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Kyle P. and His Recovery from Addiction

In this month’s issue of the Alumni Spotlight, we will learn more about Kyle P. and his journey to recovery.  Surfside played a monumental role in changing his life. Check out his story below!

Kyle began as an avid marijuana smoker in high school. He wasn’t a big drinker, but definitely enjoyed drugs. His senior year, a friend was selling prescription pills to other guys in their friend group. In Kyle’s mind, it seemed like all of the guys were enjoying them. So he decided to give pills a try. And needless to say, he wanted to feel this euphoria all the time. At that point, he didn’t have much aspiration for college or career, so his sole purpose every day was to get high. He didn’t see anything wrong with this plan. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as he initially thought.

He kept his pill habit quiet, but the secret life began to take an emotional toll. With a father who is a well-respected police officer, Kyle had to routinely hide his drugs and his lifestyle. Eventually, his mother found out that he was regularly taking pain pills, but the two decided to keep it quiet.

Kyle was convinced that he had it under control. He saw his friends engaging in drug-related activities that he swore he would never participate in. But there came a time that he joined in. Eventually, the pain pills turned into heroin, and Kyle was caught in the cycle of addiction.

Unable to financially support himself and his addiction, Kyle began asking him mother for money. Over the years, his addiction took a substantial financial toll on his family.

Eventually, Kyle’s family staged an intervention to address their concerns with his drug addiction. His entire family showed up to tell him he was going to treatment at Mountainside in North Canaan Connecticut.

Begrudgingly, Kyle obliged. He entered treatment with a fierce determination that it would not work. Once his mind started to clear, he became open to the idea that he may have a problem. With a little honesty, it wasn’t too difficult to tell. His counselors were able to crack the nut and show him the truth of his situation and how hopeless he actually became.

At the end of treatment, his counselors advised him to consider sober living. One of the Continuing Care team mentioned Surfside as an option. Although the Surfside had only been open a short month Kyle, with the support of his parents, decided to come to Surfside, and that is where his journey to recovery begins.

What is your sobriety date?

June 18, 2016

What do you do for work?

I am a manager at a supermarket.

What are some of your hobbies?

I like to exercise. I’m really starting to get into running. I run about 15 miles per week now.

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

I didn’t know how to live. I was afraid I was going to be by myself. I was scared that I would get to Jersey, and still have no job, no work history, no idea how to live without my mom and take care of myself.

What was your biggest takeaway from Surfside?

There’s a bunch of things I took away from Surfside. Most importantly, I have a network of guys that I stay in touch with and bounce ideas off of. Another thing I took away is making my bed. I make my bed every morning. If I leave for work and realize I forgot to make my bed, I’ll drive back and make it.

Also, I consistently hit my knees and pray every morning and every night.

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

Surfside was my first program. When I was there, Surfside only had 4 residents when I arrived. But we all had the same objective and same mindset. We all wanted to stay sober and see each other stay sober.

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

The best part is I get to be an adult. I get to do everything I wanted to do. I was given the proper tools to have a life. I can pay my bills, buy myself a car, and take my girlfriend out to dinner. Everything Surfside taught me has put me in the position to be a real adult.

The most challenging part is I get to be an adult. Keeping track of finances and navigating life without drinking and drugs can be challenging. Normally, I would have a way to decompress if something happens. Now I have to do it sober. But I’ve learned that sometimes as awful as things can be, I can get through them sober and they will work out in their own way.

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

I would like to be more involved with Surfside than I have been. I live with a couple Surfside alumni now. And I keep in touch with Ian from time to time as well as a bunch of other guys that went through around the time I did.

In terms of my recovery, I like to stay active and stay moving. It’s a day-to-day process. I prioritize taking care of myself and the things that I have- material and relationships. I have a lot of pride and gratitude for the things I have today.

Any final thoughts on Surfside?

It’s a great place. Everything I have today, I have because of Surfside.

What is your 5-year plan?

I want to own a house and a dog, and maybe have a few kids as well.

Ian Koch, our Executive Director likes to tell two stores of Kyle. First, the day Kyle arrived he showed up with his parents at 4pm in the afternoon. Kyle still had on slippers and his pajamas. Ian knew from that moment there was a lot of work to do. Later, when Kyle was in Phase 3 and starting to look for work he was really struggling. Ian took him out looking for jobs. Kyle was terrified of facing people and being turned down. he and Ian went to the local grocery store and made Kyle get out of the car and go turn in a resume. Kyle came out shortly after with a job. Almost 3 years later he is a manager there.

We reached out to Kyle’s parents as well for their thoughts on Surfside. His father had a lot to say about the program. “Searching for a place for Kyle caused great anxiety and worry.  It came down to Surfside or another program in Pennsylvania. I spoke with Ian Koch by phone and was very comfortable speaking about Kyle and how he needed professional structured help. Ian also provided me the ability to speak with a few other parents who already had used Surfside for their sons. I discussed it with Kyle, and he was uncomfortable telling me where HE wanted to go …as he was in “surrender mode” and wasn’t comfortable having any say in the matter. However, I was able to determine with some prying that IF he had a choice, Surfside was it.  In the end that was the place we chose.”

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

Parents should consider they will need to be patient with the process and not butt in or interfere with the process and let the staff at Surfside make firm decisions where needed. It is all done as part of the plan to provide structure for the boys. 

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

Kyle is a completely different person these days.  He is a joy to listen to. Just talking with him makes me smile and beam with pride and thankfulness. He has grown so much mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. In some ways, I feel Surfside played a huge part in saving my son’s life, and significantly helped get him on track to be the responsible, productive, and happy young man he is now!

For more info on Mountainside Addiction Treatment Click the link HERE.

If you are looking for help with addiction resources for you or a loved one please reach out for help. For more info on Surfside please call 609.709.4205