The Mission of Surfside Structured Sober Living:
Surfside Structured Sober Living will disrupt the cycle of addiction for 18-34yo men. Surfside is a long term extended care sober living in Ventnor City, NJ. We provide a structured sober living environment as our residents transition from addiction treatment through recovery into a new life of independence. Rooted in the 12 steps, we use an array of tools and activities to help these men rebuild, rediscover and recover.
Surfside Structured Sober Living will teach our residents life-changing principles of honesty, accountability and action. We use measurable goals in our life development program, extensive 12-step immersion and an array of action sports and adventure-based activities.
How Surfside Structured Sober Living is different:
Founded in February of 2016, Surfside Structured Sober Living is a 501c(3) Non-Profit. At Surfside, we provide an intimate and fully comprehensive structured sober living environment unlike any other in the state. We are a recovery program for men, driven by men in recovery.
Our small community allows men to form close bonds with one another. This small group also creates an opportunity for these men to become accountable while taking part in a life changing process of the 12-steps. Our homes have plenty of living space, are kept clean and consistently being cared for. The main house is 20 yards from the bay, which offers great fishing and excellent paddle boarding. In the opposite direction, we are 3 blocks from the beach (about a 5 min walk) and the Atlantic Ocean. New for 2018, Surfside introduced “Camp Surfside”. This is our own 11.5 acre plot of woods 30min west of the ocean. This private and beautifully secluded area offers our residents year round camping with a full paintball and air-soft field. The Surfside comprehensive life development program will teach young men to become self-sufficient and dependable. We intentionally have a high resident to staff ratio to ensure that nobody slips through the cracks, nor do they feel left out or alone. Basically, at Surfside, getting clean and sober is so much more then just trying to not use drugs and alcohol. It is a complete overhaul in the way one thinks about and participates with the world around him. Surfside is where recovery becomes possible.
Ian Koch, MS, LCADC, CAS
Ian Koch began working in the mental health field in 2003 at age 20. While completely delusional and ignorant to some of his own issues, he got his start working with teens at a youth center while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. He had a strong desire to help others but was completely unable to help himself. He had been in major trouble since age 12 and was even asked to leave Valley Forge Military Academy at age 14. He continued to appear in court rooms around the east coast and eventually got clean on March 7, 2005. His desire to reach his hand out to others increased and he continued working with youth suffering from mental illness. Around 2 years sober, Ian moved into the addiction field. Ian obtained a Master’s Degree in Community Mental Health from Southern New Hampshire University and a Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Care from Saint Michael’s College. He is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in multiple states and has received his Certification as an Addiction Specialist from the American Academy of Health Care Providers. Over the past decade, Ian has worked in various aspects of addiction treatment, including intensive outpatient, residential, medication assisted treatment, detox and private practice. He has also worked in sober living, provided interventions, run family programs and case management for clients. His extensive knowledge and experience ignited the desire to create Surfside Structured Sober Living to provide a critical resource that the community lacks. Ian is adamant that clinical resources are important, which is why Surfside utilizes these services in the community, but he believes the key to lasting recovery is participating in constructive action through a supportive and encouraging environment. When Ian is not helping others, he can be found spending time with his wife or running with their dogs Wilma and Charlie, and you will most certainly find him kitesurfing at the beach year-round, regardless of the temperature!
Dan Miranda, BS, CADC
Dan Miranda joined the Surfside Structured Sober Living team in the winter of 2017. He recently moved back to New Jersey after living in the south for about a decade. Dan has been working in the substance abuse field since 2009. He is a former United States Marine with a passion for fighting the domestic war against the opiate epidemic. He holds degrees in Psychology and Human Services along with additional seminary training for graduate school. He is currently back in school pursuing a Master’s Degree in Addiction Studies. Dan is a Certified Addictions Professional in the state of Florida and more recently became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the state of New Jersey. His passion is working with those struggling with addiction and assisting them to find a new way of living. Dan has been counseling families and addicts on a private level for years and prides himself on helping families heal. Dan has worked at every level of care in treatment from detoxification all the way down to outpatient. He has been in an executive role and a program director at several facilities. Dan’s versatility and passion for recovery are part of what makes Surfside so special. His role in our extended care structured sober living focuses on the life development component of our comprehensive program. Dan’s educational background and his personal recovery has placed him in a position to become a motivational speaker for over eight years and has worked with many men to aid them in the pursuit of living by spiritual principles. Dan even held the role of pastor and spearheaded a church that was focused on the recovery community in Florida during his time there. When he is not helping addicts, he is spending time with his wife and is very family focused.
Nick Geissler, BA
Growing up Nick was active in sports and went to Western New England University to study History and play baseball. His dream was to play professional baseball but after having 2 surgeries on his shoulder, Nick, just like many other had his first introduction to opiates. With baseball out of the picture he started working towards helping shape the minds of youth. While working on his Master in Education he got a job, working at Bonnie Brae, a residential facility for adolescent boys.
Nick grew very interested in the mental health field and moved to a job at Trinitas Regional Medical Center working in the child/adolescent/MICA PHP and IOP. While working there he shifted his educational focus to a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. During this time Nick’s addiction progressed from drinking to becoming heavily involved with prescription pills. Nick tried many different avenues to figure out what was wrong with him and how to fix his problem.
After attending 2 rehabs, ER visits, psych wards and individual counseling. Nick thought he had the world figured out but quickly realized his score card read zero. Nick finally decided to try something different and did not return home. He went to a Structured Sober Living in Southern New Jersey and stayed for a significant time. While there he got involved in the recovery community and with the guidance of staff started to rebuild his life.
Nick now works with Surfside Recovery Services Inc. as our Community Outreach Liaison and also helps out with Recovery Coaching when necessary. Nick is back in school to complete his Masters Degree in Mental Health counseling and was recently trained as a family interventionist. Nick is an instrumental member of the recovery community and can often be found helping some of the residents at Surfside. When he is not working you can find him relaxing on the beach, working out in the gym or spending time with his family and friends.
DJ Brown, BS
Growing up in Southern New Jersey, DJ recently moved to Ocean City, after living in New Hampshire since 2016. He is passionate about recovery and is excited to help others recover in the same area where he use to use drugs and drink and where he first attempted to get sober. He began using alcohol and other drugs at the age of 13 and it quickly began to escalate throughout high school and into college. He graduated Seton Hall University in 2010 with a BS in Business Marketing, and went on to have an internship at Sirius XM radio in New York City. After college he worked in Market Research for Pinnacle Foods, but his addiction quickly spiraled out of control. After spending 7 years living in North Jersey, he moved back to South Jersey in full blown heroin addiction. His alcoholism and addiction brought him to multiple car accidents, arrests, lost jobs, ruined relationships with loved ones, overdoses, and a spiritual rock bottom. After multiple failed attempts at treatment through IOP, Detoxes, and inpatient programs, he went to an inpatient treatment center and went on to live in Structured Sober Living. After spending 7 months in sober living and putting an honest effort into the 12 Steps he began to have an experience and developed a passion for helping others. He began to sponsor other men, take speaking commitments, and be of service to others. Having scrapped his desire to pursue a career in Marketing, he began to work for the sober living home he previously lived at and then went on to become a 12-Step Coordinator and Case Manager at an IOP facility. While working there he was able to connect with clients based on his unique experience and carry the message of God and the 12 Steps. DJ enjoys spending time with family, his girlfriend and his dogs. He can be found surfing somewhere along the East Coast, Snowboarding throughout the North East, playing Ice Hockey, basketball, skateboarding, hitting the gym and going to concerts. He is looking forward to being active in the South Jersey recovery community and bringing his passion and upbeat attitude back home.
Jared Shedrofsky, BS
Senior Recovery Specialist
Jared came to Surfside at 24, and was our 3rd resident in the program. His family was not willing to let him move back to New York with them and took a chance on Surfside during its infancy. He came to us late May of 2016 following another failed semester at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a degree which was started in 2009. Jared’s struggle with addiction started in high school, and brought him to new lows through this seven year period in Colorado. Ever since he was a kid he never was able to commit himself to much, having serious trouble initiating anything productive. The only thing that seemed to draw him into action were drugs and alcohol. At 26, Jared’s life is vastly different, through completing Surfside, working a recovery program and now helping others. Jared has now been a Surfside employee since November of 2016, and is a valuable member of the staff. He has completed all his classes and received a Bachelors degree in Psychology, from CU Boulder. His Psych background brings a unique approach to interacting with residents, with a strong belief in constructive criticism. Jared also received an opportunity for additional training and became a certified recovery coach. Jared is very active, playing arguably too much golf and can often be found in the gym. He also loves to ski and snowboard, and has previously worked on a ski mountain in Vermont. If Jared was not working at Surfside he claims he would be a dog breeder, although he wouldn’t sell any of the dogs. He hopes to bring a recovery dog into the Surfside family very soon.
At 24-years-old, John was living in a rooming house surrounded by prostitution, drug dealers, and crime. From the age of 17 he battled with addiction, homelessness, and multiple attempts at treatment. His methods of treatment included detox, inpatient rehabilitation, intensive out-patient, and medication assisted treatment. Each time, however, John could not surrender to the fact that if he was to stay sober, he would be required to make some drastic changes. His ability to get and stay clean was the result of putting time and effort into his own recovery. During his active addiction, John had grandiose ideas such as continuing his education at the age of 18. His addiction had progressed past the point of being able to attend college with any success, so within the first semester he dropped out of all his classes. 7 years later, John enrolled back into college to begin attaining a degree in Social Work. His passion for helping others had been identified and he set out to achieve his goals. Putting all into his education that he had put into his recovery, he has sustained a 4.0 GPA, and received multiple awards; including the Dean’s List. More recently John was certified as a recovery coach. John’s philanthropic work extends past the point of Surfside Structured Sober Living. You can often find him reaching out to others who are like him, living where and how he was. He won’t hesitate to tell you it is one of his hobbies. Conversely, if you were to go to the bowling alley, beach, boardwalk, or local fitness center, you would find him making the most out of his freedom in sobriety. More recently John got a puppy!
Scott was born in Lewisville, Texas in 1990. Adopted at birth to two loving parents, Kevin and Terry, and raised in Bergen County New Jersey with an older brother, Chris. Excelled in sports and school and even went as far as to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Baseball career at Don Bosco Prep, class of 2009, led to a Division 1 offer to Lehigh University. First semester at Lehigh is when Scott started to do more than just drinking and occasionally smoking marijuana. Long adderall benders and experimentation with other drugs, coupled with excessive drinking led to a suspension from the baseball team and eventual departure by sophomore year. A second opportunity to play Division 3 baseball was was also thrown away by more partying and careless illegal activities. Scott’s parents sent him to several therapists to get to the root of the problem, but never got the help needed because he was never fully honest about his circumstances. His life spiraled while he lived in a delusion. Between 2011 and 2016, I was in and out of work, in and out of school and in and out of trouble, including 4 arrests, a handful of treatment facilities and a stay at a psychiatric hospital. In October, 2016, I went on my final run, which ended with yet another arrest. The next day I was sent to my last inpatient rehab for 28 days and upon discharge, entered Surfside. Scott stayed for 5 months, even though he made it through all of the phases in a little over three months. Scott thrived in a structured environment and Surfside was what he needed in a time where he didn’t know how to take care of himself. After those five months he became the first resident in the Phase 4 (step down house) where he acted as the house manager for another 3 months until he finally moved out on his own. Within his first year of sobriety, he successfully completed my first IOP program, got off of probation, had his license reinstated, and enrolled back into college. He is currently psychology major at Stockton University with a 4.0 GPA since resuming his studies in the summer of 2017. His projected graduation is fall 2019. From there he hopes to pursue a graduate degree in sports psychology.
Matt was able to find a job after high-school and was able to give the appearance that things were ok. He had a car, phone and was able to keep the job. As his progression continued he stated to lose things. He started showing up to work late, begging people for money, skipping out on car payments and stealing from his parents. The round of treatment centers started including medicated assisted treatment (MAT). Matt tried everything including moving and changing his cell phone number.
June of 2017 Matt went from prison to another inpatient rehab for the 7th time, got out and relapsed. From July 2017-September 2017 he was in and out of another 5 different inpatient treatment centers. It got to the point where no facility in Rhode Island would take him back. He became desperate, broke and homeless and was seriously contemplating suicide. After one last desperate call he found himself in a treatment center in Mays Landing NJ. They connected him to Surfside and his life began. Matt diligently worked through the Surfside program and started helping others. Matt is currently working toward his NJ Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential and will be going back to school for addiction counseling in the spring of 2019.
Brian grew up in Clinton Township, New Jersey with a supportive and loving family. Brian excelled in sports as a kid, and he developed a passion for baseball and wrestling. He never struggled to make friends, but his anxiety and insecurities had a hidden effect on his daily life. In eighth grade, Brian won a state title in wrestling, but his performance anxiety was beginning to cripple him.
When entering high school, despite the strong education his mother had given him, Brian picked up a drink at fourteen years old because that’s what his friends were doing. Brian fell in love with what it did for him and he began to experiment with other drugs. By sixteen years old, Brian was smoking marijuana multiple times a day and spending every weekend in a blackout. He ended up quitting both wrestling and baseball in favor of using. By this point his parents’ home had basically been turned into a warzone.
Upon graduation from high school, Brian attended the University of South Carolina for one semester before going to his first rehab. Over the course of the next year Brian’s addiction grew worse as he moved on to harder drugs. He was in and out of multiple rehabs, other institutions, and failed attempts at traditional sober living. Brian often was getting kicked out or signing himself out because the obsession to use was too strong. Eventually, his mom found Surfside and Brian agreed to attend, he was willing to do whatever it took to find peace. Surfside has since revolutionized his life: Brian’s relationship with his family is amazing, he has learned to be an adult, he is back in school, he has made lifelong friends, and most importantly he has realized that being young in sobriety is truly a blessing. We are more than ecstatic to bring him in as one of our House Managers. Brian is currently back in school for his BS in Psychology and working toward becoming a NJ Certified Peer Recovery Specialist.
Michael was born in New Haven CT where he grew up playing organized sports all through high school. Like a lot of people that misuse substances, Michael began experimenting with drugs and alcohol in High School By the time he was attending college at Chaminade University of Honolulu as an NCAA athlete, majoring in psychology, addiction had started running his life. He dropped out of school and bounced around from job to job working in the building trades, education for children with special needs, and restaurants. His dependency on alcohol and painkillers escalated to a full blown heroin addiction.
In the 10 years prior to coming to Surfside Michael had attended treatment centers and sober living houses from San Diego to Florida and even in Vermont and Connecticut. After following a recommendation from his 28 day inpatient treatment center, he finally landed in the last place a CT boy would expect to find himself some peace of mind…The Jersey shore. Michael struggled in the beginning of his stay at Surfside. He planned on leaving all through his first couple of months at Surfside but agreed to finish the program. At some point, through the work he was doing on himself as a result of the Surfside program, something shifted in Michaels attitude through his progression in our program and he currently has no plans to leave the area.
Mike is currently being trained as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and is starting to look at finishing that Psychology degree. He has become a pivotal part of our community with his mellow nature and mature attitude he is an excellent addition to the team.