The Mission of Surfside Structured Sober Living:
Surfside Structured Sober Living will disrupt the cycle of addiction for 18-35yo 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 a National 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. More recently, in 2017 he received “An Appreciation for Outstanding Service” in 2017 at the Tuerk Conference and more recently the “Ashley Addiction Treatment Innovator Award” in 2019 at the NCAD East conference. When Ian is not helping others, he can be found spending time with his wife or 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, MS, CADC, CAP, ICADC
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 and has recently earned 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, MS, CFI
Director of Community Outreach and Recovery Coaching
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 has completed 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.
Andrew Beatley, BS
Strategic Planning Coordinator
Andrew joined the Surfside team in January of 2019. Andrew hails from Southern Maryland, right outside of Washington DC. He has been an athlete for most of his life, even earning an opportunity to play baseball at Johns Hopkins University. Much like athletics, drinking and drugging captivated a big part of his life. Starting out as a “weekend warrior,” he eventually became a daily drinker and drug user. While in college, injuries forced Andrew to end his baseball career, and he spiraled into a deep depression. He withdrew from life, spending weeks at a time in complete isolation from the world. For many years, Andrew was completely hopeless and returned to the booze and drugs to cope. After college, Andrew worked in the non-profit sector and then in the financial world, but neither were able to curb his drinking and drug use. He began to live the double life- trying to make people believe he was doing better than he was. The double life eventually brought him to his knees, with nowhere to live, and no money. From this rock bottom, Andrew began his journey in recovery. He made it to a long term 90 day addiction treatment program and then completed another 7 months in extended care.
At Surfside, Andrew oversees any business development projects- including fundraising, data collection, digital marketing, and content creation. You may recognize his name from various Surfside articles and blogs. Although not in his job description, he enjoys coming by the Surfside houses and hanging out with the residents and offering assistance as needed. In his free time, Andrew loves Crossfit, the beach, reading and writing, and his favorite DC sports teams.
Jared Shedrofsky, BS
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.
Scott Hansen, BA
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, he 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, he went on his final run, which ended with yet another arrest. The next day he 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 his first IOP program, got off of probation, had his license reinstated, and enrolled back into college. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Stockton with a major in Psychology and minor in Wholistic Health in Spring 2019. From there he hopes to pursue a graduate degree in sports psychology.
Andy was born and raised in Middlesex County NJ. From age 15 to 28, he was a successful musician. Jumping from band to band and receiving record deals in the process, the lifestyle filled with drugs and alcohol was a normal one for him. Offstage, Andy was a chef where drugs and alcohol were also very present. But it wasn’t until 2011, after a horrible accident that left Andy bedridden for one year that his addictions really took off. Being prescribed painkillers during and after for his physical therapy, it wasn’t long until he was going outside of his doctors for what he needed.
The years that followed led to two DUI’s, four psychiatric wards, four inpatient rehabs, seven outpatient programs, a long term treatment facility in New Hampshire, deep depression and lots of risky behavior. In the last three and a half years, Andy has tried to stay sober. Attending 12-step meetings along the way, he was always unsuccessful in long term sobriety.
This last time around after a 30 program he found Surfside. Andy attended Surfside for eight months. During his time here, he was asked to participate in a mentoring program at a local rehab center where he ran groups for both the men and women who were there for treatment. He soon realized that was where his recovery always fell short: giving back. Using his experience in recovery, along with all his failures in sobriety, Andy has tried to help those who are still sick and suffering. Moving a few short blocks from Surfside, Andy has made Ventnor his home. He has discarded his dreams of being a musician and has chosen to work in the recovery field for the sake of his sobriety. When asked if he misses the life, his response is, “This is just a different stage.”
Digital Media Producer
Brian’s addiction began and ended in New Jersey with stops along the way in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, California and almost every state in between. Having been a patient at most of the in-patient facilities in the tri-state area, Brian’s final stop was at Surfside.
Prior to beginning his recovery, Brian’s innate interest of all things lead him to work as a Congressional Page in Washington, D.C. during his Junior Year of high school. Following his completion of the Page Program, Brian interned for Major League Baseball and a multi-media company on Capitol Hill. Upon graduating from high school, Brian fell victim to typical undergraduate peer-pressures. In his freshman year of college, he was introduced to prescription opiates. In the following nine years, Brian’s addiction brought him to homelessness, financial dereliction, and complete separation from his family.
Throughout his addiction, Brian’s family was the motivation he needed to continue on. After 15+ failed attempts at recovery, Brian was living in East Camden surrounded by scenes of addiction, prostitution, and theft. In a final attempt, Brian consulted his father for help. This call for help led Brian to the completion of a 28-day in-patient program. After tapping his parents financially for the last time, Brian asked his Grandmother for help. Brian and his Grandmother Adele found Surfside.
Since Brian has come to Surfside, he has changed tremendously. He now finds himself able to manage his own finances, personal relationships and has even continued on in pursuit of his undergraduate degree.
Brian is Surfside’s Digital Media Producer. On any given day, you can find him editing video, taking photos, hosting a podcast or working to grow his video production business with his partner, another Surfside alumni.
Ben Goldman, BS, MBA
Growing up in Maryland, organized sports were a large part of Ben’s life from a young age. However, he found himself sliding through the cracks in the public school system. He began skipping school and getting in trouble as drinking and drugging played a larger role in his life. To change things up, he enrolled in boarding school for his sophomore year. The move helped him excel in sports and completely turn his academic life around. However, while at the boarding school, he was introduced to hard drugs and started abusing his prescriptions. During the spring term, he got very sick and was informed he needed emergency Neuro-surgery. He spent the next month and a half in ICU receiving heavy narcotics around the clock. This began a long battle with prescription pain killers. He began buying more pills off the street to feed his addiction. He was able to graduate high school and went on to Shepherd University where he graduated with high aspirations. He even went on to obtain his Masters from Lynn University, where he also started his own business. Everything looked great on the outside, but on the inside things were a mess. He finally decided to ask for help and give recovery a chance.
Today, Ben is trusted by his family and friends and has genuine relationships again that he thought were beyond repair. Most importantly, he can look himself in the mirror and look others in their eyes. He has rediscovered his passion for helping others. Ben is pumped to join the Surfside team as a house manager and live his life in sobriety. He now lives free one day at a time!
Michael grew up in Central New Jersey to a large and loving family. Being the youngest, and only boy, he felt pressured to fit in when he actually felt different. Michael excelled in music and arts, including writing, and was passionate and deeply invested in his skills.
As he grew older, his parents divorced and remarried. He gained an even larger family full of athletes. He began high school in a new town where he did not know anybody and fell back into the role of feeling “different.” At this moment, he discovered drugs and alcohol as a means to mitigate his suffering. He was bright enough to get into college but squandered the opportunity quickly, as drugs had already had a hold on him. He moved around to different states working in restaurants and other small jobs, and found that he always brought his addiction with him. Michael then returned home and began working at a law firm and quickly worked his way up to a paralegal position, but couldn’t excel due to his drug and alcohol use. After an arrest, he began his journey into recovery with an introduction to a 12-step fellowship and treatment facilities all over New Jersey until he was 27. After experiencing enough pain, Michael finally decided that his sobriety was his top priority and was willing to take any and all steps to do the necessary work to deal with the real issue: himself. After a 30 day residential program he checked into Surfside as a resident and navigated his way through his personal difficulties and the program. He found a sponsor and showed a willingness to work the steps and grow as a person while simultaneously developing healthier habits such as regular exercise and returning to his artistic hobbies such as music and writing.
He came on board as a staff member and took on the role of House Manager where he is extremely excited to be part of our team and help change the stigma around addiction and develop the atmosphere of recovery for our residents in the future.
Nick Kitsos, BS
Nick was born in Secaucus, NJ, just outside of New York City. He lived in Jersey City during his years as an infant, and in first grade, he moved to Summit, NJ. Growing up, sports were a big part of his life. He excelled as a swimmer and lacrosse player, which took him places throughout his childhood and early adult years. In high school he played for a two-time state championship lacrosse team and had a great reputation around town. It was also around this time he was introduced to marijuana which acted as a gateway drug in his life. He immediately fell in love with the feeling of getting high and the party scene involved. Since his very first drink he was a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type user, the drugs and alcohol would make him feel like a better version of himself. After high school, he started hanging around a shady crowd of drug dealers and began using hard drugs. During this time, he tarnished his good reputation in town, was in and out rehabs, lost many friends, and damaged relationships within his family. Scrapping together a few months sober here and there, he made his way to college. Although he graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA, and played DIII lacrosse, he struggled throughout college with psychological problems and heavy drug use, which resulted in multiple visits to the psych ward and more rehabs. Upon graduating he decided to stick to drinking alcohol because he never thought it was a problem for him. After a few months he became a heavy drinker and started on another downward spiral. Eventually, he got kicked out of his house after being arrested while under the influence and moved into a sober house in Elizabeth, NJ for a month before entering Surfside.
Today Nick has found peace in his life through the help he received from Surfside. He enjoys meditating, reading books about Buddhism, surfing, and CrossFit. He was able to get back into lacrosse and now plays for the Greek National Lacrosse Team. The brotherhood of Surfside means a lot to him and motivated him to help other young men, work the 12-steps, eventually go back to school for a master’s degree, and become an independent human being.
Born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, Mike grew up in your standard, All-American family with two parents and an older sister. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, working hard in school, and playing sports. Like many high school kids, Mike found alcohol as a fun escape on the weekends. While attending Providence College, his drinking intensified, and he started to experience the mental, emotional, and physical consequences of heavy drinking. As his grades steadily declined, Mike decided to keep on drinking to escape. After 4 years of college, he had nothing to show for besides a list of regrets, broken relationships, and a serious drinking problem. He spent two years digging himself deeper into an alcoholic hole as opportunities came and went. The anxiety and depression brought on by heavy drinking and the reliance on the substance to make him feel normal had placed him in a vicious cycle. Mike started his journey in recovery at age 24 but was not a first time winner. After about 9 in-patient rehabs, 3 detoxes, numerous IOPs, and every other possible option health insurance provided for him to get sober, he found himself hopeless and defeated in his battle to get sober. He decided to give it one more shot and found himself at Surfside. Through Surfside’s recovery program and the 12-Step Fellowship, he has found a new way of life. Mike recently started classes at Stockton University in hopes to finish the degree that he once thought was a lost cause during his drinking. In a short time, sobriety has brought him a new lease on life. He shows up every day to achieve his goals and tackle any challenges in his way.