction. Overall it just felt right, and we met the staff and the guys the first night, we felt even better about it.”
During Sean’s spotlight interview these are some of the things he said to Surfside Structured Sober Living staff.
Where are you living and what do you do for work right?
“I am living with another Surfside graduate in Ocean City NJ. I work for the Jewish Community Center in Margate NJ as a Fitness Floor Assistant, I have been there for 5 months.”
What are your hobbies?
“I really enjoy working out, being in the gym and Mixed Martial Arts. I even have a semi-professional fight February 16thin South Philly. I had fought before and had been off and on since I was 15 but addiction took that from me. I started training when arrived at Surfside Structured Sober Living and we would go to Muay Thai each week. I almost forgot how great it was. I remember coming back after the activities and feeling like this was possible. In late September got real serious about wanting to fight and started training regularly.”
What were your biggest concerns before coming to Surfside?
“I was worried that I was on a time clock and my life was melting away. I wanted to get back to school and do all these things that I thought I was ready to do, but in the past could never succeed at. I thought the structured sober living was going to brainwash me and I would miss out on life. Which was stupid because for years I was just getting high and missing out on anything good.”
What was your biggest takeaway from Surfside?
“I’ve got myself into a routine with cleaning, making my bed, and learning how to live with out being lazy. Before I could sit around and let things get dirty and waste time. I sat in a pile of trash basically.
Another thing was how to be an adult and take responsibility. I don’t shy away from obligations anymore. I learned how much of a problem I really did have. I keep my word. I learned how to have fun again. When I came into Surfside I could not have fun or relax in front of people. I never thought I would enjoy myself again without drugs.”
What are the best and most challenging parts of living independently after Surfside?
“The best is the freedom, as in, I have a bunch of things that I want to do and are productive. The freedom is that I can actually go do them. Dreams become a reality they are no longer just dreams. I am no longer a slave to circumstances.
The most challenging thing has been budgeting, I want to save every dollar and that’s not realistic. It’s also kind of hard because I have no one to call me out when I am getting off track with even the basic things. I really need to be accountable to myself.”
How was Surfside Structured Sober Living different than the previous programs you have attended?
“Prior to Surfside I had only basic mention of the 12-steps. I never had really immersed into the 12-steps or new anyone that had really had been though the 12-steps that was not staff. The graduates at Surfside who come back in and hang out at the house and took guys to the meetings are really helpful. Having daily activities to try helped me to have an open mind where in the past I didn’t get to do a lot or never would try. The staff at Surfside really forced me to look at some of my behavior that others just ignored. At the time this was painful but I am really glad it happened and looking back it was not that bad.”
Now that you are out of the program, how do you stay involved with Surfside?
“I stop by the house often to see the guys. I sponsor a few guys and go to all the local meetings. I have grown really close to some of the guys that came before me including staff who are still my mentors. I am apart of the community.”
Final thoughts on recovery or Surfside?
“I don’t think I could have gone to a better place. For the first 6 months, I was battling even wondering if I could do long term recovery. And the meetings and Surfside helped me to see the long-term sobriety was an actual obtainable goal. I cant believe that I was sober though the holidays and even had a good time. Surfside has become a very significant part of my life; not only with recovery and getting through addiction but with growing up.”
Sean’s father stated that “I came to really appreciate the family program on Saturdays – not only seeing Sean, but the time the families spent together in preparation for their visits. It is always helpful to hear that other people are struggling with similar challenges, but the Surfside families helped each other – with advice, an encouraging word, or even just acknowledging the pain and challenges of addiction. Mostly that time helped keep us all rational and manage expectations. That connectivity was awesome (and much needed).”
His dad went on to say, “The other great help was the emphasis at Surfside on responsibility and accountability. These are in Sean’s character – they’ve always been who he is – but those great attributes had been badly fractured by his addiction. Repairing the damage and then slowly demonstrating accountability and self-reliance all over again through the structured sober living, has been a huge help. It helped Sean in his ongoing recovery, but it also helped him reestablish and revive his relationships with our family.”
Sean also reported that in the next 5 years he plans to graduate with his Bachelors Degree and then apply to Law School.
If you or a loved one are looking for information on Surfside Structured Sober Living or addiction treatment programs like Ashley please reach out for help. Your family no longer needs to battle addiction alone. Help is available and recovery is possible.