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
I’m an alcoholic named Justin.
I am also a writer, a cafe manager and a yoga teacher; a son, a brother and a best friend. I came to Florida from Columbus, Ohio with $5 in my pocket and a bag of dirty clothes. I am now an active member of my community, and this is how I believe we change the perception of who we are- we recover and we talk about it. We stand for the community we believe in and show our gratitude through the work we do.
This past weekend I came across something that gave me a sense of levity through inspiration, but also troubled me with the residual remarks it received. A friend of mine, one whom I had the privilege of attending treatment with that first time several years ago at Palm Partners, had made a bold statement in a group on social media specific to sharing information and stories relevant to the community in Delray Beach, Florida.
The page always has a vast variety of posts from job opportunities, community event announcements, new business listings and even tips on gas prices and dining out.
But every once in a while a story breaks concerning recovery in Delray Beach. Sometimes these stories are raising awareness on the state of national affairs concerning addiction or local initiatives to influence recovery, but other times they come across as nothing more than deliberately discriminating attacks on people some refer to as “rehabbers.” The young lady I know wrote a heartfelt testimony to her experience in recovery after coming to Delray Beach, Florida and shared her grief that so many people scrutinize the recovery community based on the actions of individuals. She admitted to having witnessed the shady side of it all, but challenged people to try and understand those who chose a different way.
She received a lot of empowering and positive feedback, which was so refreshing. Signs of compassion from both sides of the conversation came through. The reason I wanted to write about this today was simply because one of the many comments that I took notice to was:
“..but you are an exception to the rule…”
Now I don’t wish to argue statistics because I doubt there is any way of providing completely accurate, proof-positive numbers. Considering so many choose to remain anonymous and in the grand scheme of things “successful recovery” can be subjective to some. The reason this bothered me, the more I thought about it, has a lot to do with a conversation that stemmed from my friends response.
The Side They Show
This strong woman did not shy away from her convictions. She kept standing up for the recovering addict or alcoholic. She instead answered the aforementioned comment with,
“But I’m not the exception. Unfortunately negativity is much sexier than positivity.”
As much as I hate to say it, truer words could not apply to this context. Simply put- ordinary people just don’t seem to care when an addict or alcoholic finds a solution that leads them to pulling their life together in comparison to when someone goes to rehab, gets out and creates chaos. One comment stated:
“Do the needles jump into their arms? You say they can’t stay sober even if they want to? Come on now. Just take responsibility for your own actions people.”
Here again, we find stigma and the ugly side that seems to overshadow the reality of the disease of addiction. It seems many residents in the Delray area who have no first-hand experience with real recovery still think addicts and alcoholics are suffering from a moral failing or an inability to “take responsibility”- making them more likely to destroy and demoralize the community than they are to make a positive contribution.
Well, in part because the headlines are often generated to grab the reader with claims of controversy and corruption, and because people who don’t know the truth about addiction too often only see it in black and white.
Since crooked client brokers in Delray Beach recently became such a front-page problem there has been an increase in scrutiny on the recovery community. The spotlight was shown on people who were making money off of essentially human-trafficking. From there came very public depictions of ‘exposure’ crusades to take down shady body-snatchers, attempts to unearth unethical halfway housing and heated debates as local businesses incorporated changes in policy which many considered to be attacks directed at “rehabbers” or people in recovery.
The public and even the media has repeatedly gone on a rampage of grouping addicts together as a blemish on the community; so much so that almost every young person with tattoos at a coffee shop was practically labelled on sight as a no-good “rehabber” and subject to whole-sale condemnation.
Why? Just like she said… it’s a ‘sexier story’ to have drama and outrage than it is to support people who have committed to change.
Then as overdose deaths spiked all over the country in association with the opiate epidemic, it made it all the more disturbing to witness it first-hand in any community. But that is crucial to remember too- this is a national problem, and one facing neighborhoods all over Florida, not just Delray.
The Side We Know
We need to change the way our communities perceive recovery for many reasons- the most obvious being that discrimination of any kind is a terrible injustice. We alcoholics and addicts in real recovery- who have a solution and practice with diligence the principles used to shape the lives of freedom and happiness we never expected to have- strive every day to be of service; not just to each other, but to society and humanity as a whole.
True- it is up to us as active members of recovery to accurately represent ourselves to the rest of our community. However, our communities should also be willing to let go of and preconceptions they may have and learn more about us too. We have to meet each other half-way and raise awareness, while working to make real treatment and real solutions more available.
Every day more people come here to find help and every day even more people die because they never get that help. If we want to encourage addicts to be active in their community and to contribute to the lives of others we have to hope for a world willing to accept them for trying.
If every business turns us away, how will we ever help it grow?
If every neighborhood bars our entry, how will we ever build a home we want to take pride in and protect?
These new people coming to Delray Beach are not a threat… they are an opportunity for unity and change! Spiritual growth, new freedom and happiness, relationships and responsibility are possible. People have to be given compassion if they have any chance of change.
What They Don’t Know
This is the kicker… we are already here! We’ve been here all along! Long before me and long after me there will be addicts and alcoholics from all over America relocating to South Florida to be part of a beautiful community of recovery.
In case you didn’t know, we are EVERYWHERE! Not to freak you out and have every “normie” all paranoid, but that is the reality. In the words of one of fictions greatest counter-culture icons, Tyler Durden:
“Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep.”
For every “normie” that has a chance to read this, I promise you will interact several times today with people who have had to struggle one day at a time to have any stability and sanity in life without drugs and drinking. You probably know them by name. You might have small-talk every day, or you might work side by side with them. That person you respect and admire for their work ethic, determination and perspective might have been like me… dying in a dope-house basement wishing they could believe it was possible to live in a world that would believe in them.
So, people in recovery I challenge to find a way to live proudly in their sobriety. Sure- I respect anonymity and the need for privacy. But for those who are able to speak up, I challenge you to do so. I challenge you to lead by example either way! Yes… we can change how our community views recovery! If we are truly grateful for this community, let us make it a better place for everyone who has a home here.
Thankfully, I was given some help to stop drinking from some amazing people who genuinely cared about my future. Some of most amazing people I’ve ever met are parts of our recovery community in Delray Beach. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. YOU are not alone.
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
By Cheryl Steinberg
We’ve all heard talk about the “geographical solution” and how it doesn’t really work. However, if, say, “pulling a geographic” is for the right reasons – to change people, places and things that won’t serve you in your sobriety, we can at least recommend some places to head that are known to have their own unique recovery community.
Countdown of the top 10 cities for living in recovery (and guess who’s in the #2 spot):
#10. San Francisco
The City by the Bay’s diversity is a huge plus: more than 20% of its 588 weekly meetings are geared toward the LGBQT community and there are nearly 500 Spanish-speaking meetings. The city is famous for its open-minded culture, which another plus, helping the newcomer feel accepted. Yet another reason San Fran makes this list is that its physical landscape and size lends to a cozy recovery community. “Just as the city is pint-sized, so is the AA community, which is good because you really feel more tightly woven within the grid,” says local member Heather.
#9. Prescott, Arizona
This small “Recovery City” has, in relatively recent times, become a magnet for those seeking recovery and who wish to live a sober lifestyle. Over just the last two decades, a vast array of rich recovery resources, such as dozens of sober-living facilities, halfway houses and detox centers have been established. For a city of just 40,000 people, that’s a lot of recovery. In fact, it’s estimated that 1,200 residents of the city are in active treatment on any given day, making that one in 30 people. The growing industry does its part in raising community awareness of recovery as well as helps to stimulate the economy by offering jobs to locals. Prescott’s addicts and the recovery workers who support them “have made a commitment to sobriety,” says Tim Davis of the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic. “Isn’t that what we [as a society] want, for people to help themselves and get better?”
#8. Portland, Oregon
The eccentric and hipster-magnet west coast city has an AA group for just about anybody. Portland AA member John Gordon says, Behind many a motorcycle tattoo is a Big Book–thumper, whose AA program is as hardcore as his image. And despite Portland’s large hipster population, being hip doesn’t mean being apathetic when it comes to recovery. “Even for the ‘cool kids,’ it’s cool to be plugged in and giving back wherever one’s energy is needed,” says Gordon. He added that the youthful recovery scene is notably “loud and proud,” contributing to the wider community through energetic participation and an “insane and inspiring commitment to service.”
#7. New York City
With an astonishing 4,000 meetings per week in the five boroughs – and that’s just AA – New York has a massive, dynamic sober network as well as having tons of activities to keep the boredom and cravings at bay. As a diverse city, it caters to agnostics, the LGBQT population, night owls and more. And sober reveling is easy to come by: pretty much any holiday has a sober counterpart, from Gay Pride to St. Patrick’s Day. This urban attraction also has a 12-Step for pretty much anyone, not just alcoholics and addicts. There’s hundreds of OA, NA, SLAA, DA, GA, UA (Under-Earners Anonymous) meetings and more.
According to data compiled by the Daily Beast sober folk in Music City, USA, are living in the “soberest city” in the US: with just 8.92 drinks consumed per citizen per week. Nashville offers 280 AA meetings each week and the AA community here hosts around 10 outdoor activities per month, among the many year-round options in Nashville, which are popular due to its mild climate. AA events, such events like, “spring flings,” picnics, “old-timers’ dinners,” campouts and cookouts lend to a friendly sober environment.
Fun Fact: There’s an annual “homemade ice-cream contest” held on June 10th in celebration of AA Founder’s Day, which commemorates the first meeting of Bill W. and Dr. Bob.
TO normies, Minnesota is known as “The Land of 1,000 Lakes;” as a spin-off by the recovery community, though, it’s known as “The Land of 1,000 Treatment Centers.” That’s because the state is crawling with rehabs and also houses 11 of the country’s 35 public sober high schools. Therefore, awareness about addiction is higher-than-average in the state’s urban centers and Minnesotans are quite familiar with the culture of recovery. Minneapolis boasts a unique infrastructure of educational, legal and medical support that is based in its recovery community.
#4. Los Angeles
L.A. is known for its hip, thriving sobriety culture among those seeking recovery in points west. In fact, the AA fellowship here is huge, offering about 3,100 meetings per week. LA AA meetings are generally very social in nature, with members showing up an hour early to chat and mingle then leaving in big groups after their meetings to go out to eat or go to the movies. And don’t forgot, this is Hollywood so, you’re likely to bump into someone famous in AA. Many celebrities in recovery are “circuit speakers,” touring high-energy events that often cater to young people and those fresh out of rehab, telling their stories of experience, strength, and hope.
Houston is known for its unique approach by offering a large number of 12-Step “clubhouses,” which are designated venues – not church basements – where sober or trying-to-get-sober alcoholics can drop in and hang out all day, attend meetings, get their coffee fix, and even share meals together. These clubhouses are like sober bars, offering that hospitality and social opportunity but, without the alcohol – and they’re free. Altogether, Houston has 580 AA groups, which altogether hold about 2,400 meetings per week and are Houstonians notoriously welcoming to out-of-towners.
#2. Delray Beach, Florida
This South Florida tourist town is a magnet for vacation-goers but it’s also known as the “Recovery Capital,” having “the country’s largest and most vibrant recovery community,” according to the New York Times in 2008. The small beach town of 64,000 sees more than 5,000 people hit 300 different 12-Step meetings every week. There’s everything from recovery radio shows, a recovery motorcycle club, and a coffeehouse with its own therapy group, making for a large yet tight-knit recovery community that would be more likely found in a large city. A favorite saying amongst locals and transplants to this recovery locale, which has turned into a hashtag, is “I live where you vacation.” Another plus is the largely tourist-based economy, which provides for a number of entry-level jobs for the newly-recovering addicts looking to get back on their feet.
Although Bean Town is known as the booziest US cities due to all the colleges and universities in one area, it also takes its sobriety seriously. The greater Boston area has over 2,000 meetings, and the city offers its own “commitment exchange” program, whereby local AA groups send their members to speak at other meetings. These exchanges allow the unique experience of getting to expand one’s sober networks and to experience a wider range of recovery, all from the comfort of their home group.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder, such as addiction, help is available. Many people fear the idea of treatment and especially if it involves going out-of-state. However, this can be a logical – and in some cases – necessary, option for those looking to change the people, places, and things in their daily environment that don’t serve them in getting and staying sober. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to find out your options.