Author: Justin Mckibben
The past week the country watched as yet another powerful natural disaster loomed overhead. Hurricane Irma had been measured as an intensely powerful Category 5 storm. By the time it reached Florida the storm was spanning at 400 miles wide. Winds topped over 130 miles per hour on Sunday. All this came only about a week after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey struck the state of Texas. Landing as a Category 4 on the west coast of South Florida, the dangerous winds of Hurricane Irma reached out to Miami and even West Palm Beach on the eastern coastline.
Areas have begun experiencing flooding, and there were even earlier reports of tornadoes picking up as more than 4.7 million homes and businesses across Florida lost power.
Shelters across the state had been utilized to help thousands and thousands of residents, while well over 30,000 evacuated from the Florida Keys ahead of the storm. As of Monday, Hurricane Irma had downgraded to a tropical storm with dwindled intensity as it nears Georgia. Resources are currently working diligently in Florida to assure the residents’ safety and restore power and clear roadways.
As the incident unfolds and recovery efforts begin, the recovery community of Florida stands strong as well.
Of course in a situation like this staying connected is crucial for everyone. Whether people choose to evacuate and travel outside the projected path, or if they stock up on supplies and fortify their homes, communication is key.
By staying connected people can get updates on the possible dangers that may still be present after the initial storm. They can also stay informed on relief efforts in their area if needed. Some may feel they are safely out of harms way after the perilous gusts and overwhelming rains have ceased. However, there are still residual risks that come after these storms.
Staying connected can be made even more difficult with power outages.
For the recovery community in South Florida staying connected has helped so many people keep track of their peers in the recovery community to provide support. Not only are accredited addiction treatment providers coordinating with local officials to ensure the safety of their clients and staff, they are also connecting with families and loved ones to help clients update their contacts about current conditions.
Meanwhile, people within the recovery community continue to check in with their peers. Many of us are dedicated to ensuring our friends in sobriety are safe and protected. In situations like this sometimes those in recovery also need someone to reach out to. These stressful times can be all it takes to push some individuals toward risk behaviors. In this case, relapse prevention maybe mean as much as staying connected through Hurricane Irma.
Service and Support
Supporting each other within the community is a vital piece of the recovery process, both in the aftermath of a natural disaster and in the addiction recovery community. When something tragic impacts so many lives people always band together to restore stability to family, friends and neighbors. First responders and volunteers try to help people clear out wreckage, provide food and other important amenities, and rescue those in need. Public officials coordinate with other organizations and community efforts to help repair what needs repaired and ensure citizens’ health and safety.
In short, great numbers of people commit to doing service to aid in the recovery.
In the world of drug and alcohol addiction, service to others and giving back can be a pivatol aspect of the recovery process. Men and women in recovery from addiction band together to provide each other with the means to be safe and supported. Recovering addicts and alcoholics volunteer themselves to working with those most in need, and they take on positions of service in order to ensure everyone has an opportunity to stay healthy and safe.
All this can be seen in South Florida after Hurricane Irma, when both aspects of the community (recovery and non-recovery) have worked independently and collaboratively to protect the people in need and support each other. Addiction treatment and mental health services have actively coordinated with first responders. Meanwhile, individuals offer assistance to their peers through meetings and service work. Sometimes something as simple as a ride to work a place to stay with power makes a huge difference.
Rebuilding after Hurricane Irma
Most of the eastern coastline was spared the brunt of the storms destructive power. Still, Hurricane Irma still managed to impact those farthest from the landfall. Palm Beach County alone experienced an estimated 375,350 power outages, while areas like Miami-Dade reached up to 623,820 outages.
So far there has been a great deal of effective restoration efforts after Hurricane Irma. All Florida highways are now open. Gas supplies are still struggling, but the state is coordinating with the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to open ports for tankers carrying fuel. Now shipments to the tune of millions or gallons are flowing toward Port Everglades. Airports have reopened and curfews have either been lifted or shortened. Electrical companies are working diligently to restore services to the state, but that effort could be ongoing for some time.
The Florida Keys suffered a great deal of damage, and efforts to help revive the area are ongoing, thought this too seems like it will be an uphill battle for now. The fight today has become a mission for the return to normalcy for most Florida residents. Officials are hoping to get people back to work and get businesses back to serving their communities as well.
A Community in Recovery
For the addiction recovery community, getting back to helping those in need is also a priority. Getting people into safe environments that help their sobriety; pursuing further outreach efforts to those in active addiction who may be suffering now more than ever; support groups re-opening to be there for their members.
There is a strong presence in this area of those who are already experienced in bouncing back from devastation and desperation; the recovering alcoholics and addicts of South Florida. Some of us are used to going without amenities. In sobriety many of us are used to giving all we can to others. Now is definitely the time to put those unique experiences to good use.
Today, all of Florida recovers from the effects of Hurricane Irma. Those of us in addiction recovery should always be willing to give back to the community that has given us so much. We can find a way to volunteer some time, or make donations to support those with less than us. Now more than ever we should offer assistance to the addicts and alcoholics who still struggle. But don’t stop there. All of Florida is now a community in recovery. We are all in this together, so lets all be part of something to make it better. We will recover.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those effected.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma the South Florida area is still home to one of the strongest recovery communities in the world. This is a community with a strong commitment to safe and effective treatment options. South Florida is full of amazing individual’s working hard to hold each other up. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
People are strange when you’re a stranger. Being in recovery it can seem like we are a little extra strange to some, or not strange enough for others. So of course finding a roommate while in recovery can be a daunting task. For some people it is already difficult finding someone you can stand to live with. With a lot of people, searching through room-for-rent ads on Craigslist makes them just as anxious as trying to find a roommate in their halfway house.
Some of us just get lucky, and some of us definitely don’t. Of course with people who have a track record of bad behavior it isn’t easy to instantly establish trust. But now a new website is helping connect sober people with a desire to live in a house build on sobriety. All over America recovering addicts and alcoholics have a recovery roommate website to link up with new living arrangements, specifically for clean living.
A new recovery roommate website is called MySoberRoommate.com. It just launched online this past June and it already changing how sober people everywhere find roommates. MySoberRoommate.com was created by addiction therapist Jesse Sandler, LCSW, who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. His partner, Dr. Emily Churg, was also a key contributor to its development. Sandler is based in Los Angeles, and in an interview he said he was inspired to create a website that overcomes addiction recovery stigma. There are sober social media apps, but this is another place where likeminded people in recovery can connect.
So how does this recovery roommate website actually work?
Well, via their page users (who no longer use) can search and connect with sober roommates. It serves both sides, so if you’re looking for a place to move or if you want to rent a room in your own place. So far, the website has already attracted nearly 1,000 members in just two months. And professionals in the recovery field are already seeing it gain traction among clients.
Filling the Space
Now that we touched on the ‘how’ we get to the ‘why’ of it. One aspect of the work Sandler does with his clients includes helping with the transition from inpatient rehab to a halfway house, then to their own place. When asked about the site Sandler said,
“I would sit with my clients in my office and we’d go on the Internet, and there was nothing out there like this. I was shocked to see that.”
The challenge with assisting with the transition from halfway house to a home is finding a roommate dedicated to sobriety. Sandler acknowledged that for many people, when they attend treatment they aren’t even in their home state anymore. Being out of town and on your own can make it difficult to connect with the local recovery community. So to add to that the intimacy of living with another person, finding a recovering roommate in the area can be very difficult.
“One of the most important components in maintaining sobriety is your living environment. When people in recovery move out of rehab or sober living facilities, the worst thing they can do is go back to the toxic living environments they were in before they got clean,”
Sandler told WestsideToday.com when discussing the importance of the recovery roommate website,
“The second worst thing is to live with people who are actively using. And the third is to live alone, which breeds isolation.”
He concluded, as many have before, that one of the best ways to improve the chances of staying sober is to surround yourself with people who are committed to recovery.
Moving In and Moving On
So far it appears the response to the recovery roommate website has been very good. Sandler stated,
“Several of my colleagues have reached out and told me that their clients used MySoberRoommate.com to successfully find a roommate,”
“We have received emails from several members telling us that they had a positive experience using the site.”
The MySoberRoommate team is currently trying to compile a catalog of stories about the “best bad experiences with a non-sober roommate” for an upcoming YouTube series. They are also planning to release the short video reenactments for these testimonials in the next few months. So moving on from just helping people connect, the minds behind this recovery roommate website are also trying to create creative and informative features online to help break the stigma and shed some light on how people in recovery really live.
The question becomes, who would use a recovery roommate website to find their next place? If you’re new in recovery, or been around a while and just ready to start fresh, would you use an option like this to find someone to live with?
When you find the right people to live with they can end up becoming some of your biggest supports in recovery. However, you also have to remember that not everyone in recovery will stay clean. Try to stick with people who are doing the right thing, especially at home. Establishing a strong foundation in sobriety is very important to building a future in sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call us toll-free. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
In areas where bar crawls were once a standard weekend ritual, a new trend is taking over, and it does not seem to be stopping anytime soon. The trend is sober juice crawls, and millennials are flocking all over the country to celebrate. All this non-alcoholic fun has resulted in researchers pondering, is sober becoming the new drunk?
Juice crawls are only one of many booze-free events in the US catering towards millennials who want to ditch the booze for clarity. New York is a prime location for Juice Crawls. At one crawl in the big apple, participants forego alcohol shots in favor for juice shots with names like “Dr. Feelgood” and “Kalefornia.”
The Guardian highlighted this trend by visiting a monthly juice crawl event where participants hop from different shops and sample 19 flavors of juices in a 2 oz. plastic cup. This event is just one of many that have popped up in major US cities to cater to the millennials who are now saying no to alcohol.
The people who go to these events are not all recovering addicts. In fact, it is quite the contrary. These juice crawl groups are full of people who would rather engage in mindfulness activities and indulge in healthy juices then wake up with a hangover. While in the past, cutting booze would have been a significant social change, now events like these are more mainstream.
In addition to these crawls, there are now sober day races, alcohol-free bars, boozeless dinner, and alcohol-free dance parties. There is even a sober social network and a dating app for sober people that became so popular, it temporarily shut down.
In these tough economic times, many millennials are opting to stay away from alcohol. A recent study on millennials in five countries found that 75% of those surveyed drink in moderation when they go out at night.
Auzeen Saedi is a clinical psychologist that spends lots of time with younger patients. She mentioned in an article the biggest fear millennials have about the future is fear:
“I think the pressures are higher because [young] people see that even if you have a great degree, that does not guarantee you a job by any means.”
All of this uncertainty is due to the financial strains millennials have observed the past few years, and understanding that nothing is guaranteed upon graduation. Fortunately, mindfulness and yoga have become extremely trendy, and millennials often use these activities for stress-relief.
“Right now there are all these yogi Instagram celebrities with millions of followers … and they’re not drinking beer, they’re drinking juice,” she says. “Mindfulness, in a way, is the new church.”
Spirituality is becoming a big practice among millennials. Many are opting for meditation retreats to connect to something higher. The great thing about these retreats is that they reduce stress, and allow the ability to go on vacation with a purpose without fear of being intoxicated. The trend has saturated social media. On Instagram, there are celebrities with millions of follows. They are not drinking beer. They are not promoting the drunken party life. They are exercising, meditating and drinking juice.
Of course, not everyone loves this trend. Ross Haenfler became a straight-edge punk in the late 80s and was part of a group that embraced drug and alcohol in favor of political activism. Haenfler believes these new sober groups need to have a bigger message that fights more significant issues such as consumerism, homophobia, and racism. Otherwise, he questions the motive behind it all and whether or not people are participating in it due to the sudden popularity.
Overall, the clean healthy living movement is full of those who rather opt for glowing skin and yoga classes than party like it’s 1999. For most, it is far from a political movement. But regardless of the reasons people do it, more and more people are finding sober outings a more enjoyable experience for the mind, body, and soul than boozing up all night ever was.
The culture of drinking is changing, and more and more people would rather socialize through healthy activities than using drugs and alcohol as a conversation starter. If you are struggling, remember there is life after recovery. It is up to you to discover what that looks like. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
#Recovery #StayInformed #DelrayBeachChat… how many hash-tags (#) can we use to change the stigma?
Sunny Southern Florida is such an incredible area for people in recovery, even being often referred to frequently as the recovery capitol of the country with a vast network of treatment facilities in the area, and a thriving culture of young and active clean and sober residents. But there is still a population of the general public in these neighborhoods that don’t understand the depths of addiction, or how recovering addicts and alcoholics take the steps toward becoming new and amazing versions of themselves.
There has even at times been concern from citizens as to if this recovery culture isn’t hazardous to the community, but now there is a social media campaign that city officials in Delray Beach have designed to educate the public about the reality of addiction and what it really means to recover.
Drugs and addiction are not very easy topics of conversation, no matter what part of town in what state you live in. When most people hear those words they tend to think of criminals, degenerates, vagrancy and violence. However, that is not the reality. While it may be true that drug use is against the law, it doesn’t mean that every addict is a criminal.
This past Wednesday The Delray Beach Drug Task Force, along with the Delray Beach Police Department and the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, took action to try and inform the public about the positive impacts of the recovery community and the facts of addiction by hosting a Twitter chat under the hashtag #DelrayBeachChat with the purpose of debunking myths and reducing the stigma. When looking at this, it is actually awesome to see city officials taking a stand to support individuals who have been low long enough, to keep those who don’t understand from kicking them while their down. Executive Director of The Delray Beach Drug Task Force Suzanne Spencer explained,
“I actually think one of the mistaken fears that people have is we seem to lump addiction and recovery into the same category and they’re clearly different,”
Suzanne Spencer speaks up about how addiction is not a choice, and supports the understanding of addiction as a disease. She went on to say,
“You don’t wake up one morning and say hey it’s great day in sunny South Florida I think I’ll become an addict today. People don’t have a choice in whether they become an addict, but they do have a choice on whether or not they can recover,”
Spencer attested that there are 20 million American people living in long term recovery, and “that’s definitely signs of success.” Sadly, people are more used to seeing the negatives of addiction being projected through the media and exacerbated in news headlines and celebrity scandals.
Not only does the Delray Beach Drug Task Force support their recovery community, but the whole of the Delray Beach Police Department actually cooperated with the chat. Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman said he understands the community’s concern, but still supports the recovery industry in the area stating:
“It’s an individual that has an addictive personality that might have been here trying to get treatment, but fell off the wagon as we say. We really didn’t have many programs in place. We are starting to work on some new programs, some cutting edge programs in my opinion, working with The Delray Beach Drug Task Force community. So we’re trying to find a way to solve that.”
Now in regards to the treatment industry itself, Chief Goldman also recognizes there’s some work to be done in Delray Beach. Given the area consists of such a large number of rehabs and sober living homes, there are always going to be a few shady businesses who also reinforce the stigma and give the industry a bad name in the eyes of the public. Goldman stated:
“just like any other profession ninety-nine percent of the people in that business are doing a great job. There is that one percent that is the unscrupulous people. That’s the ones we’re trying to go after.”
The work that has to go into holding these businesses accountable and resolving on how to regulate the industry is the same work that has to go into dissolving the stigma and teaching the community about addiction and recovery, and it all starts with active open discussion. #DelrayBeachChat is one way that these officials utilized the medium of social media to try and make that more possible and make the information more accessible to those who needed it most.
Delray Beach is an amazing place to get sober. For many people it can make a huge difference just because of the size and diversity of the recovery community, and those who actively recover can also help make a positive impact on local businesses and policies. Not everyone will get to experience the recovery life in Delray Beach, Florida because they don’t know it’s there, but for those who do it’s all about improve our own lives and trying to make a positive contribution. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, Palm Partners is an integral piece of the Delray Beach recovery community. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 and get the help that creates change for life.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Delray Beach in South Florida is a beautiful part of the Sunshine State with a thriving community. Florida is known for its warm days, miles of breathtaking beaches, and a variety of fabulous cultures. The state also has made a name as the Recovery Capital of the country, with more drug rehab facilities than almost anywhere else in the entire nation.
Some see the recovery community as a threat to wholesome and upscale living, others see it as part of that vibrant Florida culture, and the debate over Sober Homes or Halfway Houses has become a large part of this discussion.
How a Halfway Works
Halfway houses/sober homes are facilities that place individuals trying to recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol in a community with other recovering alcoholics and drug addictions to help them get assimilated back into the world after active addiction. Sober Homes are the typical next step down in structure and intensive care after an inpatient or residential rehab program.
Sober Homes can be a critical factor for someone in early recovery, because dealing with addiction is a life-long process. Having a system put in place that keeps you accountable while integrating your daily routine with a new life-style is important. Halfway Houses re-teach us important parts of adulthood, or they can help us develop relationships with others who are making the right decisions.
Neighborhoods all across South Florida have some residents who have become outraged over some individuals who live in halfway houses reportedly loitering the streets, and some claim drug dealing has increased in their streets and are calling for action and stricter regulation. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
Some halfway houses have frequently come under fire for unsafe housing, affecting the community, and even insurance fraud. Sober home operators are buying properties in residential areas, and this is causing some neighbors to be concerned about what their children are exposed to, while others worry about the possibility of crime. State representative Bill Hager is sponsoring legislation aimed at regulating sober homes who stated:
“We know there are some very competent, consciously run sober homes. We also know there are sober homes out there that are ripping-off patients, ripping-off the public, ripping-off neighborhoods, ripping-off insurance companies.”
Hager says sober home operators can make a huge profit on drug testing, and to put it bluntly some over bill insurance companies. Last September FBI agents raided sober living condos in West Palm Beach, and a similar situation happened in December in Delray Beach. There has been repeated calls for Halfway House regulations to be put in place, and it seems more drastic actions are closer than ever.
One injustice is that the headlines seem to always highlight how heroin addiction, the synthetic drug Flakka outbreak, and unruly sober homes may be hurting our neighborhoods, but they tend to forget that the recovery communities out there are changing lives every day and helping enrich the community as a whole.
Real Recovery in Delray Beach
According to Suzanne Spencer, executive director of the Delray Beach Drug Task Force, the people in the recovery community and the rehab industry that are trying to help are making affirming and positive strides in the city of Delray Beach. Just yesterday morning Spencer, along with members of the task force, Delray Beach police and others in the community came together to talk about initiatives and how they can help each other with better serving the community. Chief Jeff Goldman said:
“Recovery is a part of Delray Beach and that’s just a fact,”
This task force in Delray has been around since the 1990s, focused on:
- Public safety
The best part being that they have gotten those who work at sober homes and treatment facilities as well as those in recovery directly involved in the task force to help address and issues.
Spencer has openly expressed her belief that those in recovery are just as much of the community as anyone else, though the stigma of addiction has residents frozen and suspicious in skepticism. One of the group’s biggest concerns is the well-being of individuals kicked out of recovery centers for various reasons ranging from breaking the rules to relapses. Chief Goldman said they’re currently working to build a system to keep those off the streets and back on track.
Another member of the task force is George Jahn, who works with Florida Association of Recovery Residences. Jahn fully believes in cracking down on those facilities breaking the law and taking advantage, and hopes the soon-to-be signed sober homes bill will help alleviate some of those issues. Jahn has admitted it takes a lot of people to work together to make it possible.
“You cannot just have a police force and a stick. You have to provide structure.”
As an individual who lived in a few halfway houses once upon a time, I think it’s important that people take into the consideration the fact that most people have placed themselves in the position to change their lives, and that’s why they’re in a sober living facility. Recovering addicts and alcoholics are human beings trying to overcome obstacles.
At the same time, we as addicts and alcoholics need to be aware of how our actions, or even lack of actions, affect other people. If we want to truly recover we cannot drag down the neighborhoods and businesses we live around, we should not endanger or negatively influence young people where we live and have some respect for the neighborhoods that let us in, and we cannot stay clean if we want to live dirty. We teach the world how to treat us, so act right.
For the rest of the world, recovering addicts and alcoholics probably pump your gas, cook your food, sell you clothes and fix your cars. We build your homes and businesses, we might even we sitting next to you right now. We are not all what you might imagine us to be and that is why raising awareness is so important, to refute the stigma because we too want to improve upon our communities.
Recovery from dependence on drugs and alcoholic obsession is a process, and part of that process means learning how to be a respectful member of society, and how to contribute to a community. While some are afraid of what addicts may bring to their neighborhood, many of us just hope for a better life. We can have it too, with better decisions. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135